Defeating “Cowboy Capitalism”

Last Tuesday, the Americans voted like Belgians. Obama is even more popular here than in the US. Last week, a poll among the students of the renowned University of Leuven (Louvain), the oldest in the Netherlands, showed that 98% of them preferred Obama as US president. For the past six years the university has been regularly polling its students on political issues. “The result has never been as unanimous as now,” Prof. Marc Hooghe said.

Obama is equally popular among the country’s politicians. On Monday, the party leaders of all the Belgian political parties were asked whether they would vote Obama or McCain. They almost unanimously chose Obama. Only Bruno Valkeniers, the leader of the Vlaams Belang party, which opposes Islamization and strives for the independence of Flanders, opted for McCain.

Amazingly, even the right-wing populist Jean-Marie Dedecker is a fan of Obama. Mr. De Decker calls Obama a knight in shining armor, a “Black Lancelot,” a “Black Don Quixote,” an “underdog who went from zero to hero,” the man who will defeat “cowboy capitalism” and who “will make America a modern nation.” Mr. Dedecker sees only one stain on Obama’s reputation: “his groveling to Israel, the Jewish lobby and Iranmania.”

Many of my colleagues in the Belgian Parliament have become members of “Belgium for Obama,” a Belgian Obama fan club.  Among its members are not only members of parliament but also seven government ministers, including Vice Prime Minister Joelle Milquet, a Christian-Democrat.

The honorary president of “Belgium for Obama” is Elio Di Rupo, leader of the powerful Parti Socialiste, one of Belgium’s governing parties despite its appalling corruption record. According to Mr. Di Rupo, the past eight years in America have been marked by “economic egotism and regression.” Obama, he says, has given Americans hope for a better future.

A future of an America that resembles Belgium?

Hon. Alexandra Colen, Ph D, is a Vlaams Belang member of the Belgian Federal Chamber of Representatives. She is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian Parliament and the chairperson of the Advisory Committee for Social Emancipation of the Parliament.

This article was first published at the website of The Hudson Institute New York

@ traveller

Can't comment on the question of Saudi funding but this story certainly adds a whole new meaning to the cockney expression, "Would you Adam and Eve it?"

"Cowboy Capitalism" is alive and well in Somalia

@ Elio Di Rupo

Quote: A pirate identifying himself as Jamii Adam told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that negotiations were taking place with the ship's owners, saying the ransom demanded was not excessive but declined to give a figure.

He said it had cost the pirates $500,000 to seize the vessel. "We bore many costs to hijack it," he said.


@marcfrans IV

I. The Han Chinese have not demonstrated expansionary tendencies, such as one finds in Europe. Given the past and current proliferation of ethnic Han enclaves throughout the Asia-Pacific region, the Chinese have had every irridentist rationale to conquer their neighbors. On the contrary, the deluge of invasions by the Mongols, Japanese and others is equally indicative of temperament. I have no affinity for China, and want little to do with the place, but I cannot ignore their relative reliability. In comparison to the domestic security forces, intelligence agencies and police, the PLA is a lower priority. Its capabilities remain defensive and not in keeping with the resouces it could command.


II. One must also clarify "native-born population". While Jewish Americans certainly do not adversely affecting socio-economic ratings, Black Americans do. 

Groupthink # 4

@ KA

1) No, by "world" I mean "all people on earth", although my primary interest and concern lies in the preservation of western civilisation as a set of judeo-christian values and cultural behavior patterns.  I do not share your optimism about "the Chinese".  The 'defensive posture' is a function of (temporary) weakness, not innate to Chinese. And, over the past half century, China did grab parts of India (and Pakistan), occupied Tibet, and fought border battles with the Vietnamese.  It also makes claims on Taiwan, and other islands in the Pacific ocean, and actively 'supports' some of the worst tyrannies on earth.  The threat from China is directly related to its unchanging authoritarian political system and 'ethnic groupthink'.  All cross-civilisational comparisons are imperfect, but I see the Chinese on the world stage as the Germans-of-old used to be in Europe in an earlier time (Europe viewed as a mini-world when 'distance' mattered more because of less advanced technology).  I am not claiming that all totalitarian/authoritarian regimes turn bellicose (the size of nations may preclude that), but I do claim that history shows that authoritarian regimes of large powerful countries/cultures always must eventually turn bellicose (to retain domestic 'legitimacy' in difficult times or circumstances).  I do not share your view on Japan and Korea as being 'weak' countries today, nor do I see them as bellicose, but I do expect that they will stand up to future bullying.  We agree that many challenges will emerge from other parts of Asia and from Africa (I would include South America and certainly Russia as well), but they will be manageable and not threaten the survival of Western values.

2) Your second sentence contradicts the first. The US immigration picture is mixed.  'Silicon valley' was/is in large measure the product of Chinese and Indian PhD's.  Most immigrant groups to the US (also in recent decades) have displayed higher average productivity and 'social discipline' than the native-born population as a whole.  This applies to South Americans and Cubans as well. The one BIG (GROUP!, not as individuals necessarily) exception is Mexicans and Central Americans, especially the illegal ones.  Whether this problem becomes unmanagable, or not, will largely depend on whether 'white' lefty Americans can regain a sufficient degree of common sense (which they lost through media and public education), or not, i.e. whether they can regain sufficient respect for 'rule of law'.

3) It is not a matter of opposition to personalities and party discipline.  Both are needed for government to be able to function well. It is a matter of proper balance between the two.  "Personalities", in the sense of smart and dedicated people, is a good thing.  Populist 'celebrity' status is a bad thing.  Similarly, party discipline is a good thing as an 'organising principle' to set priorities and achieve limited agendas.  But, in the end, all politicians (like all citizens) must and SHOULD assign their loyalty first to their country, and not to their sectarian 'party'. 


@ pvdh

Please, make a distinction between "religiosity" and "religion", and do NOT confuse either term with (in the sense of narrowly LIMITing to)  your experiences with the RKK (or some of its 'representatives') in your youth.  I have used the term "religiosity" here in the meaning of "severe and excessive-emotional manifestations of 'belief' sytems that are divorced from real-world observations and that are irrationally-based on hope (as opposed to knowledge)".   I think you could benefit (in the sense of learning) from living in a society in which there are multiple religions and belief systems with sizable numbers of adherents (as opposed to living in a country with only 3 significant groups: dwindling Roman Catholics, many nihilists/atheists, and rising Muslims).  

"If I would be in the

"If I would be in the leadership of the VB, I would ignore them also, you can never eliminate extremist fringes by giving them publicity."

Lets turned it upside down. If former-RAF, CCC or Brigado Rosso people would be part of my politcal party, would it be enough for you if I simply "ignored" them, or would you expect me to publicly distance myself from these people, clearing the party of such individuals?


@ peter vdh

You would do with your party what you want. We live, or are supposed to live, in a democracy. That said, those fringe groups do NOT belong to the VB, the individuals may vote for the VB.
The terrorists you mentioned are not the equivalent of the Voorpost and others. The belgian police has tried to make a fake case against some individuals and did not succeed in anything except confirming that they are a political repression machine.
Trying by any means possible to blacken the image of the VB is not going to solve the belgian stalemate, on the contrary. Consider the VB as a party like the others and the belgian situation will move quickly forward to the benefit of the Flemish. Of course this is too simpel, the Flemish prefer their slavery role.


 "Religiosity" is today more the hallmark of the Democratic party.

Or the bias of our media is as big as the distance from the sun to the next star, or this is not true. It must be one of both.


@marcfrans III

I. Which "world" are you referring to? The West? The Chinese have been inclined to remain defensive in posturing and domestically focused. The Japanese prefer economic competition and no longer possess the demographic attributes necessary to facilitate the military expansion witnessed in the 1930s. The South Koreans need international assistance to deal with their northern compatriots. The next "challenge" will arise from Central, South and West Asia and Africa, in my opinion. And to clarify, that challenge would be demographic - a fairly simple "numbers game".


II. Ever since the 1960s, immigrants to the United States have been more concerned with security than freedom, which is what differentiates them from the original colonists as well as the waves of Europeans that followed. I would further posit that the East Asian immigrant has more in common with his or her European predecessors than with Hispanics.


III. I am equally opposed to personalities and party discipline.

@ AmCon

It's 'good' to see an American conservative picking up on this article.


see: node/3626


Obama 3


Debatable debate


Touting the "waycist" witch-hunt craze of some uninteresting American reptile web-hangout, doesn't amount to anything resembling a serious debate.

Why not present your personal views on the topic at hand, and indeed have a debate, instead of resorting to side-tracking, urging people to distance themselves from, or else defend, this or that fringe group?

Kind regs from Amsterdam,


The Night We Waved Goodbye To America...

The night we waved goodbye to America... our last best hope on Earth

Last updated at 5:57 PM on 10th November 2008

Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead.

The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something.

I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.

Read the rest:


Groupthink # 3

@ KA

1) All political institutions have their roots in history and in "cultural realities". That is not unique to "the Anglosphere".  I do not know of anyone who thinks that exporting institutions to other civilisations would lead to "the same results".  After WW2, the US did transform the institutions of Japan and of Germany in a major and radical way and, as a result, individual freedom advanced substantively in both of those two societies, but I do not see "the same results".  Far from it.  Indeed, the Japanese and the Han Chinese tend towards groupthink, and as a result democratic checks and balances have been more absent there.  This helps explain why they have on several occasions over the past century and the half marched "in group" over various cliffs.  I also believe that the world's biggest next challenge will come from East Asia, not from backward and tirannical islamic countries.

2)  You suffer from lefty media bias about Republicans.  The Republican party is largely a coalition of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians, and foreign policy 'hawks'.  What binds them is essentially the idea of individual freedom, as opposed to 'egalitarianism' (long story), and hence their goal of 'small' government.  Obviously, like all human institutions it has its ups and downs, its failures, its misguided individuals and even temporarily misguided 'leaders' etc..., but it will (as it has in the past) resurrect itself around that common goal.  Muslims, on the whole, do not have individual freedom high on their list of priorities, although there are notable exceptions to that in the context of immigration to the US.   "Religiosity" is today more the hallmark of the Democratic party, which helps explain Al Gore and 'climate change' and, of course, the new 'messiah' Obama. Also, any serious observer can see that, besides the so-called 'black muslims', most other 'muslim' public spokesmen tow the Democratic Party line.

3)  You may not like the importance of personalities, but it seems obvious to me that (outsized) 'personalities' can have a dramatic impact on history. But whether they can, or not, wil depend to a large extent on the importance and power of their country.  And the permanent power of (often unaccountable) bureaucracy can be a frightful (and very inhumane) thing.    I would certainly also "take Harper over Obama" any time, not because the latter may be a greater or lesser personality (in terms of fame), but because these gentlemen adhere to very different values.   But your reference to "advanced societies" suggests that you are not focusing on what really matters.  In order to preserve individual freedom in a very dangerous and 'uncivilized' world, that value needs defenders and protectors.  The relevant distinction is not between advanced and backward societies/governments, but between countries that matter and those that do not really. Unfortunately, Harper is in charge of one of the latter, whereas the new leftie messiah will be in charge of one of the former.   

@marcfrans II

I. Some societies tend toward conformity for cultural reasons more than others. The political institutions found throughout the Anglosphere all have their origins with cultural realities that pre-date their creation. Structure isn't substance. To export institutions to other civilizations and expect the same results is pure folly. The Japanese and Han Chinese strongly tend toward groupthink, which has manifested itself in their respective politics, which stand in stark contrast to the chaotic and disparate politics of Italy. Japanese politics isn't "unhealthy", nor is it held in check by either the United States or China.


II. Technically, Muslims are "natural Republicans" given their religiousity and social conservatism. Yet minorities are more concerned with multicultural policies and welfare state programmes. Britons and Europeans settled the New World in order to have religious, cultural and socio-economic freedom. The post-1960s immigrant to the West is settling to receive personal and economic security.


III. I am against both the importance of personalities and party discipline. In advanced societies, governments are supposed to be more "order takers" than enlightened representatives/leaders. Given the power of bureaucracies and the inability to change government at any rate other than incrementally, I'll take a Harper over Obama any day.

Groupthink #2

@ Kapitein A

1) No, I do not think that a democratic decision needs "necessarily" have to be close to be healthy. Nor does it 'always' have to be close.  But, it better be close from time to time, otherwise power concentration could easily lead to unhealthy situations.  A healthy democracy needs a strong - and loyal (to the country or nation) - opposition.  I certainly do consider the postwar situation in Japan with the LDP's power-lock as "unhealthy", but it was considerably better than what went before, and potential deleterious effects have been kept 'in check' mainly by external factors (specifically, by the 'existence' of the US and China).    

2) I do not think that the Republican party has a "dwindling base" (for example, most latinos are 'natural Republicans'), and it certainly has not been absent from "the center".  However, it does need better communicators and more-consistent leaders, and will surely find them.  There is a long list of younger people at the ready. As to public expenditure decisions, it is clear that the US is in for a massive expansion of the public sector in the short term, and - if history is any guide - for typical 'Democratic overreach'. The political consequences will also manifest themselves and the pendulum will continue to swing back and forth.   It is certainly easy for you to predict (correctly) a moderate reduction in military expenditures (relative to GDP) and it is just as easy for me to predict that the temporary 'Europeanisation' of the White House by a 'black' man will inevitably lead to geopolitical events which will necessitate a massive expansion of the military in the medium term.  Jimmy Carter is not even dead yet, and you have already forgotten what head-in-the-sand attitudes lead to.

3) Thank God for the importance of personalities in the US political system, and for a lesser form of "party discipline".  Civilisation to endure needs moral discipline ("loyal opposition" is only 1 aspect of that), not mindless party discipline.   The charge of "incompetence" can be levelled at many people, including some leading Republicans in the US.  But, surely, they do not have a monopoly on that.  And, again, history shows, that the US political system is a genuinely open one, with freedom of speech etc..., which means that the Republicans will adjust, as did the Democrats in recent times.


marcfrans: If Americans vote roughly 53-47 in a choice between a far-left candidate and a centrist, during a time of financial (now economic) crisis, it shows a healthy 'democratic' division which promises real power alternation and 'democratic corrections' over time.


Must democratic decision making necessarily be close to even in order to be "healthy"? It might be that a single party or coalition represents the will of the majority more than any alternative and does so even consistently, such as Japan's LDP. Moving forward, the Republican Party must decide between holding onto a dwindling base, or seizing the center. Given that US public intervention in the economy through regulations, expenditures and capital raising has only steadily increased, the Democrats may be on target by suggesting that more of this allocated to healthcare, education and infrastructure, as opposed to military use.


According to international measures, both the Democrats and Republican are center-right, although American think tanks vary, classifying Obama as a centrist or leftist, and McCain as a right-wing or centrist, depending on their leanings. Arguably, they are fairly close.


marcfrans: If, by contrast, 98 percent of KUL university students would vote Obama, it proves disastrous groupthink and both educational- and media bias in Belgium.


Although I completely agree with the media bias, both within the US and abroad, there are good reasons for this result. Firstly, other democratic countries have party discipline unlike the United States, so elections involve as much personality as party affiliation, unlike in say the EU or Canada. Many foreigners believe the Republicans are incompetent across the board and have mis-managed the country for the past 8 years. Secondly, are people supporting something or opposing something else. A vote for Obama is a vote against the Iraq war, Rumsfeld, Cheney, etc.

You dont care about the Jewish community

and what they adress when they refuse to accept the neonazi-sympathies of certain prominent VB-members? Note taken.

And it wasn't me in this article presenting the VB-leader as a beacon of sanity in a landscape of Obama supporters.

Once again, avoid the issue.

Nothing new.

@ Nataraja

I went on the official VB site and clicked on every clickable point. I never came on the commercial sites you mention.
What the jewish community says about the VB is irrelevant, they made the huge mistake to put holocaust-denial on the crimes-list, demolishing our only weapon against nazi and communist atrocities: freedom of speech/expression. Since the jewish community forced this through my throat I don't listen to them anymore. Any crime against people or groups of people should be punished, BUT DON'T TOUCH THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH/EXPRESSION
What is relevant is the policies championed by the VB, and none of these policies are unacceptable, what's more most political parties are now expressing those policies, presenting them as their own.

I admire basically your knowledge and humanitarian approach but don't fall in de socialist traps of regulation and mind/speech/thought control. That is much worse than a lone VB idiot.

Dear Traveller, I'll show you one way

of getting to a fine selection of white power neonazi-music clicking from the official VlaamsBelang website, there are several shortcuts to this by starting from the personal websites from various VB-members (especially the youth divison "Vlaams Belang Jongeren" is a great resource, Antwerp division president Bert Deckers for example

Here we go:
VlaamsBelang -Vlaams Belang Jongeren -NSV - Voorpost -Fenris postorder

Several of the above mentioned are regularly see together at public events.

P.S. I fully understand the difficulty with freedom of speech. I'd just like the so-called offenders to be a bit less hypocrite about what they stand for.

@ Nataraja

While you are at it, go to "Gates of Vienna" and read the interview by Frank Van Hecke with the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz" and the comments.

I will check on the commercial sites.


According to Little Green Footballs the Brussels Journal is a neo-Nazi publication. No-one in his right mind takes LGF seriously.
If we were to apply the LGF-standard Nataraja would be banned from posting comments here.

@ Belien

"If we were to apply the LGF-standard Nataraja would be banned from posting comments here. "

Which part of my postings?

@ Nataraja

I know the LGF standpoint.
Dear Nataraja, I understand you completely and where you come from, without knowing you.
Think about this: Paul Belien, Alexandra Colen, Yourself and myself are the most decent people on earth as far as our way of life and behaviour to other people. We have a more than average intelligence and education, and we still have problems to convince each other, notwithstanding we all know the problems and we all live in the same place(not always for me). So what is wrong, how do you expect different races and ethnic groups will live together if we can not even agree.
You are from the present Flemish(?) academia, I am from the old academia with disgust and I learned life the hard way in those countries where war is going on and where from my friends call me daily for at least some friendship and understanding of their plight. The questions raised by our present global situation are so complex in all fields that we should at least agree amongst us on what to do without destructive fingerpointing. I know Frank Van Hecke personally, it would be difficult to find another Flemish politician with his integrity, not even speaking about the other "belgians".
So calm down a bit and look closer to the core of things, use your academic skills and don't close your eyes for everything you don't want to see. In friendship and respect.

Thanks Traveller, and

I honestly do not accuse every single VB-member of being a nazi. And even there, I accept the notion of youthful passion being capable of growing into a more sensible, balanced adult view, which I think the current VB-leadership, including Mr Van Hecke, are a good example of.
For me however, it amounts to a difference between reason and blind hate. Between critical voices, and provocation and anger, and over-simplified views on compex problems.
And the VB as a political actor still leaves, for strategic-political reasons, a far too big part of its ground troops (and Im explicitly refer to the organisations I mention in below, and you might add the more extreme segments like Blood and Honour who advocate violence as a legitimate strategy) fully untouched when it comes to their overall message. They dont want to distanciate themselves from them because they need them to count in numbers. And that I call hypocrisy.
One can diminish it, or completely ignore it (why doesnt anyone, including Mr Belien, defend Voorpost in their reactions I wonder?), but for me, its a matter of survival.
In equal terms of friendship and respect,
I enjoy this debate.
And Im grateful to BJ to allow us to have it.

@ Nataraja

It is wrong to refer to B&H, Voorpost and tutti quanti and to speak about numbers. They have no numbers.
If I would be in the leadership of the VB, I would ignore them also, you can never eliminate extremist fringes by giving them publicity.
Nothing in the VB policies refers in the least to the basic principles of those fringe groups.
I am much more shocked by the beating and dragging over the ground in Brussels, which FVH had to endure, as example of belgian "democracy" and the blind hatred of the belgian "establishment" for 20% of the Flemish people, than by the infantile utterings of a small group of loonies.
Belgium has declared war on Flanders, never forget that.
The present economic crisis has shown the emperor has no clothes, but in the belgian context it showed that the belgian establishment has already squandered the essence of Flemish assets to France in preparation of the French total control over Belgium, inclusive Flanders.
In view of this, I cannot really be bothered by the rantings of some loonies, but I am really, really bothered by the financial enslavement of our Flemish people, in cooperation with our "red/blue" Flemish(?) politicians.


@ Natarajah

You are missing the main point, which is 'group think', and Ms Colen amply illustrated that point in the Belgian context.  If Americans vote roughly 53-47 in a choice between a far-left candidate and a centrist, during a time of financial (now economic) crisis, it shows a healthy 'democratic' division which promises real power alternation and 'democratic corrections' over time. If, by contrast, 98 percent of KUL university students would vote Obama, it proves disastrous groupthink and both educational- and media bias in Belgium.

Your question is nonsensical.  A "future of an America that resembles Belgium" has nothing to do with the Vlaams Belang party in Belgium.  If grouptthink were also to take hold in the US (to the same extent as it has in Belgium), it would have no impact on the VB party in Belgium. At least not directly. Indirectly, perhaps, it could over time.  One scenario would be that groupthink in the US would meen the absence of any serious obstacle for totalitarian forces in the world.  History has shown that such a situation could easily lead to terrible situations and conditions under which the old order (of groupthink in Belgium) could be wiped away by something new (perhaps a different type of groupthink).   

Instead of focusing on your VB obsession, you should ask what will happen in Belgium to any kind of party that deviates from the prevailing groupthink...under conditions of groupthink. And what would that mean for the future of Belgium?


"A future of an America that resembles Belgium?"

Who knows?

And one could wonder what would happen to Vlaams Belang then, with members like Luc Vankeerberghen who was caught in a scandal last week on video singing a disgusting nazi-song?

The above quoted Bruno Valkeniers made an official statement that Vankeerberghen was expelled from the party, but what happens to Roeland Raes, a notorious holocaust-denier who is still an active party member? What does Mme Colen say about Raes? Do you at all listen to the Jewish organisations compaint about this?

And what does Mme Colen have to say about Voorpost, an organisation which shares multiple memberships with Vlaams Belang officials, has shared presence at many of its public gatherings, and overtly promotes white power neonazi-music distributors in its magazine and its website?

See for a fine collection. It takes 3 clicks from Vlaams Belang-related- websites to end up on this postorder company.