Have you heard of the Wallström affair? Probably not if you live in America.
In what some are describing as a “clash of civilizations”, Margot Wallström, Sweden’s “feminist” foreign minister, roundly denounced Saudi Arabia’s violations of so-called human rights and its “medieval” treatment of women. This not only pissed off the Saudis, it angered the entire Arab League, and they’re now proposing economic retribution against the Scandinavian state over the words of its foreign minister.
You’d think her bona fides as a woman of the Left, her advocacy of “feminist” foreign policy, and criticism of Saudi domestic policy on progressive grounds would win her adulation from her peers. But it hasn’t been so, and she now looks poised for a sacking by Sweden’s Social Democrat regime to quell the anger of the offended Arabs. But at least she won some praise from the mainstream Right. The Spectator, the U.K.’s number one purveyor of milquetoast conservatism, wrote admiringly of Wallström and deemed her a “modern rarity: a left-wing politician who goes where her principles take her.”
Well, she certainly does go where her principles take her, but is that a good thing?
This isn’t the first time Wallström has graced Radix. Last year she earned accolades for her previously noted feminist foreign policy. . .when it came to Russia. Then, the foreign minister was championed as a pioneer and an original thinker who dared to combat Putin’s machismo with Swedish effeminacy. Now her feminist foreign policy doesn’t look so hot when it leads her to ridicule a Muslim state that the West depends on economically. It’s also worth noting that the Saudi theocracy is far more repressive—especially towards women—and further out of the liberal loop than Russia. But that doesn’t matter as it isn’t in Europe and is nominally allied with Western states, so it can theoretically do whatever the hell it wants to.
While some may want to praise Wallström for criticizing Islamic practice (since leftists rarely do) there’s not much here that an Identitarian can agree with. In fact, on this issue, it seems like Saudi Arabia is the more likable side. Here is a country that wants to retain its culture and live according to its traditions—no matter how backward they seem to Western liberals. The Swedish foreign minister, on the other hand, wants to export Scandinavian feminism to every part of the world. She can’t bear to witness a country living in complete contradiction of her values and has resorted to a very feminine tactic to get her way—nagging. Unfortunately for her, she’s dealing with states that aren’t emasculated and the Saudis gave her a backhanded-slap for her intrusive behavior.
People are entitled to the right of difference and should have the ability to shape their own destinies—in their own lands. I don’t want Sharia law in Europe or North America, but I have zero concern if Yemen or Egypt wants to adopt it. We shouldn’t champion a meddlesome feminist trying to impose her values on another people just because she criticized Islam. Which she really didn’t, she just criticized the practices of Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the government she’s a member of stays silent about the growth of radical Islam in Sweden’s own cities. This is less of a clash of civilizations than another attempt by hare-brained Westerners to export liberalism to the Persian Gulf.
Needless to say, it is unwise to praise Wallström when she is the embodiment of the modern Left, sans its hypocrisies. Living in a country where traditional masculinity is stigmatized encourages Wallström to believe she can enforce her will through a so-called feminist foreign policy. But Russia didn’t flinch and Saudi Arabia sent her reeling when she tried implementing her brilliant tactics. It seems these countries only respond to strength, not Upworthy-esque tirades on gender equality. Contrary to what poor Margot thinks old notions of power mean more in foreign affairs than the latest social justice fad.
The Sweden’s foreign minister humiliation is another sign that not everyone wants to jump on the liberal pleasure cruise, nor endure the nagging of a self-righteous feminist diplomat.