How Exceptional is the United States of America?
Speaking recently to BBC’s Stephen Sackur former Pentagon chief Robert Gates defended American exceptionalism; saying the US was unique because there is no geopolitical conflict in the world that can be resolved without American involvement.
Looking at how messed up the world it today one is tempted to retort that US involvement is probably the reason why conflicts don’t get solved. It probably is the reason why North and South Korea cannot meet as brother and sister to solve their half-century long misunderstanding. If America was removed from the Peninsula and the Demilitarized Zone became a real ‘demilitarized zone’ there might be a warming up of relations between the two.
Sackur exposed his limited comprehension of history by not taking Gates on, who was on a tour to promote his book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War on the BBC’s flagship Hardtalk.
Those who have studied conflict resolution will tell you that the biggest and oldest conflict ever debated at the United Nations; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could have been solved in 1948 if the US interfered to stop the butcheries carried out by Zionist terrorists. With hindsight it would averted the quagmire we are sunken in if it stood back in 1967 and watched as those Semites ironed their issues out.
Objectivity for the US should have meant withholding its military and intelligence support as the parties argued until their tonsils bled.
Sackur, who has built a reputation for being a shrewd interviewer should have told Gates that the US’s George H Bush offered his then Secretary of State James Baker as a mediator between South Africa’s warring sides during the difficult negotiations but he was turned down with a ‘thanks but no thanks’ note. The negotiators insisted that it was their problem and they would talk directly to each other without the US pretending to play referee.
One fails to understand how the US was going to mediate fairly given its decades long support for the Boer regime and its Terrorist List still filled with the names of resistance fighters who were going to sit at the same table. It would’ve been like asking Margaret Thatcher to give darkies a favourable deal. She would have continued giving weapons, vetoing resolutions and lifting sanctions while claiming to have the interests of both parties at heart. We would have ended up with the first democratically elected white president.
With American mediation we would have ended up with upgraded Bantustans on the same boundaries and tribal leaderships while the Boers would have held on to 87% of the land with permanent SADF military bases in our tin pots ‘for security’ purposes.
In his opening address at the Geneva II talks in Switzerland this week Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said that if the peace negotiations warrant a second round that round will be held in Syria, not Turkey, France nor Switzerland. Some construe that to be arrogance and refusal to work with the UN and the 40 countries that have post-Assad reconstruction contracts in their briefcases. And Muallem further says they can’t negotiate while the US and opposition parties (who he calls terrorist, yuck!) demand the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Actually it was John Kerry who introduced that precondition.
He is right; it’s not up to the US to qualify the legitimacy and credibility of other countries’ leaders. Syrians, like South Africans should negotiate at home without the US’ dark shadow hanging over them. The only way such negotiations will produce a result is if they are face to face talks and Gates’ assertion is disputed once and for all.
Maybe Gates needed to be told that the reason the Oslo Accords were not worth the paper they were written on was not because Hamas refused to accept occupation as legitimate but because they were held in Sweden and the (dis) agreement signed in the US. Chances are that it would’ve produced a different result if the Semites negotiated on their disputed land and shook their hands in Jerusalem instead of the White House lawn.
Geneva is suitable for the US and its allies, not Syrians in the same manner it was good when Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma met Neil Barnard to talk about talks and not discuss a post-apartheid South Africa in a foreign land.
The Groote Schuur Minute; though it was risky for some ANC leaders happened and gave birth to the Pretoria Minute and CODESA. Imagine if such a compromise was reached in Washington DC or Geneva; I swear to you no one of those who fought in the country would have accepted it and today Syria would be a picnic spot.
That’s the same reason the Palestinian struggle for land can’t move; the same US that vetoes resolutions aimed at defeating the Israeli occupation enterprise which every country deems illegitimate and illegal claims that it’s mediating through a former AIPAC member Martin Indyk. AIPAC is not interested in peace nor security but continuation of Israeli apartheid expansion. Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel knows AIPAC has the same map but different names for every piece of occupied land under discussion.
So, Gates wants the world to believe that if the US was involved Namibia would have won its independence years earlier. Oops, it was involved in sponsoring UNITA and ignoring countries breaking the arms embargo by selling weapons to apartheid South Africa even after apartheid was declared a crime against humanity. The US even allowed South Africa to develop a nuclear bomb.
Thus, this whole American exceptionalism posturing is void of fact. Namibia got its freedom because Cuba kicked SADF’s ass at Cuito Cuanavale. We got our ‘freedom’ because sanctions were making it difficult for American companies to make money off an economically blockaded apartheid entity which’s political centre had collapsed.
And today, Syrians and the Semites of Palestine should show the US the door if they aim to be neighbours someday. Remember that a time will come when the world will wonder what happened in Palestine; that’s when the Republic of Palestine hands back the Golan Heights to a secular Syria as gesture of brotherhood. The US will be somewhere licking its wounds at how history overtook it.
Gakwi Mashego is a political analyst, speechwriter and founder/director of Smokin’ Gun Media