“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Democrat With Some Big Stones

A recent interview with Tom Lantos over at Radio Netherlands. You can read it or listen, but some very interesting comments. And on another matter, I appreciate all your contributions. To be honest, I enjoyed the Belmont Club but it was a 30/70 mix. Smart people do stupid things. Wretchard, without grace, dissed the best 70% of his blog. Back to topic and au revoir.

"MvdM: "If the Democratic party were to regain control of Congress after the mid-term elections in November, do you think that could improve relations between America and Europe?"

TL: "Well, I have two answers to that. I do believe there's a good chance we will take over the House of Representatives, a somewhat lesser chance we'll take over the Senate, and Europe will rejoice. But the rejoicing won't last long because fundamentally, while perhaps our style might improve and our appreciation of Europeans might be greater, fundamentally there is a broad consensus in Congress and in the country that Islamic fanatical terrorism is a global menace, and Democrats feel as strongly about this as Republicans do."

MvdM: "Hasn't Europe been making a fundamental contribution in the form of peacekeeping and in emphasising the importance of diplomacy and winning the hearts and minds of our own Muslim populations rather than the more confrontational approach through military means?"

TL: "Your question reveals the intellectual arrogance of the Europeans. We understand the value of diplomacy, we understand the value of peace, we also understand we are dealing with very complicated problems. Even minor problems like the Balkans, the Europeans could not handle until the US military got into it."
"I don't want to pick on the Dutch, but the Dutch soldiers didn't function so fabulously, as you remember. So the Europeans have to realise that there are now 415 million of them in the Union. I have been a supporter of the Union from day one. This is an enormous economic and political and cultural force, but it also has to be a physical force at least comparable to ours. And it isn't."


  1. Good morning. Bloody Mary's at the Bar or if you prefer you can order our great Mimosa.
    Going forward today we await Buddy's veggie choice and spirited conversation.

    Marijke van der Meer's Interview of Rep Tom Lantos is best read in it's entirety. 2164 did a great job but a few exchanges sharpen the tenor of the interview. I is apparent to this reader that Europe is still effectively out of the terrorist hunting game, as far as their populations are concerned.
    Rep. Lantos has many positions I do not agree with domestically but he pulls no punches in saying that we saved European and Dutch ass in WWII.
    Questions ensued about how bizaar public opinion polls are in europe regarding American popularity vs. say that of the ChiComs. Insane I think is the word that's used, and clearly it is insane.
    Having travel in Europe during much of the Cold War I can say that even then their haughty attitude was off putting. Envy I believe is their motivator.
    Many errands to day. I'll rejoin when P-Tater lets me back on the computer.

  2. Also, thank you to Buddy for the kink on Frontline "The man who Knew"..unfortunately I feel asleep at the keyboard and will picj it up at episode 5.VERY GOOD.

  3. After watching the ABC 911 docudrama and reading considerable pre- and post-broadcast commentary, I am surprised that no one has yet observed the enormous role the courts and legal system played in the weakening of American defenses. Repeatedly, the "principals" expressed concerns and reservations about whether any course of action could withstand legal challenge. Consequently, as citizen commenters rake the Clinton and Bush administrations with well deserved excoriating fire, Americans would be well advised to demand control of the omnipresent, crippling interference of lawyers by both the Executive and Legislative.

  4. Lantos is not alone. As has been the case throughout, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans will stay the course. Who knows, even Mr. Kerry may again vote for some further action before voting against it.

    Americans had better get used to the idea of a significant American presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the ME. The US will not abandon such hard won strategic gains.

  5. whit,

    re: "good Iraqis"

    Yes, that would be regrettable. It could be dangerous even; although, would anyone in government give that a moment's thought?

    re: ABC docudrama

    Obviously, bureaucrats will give first thought to CYA, as the docudrama made clear. My concern is the lack of concern for reform of a activist judiciary that imperils us all. Although the film did not explicitly address that as a cause for concern, implicitly, to my mind, it took center stage.

  6. Whit,
    I can confirm your question only through personal experience and the association I have with previous CIA operatives.
    Once the House and Senate hearings had done great disfavor to this country by having televized prosecution of the Agency (when it could have and should have been handled in executive committee behind closed doors) in the late 1970's the CIA was forever altered.
    It became primary for one involve in any type of clandestine work, be it ELINT or HUMINT to have legal counsel. The CIA even put out a memo basically outling that.
    Then Jimma Carter and Stansfield Turner, neither of whom have an iota of my respect continued to demoralize and dismantle a once great organization that had many successes during the COLD WAR.
    Today my contemoraries are all retired or working for CIA contractors but to a man they villify carter and his minions.