Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Condoleezza Rice: The Real Ugly American

The BBC has an interesting little article about a statement made by Condoleezza Rice, during a stop in Ireland:
During a stop-over in Shannon, Ireland, Ms Rice told reporters: "There isn't a doubt, I think, that Iran constitutes the single most important, single-country challenge to... US interests in the Middle East and to the kind of Middle East that we want to see."
Now, any informed reader knows that Iran is not sending arms to Iraq, despite Bush Administration lies to the contrary. And any informed reader knows that Iran is now allowing IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities. And any informed reader would have to wonder why Iran is the focus, when the State Department, just last week, criticized Saudi Arabia for undermining the war effort in Iraq, just as the Administration prepared to sell the Saudis some $20 billion worth of weapons. But nevermind all that. What matters is what Rice said:
"There isn't a doubt, I think, that Iran constitutes the single most important, single-country challenge to... US interests in the Middle East and to the kind of Middle East that we want to see."
Taking a closer look at her wording, we see what, in a nutshell, defines Bush Administration foreign policy. Iran constitutes the greatest threat to the kind of Middle East that we want to see! Get it? Rice isn't saying anything about what might be best for the Middle East itself, for that's clearly of no concern. The only thing that matters is U.S. interests, and the Middle East that she wants to create- regardless if it's what people in the Middle East want to see created, or even if such a Middle East is even possible. Given what we know about the Bush Administration's absolute ignorance about the history and cultures of the Middle East- not to mention that there is a history, and that there are separate cultures- it's not likely that her vision for the Middle East even plausibly relates to what's known as reality. Condoleezza Rice has just made herself the personification of the arrogant Ugly American.

Of course, in the real Middle East, in a country called "Iraq", real people are suffering horribly from the disasters wrought by the Bush Administration's Ugly Americanism. The Guardian has this story:
The number of Iraqi children who are born underweight or suffer from malnutrition has increased sharply since the US-led invasion, according to a report by Oxfam and a network of about 80 aid agencies.

The report describes a nationwide catastrophe, with around 8 million Iraqis - almost a third of the population - in need of emergency aid. Many families have dropped out of the food rationing system because they have been displaced by fighting and sectarian conflict. Others suffer from the collapse in basic services caused by the exodus of doctors and hospital staff.

Although the security crisis forced Oxfam and other agencies to withdraw their foreign staff from Iraq to Jordan within a year of the invasion, many Iraqi non-governmental organisations still work in the country and receive supplies from abroad.
And the BBC reported, last week, that:
An international conference in Jordan on the more than two million Iraqi refugees uprooted by war has pledged to help them with their difficulties.

But it insisted the solution to the problem lay in their return home and that the Iraqi government was directly responsible for its displaced citizens.

The UN refugee agency, Unrwa, said some 50,000 more Iraqis were escaping the violence in their homeland each month.
Two million refugees. Eight million in need of emergency aid. Can we just now accept the reality that the Middle East the Bush Administration wants to see isn't much good for the actual human beings that actually live there? Can we just accept that it's actually an astonishing humanitarian disaster?

Of course, Rice has the answer for all the Middle East's problems: sell more weapons. As the Guardian reports:
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, today said plans to sell billions of dollars of weapons to the Middle East would shore up friendly regimes against al-Qaida and Iran.

Ms Rice, who was visiting Egypt with the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, denied the arms sales were a move to ensure the support of states including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

"This is not an issue of quid pro quo," she said. "We are working with these states to fight back extremism. We all have the same interest in a stable Iraq that can defend itself ... and be unified."

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