SPEAKING FREELY Duplicity without borders
By Hossein Askari
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have
Please click hereif you are interested in contributing.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks to the Israeli parliament, talking
of peace and vowing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. United
States President George W Bush promises to protect US allies in the Middle East
from external aggression. French President Nicholas Sarkozy assures Israel of
his country's unflinching support and protection to live in peace.
Western leaders pledge their opposition to nuclear proliferation and promise to
protect all countries from attack; they declare a goal of peace and stability
in the Middle East, and promise to
work tirelessly for a more democratic Middle East that embraces the rule of
law. This is what they say.
These same leaders sell billions of dollars in sophisticated and deadly
weaponry to their client states in the Middle East. They sell weapons of mass
destruction to those whom they support to use against adversaries. They, and
their regional allies, even threaten the use of tactical nuclear weapons
against perceived enemies. They invade countries without legal basis. They
trample the Geneva Convention. They support covert operations. They threaten
regime change against those who don't follow their line. They support all
manner of tyrants to promote their short-term interests, robbing millions of
their freedom. This is what they do.
What they say and what they do have little, if anything, in common. And for
this reason and more, the Middle East, and more specifically the Persian Gulf
region, is in the worst shape it has been in living memory, if not in
centuries. The actions of the world powers have made the region highly
volatile. Today's Persian Gulf is arguably the most militarized and
undemocratic region on the face of the Earth. Its people are impoverished and
its instability may well ignite the first use of nuclear weaponry since
Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and spark a global war to end all wars.
Does it have to be this way? The answer is a resounding no.
The world community, that is, all of us as individuals and the media, must
shame the world's powers to finally do what they say. They must set aside their
duplicitous actions and start acting in the interest of mankind. They must stop
taking action solely on behalf of their corporate clients and for electoral
The policies required for a turnaround are simple:
The world must abstain from interference in the internal affairs of all
countries in the region.
We must embargo the sale of all weaponry to the region, except that needed for
We must declare and enforce the entire region as a nuclear (and all weapons of
mass destruction) free zone.
We must protect the borders of every country from external aggression according
to the three principles above.
We must adopt an economic embargo against any country that does not follow the
above principles toward the region.
All permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, individually and
collectively (the US, Britain, France, China and Russia) and the United Nations
General Assembly must adopt these simple, honest principles.
Our world is too fragile and interconnected to accommodate duplicity on any
front, be it the protection of the environment, the pursuit of international
justice, the eradication of terrorism and aggression or the promotion of social
justice and prosperity for all mankind.
If we are to achieve peace in this world of ours, we must practice what we
preach, or, in other words, do what we say. It is time for the world to replace
duplicity sans frontieres with decency and even-handedness.
Hossein Askari is professor of international business and international
affairs at George Washington University.