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Obama in Stockholm
Thoughts on the upcoming visit of the POTUS to the Country of Absolut.
Sweden's come full circle. The nordic bastion of enlightenment, the haven for peaceful coexistence in the Cold War, the shining example of how to combine the best of the free market economy with a society where people really care about each other, the country where its citizens were proud to say they'd not been involved in military conflicts for nearly two hundred years, has turned into a shameless sycophantic vassal state of the US, in defiance of the opinion of its people. FM Carl Bildt, who right in the middle of the Cold War decided it was his quixotic destiny to destroy the famous Sweden everyone respected, all for his friends at the CIA and in the GOP, has spearheaded this destruction since the early 1980s; PM Fredrik Reinfeldt has since assumed the domestic agenda, gutting the country so totally that its capital city today has soup kitchens right out of the Great Depression.
And now when the entire world finally condemns the US for what it's become - a bully state that kicks and squeals and has tantrums like a spoilt brat when things don't go its way - who else for Obama to turn to, if not Sweden?
Stockholm's egregious Grand Hôtel where Obama is expected to stay. Kissinger stayed there too.
The isolation of Sweden's infamous 'duckpond' has never been more apparent. The duckpond effect is essentially the phenomenon that, despite a generally high level of skills in the English language, far higher than most European countries, with the concomitant ability for Swedes to reach out onto the Internet and into the world and see how things really are, they still stick to their own crappy news sites, some of the most notorious in the world. And because this propensity is well understood by the corrupt Swedish media, it can be exploited. Time and again there are major news breaks that do not make it into Sweden's duckpond because the government and the media don't want it to happen, and myriad others that are deliberately misrepresented. And news that others are talking about for a week or more might not be mentioned in Sweden because it still hasn't been covered in Sweden. Sweden has traditionally been isolated from the European continent by Øresund. Today it's as if that bridge over that body of water has never been built.
Sweden has descended into a caricature of itself.
The Swedish MSM are expected to be all over the Obama visit. They do this for any international celebrity coming to their duckpond, but this visit will be far worse, for there'll be a political agenda behind it. It doesn't matter that Obama is reviled in most areas of the world today, for not closing GITMO, for lying so frequently, for bailing out the banks and letting them foreclose on the same taxpayers who contributed to the bailout, for turning his back on his campaign promises of governmental transparency, for his persecution of Manning, Kiriakou, Drake, and all the others, for his WikiLeaks grand jury and his WikiLeaks Task Force, for his insurgence in Iceland, for sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan just as he received the Nobel Peace Prize, for his pressuring William Hague to storm the Ecuadorean embassy in London to get Julian Assange, for his pressure on Sweden to hunt down Julian Assange, for his pressuring NATO countries to interfere with the airplane of Bolivian president Evo Morales, for his grotesque letter of assurance to Putin that at least in the case of Edward Snowden the US would not consider capital punishment or torture, for downing Snowden in Moscow for 39 days by revoking his passport and then complaining that the Russians let him live in the transit area, and now for cancelling a state visit over a year in planning just because he didn't get his way with Russia in the Snowden matter. The world is truly tired of this fiasco of a president and truly tired of the way the US tries to bully them. Hong Kong doesn't like it, Russia doesn't like it, and certainly there's no country in the Americas that likes it. But Sweden? The country that used to be the thorn in the side of the US? They like it! At least they're not saying what they really think. On the off chance any of them still think for themselves. Today the Swedes fit right in!
Stockholm's landmark city hall, site of the annual Nobel banquet. The Peace Prize banquet takes place in Oslo.
The @sweden Twitter account is testimony to how utterly silly the country's become. Organised by the sitting government and funded by taxpayers, it's an embarrassingly futile attempt to rescue the country's image, rescuing bits and pieces from the old image that somehow remains, an image ripped apart by the Assange scandal and all the subsequent revelations. And it's so unlike Sweden of old where everyone spoke out, spoke freely, expressed concern for the underdogs, championed solidarity with the disenfranchised people of the third world, and stood up for truth and justice. Swedish media weren't much better back then, but the general feeling in the country was far different.
It was the assassination of Olof Palme and the assumption of Carl Bildt that changed everything. And today with Fredrik Reinfeldt still in power, you know that the country is now void of all beliefs and virtues of any kind and only interested in the almighty dollar - the dollar of the United States. And behind this all, in a contortion of twisted logic, Carl Bildt and Fredrik Reinfeldt still believe that it's good to have a single tyrannical superpower, especially if they can continue to successfully ingratiate themselves to that superpower as Carl Bildt is so good at doing.
It's shameless, it's despicable, and it does not represent the will of the Swedish people.
How Sweden welcomed Obama's predecessor.