Following the recent troubles in Pakistan, US President George W Bush lent a diplomatic hand to General Pervez Musharraf as he declared “emergency rule”, suspending the constitution to become President. Bush’s advice during a phone call, as he later told media, was that: “You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time, so I had a very frank discussion with him.” Though he was reportedly trying to persuade Musharraf to hold elections, which Musharraf claims will happen by January 9, President Bush’s words still seem somewhat ironic considering he is also Commander In Chief of the US armed forces.
Clearly this is not an isolated incident of US foreign policy claiming “do as we say, not as we do”. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay all adequately demonstrate this hypocrisy, as the US fight it’s ‘War on Terror’ by forsaking the civil rights of its own citizens and suspending the constitutions of the countries it conquers, in the name of ‘democracy’. Israel, in return for military aid and acceptance of it’s persecution of Palestinians, offers a geo-political military base, a geographic location close to the world’s largest major resource suppliers, and unquestioned support at UN meetings. In this case, the US’ support comes directly because Israel accepts the position of a client-state to the US.
In contrast, Nicaragua offers an example of when a state breaks free from US rule. While allied to the US, the Somoza dictatorship eroded many laws regarding deforestation, making Nicaragua the US’ top beef supplier, all in return for millions of dollars in personal bribes. The dictatorship was thrown out and a democratic government was elected which began a period of remarkable economic and social progress. But Nicaragua had broken ranks with the US, and the White House began supporting terrorist groups who killed 1% of the population and destroyed the economy. Nicaragua appealed to the World Court, which sided with Nicaragua and demanded $17 billion in compensation. But these demands stopped once the US had seized control of the Nicaraguan government as the US once again defied the rulings of major international organisations repaying none of that $17 billion, ironic once more, as US banks demand extortionate payments from poverty-stricken countries.
The source of much of the above information and outspoken critic of US foreign policy is Noam Chomsky. In Hegemony or Survival, Chomsky notes where US foreign policy conflicts with its self-proclaimed ideals of freedom and democracy: “Interestingly, the figure of $17 billion is the amount that Iraq has paid to people and companies in compensation for the invasion of Kuwait. The numbers killed in the Iraqi conquest of Kuwait appear to be on the order of the US invasion of Panama a few months earlier… a fraction of the deaths in Nicaragua and perhaps 5 percent of those killed in the US-backed Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982”.
While the US consistently ignores UN and World Court instructions to compensate victims of its previous terrorism, adhering only to the rule of the strongest, it builds up the intensity of its new forms of terrorism. Previously coups and subversion were the chosen weapons, but now it has a precedent for pre-emptive war. What happens next is unsure, but as non-violent activist Martin Luther King Jr. said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really co-operating with it.” This echoes Mahatma Gandhi’s inspirational belief that “We must be the change we want to see in the world”. Together we can achieve everything, but unless we stand against such uses of force, we can’t achieve anything.