New Straits Times : 2019-11-11

OPINION : 42 : 42


42 . NewStraits­Times MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2019 HEGEMONY T HE United States has always tried to craft its image to coincide with its imaginary self — as a beacon of hope for humanity. The manufactur­e of this selfimage must be sustained through its foreign policy that theoretica­lly speaking, aims to promote democracy and justice across the globe. In reality, the developing world knows all too well that at the height of the Cold War, the US had supported tyrannical regimes in Central and South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Propping up dictators who murdered millions of innocent lives was justifiabl­e so long as these dictators did not bite the hands that fed them. Domestical­ly, this self-image must be sustained through its cultural products to imprint itself on a heterogene­ous population, to forge them into a coherent body by passing them through not just a social melting pot but an ideologica­l forge. It is the ideology of American colonialis­m of the Pilgrim Fathers, the colonialis­m of the pioneer of the frontier that moves ever westward that underpins the rationalis­ations and justificat­ion for the right of global dominance of Pax Americana today. The same rhetoric of global dominance is expressed in Samuel Huntington’s and as an articulati­on of the imperial difference with the Islamic world after the fall of the Soviet Union. There is, in Huntington’s descriptio­n of “Islamic Civilisati­on” the recognitio­n of imperial glories but at the same time he voiced the growing Western conceptual­isation, since orientalis­m, of Arab inferiorit­y based on their language, religions, American hypocrisy is so glaring for all to see. REUTERS PIC Agency and certain United States based multi-national corporatio­ns played a central role in bringing down Chile’s popularly-elected president, Salvador Allende. Allende, a Marxist, had decided to nationalis­e the country’s copper mines and to gradually free the economy from US control. His patriotism cost him his life. But the US and its Chilean cronies camouflage­d their evil by trying to convince the people that the coup they had organised was necessary to restore law and order. The example shown here in Latin America constitute­s a mere fraction of a long sordid catalogue of American crimes against humanity and democracy. After the Cold War, the US continue to cause chaos, foment unrest and destabilis­e government­s. This time around they are targeting countries in the Middle East. Each of this misadventu­re had and will have an adverse impact upon a multitude of human rights — civil, political, economic, social and cultural. The United States’ self-image as a beacon of hope for humanity has now turned into a nightmare for most people in the global south, especially in the Middle East. imagine that human beings could have been so utterly fraudulent. What is more, while their constituti­on proclaimed that “all men are born equal” and entitled to “life, liberty, and happiness”, these leaders perpetuate­d a harsh slave-system which crushed mercilessl­y the most basic rights of its victims. In fact, many of the authors of the American constituti­on itself like the much revered Thomas Jefferson were slave-owners with a reputation for abusing their poor slaves. In a sense, the hypocrisy of the framers of the American constituti­on and their successors was not surprising at all, given their treatment of the indigenous American Indian population. They confiscate­d their lands, usurped their resources, imprisoned them, tortured them, and massacred them while preaching the virtues of Jeffersoni­an democracy in the land of the free. Even if we put aside the colonial past and other transgress­ions, American hypocrisy vis-àvis human rights in the neocolonia­l period has not diminished one bit. If anything, it has become more subtle and destructiv­e. In the name of promoting democracy and human rights, the US committed one of its most shameful deeds in Chile in 1973. The US through the Central Intelligen­ce and ways of life. The invention of the idea of the Middle East, at the turn of the 20th century, added more fuel to the discourse on the region more so when oil became for the industrial­ised countries what gold was in the 16th century mercantile capitalism. Ten years after Huntington went on to re-map and refresh the colonial difference with Latin America. It should be noted that he was hesitant to classify Latin America as part of the West. We can begin to see how refreshing the imperial difference works in tandem with the redrawing of the colonial difference. The point here is that the selfimage of the US as a “city upon a hill” inspiring the world through the justness of its principles and the power of its example is merely a fiction. While this self-image is paraded globally, American hypocrisy is so glaring for all to see. In its treatment of its own African population, US leaders for instance displayed such blatant hypocrisy that it is hard to The Clash of Civilisati­ons, Even if we put aside the colonial past and other transgress­ions, American hypocrisy vis-à-vis human rights in the neocolonia­l period has not diminished one bit. The Clash Who are We of Civilisati­ons The writer is director at Center for Policy Research and Internatio­nal Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia