The CounterRevolutionary

Saturday, November 30, 2002

The weekly VDH

Victor Davis Hanson talks about the strangeness of the American "empire." A key passage for our discussion of hate is:

Much, then, of what we read about the evil of American imperialism is written by post-heroic and bored elites, intellectuals, and coffeehouse hacks, whose freedom and security are a given, but whose rarified tastes are apparently unshared and endangered. In contrast, the poorer want freedom and material things first — and cynicism, skepticism, irony, and nihilism second. So we should not listen to what a few say, but rather look at what many do.
Speaking of which, I've gotten a great response form the two articles I've posted. I will post the next installment focusing on Islamist hate tomorrow.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day! This is my favorite holiday of the entire year. I have always thought of it as a quintessential American immigrant holiday. To me this is a great day to give thanks that I've been given the opportunity to live in this great nation. I am also thankful that I have a great family, especially thankful for my baby son, Misha. Finally, as a New Yorker, I'm thankful that my family and I are alive and well.

So, my fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for building and sustaining the most wonderful nation on the face of this earth.

PS. I've gotten a great response to the "origin of hate" posts -- they will continue. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Why do they hate?

In response to my Sunday article – The Dynamics of Mass Hate – Alfred E. Neuman (a celebrity reader) posted the comment below. I wanted to answer here because his query has also been on the forefront of my mind for the past year.

Interesting thesis. I have also been thinking recently about the "bored populace".

If the hate comes from frustration, what is the frustration? I agree with you where it comes from with the Arabs, but what about homegrown and Euroid leftists, for instance? Is it that they are frustrated that everyone isn't doing everything in their power to help out everyone else? Or is it frustration that leftist policies, when tried, still fail? I mean, it's not like their life is tough or anything.

You have discussed previously that socialism is the war of the upper middle class against the upper class, and I agreed with that when I read it. How does that mesh with the thesis here? You are saying today that the major ideologies are the result of frustration instead.

I could see upper middle class frustration at being so close to the top but not quite being there as the motivation (I have known a bunch of such climbers), but are there really enough people inhabiting this class to fully populate the movement?

Basically, I'm trying (and have been trying for a while) to land on a motivation for leftists. For ones like Lenin or Castro, the answer is obvious: power. But if you look at so many of the people in the West who think left, most of them are not about power per se. So what is it? Guilt? Frustration? (at what?) Moral pretentiousness? Intellectual pretentiousness? Insecurity?

Any thoughts?
Alfred, like most of my theories, this one also requires you to reject conventional wisdom. Here is a limited treatment of my theory on the cause of violent and hateful movements.

My theory is that violent movements are initiated and led by people who perceive that they are socially immobile because a great wrong has been done to them or they deserve far better than their current station.

The immobility occurs both at the top and bottom. In other words, a perception that their upward mobility is blocked by an outside force. At the bottom, their survival is not threatened so they have time and energy to dwell on what’s keeping them from achieving their goals of self - actualization. As a side note, it’s perception that matters, so one’s relative standing is more important than objective understanding.

The crucial ingredient is the sense of betrayal. This is very common – we all think that we deserve better than we get, but in some cases the delusion reaches massive proportions. The greater your delusion, the greater disappointment when you realize that the dream is not coming true. If you have time (not trying to survive or to succeed) these are the kinds of thoughts that can become obsessive and very frustrating. It becomes an irresistible force squeezed into a clamp of social immobility. Something has to give – like the friction of tectonic plates this frustration sometimes erupts with great violence.

Here is how it applies to the three great violent movements:

Socialism was the product, primarily, of artisans and professionals whose further ascent was blocked by social norms (i.e. aristocracy – think British class system) and who did not fear poverty (immobility). They had plenty of time and education and began to believe that they deserved better (the grievance). They railed against the system that held them down. Socialism was the only violent movement to rationalize their own desire to destroy into a need to “help” others.

Let’s explore fascism in the case of the Nazis. Everyone always blames unemployment, but at its peak of 10% Germany was never as bad as the US (25%). Yet we never got genocidal. As a nation they were never really poor – you can’t industrially mobilize a nation for a world war if you are really poor. However, they believed that they couldn’t “move up” in the national sense (and, yes, every nation wants to be more powerful) because of the restrictive treaties. The real problem with Germany was hurt pride – they believed that they were the best nation in the world and there was no way they should have lost. It was fertile ground for both communists and fascists. In the end, the Nazi’s won this pageantry of hate.

Finally, we come to the Islamists. Isn’t it curious that most of the terrorists are Saudi – a nation that has the most generous welfare state in the world (everyone gets a job), but advancement is limited to the royalty. Combine that with a great sense of purpose – they are the keepers of the Two Mosques and the great oil fields – many Saudis believe that these were divinely ordained. They must be destined to be a great nation and would be if it wasn’t for those pesky Americans and Jews. Can you imagine how impotent it makes them feel to see those infidels riding high? There can be only one solution.

The top and the bottom restrictions are crucial. People who are concerned about their survival don’t have time to plot revolution – they are too busy looking for food. By the same token, in socially open societies people are too busy striving to the top to think about destroying the hand that feeds them. Only those who perceive (perception, not objectivity, is the key measure here) themselves as being stuck are candidates for violence. All they need is the great sense that somehow or someone is keeping them from their true potential.

Another example are the Europeans. Generous welfare programs combined with the lack of opportunity for upward mobility create the proper atmosphere. (Actually, the atmosphere has been there for a while – this is where socialism and fascism got their start.) The third ingredient is a massive feeling of disappointment. The Europeans are after all former rulers of the world, cultural superiors, household philosophers and vaunted art critics – all blocked from achieving their due station because of the upstart Americans. And, if you are a Leftist – you’ve been disappointed twice – it was America who squashed the Soviet Union. How can this tragedy continue?

Of course this resentment has been common on the Continent for a while – the French resent the English, the Germans resent the French and the Russians resent everybody. But now, like a magnet all this frustration is focused in one direction – ours.

So, that’s the theory – violence on a massive scale is not caused by desperation but by frustration on a massive scale. When entire societies feel stuck and immobile and betrayed they look for a scapegoat. Today most of those eyes are on us.

As you read this please understand that what you are reading is a very, very limited treatment of my theory. I have cut many corners. To do it justice, I need much more time than I have on hand. In my daydreams, I think that I can write a book about this. Perhaps I can serialize the various aspects (e.g. – why has America been relatively immune to these movements?) that I have otherwise glossed over. But for now I will have to leave at this. Comments please….

Monday, November 25, 2002

The Dynamics of Mass Hate

Background reading:

How Do I Hate Thee? The global anti-American Left and what makes them tick. by Christopher Caldwell

Retreats into fantasy by David Pryce-Jones

Both of the articles are excellent and worth reading even if you do not wish to pursue the rest of my thesis. Christopher Caldwell writes an excellent account of the Leftist March in Florence. David Price-Jones’ article is about Muslim ideological movements. (“What [Nasser] claimed to be building was Arab socialism. What in fact he built was a second-hand totalitarian state with neither human rights, nor respect for life and property.” But isn’t that the only possible consequence of socialism, Arab or otherwise?)

Today’s thesis concerns mass hate, the hate of a large group of people or an individual by another large group of people. Conventional wisdom has it that mass hate is just the upgraded version of individual hate, hate between two individuals. Hate is hate, right? Not exactly. For one, individual hate usually involves two people who know each other. In the case of mass hate, most of the haters and the hatees do not know one another and think of each other in stereotypical forms. Most importantly for our discussion, cases of individual hate involve a causal event that creates the enmity. So Mr. X hates Ms. Y because she has an obnoxious dog – hate follows reason. We may not think that the reason is rational, but at least it is the chronological forerunner of the hate. This has policy implications for conflict resolutions between individuals. If the two were inclined to solve their differences, the reason for the hate is the first stop in the healing process.

The same logic is applied in the cases of mass hate. If People M hate People A, there must be a reason for that hate. It might be a foolish, illogical or immoral reason, but surely there must be a prior event that caused the conflict in the first place. It is my belief that this causal nexus fails when we look at mass hate. That is, in the cases of mass hate, the hate comes first, followed by a scapegoat and an accompanying ideology to justify the feelings. This, of course, has great policy ramifications. If there is no causal link between the purported cause and the hate – removing it will do nothing to lessen the hate. Needless to say, this is the opposite of the conventional wisdom in international relations.

For example, consider the European Left. For the past decade, they have followed an eccentric set of policy goals that appeared to have little in common with their purported liberal beliefs. I’ve claimed that these were just cases of opportunistic attacks against America. Chances to say White when America was saying Black. Caldwell continues:

Somewhat surprising is that so little was made at the Forum of the two great hobbyhorses of European anti-Americanism: the United States's failure to ratify the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse gases, and the continuing recourse of certain states to the death penalty. The silence on these issues is an indication that they were only proxies in the first place, useful to a priori America-haters until they could find a more solid basis for their anti-Americanism.
It follows that it is unlikely that we could have placated these same protestors many years ago when they were complaining about Kyoto or the death penalty or even the specter of genetically modified foods. In the end, their hate of America is all that matters and the specific reason why is not as important. The hate comes first, followed by a reason.

In most cases of mass hate, the source of the hate is independent from the purported scapegoat or ideology. In reality, the hate is internal and is best described as extreme frustration that strikes large populations at the same time. Frustration is internal unease and people find it difficult to find fault with themselves. It is far easier and more satisfying to blame others for your misfortune. The post-industrialist world has seen three major ideologies caused by the frustrations of a bored populace – socialism, fascism and Islamism. In each case a populace that defined itself on the basis of economic class (the middle), nationality or religion found an appropriate external scapegoat. The history of socialism shows that a hate can continue to exist even though the ideology has been shown to be unworkable. As we have seen, the haters merely moved their target from capitalism in general to America specifically. The pressing question today is not socialism or nationalism, but Islamism.

In the course of discussing the ideological history of Islamism, David Price Jones describes how Arabs have seamlessly moved between nationalism, socialism and finally Islamism. As each successive ideology failed to bring an end to the nagging frustration, a new one was adopted to see if its methods would work. The Arabs got new nations in the late 20th century, but the frustration remained. The influence of the Soviet Union brought command economies, but the frustration remained whole. Today, Islamism seeks to redress the anger of the Arabs, but it will fail too. Like the previous ideologies, it fails to confront the frustration inside (inside the head, the home and the nation). Each new ideology just shifts the blame to some other scapegoat.

This instant shifting between supposedly competing hate ideologies is not restricted to the Arab world. The first thing that Hitler did in Germany was to suppress the socialist competition. Likewise for Franco’s Spain. Today’s disgruntled Frenchman can (and does) shift easily between nationalist and communist parties. If you assume that the ideology is the cause of the anger, then such swift shifts should not be possible. On the other hand, if you assume that the hate came before the ideology, then such massive “reconsiderations” are not only normal but are expected.

If you agree with me, then there are tremendous policy ramifications. Most important of which is that giving in to the demands of any mass hate movement will do you no good. Since their real frustration will not be resolved, the exercise will be pointless. Getting nations of their own and command economies did nothing to placate the Arabs – they are more hateful than ever. European Leftists are still marching and demanding and hating, even though their societies are set up exactly like they said they wanted. Only one of the major ideologies, fascism, has been greatly debilitated and that was through the use of force.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

I'm Back

Phew, it's been a tough week. But here are a few gems that I hope you didn't miss in the press.

Let's start with Victor Davis Hanson outlining an attack on Iraq.

Ron Rosenbaum takes on the Bush Haters.

John Podhoretz adds more proof to my theory on why the Democrats did so poorly.

Fareed Zakaria takes on the European campaign agaist Turkinsh membership in the EU. How many times do we have to hear from Europeans about our insensitivities to Muslims when they wont even admit Turkey, the freest Muslim nation, to their little club.

An Israeli studying in Italy talks about the widening gulf between US and Europe.

PS. if you've sent me a letter lately and I haven't answered -- sorry, I will shortly...

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

A Perfect Storm work. Converging projects and deals, so blogging will be rare for the today. Sorry.

Monday, November 18, 2002

A Party of Self-Hate?

Since the Democratic Party’s historic defeat in the midterm elections and the election of Nancy Pelosi (the San Francisco Democrat) to the position of House minority leader, there have been many voices urging the Democrats to veer Left. They say that going Left will enable the Democrats to recapture a vision and therefore, power. Let’s examine what it means to be Left today and if being more Leftist will get the Democrats elected.

My readers are familiar with my view that socialist ideology is merely a vehicle for venting the anger and frustration of the idle middle classes. There have been many such vehicles in the post-Industrial age, Islamism and radical nationalism (fascism) being the other two. Another common denominator of these movements is that they seek to blame the frustration and sense of hurt pride on an outside villain. The Nazis blamed the Jews, the Islamists blame America and the Left has traditionally blamed capitalism.

Unfortunately, there is no practical alternative to capitalism. All nominally socialist or communist nations have had to revert to normal (a.k.a. capitalism) to survive. No other systems exist (North Korea only survives through nuclear blackmail). However, even if the socialist solution is impracticable it does nothing to relieve would be socialists of their anger. Also, the allure of blaming capitalism when your solution is so inferior has lessened its value as a scapegoat. So, the scapegoat is gone, but the hate and the frustration of the idle classes remains. The Left needed a new scapegoat.

For European Leftists that scapegoat has been America. If you take away the flowery platforms and look at where all their energy is focused, you cannot miss that America is all that matters. American power is behind the concern for the safety of Iraq and American business success is what they mean when they say globalization. Their support for Palestinians is a way to hurt America’s ally and that other popular scapegoat, the Jews. Their conduct with respect to other nations shows how little they think of the morals they espouse. Not a word is said about European state-owned firms trading with the butcher of Baghdad and the fact that GM foods can alleviate hunger in the Third World does not even merit a thought. Today the frustration of the overfed, overprotected and selfish European Left is focused like a laser beam on America. That is what it means to be a Leftist today.

Like their European counterparts, the American Leftists are driven by a frustration that has nothing to do with our economic system (although for many reasons, American frustration has never been comparable to the European kind). The once grand New Deal and Great Society schemes have morphed into a realization that government regulation cannot alleviate all poverty or economic injustice. We discovered that the welfare state has some powerful side-effects, such as stagnating the economic progress of the recipients. What was meant as temporary relief has become a cycle of poverty.

Today, most of the Democratic Party’s agenda can be characterized as throwing more money into or protecting these existing social programs. They have no new ideas to solve the problems of the nation and at the periphery are gradually creeping towards unmasked hate. Recall how this last election campaign involved Democratic homophobia (the Montana and South Carolina senatorial and Hawaiian gubernatorial campaigns), anti-Semitism (Billy McKinney’s infamous “J-E-W-S!”) and racist stereotypes (Colin Powell as a “house slave” and Dr. Condoleezza Rice as a “sleeza”). This is a party that’s clearly looking for something big to hate and turning Left for the Democrats could only mean one thing – directing this hate towards they only major agenda to survive – anti-Americanism.

Can an American political party survive with anti-Americanism (covert or overt) as their sole agenda? While Americans have shown a tremendous capacity for self-hate, can a large enough proportion of the populace vote an anti-American party into power? Probably not. Survival is the most basic human instinct and in times of peril we are all sensitive to who means us well and who means us harm. In the blissful 1990s, we allowed a large measure of self-hatred because we felt it was harmless. September 11th changed all that. Now most Americans are not as eager to shake-off the evidence of anti-Americanism. Hence, the election results. Polls taken after the election show that voters did not trust the Democrats to protect them.

And now the reactionaries in the party want to head to the Left -- towards more anti-Americanism. This is a party that allowed three of its members to go to Iraq, call our President a liar and defend a murderous tyrant. All this without a reprimand from the party command. This is a party that is becoming unelectable. No society would ever elect a government that is self-hating in a time of great peril. As self-reflecting as Americans are, they are still too practical to elect a party with a suicidal platform.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

You Don't Say

Al Qaeda wants to bomb New York and Washington, an al Jazeera report says. The threat is nothing new -- as a resident of New York, I never for a second thought that al Qaeda would target anywhere else.

There is a gem in al-Qaeda's letter for the "root causes" crowd. Besides the usual "pull out of the Middle East" and "abandon Israel" demands, we are ordered to convert to Islam. Only then will Washington and New York be safe. It's also a demand that does not require government action -- every person who counsels us about "root causes" can easily convert to Islam. Instead of insisting that other folks bear the brunt of appeasement, every person who has ever uttered "root causes" in anger can now take personal action.

I assume that we will see every writer and editor for The Nation to convert to Islam (can't wait to see Katrina vanden Heuvel in a burka, and, oh yeah, at home under a man's protection). France and Germany will soon operate under shari'a (no more wine and pork products!). Yeah, right.

Seriously, the next time you get a lecture on "root causes" and American aggression blah blah and Israel blah blah, ask the speaker if he or she has converted to Islam. We all should do our part, no?

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Selling Their Souls

Iraq had a trade fair last week and all her friends showed up -- the French, the Germans and the Saudis. This year's trade fair was far larger that last year's, 33 percent to be exact. 1200 companies showed up to do business with a regime that tortures children. The French were there,

Needless to say, one of the largest delegations in attendance came from France (who would have guessed?). Paris, which is Saddam's largest trading partner, was well represented by 81 French firms.
So were the Germans,
A similar welcome awaited the Germans, who were also given priority by Saddam to enter the Iraqi market. According to the government-run Al-Iraq newspaper, this came as a result of "the firm positive stand of Germany in rejecting the launching of a military attack against Iraq by the US." Gerhard Schroeder's anti-American posturing, it seems, is already paying off quite handsomely.
And, of course, our friends, the Saudis
Eager to please his new friends, Iraqi Vice President Izzat Ibrahim issued special instructions to provide preferential treatment to Saudi firms bidding for Iraqi contracts. That seems to have done the job, because the 80-member Saudi group succeeded in signing $380 million worth of deals in the five days they spent there.
Once we occupy Iraq, all these contracts must be cancelled. Otherwise, we will be telling the "international community" that 1) they can trade with our enemies and 2) trading with a sadistic dictatorship carries no penalties. Neither perception should be encouraged.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Another Liberal Case for Iraq

This time from The American Prospect. I don't think I agree with the author's interpretaion of history, but he gets the liberal's take on Iraq right. Describing the arguments of the pro-Saddam side:

But not one of those arguments will lead to the liberation of a frighteningly Orwellian society based on fear and torture. Not one of them will protect the citizens of the Middle East's democratic nations against future attacks with weapons of mass destruction. Not one of them could lead to a beachhead -- however small -- of democracy in the Arab world. Not one of them will help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian standoff. Not one of them will allow America to take initial steps toward addressing the "root causes" of terror. Not one of them is worthy of the deeply moral traditions of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And not one of them will lead to progress in the Middle East -- yet these objections are apparently all most "progressives" have to offer.
We liberals have much to do in the world. We must encourage America to fight wars on poverty and hunger and disease and pollution. Such is the burden of a worldview that compels us to repair the earth on which we live. And so long as dictators and terrorists stride the global stage -- torturing their own, menacing others -- there is no reason that we should exempt them from this worldview. They too must be fought.
So add this to the list of the many other liberal arguments for war. In the end, the anti-war crowd are a bunch of selfish, bored malcontents whose hatred for America overrides whatever sense of decency they have.

State, Reconsidered

It's so refreshing to hear these words from a State Department employee (via Instapundit)

"You want to know what I really think of the Europeans?" asked the senior State Department official. "I think they have been wrong on just about every major international issue for the past 20 years."

"They told us they could fix the Bosnian mess all on their own. Wrong."

"They told us the Russians would never accept NATO enlargement. Wrong."

"They told us that the Russians would never accept National Missile Defense. Wrong."

"They told us that if we withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 the whole structure of international arms control agreements would come crashing down. Wrong."

"They told us that the Kyoto Protocol was a good and worthwhile treaty, more than just cosmetics. Wrong."

"They told us that the European Union's new common security and defense policy would improve the military abilities of the NATO allies in Europe. Wrong."

UPDATE: Is it Christmas? Another State official telling it like it is about the ICC.
Proponents of a new International Criminal Court see the institution as a way to restrain the United States and second- guess its decision-makers, a senior Bush administration official said Thursday.

John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said that constant worry by officials that they may be indicted ``by an unaccountable prosecutor, over time that's going to have an effect on your decision-making.''

Pelosi Wins, Democrats Lose

As expected, Nancy Pelosi has won the Democratic election to be minority leader. I think that this means the decline of the Democratic Party, but don't take my word for it:

David Broder, hardly a Republican, says the whole party is leaning to the Left.

Michael Kelly say that the Democrats are deluding themselves.

More is fundamentally wrong with the Democratic analysis-by-wish-fulfillment. As the New York Times reported last Saturday, Democratic strategists studying the elections are coming to realize that, in closely contested races in key states (South Carolina, Maryland, Georgia and Florida), the immediate conventional wisdom was wrong: What cost the Democrats these races was not the failure to motivate "base" (especially African American) voters, but the failure to win over middle-class, independent-minded, moderate white voters -- the voters who put Bill Clinton into office. Blacks, in fact, turned out in expected numbers -- it was non-left whites who stayed home or voted for Republicans.

George Will talks about the authoritarian strain on the Left. Don't be confused by their faux self-descriptions as liberals. Most Leftists despise the "common" people and beleive that wisdom should come from above. Usage Note -- I make distinction between classic liberalism which I call liberalism and Leftism. Will does not -- he uses Left and liberal interchangeably.
The canonical text of liberalism's disparagement of Americans' competence was John Kenneth Galbraith's 1958 book "The Affluent Society." It argued that the bovine people beyond the faculty club are manipulated by advertising, so businesses produce not the things people want but the wants that businesses find it convenient to supply.

Two conclusions flow from this materialism and determinism. First, the cardinal rule of politics must always be "It's the economy, stupid," because the electorate is too stupid to have a more elevated or nuanced approach to politics. Second, the masses are passive lumps needing supervision by a government of their betters, aka liberals.
This is what Lenin called the "dictatorship of the proletariat." It has enourmous appeal for those who believe that they are smarter that the unwashed masses and that the masses should be forced to obey them.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Sorry, no posts today

I was at an all day meeting -- also gave a presentation. Will be back Thursday.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Does this mean he's alive?

Reuters reports:

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Arabic-language television station al-Jazeera said on Tuesday that Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden has hailed recent anti-Western attacks in Bali, Kuwait and Yemen, and last month's hostage-taking in Moscow.

The television said bin Laden also issued a warning to citizens of countries allied with the United States in a new audio tape. It gave no further details.

A Jazeera official told Reuters the Qatar-based channel would broadcast the message at around 3 p.m. EST. He did not say how the channel obtained the tape.
Two points:

1. The report is unlear if the tape is of OBL. That would be news.
2. The Russians were right all along about the theater attack -- it was al-Queda.
3. Reuters calls OBL a "dissident", just like Sacharov, I suppose.

UPDATE: AP reports that the tape had a voice claiming to be Bin Laden on the tape.

Trusting the Democrats

In my post-election rant, I said that no matter how they feel about Iraq, people just don't trust the Democrats on national security issues because of their anti-American leanings. A new USAToday/Gallup poll confirms this (well, most of it).

Overall, 57% of those polled said Democrats are not tough enough on terrorism, while 64% said Republicans are. And 54% of Democrats polled said the party needs to moderate its liberal message.
I would love to see a poll of why Americans don't trust the Democrats on terrorism.

Is It Starting For Real?

The students in Iran have been protesting the death sentence of one of their teachers for four days now. This is how (counter-) revolutions begin. Will we see a free Iran before a free Iraq? Only time will tell.

Michale Ledeen is afraid that the Administration will jump on the opportunity. I think that we must support the cause of Iranian liberation as surely as Iraqi liberation. I hope that we will hear from Bush or Powell soon on this one.

Iran will be another Romania, I promise you.

Monday, November 11, 2002

America's Real Friends

Does America have any friends in the non-Anglophone world? Sure, the citizens of Romania remember what it was like living under Ceausescu and support the removal of Saddam. In fact it's not only the Romanians, the Czechs and the Poles have been staunchly pro-American. Partly it's because they know what its like to live in dictatorships and partly because they believe that American might freed them from the Soviet yoke. They also have long memories unlike our French "allies" who have been freed twice, but seem to think that we should thank them.

Indeed, whenever Mr. Geoana's French diplomatic counterparts worry about Romania's enthusiasm for the United States, he said he tells them that "after Romania enjoys several decades of prosperity like France, then we will have the luxury of taking the U.S. for granted."
This is a good article despite the poor attempts by the author to liken Eastern Europe's warm feeling for the US to their "devotion" to the Soviet Union. Obviously, the author must be unaware of what happened to disobedient Soviet satellites (see Hungary and Czechoslovakia). I guess journalists are not required to be aware of history.

I think that this is a preview of what will happen in the Muslim world (at least in Iraq and Iran) when they are liberated.

Also, is it too early to think about an American sponsored Easter European Free Trade Agreement? Yes, they are supposed to get integrated into EU in 10 years, but I think that will never happen.

The Wages of Muliculturalism

Here is a story from Pym Fortun's land about a woman who dared to speak out against multiculturalism. Another angry Right-Wing European? No, a young immigrant from Somalia who went on to document the plight of the immigrant Muslim women. In their community, "beatings, incest and emotional and sexual abuse" were common and "government's support for multiculturalism, programs costing millions of dollars ... help keep Muslim women isolated from Dutch society." Unsurprisingly, she received many death threats and was forced to flee the Netherlands.

These are the wages of multiculturalism the financial support for the continued enslavement of women in Europe. If you are a liberal and believe in liberal values, like equality of the sexes, you must defend them at all costs. If on the other hand your main goal is the destruction of Western culture, then you fund these programs that allow for the deterioration of freedom and the creation of a two-class society ==> native class and immigrant class. When will the Europeans learn that allowing immigrants in is just the beginning of the responsibility? Like in America, immigrants should be required to assimilate (lately our own multiculturalists have gotten in the way) and accept them fully when they do! Taking people in, isolating them, putting them on welfare and never allowing them to succeed is destructive and dangerous.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Anti-Americanism, a Backgrounder

A backgrounder, generously provided by Victor Davis Hanson.

The dream of 1960s radicals was supposedly that someday the United States might use its vast cultural influence and military power to be on the "right side of history." That meant — instead of Pavlovian opposition to idealistic socialists and occasional Communists in preference for odious figures like Pinochet, Somoza, or Franco — we would try to topple just those regimes and implant democracies in their place. Few then lectured that the Nicaraguans should be left to handle their own dictators or that we had no right to tell the Spanish what to do with Franco. Instead, support for revolutionary movements was voiced and action demanded.

Well, with the end of the Cold War, those days of hope have at last arrived. Noriega, Milosevic, and Mullah Omar not only were fascistic and bloodthirsty, but they are also all gone thanks to the United States military. Rather than seeing protestors chanting to ignore Saddam Hussein, I would have expected that the refrain would be "Solidarity with the brave Iraqi people in their brave struggles against a fascist mass murderer."

The mantras of the 1960s and 1970s were "coalition governments" and "free elections." The United States was supposed to predicate its support on representation of all spectra of views under democratic auspices, i.e., anything other that what had emerged for a time in Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, Greece, or Argentina. Such right-wing autocracies were corrupt, authoritarian, and murderous. In other words, like the present Palestinian Authority, they brooked no opposition, lynched or shot dissidents with or without show trials, and embezzled foreign aid. Yet today a democratic Israel — with a vociferous press, an antiwar movement, a plentitude of parties, regular elections, and a civilian-controlled military — is as demonized as Mr. Arafat is praised by Western intellectuals. Do we see protest signs that say "Support the democratic peoples of Israel in their struggle against sexist, homophobic, and fundamentalist reactionaries"?

UPDATE: The Conservative Observer comments.

Those Damn Unilateralists!

Thousads of unilateralists gathered in Florence today to defy the will of the international community. Wait, weren't these people just telling us that our unilateralism is wrong? What do they have to say for themselves now? Don't they know that the war is an act of liberation? Don't they know that the UN approves? Why are they protesting?

Gee, could it be that "unilateralism" was just a pretence? Just like the protestors aims of anti-War and anti-globalization are just pretences for anti-Americanism? Instapundit reports that they are singing communist anthems. So, what do you think?

Anyway, in honor of the election of Nancy Pelosi to the Democratic leadership of the House, I'm introducing a theme week this week -- Exploring Anti-Americanism. All week we will explore and discuss the "root causes" of anti-Americanism.

PS. Actually, its due to our imperial domination of Greenland.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Sully and Hitch.

If you missed them on C-SPAN this morning and have broadband, you can watch them here.

BTW, Hitch continues his drift from the Left to liberalism in this Slate article.

From conversations I have had on this subject in Washington, I would say that the most fascinating and suggestive conclusion is this: After Sept. 11, several conservative policy-makers decided in effect that there were "root causes" behind the murder-attacks. These "root causes" lay in the political slum that the United States has been running in the region, and in the rotten nexus of client-states from Riyadh to Islamabad. Such causes cannot be publicly admitted, nor can they be addressed all at once. But a slum-clearance program is beginning to form in the political mind.

Iraq is, for fairly obvious reasons, the keystone state here, and it is already at critical mass. Thus it seems to me idle to argue that a proactive policy is necessarily doomed to make more enemies. I have always disliked this argument viscerally, since it suggests that I should meekly avoid the further disapproval of those who hate me quite enough to begin with. Given some intelligence and foresight, however, I believe that an armed assistance to the imminent Iraqi and Kurdish revolutions can not only make some durable friends, it can also give the theocrats and their despotic patrons something to really hate us for.

Unilateralists No More

The UN passes a modified resolution. The next question is how effective it will be...

However, pressure on the regime is already having the desired effect as David Ignatius writes.

Election Post-Mortem

Unsurprisingly, everybody is writing about the election.

Let's start with Peter Beinart in The New Republic. He talks about the inter-Democratic Party fighting that is already begun.

As a result, the left, for the first time since the 1980s, has a shot at taking over the party. The defeat of moderate Democrats in swing states and districts inevitably tilts the congressional party toward ideological hardliners in safe seats. Ted Kennedy and John Conyers would have yanked the party left in 1994, had not the Clinton White House moved in the other direction. But now there is no counterweight. And that is what makes the Democratic Party's current predicament so dangerous. The ideological vacuum atop the post-September 11 Democratic Party will inevitably be filled. And if it is filled by Nancy Pelosi and Dennis Kucinich, the United States will no longer be a 50-50 nation; it will be a 40-60 nation for a generation.
More like 30-70. I have a feeling that this is the reason Gephardt retired as Minority Leader. Staying in the leadership position would do nothing for him, but retirement gives him an option. If the new Democratic leadership does well -- he can piggyback his Presidential campaign on it. If it does poorly, as it should under a Leftist command, then he could be the knight in shining armor coming in to rescue the Party in 2004. Given that his ultimate goal is running for President and disastrous performance in the election, this is not a bad set of options.

On that note, Nancy Pelosi, a California Lefty is emerging as a front runner, reports the Washington Post. Mort Kondrake said yesterday that he believes that she has the votes to win easily. BTW, he said that on FNC's Special Report, an excellent political show if you have not yet discovered it.

As I've said before, Democrats should not blame low turnout for their troubles, since it seems like it was pretty good.

Why are people voting Republican? Here is a columnist, which you probably missed if you are outside New York. Andrea Peyser writes "Why This Lifelong Democrat Voted For Republican,"
While Democrats were paying pathetic lip service this election season to long-rejected ideals, vowing to pour buckets of money into familiar sinkholes such as welfare and corrupt public-education systems, Republicans became not exactly cool - but they at least learned to dance.

So clueless were the Dems, they also failed to notice many of us stand firmly behind the party of our president in the war against terror - a struggle whose outcome could decide no less than the survival of our culture.
Yep, Ditto.

UPDATE: More on Pelosi. One thing, folks, but Left is not the same as liberal. I tend to think you can't be both at the same time. Yes, I know, usage, blah, blah, blah, but we all have little things that we harp on constantly (our private little battles) and this is one of mine. Left <> liberal.

Also, Harold Ford has now entered the race. That makes things interesting.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

The Re-election of George Bush

[Forgive me -- I've had a busy day and have been trying to write this all day]

That was the theme last night. Bush went out on a limb and did the historically impossible. He took control of Congress. Now, Bush has a mandate to prosecute the war of liberation as he chooses. This should, but won't, put an end to various snipes calling into question Bush's legitimacy as President.

It's not all-positive for the Republicans, however. With total control of government, they will be responsible for everything that happens in the next 2 years. I think that the economy will continue to get worse, and that the Republicans will be seen as being responsible.

Having said that, the more interesting question is what the Democrats will do. Last night on CNN, Carville and Begala were already saying that the Democratic loss was due to a lack of vision. The party should have stood up to President on Iraq and the economy. It is very likely that the Left wing of the Democratic Party will try to take control from the centrists who have been running it since Clinton. They would be misreading the election results. Yesterday, they energized their base (the turnout was high), but could not speak to the center, who decided the election.

I think that the biggest reason for this was national security. We all know that the support for the liberation of Iraq is not overwhelming, but that's not the only national security issue that voters care about. What matters most is who can best protect America and Americans. And, I think, that people have come to the conclusion that they cannot trust the Democrats to do that. No matter what they believe is the wisdom of going into Iraq, at a minimum, they ask that their protectors don't instinctively hate America. They want to know that their government is not going to sacrifice American security just to comply with some idealistic illusion -- and they can't be certain that the Democrats won't do that.

From Democratic pandering to anti-American institutions, to the sight of three Congressional Democrats in Baghdad, there were plenty of reasons to doubt that the Democrats have America's best security interests in mind. Even if you think that invading Iraq is a bad idea, you still want to sleep peacefully at night. It is true that only a few Democrats believe this way, but they set the tone for the entire party. As with Islam, the moderates do nothing to control or excommunicate the radicals.

I think that the Democratic anti-Americanism, with its roots in Vietnam, is analogous to the GOP’s past problems with racism. The GOP has worked hard to eliminate or to suppress the racists (at least publicly) within their ranks. Some, like Pat Buchanan, left the Party because they were no longer welcome. Today, President Bush’s cabinet is probably the most diverse ever. On the other hand, the Democrats have done nothing to quiet their radicals. Either the party is anti-American and the Baghdad Three have a home or they are not and those heretics should be kicked out. Until the Democratic Party decides that they do not hate America and will not tolerate those who do, we will not let them be our defenders.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Election Night

Wanted to post a lot, but can't take my eyes off the election returns. So here is the one election night story. I seem to have a love/hate relationship (ideologically speaking) with Nick Kritoff. I really liked his op-ed today, "Left Dumbs Down."

In the 1990's, nothing made conservatives look sillier than the way they excoriated Bill and Hillary Clinton as traitors and even murderers.

Yet these days, the intelligent left is dumbing down and showing signs of slipping into a similar cesspool of outraged incoherence. It's debasing and marginalizing itself by marshaling epithets rather than arguments.
Here, here! When I was a Democrat (prior to 9/11 and all the anti-Americanism by the Left), I hated the witch hunt against the Clintons. While they were very slimy, the attacks were dispraportionate to the "crimes." I have not changed my mind even after changing parties. I now wish he was attacked more for his foreign policy and his handling of the economy. Ain't 20/20 hindsight great?

Anyway, I now hate the way the Democrats attack Bush. It's not about any issues, but politics of demonization. Nothing good can come of this. At the end of the day, we are all Americans and we have to live together. Most importantly, we will need to stick together to survive. [cue the patriotic music]

Please Vote!

I'll be taking the boy to the doctor (for shots) and voting today. Be back this afternoon with more posts.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Special Sunday Punditry

Saved the best for last. Jim Hoagland in the WashPost talks about the Need not to Know. The introduction is chilling:

The brief official note that came from Baghdad to the health ministry of a quasi-friendly European nation a few weeks ago was polite in tone, chilling in content. Iraq's health service director wanted to know: Could you provide information and help to treat an anthrax outbreak?

No answer went back to Baghdad. Instead, the European government reported the Iraqi inquiry to the State Department and asked its own questions: Could the note represent a genuine request for help for an outbreak that had already occurred? Or was it a veiled warning of a weapon that invading American forces would meet?
The human mind is a wondeful instrument it allows us to block out unpleasant truths until the pain is too great. Hoagland says we are doing just that by ignoring the evidence connecting Saddam and terrorism. I agree -- look how we managed to wilfully ignore al Queda, Nazi Germany or, even, the dangers of the Internet bubble. In all cases we just wanted things to be alright. Unfortunately, things you ignore can still hurt you....

BTW, I think that the incident is a veiled warning to the Europeans. If there was an outbreak of anthrax in the big cities we would know about it and anywhere else, Saddam would not care about their fate. On the other hand, the europeans are very suseptible to such, shall we call it, diplomacy?

I guess I'm not surprised...

As an immigrant I've always felt an affinity with him. Plus he is buried a few blocks from where I work.

War of Liberation

Just what is at stake in the liberatino of Iraq. Today's NYPost carries a column by Jonathan Foreman listing Saddam's known murders:

* Nearly 200,000 people are "missing" in Iraq, most of them Kurds who vanished during the ethnic cleansing of the 1988 Anfal campaign. Compare that to the 9,000 who were disappeared by the Argentine junta or the 3,000 "desparacidos" of Pinochet's Chile. Or, for that matter, the 10,000 Albanian dead in Kosovo.

* The regime is know to have executed 4,000 Iraqis in the last four years, including 130 women beheaded for "prostitution" - three of whom were doctors who had criticized the regime's policies.

* In just one month in 1991, the regime killed 30,000 civilians during the uprisings that followed the Gulf War.

* To ensure the loyalty of the rest, Saddam has killed 20,000 members of his ruling Ba'ath party during his years in power. Total membership is 400,000: He's killed 5 percent of his closest supporters.
I'm sure that this list is by no means complete and that we will know the true scope of this tyrannical rule only after we overthrow him. Similarly, the true scale of death from Hitler and Stalin only reached us after their deaths.

Again, I ask -- how can a moral person stand against the liberation of Iraq?

Belated Sunday Punditry

Let’s start out with Thomas Friedman. Decent op-ed about the US-European relationship, where he correctly identifies the fall of the Warsaw Pact as the real reason for the US-European tensions (I wrote about it in August). However, to read Tom these days, you have to ignore his now regular sacrifice to the Temple of Equivalence. This time he says that the Europe and US need one another (sort of true). This is because while we have hard power, the Europeans have “soft” power. Soft power is a euphemism for a lack of real power and it stems from the ability to influence those with real power, like us. So, yes, the Europeans have soft power, but only so long as we are willing to listen. And our patience is running out.

In the Washington Post, Robert Kagan shows how France is able to use her soft power to maximize her national goals.

If you want to see a country punching far above its weight class these days, look at France. The French don't have a lot of power, but they certainly know how to make the most of what little they do have. At the Security Council, France wields a veto, thanks to Franklin Roosevelt (and FDR didn't even like the French). That lets France's diplomats go toe-to-toe with the American behemoth, to the cheers of a proud French electorate and a grateful European public. It's no surprise that the Security Council negotiations have been endless or that the French want another round of debate later. If you're France, you want these negotiations to go on forever, and then you want inspections to go on forever. When negotiations and inspections stop and fighting begins, the American global superpower goes back to being a global superpower, and France goes back to being France.
So, why should we be happy with Europe’s soft power again?

There is a interesting piece in the Washington Post’s Outlook section on Munich. The author’s thesis is that the Munich analogy is regularly misused today as an example of appeasement in action. In my opinion, the author bolsters the anti-appeasement argument today. The author essentially states that Chambelain had to appease because:

1. At the time he was weaker militarily.
2. He had no allies.
3. Democracies don’t go into battle without provocation (ie it would take more than Czechoslovakia).

All true and uncontroversial. But it only shows that today we are not in the same situation as Chamberlain and we don’t have to appease. We are much stronger militarily, so much so that we don’t need allies. The third part is always true, but given recent history we should be able to make people realize that the price of appeasement in very high.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

The Immoral Agenda

In this Friday’s Washington Post, Salman Rushdie tries to make a liberal argument for the liberation of Iraq. Tries, not because the argument is hard (it’s rudimentary), but because he cannot completely distance himself from the bigotry that makes the liberal argument so rare. A classic liberal believes in the rights of every individual and eschews authoritarian regimes. Surely, a real liberal cannot tolerate a brutal regime like Saddam’s? Salman:

In this strange, unattractive historical moment, the extremely strong anti-Saddam Hussein argument isn't getting a fraction of the attention it deserves.

This is, of course, the argument based on his 3 1/2-decade-long assault on the Iraqi people. He has impoverished them, murdered them, gassed and tortured them, sent them off to die by the tens of thousands in futile wars, repressed them, gagged them, bludgeoned them and then murdered them some more.
Exactly. At this point, the liberal argument should already be made. But aside from Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens (whose arguments are much more consistent) very few voices of liberation are heard from the so-called Liberals. Why is that? In his essay Rushdie gives a few clues about the real politics and agendas of the “liberal” Left. (to avoid confusion, when I use liberal without quotes, I mean the classic ideology, but when I use “liberal”, I mean Leftist – the people who today claim to be “liberal”)

For example he states,
The complicating factors, sadly, are this U.S. administration's preemptive, unilateralist instincts, which have alienated so many of America's natural allies. Unilateralist action by the world's only hyperpower looks like bullying because, well, it is bullying.
So let me get this straight – there is enough of a moral cause to go to war, but bullying is strictly off limits? Unfortunately, this is a way for Rushdie to justify the dearth of liberal arguments being made by “liberals.” This is clearly embarrassing – legions of Lefties marching in support of laissez faire for the most illiberal regime today. Rushdie’s bewilderment at the lack of liberal arguments requires him to blame the only other enemy he knows – America. Unlike Hitchens, he has not made the next logical step of questioning whether those who he expects to make the liberal argument are really interested in anything resembling a liberal agenda.

So what are the agendas of America’s “bullied” allies? I guess Rushdie did not read a Washington Post article written earlier in the week. Discussing the wrangling at the UN regarding the Iraq liberation.
"The whole debate is about two issues," said an envoy whose country is one of the five permanent Security Council members. "One is Iraq. The other is U.S. power in the world. The second issue is the bigger part of the debate."
The envoy is giving himself too much credit. US power is the only issue. It is the only issue for France and Germany, who are trying to maximize their political power and to protect their lucrative Iraqi oil contracts. It is the only issue for the Arab states who fear (correctly) that a liberating America would threaten their totalitarian regimes (either politically or economically). No, there is no liberalism emanating out of Europe (save the UK) or the Arab world – only flowery statements of liberal-sounding platitudes to mask their Realpolitk agenda.

The same can be said of the anti-war protestors (see the Hitches article). They are organized and promoted by the same anti-capitalist (read anti-American) crowd who supported Stalin, Milosovec and favor the brutal regime in North Korea (another backgrounder). The only locus of their causes is that they all seek to weaken American economic, civic and international power. The anti-war (or, more accurately, pro-Saddam) crowd has shown itself capable of allying itself with any dictator or criminal to further their agenda. No “liberal” who follows Stalin’s “break a few eggs to make an omelet” dictum would have any problems with the Iraqi regime.

These so-called “liberals” have no desire to propagate a liberal argument in favor of liberating Iraq. Such action would derail their real goals and agendas. Instead they throw up arguments in favor of the status quo that no liberal would tolerate. For example:

Why now?
Why not now – since when does liberalism have an expirations date?

America armed Saddam in the past!
So, let’s do the right thing now and remove him! Are sinners not allowed to repent?

What about stability in the Middle East?
Since when do liberals care about stability among dictators?

In fact, the agenda of the Left is not liberal, but immoral. There is no other way to describe the opposition to removing a regime that tortures children. No Realpolitik, oil contract or utopian illusion can justify that. So Salman Rushdie is right – there is a liberal argument for liberating Iraq. But the people who are making it are on the Right.

France out of the Security Council!

The New Republic questions the reasons for letting France retain a pemanent seat on the Security Concil. It's short, but full of gems, so I'm going to copy the whole thing.

"How many Frenchmen does it take to hold Paris?" goes the old joke. "Nobody knows." A little nasty, perhaps, but it suggests the deeper issue underlying France's continued opposition (as of this writing) to a resolution threatening force if Iraq obstructs U.N. weapons inspectors: Why is France on the Security Council at all? Paris got its permanent membership (and thus its Security Council veto) as a reward for having helped defeat Nazi Germany. But while the French suffered under Nazism, it was the Americans, Russians, and British who defeated it. (Winston Churchill's envoy to France famously called Charles de Gaulle the heaviest cross he had to bear during World War II.) Another rationale holds that France owes its seat to its status as an independent nuclear power. But India now boasts that distinction as well, and--with its massive population, growing economy, and third-world democracy--it would be a far more compelling choice. In truth, France's fantasies of grandeur--fantasies that are decades, if not centuries, out of date--would be laughable, except that they are taken seriously in Turtle Bay. And so the Bush administration must endlessly negotiate with a country whose Iraq policy is motivated by petro-dollars and anti-American resentment, particularly the anti-American (and anti-Western) resentment of its Muslim immigrant masses. Why not stop the charade and let France veto the Iraq resolution? The United States and its allies could, on their own, eliminate the unconventional weapons of that most unconventional tyrant, Saddam Hussein. And, as a side benefit, the United Nations would suffer a humiliation so profound that it might force some long-overdue reconsideration of the Security Council's anachronistic composition. For international organizations to be relevant, privilege must follow power, and for them to be admirable, privilege must follow decency. Nothing would more dramatically further both goals than dethroning France.
Or, we should just leave the UN altogether.

November 2, 1917 - Balfour Declaration Day

The text of the Balfour Declaration is as follows:

His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,
and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done
which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
Read more about it here.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Krauthammer on the UN

Charles Krauthammer explains the latest maneuvering at the UN. Keep your eye on these three provisions:

(a) Citing Hussein as being in "material breach" of the resolutions he signed to end the Gulf War. Material breach is recognized as a casus belli.

(b) Threatening "serious consequences" if Hussein does not comply with the new inspection regime.

(c) Devising a tough inspection regime that not only includes Hussein's presidential "palaces" but also allows the safe and free interrogation of Iraqi scientists who know where the weapons are -- which means taking them out of the country and giving their families asylum if they so request.

Bat Ye'or Update

An opinion by Diane West in the Washington Times discuses the affair. She compares the students' reactions to other incidents of "reluctance to face facts, however gruesome — or politically incorrect." One being the insistence, by a few, that the Beltway sniper be called John Williams not Muhammad (ditto John Lindh). The other, to separate al Queda from the Chechen terrorists.

Unfortunately, our 1990s "see no evil, hear no evil" attitude has survived the September 11th attacks. Even those who are not motivated by anti-Americanism, are trying to convince themselves (and others) that everything is OK and there is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, the last time we ignored reality, someone rammed two aircraft into the WTC. Next time it could be worse.

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