It is an old saying that we have seen proof of many times around the world in recent years. “Friends and Enemies come and go but “Interests” are eternal”.
This mean that nothing and nobody is fixed, there are even no “special” relationships.
But you might not know this – that we are all simply looking out for ourselves.
Take Syrian leader Dr Bashar al-Assad, seen above. After being educated in Syrian medical universities, he attended post graduate studies in London at the NHS Western Eye Hospital, specializing in Opthalmology. Later (President) Dr Assad was warmly welcomed into western power centres into the twenty first century.
President Assad’s warm welcomes to London are hardly surprising. Assad was providing an outsourced torture service for Washington and the CIA at the time of his visit to Britain in 2002, so any friend of the CIA would of course, be welcomed in London.
As is common, official statements by western governments on almost any subject are false, hypocritical and lacking in clarity. Whilst the Obama administration condemned the human rights abuses by such nations as President Assad’s Syria (and President Gadaffi’s Libya), they made no mention of Washington’s previous use of his services in the exact same field of abuse.
It was also convienient to forget President Assad’s father, former President Hafez Assad welcoming US President Richard Nixon to Syria in 1974 as well as all the other occasions when American presidents (Carter, Bush Snr) had met with the Syrian dictator.
This is what Hillary Clinton was talking about when she was speaking to some investment bankers during the 2016 election campaign in one of her highly priced, but less highly prized, speechs. That is, government officials have a two track communication system – one message is for public consumption – which is often meaningless – whilst another, much more important message is created for private communications. Often the two messages contain very different information, and are quite dissimilar in tone, as we clearly see today with regards western government public pronouncements on the Syrian government. The same Syrian government they once welcomed, perhaps even still do, in private. Who really knows?
Another glaring example of the “no permanent friends” philosophy is Saddam Hussein of Iraq and former American Defence Seretary Donald Rumsfeld.
You would never know it, listening to all the “shock and awe” talk of destruction by Secretary Rumsfeld in 2003, but Mr Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein had met before. Quite personally and warmly in fact. Twenty years earlier in 1983, then former (and still yet to be again) Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was the Special Envoy of President Ronald Reagan to Iraq.
Who knows what they talked about – probably just stuff to do with American help to Iraq during Iraq’s unprovoked war against Iran, that still had 5 years to run at the time. You know the stuff, “how are your WMD’s holding out Mr President?“; “Do you need any more weapons Mr President?”; “Cash?” ; “Just let us know Mr President – we deliver for no extra cost….”
Eventually Saddam Hussein – like most Dictator friends of the west – outlived his usefulness. Dictators like Saddam Hussein, after being so powerful for so long, start to get the funny idea that they actually are in charge of something. Even a nation.
And when foreign leaders start to make independent decisions that don’t go down well in Washington, well….we know what happens next don’t we?
When Saddam Hussein started requesting annoying little things like wanting to be paid for his oil with Euros instead of US dollars, that was the beginning of the end for him.
No gold watch. No “I (almost) defeated Iran” badge. It is regime change time!
This scenario has played out numerous time in my lifetime. In the Middle East, Central and South America, even for God’s sake, in the highly trusted western ally, and near neighbour of New Zealand – Australia!
(see a previous post about the 1975 CIA/MI6 deposing the Australian Prime minister Gough Whitlam)
And now we see the latest installment playing out in the world. Except this time, the target is quite big and a bit stubborn. Well, the current target nation has been around for over 5000 years. They’ve been attacked and invaded by their neighbours quite a few times (and by far distant British empires too) and yet they have overcome all their setbacks – both natural and man made – and they continue to flourish. So China knows a thing or two about surviving.
President Xi Jingping was given the royal and red carpet treatment during his state visit to Britain in 2015. The visit was seen as a bit humiliating for Britain in some quarters actually, as the Brits were practically grovelling for China’s attention and investment in their nation. The visit all went fabulously well. Laughing selfies with the PM, followed by casual trips to english pubs for a beer, pics with Wills and Kate, trips down The Mall in gold state coaches flanked by thousands of Chinese flags, etc….it was all so wonderful.
But again, it couldn’t last.
Who knows the exact circumstances why things turned to custard. There are many possibilites – we won’t explore those here. All we know now, is that China has gone from great friend to an evil foe in just a few short years. No more beers and selfies lads…
Nothing China does now is good or positive – even though everything it does is exactly the same as it has always done when fetted in London.
Hopefully, it will not end in a real hot war. It shouldn’t. The United States rarely attacks nations that have an ability to defend themselves.
But we must learn to see through all the media lies that get generated day after day, about China, Russia, Iran, Panama, Venezeula or any other nation or subject that displeases Washington. After all, these nations were once our friends. Why can’t they be again?
If you knew of someone who was always falling out with their friends, often violently so, wouldn’t you wonder why that is? Would you be their friend?
You’d have to wonder at least.