Random Thoughts

The Other Narcotics of Politics

The three areas of the world that are the main source of narcotics are the golden triangle between Burma and Thailand, the golden crescent arching from Afghanistan to Kyrgyzstan for opiates and Colombia for cocaine and heroin. What they have in common is a suitable climate and soil, huge economic disparities within the population and ineffective governments of failed states. The large financial rewards of trafficking set in motion the vicious cycle of bribery and corruption amongst police and custom officials, that eventually permeates to politicians and society. A collateral consequence is trafficking in humans for illegal migration, slave labor or prostitution. The violence at the Iranian borders with Afghanistan and within Pakistan are the inevitable outcomes with a marked increase in addicts in both those countries and in Northeastern India. Similar violence in Burma and Colombia with insurgencies are not conducive to civic society.

The word narcotic stems from the Greek word to benumb or stupefy. There is a far worse, more virulent and damaging strategy of stupefying the citizens that is frequently used by politicians and leaders the world over, to the detriment of people and peace with the malign intention of perpetuating their greed for power and wealth. The specific narcotics are not chemical compounds but words that attach just as snugly to human emotional receptors of the brain and equally modify the behavior of addicts to ignore their self-interest and future benefits. These are the emotions of jingoism, religiosity and fear. A few predictions and case studies will serve to elucidate the threat of this new pandemic.

The Mullah theocracy of Iran due to its rigid orthodoxy, belligerence, corruption and economic mismanagement combined with unremitting American hostility and sanctions, has fashioned a subsidy based economy unable to provide growth or jobs. The disastrous experience of total isolation during the Iraqi aggression when it was nearly impossible to obtain arms or spare parts to defend itself, and the world turned a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons by Saddam in violation of post-WW 1 international treaties, led to foolhardy martyrdom Basij defense and a call to increase the population by the then Supreme Leader. The justifiable paranoia and the American invasion of Iraq led to acceleration of a clandestine nuclear weapon acquisition policy, fueled by the A.Q.Khan black market that the US had previously connived at during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Incidentally the nuclear ambitions of Iran were initiated under the Shah with American blessings.

Iran has been delaying the negotiations with the EU3, while probably continuing the uranium enrichment on a small scale in a surreptitious but clearly un-provable manner. By the end of this month it will have to agree to a deal or proceed overtly to continue working on the fuel cycle as it has the right to do so within the NPT without being subjected to discriminatory treatment. It may even opt out of the treaty and risk further sanctions and isolation. It is partially insulated by its relations with China, Russia and India and bolstered by the high oil prices that bring it enough money to continue its subsidies of food and fuel to pacify the population. Its difficult to resolve problem, lies in control over the economy by the tax exempt charitable "Boniyads" by corrupt Mullahs and their families and henchmen. They are unlikely to allow the promised reforms of the newly elected president because of personal conflict of interest with regards to the oligarchy's wealth and power.

The inability to provide jobs and hope is likely to be swept under the rug by raising the specter of American or Israeli military attacks and slogans of jingoism and Iranian national pride. An additional narcotic to benumb the Iranian public will be to urge them to rally round Islam under attack by the West and Jewish and Christian allies. The foolish and short-sighted American policies of exploitation of the Americas by the Monroe Doctrine and propping up the tyrant kleptocrats of the Middle East, are chickens coming home to roost. It is the arrogant foolishness of American leaders and policy mavens that provides the countering weapon of pursuing oppressive policies to the corrupt Theocracy and its Rasfanjanis to dominate and fool the masses, who are generally ignorant, stupid and emotionally labile, even in developed countries like America. Thus my prediction is that Iran will continue its pursuit of nuclear weaponry and rein in public support on the basis of fear, jingoism and religiosity to excuse its fundamental failures.

A similar use of religiosity has been the preferred resort of the scoundrels of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. The former two use fear of India and reversion to Orthodox Islam to paper over their economic mismanagement and poor governance, while the last appeals to religion to hide their tyranny and theft of state assets and generate a pathological hatred for the infidels. The Central Asian states use suppression of dissent by making religious extremism as a threat to the state, to persist with their tyranny and plunder. A second group like Israel and India use the fear of Muslim hoards to appeal to the religious narrow mindedness and the genuine disgust at Salafi terrorism, to benumb the masses and garner their votes. China which has never put much value to religion in its history, thus leaves its corrupt leaders no choice but the use of jingoism to fan the flames of WW2 Japanese atrocities in Manchuria, to divert the public attention from economic disparity, imposed slave labor and impoverishment, while illegally enriching the leaders' progeny princes and princesses.

Even in so-called democratic America, the Rove strategy of holding a referendum on gay marriage at the same time as the last presidential election to entice the Christian right, the smearing of Democrats as irresponsible spenders while the Republicans do the same, and openly implying that the election of a Democrat would lead to increased domestic terrorism and a pandering to minorities, is a clear example of narcotizing the electorate to vote against their own economic interests. The best seller "What's the matter with Kansas", analyzes this anomaly very well.

Thus jingoism, fear and religiosity are the new narcotics, that operate below the public radar screen and a new form of insurgency against the public, that is given sanctuary by a collaborating supine media that keeps them hidden, while diverting public attention with inconsequential bread and circuses, like sensational celebrity trials and gossip. I will end by performing a genetic recombination by addition, deletion and substitution by a homonym of Tennyson's famous words, "More things rot by prayer, jingoism and fear than this world dreams of".    


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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