Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Politics & Children

Yesterday I read an interview with Egyptian President Mubarak in Trends Magazine. In an answer to a question about the current drive for reform in Egypt he said that "Egypt has never responded to outside pressure".

Now THAT aggravates me. Why do politicians persist in treating us like children?Which country today is imprevious to outside influence?Even the US - the sole surviving superpower - sometimes finds itself having to make concessions & compromises on the worldstage.Interests are too intertwined & interconnected for any country to be an island today. Let alone a developing country with that kind of foreign debt & that receives that much foreign aid.Foreign influence is a reality. What we can do is make the best of it. Try to reach mutually satisfying arrangements with it. But one way or the other it MUST be responded to.It can't be denied or ignored.

It's just like when successive American presidents go on national radio or national TV & talk to their people about spreading democracy & freedom when they are infact subsidizing the most brutal regimes in the world. Or about working for world peace when infact they are the biggest arms manufacturer & exporter in the world. Why can't they just tell their people the truth?That in order to maintain their position as superpower & protect their interests they must maintain their economic & geopolitical sphere of influence?That they need a stable supply of oil at reasonable prices & they need new markets for everything including arms?

Most politicians seem to insist on fostering this political culture of idealism among their people by speaking in terms of black & white & absolute good & absolute evil. Come ON!International politics are about strategic interests not lofty principles or brotherhood or love, peace & tenderness & the defeat of evil.We're not talking about a Disney movie here.

I think we'll all be much better off when we learn to think pragmatically & weigh the cost to our interests of defending a certain principle & decide for ourselves which principle is worth which sacrifice.

I guess after religion, this type of idealism is now the new opium of the people.



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