The Trans-Atlantic Alliance--an update

Remarks on the Future of European Security: "Some have looked at the continent even now and seen Western and Eastern Europe, old and new Europe, NATO and non-NATO Europe, EU and non-EU Europe. The reality is that there are not many Europes; there is only one Europe. And it is a Europe that includes the United States as its partner. And it is a Europe that includes Russia."

Well, the only problem with this view is that it is the Elite view and that people that answer questions for the Eubarometer poll don't want to share the foreign policy of the US. I definitely think Europe and the US should intimately deal with security problems. I believe Sweden should be in Afghanistan as long as ISAF and NATO are there. As I have said earlier, however, I'm not sure military personnel should be in Afghanistan because they might cause more problems than they solve.

Hillary Clinton also stresses that the idea of Russia to discuss new security treaties for Europe is a bad and cumbersome idea and that the existing institutions OECD and the NATO-Russia Council instead should be reinforced.

The first question Ms Clinton got after her speech at the École militaire in Paris was about the coordination and integration of NATO and the EU. She said among other things that: "But as I said in my remarks, they [EU and NATO] are no longer separated. It is hard to say that security is only about what it was when NATO was formed, and the EU has no role to play in security issues".

You might remember the comment by the polish MEP in charge of NATO-EU relations the other day that claimed the EU and NATO were in different worlds. I'm not sure what might clarify this issue but it is probably necessary for the majority of Europeans to begin appreciating the future vitality of the Trans-Atlantic Alliance.


What's worse?

Column One: Keeping Zionism's promise: "On the one hand, we have Netanyahu, who is clearly focused on preventing another Holocaust of Jewry. But on the other hand, we have Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who on Tuesday claimed that the absence of peace with the Palestinians – not Iran – is the greatest threat that Israel faces today. As he put it, “The lack of defined boundaries within Israel, and not an Iranian bomb, is the greatest threat to our future.”"

Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post writes that there is different opinions about which is worse a bomb from Iran or the World's opinion against Israel due to the Palestinian issue. She also discusses the problems in Malmö of fleeing Jews.

The problem with trying to alleviate the risk of nuclear proliferation in Iran is that bombing Iran will make Barak's worries greater. Israel seems positioned between the rock and the hard place.

The question is then of Kagan's idea of a higher probability for a regime change in Iran than that they stop their nuclear program is to wonder whether a regime change will improve the Palestinian issue by weakening the support to Hamas and Hizbollah? However, a regime change is probably easier talked about than accomplished.

The Iranian issue is otherwise heating up as Tony Blair during his questioning yesterday said that he thinks the risk we face with Iran today is greater than that with Iraq in 2003. His take on this issue must be considered important as he has travelled the Middle East for some years now as a Peace Envoy.

The decision of Blair and Bush was correct

Blair Defends Iraq War Decision - WSJ.com: "'And the decision I had to take was, given [Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's] history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking U.N. resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons program?'" See also New York Times and DN.se.

Britain grilled Tony Blair for 6 hours yesterday where Blair defended his and Bush's decision of invading Iraq in 2003. Saddam Hussein had attacked Iran, he had attacked Kuwait, he shot SCUD missiles on Israel, he had be brutal to the Kurds and he had been a monster to his own people. This man could have caused great harm to a Western nation.

Blair used a particularly important argument which he called the "2010 question". He said today "we would be facing a situation where Iraq would be competing with Iran on nuclear weapons capability and in support of terrorist groups".

Important critique on this type of actions have been put forward however. I'm thinking particularly of Joseph Stiglitz book on the real cost of the war, $3tn. On top of all lives this is an extremely high cost. The other thing we have learned is that coming in taking over and building a democracy that is friendly with the invaders is a very difficult thing to achieve which we have playing out now in Afghanistan. The risk for civil war is very high.

What I don't understand completely is why there are 30% of people saying that we shall bomb Iran now to prevent nuclear armament when there has been such an argumentation against the Iraq invasion. I certainly don't like Ahmadi-nejad but he does not have the same low record as Saddam Hussein. Neither have the Taliban.

Therefore I feel confident of supporting Blair and Bush on their decision.


Gender equality?

KD måste forma en borgerlig jämställdhetspolitik SvD: "Kristdemokraterna skulle kunna formulera en borgerlig jämställdhetspolitik som bygger på alla människors lika värde och möjligheter snarare än på tanken om 50/50, som handlar om att jämställdhet endast kan uppnås när exempelvis föräldrarna delar exakt lika på föräldraförsäkringen eller när statsvetenskapskursen har precis lika många kvinnliga och manliga studenter."

I think this citation catches what is really important in the debate on gender equality. Annika Dahlström, a former professor of histology at the Göteborg University, wrote a book a while ago called Könet sitter i hjärnan, or The Brain Decides about Sex. The book displayed what was different between the sexes. Such biological differences prove that a 50/50 perspective is plain false. Dahlström was ciriticised pointing this out.

However, as Per Schlingmann and Hilllevi Engström points out in another article in SvD today it is essential to work towards equal pay for equal work even if I don't believe in quotations. Weimer's gender equality is probably more European and American than that of (M) and (S) and an obvious question that pops up is whether Sweden is on a path that never will be walked by the US and the majority of EU countries or whether Sweden will become a "föregångsland" in gender equality. Trimming the welfare state to an optimum might entail getting all female intellects in play, then saying that an intelligent mistress/master of the house is not really in play?

PS and HE writes that "En helt central frihetsfråga är att såväl kvinnor som män måste kunna leva på sin lön", or " a central question of freedom is that women like men must be able to support themselves on a salary". If I understand this correctly, this would mean that (M) is discarding the old core family with one bread winner completely, at the same time as a house wife or man would not be free in a harmonious relation with a spouse. Such a comment must be regarded as an over-kill, or "förmynderi".


EUobserver / Nato strategy to look at EU relations, says Albright: "Polish centre-right MEP Jacek Saryusz Wolski, in charge of EU-Nato relations, said he was struck how the two institutions were working in 'totally separate worlds,' despite having the same concerns and roughly the same armies and citizens, on the European side"

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright leads an expert panel that tries to coordinate the EU and NATO in these times of slashed military budgets. The above comment is interesting in the wake of the London Conference on Afghanistan. Maybe it is "verklighetens folk", or the common man, and the World Elite.

I learned from the radio-debate between Mona Sahlin and Fredrik Reinfeldt in the program Studio Ett the other day that Sahlin is going to go back to the neutrality politics if the Social Democrats win in September. To my content I heard today that the large difference between the two voting blocks have almost equalized so we might not have to see the entire country end up as world common men.

According to a listing performed by the SOM Institute in Sweden our country's security is considered very important by about 70% of the population. This is not a parameter among the most important one's but no one in the press reacted to the question of neutrality in the aftermath of the debate. Health, Freedom and a World in Peace are all more important factors. Instead the press discuss the evil a 100 burkas may do to the Swedes. It is interesting because the symbolism of the burka must in reality be related to national security. If I have understood this correctly, we can't really be neutral and be members of the EU.

There was recently a yearly debate in Sälen Sweden, the congress Folk och Försvar, where the question voiced by MEP Wolski above was not really ventilated. In my humble opinion Sweden has to take the debate between neutrality, the EU and NATO in order to organize a defence policy. Which world do we want to live in? If any conclusion could be drawn from this, we apparently want to live in Europe in Peace but do not view terrorism external to the EU as a problem but fear it from within the EU.

Fredrik Reinfeldt appears to want to live in the EU world with collaboration with NATO when possible. This is probably the most realistic option given the results in the EUbarometer poll where it is clear that some 80% of EU citizens don't want to share foreign policy with the US.


Afghanistan goes to London

Alla Dessa Dagar: "Jag tillhörde dem som betonade betydelsen av ett rimligt parlamentsval nästa år – med de möjligheter till breddad bas dessa kan innebära – men som samtidigt inte är överförtjust över för många uttalanden om att vi skall börja dra tilbaka trupper 2011 och söka överenskommelser med talibanerna. Det var helt klart de politiska insatserna som sågs som avgörande i vår diskussion - även om säkerhetsinsatserna självfallet är mycket viktiga."

This is how Carl Bildt is describing what happened prior to the meeting, a select dinner yesterday night, on Afghanistan in London where some 70 countries participate today. It is Obama that in his State of the Union Address says he will begin withdraw troops in 2011 and Hamid Karzai that wants to talk to the Taliban.

David Miliband, Carl Bildt and Anders Fogh-Rasmussen deliver almost textbook-like schemes for how to move forward. A soldier like Stanley McChrystal, the American Commander, stuck on the ground, is a little more humble and cautious and verbalize that there might have been too much fighting at this point. He is leaning towards negotiations, perhaps with the aid of the reinforcements due. Robert Gates, the US Minister of Defence, doesn't think the Taliban are going to move an inch, however, before they start to loose. This might be a US Democrat-Republican split of opinion.

This is exactly the problem. The Taliban have increased the number of attacks on Western forces every year and control much of the country side outside Kabul where Karzai is supposed to rule. Some say he only commands his palace, however. Corruption is rife and the Americans have started dealing directly with the tribes as they did successfully in Iraq during the so called "surge". It is not going to work in Afghanistan though it is believed. However, it jeopardizes the hall mark strategy. That of increasing the troops of Karzai to take over security in the country, something that will take 5 to 10 years according to Karzai in London.

It seems to me that this summer will hold the answer for how to continue. Will the trend of every year increases of casualties be broken? In that case corruption just have to be reduced, which is more difficult. In the mean time al Qaida is in Yemen and elsewhere. It is very difficult to have politics in the forefront in a place ruled by tribal logic.

State Of The Union Address 2010

State Of The Union 2010 (FULL TEXT): Read Obama's Speech: "Even as we prosecute two wars, we are also confronting perhaps the greatest danger to the American people - the threat of nuclear weapons. I have embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons, and seeks a world without them. To reduce our stockpiles and launchers, while ensuring our deterrent, the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades. And at April's Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring forty-four nations together behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists"

Well, President Obama focused on domestic problems in his State of the Union Address. He mentiones summarily the two wars and that all combat troops are going to leave Iraq by August 2010.

However, as you can see in the excerpt above the greatest danger is nuclear weapons, apparently greater threat than economical, and the possibility that a terrorist might bring a bomb onto American territory. A Nuclear Security Summit is to be held in April as announced in July 8, 2009 at the White House.

One problem is a country like Iran where there is anger and terrorism at the same time as the possible production of nuclear weapons. Such a country, like also Pakistan, could produce small carry-on weapons for terrorist use. Robert Kagan writes an article in Washington Post, How Obama can reverse Iran's dangerous course, that one solution to this problem might be that the probability for regime change now is greater than the probability that the leaderhip in Iran will give up its nuclear program.


Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day (UK) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "We recognise that the Holocaust shook the foundations of modern civilisation. Its unprecedented character and horror will always hold universal meaning."

Ethnic cleansing was not a new phenomenon at the time. Unfortunately it is still a problem in many places. However, the Holocaust followed an unprecedented development in the science of genetics and as such emphasize how important it is to stress humanitarian principles at the same time as science progresses.

It is my sincere hope that the Holocaust Memorial Day will remain an important event in the lives of people all over the world. A strong emphasis on Human Rights are in my experience important for not again falling into traps set by for example technological development that could enslave man and again cause inhumane selective pressures.

It is even more important to remember the Holocaust as there soon will be no living witnesses left. Also, the recent desecration of the memorial in Auschwitz and anti-semitic trends in Europe speak for renewed vigilance against forces in society that separate out individuals for whatever reason.

The Muslim Council of Britain has been critical of remembering the Holocaust and want other atrocities to also be included. For people being critical in this fashion it should be remembered that the Holocaust is unique based on the systematic and science based annihilation of, as it happened, Jews. It could have been another racial category in another country at the time given the same type of political philosophy.

As the introductory statement of this post indicates, the Holocaust shook the foundation of our society. The US, Nazi Germany and Japan all set out to acquire the atom bomb at approximately the same time. The free world proved to have the edge at this point but it should be remembered along with the Holocaust that the Good needs vigilance.


The Sweden of equality--does populism even exist?

”Sveriges radikala elit har blivit den nya överheten” - DN.se: "Verklighetens folk har jag kallat den breda del av Sveriges befolkning som lever ett alldeles vanligt, hederligt arbetande liv och för vilka politik kommer i andra hand. Det kan vara allt från undersköterskor till professorer".

The moderates now also preach "jämlikhet", ie, equality, in a recent move to the left, otherwise the one catch-word of the Social Democrats.

When David Brooks today discusses populism in the US, he talks about populists and the elite. Göran Hägglund's "verklighetens folk", or "people like people usually are", honest hardworking people that consider politics secondarily, are not like those defined by Brooks. Brooks think more in the line of the Tea Party crowd who are politically active.

If Göran Hägglund with "radical elite" means the leftish elite that pushed eugenics, being against mentally weak people, as described by Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist in their article about the foul smell of "Folkhemmet" (S) and (SD) är samma andas barn, I can understand what he means by "verklighetens folk". Honest, non-judgemental, people. But is Hägglund not falling a little in his own trap when he speaks of "verklighetens folk" as needing someone talking for them--"förmynderi", something (KD) even has been accused of in terms of alcohol practices, not to mention snuff.

Today Hägglund is inviting Muslims to join (KD). Perhaps (KD) should call themselves 'Religious Democrats'. It is of course possible that (S) has a too "förmyndande" tone against Muslims and that they would feel more at home in a less Folkhemish and state-prone party. Bard and Söderqvist group (S) and (SD) together because they idealize a nostalgic past as something Swedish. If (KD) wants to market "verklighetens folk" as something not so Folkhemish, more plural, and stand out from (SD), inviting Muslims to join might be a good idea.

In a modern multicultural party it is obviously important to distance oneself from the Biblical shepherd and his sheep. "Verklighetens folk", as Hägglund have described them, seem unfortunately a little sheepish. I guess people do not really want to be identified as sheep in this modern individualistic and innovative world. Being a conservative party, (KD) would have problems with too much tradition in this respect.


How do we fight dictatorships?

Dick Erixon — I hjärtat rebell: "Västvärlden har tystnat.
Så borde det inte få förbli. Vi ska stå upp för mänskliga rättigheter — särskilt i den del av världen där de saknas mest. Och vi borde ta strid med diktaturerna. På alla plan. Inte minst i FN. Det är deras främsta arena, där de hämtar sin legitimitet genom att få agera som jämbördiga med demokratiskt valda ledare."

Carl Bildt is pointing out the importance of the Internet in a recent article in Washington Post. I believe that fighting dictatorships today is to let the information flow. Information imperialism as the Chinese call it. Erixon often state that we should stand up to authoritarian governments and I cannot agree more. The question, however, is how this battle should be fought today.

Take the Iranian regime. They have effectively managed to excite the US to begin threatening their country and this plays in the hands of the regime that want to win their local battle over moderates who try to speak of positives in the West. Treating Iran's regime like a delinquent child that want to test its surrounding is much better than hitting the child as a punishment. Patient versus criminal. The flow of information will than work its way into the fibers of the society.

I don't think this way solves all problems. However, I think the result is much better than with threats given the present circumstances. Bill Clinton had the right attitude went Hugo Chavez orated his diatribes at the UN. He sighed and uttered that Chavez was just destroying it for himself. Such leaders are their own worst enemies if they are treated as immatures rather than as criminals.


Hillary Rodham Clinton and Lady Ashton

EUobserver / US welcomes EU's new foreign policy powers: "'These are historic times for the EU. I expect that in decades to come, we will look back on the Lisbon Treaty and the maturation of the EU that it represents as a major milestone in our world's history,' Ms Clinton told press in Washington on Thursday (21 January)."

There was initially some question as to the priority between the high representative of EU and the foreign minister of the rotating chairmanship nation which seems to have come out in favor of Lady Ashton. Continuity, a budget and 5,000 employees should in all probability trump a nation's foreign service, especially if it is not a question of the major EU powers.

Clinton and Ashton have both come down on Iran with a quest for sanctions but Iran was saved by China in the UN Security Council. China advocated "patience". It should be remembered that this is said by the nation that claims it is too early to say if the French revolution was good or bad. If I have understood this correctly, this means that sanctions are not going to work. China likes to have a hot lunatic, North Korea, on Japan and one on the Middle East, not to mention the check on India via Pakistan, who they helped getting nuclear weapons.

Why do I also advocate no sanctions on Iran? Well, my thinking differs from that of China in that I believe Iran is more Western than Asian and that properly encouraged it will begin trading more with Europe. Something that would minimize the risk of their future nuclear weapons. The large Muslim diaspora in Europe would serve as a padding for future relations with the Middle East.

Germany is already the main trading partner with Iran even if this apparently might be because Ahmadi-nejad thinks they will become anti-semitic and help out against Israel. Gerhard Schröder got the question on a recent visit. It is, however, a fact that the EU is so anti-Israel that this might have positive effects on the future interaction with Iran. It is a difficult balance but might be worth a try in solving this Gordian knot.


There is more and more talk about an Asian Union--would such a creation not become too big?

Op-Ed Contributor - A New Japan, a New Asia - NYTimes.com: "In the same way that Europeans built a self-sustaining regional peace, Japan should capitalize on the stability afforded by its alliance with the U.S. to make a push for Sino-Japanese reconciliation and regional integration."

With its present growth rate China is positioned to overtake Japan this year for the number two economy of the world. G. John Ikenberry sees the Japanese independence from US as something positive. And why not, if the UK and Germany can be friends, why couldn't Japan and China. However, the governing systems in Europe are more similar than those of Japan and China and I could see problems with a sudden love affair between the two countries. However, Japan is exporting a lot to China these days. Geopolitically the UK is in an equal position to the EU as Japan is to China but China has not matured, or stabilized, as a nation yet.

Its the 50th year anniversary of the US-Japan Alliance this week. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's new government under the guidance of the Democratic Party of Japan is more set to liberate Japan from the foreign policy of the US. Young Japanese are apparently, as Europeans, currently not wishing to share the foreign policy of the US to the same extent as did the Liberal Democratic Party.

Ikenberry points out that a certain schizophrenia exists in the response of the US to Japan in that the military side, ie, Robert Gates has problem with US bases whereas civil US, ie, Obama wants to see the Japanese as "equals". As a European is obviously see the Japanese as equals but what would be interesting to know is whether Japanese identify more with the Western civilization or with the Chinese? Perhaps they are just fine in the middle.

Siesmic changes are taking place currently in Asia. China might overtake the US economy already 2020 and India might then push Japan down to fourth place in 2030. Will it be possible to take part in this clash of civilizations situated around China or will Europe more watch this phenomenon occur? Focusing on Green development is probably a smart way to position itself. It is going to be a battle of life style changes as a mean of adaptation.

Fredrik Reinfeldt said in his Christmas speech that we need to learn more about China because they seem to have learned a lot about us. I have lived and worked in the US for ten years and I spent some time learning about Japanese culture. I learned European history of science and philosophy and American political history. In other words I have concentrated on the democratic West and its origins. China will have to wait until it becomes interesting. One Chinese said that "he doesn't have anything against learning from the West but he doesn't want any of the double moral". I wonder what he meant by this?


Republicans are back on the eve of Obama's first year review

Today we learned that the US senate seat of Ted Kennedy, who fought all his life to get health care to all, now is taken by Scott Brown a republican in a change that indeed jeopardizes just the health care bill of Obama. He thanked John McCain in his acceptance speech so McCain got some sweet revenge for the loss in the election. According to Huffington Post it was a protest vote. People are angry about Wall Street and about Health Care, which is a little strange because Massachusetts have health care for all thanks to the former Republican Governor Mitt Romney.

This happens as pundits are writing reviews for Obama's first year. I have only read that of The Economist which I like because it was positive. I also think Obama did well this year. He had to fight a little when the adoration of the election era weaned off but only really erred on his Afghanistan war which I unfortunately think will be a mistake. I think he was worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize for having created a new more positive world mood and having ended the use of torture for interrogations. However, giving a war speech for the ceremony did not rhyme well.

I did not even vote for Obama because I adhered to the foreign policy of Robert Kagan that fueled John McCain's candidacy. However, something happened in the world after the financial crisis and I now firmly believe that the Democrats should be in power due to the fact that this harmonizes best with Europe. Obama is the obvious leader still with a strong mandate and I hope he will get reelected in 2012.

One of the more significant events last year is probably that Obama and his administration have learned that China is no friend. Although Asia is regarded as a bonanza economically problems are brewing. Japan and the US now are at odds about a military base at Okinawa. I have not seen that yet but I still hope that we will have a trans-Atlantic president back, which for example would mean that Obama lends an ear to the Green movement in Europe.

Obama's Middle East approach probably went OK. However, people complain that he told Israel to completely stop their settlements which he had to retract from. I guess he learned that Israel is completely fixed on the problem with Iran and have little interest in the Palestinian question at the time. Solving the Iran problem would take care of Hamas and Hizbollah in their humble opinion. Obama's Turkish speech was probably partly aimed at building a possible bridge to Iran via this route. There might be some potential in this approach. If Iran gets the bomb, it is good with a more positive relation.

Obama was also helped by the fact that Iran got internal problems after the reelection of Ahmadi-nejad. Who knows, perhaps the democracy movement in Iran was in part fueled by Obama's stretched out hand gesture at the beginning of his presidency. If I was an Iranian, I would also think more of improving my country than fighting the infidel if the outside pressure is relieved. Removing sanctions rather than strenghtening them might further enthuse the Green Opposition movement for possible change to the better in Iran. However, making sanctions stronger seems to be what is currently in the mind of the establishment.

Before the election in Iran there was no consensus from Obama's administration to bomb Iran to delay the possible production of an atom bomb. Looking into the future the perhaps highest probability is that Iran will make a bomb and this is supposed to change things in the Middle East. How this is going to change things differently from the already present nuclear situation in Pakistan is unknown to me, perhaps via less transparency, but it must be considered one of Obama's toughest challenges for the remainder of his presidency.

The self-inflicted situation in AfPak and future nuclear capabilities in Iran must be considered as high risk nuclear proliferation problems. We will have to get used to this risk or face a major war situation with very dim prospects for the future. It seems inevitable that this problem will eventually mature during Obama's watch.

Can Turkey become more important for the US than Israel?

RealClearWorld - Dissecting Israel-Turkey Diplomatic Row: "Washington has observed this, too, and so regards Turkey as a key part of its strategy to draw down the U.S. presence in Iraq. Turkey does not want to see massive instability in Iraq any more than the Americans do. Similarly, in any confrontation with Iran, Turkey is both a communications channel and a potential ally. Further afield, Turkey is contributing to the Western war effort in Afghanistan, and has substantial influence in the Caucasus, the Balkans and Central Asia".

Turkey is already more important for the EU than is Israel from the point of view as a potential member of the union. From this point of view it might be unfortunate for Israel to challenge Turkey diplomatically as it has done first on the Davos conference and now in Israel. It forces both the EU and the US to take sides.

In Davos Israel was viewed as conspiring with the US in humiliating Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turish Prime Minister, by not letting him respond after Shimon Peres, the Israeli President, had spoken at a session. Erdogan was particularly incensed by the Gaza attack where many Palestinians died. Due to the strong Western response against the Gaza attack Erdogan was able to take a point against Israel given this opportunity.

Now recently Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon summoned the Turkish Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to protest for the appearance of a soap-opera aired in Turkey that depicted Israeli agents kidnapping Palestinian children. It was the way the meeting was staged that was the problem. The incident reminds me of a newspaper article written in Sweden that claimed that the IDF where stealing organs from Palestinians. My feeling from this incident was that Israel lost the public relations battle in Sweden and that it might therefore lose also in Turkey. Apparently Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is planning to expel ambassadors from countries that has criticized Israel unfairly.

It is fair to ask if these incidences are any of my business. However, Israel's position as a country with the potential of launching a nuclear war with Iran is I guess in everyone's business.


Iran, Pakistan and the toleration of nuclear arms?

Elite US troops ready to combat Pakistani nuclear hijacks - Times Online: "The US army is training a crack unit to seal off and snatch back Pakistani nuclear weapons in the event that militants, possibly from inside the country’s security apparatus, get their hands on a nuclear device or materials that could make one."

It is not only a question of bombing Iran. Pakistan might need a fix? The problem here is that anti-Americanism is on the rise in the Pakistani army.

Is this a political or a military problem?


Poor schooling slows anti-terrorism effort in Pakistan - washingtonpost.com: "With a curriculum that glorifies violence in the name of Islam and ignores basic history, science and math, Pakistan's public education system has become a major barrier to U.S. efforts to defeat extremist groups here, U.S. and Pakistani officials say."

Der Spiegel writes about a situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that might be "spiralling out of control". The article in general, however, is up-beat in character since it advocates that military should withdraw from Afghanistan.

Well, one of the key problems in AfPak must be that there is recruitment to the enemy from from a pool of 30+170 million people. Therefore the problem and the amount of casualties have increased every year for all the nine years. Even if it is not possible to affect this recruitment on the timescale people generally dwell on for the AfPak discussion future regional stability will be affected. The fastest way of affecting recruitment might be to remove foreign troops.

The conclusion a person with average intelligence must draw from articles like those above is that the "battle" is already lost and what is interesting now is what happens next. How will this region of Western resistance affect the big picture in the future? Will the situation really get worse if no meddling in the affairs of these good people will remain?

I guess what I'm asking is what would happen if the West are not really able to indoctrinate, or otherwise convince, people in the Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan about the splendor of our civilization. Will they go on and live their lives or will they mobilize to conquer the West? My feeling is that they would rather stay by themselves. Europe in particular would be able to peacefully interact with these regions given our large immigrant populations.

These problems are epitomized with the discussion of whether or not Iran should be bombed to releave the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. The Economist have had that debate recently and there is a majority of 71% that don't think one should bomb. That means that a whole 29% actually think that one should go along and bomb a country quite extensively. 29% is furthermore up from 18% in a US poll half a year ago. However, you would not only attack Iran but also in principle all these other countries. Too big a deal and therefore not practical.

People are gathered in Sweden currently to discuss the defence of Sweden. Leaving the Muslim band alone could, if people there would be unwise, mean that Muslims in Europe rose in sympathy and millions of people migrated over to Europe and conquered her in what may sound like a Sverigedemocratic nightmare. In my humble opinion this is not really likely. Are we then afraid of battalions of suicide bombers? Probably not if there wasn't the irritation of foreign troops on their soil.

The situation in Afghanistan shows that the balance necessary for a reasonable discussion on how to proceed is not favorable. There is no meeting of the minds. Saddam Hussein caused the situation by his destabilizing activities. We need to reach for a new situation where the discussion can begin in earnest. We now that our civilization has its charms but they have no effect when propagated by superior looking military personnel.

Before we discuss if we want to be part of NATO or if the EU should act we need to now how we feel about the threat from this region from which we currently have quite a lot of foreign born people in our country. How many Swedes want to bomb Iran? We have not even disclosed this pertinent fact.



Democracy's decline: Crying for freedom The Economist: "Given that democracy is unlikely to advance, these days, through the military or economic preponderance of the West, its best hope lies in winning a genuinely open debate. In other words, wavering countries, and sceptical societies, must be convinced that political freedom works best."

The ten commandments?

Ronald, 70, överklagar örfilsdomen Nyheter Aftonbladet: "70-årige Ronald Fasth i Värnamo som dömts till dagsböter efter att ha örfilat en tolvårig pojke som kallat honom gubbjävel överklagar domen till hovrätten.
– Jag vill löpa linan ut, säger han till Värnamo Nyheter."

How good are the ten commandments in telling if a person is good or not? There is nothing about hitting children as a corrective measure or to beat people on the street because you don't like what they say. I hope Ronald is not vindicated on his injustice.

The first three commandments are about monotheism and the one on the Sabbath is also passé.

I like the one on the honoring of the father and the mother but recent events in societal organization has challenged this commandment to the bone.

Not stealing and not killing is just common law as is the one on bearing false witness against your neighbor. The last one is in essence a duplication.

I like the one about adultery but it is not illegal anymore.

So, there are many ethical judgments that make a person good that is not taken up by the commandments. Personally I think the verdict against Ronald is more important than it seems. In my experience medieval corporal punishment is on its way back. This development has to be reversed.

More money for defence?

Democracy in America The Economist: "...but it is a frequent assertion that European social spending is only made possible by implicit American subsidies on defence; so let's take a look at this claim".

This is a good starting point for the discussion about whether or not Sweden wants to spend more on defence. First it is necessary to discuss the relation between the EU and NATO and then the so called capabilities gap between the US and EU countries. As EU members we have to help neighbors according to the Lisbon Treaty. Of all the current articles on Swedish defence none of the experts have done this so far.

Democracy in America says that European countries should not increase their budgets to match that of the US. When the US commits 30,000 troops to Afghanistan the EU commits 7,000. That is less than half which is the difference in spending on defence. Furthermore, many countries in Afghanistan prefer to be in places where there is relatively lower risk. This is a perhaps even greater problem that causes a lot of friction. Should the Swedish troops regroup instead of Sweden pays more for defence?

The Eubarometer results provide a tentative answer to these questions. The European people does not want to have the same foreign policy as the US. I guess we just have to wait for the overall picture to be provided by Lady Ashton. Recent attacks by Chinese cyber warriors might indicate where money should be spent rather than on people in the conventional circuit? We have to protect our industries. The Chinese, however, might not want to alienate Europe and rather put a wedge between the Atlantic powers which would make it necessary to choose which side you are on?

So if someone says we should put some guys on Gotland to scare Putin, I would not be able to comment. But for more helicopters for the troops in Afghanistan, I would not have any problems.


The Battle of Ideas

U.S., Google and China square off over Internet - Yahoo! News: "'Hostile Western forces have never abandoned their strategic schemes to Westernize and divide us, and they are stepping up ideological and cultural infiltration,' the Party's chief propaganda official, Li Changchun, wrote last month."

This is a very revealing statement. China is trying to fight reality. What is the difference between these wordings and those of fundamentalist Islam? Ian Buruma talked the other day about China's nationalism as religious politics. Maybe he is right.

You shall kill, sometimes?

Åkesson tar Svenssons plats Politik Debattämnen Debatt Aftonbladet: "I så fall behöver Jimmie Åkesson bara bli varm i kläderna, för att klara av vad Göran Hägglund misslyckats med, det vill säga bli en värdig efterträdare till Alf Svensson i svensk politik."

Torbjörn Tännsjö seems to say that Alf Svensson is against immigration and I guess that Svensson will have to answer for himself. Åkesson and Svensson are apparently both against abortions. When he says "honorable" successor of Svensson, I guess he reveals much about his own character and political views.

However, what I want to comment on is the low rating of humans that Tännsjö is advocating when he claims that people don't care about what is claimed by a politician as long as it has a high contrast. I thought that when people vote for a person rather than when they vote for a party they make an evaluation of that person's character as it appears. The character of a leader is going to have a profound impact on how they will act not only today but also in the future. This is why Reinfeldt is so much a more promising candidate than is Sahlin. He projects as a better leader. The conservative right is moving leftward in Sweden, which might be another explanation for KDs low ratings.

Apparently Tännsjö has written a book called You shall sometimes kill (Du ska understundom dräpa). This title makes the probability for my reading of it very low. I, like Göran Hägglund, don't think physicians should kill. Not even sometimes. There was a debate on the radio in the program Studio Ett the other day where this issue was discussed. Apparently, the county's physicians are improving the means of caring for people that are about to die. It will be possible to lower the consciousness of a patient if pain, anxiety or other ailments can't be managed in another fashion.

Tännsjö is apparently a humanist and as such seethes a highly critical attitude against religion which is apparent from his article. This attitude is not longer understandable since approximateely 80% of the population is known to believe, most of which have some kind of faith. I myself belong to this majority of mankind that has faith, I call my faith religious humanism, but without any disdain for people who do have faith in Christ.

Is Google leading the way out of a "business as usual" paradigm on China?

The last week has featured a series of columns that have been highly negative on China. This development now seem to have culminated with the news that Google might leave China, even if not entirely. They have been there since 2006, despite their motto to not be evil. The current debacle is derived from a brutal cyber attack on activists that is believed to originate in China.

Taking a stand on the issue of whether or not concerns for human rights should influence how we do business with China or not is becoming increasingly difficult. Among the negative articles about China recently was one in The New York Times that pictured China as a ship in a storm with the most efficient, fastest responding, crew. Being able to make fast decisions and making people carrying them out would in future economic warfare be something others would have to emulate to be competitive.

Is China in this fashion challenging the whole democratic West? I for one believe that we should just continue our democratic business as usual and be confident that this paradigm holds. Emulating Chinese practises would be a disaster. To operate a country like it was in a disastrous environment all the time cannot be a winning scheme. There is not time for regular life and too much all the time has to be brushed under the carpet. There is too little time for maintenance and repair.

Should Iran be bombed?

There is an ongoing Debate in The Economist about the notion that Iran's nuclear facilities should be bombed.

Economist Debates: Iran: Guest: "The question posed by the house captures perfectly the problem with the debate on Iran in the West. It embodies a decade-old approach to Iran that reduces this major country into a single variable problem, Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Every non-nuclear development is either viewed from the prism of the nuclear programme, or is simply ignored."

I recently commented on the idea of Trita Parsi that the Obama Doctrine might have caused the post-election Green Uprising in Iran. Today he weighs in on the issue of whether or not Iran should be bombed, an opinion advocated by The Economist, although 68% of people voting on the debate think this is not the way to go.

I agree with Parsi, bombing Iran would put an end to the democracy movement of Iran for good. It is of course interesting that a highly initiated crowd reading The Economist are reasonable on Iran despite the indoctrination of "The House". Parsi is, however, not proposing, like I do, that further approachment of Iran by removing sanctions should be tried. President Obama is, however, grateful to the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan for keeping a door open to Tehran.

There is today also information that Turkey would possibly be able to negotiate with the Taliban for an "Afghanization" of the situation there. Recent words in the press on the membership deal between Turkey and the EU have indicated that Turkey is becoming distanced to this development. It would of course be interesting if an axis of European influence on these trouble spots could be mediated by Turkey. In this case Turkey would have found an important role for itself that would be highly appreciated by both sides.


Lady Catherine Ashton and EUs position on foreign affairs so far

Catherine Ashton was interviewed today at the EU parliament for three ours as part of the parliament's investigation of the new commission of Jose Manuel Barroso. Gunnar Hökmark said in his blog that Ashton pointed to Russia and China as strategic partners which is in line with her position as trade commissioner. EU is lining up with Obama's administration on this one as with the Iran question.

EUobserver / EU's new top diplomat remains cool under fire: "She hinted she would back further sanctions against Iran if the country continues to ignore international calls to open its nuclear programme to scrutiny. 'If we don't have the rules kept to, then we have to take action in some form,' she said."

Unfortunately there is not much that actually can be done if Iran goes their own way, especially if you want to be partners with Russia and China. Ashton also had a milder tone on Israel than she had when questioned by MEPs before Christmas. She is for a two-state solution but did not criticize Israels occupation of Judea and Samaria.

Ashton apparently is going to focus on Ukraine and their election as well as on the Muslim extremist infested countries between Somalia and Pakistan during the upcoming weeks.

Charlemagne weighs in


Did the Obama Doctrine cause the Green Uprising in Iran?

Ett år med Obama i Vita huset - Konflikt - sr.se: "I studion finns också Trita Parsi, för att ge synpunkter på hur presidenten hanterat krisen i Iran. Parsi har bakgrund i Sverige och är idag ordförande i National Iranian American Council och bosatt i Washington."

Trita Parsi put forward the idea that Obama with his new approach to the Muslim world caused the Green Uprising in Iran. This is a very interesting idea that if correct would point at a clear advance of the Obama Doctrine over the Bush ditto during the last year.

People in Iran might have been gloomy over the prospect of a war between the US and Iran and when the pressure waned they finally visualised a path to a final integration of Iran to the World community rather than, what for any intelligent Iranian must be a very dismal idea, The Iranian Revolution across the world.

This line of thinking would point in a direction of removing sanctions towards Iran. This would further the hope of an approachment with the West and significantly strenghten the opposition. Parsi meant that supporting the democracy movement would be the most important issue over 2010. He said that the only possible mistake of the Obama administration vis-à-vis Iran was the neglect of forcefully denoting the regime crackdown on the green movement. My own line of thinking on that subject was that it was very important for Obama not to intervene during the riots which would have strenghtened the possibility for the regime to blame the West via the non-urban population.

Removing sanctions is, however, removing what many think is the only means of blocking Iran to produce nuclear weapons. As I pointed out before, the problem with this is that Iran if they want to can produce nuclear arms. Neither the US or the EU would stop them. Israel might however try, they are united as a country against Iran. They simply do not trust them with nuclear weapons. This dilemma is hard to solve.

Parsi's priority then is to generate a slightly more democratic Iran. The question then is if this is enough to solve the dilemma?


Are we doing the right thing in Afghanistan?

Avatar (2009 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Worldwide, Avatar grossed an estimated $232,180,000 on its opening weekend,[15] the ninth-largest opening-weekend gross of all time, and the largest for a non-franchise, non-sequel and original film. After 17 days in release, it became the fastest film to reach $1 billion in box office receipts[16] and the fifth to gross more than $1 billion worldwide. Less than three weeks after its release, the film became the second highest grossing film of all time worldwide."

According to reviews of the film, I have not seen it myself, the US army is beaten up by a spiritual people called Na'vi in a sensitive ecosystem, a planet Pandora. In other words there is both save-the-earth and anti-war sentiments that seem very popular. It is fascinating to observe capitalism in action against its main proponent. Don't misunderstand me, I'm very grateful that it is the US that has the largest military in the world.

Yesterday I referred to a speech by Hillary Clinton, the US State Department Secretary, where she spoke of development as a means of lowering risks to the US in the future from states that are on the verge of failing. Military would be used to secure such operations. She makes use of an axiom: if we don't invest in this today, it will be more costly tomorrow. Is this axiom correct if the countries in question are indigenously hostile to the West in general and to the US in particular? Because, development will not work under such circumstances and it then smells of waste of good money, not mentioning the loss of lives. Making war, polluting and devouring raw materials apparently do not make the US, China or the EU popular.

Used as a world opinion poll Avatar might be more important the many seem to think?


Speaking of Yemen

Hillary Clinton on Development in the 21st Century Foreign Policy: "But whether it's to improve long-term security in places torn apart by conflict, like Afghanistan, or to further progress in countries that are on their way to becoming regional anchors of stability, like Tanzania, we pursue development for the same reasons: to improve lives, fight poverty, expand rights and opportunities, strengthen communities, and secure democratic institutions and governance; and in doing so, advance global stability, improve our own security, and project our values and leadership in the world."

Carl Bildt is very concerned about the development in the band of countries stretching from Somalia to Pakistan in his blog today and a comment on how the problem is approached is furnished by Hillary Clinton in a speech yesterday. I guess Clinton is striking while the iron is hot now after the plane bombing attempt by a Nigerian trained in Yemen.

It is interesting reading and as Clinton points out it works in some countries but not in others. Afghanistan looks like a failure today with its eight year in a row escalation of problems and a foiled democracy attempt in the recent election. The Taliban is apparently attempting a shadow government of their own as well. People like the Taliban would of course refuse the benevolent help of the US and EU. Let's hope the next one and half year will turn the tide.

If you don't have time to read the whole speech there is a short version in the Christian Science Monitor today. The key word is help with development: teach a person how to fish and they can feed themselves for a life time. Partnerships with countries risking to become failed states can do good.

A good question is what to do if the countries Bildt is talking about are beyond repair? Move in with the cavalry and mobilize them over 30 years or just let them necrotize. The last scenario is of course very difficult given a humanistic point of view. When the first alternative looks gloomy the whole story becomes very frustrating. A challenge that has to be met.


A New Era--Definitely

The Perils of Wishful Thinking - Robert Kagan - The American Interest Magazine: "The President and his advisers presumably do not harbor such illusions, yet neither do they acknowledge the problems posed by the fact that the great powers are, in reality, divided between democracy and autocracy. Their statements and their policies seem to ignore the possibility that China’s and Russia’s autocratic governments may see the world differently, and calculate their interests differently, precisely because they are autocracies."

Robert Kagan was the person who's philosophy started me up in political science and I definitely agree with the above citation. In an article in American Interest Kagan reviews the situation the United States are in at the moment. There is however one opinion where I disagree, Kagan states that there is in reality not a new era at all.

During the election campaign of President Obama I thought the foreign policy would remain the same if he won. The strange thing is, as Kagan points out, it seems like this with the stalled progress in the Middle East and Obama's unfortunate war in AfPak. The serious problem is that things look like they move on in the same way despite the fact that the situation is that of the beginning of a new era as referred to by Kagan in a speech by Hillary Clinton from July 15, 2009 as directed by G. John Ikenberry.

The reason for the entry of a new era is that the relative clout of the US internationally have diminished and also that people around the world have organized themselves differently. There is no historic precedent for this. People now feel their way forward in the dark. Clinton, for example points out that the State Department not only engages governments but also individuals. Clinton points out that the US now is organized for engaging the multipolar world in a multi partnership fashion that can turn into coalitions of the willing when need be.

Clinton says: "It does not make sense to adopt a 19th century concert of powers, or a 20th century balance of power strategy. We cannot go back to Cold War containment or unilateralism". Instead we have Anne-Marie Slaughter's center-of-gravity-enlightened nation, multi partnership, that according to Nicolas Sarkozy from his conversation with Condoleezza Rice once, needs to become more popular, something which is inherently difficult with an escalated war scenario.

But I have not lost faith all together because I agree with Clinton when she says: "America will always be a world leader as long as we remain true to our ideals and embrace strategies that match the times".



Pew Forum: The Torture Debate: A Closer Look: "It shows that currently, more than six-in-ten white evangelical Protestants (62%) say that the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can be often or sometimes justified. This is significantly higher than the number of white mainline Protestants (46%) and religiously unaffiliated (40%) who say torture can be often or sometimes justified. Additionally, those who attend religious services at least once a week are much more likely than those who seldom or never attend religious services to take this view (54% vs. 42%)."

These counter-intuitive data are interesting. Briefly, religious and weekly church going individuals are more prone to agree that torture could be used than religiously unaffiliated people. About 25% agrees that torture can rarely be used and about 25% claims that it should never be used. The data are from April-May 2009. Personally I am religious but on the rarely or never side.

In USA Today one reads that a Rasmussen poll last week claimed that 70% of respondents either says that waterboarding of the underwear bomber is OK or are unsure of which and this is after an unsuccessful attempt. 30% are for Obama's standpoint. This tend to verify David Brook's assumption that the situation in the USA is currently a little sensitive.

The New York Times, called Yes, it was torture, and illegal, ran yesterday an editorial that discussed if it was not time to remove the right to torture individuals from the executive branch and make it constitutionally impossible via the supreme court. It should be of some interest for Swedes, since we do have troops in Afghanistan presently. In any case, it does not take much for the mood to swing in this issue. Perhaps, the more important that it is clarified as illegal?

The American Revolution 2.0?

Op-Ed Columnist - The Tea Party Teens - NYTimes.com: "The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation."

According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll 41% of people had a positive view of The Tea Party movement. Only 35% and 28% had a positive view of of Democrats and Republicans, respectively, in the same poll. Brooks himself is not a fan of this conservative type movement. I went through the 40 comments on the column and Brooks got a lot of bile for being against the movement. Brooks think that America is very sensitive now for anything that can be held against the elite which might color the next decade in this light.

This debate reminds me of the "verklighetens folk", or 'down-to-earth people', debate in Sweden. I never understood the complaints on the elite in Sweden. After all we don't have a giant deficit to blame the elite for. Some people are irritated on the left-intellectual faction in Sweden. We have had a social democratic power grip for many years and a lot of intelligent people have accumulated on its side. Also, as Reinfeldt did point out, there is an invisible hand that among other things act through media with a left tilt. Perhaps Brooks is talking about the same thing concerning the elite?

I note with some interest that the debate between left and right resembles the debate between secular humanists and religious people where the religious people gets hammered all the time with "scientific" arguments that I encountered in the beginning of my blog. They simple don't bother to defend themselves. The winning left arguments are moral in character, the recent problem with employment insurance as a prime example. Mutating into a populist down-to-earth scenario is then a cowardly escape.

Climate Science and Gene Modified Organisms

"Avdramatisera genmodifierad växtförädling" - Aktuella frågor - Sydsvenskan - Nyheter dygnet runt: "För att klara framtida behov av livsmedel är det nödvändigt att utveckla olika tekniker inom växtförädling. Med genmodifiering kan växtförädlingen uppnå resultat som inte är möjliga med andra förädlingstekniker, skriver docent Anders Falk på Jordbruksverket."

There is still a great controversy between the US, which is for GMO, and the EU which is highly restrictive. It is also so that Europeans does not seem so fascinated with the technology as such, notwithstanding the safety concerns. They simply don't like it. Since the US currently are more deft in science than the EU, it is clear that scientific arguments in this case don't work on the Europeans.

It is interesting to compare the use of science for the argumentation of using GMOs and that of scientific arguments in the climate change debate. It is, for example, obvious that scientific arguments work better in Europe than in the US. There has even been arguments for letting the scientists rule the world even if this is a little too Platonic for most people. Turning this against the Europeans it might be so that the issues at hand cannot only be discussed by scientific arguments.

Anders Falk in the article in Sydsvenskan therefore seems to be American in character and I must spontaneously agree with him that in all probability there should be great possibilities with GMOs. Science in general, and molecular biology in particular, has shown tremendous progress during the last century. However, this is more of a political opinion than it is a thorough scientific investigation of possible hazards with the technology in question. The use of scientific argumentation is seemingly very political.


Hearts and Minds?

Cheney Was Right - Page 2 - The Daily Beast: "When people in countries like Yemen and Nigeria see America and its allies as a force for progress and dignity and al Qaeda as a force for misery and oppression, America will win the struggle against al Qaeda where it won the struggle against the USSR: on the battlefield of hearts and minds."

Carl Bildt points out in his blog that extremism has lost out in afflicted countries but that the problem of the extremists remains. Peter Beinart compares the war against terrorism, his article claims that we are back in this business, is like the cold war. I'm not sure he is right about this. There are no hearts and minds to win among the fundamentalist extremists, unfortunately. Does it not rather look like we are having a problem with a certain fraction of the world population that it is very difficult to get rid of. Calling this a war is very unfortunate. Isn't it just a level of criminality that we have to adjust for.

Peter Beinart points out in his article that the problem with military fight attempting to solve this problem is that it kills civilians. Such activities creates more problem than they solve. It is why I am very wary about the continued effort in Afghanistan--it escalates every year so far.

The head of the German 25m Protestants, Bishop Margot Kässmann, claims the war in Afghanistan cannot be justified. She has many Germans behind her but has also come under fire from senior politicians lately, who claim Germany is in Afghanistan on a UN mission. The article in Spiegel Online does not give her justification but I would be surprised if it not fairly in line with my own. A person interviewed in the radio in Sweden from the Swedish Afghan Committee, an aid organization, meant that his colleagues did not become targets in Afghanistan until they were escorted by military personnel.

Beinart wants to win his war by leveraging America's greatest assets its economic, diplomatic and ideological. Wrong again, according to my mind. Extremists could not care less and afflicted governments might be more impressed by China's way of doing business these days. However, leaving this people alone would probably lower the risk of getting terrorists on your ground. It will diminish the arguments the extremists have against their respective governments. It was local forces that made the difference in Iraq.


Israel and Turkey in EU?

10 frågor för 2010 - Anna Dahlberg - Expressen.se: "En av det gångna årets största besvikelser var när Obama retirerade från kravet på Israel att stoppa bosättningsexpansionen på ockuperad mark. Samme Obama som kritiserat Bush för att inte ha engagerat sig tillräckligt i den israelisk-palestinska konflikten framstod själv som både passiv och tafatt."

According to The Jerusalem Post, Israel is in love with Europe, a love that is not reciprocal. 30% of Europeans believed Jews created the financial crisis. However, many argue for adding Turkey to the EU despite animosities against Muslims in Europe as viewed recently with the anti-minaret vote in Switzerland. The time period discussed to peace between Israel and Palestine varies from 2 years to 15 years.

Dahlberg wants Obama to act but why do we not act ourselves. David Brooks, a Op-Ed writer of The New York Times, wrote that Israel is in reality a Middle Eastern country rather than an outpost of the West in the Middle East. However, if you compare with allowing the entry of 80m Muslims that also are Middle Eastern, adding 7m Israelis is not much to argue about. I don't know why I have never seen this issue discussed in the press but the 1.3m Jewish diaspora in Europe would not mind, I guess. Israel is participating in the European Song Contest after all.

Peace between Israel and the Palestinians depend on the security aspect of the Israelis to a great extent. Military control over the West Bank is necessary to protect the Israelian heartland. Obviously the security of Israel would be significantly improved if it would become an EU member. Being 7m Jews among 300m angry Muslims is one thing but being part of a 500m EU block is quite another. The constitutional state of Israel should not cause the same problems as does that of Turkey. The discussion of a one-state or two-state solution becomes much less important if one or both countries merge into something greater.

The membership of both Israel and Turkey in the EU would greatly balance anti-semitism and anti-Muslim sentiments. If we really are interested in peace in the Middle East, why don't we get involved seriously. Just adding Turkey to the EU would greatly increase anti-semitism in Europe to perhaps intolerable levels.


Most Important Issue?

Gunnar Hökmark » Arkiv » Ett Gott Nytt År!: "I Afrika och i Asien ser vi de politiska konsekvenserna av ett ekonomiskt allt mäktigare Kina, de investeringar som görs i Europa av såväl Kina som Ryssland, med i båda fallen ägande nära kontrollerat av den politiska makten ger nya intressen och nya säkerhetspolitiska utmaningar. Ryssland står med Gazprom närmare Europas centrum i dag än vad Sovjetunionen någonsin gjorde med militär förmåga."

I think Hökmark is making a very important point in this paragraph of his latest blog post. It is understandable that Western press is emphasizing the terrorist bit now when there is desperate need for a reinforced support for the Afganistan war, however, over all it has since 9/11 been reasonably stable on this front. Obama have had Fort Hood and an aborted flight 253 attempt but feel free to compare this with Finland.

The fascist style retaliation against the Muhammad caricature painter is really bothersome in principle but a professional police act abolished the threat. Both in Europe and in the US the protection systems can't be said to be entiredly dyfunctional. What fascinates me is how these few terrorists are undressing Westerners at airports, now seemingly down to the last thread. Muslim fundamentalists must feel very content. 100 nicabs in Denmark against all travelers in airports.

No, I refuse to sing the song we are terrorised by terrorists. The situation seems to be very much under control.