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Moral Equivalence and sins of West



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IPI_Marker

Hi all,
      The recurrent theme I keep hearing in this forum is that record
of the West including US is historically terrible. How can one forget
Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the colonial rule, killings of Native
American and other Native people in Australia, New Zealand and Slavery
and so on .... If West is so heinous what is the difference between
them and terrorists?
            
      Many people question whether Western Civilization is superior and
they asked me to prove if I believe so.  Some accuse Indian of blindly
workshipping West even after what they did to us.
 
      Here is the answer. First I do not wish to justify what Westerns
including US did to various people around the World. Things that
happened during Vietnam War and other places are morally injustifiable.


     However, I do not believe for a second that what Western people
did is morally equivalent what terrorists and dictators (including
Russians) did or are doing. It is not the same thing. The reason is
simple. It is democracy, freedom of expression and capitalism. Because,
it is possible to get justice from the West using the same principles
which are so beneficial to Westerners themselves. That is the reason
Gandhi advocated non-violence method of attaining Independence. And
that is the reason why US constitution itself was used as an basis for
Civil Rights movement. And it the same reason that South Africa was
liberated from Western occupation. And it the same reason that America
had to pull off from the Vietname war disaster. Thousands of protestors
brought down the US govt. to its knees. And it the same reason that
inspite of such a major humanitarian, military and economic debale in
Vietnam (inflation rose terribly in US during Vietnam war) that US is
still alive and kicking. While USSR collapsed because of their economic
problems and disaster in Afghanistan. And it is the same reason that
Indian attack on Pakistan liberating Bangladesh is not the same thing
as Pakistan's attack on Kashmir after partition. Because democratic
India cannot possibly control and exploit Bangaldesh while dictatorial
Pakistan can keep PoK occupied for a long time exploiting the people
there. It is the same reason India's mistake in sending the Peace
Keeping Force in Sri Lanka, eventhough deplorable, is not same as
terrorism. It is the same reason that India's heavy handedness in
curbing terrorism in Punjab even though horrible does not make Indian
wicked. It the same reason that India's behavior in displacing Adivasis
in the Narmada Dam even though unacceptable does not make Indian
democracy equivalent to Pakistani dictatorship. It is also the same
reason that Israel's capture of Palestinian land is not the same as
Intifada. It is the same reason that America's War on Drugs is not
morally equivalent to the Taliban's Islamic restrictions on
Afghanistani people.


You get the point.

      Remembers this does not justify the crimes they committed nor
reduces the intensity of the crimes. However, I will prefer Westerns
(including US) and Indian democracy any time than any benevolent
dictators (including Russians). 

      When considering which system is superior it does not matter what
administrations and Govt. did. What matters is whether the system
allows the mistakes to be controlled. What matters is whether people
know what is going on and influence the Govt.'s action. So even if US
did commit horrible crimes in Vietnam, Russians when they attacked
Afghanistan are more dangerous. This is true even if Russian might have
had better or morally superior intentions. Because once Russia entered
Afghanistan there were no protestors watching Russian Govt.'s action in
Afghanistan. There was no independent Parliament controlling the
funding of the Army. And there was no free press. The same thing goes
for Israel and Palestinian. So even though Palestinian might have
morally justifiable claim to thier land we should still support Israel.
Because we can influence Israel's opinion through dialogues. When we
want to talk to Israel we know whom we want to talk to. There is
elected Parliament, elected Prime Minister and free press. What about
Palestinians? Are we sure that Yasser Arafat was elected in a free and
fair election? Are we sure he represents Palestinian majority opinion.
What happens if Israel returns land to PLO in return for peace
agreement and Yasser Arafat refuses to follow that? Will opinions of
moderate Palestinians who want peace be heard? Will actions and
opinions of PLO and Yasser Arafat will be allowed to be challenged by
free  and independent press? Does Palestinians have independent
judiciary which can be approached for extradicting terrorists? 

Critizing US, Israel and India is Okay. But claiming that what these
countries did sometimes is equivalent to what their enemies are doing
is stupidity. And that's why India should support Israel and US and not
Palestine or Russia. It does not matter how much help Russians give us.
It does not matter that they can give us weapons. They are not
dependable. The same goes for China. Remember Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai!
The same goes for North Korea. In our desire to stand for oppressed
people we are unknowingly supporting methods and systems which are
incompatible with democracy and freedom. That's not what India stands
for! 

We risk being ignored or sidelined just like socialist Europeans. We
should not repeat our past mistakes.

Regards,
Ashish K Hanwadikar




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