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21 Dec, 1998

World Faces Spectre of U.S. Dictatorship in 21st Century

Originally Published: Dec 21, 1998

The events of December 15-19, 1998, namely the bombing of Iraq and the US impeachment debate, have set the stage for an extremely dangerous final year of the 20th century. All indications are that it is going to get worse, not better.

If Saddam Hussein has lied about the presence of chemical weapons, and tried to cover it up, he paid the price. Bill Clinton had an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with another woman, and for long tried to either lie about it or cover it up. He, too, paid the price. The battle between these two presidents, both seeking to outlast each other, is going to continue well into this year, dragging down many innocent people in the process.

If this was just a political battle, probably no one would have cared. But when such power-hungry leaders begin to take the name of God in vain, seek His help in overcoming problems that are largely of their own making, the difference between moral and political issues becomes fudged and intensely dangerous. Any victories they score are likely to be pyrrhic at best.

Clinton has already supposedly made his peace with God, sought forgiveness in many a public show of remorse and apology. After enjoying a temporary high following the poor showing of his tormentors in the last elections, he is now again in the dumps. He may even have assumed forgiveness. Now, perhaps he’s not so sure.

No doubt, he is praying fervently to overcome this new crisis, too.

In the House of Representatives, too, God’s name was ringing out at the end of every speech. There was tribute after tribute to God for making America a great country and prayers for more of God’s blessings upon it even while it’s military machine was killing people in a unilateral and highly controversial declaration of war. At the other side, a dictator with chemical and biological weapons was turning to the same God and seeking His help, at once urging his backers to rise up against “God’s enemies.”

Well, whose side will God take? My guess is neither because both are sinners and killers. If Saddam Hussein killed hundreds of innocent Kurds in his bid to remain in power, Bill Clinton has killed hundreds of innocent Iraqis in his bid to remain in power. What’s the difference between the two?

Indeed, Clinton is effectively saying that he has to kill a few people today in order to prevent more people from being killed tomorrow.

America is paying the price of its moral bankruptcy, and will pay the price for many years to come. Iraq’s dictator will sooner or later be hounded from office and/or assassinated, whichever one comes first.

But it’s America which surprises me the most.

In announcing the end of the Iraq bombing, Clinton thanked everyone for making the campaign a “success”, especially the men and women in uniform. Not a word of sympathy was said for the innocent people who died in it. The most important thing to him was not a single American or British life was lost. That always plays well in Peoria but think for a moment how you would react if you were at the receiving end.

In the impeachment debate, there was much discussion about the rule of law. Intriguingly, one side was seeking to have Clinton excused from violating God’s law (Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery) while the other side wanted him executed for violating human law and for allegedly flouting the high standards of his office.

One leading politician publicly sought relief from public scrutiny, noting that they were being asked to attain impossible standards of moral perfection. Impossible? Really? And they still want God to bless America??

If any local politicians are reading this, notice that American multinationals, banks and currency speculators today can not only bankrupt countries but its military can also knock the stuffing out of them with missiles even while themselves comfortably ensconced hundreds of miles away.

Indeed, commentators on that pro-American media conglomerate CNN were outraged that the Russians could have the gall to oppose the bombing of Iraq when they depended so much on American largesse to bail their country out of its economic crunch. In other words, if your country is dependent financially on the Americans, as Thailand is today, kiss goodbye to any chance of having a foreign policy that opposes America.

America has ways of making you come around to its way of thinking. Its called dictatorship in democracy’s clothing. Remember the famous adage from the 1946 George Orwell classic Animal Farm, “All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

So now let’s await the application of the rule of law, which American legislators profess to love so much, to that other thorny problem in the Middle East — the Israeli occupation of Palestine, another place where the borderline between a religious problem and a political one is very thin indeed, and where protagonists use the name of God to justify both occupation and terrorism.

Just as there are plenty of Security Council resolutions calling for Iraq to cooperate with the UN inspectors, there are far more calling for Israel to withdraw unconditionally from occupied territories, including the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Southern Lebanon.

If America is such a democratic country, and that a simple majority is enough to impeach a president, has it not noted the fact that it and Israel and perhaps one or two European countries are the only ones who vote against any UN resolutions that affect Israeli occupation while nearly 150 countries vote in the other camp? How’s that for lopsided democracy?

It has often been said that the next World War is going to start in the Middle East and that a war is looming between Islam and the West. Both these are likely to come true if any attempts are made to deny statehood to the Palestinians which will be the most critical geopolitical development of this final year of the 20th century.

Clearly, the world is facing the spectre of American dictatorship to an unprecedented degree. Many countries in the Asia-Pacific have already lost their economic sovereignty to the IMF which in turn depends on the US congress for funds, as does the United Nations.

As American foreign policy slides further into the usage of unilateral acts of force, financial blackmail and outright double-standard hypocrisy, it is only a matter of time before the world says enough, and the decline of the world’s remaining superpower begins. That day may not be far off.

In the meanwhile, may we all be saved from leaders who try to play God!! And countries, too.