Pic of the day: "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our
country and our people, and neither do we." -G.W. Bush, Aug.5, 2004.
Bush, savior of socialism?
It's still six weeks till the general election in Norway, on September 12th. But it seems a foregone conclusion that the socialist alliance will win this time, after 4 years in the shadow. Actually that's 4 years in the shadow for Labor, the Social Democrats. I believe it is 8 years since the ill-named Center Party, rural/agrarian, had a taste of power. The Socialist Left have never had any responsibility, and have accordingly racked up an awesome backlog of promises. Since Labor will be the big brother of the coalition, the two others will largely be excused for not fulfilling their promises, but some disappointment is to be expected. After four yeas of yearly tax rises instead of yearly tax cuts, I am sure people will start to remember why they ousted the socialists in the first place. But who knows how much damage they may have wrought by then.
But the Socialists have also got help from an unexpected quarter: They are widely considered less pro-American than the conservatives. (As can be expected from socialists, even though social democrats have a tradition of cooperating with the USA in practice. Britain's Tony Blair is from their Labor party, but then again Britain as a whole is a bit further to the right than Norway, which is again further to the right than continental Europe.)
Norway has close ties with the USA. It is often said that there are more people of Norwegian descent in America than in Norway, and certainly most of us have friends or relatives "over there" as we say. Since the onset of the cold war, military cooperation with the USA has been the cornerstone of our external security; Norway spends more on its military – per head – than any other NATO member save the USA itself. We are also a main exporter of weapons and ammunition to the alliance. Gun ownership is high, and Norway's stubborn sense of independence has caused its people to refuse membership in the European Union in two referendums. We've been part of a cultural bridge from Europe to America, a bridge that continues with the UK. (Although we beat the UK in buying American pizza and cola...)
When George W. Bush accidentally became president of the USA, most Norwegians accepted that this was an unintended side effect of an archaic election system that nobody had bothered to fix since it worked most of the time. We have things like that here too: Some votes count more than others, depending on where you live. Also, we did not know just how crazy and retarded the man was, so business as usual was maintained. After the 9/11 attacks, sympathy for the USA was very high. Over the years that followed, the Bush administration managed to squander this sympathy and create antipathy in its place. Still, we thought that it was just a crazy man and his crazy friends. Until the presidential election. That was a pretty hard blow. Kinda like your friend who you think is a rape victim until you find her sweatily shagging the supposed perpetrator. Well, not as intense, but a nasty shock none the less and certain to change many people's opinion.
So now distancing oneself from the USA is a good way to win votes, even among one of the USA's closest allies. And the socialists have a natural head start in this. Whatever else can be said about them, they are retarded in a different way from the "Christian" Right.
Meanwhile in Spain, the socialists were swept into power on their promise to withdraw from the Iraq war. In Great Britain, there is no socialist alternative to oppose Labor, and they still took a hit at the recent election from their friendship with Bush. In Russia, Vladimir Putin uses the example of the US' War on Terror as an excuse for a firmer leadership, which is to say less democracy and more power to himself. A report recently seen in The Economist shows that even in developing countries outside the Americas, people are now hesitant to move to the States, a preferred goal in the past. They would now rather go to a closer destination. One can only imagine how the world will feel about the USA after four more years of clueless elephant rampage. (Provided there still is a world, of course.)
Perhaps the beast of communism, which was mortally wounded, may still be healed, and the whole world follow it. Though I'll see that when I believe it.
In all fairness, Bush is not exactly the devil incarnate. I honestly believe it is just stupidity that makes him invade the wrong country and cut taxes during wartime, things like that. He is by all accounts a good person, and has pledged a lot of money to the world's poor and sick. By American standards, that is. Non-military foreign aid from the USA used to be on the same scale as that of a small European country, before Bush. It is now stepped up, sadly with money the country doesn't have, as they themselves are borrowing two billion dollar a day. But it is still a nice gesture.
Visit the ChaosNode.net for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.