Home > Uncategorized > Blundering Soft Power of West Demonstrates Its Own Shortcoming

Blundering Soft Power of West Demonstrates Its Own Shortcoming

In the recent run of the fad that is the “soft power” craze of the West, the narrative drown out (just a little while) what human beings really desired in the World.

Yet, with the increasing blundering consequences /fallout from the Snowden disclosures and subsequent Western reactions, we are all shocked into a realization of what we have all forgotten in ourselves.

That being, what “freedom” really means to us all:  Human Dignity and Respect.

Bolivian protesters in front of French Embassy carried signs that said simply what they really wanted, which the West did not have enough of:  “Respect”.

Because of that, other signs accused the French of being “colonialists” and “racists”.

Perhaps some in the Western diplomatic core are wondering why the soft power campaign of “democratic values” did not win over the Third World so easily.

Simple:  Slaves may share your “values” and even your “culture”, but they want most “respect” as equals.  And you can’t show “respect” by exercising unquestionable influence and power over them.  It makes you appear disrespectful, and they will hate you for it.  This was also why “separate but equal” simply did not work.  “Back of the bus” is not “respect”.  Being lumped into acknowledged lower class is not “respect”.  A vote doesn’t count as much, if the system still treat you with disrespect.

Demonstrably, Latin Americans tonight are feeling that lack of “respect” from the West, reminiscent of the same lack of respect when they were under the heel of the Western Colonial Powers.

If it was a Chinese President’s plane that got forced to land, Chinese people would have the same public outcry and fury, but their protests would have been called “nationalistic”, perhaps “sponsored” or “choreographed” by the Chinese government.  Undoubtedly, some Western media would have gone to great lengths to dismiss it as fake somehow.

But this was a Bolivian President’s plane, and it is triggering something in Latin Americans that the West cannot dismiss easily as fake, because even the people of the West are already outraged to a degree by the scale of their own government’s total lack of respect for their own people.

Perhaps, that was the ultimate reason why Snowden decided to leak the information he had.  Because Snowden himself was outraged by the complete wanton disrespect of the US government for its own people, as shown in those NSA documents, that the US government decided to conduct global scaled cyber-espionage, in the name of protecting US citizens, WITHOUT consulting the American People.

1st Law of respect:  You show respect by asking permission.

US government clearly did not ask the American public whether it should.  Nor did the Western government ask any thing from Bolivia before deciding to force a diplomatic plane to land.

2nd Law of respect:  For every action of respect or disrespect, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In the end, “democracy” and “freedom” is really about “respect”.  So is diplomacy.  When the government respects the people, the People follows.  When governments respect each other, better relationships.

Where is China in this?  China has some things right on “respect”.  It conducts business in the world without use of force.  It gives respect, because it recognizes that nothing says “respect” by helping people to have sufficient food, resources, and money.

People want to be wealthy, not just for the material gain, but because people with sufficiency of basic needs feel that they have “respect” from the world, they have pride in themselves.

People who are insufficient in basic needs, tend to fear that the world looks down upon them.

This is why the Middle Class often feel more empowered and motivated, and the poor often feel left out of the political process.

Unfortunately for the Western governments, they may face a repercussion of their lack of respect for the world.  The “reaction” will be inevitable.  It’s a matter of how much damage will be done.

 

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  1. N.M.Cheung
    July 3rd, 2013 at 21:16 | #1

    To me it’s more than just respect. It’s a question of law. There are international laws governing the right of mutual passage. It can’t be unilaterally cancelled on no notice and diplomatic protocol. It’s also a question of sovereignty. Do the governments of France and Spain do the bidding of U.S. without the approval of their parliaments and people? Sure, France tried to use the fig leave of technical reason for closing the air space, but everyone including the French people knew the real reason. As for Snowden, I do consider him to be a real modern hero which is so rare nowadays. I suspect he has far more secrets to expose beyond those already exposed for U.S. to pursue him so relentlessly. From those comments of Americans condemning him as traitor I suspect he won’t get a fair trial in U.S.. Even Putin showed his respect for Snowden when he compare him to Sakharov, that from the man from KGB.

  2. July 4th, 2013 at 08:44 | #2

    @N.M.Cheung

    To me it’s more than just respect. It’s a question of law.

    How so? Which law? International law can be “trickier” as it is – more than law within nations – more a facade of international politics – diplomacy – than law as there is no international sovereign. The UN is a facilitator (and arbitrator to the extent sovereigns will it) of diplomacy, not an International sovereign – unless you want to go down the path of Universal rights…

    It can’t be unilaterally cancelled on no notice and diplomatic protocol.

    I don’t think that’s the position of the law. At the very least, please cite source of law – i.e. by whom / where / how the law is pronounced…

    Do the governments of France and Spain do the bidding of U.S. without the approval of their parliaments and people? Sure, France tried to use the fig leave of technical reason for closing the air space, but everyone including the French people knew the real reason.

    I don’t understand. France and Spain can surely do the bidding the U.S. for a favor in return from the U.S. Surely they don’t need to go to the public for permission every time they do the U.S. a favor. There is no coercion here in my view…

  3. July 4th, 2013 at 16:42 | #3

    You see, under “rule of law” there are special provision when “national security” is involved. So I am not surprised by this development. The US military forcibly seized and searched a Chinese vessel suspected of transporting weapon to Iran in international water. That’s in the 1990s and there’s nothing China can do about it short of retaliating.

    Also under the rule of law, a murderer can still be pardoned. That is a provision that has been written into law since the dawn of man. In this case, these European countries are simply doing their bidding for the US against a much smaller country which they feel can do nothing.

    Mao was always vilified as a monster, but he let the Dalai Lama leave peacefully into exile. At that time around 80,000 Tibetan close to the DL made the trip to India. The group include old men, women and children. If Mao gave the order, the PLA can easily intercept this column. Mao also let Lin Biao fled.

  4. N.M.Cheung
    July 5th, 2013 at 05:30 | #4

    @Allen
    The law is the Vienna convention. Bolivia has filed a protest to UN. France has already apologized. I suspect Snowden made the right decision for missing the plane to fly to Cuba. His plane would surely be forced to land in U.S. and seized. Russia might protest but he would still be in U.S.’s hand.

  5. Zack
    July 5th, 2013 at 07:18 | #5

    seems the fig leaf of the Bolivian presidential plane being forced down due to ‘technical reasons’ by France aint going to fly, and even more heartening is seeing all of Latin America rallying around Morales and against Western imperialistic bullying. This is a great milestone in the decline of the west, that’s for sure:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/04/forcing-down-morales-plane-air-piracy

    the price of imperial arrogance:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/04/european-us-internet-providers-nsa

  6. July 5th, 2013 at 16:26 | #6

    @N.M.Cheung

    Not sure if you meant this by vienna convention.

    http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_1_1961.pdf

    But I don’t think it says explicitly that planes carrying diplomats cannot be detained – if there are “fugitives” aboard.

    Also says nothing about what France claims as confusion in identities of people aboard.

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/130704/france-apologizes-bolivia-blocking-president-s-plane

    What happened may not be diplomatically polished, but I don’t think what happened is illegal.

    While France apologized, Spain has decided there is no need.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/05/us-spain-bolivia-idUSBRE96405820130705

    If there is any illegality, the illegality is not well accepted, even by France (it did not apologize for doing anything illegal, only for placing inconvenience – “The foreign minister called his Bolivian counterpart to tell him about France’s regrets after the incident caused by the late confirmation of permission for President Morales’ plane to fly over (French) territory….”).

  7. Zack
    July 7th, 2013 at 03:29 | #7

    the latest update comes from Spiegel highlighting the servile nature that German intelligence and government has become in the face of American hegemony:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/edward-snowden-accuses-germany-of-aiding-nsa-in-spying-efforts-a-909847.html

  8. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:00 | #8

    @Allen

    Article 22
    1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter
    them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
    2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises
    of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
    mission or impairment of its dignity.
    3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of
    transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution
    .

  9. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:02 | #9

    Also:

    1.If a diplomatic agent passes through or is in the territory of a third State, which has granted him
    a passport visa if such visa was necessary, while proceeding to take up or to return to his post, or when
    returning to his own country, the third State shall accord him inviolability and such other immunities as
    may be required to ensure his transit or return. The same shall apply in the case of any members of his
    family enjoying privileges or immunities who are accompanying the diplomatic agent, or travelling
    separately to join him or to return to their country.
    2.In circumstances similar to those specified in paragraph 1 of this article, third States shall not
    hinder the passage
    of members of the administrative and technical or service staff of a mission, and of members of their families, through their territories.

  10. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:11 | #10

    @Allen

    I don’t believe “fugitive” is valid excuse to detain or search a diplomatic vehicle. Otherwise, any embassy harboring Assange would be also subject to search.

    Vienna Convention gave no “fugitive” excuse, because such an excuse would effectively render “asylum” meaningless, since any potential “asylee” is also likely a “fugitive”.

    *The fact that France and Spain have dismissed this incident with hand-waving gestures only inflamed tension with Latin America, and doesn’t make it any more legal.

    “Confusion of identity”??

    I think that kind of excuses would render the Vienna Convention completely meaningless. I guarantee France and Spain would not accept that kind of excuses from Latin America, if the reverse situation occurred.

    If they are going to do that kind of silly excuses, they are just asking for reciprocal responses.

  11. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:23 | #11

    US politicians propose “Economic Retaliation” against any nation helping Snowden, or rather just any nation refusing to help US to extradite Snowden.

    Somehow, we are back to the “With us, or Against us” era again.

  12. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:40 | #12

    Spain admits that it was “warned” that Snowden was aboard the diplomatic plane of the Bolivian President.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/07/us-attempts-block-snowden-bolster-case-asylum

    Spain said it had been warned that Snowden was on the Bolivian presidential plane, the first acknowledgement that the manhunt was linked to the plane’s diversion to Austria. Foreign minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo said: “They told us that the information was clear, that he was inside.” He did not say who “they” were or whether he had been in contact with the US.

  13. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:44 | #13

    Funny bit: US sends “provisional arrest” request to Ireland, which led to Irish High Court to reject the request, for insufficient information.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/high-court-refuses-to-grant-arrest-warrant-for-snowden-1.1456798

  14. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 11:54 | #14

    Technicalities: Spain insist on not apologizing, and that its air space was not closed to the Bolivian President’s plane.

    Technically, it was probably true, since France and Italy closed their air space, and there was no way (without going around in a big detour) for the plane to pass through those air space to even get to Spain.

  15. Black Pheonix
    July 8th, 2013 at 12:00 | #15

    Oh Real Funny Bit: Invited to “Coffee” by Democracy.

    http://www.newsday.com/news/world/bolivian-president-accuses-european-nations-of-aggression-1.5617164

    While the Bolivian presidential plane sat in pre-dawn darkness on the tarmac in Vienna, a surreal scene played out when Spain’s ambassador to Austria visited the airport to meet with Morales, the Bolivian president told reporters Wednesday.
    The ambassador, Alberto Carnero, asked Morales if they could board the Bolivian plane together.

    “He asked me to go have a coffee inside the plane to see the plane,” Morales said.

    Morales added that he believed the request was made so the plane could be inspected.

  16. Black Pheonix
    July 15th, 2013 at 08:08 | #16

    The Snowden Gambit: the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) plan of Snowden.

    Snowden possesses NSA “blue print”. If US corner him too much, neither will come out well on this.

    Snowden would be forced to disclose far more damaging documents, and US would really have to hunt him down.

    Why can’t US back off? Seriously, is “face” that important to US?

  17. Zack
    July 16th, 2013 at 17:55 | #17

    @Black Pheonix
    when being the ‘sole superpower’ for long enough, the entitlement and hubris of its leaders becomes big enough for them to fail at entertaining the idea of compromise

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