The city fathers of Carthage

I bought a book on the Falklands war on my way to see the anti-war protest in Oslo today, something to calm my hawkish nerves with if everyone started to sing Kumbayah. The police have estimated a crowd of 60 000 people on and around Youngstorget, so I'm very glad they didn't. A single paperback on a minor war wouldn't have been enough. I would have needed the collected works of Winston Churchill.

60 000 people out of a total population in Oslo of 500 000. That's 12% of the city, the largest ever protest in Norway. Other major cities saw similar numbers, adding to a total peace crowd of 100 000 Norwegians.

Whatever the peace movement may be in the United States, it's not a fringe leftist obsession in Norway. It's a mainstream mass movement. And it's not leftist as such. Sure, the wacky left was at the protest too. (I got a bit worried when I found myself stuck near Blitz, the hard-left/anarchist group that assaulted Oslo City Hall two weeks ago). But it's not their movement.

Maybe it's time I put into words what I see as the major foreign policy camps in Norway at the moment. I'm not sure how the this looks from the US, but I suspect that many have the impression of a clear split between pro-Americans and anti-Americans, right and left. It's not that simple. I identify at least four different lines of thinking in Norway - I'll call them radical leftists, neo-pacifists, traditionalists and radical rightists, in lack of existing terms - and they're for and against a war in Iraq for very different reasons.

We all know the radical left, favourite practice target of the blogosphere. Radical leftists see the United States and capitalism as major forces of evil. They're united by what they're against, and often find themselves on the same side as what should logically be their most bitter political enemies. The radical left may be larger here than in the US, but it's not a major political force, just a very loud one. It's basically the local chapter of a global underground movement with intellectual headquarters in the US.

The neo-pacifists make up most of the Norwegian peace movement. They are, perhaps, not pacifists in principle, but pacifists in practice. A product of generations of peace, democracy and capitalism, they identify war as the only possible threat to their security. Therefore, war is the ultimate evil. Able to imagine war, but not oppression, they value life over freedom, and will oppose almost any war up to the moment where the enemy forces actually cross your borders, (which some will see only as a sign to begin a peace process). Neo-pacifists imagine that an enlightened international state of affairs that will make war unnecessary, even impossible, is in the process of being formed. An American war on Iraq threatens that process, and violates the basic creed of neo-pacifism, which is that violence never solves anything. ("Tell that to" see headline.) Exceptions are made for historical evils, like Nazism, precisely because they are historical, not current evils. Neo-pacifism appears to be popular all over Europe, Germany in particular.

In order to guarantee our security when World War 2 had ended, Norway decided to back two different horses: NATO (ie. the US) and the UN. NATO gave us short term protection against the Soviet Union. The UN would create long term security by limiting the freedom of individual nations to make war. Support of NATO and the UN has been our policy ever since, and I'll call the people who follow this line traditionalists. The traditionalists are aware that a small country needs allies, and, unlike the three other groups, their motivation is primarily realpolitikal. As traditionalists see it, Norway needs good relations with the US. It also needs a united NATO and a relevant UN. You'll never see a traditionalist play on anti-Americanism to win an election, or do anything to tear NATO or the UN apart. In the Iraq crisis, traditionalists are torn between their primary policy goals, propbably a major reason why Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and Foreign Minister Jan Petersen have so far refused to take a public stand on Iraq. They will likely tie their support for war entirely with the decision of the UNSC, from their point of view the safest balance between incompatible priorities. Traditionalism has its party base in the two primary mainstream parties, Labor and the Conservatives, but I suspect that a power base has also formed in the bureaucracy, and that a radical break with current policy would face considerable inertia.

There's a left/right split between neo-pacifists and traditionalists, but it should not be overemphasized.

The fourth camp is the radical right, which sees the United States and capitalism as major forces of good. To them, it's not only sensible to ally ourselves with the world's most important liberal democracy, but also right to do so. That feeling of an ideological bond with the US trumps any desire for a united NATO and a strong UN, and if supporting the US means leaving those organizations behind, then so be it. I'm partly describing my own views here, so this is probably the foreign policy camp I understand the least.

To give you an idea of how important these political camps are in Norway, polls tend to show about half the population unconditionally against war in Iraq, (radical left/neo-pacifists), and of the other half almost all in support on conditions of UN approval, (traditionalists), and only a small number unconditionally for, (radical right).

Today's protest was primarily neo-pacifist in nature. The people around me looked to me a fair sample of the population, (except that they were almost all native Norwegians. I'm not sure what this means.) These were regular Norwegians, too sensible for wacky ideologies, taking a rare stand for a cause they believe in. Watching it all, I was struck by a sense of futility. If indeed neo-pacifism is a product of liberal democracy, is then our society doomed in the long run? Will ever-increasing wealth and security only make us unable and unwilling to defend our country against future aggressors? It did work out 60 years ago, though, and Europe wasn't any more sensible then. At the very least, neo-pacifism is a significant long term threat to Norway, being both seductive and suicidal. Norway's future may not turn on whether we follow the US into Iraq, but it does turn on our ability to recognize and respond to military threats. Iraq is not yet a direct threat to Norway, and there are, of course, good arguments against this war, but neo-pacifist opposition to war isn't about carefully weighed pro's vs con's. In the neo-pacifist worldview there are only con's, no pro's, and the solution to all the worlds problems seems just a hand-joining folk-song singing session away.


Nice analysis, Bjorn.

But one question: why do you consider the intellectual headquarters for the radical left to be in the US? Are you referring to Chomsky and Michael Moore?

Chomsky's opinions are actually quite influenced by French Marxist criticism from the Sixties and Seventies.

I'm beginning to think it was a huge mistake for the US to go through the UN. The US should just have taken action, based on earlier UN resolutions. It is a mistake that should not be repeated: unilateral action, - just like in Afghanistan - should be the guiding principle.


Thank you for your comments, which I consider to be objective and even handed, and you do make it a point to openly state your preferences before commencing with your observations. Your description of the current Norwegian political sentiments and factions are quite enlightening.


for a sampling of American participation in and reaction to today's (Saturday 15 Feb) anti-war protests. There are pics and stories from around the world as well.

The site will be updated throughout the day


PS VNN has been under a denial of service attack since last night, we hope to be back up sometime today

PPS Allow me to say 'Vive la France!' Most of the childish anti-French sentiment being expressed in the United States at the moment is coming from the American media elites who are angry at no longer being able to dictate political policy in America and Europe. The internet is rapidly making them irrelevant, and they are growing increasingly disturbed by that. There is no enormous dislike of France and the French people in this country. That is an invention of the big corporate media outlets that are clamoring for war, and they resent being told 'no' by the French government and the French people.

In closing, to all the "outraged" Americans who feign betrayal by the French at not joining the United States in an attack upon Iraq: Many of you continue to argue that "America saved France in WWII." In response to that I would invite you to pull out a history book and re-read just what France did for America in our War of Independence from Britain. MK

Mark, Bjorn

'There is no enormous dislike of France and the French people in this country.'

That comment may be correct, but there is no enormous kinship with the French either. To the average American, France is just another old world European country that has very little influence on their day to day lives. Britain is probably the only other country that America shares a small cultural kinship with, and that is mainly due to BBC television programs which have a small following stateside. Americans are probably closer to Brits than Canadians. We mostly hear from Canadians about how morally superior they are to the USA and every chance they get they have to point out how they aren't American. Actually Mexico is probably the nation we are closest to. A great portion of the low paying and unskilled workers in the states are mexican/hispanic, these people are having the biggest impact and revelance on American culture. The sad truth about America is that citizens aren't willing to welcome people from a town 10 miles away let alone some country across the Atlantic.

I work as a technician, which is a hybrid environment of white and blue collar type people.
The consensus from my co-workers is that France is playing 'Dog in the Manger' and has great financial intersts in Iraq. Alot of people in the States are tired of countries like Germany and France saying no war, but then they offer no leadership at all in getting Iraq to disarm. They only offer more inspections and more sanctions.

This reminds me of a time I was helping a friend build his house, we were using a 12 foot board to screet concrete in his freshly poured garage. we started together moving the board back and forth removing the excess concrete. I was putting everthing into getting the job done, when I got to the end, I noticed that my friend had stopped 1/2 way though the job, I did most of the work while he rested on the sidelines and commented on the job. Americans see Europeans sitting on the side while Amercans are doing the grunt work. I don't see this changing, the EU may one day approach America as a unified economic 'superpower', but I really doubt that they will have any cohesion to be a military superpower and be the world's policeman.

I've seen Neo-Pacifists in the States as well, they are convinced that war with Iraq is all about oil. They reason that war can be avoided and the world be a much safer place if we let Saddam alone and pay 50 cents more for a gallon of gasoline. These same neo-pacifists bitch whenever what they purchase increases in price just a tiny fraction because it's 'unfair'.

Profile of a Neo-Pacifist that I know:
Currently unemployed, fired from last job of 7 years as a clerk at a CD/movie store which is part of a huge conglomerate. Receives handouts from parents even though he's 25 and has no shame in 'hitting up the folks'. Never watchs the news or reads a newspaper, is obsessed with playing videogames and listening to music, has never left the United States. His car is not drivable since he doesn't feel like fixing the brakes and couldn't drive it because he let the insurance lapse. This person is mad at George W. because that's what he hears from people that talk around him.

I went to the local shop this afternoon. The owner asked me how I was, so I replied 'cold and angry'. He asked why I was angry so I expressed my rage at the foolishness of the people I had seen on TV.

He smiled and said:

'David, did you see any arabs marching on TV today?'

For the 1st time all day, I smiled and we laughed and shook hands.

He's from Yemen!

Actually I didn't see any arabs marching, but I didn't watch much of the news, so I'd like to know whether any did. I listened out for it on the radio, but while I heard of protests of outraged citizens in Rome, London etc, I didn't hear any arab cities mentioned. Funny old world!

Mark Konrad, of all the political groups and stances around today yours is the most rancid and ignorant. Wow, atheism, racial supremacy, and anti-America (anti free markets and freedom in general). There's an attractive, intelligent mix.

The neo-pacifist issue concerns me because I have been saying that if this war does not go well, or if the US really feels out there alone, you may see a very serious isolationist sentiment roar to life in the US. I am beginning to wonder if that sentiment my do so no matter what at this stage.

I read someone who said "Americans all think they are Superman, and life is not a comic book." THis really set me thinking how there is a lot of truth there. We DO think the US is Superman, with the magic X-Ray vision, and super strength, and can fly 1,000 miles per hour (sorry, kilometers ;-)
So we showed up in Metropolis at a very bad time for them, and saved the city. And we decidied to stay to help. And they were very grateful.

And then the City Council of Metropolis realized, "Hey, why pay for a police force? Aren't we wasting our money? Why not spend it on the poor, and some new parks and services instead? (Not an entirely unreasonable sentiment)
And Superman didn't think much about it, and let them, and both parties knew that if the bad guys showed up, it would be Superman to deal with them, and he would, because it was the right thing to do.

And now, fifty years later, the citizens of Metropolis have almost entirely forgotten what a police force is all about, or what budgeting for one really means, and the sacrifices that are necessary. After all, there is no crime basically. "Somebody" seems to have eradicated most if not all of it. Must have been that far-sighted city council.

Well, guess what folks... and it comes right from the source. Superman is ticked. After fifty years, kryptonite showed up and Superman, astonishingly enough, realized that he himself was threatened and asked for some help, and even for some asked only that if they couldn't help, that they kindly stand at the side of the road and stay out of the way until Metropolis problem number 416 was dealt with.

And many good citizens of Metropolis spit in his eye, poured contempt on everything he had done for the past fifty years, and asked themselves "Kryptonite? Is that poisonous to ME? No? So why should I care? Poisonous to Superman? Heh heh, about time. Well, if Superman goes away, I guess we'll be OK. After all.... we don't HAVE any crime, and haven't for some time now. Not sure why not, but we don't, so why does he matter that much any more".

I see a strike in Supermans future, folks. I see a situation like Bosnia where the US categorically announces to the world that it will do NOTHING other than tally the death toll and watch as the UN and the rest of the world.... well, we shall see, then, won't we? Zimbabwe? India-Pakistan?

Does the EU know what the term "step up to the plate" means? They'd better learn. And we shall see just how effective "neo-pacifism" is in stabilizing this world.

For those of you who actually are interested in what France did for us back in the 1770s, read the bio of John Adams by McCullough.

Let's see, we were pawns to use against Britain. Came through at the very end with the ships promised (quelle suprise) after they engaged the lobsterbacks in the Caribbean.

Oh, yes, kept us on the string while toying w/the idea of invading Britain since it was tied up w/us colonists.

We showed them the way after we won our Independence, they chose to go a different route than us.

As usual, promises they didn't intend to keep. SOS. Backstabbers then, backstabbers now. Our debt was paid in full many times over.

Bjørn — very useful analysis. Thank you.

Bjørn — were it Iran, for example, rather than
the U.S., that was contemplating an attack on
Iraq, do you believe that Norwegians would
have turned out in such large numbers to

To what extent are these protests et oppgjør
med Amerika — Western Europe's demand
for a new contract with America? Certainly
European pacifism is part of what motivates
the anti-war movement in Europe, but I
suspect that it is American power (economic,
cultural, military), and not the war per se, that
really bothers our European friends. I think
that it is Europe's relationship with America
that is the real issue here. What are your

- Gill

The spiritually asleep and the appeasers against Israel, the United States, and Britain. Hmm. On the other hand antichrist-like dictators of any political and 'religious' stripe are just fine in their book... Looks like we've got here an interesting scenario...for the spiritually discerning...

great analysis - more or less you can use it also for other european countries.
But in Spain there are some more antiamerican prejudices (Cuban War, strong comunist party, reproaches to back Franco and last but not least some "arab friendly" that means antiisraelian feelings - spoiled by the media).
For this reason in the US it has to be still more appreciated that the spanish PrimeMinister Jose Mº Aznar is backing the US policy - although it will cost his party many votes on next local elections in May.

Well, speaking of kryptonite, and given that someone posted the URL of the wonderful conspiracy website whatreallyhappened here, I guess a countermeasure is in order:

(AKA Whatdidn'treallyhappen)

Werner: Agreed. I'm amazed at Aznar's support for US policy; I know it's very risky for him to do that politically, and I'm really a bit at a loss as to why he's taking such a risk. I have some theories:

1. He identifies with the struggle against terrorism. Spain is fed up with ETA terrorism - what's more, there is the distinct possibility that ETA could link up with Arab terrorists - Al-Qaeda, and the Islamists in Algeria. Aznar can always explain that connection to the electorate, thus justifying his support of US policies.

2. It's clear that France-Germany have been throwing their weight around in a manner that is disturbing to several "mid-sized" EU states. Aznar is playing the geopolitical card with the same calculation as France and Germany.

3. Aznar seems to be getting Blair's cooperation on Gibraltar; he realizes there is value in good relations with Blair-Bush. The resolution of the Gibraltar issue will be a big plus at election time.

Spain also got Colin Powell's involvement in the Moroccan occupation of disputed Spanish islands. Morocco seemed to back down, after that. Perhaps that was an eye-opener. NATO means something rather tangible for Spain.

4. Spain has enjoyed a boom in the nineties, due to it's commitment to the EU. However, the social democratic welfare states of France and Germany will be slowing down the economies of all EU countries. Aznar sees a value in cultivating ties with the US: as the heavily regulated labor force in France-Germany makes investing money there more unattractive, Spain can position itself as a viable, low-cost alternative to US investment dollars. And a thriving economy is always a good vote-getter. Whether that can be communicated well to the electorate is another issue, though.

What do you think?

Markku: I'm thinking about Chomsky and Moore, and a general impression I get - I'm not sure I can support it with facts - that the real thinking of the anti-globalization movement is done in the US, or at least in the Anglosphere. I see it as a shadow of Western culture, spreading in much the same way. Even if Chomsky's way of thinking is borrowed from the French, he's the one who popularized it. Just as Disney popularized European folk tales. I'm not sure about this, though. There might be a number of influential non-American, non-British, non-Canadian and non-Australian anti-globalization intellectuals I haven't heard about.

David: I did hear of several Arab cities. They didn't say how many there were, but certainly fewer than in Europe.

Gill: I agree that European neo-pacifism is fueled by anti-Americanism. I think it's a different kind, though, a weaker form of it, but I haven't thought this part through yet.

Don't get me wrong, though, Mark Konrad, I think Norwegians are the master race as much as anybody... If I had a sample of Bjorn's sperm, properly processed by a labratory of course, I would insert it in my wife on my wedding night. That's not the point. The point is: without a real belief in the Living God of Creation, the Living God Who created you, Mark, the Living God El Elyon, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, then white supremacy descends into a miasma of meaningless rhetoric. White supremacy needs God to be really useful.

When Viking Kings converted to the True Revelation, Mark, they were able to destroy their enemies at distances with lightning and other powers of celestial nature that Thor worship didn't make available to them. They also learned to read as a consequence. Their Bibles were written in gold and shined off the page like diamonds in the sun. And their women got more slender and beautiful.

I just want it to be known that I'm not against white supremacy in all contexts or just as a general idea or reality. I'm not one of those panty-waist scared-of-public-opinion types. I also know that people of all races can become saved and become kings with glorious spiritual bodies able to throw lightning at their enemies too.

(I'm not joking with the Word of God or the True Revelation of the Living God, I'm just writing in certain parts of this post in a way that meanders into tongue-in-cheek but in no way represents the general sentiment or beliefs of the entire post especially the parts about God and my belief in God as my Saviour and Kind and Priest and Prophet...)

I like Andrew X's Superman analogy. The Europeans have a high standard of living because they have been able to spend their money on social services rather than defense, because they were under the Americans' defense umbrella. This has caused many of them to have an unrealistic view of how dangerous the world outside of Europe really is. They think that they can negotiate and bargain with potential external threats like they have among themselves. They have forgotten that there are monsters out there.

I think it was in one of Robert Kagan's pieces that I read which had the analogy of an area which was threatened by a bear. If you are weak and have only a spear to defend yourself against the bear, then you hide and hope the bear will go away, because attacking the bear with a spear is just too dangerous. But if you have a better weapon, like a gun, then you have the courage to go out and shoot the bear and remove the danger. The Europeans have spears; the Americans have guns, and that is the difference in our outlook. To us, the danger looks to great to be ignored and is well within our capacity to remove. The Europeans don't see the danger as being intolerable, and hope that not too many people will be eaten before the bear is sated and wanders away.

It was Robert Kagan's "Power and Weakness."

"The Europeans have a high standard of living because they have been able to spend their money on social services rather than defense"

1. Generally, Europe has a rather substantially lower GDP / capita than the US.

2. The difference in defence spending, even though substantial, isn't *that* large. It is rather *how* the money is spent (Largely on territorial defence and peacekeeping - the old NATO roles of the European countries), as compared to how US defence spending is allocated (Force projection, high tech) that is critical to US military superiority.

Regards / GulGnu

-Stabil som fan!


You listed four likely reasons for Aznar’s support of the U.S position on Iraq. Let me add another. Attitudes can change very quickly. If war comes it is not unreasonable to think it will go well. By that I mean over quickly with a fraction of the civilian casualties predicted by the anti-war folks. Saddam’s regime will be exposed as being even more brutal than advertised, and no one will exactly be mourning his death. A few months after the war we could see joyful Iraqis looking forward to choosing their own government.

The above scenario is no certainty, but it is a pretty likely outcome. If it happens you can count on anti-American sentiment (at least that stirred up by the current situation) to subside. In fact, many of the anti-war folks could look pretty foolish in retrospect, and leaders who were “right on Iraq” could come out looking down right heroic.

Excellent blog, Mr. Staerk. I have linked you up in my blog.

As for what France did for the Americans : totally mercenary, seeing as how the enemy of their enemy was only their friend for as long as they could gain something from it...and the lessons that would have been learned there were completely **cked up by the French. They decided to have a little revolution of their own, and turned it into the Reign of Terror.

Perhaps its best of the French don't get into the fight. They'd become just like Saddam himself.

As we say here out on the prairie...CLOSE, but no cigar!

Bjorn, I'd say that the same divisions basically exist in the US. There's a small, noisy radical left, but most self-identified liberals are either neo-pacifists or traditionalists of some sort, and many are anti-war for that reason. One difference is that in a US context I wouldn't call your "radical right" by that name, since there are people here who are far, FAR to the right of that camp (some of them post to your comment boards). What you call the "radical right" is pretty much the US Republican mainstream.

Anyway, the people who are really torn right now are the US version of "traditionalists," in whose camp I probably would count myself to some extent. Whether they're anti-war or pro-war basically depends on whether they think the preservation of international consensus trumps the preservation of the ideals and norms that that consensus is supposed to enforce, when it blatantly fails to do so.

Bjorn, it may not be pointed out to you enough by the people who are born English speakers, but your English is very good (to the point of being unnotice-ably good, if you know what I mean) approaching Vladimir Nabokov-ian levels of fluency. (Nabokov of course grew up speaking Russian and then set out to learn English to a degree that was better than native speakers, and, of course, wrote many of his novels in English. You probably can't have a language in your blood the way a native speaker has it, though, on the other hand, you just may be able to... Maybe going from Norwegian to English it would be more natural...)

"God": Thanks, I'm working on it. My vocabulary isn't all that large outside the kind of writing I do here, though. If I would try to describe the room I'm sitting in right now, for instance, I wouldn't know how to begin. Then again, I'm not sure I could write about politics in Norwegian. I often switch to English in my head without being aware of it, and sometimes even have to stop in mid-sentence to translate the phrase I'm thinking of to Norwegian. My old teachers would kill me if they knew.

Meanwhile, some people here in New York are organizing, via email, a huge snowball fight at Columbus Circle near Central Park at 5pm today.

I love New York!

You know, I had a Swedish friend (in London) who told me much the same thing -- she had real trouble thinking through her assignments (we were in an MA in Lit Crit program) in Swedish. I wonder if this holds true for all languages, or if it's more predominant in the Scandinavian-Germanic ones (in regards to English, I mean).

Whoa, tangents anyone? (I'm beginning to notice -- I've stopped making any political commentary on this board -- primarily because I can always find someone who's already said what I'm thinking. Usually Markku. :-)

I'm sorry I'm missing the snowball fight... :-)

Absolutely superbly written and thought out commentary! You’re classifications are excellent regarding the split in public affiliations. I’d even say this is an accurate reflection of what goes on here in the US, and to a lesser extent Canada.

Jim from PA:

I’m Canadian, living in the US. Your description of Canadians is pretty much on the money. Canadians claim to be a “morally superior” and smarter version of Americans. USA-bashing is a national pastime up north. Many reasons for that, but the best explanation in my mind is jealously or insecurity. Canadians love to be complimented, especially when it is an American doing it. They absolutely live for that moment. What’s even worse is that they only see themselves in comparison to Americans; not as their own entity. Cross it off as going through an identity crisis. Where do you think "multiculturalism" came from?

It wasn’t that bad before Chretien came into power, but now it’s awful. I’d say about half of Canadians truly believe the above sentiment and the other half are pretty reasonable people who just do their own thing. The sad thing is the leftists became ever the more brash, loud and arrogant after the Liberals came into power ten years ago. If anyone disagrees with them they’re quickly branded as “unpatriotic” or *shudder* “racist”. Sounds like what’s going on with the Bush Administration, although this has been the case in Canada for the last ten years. Sad, because it was once a wonderful country.

I wonder how many people recall what Churchill termed Norway's "almost belligerant neutrality" before WWII. The Norwegians believed this was how they could stay below the Nazi radar and enjoy a war on the sidelines, like the Swiss. They refused many offers of military aid from the British right up until they were invaded by Germany. Then, as the country was marched under by the jackbooted stormtroopers, both the government and the royal family were quickly bundled off to Old Blighty for the duration. So what's new?

Hi all! happy friday!

Bjørn, excellent thoughts. when thinking about the Neo-pacifists and their responses to WWII, i would suggest that since the enemy was hitler and not stalin, they react that way. if the enemy were state socialist leaning or "left wing", i wonder what the reaction would be. all of the "human rights violations" that were committed in denmark to germans or alleged sympathizers have been swept away and never mentioned in school books. but the pictures of human minesweeping operations on the North Sea coast still exist... (and get explained away...)

then, for the norwegians who feel neo-pacifist about war, there's a name that starts with "Q" that really will get the ire up of our norske venner. but how remembered is that traitor?

as for the "anti france" sentiment by media elites, i'm not sure what that should mean. Fox news definitely has a slant like that, but most press i would think of as "elite" would be pro-europe (ny times, boston glob(!sic!), chicago tribune). so, i've not experienced that perspective. and, i would postulate further that the daily anti-american sentiment in european newspapers (derstandard. at,,,,, doesn't even approach the levels that the more sensitive types here suspect.

as for the french, the norwegians should remember chirac's comments to them after they THANKFULLY rejected the socialist-super-state EU that norway would have to crawl on its hands and knees even to hope to get considered again.

unlike the lack of danish balls in the EU arena, the norwegians have done well thus far with that!

and finally, the linguistic question is a cool one -- i lived in dk for five years and a total of six in europe and would switch back and forth without realizing it, too. but it's not a feature of the language, it's got more to do with immersion and active cognitive processes. so, a spanish speaker would switch in certain situations, etc.

ha' det godt!

I don't think that there is necessarily an irrevocable progression toward pacifism in liberal democracies. As many have remarked, during the 1990s, with the Balkan wars and the general condemnation of the US for not intervening in Rwanda, there was something of a minor resurgence of hawkish internationalism among the American Democratic Party center-left. Some of those same people saw the war in Afghanistan as justified even though a Republican they didn't particularly like was President.

It's in part to those liberal hawks that Bush is speaking when he talks about human rights and democracy in Iraq. But they're very, very, very dubious; they want Saddam out, by American force if necessary, but suspect Bush's motives, aren't sure that his administration can handle the reconstruction well, and have been dismayed by the way Bush and his administration played the international political angle.

As Peter Beinart said in that great New Republic article that everyone's linking around the blogosphere, the acid test is the conduct of the war and its aftermath. If Bush devastates civilian areas in Baghdad, if he sells out the Iraqi Kurds to Turkish occupiers, if he replaces Saddam with a US-friendly despot, the liberal hawks will feel betrayed, and probably many of the neoconservatives will too; and it will be an enormous blow for the position of the US in the world, because it will do damage to the future ability of the US to use force when it's needed.

In my own opinion, one of the best arguments for fighting is that the US (and Britain, and to a lesser degree France and the UN) are *already* directly responsible for the current sad situation in Iraq to a greater degree than with other evil dictatorships. It's our mess, and therefore our responsibility to clean up. But if the war doesn't result in our discharging those responsibilities, it will be not just a security loss for the US but a further betrayal of the people in Iraq. So I really can't say that I'm pro-war or anti-war; it depends on what we do in the war and afterward. All I know is that I'm in favor of our living up to our responsibilities. That means not just walking away; it also means not just smashing things and then walking away.

I think that many of the people still shouting "no blood for oil" might do better to press this point, if what they care about is preventing suffering in Iraq rather than just being the opposition.

Well, I am a radical leftist. However, I was not against the war in Iraq because the United States are a major force of evil. From a Marxist point-of-view, which I rarely take, capitalism was also one step forward. Not three steps back.

And I am not a neo-pacifist. Actually I celebrate the ideas of pacifism fought for by men like Gandhi and Badshah Khan, but I am weaker than them, and have no problems seeing myself in a situation where I would use violence or join an army.

I was against the war in Iraq because I thought it was a major strategic screwup, that would result in more terrorism, more anti-Westernism (not limited to anti-Americanism), a higher chance for Islamist dictatorships coming in place in Arab countries. It is possible I was wrong. But this is why I opposed the war. And I was not alone. So please - stop worrying. Capitalism is not doomed to die. That way.

Hei Oeyvind,

Define 'radical leftist'. What made you become one?....and may Allah bless you mightily ;)


Sister Rebecca Kim
Kibbutz Har Arotz

@ DRF, Chicago

«as for the "anti france" sentiment by media elites, i'm not sure what that should mean. Fox news definitely has a slant like that, but most press i would think of as "elite" would be pro-europe (ny times, boston glob(!sic!), chicago tribune). so, i've not experienced that perspective. and, i would postulate further that the daily anti-american sentiment in european newspapers (derstandard. at,,,,, doesn't even approach the levels that the more sensitive types here suspect.»

You seem just a bit uninformed on this topic:

Francophobic bahavior in your media is xenophobic and outrageous. On the other hand, european's anti-americanism is mainly a critic of a state (foreign) policies or socio-economical systems, these are critics of actions or concepts, not insults toward the people of a nation as a whole.

@ Matt McIrvin, Massachusetts, USA

«In my own opinion, one of the best arguments for fighting is that the US (and Britain, and to a lesser degree France and the UN) are *already* directly responsible for the current sad situation in Iraq to a greater degree than with other evil dictatorships.»

USA's CIA have put Saddam Hussein in place. These services don't need nor Britain nor France nor U.N. to spread dictatorship all around the world.

Best regards,

About english's francophobia, which is for me a foundation of the current 'french-bashing' trend since our U.N. disagreement:

Best regards,


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Stone: Dangers of Success, February 19, 2003 01:25 PM

Complacency. Bjørn Stærk blogs: Watching it all, I was struck by a sense of futility. If indeed neo-pacifism is a

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