Of Jon Nordmo.
A basic principle in almost all democracies is that elections take place. It is organized in such a way that people vote for different candidates/parties and the party that gets the majority forms the government and runs the country. This is called indirect democracy. It may also happen that questions are put to a direct vote by organizing a referendum. Then all the votes for (eg EU membership) and then all the votes against are counted, and the point of view that gets the most votes becomes the one that applies. This is called direct democracy.
Regardless of how voting takes place – directly or indirectly – it is a “sacred” principle that no one should be punished for voting for such and such a candidate, or for such and such an issue. Everyone should vote according to their convictions, being completely sure of not suffering reprisals. Mao’s “secret elections” are the cornerstone of any democracy. You walk into a voting booth, where there are ballots from all relevant parties, draw the curtains, take a ballot for the party you want to vote for and place your ballot in a sealed box. And get out. No one knows what you voted for, and you can safely vote according to your inner conviction.
For one reason or another, this important principle is overlooked when it comes to voting at the UN. Voting is by show of hands. Or by pressing the buttons. This way everyone knows what each country voted for. Whether in the Security Council, the General Assembly, UNESCO or other United Nations bodies. This creates transparency. A country must defend what it votes for or against. But it also creates a situation in which certain powerful countries that have the ability to do so can contact countries that they imagine will vote “incorrectly” and then help them to understand that it is in their own interest to vote the way they want. the mighty country they vote for. If they don’t, despite friendly explanations, they know full well that they will feel the mighty country’s wrath in the form of financial sanctions, lack of access to loans, and so on. Such investigations/persuasions of course take place behind closed doors. Conspiracy theories? Yes, by all means. Great powers have always conspired in different ways to get their way.
One wonders how truly democratic a body is, when one can face real difficulties if one votes according to one’s beliefs, and one’s beliefs do not correspond to the wishes of the great power in place. When challenging the great power in power can mean the economic ruin of one’s country.
We have little concrete evidence that such pressure takes place. It goes without saying that the publication of threats will lead to their implementation, perhaps in even more devastating ways. What little evidence we have comes from the memoirs of deceased or retired politicians.
But the other day the breakthrough happened.
Both houses of the US Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate) have overwhelmingly passed a new law. “Law on Combating Russian Malicious Activities in Africa”. Malign is better translated as malicious, but in the document’s text specification it says it’s “all activities that undermine the purposes and interests of the United States.”
In addition, the law specifies that the US government is required to counter Russian activities, among other things, “by ensuring that the Russian Federation, African governments and their representatives be held responsible, if they contribute in any way to such malicious activities.
Michael McCaul, a leading Republican who co-sponsored the bill, said of the law that “we have to force every country to choose whether it wants to do business with the free world or with a war criminal” .
What activities are covered by the law? Dissemination of “Russian propaganda” (i.e. Russia’s point of view on issues), economic cooperation that will strengthen the Russian economy (for example, joint mining projects and trade in goods with which the NATO has decided that no one in the world can trade with Russia.), political support, cultural cooperation that will strengthen the ties between Russia and the current African country… The law is deliberately vague. So it is also somewhat uncertain which areas are affected. The definition is that it interferes with the purposes and interests of the United States. And that can be very strange. This ensures that countries, to be on the safe side, must abandon any possible cooperation.
The provision of the legislation that “government officials must be held accountable” can be very serious for many wealthy African businessmen and members of the state apparatus. As is known, many of them sold their wealth in “safe currencies” and properties, for example, in the United States. They have, within the framework of the NATO sanctions against Russia, seen with their own eyes how the United States and the NATO countries confiscated (!) the boats, the properties and the fortunes of the rich Russians. Completely against all international laws and laws. And they know it can happen to them! If they vote badly at the UN…If they allow economic cooperation on mining development…If they allow Russian television…if they do not participate in the sanctions of the ‘NATO…
So we come back to the issue of democracy and democracy, Ms. Blom.
Caitlin Johnstone had a very specific and well-read article here in Steigan.no, (“The problem with Western values is that the West doesn’t respect them”) where she concluded that those who actually hold Western values of freedom of expression, among others, are those who have been prevented from exercising their freedom of expression. Western countries themselves have trampled on their own values with real mountain shoes.
Read: The problem with ‘Western values’ is that the West doesn’t value them
In matters of international democracy, we see the same thing. It is praised in party speeches, but in practice it applies: Either you/your country do what I say or you/you will really regret it! Because remember, we are in almost 100% control of global economic relations. We basically control all international money transfers, we control lending institutions, we control transportation, we control currency (most of the time everyone has to trade in dollars), you have assets that we can easily freeze…
How did Africans react?
They are careful. They know very well how the colonial powers have wreaked havoc on them for hundreds of years. They saw many examples of how NATO countries after decolonization imposed their will on stubborn nations, they saw pillage in the “new colonial era”, they saw contempt. They know very well who is in power and that the person in question is more than willing to use it to achieve their goals – regardless of international law and the law. They chose to vote blank at the UN when NATO offered to condemn Russia for its invasion. Or they were simply absent from the vote. (17 whites and 7 absent from the 54 African countries. Almost half!)
They are careful – in their choice of words. But they are very clear that this new invention on the part of the United States is a serious limitation on their democratic right to act in relation to what the majority of the people of their country, who elected them, have given them given as a mandate. They are selected by program. They are responsible for creating good living conditions for their people. They are the ones they must serve. Who they work with to make this happen should – in their view – be their decision. Just as it is up to the United States to decide whether or not they want to trade with Canada. Not something Niger should interfere with.
The new law has become an island opening for large parts of the world. Now it has become public knowledge – even in the form of law – that not voting the way the United States wants you to vote, doing business with countries the United States does not want you to do business with, having friendly relations with countries that the United States does not want you to have friendly relations with, the United States will punish that. The nation’s right to self-determination does not apply here. Democracy does not apply here.
For us here in Norway and the other NATO countries, the deal was not an island opening. Perhaps because we are blind in advance (and then that helps little to open our eyes). Or that the NATO sun shines so brightly in your eyes that it’s impossible to see any other perspectives? In fact, I don’t think the new law has received much attention in the Norwegian media landscape. Most people probably don’t even know that. And those in the authorities who are in the know, knew in advance the consequences of challenging the United States – so: nothing new.
Around the world, he is taken as another example of the hypocrisy of NATO countries:
“We stand for the right of all nations to decide their own policies. They alone decide what we say they should decide.
We are for international democracy and for decisions in international forums to be taken by vote. Only countries vote as we want them to vote.
We are in favor of each country being able to choose the military and civilian alliances it will join (eg Ukraine / NATO). As long as they don’t make alliances that we don’t think they should make.”
It will be thrilling now to see if enough countries, with enough power, will dare – and be able – to resist the dictates of the United States and NATO.
Read also: Democracy and Democracy Madame Blom!
Who is Mrs. Blom?
The expression finds its origin in 1950 when Alex Brinchmann wrote the play Karusell, where the doctor gives pills to Mrs Hélène Blom in the second act. There was no original line, but on one of the samples, Per Aabel added the words that would become immortal:
“PILL AND PILL, MRS BLOM!”
The line struck such a chord that it stayed in the room, and soon everyone was saying the same thing.
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