E-mail to Dick Cheney: Guest commentary by Samuel Rachlin

Punditokraterne er glade for igen at kunne bringe en gæstekommentar af Samuel Rachlin (den første var denne):

E-mail to Dick Cheney

Right after Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip to Europe and Central Asia, I wrote him an e-mail:

Dear Dick,

It’s fine with me that you give President Putin a lecture and tell him what democracy is about, and that he should not use the oil weapon against his neighbours.  I think it’s appropriate that you tell him that the Russian government has “unfairly and improperly restricts the rights of her people.” and that Moscow should not use oil and gas as a tool of “intimidation and blackmail”. I also find it OK when you tell new East European and Baltic democracies in Vilnius that they are on the right track and they have the full support of the U.S.

But I have a problem when you, after that meting, move on to Kazakhstan to visit President Nursultan Nazarbaev – a mix between Ghengis Khan and a Soviet Politbureau Member without any tolerance of opposition or respect of human right, but with great patience with corruption and abuse of power. He is a leader of the same mold as Azerbaidzhan’s President Ilham Aliyev who recently was received by your boss in the White House.

It’s problem for me because it creates a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the American message. Nazarbayev and Aliyev are by no means on the right track to democracy and are even more undemocratic and despotic than President Putin and his crowd in the Kremlin. It’s obvious that this weakens the message to Moscow and causes confusion among the East European leaders you met with in Vilnius.

Nazarbayev and Aliyev both control significant oil wealth, and you have to understand that this could lead some people to think that the U.S. applies different criteria and values for who’s in and who’s out, and who should be lectured on what’s wrong and what’s right. That’s what we call double standards. When you and your boss cultivate relationships with people like Nazabayev and Aliyev one could get the impression that you distinguish between those who have and those who don’t have oil. The new breed of haves and haves not.

Some people could draw the conclusion that if you have oil it does not matter that much that you violate the rules of democracy and suppress basic human rights. The problem becomes even more conspicuous because everybody knows how close you and your boss are to the American oil industry. The relationship with Saudi Arabia – one of the most important providers of oil to the U.S. – has never suffered under the lack of democracy in the Arab kingdom.

You have to understand that there is not a very big jump from these observations to raising the question about the real motives behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Was it primarily a question of freedom and democracy or was it Iraq’s oil wealth that led the U.S. into the war? It’s obvious to anyone that your and President Bush’s credibility has suffered considerable damage. After Abu Graihb and Guantanamo, your lecturing about democracy and human right begins to sound hollow. After more than three years of warfare in Iraq no one can claim that the U.S. has been defeated, but the lack of results, not to speak of victories, is a defeat in its own right. That has not only undermined your status as a hyper power, but also weakened your ability to speak out about democracy and freedom on behalf of the free world – at least with the same authority as in the past.

You wound up your trip in Croatia, and in a speech to regional leaders in Dubrovnik, you again spoke about freedom and democracy. That’s a problem for me, too, because you welcomed the new countries to the EU. Listen, Dick, on whose behalf did you do that? Who gave you that mandate? Are you out of your mind, as you Americans say.  Don’t you think that we have problems enough already in the EU with the timeout for the constitution debate, with our European identity and our direction.

We don’t need any good advice. We have more than enough of our own good ideas. What we need is determination and action, but right now we are confused and enervated by all the changes we have gone through with integration, expansion and one treaty after the other. We have gone into rethinking mode, and no one really knows when we will come out. Untimely interference can only make things even worse.

And don’t you actually think that you and President Bush have problems enough on your own? The Iraq war more and more looks like a dead end. The oil price in the U.S. is still half of what it is in Europe, but your voters are so angry that they are ready to start a new revolution. The trade and budget deficits look like a Hollywood horror movie. The President’s support is at a historic low, and your own ratings are lower than Michael Jackson’s. How do you feel it’s going for you, as we say in Denmark?  I understand you need a breather, but I would suggest that next time you feel like getting out of there you should go back to Texas for some old fashioned hunting with your buddies.

Sincerely yours,

It did not take long before I got an answer from Dick Cheney:

Dear Samuel,

The hunting season in Texas has not started yet, and after that deplorable episode at  my latest hunting trip, I have to go abroad to test my markmanship before I try to renew my license. Quite frankly, I think things are going just fine. It was a great trip – one of my best in a long time,

Sincerely yours,

9 thoughts on “E-mail to Dick Cheney: Guest commentary by Samuel Rachlin

  1. Rune

    Nogle af Ruslands naboer er sure fordi Rusland, der nu i mange år har solgt olie og gas til dem til under markedsprisen, nu er begyndt at hæve prisen til hvad markedet kan bære. Dette kalder de så afpresning, som en person der har vænnet sig til at leve på kredit, kan finde på at kalde det afpresning hvis der pludseligt bliver krævet betaling (læs Hamas). Men dette har naturligvis intet med afpresning (blackmail) at gøre, det er blot kapitalisme. Hvis landende ikke syntes om Ruslands betingelser, står det dem frit at søge deres energibehov opfyldt andetsteds. Jeg ser i hvert fald ikke USA eller Danmark eller noget andet land tilbyde Ukranie eller noget andet land olie eller gas til under markedsprisen.

  2. MrSoprano

    Ruslands opjustering af priserne havde en klar politisk slagside: det Moskva-tro diktatur i Hviderusland blev eksempelvis ikke pålagt de samme massive prisstigninger som udløste en øjeblikkelig krise i de stadigt mere vestligt orienterede stater Ukraine, Georgien og Moldova.Ruslands energiressourcer er nu totalt underlagt den russiske stat, og Putin har flere gange gjort det klart, at han ikke viger tilbage for at bruge den russiske oliedominans som et politisk våben. Rationalet er klart: hvis olie effektivt kan afskærme lande som Saudi-Arabien fra vestlig kritik, kan Putin også bruge olien til at lukke munden på vestlige kritikere af de stadigt mere diktatoriske tilstande i Rusland. And it just might work.Alt i alt må man sige, at verdens energiressourcer er i hænderne på meget farlige mennesker. Saud-familien, Chavez, Ahmadinejad og så selvfølgelig Putin, for at nævne nogle af de værste.

  3. Niels

    … og det 100% statsejede DONG som for øvrigt efter politisk pres opkøbte de danske el-producenter. I resten af EU prøver staten også at opkøbe energiselskaberne. Men det er naturligvis ikke det samme, vel?

  4. Cosmic Duck

    Isn’t it funny that Dick Ch. only gives an answer to the last couple of lines of the Samuel’s mail? It is perhaps understandable because the mail is a heavy criticism of US policy, not only double standards in the democracy and freedom rhetoric, but also criticism of the erratic economic policies of the Bush administration. It proves that the Danish Left has been right all along in its criticism of the US policies of world domination.

  5. Mr.Moonlight

    Man må vel forvente at e-mails til Bush og Cheney normalt besvares af deres “staff”, eftersom de sikkert modtager flere tusinde om dagen. Imidlertid kunne noget tyde på, at det virklig er Cheney, der har svaret Samuel. En staffmember ville vel copy-paste nogen selvfølgeligheder ind og ikke give sig af med et så kort og arrogant svar. Er Samuel mon i besiddelse af Cheneys private hotmail?

  6. stud.scient.soc. et stud.cepos. Esbern David Pontoppidan

    Cosmic Duck wrote:”It proves that the Danish Left has been right all along in its criticism of the US policies of world domination.”I find that to be a somewhat dubious conclusion. What it does prove is that Mr. Rachlin and Vice President Cheney have tremendously different views on the US’ international relations. Cheney is, has always been, and has never tried to hide, that he is a pragmatic realist in foreign policy. Mr. Rachlin on the other hand seems to be a political idealist.I do not have sufficient knowledge to judge which position is preferable in this case. Pragmatic realism opened trade relations with China and westernized South Korea. It also installed the Taleban in Afghanistan.Cosmic Duck wrote: “the Danish Left has been right”However I am not shy to be blunt. Frankly I find your deduction that the leading country of the free world is faulty in its foreign policies, because George Bush doesn’t drape himself in a rainbow-coloured flag and “save the world”, to be nothing but average pacifist run-off-the-mill buffonery.Sincerely,

  7. Cosmic Duck

    Esbern David.It is not a question of rainbow politics. It is rather a question of realism. It is not realist to expect that there is so much oil left in the world that you can occupy a country in the Middle East in order to secure oil in abundance for your thirtsy SUV’s that are constantly stuck in traffic gridlock. The present foreign policy of the US is rather idealist. Bush is a crusader for the Western idea of “freedom and democracy”, even though it is quite difficult to see where that freedom is now for children who have been shot by marines in Haditha. For Denmark to go along in that adventure is simple stupidity. Denmark is antagonizing countries in the Middle East that used to be very friendly to Denmark.

  8. stud.scient.soc. et stud.cepos. Esbern David Pontoppidan

    For us to have a serious debate on the subject you would need to lay down your empty frases and unestablished presumptions. Id est the polemic oil and SUV-accusations and the unestablished Haditha-case.I have nothing but pure understandig, however, of your reluctance to do present a viable argument in the case. I have always seen pacifism as based on pure hogwash, which has been confirmed with splendid clarity in the debate preceding and following the Iraq war. Sincerely

  9. Cosmic Duck

    Esbern David.That is not fair. You also make empty phrases and false accusations, for instance that I’m a pacifist. The fact that I’m against the Coalition of the Willing’s war in Iraq does not make me a pacifist. However, for me to accept a war, which I’m reluctant to do, but it may be necessary in some cases, that war should be based on other motives than the coalition’s war in Iraq. Can you mention one, or a few, good reasons why Denmark should participate in this war? I think the Haditha case is fairly well established. The case against the war, however, does not only rest on that case. Serious war crimes have been committed, for instance in Falujah and other places.The war is illegal according to international law. Resolution 1481 in the UN Security Council is not sufficient basis for starting a war against Iraq.Therefore Denmark should have kept out of it. It is a war of aggression against a poor people in a country that was poor and which has got even poorer because of this unfortunate war. The sooner Denmark gets out the better.


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