All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Friday, November 19, 2004
Diplomats said on Tuesday that they would continue to engage with Cuba's opposition but were looking to do so in a more productive way, leaving the path open for talks with government officials.In real terms, this means that the EU would put an end to the largely symbolic move of inviting dissidents to national festivities at EU embassies, a move that has seen Havana restrict European diplomats' access to top Cuban officials.
The Spanish leaders (foremost among them R2D2, I mean, Mister Bean) wanting to break off with Cuban opposition figures for the sake of relations with Fidel Castro are the same humanists who haughtily state that they should "no longer be subordinated" or "kneeling" before the perfidious Yanks and who refuse to stand for the American flag. Isn't it good to know to what extent Europeans — contrary to those oafish Americanos — have their priorities straight?
Strangely enough, Zapatero's "move has not gone down well with Cuban pro-democracy campaigners." Said Oswaldo Paya, a 2002 laureate of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize:
[The EU governments] can act according to their interests and abandon this ethical position, for reasons of their interests. But what no-one can say, without insulting our intelligence, is that to abandon this position and destroy these acts and symbols is in the interests of Cuba and peaceful change.
Don't forget to read John Vinocur's
piece on Spain's double-language
and its relations with Washington
(the final sentence is priceless)
Before, there was no support from European leaders. Now, in many cases, in many countries, unfortunately including my own, anti-Americanism doesn't come from the street, but from the governments themselves.
José María Aznar
(Gracias para GS y BarcaPundit)
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Didn't any of us read the European editorials? Didn't we hear the mal mots directed at Bush whenever he traveled overseas? Didn't we know Bush is not — repeat not — considered cool by Europe's ultra-intellectual chattering classes?
(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber)
|Arise children of
||Allons, enfants de
|French djiahdist, from the Seine-Saint-Dénis, blows himself up in a Baghdad suicide attack. I suppose his stinking family back in its chicken coop welfare apartment is rightfully proud.
||Un jihadiste franchouille, résidant dans le 9-cube de son vivant, se fait sauter dans un attentat suicide à Bagdad. Je suppose que sa famille merdique, dans son apart' clapier à lapins HLM, est justifiablement fière de lui.
On the eve of an official visit to London, French President Jacques Chirac said he is "not at all sure" that the world has become safer since the downfall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.That's because you never bothered asking the Iraqi population, Monsieur le Président.
In a BBC television interview, … Chirac suggested that the situation in Iraq — where US forces are still locked in battle with insurgents — has helped to prompt an increase in terrorism.That's because you do not equate terrorism with state policemen violating citizens' homes with impunity to take away its inhabitants to be tortured and killed, Monsieur le Président.
"To a certain extent Saddam Hussein's departure was a positive thing," said Chirac when asked if the world was now a safer place, as US President George W. Bush has repeatedly stated.You say "to a certain extent" only because you never had to live in the psychopath's Iraq as a common citizen, Monsieur le Président.
"But it also provoked reactions, such as the mobilisation in a number of countries, of men and women of Islam, which has made the world more dangerous," he said.If you say the mobilization in a number of countries, Monsieur le Président, it is because thanks to Uncle Sam, the mobilization of a number of countries, i.e., state- or government-sponsored terrorism — and governments' willingness to sponsor terrorism in general — has come to a virtual end.
"There's no doubt that there has been an increase in terrorism and one of the origins of that has been the situation in Iraq. I am not at all sure that one can say that the world is safer."Oui et non, Monsieur le Président: there has been a decrease in state-sponsored terrorism (as stated above), but you are entirely correct in saying that the origins of that decrease is the situation in Iraq (and Afghanistan). You are also correct in pointing to an increase in individual-based terrorism inside of Iraq. But that is due in no small matter to the anger — nay, the fury — of those individual terrorists, and terrorist groups, over having lost their state-sponsored governments and the willingness of any government, in that region or elsewhere, to support their activities in the near future.
(Cheers to Gregory Schreiber)
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
As so-called French intellectuals like to say,
the war to liberate Iraq was indeed about blood and oil
— American and Iraqi blood and French oil
Yahoo Financial News printed this a week before Arafat died…
Geopolitics: A gravely ill Yasser Arafat's final journey to Paris has reunited the father of modern-day terrorism with the birthplace of modern-day appeasement.
Arafat's presence in Jacques Chirac's France must warm the hearts of America's enemies who cite our support for Israel and our liberation of Iraq as the prime motivations behind their desire to do us harm.
The French government's opposition to our Iraq policy seems less rooted in principle and more rooted in cash. As so-called French intellectuals like to say, the war to liberate Iraq was indeed about blood and oil — American and Iraqi blood and French oil.
French oil company TotalFinaElf had exclusive rights to develop the Nahr Umar and Majnoon oil fields, which hold 25% of Iraq's reserves. Some 60 French companies did $1.5 billion in trade with Iraq under the U.N. oil-for-food program. France controlled 22.5% of Iraq's imports. And, most important, from 1981 to 2001, France sold Iraq 13% of its arms imports.
Soon after Desert Storm in 1991, French oil companies Total SA and Elf Aquitaine, which later merged to become TotalFinaElf, signed secret and exclusive deals with Saddam Hussein's regime to develop future Iraqi oil fields, deals estimated to be worth $100 billion over a seven-year period. They were conditioned on the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iraq and the avoidance of war.
Enter the U.N.'s corrupt oil-for-food program. A French bank, BNP Paribas, handled the oil-for-food accounts that provided Saddam a slush fund to build palaces, buy foreign weapons and bribe foreign leaders. A number of movers and shakers in France — including government officials and friends of Chirac — got rich.
France built the Osirak nuclear reactor outside Baghdad, which Israel destroyed in 1981 and which would have given Saddam a nuclear weapon by the time he invaded Kuwait, making the world a very different place.
And by 1989 an estimated half of French arms output went to Iraq. It was an Iraqi French-built Mirage fighter firing a French-made Exocet missile that hit the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf on May 17, 1987, killing 37 American sailors. …
(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber)
… adding up to the usual leftists' anti-Americanism, they are also still resenting that the Eisenhower administration helped ending Spain's isolation and gave the country international respectability for the first time since the end of the Civil War (examplified by the iconic hug between Franco and Eisenhower when the US president landed in Madrid for his historic visit, the first one by a mejor head of state since the end of the conflict). Oddly, the US-Spanish treaty of 1952 started the economic development that trickled down towards a gradual social and political modernization, which ultimately lead to a successful democratic transition after Franco's death. I'm saying it's odd because the same people who where protesting regime change in Iraq by the US because "you can't bring democracy with guns, but with engagement and pressure" are also complaining that the US engaged and pressured (as much as it was reasonable during the Cold War, of course) the Spanish dictatorship toward relaxing its authoritarian rule.
… I wonder how someone against regime change via war can also be against peaceful regime change (engagement, pressure plus a targeted decapitation, perhaps). Maybe it's just the Revel rule: "reproaching the United States for some shortcoming, and then for its opposite ... a convincing sign that we are in the presence not of rational analysis, but of obsession."
And just give the UN a bit more time… Then you will see that they will pull everything together, as by magic… Understanding is the key… Have patience, exercise tolerance, and you will see that this attitude of trust can only cause everyone to come together…
Yes, and scandals involve American soldiers having fired on Iraqi civilians and having heaped abuse upon Abu Ghraib prisoners, and nothing else…
If only you read the French press (as well as some of the comments of certain people on this website) and watched French TV, you would understand that — whereas the Americans are ever and always guilty of blockheadedness, simplicity, greed, and/or treachery — it always turns out that, in the last resort, the French, eux, are acting in good faith; there are always rational reasons explaining their largest error; and for anyone — anyone — to put this into doubt can only be labelled grossly unfair.
Certainly, you should be more intelligent than listen to Ian Robinson when he castigates a "peace camp" member's
preposterous pacifism, belief in nonsense such as "soft power" and fidelity to a morally bankrupt United Nations overrun with tin-pot dictators and other left-wing idiociesor when the Calgary Sun columnist writes that
America invades Iraq without UN approval and America is portrayed as a barbarian striding across the world stage. Recently, France essentially invaded the Ivory Coast to protect its interests there ... without asking the UN squat. Just pointing out the hypocrisy.And needless to say, you should not listen to Victor Hanson, when he writes that
Europe offers a … paradox. Our Western cousins have chosen a path far different from our own, on almost every social, economic, and military issue. Throughout this war Europeans have snickered that over-the-top Americans blast their way across the globe, leaving needless wreckage in their wake, in their Team America-like search for mythical jihadists. But ask the Dutch, who, as thanks for crafting the most liberal society in Europe, are now living in fear of a jihadist assassination campaign. Or talk to the Spanish — whose appeasement after the Madrid bombing earned them an Islamist plot to obliterate their Supreme Court judges. France — in its old blow-up-Greenpeace mood — claims that it only supports the use of force in extremis, but then almost immediately exploded the tiny air force of the Ivory Coast on news that nine of its soldiers were killed, prompting thousands of Africans to hit the streets in anti-Gallic rage.
The only difference in the American use of force has been one of magnitude: We lose 3,000 — not 9 — and send out 1,000 planes — not 3 — when attacked. Why does France get a pass in its postcolonial interventions? Simply because there are no French to criticize them. For all the European hysteria over the reelection of George Bush, I would wager that privately, leaders there are sighing with relief that a resolute U.S. is fighting the Islamists, taking the heat, and supplying them with both emotional and material cover at no cost. How can you buy off the Iranians to drop their bomb plans without fear by the mullahs that a cowboy George Bush is the dreaded alternative? [Emphasis on the double standards mine]
George Bush thus will get no credit for elections replacing the Taliban or for the liberation of women in Afghanistan, much less for democracy in Iraq. Instead he will be the target of constant venom for the human costs of war, with the silent proviso that he is not to cease, lest a Holland, France, or Spain become even more besieged by anti-Western jihadists emboldened by American appeasement. Indeed, Bush must endure elite European hatred, even as the majority there silently expects the United States to maintain the alliance and protect the West.
(Thanks to Gregory, Vik, Joe, and FR Hoffmann)
Quick: What Western power bypassed the U.N. recently, ignored the international community and launched a pre-emptive attack against the forces of a sovereign foreign government?
Why . . . France, of course.
… And, so far, the closest thing to WMDs that's been found is . . . chocolate. (It can lead to deadly obesity, n'est-ce pas?)
Which raises a question: Did that cowboy, Jacques Chirac, fear President Laurent Gbagbo's forces would attack Paris?
… The irony in the strike by the French, who criticized President Bush's war against a real threat in Iraq, is, of course, hilarious. France did what it wanted (but don't expect U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to call it "illegal").
The French are now doing EVERYTHING they accused the United States of prior to and during the war with Iraq!
Canada has become a nation crippled by a dishonest pacifism. Rather than announce we're wimps, we pretend in the councils of the powerful that we'll send our soldiers to fight ... but only if the stars are aligned just so.In that perspective, I thought that peace was not anything that could be imposed, especially by Western countries using military means. Isn't that the lesson constantly being given to Uncle Sam and his simplistic citizens?…
We'll send "peacekeepers," an abominable word that denies the reality that it is only the application of brute and vicious force in the disordered and deadly precincts of the world that can ensure peace.
…that's the quiet way Bush operates. He greatly appreciates such loyal allies as [José Maria] Aznar or British PM Tony Blair or Australian PM John Howard.What does that tell you about condescending "peace camp" members putting the onus on Dubya and haughtily asking him (demanding of him, really) that he resort to action to heal the rifts of the past?
He doesn't shout it from the rooftops, but he also doesn't appreciate such fair-weather Canadian "friends" as [Jean] Chretien and [Paul] Martin. The only thing that will heal that situation is time — and real supporting action by Canada.
(Thanks to FR Hoffmann, eh?)
Every election year, we in the commentariat come up with a story line to explain the result, and the story line has to have two features. First, it has to be completely wrong. Second, it has to reassure liberals that they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them.John Moser adds that
In past years, the story line has involved Angry White Males, or Willie Horton-bashing racists. This year, the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top.
This theory certainly flatters liberals, and it is certainly wrong …
It matters little that Kerry had explanations for all of [his] positions, and that he seemed to address them satisfactorily in his three debates against Bush. What mattered ultimately was that he needed to explain them at all. And this gets down to the real difference between the two men in this race—George W. Bush was Andrew Jackson; John Kerry was Woodrow Wilson.
Jacksons try to tailor their message to the desires and fears of the average person. Wilsons tell the average people that their desires and fears are irrational, and try to convince them that they should want something else.
Jacksons lay out their agenda clearly, in simple black-and-white terms. Wilsons tell people how complicated the world is, suggesting that public affairs is therefore best left in the hands of an educated elite.
We are waiting impatiently for that to happenHow about un merci (even a small one) to American forces for having solved one third of France's hostage problem in Iraq (albeit admittedly not the French nationals themselves)?…
Foreign Minister Michel Barnier
(Merci to Gregory)
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
|French girly-man on the rag||Mec femmelette franchouille a ses ragnanas|
|Chiraq is on the rag when it comes to the States. Now he can get all that 'girl talk' out of his system with Condi.
||Dès qu'il s'agit des States, Chirak a ses ragnanas. Maintenant il peut discuter tant qu'il voudrait 'entre filles' avec Condi.