What We Do Matters
I was supposed to be in Abu Dhabi teaching a class, but I am back in my office the trip to Abu Dhabi having been cancelled. It was cancelled not because Abu Dhabi is having any problems – they are fine, but 90% of the attendees were coming from countries that are have small revolutions, like Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, and a few place along the Levant. The host and I had a wonderful hour plus discussion on world events and my uptake from the conversation is still echoing in my head as I watch the news today.
The US launched a war against a country that was supposed to have WMD – but did not – Iraq. The French intervened in Cote de Ivoire and capture the President who would not leave. The west encouraged peaceful transitions in government when the uprisings occurred in Tunisia and Egypt. These leaders listened and when they left their assets were frozen in the US and Europe, and now both the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt may face international criminal courts, trial and imprisonment. Iran and North Korea possess WMD and they are left alone while Venezuela has the west held in check because of the oil the west needs from them.
The lesson for leaders of the region are very simple – not one more will leave of their own free will and they will use all necessary means to stay in power. Further, those remaining leaders in the Middle East and Africa will accelerate their pursuit of WMD and resource choke holds on the developed nations – oil be as good as any and with China desperate for oil – they all want China to come in, do some dollar spreading diplomacy and develop any natural resources where the locals can have leverage. The “emoluments” these leaders nay receive will not be found in the west. Hot money will go east and south but not to the west
What the west does matters and two faced approach of please leave peacefully – followed by the loss of their assets and possible their life – is a clear signal to fight to the bitter end. Further what the west has not done – confronting Iran, North Korea and Venezuela is the second lesson of positioning – it a is “Keep Your Hands Off” card that can be played if you have WMD or a vital resource.
There is a several lack of credibility in the authenticity of the west in the world’s eye.
An interesting comment from the eyes of another nations on the west most complexing duality of representations and actions.