Armies of Compassion
The Missionary, the Businessman and the Military

by Gilles d'Aymery

August 7, 2000


Note from the Editor:  Here is a chance we could not let pass. This week's real investigative piece is the result of two totally separate and unrelated events. First, the discovery by chance of an intriguing Web site in the Central Asian cyberspace and second, the remarks that Elizabeth Dole gave at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

Now, please do not ask why I spent fifteen minutes listening to Mrs. Dole's rhetoric. The lame excuse is that her Viagra spokesman of a husband is an old friend of Swans (irony intended). And don't ask either why and how I ended up associating those two seemingly disparate events. Another mystery of life, I guess. But there is no mystery behind the lesson, "Always consider the source" and none either behind the veil of the so-called philanthropic endeavors of egomaniacs. In the words of Shirley Chisholm, "When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses."

You will find a series of Web resources at the end of the article.


"Ladies and gentlemen, in my eight years as President of the American Red Cross, I saw things that will haunt me the rest of my life -- the evil that humans can inflict on one another -- saw it in the dim eyes of starving children in Somalia and in the paralyzing grief of parents in Oklahoma City.

"But I have also been uplifted by the extraordinary power of the American heart -- by those armies of compassion, who are willing to cross town or cross the globe to minister to those they've never met and will never see again.

"People who go where government cannot, and others will not, who carry our values of peace and democracy around the world, putting service before self. Such kindness and generosity are not legislated by any Congress. They arise from faith, neighborliness, and yes, occasional saintliness. Indeed, I learned long ago that you don't have to be a missionary to be filled with a sense of mission."

[Excerpt] Remarks of Elizabeth Dole
Republican National Convention
3rd Session
Tuesday, August 1, 2000

From all the sanctified words and holy platitudes pronounced by the Republican luminaries in Philadelphia last week, these few lines caught my attention.

They reminded me of another time when Europeans were hard at work adding colonies to their respective empires. In those times, the white Europeans, confident of their civilizing mission, were sailing across the oceans and marching steadfastly and relentlessly toward faraway lands, "carrying their values of peace and democracy around the world" (including in America). Those admirable endeavors were carried out by a famous trio -- missionaries, businessmen and troops -- all "armies of compassion" advancing the values of liberty and freedom. Most often, missionaries would be sent first to spread the good word. Then, depending on the situation on the ground, the army would be sent next to pacify the region and finally the businessmen would go to do what they do best; or the businessmen would go second and the army would be called in to enforce order and stability. Whatever the scenario, from Algeria to America, from India to South Africa, from the Middle East to Indochina, the trio always acted with perfect chronology and in concert. The reasons for this worldwide European expansionism, we now know, had more to do with competitive forces of the nascent era of capitalism, the opening of new markets and the need for raw materials than with compassion and generosity.

Nowadays, America, confident of her manifest destiny, carries on the tradition. And indeed, Mrs. Dole is correct, "you don't have to be a missionary to be filled with a sense of mission." Today, we are sailing across oceans and marching as steadfastly and relentlessly toward faraway lands as our European brethrens did in the past. We pacify - that is, we bring peace to the regions (according obviously to our definition of the term "peace"), we bring order and stability in the name of democracy - that is, our way of spreading the good word (we do throw a few bibles in the bargain), and we create a safe environment for our business people (we are PC now) and our investors. And we talk about "kindness and generosity" and "faith, neighborliness, and yes, occasional saintliness." But behind the sanctimonious tirades, we are still after new markets, appropriation of raw materials at the lowest possible price and competitive forces within a more strident and possibly imploding capitalism (a.k.a. free market economy). I grant you, we do not gobble up the lands anymore. We simply suck them out.

By now, if you are still with me there is a good chance that you either know me personally (you are reading this out of courtesy and friendliness -- thank you, please carry on) or, and hopefully and, you have an open mind (I hear this is fast becoming a rarefied commodity). But I'd like to illustrate the previous paragraph with a case in point.

A week or so ago, I asked William (Will) Daley -- a young man who hopefully will take over my responsibilities of Network Administrator and Jack of all trades at the non-profit organization where I've been working for the past 10 years so that I can dedicate more time to Swans and ineluctably join the ranks of the poverty-laden masses -- to do a search on the Web about Internet Domains and Sub-Domains. Will came up with the right document following a search on Google that lead him to a site in Central Asia. But Will went one step further. He said, "Hey dude, come and check this out" (I hear that to be called a dude means that I am "cool." So much to learn, so little time…) and he showed me a large quantity of technical documentation posted on that site, presumably unlawfully (if any of you are computer savvy in UNIX, Java, CGI, networking, etc., I strongly recommend you visit the site before they pull it down to remove all the allegedly infringed copyright documentation). Well, in a system which is legally codified to rob from the poor, at least here, the poor are taking advantage of the wealthy (no class welfare intended; we all know that classes do not exist, so say the textbooks). But what really caught my attention was one short sentence on the Home Page that read: "This Network is developed with NATO, OSI and EurAsia support."


So here we are, on the Web site of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan… Uzbewhat? What's that? Impossible to pronounce! Well, that's a country in Central Asia, a former republic of the deceased Soviet Union, part of what is now known as NIS (Newly Independent States). Don't know it, can't find it on your obsolete world map, don't even have a world map? Don't worry, it's there, surrounded by Kazakhstan on the west and north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan on the east, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan on the south and west, and it has access to the Aral Sea. The capital is Tashkent. That's all I can tell you. Just notice that they all have names that rhyme and they all have, or almost all have, a rare commodity in common. More about this later.

As for its supporters, you all know about NATO, this ever so friendly humanitarian organization, defender of widows and orphans and always ready to bring peace and stability to a region.

OSI is the acronym for Open Society Institute, one of the myriad organizations of the Soros Foundations Network, which is "dedicated to building Open Societies around the world." In 1997, the organizations of the Soros Foundations Network spent a total of $428 million and are now spending about $500 million. Their motto? "The concept of Open Societies is based on the recognition that people act on imperfect knowledge and NOBODY IS IN POSSESSION OF THE ULTIMATE KNOWLEDGE." Mrs. Dole, a good-natured born-again Christian, may slightly disagree with the last proposition but would be comforted by the zeal with which Mr. Soros pursues his mission of supporting the development of open societies. Such a missionary fervor includes "an array of initiatives concerned with arts and culture, children and youth, civil society development, economic reform, education at all levels, legal reform and public administration, media and communications, publishing, and health care," in "over 30 countries around the world, principally in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union but also in Guatemala, Haiti, Mongolia, and Southern Africa." I strongly recommend you spend a few hours as I've done in the past few days to familiarize yourselves with the style and tone packaging those grandiose generalities. George Soros will be remembered as a man with a rich and enlightened mission!

EurAsia (or Eurasia) is a private non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. and mostly financed by USAID (i.e., American tax dollars). Of course, Eurasia has its own mission statement: "Building institutions . . . Benefiting individuals." "The Eurasia Foundation promotes the advancement of democratic institutions and private enterprise in twelve host countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The Eurasia Foundation believes that societies function best when citizens take responsibility for their own civic and economic future. Foundation programs seek to promote the skills and vision necessary to bring the greatest social and economic benefits to individuals and their societies." Ain't that sweet?

Have you heard of the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999? It's a bill that the 106th Congress passed "to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to target assistance to support the economic and political independence of the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia." Congress made two significant findings (among seven) for setting the new policy. They were:

The development of open market economies and open democratic systems in the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia will provide positive incentives for international private investment, increased trade, and other forms of commercial interactions with the rest of the world.

The region of the South Caucasus and Central Asia could produce oil and gas in sufficient quantities to reduce the dependence of the United States on energy from the volatile Persian Gulf region.

Did you read "oil?" Really? You really did. OIL.

Accordingly, continues the Silk Road Strategy Act,

It shall be the policy of the United States in the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia--

(1) to promote and strengthen independence, sovereignty, democratic government, and respect for human rights;

(2) to promote tolerance, pluralism, and understanding and counter racism and anti-Semitism;

(3) to assist actively in the resolution of regional conflicts and to facilitate the removal of impediments to cross-border commerce;

(4) to promote friendly relations and economic cooperation;

(5) to help promote market-oriented principles and practices;

(6) to assist in the development of the infrastructure necessary for communications, transportation, education, health, and energy and trade on an East-West axis in order to build strong international relations and commerce between those countries and the stable, democratic, and market-oriented countries of the Euro-Atlantic Community; and

(7) to support United States business interests and investments in the region.


Time for you to read again Mrs. Dole's moving remarks… You know, those "people who carry our values of peace and democracy around the world, putting service before self." NATO, Open Society Institute, Eurasia Foundation…. Silk Road Strategy Act…All armies and tools of compassion "willing to cross town or cross the globe to minister to those they've never met and will never see again." So much generosity, so much goodness. Soros and Dole, our divine saviors; NATO, our heroic pacifier. My eyes are filled with tears of admiration.

Here is an example of such generosity: "Since the U.S. Trade and Development Agency's inception in 1981, we have been associated with approximately $16 billion in exports -- or nearly $37 in exports for every dollar invested in TDA activities" (Source tda.gov). Oops, wrong example!

Did I mention that the South Caucasus and Central Asia are geographically located in the Russian Federation's southern backyard? Turn the case on its head for one minute and imagine the same scenario with this time Mexico being the target of Russian armies of compassion…

Who's the idiot that uttered that we had reached the end of history? Looks quite alive to me. History is still very present, though it repeats itself at an accelerated pace. Perhaps, like the new economy of late we now have a new history. What has changed is that the missionaries, the business people and the troops are now roaming the world together, hand in hand advancing the civilizing mission of the Occident. But the purpose remains the same: pilfering and enriching themselves. Don't you love this age of compassionate humanitarianism?

Those armies of compassion…An old story indeed!


Resources regarding this article

The Network of Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan  This is the culprit. Be aware that the site is often down and quite slow.

Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999  The bill is posted on Eurasianet.org (Soros).

Uzbekistan International Involvement Links  Also on Eurasianet.org (Soros).

Eurasianet.org  A project of the Open Society Institute.

Central Eurasia Academy Link  From the friends at Eurasianet.org (Soros).

Soros Foundations Network  The main site of dedicated to George Soros' missionary "philanthropy." Myriad pages and activities. Of interest is the FAQ on what is an "open society".

The Eurasia Foundation  Nicely financed by USAID.

Eurasia Foundation's Links to NIS-related sites  Visit the entire region through this page.

List of academic programs (Harvard U.)  This will give a good idea of the interests the region attracts.

USAID for Uzbekistan  US generosity in display. The site has pages about the other countries in the region.

NATO  The main site of our heroic pacifier. Look for NATO ASI (Advanced Study Institute).

U.S. Trade and Development Agency  A return of $37 for every $1 invested...

The Silk Road Foundation  A privately funded organization. There are many more like this one.



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Published August 7, 2000
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