Opinion | The stench of power surrounds the Foreign Ministry

Venstre MP and former immigration and development minister Søren Pind argues that the foreign minister needs to speak up against the Obama administration’s use of drones

When the constellation of power was known as Bush-Fogh, there was simply no end to the misery: time after time our current foreign minister, Villy Søvndal, criticised our then-PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in general, and then the US president, in particular, for violating the Western world’s principles of due process and the rule of law.

Søvndal never held back his fire and insisted that Danish concerns over Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and waterboarding should be brought up with the Americans and that it should be done so with frank talk.

But since then, there has come a new US president. A president that many thought could walk on water, and one that would come and fulfil the entire progressive left wing’s most intense hopes for a new world order. There were perhaps a few who doubted, but not many. In general, Bush was evil and Obama was good. And he could solve the entire world’s problems simply through the virtue of his personality. Very quickly, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Even he didn’t know exactly why. To this day, there are still not very many who have understood it.

The worst is that the sanctification that Obama has received has caused the “progressive” left wing to keep silent. All of the principles that are important, whether you are a liberal or a socialist, have been abandoned – principles that were sacred when Bush was president are now irrelevant now that Obama is in the White House.

I refer here to assassinations, the number of which have exploded on Obama’s watch. Assassinations, carried out by air, with political considerations approved and overseen by the president himself, selected from so-called ‘kill lists’. We are, in other words, back in part to the world order in which the American president stipulates the right to initiate political assassinations, a la John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson, based purely on political considerations rather than military decisions. There is no due process, and the assessment, according to Politiken, is that this policy has resulted in the killing of over 1,000 civilians.

And what is the foreign minister’s comment – that otherwise very critical and loquacious man – to a situation that makes Abu Ghraib and waterboarding pale in comparison? His only response is that Denmark does not use drones itself and that he has no further comment. What?!? No comments. To political assassinations. Just think, if it had been Bush.

It’s disgusting when a Danish foreign minister behaves in this way. It’s even worse when it is an earlier outspoken critic who, just because it is one of his icons who carries out the injustice, now refrains from criticism. Yuk. I can understand that the left wing is on the verge of collapse in Denmark. There are no principles left. Everything is just the stench of power. 

The author is an MP for Venstre and is the former immigration and development minister. This op-ed was originally published on his Berlingske blog and has been translated and reprinted with the author’s permission.