Bahamas Blog International
Sixty years later, a birds-eye view of the world: the good, the bad and the worst!
By Jean H Charles:
Queen Elizabeth has just celebrated her sixty-year Jubilee at the throne of England. She has presided with grace and gravitas upon the destiny of Great Britain and, by extension, of the entire Commonwealth.
Sixty years later, in a world where war, famine, extreme poverty, huge national debt with painful restructuration is the norm, England and the Commonwealth are doing well. From Canada, to Australia and New Zealand passing through The Bahamas or Cayman Islands, the Queen has done well for her subjects.
It is true there are some exceptions like Zimbabwe with its ruthless ruler who still manages to pull the strings and remain in power against the will of his people and of the international community. The former premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, who left the economy of the pristine islands in shambles while hiding in the Dominican Republic, and the Falkland Islands, disputed by Argentina but whose citizens swear their strong allegiance to England.
Sixty years later, the English-speaking world is doing well, including the populous nation of India that claimed its rightful place at the decision table of the Security Council.
Sixty years later, South Africa is no more an apartheid state. With the financial support of Trinity Church of Wall Street through Bishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela has been able to galvanize his people into creating a nation out of a divided land. It is a star in a continent where there are very few.
Sixty years later, Asia is riding into smooth water. China with its billion-plus population is converting its peasant class by the hundreds of millions every year into middle class status. Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, ruled no more by military, are the darlings of the tourist industry. Singapore and Malaysia are teaching the rest of the world, in particular the Muslim world, that hospitality for all is the key to a full and successful development.
The United States, free of its discriminatory practices against its black minority, has now a black President Barack Obama, who presides with grace amongst his brethren from Asia to Europe in steering the world into waters that may be calmer.
Not doing as well are the southern nations of Europe: Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. They were the cicada who sang instead of labouring during the day. Now the roosters are coming home. France, Germany and England, the ants who saved for the dry days, are demanding stiff price to lend a hand.
The newly liberated nations from the iron grip of the Soviet empire are still languishing in a convulsive mode, where the stress of the new and the old order continues to create friction. Yet, I was expecting a smooth landing from the Gorbachev perestroika as he offered a silver plate to the western world.
The Western nations, in general, the United States in particular, were not ready to take the ball and bring it into the net. President Clinton and his foreign policy staff was too busy defusing his fling with Monica to take advantage of the silver plate package offered by Gorbachev to the Western world.
A Marshall Plan cocktail arranged by the United States and the European Union for Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia, Albania and all would have transformed Eastern Europe into a haven of peace and prosperity, a la Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Sixty years later, Cuba is still ruled by the Castro brothers. They have brought education and good health care for all. Under an embargo imposed by the United States but maintained by the Cuban Diaspora in Florida, an opening is near, when and if President Obama is re-elected. His fear of the Cuban vote will disappear. As the Chinese, the Cubans will rush into middle class status.
Sixty years later, the autocrat rulers of the Arab world are crumbling. Following the immolation in Tunisia, Egypt with Mubarak, who lasted thirty years, is now in coma. Syria under Bashar Al Assad, in a regime handed down from his father Hafez Al Assad, is still holding tight, defying all standards of the civilized world to remain in power beyond the sixty years. Will the Arab spring be in vain, like the perestroika of Eastern Europe? I am observing the early signs they are: in Egypt the people have to decide between the bad and the worst; in Tunisia the new rulers want to go back to the dark days of Sharia rule of law. Will the western world help to usher in true democracy from the Arab spring and not miss the boat like the Soviet perestroika?
Sixty years later, Latin America, freshly recovered from a Marxist foray into land redistribution, guerilla warfare against a cocktail of drug dealers and leftist lunatics, is emerging slowly. Columbia, which transformed its poppy farms into rose and tulip farms, is doing well for itself, leaving Mexico still struggling with an army of drug dealers camped at the gates of the United States, feeding the users and creating havoc at the border towns.
Sixty years later, Brazil, the largest nation of South America still has some shantytowns in Rio and Sao Paolo but it is no more the ruthless Brazil of the generals. Lula has succeeded in a revolution that pulled Brazil into the ranks of emerging leaders with worldly ambitions. Albeit its role in leading the UN MINUSTHA stabilization force in Haiti has been a complete failure, a charade that needs retooling.
Sixty years later, the worst view on earth from the sky is located in the French-speaking world of Africa, in Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia. They represent the failed states of the globe.
Sixty years earlier, I was six years old; Haiti was in its golden age at the end of the Paul E Magloire regime, as in Iran, the Duvalier and the Aristide came in to chase the villain bourgeois so those who have will be no more in possession. The end result has been the pauperization of the majority of the population, pushing the intellectuals first and later the lowly toward better pasturage abroad.
Iraq and Afghanistan, the theater of a world coalition to chase the Mullahs and Al-Qaeda out of power, are still in shamble because the coalition did not bother to create nations out of a divided land ruled upon by clan not by citizenship.
Sixty years from now, I will be no more, but I am betting the failed states will remain the same as long as they (meaning their own leaders) do not take steps to follow the golden rule of Ernest Renan, transforming their states into nations where the glory of the past and the dream of building the future together is a state vision and a state practice.
In a global perspective, France should revisit Renan and give his philosophy of nation building a place of choice in its foreign policy. French Africa and its rebel daughter Haiti represent the dark side in this birds-eye view of the world. The United States must now include nation building in its foreign policy analysis otherwise the failed Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia will continue to haunt the rest of the world for the next sixty years.
June 23, 2012
Caribbean Blog International
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