“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, July 26, 2007

New mosques are popping up across Venezuela. No Problem?

Family values may not end at the US border but then neither do US security risks, none more so than those coming from Hugo Chavez. The Republicans can criticize the Democrats for considering talking with America's declared enemies, but when are the Republicans going to actually do something about them? It will not come from the present White House.The neglect and the action shortfall from The Bush Administration when it comes to US border security borders is a scandal.The Democrats are even worse.

Yesterday in the Senate, Barack Hussein Obama, made a ruling that secure borders and homeland security were not related. That may prove to be a costly mistake for the Democrats. Here is hoping.

Venezuela and Iran team up for `axis of unity'

Thursday, Jul 26, 2007

A billboard of Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looms over a motorway in Venezuela, marking the entrance to a factory designed to produce three things: tractors, influence and angst.

The tractors, lined up in shiny red phalanxes on the grounds of Veniran, a joint venture between Venezuela and Iran, are for peasants and socialist cooperatives across Latin America.

The influence, less visible but real enough, is for Chavez and Ahmadinejad, two presidents who hope this and other ventures will project their prestige and power.

The angst, if all goes to plan, is for Washington. Veniran might be tucked away in the backwater provincial capital of Ciudad Bolivar but it is part of a wider attempt by Chavez to forge a common front against the US.

The socialist radical is using Venezuela's vast oil wealth to strike commercial and political deals with countries that challenge the US such as Iran, Belarus, Russia and China, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean, to rebuff what he refers to as the "empire".

"Chavez is a global player because right now he has a lot of money that he is prepared to spend to advance his huge ambitions," said Michael Shifter, an analyst with the Inter-American Dialogue thinktank. "He has worked tirelessly to upset US priorities in Latin America."

Supporters say he has worked tirelessly to support the poor and marginalized, for example through a US$250,000 loan to help farmers in Bolivia's lowlands build a coca industrialization plant, part of an effort to turn the leaf into cakes, biscuits and other legal products instead of cocaine.

"For years we have wanted to do this but no one would support us," said Leonardo Choque, leader of the Chimore federation of coca growers. "Then the Venezuelans come and offer us a loan with very low interest rates. And no conditions." Venezuela is also funding a new university nearby.

In contrast the US is accused of bullying Andean nations into destroying coca crops without promoting equally lucrative alternative livelihoods -- a big stick and a small carrot.

Of all Chavez's alliances the one with Iran is the most striking. Some of the estimated 180 economic and political accords signed with the mullahs over recent years are now bearing fruit.

The first "anti-imperialist cars" from a joint venture reached Venezuela's roads this month, with the first batch earmarked for army officers.

There is now a weekly flight between Caracas and Tehran, with a stopover in Damascus, operated by the Venezuelan state-controlled airline Conviasa and Iran's national carrier, Iran Air. New mosques are popping up across Venezuela and universities are teaching Farsi.

Iran is to help build platforms in a US$4 billion development of Orinoco delta oil deposits in exchange for Venezuelan investments.

The 4,000 tractors produced annually in Ciudad Bolivar are small beer in comparison but they have a symbolic value as agents of revolutionary change. Most are given or leased at a discount in Venezuela to socialist cooperatives that have seized land, with government blessing, from big ranches and sugar plantations.

Dozens have also been sent to Bolivia and Nicaragua.

"The idea is to help our brothers develop the land," said Reza Mahboubi, an Iranian manager at the plant. The technology was Iranian, as were the supervisors, but most of the 130 staff were Venezuelan. Asked if the objective was also to stick a finger in George Bush's eye, Mahboubi merely smiled.

A colleague who asked not to be named said the Iranians had been warmly welcomed: "I love it here. It's hot and sunny and they eat rice, just like back home. Except here I go out salsa dancing."

Chavez inaugurated the factory in 2005 with the then Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami. He has struck up a friendship with his successor, Ahmadinejad, and hailed their "axis of unity."

"The relationship is fundamentally geopolitical rather than economic," Shifter said. "It tells the world that Iran, an international pariah, is welcome in Latin America, which is traditionally regarded as the strategic preserve or `back yard' of the United States."


  1. In Europe, skylines reflect the rise of Islam

    "By Isabelle de PommereauThu Jul 26, 4:00 AM ET

    In the Rhine Valley city of Mannheim, the glittering minaret of Germany's biggest mosque overshadows what was once the region's most vibrant church, testifying to Muslims' new confidence as Christian churches are closing down.

    Years ago, 180 sisters of the Catholic order of the Sisters of the Divine Savior were the pulse of the city. Today, eight remain. Every weekend, roughly 150 Roman Catholics attend mass at the Liebfrauen Church, while up to 3,000 Muslims throng the Yavuz-Sultan-Selim mosque. Since the mosque was opened in 1995, Muslim shops and youth centers have become a magnet for the Muslim community.

    Mannheim is not unique. Across Europe, the Continent's fastest-growing religion is establishing its public presence after decades in basements and courtyards, changing not only the architectural look of cities, but also their social fabrics.

    Hailed by many as a sign of Muslim integration, the phenomenon is also feared as evidence of a parallel Islamic world threatening Europe's Christian culture."

  2. Venezuela and Minnesota.....

  3. Pump up coca production in the legal forms of cakes, etc., but make sure you keep sending the fine white stuff a el Norte to help the fat Americans poison themselves - all the while playing stupid and pointing out how you are helping indigent farmers.

    You have the Chinese leasing the locks on the Panama Canal.

    You have the Iranians establishing bases quite close to it in Venezuela. Be interesting to see how many of these oil industry advisors from Iran are Quds Force dudes.

    Interesting times we're living in, bros.

    Let's keep that southern border wide open, because I am sure Persians can't learn how to speak Spanish and wear sombreros.

  4. Well, the fact of the matter is that Hugo supplies the US with 1.135 million barrels of petroleum products, daily. Part of the total 28 million barrels of product imported eac day, 4%.

    Hard to refine, due to the sulpher content, Venezuelan crude needs special refineries. The ChiComs are building two such refineries, while Venezuelan production declines. Those refineries and the Canal capable tanker fleet that the Chinese are also building are indicators of future behaviour.

    Obviously Hugo is developing the systems that will allow him to end his country's economic dependency on US. Meanwhile his international base of support is growing, both in the Americas, Asia and the Persian Gulf areas.

  5. MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday inaugurated a 150,000-barrel-a-day refinery the nation is building in Nicaragua as part of the leftist leader's oil-funded battle against U.S. influence in the region.

    Chavez said the $2.5 billion refinery will allow Nicaragua _ the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere _ to earn $700 million annually.

    "I have come to deepen ties with the Nicaraguan people through their government," said Chavez, who a day earlier celebrated the 28th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution with his ally, President Daniel Ortega.

    Later Friday, Chavez called himself and Ortega the region's "anti-imperialist vaccine."

    Ortega vowed during his campaign to have changed from his revolutionary days and said he would work with the United States, once his arch enemy. But since taking office, he has increasingly attacked the U.S. and made more radical statements.
    Ortega said while Venezuela has sent generators to curb Nicaragua's rolling blackouts and offered the country $400 million in aid, "I haven't seen the United States send one single energy plant during this emergency."

    Ortega, whose Sandinista government led a war against U.S.-backed Contra rebels in the 1980s, returned to the presidency in January and has cultivated a strong relationship with Chavez, the White House's No. 1 foe in the region.

    U.S. ambassador Paul Triveli said Ortega's comments surprised him. He said the United States has launched a five-year aid program that has so far given Nicaragua $10 million and there are plans to give an additional $16 million.

    $10 million with $16 in the pipeline, in competition with a $2.5 Billion investment that is producing $700 million annually, and Mr Paul Triveli is surpirsed Daniel is not beholdin'?

    Sounds like a case of denial.

    Mr Paul Triveli may not have been involved with Mr Daniel before. Others of US have, no good will come from his election, which was engineered with the assistance of US ineptitude.

    On to Oaxaca!!!
    Viva Zapata!!!

  6. The Refinery story, datelined 20 July '07.

    Daniel has his oil teat, now

    Enough largess to maintain his position of authority for life.
    The efforts of Mr Reagan, Sir Ollie and a host of others in Central America being for naught, as the gains made by those efforts are lost, today.

  7. Spanish speaking Persians in sombreros. Good image, amigo.

    Mr. Ortega--same name, same program, rhetoric refined a bit, like sulfurous oil.

  8. Maybe two years to replace that 4% of petroleum products that the US imports?
    Will the distilleries be ready?
    1.3 million barrels of ethanol a day, just to supplement Hugos's deliveries.

    Before those products are diverted to Chinese consumers, no matter the bid price.

    Remember that Mr Hugo offered the US a long term averaged price guarentee deal of some sort, which was rejected by Mr Bush and Co.

    If the Chinese take that Deal, one that we declined, which guarentees product at a given price, regardless of market fluctuations.

    They'll get the black gold, fair and swuare.

  9. Another giant step towards energy independence, the Chinese sucking S. America dry. Might as well let them have the North Slope too, as we are not using most of it. Probably be able to ship right over the north pole, soon. We can buy bikes with the money.

  10. Longtime Belmont commenter nahncee:

    "Aren't we slowly but surely moving towards a final and ultimate 'clash of civilizations'? It seems to me that what Bush's optimal response became in the week after September 11 was an attempt by America (and the West) to avoid the genocide involved in defending ourselves.

    We've now spent six years attempting to bring Muslims of the world up to speed in acknowledging that yes, it is their religion and their Koran that is the 'root cause' of both their problems and our reaction. Pretty much as one, they have refused to look that reality in the eye, to the point where our choices have narrowed to two: convert to Islam and do it their way, or nuke the entire region back to the Stone Age, kill them all,and be done with it in the name of self-defense.

    I don't know that Mr. Bush ever had full confidence in a military solution, but I'm quite certain that everything he's done has been done out of Christian charity in a full-out effort to avoid having to kill everyone who claims 'Allah is Great'."

    Has nahncee lost her marbles? Her morals? Both maybe?

    One thing's certain: She can't be faulted for vague and airy ideas. She only lacks an implementation plan.

    But when we speak of the vital necessity of destroying Islam, it is only nahncee's proposal that will get the job done. Islam resides in hearts and minds - not in mosques, the Muslim "beer halls" - and it is those hearts and minds that must be our direct objects, if we are to rid ourselves and the world of this scourge.

    Nahncee sees this and rejects any Third Way. No soft-headed, pussy-footing, surgical-striking, nation builder, she. No siree.

  11. You will not change their hearts or minds. However, you can restrict their access. You can remove those that are undesirable in actions and deeds. Isolate the muslims that which to retain their "culture" and let them sort it out amongst themselves. Treat Islam for what it is; a militant, aberrant anachronism mired in violence. It deserves no more accommodation than Nazism does. It has foreited respect, moral equivalency and decent comparison to European- centric modern norms ideals and behavior. If that offends their cultural sensibilities, please send our regrets in their not being able to attend the party.

  12. 2164th wrote:

    "You can remove those that are undesirable in actions and deeds."

    What has this got to do with Islam? We remove folks from society regularly who do bad deeds (i.e. break the law) What else are you proposing we do?

  13. Islam is an ideology. And like any other other ideology, if you remove the psychological structure that supports the ideology then ideologues are discredited and the ideology dies. Islam's primary ideological attraction is that of an expansionist imperialist power. Push back the empire and reverse its territorial gains and you will remove the primary psychological underpinning of Islam and its cardinal premise.

  14. "You will not change their hearts or minds."

    Nahncee agrees and therefor does not propose changing them, but rather destroying them.

    And if we are going to compare the jihadist threat to the threat of National Socialism, well, restricting access and removing those who are undesirable in word and deed would seem a might underwhelming. When it came to the Nazis our objectives and our demands were maximalist, were they not?

  15. For the West to fight bad Islam without destroying good Islam it must fight paradoxically, which I think is the basis for the West's paralysis.

    The enemy has been masterful at exploiting the West's tolerant tendencies to undermine it.

    Example. The Finsbury Park mosque is a jihadi recruiting and training center in the heart of London.

    The UK has not shut it down, arrested the leaders and exiled them to Tattooine because they don't want to be seen abridging the free practice of religion.

    They won't infiltrate the mosque effectively, because that is racial profiling. A crime so heinous to the multi-culti elites that it is better to have people be beheaded and airliners explode over the ocean than have musselmen suffer the indignity of being watched because they are musselmen.

    The kabuki theatre of US airline security clearly illustrates how the elites will choose the supposed moral high ground over practical self-defense.

    To fight like we mean it entails pissing off the rest of the musselmen because we have to do some ugly things to a sizeable group of their people. Be it intense security on airplanes to carpet bombing Waziristan without warning.

    We can try and target bad Islam, but then the so-called moderates get on the kick that attacking one musselmen is attacking Islam. The media is only happy to help with this.

    It's pretty obvious we are trying to win over the fence-sitters by fighting a limited war.

    The changes in Anbar may be something, or they may be shit. It appears that once the Anbarians tasted the utter brutality and inhumanity of alQ in its fullest form, they decided the Infidel Crusaders are not so bad and jumped off the fence onto our side.

    Think that can happen in Waziristan? Qom? Medina?

    Do we have enough blood, treasure and will to conduct COIN in those places to get the same results?

  16. nahncee and habu, a marriage just waiting to be made in heaven, those kids just got to meet up...

  17. I think maybe the Finsbury Mosque hasn't been shut down because the bobbies like all the info they are getting there.

  18. At least so said one article that made out like it knew something, that I read a little while ago.

  19. Immiscible--i- m- m-i-s-c-i-b-l-e. If you can spell Mississippi, you can spell immiscible.

  20. The Pakistani announce, reports FOX News, that they have nuclear capable missiles that can hit New Delhi.

    Does that sound like a US ally that is trying to promote world peace and security?

  21. The Pakistani is immiscible. On the lighter side, a man with Too Much Time On His Hands

  22. Well, the fact of the matter is that Hugo supplies the US with 1.135 million barrels of petroleum products, daily. Part of the total 28 million barrels of product imported eac day, 4%.

    Total US consumption is around 20 mmboepd, not 28 million barrels product imported per day. Imports are 50-60% of consumption, or 10-12 million barrels per day.

    Shipping oil from Venezuela to China doesn't make economic sense, and likely won't happen much. The traders (arbitragers) won't let it happen. Too far away. It is all about pumping up the price, which will happen.

    It is probably time to pull out the stops on coal liquifaction, but the greens won't allow for that. Global warming, doncha know? Thus, the oil ticks have us over a barrel. Just one more reason to exterminate the left ;)

  23. "If the current five man majority continues thumbing its nose at popular values...." :) Interesting article historically. Beware, the dateline--W.V. Robert Byrd country.

    Stacking The Court

  24. Everyone seems to agree, it's past time to exterminate somebody.

    Or at least, pack the U.S. Supreme Court, if you don't get your way.

  25. Maybe we should stack the courts. Giving the Keys To The City To The Illegals Just sit back and take it ladies and gentlemen.

    I give up for the day.


  26. bobalharb said...
    "If the current five man majority continues thumbing its nose at popular values...." :) Interesting article historically. Beware, the dateline--W.V. Robert Byrd country.

    Stacking The Court

    That's the leftist playbook for you.

    I'm losing so let's change the rules in the middle of the game so I can win.

    Gotta love 'em if nothing else for being consistent.

  27. Agreed, bob. Nahncee and habu oughta get together and go bowling.

    "The changes in Anbar may be something, or they may be shit. It appears that once the Anbarians tasted the utter brutality and inhumanity of alQ in its fullest form, they decided the Infidel Crusaders are not so bad and jumped off the fence onto our side."

    I don't think they're shit. (Though they certainly didn't require a surge.) They just don't advance the admin's own cdntral strategic goal in Iraq. It gets us a range-of-the-moment tactical advantage, and that's as good as it's gonna get. But it wasn't AQ's brutality that turned them off. It was their rival status. The non-Salafist Sunnis have their own goals, their own side.

    "Think that can happen in Waziristan? Qom? Medina?"

    Apples and oranges. We aren't looking to put space between ourselves and a locally competing network in any of those places.

  28. The EnergyInformation Administration providethe data cited.

    Add up the numbers in "Total Imports of Petroleum (Top 15 Countries)
    (Thousand Barrels per Day)",
    the second chart.

    If the amounts imported are greater than the amount expended, that's another discussion, enitely.

  29. It is no futher from Venexuela to China than from Saudi Arabia to China, by tanker.

    From south end of the Canal to China is an easy sail in super tanker. The Canal capable tankers transit and then fill the big boys at sea. For many years that was how the Alaska crude reached Gulf Cosat refineries.

    Nothing to it, the Chinese ARE building the refineries and the Canal capable tankers, that there is a current shortage of. If the Panamerican pipeline in Panama were damaged, those tankers would be even more valuable, full both ways.

    An easy chole point, that pipeline across Panama.

  30. "And if we are going to compare the jihadist threat to the threat of National Socialism, well, restricting access and removing those who are undesirable in word and deed would seem a might underwhelming. When it came to the Nazis our objectives and our demands were maximalist, were they not?"

    Didn't need to be, especially if the Nazis had been nothing but a bunch of retrograde religious fanatics. They were especially dangerous because they had heavy industry, professional armies, and world class scientists.

  31. China's Influence in Panama

    China, Taiwan's arch-foe and rival, holds significant economic influence and possible political sway in Panama. The sheer volume of China's export alone poses a threat to Panama's bottom line.

    In 2005, China, including Hong Kong S.A.R., was the largest shipper in Atlantic-bound canal traffic with 17,769,372 long tons (18,054,515 metric tons) of goods reaching the East Coast of the Americas, according to the Panama Canal Authority. Nearly 87 percent of the Atlantic-bound cargo from China were for the United States.

    The ports at the ends of the Canal are operated by Panama Ports Company, which is owned by Hutchison Port Holdings Limited. That firm is owned by Hutchison Whampoa Limited, which is owned by the Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited.

    But despite the Global Sea Trade, flowing from China to the Americas, we are asked to believe that it would be uneconomic for raw material, crude oil, to flow the other way.

    That arguement would require some further elaboration before even beginning to be taken seriously.

  32. CARACAS, March 27 (Xinhua) -- China and Venezuela have expressed their wish to deepen their strategic association and cooperation during the three-day visit of a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

    During his visit, Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, fulfilled a tight working schedule, speaking to senior Venezuelan officials to exchange ideas on the development of bilateral relations.

    On Monday night, Li met Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, in the Miraflores presidential palace. There he said that since the establishment of the China-Venezuela strategic association, and especially in recent years, relations had entered a new phase characterized by frequent high-level visits, growing political trust and collaboration.

    He added that China is certain that cooperation to the benefit of both nations is in the fundamental interest of both nations, and that China seeks to increase strategic consensus with Venezuela.

    He also said that the CPC regards exchanges with the Fifth Republic Movement party, founded by Chavez, as very important and called for every closer cooperation between the two.

    Chavez said that bilateral relations held many opportunities and good prospects. He emphasized the Venezuelan government's hopes to explore more collaboration with China in other fields.

    Li and Chavez attended a Monday night event, where economic and technological cooperation agreements were signed.

    Li also met senior members of Venezuela's economic cabinet to review economic cooperation agreements.

    He also placed a floral wreath at the grave of South American liberation hero Simon Bolivar at the National Cemetery, and visited the Caracas house where Bolivar was born.

  33. Monday, June 04, 2007
    China Undermines U.S. in Latin America

    China is undermining the U.S. agenda to advance political reform, human rights and free trade in Latin America, the China-Latin America Task Force says.
    Center for Hemispheric Policy

    The relationship between China and Latin America has expanded significantly over the past several years. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between China and Latin America expanded from $200 million per year in 1975 to $70.2 billion per year in 2006 and is predicted to reach $100 billion per year by 2010. The trade and investment relationships have been complemented by other contacts, including high-level delegations of political, cultural, trade, and military officials. China now has a tangible, albeit modest, presence in Latin America that spans politics, economics, and regions.

    China’s presence includes ownership of mines in Peru and holdings in the Panama Canal business zone, as well as port operations and pipeline assets in Ecuador and joint ventures with petroleum companies such as PdVSA and Petrobras. China has observer status in the Organization of American States and a mission of Chinese peacekeepers in Haiti.

    Read more if you've a mind.

  34. Brazil is important to China as the largest economy in Latin America, both as a market for Chinese goods and as a source of raw materials. As with many other nations in South America, Brazilian exports to China are mainly primary products. China is particularly interested in Brazil’s soy and other agricultural products, with Brazil supplying some 45 percent of all PRC soybean imports. China also imports significant quantities of Brazilian iron and petroleum, and has launched several major collaborative projects with Brazil in these sectors, such as the Petrobras-Sinopec collaboration on Brazil’s Gasene pipeline, or the $1.5 billion proposed Baosteel-CVRD joint venture to build a steel mill in Maranhão.

    China also imports significant quantities of Brazilian iron and petroleum

    But from Venezuela, while even closer to China, it'd make no economic sense, to ship petroleum?

  35. 25 March '07, the BBC

    The left-wing Venezuelan government said it would work with China National Petroleum Corporation to boost Chinese investment in its oil facilities.

    It added that there were also joint plans to build a fleet of new tanker ships and three refineries in China.

    Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has long spoken of his hostility to the US.

    'US declining'

    His increasingly fraught relationship with America comes as he is pushing ahead with a nationalisation of Venezuela's oil industry.

    Such a move would strip major US companies such as Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Chevron of their majority stakes in Venezuelan oil projects.

    "The United States as a power is on the way down, China is on the way up. China is the market of the future," said Mr Chavez after the Chinese investment announcement.

    China's breakneck economic growth of recent years means it is today the world's second-biggest oil consumer after the US.

    Venezuela is the world's eighth largest oil exporter.

  36. "Didn't need to be, especially if the Nazis had been nothing but a bunch of retrograde religious fanatics. They were especially dangerous because they had heavy industry, professional armies, and world class scientists."

    The comparison is commonly made, cutler: The threat we face today is on par with that of National Socialism previously. The administration itself has done so, and, humorously enough, likens the current whatever-it-is to the war against fascism. (Chiefly, I would argue, because that was The Good War.)

  37. Now Pierre over at Belmont quite rightly wants to know: If we are facing a threat quite as serious as that of last century's Axis Powers, where in the hell's the war?

  38. "The comparison is commonly made, cutler: The threat we face today is on par with that of National Socialism previously. The administration itself has done so, and, humorously enough, likens the current whatever-it-is to the war against fascism. (Chiefly, I would argue, because that was The Good War.)"

    Isn't anything surprising, Nazi has become the perjorative term for just about everybody lately, to a large extent because it is hard to get everybody to agree on a group that's bad and worth piling on besides them.

    And I think the Nazis were and the Islamists are both exceedingly dangerous, for different reasons. The Nazis matched their strengths against our strengths, the Islamists match their strengths against our weaknesses.

    Matched up against the Nazis, we were, I'd say, under most conditions the stronger system. Even had Europe falled we were probably at the very least strong enough to keep them at arms length across the Atlantic Ocean (though it would have required what Eisenhower called a 'garrison state.'

    Extremist Islam cannot force itself upon us, for obvious reasons. In the face of better technology and organization, groups of Islamists survive amongst us only so long as we and our institutions tolerate them. On the other hand, we do tolerate them, and for the foreseeable future we will tolerate them.

    The Nazis could force themselves on us, the Islamists don't have to. Ultimately we could hold Nazi Germany at the peripheries, something we can't do with extremist Islam. Theoretically, we once could have, but with mass immigration the horse is now already within the gate and except for the possibility of some extreme unforeseeable events, isn't going to be thrown back out.

    So long as terrorism stays conventional, we can probably take it indefinitely, as the British are doing right now. A couple dozen dead isn't a mortal blow, nor even 3,000 in the big scheme of things - horrible as it is in isolation. Nuclear and biological terrorism, however, are something else (and believe me, I know all the wishful-thinking realist arguments about how terrorists will never get such weapons and if they do, why they'll never use them, and I don't buy them). In such an environment, it is debatable whether an open society can function.

    On the other hand, this is also not a danger inherently limited to extremist Islam. See Aum Shinrikyo, for a specific example, or "Fith Generation Warfare" for the general phenomena. It's the unavoidable downside of greater technology in fewer, potentially more unstable hands of any sort. But for now I'm worried about Islamists.

    Sorry, sometimes I understand exactly how Bob Novak got deemed the "Prince of Darkness."

  39. But back to the original comment.

    Because of the differences between the threat of Nazism and extremist Islam, I think that in a nightmare scenario that the latter could conceivably be "contained" or "isolated" because it can't forcibly crash the gates like the latter. It would require, however, a domestic environment far unlike the one we have today, but that's why its presupposition is the "nightmare scenario".

  40. "crash the gates like the latter"

    should be:

    like the former (Nazism)


    Sorry, quick typing at work.

  41. "Isn't anything surprising, Nazi has become the perjorative term for just about everybody lately, to a large extent because it is hard to get everybody to agree on a group that's bad and worth piling on besides them."

    It's become the way to market military intervention, and its most unfortunate consequences are creeping threat inflation and confusion as to the very nature of any particular challenge. Milosevic, recall, was Hitler. Saddam Hussein was Hitler. Amadinejad is Hitler. Hitler cannot be appeased. Hitler cannot be compromised with. Hitler must be stopped. National Socialism cannot be contained. It must be destroyed. Dresden must be firebombed. Civilization is at stake. Good God, not even the Israelis, sitting in the middle of the damn problem, believe they are facing an existential threat.

    Among its erstwhile supporters, the administration is paying for its own untethered rhetoric both on the Religion of Peace side of their argument and the Fourth Reich side. Neither is true, and you just cannot square that circle.

  42. Don't need to sell me on 'Hitlerism' or the myth-making regarding the 'Good War.'

    I think you're wrong about the Israelis. It depends on who you talk to, but most aren't tut-tutting the "one-bomb state" problem.

  43. "Good God, not even the Israelis, sitting in the middle of the damn problem, believe they are facing an existential threat."

    Really? Can you tell me, Trish, how you arrived at this conclusion?

  44. Islam has had a millennia and half to anchor itself territorially. It now literally covers half the globe and is poised to take over Europe. Islam is not fixed to a Hitler cult of personality. It is not fixed to delivering a workers paradise. It just needs to deliver more and more territory, which it has. And which it is programed to do in the future.

  45. I can, mat.

    I don't consider co-opting the Kurds for the long run a hair-on-fire response to imminent liquidation. It's a slow-burner, that one.

  46. So,

    existential threat = imminent liquidation

    That's your argument?

  47. I dunno, mat. What does "existential threat" mean if not, you know, a threat to one's very existence, as an individual and/or nation?

  48. Don't skirt the question. You're the one that made the linkage. I'm asking you if that's your argument. Yes, or No.

  49. I'm not skirting it, mat. I'm not trying to be a smart ass. The Israelis are no more engaged in World War III (or is it IV?) than we are. And they are, last I looked, closer to, far more intimate with, the threat than I am.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. "I'm not trying to be a smart ass."

    Do you have an inkling of the demographic, cultural, psychological, diplomatic, economic, military pressures Israel is subject to? Do you have an inkling of how much of Israel's resources are dedicated to defense and security? Do you have an inkling of the losses Israel took and keeps on taking on an almost daily basis against the Islamers?

    And you have the temerity to tell me you're NOT being a smart ass.

  52. Trish:
    I agree that they're not an existential threat to the west...yet, but let them go "nuclar" and they will be. For now, they're more of a threat to other Muslims - Arabs, Persians, Aghanis, Malysians, Nigerians, as well as the Jews and what few Christians are in the Muslim world. They are an existential threat to Iraqis celebrating a football victory.

  53. Whit,

    Is 40 million US Mexicans an existential threat to the US? Is 40 million muslims an existential threat to Europe? When does one become a boiled egg?

  54. Damn, mat. It IS their neighborhood.

  55. "But let them go 'nuclar' and they will be."

    Well then there's no point in Israel having them, is there?

  56. Trish,

    Is there a point in the US having them?

  57. Absolutely. And there's a point in Israel's having them.

  58. Nukes won't deter nuts.

  59. In the strictest sense of the word, no, the Mexicans are not an existential threat to the US but traditional American culture, now that's a different matter.

  60. Trish,

    They believe they will be rewarded in an afterlife, which is close enough.

  61. Btw, Trish,

    For that comment @ 08:56:00 PM, the Commissar would've awarded you a led marble to the back of the head, and I would've had a mighty hard time arguing against presenting you that marble.

  62. Mat, it IS the Israelis' neighborhood. They take the greatest burden, therefor, to themselves.

  63. Only if you're missing a marble.

  64. I see. The 08:56:00 PM comment applies to Israel. I mistakenly thought it referred to New Mexico.

  65. Anyway, Islam is not just an Israeli problem. Islam dominates half the globe, and is about to overtake Europe. This is a global issue.

  66. Oil is a commodity. The user looks at the delivered cost. Shorter haul means lower delivery charge. Means seller wants to get it to the closer customer, cause he has more room on his selling price. Venezuela is way closer to US than to China. Therefore, traders will get a better price here.

    There is a refinery near Corpus built by Tosco (now Valero, I suppose) in the early 80s specifically for Orinoco Basin heavy crude. Way closer than China.

    Incidentally, Conoco-Phillips has rejected Chavez settlement terms on their confiscated assets. Seems Venezuela has some seizable assets here in the States, if push comes to shove. I'm just glad COP has the stones to play Chavez' game.

    Don't for a second think this BS with the Islamoids and the Marxists is just about religion and politics. The run up in the price of oil funds it all, and has to be a primary motivator. It's just business.

    If your column of numbers adds up to 28 million barrels per day, there is a mistake. The number is 20.