Pluma Migrant Writers Guild. "Write to be heard."
In the last post I talked about borders created around groups of people ‘outside the wall’ by those ‘inside the wall’ (a concept first introduced here). I also observed that this benefited the latter. Now let’s consider some of the individuals ruling these groups of people.
There are currently 50 dictatorships in the world, 26% of all countries. This is a fascinating topic for someone from ‘inside the wall’ who is used to democracy. It was difficult to avoid getting sidetracked writing about the horrors they have committed. I think this post still contains plenty of horror though. It is about the horror of privileged countries ‘inside the wall’ supporting dictators ‘outside the wall’. The time I have spent writing about this was unsettling. I got down off my high horse of being a civilised, ethical Westerner. I have had to abandon the idea that I am morally superior because I come from a democratic nation, from a region that is more technologically and, arguably, socially advanced. Let me explain why.
I see the countries ‘inside the wall’ as benefiting from some of the dictators ‘outside the wall’. A whimsical way to introduce this idea is a set of 35 Friendly Dictators trading cards by Eclipse Enterprises. One is Ethiopian autocrat Haile Selassie, for whom the US bought a $3-4m yacht in about 1961. Quoting from his trading card:
When Selassie faced an uprising in the province of Eritrea, the U.S. sent advisors and arms to help him smash the revolt. In return for our support, Selassie provided the United States with a naval base in the Red Sea and a place for a strategic communications station. Selassie’s kindness to his animals was his downfall; he was overthrown when photos of him feeding his dogs during the 1973 famine were circulated among his outraged troops.
Robert Weaver even made a cute map linking to the text of the playing cards, check it out.
On hearing this, my self concept is immediately imperiled. My idea of where I come from is that it is about freedom, peace and democracy. My belief has been that the West is a force for good in the world. Yet here we were supporting a dictator. One who would feed steak to his dogs rather than save his starving people during a famine. If anything, shouldn’t we have sought to remove him from power and bring democracy and freedom to Ethiopians?
Another map along the same lines is below.
Here is a quote from Bernie Sanders dealing with all these dictators:
“I don’t believe, to tell you the truth, that even if a country is not free and everyone admits it, that you have the right to invade it. If you do that, then you’re going to be invading about 30 or 40 countries or 50 countries around the world. But the point is, I say, that the Reagan administration is totally hypocritical when they talk about a lack of freedom in Nicaragua. Because if they want to talk about a lack of freedom, there are a lot of countries which have a lot less freedom which have … long been supported by America.”
So that’s what this post is about, the idea of a friendly dictator – not because he is benevolent toward his people and goes around giving free hugs – but rather because he is friendly toward a member of the group of countries inside the wall, such as the United States. In support of this idea is a quote from Bernie Sanders after he came back from a visit to Nicaragua in 1985:
The United States government makes a habit of overthrowing governments which are nationalistic, which feel that their major allegiance is to their own people. Whether it’s Chile, whether it’s Guatemala, whether it was the Dominican Republic, or [sic] so forth. What the United States is doing in Nicaragua now is totally consistent with a policy of many many years under many many presidents, let’s be clear about that. And I think that the sudden preoccupation, obsession, with Nicaragua is this. That within all of the misery, economic misery and starvation, around the Third World, if there are individual countries who can be successful, let’s just say – I don’t know if they can – without Contra activity, without an embargo, if the nation of Nicaragua was able to provide a decent standard of living for their people, this would be an example to countries all around the continent. They would point and they would say “Hey, why are people starving to death in my country if they’re not starving to death in Nicaragua? Why is there a brutal dictatorship in my country if you have democratic rights in Nicaragua?” So I think what Reagan wants to destroy is an example. Is an example of hope perhaps, for the people of Central America.
Further supporting the idea of the US having made a habit of interfering in South America via support for dictators is this Chomsky quote. Another example is this quote from a list of the top 10 brutal dictators the West has supported:
“…and put the head of Chile’s feared security forces on the Washington payroll”.
In addition to Africa and South America, there have been a number of Arab dictators paid by us in order to provide sales territory and cheap oil in return. The Arab Spring, however, involved the fall of four republican dictators – in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Yemen. As shown in the above ‘friendly dictators’ maps, countries ‘inside the wall’ were friends with them. Another list goes beyond just dictators and includes straight up terrorists supported by the US. Then there is this list of five dictators the US still supports.
So where are we? We have so far seen in this latest pair of posts that the supposedly benevolent, technologically and socially advanced, freedom loving countries ‘inside the wall’ have:
Not looking so benevolent anymore. Rather, starting to look like your standard collection of brazen, backward highwaymen, taking what they can get.
It gets worse.
Most telling of all is that Daniel Ortega was a democratically elected leader of the poor, fragile Third World nation of Nicaragua. He lead a popular uprising to depose the US backed Somoza regime which had been terrorizing the people. I know Nicaragua is a small country, I know there are whole regions which could be used to make my point but let’s keep it small and simple just to make sure the point is made well. The free, democratic, ‘force for good in the world’ that I have thought of my harmless Western self as coming from is not supposed to do this to people. We are not supposed to support regimes which terrorise and subjugate nations! On this account, Somoza should never have had US support. It is deeply perplexing that he did. We are not supposed to seek to depose democratically elected leaders! Especially ones that are trying to rebuild their country so that it is a mechanism for raising its citizens out of poverty, educating and healing them! It may be perplexing that the US supported Somoza, but to attempt to overthrow Ortega is blatantly anti democratic and causes cognitive dissonance.
Nicaragua was country of poor, uneducated, damaged people who were just trying to get themselves on a path to freedom after escaping the savagery of Somoza. This was a fragile nation ‘Outside the wall’. If we inside our wall – for stopping supposedly uncivilised migrants from getting inside – really were about freedom then we would have applauded their quest for the same. We would have doubled our praise for them seeking to do it through democratically electing their leader. It was a crime therefore to try to stop this via a proxy war. In response to this crime, the US was rightfully taken before the International Criminal Court. The outcome? Here’s a quote featured in Wikipedia:
…law would collapse if defendants could only be sued when they agreed to be sued, and the proper measurement of that collapse would be not just the drastically diminished number of cases but also the necessary restructuring of a vast system of legal transactions and relations predicated on the availability of courts as a last resort. There would be talk of a return to the law of the jungle.
-Anthony D’Amato, American Journal of International Law, Vol. 80, 1986.
As implied by the quote, the court ruled that the US had violated Nicaragua’s sovereignty and that reparations were due, a decision ignored by the US. There are other examples, such as Guatemala mentioned in the last post, where a coup d’état occurred in 1954. This involved the overthrow of a democratically elected leader in a CIA lead operation called PBSUCCESS, followed by their installing a dictatorship. A year earlier, the UK and US collaborated in another coup d’état to overthrow another democratically elected leader in Iran.
The preceding observations about behaviour of our supposedly most civilised collection of countries ‘inside the wall’ in
is a clear sign that we never departed from the law of the jungle. There is no returning to it, only a continuation of it. It’s obvious that within each of the 196 countries on this little planet an attempt has been made with the establishment of laws to elevate each citizenry above the jungle. What is shown in this and the last post, however, is that no effective means has yet been found to achieve an elevation above the jungle of the way in which countries carry on their relations between each other.
It’s clear that countries ‘outside the wall’ (OTW) of DT Architects’ map have in some cases been put and kept there through support to their leaders from nations ‘inside the wall’ (ITW). These leaders have not worked in support of their people but instead in support of the oligarchs from ITW, who, as mentioned in the last post, want their resources. In support of this view is a quote from a representative of the US State Department from 1948. The quote was made in the globalissues.org page cited previously about the battle for resources:
we have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population….In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity….To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives….We should cease to talk about vague and…unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.
… We should recognize that our influence in the Far Eastern area in the coming period is going to be primarily military and economic. We should make a careful study to see what parts of the Pacific and Far Eastern world are absolutely vital to our security, and we should concentrate our policy on seeing to it that those areas remain in hands which we can control or rely on.
— George Kennan, U.S. State Department Policy Planning, Study #23, February 24, 1948.
Here is Noam Chomsky discussing this quote, recommended viewing. In case you didn’t visit the globalissues.org page, here is another great quote gratuitously lifted from there:
The old Soviet empire had a long border with the Middle East. The desperation of the West to maintain control stems from the potential for those two regions to join. If that had happened, the Middle East would have had the weapons to protect their resources. The resources of the Soviet Union and the Middle East together would have been comparable to those of the West, and, by virtue of most of the world’s reserves of oil being within the borders of those two empires, and thus the potential for high oil prices, a good part of the West’s wealth could have been claimed by the East. Hence the West’s large military expenditures to maintain control in that volatile region.
Anup Shah of globalissues.org observes in response to all of this that countries are behaving predictably in this jungle. Furthermore he remarks that governments are working in favour of their citizens, to get the best deal for the people that they represent. I disagree. In my personal experience and following the US presidential campaign, such as this exchange between Trump and Cooper, governments work in favour of the interests of those who pay for them:
They won’t necessarily do what’s right for the country. They’ll do what’s right for their special interest, their donor, their lobbyist, etc. Not good for the country.
An example of this comes from Wikileaks, where US embassy officials have been found in a diplomatic cable to have been working for Boeing:
I have also had an official of an embassy relate a story to me about example of how they assisted a large company to seal a deal. Overall, oligarchs, as always since the start of proceedings on this little planet, are responsible for the world as it is today. Governments are one of their tools.
What are we to conclude from this? What should we think about how the world is run? Now that I’ve shown that we’ve created your borders? Now that I’ve shown that we’ve created your dictators? Including having an interest in removing inconvenient, democratically elected leaders? And suffered the desctruction of the concept of myself as being from a benevolent, advanced society promoting freedom, democracy and peace?