Oiling the Wheels of Democracy

Libya attack 1France is ostensibly leading a coalition of nations, under UN resolution 1973, in an effort to push back against the “atrocities” of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (spellings vary, gimme a break please) in Libya. The United States, while not obviously at the forefront of this initiative, has been a driving force behind the resolution and subsequent demand for Libyan cease-fire under threat of allied incursion.

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is currently in France, and spoke to the media explaining that main reason behind the action was to “protect the Libyan civilians”. Funny, because as she spoke Yemeni civilians were dying at the hands of Yemeni police and Saudi Arabian troops (who had been called in by the Yemeni government to assist in quelling the uprising). It’s also strange that as the wave of discontent washed over northern Africa, Yemen on the middle eastern peninsula, and the island of Bahrain, the United States and her allies never felt the need the get directly involved…until now.

Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain – all nations that have experienced, or are currently experiencing modern-day revolutions. Hungry, oppressed, dissatisfied peoples marching in protest to incumbent governments, shutting down their respective countries in the process. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain – all nations who cannot count themselves as being among the world’s top oil producers. In the last 4 weeks since the uprising began in Libya however (Thursday, February 17), the price per barrel of oil has risen from $88.84 to $101.07 (at one point peaking at $105.44). That’s a 14% jump in the space of a month! In Jamaica alone, petrol prices rose by more than $2.00 each week for three consecutive weeks! This past week we finally got a reprieve with a whopping 30 cents decrease in per litre prices. Whooohoooo!!! Hallelujah! Let’s all do the happy dance!

But that is the crux of the matter folks – US foreign policy ethos is fine with you killing all the poor people you want to, just don’t mess with their oil!

Libya attack 2

With the world’s largest economy, and consuming more than 25% of the world’s oil production, no other single nation on earth is as adversely affected by a spike in oil prices as the United States of America. Hence it is in her interest to have the unrest in Libya come to a swift resolution. “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” This isn’t a quote from some dictator or cynic opposed to US power, but rather has been attributed to no less than former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger by author Dinesh D’Souza (it is a paraphrase of a quote by 19th century British statesman, Lord Palmerston). And it has been proven time and again that when they do act, it is only or chiefly in their interest.

Muammar al-Gaddafi at the AU summitGaddafi, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly made many friends among western nations – having gone to war with both Chad and Egypt, supporting Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe, sheltering (and some say deploying) the Lockerbie bombers and espousing Marxism/Socialism. He is however, somewhat highly regarded by some African leaders, but alas, you need friends with benefits in this world, and pan-African unity wasn’t about to stop the US and its sycophants from passing that UN resolution.

While I look forward to an end to this conflict for reasons both humanitarian AND selfish (I wouldn’t mind being able to fill my tank again, ok folks), I would also love to see an end to conflicts in Bahrain and Yemen. Much more importantly, though, I’d rather see the backs of all oppressive leaders and tyrants, and if this requires bloodshed then so be it. Anything in life worth having, is worth fighting/dying for!


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Yaadinfo Jamaica