Tuesday, May 31, 2005
You know that the EU Constitution process is dead when a former Labour MP and EU Comissioner as well as a current Labour MP - who are generally supporters of the treaty - argue that the people of France have spoken and the government of Brussels should respect their decision. Just look what the Labourites had to say in The Times:
Writing in The Times today, Stephen Byers, the former Transport Secretary and a close friend of Mr Blair, says that calls for another vote in France betray the sort of "institutional arrogance" that the French public rejected.I love to read something where a politician accepts the will of the people. Maybe the EU should take some pointers from the Brits.
"By their decisive vote, the people of France have killed the European constitutional treaty," he says. "It would be a grave mistake . . . to ignore or try to explain away this expression of popular feeling."
Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty, the former Labour leader and EU commissioner, said that the period of reflection that Mr Blair had requested after the French vote "can only sensibly come to one conclusion . . . Referendums produce results and results have to be lived with."
While looking over the news about the recent rejection of the EU Constitution in France, I keep bumping into various reports that keep pointing out that the French opposition to the treaty is completely different from the Dutch or British arguments. After reading Tuesday's edition of The Daily Telegraph (registration required), I came across a wonderful opinion piece by Mark Steyn which rocked this whole argument to the core. Just seize your eyes on these two paragraphs to see Steyn at his finest:
But so what? Britain's naysayers don't have to reject the constitution for the same reason as France's commies, fascists, racists, eco-nutters, anachronistic unionists, featherbedded farmers, middle-aged "students", Trot professors and welfare queens, bless 'em all. If they want to go down the Eurinal of history clinging to their unaffordable welfare state, their 30-hour work weeks, 10-month work years and seven-year work decades, that's up to them. If Britain doesn't, that should be up to Britain.Steyn seems to be able to plow throw the blubber and paup that the EU and its political elite have thrown before the citizenry and gotten to the bone of the matter, which is the people of France, Holland, Britian and various other nations in Europe prefer to have their own say in matters that affect them rather than allow elites from Brussels ordering them to a fro. No matter how you slice, dice, boil or grill it, the argument always is the same, which is it's all about a nation's sovereignty. When you push a Constitution that continues to knock down the walls of the various borders on the countries and imposes its will on these nations without the consent of the people or their elected parliaments, nine times out ten you will get the results that France gave the EU this past Sunday. Hopefully, the Dutch will continue this tide of rejecting the EU Constitution and put a stake in this monster's heart come tomorrow. From the looks of this article, I can assure you that this "Nee" is pretty much on the agenda of the voters of Holland when theytreke to the polls.
For decades, some of us have argued that "Europe" is too diverse to form a single polity, that the British and French are in fact foreign to each other. Sir Edward Heath and his ilk scoff at such crude language: why, today's young cosmopolitan Britons are perfectly comfortable drinking Beaujolais and eating croissants and flaunting their wedding tackle on the CÃ´te d'Azur. True, and irrelevant. What Sunday's vote underlined is profound differences in political culture. Britain's anti-Europeans and France's lunatic fringe are united only in their reluctance to be bossed around by a regulatory regime that insists a one-size-fits-all rulebook can be applied from Ballymena to the Baltics. It can't. The alleged incompatibility of our dissatisfactions makes the point: all politics is local; despite the assiduous promotion of the term, electorally speaking there is no such thing as a "European".
Along with Steyn's accurate assessment of why the French and Dutch are opposed to the EU Constitution, Tim Hames has penned a great article in The Times. According to his great article, Hames notes that the EU political elites generated this phonebook document filled with its confusing legaleses that benefit the self interest of the elites without thinking about the individual liberties of the people of these nations. Hames put the whole Constitution in perspective when he noted:
Which, in a sense, it was meant to be. This is a constitution that the citizens of Europe were meant to salute and not to scrutinise. It is laced with the assumption that all that those who live in the EU need to know about this institution is that it is "a good thing." To have proceeded with this enterprise despite rising popular antipathy towards Brussels everywhere (even in Belgium) was the height of arrogance. At last, this elite has been held accountable by an electorate.In some ways, I can imagine John Stewart Mill and F.A. Hayek looking down on the people of France and are smiling because they saw fit to practice their right to freely choose the direction of their nation. Had the people of France not stood up and shouted stop to this this absurd treaty, they would have cede their nation away to the weenies in Brussels. I can imagine that a lot of the French voters were aghast with the thought of being under the sole EU banner and not the tri-color French flag.
All in all, the folks of France and Holland have become the saviors of their own nation and its cultural heritage by standing up to the folks in Brussels and rejecting their horrific three volumn novel known as a Constitution.
If you survive reading my post and the pieces by Steyn and Hames, feel free to read these pieces as well. First, check out William Kristol's piece in The Weekly Standard. Secondly here's a piece from The Sunday Times by Minette Marin which inquires what is Europe for. Thirdly, check out this one by Bill Murchinson, which gives a toast to the French pulling the "Non" lever. Finally, read this piece by W. James Antle III over at Enter Stage Right which notes the stand for sovereignty that the French took in voting "non." If you get through all of these, you'll have a better understanding on why the French and the Dutch are so much against the EU treaty and bossy Brussels.
Michael Ledeen has a wonderful piece over at National Review Online on the seemingly lull period of the War on Terror. While it's understandable that the White House, State and Defense Department are suffering from fatigue after some four years of fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is not the time to slack off. If we start getting wrapped up in the diplomatic peacock mating ritual that the Europeans are doing with Iran (I think the peacock with do all his dancing and still won't get the peahen) or refocus our attention on the Israeli/Palestinian peace process we become soft and take our eye off the ball. As Ledeen notes in his article, the United States can ill afford to rest on its laurels of freeing Afghanistan from the Taliban/Al Qaeda and Iraq from the horrors of Saddam and his terror sponsoring government, it has to continue its route of terrorism by focusing on the terror states of Iran and Syria.
One doesn't have to go to far from the borders of Iraq to find two regimes who constantly seek the destruction of the US via their support of their terrorist proxies. As long as these evil regimes continue to live undisturbed, they will continue to shelter, train, arm and provide succor to the terrorists who cross over the Iraqi border to attack our soldiers with IED's and truck bombs. Time is not on our side in this battlefield, we must continue to carry the fight to the terror masters. When you focus on the legs (terror masters) of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah you will eventually bring the terrorists to their knees making them more vulnerable to our attacks. (Think of the rebels taking out the legs of AT-AT walkers in The Empire Strikes Back or the AT-ST's in Return of the Jedi.) It's time to continue this roll-back policy before we get to comfortable in listing to the moderating tones of the Europeans, professional diplomats, political moderates or the MSM. We only have to read the following passages by Ledeen to see how "now is not the time to go wobbly" as Margaret Thatcher famously quipped to Bush 41 prior to the Gulf War:
On Iran, our language is as tougher, and it is most welcome. On the eve of Memorial Day, Secretary Rice proclaimed Iran "probably [?] the most important state sponsor of terrorists, including terrorists who are doing their best to frustrate the hopes of the Palestinian people for a state" and branded it as "a country that does have (an) abominable human rights record." Fine words, but, as in the Syrian case, they do not deal with the matters at hand. Iran is headed toward another phony presidential election on June 17, with the usual charade intended to deceive all would-be appeasers into believing that Iranian elections are like those in Wichita, Kansas. More than 1,000 candidates stepped forward, and the Guardian Council (that is, the Guardians of the mullahcracy) selected six, including one of the country's leading murderers, former president Rafsanjani. The impotent group known as the "reformers" protested their exclusion, whereupon the Great Dictator Khamenei added two of them to the list.Time is not waiting and we should be taking every action in our power (barring war) to end these bloody tyrannies. People in these regimes are ready to topple their governments but just need a slight push from the US. This shouldn't be that hard to achieve with some past successes against the regimes in Europe, Central/Southern America, and Asia throughout the 1980's and today's modern technologies like satellite TV, Radios and the Internet. I hope that the folks in the White House are just in a mere holding pattern for the fog to clear because terrorists don't take breaks unless they're dead.
The Iranian people are not deceived, and all reliable reports from Iran tell us that few of them intend to vote. Knowing this, the regime has announced that non-voters will be treated as criminals, deprived of educational opportunities, forbidden to travel, and banned from government employment. Why have our diplomats not denounced the electoral scam and the frantic efforts to compel the Iranians to act in the pathetic comedy? The most authoritative religious figure in Iran, the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, told Reuters that the Iranians understood the election was a fraud, because the president has no authority. Khamenei holds it all. In open rebellion against the Islamic Republic, Montazeri said that the Supreme Leader "should limit his role to religious matters and to ensuring that laws conformed to Islam." In short, that the Islamic Republic must be dismantled. Meanwhile, the Iranians and the Syrians continue to support the terror war against us in Iraq. Here again, everyone knows it — nobody raised an eyebrow at the recent rumors that Zarqawi had taken refuge in Iran, because everyone knows he has long had Iranian support for his barbaric actions — yet our leaders are strangely unwilling to draw the obvious conclusion: The regimes must go.
I do not understand why Bush, Rice, and Rumsfeld should be less forthcoming than an 83-year-old Grand Ayatollah under virtual house arrest in Qom. In his final days in office, Colin Powell went around the world announcing that the United States was not calling for regime change in Iran, and no one in Washington has gainsaid those words. Nor has anyone called for regime change in Damascus. In each case, official rhetoric, and apparently formal policy as well, are directed toward matters of less significance in the Global War: the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian mullahs, and the domination of Lebanon by the Syrian Baathists and their murderous Hezbollah allies. Yet it is clear to anyone with eyes to see that even these lesser goals cannot be accomplished so long as Assad rules Syria, and the mullahs rule Iran.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Aside from the French and the Dutch opposing the EU treaty, there's also a major political leader in the Czech Republic who is opposed to the Constitution and it's President Vaclav Klaus. According to this piece from the German news-service Deutsche Welle, this opposition to the EU Constitution is due to the fact that it would rob the people of the Czech Republic of its national sovereignty in return for a supranational body that calls the shots. Deutsche Welle notes that Klaus is more inclined to a Europe modeled around the Economic Community in the 1960's and 1970's which placed a greater emphasis on Free Trade and economic liberalism. Joining the ranks of Margaret Thatcher, Klaus argues against the political union of Europe but argues for the continued economic and strategic confederation of individual European states. I think Klaus laid this argument out very nicely when he noted to DW:
"I predict a glowing future if the constitution does not get ratified," Klaus said. "I think that such documents are the last thing that the EU and its people need in order to lead happy and successful lives."While the other EU political elites are overwhelmingly promoting the Constitution, it's wonderful to find a refreshingly dissident voice like Klaus who says what he says. If you didn't have voices like this, the EU would have rubber-stamped the Constitution without consulting the people. So, thanks to Klaus for being a rock in the EU river.
As you and your family look in reference to the soldiers and veterans who have defended this nation's shores and the soldiers who defend it today, I wanted to give a bit of holiday reading.
To begin with, here's a wonderful Q&A between National Review Online's editor Kathryn Jean Lopez and Stephen Mansfield over his wonderful new book The Faith of the American Soldiers. I'd say that if you want to see a group of people who's heart is truly with the Lord then it's a soldier who risks their place lives on the line everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan. Amongst the various topics discussed in this Q&A, the one that caught my attention was over the concept of honor on the battlefield. See for yourself:
NRO: What does honor mean for the American on the battlefield?It's great that people like Mansfield are around to write such an excellent book to give us a better understanding of our servicemen.
Mansfield: Honor on the battlefield results from living by a code that rescues the warrior from barbarism and elevates the profession of arms. It means understanding soldiering as a spiritual service as much as a martial role. Honorable soldiers are devoted to the moral objectives of their nation in war, are willing to lay their lives on an altar of sacrifice, are courageous in subduing the enemy yet compassionate to civilians and prisoners, are devoted to a godly esprit de corps, and are eager to master the art of arms by way of fulfilling a calling.
Second, here's a great piece by Jim Lacey over at National Review Online on the devotion of our commanders to their soldiers. Instead of portraying our officers as cold or mere war-mongers who throw its soldiers to the meat-grinder in the same vein as they are in movies like Paths to Glory, Platoon, Hamburger Hill or Gallipoli, Lacey gives us a more accurate portrayal of our commanders as being the fatherly type who actually love their soldiers. No matter what the conditions are around them, the commanders in our military will not rest until they see that their men are safe and sound. Luckily, Lacey has been able to look beyond the MSM fog and has written a pretty sound piece. Lacey's piece shows that our commanders are the same caring commanders and officers that we see in movies like To Hell and Back, They Were Expendable, The Longest Day, The Big Red One, Patton (might seem gruff but cared for men) and MacArthur (He anguished over the fate of his men in the Philippines and throughout the Pacific. Thanks to Lacey for bringing this fact to the attention of his readers.
Also, check out several pieces by Myrna Blyth -Mother of a Naval Reserve lieutenant and NRO contributor - over at National Review Online, which provides a great snapshot of our soldiers who go through hell defending our nation and are some outstanding citizens in their own right. Just check here and here to see her wonderful dedication to our soldiers.
Finally, check out this good piece by Ralph Kinney Bennett over at Tech Central Station on the importance of Memorial Day.
So enjoy all of these great pieces and have a wonderful Memorial Day. Oh, I almost forgot, God Bless our fallen soldiers, veterans and current soldiers who put their lives on the line defending us all. I think the best way to set our focus on the meaning behind Memorial Day is the chorus of Billy Ray Cyrus's Some Gave All:
All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Well it seems the people of France has taken a bold step forward in preserving the national sovereignty of France from the ever creeping supranational EU led by a gaggle of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. It's about time that the people of France stood up to the political elites of Europe and showed them that the decision by people in these nations a far more important than the dictates of the EU and its commissioners. After seeing the results of the referendum which show a 70% turnout and the "No" camp winning a healthy 55% of the vote, I can pretty much concur that the French people have pretty much demonstrated their antipathy towards Chirac's beloved constitution. This rejection has also sent shockwaves through the French government resulting in Chirac replacing PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin and initiating a reshuffle of the President's cabinet. It also has placed the EU leadership in a deep lull which has seen its much beloved Constitution run into a serious stumbling block, what with a founding EU member state like France telling the EU to go jump in a lake.
If you want to see an organization being thrown for a loop, just read this piece in The Financial Times. Seems the folks in the EU headquarters in Brussels have taken the rejection of the treaty on the chin in the similar vein as a nation paying tribute to a befallen soldier our leader with the lowering of their flag. Its really sad that an entity that was supposedly formed on democratic ideals can only stand and respect certain decisions by the people of Europe. (As long as they vote the way the folks in Brussels want them to) As I noted in previous posts, their are a considerable amount of EU elites arguing that even if the French reject the EU Constitution the referendum process must continue in the other European states. I agree that the other governments who have offered its people a referendum should proceed on with the votes instead of handing it over to the parliaments but I'm dismayed at the thought of the French leadership - at the behest of Chirac - holding a second referendum after seeing what the other nations have to say about the Constitution. This absurd notion seems to have been shot down in this Leader from The Times, have a look:
Not that it will be M Chirac'’s instinct to be that humble. If his record is any guide, then lesser heads will roll and blame allocated elsewhere. There have already been indications that he will urge others to continue with the ratification effort and if they fall into line he might come back to the electorate of France to demand a second vote with a political gun pointed at them.Eventually the EU political elites will learn that this proposed project will never get of the ground if they ignore the people's will and continue to move the goal-posts to get a desired result. You cannot have a United States of Europe without guaranteeing the rights of the people and their respected nations (Federalism). I guess the framers of the EU Constitution wanted all the power centered in Brussels and the heck with the rest. Well from the results of Sunday's vote in France, I think that the people of a France have said the heck with Brussels. Expect much more of this come June 1, 2005 when the Dutch head for the polls, with the "No" camp amassing a hefty lead, see here and here.
It would be an outrage if others conspired to support him. The view of the French electorate should be deemed to be the last nail in the coffin of this unloved treaty. If, as expected, the citizens of the Netherlands again condemn it on Wednesday, then it will be more than six feet under. Rather than casting around for excuses and scapegoats, politicians, at home and abroad, should acknowledge the obvious. This text and the enterprise that produced it has long lacked the public enthusiasm that is required of democracies. The EU constitution is the dead parrot of the forestry of European politics.
Seeing the people of France and the Netherlands exercising their right to freely go to the polls and decide the fate of the EU, I'm reminded of all the people who have sacrificed their lives to ensure such rights. With this being Memorial Day weekend and the 61st Anniversary of D-Day just around the corner, it is refreshing to know that the sacrifice of the US, UK and various allies were not taken for granted. The people of these respected nation's have shown once again that they will not be beholden to the dictates of an supranational body like Brussels but were their own masters. I think that the soldiers who died freeing Europe from the clutches of Nazi Germany, would be very happy to see some 60 years after WWII's conclusion that the people have the right to determine the fate of their nation through the ballot box. So as we think about our soldiers and their sacrifices just remember that there's a lot of people in Europe who are free today to vote their conscience, even if they never credit us. (An aside note, there's more friends of the US in the European citizenry than you think, it's similar to the red states in America.)
So carry on your fight for a Europe free from the mettlesome folks in Brussels, we in America can remember the days when we faced a similar problem. Anyone remember King George III? Oh bye the way, Happy Memorial Day.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
The New York Sun has a good editorial and the EU Constitutional Referendum tomorrow. The editorial board notes that the whole EU project under this proposed Constitution is doomed from the start because it focuses too much on merging all of the countries of Europe into a single entity known as the United States of Europe instead of an confederation of individual nation states that pioneers like Winston Churchill and later leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl and Jose Maria Aznar envisioned when they set about the creation of this project. While the French and Dutch head to the polls to cast "no" votes for differing reasons, they will be rejecting the treaty to ensure the right of their states to make decisions on domestic, economic and foreign policy rather than cede them away to Brussels via the Constitution. No matter what happens on Sunday in France or Wednesday in Holland, the public will provide a wake-up call to the political elites of Europe that they cannot ride roughshod over the people with this project. Just read a little bit of this editorial by the Sun to see how the "No" votes in these respective countries could result in a more limited political enterprise that leaves more power in the hands of the people and their parliaments. Here's a good selection from the editorial that expressing such sentiments:
As John O'Sullivan has noted, the French rejection of the European constitution can't help but spark a reconsideration of the European Union itself and for what it should stand. Fortunately for America, this rethinking will occur precisely when the anti-American politics of Mr. Chirac and Germany's socialist chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, are on the wane. Polls suggest not only that French voters are poised to hand Mr. Chirac a humiliating defeat in Sunday's referendum, but also that German voters are preparing to put Mr. Schroder's party out of power in favor of a government friendlier to America.I particularly like the last part which places a greater emphasis on the EU promoting economic and political liberty than the tired status quo of Socialism. This will take some time to make some inroads into the French mindset but it's well worth a try instead of the monstrosity that has been submitted to the voters in tomorrow's referendum. So Vive la France, and vote "non."
The recent rift between Europe and America was always based more on the cynicism of Messrs. Chirac and Schroder than on the actual sentiments of the Europeans. Voters in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Poland, and, most notably, Britain, have expressed skepticism over the proposed European constitution for reasons opposite those of the French electorate: These states resent the overweening influence of France and Germany and worry about socialist economic regulation.
In other words, it's not a conflict between Europe and America so much as a conflict within Europe about America. Suddenly we're at a pass when America may be able to redirect European integration in a more favorable direction - toward a liberal, open, intergovernmental union that furthers democratization in Turkey, Ukraine, and the Black Sea region. That is, toward broader economic integration and away from the deeper political integration that aims at resisting America's brand of freedom.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Oliver North has a excellent piece on the success of our soldiers in Iraq that few in the media fail to report. Instead of the talking heads who sit in the posh studios in the US harping about how bad everything is in Iraq, the Col. and his crew from FOX News have been in the trenches with our brave soldiers as they fight the terrorists in the streets of Anbar Province. Above all else, Col. North points out that while the media will continue to focus on our mistakes and failures, they tend to overlook the positive. If the public relied just on the MSM for all their news on Iraq, few would ever read these positive aspects:
The soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the 503rd Infantry deployed to Iraq from Korea. Many of them will be away from their families for more than two years. Though living conditions at Corregidor Combat Outpost are as "Spartan" as any I have seen since Khe Sanh or Con Thien in Vietnam, they go out every day with Iraqi troops and commandos to hunt down elusive terrorists in the capital city of Iraq's largest province. They are ignored by the press.I'm glad that we have Col. North, the Blogs and FOX News to keep the news straight for "the folks" in the US.
Many of the Marines and Navy Medical CORPSMEN in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines are back in Iraq for their third seven-month combat deployment. Yet, I detected no carping or complaining as they carried out 'round-the-clock raids and patrols, manned checkpoints and stood watch side-by-side with Iraqi troops in the heart of the Sunni triangle. This isn't considered to be "news"?
It looks like the Georgians (Europe) are intensifying their call for the Russian troops to withdraw from their nation in the near future. Let's hope the people of Georgia can regain its sovereignty that the Russian government has impinged on with the quartering of its troops in two bases in Georgia.
Tim Worstall has a good demonstration over at Tech Central Station on why the European Union and its unelected bureaucrats will never achieve their desired goal of United States of Europe. It seems that the people running the show in Brussels are full of hot air and pay little regard for the people of Europe. Even when the citizens of the various European nations have expressed their love of their nation's sovereignty through their utter contempt for the supranational EU, you have the likes of Margot Wallstrom, Vice President and Commissioner of the European Union, stating absurd claims like:
We also came to this terrible point in our history through nationalistic pride and greed, and through international rivalry for wealth and power. It was precisely to put an end to such rivalry that the European Union was born - the first ever supranational organisation in which sovereign nations voluntarily share their sovereignty.If that wasn't enough of a scandal and revelation of Wallstrom's utter disregard for the citizens of Europe who have a great love of their nationality, she has begun a campaign of promoting disinformation amongst the polity just to sell a Constitution and political entity that gives the elites dominion over the people. Though try as she may, Wallstrom still has failed to convince an overwhelming majority of French and Dutch voters into the "Yes" column in the upcoming EU Constitution referendum. I'd say that Tim Worstall summed it up best when he noted in his piece the following:
Yet there are those today who want to scrap the supranational idea. They want the European Union to go back to the old purely inter-governmental way of doing things.
I say those people should come to Terezin and see where that old road leads.
A slightly disheartening experience then, ploughing through the considered opinions of one of those who rule over us. Outrageous allegations, sweeping claims and not many facts to back them up. How could, I ask myself, anyone vote for such a politician? Surely no one could win an election on such vapidity? Ah, but then no one did vote for TEBAF Margot, she was appointed. As were all of the other Commissioners, those petty gauleiters of the new order. None of them stood for election, none faced the voters and it is unlikely that they would in fact be in power if they had had to do so.Well done Mr. Worstall. It's about time someone put these EU elites in their place. I can assure you that there is a considerable amount of people in France, Holland, Britain and various other European nations have a similar opinion of the EU elites. We'll see their true feelings on May 29 and June 1.
Look, we may be Europeans, but please, we're not that damn stupid.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
According to these articles here and here from The Times, the French and various other governments in Europe have decided to move the goal posts once again on the ratification of the EU Constitution. Throughout the various capital cities of Europe, you have the governmental elites discussing their "Plan B's" if the treaty is rejected in France, Holland and the UK. Instead of abiding by the people's vote, the various leaders have decided to either pass the treaty through their respected parliaments without going to the people, continue the treaty process by holding the subsequent referendums or even worse, the elites will continue to hold one referendum after the other until the leadership gets the vote they want. To see how far the pro-EU camp will go in order to preserve their precious superstate, just look at what the EU leadership plans to do if the treaty is rejected:
After the French result on Sunday evening, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, which holds the rotating EU presidency, and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, plan to lay out the course ahead at the Commission's Brussels headquarters.It amazing how everyone like Valery Giscard d'Estaing and other pro-EU elites continue to promote this Constitution as the next version of the US Constitution even though the EU and its leaders continue to forget that the guiding principle of the US Constitution, as Lincoln put it is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people." As long as the elites in Europe continue to deny this form of government to its people and continue to move the goal posts on the EU question, you will see a supranational entity like the EU fall to the wasteside. You only have look at the history of Europe to realize that individuals who have tried to impose their complete will on the people, have failed miserbly. Whether it was the British breaking Napoleon's back at Waterloo, the US and Britain defeating the Nazis during WWII or the West fighting the Communists in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the people who freely chose the government have always overcome such vile actors. Though the people in the EU leadership are a far cry from Napoleon, Hitler or Stalin, they still have lost all respect of the citizens in these various nations by ignoring their wishes. If these leaders are willing to ignore the voters now, could you imagine what they will be like when they have complete power over the various national governments.
Mr Juncker will declare that the ratification process must continue, and that countries such as Britain must not abandon their referendums.
Mr Juncker insisted this week: "The countries that have said "no" will have to ask themselves the question again."
So the best advice I could offer is for the people of Europe to vote "No" and stand pat on that decision. I guess that the EU elites are trying to take Europe down Hayek's Road to Serfdom once more. This is something that the people in the various European nations can ill-afford.
While we've celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and will mark the 60th anniversary of VJ day this August, the British have just celebrated the 65th anniversary of "Operation Dynamo," which was the rescue evacuation of the UK soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. During this pivotal operation, various citizens of the UK set out to sea in their sea worthy vessels and helped rescue some 338,000 soldiers from the Nazi's thus ensuring Britain's will to fight another day.
While the Iraqi forces have had their ups and downs in battling the terrorists throughout Baghdad, they seem to be turning the tide by going on the offensive. According to this report in The Financial Times, the Iraqi government will cordon of the city with 675 checkpoints and several roving checkpoints which will be backed up with some 40,000 police and soldiers. After the death of some 620 Iraqi citizens at the hand of terrorists this past month, the Iraqi government has decided enough is enough.
With this Iraqi effort and the US Marines and Army launching its offensive operations in the Anbar Province, the terrorists scourging the Iraqi capital will find it harder to continue their deadly bombings. As with any fight against terrorists, the best policy is to remain on the offensive and keep it up.
The New York Sun noted in this article, that during the annual AIPAC (American Israeli Political Affairs Committee) conference in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Rice sounded out a warning to the mullah's of Iran when she publicly stated:
"Ladies and gentlemen, the Middle East is changing and even the unelected leaders in Tehran must recognize this fact. They must know that the energy of reform that is building all around them will one day inspire Iran's citizens to demand their liberty and their rights. The United States stands with the people of Iran."I'd say that this is a small but crucial turn in the State Department's policy towards Iran. While this is a start, the White House and the State Department need to be very proactive in publicly calling for democratic reform/transition of the mullachracy of Iran. One only has to look back at President Reagan's public promotion of freedom and democracy in the various nations of Eastern Europe, Central & Southern America to see how much of an impact that the support of the US President and their officials can have. Such an argument was promoted by AEI scholar, Richard Perle, who noted in an session at AIPAC that the opposition groups in Iran could use such support because:
"They are hoping to get a message through to the administration, they need moral support, there has been no suggestion that they want military intervention or anything like that. They want Americans to know they have been deprived of basic human rights and want Americans to support them."Lets hope that this is the strategy of the US because Iran is ripe for a democratic change.
As usual, there is a group of Senators trying every tactic in the book to delay or shoot down the confirmation of John Bolton to the UN. According to this article in The New York Sun, individuals like Senator Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden continue to insist on this ridiculous claim that Bolton obtained the identity of US officials whose names were blanked out of NSA intercepts for nefarious reason.
The only problem is that Senator Roberts ad Senator Rockefeller of the Senate Intelligence Committee have written two letters proving that these allegations are really non starters. In Senator Roberts letter, the Kansan politician pointed out that Bolton's actions were not wrong and added that, Michael Hayden, the director of the NSA stated that they ""were not only appropriate, but routine," due to the fact that Bolton's 10 requests was not unusual since the combined State Department has requested such actions 490 other times during the same time period. Even Senator Rockefeller noted that in an earlier letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
"Based on my personal review of these reports and the context in which U.S. persons are referenced in them, I found no evidence that there was anything improper about Mr. Bolton's 10 requests for the identities of U.S. persons."Unfortunately, there will continue to be attempts to throw a monkey wrench into Bolton's confirmation vote. I guess the politics of "personal destruction" will get the best of partisans who despise Bolton for being John Bolton. Hopefully, the Republican Senate can toe the line on the Bolton vote unlike they did with the judges.
According to The Times, It seems the various leaders in France have thrown up their hands in disgust after their failed efforts to sway the French voters into the "Yes" column on the EU Constitution referendum. Just look at what the future President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, has to say about the upcoming referendum:
THE leader of France'’s ruling party has privately admitted that Sunday'’s referendum on the European constitution will result in a "no" vote, throwing Europe into turmoil.Along with Sarkozy noting the failure of the government to promote the EU Constitution, you also have others from the "Yes" campaign offering recriminations against the government. Probably the most noted critic of France's failed "Yes" campaign is "the father" of the EU Constitution, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who noted to a French newspaper:
"The thing is lost,"” Nicolas Sarkozy told French ministers during an ill-tempered meeting. "“It will be a little "‘no" or a big "‘no’," he was quoted as telling Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the Prime Minister, whom he accused of leading a feeble campaign.
"Our current leaders are of course believers in the idea of Europe but in their heart of hearts they are not men and women who are inspired by an European feeling."You know that all is lost in the promotion of the EU Constitution when its supporters start pulling out their knives and start attacking each other. Instead of taking down each other down over the Constitution and its ill-fated demise, maybe these elites of France should admit that maybe the people of France know something more than they do. The people of France as well as all other people in their respected nations are generally predisposed to like the way their national parliaments and leaders make key decisions on issues like the economy and the everyday functions of their government than another nation applying their will on them.
In the past weeks I've come across opinion columns and articles that have discussed the various reasons why France, Holland and Britain are opposed to the EU Constitution. In France you have this overwhelming opposition based on the fear that the Constitution would de-calcify the purely socialist economy through the "Anglo" inspired economic liberalism (The truth of the matter is that this would help rather than harm but no matter, this is what the French voters wanted and got by electing socialists), the Dutch and the British are opposed to joining any entity that ties their hands and places their nation under the will of an omnipotent supranational power like the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. What this all boils down to is a fight for the preservation of a nation and its people's sovereignty. When a nation cannot conduct its rightful and lawful business on the behalf of its people because another entity supersedes its decisions, you eventually cease to become a nation. The French, Dutch and Brits are proud of their nationality and will walk through hell with a can of gasoline before they would ever renounce them for the sake of an United States of Europe. I hope the people of these nations come through for the sake of their nations and the current configuration of Europe that the World has been accustomed to.
To get a further explanation of this fight for sovereignty that is occurring throughout the various nations of Europe, check out George Will's most recent column. It's a good read.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
This is one of the biggest reasons why the US should be very wary of Venezuela and its dictator Hugo Chavez. Thank G-d that Brazil refused Chavez's request to join a nuclear consortium with Venezuela and Iran. I'd say El Hefe II is showing us his true nature, which should have set off alarms in the State Department, Southern Command and the Pentagon.
Check out Tony Blankley, editor of The Washington Times editorial page, view on the "Gang of 14." As always, Mr. Blankley provides a great wit and wisdom in this column. I especially like this part of his piece:
What shall we call these 14 senators? Trustees, Regents, Governing Board Members, Blessed Ones, Lord Protectors, Proconsuls, Oligarchs, Cabalists, Conspirators, Usurpers? For the moment it doesn't matter. History will give them their final designation. Certainly they see themselves as saviors of the Senate traditions. (God save us from self-appointed saviors. It always ends in tears.)Go Tony, keep up the good work.
Whatever they are, they are not defenders of tradition. For starters, they have converted the allegedly traditional authority of a minority of 41 to block passage or confirmation into an empowered minority of three. Any three Democratic Regents may block a judicial nomination. By organizing into a blocking mechanism Â and presumably swearing blood oaths of loyalty to each other in a secret ceremony out of sight of the uninitiated Â they have created a new "tradition." Already they are taking on the trappings of a governing entity. On Monday night they didn't issue a press release Â as senators and congressmen usually do. Instead they issued a "Memorandum of Understanding on Judicial Nominations" on plain Senate stationery, subscribed by the 14 self-chosen ones. I assume in due time they will have their own stationery printed up. Gold-embossed I shouldn't wonder.
Here's an interesting article in The Times on Angela Merkel, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union opposition party in Germany, and her chances of becoming the future PM of Germany. With PM Gerhard Schroder's party suffering in a regional election and losing the Upper House to the opposition, he has decided to call a snap election this September. Hopefully, the armor of Schroder and his SPD party have enough stress points that Merkel and her fellow conservatives can retake the election and return to the days of Kohl (Except for the USSR and a divided government). Let's hope she is more like Thatcher than this article seems to reveal.
Well, it looks like Robert Mugabe has taken yet another step forward in strengthening his tyrannical grip on Zimbabwe with his most recent actions. According to this article in today's edition of The Christian Science Monitor, "Uncle" Bob has launched an extensive crackdown named "Operation Restore Order," which has resulted in the arrest of some 10,000 people who are out on the street vending food, exchanging foreign currency and various jobs to keep their family fed. Without learning from the economic fallacy of a command economy - which concentrates the wealth and ownership of property into the hands of the government- from the likes of the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and North Korea, Robert Mugabe has set his own people down this horrible road to financial disaster and dispair.
Instead of seeking solutions to this chaos, Mugabe has followed the path of all past and current dictators which is to remove the problem from the streets either through arrest or intimidation. I guess this is what happens when Mugabe pulls all the strings of the government via his stooges in Parliament and his thugs who use intimidation and violence on the citizenry to get what Mugabe wishes. Just look what The Christian Science Monitor has to say about Bob Mugabe's taking Zimbabwe into an even darker Heart of Darkness with his tyrannical actions:
As a former revolutionary himself, Mugabe knows "the climate is ripe for another revolution," says Peter Kagwanja of the International Crisis Group in Pretoria, South Africa. So he has embarked on a "campaign of containment" that aims to solidify his position of power - and preempt any full-blown dissent. By acting now he can prevent any Tiananmen Square-type protests.I just hope someone can find a way and the nerve to knock Mugabe off his dictatorial perch. Before too long, Zimbabwe will go the way of Sudan, Burma, and Cambodia at the hands of Bob Mugabe and his greedy friends. Maybe if we get John Bolton in the UN he can bring this to the UN Security Council's attention but then again we are talking about a body that watched the events in Rwanda, Sudan and Darfur and never lifted a finger to respond. The best we can do now is to continue the support of the democratic movement in Zimbabwe and pray the Bob Mugabe fades from the seen quickly to prevent this slow homicide of a wonderful nation and people as Zimbabwe. Eventually their national nightmare will be over.
So police have raided flea markets, demolished temporary buildings housing small convenience stores, and set up roadblocks throughout the city. With the formal economy in a tailspin, many people had taken up street vending - selling cellphone recharge cards or loaves of bread - to subsist. And now they're being targeted, with critics noting that urban residents are also supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
So in the once-prosperous capital city of Harare, with its wide boulevards, giant shade trees, and blocks of 15- and 20-story office buildings, people wait in long lines for bread, milk, and other essentials. The price of bread has reportedly doubled in the past two months. ATMs have largely run out of cash, and there are long lines at the few machines still working. Once a major food exporter, Zimbabwe now has several million people on the verge of starvation - and has to import corn and other food from the region."
Gerard Baker has a interesting piece in the May 30, 2005 issue of The Weekly Standard on the upcoming EU Constitution vote in France and the Netherlands. In the same vein as John O'Sullivan, Baker has written a good article on the major implications of the Constitution on the various member states and how it will effect the relationship between Europe and the United States. While Baker has laid out several good points throughout his article, I found these two paragraphs to be the most persuasive arguments for an outright rejection of the EU Constitution:
The key here is to remain focused on what the constitution would actually do. The constitution, in short, represents another big step toward a single European state. That state would not be, in spite of the fears whipped up by French socialists, some hideous model of Anglo-Saxon economic liberalism, but one firmly entrenched in the traditional European social-market model, one that would offer broad protections to workers and give pan-European regulators all kinds of new scope to practice their authority. It was designed, at least in part, to turn back the push, from new members in the East and from Britain, for freer markets and a more competitive business environment. In the political sphere, the constitution would generate a new impetus towards a single, unified European view in world affairs that would give considerable support to the Franco-German ambition to rebalance global power away from the United States--and it would limit the ability of individual European nations to support the United States.Yes, I'll actually be pulling for the French people in the weekend referendum. I might not like France (at least the cultural elites) but I'd prefer a independent and sovereign France rather than the EU superstate.
In short, if you think that what Europe needs is more regulation, more social protection, and less competition; if you think it needs to build up and strengthen the supranational state with political institutions accountable to almost no one; and if you think the world needs a united Europe led by a narrow group of politicians intent on challenging U.S. power, then you are definitely hoping the constitution beats the odds and clears all the popular hurdles that await it in the next year. If, on the other hand, you doubt the merits of that sort of Europe, you may be offering a silent prayer, perhaps for the first time in your life, that you are in solidarity with a majority of French opinion at least for one day this coming weekend.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
John O'Sullivan has a great column in The Chicago Sun-Times focusing on the upcoming EU Constitutional Referendums in France and the Netherlands and its possible implications if the "No" camp succeeds. Here's a brief sampling of O'Sullivan's wonderful work:
According to the law in the EU's founding treaties, the proposed constitution cannot go into effect if any nation rejects it. But the conventional wisdom is that there are national gradations of power in this regard:It's amazing that the promoters of the EU Constitution fail to point this out to the various voters in their respected states but then again these elites have tried to move Heaven and Earth to create the United States of Europe without really consulting the people or creating a government by and for the people. These EU elites prefer a government with people rather people with a government. Hopefully the "folks" of France, Holland and eventually the UK will give them a good what for, by voting "No" on the referendum. Expet more on this in the coming days.
First level: If France, a founding member of the EU and one of Europe's "Big Three," rejects the constitution by a clear margin, then the constitution is finished.
Second level: If Britain, one of Europe's "Big Three" but not a founding EU member, votes against it, then there would have to be renegotiations to make the treaty more palatable to the British electorate.
Third level: If Holland, a founding member but one of Europe's smaller nations, votes against it, then the Dutch will have to keep voting until they get it right -- as in the past the Irish and Danes were forced to eat their votes.
Here's an look at the Star Wars story that few of us have probably ever thought of. For all of you philosophy fans and pure intellectuals who like to dwell deep into the Aristotelean concept of the "tragic drama" of Anakin Skywalker descending into the evil Lord Vader in this Galaxy far, far away, you'll enjoy this piece by Pejman Yousefzadeh over at Tech Central Station. Just check his piece out because his explanation is far better than what I could muster. Hey, its philosophy and not political philosophy. It's still a great piece for the legion of Star Wars fan in the World and it's a good way to learn philosophy.
Aside from this atrocious deal on filibusters which were cut by the "Gang of 14," I've also been keeping tabs on the upcoming May 29, 2005 EU Constitutional Referendum in France. As you know, I'm a strong opponent of the EU Constitution because it threatens to destroy the sovereignty of the individual European states and will wreak havoc on the Atlanticist relationship between the US and Europe. I guess I realize how precious that one's freedom and sovereignty is and it seems that such a respect for these ideals seems to be very prominent in France. One of the strongest voices on retaining one's sovereignty instead of giving it up to Brussels is Phillippe de Villers (leader of nationalist Movement of France) who noted in a recent rally before 5,000 people in Paris: "To have 450 million people run by 18 technocrats is a totalitarian idea from the last century." He furthered his classical liberalism beliefs in freedom and liberty by pointing out that "Ours is a No of the people, not of the elite." I'd say that Mr. Villers has read a considerable amount of F.A. Hayek and John Stewart Mill and seems to be a champion of France's sovereignty while President Chirac continues to push this highly unpopular Constitution to cement some kind of legacy.
This DeGalle like obsession of promoting one's legacy like Chirac has taken with this Constitution seems to be having a negative impact on the vote. (DeGalle believed in France's sovereignty that he pulled France out of the military leadership in NATO in the 1960's, I doubt that he would ever sell France out like Chirac. Which I could be wrong because they both are pompous French leaders.) This in clearly the situation in France, especially after you read this wonderful piece by Chistopher Caldwell in the May 2, 2005 issue of The Weekly Standard. As always, from his perch in the European countryside, Caldwell is able to get a better sense of what's really goes on in Europe beyond the scope of the MSM. Just take a look at Caldwell's work:
Since the Iraq war, Chirac's popularity has followed the same downward spiral from dizzying heights that the elder George Bush's did after the Gulf war. Chirac, though, sought to recapture a bit of the old magic by suggesting that the best argument for passing the E.U. constitution was that the Americans (and the British) dislike it. Should France vote "No" on the constitution, Chirac warned, "the free-market trend will spread. What do the Anglo-Saxon countries want, particularly the United States? They want us to stop this European construction, which risks creating a Europe that will be stronger and capable of defending itself."Aside from Caldwell, we also have a better look at the polls in which the "No" vote is slowly but surely consolidating in France and is gaining in great leaps and bounds in the Netherlands. I know that the ground on the "No" vote in France could collapse at any moment but I have a feeling that there's a considerable amount of people in France who love their national sovereignty more than to just cede it away to Brussels because Chirac and his buddies say they should.
France may not be turning into a nation of free-marketers and Yankee-lovers, but it is stunning to see how little purchase such arguments now have, how tired the public considers them. People are looking elsewhere for answers. Today, the leading source of information on the European constitution is not any of the daily newspapers but Etienne Chouard, who teaches classes de brevet de technicien supérieur (French for "shop") at a high school in Marseilles. In the past few weeks, Chouard's website (http://etienne.chouard.free.fr) has turned into a rallying point, a sort of low-tech French Drudge Report, full of simple republican sentiments. "I believe that it is fundamentally undemocratic to propose a constitution that is so difficult to read," Chouard writes.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Once again, the milk-toast Republican moderates like John McCain have bowed down once again before Ole Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy on the judicial filibuster issue. Based on a recent news-conference, a group of seven Republican and 7 Democrats came together a made a compromise that allows cloture on Prisciilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor but will not allow this for the other seven. This compromise would also keep the filibuster off the table unless under "extreme circumstances," which basically means that when the President appoints a new Chief Justice and Associate Justice if Rehnquist retires or dies it's go time on the filibuster. As all right-minded people know, the filibuster happy Democrats will deem everyone after these three as "too extreme" and start the whole game over again. Once again, the Republican majority is being too trustworthy with their fellow Democratic Senators across the way. I guess having when the Republicans gain a majority in the Senate they voluntary agreed to be neutered of all their powers.
Expert this to have reverberations throughout the Republican's conservative base. If you noticed, Chuck Hagel stayed well clear of this moderate confab because he knows how popular and pressing the issue of stopping the Democrat's obfuscation of President Bush's judicial nominees. I guess Warner and Chafee forgot they're running in 06 and might need the support of the President to get re-elected. There are a lot more Republican fish swimming in the sea in Virginia and Rhode Island. We'll see what happens tomorrow to see if Dems are serious. I'm thinking that the GOP will regret ever letting John "The Maverick" McCain from making such a horrible compromise. McCain will get his apropos on Good Morning America, The Today Show and The Early Show, the Sunday network shows, NPR as well as the newspapers in America. He might even write a book called "How I Saved the Senate and Our Republic" with a forward by Senator Robert Byrd. (Don't put it past him, you never know what this media hog will do.) One thing I do know is that it will be a cold day in hell before RINO(Republican in Name Only) McCain is nominated as the GOP's pick in 08.
In yesterday's edition of The Chicago Sun-Times, I came across another wonderful column by the ever talented Mark Steyn. Steyn notes in a similar vein as VDH and Lee Harris, that the riots in Afghanistan was partially stimulated by the faulty Newsweek reporting and the "Gotcha" culture of the MSM but also by key individuals in the region who know how to use such information to stir up the emotions of the people in the region. In particular, Steyn points out the rabble-rousing in this half of the World by the World famous Cricket star turned Pakistani politician, Imran Khan. Just read a little sample:
And even these riots wouldn't have happened if Imran Khan hadn't provided the short fuse between Newsweek's match and those explosive mobs. Imran is a highly Westernized, wealthy Pakistani who found great fame and fortune in England. He palled around with the Rolling Stones, dated supermodels and married Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of billionaire businessman Sir James Goldsmith. Jemima was hot but of Jewish background and therefore, like much of Imran's stereotypical playboy lifestyle, not particularly advantageous when he decided to go into Pakistani politics. So, having demonstrated little previous interest in the preoccupations of the Muslim street, Imran then began pandering to it. I doubt whether he personally cared about that Newsweek story one way or the other, but he's an opportunist and that's why he went out of his way to incite his excitable followers.It's funny that people like Imran Khan will literally move heaven and earth to express their outrage when there's a mere whiff of a Muslims being offended in the West but if a 100 to a 1,000 Muslims die at the hand of Islamic terrorists you never see these politicians expressing their outrage. I guess that's what happens when your society is ruled by radical individuals like this who would rather raise a fuss than do something effective to improve their society.
It's not the mobs, so much as the determination of the elites to keep their peoples in a state of ignorance. The most educationally repressive form of Islam, for example, is funded and promoted by Saudi princes who, though not as handsome as Imran, also spend a lot of time in the West -- gambling, drinking, womanizing and indulging other tastes that even the wildest night on the tiles in Riyadh just can't sate. Whereas most advanced societies believe that an educated population is vital to the national interest, many Muslim elites seem to have concluded than an uneducated population is actually far more useful. And, when you look at Saudi funding of radical madrassahs in hitherto moderate Muslim regions from the Balkans to Indonesia, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that they're having great success de-educating hitherto relatively savvy parts of the world.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
It looks like the PC ninnies of Europe and the UK have struck again and this time it's with History. Instead of celebrating the marvelous routing of the French and Spanish ships at the hands of Admiral Horatio Nelson and his British fleet in Trafalgar in 1805, the event organizers have scrubbed away the history to prevent an offense. See what The Sunday Times has to say:
ADMIRAL NELSON saw off the mighty Franco-Spanish fleet at the battle of Trafalgar but 200 years on, he has been sunk by a wave of political correctness.Admiral Nelson died in this monumental battle and he's still being robbed his glory. Thank G-d more people still respect history and all of its parts, no matter who they offend. This is yet another reason why the EU will never work.
Organisers of a re-enactment to mark the bicentenary of the battle next month have decided it should be between “a Red Fleet and a Blue Fleet” not British and French/Spanish forces.
Otherwise they fear visiting dignitaries, particularly the French, would be embarrassed at seeing their side routed.
Even the official literature has been toned down. It describes the re-enactment not as the battle of Trafalgar but simply as “an early 19th-century sea battle”.
Upon a further review of the events of the riots of Afghanistan and Newsweek's brief but fraudulent reporting on the Koran being flushed down the toilet, I'd have to conclude that Newsweek did some shoddy work but probably wasn't the whole cause of the problem. Now, I'm not going to blame the US military or US policies like ABC's Terry Moran and The NY Times Elisabeth Bumiller have done but I do believe that the report did provide the much needed fuel for the Islamic radical rabble-rausers to gin up the crowd and send them to the streets. What the US needs to do is get away from this frightened mouse syndrome when it comes to our adversaries. We are in a war with a dangerous fundamentalistic ideology that has infected a sub-section of the Islamic world with thoughts of restoring its seventh century caliphate via extreme violence.
These mavens of a bloody death could care less about how much the West apologizes or begs for forgiveness, they only believe in one thing which is "kill the infidel." Now it's true that most people in the US realize that these harbingers of death represent only a small percentage of the Arab World, they also realize that the whole Islamic terrorist movement is clearly a Middle Eastern phenomenon that can only be solved by eliminating these problematic terrorists and the states that sponsor them and replace them with a democratic nation (with an Mid East flavor). Just look how far Afghanistan and Iraq have come since the US and its allies stepped in and eliminated the problem. I'd have to say that Victor Davis Hanson captured these sentiments best in his most recent piece over at National Review Online. In this wonderful piece, VDH notes that no matter how much we bow down to the "offended" in this part of the World to assuage their tempers, we are on a fools errand because our enemies want nothing but our death and downfall. VDH puts the burden of guilt where it rightly goes which is on the shoulders of the Islamic fundamentalists. Just read what VDH has to add to the frey:
So we do not dare remind the world that we have nothing to apologize for, given that we have expended lives and treasure in Afghanistan to improve a country that once helped to butcher us. Most of those rioting and killing idolize bin Laden. The problem is not that they are confused, but that they express exactly what they feel — and that is a deep hatred for Western liberalism, manifested on their now sacred day of September 11. We don't say such rude things, not only because it would be stupid politics, but because we don't quite believe them ourselves anymore.I just hope that more people in the US and around the World become more enlightened with this way of thinking. A continuation of this "hat in hand" approach will further undermine our fight in this region. We have to be more vigilant and not be pulled into a PC quagmire where we are constantly afraid of setting off another offensive bomb in the Muslim/Arab World. The only way we are going to win this war is by wiping these fundamentalists off the map and implanting the light of democracy in these dark corners of the World.
In that sense, we can be as warped as the Afghan rioter. Westerners have their own delusions. We seem to think that our neat gadgets also equate with an ability to refashion human nature or that a fascist abroad needs to know how much we care about his hurt.
There is a sort of arrogance in the liberal West — the handmaiden to our own guilt and self-loathing — that strangely believes we are both to blame for the ills abroad and alone can solve them through handing out money. Almost all of the pathetic rhetoric of al Qaeda — "colonial exploitation," "American hegemony," or "blood for oil" — was as imported from the West as were the terrorists' bombs and communications.
Some Western intellectuals, I think, need a bin Laden to illustrate and confirm their nihilistic ideas about their own postmodern society, just as he needs them to explain why his culture's failure is not its own fault. So just as al Qaeda will always find an enabling Westerner to say, "You lashed out at us in frustration for your unfair treatment," so too a guilty Westerner will always find a compliant terrorist to boast, "Yes, we kill you for your sins." America was once a country that demolished Hitler and Tojo combined in less than four years and broke the nuclear Soviet Union — and now frets and whines that a few thousand deranged fascists want an apology.
Also, check out Lee Harris's take on the whole incident in Afghanistan and Newsweek. It hit on some of the same themes as VDH but with Harris's curmudgeonesque flair, which makes for a good read. I believe the readers of Fire of Liberty should find this very interesting. By the way, G-d bless our soldiers and the United States.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Check out yet another story on the ongoing soap-opera "The Corrupt and Unaccountable UN." It seems that the folks at the UN are proposing some $1.2 billion of renovations on their buildings on our dime. It seems that this outlandish request by the UN has irked Donald Trump and several Senators, check out what John Hinderaker reported inThe Weekly Standard about Donald Trump:
Trump has gone further, expressing the view that the expenses projected by the U.N. can only be the result of graft or incompetence. In a speech on the Senate floor on April 6, 2005, Senator Jeff Sessions recounted his conversation with Trump:Boy, does the UN ever get anything straight? I guess not, since they are not held accountable for what they do. Thank G-d that the US is standing up to such shenanigans.
Let me share this story with you, which is pretty shocking to me. The $1.2 billion loan the United Nations wants is to renovate a building. Some member of the United Nations, a delegate, apparently, from Europe, had read in the newspaper in New York that Mr. Donald Trump . . . had just completed the Trump World Tower--not a 30-story building like the United Nations, but a 90-story building, for a mere $350 million, less than one-third of that cost. So the European United Nations delegate was curious about the $1.2 billion they were spending on the United Nations. He knew he didn't know what the real estate costs are in New York. So, he called Mr. Trump and they discussed it. Mr. Trump told him that building he built for $350 million was the top of the line. It has the highest quality of anything you would need in it. They discussed the matter, and an arrangement was made for Mr. Trump to meet Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, to discuss the concerns. . . . So according to Mr. Trump, who I talked to personally this morning, they go meet with Mr. Annan, who had asked some staff member to be there . . . When the European asked how these numbers could happen, Mr. Trump said the only way would be because of incompetence, or fraud. That is how strongly he felt about this price tag because he pointed out to me that renovation costs much less than building an entirely new building. So he has a meeting with Mr. Annan, and they have some discussion. And Mr. Trump says these figures can't be acceptable. He told me in my conversation this morning, he said: You can quote me. You can say what I am saying. He said they don't know. The person who had been working on this project for 4 years couldn't answer basic questions about what was involved in renovating a major building. He was not capable nor competent to do the job. He went and worked on it, and talked about it, and eventually made an offer. He said he would manage the refurbishment, the renovation, of the United Nations Building, and he would not charge personally for his fee in managing it. He would bring it in at $500 [million], less than half of what they were expecting to spend, and it would be better. . . . Yet he never received a response from the United Nations.
It appears there are serious questions about the U.N.'s renovation project. Depending on which assumptions one accepts about cost and square footage, anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in expense is unaccounted for. Given the U.N.'s history, is there any reason to doubt that the costs projected by that organization include substantial sums representing, as Trump put it, incompetence or fraud? Given what we know about the oil-for-food program, is there any reason to trust the U.N.'s business or accounting practices?
This is an interesting article by Mark Franchetti in The Sunday Times on the Chechen Commando group that actively search out the Islamic terrorists that has corrupted and turned the separatist movement of Chechen people into their personal jihad. If you want to read a good and informative piece on Chechnya, then this is it.
Here's William F. Buckley Jr. take on the "nuclear option" and how everyone should calm down and stop jumping up and down shouting "the end is near" or that the Senate will be forever changed. Though he notes that the Senate should have taken this option with Judge Bork instead of Owens, he still understands the merits of what the GOP is doing. See for yourself.
If you recall from my pre-UK election coverage, I wrote about the savage attack on Abigail Witchalls, well it seems that she is slowly recovering from her injuries and has placed a considerable amount of her recovery is due to her faith in God. I found this tid-bit from a wonderful post by John Derbyshire over at The Corner:
THE STRENGTH OF FAITH [John Derbyshire]Here's the piece that Derbyshire mentioned in his post. You might need to register at The Daily Telegraph but see if you can get through. It's a great piece, that everyone should read.
To those readers who are perfectly irreligious and can't see the point at all, as well as to those (ahem) who see the point but aren't as pious as they wish they were, I commend this piece from the Daily Telegraph.
What happened to Mrs. Witchalls is about as bad as a thing can be. Her faith is seeing her through it with a smile and words of forgiveness.
I swear this must be constitutional. I could no more exhibit that kind of spiritual strength than I could run 100 meters in 9.4 seconds, or solve the Riemann Hypothesis, or play the fiddle like Jascha Heifetz. I know a lot of you disagree, but I line up with Tom Utley here. Admire? Sure. Emulate? No way.
(And, as a matter of fact, even my admiration is a bit qualified -- not so far as Mrs. Witchalls's ability to handle the situations, which is a shining example to us all, but in regard to the turn-the-other-cheek stuff. I think the bastard who did that should swing for it. In fact, it seems he has already committed suicide, which is better than he deserves.)
Posted at 03:16 PM
Max Boot has written another gem of a column in Thursday's edition of The Los Angeles Times on the duplicitous nature of Hosni Mubarak and his gaggle of friends in Egypt. As America continues to shell out some $2 billion in military/economic aid to the Egyptian government to ensure peace, Mubarak makes a mockery of this nation and our call for democratic reforms. Though Mubarak offers mere platitudes of change by announcing the upcoming presidential election is opened to other parties and candidates as long as they meet the narrowly tailored qualifications of Mubarak's parliament. Just look at what Boot has to say about the sham reforms of Mr. Mubarak:
There is little hope that Mubarak will give opposition candidates equal access to state-owned TV stations and newspapers, which regularly extol his virtues with embarrassing exaggeration. Nor can he be trusted to hold a fair vote. A group representing Egyptian judges has refused to supervise the balloting because, as one judge put it, they "won't participate in fraud." Even Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazief, on a charm tour of the United States this week, has to admit that Egypt won't see a truly contested election until 2011 at the earliest.It's amazing that we continue to shell out such sums of money to this dictatorial regime and gladly look the other way because Mubarak and the people from the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department continue to argue that this loss of funds and reform will bring about the emergence of Islamic fundamentalists. We can continue this Cold War/Realist game with Egypt or we can push the Bush doctrine of promoting Democracy in the Middle East. Remember, there were similar voices of Islamists taking over in the run-up to the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, but as you know these parties either failed to garner any votes or enough to make a significance in the government. So maybe it's time to trust the people of Egypt rather than a man who has been running Egypt some 25 years. It's time to see.
Nazief justifies this go-slow approach with soothing talk about how "democracy is an evolutionary process," and you can't go too fast lest Islamic extremists take control. But that's what the shah of Iran said in the 1970s. It turned out that his opposition to democratic reform made an Islamist takeover more, not less, likely. Same with Egypt: The less access that fed-up people have to the political process, the more likely they are to be seduced by the hard-line mullahs' siren song.
If you've been watching, reading or listening to the news, you should be aware of the uprising in Uzbekistan that has resulted in a massive crackdown by Islam Karimov and some 700 deaths. Though people like Lee Harris over at Tech Central Station have written that the people who initiated this revolt are purely anti-American and are threatening an allied nation, Stephen Schwartz argues in The Weekly Standard that these revolters are actually fighting for their freedom from the 20 year plus rule Islam Karimov. While I might be standing on a weak branch, I believe that Schwartz has a better understanding of the situation not to mention that he's been on the ground in Andjian, Uzbekistan and got a feel of what's going down. Even though I side with Schwartz on this one, I still respect the merits and thought provoking aspect of Harris' article. So read both if you can.
While the various newspaper and TV' news programs continue to point out that the "insurgents" are increasing their attacks or that their gaining strength, Christopher Hitchens has offered his beef with these news outlets calling the horrific actor "insurgents." Hitchens notes in this article over at Slate that the people initiating and carrying out these missions of death are not some type of grassroots revolutionaries but are actual Ba'athist, Bin Ladenists and jihadists (Aside from Ba'athist, the other two are from other nations). As long as the press continues to peg these people as insurgents they will basically undermine the government of Iraq and do a disservice to the prideful and brave people of Iraq who face death everyday while trying to form a democracy.
If you can't find time to read Hitchens' wonderful piece, just read this brief sample:
A letter from Zarqawi to Bin Laden more than a year ago, intercepted by Kurdish intelligence and since then well-authenticated, spoke of Shiism as a repulsive heresy and the ignition of a Sunni-Shiite civil war as the best and easiest way to thwart the Crusader-Zionist coalition. The actions since then have precisely followed the design, but the design has been forgotten by the journal of record. The Bin Laden and Zarqawi organizations, and their co-thinkers in other countries, have gone to great pains to announce, on several occasions, that they will win because they love death, while their enemies are so soft and degenerate that they prefer life. Are we supposed to think that they were just boasting when they said this? Their actions demonstrate it every day, and there are burned-out school buses and clinics and hospitals to prove it, as well as mosques (the incineration of which one might think to be a better subject for Islamic protest than a possibly desecrated Quran, in a prison where every inmate is automatically issued with one.)Good ole Hitch does it again. Bravo!!!
Then we might find a little space for the small question of democracy. The Baath Party's opinion of this can be easily gauged, not just from its record in power but from the rancid prose of its founding fascist fathers. As for the Bin Ladenists, they have taken extraordinary pains to say, through the direct statements of Osama and of Zarqawi, that democracy is a vile heresy, a Greek fabrication, and a source of profanity. For the last several weeks, however, the Times has been opining every day that the latest hysterical murder campaign is a result of the time it has taken the newly elected Iraqi Assembly to come up with a representative government. The corollary of this mush-headed coverage must be that, if a more representative government were available in these terrible conditions (conditions supplied by the gangsters themselves), the homicide and sabotage would thereby decline. Is there a serious person in the known world who can be brought to believe such self-evident rubbish?
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Here's a great column by Suzanne Fields on Donald Kagan, Sterling professor of Classics and History at Yale, who presented the 34 annual Jefferson Lecture (Sponsored by the National Endowment of Humanities). It's a good read on how a "liberal studies" have been corrupted by the odious idea of multiculturalism. A good read though.
Also, check out George Will's take on Professor Kagan and his recent speech. Here's a brief sample:
"Religion and the traditions based on it were once the chief sources for moral confidence and strength. Their influence has faded in the modern world, but the need for a sound base for moral judgments has not. If we cannot look simply to moral guidance firmly founded on religious precepts it is natural and reasonable to turn to history, the record of human experience, as a necessary supplement if not a substitute."
Kagan's idea is not novel. Nearly three centuries ago Lord Bolingbroke said that "history is philosophy teaching by examples." However, at this American moment of mutual incomprehension and even contempt between theists and their postmodernist despisers, it is "transgressive" -- to purloin a bit of the postmodernists' jargon -- for Kagan to insist that there is a firm middle, or perhaps higher, ground for moral confidence.
I just wish we had more academics like Kagan on the various campuses of the US. We could learn a lot from these rare gems.
Arnold Beichman has a great commentary in The Washington Times on the political and ethical decline of the Liberal party in Canada. Howard Dean might think Tom DeLay is a criminal but the Liberals in Canada make him look like a Saint. Thank G-d we're not in Canada.
Boris Johnson (Tory MP of Henley) has a great Opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph on the upcoming French vote on the EU Constitution and why the Brits should reject the EU Constitution next year. It's an excellent read by the editor of The London Spectator. Enjoy.
Also, read this Leader in The Daily Telegraph (registration required) on why the Brits and other Europeans should say no to the EU Cnstitution. Here's a sample:
I couldn't have written anything like this.
Anyone who thinks that we exaggerate should read the text (available online at www.euabc.com). You need only look at the first dozen or so clauses to get a sense of what the constitution is about: "The Constitution shall have primacy over the law of the Member States" (Article I-6); "The Member States shall exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has not exercised, or has decided to cease exercising, its competence" (Article I-12). Then comes the list of areas where Brussels is to have jurisdiction: transport, energy, agriculture, fisheries, trade competition, asylum, immigration, social policy, employment law, foreign affairs, defence, space exploration, justice and home affairs. No wonder Tony Blair spent the election blathering about schools and hospitals: they're pretty much all he'll have left.
This point is not made flippantly. European integration was a malign if unremarked presence throughout the recent campaign. There it sat like Banquo's ghost, invisible to most voters, but shaking its gory locks at the party leaders, who knew that they had to draw up their manifestos within the parameters allowed by EU law. There was a spectacular illustration of this when Michael Howard pledged that a future Conservative government would set an upper limit for immigrants and a separate quota for refugees, only to be told that such a policy was not compatible with the EU's "Area of Freedom, Security and Justice" (1984-style nomenclature is very much a feature of Brussels life).
Equally, no party could promise to revive our countryside (because of the CAP), rescue our fishing communities (because of the CFP) or deregulate our labour markets (because of the social chapter). No party could take up this newspaper's proposal to replace VAT with a local sales tax.
James S. Robbins has an excellent article over at National Review Online on the song-bird qualities of the various terrorists the US and our allies have caught. While the mere capture of these terrorists causes massive chaos in the organization, it makes it even tougher on these people when these captured thugs start chirping on their associates. Just look at what these terrorists are willing to do if they're captured:
But don’t any captives protect their fellows? Don't they show devotion to their comrades and their cause? Take Azmi Jayousi, a Jordanian loyal to Zarqawi, currently on trial with a dozen other terrorists for plotting a chemical attack in Jordan last year. The courtroom has been a daily scene of defiance as Jayousi denounces the court, the king, and others on his personal list. "Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi will chop off your heads and stuff them in your mouths, you enemies of God!" Jayousi pledged from the dock, throwing his shoes at the judge. Co-conspirator Ahmad Samir added, "The blood of our brothers will not go wasted!"I guess their loyalty stops when they get pinched by the US and its allies. This just goes to show you that the terrorists can only trust each other as far as they can throw them. Hopefully this will continue well into the future. The only thing we can do is to continue to seek out these mongers of terror and hope they chirp like a bird (I suspect the terrorists expect this even if they're not talking). Or we can just continue to launch various operations like Matador and kill the terrorists on location. Either way is good for me.
Oh, but if Ahmad only knew what kind of person he was keeping company with. Moments after these outbursts, Jordanian security officers took the stand and blew the whistle on Jayousi. Despite his bluster in the courtroom, the terror leader had in fact been instrumental in taking down his entire band. When counterterrorist forces raided his hideout just before the planned chemical attack was launched, Jayousi did not fight to the death, he did not resist at all. He began cutting side deals on the spot. No torture, no coercion — Jayousi rolled right away and gave up the locations of all the other safe houses. Later in court when Jayousi denounced the story as a lie, the Jordanians, who videotape all their operations, released footage to the press showing the entire thing. It must have been an uncomfortable scene back in the holding cell that night. Say it ain't so, Azmi.
Aside from Chris Dodd and a small smattering of Senators getting chummy with the various dictators of South America like Chavez and Castro, it seems that there's a block of some 22 to 27 members of the US House of Representatives who have similar interests in supporting Castro. This grouping of Congressmen has found it fit to vote against two bills that promoted freedom towards Cuba. As people anguish in Castro's Gulag of an island, these various Congressmen give Castro succor and the much needed propaganda to keep the Cuban people under his thumb. Just read this piece by Duncan Currie inThe Weekly Standard to read about these Congressional rubes and their arrant disregard for Human Rights in Cuba. It's quite revealing.
Here's a grouping of commentaries/columns about Newsweek's slide in credibility with it fraudulent news story on the Koran. First, check out this piece by the ultimate commentator, William F. Buckley Jr. Whenever you read WFB, you're always bound to learn something that few others know. Secondly, here's another terrific column by Thomas Sowell on how the MSM is losing its grip on differentiating between commentary and straight reporting. Thirdly, Austin Bay has an interesting look at Newsweek by noting how the people in the news-room are stuck in the 1970's Vietnam or Get Nixon stage and have forgotten that we are fighting a 21st Century War in a 21st Century atmosphere. With the information highway just a mouse-click away, Newsweek has to be aware that whatever they print for the domestic reader can be seen by people around the World. Finally, check out this piece by William Kristol over at The Weekly Standard.