History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Thursday, April 28, 2005

    Fragger to Fry

    Fox is reporting that Sgt. Ackbar has been sentenced to death. Good riddance.

    Update: More here.


    Lawn Care

    Courtesy of Discarded Lies, I bring you: Lawn Care in Iraq.


    Explaining Thomas Friedman

    Lucas Sayre has created a superb graphic in an attempt to explain Thomas Friedman's behavior. Its one of a kind.


    Rasta Republican

    Here is a member of the GOP who doesn't exactly fit the stereotype.

    hat tip: No Pasaran


    The Environmentalist's Death Ray

    Its Solar Powered! Its a Death Ray!

    Hat Tip: Corner.


    Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    Iraqi Government Forming

    It has taken a long time, but the Iraqi Government is finally being set up. For a inside-Iraq perspective, try Iraq the Model.


    Who Said you can't find Buried Treasure?

    These guys obviously didn't listen to that poor advice.


    Belarus in the Spotlight

    JP at Americans for Freedom has a small linkfest for Belarus up. You can find it here.

    I think that Belarus needs to be one of our major policy focus areas for the rest of the decade, as it is a prime spot for "regime change." The current corrupt President Lukashenko heads an authoritarian state which is, in my view, vulnerable. The effects of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine are visible to many in Belarus, and a concentrated effort there to support democrats (small d) can have an effect. Belarus has many strategic advantages that it offers as well if "turned". Its next to Russia, and frankly Putin is currently creating a single party democracy, aka dictatorship, at the moment. A democratic revolution in Belarus would put even more pressure on Putin, and help spur democracy activists in Russia. This is of course good for the US, as Russia (or at least Putin) is still locked into a Cold War, America is the Enemy mindset. America has enough problems to worry about for the 21st century, including an emerging, nationalistic, authoritarian China. Removing Russia as a foe would relieve a lot of pressure on the US, and would also deprive China of a possible ally in the event of a major war with the US. The Russian Revolution is waiting to be completed, and Belarus is the next step on that journey.


    Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    Bad Blogger

    Apparently Blogger has eaten up some of my attempts at posts. I don't remember all of them, so I won't be able to get it all back. I have been busy of late, so its not much of a loss fortunately. Howeve, I should be able to be more active in the next couple of days.


    Man on the Run

    He may have escaped this time, but his luck will soon run out.


    Sunday, April 24, 2005


    Callimachus of Done With Mirrors examines the foundation of modern American Leftist thinking: Vietnam. Read it.


    Friday, April 22, 2005

    French Perfidy

    With France, you get both Ally and Enemy all in one . What else can you ask for?

    Link courtesy of Discarded Lies

    You know, I pity any nation that counts on France as an ally. If there is a buck to be made, they will back-stab you in a heartbeat.


    More on the EU and Arabs

    The next installment of Marc Schulman's The EU and the Arabs is up. It deals with the Yom Kippur War and its aftermath. You can read it here.


    Dare to Question

    Ali a the blog A Free Iraqi has a wonderful analysis of the situation in Iraq now, as well as the Middle East as a whole, centered around the idea of asking questions and giving answers. Its a must read, and its of such depth as to warrant publication in a journal or newspaper.

    A small excerpt:
    I think one of the main problems in Arab-Muslim communities is that the vast majority from the illiterate to even highly educated people do not ask enough questions. On the other hand, I've noticed (mainly through blogging ) that westerns in general and Americans in particular always have so many questions to ask and rarely settle with one point of view and accept it as the truth.
    Read the rest, this is truly a great piece.


    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    One Billion and Rising

    Chuck Simmins of You Big Mouth You has been keeping track of private US donations for Tsunami Relief. According to his last count on the Stingy List, that number is over a billion dollars. Stingy, heh.


    More Than Just Another Activist

    Callimachus of Done With Mirrors brings us the story of Marla Ruzicka, a woman of strong convictions, and an urge to help. She is quite unlike most any other activist you will come across. We could use more like her.


    Who is Pope Benedict?

    TigerHawk has an exclusive interview with a man who advised then Cardinal Ratzinger, and know the man fairly well. It is an excellent insight into Benedict's nature. Read it all.

    This part caught TigerHawk's eye:
    6. What those of us here see is not what holy men and God sees. Today, the West, especially tired old Europe sees militant Islam as its huge concern. From the Church's perspective, these are millions of potential converts. I think that just as the Huns, Goths, Franks, and Normans of old threatened Christendom and became part of it, so too -- in 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 years -- will we see the rebirth of Catholic Europe. And just as the man we call St. Benedict worked to make this so, so too Benedict XVI hopes to be God's instrument to make it so in the future.
    I suspect that one thing that the new Pope will try and accomplish will be a rapprochement with other Christian Churches, especially the Orthodox Churches. If Christianity is to survive in Europe it will have to be united, division among Christians is one thing that greatly helped the Muslim Arab armies in their initial conquests.


    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    Questions that Need Answers

    This new millenium will bring new challenges, and many of those challenges pose questions to all of us which need to be answered, and quickly. One such question:

    What is Human?


    Argh! I be the President Matey

    North Carolina State has elected someone class President who also happens to have assumed the persona of a Pirate Captain.

    "We're quickly goin' to bae getting our plank started, get the simple things out of the way," The Pirate Captain (search), real name Whil (or maybe "Will") Piavis, a junior, told supporters after election results were unveiled Wednesday night.

    The blond-maned Piavis, who constantly keeps up the "Aargh! Matey!" persona and wears a beard, eyepatch, white puffy shirt, boots, dangling sword and sometimes even a parrot, reassured fellow students he was serious.

    Cool? Why yes, what about having your class president be a pirate isn't?


    Monkey Business

    An Arizona SWAT team is looking to acquire a monkey. I kid you not.

    Hat tip: can't remember, will cite when I find out.


    Pope Benedict

    A new leader of the Catholic Church has been chosen. Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Ratzinger is 78, so he likely won't have as long a reign as JP2, and thus his influence will likely be less considerable. Since he was one of the major supporters of JP2's theological beliefs, we can consider him a continuation of JP2's legacy. I suspect the only real changes he will bring will be ecumenical.


    Monday, April 18, 2005

    Smoke: Black and White

    The Conclave is meeting right now, and the next leader of the Roman Catholic Church is being decided on even as I type this. So far it has only been black smoke. Given the considerable influence of the position, and its use by John Paul II, I can't help but wonder if that will be the case for the next Pope. The Cardinals have seen the power of a young and energetic Pope, and perhaps might attempt to repeat that formula. Or perhaps an older, more experienced man will get the job. Either way, given the role played by the previous Pontiff, the decision will most likely be a very important one.


    Sunday, April 17, 2005

    China Syndrome

    And no, I am not talking about a movie. Publius Pundit, aka Robert Mayer, examines in depth some of the problems facing China at the moment. Its definitely worth reading, especially if you think, as I do, that things in Asia may heat up in the future. A short excerpt:

    Something whispers in my ear, however, that when the Chinese gets put up on its last legs, it won’t care about the ramifications of any drastic actions. Perhaps I’m one of the few, but I actually think that China’s democratization is an inevitability coinciding with its economic liberalization. With this kind of collapse around the corner, Taiwan could be a futile last grasp at maintaining authority.

    It begs the question to be asked, Is China’s regime on its last legs? It wouldn’t appear so, given the economic boom. With the investors, however, comes western thought, and the influence of this thought has a way of piercing in and shining light on the dark corners of communism. They will either have to eventually reform, or go against the inevitable change of the tide and crumble. Along the lines of Wretchard’s ironic findings, it is also ironic to note that the economic growth that lends China’s rulers its ability to militarize is the same growth that causes the regime to rot from the inside with corruption.

    As they say, RTWT.


    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Trouble in Paris

    March Schulman has done a terrific job tracking the course of the referendum in France over the EU Constitution. He is now on series seven of his watch. It increasingly looks like the people of le Republique Francais will vote non on May 29th.

    Update: Erik at No Pasaran brings us an explanation of why a failure of the EU constitution isn't a problem for Chirac, but the fact that it would be the French to kill it would be disastrous for him.


    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    The History of the "Honeymoon"

    Courtesy of TigerHawk, I have found this little gem at Big Pharoah.
    One of the office boys who work in the company I am employed in is eating a lot of meat and shrimps these days. He is getting married tomorrow and he wants to garner as much energy as possible in order to perform spectacularly when he and his wife are behind a closed door for the very first time!!
    The rest goes on explaining the cultural reasons for this along with other various fascinating, and somewhat adult orientated facts. However, I was intrigued by the notion of the eating of power foods in order to "provide energy." You see, this is very similar to the "honeymoon" tradition which is part of European culture, or at least, was. The reason it was called a honeymoon was twofold. The first part, dealing with honey:
    The Scandinavian word for honeymoon is derived, in part, from an ancient Northern European custom in which newlyweds, for the first month of their married life, drank a daily cup of honeyed wine called mead. The ancient practices of kidnapping of bride and drinking the honeyed wine date back to the history of Atilla, king of the Asiatic Huns from A.D. 433 to A.D. 453.
    Honey was seen as an aphrodisiac, and the high sugar content provided extra energy. The moon part however, is somewhat more cynical:
    So that leaves us with the question of where the "moon" in the word "honeymoon" originates. One piece of folklore relates that the origin of the word moon comes from a cynical inference. To the Northern Europeans the terms referred to the body's monthly cycle and, its combination with honey, suggested that not all moon's of married life were as sweet as the first. British prose writers and poets, in the 16th and 17th centuries, often made use of the Nordic interpretation of honeymoon as a waxing and waning of marital affection.
    Apparently the term "Happily Ever After" has a place in folklore, but not folk life. And there you go: the origin of the word Honeymoon.


    Still Looking

    I am still looking for help with Debka Watch, send an e-mail if you are interested.


    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    The Consequences of No

    Marc Schulman of American Future has a terrific post up explaining the possible consequences of a no vote for the EU Constitution in France. Read it.


    Israel Won't Attack Iran

    At least, that is what the Jerusalem Post says. But I am having trouble finding out exactly where in the article it says that. I suppose this part could be it:
    Sharon said during the visit that there is "close coordination" with the US on the Iranian nuclear issue, and that "Israel is not taking the lead in this campaign."

    Still, that isn't much, and I wonder if something has been left out, or the statement has been made for dramatic effect. However, if this is true, it doesn't surprise me. Iran is so far away that it take a major effort by Israel to do what needs to be done to shut down Iran's nuclear program. The cost, both military and political, would be high. And there is a high probability that such an effort would fail. Under those circumstances Israel might as well not even try. Besides, the bomb that Iran seeks has more likely uses.


    Tuesday, April 12, 2005


    Have you ever been thinking something, whatever the topic, and then stop mid-way, to ask yourself if you just thought something racist? And then wonder afterward if you did or not?


    News from Lebanon

    Michael Totten is still posting from Lebabon over at Spirit of America's LebanonBlog. His latest installment is truly great, a simple excerpt:

    Talk turned instantly to politics, as it almost always does here. A Lebanese-American I met in a restaurant told me it has always been this way in Lebanon. It's not just because of the upheaval now.

    I wanted to make sure these guys knew a huge cross-section of the American people support what they are doing.

    "It feels kinda weird, man" Hisham said.

    "Why?" I said.

    "Because we don't know what you want from us. What's in it for you?"

    "Look," I said. "We live in a free country."

    "Oh yes, I know," Hashim's friend said. "We really envy you for what you have."

    "So we want you to be free, too," I said. "Americans hate dictatorship and oppression. No one should have to live like that. You're fighting for what we believe in, so of course we support you."

    They seemed slightly wary, like I was blowing smoke.

    "Okay," Hashim said. "Who decides what kind of freedom we have in Lebanon?"

    "You," I said and pointed at him personally.

    "Yes!" he said. "Who decides what kind of freedom people will have in Iraq?"

    "Iraqis," I said.

    "Yes!" he said. He then took out a card and wrote his name, phone number, and email address on the back of it. He handed it to me, shook my hand, and said "You have a friend in Lebanon now. You will always be welcome here."

    The rest is worth reading as well.


    Monday, April 11, 2005

    US-South Korean Alliance on the Rocks?

    I have seen some earlier reports indicating trouble for US-South Korea reltations, and this story, courtesy of Watching America, makes me believe that there are in fact some serious problems with the relationship.
    We know now that the U.S. told Korea in May of last year that it would remove its War Reserve Stocks for Allies (WRSA), emergency ordinance stockpiled for use by Korea, and that the government kept this quiet. This is an embarrassing story, suggesting that for over a year, the defense authorities of a country [South Korea] that dedicates such a large percentage of its GDP to defense spending, was unable to find a window for negotiations with an allied nation [the United States].
    The rest can be found here. This is hardly good news, especially for Larry Bond readers.


    Daily Reading

    Callimachus at Done With Mirrors has an excellent assortment of topics covered recently, so I suggest stopping by and checking them out. I try and read his site daily, and suggest you do as well.


    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    New Blog: Debka Watch

    I have decided to start a new blog, Debka Watch. I will need some help running it, so it you are interested send me an e-mail. Nobody else was doing it, so I figured that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.

    Update: My e-mail appears to be rather spotty at the moment, so drop a comment if interested as well.

    Update 2: I had hoped that I would have found at least one or two people to help by now. This hasn't been the case, so I will keep going. I would rather like to get this going though. Its not a full time project, the more people that help, the easier it will be.


    The Bridge

    TigerHawk wonders what it would be like if one of the Cardinals blogged during the Conclave:
    Wouldn't it be cool if one of the Cardinals was a blogger?

    Can't you just see it now: one of those guys banging away on a laptop in his otherwise spartan Vatican quarters, red yarmulke by his keyboard, hoping that Blogger will publish without eating his post?
    No doubt that would be interesting, but it would also violate the vow of secrecy which is part of the whole ordeal. That got me thinking about the role of the internet and religion. And then I realized:
    Forget the Cardinals.

    If the next Pope has any awareness of the net, he would start blogging. What better way to reach the faithful all across the world? I guarantee he would enter the top 10 technorati and TLB blog sites within a week. Probably only a day or two, in fact. Preaching the Gospel has never been easier than now.
    That is the comment I left on TigerHawk's site, and I would like to expand on it a little further. The Internet is the future. The future of communications, the future of culture, and ultimately, I suspect, the future of religion. There is no better medium to communicate religious thought than the Internet right now. If the next Pope were to blog it would be enormous. He could have an audience of millions, with proper linguistic support. He could blog on culture and religion, and people would listen, believers and non-believers alike. One of the names for the Pope, Pontiff, comes from the Latin words for Bridge Builder. The internet is currently the greatest bridge every built, bringing people together from all over the world. If building bridges is the Pope's job, then his workplace should be the Net as well.


    A Figurehead, or Something Else?

    has in interview/story about Iraq's new President, Jalal Talabani, who is the first Kurd to become President of Iraq, or any country in the world as a matter of fact. It can be found here. The part that most interested me was this:

    He disputed the view of some critics that his role will be largely symbolic.

    "That is not true," he said. "According to the law, the president represents the sovereignty of Iraq, and he has the right to look over all important issues and affairs of the government.

    "He -- with two vice presidents and with the prime minister and his deputies and with the speaker of the house -- they are forming a collective leadership," Talabani said.
    Talabani is in a unique position, with the closest similarity being the position held by George Washington as the first president of the United States of America. It is up to Talabani to establish the importance of the job of President in Iraq, and to set precedent for his role in government. If he is involved, active and energetic enough, he can set the standard for how Iraq's President is to act. The post itself doesn't posses many powers, as defined by the temporary Constitution. However, as there is no previous President to base their standards on, the people of Iraq aren't sure how to view the post of President. Is he merely a figurehead, or something more? Remember, political power often is granted as much by public opinion and perceptions as it is by constitutional law. Its entirely possible that a capable and cunning Talabani could transform the post into a kind of supervisor. Someone who doesn't do the actual management of government, which is entrusted to the Prime Minister, but supervises the Prime Minister instead. If Talabani is successful, the Prime Minister could be seen by the Iraqi people as working for the President, rather than the Prime Minister being the leading position in national politics alone. I doubt that the current Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, will allow this to happen, of course. In fact, I suspect that if Talabani does attempt to increase the power and/or prestige of the Presidency, an adversarial relationship between the two could develop.

    Of course, this is the situation only under the present constitution, and the final one, which is supposed to be worked out by mid August, could end up quite different. I suspect that it won't, though. The present Constitution serves as a compromise in many different ways, and superior methods of achieving those compromises will be difficult or impossible to find. Hence, I suspect that structurally the Iraqi government under the present Constitution will be very similar. The only thing I suspect might be different is the relationship between President and Prime Minister, especially if there is some conflict between the two prior to the final draft being completed.


    Raison d'Etat

    France and Israel were once close allies, and are now in many ways only one step away from enemies. How did this come to pass? Marc Schulman of American Future explains the reasons for France's Tilt. A must read. If you aren't reading Marc's blog on a daily basis, you are missing out.


    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    War Crimes

    Wretchard of The Belmont Club points out that CBS may very well have comitted war crimes in Iraq.



    When I read things like this, my faith in humanity is restored. If there is hope for Lebanon, there is hope for us all.


    Teaching Iraq

    Arthur Chrenkoff brings us a story of an Iraqi teacher helping to rebuild his country after Saddam.


    Friday, April 08, 2005

    CBS Cameraman Arrested for Aiding Iraqi Insurgency

    Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette has more. The two most important parts of this:

    A) Its a reporter hired by CBS

    B) The US was tipped off by Iraqi citizens

    I wonder, and I know I am not alone in this, if this reporter is the same one who photographed the picture which won a Pulitzer recently.

    Update: I should note that a while back I wondered just what metrics the US should use to determine success or failure in Iraq. I think that perhaps the best that is available to us, now that the election is over, is tips against the AIF (anti-Iraqi Forces). People will give tips if:

    A) They hate the insurgents more than the US
    B) They feel that giving tips will produce results
    C) They feel don't believe that giving the tip will definitively put them in harm's way

    If I was a military leader in Iraq at the moment, I would have someone graph the number of tips I received by month, week and even (if possible) by day, to try and establish patterns and shifts in opinion. Oftentimes the change in slope or acceleration of a graph tells us more about what is happening that the position on the graph itself.


    Duck Cheney

    This is good for a laugh.


    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    Don't Forget Iran

    Marc Schulman at American Future details the latest info on Iran and it nuclear program.


    Wednesday, April 06, 2005


    Update: Looking for information on the Gomery Report? Go here.

    Apparently, I am #3 on Google for the search entry: "gomery inquiry blog american."

    Just under Instapundit and FreeRepublic. And ahead of both small dead animals and Captain's Quarters. Imagine my good fortune. Of course, since I link to Captain Ed, he can't really complain too much.

    Update 2: I intend to keep this up at the top of my blog for as long as the traffic lasts.

    Update 3: Apparently I now top Technorati when it comes to the searchword "Gomery."

    Update 4: That didn't last long...

    Update 5: I am still getting some Technorati hits, but I am also getting a fair amount of hits from Google, on a number of different things. Many are history related, but many are not. I suppose that the more posts I have, the greater the chance of traffic being directed my way. The chance increases of having words in my posts matching the words being searched for when I have more words total. Seems simple enough, but sometimes you can overlook the obvious.

    Update 6: How to Traffic W---e: Post often, with the word Gomery thrown in every odd paragraph or two. This will send Technorati hits your way. Gaming the system was never any easier. Or was it...


    Unintended Consequences

    One man's death can help unite a nation:
    We stay up all night strategizing and getting to know each other. It's amazing, but it's also sad. We Christians and Muslims never really knew each other until now. Hariri's assassination broke down that wall.
    That is a small excerpt from a blog post by Michael Totten over at Spirit of America, talking about his experiences in Lebanon. I suggest you check it out.


    South Korea plays boths ends to the middle?

    I am not a huge fan of the current leadership in Seoul right now, and that partly comes about from reading about things such as this:

    South Korea is planning to bolster its military cooperation with China, local media on Tuesday quoted the South Korean defense minister as saying, signaling a key shift in alliances in northeast Asia.

    Although China is the last major ally of the South's rival, North Korea, President Roh Moo-hyun has in recent weeks stressed that his country should help balance the region _ implying a shift from Seoul's traditional alliance with the United States and Japan toward a neutral position among regional powers, which include China and Russia.

    "We plan to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries, including developing South Korea-China military exchanges to a level that of South Korea-Japan," Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung was quoted as saying Monday by various media outlets.

    I am not exactly sure what the leadership in Seoul is aiming for right now. Perhaps they hope to act as a bridge to China, or that good ties with China will help defend them against North Korean aggression. Part of me, however, wonders if the leftist tendencies of the current leadership are leading them to deliberately weaken their ties with the US. There are many possibilities, and not all are bad. The government of South Korea is what makes me suspicious though.

    Hat Tip: Fjordman


    Close Call

    Looking over the website Itsvideos, I came across this video of a close call with an IED.

    Close Call
    (warning, language)

    This gives some idea about the situation in Iraq, from the perspective of patrolling soldiers. Every car on the side of the road could have a bomb in it.


    Talabani Named Iraq's President

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq’s newly elected parliament chose Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as its new interim president Wednesday, reaching out to the nation’s long-repressed Kurdish minority and taking one of the final steps toward forming Iraq’s first democratically elected government in 50 years.

    n a largely symbolic, secret election, lawmakers also elected Shiite Adel Abdul-Mahdi and interim President Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni Arab, as Talabani’s vice presidents. The three had been agreed upon in negotiations held during the past weeks, and no other candidates were proposed Tuesday.

    The announcement of the new lawmakers drew applause, and many in parliament crowded around Talabani to congratulate him.

    Lawmakers cast 221 ballots in favor of Talabani and the two vice presidents. Thirty other ballots were left blank in apparent protest of the candidates.

    More info here. Another major hurdle has been crossed, and things should hopefully be easy sailing, at least until the part about creating the permanent constitution.


    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    John Paul II: Nuclear Brinksman

    While the title is somewhat over the top, there is a strong grain of truth to that statement. Here is something I found at Global Security dot-org.

    WASHINGTON - Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the late President Ronald Reagan's plans to put nuclear missiles across Western Europe, a former U.S. representative at the Vatican said yesterday.

    Though European leaders were "weak-kneed" about confronting the Soviet nuclear empire, Reagan won the Pope's support for matching the Communists nuke for nuke along the Iron Curtain, said Jim Nicholson, who served until recently as President Bush's ambassador to the Holy See.

    The purpose of the pontiff's secret approval was to confront the Soviet Union's placement of its growing arsenal in Eastern Bloc states near free European nations, said Nicholson, now the Veterans Affairs secretary.

    Nicholson said Reagan "regularly" sent military emissaries to show the pontiff satellite imagery of Soviet missiles spreading across occupied Europe.
    This is a complete surprise to me, and to many others, I suspect. The article can be found here. Such an action is far more militant than what I would have expected of even JPII. I wonder if the Pope's opposition to the Iraq War was really as strong as some have said it to be...

    Update: The more I think on it, the more I am starting to really wonder. I don't think that the Vatican can ever again be as militant or as supportive of military conflict as we might want at certain times (the echoes of the crusades prevent this), but that doesn't mean that the Vatican is as clueless as some think. Or at least, some of the people in the Vatican. Learning this makes me much more hopeful that the new Pontiff is going to be supportive of efforts to reform the Middle East, in a hands-off kind of way.


    War... and Rumors of War

    From the eclectic bunch at Discarded Lies comes this gem, concerning Chinese intentions vis-a-vis Taiwan (hint, not good) :
    On March 14, the 10th National People's Congress of China passed the Anti-Secession Law, which gained the attention of international society. An anonymous source high inside the CCP government disclosed to the Epoch Times reporter details of a meeting between Jiang Zemin and the new preeminent leader Hu Jintao. Jiang advised Hu that attacking Taiwan is a good way to relieve all kinds of issues inside China and maintain the CCP’s power. The decision to attack does not depend on whether Taiwan claims it is independent. Prior to his stepping down from the Military Committee, Jiang also set a detailed plan of attacking Taiwan. It is not clear at this point whether Hu Jintao will execute such a strategy.

    Hong Kong Sing Pao Daily News quoted insiders on March 13 that Jiang Zemin’s advice to Hu Jintao before his resignation as China Military Committee Chairman was that “if we have to attack Taiwan, the earlier the better.” It is also reported that the book “Biography of Jiang Zemin,” written by American author Robert Kuhn, disclosed that when Chen Shuibian won the Taiwan election in 2000, Jiang Zemin instructed Cao Gangchuang to draft military strategies for attacking Taiwan. Jiang is reported to have said “if we have to take military action, the earlier the better.”

    Once again, I wish to re-iterate that I don't see an attack before the 2008 Olympics. But after that all bets are off. I am starting to suspect that the situation in China isn't as rosy as the ChiComs are maintaining, and that the country is starting to experience pains that are more than just from growth. Actually, I know things aren't as good as the PRC says they are, but I am starting to wonder just how bad they might be. Pieces like this only increase that anxiety. The worry of a Red Storm Rising or The Bear and the Dragon scenario can't be so easily dismissed as it was but a few years ago. I fear that the Chinese might seek that ever elusive hope of states falling apart: A Short, Victorious War.


    The Dirty War

    Callimachus of the blog Done With Mirrors has a two part series examining the history of the guerilla war in Algeria that took place during the 1950's. The history is solid, and its recommended reading. Algeria served as a template for guerilla action across the globe ever since, so understanding what happened there will help you understand what came later.

    Its in two parts:

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Once again, this was a war that wasn't won on the battlefield, but on the political stage.


    Support Democracy

    For an example of how the average citizen can help Democracy, go here. Its a good cause, led by good people, so chip in if you can.

    Courtesy of Michael Totten, who is now in Beruit to help out.


    Election 2005

    Prime Minister Blair has called for elections in the United Kingdom to be held on May 5th.

    The Prime Minister confirmed Whitehall's worst kept secret by naming 5 May as polling day.

    Standing outside No10, he said: "I have just been to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament, which she has graciously consented to do."

    Mr Blair said a third term, never won by a Labour leader, was needed to entrench economic stability and invest in public services, from education, to the NHS, and to bring in new reforms.

    Things will start to rapidly head up in England, expect the election to start taking over space on this blog and many others. England, being one of our two closest allies (the other being Australia) will not doubt be watched by America's friends and enemies. A win for Blair might be taken as support for his support of the US, while if he is ditched it might be taken as rejection. Of course, if the Conservatives win, that's hardly a loss for the US, as they are just as pro-US. The real kicker will be the Liberal Democrats. If they do well they might force a coalition with Labor, which could have a negative impact on US/UK relations.

    Update: I believe that I have indicated before that I felt that any move by the US against Iran and/or Syria would be after the UK elections. That being done to help out Blair's chances. This of course means that a US strike could happen as soon as May 6th, which is interesting as a certain oxygen wasting pervert predicted a US strike by June 2005.


    Iraqi Government to Form?

    Well, first they got themselves a speaker of the Assembly, and now it looks like they may have their Presidency Council lined up too...
    Iraq’s national assembly will Wednesday name Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani president and two vice presidents: outgoing finance minister Shiite Adel Abdul Mahdir and outgoing president Sunni Ghazi Yawar. Presidential committee must then choose prime minister.
    (From Debka, whom I seem to be quoting a lot lately)


    Monday, April 04, 2005


    Wretchard of The Belmont Club has discovered further evidence that his prediction of Islam absorbing the far-left is correct.

    Having adopted Islam 20 years ago, he says many of the 7,000 Spanish converts in the Almeria area are, like him, leftists who rediscovered their true Andalusian roots. "The real identity of Andalusia was crushed by Spain and the Catholic Church, which forced our grandparents to become Catholics," he says.
    That is part of the evidence. Here is some of Wretchard's take on it:
    This site has long argued that the Islam would cannibalize the Left because, with the extinction of its Bolshevik core, it has become an empty shell that is easily captured by any momentarily appealing idea. At one time the Left could use religion and social causes to advance its agenda because it was under the firm control of a revolutionary elite. The outer core of 'fellow travellers' were instructed through united fronts by a hard core of revolutionary professionals. But Apostolic Age of the Left has ended: the era of Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Ho is over. Its empty center has been taken over by the same carnival of motely fools it had such contempt and little use for: the special sexual pleaders, the environmentalists, the soft-headed clergymen
    There is more of course, and you should check it out. My own take is that he is correct. Vacuums do not last long in politics. The void caused by the bankrupting of the Left has to be filled, will be filled, and most likely some form of political Islam will fill that void. Liberal Democracy will not be able to sit pretty, content that it has achieved a political pinnacle, and that it cannot be dethroned. That is far from the truth. After Islamism is defeated, another philosophy will take its place, and another, and another. It is, so to say, the way of things. Man is a creature who has adapted to adapt, and is thus constantly in motion. While Ethics might be immobile, politics will always be fluid.


    Peace for Lebanon?

    Debka has something new up, this time concerning Lebanon. Once again, take with a grain of salt:

    DEBKAfile’s Exclusive sources n Beirut report an unprecedented truce deal between anti-Syrian and pro-Syrian leaders brokered by US official Satterfield. Both camps will back US-French candidate for new Lebanese president, exiled Maronite leader Michel Aoun.
    The article for this can be found here.

    After reading through it, I come out highly suspicious on the later parts. I think they might be right about Aoun becoming president, but some of the later ideas, like Hizb'allah-US talks, seem a little far-fetched to me. Still, something to look out for.


    There is Out There...

    ...and then there is really Out There.

    Russian intelligence sources are reporting today that the long expected Axis Powers attacks on the nations of Iran and Syria are set to begin.

    The Times of India is quoting the United States Ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurtzer, as stating, "The missiles haven't yet been fired, but that doesn't mean they won't be if the Iranians don't stop their attempt to develop nuclear weapons."

    In a world seeking respite from the never ending march of these Axis forces throughout the globe, there appears to be no stopping their furthering agenda of total world conquest.

    Does it get better? Oh yes.

    To counter these growing internal forces Russian Intelligence agencies are reporting that United States military leaders have planned an accelerated schedule of internally staged events meant to distract, and put fear into, those citizens who would dare attempt to even think of acting against them.

    In my previous report to you titled, "United States Begins Plan for Total North American Subjugation, Canada and Mexico to be ‘Absorbed’ Into Growing US Empire to be Re-named “New Rome”, I had told how the United States has planned for the total subjugation of the North American Continent, and had solidified this during this past weeks meetings between the American President and his counterparts in both Canada and Mexico.

    Russian Intelligence agencies are further reporting that during this meeting the American President had authorized his Mexican counterpart to use Mexican Military force against United States citizens, and on American soil, this being because there are not enough American Military forces available to counteract the growing citizen’s militia movement in their Arizona Region.

    I am glad I found this, I needed the laugh.


    More Pressure on Syria

    To continue what I had started below, StrategyPage (if you aren't reading it regularly, you should start) posts this information:
    April 1, 2005: The British amphibious ship Albion has joined the French commando support ship Var off the Lebanese coast. Although operating independently of the French vessel, it's been conducting evacuation exercises and acting like it's preparing to support commando operations in Lebanon. Like the French ship, the Albion can also support troops, serve as a headquarters and, in general, allow for intervention if Lebanon collapses into civil disorder. Unlike France, Britain does not have a large number of its citizens living in Lebanon, but there is an embassy, and some people to be evacuated. Many Lebanese believe that Syria, and their Lebanese allies, will not allow an anti-Syrian government to gain control in Lebanon. It's feared that the Syrians, and their Lebanese collaborators, are willing to risk another civil war in Lebanon in order to maintain Syrian economic advantages in Lebanon. The United States (and many European nations, and the UN) are telling Syria that this won't work, and would result in military action against Syria.
    I suspect this, combined with the presence of a French ship (as mentioned), not mention the 3 Carriers heading towards or in the Middle East right now puts a lot of pressure on Syria. Adding ships like this is a way of slowly pushing the Syrians into behaving, while avoiding an outright conflict or giving them time to stall. The pace of such developments is probably tied to Syrian moves to withdraw from Lebanon. The slower the Syrians withdraw, the faster we put pressure on them.


    More Russian Meddling in the Middle East?

    Debka (once again, not always reliable) gives us this little tidbit:

    DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources reveal Moscow has run an arms airlift to Damascus. As Assad promised UN envoy Tersen Sunday to withdraw Syrian troops from Lebanon by April 30, 20 mobile Igla-S anti-air missiles, advanced version of SA-18 Grouse were landing in Damascus.

    Our intelligence sources checking to see if missiles came with Russian anti-air radar and advanced rockets to fill the hole in Syria air defenses left by Syrian radar and intelligence units’ pull-out from Lebanon. If so, they would signal Moscow’s intent to back Assad regime against American-French steps in Lebanon.

    Given Russia's actions as of late, this doesn't really come as a surprise. With its control of Lebanon slipping, Syria is going to need foreign help to stay alive. Russia may very well supply this help, and in exchange increase its influence in the Middle East, especially important now that Iraq is no longer under the control of the Russia friendly Hussein Regime.


    Answer a Question...

    ...and get a story.


    Sunday, April 03, 2005

    The Straight Crisis

    Marc Schulman at American Future addresses a question asked by the bloggers at Daily Demarche, concerning Chinese-American relations. A small excerpt:

    Thus, I believe there is a potential parallel to be drawn between 1936 and 2008. After the Beijing Olympics are over, the world will undoubtedly be highly impressed by China's economic strength and the unity of its people. The psychological impact of these impressions will enable the Chinese to exert greater influence on world affairs. Then, the risk of a confrontation with Taiwan will significantly rise.
    (Read the rest to understand his basis for this, as well as other worries)

    His sentiments echo mine. China will wait until after the Olympics before striking. It wants them to succeed. While a strike beforehand might help guarantee surprise, it would also generate world wide hostility to China. Of course, Chinese leaders might consider a conquered Taiwan to be worth that, and could feel the morale boost would more than offset a major Olympics breakdown. But China is going to need international support in order to keep its economic growth going, and to rebuild Taiwan and bring it to heel. After the Olympics is the worrying point. The nationalist sentiment will be high, and support for an attack among the Chinese people would likely also be high. Attacking then would allow the CCP to operate from a position of strength, both domestically and internationally.


    The Circle is Now Complete

    The United States has now formally assumed the place once held by England as the World Hegemon. When England was the Hegemon during the 19th century it had a foreign policy that was world wide, but focused primarily in one area: Europe. The goal of that policy was simple: to prevent the rise of a power able to dominate the continent and in turn pose a threat to the security of the Mother Island.

    the policy of England takes no account of which nation it is that seeks the overlordship of Europe. It is concerned solely with whoever is the strongest or the potentially dominating tyrant. It is a law of public policy which we are following, and not a mere expedient dictated by accidental circumstances or likes or dislikes.'
    Sir Winston Churchill, 20th century
    England would balance off alliances in an effort to assure that no European power achieved dominance of continental Europe. The policy was not to prevent the rise of and increase of power of states in Europe, merely to assure that a balance was achieved. England was not willing, and not able, to bear the cost of ensuring that no 'great' powers arose during the 19th century. Within its power, however, was the ability to dictate the pace of that rise.

    This is essentially the current US policy in Asia. The US recognizes now that it won't/can't bear the cost of preventing the rise of China. However, it can check this rise, and does so through several means. One of them is to keep up the arms embargo of the EU against China. Even there we know we can't stop it forever, but we can keep it going for as long as possible. Another step is to increase the power and prestige of Japan on the world stage. Perhaps most key, however, is US support for India. The US, in order to create a counter against Chinese ambitions in Asia, is committed to making India a major power.

    These balance of power actions neatly fit into the same strategy that England used successfully for decades during the 19th century, and the US is apparently adapting them for the 21st century. While the focus of most foreign affairs in the media is on the Middle East right now, the US recognizes that it won't remain that way for long, and Asia represents the next major hotbed of activity, and of rising states. Expect to hear more and more news from Asia about Power Games and alliances. My suspicion is that the US is going to try and put together a coalition of states against Chinese ambitions, composed of states like India, Australia, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea. I also suspect that the India-Pakistan conflict will cool down as time passes, and may no longer be much of an issue past the decade. Rather, the conflict will migrate to inside Pakistan, as force of unrest inside the country start tearing it apart. I see massive aid shipments and peacekeeping not too far into the future. I also expect China to start to build a coalition of its own, albeit one slightly smaller, and with different aims.


    Don't Abandon Tibet

    That is the title of a piece in Opinion Journal by none other than... Richard Gere.

    HT: No Pasaran!


    Incident at Heathrow?

    LGF has directed me to the blog Cynical Nation, which is alerting us to a possible terrorist incident at Heathrow airport:
    This hasn't hit the news yet, but my brother-in-law is sitting on a plane in Heathrow Airport as we speak, and there is apparently some action going on. It seems his plane was stormed by agents with machine guns, who seized a Middle Eastern passenger from my brother-in-law's row and removed him from the plane.
    There are updates below, and likely more as time passes, so be sure to check in.


    Saturday, April 02, 2005

    A Journey Now Complete

    John Paul II has passed from this world to the next. His passing leaves the world with one less symbol of the fight against Communist Totalitarianism. Those born after this date will never truly understand how important he was, and how daunting his task. The Communists declared that their victory was "inevitable," but it was John Paul II who had a far greater understanding of what constituted that. His faith and conviction, and those of millions of people in Eastern Europe, helped bring down the Iron Curtain. Along with Thatcher and Reagan, he will be remembered as one of the greats of this past era. His death was not unexpected, and he bore the suffering it involved with a greater strength than any I can think of. In dying, he showed us how to die with dignity. His being gone is a reminder to us that this is a new century, a new millennium, with new troubles and new evils to face. May we have the strength, conviction and faith to face them as well as John Paul II.


    A Good Question:

    Too much time, and too little brain activity, gives rise to strange questions, often totally random and out of thin air. I have experienced one of those moments, and now post it on my blog for all to see: If G-d had a blog, what would it be? Serious? Humor? Political or Apolitical? Spiritual or Down-to Earth?

    Your Thoughts?


    Friday, April 01, 2005

    Word of Mouth

    Checking my site-meter recently, I noticed that I had been getting hits from Wretchard's new blog. So I check it out and look at his blogroll, and Lo! and behold, there I am. Its as Final Historian, not History's End, which I guess is because Wretchard categorizes by a blogger's name and not his blog's name. His blog is the most popular to send links my way, and I am grateful for that. I suspect my mention over at Winds of Change was responsible for that, so I would like to thank evariste of Discarded Lies for the attention. Hopefully I can get something out tomorrow to make it worth the while for anyone who stops by.


    Major Shake-Up in Canada?

    Courtesy of Glenn over at Instapundit, I found this post on the blog small dead animals.

    The testimony at the ongoing Gomery Inquiry into the Sponsorship program, in which money was poured into Liberal friendly advertising agencies and possibly rerouted back to party coffers has reportedly heard "devastating testimony" over the past two days.

    What it is, no one can say - the testimony is under a court ordered publication ban, on the premise that releasing it could prejudice other criminal trials. But it seems to be damning enough that both the governing Liberals and opposition parties are moving into high gear in preparation for the possible fall of the minority government.

    Sounds like a Canadian version of WaterGate to me. This should prove interesting, assuming there is any meat to the story.


    Off to the Land of the Cedars

    Michael Totten is joining Jim Hake, founder of Spirit of America, on a trip to Beruit. Further details can be found at Michael's blog.


    If You Were G-d

    Joe Katzman over at Winds of Change has a thought provoking post up, discussing the nature of man and his relationship with G-d. It can be found here.


    Russia DeathWatch

    Arthur Chrenkoff examines the state of the Russian Bear, and finds it in ill health. You can find it here. His analysis largely agrees with my own, which can be found in my Russian Compendium.

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