Republicans play on US fears of threats from abroad

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Opinion Digest: the Romney tour, the Syrian conflict and why Ed Miliband should be wary of Hollande

LAST UPDATED AT 10:15 ON Mon 30 Jul 2012

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US REPUBLICANS' WORLD OF BLAME
GARY YOUNGE ON AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES
American conservatives are increasingly keen to interpret their country's woes in terms of threats from abroad, writes Gary Younge in The Guardian. That problems in the US are not of their own making is linked to a "reverence for a lost, idyllic American past" that "mixes mythology with amnesia". In 2001, 60 per cent of Americans thought economic globalisation was a positive development; last year that figure dropped to 36 per cent. Conservatives have seized upon this: the threat to America is external – "immigrants, Islam, foreigners and foreign trade". This trend is also reflected in attacks on President Obama – indeed, Mitt Romney's visit to London was presaged by his claim that he appreciates the ‘special relationship' more than Obama because he is "part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage". How ironic, then, that the party most likely to "champion patriotism and leverage parochialism" should also be the one to endorse free trade and be "bankrolled by multinationals".

SYRIAN CONFLICT IS ALL ABOUT IRAN
ROBERT FISK ON THE WEST'S REAL TARGET
The war in Syria is one of hypocrisy, cowardice and "mean morality", writes Robert Fisk in The Independent on Sunday. President Barack Obama stays silent as Qatar and Saudi Arabia – among the "most pernicious of the caliphate-kingly dictatorships in the Arab world" - fund rebels to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. On the other side, Hezbollah, previous defenders of oppressed Shias in southern Lebanon, say nothing as Assad's soldiers murder and rape Syrian civilians. While the killing in Syria goes on - 15,000, perhaps 19,000 fatalities to date – not a word of protest on the streets of London and all the while the real truth is forgotten: crushing the Syrian dictatorship is in fact about "Iran and our desire to crush the Islamic Republic and its infernal nuclear plans", and has nothing to do with human rights "or the death of Syrian babies".

MILIBAND SHOULD BE WARY OF HOLLANDE
ANDREW RAWNSLEY ON A CAUTIONARY TALE
Ed Miliband should be wary of taking too much inspiration from French President Francoise Hollande, writes Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer. While it is true that Hollande welcomed the Labour leader last week (and at least knew his name, unlike Mitt Romney who referred to Miliband as ‘Mr Leader'), Miliband should be wary of being "painted into a red corner". Shifting the centre of gravity to the left is fine "as long as enough voters are ready to join you there". The example of Francoise Hollande should perhaps be treated as a "cautionary tale": once the French President won the election and was faced with the prospect of carrying out his "extravagant campaign promises", his poll rating began to drop. If Hollande and other continental socialists fail to find a way out of the "economic cul-de-sac" Miliband might not want to be so closely allied with him. · 

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