Thursday, December 30, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson

Into the Tar Pits
Dinosaurs either evolve or die.

There was a time when the political lines about foreign policy were well drawn. Those on the Left felt that American democracy and global capitalism did not necessarily offer the rest of the world a much better alternative than either Soviet-sponsored Communism or third-world thuggery. Instead, in this view, American realism favored order, but not spreading liberty or social justice abroad — and only managed to promote overseas more of the unfairness and racism that we supposedly suffered from at home.

Everything from Vietnam to Nicaragua was seen through this reductionist prism, assuming a haughty United States at odds with indigenous reformers the world over. But with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the capitalist juggernauts China and India, the globalization of the world economy, radical social and economic changes here at home, and the spread of Islamic fascism, none of those old views makes sense anymore.

President Bush was criticized by many Democrats on both practical and political grounds for ostracizing Yasser Arafat, the past beneficiary of a rigged vote. Yet most are silent now about the news that local elections are now taking place for the first time in nearly a decade. Why voting all of a sudden now? Was the president right in seeing the removal of this so-called national liberationist as a key to democratic change on the West Bank?

The old critique of American policy in the Middle East was driven by charges of petro-imperialism — that we would do any and all things to secure fuel for our gas-guzzlers. But China now satisfies most of its skyrocketing oil appetite from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Oman. Unlike the United States, there is no internal Chinese opposition to question the new superpower's oil politics, which are heating up global energy markets. The so-called Peoples Republic cares only about price and availability. It worries not at all about its petro-trade’s subsidizing Wahhabism, theocracy, or Islamic extremism.

We may still rant about the American rejection of Kyoto. But is anyone alarmed over the hundreds of coal plants sprouting up in India and China to ensure billions of people that there will be enough energy for a possible future lifestyle of the type we now take for granted in Santa Barbara and Nantucket? In short, we will soon enter an age in which China may well change the world's environment, affect the price of oil, and govern the world's trade as much as the United States — and will care almost nothing about what Western liberals say, secure either that its fraying socialist veneer or sheer size and power will earn it a pass from the censure of Western intellectuals.

If we thought indigenous liberationist movements of the Islamic world — who have beheaded and killed to be free of Western religious tolerance, equity for women and homosexuals, and voting and human rights — put an enormous strain on the ossified Left, wait until Mao's old socialist utopia begins to send ultimatums to the democracies of the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. What will Earth First do when this socialist behemoth sprouts its oil rigs in the Arctic tundra and pristine seas?

The international media is not up in arms about the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gough or the video execution of democratic activists in the streets of Baghdad — at least not as they once had been over the televised shooting of a Vietcong captain by South Vietnamese general Nguyen Ngoc Loan. Of course, the democracy activists in Iraq were working only for freedom, not, like Loan, for socialist tyranny. The only political consistency for the media's reaction or lack thereof seems to be the particular affinity of the shooters and victims for the United States: Pulitzer Prizes when a Communist is shot by an American surrogate; snores when the murdered Iraqi idealists shared an American vision of elections.

Consider further: The United States runs staggering trade deficits with most of the world. Its dollar is at an all-time low. Its postwar international protocols — from the World Trade Organization to the United Nations — either favor the non-West or look unkindly toward the United States. The American military, at great risk and cost, alone in the world saved Kosovars, Afghans, and Iraqis from tyranny. For all the Vietnam-era rhetoric about American meddling, the elected Karzai and the provisional Allawi are a far cry from the Shah, Pinochet, or Somoza. We are doing things in the Middle East that make no sense in terms of traditional economic or political advantage — and yet still bring out 1960s-era stegosauruses alleging imperialism and hegemony.

What has happened? Sometime around the 1980s, the Right saw the demise of the Soviet Union as an opportunity to evolve beyond realpolitik to promote not just anti-Communism but grassroots democracy, coupled with free-market globalism from Eastern Europe to Latin America and Asia. In contrast, the hard Left stayed in its knee-jerk suspicion of the West and continued to give a pass to authoritarians from Cuba to Iran who professed socialism, thinking that the world was a static zero-sum game in which somebody's gain spelled another's loss — oblivious that real wealth could be created by a change of mentality and technology and not mere exploitation.

As the old politics lie in ruin from hypocrisy and incoherence, the Left needs to get a new life. Here are a few more suggestions:

Remember that multilateral inaction — whether in the Balkans, Rwanda, or Darfur — is often calculated, selfish, and far more lethal to millions than risky interventions like removing the Taliban and Saddam.

Quit idolizing Europe. It was a far larger arms merchant to Saddam than was the United States; it supplied most of Dr. Khan’s nuclear laboratory; it financed much of the Oil-for-Food scandal; and it helped to create and tolerate the Balkans genocide. It has never freed any country or intervened to remove fascism and leave behind democracy — silly American notions that are to be caricatured except when it is a matter of saving Europeans.

Stop seeing an all-powerful United States behind every global problem. China is on the move and far more likely to disrupt environmental protocols, cheat on trade accords, and bully neighbors. The newly expanded Europe has a larger population and aggregate economy, stronger currency, and far less in trade and budget debts than does the United States — and is already using that economic clout for its own interests, not global freedom from dictators and autocrats.

Don't believe much of what the U.N. says anymore. Its secretary general is guilty of either malfeasance or incompetence, its soldiers are often hired thugs who terrorize those they are supposed to protect, and its resolutions are likely to be anti-democratic and anti-Semitic. Its members include dozens of nations whose odious representatives we would not let walk inside the doors of the U.S. Congress. The old idea of a United Nations was inspiring, the current reality chilling.

Stop seeing socialists and anti-Americans as Democrats. When a Michael Moore compares beheaders to our own Minutemen and laments that too many Democrats were in the World Trade Center, he deserves no platform alongside Wesley Clark or a seat next to Jimmy Carter or praise for his pseudo-dramas from high Democrats. Firebrands like Al Sharpton and Michael Moore are the current leftist equivalents of 1950s right-wing extremists like the John Birchers. They should suffer the same fate of ostracism, not bemused and tacit approval.

Ignore most grim international reports that show the United States as stingy, greedy, or uncaring based on some esoteric formula that makes a Sweden or Denmark out as the world's savior. Such "studies" always ignore aggregate dollars and look at per capita public giving, and yet somehow ignore things like over $100 billion to Afghanistan and Iraq or $15 billion pledged to fight AIDS in Africa. These academic white papers likewise forget private donations, because most of the American billionaires who give to global causes of various sorts do so as either individuals or through foundations. No mention is made of the hundred of millions that are handled by American Christian charities. And the idea of a stingy America never mentions about $200 billion of the Pentagon's budget, which does things like keeping the Persian Gulf open to world commerce; protecting Europe; ensuring that the Aegean is free of shooting and that the waters between China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are relatively tranquil; and stopping nasty folk like the Taliban and Saddam from blowing up more Buddha monuments, desecrating Babylon, or ruining the ecology of the Tigris-Euphrates wetlands.
Action and results, not rhetoric and intentions, are what matter. Cease blaming others for declining popularity. There is neither a Karl Rove conspiracy nor an envisioned red-state theocracy. No, the problem with our Left is what killed the dinosaurs: a desire to plod on to oblivion in a rapidly evolving world.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is victorhanson.com.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Yahoo! News - Secretary of State Powell Quits Bush Cabinet

Yahoo! News - Secretary of State Powell Quits Bush Cabinet: "Powell's resignation comes just as Washington makes a new push for Middle East peace and ahead of his trip to the region this month to possibly meet Palestinian leaders following last week's death of President Yasser Arafat (news - web sites)."

Another post for Anibal

Yahoo! News - Secretary of State Powell Quits Bush Cabinet

Yahoo! News - Secretary of State Powell Quits Bush Cabinet: "Powell's resignation comes just as Washington makes a new push for Middle East peace and ahead of his trip to the region this month to possibly meet Palestinian leaders following last week's death of President Yasser Arafat (news - web sites)."

Thursday, October 07, 2004

JP Aerospace - America's OTHER Space Program

JP Aerospace - America's OTHER Space Program: "Pictured here is a small version of the ship, named the Ascender, which we flew in last year. It is under remote control and flying untethered.

"
This is way cool!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Yahoo! News - Three Killed in Rush for IKEA Vouchers in Saudialism

Yahoo! News - Three Killed in Rush for IKEA Vouchers in Saudi: "Three Killed in Rush for IKEA Vouchers in Saudi

2 hours, 40 minutes ago

Add Oddly Enough - Reuters to My Yahoo!

JEDDAH (Reuters) - Three men were trampled to death in a rush to claim vouchers at the first IKEA furniture showroom in Saudi Arabia Wednesday, hospital officials said.



Sixteen shoppers were injured at the Sweden-based furniture store opening in Jeddah. Medics revived some 20 customers who had fainted in the crush. IKEA said two were killed.

The rush was triggered by an offer for the first 50 shoppers to receive $150 in vouchers. An IKEA statement said more than 20,000 people showed up.

Hospital officials said two of the dead were a Pakistani and a Saudi national.

The IKEA statement said the company had worked closely with Saudi security officials to plan the opening.

IKEA is known for simple, reasonably priced products.

"
Materialism is the fastest growing religion in Saudi.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

SI.com - Writers - Wahl: Iraqi soccer players upset about Bush campaign ads using team - Thursday August 19, 2004 4:59PM

SI.com - Writers - Wahl: Iraqi soccer players upset about Bush campaign ads using team - Thursday August 19, 2004 4:59PM: "Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. 'How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?' Manajid told me. 'He has committed so many crimes.'

snip

To a man, members of the Iraqi Olympic delegation say they are glad that former Olympic committee head Uday Hussein, who was responsible for the serial torture of Iraqi athletes and was killed four months after the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003, is no longer in power."

I am rooting for the Iraqi team but they are behaving like children. They don't see a connection between the invasion and no Uday?

EconoPundit

EconoPundit: "No blogging for a few days. Off we go to a cabin in upstate Wisconsin.

UPDATE: And according to Site Meter at some time tomorrow while we're happily driving northward, EconoPundit will greet its 400,000th visitor. Whoever you are: hi, please enjoy looking around for awhile.
Link posted by Steve Antler : 8:22 PM"

lazy!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Hundred-Year Language

The Hundred-Year Language: "I don't predict the demise of object-oriented programming, by the way. Though I don't think it has much to offer good programmers, except in certain specialized domains, it is irresistible to large organizations. Object-oriented programming offers a sustainable way to write spaghetti code. It lets you accrete programs as a series of patches. Large organizations always tend to develop software this way, and I expect this to be as true in a hundred years as it is today.
"
Heh

DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism Security

DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism Security

Whiner!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Download

Download: "


"free lisp book

Revenge of the Nerds

Revenge of the Nerds: "Within large organizations, the phrase used to describe this approach is 'industry best practice.' Its purpose is to shield the pointy-haired boss from responsibility: if he chooses something that is 'industry best practice,' and the company loses, he can't be blamed. He didn't choose, the industry did.
"
We use a LOT of 'best practices' where I work.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The New York Times > Health > Mental Health & Behavior > For Psychotherapy's Claims, Skeptics Demand Proof

The New York Times > Health > Mental Health & Behavior > For Psychotherapy's Claims, Skeptics Demand Proof: "It would be nice, for example, if researchers could find a way to deconstruct why Mr. Heideman, the meteorologist, feels his therapy has been so successful. After four years in treatment, he is now able to express his anger once in a while, he says, adding that his therapist 'has angered me, and challenged me and I just woke up; it was like the Big Bang for me.'

"
I bet it was his HMO that actually angered him

Taiwan stages war games as report shows China would win in six days

Taiwan stages war games as report shows China would win in six days: "The scenario of the maneuver, the first of two rehearsals for a major exercise to be held on August 25, was that Taiwan troops had failed to hold off an amphibious landing by Chinese forces, TVBS cable television showed.

"

I hope this is wrong. But if it is not, what would Kerry do?

Monday, August 09, 2004

Iran looking to improve Shahab-3 missile after Israeli test

Iran looking to improve Shahab-3 missile after Israeli test: "Iran aims to soon test an improved version of its Shahab-3 medium-range missile, Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said Saturday, following Israel's boosting of its anti-missile missile capability."

Maybe Israel can out arms race the Islamofascists like we did the commies!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

HoustonChronicle.com - We'll be looking at $50 oil, and likely by next winter

HoustonChronicle.com - We'll be looking at $50 oil, and likely by next winter: "The price of oil will climb to $50 overnight if a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia threatens oil production in a big way. Make no mistake: Islamist terrorists know the impact of such an attack."



In case you think terrorism in Saudi doesn't affect you...

Gulf Daily News

Gulf Daily News: "A SAUDI businessman, who refused to pay a BD268 bar tab, told police that he was a member of the Saudi ruling family and somebody had tried to kill him."

I guess the Royal Family has a bad enough rep without this.

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ?

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ?: "BlogThis! is an easy way to make a blog post without visiting blogger.com. Once you add the BlogThis! link to your browser's toolbar, blogging will be a snap. Or rather, a click. Clicking BlogThis! creates a mini-interface to Blogger post"

Way Cool