– fordi tiden kræver et MODSPIL

25. Oct 2006

Er det OK de hader os, så længe de frygter os?

Den pensionerede amerikanske ambassadør Chas W. Freeman, Jr. beskriver i en længere og ret informativ artikel, hvordan USAs udenrigspolitik tilsyneladende har taget den romerske kejser Caligulas dictum ODERINT DUM METUANT - lad dem bare hade, så længe de frygter (os) - til sig:
As our founding fathers understood so well, for public diplomacy to persuade foreigners even to give us and our policies the benefit of the doubt, let alone to support us, we must put on at least the appearance of a decent respect for their opinion. Persuasiveness begins with a reputation for wisdom, probity and effectiveness, but succeeds by showing empathy and concern for the interests of others. Finally, it's easier to make the case for judgments that have some grounding in reality, and for policies that have a plausible prospect of mutually beneficial results, than for those that don't.

I will not dwell on how poorly our current approaches measure up to these standards. Americans are now famous internationally for our ignorance and indifference to the world beyond our borders. We are becoming infamous for our disregard for the fate of foreigners who perish at our hands or from our munitions. Some of our military officers sincerely mourn the civilian Arab deaths their operations and those with whom we have allied ourselves cause; there is no evidence that many other Americans are the least bit disturbed by them.

Not content just to let foreigners - Arabs and Muslims, in particular - hate us, we often seem to go out of our way to speak and act in such a way as to compel them to do so. Consider Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, the practice of kidnapping and "rendition," our public defense of torture, or the spectacle a month or so ago of American officials fending off peace while urging the further maiming of Lebanon and its people. Catastrophically mistaken policies based on intelligence cooked to fit the policy recipe have combined with the debacle of Iraq reconstruction and the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina to discredit American competence with foreign governments and publics alike. It's hard to find anybody out there who believes we know what we're doing or that we have a sound grasp of our own interests, let alone any understanding or concern for theirs. We have given the terrorists what they cannot have dared dream we would - policies and practices that recruit new terrorists but that leave no space for our friends and former admirers to make their case for us or for our values or policies.
Men hr. Freeman er måske blot imod den nuværende republikanske regering, fordi han er demokrat og håber på at hans støtte vil gavne det demokratiske parti i de kommende midtvejsvalg?

Vel, knap og nap:
There is no evidence that bringing the Democrats to power would cure the post-9/11 loss of contact with reality and dysfunctional behavior that account for the fix we are in.

Judging by its record, the so-called opposition party has suffered from the same hallucinations that made us so sure that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that there was an urgent need to eliminate them; the same delusional beliefs that foreign occupation - because it was by Americans - would be seen as liberation, that regime removal in Afghanistan and Iraq would result in democratization, and that inside every Arab there is an American struggling to come out; the same disorganized thinking that equates elections to democracy, and the same ruthless impulse to reject and punish the results of democracy when - as in the case of the Palestinian elections this past January - Americans find these results uncongenial.

Neither party is in the least introspective. Both are happy to attribute all our problems to the irrationality of foreigners and to reject consideration of whether our attitudes, concepts, and policies might not have contributed to them. Both are xenophobic, Islamophobic, Arabophobic, and anti-immigrant. The two parties vie to see which can be more sycophantic toward whoever's in charge in Israel and to be most supportive of whatever Israel and its American lobby wish us to do. Neither has a responsible or credible solution to the mess we have created in Iraq, a plan for war termination in Afghanistan, an answer for how to deal with Korean issues, a vision for relations with China or other rising powers, or a promising approach to Iran or the challenge of post-Fidel Cuba, among other issues.
USA synes med andre ord at have malet sig op i et hjørne rent internationalt, hvor ingen af partierne kan finde nogen udvej, mens landets fjender hader amerikanerne mere og mere og dets venner falder fra én efter én.

Måske der i denne diplomatiske veterans udspil trods alt kan ligge et vist håb for fremtiden: Det bliver tydeligere og tydeligere, at det ikke går ret godt med den nuværende strategi, og at der er brug for nytænkning. Måtte den indfinde sig snart.

Link til pensioneret ambassadør Chase W. Freemans artikel.