Showing posts from February, 2006

Welcome to the Islamic States of America..

It's 2040 and we are in Seattle, the capital of the Islamic Republic and the second half of the Super Bowl is beginning in Khomeini Stadium. The Warlords are playing against the Bedouins, the cheerleaders are men, and the Super Bowl blimp is drifting above the stadium. Emblazoned on the airship is the flag of the Islamic States of America, identical of the banner of the old regime, except for the gold crescent replacing the stars. If you step outside the stadium you can see the Space Needle lying crumpled, a result of a terrorist attack by agents of the Bible Belt states in the South which has become a Christian refuge, while the Grand Caliph Mosque stands beside the new Capitol. Alcohol has been outlawed although you can still enjoy Jihad Cola. Veiled women hurry through the streets, where Black Robes religious laws enforce religious laws while little girls play with Barbie's with a burka. New York, Washington, DC, and Mecca have been destroyed by nuclear terrorist acts that …

Buckley About "postulates" in Iraq: It didn't work

WFB and unhappy friends

The founder of the National Review and author of horrible fiction has concluded that One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed He discusses the Bush Administration's "postulates" in Iraq, "postualte" being according to the dictionary, "something assumed without proof as being self-evident or generally accepted, especially when used as a basis for an argument."
A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.
One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.
The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.
This last did not happen. And …

Smart minds think... Perfect Storm


All at sea in the Middle East's perfect storm

Simon Tisdall
Friday February 24, 2006

Business Times - 16 Feb 2006

A perfect geo-political storm taking shape
The ingredients are Iraq, Iran, Hamas and cartoons deemed blasphemous by Muslims


From Peter Galbraith, "The Mess" The New York Review of Books, March 9, 2006

Today, Moqtada al-Sadr controls one of the largest factions within the victorious United Iraq Alliance (UIA), the coalition of Shiite religious parties that won the December 2005 national elections. Nor is he the only member of the Alliance likely to side with Iran if war comes. SCIRI—the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq—is Iraq's largest political party. It was founded in Tehran in 1982, and its name gives an accurate idea of its politics. The Iranians also created, trained, and apparently still fund SCIRI's military wing, the Badr Corps, which has over 12,000 troops. Iraq's interior mini…

Ports in raging political storm: The Nationalist/Jacksonian/Lou Dobbs Backlash?

It's great to find that David Brooks ("Kicking Arabs in their Teeth)" and Justin Raimondo ("Hating Arabs") are almost in total agreement when it comes to the Dubai/Ports controversy. Is "Dubai a hotbed of radical Islamist agitation?" asks Raimondo, who notes that "Dubai is the one city in the Middle East that is the most like America in that it is a symbol – the symbol – of the Arab world's entry into modernity." "Nor is Dubai a bastion of Taliban radicalism," stresses Broooks, who describes it as "modernizing, globalizing place." Wow... Is this a sign of major realignment of American politics? Just kidding... But while I mostly agree with the main point that the two are making on the issue, that the Dubai ports deal does not pose a direct threat to U.S. national security, I'm also intrigued by the somewhat hysterical reactions to the deal on Capitol Hill and the related Dubai-bashing. The conventional wisdom is …

Measuring success in Iraq

Coalition: Vast Majority Of Iraqis Still Alive (from The Onion)

This "news story" was published in The Onion pn June 23, 2005. But the way things are going in Iraq it sounds more and more like real news. Sad. But true.

Coalition: Vast Majority Of Iraqis Still Alive
June 23, 2004 | Issue 40•25

BAGHDAD—As the Coalition Provisional Authority prepares to hand power over to an Iraqi-led interim government on June 30, CPA administrator L. Paul Bremer publicly touted the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"As the Coalition's rule draws to a close, the numbers show that we have an awful lot to be proud of," Bremer said Tuesday. "As anyone who's taken a minute and actually looked at the figures can tell you, the vast majority of Iraqis are still alive—as many as 99 percent. While 10,000 or so Iraqi civilians have been killed, pretty much everyone is not dead."
According to U.S. Department of Defense statistics, of the approximately 24 million Iraqis who were …

Sailer on Fukuyama; More on the Turkish Cinema

Steve Sailer, who is one of the most original conservative thinkers and is also a film critic (I love his reviews) and a contributor (together with your humble servant)to the American Conservative, has a interesting post on "something nonboring about Francis Fukuyama" on his blog:I'm not saying that Fukuyama is always wrong. What I am saying is that Fukuyama's first idea about anything is always wrong, but, unlike his pals, he often comes up with a better answer 5 or 10 or 15 years later. Granted, that isn't a particularly scintillating track record, but compared to the true believer neocons who never learn from anything, he's Edmund Burke predicting the whole course of the French Revolution in 1790.

Sailer is also intrigued by the fact that Fukuyama is the "only minority intellectual in America who does not write heavily about race" and even "goes out of his way to ignore race even when it's obviously relevant." Hence in his book '…

Democracy and its Discontents

Read my article Democracy and its Discontents in the new issue of the American Conservative. Here are a few paragrpahs:Democracy & Its Discontents
Voting doesn’t produce peace—much less desirable outcomes—in societies that lack the foundations of a liberal order.
by Leon Hadar
As the Nazis were about to capture power in the aftermath of the last democratic parliamentary elections in Germany in March 1933, there was no indication that the German Communist Party was mounting any concerted response, reflecting the belief among its leaders that the new Nazi-dominated government was the “dying gasp of moribund capitalism” and that Hitler’s government would create the conditions for a “revolutionary upturn” and accelerate the momentum toward a proletarian revolution. The expectation that the Nazis would help ignite a Communist revolution made sense at that time, if one was a Marxist believing in a doctrine that assumed that realities were predetermined by political and economic forces—tha…

more on Frank and Hitch...

On Stop The Spirit Of Zossen there is a entertaining post on the two leading characters in the drama that has caught our imagination, starring that unforegettable love triangle, Bill Kristol ("The Party's Over"), Francis Fukuyama ("The Man who Got Away") and Christopher Hitchens ("Just in Time"). You'll cry and you'll laugh as the three pundits interface in power lunches, green rooms (which aren't as dangerous as that Green Zone in Baghdad), AEI, CFR, and NED. The most Hegelian moment: When Frank confronts Kristol Jr.: "I won't invade Iran, you BilLenin)" and Hitch explodes: "You're an Islamofascist, Frank!"
Dr. Strauss on Frank:
Fukuyama seeks to be the Bukharin of the Neocons — the moderate one, believing that time will make inevitable the process of unfolding Freedom via materliasm. Modernity is what everyone wants, and democracy is its offshoot. He claims his moderation is different from the militarist revolut…

Francis Fukuyama (again): Don't shoot! I'm not a neocon

Francis Fukuyama: When we was necons

Arthur Koestler: When we was commies

Robert Kagan the Leninist

Lazar Kaganovich the Stalinist

By now you all know that Francis ("The End of History") Fukuyama has filed for divroce from the Kristol/Podhoretz clans. In quite a number of speeches, articles (for example) and newsbites he has made it clear to all the interested parties (including potential employers like Presidents Hillary Clinton and John McCain) that he ain't a neocon, well, not a neocon like Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, and that he now considers himself now to be what? A "reformed neocon?" A "neo-neocon?" A "neocon-Lite?" In his latest "I'm-not-a-neocon" manifesto in the New York Times, "After Neoconservatism" FF describes himself as a proponent of "realistic Wilsonianism." And in the essay (thankfully not as long as "The End of History) he does quite a lot of brilliant dialectial thinking in explainin…

Not a Turkish Delight

Apropos my previous post ("War of the Worlds") you may have noticed that the German map that is based on Samuel Huntington's forecast about the coming Clash of Civilizations placed America's close ally in the Middle East (and a military partner of Israel), Turkey, in the future Islamic Alliance (painted in purple) that will be opposed to the U.S.-led Western Bloc (in blue). And that is probably a safe prediction based on the way the Turkish Zeitgeist looks and sounds these days -- very anti-American, very anti-Western and a bit anti-Jewish (you notice that I avoid using the term "anti-Semitic" here). Indeed, according to the New York Times the most popular movie in Turkey today is a local production "Valley of the Wolf: Iraq" that seemed to have been directed by Osama Bin Ladin. According to the Times: The crowd cheered, clapped and whistled as the Turkish agent plunged the knife into the chest of the enemy commander.
"Valley of the Wolves — …

War of the Worlds?

Enjoy my gloom-and-doom forecasts about A Perfect Geopolitical Storm Taking Shape as the the continuing mess in Iraq, the specter of an assertive nuclearized Iran leading a Shiite Crescent and a Hamas-controlled Palestine combine with anti-Western sentiments in the Middle East to ignite global tensions.

Press Advisory: Stop quoting this "respected pollster"

Google "repsected pollster" and "Palestinian" and you'll get quite a few hits leading you to like here to Khalil Shikaki the, yes, "most respected pollster in the West Bank." Martin Kramer exposes this guy as someone who has failed to do his job as a pollster especially before the parliamentary Palestinian election. According to Kramer, foreign governments and organizations (who help finance his polling outlet) as well as the Israeli intelligence had relied in his pre-election polls that failed to forecast the Hamas victory. According to Kramer:
Shikaki runs something called the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which gets money from foreign governments and foundations to conduct opinion surveys. They've earned Shikaki the moniker of "respected pollster," and he's always running off to Washington or a European capital to present his findings.
Shikaki conducted three crucial polls that affected perceptions in Washingto…

More on Sticking it to the Man

Democracy Promoter

Jim Henley comments here on my recent critique of the Bush administration's effort to pursue in two contradictory policies in the Middle East: maintaining hegemony and promoting democracy:
Leon Hadar thinks Bush Administration foreign policy is like a TV commercial. Funny article. My cautions: We have to be very careful to separate out three distinct issues - whether itÂ’s good for the United States if Democracy spreads; whether the United States should actively push other societies toward democracy; whether the United States should fight wars to bring some form of democracy to other countries. My answers are: 1) All things considered, yes; 2) Sometimes maybe, though itÂ’s important not to get ahead of the cultural support system for democracy in any particular country - my preferred model is actually the AFL-CIOÂ’s work in Poland in the 1980s; 3) Man, what?

In the specific case of Palestine and Hamas, IÂ’m less convinced than Leon that the alternatives were viable…

Unrequired Reading

Powell: His devastating critique of President Bush's Iraq adventure is scheduled to be published in 2010: Just in time

Nixon: Foreign Affairs will publish his critique of the 2007 Iran War (via Bill Safire): Inquiring minds want to know

My good friends at the Stop The Spirit Of Zossen weren't very impressed with what Washington wonks consider now to be "must-reading," Paul Pillar's critique of the misuse of intelligence to drum support for the Iraq war which was published in the new issue of Foreign Affairs. Here are the wise words of Dr. Strauss:
The Paul Pillar piece from Foreign Affairs is one of the most aggravating items the Stiftung has read recently. Pendantic and unconsciously retro, it arrives and lands like a wet noodle thrown against a wall, only to slither and slink to the floor.
So what? News to Mr. Pillar — we know this. We have known this for 3 years.
The problem with Pillar and the rest of the pre-2003 Intelligence Community hunkering down trying to …

"Did you hear the one about Muhammad and Monica Lewinsky.."

I guess that burning embassies can also get exhausting and we might have to postpone the War of Civilizations to another time (U.S. or Israeli attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities?). In any case, I thought this would be a good opporunity to give my own awards to the two best columns that were written on the cartoons war. The very smart Martin Wolf of the Financial Times Of rights and virtues and the very witty Michael Kinsley of the Washington Post/Slate The Ayatollah Joke Book: So,the Prophet Mohammed walks into a bar … are the winners. The two defend freedom of expression and freedom of the press against both religious fanaticism and secular PC and stress that neither Holocaust denial and Holocaust "jokes" should be censored. I totally agree since I don't believe that bad taste and stupidity should be illegal. In fact, if we had such law I would first target Rap musicians for prosecution before jailing David Irving.
Here is some points that Wolf made:
I am the child …

The neocons are out; Condi is a Realist; Republicans are debating foreign policy; and Scarlet Johanson is stalking me


Take some ideological bias, mix it with wishful thinking, a search for good news, and not-very-bright journalists, and what do you get? A series of reports and analyses in the U.S. media in suggesting that we're about to see a Happy End to the Bush Administration's horror movie, "The War Cabinet of Dr. Strauss." First, came the news (on February 6) that "As 'Neocons' Leave, Bush Foreign Policy Takes Softer Line" in the Wall Street Journal proposing that "Ms. Rice Changes Approach To Iran and North Korea" but that "Democracy Still Key Goal" and that perhaps these were all signs of "Cheney's Waning Influence?" or perhaps not. Here are some highlights:
In the past year, the ranks of the neoconservatives within the administration who molded the American response to 9/11 have grown thin and their influence has ebbed. At the same time, a band of "neorealists" has been gaining power. They shar…

Sticking it to the Man: Policy Failure in the Middle East

One of the best television commercials I've seen for a while comes from Sprint promoting its Fair & Flexible Plan for cell phones. We see a pompous business executive discussing the Sprint plan and then telling his assistant that joining the plan is his way of "sticking it to the Man."
The assistant is shocked: "But, sir, you ARE the Man."
"I know," responds the executive
"So you're sticking it to yourself," his aide ask.
The executive: "Maybe."

I actually used that television commercial in my recent talk at the Nixon Center to illustrate what's wrong with the Bush's Administration's policy in the Middle East. To put it in simple terms, the Bushies -- in fact, the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment -- is promoting a strategy based on the need for the United States to be the hegemonic power, the Boss, the Man, in the Middle East. At the same time, the same administration led by its neocon ideologues is advancin…