Monday, October 01, 2007
My blogfriend Ry emailed me a Stratfor analysis entitled "Geopolitical Diary: Russia's war of words with Georgia."
The article describes Russia's scelerotic attempts to regain influence throughout the former Soviet bloc. Two things are clear: Russia is against democratization throughout eastern Europe and central Asia, and is becoming exactly as incompetent as an oil- and natural-gas- exporting country is expected to be. (When was the last time you saw geopolitical brilliance out of Saudi Arabia, or Venezuela, or...).
Unfortunately, Russia is able to hold American policy hostage because of her clientele with Iran. Whenver Russia wants America to look away, she supports this- or that- Iranian program, forcing Washington to make a deal to get the bear off her back.
A weakened Iran, of course, would hold less interest in the world, allowing America to focus on a "9/12" policy of supporting globalization and democracy.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Two of the best reasons not spoken for a war with Iran are that it would bring in China and push out Russia.
The latter first: Iran has been transforming into a Russian client state, and this relationship is enormously profitable to Russia. By supporting the Islamic Republic, Moscow is able to distract Washington from more important goals throughout eastern Europe. The fate of the soft revolutions against authoritarianism and the expansion of Europe as far east as possible simple matter to us far more than does the particular fate of Iran, or even the Shia generally. As long as Moscow is able and willing to provide Iran cover, our important work in Ukraine, and Georgia, and beyond that in Belarus and Kazakhstan, is set back. If Iran in chaos is the price that needs to be paid for expanding the European Care and crippling Russia's ability to cause mischief, then those benefits alone mean a positive ROI (return on investment).
The former last: One of the many reasons that America had trouble expanding the coalition of the willing to include Iran and China is that the Asian states are accustomed to free-riding of American efforts in the Gap (the Muslim world and Africa). Unfortunately, much of the hard work in shrinking the Gap relies less on stealth bombers and more on boots on the ground. American labor is simply too expensive to allow Washington to field a 200,000 man army a quick and successful Iraq stabilization may have required, and similarly too expensive to do much good throughout Africa. Critics of strikes on Iran often say that such a war would invite increased attention to the third world from China and India. I say good. We need the powers of the New Core as partners. If the Iran War enables that, then the struggle is worth it.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
The Miami Herald notes an interest question: why, when America is a greater enemy of al Qaeda than Britain, do most al Qaeda attacks target the Crown and not the Constitution?
Some reasons are straight-forward:
The United States is geographically more separate from the Middle East, the home of Islamic fundamentalism. Beyond that, especially since 9/11, the nation has cracked down on both travel and new-resident visas, making it harder for terrorists from outside to get into the country.
But there's this important one too:
''The Islamic population in the United States is better assimilated into the general population, whereas here, in Germany, in France, they're very much on the outside looking in,'' he said. ``When people get disaffected, sadly, there's not much loyalty to country in that sort of situation.''
Sadly, a fifth column of multiculturalists will do their best to roll back the integration of American Muslims.
When al Qaeda becomes fashionable on college campuses, the multiculturalists will be to blame many times over.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Razib over at Gene Expression pens an encyclopedic review of Philip Jenkins' God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis. Razib is a scienceophile atheist and rightist -- an admirer equally of Nicholas Wade and John Derbyshire. The review is in some ways a repudiation of his earlier, alarmist writings on the rise of Islam in Europe. After pointing out interesting facts, such as the cycle of reconversions in European history...
The Mizo peoples of northeast India were originally converted to Christianity by Welsh Protestant nonconformists, but with the decline of fidelity to organized Christianity in Britain they have now sent missionaries back to Wales (in some ways one might contend this is an expanded recapitulation of the evangelization of Anglo-Saxon Britain from Ireland during the late 6th and early 7th century, as the Irish themselves were converted to Christianity by the Romano-British).
He spends most of the post on two highly visible minorities: Europe's secular elite and Europe's Islamist underclass. Much has been written about the microstates before, so a word on the elite and their governments:
Though American elites are often accused of being "out of touch," Jenkins argues that European elites exhibit a far greater distance from their "hinterlands" in terms of outlook and world-view (he suggests that the small size and low number of cultural capitals results in a far greater centralization in terms of elite socialization). Dutch elites in the immigrant filled cities no doubt find it easy to forget that their nation is host to a "Bible Belt" of Calvinist believers. Nations as disparate as Norway, France and Scotland have regions of elevated Christianity commitment. But these concentrations of organized Christianity highlight the second trend: the reemergence of the ancient classical pattern where Christianity is simply a major cult within a religiously diverse landscape.
A reminder of Europe's anti-Christian past is also useful, for putting the most recent Dawkins atheist-tirade into perspective:
in 1798 the Pope was held captive as anti-Christian revolution swept Europe. Many savants of the age predicted the death of Christianity and the ancien regime. Despite the restoration after the fall of Napoleon, the ancien regime did fall and transform into the modern era of nation-states, but Christianity did not die. It is also important to remember the power of anti-clericalism throughout much of the 19th and early 20th century, and the allure and appeal of radical politics for the European working classes. In 1881 Italian nationalists attempted to seize the body of Pius IX and throw it into the Tiber river. In France the Catholicism and laicism have been at tension for two centuries.
Read the whole review.
Monday, May 07, 2007
"No one should expect any weakness from me. Mosques where extremist Islam is preached will be closed. Imams who give radical sermons will be expelled. And people coming to conferences who don't show proof of respect for republican rules will find themselves systematically denied visas to enter France."
Sarkozy has now produced a book, which translates as "The Republic, Religions and Hope", that seeks to address the issue of Muslims in France, which many voters put at the top of their concerns. It is a thin volume of 180 pages, mostly conversations with philosopher Philippe Verdin, but it is revolutionary by French standards in that it calls for an end to the 1905 law that established France as a secular republic, separating the state from religion. If the state can subsidize sports and culture clubs, Sarkozy asks, why not churches?
... will be the new President of France!
Catholicgauze has more. The Left has issued their reaction:
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Earlier, in "The Wary Guerrilla, I looked at the phenomonon on the individual level:
Stay tuned to tdaxp for an expanded version of "The Wary Student," which will follow up previous research by looking at classroom settings. Or even check out the attack on Mike Daisey for another example of this sort of intolerance.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Barnett, T.P.M. 2007. Like Hanson... Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. April 8, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/04/toms_column_this_week_6.html#comment-16630.
Tom Barnett, who I admire greatly, responded to my concerns that Turkey may not belong in Europe:
Like Hanson, I think you're too observant of friction and not of force (the former being primary a function of the latter, but hardly its master). It's very seductive and seems very perceptive in historical terms (hence the appeal to historians), but it's a trap of immense proportions in terms of solid strategic thinking (live in the world you find yourself in, because these are revolutionary times).
Acutlaly, I think Tom and I are closer than that. The recent Islamism in Turkey is doubtless a response to the uncertainties of a globalizing economy, and thus come from different sources than Arab extremism. And again, I am naturally sympathetic to the Turkish cause. I've criticized German maltreatment of Turks before. But the idea of mass Turkish immigration to Europe, which is inseparable from a meaningful entry of Turkey to the European Union, is too dangerous.
Earlier, Dr. Barnett opined on a possible strike on Iran.
Back to our asynch dialogue of late: to me, attacking Iran overloads the Core on feedback, thus putting it at risk. I can't grow the Core if I split it, thus my fear.
This is the best reason for keeping Turkey out of Europe. Europe is in making national identities more fluid than they have been any time since the Dark Ages. That's not an exaggeration. The blending of German, French, and Italian peoples has not happened on this scale since Charlemagne. Europe apperas to be able to handle this, but Europe already is having problems processing Muslim immigrants. Allowing Turks to live freely in Europe would ramp up this disruptive feedback to Europe, perhaps splitting Europe off from the rest of the Core. (The concern is not that Europe would descend to a third-world country -- though the no-go zones already have --- but that Europe's attention and concerns would become centered on its unique Islam problem and not applicable to other Core-wide pursuits.)
The impact of massive Turkish immigration to Europe would far, far exceed yet another chapter in the "America acts recklessly in the Middle East" saga that Europe's been watching for decades. So how can one oppose an Iran War, out of concern for the Core's reaction, while supporting Turkish immigration to Europe? Especially when other larger and vital states, such as Ukraine, have yet to be integrated.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Fifty years ago today, the Treaty of Rome was signed. With this treaty, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries formed the European Economic Community. That small club has now grown into a continent-straddling economic and political union of twenty-seven member states. An important front-line state, with Arabian Africa to the south and Russia to the east, the European union is an important engine of connectivity and a vital player in the domino-like globalization of the world.
Europe's constitution, the Ode to Joy, salutes the wonders of connectedness:
Be embraced, ye millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods
Happy Birthday, Europe!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I'm no fan of Belarus's dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. He is a third-rate goon in the mold of Slovak strongman Vladimir Mecier. I've previously called for Lukashenko's overthrow. However, while Belarus is a beach of authoritarianism to the island of democracy that is Europe
Democracies in Green. Belarus (dictatorship) in Pink and Russia (dictatorship) in Red
But Russia is much, much, much more dangerous than Belarus could ever be. Indeed, seen in the proper context, Belarus is infinitely more useful if she is a buffer to Russia than if she serves that Bear
Democracies in Green. Belarus (dictatorship) in Pink and Russia (dictatorship) in Red
Roll back Russia. Support Belarus.
Democracy can come to a Belarus free of Russia faster than it can come to a Belarus that belongs to Russia. Europe and the west must take Russia's blackmailing of Belarus as the opportunity it is to splinter Moscow's hold on the Eurasian Heartland.
Don't let Russia threaten Belarus.