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Re: The hollow argument.
Oh, I will tell you my country of origin: Sweden.|
No problem. And I will be the first in line to criticize it. I have done it many times, and I will do it again. Because my country benefits from (valid) critique. And above all, I am entitled, and even encouraged, to criticize it.
Now, let's have a look at Sweden. It is a welfare country. Most and everyone has a living standard most people in the world can only dream of. There is more equity and equality in Sweden than in most places on earth. One would be stupid to dismiss Sweden as a bad place.
However, there is no paradise on earth, and even the most developed nations have to keep on developing and refining their society. You could argue that Sweden's taxes are too high, stifling innovation and entrepeneurs, creating unemployment and so on. The number of poor people living on the streets have gone up, and so on. Violence is on the rise, and so is social unrest, because these are times of change.
You could also criticize Sweden for being a coward during World War II, being neutral, not coming to the rescue when Scandinavian brothers in Denmark and Norway were attacked by the Nazis. You could criticize Sweden for being cowardess wheh Soviet troops attacked neigbhoring Finland. You could criticize Sweden for being a small cocky nation screaming about human rights, when at the same time Sweden has been criticized by Amensty International and the United Nations for violating those very rights. Sweden has some nasty stuff in the luggage, such as a "race institute" in the 1920s, and also for sterilizing minorities all the way into the 70s. You could criticize Sweden for being a cradle-to-death socialist welfare state, and you would be darn right.
The point is, on issues where Sweden comes out on the top, they DO have the right to criticize others. They CAN criticize the crippling of the internet in China, because there is no such crippling in Sweden. They CAN refuse Chen Shuibian entry into the country, because they have taken a stand on the one China policy, even though many consider Taiwan a democratic country of its own. They CAN criticize many a nation's labor laws or judicial systems in general, because the judicial system in Sweden is relatively strong and independent. They CAN criticize nations with the death penalty, because they don't have it themselves. And so on.
But they CANNOT criticize countries for being cowards, because in that area Sweden has a heavy and recent legacy. It would be immoral, and no one would listen.
And Sweden CAN criticize nations of being brutal against its own citizens, because Sweden doesn't have a very tangible record in that area. Therefore, Sweden regularly criticizes China, and rightly so. The critique is aimed at China bettering itself, maturing a bit, joining the world of humane nations.
Sweden also criticizes Japan and other nations, when this is motivated. Above all, Sweden regularly criticizes ITSELF, when so is considered necessary.
You, too, are welcome to criticize my country. You will not be censored. But if your critique is not well-versed, and if it is coming from a source whose country has a far worse record, the critique will indeed be ignored. It will be dismissed as the words of a lunatic or a propagandist. Western people are trained to spot propaganda, and they are trained to be independent in their mind.
Now, for Japan building up an aggressive military force in order to attack other nations... that is just rubbish. It is a foolish claim. What SOURCES do you have for this, other than Renmin Ribao? Democratic nations -- Japan is a democracy -- do not go to war just like that.
And neither Japan nor the USA is interested in "containing" China. That is such a stupid thought. They want China to progress, to evolve, to become rich, to prosper, because then they can sell their stuff to China and have a share of that prosperity. This is how it works. The richer we all get, the better for each and everyone. The USA does NOT want unstable and poor regions, all the least an unstable Southeast Asia. The Pakistan and India issue is already creating headaches everywhere, not to mention Afghanistan (which was contained, and rightly so).
Now let me see some well-versed critique of Sweden and Japan that can be said without resorting to throwing stones in a glass house... for fuck's sake, let me also see some well-versed critique of YOUR OWN country.