Thursday, July 29, 2004

Social Democrats USA, again.

I was so happy when I found this statement from the Social Democrats, USA on their website:

"American social democrats believe unabashedly that the United States is a force for good in the world. (A view most persuasively argued in recent times by the social democratic Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair.) But our citizens and our government alike need continuous encouragement if our moral influence and our diplomatic and military power are to be used effectively to assist those in other countries who share our commitments to democracy and human rights. Some conservatives consider such commitments sentimental, or a drain on our national capabilities. Certain liberals and leftists scorn American efforts in behalf of democracy abroad as a spurious disguise for economic and military domination – an anti-Americanism that overrides consideration of the good that so often comes from such engagement, even under Republican Administrations.

The strident anti-Americanism and magnanimity toward third world dictatorships of some who claim loudly to speak for the left are once again feeding the perception that the left cares little about freedom. As in the conflicts with communism waged by past generations of the democratic left, social democrats not only must distinguish ourselves from the false left — we must take the lead in exposing and combating it. We know this enemy better than the conservatives, we know the territory better, and we understand the damage that can be done to good people and good causes when the battles that must be waged are conducted in reckless ways."


Hear, hear!

Social Democrats, USA know the deal

"one hardly needs to look far into the news coming out of Saudi Arabia – the extent of terrorist attacks both on foreigners and the regime, the dubious loyalties of the security forces, the hold that certain demented clerics have over large numbers of dysfunctional young men – to grasp that this is a society on the edge. Those who imagine that American diplomacy can keep a lid on this explosive cauldron are probably the wooly-minded idealists. The reality is that changes are going to come in this part of the world, and the best we can hope to do is nudge things in the most democratic direction possible."

There's more where this came from. Visit Social Democrats, USA.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

This is not Fascism

There is still people on the far Left equating Bush with Fascism. Especially now with the elections coming up. This "misconception" seems to be widespread amongst stoppers, wishy-washy liberals, Michael Moore Conservatives and parts of the US Democrats.

You may not approve of many of George W. Bush's political views (I know I don't). You may find supporting the death penalty, lobbying against gay marriage and not endorsing the Kyoto Treaty abhorrent (I know I do). However, this is not Fascism. Nor does it make George W. Bush a Fascist. In fact, he is a democratically elected president who will be, and has been, scrutinized by the Senate and the Congress, due to the United States wonderful checks and balances system. He is responsible to the people of the United States and has to answer to them.

Let me point to a few differences between the current President of the United States and Fascists. Here the term Fascist will include all those who in recent times have persued a Fascist path -- be it Islamo-Fascist or Baathist.

President Bush does not persecute or murder American citizens because they don't share his political or religious views -- Saddam did.

President Bush does not cut out the tongues of dissenting journalists. Saddam did.

President Bush does not murder children's parents, because they have voiced their dissent. Saddam did.

President Bush does not demand every American citizen to obey the "divine law" or face imprisonment, torture or death. Islamo-Fascists do.

President Bush, although not supportive of gay marriage, does not prescribe the stoning of homosexuals. Islamo-Fascists do.

President Bush does not have state-endorsed rape-rooms. Saddam did.

Now, in my view, it would be far better if the anti-war Left realized what the real Fascism of today is: Islamo-Fascism. That is, the persuit of a theocratic dictatorship based on power, submission, violence, perverted religion, the hatred and persecution of religious, ethnical and sexual minorities and a total disregard for human life.

George W. Bush may be conservative on many issues. Perhaps even concidered a reactionary by some. That still doesn't make him a Fascist.

The anti-war Left had better get their priorities right. The unholy alliance and motley crew of the culture relative and conservative far Left, and the reactionary and intolerant islamists that is currently emerging in, for example, the UK is alarming.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there is an urgent need for a democratic, liberal and antitotalitarian Left. We need to carry on the tradition of antitotalitarian ideals that once were common to many democratically-minded people on the Left.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

New Sudan blog

Click here for news, updates and discussions about the genocide in Sudan.

(Via Harry's Place)

Friday, July 23, 2004

David Aaranovitch on what the Left should be about

"My main reason for supporting te [sic] invasion, however, was about smashing a fascist dictatorship. It was one of the things the left used to believe in."
 
David Aaranovitch in yesterday's Guardian online debate.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Sudanese government directed recruitment of Janjaweed militia

Not surprisingly, the Sudanese government is now denying responsibility for the genocide in Sudan.

However, International Human Rights Watch have documents proving that Sudanese government officials directed recruitment and arming of the Janjaweed militia.

Read the full text here.




Monday, July 19, 2004

Million march for Sudan?

How come there arent' a million people out on the streets of every major European and American city protesting and screaming their heads off about the ongoing genocide, mass raping and persecution in Sudan?

Why would the anti-war Left show up in hordes to protest against the toppling of a brutal totalitarian dictatorship in Iraq, but are nowhere to be heard or seen when it comes to one of the most appaling human rights situations in the world since Rwanda?
(And for that matter, why weren't more people protesting against the genocide in Rwanda?)

Why are there no demonstrations with banners, placards and speeches to wake up the world to what's happening in Darfur?

Seriously. Why?

Iraqi comment on the Liberation of Iraq

Omar at Iraq the Model comments on the Butler report and the Liberation of Iraq:

"You cannot tell a man that saving him and his family from torture, humiliation and death was a mistake and it should’ve not been done because it’s illegal. This is almost an insult to Iraqis to hear someone saying that this war was illegal. It means that our suffering for decades meant nothing and that formalities and the stupid rules of the UN (that rarely function) are more important than the lives of 25 million people."

(Via Norman Geras)

The consequences of inaction

In his Guardian-column of 18 July David Aaranovitch discusses the
horrific results of inaction as opposed to liberal intervention:

"After Rwanda and Bosnia, however, there were no Huttons, no Butlers to scrutinise such massive foreign policy failures"

Enough said.

Read the whole text
here

Mass rape in Sudan

The horrors and atrocities in Sudan continue. Read this piece on mass rape of women by the Janjaweed militia.


Sunday, July 18, 2004

Confusion of the Left

Although the debate on the Iraq war has died down a bit, there is still reason for scrutinizing the rift between the "anti-Imperialist" Chomskyite Left and the democratic and antitotalitarian Left.

The problem with the Chomskyite Left is that amidst all of their pseudo-revolutionary, anti-globalization rantings they do not have much of an ideology. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the far Left can no longer lean on Communism -- although some Neo-Stalinist groups such as Stop the War Coalition in the UK seem to be ignorant of the fall of the Soviet Union. Theirs is a strange mix of life-style anarchism, anti-Americanism, Anti-Occidentalism, Isolationism and "anti-Zionism" (which often comes down to pure anti-Semitism).

All these ingredients make the anti-war Left a pretty reactionary lot. Galloway's and the Socialist Worker's Party's flirtation with radical Islamists in the UK is one proof of this. Siding with religious fanatics with a hatred for modernity and liberal democracy can hardly be called progressive.

This dark mixture of ideas is not only cynical, but also dangerous. We live in a time when the greatest totalitarian threat is coming from radical Islamofascism. Having a so-called Left that not only chooses to ignore this fact, but who actually co-operates with Islamofascists and has been unwilling to (as in Iraq) refuse to support the toppling of a dictator in order to free a people from oppression is appalling.

I am afraid that these sentiments are not exclusive tho the far Left. Some people mith moderate leftist views also hold them to be true. The problem is that people on the Left harbouring these anti-democratic ideals seem to be quite vociferous.

What is the remedy to all of this? I am not sure. But I know that there is a need for the democratic and moderate Left to regroup.


There is a need for a strong democratic centre-Left or moderate Left with clear principles and the ability to combine idealism with pragmatism. A democratic movement wich is as libertarian as it is egalitarian, and which is -- this is the important part -- strongly antitotalitarian. This movement also needs to be clearly internationalist in its approach, as opposed to the current isolationist tendency of the anti-war Left. It also needs to recognize the fact that regime change and liberal interventionism sometimes is necessary and perhaps even vital to world peace. In these days of religious fanaticism it also needs to promote the Humanistic values we have inherited from the Enlightenment.

These are confusing days, but the choice between supporting liberal democracy or clerical Fascism should be crystal clear.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Sudan is bleeding

The human rights situation is getting worse by the hour in Sudan.
30, 000 people are believed to have died. More than 1 million people are fleeing. 200, 000 people have fled to Chad, the neighbouring country in the west. According to the UN 2 million people are currently suffering in Sudan.

This is of course due to the Sudanese government's and its affiliated Arab Janjaweed militia, who have been persecuting, killing and raping the black population of Sudan.

Is the rest of the world crying out in unison demanding that something be done? No. Are there UN peace-keeping troops on their way as we speak? No.

Sure, the UN have contributed with food-packages and aid-workers. The problem is that the food deliveries have been looted and aid-workers attacked by the militia. The food packages need to be shipped to the east coast of Sudan and then transported to the Darfur area which is in the west. This means that the food-packages have to be transported by car or truck across the nation, which obviously entails a high degree of risk-taking.

Human Rights Watch
has the following to say on this matter:

"The international community, which so far has been slow to exert all possible pressure on the Sudanese government to reverse the ethnic cleansing and end the associated crimes against humanity it has carried out, must act now. The UN Security Council, in particular, should take urgent measures to ensure the protection of civilians, provide for the unrestricted delivery of humanitarian assistance and reverse ethnic cleansing in Darfur. It will soon be too late."

Yes. Soon it will be too late. Remember the genocide in ex-Yugoslavia? Back then we said never again. Rember the genocide in Rwanda? Back then we said never again.

How many times are we going to let thugs and fascists commit genocide on innocent civilians before we actually do someting?

Peace-keeping troops need to be deployed NOW. Before it's too late.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Anti-Americanism in Sweden

I suppose it's a worldwide phenomenon by now. Anti-Americanism. Since the Liberation of Iraq by coalition forces, an anti-American tidal wave has swept the world.

I for my part notice it quite clearly here in Sweden. It seems to be "radically chic" to hold anti-American views.

A week ago there was an article published in one of the major newspapers in Sweden, where an American business man spoke out against what he perceived to be racism against Americans. Sometimes when people heard his accent they would state bluntly that they did not like Americans. What if you substitute "American" for, say, "Jewish"? Where would we be headed then? Speaking of which, anti-Americanism and so called anti-Zionism often go hand in hand. Especially after the war in Iraq.

This American businessman was careful to point out that it is just a small minority of Swedes who hold these views, but there is still an ongoing trend of hostility towards Americans. And there is of course a danger when one group of people is singled out in this way. In the same newspaper, a young girl of American descent living in Sweden told the reporter that her little brother was teased at school simply for being an American.

Now, not liking the current US president is one thing. But showing antipathy and even hatred of ordinary American people is pure racism and it should be called by its right name.

Unfortunately, Sweden like France has a long history of anti-Americanism. This, I think, is due to our neutrality (Sweden is not a NATO-country) and also of our cowardly stance during the Cold War, when the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme tried to create what was called "the Third Way" -- a compromise between totalitarian Soviet Communism and Western style Capitalism. This also entailed not being critical enough of the Soviet Union, but at the same time criticizing the US too much. Geographically the Soviet Union was pretty close to Sweden and I suppose that the Swedish government's fear of this superpower and the approximity to it created some sort of misguided solidarity that never should have been, and at the same time created a knee-jerk animosity against the US.

However, the world has changed. After 9/11 I think most sane people realized this. We were forced to take sides. Either you support Western-style democracy and its values of freedom, equality and tolerance or you support a clerical fascism disguised as religion. There is no grey zone. A lot of people still haven't realized this. People on the Chomsky-Left still regard the United States as the epitome of all evil. Often this anti-Americanism is part of a lifestyle-package where things like anti-globalization sentiments and a faiblesse for anything vaguely "revolutionary" overrides any sense of what democracy needs to be and what it needs in order to thrive or even survive.

There is apparently a new organization in Sweden, the Swedish-American Association. There aim is to "provide a more open-minded view of the United States in Sweden, and also to be inspired of the American vision: freedom and democracy is not an exclusive right for the West - it's a right and a capacity that belongs to all human-kind."
Apart from their apparent sympathy towards the deceased ex-US president Ronald Reagan, there aim sounds healthy enough to me, and it makes me happy to know that someone is trying to change the current situation in Sweden.



Intro

Welcome to Thought at the Meridian. This is the premier of my little blog. I will try to keep it updated as regularly as possible. However, time isn't always on my side, so I hope you will bear with me.

As to the contents of this blog, it will focus on political and cultural issues worldwide. The approach will be internationalist, although I'm stated in Sweden.

If you care to cast an eye on the recommended blogs and links you will get an idea as to where I stand when it comes to politics.

Alright, that's it for now.