Six years into his presidency it is difficult to think of a single, substantial foreign policy initiative that US president George Bush has pursued that did not involve war, or the threat of it. There is good reason for this. It is the one area in which America reigns supreme, accounting alone for 40% of the global military expenditure and spending almost seven times the amount of its nearest rival, China......Quite.
Last week the country that aspires to lead the free world stood alongside only Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands and against 170 countries in rejecting the creation of a new UN council to protect human rights. Only the US and Somalia (which has no recognised government) have failed to ratify the UN convention on the rights of the child....
Meanwhile, elections keep on producing the wrong results. Hamas is in power in Palestine; René Préval, the protege of Jean-Bertrand Aristide whom the US helped remove in a coup two years ago, won the presidency in Haiti; Ahmed Chalabi, the protege of the neocons whom the US wanted to impose on the Iraqi people at the outset of the war, could not win a single seat. Elsewhere, voters in Latin America have opted for leaders who campaigned against the neoliberal economic strictures imposed by Washington.
The issue is not whether the developing world is ready for democracy - as the administration keeps arguing - but if the US is ready for the democratic choices made by the developing world.
March 20, 2006
Leader of the free world?
I never really took much notice of Gary Younge until David Aaronovitch misrepresented him in an article a week or so ago. But here's quite a good one in the Guardian today.