Civil Society & Money: Congressional Hearing on Yemen

After attending a Congressional hearing on Yemen today, I came to the conclusion that American foreign policy is still constantly playing world police, adapting Cold War policies that simply do not apply today. What Misters Feltman and Godec advocated for today was the same naïve politics of Kant’s Perpetual Peace.  The belief that no two democracies will ever go to war is simply rhetoric spewed by neo-conservative idealogues hoping to expand an American empire by territorial means rather than economic. Mr. Feltman, the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, asserted that “local level development” and “civil society” are essential to the stability of the Yemeni state. What Mr. Feltman ignored, however, were the types of civil societies that should be emerging in this failing state. The Nazi Party was at one point a “civil society” and we all know how well that went.

Congressman Ackerman from New York asserted that there was still the “risk of doing everything.” He said this in opposition to Hillary Clinton’s policy of “the risks of doing nothing are far greater,” a policy which Mr. Feltman agreed with. When asked how many Al Quaeda operatives and fighters were in Yemen presently, neither Mr. Feltman nor Mr. Godec knew the answer to the question, despite their previous remarks of the successes in eliminating “twenty percent of the Al Quaeda threat in Yemen.”

Foreign Affairs Hearing Room by Roy Antoun

Congressman Faleomavaega from the territory of American Samoa was flabbergasted when he stressed flawed American foreign policy. He asked why the United States was committing almost 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan to search for only “27,000 Al Quaeda in [the Afghan region] and two to three hundred in Yemen.” The ratio was bizarre to him and yet again, both Mr. Feltman and Mr. Godec could not answer why.

The solution proposed to this dilemma was to throw more tax payer dollars at the failing state. What Mr. Feltman called for was United Stated federal funding going towards assisting civil society organizations in promoting elections in Yemen. The fact that Yemen has a shortage of water and food supplies did not cross Mr. Feltman or Mr. Godec’s mind until Congressman Scott of Georgia pointed this out. What was Mr. Feltman’s solution? “We’re working on this,” he responded, “with the World Bank… to provide new markets.” The last time I checked, people create markets; not the United States government in countries it knows nothing about.

Reporting by Roy Antoun at the Congressional Hearing.  

Published in

Post a comment