For a while now I’ve been thinking of drafting a piece on the West’s complicated and contradictory attempts, through the UN and otherwise, to advance the causes of human rights, oppressed minorities and – well, just the world of geo-politics.
This is a distinctly fraught area of human relationships for all the obvious reasons and the United States of America, as hypocritical as any other country, gets plenty of stick around the world because of its self-appointed role as ‘the world’s policeman’.
Naturally, generally-speaking, any given country’s attitude towards interference in other country’s troubles depends upon who’s doing what.
In the world of sport, the 1980 Moscow Olympics was seriously affected by the West’s (or some of the West’s) official boycott over the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. Later, of course, when the USA and Britain invaded Afghanistan, that was all right – er, that was different.
Take Iraq. When Saddam’s regime went to war with Iran, he was America’s friend. Later, when he switched to being a sufficient ‘baddie’, America and Britain led the 2003 invasion of Iraq and got rid of him. Now, in the wake of the current ISIS fundamentalist problems, some political commentators are beginning to offer revisionist opinions – maybe Saddam wasn’t so bad, at least he kept the lid on such things and held together a country that contains so many incompatible factions, it’s practically ungovernable.
Libya. Egypt. Syria. The West, pursuing geo-political ends via some vague policy to advance the cause of freedom and democracy on the back of the supposed ‘Arab Spring’, gets involved, deposes ‘bad’ regimes … and invariably leaves a mess behind.
On Syria, Russia does its level best to thwart the West’s attempt to help the ‘freedom fighters’ get rid of President Assad. Not because of its view of where right and wrong lies in that conflict, but because of its own geo-political interests, not least its desire to hang on to its own naval port upon the Syrian coast.
Back home, Britain has so many conflicting issues going that reconciling them is almost impossible for anyone with a quaint, old-fashioned, commitment to rational thinking. On the one hand, apparently, EU and Human rights rules make it impossible for Britain to get rid of, or refuse asylum requests from, terrorist agitators.
On the other, we’re out there trying to neutralise various groups of fundamentalist Muslim jihadists in the Middle East, yet somehow simultaneously managing to square this with the fact that we’re regularly laying out the governmental red carpet for – to an extent reliant for funding of our horse racing industry upon – and, of course, selling our defence industry hardware to – the very Middle East regimes (e.g. apparently not least Saudia Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar) who are not only oppressing their own people with vigour but providing most of the funding to the aforementioned jihadists.
My underlying message in this as-yet-unpenned article was going to be that, in the sphere of geo-politics, principles have little to do with anything.
Yesterday, I finally decided to shelve my plans to produce such a piece, largely because the issues involved were so difficult and confusing that I couldn’t quite get my head around them in any coherent fashion … or should that be better stated ‘in a fashion that would give the reader the impression that I was being coherent’?
Ah well, the world still keeps turning …
Here’s a piece by Carne Ross that appears today on the website of THE GUARDIAN