": contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially: the belying of one's true intentions by deceptive words or action" Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition
Duplicity is rampant hiding behind all kinds of guises. History is replete with many instances of such shenanigans both ‘fair and foul’ depending upon the perspective and rationale of those individuals, groups and countries who employ these techniques. (Refer to this link documenting select duplicitous actions from the 1500s to the present.)
Some examples occurring during our nation’s founding from summaries of Old West Native Americans:
“Mar 22, 1622 - He plotted the destruction of the colony so secretly that only one Indian, the Christian Chanco, revealed the conspiracy, but too late to save the people of Jamestown, who at a sudden signal were massacred, on March 22, 1622, by the natives who had earlier deemed to be friendly. In the period of intermittent hostilities that followed, duplicity and treachery marked the actions of both whites and Indians. In the last year of his life, Opechancanough, taking advantage of the ...”
Negotiations to free sick and injured U.S. seamen prisoners in which U.S. Navy Captain John Paul Jones engaged with representatives of Britain, France, Holland is described:
“Jan 28, 1780 - …anger over this duplicitous action was probably compounded by his [Franklin] frustration and concern about the prisoners after he received a letter … In it, Hodgson reported tha't the American captives were “suffering exceedingly”…”
From Yankee sailors in British gaols - Related web pages
In 1998 former Senator Gary Hart’s book, The Minuteman: Restoring an Army of the People, explores the “scope of America's military policy and accountability to its citizens.”
Hart writes U.S. foreign policy has substituted "interest" for principle and morality.
"Interest, especially national interest, is a shifting, amoral notion."
"A concept that justifies virtually any action "however immoral, duplicitous, cynical, unjust, or undemocratic."
“It is a concept without roots in reason or morality that justifies virtually any action, whether exploiting the sinking of the Maine in 1898, misconstruing events in the Gulf of Tonkin, or selling arms to Iran to finance illegal operations in Central America.”
At the time he wrote this Saddam Hussein still ruled in Iraq and 9/11 had not occurred. Hart’s premise about acting on the basis of “interest” as it applies to the world's war against terrorism continues to raise serious thoughts. Consider the factors prompting the U.S. Iraq invasion, our involvement in Afgahanistan and most recently Libya.
"What seems in our interest today, may not be tomorrow."
U. S. foreign relations with the nuclear equipped country Pakistan comes to mind. Yet their governing officials and military hierarchy appear to be at odds internally over the true nature of our two countries relationship. Billions of U.S. tax dollars are given annually to aid this nation. Where do our monies go, especially during this time when our own nation faces financial difficulties? Are our dollars wending their way into funding weapons and support for Taliban troops fighting U.S. soldiers? Are our dollars lining the pockets of Pakistan officials? Are our dollars actually aiding an appreciative Pakistan citizenry?
Pakistan seems to have no clearly defined allegiance to the U.S. as dramatically evidenced when Bin Laden was found living there in a large compound constructed in 2005. The walled structures location is in a major city close to the country's primary military training academy. Following discovery and disposition of Bin Laden in a daring U.S. military special forces action, Pakistani government officials persist in disclaiming they had any knowledge of his presence.
Duplicitous actions, accusations of some that others are behaving in a deceitful manner persist through the twentieth century through World Wars I and II, especially during the “Cold War” with USSR. Now in the twenty-first century relations with North Korea, China and Pakistan, to name a few countries, have elicited similar concerns about nations behaviors.
Does anyone ever say what they mean and mean what they say? That seems to be what our U.S. foreign policy is all about, determining truth from falsehoods, and formulating how we represent ourselves to others. I wonder if the day will ever come when peoples and nations interact with each other honestly and openly. Would life be much less complex, or would a different set of complications arise?