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.