Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Not About Oil, Eh?

So the Bush Administration claims that their policies are not influenced by oil, at least they claim that publicly. But their actions sure speak volumes about how oil has tainted the White House..... Condoleezza Rice paid a visit to the country of Equatorial Guinea. This tiny country is now the third largest oil-producing country in Sub-Saharan Africa. No wonder it is getting the attention of the Bush Administration who sent Ms. Rice to meet with Mr. Obiang, the current ruler who:

"Most domestic and international observers consider his regime to be one of the most corrupt, ethnocentric, oppressive and anti-democratic states in the world.
Ms. Rice considers him a "good friend". Really? How is Mr. Obiang's efforts at democracy in his country, Ms. Rice? This op-ed from the Washington Post ought to clear things up about Mr. Obiang and Ms. Rice.
So it is uncontroversial to observe that Mr. Obiang is no friend to his people. But he is a "good friend" of the United States, at least according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who met with him last week in Washington. "I'm very pleased to welcome the president," Ms. Rice told reporters after the meeting. "Thank you very much for your presence here." Mr. Obiang purred back: "We are extremely pleased and hopeful that this relationship will continue to grow in friendship and cooperation." In the global rankings of political and civil liberties compiled by Freedom House, only seven countries rate worse than Equatorial Guinea. If President Bush and Ms. Rice want anyone to take their pro-democracy rhetoric seriously, they must stop throwing bouquets to odious dictators. The meeting with Mr. Obiang was presumably a reward for his hospitable treatment of U.S. oil firms, though we cannot be sure since the State Department declined our invitation to comment. But Ms. Rice herself argues that U.S. foreign policy spent too long coddling corruption and autocracy in Arab oil states. Surely she doesn't have a different standard for Africa?
Of course, Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice say very little about Pakistan and Musharraf's crackdowns on Democracies, or Mubarrak of Egypt and his crackdowns on democracy. Why do we only hear about democracy in Iraq and Iran?


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