Tuesday, August 24, 2004

No blood for oil... 

...but don't worry, it's somewhere else, where it doesn't matter, because it's Arabs, and not the Americans, killing the blacks.

Welcome to
Sudan. No Halliburton here, so not much interest or outcry from the international community and the usual clique of caring government who are always "concerned" about human right issues wherever and whenever the United States is involved militarily or commercially:

"China, India, Malaysia and some European countries are dramatically expanding business ties with Sudan, taking advantage of U.S. sanctions that bar American companies from operating here, local officials and foreign diplomats say.

"Companies from those countries — some of which are at least partially state-owned — are investing billions of dollars and working closely with the Khartoum government with little concern about its role in recent mass killings in Sudan's Darfur region, Western diplomats say."
And yes, I wasn't joking - there is oil involved:

"While Washington has begged the world -- and pressured the United Nations Security Council -- to send peacekeeping troops to Sudan to quell the sectarian fighting that has put a million refugees at risk, China has already deployed 4,000 troops to Sudan. But those troops are there only to protect China's investment in an oil pipeline. China is concerned that civil unrest could wreck the oil project. It has actually been hostile to U.S. pressure to impose economic sanctions on the Arab government in Khartoum, a key Chinese client, buyer of Chinese arms and partner in oil exploration.

"It was also telling that China was a major opponent at the Security Council of the war against Iraq, in large part because China had obtained prospective contracts with Saddam Hussein for exclusive exploitation of some oil fields. But perhaps the most worrisome prospect for U.S. policymakers is China's burgeoning attempt to secure ties with Saudi Arabia, the world's arbiter of the oil market, taking advantage of the Saudi regime's tensions with Washington since the 9/11 attacks."
Hypocrisies are quite breathtaking.

The charge has been made so frequently against the US so as to become a stock-standard response whenever an American official speaks about spreading freedom and democracy: the United States only uses lofty language to disguise is ruthless drive for world political, military and economic domination. America's critics have been very successful at claiming the moral high ground and the strategy of hijacking the humanitarian terminology has paid off quite well in propaganda dividends - after all, it's not easy to argue against the self-proclaimed defenders of "human rights", "peace", or "international community."

Yet, while America is traditionally presumed guilty of rhetorical abuse, the same sort of scrutiny is rarely applied to other states or international institutional actors. Would it be so, it might all too often emerge that some of the most passionate public defenders of "peace", "cooperation", "international law" and "human rights" use these terms not as a shield to protect the victims of war, oppression and injustice, but a sword to attack the United States and its allies.

There are many genuine humanitarians out there, compassionate albeit occasionally misguided good souls, but they seem to be largely unaware that their ethos has been infiltrated and colonized by others, who play on the world opinion's heartstrings out of cold, hard political calculation. The language might be one of high morality, but the objectives are quite down to earth: either own commercial advancement (see the Sudan example above, where the concern about American "imperialism" is used to deflect attention away from one's own interests elsewhere) or a strategic powerplay to weaken the hegemon and thus improve own relative position in the international scheme of things.

So next time you scan the news, beware of wolves in humanitarian sheep's clothes, and angels of compassion who speak with forked tongues. The "peace-makers" might indeed be blessed and the "meek" could still inherit the earth, but only if we allow ourselves to be bamboozled by their pious rhetoric and allow them to get away with it.


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