Close U.S. Allies Abusing Justice in Middle East

An old saying goes “friends are the family you choose”.  If that is the case, the United States’ “family members” in the Middle East need some lessons in justice and human rights.  And who better to push for those lessons than the U.S.  (Not going to hold my breathe on this one.)

Here’s a quick roundup of recent events:

Just the same ole song.

It goes without question the punishments in all three cases do not even begin to fit the crimes, if you even consider any of these actual crimes.

The problem is the United States’ government chooses not to punish these countries in any way and by doing nothing is condoning these actions.  If people wonder why folks in the Middle East have a negative perception of the U.S., this is just a small taste of why that animosity exists.  The citizens of these countries are fully aware of the relationship between their governments and the United States, such as:

It’s difficult for Americans to understand why dissident citizens of these countries equate us so closely to their oppressive governments because, frankly, we have no idea what it is like for our government to be so reliant on another greater superpower for so much economic aid.  But the perception is there and for good reason.

The United States tries to sell the idea we believe in democracy and equal rights for all around the world but the actions of our government tell a different story.  You can’t sit on the sidelines and pretend you aren’t aware of such egregious human rights abuses when doing business with these governments.  That might have been a believable position in the time before the Internet and the easy flow of information.

It’s now no longer believable or acceptable (as it never should have been).  The time for change in this area came a very long time ago and the need for constant pressure on our elected officials should be growing by the day.

And everyday that goes by where a change in the behavior of the U.S. government doesn’t happen is a day with the potential to create more hatred of Americans by people we continue to simply ignore.

Schizophrenic U.S. Policy in Middle East: What Type of Government do we Support?

A couple of articles in recent days on the CSM’s site might leave one wondering just what is U.S. policy toward the Middle East as far as the idea of democracy is concerned.  The first article concerns John Kerry’s surprise visit to Iraq and his negotiations with the Iraqi government over support of Assad in Syria.

If we put enough blinders on to forget the WMDs that were not in Iraq or the links to Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden that were also absent from the country, we can get to the distant third reason we were given for invading the country: bringing democracy to the people.  Well, mission accomplished!  But it seems this new democracy is doing what it chooses instead of taking orders from other countries, namely the U.S.  Clearly, the Iraqis need to understand the way to run your country when it is a democracy is to listen to whatever the U.S. says and do just that.  In other words, they are “free” to do whatever we tell them to do.

This is so easy to follow!

My poly sci might be a little rusty so I’m just going to assume that is the meaning of democracy.

Not really but that is the message we send.  From Secretary of State Kerry:

“I also made it clear to [Maliki] that there are members of Congress and people in America who increasingly are watching what Iraq is doing and wondering how it is that a partner in the efforts for democracy and a partner for whom Americans feel they have tried so hard to be helpful – how that country can be, in fact, doing something that makes it more difficult to achieve our common goals, the goal expressed by the Prime Minister with respect to Syria and President Assad.” (Emphasis added.)

Common goals?  Not abundantly clear as noted in the article.

But the short, unmasked version is: ‘How can they defy us?’  To which I assume their reply might be: ‘We’re a democracy and this is what we want for now.’  To which we might reply: ‘It was easier working with Hussein.  Maybe we bungled this one.’

But hey, we are all about democracy these days, right?

Not really as indicated by the second article.  One of America’s closer allies in the Middle East, Bahrain, stopped Doctors Without Borders from holding a conference there on medical ethics and showed what a shining example of democracy they are in the region.

What’s that?  Bahrain’s a monarchy?  Like other close ally Saudi Arabia?  Huh?  Are we preparing an invasion?  This is confusing!

The fact is, we can’t pretend we are interested in bringing democracy to the world when we openly and closely work with governments such as these.  And the true nature of U.S. policy in the Middle East should be summed up for what it really is: work with us and we like you no matter what you do to your people or how you run your government.

The actions are just too transparent to even attempt to hide any longer, such as resuming arms sales to Bahrain after the government violently put down protests for democracy.  Part of this mess is summed up in one line:

While the US and Saudi Arabia may be pushing for the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and the replacement of his Iran-friendly government with one run by Syria’s majority Sunni Arab population, it would be horrified at the overthrow of Bahrain’s Sunni Arab king by his mostly Shiite subjects.

I’m honestly not sure why we even try to mask our overall policy with any rhetoric alleging a concern for democracy any longer.  We want what we want and that is final no matter what the people of other countries say.