Smart foreign policy

Women are at the heart of US foreign policy Hillary Clinton - Times Online: "Advancing women’s equality is at the heart of the foreign policy of the United States. We believe that women are critical to solving almost every challenge we face, and that strategies that ignore the lives and contributions of women have little chance of succeeding. We view the subjugation of women as a threat to the national security of the US and to the common security of our world. So we are integrating women throughout our work around the globe."

Clinton is getting many sour remarks for this policy in the comments to the article but this is not feministic gibberish this is smart foreign policy. I revolted a little against the use of the word smart to describe a foreign policy in the beginning because if you say you are smart it would imply that others are not so smart. However, it can also mean that something is smart which is the situation in this case.

It is interesting to note that the above would mean that men and women are not identical, although equal, something people engaged politically in gender lore probably would disagree on. A woman is not just another man.

Chaos in Afghanistan?

Afghan Leader Is Seen to Flout Influence of U.S. - NYTimes.com: "“He [Karzai] has developed a complete theory of American power,” said an Afghan who attended the lunch and who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “He believes that America is trying to dominate the region, and that he is the only one who can stand up to them.”
Mr. Karzai said that, left alone, he could strike a deal with the Taliban, but that the United States refuses to allow him. The American goal, he said, was to keep the Afghan conflict going, and thereby allow American troops to stay in the country."

Thomas L. Friedman today gives voice to the American frustration after Hamid Karzai revenges on Obama by inviting Ahmadinejad to his palace for a fierce anti-American speech. The above information makes the present goal of educating Karzai's forces to take over control of Afghanistan defunct.

Friedman's conclusion is that Karzai would betray America even if they helped him to restore order in Afghanistan. There have been other evidence for this development in that Karzai have sold the right to a giant copper mine to the Chinese and not to a country of the NATO coalition. This is in the same vein as Iraq's choice of Syria as a main business partner. Yes, it should be noted that other countries are indeed involved in the conflict which is not referred to in the two above articles.

Karzai is frustrated himself, apparently, and wants to solve the situation regionally and is even soliciting advice from Iran. However, this is a man that is rumored to only have control of Kabul. It would then be strange that he wouldn't want the Americans or NATO to dominate the region. It would, at least theoretically, give him some peace of mind. With the above information it is emphasized that the actual reason for why NATO is present in Afghanistan is not something that there is a firm consensus about. McChrystal's new strategy is of course evidence for that the presence of foreign troops is problematic and Karzai's idea on peace with the Taliban probably would mean that all foreign troops should leave.

As Friedman points out NATO is in the middle of a surge when Karzai turns his back on them. Therefore it looks like there is a risk for the whole operation might fizzle because without Karzai and his troops support there might not be enough people to clear, hold and develop the area. Karzai is probably sufficient friendly with the Taliban via his war lords that he wants to save their position by going against NATO, ie, limit the damage. If the next year still develops into a take-over and controlling of the land by NATO the question is what they would do then? Find another leader might not be that easy in a country without a developed structure.

Sverker Göranson, the Swedish military chief, said in a recent interview that no operations where performed any longer without the presence of Karzai's men. The above delineated conflict between the US and Afghanistan must mean that severe strain and distrust must have been inflicted on all operations. President Obama emphasized on his recent visit to Kabul that Karzai have to do more on corruption. It should then be remembered that Afghanistan is ranked 179 of 180 possible, only Somalia is lower, on the Transparency International corruption index. I think it is fair to ask if much progress can be expected under these circumstances?

Well, casualties were up last month compared to last year and this would spell the nightmare scenario where the yearly increase in casualties would continue despite the new strategy. The conclusion I can draw from available information is that the situation has become very precarious. Göranson claimed that more Swedish casualties were expected. I lost the light at the end of the tunnel here, I must admit.


Rattling the cage a little

Richard Cohen - Google's lonely stand for human rights in China - washingtonpost.com: "Their view of progress, they emphasize, is not our own. The free expression of ideas leads to chaos. Dissent is treason. China is too unmanageable not to be severely and ruthlessly managed. The Internet should not be a force for liberalization. It should be a force to encourage conformity. Let a thousand intellectual flowers bloom -- as long as they all bloom identically."

As I write on my Facebook profile, I am a new kind of prisoner. I have done nothing wrong but I'm kept down physically and intellectually and there is no one I can talk to about this problem. Officially I'm under the care of the psychiatry function of society.

Today I visited the local psychiatrist and tried to plead my case. It was five years since last time, if the person that said he was a psychiatrist in reality was this that time. She did not know anything about the technology which I call TTDE, the Technology That Doesn't Exist. The result is that I'm delusional and making it worse someone tried to lower my intellectual ability while I was pleading my case in the psychiatrist's office giving me that ugly Chinese smell. In other words, no positive signs yet.

My whole life hangs on the existence of TTDE. So I guess I just have to wait. Eventually there will be a Nürnberg II. If we are lucky... My book on Religious Humanism does not progress since someone from the religious hating Chinese-like sect that rule my life blocks my brain when I try to think about it, for example.

Well, Orwell's 1984 went on the radio theatre the other day. The thought police just have to lower your IQ and erase your memories, so it became worse than in the fiction. Everybody talks about innovation these days. I worry for the economy in the future.


The Brussels Forum

Europeans Woo U.S., Promising Relevance - NYTimes.com: "American officials and European experts largely see European national leaders as focused on their own debates about Greece and the debt crisis afflicting the group of countries that use the euro, divided over China and Russia and tired of Afghanistan. Europe is seen just now as not a problem for the United States, but not much help, either."

R. Nicholas Burns, a former senior American official and Ambassador to NATO, now Professor at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, says "Europeans should be our natural ally, if we can get together on the Middle East, Russia and China. But we can't seem to find that strategic consensus. NATO itself is faltering".

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish PM and now Secretary General of NATO, insists that "the burden of fighting in Afghanistan was shared by Europe. Non-American forces represented 40% of troops there and took 40% of the causalities." Burns said the Europeans did not seem to invest so much in defence, the "capability gap", and that they mostly stayed out from the serious fighting in Afghanistan.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, director of policy at the US State Department, said "is how much we measure the relationship in terms of what we do together in the world in stead of how much we focus on Europe."

I guess this is the question: is Europe ready to take on the world or is it navel gazing. Rasmussen says that NATO is at a low in the US today and that the low defence spending in Europe is risking the concept. If we want to be a global player we would have to invest more. Europe in the mean time is the largest contributor of aid.

I have discussed this earlier in the blog whether or not it is possible to do different things of the total for the US and the EU. It gets complicated if there is asymmetry in terms of risking lives. Right now there seems to be a problem. However, if national leaders promise relevance as the title of the New York Times article is suggesting, the question is if they have their populations behind them? Europeans seems to think they will be left alone in peace. We can always hope.

The 35 hour week?

There is an article by Gudrun Schyman of the party Feministic Initiative and of Carl Schlyter from the Greens that discuss the introduction of a 30 hour workweek without discussing the results of the French introduction of the 35 hour workweek in 2000 by Jospin's government. Martine Aubry, the present leader of the Parti Socialist, pushed the issue in Jospin's government as minister of labour.

It is interesting that France, that experimented with a 10 day week, decadi, 9 working days and one day of rest, during the French Revolution during 12 years was first with lowering the 40 working hours week. Indeed Napoleon changed back to a seven day week one year after becoming emperor due to the fact that it was to heavy on people working 9 days with one day rest. Six days work with one day off worked better, at the time. Must have been a popular decision? We have not seen the same enthusiasm in Europe this time around.

They write articles in Wikipedia on the 35 hour workweek and claim the conservatives don't like it while the left oriented parties favor it. This must be a fundamental dividing line then between the right and the left. I for one believe that man is built to work and that successively lowering working time for people like apparently the Sustainable Development Commission of the British government suggests is kind of depressive. The article claims that they want the Britons to take out productivity increases in lower working time rather than pay increases. It is interesting in this context that the British government acts against the recommendation by SDC-UK on nuclear energy and is building new reactors.

Exactly which workweek that is the optimal for a given population is of course a variable that can be tested and confirmed by research. However, this is quite an undertaking that would have to run over generations to assay medical effects on people and the results from the development of the economy. The 35 hour workweek law of France has been successively weakened so it seem like there might be a force bringing it back to approximately 40 hours. Furthermore, the number of jobs has not increased as a result of the law but people rather work harder while they are at work to compensate.

One argument in favor of maintaining the present 40 hour workweek is that many jobs are so difficult that they require long hours per week and that it is therefore necessary for employees to keep up for solidarity and team spirit. Our welfare depends on these jobs. I don't think we can sneak away from work and taking in cultural aspects very soon become work in the form of studies and would have to be counted as such. What is probably better is to arrange the society in a fashion that is more biological in that people differ in their ability to work and that it should be acceptable to work all kinds of workweeks. That, however, would challenge equality aspects of human enterprise.



Well, I have tried to follow the development of this debacle and have come to a conclusion. I think it is a blatant example of how "group rules" trump the "rule of law" of Sweden these days.

A person can be treated as a convict and a prisoner in one context and as a hero in another, for arbitrary reasons.

It is an awful story altogether. It is also another example of the diminishing prestige of the Parliament.

The Power of Parliament?

Staffan Danielsson: "Ett debattinlägg i Norrköpings tidningar (tyvärr inte utlagt på webben) kring debatten om 'riksdagens' makt ökar ju oftare som enstaka borgerliga riksdagsledamöter fäller sin regerings och sina partiers förslag. Jag menar att det är socialdemokraternas och de rödgrönas makt som ökar, inte riksdagens, om oppositionen inte 'röstar fritt' utan endast några liberaler"

What is power of government? If the utilization of the wisdom of parliament is secured by the ability of MPs to vote according to their conscience, this is power--power of the country. For the government, parliament excluded, to always get their will through, is not power. It is rather power of a small group of individuals given a mandate that is supposed to be checked by parliament.

I must say that I have begun to wonder if I live in a fascist state when MPs talk about whip lash pain involved in the decision process of voting bills through? In the case of the vote of conscience for the 1915 genocide, for example, it is the wisdom of parliament that is requested as a measure of this country's position. For the losers of the "match" it is of course frustrating but in a democracy it is just off to the next game. Team sports are very important for fostering these sentiments in the Western world.

If we were to have Sweden Inc., the parliament would correspond to the board. Yes, it would be more effective but not so wise a structure. Not so representative of the people. People start to worry that we have to govern like the Chinese to be competitive. I believe this would be a great mistake for the reason that this will only work for a while until people become immune to steering by the invisible hand. What happens if people do not become immune? Then we will get the Dark Ages back for a long time, perhaps forever.


The Red-Greens of Germany are coming?

News Analysis - Germany Begins to Shed Its Role as E.U. Integrator - NYTimes.com: "Mrs. Merkel’s call for the right to exclude countries like Greece actually seems linked to domestic politics before an important regional election in North Rhine-Westphalia in May. Polls suggest that the governing coalition could lose to a liberal combination of Social Democrats, Greens and the Left party."

Well, today EU leaders meet again to dwell on the topic of Europe's future. The article by Stephen Castle and Matthew Saltmarsh points out that Germany's interest no longer necessarily is Europe's interest. Angela Merkel and her CDU party have been speaking for the environment but apparently are also threatened, like Nicholas Sarkozy in France, in regional elections by a Red-Green coalition. Polls indicate that Germans are not keen on sending money to Greece, they'd rather invest via the markets in Russia, apparently.

Here in Sweden Henrik Oscarsson discuss the recent result of a SIFO poll where the most talked about topics are displayed for the different parties. Swedes fancy jobs, healthcare, education, eldercare and the environment, in this order. The Red-Greens own healthcare, eldercare and the environment. It is more even for the job and education categories. However, the Center party and the Christian Democrats have completely failed to rally for the environment and eldercare, respectively, which is perhaps the main reason for the lead of the Red-Greens over Alliansen, the rightwing governing coalition, who never since the last election 2006 was in the lead in polls.

The article thus suggests that Red-Green coalitions might be breaking Europe apart by challenging the ruling center-right coalitions. The Red-Greens have traditionally been against the EU and EMU in Sweden.

Israel a liability for the US! Tough talk or fact based on research?

'Israel saves, doesn’t endanger, US lives': "This argument first surfaced immediately after the Ramat Shlomo issue broke, with a furious Biden quoted by Yediot Aharonot as telling Netanyahu, “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace. Biden's staff later denied that he made that comment, but regardless, that argument had penetrated the US public discussion about Israel.

Then the Foreign Policy magazine web site ran a story a couple of days later saying that the Commander of the US Central Command, Major General David Petraeus, sent a briefing team to the Pentagon at the beginning of the year "with a stark warning: America's relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America's soldiers."

Well, General Petraeus is not the kind of person that you want to argue against. He is the man that turned the tide on the Iraq war. He has a Ph.D. from Princeton that makes him eligible for interpreting intelligence data on top of this. However, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israelian PM, does just that. I guess he lives in the Middle East and has tentacles everywhere. It still seems to me that his judgement that Israel is an asset rather than a liability is reasonable.

Tough talk then... to reach objectives for the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine? Peace negotiations that the top players in Israel does not think have the possibility to materialize in the short run. My problem with this is that a peace deal between Palestine and Israel, as unlikely as it is, is not going to change Iran's belligerence via Hizbollah and Hamas. According to Petraeus Iran is helping al Qaida now in Afghanistan as well. Ariel Sharon gave Gaza to the Palestinians and they turned it into a war zone...with the help of Iran. This is therefore the likely outcome of further land concessions. Iran blocks effectively peace.

I can't resist making a comment comparing the fight about Afghanistan that apparently is worth NATO lives and that Israel's existence would not be subject to the same treatment. It seems to me that Israel as an asset far supersedes that of Afghanistan.


One more round of Nuclear Power seems necessary

Regeringen vill ha nya reaktorer - DN.se: "Beslutet fattades på torsdagen och propositionen presenteras nästa vecka. Förslaget innebär att de nuvarande tio reaktorerna ska kunna ersättas med nya — och att ett tak om högst tio reaktorer sätts."

Jan Björklund, leader of Folkpartiet, has argued well for the need of replacing at least some of the present reactors for securing electricity until Sweden can become fully renewable. Tomas Ramberg gave Björklund a hard time on the actual percentage of nuclear power that presently generate electricity in a recent Saturday Interview on the Radio program One. However, it still represents a significant percentage that currently cannot be replaced by renewable sources.

The argument that people seem to avoid is that of actual cost when production starts which is hard to calculate. The construction of the latest Finnish reactor which is late and more expensive is generally brought up. Avoiding dependence on Russian natural gas is of course something worth paying defence tax money for as is perhaps substituting for fossil fuel produced electricity from European sources. There is of course a risk that we would damage the prospects of the export industry with too high costs on electricity?

After listening to the speech of Jan Björklund at the Folkparti Riksmöte in Västerås the other day, I realized that he did not mention anything about future sustainability. He advocated full speed ahead. Personally I think it is unwise to not address this issue at all due to its importance. A moderate approach to sustainability from the right would be appropriate as an alternative to more unrealistic approaches of the Greens. It might be that Alliansen, the political coalition of Sweden, now delegates to the Centerparti to argue for sustainability, but it does not yet show on the national stage. Nicolas Sarkozy, a right wing politician, is arguing for sustainability who is also hard pressed by a Red-Green alliance.

Turkey as a relay between the West and Iran?

The Region: Meanwhile, in the ME...: "The Americans, Ahmadinejad said, “not only have failed to gain any power, but also are forced to leave the region. They are leaving their reputation, image and power behind in order to escape... The [American] government has no influence [to stop]... the expansion of Iran-Syria ties, Syria-Turkey ties and Iran-Turkey ties – God willing, Iraq too will join the circle.”"

Barry Rubin at The Jerusalem Post uses this citation from Ahmadinejad of Iran to illustrate what he calls the real problem of the Middle East rather than the Israel-Palestine question in general and the Jerusalem development in particular. Israel is apparently split on the relative importance of Iran (right) or Palestine (left). For Sweden this means that if Ahmadinejad is the boss rather than Erdogan of Turkey, we can become party of the wrong side if a strong Turkey, Irak friendliness is cultivated.

However, Turkey is of course a more cultivated society than that of Iran at this point--democratic as it is. It could therefore be argued that, there would be more influence flowing from Turkey to Iran than vice versa. This could be positive. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has however given signs of "revolutionary" tendencies by claiming that assimilation of Turks in Europe is a crime against humanity, thus fueling irritation and fear of a development of a Eurabia.

If the hawks in the US are correct, Iran's tendency to regime change is more likely that their giving up nuclear ambitions, such which can give them the impression that they are leading Turkey along. It seems unlikely that a NATO member such as Turkey would get too subservient with Iran though, unless they become less revolutionary, although people claim they have been distancing themselves from Europe recently. The two countries Iran and Turkey have about the same GDP being on rank 17 and 18, respectively in the world with about the same size populations, 66m and 76m, respectively, which makes Iran a little wealthier per capita.

According to General Petraeus, Iran is more and more intent on fighting the US in the area and it is therefore more and more difficult seeing them as possible to integrate in the international community which is the prerequisite for diplomacy to work. They might simply be too wild. As Rubin points out, this is a bad development. Israel has a GDP of $205bn whereas Iran and Turkey each have approximately $850bn.

Turkey thus seems to have become a relay station for a tug of war between the West and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In all probability this is one of the reasons for Sweden and the US to hesitate in calling Turkish history for what it is. As I have said earlier, I think this is wrong. Not heeding what the US Congress and the Swedish Parliament is arguing concerning the recognition of the 1915 genocide is giving in to dark forces and thus helping those in Turkey that obscur history and prevent reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey in the long run.

The recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature (2006) and the German Booksellers Prize (2005), Orhan Pamuk spoke up for the recognition of the genocide. He was apparently saved from prison, after having being charged for non-Turkishness, by the upcoming discussion of EU enlargment. It matters to Turkey what Europeans think, apparently. At least as far back as 2006, when this happened.


The Red-Greens of Europe are coming?

Sarkozy Meets With Leaders of His Party After Defeat in Regional Elections - NYTimes.com: "There also was interest in the good showing of a coalition of green parties, known as Europe Ecology, which ran in third place a week ago and whose active support will be needed by the Socialists if they hope to win the presidency. The anti-immigrant National Front also ran well. The elections were disastrous for François Bayrou’s Democratic Movement party, which tried to position itself as a centrist alternative."

I guess it has finally happened. The awaited surge in social democracy after the financial crisis, that did not materialize as of yet, might be here. Together with anti-immigrant activity and a fright of the center. Perhaps Nya Moderaterna and the Social Democrats in Sweden are approaching a barren center ground? As in Sweden, the Greens are important. Maybe it will even save Labour in the UK in the soon to be elections?

Social liberalism won out in the US as well which I liked very much. President Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi managed to secure 219 votes, of 216 needed, for the historic Health Insurance Reform. The tone of the soul of the US has been set in this mode and not in the Tea Party mode. It is a digital choice rather than a gradual spread. Huffington Post said about the win, Congress: Yes we can! There has be so much talk about the need for bi-partisanism that using a majority for a while seemed like pure sin.

It was probably good for the process to not rush the bill through and to have lots of discussion going on. It is apparently possible with democracy where the representatives have the voters wishes in mind rather than just react on the whip lashes like Fredrik Reinfeldt is pronouncing here in Sweden. For the sake of a favorable interest rate as he said in the Saturday Interview on the Radio program One. Democracy ceases to exist the minute we allow the market to direct our vote and mind.


Various interpretations of EU's role

EurActiv: "In an interview to be broadcast ahead of an EU summit next week, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso says expelling a country from the euro zone, as suggested by German Chancellor Merkel, would be against EU treaty rules."

"Merkel wants possibility to exclude members of the Euro zone" from Main focus of eurotopics.net

"Merkel's proposal un-European" from Les Echos, France.

"Chancellor's ill-considered threat against Greece" from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany.

"Betrayal of the European idea" from Eleftherotypia, Greece.

"Germany must continue in key role for EU" from Corriere della Sera, Italy.

I am trying to figure out what is going on in Europe in the wake of the Greek debacle. Many seem bent on a federal Europe from the articles above but Angela Merkel follows the old Europe below our constitutional court rule. The Germans can apparently think in terms of an IMF intervention in Greece rather than forming an EMF which would have rendered a federal touch to Europe.

Is Merkel seeing something here that others don't see? The Lisbon Treaty hardly did not start until Germany is beginning to suggest future changes of the treaty situation. It could also be a type of courtship where Merkel, and Germany, is playing hard to get in order to get more power and popularity. From the article titles above it is possible to glean a leadership role for Germany in Europe. However, Angela Merkel might be saying no at a very important historic moment?


Sustainable development in the EU?

Apparently sustainable development was first contemplated 1997 in the Treaty of Amsterdam which came into force 1999.

A review of what has been accomplished since then was published 2009. Two things stand out:

The availability of natural resources will be 30% above sustainable in 2050 when the population is calculated to become 9bn.

Furthermore, money invested in research and development have gone from 1.85% of GDP to 1.83% between 2000 and 2007 and thus deviates from the 2010 EU goal of 3%.

The EU goal is set because the current levels for the USA and Japan are 3% and over.


The "risk to American lives in the region" argument?

For the first time there are voices questioning Israel’s strategic value - Times Online: "As America becomes more deeply involved in the Arab and Muslim worlds, with nearly 200,000 troops in Iraq, the Gulf and Afghanistan, it will challenge anything that may threaten US lives".

This is an interesting argument but it seems erroneous because it treats the presence of American soldiers as settlers in the region. These soldiers are rather in the area to stand up for democracy and human rights. The argument was apparently also used as support for not calling the massacres of Armenians and others in 1915 a genocide by the Bush administration and perhaps also by the Obama administration since they tried to prevent the Congressional Committee to vote for the recognition of a genocide recently.

It might mean that there has been a shift from the presence of troops in the region short time to a long time perspective even if the rhetoric says otherwise. Such a change of opinion of the US government and military would be a disaster for Israel who naturally is a constant irritant for Muslims in the area and elsewhere. Whatever they do represents a risk to American lives. In the present dispute on Jerusalem settlements the AIPAC Jewish lobbying group (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is for Nethanyahu and the alternative lobbying group J-Street against. The dispute is taken seriously not only for the embarrassment for Joe Biden but also for Obama who is due visiting the largest Muslim country in the world, his childhood home, Indonesia.

However, trying to understand Nethanyahu in this debacle it seems like he is operating from the point of view of his own reality. Obama currently, with his friendliness towards non-democratic, poor human right respecting Muslim countries, is regarded very poorly in Israel. Nethanyahu's reality in the US is AIPAC and others sympathetic with the quest and history of Israel. These are people that unlike the UN Security Council Resolution 478 from 1980 think winning against aggressors in the six-day war entitled Israel morally to keep certain areas for their future defence. Jimmy Carter's administration abstained from the vote in the resolution. Things have changed.


Financial Transaction Tax?

EU Parliament pushes for bank tax EurActiv: "The EU executive told EurActiv it was examining a Swedish scheme which was introduced as early as October 2008.
The Swedish Stability Fund has been collecting a 0.036% fee from banks and credit institutions, which, if all goes according to plan, should accrue 2.5% of GDP in 15 years."

It does not seem like Swedes are too foreign to the financial transaction tax concept since they in essence are doing it themselves. The question is if the world is ready for it since it is necessary to introduce it all over in order for compliance.

People write about this in the leftish The Guardian and wants the US aboard the project. They talk about a 0.25% tax that would render some $100bn per year. The US could rid themselves of their deficit over ten years in a similar fashion. The use for paying of deficits generated by the financial crisis defences was suggested by Jeffrey Sachs. He also suggested the use for a stable source for disaster payments and for food to the poor.

But is this really a leftish problem to generate a stable source of revenue for world wide good purposes or is it rather a powerful idea who's time has come? After the crises, Angela Merkel was suggesting the the typical economy of Germany might become the world standard. I guess everyone is curious about what standard China and Asia in general are going to chose. In any case, the enthusiasm seen in the European Parliament across the board for a financial transaction tax is not so far shared across the pond. At least not yet. It seems like the G20 meeting in June 2010 will discuss the matter.


The Genocide of 1915

There seems to be two important arguments in the debate between Alliansen and the Red-Greens. Politicizing history and the reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia.

From reading around, and from what I have heard earlier in my life, it seems like there is overwhelming support for the idea that we are talking about a genocide. This means that historic research is fact, as hard as it gets, which in turn means that the Red-Greens have voted and so has a few from The Alliansen but is seems like there are in fact more conscientious dissident voices. Fredrik Reinfeldt has apparently changed his opinion from 2006.

Our minister of the environment, Andreas Carlgren, said that he wants results from the research on the environment from scientists to be able to make decisions on political matters. Is this politicizing meteorological research? Most people would say that it is not.

There is also an argument put forward from Alliansen, which Hilary Clinton also used in the recent American debate on the same issue, that the reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia would be disturbed. As Mona Sahlin said during her interview on the radio yesterday, there will be a temporary disturbance. However, in the long run reconciliation will never be possible between Turkey and Armenia if Turkey does not conform with the brunt of international knowledge on this matter and goes through the process of acceptance of this fact.

On October 12, 2006 France passed a bill making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide of 1915. This was not popular in Turkey either but it demonstrates how important this issue is and that Turkey's aggressive overreactions seem typical of a collective bad conscience, if anything. I don't know about Alliansen but if prefer to be on the same page as twelve European nations than with Turkey on this issue.


It is the Swedish government that politicizes the history of the 1915 genocide

”Turkiets reaktion överdriven” - DN.se: "Carl Bildt tycks inte ha en tanke på att göra riksdagens beslut till svensk utrikespolitik. Den sköts i detalj av regeringen och Bildt vill nog skjuta den här frågan framför sig – utan att överväga någon åtgärd, säger Ove Bring, professor i folkrätt vid Försvarshögskolan."

Well, Carl Bildt claims in his blog that the government will not change its direction on Turkey politics. The reason apparently, to not heed a parliamentary result, is that it is wrong to politicize history. However, claiming that a historically verified genocide is not a genocide is in fact to politicize history. The reverse, which the majority of the Parliament voted for, is following the result of historic research.

I must say that I feel proud over Sweden's position as depicted by the Parliament but I ashamed over the recalcitrant position of the government. There has been some discussion lately about the Parliament being full of so called "voting cattle" but yesterday's vote proved that there still exists independently thinking MPs.

Professor Ove Bring is correct in the immature response by Turkey, a country mired with internal strife and lack of understanding of even their own history. If Germany had not recognized the fact that they had performed a genocide they would not have been where they are today. I believe that Turkey's reaction clearly proves that they have far to go before an EU membership could be considered.



G20: Gordon Brown calls for global tax on financial transactions - Telegraph: "''I believe we should discuss whether we need a better economic and social contract to reflect the global responsibilities of financial institutions to society,'' he said.
''This is a unique sector that, when it fails, imposes such a high cost to the wider economy and damage to society that government intervention becomes essential. So the taxpayer had no real choice but to step in to keep the system afloat.
"And it cannot be acceptable that the benefits of success in this sector are reaped by the few but the costs of its failure are born by all of us.""

The idea of such taxation and transfer to the poor and victims of for example earth quakes is that a very small fraction of a percent on each financial transaction could generate 100s of billions of dollars per year. People that could use such a bank account are Jeffrey D. Sachs. Critics of the tax claim that global financial flows would dry up but this is not likely given the small relative rate.

Jeffrey D. Sachs writes today in The Times about the same thing. He talks about a Robin Hood tax. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University which is dedicated to sustainability questions. The overarching goal of the Institute is to "help achieve sustainable development primarily by expanding the world's understanding of Earth as one integrated system".

There is definitely a need for cash of this nature because it is easy to see what happens when a country like Greece ends up in trouble. People start to discuss who is going to help. Earth quake victims is another source for concern. What follows is of course general questions of global governance and the realization that the world hardly is integrated politically or religiously. However, a G20 governed fund to aid countries might be a good addition to the UN system which has its limitation due to the many countries in charge. A lot of people would probably like this idea but a small country like Sweden would not be in the orbit.


Russia joining NATO?

The Dutch retreat - The Globe and Mail: "A military alliance without a clear common enemy, or a clear goal, becomes almost impossible to maintain. NATO is still dominated by the U.S., and European allies still fall in line, if only just to keep the alliance going – and in the hope of exerting some influence on the only remaining superpower. This means Europeans participate in U.S.-initiated military adventures, even though national or European interests in doing so are far from clear"

Well, this thoughtful suggestion from Ian Buruma is probably on many a European mind. Spiegel ONLINE today provides a possible development for NATO. Some influential defence people argue for letting Russia join NATO. Today is also the day Sweden has begun having bilateral meetings with Russia. Something makes me think that the article in question is rather about a possible bilateral defence union for Russia and Germany.

With their energy needs, Germany has been approaching Russia for some time now. When former chancellors engage in Gasprom, people tend to get the general idea. Russia has been talking about a new security arrangement for Europe which the US recently described as unnecessary waste of time. However, the experts tries to motivate Russia with the notion that it needs defence against up and coming Asian powers.

The German experts brings up the problem of Russia needing to conform to NATO values. I guess it is possible to ask if Turkey has conformed or deviated during its time in NATO as a possible comparison. Carl Bildt reports from Russia today on his blog and is pleased with what he saw. The situation from the devious Georgian invasion has healed remarkably fast. Georgia has become a small problem and getting Sochi ready for the next Winter Olympics is probably more important.

The large question is of course, and I have discussed it before, is for Russia to decide whether they are European or Asian. There is a border in Yekatherineburg and the question is if Russia wants to have one foot in each door. As it has been relayed in the available press during the last years, it appears that Germany is more willing to accommodate Russia than the US. There are obvious benefits of solving the political problems of the Eastern European states that were former parts of the Soviet Union at the same time. Russia remains wary of the recent NATO advancement as long as they would not be members themselves.

However, as much as a federal politically united Europe would be a good thing if it worked, a Russia joined with Europe with its fundamental differences is for me a fairytale. A Russia joined with a Republican US is of course an impossibility. It is therefore my initial feeling was that the German experts in their article rather wants to feel out the European interest for a German-Russian axis. Who knows, France might also be interested since they have begun sales of weapons to Russia.

The post-Western World?

Op-Ed Columnist - Gone, Solid Gone - NYTimes.com: "The Obama presidency has been a shock to Europe. At heart, Obama is not a Westerner, not an Atlanticist. He grew up partly in Indonesia and partly in Hawaii, which is about as far from the East Coast as you can get in the United States. “He’s very much a member of the post-Western world,” said Constanze Stelzenmüller of the German Marshall Fund."

First Fareed Zakaria discuss the post-American World and now Roger Cohen puts the post-Western World on the table for size. Follow the money and all is going to be well? Allow me, to doubt this. Not this time. First of all, this is the last shift of development that takes place and it is already possible to extrapolate the result. Europe wants to build a better society built on Western lore. A more humane society? It might still be that the last shift is a too tall order. Alternatively it might be the next Roman Empire that is forming as a Japanese fellow suggested a while ago when there was a discussion of an Asian Union. Too many people under one flag is my humble prediction.

Cohen's pragmatist President is actually making an attempt to humanize America with the Healthcare bill. Does that actually make him Eastern or European? Obama has recently even put aside the job question for the benefit of health to the dismay of many even if it rather the market that is going to fix jobs, not the government. Maybe he knows his place. Healthcare is more governmental than unemployment. At least in countries where healthcare is a right. There are more sick people than unemployed.

In, Europe, however, a new discussion was started, and as a response to the Asian build-up, there will probably be more of it: sustainability. If you live in Sweden, it is even more so. The Green party is the only one that is making some significant progress. In America there is no Green Party. There is Al Gore but many tend to make fun of him. I learned two things following the Copenhagen conference last fall. America and China are locked in a fight that will hamper their sustainability nerve. Europe is in a different box than these two combatants. However, China is expected to win the battle on green technology which perhaps is going to make it possible for them to develop without suffocating.


Politics and Religion

Defectors Say Church of Scientology Hides Abuse - NYTimes.com: "Mr. Davis, the church’s current spokesman, said Scientologists are no different from Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Amish who practice shunning or excommunication.
“These are common religious tenets,” he said. “The very survival of a religion is contingent on its protecting itself.”"

Found this comment on the practices of the Church of Scientology. I must say that mixing power and religion leads to this kind of political religion and it is therefore I firmly believe in having a private faith and then participate in whatever political circumstance that one might belong to. I hope faith is becoming something personal rather than something that other people shove down your throat. Being part of a politically oriented Church must be very difficult. Many conflicts with society. If this becomes prevalent, it might mean that society will fragment totally. Small popedoms all over the place.

When it comes to the meaning of life, it would be interesting to know if mankind could agree upon such an issue. Probably different people have different meanings that makes them tick. It is therefore ecumenics is a questionable goal. Some people might believe that enlightenment comes from advances in science whereas others might believe having a good time is more appropriate. You can make a pile of money and then help fund science or you can participate yourself in the actual pursuit. A Religious Humanist can also participate giving moral support and pay their taxes.

President Obama has only 4% of Israeli Jews behind him.

Column One: Biden’s lost cause: "Second, the Netanyahu Obama faces is not the Netanyahu Clinton faced in the 1990s. Today, the premier leads a far broader coalition than he did in his previous government. It is also more stable. Labor Party chief Defense Minister Ehud Barak knows he cannot unseat Netanyahu. Indeed, he knows he can’t even trust his party to continue supporting him if he leaves Netanyahu’s government. As for opposition leader Tzipi Livni, the latest polls show her trailing far behind Nethanyahu as the people's choice for prime minister. Her party's popularity rates are decreasing, Likud's are growing."

Apparently, Bill Clinton managed to unseat Nethanyahu last time he was prime minister but this time, argues Catherine Glick, despite many recent high level visits from the US, this will be difficult this time around. Vice President Joe Biden is currently visiting and he represents the most pro-Israeli member of the Obama administration.

Tzipi Livni said not long ago that there is no opposition to the position on Iran among Israelis. The trend Glick is describing in her article furthermore underlines the seriousness of this question. The US and Israel a gliding apart, rather than coming together. However, a last month Gallup poll tells that two thirds of Americans support Israel, 80% of Republicans and 53% of Democrats.

What is going to be important for this equation is the position on the Israel-Palestine conflict that EUs new EAS authority is going to have? The pre-Lisbon Treaty position negotiated by the Swedish chairmanship was strongly in favor of Palestine. Lady Ashton, the EAS chief, is apparently starting out with a visit to Gaza. In all probability the result of this positioning is further going to polarize the US on the issue. Probably the EAS is going to be governed principally by the joint foreign ministers of the member states or by the EU Commission. Politicians or Administrators. However, it is not inconceivable that it evolves into something of an NGO like the European Parliament. The US State Department has about 22,000 employees and this should be compared to the 6,000 or so in the EAS.


Spirituality or Religious Humanism

Bosse är troende fast utan Gud Existentiellt SvD: "Enligt Antoon Geels handlar spiritualitet om en förändring i kulturen, en rörelse i tiden. Begreppet har förstås sitt ­ursprung i engelskspråkiga länder. Där säger många: ”I am spiritual, not religious.” De tror på något ”högre”, ”en kraft”, ”kärleken” – exakt vad är inte fastslaget, fast vad det än är finns det nära, närmare än den egna halspuls­ådern, och det är inneboende i naturen."

Is this a development of religion, of Judeo-Christianism, or is it something distinct? Considering the psychology of religion God is created in our minds and therefore exists as part of Nature. "God is love" says the Pope, actually, so this is nothing new. For me it is very straight forward to imagine love as a force of Nature. However, I have preferred to consider only that which is yet unknown as a replacement of supernatural forces. I call it scientific discipline. It fuses science and religion.

Bo Ahrenfelt is a little fuzzier than myself on the third existence, what Ahrenfelt call "medvetandet". What he discusses can easily be called divine inspiration. After some study of the Philosophy of Mind it became clear to me that people seem to think that thoughts cannot be reduced fully onto physiology. Philosophy thus leaves a supernatural touch to consciousness. I have called it the third existence in my blog as a hypothesis where the first existence in materia and the second existence is life as biological tissues. The third existence is consciousness or human life. I have speculated that further human development will occur from the third existence into a fourth existence.

In summary, if you prefer to talk about something "higher", "a force", or "love" which is inherent in Nature without calling it God is a matter of preference. However, I see my non-personal, materialistic pantheism as a development of the Judeo-Christian God concept. I am fully aware that this might get me killed in Mecca and that it might irritate people of the Book in general. It follows from the biology of religion though.

The 19% Job Approval US Congress flexes its Human Rights Muscle?

Armenian Genocide Resolution Advances Despite Obama Push - WSJ.com: "The House panel's resolution, approved on a 23-22 vote, faces an uncertain future in Congress. But it nonetheless could damage U.S. relations with Turkey, a vital ally in the Middle East and Central Asia. Within minutes of the vote, Ankara said it was recalling its ambassador from Washington for consultations. Turkey took the same step in 2007, when the committee passed a similar resolution."

President Obama's administration tried to derail this decision, partly because of concerns from the Weapon Industry, and Hilary Clinton warned that it could derange the sensitive negotiations between Turkey and Armenia. The decision means that the US is closing in on the 20 nations so far claiming that Turkey committed a genocide. The NGO? European Parliament also does. The 20 countries are: Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lituania, Lebanon, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela.

Genocide scholars generally think it was a genocide and it would be interesting to know why Obama hesitates. He claimed genocide during his campaign. Maybe he has to please people to get his Healthcare bill through? The House Committee on Foreign Affairs did the right thing though. There will never be any meaningful discussion with Turkey if such a historic facts is not visible on the table. This is even more important when Turkey is a NATO ally. Procuring help from Turkey with Iran and Afghanistan also benefits from this clarity.

One wonders why Israel and the UK does not use the word "genocide" to describe what happened in 1915. In 2007 Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates wrote an open letter to Congress where they warned for increased risks for US troops in the field if Turkey was antagonized. WSJ.com also writes that there will now be a probable increase of anti-Americanism in Turkey, something that is a problem already. DN.se writes that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish premier, also have written on the official Turkish web site that the incident might damage the American-Turkish relations and jeopardize the negotiations with Armenia.


Politics and religion

Isolera inte religionen från politiken « Dagen.se: "Tron är, enligt min uppfattning, inte mycket värd om den är isolerad från tankar och handlingar."

Alf Svensson defends the person who is religious all week and not only during the week-end. He claims it is necessary to avoid such a double nature. He is against a person that has religion as something private. However, religion is not isolated from politics when considering the hospital and the social service. They are governed by politicians and medical professionals these days. However, what is left of religion for the individual and its expressions is more private today. It has to do with faith and not so much by the Congregation. Especially in Sweden where so few attend Church each week. There are other communes and I guess they require etiquette as well. This is probably why there are so many "seekers".

I can't help remembering a recent article in SvD.se where a priest Tysk from Ovansjö says that he feels embarrassed over the attempt of Jan Björklund, the politician, when he did what Alf Svensson does in his article right now, namely defends Christianity's place in the Swedish society. Tysk meant that it is up to the Congregations to teach religion to their members. It is not so important for Björklund's school to furnish this knowledge any more. I think Tysk has a good point. The priest's attitude towards the politician, however, could be discussed.

Svensson says that faith is not much worth if isolated from thoughts and acts. He also cites the Ten Commandments which are also guidance for acts which seems then to be what Svensson believes is important with religion and with faith. He seeks guidance on the path of life. I am more interested in the meaning of life. I, as a person of the faith Religious Humanism, search God via science. I consider myself an insignificant part of Nature, or God, that tries to understand more of the whole. The unknown as revealed by science will continue to enlighten us all. Björklund's school must then handle more of the interrelationships since so few children attend Church and all go to school. Here the critique from 'Humanisterna' is also relevant. Ethics is not solely a Christian affair.

The most relevant aspect of Religious Humanism is that it suggests that the image of God and religion should be set free to evolve with science rather than being so strongly tied down by tradition. Right now I believe religions should be private but in a future not only science and religion will fuse but political science will guide politics more. I have understood that political conservatives have me down as someone preaching "scientism" which apparently has the reputation of collectivism. Probably because of scientific racism of the 1920s to 1940s. It will become clear, however, that science will guide politics more in the future and this means that Religious Humanism will engage also politics. After all, God wants us all to get along together.

In summary, Jesus healed the sick, donated to the poor, helped the orphan and the widow. Today the secular society does all this in addition it furnishes an education and work ethic, even teaches the kids to love each other. What is left of religion currently is more private, no doubt.



Blond bombshell Geert Wilders returns to Britain, looking for a fight - Times Online: "On February 20 the Dutch centrist coalition Government collapsed, deeply divided over keeping troops in Afghanistan, paving the way for a general election in June in which the Freedom Party is expected to do extremely well. Polls suggest that the party will triple its tally of seats, becoming at least the second-biggest parliamentary party and quite possibly the overall winner. Mr Wilders is likely to be a key player in any coalition, with a profound impact on the political agenda."

Last time Wilders was not allowed to enter the UK. This time he is back and more popular at home. I must say I have problems with a person that wants to ban the holy book, the Quran, of a world religion. This is not serious. Furthermore he wants to slam head-scarf wearing Muslim women with a €1,000/year tax. "A head-rag tax". Not very serious either.

He is a person that equals Islamofascism with Nazism. That is not so far out, since the Israel prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu compares Ahmadinejad's Iran with the Nazi Germany of the area. Wilders is getting good press in The Jerusalem Post. However, what is such a person capable of executing and with what public support once he would be elected? There is definitely a whiff of future racist persecution over what I just wrote. On top of this we are one minaret ban vote in Switzerland and a call against Switzerland for Jihad from Muammar Gadhafi later at this point.

In other words this looks like a problem that is not going away by itself. What can be done about it? Personally I don't feel threatened by Islam and I am for freedom of religion but I intensely dislike the habit some of Islam's practitioners have to field these death threats. This is fascist methods. And it apparently works on people. There was a recent apology by the journal Politiken in Denmark for the Muhammad cartoons. Many disliked the apology though. I would not have apologized. Freedom of the press is one of the corner stones of our civilization.


Jan Eliasson, Professor at University of Göteborg, appeared on Kunskapskanalen on television yesterday. He discussed the power of the word with some faculty rhetoric experts. He gave interesting accounts of this importance from his work at the UN.

What stayed on the retina was what Eliasson said on the use of the word "democracy". He had been in negotiations with people and a Pakistani friend informed him that using this word in discussions with Arabs does not work. Possibly this fact had been caused by the democratization attempts on Iraq and Afghanistan. Eliasson and his audience liked yelling a little at George W. Bush.

This is interesting because I have heard through the grape vine that it is not possible to discuss the word democracy in Europe either, although I would not reveal my source. Whatever the reason for this might be?

NATO unity threatened by defense budget and equipment shortfalls | World | Deutsche Welle | 03.03.2010

NATO unity threatened by defense budget and equipment shortfalls World Deutsche Welle 03.03.2010: "US Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused European countries of failing to provide enough weapons and equipment to NATO's missions in Afghanistan and around the world last week, saying that there had been too much demilitarization since the end of the Cold War and that Europe's contribution to underfunded defense budgets is undermining NATO's shared security goals."

An even greater problem for NATO must be the asymmetry of risk to soldiers lives.

The Wild East?

Op-Ed Columnist - A Word From the Wise - NYTimes.com: "Does the Obama team get it? Otellini compared the Obama administration to a “diode” — an electronic device that conducts electric current in only one direction. They are very good at listening to Silicon Valley, he said, but not so good at responding."

Thomas L. Friedman brings up the question of who is in charge in the US--Multinationals or the Government. But what about if the Multinationals are doing business on what could be called enemy soil? Does the lower cost initially encountered become more expensive later on?

I remember reading in The Economist about an investor that came to China with a $450m investment in a car part factory. What happened was that the Chinese were siphoning off know-how and money to start a competing factory down the river. The "illegal" competition won out and the original factory had to close. The investor that had dealt with money other than his own ended up losing all the money. He apparently wrote a book about his endeavour. I wonder if the risks in China are still that high?

An amateur investigator of globalism wonders if it is possible to control your investments in Asia or if you simply are moving civilization over there? Are we closing shop and leaving everything to the Asians? In that case I, for one, would prefer to have a little less growth and develop our civilization further were we currently are instead.


Talking about the Weather?

On November 3, 2009 Angela Merkel appeared before both houses of Congress something a German Chancellor had not done since 1957 when Konrad Adenauer performed.

In the first half of December 2009 the German ambassador to the US, Klaus Scharioth performed the yearly poll on the US-German relationship. Numbers were up, but not as high as before the Iraq war. 48% of participants had a "good" or "excellent" general impression of Germany. It was particularly good among College students. During the 2003 war with Iraq the corresponding number was 27%. In 2001 the number was 65%.

Only 12% of participants thought Germany had an impact on the American political landscape. Which places Germany as influence on fifth place behind the UK, Canada, China and Japan. This is in line with Eurobarometer data where some 80% of Germans don't want to share a foreign policy with the US.

During her talk Angela Merkel stressed climate change as something worth future collaboration. It was probably realistic but President Obama probably had the sight more on collaboration with Iran and in Afghanistan. That's right, let's talk about the weather. There is still hope but Afghanistan, for example, looks like something the Germans are going to complain on having been engaged in.

So, what Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac did in 2003 was to make Europe focus on a future with Russia. Natural gas from Russia rather than from the Middle East, although Europe at the time had a higher percent of oil coming from the Middle East than did the US. Both center-right Europe and Social democratic Europe said no to the US. As the numbers indicate, the wound might never heal.

After having gotten tired of talking about the same thing with 27 European heads of state, President Obama turned down the EU-US summit this spring. The EAS is currently not looking as something that on short term is going to improve the relation. The French, the Germans and the English are all a little bit sour on Lady Ashton, EU's first High Representative for foreign affairs. That leaves conventional bilateral relationships instead.

Without the EU, what is then our relationship with the US? Since George W. Bush, we are also talking about the weather. The former US ambassador to Sweden focused on green technology as the glue to forge the two nations together--"One Big Thing" he called it. Sweden is also collaborating with NATO in Afghanistan. The current US Ambassador to Sweden Matthew Barzun recently launched the Swedish American Green Alliance together with Maud Olofsson.


Per capita medal count for the Vancouver Olympics

For the Beijing summer Olympics I calculated the per capital medal count because I find it more interesting. The two foremost countries were Australia and Norway with 220 and 200 medals/100m, respectively. The US had only 37/100m and China 7.7/100m. You find most countries between 50 and 80 medals/100m. Sweden had 56.

This year in Vancouver the total medal listing for the top ten countries is: USA 37; Germany 30; Canada 26; Norway 23; Austria 16; Russia 15; South Korea 14; China, Sweden and France 11.

The ranking per capita is (medals/100m): Norway 489; Austria 195; Sweden 118; Canada 79; Germany 38; South Korea 29; France 17; USA 12; Russia 11; and China 0.85.

Norway is truly impressive in both Beijing and Vancouver. However, Sweden came third in Vancouver per capita.

Brazil is also against sactions for Iran

Soured Over Policy, Latin American Leaders Await Sessions With Clinton - NYTimes.com: "Brazil, which holds a rotating seat on the Security Council, has said it opposes further sanctions. It recently moved to expand its ties with the Islamic government in Tehran and has been a vocal advocate for engagement over isolation."

Brazil is doing more business with China than with the US at this point and this is a circumstance than would strenghten China's resolve to not vouch for stronger sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council.

Carl Bildt was visiting Brazil not long ago. He did not talk about it in his blog but one of his errands must have been the potential sale of JAS Gripen. The French seems to be best positioned with their Raphale. I guess it is of some importance where Brazil turns for their military aviation. France might be more independent of the US than Sweden, ponders perhaps Brazil? Personally I think we should fly the same as the Norwegians and enter NATO. However, we live in strange times. Some voices begin to sing the end of NATO.

In the Arena

Politiken bärs av idéer Kulturdebatt SvD: "Röpke tecknar en helgjuten ideologisk motbild till ett kollektivistiskt högskattesamhälle som Sverige. Han talar om en ekonomi som borde vara genuint decentraliserad i det att resurserna har förts nedåt i samhället, från stora centrala system, till de enskilda hushållen. Detta inte främst av nationalekonomiska skäl--utan för att det civila samhället brister under trycket av en alltför resurskrävande statsmakt."

I understand this, but at the same time I don't understand it. KD seems then to be 'Nya Moderaterna' with Catholic subsidiarity. I have earlier understood that KD was intimate with the CDU in Germany but Germany has 16 "Länder" which account for their subsidiarity where Sweden is in the size of a "Land". CDU politics and KD politics is organisatorically religious, thereof the epithet 'Christian'. I don't think Sweden has to be broken up further. With modern communications, it should be governable as is.

The state is naturally a resource for the individual and the family in that it can provide information. If you want to subsidiarize a small state like Sweden, it is necessary to organize the country in domains which replace the need for high quality information about the world and about science and arts. It is not reasonable that a multi-system Sweden would be able to recreate a sufficient number of centers of learning which would mean that the otherwise 'lagom' country size Sweden would lose its relative enlightenment, losing successively its main newspapers and SVT edge.

Wilhelm Röpke was apparently important for the development of the German state but CDU has lost voters recently, just like KD. Could it be that building a state is different from operating a state. If CDU is organisatorical, there is not much left to organize and new talent has to be enlisted? On the other hand Germany has gone from a social democracy to a center-right environment and thus copied Röpke's personal natural history towards conservatism.

Personally, I believe that we have entered a new 'enlightenment' with the Internet and that moving towards a traditionally steered domain is premature and counter productive. Earlier discussions by Göran Hägglund, where he, like Erik Wallrup suggested, withdraws from our new and experimental environment, are understandable from the point of view displayed in the current article. Such a localization scheme would, contrary to what Hägglund seems to want, remove the debate from the main arena.

What I miss in this new era of enlightenment is a discussion of Anglo-American freedom. Especially freedom of thought, rather than "the lid on" mentality. You don't want to push the debate down to the kitchen table, where a Catholic patriarch is presiding, but rather have it all out in the arena.