Wednesday, May 14, 2008
More than an Image Problem in the Islamic World
I'm also trying to get my thoughts around a remarkable passage I came across in Steve LeVine's recent book The Oil and The Glory. Based on his interviews, he says that in the 1990s, U.S. diplomats in Pakistan were portraying the Taliban and its takeover of power in Afghanistan as "the will of the people." If that's the case, it would therefore not be surprising to me why Pakistanis might see our later opposition to the Taliban as not being based on concerns for democracy, but pure power politics--and why this might contribute to the trends Kohut and Wike have tracked. But this is just a thought.
I do not think there is any one among Muslim people that takes US claims of support for Democracy at face value:
- not the Iranians with the historical memory of US-UK Coup in 1953,
-not the Turks with Casper Weinberger congradulating the Turkish Generals of the fine job that they were doing overthrowing a freely elected government and yet, at the same time, condemning the coup in Poland;
-not the Egyptians with us supporting the "Laughing Cow" at the tune of 7 billion a year
- not the Algerians when US-EU endorsed the abrogation of the electoral victory of ISF
- not the Palestinians when US-EU tried to destroy the freely elected Hamas Government
- not Azeris when US supports a dynastic change in governmen
This Democracy bit is for the domestic consumption in US - it is like a Muslim state saying they fight for Islam. To each side his own kitsch.
More than this is waste of time - Power is subject matter; that's all.