6.9.11

Commercial interests keep tyrants in power

One can see them around. They are unmissable. For all their designer jeans, cool shirts, buckle shoes, limited-production watches, matte or white cars and bespoke perfumes, they can't fool anyone. A characteristic tackiness gives them away. Russians, Africans, above all Arabs, Latin-Americans, to a lesser extent Europeans, they are either the architects of tyranny, or its offsprings. Mayfair, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Belgravia... London's most expensive areas are their playground. They come, and burn the ill acquired riches, the billions stollen from their countries, or made on illicit trades, as if there's no tomorrow. Some people speak about the "unacceptable face of Capitalism", in reference to the financial crisis that continues to affect our world, alas the very same critics of capitalism, and everyone else, are eager to welcome, with open arms, the characters above, and their money. They fall over themselves to accommodate every whim, in a nauseating spectacle solely worthy of contempt. Ask Frank Williams, Ken Livingstone, or some folks at LSE.

But then, one has to read stuff like this, regarding Britain's role in preventing development of Libya's alleged programme of WMD:
The British role in delivering this superb outcome which made the world a notably safer place was praised at the highest levels in Washington; it ranks among our greatest foreign policy successes since the end of the Cold War.
Honestly, I do not know where to begin. Still fresh in my memory are Colin Powell's infamous words about "mobile factories of WMD" in Iraq. One has to be a fanatic war hawk willing to bomb the shit out of one's perceived enemies, or an incredible ignorant person, to come up with such arguments. For only an extremely ignorant first world person can really believe that a bunch of Middle Eastern fundamentalists living in tents in a dessert have the technical expertise and technological capacity to design, develop, and produce successfully advanced weapons that could potentially put at risk the safety of the Western world. More likely, as we saw on 9/11, the preferred weapons are rather more mundane, and much easier to acquire. The last time we saw a threat of nuclear war issued by a deranged tinpot dictator was the missile crisis in Cuba in 1962, and even that one depended on Russia.

Tyrants, the world over, are indeed a menace: for the disgraced citizens of the countries where they reach power, and, above all, for the commercial interests of first world nations. One only has to look at what's surfaced recently regarding weapons sales to Gaddafi. China is up to its neck in it, but so is Britain, and Russia, and were it not those three, it would have been France, the USA, Italy, Spain, or Brazil. There is no consideration whatsoever to the victims on the ground. When there are billions to be made, no one gives a toss about them. And this is what can be called "smart and effective", in the words of Charles Crawford, author of the article linked above. The "smart and effective" thing to do, is to prop the Gaddafis of our world with the most technologically advanced weaponry, so that they can carry on oppressing and killing to stay in power, but crucially, they can carry on doing business with the first world, they can continue snapping prime properties in N1, W1 and SWs, they can be the source of untold fortunes of 'respectable' businesses, and businessmen alike.

In an evidently Chamberlain-esque way, Mr Crawford thinks that engaging tyrants is the way forward, for such interactions between democracies and dictatorships would, sooner or later, permeate the minds of tyrants and, eventually, they will abandon their ways in favour of democratic tenets like rule of law, respect for human rights, etc. Such proposition is untenable. To advance the notion that a business relationship is going to change people that have no qualms in massacring their own is, erm, beyond stupid, is sheer insanity. But it reveals how utterly ignorant these diplomats of the first world really are. Chaps that have grown up in safe societies, are educated in the best schools with symmetrically perfect lawns, have never been forced to confront the realities of living with rampant crime, with totalitarianism, with poverty, these people are ill equipped to deal with the very real thugs that run some of our countries. One can only laugh at such disconnected naivete.

As a matter of fact, Gaddafi, Assad, Castro, Mugabe, Chavez... all of them are there, firmly entrenched in power, for there's plenty of Chevrons, BPs, Exxons, Mitsubishis, ENIs, Totals, BAEs, Vitols, Saabs, Gemaltos, etc, desperate to go into deals with them. There are also Tony Blairs, Gordon Browns and Alex Salmonds, and equally, David Camerons and Nicholas Sarkozis, 'advancing democracy', so that British and French businesses can carry on with their standard practices in the third world.

The world will undoubtedly be a better place without the mad dog. However, no freedom loving Libyan, Zimbabwean, Cuban or Venezuelan will dispute that our nations will be safer and freer without the sheer hypocrisy and greed of Western governments, officials, businesses and businessmen pretending to be cavaliers of freedom.

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