Press TVâ€¨â€¨ – 2011-03-04 23:50:54
(March 1, 2011) — Dr. Paul Sheldon Foote, professor from California State University, Irvine, reports that the US government holds strong relationships with dictators throughout the world, using them to strengthen US power in national and regional areas.
Sometimes, when times get tough for these dictators, the US may offer them asylum; at other times, the US freezes their assets having never returned the money to the people from whom they were stolen, adds Foote.
In an interview with Press TV, Dr. Foote talks about the billions of dollars in investments that Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi has put in foreign companies although there is a massive food shortage in his own country, and the support and promulgation he receives from the US.
Press TV: Itâ€™s good to have you here with us on the program. First of all, tell us your understanding of the most recent developments in Libya, please.
Foote: The most recent developments in this country that are relevant are the American government being proud of the fact that they have frozen more than 30 billion dollars of Libyan bank accounts.
For those of us old enough to remember the events of 1979 in Iran, this is a rerun of an old movie where America had frozen bank accounts that the Shah had left in America and never paid the money back. The American government has a bad track record of stealing money from other people. And so not only do the dictators steal the money, the American government hasnâ€™t been returning it. They should return it with interest and penalties.
Likewise, today, the American media was talking about offering Gaddafi a chance to move somewhere else. Well, this is a repeat also. The Shah of Iran was sent to Panama to live. Notice that the American government hasnâ€™t offered Gaddafi a place to live in the United States. So, I donâ€™t know when these stupid dictators will ever learn that America is a poor defender of them, and all they want is all this money pulled into America where it can be kept.
In the case of Libya, reports are that he had money invested in an Italian soccer team, [in Siez], the National Times [newspaper]. Weâ€™ll learn as the governments around the world start confiscating this money, how many investments he had everywhere except for Libya. When will these leaders learn to take care of their own people and make investments back home? So thatâ€™s been the most significant at this end.
There are certainly some of the old conservatives, some of the neo-Trotskyites saying we should have no-fly zones and possibly invading Libya.
Press TV: You brought up the issue of the United States considering the option of helping the embattled Libyan leader to be transferred elsewhere once the revolution gets closer to its final days. The thing is that, weâ€™re just painting scenarios here, letâ€™s say a country within Africa or somewhere else, letâ€™s say Zimbabwe led by Robert Mugabe, what if he offers asylum to Muammar Gaddafi? What would be the reaction from the United States then?
Foote: I think the American government would be thrilled to see him go anyplace except America, and he could be out of there today and it could end today and not make America look any worse than it does right now with respect to the future relations with the Libyan people. Obviously, the Libyan people will have a very different view saying you murdered thousands of our people; we want you, why are you being protected by America?
Press TV: Let me just progress with you something Iâ€™ve recently heard coming from Mr. Gaddafi saying a couple of positive sentences about US President Barack Obama, saying he is a good man. What do you think it means at this point in time?
Foote: I think it is a signal about losing face, that Iâ€™m willing to deal with you in this situation.
Press TV: Letâ€™s consider this international reaction weâ€™ve had so far to the Libyan crisis. Weâ€™ve had the EU imposing sanctions including an arms embargo, asset freeze, and a travel ban and freeze on Colonel Gaddafi and his close entourage. This is the latest reaction from the EU, your comment on that, please.
Foote: Thatâ€™s just very short term news for local consumption of voters. Weâ€™ve just seen in recent days, David Cameron and British weapons merchants wandering through Egypt and other places. It doesnâ€™t take long for them to go back into a country, staying out a few daysâ€¦who would want to go in today? I think itâ€™s entirely for the consumption of local voters.
Press TV: If we take it through to the consumption of people listening to this news in Europe, what do you think the reaction would be? Donâ€™t they think that this reaction is coming too late?
Foote: The weapons and defense businesses are giant businesses in Europe and America. In America alone, we have more than 200,000 people employed in defense industries, making weapons, and this is really big business. Regardless of whoever comes into power in a country has to deal with that interest.
The problem needs to be handled at the other end with countries refusing to buy all of these. The Shah of Iran is a perfect example. Grumman aircraft was going bankrupt, and so the Shah started placing orders for all of their products and they went through the largest sales in history, overnight. This is the power that a single dictator has in a rich country to do this. And the other countries in America know this. And all it takes is a small number of dictators to make business good again.
Press TV: While youâ€™re speaking of making business good, letâ€™s just consider the history of Gaddafi having a healthy economy, perhaps having the economy of the US, do you know any instance of that?
Foote: Obviously, the investments alone, they didnâ€™t reveal exactly what accounts the 30 billion dollars plus is parked in, and I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s bank accounts or stock market accounts or real estate investments or what, but just the mere presence of an additional 30 billion dollars in investments in any country is very helpful; 30 billion dollars that could have been put to work in his own country for the benefit of his people.
Press TV: You spoke of the frozen Iranian assets that were frozen right after the Iranian revolution in 1979, by the US. Do you think the same fate is awaiting the money of the Libyan people?
Foote: Americaâ€™s history has been very slow to return money. I think itâ€™s going to depend on the good behavior of who the future leaders are. So, youâ€™re basically holding the country hostage.
Press TV: The question is, if you want your money back, why should you have good behavior? I mean is this how America deals with people?
Foote: Partially, it is, and the biggest embarrassment for America is Iran because Iran finally has an independent government that is not under the thumb of any foreign country and thatâ€™s an example that the American political leaders cannot tolerate. And thatâ€™s why they keep doing all the scare tactics about Iran and claiming Iran is such a terrible enemy when in fact our problem is right here in this country with our own leaders.
Press TV: I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s in the making but if they want to find excuses against this issue, as far as Libya is concerned, Iâ€™m sure theyâ€™re going to be able to find another one.
The thing is this latest reaction that Iâ€™ve read about from Mr. Gaddafi. Apparently, heâ€™s had interviews with major TV stations. He said that people loved him and he denied that there have been any protests in Tripoli. How do you see his reaction? The man seemed to be very relaxed.
Foote: Heâ€™s not the first leader who looks in the mirror and believes this. The Shah of Iran was like that. Many others were like that. By contrast, I once worked in Norway and I was walking down the street and the king rode by in a bicycle and said hello to me and he had no security guards around him. Thereâ€™s a leader who truly is able to do these things.
All these other leaders who claim that their people love them, I dare them to walk down any street where they are. I dare the American president to walk without the secret service down the streets of Washington DC.
They live in their own imagination. They read too many good press clippings about themselves and they surround themselves with “yes” people. They believe all these things that theyâ€™re the leader of the people and thatâ€™s not true.
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