Opinion

Gregg Easterbrook

Why Western meddling in “Deathistan” needs to end

March 23, 2011

LIBYA/

Once again, Western bombs are falling on the sand-blown weapons testing range that is north Africa, the Middle East and the landscape of the old Great Game. The area stretching roughly from Morocco to Afghanistan west to east, and Syria to the Persian Gulf north to south — let’s call this region Deathistan — long has been contested. But in the last century, the region has been treated as a plaything by Western capitals.

The United States and United Kingdom, which boast of enlightenment, cause harm when they please in the Deathistan region. Less than a generation ago it amused the United States to encourage Saddam Hussein to slaughter Iranians; then conditions changed, so the United States started killing in Iraq. Right now the United States and NATO are taking lives in Libya and Afghanistan. In these places, U.S. and other Western armed forces in the main behave with high ethics. But their missions are to slay and destroy, and here’s the bottom line: Western meddling in north Africa, the Arab world and the Great Game territories has not worked.

Israel exists: that is the West’s principal achievement in the region, though for a comparatively small number of people. Cheap oil flows. Moscow quit Afghanistan. Otherwise, the last century of attempts by the United States and European powers to manipulate the Deathistan region rarely has come to good.

We’ve sure blown a lot of stuff up. When innocents were killed inside the United States on 9-11, America claimed, with justification, a right of outrage. When innocents are killed by Western action elsewhere — hundreds of thousands have died in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. retaliation for the 3,000 dead of 2001 — the West washes its hands, or issues a press release.

Muammar Gaddafi is an awful dictator. But no one in the Washington or London establishments seemed to care about that even a short time ago. Libyan oil money was moving freely; in 2009, Gaddafi was presented to the world by the New York Times as an op-ed columnist, as a “leader” and sage. Now the West is bombing Libya, without debate in Congress or European parliaments — and over the objections of Turkey, which understands much of the region better than does the West. Though aimed at Gaddafi’s arms, some of the bombs are killing civilians: others, killing military conscripts who have little choice about their fates.

Maybe the bombing will stop Gaddafi from repressing his country. Maybe it will just smash some stuff and usher in a different type of repression — this being the Western pattern of interactions with the region.

Despite extensive Western involvement in Deathistan, most nations there remain backward and authoritarian. Maybe that’s in part because of Western meddling, including periodic fits of use of force.

Much of the modern form of the region was created by Western fiat. Borders of Iraq, Iran and many Gulf states were drawn in London; British troops occupied Iran during World War II; the United States deposed a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953, then tried to control Iran in the 1970s; then armed Iraq against Iran in the 1980s; now regularly shakes its fist at Tehran; Britain and France attacked Egypt in 1956; the United States armed Islamic rebels in Afghanistan in the 1980s and now fights Islamic rebels there. I don’t mean this paragraph as a history of the region, merely a brief reminder of the extent of Western involvement.

LIBYA/

The fact that Europe and the United States shaped the Deathistan region does not give them a right to do as they please there. Of course the West should advocate change. But there’s a vast difference between siding with democracy and sending in attack jets.

Choose any nation roughly the geographic size of Iraq (say, Spain) or roughly the population of Libya (say, Sicily). If the United States had staged all-out attacks on Spain twice in the last 20 years, or bombed Sicily twice in the last 25 years, how advanced or happy might these nations be? That’s what the United States has done to Iraq and Libya.

Suppose really something bad were happening in America. Suppose George W. Bush refused to leave office: was barricaded in the White House, and attempting to cancel civil liberties. Now suppose Libya or Iraq possessed supercarrier strike groups, and responded to the bad news from the United States by launching missiles at military bases near Washington and dropping bombs along the East Coast. Not only would America be furious — this wouldn’t work! Things would not get better in America; they’d get worse.

Yet the West expects such tactics to work in north Africa, the Middle East and the old Great Game areas. I will skip the complication that use of force may be morally wrong: is there one single soul in Washington who still cares about morality in use of force? It is enough that the bottom line is that U.S. meddling usually fails.

If the United States and European Union stopped trying to manipulate the Deathistan region, and stopped dropping bombs there, the nations of this area might stay backward and repressive. Or, might improve. We’ll never find out until such time as the West simply leaves these nations alone, and lets them reform themselves.

Photo, top to bottom: People look at a U.S Air Force F-15E fighter jet after it crashed near the eastern city of Benghazi March 22, 2011. The fighter jet crashed in Libya overnight after apparent mechanical failure but its crew were safe, a spokesman for the U.S. military Africa Command said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem; A protester sits in a makeshift shelter on a street during an anti-Gaddafi demonstration in Benghazi March 22, 2011. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Comments
29 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Gregg: follow this link and read about Mossadegh the dictator http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articl e/0,9171,857305,00.html

Posted by amostofi | Report as abusive
 

Wonderful article. I concur completely. Obama has proved to be an imperialist not unlike W. What a dirty farce!

Posted by Heretic1 | Report as abusive
 

Excellent article!

Posted by jhas26 | Report as abusive
 

Like your term in quotes.
The sudden shift from dragging one’s feet to support a no-fly zone, to taking leaderhsip in all out bombing was quite unexpected and drastic. It almost seems like they wanted to use the Arab League’s support as an excuse; and once they got it, their action betrayed a certain insincerity. I hope the fighting end soon, with limited casualty for everyone. I have reservations about whether some of the Middle Eastern conflicts are going to result in democracies. Egypt is hopeful, but not many of the others, Libya included. If the civil war becomes protracted, even if there will be fair democratic elections, those who had voted for losig candidates often resort to violence. Look at Ivory Coast. Not to be a pessimist, but such situations seem rather common in Africa.

Posted by jo5319 | Report as abusive
 

Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the region is the gross incompetence of Western governments, especially the USA. There are plenty of neutral American citizens who have first hand knowledge of and on the ground experience in the region. I exclude all recipients of Federal funding however indirect.

Consultation with these experienced people would have avoided the worst mistakes at least. But we will not. We have expert commentators on Government radio (NPR) who do not seem to know that Turks are not arabs, yet have ever so delicate evaluations of the accuracy of Turkish opinion. This is not only absurd, it is embarrassing.

Since we will not even attempt to act in the interest of the American people as a whole, we need to put a flat Cuban style embargo on the whole region until we grow up. The bureaucrats hands must be tied and tightly.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive
 

So what’s the point of the UN Security Council? Why are we a part of it?

Posted by 4lenza | Report as abusive
 

I agree. We should have used our resources to take out Iran’s nuclear program and perhaps their leaders if we should bomb anyone.

Posted by zotdoc | Report as abusive
 

Agreed.
We aren’t doing them or us any favors.

Whether it’s capitalists or democratic government it really all comes down to having access to cheap oil.

If they didn’t have oil the US wouldn’t be there.

Suz

Posted by SuzyQPA2010 | Report as abusive
 

Now no one can deny that the foreign Policy of the United States has always been a twisted loop of hypocrisy in the Middle East and even globally.

But to generalize the current situation in Libya and make comparisons to the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan in the last decade as well as previous foreign policy disasters of previous decades is inflammatory at best.

As the worlds only nation that can project considerable power anywhere in the world within 48 hours, it is our responsibility to lead and act to prevent humanitarian disasters in conjunction with local, regional and international consultation.

There is no indication or confirmation of any civilians killed by coalition aircraft in Libya to date. There is a clear UN mandate that specifies no ground troops and a clear indication that the opposition forces in Libya wanted, in fact begged for western protection against overwhelming and indiscriminate attacks by Gaddafi forces against cities and civilian targets.

This is not Iraq in 2003, and its not Afghanistan. With great power comes great responsibility, like it or not we have a role to play in the Middle East and without pressure from the United States none of the current revolutions in the Middle East would have succeeded without considerable bloodshed if at all. It is the only reason the regimes in Egypt and Tunisia step down as quietly as they did.

What is happening right now in the Middle East is not because of the United States, but of the people. This is the best chance in 50 years to make a meaningful change in one of the most volatile and radical regions of the world. We must stand ready to assist, not interfere but assist when absolutely necessary the pro-democracy movements lest they be brutally crushed by these regimes, and we are stuck continuing with brutal regimes that oppress their populations and drive people towards extremism and violence.

I understand your opinion, but given the completely different circumstances of the situation in relation to Iraq and Afghanistan and international and regional support for action we must take a lead as is our responsibility. Because if we don’t do it, no one will.

We cannot fear to act in the future, because of mistakes in the past.

Posted by Digitalsilence | Report as abusive
 

You left out the cold war. You leave out the military actions in other parts of the world fueled by the cold war. The three super powers The USSR, the USA and China all wanted a long reach and they have played the balance of powers game that was the rule of European politics since the Middle Ages. In fact it has been the rule for all empires for as long as they have existed.

The balance of powers is expected and not to participate is to declare weakness to the other powers. The big powers frighten each other into action. And all the empires that have ever existed have died long and lingering deaths to be replaced by new powers. The new powers cannibalize the old. I am old enough to remember history classes that praised the “virility” of countries that could support aggressive military action and not merely defensive capability. For some reason the USA keeps declaring itself the sole super power and doesn’t seem to realize that rhetoric might be out of date. I’m sure the British and French still think they are or might yet reclaim some of their old martial and territorial glory or at least can play on the memory of it. The superpower has to push against something as large and strong or it will fall over. In a way it is making the rival empire it needs out of Deathistan as you call the countries of the Magreb and Levant.

You don’t mention the rhetoric of the Middle East – just listen to the way the Israeli’s and Palestinians talk about each other in fits of rage. They still believe in the glory of war and the Israeli’s still believe in the right of holding territory by conquest. The Iranians still like that “Death to America” mantra. The Middle East has a fondness for Iron handed leadership.

Perhaps what should really scare the US is that it is tending to have to make the greatest efforts and spend the largest fortunes for dubious returns in order to achieve goals the rest of the world seems to want (the rights outlined in the UN Universal Bill of Human Rights?) – while the rest of the so called former super powers and the rest of the smaller countries tend to want a less active role and watch from a distance and wait while it slowly falls apart economically and politically. They can play the economic lambs to our ravenous beast. And then declare how stupid we were for being so “arrogant”.

So many people admire and envy a superstar but they also love to watch it become over-extended and fall apart. Shadenfreude is sweet. The supermarket tabloids love the collapse of the rich and famous. Diplomats and heads of state read classier and more complex tales of the rise and fall of the formerly great.

Another thing you don’t mention, and where this comment may be so naïve, is that the collapse of the middle class in this country is making conditions that could be ripe for a tyranny to take over this country (some would say we are already there) that feeds on war as an outlet for the frustration of it’s own population. Then the US could be a world-dominating scourge of humanity. But if that is the case this paragraph should go at the top and the rest would still follow, just perhaps not in my lifetime or in the lifetime of those still in grammar school. But they would have to be teaching a rabid patriotism for that to work and as far as I know they aren’t.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

What a great overview of what happens when the west interferes.
I do hope more people take note of the fact, interference in other nations affairs which seems to happen regularly by the west simply does not produve the expected result.
As long as you are pro -west any country can do what it likes, murder half its citizens and the west will ignore it or put out a mild press staement. If the murder is done by a leader opposed to the west then the response is not as mild but close to hysterical condemnation and interferece in one form or another.

At thee same time the west only interferes openly in countries who cannot fight back, which certainly shows how courageous the western politicians are .

Posted by vard3 | Report as abusive
 

Apples to oranges, Mr. Easterbrook. This “article” is overflowing with idiotic comparisons that wouldn’t hold water in a 5th grade book report, let alone succeed in coming close to substantiating your argument. I can’t imagine how it can ever be perceived by logically thinking humans capable of counting to ten, as anything but a hollow-minded rant. How did you get this published, anyway? Your “opinion” is shallow, ill-conceived and presented poorly at its best.

Posted by makone4 | Report as abusive
 

I have yet to hear from a single source that innocent Libyan “civilians” have officially been killed by Western forces, either by air or land strike. I agree that it is highly questionable that we empower Gaddhafi at first then daemonize him when he complicates our energy resources…but that’s the nature of world politics. And for the sake of human rights and treaty efforts, I don’t think it would have been smart to denounce Gaddhafi as leader in the West – look what that did to Cambodia – it gives the impression that all potential interventions are out (nobody cares). I also don’t think allies “encourage” allies, in the Hussein Iran example you “responsibly” made, in times of war to kill as simply as you implied. Don’t forget that there were innocent civilians under Hussein’s regime who were being attacked. Libya would have been another Rwanda, Darfur, and we’d be left shaking our heads again – no matter what, you’re not going to “win” participating or watching violence. You’re choice: are you a selfish perv, or a murdering idealist?

Posted by loudphantom | Report as abusive
 

You need a reality check. Spain is not Libya. Sicily is not Iraq. Their leaders are not raping the citizens of all their wealth. Oil money from Iraq and Libya went straight to the dictator’s pockets. You are living in a democracy and have the freedom to write tripe like this. Nontheless, your opinions are not widely held, thank God.

Posted by JGB44 | Report as abusive
 

What a load of rubbish. But for the oil and natural gas under their feet, the entire world would care about this “vital region” as much as they do about the Seychelle Islands. But their fossil fuel resources bring them wealth and influence disproportionate to their actual economic contributions to the world economy and its culture. The spoils of this wealth have allowed murderous thugs to maintain themselves in a style an Ottoman sultan would have blushed at. I forget, how many palaces did Saddam Hussein have? They must all have been justified by the legacy of colonialism (Up yours Imperialists!).

One looks on in admiration at what went on in Egypt and is going on elsewhere in the region where people realize they don’t have to live this way. But maybe this author could also mention the proliferation of Soviet produced arms in the region. Surely there was no titanic geopolitical struggle that went on for 40 plus years that could explain the constant shifting of national interests that occurred. Nope, must all be a conspiracy by the whole world (led by the perfidious West) to have cheap oil (the majority of which is controlled by an altruistic and benign cartel that meets in Vienna) under the control of pliable despots. One knows Arabs are never personally responsible for anything, ever, right? Least of all the resignation that it is written they be pawns in the game of life.

Posted by PPearce | Report as abusive
 

Right on! From Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Posted by neahkahnie | Report as abusive
 

Well said Mr. Easterbrook. Of course the solutions are extremely complicated. But, these simple truths must guide all solutions. The simple comparison to our US homeland is a perfect example. Thank you!

Posted by PabloDunlapo | Report as abusive
 

This is a beautifully written and elegantly argued column. A couple of years ago I would have agreed with it.

But Deathistan has changed. What we are seeing today in the Middle East are revolutions started not by Al Qeuda, not by the CIA, but by the people themselves. These uprisings are not imposed on them, and they are not inspired by ideologues of either the Muslim or Western variety. The people are fighting for democracy. They have been ruled by ruthless despots for generations and have no arms to fight with, which makes their struggle all the more courageous. Should the West just sit back in its armchair and watch the bloody and unbalanced spectacle on TV? Is that the right thing to do? Or should we help them fight for a just cause which, in the case of Libya, would surely be doomed without our help?

I agree that the West has a bad and deserved reputation for meddling in the affairs of the Middle East (and elsewhere.) But there’s an important difference between meddling solely for one’s own political or economic gain and helping in a struggle whose cause we believe in, and that would surely perish without our intervention.

Times have changed. The Middle East is younger, restless, wary of the old order, and ready for change. They are realizing that clinging to an ideology is not the answer, that they need to stumble forward on the path of democracy and find their own way.

In some ways, we can learn from their example. Does it make sense, and is it always for the good, to cling to an ideology of non-intervention, regardless of the circumstances? What are the consequences?

We all need to be aware of our ideologies. It’s easy to judge Islamists and Teabaggers when they appear rigid to those who don’t share their beliefs. But if you believe rigidity is a problem, take a look at the man in the mirror, and face your own non-interventionist beliefs.

Posted by NewsLady | Report as abusive
 

Hey Gregg,

You needn’t go into such a scholarly print to decipher what’s in the minds of these politicians.

It’s all about oil and the dollar sign.

Whenever there’s turmoil that threatens the flow and price of this precious liquid, the big guys are in.

Not to save the locals, but their wallets.

The U.S. was swift in rescuing Kuwait from Saddam not because they like the handsome looks of the Kuwaitis.

Did they blink an eye when locals were butchered by Indonesian forces in East Timor?

Posted by doctorjay317 | Report as abusive
 

Easterbrook has some valid points. Where this and other regional conflicts have changed recently is in the communications. It would have taken hard people to ignore the often live pleas for help heard on the news channels. And of course there is the oil. There are plenty of dictators in Africa who make Gadaffi seem almost saintly.

Posted by goneXC | Report as abusive
 

What puzzle me is why UN step on their toes as soon as something does not goes the way the Western Powers would like it to be. The world will be better off without Gadhafi’s type of government, but the reality is, nothing is perfect in this world including the so call democracy. Where these International Zorro’s were when Pinochet was protected by Thatcher’s government against crime of humanity? What about Fujimori from Chile killing his people by thousands? You may say they were fighting again the bad guys; the communists. So, they deserve the support of Zorro to save the world. Same question can be asked about Pol Pot in Cambodia and Marcos in the Philippe and all others. Until UN will be free of manipulation by Western Powers all those Zorro’s will continue to shape the world to their own goods which have nothing to do with democracy. Unfortunately is a word to often use to justify the unjustifiable.

Posted by armonid | Report as abusive
 

Now gregg, imagine this scenario. A high ranking official of your state is slaughtering the people in your area. This person has gone mad and is doing as he pleases with no reprocussions. The people have started a revolt. The have started to stand up to him. To regain the basic humanitarian rights they deserve. And he being more technologically advanced goes day by day toying with their lives. Would you then not want help? These people are asking for help. Why should we sit back and not protect those who need it when we have the ability to help? If we would give up a little luxury here and there we would not be in this financial whole we are in now and we would be able to do more for these people who have no way to defend themselves. Your local police department didn’t always exist. It was put there to protect you when you needed it. I know the US or the western countries as you name it are not the official police for this planet. But who is? No one. So the UN and the US has stepped up to try to protect those who need it. Maybe one day we can get a World Police Order put in place that would allow the world as a whole to decide what a country can do. We rely to heavily on one another to let tyrants destroy the people they are put into place to protect. Is this battle about oil? I dont know, none of us common folk do. Will we ever know? Maybe. But whether we went in for oil or for the people, as long as we are able to save a few lives of those who are fighting every day to survive and being oppressed then for whatever reason we are there, the outcome will be better for those people. They will have a chance. What comes of that chance is for them to decide.

Posted by Kalari1 | Report as abusive
 

Interesting point of view, but from a greedy point of view wouldn’t it have been in America’s interest to allow Gaddafi to wipe out much of his opposition in Libya?

It’s been years since Gaddafi has threatened the West and he was unlikely to do so during the rest of his life. The oil flows. Libya was becoming a popular tourist destination.

The current unrest is a factor in driving the price of oil higher at a time when America’s economy can ill afford increased energy costs. It seems to me that America is trying to shape a Libyan government that is a grateful friend at a time when not taking action might cost more lives than taking action.

It also appears based on the current situation that Middle East autocracies would probably do very little good for their citizens if left to their own devices. The current revolutions in the area seem to be a genuine attempt by the people to improve their own lot in an otherwise hopeless situation.

Nonetheless, your arguments have some merit.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive
 

Thank you for finally stating what has so often been relegated to “dissident” or “minority” publications on a mainstream news outlet. Major figures on the American Left and Right would concur with you: from Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders to Ron Paul and Grover Norquist. The imperialist war state will impoverish the basis of its own power – as it did the empires of Alexander, Rome, Khan, the Soviet Union and eventually the United States. In our case, it is waged in the name of defense, but any idiot knows that’s just a byline for oil: Iraq 2 being the primary and most obvious example, though this is also the case for Afghanistan (Osama, the boogieman, is STILL not wanted as a suspect for 911, yet Unocal’s pipeline project has proceeded quite smoothly). You mention only the Middle East, but we also must realize that trade interests have motivated illegal and undemocratic regime change coups in Latin America for more than 60 years. The economic benefits of our not-so-covert oil and free trade zone war Imperialism are only distributed to a few in our society, precisely because it is not “we” who desire or direct these efforts: it is the prerogative of the few industrial and commercial forces that stand to gain from them in the short term.

Posted by artisticidea | Report as abusive
 

I find the assurances that the Middle East can never find peace, and that Western nations are wasting our time, money, and everyone’s lives to be both sad and ironic. The reasonic seems clear, blood feuds going back centuries, widespread inequality and violations of human rights. Wars such as that between Iran and Iraq, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan cost about a million lives each. What hope can there be for the future? Better to just look the other way while they butcher, burn, poison, and stone each other like they have been for millenia right?

Ironically a bit over half a centry ago it would have been just as clear that Europe was spiraling into a pattern of perpetual bloodshed of ever more massive proportions. The rule of thumb was once a pan-European war once per generation. Yet today Europe is at peace.

How bout tit-for-tat blood feuds? Consider the history of revaunchism that led to WWII. That goes back to the conquest of Prussia by the French under Napoleon in 1806, almost a century and a half before. “Civilized” people have long memories too! Prussia was forced to pay santions afterward, and those sanctions formed the basis for the sanctions placed on the French after Germany defeated France in 1871. These sanctions in turn formed the basis of those placed on Germany in the treaty of Versailles after WWI, which helped set the stage for WWII.

And while the death toll seen in Middle Eastern wars and terrorism may seem shocking to us today, just one battle in WWI killed as many people as either of the two most brutal wars in the Middle East. While those wars cost a million lives a piece, the first world war cost 16 million European lives, and set the stage for world war two which cost 40 million European lives, with the firebombing of cities killing tens of thousands of civilians in a single day. What Middle-Eastern blood feud has spilled such blood?

The peace in Europe today is testimony to the ability of humanity to put behind us the collective harms and insults of generations past no matter how grievous they might have been. If Europe can live in peace today, peace is possible for any people, anywhere.

Posted by Jeff_F_F | Report as abusive
 

Interesting point of view, but from a greedy point of view wouldn’t it have been in America’s interest to allow Gaddafi to wipe out much of his opposition in Libya?

It’s been years since Gaddafi has threatened the West and he was unlikely to do so during the rest of his life. The oil flows. Libya was becoming a popular tourist destination.

The current unrest is a factor in driving the price of oil higher at a time when America’s economy can ill afford increased energy costs. It seems to me that America is trying to shape a Libyan government that is a grateful friend at a time when not taking action might cost more lives than taking action.

It also appears based on the current situation that Middle East autocracies would probably do very little good for their citizens if left to their own devices. The current revolutions in the area seem to be a genuine attempt by the people to improve their own lot in an otherwise hopeless situation.

Nonetheless, your arguments have some merit.

Posted by breezinthru | Report as abusive
 

What we are seeing are the seeds of World War 3 sprouting. Deathistan is where empires go to die…..and we have seen this happen over and over again throughout history. It’s amazing how if you got back even further you will observe that even back to the Greeks, Romans, Barbarians, Ottomans etc…..it’s simply the course of history repeating itself.
Einstein said World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones…well just look around you.
If you assume for a second that the so called “allies” of the U.S. or even the members of the so called security council are allied with the U.S. by choice, then you are gravely mistaken. These countries under different circumstances would turn against the U.S. in a heartbeat. The main culprit of our present global design is the great Winston Churchill. The entire middle east and Africa was carved out in London….remember the Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916? Think Lawrence of Arabia, General Allenby, Prince Faisal I of Arabia (not Saudi Arabia…and you wonder why the west till this very day have a “close” relationship with the Faisals of Saudi Arabia. While this is not a lesson on history, my point is to remember that none of this is new….empires go to Deathistan to DIE!

Posted by alani24 | Report as abusive
 

What a relief – finding a blog and commentary where people can spell.

It’s a tricky proposition, ending participation in an entire slice of the world. It is hard to imagine a way to stop military outcomes unless you do that.

Mind you, a little more honesty on the political scene could be helpful, and might help international folk gain a better understanding of just where the US of A sits in all this. How about a robust discussion at Presidential level, on the value and application of democracy, regime change, parallel societies, energy, power and Oil Wars? When you are the biggest Alpha Male in the group there’s nothing wrong with saying “i see it all like ‘this’, and you may not agree with my decisions but i was elected to make those decisions”. Politically, it may be a form of suicide but it would certainly shake up the global chatfest scene.

As an Australian peeking into (predominantly) US discussion forums, it’s hard not to come away with the impression that all attempts at discussion quickly get diluted into a Republican/Democrat stand-off. Again, the commentary on this blog seems to be different in that regard, and this makes me feel more positive on American intellectualism than i have felt for quite a while.

Apologies for a chatty post. It can be reduced to a suggestion that America cannot ignore its place in the global scene, nor pretend it is not a superpower that has to juggle fiercely competing imperatives. It just needs to be more open on why it does what it does, and take any flak that my fly as a result.

Not that i’m an expert… but i’m just sayin’…

Posted by iambemused | Report as abusive
 

It couldn’t be that their religious believe doom them to generations of failure. Institutional crouption…has nothing to do with it. It is all the west’s fault…though they beat and murder their own women and children under a crude “moral” code. Up next the West holds down the African nations whose tribal beliefs have nothing to do with their amoral living. Westerners who arrive in these place are successful, but people like Mugabe are the fault of the west. Why not place blame where it belongs…no different why the Germans are successful and the Belgian’s with dysfunctional and corrupt ways are continuously unsuccessful!

Posted by venturen | Report as abusive
 

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