Friday, June 19, 2009

Like a Wolfowitz Upon the Fold

Really just an excuse to link to Dave Noon of Lawyers, Guns And Money:

As if to affirm its utter worthlessness, the Post follows up the canning of Dan Froomkin by publishing a stream of effluent from Paul Wolfowitz, who seems to believe that Obama's ability to shape events in Iran is roughly on par with the Reagan administration's ability to shape events in the Philippines 23 years ago. Never mind, of course, the fact that one's ability to usher someone like Ferdinand Marcos from power is correlated in a non-trivial way with the fact that Marcos presided over a client state that the US once literally owned, and over which it continued to assert significant military, political and economic power. Which is so totally like what's happening in Iran, I'm not sure why the comparison failed to strike me before now.


So far, I haven't seen Wolfowitz cited by any Decents. Who will get there first? Hitchens or Nick Cohen?

Bonus links: Who is IOZ? (one of the very few truly radical bloggers anywhere). John Cole on Wolfowitz vs Obama. (BTW, isn't Wolfowitz a registered Democrat, for what that's worth?) Cole again on a distinction I consider very important: blowhards on democracy in the abstract (yay!) against democracy in the real world (the people's choice is not actually liberal or nice or even particularly able, so, er, boo to him and his supporters).

Consider this an open thread on Iran and anything else. Also, if anyone finished DA's latest, you're welcome to give your opinion at length. I don't think I made half-way. "I don't think there is much wrong with the [Labour] party's view of say, climate change, the security-liberty balance, public investment or international engagement."
Can anyone tell me what these views (as voted on at conference) actually are? My current (possibly cynical) view is that the Labour party's view of all of these (as expressed by the relevant ministers) is ad hoc and opportunist. I'd be glad to be wrong.

26 Comments:

Blogger Alex said...

My view on this is roughly that the 1970s and 1980s are a great template for policy but just not in the same way.

If you want to support democracy, be democratic, and help people to be so by raising hell when the cops try to make them disappear, offer all and sundry political asylum, republish their work all over the papers. Do what the froggy ambassador to Israel did the other week - if the gestapo won't let them have their book reading, invite them to have it in the British Council building.

Don't, don't, do any wankerish "calling for" the overthrow of this or that or threats or giving guns to idiots.

Put it like this; if you know someone who wants to leave her scumbag husband, which is a better option - giving her a lift to the women's refuge, or showing up outside her house waving guns and yelling?

6/19/2009 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

Didn't Nick Cohen have a not-really-off-the-record off-the-record dinner with Wolfowicz a while back?

The problem the Decents may have with the current situation in Iran is that it appears to be a genuine broad-based uprising, and thus less susceptible to hijacking by laptop polemicists. Not that they won't try...

6/20/2009 02:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the idea that Wolfowitz stood up for democracy in the Phillipines. When the wonderfully named Cardinal Sin was begging the US not to send weapons to Marcos, Wolfowitz stepped in and made sure the guns went to the dictator - all in the name of anti communism. After arming and backing Marcos for years, finally, as a popular uprising gathers, Wolfie says "we don't like you after all, now you are about to be deposed", and he is supposed to be the good guy in this ?

6/20/2009 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

if you know someone who wants to leave her scumbag husband, which is a better option - giving her a lift to the women's refuge, or showing up outside her house waving guns and yelling?

I'm not sure this is a brilliant analogy.

the froggy ambassador to Israel

I beg?

6/20/2009 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Aaro article:- why is "privatisation" in inverted commas?

Guano

6/20/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Incidentally, does the term "as voted on at conference" possess any meaning these days?

6/20/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Public investment?! It's not often that NC looks good compared to DA but for once credit where it's due and one thing Cohen has been consistent on over the years - and consistently right - is his opposition to PFI.

6/20/2009 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In practice, Labour Party policy on climate change is to be very concerned about it but do nothing that offends powerful interests. The problem is that any meaningful action on climate change will offend powerful interests. Policy on public investment is that it is good, and essential, but we cannot put up taxes because that would offend certain noisy interest groups (so debt is increased, so to hide this we get involved in PFI etc and hand power to the private sector). The policy is to support international law (but we also have to nurture the special relationship, so let's not mention that the Americans don't care very much about international law).

As Aaro points out, there is "massive and alienating dissociation between what is said by politicians and what is meant". True! However, this is mainly because policies are about aspirations and not about how they will be implemented in the face of opposition.

Guano

6/20/2009 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Oh, I should donnishly observe that it's "wolf on the fold". A common error.

(I was hoping to locate the picture where a teacher says it to a St. Custard's pupil but regrettably it doesn't seem to be listed so I'm not 100% sure it was Molesworth he was addressing.)

6/21/2009 06:05:00 PM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

he addres mogley-howard one* as any fule ect

*back in the jug agane p.53

6/21/2009 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I don't think there is much wrong with the [Labour] party's view of say, climate change, the security-liberty balance, public investment or international engagement

The whole thing about the "security-liberty balance" is bollocks. It assumes that any restrictions on our liberty must make us more secure and (which is even worse because it allows politicians to get away with scaremongering) that protecting our liberties means reducing our security.
It's just nonsense.

6/22/2009 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gregor said...

'It assumes that any restrictions on our liberty must make us more secure and (which is even worse because it allows politicians to get away with scaremongering) that protecting our liberties means reducing our security.'

I read a quote (I think it was Benjamin Franklin) saying that 'those who would secure their freedom for security will get neither'. It seems that this is the case in Britain:
(http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559597)

Yet we are pretty powerless if the terrorists do attack.

6/22/2009 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

Re Iran
Geras has been in an orgiastic frenzy in the last couple of days.

6/22/2009 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

This was a dirty low blow by even his standards

"As former editor of the magazine Marxism Today, Jacques might have been expected to know something about universal values. But like too many others of similar intellectual formation, he appears to have lost sight of this lineage within Marxism while splashing about in the shallows of an anti-Western cultural relativism."

6/22/2009 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gregor said...

Actually, the quote I meant was more like 'Those who would exchange their freedom for security will get neither' (ran out of espresso today), but that is probably inaccurate as well. I could always look it up, but then I'd be asked if I'd read the text in question, and it could go on...

Incidentally (totally irrelevant) I'm watching a documentary by Adam Curtis called 'The Century of the Self'. It's very good.

6/22/2009 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Jenvey recants!

6/22/2009 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I know that Decents don't actually read Seumas Milne's writing, they have some sort of strange misreading-visor that comes down whenever they get to his columns, but all the same, Geras's 'engagement with milne' is pisspoor, he doesn't seem to have read the article at all, but rather edited, out-of-context extracts... presumably on harrys place.

Bonus points for Geras getting annoyed with Milne's reference to Iran's 'gilded youth' - cos of course in the world of decency, someone's educational and economic background is never invoked in a bid to either belittle them or attempt to call them hypocrites... oh no wait, Geras actually does that in the same fucking piece.

6/22/2009 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Gregor, it's

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

Which is true enough, but even worse are those who would give up an essential liberty for nothing.

6/22/2009 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

It does rather depend upon the security. A lot of people with give up liberties for food (and I'm not sure they're wrong to do so).

6/23/2009 01:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few pages later in "back in the jugg agane" Molesworth visits London Airport and wonders when the building work will be finished!

Guano

6/23/2009 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger BenSix said...

You got a plug in Aaronovitch's Editorial Intelligence speech. Apparently you "sometimes say some funny things".

6/23/2009 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

really? we missed that one! any links?

6/23/2009 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger BenSix said...

Yep - http://cdn4.libsyn.com/ei/ei-bloggertariat.mp3?nvb=20090623120429&nva=20090624121429&t=0fd16c122921bb4f4b204

About 34 minutes in.

6/23/2009 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Wow, it brings a tear to the eye. Well done guys.

6/23/2009 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

Like the way he does an ungainly body swerve when broaching the subject of accountability re the bloggertariat v commentariat debate and then goes into a gushing embrace of the new medium.

6/23/2009 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Oh my god! Thanks very much for the tip, Ben!

6/23/2009 04:44:00 PM  

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