Jake Sullivan seeks to rebrand ‘American exceptionalism’

US Politics
on 194 Comments

Speaking at Columbia University’s Hillel on Thursday night, Jake Sullivan, the Clinton campaign’s senior policy adviser last year, captivated the audience at the Kraft Center for Jewish Life, sharing his career perspectives on foreign policy, Israel, the Middle East and Hillary Clinton.

Although he was still noticeably stung from the loss to Donald Trump (Sullivan was Clinton’s first choice as national security adviser had she won the presidency), the conversation entitled “America’s Role in Israel and the Middle East: A View from the West Wing” was conducted in a warm and patently non-adversarial tone by Jordan Hirsch, visiting fellow at the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies.

The conversation signaled an unmistakable return to the hawkish doctrine of Clinton’s Democratic Party, with President Trump’s pseudo-isolationist “America First” policy serving as a perfect counterweight for Sullivan to soberly rehash the Democratic establishment’s penchant for interventionism.

“In quite explicit ways, this administration is stripping values out of American foreign policy,” began Sullivan, citing President Trump’s proclivity toward strongmen such as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Since taking office, Trump has indeed expressed an admiration for these despotic leaders, each of them accused of widespread human rights abuses. Notably absent from Sullivan’s analysis however was Trump’s closeness to Egyptian military dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and more tellingly, his cozy relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose rightwing government hurtles daily toward an outright fascistic regime. (Just one year ago, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak notoriously claimed that Israel has been “infected by the seeds of fascism.”)

While the Obama administration on occasion offered tepid rebukes to Netanyahu over Israel’s flagrant violations of international law, Secretary of State Clinton routinely reaffirmed not only her support but consistency of values with Netanyahu’s rightwing militarism.

Clinton’s political career has consistently been marked by a hair trigger to involve the US military in overseas conflict, especially in the Middle East. While the Democrats are no peaceniks, one of Clinton’s most enduring legacies is her relentless push of the party to the right on foreign policy.

She has been heaped with praise by military generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, though her most distinguished honor came in an endorsement from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the architect of the US’s deadly war of attrition in Laos who is considered by many a war criminal.

And Mr. Sullivan, a longtime adviser to both Obama and Clinton, no doubt influenced both leaders’ foreign policy.

“More representative, more just and more capable market economies in the world” claimed Sullivan, “[are] better for the United States.”

The moral argument for increased US force across the world comes right out of the liberal interventionist playbook, a logic that in order to be consistent assumes that US self-interest almost always justifies intervention in other states; it is the “kill for peace” paradox that US empire in the 20th century was built upon.

Making this case, Sullivan characterized Trump as “a person who does not look at America’s role in the world as having a special positive-sum nature.” Based on the president’s blatant self-interest and willingness to use the role of president to nurture his own personal investments, for example, this is not a false characterization.

But President Trump’s unscrupulousness in using American empire to advance the interests of the 1% is not objectively worse than the Clinton doctrine, which serves essentially the same interests only under a guise of morality and humanitarianism.

Contrasting his foreign policy objectives to those of Trump, Sullivan insisted, “we’re not just in it for ourselves and our people, but we believe that we can advance our interests while also advancing the interests of people everywhere.”

While this is a standard line of liberal interventionists, in Hillary Clinton’s case it screams of parody, considering the sheer multitude of deadly, foreign entanglements she has championed throughout her career, especially in the Middle East.

These include her vote for the Iraq War; the troop surge in Afghanistan; the funneling of arms to Syrian rebels, many of whom became affiliates of terror organizations, fueling the brutal Syrian civil war; the no-fly zone over Libya that ousted Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, forcing a chaotic power vacuum and civil war; and unwavering diplomatic and military support for the Saudi regime’s onslaught of Yemen that has brought that country to the brink of famine.

Europe’s refugee crisis and to a much lesser extent America’s—the most widespread mass exodus since World War II—can be seen as the result of decades of reckless western intervention in the region.

Humble American Exceptionalism

The Clinton campaign’s loss it seems, if anything, has emboldened policy advisers like Sullivan, who posited that maintaining an unapologetically hawkish foreign policy will continue to serve America’s global interests, but such policy must be rebranded to reach a broader base.

“Trump says America first,” Sullivan quipped. “That’s hard to argue with because who really wants America second or fifth or ninth? Certainly not me.”

Admittedly, Sullivan is a pragmatic and convincing orator, even in his contradictions.

Conceding that the Clinton campaign failed to adequately sell its principles to voters, Sullivan said that in order to move forward “we need a new account of American exceptionalism—one that isn’t about chest beating or saying we’re better than anyone else…

“None of the significant challenges that we face in the world—not the economic challenges, not the challenges from climate change, not the challenges of nuclear proliferation of rogue states or terrorists can be solved by one country alone” Sullivan stated, “but none of them can be solved without the United States leading the way.”

Perhaps the penultimate legacy of the American exceptionalism myth is that the hawkish establishment—whether Democrat or Republican—can simultaneously possess the largest military apparatus in human history, yet still consider America’s military influence around the world inadequate.

And like a comedian working on his tight five, Mr. Sullivan repeated anecdotes of statecraft for the Columbia audience, often verbatim, from previous podcast and public appearances.

He recalled one such story from the early stages of the Iran nuclear deal negotiations: “One of the Iranians pulled me aside and said I’ve never been to America, but I understand that when you land at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, there’s a giant sign that says ‘Welcome to America. Think the big.’”

The story got a laugh, as it does each time Mr. Sullivan tells it—and then an even bigger laugh when he pauses, adding that his wife made t-shirts with “Think the Big” printed across them.

A Partisan Football

As Israel’s occupation reaches half a century next month, the movement of ardently anti-occupation young Americans and young Jewish Americans continues to grow. Bernie Sanders’ run for the Democratic party nomination revealed for the first time ever in American politics a crack in the bi-partisan consensus on Israel.

When asked about these trends, Sullivan conceded that a small wing of the Democratic party had abandoned its pro-Israel roots, but maintained that “there is still a strong majority in the Democratic party on the friendship and historical alliance with Israel.”

(But according to an oft-cited Pew Poll, 33% of Democrats sympathize with Israel versus 31% who sympathize with Palestine, indicating this majority no longer exists among Democrats. And according to a recent Brookings poll, 60% of Democrats “now support imposing economic sanctions or more serious action” against Israel in reaction to Israeli settlement expansion.)

Sullivan attributed the changing public opinion not to Israel’s ongoing and systematic human rights abuses, but rather to “a lack of context on the conflict.”

Mending this gap, Sullivan contended, will be based not on stemming Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, but rather on “explaining to a new generation of people coming up in the party who don’t understand the history of this relationship, the history of the state of Israel or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the wider Israeli-Arab conflict.”

Talya Wintman, a Columbia student affiliated with the campus J Street chapter, disagreed with this characterization of her liberal peers, telling me: “I do not believe this comes from a place of ignorance, but rather a frustration with Israel at all cost politics and the unwillingness of American legislators to talk about Israel’s military occupation.”

While she did find Sullivan’s talk to be altogether informative, on this issue of dwindling support for Israel among American Jews, Wintman said it was “dismissive” to characterize the shifting public opinion “as a question of informedness and understanding…”

“For a party that campaigns on values of social and economic justice and public discourse, it should not be surprising that young people, particularly American Jews, want to talk about the occupation and are feeling disenfranchised from American politics because of it.”

About Jesse Rubin

Jesse Rubin is a freelance journalist from New York. Twitter: @JesseJDRubin

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194 Responses

  1. Blownaway
    May 6, 2017, 3:20 pm

    The worlds most massive and powerful military can inflict a lot of damage but hasn’t won a war since WWII even then it was almost over. All it can do is bankrupt the empire and hasten its decline, hopefully before the nukes fly

    • RoHa
      May 6, 2017, 11:54 pm

      That’s a bit harsh. The US played a major role in the defeat of Japan. And even after Stalingrad and El Alamein, there was plenty of fighting to do against the Germans, and the Americans did a fair bit of it.

      (WW1 is a different story.)

      Also, I seem to recall that the US did win the war it started against Granada.

      • Sibiriak
        May 7, 2017, 9:30 am

        RoHa: ..the US did win the war it started against Granada
        —————

        And a great blow to Islam it was!!

      • Blownaway
        May 7, 2017, 9:42 am

        Granada? How about the Afghanistan War, now in its 16th year, and the Iraq War, launched in 2003 and (after a brief hiatus) once more grinding on. Yet the verdict applies equally to lesser theaters of conflict, largely overlooked by the American public, that in recent years have engaged the attention of U.S. forces, a list that would include conflicts in Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

      • gamal
        May 7, 2017, 10:29 am

        “And a great blow to Islam it was!!”

        and in 1990 we struck back, not all together successfully it must be admitted, i got to know the man pictured briefly, we had less in common than i had imagined.

        http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20150726/news/six-days-of-terror

      • RoHa
        May 7, 2017, 6:30 pm

        “And a great blow to Islam it was!!”

        Didn’t stop Coronation Street, though.

      • RoHa
        May 7, 2017, 6:32 pm

        [Ahem .]

        Grenada.

        [Blush]

      • gamal
        May 8, 2017, 3:04 am

        “Grenada.

        [Blush]”

        but Granada is just the subjunctive of Grenada which is merely the indicative,

        I didn’t feel I had the credentials to say anything. The point remains US army paper tiger but they do a lot of damage and pollution, like Firauna in our book.

      • Mooser
        May 8, 2017, 10:44 am

        Ah, Grenada! Explosive with the redolence of rich Corinthian leather.

      • RoHa
        May 8, 2017, 9:12 pm

        Subjunctive or not, Granada produced some damned good shows as well as the dismal CS.

  2. Keith
    May 6, 2017, 4:56 pm

    JESSE RUBIN- “Speaking at Columbia University’s Hillel on Thursday night, Jake Sullivan, the Clinton campaign’s last senior policy adviser, captivated the audience at the Kraft Center for Jewish Life….”

    I am sure he did. Hillel, like most of the mainstream Jewish organizations, is supportive of Zionism and empire. Jake Sullivan is yet another Ivy League lawyer who earns his living misrepresenting reality in service to power.

    JESSE RUBIN- “…with President Trump’s pseudo-isolationist “America First” policy….”

    President Trump has no “America First” policy. Candidate Trump had some “America First” rhetoric which was quickly abandoned. Furthermore, the “America First” rhetoric was understood to mean opposition to neoliberal globalization and the wars instigated to pursue global hegemony. Now, however, the Deep State is once again in firm control of imperial foreign policy and war is America’s main business.

  3. Citizen
    May 6, 2017, 7:10 pm

    The pro-israel contingent says BDS types ignore the I-P historical context; the exact contrary is true–Zionism and its bribed goy proponents, not to mention the Hagee types, are dumb to irony. I guess zionist shekels trump all in the good old USA.

  4. James
    May 7, 2017, 1:14 am

    would be better to call it “1% first” as opposed to ‘america first’, lol…

    this jake sullivan ought to get a prize for exceptional blather appealing to the same 1%..

    no wonder the democratic party is in the gutter where it will remain..

    • Keith
      May 7, 2017, 10:15 am

      JAMES- “would be better to call it “1% first” as opposed to ‘america first’, lol…”

      Indeed, the empire has transmogrified from the empire of the US nation-state to the American led globalized empire of the 1%, the corporations and financiers! Make no mistake, this globalized empire represents the power-seeking of the global elites which transcends national borders. Jake Sullivan wishes to be one of their loyal employees who, with luck, hard work and lack of morals, will become part of this despicable group whose vaulting ambition is putting survival of the species in jeopardy.

      • RoHa
        May 7, 2017, 6:48 pm

        The bankers have won in France.

      • Froggy
        May 8, 2017, 9:46 am

        RoHa :: The bankers have won in France.

        Aye. But the Other One would have been worse.

      • Keith
        May 8, 2017, 10:33 am

        FROGGY- “Aye. But the Other One would have been worse.”

        Bad, perhaps, but worse? Marine Le Pen is continually described as extreme right wing with no description of her actual stated opinions. People are merely voting for or against a label. Of her policies of which I am aware, she opposes these wars and interventions and wants better relations with Russia. She is anti-globalization. Macron is a neoliberal globalist who supports NATO and empire. Interestingly, both Le Pen and Nigel Farage criticized Trump’s Syrian missile strike which the “liberals” and “progressives” applauded. So, I think that we are at a point in time where we have to look beyond the labels and not allow ourselves to be frightened into voting against someone who the empire is demonizing. “Left” and “Right” are becoming meaningless. The new labels are pro-globalization and pro-intervention versus anti-globalization and anti-intervention. A pity that Melechon didn’t advance.

      • Mooser
        May 8, 2017, 11:57 am

        “Of her policies of which I am aware, she opposes these wars and interventions and wants better relations with Russia. She is anti-globalization”

        Sounds an awful lot like your early visions of Trump.

      • Froggy
        May 8, 2017, 12:03 pm

        Keith :

        In the dabate Le Pen showed herself to be ill-informed to the point of incompetency about a number of important issues. (Like who did what and who was in control of what, and when.)

        Furthermore, Le Pen and her band of Flying Monkeys ran a dirty campaign, one example being her accusations of Macron having an off-shore bank account. In the end she couldn’t even carry Brittany, despite her father having been born in a little Breton fishing village and ‘Le Pen’ being a typical Breton family name.

        https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/07/world/europe/france-election-results-maps.html

        I agree with you about keeping an open mind. However, I wouldn’t trust any candidate that is backed by Putin. Reports of Russian hacking Macron only sreved to further hurt Le Pen.

      • Keith
        May 8, 2017, 6:02 pm

        MOOSER- “Sounds an awful lot like your early visions of Trump.”

        Visions of Trump? Even though I was terrified of the neocon Warrior Princess (and still am), I couldn’t stand Trump and voted for Jill Stein. You are the one trying to justify your vote for the imperial “feminist” warmonger. Since Le Pen lost, we will never know to what extent she was lying. A vote for Macron, however, was a vote for neoliberalism and empire. Count on it.

      • Keith
        May 8, 2017, 6:09 pm

        FROGGY- “However, I wouldn’t trust any candidate that is backed by Putin.”

        Scared you with Putin, did they? And he is the only sane one of the bunch!

        FROGGY- “Reports of Russian hacking Macron only sreved to further hurt Le Pen.”

        I am sure they did. That was, after all, the intent of the reports.

      • Keith
        May 8, 2017, 6:44 pm

        “There should also be satisfaction in the embassies of all the countries whose governments openly interfered in the French election – the U.S. of course, but also Germany, Belgium, Italy and Canada, among others, who earnestly exhorted the French to make the right choice: Macron, of course. All these champions of Western democracy can all join in gloating over the nonexistent but failed interference of Russia – for which there is no evidence, but part of the fun of a NATOland election these days is to accuse the Russians of meddling.

        As for the French, abstention was nearly record-breaking, as much of the left could not vote for the self-proclaimed enemy of labor law but dared not vote for the opposition candidate, Marine Le Pen, because one just cannot vote for someone who was labeled “extreme right” or even “fascist” by an incredible campaign of denigration, even though she displayed no visible symptom of fascism and her program was favorable to lower income people and to world peace. Words count in France, where the terror of being accused of sharing World War II guilt is overwhelming.” (Diana Johnstone) http://www.globalresearch.ca/french-presidential-election-2017-nothing-succeeds-like-success-macron-selected-billionaires-and-bankers-rejoice/5589098

      • Froggy
        May 8, 2017, 7:04 pm

        Keith :: andidate that is backed by Putin.”

        Scared you with Putin, did they? And he is the only sane one of the bunch!

        Not even slightly.

        Please re-read what I wrote. It was the qualities I saw in the woman herself that caused me to vote for the other guy.

        I see Putin as no more than a potential complication, but for all that a complication that we just don’t need.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 8, 2017, 7:48 pm

        keith/froggy:

        I don’t know where Keith is located, but I don’t understand his anxiety about EU..

        I definitely do not believe Europe would be a better place, if the borders were closed and people turned inside to their own National States. Now when Brits want out, we have a good possibility to look at things and change stuff that doesn’t work.. So whining does not lead anywhere and I don’t believe going back does neither. There are f.ex. lot of global refugee and enviromental challenges where EU countries are definitely stronger together than on their own..

        I wish to keep an open, but “multicultural/multilingual” EU in the future too and if you ask me, I’d rather wish EU would have it’s own defense politics without NATO and U.S.A. since U.S. and NATO means certain politics in the Middle East and as we see in the case of I/P, Afganistan, Irak.. What has come out of that.. I am only happy we have been out..

        Anyway, it is hard to achieve anything, if you have already decided things won’t work. Without an open mind, you have already lost the case..

        So I hope all these right-wing movements and Brexit negotiations will push the leaders to keep the “average citizens” in mind, when talking about the future of EU..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 8, 2017, 7:58 pm

        Keith:

        “Scared you with Putin, did they? And he is the only sane one of the bunch..”

        I don’t know about that, but at least Putin is the only one trained by KGB. A bit different education from Mr Trump’s in real estate business..

        (I do not know what is your personal relation to Mr Putin, but as a leader of Russia, he has shown his interest to make Russia Great Again!!)

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 8, 2017, 8:09 pm

        No, I must add:

        “So I hope all these right-wing movements..”

        No, I do not hope, I believe, because without the “average citizens” of EU, there won’t be an EU anymore..

      • Mooser
        May 8, 2017, 8:53 pm

        Keith seems to expect left-wing results from right-wing candidates.

      • RoHa
        May 8, 2017, 9:48 pm

        Froggy, why does being backed by Putin reduce your trust in a candidate? (Why, for that matter, would you have any trust to be reduced?)

        But, on your general point, why do you think Le Pen is worse than Macron? Assuming, for one moment of breath-taking naivety, that Le Pen actually carried out her campaign promises, what dreadful things would have occurred?

      • Froggy
        May 9, 2017, 12:40 am

        Kaisa, in answer to your question. Keith is American. He opines with all the assurance of the uninformed, as far too many Americans do.

        That said, I agree with every point you made.

        Keith, that Diana Johnstone woman is a poseur. She may be a fixture amongst the Paris intellectual clique, but she knows nothing about the French. Neither does Keith, for that matter.

      • Sibiriak
        May 9, 2017, 1:12 am

        Mooser: Keith seems to expect left-wing results from right-wing candidates.
        ———————-

        Mooser seems to think Clinton and Macron were not “right-wing candidates.”

        (Right/Left dichotomy not so illuminating…)

      • Sibiriak
        May 9, 2017, 1:25 am

        Keith: FROGGY- “Reports of Russian hacking Macron only sreved to further hurt Le Pen.” I am sure they did. That was, after all, the intent of the reports.
        ————-

        Bingo!

        New York’s Flashpoint and Tokyo-based Trend Micro have shared intelligence that suggests that the hacking group known variously as Advanced Persistent Threat 28, Fancy Bear and Pawn Storm was responsible. The group has been linked with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence directorate.

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/08/macron-hackers-linked-to-russian-affiliated-group-behind-us-attack

        ————————————

        Has been linked…“– brilliant use of the passive voice!

        Cybersecurity firms “Flashpoint”and “Trend Micro”– about as credible as the notorious “Crowdstrike” firm. I.e., not at all.

        http://mondoweiss.net/profile/sibiriak/?keyword=crowdstrike

        https://www.flashpoint-intel.com/
        http://www.trendmicro.co.uk/

      • echinococcus
        May 9, 2017, 2:43 am

        Mooser,

        Improbable as it is, expecting “left-wing results from right-wing candidates” is still the only logical place to expect them if we are to use your confused terminology. They are well to the “left” of the warmongering imperialist monopoly capital. In words only, so far, and predictably so, but at least they do have this vague yearning for isolationism and respect of the old rules. After all, it’s by expressing this that they get their votes.

        I was saying it’s still more logical than other proposals because there is nothing to the “left” of it in the US, and precious little remains in Europe. Democrats (and Republicans), to use the fake “left-right” words, are definitely to the right of sweet cuddly Attila the Hun.

      • Keith
        May 9, 2017, 10:41 am

        MOOSER- “Keith seems to expect left-wing results from right-wing candidates.”

        Not me, pal. I didn’t vote for the neocon Warrior Princess, you did! I voted for Jill Stein, remember? Rather than acknowledge your vote for empire, you keep trying to put lipstick on your “liberal” pig. Honesty is the best policy, so ‘fess up!

      • Keith
        May 9, 2017, 10:59 am

        FROGGY- “Keith, that Diana Johnstone woman is a poseur.”

        Well, she is no Bernard-Henri Levy, that’s for sure! Jeez, and I thought the entire article was rather good. What a perfect excuse for me to link to an article by Pepe Escobar on this very topic. In a globalized world, perhaps French uniqueness isn’t as significant as you believe.

        “Big Business lauds his idea of cutting corporate tax from 33% to 25% (the European average). But overall, what Macron has sold is a recipe for a “see you on the barricades” scenario: severe cuts in health spending, unemployment benefits and local government budgets; at least 120,000 layoffs from the public sector; and abrogation of some key workers’ rights. He wants to advance the “reform” of the French work code – opposed by 67% of French voters – ruling by decree.
        ….
        What French voters have – sort of – endorsed is the unity of neoliberal economy and cultural liberalism. Call it, like Michea, “integrated liberalism.” Or, with all the Orwellian overtones, “post-democratic capitalism.”A true revolt of the elites. And “peasants” buy it willingly. Let them eat overpriced croissants. Once again, France is leading the West.”
        (Pepe Escobar) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47014.htm

      • Mooser
        May 9, 2017, 11:27 am

        “(Right/Left dichotomy not so illuminating…)”

        I could be a lot more enlightening if the damned comment box wasn’t so small. One quote and a couple of sentences is all I can fit in it.

      • Sibiriak
        May 9, 2017, 11:55 am

        Mooser: could be a lot more enlightening if the damned comment box wasn’t so small.
        ———

        Click and drag out lower right corner.

      • talknic
        May 9, 2017, 12:16 pm

        “One quote and a couple of sentences is all I can fit in it.”

        Usually more than enough to make me break out in a coffee spilling grin. I have it under control. Sip, swallow, put the coffee cup down, read Mooser’s comment, wallow

      • gamal
        May 9, 2017, 1:16 pm

        “Click and drag out lower right corner.”

        don’t you do it Mosser, upper left, upper left for godsake

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 9, 2017, 2:51 pm

        RoHa:

        Putin would like a weaker EU and he would prefair no EU at all. He wants to deal with each country on their own since then he’d have stronger influence on things. (I think that is what Mr Trump also said, he would prefair, happy about Brexit and wishing other exits too – atleast when he started.)

        Here is a good example of Russian diplomacy: Finland is not part of NATO and I never want it to be, but each time our “NATO-fanatics” start talking about Finland applying a membership (they bring the discussion up every now and then), there will come “a heavy message” from Russia of, what will happen, if..

        Allthough I believe in negotiating and “peace keeping” and want to stay out of such huge military alliances, I still think these things should be our own matters without our neighbours interfering and staring to threaten us with their if’s.. (I would not want it from Sweden either, so nothing personal for anyone..)

        Anyway, it is funny that heaviest EU-exit talks, seem to now come outside EU..

        And about Macron, allthough he won, the second was not Le Pen, but those who did not vote or voted empty, so, because France is a democracy, Macron needs a functionig parliament and he can not alone decide for the future of France or the EU politics of France. So if to choose between a racist or a banker who is not, I’d choose the banker. As said, alone, he can’t do anything.. (He was an independent candidate without a party behind him.)
        (Froggy may correct me, if I have understood something wrong..)

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 9, 2017, 2:59 pm

        By the way, By right-wing movements I meant the extremist nationalists..

      • Froggy
        May 9, 2017, 7:02 pm

        Kaisa :: And about Macron, allthough he won, the second was not Le Pen, but those who did not vote or voted empty, so, because France is a democracy, Macron needs a functionig parliament and he can not alone decide for the future of France or the EU politics of France. So if to choose between a racist or a banker who is not, I’d choose the banker. As said, alone, he can’t do anything.. (He was an independent candidate without a party behind him.)
        (Froggy may correct me, if I have understood something wrong..)

        No, you are right in everything you say. The June election will determine who controls France and what gets accomplished.

        Like you I am prefer an intact EU with France as a supportive member. I don’t see EU membership as any threat to national identity.

        I have no use for identity politics. We Bretons experienced identity politics during WW2. We don’t want to go there again.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breton_nationalism_and_World_War_II

        As you say :

        I wish to keep an open, but “multicultural/multilingual” EU in the future too and if you ask me, I’d rather wish EU would have it’s own defense politics without NATO and U.S.A. since U.S. and NATO means certain politics in the Middle East and as we see in the case of I/P, Afganistan, Irak.. What has come out of that.. I am only happy we have been out..

        Anyway, it is hard to achieve anything, if you have already decided things won’t work. Without an open mind, you have already lost the case..

        So I hope all these right-wing movements and Brexit negotiations will push the leaders to keep the “average citizens” in mind, when talking about the future of EU..

        Look, I’m a Breton nationalist wrt culture, language, music, and such. Our traditional cultures and languages won’t die, if our political alliances go beyond the boundaries of our little provinces and little countries.

        Culture will change, but it will never die : Gortoz a ran

      • Keith
        May 9, 2017, 7:15 pm

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “I definitely do not believe Europe would be a better place, if the borders were closed and people turned inside to their own National States.”

        Good grief, it is a little more serious than that. The European Union is to a significant degree controlled by the European Central Bank run by Goldman-Sachs alumn Mario Draghi who represents global capital. It is, in effect, the codification of financial control of the political economy. Neoliberalism is the order of the day, eventually leading to massive debt servitude and neofeudalism. Germany may do okay, France for a while longer, Finland I am unfamiliar with, however, eventually France will go the route of Greece/Italy/Spain. Newly elected Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild’s employee, was Francois Hollande’s Finance minister which should tell you all you need to know about where France is headed. One could, you know, have relatively open borders without being ruled by the bankers. Canada and the US used to have relatively open borders until this war on terror subterfuge.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 10, 2017, 3:11 am

        keith:

        I am moved by your concern of EU’s future, but since the Brexit vote, things are open and under negotiations and we don’t know yet which way EU is going to take. EU exists on so many other levels than the financial politics that I am only interested in seeing what way EU will take.

        Froggy:

        “Look, I’m a Breton nationalist wrt culture, language, music, and such. Our traditional cultures and languages won’t die, if our political alliances go beyond the boundaries of our little provinces and little countries..”

        I agree! I think EU has actually made all the minorities more visible and respected than before. So on that level I am not at all worried about our future.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 10, 2017, 5:54 am

        P.s. Keith:

        I did not want Finland to join Euro-zone, but wanted us to stay outside as did Sweden and Denmark. EU has been a good deal, euro not that much, but EU is not Euro and Euro is not EU, so I am open for the future. You are stuck with your neocons, but there are more serious matters going on in the world than the bankers money.

      • Froggy
        May 10, 2017, 6:17 am

        Keith :: The European Union is to a significant degree controlled by the European Central Bank run by Goldman-Sachs alumn Mario Draghi who represents global capital. It is, in effect, the codification of financial control of the political economy. Neoliberalism is the order of the day, eventually leading to massive debt servitude and neofeudalism….

        You may not believe it, but I’m with you on this.

        So I have a question : What makes you think that the situation would be any different under Le Pen and her party?

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 10, 2017, 7:15 am

        Froggy:

        “Culture will change, but it will never die..”

        This is also one way to do it:

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 10, 2017, 8:21 am

        and if you have never heard how Finnish sounds:

        Paleface featuring Hilja Grönfors (a Finnish Gipsy Singer)

      • eljay
        May 10, 2017, 8:24 am

        || Kaisa of Finland: and if you have never heard how Finnish sounds … ||

        Thanks to “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning”, I’ve heard Finnish…and I like it! :-)

      • Keith
        May 10, 2017, 10:30 am

        FROGGY- “What makes you think that the situation would be any different under Le Pen and her party?”

        My understanding is that she is opposed to NATO and the inevitable interventions of this American led, out of area imperial strike force. NATO requires considerable spending on military matters which could/should be spent elsewhere. She is for improved relations with Russia, hardly a bad thing even if Putin also desires peace not war. Better relations with Russia is not possible with NATO’s aggressive expansion eastward and bellicosity towards Russia. It is hardly a secret that the empire wishes to weaken or destroy Russia and control China. Finally, she appears to want national control over the economy which would eliminate the European Central Bank control. It is possible to have additional European integration without European Central Bank control. How sincere she is we don’t know. I doubt that she would have been as bad as Trump turned out to be. What she could change in any event is questionable. We have reached the point where the political system is more or less controlled by the corporations and financial people, government primarily controlling the population for the benefit of big business and big finance. And let us not forget the extent to which all of the West is influenced by the imperial tradition and imperial mindset. From what I have read, my personal choice would have been Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 10, 2017, 11:22 am

        Eljay:

        “Thanks to “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning”, I’ve heard Finnish…and I like it! :-) ”

        :-)! I guess that’s what you can call Globalization :-) !

      • RoHa
        May 11, 2017, 12:04 am

        Kaisa, I too would prefer no EU at all.

        As for the heavy message about NATO, that is the sort of thing all countries do. (Here’s a report on US heavy messages

        http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/maria-zakharova-spokeswoman-sanity/ri19756 )

        I don’t blame Putin for his distrust of NATO. NATO was cooked up just after WW2 to threaten as a defence against the Soviet Union. The Soviets responded by setting up the Warsaw Pact. When the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact were disbanded, the Americans promised the Russians that NATO would not expand to the East. This promise was quickly broken, and right now NATO troops are massing on Russian borders.

        And while American leaders have been spreading destruction through the world, Putin has concentrated on improving Russia and defending Russian interests. Putin just doesn’t seem as scary as the American warmongers.

        Is Marine Le Pen a racist? If wishing to defend French culture and the French way of life from being radically changed by immigrants is racism, then she is. (Of course, the Palestinians can tell you about the dangers of unrestricted immigration.) But is such racism – defence of French culture – worse than subjugating France completely to the whims of the bankers of Brussels?

        Even if she is racist in some more serious way, is that worse than treating most of the human race as a means for enriching the few?

      • RoHa
        May 11, 2017, 12:09 am

        “Look, I’m a Breton nationalist wrt culture, language, music, and such.”

        So you have sympathy with Marine Le Pen’s desire to maintain French culture?

        “Culture will change, but it will never die.”

        What is the difference between a culture changing until it is quite different from the original form, and the culture “dying”?

      • Mooser
        May 11, 2017, 10:51 am

        “If wishing to defend French culture and the French way of life from being radically changed by immigrants is racism, then she is”

        Sacre Bleu! Ze Muslims have put tumeric and cumin in the croissants!

      • Keith
        May 11, 2017, 11:19 am

        ROHA- “NATO was cooked up just after WW2 to threaten as a defence against the Soviet Union.”

        Defense against the USSR was the pretext for NATO. At the time, the USSR had suffered sufficient destruction/casualties in defeating Nazi Germany that US intelligence (per Chomsky) concluded that it would take at least 15 years before they could mount a major offensive. NATO’s primary mission was and remains the organizational instrument of US European power projection. NATO not only puts the European militaries under US command, but channels spending towards the military and militarism. It is specifically intended to counter the desire for de-militarization and peace. It is a step in the direction of a permanent war economy, a form of fascism. The Warsaw Pact was a defensive response to NATO. Following the collapse of the USSR, the US used the Yugoslavia intervention to transform NATO into a US controlled out-of-area strike force in support of imperial warmongering.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 11, 2017, 11:29 am

        RoHa:

        I am sorry, that I can’t really have a good discussion on this matter with you, because my language skills are not enough for it, but I’ll try to give you some points:

        I don’t know where you and Keith have got an idea that Putin would be a fair, peace loving man, thinking about his people and wanting for everyones best. There is no freedom of press or speech in Russia, opposition leaders are repeatedly jailed, some of them murdered and same goes for the “unwanted journalists”. The rights of the minorities are trampled on.

        Putin and his supporters, f.ex. primeminister Medvedev have been shown to “bathe in money” and “the average people” are afraid to criticize them or the goverment publicly.

        Before Putin’s time, Sweden had almost given up all of their army, cause they thought they’d never need such a thing any more. After Soviet Union collapsed, it looked like there would be a time of peace in this side of the world.. Then came Putin and showed his interest to make “Russia Great Again”. His interest being on f.ex. control of the Baltic Sea and Baltic reagions belonging to his sphere of interest.

        I am sure that you would not care if Russia swallowed Estonia tomorrow, but there the worry is real and beacuse of that fear the Estonians keep pushing even Finland to give our promise to give them military help, if Russia again tries to occupy their land. And that is the reason why they called NATO troops there, because they do not feel safe.

        I am aginst NATO and all these kind of pompouse superpower politics just irritate me, since they are just complitely pointless (when we die, nothing of that will matter in anyway and it is such waste of time and energy), but I understand Estonians. Stalin was able to elimiante almost complitely all of the other minorities related to us and Putin has not shown any more respect towards minorities or their traditional regions. So when thinking about our (Finns, Estonians) common history and the fact that you here speak for the Palestinians and Putin allmost in the same sentence, makes me wonder what do you actually know and where your information comes from.

        It is interesting that at the same time you oppose the Zionists occupying Palestine, but support Putin doing the same here (fex. Krim being an example).. Estonians and Finns have existed here from about the Ice Age and have no genetic link to Russians, so I wish you could respect our choise not to belong to Russia, if we do not want that ourselves.

        Since Finland shares about 1340 km’s border with Russia and people are moving across the border daily (working, studying, travelling for a Holiday or just shopping) our relations to Russians are more practical than what it seems to be for the Americans (we do not suspect them all being some kind of agents), but Putin has shown us, that we have to be all the time prepaired for the unknown too.

        What comes to these extremist nationalists in EU, I do not see how discriminating and eliminating the immigrants and “the strangers”, could solve our problems.

        The future will be about the clean air, water and ground and a climate suitable for masses to live in. Money only exists in peoples minds, but without clean environment it will be useless. Things will change, may the bankers fight against as much as they will..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 11, 2017, 11:37 am

        Mooser:

        “Sacre Bleu! Ze Muslims have put tumeric and cumin in the croissants..”

        :) Specially, when the “Frenchmen” went first to the Tunis, Morocco and West Africa and did not try to change the way of life there at all..

      • gamal
        May 11, 2017, 12:20 pm

        “Sacre Bleu! Ze Muslims”

        and despite the fact that it is the only food one must eat veiled they have denigrated the Ortolan, the Irish equivalent would be a crow drowned in poitin i’d say seasoning would be crucial and you are permitted to spit out the beak but not the feet.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 11, 2017, 12:39 pm

        RoHa/Keith:

        It feels really weird, that you both are against EU, which is an Union of free-willing nations (non of them forced and as shown in the case of Britan, you are able to exit too )and then you support Russia’s interests to force some of those nations under it’s control against their will..

        So are you supporters of a democracy or a dictatorship..??

      • Keith
        May 11, 2017, 2:39 pm

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “So are you supporters of a democracy or a dictatorship..??”

        Democracy, to the degree that it exists. In capitalist countries you have capitalist democracy- one dollar one vote. The European Union is effectively run at the macro level by the European Central Bank. No? Just ask the people of Greece how much democracy they have. I don’t know who controls the media in Finland, nor the history of Finnish/Russian relations, however, your demonization of Putin and apparent support for the American led empire, including NATO’s expansion and aggression (Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc) indicates to me that you have a cold war mindset. You have certainly mischaracterized my comments. I don’t wish to hold this thread open any longer so I will conclude by once again linking to an interview of Mark Ames by Abby Martin describing what the US did to Russia after the fall of the USSR. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/abby-martin-russias-transformation-from-an-american-colony-to-its-number-one-threat/

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 11, 2017, 2:52 pm

        Keith:

        We have an open border so the knowledege is moving free here for just anyone to get.

        I do not support NATO, but I understand Estonians.

        You are free to move to Russia and experience the Russian reality on your own..

        Bon Voyage!!

      • Mooser
        May 11, 2017, 4:01 pm

        “Kaisa” , one must admire “RoHa’s” principles. If preserving cultural chauvinism is the issue, he is even willing to defend the French!

      • Keith
        May 11, 2017, 4:51 pm

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “You are free to move to Russia and experience the Russian reality on your own..”

        What an absurd comment! Why would I want to live in a country surrounded by US bases and targeted for destabilization? For the average Russian, however, life under Putin is much better than life under Yeltsin and his American “advisers.” Did you follow my link? I doubt it.

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “…non of them forced and as shown in the case of Britan, you are able to exit too….”

        Has Britain actually exited the EU? They voted to, but the process is long and difficult. And if they actually do exit the EU, it will have been doable because Britain is still on the Pound Sterling, not the Euro. Greece has been screwed by the bankers and has virtually no options. This is your idea of democracy? Italy is also being squeezed and is protesting. Why hasn’t Italy left the Eurozone? I provide a quote and a link below. The bottom line is that the EU has elections but no democracy, control residing with the corporations and primarily the financial system. This has nothing to do with me wanting to live in Russia, a preposterous assertion on your part. As for your fixation on Estonia, the only foreign troops in Estonia are NATO troops performing aggressive maneuvers along the Russian border, something the US wouldn’t tolerate along either of its borders.

        “A reader might say, “So why hasn’t Italy left the Eurozone?” The problem, as we like to say in Maine, is you can’t get there from here. It would take a bare minimum of three years, which means more like six or more, to re-introduce the lira. It took eight years of planning and three years of implementation to launch the euro, and that was when there was tons less computer code in the various elements of the payment system than now. Italy is not in control of its destiny, since it will take the cooperation of many players, such as international banks, to make the all the needed changes. Even in a negotiated exit with assistance of all the needed parties, this is a complex, time-consuming, and difficult undertaking. If Italy were to attempt to crash out, you’d see results like those in Greece when the ECB cut off its banking system: a near complete shutdown of imports (which in Greece’s case included essentials like food, fuel, and pharmaceuticals), with Greece on the verge of having food shortages after two weeks.” (Yves Smith) http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/05/bleak-prognosis-italys-financial-regulator-threatens-eu-return-national-currency.html

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 11, 2017, 5:24 pm

        Keith:

        “As for your fixation on Estonia, the only foreign troops in Estonia are NATO troops performing aggressive maneuvers along the Russian border..”

        You’d better talk with some Estonians about it.

        And if you hate EU so much, don’t think about it. I think you have enough worries on your own continent.

      • gamal
        May 11, 2017, 6:47 pm

        “I too would prefer no EU at all.”

        ah great Autarch let loose ( i mean it was 50/50, let lose works too) your authority. but why? you on the other side of the world is it a genetic thing?

        I mean the UK has argued that the Human Rights they are committed to observing via EU legislation hampers their right to protect the child races, a marine freed after killing a wounded man now attributes it to ” a moment of madness”, he dragged a wounded man dubbed a Talib wounded by helicopter fire out of sight of others and discharged his side arm into the prostrate helpless Afghan.

        i forget what were talking about

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 11, 2017, 6:51 pm

        Here is some peace, love and understandig to you..

      • Sibiriak
        May 11, 2017, 8:51 pm

        Kaisa of Finland: You are free to move to Russia and experience the Russian reality on your own.

        ——————-

        I moved to Russia after living most of my life in the U.S.– and can assure you, you are spouting pure propaganda. You have no real knowledge of Russian reality.

        If I get the time, I’ll try to explain it to you in more detail.

      • Sibiriak
        May 11, 2017, 9:01 pm

        KEITH: …interview of Mark Ames by Abby Martin describing what the US did to Russia after the fall of the USSR. .
        ———————————

        I’ve watched the video a couple of times– I can’t find one thing I disagree with. I wish the video were a bit longer though–it covers a lot of topics in a fairly short time (it appears to have been edited down.)

        If I had the time to comment on it in detail, I’d try to add a bit more on how certain specific forces in Russia aligned with the outside forces aptly described in the video.

      • Sibiriak
        May 11, 2017, 9:55 pm

        Kaisa of Finland: It is interesting that at the same time you oppose the Zionists occupying Palestine, but support Putin doing the same here (fex. Krim being an example).
        —————–

        You think Crimea joining Russia is comparable to Israel occupying Palestine?

        My God, your ignorance is staggering! The propaganda machine in Finland is clearly on a roll!

        Please, go to Crimea. See for yourself. I have. There’s nothing in common with occupied Palestine whatsoever.

        The vast overwhelming majority of people there are thanking their lucky stars–and Putin–for saving them from the U.S./E.U.-engineered catastrophe in Ukraine.

      • RoHa
        May 12, 2017, 2:56 am

        I don’t think I ever suggested that Putin was a fair, peace loving man. I do know that he rescued the Russian economy from the looting of the Yeltsin era.

        “The rights of the minorities are trampled on.”

        According to you, everyone’s rights are trampled on, so it looks as though he is treating the minorities the same way as he treats the majority. Do you think that the minorities should have special rights that other Russians do not have?

        “Before Putin’s time, Sweden had almost given up all of their army, cause they thought they’d never need such a thing any more.”

        And now their navy is back hunting phantom Russian submarines, just as I remember them doing in the 1970s.

        I understand that, due to the history of relations with Russia, Finland and the Baltic states are suspicious of Russia, but I see no reason to suppose that Putin has any intention of swallowing any of them. (He does show a bit of concern for the status of the Russian-speaking minorities.)

        All Putin’s military actions have been reactions to threats against the interests of Russia. He did not swallow Georgia. He has held off from annexing the Donbass, even though such annexation would be welcomed in the Donbass. If Finland and the Baltics do not directly threaten the current position of Russia, I see no reason to suppose Putin will invade.

        “you here speak for the Palestinians and Putin allmost in the same sentence”

        No, my reference to the Palestinians was in the context of immigration.

        “I wish you could respect our choise not to belong to Russia, if we do not want that ourselves.”

        I do respect that choice, just as I respect the choice of the Crimeans to belong to Russia rather than Ukraine.

        “What comes to these extremist nationalists in EU, I do not see how discriminating and eliminating the immigrants and “the strangers”, could solve our problems.”

        Restriction on immigration might help with the problems caused by the immigrants.

      • RoHa
        May 12, 2017, 2:58 am

        “Specially, when the “Frenchmen” went first to the Tunis, Morocco and West Africa and did not try to change the way of life there at all.”

        Was this a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

      • RoHa
        May 12, 2017, 3:01 am

        “why? you on the other side of the world is it a genetic thing?”

        No. I think Europeans would be better off if they were free from the dictatorship of the Brussels bureaucrats.

      • RoHa
        May 12, 2017, 3:06 am

        Yes, Mooser, if the French wish to maintain their culture and social unity, I say “Let them, as long as they don’t inflict Bernard-Henri Lévy and Jacques Tati on the rest of us.”

      • RoHa
        May 12, 2017, 3:10 am

        And here’s an interesting bit suggesting that the French election was rigged. I don’t know whether it is true, though I would not be surprised if it were.

        http://yournewswire.com/marine-le-pen-election-rigged/

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 12, 2017, 3:41 am

        sibriak:

        Feel free to tell me. Like of your free media, opposition leaders, Crimean Tatars and everything. I am happy to hear your point of view. And what about Estonians, if there is no reason, why are they so scared??

      • Keith
        May 12, 2017, 10:04 am

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “And if you hate EU so much, don’t think about it.”

        As a citizen of empire living in a globalized world, I have a certain obligation to keep informed about the global political economy. It has become obvious to me that the European Union is a dysfunctional example of neoliberal globalization where the financial system rules. Look at Greece. Look at Italy. France soon to follow? Once these financial interdependencies are established, they are extremely difficult to reverse. As Michael Hudson warns, finance capital has replaced armies in the conquest and subjugation of countries. The nature of the process is new and not well understood by most. Neoliberal globalization is the antithesis of sustainability, hence, a threat to the survival of the species, and should be a concern of all. Ignoring reality is never a good idea.

      • Mooser
        May 12, 2017, 11:33 am

        By the great Cavaillé-Coll, I did not look deep enough into this culinary perfidy! It had escaped me that a croissant is indeed, a crescent!

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 12, 2017, 11:41 am

        RoHa and everyone involved:

        I just wanted to add, that there is no official truth about Russia in Finland and since we have quite close relations to Russians (f.ex. I’ ve had Russian flatmates, whom we used to talk quite a lot about politics), it is easy to have many kind of information from there. As it seems, for those who support Putin, things are all right and they do not complain, but for those who oppose him and his politics, feel that they do not have freedom to express their opinions or to work openly for their causes. For some reason Estonians feel themselves threatened.

        I keep listening different people’s opinions.

      • Mooser
        May 12, 2017, 11:53 am

        “You have no real knowledge of Russian reality.”

        And Russia is big enough to contain many of them.

      • Mooser
        May 12, 2017, 2:29 pm

        “Please, go to Crimea. See for yourself”

        Lots of Zionists have suggested we go to Israel and see for ourselves, too. Perhaps a package tour could be arranged.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 12, 2017, 4:59 pm

        Mooser:

        “And Russia is big enough to contain many of them..”

        Exactly!!

        As it was my experience in Israel too:

        First there was the “official” Israelian truth.. Then the Druze.. Bedouins.. And finally the Palestinians in the West Bank..

        So I never trust just one source, but try to listen to as many as possible. And I am always on people’s side be the backround what ever, just they live in peace and let others live too.

      • RoHa
        May 14, 2017, 12:46 am

        “And what about Estonians, if there is no reason, why are they so scared??”

        Perhaps they have made the elementary mistake of listening to officialdom. During the cold war they used to scare us by telling us that the Warsaw Pact had twice as many divisions facing West as NATO had facing East.

        They consistently forgot to mention that a Warsaw Pact division was half the size of a NATO division.

      • Mooser
        May 14, 2017, 2:54 pm

        “During the cold war they used to scare us by telling us that the Warsaw Pact had twice as many divisions facing West as NATO had facing East.”

        Yes, a lot of divisions. Probably why it broke up.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 14, 2017, 7:42 pm

        RoHa:

        You have an odd picture of EU.. It is not one country, but a net of independent countries, who have their own governments, policies, including forgein policy. We do not ask Brussel or anyone else what we should think about Russia or Estonia or even U.S.A.

        What has happened in Russia in the past years is too much to explain here and also this would not be the right forum for that.

        Anyway I wanted to say to you, that I did not understand at all your point of view about cultures and them “staying clean” (the French lifestyle f.ex.). Haven’t you ever read any Cultural History?? About how people have always moved around, cultures mixed and this has abled the progress of the humankind??

        If we had never had any forgein influences in Finland, I quess we’d still live in our small cottages in the forrests by the lake sides, eating dry salted fish, porrige made out of barley with maybe some turnips on the side. And allthough forgeiners (mostly Swedes, if I remember correctly) “forced” us to become Christians, the advantage of that was, that they wanted Finns to start to read “God’s Word”, created (by collecting the spoken Finnish dialects) the written Finnish and then taught Finnish people how to read. Now centuries later, my main interest is not to read the “God’s word”, but I am so happy I am able to read and write and specially do it in Finnish!! (Just to give you an example.)

        And when thinking about the French culture, f.ex. in music, it owes a lot to Algerian and West African music, and vice versa.. And that’s how it works and has allways worked.

        If you check that last video I added up there, it is a good exmple of different cultural influences mixed together: Traditional Gypsy “style of” a melody+rapping in Finnish+extra, starting 2.25* =rapping in Swedish (since we have a minority of Swedish speaking Finns in Finland and one of those rappers is a Swedish speaking Finn). And I personally find this kind of mixture of different cultural influences much more facinating, than having only somekind of “pure traditional Finnish culture”, sitting on a rock, singing sad folksongs while playing kantele and watching sadly “how the birds fly to other countries far far away”. (Yes, this is one common theme in our traditonal folksongs, sadly longing somewhere else, somewhere warmer..?!?)

        And still that song above there is Finnish, it could not have been done somewhere else. It has been the Finnish way to mix those things..

        (* Since you understand Swedish, here is the Swedish part in written:
        “Murar vi murar runt oss, bara lurar vi
        oss själva.. Måste kunna se mera humani
        Dom säger: Du är ju naiv, du är ju naiv
        Dom säger också: Skjuter du, skjuter skjuter vi…”)

        Anyway, I love traditions, but I also love experiencing new things and here in the end I want to add this video of the winner of Eurovision Song Contest from yesterday. It is just so beautifull, so Portugese and still so global in it’s theme: Love..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 14, 2017, 7:59 pm

        p.s. I have to add, that all though I wrote the Swedes “forced” us to become Christians, I did not mean any violence was used or that I would accept using violence in “spreading cultural influences”.. (Just to make myself very clear!!) But people have always moved around, cultures mixed and I do not see it as a threat.. Just need some respect for each other and we’ll be ok..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 14, 2017, 8:28 pm

        p.p.s. To be honest: Without forgein influences we would not have had even barley or turnips.. So I guess we’d still be eating dry salted fish with some berries on the side.. And some leaves from the trees??

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 14, 2017, 9:53 pm

        The video did not show up, but it can be found in YouTube By name: ‘Amar Pelos Dois’ – Salvador Sobral

      • RoHa
        May 14, 2017, 11:35 pm

        Kaisa,

        “Without forgein influences we would not have had even barley or turnips.”

      • Keith
        May 15, 2017, 12:09 am

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “It is not one country, but a net of independent countries, who have their own governments, policies, including forgein policy.”

        And their own economic policies? Why is Greece pursuing neoliberl austerity when the majority oppose it?

        KAISA OPF FINLAND- “We do not ask Brussel or anyone else what we should think about Russia or Estonia or even U.S.A.”

        Indeed, it is nothing more than happy circumstance that the EU foreign policy is virtually identical with empire? Fortunately. imperial policy suits the Finns to a “T”. Only to be expected when the corporations and financial people control the levers of power.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 15, 2017, 12:35 pm

        Keith:

        The catastrophe in Greece started, when the corrupted goverment of Greece was not honest with their economical situation. It ended up with all EU countries paying for them (Finland about 4 billion Euros) and I can assure you the discussion around the case was not shiny, happy nor nice. But as I have said, since Brexit and other latest happenings, I am open for what way Eu will take.

        Brexit will take time, since it consists on different sensible matters, like Scottish people, who wanted to stay in EU and the border of Ireland and North Ireland, where the peace might still be vulnerable, and no-one wants things escalating there anymore. On top of that, Britain has to negotiate it’s deals with EU coutries as has done Norway, Switzerland and other non-EU European countries. Would not be fair, if it did not have to.

        Anyway as I have said, my language skills are not enough for this discussion and I’d recommend you to concentrate on issues, you can have an effect on.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 15, 2017, 12:50 pm

        RoHa:

        ..And if being completely honest, without forgein influences, we would not have had salt either.. So just dried fish, berries and some green leaves on the side..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 15, 2017, 1:37 pm

        Keith:

        P.s. It is 2017, your president is going back coal mining and has his daughter and son-in-law as his political advisers.. I must say, I feel safer here..

      • Keith
        May 15, 2017, 6:29 pm

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “The catastrophe in Greece started, when the corrupted goverment of Greece was not honest with their economical situation.”

        The trouble in Greece started when the neoliberal government cooked the books with the help of Goldman Sachs and the EU looked the other way because a debt ridden country provides opportunities for profit. The notion that the EU didn’t know the score is faintly ludicrous. Using debt leverage, a form of structural adjustment is being instituted, the Greek people bled dry.

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “It ended up with all EU countries paying for them (Finland about 4 billion Euros)….”

        Finland’s 4 billion Euros went primarily to German and French banks, not the Greek people who are having their lives degraded. You don’t think these new loans went to the people, do you? This is the old IMF trick of giving money to Western banks and debt to the citizens. We are now at the asset stripping phase when Greece’s physical assets will be privatized. Greece is a perfect example of financial conquest and plunder.

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “I must say, I feel safer here..”

        We are all part of the same global empire. The deep state is global in nature and all of these changes will eventually spread.

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “…I’d recommend you to concentrate on issues, you can have an effect on.”

        And what issues do you think your Mondoweiss comments have had a noticeable effect on?

      • RoHa
        May 16, 2017, 2:19 am

        Veering off topic a bit, I came across this, allegedly from the Talmud, about what the Romans did.

        “R. Judah, R. Jose, and R. Simeon were sitting, and Judah, a son of proselytes, was sitting near them. R. Judah commenced [the discussion] by observing, ‘How fine are the works of this people!15 They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.’ R. Jose was silent. R. Simeon b. Yohai answered and said, ‘All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.’ ”

        https://www.reddit.com/r/badhistory/comments/228i5n/whats_wrong_with_what_have_the_romans_ever_done/

        I think Simeon got at least part of this wrong. Providing market places full of harlots is a useful public service that benefits everyone, not just Romans.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 16, 2017, 3:51 am

        Keith:

        You are obsessesed Keith..

        Since I can not do anything for the fact that you and your government pay annually minimum 3,2 billion dollars to support the occupation in Israel, the only thing I can do is to spread the knowledege of what is happening there. And that is what I am doing here at home too, allthough I know, as long as you don’t stop paying, my possibilities to help are guite small..

        You think you know everything Keith, that is dangerous.. And if you are so angry and hate the world so much, don’t take it on me.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 16, 2017, 4:15 am

        (“brain malfunction”): Do not blame it on me..

        So, don’t blame it on me….

      • echinococcus
        May 16, 2017, 9:59 am

        RoHa,

        Thanks for the story. Goes to show that El Qa’ida was not invented yesterday. That Bar-Yahoo, reported favorably by the Talmud, sounds just like Zawahiri. Wonder why Rabino José kept schtum.

      • Keith
        May 16, 2017, 11:32 am

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “You are obsessesed Keith..”

        Because I respond to your comments which misrepresent reality? Looks to me like the start of an ad hominem personal attack.

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “…you and your government pay annually minimum 3,2 billion dollars to support the occupation in Israel….”

        Me and my government? You are holding me accountable for the US foreign policy which I routinely criticize? Dishonestly conflating me with Uncle Sam?

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “…allthough I know, as long as you don’t stop paying…”

        Now it is me paying? Me personally responsible for the foreign policy of the people I vote against and routinely criticize? The foreign policy of the global elites who you find no fault with? Talk about turning reality on its head!

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “You think you know everything Keith, that is dangerous..”

        This is priceless! What a perfect example of ad hominem pilpul. If I disagree with you and correct your misrepresentation of reality, it is because I think I know everything and am dangerous! Does the rest of the world know just how “dangerous” my comments are? Neoliberal globalization is fine, it is my comments which are dangerous!

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “And if you are so angry and hate the world so much, don’t take it on me.”

        Because I respond to the inaccuracies in your comments it means that I am angry and hate the world? My criticisms of imperial policy and actions indicate that I hate the world? You do realize that the empire is on a rampage seeking global hegemony, do you not? To oppose imperial madness is to hate the world? As for “taking it out on you,” you are the one who has attacked me personally as a hateful, dangerous, know-it-all. Your comments consist primarily of anecdotes, inaccuracies, and ad hominem attacks.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 16, 2017, 12:38 pm

        RoHa:

        For some reason you made me rememeber something somehow connected to our earlier discussion:

        I’ve lived for a while in Tanzania, in the countryside with a local family and all though we had a possibility for electricity and even a stove, we used to always cook with a small “coal cooker” on the kitchen floor. On my way to to the village, I had met some Finnish missionaries (Pentacostals) who had told me how “the Tanzanias are so uncivilized and so primitive that they do not even know how to cook with a stove”. One evening when we were cooking again with Mama, I asked her why we did not use the stove. She said (frustration in her voice): “You know, getting the electricity here is so unreliable, that often it cuts in the middle of cooking, and then we’ll all be left out of dinner. So cooking with coal, it is much more reliable..”

        So better ask than assume..

        Anyway, cultural exchange should always be voluntary..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 16, 2017, 1:54 pm

        Keith:

        “Me and my government? You are holding me accountable for the US foreign policy which I routinely criticize? Dishonestly conflating me with Uncle Sam..”

        Yes, I just wanted to show you what you should concentrate on, since that is something you can try to work for, I can’t.

        I have never done anything to force Greeks to stay as a part of EU, I also have never ever voted for a banker or anyone who would support such ideologies and I have told you several times that EU is much more than the financial system and there are a lot of good things about it, which I want to support and improve.

        The husband of one of my best friends is half Greek, and although his father works as a “poor fisherman” somewhere outside Athens, he doesn’t share your anxiety about EU. I have not heard any other Greeks, living in Finland accusing all their problems on EU either.

        It is obvious, that if EU does not work for it’s average citizens, it will break up. And because of the latest warnings, I am open for it’s future.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 16, 2017, 2:30 pm

        p.s. I forgot: The administration of Greece had lied about their dept rates already before they were accepted to Euro and they would never have been accepted to it, if they had told how things really were. So because of their bad and unreliable administration, we have had to pay a lot of money, which we would have had better use here in Finland. Still we love our fellow Greeks and want them to be able to sort out their things for better future.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 16, 2017, 2:53 pm

        (..allthough, there was no love in the air when the hidden truth of their depts came to light..)

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 16, 2017, 4:44 pm

        Keith, I did not say YOU are dangerous, but IT is, to think one knows everything.. You have shown many times here that your knowledge of EU is deficient, but you won’t listen anything, because you have already decided you know better. With a person like that, discussion is impossible.

      • Keith
        May 16, 2017, 6:46 pm

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “Keith, I did not say YOU are dangerous, but IT is, to think one knows everything.. You have shown many times here that your knowledge of EU is deficient, but you won’t listen anything, because you have already decided you know better. With a person like that, discussion is impossible.”

        What is this but your latest and nastiest ad hominem attack on me? I have made more comments on this particular comment stream than on any other. I have made specific references with supporting quotes. You never dispute any specific thing I say, rather you simply denigrate me personally. You have made many inaccurate statements about the nature of the EU and the ease of withdrawing, along with a ludicrous comparison of the Crimea with Gaza. The only source you even provide for your opinions are your former flatmates and the husband of a former friend who is half Greek. As I said previously, your comments consist primarily of anecdotes, inaccuracies, and ad hominem attacks. You claim my knowledge of the EU is deficient, yet provide no example from my comments to indicate that. Instead, you make the childish claim that I think I know everything, won’t listen, have already made up my mind, etc. Yet, I haven’t seen you attempt to present any facts to support any of your statements. None. I leave you with a quote from 2016 by distinguished economist Michael Hudson.

        “The IMF says it will not reduce Greece’s debt by a single penny. It will keep the debt in place. The problem is the way that the European central banks keep their balance sheets, if it breaks down Greece’s debt owed to the IMF then the countries Germany, France, and other countries whose banks are bailed out will have to take a loss and they refuse to lose a single penny. So the IMF has not made a creative proposal. It has repeated what it said a year ago without changing a single word. It says okay, we’re going to keep every penny of debt in place but we’re going to give you a fudging number. We’re only going to charge you 1.5% interest and you won’t have to pay the debt for 25 years. So you get a debt mark [ ] you won’t have to pay interests for 25 years and we’ll charge you only a little bit of interest.

        There’s only one kicker. You’re going to have to cancel your pensions, write them down, impose austerity, privatize your government, and you’re going to have to shrink your economy so that it will shrink by about 1, 2, 3% a year so that the 1.5% interest that we’re charging as little as it is, is going to absorb all the income growth you have. Every penny of growth of have from the next 25 years you’ll have to end up paying the German banks. Now we know you can’t do it. We know that when you cancel the pensions you’re going to shrink. We know your labor’s on strike. We know they’re going to immigrate.

        But there’s a way out. You can sell your ports, your land, your public utilities, your railroads, your airports, anything you have you can sell to the Germans and at the end of this time you won’t have a single thing and all we ask is that all you Greeks get out of our country, now that we own you. That’s what the IMF is saying. It’s not creative, it’s absolutely brutal.” (Michael Hudson) http://www.defenddemocracy.press/michael-hudson-financial-invasion-greece/

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 17, 2017, 3:02 am

        Keith:

        I did not know, you don’t know how to search for information.

        Easiest way to start is to start googling Crimean Tatars. It is good to study what has happened them through out the history and what happened them the year 1944. After that find out what has happened to them since the latest occupation in Crimea. You can find several similarities in their fait with the Palestinians.

        As an example you can also find out what are the differences between Finnish and Danish Defence/Forgein/Economic policies and what did Finnish president do in Estonia last saturday. (If I told you, you would not listen anyway.)

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 17, 2017, 3:34 am

        My aime is not to tell anyone, what is the only real truth, but to encourage people to see and find out more point of views in to different matters. Even the case Israel/Palestine is so complicated, that I could write a book or two about it. There is never one truth about anything, but several viewpoits and then somewhere in the middle, lies the truth.

      • Keith
        May 17, 2017, 10:20 am

        KAISA OF FINLAND- “I did not know, you don’t know how to search for information.”

        Of course I know how to search for information. That is how I know that Finland was allied with Nazi Germany during World War II. Perhaps that explains your Russophobia.

      • Mooser
        May 17, 2017, 12:48 pm

        “Of course I know how to search for information. That is how I know that Finland was allied with Nazi Germany during World War II. Perhaps that explains your Russophobia.”

        “Keith”, for God’s sake, try de-caf, or cut back.

      • RoHa
        May 19, 2017, 2:33 am

        Kaisa, you are interpreting “culture” as just art, music, and so forth. I have no objection to Australian girls of European ancestry practicing Indonesian dancing. Some do, and it looks fun.

        But the culture in question is the collection of shared customs and values which enable a society to function. When people have, through several painful centuries, developed societies in which at least some of the laws, customs, and practices reflect their high values and ideals, it seems to me that they have a prima facie right to exclude migrants from cultures in which those ideals are not held.
        This is especially the case when experience has shown that quite often those migrants do not change their attitudes, but continue, though ignorance, indifference, or contempt, to practice customs which subvert those values and ideals.
        And this is the issue with the current wave of immigration/refugees into Western countries. We proclaim, and occasionally actually apply, principles of freedom of the individual, freedom of speech*, religious tolerance, and equality of the sexes.
        But these values are not held by many, perhaps most, of the non-Western immigrants. It is not only the violent and criminal behaviour of some of the young immigrant men that is a problem. There is also the problem of the tendency of many immigrants to cluster together in groups which seem to maintain the most oppressive aspects of their ancestral culture, rather than assimilate. They do not become part of the greater society, but set up a “parallel society”. When the law and customs of the land conflict with their customary practices, they ignore the law asn the customs of the land.
        Thus we see teenage girls born in Britain or Sweden packed off abroad and forced into marriage. Thus we see this case:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/repeal-criminalize-activists/#comment-649317

        Thus we see a case of immigrant men wanting to exclude women from a cafe in Paris. This is contrary to French custom. (It’s a French cafe, guys, not an English gentleman’s club.)

        It is no use you talking of respect. Many of the immigrants seem to have no respect for the country they have moved into. They create the impression of being parasites upon and enemies of the countries – and the values of those countries – in which they live.
        It is not surprising, then, that Hungary and Poland are prepared to defy the dictates of the EU, and refuse to accept more of these immigrants.
        It is not surprising, then, that plenty of French people vote for Le Pen.

        (*Freedom of speech is being now suppressed under “hate speech” laws, and especially those which class criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism. Of course, this will spread beyond “hate speech” to “might upset or annoy somebody speech”. Eventually only officially approved speech will be permitted.)

      • RoHa
        May 19, 2017, 2:40 am

        “Wonder why Rabino José kept schtum.”

        The rest of the passage reads

        “Now, Judah the son of proselytes went and related their talk,16 which reached17 the government. They decreed: Judah, who exalted [us], shall be exalted,18 Jose, who was silent, shall be exiled to Sepphoris;19 Simeon, who censured, let him be executed.”

        So maybe the Mexican Rabbi guessed what was likely to happen to Simeon, but overestimated the acceptability of silence.

      • Mooser
        May 19, 2017, 12:43 pm

        Ah, “RoHa”! Like Abe Simpson with an Anglophile orthography.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 19, 2017, 1:44 pm

        RoHa:

        “There is also the problem of the tendency of many immigrants to cluster together in groups which seem to maintain the most oppressive aspects of their ancestral culture, rather than assimilate. They do not become part of the greater society, but set up a “parallel society”. When the law and customs of the land conflict with their customary practices, they ignore the law asn the customs of the land ..”

        I agree 100% with you on this, these parallel societies are a big problem in some European countries right now and most of the radicals have been shown to come from these areas. But it is not only their own problem, it has also been a problem of bad regional politics in Europe, already starting from 60’s and 70’s.

        I’d love to speak more about it, since it is an important matter and has been under discussion also in Finland, Sweden and Denmark lately. It would just be so much easier face to face, my english is just not good enough.

        Anyway, I do not see this as cultural threat as much as I see it as a social problem. And when it comes to equal rights, we have to work against all kinds of religious fanatism, because in each religion there is the tendency to aim to both gender “segregation” and discrimination of the gay people, if “interpreted” too “literally”.

        With respect I mean, that we’d allways be able to meet/face new people as people, not as our own assumption (?) of them.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 19, 2017, 2:33 pm

        RoHa:

        If you have no idea what I mean with the bad regional politics, I try to explain what I mean: I mean that since 60’s the refugees and other immigrants were often “put” to live in not so nice areas in the suburbs, with local people who had social problems (unemployment, alcohol/drug misuse, criminality and so on) and that has not helped the “newcomers” to want to “assimilate” with the local people, which is quite easy to understand, if one has visited these areas.

        These politics have not been good for anyone, not to the immigrants or the children of those whose parrents had social problems, since it has been shown these problems “will be inherited” form a generation to the next one, if not interfered in time. And atleast in Sweden, the problems are mostly consequense of these kind of politics, not necesserely certain groups of people or certain religions.

      • gamal
        May 19, 2017, 4:23 pm

        “developed societies in which at least some of the laws, customs, and practices reflect their high values and ideals, it seems to me that they have a prima facie right to exclude migrants from cultures in which those ideals are not held”

        ” their high values and ideals”

        without being in the slightest polemical a piece of Australian culture was preserved in 1971 the era of the bonded teacher, you won’t need a rabbit proof fence to keep this gritty reality at bay, you don’t think that perhaps these “ideals” might be a touch illusionary as their name suggests, not that i doubt you my good man, but you sometimes i wake in fright,

        http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2vkr1c

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 19, 2017, 7:18 pm

        RoHa:

        It just bothers me, that so many times in my life I have faced the situation, where I am leaving somewhere and the people around me at that moment are telling me how “I should not go “there”, because I am surely going to be robbed, raped and/or killed immediately when I reach the place..” And still, each time, I have just met wonderfull people who have opened their homes and lives to me, never trying to force me to be something what I am not and always being able to discuss about almost everything there is to be discussed “on the planet Earth”.. And yes, you’ll always have your robbers, cheaters and others who might try to take an advantage of you, but the majority of the people are always just normal nice people, no matter where you go..

        And the only conclusion I have come to is that inside we are all the same, same worries, wishes and dreams for our lives. And even the most miserable drug addict on the street corner may say to you, that he just wishes, some day, he’ll be out of the streets, have a home and someone to love..

        So, in my opinion, if we want to live here in peace, it is better to search for our similarities rather than our differences..

      • RoHa
        May 20, 2017, 2:42 am

        “you don’t think that perhaps these “ideals” might be a touch illusionary as their name suggests ”

        I did suggest that they are more proclaimed than practiced.

        But when boatloads of weird foreigners, many of them criminals, arrive on your shores and start taking space for themselves and setting up separate “communities”, the resulting social problems are very real.

        You ask the Aborigines. They know about it.

      • Mooser
        May 20, 2017, 11:32 am

        “You ask the Aborigines. They know about it.”

        The Australian Aborigines were shocked by the backwardness of the English arriving on Antipodean shores.
        The English didn’t even have rotary clippers, and used large, clumsy scissors to get wool off sheep!

      • RoHa
        May 22, 2017, 12:12 am

        On the other hand, Mooser, the English did have sheep for David Unaipon’s invention to be used on.

      • Mooser
        May 22, 2017, 11:29 am

        ,” the English did have sheep for David Unaipon’s”

        “Sheep”? I say a brocha for his soul every time I trim my beard. (at the Wailing Wahl, of course)
        Ever try to neaten up a dewlap with scissors?

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 22, 2017, 5:47 pm

        RoHa:

        I don’t know, if you are going to find this message here anymore, but I came to think that since you speak Swedish, maybe you could be interested in this:

        A Finnish Journalist (Swedish speaking) who has lived 15 years in Russia and is married to a Russian woman, has just written a book about his experiences in Russia and the changes seen in the society/enviroment in these past 15 years. I have not read it yet, but saw his interwiev and it sounded like a book worth reading. (If I knew you’re address I could even send you one.. :) )

        The book is called: Vägen heter Ryssland, and the author: Anders Mård

        Just incase you have some spare time :)

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 22, 2017, 8:40 pm

        Again:

        Your address, not you’re..

        Why do I do these completely obvious mistakes.. ?? Some connection fails in my brains???

      • echinococcus
        May 23, 2017, 2:23 am

        Kaisa,

        That one is typically a mistake of English mother-tongue speakers more than any foreigners. So much so that, just to drive up the wall prescriptivists like RoHa, trendy perfessors have recently started to consider it correct because ubiquitous. So you made (not “did”, though) a mistake that puts you in the English speakers’ club. All you need to do now is learn to write “it’s ” for genitive “its” like almost anyone over here.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 23, 2017, 4:47 pm

        echinococcus:

        :) !

        The difference between make and do is difficult for me, since in Finnish there is only one word for them both:

        to do/make = tehdä

        So in my mind, I have difficulties in separating the difference between their meaning since for me they are the same thing.. (It is a good example in how our first language forms the way we understand/look at the world.. :) )

        I am sure I make lot of mistakes each time I write here, but the ones that irritate me most are the ones “I should have known better”..

        So that’s why I should have a “proof reader” here, correcting all my mistakes before they appear on the comments section. :)

      • echinococcus
        May 24, 2017, 2:00 pm

        Kaisa,

        Your English is plenty good enough for expressing whatever you want to say. I wouldn’t worry about getting single words or phrases right (that’s where you get confused, leaning towards the “mother-tongue-conditions-thinking” Whorfian nonsense, when instead the only fault lies with using the word or phrase as a single unit, but here is not the place to discuss it.)

        And “:(!” indeed, or whatever else you use: knowing the language well and having used it for a longish lifetime are no guarantee that even big mistakes won’t be made, as I just did, repeatedly. So forget hiring a proofreader; if the reader doesn’t get it he should ask.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 24, 2017, 3:39 pm

        Thanks “Echi”,

        I try to relax about it!! :)

      • RoHa
        May 25, 2017, 3:18 am

        Kaisa,

        We can call the problems “social problems” if you prefer. The problems remain.

        Yes, governments have made the problem worse by allowing immigration without having a proper immigration policy.

        But many of the current problems that trouble the Swedes and the Germans, and have caused the Poles, Austrians, and Hungarians to close their borders in spite of the EU’s threats, are from newly arrived immigrants. They have not “inherited” the problems of bad neighbourhoods.

        And some problems (e.g. arranged marriages, FGM, rejection of religious tolerance) stem directly from the customs the immigrants brought from their countries of origin.

        I was an immigrant child in Australia in a time before “multiculturalism” became the fashionable buzz word of the day. At that time, the policy of the Australian government was that all immigrants should become completely assimilated Australians.

        (The term “New Australian” was intended to convey this idea. It was applied to non-British immigrants. British immigrants were called “whinging bloody Poms”, a term of opprobium that was, alas, all too often justified.)

        Some assimilated more completely than others. Greek immigrants tended to hold on to Greekiness, and the murky story of ASIO and the immigrant Croatian fascists reflects little credit on anyone.

        When I arrived back in Britain I was astonished to discover that the British government didn’t seem to have a policy about immigrants. The government imported West Indians as cheap labour, and allowed in subcontinentals from India,Pakistan, and Bangladesh,many of whom had earned British citizenship on the battlefield or in other service, and had a right to live in Britain. But the British Government had no ideas about what to do next. They seemed to have given no thought to how the immigrants would fit into British society or what the effect on the rest of the populace would be.

        Of course, both groups of immigrants went to live where they could afford, and this was usually the working class areas. The working class were not happy about (a) cheap labour (the West Indians) being brought in, and (b) their home neighbourhoods becoming, in effect, a foreign country: enclaves of subcontinentals who refused to assimilate and, often, spoke little English.

        (Though they quickly recognized the value of the Paki-shop, which stayed open well into the night.)

        The artsy-fartsy chattering classes (who did not live in those areas) noticed disaffection of the working classes, and branded them as “racists”, “bigots” etc. (There was real racism as well, and some of it was very nasty.) The chattering classes urged the native British to change their attitudes, but did not seem to think that the immigrants should change in any way.

        And that still seems to be the preferred model. The natives must change to accept the immigrants. The immigrants are not required to change. One the contrary, they are to live in ethnic “communities”, and restrict their children from full membership of the country.

        But we now hear the slogan “diversity is strength”.

        This is not what we were formerly told.

        And we are not told why diversity is strength. Perhaps the slogan comes from confusing genetic diversity with cultural/social diversity.

        It seems to me that for a society to function smoothly there needs to be a fairly high degree of shared customs and values. That requires assimilation.

      • RoHa
        May 25, 2017, 3:25 am

        Kaisa,

        Thanks for the offer of the book. I’m changing addresses in a month or so, but if I decide to take it up I’ll let you know the new address.

        (I admit, though, I prefer Nordic noir mystery novels. I have to get translations here in Australia.)

        (And Jansson’s Mumintroll books, but I bought nearly all those when I lived in Sweden.)

      • Keith
        May 25, 2017, 12:50 pm

        ROHA- “When I arrived back in Britain I was astonished to discover that the British government didn’t seem to have a policy about immigrants.”

        Don’t be deceived by the lack of an explicit government policy. The de facto policy of the global 1% seems clear enough. Look at the destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria and what do you see? Chaos! Divide and rule has turned into destroy and suppress. The Western neo-colonial countries are importing created sectarianism into Europe in order to foment internal conflict so that they can implement their agenda in the shadows while the citizenry is in turmoil. That neoliberalism, war and destabilization is a huge refugee creation machine is hardly a big secret. And that many of these people would be pissed-off over what was done to them is not a surprise. The inevitable internal conflict predictable.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 25, 2017, 12:53 pm

        RoHa:

        “It seems to me that for a society to function smoothly there needs to be a fairly high degree of shared customs and values. That requires assimilation.”

        I agree, that immigrants have to have the will to fit in the culture/society, meaning to be interested in how things work, learn the language and find their way to balance between their own traditions and how their new home country functions and if they have no interest in that at all, then I do not see any reason why they should be here.. I have not personally met anyone who would not want to, but I am aware of that f.ex among the Somalians there are people who try to avoid “assimilation” (there has come up cases, where they have sent their children to Somalia to not to “become too western” and this ofcourse is not acceptable), but luckily those who also talk about the problem now are people with Somalian background, which makes the discussion better.

        I’d have so much to say about this, but it is heavy for me to do it in written English, speaking is so much easier :)

        Anyway, I hope you know that Tove Jansson was Finnish – Yes, a Swedish speaking Finn, but Finnish, not Swedish!! This is very important for us :) She was Finnish!!

        And her books of Muumi (as Moomin is called in Finnish) belong to those first and best stories I have ever been read to (when I still was not able to read myself)..

      • RoHa
        May 28, 2017, 2:27 am

        Kaisa,

        It seems to me that East Asian immigrants are, on the whole, usually willing to fit into the new society. Middle Easterners and subcontinentals much less so. Many of them seem to try to recreate India, Pakistan, etc instead. (Or their youthful memories of the country, rather than the way it is now.)

        Yes, I know Tove Jansson is Finnish. I love the books, and I read them in Swedish, but when I read them I feel an undercurrent of something unspeakably unSwedish. The Moomins themselves are a normal Scandinavian family, but in the background there are hints of even darker forests than the Swedish forests, colder winters, and a creepier mythology.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 28, 2017, 12:23 pm

        RoHa:

        “..but in the background there are hints of even darker forests than the Swedish forests, colder winters, and a creepier mythology ..”

        It’s interesting that you’ve noticed that.. It is true. If comparing to Swedish or Danish people Finns are much more serious and melancholic and I think our different history has left it’s “trace” on us.

        And allthough it is not only about the wars, it is visible that now when the worst “pain” from the past losses have started to fade away, we have been able to “loosen up” a bit. But the nightmares of the 2nd WW’s have had a strong affect on us, even my parents generation and mine..

        And that is why a fast solution to Israel to get away from WB and Gaza would be so important. You might be able to recover from a loss of part of the land, but it won’t happen untill you’ll be able to live free from the occupation. Still it will take about three generations and you might not find the permanent/best solution immediately, but the peace has to start somewhere, now, for the Palestinians to be able to start living and recovering from all they have had to go through..

        Borders can be changed/opened later, when the people have recovered even a bit.

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2017, 7:39 pm

        “It seems to me that…/…it is now.”

        Shorter “RoHa”: ‘My people came to Australia on some of the very first transports!’

      • Mooser
        May 30, 2017, 11:52 am

        “When I arrived back in Britain I was astonished to discover that the British government didn’t seem to have a policy about immigrants.” “RoHa”

        Very true, and that lack of policy has had a disastrous effect. Why for hundreds of years, the British government didn’t care where Britians went or what they did. Heck, they ‘encouraged ‘ people to leave the country for the country’s good! (And let there be no moaning at the bar when I put to sea!. Barmaid, a round on me!) They started colonies all of the world, cost Britain it’s prosperity, created endless trouble, and now it’s all gone.

        They really should have had a policy. –

      • Mooser
        May 30, 2017, 3:01 pm

        “Yes, but if I now with 10 000 other Finns would move to the West Bank, settle all together in a same area, refuse to learn to speak Arabic and respect the local values, drinking loads of alchol and hanging around in the streets half naked,”

        Oh, I see, you have heard of colonialism.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 30, 2017, 3:53 pm

        Mooser:

        “Oh, I see, you have heard of colonialism..”

        Yes, and haven’t we proved in the past, it is not the best way to do it??

      • Mooser
        May 30, 2017, 5:31 pm

        “Somalians there are…to Somalia to not to…with Somalian background…”

        Oh, Somali, schlomali! You and your Somalis, already.

        I’ll just say one thing: No Somali person has ever, ever tried to sell me an “ornamental shrub” which turned out to be a dangerous invasive plant species! Just saying…

      • Mooser
        May 30, 2017, 5:36 pm

        “Yes, and haven’t we proved in the past, it is not the best way to do it??”

        Ah, so the immigration to Finland is colonialism? Yeah, you bet.

        Oh well, when the EU and NATO break up, you can find out what real colonialism is.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 30, 2017, 6:59 pm

        Mooser:

        It is a serious matter and we are just trying to work on things, together with those with Somalian background too.. But f.ex. this attacker who exploded himself in Manchester had connection with a Somalian Finnish boy and we’d rather want people to feel so much home here that they do not have to become members of Isis or other terrorist groups. And there has gone several years no-one knew about these things until the Somalian teenagers started to talk about it (some even searching help for) themselves.. So shouldn’t freedom of speech and religion mean that parents should not force their children their religion or way of life, or does the freedom only go for the parents??

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 30, 2017, 7:14 pm

        Mooser:

        And yes, we have this new organization here speaking about the problems, helping these children and it was founded by a Somalian (Finnish) woman.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 30, 2017, 8:08 pm

        Mooser:

        “Yes, and haven’t we proved in the past, it is not the best way to do it??” Ah, so the immigration to Finland is colonialism? Yeah, you bet. Oh well, when the EU and NATO break up, you can find out what real colonialism is..”

        Sorry, I did not get this at all??

        Where have I said that the immigration to Finland is colonialism??

        I do not believe in closing the borders and I am always ready to meet everyone as a person/individual, but when someone starts to claim that his/hers freedom of religion requires gender segregation in school or that they forbid their children to be too much with other Finnish kids, so they would not become “too Finnish”, I don’t understand why I should approve this??

        I think we all have several identities and f.ex. these Finnish Somalian kids have to have a possibilty to find their own identity somewhere in the middle, since they have their Somalian background, but they have grown up here.. I can’t tell what it is, but I think they deserve the freedom to decide for themselves, not their parents forcing them to marry someone they do not want to, or sending them away for some years just to “make them more Somalian”..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 30, 2017, 8:13 pm

        Mooser:

        “Oh well, when the EU and NATO break up, you can find out what real colonialism is..”

        Are you using some kind of Russia card in here?? If you are, well thanks.. Atleast I know where you stand..

      • gamal
        May 31, 2017, 3:53 pm

        “She responds indignantly,”

        well yes as you recall it was the Memsahibs who lost the Raj, they offended the Indians with their notorious harshness and rudeness, glad to see the meek sub-continentals are striking back.

        “However, for a very long time, the Memsahib––as the white woman in British India was called––has been the butt of severe criticism from all angles, giving rise to what critics like Margaret Strobel rightly term the “myth of the destructive female”.

        http://www.cambriapress.com/cambriapress.cfm?template=4&bid=544

      • RoHa
        June 1, 2017, 1:09 am

        “Oh, you mean the peremptory and aggressive intonation picked up from the English during the Raj?”

        Yes, it has to be that. It couldn’t possibly be that other languages have different intonation patterns from English. And Finns are all suicidally depressed. That’s why they constantly get drunk and stab people.

        I think you should let that nice Indian man fix your computer.

      • RoHa
        June 13, 2017, 1:35 am

        Sorry to have taken so long to respond. I have a lot on my plate at the moment.

        “Hence, your inability to argue on a legal basis, using the framework of international law and doctrines of universal human rights that are recognised by all nations.”

        I don’t know why you are referring to the law. Moral duties do not stem from law, though some laws are attempts to enforce moral duties.

        “Immigrants have no moral duties fullstop.”

        Everyone has moral duties, and this includes moral duties to the society that sustains them.

        “They may have their own customs and traditions when it comes to queuing, marriage, education, economic activities, religion and so on, or they may just adopt the local way of life.”

        If they cling to those customs they will, at least some of the time, be failing in their duties to support the society they have moved into.

        “If you like having choices then its only fair you support the right of immigrants to have theirs.”

        My choices are constrained by my duties to the society I live it. The same constraints apply to immigrants.

        “But now that they are in a new environment, those behaviors will no longer be sustainable and those who hold on it will be stigmatised by wider society and looked down upon by their families. The mechanisms that allowed disgusting practices to take place, like a patriarchal culture, a corrupt government, dysfunctional legal system etc are no longer there”

        You clearly have no idea of the realities of immigration. Have you not read what Kaisa and I wrote about some migrants setting up parallel societies in which they maintain those mechanisms, in which their families and social circles endorse, sustain, and, by social pressure, enforce those practices?

        “Thirdly, banning articles of clothing is an act of fascism”

        Labelling is not argument. I agree that banning articles of clothing is a restriction of individual freedom, but some individual freedoms have to be limited in order to allow more general freedoms. My freedom to stab strangers is restrained so as to allow a general freedom to walk around safely. You should argue that wearing burkinis is not a threat to French secularism or the general position of women in French society.

        “It can never be a progressive idea to forcibly deny human beings the right to wear clothing they like”

        And yet many very progressive societies deny me the right to walk around naked, or in completely transparent clothing, so the principle of enforcing certain dress standards is accepted. Perhaps those societies need to be more liberal.

        “Furthermore, widespread availability of legal sex workers is not a progressive ideal.”

        Not if the women are forced into prostitution, no. But I said that before.

        As a practical move, it will be necessary to limit the freedom of pimps to exploit women.

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2017, 12:38 pm

        “Sorry to have taken so long to respond.”

        It was worth the wait to read such a scathing indictment of British colonialism.

      • RoHa
        June 15, 2017, 12:13 am

        Mooser, if you want an indictment of British colonialists, you should add the extra charge that they took control of the territories without asking permission of the natives. I think Fiji is the only bit that actually asked to join the Empire.

        I’ll make that my last word on this thread. It is far too long.

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2017, 3:30 pm

        “It is far too long”

        Possibly the longest thread ever without a single thread-jump!

    • Bont Eastlake
      May 28, 2017, 1:27 pm

      The only obligation immigrants have is to follow the laws that they agree, in good faith, to be just.

      Anything else, like speaking a certain a language a certain way, eating certain food in a certain manner, worshipping a certain god etc are all personal demands that have no authority on their own to be burdened on immigrants.

      It doesn’t matter if they immigrants are British, Australian, Japanese, Indian or whatever. They are all equally human and must be afforded the dignity they deserve.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 28, 2017, 3:23 pm

        Bont Eastlake:

        Well, to get a jobb or to be able to get “inside” the society, you need to learn the local language. I have lived in several countries and it is obvious that without a common language, you have no real future in the society.

        Who has talked about eating certain foods or believing in certain Gods?? At least in Finland there is a freedom of religion and surely a freedom to eat what ever you want.. But I don’t understand why anybody would like to live as an “outsider” in a society, since if you do not understand what the people around you speak, no matter how nice and talented you are, you’ll be an outsider, always waiting for someone to translate to you.. (And if living in Finland, you’ll get f.ex. free health care and free education for your children, so the minimum you can do is, to try to learn the language and get a job to pay atleast something back.)

      • Bont Eastlake
        May 28, 2017, 8:51 pm

        Kaisa of Finland:

        Those are fair points yet I believe there are some problems with your assumptions. Learning the dominant language doesn’t necessarily mean a person will find it easier to live, because discrimination rarely occurs purely out of lingual differences. Rather lingual differences are often made as an excuse to dehumanise and marginalise people that are seen as the other when other differences just as skin color and religion are too socially risky to focus on.

        My view is if the use of local language is paramount for the host nation, they should make that clear to all potential immigrants well before they migrate. Tie the ability to migrate with their ability and willingness to assimilate lingually through clear contractual obligations.

      • Maghlawatan
        May 29, 2017, 12:19 am

        Finland is different to Israel. In principle it is a good idea to learn the language. In Finland it helps. In Israel it won’t. Language in Israel is a marker of privilege which reinforces the power structure through its unwritten assumptions . English has an old biblical word, shibboleth, which was used in a story about how Biblical Jews identified their enemies . Hebrew speakers say shanah for “year”. Palestinians say sanah. Some things never change .

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 29, 2017, 10:10 am

        Maghlawatan:

        “Finland is different to Israel. In principle it is a good idea to learn the language..”

        Sorry, now there are two different discussions mixed. That was my comment originally when talking with RoHa about the immigrants in Europe and how to avoid radicalization and their separation to parallel societys.

        So we did not talk about Israel, which is a forced occupation and which has to ofcourse end as soon as possible. We were talking about people who come here voluntarily..

      • RoHa
        May 30, 2017, 2:11 am

        “Rather lingual differences are often made as an excuse to dehumanise and marginalise people ”

        That may be so, but it does not change the duty of the immigrant to learn one of the official languages of the country, and it does not reduce the practical value that learning the language has for the immigrant.

        But I do agree that it should be made explicit to immigrants that they should assimilate to the society.

      • Bont Eastlake
        May 30, 2017, 9:44 am

        RoHa,

        I’m sorry to say but immigrants are not slaves to be burdened with “duties”. They are humans with the same wants and needs as any other, and are perfectly capable of reasoning for themselves. As such, most who are able to learn their new country’s language, do learn and speak them for practicality and emotional reasons. We see this everywhere, for example among the Turkish immigrants in Germany, Algerians in France, Pakistani and South Asians in the UK. Whether speaking the dominant or national language protects them from racism and state-sanctioned discrimination is a matter of debate.

        If a government seeks to enforce some form of duty onto immigrants, it has to be done after a contractual agreement between all the parties involved. Otherwise it is a form of fascism that must be fought against, not just by the immigrants but everyone who supports justice and liberty.

      • Mooser
        May 30, 2017, 11:57 am

        “I’m sorry to say but immigrants are not slaves to be burdened with “duties”.

        You’ve got to remember that “RoHa” is from Australia, which started out as a British penal colony.

      • eljay
        May 30, 2017, 1:25 pm

        || Bont Eastlake: … immigrants are not slaves to be burdened with “duties”. … If a government seeks to enforce some form of duty onto immigrants, it has to be done after a contractual agreement between all the parties involved. Otherwise it is a form of fascism that must be fought against, not just by the immigrants but everyone who supports justice and liberty. ||

        So, basically, as long as an immigrant fails to reach a “contractual agreement” with the government of his new homeland he is free to do whatever he pleases and the government cannot expel him for his refusal to be a slave because expulsion would be a form of fascism. Interesting.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 30, 2017, 1:42 pm

        Bont Eastlake:

        “I’m sorry to say but immigrants are not slaves to be burdened with “duties”..”

        Yes, but if I now with 10 000 other Finns would move to the West Bank, settle all together in a same area, refuse to learn to speak Arabic and respect the local values, drinking loads of alchol and hanging around in the streets half naked, would you not think this is inapropriate?? Well, I would.

        The problems we were talking about with RoHa were connected to the facts that some of the immigrants refuse to respect/accept f.ex gender equality and the Gay marriages and if we now have worked decades to achieve these similar humanrights for everyone, my opinion is that, if those values are too much for an immigrant to accept then he or she has a possibility to move to f.ex to Qatar or Bahrain where there is lots of work available and the society shares those same values. (I have some Tanzanian muslim firends who have been in Qatar working, so yes it is easily possible.)

        In Scandinavian countries there are examples where parents who have refused to accept the values of their new country, have taken their children out of the school and sent them against their will to some strictly Islamic country “to learn the right values and to not to assimilate too much” and since this has been really traumatizing for the children some of them have “lost themselves” and f.ex. radicalized and left to Irak or Syria to fight in the local wars or to be brides of the fighters.

        For me “to fit in” means that you can keep your own traditions,religion and language as long as you also learn the local language to be able to communicate with the people around you and accept the main values of the society, which are the “base” the society is built on. If these values are too much for you to accept, there are plenty of other countries in the world where your values will be shared and then you can choose to move there. If you want the good we have here (f.ex. the free education and health care for everyone*) you also have a responsibility to accept the values that make these things possible for us all, also for you.

        * Just mentioning these, beacuse these are the things most of the immigrants say, if asked to mention somthing they appreciate in Finland.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        May 30, 2017, 2:11 pm

        I have to add here, that these cases I mentioned above, have mostly been connected to our Somalian minority who have been in the country for several decades now and are not connected to those immigrants who have come from the area of Middle East. And of course not all the Somalians are the same, but for some reason among them there has been these problems (also them sending their daughters to be circumcised in their home country since here it is illegal).

      • Bont Eastlake
        May 30, 2017, 9:37 pm

        Eljay,

        Of course immigrants should be free to do what they want, that’s the whole point of living in a liberal, progressive society. They are still bound by the laws of the land though, however the same laws applies to everyone in the country so it’s redundant to mention.

        We don’t expect off-the-grid living, nudist anarchist hippies to somehow fit in into the supposed national lifestyle, nor do we of ultra-conservative religious people who scream verses from the Bible during Sunday mass. So why do we have special requirements for immigrants? We don’t give a shit about homeless people not living a particular lifestyle, but when it comes to immigrants its completely appropriate to craft some arbitrary lifestyle and expect them follow it like well trained dogs.

        The government has no moral or legal right to expel anyone who didn’t sign a contract making them liable for expulsion under certain circumstances, if we are talking about legal migrants.

      • Bont Eastlake
        May 30, 2017, 10:30 pm

        Kaisa of Finland,

        I’m not sure what are the immigration laws in Finland is like, so its hard for me to discuss the particulars of immigration in that country without resorting to generalised statements and ideas. Conventional wisdom state that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So immigrants will often find it to be in their favor following the basic cultural practices of the Finns so why do we need laws to force them to do it? Likewise, immigrants bring with themselves invaluable new knowledge, philosophy, cultural practices that may serve as innovations to how Finns live. So why forcefully make people abandon all these potentially beneficial traits out of fear and prejudice?

        In America, immigrants stand in the forefront of cultural shifts and progressive ideas that otherwise would have never taken root in society. Culturally speaking, in the fields of feminism, spirituality, religious liberty, gender roles, sexuality, labor rights and media ethics, immigrants have played an immense role in crushing reactionary and oppressive beliefs. In addition, immigrants helped brought to surface deeply rooted problems and toxicity present in hegemony, and contributed to development of newer, more positive and empowering collective mindsets.

        Ultimately, the choice to allow immigration is on the hands of Finnish government, and thus it is they who carry liability for any tensions arising from conflicting values and lifestyle between the host population and immigrants.

        Coming back to your rather amusing example, if 10,000 Finns migrate to Palestine, legally and raise mayhem there I don’t see anything wrong with it. The migrant Finns must do what they feel is most beneficial to their survival in the new land. The Palestinians, having agreed to allow 10,000 migrants in all the way from Finland, should bear some responsibilities in making them feel welcome and help them fit in in the new environment. Beyond this point, it will be a constant game of give-and-take between newcomers and the natives until some form of permanent balance is achieved.

      • RoHa
        May 31, 2017, 2:49 am

        Everyone who lives in a society has a general duty to maintain and improve that society. This general duty implies specific duties.
        The immigrant, like the native, has a duty to obey all the laws, even if s/he regards them as unjust. Here in Australia there are some pettifogging regulations (a sub-paragraph in the laws about food preparation, I think) that make it technically illegal for me to rape, kill, and eat my neighbour’s daughters. This is, of course, totally unjust. It is an outrageous denial of my identity as a descendant of blood-thirsty Vikings. (I might actually be a descendant of Vikings.)
        My neighbour, on the other hand, thinks that it is horribly unjust to expect him to drive on the left and stop at red lights.
        If we all obey only the laws we think are just, our society will not function very well. We can attempt to change the laws, but our prima facie duty is to obey them all.
        But there is more to society than laws. Most human interactions are mediated, not by law, but by custom and convention*. Good manners count for more than acts of Parliament. In Britain and Australia, queuing is practiced as system for establishing priorities. It is a means of organising society, and so the queue jumper is an enemy of society, even though he will not be prosecuted by law.
        Immigrants who do not adopt at least the acceptable minimum of those conventions (and a passable command of the local language is one such convention) and especially immigrants who set up parallel societies are likewise making themselves enemies of the society.
        I don’t understand your point about dignity. If it is not undignified for the native-born Englishman to speak English and stand in a queue, why would it be undignified for the American immigrant to speak English and stand in a queue?

        (*Regular readers of MW will know that the most important are the conventions concerning the use of commas.)

      • RoHa
        May 31, 2017, 3:01 am

        Kaisa, an interesting point about sociolinguistics.

        The intonation patterns used by Indian-born Indians often sound very abrupt and aggressive to English people. This means that the Indian immigrant asks a question in what he thinks is a neutral tone, and the English woman thinks the Indian is snapping at her. She responds indignantly, and things go downhill from there.

        The intonation patterns used by Finns sound depressed, like Marvin.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4P3pvKmbsg
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh-W8QDVA9s

        But perhaps you are all depressed. If so this will cheer you up. A bit.

        https://satwcomic.com/the-world

      • eljay
        May 31, 2017, 7:39 am

        || Bont Eastlake: Eljay, Of course immigrants should be free to do what they want, that’s the whole point of living in a liberal, progressive society. They are still bound by the laws of the land though, however the same laws applies to everyone in the country … ||

        In the first sentence, you say that immigrants are free to do whatever they want. In the next sentence, you bind them into slavery using “laws of the land”. So much for “contractual agreements”.

        || … So why do we have special requirements for immigrants? … ||

        Every person born in Canada is expected to learn at least one of its primary languages. It is not a “special requirement” for an immigrant to be expected to do the same in his new homeland.

        || … We don’t give a shit about homeless people not living a particular lifestyle, but when it comes to immigrants its completely appropriate to craft some arbitrary lifestyle and expect them follow it like well trained dogs. ||

        The ability to speak the primary language of one’s (new) homeland is not a “lifestyle”. You must be referring to those “laws of the land” which you expect immigrants to follow like well-trained dogs.

      • eljay
        May 31, 2017, 7:57 am

        || Bont Eastlake: The only obligation immigrants have is to follow the laws that they agree, in good faith, to be just. … ||

        The immigrant is therefore under no obligation to follow any laws he feels are not just – IOW, he is free to break the law as he sees fit – and the government of his new homeland has no right to recourse because any recourse would be fascism. Interesting.

      • Mooser
        May 31, 2017, 12:46 pm

        “if 10,000 Finns migrate to Palestine, legally and raise mayhem there I don’t see anything wrong with it.”

        Well, you don’t live downwind from Poulsbo, Wa. either.

      • Mooser
        May 31, 2017, 1:14 pm

        “The intonation patterns used by Indian-born Indians often sound very abrupt and aggressive to English people.”

        (Oh, you mean the peremptory and aggressive intonation picked up from the English during the Raj?)

        Don’t be silly, “RoHa”. Why for the past couple of years, a very nice Indian man has been calling me almost every day from “Microsoft technical department” to warn me about “error messages” from my computer, and offering to guide me through the registry and fix them.
        He only gets insistent and high-handed because he knows my computer is on the verge of crashing.

      • echinococcus
        May 31, 2017, 1:26 pm

        RoHa,

        I would suggest that the the textbook example of Zionist “immigration” to Palestine is the best instrument to discuss the
        difference between immigrating as a new member of a given, stable society (willingly to make a new home, or willy-nilly as a refugee) versus a disruptive intruder.

        We all know how this so-called “immigration” went. In fact, it’s our very subject –no need to invoke the newer waves.

        The Zionists were upfront about not being immigrants, starting 1897. The Ottomans made some noise about the law of the land (or payment of a bakhshish) but Her Majesty’s Government of course took care of the official cover.

        The new immigration to Europe after 1960 does in fact have a couple islands of creeping invasion and takeover, especially in France, Britain and Germany. Unlike the Zionist invasion, these were unannounced.

      • Bont Eastlake
        May 31, 2017, 8:05 pm

        Eljay,

        Learning the national language is a matter of practicality, not ideology or politics. For most people, the inability to speak English or French in Canada serves as a significant disadvantage in all areas of life especially over the long term. Hence it is ridiculous to suggest immigrants must be legally required to speak the national language or else. How else are they going to socialize, work, entertain? Why not make a law demanding immigrants must eat healthy nutritious meals each day or must enjoy themselves and be happy? Because you seem to be a proponent of legally forcing people to do things they naturally would be inclined to do!

      • Bont Eastlake
        May 31, 2017, 8:09 pm

        Mooser,

        You’re right, I certainly don’t. But I’m sure you would not deny them the right of doing so in the eyes of the law.

      • Bont Eastlake
        May 31, 2017, 8:32 pm

        Roha,

        What constitute as good manners is highly subjective, among people and across time eras. Majority of the people in Alabama used to believe it’s perfectly good manners to use the N-word to describe their fellow African-American citizens in private conversations. Most African-Americans however, have a slightly different concept of good manners where use of N-word was highly disparaged.

        Now being in Alabama, obviously the first set of manners was more prevalent and thus the dominant “custom and convention” was the liberal use of N-words, instead of disparaging the use of it. So for the clueless immigrant who found themselves in this new land, what custom and conventions are they meant to honor and take up for themselves?

      • Sibiriak
        June 1, 2017, 12:25 am

        Bont Eastlake: […] you seem to be a proponent of legally forcing people to do things they naturally would be inclined to do!
        ————————–

        Well, if people are naturally inclined to learn the national language, then a law requiring them to do so would not be *forcing* them to do anything.

        The fact is many people are naturally disinclined to do the hard work required to learn a new language despite all the practical advantages it would bring.

        So, I don’t find your argument at all persuasive; I agree with the always-ethical eljay and ever-grammatical RoHa.

        I myself am an immigrant, and in order to qualify for extended residency I was required to take a four hour test in the nation’s language, history and law. This was a seriously difficult test that required years of study.

        And I have absolutely zero complaints. In fact, I’m glad I was “forced” to pass it.

      • RoHa
        June 1, 2017, 1:18 am

        Echinococcus, right at the start of this I said “Of course, the Palestinians can tell you about the dangers of unrestricted immigration.”

        “The new immigration to Europe after 1960 does in fact have a couple islands of creeping invasion and takeover, especially in France, Britain and Germany.”

        The current wave of genuine refugees, fake refugees, and runaway criminals looks even more like an invasion.

      • RoHa
        June 1, 2017, 2:41 am

        “In America, immigrants stand in the forefront of cultural shifts and progressive ideas that otherwise would have never taken root in society.”

        Europe finds the opposite to be all too often true. It does not seem to be wise for a liberal, progressive society to admit immigrants who not only do not share liberal and progressive values but also show no intention of adopting such values for themselves or honouring them when practiced by the rest of society. On the contrary, they would not only deny freedoms to members of “their own community”, but also would like to restrict the freedoms of the rest of society as well.

        “Hence it is ridiculous to suggest immigrants must be legally required to speak the national language or else. How else are they going to socialize, work, entertain?”

        For those who are allowed to socialize with people other than their husbands and their children, they can socialize, work, and entertain with other members of their “community”. Do not forget that there are groups of immigrants who do not want to become part of the society into which they have migrated.

        “Why not make a law demanding immigrants must … enjoy themselves and be happy?”

        Slightly off topic, but I thought King Otto had a good idea when sentencing people who were not happy to be hanged by the neck until they cheered up.

        Yes, Ive have lived in a number of different countries, so I know manners differ among different groups.

        https://satwcomic.com/society-will-crumble

        As for Alabama, the wise immigrant would adopt the manners of the group he was dealing with. However, I cannot believe anyone with even a scrap of wisdom would migrate to Alabama in the first place.

      • eljay
        June 1, 2017, 7:37 am

        || Bont Eastlake: Eljay, Learning the national language is a matter of practicality, not ideology or politics. For most people, the inability to speak English or French in Canada serves as a significant disadvantage in all areas of life especially over the long term. Hence it is ridiculous to suggest immigrants must be legally required to speak the national language or else. How else are they going to socialize, work, entertain? Why not make a law demanding immigrants must eat healthy nutritious meals each day or must enjoy themselves and be happy? Because you seem to be a proponent of legally forcing people to do things they naturally would be inclined to do! ||

        1. Says the guy who expects immigrants to enter into “contractual agreements” and submit to “laws of the land” like slaves or well-trained dogs. Good one. :-)

        2. As sage Sibiriak pointed out, “if people are naturally inclined to learn the national language, then a law requiring them to do so would not be *forcing* them to do anything.”

        3. Canadians are not expected to “eat healthy nutritious meals each day” or to “enjoy themselves and be happy”, so it would be discriminatory to expect those things from immigrants. Canadians are expected to learn at least one official language, so it would not be discriminatory to expect the same from immigrants.

      • Bont Eastlake
        June 1, 2017, 8:09 am

        Sibiriak,

        Congratulations on passing your residency hurdles, which included​ learning a new language. The fact that you had to fulfill a set of prerequisites before being allowed to immigrate is common sense. It’s hard to argue against common sense and I won’t. In fact it is exactly what I advocate.

        What I can’t agree with is retroactively slapping a new requirement on people having already immigrated legally, to speak the national language. The moment a person becomes a legal immigrant, they are full stakeholders in government policymaking. Therefore they have the right to oppose any policy affecting them if they feel unjustly targeted.

        People have many reasons to learn their national language, but only a few not to. If the government is truly concerned about assimilation and minimising domestic tensions, it should investigate these reasons and formulate a credible, democratic action plan to mitigate them. Not criminalising what essentially is a form of expression and further stoking mistrust and resentment among the immigrant population.

        At the end of the day, the responsibility falls solely on a country’s government to ensure​ immigration doesn’t negatively affect domestic matters. Not potential migrants who’s only concern is for a better life for them and their loved ones.

      • Bont Eastlake
        June 1, 2017, 11:53 am

        Eljay,

        1. I said a government should not be able to deport or expel legal immigrants under any circumstances unless all parties involved explicitly agreed upon the legitimacy of such measures through a pre-signed contract. Immigrants are subject to the same laws that apply to everybody else, from the President to the pauper. Unlike slaves who have to endure discriminatory laws without any legal right to protest. – No need for twisting words.

        2. The issue is why. Why are such laws necessary and who benefits from their enforcement?

        3. Adult Canadians do not face any legal repercussions for forgetting the national language and adopting another as their primary method of communication. You can stop speaking English or French, without risk of being deported back to Europe. Children are required to complete basic schooling, but again, they don’t get deported for failing to do so. Immigrants should expect the same treatment, nothing more nothing less.

      • Bont Eastlake
        June 1, 2017, 12:14 pm

        Roha,

        I’m not sure what exactly you arguing against as none of what you said have any legal basis. Immigrants may bring with them conservative and often clashing values, but so what? Societal values are in a constant state of flux regardless of the state of immigration. There are ongoing protests for women’s right in Iceland which is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world.

        Also, who gets to define what is progressive and liberal values? Was France being liberal and progressive when it attempted to ban Muslim swimming gear a few years ago? Is Holland being liberal and progressive for having nude women in glass boxes offering paid sex to anyone walking pass the red-light alleys of Amsterdam?

        Lastly, who gives a shit about how immigrants choose to socialize, or their inability to queue in a satisfactory manner. What happened to minding your own business and just respecting people’s spaces?

      • eljay
        June 1, 2017, 1:25 pm

        || Bont Eastlake: Eljay , 1. I said a government should not be able to deport or expel legal immigrants under any circumstances unless all parties involved explicitly agreed upon the legitimacy of such measures through a pre-signed contract. … ||

        Okay.

        || … Immigrants are subject to the same laws that apply to everybody else … ||

        Without “contractual agreements”, that makes them nothing more than “well-trained dogs”.

        || … No need for twisting words. … ||

        Good, that’s why I didn’t twist any.

        || … You can stop speaking English or French, without risk of being deported back to Europe. Children are required to complete basic schooling, but again, they don’t get deported for failing to do so. Immigrants should expect the same treatment, nothing more nothing less. ||

        Who said anything about deporting immigrants? I didn’t.

      • Sibiriak
        June 1, 2017, 1:50 pm

        Bont Eastlake: Congratulations on passing your residency hurdles, which included​ learning a new language. The fact that you had to fulfill a set of prerequisites before being allowed to immigrate is common sense. It’s hard to argue against common sense and I won’t. In fact it is exactly what I advocate. –
        ————————–

        So you would have no problem if U.S. permanent residence status (the”Green Card”) had the prerequisite of passing a stringent English language proficiency examination?

        ————————–

        What I can’t agree with is retroactively slapping a new requirement on people having already immigrated legally, to speak the national language.

        Thank you for clarifying that your objection is to legal retroactivity, not language proficiency requirements per se.

        (I’m not sure who here was arguing for retroactive new requirements. And, to be precise, the requirement at issue is to be able to speak and write the national language, not a requirement to speak it.)

      • Mooser
        June 1, 2017, 5:14 pm

        “But I’m sure you would not deny them the right of doing so in the eyes of the law.”

        Nobody ever could. There was nothing to do but join in the fun. Now “Viking Fest” is part of our culture, a tradition.

      • Mooser
        June 1, 2017, 5:32 pm

        “I myself am an immigrant, and in order to qualify for extended residency I was required to take a four hour test in the nation’s language, history and law.”

        You could tell them about the snow-peaked mountains way down south, and facts about collective farms.
        You don’t know how lucky you are, boys, to be back in the, back in the, back in the…

      • Bont Eastlake
        June 2, 2017, 1:40 am

        Eljay,

        “Who said anything about deporting immigrants? I didn’t.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/sullivan-american-exceptionalism/#comment-176885

        Your earlier comment:

        “So, basically, as long as an immigrant fails to reach a “contractual agreement” with the government of his new homeland he is free to do whatever he pleases and the government cannot expel him for his refusal to be a slave because expulsion would be a form of fascism. Interesting” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/sullivan-american-exceptionalism/#comment-176885

        What do you mean by expulsion in above context?

      • RoHa
        June 6, 2017, 2:33 am

        ” none of what you said have any legal basis.”

        Legal basis depends on the jurisdiction. Legal in one country can be illegal in another. But I am not discussing law, but the moral duties of immigrants.

        “Immigrants may bring with them conservative and often clashing values, but so what? Societal values are in a constant state of flux regardless of the state of immigration.”

        This is not just a matter of crusty old farts grumbling about long-haired layabouts and the disbanding of the Royal Green Jackets. (They’d fit right in!) The problem is those immigrants who set up parallel societies which actively supress the rights and freedoms of at least some of their members, societies which perpetuate oppression by familial and social coercion. Allowing those immigrants to do what they want is to allow them the freedom to deny that freedom to other immigrants and their children. This does not seem consonant with the idea of a liberal society.

        (Of course, you will want to say that such familial and social coercion already exists in liberal societies, but why make it worse?)

        “Also, who gets to define what is progressive and liberal values?”

        That would be you, wouldn’t it? You wrote “Of course immigrants should be free to do what they want, that’s the whole point of living in a liberal, progressive society.”

        “Was France being liberal and progressive when it attempted to ban Muslim swimming gear a few years ago?”

        Perhaps not on your view of “liberal”. From my point of view, yes. First, resisting a religiously inspired fashion promoted secularism, and, second, the ban promoted French ideals of freedom for women.

        “Is Holland being liberal and progressive for having nude women in glass boxes offering paid sex to anyone walking pass the red-light alleys of Amsterdam?”

        If the women have freely chosen to do this, then on your “free to do what they want” criterion, the answer is “Yes”. If they have been forced to do it, then the answer is “No”. But nor is Britain being liberal and progressive for allowing parents to force their children into arranged, underage, marriages.

        “Lastly, who gives a shit about how immigrants choose to socialize, or their inability to queue in a satisfactory manner.”

        Try queue jumping in Britain or Australia and you will find out who cares.

        “What happened to minding your own business and just respecting people’s spaces?”

        Mind your own business while a boy in your country is persecuted for apostasy and a twelve-year-old girl is sent to another country to be married off. That’s “respecting spaces”.

      • Mooser
        June 6, 2017, 11:32 am

        “But I am not discussing law, but the moral duties of immigrants.”

        Uh-oh, the sad silvery echoes of trumpets through a half-closed door is giving “RoHa” optical illusions.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        June 6, 2017, 4:13 pm

        RoHa:

        Summer holidays started, so I have not had time to read Mondoweiss.. I agree with you, that the parallel societys are the problem and the 2nd generation is the one that is vulnerable. It has now been shown so many times what happens, if they do not get “rooted” in their new home country, since they usually do not find their parents 1st country home either.. And that is why we have to help those who need help. Not all of them do. But those who do.

        I had to come here to give you this link:

        I guess this explains atleast something, why Finns are what we are..

      • RoHa
        June 7, 2017, 1:19 am

        No word for “please” in Swedish, either. Very disconcerting. I had always made a point of trying to learn “please” and “thank you” in the language of any country I visited, and suddenly I only had “thank you”.

        Eventually, I discovered that there were a bunch of different phrases for different situations.

        http://www.wikihow.com/Say-Please-in-Swedish

        And then I had to learn what “varsågod” was really used for.

      • Bont Eastlake
        June 7, 2017, 4:07 am

        Roha,

        No matter how much you feel entitled to hold on and fight for your views, you will lose because you are strategically on weak ground. Hence, your inability to argue on a legal basis, using the framework of international law and doctrines of universal human rights that are recognised by all nations.

        Immigrants have no moral duties fullstop. You can argue against this all you want but in practice, there is nothing you can do to enforce these moral duties on human beings without blowback. They may have their own customs and traditions when it comes to queuing, marriage, education, economic activities, religion and so on, or they may just adopt the local way of life.

        It’s up to them just like its up to you if you want to be conservative or liberal, atheist or Christian, gay or straight, marry or stay single. If you like having choices then its only fair you support the right of immigrants to have theirs.

        Moving on to your next point, I agree that by allowing immigrants to do whatever they want, there will be instances where abusive or oppressive behaviour are brought over to their new home country.

        But now that they are in a new environment, those behaviors will no longer be sustainable and those who hold on it will be stigmatised by wider society and looked down upon by their families. The mechanisms that allowed disgusting practices to take place, like a patriarchal culture, a corrupt government, dysfunctional legal system etc are no longer there so people who practice it will be quickly weed out by society. Wives would no longer tolerate abusive husbands when they can actually drive a car, find jobs, wear pratical clothing without legal issues etc. Nor would sons and daughters blindly accept abusive treatment or traditions without rebelling or calling attention to it from outside authorities. So essentially, just by not discriminating against immigrants, you will promote them to assimilate by their own accord.

        Thirdly, banning articles of clothing is an act of fascism no matter its Iran doing it or its France. It can never be a progressive idea to forcibly deny human beings the right to wear clothing they like, whether its a shapeless burka or a form fitting bikini. France was undoublty wrong to attempt it as proven by widespread domestic and global condemnations of such move. If you don’t like people wearing the burka or the veil or whatever, just tell them. If they care about your opinion they might change their fashion choices for you.

        Furthermore, widespread availability of legal sex workers is not a progressive ideal. Especially when countries like Holland is one of the richest in the world. It shows that most of the money is actually going to men, and women are coerced into entering the trade as means to gain some form of economic independence. Women should be free to make their career choices, but I’m certain no girl wishes to rent out her sexual organs as a job when she grows up.

        Lastly, again as an individual you are entitled the same rights as the immigrant. You can intrude into their lives as much as they can into yours.

      • Mooser
        June 7, 2017, 11:14 am

        “Bont”, when a guy has filled full the mouth of famine, and bid the sickness cease;
        And when his goal is nearest (The end for others sought!) he sees sloth and heathen folly bring all his hopes to nought, he tends to get a little famischt.

      • RoHa
        June 13, 2017, 1:46 am

        Dammit, I put this one in the wrong place. These really long threads get tricky to navigate. I’m having another go, and I hope the mods will let this one through and kill the first one.

        Sorry to have taken so long to respond. I have a lot on my plate at the moment.

        “Hence, your inability to argue on a legal basis, using the framework of international law and doctrines of universal human rights that are recognised by all nations.”

        I don’t know why you are referring to the law. Moral duties do not stem from law, though some laws are attempts to enforce moral duties.

        “Immigrants have no moral duties fullstop.”

        Everyone has moral duties, and this includes moral duties to the society that sustains them.

        “They may have their own customs and traditions when it comes to queuing, marriage, education, economic activities, religion and so on, or they may just adopt the local way of life.”

        If they cling to those customs they will, at least some of the time, be failing in their duties to support the society they have moved into.

        “If you like having choices then its only fair you support the right of immigrants to have theirs.”

        My choices are constrained by my duties to the society I live it. The same constraints apply to immigrants.

        “But now that they are in a new environment, those behaviors will no longer be sustainable and those who hold on it will be stigmatised by wider society and looked down upon by their families. The mechanisms that allowed disgusting practices to take place, like a patriarchal culture, a corrupt government, dysfunctional legal system etc are no longer there”

        You clearly have no idea of the realities of immigration. Have you not read what Kaisa and I wrote about some migrants setting up parallel societies in which they maintain those mechanisms, in which their families and social circles endorse, sustain, and, by social pressure, enforce those practices?

        “Thirdly, banning articles of clothing is an act of fascism”

        Labelling is not argument. I agree that banning articles of clothing is a restriction of individual freedom, but some individual freedoms have to be limited in order to allow more general freedoms. My freedom to stab strangers is restrained so as to allow a general freedom to walk around safely. You should argue that wearing burkinis is not a threat to French secularism or the general position of women in French society.

        “It can never be a progressive idea to forcibly deny human beings the right to wear clothing they like”

        And yet many very progressive societies deny me the right to walk around naked, or in completely transparent clothing, so the principle of enforcing certain dress standards is accepted. Perhaps those societies need to be more liberal.

        “Furthermore, widespread availability of legal sex workers is not a progressive ideal.”

        Not if the women are forced into prostitution, no. But I said that before.

        As a practical move, it will be necessary to limit the freedom of pimps to exploit women.

  5. JosephA
    May 7, 2017, 9:31 am

    “These include her vote for the Iraq War; the troop surge in Afghanistan; the funneling of arms to Syrian rebels, many of whom became affiliates of terror organizations, fueling the brutal Syrian civil war; the no-fly zone over Libya that ousted Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, forcing a chaotic power vacuum and civil war; and unwavering diplomatic and military support for the Saudi regime’s onslaught of Yemen that has brought that country to the brink of famine”

    Jesus H. Christ! Thank you for taking the time to write such a reality-check of an article about a clearly well-spoken but disturbed individual. I had never heard of Jake a Sullivan before today. He sounds just like the type of person who would agree with Madeline Albright when she said that the death of half a million Iraqi children “was worth it”. She, along with Henry Kissinger, is a war criminal.

    I am a staunch believer in free speech, of course, but when people speak of being a proponent of militarism I wish I could wave a magic wand at them which would transport them to the very war zones that their words (and support) create. Let them suffer just a taste of what these poor victims of U.S. foreign policy (listed above, plus the Palestinians, etc.) have to endure.

  6. Ossinev
    May 7, 2017, 12:24 pm

    Meanwhile it`s great to see and will be a major boost for the morale of the Palestinians to see their current President for Life ?Abbas meeting another President elected for only four years. It might prompt him (Abbas) to offer them a choice of whether they wan`t him to continue to be their President given his outstanding results he has achieved (not) on their behalf since his term of office ended in 2009. Wow that is two times the US Presidential terms already. Is there something that he is afraid of? Perish the thought that he along with the Zionists are denying democratic rights to the Palestinian people !
    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2017/05/03/in-pictures-abu-moron-in-the-white-house/

  7. Maghlawatan
    May 11, 2017, 11:13 pm

    Egypt is a basket case. The population growth rate is very high and the neoliberal economy can’t produce enough jobs. The Army runs the show.

    Israel is a basket case. The Orthodox population growth rate is very high and the education system can’t educate them to contribute economically. TheArmy runs the show.

    US intervention since 1980 has not helped either country.

  8. MHughes976
    May 17, 2017, 6:48 am

    I too hadn’t heard of Mr. Sullivan but I think his version of exceptionalism, that if you want any big thing done in the world American support is quite exceptionally important, is true enough, though in some senses disappointing. He represents the bland pro-Israel consensus which is certainly weakening in academic and progressive circles, though that is not enough to make much of a change in the views of the political class or in overall public opinion. That Brookings survey still showed enormous – was it 78%? – support for the idea of Israel as a valuable ally.
    A lot of the discussion has been about the EU rather than the ME. I don’t want to get too deep into that but just to say that I’m a Remoaner and generally share Kaisa’s opinions. The forces behind Brexit are not particularly to be trusted when it comes to the ME.

  9. MHughes976
    May 21, 2017, 8:56 am

    Following Kaisa’s remarks about immigration in Sweden I noticed an article currently on the Economist website about ‘Sweden making people Swedish’ and it dwells on the de facto segregation that Kaisa mentions. The main expert it cites is Tino Sanandaji, who also has an article published in the (suspect) National Review last Feb. The comments in the Economist are rather terrifying. The E is also running several articles about Israel at the moment, one about ‘still occupation after 50 years’ in whose comments section, not free of racially negative remarks, Eva and I have been surrounded by an unfriendly mob.

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