Saturday, July 20, 2002

It seems like too many people in the West tend to focus on one enemy at a time... or, more importantly, discount and/or minimize the problems of one party that they want to use against another party that is higher prioritized, despite the obvious fact that both are somewhat odious.

Case in point? This article on NRO, which advocates a closer relationship between oil-producing Nigeria and Washington in the interests of choking the Saudi oil supply, and therefore disentangling the United States with that corrupt regime. One problem, though.. Nigeria isn't really that much better. As I had mentioned in an earlier post, the previous Nigerian government engaged in brutal intimidation tactics in order to silence critics, especially those of the indigenous groups who have seen their land despoiled and their lives destroyed by the heavy, messy, and entirely unnecessary pollution that the Nigerian government allowed western oil companies to engage in. This culminated in the gangster-style execution of one of Nigeria's premier intellectuals, Ken Sero-Wiwa, who was neither radical nor violent... merely a dissident, in the best sense of the word.

Of course, that was a dictatorship, and things have changed, right? As I had also mentioned in an earlier post, however, it would appear that the situation hasn't improved much at all- the democratic government in Nigeria is still oppressing the people who get in the way of petrodollars (and who see little in the way of economic development from it.. the money tends to filter up to the government and away from the region), with what would apparently be the full consent of the rest of the Nigerian people.

So, we have an article advocating that the United States grow closer to one oppressive oil-producing country in order to distance itself from another one, a style tactic that the historical record shows is notoriously prone to disasterous failure. I rather hope that this is simply due to Lowry being ignorant of the situation, of the naive belief that a democracy can't be oppressive, and utterly missing the point- because otherwise this smacks of the same sort of relativistic moral calculations that the right is always complaining about. At the very least, Rich should advocate that Washingon require Nigeria to be much more conscientious before any closer relationship can occur.

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