Wednesday, June 27, 2007

British imperialism - today's world

I am not a big believer in world police. Specially, a superpower that thinks it can encroach upon the sovereignty of other nations, particularly, when the occupied lands have resources that are valuable to the superpower (read invader).

I am a person who believes that Americans are a proud and honest race and those who believe in the freedom of an individual. Individual includes a poor child in Sudan and not just Paris Hilton driving drunk on LA streets.

I feel so discouraged that the US just sits and watches while millions perish in regions like Sudan and makes a big issue about the tyranny of Saddam in Iraq. It chooses to pick its fights, fights which will protect its strategic interests. IF the war was fought publicly for oil, instead of the current freedom facade, I would have been happier. It is a great injustice to millions who perish under cruel regimes in Africa and elsewhere while the US fights a lost cause in Iraq. I am not of the opinion that it is US's responsibility to fight tyranny in the world. However, if they do choose to do it, I want them to do it for the real cause. US has already lost tremendous political equity in the world today. I wish the next administration is more prudent in its foreign policy decisions.

A short detour into British history, before I make another point in this post. In the mid nineteenth century, cotton that was grown in India was taken by the British to their homeland, spun into cloth at the famous Manchester mills and brought back to India to be sold to Indians. The cotton growers gained little value in this process, and this was classic exploitation - a characteristic trade tactic of the imperialistic british empire. It does not matter what anyone says about the noble burden of the white man to civilize the third world. Encroaching on the freedom of another human being cannot be tolerated - irrespective of what the underlying reason.

I see an analogy that is really close to what had happened during British imperialism. The interests of the nations that had the resources were shattered at the expense of businessmen and bankers in London. In the present times, countries like Venezuela and Iran are trying to create an alliance and gang up against the US because they fear Big Oil - companies that stand for a good portion of US interest in sensitive regions of the world as of today. Big Oil will not benefit the countries where it drills for oil.

It is easy to blame these countries for their perils and say that they elect ineffective regimes that have caused more damage. I agree. However, what is it that the rest of the world has done to help build stable institutions in such countries? Do we have the right to point fingers hen we have no interest except looting these off their most valuable national resource?

US fights the war in Iraq in the name of freedom, at the same time supporting a military regime in Pakistan and a monarchy in Saudi Arabia and tolerating a communist trading partner. Such strategic positioning makes me wonder, if my belief in what the US stands for is wrong after all.

I like the American way of life - freedom and honesty, as much as I hate its insularity and ignorance of other cultures. I wish, things change. I wish the US had a more sensible foreign policy and respect the interests of other nations as well.

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