Saturday, 9 March 2013

paved with good intentions

As the tenth anni- versary—and a decade on, it’s getting a little hard to remember that there was a time without unending struggle let alone envisioning it will come to an end but I think no one who was beating those drums wanted or expected the consequences wrought, of the US invasion of Iraq, author and former diplomat Peter van Buren is sharing his experiences and assessment of how the fronts and the genuine aspirations of Pax Americana demonstrated (gradually, reluctantly and still in denial for many) that the cavalry, the crusaders were themselves the greatest sources of strife and ruin for the region and beyond.
From potemkin humanitarian gestures that were detached from reality and insult to the basic needs of a war-torn population, stark disregard or ignorance of the counter-balances of power being sloppily removed, to squandered opportunities for promoting real concord—not to mention all the death and destruction in vain and demonizing a culture and religion to the whole of the Western civilization, van Buren tries to illustrate how the best intentions rang hollow, if not naรฏvely so.
One can argue that simple swagger and hectoring cannot account for all the misadventures and when things stop making sense, one ought to follow the money. That is an important consideration and I am sure there’s more than a kernel of greed behind a lot of the US overtures for freedom and democracy, but I do not believe it was ever the objective (well-meaning or not, which I tend to think on the levels that made the decisions) to fold the punished and enfeebled hand of the US out of the round of chaos they created. The entanglement—probably with roots reaching back several decades, is too big to bow out of gracefully and I am afraid that the withdrawal will be painfully stubborn for all involved.