Friday, July 18, 2008

Economist - same old same old

I used to be a big fan of the Economist. In fact for most of the late 90's I subscribed to the magazine and dilligently read through the broad topics that it appeared to so thoroughly cover. By 2001 I had gone weary of the magazine - its endless endorsement of free trade as a panacea to the world's ills, its condescending attitude (if only the world would listen to us....) and its pro-Arabist stance were tiresome. Like most British publications it was overly critical of Israel (it still claims to support the Jewish state - how much of it ? Is another question). At the same time it regularly downplays the Islamofascist threat.
Nevertheless for old time sake I still glance at the magazine at bookstores and on the odd occasion even purchase one. I have yet to see an impovement in their stance on the Middle East - a sentiment which was confirmed by this week's leader story which urged Europe to embrace the Muslm nations of the Mediterranean (all of which other than Turkey are undemocratic) while delibrately ignoring Israel (as if the Jewish state was not really part of the region). Palestine (whatever that is nowdays) was of course given honourable mention.
Europe for the most part has been embracing these Mediterranean nations for some time now - so this is hardly a novel idea. The main motivation for this stance is the lure of the 'quick buck' with democracy and the championing of human rights (despite the lip service) playing very second fiddle. In fact if anything Europe has acted as an enabler to some of the most vile regimes on the planets by their policies (France and Germany in particular with their weapons sales stand out as such) .
In light of this what the Economist should be encouraging, is not more business as usual, but a tougher political stance of limited or zero tolerance, that will facilitate positive change in the power dynamic in the region. Not everything is about money.
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