America needs to regain its credibility

Zbigniew Brzezinski argues that the world’s governments do not take America’s word as they once used to. In an op-ed titled Another American Casualty: Credibility Brzezinski calls for America to pursue a bipartisan foreign policy and regain the trust of its friends and allies.

He could’nt be more right. America’s support for tin-pot dictators and autocrats of every colour does not sit well with its professed ideals – democracy, free speech and free enterprise. George Bush’s policies have made it extremely difficult for countries such as India to take an unambiguous approach towards its alliance with the United States. It is clear that there is so much in common between the US and India, that significant public opinion would support close relations. However, Bush’s unwillingness to persuade Musharraf to cease his campaign of violence against India causes the most pro-American Indians to retreat into silence.

Here’s a letter to the New York Times editor:

To the Editor:

“Bush Asks Lands in Mideast to Try Democratic Ways” (front page, Nov. 7) reports that in President Bush’s speech on Thursday, he “sought to position the American experiment in remaking Iraq alongside the United States’ efforts to spread democracy in Asia after World War II.” I don’t know of any such efforts.

We either supported the defeated colonial powers (Britain, France and the Netherlands) or indigenous militarists and dictators like Chiang Kai-shek, Syngman Rhee, Ngo Dinh Diem, General Suharto and Ferdinand E. Marcos.

In Japan, we created a pro-American single-party regime not so different from the Soviet satellites, and it is still in power. In the few places where genuine popular democracy did develop — the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan — it was invariably directed from below against American-backed tyrannies.

President Bush may know nothing of these histories, but the people on the receiving end assuredly do.

CHALMERS JOHNSON

President, Japan Policy Research Institute

Cardiff, Calif., Nov. 7, 2003

Not to forget the US support(ed) the House of Saud, The Shah of Iran, Generals Ayub Khan, Zia ul Haq and Musharraf . It is with a pinch of salt that Bush’s lecture on democracy in Asia would be taken. America’s push for democracy in Asia has been undermined by a continuous myopia.

Updates:

  • Why US needs to stand up to its democractic ideals in J & K
  • The choice is between dictatorship and democracy – Benazir Bhutto