dinsdag 6 april 2010

US shifts back to being a democracy: Obama sets an example

This Eastern weekend I read the pamphlet of Naomi Wolf called ‘The end of America’. Wolf describes the frightening resemblances of the Bush regime with dictators like Adolf Hitler, Stalin and Pinochet and, though she doesn’t mention him, Meles Zenawi from Ethiopia. She wrote her book, a letter to a young patriot in the year 2007.

There is a system every dictator seems to follow. Wolf describes ten steps that ensure total control of a society, closing it and putting fear into peoples’ hearts and minds. The ten steps include suppressive laws in the name of security, randomly imprisoning civilians, creating a paramilitary force and off course limiting freedom of speech.

Though quite obvious when you come to think of it, an eye opener to me was that dictators want their subjects to know about the crimes they commit. A carefully designed propaganda gradually pours fear into society. The psychology behind it is that a frightened people tends to self-censorship and is much easier to control.

The American constitution is designed with checks and balances to prevent dictators from seizing absolute power. President Bush however seemed quite successful in breaking down these safety nets for democracy.

But now the pendulum swayed back. Democracy is about freedom and peace. Barack Obama puts his money where his mouth is. Not only in interior matters, like the health care bill allowing access to health care for all Americans instead of for some.

Obama is also living up to his speech 'A new beginning' in Cairo on June 4 2009, where he reached out to the rest of the world, especially to the Muslim communities. The New York Times reports: ‘For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons, or launched a crippling cyberattack.’

The signal the president of the United States sends to the world, is one of strong cooperation with NATO allies, not in the least Russia, to ban nuclear threat. Countries like Iran and North Korea, will be pressed to leave their nuclear defence programs in order not to be isolated from the international community. Obama is not being soft on this. He seems quite realistic, by giving the right example, cooperating and, at the same time, force others, like North Korea and Iran, to follow his footsteps, for their (and our) own benefit. He is the change he wants to see in the world. Quite a different America from the United States Naomi Wolf wrote about only three years ago.

New York Times breaking news, April 5 :


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