Saturday, March 30, 2002
Never Again or Again Already?
I grew up hearing the proud slogans of various Jewish organizations yelling "Never Again!" to the tragedy of the Holocaust. Many others echoed the call -- such a tragedy could never again repeat itself. While many people feel the same way, the problem arises of recognizing when Again comes calling. Using the 1930s as a model, when the world cried "No!" (to Hitler) in 1939, it was already too late. Recognition of the oncoming evil in 1933 would have been far more effective. So, why did it take so long to confront Hitler, and even longer to recognize the Holocaust?
We must avoid the distortions of hindsight and try to comprehend how the world looked at the Nazis without the benefit of knowing the outcome. We know that most people were not truly evil, and Hitler did not just come out and say, "We are going to kill all the Jews! Just wipe them out." He never said that to the world. To the world he presented himself "reasonable" anti-Semite who had some legitimate quarrels with the Jews (who doesn't?) and as soon as the Jews (and the British vis-a-vis Czechoslovakia) gave him what he wanted, he would just go away. This was the feeling of some German Jews as well. I remember stories of Holocaust survivors saying that they just closed their windows and doors and stayed inside, waiting for the storm to blow over.
The world, mired in Depression, was in no mood for a confrontation. Besides, everyone knew that the Germans had it the worst (burdened my massive reparations and humiliated in war) -- and that the Jews were probably involved in it somehow. Certainly, many calm and reasonable German media representatives and officials said so, therefore it must be partly true. For a more details, read the New York Times account of how it ignored the Holocaust in its 150th anniversary edition (not sure if its on line, but I can post it in its entirety, if there is demand). To give the 1930's world some credit, they had no precedent -- no one before tried to use the industrial might of a nation to destroy an entire people.
So, how will we know when Again comes close? Will it too late, as a suicide bomber with a nuclear device explodes himself in Tel-Aviv (or a slow death by hundreds of such conventional bombers)? How will we be able to tell that "reasonable" demands are just a pretense for killing Jews? Will we be able to shed our moral relativism and confront genocidal hatred?
I believe that we must consider that we are living in a world not too different from the 1930s. Once again, Jews (Israel, of course, is the only Jewish majority country) are the focus of the world. Once again, a propaganda machine is dehumanizing the Jews with stories of blood libels, conspiracies and world control. Once again, Jews are dying in their homes.
Once again, "reasonable" people are pointing to "reasonable" demands, and saying, in effect, "Just give in, and they will go away." This is what the media view is. The Palestinians (and Arabs in general) like the Germans of 1930s are poor and humiliated. They are just letting off steam, just getting some self-respect and self determination. We know this because the TV people, and nice, reasonable representatives from the PA or Hamas, or Saudi Arabia, are telling us all that this is a Jewish problem and they gave just a little, it would all be OK.
And nobody wants to act. Like the 1930s, the world has bigger fish to fry -- back then, the Jewish question could not stand in the way of the Anglo-German peace process. Our Nuremberg laws were passed in Durban, and Europe, like in the 1930s is deathly quiet. At the end of the day, we don’t want to believe that this can happen again, because the solution to genocidal hatred is much more complex than a mere land dispute.
Except it is different this time. We have seen it happen before in a not too distant past. Unlike the 1930's world, which had no precedent for such evil, if we let another Holocaust occur, we cannot plead ignorance. We would be a truly evil society. As the saying goes, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
Closing windows and doors and retreating is not an option, evil must be confronted head on. I don't know about others out there, but I see Again on the horizon.
Fouad Ajami has an excellent opinion in the Friday WSJ entitled, "This is Arafat's War." I glad to see Mr Ajami back in the opinion pages, because his insight and wisdom have disappeared since just right after September 11.
First, let me just say that I'm glad that the inmates are no longer running the asylum in the Bush Administration. According to the Washington Post, the Cheney/Rumsfeld camp is back in control. Thank God, because, as this Weekly Standard editorial states, the latest State Department attempt for peace has made things much, much worse. The editorial suggests that the President trusts his own instincts -- what we need right now is moral clarity -- diplomatic status quo is deadly.
Friday, March 29, 2002
French Anti-Semitism Watch. I'm sure that many people by now have heard that there is a possibility that the boy, Muhammad al-Dura, who died in the beginning of the intifada, was not shot by Israelis, but by Palestinians. The tape was shot by the French, and was aired constantly on European and Arab television. The death has become a rallying cry for the Arabs. However, the story does not end there,
"The French footage, it turns out, was heavily edited--from six minutes to 50 seconds--and the French won't let anyone see the tape they didn't air."
So, there is a distinct possibility that the French have distorted the facts to incite the Arab mobs. If the tape does show that the bullets came from the Palestinian side, it would mean that the French have willfully participated in the violence in the region. This would not be new for the French, who handily helped out the Nazis during the Holocaust. We must see that tape!
On a positive note, I'm glad to see Germany taking a lead here. It shows that people can learn from their hate. I ask the Germans, and other Europeans to help save the only free state in the Middle East and the only Jewish majority state in the world from destruction.
Terrorism Appeasement Watch. This headline says it all with respect to the Administrations policy of appeasing terror: Baghdad-Kuwait Accord — Support Is Rebuff to Bush's Efforts
Once again, more Victor Davis Hanson reading.
The most frightening list since McCarthy and the Holocaust, Eric Alterman publishes a list, "Are you now or have you ever been a supporter of Israel?"
I think that Andrew Sullivan has the best description of the situation:
So Cheney's trip has resulted in a new rapprochement between Iraq and the other Arab dictatorships; it has allowed the Arab dictators to announce that they are ready for 'peace' with Israel, while they funnel the arms for the necessary war; and recent events have been manipulated to make it seem now as if Arafat is the man genuinely seeking a cease-fire while the Israelis are preparing for a new assault. This is one of the biggest diplomatic messes the United States has managed to help bring about in many a long year. Arafat wins; the terrorism-sponsoring Saudis win; Saddam wins; Palestinian terrorists win; and the United States is humiliated and Israel pushed into an unending war of attrition with every neighboring state. Hey, how about some more "peace-process," huh?
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Vacation Update. To my friends who have inquired, I'm continuing to work on a big posting -- specifically an introduction to deconstruction of socialism (number 1 on the CounterRevolutionary agenda). In the meanwhile, here are a few links, first is the New Yorker article an Iraq -- highly recommended for numerous reasons. Also, two op pieces in the WashPost -- George Will and Charles Krauthammer.
Monday, March 25, 2002
Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post writes about post-Cold War political analysis. He is right and the mission of the CounterRevolutionary is to point out not just the similarities between the cold war and today, but also the roots of todays violence from the Cold War.
More excellent writing from Victor Davis Hanson. I agree that we are once again living in the 1930s. The cycle is repeating itself -- the clashing cultures, the murderous hate speech on the one hand and the willful ignorance in the media and some of our government officials. This clash will occur -- the only question at what point in history will we be -- when weak, but bold Hitler crossed the Rhine or when he built a huge army and murdered millions? how many will have to lose their lives before people realize that this time is for real?
Saturday, March 23, 2002
I'm going on vacation for a few days. Going to try to write something more profound.....
Friday, March 22, 2002
Charles Krauthammer writes about the Left's predicament -- he is right we (they? not sure where I belong anymore) need to re-examine our real principles and goals. What do we really believe in? What are real goals? What is really the best way to accomplish them? And so on, deconstruct, deconstruct, deconstruct....
John Podhoretz has an insightful piece about he US-Israeli relationship. He points out the realpolitik of the situation. But above that, I think that America has always pursed a difficult, but principled course in the Middle East. How much easier would be to give in to the oil princes and the tyrants? We make mistakes, but our posture is heads and shoulders above the spineless Europeans, where the noxious mixture of oil and hate seems to blind even the best intentioned.
Thursday, March 21, 2002
Terrorism Appeasement Watch. OK, if you still don't agree with me on how the Arab world sees the US actions in the Middle East, here is a cartoon from ArabNews. (via Charles Johnson).
Terrorism Appeasement Watch. Another attack in Israel. This one by Arafat's own Al Aqsa gang. I'm not sure that the State Department understands the message that Arafat sends when he uses his own people to commit the murders. He is laughing at us and basically asking, "So what are you going to do about it?"
Obviously, nothing. The violence will not end until we stop rewarding it!
Terrorism Appeasement Watch. Another attack on an American target. After a dearth of attacks against America following 9/11, the violence (Pakistan, Yemen) has resumed. The timing is unmistakable, immediately following Bush's turnaround on Middle East terrorism. See more here.
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
A nice treatment of the Left's predicament in the Weekly Standard. You know my view on what must be done -- back to the basics!
The True Roots Causes of Terrorism. The Daily Telegraph reports that Mein Kampf in Arabic is a best seller in the Palestinian Territories. This is a warning to those who still believe that the conflict is a matter of land distribution and if the Israelis just gave a bit, then peace would reign. Whatever it was in the beginning, the conflict is now a race war, and many Muslims are garnering strength from the hatred and murder, just how the demoralized post-WWI German nation garnered strength from Nazism. Hitler, too, presented a set of grievances against the Jews. This pretense allowed many in the West to ignore the brewing hate and focus on a "peace process." Many at the time began to blame the victims and counsel them to "just give a little." We know how that story ended.
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
UPDATE: Question of the Month Remember when I said that I could not think of a single reason that the Saudis would want to stop us from attacking Iraq? Well, Gary, a co-worker (yeah, I actually try to work between blogging!), and I were discussing the topic and we came up with the most compelling reason. Imagine, if you will, that US takes over Iraq. Then we will control the flow of oil from Iraq (with an oil president you can be sure of that). What does that mean to the Saudis? The US-Saudi relationship has been about oil and oil only. The minute that the Saudis loose control of the flow of oil -- they loose all influence in DC. Without that influence they are lost -- the House of Saud is dead. Secondly, if we pump our own gas, then OPEC is dead. Which means the end of the excess wealth flowing to the lazy Gulf populations who might then actually demand actual government. We will no longer look past their abuses, no longer protect them and no longer buy their oil. All this goes double if we control the Iranian oil as well. Can you blame them for panicing?
Question of the Month -- What caused the upsurge in violence in the Middle East at the same time as Dick Cheney was visiting the area?
The press has obviously felt that this question needs no answer. They learned in Socialism 101 that "oppressed" people spontaneously rise up against their "oppressors." To them this is a text book case, and no further inquiry is required. But for those of us who can learn form history know that it is a rare uprising that "just happens." "People power" in the past century has usually meant the hand of the Soviet Union or one of its subsidiaries. So, if the press won't tackle the question, the CounterRevolutionary will. Let me rephrase the question:
Who most directly benefits from increased violence in the Middle East?
This is a simple question -- it's the detective's search for a motive. The key to the question is the Cheney's Middle East trip. I don’t believe in conspiracies, but neither do I ignore coincidences. The stated purpose of the trip has been sidelined in the press by the violence. Instead of deliberations about the Iraq attack, Cheney has had to field numerous questions about Israel. Iraq took a backseat. So who had the means and the motive?
Israel: I don't think that Israel benefits from any attention to its situation. With the press and Europe now openly hostile to the fate of the state, it can garner no benefit from violence that would distract her only friend in the world from our mission to isolate Iraq. No matter what else you think of Israel, it cannot have wanted this distraction to happen. I don’t think that Israel is responsible.
Arafat: While he has been the greatest overt beneficiary, I think that he is the middleman in this case. He doesn't mind the violence and it has brought him recognition. At the very best he is a neutral player.
Iraq: Now we are getting to the meat. What do you do if the world is about to attack you? One, you prepare for war. Two, you distract the world. And what is a better distraction than violence in Israel. The Gulf monarchies have to pay lip service to the violence, since their "street" watch al-Jazeera (I always wondered which street of the oppressed can afford to watch satellite television). The EU gang, guided by the whiff of oil and passive anti-Semitism, get to focus on one of the few countries they really hate. The press fall over themselves to condemn the Israeli "aggression" against "helpless", but well financed terrorists. While Saddam get a few more moments to prepare for war. Saddam has the perfect motive to orchestrate the violence. His means? Although we do not hear of too many contacts between the PA and the Iraqis, there are two possible contacts. One, Arafat may still have contacts with Baghdad from the time he sided with Iraq in the Gulf War. Two, Syria, the home of most of the Palestinian groups may be the conduit. Syria has been developing contacts with Iraq and as general practice tries to undermine Israel. So Saddam is the prime suspect, but there are others.
Iran: No one in Tehran is going to cry for Saddam, but imagine what the world is going to look like after the US takes over Iraq. Iran will be surrounded by American troops. Iraq in the West, Turkey in the North-West, Turkmenistan in the North-East, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the East and the Persian Gulf fleet in the South. All full of GIs and their CIA brethren. Not a happy position for a regime struggling with a deeply unhappy population and a hostile hegemon. It has the motive to prevent the first move in the War against the Axis, and it has the means -- both Hezbolah and Islamic Jihad suckle at Tehran's hateful breast. Iran is prime suspect #2.
Saudi Arabia: Normally, they would not be on the list. Despite of you may think of them, they have very little interest in disturbing the status quo. Also despite of their crocodile tears, they have spent very few riyals to help their brethren (I know, I know paying for a network of terrorist cells and hate-teaching madrassas takes all their energy -- how much can we ask of even a moderately evil nation?). However, the "peace Proposal" was a deadly part of the deadly trifecta for the Israelis. Anyone familiar with dirty politics recognizes the pattern -- the push and the pull. The violence and the fake peace proposal. A great way for everyone involved to lose their sense of direction. But why? Many reasons have been given for why the Saudis would not like to see the invasion of Iraq, but none of them are individually compelling. So lets just keep following this suspect.
Media: They are not a real suspect, but something should be said about the callousness towards the situation as well as gullibility (two sides of the same coin -- willful v. negligent). Lets assume that the Western press is not pushing for the destruction of Israel (with the exception of the Guardian), so gullibility it is. Can the great Western press be that gullible? Oh yeah! The Soviet Union perfected the method of double speak that allowed them to garner favor of the Western elite, while at he same time butchering millions at home and abroad. The Arab world, most of them former Soviet clients, learned form the best.
Monday, March 18, 2002
Oh Happy Day!
U.N. "Rights" Enforcer to Step Down
Robinson recently indicated privately she was willing to remain U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights for three more years, diplomats said. They said she had support from Western Europe and many Arab and developing countries.
Human rights campaigners said the announcement at Monday's meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission showed that the United States had prevailed against supporters of the former Irish president.
Kudos to the Bush Administration! The best thing that could be said about this bigot is that she only "arranged" the hate-orgy at Durban, a modern day Nuremberg, and only "gave voice to" the murderous anti-Americanism. In reality, under her watch the UN Human Rights Commission had as much to do with Human Rights as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has to do with People.
Terrorism Appeasement Watch. Thanks to the Instapundit for this article in the FT. The headline summarizes it all:
"Palestinians euphoric in belief they are gaining."
"Senior leaders tell Harvey Morris in Ramallah how they think their armed struggle against Israel has been vindicated"
Again I ask, what has this turnaround taught the "terrorist community"?
Required Victor David Hanson reading.
If the world knows the bleak prognosis, why all the idealistic demands for granting "freedom" and "democracy" to the Palestinians? To be crass, I think much of the discussion is simply a matter of anti-Semitism and the power of oil. Those two themes are central in many angry letters that I receive daily from critics — and not all of them are from Middle Easterners or survivalists in the northwest, who nevertheless exhibit a spooky commonality. If the Arab world were without crude oil, there could be an honest assessment of the true nature of Mr. Arafat's regime, and enlightened people could talk of a great faultline between a free democracy and a one-party autocracy. And if this dispute did not involve Jews — that is, if it were seen in the context of hundreds of murderous border disputes over lost lands now going on between Indians and Pakistanis, Chinese and Tibetans, Colombians, Congolese, Irish, Rwandans, Kurds and Turks and other aggrieved, the world would merely sigh.
Much of the problem, then, quite simply is also psychological and arises because a Jewish state is right smack in the middle of the Arab world — and by every measure of economic, political, social, and cultural success thriving amid misery. Without oil, without a large population, without friendly countries on its borders, without vast real estate, and without the Suez Canal, it somehow provides its citizenry with a way of life far more humane than what is found in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, or Egypt. Yet the world listens to the Palestinians' often-duplicitous leadership — despite the corrupt nature and murderous past history of Mr. Arafat's regime — because its sponsors sell a good part of the globe's oil. And to risk their wrath, one would have to support a few million Jews, not hundreds of millions of, say, British, Swedes, or Italians.
And so we give not a damn over millions of innocents elsewhere butchered over millions of acres each year worldwide, but instead focus on what the Palestinians lost while attempting to destroy their neighbors. For those who laugh at such reductionism, imagine the world's moral outrage if China were tiny and Jewish, while Tibet was backed by Asian nations with the world's oil reserves. I have not recently heard any European demanding an instant redress for the theft of Tibetan land, the destruction of its cultural heritage, and frequent forced expulsion of its population by a government that is neither democratic nor free.
That will be a war Israel will not lose, and it will be fought outside not inside the Jewish state. And that will be a nightmare compared to the current crisis. Those in Europe and in the United States who now lecture about morality will then prove to be not only amoral, but also answerable for far, far more still.
Emphasis mine. 2 points:
1. Mr Hanson should be the Secretary of State. The post-war period has seen the evolution of diplomacy into a caricature, devoid of any relation to the real world. The concept of "peace" has been severed from reality -- that is "peace" has become something to achieve regardless of what that means on the ground. Dead bodies, treachery and hate speech are not a deterrent in achieving "peace", even if the dictionary meaning of peace should mean the absence of the above. That is why we need someone like Mr. Hanson at the State Department. Diplomacy needs a reality check!
2. I hope he is right about there not being a second Holocaust. I don't think I'm that optimistic. These times are frighteningly similar to the 1930's. There are the competing ideologies -- the liberal West against the blood-thirsty autocratic Islamo-fascism. There are the words of murderous rage -- but now they are global, the de-humanization of American and Jews being given UN cover. Durban is our Nuremberg. Finally, and most importantly, there are many, like the media, who willfully close their eyes to the hate and the rage and pretend that everything is going to be OK if we just give in to the demands.
You Read it Here First. The Times of London reports that the Lady Thatcher, in her new book, urges Britain to quit the EU. One of her reasons:
The former Prime Minister says in her new book, serialised in The Times, that most of the problems the world has faced, including Nazism and Marxism, have come from mainland Europe.
Readers of the CounterRevolutionary would have seen it here first!
The brilliant writers of the NY Times have finally figured out what any 10 year old without a political agenda knew:
The Palestinians' chief goal is progress toward a state, and to them a cease-fire looks increasingly like an obstacle.
Emphasis mine. Maybe in a few months, after thousands more die, they will figure out that the state that the Palestinians want spans all of Israel.
It appears that I'm having technical difficulties -- my paragraphs have disappeared in some of the older posts.
Sunday, March 17, 2002
Terrorism Appeasement Watch. The atacks on Americans abroad are escalating. This attack on a church in Pakistan (including 2 Americans) follows a grenade attack in Yemen a few days ago.
Saturday, March 16, 2002
Terrorism Appeasement Watch. I hope not to make this a regular feature of the blog, but I think that appeasement of terrorists is dangerous. As I explained earlier, I think our government made an awful decision by giving in to Arafat. As proof that Arafat uses terror as a tool -- it's been one week since the attacks have stopped. It's been one week since the Bush Administration gave in to his demands. Even the weekly post-Sabbath attack has been canceled this week. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
I predict that as soon as Arafat does not get what he wants -- the attacks will begin again. That is the reason for the Terrorism Appeasement Watch -- to track the correlation between the attacks and the appeasement. So it's been one week of appeasement and one week of peace.
By giving in to Arafat, we have shown the Arab world that we cannot tolerate body bags. We have confirmed the image we have in the Muslim world -- that the US is a paper tiger. This will lead many to believe that more attacks on America will force the US to back down, just like before. Some of my friends have assured me that this War Against Terrorism is different and we are in it for the long haul. I believe this also, but it doesn't matter what I believe or what State Department functionaries believe or what the Europeans believe (or what the State Department believes that the Europeans believe). What matters is what the Arab world believes, and this action shows nothing but appeasement. There is a great Arab proverb, "I speak loudly to my daughter, so that my neighbor can hear me."
It's not inconceivable that many of the legions of young terrorists who have graduated Uncle Osama's camps will take this act as a confirmation of a long term belief -- that the US backs down once it sees blood. In time this perception will catch-up with reality, but in the meanwhile, have we increased the chances of another attack on America by giving terrorists the hope that we will follow its usual pattern? In other words, how many times will al-Queda and friends try to change our minds about the War Against Terrorism and how much pain will we suffer before they get it?
I am also coming to the realization that instead of focusing on the CIA and the FBI, we should perhaps focus on the State Department as the source of our suicidal foreign policy. Is it me or does State lack even the basic understanding of human nature? Can't anybody there think about our long-term security goals and not act with knee-jerk policies that can only be self-destructive?
Great piece in the Weekly Standard about the Middle East situation. There are many great points, but I wish to bring your attention to two minor ones:
1. "Much of the world is at a spiritual lowpoint right now, dragging its belly on the ground" -- I'm sure that many people of every generation felt this way -- it’s a function of human conceit that we all believe that we live in the most important time ever, but I get a queasy feeling that we are repeating the 1930's and what is to come will be a physical and moral catastrophe. I hope that I'm just being overly pessimistic, true to the Russian roots of my soul.
2. "It is strange but true that the only European country one can picture (by the remotest stretch of the imagination) cooperating on the sly with Israel to help create a Palestinian opposition is Germany--or maybe, if the United States made an issue of it, Britain." I would like to focus here on Germany. A good friend of mine who is Czech-German, and our lovely wives, were discussing the current world situation today, and Germany came up. I said that wouldn't it be great if Germany spoke up against the raging anti-Semitism, like this, in the Arab world. This need not prejudice any party in the Arab-Israeli conflict, since what good does homicidal hate add to the peace process? Germany need not speak from the perspective of a paroled convict (I don’t believe in blood guilt), but from a perspective of a former addict. Couldn't they relate what hate like this can do to a great society and how it tears its social fibers apart? We agreed that it would never happen -- realpolitik, you see -- too many ties to the Arab world, no desire to offend. This then goes back to point 1 above.
I hope we are wrong about Germany's response because I desperately want to believe in the ability of people to learn from their elders' mistakes and I have great hope for Germany, so please e-mail me if I'm wrong.
Friday, March 15, 2002
I am very happy to see that these are other voices calling on the left to take a close look at itself. I will publish more later. Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the tip.
More Victor David Hanson reading! I feel like fawning fan.
Thursday, March 14, 2002
Kudos to Howard Kurtz for commenting on the media's knee-jerk reactionary anti-Israeli reporting. Can we look forward to less biased repoting? Alas, I don't think so.
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
I think that this has the beginnings of a huge foreign policy mistake.
Before I explain, let me state that I unequivocally support the right of the Palestinians to live under a government of their own choosing, one that guarantees them the human rights we deem so self-evident. That, of course, means, at least for the foreseeable future, the end of Israeli control.
But, I digress. Lets look at what happened in the Middle East through a timeline:
1. Arafat is caught violating the Oslo accords by smuggling weapons.
2. We request that Arafat clamp down on the violence.
3. Arafat begins his gambit, and increases the violence.
4. We again request that Arafat clamp down on the violence.
5. Arafat increases the violence again.
6. Israel responds with force.
7. We criticize Israel and grant Arafat his request to intervene.
If you were an up and coming terrorist, what lesson would you learn from this? It’s the same lesson that terrorists have learned from us for many years, turn up the violence and the Americans will step back. From the Iranian hostages to the Beirut embassies to the Saudi barracks to the African Embassies and to the Cole. Each time they attack and we step back, while the attacks got bolder and more audacious. Finally, 9/11 came.
I had thought that this type of thinking was gone after the attacks. I was wrong. Do our "enlightened" diplomats at the State Department understand how that makes us look in that part of the world?
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
More insightful Victor David Hanson reading. This guy is great!
Thursday, March 07, 2002
Anyone who still has issues with the "axis of evil" should read Dr. Vollertsen's Editorial in the WSJ. Dr. Vollertsen treated North Koreans for a year and a half. He describes interviewing North Korean prisoners who "suffered and witnessed routine torture, mass-execution, baby-killing, rape, human biological experiments..." Why dont hear about this in the press? What kind of Bizzaro world are we living in when the UN Human Rights Commisioner criticizes only the US and crimes like this are ignored? Dr. Vollertsen says that no one will listen to his pleas for attention. Have we lost our humanity?
Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Gee, another new low for the NYTimes. Here, they discuss the hard and oppressive Israeli attack. While at the same time, in an article titled "For Fatah, Only a War Can Bring Peace to Mideast" they seem to endorse the killing of Israelis. The head of the Fatah terrorist movement is described as cuddly, but understandably troubled teddy bear. Maybe if I look hard enough I'll find a 1935 NY Times headline "For Germans, Only the Nuremberg Laws Can Bring Better Relations with Jews."
One note, I just spoke with a Danish friend of mine about the blog. I've been very hard on the Europeans, not because they particularly bad, but because I hate hypocricy. I actually like them. Also today, 3 Danish soldiers died in the fighting in Afghanistan, and others are fighting and dying in the war. So, I just wanted to thank our allies wherever they may be. Thanks.
The Saudi Proposal.
Fans of Dune will recognize oil as the Spice of our time. The oil poisons the minds of men. It turns the oil-dependent Europeans into pussycats who would sell their mothers to keep the Spice flowing (don't forget that oil is much more important to Europe because so much of government revenue comes taxation of petrol products). Even our country acts as nurse maiden to one of the most repressive regimes in the world. It is a parasitic relationship. We provide their security and their wealth. They give royal consent to our purchases and then turn around and give our money to groups that would kill us. Without their money, the madrassas would not teach hate, the "charities" would not train the faithful and masses of young men would have to work instead of seething in anger on the Saudi dole.
How do we let this farce of a relationship go on? Part of this is realpolitik, but how long can that go on after the events of 9/11 (I don't have to repeat where they were from do I?). It is clear that we have rid ourselves of the parasitic relationship. Two parallel approaches:
1. Develop alternative energy sources. Much has been said about this, so I wont elaborate. However, this plan of attack will take time, so we must begin with part 2.
2. Militarily take over the east coast of Saudi Arabia, the location of the oil fields. It would be relatively easy, because of the sparse population, access to the sea, flat terrain and 365 perfect flying days a year. Once the region is conquered, the day to day control is passed to the Turks. The money stops flowing to the terrorists and starts flowing to a new Marshall Plan for the region. This, and the Turks, are the keys to the operation. Can you imagine the oil wealth actually flowing to the impoverished people of the region? Can you imagine building secular schools and institutions? Why should we keep subsidizing the princely wealth?
Q: What right do we have to appropriate Saudi land?
A: Actually, until the British intervened in the early part of this century, that was Turkish land for hundreds of years. They have just as a legitimate claim as the Saudis.
Q: Why would the Turks agree?
A: They would be a part of the Marshall Plan.
Q: Why would the Europeans agree?
A: They would agree with anyone who holds the Spice.
Q: Why would the oil companies agree?
A: Throw them a few cents per barrel and they'll agree to anything.
Q: Wouldn't the Muslim world revolt?
A: Maybe, but the area would be run by Muslims, there are already US troops there now, and without the Saudi money they couldn't afford it.
Q: Can American Imperialist Pigs pull this off?
A: Take a look at what we did for Japan, and Germany. At the end of WWII we occupied two militaristic nations and with the economic help turned them into peaceful democracies (and economic powerhouses). That is the power of American occupation. Don’t forget South Korea. In two of those cases the population was non-Western and non-Christian. We have a blueprint.
Conclusion: Everybody wins, except for the House of Saud. Still, there are many uncertainties in the plan and it has to be debated, but can you envision a Marshall Plan for the region? What do you think?
The UN Announces the Creation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Anti-Americanism.
BERLIN (AP) -- The United Nations' top human rights official charged Wednesday that the U.S. military action in Afghanistan has led to excessive civilian casualties.
Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, stressed to the Die Zeit newspaper in an interview that she is not soft on terrorism.
But Robinson said the intervention in Afghanistan ``was carried out in such a way that it could lead to disproportionate numbers of victims in the civilian population.''
``I can't accept that one causes `collateral damage' in villages and doesn't even ask about the number and names of the dead,'' she said, using the Pentagon expression for civilian deaths.
OK, I made up the title, but really, is this a sick joke? Is this really the most important issue for the UN? Perhaps, they could focus on sex for food in Africa, murderous anti-Americanism or anti-Semitism at international conferences. Oh, wait, that would point the finder right back at the UN. What to do? Blame America.
This is a sure sign that the UN is an ailing organization that stopped performing its intended function many years ago. Today it's dominated by petty dictatorships and self-righteous bigots. I'm not sure if its the right thing to do, but we should give serious thought to leaving a corrupt organization like that.
Charles Krauthammer's take on the "peace" plan. I have a question -- why is it when repressive governments like Saudi Arabia, Egypt or the PA mention peace the press takes it a a genuine expression of concern for an "oppressed" people. No secret agendas for this bunch as far as the press is concerned, the record of double talk notwithstanding. However, when Bush or Sharon say they want peace, that message is delivered by the press in scathing tones with explanations for the "real" motivations. Is it just me? If the press really want to be objective -- either no one is to be trusted or everyone is and no "oppressed people" loopholes.
Another superb analysis of the Middle east situation, this time from The Telegraph.
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
A sober analysis of the NYT/Saudi peace proposal by the Times of London.
While at the same time the Government of the New York Times is trying to keep their Middle East peace proposal alive. They report that Syria has signed up for the privilege of getting all of the Golan Heights in exchange for having to use the word "Israel" instead of "Zionist entity" in public pronouncements, but only in English and at some undetermined time in the future. Great news! NYT's Assistant Secretary of State Serge Schmemann tells the CounterRevolutionary that distracting the American and the Israeli governments while terrorists kill Israelis is not the only reason for the peace proposal.
How can I recommend Friedman's opinion below and be so sarcastic about the peace proposal? People are not always right. Besides, I think he knows that the proposal is bullshit, but wanted to present it in the paper anyway.
Another amazing op-ed piece by Thoams Friedman. Friedman's analysis is similar to that of Bernard Lewis, whose every work I recomend. Start with the Roots of Muslim Rage, and I recomend The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years.
I think that reasonable people can disagree whether there will be another Jewish Holocaust, this time in Israel. While Israel does have superior weapons, her enemies have numbers (5 million Jews vs 1 Billion Muslims) and money (from oil and the EU). One essential ingredient is definitely present -- the intense anti-Semitism.
BTW, MEMRI is an essential reference.
Thanks to Instapundit, for link to Mark Steyn's column about the Saudis. My favorite line is:
"...for Americans to argue that the Saudis are our allies in the war on terrorism is like Ron Goldman joining O.J. in his search for the real killers. "
We have heard and seen a lot of hate lately, we have asked and have been asked about hate, but in all this time we have never spoken about the nature of hate. So, I wanted to jot down some of the finer points of hate.
1. Hate of large groups, whose members you do not know, is irrational. Now, this is not a new concept, since for years Lefties have pointed out the prejudices of Western civilization. Who would dispute that racism is irrational? In this they are right, but for some reason they limit their inquiry only to "oppressed" (read favored) groups. A real humanistic approach will lead you to believe that ALL hatred is wrong and irrational, even if that hatred is of "hyperpowerful" America or "rich" Jews.
2. You cannot negotiate with irrational people. This is a no-brainer corollary to point 1. Yet, many forget this piece of common sense when giving advice to others. We should just negotiate with terrorists (when they were in Afghanistan), open a negotiation channel to the Iranian government or Saddam, the Israelis should just negotiate with Arafat, etc. To what end? What did Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler bring? How about all the international conferences about the Balkans, did anything happen until the troops went in? No, you cannot negotiate against hate.
3. Hate lasts. The reason you can't negotiate against hate is that it lasts. Once a hate of a large group of people is acquired, it cannot be unlearned. Think of all the age old hatreds in our world. Anti-Semitism has lasted thousands of years, the ethnic Balkan conflicts have lasted hundreds of years, the Hindus v. the Muslims in India, the Irish Protestant against the Irish Catholics, etc. Every nook and cranny of the world has its own hate -- the intensity of the hate comes and goes in cycles, but is always present in the background. It seems there are two ways that hate like this ends. Either one of the groups is destroyed or assimilated, or another hate, common to both groups and against a third party, is acquired (America has been a favorite foil lately).
While I don’t have too many solutions (propaganda is one) to the current Anti-Americanistic or Anti-Semitic crisis, but I think it is worth thinking more critically about what hate is, and how to deal with it. Let's not satisfy ourselves with meaningless and self-defeating statements and slogans.
Monday, March 04, 2002
Not really sure where this is going, but British Foreign Minister Jack Straw has some ominous words about Iraq:
Since then, evidence has been building up that the threat from Iraq’s weapons programmes is growing once more. Many of the facilities damaged in 1998 by the American and British strikes in Operation Desert Fox have been repaired. Iraq has persisted with its chemical and biological weapons programmes, and is developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering such weapons to targets beyond the 150km limit imposed by the UN. This would allow Iraq to hit countries as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
There is evidence of increased efforts to procure nuclear-related material and technology, and that nuclear research and development work has begun again: indeed, without the controls which we have imposed, Saddam would have had a nuclear bomb by now.
He also de-bunks the "blame the West for the death of the Iraqi children" campaign:
It angers me when well-meaning people are taken in by these lies. The UN allows the regime access to more than enough money for all the humanitarian goods the Iraqis need. It is the regime which refuses to use these funds to order food and medicine. It suits Saddam to make Iraqis suffer and starve, because this distracts attention from the threat he poses to global security.
Why am I confused? Well, having laid out his case, what is the Right Honorable Minister's solution? Send in the inspectors. To do what? Play cat and mouse for another 8 years?
The Iraq game has begun. Safire's predictions that entrenched interests will wage a campaign against regime change begins here. For my part, I predict that Saddam will remain alive so long as he can control the oil. The oil means money for Russia, Germany and France. They won't do anything to disturb the lucrative contracts they have negotiated with Iraq.
I guess the answer to the right approach depends on whether you believe he has a weapons program. Let's say he does not. The inspectors go in, the helpful Iraqis show them around to every available location, and the whole mess is cleared up in no time. "Sorry ol' chap, had to check...you can go back to oppressing your people like your neighbors." Lets say he does have weapons, and lets assume for the sake of argument that the inspectors discover them. What happens next? Does Saddam say "Caught me!, If it wasn't for those meddling inspectors..." and go away. No. We will still have to confront him, but many months later when his military capability has improved. Of course, the worst case is if we just keep dancing with him like we did for the 8 years before he kicked out the last inspectors. Can we afford 8 more years of Saddam?
An analysis of Sharon from the Weekly Standard.
Just in case anybody needed a reminder of why we are at war -- this article in Time.
Instapundit is on to something here regarding the Gitmo prisoners. What incentive do we have now to take any prisoners or if we take prisoners to take them in Gitmo? Why not just keep them packed up in the "Red Cross" run prisons in Afghanistan without proper medical care, housing and food? If you really care about human rights -- you should want prisoners in American hands -- not in some dirty forsaken hole in the ground where the press fears to tread!
Sunday, March 03, 2002
An excellent summary of the Israeli dilemma from the Times of London (the only "Times" editorial page that I've been following lately). There is really no good solution -- people who hate cannot be made to "unhate." There wont be peace in the area until the money to support terrorism stops flowing from the Gulf and the EU. After these "moderates" stop funding the terror war and the attacks stop -- Israel can withdraw, a responsible temporary government can take over (I actually favor the Turks over the Jordanians, but either one would be fine) and the seeds of a civil society can be set up.
The Telegraph hits the mark again. First there is this leader. What caught my attention was:
Europeans, too, often consider that they know all about war, including the destruction of cities, whereas the truth is that, apart from the Balkans, we have had almost three generations of peace in Europe - thanks chiefly to the military protection of the United States.
Take a look at your history books, you will not find a period without war in Europe for 60 years since the Roman Empire. American troops in Germany and England have brought a period of not only security, but also prosperity. European bloated social programs are as generous as they are because they don't need to spend money on defense. American troops and hardware have been ready to protect them. The American taxpayer has been subsidizing the European welfare recipient. Not that we mind, all we ask is just a little compassion and understanding when we fear for our lives.
Of course, there is Barbara Amiel
on the Islam Gallup poll, the Saudi "proposal" and anti-Semitism.
This is a piece that I wrote after the Gitmo controversy first started. The whole point here is Europeans should look first at their own history and record in human rights and ideology. If you hold someone to a "perfection" standard -- as the Europeans are holding us to -- you should look at yourself with the same standard. I actually like Europe and Europeans, but I get very annoyed when I see hypocrisy.
A Call for Self-Reflection.
Since September 11th many around the world have demanded that Americans ponder the question "Why do they hate us?" Among this inquisitive group are some Europeans who feel that it is imperative, for the sake of all mankind, that al-Queda prisoners receive non-GM derived foods and that Afghanistan must be rebuilt with American money, but not in an oppressive globalization sort of way. As we ponder, they like to remind us that we are clumsy brutes (born with two Y-chromosomes) and should leave the important thinking to the adults.
As we undertake the difficult (for Americans) process of thinking, perhaps our European friends could deliberate a related question, "Why is Europe the locus of hate and violent ideology?" To be more specific, what is it about European culture and society that keeps producing young men who desire to violently obliterate their opposition? Revolutionary communism, ethnic nationalism and now violent Islamic terrorism have all crossed paths in Europe. So, my European comrades, what are you putting into the water?
Communist and socialist ideology has caused perhaps 100 million deaths around the world. Its roots lay specifically in the rigid and inflexible European social structure. It thrived on creating social division and on preaching hate as a rightful form of expression for an "oppressed" population. Economic wrongs can only be solved through violence and revolution. One's human rights are inversely proportional to one's wealth. Socialism never really took in the United States because our social structure was always more fair and flexible than that of Europe (or anywhere else for that matter). Class in America was always more or less a fluid notion, and many freshly arrived immigrants have literally gone from rags to riches. The system has never been perfect, but at any given time, our economic structure was always more egalitarian that the rest of the world. The political and economic opportunities provided by American society have usually allowed the population to vent its frustration in a non-violent manner. We have never had the need for a revolutionary "worker's struggle".
Likewise, America has never experienced widespread nationalistic movements. European notion of nation is deeply intertwined with ethnicity. The competition between European peoples has, in the past century, produced two very bloody wars and the sickening concept of industrial genocide. Unlike Europeans, Americans come from a variety of national backgrounds and our concept of nationhood does not depend on ethnic identity. What binds us are political, social and economic principles that are universal in their application. Anyone who agrees to be bound by these principles can become an American. Moreover, out of the greatest injustice of our society came Dr Martin Luther King, who preached non-violence as a solution to our racial inequalities.
Finally, it is worth noticing that the nexus of the terrorists in the September 11th attack was Europe. Mohamed Atta and his bourgeois buddies all underwent a transformation to radical Islam in Europe. What caused this change? Could it be the same pattern, a rigid society, which strictly divides itself on ethnic and class lines and feels comfortable with violence as a means to an end? Consider the fact that none of the attackers were American Muslims. After all, if the US were the Great Satan, wouldn't someone who has first hand experience be the most motivated to fight the jihad? The US has a large, diverse Muslim community, which no doubt greatly disagrees with our foreign policy, and yet none have chosen to act violently. In fact, the attackers' hate was kindled in Europe not here in America. Really, it is no wonder, just look at how Europeans treat those who they consider outsiders. They live in segregated neighborhoods without the chance to integrate into society and the economy and in many cases go without the benefit of citizenship for many generations.
Jesus once said, "Let those without sin cast the first stone." So my friends, before you continue to lecture us about our foreign policy or the treatment of prisoners with all the self-righteousness of a fallen preacher, please consider why your society produces so much hate. Why is it that the supposedly superior societies of Europe are so adept at focusing hate and violence upon a chosen scapegoat, whether they be the rich, the Jews, the immigrants and now the Americans? Why is it that the bloodiest episodes of recent history have had their roots in enlightened Europe? We Americans can figure out why people hate us, but can you determine why you keep producing people who hate?
Your comments are welcome.
Saturday, March 02, 2002
Why do they hate us? Why don't our "allies" support us? Why is the mainstream American press biased against America? How did this happen?
These questions have been swirling in my mind since 9/11. In the course of many sleepless nights and painful realizations, I think I have come up with some answers. Since I have now become addicted to the blogsphere, I decided to start a blog.
I am a resident of NYC and work a block away from the WTC. I am a liberal and a Democrat and an immigrant (at a young age) from the Soviet Union. Before 9/11 I have ignored the rantings of the Left, both here and in Europe, as harmless. I was convinced that after the Cold War everybody with half a brain could see the failure of socialism and the Soviet Union. I was wrong.
Even though in the West we use the term "liberal" and "leftist" interchangeably, I realized that they have nothing to do with one another. Sorry, if this is not news to many, but I hope that I can shed some more light on the subject. You can find my mission on the right hand side of the page. I hope to write on each topic listed extensively, but please let me elaborate a bit.
1. Socialism. Despite the claims of its adherents, socialism was never a struggle of the rich versus the poor. It has always been about the middle class versus the rich or the bourgeois versus the aristocracy. The founders (Marx -- son of a prosperous lawyer, Engels -- son of a factory owner) and today's main proponents (who goes to the anti-globalization rallies? who staff's the West's liberal papers?) come from the upper middle class. "The poor" are a pretense that the middle class uses to rally their ranks and gain moral support. Not surprisingly, socialism has actually been very bad for the poor. Furthermore, socialism has been very bloody, I estimate that between Russia, China, Kampuchea and other minor socialistic dictatorships around 100 million people have lost their lives. I hope to show the reader that socialism has nothing to do with the principles of liberalism, but always constitutes a policy of hate, divisiveness and despotism.
2. Anti-Americanism. Why does everybody hate America? Having grown up in the Soviet Union, I believe I have a theory regarding the mass of Anti-Americanism in today's world. I believe that in the second part of the 20th century, a major part of the Soviet foreign policy was to undermine the American image abroad. Having no ability to win the capitalism vs. communism debate on the merits, they played dirty. They managed to focus every minor hate, frustration, oppression and dissatisfaction as the fault of America. It was easy, the "downtrodden" needed a scapegoat, and the Soviets provided one, as well as some forged proof of complicity. For decades, the Soviets carefully planted the seeds of hate and today we are seeing the saplings of their efforts. In effect, we won the actual war, but we lost the propaganda war. Sure, our foreign policy is not always right, but we would be wrong to believe that any actions today could do anything to reverse decades-old trend of blaming America.
3. Idealism. This word has a very undeserved positive connotation in the English language. In reality, idealistic regimes tend to be extremely oppressive and bloody. Whether they are socialist, fascist, theocratic or any of the multitude of other idealistic regimes that have stained our history -- their reigns have been bloody. Why? Let's say I promise you paradise (whether its of the worker's, Aryan or Islamic variety) -- what happens when I can't deliver? In my knowledge no one in history has yet been able to deliver on the promise of a paradise (at least in this life). Life just doesn't work that way. Well, I made the promise and let's say I'm in power, so what do I do? The answer is that I blame others for my inability to bring you paradise. Enemies, foreign and domestic, have conspired to take away from you your ability to live in Eden and they must be punished. This pattern has repeated itself countless times through history. Let's always strive for realistic goals. Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Well that's a taste of my rants to come. Please contact me if you have any comments. Thank you.
The Counterrevolutionary Blog Mission Statement:
The mission of this blog is to restore liberalism by purging it of:
1. The hypocritical socialist-based politics of hate and division;
2. Anti-Americanism spawned by Soviet-era propaganda; and
3. Unyielding and murderous idealism.
To focus on the basic Tenets of liberalism (as I see them):
2. Individual rights
3. Social justice (equality of opportunity)
To accomplish this goal we must deconstruct and question long held beliefs about politics, economic and human nature. Any secondary or tertiary goal must be analyzed for its usefulness and correlation with the Basic Tenets.