Arab Spring is US awakening
Arab Spring is now US awakening
Updated: 2012-09-19 11:49
By Han Dongping ( chinadaily.com.cn)
Arab Spring is now US awakening
Last week, the world witnessed the largest anti-US protests that have occurred in recent memory. US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his bodyguards were killed when protestors attacked the American consulate in Benghazi, where not long ago, according to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, he was sent to play an important role in coordinating the rebels'efforts in overthrowing Gadhafi, who ruled Libya for over forty years.
On the surface, this round of protests was sparked off by an American made video The Innocence of the Muslim. But there must be deeper reasons than this.
The video was made by private individuals, who did not represent the US Government, and there was no reason they should to be targeted for a stupid video.
After all, according to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton the US Government has just helped the Libyan People through people like Christopher Stevens liberate themselves from Gadhafi's dictatorship.
Secretary of State Clinton said she could not understand why those who were the beneficiaries of the US Instigated Arabic Spring turned against their benefactors.
It seems to me that the US Government is losing ground in the Middle East by its arrogant foreign policy and hot headed actions in the Middle East and other parts of the world. This round of protests against US embassies and other American interests in Afghanistan are only some of the potential consequences of American foreign policy and action in the third world.
It is time for the US government to pause and reflect on its foreign policy. The US used the attack on September 11, to launch an attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan. We still do not know today in what way and to what extent the terrorists of September 11 were connected with the Taliban and Afghan people to justify an outright large scale war by the US government against the people of Afghanistan.
If the attack on Afghanistan could be justified through the connection of the Taliban with the hijackers of September 11, the war in Iraq, according to the US government's own admission, was based on false information regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction. For years, the American Government collaborated with Saddam Hussein, and supported his war efforts against Iran. Saddam's military muscle was built with American support, and when he became a little unruly, the US decided it was time for a regime change. It first lured him into invading Kuwait, which gave the US and its allies the moral high ground to drive Saddam out of Kuwait, and use it to decimate the Iraqi military forces.
After the September 11 attack, Saddam, worried about a potential US invasion, decided to give up his nuclear and other weapon of mass destruction programs. But the US Government insisted that he had weapons of mass destruction and invaded Iraq. Hundreds and thousands of innocent and not so innocent Iraqi people paid the ultimate price with their lives in the American invasion. The violence is still raging on there as a result of the American invasion without an end in sight.
The US had many issues with Gadhafi of Libya. Gadhafi struggled very hard against Western colonialism and other Western interests.
But after the death of Saddam, Gadhafi realized that the world had changed, and that without an effective balancer, the US could defy international law and forcefully bring about a regime change in those countries it wished to do so.
He began to reconcile with the West, and the West also began to embrace him. However, the US and the West manipulated the protests in Bengahzi, as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton revealed in her speech when she mourned Christopher Steven's death.
Because the US desired to replace Gadhafi, the US supported the two former colonial empires, Britain and France, to bomb Libya in the name of protecting the civilian population. Gadhafi was killed, and Libya's infrastructure was decimated.
Hundreds and thousands of innocent and no so innocent Libyans paid the ultimate price for Western involvement in their country. More importantly, the US, the French and Britain did not bomb Libya for free. The price tag of the bombing was over 50 billion dollars, which equals the next 50 years of Libya's oil revenue.
Hosni Mubarak of Egypt collaborated with the US for over thirty years. His collaboration with the US generated tremendous popular anger with the Egyptian people. But when Mubarak faced the pressure of popular protest in the wake of the Arabic Spring, the US abandoned him. Mubarak went down the same way as many of his predecessors, like the Shah of Iran, Marcos of the Philippines, Suharto of Indonesia, and Saddam of Iraq, being used and abandoned by different US administrations.
The people of these countries must have realized what role the US Government played in the fate of their countries. The government of these countries must have learned what effect an American embassy could have in their country. In the eyes of the government and people in these countries, US foreign policy has used the claim of spreading democracy and human rights as a facade to further their own less honorable interests.
In doing so, the US has toppled governments and destroyed entire infrastructures. And in the end, it is the common people in these countries who have had to bear the consequences of the destruction and the cost of reconstruction. The people in these countries will wake up one day. The protests that have occurred in the past few days could symbolize just such an awakening.
It is time for the US to pause and reflect on its foreign policy in the Middle East and other third world countries in general. President Obama personally needs to live up to the expectation of the Nobel Peace Prize. That prize was to make peace, not to make more war in the world. The military surge in Afghanistan, support of the French and British bombing of Libya, involvement in the Syrian civil war have disappointed many Americans as well as many people in other countries.
Yes, Obama is subject to the pressure of many different political interests, and needs to worry about getting reelected. But if he is reelected this time, I hope he has the courage to be true to his word for once, and end all US wars overseas. Instead, he should fight a war back home against poverty, inequality, and unemployment and other important domestic issues.
The author is a Professor of Warren Wilson College in the US.