History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Friday, December 24, 2004

    Merry Christmas

    ... and a Happy New Year to everyone. I may not be able to blog again before New Years, so I wish everyone well before then. See everyone next year.


    Thursday, December 23, 2004


    Still alive, and still enjoying the Holidays. Hope you are too. If I can find the time I will blog later this week.


    Sunday, December 19, 2004


    I have no idea if this is true or not, but if it is... from Debka:
    Last DEBKA-Net-Weekly revealed exclusively: Iran is preparing simultaneous bombing, hostage-taking strikes against Israel’s diplomatic missions in several countries including US. FBI caught Iranian spies scouting Israeli Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston consulates.
    If this is in any way accurate, then the times are about to get very interesting indeed. Here is the full article.


    'Tis the Season

    As Christmas and the New Year draw nigh, I find myself occupied with family related affairs. So I should expect my blogging to be a little more infrequent than it has been these past few weeks. Not that it has been frequent, mind you, but that is more of a lack of imagination on my part than a lack of time. Anyways, I would like to take the time to wish all History's End readers (all 9 of you) a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy New Year, and a Happy Whatever-holiday-I-forgot-about as well.


    Congratulations to PowerLine...

    ...for winning Time's "Blog of the Year." The times, they are a changin'.


    Saturday, December 18, 2004


    I was reading through my paper copy of the Constitution recently, and came across something that I completely forgot was there. Its part of Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, dealing with powers permitted to the states by Congress. Here it is:
    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
    (An Online version of the US Constitution can be found here)

    The bold highlight is the part that I forgot completely about. I don't think that this part of the clause has ever been exercised by any state, but its there, waiting to be used. Its a reminder that when the Constitution was created, the United States was referred to in the plural, as in, These United States are... The balance of power has, over time, gone to the side of the Federal Government, but there are parts of the Constitution that still give plenty of power to the states, and remind of more federalist minded times. The Tenth Amendment is perhaps the most important part of the Constitution, where it relates to State Power, but that has little relevence in this day and age. However, the right court case could change that.

    This bolded part above really strikes me as something amazingly powerful, yet likely to never be used. In fact, it should provide some security to those Americans who worry about what a weak President may do when it comes to National Security. For if a state should feel that it is in "immediate danger", then it does indeed possess the ability to wage war without the consent of Congress. Imagine that, in this day and age.


    Planning Ahead

    Curtis over at a_sdf has linked to a Newsweek story reporting that, and I quote:
    A Justice Department lawyer may have been laying the groundwork for the Iraq invasion long before it was discussed publicly by the White House.
    There is plenty more over at Newsweek. And check out Curtis' blog when you are done.

    As I noted on his blog in the comments, I find it very likely that the US still has war plans for invading Canada somewhere. If we hadn't planned for invading Iraq following 9/11, then resignations would be in order for gross incompetence on the part of Administraton and Pentagon officials.


    Something Worth Reading

    I forget to post the link yesterday, but here is an excellent piece at a blog called Done With Mirrors(Good name BTW) . It discusses the notion of Progressive Patriotism, and why there seems to be so little of it these days. Once done reading that, head over to Michael Totten to read his little bit about Progressive Patriotism.


    Friday, December 17, 2004

    What is Fascism?

    Glen Wishard answers that, and a whole lot more right here.

    Hat Tip: Tim Blair


    Mr. Beamish over at The Crank Files adds his own thoughts on the subject.


    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    Join the Club

    More and more people, people in this case being politicians, are calling for Rumsfeld to go. I wrote about this issue a while ago, and I speculated before that Rumsfeld wouldn't go, as peopel would see it as weakness on the part of Bush. Now that the election has passed, things may change. Bush will want to consider what he gains and what he loses if Rumsfeld leaves. I have explained before why Bush might want to keep him as Secretary of Defense. But why should Rumsfeld go?

    Well, Bush could use it as an opportunity to acquire some favors or get something else out of it. Administration officials could approach McCain with a deal, if Rumsfeld goes then McCain signs off on something they want. A horsetrade, if you will. Rumself could also be used as an admin scapegoat, distracting attention from other matters, like the Kerik boondogle.

    Keep him or fire him? Tough to say, but assuming you want him gone, who replaces him?


    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Somehow I Missed This...

    StrategyPage is reporting that the PRC has been increasing the rate of construction of its amphibious ships, and the pressure is one Taiwan.
    December 14, 2004: China is apparently building a large quantity of amphibious shipping. Two LSDs (Landing Ship Dock) are being built in large covered sheds. They appear to be about 25,000 tons each and carry four LCAC (high speed landing craft) and four helicopters each. China is building 4-5 LSTs (Landing Ship Tank) a year. These are 4,800 tons displacement each and can carry about 2,000 tons if they are not going to run up on a beach. The Chinese prefer to avoid that, as it eventually destroys the LST, and you can carry more load if you don't. A larger number of LSMs (smaller than LSTs, but in this case almost as large as World War II LSTs) are also under construction. Large numbers of smaller landing craft are also being built, all of it apparently capable of making the 300 kilometer trip from the mainland to Taiwan. China won’t say what the eventual size of this amphibious fleet will be, but Taiwan suspects enough to land enough divisions on Taiwanese beaches to hold them. That could take another 3-4 years. It is believed that the Chinese would use a lot of civilian transport for an attack on Taiwan, meaning they could put up to nine divisions on ships. The navy's amphibious shipping would be used for the first wave, where speed is needed. But the next waves could be put ashore with civilian ferries and transports. In addition, there is an airborne division. It would be a rather ramshackle effort by American standards, but the Chinese believe it would be adequate against the Taiwanese. The key to such an invasion is keeping the U.S. Navy out of the war.
    There is also a good discussion to be found about it here. Keep your eyes on the Dragon, despite of all the troubles in the Middle East.


    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    Iranian Plot Against the US?

    WASHINGTON - A senior Republican congressman has been warning America's intelligence community for more than a year of an alleged Iranian plot to crash commercial airliners into a New Hampshire nuclear reactor.

    Since February 2003, Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania has held a series of secret meetings in Paris with a former high-ranking official in the Shah's government who has correctly predicted, according to Mr. Weldon, a number of internal developments in Iran ranging from the regime's atomic weapons programs to its support for international terrorism, including Al Qaeda.

    Based on two informants inside the mullahs' inner circle, Mr. Weldon's source, whom he code-named "Ali," relayed allegations to the Pennsylvania lawmaker that an Iranian-backed terrorist cell is seeking to hijack Canadian airliners and crash them into an American reactor. The target of the operation was only identified by Ali as SEA, leading Mr. Weldon to predict it was the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire, about 40 miles north of Boston. Ali told the congressman that the attack was first planned for between November 23 and December 3, 2003, but was postponed to take place after this year's presidential election.

    Read on, and you realize this is almost certainly bunk. Selling a book about this? Please, shamless promotion.

    Thanks to LGF.


    Monday, December 13, 2004

    Into the Mind of the Enemy

    Here is what is apparently an example of a North Korea propoganda film. Check it out, though it contains profanity, for the faint of ear. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

    NorKor Prop


    The Eastern Net Draws Tighter

    Russia and China plan to hold joint War Games, as reported by the AP. The significance of this is easy to overlook. Both nations have long been business partners, but this is a big step. Despite their sales, there has always been a tension between the two, a leftover of the Cold War. Also, there is the fact that China has passed Russia in terms of raw military power. However, as we can see, Eastern Autocracy will unite against Western Democracy. The leadership of both nations fear liberalism, and will cooperate to oppose it. Both China and Russia are run by Oligarchs, and both set of elites would like very much to maintain their power and prestige. So despite unease, they will work together if it fits their long term interest. However, like all alliances of convience, its end need not be far from sight.


    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    The Exodus Begins

    Middle class Dutch have begun to leave their nation, heading West.
    An exodus of native-born Dutch in search of a new life abroad has reversed immigration flows for the first time since the post-war era.

    Last year more people left the Netherlands than arrived as migrants or asylum seekers, even though unemployment remains low at 4.7 percent and per capita income is higher than any major country in Europe.

    Ellen and Peter Bles
    Ellen and Peter Bles are planning to leave their home near Tilburg for Perth, Western Australia

    Lawyers, accountants, computer specialist, nurses, and businessmen are lining up for visas to the English-speaking world, looking to Australia, New Zealand and Canada as orderly societies where people have the space to breathe.

    I am reminded of the Elves of Tolkien, a merry people, who driven from the Shadow flee into the West, never to return. With them goes the memory of ages past, and sorrow and loss are soon the only things felt of their presence in the land. Those now leaving the Netherlands will likely never return, as their absence will quicken the the decay in their native land. Soon all with any sense, and any ability to, will leave their nation, unless the deterioration is quickly checked. That may yet occur, and the Netherlands may yet be saved. But I am not so sure. I see signs which tell me that the Old World is crumbling before our very eyes.


    Cause and Effect

    Arthur Chrenkoff analyzes actions by France and Germany with relation to China, and their effects over at his blog. Check it out.

    Hat Tip: Tiger Hawk


    Friday, December 10, 2004

    So much for Kerik

    This comes as a bit of a surprise:

    Kerik withdraws name for consideration of Homeland Security Department

    Either something somehow slipped by the people charged with finding possible candidates, or perhaps he was a red herring, deliberately chosen to go in, attract attention, and help confuse Washington, either for that position or another. The only reason I mentioned the latter is because of an old Dilert cartoon I saw recently, in which Wally would always make sure there was something glaringly wrong with his project. The Pointy Haired Boss, even though incompetent beyond belief, would spot this and reccomend it be changed. This would make him feel important, and hence less likely to spot another mistake, especially one thats not there.


    The Almighty Dollar

    As many of you are aware, the US dollar has been falling in value for a long time now. The consequeces of this are difficult to understand for anyone who isn't an economics expert, said group including me. Interestingly enough, Debka has a good article about the impact of the falling dollar and US bonds, and explains the possible consequences of this weakening of the dollar.



    I am one of many who believe that Hillary Clinton will run in 2008 for the Democratic candidate for President. Everything I know about her tells me that she will run. However, she will have a hard time winning in '08 in the general election due to her high negatives. So I expect her to use the next few years to work on improving her general image. One of the things that I think will be the corner-stone of her strategy is to aim for the military and veteran vote. She knows she is especially weak there, and will do all it takes to correct that. This story, courtesy of Drudge, makes me think she has already started. She is going to try and help as many New York veterans and active duty military personnel as possible in the next few years. That way, when it comes time for the election, she will have evidence to back up her assertion that she is indeed pro-military and pro-veteran. Other steps she will no doubt take, but more time I will need to ponder on them.

    Edit: Hmmnn, watching Star Wars does indeed appear to affect my blogging...


    An Analogy

    Blogging is to Freedom of the Press as the Secret Ballot is to Democracy.

    Discuss. I will give my thoughts sometime Friday or Saturday.

    Update: here are my thoughts:

    Blogging, through the use of services of Blogger, provides a medium by which people can air their views while still maintaining their anonymity. This enables them to air views and beliefs which their family, friends or co-workers would find repellant. This "cover" allows people to speak freely, and participate in a community which they can't join in the "real" world. Those with similar views can work and connect across the globe, or on a more local level. They can coordinate, plan and cooperate without having to worthy about social pressure being directed against them. This is such a significant jump from the past that I think its effect cannot be accurately predited. The blogging revolution may very well change the nature of politics in America, and allow the creation of new parties and coalitions would could not arise under the old order. This change rivals that of the impact of the secret ballot in democratic states.

    Ballots didn't use to be secret, indeed, for a long time in American history when you cast your ballot, you did so for a party, and used a ballot (often colored) you received from said party. Thus everyone knew exactly how you voted. This created a pressure to vote the way the community felt that you should, resulting in areas which were overwhelmingly for one party or the other. It became inconceivable for someone to vote otherwise. The secret ballot changed this forever. Now, when someone voted, you could never know for sure whom they voted for. This left parties considerably weaker than the were before, and 'machines' had to adjust themselves for this change. The secret ballot, by providing cover for those who vote, actually increased the freedom of the citizen, as it helped protect them from social pressure directed against them.

    Blogging provides another such protection, and thus enhances freedom even more for citizens of democratic states. Now they can interact with those of similar mindsets and avoid social pressure in the process. There is no need to go to a convention, or party meetings, or anything like that. Blogs and utilities like IRC provide electronic meetinghouses that provide both anonymity and easy access for nearly everyone. The impact of blogging on Democracy has only just begun.


    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    Planted Questions

    This makes a lot of sense, explains much.

    Me doth think the Reporter protest too much.


    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    Fatal Blow

    Wretchard at the Belmont Club has just come up with another brilliant post, describing the problems racking UN. However, his true genius comes at the end:
    The implicit assumption underlying this discourse is that "we" -- and not you -- ask the questions. The United Nations, and no one else, sits in judgment. That's final: it is International Law. As Robert Kaplan pointed out in The Media and Medievalism, the most powerful tool of totalitarianism is to don the guise of righteousness and assume "the right to question and to demand answers, the right to judge and condemn, and the right to pardon and show mercy." It is in the end an attempt to usurp the wellsprings of legitimacy. Do you hold it to be self-evident that you have the right to "to assume among the Powers of the Earth" as separate and equal station? That's being a rogue nation. Do you presume that "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". That is not in the Koran. It is illegitimate and utterly intolerant to impose such a view upon anyone, even upon yourselves.
    I more devastating attack I cannot imagine. The ultimate legitimacy of the UN is questioned, and I think, destroyed, by simply pointing out that the Declaration of Independence and the UN are incompatible. Therefore, we must choose one to adhere to. Which, dare I ask, choose you?


    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Day of Infamy

    Lest anyone forget, all it takes is one single act of treachery to incur the wrath of America. Japan's military leaders, the capable ones at least, knew the folly of attacking America. But the Imperial ambitions of Japan could not be forsaken. And so it came to war. Let every nation who thinks of ever attacking America look back to this day, and remember just how terrible America's wrath was. The Giant is still asleep, even now. Wake him, and the world shall tremble.


    Monday, December 06, 2004

    The Civil War... Inside the CIA

    From the New York Times, we learn that the CIA station chief thinks things are heading downhill in Iraq:
    ut over all, the officials described the station chief's cable in particular as an unvarnished assessment of the difficulties ahead in Iraq. They said it warned that the security situation was likely to get worse, including more violence and sectarian clashes, unless there were marked improvements soon on the part of the Iraqi government, in terms of its ability to assert authority and to build the economy.

    Together, the appraisals, which follow several other such warnings from officials in Washington and in the field, were much more pessimistic than the public picture being offered by the Bush administration before the elections scheduled for Iraq next month, the officials said. The cable was sent to C.I.A. headquarters after American forces completed what military commanders have described as a significant victory, with the retaking of Falluja, a principal base of the Iraqi insurgency, in mid-November.

    The problem here is the source. No, not the New York Times, though that does certainly raise some bells. Rather, it is the CIA. As well all know President Bush has plans for reforming the CIA, and Porter Goss, the new head of the CIA, is intended to carry out those reforms. Needless to say, many in the CIA are unhappy with said reforms, and doing their best to fight back. Leaking documents to the NYT is one example of such behavior. We can expect much more. Of course, knowing that, how trustworthy are said documents?

    1) The CIA doesn't have a great track-record in Iraq. This raises my hopes some, as the reports might be the product of either incompetence, or be deliberately pessimistic, perhaps for CYA purpoes.

    2) The documents also might not be real, or perhaps, not entirely real. After that little bit with Dan Rather and falsified National Guard Documents, its not out of the question.

    Overall, its too early to tell how much faith we can put in these documents.


    The Gulls

    Sailors have long known if you should see birds upon the ocean, land was not far. They served as an early warning of the shore, while it yet remained out of sight. Gulls served both as a welcome, and as a warning. For the shores could not only provide refuge, but rocks upon which your ship could smashed.

    I dare say we might have heard the gulls now. How far to the rocks?


    Sunday, December 05, 2004

    North Korea is Watching...

    ...this development, I am sure. Such a system is not much at this point, and likely won't be much more for a while. But it is better than nothing.


    Ukraine Update

    A number of important developments in the Ukraine in the last few days.

    1) A new run-off election is set for December 26th, thanks to a Supreme Court Ruling (Incidentally, I suspect the Ukranian Supreme Court has gained a fair amount of power and prestige from this, a wise move for the Judges)

    2) President Kuchma has vetoed some legislation to clean up election fraud, namely eliminating absentee ballots.

    3) There is talk of reforming the political system, namely transferring a lot of power from the President to the Parliament. This I think is a bad idea, as Parliamentary governments are unstable, and having the Prime Minister be dominant leaves open the possibility of instability in times when that can be catastrophic. Israel is a good example. It needs to have a Presidential system, as the current Parliamentary one is not capable of dealing with the changing political tides in Israel. Coalitions are too unstable, and the necessity of buying votes for backing can lead to massive splintering down the line.

    As usual, Maidan and Le Sabot Post-Moderne have good coverage of the situation in the Ukraine.



    I had a post somewher concerning the Ukraine, and its gone. I guess I will try and replace it sometime Sunday.


    Friday, December 03, 2004

    Hamas Appears to be Cracking

    The Jerusalem Post is reporting that some factions of Hamas, at least, are willing to agree to a two state solution(reg required).

    In an apparent change in long-standing policy, a top Hamas leader in the West Bank said Friday the group would accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as a long-term truce with Israel.

    "Hamas has announced that it accepts a Palestinian independent state within the 1967 borders with a long-term truce," Sheik Hassan Yousef told The Associated Press, referring to lands Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day war.

    This is a major change for Hamas, which was founded on the basis of destroying Israel. However, not everyone in the organization agrees:
    However, in Lebanon, Hamas spokesman Ossama Hamdan denied the group had changed its policies. "I can say there has been no changes in the movement's stance and policy toward occupation," Hamdan said.
    It appears that the Israeli assassination of top Hamas leaders has had a decided effect. A leadership struggle within the organization appears to be under way. It is not out of the question for part of the organization to split off, or for more than two factions to appear. This is good news for Israel, assuming that this isn't a false hudna proposal. If Hamas, or most of it anyways, accepts a two state solution that Israel has much better prospects of being safe after it pulls its forces from Gaza and the West Bank. However, if Hamas does splinter, it could make it difficult for Israel to determine which factions pose a threat.

    Arafat's death might be part of this, although it is probably too soon to know for certain. The coming Palestinian 'election' will likely be a big indicator of how things turn out. If the moderates win, and Hamas does become more willing to accept peace, then we might finally be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, we have had similar illusions before.


    Breaking News: Pottle Calls Kettle Black!

    Putin is now deriding the US as being 'dictatorial', according this Yahoo news report, courtesy of Drudge. The sheer irony of this unbelievable, and I can't help but wonder if there has been a translation error. Putin is either playing to fears of the Russian electorate, or he is really full of himself. As I and many others have documented these past days, it is Russia acting dictatorial, especially with regards to Russia's imperial agenda with regard to the Ukraine.
    "Even if dictatorship is packaged in beautiful pseudo-democratic phraseology, it will not be able to solve systemic problems," Putin said. "It may even make them worse."
    Putin is describing Russia perfectly. I was, in the past unsure about Putin's intentions. I wondered if he might be a patriot or not, and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I was very, very wrong. Putin may see himself as the next Tsar of Russia, and is certainly intent on rebuilding the Russia empire, through any means necessary. I suspect that his successor will either be a puppet of Putin, or someone very close to Putin who shares his goals. Either way, democracy in Russia is not in good shape.


    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    The Russian Imperium

    This goal, of a revived Russian Empire, is what is driving the current Russian policy in the Ukraine, according to Austin Bay over at Strategy Page. In the article Austin explains the Russian aims, and how its Ukranian policy is a means to achieve them. An excerpt:

    A Russian bid to return to super-power status is the truly big story behind Ukraine’s rigged election.

    At the moment Russia is a European also-ran, a one-time giant with deteriorating clout. However, Russia, plus Ukraine, plus Belarus, plus Khazakstan is a geo-strategic formula for a global power re-born.

    This isn’t a new discovery. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. analysts concluded that the communist leadership would spin off the Baltic and Caucaus Soviet Union. At the same time, however, they would try to keep or link the core empire strength: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan (RUBK— pronounced “rubik,” as in the tricky, tough to solve puzzle called Rubik’s Cube.)

    This RUBK that he describes is what I would call a "laminar Empire", that is, layered imperialism, on a model much like US imperialism in South and Latin America during the 20th century. Rather than openly occupy countries, and have them become a part of "greater Russia", Putin intends to create a wall of tributary states along his border. This states will be lead by Russian backed leaders who will follow Moscows line when it comes to foreign and security policy, and will ensure that business conditions in their respective nations will favor Russia. This leaves Russia with the economic and political benefits of a conventional empire, while at the same time avoiding some of the military costs that go with it. The elites in the border nations will benefit from this as well, as they will be able to rely on Russian backing to maintain their economic and political dominance.

    No doubt the original empire will be that of RUBK, but I suspect that Putin will not leave it there. Eventually, after Russia starts to really benefit from oil sales, and the economy gets going again, he will start to solidify control in nations bordering Russia. If he can't get a country to fall under Russian control outright, he could incite more pro-Russian provinces in those nations to seccede, and form their own independent "republics", which just happen to have close relations with Russia.

    Ironically, the Chinese could use similar tactics to grab parts of Sibera and the Eastern Districts, forming their own little border states to add to China's version of modern empire. The strategy is sound after all, and with the right bribes EU indifference might be bought. This won't work for Eastern Europe for Russia, as the EU interests there are too strong. But China and Russia might be able to do so in Asia. I would very much like to find a map which shows the ethnic concentrations of Russian and Chinese people in Asia, to use as a template for estimating imperial ambitions of those two powers.


    Interesting New Site

    Its called Liberals Against Terrorism, run by Winds of Change reader prakitike. The site itself seems to be well designed, and the theme is nice. Those who are left-of-center don't have an easy job at the moment, considering the insanity coming out of the far left at this point. Hopefully sites like this will contribute to a restoration of sense about defense and security affairs on the left.

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