Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti, the Battle Field of Two World Orders

Despite majestic bows to royal dinosaurs and august apologies for its existence, the world is not particularly impressed with President Obama's "unprecedented" and "historical" efforts to turn the US into a soft super power. The cultural divide between America and the rest of the world is still very much in evidence: American prowess confused with over-bearance, fortitude with hubris. Theater of operation, the earthquake stricken half-island state of Haiti where the US joint task force has taken charge of the airport.

The allegations are issued by the usual suspects: the accusation that the US is "using the relief effort as a pretext for occupation" by current political "mad man" of the Western hemisphere, Hugo Chavez will surprise no one; neither does the criticism emanating from the world of NGOs, home to a collective of anti American leftists of various hue.

But the French criticism is of a different order. The Minister in charge of Humanitarian Relief, Alain Joyandet was involved in a scuffle with the US Commander at the airport over a flight plan for a French evacuation mission. Which caused the intrepid plenipotentiary to exclaim in desperation:

"This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti."

The spat lays bare a much more profound division between America and the rest of the world. The US is stuck in international principles governed by the Peace of Westphalia, which laid the basis for the post feudal world order through the concept of the sovereign state. And whereas American exceptionalism sees its own zeal for liberty solely as a power for the good, the rest of the world is not so sure.

The new, transnational progressive world order seeks to eliminate the sovereign state as an immoral remnant of the old, evil, post Westphalian order. It is reigned by peace through perpetual parley, interconnectedness, mutual dependency, multilateralism, and that arbiter of postmodern truth, consensus.

Perhaps Monsieur Joyandet would like to propose a venue for talks to "clarify" the US role, until UN headquarters in Haiti has sufficiently recovered from its devastation to take charge of the relief coordination?

An even less flattering take on the French critique is also thinkable. France held the colony of Haiti from 1697 to 1804. Perhaps there is still something smoldering in the French national psyche that likes to think of itself as the island's prime mover?

There may well come a time when the US will say, enough is enough and withdraw in splendid isolation to the glorious lands between the shining seas, leaving the ever scathing world to fend for itself. What will the charges then be: unconscionable selfishness, or americano-centrism?


The Washington Times: "The upside of Yankee imperialism in Haiti"


- "Transnational Progressivism" (dossier)
- NRC: "Americans 'occupy' Haiti"

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James Higham said...

This is still thinking too much in nation state terms. That was always a smokescreen for the real agenda between three forces - the Venetian, global socialists, the Muslims and we other poor sods.

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