Monday, February 06, 2006

But There Was One Thing They Overlooked: The Masses And Multitudes Across This Land

In general I believe that the "deep structure" of international politics consists of (1)valid interest towards other countries and (2) the domeistic situation in the country. The valid interests include economic interests, security interests and geopolitical influence. The domeistic situation is more complicated and variable. Well-organized lobby groups, popular and loud ideologies, and recent events may exert pressure for changes in the foreign policy.

On the top of this "deep strucrure" there is a "surface structure", which consists of events, reactions, speeches, diplomacy, personal relations and other activities between the politicians and interested parties. In a stable and healthy foreign policy, the activities in the surface structure reflect the valid interests of the country.

The most striking feature in the Arab world's indignation towards the comics in Jylland-Posten is that there aren't any valid interests at stake. At least Helsingin Sanomat claims that it is very rare people spontaneously arrage demonstrations in the arab countries, so it is quite obvious that the burning of the Danish embassy is at least passively accepted by their government. It seems that the only interest of the Arab states is to give legitimacy for their own goverments by awaking suspicion towards the West. This interpretation would imply that many Arab governments have a dangerous legitimacy deficit.

Of course, this interpretation may be completely wrong. But if it is true, I don't see how this could be the beginning of any big change, except for the Danish dairy industry. Maybe in 10 years the internet will be full of caricatures of Mohammed, since drawing such caricatures is now brave and rebellious. At that point, the muslims which can see those comics will wonder what the fuss with the 12 first comics was all about.

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