Wednesday, 17 July 2013

When is a coup not a coup?

When is a coup not a coup? Answer: when it aligns with US interests – at least as perceived by the government of the day.

Why is the Egyptian coup almost never referred to as such? A democratically elected leader has been ousted by the military. What else does the word coup (as in military coup, or coup d’état) refer to? The fact that he was becoming increasingly unpopular doesn’t enter into the definition. There have been massive anti-government protests in some developed countries, but no one would say that justifies a military take-over.

If this happened in sub-Saharan Africa, you can bet it would be widely condemned, with talk of bringing the conspirators before the International Criminal Court.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. Try putting these words into a search:
Yeltsin Russia Coup
What you get is reports of the 1991 attempt at overturning Gorbachev’s perestroika, which was thwarted by Yeltsin, who heroically confronted the tanks and in effect ended the era of the Soviet police state.

What this search doesn’t pick up is the events of 1993 when Yeltsin was president and the Russian parliament refused to accept his nominee as prime minister, Yegor Gaidar. While it’s true that this parliament was the last elected under the Soviet system, it’s not clear that it was in fact trying to force a return the the old ways but rather trying to ward off “shock therapy” – which subsequently turned out to mean handing substantial parts of the state-owned economy to oligarchs for next to nothing.

Try these search words:
Yeltsin Russia tanks white house
This does bring up the 1993 coup – the one that doesn’t exist according to mainstream media.

If you want to argue that Morsi was a failing president in Egypt, or that the ex-Soviet legislature was not moving with the post-Soviet times, then you can argue for coups in many countries around the world where the government is corrupt, incompetent or broadly suppressing open political debate.

So why are coups bad sometimes, not so bad other times, or don’t exist other times?

Perceived US interests. And I say perceived, because making the rest of the world hate you really is not in your interests.

No comments: