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foreign policy

In it's continuing effort to make itself in any way relevant to the actual lived struggles of real democrats in faraway places, the NDP says they're concerned that Canada has made no commitment to Afghanistan after 2014, in a PostMedia article from March:

NDP foreign affairs critic Helene Laverdiere said the government doesn't seem to have a "game plan" for post-2014.

That's odd, since the NDP made Canada Out of Afghanistan their cause célèbre over the past decade, cashing in on a public maligned to the mission (but wrong in their misgivings). Shouldn't the NDP be pleased there is no plan, and no will left in the Harper Government to do anything, past 2014? Didn't the NDP only wish the abandonment of Afghanistan, and a perverse "peace with the Taliban", had come sooner?

As Terry Glavin has repeatedly pointed out, the NDP wanted Canada to be "neutral" towards Afghanistan. But this is not what Afghans wanted.

That Jack Layton’s trippy prescriptions for the ills that ail Afghanistan are less a persistence of noble left-wing internationalist traditions and more along the lines of black-leotard interpretive dance from a post-modern alternative universe will not be a surprise to

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afghanistan political map history graveyard of empires military warThis is the sixth in a series on popular myths about Afghanistan.

Myth #6: Afghanistan has never been conquered by outside forces.

The Truth: of all the myths that permeate western narratives of Afghanistan, this one is perhaps the most enduring. This is partly because it is enthusiastically perpetuated by journalists, authors and other commentators, and partly because it is a potent part of the Taliban’s own internal and external propaganda. As Christian Caryl pointed out in Foreign Policy last year,

It's the mother of all clichés. Almost no one can resist it. It's wielded by everyone from thoughtful ex-generals to vitriolic bloggers. It crops up everywhere from Russia's

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canada military propaganda war military democracy freedom politicsThe intrepid Terry Glavin asks a simple question about Canada's political leaders of all ideological stripes:

Given the absence of leadership on global democracy that has afflicted all the federal parties (see if you can set aside for the moment your partisan pick of which one is worse), it should come as no surprise that none of them has made a big deal about this. It's a disgrace, and not one of the party leaders comes off looking good in it.

The Opposition parties and the Ottawa press corps appear perfectly content to drag any debate about these things back down into that boring soap-opera agony narrative about how Ziocon Hegemonists have besmirched the stainless reputation of a certain Montreal GONGO known as "Rights and Democracy." The Conservatives have been pleased to let that little drama unfold as its scriptwriters wish. After all, it's only $11 million a year, and more than a third of that money is spent in Montreal rather being dished out as dubious R&D disbursements to such dictators' clubs

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uzbek president dictatorship politicsForeign Policy has an amusing photo essay up comparing dictator fashion trends, called The Devil Wears Taupe. As they point out,

Not all the world's dictators are clotheshorses, but as these leaders show, sometimes politics, power and polyester combine to make fashion magic.

There’s Fidel and Raúl Castro who “have for decades set the standard in dress for guerrillas-turned-autocrats”, Robert Mugabe’s “tie and pocket square always perfectly matched”, or Chávez’s “three favorite red outfits, ranging from dictator-classic to resort wear” to the platform shoes sported by Kim Jong-il to add those couple of extra inches needed when one's job is to keep the masses in perpetual fear. Whether you've got to get dressed to plan an election fraud, oversee a torture session, or give a 14 hour speech, you've got to get the style that says, "I control you" just right. 

Check it out here.

I see Islam Karimov, who usually wears a simple navy suit and red tie, didn't make the cut. Too Hilfiger pedestrian I guess... he lacks that certain je ne sais quoi in his wardrobe needed...More >>


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