xouper wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:40 am
Anaxagoras wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:13 am
At a time like this you can think of a million excuses to minimize it or look the other way, but that's what allows stuff like this to continue. If we just ignore it or shrug our shoulders, then they get away with it. And it means it will happen again.
I get what you are saying and in principle I agree. Allow me to respond with two points:
2. As a practical matter, it will happen again regardless what I do, so don't bother trying to guilt me on that point.
1. I am not trying to excuse anything, nor to minimize anything, nor am I trying to ignore it or look the other way. I am simply baffled by the sudden interest in how certain other countries abuse civil rights. Fact: Saudi Arabia has a long history of killing journalists. So have certain other countries. No one has yet given a satisfactory explanation why this case is more "special" than all the others.
3. When I step back and ponder the bigger picture, what I see in this particular case appears to be selective and hypocritical outrage, and I have yet to see anyone explain (in a reasonable and civil manner) why my perception is mistaken. I am not saying the outrage is not warranted, I am simply asking where was this outrage for other similar incidents? Why now, all of a sudden? What makes this case more significant than all the others? So far, no one here has given a satisfactory answer to that and the media reports are not much help either. I am certainly willing to consider any and all reasonable and coherent discourse on the relevant issues, especially as it compares with the bigger picture, assuming anyone here is willing to actually discuss the matter in a sincere and serious way.
You might have missed the second paragraph in my post above because I edited it in after posting it, so apologies for repeating myself. Here's that second paragraph:
What we have here is an opportunity to hold someone who abused their power accountable, even if not to the extent he truly deserves. Just because others have gotten away with similar abuses of power in the past, is not a very good reason to look the other way now. This sort of thing will continue until the costs of doing it become too high.
As to your point "2.": I realize that what you do or I do as an individual matters very little in "the bigger picture". This is more about what the government of the United States and other governments around the world do about it. If the general reaction is to wag some fingers and then go back to whatever we were all doing before without any real sanctions, then Saudi Arabia will have effectively gotten away with murder. But the governments of the world in this moment when the whole world's attention is focused
have a limited-time opportunity to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for it's actions. The world's attention will not stay focused on this for very long though. Other, newer news stories will sooner or later push it aside, and if nothing has been done by then, the urgency to do anything about it is likely to fade away over time. At times like this, American leadership is crucial. Europe too, to a slightly lesser extent. Japan isn't going to take the lead in something like this, let's be honest. But they might follow the American and Europeans' lead.
As to your points "1." and "3." which are sort of different aspects of the same thing, so I will respond to them as one point:
Human beings after all have limited attention spans and limited capacity for outrage. And we all tend to be hypocrites. So while perhaps other things in the past deserved more attention, it does little good to dwell on that or allow it to distract us. There's a rhetorical strategy called "whataboutism" that comes into play here:
Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument, which in the United States is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda. When criticisms were leveled at the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the Soviet response would often be "What about..." followed by an event in the Western world.
The term "whataboutery" has been used in Britain and Ireland since the period of the Troubles (conflict) in Northern Ireland. Lexicographers date the first appearance of the variant whataboutism to the 1990s or 1970s, while other historians state that during the Cold War, Western officials referred to the Soviet propaganda strategy by that term. The tactic saw a resurgence in post-Soviet Russia, relating to human rights violations committed by, and criticisms of, the Russian government. The technique received new attention during Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine. Usage of the tactic extended to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
The Guardian deemed whataboutism, as used in Russia, "practically a national ideology". Journalist Julia Ioffe wrote that "Anyone who has ever studied the Soviet Union" was aware of the technique, citing the Soviet rejoinder to criticism, And you are lynching Negroes, as a "classic" example of the tactic. Writing for Bloomberg News, Leonid Bershidsky called whataboutism a "Russian tradition", while The New Yorker described the technique as "a strategy of false moral equivalences". Jill Dougherty called whataboutism a "sacred Russian tactic", and compared it to the pot calling the kettle black.
I would say that "Why the selective outrage? Isn't that hypocritical? Why weren't you outraged by this, that and the other thing?" sounds a lot like "whataboutism". It's a red herring designed to get us sidetracked into endless arguments about anything other than the case at hand, which is the murder of Jamal Kashoggi and the role of the Saudi Government in said murder. I don't have the time or attention to spare arguing over various other moral equivalencies.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.