The moon is down on the war on terror

by , under All categories, Enrique

I’ve been thinking for a while about the S.U.V. that slammed through the door of Glasgow Airport. Fortunately there weren’t any innocent bystanders that were injured nor killed by the horrifically stupid act.

Even so, everything must be put in context. We’re talking about one S.U.V set alight by two drivers. The unsuccessful plot to detonate a car bomb in London is, however, a more serious matter because the intent was to kill and cause the greatest amount of injury and death on Londoners and tourists.

Just as U.S. and coalition forces were about to romp Saddam Hussein militarily in 2003, John Steinbeck’s The Moon is Down came to mind. I don’t work for the State Department nor did I get a Ph.D in political science, but I understood at the time that the U.S. was getting itself in deep water because of the invasion. There’s one basic reason why: A foreign Christian army is invading a Muslim country.

Published in 1942, Steinbeck’s novel takes place at a coal-mining town somewhere in Continental Europe. The occupying army attempts to force the townspeople into submission but the contrary happens. Resistance to the occupying force mounts with acts of sabotage to the coal mine.

In the end, the invaders realize the futility of their campaign and it becomes clear to them that they have lost the war. The flies, as Steinbeck so eloquently writes at the end of the novel, had conquered the flypaper.

Iraq and the S.U.V. incident prove that the moon is down on the so-called war on terror. The moon will continue to sink deeper for as long as we allow those who are profiting economically and politically from the war to continue to operate and rule with our blessings.

As long as we don’t find political solutions in earnest in the troubled Middle East and elsewhere globally, we’ll be the flypaper and our real and imagined enemies the flies.

  1. savannah

    yes! american foreign policy has been wrong for decades and now we’re seing the results of our continued support of despots and dictators. we stopped looking long term and settled for the short term economic gain that this support gave us and the rest of the western world. the question becomes how do we end this insanity and the culture of violence it breeds?

  2. Onkko

    “Let’s hope that nobody was hurt.”

    That proves clearly you dont read news, try it. You maybe change some of your opinions too.

  3. mnoriller

    Enrique, I liked your writings.

    What do you think we, as mere individuals, can do to find such political solutions? At least for me it seems like the Foreign Policy of a country is defined and the decisions are taken on the 2nd floor of a building, while we live in the 1st floor, and there are no stairs or elevators.

  4. DeTant Blomhat

    So why don’t you harangue Spain?

    Well, next Sunday is voting day. The pre-elections had over a million people, that is almost a quarter of voters cast their vote. The polls so far have made a prognosis that the National Coalition and True Finns will gain seats, but the majority of protest voters might as well stay at home. The last leapfrogs coming out, Paavo Väyrynen said in the Centre party election round in Tapiola that “Have the people promoting the metro explained it will bring immigrants to Espoo”? Shows how hypocritical and removed from reality the politicians are. The current financial situation will show in the municipal economies that even now are in pretty dire straits in places, so it remains to be seen what promises the councils can actually keep.

  5. Onkko

    “Why are you so mean? I live in Spain, duh.”

    So you dont know anything about situation in finland and i doubt you know situation in rest europe and still you bash us?
    And im mean 😀

  6. Enrique

    Hi Mateus, I did NOT mean to leave you out. My apologies. To answer your question, I think the only way is to raise as much h*** as possible. I am a journalist and do it through writing. However, this is only a drop in the bucket. I think it all starts from our own example. Good ideas and arguments always have a tendency of spreading.
    Look at the shambles the United States is in. I guess Bush W. has got the message but look at what kind of a world he left. It was already in bad shape, now it is even in a worser state of affairs.
    What about yourself?

  7. Enrique

    OK, Onkko, let me tell you the truth: I live in a cave and my only contact with the world are comments from bloggers as yourself. 🙂

  8. Enrique

    Hi DeTant, thank you for this. The polls show that nothing is really going to change, except for Perussuomalaiset, which are going to gain more. Status quo? Consensus? No change? Head in the sand?.. Take your pick. It’s a bit before like with the Democrats and Republicans. Before if one party got a majority in the legislature, the other party got the executive and vice versa. A bit the same, no? Finns do not want to give a blank check to any party.

  9. Mateus Noriller

    My opinion is pretty much like yours. I do the same, I’m not a journalist though.

    So you think with Obama things could be different? I suppose about McCain you have the same opinion as about Bush, right?

    By the way, you have an argentinian background right? Hablas español? I’m from Brazil, and I live pretty close to Argetina.

  10. Enrique

    Sí, por supuesto, Mateus. Un gusto de saludarte. Are you from Paraná or Rio Gande do Sul?

    I don’t know how different Obama will be. I think it would, however, be a perilous mistake if the United States elected McCain. I think it is high time to get those cooks out of Washington that have ruled the country for eight years, including McCain.

    Are you happy with Lula?

  11. Mateus Noriller

    Que bueno! Neither Paraná nor Rio Grande do Sul. I’m from Santa Catarina, which is in between them.

    Your question about Lula is really hard to be answered, but since you want to know I could say I’m happy with him. Even though Brazil has still many problems, we are doing much better now. These problems are not novelty, nor are they Lula’s fault. What is your view when you think about Brazil with Lula?

  12. Enrique

    Santa Catarina… A beautiful state that I do not know. As you know many Argentineans go to Florianapolis to spend their holiday. I got an email from a Finnish friend who visited Florianapolis and he said it was beautiful.
    About Lula… I think he has done a much better job than his predecessors. He’s been helped by high commodity prices and realized the dream or hope of making Brazil into one of the world’s heavyweights. Dilma Rousseff said something surprising a few weeks or a month ago: Brazil’s new oil wealth from the Santos Basin will help to eradicate poverty.
    But what will happen to Lula’s popularity when the price of commodities and oil plunge? Will Petrobras make those multi-billion-dollar investments in the Santos Basin. How will Brazil emerge from the global financial turmoil?
    That I think is the big question.

  13. Mateus Noriller

    You’re right, Florianópolis is a very beautiful place, but there much nicer “untouched” beaches.

    I think (or I hope) Brazil is going to be able to handle the financial turmoil due to our foreign reserves, which are bigger than ever.

    You’ve pointed a big issue: the new oil wealth. This has been the target of many discussions. Should the Santos Basin be owned by Petrobras or should we create another state owned company to manage it? Some people even think privatization would be better. About Lula’s popularity, the opposition is cheering for the financial crisis!

  14. Enrique

    I hope to visit Florianópolis one day.

    As you know, one of the big questions in Brazil is Petrobras’ role. If you ask me, Petrobras will do everything possible to maintain its dominant market condition. On the other side of the coin, however, there is a big question: does Petrobras has the resources to spearhead and develop Brazil’s energy wealth? I think a sensible matter would be to split the market and create more competition.
    It must be great feeling Brazilian. Your country has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past year, while Argentina retreats. But football… that is another question. 🙂

  15. DeTant Blomhat

    Ah, Enrique I do not think you are seeing the drop in the bucket. You are thinking everything has to be like in countries that go to a war over football results. Of course you get bored with a civilized country , the events here will take some years before you see any results. Of course it is from the point of view you are used to, if you live in Newfoundland and the tide is 3 meters whereas here in the Baltics the tide is 5cm you wonder what are people talking about there is a tide? We need to calculate the small drops.

    I am seeing a change coming and politically it looks quite interesting. The SDP had 63 seats in 1995 largest after the war … its down to 48 in 2004. Of course they’re a far cry from their pre-revolution haydays, Their lowest number of 38 seats was in 1962… the next parliamentary elections will need a miracle cure to get back into the saddle. But as we look at who was the “big three” in 1962 as opposed to now there was SKDL along with Keskusta, or Agrarians as they were called back then. And where are the SKDL remnants now? In the 5-10% category… so there is definitely a change going on – however with the economy turning and as traditionally the SDP has gained seats in those times it is interesting to see if they can play their cards right this time over, the next Parliamentary elections will show. Of course the parties will be re-inventing themselves… can’t much imagine National Coalition rallying for monarchy or the Centre for the crofters.

    So these municipal elections are showing a “protest vote” but the biggest question if the “sleeping party” will be awakened or not. As the economy is looking as if it will be stagnating the municipal politicians cannot keep their promises, so when the Parliamentary elections comes then if the sleepers will a waken we might see something happening. So any change will take maybe another 5-6 years before we can really say if anything changed then again. And no, I don’t think there is going to be any change in the tendency to find consensus. Theres benefits of consensus and enjoying a peaceful status quo you know.

  16. Enrique

    That’s interesting point. One of the good things about the welfare state is that it pacifies those that are outside of the system. Certainly sometimes it is good to move slowly and see what is best for the country.
    If you look at the situation in Spain, it shows a great resemblance with Finland in the early 1990s; people in the two-mortgage trap, debts up to their noses and being unemployed etc. What is interesting to note is how passively some take their difficult situation. It is like the cows entering the slaughterhouse.
    Even though the economic crisis of the early 1990s is not similar to today since we are not as dependent as before on trade with Russia, the future does not pain a pretty picture. I think in the next parliamentary elections two years down the road we may see a lot of protest votes. But it depends on the intensity of the approaching recession.

  17. Mateus Noriller

    I’d like to suggest you something: why don’t you write a post talking about internal migration? I don’t know if it happens within Finland or any European country, but in Brazil, which is a big country, people migrate from one part of the country to another, seen that the quality of life varies from region to region. In many cases these people suffer prejudice and it’s alleged that they “spoil” the cities they migrate to. What do you think?

  18. Enrique

    Hi Mateus, muito obrigado for the suggestion. In Finland, there was a lot of internal migration after the Second World War. If you consider people migrating between EU countries it would not be a bad idea. Probably the people who you mention that would “spoil” the city are migrant workers from poorer EU countries.

  19. Mateus Noriller

    Have you heard about a brazilian movement that intended to separate the south from the rest of the country?

    By the way, what part/city of argentina are you from? I’ve been there already and my grandfather is argentinean.

  20. DeTant Blomhat

    Ah, but theres been deriding of “country bumpkins” in the city for long. The big move was in the 1960’s and 1970’s when the smallhold farming became unviable and the people didn’t stop in the cities but went right abroad. Basically as the farming is being slowly becoming unviable and the factories are being closed down even now the stream is of people to the cities. Young children want an education so they leave home and very few return any more as theres no work for them. Finland has several counties that have something whopping 40% unemployment. The “quality of life” might be better there, but as there is no work people move to the cities where the life is expensive. So yes you can have a nice house on a lake in some remote town or live in a one room in the city. The difference is out there is no work… The government is trying to battle this by for example moving government ministries to the boonies with varying success.

    The EU internal migration is also an interesting issue… it flows back and forth with the economy and inflation.

  21. Enrique

    Hi DeTant, you are talking about Kainuu, right? The Finnish countryside is in a real sad state: high unemployment and old people. There is nothing wrong with old people but a healthy city must have a fair share of young, middle and old-aged people. The government should look into incentives to get people to move to the countryside but this may be easier said than done.

  22. intternetnetsi

    Nyt kun on paljastunut että 50% suomalaisista on rasisteja ja vielä 5% meni äänestämään perussuomalaisia, vituttaako?
    ei voi sanoa ko ähäkutti 😉

  23. Enrique

    Who said that 50% of the Finns are racist and that there is a correlation with the Perussuomlaiset? The problem is that since there are still too few foreigners in Finland, Finns and the mainstream media does not consider racism an issue. If, however, we continue on this path with over 20% unemployment and some of the attitudes that have shown themselves in this blog, the problem will continue to grow like a snowball.