General Colin Powel is nominated as the next United States Secretary of State and already, he is giving us a taste of things to come in the next four years. His first salvoes are predictably against Saddam Hussein, an obvious target and unfortunately a sign that US foreign policy is set to limit itself to diatribes, conservatism, demonology and idiocy exactly when the USA was showing the first signs of having reached a certain level of diplomatic maturity. Powell’s tirade against Saddam Hussein came as he addressed journalists in Texas. “Saddam Hussein leads a failed regime, one which will cease to exist in a few years’ time. I don’t know what it takes to make him see sense, but we are in a position of strength and he is in a position of weakness and I think that it is possible to reinforce the sanctions and confront him again if this is necessary”. This reminds one of Cuba in 1962. The USA dances its political tango again, one step forward and five steps back. Again, a case of provocation, such as was the case before the Gulf War. The world’s press missed the story (or were too frightened to write it) but here it is, loud and clear : The United States of America collaborated with the fascist regime in Kuweit before the Gulf War in the 1990s, enticing Kuweit to lower its oil price, a measure which would have ruined Iraq’s economy. Iraq had one option only: destroy Kuweit’s oil production. Iraq is one of the most progressive Arab states, in case General Powell does not know and the failed attempts to bomb the Babylon library did not reduce the average Iraqi to the cultural nullity of the average American. Women are treated with respect, people have more opportunities in the Ba’ath State of Saddam Hussein in Iraq than in many other Arab countries and one might even advance, more opportunities even than in the United States of America. Powell wants the sanctions to continue at least until the Iraqi government allows the arms inspections to continue. This policy was abandoned after the Iraqis refused to cooperate with inspectors who were looking for, and creating, problems where none existed. Interfering in sensitive areas such as the Balkans or the Middle East is delicate, risky and counter-productive. To speak in such provocative terms amounts unfortunately to no less than crass stupidity and shows a total lack of sensitivity, sensibility and basic intelligence. Let General Powell start by using the same weight and the same measure the world over and let him start by solving the problems which his country created, for example, in Africa, where fascist dictatorships make Saddam Hussein look like a fairy godmother.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru Lisbon

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