03 March 2007

The main countries that foster fundamentalist Islam.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, post-invasion Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Egypt, Israel, UK.

What do they all have in common?

They all have governments under the heavy influence of the US government. It is not pre-invasion Iraq or even Iran that has caused this growth in terrorism. It has all been funded by the CIA's misguided strategy to back right-wing dictatorships over democratically elected left of centre ones.

This is not an anti-US rant. I do not think Americans deserve the government they have - it has been imposed on them. Just for a moment let's consider why US foreign policy has been so pernicious. First we need to take a look at the US and bear with me, I will get back to the point about Islamism.

The US has huge advantages over countries like the UK;

a massive internal market giving economies of scale.

huge resources of raw materials and agricultural products.

a much lower density of population - i.e. much cheaper land.

as principal power in the world - the advantages of having the world's reserve currency.

better weather (mostly).

The average US citizen should enjoy a hugely better standard of living - yet the median average income is little different to ours and US public service provision is woeful.

The US does have the largest economy (it should be much larger considering the above advantages) but wealth is largely concentrated in a few people at the top. The inequality in the US is staggering by European standards, even by UK standards (though Thatcher did her best to catch them up).

The problem is US democracy is sick , it has been for a long time and it is getting worse. The UK with a similar electoral system is following and the influence of the US (good and bad) spans the globe. How has this happened?

It is not easy for the right-wing forces anywhere to deny democracy - it takes a lot of effort and no little skill. The right-wing have two disadvantages; reality and open debate. To suppress the impact of these factors relies on owning the media and having an electoral system that limits the choices available to the electorate (while maintaining the appearence of democracy).

The Left also have two main problems; the right-wing actually do own the media and there is a limiting electoral system in place (first past the post - FPTP) in both the US and UK that puts them at a disadvantage. The US and UK are two nations that have tremendous influence on other countries. So we have unrepresentative governments across the West (think of how the US distorted post-war elections in Italy, Greece, Germany and the UK etc. using it's economic muscle).

Dysfunctional democracy breeds dysfunctional morals and the US foreign policy interventions have had ONE main objective - security of resource access not welfare of foreigners. Islamic fundamentalism was considered the less of two evils in the fight against communism, and the US shamelessly funded the most shoddy dictatorships. Now we are all paying for their actions no matter how Nick Cohen (who now admits he is a Tory) and Tory TV try to spin it.

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