Reading around a little to see what has become of the debate on the US-NATO effort in Afghanistan. Swedes are apparently there because others are--solidarity. This is not a good enough reason for me.
There was at least one free thinker, Jan Guillou, who wrote a column in Aftonbladet. He writes that we have no reason to stay in Afghanistan any more with military personnel. This is very true. Last Tuesday night Obama removed the Swedish reasons. There is to be no nation building which means that the European arguments all disappeared. No democracy, no women's liberation and no schools for little girls. That's why I was a little surprised over the quick mobilization of 7,000 men. After all, I had been reading in a European think-tank report that EU should set up a more independent way in Afghanistan.
Hamid Karzai also countered with the news that it will take 15 years for Afghanistan to afford keeping their own troops and asked for the money in advance. After all, this is the latest news--build up the Afghan forces so they can take care of themselves.
In a post yesterday I tried to link this to the possibility that the newly discussed animosity about Muslim ways might be involved in the decision. There is an article in TimesOnline today that discusses the severity of this issue in France. The French don't like minarets either to approximately the same degree as the Swiss. The minaret debate is so sensitive that the socialists have boycotted it. Sarkozy says religious people have to be more discrete in their devotion to minimize conflicts. This goes for all religions. France is currently investigating in a large national effort what their French identity is.
It seems like Adam Cwejman wants to do the same in Sweden. He does not have any faith in the plural society and is afraid that we brake the Swedish norms. I think we should look instead for common European norms and then find that our immigrants will understand better why they have to understand these. Cwejman has a point though. I have experience with integration in the US and there people immigrate into diasporas that even interact in their original languages. However, there is a common language that everyone speak as well. In Europe we don't have that in the same way making integration more difficult.
Cwejman claims Sweden is a very peculiar place in the world which makes me think if we should not be more interested in finding out how we can integrate into Europe rather than just focusing on how immigrants can become Swedes. It would be to much to ask that they first become Swedes and then again Europeans.