our monolithic approach to international politics better than our response to a
little foreign criticism coming from any quarter. Such criticism may come
from nations that we usually identify with, and which have always been
considered allies; or from nations that resent our meddling in their internal
affairs and confront our behavior. It doesn�t matter. We trash them
all . . . messengers as well as messages. How dare anyone challenge us!
We have seen french
fries become �freedom fries� -- courtesy of one very �patriotic,� and very
crooked, politician, Rep. Robert Ney of Ohio -- and democratically-elected
leaders of nations, who dare challenge our imperialistic ways, become thugs --
last such labeling coming from Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, a �supposedly�
liberal leader in the Democratic Party, as she referred to Venezuela�s Hugo
Chavez. Ours is an equal opportunity thrashing from either side of our political
coin, which unfortunately is the only currency we�ve got!
Why are our
politicians, of either party, so quick on the draw to insult just about
anyone? Anyone outside our borders, that is! Because it�s safe, and
it garners votes . . . which for them is the end game. If everything else
fails, there is always that �rally around the flag� that will save the
day. American exceptionalism, the high-grade pot we all appear to be
smoking, will always come to the rescue of the scoundrel politicians that infest
our ailing nation. Honesty and truth be damned!
Heck, we give them
all a democratic treatment regardless where they are from. Banana
republics, or nations with low-yield nuclear weapons and deficient delivery
systems; we hold no bias towards one or the other. All we ask of these
leaders is be responsive to our whims and, unequivocally, follow our
directions. Why make things difficult for themselves, and their
nations? See how placid things turned out for Pervez Musharraf, and Pakistan,
after he followed �counsel he couldn�t refuse� from Richard Armitage?
Musharraf will soon be collecting royalties from his memoirs, �In the Line
of Fire,� and Pakistan doesn�t need to worry about finding its way out of
the Stone Age. Look at the bright side of capitulation: you get to keep your
life . . . and the roof over your head. This Pakistani head of state
prevented a lot of pain and suffering for the people of Pakistan.
As repugnant as
this behavior in American foreign policy might seem to some, it�s a fact of
life that it�s carried with the consent of the American citizenry; indirectly,
or by default, but with little indication of concern by the governed. For all
the touting of our democracy, where the political centerpiece rests on �checks
and balances� between the three branches of government, we find nothing wrong
with having the Supreme Court select our president, or have Congress de-facto
tender its powers to the president. Autocracy by default, it would seem,
rather than democracy . . . thus, our foreign policy.
But, getting back
to the subject of thugs and how quick we are to classify as ruffians, hoodlums
and gangsters anyone unwilling to bow to us. Let�s get real. Thugs, just
like many other derogatory terms, including terrorists, are more indicative of
our emotional state than the rational classification of those people by the
what and why of their actions. It�s the �N� word in international
affairs, often wrong and never appropriate.
However, there are
thugs and there are Thugs . . . yes, thugs with a capital T. The latter
were assassins operating in time past in northern India, who paid homage to
Kali, goddess of death and destruction -- depicted as black, red-eyed,
blood-stained and wearing a necklace of skulls � and offered their victims to
her. The first group is the result of our insulting emotions . . . the
second group, the creators of hell on earth. No longer operating in
India, Thugs have found their way, their rebirth, among those who hold the
reins of world power. It�s these Newborn Thugs that the world needs to
worry about . . . and most of them, unfortunately, carry US passports:
Armitage, Bolton, Cheney, Rumsfeld . . . the list of Thugs goes on and
on. Most, however, would rather be called �men of war� since they
couldn�t be taken seriously as �defenders of democracy and freedom.� Men and
women of war . . . true Thugs!
It is sad that we
show our displeasure of those who confront us by calling them thugs, while we
seem to show our respect and appreciation for our own Thugs.
� 2006 Ben Tanosborn
Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer,
resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business
consulting firm. Contact him at email@example.com.