Funding Tyranny: A U.S. Prerogative
Today’s Wall Street Journal has yet another example of the profoundly hypocritical mindset of empire in their front page article “U.S. Says Iran Helps Crackdown in Syria”:
Iran is secretly helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad put down pro-democracy demonstrations, according to U.S. officials, who say Tehran is providing gear to suppress crowds and assistance blocking and monitoring protesters’ use of the Internet, cellphones and text-messaging. …
“We believe that Iran is materially assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress their own people,” said an Obama administration official.
This is a clear double-standard: when it became apparent that Libyan rebels the U.S. was aggressively supporting to overthrow Qaddafi included terrorist elements – and even al Qaeda elements – the political and intellectual classes remained largely uncritical (in some cases applauding). Yet at the height of the Iraq war, when it came to light that Iran was funding Iraqi insurgents fighting against the U.S., the foreign policy community was livid.
The same framework applies here. How could the U.S. object to Iranian funding of Syria’s oppressive government throughout these popular uprisings? Has the U.S. government not been engaging in the exact same activity? In Egypt, in Yemen, in Bahrain, in Jordan, all of these oppressive governments have been afforded a great deal of cash and weapons to quash these protests and maintain their dictatorial grip on power. This is not a new phenomenon, but has been going on for half a century.
This kind of double-standard has been a dominant theme in American foreign policy: When they do it, it’s criminal; when we do it, it’s do-goodedness.