Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 23 October 2003

Timely US intervention


Editorial, Kenya Times: Kenyan opposition newspaper

NAIROBI, Oct. 23, 2003 — THE US often finds itself in a dilemma. When she declines to engage a country, she is accused of diplomatic boycott. When she engages, she earns scorn for interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations!

When the Americans choose not to trade with this or that country, she is accused of economic boycott but often when she does enter trade ties Washington is blamed for exerting imperial control using its economic might.

These analogies make a lot of sense, especially in the mind of the apologists of US foreign policy, for it accords Washington the carte blanche to rationalise any imperialistic designs it chooses on any nation.

The seductive logic established above seems to suggest that when it comes to foreign policy and international relations, there can only two options, no middle ground or third opinion.

It provides the ideological basis for the dogmatism with which the US has approached every issue on earth since the day it discarded the Monroe Doctrine, to the day she dropped the atom bomb on Japan, helped create the state of Israel and oversaw the end of Soviet communism.

The collapse of Soviet empire bolstered this dogmatism a little more for, after dispatching the former USSR to the dust bin of history, Washington, formally translated its eminent roles into a medium for effective control of the world.

To the White House and whoever occupies it being the sole superpower, affords America, the opportunity to forget its duties to the world while arrogating it rights to interfere in any place on earth, pontificating over every policy, including those that run against international law and consensus.

The George Walker Bush years have perfected this double-speak and dogmatism. September 11 was the perfect opportunity for the US to roll out its war machine and economic might afresh when Washington as good as decreed that the world must capitulate to its definitions of terrorism and the options she has taken on such issues.

Bush declared some states the "Axis of evil" and decreed that in the so called war on terrorism "you are either with us or against us". It is as simple as that, no middle ground.

Today, we in Kenya, are in a way feeling the extent of this simple logic. We are involved in the mediation of the Sudan and Somalia peace talks. The Somalia case is as good as gone. Colin Powel has arrived in Kenya to ’’lend support’’ to the negotiations between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement, SPLM and the Khartoum authorities.

For decades, the US has boycotted the Sudan government branding it a terrorist regime and bombing it once but doing nothing to end its internal slaughter of the innocent. Today Washington is ready to push the peace efforts forward. Is all this a strategic or humanitarian gesture? Are the efforts we are seeing designed to put Khartoum on its side for the sake of medium and long term designs? And what of Kenya’s interests? Or we are expected to accede to it for the sake of economic and diplomatic succour.

US rarely involves itself in a conflict out of genuine moral concerns for if she did, the Sudan matter would have been solved many years ago. Which compels one to ask: Is the US bent on setting up a military base on the East Coast of Africa at the Lamu archipelago?

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