Friday, February 14, 2003

Unserious Powers Want More Snipe Hunts in Iraq.

They jointly say that the world is better off if they ignore the text of the 17th Resolution they passed demanding Iraq comply "immediately".

Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said, after reminded of the text of the Resolution France negotiated last fall "oh, we didn't mean it. No one should take anything France or the UN says seriously. Really, you all knew that when we voted for it. So it's completely premature and unacceptable for the U.S. to try to hold us to something we voted for so many months ago, when everyone knew we were never sincere about the 16 preceding Resolutions, much less 1441."

German Foreign Minister Joshka Fisher concurred. He repeated that Iraq was not in "materiel breach", eliding over the fact that Resolution 1441 says that it is. He said that France, Germany, Russia, and China were all agreed that the thing to do was to consider passing a 19th Resolution asking Iraq to cooperate. Fisher went on, saying "If Iraq doesn't cooperate this time, we're fully prepared to show the iron resolve of the international community by passing a 20th Resolution. I think the U.S. and Britain should be more than satisfied with this, and shouldn't do anything to break up the international consensus on giving Saddam endless 'Last Chances'."

Questioned about possible involvement with terrorist organizations, Fischer said "yes, I have some experience with that. . .Oh, wait. You meant Saddam. I find it best to stay out of other people's affairs. Unless they're Americans."
High Power Microwave Weapon likely to be used against Iraqi communications and other electronic-dependent gear. An article about them and a lengthy description of them.
Industrial Production goes up.
Transforming One's Job Description For "Peace": Remember, though, it's not their job to find hidden snipes (see also the Christopher Hitchens post, below). It's Iraq's job to disclose (read the resolution).

Helping Saddam by defining your job description in a way that suits him and the Frankenreich just fine calls into question who you're really working for.

(Also this report and see the BBC report as well).
Christopher Hitchens on the UN and twisting of the meaning of Resolutions and Michael Ledeen on what the Restored Carolingian Empire pretends not to know.
Nelson Ascher has some questions for "anti-war" poets (about which John Coumarianos also has a few words). Here's what Nelson wrote:
Having lived in a military dictatorship myself and knowing through my parents about their experience with much worse dictatorships (fascist and communist Hungary, nazi Germany), having seen innocent people murdered by religious fanatics in NY, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, Indonesia etc., having visited synagogues burned down recently in Europe, and after having seen below my own Parisian window people marching with openly anti-Semitic slogans, I think you'll understand me if I'll ask you a small favor. It is the following: please direct me to sites where I can find poets fighting against tyranny, dictatorship, Muslim fundamentalism, facistic Arab nationalism, againts people who praise and/or promote the intentional murder of civilians because, for instance, they are Americans, Australians, Brits, Jews. I'd like to know if there is any site with poets fighting for justice for the Kurds and the punishment of those guilty for their massacre. I'd also like to know if there's any site where poets write and fight against the bizarre and sadistic North Korean dictatorship. Once I had dinner with script writer jean claude carriere and a friend of his, an exiled Iranian writer with whom he translated medieval persian poetry into French. They both explained to me that the only way to imagine the Iranian parliament would be to think of an European one where there'd be places only for bishops and cardinals. Surely, thus, in the US there must also be sites with poets fighting against such a regime. Am I wrong? I'd also like to know if there's any site with poets writing about the crimes of the Belgians, older ones like Congo, more recent ones, like the murder of Patrice Lumumba, and pretty new ones, like their guilt in the genocide in Rwanda. By the way, any chance of finding a web site with poets protesting against Russian crimes in Tchtchnia, Chinese ones in Tibet, French ones all over Africa, the French backing of military dictatorship in Algeria, the Rwandan genocide, and their military intervention in the Ivory Coast? A country with so many excellent poets like the US surely has poets worrying about all these things, doesn't it? Humbly, I myself, in Brazil, had time to write in my newspaper against so many tyrants, from Pinochet to Castro, I had also time to write about all the massacres perpetrated in the Arab world besides Sabra and Chattila. So, I believe, there must be lots of poets writing and protesting against all of this. I cannot imagine that thousands of poets are obsessed only with writing about Bush or trying to save one more tyrant's skin. Coming to think of it, I can remember many great poets who wrote in praise of Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Mao, for god's sake, even Enver Hodja. But I find it not only hard to remember any who wrote against any of the above without in the same breath praising some of the others, but I don't remember any great poet who wrote consistently good odes in praise of good old bourgeois democracy. But maybe I'll find the site for which they've been writing. As a trotskyist since my teens I cannot but fight fascism, be it black, red or green.Oh yes, I do know about things that are worse than war: my two grandfathers and my paternal grandmother, I'm sure, would have loved the chance to die fighting in a war instead of being killed in the way they were.
Also, as we see, some thoughts about them, too.

Check this out as well, if you haven't already.
France Thinks They'll Be Welcomed Back with open arms as an American ally, as they always have been in the past when they've screwed us over. Think again.
Saddam Hussein: principled pacifist.
America Just Can't Get it Right!! they just refuse to understand that they're supposed to be completely "multilateral" when we want them to be, and absolutely "unilateral" when we want that.

Those ignorant American cowboy bunglers just don't seem to be taking instruction in the nuances of when "unilateralism" is absolutly prohibited and when it is an absolute requirement. With their lack of obesience - er, cooperation - they're threatening the entire post-Cold War international consensus.
Frankenreich Making a Blunder in evaluating their interests, according to this long but excellent post by Collin May.
Pope of the UN tells Iraq to respect holy scripture.

Sacred Priests to deliver report to shrine in New York.

Meanwhile, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki offers to send experts to help Iraq disarm.

But doesn't he know the problem is solved: Saddam banned such weapons today, so obviously they don't have any of those things. Iraq has denied having them all along. Doesn't Mbeki believe Saddam's claims?

Thursday, February 13, 2003

A Few Thoughts on Turkey.

While factually true, I think the piece gives an incomplete picture. I wouldn't (in the least) argue that Turkey is a paragon. But it's a fair bit better than it's Arab neighbors. They've got a long ways to go - on Cyprus, on human rights, on the rule of law, and the like. But I don't think there's really any danger of "Islamization" in the sense that I think the author is implying. Turkey is not about to embrace Wahhabism and I doubt many Turks are lining up to form terrorist cells.

All that said, as I said, the article is factually correct. I just think that it's leaving out some aspects (and most especially their efforts, including under the current government, to reform and reach out not to join the ranks of radical Islam, but to become part of the West) and the portrayal is unrelentingly grim, which I don't think is warranted.

But everything Trifkovic mentions should be taken into consideration as part of the picture.
Retail Sales surge.
Too Funny for words.
Against My Better Judgement I'm going to comment on this.

Alterman has apologized now. Sort of. Now he says Limbaugh should go deaf.

Anyhow, I don't think anyone should apologize for saying what they really believe. It's clear to me that this was a "gaffe" as Michael Kinsley defines it: inadvertently blurting out what you really think.

Sure, no one knows what is anyone else's heart and perhaps it's unfair to question Alterman's sincerity. But since Limbaugh has apologized for the quip directed at Chelsea Clinton (which Alterman quotes), and Alterman clearly still holds it against him regardless, it's fair to have the same standard for Alterman's own apology. It's more of a clarification than an apology, anyhow:
though I do think it would be OK if he lost his voice.
Instead of being deaf, he should be struck mute. Ok. No hand-wringing about the styfling of alternative views and crushing of dissent and "chilling effect on speech" ever emanate from Alterman, I'm sure.

But the comments about wanting Limbaugh to go deaf (which, btw, he did: Limbaugh went completely deaf, but still managed to conduct his show even before getting the implant) or mute are the least offensive part of Alterman's interview comments.

Revealing a desire that 20 million Americans who's ideology (or at least listening habits) Alterman dislikes should be "disappeared" is more telling.
Last Week the News Here played up economists who opposed the Bush plan. They might be ignoring the Nobel economists that came out in favor of the plan. But at least the BBC (no paragon of even handedness itself) didn't.
Colin Powell on on the Frankenreich's proposal:

"France and Germany are resisting," he said. "They believe that more inspections, more time" should be allowed.

"The question I will put to them is: Why more inspections? And how much more time?" Powell said. "Or are you just delaying for the sake of delaying in order to get Saddam Hussein off the hook and no disarmament? That's a challenge I will put to them."
(via Instapundit).
Soviet Dreams comming true:
The Soviet Politburo hoped that some day the Franco-German axis, initiated by French President Charles de Gaulle some 40 years ago, would break up NATO and deliver Western Europe into Soviet hands.

In the 1960s, the West did not disintegrate. Gaullist France itself became isolated -- neither Germany nor anyone else in Western Europe was ready to seriously undermine solidarity with the United States in the face of tens of thousands of Soviet tanks in Central Europe.

Today, with the old Soviet Union in ruins, France and Germany (supported by Belgium) are ready to undermine Western military cohesion to save the totalitarian dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and his Baath party from being overthrown.

Of course, today Russia is too weak to seriously exploit the new rift in the West. But many in Moscow are happy to see it happen: The dream of a "multipolar" world seems to be materializing. France, Germany, China, Russia, the Vatican -- i.e. all, or almost all, world centers of power with the exception of Washington are joining forces to prevent the U.S. war machine from rolling Hussein out of office.

It would seem strange that so diverse a collection of forces would unite to defend a bloody Nazi-style dictatorship in Iraq. But actually this de facto alliance has existed for decades.
He also points out that:
I lived for almost 40 years under a totalitarian regime, and I know from first-hand experience what life without freedom means. Anti-war protesters in Western Europe and America do not know and could not care less.

Only by military means can millions of Iraqis be released from total servitude, and Hussein destroyed along with his Baath party that has ruled Iraq since 1958. If there ever existed such a thing as a "just war" then the coming U.S.-led invasion of Iraq could be the most righteous of them all.
Which seems unarguable on its merits. (See also here).

He goes on:
Maybe France and Germany are so loyally trying to save Hussein because they want to cover up their long-time cooperation in helping to build weapons of mass destruction? Is the treachery of the past feeding more treachery today?
That theory is pondered by more and more people as the Frankenreich goes to increasingly extreme lengths to prevent Saddam's Ba'ath National Socialist regime from being toppled.
How Europe Sees Principle: Stuff like this helps explain why they're not all that keen on holding Saddam to his commitments, either.

For many in the leadership circles of Continental European countries, it's enough to make a gesture of principle. It's completely beside the point to back it up with action. Ban Mughabe, but let him in whenever that ban might inconvenience him, by granting a waiver. Vote for Resolutions demanding Saddam do certain things, then be unmoved when he doesn't. Just pass another similar Resolution, when he throws out inspectors, work to get sanctions lifted. When the simplistic Americans decide it's time to take this more serious, pass another Resolution (working hard to water it down) demanding Iraqi compliance. When Saddam flouts it, be unconcerned with following through on the consiquences you voted to warn Iraq of for such lack of cooperation, just advocate another Resolution. (See also here).

Words speak louder than actions for these people.
Uh-Oh When people have to start warning against such "place in the sun" thinking again, well, that says it all.

Beyond the headline, the article's author is also very right about the mindset and outlook informing the draft Constitutions for the EU:
Europe will soon have a new constitution. But if the draft presented by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing last week is anything to go by, it will be imbued with old ideology. The document ignores the free-market economy. There is not a word about the protection of property and no commitment to free enterprise and the division of labour. Instead, it contains dubious secondary objectives such as "sustainability" and "balanced economic growth", as if a constitution could ensure that such concepts become reality.

Far too little thought has been given to legal and economic ramifications of these grand constitutional proclamations. Take the proposed creation of European citizenship, together with the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of national citizenship. Both were implicit in earlier treaties and are central to the European idea: Europeans have joined together and should not discriminate against each other. But the new draft would give these principles the status of constitutional law. If applied to other "rights" enumerated in the document, such as social cohesion and social protection, they could create social harmonisation by the back door. That would have grave consequences for the European economy.
The eurocrats who come up with these things think economic growth comes from regulation, cartelization, and dirigisme policies. They've never really been at all happy with the concept of free markets.

Well, that's not exactly true (though it's not exactly false). Actually, they've just never given it much thought, nor considered that the things they do might hamper the workings of markets rather than improve them. They think a lot about "market failure" but little about regulatory overstretch or the negative consiquences of the "social market" (that is to say, government direction of the economy).
Japan Embraces the Logic of Preemption according to this report.

Really, when it comes to themselves and their own security, ultimately almost every country embraces preemption as an option to consider, and perhaps use, in the face of an enemy. It is only when the U.S. does that it becomes shockingly controvercial.
Since Tarik Aziz didn't think the missile find in Iraq was very serious, neither did the BBC World Briefing radio report (see post immediately following this one). But apparently Blair considers it serious.
Listening to the BBC World Briefing I learned the following things:
  • Whenever something suspicious is found in Iraq, be sure follow Tarik Aziz's line (they mentioned the missile find in Iraq a half dozen times, each time they were careful only to quote what Tarik Aziz said about it).

  • America not cooperating with European countries should be described as "unilateral"

  • A European country not cooperating with America should be described as "independent"

  • Boys convicted of kidnapping and murdering another, younger child are the most traumatized victims of their crime.
I'm not sure BBC's lessons are going to take, but they keep instructing me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Ignorants Abroad: this Torygraph article is rather telling.
A PLAN by a group of peace campaigners to travel by bus to Baghdad to offer themselves to Saddam Hussein as human shields has been threatened with collapse by the personal clashes, logistical chaos and the loss of their leader.

One of the group’s three double-deckers has been abandoned in Italy with engine trouble and plans to travel through the Balkans were aborted as “too dangerous”.
Travelling through the balkans is "too dangerous" but offering yourself up as a human shield is not. I suppose that when it's all said and done, in their hearts they know Americans aren't about to carpet bomb civilians.
The second of the two remaining red buses and an accompanying white taxi limped into Istanbul yesterday after being stranded in blizzards for two days.
Perhaps ya'll should have just taken the plane. Couldn't have been more expensive than a slow trip across Europe (paying for gas, food, etc. all along the way). But it would have been quicker.

Perhaps that was the problem, though; they're in no hurry to get to Baghdad after all.
Rajia Dhanjani, a 22-year-old hairdresser from south London, said: “I thought it would be hard when we got to Baghdad, but I had no idea the trip would be this awful. I thought the journey would be one long party.”
What, this isn't a serious and grave mission on behalf of world peace? It's a travelling Bacchanalia? Or at least its participants thought it should be?

Says a lot about their mindset. That attitude rather tends to confirm Armed Liberal's "War on Bad Philosophy" thesis.
The Turks showed themselves determined to impose more efficient organisation on the ramshackle British expedition which arrived almost a week behind schedule.
Well, I suppose Turks will do that. Or at least try to do that. Results of such efforts tend to vary.
After three hours of debate, the Turks won through. The convoy will now remain in Istanbul until tomorrow.
I'm sure the caravaneers are all broken up over the delay.
The tension was compounded when a group of Italian peace campaigners in designer clothes joined the Britons, many of whom are elderly activists wearing hippie-style clothes and cooking lentils aboard the buses. Instead of heading towards their objective, the peaceniks took a detour to Rome last Sunday for sightseeing.
Dedicating your life to world peace is such a burden.

Regarding the group's leadership:
Grace Trevett, a mother of four from Stroud, Gloucestershire, said: “There has been no democracy at all. Ken just tells people they have to like it or they can f*** off. If they can’t respect us, how are they going to respect the Iraqi people?”
Nothing new about despotism, petty or otherwise, among the Left. But folks like Grace are invariably surprised and shocked when it invariably happens.
Another Truth revealed in satire:
"Listen, you idiots," explained Mustafaoui petulantly, "Al Qaeda wants to make the streets of America run red with the blood of the non-believers. We want to kill every man, woman and child in your country. The most beautiful sound we can imagine would be the wailing moans of all 280 million of you infidel scum slowly dying of radiation sickness. That would mean we had won.

"We hate you for not loving Allah," continued Mustafaoui, "not because you have a Constitution. What part of 'I want to kill you, you Jew-loving dogs' don't you understand?"
Well, that's one way to put it.

Also, this would explain a lot.
A Couple of Good posts, here and here.
What to Say About this?

It's not going to happen. It's too late for that (especially with the moves they're taking to block our re-deployment of troops from Bosnia).

Look, I thought it would happen, too. It should have happened. But it's not going to happen, for reasons I discussed last night. Both they and Germany have made a blunder and things will be the worse for it. But they're out, no jumping in at the last minute now. They passed the point of no return with their recent antics.

Speaking of which, Robertson put forward a compromise but the Frankenreich still blocked it.
Jack Straw is Right: in saying:
Franco-German plans to strengthen UN weapons inspectors and give them more time were an attempt to rewrite last November's Security Council resolution 1441, which gave Iraq a "final opportunity" to disarm or face military action.

"Nothing in Saddam's performance can give any confidence that any of these proposals would in any way change his behaviour. Instead they are a recipe for procrastination and for delay," he said.

"Even a thousand-fold increase in [the UN's] capabilities will not allow us to establish with any degree of confidence that Iraq has disarmed," Mr Straw insisted.
Yah. exactly. It's very clear that is the case.

Hans Blix, as quoted here, is also right:
As Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, has noted, the French plan does not help him much. He has not asked for more inspectors but more co-operation from the Iraqi regime.
The Frankenreich knows that, too, but they chose to distract from it.
At Least One Old German would not be impressed with Germany's latest diplomatic moves.

But I think I could name one who would have played his hand the same way as Schroeder has. Kaiser Willie II.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

This is Just Awful: So I'm sure it's fair for readers to have the impression that I don't believe there should be any regrets over the growing rift between America and France and Germany (the Frankenreich or Restored Carolingian Empire). I certainly haven't hidden my sense of shadenfreude over Schroeder's misfortunes (like, the possible collapse of his government after having worked so hard to whip up "Ami Go Home" sentiment last fall to get himself re-elected).

I think the rift might be inevitable. I certainly don't believe that they should get away with the crap (and general attitude) they've been pulling (in the French case for more than a few years) and we should bend over forward, take it, and grin while mouthing platitudes about what good friends Germany and France are. It's a push me, pull you universe. And there's a reason why I haven't got (as I've mentioned a couple times, starting last fall) nearly the level of vexation towards Russia at the moment as I do at our "good friends".

Like I said, I think the rift might be inevitable. But that doesn't mean it isn't lamentable. It is, indeed, in many ways very depressing. I do regret the passing of the alliance (I don't regret in the least "damage" done to the UN, though; the pretence that the UN represented, in practice - not in theory - in practice, some sort of high minded, idealistic institution working in a principled fashion for the good of all was never true and to the extent to which people believe the UN can confer "moral legitimacy" on anything, that belief - to be blunt about it - is founded on ignorance).

It's historical fact though that alliances don't last forever. It would really be surprising if NATO managed somehow to continue to exist as a living alliance beyond the terminus of the purpose it was founded for. It isn't very realistic to expect that all the countries that had bonded as allies in NATO during the Cold War would remain allied after that era ended, especially considering their diverging interests. Even more so considering that one of those "allies" (France) did not really consider itself part of the alliance even during that period and another (Germany) sometimes (as under Willy Brandt, with the policy of "Ostpolitik") seemed inclined to diverge as well. It doesn't really matter why, or if either or both were arguably right (meaning right in the sense that they were properly pursuing their own interests).

Nor is it a counter argument to say that they're just correctly pursuing their own interests now. That's all fine. But it is not an argument that the alliance remains - it is, indeed, an argument that the alliance (based on shared, not opposed, interests) is over. They are now not in "disagreement", but in opposition to the United States. Opponents are not allies.

This has really been true for awhile. For all that people like to claim that this is a "Bush problem" and "we didn't have this when Clinton was in office", that's not quite true. Sure, everyone was more jovial. But (again as I've mentioned before) while there was more good cheer and bonhomie on the surface when Clinton was in office, that didn't stop them from designing treaties (rather deliberately) stacked against the United States. Clinton would say "hey, buddies. You know, if we could just get a clause in that treaty on land mines allowing us to have them along the Korean DMZ, I could get the Senate to pass it" and they would refuse to compromise. Clinton would say "you know I want a good Green record. I'd love to have this Kyoto pact ratified. Any chance we could negotiate for America some of the cozy deals you stuck in for yourselves?" and they would say "no". They liked Clinton just fine as a person. But they weren't about to do America any favors, and even during that period were (openly among themselves, reported in the European press if not given much notice in the American press) talking about building the EU so as to oppose the United States. So this isn't really out of the blue, all the sudden.

It's just that the disagreement over Iraq has precipitated a breach that is so public it cannot be ignored or minimized with the usual platitudes. It was bound to happen sometime, over something, and this is it, now.

But that doesn't make it less lamentable. There are going to be a lot of problems as a result of this. But lest anyone say "well, then we should back off, to avoid these problems" - they cannot be avoided in that way. If we go ahead as we plan, there will be problems with Europe (or at least the Restored Carolingian Empire) in the future. But if we give way (again) and (again, as several times in the '90s) allow them to have their Resolution on Iraq instead of our solution. . .we will still have the same problems with Europe (or at least the Restored Carolingian Empire) in the future. Because it's a matter of diverging interests and world views - not just a difference over how to handle one particular crisis.

Clinton, too, had to deal with this growing divergence. Remember the Balkans crisis (or series of crises) throughout the '90s? They - especially (again, and not coincidentally) France and Germany wanted to handle the problem through UN peacekeepers and the like. Not coincidentally, America and Britain believed that only more forceful efforts would solve those crises. We saw what worked and what didn't, but it didn't change anyone's minds about which methods of handling things they preferred.

The growing rift is tragic (we live in a tragic world) and upsetting in no small part because it really cannot be avoided (or at any rate can only be avoided if either they or we are willing to give up who we are and which direction we are travelling in and agree to follow theirs instead). That last part is significant, perhaps. Because there is some truth to both the accusations of spokesman of the Frankenreich and those speaking for the Anglo-American direction that the other is "trying to impose their will on us" (a USS Clueless - and Ranting Screeds - refrain from last fall) or "march us into vassalage" (to paraphrase a Franco-German response to the letters signed by numerous European countries expressing support for the U.S.) as a price of the continuation of the alliance.

Both are right in the sense that, if the alliance is to be preserved, it will be at the cost of some of its members surrendering their world view. None of the parties are, at the moment, ready to do that willingly. It's unfortunate. We can and will (on each side of the rift) rail against it. I certainly will. But the next turning will see different patterns of alliance and opposition. The "Anglosphere" probably really will be a significant grouping of countries that recognize shared interests. The Restored Carolingian Empire (Frankenreich) will surely be a close partnership because they have converging outlooks. Some things won't really be all that new (it's not like America and Germany are historical allies, outside of the Cold War era). But it's implausible that the international arrangements of the last half century will, can, or even should, continue. Especially since so many have already changed, eliminating the context that held such things as the NATO alliance together.

But I don't think it's a misunderstanding.
What is Powell Thinking? with this "bin Laden tape" stuff? Doesn't he know that dude is dead?

I hope Powell has a good explaination.
Iraq Speaks, France and Germany Do: So, for worse or worse, I haven't got time to run around collecting the appropriate links this morning. But correct me if I'm wrong - I heard on the BBC World Briefing this morning that:

1) Iraq declared that they loved the "good will" (or "good faith" or something) shown by France and Germany in the ideas they put forward for a new UN Resolution, but that they would not allow in any UN peacekeeping troops.

2) France or Germany then dutifully announced that such troops were not part of their plan.
Very Light Posting again today. I'll probably be fairly busy at work.
So There are More Than a Few disapointing things about the budget proposal Bush sent up to capital hill - and the runaway rises in non-defense discretionary spending (while the Democrats and their willing accomplices complain of major cuts, discretionary spending has risen more in Bush's first two budgets than in Clinton's).

But the problem is that here we are at war and defense spending is increasing at only the same rate as other spending. We're still planning grand (expensive) new entitlement programs, which limits what we're able to spend when it comes to security priorities. Check out this generally positive piece. It's less critical than I would be.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Bishoff Fired! We want Shane-o-Mac!
I Just Thought. . .: France, Germany, and Belgium blocked the sending of AWACs planes to Turkey. Do any of those three countries build AWACs?

This is sort of the entire situation writ small. Three countries blocking the use of someone else's equipment.
We Need to Give Iraq More Time to show this level of cooperation.

Meanwhile, by way of Instapundit we have a leaked copy of the test of the Frankenreich's proposed second UN Resolution.
France, Germany, Belgium all agree that International Law (such as obeying treaty obligations) is for others - but not themselves.

Remember that these are the countries that criticize America for not following treaties that we haven't even ratified.

France, of course, has a particularly incoherent position: they're arguing that sending forces to bolster an ally shouldn't be done now as it is too soon for such a thing. Meanwhile they've steamed their aircraft carrier (such as it is) to the region. Perhaps their position isn't that incoherent after all - perhaps they don't think their aircraft carrier is a military asset.
French and German Policy is inflaming the American Street. Andrew Sullivan has some of the reasons why. So does Jeff Jarvis and the Post.
Light Posting today, or at least this morning. Readers might be interested in sunday's and saturday's posts, though.
The Financial Times does not have a front page story on the musings of the inspectors today, which is highly unusual for them. Neither does the BBC. Highly unusual for them, too.

Could it be because the inspectors did not come away from Iraq with anything significant that these European "opinion leaders" could point to as a significant change in Iraq's level of cooperation?

Frankenreich Refuses Help for Anatolia: It's like deja vu all over again.

The Restored Carolingian Empire (minus Luxemburg this time) vetoes alliance support for Anatolia.

Not really news, though; this is the anti-climax of the death of NATO as a meaningful alliance. Something might be worked out this afternoon (a "compromise") to paper over the fact, but in real terms it will just be camoflage.

In a way what we're seeing is the perhaps inevitable sweeping of the decks: few institutions last forever, especially international institutions. The institutions created in the wake of World War II and which existed during the Cold War era (institutions like NATO, the UN - even, in many ways, the EU, which itself is in a precarious moment, don't let anyone tell you otherwise) may not survive into the next era. We are in a period that has traditionally (if one believes that the generational theory of history has any basis) been one where old institutions pass away so that new ones can grow in the next generation.

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under heaven.

Turn, turn, turn

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Make Believe Ok, lets pretend. Lets pretend that the proposal of the Restored Carolingian Empire for another "Last Chance" Resolution is not a hostile act aimed at the U.S. and Britain. Lets pretend that they sincerely want it to pass and sincerely want it to work, and sincerely believe that having hundreds of inspectors and thousands or tens of thousands of "peacekeepers" in Iraq, while keeping the Ba'athist National Socialist regime of Saddam Hussein in power is something to take at face value.

It shows that when they have argued that they're afraid that war will destabilize the region, inflame the "Arab street", and provoke further acts of terrorism, they haven't meant it. Neither will have anyone who embraces this proposal as an alternative to toppling Saddam Hussein's regime.

How can I say that?

Because this would be the worst of all possible worlds: Keeping Saddam in power while sending in thousands or tens of thousands of troops (UN troops) that will be targets, allowing Saddam and his minions to continue to spew rhetoric calling the inspectors "spies" and trying to inflame the passions of the people against the "imperialist" troops, while not replacing his despotism with images of people celebrating his downfall. This is at best a recipe for Somalia all over again - not for Afghanistan. Saddam will continue to sponsor and support terrorist groups, and his continued survival will be seen as a rallying point. All the "dangers" that the anti-war crowd point to as possible consequences of war (but which never materialize when we act decisively) become more likely, not less likely, following this kind of plan.

No wonder so many people are speculating about why the French and Germans, among others, are so desperate to do anything that keeps Saddam in power, no matter how ineffective and dangerous that alternative might be. We can now see that when they have raised their "fears" of the region being "destabilized" or of doing something that would inflame terrorism, they have been insincere. It is half measures such as these that are more likely to generate the specters they raise when opposing the use of force.
Well, Wadda Yah Know I agree with Tom Friedman.
The Truth Is Out There: Check out This Torygraph piece. Not just for the main thrust of the article (about the second Resolution being written to be proposed next week). But read down till you get to the quotes from Rihab Taha, an Iraqi germ warfare scientist:
Speaking of her work on biological weapons, Dr Taha added: "It is our right to have a capability to defend ourselves and to have something as a deterrent."
1) Confirms that, in spite of their vocal denials, they are violating their commitments (that is, what they agreed to) regarding disarming and giving up these sorts of weapons.

2) Confirms what I've been saying all along regarding the reasons Saddam wants these weapons: to deter anyone who could try to block his ambitions to dominate the region.

3) Shows that they have no intention whatsoever of cooperating, as they agreed to when they accepted the various post-Gulf War cease fire terms and Resolution 1441 (which calls not for just letting inspections in to engage in a snipe hunt while Iraq decieves and hides, but calls on them to disarm of these weapons).

A lot of people will want to distract from these facts in the comming days and weeks, in their calls for "more inspections" (more of the same). But this is the situation: Iraq is going to continue to be in "materiel breach" (violation) of its commitments. Three hundred, even three thousand, inspectors won't change that. But several countries (and, again, quite a few people) don't mind. Their purpose is thus obvious: to help Iraq continue to play for time, and to keep Saddam in power pursuing his goals.
Munich Plan?: Nelson Ascher mails me that he'd rather call the whole thing the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact part II.

It does have a certain ring to it, and the secretive nature of the plan, sprung on the Western Democracies (which do not include countries governed by Impersonal Bureaucracy, such as France and Germany) to insure the preservation of their influence over a small nation and divide the spoils between them, does make it an apt comparison.

But I think I'll stick with "Munich Plan".
Too Harsh or Distortive? Think the below post is misrepresentative of what they're proposing or too harsh?

Then remember that up until recently, they were pushing to have sanctions lifted. These are also countries whos companies have violated sanctions and are countries that have approved post-sanctions contracts with Saddam. The aircraft shown in Powell's UN presentation modified to spray Anthrax was a F-1 Mirage, a fighter of French manufacture.

Also, they know that when it comes to ruthless dictators, "peackeepers" have never been an obsticle. Remember Srebenica? But they can be an obsticle to the U.S.

These countries are obviously insincere in wanting "tighter sanctions". They have - and continue to - done everything they can to obstruct and oppose the U.S. and save Saddam (if not: then why didn't they back a resolution this "strong" last fall?) They know that no amount of inspectors, absent real cooperation from Iraq, will be effective, and that these "peacekeepers" will mainly serve as human shields on Saddam's behalf - until ordered by Saddam to leave the country, after Saddam has succeeded in his goal. This is a tool for them to buy time - not on behalf of their "American ally", but to oppose and thwart America on behalf of their friend Saddam.

It is, indeed, exactly what I was talking about last fall when everyone said I was full of fecal matter. You remember that time, right? When the French were working overtime to weaken what became Resolution 1441 and I was both questioning their motives and predicting what would result (as I reiterated here) - Iraq would not comply and their position would be essentially unmoved, calling for more of the same.

(For my own reasons, a repost of this post from yesterday.)