Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Recap: elections round the world

Let's see now, we've got the Freedom Trifecta of Howard, Bush, and Blair (in chronological order), all somehow re-elected and returned to power despite the incessant carping of the left. Then of course there's Afghanistan, in its second largely peaceful postwar election. Also, purple, green, and orange revolutions in Iraq, Lebanon, and Ukraine.

Now there's Poland, and Japan seems to be on board, as well. Practically a clean sweep for the coalition, the neocons, and the hawks.

The results of the German elections are as yet unclear. But recently there was new evidence that the end result could be the unseating of Schroder:

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder seemed Monday to soften his resistance to giving up his post, hinting for the first time that he would not oppose a decision by his party to share power with the opposition conservatives even if it meant accepting somebody else as chancellor.

"I will not stand in the way of anything that would lead to a continuation of the reform processes that I started and a stable government in Germany," Mr. Schröder said...This is not about my prerogatives and absolutely not about me as a person," he said.

True, although it's surprising that Schroder himself is actually admitting it.

And then, of course, there's Spain--whose voters, with the timely assistance of al Qaeda, managed to turn a lead for the party of pro-coalition Aznar into an election for the appeaser Zapatero. But that's about it, so far, for the anti-coalition forces in elections during the past year and a half.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I sense a trend here, and it's one the left won't like.

Oh, and by the way--I know it's been said before, but I was just struck once again by how much Zapatero resembles Mr. Bean. Separated at birth?


At 12:52 PM, October 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depending on how far back in time you want to go (I'd go back to about 2002, myself) you also have:

1) The South Korean election of Roh Moo-Hyun in late 2002, whose "Sunshine Policy" toward North Korea should be considered appeasement.

2) The German election of Gerhard Schroeder in 2002, which paints the present German phenomenon as a trend-in-progress,

3) The New Zealand election, around the same time as Germany's recent one, which ended in similar indecision. New Zealand is more important as a belweather, by dint of location and heritage, than because of its geopolitical heft.

4) The ongiong situation in Italy, notable because Berlusconi seems as though he might be the first postwar Italian Prime Minister to serve out a full term, which surely needs to be counted as a victory against appeasement.

5) As odd as it sounds, the recent defeat of Rafsanjanee in Iran, widely seen as someone with whom the States could "do business." (Although note, he just got a major promotion.) It is a sad world in which Rafsanjanee is seen as the moderate, rather than the virulently anti-West.

6) The defeat of the EU Constitution in France, especially, which has put another nail in the coffin as Chirac and France's foreign policy goals as a whole, and opens the door for the more States-friendly Sarkozy.

I'd also be very hesitant about assigning final status to the Ukraine, because its situation is very precarious. There is an internal power struggle, the serious risk of simply replacing one bunch of kleptocrats with another, and its importance to Russia gaurantees that the Kremlin will push back hard, even if it pushes back in another area entirely.

Likewise, the Iraq and Afghanistan situations are of questionable merit-- not only because they are under considerable American pressure, but because even without that, they would be too weak to fend off any other pressures brought to bear.

At 5:11 PM, October 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For God's sake, it's A-Z-N-A-R.

At 5:28 PM, October 05, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

My goodness, unknown blogger, try to calm down--it's only a typo :-)!


At 1:23 AM, October 06, 2005, Blogger Robbie said...

When you hear the whole story about Spain, I think the appeasment story line doesn't fit very well. Now, I found this via a left-wing blog which I can no longer stomach to read because its pretty clear that any bad news about Iraq is good news to them. But the point that I'm making is one that shows that even in the celebrated case of appeasement to terrorists its arguable that their actions had no direct effect on the election.

This is from Randy Paul's blog Beautiful Horizons:

So I sent an e-mail to my friend, Maria in Barcelona asking her for her thoughts. Maria is probably one of the smartest people I know. She's an attorney with an extensive knowledge of Spanish history and politics, speaks English, Spanish, Catalan, some Gallego and some German and probably other languages I'm unaware of. It's worth noting that having grown up living in Spain through countless years of ETA terrorist acts, she has a healthy contempt for those who engage in acts of terrorism. I remember her telling me about the time an ETA bomb went off either just before or shortly after she had stopped off at her favorite early morning coffee place for a cortado...

In any event, Maria responded and did so in her typically comprehensive fashion, shedding some light on matters that I was unaware of. Here's the start of what she wrote me:

"I was watching TV this afternoon and there was footage showing how the railway service affected by the attack is working as usual since early this morning. It showed a trainful of commuters, some of them with tears in their eyes, some of them with an openly defiant expression on their faces. Some recognised they had felt a tingle in their stomach when boarding the train, but all said they were not going to change their life because of, and give in to, the assassins who had committed the atrocity.

I can assure you that appeasement doesn't come into the equation. Those who think otherwise forget that we have thousands of PP and PSOE councillors, old and young, who are risking their lives on a daily basis in the Basque country, sometimes getting killed for it, precisely because they refuse to appease the ETA thugs.

And they forget a very simple thing: Aznar had huge support for his hardline policy of non-appeasement of the ETA terrorists and their supporters, however, there was discontent about his lap-dog act towards Bush's war on 'global terror' which, wrong or right, was perceived as inefficient and counterproductive. Discontent extended to other pressing domestic issues, he had antagonised practically all other political parties and more than a few regional governments due to his "you-are-with-me-or-against-me" attitude, his arrogance and his intolerance. However, there was a degree of apathy in the socialist camp, as Rodríguez Zapatero was thought not to have enough experience just yet...

So, the PP knew that their antiterrorist policy (against ETA) was one of its main winning cards, and they didn't hesitate to blatantly manipulate the 11-M attack, suppressing information, calling people to demonstrate against ETA, knowing all the while that the Antiterrorist Information Brigade had as good as discarded ETA authorship a few hours after the attack. The antiterrorist police heads even threatened to resign at the madness of it all, and this was leaked to the opposition and the press. And all the while the state TVE showing documentaries about ETA activities right until late Saturday night, on the eve of the election, and failing to report live on Minister Acebes informing about the Al-Q line of investigation which he had been forced to acknowledge - forced by his own angered police heads and by the media which had all the information but was withholding it just long enough for the Minister to do the decent thing. This heartless manipulation of the dead for political gain clinched it - it was the last straw, it galvanised a portion of apathetic socialist voters who would have otherwise abstained, galvanised first-time voters, and galvanised Izquierda Unida voters (which include communists) who opted for heaping their vote on the PSOE for a higher chance of defeating Aznar (IU lost 5 seats because of that). In Spain, government change has always been heralded by a higher participation of voters. In a nutshell, many Spaniards felt badly abused, and acted accordingly. So, yes, 11-M influenced the vote, but not because we are overcome by fear, or because we think that we can avert further attacks, but because we will only put up with so much lying and manipulation, and especially not when it is the dead and their families that are being heartlessly and shamelessly manipulated."

At 12:44 PM, October 06, 2005, Blogger Kunal said...

Neo-neocon, you ought to be ashamed of yourself! That's a terrible thing to say about Mr. Atkinson.

At 1:16 PM, October 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hehehee! Yes, he does look an awful lot like Mr. Bean! :D

At 7:15 AM, October 07, 2005, Blogger Barba Roja said...

Don't look upon this is some grand endorsement of your worldview. Put together, all over countries in 'the coalition of the willing' have lost less than 200 troops in the entire conflict.

You have Britain, where the Iraq War rated only slighter higher than 'animal welfare' in terms of voters' concerns (and Tony Blair lost seats). Germany, where the right is moving center and the left is moving left. Japan, where the LDP has a virtual monopoly on power in any case and has so for the last 50 years. And Australia, where NO Australian soldier has died in combat (corect if I'm wrong; there may be one or two).

Ah, but of course I forgot Poland.


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