Monday, May 28, 2007

With Thanks To Conor Foley

I see Captain Cabernet has got here before me. The comments on Nick's piece cover far more ground than we can. (I wonder if David Knopfler is the Dire Straits guitarist who isn't Mark.) Conor Foley is very good:

Finally, given that you were asked by the Guardian to do a debate with me on this issue here, and refused, it is rather ironic of you to imply that it is the humanitarians who are too scared to discuss the root causes of the problem.

There are a couple of points which Nick makes which anger me.

A poll of aid agency staff working in Darfur, released by Reuters last week, confirmed that the worse a regime was the less the NGOs say about it. Four-fifths of the men and women on the ground said they dared not talk honestly about the attacks on civilians in western Sudan and two-thirds said they wouldn't mention mass rapes.
Kouchner is an attractive politician because he has never believed that aid workers should see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. With his appointment, the support for a harder line will grow.

Koucher is not 'on the ground' - he is a good deal safer in the French capital than aid workers are in western Sudan. If NGOs don't mention such things, that might be out of concern for their staff. If Nick really feels these things should be reported - he's the one who has suggested that the difference between journalists (him) and bloggers (us) is the former actually go out and questions. Has he tried asking for a plane ticket and a flak jacket?

I do love the criticism of the Bush administration (which from anyone else would probably be anti-American:

The same thought is occurring to others watching the diplomatic revolution in Paris. Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, is delighted that Kouchner's first official act was to say the world has a duty to stop the crimes against humanity in Darfur. So too was Angela Merkel and the Bush administration, which faces public pressure on Darfur far greater than any European government has to cope with. (The Janjaweed's slaughter of Africans has become the great international cause of the black churches.)

Note: Hilary Benn and Angela Merkel have principles. Bush and co are bounced into having some because of public pressure. Though since the MSM refuses to report on Sudan, how do the congregations of black churches know? [Joke]

As so often with Nick's rhetoric, I want to know when France's 'moral stagnation' happened? Is it since the bold days of Robespierre? Or have they been in decline since Vichy? I'm sure if I said that American is morally stagnating, I'd be attacked - and rightly - for anti-Americanism. Though I think the Bush foreign policy is a moral low record (and Carter was pretty much a moral high).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice Conor has been hanging out at Harry's Place recently. I must admit my first resonse to seeing him there, was "what's a nice boy like you doing in a place like this?' What would a sensible chap like Conor would have in common with the fruitcakes, ideologues, blairite lickspitles, right wing American and Jewish ultranationalists and stright up racists, lord only knows.

5/28/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

He may be under the impression that it is possible to have a civilised discussion with them. Whether that impression survives the first barrage of do you condemns perhaps remains to be seen.

5/28/2007 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Did Jacques Chirac really "support Iran's drive for the bomb"?

5/28/2007 07:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Googling 'Chirac Iran' suggests that he was opposed to sanctions, and that he made a (quickly retracted) remark in which he suggested Iran acquiring one or two nuclear weapons would not pose much of a threat to world security.

Otherwise, he seems to have supported the consensus that it would be unacceptable for Iran to acquire a nuclear capability, and has taken part in the diplomacy to that end.

The last time I emailed the Observer readers editor I received a courteous email and a correction - I might do the same this time, if only to find out what, if anything, Nick is getting at.

5/28/2007 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

"suggested Iran acquiring one or two nuclear weapons would not pose much of a threat to world security."

In the context of Iran being destroyed if they ever tried to launch them. I assumed it was some reference to Chirac in the 1970s, but I can't find anything immediately.

5/28/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if David Knopfler is the Dire Straits guitarist who isn't Mark

that would be Edgar Knopfler iirc. Conor is one of the genuine good guys and really does believe that the Euston crowd can be brought on side. He may be right in some cases; I've had a couple of pretty productive three-cornered exchanges with him and Brian Brivati.

5/28/2007 11:47:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home