Wednesday, November 06, 2002

how to win friends and influence people
This sort of thing is the answer to that plaintive and oft-heard American refrain, "why don't people like us?" Is it right that millions of Americans will be tarred with the brush of bad behaviour? No. But the more American troops are deployed overseas, the more this sort of thing is going to happen. And the more people are going to grow up resenting it. Unless, of course, our friendly neighbourhood Washington chickenhawks see fit to give their troops some cultural sensitivity training... right.

Of course, the war party has, for obvious reasons, been strenuously trying to promote the notion that Afghanistan was a success and is now in the past, a shining example of what American resolve can accomplish. There are certain dissenters to this view whose assessment is, shall we say, a bit more reliable. Afghanistan remains unstable, the stated objectives of the invasion remain elusive, the "war on terrorism" continues to bog down in foreign policy that seems almost calculated to sabotage it. "Terror" has been a key part of the White House smokescreen on the war on Iraq, but one look at the situation in Afghanistan and its fallout shows how thin that smokescreen really is.
and more better news
Austin Clarke took the Giller Prize -- excellent! If you don't know who he is, it's worth your while to find out immediately.
in better news
The "non-Euclidean" antiwar site Stand Down is showing great promise. Go hither, and often. Max Sawicky doesn't quite agree with me about the election results, but his post today is useful and thoughtful as usual.
nice guys finish...
The news from the States: the Dems have reaped the fruits of their disgraceful cravenness on foreign policy and the economy, losing both the House and the Senate at a critical point in the run-up to war and the ramping up of the radical agenda of American neocons. Not unfairly, The Times has dubbed the election a show of Presidential influence. As James Carville said while the results rolled in, it turns out that "voters don't trust a party to defend America that won't defend itself." A lesson the Dems need to learn while they're regrouping, and fast.

Of course, if all this just affected domestic American politics, it would be tempting simply to write it off as a gullible electorate being led down the garden path once again by a neocon movement that's obviously, openly contemptuous of the lives and prosperity of average Americans. It would simply mean not travelling to the US anymore as the Ashcroftian assault on civil rights continues and expands -- perhaps for decades as key judicial positions are stacked with lunatics by the Bush White House.

Unfortunately, all of this nonsense has a way of bleeding over borders when the country involved is the only world superpower. It's Bush's reactionary policy toward Kyoto, for example, that had fuelled opposition to Canada's ratification of the accors, as Maclean's notes. More importantly for the world stage, don't forget that agenda of aggressive warfare that continues to bleed American credibility on the international stage, that still threatens to prompt an aggressive war on Iraq and that continues to fuel a global lurch toward conflict and extremism that stands to cost huge numbers of lives around the world.

I wonder if the Democrats will find the backbone to stand up and say what they think before the next Presidential election. At least one positive outcome of this debacle is that they don't have anything more to lose.