By William Markiewicz

Now that Nato, under US direction, fights dictators in certain parts of the world, the essential difference between the past and the present is that for decades the US tolerated ferocious dictators south of its borders. Officially US policy was not anti- nor for those dictators but there was a great tolerance for what was going on in those countries and many important personalities in the U.S. had their private connections that profited both sides. What's new in the current policy is that the West and the populations fighting dictatorship are united in a common struggle against those dictatorships. The most striking example is Libya. Whether or not it is in the U.S. interest, practically for the first time the U.S. remarks the existence of oppressed populations. Officially the U.S. and Nato took the part of democracy against the tyrants in Iraq and Afghanistan but practically without the participation of the local populations.

In the name of reducing America's abysmal expenses, Obama tries to limit intervention abroad and thus somehow approaches its 'splendid isolation' position of the past. Internal prosperity becomes more important than national pride in "leading the world." Will Obama succeed in convincing most of the nation that stopping military expenses abroad is in the best U.S. interest? Why is democracy in Libya more important to the U.S. than what happened or happens in Latin America?

China, of course, has no democratic ambitions and doesn't try to be the Empire of the world. China simply thinks of China first, like America in the times of 'splendid isolation' and for them it works pretty well. China is becoming an economic giant with prosperity first in mind. Maybe this will open the eyes of many in the U.S.

What's the secret of China's flashing advance toward becoming an economic giant? I see China as taking advantage of the Communist face of the regime; no matter that internal Chinese policy is more capitalistic than communist. But formal dictatorship in the name of Communism permits China to initiate disciplinary measures that largely limit democracy which is proper to democratic capitalist regimes. Years ago, I saw a German soccer team using very "Chinese" tactics in the game. The whole team ran in the same direction, even those far away from the ball. Normally, the most important dynamic belongs to the ball holders, while the others await their turn. But in this German game -- no, they all were elements of the same advancing wave. Perhaps it gave the viewer a psychological feeling of the team's power but in practice it uselessly wasted the energy of the players who should be attentive to their individual situations rather than blindly following a tactic of constantly progressing in one direction. In the 'Startrek' movies, the total homogeneity of the Borgs' aggressions was a manifestation of their android power. In movies it was very convincing; a power in which individual merit has no particular importance.

China combines political Communism with its traditional uniform discipline to give absolute power to the elite. However, the weakness lies in placing obedience over the private flame, the source of enthusiasm. The apparent chaos in democracy may be, in the end, more fruitful than collective discipline and obedience to a few decision makers who make the great mass pay for their mistakes. Public free discussion, proper to true democracy, has the merit of permitting the bigger picture to appear.

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