Winners and Losers of the Year

The military industry is the undisputed winner in 2019. Photo: NATO

The winner of the year is the military industry. No other industry can refer to bigger growth in both goodwill and turnover.

The loser of the year is the Truth. It has been stripped of all its honor and power.

Yet at the end of the day, two candidates remain in each their end of the scale. Winners and losers we all can related to without it sparking as much as a yelp under the church bells.

The truth and war machines

The winner of the year is the military industry.

No other industry can refer to bigger growth in both goodwill and turnover.

The loser of the year is the Truth.

It has been stripped of all its honor and power.

At the end of the year, the winner and loser of the year meet in a clammy embrace around a false story about the peacekeeping rationale for war and armament.

American authorities’ review of its own war in Afghanistan revealed a continual flow of lies about the war’s success, advocated to the American people by generals and presidents. The bloody and failed war was redressed until it could no longer be recognized in order to justify its own continuation.

Lie of the Year

Around the same time as the lies from Afghanistan were revealed, US President Trump was awarded the “Lie of the Year” award. PolitiFact, which awards this anything-but-honorable prize, writes in its argument that:

“It is a statement that goes beyond ridiculous and wrong. Lie of the Year – the only time when PolitiFact uses the term ‘lie’, is about a lie that proves to have genuine consequences and that was repeated in a campaign to undermine a true story.”

The Truth is the Loser of the Year, void of all honor and power. Photo: Gage Skidmore

It is about the Ukraine story, which at present has led to an impeachment case in the USA. It is about a president who, according to Washington Post, has published 7.455 “false or misleading” claims so far this year.

And there are still two weeks to go before 2019 comes to a close.

When the official lie starts on the very top of the hierarchy, it trickles down through the political debate slowly, but steadily. Not only the lie that has been presented, but also the lie as a political method becomes a natural part of conversation.

Manipulation and journalism

A world bent down under threats of war and armament meets the stories that solidify the faith in war, threats and sanctions as a solution to the world’s international challenges.

Corrections and nuances disappear when also parts of the press choses manipulation over journalism as their work ethic. In the USA, the wealthy media moguls’ campaign for tax relief and fortunes is the driving force behind the campaigns. The victims are found in an increasingly weakened welfare system. However, also here at home, in Norway, private and public funding is used as a tool for polarization and enmity, such as when the state spends money on promoting claims that the national railway company Vy (former NSB) has painted its trains green to please the Muslim part of its population.

The situation is more serious for Norway as a NATO country and US ally. Dialogue between East and West is replaced by military pressure as a tool, almost without discussion. We keep the war at an arm’s distance and let it play out in the Middle East instead.

While we wonder how much of the big power rivalry that will spill over into the Arctic community.

Arctic cooperation

In a long op-ed in our paper the other day, Timo Koivurova allow us a sneak peek into the works of the Arctic Council. Koivurova was literally very close to the fight that arose during the Council meeting in Rovaniemi earlier this year. We who were in the audience saw how US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo torpedoed the Council’s efforts to gather around a statement. Koivurova also saw how one big Arctic state was able to nullify so many years of work, work that they have been part of, because a president has choked on climate, social welfare and international cooperation; in fact, so much so that he is not able to cough it up even during his most erratic outbursts.

Is this the end of the Arctic Council, Finnish Timo Koivurava asks, but he does not manage to answer.

Nor can I. However, at the end of a year in which the military industry wins and the Truth loses, I chose to cling to the belief that the Arctic fellowship is stronger than the wedges that some try to squeeze into it.

I chose to believe that the agreements about cooperation and dialogue in the Arctic are worth more than the paper on which they have been signed.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!