Friday, February 18, 2011

Popular Uprisings

by Dick Mac

Popular uprisings in second- and third-world nations are often quaintly popular for Americans. We see our own heritage in the uprising of other people, the rising-up against tyranny, we embrace that and appreciate it.

The current uprisings in the Middle East are troubling. American allies are about to be toppled throughout the region.

Sure, they are horrible regimes: monarchies and dictatorships that keep huge sums of money for themselves, sell-off their countries' natural resources, and rule with fear and intimidation. But, they are our friends, we have supported them, propped them up, and we depend on them for oil.

There is a theory that oil is not fossil-based, but is a natural resource continually replenished as a gift from God in an abiotic process deep underground. Until that is proven, however, our long-term strategy must include short-term plans to get as much of the world's known oil as we can. Our entire way of life depends on massive amounts of oil being consumed each day. So, our strategic "partnerships" throughout the Gulf region are vital to our day-to-day lives.

We are often surprised to learn that one religious group that rules over another religious group would actually use religion as the criteria for discrimination. That's just not very American, our criteria tend to be racial and ethnic, and we are doing a pretty good job eliminating those hurdles.

In the Middle East, most of our allies have been the majority Sunni Muslims. Bahrain, pre-revolution Iran, pre-invasion Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and on and on, are ruled by the majority Sunni. They have been, generally, bad rulers but great business partners.

I do not share the general enthusiasm about the uprisings in the Middle East; because the new regimes are likely to lean towards theocratic rule, and that is bad for everyone. Popular uprisings based on religion are generally bad.

It is true that leaders should be benevolent, not murderous, and that equity should play some role in the decision making process of any government.

As we prop-up the governments that support our business interests, we should be able to foster good governing. We spend billions of tax dollars to secure the marketplace for our businesses, but we spend nothing on ensuring stability int he countries.

We can do this better; and if we want to continue acquiring an unending supply of the world's oil, we need to take a different position than we have historically taken. Why? Because it's all falling apart on us, and we really have nobody to blame but ourselves. We have failed our allies, and all the people of the oil-rich Middle East.

I sure hope someone can figure this out.

No comments: