Worldly ponderings

On October 29, 2009, I went to hear Noam Chomsky talk on ‘Crises and the Unipolar Order’. The lecture was interesting, but required at least a couple of hours as he was just brushing through a summary of arguments. Nevertheless, it was interesting to hear him as there are few intellectuals as prominent as Chomsky who are openly critical of the U.S administration. The Q & A session was quite interesting.

One of the questions was on the change of policy orientation under the Obama administration, he put his hands up and without saying it, said no change. And why would there be any change because there is a coloured guy in charge now? If people expected drastic change would take place, they were blindfolding themselves. Despite the business principles applied and the vested interests in his election, the fact that a coloured guy is the US President has many positive effects on ethnic minorities and the African community, even amongst Muslim living in the West. Moreover, his election is also significant in the sense that it forces ethnic minorities to look at themselves, take responsibility for their actions, simply don the victim mentality and start becoming productive citizens of the societies they live in. Furthermore, for blacks and other ethnic minorities, Obama’s election signifies if he can make it, anyone with enough determination, discipline, hard work, good luck and strong support can and will make it to the top. If I had a role model like Obama when I was growing up in Denmark, maybe I would had more confidence and belief in myself that working hard served a greater good. But then again, maybe I didn’t really need him because there were good people in my life to guide me in the right direction. With a few exceptions, most were non-Muslims.

Another thing which came to my mind during the Chomsky lecture was about people in developing countries complaining about US vested interest. Even if they are right because it’s all about protecting its natural resources, and access to other countries’ cheap natural resources, the developing world needs to clean up its own backyard and take responsibility and protect its population. The bureaucrats, whether civilian or military, only know how to empty the state’s coffers and beg for foreign aid.

In conclusion, even if good governments are forcefully replaced with dictators, tyrants and criminals with the consent of the foreign powers, they still have the choice of taking the high road and stand up for their nation come what may and negotiate for a better deal, than take what peanuts are given them and make a fool of their respective countries. Look at Iran and Turkey. Whatever criticism one can make against the regimes, at least they are considered regional actors to contend with. Their strategic location is fully taken advantage of, yet they serve their national interests too, and the powers can only take them seriously, irrespective of their criticism.