Saturday, December 21, 2002

A Sentiment Armed Liberal Would Likely Agree With, Glenn Reynolds distinguishes modern Liberalism from that of a previous era:
I have to say, though, that while today's liberalism may be inadequate to current events, I think that the more muscular liberalism of previous decades -- the kind favored by the anticommunist Cold War liberals, for example -- would have been up to the task. One of the problems facing liberalism is that it has made lefty academics and journalists into its party theoreticians, and they're not up to the job.
You've got the New Left and their march into Liberal institutions such as the academy and the Democratic Party to blame for that situation. In part. The other part is why Liberal leaders let them become the "party theoreticians". I don't think Truman would have. Why did the Liberal establishment capitulate to what amounted to the ideological equivalent of a hostile takeover, without any real resistance (Henry "Scoop" Jackson and his adherents to the contrary notwithsdanding; most of Liberaldom surrendered seemingly gladly in the end)?
Rights or What? In an otherwise excellent post, which I have no real quarrel with, David Adesnik writes:
"Now, I happen to agree with Dionne that the principle of states' rights has generally been invoked in order to defend inexcusable local privileges"
I'd be the first to concede that the cry "state's rights" has been tainted by its association with those who invoke it. However, for better or worse, it is the usual case with *rights* that they are invoked in controversial instances. Would Dionne (or you) dismiss the concept of freedom of speech because it has generally been invoked to defend (otherwise) inexcusable utterances from censorship? If it wasn't for recognition of the right to Freedom of Speech and the right to Petition the Government for Address of Grievances, why, the Political Speech Regulation Act of 2002 (aka Campaign Finance Reform) might have actually been passed into law and signed . . .oh, wait. Bad example.

The point is, people don't generally need to be reminded to respect a right except in questionable instances where they would otherwise intervene. So E.J. Dionne's seemingly profound observation is really a banal one.

If one believes that rights exist in the first place, they are invoked precisely in those cases where otherwise something would not be "allowed". The proper response in the American system if one truly thinks something is inexcusable is Constitutional Amendment - such as the 14th and 15th Amendments (which, among other Constitutional protections, those invoking "states rights" to defend Jim Crow and Segregation were engaged in violating. The "problem" with the invocation of states rights was that it was inapt) - or reform within the state in question itself, using political processes available in all the states. But perhaps the CFR example that I used isn't a bad example after all - rationalizations for why a right should cease to be a right (after all, the cause of states rights was badly abused by racists and others to such bad ends, perhaps it's best to no longer recognize it as a category. Similar with speech - it's so often used to protect White Skin Privilege and to distort the political process - especially when wealthy interests get involved - that perhaps Congress should make some laws. I'm sure E.J. would agree) are always handy and easy to devise.

Btw, as an aside, would Freidrich Hayek be considered a "neocon"? I suppose he might be. But I'm not sure all Hayekians would be considered "neocons", and if not then it's not true that only the "neo" type of conservative (Hayek shouts from the grave "I'm not a conservative! I'm an Old Whig!" Whatever, dude) have a philosophically informed position on things rather than just a set of precedents. But I digress.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Then There's this. Well, someone has to do it, and they certainly aren't gonna do it themselves.
This is Spot On, regarding the situation in American cities:
The Democratic Party is the party of racial preferences and race-baiting; it is the party that rules America's inner cities and has done so for fifty years. Democrats control 100% of the city councils and school boards that shape the destinies of the poor and minorities in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, St. Louis, and every other blighted urban big city in America. Everything that is wrong with the inner cities of America that policy can affect, Democrats are responsible for. Now the decks are cleared for Republicans to begin pointing this out, to begin the task of winning the necessary hearts and minds, and eventually to lead poor people in this country who are often minorities through the portals of the American dream.
Long work ahead, though, and Lott made it harder, not easier.
Consider Signing this.
Idiotarian In Tennis Shoes: Lest one be left with the impression that only Republican Senators are given to bad ideas, we have Patty Murray (D - Wa):
"We've got to ask, why is this man (Osama bin Laden) so popular around the world?," said Murray, who faces re-election in 2004. "Why are people so supportive of him in many countries … that are riddled with poverty?

"He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that.
One might think that Murray would at least familiarize herself with line-items in the budgets she votes on. Such things as foreign aid - much of which goes to building infrastructure - and the Peace Corps - which builds schools. I'm also not sure where she gets her information on bin Laden, but he hasn't financed the kind of things she attributes to him (she might be, in her Left-wing fever, mixing bin Laden up with Saudi funding of Wahhabist schools and the like, and also confusing his family - which disowned Osama - which is in the construction business - with al-Queda).

"How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"
Just where did she hide herself during the Afghanistan campaign, in a cave listening to al-Queda and Taliban propaganda? If she had been out in the real world with the rest of us, she'd have known that the first things we dropped on Afghanistan were food aid packages.
"It is a debate I think we ought to have."
Would it be too much to ask, if she's going to participate in that debate, that she first get herself informed on the subjects she's pontificating about? I guess it would be too much to ask. She is a Democratic Senator, after all. No knowledge requirement exists for that post.

Does anyone think she'll be expected, by members of her Party and ideological wing of the spectrum, to apologize and reconsider her views, inaccurate as they are? Perhaps be expected to learn about this country's real history (of generosity), as other Senators learn about the Civil Rights movement?

See also here, where Glenn makes almost the same remark about Senatorial knowledge as I do.
UN Team Breaks Record! spends all of three hours re-inspecting nuclear site.
You Keep China. The Future is Now in India.
Lott Steps Down as Senate Majority Leader.
"In the interest of pursuing the best possible agenda for the future of our country, I will not seek to remain as majority leader of the United States Senate for the 108th Congress, effective Jan. 6, 2003," Lott said in a written statement. "To all those who offered me their friendship, support and prayers, I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to serve the people of Mississippi in the United States Senate."
About time. Now no doubt the real fun will begin. Anyhow, this is one sign of a healthy political movement - it doesn't end up defending the indefensible. A far cry from movements that still have the likes of Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton lecturing others on propriety.
Musta Been the Cost of All Those Corrections that forced the NYT to raise its price. I wonder if the Times will do a series on how newspaper customers are getting gouged and media empires ("Big News") are pricing the news out of affordability for the "working poor".
After All, Iraq Is Supposed to tell the UN what happened to this stuff, not the other way around.
That's the Blix I've Come to Know and Loathe, out there now saying the U.S. and U.K. haven't given enough information - rather than saying Saddam hasn't been forthcomming. Blix gets it wrong, on purpose, but Blair sets it right:
The Iraqi leader had a duty to be "open and transparent" about any weapons he had, and Washington and London had "no doubt" that he does have weapons of mass destruction, Mr Blair told The Guardian in an interview published on Friday."
The resolution is about having Iraq comply or face consiquences. Not about hour-long farces of inspections and whinning about America and Britain making poor UN functionaries hang out in Mesopotamia. I really don't blame people for not sharing much information with Blix when the most apt word that can be used to describe the activities of his inspectors is "cursory".

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Byzantium and Turkish Anatolia: A post wherin my pedantic nature gets the best of me, as it has to do with a point of history of particular interest to me, though it's a fairly insignificant part of this post by Steven Den Bestes.

I didn't write him on the first instance (the one to which this is a supposed correction of) because I didn't think it mattered, but this is getting further away from, rather than proceeding towards, truth:
"Kent was one of several who pointed this out:

"Greeks and Turks have hated one another since the time of Alexander the Great"

"not possible, since the Turks didn't take over that area until sometime in the Middle Ages. Before that, what's known as "Turkey" was a Greco-Roman province. The wars between the Byzantines and the Arabs depopulated the region, which is why the Turks could move in."

Steven may actually have stumbled into accuracy in his statement, since it's possible that some of the bands that Alexander skirmished with at the far bounds of the Persian Empire (after the death of Darius) were Turkish.

However, the Kent's "correction" is wrong in an important way; the last sentence ("the wars between the Byzantines and the Arabs depopulated the region, which is why the Turks could move in") being entirely wrong.

1) The region had been partially - not completely by any means - depopulated in the 6th - 8th centuries by plague and then warfare (the plague being the one that struck the Med. during Justinian's attempt at reconquest, and had an effect on undermining the Empires' - Rome and Persia's - ability to maintain themselves, relative to the Arabs, since it struck the damper, denser-populated areas relatively more heavily. Outbreaks continued to the mid 8th century. Note that this is by no means the sole explanation - or even the main explanation - for their collapse in the face of Islam's early attacks. However, the fiscal effects - fewer people paying taxes, and thus smaller margins and less ability to sustain large armies - help explain why Justinian's offensives bogged down for lack of troops and funds after 540). However, by the 10th - 11th centuries (the latter being the period of Turkish incursion), the population had regrown. It was not depopulated by warfare with the Arabs. The city of Amorium, for example, which had been sacked and destroyed in the early 9th Century by the Caliph, was rebuilt by the 10th Century and repopulated.

2) The Turks moved into the region not due to a population vacuum, but as a byproduct of their Islamization. The Seljukids, Ghazids et al were employed as mercenary soldiers by the Abbasid Caliphate, and that, not depopulation, is how they entered Mesopotamia. As would be replicated (again by largely Turkish troops) in Egypt with the Mamluks, the Turkish Sultan soon became the real power behind the throne, with the Caliph being a figurehead. The adjacent Fatimids (ruling from Egypt but also, in the 11th century, with broad authority along the Levantine coast) were Shi'ites - the Turks, like the Abbasids, being Sunni. The Turks were also relatively recent converts. Along with the troops firmly under the control of the Turkish Sultan, there were bands of irregulars - Turkmen, so called - which were only losly obedient.

(this next part is going to seem like another digression but don't worry, it will circle back to the main point).

3) After a long struggle where it's survival was at stake (throughout the entire 7th and 8th centuries), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire had entered a period of renewal and eventual strength, to become again the dominant power in the Mediterranean world by the end of the 10th century (the Makedonian dynasty of Emperors, culminating with Basil II). Western and Central Anatolia were secured from raids and grew in prosperity and population. Basil II left the empire strong, prosperous, and with no real enemies of any consequence remaining, however he and his brother and titular co-ruler (who actually did little), Constantine VIII, died with no male heirs. Only the two middle-aged spinster daughters of Constantine, Zoe and Theodora.

What followed was a half century of dynastic unrest (1028 - 1081, when Alexios Komnenos, the Emperor most people have heard of in relation to his involvement with the First Crusade, came to power); Emperors came to power, tried to keep it by spending lavishly and giving grants in exchange for support, then lost power anyhow, rinse, and repeat (Basil II ruled for 50 years, from 975 - 1025. There were 14 different reigns in the next 50 years). Fiscal discipline declined - the currency (Nomismata) which had never been debased since the reign of Constantine the Great was greatly devalued. Finally, just about the time the Turks were entering the Caliph's service in strength and Turkmen raiders becoming a danger on the Empire's frontiers (by the mid 11th century), Constantine IX Monomachos (1042 - 1055; one of the longer but worst reigns of the period) decided the army was larger than it needed to be and to save money he would demobilize part of it. But how to do it without provoking a military revolt?

In the interior Themes (military corp districts) of Anatolia, the soldier-farmers were paid but rarely saw service. Ironically, that meant they would, if demobilized, give up money without "getting" anything in return (they would be exempted from service, but since they hadn't been asked to perform it much recently, they would feel they were losing a benifit and gaining nothing). They were also closer to the capital. Thus they were more likely to revolt and with some chance of toppling the regime. On the frontiers, though, troops could be demobilized and excused from service, which was giving something in exchange for something (since they performed the service more frequently).

Constantine IX Monomachos demobilized what amounted to an entire section of the frontier - the Ducates of Armenia, some 80,000 troops. (An area most recently added to the Empire. The ultimate end result of this short-sightedness in no small part explains why Armenian chroniclers like Matthew of Edessa, often referenced in histories of the Crusades, were so bitter towards the Empire). This is the area that cooresponds to the northeastern corner of Turkey today, centered around Lake Van. The demobilization created a huge "gap" in the Empire's defenses, which Monomachos planned to cover with Tagmatic (Imperial Guard) troops. In the event, they proved too few to do the job as well as the Thematic troops had.

4) Circling back, we have Turkish troops serving the Sunni Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad, with various semi-disciplined Turkmen nomads affiliated with him. Performing what they saw to be one of their obligations as Moslems, they frequently conducted raids (Raizzas) and attacks against the infidels (Eastern Rome) and Shi'ite heretics (Fatimids). In 1068 Romanos IV Diogenes came to power in Constantinople and set about trying to right the Empire's defenses and finances. Over several years of hard campaigning, he managed some successes against Turkish forces. In 1071 he struck out for the Armenian borderlands, which were hardest hit by raids and attacks, and on the virge of falling completely into Turkmen control, intending on restoring the district's defenses. He gathered a fairly large army from the Tagmata (guard regiments), Themes (provincial based military regiments, including from the western Anatolian districts), and mercenaries (Pechenegs, Turks, Normans, etc), to campaign in the vicinity of Lake Van.

At the time the Turkish Sultan, Alp Arslan, was leading an army into Fatimid Syria, because he was concerned more with stamping out the Shi'ite heretics than waging war against Rome. But when he heard of Romanos' troop movements, he swiftly circled back (at a strategic-operational speed that rivaled what the Mongols would later achieve), and a battle was fought in a long open valley (one of the few in the otherwise mountainous area) near the small city of Manzikurt. The site (fairly large and open) is important because it allowed the Turks room to maneuver. . .

The Emperor's forces advanced throughout the day but could not pin the Turks against a terrain obsticle or otherwise limit their ability to maneuver - critical when fighting nomads - and come to grips with them. At the end of the day Romanos signaled order to retire to camp, presumably planning on trying again the following day. Well-ordered withdrawal in the face of the enemy is one of the most difficult operations to undertake; one wing of the army fragmented, and the Turks saw their chance and moved in. The Imperial reserve (2nd line), rather than moving in to cover the retreating soldiers (as was SOP in Byzantine armies - and yes, they did have "SOP"; they were one of the few armies of the era to have regularized proceedures, military doctrines, and operational manuals), commanded (unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on who's side one takes) by one of Romanos' rivals, withdrew from the field immediately, leaving the main line uncovered as the Turks circled around it.

Romanos was captured, signed a treaty with the Sultan, and released. It would have been just another battle, but instead it set off a decade (1071 - 81) of civil war in the Empire, allowing the Turks to move into the fertile (and populated) lands of Anatolia. They were, at the time, still nomads, and they converted it into pastorial pastureage (with effects vividly described in the first chapter of Steven Runciman's History of the Crusades) - the depopulated ruins the Crusaders found during their treck through the area a quarter of a century later were the results of this (up until that time the Anatolian plateau had been the Empire's main recruiting grounds and home to some of it's most powerful Dynatoi - landed aristocratic Houses). After the rise of the Komnenoi, control over Anatolia fluctuated between the Turks and the Empire, though the former generally controlled the central plateau and the later the fertile coastlands, until 1461 (fall of the "Empire" of Trebizond, one of the successor-states that arose in the aftermath of the Sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204).

If you have the time and interest I'd recommend the (short) book Byzantium and Its Army 284 - 1081, by Warren Treadgold, which he wrote as a study undertaken for the longer and more comprehensive A History of the Byzantine State and Society.
Late January or Febuary. And this is better than I expected from Blix:
In a boost to the administration's position, Hans Blix, the United Nations' chief weapons inspector, plans to tell the Security Council today that Iraq failed to account fully for chemical and biological bombs and warheads it had assembled as well as materials it bought that could be used to produce more of them, U.N. and administration officials said.
I still think he'll play up "Iraqi cooperation" and downplay any lack of compliance. That's what UN diplomats do.
They are pointing to Jan. 27, when Blix is scheduled to make his first substantive report to the Security Council on Iraq's weapons declaration as well as the Baghdad government's cooperation with inspectors already on the ground and in making Iraqi scientists involved in banned weapons programs available for interviews with U.N. officials.

That date falls within the late January to early February window U.S. military planners have said is the optimum moment to launch an invasion of Iraq.
I wonder if those dudes training in Hungary will be ready by then.
The additional month, officials said, will also provide enough time to put together a case against Baghdad that Iraq will not be able to refute and even the most skeptical Security Council members will be unable to ignore.
That'll be interesting. But many will set the standard of proof so high as to be impossible to meet, because they won't want to be convinced.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday that "the United States will continue to be deliberative in this matter, but this was Saddam Hussein's last chance."
How many is he up to, now? I think he might have pulled ahead of Arafat in the Last Chance Game.

The story goes on and some French chick is quoted for some reason, but she doesn't say anything interesting and by that point I was getting lightheaded from my flu medicine (Gridbugs!; I think I caught 'em while fighting Deus' Otaku after getting forcably implanted in the Renraku Arcology) and had tuned out.
Thomas Sowell on some of the reasons why Lott must go:
Any judge who has ever ruled against any claim — however outrageous — by any organization that calls itself a civil rights group is likely to be hit with charges of "racism" when he or she is nominated for an appellate court appointment and is up for confirmation in the Senate. Who is going to go on nationwide television and reassure the public that the nominee is not a racist? Mr. Lott? . .No wonder some Democrats want Mr. Lott to stay front and center. He can be a living red herring. Long after the current furor has died down, this episode can be resurrected for political encores.
Meanwhile, Republicans will have to tiptoe around racial issues and even kowtow to the likes of Mr. Sharpton. This can only disgust and demoralize the Republicans' own supporters.
Which is all too true.
Never a Good Sign - German workers to take to the streets with banners and placards.
Democrats Get More $$$ from "Fat Cat" Donors, according to a report compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Republicans get more of their donations from small contributors.
"Republicans raised more than Democrats from individuals who contributed small and medium amounts of money during the 2002 election cycle," the report notes, "but Democrats far outpaced Republicans among deep-pocketed givers."
Which is the opposite of the impression most people have.
Iraqi Opposition Forces are going to begin training in Hungary starting next month.
Syria, Upset at not getting lots of recepies for weapons, is going to boycott today's Security Council meeting.

Whatever will we do without the moral guidance of Syria?
U.S. Trade Deficit shrunk again last month, and jobless claims are down slightly as well.
Companies Arming Iraq an update of this post. Seventeen British companies are named in it, as are ten French companies.
ut the dossier states that the British companies' activities in Iraq all took place before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, according to the newspaper. The 17 names cited by the newspaper have each previously been publicly identified as suppliers to the programmes in the late 1980s and in 1990.

Die Tageszeitung has previously reported that the dossier shows some German companies have co-operated with Iraq more recently. It will report today on what the dossier says about companies based in all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, with evidence it says the dossier shows of heavy recent involvement by Russian weapons-related companies in Iraq.
So we have German and Russian companies that have been trading with Iraq during the period sanctions have been in effect and, surprise! Both countries oppose removing Saddam from power. The only thing missing so far is whether the French companies continued to deal with Iraq during that period or not.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Turkey, the EU, and NAFTA Also via Instapundit, James Bennett's take on Turkey and the EU
Just before the Copenhagen meeting began, he said that, if the EU continued to drag its feet, Turkey would seek access to the North American Free Trade Agreement for strategic and economic security.
Which is what I've thought was the best idea all along.
Canadian Values, European Values, and Deliberative Democracy: Collin May writes (via Instapundit) insightfully on one of the problems with democratic debate in Canada:
In Canada, the political class (i.e. the Liberal Party) refers constantly to the importance of preserving Canadians values. These values, not surprisingly, correspond almost exactly to the policies of the federal Liberal Party. But this in itself isn't the real problem. The real problem is that these values are rhetorical tools used to avoid and curtail real political debate.

To appreciate this, we have to look at the content of said values. In Canada, our sacrosanct values include such things as free health care, multiculturalism, provincial transfer payments, international humanitarianism, bilingualism, cultural rights, gun control, extensive social supports, etc. But notice exactly what these so-called values are. They are really nothing more than specific policies, policies which, in a healthy nation, would be debated in the political arena. In Canada, however, this is not the case. Here, a specific policy, usually one proffered by the Liberal Party, is slowly but surely turned into a Canadian value. Once tinged with this sort of moralistic self-righteousness, anyone attempting to challenge the now sacred value is immediately accused of being less than Canadian. As a result, real political debate about valid and opposing options is cut short by Canada's values police in the form of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Now, first off, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with the idea that some things are sacrosanct - off the table of political debate. Things like the guarantee of free speech, at minimum. It's also sort of natural for a political party to try and identify its platform with the values of the country in question.

The problem comes when they succeed too well. Policies become entrenched and not open to discussion, critique, and revision based on new circumstances or information. Canada's not the only place with that problem, though. We see that to some degree in America, but to a very great degree in the European Union. When folks in the EU talk about "European values", they're often speaking of the policies of the Social Democratic parties that most E.U. "opinion leaders" hale from. (When in that post I wrote "What are those 'European' values? No one's ever enumerated them - certainly not the people promoting them." I was being a bit flip. It is true that those who talk about "European values" rarely explicitly articulate them - it's just understood. But yes, I'm aware in general of what they are).

There is a significant difference, though. In Canada, one can envision a scenario where a party or parties win an election or two aimed at radically reforming some of these policies that are, we're told, enshrined as "Canadian values". That's almost impossible to imagine in Europe, for the simple reason that many of these things were made into international agreements (the Social Charter et al) between the countries. Thus, even if a party were to win election and desire to alter some of these things in a fundamental way, they wouldn't be able to - not if they wanted to remain in the EU.

Similar reformist parties would have to win election and form governments across a broad range of European countries and then try to re-negotiate the terms of EU membership. It's hard to see that happening any time soon. In the meantime, continual efforts are made to take more and more policies off the table of democratic deliberation in the various member countries - such movements as the "tax harmonization" scheme are aimed at constricting the options available to various countries, so that Latvia and Ireland, for example, cannot experiment with tax policies that Germany and France feel threatened by. Note that this proposal already puts them further on the scale of limiting the range of policy options available to States than is found in America, where some States have fairly high income or sales taxes, and others have no income tax at all. That's one of the reasons why I had to question whether the EU is really a "democratic project" as Moïsi termed it. It seems to have exactly the opposite inclinations. The effects on the political system of many European countries is also at a more advanced stage of decay than Collin describes with respect to Canada - in many cases, real power is in the hands of the permanent bureaucracy ranther than elected officials. EU institutions are, conciously or unconciously, created with that as a given - bureaucrats formulating policy in processes that introduce the EU Parliament only at a late stage and generally cursory fashion. Legislative processes that are found in a functioning democratic republic are all but absent from the EU structure. What exists in its place is "Administrative Law" created by an Impersonal Bureaucracy insulated from the governed by several removes.
ALERT: GRIDBUGS We here at Ranting Screeds would like to apologize for the pathetic level of content over at least the last couple of days.

We've come down with a nastily flaming case of Gridbugs and it's affected posting badly.
Rudy Giuliani Would Defeat Charles Schumer in a Senate match up if the election were held today.

But of course the election wouldn't be held today and such a race is hypothetical so the poll is meaningless.
Bush Set to Declare Iraq in materiel breach of it's obligations:
The issues confronting Mr. Bush — particularly the question of whether the time is right to declare a "material breach," which could provide what Washington sees as a legal justification for going to war — were discussed in detail at a meeting of his senior national security advisers this afternoon, according to several officials.

In interviews tonight, those officials refused to say what options the group had decided to present to Mr. Bush. But a consensus appeared to be developing that Iraq's failure so far to explain what happened to its chemical and biological weapons programs after 1998 — and its contention that all work on nuclear weapons stopped a decade ago — should be characterized as evidence that Iraq is engaged in what one official called "not so passive resistance" to a full inspection by the United Nations. . .

A senior State Department nonproliferation official, John S. Wolf, met this morning with Hans Blix, the head of the United Nations weapons inspection team, to describe the deficiencies that American intelligence agencies say they have found in the Iraqi declaration. . .

Mr. Bush, some aides expect, will take a cautious approach, denouncing Iraq but stopping short of any pre-emptive action.
Translation: we're not quite ready yet. Meanwhile, Saddam's friends in Moscow are unhappy that the U.S. isn't pretending everything is fine in Baghdad and that inspectors are the solution to everything.
Lott Pretty Much gone:
Despite Trent Lott's latest 30-minute apology on Black Entertainment Television, more and more Republicans say the scandal-tainted senator must give up his leadership post -- and the sooner, the better -- before the GOP takes over the majority next month.

After meeting with President Bush, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said he would have no public comment, but Fox News has learned that Hastert has told colleagues he does not expect Lott to be Senate leader next year.
His latest effort probably did more harm than good, showing how it will be impossible for him to take a principled stand on such things as Affirmative Action now.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

What an Insight: Baltimore Sun Headline: Some blacks skeptical of Lott's latest apology.

Wow. What a stunning insight. It's a good thing we have professionals to help us. Otherwise, no one would ever have considered that!
Like I've Been Saying, that dude is dead. (via Instapundit).
Naming Names: lists of companies (and countries) involved in Iraq's weapons programs are coming out:
Iraq's dossier to the United Nations contains the names of more than 80 German companies that have supported the Iraqi government's weapons programme since the mid-1970s, according to a German newspaper report published on Tuesday. About 24 US companies are also named.
That's over three times as many companies for Germany, a country with less than a third of the population of the U.S.
Several German companies were still involved in Iraq in 2001, thereby breaking the international weapons embargo against Baghdad, according to the sections of the Iraq dossier obtained by Die Tageszeitung, a leftwing Berlin-based daily paper.
This is going to be very interesting. And embarrassing for some.
The number of German companies cited in the report is larger than the sum of all other companies mentioned, and other German research organizations and many German individuals are also mentioned, it said.
I don't suppose that will stop Germany from engaging in further condescending preening on the issue of Iraq, though.
The report could prove embarrassing for the German government, which has strained relations with Washington. Berlin is also due to take up a temporary seat in the UN security council in January.
That will be "fun", if we end up going back to the UN for another round of Follies.

It'd also be interesting to see how many French companies were involved with Iraq, and for all the companies of every country, when they did deals and regarding what programs.
Lowly Bureaucrat responds to my post from yesterday on the EU, on what is being rebuilt and why the East (Turkey) does not belong.

I have called it the Holy Belgian Empire a time or two myself (you like that turn of phrase? Thanks. I stole it myself. Robert Locke is who I first saw characterize the EU as the Holy Belgian Empire.

Anyhow, L.B.s point is fine but it doesn't explain the presence of Greece in the EU (otoh, Greece is essentially treated as the half-wit cousin in the EU by the other members).
Industrial Production up slightly.
The Perfect Strom: Trent Lott goes on Black Entertainment Television to talk about why Segregationist sentiment is wrong.

One could cut the irony with a knife. Which might be why he picked that venue. But he screwed the pooch again, anyhow (covered much more extensively elsewhere). The White House is giving him a quiet shove; they've had it. Pretty much everyone has, by this point.
Apropos of Nothing,, but


Monday, December 16, 2002

Lott Must Go, as David Horowitz writes
At the very best, he is tone deaf to the most important domestic issue of our time. His continued presence as majority leader will severely damage the prospects of his party, and seriously damage the President's ability to wage the war on terror. For these reasons Trent Lott must step down as the Majority Leader of the Republican Senate.
It's not just the Republican Party or the War that Lott's continuation as Majority Leader would damage, in my opinion. It's the whole discussion of policy and race in America. Horowitz seems to recognize this when he goes on to write:
Those of us who fought the struggle for equal rights for all people regardless of skin color in the early 60's have come to realize that the party of race, the party of racism, is the modern liberal party (the Democratic Party) that glorifies skin color (and gender and social class) over all things including freedom, right and wrong, and equal protection under the law. These modern liberals, (these Democrats) mock the truth when they label conservatives and Republicans who decry reparations, quotas, and the racism of "lower expectations" as "racists" rather than "liberators."

But if Lott remains the leading spokesperson of the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate, the liberal attack will be true in the public mind and therefore an electoral reality. The domestic mission of conservatives and the Republican party must be to liberate all individuals from the oppression of "the vision of the anointed" -- the vision that elite liberals wish to impose on all people especially minorities and the poor.
Some will call Horowitz's tone there over the top (well. . .shrug). But it is true that if Lott continues as Majority Leader in the Senate, he will be used - primarily by Democrats and the Left - to obscure rather than illuminate policy debates in the future. Rather than discussing the merits of various policies, they will wave the bloody shirt and say "see, Lott said what this is really all about last winter. It's all about a bunch of crackers trying to keep people down and divided".

There's too much of that as it is, and will be too much of it as it is. Also, like it or not, Lott revealed something about himself in those comments - and the personal history they are, rightly, seen in the context of. I don't trust him to husband legislation through the Senate on these issues, and don't expect anyone else - certainly not my Black fellow citizens - to place trust in his stewardship, either.
Europe Moves Forward Into a Brave New World Dominique Moïsi writes in this Sunday's Financial Times, in a way that seems almost like a parody of Europhile sentiment.
Fifty-seven years after the end of the second world war and 13 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, Europe is at last coming together again.
I suppose this refers to the meeting approving the entry of ten mostly Eastern European Countries into the EU. But it's that "again" at the end of the sentence that puzzles me. Which previous time is Moïsi thinking of?
Europe is celebrating not merely the enlargement of the Union to the south and east but unification - an end to the artificial, cruel and costly divisions that have scarred the continent for decades.
By "artificial" divisions perhaps he's speaking of nations bound together by language, culture, and traditions of government and law, which are to be replaced by a (presumably more "natural") transnational project created by functionaries, academic theorists, and bureaucratic idealists. In which case that "again" might be referring to the march of the Red Army across Europe, which also broke down artificial divisions of language, culture, and nation in the name of a more progressive, scientific order.
Such a historic moment should be a time of great joy. And yet it feels as if something is missing. Is this because of a sense of anticlimax? Or perhaps there is a nagging uncertainty as Europe contemplates its future not as a cosy club of 15 but as a multilateral organization of at least 25 countries.
N.B. "cozy" is, in these contexts, is a negative term. This also further reinforces the impression that "multilateral" is used as a all-purpose substitute for "good" and "proper", a term meaning "righteous". The new definition of "multilateral" in this sense is "of and pertaining to the correct and proper". To that end, it must be recognized that the Red Army represented a multilateral organization of at least 15 states (Republics).
The second plays in favour of it: Ankara has made considerable efforts to adopt more "European" values.
What are those "European" values? No one's ever enumerated them - certainly not the people promoting them. To take a example from history: the founders of the American federation, 200+ years ago, spoke and wrote at length and in great detail about the virtues informing their project. But the people promoting the EU tend to speak only vaguely about these "values". Likewise, the American founders worked diligently to insure that the things they found to be important (procedural, representative democracy, the rule of law, etc) were embodied in the institutions they created, and they devised those institutions in such a way so as to guarantee, insofar as they could, the flourishing of their primary values (because they valued liberty and limited government, they insured various checks and balances in the institutions they created). But we see less diligence from those creating the New Europe on those matters.
Europe is having difficulty translating its democratic project into institutional terms.
Yah, what he just said. It's hard to say that the EU is a "democratic project". Perhaps that is the reason it's institutional drift tends to take it away from, rather than towards, democratic accountability. Try and remember the reasons given for the creation and expansion of EU institutions. Has democratic procedure ever really ranked high as a reason at any important stage?
Europe may be realizing its dream of unity but it is doing so by reverting to the prejudices and stereotypes of its past. While ordinary citizens are gradually becoming more "European", the political and administrative elites are rekindling balance-of-power politics and traditions borrowed from the recent past.
A lot of us knew that it was folly to believe that would ever go away. Indeed, why speak of "rekindling" what had always been part of EU considerations to begin with? Later in the article Moïsi writes with apparent surprise at the resurgence of the Franco-German relationship. That relationship was bound to re-emerge and in any case only had what, a couple months of a bumpy patch? It's been a permanent feature of the EU's interactions, not an infrequent one.
The negotiating tactics used by the Polish government at Copenhagen to extract more money from the EU are easily understood. They reflect the lack of self-confidence of a people that forgets too readily its recent communist past yet clings too much to memories of its tragic history.
This is a deplorable way of characterizing things - and a rather dangerous one. Why isn't the same said of French efforts to preserve the CAP unchanged? Indeed, it's the economically distortive effect of current EU programs and their potential to undermine the agricultural sectors of new members that the Poles are concerned with, not simple "lack of self-confidence". That assertion reflects a level of condecension towards the legitimate concerns of member-countries to safeguard the well-being of the people they serve (in this example, farmers who might get thrown out of work because a French farmer receives a higher subsidy and thus sells French produce at prices the Polish farmers cannot meet) which is disturbing at best.
Yet this satisfaction with Germany's new weakness not only reflects a deep sense of insecurity but also betrays a profoundly un-European streak.
I'm not sure if I should touch this or not. . ."Profoundly un-European". . .
With Europe's "big powers" reverting to playing balance-of-power politics with one another, the smaller countries are scrambling to defend their interests.
What's happening here, but which people like Moïsi refuse to see and come to terms with, is the idea that all of "Europe" has a single, shared interest in a variety of circumstances, that can be regulated and managed by a central bureaucracy in Brussels is being exposed as an illusion. Likewise, the idea that various countries will all give up their own interest to follow a policy that fits some better than others - or perhaps is equally problematic for most, but embodies the regulatory schemes of the nomenclatura - is impossible to believe. Even in the United States, which has been a federation for some two hundred years and which, frankly, allows more policies to be determined by State regulatory authorities than seems to be the case in the EU, what is good for, say, Wisconsin's dairy farmers isn't the same as what's good for New England's. It's impossible to credit that representatives of Wisconsin would stop trying to stick up for the interests of their producers when a policy is advanced by the representatives of New England that would harm them.

But at least in the U.S. these things are, by and large and for the most part, still worked out in representative bodies accountable to the electorate. In the EU, they are too often imposed by Bureaucratic fiat. Thus, when Moïsi decries countries looking out for their interest, he misses the problem - because he views the problem as being the solution. Deals of the sort made by the Franco-German alliance in the EU are the only real mechanism available in the EU for states to safeguard their interests (or advance them at the expense of others) in the face of the impositions of bureaucrats. Moïsi, in de-legitimizing the pursuit of one's interest, is de-legitimizing the possible means of mending the problem: creation of EU institutions that are representative and democratically accountable. He has an obvious preference for the consensus-politics of the nomenclatura, where resistance to a policy imposed from above can be dismissed as retrograde pursuit of interest, sentiment from the past that does not belong in the new, transnational Europe.
The destabilizing impact must be offset by the emergence of a common European spirit. As the EU grows geographically, so the common will of its members must grow.
Note that though Moïsi speaks of the EU in terms of a "democratic project", no where in this article does the idea that democratization of EU institutions and procedures is a solution. Indeed, the invocation of the concept of a "common will", with it's resemblance to Rousseau's "general will", speaks of just the opposite. Rousseau specifically rejected the idea that the "general" (or "common") will could be determined in the procedures of democracy. Rather, it would be discerned by the more enlightened and insightful members of society, able to rise above petty interest and thereby divine the general will - what would later be called the "vanguard", the intelligencia and nomenclatura. Rousseau, like Moïsi today, deligitimized the pursuit of interest. Rousseauian projects have traditionally turned out badly.
Turkey Building Up forces on it's border with Iraq.
Europe, Past and Present More on this piece in a bit (this post will be updated significantly).
UK Concurs: Major Gaps in Saddam's report. But we knew that already.