A well-thought through, well constructed, reasonable and logical argument from Madelaine Bunting. This is one of the best pieces on US imperialism that I have read in some time. Its worth reading it twice – an excellent piece of writing.
The inimitable Naomi Klein writes one of her not-so-regular columns in the Guardian today. She extols greater democracy and great activism among citizens.
To help publicise his new book, and promote the tv series, Niall Ferguson has an article in todays SBPost. In it he argues that many of the effects British rule had on Ireland were positive. I would be inclined to agree. Im sorry I missed all parts of his series since it started on Channel 4, but I will keep an eye out for it. It is something of an admission to come from a British author that
The Irish were on the receiving end of a policy of expropriation and `ethnic cleansing’ every bit as ruthless as that which would be attempted in North America.
In modern usage, ethnic cleansing is exactly what happened to the indigenous Irish people from about the 16th century on. Where I think Irish people nowadays trip up is in using the term ‘Irish’. To me its a very loose word, Ireland was invaded many times over the centuries, and was colonised by a neighbouring power.
I think many Irish people assume that it was ‘us’ against ‘them’ for the entire time since the Norman invasion. In fact, the Normans interbred with the native Celtic peoples, and Ireland became a part of the Norman world – and the same happened up until independence. Much of the history thought in Irish schools portrays Britain as the evil colonial power – Ferguson’s insight is a refreshing answer to many of these over-nationalist sentiments.
Yet again I am posting a link to a George Monbiot article. He points out that our (Western) way of life cannot be sustained and that if we wish to survive, we must let go of certain capitalist tendencies. A well thought out and intuitive piece of writing, broadly in line with my own views.
I guess now that he is no longer in office means the Bill Clinton can say pretty much say whatever he wants to say. His article in the IHT talks much about utopian ideals and the future of international relations, and even as far as the future of humanity. How nice. It is a pity he did not hold to such beliefs while in office, but I guess things are put in a different light when you do not have to worry about opinion polls etc.
For example he talks about making a stronger UN, but was not he the one that withheld US contributions to it, amounting to over $1 billion dollars? He may think we are on the right path, but I would disagree, if anything the UN has been ridiculed and made to look out dated by Bush’s september speach, and we will ultimately see a US role of complete power and an inevitable large scale war.
Another in a long line of articles that followed the publication of the Pew research into attitudes to America worldwide (as reported here on December 4). In this one Robert Levine asks what America should do to help its image out. Perhaps listen to the rest of the world?
Yet again I find myself in total agreement with George Monbiot. The ideas he has expressed in this article are ones I have long held myself. The structure of the UN is inherently flawed, and will lead to its downfall. The solution we should work towards is an equitable and just UN, and maybe in the future, a world government.
Tariq Ali writes an interesting critique of Carter that is well worth the read. He goes through other notable folk who failed to be awarded the coveted Nobel prize, and goes on to ask some legitimate question on whether Carter is deserving of it.
Interesting appeal in the Herald Tribune today. They hope that by having civic education and democracy thought in all primary and secondary schools that this would help improve things overall, and with regard to terrorism too. I wish they thought people in democratic countries like Ireland – then maybe people would be politically motivated and we might live in a better country. Anyway, worth the read.
A study conducted by the Pew Research Centre for The People & The Press has revealed large scale hostility to the US, especially in Muslim countries. Not surprising you might say, but is an interesting study nonetheless, and was headed by former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. She was also interviewed on BBC’s Newsnight by Jeremy Paxman tonight.