Cameroon, Guinea - Racist contempt for "dots on the map"

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at
Thu Feb 27 01:25:03 MST 2003

For a very clear statement of the "Fuck-the-UN" political position, here is
a column by Charles Krauthammer from last October which is admirable for the
clarity with which he expresses his imperial racism.

(Note that this column is proudly presented to you by Benador Associates,
your source for "Total War" opinions as mentioned in an earlier thread.)

Krauthammer is fulminating against the idea that "we" have to do what the UN
says, and justifies this approach with the claim that none of the other
nations on the Security Council are worthy of having an opinion:

"Now, the Security Council has five permanent members and 10 rotating
members. Among the rotating members is Syria. How can any senator stand up
and tell the American people that before deciding whether America goes to
war against a rogue state such as Iraq, it needs to hear the "final
recommendation" of Syria, a regime on the State Department's official
terrorist list?

"Or maybe these senators are awaiting the wisdom of some of the other
nonpermanent members. Cameroon? Mauritius? Guinea? Certainly Kennedy and
Levin cannot be saying that we must not decide whether to go to war until we
have heard the considered opinion of countries that none of their colleagues
can find on a map.

"Okay. So we are not talking about these dots on the map. We must be talking
about the five permanent members. The United States is one. Another is
Britain, which supports us. That leaves three. So when you hear senators
grandly demand the support of the "international community," this is what
they mean: France, Russia and China.

"As I recently asked in this space, by what logic does the blessing of these
countries bestow moral legitimacy on American action? China's leaders are
the butchers of Tiananmen Square. France and Russia will decide the Iraq
question based on the coldest calculation of their own national interest,
meaning money and oil.  [!!!!!!!  UNLIKE THE UNITED STATES, I SUPPOSE, YOU
MISERABLE HYPOCRITICAL BASTARD - uh - sorry, I got carried away for a
second - LP]"

Well, this is utterly clear.  Who cares for Cameroon, after all?  They are
Africans, a dot on the map in Krauthammer's view, a country that nobody can
find and nobody cares for.  He clearly believes that Cameroon is a silly
name for a country.  Just repeating it gives him debater's points in his

'Would that JFK's party had an ounce of his confidence in the wisdom and
judgment of America, deciding its own fate by its own lights, regardless of
the wishes of France.

'Or Cameroon.'

- - - - - - - - - - - -

But that was in October.  Now we are in February, and we see that in the
current situation the votes of some of these despised "dots on the map", IF
they vote with the United States, could play a valuable role in giving a
color of legitimacy to the war.  Thus, the Associated Press reports:

'Together with fellow Security Council members Angola and Cameroon, Guinea
will make for a key Africa bloc when the 15-member council decides on any
U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

'"They're looking for money, not unlike what the Turks are doing," said Ross
Herbert, an Africa research fellow with the respected South African
Institute of International Affairs, citing the billions of dollars of U.S.
aid newly promised key strategic ally Turkey. '

MSNBC is pretty certain that the US will be able to use the
dollars-and-stick approach to force the oppressed countries to vote its way:

"The Great Arm-Twisting Race"

'Back in 1990, as the United Nations struggled with the question of whether
to sanction a war to remove Iraqi troops from Kuwait, tiny Yemen decided to
vote against the idea. Within days, the United States had informed Yemen not
to expect the $70 million in aid pledged to it that year as a reward for
ending a lengthy civil war. Saudi Arabia followed suit, canceling another
$100 million in aid and expelling 800,000 Yemeni workers. Today, the “Yemen
example” is very much on the minds of those U.N. Security Council members
straddling the fence that separates Paris and Washington.

'IF TWISTING arms were an Olympic sport, the United States would be the
diplomatic equivalent of the old East German women’s swimming team, winning
gold medals hand over fist, if not fair and square. Strip away the
moralizing from both sides of the Iraq debate, and what remains is a very
unfair fight between the reigning champion and France, a nation with
formidable cultural ties to some and an admiring pull on those who resent
American hegemony, but no real ability - financial, military or otherwise -
to help smaller Security Council states weather the blows that defiance
would bring. [...]

Neither China nor Russia, [experts] say, are likely to cast vetoes — so
highly do they value good relations with Washington.
       At worst, they may abstain.
       As for the other six: “The smaller countries, I think, we can buy
except maybe Syria,” says Chris Joyner, a professor of international law at
Georgetown University. “Most would stand to lose a lot more than they’d be
willing to for the sake of Iraq, or France for that matter. The only reason
that this particular issue exists is because of France.”

       Among those with Yemen on their mind these days is Mamady Traore, the
U.N. ambassador from the West African nation of Guinea. The Guineans threw
the French out in 1958, invited the Soviets in and, by 1961, had seen enough
of them, too. Since then, Guinea has become one of Africa’s many fledgling
and destitute democracies, doing its best to steer clear of the civil
conflicts plaguing its neighbors.
       As with many such nations, “Debt” is the Republic of Guinea’s middle
name. About $3.5 billion is owed to international creditors like the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund. That is a crushing figure for a
country Guinea’s size. ...
       [W]hen it came time to ask for help training Guinea’s own army to
secure its borders, Guinea turned to Washington. In 2003, Guinea is slated
to receive about $50 million in American aid — plus an undetermined amount
of military assistance. For a country where the per capita income is about
$330 a year, that translates to an extra week’s salary for every man, woman
and child in Guinea.
     Globalization ensures that every country on that council, no matter how
it feels about the prospect of war with Iraq, has a competing interest in
maintaining good relations with the United States:
    Angola is trying to organize a conference to rebuild the country after
years of civil war and to increase the market share for Angolan oil in the
United States;
    Chile wants to join the North American Free Trade Agreement and seeks
guarantees of strong U.S. support in international financial markets;
    Mexico wants concessions on immigration, water rights, support in
international markets and more aid to fight drug trafficking;
    Cameroon, one of the better economies in its region, wants to increase
the growing trade surplus it has with America — based on bananas, timber and
rubber. The United States has pressed for tax and tariff reform and could
easily please the African nation by dropping these demands.

- - - -

An air of imperial amusement and scorn permeates this BBC article on the
meeting of the Non-Aligned Nations in Malaysia, 116 "dots on the map":
"despite a membership that includes two-thirds of the UN, nothing that was
said at this summit is likely to have much impact on the direction of world

It's interesting, though, that when these countries are able to speak in
their own forum and are not entirely under the thumb of the US, they
apparently give voice to very anti-imperialist sentiments.  Who have they
selected for the head of the non-aligned movement in the term beginning in
2004?  Fidel!!

Whatever contempt the imperialist leaders have for their own working
classes, they have about 50 times that level of contempt for the peoples,
politicians, and governments of the colonized countries.  The US uses muscle
and money on the colonized countries the same way the old Daley Sr. Chicago
ward politicians used to do in the Black community on election day.  They
treat the sovereign states of Cameroon and Guinea like derelicts whose votes
can be bought for $5 and a bottle of hooch.  Forty years ago they would have
shown more respect, because forty years ago the prospect of socialist
revolution was in front of them, and they felt they had to conceal their oh,
so deep racism.  Now there is no limit to their arrogance.  They have
un-learned their fear of the masses.  This is going to blow up in their
faces one day, maybe soon.  Even within some of the representatives of these
oppressed and captive nations there may be unsuspected courage, anger,
humanity - or at any rate a realization that the 'gratitude' of the US to a
poor country for voting its way in the Security Council will last as long as
the echo of the vote in the council chamber and not a millisecond more, and
that stopping the imperial plans of the US may be worth some sacrifices.

Lou Paulsen

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