Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Accidents will happen

"Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari has rejected growing pressure to resign, saying Iraqis must be allowed to choose their leader democratically" according to the BBC website this morning. Mr. Jaafari represents a Shia faction with links to the militias, and which has refused to embrace a project of coalition with the Sunnis. However, this project is central to American stabilisation plans for the country. Let me be one of the first million or so bloggers to predict that Mr. Jaafari is likely to be the target for some unusually resourceful insurgents in the near future.

Why are the Americans so scary? BBC's late night current affairs programme 'Newsnight' is running a Latin American week. Yesterday they showed TV footage of US tele-evangelist Pat Robertson calling for the US to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (link here), a man guilty of little else than spending his oil money on his own poverty-stricken people and not aligning himself with US economic and political priorities.

In "Hackers and Painters", Paul Graham has an essay called 'What You Can't Say' (chapter 3). This is about the opinions which appear to be self-evident, but which other people, and later generations, will think the epitome of self-interest and/or parochialism.

The American imperial world view sees the ideal world as America everywhere and bemoans the backwardness of the rest of the world in failing to have already achieved this goal. It gets scary when their aggressive patriotism kicks in, and they consider foreign non-alignment to US values and interests to be an affront to decency which requires a physical force reply. "We're nice" they say to themselves and everyone else,"Why do they hate us?". And they conclude that 'the others', for some unaccountable reason, 'hate freedom'. Duh!

At least the Romans were less prone to self-deception. "'Let them hate us so long as they fear us." opined Caligula. As American power gets further challenged over the coming century, it's going to be a scary ride.