Wednesday, May 24, 2006

And the American Way

There is a very real danger for the US in assuming the role of world policeman. Extolling US values tends to look and sound like “don’t do as we do, do as we say.” More and more, these pronouncements on electoral probity, on ethics and corruption ring hollow.

In an article on Venezuelan VHeadline.com, commentarist Mary MacElveen took Bush to task for his statement that he was concerned about an "erosion of democracy" in Venezuela and Bolivia.

Message to Bush ... don't dare lecture any nation on what democracy means!

“In both Venezuela and Bolivia, people vote directly for their presidential candidate instead of having to go through an Electoral College as we do here in the United States. In the United States in any presidential election, the voter does not directly vote for his or her candidate. “

The story MacElveen commented on was: Bush decries 'erosion of democracy' in Venezuela, Bolivia

In Nigeria, where a probe is underway into bribery allegations during a parliamentary vote to extend the presidency to three terms, the US was again taken to task:

Head of the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, told his story to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations.

Ribadu said that US legislators can help Nigeria fight corruption, "Maybe as much as 80 percent of corruption that takes place in Africa goes out, and it goes to the West.

And indeed, some of it also finds its way into the US. Shut it out. Don't allow them.

And I told them that corrupt people and corrupt leaders, particularly from Africa, are as bad as terrorists. If it is possible that a corrupt despot, a person who is looting the treasury of his own country, could be treated as a terrorist, it will make a huge difference in the fight we are waging back home. I also asked them for technical support because some of this criminal activity is very complex. We need technology that will assist us in the war."

Just looking at the headlines, you really need to ask; who are the US to be preaching on ethics and probity.

It would not be any issue to anyone else but the US, nobody else’s business, if the American way was kept at home. Globalization has made sure US business ethics impact widely, US foreign adventures impact on people in allied as well as enemy countries.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for a moment suggesting other countries aren’t capable of concocting their own ethical and political sewers. Neither do the ordinary people of those countries have any more control over the powers than do ordinary Americans.

The point is if leaders, political or corporate, are going to preach to the world, then they need to get their own house in order first.


UPDATE:
From The Calcutta Telegraph India
If legislators in the world’s most populous democracy got caught on film taking cash for asking questions in parliament, can their counterparts in the world’s most powerful democracy be far behind?

Reminiscent of last year’s “questions for cash” scandal involving Indian MPs, a US Congressman has been videotaped accepting $100,000 from a “businesswoman”, who was, in reality, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant.

3 comments:

Praguetwin said...

This is the point I have been trying to drive home with the Bush-o-files, and I generally get the same answer. My version of history, apparently, is crucially flawed. Actually, the U.S. is the most benevolent country in the world and has never invaded anyone for economic reasons.

I'm working on a pretty serious debate with Ugly American over on T.F. Boggs' milblog. I doubt he is really going to take me head on because he probably knows.

Anyway, I'm glad you see this the way I do. No one is perfect, but if you claim to be the purveyors of freedom and democracy for the world, you must be held to a higher standard. I think so far, it has been impossible for the U.S. to live up to the standard to which they are now accountable.

Kvatch said...

...for his statement that he was concerned about an "erosion of democracy" in Venezuela and Bolivia.

Ah the Kowboy Koward, always the political reletavist.

Cartledge said...

I would pick on Johhy 'jackboots' Howard more often, he is Georges second best friend in the world. Trouble is, everyone finds him boring as batshit. Nowhere near as good a target as the Decider