Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Democratic Skin on the Autocratic Body

Why is power so attractive? The cliche that with power comes mighty responsibility does not help us to determine what it is about power that is so alluring. A working class assault charge is liable to be punished more severely than a case of corporate fraud. Where is all the talk of responsibility then? Sure, Reagan admitted that the Iran Contra Scandal "happened under his watch," but this is just a rhetorical trick to include himself in the same group as john doe sitting on a couch, watching Reagan on TV: they're both just "watching." When in reality, Reagan is on top of the pyramid, throwing El Salvadoreans (among others) off the top. Bush admitted that the relief funds to Hurricane Katrina were too slow, but soon enough, Brown was scapegoated for the breakdown. Power is attractive for the very fact you can escape responsibility by accepting it.

The United States, pummeled by the damages of a record-breaking hurricane year, will see its global dominance threatened by China in the next few years. To contain the Chinese "threat," they have instigated numerous "colour revolutions" such as those in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgistan. Bush has lavished heavy helpings of praise on Kazakhstan for their pro-American stance, but it remains a tightly controlled state ruled by a party that in all likelihood rigged the last election (one opposing seat? I doubt that somehow). The media is mostly owned by the President's daughter. If Bush is such a champion of democracy, why does he laud Kazakhstan? It's because containing the Chinese by expanding the American sphere of influence in Central Asia is more important than democracy. It's about a struggle for power. To dress up this ugly struggle in the lace-fringed velvet bodice of a power sharing ideology like democracy is crass.

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