Pompeo In Jamaica To Counter China’s Influence…

It is not often that the Editorial pages of news­pa­pers get it right.
In fact, in most cas­es, Editorial boards are so out of the loop that their opin­ions evoke dis­be­lief and even ridicule.
The Editorial page of the Jamaica Observer for Tuesday, January 21st decid­ed that it did not want to break that cycle.
In its head­line titled; ” Mr. Pompeo’s vis­it an oppor­tu­ni­ty for our region”, the pub­li­ca­tion trot­ted out old bul­let points on the sup­posed friend­ship bench­marks between the United States and Jamaica.
They are old­er than the wee­vil infest­ed American flour and corn­meal hand­outs, labeled, ‘in god we trust” from the 1960s.

The Editorial is in response to Barbados and now Trinidad & Tobago’s deci­sion, not to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Kingston Jamaica.
Pompeo is slat­ed to begin a two-day meet­ing with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
In its gush­ing endorse­ment of the vis­it, the Editorial argued; “instead of see­ing the vis­it as a threat to the notion of Caribbean uni­ty, we should grasp the oppor­tu­ni­ty for the region to fur­ther strength­en its rela­tion­ship with our long-stand­ing friend, the United States”.

Without giv­ing cre­dence to the salient rea­sons giv­en by Jamaica’s Caribbean neigh­bors for not attend­ing the meet­ing with Pompeo, the Editorial, in juve­nile fash­ion said; “we regard Mr. Pompeo’s deci­sion to come here as a fur­ther demon­stra­tion of his Government’s com­mit­ment to the long-stand­ing friend­ship between Kingston and Washington”.
The naïveté of the fore­gone is beyond laugh­able. What friend­ship?
” It’s a friend­ship that this news­pa­per val­ues high­ly, because we remem­ber when it was threat­ened by the adven­tur­ism of a left-lean­ing Administration in the 1970s, which not only plunged Jamaica into the Cold War, but ruined the econ­o­my, result­ing in a brain drain and the ero­sion of the mid­dle class”.
True, but there was no men­tion of the role the United States played in the process­es which brought Jamaica to finan­cial ruin in the ’70s.

After all, giv­en the vol­ume of high-inten­si­ty geopo­lit­i­cal events now in train glob­al­ly, and the fact that the US is play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant role in many of these issues, Washington could eas­i­ly have assigned a junior in rank to Mr Pompeo to trav­el to Jamaica for these talks”.

Oh Lord, this lev­el of self-doubt and sec­ond class mind­set is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to shake, but I thought that these peo­ple would have had a lit­tle more self-assured­ness.
In vir­tu­al­ly every so-called high-inten­si­ty geopo­lit­i­cal event across the Globe, there are American fin­ger­prints. Most are of American cre­ation.

Some seem to expect that all mem­ber states of Caricom should be at the meet­ing. That is obvi­ous­ly unnec­es­sary, because if Caricom is act­ing like one, there should be no need for a room­ful of lead­ers”.

By that state­ment, the cocooned Editorial in one fell-swoop gave Prime Minister Andrew Holness carte-blanch to speak on behalf of all of CARICOM.
I have a feel­ing that mem­ber states of CARICOM may have some­thing to say about that.
Despite CARICOM, mem­ber states with­in the orga­ni­za­tion have very strong opin­ions on their indi­vid­ual auton­o­my. Students of his­to­ry know that it is for that very rea­son that the pro­posed “west indies fed­er­a­tion” remind­ed just that, a pro­pos­al.

So, we wel­come Secretary Pompeo in the spir­it of friend­ship and hope that the talks will be fruit­ful. For cer­tain­ly, his coun­try has proved, over many decades, that it is a friend in times of need and that it val­ues the excel­lent rela­tion­ship between both our coun­tries”.

Several books can be writ­ten about the sup­posed relationship/​friend­ship between the United States and Jamaica. Fundamental to the top­ic, how­ev­er, would be the appro­pri­ate dis­pen­sa­tion of the myth, that the United States is a friend of any coun­try, much less Jamaica.
I would like to state the obvi­ous for the Observers Editorial board, nations have strate­gic inter­ests, not friend­ships.

It is dif­fi­cult to change the minds of some peo­ple with pre-formed opin­ions that the US is an unvar­nished friend to Jamaica. Any such belief is to ignore, or worse, dis­play a dan­ger­ous igno­rance of the dif­fer­ences between the two polit­i­cal par­ties in the United States.
To believe that the American for­eign pol­i­cy of the 1970s is sta­t­ic, and there­fore the same today as it was in the 70s, is just anoth­er exam­ple of that pro­found igno­rance and naiveté.
Mike Pompeo is of an admin­is­tra­tion that is vehe­ment­ly opposed to coun­tries with black and brown pop­u­la­tions.
Donald Trump, Pompeo’s boss, calls coun­tries like Jamaica, the Caribbean region and Africa *shit­hole coun­tries*.
He would kick every black and brown per­son out of the United States if he could do so.
In fact, he has con­sis­tent­ly asked his advi­sors, why is America let­ting black and brown peo­ple in? He has explic­it­ly stat­ed his pref­er­ence for immi­grants from Sweden. Sweden for Trump rep­re­sents white qual­i­fi­ca­tion.
It is impos­si­ble to make the argu­ment that Mike Pompeo, a pompous, arro­gant, and blovi­at­ing crud, is in Jamaica for Jamaica’s inter­est.

Let us dis­pense with the non­sense about friend­ships, as per the Observer; We expect, of course, that the unfor­tu­nate devel­op­ments in Venezuela, as well as China’s grow­ing influ­ence in this region, will come up for dis­cus­sion. (Said the Observer).
The United States is a friend to one coun­try in the word, and one coun­try only, and that coun­try is Israel.
Mike Pompeo is in Jamaica on a whip mis­sion. He is there to use Jamaica’s influ­ence in the region, to help the United States to counter China’s bur­geon­ing incur­sion in the region.
There is a legit­i­mate con­ver­sa­tion to be had about Communist China’s inten­tions across the globe.
History shows that America’s wars, includ­ing the war in Vietnam, was about cur­tail­ing what America saw as the scourge of Communism, the red men­ace.
Even as America fought those wars, con­sci­en­tious Americans were demon­strat­ing in cities across the US, on College cam­pus­es, in the streets, many were beat­en by police, many were mur­dered by nation­al guard troops, and in the American, gov­ern­ment the debate about com­mu­nism raged with Joseph Mcarthy-like fer­vor. This pit­ted Americans against Americans.

Past is pro­logue, it is time that opin­ion-mak­ers do the research nec­es­sary before lead­ing the Jamaican peo­ple down rab­bit holes they have no busi­ness going into.
China’s influ­ence across the globe is a threat, but it will require will and com­mon sense to thwart that threat. China is not approach­ing the devel­op­ing world with bul­lets and bay­o­nets. China is dol­ing out dol­lars and do-good.
That approach is dif­fi­cult to stop. Mike Pompeo is in Jamaica to try to counter that influ­ence in America’s nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­est.
Not Jamaica’s.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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