The NOS (source: www.nos.nl ) is again inspiration to today’s blog. The Dutch television mentioned two articles that have bearing on this. The second one is about Syria, so you the reader will probably have your own views. The first one is an important one, yet, it might at present not be on your radar.
A scandal hit Dutch politics as the Chairman of the First room. A position that is comparable to speaker of the house in the US or the speaker of the House of Lords in the UK has resigned. His position must be one of pure neutrality. A position that came into question in an article by the newspaper called ‘the Volkskrant’ (translated: The People’s paper). In that article he was quoted to have stated that keeping a politician out of the procession during the Royal inauguration was in the back of his mind. That is regarded as a huge ‘no no’ and as such, to prevent escalation, he resigned his position as speaker of the house.
This is not about former speaker Fred de Graaf. It is about a certain approach to certain political parties. You see in the 90’s there was the CP (Centrum Party). This was an ultra-right movement with such an outspoken disdain for that what did not fit, that they made the Ku Klux Klan look like a social moderate organisation. Yes, they are that extreme. Whenever its speaker ‘JanMaat’ spoke out, politicians would walk away, not debate, just remain silent. I always regarded that as an utter mistake. Political scientists told me on how good the approach was, how the wind was taken away from his sails. Yet, as he was allowed to speak unchallenged a fearful thing happened, people accepted his words to some extent. He gained 3 seats in parliament (Dutch version of the House of Commons). Finally someone woke up and they started to debate issues and of course, that resulted in the Centrum Party losing all three seats in the following elections 4 years later. Silence is NOT golden!
Following that event a new party came, the name was ‘Leefbaar Nederland’ (translated as ‘Liveable Netherlands’). This was led by a person named Pim Fortuyn. This was nothing like the Centrum Party! Mr Fortuyn was a person of Charisma, he was a true politician and he was an excellent speaker. The issue was that there were similarities. The platform still had ‘full=full’ in a central position. You see, the Netherlands is not that large. In the US it is only slightly larger than Maryland (30%), and Tasmania Australia is 50% larger than the Netherlands, a nation with 17 million, making it one of the densest populated nations on the planet. He had a few radical (read politically incorrect idea’s) those messages do not matter. What was the issue, was the fact that his charisma gave him ten times the following the Centrum Party ever had. In the end Pim Fortuyn was assassinated by a person who was regarded as mentally unstable and an environmental activist. It became a source for years of conspiracy theories.
Now we have Mr Geert Wilders of the PVV (Party for freedom). Mr Wilders visited Australia, which in its own was quite the show as the Australians rebelled against such an extreme politician. The last one has been active in the Dutch House of Commons. An interesting event was that he was denied entrance in the UK. When he did travel via Heathrow with reporters he was detained, only to be shipped back on the next plane.
It seems to me that Geert Wilders is to some extent ignored in political circles. The danger here is that this man is no Mr Janmaat of the CP. This man is highly intelligent and a decent speaker. He is also a lot stronger political muscle then the previous two politicians. Not engaging him has strengthened him, and as such his party now has 10% of the seats in the Dutch House of Commons. It could be debated that as he is a strong speaker going up against him would have a risky factor for anyone debating him as he can be ruthless.
So the question becomes, why are politicians so easy to choose the ignore option to fight the values they and many others detest? Is that not a showing of cowardice? If we are truly vested in not allowing a growth of right wing extremities to grow into political houses, then ignoring is not a solution. If you think that we are all in a better place, think again. Look at the statistics of poverty and unemployment rates then consider that we are close to the levels that we had in the times leading up to WW2. That was the beginning of a group that held a great power to politically manipulate in the past. To see that part escalate, read on below where we look at Syria.
As history is to repeat itself, we see a growing fear of returning events of escalations. Syria has according to the evidence engaged the use of Chemical weapons on a small scale. The body count has surpassed 150 (dying of the effects of chemical warfare) and now several parties are under agreement that the straw that broke the camel’s back had been delivered. A coalition which currently contains France and UK, with the US now ready to join ranks has put their foot down. We have seen the consequences, we have seen the movies and medical evidence, yet the Russians are not convinced (in a state of denial). When we look at Chemical warfare, we see a weapon of Mass Destruction. So did the Press speak to people like Oznobistchev, Saveliev and Arbotov? Are they not supposed to be experts in the area of WMD? So did the press get to them, or was there a health statement of laryngitis by Director Bortnikov? #JustSaying. The issue is not just the Yay or Nay. It is that again we have two sides. The Russian side, delivering S-300 missiles to Syria and there is the other side. I have no issue with Russia delivering the hardware. It is legitimate hardware and no matter how we feel, the sovereign ruler of a nation bought a defensive weapon system for its country. In all honesty I must confess that at 3% commission, selling missiles at 250 million per system looks appealing. Charging that much for a weapon system that the Russians took off the market in 2012? I’d sell that! One must always be ready to pay the tailor, and Saville Row is slightly costly. Those systems are not used to deploy chemical weapons, but they will stop those who want to stop them. Where is this going?
This re-reads like the beginning of another Vietnam. One goes one corner, one goes the other (music by: Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes). This is the level of high stakes poker we currently cannot afford to play. This is likely to have repercussions on all levels. From the previous part one could come to the conclusion that politicians prefer to evade. That might actually be less of an option. This is because larger players now have their ego at stake. The issue is not them, as whatever escalates will be far from their bedrooms. The issue is now quickly becoming Jordan AND Israel, as they both will get caught in the middle. Jordan already has rising issues as the Syrian population is running for their lives, straight into the arms of Jordan’s dwindling resources. It will also raise risks for Israel as HAMAS and their allies will see this as an option to really light the tinderbox.
So what can we do to solve this? Well, what if we can get info from another party? Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan was/is a member of the WMDC (weapons of mass destruction commission). This all affects his country one way or another. What are his views? Has he seen any evidence? I think that this is more about settling the Syrian war. Settling that war can never succeed if we do not bolster stability in the region overall.
I believe that when, not if that stability fails, America will not need to worry about finding Lone-Wolf terrorists. There will be every chance that people from Morocco to Egypt will rush to enlist with Al-Qaeda, a scenario no one wants.
I fear that some have lost sight of that. There is too much smoke and the wrong people are calling to push buttons, whilst they are not at risk at all.