America blames the victims of their failed foreign policies
Posted on June 30th, 2014

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Part I

 The events unraveling in the Middle East has proved that the vaunted Arab spring” has turned into America’s searing summer of wild fires exploding unpredictably in diverse Islamic fronts without competent firemen to hose down the unmanageable conflagration. It confirms that America has lost its grip on managing and/or directing global politics according to its agenda.

 Global events spinning out of America’s control is another sign of declining power of America. Its shrinking power has manifested in two main ways. On the one hand, America has lost its way in the flowery rhetoric of President Obama. His grand standing speech in the Cairo University has ended in producing two extremes in Egypt : 1. the democracy of the Muslim Brotherhood led by Mohammed Morsi and 2. the dictatorship of the military that overthrew the Morsi government elected by the Egyptians. Both situations have placed America in a dilemma : America could  not act against  the democratically elected government of Morsi nor could it act against the illegal  coup of Gen. Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Action  against Morsi would have been condemned as betraying America’s commitment to democratic principles. And action against Sisi would have been against America’s self-interests. America’s  powers and options are so limited that it is left standing, watching Egypt sliding into virtual chaos. 

 On the other hand, and more damagingly, America is sinking in a bottomless debt hole running into trillions, inhibiting its power to act as  freely as it did in its hegemonic days.. The Washington Post (September 5, 2010) revealed that the Iraqi war has cost $3 trillion. Quoting Prof. Joseph E. Stiglitz of the Columbia University and Linda J. Bilmes of Harvard University, it said that if anything, it ($3trillion) is too low”. Mark Thompson of TIME    ( June 29, 2011) reported that the real cost of the war on terror, since 9/11 ( including the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan) is $5 trillion. And counting. The report of the Brown University’s Watson Institute of International Studies, put the total deaths at an extremely conservative estimate” to be 225,000 with 365,000 wounded. These grim statistics lead to the ineluctable  question : after investing men, money and material what has America got in return other than an incurable cancer eating into its body politic?

 The advertised role of America in Iraq was to restore democracy and stabilize the divided nation. America strategy was to train and equip an Iraqi force to take on the responsibilities after it leaves Iraq. According to estimates, America invested 25 billion in building up the Iraqi forces alone. But when the armed forces of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) / Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) attacked Mosul and Tikrit the American-trained Iraqi soldiers shed their military uniform and fled. Having withdrawn earlier President Obama is dithering  not knowing whether to send troops again or not. Unable to face the reality of the total failure of American policy President Obama and the State Department are blaming Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, who was handpicked and planted in Baghdad by America as their man. It’s like Vietnam all over again. They planted a Roman Catholic Din Diem in a majority Buddhist country assuming that he was the answer to the deteriorating situation in Vietnam. But the American cure was worse  than the Vietnamese disease. In the end CIA moved in swiftly to assassinate him because their solution proved to the problem.

 With a few exceptions, the failure of Big  Powers to fix internal affairs of other troubled nations has been a recurring feature. Big Powers assume that they know the answer and when their interventions fail they blame the victims of their misguided meddlesome politics. Right now America is blaming Maliki for the rise ISIS forces advancing  towards Baghdad. India’s role in Sri Lanka is another example. India too stepped in assuming that they can solve the minority issue  of the Tamils. In the end it is the minority Tamils that turned against India and helped the Sri Lankan government to not only throw out  the IPKF forces but also went to the extreme of assassinating India’s Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, the God-father of Indian intervention. After the failure of Indian intervention in Sri Lanka the Big Powers of the West, headed by the Erik Solheim, intervened. They gave the north and the east, with the consent of Ranil Wickremesinghe, to the Boko Haramist of Jaffna. In the end the Scandinavian Peace Monitors complained that Prabhakaran, the Tamil mass murderer, violated 95% of the terms and conditions of the peace agreement. Nor did a single theory, formula, paradigm imported from the West by the NGOs, foreign-funded flunkeys, worked to restore peace. At the end of the day it was the home-grown solution that ended the 33-year-old Vadukoddai War.

 Whether it is the Middle East, Vietnam or Sri Lanka – three outstanding crises in the global calendar of the 20th and 21st centuries – the finger points to the foreign interventionists who had bungled their missions abroad. This is not to say that they have no role to play in maintaining global order for peace and stability. This is to emphasize that their role must be limited and proportionate to each flash-point which has the potential to destabilize global peace. Before jumping in  with both feet Big Powers must first learn when to jump in, when to jump out and when to keep away from it all. Invariably they fail because they rush into places where prudent forces fear to tread. The result is a total disaster for all parties concerned.

 In the three cases mentioned above the role of the interventionists has worsened the situation, leading to deaths and destruction that could have been avoided if they did not rush in to poke their unwanted fingers in the domestic affairs of each case. In the Middle East, in particular, the interventions had undoubtedly exacerbated the ground situation leading to post-interventionist period of chaos. It is America that should be held responsible for subsequent excesses that flowed from their ill-conceived military operations which failed to restore peace, democracy and stability. Eventually, the burden of restoring  normalcy has fallen on the lap of the regimes taking over from the foreign interventionists.

 The legacy of the failed policies of the interventionists gather a momentum of their own, adding to the burdens of the victims of interventionists. The unbearable part of the post-interventionist period is the callous disregard of the interventionists for the consequences they leave behind. At this point they disown total responsibility and gang up to accuse the victims of their follies, as if they had no hand in it. They pretend as if they have been the misunderstood do-gooders who were not allowed to fulfill their constructive role. This is the ruse they adopt in the post-interventionist phase to absolve themselves and divert attention away from their responsibilities arising from misguided roles. They come in on the principle   of Responsibility to Protect. When they leave there is none to take on the Responsibility for the Destruction and Chaos they leave behind. Overnight they turn into Pontius Pilates passing  the buck to victims of their destruction. This washing  of  hands, coupled with the tactic of blaming their victims, is absolutely hypocritical and counterproductive for their own domestic stability and that of the world at large.

 With all the glaring examples behind them, America and India should have learnt the lessons of history. But will they ever?  Compare, for  instance, the developments in  post-war Iraq with post-war Sri Lanka. Saddam Hussain fell  in 2003 and Velupillai Prabhakaran fell in 2009. After 10 years and billions poured into Iraq, under  the protection of the Super Power of the world,  ISIS/ISIL forces are knocking on the gates of Baghdad. The ISIS/ISIL forces have knocked all American investments for over ten years into a cocked hat. America has been humiliated once again. Iraq was the showpiece of America’s war against terror. With the moving events running against its power and glory will America admit its failure in Iraq? The future of Iraq is hanging in  the balance.

 Compare that with the five post-war years in Sri Lanka. The  progress made so far, without American billions or protection, has  been remarkable. The restoration of (1) peace, (2) democracy  and (3) the elimination of extremist violence in the north and the east are  three outstanding achievements which  USA could not achieve in Iraq. These are  three  indispensable factors for any nation to  rebuild and rise from the ashes of a war. But the Atul Keshap, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, pops in for  three days and tells the media that nothing much has been achieved within  five years to satisfy him.  He is  reported in the media as saying : Five years since the war ended I have not seen any meaningful negotiations of the very tricky political issues related to federalism.” The wording is significant. He is not talking  of Provincial Councils, or 13+ but of federalism” –  the unmentionable f” word in the Sri Lankan political vocabulary. It is the explosive word that initially ignited the fires that consumed the north and the south. So is his mission to here to ease tensions and promote peace or to stoke the fires of violence again and then blame the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL)?.

 Keshap is also concerned about the time frame. He is impatient that GOSL has not advanced towards federalism” – America’s goal – in five years. Before blaming  GOSL can he tell the people of Sri Lanka how much successive American governments have achieved in Iraq, leaving aside other countries in the Middle East, during the ten years it occupied Iraq? He can’t be unaware that after reconstructing Iraq for ten years American polices and strategies have collapsed overnight and even President  Obama is not sure of what to do next. But Keshap wants Sri Lanka to wave the magic wand within five years and fix everything to his  satisfaction. Somebody should take him  to the Galle Face Green, hand him a kite and ask him to fly it, if he has nothing better to do!

 Keshap is typical of the bumptious panjandrums of the State Department who presumptuously write prescriptions for the rest of the world without introspectively examining what is wrong with America where the quacks repeat compulsively the wrong mantras for diseases baffling the hacks in the think-tanks and State Department. They can’t even read and interpret messages sent by their own embassies like in the case of terrorist attack on Benghazi embassy where three American diplomats, including Ambassador, were killed. They couldn’t decipher the difference between a terrorist attack and a mob attack. That is the pathetic and parlous state of American foreign policy.

 America’s prescriptions for the global cures are no better than the blankets they offered to the sick the Red Indians – the blankets offered as cures were infected with contagious diseases to wipe out the helpless Indians. These days they don’t offer infected blankets to their helpless victims. These days they send drones to wipe out those human beings they don’t like. It’s the same old death-dealing policy of human extermination but with different tools.

 At the root of the disjointed and disastrous foreign policy is a mental paralysis which has  disabled the intellectual capacity of the State Department to objectively analyze the ground realities and arrive at rational and pragmatic conclusions for the good of global peace and stability. The world is lurching  from crisis to crisis because the American interventionists are engaged  actively in making bad situations worse. The likes  of Keshap pose a serious  threat to global peace  because they can neither get their facts straight nor make comparative studies to  guide  them in formulating policies that can at least serve the self-interests of America. 

 Keshap has merely repeated in Sri Lanka what their flunkeys in NGOs have been saying ever since the war ended five years ago. After the end of the war – perhaps, the most lucrative business for the foreign-funded flunkeys in NGOs – these merchants of death have been marketing the hacked theme of finding  a political solution” because that is the only card they can play to scrape in a few more  dollars from their paymasters in the West. Now if all what Keshap can do is to repeat what the NGOs have been saying then he is either superfluous or a useless broken record running boringly in the  same groove  of  NGOs. If he keeps doing that he will end up only as an expensive parrot caged  inside  a cubicle in the State Department.

 What America  needs now is a State Department that can think creatively outside the box. Obviously, Keshap and Ambassadress Michele Sisson lack the capacity to either make a comparative analysis of the progress made so far in Sri Lanka or to analyze the pragmatic parameters within which a realistic solution, taking into consideration the entire gamut of historical experiences, can be achieved with their backing. It is in the self-interest of America to get out of the rut. There is no future in defending the failed policies of the past. If America aims to retain its leadership in the future then it must abandon its failed policies of past.

 American can make a new start with Sri Lanka.

2 Responses to “America blames the victims of their failed foreign policies”

  1. AnuD Says:

    What America needs now is a State Department that can think creatively outside the box.

    Ha…ha.. Mahindapala is WRONG. They computer – simulate every thing and they do it to make the USA is the SOLE SUPER POWER in the world. The draw back of that is variables change very often. They don’t change their software every year. In other words, they use obsolete policies.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Quoting the article: “What America needs now is a State Department that can think creatively outside the box.”

    It cannot. Unlike the Congress, Senate or the Presidency the employees of the State Department have lifetime careers. They are not elected by the people and by that not beholden to the people of the US. In many ways it shares some characteristics of the Supreme Court whose members are appointed to a lifetime position by the President.

    But in the case of the State Department no one appoints them. They are hired and stay hired till they retire. Many of the failed foreign policies of the US is because the State Department has the final say on these matters. They cannot “think outside of the box” because they will not think outside of the box.

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