Today the US media is aflame with questions about the nature and timing of some remarks made by Governor Romney that were critical of President Obama’s handling of the attacks on American embassies in Libya and Egypt. Meanwhile, they completely ignore the key questions. Who made the film that has sparked the uproar? What is the underlying antagonism that is fueling this unrest.
You would think that with half a dozen 24 hour news channels, several major news networks and dozens of supposedly top flight newspaper organizations at least one US news outlet would try to find out who made the film, who funded it and why. But that is not happening. For some reason those vital questions are being avoided like the plague.
As to the underlying antagonism, it would seem to be connected to the fact that these countries have long been ruled by dictators. Mubarak in the case of Egypt, who was friendly to the US, and Qadaffi in the case of Libya, who was not. Today, however, democracy seems to be taking root in both nations. A newly democratic society is like a child who, after many years of tutelage and apprenticeship, takes off on their own. The parent or guardian may not like the path they are taking, but they have irrevocably set off on their own. The US and the other powerful nations have to reconcile themselves to the fact that these peoples are setting their own course. Any holdover attempts to control their economies or political destinies will be bitterly opposed.
The citizens of the US through the agency of their media are seeing things through the jaundiced lens of how these new democracies actions may or may not affect US business interests. However, the interests of the American people are best served by freely allowing these countries to go their own way. In fact, ultimately that is what is also in the best interests of American business. We must see Libya, Egypt and all the nations in Africa and Asia as our free and independent equals. Otherwise we will forever be enmeshed in ongoing conflict. The break with a child, as they move from adolescence to adulthood is quite often stormy. But more often than not the ill feelings pass. It is the same with nations. Libya and Egypt are now free and independent actors let us try and cultivate, not poison, our ongoing relationships with them.