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Why the United States should not worry about Bangladesh elections

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accused the United States of seeking change in the government of Bangladesh.  Photo: Collected

Bangladesh is the latest US initiative to ‘consolidate democracy’ in South Asia. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has announced that anyone who obstructs the democratic election process in Bangladesh will face a US visa ban. Many see it as retaliation for the lifting of police protocol on diplomats from four countries, including the United States, stationed in Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina is complaining against the US saying that the country does not want to see her in power. It is not only Sheikh Hasina who is making such accusations, but the history of US snubbing around the world is more complicated. Indian writer and Distinguished Fellow of India Foundation Rami Desai said so in an article. The article appeared in India Today on Monday (June 5).

Donald Lu, the Biden administration’s assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, also talks about working to ‘promote democracy from a global hub’.

In the article, Rami Desai says, there is a historical precedent for US involvement in ‘government collapse’ of countries around the world that are against US interests or that speak of the need for democracy or authoritarian governments. In earlier days, their level of involvement was more direct, such as in Hawaii, Cuba and the Caribbean. But after the establishment of the CIA in 1947 after the Second World War, the United States solved this kind of work very covertly. Examples include Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954 and Vietnam in 1963 in the next two decades.

The role of the CIA in the fall of Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is very clear. But the former national security adviser of the United States, Zabigniew Brzezinski, wanted to convince George W. Bush at that time that using democracy as a tool against terrorism can be dangerous.

In writing, Rami Desai said, it has been seen that the Arab world somehow remains out of the discussion of democracy and human rights in the United States. According to a report, the United States has military bases in 80 countries around the world. Interestingly, more than half of these countries do not have democratic governance.

On the situation in Bangladesh, Rami Desai said that since the election is approaching day by day, Sheikh Hasina should deal with the matter very carefully. However, Sheikh Hasina did not hold back despite facing massive interference. Standing in Parliament, he said about the US, ‘They are trying to take away democracy and bring in a government that has no democratic basis. Doing so would be undemocratic.’

The United States has sanctioned RAB officials on charges of extrajudicial killings and disappearances. After that, US Ambassador Peter Haas, who is again posted in Dhaka, recently went to the house of missing BNP leader Sajedul Islam Sumon and met his victim’s family members. It can be understood that the United States is paying close attention to Bangladesh.

Rami Desai advised India to monitor the situation seriously. India’s northwest border region is facing a fragile situation as a result of US intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Similarly across the northeastern border, further complications may arise.

Rami Desai said, there is no need for a secular state for the people of the world. In today’s ever-changing world, the United States should instead respect the local people’s ability to determine what is good or bad in their country.




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