Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is the head web developer for a regional newspaper
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W

November 18, 2003

Guinea Pig

Which is more important, reducing America's dependence on Arab oil, or encouraging the growth of democracy worldwide?

How one answers that question ought to predict's one's reaction to the news that the U.S. has recently re-opened its embassy in the dictatorial, repressive, yet oil-rich state of Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea's president had his opponents imprisoned and tortured, had his presidential predecessor executed by firing squad, helped himself to the state treasury at will. State radio recently declared him ``like God.''

Teodoro Obiang might seem an unlikely candidate for warmer relations with Washington, except for one thing--his tiny West African country's got a tremendous amount of oil.

The Anti-War Protest Answer: "All the talk about freedom, democracy and human rights emanating from this administration is nothing more than empty rhetoric. If George Bush truly cared about human rights, he wouldn't be supporting the man abusing them in Equatorial Guinea.

Therefore, it is all about the oil, about enriching his family and the cronies of his administration. I intend to illustrate all this via a giant paper-mache puppet of the president with a hand up his ass. Once we reach critical giant paper-mache puppet mass, this corrupt administration will have no other choice than to step down."

The Realpolitik Answer: "Yes, he's a dictator. So what? The more oil we buy from Equatorial Guinea, the less money we put into Saudi pockets. The less money the Saudis have, the less Al-Qaeda has, which weakens that group's ability to kill Americans. It's what we're doing in Russia, and I don't recall anyone boo-hooing over Chechnya lately.

Did I say 'Americans?' I meant 'people.' Yea, that's the ticket. "

The State Department Answer: "Working from within the system is the best way to promote human rights and the growth of democracy. After 50 years of abject failure, we're bound to get it right this time."

The European Union Answer: "Anybody killing Jews down there? We've got some money we'd like to send them, if so."

My answer? Basically, I'm pissed at the administration for not realizing that a moral position, even a pretended moral postion, for God's sake, has to be applied consistently if it is going to have any persuasive force. The actions of the U.S. in Equatorial Guinea undermine the goals of the U.S. in Iraq.

It's not like we need to invade E.Q. to improve the situation. Freeze Obiang's assests, drop a bomb on him, then tell the new leader he's got three years to install a democratically elected government or we'll do the same to him. And by the way, there's some money here for the man who does our bidding.

Yes, I know that assassinating a foreign leader encourages people to try and do the same to our leaders. So what? U.S. soldiers put their lives on the line every day to protect our democracy. Why shouldn't their leaders?

Besides, it won't happen anyway. One, the international community currently ignoring Equatorial Guinea would get its panties in a wad, and for some reason we are still hoping, after 200 years, that Europe will ask us to the prom.

Two, and more importantly, the oil companies would also be more than a little pissed, and they have the power to act on that emotion, whereasyour average Frenchman is just going to add another layer of spittle to the drive-thru window at McDonalds. I will leave the prediction of how the oil companies act on that emotion, whether by donating vast sums of money to a political party, pulling the strings on the G.B. puppet, or by writing a stern letter to the Star-Telegram Op-ed page to the imagination and politics of the reader.

But I'm not that pissed. Re-opening a embassy sans ambassador doesn't quite rise to my default level of outrage, and a credible argument can be made that it needs to be there to serve the Americans in country. In the short run, it makes sense.

But in the long run, such a position is untenable. Support a dictatorship long enough, and those it oppresses will eventually come to see you as just as much of an enemy.

Posted by Bigwig at November 18, 2003 03:43 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

I saw the report on 60 Minutes about Equatorial Guinea. For some reason, I can't stop thinking about how his son went on that shopping spree and bought 30 suits. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Posted by: lotus at November 18, 2003 04:24 PM

Nations have interests. The duty of the President and US government is to protect the US and US citizens, not to topple every dictatorial, repressive government in the world.

Know this: if the Middle East was barren of oil, but still had OBL & other jihadists bombing the US, we _still_ would have invaded Afghanistan & Iraq. We are there not because of the oil, but because they pose a clear threat to us.

Nations (including the USA) do not have a duty to right every wrong that happens in the world.
We have the right to overthrow dictators, but not the duty to.

Right now, an important interest of the US is to reshuffle the Middle East, for two reasons: eliminate the threat AND ensure a reliable source of oil.

Posted by: fred at November 19, 2003 10:34 AM

I've never heard an anti-war protester's response to "Should we have allied ourselves with Joe Stalin against the greater evil?"

Posted by: The Commissar at November 19, 2003 11:17 AM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?