Over the last few weeks, the news has been dominated by uprisings in the Middle East/Islamic countries and, most recently, the problems with the nuclear reactors in Japan arising from the effects of a tsunami. The coverage has been so intense they’ve even (finally) overshadowed Charlie Sheen’s nuclear meltdown.
The Islamic Uprisings
First, let’s clear the air geographically. Egypt and Libya, though both Islamic countries, are also both located on the continent of Africa. So news stories about them that call the issue as something taking place in the “Middle East” are, at the least, sloppy. The problems taking place in Jordan, Yemen and Iran do fit into that description, though, hence my referral to “Middle East/Islamic countries”. A more accurate blanket term.
Ever since these events have begun, there have been calls from both sides of the political aisle for the United States to “do something”. After all, we’re told, these are the stirrings of nascent democracy.
Well, pardon me if I don’t buy that soap.
We were told the same thing when the Palestinian Authority held monitored elections, and who won? Hamas. Not exactly a pro-Western government; not exactly a Western-style democracy; and a regime that’s been turning ever-more repressive to its own “citizens”.
What’s happened in Iraq since they formed their own “democracy”? Not much. A completely inept and corrupt government is now in charge, one that can’t even seem to finalize its constitution. Ineptitude and corruption are par for the course in Islamic countries in that region; it seems to be in the DNA.
You see, “democracy” as we practice it isn’t something that just pops into being at the drop of the hat as a natural state of human affairs. As a matter of fact, our own country – the good old USofA – is the longest-extant democracy (a constitutional republic, which we are, is a form of democracy) in the world, and we’re only less than 300 years old. Western-style democracy is the result of an entire cultural history based on Western mores derived from Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian values. None of that applies to the Middle East or Islamic culture. Frankly, in my opinion, any expectations that the uprisings in the region are going to lead to enlightened democracies as we know them are bound to be disappointed.
The only successful democracies in the region are those of Israel and Turkey. Israel succeeds because it was founded by European refugees of World War 2 and the Holocaust; and Turkey succeeds because, as the country that straddles two continents – Europe and Asia – and was the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire, it is steeped in Western/European values.
If one is to talk about the “normal” state of human affairs, democracy as we know it is actually the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of humanity throughout history has actually lived in some state of repression, despotism, and/or tyranny.
So what, exactly, do those who promote our intervention in these matters expect us to do? And why should we be involved at all?
The only reason the US should be involved in foreign matters is to promote our own national interests. How does getting involved in Egypt or Libya or Syria or Iran or Jordan do that? Once American citizens have evacuated the country at issue, I don’t see how their internal affairs are any of our concern at all, given that whatever new government arises isn’t likely to be any more pro-American than the one that just left the building. Just look at what happened in Iran when the Shah was deposed.
I expect neo-cons – most of whom are Republicans – to constantly promote foreign interference; it’s part of the very definition of “neo-con”. But what’s particularly interesting is the reaction of Dem/libs. When Bush was President and kept us engaged in Iraq on a mission of “democracy-building”, they castigated him to no end. But now that their guy is in the White House, all of a sudden there’s a national imperative to engage in a rampage of that very same democracy-building. We saw the same thing with Clinton and Haiti. Look how well that’s turned out. The capacity for liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Further, there’s the issue of the cost of getting involved militarily in foreign “revolts”, or whatever they are. This country’s completely broke. Period. We’re still engaged in a war in Afghanistan for which I can see no end. We haven’t yet pulled out of Iraq. We can’t even protect our own border with the failing nation-state named Mexico.
Why is anyone even considering getting involved in the tar-baby of even more Middle East/Islamic messes?
Japan’s Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster
Yes, it’s very tragic, sad, and lamentable. But just as this country isn’t the world’s policeman, we’re not the world’s ambulance service, either.
We’re just as broke when it comes to Japan’s problems as we are regarding the Islamic uprisings.
The rest of the world has to learn how to cope with their own problems without constantly coming to us to bail them out. That ship has sailed. We can’t afford it anymore. We have our own problems to deal with. There’s no Money Tree Forest hidden somewhere in the DC suburbs in Virginia.
If some country needs our help, then they can petition us for it, which should include some plan for indemnifying the American taxpayer for the costs involved, plain and simple. Some realistic plan for reimbursing our outlays in helping them, including interest. Otherwise, forget it. We’re not the world’s Red Cross.
The American taxpayer is already buried in debt from profligate government spending, under the administrations of both major parties, and grossly accelerated during the first two years of Obama’s administration. The piggy bank’s not only broken, but the pieces have sunk under a sea of red ink.
The Japanese nuclear crisis also clearly illustrates the specious nature of the Obama/lib fanaticism of “alternative energy sources”. Japan is one of the countries that have, by necessity, come to rely on one of those sources – nuclear power – because of the scarcity of native resources. They have no carbon-based deposits – oil or coal or natural gas – of their own to speak of. They have to import anything of that nature. Nuclear power is the only “alternative” source that’s dependable and consistent.
We hear the green fanatics yakking about wind farms and solar farms… but what happens when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine? That’s the problem. Geothermal can help, but it’s not available in areas that don’t have subsurface geothermal activity (naturally).
That leaves two choices: nuclear power and hydrocarbons, meaning oil, coal, and natural gas. Sources that don’t depend on the vagaries of nature such as windy and sunny days. Japan has no such natural resources and so must use nuclear reactors and import everything else. Our country has those resources in vast quantities. But instead of using them, we have politically created artificial shortages, turning ourselves into net-importers and putting ourselves into a position of dependence on foreign sources of supply. Exactly the position in which Japan finds itself, except self-imposed. That’s insane, as foreign policy, as energy policy, and as fiscal policy. It must be changed. Particularly in light of all the unrest in the Middle East, the source of so much of our imported oil.
That’s the lesson to be learned from Japan’s recent disaster.