Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Blairite Self-Deception (Iraq to Barroso)

A large part of the problem is not that the US does not have enough troops but that it does not have any troops trained in peacekeeping.

The above is the key quote in Robin Cook's comment in the Guardian on the British re-deployment of troops in Iraq - troops now put under US command in Central Iraq, to let the Americans have more soldiers against Fallujah. It hits right at the heart of the self-deception of those who argue that US troops must stay to "maintain order" even if the invasion was unjust.

At the core of the Blairite self-deception is the procedure of constantly backing off from your positions by accepting new excuses and reassurances from Bliar et al, excuses and reassurances you will have to back off from in further steps.

This nicely mirrors Bliar's own evolution, who after every lie made up to maintain his (self)image of rightfullness in the face of new facts, seems to soon convince himself about the truth of that lie. So I wonder if Bliar even realises how he destroys his own supposed progressive policies, as he attempts to 'compromise' against powers he fears to take on (powers that don't include public opinion, apprently and sadly, he sees that correctly).

Beyond turning from a campaigner for "ethical foreign policy" into a poodle of the most extremist US administration in years, another example is how he turned from pro-European Labour into a divider and preventer who usually sides with the worst conservative governments.

The worst conservatives are those who incude in their government (Berlusconi of Italy, Schüssel of Austria, Balkenende of The Netherlands) or accept outside support to maintain their minority government (Rasmussen of Denmark, the outside-the-EU Norwegian PM, and Portugal's Barroso) from far-right parties.

And Bliar sided with them in the complex horse-trading behind the choosing of the next head of the European Committee[*]. The best choice would have been the Belgian or the Luxemburgian PM, as both were pro-Europe, from small states (to win the support of small states), and liberals (to avoid partisan blocking from the two biggest fractions of the EP, that is the conservatives and the not socialists/social democrats) - and they were also respectable. However, for Bliar, what counted was that he thought these candidates would tilt the 'power balance' in France and Germany's favour, and that they were 'too pro-Europe' relative to what he thinks he can sell to his Eurosceptic-propagandised population (those powers Bliar fears to take on). So he nixed both, and tilted the power balance in the favour of the new European Right - and we got Barroso.

And we got a scumbag who, even if we forget all that he has done at home, and his lackey-ish support for the Iraq war, achieved several scandals with his choice of commissioners even before he came into office. It's not just Buttinglione, the Euro-Italian version of US Attorney General Ashcroft. There are a number of candidates unfit for their job, and so said the respective select committees of the EP at hearings. Among them the one from my home country, Hungary: László Kovács is supposed to become commissioner for energy. But he doesn't have a clue. He is a diplomat (was foreign minister for 4+2 years), and his idea of the energy business is somewhere on the level of that of Communist apparatnichks in the sixties. Nuclear is the solution to all, and all that stuff. His hearing at the EP was a disaster.

But Barroso doesn't want to change anyone in his team. This is how the New European Right functions. And never forget, brought to you by New Labour.

[*] (For non-Europeans and confused Europeans: the three main EU insitutions are, in order of increasing power: A) the European Parliament (EP), the only elected body, but one which can mostly only express its opinion; B) the Committee, which is kind of a government, executing what the other two decide and proposing policy, and is selected by the next and voted on by the previous; and C) the European Council (EC), which is made up of national government heads and their ministers, changing chairmanship and assembling twice-a-year, and calling all the shots after hearing the proposals of the Committee and the opinions of the EP.)


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