On that Nobel Prize: Don’t do it Barack…

Have to say it was a bit of a surprise to hear Barack Obama had won a Nobel Peace Prize… Ulster’s most famous Tory blogger Shane Greer asks why they are giving out the prize for hope… Apparently the nominations closed 11 days after he took office.. David Steven reckons the audacious thing to do would be just to say No

Adds
: Will was up at the crack of dawn this morning and saw the live feed… it was controversial from the get go...

  • RepublicanStones

    Bit of a joke since Kissinger got it.

  • Rory Carr

    “…why they are giving out the prize for hope…

    Why not? They certainly gave the literature award for hope in 1938 when Pearl S. Buck, who had not theretofore written anything worthwhile was the laureate, perhaps in an attempt to encourage her to try harder. Unfortunately that hope remained unfulfilled.

    Obama’s award certainly seems odd to say the least but, what the heck, if Kissinger, Sadat and Trimble were worthy recipients then Obama’s nice smile alone would be sufficient for him to qualify.

  • IRIA

    IMHO, Josh Marshall of talkingpointsmemo.com says it right:

    “This is an odd award. You’d expect it to come later in Obama’s presidency and tied to some particular event or accomplishment. But the unmistakable message of the award is one of the consequences of a period in which the most powerful country in the world, the ‘hyper-power’ as the French have it, became the focus of destabilization and in real if limited ways lawlessness. A harsh judgment, yes. But a dark period. And Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it’s a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was ‘normal history’ rather than dark aberration.”

  • Gerry Mander

    Mairead Coorrigan has said it was a bad decision. Some said the same about her.
    Mick Fealty would be a better choice this year as he has tried reconciliation and could do with the loolah for his peace building initiative.
    Hitler was once nominated for the prize for not invading Austria.
    The wisest words on this prize have been uttered by Taliban and Islamic Jihad leaders. They see through the Scanidavian lapdogs who, lest we forget suplied arms to both sides in the Iran Iraq war even as they pretended to mediate.

    The BBC comments when I checked them were all negative though of ocurse world leaders/lapdogs have weighed in saying how wise it was.

  • alan56

    No harm to Obama but the manner of this just serves to completely devalue the award, even more.

  • Brit

    “Bit of a joke since Kissinger got it. ”

    Anti-semite

    (JOKING)

  • Brit

    Gerry I take it your reference to lapdogs is joke?

    It has a quaint 1980s Workers’ Revolutionary Party air to it. You really need some “runningdogs” in their and also “petit-bourgeois” if possible to get the full retro feeling.

  • Brit

    Some previous deserving winners:-

    George Catlett Marshall

    Martin Luther King Jr.

    Willy Brandt

    Lech Walesa

    Desmond Mpilo Tutu

    Elie Wiesel

    Mikhail Sergeyevich

    Aung San Suu Kyi

  • Brit

    Mikhail Sergeyevich *Gorbachev* I mean

  • Mark McGreg
  • Brian MacAodh

    There are two reasons he got it

    1. He’s NOT George W Bush
    2. He constantly apologizes for America

  • Couldn’t comment – should’nt

    Show me what he did then I’ll judge whether he deserves it……..

    Ok then, it’s a bad decison the guy hasn’t done anything yet.

    He might deserve it later but no way has he earned it yet – we shouldn’t be rewarding potential

  • NCM

    It would be highly ironic if he ended up using nukes during his presidency, wouldn’t it?

  • Brit

    “It would be highly ironic if he ended up using nukes during his presidency, wouldn’t it?”

    Not just ironic, pretty disastrous all round. Who do you think would be on the receiving end though?

  • Granni Trixie

    Nothing could be as undeserving as Trimble getting the Nobel prize (and keeping all the dosh to himself). Obamas not the worst to get it.

  • NCM

    Brit: “Not just ironic, pretty disastrous all round. Who do you think would be on the receiving end though?”

    Judging by his performance so far, probably the U.S. Dollar.

  • Greenflag

    Based on his almost first year in office President Obama deserves the prize .During that short period he has done more than the previous incumbent did in 8 wasted , warmongering years 🙁

    Meanwhile back at warmongering central i.e GOP Headquarters former Presidential candidate Senator John McCain is gung ho to send another 60,000 troops to Afghanistan . Just as well Obama was elected or we might already be looking at a devastated Iran with half the world’s oil supplies on fire nd 25 mile long queues outside petrol stations 🙁

    Meanwhile the Afghan Army with 70% of it’s officer corp recruited from the Tajik minority (23%) and with the Pushtun (46%) majority divided into pro and anti Karzai factions the traditional enmity between Tajiks and Pushtun’s is amking recruitment difficult and training even more so . And then there is the Taliban and the other ethnic minorities .

    A graceful withdrawal is what’s needed . Let the Afghans hang their American scalps alongside their Russian and British ones and let them find ‘democracy’ in their own time .

  • 6countyprod

    I think it’s all a ploy to hide the dismal failure of the climate talks in Bangkok.

    Come back, George. All is forgiven. It wasn’t your fault after all.

  • Rory Carr

    Brian MacAodh’s suggestion that one of the reasons Obama won the award, “that he was not George Bush”, was also suggested by a BBC correspondent on the Radio 4 six o’clock news. I have no argument but that is as good a reason as any to make him worthy with the slight feeling of being just a wee bit miffed as I have not been George Bush since before the end of WWII and haven’t been recognised in consequence one little bit.

    Gerry Mander is pretty spot on with his observations on the political nature of the Nobel awards, they are to honour those who serve the advance of Western capitalism or to steal the glory from genuine sacrifice and altrusim so that it shines on the Nobel Institute and helps kosher up its image of feigned objective concern for the progress of mankind. The award of the prize to the NI “Peace people” trio in 1976 neatly fulfilled both objectives in that it served the British and the false image of the objectivity and altruism fostered made for feely-good publicity around the world (for a time). The Lenin Peace Prize served as a mirror image for the Soviet Bloc.

    As a footnote to which I might add that the only joint winner of both the Nobel and Lenin peace prizes was a former Chief-of-Staff of the IRA, Séan MacBride, the son of Maud Gonne and whose father, Major John MacBride was executed by British firing squad for his role in the Easter Rising in 1916. MacBride won both prizes as a result of his role as UN commissioner for Namibia.
    The Soviets had a policy supporting liberation movements in order to keep the West preoccupied and create division and dissent in its domestic populace and the West needed to be seen to oppose apartheid and support a fully democratic South Africa in order to advance its own exploitation throughout the rest of Africa, apartheid proving inefficient, counter-productive and terribly bad for the image.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Greenflag

    There is no doubt Iraq was a blunder of historic proportions. That doesn’t mean that any president who doesn’t do something like that is automatically deserving of a peace prize.

    Failure to deal with Iran on some level will ultimately lead to Israel taking direct action. The ensuing war will not be pretty for anyway. Getting Iran to actually give up their nuclear weapons program may not be possible, but that should be the international priority.

    As for McCain calling for 60K troops…it was of course the General in charge of Afganistan who called for the troop raise. The number was closer to 40K. The General whom Obama put in charge. McCain, as a former military man, simply stated that obama should give the general what he needs to meet the objectives. Calling McCain, someone who was tortured and spend 5 years in a cage, a warmonger doesn’t help anything.

    There should be no half-measure in Afganistan. Either we make a full push to achieve our goals, or we get out completely. The rules of engagement are changed, the troop numbers go up, and we actually make a full push for it. Anything short of that will accomplish nothing except drain the morale of the armed forces over there until our eventual withdrawel in disgrace.

    I personally think we might as well withdraw but keep a close watch to make sure Al Queda and other groups like that can’t run terrorist camps with immunity. When they come out in the open for too long to set up a training camp, we send the bombers in.

    I doubt Afganistan could ever have a fucntioning, democratic government. Tribalism, Islam, iliteracy, and the size of the country are all working against it.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Greenflag

    There is no doubt Iraq was a blunder of historic proportions. That doesn’t mean that any president who doesn’t do something like that is automatically deserving of a peace prize.

    Failure to deal with Iran on some level will ultimately lead to Israel taking direct action. The ensuing war will not be pretty for anyway. Getting Iran to actually give up their nuclear weapons program may not be possible, but that should be the international priority.

    As for McCain calling for 60K troops…it was of course the General in charge of Afganistan who called for the troop raise. The number was closer to 40K. The General whom Obama put in charge. McCain, as a former military man, simply stated that obama should give the general what he needs to meet the objectives. Calling McCain, someone who was tortured and spend 5 years in a cage, a warmonger doesn’t help anything.

    There should be no half-measure in Afganistan. Either we make a full push to achieve our goals, or we get out completely. The rules of engagement are changed, the troop numbers go up, and we actually make a full push for it. Anything short of that will accomplish nothing except drain the morale of the armed forces over there until our eventual withdrawel in disgrace.

    I personally think we might as well withdraw but keep a close watch to make sure Al Queda and other groups like that can’t run terrorist camps with immunity. When they come out in the open for too long to set up a training camp, we send the bombers in.

    I doubt Afganistan could ever have a fucntioning, democratic government. Tribalism, Islam, illiteracy, and the size of the country are all working against it.

  • DC

    I think it’s to act as a bulwark against the horrible neo-cons stateside and to discourage Obama’s administration team from even thinking about any additional belligerent actions of sorts whatsoever.

    It’s a burden to America in as much as it tries to muzzle its war machine and instead increase the support for effective global diplomacy there.

    Also gives him more global credibility that might boost his stalling domestic reforms back home stateside, as the more magic fairy dust about him can only help his chances to see off that truculent and very crude opposition.

    Definitely seems too soon but perhaps he deserves it in a way that just being black and the President of the USA merits it alone – he did it. This is it, this is it, ops…sorry that was Jacko.

    Erm…I meant to say: Yes We Can!

  • Alfred

    The reason he got it is that he’s the first president in a long time to look like he’s putting pressure on Israel to face up to its international obligations, in terms of its nuclear weapons and ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people. Not to mention its ongoing efforts to ensure there is no prospect of a viable Palestinian state.

    Israel is currently, and has been for some time, the greatest threat to world peace, and indeed the West’s oil supply.

    Previous US policy has been to placate Israel for fear of what they may do. Current policy is to ensure they’re incapable of doing what we fear they may do.

    QED.

    “We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads”. Moshe Dayan

  • 6countyprod

    The award is an embarrassing accolade from sychophantic Europeans who wish for the demise of the USA. Obama’s their man!

  • Framer

    That has rather killed off the possibility of any US action against North Korea or Iran.

  • RepublicanStones

    Kim has the bomb, that killed off the possibilty a while ago. Plus Uncle Sam wouldn’t be keen to tackle a nation where theres one soldier to every 20/25 people. All those mines along the 37th parallel will have to suffice.

  • 6countyprod

    Hey, let’s give the guy a break, last week he was a big-time loser, this week he’s a winner.

    Just think of all his accomplishments:
    – increased troop levels in Afghanistan, and more on the way (if he has any sense)
    – drone attacks increased against Al Qaeda and the Taliban
    – Gitmo will not be closed by January
    – creation of Rendition Lite
    – has retained indefinite detention without trial of terror suspects

    On the negative side, however, he has:
    – let himself be jerked around by Iran.
    – betrayed Honduran democracy
    – let the Iranian pro-democracy opposition wither on the vine
    – poked Poland and the Czech Republic in the eye
    – insulted US allies, UK and Israel
    – etc, etc

    It’s interesting to note that the Nobel Committee is now attempting to geld Obama by this award, making it more difficult for him to take any radical action in Afghanistan, Iran or Korea.

  • Brit

    A discussion on the merits of the invasions/occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan is a little bit off topic and I’ve indicated my views on those matters on more than one occasion.

    I’m not sure that term “warmonger” (used by Greenflag but used pretty widely in certain political circles) is a meaningful description. Rather it is a meaningless pejorative like neo-con. Assuming we are all non pacifists then we are all prepared to support a war in certain circumstances.

    Whilst we’re on the subject of “warmonger”, who said this:-

    “The warmongers in London and Washington, aided by the liars in the controlled media, are busy whipping up a war fever against Iran using the same techniques of deceit they used against Iraq.

    [The] party will soon be launching its ‘Bring our Troops Home’ campaign which will involve the distribution of hundreds of thousands of booklets detailing the lies and treachery of the Labour and Tory parties in manufacturing this war, the human cost involved and the deliberate undersupply of British forces in the field.

    Finally, the campaign will call for the immediate withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan and for war crimes trials of those Tory and Labour politicians who engineered and supported the war.”

    Can you guess who it is yet?

  • Greenflag

    Brian Aodh ,

    ‘As for McCain calling for 60K troops…it was of course the General in charge of Afganistan who called for the troop raise. The number was closer to 40K.’

    I’ve never known generals to ask for less troops or equipment in a war .It doesn’t matter who appoints them.

    ‘ McCain, as a former military man, simply stated that Obama should give the general what he needs to meet the objectives.’

    Well yes but what are the objectives ? A democratic Afghanistan ? a defeated Taliban ? a defeated Al Quaida , to defend the troops already there from further attack ? to use Afghanistan as a buffer in a future war with Iran ? to defend the USA 10,000 milesaway ?to save American face ?All of the above or some of the above or none of the above ?

    ‘There should be no half-measure in Afganistan. Either we make a full push to achieve our goals, or we get out completely.’

    Again what are the goal/goals ? The initial goal was to arrest Osama Bin laden and get the Taliban out of power . The first goal has yet to succeed and the second looks like an own goal 🙁

    For several years the late Robert McNamaraspent copious hours showing slides to his fellow politicians and LBJ showing how the Vietnam war was being won and that the addition of just another 50,000 troops or whatever would complete the job . The USA was a lot less bankrupt back then than it is now . As the dollar drops on world currency markets the USA simply cannot afford to fight .

    McCain shoots first and asks questions later . His picking of Sarah Palin was another ‘brilliant decision’ As for Iran and North Korea ? Ton itself over the increasing economic gap between it an both South Korea and China to it’s north .

    Iran will eventually learn the hard way that being ruled by God has been tried before and failed and will always fail

    The less Obama involves himself with those States the better . Let the UN deal with Afghanistan as a protectorate until such time as that state is ‘ready’ for democracy .

    All Obama has to do is to promise any State in the region that if they are seen to harbour Al Quaida forces then the USA will take action against such forces and impose economic sanctions against such states .

    Well done the Nobel Committee 🙂 And well done President Obama for donating his 1.5 million dollar prize to charity .

    Who said Trimble -Not I said the greedy pig 😉

  • Brit

    “The reason he got it is that he’s the first president in a long time to look like he’s putting pressure on Israel to face up to its international obligations, in terms of its nuclear weapons and ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people. Not to mention its ongoing efforts to ensure there is no prospect of a viable Palestinian state.”

    Plenty of other US presidents have put pressure on the Israelis to do various things, involving peace treaty’s/overtures with/towards arab states and or Palestinians, including the lovely Nixon, Clinton and amazingly even Bush W. I hope Obama can pressure the Israelis, as Bibi’s government certainly need a shove in the right direction. Ultimately the US (and the rest of the international community) cannot force a peace between Israel and the Palestinians any more than the Irish, American and British governments could force the NI republicans/loyalists to ceasfire and the Unionist and Nationalist communities to come to a roughly workable accord.

    The problem in Israel is that even if their government was pushed by the US, there is no partner for peace in Gaza as Hamas are Islamist, anti-semitic, totalitarians who would destroy Israel and perhaps commit a genocide on its Jewish populaton if they had the opportunity.

    “Israel is currently, and has been for some time, the greatest threat to world peace, and indeed the West’s oil supply.”

    On what basis do you contend that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace? Its a small country that occasionally fights short defensive wars (without using nukes, chemical weapons or targetting civillians) and has a history of giving up land won in those wars? It is a stable democracy under the influence of the West and, in particular, the US, subject to the rule of law with a governemtn subject to the scrutiny of the people and an Army governed by the laws of war. Dont you think a nuclear theocracy whose leader speaks to God and has declared his wish to destroy Israel might be a threat? Or Islamists getting hold of Pakistani Nukes?

  • Brit

    “Well yes but what are the objectives ? A democratic Afghanistan ? a defeated Taliban ? a defeated Al Quaida , to defend the troops already there from further attack ? to use Afghanistan as a buffer in a future war with Iran ? to defend the USA 10,000 milesaway ?to save American face ?All of the above or some of the above or none of the above ?”

    Democratic Afghanistan has only ever been “a nice to have”. No doctrine of humanitarian intervention and no serious supporter of the invasion justified on the grounds that the country was not democratic. But the next two are nearer to the truth. The war against violent Islamism cannot be won purely by military victories and in one part of the globe, it has to be fought on numerous fronts and battle grounds both military and otherwise. But Afghanistan and the border region is one of the key battlegrounds and it is vital to inflict as much harm and damage on AQ and those parts of the Taliban who share its agendas.

    Another key objective is to preserve or promote the security of the Afghan people from the Taliban. Clearly these two objectives are likely to overlap in terms of practical actions on the ground.

    Troops are deployed there to kill and engage in lethal combat. The US, UK and other invovled states have a duty to protect their troops so far as is reasonable and in any event acheiving our objectives is likely to require more troops.

    There are some similarities with Vietnam. It was a long war, far away with US troops involved. But there are many many differences around the nature of the Communist Vietamese regime, its level of popular support and the kind of threat that regime posed to its own people, the wider area and the security of the globe.

  • Brit

    RS you seem to get some sort of satisfaction from the military power of the North Korean regime.

    It puts me in mind of something Orwell said:-

    “I am interested in the psychological processes by which pacifists who have started out with an alleged horror of violence end up with a marked tendency to be fascinated by the success and power of Nazism.”

  • Greenflag

    Brit ,

    ‘It (Vietnam ) was a long war, far away with US troops involved. ‘

    So Afghanistan is not far away and US troops are not involved ? The Afghan War has gone on for 8 years and it’s no nearer to being won than it was 8 years ago .

    ‘The war against violent Islamism cannot be won purely by military victories ‘

    So you win it by inflicting large scale ‘collateral ‘ damage ‘

    ‘The US, UK and other invovled states have a duty to protect their troops so far as is reasonable’

    And the best way to protect them is to get them out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible .The USA simply can’t afford these ideological wars with it’s economy on the verge of bankruptcy and the dollar going downhill like it’s on a ski slope 🙁

  • Brit

    ‘It (Vietnam ) was a long war, far away with US troops involved.’

    They were the similarities Greenie, not the differences.

    “So you win it by inflicting large scale ‘collateral ’ damage ’”

    No serious military battles have ever been won without collateral damage, which means killing innocent people (though not intending or desiring this outcome) and killing ones own troops.

    “And the best way to protect them is to get them out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible .The USA simply can’t afford these ideological wars with it’s economy on the verge of bankruptcy and the dollar going downhill like it’s on a ski slope :(”

    So Isolationism and a “Realist” foreign policy is the way forward? States looking only at their immediate short term self interest and keeping out of the affairs of other states no matter how genocidal and dangerous to the rest of the world. So are the interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and (dare I say it) the Falklands ideological wars to be avoided. Should the US or the rest of the world community just let AQ build up a base and acquire nukes, or sit by and watch the next time a Rwanda style genocide is in progress?

  • Would it be unworthy of me to mention that even within eleven days of taking office, on the day after his inauguration in fact, Obama had signed the executive orders for air strikes on civilian targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan thus making himself a war criminal?

    I guess it would, so I’d better not mention it then.

  • Peter O’Neill

    Whatever happened to John Hume setting up a charitable trust to dispurse his prize money to charities in Northern Ireland? Has this ever taken place and what about David Trimble – did he just pocket the money?

  • Guest

    P o’Neill,

    Yes.He pocketed it.On principle,you understand.

  • 6countyprod

    Ian, I’m not usually one to defend Obama, but your comment ‘Obama had signed the executive orders for air strikes on civilian targets’ is absolutely ludicrous and reflects a warped view of the civilised world and the barbarism of AQ and the Taliban.

    Air strikes were ordered against AQ and/or Taliban military targets, not civilians. The fact that these people hid among the civilian population is not the responsibility of ISAF.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘RS you seem to get some sort of satisfaction from the military power of the North Korean regime.’

    Brit you are less intuitive than you think you are.

    What on earth has that Orwell quote got to do with anything?

    Anyone ever told you, you think too much?

  • 6countyprod

    What an excellent editorial from the Washington Post. Hits the nail right on the head. Neda of Iran should have been awarded the prize, not the vague, faceless person alluded to in Obama’s acceptance speech, although the penultimate paragraph of the speech was very good:

    this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity — for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometimes their lives for the cause of peace.

  • Brit

    “Brit you are less intuitive than you think you are.”

    I’m happy to take your word for that.

    “What on earth has that Orwell quote got to do with anything?”

    Well if you’ve read Orwell’s essays written during WW2 and in particular his writings on British pacifists, who he famousley described as “objectively pro-fascist”, then you will see why the current of left-liberal thought around the Euston Manifesto with which I am associated might seek to invoke the ghost of Orwell in their arguments against the “peace movement”. A “peace movement” parts of which support the actions of HAMAS, Hezbollah and the “resistance” in Iraq.

    You are in the anti-imperialist camp and seem to be some sort of de-facto pacifist but your description of North Korea seemed, wrongly no doubt, to include just the smallest bit of grim satisfaction that the US would not dare to f@ck with the nuclear power.

    “Anyone ever told you, you think too much?”

    Yes, plenty and I didn’t try to argue with them.

  • RepublicanStones

    Brit im not pacifist committed or de-facto and from your writing it seems your are in the ‘imperialist camp’ if I am anti-imperialist. I suppose that means im ‘kitsch’ eh?

  • Brit

    “Brit im not pacifist committed or de-facto and from your writing it seems your are in the ‘imperialist camp’ if I am anti-imperialist. I suppose that means im ‘kitsch’ eh?”

    The kitsch terminology was invented by Sean Matgamna’s Alliance for Workers Liberty. The AWL is a Marxist group which, almost uniquely on the Hard left, strongly condemns Islamism and “Left” anti-Semitism and proposes a two-state solution to I/P. I find “kitsch” quite amusing but other terms include the “Stoppers”, Sharia Socialists or for the Respect types Strasserites (named after the German “LeftWing” Nazi and proponent of a Red-Brown alliance).

    I oppose imperialism and colonialism but I differ from the kitsch anti-imperialist left on at least three major points:-

    In my view most of recent (post-Cold War) US Foreign Policy is not solely or even principally explainable as imperialism or neo-imperialism.

    Imperialism is not the worst thing in the world – violent Islamism, totalitarianism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the overlap between them represent the major political threat to humanity.

    It is not only the “West” or the US or Israel who are potential imperialists. The actions of Iran, China, Russia and Syria are probably more purely imperialist.

    More specifically I don’t think the imperial-colonial paradigm is a particularly useful one to employ to understand the conflicts in NI or I/P.

    I am confused by your stance on political violence. You condemn the actions of Israel in Gaza or the US in Iraq on the basis that innocents died, and were likely to die irrespective of the lack of intention to target and kill civilians. You have suggested that it is only OK to fight a war if you are fairly sure that innocents wont die. That’s not a philosophically pacifist position but a de facto one as modern warfare and use of military might would, in practice be rendered useless to any state which adhered to such a policy.

    If you’re not a pacifist is your position that all violence resulting in the deaths of civilians is equally wrong ranging from deliberate mass murder of civilians (per the Holocaust or the Armenian or Rwandan genocides), to failing to take proper precautions but not targeting civilians (what Israel and the US stand accused of) to taking proper precautions but inevitably killing civilians (what Israel claims it did/does). I cannot see what ethical system would come to such a conclusion?

  • RepublicanStones

    Brit I’ve noticed you love to ladel your posts with various references to junctures on the political spectrum, usually saving your animus for those on the ‘liberal-left’. I again notice your preponderance for ‘anti-semitism’ and where it may raise its head. I don’t think anyone on here has ever suggested American foregin policy is ‘soley’ following a ‘neo-imperialism’ model. But to deny some of it is (and the question is how much) is pie in the sky. No doubt Russia and China are in it for themselves as well, but your hated ‘left-liberals’ on this site don’t hail from there, and so any semblance of imperialism neo or otherwise emanating from countries they have an attachment to, namely the west, is right to be pointed out and condemned, even more so than nations on the other side of the globe. You may not think the ‘imperial-colonial paradigm’ (and I gotta tell ya Brit, you sound like an undergraduate politics student) is ‘useful’. those of us who realise ireland was Britains colonial laboratory (from which the most recent incarnations of trouble can be traced to) and the situation in I/P conflict also stems from the imperial mentality which gave us the likes of the Balfour Declearation and Storrs ‘little loyal jewish ulster’, which viewed an indigenous people as ‘less than’ and were happy to give others their land.

    Furthermore you mistake my sentiment, i never said ‘it is only OK to fight a war if you are fairly sure that innocents wont die.’
    I ridiculed the attempt by certain sides in a war to present themselves as morally superior to those they are fighting. Finally the likes of the Armenian holocaust and the holocaust of ww2 and rwandan genocide are worse than your other two points. But there is little moral difference between attacking civilians and dropping a daisycutter or launching a hellfire into a built-up area with the full expectation that civilians will die.

  • Brit

    RS the reason I criticise those on the Hard and Liberal Left is because I am a Left Liberal myself. I am a social democrat politically, a member of the Labour Party. In terms of political philosophy I draw most from classic Liberalism but I still think there is much of value in Marx.

    I criticise the idiot anti-imperialism, unthinking anti-americanism, hysterical anti-Zionism within the Left, ranging from the SWP to the Guardian and much in between, for the following reasons:-

    1. It is a departure from the core and genuine principles of the progressive left. It is a non progressive reactionary stance disguised as a left-wing stance.

    2. I dont bother exerting a lot of energies debating with the Far Right or Centre Right because I know were they stand and they are not claiming the progressive mantle to which I subscribe.

    3. It is embarrasing as someone who comes from the Left, as a Labour Party loyalist, a progressive, a supporter of the ‘right’ side in the big battles of the 20th Century for workers rights, womens rights, the welfare state and agaisnt the reactionary right to be associated with people who march about Bush being the second Hitler and comparing Israel to the Nazis.

    I dont understand your logic in saying that because I happen to be British by an accident of birth I should focus my criticism on Britain and countries which are geographically near or political similar to it even if other countries are doing far worse things. As well as being illogical it also seems at odds with the basic internationalist principles that I assumed we shared.

    And as for this “gotta tell ya Brit, you sound like an undergraduate politics student” Pot and Kettle spring to mind.

    (although I was a politics undergraduate in the early 90s)

  • RepublicanStones

    Brit, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being anti-imperialist, or anti-zionist, indeed for one to claim to be a moral person one should indeed subscribe to both. It is not ‘kitsch’ to be such.
    Anti-americanism stems from a distain of american foreign policy. Some of which is quite imperialist in its tone and manner, as i said, the question is not if, but how much. Whilst the level of anti-americanismm occassionally plumbs the depths of stupidity, to deny geopolitics plays a role in its genisis is childish.
    You don’t understand why you should concentrate your criticism on the hypocrisy and failings of the countries you feel an affinty with? Its very, very simple Brit. You put your own house in order before demanding others do it, otherwise, as is clearly quite evident, many other nations and cultures round the globe merely see you for the hypocrite you are. Many American administrations have preached about democracy, whilst simultaneously overthrowing democratically elected leaders who wouldn’t cowtow, inciting coups, propping up tinpots. Nobody said never criticise the likes of Russia or China, but it would be even nicer to be able to do it, without looking so much like a hypocrite, don’t you think? If your willing to point out abuses by other nations, you should always be even more willing to point abuses by your own.

  • Brit

    “Brit, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being ….anti-zionist indeed for one to claim to be a moral person one should indeed subscribe to [it].”

    Well I obviously disagree radically with that and would advocate the precise opposite of your statement.

    And whilst I dont expect you to agree with my position I think you ought to accept that there are lots of decent, progressive and moral people who are Zionists (in the broadest sense of accepting or supporting the right of Israel to continue to exist as a (the) Jewish state in or around the ’67 borders). You may well argue that are delusional, ignorant or in denial but that is a different point.

    You clearly see Zionism as a self-evident evil like racism or Nazism or rape and you have defined (or more accurately you have accepted others definitions) of it has a doctrine of racial supremacism and colonialism. And one which is monolithic.

    But, in fact, Zionism does not only constitute a pluarality of radically different perspectives, it also includes positions which are in direct opposition to one another.

    For example some modern de facto Zionists, including Israelis, do not have any position on whether the idea of establishing Israel as a Jewish state was a good and just idea (and certainly criticise how the idea was implemented and executed) but argue that now, many generations on, the current Israelis have a right to remain in their state and that the wrongs of previous generations are not the fault of those 2nd, 3rd etc generation Israelis.

    Others think that the idea of a Jewish state is ultimately a reactionary one and that in theory a bi-national federal state of Jews and Palestinains would be preferable, but accept that in the forseeable real word, it would not work.

    Some Zionists are opponents of the security wall, the invasions/incursions into Gaza and Lebannon, the treatment of Palestinians and call for an immediate and complete withdrawal from the OTs.

    The Peace Movement in Israel is generally Zionist in the sense that it proposes a two-state solution.

    I think that accepting this kind of nuance would enhance your understanding of the I/P issues and your ability to debate it in a healthy and useful way.

    Finally I would like you to reflect on the words of Issac Deutscher, who like most Jews, opposed Zionism before WW2 and the Holocaust:

    “I have, of course, long since abandoned my anti-Zionism, which was based on a confidence in the European labour movement, or, more broadly, in European society and civilization, which that society and civilization have not justified… ”

    He proposed the following analogy for the I/P dispute.

    “A man once jumped from the top floor of a burning house in which many members of his family had already perished. He managed to save his life; but as he was falling he hit a person standing down below and broke that person’s legs and arms. … If both behaved rationally, they would not become enemies. … But look what happens when these people behave irrationally. The injured man blames the other for his misery and swears to make him pay for it. The other, afraid of the crippled man’s revenge, insults him, kicks him, and beats him up whenever they meet. … The bitter enmity, so fortuitous at first, hardens and comes to overshadow the whole existence of both men and to poison their minds. ”

    Deutscher was a British Marxist of Polish/Jewish origin who described himself famously as a Non-Jewish Jew.

  • RepublicanStones

    Ridiculous Brit. Whilst there were various forms of zionism, cultural and moral zionism of Ahad Ha’am etc, the zionism one speaks of today, when one talks about zionism and the israeli state, it is the zionism which prevents the right of return of palestinian refugees but permits people from the other side of the globe to come and settle. The zionism which demands that Israel continue as a jewish state when about 20% of its inhabitants do not fit the bill, it should be a state for all its citizens, not just those who fit an ethnoreligious stipulation. The zionism which permits grossly unfair distribution of water resources, the zionism which permits gross discrmination in building and housing permits. Until such immorality is done away with, the ideology which encourages it, cannot claim any kind of moral legitimacy.

    The quote from Deutscher is laughable. Zionism (in all its forms) pre-dated the worst of jewish suffering, namely the holocaust. You make plans to steal someones land, they are not given legitimacy retrospectively just because somebody kicks the shit out of you before you can execute your plan in full. Furthermore, Deutscher would have been better equating it to someone running into a strangers house to save himself from danger and then demanding he’s here to stay. But even this would ignore the fact zionism pre-dates the holocaust and most of its founding ideologues and prime movers did not suffer quite like other jews had. Also Deutscher’s quote assumes the guy jumping was unaware he was going to hurt anyone, which when compared to early zionists and their recognition that indeed somebody was going to get hurt (the palestinians), makes it an absurd analogy.

    As the American jewish philosopher Morris Cohen wrote

    “Zionism is not merely a philanthrophic movement to help the homeless. It claims to be a solution to the Jewish problem; and its emphasis on Palestine rests on a nationalist philosophy which is a direct challenge to all those who still believe in liberalism”