Lebanon, America, and Politics

I just read an article by Thomas L. Friedman, who is an opinion columnist for the New York Times … and I felt it was vitally important to share what he had to say.

He began by recounting the recent explosion in Lebanon and then remarked how so many of the people immediately asked, not so much about what happened, but who did it. And more importantly, what political advantage did they gain from the event.

He then went on to point out how these questions demonstrate several similarities between the United States, Lebanon, and other Middle East countries. Of course our natural reaction is, “What similarities! The U.S. isn’t anything like the Middle East!”

I’ll let Friedman answer …

The United States is becoming like Lebanon and other Middle East countries in two respects. First, our political differences are becoming so deep that our two parties now resemble religious sects in a zero-sum contest for power. They call theirs “Shiites and Sunnis and Maronites” or “Israelis and Palestinians.” We call ours “Democrats and Republicans,” but ours now behave just like rival tribes who believe they must rule or die.

Everything is now politics — even the climate, even energy, even face masks in a pandemic.

And when everything becomes politics — and power — a society (and certainly a democracy) eventually dies.

There is no center, there are only sides; there’s no truth, there are only versions; there are no facts, there’s only a contest of wills. 

Friedman goes on to compare Trump with Bibi Netanyahu in Israel, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and Vladimir Putin in Russia and points out how these leaders:

… deliberately try to undermine the guardians of facts and the common good. Their message to their people is: “Don’t believe the courts, the independent civil servants or the fake news generators — only trust me, my words and my decisions.” It’s a jungle out there. My critics are killers (which is what Trump called his press corps on Friday), and only I can protect our tribe from theirs. 

There’s much more, including how Trump has met his match in Mother Nature and  COVID-19. No matter how hard he’s tried to discredit and deflect the pandemic by making it about politics, he has utterly failed.

I urge — yea, implore — you to read the article if for no other reason than to see how extremely important it is that we change the leadership in this country on November 3rd.

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

We Destroy In Order To Save

According to an article on alternet.org, it has been estimated that the number of Libyans killed in the last six months, including civilians and combatants, has exceeded 50,000.

Our intervention, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, has probably claimed more victims than those killed by the former regime.

According to the accepted propaganda, the U.S. is reacting with moral outrage   and military resolve because Gadhafi attacks his citizens. Truth be known, we are acting (once again) as “savior” because Libya has the ninth largest oil reserves in the world!

But this intervention … was never, despite all the high-blown rhetoric surrounding it, about protecting or saving Libyan lives. It was about the domination of oil fields by Western corporations.

War-for-oil

If this were not the case, then why do we ignore (or only perfunctorily acknowledge) the starvation nightmare in the Congo? Where is our humanitarian concern when thousands are dying each and every day?

Time and again, America has been cheered and welcomed by oppressed countries because we were seen as the deliverer … the benefactor of freedom and liberty. UNTIL … the truth comes out about our true purpose. Then we rapidly mutate from liberator to despised enemy.

Once our seizure of Libyan oil becomes clear it will only ramp up the jihadist hatred for America that has spread like wildfire across the Middle East.

Our role in this war and all others that are taking place in the Middle East is NOT about national security.  It is NOT about protecting the U.S. from terrorists. It is NOT about providing a democratic environment for the country’s inhabitants. It is about maintaining “our divine right to the world’s diminishing supply of fossil fuel.”

Americans need to take off their rose-colored glasses. Innocent men, women and children in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan (among others) are being killed almost daily — not to mention the thousands of U.S. service men and women. And for what? So we can have cheap gas.

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman, is reported to have said:

What most Americans do not really understand or admit is: we are living our lifestyles ONLY because it is part of a very, very vicious system of exploitation that dehumanizes and enslaves people everywhere.

It’s time to stop destroying other countries simply to protect the interests of  Western oil companies.