Thursday, March 24, 2011

Obama does not want 'Change'

There’s nothing like a good war for politicians and businessmen. Wars help failed politicians reinvent and empower themselves as they turn their insecurities and delusions of grandeur into a national cause. And for those who make its instruments, nothing beats the war business. The world economy may be tanking and ordinary mortals like you and me may be driven up the wall by spiraling inflation. However, things that go “bang” and kill in ever new ways are on a roll.

No one really wants peace. Certainly not in the Middle East. Peace is the last thing the arms industry and their friends in high places want in the region, or anywhere else for that matter.

Indeed, the greater the unrest and instability, the better it is for people in the business.

This may be why while the rest of the world has moved on at a mind-boggling pace over the past five or six decades, particularly after World War II, time has stood still for much of the Middle East. The region is stuck in a time warp that is centuries old. The more things change in our part of the world, the more they have remained the same for the Arab world.

This is perhaps why most conflicts since World War II have taken place in the Middle East. Having drawn its lessons from the Two Great Wars, Europe has managed to avoid major military conflicts and keep the continent safe. However, war remains a big industry and vital source of revenue for the industry that deals in trillions of dollars.

Only it’s now staged elsewhere — away from the continent and in distant Arabia or Africa and Asia.

This is why the Arab-Israel conflict continues to fester even after seven decades. If the Middle East finds lasting peace, what will happen to all those fancy weapons the US and European war machine has been churning out year on year? Why would you want peace in the Middle East, or for that matter anywhere else on the planet, if you are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman or even Dick Cheney’s Halliburton that has been making billions by building those military bases all across the Middle East and Central Asia?

And it’s not just the awesome arms and ammo that are an endless source of income for the merchants of death. Decades after its ostensible exit from the region, the empire continues to control all levers of power and economic interests in the Middle East. Using an ancient regime of licenses and monopoly, the US, UK, France and others in the West still call the shots by controlling virtually everything, from the oil industry to the supply of essentials like military uniforms and jackboots. No wonder for all their protestations and pretentions to champion freedom and democracy around the world, our colonial masters are cowering in their pants as the tsunami of change sinks one subservient satrap after another.

Change is the last thing the West wants now. Status quo is the name of the game. But who can stop an idea whose time has come? And beware. The current churning doesn’t merely target an old, corrupt order. It also seeks an end to the injustice, exploitation and open loot that the empire has presided over all these years.

Aijaz Zaka Syed in Arab News. More Here.

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