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At Hofer prices

Dr. Milan Zver Common sense, however, seeks answers as to what the hell all the intelligence services did that did not anticipate such a rapid military success for the Taliban, and secondly, even more importantly, how they did not anticipate such a rapid collapse of power structures established by Americans for almost two decades and spent a sum of money in the amount of about thirty (!) Slovenian budgets? Therefore, it is not primarily about merit, not the fault of Trump or Biden. It is a question of why American and indirectly Western politics experienced a fiasco? The official Afghan structures, financially, professionally and materially supported – of course also with European money – apparently channelled a good part of Western “investments” directly or indirectly to the Taliban, who showed appropriate military skills and top equipment in a few days of conquest. Military of course. A striking fact is also that the government army and police, numbering 300,000 men, failed to fire a single bullet in defence of the capital. All good practices that were introduced at this time on the civilian level have disappeared like comets in space. The most damage can be expected in the health and school sectors, not to mention the economy at all. People have come to power who cannot even manage their own central airport (so they are asking the Turkish government to manage it). A government that is not compatible even with its neighbours, let alone with Western societies, has no future. Unless another Islamic State, or even China, “jumps in” and helps maintain that regime. The overlook of the West in this project was in culture. The social structure of the population, the generally accepted Sharia law, the old ways of decision-making, etc., require a special approach to the modernisation of Afghan society. It is a country with a common religious basis, but in ethnic terms it is a real mosaic. Historic decentralisation will have to be taken into account by all those who will build a new society, not just the state. Some minorities, e.g. Tajiks from the north are even in conflict with the Taliban, who have never been able to defeat them militarily, so it will be interesting in the future how they will regulate inter-ethnic relations. In short, it is not possible to build a unitary state in Afghanistan (as Westerners have wrongly tried), it makes no sense to build British parliamentarism or an American type of democracy there. They also did not accept Soviet communism, as they proved when they defeated the powerful Red Army in the 1980s. However, they need to be helped primarily in a cultural sense. The observation that you can change the political system in three weeks, the economic system in three months, and the cultural system in three generations must not take away the courage of the international community. Slowly, even in Afghanistan, they will realise that all lives, women and men, count the same. That children are also beings who need to be respected and educated in order for the community to survive. In short, a different approach to aid is needed. Rifles are not enough. At this point, Western strategists have failed the exam in the last two decades. Some may still have too many colonial genes in them. Afghanistan was therefore an expensive but important “school” not only for the United States but for the entire Western world. Dr Milan Zver is a Slovenian social scientist and politician and a member of the European Parliament.

By: Dr. Milan Zver

The formation of a new Slovenian government continues. Producers of Slovenian public opinion are creating a climate that we are in a hurry. It has always been the case that all radical changes of power have taken place quickly; evolutionary normality can only interfere with this, as some problem could come to the fore, e.g., the lack of staff, which also plagues this new government, and the poverty of content that it offers. They did not offer a programme before the election – they are AGAINST the party, not FOR it; but now they have formulated only a few starting points that would be ridiculous if they did not contain danger. Uncertainty awaits us in the fields of economy, foreign policy, social affairs, and education. We have never experienced such an empty offer in a democratic Slovenia.

In addition to these essential questions, we must ask ourselves how this electoral miracle could have happened at all. It is probably known that voter turnout has been declining practically linearly since the first democratic elections in independent Slovenia. And this at all levels: local, parliamentary, and presidential. Then comes the year 2022 and elections to the National Assembly. The previous government successfully dealt with the pandemic, provided huge European development funds, adequate visibility in Europe and the world, achieved high economic growth, the highest employment in the Slovenian economy, healthy public finances, efficient social transfers, the lowest unemployment, etc., etc. But in the St. Florian Valley, such a government falls quickly?!? And this with a convincing ten percentage points, given the fact that 20 percent more voters came to the polls than usual. Twenty percent, without any contingency contributing to that percentage. The question then arises as to whether the mobilisation potentials of the (extreme) left really reach that high!

I do not think so, and it would be fair to repeat the vote count. These two figures, 10 and 20 percent of the “surplus” in this election, simply cannot be explained even within the normal framework of modern political science. Therefore, a recount – which is, of course, an expression of distrust in the electoral mechanism, including the State Electoral Commission (SEC) – would reveal the illegalities that have arisen and dispelled the suspicion of electoral controversy and, ultimately, increase their legitimacy. If this is the case in the USA, why not in Slovenia as well? Today’s hackers, who are always one step ahead and light years ahead of our SEC, which does not even know how to calculate mandates, can easily set up governments or overthrow them. In short, in recent days I have been listening to the analyses of everyone: most of them accuse the electoral system we have, and, sorry to say, “stupid folk” who can elect something like that. The electoral system is bad so it could not be worse. Even a democratic culture is not too high. I also accept that Janković manages to bring everyone to the elections, especially those for whom Slovenia is not an intimate option. Metropolis “rules”! But this time, I am pointing the finger of guilt directly at counting the electoral votes. I have always analysed the electoral process in Slovenia. I have never criticised data processing, not even in the first election, when there were as many as a dozen invalid ballots. But I am deeply convinced that something must have been very wrong this time! I think that under normal circumstances it is not possible to win the photo finish by 10 percentage points or increase the turnout by as much as a fifth!!!

We can buy the claim that Slovenians chose the “Hofer price” in this election, that is: effective advertising, even if you do not need it, you still buy it because it is cheap. Although the likeable Bizovičar is convincing in the advertisement for Hofer, he can never prove that this time the Slovenes chose quality for the “Hofer price” at the level of the popular music virtuoso André Rieu, whose visual identity he obviously likes.

Doubt is not always a sign of fair play, but it is certainly an expression of critical and reasonable monitoring of social events. And even if we accept defeat and admit, in slang, that we have been “outwitted” by cheating us, buying at this price will soon sober people up: higher taxes are coming, lower wages, higher living costs, lower quality of life, emigration of the most productive, paying for illegal migrants, many of whom have already voted this time. All of this will now strike back at those who revanchistically threaten, like lightning from the clear. Political cycling is nothing compared to what awaits the new government if it takes us back into history, so easily, at the “Hofer price”.

Dr Milan Zver is an MEP and a member of the SDS.

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