Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dictatorship and Double-Standards

One thing that constantly annoys me is the way we in America discuss "global south" despotism. It seems to me that how terrible we judge a dictatorship to be is almost totally contingent on how friendly said dictator is to US interests. With Pervez Musharaff nearing the door, we should reflect on the easy ride that he has been given by this administration. The Bushies have nearly completely tied our interested to Pakistan with that of its increasingly unpopular military dictator.
The freedom agenda comes to this: if you are a despot, hold yourself some rigged elections, maybe let American troop be stationed in your country, maybe torture some of our prisoners, and you will be given all the benefits America can bestow upon you.
What is more frustrating our conversation on these issues biased toward American interests against objective facts. A somewhat authoritarian anti-American leader like Hugo Chavez is labeled a "dictator", yet pro-American despots like the arab oil sheikdom are called "moderate" and "reforming". By any measure, Saudi Arabia is more authoritarian than Iran, yet that is not the picture we come by, especially not by the administration's rhetoric.
When our leader wishes to go to war, propaganda swings into over-drive, and whatever leader that opposes is portrayed as the equivalent of Hitler. Now it is Ahmadinejad, but it's been so many before him.

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