Saturday, 2 April 2011

'McDonaldization of US Foreign Policy'

Although most readers seeing the tittle of this posting may conclude that it is about how fast-food chains have spread throughout the world with the help of their government's lobbying efforts, the issue is really about the absurdity of short-term, short-sighted thus 'McDonaldization of US foreign policy' conducted as though the only thing that matters is today's headlines and short-term gains, without any regard for longer-term consequences. 

This kind of absurdity is currently unfolding in Libya where there is circumstantial evidence that the US is helping al-Qaeda and perhaps Hezbollah and other militant Islamic groups against Gaddafi's government for the ultimate goal of regime change that would be friendlier to Western economic and military interests.

I have stated in previous postings that the 'crusading trio' - US, UK, and France - that have taken the lead role in the war in Libya, is on the same side as al-Qaeda that has been the satanic enemy for which wars and military occupations were justified in Afghanistan and Iraq; the justification for which US foreign and defense policies were based; the justification for restructuring the entire intelligence bureaucracy and adjusting budgetary spending on security.

There are many web sites that claim the link between US and al-Qaeda in Libya is a fact. However, unless we have incontrovertible proof, we cannot state such links as fact no matter what scant information is published about CIA, MI-6 and French intelligence operations working behind the scenes with rebels long before NATO operations in Libya. 

Wikileaks claims that al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi and Qatar-based Yusuf Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood have been collaborating to remove Gaddafi from power. French and other western intelligence may have been using the al-Qaeda cell in Libya to destablize Gaddafi for a number of years. There are unconfirmed reports that US has known that in aiding anti-Gaddafi forces entailed aiding al-Qaeda. 

NATO Supreme Allied Commander would only admit that there is an investigation into the rebel leadership to ascertain if al Qaeda and Hezbollah are in fact included among 'Libyan rebels'. Government officials from Chad have categorically stated that there is a direct link between rebels and al-Qaeda, but there is no independent confirmation. If indeed we have official confirmation that the US collaborated with al-Qaeda in Libya to destabilize and ultimately overthrow Gaddafi, then we have a situation similar to CIA operations in Afghanistan in the 1980s when the US was trying to destabilize the pro-Soviet regime. The result in that situation was that the US succeeded and it was then forced to take on the same rebels who formed the Taliban regime that it had trained and supported.

In the case of Libya, the US, UK, and France may discover that a few years from now they will have to bomb and send troops to Libya to unseat the rebels of today that will become tomorrow's regime. This foreign policy that I would call 'McDonaldization of imperialism' is something that the entire world recognizes as bankrupt and one reason for the lack of popularity of the US throughout the world. A broader issue from 'cultural imperialism', this is about how foreign policy is prisoner to short-term considerations.

It is indeed madness and makes sense only to those seeking short-term gains - economic, strategic and political - but it makes no sense for a great power trying to manage its global interests on a more sustainable basis. So why is the 'crusading trio' - US, UK, and France - engaged in these operations perhaps with al-Qaeda on the same side? 

What is so wrong if the 'crusading trio' is just using al-Qaeda to accomplish its goal? What is so wrong about having a perennial enemy to fight to keep the military-industrial complex profitable, and domestic public opinion focused on a foreign enemy instead of domestic social, economic and political problems? 

What is so wrong with 'McDonaldization of US foreign policy' in an age when people have a short attention span, they quickly forget recent history, and have no idea that the current conduct of the US in Libya is a repeat of past experiences in Afghanistan during the 1980s? The answer is that the costs for all mistakes made today must be paid tomorrow, and those costs may be very high. Depending on what regime follows Gaddafi, the US and its crusading allies may have a serious problem down the road as they now have with Afghanistan that the US helped to mold in the 1980s.

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