There was a time, in the not so distant past when I revered America. I believed then, as I do now, that no world power in recent history had used its economic and military might so benignly and done so much to make the world a better place.
The aftermath of WWII brought out the best in this great country as it deployed its immense resources to repair the damage wrought by war and help former adversaries get back on their feet. Thanks to this act of mercy, Germany and Japan quickly recovered and went on to play a major part in making the world a better place. In this vein, the US has long been the most generous provider of foreign aid aimed at alleviating poverty around the world. I’ve often wondered why they receive so little recognition for this, but American largesse has almost been taken for granted for a very long time by a lot of people and countries. Few here in South Africa know, or appear to care, much less appreciate the fact, that US Aid provides the funding for most of the retro-virals that have saved millions of HIV- positive sufferers from early death.
But notwithstanding these merits, doubts about American intentions began to surface in my mind when President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003 using as a pretext, the urgent need to neutralise ‘weapons of mass destruction’. His war-cry turned out to be a catastrophic hoax which triggered massive instability throughout the region which resulted in the deaths of several hundred thousand people. Moreover, the conflict exacerbated the Islamist war of terror against the western democracies, thereby destabilising the body politic and creating fertile ground for the evolution of Woke Marxism in its manifestations with which we are all too familiar in the 2020s.
Despite this monumental misuse of military power and the undeniable suffering it has caused, it has not deterred the Americans and they have gone on since then aggressively to intervene in multiple countries around the world; and in no case do they seem to do much else than make matters worse. Invariably the cover for these intrusions is ‘furthering democracy’, in reality, these campaigns seem to benefit no one other than the companies that profit form the sales of military hardware. ‘Democratic Imperialism’, driven by the USA, has in many ways been far more damaging to the world than the colonialism of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Against this backdrop I watched with interest, US representatives playing a prominent role in monitoring and passing judgement on the recent election in Zimbabwe. One should not forget the tragedy that has played out in that country over the last 43 years was only made possible thanks to the efforts of an administration then led by President Jimmy Carter who personally played a pivotal role in orchestrating the accession to power of Robert Mugabe. Ironically, it was monitors from his foundation who were on the ground recently to survey a wrecked country and yet another massively flawed election which seems set to once again provide a platform for the incumbents to continue their terrible misrule.
But, while there once was a time when Washington’s verdict on an election came with considerable cachet, I am no longer sure this remains the case. Just as in Zimbabwe, the persecution of Donald Trump and his support team by a politicised Department of Justice, along with the FBI, is being done along the same lines as happens in Zimbabwe where the law is perverted by those in power who have leverage over the law enforcement agencies.
Recent, highly credible revelations, detailing the illegal activities of Hunter Biden which almost certainly benefitted his father the president, which have long been ignored by the relevant authorities, show that, just as in Zimbabwe and many other African countries, the law is selectively applied in that country to protect the incumbents.
Just one telling example is the fact that then Vice President Joe Biden, threatened to withhold American aid from Ukraine unless a prosecutor looking into his son’s activities in the country, was not fired. This blatant abuse of power for personal gain has been totally ignored by Attorney General Merrick Garland who is being compared to a ‘mob lawyer’ for the ‘Biden crime family’.
And in very similar fashion to what we were witness to under the Mugabe administration, looking at what charges have been levelled against Trump, it appears it is now illegal to challenge the fairness of an election, unless your name is Hilary Clinton. This despite the fact there are troubling questions that remain unanswered about the conduct of officials in electoral districts dominated by supporters of the Democratic Party.
Sadly, America, can no longer lay claim to be an honest broker in the management of international relations, certainly not since its humanitarian munificence and clemency in the aftermath of WWII; nor can it claim the moral and technical high-ground in deciding how a country conducts its internal affairs or runs its elections.
It is not often it happens where an African country intervenes in an electoral dispute with credibility and passes a judgement that is treated with respect, but this kudos belongs to the Zambian government and their observer mission. They came from a country with a stellar record for running free elections leading to peaceful transfers of power and acted with courage and compassion in trying to rectify a wrong. Unfortunately they failed but had the guts to try.