Did you hear anything about the dustup in Sweden in the spring over the remarks of foreign minister Margot Wallstrom? She belongs to Sweden’s Social Democratic Party and holds impeccable left-of-center credentials, and also served for a time as the Commissioner for the Environment at the European Union, where she said all of the politically correct platitudes about global warming and sustainable development. She also worked at the UN for a time. I’m guessing she’s not a Power Line reader.
But back in March, as The Spectator of London reported, she turned her attention to Saudi Arabia:
A few weeks ago Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia. As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men, she was telling no more than the truth. Wallström went on to condemn the Saudi courts for ordering that Raif Badawi receive ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed secularism and free speech. These were ‘mediaeval methods’, she said, and a ‘cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression’. And once again, who can argue with that?
The backlash followed the pattern set by Rushdie, the Danish cartoons and Hebdo. Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador and stopped issuing visas to Swedish businessmen. The United Arab Emirates joined it. The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world’s ‘rich and varied ethical standards’ — standards so rich and varied, apparently, they include the flogging of bloggers and encouragement of paedophiles. Meanwhile, the Gulf Co-operation Council condemned her ‘unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, and I wouldn’t bet against anti-Swedish riots following soon.
Yet there is no ‘Wallström affair’. Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden’s EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her.
The story got some coverage over here, but not much. Wallstrom was rebuked by Sweden’s king, showing I suppose that monarchy is not completely dead, though perhaps this is a case of professional courtesy from one decadent monarch to a peer royal family, desert branch.
Meanwhile, in our latest “Camp-of-the-Saints Department” update, Sweden’s multicultural accommodation seems to be finding its limits, as reported in the Wall Street Journal this morning:
STOCKHOLM—The Swedish government on Thursday will formally seek assistance from fellow European Union members to relocate some of the thousands of migrants entering the Nordic nation, reversing an open-door policy that has made it a magnet for asylum seekers. . .
“The current situation is not sustainable; Sweden is not able to receive people in the way we used to,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said on Wednesday after meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk in Stockholm to discuss the migration crisis.