Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Economics, Democracy, Freedom, and the Middle East (HONESTY)



When I first found out a few months ago that Egypt was in the middle of a democratic uprising resembling a revolution, I was intrigued and shocked. Intrigued because there were people actually interested in their countries political structure, a far cry from the worries of people here in America. I was shocked because of in all places, the cry for equality came from one of the most politically oppressed regions of the planet.
Coming to terms with how this revolt has spread to other neighboring countries such as Morocco and Libya, I feel these events will be the catalyst for a large scale political change of the world. Countries that were previously cut off from other nations now have access to the web. These technological advancements must of showed them that their current situation as subjects to a all powerful ruler was not as common or correct as they might have believed when all the information around was propagandized.
So hooray! Freedom is ringing its bell. And we (the USA) should be jumping head over heals with excitement to help, right?
After Libya started to fight against the revolutionaries, I waited to hear when American and other allied forces would come to help. Its been a few weeks and we have done nothing but talk about imposing a no-fly zone and assemble troupes in nearby countries.
Now should we intervene? I thought: Hell yes! There is freedom struggling to root itself, why shouldn’t America and others help? Sure war is not the best option, yet every 20th and 21st century war America has been in, has been waged in order to intervene in some humanitarian crisis. WWI, WW2, Vietnam, Korea, Gulf, etc all were waged to help people. So it would seem natural for the US to involve itself in Libya as people are dying in the name of freedom and democracy.
But as much as I would like to see the people of Libya and other oppressing countries get helped by us, I have a feeling that it will not happen…
For all my humanitarian dreams, I can not shake off the fact that the prime motivator of this countries actions has been economic benefit- not helping people.
We have been in the middle east for almost ten years. Looking for people that seem to be hard to find (even though we capture higher profile people in holes i.e. Saddam). According to PBS, these are the percentages of all of the worlds oil reveres for each given area, N. America: 5% S. America: 9% W. Europe: 2% Former USSR: 5% Asia and Oceania: 4% Africa: 7% and finally the Middle East: 66%!! Some of the regions I mentioned (Africa, Asia and to some extent S. America) all have governments with regimes that are oppressing its people in non-humanitarian ways. Yet we only find ourselves in the middle east. What’s going on here?
As time goes by it becomes more and more clear to me that our nation, and even at times its people, say one thing but mean another. When we went into Iraq it was because Saddam had terrible weapons of mass destruction (like the USA has) and because he was a terrible person to his people. What a load of CRAP! Then in our faces is a country (Libya) where people are struggling to uphold the same democratic values we uphold as we invade countries and start wars; and all we can do is watch and talk about it?? There should be no reason that we are not to help these “rebels” if we are a country that protects democracy and freedom. But the countries actions in the last few weeks has lead me to conclude we are not a country of high democratic values, as we sell our compassionate and civilized souls for profit. And I don’t specifically blame the USA for this; the world has always been like this, people in power have always been greedy. So America is no different; I just hope one day we can become civilized like we think we are, and stop holding up a veil of virtue in front of the action of selfish gain.
If we are to be greedy, then lets admit that. If we are to be humanitarian, then lets admit that. But the worst thing we can do is pretend to be one while acting like the other. Honesty is the highest virtue, even before humanitarian aid.