Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dictators and U.S. Policy

I've been wanting to write about the slew of celebrities who have paid visits to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, but I was worried that my rants against Kevin Spacey, Naomi Campbell and Sean Penn would make me sound shrill and right wing.

Don't get me wrong. I see these folks as conspirators in crimes against democracy and humanity. I think it's beyond despicable for these millionaires to entertain the notion of violent Communism that is meted out by Chavez and his cohorts.

But just as alarming, and not as publicized by Ruppert Murdoch's minions, is our country's selective distaste for dictators. The Red Scare made us turn a blind eye to the horrors perpetrated by Augusto Pinochet in Chile during the 70s, the Somozas in Nicaragua and Saddam Hussein in um, um...

And while I understand that we have to protect governments that are friendly to our policies and more importantly, to our bottom line, it doesn't put the U.S. above reproach on the world scene when we turn our backs on our former allies and hang them when they get out of line and jack up the price of oil.

So should we go all soft and proletariat-lke? No. I like my American way of life and my salary and my capitalist New York existence. But we have to realize that just as we're entitled to our money grubbing ways and to our wanton alliance-building with shady characters, so too are other countries. Even oil-producing countries.

And that means more axes of evil are on the horizon. Which begs the question: How many more wars can this country afford to start?

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