samedi 31 août 2013

Speech delivered by George Galloway in the House of Commons

Speech delivered by George Galloway in the House of Commons

Transmitted below is a link to an eloquent six-minute speech delivered by George Galloway in the House of Commons in the lead-up to Thursday night’s historic vote against war and in favor of British independence.

I have been puzzled by the post-vote fretting by various British commentators as to the “threat” which this assertion of independence may pose to Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States. Indeed, I have long been puzzled by the attachment of the British élites to this “special relationship”, since, in recent years, it has so clearly been a relationship of abject, bootlicking subservience – much like America’s other “special relationship”, with Israel, except that, in the British case, it is the American boots which have been being licked.
With 237 years having passed since America declared independence from British rule, it is high time for Britain to declare independence from American domination, and the British people can be proud that, at least in this instance, their democracy worked and their elected leader yielded to the clearly expressed will of his people. Later historians may regard this vote as a turning point.
By contrast, it appears at this point that neither Barack Obama nor François Hollande intends to seek a legislative vote of approval for an attack on Syria or to respect the clearly expressed will of his people. At least one of these three venerable democracies remains functional. Hats off to the Brits!
I will take advantage of this message to expand slightly on my comments in two of my messages yesterday:

In my reaction to John Kerry’s statement yesterday, I suggested as the best-case scenario a “no consequences” scenario based on universal non-reaction to American “military action”. In retrospect, I should have qualified “no consequences” by “aside from the deaths and destruction and a further degradation of American respect for the rule of law, both domestically and internationally”.
Even in the best case, that would remain a hefty price to pay for saving face for one individual – and few can believe that the world would now be holding its breath if Barack Obama had never uttered the words “red line”.
Between 1739 and 1748, Britain and Spain fought a war bearing the charming name “the War of Jenkins’ Ear”, since it was ostensibly triggered by the severing of an ear of Robert Jenkins, the captain of a British merchant ship. If, as we must all hope, Obama’s limited, symbolic attack on Syria does not trigger a chain of reactions and counter-reactions à la World War I, I would propose that it be remembered as “the War of Obama’s Face”.

I suggested yesterday a possible psycho-political explanation for the peculiar enthusiasm for “military action” of Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande. I will now suggest two other possible psycho-political explanations. The three are not mutually exclusive. They may be complementary.
1. Dealing with recession, unemployment, budget deficits, national debt and cuts in pension benefits is dreadfully dull and depressing – and offers few opportunities for adrenaline rushes or public praise. A little “military action” is far sexier and much more fun – and almost always provides at least a temporary positive bump in popularity polls. (However, with the latest opinion polls showing two-thirds of the French people opposed to French involvement in “military action” against Syria, a positive bump cannot be guaranteed in this instance.)
2. People who seek and achieve power – in any country – tend to be deeply interested (even obsessed) about exercising power. Particularly in difficult economic circumstances, it is easy even for those at the top of the political pyramid to feel – and be – powerless with respect to the most important aspects of their jobs. “Military action” to the rescue! Ordering death and destruction is something heads of state have the power to do (even if, in instances like the current one, it would violate international law and potentially domestic law as well) and is the ultimate power trip.