Friday, March 7, 2014

Does America choose dictatorship over freedom?

Note: next week there will be only three posts

America is the Home of Freedom. It’s the place you turn to when you want to see what Lady Liberty looks like.

America believes in personal rights. It believes in equality. It believes in democracy.

Rights, equality and freedom are the building blocks of the American political dream. They underpin the Bill of Rights. They are what make America the Citadel of Freedom.

But now, according to a new study of global freedom, it seems that America may have lost its compass. Our America—the home of the free and the brave—abandons her core values. America suffers what this Report terms a ‘crisis in confidence’—and as a consequence, Lady Liberty turns her back on the world-wide struggle to keep democracy alive. America seems now to prefer the totalitarian despot.  

America has changed. According to this Report, America may have lost interest in protecting liberty and defending those who cling to freedom. Its interest may now lie elsewhere.

America no longer defends the free. If she does, she does it half-heartedly. She is no longer the Citadel of Freedom. She appears to be more the wolf in shepherd’s clothing than the shepherd.

This 2014 Freedom Report is published by Freedom House. Freedom House describes itself as an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world. It publishes an annual Report to analyze  global political rights and civil liberties.

Their 2014 Report describes the state of freedom around the world as of the end of 2013. The Report concludes that, for the eighth consecutive year (a record) global freedom has taken a hit: for the eighth year in a row, more countries gave up freedom than took it on.

Never before has Freedom House seen world freedom erode for eight straight years. By the end of 2013, more than 25 per cent of the planet-- some one-point-six  billion people--do not live in freedom. They live instead under oppressive rule.

Increasingly, people around the globe live like Arab Muslims in Middle East Arab countries. Increasingly, authoritarian rulers deny basic rights to their citizens with exactly the same brutality found in Gaza, Cairo and Aleppo.

Of the 14 Middle East countries studied in this Report, only one—Israel—is labelled ‘free’. Only Israel promotes democracy.

But Israel is not America’s best friend in the Middle East. That title goes to Saudi Arabia which like Syria, is listed among the world’s 10 worst countries. That means that citizens in Syria and Saudi Arabia are seriously oppressed.  

Lady Liberty loves Saudi Arabia. America’s relations with the authoritarian Saudis seem far more positive than its relations with democratic Israel.

Gaza is listed as ‘not advancing’ in freedom; its freedom score deteriorated during 2013. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is not included in the Report. But other sources (see the Annual Report of Human Rights Watch) submit evidence that the PA would not get a ‘free’ label. Evidence suggests the PA would have a freedom score similar to other Arab Middle East countries.

Nevertheless, America supports ‘Palestinian’ claims against Israel. America prefers the Arab dictators who rule Gaza and the PA over Israel.

America pressures the free Israel. Lady Liberty coddles the oppressive PA and Gaza. America demands Palestinian statehood—without a word about freedom.

America favours Arab leaders who rule as dictators. America does not favour the democratically elected Israel Prime Minister.  

During current Arab-Israel peace talks, how many times have you heard American officials criticize, warn or threaten Israel? How many times have you heard American officials criticize, warn or threaten Mahmoud Abbas?

Clearly, for America, the absence of democracy in the Arab Middle East means nothing to its Middle East foreign policy. Just as clearly for America, the existence of a democratic Israel in a despotic Middle East wins Israel no extra points in the game of Middle East diplomacy.  If anything, Israel’s democracy seems to lose points for Israel.

For America today, democracy means little. Are you surprised that world freedom retreats?

America, once the home of the free, has been Citadel of Democracy for two centuries. But today, it no longer values democracy enough to support it.

America does not truly support the only free nation in the Middle East. Instead, it shows preference to the totalitarian rulers of the Middle East. It does not promote Israel as a beacon of freedom in the Middle East—to be honoured and protected. Instead, it pressures Israel to yield to totalitarian demands.

Repression in the Middle East did not recede in 2013. It intensified. America says almost nothing.

America abandons democracy. That abandonment empowers dictators. America helps to isolate Israel-the-free. America ennobles those who would rape Lady Liberty.

America no longer supports equality or rights. It abandons them .

Around the world, freedom erodes. In America, the Citadel of Freedom crumbles.
Is Israel destined to become the new Citadel of Freedom?
Stay tuned.

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