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Long ago a wicked and lazy hunter was sitting under a tree. He was thinking that it was too hot to be bothered with the arduous task of stalking prey through the bushes. Below him in the clearing on the grassy veld there were fat springbok grazing. But this hunter couldn’t be bothered, so lazy was he! He gazed at the herd, wishing that he could have the meat without the work, when suddenly he noticed a movement off to the left of the buck. It was a female cheetah seeking food. Keeping downwind of the herd, she moved closer and closer to them. She singled out a springbok who had foolishly wandered away from the rest. Suddenly she gathered her long legs under her and sprang forward. With great speed she came upon the springbok and brought it down. Startled, the rest of the herd raced away as the cheetah quickly killed her prey.

The hunter watched as the cheetah dragged her prize to some shade on the edge of the clearing. There three beautiful cheetah cubs were waiting there for her. The lazy hunter was filled with envy for the cubs and wished that he could have such a good hunter provide for him. Imagine dining on delicious meat every day without having to do the actual hunting! Then he had a wicked idea. He decided that he would steal one of the cheetah cubs and train it to hunt for him. He decided to wait until the mother cheetah went to the waterhole late in the afternoon to make his move. He smiled to himself.

When the sun began to set, the cheetah left her cubs concealed in a bush and set off to the waterhole. Quickly the hunter grabbed his spear and trotted down to the bushes where the cubs were hidden. There he found the three cubs, still to young to be frightened of him or to run away. He first chose one, then decided upon another, and then changed his mind again. Finally he stole them all, thinking to himself that three cheetahs would undoubtedly be better than one.

When their mother returned half-an-hour later and found her babies gone, she was broken-hearted. The poor mother cheetah cried and cried until her tears made dark stains down her cheeks. She wept all night and into the next day. She cried so loudly that she was heard by an old man who came to see what the noise was all about.

Now this old man was wise and knew the ways of the animals. When he discovered what the wicked hunter had done, he became very angry. The lazy hunter was not only a thief, he had broken the traditions of the tribe. Everyone knew that a hunter must use only his own strength and skill. Any other way of hunting was surely a dishonour.

The old man returned to the village and told the elders what has happened. The villagers became angry. They found the lazy hunter and drove him away from the village. The old man took the three cheetah cubs back to their grateful mother. But the long weeping of the mother cheetah stained her face forever. Today the cheetah wears the tearstains on its face as a reminder to the hunters that it is not honourable to hunt in any other way than that which is traditional.

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Barak Obama

Matéria na Folha de hoje (transcrevo a íntegra abaixo do folder), traduzida do NYT, fala dos sete meio irmãos africanos de Obama _ filhos do pai dele com outras mulheres.  Uma frase proferida por sua irmã me chamou a atenção: “Pode-se confiar em Obama para se manter em diálogo com o mundo“.  Chamou a atenção porque me fez lembrar de uma descrição que li sobre ele: “o provável primeiro presidente pós-americano dos EUA“.  Cito de memória, já não me lembro onde li isso; de qualquer modo resolvi fazer uma busca, e descobri este texto de Mark Krikorian sobre o que é um pós-americano, onde ele explica o que seja isso:

Let me be clear what I mean by a post-American. He’s not an enemy of America — not Alger Hiss or Jane Fonda or Louis Farrakhan. He’s not necessarily even a Michael Moore or Ted Kennedy. A post-American may actually still like America, but the emotion resembles the attachment one might feel to, say, suburban New Jersey — it can be a pleasant place to live, but you’re always open to a better offer. The post-American has a casual relationship with his native country, unlike the patriot, “who more than self his country loves,” as Katharine Lee Bates wrote. Put differently, the patriot is married to America; the post-American is just shacking up.

Now, there are two kinds of post-American. David Frum, in his “Unpatriotic Conservatives” article for NR last year, highlighted what I think is the less important kind: Those who focus on something less than America, whether white nationalists or neo-Confederates, etc. The second, more consequential and problematic kind are those who have moved beyond America, “citizens of the world,” as the cliché goes — in other words citizens (at least in the emotional sense) of nowhere in particular.” (grifo meu)

Scott McConnel, escrevendo no American Conservative, faz a ligação entre Obama e o “pós-americanismo” de Krikorian:

He would not only be the United States’ first black president, but, to borrow immigration activist Mark Krikorian’s useful term, its first post-American one as well.

In his foreign-policy address before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs last April, Obama asserted that America’s security is “inextricably linked to the security of all people,” a recipe for global interventionism so promiscuous as to make neoconservatives almost prudent by comparison. He is a proponent of global free trade and high levels of immigration. Much of his memoir is devoted to his quest to connect with an extended family in Africa. This world-man aura is not without appeal, especially after eight years of a president deaf to what foreigners think and feel. But taken as far as Obama does, it would be an electoral liability.

E finalmente, John O´Sullivan, no National Review, dá a última martelada em seu artigo “The Obama Appeal“:

A glimpse at his speeches and programs demonstrates that he is committed, like all the Democratic candidates, to such policies as racial preferences, multiculturalism, liberal immigration laws, and the transfer of power from America’s constitutional republic to non-accountable global bodies and international law. For Obama is not merely a post-racist; he is a post-nationalist and a post-American too. But will the eventual Republican nominee be able to explain the difference?

Não deixa de ser interessante observar como certos analistas políticos lêem esse tipo de acusação:

(…)And that’s precisely the opposite of what the smear practitioners intend. Ignorance is their fuel. By depicting Obama in ceremonial Somali garb (a 2006 photo posted on the “Drudge Report”); by running anonymous quotes, supposedly from a “senior Pentagon official,” about how Obama’s ascension would be “the final victory” for “the Arab street” (news story in the Washington Times); and by writing, more politely, about how Obama’s priorities are really “post-nationalist” and “post-American” (the National Review), the goal is to insinuate that a Trojan Horse has breached the castle walls, with plans to lead us to ruin.

***

É um modo de ver as coisas, mas eu prefiro outro.

O que me leva a Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, o primeiro imperador de Roma não-romano, pois nascido na Ibéria.  Como tal pode-se dizer que tenha sido o primeiro imperador romano “pós-romano”.  Trajano levou o Império à sua máxima extensão territorial e é tido por muito historiadores como o protótipo do “bom governante” romano, com incentivos às obras públicas e outras políticas que fizeram seu reinado ser conhecido como uma época dourada _ a ponto de depois dele os senadores usarem por muito tempo a expressão “felicior Augusto, melior Traiano“, desejando a cada novo imperador que fosse alguém com mais sorte que Augusto e melhor do que Trajano _ os recordistas em cada quesito.

Em um mundo cada vez mais globalizado _ e onde os problemas, por isso mesmo, também o são _ não há muita dúvida de que um dia teremos alguma forma de organização como um governo mundial.  Acho que Obama pode dar os primeiros passos para isso usando a influência da nação mais poderosa do mundo _ se apenas ela souber como sair da jaula sem arrebentar as louças do armário.

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Falta do que fazer dá nisso:

Ikea: closet imperialists?

Is the Swedish store guilty of cultural imperialism?

Furniture store Ikea has been blamed for a lot of things in its time but there is a new one to add to the list.

In the past its huge stores have been criticised for blighting the landscape and causing traffic congestion.

Its products have been criticised for being unimaginative and for contributing to uniformity in living rooms across the country. Plus, there is the issue of pieces missing when you get the flat-pack furniture home.

But now there is a new charge on its rap sheet: “Swedish imperialism”. The Telegraph reports that academics in Denmark found the furniture chain was naming its cheaper products after Danish towns.

“The researchers claim to have discovered a pattern where more expensive items, such as beds and chairs, have been named after Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian towns whereas doormats, draught excluders and runners are named after Danish places,” says the paper.

Klaus Kjoller, of the University of Copenhagen, apparently “analysed” (rather than browsed) the Ikea catalogue. He said it “symbolically portrays Denmark as the doormat of Sweden, a country with a larger economy and population”.

An Ikea official described the product names as “pure coincidence”.

Kjoller did not reveal what his next piece of “research” will be, but perhaps he could take a look at that bastion of the British empire, the Argos catalogue.

No Independent, porém, o scholar dos assentos de privada admite:

When asked whether sinister motives lurk behind Ikea’s choice of chirpy product names, Klaus Kjoller, a professor at the Institute of Nordic Studies at the University of Copenhagen, says: “It’s 350 years ago that the Swedes took away regions of our country, so I suppose today you could say we’re seeing a kind of cultural imperialism, with them giving things of low value to us. Really, it’s not a big issue.

***

De qualquer forma os suecos deram melhores bárbaros do que imperialistas.  Enquanto a imagem de ameaçadores vikings nórdicos desafia a memória dos séculos, a experiência imperialista sueca tem episódios patéticos, como a construção do Vasa.

O Vasa era para ter sido um dos maiores e mais bem armados navios de guerra de seu tempo.  Foi construído por Gustavo Adolpho da Suécia entre 1626 e 1628, em plena Stormaktstiden, para reforçar a frota sueca no Báltico, não só por causa da guerra na Polônia como também pelo desenrolar da Guerra dos Trinta Anos na Alemanha, que parecia desenrolar-se de forma pouco auspiciosa para os protestantes.

Lamentavelmente, o Vasa naufragou em sua viagem inaugural devido a problemas de projeto que tornaram o grande navio extremamente instável.  Ele só foi recuperado por uma expedição de arqueologia marinha em 1961, embora seus canhões tenham sido salvos ainda no século XVII pela própria marinha de Gustavo Adolpho (canhões eram caros e tinham vida útil de dezenas de anos).

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***

Dizem que parte do sucesso sueco em construir seu império de um século emerge, além da sorte de contar com o surgimento de estadistas como Axel Oxenstierna, de certas características das táticas militares suecas.  Como, por exemplo, o fato de que retiradas NUNCA eram cobertas, o que não deixava muitas opções aos soldados além de avançar.

A idéia do “valor de fechar portas” reaparece constantemente em contextos militares.  Este artigo do NYT fala justamente sobre um general chinês, Xiang Yu , cuja tática também consistia em queimar seus navios de transporte de tropas, justamente para acabar com qualquer expectativa de retorno ou fuga para seus soldados.  O artigo de fato é uma resenha de um livro chamado “Predictably Irrational“, e o Leonardo Monastério recomenda o livro aqui, apontando inclusive para a página bem bossa-nova do autor.  Que é capaz de papers com títulos como  “Man’s Search for Meaning: The Case of Legos”.

No Valor de hoje:

Alta da soja põe em xeque pacto na Amazônia

César Felício e Bettina BarrosO aquecimento do mercado internacional de soja pode levar as grandes tradings do setor a rediscutir alguns tópicos da moratória que proíbe a compra de grãos de áreas da Amazônia. A guinada na demanda pela commodity, que tem provocado recordes sucessivos nos preços, já levanta questionamentos sobre algumas “amarras” do acordo.

A principal delas é a impossibilidade de desmatamento dentro do limite permitido por lei – no caso do bioma amazônico, 20% da área total da propriedade. Nos moldes de hoje, a moratória vai além da legislação ambiental brasileira, proibindo a compra de soja proveniente de qualquer área desmatada da região amazônica.

“É difícil para o setor manter o compromisso de não comprar soja de áreas novas, se estiverem dentro dos limites legais. A União Européia com certeza vai pressionar, mas o crescimento da demanda da China tende a diminuir o peso do prêmio pago pelos europeus”, afirmou ao Valor Jacyr Bongiolo, presidente do Grupo André Maggi. O grupo é um dos maiores produtores de soja do mundo.

Restante abaixo do fold.

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