Most of Ny Tid’s readers will have followed the information concerning Snowden – he revealed politically VERY important information and did a GREAT service to democracy (feedback is, after all, that principle which makes democracy a better form of government than very many others). Altogether we, as citizens of a democratic society (I do hope this is a democratic society), should be grateful to him and honour him.
Our governments, though, seem to think different. Finland’s government refuses to offer Snowden asylum (although, according to Husis, it easily could). The same about other Western European governments. The mere suspicion that Snowden might be on board the airplane which was supposed to bring the president of Bolivia home from a state visit was enough of a reason for Italy, Spain, Portugal and France to close their airspaces, forcing the plane to land in Vienna (where, according to some, it was searched – without finding Snowden …). And so on …
Now let’s try and find a good term for this behaviour of our European governments. Should we call it cowardly? Anyway there seems to be a very big difference between the beautiful speeches about freedom and democracy and the glaringly obvious fear to displease the US government. If one would ask those decision makers about the reasons for their behaviour they might possibly admit that their doings were regrettable, but certainly claim that they acted highly responsibly, just to prevent harm to their citizens.
Now, what possible harm could such be? Have our politicians signed agreements which make them vulnerable to extortion of some type? Well, in that case one might have to re-negotiate those agreements. Are they afraid that the USA might not come to their help if they are attacked? Well, attacked by whom? The USA might be willing to pick a fight with Russia in order to protect Great Britain, perhaps France, perhaps Germany, but presumably not if the victim is just some small country which has only very recently joined NATO – in that case the USA will use some pretense in order to avoid the direct confrontation (perhaps even organize some incident which could serve as a “reason”) and, (perhaps!) just be generous enough to open its borders to refugees. Anyway the overall impression is that the Western World is just something like a US empire, in which some of the colonies have a better status than some others, but in which also a degree of overall submissiveness is expected (and duly demonstrated) which can only be called colonial.
Considering that it should basically be possible to re-negotiate (or cancel) the terms which put the European countries into this position, why does it not happen? And at this point there creeps into my mind a Freudarxist suspicion: If the state of affairs is the result of selection mechanisms (as it is according to Freudarxism), and if our politicians usually go, during their careers, through something like an “apprenticeship”, in the course of which any candidate will be dropped from further promotion if he is not absolutely loyal to his superiors, then we will end up with people in top positions who are essentially helpless because they do not have any more any superior whose ideas they can follow. And in this situation they may well have a tendency to look for a superior whom to follow – such as the consensus of the keskiviikkokerho (can be googled), or the wishes of the US government … (terms like “subaltern” or “subservient” come to mind). With the events around Snowden as a result.
When looking for alternatives to this not-so-convincing state of affairs, Helmut Schmidt comes to my mind. He was Bundeskanzler of Germany, and is now the perhaps most respected political person of all. I guess that the reason is that he dared to make decisions in the past (e.g. when people were dying in Hamburg because of a flood, he asked the army for help, although the law did not really permit that – and he got the help, and the people liked that) and dares to make, and tell, opinions even now. I suspect that the reason for this came out during an interview: he was asked which had been the most difficult decisions during his life, to which he answered that compared to the decisions he had to make as the commander of an anti-aircraft battery in the defense of Hamburg against the allied bombings (such as how many men of his crew to assign to the transport of wounded crew members to safety) the decisions during his time as a politician had mostly been easy. So that it seems that the early need to make life-and-death decisions had helped him to be a good politician later.
Now I should not really see it as a good way to improve the quality of our politicians that they should first experience a war before entering their political careers. But I do indeed think that something should be done about the present selection mechanisms. As a Freudarxist, I should at least recommend that would-be politicians should be put through a battery of tests before being admitted to any high office (the same about high military commanders and high judges). And I can inform the reader that it has already turned out that, when recruiting people for specific functions, it was psychological tests which produced the most reliable predictions how well they would do in their future jobs.
As to Snowden, once agreement had been reached and signed that he gets political asylum in, say, Venezuela, all available friends of democracy should unite and tell Putin that he could earn widespread sympathies if he could order an airplane of the Russian forces (let’s say a Tu-95 long distance reconnaissance plane, whose range is fully sufficient for the job) simply to fly him from Murmansk straight to Venezuela without having to cross the airspace of any other country …