Tuesday, February 4, 2003
An Article We Hope Is Never Written
Why was the threat not taken more seriously? The reasons remain unclear. The signs were all there. It was known, of course, that North Korea was run by a personally bizarre, megalomaniacal dictator. His million and a half man army was well fed while hundreds of thousands starved. Why, then, were not more questions asked? Did they think this army would sit there forever? Afraid of what? The 37,000 American troops at the DMZ? These people are brainwashed from birth to hate America, and are deluded into the false belief that America, the imperialist aggressor, is an occupying force in the South. Perhaps they actually began to believe that the South Koreans would welcome them as liberating heroes - and perhaps many did.
So why, as the American Army was massing in the Middle East, were not more of the warning signs in the Pacific taken seriously?
UN Irrelevancies from the WSJ
Some good pointers in today's Opinion Journal email. The piece by Amiel is particularly good (another sensible Euro?), as is the Peters piece, if a bit less practical:
The New York Times has an odd op-ed piece from Robert Wright, who hopes President Bush will prevail upon the United Nations Security Council to depose Saddam Hussein, thereby saving the U.N. as "the powerful instrument of peace it was originally meant to be." This seems fanciful; even if the liberation of Iraq comes with full U.N. support, the U.N. will not thereby become a "powerful instrument of peace"; it will remain what it is now: a useful political instrument in support of U.S. policy. The only real question is whether France will back America in the Security Council. If it doesn't, America will act anyway, and the U.N. will be irrelevant--which means so will France. The bargain is a fairly low-stakes one: France gets to feel important in exchange for providing political cover to the U.S. The "powerful instrument of peace" is not the U.N. but America's armed forces.
What's most curious about Wright's piece is that he never mentions the U.N.'s biggest flaw: that it is essentially a dictators' playground. In London's Daily Telegraph, Barbara Amiel argues this makes it a threat to world peace:
By now the United Nations, with its Human Rights Commission chaired by Libya, is not only irrelevant; it is coming perilously close to endangering world peace and security. The majority of its members are in breach of most tenets of the UN Charter and yet these same members are rewarded with plum UN assignments.
In March, Iraq will assume the chairmanship of the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The UN is rapidly becoming more of a force for harm than good.
Countries that actually practise and value the UN constitution should probably withdraw from it. But at the very least, America, as its chief source of funding, should give the organisation notice after Iraq that reform is necessary.
In the New York Post, Ralph Peters proposes an imaginative reform, "an international system of tiered sovereignties that would strip tyrants and their apologists of their current, horribly unjust diplomatic defenses":
Level One: Every government, from Mexico to India, that respects the will of its people through democratic institutions, works for the betterment of its citizens, demonstrates progress toward respect for human rights and strives toward the rule of law deserves continued recognition of its full, legal sovereignty.
Level Two: States that cannot control their own territory, that lack the ability to protect their own citizens or to prevent international terrorists and other criminals from using their territory as a refuge, would be able to claim only partial sovereignty. More capable, rule-of-law states would have the right to intervene for limited purposes to bring killers and other criminals to justice. In every other respect, these weak, but well-intentioned states would enjoy the traditional privileges and protections of sovereignty.
Level Three: Regimes that refuse to enforce the rule of law inside their borders, that knowingly harbor terrorists and criminals, that behave aggressively toward their neighbors or that abuse their own citizens would forfeit their territorial sovereignty and their right to govern. Period.
Whether such a system would be practical is a question for another day; Peters doesn't discuss the process by which these "levels" would be assigned. But in substance, his proposal is intriguing to say the least.
Monday, February 3, 2003
Rejoicing Over the Crash?
You read stuff like this and wonder - is this just a fringe - "God punished the space shuttle Columbia because its crew, which included an Israeli astronaut, was on an espionage mission against the Arab and Muslim nations, some Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post today." - or does it represent a significant number of people - "But many of them, especially those who are religious, believe that this is God's punishment for the US and Israel. No one here has regrets over the tragedy, and that's sad."
Wouldn't It Be Funny...
...if like, there was another Iranian revolution, only this time, the students that took over ended up being pissed at the EUnuchs because of their support for the current regime, and welcomed the USA and GW Bush because of their unwillingness to deal with Mullahs? Check it.
That group of European policy-makers who for a long time have been busy profiting from poverty, suffering, torture, and death must know that the great Iranian nation, in a not-so-distant future, will uproot the vile presence of the fascist Hezbollah; and, following it, all of the inequitable contracts, which are in fact the price of European silence towards the crimes of the Islamic Republic, will be reanalyzed. It is clear that the future relations of a free Iran with each European country will be shaped by what their current basic position is towards the Islamic Republic!
Therefore, you would be wise to warn your politicians to quickly wake up from the proverbial sleep of ignorance, just as they did in regards to South Africa and Zimbabwe; and, just like the United States of America and its leader, President George W. Bush, to completely and fundamentally reconsider their policies in regards to the Iranian nation and their rightful aspirations and discontinue the reinforcing of the illegitimate failing regime of the Islamic Republic.
The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran," while condemning the opportunistic policy of the European Union pertaining to the Islamic Republic-- especially the shameful act of its members in abstaining from condemning the Islamic Republic's top officials-- seeks support from the public opinion of the nations across that continent to make a decisive stance against the continuous violation of human rights in Iran.
This committee urges, again, the Human Rights Committee of the European
Union to condemn the Islamic Republic for violating Human Rights in Iran
by submitting the draft of a declaration to the United Nations and by
pursuing it, and by barring all EU member governments from having any
kind of political or economic relations with a member of the terrorist "Axis
of Evil" and assassinator of freedom-lovers.
A Sensible Euro?
What's this? A pro-war (that doesn't sound quite right does it?) editorial in a UK paper? This woman must be the pariah of her garden club. Note how hard she has to try to establish her Anti-American bona-fides, of course...
"The new enemies of America, and of the west in general, believe that these countries promote too much autonomy, freedom and justice. They are the opposite of socialism even more than they are the opposite of capitalism. They are against light, love, life - and to attempt to pass them the baton of enlightenment borne by the likes of Mandela and Guevara is woefully to misunderstand the nature and desires of what Christopher Hitchens (a life-long man of the left) described as "Islamo-fascism".
When you look back at the common sense and progressiveness
of arguments against American intervention in Vietnam, Chile and the
like, you can't
help but be struck by the sheer befuddled babyishness of the pro-Saddam
Sunday, February 2, 2003
"Ah, Those Principled Europeans"
Thomas L. Friedman has a great Op-Ed piece in today's NYTimes. Check it out. And if you haven't read his book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization - do. Great stuff.
"BRUSSELS -- Last week I went to lunch at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Davos, Switzerland, and discovered why America and Europe are at odds. At the bottom of the lunch menu was a list of the countries that the lamb, beef and chicken came from. But next to the meat imported from the U.S. was a tiny asterisk, which warned that it might contain genetically modified organisms — G.M.O.'s.
My initial patriotic instinct was to order the U.S. beef and ask for it "tartare," just for spite. But then I and my lunch guest just looked at each other and had a good laugh. How quaint! we said. Europeans, out of some romantic rebellion against America and high technology, were shunning U.S.-grown food containing G.M.O.'s — even though there is no scientific evidence that these are harmful. But practically everywhere we went in Davos, Europeans were smoking cigarettes — with their meals, coffee or conversation — even though there is indisputable scientific evidence that smoking can kill you. In fact, I got enough secondhand smoke just dining in Europe last week to make me want to have a chest X-ray.
So pardon me if I don't take seriously all the Euro-whining about the Bush policies toward Iraq — for one very simple reason: It strikes me as deeply unserious. It's not that there are no serious arguments to be made against war in Iraq. There are plenty. It's just that so much of what one hears coming from German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and French President Jacques Chirac are not serious arguments. They are station identification.
They are not the arguments of people who have really gotten beyond the distorted Arab press and tapped into what young Arabs are saying about their aspirations for democracy and how much they blame Saddam Hussein and his ilk for the poor state of their region. Rather, they are the diplomatic equivalent of smoking cancerous cigarettes while rejecting harmless G.M.O.'s — an assertion of identity by trying to be whatever the Americans are not, regardless of the real interests or stakes.
And where this comes from, alas, is weakness. Being weak after being
powerful is a terrible thing. It can make you stupid. It can make you
reject U.S. policies simply to differentiate yourself from the world's
only superpower. Or, in the case of Mr. Chirac, it can even prompt you
to invite Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe — a terrible tyrant — to
visit Paris just to spite Tony Blair. Ah, those principled French....continued..."
Daniel Pipes Lays It Out
Once again, Daniel Pipes speaks a lot of sense in his latest essay laying out the options for Arab-Israeli peace.
"The year 2002 will be remembered as a low point in the long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, when diplomacy came to a standstill, emotions boiled over, blood ran in the streets, and the prospects of all-out war drew closer. Anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic furies seemingly put to rest suddenly revived with stunning vehemence. The existence of Israel appeared imperiled as it had not been for decades.
This picture is accurate as far as it goes, but it omits one other salient feature of the landscape in 2002. The year also witnessed a host of new plans, initiatives, and schemes for fixing the situation. None of these ideas came from the Palestinian side—hardly surprising, given that Yasir Arafat seems to see violence against Israelis as the solution to all his problems. Instead, they issued from various parties in Israel and the United States, with an echo or two from Europe and the Arab states.
These plans, of which the best known is the Bush administration's "road map," run the gamut from tough-seeming to appeasing. But they have two qualities in common. All of them give up on the Oslo-era assumption of Palestinian-Israeli comity as the basis for negotiation. But at the same time, all of them proceed from a fundamentally flawed understanding of the conflict and therefore, if actually implemented, would be likely to increase tensions. None of them can lead to a resolution of the conflict; that requires an entirely different approach..."
Saturday, February 1, 2003
What a Way To Start A New Month
The Space Shuttle has apparently broken up on re-entry.
Friday, January 31, 2003
NSA Tapes to be Released
"Bush administration to release tapes that could incriminate Iraq. ‘Hold onto your hat,’ says one U.S. intelligence official, ‘we’ve got it.’"
As if the obvious non-cooperation wasn't enough, the NSA (National Security Agency) is reported to have tape of Iraqi officials discussing their hiding of materials from inspectors. The highly unusual move is being done in preparation for Colin Powell's presentation to the UN next week.
Powell Tells Pals - Terror Won't Get You a State...
...get new leaders.
Peace Protestors at Work
"No Blood For OOOIIIILLL!"
"US Out of North America!"
"Death to the Jews!!"
These guys are a little "conflicted" in their message. "Peace" activists at the economic forum at Davos, Switzerland:
Keep the Bribes Coming!
Buying off totalitarian dictators always works! Just ask South Korea.
Pakistani Terrorists in Italy
Our friends in Italy nab 28 Pakistanis planning to do bad things.
Thumbs Up For The Local Guy
Jeff Jacoby lays out the landscape "post-Iraq" in today's Boston Globe.
Let's see, we've got Libya in charge of the UN Commission on Human Rights - chalk that one up to the oil money buys much department.
And we've got Iraq and Iran co-chairing the UN Disarmament Conference (it's their turn!).
So, whether it's corrupt (in the case of Libya), or brain-dead (Iraq & Iran) the UN isn't sporting a hell of a lot of credibility these days. Oh, and don't forget Syria's presence on the Security Council! I guess the best you could say is the UN is a necessary evil. The faith that so many of the American people put into that particular organization is just plain sad. Considering that most of the nations that sit there are not democracies at all, it's important that the US keep its own interests in mind at all times, and not leave it to the likes of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya (or France!) to decide what's right and wrong for us. President Bush said it very well in his State of the Union Speech:
America is making a broad and determined effort to confront these dangers. We have called on the United Nations to fulfill its charter and stand by its demand that Iraq disarm. We're strongly supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency in its mission to track and control nuclear materials around the world. We're working with other governments to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, and to strengthen global treaties banning the production and shipment of missile technologies and weapons of mass destruction.
In all these efforts, however, America's purpose is more than to follow a process -- it is to achieve a result: the end of terrible threats to the civilized world. All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attacks. And we're asking them to join us, and many are doing so. Yet the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others. (Applause.) Whatever action is required, whenever action is necessary, I will defend the freedom and security of the American people. (Applause.)
Thursday, January 30, 2003
Have Malkin, Will Emigrate
Well, I got a request for more Michelle Malkin on the site here, and of course you know we aims ta please. Whether it's the Right's cheap-labor lobby or the Left's need for shoring up its voter base, illegal immigration continues to be the national security issue no one wants to talk about. Please save the accusations of racism. No one here is talking about closed borders, but if we can't at least control our borders, what kind of nation are we? Certainly not a nation of laws. Certainly not a nation encouraging only those who respect our laws to come and make a home.
Thanks to wonder-legislators like Massachusetts' own Teddy Kennedy, things will only get worse. Read Michelle's latest over at FrontPage Mag in Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Afghanistan.
Daniel Pipes in Canada
What's going on out there in University-ville? Who would imagine a simple talk by a pro-Israel, pro-US academic would cause such a furor? Are these controversial positions to take? Read about Daniel Pipes' latest foray into one of Canada's universities here.
The Real Europe Speaks
Reprinted in full from Times Online
Europe and America must stand united
We in Europe have a relationship with the United States which has stood the test of time. Thanks in large part to American bravery, generosity and far-sightedness, Europe was set free from the two forms of tyranny that devastated our continent in the 20th century: Nazism and Communism. Thanks, too, to the continued cooperation between Europe and the United States we have managed to guarantee peace and freedom on our continent. The transatlantic relationship must not become a casualty of the current Iraqi regime’s persistent attempts to threaten world security.
In today’s world, more than ever before, it is vital that we preserve that unity and cohesion. We know that success in the day-to-day battle against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction demands unwavering determination and firm international cohesion on the part of all countries for whom freedom is precious.
The Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction represent a clear threat to world security. This danger has been explicitly recognised by the United Nations. All of us are bound by Security Council Resolution 1441, which was adopted unanimously. We Europeans have since reiterated our backing for Resolution 1441, our wish to pursue the UN route and our support for the Security Council, at the Prague Nato Summit and the Copenhagen European Council.
In doing so, we sent a clear, firm and unequivocal message that we would rid the world of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. We must remain united in insisting that his regime is disarmed. The solidarity, cohesion and determination of the international community are our best hope of achieving this peacefully. Our strength lies in unity.
The combination of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism is a threat of incalculable consequences. It is one at which all of us should feel concerned. Resolution 1441 is Saddam Hussein’s last chance to disarm using peaceful means. The opportunity to avoid greater confrontation rests with him. Sadly this week the UN weapons inspectors have confirmed that his long-established pattern of deception, denial and non-compliance with UN Security Council resolutions is continuing.
Europe has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Indeed, they are the first victims of Iraq’s current brutal regime. Our goal is to safeguard world peace and security by ensuring that this regime gives up its weapons of mass destruction. Our governments have a common responsibility to face this threat. Failure to do so would be nothing less than negligent to our own citizens and to the wider world.
The United Nations Charter charges the Security Council with the task of preserving international peace and security. To do so, the Security Council must maintain its credibility by ensuring full compliance with its resolutions. We cannot allow a dictator to systematically violate those Resolutions. If they are not complied with, the Security Council will lose its credibility and world peace will suffer as a result.
We are confident that the Security Council will face up to its responsibilities.
José María Aznar, Spain
Time To Retire?
To think I once admired this guy. I want my outrage back!
"Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who Bush has praised as a hero of human rights, joined the chorus of critics by calling Bush arrogant and implying the president was racist for threatening to bypass the United Nations and attack Iraq.
"Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals were white," Mandela said."
As reported at FOXNews.
Have They No Shame?
"Leaders of Syria and France discussed ways Thursday to coordinate their positions on the U.N. Security Council to avert a war on Iraq, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
Syrian President Bashar Assad received a telephone call from his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, in which the agency said they sought ways to "coordinate at the Security Council in the next stage to prevent the circumstances from reaching the point that may lead to the war on Iraq."
For those of you new to the class, Syria is the unwritten
member of the Axis of Evil and one of the prime states driving
terrorism and Arab extremism worldwide.
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
The Threatening France
Stop laughing. With so much of the world second guessing Uncle Sam's (and specifically George Bush's) motives in a potential invasion of Iraq, in spite of the fact that current events are directly in line with American Policy as it's developed since the first Gulf War, I thought the reader might be interested in this passage from Kenneth M. Pollack's book, The Threatening Storm. Somehow, in the topsy-turvy logic of the "pro-peace" crowd, America has much profit to be made from an invasion, while altruistic France is simply interested in preserving peace - and preserving international justice against profiteers and the warmongering Americans. No, only the profit motive could accompany violence, in spite of the horrors of Saddam's Iraq, the fact that America and Britain's enforcement of "No Fly Zones" have allowed a standard of living in Iraqi Kurdistan unknown there for years, at the cost of real dollars and further scorn at the hands of the left and the "Arab Street." It all fits too well with the conspiracy theorists' Bush/Cheney oil profit fantasies.
In the chapter "The Regional Perspective," Pollack runs down the current viewpoints of the various states in the region, and then moves "Beyond the Region." The section on France is particularly interesting:
"France is one of Iraq's chief advocates and, while still a NATO ally of the United States, believes that taking an 'independent' line is critical to French stature and the good of the world. In addition, Iraq owes France $4.5 billion from pre-Gulf War sales. France is also one of Iraq's largest trading partners. To be blunt, the French have not hesitated to compromise their principles if it meant a greater share of Iraqi trade. In 2000, when Iraq began demanding that countries fly commercial aircraft into Baghdad in violation of the U.N. flight ban in return for further oil-for-food contracts, Paris suddenly discovered a new 'interpretation' of the U.N. resolutions that indicated that there was no such flight ban - even though it had voted for the original resolution and had respected the ban for the preceding ten years. As a result of this shameless pandering, the French have been the largest or second largest recipient of Iraqi oil-for-food contracts in every phase of the program.
...In their hearts, the French recognize that Saddam Hussein cannot be left to his own devices. However, they also know that in the end it is the United States - not France - that will be expected to deal with Saddam should he acquire nuclear weapons, and they are perfectly comfortable with that arrangement. In the meantime, they would like to see the sanctions liberalized if not lifted altogether, to maximize profits from Iraqi trade...The French probably will oppose any U.S. effort at regime change because they are unlikely to receive the same preferential treatment from Saddam's successors, whoever they may be. That said, if France becomes convinced that the United States is absolutely determined to remove Saddam and is willing to use all of its power to do the job, they likely will flip and become supporters of the operation to try to secure some piece of post-Saddam Iraq's trade and reconstruction."
Some good info and sage predictions there written before the latest French UN "weaseling."
We Must Not Betray The Kurds Again
Apparently, the calculus used by the so-called humanitarians does not include these often oppressed people. Heaven forbid they actually acknowledge the positive good US and British use of force has done in allowing the Kurds of Iraqi Kurdistan to reconstruct a semblance of civilized, democratic living without the fear of mass-murder. The rising standard of living in this section of Iraq, where, outside of Saddam's control, the UN distribution program under oil-for-food can actually function, puts the lie to the slander that the suffering of the Iraqi people is a product of the UN sanctions (and pinned squarely on the shoulders of the USA, of course). From USA Today:
"Every school child here can recite the litany of betrayals that dot the timeline of Kurdish history. At various times, Saddam has waged a war of genocide against the Kurds for opposing his regime. He has sent tanks to level their villages and troops to kill men of fighting age. He has bombed their towns from the skies with conventional weapons and dropped mustard gas and VX nerve agents on them...
...Last week, Iraq's Kurds were buzzing after French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder appeared to rule out support for an attack to topple Saddam. They have fumed at other Muslim countries' opposition to an attack. 'This won't be a war on Islam. It will be the salvation of the Iraqi people. It has nothing to do with Christianity versus Islam,' says Chamchamaly, who heads a group of moderate clerics. 'Our Muslim brothers in neighboring countries don't support us. They're the ones who aren't applying Islamic principles.'"