Now that Saddam Hussein has been bagged, the left has found a new third-world dictator to rally behind: Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The Haitian ex-president provides the perfect vessel for their anti-American delusions, and a dastardly plot to boot. All it took was a few phonecalls from Aristide (suffering greatly in a Central African palace) claiming that he?d been kidnapped by the U.S. military, and the left was hooked. It wasn?t long before Americans were treated to the spectacle of members of congress making wild accusations about a Bush administration?s ?coup? in Haiti. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry chimed in as well, citing a ?very close friend in Massachusetts? as his source. Never mind that Aristide was a dictator whose people had wanted him out for years. Forget the guys roaming the streets with machetes and guns on their way to Aristide?s palace. No, like everything else in the world, it must have been the fault of the United States.
If it were possible for members of the Congressional Black Caucus to embarrass themselves further, the entire body–most notably Maxine Waters and the always-unhinged Charles Rangel–publicly supported the Aristide conspiracy theory. Proving who the real racists are, these politicians define foreign policy (and everything else) on the basis of race. If a world leader happens to be black and they can find some fault with the U.S. government?s involvement, it must be due to racism. In fact, Rep. Corrinne Brown, losing it during a briefing on Capital Hill, ranted about the ?racist? policies of the Bush administration towards Haiti. She then went on to include a Mexican-American State Department official in the ?bunch of white men? at fault and when he objected, she retorted, ?you all look alike to me.? Secretary Colin Powell flatly denied the Aristide rumors, only to be accused of lying, while African-American activist and reparations hawker Randall Robinson trotted out the tired ?traitor to his race,? canard. Powell?s measured rebuttal provided an interesting contrast to the reckless and inappropriate behavior of his Democratic ?brothers and sisters.?
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, who never met an anti-American conspiracy theory he couldn?t support, railed against the Bush administration Monday night (3/1) on the Charlie Rose show. He accused the administration of trying to ?break Haiti? by denying aid to the country, all in order to ?undermine Aristide.? When Rose asked ?to what purpose?? he blurted out, ?because they hated him.? In fact, the U.S. was one of the few countries that hadn?t cut Haiti off from aid money because of Aristide?s corruption. Instead, the money was routed through nongovernmental organizations, something the other guests on the show confirmed. But like a good leftist, Sachs was undaunted by facts.
On the same night, Maxine Waters appeared on the Tavis Smiley show and launched into a diatribe about the Bush administration?s ?obsession? with regime change, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. According to Waters, Cuba?s Fidel Castro, Venezuela?s Hugo Chavez, and now Haiti?s Aristide are all just victims of an overly aggressive U.S. foreign policy. No doubt, she would prefer that America continue in the vein of Carter and Clinton–signing meaningless treaties and turning a blind eye to the world?s bad guys.
The left constantly drones on about how the Bush administration needs to involve the U.N. in its foreign policy decisions, but as soon as anything happens in the world, they scream, ?Where is the United States?? In point of fact, the ?international community? is already on board in Haiti, with both France and Canada taking major roles. And U.S. Marines and French troops are currently working together to secure the country. Like they did in Iraq, leftists will simply ignore these developments, preferring instead to stick to their script. In Liberia for instance, they insisted for months that America intervene. But after we did and Charles Taylor was forced to leave the country, they went silent on the subject, simply moving on to the next talking point. A short memory comes in handy when one?s political perspective exists only in the present.
In the case of Haiti, the left?s talking points are becoming painfully predictable. One favored accusation is that the U.S. waited too long to send in troops. Of course if we hadn?t sent in troops at all and Aristide had undoubtedly met an untimely death, America would be blamed for that too. This is standard fare for the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don?t crowd.
Leftists also like to make the lofty claim that they?re really just concerned about the welfare of the Haitian people. But as Iraq made clear, they don?t care what happens to the ?natives.? They have shown repeatedly that they will stand behind any petty dictator, brutal tyrant, war criminal, or even terrorist, as long as his or her political aims contradict those of the United States.
Meanwhile back in reality, the future of Haiti is what?s at stake. The Bush administration and its international allies would do well to avoid the pitfalls of past policies. Now that Haitians have effected regime change, this dysfunctional country needs a serious overhaul if it is to embark on the road to stability and modernity. As we have learned in the Middle East, it is not enough to simply replace one corrupt leader with another; the whole failing system has got to go. Like the rest of the third world, Haiti would be much better off under a Western-style democracy than the brutality and tyranny that constitutes its history. If this is ?cultural imperialism,? then so be it.
Cinnamon Stillwell is a contributing editor to ChronWatch.com, where this article first appeared. She lives in San Francisco.