“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."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Juggling Options on Nuclear Proliferation

There is no single worse option dilemma, facing mankind, than the nuclear proliferation by unstable states. Actually, if the states were merely unstable that would be worrying but not terrifying. It gets worse. It misstates the problem. Iran for one is not an unstable state. Neither is North Korea. Both nations are firmly in the control of repressive and brutally efficient regimes. They are stable in that there is little apparent credible threat to the established control by internal groups. The number one nuclear weapon empowered state that is potentially most unstable is Pakistan. It gets a “two for”. It is politically shaky and has a huge faction of Islamist radicals that are irrational by Western standards.

North Korea, by itself, would be far less worrisome if it was not so desperately poor. North Korea will sell nuclear weapons and technology to the highest bidder. Last week the New York Times reported that Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the UAE have all announced their intention to build civilian nuclear reactors. Last Tuesday, in an official visit to China, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reportedly signed an agreement with Chinese leader Hu Jintao for China to build nuclear reactors in Egypt.

There is no consensus within the World Community on how to deal with this problem. It is conceivable that the US could deal with it, but there is no lasting consensus within the United States for a workable approach. It is obvious that the spread of nuclear weapons will continue.

Caroline Glick has an interesting column in The Jerusalem Post
that discusses the problem from the point of view of Israel and its dangerous neighborhood. She suggests the US and Israel must stop Iran from getting the weapons, but does not tell how this should happen. She does not explore the long term and unintended consequences of a US or Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

There is no obvious solution. This is a part of the world where people revere and encourage suicide attacks. They believe they are better off dead than alive. Significant portions of the Islamic world are fatalistic fanatics with a mission to dominate those that are not. It is a society that thrives on revenge and approaches vengeance with enthusiasm and determination. A US or Israeli attack on Iran will be avenged. Iran is no Japan. Islam stands alone as a vibrant deadly landmine planted in the field of human history. There is a wise solution, but where?


  1. Well, jaimo, welcome aboard.

    Most of the folk that hang at the Bar will agree with your viewpoint. The challenge is not amongst us but in the Leadership of our Troops. The real Mission, as it were.

    I am sure you're happy to hear that US Army has buffed the floors in at least 250 Iraqi schools. Schools where we did not develop the Lesson Plan, leaving that to Mr al-Sadrs' shadow government.

    Any way do not hold your breathe, waiting for the assualt on Iran. Ask habu about the costs of buying a round of Chivas.

    In all seriousness there is a slimmer of hope that the Allies will take action against the Axis of Evil, but with Mr Blair being so short, and Mr Bush getting that way, if we do not roll by May, we lose all chance of acting and will be left with reacting to the moves of the foe.

    As no where in US Law is Iran described as an "Enemy of the State".

  2. As to those that feared the Democratic juggernaut rolling over the disorganized GOP in the House, Mr Robert Novak says:.

    "... The damage to her was irrevocable when she wrote her colleagues last weekend urging them to pick Murtha over Rep. Steny Hoyer. Close associates of Hoyer say her letter stunned him, and he was not alone. While Pelosi had made clear she would vote for Murtha, the public endorsement was unexpected.

    Although Pelosi's apologists had stressed that this was not a public campaign but a pro forma endorsement, she began actively campaigning for Murtha Tuesday. Even before that, the letter itself was taken seriously within the Democratic Caucus, including by Hoyer and his close associates. A speaker's written word cannot be taken lightly.

    This is a no-win situation for Pelosi. If Murtha wins today, she will be accused of personal vindictiveness in derailing Hoyer, who is more popular in the caucus and better qualified for leadership. If Murtha loses, as is much more probable, she will be seen as bumbling her first attempt to lead the new Democratic majority. ..."

    So take heart, the Peoples House, in the seat of government, is not in the hands of a competent politico, but just another bumbler.

    But then I was shadowing Mr Novak when I guessed 18 & 4, not nearly close to the 28 & 6 of reality.

    But the Market has been on the rise, so perhaps Mr Novak has got it right, this time.

  3. jaimo said:

    I think the "evil this way comes" anyway. The muslims hate US for who we are, not for what we've done or not done. I'd rather fight in their backyard at my choosing than wait for those perfidious bastards to knock on my front door.

    Institute 100% checks of shipping containers, build an Israeli-style fence clear across the northern and southern borders and turn around anyone trying to get through airport customs who either comes from or transited through any Muslim country, and you've just negated any of the bass tards from knocking on the front or back door, and we don't even have to get in a tussle with them on their turf.

  4. Well, here it is

    "THE PLAN"

    Four-point strategy

    · Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq

    · Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

    · Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others

    · Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces

    Out of the Wilderness with this?
    Inside a 4 to 6 month window?


  5. Bill Roggio suggusts reading
    This piece about Warizistan

  6. Dang DR,
    I twarnt the round o'Chivas it was the cost of those Vienna sausage
    hors doeuvres.

  7. Jaimo, A hearty welcome. Great points on your post. Since you've lurked for a while you might get the wrong impression that we're a small little clique but we just shot'n up the name is all
    Barkeep get this man his choice 'o pioson and how'bout another bowl of vienna sausage? PS. I have a critter PossumTater who posts on occasion, he's harmless.

    I'm certainly no defender of Islam but I think the whipped up hate is a by product,not a prime mover, of their war like ways.
    They believe it is their DUTY to get our minds right or kill us. Mohammad made that very clear.
    If Jesus had admonished us to go forth with the sword and subdue all non Christians we'd be handing out the whoop ass. Personally I'd like to be responding with a bit more vigerous whup ass than we've been do'in.

  8. Deuce, Good to move on to this post. The other was too amenable to incendiary prose, although it is a topic that the Thomas Sowell's book I mentioned in my reponse covers a bit...without bombast or rancor. Good call.

  9. Those Iraqi kidnappees, the story is not closed:

    BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's higher education minister said on Thursday that as many as 80 kidnap victims still were still being held by their abductors, disputing government claims that most has been released.

    Minister Abed Theyab reaffirmed that 70 of 150 hostages were released, saying those freed "were tortured and suffered a lot."

    Speaking on state television, Theyab also said his decision to suspend his membership in the Cabinet until the crisis was resolved was not a matter of politics, but he issued a sharp attack on the country's security apparatus.

    "Those in charge of security should be responsible for security," he said of the Ministry of Interior, which runs the police and security agencies.
    "Some of the hostages were tortured and killed, according to eyewitnesses from among the captives who were released," al-Khatib said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. He said he didn't know how many hostages had fallen victim to such abuse.

    A hood man just ran through westside Detroit, shooting five people, "at random"

  10. Good morning and welcome jaimo and thanks for your comments.

    Habu pointed out the previous post being delicate. It is, and I admire the Telegraph for being gutsy to put up articles that American papers avoid. There will be no legitimate subject that will be a "no go zone" on this blog. Some can be uncomfortable and open to misinterpretation.

    Relating to the dilemma we face with nuclear proliferation, I found this up on the BBC. It is encouraging to me.

    "France Searches N Korean Vessel"

    French officials in the Indian Ocean have inspected a North Korean ship under the terms of UN Security Council sanctions adopted against Pyongyang.
    The ship was examined on the island of Mayotte, but there were no reports it was carrying any illegal cargo.

    It is believed to be the first time a North Korean vessel has been inspected under Security Council Resolution 1718.

    The resolution imposed sanctions on North Korea after it carried out a nuclear test in October.

    The measures are aimed at preventing North Korea from acquiring or spreading nuclear technology.
    Is France on Board?

  11. Without a robust military airborn attack on Iran's nuclear facilities it's a fair bet that the ME is all going nuclear.
    By showing some resolve that the US population warms to (high altitude bombing,few, if any lost aircraft, and lots of destruction) we can deter that ME itch to get parity on the nuclear issue.

  12. An easy out, inspecting the ship at dockside, with Customs inspectors, as has always been their legitimate right.

    Far different than siezing a ship at sea, under the Authority of the UN Resolution.

    This was an eyewash operation, by the French.

  13. I knew there had to be a dark hole in there. Thanks DR for pointing out the error in my optimism.

  14. - always work from plausible deniability
    - be firm in your plausibility
    - never deny it, there's no oath here
    - be obtuse when attacking, no use in taking needless hits
    - don't say what you mean sometimes and do at others..allows you to shape shift more easily

  15. A serious contender for the world's greatest oxymoron is "Iraqi Police".

  16. Captain Ed is unhappy.

    Whither the GOP

    Talk about juggling.

  17. Rufus,
    He was a giant. God rest his soul.

  18. Dems Pick Hoyer For No. 2 House Post

  19. Mr Newt has an interesting view of the next year:

    "... If President Bush decides to govern as President Reagan did, he will work to unify the Blue Dog Democrats with the Republicans to win a handful of very large victories while accepting a constant barrage of unhappiness from the liberal leadership. That is what conservative bipartisanship is like. If on the other hand, President Bush decides on an establishment strategy of cooperating with the liberal leadership, he will guarantee splitting his own party and will see his legacy drift further and further to the left as the Pelosi-Reid wing of their party demands more and more concessions. ..."

    At the WSJ Online

    "The Right Coalition "
    Which bipartisanship will Bush choose?

    Thursday, November 16, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

  20. Rufus 11:54..
    I read a good deal of history and the one thing that still amazes me is how petty and vindictive people near the seat of power are.

    Abe Lincoln really had it bad. You read about his travails in the middle of the Civil War and it makes you want to go piss on the graves of those who made his life a living hell.

  21. 5 people shot, 2 killed by 2 suspected gunmen in Detroit
    November 16, 2006

    Police investigators seal off a section of Linwood on Detroit's west side to investigate a shooting early this morning. A.C. Towing employee Anthony Davis, 54, of Detroit cleans up glass of the car involved in one of the shootings. (MANDI WRIGHT/Detroit Free Press)

    Detroit Police now say there were two gunmen, armed with a rifle and handgun, who shot five people -- killing two -- within 10 minutes this morning on the city’s west side.

    As crime-scene investigators descended on the shooting scene, a two or three block area near Linwood and Joy, police launched a manhunt for the suspected shooters in the neighborhood.

    According to police, a 58-year-old woman parked in a Chevy Impala in front of the Angel Land Day Care Center, on the 8700 block of Linwood near Blaine, was killed.

    Minutes later, a 58-year-old man was shot and killed a block away on Linwood. A second man was wounded in the same incident.

    Within 10 minutes, two more men were shot and wounded on the 2400 block of Taylor, not far from the first two shootings.

    Police spokesman James Tate said the three wounded people did not appear to have life-threatening injuries. They were taken to Henry Ford Hospital.

    The 58-year-old victim in the Chevy Impala was identified through Secretary of State records and witnesses as Ophelia Fry, of Detroit, an employee at the Angel Land daycare-latchkey center that cares for children ages 2 to 12.

    At 6:30 a.m., Mamie Robinson, 33, arrived at the child care center with her 6- year old son, Silas Moses. She saw patrol cars and Fry's gray 2007 Impala parked out front of the childcare center with the driver's side window shot out.

    “Somebody had told me Miss Fry had been shot.. I still can't believe it,” Robinson said. “She was such a sweet pleasant person. I don't know how anyone could have done this to her.”

    Her son Silas agreed.

    “She was very nice,” he said.

    Tate said that police did not yet know a motivation for the shootings and haven’t drawn any connections among the victims.

    Police were able to interview the three survivors, who provided descriptions of the gunmen. The first assailant is described by police as a black man with a light-complexion, 5’9” to 5’11,” about 160 pounds and wearing a brown-hooded sweatshirt, in his mid-twenties.

    The second assailant was described as a black man, 5’7” to 5’8,” with a medium build, wearing a dark coat and appeared to be in his early twenties.

    Hate crime,terrorism,drugs? Vote by pressing on the screen underneath the word.

  22. Mr Murtha, the new Chairman of Defense Apropriations Comittee.

    Can't have any negative influence on the War effort in that job, aye?

  23. Mohammed and who?

    Malvo is locked up, but there are plenty of Mohammeds out there, still.

  24. Has the Cold War returned?


    Cold War

    I mentioned "The Long Telegram" tow days ago. Our adversaries are trying containment on us.

  25. Rufus,
    Need somebody whose a big beer drinker.

  26. I really like that idea. Pissing on the graves of those most deserving. yeah. Sadly, unless congestive heart failure works its magic soon, I'll miss out on the Michael Moore segment of the POTG tour.

    I'm collecting major bodies of water and I have most of the major oceans and two of the great lakes, as well as a few smaller but still significant waterways.

    Stepehn Ambrose in "The Victors" recounts Patton's pissing into the rhine while the flashbulbs went off.

    what is it about us guys anyway?

    I think we're missing something important and Habu touched on it. When it comes to islamic extremism, cui bono?

    it seems to me that the muslim clergy are basically fighting for their lives because islam will never modernize unless those guys lose thier iron grip on the minds of the muslim masses.

    Looking at the guys exhorting the muslims to murder and mayhem shows us the rank and file of muslim theology. You got your I uh tollahs, your mooollahs, your eeee mams and so on.

    One potential solution to this very frightening dilemma would be to assasinate some of the muslim clergy and send the rest to retraining camps.

    Even as we discuss the crisis here we are inclined to seek fault lines along sectarian/confessional boundaries rather than national.

    I wonder if it isn't less sunni vs shia and more the muslim clergy vs the modern world.

    Oh and what does Putin know about getting along with muslims that we don't?

  27. Totally correct, rufus.
    That was the day the die was cast.
    The outcome projected at that time, during the first battle, either the graveyard or the Mosque, I do not recall the partculars.

    Then the murder warrant that went unfilled. Decisions made at the highest levels of US Policy making.

    You are right, the direction of the Campaign was evident early on. Some of us saw it then, some are just beginning to catch a glimpse, now. While others still cling to a quick knock out punch, sending Abracadbra to the floor.

  28. Republicans Embrace Minority Status, Seek Reparations, Party-Based Preferences

    Far from appearing distraught after losing the House of Representatives and most likely the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections, many Republicans have expressed excitement at the opportunities these apparent defeats bring.

    "Yeah baby!" exclaimed one senior GOP official. "We really brought it home this time. We are officially minorities, so no one can call us poseurs any longer. Keep your eyes out for some of the exciting new initiatives that we plan on introducing in the near future. I don't know about you, but I for one am looking forward to getting spotted fifty points on my next eye exam!"

    Among these new offerings is expected to be the "Fifty Gallons and a Dually" program which demands reparations from the Democratic Party in the form of fuel and pick-up trucks with poor MPG ratings.

    Other potential GOP initiatives include:

    teenagers who claim Republican heritage receive a "20 point head start" on their drivers license examinations
    federal funding for Republican Entertainment Television (RET)
    "Right of Return" to Vermont
    In a related story, 83% of those polled by TNOYF were unaware that the Republicans had in fact held the majority in Congress until Tuesday night.

  29. off/thread, but a chart (and a joke) for the rufusnomics file: link

  30. o/t2, RIP Milton Friedman, who taught the Fed what "inflation" is.

  31. We fight fur what's right!

    We ain't a fraddie.

    What we're fight'n for laddies.


  32. LOL--RET Network. Can I finally want MY MTV?

  33. skipsailing said:

    Oh and what does Putin know about getting along with muslims that we don't?

    Putin's trick is when they hijack and down two of his civilian airliners on the same day, to do nothing.

  34. headlights on that old car like to blinded me

  35. WC, ever since that attempted coup on Yeltsin, I haven't trusted the truth of Moscow terrorism's accused perps, all that much.

    call me paranoidski.

  36. The Texas/Louisiana border region's version of that old sayin, Rufus, is 'be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail" IIRC. The generation born around 1900 used all those things matter of course, then the next gen moved to the city, and quit 'em. Now only us forward boomers remember 'em, and then only from the grandfolks. Damn sad, they are rich color.

  37. What does lambs tail have to do with the Mohammedans, anyway?

    Two shakes or three?

    Is it part of Mr Sistanis' cleaning instructions, the number of shakes the lamb can sustain?

  38. Or is that two sheiks per lambs tail?

  39. my goodness what's happened at BC? did they all line up for icewater enemas on the same day or what?

    Tonight I'm going to do a little research. I need to know if there are any prominent graves nearby that I can piss on now. Just to, you know, get into practice.

    Here in the rust belt every little village has, in addition to nine bars and a soft serve ice cream joint, a piece of old artillery sitting on the town square. I was considering a photo project that would include an explanation of the piece, and maybe some of its history.

    for example my itty bitty town has a few naval cannon from Perry's squadron. It would have been interesting to learn some of the stories behind some of these relics.

    but now, well screw it, I have graves that need to be pissed on. Anybody know where, exactly, Millard Fillmore is buried? He's first on my list and he should be first on the list of any right thinking man!

  40. (sung to tune "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean")

    Sistani lies over the warzone,
    Sistani's the friend of the free,

    (that's all i got so far)

  41. skipsailing, re BC, you got to expect that, only a week after the election sounded recall, that the push will be on to paint our position as impossible.

    "Impossible" is a powerful word, the most self-fulfilling of all adjectives. pretty depressing. Good on ya for staying on the up side. I'm waiting for the Baker Report, whether we rally or trench around the redoubt is up to the smoke-filled back room now.

  42. Rufus,

    I saw this article here and thought of our previous discussion re: genetic bases for culture, society and thus resultant conflict.

    Here's what seems like a concise money quote:

    Researchers headed by Sean O'Donnell, a University of Washington associate professor of psychology, found that a key region in the brains of a primitively social paper wasp is better developed in dominant females than in subordinate ones.

    "This finding, the first of its kind, contrasts with most of the prior work on social insect brain development. Earlier studies, including one of ours, were done on highly social species with large colony sizes. Among these species, age plays an important role in task performance and workers that leave the nest to forage generally have better-developed brains," he said.

    What's interesting here is how brain development is mapped on the insect's social heirarchy. It seems in the primitives, you have more development towards the top, and more complex societies have more development in the lower-ranking members.

    Draw your own conclusions about political philsophies and policies from this...

  43. Democrats provide needed leadership out of the sand.


    I would also like to nominate for our first Piss on the Grave (POTG) tour: Edward Boland, US Rep who sponsored the Boland amendments.
    #2 His roommate Tip O'Neill

    floor's now open for other "pee on the nominees"

  44. HELP..I haven't been able to locate a list of who signed the Jim Wright letter to Daniel Ortega,
    Dear Commandante. There are a few more nominees on that letter I'd like to include on the POTG Tour.

  45. Jimmy Carter is getting up their in age.

    I saw him at the CBOT awhile back - the guy couldn't walk but with two secret service guys helping him along.

    Nothing wrong with that, as the fellar's old. But the old fellar is also a subversive little f***

    I wouldn't be toting around a vial at government property though. We need something more symbolic - a paper print out that says "urine" or has the chemical constituents.

  46. ppab, re the bug brains, see the linked David Barash piece.

    Kerry & Tom Harkin, for the Dear Commandante "Urine this list, too".

  47. This site oughta be required reading at the WH. They could learn a damn site more about how to run things that the advice they're gett'n now . I mean we even to reassurchin.

    Researcher assistant

    Do I have a witness?

  48. Jimmy Carter,
    no one smarter,

    rode to office
    on a snail darter,

    never did what I thought he oughter,

    presidential timber comes tall and shorter.

  49. Buddy,
    two shakes of a lambs tail was all over the South.

    Why I remember that and I hate that motherf*cker Sherman.


    and..I'll be outback for awile.

  50. You know, education--if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck between two statues.

    Taranto's harsh (LOL) quip, from UPI.