Again with the recent (planned and provoked) situation in the middle east, and earlier with the “Arab Spring”/Egyptian elections I am having flashbacks brought on by the right to the Reagan/Bush era.
The mindset that free and fair elections applies *only* to the US- and everyone else in the world must bend to our interests…or else. So what if the people of an independent country, in free and fair elections (at least as close as we pull off in this country) elect an islamist leaning government. Or socialist. Or communist. Or Marxist. That is the VERY ideal this country was founded on- the freedom of the will of the people to elect a government that they feel suits their needs. And to reap the benefits- or suffer the consequences of that decision (just as we do).
Make no mistake- the 2012 election IS about the core of american ideals. But despite what the right, and increasingly the very far right is trying to tell you- it is about the freedom of the people- in this country and around the world- to make their own decisions. Romney and Ryan intend to take us backwards- to an era where America forces her will not only on the american people, but the world. To serve the interests not of the people who inhabit our country and others- but the industries- and the people who run them, who seek control…and profit.
I was appaled when the Muslim Brotherhood did so well in the Egyptian elections- their first free and fair elections in decades. Not that they won. But that the right screamed that the people, casting their own voice for their leadership, was denounced as a travesty. Because it’s not what those on the right would have chosen. And because it doesn’t toe the line of american interests.
It is amazing, and depressing, that those most prone to wrap themselves in the flag- are so willing to abandon the very core of what it stands for because things don’t match what they want to believe it stands for.
I was born in 1970. And while I strangely remember little of my childhood, I can vividly remember the nightly news at the tail end of the Vietnam war. Indeed, I became a news junkie at an early age…by family accounts being glued to the nightly news on a regular basis by age 6, and demanding to stay up not to watch prime TV, but the 10 o’clock on news. (For the younger generation for whom this may be unfathomable I grew up with 3 networks, and an independent station out of DC).
So, needless to say perhaps I came of age during the Reagan/Bush era. And with my predilections, and growing up in the DC/Camp David/Underground Pentagon area, and having many family members and family friends in the intelligence services, I became rather dialed in to international politics.
I still can’t believe Reagan is hailed as a hero of the right. Or maybe I should say I can;t understand the mindset that would allow this. I’ll ignore the domestic issues, many as they are, and keep to the international front.
The Reagan/Bush administrations were the last vestiges of not only the cold war, but of manifest destiny, and a belief that american ideals, well, only applied to America. The number of “Dirty little wars”, the number of “friendly dictators”…the number of innocent deaths, tortures, and atrocitieis commited in the name of america are…shall we say…disturbing.
Never mind the dangerous game Reagan played with the russians (or his famous “Hot mic” moment, “the soviet union has been declared and outlaw nation- bombing begins in 5 minutes” that almost resulted in a nuclear exchange). An arms race which is gamble was right- it bankrupted the soviet union- but created a debt which we will continue paying for for generations.
But throughout south and central america they persued a policy of supporting “friendly dictators”, of supporting juntas, assinations, rebels- often overthrowing or fighting governments who had been duly elected by their people…simply because they were less communist/marxist/socialist…. more willing to play ball with america- and american corporations.
Then of course Sadam Hussein. Who we supplied weapons of mass destruction. While supplying Iran with conventional weapons. Playing both sides of that war. And of course the Iran arm sales were tied into moving cocaine for the Contras, while illegally selling them weapons in their campaign or murder, rape, and terror against their duly elected government. (Yes, Iran-Contra – a defining moment when americans bitched their soap operas were being interrupted by the hearings.). And yes- as some of you who follow my blog already know- one of my relatives was among the highest ranking people actually convicted during the Iran-Contra fiasco).