Monday, March 21, 2011

something about chickens and roosts

One wishes this was surprising. As it becomes clear that the wave of democratic movements sweeping the Middle East was little more than a narrow window of opportunity, it's equally clear that leaders in the West might be more than a little relieved:
The son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has alleged that his country helped finance Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election campaign. "We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything," Saif al-Islam said.
This makes the Economist's chronicle of European leaders' moral equivalency make all the more sense:
IMAGINE your awkward neighbours across the street. You befriended them, drew them into the neighbourhood-watch scheme and even made some nice trades. All of a sudden they are exposed as criminals, or maybe brutes with women enslaved in their basements. Would you feel guilt about your friendship? Remorse about having ignored the telltale signs? Or would you feign outrage, like Captain Renault’s in “Casablanca”: “I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” Such are the emotions that Europe’s leaders feel as their friends across the Mediterranean are toppled by long-suffering subjects. True Europe has had little choice in its neighbours. Good relations were a necessity of life, particularly for countries with oil and gas, or those that guarded against terrorists and illegal migrants. Yet some European actions now seem craven indeed. Remember Gordon Brown’s dissimulation about the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan jailed for life in Scotland for his role in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing? Or the sight of Silvio Berlusconi kissing the hand of Muammar Qaddafi? In the grab for a share of Libya’s oil wealth, many others have been stained. Libyan petrodollars, moreover, have found their way into companies and institutions across Europe, from the Juventus football team to the London School of Economics.
Understandable, if still shamefully craven. And no wonder Sarko has been so eager to lead this operation -- beyond just trying to purge the nasty taste of Tunisia's collaborationism -- he's trying to clear his election debt!  [BBC, Economist]

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