Friday, July 11, 2008

Making political hash out of a sucessful rescue

It had only been in the news after all, Ingrid Betancourt among the hostages held by FARC. 6 years, Ms. Betancourt had languished in the hands of truly dangerous people. Then the Columbian gvt found out where FARC and the captives they were holding were. Yes, the rescue was brilliantly executed. Yes, many FARC members were captured. But what Charles Krauthammer says after the fact is clumsy.

I guess he forgets that Europe had only been engulfed in wars of many kinds for many hundreds of years. Whether the wars were religious, economic or who could claim what turf—such as occurred during the time of Hitler; at some point, I would think, Europe is a little afraid of going that route another time. So yes, I can understand why Europe would prefer negotiation with some of the world's worst people. They are tired of getting into the middle of any more wars that aren't immediately embroiling them at their own doorsteps. Even further, as was the case with Bosnia, they aren't sure they want to resolve a matter parked over in a neighboring country. Unless, of course blood spills on their doorsteps. Maybe I don't particularly sound to sympathetic either. But I at least take history of violent struggles in Europe, that convulsed all of Europe, into consideration. Charles Krauthammer, however, comes off as a tad ignorant.

Then he praises our protracted war in Iraq as the emergence of a new Arab democracy. Excuse me, the first Arab democracy. Oh, and what is Turkey, anyway? Didn't Europeans under Communist rule fight for and win a democracy by their own hands? Didn't we Americans do battle with British imperialism to win an independent country that we ultimately styled a democracy? Democracy wasn't foisted on anyone in the two cases cited above. However, it has been the case with our going to war against an admitted brutal dictator (of which there are many) and for reasons and excuses that were ever shifting. Only now is it proclaimed that we have invented a democracy in a nation that never knew the concept. Never mind that economics factored into why we are still present in Iraq. Precisely the economics of business interests that seek to do oil business in Iraq. And the Iraqi gvt itself giving the go-ahead to allow foreign businesses to work and drill what is after all the people's of that country's treasure and they should have a voice in who gets it and who ought to profit. Did Krauthammer consider that?

Ingrid Betancourt was the beneficiary of a "conservative" Columbian president showing compassion and concern for the welfare of FARC's victims. But, our own foreign policy often being ruled by dollars, not necessarily are we prepared to show the same ounce of compassion toward the victims of anyone or anything. Oh and by the way, Americans were among the hostages that FARC had kidnapped. What was on GW's mind in the last 6 years of their imprisonment, besides business trade deals, that is? Let us indeed give the Columbians credit where it is due, but let us not presume that it ought to be a guiding policy for how we should, as a country, behave in the future. That the Columbians, or for that matter, any other country or gvt dictate our foreign and domestic policies. On the other hand, I can see plenty of room for improvement in our elected gvt learning to handle foreign affairs a whole lot better than it does now.

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