Monday, February 19, 2007

An Obsessive Impulse, Acted Out Even to Their Detriment

Compare and contract: “deep” European style news analysis which amounts to a recitation of old facts which an equally peevish American newspaper and magazine are willing to repeat. It has neither an outline, theory, or conclusion, and the reader comments display the same pedantry.

That fact ordinary citizens of European liberal democracies feel more threatened by America than Iran (or Putin’s Russia) is not just because of a lapse of judgment that can easily be dismissed. It is cause for alarm.
I don’t think nutty opinions and a zeitgeist are any reason for the US to structure international policy. Historically the reasons haven’t mattered to the anonymous street-corner critics of Europe. One year it’s staring down at the American “Health Craze”, the next year, we’re all obese. It never ends, and European public opinion certainly isn’t a meaningful guide to achieving anything – even things that (like maintaining pressure during the end of the cold war) result in a benefit to those critics themselves.

But all of it comes at a price, as we see in this item by a former Brazilian diplomat who quit in protest over the harm being done by the obsession of anti-Americanism by Brazilians on Brazil’s standing in the world and choices she makes. H. E. Roberto Abdenur made his feelings about this new infantilism known, and has paid a price:
According to reports in the Brazilian press, the ex-ambassador has been snubbed since openly criticizing Brazil's decision to recognize China as a market economy. Amorim gave him a chance to recant but Abdenur preferred to maintain his principles. The old friendship is gone now.

"There is a very strong ideological element present in Brazil's foreign policy," Abdenur told Veja. "The South-South idea as the dominant axis shows a backward anti-Americanism. This has been showing inside the Itamaraty (the Foreign Ministry) in several ways. There has been an indoctrination.

"Veteran diplomats, not only the young ones, have been forced to read some texts when they arrive or leave Brasília. Books with this ideological posture's bias. This is something irksome. You don't need a dean of discipline at the Itamaraty."

According to the retired ambassador his ex colleagues in the Foreign Ministry feel that Brazilian diplomats nowadays only get promoted when they are attuned with certain political and ideological line and not due to their capacity or skills. He also charges that there is no respect for plurality of opinions.
Now, like in a medieval show-trial of witchcraft, one must “recant.”

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