02-13-10, 09:12 PM #1
Iran, Iran, Iran, what about Congo?
All the attention on Iran is interesting Psychologically. I am becoming more and more convinced that even the more intelligent and more logical humans are 90% irrational, self deceptive and emotionally driven.
What does all this attention on Iran indicate about how we relate to foreign affairs? What does the lack of attention on Congo say about how we relate to foreign affairs?
I think Americans and to a lessor but still significant degree everybody is filtering foreign affairs news through a filter of being for or against the policies of the American foreign policy hawks and their allies and the type of international global order that they seek to impose on the world.
Some of us think global order imposed by American foreign policy hawks would be a good thing and some of us think that type of global order would be a bad thing.
There is a psychological need for their to be a tangible enemy nation as a counterpoint to the USA or more accurately the USA's foreign policy hawks and it's allies. Russia is no longer that need symbolic counterpoint.
The non-Israel centric wing of PNAC saw China as that enemy and saw invading Iraq as a necessary defense against China but their ideas are way to wonkish and Machiavellian to resonate with normal people. Normal people connect to variations on the archetypal story of valiant prince saving the damsels in distress from the evil dragon. Other than some discord fearing super-moderates, most people or at least most Americans cast the USA foreign policy hawks as either the valiant prince or cast the USA foreign policy hawks as the evil dragon.
Iran gets sucked into the drama because Al Qaeda is not tangible enough to be a leading character in the foreign affairs drama. Islam itself does not work well as a Central character though some are putting Islam in that role. The Palestinians, Venezuela and North Korea don't work well as the dragon because they just are not scary enough. Some people can get worked up around the word Socialism but global advocates for Socialism are very weak especially compared to what they once were. For those that cast the American hawks as the valiant Prince Iran almost must be cast as the dragon by default. No other nation is being openly confrontational against the USA/Western Hawks.
Iran is really not very relevant. Iran is more democratic and less oppressive than a large number of the world's nations though only because so many nations are completely undemocratic and repressive. The fact that Iran gets criticized for repression and these nations don't get criticized shows that it is Iran's relationship to the USA that is significant to making Iran a story and not anything about Iran itself that matters. There is not much discussion about India and Pakistan's and Israel's nuclear weapons so I don't buy that nuclear proliferation is the reason for Iran being a story. Iran is no more irrational than other nations. Iran is no more rogue than other nation's unless your definition of rogueness is whether a nation does whatever the US government wants it to. The Iranian support of Israel's enemies is as justifiable as the USA's support for Israel is.
Congo should be a major story. Why isn't Congo a story? There is not clear tie in to the Western Hawks versus their enemies story. But there are 3 to 8 million war deaths in Congo and even more war deaths if you add in the Rwandan Genocide and Uganda's Wars and Sudan's Wars into the story. If you want to cast the USA hawks and historical Western imperialism as the villain you could make one big overlapping story out of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda Sudan. So why those who cast the America/Western Hawks as the evil dragon jump on this narrative? Apparently the American/Western supporters of foreign policy hawkishness somehow control the choice of playing field on this debate about whether the Western hawks are the valiant prince or the evil dragon.
2 Norwegian "spies" face the death penalty in Congo
From the above link: In April the government signed a US$9 billion mining and infrastructure deal with a consortium of Chinese companies. Accusations that the state was selling off the DRC’s mineral assets cheaply provoked a parliamentary walkout in May. The sharp fall of world mineral prices, however, threatened to leave tens of thousands working in the DRC’s mining zones without income.
From above link, Was Hotel Rwanda presenting it's story without any context and does it matter if the movie received funding from a mining company that benefits from the new post 1994 Rwandan government's military control over portions of the Congo. Hotel Rwanda cast the men who became this Rwandan government as the heroes but there is more to the story that was not told.
Roger Winter is a character who keeps showing up in the Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Congo, Sudan Dramas.
The Rwandan genocide might to some degree have been a proxy war between the USA and France. The USA backed "Tutsi Rwandan Rebels"/Ugandan Army was going to topple the French backed Hutu Rwandan government regardless of whether or not the Hutus did their genocide of Tutsis.
The Drama in Congo is not over and the Drama in Congo's neighbors also continues.
A small section of Congo near Rwanda and Uganda has 80% of the world's Coltan reserves.
02-14-10, 01:33 AM #2
Its because the media in the US acts as an arm of support for the regime change lobby.
The questions to ask in Congo is:
- is western capital not being obstructed?
- is the current dictator amenable to corporations who deprive natives of food, jobs and a future?
- is it possible to take take take and not give
If yes, it will explain why no one, not even CNN is interested in Congo.
02-14-10, 02:09 AM #3
It's about resource allocation and the level of the threat.
The Congo does not have the potential to construct nuclear weapons that could destabilize an entire region, torpedo US policy in the region or begin a costly war. Hence the US government is not going to focus its energy there.
Also, traditionally, the US has left Africa alone and let its former European masters try to sort it out.
02-14-10, 02:10 AM #4the US has left Africa alone
See also: US Miliatry and Corporate resettlement of Congo
The Mobutu era began with ardent U.S. support, financial and military. From 1965 to 1991, Zaire received more than $1.5 billion in U.S. economic and military aid. In
return, U.S. multinationals increased their share of the ownership of Zaire's fabulous mineral wealth. On the foreign policy front, Zaire was a bastion of anti-communism during the Cold War, in the center of a continent Washington saw as perilously close to Moscow's influence. As the State Department put it, "Zaire has been a stabilizing force and a staunch supporter of U.S. and western policies...." Mobutu's corruption and brutality were ignored for thirty years. It was only when the plunder of western-owned assets and the ruination of the country were nearly complete, when Mobutu's stolen billions had become a worldwide embarrassment, that the U.S. began to seek an acceptable change.
By this time, the U.S. was deeply involved in both Uganda and Rwanda, and very close to Paul Kagame. In 1990, Kagame, a Rwandan exile serving as a colonel in the Ugandan army was training at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, when he dropped out of the program and rushed back to Uganda to take command of the rebel army that invaded Rwanda.
After three years of civil war in Rwanda, a power-sharing peace accord was negotiated, only to collapse in 1994, when an airplane carrying Rwanda's Hutu president, Juvenal Habyanmana, was shot down, with all aboard, including President Cypnen Ntaryamira of Burundi, killed. A still secret 1997 U.N. investigation implicates Kagame in the assassinations. Warnings of a coming bloodbath, set off by the attack, were ignored, and a horrendous 89-day massacre of 500,000 Tutsis-and 50,000 Hutus-followed.
Kagame's movement then turned on the Hutu-dominated government, and took power. The massacres began again, this time of Hutus. More than a million Rwandan Hutus, both militia and civilians, who escaped the killing, died to eastern Zaire.
U.S. officials, according to the Washington Post, were pleased with Kagame and "deeply relieved that the rebels had halted the massacres, thus ending pressure for a U.S.-led intervention." As one writer observed, "Americas unease about its own attitude to the massacres in the spring of 1994 was one reason why it later sided with the triumphant victims." The U.S. "became increasingly close to the Rwandan government and the army that backed it.... Washington pumped military aid into Kagame s army and U. S. Army Special Forces and other military personnel trained hundreds of Rwandan forces."
At the same time, the U.S. kept tabs on the refugees in eastern Zaire, while mounting what was called a "humanitarian operation" in Rwanda, but which also included training of the Rwandan military in combat, counterinsurgency, psychological operations, etc.. One U.S. official interviewed by the Washington Post contended that "the United States is focusing disproportionate military assistance on Rwanda as part of the creation of a 'zone of influence' in East Africa.... " An African writer has referred to this zone of influence as a confederation of "military princedoms [which] have appeared in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and, to a lesser extent, in Ethiopia and Eritrea.'' These U.S.-supported military regimes are characterized by "the repeated use of force in putting their internal and external policy strategies into effect." They are "obsessed with security" and they "clone themselves" by joining forces "with their own diasporas...whose citizenship is disputed .... [They] attract the services of 'rebels,' dissidents, and others, who serve as a screen for their intervention" in fragile and unstable neighboring countries. The role of the Rwandan and Ugandan princelings, Kagame and Museveni, in neighboring Congo is a classic example of U.S. meddling.
Last edited by S.A.M.; 02-14-10 at 03:41 AM.
02-14-10, 10:42 AM #5
I think western governments are most likely exagerating the Iranian threat, partially due to political convenience and partially due to total uncertainty over the Iranian regime's intentions. I'm sure several European countries along with the US have flooded Iran with spies, they're probably getting a lot of info streaming back (not necessarily reliable), and it's possible elements of the Iranian regime intend to do exactly what we fear. What surprises me is that countries like France are talking about invading Iran in the event Iran attempts to build nuclear warheads, whereas I would have thought Europe would be opposed to an invasion even under such circumstances.
Whether Iran is treated too harshly or the Congo too softly, there's definitely a selectiveness to the stories western media choose to present. My guess is most westerners don't see the Congo as being a threat to anyone and don't see any hope for progress there, so they simply don't care about it. There are lots of regions like that where brutality is the daily norm and no one else seems to care. Also it needs to be understood that it's not just the US that's meddled in the Congo, but just about everyone else in the region has done so as well, along with several other world powers. Even Mugabe has had troops in the Congo to secure a diamond/currency supply for Zimbabwe for many years, and last I heard Zimbabwean troops are still stationed there.
But yeah, valid point. All abusive regimes need to have the spotlight held on them for human rights violations. I can't really think of any country or regime that isn't guilty of such conduct to some degree or other, and those responsible for such actions should still be investigated and punished even decades after the fact. I'm all for justice being done, but I think most citizens of the world aren't ready to admit to their own crimes and misdeeds, and true justice means that all guilty parties need to pay up for the damage they've caused.
02-14-10, 11:27 AM #6
If you put 2+2 together you'll realize if they make nukes and probably use them, like when Ahmadinejad said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map, we'll probably end up with WW3.
Of course you could stick your head in the sand like this guy did and let things unfold....
02-14-10, 12:40 PM #7
Ummm apples and oranges? You don't have to search too hard to find places in the world where people are being oppressed.
Either way, see my thread here. The extreme ``Wilsonian'' approach is what you're applying here, when I think it is not what America is pursuing, at the moment. If we were to employ this logic, we should just as well try and sanction China for their human rights violations. Anyway, the linked thread was a comparison of Obama's foreign policy to Carter's foreign policy, using the four classifications (Hamiltonian, Jeffersonian, Wilsonian and Jacksonian) as a guide. (I had hoped that that thread would spur some more debate about foreign policy in general, but it has pretty much died by now.)
As I see it, these things are always a Catch 22... Suppose Obama did dedicate specific pressure (whether it be military or diplomatic) in the Congo, Sudan, Somalia, China, and everywhere else that blatant human rights violations are known to exist. Is such a position tenable, or even wise given the power that the Chinese currently hold over our economy? Suppose Obama took the strict Jeffersonian approach (upon which a lot of his support hinges). Will Americans (or, the West in general) accept Iran with nuclear weapons? Is it wise to allow another Cold War to develop between Israel and the Arab world? Can any American president abandon Israel and not expect to be voted out of office the following term, having his policies completely reversed?
Finally, I would point out that the Europeans, for all their hand-wringing over America's violations of the Geneva Conventions, are morally bankrupt in this regard as well. The Europeans watched 800,000 people die in Rwanda, just like the rest of the world. America failed, Europe failed, and the UN utterly failed in its mission, under Article 1:
Originally Posted by UN Charter
02-14-10, 12:42 PM #8
I will add that part of the problem is that America has been attempting to address some of these problems using the UN. The problem isn't America in all of this, but China, who has a veto over anything done by the security council. And let's not forget that China is arming the government in Sudan even as we speak.
02-14-10, 12:46 PM #9What does the lack of attention on Congo say about how we relate to foreign affairs?
02-14-10, 12:55 PM #10
1. WWIII - not likely. After they finish the bomb, the bomb will mysteriously detonate.
2. A suitcase n.bomb can be smuggled in to the country and detonated after they declare that they have the bomb.
3. The first generation bombs are usually very small and yield is even smaller. If they use it, Most of the country could be gone.
4. When they declare it, Israel may vaporize most of the delivery systems plus some.
Pride not necessarily equates belligerence....
02-14-10, 03:03 PM #11
Originally Posted by niraker
When you have specified exactly who is paying attention, when, and under whose direction, the question of how "we relate to foreign affairs" tends to branch a bit. How do "we" relate to Exxon, and how does Exxon relate to foreign affairs, say -
consider that when we "relate" to Halliburton, we are "relating" to a foreign affair directly, in many respects. Halliburton is a foreign affair. Can you think of any reasons why "we" might be taking Halliburton's side, loudly and publicly and with a lot of carefully orchestrated "attention", in its many and ongoing business disagreements with the government of Iran?
like when Ahmadinejad said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map
So it's not a simple matter of Iran receiving "attention" and the Congo not. The same aspects of our foreign affairs are receiving about the same amount of attention in both places.
Last edited by iceaura; 02-14-10 at 03:11 PM.
02-14-10, 03:11 PM #12
02-14-10, 03:23 PM #13
He has not point, Bork. Halliburton is just a buzz word he likes to throw down because it excites his type.
02-14-10, 03:57 PM #14
Originally Posted by cpt
The OP was noticing an "attention" bias. I am pointing out that it is selective - in some aspects of how "we relate to foreign affairs", there is no obvious bias. Iran and the Congo are treated similarly, in our "attention" to the doings of Chevron, Halliburton, Kernet, etc.
02-14-10, 06:01 PM #15
2. There is no evidence for a nuke program.
3. Iran is not a threat to any nation, nor has been for centuries.
4. Ahmadinejad never said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map, he was referring to the Zionist apartheid regime.
5. Of course you could pull your head out of the sand and check your facts before spouting off nonsense.
02-14-10, 06:09 PM #16
The situation in Congo is pretty bad, but the Congolese don't pose external threat to countries. They don't have a worldwide network of terrorist cells and influence who threaten and perpetuate violence on innocent people in other countries. The Congolese aren't building nuclear weapons and delivery systems for those nuclear weapons. They aren't threatening outside countries with destruction. They are down on the priority list.
02-14-10, 06:46 PM #17
At present the Congo is of lesser importance and genocide/deaths are irrelevant.
02-15-10, 12:40 AM #18
Originally Posted by otheadp
So what's holding the media back?
02-16-10, 09:50 AM #19
There is a certain group who is the cause celebre among a certain block of nations at the UN. It almost... seems as though they might be trying to divert attention from other things?
Look at the amount of negative resolutions at the UN. At the condemning Security Council resolutions. At the amount of emergency sessions of the security council at the UN. Guess which country was the center of most of it?
Israel is 5-7 million people. Congo is 68 million people. Google how many deaths Israel has inflicted on its adversaries - most, by the way, were in defensive wars where they were invaded by multiple armies, so it wasn't cold blood killings like we see today in some places that don't get any attention. Now look at the war fought in Congo from 1998 to 2003. The number is much bigger. And yet, who was whipped at the UN during those years?
Boggles your mind, doesn't it? Tibetans I've met at pro-Israel rallies are very bitter at this monopolization of attention by you-know-who. There are plenty of victims and conflicts who get overlooked. For shame.
Last edited by otheadp; 02-16-10 at 09:58 AM.
02-16-10, 11:02 AM #20
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