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Decolonization is every tyrant’s dream
Why is the foreign policy of the Democrats the opposite of their domestic policies?
I’m of Iraqi and Lebanese origins. I grew up in a civil war, and survived a couple of other wars. I worked as a journalist in Lebanon and Iraq, know both countries well, and still have hundreds of cousins, family and friends there.
In America, I’ve always been a Democrat, donating and voting. But I have a major problem with the Democratic Party’s foreign policy: It is the reverse of everything the party stands for domestically.
Here in America, we the Democrats think that our government cannot be too small, that it has to help the poor, house them, offer them medical care, empathize with refugees from other countries, be generous with our global aid. As a cherry on top, we believe that justice should prevail globally, that other nations should not live in fear or want.
To many Democrats, the globe would have been peaceful and just, had it not been for the evil of colonialism. Hence, these Democrats think that decolonization is the way forward: America should leave the world alone, hence peace and harmony will prevail. But this is exactly where the Democratic foreign policy goes wrong.
The world is not, and has never been, fair or peaceful. Before the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, civilizations conquered and enslaved one another, routinely. Enlightenment, however, brought new ideas of liberty and equality, to be guaranteed by elected governments.
It took many revolutions, civil wars and world wars before Enlightenment ideas struck roots in the bloc that we call today “the West.” Geographically speaking, the bloc is not exactly in the West, but includes Japan, South Korea and Australia, all in the East. This global bloc, however, endorses ideas of democracy and liberty that originated in the West.
Outside “the West,” the world still lives in its primordial state, where might is right. But “the West” decided to extend its humanity outside its borders and decolonize. In almost each of the decolonized countries, the quality of life declined drastically after decolonization, so much so that nationals of past colonies either migrated to their former colonizers, or now describe their colonial past as “the golden age.”
As I type these lines, the West continues evolving into a more just and humane society, with formerly downtrodden groups — such as women and minorities — winning equal rights and participating in decision-making and wealth-sharing. Proponents of this kind of change, however, believe that — along similar lines — decolonization should continues. This is where Democrats fail to understand that the rest of the world has not kept up with the pace of societal and political evolution of “the West.” Decolonization has resulted in the rise of brutal tyrants. Further decolonization will result in further brutality.
As an illustration, think of the Korean Peninsula and compare the decolonized North Korea with South Korea, where American military bases and influence are still present. The south is clearly faring much better than the north. If Democrats, or “the West” at large, care about the lives and wellbeing of peoples, then they should advocate more colonization rather than decolonization.
Colonization, however, is a relic of the past. Western people do not have the bandwidth, the resources, or the moral justification to occupy or colonize other people. Yet democracies have other tools with which they can intervene to help countries escape tyranny and poverty. Through sanctions on regimes, diplomatic pressure, and development aid, “the West” can help non-Western countries evolve toward liberty and democracy. World peace might then prevail.
When The Intercept celebrates Mr. Rob Malley’s appointment as Envoy on Iran as being part of decolonization of “Third World” peoples, the article offends global populations twice: First for calling them Third World, and second for believing that Malley, an advocate of “seeing things from the perspective” of those at odds with US,” will help the populations, rather than their tyrants, with his decolonization plans.
As I type these lines, Iran regime militias are hunting down anti-tyranny and pro-democracy activists in Iraq and Lebanon, the last of whom was my dear friend Lokman Slim, assassinated in Lebanon last week.
I try to advocate on behalf of friends and family in Lebanon and Iraq. I write Op-Eds and send them to The New York Times and The Washington Post. But US media continuously ignores my articles, perhaps because they do not fall inline with their world views. Instead, the Times publishes Mr. Malley’s views on how to fix the world. Thus colonialism wins again: Westerners like Malley and US media tell “Third World” peoples what is in their best interest, leaving them to their fate, and pretending that such policy is the higher moral ground.