What US politicians got right and what they’ve got wrong – a Swedish perspective

That the Mueller Report took the wind out of the Liberal MSM doesn’t really help the Democrats before the next Presidential Election. CNN and MSNBC had invested a huge amount of credibility into the Russiagate narrative and with Trump now cleared of any Russian collusion the aforementioned news networks are in dire straits regarding their credibility.

Another sinker in the credibility for the Democratic Party was Trump’s call out to deport illegal aliens to so called sanctuary cities. There was a immediate outcry of moral indignation. For instance Nancy Pelosi said that Trump was “weaponizing” immigrants. Cher, an outspoken supporter of open border policies, caught considerable flak for saying that her community couldn’t afford it. Some Democrats have also been quite outspoken about the necessity of using the votes of illegal aliens in local elections in order to change the political landscape in the US. Isn’t that to “weaponize” immigrants for our own political purpose? Hence Trump really called out the hypocrisy of the Democrats through this move.

What one must remember is that citizenship, regardless of ethnicity and cultural heritage, is fundamental to the idea of the nation state. The latter needs borders and boundaries, hence allowing illegal aliens to vote in local elections is a quite bizarre notion. To defend illegal immigration as such is bizarre. If one wants to nourish racism and xenophobia on the other hand it’s quite effective. Immigration in today’s Western world is to a large extent a necessity, however immigration should always be under controlled circumstances. However in this day and age in which globalist narratives are dominant with open borders policies and with increasing dismissal of the idea of the nation state itself, the latter instead being seen as more or less as an expression of racism as political debate based upon empirical facts is out the window and it instead to a vast extent is being based upon emotions. Globalism is hence a rather interesting cultural phenomenon, it’s like hardcore capitalism and cultural Marxism had a baby. However the world still runs on taxation and taxes requires boundaries. Thus the nation state is not dead, far from it.

The American society is as divided as ever though, but it’s not a matter of good vs. evil as many politically correct people would like to make it up to be, both in the US and Europe. Both sides have their points. Trump has for instance initiated a process of trying to impede the growth of a bureaucratic colossus in the US. When technocracy gets a hold it tends to be self fulfilling, just look at the EU and my native country of Sweden. That point Trump has got down right. He is also right from a constitutional perspective, that federal powers should be limited. We have quite the opposite situation on the other side of the pond. He is also correct in maintaining border control, wall or not.

What some Democrat candidates, like Sanders and Gabbard, got down right is their criticism of the current US foreign policy. It’s interesting to note that Donald Trump’s rhetoric before the his inauguration and the Russiagate circus was quite the opposite of what US foreign policy is now. Trump wanted to try to normalize relations with Russia in order to try to solve mutual problems, like international terrorism, in concert with mutual respect. Relations today are however even worse than in the late 1980’s when Gorbachev and Reagan at least had some respect for each other even though they were on completely opposing ideological sides. With people like Pompeo and Bolton coming on board the Administration it’s no longer a matter of Theodore Roosevelt’s: “-Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”, much like for instance the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov these days, but rather a matter of unilateral gunboat diplomacy much like Imperial Germany after Kaiser Wilhelm II’s dismissal of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. We all know where that path led.

Bernie Sanders, in spite of his own Jewish background, has been very critical of the unilateral US foreign policy towards the current leadership in Israel under the corrupt Benjamin Netanyahu, especially after the US Administration’s recognition of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel. To bare in mind is that there are substantial US economic interests in the Golan Heights, such as through Genie Energy, the latter in which for instance Dick Cheney is a board member. Netanyahu has reportedly also vowed to name an Israeli settlement in the area in Trump’s honor. Regardless if someone a Zionist or not this unilateral US position bears with it diplomatic problems as such one sidedness undermines US diplomatic credibility, not only in the Middle East but on a global level. How on Earth could the US then claim the moral high ground visa vi Russia regarding Russian claims to the Crimea for instance? What the US Administration’s decision to acknowledge Israeli claims to the Golan Heights has done is to create a new set of old standards on the world’s stage, the principle of “might is right”.

What Bernie Sanders however got completely wrong is his economic analysis. For many decades the Nordic countries where, justly so, viewed as the shining good examples to the world. Given the substantial divergence of wealth in the American society it’s not difficult to understand the left leaning Sanders’ source for inspiration. However the halo of not least Sweden has waned considerably in later years. We have among the highest taxes in the world although our social security system is in a more or less perpetual state of crisis. The pension system is now at the level that a pensioner, who hasn’t got private pension account, can only expect to get 50% of what that person made while working. Immigration as a way of tackling an ageing population was claimed to be the universal solution, a narrative propagated by both the political right and the left. And it is true that Sweden does need the influx of foreign labor in many trades. But the claim that the considerable number of asylum seekers of later years corresponds with an economic “super deal” for the nation doesn’t hold water since the unemployment rate is generally too high and the time and education required in order to get an employment too long.

It’s true that asylum seekers in general have historically in the long run contributed to the “system”, but immigration hasn’t been on these levels as they are now and the economy, just as the immigration itself, has changed in comparison with the “Golden Years” of the 1950’s and 1960’s. The number of “easy jobs” without the need for language skills has diminished substantially. The political rhetoric has not changed though. Hence Bernie Sanders perception of Sweden is obsolete, Sweden really isn’t the progressive mixed economy that it was in the 1970’s, on the contrary, today’s Sweden is very much a capitalist state and a state with inherent structural problems for which the current political narrative seemingly hasn’t got the answers for. Instead the focus is more or less entirely on climate change and the “green tax solution”, not dissimilar to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “New Green Deal”, in spite of Sweden’s minute effect on pollution. We are now so far gone that there is what can only be described as a religious attitude towards a school girl, Greta Thunberg, ditching class as a protest against climate change. To question the narrative, even from a strict empirical perspective, is very much to labeled as a heretic, to be a “climate change denier” and being a deplorable in general. This almost religious fervor, fueled by an egocentric view of Sweden as a political avant-garde, has led to even ecofascist ideas being apologized for by the political establishment, something that brings to mind a quote by Winston Churchill:

“-The Fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.”

Just as in the case of America there isn’t a simple matter of good vs. evil though, although many pundits and politicians stoop to such rhetorical language contributing to an already wayward political climate rather than to focus on the acute and actual problems. As the American society has become increasingly divided so has the Swedish one. The advent of identity politics among the entire political spectrum has stultified political debate and has as a consequence led to increased contempt for politicians as many citizens view political leaders as askew with the reality of ordinary people.

The latter undoubtedly leads to right wing populism and votes of disapproval and and while the political establishment counters such manifestations by calling discontent voters as “deplorables”, just like Hillary Clinton did, chances are that such attitude will only further fuel additional resentment. What chances do you have to regain confidence from a discontent populace by addressing it as less cognizant? Just look at Emmanuel Macron in France? Bernie Sanders, contrary to Hillary Clinton, is not part of a political dynasty with a dubious past though which speaks to his advantage but that still doesn’t save him from relying on an obsolete source for inspiration.

It is my perhaps somewhat naive desire that politicians on both sides of the pond would refrain from nonintellectual identity politics and instead would focus on realpolitik while trying to ascertain some ideological relevance in conjunction with empiricism into today’s political life instead of stooping to a politically correct version of Machiavellian power above anything else. But I’m afraid that is, as already mentioned, a rather naive notion. From a democratic perspective it sure would be great if the entire political spectrum decided to “Make Politics Great Again” though..

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Posted in Domestic Swedish politics, EU, France, International politics, Sweden, USA | Leave a comment

The elephant in the room

On Easter day seven bombs detonated in churches and luxury hotels around in Sri Lanka, an eighth bomb went off during defusing. Nearly 300 people were killed and 500 wounded in the coordinated attacks. The perpetrators were connected to the radical Islamist organization National Thowheeth Jama’ath. Although the condolences from world leaders to the victims have been flowing in it is interesting to note that in many cases the word Christians have been avoided just as Islamist terrorism. Instead words like Easter worshipers have been used and the perpetrators referred to as just terrorists. Why this tip toeing? Why not call things by their true name?

Sure Muslims as a religious group should not bare the guilt for the heinous terrorist attacks the extremists in National Thowheeth  Jama’ath carried out but we must still not be afraid to call things by their true name. There is considerable apologetic and conciliatory rhetoric regarding Islamism due to political correctness and people in many cases can not differentiate between the religion Islam and it’s political interpretation, the ideology of Islamism. In the latter religion and politics are one. Hardly surprising as the Prophet, Mohammad, was not only a religious leader but also a statesman. Thus with some exceptions such as Sufism, Islam is a very political religion. It is also true that Christianity and Judaism, the other religions of the Book, historically have been and to a certain extent still are, used for political purposes. The level of Christian terrorism is quite limited nowadays, it can be argued whether the terrorist attacks in for instance Christchurch should be labelled as an expression for Christian or rather right wing terrorism? In latter case however the political/religious orientation was quickly pointed out and condemned, but less so in the case of the bombings in Sri Lanka? Both cases are without doubt despicable and a terrorist is a terrorist regardless of his or her credo.

Still the prevalent tip toeing around the Islamist ideology in the West is outright dangerous since it runs the errands of Islamist extremists. For instance, anti blasphemy laws are being implemented. However being a Muslim is not race just as being a Christian isn’t either. Religion is a set of philosophical and ideological beliefs and hence anti blasphemy laws are incompatible with free speech and thus democratic values. To express hesitance to call Islamist terrorists by their true name, due political correctness, thus only serves to give Islamist ideological radicals the interpretative prerogative to define the religion of Islam, to the detriment of Christians, Jews, Hindus and not least Muslims that wish lead lives in peace and consensus with other faiths.

This politically correct tip toeing is epidemic in much of the Western world, not least my native Sweden. Honestly in political debate most Swedes can’t differentiate between Islam and Islamism and due to the racist label being handed out so liberally, in most cases without empirical relevance, most people decide to just keep silent. And silence thus serves radicalism, on both sides. The reluctance to question Islamism as an ideology also has political incentives, the Muslim minority vote is getting increasingly important and thus we can see an increasing level of lips service with regards to Islamist ideology. The latter of course being exacerbated by political correctness and outright ignorance. I have myself experienced being smeared by questioning apologist narratives and I am not alone. Several high ranking Social Democratic female politicians, like Ann-Sofie Hermansson, have been forced out of office after questioning how matters like honor culture and Islamism are being dealt with in Swedish society today. Again, being too critical might endanger minority votes, thus we see lips service among especially the political left in today’s Sweden. In the end such attitude will serve only to the detriment of our society, a society that prides itself to be the vanguard of free speech and democracy. Instead we are the moment dealing with a heated debate regarding the “humanitarian obligations” of Sweden to repatriate ISIS members from Syria, without taking into account for instance the Russian experiences with “black widows”. Due political correctness female members of this Sunni extremist organization are mostly seen as harmless. The elephant in the room is obvious, but still it’s not mentioned due to political correctness, hence the latter is the greatest threat to the cohesion of our society and democracy of our time.

Posted in EU, Geopolitical topics, International politics, Iraq, Islamism, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Terrorism | Leave a comment

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – Europe has never learnt from the United States

When the First World War broke out in the late summer of 1914 the European powers engulfed the continent in a war in which the old world, both geographically and philosophically met the industrial modern age with catastrophic consequences. Even though several of the predominant European powers had fought in the Crimean War, the Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War the staffs hadn’t caught up in doctrine. In France the idea of l’offensive à outrance, offensive at all costs, had taken hold after the humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. The Prussians had defeated the French trough superior organization, movement and supply chain. Hence the idea of élan, the army with the best morale and fighting spirit will win the day, had taken root. It made sense in the age of the 1870’s given the experiences of the Franco-Prussian War albeit the Prussians, who had mostly been on the offensive and thus taken the most casualties, had drawn other conclusions. With advent of the breech loading Chassepot needle rifle frontal assaults in line formation had become a costly affair, thus leading to the auftragstaktik based on the infantry squad rather than the old line tactic. With rapid development in weaponry in the late 1800’s, with the invention of the true machine gun and the use of indirect fire with artillery pieces with recoil systems, the French doctrine on the other hand had become woefully obsolete by 1914, something that quickly showed on the battlefield at tremendous costs in human lives.

The experiences of the American Civil War, in spite of European observers, had made little impact upon the military doctrines of Europe. The use of trenches wasn’t anything new per se but became increasingly important, especially for the Confederacy in the later half of the war and Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg in 1863 had clearly shown that Napoleonic era line tactics was a thing of the past as rifled muskets made such tactics over open ground suicidal.

However this article really isn’t about the development of military doctrine but rather the politics that effects it. Also here it can be said that Europe doesn’t learn from the “colonials” on the other side of the pond. The United States was formed out of the lack of political representation in London and the constitution adopted by the Founding Fathers was based on both Anglo-Saxon tradition but also to a large extent on the ideas of the Enlightenment in Europe. Many French officers serving in America during the American Revolutionary War, as the French had seen a chance to get their own back at the British after the Seven Years War which had cost the country it’s North American possessions, brought back with them inspirations for a new society, ideas that would have quite some bearing in the developments leading up to the French Revolution.

The young Untied States of America would however as most know have it’s own internal crisis as the predominantly agrarian South would come at odds with the industrial North at the mid of 19th century. The question of abolition would serve as the backdrop for the American Civil War, the bloodiest conflict the United States has ever been involved in. However it could be argued that the question of slavery and abolition was more a matter of moral justification in the aftermath of the Union victory in 1865 as in most conflicts there where deeper economic incentives. The Confederate States were in fact upholding the American constitution as once written by the Founding Fathers while the Union under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln did not. This serves to explain why Jefferson Davies could not be sentenced for treason after the defeat of the Confederacy. In fact slavery wasn’t abolished until the Thirteenth Amendment of 1865 albeit slaves in the South had been seen as free ever since the Emancipation Act of 1863. Thus I would argue that the roots of the conflict had different incentives than the ones most commonly referred to and the question of abolition thus mostly serving as moral justification and to cover the constitutional dilemma.

From an economic perspective the agrarian South increasingly traded with England and France rather than with the North as political tensions grew, tensions that grew to untenable proportions with the Bleeding of Kansas and John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. With the Union also being increasingly divided regarding the limitations of federal power in relation to the various individual states, things came to a watershed with the election of the Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln in November of 1860 which caused South Carolina to secede in 1861, with other Southern states following suit, forming a new Confederate States of America under Jefferson Davies, and the rest is as we say, history.

What should Europe then learn from this? Well, the EU Parliament Election is coming up next month, an election that by many is described as a watershed as the European Union is increasingly being put into question. In fact it could be argued that Europe finds itself under similar circumstances as the United States did in 1860. True we don’t have institutionalized slavery but instead we very much have a debate regarding the limitations of the central power in relation to the member states and instead of slavery being seen as the humanitarian cause for federalism we have the issue of migration. In this context we can see the Visegrad Group and Italy as the South of our age. We also have diverging economic dimensions as Southern Europe is very much poorer than for instance Germany with the aforementioned being held more or less under economic vassalage from Brussels. It can further be argued that the John Brown of our era is George Soros, but instead of using the rifle in one hand and the Bible in the other he is using his various NGOs and political affiliations to influence the politics of Europe. The Abraham Lincoln of our time would be represented by Commissioner Juncker, supported by ALDE under Guy Verhofstadt as our day’s Republican Party. Brexit would be reminiscent of South Carolina seceding from the Union.

Federalism in Europe could thus be likened with the snowball effect, once in motion it is difficult to stop before it sets of an avalanche. Self-criticism and the notion where to stop really isn’t one of Brussels’ strong suits, quite the contrary. EU-skepticism is instead met with an erroneous and illusionate narrative of “More EU!” Regardless of what one may think of slavery in Confederate States of America or Islamophobia and racism in the Visegrad Group from a moral perspective these questions are still subordinate to the greater question of sovereignty of the individual member state visa vi the federal power. Thus Europe as usual hasn’t learn’t anything from the experiences of the United States. The Spanish-born philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) once wrote: “- Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it..” 

This stands true to this day.

 

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Why the 2019 European Parliament Election will be a victory for the anti-establishment

Between 23-26 of May 2019 the European Parliament Election will be held throughout the EU. This election has been described by many on both sides of the political spectrum as a political watershed. This is both true and false. To start with this election will not be about whether a member state will be part of the EU or not, however suffice to say that many voters will vote as if this was the case. To a certain degree this has bearing though as the composition of the Parliament will have effect on the path the EU-commission attempts to take the EU.

One doesn’t have to be a tin foil hat to clearly see that the Commission backed by ALDE, the liberal group in the Parliament, has an agenda of continuous federalization of the EU. This is also the agenda within the current leadership of some influential member states such as France under the leadership of Emmanuel Macron, in all fairness nothing short of a poster boy for globalism and European federalization. Macron wrote an open letter to the people of Europe earlier this year in which he stated that true patriotism was to embrace European federalism and that nationalism was the opposite. This pompous jaw on behalf of Macron would rather have the opposite effect however. His own popularity has taken a kamikaze dive in France as his his austerity reforms and proposed taxes on fuel, as he his very much part of the climate change bandwagon that ostensibly fails to realize that increased taxation doesn’t necessarily correspond with a better environment, has really awoken French revolutionary sentiments among the populace. The domestic French political tremble has however taken international dimensions as the right wing government in Italy under Salvini openly supports the Yellow Vests protests against the Macron government. Why is that?

As already mentioned the political goals of Macron and Salvini are woefully different. Macron’s fervor for European federalism serves to uphold the French and German dominance of the EU. Salvini on the other hand is struggling to perhaps not break up the union but rather if possible transform it along the lines of a confederation, cooperation between sovereign member states. Salvini has support for his agenda by the Visegrad Group. The former East European countries have first hand experience how it is to be dominated by a behemoth under decades, in their case the Soviet Union. Hence sovereignty is taken very seriously. The battle of sovereignty takes different expressions with migration being a symbolic question. Regardless what one might think of Viktor Órban and Fidesz one must understand the historical context, why many Hungarians are reluctant to Muslim immigration. Centuries of conflict between Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, in which Hungary acted as the vanguard of Christianity and held the Sublime Porte away from Central Europe, still is politically relevant in Hungary. Sure, arguments can be made about Islamophobia and racism, but that still does not change the realities of political life in Hungary and the question of sovereignty. Hungary further experienced the Year of Revolutions in 1848, Kun’s Soviet Republic, the Treaty of Trianon and the revolt of 1956, experiences that undoubtedly shape the Hungarian self image to this day. Thus the migration issue becomes infinitely so much more, a matter of a symbolic question of national self determination in a context of increased European federalism. It ultimately becomes a clash regarding the perception of the nation state between globalist liberalism and cosmopolitan socialism one side and conservatism and nationalism on the other.

The open conflict between France and Italy not only stems from differences concerning how the EU is organized, it also have geopolitical dimensions, something that must be remembered as the EU is often legitimized as a Project of Peace. Sure, the European Coal and Steal Community definitely was so, but today’s EU is a different matter. We now have an increasingly militarized union that has become a geopolitical player in it’s own right, albeit still a rather inept one in comparison to Putin’s Russia and Trumps’s United States. France was during the leadership of de Gaulle a country that went it’s own path and did not act with subservience to the United States. de Gaulle was also instrumental in the decolonization of Algeria, something that almost cost him his life as this was something that did not sit well with the Pieds Noirs. In 2011 Nicholas Sarkozy, the then French President, was instrumental in the launching of an international intervention in Libya as the Arab spring and the revolt against Muammar Gaddafi was in full swing. Obviously the legitimization of military intervention in Western media was due to concerns of human rights abuse on behalf of Gaddafi’s forces. In reality the true intentions were quite less altruistic. Libya was a considerable oil producer, something that allowed the country to have an excellent health care system among other things. The country also had developed working relations with Italy, buying Italian military equipment and not least allowing ENI, the Italian state-owned oil company to operate in the country. After Gadaffi was toppled and killed, a government was installed in Tripoli with better ties to TOTAL, the French state-owned oil company. Understandably this was not met with cheers in Rome. The Americans on their part were less than happy with Gadaffi’s proposal of the adoption of an oil dinar for the African oil producers, something that would have threatened the hegemony of the petrodollar and thus the United States financial position. Hence there were incentives for a military intervention in Libya that were far for humanitarian in nature, although these had to be justified by other means.

Simultaneously the predominantly French, British and American military intervention in Libya smashed the working relationship between Tripoli and Rome, a working relationship that had kept the southern border of both countries. A tidal wave of immigrants flooded primarily Italy. The latter has thus taken a huge brunt of the influx as both actual refugees as well as people in search of a better life in Europe, often with the goal of reaching Germany and Sweden, have been smuggled across the Mediterranean, not seldom assisted by NGOs supported by for instance George Soros, a staunch advocate of globalism and a federalist EU. Again migration thus becomes a question of national sovereignty, just as in Hungary, Soros’ native country. Instances where French police has dropped off immigrants on the Italian side of the border in Savoy hasn’t exactly improved the relations between the two countries. Hence it’s not difficult to see why the Salvini Government openly supports the Yellow Vests movement in France, although the face off between Italy and France has much deeper roots as already mentioned. This conflict undoubtedly also have spill over effects upon EU politics as the member states today are so politically and financially intertwined.

In my native country, Sweden, the Swedish Liberals made the woefully erroneous conclusion that the correct answer to increased EU-skepticism was “More EU!” and even adopted in the party program that the party will work for the formal creation of a United States of Europe. To add to that detached conclusion the Liberals’ euthanization of the center-right political platform Alliansen, in which they went into last years election as part of, only to give the power back to the Social Democrats even after a successful vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister, as the Liberals insisted in keeping the nationalist Sweden Democrats isolated at all costs. Hardly surprising the approval rate today is so low that the party would loose all their seats in a national election. If this would happen in the upcoming EU Parliament Election it will hence come as no surprise. The Swedish Liberals seem just as detached from reality as Macron in his ivory tower in Paris, increasingly relying on identity politics rather than realpolitik for their political basis, Macron’s pompous open letter to the people of Europe being a prime example of this. Hence the 2019 European Parliament Election will be a victory for the anti-establishment as the vote of disillusioned Europeans will be based upon negative national experiences as well as an increasing distrust for a political elite in Brussels, i.e. the Commission, who’s appointment no ordinary citizen has had any say in. The popular majority has no vision of a United States of Europe and many also feel that Brussels increasingly sticks it’s nose in things where it doesn’t belong. And trying to counter the lack of realpolitik trough the use of antiintellectual identity politics, like Macron did, only serves to affront the intelligence of ordinary citizens. Thus the greatest threat towards European cooperation does not stem from nationalists, instead they are a mere reaction to the agenda of the federalists that are in fact the actual root of the problem. Hence if the 2019 European Parliament Election results a resounding middle finger towards the establishment it will come as no surprise.

Posted in Britain, EU, France, Italy | Leave a comment

Libya – another failure for American foreign policy

Things are heating up in war torn Libya as the Libyan National Forces of Kalifa Haftar are advancing on Tripoli held by the Western backed Government of National Accord who’s forces so far have not been able to sufficiently stall the offensive. The US has withdrawn it’s presence from the city in the light of the ongoing offensive.

Kalifa Haftar is a rather interesting character, once one of Qaddafi’s generals that was captured during the disastrous Libyan campaign in neighboring Chad back in 1987. He would later become a US citizen and returned to Libya as the Western backed revolt against Qaddafi was catching momentum. With Qaddafi deposed and killed the once fairly prosperous and oil rich country plummeted into chaos and anarchy with conflicting governments set up in Tripoli and Benghazi while the country was also opened up for the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and ISIS. In this chaos Haftar seem to have become the only real unifying force in the country, albeit on the opposing side to the Western backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli, the latter with ties to the forementioned Muslim Brotherhood.

The Trump Administration’s efforts to create an Arab NATO in order to confine Iranian influence in the Middle East now also seems to have broken down as Egypt has declared that it has no confidence in the project. There are too many conflicting interests among the Arab countries in order to make such a project a viable proposition. This is of importance not only regarding the Iranian issue but also to the situation in Libya as a rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar developed as the latter pursued it’s own path, ultimately contributing to a Saudi blockade of Doha which instead led to improved relations between Qatar and Iran. That Egypt is not overly thrilled about increased Saudi diplomatic leverage or of the ties between the Government of National Accord and the Muslim Brotherhood is quite understandable, hence it is a logic development that Cairo has pulled the plug on an Arab NATO as the latter undoubtedly would become quite dominated by Saudi Arabia through the latter’s economic might and political affiliations while rendering Cairo as mere cannon fodder and muscles. Riyadh’s political endeavors in Yemen and not least Syria are also complicating factors. In the current circumstances it is hence quite safe to assume that Cairo would rather see a unified stable Libya under Haftar’s rule at it’s Western border rather than a continued hotbed for Islamic fundamentalism, crime and chaos. Although there are also fundamentalists in Haftar’s ranks the latter seems to be of the old school leadership that keeps his  troops in line. This complicates things for the US as Egypt, with the latter’s air force seemingly supplying Haftar with intelligence, is one of the key players in the Middle East and North Africa. Cairo has increasingly turned to Moscow rather than Washington in later years, both politically as well as a source for military hardware. To the West of Libya we have Algeria, another country that for decades has nurtured good relations with the Kremlin. It is also quite understandable if Algeria would rather see a unified Libya under Haftar rather than risking having Islamic spill overs, especially given Algeria’s experiences from the civil war with the GIA.

Hence it seems that Washington once again has bet on the wrong horse by supporting the Government of National Accord. This was also the case in Iraq where Paul Bremer after the fall of the Baathist regime under Saddam Hussein was installed as Presidential Envoy to Iraq. Bremer’s job was to create a liberal democratic Iraq that was supposed to be a show piece for American foreign policy. Instead he got a full scale insurgency on his hands, hardly surprising as Iraq was debaathized and the remaining 400 000 men strong Iraqi Army was sent home without pay but retaining their light arms. Bremer had quite obviously slept during his history classes as he did quite the opposite of what the US did in Germany and Japan at the end of WWII. During the 1980’s Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was used by the West as a buffer zone against Iran that after Iranian Revolution of 1979 had become an arch enemy of the West instead of one of it’s closest allies in the Middle East. Instead of continuing that tradition the toppling of the Sunni Saddam Hussein meant that the Shia majority came to dominate Iraqi political life, and hence opened up the country for Iranian influence. This situation was only exacerbated by the regime change operation in Syria and the rise of ISIS as the Shia PMU militia became instrumental in the ultimate defeat of ISIS in Iraq.

As the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East has become increasingly openly driven trough Israeli lobbyism, as AIPAC is very influential in American politics these days, this leaves the US with diminished diplomatic influence in the region. At the same time Saudi Arabia has continuously enjoyed American support, much due to the importance of the Saudi oil for upholding the petrodollar and of Riyadh as a major costumer of US arms, in spite of the country’s poor track record regarding human rights and lack of democracy and support for various Sunni extremist organizations, not to mention the kingdom bogging down in it’s own Vietnam War in Yemen against the Iranian supported Houthis, a conflict that has created a humanitarian crisis. These matters combined the American diplomatic credibility has plummeted.

The chaos that American policy has brought to the Middle East and North Africa in the last decades, often justified with humanitarian and democratic concerns, is thus beginning to have played out it’s hand. The foreign policy, much defined by regime change operations, seem to have begun to loose momentum as Haftar’s troops are advancing on Tripoli and with Libya once again on the verge of becoming a unified state, albeit under a leadership not of Washington’s making. Hence Libya is just another failure for American foreign policy and in Moscow and Tehran the adversaries of Washington are set to capitalize on the failures of United States on the diplomatic stage in the region.

Posted in Algeria, Britain, Egypt, France, Geopolitical topics, Iran, Israel, Libya, NATO, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Julian Assange arrested, the question is for what really?

This week Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was hauled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by British police. Assange’s run in with the law stems from allegations in Sweden on rape, albeit those allegations might seem to have political dimensions as Britain urged Sweden not to drop the charges, and skipping bail back 2012. However, Washington on the other hand has charged Assange of “engaging in a conspiracy” with US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into an American government computer network back in 2010, a network containing classified material. Many people within the political establishment in Washington were very much put into bad lighting by the revealing of sensitive information, among other things American war crimes committed during the War on Terror. The latter however rapidly evolved into a unilateral American geopolitical campaign very much along the lines of the think tank Project for New American Century, headed by among others Dick Cheney and Robert Kagan, the husband of Victoria Nuland at the US State Department. Hence it is hardly coincidental that the indictment against Assange was made public on the same day the WikiLeaks founder was arrested?

However Julian Assange did not commit a crime revealing the sensitive information that Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning hacked from the American government computer network. Assange is a freelance journalist, albeit one of the modern era and not a corporate talking head. Manning did commit a crime however for which she also has served time for. She was arrested again though on the 19th of March since Manning refuses to testify against Assange. The US political establishment and the talking heads at CNN, MSNBC and so forth are peddling a narrative that Assange colluded with Manning in the forementioned’s role as a Russian agent. Hence the narrative of Russian meddling in US affairs hasn’t died down though in spite of the Mueller Report finding no Russian collusion in the 2016 Presidential Elections, at least not concerning Donald Trump. Interestingly enough the Russian narrative is a bipartisan narrative, both Democrats and Republicans are still frothing at theirs mouths. Personally I find that due to different reasons. The Democrats still can’t get to terms with that their candidate Hillary Clinton was defeated by the belittled Trump while hawkish Republicans, as well hawkish Democrats for that matter, needs a Russian boogeyman for the current US political raison d’etre. This is the case both in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela among other places but also for domestic American political purposes. We should however not fool ourselves that Russian intelligence isn’t operating in the West and in Ukraine etc. but perhaps not on the same level as in preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming the first female President of the United States through collusion. She lost, get over it. When Eisenhower had served his second presidential term he warned for the developing US military industrial complex’s impact upon the American society and it’s apparent how the US political establishment and the latter have become intertwined. Who doesn’t remember how Dick Cheney was on the board for Halliburton before he became the US Vice President, the very same company that had the winning bid for supporting the illegal US invasion of Iraq in 2003? How Cheney was instrumental in creating the necessary “proof” needed for linking the regime of Saddam Hussein with al-Quaeda? Another affiliate of Project for New American Century was Paul Wolfowitz, former vice Secretary of Defense and head of the IMF and suspected Israeli spy. Wolfowitz was distraught that the US did not cease the chance to depose of Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War back in 1991. In 1992 he said that it was a shame that the oilfields of Rumaila weren’t secured for the US economy and that it now would take something like Pearl Harbor in order to push through such an agenda in the eyes of the world. Then came 9/11 and the rest is, as they say, history..

It is from this perspective we must see the Russian meddling and the fury against Assange’s WikiLeaks. The US political establishment has become utterly shamed, it’s has lost face, the beacon of freedom and democracy has become tainted. Hence there is a need of a bipartisan operation to tidy up the image of the United States and also to make an example out of Julian Assange. Stay in line, act like a talking head, uphold the image that the establishment wants people to perceive it. The problem is that the way Assange is being treated is also how free speech is now being treated. And that is not a pretty picture..

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Politiskt sanktionerad hoplofobi och tomma vackra ord

Så kan svensk vapenpolitik av idag sammanfattas. Det går en röd tråd från den s.k. Doris-utredningen 2013 till Vapendirektivet och dess minst sagt demokratiskt dubiösa hantering till veckans dialogmöte om utformningen av en ny FAP, de föreskrifter styr sportskyttets utövande. Denna kommer i princip att i praktiken ta död på såväl fältskyttet som jaktstig och drabbar därmed såväl jägare som sportskyttar. Bland annat föreslås att samtliga skjutplatser och skjutstationer i terräng ska besiktas och handläggas av Polismyndigheten inför tävlingar. Eftersom skytterörelsen är ideel och det faktum att det under högsäsong bedrivs hundratals tävlingar varje vecka i kombination med att Polismyndigheten sedan länge inte hinner handlägga vapenlicensärenden i tid så gör förslaget det i praktiken omöjligt att utöva tävlingsskytte i terräng. Självfallet är Polismyndigheten medvetna om detta ty detta är också det outtalade syftet.

Att Polismyndigheten sedan länge hyst en aversion mot kpistskyttet, PPC och IPSC är ingen hemlighet och den aversionen har delats av Regeringen, vem minns inte dåvarande inrikesminister Anders Ygemans uttalande: “-Vi lyssnar på er sportskyttar men vi måste också tänka på säkerheten!” samtidigt som denne tillät tjänstemannaaktivister runda Riksdagen vartefter justitieminister Morgan Johansson försökte skydda dessas rygg? Nu drabbas dock i princip hela skytterörelsen, sportskyttar som jägare.

Socialdemokraterna har samtidigt vidhållit att man värnar den svenska jägarkåren, dåvarande landsbygdsminister Sven-Erik Bucht och justitieminister Morgan Johansson gick t.ex. ut med stora vackra ord i SvD förra sommaren och vidhöll att kritiken visavi Regeringens hantering av EU:s Vapendirektiv var grundlös och att man snarare ville förenkla snarare än att försvåra för landets jägare. Regeringens förslag till nationell implementering går dock vida längre än vad kompromissen i Bryssel ställer krav på, något man från Regeringens sida i sten hävdar att så inte alls är fallet. Frågan är vems intelligens man förolämpar mest?

Värt att notera är också att utfästelserna till Jägareförbundet om att göra ljuddämpare licensfria glömts bort på vägen. När Anders Ygeman var ansvarigt statsråd i frågan om Vapendirektivet tog han dock ära åt sig själv när EU-ländernas inrikesministrar klubbat ministerrådets ståndpunkt med orden: ”-Vi har klarat att hålla jägare och sportskyttar skadelösa.”

Nu vilar frågan emellertid på nuvarande inrikesminister Mikael Dambergs axlar. I en riksdagsdebatt med Sten Bergheden (M) svarade dock denne vad beträffar Polismyndighetens agerande vad gäller FAP på följande sätt:

”-Hur Polismyndigheten väljer att utforma sina föreskrifter är upp till myndigheten att besluta om så länge föreskrifterna håller sig inom det bemyndigande som myndigheten har fått. Polismyndigheten beslutar även självständigt hur den ska utforma sina allmänna råd. Jag har därför inte för avsikt att vidta någon åtgärd med anledning av Polismyndighetens pågående översyn av aktuella föreskrifter och allmänna råd.”

Och det är sant att vi inte tillämpar ministerstyre i detta land. Men det är samtidigt uppenbart att det helt saknas politisk vilja från Regeringen att leva upp till de vackra ord man serverat väljarkåren och tillse att Polismyndigheten de facto fokuserar på verkliga problem i enlighet med rådande regleringsbrev. Detta är viktigt, inte minst i skenet av minskade budgetanslag. Snarare är det så att Polismyndighetens korståg gentemot det laglydiga vapenägandet sker med Regeringens goda minne, ett fall av “deniability”. Inser dock inte Socialdemokraterna att man genom sitt janusansikte alienerar över 600 000 röstberättigade medborgare? Det vi ser prov är utan tvekan exempel på politiskt sanktionerad hoplofobi och tomma vackra ord..

Posted in Domestic Swedish politics, EU, Firearms Directive, Hunting | Leave a comment