Which will go next: Bahrain or Libya?


by Sunny
17th February, 2011 at 9:10 am    

It’s all kicking off in ABhrain and Libya, and to a lesser extent Iran. The New York Times reports:

Protests convulsed half a dozen countries across the Middle East on Wednesday, with tens of thousands of people turning out in Bahrain to challenge the monarchy, a sixth day of running street battles in Yemen, continued strikes over long-suppressed grievances in Egypt and a demonstrator’s funeral in Iran turning into a brief tug of war between the government and its opponents.

Even in heavily policed Libya, pockets of dissent emerged in the main square of Benghazi, with people calling for an end to the 41-year rule of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Iraq, accustomed to sectarian conflict, got a dose of something new: a fiery protest in the eastern city of Kut over unemployment, sporadic electricity and government corruption.

In Manama, the capital of the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain, hundreds of police officers used tear gas and concussion grenades early Thursday morning to empty a central square of protesters. Witnesses at a hospital and news agency reports said at least two protesters had been killed.

There’s another story about protests in Bahrain, which point to some violent clashes and deaths.

Here’s a video of Gaddafi’s image being set on fire.

Meanwhile, there are plans to make today a ‘day of rage’ in Libya, while I expect Iran will be more alight tomorrow.


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  1. Hamdi El Jameeili — on 17th February, 2011 at 9:27 am  

    Libya is my country. I live in Libya, and work between Libya and Europe. We love Ghadaffi. Stop interfering in our internal affairs. Ghadaffi we love you. Al Jazeera, a supposed news channel is inciting problems and riots in libya. Why dont they comment on their corrupt sheikhs in Qatar – or are they untouchable since Al Jazeera is based there.

  2. Carl — on 17th February, 2011 at 9:37 am  

    khomeini being set alight [http://bit.ly/g0LWHT]

  3. Kismet Hardy — on 17th February, 2011 at 10:19 am  

    “to a lesser extent Iran”

    Wonder why that is? Ultimately, it comes down to which country is least likely to shoot the protestors dead in their droves.

    And Handi has a point. Why pick on the handsome gaddafi, he gives me the horn in much the same way david hasselhoff does, while the arabs, whose sheikhs are the fucking worst of the lot, continue to get a happy patted by the US ride?

  4. douglas clark — on 17th February, 2011 at 10:54 am  

    Hamdi El Jameeili,

    Any particular reason you love him? What has he done for you, exactly?

  5. jamal — on 17th February, 2011 at 12:07 pm  

    Hamdi

    i have to say not all libyans are in love with ghaddafi.

    He like mubarak has been running the country by using fear, torture and intimidation.

  6. douglas clark — on 17th February, 2011 at 12:36 pm  

    Hamdi El Jameeili,

    Well?

    You can’t be seen as credible if you just post your love for El Presidente and don’t answer a couple of simple questions.

  7. damon — on 17th February, 2011 at 1:12 pm  

    In 2010, Bahrain’s population grew to 1.234 million, out of which more than 666,172 (54%) were non-nationals. In 2008, approximately 290,000 Indian nationals lived in Bahrain, making them the single largest expatriate community in the country.

    Are there foriegners in the army and police?

  8. Golam Murtaza — on 17th February, 2011 at 1:46 pm  

    Come on Hamdi, let’s have an answer. We’re still waiting…

  9. Golam Murtaza — on 17th February, 2011 at 1:49 pm  

    @Damon – I’m sure I read somewhere that the Bahrain regime DOES employ Sunni Muslim foreigners in its security forces (Jordanians, Pakistanis e.t.c.) who are then used against the majority local Shia. With all the attendant anger and bitterness that inevitably causes. Annoyingly I can’t remember where I read that.

  10. Don — on 17th February, 2011 at 2:26 pm  

    Golam and Damon,

    That point was raised on Radio 4 this morning, auxilliary police are recruited from outside the country.

  11. Golam Murtaza — on 17th February, 2011 at 3:13 pm  

    Ah thanks, I saw the info’ online somewhere else about a week ago. But helpful to have it confirmed.

  12. damon — on 17th February, 2011 at 4:49 pm  

    That must be galling for Bahrain citizens, to be getting tear gassed and shot at by foreign nationals in police uniform.

    I’m not sure if there is much hope for oil rich Gulf states anytime soon though. From what I saw in Dubai, they are miserable places where the citizens generally have pampered lives and foriegn workers do all the dirty work and have no rights. So even if things improved for the Bahraini Shias, the south Asian and Filipino ex-pats are always going to be exploited.

  13. Tory — on 17th February, 2011 at 6:07 pm  

    The regime in Libya will be fine. If things get out of hand the government will simply opt for the Tiananmen Square solution.

    The trouble in Bahrain is much more sectarian than the media is suggesting. Bahrain is now the now country where a Sunni elite run a political process in a nation full of Shia.

  14. Abu F — on 18th February, 2011 at 1:31 am  

    Tory

    The Bahraini royal family are spinning the issue as “sectarian”- however, granted that the ruling elite make up the vast majority of the 28% Sunni minority, this is “sectarianism” of a social and economic dimension with a coincidental religious dimension.

    “Non-sectarianism”, as far as the Bahraini elite are concerned, means acquiescence in their continued despotic rule.

  15. Abu F — on 18th February, 2011 at 1:37 am  

    It is also rich indeed for the al-Kahlifa family and its network of clients to talk of the rise in sectarianism, when for the last 300 odd years this gang of Bedu intruders and parasites have done nothing but act in patently and crudely sectarian ways towards the Shi’a majority in Bahrain.

    Of late, their duplicity and untrustworthiness have become incredible. The elite “concedes” an elected lower chamber – and immediately grants the upper chamber of the Bahraini so-called Parliament the power of veto over the lower house. The upper house is entirely made up of appointees of the ruling family.

    The ruler declares he is willing to listen to the people – and does do by declaring himself king and continuing the ban on political parties of any kind.

    The prime minister is a member of the ruling house (as are most of the key government members). He has also been prime minister for over 40 years.

    Vile – and it has to stop.

  16. Abu F — on 18th February, 2011 at 1:40 am  

    Damon

    You are aware that the majority of the population in Dubai are not from the UAE at all?

    You are right, though, the Khalija states are horrid places.

  17. damon — on 18th February, 2011 at 12:01 pm  

    Abu F, in Dubai, Emiratis seemd like a rare species who I only saw in the big shopping malls, or driving around in their SUVs.

    Acording to wikipedia it’s only 17% Emirati.
    Not the sign of a healthy society.

  18. jamal — on 18th February, 2011 at 4:57 pm  

    damon

    i think bahrain citizens are more worried about british made weapons being used against them then the nationality of the police force.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/17/bahrain-crackdown-uk-arms-sales

  19. Don — on 18th February, 2011 at 5:11 pm  

    Jamal,

    Really? If some bastard in a police uniform was using weapons on me and mine I think I worry about the provenance of the weapons at a later date.

  20. Abu F — on 18th February, 2011 at 6:00 pm  

    jamal

    Might I remind you that it is not guns that kill people – it is people who kill people.

    Then again you also believe that the Muslim Brotherhood (note their name, jamal) are “secular”- by which I take it you either have no idea what this word means, or you are on drugs.

    Don

    Quite.

  21. douglas clark — on 18th February, 2011 at 9:38 pm  

    jamal @ 18,

    What utter nonsense! Abu F and Don are quite right, you have lost the plot.

  22. joe90 — on 18th February, 2011 at 11:33 pm  

    the people of bahrain need to kick this king and his cronies out. Then next stop cut links with the colonial terrorist governments of britian and america who support all the tyrants in the region.

  23. Abu F — on 18th February, 2011 at 11:45 pm  

    joe90

    The voice of Islamism’s clown division.

  24. Don — on 19th February, 2011 at 12:36 am  

    joe90.

    And then?

  25. joe90 — on 19th February, 2011 at 1:15 am  

    post #24

    then the people can be free from the colonial grip and choose their own destiny in life.

  26. Abu F — on 19th February, 2011 at 1:44 am  

    @joe90

    You might find people would take you more seriously if you:

    (1) Actually had any knowledge of what you are talking about

    (2) Stopped scraping your information from armchair jihadi websites and Rense.com

    Incidentally, your insulting views of the Egyptian Revolution’s gains (as expressed on another thread) were not shared by the hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in Tahrir Square yesterday.

    I was there.

  27. Abu F — on 19th February, 2011 at 1:47 am  

    then the people can be free from the colonial grip and choose their own destiny in life.

    Really – and under what “colonial grip” are the Bahraini people languishing, joe90?

    The issue is the vile, medievalist rule of an intruder, parasite family over the Bahraini people, the latter’s lack of democracy and freedom of expression.

    You think nothing of these items – indeed you dislike them – hence your appeal to mythical imperialist rulers.

    Typical Islamist double-talk.

  28. douglas clark — on 19th February, 2011 at 8:02 am  

    AbuF,

    Joe90 has a mental age of twelve. It is all too clear that age is there to see in his posts:

    However, he says atuff like:

    “I am right, and I will smash my jigsaw into tinier little pieces because I am completely childish! Yah! Sucks!”

    I give you two quotes from this intellectual giant:

    the people of bahrain need to kick this king and his cronies out. Then next stop cut links with the colonial terrorist governments of britian and america who support all the tyrants in the region.

    and

    then the people can be free from the colonial grip and choose their own destiny in life.

    I doubt that bahrain has, exactly, been terrorised by Britain or the USA. I seem to remember it being an ally in the war on terror.

    The idea that the people should be free works for me. I have my suspicions that Joe90 doesn’t really want it that way. He wants islamic rule and will play all sorts of games to get it.

    He will mess up the concepts of islamic rule and islamist rule just to win an arguement. For the former is certainly not the latter.

    I really don’t like Joe90. I think he is the sort of creep that thinks – with one stroke – he will introduce sharia law to the UK and we’ll not notice. It isn’t going to happen and he is in a minority of daft muslims that think it will happen. We call them stupid, or Anjem Choudarys’ few friends.

    I suspect Anjem Choudary, mad though he is, has rather more chums than Joe90.

    That is the advantage of being a complete utter wanker, and not one who simply bleats around here.

  29. KismetHardy — on 19th February, 2011 at 8:39 am  

    Hamdi can’t respond. His beloved muammar has cut off his tinternet

  30. douglas clark — on 19th February, 2011 at 9:44 am  

    Kismet,

    What a fucking shame.

  31. douglas clark — on 19th February, 2011 at 9:52 am  

    Kismet @ 30,

    As in:

    She was poor but she was honest,
    Though she came from ‘umble stock,
    And her honest heart was beating
    Underneath her tattered frock.

    But the rich man saw her beauty,
    She knew not his base design,
    And he took her to a hotel
    And bought her a small port wine.

    It’s the same the whole world over,
    It’s the poor what gets the blame,
    It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
    Isn’t it a blooming shame?

    In the rich man’s arms she fluttered
    Like a bird with a broken wing,
    But he loved her and he left her,
    Now she hasn’t got no ring.

    Time has flown – outcast and homeless
    In the street she stands and says,
    While the snowflakes fall around her,
    ‘Won’t you buy my bootlaces.’

    It’s the same the whole world over,
    It’s the poor what gets the blame,
    It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
    Isn’t it a blooming shame?

    Standing on the bridge at midnight
    She says, ‘Farewell, blighted love!’
    There’s a scream, a splash, good ‘eavens!
    What is she a doing of?

    Soon they dragged her from the river,
    Water from her clothes they wrang.
    They all thought that she was drownded,
    But the corpse got up and sang:

    “It’s the same the whole world over,
    It’s the poor what gets the blame,
    It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
    Isn’t it a blooming shame?”

    She was poor but she was honest,
    Victim of a rich man’s game.
    First he loved her, then he left her,
    And she lost her maiden name.

    Then she ran away to London
    For to hide her grief and shame.
    There she met an Army captain,
    And she lost her name again.

    “It’s the same the whole world over.
    It’s the poor that gets the blame.
    It’s the rich that gets the pleasure.
    Ain’t it all a bleeding shame?”

    See him riding in a carriage
    Past the gutter where she stands.
    He has made a stylish marriage,
    While she wrings her ringless hands.

    See him there at the theatre,
    In the front row with the best,
    While the girl that he has ruined
    Entertains a sordid guest.

    “It’s the same the whole world over.
    It’s the poor that gets the blame.
    It’s the rich that gets the pleasure.
    Ain’t it all a bleeding shame?”

    See her on the bridge at midnight,
    Crying “Farewell, blighted love”.
    Then a scream, a splash, and . . Goodness!
    What is she a-doing of?

    When they dragged her from the river
    Water from her clothes they wrung.
    Though they thought that she was drownded,
    Still her corpse got up and sung:

    “It’s the same the whole world over,
    It’s the poor what gets the blame,
    It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
    Isn’t it a blooming shame?

    Seems to me.

    :-(

  32. jamal — on 19th February, 2011 at 11:52 am  

    don

    that was a bit of sarcasm that you obviously didn’t get.

    we hear now the british government is now reviewing its policies on exporting weapons to bahrain.

    little bit late for that i think.

  33. Abu F — on 19th February, 2011 at 12:07 pm  

    Jamal

    Your obsession with the origin of the weapons used by the (largely mercenary) armed forces and police is drawn from the similar absurdly off-topic obsession with the same on the conspiracy theory and anti-Semitic hate site, rense.com. A site that you are clearly drawing upon for your information. A site that is a favourite amongst Islamists.

    How very unpleasant.

  34. douglas clark — on 19th February, 2011 at 3:08 pm  

    jamal @ 32, or earlier, or whatever jamal does…

    i think bahrain citizens are more worried about british made weapons being used against them then the nationality of the police force.

    Do you actually care where the guns came from?

    I think you are making a point. You are blaming the UK for being colonial, when it is obvious that it isn’t.

    Blame the UK for being post colonial when you have at least a fig leaf of an arguement, but, please, lay off when you just make a fool of yourself.

    As per 18 above.

  35. Abu F — on 19th February, 2011 at 5:07 pm  

    Douglas

    What jamal is doing is trying to deflect the issue *away* from human rights, including freedom of speech, assembly and a democratic constitution. Just so, he recasts the struggle in Bahrain as “anti-imperialist” and in opposition to a mythical imperialist domination of Bahrain – a state so wealthy that it might buy out the British state debt many times over and not even blink.

    The lack of these basic human rights in Bahrain is there manifested in terms of the oppression and state discrimination against the majority of the population premised upon their religious confessional identity (they are mostly Akhbari Twelver Shi’a) – a fact that I suspect also sits uncomfortably with (I suspect) jamal’s rather sectarian views about Shi’a in general (and I apologise if I am wrong on this one).

    However, this neither fits jamal’s teenage-style armchair r-r-r-r-radicalism, nor his Islamist agenda. Thus reality falls victim to a fantastic vision of an oil-wealthy, independent Gulf state that, though purchases, props up the British arms industry (amongst others), being a down-trodden, colony of an imperial master overseas.

    How very silly – and also rather nasty as the entire agenda that jamal wants us to buy into effectively distorts the real issues at play and opportunistically hitches a ride on the real travails, real blood, real swear, real tears and real sacrifices of the Bahraini people in their struggle to be free.

  36. Refresh — on 19th February, 2011 at 5:55 pm  

    The British reviewing its arms export is appalling hypocrisy. Its the usual window dressing. Its meaningless and it plays well in the media. It will have no impact on the people in Bahrain. They will know why they exist and why the exist in conditions that they do.

    Equally, I support everyone who rises up against oppression in the middle east (and elsewhere) but no way should you accept the two-faced commentry, judgements and pronouncements from Hague, Cameron, Clinton and Obama. And I find it appalling that Hague wants to tell Libya, and Clinton Iran to watch their step – when we know it makes it all the more difficult for the protesters on the ground. Much as Clinton would wish the protesters were her protesters – they have no regard for her or her views. They have to do it for themselves.

    And thereafter have an independent policy. And I hope soon enough this wind of change will blow through Israel too and they kick out their part-fascist government and part-fascist mindset.

  37. Abu Faris — on 19th February, 2011 at 7:26 pm  

    Douglas

    Just to reinforce my previous post – and to extend it. The World Bank estimates the wealth of each individual Bahraini to be in excess of $25500 US per annum.

    So poverty is not the real issue in Bahrain – human rights, freedom of speech, equal access to all Bahraini of whatever sect or creed, and democracy are the issues.

    UNESCO estimates adult literacy to be around 91% in Bahrain – these are not illiterate Bedu camel-herders with funny ideas about the Divine fulminating within goat-hair tents against unholy rulers. These are highly sophisticated, world-wise, well-educated people.

    Oh – and in most of the Middle East – they are young: some 45% of the population are below the age of 30.

    Bahraini unemployment is surprisingly high, however – and results from an economy that is dominated by the autocratic state and – thus – by a workforce made up largely of the al-Khalifa family, its network of clients and sundry Sunni allies and Western expat guest workers.

  38. Abu F — on 19th February, 2011 at 7:26 pm  

    Douglas

    Just to reinforce my previous post – and to extend it. The World Bank estimates the wealth of each individual Bahraini to be in excess of $25500 US per annum.

    So poverty is not the real issue in Bahrain – human rights, freedom of speech, equal access to all Bahraini of whatever sect or creed, and democracy are the issues.

    UNESCO estimates adult literacy to be around 91% in Bahrain – these are not illiterate Bedu camel-herders with funny ideas about the Divine fulminating within goat-hair tents against unholy rulers. These are highly sophisticated, world-wise, well-educated people.

    Oh – and in most of the Middle East – they are young: some 45% of the population are below the age of 30.

    Unemployment in Bahrain is surprisingly high, however – and results from an economy that is dominated by the autocratic state and – thus – by a workforce made up largely of the al-Khalifa family, its network of clients and sundry Sunni allies and Western expat guest workers.

  39. Shamit — on 19th February, 2011 at 8:55 pm  

    Refresh -

    Why do you hate Britain and America so much?

    We have done more good in the world than bad – or would you have preferred the Japanese empire and the Third Reich or the Chinese who put tanks over their own citizens?

    On the middle east, Nasser was a soviet client and Anwar Sadat kicked them out – and now it is well known that Soviet Union’s objective was to control the oil and the political middle east – and it was against our national interests. So we, ie Americans and British should have just sat on our asses.

    Yeah right – i know loony lefties think about this ideal world where everyone loves everyone and it is so fair. Despite our obvious differences, you are no loony. And in fact, your intellect is far superior than most people who write for Guardian

    I am not trying to put you down but I am just trying to understand the thinking behind your positions.

  40. Arif — on 19th February, 2011 at 10:08 pm  

    Shamit – I would suggest that if the US or UK were in favour of protecting sovereignty of other countries, they would develop and strengthen an international system to achieve this – in the current real world that would mean undertaking their foreign policy primarily through the United Nations and using their influence in other multilateral institutions to ensure that they operated as democratically as possible.

    (Note I am also not putting you down, just expressing where I come from as someone who also opposes colonial-type policies as I see them)

    Refresh – I was considering your comparison in another thread of Arab States breaking away from US-backed clients through democratic movements to Latin America’s experience. No comparisons with other times and places will be anywhere close to perfect, but it seemed quite interesting. Noting the reluctance of the US, alone in the Americas as I remember it, to support Zelaya after the coup in Honduras, the struggle for democracy against Empire will have to be continuous to avoid reversing.

    But the more mainstream media comparison seems to be with Eastern Europe breaking away from the Soviet Union. I find that suggestive too, because it would cast Obama as a Gorbachev figure, effectively telling the client leaders they are on their own: if they can’t keep their citizens satisfied, they will be no violent interventions to keep them in power. Without that back-up, it is over for them.

    Behind both examples of letting go there are considerations of ethics, but also of military overstretch and, perhaps, could there be, relatively reduced economic utility?

  41. Refresh — on 20th February, 2011 at 12:37 am  

    Shamit,

    Your continued reliance on stereotyping and labelling does you no favours. Especially when I know you are capable of at least a little more.

    Your patriotism is also somewhat deluded or you wear it as a label, not least because you appear to claim to be patriotic to two possibly three states. Your patriotism is fickle in the long run. Another thing we don’t share is the definition of patriotism. Most presume its to the establishment, whereas I believe it is to society and people. The democratic state is an arrangement which is intended to serve its people and not the other way round. I would respect you more if you were to proclaim allegiance to the British people and society.

    I am fully conscious of the fact that people everywhere have the same needs and aspirations. Despite the propaganda, the evidence is clearly visible on the streets of the middle east. I do claim a better understanding of the great British public. Just look back at the resistance to the Iraq war, the wholesale rubbishing of Tony Blair, with more to come.

    I and the British public will side with the downtrodden and the underdog, its in the genes. The concept you pursue so diligently of winner-takes-all is alien to us. The spiv and spin are finished, thanks to the messianic Blair, Murdoch, Conrad Black,Rumsfeld, Wolfwowitz, Pearle, et al; Wikileaks and not least the internet.

    From your own comments, your ideology places China and India as the biggest threats. Presumably because they are taking all our jobs. Whereas you should know different, the ‘corporate state’ (I believe you should look up Mussolini’s thoughts and goals in this regard), chose the pacific rim for global production. And if you had been compos mentis over 15 years ago, then you may have seen an Andrew Marr late-night interview concerning the need for global production to move from region to region pursuing cheap labour, supposedly alleviating poverty in its wake – with the net beneficiaries living in gated, the rest in ghetto communities.

    The middle east has never been a threat to US or British interests, but as Kissinger said control of oil controls the global economy.

    Somebody needs to take you by the shoulders and give you a pretty good shake.

    I would suggest you read Johan Hari:

    ‘Johann Hari: We all helped suppress the Egyptians. So how do we change?
    Very few British people would beat up a poor person to get cheaper petrol. But our governments do it all the time. Why?’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-we-all-helped-suppress-the-egyptians-so-how-do-we-change-2203579.html

    Arif,

    ‘Behind both examples of letting go there are considerations of ethics, but also of military overstretch and, perhaps, could there be, relatively reduced economic utility?’

    A lot of truth there too. I recall commenting on another thread that the caravan will move to Central Asia, and we know the tents are already up.

    If making Obama an honorary ‘Gorbachev’ helps the parallel transition needed in the US, then I say let him have the glory. But he could be greater than that, he can wean the American public off oil and onto conservation and green energy and pay homage to the middle east for not only keeping the global economy turning but also keeping corporate america alive. We should not expect him to acknowledge the billions in payment for wars fought in the region from the 80′s onwards.

  42. joe90 — on 20th February, 2011 at 1:14 am  

    post #28

    1861 placed Bahrain under British rule and protection.

    The unrest of people of Bahrain began when the Britain colonialism officially established her ultimate and complete dominance over this territory in 1892.

    Britain ruled Bahrain as a protectorate between 1892 and 1970

    Charles Belgrave (1894–1969) defacto ruler of Bahrain from 1926 until 1957.

    British government installed ian henderson aka butcher of bahrain, as head of state security to for 30 years. For decades this butcher ensured that political prisoners were tortured and raped.

    The British funded the Bahrain dictatorship but later it was the US.

    1991 US arrive in bahrain and establish military bases and create biggest naval base in middle east

    the United States and the Al-Khalifa regime sign treaty allowing for EDAs (“excess defence articles”) such as 60 M60A3 tanks and an FFG-7 Frigate, to be handed over to the regime for free to crush political dissent.

    as you can see britian and US never had and don’t have any links or control on bahrain and its regime lol……….and pigs might fly too.

    andy gray sorry i mean douglas clark how does it feel when your comments have been picked apart by someone you label a 12 year old?

    instead of making sexist comments to pp moderators maybe you should do bit more reading of a subject before you comment.

  43. Abu F — on 20th February, 2011 at 5:02 am  

    Ignore joe90, he is a politically illiterate thug from MPACuk’s stable of loons.

  44. Abu F — on 20th February, 2011 at 5:04 am  

    How does a FFG-7 – a ship, note – crush land-based political dissent, joe90? [sez he, ignoring his own advice to ignore the troll).

    For that matter since when did *handing things over to sovereign states* constitute imperialism???

  45. Golam Murtaza — on 20th February, 2011 at 8:11 am  

    As many as 200 protesters have now been shot dead in Libya. And thanks to Gadaffi’s chillingly effective news blackout no international media presence to cover it. The people who have died have gone out into the streets and taken on armed soldiers and police with stones and sticks, knowing they could either suffer violent, anonymous deaths, be crippled for life, or be hunted down, tortured then murdered later on. Could you guys PLEASE stop bickering and focus on this instead??

  46. jamal — on 20th February, 2011 at 11:09 am  

    abuf @35

    deflect from humans rights issue where did that come from?

    britian supported and protected the monarchy in bahrain that is fact, where was the concern for human rights previously?

    instead of being a poor version of mysteg meg and assuming what people think stick to what is written.

    Shia are muslims and so are sunnis what does that do to your warped sectarian thinking now, you friggin weirdo.

    playing the emotional card, and mentioning the tears and the blood of bahrain civilians you haven’t shed a drop of it. Who is being opportunistic and hitching a ride i think you will find its you.

  47. jamal — on 20th February, 2011 at 11:14 am  

    golam

    apologies, when some jumped up people comment and act like they are the thought police they have to be put in their place.

    But you are right with your comments we should put aside ego’s and discuss best way to stop this bloodshed.

  48. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 11:38 am  

    Refresh -

    Now you are putting words in my mouth.

    “Your patriotism is also somewhat deluded or you wear it as a label, not least because you appear to claim to be patriotic to two possibly three states.”

    No, that’s not true – supporting the US or India on certain issues don’t make a patriotic American or Indian.

    My loyalties very much lie with the UK. And you have many times supported a failed state on this pages so please give me a break.

    “your ideology places China and India as the biggest threats. Presumably because they are taking all our jobs. “

    Once again empty vessel sounds much – and erroneously as usual.

    I do think China is threat to global peace and security on many levels including using state run enterprises to cut prices and food from some of the poorest people such as in Bangladesh – and I highlighted an example about the ship breaking industry on the thread about Egypt.

    I don’t think India is a threat and there is no reason for India to be a threat.

    Jobs going is not the problem -because it has alleviated poverty across the world since the 1990s and your grasp of economics is very little if you do not understand how it also helps us.

    I and the British public will side with the downtrodden and the underdog, its in the genes.

    So now you are speaking for the British public and now you are saying that I do not believe in backing the downtrodden and the underdog. Interesting. How the fuck do you know that? You don’t.

    I have always believed in social justice however I also believe in upholding our national interests. They are not mutually exclusive but obviously I gave you too much credit about your intellect.

    You cannot tolerate anything said against Muslim haters – and everything they do you reckon is due to a screw up by the West – Bollocks. So when you lecture me I laugh.

    Infact, another thing, what I believe the world knows and believe it or not, people out in the real world do pay credence to what i believe – and I do not have to hide behind a pseudonym while arguing my thoughts.

    May be because I have convictions of my beliefs.

  49. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 11:53 am  

    Arif -

    “I would suggest that if the US or UK were in favour of protecting sovereignty of other countries, they would develop and strengthen an international system to achieve this – in the current real world that would mean undertaking their foreign policy primarily through the United Nations and using their influence in other multilateral institutions to ensure that they operated as democratically as possible.”

    I find this very very naive and I do have respect for your views although on this case I beg to differ.

    1) The United Nations, since its inception had Soviet Union on the UNSC – the United Nations did nothing when China took over Tibet – and allowed CHina to take over the UNSC seat.

    2) How can the United Nations function when you have states like Russia and China on its Security Council with veto powers. What sanctions was imposed on China for the Tianemen Square – none at all.

    3) The United Nations voted to put Zimbabwe on the Human Rights council and the Arab states said that Universal Declaration of Human Rights do not apply to them because freedom of religion is not sacroscant.

    Now, I know idiots like Refresh love to hate Blair. Okay, but the British government had created the biggest aid programme in the history of the world and more importantly, actually followed through. And because of that many many children across the world including in states who do not like us such as China and Russia have healthcare and education.

    And the person who has made the biggest difference in Aids in Africa is actually George W Bush – again something the world overlooks.

    yes we have done some wrong but historically and even today we have done more right than wrong. And we have shed blood for the world and even today the US and UK are the primary combatants in Afghanistan – we will not win the war in the traditional sense every one knows it but we do need to support a fledgling state so that it does not become the higher education institute for terrorism.

    Refresh, the idiot, talks about “the downtrodden” – well, if the Brits and the US did not choose to go into Serbia/Bosnia – many downtrodden would have been wiped out or Sierra leone.

    Yes we have made mistakes and we do not have the capability of intervening everywhere – and intervention always does not come in the form of weapons or invasions but through aid and other ways – provided the receipient state is in a condition to do so.

    In every way, the United Nations have been a failure on a grand grand scale except for the World Food Programme and the World Health Organisations.

    People like Refresh like to hate the West – and forget the great work we do across the political divide. So unless you can reform the United Nations, which is impossible the way forward is definitely not through it.

  50. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 11:55 am  

    Refresh -

    Nick Clegg and his party and the pundits thought the british public was behind him and his party in the General elections in 2010 – I publicly said on record and emails to many people including Sunny Hundal that their vote share would go down and so would their number of seats.

    So I would be very careful using terms like I and the British public you idiot –

    And you are thick – and I am putting you down because you deserve it.

  51. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 12:01 pm  

    And another thing, I have worked for and with aid organisations, closely collaborated with the World Bank on various developmental projects and I know what I am talking about.

    And one more thing I don’t go around trying to defend Narendra Modi saying his actions are due to the West – like you do about most muslim haters – so fuck off.

    You wanna debate – I WILL CLEAN YOUR CLOCK and show you to be the fool you are. You want to go after me – have the balls and go for it you moron.

  52. Refresh — on 20th February, 2011 at 3:06 pm  
  53. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 4:09 pm  

    Good you did not say anything – Refresh.

    Because you are worse than the Joe90 crowd – and I would point it out everytime you say something.

  54. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 4:15 pm  

    “Equally, I support everyone who rises up against oppression in the middle east (and elsewhere) but no way should you accept the two-faced commentry, judgements and pronouncements from Hague, Cameron, Clinton and Obama.”

    But you do not support Afghan people supporting the coalition fighting the Taliban – and on what Cameron and Obama says – since when did your thoughts matter to anyone but yourself you idiot. If you think otherwise you are delusional.

    Go figure – and indeed your views are very clear from this post: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/633

    where you indirectly support British Muslims becoming suicide bombers because of Israel’s policies in the middle east.

    So we already know your opinions Refresh – why don’t you actually stand by them – but as usual no courage of convictions.

    Everyone should read that thread and see where Refresh’s views and sympathies lie.

  55. Refresh — on 20th February, 2011 at 5:54 pm  

    ‘Good you did not say anything – Refresh.’

    I did but I removed it. I decided you still needed to work through your demons. And if #53 is anything to go by then you still do.

  56. Boyo — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:02 pm  

    ah, 2006. That was a very good year….

  57. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:10 pm  

    Fuck off Refresh – you need to look at the man in the mirror before you start lecturing me.

    And do not ever fucking question my patriotism – the very basic argument of yours that somehow foreign policy failures is good enough reason for some people to think it is okay to kill their fellow citizens shows that you are a hypocrite and that your world view is defined by your religion.

    So when you become a bit more enlightened – come and try to debate me or try to put me down.

    You can fool some people with your so subtle manouverings but not me.. you are a piece of shit and you will always will be.

    Anytime you write anything – I will call you upon it.

  58. Refresh — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:28 pm  

    ‘And do not ever fucking question my patriotism – the very basic argument of yours that somehow foreign policy failures is good enough reason for some people to think it is okay to kill their fellow citizens shows that you are a hypocrite and that your world view is defined by your religion.’

    I know you wanted to debate, looks like we had better have it. Clearly leaving you to your own devices means you become ever-more inventive.

    I do question your patriotism. You asked me to lay out what I thought and I did, it is all there in #40. I objected to your patronising tone, what clearly irks you is that I chose to respond in kind.

    You lost it on three separate occasions previously, and I accepted your apology each time. However I suspect on this occasion you’ve too far gone.

  59. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:36 pm  

    And guess what asswipe – most British Muslims do not feel the way you do.

    Most of them do not see themselves as part of this monolithic group that you try to define in the thread I highlighted above.

    And you are so up your ass with your religion driven thinking that you do not see that colonialism in its present form exists in Lebanon – syria and iran are the main culprits.

    Hezbollah is the biggest offender in that country which is being accused by the UN (which you so revere) for killing Rafik harriri but to you they are angels.
    And you think hezbollah as heroes – i can find your comments on those threads as well. guess what idiot, the UN has declared them along with Hamas as terrorist organisations.

    Now, even China and Russia see them as terrorists but you do not….wonder why? I guess religion has nothing to do with it right?

    What a proper idiot -and you question my intellect.

    As i said everytime you write something I will be there to show the world what a twat you are….

  60. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:39 pm  

    “I do question your patriotism.”

    Funny coming from a bloke who thinks foreign policy failures is a good enough cause to kill your own citizens – read the thread I highlighted.

    Go on – try it. Oh have I gone to far now – you know what when I apologised I actually thought I got you wrong but the more I see your writing and your attitude I know I was right all along.

    So go figure…go on lets have the debate

  61. Refresh — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:46 pm  

    ‘What a proper idiot -and you question my intellect.’

    No I don’t. Its never actually bothered me.

    ‘And guess what asswipe – ‘

    Charming.

    ‘As i said everytime you write something I will be there to show the world what a twat you are….’

    No problem. But I rather you addressed my #40.

  62. Refresh — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:54 pm  

    Shamit,

    Repeating a lie does not turn it into a truth. Whatever the reasons for your animosity towards me, I would appreciate it if you do not build on lies.

    How is it in all the years I’ve contributed on PP, its taken to 2011 for you (and only you) to dig something out from 2006 and then pretend that I said something I didn’t? Its just as well you’ve provided a link.

    From praising my intellect (‘far superior to any Guardian writer that ever existed’ no less) to a supporter of suicide bombing in less than 5 comments.

    Have we been warped into the darkest depths of HP?

    What is going on?

  63. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 6:56 pm  

    oh that rant @40

    Actually I did my dear religious nutcase @47.

    And as to”I do claim a better understanding of the great British public. Just look back at the resistance to the Iraq war, the wholesale rubbishing of Tony Blair, with more to come.”

    Guess what he still got a bigger majority than most prime ministers in recent times after the Iraq war – a vocal minority does not reflect the views of the entire British public.

    And you definitely do not speak for the british public when you suggest so called foreign policy failures of our government is a valid reason for British Muslims to try to kill fellow citizens. or are you claiming that most Brits support that too?

    You are becoming very much like Nick Clegg and the pundits in the Guardian and the rest of the media – know it all without the ability to persuade anyone.

    Sorry you do not – and by the way I do make my living out of politics and public policy – so I put my money where my mouth is.

    As for the abuse – you deserve every little and last bit of it sunshine.

    patronising you haven’t seen anything

  64. Refresh — on 20th February, 2011 at 7:01 pm  

    Well in that case I’ll let you get on with it.

    But telling lies is not the way to go.

  65. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 7:01 pm  

    Refresh:

    “Mirax, I think Bayah’s point is well made. Watching injustice that is on the scale that is toady’s Israel is hard to stomach.”

    And this is what Bayah said:

    “Like I stated before foreign policy plays an important role in the Muslim youth life, I know because I work with them every weekend as a volunteer at the local community centre with their home work. When they see their own mothers being raped, their fellow brother’s being killed by American made missile’s in Israel they get angry.”

    However to your credit you said this:

    “Where I would have difficulty with Bayah’s approach is he needs to widen his expression to cover injustices to all mankind. That is not to say he doesn’t already do so, but it needs to come across.”

    But the whole premise of bayah’s argument was wrong as was yours – and in this thread you argued there should be one group representing Muslims in this country as if Muslims are one monolithic group.

    You still claim to understand the British public better. yeah right…try it on fools who would believe you

  66. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 7:03 pm  

    And your response came while replying to someone who had said:

    You wrote: When they see their own mothers being raped, their fellow brother’s being killed by American made missile’s in Israel they get angry.

    Either your charges or worse, you, have a tenuous grasp on reality. If British muslims have their actual members being killed illegally – please know that they/you have legal recourse. If it is imaginary relatives that you get het up about, I am very, very sorry for you but no bull.

  67. Shamit — on 20th February, 2011 at 7:06 pm  

    It all started because you questioned by patriotism – you shouldn’t have – because I have been taught loving your country is very important and when someone questions that – it seriously pisses me off.

    Now I would leave it.

  68. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 12:36 am  

    Make sex not war. Videotape

  69. damon — on 21st February, 2011 at 12:55 am  

    Gaddafi’s a gonner. His ambassador to India resigned just now and said Gaddafi should go. Live on the radio.
    Shades of Chauchesku I think.

  70. Refresh — on 21st February, 2011 at 1:01 am  

    Shamit,

    Something for you to ponder:

    ‘In finally supporting the Tahrir experiment, President Obama was, in effect, pledging to end decades of American hypocrisy in its policies towards the Middle East and larger Muslim world.

    But in order to live up to this promise he will have to develop one set of policies for all the peoples and countries of the region. And doing that will demand an even more costly break with the past, putting old allies at arm’s length until they respect the rights of their peoples while embracing, however tentatively, groups that once seemed more easily characterised as, if not quite foes, then at least untrustworthy partners in securing American interests.

    Obama concluded his remarks celebrating the emergence of a new Egypt by saying that the revolution “forever more will remind us of the Egyptian people, of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country and in doing so changed the world.”

    Let’s hope in changing the world, Egyptians haven’t left the United States and other major powers too far behind.’

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/201121882356449949.html

    ‘Here we go again: Egypt to Bahrain

    US pledges for democracy may not extend to Bahrain, even if Obama finally supported Egypt’s rebellion.

    Mark LeVine’

  71. Arif — on 21st February, 2011 at 7:54 am  

    Shamit #48.

    While I accept and applaud the US and UK Governments’ (non-military) aid to Africa, China and Russia and many other things you could mention, I am more sceptical. I do not think they are pure evil, but I think they are primarily interested in pursuing a partial conception of the national interest which is only minimally respectful of the interests of others. Sometimes they are even disdainful of peace, self-determination or human rights in some quarters and actively undermine them.

    I am not suggesting that solving the world’s problems would be easy if only a few powerful countries would stop throwing their weight around. I am coming from a perspective which sees States as only justified inasfar as they promote universal human rights, peace, security, means to justice. If States fail to do this, we should create better structures like a stronger, more democratic UN. If Governments refuse to participate in developing such structures I suspect their motives.

    Weakening an institution for the peaceful/consensual settlement of conflicts, refusing to give it enforcement powers and then condemning it for being weak seems to me to be acting in bad faith. All the permanent members of the security council do this. All have a narrower conception of their national interests. I am not clear if you think this is a good thing, a regrettable but unavoidable thing or also think is a bad thing but only something the enemies of the US/UK are guilty of.

    I feel that while you sometimes seem to portray a narrow pursuit of national interests as a rational and realistic policy in a harsh world, you also sometimes seem to regard it as a terrible calumny on well-meaning democrats.

    In the end it doesn’t matter to me if the UK Government’s policy is a core of evil with a veneer of goodness, or a core of goodness pursued pragmatically and unfairly suspected of evil intentions. In both cases we can support institutional and cultural changes to build on the good and bring the evil to account. In supporting the UN, the ICC, the Geneva Conventions and so on, States have come together haphazardly to do some of this, so I think it is possible. I think in some moods you would too. After all the UK has participated in them all sometimes more or less enthusiastically.

  72. Boyo — on 21st February, 2011 at 8:05 am  

    Nations have no friends, only interests.

    On this I probably side with Joe90 and Refresh – the West has acted shamefully in the ME after it removed the Turks.

    But there’s the rub – it was little better before, and it’s naive to think otherwise.

    The strong oppress the weak – look at what the US-WTO has done to Africa, look what it did in South America.

    Look what the Pakistanis, Afghans and Iranians do to their own people.

    Paradoxically it’s the hypocrisy of the West that makes it so hated, not what it does. Was Rome hated thus?

  73. Abu F — on 21st February, 2011 at 9:17 am  

    Jamal

    Shia are muslims and so are sunnis what does that do to your warped sectarian thinking now, you friggin weirdo.

    playing the emotional card…

    etc, etc…

    Oh dear, not only a lunatic; but one with severe reading comprehension difficulties too.

    You have been caught out, my fine Islamist friend, trying to peddle your half-baked rehash of the MB program’s bizarre view that the entire Middle East (including the immensely wealthy Gulf States) are the colonial slaves of the West.

    You have attempted to argue that it is all about where the guns come from.

    You are a bloody loon.

    Now, do behave.

  74. Shamit — on 21st February, 2011 at 9:40 am  

    Arif -

    I applaud your idealism but I think it is naive that the UN could be reformed the way you envision it. Because no one wants it to change – forget the UNSC even countries that seek to be in that elite group such as India, Japan, Brazil do not want that -

    And even if it is reformed, nation states would still be the dominant forces unless you are talking about global governance – remote from those who are governed. That would not be the best form of governance.

    Are you calling for a UN army – who commands it – who bears responsibility for it.

    As i said, what you suggest is an idealistic dream – the UN can’t even enforce its will in Lebanon against a terrorist group – how in the hell are they going to control the US or Russia or China or India.

    This UN worship is very much an European thing and a liberal elite lefty thing – not many people subscribe to it, including myself. I have a problem with the European Union and its undemocratic practices and so UN governmental structures is not going to be acceptable to me.

    But even if I accepted your argument – could you please suggest how this could be done rather than using judgemental lofty rhetoric.

    How do you convince China to allow UN to intervene in its own affairs? How do you convince India? How do you convince Russia?

    Its great to say we need change and this is the ideal solution – I disagree – but even if I did accept your vision what would be the roadmap?

  75. Boyo — on 21st February, 2011 at 10:44 am  

    If one would not put faith in individuals to deliver positive change, it is surely ingenuous to put faith in undemocratic man-made structures?

    People are fundamentally self-interested creatures – that’s not a judgement, it’s an observation on evolution.

    This is why informed and transparent democracy, ideally at as local a level as possible, is the best of our imperfect forms of government, because people weigh what is in their individual interests.

    Institutions like the UN and EU are sinister because they drain accountability from the people by their very size. Nation states have been the most effective form of government because they encourage people to identity their interest with their nationality.

  76. jamal — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:12 am  

    abuf

    if drugs dealers supply illegal drugs you would go after the drug dealer.

    So britian supplies the weapons and you want to give them a pass don’t talk daft.

    do us a favour book yourself into this place

    http://www.dignitas.ch/

  77. jamal — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:22 am  

    refresh

    do you honestly believe the american administration will change their policies. Like you stated they have been executing these policies for generations.

    Just because obama and clinton make nice speeches about a new beginning, i would like to believe them but i don’t.

  78. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:22 am  

    “if drugs dealers supply illegal drugs you would go after the drug dealer.”

    How many afghani drug lords have the western allies brought down since invasion again?

  79. jamal — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:35 am  

    afghanistan

    another success story :) ok maybe not.

  80. Refresh — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:41 am  

    Jamal,

    From my #69, this line refers:

    ‘Let’s hope in changing the world, Egyptians haven’t left the United States and other major powers too far behind.’

    I believe history is being shed. The relatively short period of a unipolar superpower has disappeared, and it is now in direct competition with global public opinion.

  81. Arif — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:45 am  

    Shamit, I will try to answer your questions, but also ask you some. I don’t see this as a contest between us, so I apologise if I have come across as judgmental.

    I think there are various reasonable starting points to convince one another that the UN should be strengthened. If every State thought it a bad idea, surely they would have dismantled it already?

    What you call idealism, I consider to be a valid understanding of national interests.

    Narrower understandings of national interest still argue for a stronger UN: fear of predation by other sovereign States gives you an interest in limiting the legitimate use of force in international affairs. Conversely, considerations for minorities in other countries seems to give States interests in intervening in one anothers’ affairs, and so again they have an interest in this being rules-based so it can be achieved without wider undermining of sovereignty.

    In between the two, how do you characterise UK and US overseas aid? Idealism? Promotion of own’s own nation state? I think it is partly an understanding of our responsibilities to one another as human beings as well as concern for stability in an interdependent world. Again, strong reasons to support a UN to effectively achieve such goals.

    Beyond this you just have to accept I have no power to convince the US, UK, China, Russia and France to democratise or otherwise strengthen the UN. I just argue my perspective as an individual, I am not a State actor myself and don’t expect to be.

    You argue that the nation state offers a better form of governance than the EU. I would argue that the EU has a better form of governance than, say, Saudi Arabia. I think you really mean UK democracy is less remote than to you than the EU Council of Ministers, which is fair enough. But I don’t think its size is the key issue, after all the US is about the same size, but differently organised. Or do you think the US is as remote from its citizens as the EU?

    In terms of a roadmap, I admit I have not developed my own blueprint and I would want the international system to develop from dialogues rather than according to a blueprint. But I do think the UN should be given more responsibilities (and resources) to undertake policies in more areas, so I’ll chuck out some ideas:

    Make the UNHCR the global organisation responsible for determining the status of, protecting and resettling refugees.

    Make the International Criminal Court responsible for investigating human rights abuses where States refuse to do so.

    Get a formula for UNCTAD to be given the same funding as the World Bank and IMF so that different development strategies can be tried.

    Make the UN responsible for all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and inspections of civilian nuclear, chemical and biological facilities.

    Give the UN responsibility for regulating space exploration and exploitation, including the uses of satellites and clearance of debris.

    I think once there is some experience in developing such structures, UN peacekeeping should be given clearer mandates and chains of command, as well as more resources, so perhaps you would see that as an army. I’d worry that it would create moral hazard for it to include humanitarian intervention in its mandate. However I think if States could agree a process for humanitarian interventions it would be a good thing. What do you think?

    In the process of working out the precise codes, funding formulae and legal issues I’m sure the result will be unsatisfying, but whether you see your rights being maintained by a nation State alone or with the additional support of an international system of norms, you still have to constantly struggle for them to be recognised and implemented. I obviously don’t think I can change that.

    Do you have a problem in principle with States having oversight over global institutions, global institutions having oversight over States, and citizens watching them both. Or just don’t want to waste time thinking about something you consider unlikely? I think to some extent this kind of structure is already here in lots of institutions, and the UN offers a better way of citizens having some grip on them, as well as a grip on issues where we have difficulty keeping States accountable.

  82. Refresh — on 21st February, 2011 at 12:25 pm  

    Jamal,

    I was also going to add that the world will be watching with great interest how the army and Clinton play this one.

    An ex-State Dept. official who had worked in Cairo and was very happy for the Egyptian people, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, sounded sceptical about Washington’s goodwill. She pointed out that the US has access to Egypt, the state, on multiple levels not just through the Army.

  83. halima — on 21st February, 2011 at 12:40 pm  

    This discussion about the UN seems fixated on the UN security council structure alone.

    There are pros and cons to unilateral action or multilateralism in any field. Much depends on what your objectives are. If it’s security and counter-terrrorim, I am sure the UN which isn’t defined by national interest alone, isn’t going to be the best vehicle.

    My point is that unilateral, national and multilateral interventions don’t serve the same function so there’s a limit to how much you can their compare respective effectiveness.

  84. Arif — on 21st February, 2011 at 1:16 pm  

    Halima, I agree on the pros and cons point. I disagree on whether we can compare effectiveness.

    As I understand it you are arguing that since different goals are achieved through different kinds of actions, they should be judged according to their effectiveness in meeting the specific goals they set themselves.

    I think there is still a question about distinguishing legitimate and illegitmate functions of interventions (as well as means and just processes and involved parties). Some goals should be delegitimised and some means of achieving legitimate goals should also be.

    The key questions from Shamit are whether concepts of legality can be agreed by sovereign States, be enforced supranationally, and whether that enforcement itself would be equally prone to corruption.

    These are hard questions which don’t seem to me to revolve around the UN security council structure alone, except to say that it seems so far to be a qualified failure in setting up and enforcing mechanisms to avoid wars and promote human rights.

  85. Shamit — on 21st February, 2011 at 2:22 pm  

    Arif:

    I think you raise some important points – and I would try to address them later as time is limited.

    However, I want to address one key issue that you have raised the EU Vs US comparison:

    They are not comparable in any way – the US is a federal structure bound together by a single constitution headed by a federal government with three different branches.

    While the EU is a transnational body that was created by the concept of pooled sovereignty -there lies the big diiference.

    Now to explain it further, the world’s (now) sixth largest economy ie California has been bankrupt for quite a while now but it does not face the externally forced austere measures such as Greece and Ireland because its debts are finally underwritten by the US federal government.

    In case of massive emergencies such as hurricane katrina or 9/11, the federal government not only can declare it a federal emergency and put in the resources of the federal government and infrastructure with or without the request of the state government in question – which is not the case in the European Union.

    Further, all court decisions within the United States can be appealed to the US supreme court but in the case of the EU – only those covered within the ECHR or specific agreements can be done so.

    The US is backed by a single currency – and the EU is not – and the economic policies of the US are determined at the federal level while in the EU it is still and going to remain the purview of the member states.

    No US State can opt out of federal regulation but member states in the EU do have the right to do so -

    On a democratic accountability level – each state in the US elects two senators who along with other 48 senators have the right “to advise and consent” to actions taken by the US executive branch – in the EU there is no such mechanism directly or indirectly.

    The US Senate can block the appointment of a cabinet or even sub cabinet official – the European Parliament can only reject the whole commission but not an individual commissioner.

    The United States controls the world’s most powerful military and foreign and national security is completely in the hands of the federal government which is democratically accountable – not so the case in the EU.

    So it is apples and oranges and federal government collects taxes and defines and disburses entitlement programmes – no such powers for the EU and rightly so.

    The US is a homogeneous culture – ie they are all Americans and proud to be Americans that is not the case in Europe. In fact, everytime the question was posed to the electorate about more integration, the voters have rejected it each time.

    There is a huge democratic deficit – and those who argue that Europe gives us more influence in world affairs – actually, be it in China, India, G20 or cliamte change summit – it has been proven that Europe is usually not even in the room when deals are done – it is usually the big countries in Europe such as the UK, Germany and France who are in the room.

    In the climate change summit last time in Europe, the deal was concluded by Obama, Brown, Sarkozy, merkel, Chinese PM and Indian Environment minister and Barroso and Swedish PM, then the EU president got a text message.

  86. Hermes — on 21st February, 2011 at 2:22 pm  

    It’s all under control, guys! Cameron has been to Egypt and he’s gonna sort it all out for them. Now we can chill out.

  87. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 3:36 pm  

    Wonder how many pyramids are going to get privatised? Oh well, here’s hoping someone offers him two camels for his donkey side-kick

  88. damon — on 21st February, 2011 at 3:41 pm  

    It sounds like many Libyans have the idea that sub Saharan Africans were responsible for the many of the killings, and it seems like it was the case. Someone on the radio said that they were being offered $1000 for everyone they killed.
    Whether true or not, be prepared for a huge flood of black Africans out of Libya heading for Italy, as there will surely be a backlash. Someone was on the radio live at lunchtime talking to his brother in Benghazi, who was saying that the Africans had been holed up in a military compound in the centere of the city and that it had been surrounded by thousands of Libyans and burnt down with the Africans inside.

  89. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 4:05 pm  

    fuck

  90. Don — on 21st February, 2011 at 5:28 pm  

    Kismet,

    Quite. May I echo Golam @44? Gaddafi is now reduced to mere massacre and terror as he tries to extend his squalid reign. And we continue to bicker and find smart put-downs.

    Can we just take it as read that foreign politicians are going to spend more time thinking of ways to look less like the utter shits they are and to spread the blame than they are considering the human cost? Can we assume that and move on? We can pick over the guilt later, there’s plenty to go round. That doesn’t mean letting them off the hook, hell no, but there will be a time for that.

    There is probably nothing practical we can do as events unfold, but perhaps there is some way to let our elected representatives know that the public has noted what is happening and actually cares. The smug assumption that FP is somehow immune to public opinion because we are too thick or too selfish has gone on long enough.

    Hundreds dead, thousands likely to die in the next days and weeks and for what? Kleptocrats and policy makers with the moral depth of twelve year olds playing fucking Risk.

  91. Tory — on 21st February, 2011 at 7:25 pm  

    I said the regime in Libya would be violence because they would bludgeon opponents into silence.

    Seems I was talking out of my arse. This wave of revolutions is looking unstoppable right now. If Mad Dog can be overthrown, no-one is safe.

  92. halima — on 21st February, 2011 at 7:27 pm  

    Arif, @83

    Sure, there are questions about the legitimacy of both bilateral or multilateral actions, and I am more comfortable with the idea that some standards should be set and for nation-states to adhere to it.

    Otherwise it’s a jungle out there, and we can argue, rationalise and justify whatever suits our national interest. I am happier with the UN, and would argue for reform and change, it is the sum parts of all our nation-states, so if it is ineffective it is a result of the actions of nation-states – often the more powerful ones. So the finger of blame as i see it shouldn’t be on the UN as though it’s some independent entity – but on nation-states.

    The point about effectiveness is relevant, though, as I have seen so many arguments about when/how bilateral aid is more effective than multilateral aid. It is odd that we should ask the question as each would have a distinct comparative advantage and be good at different things, i..e how much humanitarian work can bilateral organisations do? The UN system is far more effective in front line functions like emergencies ( with the caveat that sometimes armies, too, have been instrumental). Similarly, bilateral agencies are better at counter-terrorism work specific to their own national priorities. And we can go on.

    UN failure? I don’t know, it’s only in the last century that we came up with the idea of multilateralism in the form of the League of Nations and the UN… The idea of the nation-states is also a short one in historical terms. Who knows what the future holds.

  93. joe90 — on 21st February, 2011 at 10:25 pm  

    one good thing out of this bloodshed is that this is surely the end of ghaddafi. He has to run to saudi arabia and join the dictators club over their.

    And how long before saudi monarchs feel the rage

    kuwait seems to see it coming already they bribing their citizens with cash:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12441440

  94. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 10:30 pm  
  95. Shamit — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:18 pm  

    Hi Halima

    How are you and hope the Middle Kingdom is treating you well.

    “Sure, there are questions about the legitimacy of both bilateral or multilateral actions, and I am more comfortable with the idea that some standards should be set and for nation-states to adhere to it.”

    I completely agree with the idea of it – but I don’t know how it can be policed effectively

    I think the way forward is based on compromise and negotiation. Much like the G20 agreement on economic indicators: http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/40818

    China was opposed to currency and current accounts but a compromise was reached – and that can be done within the purview of the multilateral or bi-lateral system.

    However, I do not think in the forseeable future we could create a multi-lateral organisation that would have the powers and the requisite enforcement resources to make nation states comply.

    The common bonds of humanity made sure detente was just that and not the alternative which was MAD – mutual assured destruction. But between those two points there are various levels of cooperation and competition which would evolve and hopefully be able to reach a stage where we have lifted everyone off poverty and have the ability to give everyone their fundamental human rights.

    But I would not hold my breath yet – but I am confident the world would get richer and richer and the concept of a global village would be more and more entrenched. And we would leave a better world for our children.

    Reminds me of a song by sting: “The Russians love their children too”

    *********************

    Could you please also drop me an email: shamit. ghosh AT egovmonitor.com – I want to ask you something – if that’s okay.

    **********************

  96. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:50 pm  

    Reminds me of a song by sting: “The Russians love their children too”

    He also said “I love my toast done on one side”

    One slice short of a sandwich that feller

  97. damon — on 22nd February, 2011 at 12:36 am  

    kuwait seems to see it coming already they bribing their citizens with cash:

    I’d love to know how all this is going down in Edgware Road amongst all the Arab people hanging out in the cafes and resturants.
    Many, or even the majority, are the monied classes from various countries. I remember when Iraq invaded Kuwait that there were ”Free Kuwait” posters and stickers around the area and in people’s car windows. Some must be worried about their own pampered futures.

  98. Refresh — on 22nd February, 2011 at 1:23 am  

    ‘There is probably nothing practical we can do as events unfold, but perhaps there is some way to let our elected representatives know that the public has noted what is happening and actually cares. The smug assumption that FP is somehow immune to public opinion because we are too thick or too selfish has gone on long enough.’

    Absolutely!

    I believe there is one thing we can start working on, we should counter the likes of Lorna Fitzsimons who believes foreign policy is a game for the ‘elite’. And clearly wishes it to stay that way. I am not sure we should wait until the dust is settled, that would be too late. The neurons will be back in place pretty sharpish and we cannot afford to wait another 30 years.

  99. halima — on 22nd February, 2011 at 5:43 am  

    Hi Shamit,

    Funnily enough i happen to agree that the process and negotiations in G20 are more cooperation and consensus based, and points to a good model. For instance, the issues they prioritised at the last summit ( economic growth and food security) seemed entirely right to me, and in many ways, they seem to be laying the ground for what a cooperative solution to current global problems might be. G20 is a different set of players than the ( now diminishing G7/8) set, and I imagine this makes a difference – more inclusion of developing countries is likely to lead to more sustainable platforms.

    China is an interesting one. Having spent a little time there, and watched how the discussions are going on the calls for currency appreciation, I think it’s probably right that they listen and would be willing to compromise. But what makes it difficult for Chinese policy makers is the constant criticism from Europe on its own internal currency matters. China or India don’t devote the same energy to vocally chastising what the US does to deal with its own economic crisis at home.

    On hopes for a more cooperative future, it think it might happen, probably not anytime soon as you say but am confident it will.

    Middle Kingdom is fine, or was fine (currently in Pakistan for a short assignment). Funnily enough, I have been following the various newspaper articles on whether China might undergo a jasmine revolution ( the idea that China’s Muslim population might hit the streets following the movements in North Africa). I don’t think this will be happening at all. Most Chinese people ( whether Han Chinese or other minorities) don’t care much about democracy. If they once did – it is now a distant memory. However, what most Chinese people are worried about are decent jobs, economic growth and security. As long as the Chinese leadership provides this, I doubt the streets would be brimming with people wanting to protest.

    Will email you ….

  100. boyo — on 22nd February, 2011 at 9:58 am  

    “Most Chinese people ( whether Han Chinese or other minorities) don’t care much about democracy. If they once did – it is now a distant memory. However, what most Chinese people are worried about are decent jobs, economic growth and security. As long as the Chinese leadership provides this, I doubt the streets would be brimming with people wanting to protest.”

    Very perceptive from our correspondent on the ground!

  101. Refresh — on 23rd February, 2011 at 2:40 am  

    Arif,

    I’ve just come across this, it seemed timely:

    ‘Arab uprisings mark a turning point for the taking

    It’s not only in the Middle East that the balance of power is moving. The old neoliberal order has also been shaken’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/22/arab-uprisings-world-order-middle-east

  102. Refresh — on 23rd February, 2011 at 3:01 am  

    Halima,

    I see the G20 gatherings more of a sub-committee of Davos.

    I don’t believe Reagan and Bush quite met their obective of breaking down the UN to the point of irrelevance. Reagan attempted it by defaulting on its dues, and ignoring World Court adjudications (Nicaragua). Bush deceived the UNSC on Iraq (ask Colin Powell) by ignoring his own resolution, stole UNSCOM’s report (supposedly for redaction) on Iraq before anyone else could read it. And now the US vetos its own policy and against international law.

    I would say the problem isn’t the UN but some recalcitrant members.

    Bush floated the idea of having a parallel organisation consisting only of ‘democratic’ states. It would be quite an irony if ME arab states do achieve democracy but remain excluded. I rather suspect what Bush really had in mind already exists in the form of an extended NATO.

    The reforms needed at the UN have long been understood, the democratic deficit has to be addressed and that can only be achieved if more power was delegated down to the General Assembly, primarily that they elect the UNSC on a 5 year term; and NGOs have their own seats.

  103. shamit — on 23rd February, 2011 at 8:23 am  

    It is irrelevent in the current form –

    And as usual the tosser would say US is the only culprit – China, Russsia, Iran and Arab states who declared universal human rights don’t apply – yeah they worship the UN.

    Once again screwed up propaganda from a screwed up and completely biased West loathing personality. Even now China and Russia are against making too much of a harsh statement against Gaddafi – and I am sure idiots like Refresh would claim its the oil if the West decides to intervene in Libya.

    The UN was useless in Kosovo, in Bangladesh (in 1971)against Mugabe and the list goes on and on and on and on – yet this stupid idiot would continue to slam only the US and UK. What a proper plonker

  104. Refresh — on 23rd February, 2011 at 12:07 pm  

    Shamit,
    I focus on the US in this particular regard for the simple reason that they are the ones who have wanted to sideline the UN. And to be fair we are talking about the neocons, which should make us all suspicious.

    The changes I mention would take care of the other recalcitrants too.

    With regards your personal abuse if you choose to continue, I will ask PP admins to take action against you.

    I am conscious on the three previous occasions you went down this path that your purpose was to silence me. And if you must know I think you think that by labelling people you can then use shorthand to stifle debate. Playing the thug did not work then and it will not work now.

  105. shamit — on 23rd February, 2011 at 12:38 pm  

    As usual Refresh demostrating selective amnesia about 1956 Hungary, 1968 Prague and 1991 Kosovo – who sidelined and vetoed UN resolutions?

    Who are stopping UN security council from taking any action against Libya – not the US or the UK -its Russia and China

    So once again you have something against the US and the UK – because you are very selective and you are thick – and you think Hezbollah and Hamas are “freedom fighters” – hence you are plonker and thick -

    Go and complain to your heat’s content. On what basis? For calling you a plonker or idiot or asswipe – either way its better than trying to defend that foreign policy is a legitimate cause to get angry and blow your fellow citizens.

    You are thick – the quicker you realise that the better it would be for you.

  106. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd February, 2011 at 12:46 pm  

    Christ shamit. I’m the immature git here. Find your own identity. Sheesh

  107. shamit — on 23rd February, 2011 at 1:12 pm  

    kismet – I know – I know – but some people have this wierd effect on me – what to do?

    Not proud of it but you know what when someone continually preaches this ” we are the world” but US and UK are always at fault and Hamas and Hezbollah are great liberators – it gets to me.

    So, there you go.

  108. shamit — on 23rd February, 2011 at 1:19 pm  

    The UN is standing by and doing nothing while innocent civilians are being slaughtered by armed aircrafts and helicopters.

    17 years ago it did the same bloody thing in Rwanada and it was a talking shop while Muslims were being slaughtered in Kosovo – it is a bloody talking shop which elects Zimbabwe to the UNHCR as its bloody chair.

    So yes anyone who thinks it is the UK and the US only trying to sideline UN – when any intervention is usually led by these two countries and we are the ones who shed the blood – no wonder i get pissed off.

    And I also get pissed off with this claim of “morality monopoly” which is a Claire Short thing. I am angry and for good reasons.

    I hardly ever abuse anyone even if I disagree unless they are BNP trolls but I have no time for hypocrites.

  109. boyo — on 23rd February, 2011 at 2:00 pm  

    i fear that the faith and fury of both shamit and refresh in the UN – reformed or unreformed – are mistaken.

    a good book to read on this is linda polman’s We Did Nothing.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Did-Nothing-Doesnt-Always/dp/067091424X

    not a shock that bush would seek to sideline UN for neo-Con conensus. Not a shock that china and russia block for their own reasons.

    The UN is as good as it will ever get, because it is the product of human nature – and the nation states are no more likely to scede a place at the SC than let NGOs in on the act (unless they believe it will suit their interests).

    Hope is not to be found in structures. Frankly, the only real hope is human kindness, which is largely limited to an individual – or small group – level, and then eccentric, bordering on random… ;-)

  110. damon — on 23rd February, 2011 at 2:30 pm  

    Gaddafi’s son: ”What Libya needs is managers.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A0vWu2HPPs&feature=related

    It’s not going to happen like that now I guess.
    Looks like things could really degenerate.

    I saw that Harry’s Place had picked up on this view from the Workers Revolutionary Party, who say:

    ”We urge the Libyan masses and youth to take their stand alongside Colonel Gadaffi to defend the gains of the Libyan revolution, and to develop it.”

    http://www.wrp.org.uk/news/6150

    Quite bizarre.

  111. halima — on 23rd February, 2011 at 2:34 pm  

    Refresh,

    Funny, the only people that ever talked about UN reform some time ago was actually the UK. Now, even the UN talks about UN reform so there’s some consensus there around improving and changing… I didn’t realise back a few years ago it was rude to talk to colleagues from the UN about UN reform, and now it is their corporate mantra.

    G20 and Davos? I don’t know much about Davos but isn’t it mostly Warren Buffet and his likes and some pop stars? I think the G20 might be a sign of things to come, though not saying it will substitute the UN, which with all its imperfections, as you say, is a reflection of its member-states.

    US not being into multilateralism? I wouldn’t take that too seriously, after all the Americans came up with the concept of the League of Nations – and typical of Americanisms I suspect one day the powers that be might just revert back to some of their original intentions. That’s American politics, for you, forever, fluctuating between idealism and realism, and somewhere between the two positions must lie a solution….. OK, perhaps this sounded naive, but i am in a surprisingly optimistic mood , perhaps the inspiration hasn’t come from Europe but from North Africa.

  112. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd February, 2011 at 2:43 pm  

    “Quite bizarre.”

    But the Islamic state of Benghazi do sound like allah-botherers of the scariest kind

  113. shamit — on 23rd February, 2011 at 5:28 pm  

    Continuing with what Halima said:

    Not to forget the Marshall Plan or the IMF or the international space station or the World Bank.

    And if US was so against the UN, why does it put in the most money in all multilateral organisations – as of 2009/10 fical year –

    The US provides almost 22% of UN funding and the second one is Japan which contributes about 16.5% while Germany and the UK follow next with about 9% and 7% of funding. France and Italy follow with 6 and 5% of funding respectively.

    Damn if we really hate it so much why does the US put so much money into it?

    US still is by far the largest donor of the IMF/World Bank – and Japan and China (from 2010) follow next. After that its the UK, Germany and France.

    Nah we hate multilateral organisations –

    I don’t mind people not knowing much – I don’t know about many things but when people try to use their ignorance as a moral virtue and basis for argument you have to say Oi shut it.

  114. boyo — on 23rd February, 2011 at 5:58 pm  

    “US still is by far the largest donor of the IMF/World Bank – and Japan and China (from 2010) follow next. After that its the UK, Germany and France.”

    Yeah, but these institutions plainly work in the interests of these countries.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shock-Doctrine-Rise-Disaster-Capitalism/dp/0713998997

  115. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd February, 2011 at 7:16 pm  
  116. Refresh — on 23rd February, 2011 at 7:25 pm  

    Shamit,

    How does you peddling a lie help your argument? I can only think that you have malicious intent.

    It seems we may have a contact in common, I think I will ask them to grab you by the shoulders and give you a good shake. Something is clearly amiss.

  117. Shamit — on 23rd February, 2011 at 9:32 pm  

    Boyo:

    The author is Naomi Klein – sorry can’t take it too seriously. Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein etc etc have started the self loathing industry to make millions – whatever little good they have to say gets obscured by their continuous efforts to peddle hyperbolic rhetoric with little relation to reality.

    Kismet: wicked one – nice.

    Refresh:

    Get a grip – malicious intent – nah. Peddling lies – pray tell me where?

  118. Refresh — on 23rd February, 2011 at 11:12 pm  

    ‘Peddling lies – pray tell me where?’

    Didnt think you’d use the Blair manoeuvre so early!

  119. joe90 — on 23rd February, 2011 at 11:17 pm  

    and the bribes continue

    earlier we had the kuwaiti monarchy bribing their citizens not to rebel, now the saudi corrupted regime are planning to hand out $47 billion to keep their people quiet!

    http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC110224-0000241/Saudi-Kings-S$47,6b-handout-to-avoid-unrest

    the saudi royalty i hope they collapse soon they are the only pieces of filth i despise more than bush and blair!

  120. boyo — on 24th February, 2011 at 2:05 pm  

    Shamit, there’s nothing substantial in your comment. Why not try reading the book and decide, or does the evidence risk offending your opinions? ;-)

  121. Shamit — on 24th February, 2011 at 5:03 pm  

    Sorry Boyo – I refuse to read Naomi Klein or Noam Chomsky – I have read a couple of them and variuous articles by these individuals.

    I have worked on the ground with World Bank projects and have wrote reports on many and I am very well versed with many of the developmental projects they do.

    The evidence can be read in many many ways – for example, it would be almost idiotic to suggest that opening up of the economy hasn’t helped India or China lift millions and millions out of poverty and in many cases world bank or other multi-lateral institutions have played a major role in developmental roles – for example eliminating middle men by establishing kiosks where farmers can ensure they get the best price in the markets in parts of india.

    Or by subsidising mobile networks in various parts of Africa and developing mbanking facilities and ensuring that the poor are not socio-economically excluded.

    Did these projects directly or indirectly bring major benefits to the US and its businesses – of course it did. But that does not mean that those projects are trying to exploit the poor in fact the results on the ground actually tell a different story.

    In fact, why don’t you ask Halima – she is the only one amongst us who is actually an international development professional on the ground who has worked on many countries and projects and find out whether these multilateral institutions have played a great role in reducing the socio-economic exclusion.

  122. Shamit — on 24th February, 2011 at 5:11 pm  

    Where I do agree is that economic benefits do not always equate to other opportunities – for example, in india – many many slum dwellers actually now have cable TV, fridge, mobile phones and even personal transportation.

    But they still do not have access to good quality education for their children – and in a society such as India – a graduation certificate and ability to speak and read and write english can make the difference.

    If you have got them you are pretty much assured of a decent living and be part of the growing middle class – if you don’t then you simply fall behind. But that is the fault of governance and I would not blame multilateral international development organisations.

    And in my previous comment, I said sorry I do not take them seriously because everything I have read from them while some parts do have some resonance much of it is hyperbolic rhetoric – and kinda lile Glenn Beck analogies. So once again, to convince me you need to bring some more substantive evidence -

    Even Glenn Beck uses evidence and so do Chomsky and Klein but often without telling the whole story – and without the whole story those evidences lose credibility.

    I hope I have made my position clear – happy to clarify and debate if you have any substantive points to add to it. I am sorry if I have offended your feelings on this but that’s the way I feel and I have been around this field if not in it directly or indirectly for many years.

  123. Shamit — on 24th February, 2011 at 5:26 pm  

    Closer to home – look at Eastern Europe – the massive development in ICT infrastructure and eGovernance has improved governance and decreased opportunities for corruption.

    World Bank works on clean water, sanitation, infrastructure projects – yes there are multi-national companies also involved and they do make profits but the end result is often a win -win rather than win-lose.

    And only a small percentage of these multilateral institution employees sit in air conditioned offices in DC – they are actually deployed on the field which is not easy.

    In fact the book you referred to does not discuss international development at all – it talks about forced economic policies on resistant countries – and China and India was not forced to adopt any policies but they chose to. And anyone who knows China and India knows that macroeconomic policies are not forced upon them.

    In fact where Naomi Klein freaks me out is that she has argued in numerous articles how the 1993 Russian revolution was good vs evil – and the forces of democracy were evil but those communist party members in the Duma wanting the state run economy which obviously failed were on the right side of the argument.

    she also argued that Tianemen square was about economics and that falklands war was a capitalist conspiracy – and you think she is credible. hmmmm…. I am sorry she is not at least in my book.

  124. halima — on 25th February, 2011 at 6:42 am  

    Hi Shamit,

    I feel a little distracted from the world of international development as I am discovering Lahore for the first time … a great feeling.

    International development has gone through a number of evolutions over the decades and has improved from past experiences. On the whole, the World Bank and the regional banks take a different approach to development, and the UN agencies start (in the main) with rights-based approaches to development. The World Bank mainly works on improving conditions for economic growth, and the many bilateral agencies, like DFID and SIDA would come along and emphasise growth that is both inclusive (that benefits the rich and also the poor), and sustainable. More recently, the World Bank and DFID have come to highlight social protection (support for the most vulnerable and excluded against various shocks) alongside macro economic growth. Often partnering with agencies that have expertise elsewhere produces better results.

    I do work in international development and believe it is having a positive impact. Much of this work is to support national organisations in several countries to create better conditions for their own citizens – not that different from the work we do in the UK with our own voluntary organisations. I would still claim that the work of nationally run organisations like BRAC are probably leading the way in international development…

  125. Boyo — on 25th February, 2011 at 7:29 am  

    Both, well, this may come as a surprise to you, but I also worked in international development for around a decade for various organisations including NGOs and multilaterals.

    The discussion was around US/UK influence and in that respect the reference to the Shock Doctrine was appropriate – really Shamit, it’s no good boasting about not reading books like any mad mullah then having an opinion on them.

    Klein describes how Friedmanite economics was brutally imposed on the people of South America, Eastern Europe, yes, to a lesser extent China, and Iraq at the cost of democracy. It’s fact-based. You refer to Russia, well actually reading an account of how the democratically elected parliament that tried to slow this process was usurped (that was when they tarred them as Communists, although many were the same people who had previously stood with Yeltsin) is a shocking indictment.

    Nothing of course is black and white and I personally know people who work for the World Bank and IMF who have only goodness in their hearts. However, the history is there – the fact that India and China, which are basically big enough to look after themselves, have been able to use the facilities on offer in a more positive sense does not change the record of abuse and unnecessary suffering in the furtherance of US interests.

  126. Shamit — on 25th February, 2011 at 8:32 am  

    Boyo – I did read a couple of chapters (incidentally the book is in my house and my wife owns it) and sorry this lady is like glenn beck – falklands war a capitalistic enterprise. who would have thought that? Then Tianemen Square was opposition against economics – so please

    Please don’t get patronising – because not all books are worth reading.

    Glenn beck writes books and they too make it to the NY times bestsller lists so do I have to read them to. And Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky fallls in similar yet opposite group. Just becaue you like them doesn’t mean they are worth reading. I have read enough comment pieces from both of them and seen speeches on youtube. so please.

    These two have made self loating an industry and just like theories of glenn beck and Bill o reily – I don’t buy it. And with half the facts they also make good arguments for their cause.

    And not reading them is a perfectly reasonable opinion and not like a mad mullah. SO dont patronise me please.

    *********************

    The World Bank is urging China to invest in early education and development of children especially poor and rural children – that’s the latest report and that is so exploiting the poort isn’t it.

    http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/40874

    And building roads in Romania and sanitation projects where 43% people Still live in houses without flushing toilets –

    http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/40884

    yeah that’s exploiting the poor – and World Bank is still pretty much a US body with US wielding veto powers on every bit of funding.

  127. Kismet Hardy — on 25th February, 2011 at 1:20 pm  

    I’m totally in agreement with Shamit. I almost never read any comments here before launching in with whatever comes out of my fingers. I know this comes as something of a shock to many of you but with time, and expensive therapy, the pain will be eased

  128. Kismet Hardy — on 25th February, 2011 at 1:24 pm  
  129. Boyo — on 25th February, 2011 at 1:56 pm  

    Well Shamit, suit yourself. If you had read what I had written ;-) I wasn’t saying the WB was all bad at all, and yes there are strengths and weaknesses in all analyses (I also found the Falklands War eg weak, although it explicitly was not cited as a conflict orchestrated for the benefits of shock therapy, rather one that served its purposes. The same applies to Tiananmen). However NK is hardly a Glenn Beck, or a Chomsky. At the risk of actually being patronising, i would suggest you give the book another chance.

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