Why Only Tepid Russian Support for the War on Terror?
Once again, terror struck the streets of Moscow. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a music festival outside Moscow. One was believed to be a twenty year old girl. I suppose that, combined with the appearance of female suicide bombers in Israel, is proof of Islam's gender equality.
I used to be sympathetic to the Chechen cause, but now I've lost it all. First the bombings in Grozny, then the theater in Moscow, and now this. It's unacceptable. I will be studying in St. Petersburg all next year, and whatever my political feelings are, they change the moment I might be blown up in a cafe.
A friend of mine judiciously warned me to stay away from people looking like this, but I think that stubble, a bini cap, and a sad look will be all the rave during winter in St. Petersburg, so racial profiling won't work too well for me.
I get my hair cut regularly in a salon staffed by Soviet expatriates, and today was no exception. After informing my Georgian stylist about the news, she proceed to vent on why this religion was so dangerous and terrifying, and why these Chechen rebels were idiots for wanting independence. Apparently, terrorism like this doesn't make people more favorable to one's cause or one's religion - big surprise there. This might seem a bit bizarre coming from a Georgian, whose country declared independence, but it was a separate Soviet Socialist Republic. Chechnya has always been an actual part of Russia.
This touches a little close to home, and makes me glad I'll be in St. Petersburg - several hundred miles from Moscow. Hopefully that extra drive we be dissuasive enough to keep me safe.
Europeans Throw Hissy Fit Over Namecalling
Berlusconi, in response to accusations of his unfitness to take over Europe's rotating Presidency, told a German member of Parliament that he could well play the part of a Nazi concentration camp leader. Now the two countries have issued statements saying the other was acting childish. I haven't seen fights of this sort since grade school. Just more proof that Europe is not the 'mature grown up' it claims to be. And further dispells the myth of "Europe." There is no unified continent, and there won't be for a while.
Instead of a United States of Europe, the more reasonable description seems to be "A Federation of Nation-States."
Suspension of Military Aid Problematic
"The Bush administration suspended all American military assistance to 35 countries today because they refused to pledge to give American citizens immunity before the International Criminal Court."
We have every right to request exemption before giving aid to countries participating in the ICC. The intricacies of international law have yet to be worked out, and we do not want to put our soldiers in risk of prosecution because of their role in helping other countries. What's interesting is some of the countries on the list. Most importantly is Colombia, where we are quite active in training and providing weapons for use against FARC and the drug trade. This removal could only prolong the war, and help FARC take an even more proactive stance. Hopefully Colombia will realize what it has to lose and sign the exemption.
US concerns about the ICC are well founded. Ruth Wedgewood gives excellent analysis as to its shortcomings. The realistic possibility of frivolous lawsuits has been proven by Belgium's case against Powell and Rumsfeld stemming from "human rights abuses" during the first Gulf War. There are no provisions for due process or any of the protections in our Bill of Rights, and the prison conditions in many of the participating nations are appalling.
The ICC is far from perfect, and until some of the gravest concerns are dealt with, we will abstain from any action in a country where the ICC's jurisdiction could ensnare us. This is a loss for humanity as a whole. For example, under the current ICC format, Yugoslavia could have brought us to trial based on NATO bombings during the Kosovo campaign. Unless immunity is agreed to, the next time a country slaughters its own, we will be forced to sit the sidelines.
Americans Held Hostage Denied Compensation
"A federal appeals court ruled today that the Americans held in Iran for more than 400 days beginning in 1979 cannot receive damages from Tehran because the agreement that freed them barred such lawsuits. "
I fully support this decision. First of all, we should feel lucky we even got these hostages back. Considering the mood of Tehran circa 1979, and especially after a failed rescue attempt, it wouldn't have been a surprise were they all killed. If part of the deal was to relinquish any monetary claims, that was well worth their lives. I understand that the situation must have been pure hell, and I'm not saying it was a weekend jaunt. But that the Iranians eventually traded them back is proof of our negotiators' skill, and the hostages ought to thank them profusely, not second-guess their bargain. I'm sure that given the opportunity themselves, they would have gladly forgone any future lawsuits in order to secure their freedom.
Second, it would set a horrible precedent for the United States to go back on a deal made in good faith. This would significantly erode America's standing in eveyone's eyes, especially those of another group of radical extremists that we are trying to deal with right now - Palestinian terrorists. Were Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Al Aqsa to see us renege on a deal, any prospects for an agreement brokered by us would be finished. International relations are based on only two things, force and trust. For other nations to lose faith in our word, we would pay a hefty price in standing, prestige, and effectiveness.
In short, the Iranian hostage crisis was a low point in our history, and it was a nightmare for those involved. I am ecstatic that they got to come home unharmed, but given the circumstances, they were wrong in attempting to file suit.
PS: In doing this post, I not only learned how to properly spell renege, but also that it and renegade came from the same root - to deny. Kinda neat.
Talk About Orwellian
Kucinich wants to create a "Department of Peace," to "prevent violence both domestic and internationally."
Perhaps Dennis needs to go back and take an intro Poli Sci class where he would learn about the concept of the "monopoly of violence." This Dept. of Peace would have to use force to prevent violence, especially domestically. How does he think that the police force works. Maybe he hasn't ever seen an episode of Cops and thinks they just talk to criminals.
Leave it to the Dems to come up with insidious labeling to confuse the purpose of an office. As if somehow it were possible to prevent violence by means other than force. Clearly, our non-violent measures over a decade persuaded Saddam to conform to our convictions.
These people have such a ridiculously naive worldview. Dems have the reputation for being more cultured, traveled individuals, but I just can't imagine that they have ever been outside of America. Go on Dennis, create your newspeak department. Tell Kim Jong Ill how much we wish he would stop killing, imprisoning, and torturing his own people. Ask the Algerian islamofascists to stop slaughtering schoolchildren. Offer Islamic Jihad political recognition if they stop blowing up busses. Do all this, but realize that instead of securing the world for peace you only give it over to the more bestial, feral parts of humanity.
"Whatever enables us to go to war secures our peace." - Thomas Jefferson
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