February 4, 2011

How the Arab uprising is a "Change of Civilisation" and how it brings an end to the American double standards. Also what India must learn

The kind of double standards practiced by America for decades, even as it arrogantly talks about democracy and preaches the virtues of free speech, dissent and human rights to the world from a pulpit, is a shame to say the least. The fact is, be it Latin America, Asia or Africa, America has always supported brutal dictators who have tortured and killed their own citizens in the most horrific manner. Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Bolivia are classic examples from Latin America. South Korea and Indonesia were classic examples in Asia; and Pakistan, of course, is the ultimate showcase of American double standards. During the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was the foe, American strategic cowboys used to argue that propping up unsavory dictators in strategic pockets was a necessary evil because America had to stop the march of Communism, which apparently was supposed to be far worse when it came to freedom, free speech, dissent and human rights. After the Soviet Union disappeared and Communism was no longer the enemy it was for decades, many had hoped that America would actually help other nations move away from dictatorships and authoritarian regimes to democracies. Sadly, those hopes were belied and crushed when America started citing the Global War on Terror as an excuse to encourage and prop up nasty dictators. Of course, most of these dictators happen to be now in the Arab world whose oil reserves are the real reasons for American interest rather than the mumbo jumbo and nonsense double speak about democracy and human rights.

Many readers of this magazine were not born in 1979 when the first people’s movement swept across a country in West Asia – better known by American strategic cowboys as the Middle East. I am talking about Iran, the country that America is trying very hard to isolate, punish and even pulverize if given half a chance. For decades prior to 1979, the ruler of Iran – the Shah – was a staunch ally of America, as well as of Israel. In fact, the Americans had installed the reign of the Shahs in Iran by happily encouraging a coup against a popular and democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, because that man had refused to bow down to the diktats of Uncle Sam. In comparison, the Shahs were deeply unpopular, extremely authoritarian and ruled Iran ruthlessly with an iron fist – using torture, detention and even murder by its secret service to smother dissent. All of a sudden in 1978, America was caught napping as popular protests by citizens swept through the cities of Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini came back from exile and the Shah had to flee Iran in disgrace as the country became an Islamic Republic. Since then, the “staunch ally” Iran has become an implacable enemy of America.

There was a sense of ironic déjà vu as I read with excitement about citizens in Tunisia rising in popular revolt and throwing out the dictator – a staunch American ally who ruled that country ruthlessly for more than two decades. That sense was reinforced when reports started pouring in from other Arab nations about citizens marching on the streets demanding that their hated dictators give up power to the people. Egypt has become a symbol and icon of the suppressed aspirations of millions of Arabs finally finding an outlet. The President Hosni Mubarak – again an American plant – has ruled Egypt like a classic dictator for more than 30 years and. Mubarak was in the process of trying to install his son as the next ruler when the sudden wave of protests engulfed his country. More than the people’s revolt in Tunisia – which actually opened the doors and the floodgates for citizens in other Arab nations – it is Egypt which is causing more sleepless nights in Washington. As of now, Egypt, to use that familiar cliché again, is a staunch ally of America and even a de facto ally of Israel. It is the only major country in the Arab world to have formally diplomatic as well as outwardly cordial relations with Israel. It is also the acknowledged leading nation and leader of the Arab world. What happens in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria has a huge impact on the rest of the Arab world. Of course, citizens in Arab nations have been watching in helplessness, frustration and rage till now as Egypt repeatedly winked at the atrocities committed by Israeli troops against innocent Palestinians in the name of fighting terror. Cables released by WikiLeaks also show that the United States has had no illusions about the regime. Washington and its allies now stand thoroughly exposed for using aid of over $2 billion a year and silence over internal repression to turn Cairo into a crucial agent of their regional policy, particularly in suppressing demands for justice for the Palestinians. The Egyptian people's uprising is showing the world that this highly prized Western ally is utterly devoid of legitimacy. And without doubt, that message will echo through every other dictatorship in the region.

As of right now, a nightmare is haunting Tel Aviv and Washington over the nature of the regime that will take over eventually in Egypt. The best case scenario for the strategic and foreign policy cowboys in America and Israel is a situation in which Egypt evolves from a strong arm dictatorship to a country ruled by a moderate Islamic party like in Turkey. Incidentally, Turkey is yet another staunch ally of America and Israel in that region of the world awash with oil, which is increasingly taking a stand that goes against the stated strategic interests of America and Israel. In the recent past, Turkey even sent a ship on a humanitarian mission to help Palestinians whose life had become a living hell because of a blockade imposed by Israel. That ship was attacked and stormed by Israeli troops, killing Turkish as well as American citizens who were going to Palestine on a mission of peace and empathy. No wonder, relations between Turkey and Israel have soured dramatically after the event and many have even started nursing fond hopes that an ‘Islamic’ Turkey will become the new leader against an Imperial America and its ally Israel. Egypt becoming another Turkey will surely become a headache. But it will be a nightmare if the country falls into the hands of Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood – the organization that gave the Al Qaeda number two Al-Zawahari to the world – take control of the country and emerge as another Iran, implacably hostile to America and Israel. And don’t think for a moment that such a situation will never come to pass. Who had ever dreamt even in 1978 of Iran becoming what it is now in 2011?

No one had thought that citizens of the Arab world, suppressed for so long and denied both political and economic opportunities, would be in a position to rise in revolt against the dictators. But Tunisia showed the way and a firestorm is sweeping across the Arab world. In fact, many analysts are calling this the ‘Soviet Union’ moment for America as history turns full circle in a wickedly ironical way. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, it was at the peak of its military might – an undisputed and arrogant Imperial power that nurtured, nourished and supported the assorted dictators who ran Communist paradises in East Europe. But Afghanistan became a symbol of the limits of Soviet power. It is a known fact that the fiasco in Afghanistan triggered events that led to virtually all dictators being ousted in East Europe and even the Soviet Union eventually disintegrating. Now, America has invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands in a brutal manner using whimsical after whimsical excuse. And it is fighting a war against terrorism in Afghanistan that seems to kill more innocent civilians than actual terrorists. What has started in Tunisia could become the bellwether for America facing its Soviet moment in the Arab world. For too long, it has propped up dictators even as it preached the virtues of democracy and human rights. And now, the people of the Arab world are finally saying enough is enough. The multi-billion dollar question is: will America and Israel accept that it is inevitable for new regimes to emerge in the Arab world, those which would be no longer staunch allies and may actually take stands that would go against the strategic interests of America and Israel? If US and Israel don’t accept the inevitable and instead try once again to stifle the genuine aspirations of the Arab people, there is little doubt that America would earn the undying hatred and enmity of Arabs on the street.

There is a lesson here for India too. In past, by refusing to condemn the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, India lost a huge amount of goodwill in the Arab and the Muslim world that Pakistan exploited brilliantly. Now, the pendulum is swinging the other way and India is taking a public stance against Iran just because the new strategic partner America is pressurizing it to do so. If India needs to earn brownie points in the global image race, there’s no better a chance than now. India must openly support the process that will throw out the dictators of the Arab world – sooner or later. If not, it would have lost many friends and friendships in the Arab world when new regimes inevitably take over.

To me, the uprising in Cairo is nothing short of a civil revolution! And it has the potential to not only transform the political scenario of the Middle East region but also every other region wherein anarchy and dictatorship have been the mainstays! Right now, for example, China's 457 million Internet users (and 180 million bloggers) can no longer use the Chinese word for "Egypt" in microblogs or search engines. Why is China worried about controlling the usage of the word ‘Egypt’ on the net? The government's goal is to pre-empt any contagion effect that popular uprisings against autocracy in the Middle East might have in China, which might inspire the country's ranks of discontented! Although India might not have gone to the extent of China, but our national media too – most certainly in silent conspiracy with the government’s wishes – had been conspicuously silent over the entire issue for a good 10 days. Even now, it is not giving the kind of importance that it should be to the behemoth socio-political upheaval in progress. On the other hand, if we were to benchmark media’s ideal role, then one should be looking up to the Arabic satellite TV channel Al Jazeera, which has been giving rock solid support to people's causes, inspiring Tunisia's brave people who ended Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule, and also going the full distance to support Egyptians. In fact, one needs to admire the overall influential role played by Al Jazeera – the standout voice of aggressive, independent journalism in the Arab world – in channeling popular discontent through the region. Egypt seems to have already shut down the operations of Al-Jazeera – blaming it for encouraging the country's uprising – clearly demonstrating that the repressive powers of the central government are still functioning.

What is important now is how Tunisia’s revolution and Egypt’s uprising are interpreted and implemented, within the country and outside it. Ben Ali’s fall may prove to be an isolated event – each unhappy country is unhappy in its own way. Still, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, all contain political and demographic ingredients at least as perilous as those that combusted in Tunisia: youthful populations, high unemployment, grotesque inequality, abusive police, reviled leaders, and authoritarian systems that stifle free expression. All I can conclude is that the Arab world has for far too long suffered from religious extremism and dictatorship. In today’s connected world, where every one has similar access to what’s happening across the world, it’s tough to have any repressive religious viewpoint or regime attempting to tie people down for too long! It’s time for the Arab world to accept this reality. This current wave of revolution will not only remove the American backed dictators, but hopefully replace religious extremism by much more moderate values of the kind that will help the Arab world to integrate in a far more democratic manner with the rest of the world – something similar to what Indonesia is attempting. And that, truly, would make it a change of a civilization.



owais yousuf said...

It is certain that every pride has to fall.America has been spilling the innocent blood since decades and playing its dirty politics of divide and rule.It divided the people of iraq who dont see each other eye to eye.It divided Afghanistan where Afghans where put against talibans.It is dividing pakistan where pathans are fighting against balochs and sindhis age up against punjabis.You are right America is another russia in making--

Neha Gupta said...

It is high time people start realizing the double standard policies of America, which is driving the world towards chaos and destruction. How can we forget that it was America who gave birth to Talibans and hence terrosism.
I really appreciate your putting the facts in clear perspective.

Priyesh_ece said...

I am waiting for the day when the American puppet dictators of middle east are thrown back to America. It will be such a nice sight to see America and the Jews who controls it, surrounded by their own raised snakes. The Arabic people had suffered a lot, now it is time to return the favour. Wish the Soviet Union story repeats itself fully for America also. And I wish our leaders see the righteous way. We don't want India to be dog of America. We people of Indian republic are never in support for the fake American war of terror and of it's treacherous policies. And we want our leadership to portray what all Indians want, not what they want. And if they can't, then let's change our representatives, elections are coming. We are also very passionate about India and we always take a stand when there is injustice and wrong doings. Our Prime Minister have no right to tell that we Indians Love America when we don't. And who in their right sense will love the current America and her policies???

Neeti said...

I agree on all these. A few more things come to mind,when one thinks of the USA.
1,It is indeed terrible that youth of all countries are americanized while that culture has already spelled doom there,and they are turning to the east for succour.
2,their movies are ridiculous,and in the name of creativity,they are making such absurd movies,that one doubts their sanity.
3,their award shows. they are usually called world awards,and somehow,the majority of the awards go to the americans themselves.
4,the movies show the world in danger,but it the americans who fight back[aliens,or asteroids],the great american heroes save us all.the american president never fails to make a public[last speech]that the rest of the world watches in awe and fear! i mean,seriously?!!
5,they make the ultimate fool of themselves with shows like "the bachelor" etc,where one person,'dates' 25 others to search for their ultimate dream partner..!!pardon me,but wtf?
4,if americans are brainless,let me tell you this ,the rest of the world is even more %$^&%ed up to ape them! ROTFL

brij said...

It is a sad episode that our so called leaders lack political will and can't take a stand. The height is we don't seem to have much of the alternative and the inefficient imposed leaders go on ruling us unrelently. I feel it is the right time time to awake now,unite and unearth the black money. At the same time we must ensure that the culprits are punished severely,the corrupt leaders are thrown out permanantly. Once we and our will become strong no body not even America can harm us. Rather we could have a check on them.

bkumar said...

Why this America basing!?
Think of world without America-
i. Al Queda rules more than half the world.
ii. India becomes an Islamic country
iii. Liberty and equality will have no meaning.
iv. You will not be able to blog. No jeans, music, film, internet, computer. 'Jehad' will be the most cherished word and no other religion / view will be tolerated.
Yes, America uses double standard because it wills to survive.
Imagine of an India without American support or against America. Expansionist China and hostile Pakistan, will they let us live and work?
Friends, for us America is a necessary evil like democracy, because there is no better option.

chary said...

i agree with the things going on but now the time has come ,to give set back to americans,people are becomming more aware about there pocilies,there divide and rule method and dictatorship role in all the things going on.i think people of all over the world will soon give the impact with this ruthless governance,on the other hand think about the support which we r getting from americans,if they stop trading,what would happen the next day.

chary said...

i really appreciate your views in putting the facts clearly which shows the nature of americans which they r using in all these decades.

Shazia said...

"People get the leader they deserve" Mr. Chaudhuri. America and the Zionist cause would not have been able to practically 'rule' the arab world without the unquestioning and total support of the people of Arab nations. Arabs should realise that 'Power comes not from oil but from brain'. Egypt uprising won't do them any good. America will provide for another puppet dictator soon.

WWWWW said...

india should tackle this situation with shrewness and with political adept. we want american support for permanent membership in security council and we cant avoid our need.we also need an alternative for china and more than trilion FDI. so india can choose to be a passerby of this situation or act accordingly,,,,,,,

syed said...

India should learn from this change, they shouldn't shy away from Arab World. what happened if india will become an islamic state in future. when we dont have any Arab friends.

sushant jain said...

1) India should learn from Egypt and the incident on 30th jan when people in 60 city grouped together to say no to corruption without any political call(Crowd was not bought, they came by their own interest)...

2) As far as America is concerned your view is absolutely right but their is other side of the coin as well, When Great Britain had power in recent past there were more than 70 country where Britain`s national flag hoisted and America is only having double standard.

Indian Sushant

neerajpanjiyara said...

final word is this that, people have immense strength & potential in itself, but society has a tendency to live a ignorant life, till the conditions reach a saturation level. and this in turn have a very close relation with inequality & injustice prevailing in society & system of governance. when this condition is disturbed in a way that ultimately displaces the life of majority of from a sustainable path , revolution occurs. and the time must have to change.....this happened in inevitable cyclic manner.

samsin said...

All these events around the world prove beyond doubt, the intelligence and farsightedness of the Indian voter. He changes the party in power periodically, so that no individual can rule the country for a long time. This rules out the basic requirement of a revolution. I suspect the Chinese also realize it and this is the cause of their animosity towards our country.

Hariharan said...

Have patience See what comes out of this Nobody will surrender vested interest just like that without fight

Rajesh Chandra said...

Not everything can be blamed on America.The situation in Iraq is now entirely blamed on USA but no one wonders what Saddam did to Kuwait and Kurdish people. Was he not dividing people against his own people? Only when u give a chance to others ,they take chance on u.

Rajesh Chandra said...

Why should we hate America???? No nation is perfect.The powerful are allways eager to assert their might.The onus is on the collective consciousness of the Arab world.When they support terrorist activities across the world they forget that it may well bring their dooms day as well

Rajesh Chandra said...

If America have given birth to Taliban ,so does Soviet Union.It was the communist savages who installed the dictator in Afghanistan.America had no resort but to support militants against the then regime.Im no supporter of America but things must be seen from both perspective.Truth is not in the Left as Communist beleive nor in the Right but its hidden somewhere in between.We must support Truth wherever n whenever possible.

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