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.
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.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.
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