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'Americanization agenda at Work in ME'

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TEHRAN, May 14 (ICANA) – The US manipulates global capital and economics for its self interests and its foreign policy doesn't include real democracy, says an analyst.
Saturday, May 14, 2011 1:48:31 PM
'Americanization agenda at Work in ME'

In an interview with Press TV, Phil Rees, TV reporter and director, elaborates on professor and scientist Noam Chomsky's recent remarks that the US prevents authentic democracy in the Arab world as Western-backed dictatorship governments violently suppress regional protests.

Q: What exactly does all of this mean? Is it that Washington stands for democracy in some places and not in others, or is it that Washington simply doesn't stand for democracy?

Rees: I think democracy, clearly, is a tool of foreign policy.

Of course, what democracy implies as well is a kind of economic openness; in other words, it allows global capital and the architecture of control around the World Bank, the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and other things to have those kinds of freedoms to control the country. They create a reality. They make statements that some things are necessary, certain policies are needed for that country.

I think that it comes with a whole lot of language. Indeed, Noam Chomsky in his speech talks about them, about stability and moderation. All of this kind of language creates a kind of political unit that serves American interests.

I would add one thing though, if I may. You talk about 1989, which is very important to American psyche there. A lot of Americans, and I know this because I spoke to them, they genuinely believe that if people are given the vote, they want to be American, they want to adopt American values. In a way, that did happen in 1989 with the fall of Communism.

But when that doesn't happen, and it didn't happen in Algeria in 1991 or in the Palestinian territories when Hamas won those elections, they sort of stunned. There is a calculated policy, and a strand in American foreign policy that genuinely believes that if you give this democracy they'll just want to be just like America. And that just isn't true, and it certainly isn't true for the Middle East.

Q: Since the overthrow of the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, do you think that Washington will now go along with the will of the people, at least in these two countries? Or do you think that they will continue to be involved in influencing the future direction of these two governments?

Rees: I think they're already trying to influence them. Remember that they do have leverage. A couple of billion dollars goes to the Egyptian military.

So, they do have power and that economic power is often used to threaten countries. But if they don't follow their wishes, they will suffer. At the end of the day it leads to sanctions. They try to apply their economic power to punish countries that don't follow their views even if that country's views are democratic.

My understanding from Egypt is that even the deal, which was referred to earlier between Hamas and Fatah, there was a great deal of diplomatic pressure put on the Egyptian military in order to prevent that happening. Now, whether it will work or not, we don't know yet.

How complete these revolutions will be we don't know yet. But certainly, what America is trying to do there is manage those, trying to basically give limits to democracy.

Whatever else is decided by the people, that democracy will not offer choices that will be against Israel or American strategic interests in the region.

Q: Where do you see this all going at this point in time? And we all know that no one knows 100 percent what's going to happen, but with the scenarios that have been set up - we know what's going on in Yemen, Libya and Bahrain - what do you see is the overall answer if the people of this region want to stop themselves from being oppressed?

On the other hand, we've said on this program about the power of the US' military and the media, so what do you see as the answer?

Rees: I think the people of this region have to continue their protests. I think that the Islamic awakening is very much in its early days.

I think that Tunisia and Egypt have only gone part way, those stories have yet to reach conclusion.

I think what happened in Libya, one of the key reasons why Britain and France became involved there was because they want to play a role of what was happening in the Middle East, because they've been wrong-footed for months earlier. They didn't know what was going on. Now they've got their fingers firmly there.

Of course, when it comes to Bahrain and Yemen, there's been a definite attempt to prevent popular will being exercised in those countries. In Yemen, [President] Ali Abdullah Saleh may go but the Saudis are deeply involved with who will replace him.

I think that, actually, the whole “Arab Spring”, if you will, has had a chill wind going through it, largely led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the West. There's been a progression.

One of the biggest crimes in the last half century of the last century was the denial of democracy in the Middle East. It was concerted. People talked about the Arab street as if it was an odd bunch of violent people. That was the view of the people.

And yet, in terms of the Western media, the dictators and autocrats were described as representing something. They didn't represent anything at all!

At the moment, we are only at the beginning, in my point of view, and I think there is so much more that needs to happen.

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