When a people are defeated by military power and then subjected to humiliation, the time is sure to come when the soil of their minds, enriched by a sense of history, sufficient numbers, economic and military strength, will spur the growth of the long dormant seeds of humiliation and flower into a bumper harvest of persistent and undying enmity seeking revenge.
The first example is the rout of the Serbs in the fields of Kosovo and their humiliation by the Ottoman Turks during their subsequent rule. Pretty Serbian women and young children were abducted to Istanbul and the children converted to Islam, educated and returned as high officials to their native land. Some Serbians for economic reasons converted to Islam. When the totalitarian regime of Tito imploded Milosevic exploited the religious hatred of the Serbs for the Bosnians, which led to the mass massacres. Other similar instances are the killings in Rwanda and those of the Chinese in Indonesia. The history of conversion to Islam is a sorry tale of opportunism to escape the Jezia tax or oppression by the terrible caste system. The devilish mischief being perpetrated by Pakistan and the current milieu in India is not healthy and may pose an unfortunate danger for the Indian Muslims, if they fail to dissociate themselves from the nefarious schemes of fanatics. This has been repeatedly re-iterated by the wiser and thinking Muslims with foresight, to give them their due credit. It has not yet penetrated the dense skulls of some diehards like prominent Imams, sundry Madressehs and ignorant fanatics still living in the past delusions of grandeur of the Mughal Empire or Islamic Caliphate. It is equally incumbent on the government to provide minorities and backward classes an education with marketable skills and equal opportunity for jobs and entrepreneurship.
The Treaty of Versailles due to the ineptitude of Wilson and hostility of Clemenceau, imposed unbearable financial burdens and humiliation on Germany with the resultant hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism and Hitler. A prescient Keynes predicted future disaster, but neither Lloyd George nor Wilson had the foresight, will or intelligence to see the obvious. This resulted in the holocaust and WW2 with over fifty million casualties.
The humiliation of China by American and European enclaves and maltreatment of the Chinese led to the Boxer Rebellion and much of China's current attitude is to regain its respect and seek what it thinks is it deserved place on the world stage. India is a similar case. These two countries are ancient civilizations and not yet powerful enough so they are more restrained. The possibility of attaining their goals peacefully in the near future also makes them more prudent.
The British and Russian dissolution of the Iranian Constitutional government in the beginning of the twentieth century, the deposing of Shah's father a decade later, the overthrow of Mossadegh in the fifties, the granting of medical asylum to the Shah by President Carter, the provocation and support of Saddam to start and continue the Iraq Iran war, and the final humiliation of forcing Iran to settle for a peace by shooting down an Iranian airliner has earned America its undying enmity with unpleasant future consequences.
The past humiliation of Pakistan which was used during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and winked at for its nuclear program, but shunned like a leper with sanctions for its previously known transgressions has humiliated that nation. There is widespread hatred and enmity towards America in the general population barring those who constitute the equivalent of Somozistas. An identical situation pervades Iraq for similar dealings with Saddam, betrayal of the Shiites and Kurds after the Gulf War1 and later sanctions that cost the lives of a many Iraqi children.
The betrayal of the Arabs after WW1 with puppet governments, the carving out of Israel after WW2, giving material and monetary support to Israel to occupy and oppress the Palestinians, support of monarchies and tyrants in the Arab countries and the recent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq has been a prolonged humiliation of the Arabs and Muslims which will exact a future price.
Humiliation need not be only by military means. It can be social or economic. Slavery, apartheid, castes and Jezia tax on infidels have all been used as means of social humiliation. The past cavalier, overbearing and summary subordinate treatment and economic exploitation of Latin America has already alienated Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, the three large countries with a history, large economies and populations. The smaller ones are even further humiliated because they have no choice but to stand in line with hat in hand and heads bowed. They can only dream of revenge. Latin America and Russia have been humiliated by economic means using unrestrained capitalism with privatization and free capital flows and globalization and free trade mantras, while subsidizing domestic agriculture and keeping quotas and tariffs to favor politically powerful industrial lobbies.
The newest humiliation of being fingerprinted and photographed at entry after obtaining a valid visitor visa from American Consulates is the latest humiliation for the bulk of the world. There is justification for restricting visa free entries from countries whose residents overstay or don't leave. A nation with widespread corruption and resultant lax control permits easy access to genuine passports and can be used by terrorists as a launching point by altering photographs after obtaining visas. This is why America is insisting on digital passports with enough data to verify identity. Thus after the 9-11 tragedy, there is reason to fingerprint and photograph visitors. America has done everything to minimize inconvenience by using technology that does all this in a minute. Its arrogant blunder is not to civilly explain this to other nations in advance of the directive. Does anyone have any doubts that other countries if they were not dependent on trade or aid would not have reciprocated this humiliation? Already Brazil less dependent on trade with the US has retaliated by subjecting US citizens to the same reciprocal indignity.
Just as Chinese, Indian and American military bullying and past humiliation led to WMD proliferation by India, Pakistan and North Korea respectively (I predict eventually Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan and even South Africa will do the same) and WTO bullying brought about collapse of the Seattle, Doha and Cancun talks and threats of retaliation from the EU and Japan, so also large countries with pride and power will try to make themselves less dependent on trade with America Then they can afford to take the same stance as Brazil. At least in China, smart thinkers are dreaming of being weaned from dependence on the teats of trade with America. China is slyly and surreptitiously using extra taxation as a measure to impose its own standards on encryption, software and hardware technologies to lock in the trade advantage by making importers captive to its manufacturers. This is in sharp contrast to irrationally exuberant India crowing in gleeful ecstasy like a child given new toys of BPO and back office service contracts, which could vanish to cheaper pastures with a computer click and capital transfer. As the recent belligerence at the Summit of Americas and the policy turns of Putin after American meddling in Georgia and Central Asia show, Latin America and Russia are turning against America. The bigger worry is the Bin Laden hordes of humiliated Islamic countries with undying enmity and Kamikaze tactics, thirsting for revenge.
This article is meant to provoke thought and future modification of policy rather than being a mere litany of past blunders or moral condemnation. Color and number coding for domestic airline passengers is another euphemism for singling out brown citizens of foreign origin for profiling. Once again, lack of imparting of proper explanation publicly, in a civil manner to concerned citizens, will lead to their further alienation, just like the blind rush to incarcerate people after September 11, 2001 did. It is the imperial disregard of gratuitous humiliation that yields the bitter harvest.