Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Just helping you balance my interests against yours

From 2011, a summary of the Obama administration's response to the popular revolts in the Middle East, the Arab Spring:

In interviews in recent days, officials acknowledged that the United States had limited influence over many actors in the region, and that the upheaval in Egypt, in particular, could scramble its foreign-policy agenda.
So it is proceeding gingerly, balancing the democratic aspirations of young Arabs with cold-eyed strategic and commercial interests. That sometimes involves supporting autocratic and unpopular governments — which has turned many of those young people against the United States.
From an email to Hillary Clinton describing Libya, whose oil minister is not alone in being connected to the industry he oversees (a kind of corruption that Reuters described as "cosy"):
In a private conversation, Jalil stated that he is working to balance the internal political realities of Libya against the concerns of the international business community. The President is concerned that the appointment of BenYezza as Oil Minister in October 2011 provided the JCP with a tangible concern to use against NTCcandidates during the July elections. After his long experience as a senior official of the Multinational Italian Oil FirmENI, Ben Yezza is viewed by Belhaj and many members of the LMB as a symbol of the issue they will pursue in the national election, the idea that NTC, like the Qaddafi, regime is corrupt and involved in allowing foreign interests to control the nation's mineral wealth.

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