I have come across a rather refreshing take on the U.S. and Britain foreign policy. Th author points out that countries like Pakistan and others in the middle east like to do a lot of blaming and not enough taking responsibility for their own ills.
Honestly I think he nails it on the head here. When are we going to stop letting them lay it all on the west?
... giving the people the opportunity to live in freedom and decide on their own future.
You mean, like Operation Ajax? Without it, Iran might well have been a secular democracy today. Talk about wasted opportunities. We often don't like it when people in the Middle East try to achieve freedom their own way.
(1) Ajax was part of a series of events that started with the Abadan blockade and culminated with the ousting of Mossadegh and the transition to an authoritarian regime, so in the end, it was indeed succesful. But even that is besides the point: it's the intent behind Ajax I'm pointing out here, and it certainly wasn't aimed at promoting freedom and democracy in the ME. (Besides, I'm aware that Mossadegh leaned towards dirigism in the end, but it's hardly surprsing in a crisis context. As is an hypothetical eventual alignment with the USSR.)
(2) I brought up Ajax just because your profile says you visited Iran yourself, but I'm afraid this kind of cynical political realism is still thriving in our century. I'll pass on Iraq - just have a look at Somalia instead: when the ICU took control in 2006, peace briefly settled in the country, until the Western-backed Ethiopian intervention drove it into chaos again. Granted, the ICU were a bunch of Islamists who practised Sharia law and summary executions and I'm not condoning them, but at least there were moderates among them. The al-Shabaab who replace them today are far more radical and bloodthirsty, but we in the West see this as a good trade, just because the renewed civil war keeps them busy, and we're too afraid of a stable Somalia that might harbor international terrorist networks. I'm far from certain that most Somalis would agree with this, but who really cares about what Somali people think?
How is the nature of 'real democracy' relevant to this part of the discussion? I'm afraid you missed the point again - which was, the main reason the Western world send troops to the Middle West or elsewhere is not to give 'people the opportunity to live in freedom and decide on their own future', as you put it earlier. It's a desirable outcome even to our deciders, yes, but it's at best a peripheral concern. The main reason we go there is to promote (or sometimes demote, as is the case in Somalia) stability where it suits us, for geopolitical reasons that all eventuality boil down to domestic interests (or, sometimes, to corporate interests.)
And it's as true in 2011 as it was in 2006 or in 1953. Like it or not.
Sassan has to disregard history because he has no point if you take history into account. Now Jimmy Carter is a coward (name calling is specialty) because he didn't back the Shah (the great humanitarian he was).
History will tell us that Regan's people were negotiating with the Islamic Republic to not release the hostages until after the election, but then it is history and it doesn't count.
The problem with the article it doesn't take into account the fact the west's role in the conflicts or I should say the writer wants to pretend they have no bearing on what we are dealing with today.
We (the west) are in these countries because they have natural resources we want. If the resources were not there we would not care what goes on or we would chose a side and give them the military aid to kill their own people, there are plenty of cases of that happening.
When you put the IMF into the mix the story gets more interesting. The IMF is the west's way of having control over these governments using interest on the debt as the weapon.
So is this the west's version of just believing and all of your sins go away?
We (the west) are in these countries because they have natural resources we want.
It's a bit more complex than that - for instance, it would take more than Iraqi oil to pay for the Iraq war, and it would have been far more efficient to buy oil directly from Saddam if our primary concern was the availability of natural resources. Logistics, stable financial markets and free-flowing international trade are more important than direct control of natural resources in the big picture - and they're all affected when rogue dictators, insurgents or terrorists get in the way. Which in turn affects economic growth at home, which affects gross national happiness - which is what really matters in the end.
The IMF is the west's way of having control over these governments using interest on the debt as the weapon.
Hmph. There's no real interest for the IMF (or those who fund it) to pressure governments that way, although it sure gives them some leeway in these governments' economic policies. There were mismanagements in the past the IMF has to answer for, but the primary goal of the IMF has always been the same - stable financial markets - and turning a profit out of predation on indebted countries is certainly not the best way to achieve it in the long run. Quite the opposite - and the IMF policymakers are well aware of this.
We can stop blaming ourselves when we actually stop fucking around over there. How many countries outside the west have had a century of continuous government? Of those that haven't, how many of those have been overthrown or destabilized by the west? Those who want to say, "well that was then this is now" are fucking morons, because we haven't stopped. Leaving the rest of the world to find their own way will mean letting them kill each other until they get sick of doing so. You can't 'spread freedom', and anyone who says so is brainwashed by oxymoronic rhetoric.
France, Britain, Spain, and Germany spent centuries killing each other as they developed their skills in diplomacy. Had alien beings landed and just toppled the monarchs, putting in place an alien template for government, while also exporting local resources, how do you think things would have turned out? As soon as those aliens left, war would have resumed, and it would have been fought until everybody grew up.
Over the next 50 years petroleum resources will deplete as alternative energy rises and the west will lose interest in toppling foreign governments. When that happens, those countries who had previously sat on top of huge oil reserves will then have a cultural hatred for the west that will last for centuries. That violence is already ingrained, and it will remain no matter what we do. In all honestly, all we can really do is either walk away and accept the aftermath or go in hard and level those countries until only cockroaches remain. There is no middle ground - any government set up by outsiders will only be viewed with more contempt than the west because they will be viewed as traitors and/or puppets.