Whenever some miscreant would get his or her comeuppance, particularly if the indignities they faced were similar to the indignities they had dished out to others, my mother would say; “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” A more modern version of this aphorism is: “What goes around comes around.”

Whenever some miscreant would get his or her comeuppance, particularly if the indignities they faced were similar to the indignities they had dished out to others, my mother would say; “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”  A more modern version of this aphorism is: “What goes around comes around.”

 

President Trump’s recent trashing of our allies in Brussels followed by his cozying up to Russia in Helsinki has brought out criticism from both sides of the political isle (albeit in somewhat muted form on the Republican side).

 

The only politician I have seen willing to defend the President on television is Rand Paul in a PBS interview.  And while I am no fan of Paul’s political philosophy, he showed in his defense a better understanding of history than any of his colleagues.  Citing a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University, Paul claimed the U.S. has interfered in other country’s elections 81 times between 1946 and 2000.

 

While I haven’t seen the list or been able to verify all 81 incidences, several come to mind in my memory.  Perhaps the most famous was the 1953 CIA sponsored coup against Iran’s democratically selected Mohammad Mosaddegh which resulted in more power for the Shah.  The CIA has admitted to their involvement in that coup.  The Shah and his SAVAK secret police then terrorized the Iranian people until his overthrow and the establishment of the current theocracy by Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979.  Now I’m not defending Khomeini here.  But when you put a frog in a frying pan and turn up the heat, don’t be surprised if he jumps out and ends up in the fire.

 

A couple of other situations where the CIA was most probably involved (they tend not to admit such things) were the coups against Patrice Lumumba in the Congo (Zaire) in 1960 and against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973.

 

Zaire got the corrupt dictator Joseph Mobutu who ruled for 32 years and Chile received the brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet who ruled for 27 years, both strongly supported by the U.S.  And we have supported many other dictators over the years including Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, and a string of Saudi Arabian kings.  Franklin Roosevelt was supposed to have said of Somoza, "Somoza may a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."  

 

In short we have too often done what seems to be in our own immediate interest at the expense of human rights and democracy in other countries.  As the above examples illustrate, that is a very short-sighted strategy .  Supporting repressive regimes in foreign countries almost insures a hatred of America when those regimes are finally overthrown.

 

With such a checkered history of respecting other country’s democracy, should we be surprised if Russia doesn’t respect ours?  If Putin was able to pull a few strings in an attempt to get his man elected, should we be dumbfounded if that man defers to or even praises his benefactor?  To be successful in this world, you need to know who your friends are.  This president knows who his friends are. 

 

At least Trump has never made any pretense of caring about human rights either abroad or at home.  Just look at his treatment of refugee children.  He has even suggested we should bring back George Bush’s policy of torturing our enemies.

 

While we like to think of ourselves as a Christian nation, supporting democracy around the world, history indicates we have not always practiced what we preach.  What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

 

James Rhoades writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.