Oh, we could make comparisons all year long.
But once we take away the history of slavery and the sunshine plantations in the South, we do have a lot in common, even the spread of Stockholm’s December snow in 1971, reminded BB King of the Cotton fields in the Mississippi. I heard him say so
”When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, “Ours.”
The United States of Americans have their Native Americans and reservation culture, whilst up North, We Sweden have our own “Indians” the Sami People who hunt Reindeer instead of Buffalo.
( However we may note with satisfaction – or dissatisfaction that the “Rein” in Reinfeldt does not come from Rein-deer)
I got to thinking about all this, in connection with this very fundamental idea of FREEDOM “a word that has been elevated throughout American history to near-theological status, and has been twinned, for most of that same history, with the secularizing impulses of “power.”
With names like( Jonathan) Franzen and his fictional character Berglund popping up, we are surely talking about Swedish-Americans and in Franzen’s case from Chicago to be sure, from whence came some of these immigrant songs
The main point that I want to make about “Sweden is not America”, is this little news item that caught my eye in yesterday’s Dagens Nyheter report that Anders Hellner the director of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs had “given up” because there was not going to be any of the usual traditional debate on Foreign Affairs, by Sweden’s party leaders. This ( no debate on foreign policy) is of course UNTHINKABLE in an American presidential election, even as Mama Mona Sahlin coos, “It’s a bit like a presidential election”. It isn’t.
The first Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and John McCain was on FOREIGN AFFAIRS
In the US of America FOREIGN AFFAIRS is very important. But as I said previously Sweden is not America.
Yesterday I talked to a very tall, and blonde, a quite imposing-looking and smiling Sten Nordin very briefly, at St. Eriksplan where the Moderate Party is holding house . I told him that it appears that he and his party are very much loved in Vasastan. He asked me whether I lived in Vasastan and I told him that I used to (for 24 years at Upplandsgatan 23) but now live in Enskede which is in two parts, half for the Alliance and half for the Social Democrats and allies, that there it’s 50:50.
But back to essential foreign affairs matters: four years ago Anders Hellner had invited all the party leaders to the Institute and talked the talk about foreign affairs, but this time round, they had all politely declined the invitation to talk or hear talk about foreign affairs.
The question I’m sure that we all have in mind is : What are they afraid of?
The potentials of an Iranian nuclear bomb or two?
The fallout from Admiral Mankell or the ideological Commander-in-Chief General Gardell leading the 2nd and 3rd Swedish Flotillas to Gaza ?
Or the issue of bringing our boys and girls back home from Afghanistan and some of the problematics of an Afghan policy, a very serious matter which Pierre Schori discussed here just a few days ago
Or Lars Ohly’ fiery anti- Americanism which is costing him some votes, that and his insistence (like flogging a dead horse) that Sweden should leave the European Union.
Is it at such a debate that Foreign Aid would be discussed?
At such a debate, it should be interesting to see what the Sweden Democrats could have to come up with. Perhaps they are of the view that all Muslims should be sent back to Timbuktu?
And why should a foreign minister of a great nation like Sweden , not want to debate Foreign Affairs?
Well, let it not be said that Carl Bildt ever ran away from a debate. In all truth and honesty, it is reported that he actually accepted Anders Hellner’s invitation to debate Foreign Affairs issues, but , it is reported that Mr. Blidt would only debate if certain conditions were met.( It’s not clear as yet, what those conditions should be) Certainly it could disturb the hornets nest if people like Ohly really went on the attack about Afghanistan.
No. It says that Carl Bildt would like to meet the Red-Greens spokespeople for foreign affairs or the collective opposition’s candidate for the post of Foreign Minister.
”Det innebar i klartext att utrikesministern inte ville möta Socialdemokraternas Urban Ahlin” which translates “This clearly shows that the foreign minister does not want to face the Social Democrat’s Urban Ahlin” ( in such a debate)
“Men Ahlins medarbetare förklarar att han är beredd – och har rödgrönat mandat att komma”)
(But Ahlin’s party comrades explain that he is prepared – and has a mandate from the red-green to represent them at such a debate)
“En av Bildts medarbetare säger till DN: Är det någon som tror att Ahlin kan bli de rödgrönas utrikesminister? Inte vi?”
“One of Bildt’s staff says to DN: Is there anyone who believes that Ahlin could be the red-green foreign minister? Not us!”
And Annika Ström Melin who wrote the short piece, laments:
“Så slutade denna lek i den politiska sandlådan. Politiker som begär vårt förtroende att leda Sverige i EU och världen kan inte komma överens om gemensamma regler för debatt”
“Thus ended this game in the political sand box (where children play). Politicians who seek our confidence and trust in leading Sweden in the EU and the world cannot agree on common rules for a debate”
Conclusion: In my opinion it’s a scandal! Scandalous, that there is no debate about foreign Affairs.
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