The West Has Lost Its Moral Authority

Two issues that have made international news headlines over the past year or so, have served to reveal the naked hypocrisy of the West, in its engagement with people from other parts of the world. Over the past year, Syria has been experiencing massive social upheaval, with civilians calling for political reforms and that Syria’s long-serving president, Bashar al-Assad; step down, after decades of authoritarian rule. The Syrian regime’s response to this mass call for change, has been to unleash the might of its army on its populace, brutally killing many innocent civilians and refusing to bow down to the will of the people. It is the response of the international community, which has been eye-opening, in the sense that it has been blatantly inconsistent and bluntly hypocritical. When the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was faced with a popular uprising not too long ago, the response of the United States and its Western allies was to accuse Gaddafi of plotting genocide against his own civilians, to push through a UN resolution authorising the imposition of a “no fly” zone in Libya and to use the UN principle of the “right to protect” to enforce regime change and in the end get rid of Gaddafi by overseeing his brutal murder by the Transitional National Council. The US and its Western allies did all this whilst claiming to be standing up for and defending human rights. They pretended to be morally upright and principled in their conduct. Of course this has all been exposed as a shameful lie, and the claim that the West was only interested in regime change in Libya in order to advance its interests and gain access to Libyan oil, is being shown to be true by the West’s inaction on the Syrian issue. For how do we explain the fact that Assad has been allowed to butcher his own citizens for almost a year now with no action whatsoever by the international community? How is what Assad is doing in Syria any better than what Gaddafi was accused of in Libya, which was the justification for the swift action by the international community? Why act so decisively on Gaddafi and Libya and then only a few months later, be so blasé and indecisive on Assad and Syria? Where is the consistently in all this? What about the “right to protect” innocent Syrian civilians who are dying at the hands of their government and its military on a daily basis? Am I the only who spots the blatant hypocrisy in all this and is filled with “righteous indignation” at this gross injustice? Clearly the West has lost whatever moral authority it ever had, if it ever had any at all. Western leaders like to lecture Africa and its leaders on issues of justice, morality and principle and yet they have been exposed as openly unjust, unprincipled and immoral in the contrasting ways they’ve acted on the Libyan and Syrian issues. The other issue that has exposed the West and its allies as naked hypocrites, is the Iranian nuclear warheads issue, Iran has been accused by the West and its allies of trying to build nuclear weapons, destabilise the world and of “sponsoring terrorism.” Because of this, Iran has been demonised by Western leaders and Western media, been portrayed as some kind of pariah state, forced to endure economically crippling sanctions that adversely affect its civilians and threatened with “pre-emptive strikes” and war by the West and its allies. A close examination of the facts shows the blatant hypocrisy of the West’s stance against the Islamic Republic. Firstly, for all the accusations, nobody has yet proven that Iran is indeed trying to build nuclear weapons. It remains just strong suspicion, propagated by the West and its media. (Has everyone so quickly forgotten Iraq and its possession of so called “weapons of mass destruction”, which was the justification that was used for invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam Hussein?) Of course it is now common knowledge that there were no “weapons of mass destruction” and that it was all a fabrication of the Western leadership and its media in order to gain access to Iraqi oil. If Western leaders can lie so blatantly in order to invade Iraq, how can we be sure that they are not doing the same thing in order to invade and wage war against Iran so as to gain access to its oil? Secondly isn’t it ironic that the very countries that are trying to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons (if that is indeed what Iran is trying to do), themselves have nuclear weapons? So if they have a right to develop and possess nuclear weapons, why is Iran being denied the same right? Is there one set of rules for the Irans of this world and a completely different set of rules for the USAs, UKs, Frances and Israels of this world? How hypocritical and grossly unjust! Thirdly, the Iranian government has been accused of oppressing its own citizens and ignoring the will of the people, to bring about reform and change. A closer examination of the facts will reveal the gravity of the lies that have been spread about Iran. Firstly, Iran is a healthy theocracy, with a great constitution, periodic elections and a vibrant political system. The Iranian constitution has term limits, which limit the rule of the president to two terms, something which has been respected by all its leaders since the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led Islamic Revolution of 1979, which removed an unpopular leader, the Shah, who was nothing but a puppet leader, looking after his and the West’s interests at the expense of the Iranian people. In fact Iran has had six presidents since its revolution. It is not a dictatorship and there is a vibrant political system within which there is contestation for leadership, a fact borne out by the fact that Iran’s previous president before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mohammed Khatami, was a pro-Western reformer who served a full two terms, as allowed by the constitution. Added to that, the simple fact is that the Islamic Republic and its theocratic constitution is very popular with the majority of Iranians, contrary to what Western propaganda would have us believe. Finally, for all the accusations by the Americans that Iran is “sponsoring terrorism”, there hasn’t been one terrorist caught over the past couple of decades who has been of Iranian origin. The terrorists who have been caught have been of Saudi, Pakistani and Egyptian origin (amongst others) and yet the irony of this all is that, these three countries are all and have been American allies for a while, whereas Iran has been demonised and strategically isolated from the international community by the Americans and their allies. Aren’t you angered by this blatant hypocrisy and double standards? As an author friend of mine said to me recently, “Iran hasn’t fought an aggressive war in almost 2500 years”, so on what basis do we believe the Americans and their allies’ accusations that Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons in order to start a war and destabilise the world? We have a country which hasn’t fought an aggressive war in over 2500 years, Iran, and another which has been involved in aggressive wars, enforced regime changes, covert operations and all sorts of dastardly underhanded deeds in various parts of the world, in just the last century, the US, and yet it seems the US is held up as an example of morality and righteousness whereas Iran is ostracised. Where is the justice and the fairness in all this? Despite its claims of moral superiority and principled behaviour in its interactions with Africa and other parts of the world, the West has clearly shown itself to be devoid of any moral authority and to only be driven by greed and self interest in its conduct of the affairs of international relations. Since the West has clearly failed, can Africa take the lead in building a more just, fair and principled world in the 21st century?    
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Mugabe Ratshikuni

introverted, shy, nothing to write home about