November 16th, 2002


European tour?!

Something worth mentioning to my friends... especially those overseas. Ryanair is giving away 500,000 free tickets between any European destinations -- all you pay is the taxes and airport fees. That means that those of you in England can fly out to visit Italy for about 50 euros... not shabby!

Just a reminder that imperialism still doesn't work...

Some interesting statements were made from Jack Straw, the UK Foriegn secretary.

"A lot of the problems we are having to deal with now - I have to deal with now - are a consequence of our colonial past," he said, along with some other notable admissions...

For instance, he states that the Balfour Declaration of 1917 (that set the groundwork for the state of Israel) gave "contradictory assurances" to the Israelis and Palestinians and was "not an honorable" part of the British imperial history.

(Hint: generally speaking, giving away someone else's land without their permission and without compensation isn't all that honorable.)

That's not all, however... There were "some quite serious mistakes" made in India and Pakistan, a "less than glorious" role played in the history of Afghanistan, the odd borders in Iraq that undermine the freedom of the Kurds were "drawn by Brits", and he admits that the British Government overlooked serious problems relating to Kashmir at the time of Indian independence.

In other words, today's biggest threats to world peace are largely a result of past decisions where a superpower imposed decisions on other parts of the globe without making allowances for free will and self-determination.

Of course, the US is today's superpower, and what is really meant by Pax Americana is that the US is trying to maintain a status quo that is very favorable for itself... and one of the ways we maintain this status quo is by repressing the national aspirations of the world's people and, in many cases, their right to self-government.

The US people used to believe in self-government as a fundamental right, but that idea was undermined by the Civil War. Yes, slavery was a great cancer on the United States, because it was allowed to exist in a country where people were supposed to be both free and equal... but I would argue that it was replaced by a cancer just as insidious -- the right of the US federal government to forceably rule those who would rather rule themselves.

It's worth noting that the kind of sesessionist movement that we are seeing in Quebec would never be allowed to happen in the US - the military would roll down our streets and make up our minds for us... in the same way that the DEA has no qualms about making raids upon those state-run institutions that enable medical marajuana.

Of course, as the US expanded in power after the Civil War, it had even fewer qualms about imposing their will on others who were not citizens... starting with the Indians, and, US power grew, expanding to pretty much the rest of the world, on an "as needed" basis.

And if that means supporting those who would violently repress others in order to maintain the status quo... well, that's just part of business.