Archive for category International Politics

The Empire Strikes Back …

And so it begins:

French Strike Tonight to Protest Sarkozy Plan

I think it’s a remake of the classic: Margaret Thatcher and the Unions.

Does representative government work? Yes, so I’m saying Sarkozy will win this one.

Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize

As I’m sure you already know, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. This is greated as big news in some quarters, or as an affirmation of the correctness of his global warming scare job. Look, if Al Gore really believed in what he’s peddling, namely we all have to make significant lifestyle changes to reduce our carbon emissions or we going to face deathly consequences, he’d change his own behavior. But he doesn’t – he burns through carbon based energy at a rate far beyond the average American. Maybe Al Gore is entirely correct in his predictions – but I’m not going to believe a man who doesn’t practice in the slightest what he preaches.

So what does his victory really represent? Coupled with other recent Nobel Peace prize picks, it is clear that the European leftist elite, not content with rendering their own countries impotent, are trying to influence American politics to their liking. If the Nobel Peace Prize committee wants to reduce the presitge of their own award, have at it boys. If they think that a bunch of Norwegian elists sway my thinking, they are sadly mistaken.

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Ahmadinejad Confronted At Another University

Hmm, are the usual busybodies going to take Iranian students to task for a lack of hospitality?

Don’t they know this only helps the whackjob in his own countryDon’t they know this goes against the traditions of a 7,000 year old country that values hospitality so much, it actually forces foreigners to be guests who never overstay their welcome, even if the visit lasts over a year?

Ahmadinejad Confronted at Columbia

I don’t know who’s more shocked, me or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Lee Bollinger was Lucy to Ahmadinejad’s Charlie Brown last night at Columbia; both Mahmoud and I figured he was going to get a free kick, but President Bollinger to his credit pulled the ball away and Mahmoud took a tumble. When I read the front page article in the Post-Dispatch this morning, was I ever surprised. Not only did an American academic confront evil, the Post reported it!

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended Holocaust deniers and raised questions about who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks in a tense showdown Monday at Columbia University, where the school’s head introduced the visitor by calling him a “petty and cruel dictator.”Ahmadinejad, appearing shaken by what he called “insults” from his host, sought to portray himself as an intellectual and argued that his regime had respect for reason and science. But the former engineering professor soon found himself drawn into the type of rhetoric that has alienated American audiences in the past.

He provoked derisive laughter by responding to a question about Iran’s execution of homosexuals by saying: “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.  I don’t know who’s told you that we have this.”

That was the lead of the article, not buried after the jump. Yowsa

Man, did I ever misjudge President Bollinger:

Bollinger drew strong criticism for inviting Ahmadinejad to Columbia and had promised tough questions in his introduction. But the stridency of his attack on the Iranian leader took many by surprise.”You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated,” Bollinger told Ahmadinejad about the leader’s Holocaust denial. “Will you cease this outrage?”

While I wasn’t the only one (pleasantly) surprised, apparently I’m in the minority. I admit it, I thought Columbia was going to roll over on it’s belly like a submissive dog, but instead the Hound of Cullan showed up.

It’s one thing to call people names when you know that person isn’t going to do a thing to you and you aren’t looking evil in the eye (yes, I include all those people who compare Bush to Hitler); it’s another to be on the stage with a man, President of a ruthlessly repressive government who doesn’t hesitate to order the torture and death of his own people, who murders via proxy (Hezbollah, Hamas) civilians in neighboring countries, and who is currently waging a proxy war with America in Iraq, look him in the eye, and call him out. Believe me, if that happened in Iran, Bollinger would be dead now. That takes both moral and physical courage, a couple of virtues that I thought was totally lacking in today’s Universities.

Lee C. Bollinger, you da man!

And no, I don’t think calling out Ahmadinejad, even though he’s the face, not the brains and muscle behind the current dictatorship, is disrespectful of Iran and it’s rich and ancient culture. Iran and Iranians deserve better than Ahmadinejad and the mullahs behind him, but I can understand their reluctance after being burned by the 1979 revolution that brought the current religious dictatorship to power to have another go at revolution.

Letters I’ve Never Sent

Dear Senator Obama,

How about a foreign policy where we talk to our friends and invade our enemies? Just a thought.

Your Friend,
Kevin Murphy

PS Horse goes in front of the cart. Hope this helps.


Netanyahu On Bill Maher

I’m not a big fan of either Bill Maher or Benjamin Netanyahu, but I thought this was a very good interview by Mr. Netanyahu. I would like to thank Mr. Maher for bringing up a couple classic leftist tropes for the once and possible future Prime Minister to respond to. I also liked Mr. Maher’s line: “The world just doesn’t like it when Jews win.” Sadly, a large part of the world (including Mr. Maher) doesn’t like it when Westerners win either.

Hat tip to An Unsealed Room.


The View From The Other Side

Here’s one foreigner not whooping it up over the Democrats victory:

Smart Irish policymakers – several key civil servants, a few farsighted elected pols like Mary Harney, Charlie McCreevy, Bertie and Brian Cowen, and an unofficial cadre of advisers from the private sector acting for the good of the country – realised in the late 90s that for a small open island economy to prosper it would need something more than cheap wages, Guinness and the craic.So they focused on persuading big technology and pharmaceutical companies to move their intellectual property here. In 1998, the Irish corporate tax rate was slashed from 32% to 12.5%, still among the five lowest in the world. The US federal corporate tax rate is 35%.

In 2004, Ireland simply eliminated the 9% tax on the sale or transfer of intellectual property and launched an R&D tax credit. Microsoft was among the first takers. In 2005 the Wall Street Journal revealed that a little company called Round Island One had become Ireland’s biggest taxpayer. Round Island One is a brass-plate office set up in 2001 – a subsidiary of Microsoft. It booked profits of more than $9Billion in 2004. It paid $300million in taxes to the Irish exchequer.

What happens when Charlie Rangle and company have their way and make sure “American” firms pay taxes to America? Maybe not so good for my ancestral sod.

Hat tip to Eamonn Fitzgerald


Togo with a Chemistry Set

A great article on North Korea “nuclear test” in the Times Online by Gerald Baker (emphasis added) The price of shillyshallying

Stripped of the grandiose claims by Kim’s minions, the objective scientific evidence for a nuclear explosion is sketchy. The explosive yield, according to military analysts, was something less than a kiloton. A plutonium device such as that first used by the US in 1945 produces a yield in the range of 20 kilotons. Some warheads in the US nuclear arsenal now can deliver an impact about 1,000 times that of Hiroshima. Remember too that in July, the Koreans launched an “intercontinental” ballistic missile that fell into the sea about a minute into its flight and you have a sense of the truly exiguous scale of the country’s capabilities. If the Soviet Union was memorably nicknamed Upper Volta with Rockets, it’s probably fair to think of North Korea as Togo with a Chemistry Set. So why worry? Here’s why. Unlike all previous nuclear nativities, North Korea’s efforts this week have truly propelled the world into a new and much more dangerous age. There’s no good strategic reason for Pyongyang even to claim to have a nuclear weapon, as China, Israel, Pakistan and India had.

It will be the first nuclear power to be headed by a crazed monomaniac who boasts of his commercial interest in shipping nuclear weapons to terrorist groups. The sheer unpredictability of North Korea terrifies everyone in its neighbourhood in a way that none of those other countries ever did. Its actions this week will almost certainly escalate into a nuclear arms race.

  • truly exiguous scale of the country’s capabilities: I had to look tihs one up, exiguous means “scant, meagre.”
  • Upper Volta With Rockets: according to Wikipedia, the phrase “Upper Volta With Rockets” was used to describe the Soviet Union (in quotes, but with no attribution) in a survey on the Soviet economy in The Economist on April 9, 1988. The Economist on-line archive only goes back to 1997 so until I can figure out how to grep dead trees I will take their word for it.
  • Togo With a Chemistry Set Togo is south of Burkina Faso (the modern name for Upper Volta)
  • nuclear nativities is currently a GoogleWhack (I guess until this post makes it into the cache). Another great turn of phrase in an insightful article.


One On One With Kim Jong-Il

Yes, this is going around so you can find it all over, and yes, it really is unfair to Madeleine Albright, but after She Who Must Be Obeyed opened her mouth, I couldn’t resist.

A less funny, more traditional rebuttal was provided by Sen. John McCain. McQ delivers a fisking. Personally, I can’t fault either administration too much because North Korea under Kim Jong-Il was simply going to try and develop nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them no matter what anyone said. It was worth giving talk a chance, but once it becomes clear that’s a waste of time, why continue? Now we need to talk to the North Korea’s neighbors about what we are going to do, not talk to Kim.

And another thing, why is it the same people who criticize President Bush for acting unilaterally, or for the US acting like a bully, demand that the talks with North Korea only be with the United States? It’s just more dead horse beating.


Iran Or Belarus?

A case of real hypocrisy: Iran’s President Welcome in EU. Belarus’s Not.

What if, as a sign of courtesy to the Austrian presidency in the EU, Ahmadinejad visits one Viennese prison cell — that of David Irving, another Holocaust-denier with much less pretentious claims about it? He would probably get away with it too. Could anybody imagine Austrians jailing the president of the nuclear-rich Iran? He is not David Irving with his books of dubious quality. He does not wear pinstriped suits. All he does is call for Israel to be whipped off the map. Or at least be moved to Europe. Not a single reason to bar him from the EU? I wish the EU was as hospitable to all Muslim guests, not just Ahmadinejad.

We don’t get to pick and choose our enemies; sometimes they pick us as such. But to pick and choose based on naked self interest — punishing those who can do nothing for you while rewarding those who can, yet pretend that you are punishing the wicked and rewarding the virtuous is not just hypocritical but wicked itself.

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