I’m suspicious of all politicians. Success in politics requires compromise – and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to maintain moral integrity and stick to your principles in the face of bribes, threats, the power of vested interests, and the fickleness of public opinion.
I have personal first-hand experience in New Zealand of what the political and business establishment will do to get rid of threatening opposition. I know that those interests control the mainstream media and largely determine what news and views will be presented, and what suppressed.
So why do I continue to read and watch those obviously manipulated media? For me, an important principle is, Know your enemy. If you don’t know what they are saying and doing, how can you hope to counter them?
Furthermore, although they are controlled, those media often contradict each other, or provide information unwittingly that undermines the establishment position. Ignoring them as a source limits one’s ability to fight against them.
And what is the alternative? I love the Internet, and I am in awe of the volume of information available; its anarchic uncontrollable character; and the fact that I can find answers to my every question. The Internet has transferred some of the power out of the hands of governments and those who control them, and given it to those of us who are searching for the truth.
Nevertheless, we would be naïve to believe that those governments and corporate interests are not aware of the danger, and don’t seek to use social media for their own purposes.
Consequently, I am disappointed when I find companions in the quest for truth seeming to accept unquestioningly arguments and material disseminated on the blogosphere.
A case in point:An article recommended to me, entitled “Should US-Saudi Alliance Be Saved?” written by one Patrick J Buchanan. Read the piece if you want – maybe you already have. Anyway, some comments of my own:
I must say the more I read about WWII and events leading up to it, the more I’m inclined to agree that it was an unnecessary war. Well, all wars are bankers’ wars, as they say. Oliver Stone made the case that dropping A-bombs on Japan was totally unnecessary. The more I see of Germany, the more I think the Allies smashed the country so they could lend them the money to rebuild afterwards – and probably the same was true for Japan.
I’m not so keen on Buchanan’s analysis in this instance though. He makes one or two valid points, but his argument is a bit muddied, I think, and his conclusion definitely questionable:
For sure, in the Kashoggi case, the US has a major conflict of interest – and economic realities will undoubtedly figure in any decision they take about what to do in the matter.
I don’t understand, though, why Buchanan has to go back to Ottoman times tor his first parallel; part of the widespread anti-Turkey mindset? At least he didn’t go for the old chestnut of the Armenians (as an aside, I wonder why not?). Of course we know the Brits were just as self-interestedly hypocritical as Uncle Sam. There was plenty of international outrage in the 1860s and 70s re what the Russians were doing in the Caucasus, but not much came of that.
Diplomatic realities, of course, are diplomatic realities. What did the US have to gain by refusing to “recognize” the Soviet Union, or PRC China, for that matter? They exist, and you can’t really ignore that. Recognizing them didn’t stop all the anti-Communist propaganda of the Cold War, though. Nor did it stop the US from continuing to support the “Nationalist” regime in Taiwan.
I’m no fan of Winston Churchill, but, when dear old England was fighting for its life in WWII, I can imagine he might have considered running an investigation into Nazi Germany’s discovery of suspicious graves in Poland to be a debatable luxury. You can’t really blame the guy if he had other more pressing matters on his mind.
Buchanan does have a valid point about Chile, South Korea, the Philippines and Iran (and he could have added many more to the list). As we know, these were all more or less US puppet leaders. All that proves is that any administration in the US is totally devoid of morality, not just Trump’s. Absolutely the US was behind the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, just as they had supported Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship for nearly 30 years.
Another thing I don’t understand is the criticism of Turkey I constantly hear: “There was a failed military coup attempt in 2016 and the government has used this an excuse to arrest thousands of people.”
Turkey had experienced four successful military takeovers between 1960 and 1997. It must be obvious that senior army officers would not risk their careers, never mind their lives, if they didn’t believe they had significant support, at least within the country, if not from outside its borders. Surely we would expect a far-reaching governmental investigation to follow a coup failure, and some pretty serious consequences for anyone found to have been involved.
As for the imprisoned journalists – I keep hearing this, and most of the figures seem to emanate from a shady outfit calling itself Reporters without Borders. The fact is, I live in Turkey, and I am surrounded by people who are shrill and ceaseless in their hatred and criticism of President Erdoğan, yet I don’t know anyone who has been arrested or imprisoned. The leader of the largest opposition party CHP is constantly criticising the government, and his speeches are always reported at length in mainstream media. International news media are never-ending in their attacks and black propaganda they circulate about Turkey’s government, and I have no trouble accessing their websites. Who are these imprisoned journalists, and what did they do to get themselves in trouble? Criticism is one thing, but supporting violence and armed rebellion against your country’s elected government is surely a different matter – especially in a region as volatile as the one where Turkey is located.
As another aside, most of what I see in NZ and UK media these days seems to focus on royal marriages and babies! CNN’s only interest in the Kashoggi matter seems to be how it will affect the stock market. Al Jazeera is covering it very thoroughly and we know the US and the Saudis would dearly love to shut them down. What happened to Bradley/Chelsea Manning in the USA? Where are Edward Snowden and Julian Assange? And what happened to all the outrage over Wikileaks’s leaks after it became clear that the US government was going to pursue anyone disseminating the information? Who owns most of the private news media in Italy? I have to say I find the hysteria over journalists in Turkey to be totally hypocritical!
Finally, Buchanan’s conclusion: “Rather than resist Congress’ proposed sanctions, President Trump might take this opportunity to begin a long withdrawal from decades of entanglement in Mideast wars that have availed us nothing and cost us greatly.”
Is he serious? Cost the US greatly, for sure – but is he overlooking the oil? Why does he think the US is involved in the Middle East at all? Why did they create Israel in the first place, and why do they continue to support them, right or wrong? Why do they hate Iran so much? Why do they support brutal dictators in Egypt and Saudi Arabia etc? If not for Saudi oil it would have been much harder to apply pressure to socialist governments in countries like Venezuela. Why are they so keen to support Kurdish separatists in Iraq and Syria if not to establish a grateful oil-rich puppet state?
I expect more reasoned argument from those who set themselves up as alternatives to the mainstream press.