Whatever happens, we have got The Maxim gun, and they have not."
—Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc
It was the great Simón Bolívar who said: "The United States appears to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty."
As a citizen of the world it's becoming increasingly difficult for me not to think that the gods destined the West to plague the rest of mankind.
I have often wondered what it'd be like to be a citizen of a Western nation. What does it feel like to belong in a society that has such scant regard for human lives, and one that has such fickle understanding of basic human relationships?
What does it feel like to belong in a place where friendship fizzles away at the flick of fingers and allegiances are not even skin deep?
I know all about Lord Palmerston's assertion that "There are no permanent allies, no permanent friends, only permanent interests," and I have read George Orwell's classic, Nineteen Eighty-Four. But how would I feel to be led by people whom I see kissing somebody today and raining bombs on him tomorrow?
I really don't know.
I lived in the West and still visit occasionally, but the place remains as incomprehensible to me as though it exists in another planetary system. The mentality of the leadership/scholarship of the Western world remains enigmatic to me. And when you thought you have seen it all, they come up with a whopper that dwarfs everything you considered insane about them.
I was old enough to remember the Iran-Iraq war where, as is usual in any trouble spot in our wide world, the West took sides. They supported a rather nasty customer because they were still peeved by their loss in Iran -- like the country belonged to them. They goaded Saddam Hussein to spend a great part of his national income to buy their arms. They gleefully sold the dictator all he needed to give himself the illusion of grandeur.
A few years later, Saddam had an issue with the West's latest paramour, the rulers of British-invented Kuwait. With dizzying speed, the West changed sides. With alacrity, they assembled the coalition that raced with dispatch to destroy the weapons they sold to their erstwhile puppet.
Jules Henry wrote one very excellent essay I read during my school days. It was titled: "Social and Psychological Preparation for War," which was originally published in The Dialectics of Liberation (Penguin, 1968).
Mr. Henry informed us of the reason why it is very easy for the United States to wage wars at the drop of a hat, so to speak. He wrote:
It is clear, therefore, that in preparation for modern war an interdependent world political economy has within it sufficient conflicts of interest to make all nations potential enemies to all others. One of the "evolutionary achievements" of modern culture has been to make the idea that "anybody can be my enemy at any time" acceptable. A consequence of the definition of the enemy as part of one's own social system is a psychological predisposition to accept almost any nation at all as inimical when the government chooses to so define it.
I have on my computer system pictures of "democratic" leaders like Britain's Tony Blair, King Sarkozy, and Emperor Barack Obama meeting with and shaking the hands of Muammar Qaddafi. I also have pictures of Berlusconi kissing Qaddafi's hand.
That this same man, who today has been successfully morphed into an ogre, received warm embraces from many Western leaders is easily forgotten by Western pundits.
Today, without any compunction, without even batting an eyelid, Western leaders are falling over themselves to condemn the man whom they were welcoming like a bosom friend just a few months ago. Today, their planes are raining bombs on the North African nation.
They needed him then and he knew it. Having bankrupted themselves in fighting their insane wars, and to bolster their insatiable and gluttonous lifestyles, they needed infusions of raw cash, which Qaddafi happens to have in abundance.