Troubling times for humanity To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
March 22, 2002

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These are troubling times for humanity; the threat of Nuclear Armageddon looms unsettlingly close. The debate in the letters column around this and related issues is very insightful.

One participant has quickly dropped out, no longer eager to "kick butt", Mike Singh has instead moved on to malign the memory of one of Guyana's most noble sons, the late President Dr. Cheddi Jagan.

Mr. Emile Mervin makes the point that America, being the world's sole superpower can do whatever it pleases, even though he added that, "might is not always right." Mr. Justin DeFreitas believes that people of good moral conscience need not blindly submit to what one newspaper editorial calls "bad policies in a democracy." This is especially important when those policies can negatively affect the entire world, like for instance, pushing all humanity, all life, toward nuclear annihilation.

The letter exchanges portray a unique problem, one of access to genuine information rather than government propaganda. Some letters revealed a tone of puzzlement regarding global resentment to George Bush's foreign policy and a growing suspicion about the true nature of the "war on terrorism." Clearly these writers are unaware of how billions of people across the globe have come to view, not the American people, but rather the tactics being employed by the US administration.

Mr. Nat Griffith points out that Mr. Bush's high popularity ratings indicate that he has almost complete consent from the American people. But is this a true indicator of how much his policies are trusted?

Ruth Rosen, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle says, "George W. Bush should remember that he lost the popular vote and never received a mandate from the American people for these policies. His current approval ratings, according to many political analysts, rest more on fear than on a national consensus." But we will return later to America's struggle to remain a true democracy.

Worldwide, there is a growing belief that the war on terrorism is pretext for imperialism and commercial greed - that the US military deployment in Central Asia is mostly about oil.

Uri Averny, a former member of the Knesset wrote inthe Israeli daily Ma'ariv that, "if one looks at the map of the big American bases created for the war, one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian ocean."

The Guardian of London carried a headline that read, "A pro-western regime in Kabul should give the U.S an Afghan route for Caspian oil." This becomes more sinister when one realizes that Hamid Karzai, who the US helped install as Afghanistan's interim President, is a former employee of Unocal, a US oil company that was negotiating with the Taliban since 1995 to build oil and gas pipelines.

Worldwide cynicism continues. "Just as the Gulf War in 1991 was about oil, the new conflict in South and Central Asia is no less about access to the region's abundant petroleum resources," echoes Ranjit Devraj in the Hong Kong based, Asia Times.

The Asia Times had earlier reported that the U.S. is developing "a network of multiple Caspian pipelines," and that people close to the Bush administration stand to benefit. For example, the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, linking Azerbaijan through Georgia to

Turkey, is represented by the law firm Baker & Botts. The principal attorney is James Baker, former secretary of state and chief spokesman for the Bush campaign in the Florida vote controversy.

"The war against terrorism is a fraud," declared John Pilger in the British-based Mirror. Pilger, the Publicationís former chief foreign correspondent, wrote, "Bush's concealed agenda is to exploit the oil and gas reserves in the Caspian basin, the greatest source of untapped fossil fuel on earth."

Not everyone agrees totally with Pilger though. Many hold that the invasion of Afghanistan was retribution for September 11th. But those who endorse Pilger's opinion counter by citing a popular French book titled "bin Laden, the forbidden truth."

According to the authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, the Bush administration began negotiations with the Taliban immediately after coming to power. The parties talked for many months before reaching an impasse in August 2001. The terrorist acts of September 11th, though tragic, handed the administration an ideal opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; it created a legitimate reason to invade Afghanistan, ousting the recalcitrant Taliban and smoothing the way for the oil pipeline. Osama bin Laden apparently played right into America's hands.

The US administration has not yet provided convincing proof that Saddam Hussein has acquired weapons of mass destruction leading many to speculate that Bush's family obsession is not with Saddam but rather with Iraq's "black gold", or if you'd prefer, its "Texas tea." In other words, the US wants to control Iraq's oil.

Is all this lost on the American people? Hardly. A. Farouk Rahaman's intemperate outburst "we love our bellicose president" might represent the views of many immigrants eager to be assimilated into mainstream

America. At a time when immigrants are being profiled according to the brown colour of their skin, it is understandable why many feel safer to blindly rally behind an American cause, whatever that might be.

But other Americans, who understand the true basis of their democracy, are very apprehensive. Many believe that attacking the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was justified but now they worry about expanding the war to include the "axis of evil." More than that, many are horrified by the administration's casual approach towards the use of nuclear weapons.

The Boston Globe reports that an antiwar movement is rapidly gaining ground. "The 'axis of evil' thing galvanized a subgroup that felt that Bush was now going beyond a reasonable response to what happened on Sept 11," says James Tracy, Headmaster at the Boston University Academy. He added that the activists are generally Americans who believe that their government is targeting countries it doesn't like while at the same time setting up an untenable military mission.

Ruth Rosen, in an article titled "A less democratic nation" points out that while she supports efforts at defeating terrorism, "nothing -- absolutely nothing -- justifies the secrecy that has shrouded the Bush Presidency, its gratuitous violation of civil liberties, or its corrosive constraints on our most cherished democratic practices."

Rosen added that, "Congress must do more to restore its check on an increasingly imperious presidency. The Bush administration is using the threat of terrorism to curtail civil liberties, bully legislators, scatter troops across the world and intimidate Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Syria with the threat of pre-emptive tactical nuclear strikes."

What does all this mean to Guyana? As one newspaperEditorial recently pointed out, the world is now a Global village, a tightly interwoven texture. The "oil game" can have a deep impact on our economy and we, like the rest of humanity, will to some extent be victims in the event of a full-scale nuclear war.

Besides all that of course, we must remember that perhaps more than half of our population, our families and our friends, now reside in North America, a continent which plays the lead role in this global conflict.
Lutchman Gossai