Monday, March 27, 2006

She said what?

Here’s something I never thought I hear come out of the mouth of a member of this administration. On Meet the press this weekend, Secretary of State Rice said, “we have to respect Afghan sovereignty.” I couldn’t believe it. This is the administration that made unilateralism and preemptive strike the cornerstones of its foreign policy. Were we respecting Afghan sovereignty when we invaded them in 2001? The invasion might well have been justified, but we certainly didn’t care about Afghan sovereignty at the time. We certainly didn’t respect the sovereignty of Iraq, which didn’t attack us at all. It’s ridiculous to suggest that we respect anybody’s sovereignty, because we don’t. If we respected Iran’s sovereignty we would have nothing to say about them developing Nuclear technology. We seem to respect Sudanese sovereignty, though I can’t fathom why, unless it’s because they have no oil. I’m still waiting to see how much we actually respect Venezuelan sovereignty. My guess is not much. They’ve got oil. Lots of it.

The topic which brought up Rice’s confusing comment (I’m sure she just hadn’t had enough coffee that morning) was the trial in Afghan of a Christian convert. This morning it was reported that after rumors came out that the man was to be released, over 700 Afghans rallied t demand the man’s execution. And we have to respect Afghani sovereignty, a country we supposedly liberated from a tyrannical fundamentalist regime. In the same interview, Rice tries to make the case that this is a young democracy and that our constitution allowed for slavery until after the Civil War, and universal suffrage did not come for 100 years, and that as recently as fifty years ago there were Jim Crow laws. She’s right about all of that. We had to have a civil war to suppress the conflict between the northern, industrial, federalist states and the southern, agricultural, state’s rights states. This same argument is used to whitewash the insurgency in Iraq. But a few things are worth noting. One is that it took the bloodiest war in our history to suppress the north-south conflict and that we are still fighting it today under guise of liberal vs. conservative. The second is that our constitution had religious freedom written into it when it was ratified. In Afghanistan, Christianity is a capital offence.

Rice says that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is clear and that Afghanistan needs to abide by it, but they have to do so on a case by case basis. I say bull. The Afghani parliament could simply adopt the UDHR by referendum. That would go a long way to addressing the fears of people who, with justification, fear we may have simply changed the face of a still tyrannical regime.

But we won’t insist on that. We can’t, because we need the Afghanis still, just for a bit longer. Because we are hypocrites. I don’t know why we don’t just own up to the truth about our foreign policy:

We don’t’ care crap about human rights. We don’t recognize anybody’s sovereignty but our own. We act strictly in our own national interests, and those are basically limited to, in order, our national security, oil, banking, and big business. Get in the way of our oil and we’ll find a way to invade you. Murder all the Christians in your dessert country and, since you don’t have any oil, we will look the other way. Murder all the Christians in your mountain country and, if you’re a partner in the War on Terror, you too get a pass. We will urge you not to do so, because it’s bad PR for our war and we may even believe in Human Rights deep down in our souls, but we will respect your sovereignty if you decide to go ahead and cut the apostasists (is that a word?) head off.

Bush likes to compare himself to TR, but TR was more upfront about the big stick. Yes, he did the same thing as bush on a small scale—sending troops into morocco after Berber pirates (terrorists? I think under the standard definition yes) kidnapped an American woman and her children, but he was always upfront about what his driving ideal was. America had to be a global power in order to protect its borders and keep business running smoothly. But this was also the greatest conservationist president, and a trust-buster whose administration filed 44 suits against major corporations. This administration, which is run by two former oil executives and appears consistently to be on the side of big business and in the pocket of oil, which wants to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, claims the mantle of the man who designated 16,000,000 acres of national forest, created Yosemite National Park and declared before congress that “Conservation is a national duty.” Hypocrites.

But I digress. In Foreign Policy, T.R. was not a hypocrite.

And how can we support a regime that says one particular religion is punishable by death?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

apostate's is closer....a lot.

4:41 PM  

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