Kudos and Boos

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KUDOs & BOOs for 2007

by Eric Margolis by Eric Margolis

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KUDOS

  • America’s intelligence community, which refused to let itself be used any more to fabricate lies or promote wars of aggression. In December, they revolted against the Bush/Cheney rush to war against Iran and told Americans the truth: Iran was not making nuclear weapons. It took a lot of courage for America’s spooks to defy their masters in the White House. We salute these patriots.

  • Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. That rarest of things, a principled political leader who has modernized Turkey, advanced democracy and human rights, pressed for better relations with Kurds and Armenians, normalized relations with Greece, and stared down Turkey’s neo-fascist generals. Erdogan, and close ally, President Abdullah Gul, have shown how a moderate Islamist government can successfully combine democracy with Islamic principles of social justice and law.

  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. This courageous jurist stood up to Pakistan’s military dictator Pervez Musharraf and ignited national opposition to his rule. Chaudhry’s defiance marks the emergence for the first time of the institution of law in Pakistan. The general quickly had Chaudhry and 36 other senior justices arrested. They have now been dismissed. The United States, Britain and Canada, who loudly call for democracy in the Third World, remained mute over Musharraf’s criminal behavior.

  • Russia’s Vladimir Putin. We deplore his methods in squashing political opposition, muzzling the media, or savaging Chechen independence-seekers. Still, former intelligence officer Putin and his KGB old-boy’s network have raised Russia from its knees, tripled its national income, and reasserted traditional policies and interests. Russians love him and for good reason. When Putin took over, Russia was a beggar state living on US handouts. Today, thanks to the oil boom and tough management, Russia is feeling its oats again.

  • Twin Kudos to: Australia’s new Labour PM Kevin Rudd. A breathe of fresh air who kicked out former PM Michael Howard, a rightwing reactionary dinosaur who whipped up racism against Muslims and Asians and was a faithful spear carrier for the Bush Administration. And Poland’s new conservative PM, Donald Tusk who kicked out one of the odious Kaczinski twins, a pair of far right, narrow-minded anti-Semites who represented the worst of primitive Polish rural politics.

BOOs

  • Of course, George W and the real US President, Dick Cheney again get the booby prize. But add in this year the pathetically inept Condoleezza Rice, "don’t worry be happy" Alan Greenspan and the administration which presided over the Enronization of the US finances. The gargantuan Ponzi scheme based on peddling mortgages to the poor and uneducated, run by Wall Street’s shyster financers, has finally collapsed, taking down the US dollar. Afghanistan, Iraq, maybe Iran, Somalia, and now mortgage mayhem and who knows what else.

  • El Presidente Hugo Chavez. He had some good ideas, way back when. But this socialist demagogue has gone off the deep end, carried away by hot air and dreams of being son of Fidel. As King Juan Carlos of Spain rightly snapped, "why don’t you shut up!" Venezuelan voters just seconded King Jun Carols, giving Chavez a stinging defeat.

  • Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Uncorrupt, but a loose cannon who cannot control his tongue. Ahmadinejad’s bombast and idiotic comments about the Holocaust and eliminating Zionism have helped turn the world against Iran. But, ironically, he was telling the truth all along when he denied Iran was working on nuclear weapons. It was George Bush and Dick Cheney who were the Fathers of Lies. Still, Iran needs a more mature, sensible leader.

  • The US Congress. It has utterly failed to restrain the run amok president, stop his wars abroad, or protect the constitutional rights of Americans. Recalling the old Soviet Presidium, 90% of Senate and House Republicans slavishly voted for Bush’s policies. Cowardly Democrats, led by the slippery Hillary Clinton, voted for war, then ran for cover when things went terribly wrong. "America’s only native criminal class," quipped the great Mark Twain.

  • Pakistan’s military dictator turned civilian dictator, Pervez Musharraf. A mean, spiteful man, he humiliated and debased his once proud nation, abandoned old allies for money, and licked Washington’s hand. Now, he’s leading Pakistan over a cliff.

Eric Margolis [send him mail], contributing foreign editor for Sun National Media Canada, is the author of War at the Top of the World. See his website.

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