Tuesday 1 January 2008

John Minto on Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice and her policies are not welcome here
21 July 2008
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a picture/postcard representative for Bush’s America. She is intelligent, articulate, attractive, well groomed and fashionably dressed. She seems cool, calm, even queenly. She is the ideal person to represent the US and drive American interests because she provides the soft public face for a host of aggressive, immoral policies to expand the empire. Condoleezza Rice was National Security Advisor to George Bush in his first term as President and graduated to US Secretary of State in his second term. She helped lead the charge to invade Afghanistan in the wake of the World Trade Centre attacks despite there being no good intelligence as to who the culprits were. Most of those responsible turned out to be nationals of US ally Saudi Arabia but invading Afghanistan was the more important strategic option. The New Zealand government supported this charade sending troops to invade and occupy. Seven years on we are still there and still shamefully complicit in the enormous human suffering which marks this disastrous intervention. Condoleezza Rice also helped drive the invasion of Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Instilling fear in the US public and creating a compliant populace to be bent to the will of a small political elite was her role. As we all now know it was a strategy based on lies, damned lies and deceit. She can also take a good deal of credit for the belief, held by a majority of US citizens, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Centre. Now that was a great propaganda job – well done Condoleezza. If innocent Iraqi civilian lives were valued then Rice would be charged with war crimes a million times over. Everywhere she has directed her attention on behalf of the US the objective has been to expand American interests irrespective of democratic voices. Attacks on the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine; support for Israel’s apartheid policies against its Arab population; condemnation of popularly elected Latin American governments and of Iran’s nuclear programme are examples where she sees democratic principles as impediments to US interests. As we would expect she was appointed to her senior US government role because she is well versed in US business interests. She has sat on the boards of some of the most powerful US corporations including Chevron, Hewlett Packard, the Rand Corporation and the Carnegie Corporation. In the US she is seen as a person of contradictions. For example she grew up black in Alabama during the civil rights struggle but has always lived a privileged life. Even so, one might have thought she would retain some sympathy for oppressed peoples such as the most abused group of human citizens in the world today – the Palestinians. But no, she is wedded more closely to a privileged lifestyle than to any empathy for the struggles of others. Many in the black community of the US describe her as a black woman who doesn’t know how to talk to black people. Social class always trumps race. This representative of the empire will be here later this week for a visit and meetings with Prime Minister Helen Clark, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and National Party leader John Key. The visit will be the highlight of Winston Peters term as New Zealand Foreign Minister. He says the visit shows the relationship with the US is strong and will stress that New Zealand and the US have worked closely together on issues including Afghanistan and North Korea's nuclear programme. Winston Peters will talk to her importantly about his visit to North Korea and how New Zealand can be a loyal ally and how much the government would like a free trade agreement with the US. Peters will positively preen beside the most powerful woman in international politics. It will be an embarrassing, nauseating sight. Keep a paper bag handy. She will meet also with John Key and this private meeting will be his opportunity to tell her that under a National government New Zealand would have sent troops to support the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Perhaps he’ll tell her that under his leadership we’d have joined up by lunchtime. She will reassure us we are good friends of the US. She will thank us for the close friendship from which the greatest US benefit is the intelligence we gather, on America’s behalf, at the Waihopai spybase outside Blenheim. For many New Zealanders and people the world over Condoleezza Rice embodies the worst aspects of US foreign policy and there will be protests against her visit. Neither she nor the murderous policies she represents are welcome here.

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