Saturday, December 07, 2002

Early Returns suggest that folks who thought having a "San Francisco Democrat" lead the Dems would result in success for Republicans were wrong. Perhaps, instead, having Trent Lott lead the Republicans is the millstone that a party needs to worry about.

To be fair to me, I said after the Nov. 5th election that I figured Landrieu would win the runnoff, and I'm not in the least surprised she did (that house race where Alexander, D, won, is a different matter. Dems will crow about both wins, but the House race is the real feather in their cap. The Senate race wasn't surprising - except for how close it got).
Dick Armey, American Citizen:
"We, the people, had better keep an eye on we, the people; that is, our government. Not out of contempt or lack of appreciation or disrespect, but out of a sense of guardianship. How do you use these tools we have given you to make us safe in such a manner that'll preserve our freedom?

"That is a duty to our very essence as a nation. Who we are, what is it about us that has set us apart in the history of the world is our love for freedom.

"As I said earlier, freedom is no policy for the timid. And my plaintive plea to all my colleagues that remain in this government as I leave it is, for your sake, for my sake, for heaven's sake, don't give up on freedom."
(Via Instapundit).
Future Darwin Award Winners promise to leave Canada.

You know, this is actually a good idea. I indeed wish that those anti-war types who suggested that every advocate of war needed to enlist in the military should do just what these Canadians are doing. In that regard, I have respect for these fellows, however misguided and morally confused they may be, at least they're putting their bodies where their mouths are.
You Know What I Don't Like? Yah, lots of stuff, I know.

But tonight I decided to blog something that's been bugging me for awhile. Reporters who, after conducting an interview with a candidate for office say "good luck" to them after an pre-election interview, or an election day interview after the votes are all in.

It doesn't matter to me which candidate they're wishing "good luck" too, Republican or Democrat, it always bugs me, because I don't think that's their place. I wouldn't mind them wishing "good luck" for someone after they win, but I don't think they should be wishing any candidate luck in the election. I know it's a simple pleasantry after an interview, but they can thank them and leave it at that.

What brought this on was seeing an interview with one of the Louisiana Senate Candidates tonight where the reporter finished by saying good luck to her. But it was common, and annoyed me, in the other interviews with candidates before the election earlier this year, too.

Friday, December 06, 2002

I Donno. . . Someone sent me this and, while interesting, I live in Anasazi Country, and their relics seem very un-Greek to me, when the totality is looked at rather than a couple examples that may be similar for reasons having nothing to do with direct (or even indirect) interaction.

There are a fair amount of suchlike theories that go around, about how the Egyptians or Phoenicians or Ainu from Japan etc. travelled to or colonized the Americas. I wouldn't be surprised if we find out that there was more interaction among civilizations than some have thought. But some of the connections seem strained and rely on coincidence. It's a topic that I won't say anything definite about except that further research - scientific research, not politically-driven research (of any group, and that includes Amerindians who try to shut down investigations into finds that may show some of these links, because whatever information might be found would contradict their own beliefs about the history of the region) is certainly warranted.
Don't Throw Britain Into That Briar Patch: EU might expell Britain if it doesn't agree to their constitutional proposal:
Britain could be expelled from the European Union if it refuses to accept a fully-fledged European government with powers to launch military or police actions on British soil, according to a draft constitution unveiled by Brussels yesterday.
Britain's been thrown out of nicer joints before (United States) and done just fine by it. I think they should welcome expulsion and forge an economic agreement with the EU similar to that which Norway has (and Norway hasn't done all that bad being a non-EU member). If the EU won't go along with that (though apparently the document/proposed treaty guarantees that they would:
The expelled state would be able to negotiate an agreement safeguarding its "existing arrangements" as an EU member, retaining trading privileges as an "associate country", along the lines of Norway. Once a country accepts the new arrangement, it could not leave the EU when it wishes.
so that shouldn't be a problem), they can enter the negotiations for the Free Trade of the Americas treaty, or join NAFTA. Or why not do all the above? Out of the EU, negotiate a trade deal with the EU similar to what Norway has, join NAFTA and the FTA.

That would be better for everyone all around, because many of the continental pro-EU folks see Britain as creating friction in the EU as it is, since Britain often, because of their very different governmental and legal traditions, doesn't want to do things the way the major continental members (France, Germany, etc) would prefer. Britain's main interest in the EU was in the EEC/EC - an economic partnership, not a political confederation such as the EU is attempting. So a amicable parting of ways would be best for everyone concerned.

But then we get to this:
A British official dismissed his proposals as preposterous. "It's patently not going to happen. No treaty changes can take place without the unanimous approval of all member states, and none are going to vote for their own expulsion. It's legally impossible."
He, and perhaps the Government he represents, seems to be thinking too narrowly here. I'd vote for it, then accept expulsion, shake hands and go home happy. The above seems to indicate that Britain would retain all that they currently have with respect to EU relations, which seems to be what most of the British people want - and no more - while the continentals are obviously interested in integration of the sort that Britain is resistant to. I don't see why everyone can't be made happy here. Let the continental members get what they want, and Britain can be satisfied with the agreements with the EU it already has, and some of the internal divisions would be solved by this as well. If anything additional is desired in the future, I'm sure Britain and the EU could negotiate side agreements on those issues. Anyhow, those are just my stream-of-conciousness reactions to the situation.
Interesting Historical Find in Mesoamerica:
Symbols carved on to a recently discovered seal and plaque represent the earliest evidence of writing in the New World, a find that challenges previous ideas about who invented writing in the Americas. . .The glyphs seem to emanate from the mouths of people or animals, like text in cartoons, supporting the theory that they represent spoken words.
I think it was an early Bloom County strip, myself.
What Hugo Chavez's reign has wrought. Another hard-Leftist succeeds in tearing apart his country.
Paul Craig Roberts on why some of us are less happy with Europe than we used to be:
Europe as we have known it is disappearing.
Which pretty much sums it up in one sentence.
More Good News from Iran. You know, a lot of Bloggers that are characterized as being somewhat "anti-Moslem" have been nothing but encouraging of the (seemingly majority of) Iranians seeking an overthrow of the Islamist Mullahs. I don't think those seeking a more liberal government in Iran see themselves as anything other than Moslems. Being critical of the aspects of Islamic faith that lead some (apparently more than a few; via Instapundit) Moslems to hostility towards non-Moslems doesn't mean we want to throw the good out. We'd just like to see a reform of the bad - something Christianity had to go through at this point in its development (actually fairly comparable in time, if you count from the number of centuries each has been around).

As a Christian I'd be most happy if people converted (willingly, without coersion) to Christianity (just as I'm sure a devout Moslem would be most happy if I submitted to the will of Allah and accepted Islam), but barring that I'm happy to live at peace with those who are willing to live at peace with me, at equal civil status with me (no second class citizenship for them but no Dhimmitude for me, either). My hopes - and yes, my prayers - are with the people of Iran struggling to wrest control of their country - and their faith from those who have seized control of it in their name.

People like myself want to see the counter-revolution succeed in Iran not because we wish ill on Iranians or Moslems, but because we'd like to see them have a better life and believe, along with the students of Iran, that their success will help bring them that, and that their country and people will never have a better life until the Islamist regime is overthrown (or is convinced to surrender power).
Unemployment rises to six percent even as jobless claims fell. People are reacting as if this were bad economic news, when what it probably signifies is people are re-entering the job market; some of those who had given up hope of finding work are now trying again. I'm not sure that can be classified as a bad sign.

Meanwhile, Japan is still in the dumper.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

This Jason Rylander post reminds me of Kerrey's appearance on Meet the Press a couple weeks ago. Tim Russert read to him a quote from Kennedy on taxes, and Kerrey DK'd it. When told it was Kennedy, he dismissed it offhandedly, "we're living in different times" or something to that effect. . .only good line Kerrey uttered. Yep, different times alright.
Women Must Be Doing Pretty Well if the crusade to get a Martha Stewart or Hillary Clinton or other wealthy woman into Augusta merits as much attention as the New York Times and the National Council of Women's Organizations (aka Martha Burk's front group) have given it. If this is the vital issue of the Fall and Winter of 2002 that merits not publishing even minor differences of opinion on the subject in order to avoid potentially derailing The Cause, then women must be doing very well indeed.

Note that I'm not saying that it is. I'm saying that if this is the premiere issue of a major Women's organization and of the nation's "paper of record" when it comes to advancing the cause of women's equality, then women must be doing very well. If anyone out there disagrees, I'll just add this: sometimes people are very puzzled as to why most women don't consider feminism or the woman's movement important to their daily lives. They can look no further than this for the answer. An issue that's completely irrelevant to 99.99% of America's women - has no affect whatsoever on their lives - but is all about getting already successful women into a golf club (Augusta isn't for those struggling with life's financial challenges) - says it all. The editors of the Times think it's a big deal, though. So who's out of touch with the "real needs of American women" here? forty plus articles on a issue that is at best a minor curiosity?

By the way, I noticed the Green Bay Packers have no female players or coaches. I suppose that will be the next Crusade for Women.
Germany Defaults on NATO Commitments: I guess I'm not going to say too much about this, except that, yah, for some, the first thing that's thrown overboard in a fiscal crisis is defense, regardless of commitments made and the international situation. Geitner Simmons is right. Indeed, one of the "NATO countries" he mentions, which specifically made such a commitment (and committed to increase their budget to support expanding their capabilities) was Germany. But the reader who's letter Instapundit published is also right in pointing out that there's hardly anything more useless than the German military.
New Jobless Claims at ninteen month low.
Something Sensible on the Europhobia vs Anti-Americanism Front. (as played out especially here). This part is particularly insightful:
But there is a bigger issue here, one that goes to the heart of Europhobia and anti-Americanism. Schroeder relied on an appeal to anti-Americanism to distract attention away from his failure as German Chancellor. He stoked the fires of resentment and bitterness in order to cover up the failure of his economic policies. In many respects this is what anti-Americanism is all about. It consists in an attempt by elements, primarily on the European left (though also some on the right), to resurrect the old anti-western, anti-liberal democratic critique of the now failed communists. When the Soviet Union fell, a large section of Europe’s leftist elite lost its spiritual and intellectual model. Today, these people have turned to anti-globalization and anti-Americanism, often using the institutions of the European Union as their conduit.

As for Europhobia, let me make it clear that I'm a "Euroskeptic" when it comes to the EU. I'm not fond of the EU. But I have nothing against Italy, Spain, Poland, Britain (obviously), Norway, Denmark, the Czech Republic, et al. I supported German Re-Unification on German terms (only to have my country insulted in Berlin), am fond of Greece (note my sig name) even though Greeks tend to be unfond of Americans, etc.

I would object less to how many European countries want to do things (even if I think they're mistaken, on economics for example) if they weren't so hell bent on imposing those methods on the U.S. As I've said, I have nothing against the countries of Europe subjecting themselves to the jurisdiction of the ICC, with its processes designed to reflect (continental) concepts of jurisprudence. I get my underwear in a bunch when they try to subject us to it's authority, in the face of our lack of consent. I, likewise, as I have pointed out in various debates, don't mind them making decisions on their own; what I object to is when, in the name of "multilateralism" or accusations of "unilateralism" they insist that we follow the course they're set on, even if we don't think it works for us. Those things are what are causing my attitude towards countries, such as Germany, that I once had nothing but affection for. Likewise, the Euro-media that most affects my impressions of their attitudes towards America is listening to the BBC every morning, not reading the Guardian or Le Monde, and you can't get any more "mainstream European media" than the BBC.

That's also the vein in which I derive my attitude towards the ambitions of the EU - a project that, as a means of economic liberalization and cooperation I also once had a quite different opinion of, because what we see now is a quite different EU. I haven't changed, but it has:
they have a purely instrumental view of power, one in which the ends of power are irrelevant. All that matters is getting power. In order to do so, the European Union, like the communists of yesteryear, is perfectly willing to run roughshod over Europe’s nations, its history and the wishes of the European people.
We've grinned like happy idiots and encouraged EU integration even as it's officials have become more and more openly antagonistic and confrontational. Colin also makes a point I've tried to make, that in talking about "Europe" what we're really talking about is a rather small segment of the population - what we might aptly call the nomenclatura class, the elites that are the motivating force behind the EU:
we shouldn’t attribute this historical view to all Europeans, it exists primarily among intellectuals and those who work in the international organization set.
Which is quite different from everyone living in France or all the British or German people, etc.
When I mentioned the Daily News the other day as the place Gore made outlined the VRWC II in, I was wrong. It was the NY Observer. Sorry for any confusion.
"That's Not Who we are", claimed one prominent Dem recently, who also prospered on these kind of tactics when he was running for office. Yep; the church burning commercials, et al, I remember those, too. Along with the chain-dragging ad run on behalf of his protege's campaign.
Nothing To Declare: Nothing to see here, move along. Just some of the things Iraq said it didn't have but would use in case of war. Never you mind about it, nothing more than we expected. Not a breach.
inspector Dimitri Perricos said, adding, "Of course we are interested, because it is a good quantity of mustard."
So now the Inspectors have something to spread on their sandwitches. Lets not make a big deal of this, nothing to go to war over or anything. Go back to sleep.
More on Islam's Golden Age, for those who don't just want the one-sided, selective view of things promulgated by the MultiCultists, can be seen in this article:
In 850, consistent with Koranic verses and hadith (sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) associating them with Satan and Hell, al-Mutawwakil decreed that Jews and Christians attach wooden images of devils to the doors of their homes to distinguish them from the homes of Muslims. Bat Ye’or summarizes the oppression of the dhimmis throughout the Abbasid empire under al- Mutawwakil as “..a wave of religious persecution, forced conversions, and the elimination of churches and synagogues..”.
Now my intent is no more to create an impression of a uniquely destructive Islam than I would try to create an impression of a uniquely destructive Christian West, nor create an impression of a uniquely virtuous Christian West as opposed to Islamic villainy. But all too often, because people are given selective historical details (emphasizing the worst of the West and highlighting only the most benign of Islamic - among other non-Western - Civilization), the opposite impression is created. It's important to remember that tolerance did not ride out of Arabia on horse and camel back in the 7th century. Islamic imperialism was not exceptionally worse - but also not exceptionally better - than most other such enterprises. Indeed, it could be said that what Christianity learned of Holy War (Crusades) and Charlemagne learned regarding the forced, violent conversion of the pagan Saxons, he did in emulation of Islam. Recall that Islam, in its conquest of Persia, had absolutely no tolerance for Zoroastrianism; they suppressed it ruthlessly and utterly. Their behavior was similar with respect to other pagan faiths they encountered. Justinian's closure of the pagan Academy in Athens seems positively benign compared to Islam's impact on pagans in Persia's capital, Ctesiphon.

We usually hear of the opposite examples - of how relatively enlightened and tolerant Islamic rule was in comparison with that of their neighbors. Those examples are often true (though also often exaggerated somewhat). But they are only one side of the coin.

Asside: Ironically, the branch of Christianity that suffered most from sustained Moslem attacks, Orthodoxy, never incorporated the concept of "Holy War" into its doctrines.
An Article on Trading Blocs in the Financial Times has this to say:
In the future as in the past, the outcome will be determined not by theory but by the policies of the main players. Developing countries are now more important than ever but it is the actions of the US and the European Union that will be decisive.

The EU is the source of the world's greatest trade discrimination - which will increase sharply as its membership expands - and the hub of the most extensive set of preferential deals with non-members. But Europe badly needs the outside pressure of global commitments to implement essential internal reforms, especially in agriculture. That outside pressure comes primarily from the Americans.

The US, as usual, remains the pivotal operator. There are two concerns about its will to lead Doha to a successful conclusion. One is that protectionist pressures will preclude any meaningful US liberalisation at all. Another is that its new zeal for preferential negotiations will sidetrack its traditional multilateral predilections. The first concern is misplaced. Recent actions on steel and farm subsidies, though noxious and politically motivated, were essential in winning congressional approval of trade promotion authority, without which the US could not negotiate any liberalisation. A successful Doha package will in fact require and enable Washington to roll back its agricultural supports and to tighten its safeguards to prevent future abuses.

America's new penchant for preferential deals is also readily understood. Robert Zoellick, US trade representative, is pressing for "competitive liberalisation" - bilateral, regional and global - to place pressure on non-members of individual free trade agreements either to join the group itself or to conclude broader agreement. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement preferences in the US market induce other Latin American countries to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas, as an FTAA would in turn spur the Doha round.
Which I suppose I have little to add to. Sounds about right. I've long thought the atrocious Steel Tarrifs and Farm Bill were part of a broader strategy aimed not at increased protectionism but at liberalization. Yes, sounds paradoxical - strategy is often paradoxical (that moron Bush understands strategy a ot better than his more sophisticated critics) - but we're seeing it play out that way as America's trade policies develop:
Even the strongest critics of US trade policy should thus be reassured by the sweeping proposals Washington has now made for Doha: elimination of all tariffs on agricultural and industrial trade, massive cuts in farm subsidies and liberalisation of services. The US is willing to eliminate all tariffs, including on some clothing and other "sensitive" items, and sharply trim its own farm subsidies. It is willing to give a lot if it can obtain a lot in return.
I hope it works out.
It's Too Bad that this article is on the Subscriber Side. But the teaser is spot on:
The BBC rarely misses an opportunity to perpetuate every available negative stereotype about America and its current government.
Among other things.

Meanwhile, the monetary future of europe is in the hands of a guy with this hair. Ok, ok, at least they finally lowered rates.
Clinton - Blair parallels just keep piling up in interesting ways. What's with Cherie, though? She's way behind Hillary!!©.
Hong Kong Banks seem to be having a healthy reaction to China's latest proposals.
I Bet We'll See this sooner than you think.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

"Chilling Effect" Watch: It started about this time a year ago, and lasted several months. Various (invariably Liberal) writers wringing their hands over the "stifling of dissent" and "chilling effect on free speech" that various criticisms of Leftists hostile to what Bush and the Republicans were doing.

A couple months ago I had another "Watch" - related to whether the Snipers affiliations would be treated in the news the same way that McVey's were. We know how that turned out.

So with Daschle, Gore, Clinton, et al coming down on various Right-Wing commentators and saying they need to "watch what they say" (again, shades of last year) and identifying them with Islamic Fundamentalism (Daschle), a Fifth Column (Gore), and engines of destruction (Clinton), I've started to look out for the articles, written (of course) by the same people, lamenting the "chilling effect on speech" and "stifling of dissent" that these criticisms could cause.

But I haven't seen any. Not yet. I'll keep looking, waiting for Kinsley et al to show consistency (yes, I know it could be a long wait). I've decided to enlist my readers. Anyone who sees a column worrying about how the latest salvos by Liberals could undermine diversity of opinion and stifle dissent, please send me a link.

Don't bother sending me links to anything rationalizing it by saying "this is different" - I already know that they never react the same when the shoe is on the other foot. Likewise, if anyone wants to say that they learned they were wrong last time around and that's why they aren't writing similar columns about this, please send me the link to the column where they admitted they were wrong and apologized.

There will be semi-regular updates on the "Chilling Effect Watch" (which I predict will be: "Nothing yet") and I'll post any apropos links that readers send: again, of columns lamenting the possible "stifling of dissent" and "chilling effect on speech" that Daschle, Gore, Clinton et al may be creating, written by the people who wrote of such concerns last year. Thanks in advance for your help with this search (fruitless as it will prove to be).

Also, no one has to send me a mail saying "don't hold your breath waiting for such columns". I'm not. I don't expect to see them, either. But here's my challenge: Prove Me Wrong by showing me such columns.
Tim Noah, apologist for evil. I have little to add beyond what Andrew Sullivan had to say. Among other things revealed in the litany of Saddam's Regime's S&M carnivale is the fact that he has a "professional rapist" on staff. Perhaps Noah wants to compare real rape with "rape fantasy" and say there's no distinction.

Well, if nothing else will convince Noah, one of the things revealed is Saddam's torturers burn hot cigarettes into the flesh of their victims. I know Noah won't be turned by that (after all, one man's pain is another's pleasure). But that means that Saddam is exposing these people to the perils of second-hand smoke. As a good Liberal, I know Noah can't abide that (as he writes in the article "This is shaky ground for liberals (like Chatterbox), who on the one hand strongly advocate. . .steep cigarette taxes").

Noah no doubt would absolutely condemn the same tactics if they were conducted by a Pinochet or a Franco. That makes it pretty obvious why he's doing what he can to make light of it in the case of a National Socialist like Saddam Hussein. That isn't pretty, either. I never had contempt for Noah before, but all I can say now is this is dispicable. And people out there who respect Noah are de-linking LGF. . .

The only thing I can think of that would cause Noah to write something like this, other than he's a twisited, sick fuck, willing to come up with strained rationalizations for methods Leftist Dictatorships employ on dissidents is that the article is a troll. But, come to think of it, that's hardly better. Noah can't write this and have anything he might have to say on the subject of human or civil rights and liberties taken seriously. Minimizing or blurring the distinction between consentual behavior and vicious flesh-gouging where no "safe words" are involved is perverse, intellectually and morally. It also evidences a lack of understanding of what actually goes on - what is actually done to people - so grotesque as to reflect complete ignorance.
More On These So-Called "Inspections": So they're taking a couple hours (at most) looking into these sites. It struck me while driving on my daily errand run for my job today that I often need that much time just to find my own stuff in my own house (which isn't exactly the Kennedy Compound) - looking into boxes or stacks of books and the like, if I haven't used it in awhile.

Anyone want to claim these are serious searches, where they wander around a building for an hour or two and then drive off for an early meal?
You Know, it Just Dawned On Me, every time I hear the phrase "Arab Street" now, I crack up. I can't help it.
Some Alternative Views on Kissinger. I still maintain the guy is questionable at best and Bush could easily have selected someone better to chair the commission.
Political Correctness run amok.
Michael Kramer says Saddam is winning the PR battle. If so, and it may very well be so, it's because our "allies" in Europe would rather believe a National Socialist, Stalinist Dictator than a Conservative Republican Reaganite President. Kramer's right on the folly of inspections, too:
The first, the possibility that the inspectors actually might find something, has always been the longest shot of all. Their predecessors rarely found anything. And since the inspections stopped four years ago, Saddam has had more than enough time to hide whatever bad stuff he has. Certainly, cosmetic intrusions like the two-hour walk-through of one of Saddam's presidential palaces yesterday have zero chance of turning up anything not in plain sight.
It's pretty obvious that "inspections" that have averaged less than an hour are nothing but show. More on that at USS Clueless, where Steven points out:
It's hardly surprising that Iraq and the UN inspectors have cooperated so famously. (Or infamously, given that Iraq was given a day's notice of one of the "surprise" inspections.) They both have the same goal for the process, which is to make absolutely certain that nothing happens which could be used by the US as an excuse for war.
But back to Kramer's article where, in the end, this is spot on, too:
And then? "And then, if he goes to war, only the results will matter," says a Qatari official involved in readying his country for use as an American war-fighting headquarters. "If the war is successful - and quick - all the bitching won't matter. If it bogs down, there will be hell to pay. But frankly, that would be the case even if the Security Council endorses a fight. At the end of the day, this war will be like all others: Victory will be its own justification."
So it doesn't much matter, with respect to Iraq, that our "allies" are willing dupes of Saddam because they distrust America more. But it is quite revealing, and I, for one, will remember this for a looong time.
The Roots of Anti-Americanism are Marxist roots. (Link via Glenn Reynolds). No quotes from it since it should be read as a whole.
Radical Islamism Sweeping Turkey? Think again:
[E]xit polls and informal talks with Turkish voters suggest that many voted for the AKP because of its clean record in administration in large cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, rather than for its muted religious history. Rejection of the incompetent and corrupt secular regimes had far more to do with AKP’s victory -- and CHP’s -- than the AKP’s proposing to lift the army-imposed ban on women’s wearing Islamic headscarves at universities and official places.
There's also the fact that various secular parties collectively garnered as much support as the AKP, but because of their fractured nature (many little parties, instead of a united party - kind of like the state of the Conservatives in Canada, but even moreso) none of them qualified for Parliament.
Productivity Gains in U.S. continue to be large and impressive.
Winter of Discontent II still so far developing as farce.

Now, I sort of sympathize with the students, but from what I heard on BBC World News Digest this morning, their argument boils down to the following
Protester: This country needs to value education, and show it by providing more money. Educated people give the country great benifit because their higher wages contribute more to tax revenues, so government should be willing to put more into education. We [protesters] value education. I value education.

Reporter: So then why shouldn't you pay some, since education will benifit you, and you value it?

Protester: Well, I don't value it that much. Not enough to pay for some myself.
Much better that some poor sod pony up so Britain's future elites can get the education they deserve without having to be out-of-pocket.

All that said, I do support government providing money for education, including university (in the U.S. constitutional questions and questions of effectiveness of local vs. central control are important, but I certainly think the State I live in should spend more). But Britain's does. They're just asking those who are receiving the education to pay part - not all, or even most - of the cost.
Limits of Iraqi Cooperation of course.
Regarding Glenn's TCS column from today. Glenn writes "The news market has certainly changed, and Fox certainly is to the right of Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, and even of CNN."

As someone who gets (or perhaps that should be "gets") to listen to Dan Rather's daily radio commentary frequently, it's arguable that Gore is to the right of Dan Rather. Or at least the old, DLC Gore certainly was. It's pretty hard to get to CNN's Left. NPR tries, but it's nip and tuck. Pacifica is to CNN's left. To say nothing of PMSNBC which tries to out-PBS PBS (Donahue has long been a poor-man's Bill Moyers, and Chris Mathews has cloven closer and closer to his Tip O'Neil roots since Bush was elected).

They have a perfect right to be who they are - just as Fox News et al does. But I'm not sure if this makes Gore "half-right" or if it rebuts his point (and Clinton's at the DLC's. . .this is seeming like a Talking Point - while they accuse the Right of having talking points). The problem for Gore and Democrats is that there's now a true intellectual marketplace of ideas, true diversity of viewpoints on the air - not the carefully managed "balance" of the Old Media, but outlets that, since they are not controlled by the usual suspects (but actually influenced by people who - shockingly - have a different point of view than the genial consensus Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Ted Turner, et al represented - a solidly liberal consensus). It is something they are unprepared for, since they're not used to being challenged except in 1) a carefully managed way and 2) from a liberal perspective, Dan Rather encouraging them to be more themselves (his commentaries from the Clinton era were akin to Jack Kemp's "Let Reagan be Reagan" saying - Let Clinton be Clinton. His commentaries in the Bush era seem to come straight from Tom Daschle press conferences and DNC press releases. Go back and check the last several month's worth, if you don't believe me). Thus they're disconcertion.

To be fair to Glenn, he mentions the generally Liberal nature of the still-dominant media (for all Fox News's success, or Rush Limbaugh's, most people still get what they know from the networks, NYT, et al). But IMO he cedes Gore too much of a point in not pointing out these things. Especially since what we have here, as is often the case, is the Democrats projecting onto their opponents their own methods: something gets started in DNC headquarters (Tom Daschle spoke of what "experts" told him about Rush's success, for example, which kind of gives away the game of where he got the information that led to his tirade), then it spreads out to the Left media (NY Daily News interview with Gore takes up the same points, Clinton includes it in a speech and it gets covered again, etc), and then fills the mainstream and is taken seriously by those who share their general view of the world.

Now, finally, there are media options where that world-view is not the controlling one. They reveal something about themselves with this reaction to the expression of diverse points of view that aren't theirs and aren't managed by newsrooms controlled by "people like us". What they reveal isn't something healthy, and is in point of fact a rebuttal of the claim that their side is the one that stands for open minded intellectual tolerance. But, then, they already revealed that on the Universities. This is, in point of fact, just the baby steps of taking such arguments out of the University context (radio talk show hosts that criticize Tom Daschle or Affirmative Action programs need to watch what they say because hate speech = violence, blah blah blah).
Superior European Engineering shines again.
U.S. Wants tighter sanctions while Our Moral Superiors want to eliminate all sanctions on Iraq so they can go back to the good old days of arms deals with Saddam. Which side will prevail in this one?

Probably won't matter because I expect Saddam's regime to be gone before it comes to a head.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

You Know, I remember having a e-mail and blog chat with a British bloke who said he wanted Germany to elect Schroeder so it would show America. . .something (how disliked we were or whatever), to punish us for being us.

Well, the Germans elected Schroeder. But they have to live with him, not us. So it's another instance (like with the EU defense force) where Europe does something to screw over Uncle Sam and it mainly screws them and doesn't affect America one way or the other.

Kind of like Wile E. Coyote, Supra Genius, who's bombs always blow up in is face. Come to think of it, they're always telling everyone how great they are, intellectually, compared with Americans, too. Gerhard E. Schroeder, Supra Genius.
Brad Wardell comments on Steven Den Beste's post on the future of Europe from yesterday.

The point Brad makes is fine and I'm not disputing it with respect to GDP. But Steven's point was closer to technological creativity, innovation, etc - not simply measuring GDP to see who's is biggest. His point was also in respect to how innovation helps improve living standards. A question will arise in ten or twenty years - it's already starting to arise - as Europeans then compare their living standards with Americans. Will they still be as happy as Brad implies they are now?

There's also the issue of the demographic/social program crunch, which isn't the same as "Who's Got the Biggest GDP". Yes, Europeans (and pretty much everyone) love having lots of time off from work and the like. Who's going to (keep) paying for (more of) it? Eventually not enough people are doing enough of the work needed to generate the wealth required to keep the Europeans in the relaxed lifestyles to which they've become accustomed. The immigrants, who in Europe (as opposed to the U.S.) are often on the dole themselves, aren't going to pay for that. And they certainly shouldn't expect it to come from foreign aid given by the U.S. (which is in part what suggestions that America "participate properly" by paying for R&D efforts then giving them to the EU gratis so that they can take extended vacations).

Gains in productivity brought on by innovation (technological and otherwise) will help the U.S. deal with its own demographic crunch (that and the fact that immigrants who come here, by and large do work, not end up on welfare), so it will sustain a growing standard of living without having to work harder ("working smarter"). Europe doesn't have that going for it. That, not simple size of GDP, is the problem. And no, one can't just buy that off the shelf (import it from the U.S.) and have it be the same.

Their situation is not sustainable. See also here.
Unilateralist U.S. Promises to to check Saddam's list twice (don't worry - he'll be found to be naughty, not nice). Meanwhile, Unilateralist U.S. rounds up more support for action against Saddam.

You know, when we do go, I hope we'll say "thanks but no thanks, you ingrates" when the French try to foist one of their Armored Divisions (probably the 6th) on us so they can claim to have supported the effort the whole time and thus deserve in on decisions, after having spent all year trying to sabotage everything.

I know, I know. We won't turn them down. That's something we "unilateralist bully" Americans Just Don't Do. They'll get in, we'll pretend they were true pals the whole time, and they'll set us up for the next time. But I dearly wish we'd say "bugger off".
Some More FT Articles on the continuing saga of an effort to create a EU Military Farce. . .er, Force.

The first one is by Anand Menon, who thinks the whole exercise is a pointless, if not destructive, waste:
The latest Franco-German proposals to further the EU's defence ambitions highlight the follies of the project. In effect, Paris has acquiesced to Germany's military ineffectiveness in return for Berlin's acceptance of French institutional obsessions that would disconnect the EU from Nato.
And since I can't say this often enough myself, I'll let Menon say it for me this time
The capabilities gap between the two sides of the Atlantic has reached a point where the Europeans cannot fight alongside their American allies - even if invited to do so - because their military hardware is too backward. Yet building an EU defence capability is not going to remedy this. The popularity of the Union among its public is about as low as it has ever been - so this is hardly a propitious time to increase spending in its name. Moreover, it is precisely those states - Germany for example, where one would have expected the legitimizing force of the EU to be greatest - that are proving most unwilling to raise defence expenditure. In Britain, where spending in order to strengthen the EU is hardly a vote- winner, the military budget has recently risen quite steeply.
Here, by the way, is another example of where someone says "Europe" so as to not mean to include Britain - Britain is obviously not among those "Europeans [who] cannot fight alongside their American allies."

Britain has only itself to blame, though, if they don't like getting lumped in with those others. When they dropped the healthy attitude exemplified by the headline "Fog Shrouds Channel. Europe Cut Off" and signed onto membership in "Europe" (as embodied in the EU), well, they had to expect that British distinctiveness would start to get lost in the fogs of continental Europe.
Should Europeans acquire the requisite hardware, they will then need adequate structures within which to pursue military co-operation.
A point I tried to make here with respect to how masses of half-trained conscripts do not go hand in glove with a technological military.

There are some other things I've been trying to say, too, but rather than repeat them myself I'll just let Menon do it for me:
Most important, whatever their pretensions to a greater military capacity, the Europeans will for the foreseeable future depend on US military assistance. Yet the Americans suspect that European defence ambitions are motivated by a desire for competition with the US, not co-operation. French demands for European autonomy in military planning do little to assuage US concerns.
Which is just so, and why the EU shouldn't hold it's breath waiting for us to transfer military technology to them so that they can
    1) Not end up building up their forces anyhow, but instead

    2) Use it to compete with America in overseas markets.
Just keep waiting for that to happen, Jaques.
Nato, while far from a perfect organization, suffers from few if any of the drawbacks that encumber the EU.
Which also explains why, when we see Our European Friends determined to build up defense institutions outside of NATO, we find their assertions that they've only got the best interests of the alliance at heart somewhat unconvincing.

The other FT column is this editorial by the FT itself. It goes hand in glove with the one above:
The sniping has started over European Union defence. France and Germany have loosed off an opening volley to the EU's constitutional convention by proposing that the EU treaty should give collective security guarantees and cover arms procurement agencies and markets. Britain has fired back. It told the convention that defence guarantees should stay in the one organization, Nato, with the integrated command structure able to honour them.
Which would seem to be smart - after all, why go to the effort to build up a completely new security structure when NATO already exists? Unless, that is, one wants to cut the Americans out of the loop. But we're told how these are our allies, and it's America's attitude, not European actions, that are creating whatever rift might be forming. But the facts don't support such assertions.
The EU is therefore starting to haggle over European defence, just as many thought it substantially settled within Nato. The alliance's Prague summit agreed the concept of a Nato response force enabling crack European troops. . .
I guess out of interest of Atlanticism I won't say anything about "crack European troops". It would be unfair, anyhow, since there really are some good troops among the European forces. It's just the (vast) majority that are ill-trained conscripts waiting to muster out. But, yes, they could certainly find 21,000 decent troops. The circle that can't be squared is that some want those forces to go to a EU force, while others see them as forming the basis of a NATO rapid reaction force. They don't really have enough resources to do both.
But before the antagonists dig themselves in they should bear two things in mind. The first is that extraneous political factors are probably exaggerating the real split on defence between Britain and its two main EU partners, especially France. Paris is very keen to revive its flagging partnership with Berlin. So the Franco-German defence paper focuses on making EU defence "communautaire" in just the way the French know the Germans like, and the British don't.
I have no clue whatsoever why the gang at the FT thinks the second half of that paragraph supports the assertion of the first half that the split is "exaggerated". Indeed, the simple fact that France wants to re-forge the Berlin-Paris Consortium, which was one of the things that puts Britain off in the first place, is evidence of how deep and apparently permanent, this split is, and not just on defense matters.
The second thing to underline is that the planned EU and Nato expeditionary forces can be complementary, precisely because they will be different.
If you're living in a never-never land where the EU has dedicated enough money and resources to outfit both forces, then that's true. However, as Menon points out, there isn't a constituency in the EU countries for increasing the defense budgets enough to allow for reality to match ambition on this. They can probably manage one, smallish force. They are unlikely to manage both. Unless they want to continue with the practice of declaring the EU one operational regardless of any true capability. But we get to the real, underlaying point:
Because the two forces will draw partly on the same troops, there will be overlap. But if the US participates properly in the Nato force, its presence should raise the quality of any elements of that force that end up under EU command.
The purpose of the NATO force, for EU supporters, isn't to create expanded defense capabilities (there will be "overlap"), but to compel technology transfers from America which will then be used to enhance the EU. If this doesn't happen, or if the whole thing proves a sham, then they can scapegoat the U.S. for failure.

What's the point of creating "two" forces if they will rely on the same troops? Military forces are better when they're able to operate as one coherent structure - obviously, creating a "NATO" structure and a "EU" structure that each partially depends on the same units, but is also partly separate (thus requiring two different sorts of training exercises, two different logistical structures, two different chains of command, etc) is militarily. . .stupid. One force will be a sham (I should say "at least one force will be a sham". It's possible that both will turn out to be ineffective). So this is:
So the synergies could be positive.
Obviously false from the point of view of military effectiveness. So it becomes pretty clear what they mean by "positive synergy" within the context of saying if the U.S. participates "properly" in the NATO force then the capabilities of a separate, EU military where the "proper" participation of the U.S. is "none" will be increased. It's a game of fuck-your-buddy.
Two NYT Articles on Henry Kissinger. One here and one here. An unlikely Raines-Porpy Anti-Kissinger Axis could be forming. There is one difference, though. While the gang at the NYT can be relied upon to confront Kissinger, they absolutely will not touch Mitchell.
Uh-Oh Dick Morris is saying "this is the UN's last chance". What troubles me is, given Morris' track record, that means the UN has eternal life regardless of what happens.
My English Friend has a few things to say about that American Enterprise article.
In fact - based again on my own experience with Americans, Americans have a really hard time dealing with rivalry.
I suppose we just don't see "rival" and "ally" as meaning the same thing. In international relations it often does. We also tend to see "ally" and "friend" meaning the same thing. . .when that's manifestly untrue. Though I intellectually understand that nations don't have "friends" (there are a few exceptions, a very few exceptions, across all of history, and America is fortunate because we have experienced a couple such exceptions. But even the "true friendships" between nations tend to last about as long as a Hollywood Marriage), it's never the less hard to shake that, and when one sees a "friend" (really "rival") doing all they can to screw you over for their own advantage (often while talking about what good friends they are. . .), as with Germany et al, it's hard for an American to stomach. Jacksonians, at least. The Wilsonians and TPers tend not to mind - they believe they deserve to get kicked around. They understand other countries pursuing their own interests at the expense of others - they just don't understand when their own does.

But, yah; I understand rivalry. I just don't believe "rival" and "ally" go hand in hand, nor do I treat rivals the same way I would treat an ally. What this might mean is that in some areas we are allies, and in others, rivals - but that means that behavior towards each other is different in different contexts. Well, LTB reminded me the other day of Germany's obligations as an ally to the U.S. and how Germany wasn't behaving as an ally. That was spot on. Americans who are unhappy with Germany are so because we don't have the same expectations of an ally as we do of a rival (China we think of as a "strategic competitor", that's why Americans aren't as ticked at China for behaving as they have, as we are with our "allies", even if the allies have been slightly more helpful than China). If Germany - and the EU - wants to be a rival to the U.S., then they should expect to be treated not as an ally of the U.S., but as a rival. The problem is so many Europeans want it both ways. (Speaking of which, here's a little debate between Chris Patten and Richard Perle; Perle raises a point that might be of interest to LTB on another front, related to why the UN is seen as "legitimizing" anything.)

Also, Toryboy writes from a British perspective. In almost all these cases, and I believe that's true with the AE article here, when an American writes about "Europe" in such a way, they don't mean "Britain". They mean continental Europe - and, actually, not even all of that (Eastern Europe is quite a different matter. Much of Scandinavia - such as Norway - is not to be lumped in with France and Germany, etc). Indeed, as he says, many (indeed most) of Europe's people don't necessarily share the attitudes that are described in these articles. They refer to an attitude of a certain segment of the population. However, as I know LTB knows better than I do, in most of these countries the opinions, beliefs, and feelings of the majority of people often don't count for much (there's another article in that issue of American Enterprise, not online, unfortunately - it's only in the magazine - that details how the EU makes laws. Hint: there's insignificant democratic accountability. The opinions, and needs, of most people aren't much of a consideration). What these articles discuss are the attitudes of the policy makers - "elites" if you will. The people guiding Europe and shaping the EU. This tension highlights this remark of his:
I honestly do believe that there is a bond between the UK and the USA and one which, if it is weakened, is not weakened by us, but more by our association with those who have always been vitrolicially anti-American, such as the French.
I would say that over the last year plus the bond of affection between Britain and America has, at least from the American perspective, strengthened, even while that between America and the rest of "Europe" has weakened significantly. However, eventually Britain is going to be faced with a choice - one they'll have to make, not us and not France - regarding whether they value their ties with an increasingly friction-generating EU more or with America more. It isn't as if they cannot reach a trade agreement with the EU while keeping arms-length from it's more destructive practices, as Norway did. Or perhaps become the core of a reformist movement, which may be strengthened when the more market-oriented and sensible foreign-policy oriented Eastern European countries join. But to do that they're going to have to face down the guidons of the EU, and it may be too late for that.
On the guns issue, I'd just mention this and leave it at that for now.

Extraneous: Btw, Rob, did you get the ICQ's I sent you today?

Update This Regions of Mind post (via Instapundit) quotes a good point made by DLCer Peter Ross Range of the DLC:
It's important to remember that Germans, like most Europeans, have no worldwide foreign policy. They have some global aspirations, such as permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council, but they have no global vision. Instead, they have interests, they have relationships, and they have a strong notion of process — of how nations should ideally relate to one another (mainly through international institutions). But they have little developed sense of power and its uses. . .
Lots more in that post, including some apt points made by Geitner Simmons himself. But the hostility of Europeans to any American President who does not resemble the broadly Social-Democratic consensus of the continent (they had the same reaction to Reagan as they're having to Bush) is troubling, all the more given that they're not going to go away for the duration. We're not going to surrender our political spectrum to get along with the EU. This is all by of this ongoing debate about the role of America in the world.
Scenes Deleted From latest LotR movie should be seen. What is it they don't want you to know?
All Ducks are almost in a row for Iraq:
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz today launched a mission to press Turkey to allow the United States to use its military bases and to provide military assistance for a possible war with Iraq. By winning a formal pledge of cooperation, Wolfowitz would complete the lineup of regional allies ready to help in an attack against the government of President Saddam Hussein.
The article mentions Saud Arabia as one of the nations already having given permission, but I don't think that's true. Meanwhile, Iraq says they will file their report on Saturday, but it won't include any of the weapons Iraq says they'll use in the event of war. They say they don't have those weapons they say they'll use if they are attacked. So no wonder the U.S. reaction is that they're not serious
"The declaration must be credible and complete, or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated he has chosen not to change his behaviour," Mr Bush said.

The White House would not say whether Mr Bush's language was a sign he would immediately move towards military action if Mr Hussein did not make a full disclosure.
But the usual suspects are less troubled by Saddam's non-compliance than they are by the nation they try to pretend they're allies with
But his remarks could trouble European allies, who fear the US will not give inspectors time to complete their work.
Which pretty much shows they're not serious about getting Saddam to comply with the Resolutions - they are serious, however, about keeping him in power regardless of his behavior.

Thus they look at the "inspectors" one way - as a means of prevarication, while America sees a completely different purpose in inspections:
"In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of the last 11 years?" Bush said in a speech at the Pentagon, where he signed a $355.5 billion defense spending measure. "Has he decided to cooperate willingly and comply completely, or has he not? So far the signs are not encouraging."
So no wonder there's friction on this. Meanwhile, the opening salvos of the naval war may already have been fired.

Update: and don't miss this nearly-true story.

Tolerance in the Golden Age of Islam and just how far it extended.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Significant Discourse on how things are done in Europe and how that means they're buggered at USS Clueless.

It strikes me that America is essentially trapped into taking the "callously utilitarian" approach to Europe's brain drain problem, because every time we make even the mildest suggestions that they reform their economies, liberalize, lower taxes, etc, it raises charges of "U.S. bullying! America trying to make everyone do everything their way!" Thus the current attitude of Europe seems to be a self-sustaining vicious cycle that we are powerless to alter, and can do *nothing* but the best we can under the circumstances, which happens to be "callously utilitarian" and cross our fingers and hope for the best. If anyone has any ideas that might actually help, I'd love to hear 'em, because contrary to what some might think I don't relish the growing rift between America and Europe.

Steven writes:
That's part of why I write about the subject now and again. I don't want to belabor it, but about the only thing we in the US can do is to try to point out that the Socialist emperor has no clothes.

But this is a problem that the Europeans will have to solve, and that means they'll have to face them. If they refuse to do so, there's little we in the US can do about it.
Which I suppose is about right.

Update: More here.
You Know, Glenn Reynolds is right about this. I for one wanted to see more of this kind of action. It might be because it seems to be a small segment right now (that it's getting less attention than it deserves). But nothing starts big, and folks like myself should be more encouraging of things we want to see rather than just critical of the opposite.

I didn't play up the "Saud Ambassador Princess Gave Moolah to al-Queda" thing, because that just seemed like more of the same. But that's all the more reason for cheering on American Moslems who are speaking out for more thoroughly insuring that the money they give goes to the good causes (something a lot of us could do better at, frankly) they think they're giving to.

Also, let me make one more point. A lot of Americans - non-Moslem Americans - gave money over the years to Irish "charities" that funded the IRA, while others supported various other "freedom fighters" that terrorized the populations they claimed to be "liberating". Some of us shouldn't throw stones at our Moslem fellow citizens, if we hadn't spoken out about how appalling that was (not to pat myself on the back too much, but I always thought that was odious and said so whenever the opportunity arose). American Moslems may prove to be faster at condemning rather than supporting terrorists than some non-Moslem Americans have been with other terroristic organizations of "their kind" (be it the IRA or, say, Central American "revolutionaries", etc). That should be recognized, too.
Sometimes There Are Interesting Juxtipositions like in this story:
The Supreme Court heard argument Monday on whether the U.S. government has a legal obligation to maintain or repair facilities at Fort Apache in Arizona.

A lower court has ruled in favor of the White Mountain Apache, who own the land on which the fort is located.

The Apaches want to preserve the buildings on the fort. . .
I'm not making any comments on the merits of the case in question one way or another. It's just - for whatever reason, I found it ironic is I suppose the best word. Humorous, given all we're supposed to know about these things.
A Lot of People warned that Hong Kong would end up losing liberty under China. Others said that wouldn't happen because China wouldn't want to "kill the goose that laid the golden egg". But such assertions relied on the flawed premise that the rulers of China knew what was involved in creating the "golden egg" in the first place.

If they knew that, they wouldn't have been Communist Oligarchs in the first place.
One of the Things that Disturbed Me while I was away from Blogging were the appointments to the 9/11 task force. Bush appointed Kissinger, while the Dems selected Mitchell. Neither choice is a good one.

Though he denies it, Kissinger has associations that make it hard to believe he'll really look into everything. He's also a tainted man, who's questionable (at best) actions during his time in government leave him with less-than-sterling credibility. And that's being generous to him. Bush could have made a far better appointment; one could rattle off half a dozen people that don't have Kissinger's problems.

Mitchel's appointment signaled that the Democrats plan to be as partisan as possible. He's always been a hatchet-man. He's not as bad as Kissinger, but that's not saying much in his favor. He'll be good only in the sense that he'll work tirelessly to cover up any responsibility that Democratic initiated policies contributed to the failures that caused Sept. 11th, while Kissinger works tirelessly to protect his pals.

Kissinger is a bought man, and there's evidence he has blood on his hands while Mitchell is a throughly partisan hack. So we know what this commission is going to be like.
Most of the Anti-War Gang used the argument that "if Iraq is such a problem, why aren't their neighbors in favor of war". Well, all along plenty of us have said that they are. It seems even the NYT has had to recognize that now.
That Moron keeps stumbling upon good policy proposals.
George W. Bush is getting down to business - but not business as usual. At the price of once again being labelled as unilateral, the president has a fighting chance to prove that overseas aid can work
How does he do it, when his intellectual betters can't? Must be some insidious American plot. The Stonecutters are probably behind it all.

Update: Of course it could just be that Bush, being a simplistic American, believes the point of giving aid is to make for improvements in the lives of the people living in the countries receiving the aid. Our more sophisticated betters realize that the purpose of aid is self-congradulatory in nature.
These Are the Good Guys, they elevate the level of debate at every opportunity.

Feel their goodness wash over you in a wave. If people want to play this game, ask yourself which side of the political divide has engaged most in tactics resembling that of Fascists lately - from the "win at all costs, the law is an obstacle to be overcome in the pursuit of power" shenanigans of New Jersey, to the near-torchlit Wellstone Death Rally, to hyperbolic rhetoric aimed at demonizing anyone (Rush, say) who's expressing the other side's views effectively, to this. (See also here).

Anyone who wants to play "Who's More National Socialist Than Thou" may get more than they bargained for. But I'll try and keep my reaction in check. Again.
We Will Harmonize You, France and Germany promoting a plan to compel harmonization throughout the EU. Wanna guess if they plan on having it set at Irish levels, or at their own (high) levels of taxation?

You know, this reminds me. Lots of Europeans complain of "U.S. bullying", but then in order to create something to "counterbalance" the U.S. they argue that Europe should submit to dictats from the Holy Belgian Empire that are far more intrusive and onerous than even the most "jingoistic American" imaginable would dream of. No wonder people come to the conclusion that it isn't "bullying" these people are against, they're just agains the U.S.
The Propaganda Arm of Dictatorships includes, at times, the BBC (via Andrew Sullivan). Of course, the Germans and the UN are involved.
By the Way, apropos of nothing in particular, remember how William Jefferson Clinton got a major (aka "huge") advance to write his memoirs? The Gores are out with two books (admittedly, no one's read them, but I can believe they wrote them themselves). Where's Clinton's?
Our European Friends (via Glenn Reynolds).
One Reason why North Korea is a different case from Iraq is that China and Russia, among others, are more serious about keeping North Korea from arming itself with nukes.
Still Clueless after all these years, James Rubin argues that just sending a personal note to Saddam assuring him of our best wishes for his continued dictatorship will clear up accusations of a hidden agenda et al. What is this Rubin guy smoking?
Like I've Been Saying, that dude is dead.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

In Case Anyone is Curious I spent my Thanksgiving with my sister and father. I was thankful for, among other things, a few days off from Blogging (now back to the fray), and having been blessed enough to be born and live in this nation.
Someone in Palestinian Circles finally getting a clue.
Since Iraq Has assured the UN that it doesn't have any, and since of course nations will deal with the UN in such a honest way that no messy things like armies or nations acting to protect their vital interests matter any more, these Iraqi threats to use WMD in the event of war are simply bluster that we can discount. Of course they need to salvage their pride and dignity while they submit to the demands of the international community's multilaterally achieved consensus to send inspectors back in.

My only question is this: if Iraq is so honest that the UN can be relied upon to solve this without any threat of force from cowboy Americans, then why are they claiming they'll use weapons that they claim to not have?