By Tom Kando
So now Egypt is starting its revolution. I hope that I am wrong, but the scenario is likely to be familiar:
Revolutions tend to evolve from moderate to radical. In France, moderates such as Mirabeau, Danton and the Girondins were followed by Robespierre, the Jacobins and the Terreur. In Russia, Kerensky and the Mensheviks were eventually beaten by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. In China, Chiang Kai-Shek and the nationalists were defeated by Mao Zedong and the Communists. In Iran, the moderate BaniSadr made way for Khomeini’s Theocracy.
In our day and age, the eventual outcome of many revolutions are ferociously anti-American regimes. America becomes the fall guy, because it had been holding up the previous regime, which was overturned.
I worry that this is also going to be the story in Egypt. One more country where the US will become “Satan America,” after having spent hundreds of billions of dollars to buttress its ancien regime.
And then, my question becomes: why on earth do we do this? The conventional wisdom is that:
(1) the US is the number-one imperialist, and that
(2) it is the US’ responsibility to hold up the world. The first of these beliefs is held by anti-Americans and the second one by our government.
They are both wrong:
1) For several decades now, the relationship between America and the rest of the world has been a massive transfer of wealth from the US to the rest of the world, a transfer which is now accelerating. If you ask me, this is imperialism in reverse.
2) Who anointed this country to police the world, to protect world commerce and to guarantee global stability? Why do we perform this costly job, with little assistance but much criticism from everyone else?
Is President Obama a captive of the Military-Industrial Complex? Why on earth did he escalate the war in Afghanistan, instead of getting out? Why are we still in Iraq?
The responsibility to hold up the world should be shared. It should be shared by the other giants of the planet - Europe, Japan, Russia - other emerging mega-states such as India and Brazil, and above all the country which will soon dwarf the US - China.
But is India desperately trying, as we are, to stabilize Pakistan and Afghanistan - countries which are far greater threats to it than to us? No.
Is Brazil trying to do anything about the drug wars in Latin America, which are making countries such as Mexico and Colombia near-failed states? No.
Above all, is China doing anything, devoting any resources, to make the world a safer place, or is it doing one thing and one thing only: that which benefits China?
Why is it America’s unique responsibility to hold up the world?
For this country, only two things make sense: (1) a drastic pull-back from world commitments, and (2) cooperation with others, if possible, in international affairs. But if others are not interested in cooperation, so be it.
Yes, what I am talking about here is that dreaded word - isolationism. So be it. America may need the world, but by virtue of history, size, resources and geography, it is still less vulnerable than most. Do China, Europe and Japan not need oil?
This essay will disappoint my liberal friends. Sorry. But to be in places where we are not wanted, where we don’t like to be, and which cost us lives and treasure, is called insanity. leave comment here
Thursday, February 3, 2011
By Tom Kando