The Beacon Of Light With Dark Overcast Shadows
28 February 2016
By Dr Hameedullah
Henry Kissinger – the father of America's foreign policy – rationalized and
formulated America's foreign policy for the twenty first century. In his book
‘Diplomacy' he argues that America is the torch-bearer of liberty across the
world. She is the beacon of light which radiates liberty and democracy across
the world. Therefore she must adopt a foreign policy that spreads democracy
and liberty across the world. Other nations must be coopted or – if need be –
coerced to emulate her form of government.
When George Bush Junior invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, he was presumably
guided by these very same principles. America began her earnest crusade to
bring democracy to the Middle East. Supposedly tyrant regimes were to be
replaced with peaceful and democratic governments. Even before the 9/11
attacks many of America's foreign policy initiatives were rationalized by the
same arguments of promoting peace, human rights and democracy.
Yet if you dig deeper into America's foreign policy and its impact you can see
that this beacon of light instead of spreading light has left behind dark and
ugly shadows. Shadows that hide hideous monsters in its depths. Let us take
the case of Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Iraq, America toppled the Sunni-dominated government of Saddam Hussein only
to replace it with an equally repressive Shite-dominated government that has
killed and imprisoned tens of thousands of its citizens. During Nouri al
Maliki and Abadi's tenures, quasi-legal militias have stripped Iraqi citizens
of all their rights. Summary executions, arbitrary arrests, the torching of
houses, forced repopulations and systematic genocide have become the norm.
The Iraq of Abadi and Maleki is even more brutal and repressive than the
government of Saddam Hussein. Yet America continues to support this government
with funds, troops and military equipment. By supporting this government it
flaunts its own law prohibiting assistance towards foreign governments accused
of grave human rights violations.
Similarly in Afghanistan, America propped up a government that has no
legitimacy within the country. Hated by its citizens the Kabul regime only
survives as a result of America's military and financial commitment. War
criminals such as General Dostum and General Raziq are awarded the highest
government posts for their brutality. Citizens are summarily executed,
tortured, bombed, and plundered off their private property. America is the
architecture of this governments and many of the policies which have created
the current environment of impunity.
It was America that initiated the ALP program which led to the formation of
the most brutal and violent militias currently operating in Afghanistan.
Instead of punishing grave violators of international human rights, America
has openly rewarded such perpetuators so long as they remain in America's good
books. Serial rights violators such as Commander Raziq of Kandahar and
Commander Matiullah of Uruzgan were promoted from menial jobs and rewarded the
top military posts of their provinces. Some of the most violent warlords in
Afghanistan's history – such as General Dostum, Atta Mohammed Noor, and Sayyaf
– have consistently enjoyed top government posts throughout the occupation.
It is not only that America has encouraged her allies to do her dirty laundry,
rather she herself has been quite eager to get her hands dirty. Guantanamo
Bay, Abu Ghraib and Bagram – all operated by America at some point – have
become synonymous with torture and inhumane treatment. The previous
vice-president of America, Dick Cheney, to this day proudly boasts of his role
in America's torture regime.
It has not just been in Afghanistan and Iraq, everywhere you look in the
Middle East you will notice America's support of oppressive regimes. Instead
of supporting the Arab Springs for example, America actively worked to counter
it. They supported Sisi's coup against the elected government of Mohammed
Morsi. While they helped to topple Muammar Qaddafi, yet they then began
supporting an unelected and unpopular government based in Tobruk against the
other factions. In Syria they have only paid lip service to the rebellion
against the genocidal policies of Bashar Assad. Instead of strengthening the
opposition against Assad's regime, she has only fragmented it by labelling
some as ‘moderates' and others as ‘extremists'. Her military campaign has only
strengthened Assad's grip on power.
When you study the lofty aims of her foreign policy as articulated by
Kissinger and the ground impact of these policies you can only conclude that
while America might possibly be a beacon of light for the world, this beacon
in fact has dark overcast shadows that consumed all around it.