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View Diary: Ken Livingstone's statement on the attacks in London (146 comments)

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  •  Normally I like Livingstone (none)
    but how is this really different than what Bush says?

    And are we seriously supposed to believe that they take these actions because they don't like our social structure? I thought they were doing it because, in ways both real and imagined, they think we are trying to export our social structure to their home turf...aren't those really two quite different things?

    The first approach bleaches them of all rational behavior and thought...they kill wantonly simply because they hate. And it strips us of any power to do anything about the situation, except for the power to kill and imprison as many haters as possible before they strike again.

    The second approach recognizes the background to the story, and with that an entire toolkit of actions we can take, in concert with each other, measures that include the militaristic and the political, an interventionist stance at some times and a role of defferance at others. To me it is a much more satisfying answer, simply because it recognizes human nature, the complexity of the issues, and gives us real power to do something about it. The other option just leaves us with empty rhetoric, and the feeling we have just been subjected to a snake oil sales pitch.

    We each embrace modernity and tradition, and structure and freedom, in varying degrees, in different aspects of life, in terms defined largely by the culture we operate in. That isn't the underlying issue with our problem with the Middle East, except in the most extreme circumstances of cultural pathology (such as infanticide in India).

    What is the issue is that there is no exchange mechanism that can regulate the flow between the Middle East and the West, and this causes a friction point. Most people in that region are starkly dis-empowered, have little influence on their government or societal institutions in general, and are held in check by corrupt, dictatorial, and relatively moderate regimes that we support. As we can see with today's bombings, the only people who benefit from that scenario in the long run are neither us nor the Middle East, but the governments in that region who control their populations while receiving handouts from us. Once we fine-tune our role, and these nations give their citizens the power to affect change in government, and re-organize the institutions that currently seek to manipulate them. It's a democracy deficit, brought to bear by a shrinking world of TV and the internet.

    I don't expect Livingstone to talk about "cultural exchange mechanisms" right after a bombing, but well, you know...

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