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Salman Rushdie notices America's "double standards "

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  • The Muslim Chronicle
    Friends, This just in: Salman Rushdie has noticed that America has double standards! Read and reflect. Tarek Fatah =============== Double Standards Make
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2002
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      Friends,

      This just in: Salman Rushdie has noticed that America has double standards!

      Read and reflect.

      Tarek Fatah
      ===============
      Double Standards Make Enemies

      By Salman Rushdie
      The Washington Post
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4544-2002Aug27.html

      On Sept. 5 and 6 the State Department will host a high-powered conference on
      anti-Americanism, an unusual step indicating the depth of American concern
      about this increasingly globalized phenomenon. Anti-Americanism can be mere
      shallow name-calling. A recent article in Britain's Guardian newspaper
      described Americans as having "a bug up their collective arse the size of
      Manhattan" and suggested that " 'American' is a type of personality which is
      intense, humourless, partial to psychobabble and utterly convinced of its
      own importance." More seriously, anti-Americanism can be contradictory: When
      the United States failed to intervene in Bosnia, that was considered wrong,
      but when it did subsequently intervene in Kosovo, that was wrong too.
      Anti-Americanism can be hypocritical: wearing blue jeans or Donna Karan,
      eating fast food or Alice Waters-style cuisine, their heads full of American
      music, movies, poetry and literature, the apparatchiks of the international
      cultural commissariat decry the baleful influence of the American culture
      that nobody is forcing them to consume. It can be misguided; the logical
      implication of the Western-liberal opposition to America's Afghan war is
      that it would be better if the Taliban were still in power. And it can be
      ugly; the post-Sept. 11 crowing of the serves-you-right brigade was
      certainly that.

      However, during the past year the Bush administration has made a string of
      foreign policy miscalculations, and the State Department conference must
      acknowledge this. After the brief flirtation with consensus-building during
      the Afghan operation, the United States' brazen return to unilateralism has
      angered even its natural allies. The Republican grandee James Baker has
      warned President Bush not to go it alone, at least in the little matter of
      effecting a "regime change" in Iraq.

      In the year's major crisis zones, the Bushies have been getting things badly
      wrong. According to a Security Council source, the reason for the United
      Nations' lamentable inaction during the recent Kashmir crisis was that the
      United States (with Russian backing) blocked all attempts by member states
      to mandate the United Nations to act. But if the United Nations is not to be
      allowed to intervene in a bitter dispute between two member states, both
      nuclear powers of growing political volatility, in an attempt to defuse the
      danger of nuclear war, then what on Earth is it for? Many observers of the
      problems of the region will also be wondering how long Pakistani-backed
      terrorism in Kashmir will be winked at by America because of Pakistan's
      support for the "war against terror" on its other frontier. Many Kashmiris
      will be angry that their long-standing desire for an autonomous state is
      being ignored for the sake of U.S. realpolitik. And as the Pakistani
      dictator Pervez Musharraf seizes more and more power and does more and more
      damage to his country's constitution, the U.S. government's decision to go
      on hailing him as a champion of democracy does more damage to America's
      already shredded regional credibility.

      Nor is Kashmir the only South Asian grievance. The massacres in the Indian
      state of Gujarat, mostly of Indian Muslims by fundamentalist Hindu mobs,
      have been shown to be the result of planned attacks led by Hindu political
      organizations. But in spite of testimony presented to a congressional
      commission, the U.S. administration has done nothing to investigate
      U.S.-based organizations that are funding these groups, such as the World
      Hindu Council. Just as American Irish fundraisers once bankrolled the
      terrorists of the Provisional IRA, so, now, shadowy bodies across America
      are helping to pay for mass murder in India, while the U.S. government turns
      a blind eye. Once again, the supposedly high-principled rhetoric of the "war
      against terror" is being made to look like a smoke screen for a highly
      selective pursuit of American vendettas.

      Apparently Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are terrorists who matter;
      Hindu fanatics and Kashmiri killers aren't. This double standard makes
      enemies.

      In the heat of the dispute over Iraq strategy, South Asia has become a
      sideshow. (America's short attention span creates enemies, too.) And it is
      in Iraq that George W. Bush may be about to make his biggest mistake, and to
      unleash a generation-long plague of anti-Americanism that could make the
      present epidemic look like a time of rude good health.

      Inevitably, the reasons lie in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Like it or
      not, much of the world thinks of Israel as the 51st state, America's client
      and surrogate, and Bush's obvious rapport with Ariel Sharon does nothing to
      change the world's mind. Of course the suicide bombings are vile, but until
      America persuades Israel to make a lasting settlement with the Palestinians,
      anti-American feeling will continue to rise; and if, in the present highly
      charged atmosphere, the United States does embark on the huge, risky
      military operation suggested Monday by Vice President Dick Cheney, then the
      result may very well be the creation of that united Islamic force that was
      bin Laden's dream. Saudi Arabia would almost certainly feel obliged to expel
      U.S. forces from its soil (thus capitulating to one of bin Laden's main
      demands). Iran -- which so recently fought a long, brutal war against
      Iraq -- would surely support its erstwhile enemy, and might even come into
      the conflict on the Iraqi side.

      The entire Arab world would be radicalized and destabilized. What a
      disastrous twist of fate it would be if the feared Islamic jihad were
      brought into being not by the al Qaeda gang but by the president of the
      United States and his close advisers.

      Do those close advisers include Colin Powell, who clearly prefers diplomacy
      to war? Or is the State Department's foregrounding of the issue of
      anti-Americanism a means of providing hard evidence to support the Powell
      line and undermining the positions of the hawks to whom Bush listens most
      closely? It seems possible. Paradoxically, a sober look at the case against
      America may serve American interests better than the patriotic "let's roll"
      arguments that are being trumpeted on every side.
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