Hypocrisy of the Western world

So we, in the “West”, try to spread democracy around the world, even to those that don’t want it. We invade other countries in the name of it and we kill and maim in the name of protecting the innocent citizens of countries run by dictators. And, if we can’t do it ourselves, we sell arms to less democratic countries to do it instead. After we have sold them a whole bunch of weapons, that is.

Now, I accept that economics and politics are intrinsically linked, but when I read in my newspaper yesterday about the Annual London Weapons Fair, I tutted and shook my head in resigned sadness. We will never achieve anything in this world, let alone peace and harmony, and we, the western world, are in my mind as bad as any “terrorist”, “islamic fundamentalist” or suicide bomber.

Where’s the moral high ground? And who decides to whom we can sell these evil products?. The F.O. has said that “export licences are under review since the Arab Spring”. That’s reassuring. I hope Paddy Ashdown is doing the review.

The Arms Fair features 1,300 companies, half of which are British (so that makes it alright then). And guess who’s invited? Sixty-five countries, including, wait for it, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq (hey, they’re our friends this week), Pakistan (they don’t need any more surely?), Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kazakhstan. Why not invite the chuffing Taliban whilst you’re at it?

So in effect, all those poor sods killed in Bahrain get killed by weapons made in this country. So the government’s claim that Bahrain’s access to arms is being moderated doesn’t mean much then, does it? I know it has always been that way, but justifying it by saying the defence sector employs 110,000 people in the UK doesn’t wash for me. Fine, build shit to defend ourselves, but to then export the killing machine to authoritarian regimes that don’t care who they kill, including our own citizens, sucks.

Fine, shoot me down (!) as being naive, but it doesn’t sit happily with me. If the government keeps going on with a Holier than Thou attitude, can’t we the people start saying “Oi, government, NO, not in my name!”

Meanwhile, we sit and let Syria and Bahrain do what they want, whilst supplying the Libyan resistance with arms, weapons, tactics, uniforms and a whole bloody air force. What a bunch of hypocrites.

I was no fan of Robin Cook when he was in Government, but his resignation speech with hindsight deserves some recognition. I quote from eight years ago:

“On Iraq, I believe the prevailing mood of the British people is sound. They do not doubt that Saddam is a brutal dictator, but they are not persuaded that he is a clear and present danger to Britain….Above all they are uneasy at Britain going out on a limb on a military adventure without a broader international coalition”

He went on to forecast thousands of civilian casualties and that the Iraq war would only fuel Muslim resentment of the West. (Not his hardest prediction to think of)

So why has no-one heeded his wise words? Is Libya a clear danger to Britain? How long before we go into Iran and force regime change there? Ah, it must be because we haven’t sold them enough arms yet! Grrrrr. I hate being a westerner sometimes.

10 thoughts on “Hypocrisy of the Western world”

  1. Fair point Cuprum, but I suppose if the You Kay didn’t sell them somebody else would.

    What gets me is the continued moralizing on the integrity of third world leaders, I’ll readily admit that few are angels but to hear the likes of Bliar and Mandelscum (and other western politicians) going on about financial integrity and the like after they themselves have created vast fortunes.

    I know that two wrongs don’t make a right but I do wish that they would keep their mouths shut.

  2. Indeed Soutie, but the UK tries to kid itself that it is a world power, perhaps by standing up and changing the world by saying “no more” it may have some validity.

  3. It would be nice if we, in the West, ‘spread’ a bit of democracy in our own countries before trying to export a version of democracy that is failing those in the West’s desire for real democracy.

    I recall a conversation with a well-educated and well-travelled guide in China who was dismissive of the West’s claims to be democratic – I could not disagree with him. As I said on an earlier post this week, the only difference between ‘democratic’ and ‘despotic’ governments is that the latter are openly tyrannical – while the former try to take the ‘high moral ground’ – they are covertly tyrrannical. Two sides of the same coin…

    … and ‘taking the coin’ is what the “Annual London Weapons Fair’ is all about. If you haven’t worked out that the world is run by those who have money and want to make more – wake up! Do not expect them to support real democracy…

    .. and don’t expect them to stop selling a highly profitable product.

  4. Oh, I am awake thanks Boadicea! Doesn’t mean I like the facts! 😀

    I did point out that I know politics and economics are in bed together – I was implying your words a little less well, I admit! 😀

    What I don’t understand is why so many in the west with free speech available just put up with it! Morality is an internal thing – I just wish more listened to their internal moral compass 😀

  5. Cuprum

    I’m becoming more cynical the older I get. I’ve come to believe that the right to ‘Free Speech’ has as much value as the notion of “Democracy’ – which is ‘zilch’.

    There is no mechanism whereby Joe Bloggs can force those in Power to do what he believes is morally right. Western democracy elects a tyranny for a period of time established by the constitution of the country they live in. – once elected politicians do exactly what they want.

    All the Right to ‘Free Speech’ means, in practice, is that one is free to moan about what a Government does without fear of reprisal – it doesn’t give the power to change an ‘elected’ Government’s policies. It gives the semblance of the ability to change things – but not the reality.

  6. Boadicea, I cannot fault your logic and I certainly don’t disagree with your cynicism. When will someone like you stand for office then? 😀

    In anticipation of your reply……’power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. Would you have your head turned if elected? 😉

  7. Cuprum

    I think that a fair number of people like me would stand for office if it were not for the ‘political party system’ that does not encourage free thinkers. Independents can rarely make a difference.

    In answer to your second paragraph, I would say that power only corrupts those who are corruptible. It is also said that those who seek power should never be entrusted with power.

    It is my belief that there have been those who have sought power to change the world for the better – but the present system encourages only those who seek to improve their own world.

    I’d like to think that I wouldn’t have my head turned… but who knows!

  8. I’ve grown so cynical that Russians tell me to cheer up. Perhaps one of our biggest problems is that we’ve never quite lost our missionary zeal. At one time it was for religion, when we lost religion, it became our way of life. People have a tendency to want to worship something, be it a deity or a quid.

    Perhaps we’ve also become a bit too self-loathing. After all, nothing that we do is that unparalleled. Nor is it that everything we do is bad, or even that our own lives are that bad. If we want to read something, we can read it. If we want to listen to something, we can listen to it. If we don’t like where we live, we can find another place.

    Being in China changed the way I saw things quite a bit. It wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. People smoked, drank, laughed, drove around, went to work, had big, fancy dinners… In short, they had almost dreadfully normal lives. Yet, a number of the small liberties I’ve grown to take for granted became very apparent. I couldn’t, for example, check facebook easily or go on youtube to watch a few vlogs I like. Nor could I escape the single-idea mindset of the country. We may not be perfect, but it could be worse. If nothing else, at least it seems as if our missionary zeal has grown a bit more tempered over time.

  9. Cuprum you needn’t worry about Iran being NATO’s next target for regime change. They pack too big a punch for NATO to take them on – and there are suspicions that they have the dreaded WMDs which this time will be a deterrent, not a ’cause’!

    I have the feeling that the next regime change to be targeted will be Israel’s – with threats from a new Turkish/’Free’ Arab axis, supported of course by the old Iran/Lebanon guerilla groups.

  10. I’ll go with Bo’s #3.

    Personally I’m all in favour of selling them as many SMALL arms as possible,
    More dead where they live= less in Brum, plus death tends to work as an effective contraceptive
    Nothing else does for sure.
    But why we have to get involved in their wretched rat holes is totally beyond me, I agree the endless blethering hypocrisy of western politicians is quite vomitmaking.

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