Tuesday, 13 October 2009
It Must Be True...
From the Graun:
'According to today's Kommersant newspaper, the White House will no longer issue public criticisms of Russia's democratic failings.'
Well, I'm pretty cynical, but if Kommersant say it, it must be true.
'The reported plan is likely to dismay both international rights groups and Russia's opposition. Barack Obama's predecessors, Bill Clinton and George Bush, regularly criticised the Kremlin over its war in Chechnya and the rollback of democracy under the former president Vladimir Putin.'
Russia's Opposition? Is that Kasparov the Magnificent's travelling freak circus? And 'rollback of democracy'? Does that mean carrying out popular reforms and being re-elected by about 70% of the population? And not bombing the parliament and presiding over an era when half as many journalists were murdered?
'The Bush administration frequently complained about rights abuses in Russia, a source of massive irritation to the Kremlin.'
Good to see that they've got psychics at work. But I got the distinct impression that what the 'massive irritation' was more stunned amazement that Dubya would have the nerve to criticise anyone's human rights record. Given that he opened torture chambers throughout Iraq and bombed civilians with white phosphorus, it may seem a bit rich that he decided that all was not well in the Russian Federation. However this irony was lost on Britain's leading hrmhrm 'left wing' paper:
'Today's apparent climbdown on human rights suggests that Obama has pragmatically retreated from the aggressive democracy promotion of the Bush era'
'Aggressive democracy' is right. Getting American soldiers to sic Alsatians on naked Iraqis to persuade them to vote for parties that the Americans like may indeed be described as such. But others might just say that the use of white phosphorus and torture in Iraq made the USA and Britain hated and despised throughout the world and any criticism of Putin hypocritical warbling.
Still, I do think it is an interesting demonstration of how Britain lives in a disturbingly totalitarian society. Yes, the 'Graun' publishes articles about what a silly billy GWB was. But the editorial line is actually not much different from the 'conservative' papers in believing that Anglophone countries have an innate ethical superiority. The strange paradox is that GWB was actually a fairly aggressive liberal, not the fundamentalist cowboy he was often portrayed as. If Obama really is a pragmatic leader, then it will make Britain's neo-liberal hegemony deeply uncomfortable.