By: Agha Shaukat Jafri

That old doctrine, so beloved of colonialists in particular, of Divide and Rule, may indeed have served the warlords of the West in their previous reprehensible hegemony of poorer nations. It certainly subjugated the distressed masses of Africa and Asia, forcing them to suffering and humiliation for decades if not centuries. But is it truly a thing of the past?

Unfortunately, in today’s seemingly ‘wiser’ world, where humanity is meant to have learned the lessons of our past, a new breed of power-mongers appear to be tinkering with the old way of doing things. Their focus this time is the Middle East and Africa, both rich with enormous reservoirs of oil wealth and endless mineral resources. However, under the guise of a so-called ‘American Exceptionalism’, and a much maligned European Union, countries that are economically and politically depressed are not the only ones being asked to succumb to the desires of a new order.

The United States of America, which was itself forced to swallow the bitter pill of colonialism at the hands of the British Empire, encountered great hardships in chasing out their overlords. India and Pakistan sacrificed millions of human lives in eventually getting rid of a well-entrenched Raj. Indeed, Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Mountbatten and Lawrence of Arabia, to name but a few, were more than mere colonial rulers of their time, they were racists who felt ashamed to even make eye contact with their subjects. Churchill was famously quoted referring to Indians as ‘sub-human’, and he is said to have abhorred their company. Barack Obama was the first U.S. President who felt compelled to remove Churchill’s bust from the Ova office in the White House.

Similar ignominious cruelty of criminal proportions prevailed in Africa, where the enslavement and lynching of ‘natives’ was the staple attitude of Dutch, French and Italian colonialists. Precious commodities, including diamonds, gold, and platinum were seized from Africans and Indians in a frenzy of blatant thievery by these Colonial regimes.

The recent visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the U.S President entailed a 48-hour sojourn of naked aggression against a delicate political and religious social and geo-political fabric. Dangerous and lethal state-of-the art armaments were showered on the evil sultans of Arabia, like lap-dancers bringing gifts to reward wickedness. Rather than assisting the poverty-stricken populations of this beleaguered region, which would help ordinary people better their lot economically and politically, Western leaders stuffed the pockets of Arab fat cats, imperilling a delicate region further into chaos and violence.

We could only stand by and watch as Muslim leaders representing almost 50 ‘independent’ states were planned, programmed and budgeted to provoke the destruction of every other. Instead of building bridges of peace and harmony, the nefarious novice of the Free World incited them to erect walls of hatred and bigotry, whilst abandoning the one he planned to separate his own country from its southern neighbor. Ironically, the false and fictitious arrangement that the U.S. President and his team orchestrated during this visit collapsed within days, when Qatar decided to pull away from the flock. The President, in his usual knee-jerk manner, sided with Saudi Arabia, choosing the lesser of two evils.

This nascent U.S. administration does not have a clue about formulating a foreign policy that would first and foremost guarantee American national interests, let alone make this world safe, secure and great again. It is least interested in underwriting a long term manifesto of peace and justice for an important region whose many state entities, whilst diverse in themselves and perhaps adverse to America’s self interest, yet may be attracted by the constructive prospect of working towards a common objective. A great opportunity has been lost.

In this context, demonizing the Islamic Republic of Iran on an around-the-clock basis, and singling out this equally proud nation of 80 million people, blaming them for all the ills of our times, are not the ingredients of a healthy foreign policy, nor does it tally with reality. It is siding with a country – Saudi Arabia – knowing full well its horrendous record on human rights and its role, ideological and otherwise, in inspiring acts of tyranny and terrorism, that will only land us in a further political quagmire.

Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey, albeit possessed currently with, variably, only a minimal semblance of democracy, are predicted to be centers of power in the years to come. The lick spittle grovelling states of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, along with their underlings in the Gulf, are the sorry souls who were never, nor will ever be, part of a ‘civilization’ that strives to promote liberty, justice, and prosperity. Dancing with them is indeed tantamount to dancing with swords!




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