Tuesday, October 10, 2006

They have the conventional weapons, but we have the conventional wisdom

Always the sting at the end, eh Aaro? North Korea has exploded a nuclear weapon, so the United Nations is irrelevant. There's a massacre in Darfur, which shows that the United Nations is irrelevant. I had a cheese sandwich yesterday which surely demonstrates that the United Nations is irrelevant. The factoid that "the UN is irrelevant" is now the mouldiest of conventional wisdom among the Decent set; as far as I can tell, this is the combination of a) the Yanks don't like it, and b) a feeling of having been jilted when it turned out that there was actually very little enthusiasm for sending blue-helmeted myrmidons on a global rampage against regimes which offended against decent norms (or more accurately, against regimes which offended Decent Norm).

Is there anything which doesn't prove the UN is irrelevant? Of course, the UN World Food Programme (currently on the ground in, gasp, Darfur) might be thought a bit relevant, as might the ICC. But of course, these things don't count in the Decent world, because in the world of Decency, "foreign policy" means the proper, tough kind, where you send working class people out to kill foreigners. And they have the nerve to call us stupid cynics?

In place of the UN, what, Dave? Aaro doesn't actually believe that the USA had any better idea for dealing with North Korea. Apparently he wants China to put the economic squeeze on them. What's in it for the Chinese, Dave? And how would we go about promising it to them, if not through multilateral institutions? And while we're on about it, why would anyone in the world who did not have the maintenance of a specialised blog as one of their hobbies give a fuck about Dave's views on the subject, given that he so transparently and admittedly doesn't understand what's going on? The naïve economic realist explanation that he gives for the Korean nuke actually explains less than the competing explanations he dismisses; the Koreans were actually offered the aid-for-nukes deal that he claims is their aim, on several occasions in the past.

Meanwhile, echoes of Iraq continue to resound – Dave continues to talk about "this obsession with Iraq" as if the whole mess had nothing to do with him, and to make use of the Decent TARDIS[1]. The invasion of Iraq obviously couldn't have had anything to do with Korean nukes, because they announced the start of the plan in October 2002. Do you get that, Stoppers?! 2002. Nobody was even thinking about invading Iraq in 2002! (In actual fact, Dave is perhaps forgetting that North Korea was explicitly named by George W Bush as part of the "Axis of Evil" in January of that year). Furthermore, apparently "North Korean defectors have told Western experts that many sufferers under the juche regime might welcome a second Korean war that put some kind of an end to their miseries". Defectors? Really? Did they say you'd be welcomed with sweets, flowers and rather curious mass displays holding up coloured pieces of paper? As I have said before, Dave, did you really have such good luck with this one last time round that you thought you'd try it again. You'll be trying the "what if he gives one to a terrorist" line again soon … nope, too late.

Additional hack points: the pun "Korea advice". And the slight at Andy Kershaw for apparently disagreeing with Dave, apparently on the mere basis of having gone there, which we all know is no substitute for the might combination of Google, ideology and Decent intuition.

[1] See AW passim. The Decent Tardis is a transdimensional vehicle possessed by Dave, Nick and Norman Geras, among others, which allows small but crucial adjustments to be made to history when Decent politics requires it. In this case, obviously, every possible evidence of American belligerence has to be pushed either into the "safe space" of the aftermath of 9/11, or to a point after March 2003.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Backword Dave said...

He'd be more effective if he left out the tired jokes. His first para sets out to make two points - that NK is both oppressive and unsuccessful. These are correct, but he shoehorns Galloway in, and makes himself look less confident with 'but maybe' which translates as "I'm guessing here".

The UN thing is perhaps the one clear difference between the Decents and the Labour Party. I don't remember anyone in the Labour Party criticising the UN per se. (I can't see the present Tories advocating anything radical, but it would be interesting to see the Decents react if they did.) To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens on opponents of Iraq "I hope they realise that they're arguing for a better UN..."

10/10/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't remember anyone in the Labour Party criticising the Un per se." True, but ..... when Labour MPs voted for invading Iraq even though TB hadn't got his second resolution, they were accepting the idea that the UN is irrelevant and were denigrating international law. Aaro and Nick provide the intellectual cover for this sort of behaviour.

10/10/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I like how Dave dismisses the idea that North Korea's nukes have anything to do with Iraq, when he signed straight up to the idea Iraq was behind Libya's abandonment of its WMD programme.

10/10/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Backword Dave said...

Anon, I saw your comment earlier, and was going to disagree. Well - I still disagree (I think Jack Straw and Hilary Benn are still quite pro-UN), but you're right in that the Iraq build-up is where all this started. However, it seems that DA and Norman Geras are in favour of dissolving the UN (I'm less sure Nick is), and I still doubt anyone inside Labour would go that far.

Matthew - his logic goes like this. Iraq caused the bad guys to disarm (eg Libya) ergo Iraq was a cause of disarmament. Now, Iraq cannot both be a cause of disarmament and a cause of armament (is that a word?) at the same time. So, whatever caused NK to develop and test a nuclear device was not Iraq, QED.

10/10/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Backward Dave, My perception is that the Labour Party collectively no longer has a clear opinion on key questions like international law or the UN. These are issues that don't get talked about openly. Even though there may be some individuals who have clear views you have to listen carefully (like an old-time Kremlin-watcher) to pick up these things. I fear that this lack of clarity may be just as bad as the direct attacks by the Decents.

10/10/2006 08:12:00 PM  

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