“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."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Taiwan and Kosovo- I Love the Smell of Hypocrisy in the Morning.

"In Euros we trust."

Lots of news this morning. I can't wait to dive into Buchanan, but three little tidbits jumped out at me and they are all related in my pre-coffee brain.

Our new best friend, Niclolas Sarkozy, is in China and sold beaucoup Airbuses and a few nuclear power plants to the tune of €20 billion. (He did not take the Dalai Lama with him.) Not surprisingly, he also opposed any Taiwanese independence. Meanwhile back in Europe, the US, France and most of the EU are behind independence for the land dump called Kosovo.

Truth be told, I do not care about either Taiwan or Kosovo. They are not my problem nor are they US or EU problems until our collective rulers and masters make them a problem, and they do and will. I do have a question.

If enclaves of minorities in one part of the world desire independence and freedom are they entitled to them because of a universal human right? Is the right and entitlement as valid in Kosovo, Taiwan and say New Mexico? It can't be related to trade can it?

France opposes Taiwan referendum: Sarkozy
Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:40am ES

BEIJING (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his Chinese counterpart on Monday that France opposes Taiwan's contentious plan to hold a referendum on U.N. membership next year, a comment apparently intended to placate China.

A diplomatically isolated but increasingly assertive Taiwan plans to go ahead with the referendum on whether to seek to rejoin the world body despite repeated warnings from the United States and China.

"It is important to promote dialogue, cooperation and stability in the region," Sarkozy said in a speech in the presence of Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

"France therefore firmly opposes the proposal to hold a referendum on joining the United Nations under the name of Taiwan. It is not a useful initiative. It is therefore regrettable and I hope it will not be pursued".

Sarkozy earlier made similar remarks to Hu at the opening of bilateral talks.

He also said that he had taken note of Hu's offer in a speech last month to the Communist Party Congress to enter into negotiations with Taiwan to reach a peace agreement.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since their split in 1949 when Mao Zedong's Communists won the Chinese civil war and drove Chiang Kai-shek's defeated Nationalists to the island...
the rest here
______and then on the other hand________

Kosovo: A Chapter Closes

By Tim Judah in London BIRN
26 11 2007

Serbia’s reliance on Russia to keep Kosovo appears to have backfired by prompting EU countries to line up behind the independence option in order to show their unity.

Since the Kosovo problem began back in 1912, 1981, 1989 or 1998, (take your pick…) no one would – or should – be foolish enough to predict that we are now entering the Kosovo endgame. However it is clear that one chapter in this tortuous story is closing and, over the next few months, a new one opening.

Beginning Monday in the Austrian spa of Baden, Serbian and Kosovo Albanian leaders are meeting for one last time under the aegis of the Troika of mediators from the US, Russia and the EU.

No one expects any significant results. The Kosovo Albanians have stuck firm to their demand for independence and Serbia has insisted that it will concede no more than autonomy.

Even Wolfgang Ischinger, the EU’s representative on the Troika, has admitted that the chances of a breakthrough are virtually nil. "Naturally, an agreement on the status would be ideal,” he says, “but, unfortunately, this is something we cannot expect."

So what next? According to diplomatic sources an international conference could be held on Kosovo some time early in the New Year. However, nothing is yet fixed, nor even what the conference should do, if indeed it happens.

A few ideas are now doing the diplomatic rounds. One is that pressure should be put on the Kosovo Albanians to delay declaring independence until well into the New Year. This should be relatively easy to achieve, but the reason for this is not yet clear to the public in Kosovo who would need an explanation.

Hashim Thaci, whose party came out top in Kosovo’s November 17 poll, has said that Kosovo would declare independence immediately after December 10, the date the Troika must hand in their report on their mission to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General. In private however he has been telling diplomats that he is willing to hold on until spring.

While news of this delay has begun filtering out in the press, the reason for it has been less clear, and with good reason. What the diplomats hope to achieve by securing a delay on Kosovo’s independence is the re-election of Boris Tadic as president of Serbia.

The logic of this is simple. There are, thus far at any rate, only two serious candidates for the presidency, Tadic and Tomislav Nikolic, the acting leader of the Serbian Radical Party, whose founder, Vojislav Seselj is on trial before the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Western diplomats fear that if Nikolic wins the presidency in February, then there would be a serious risk of “losing Serbia”, but that if Tadic secures a second term, there is a far higher chance of Serbia, after a period of anger at losing Kosovo, staying the path when it comes to Euro-Atlantic integration.

If Tadic can indeed win, then he should be in a strong position to finally assert some serious influence in government, (which he has not done in the last year,) bearing in mind the low poll ratings of Vojislav Kostunica, the prime minister who, after having been seen to lose Montenegro will now be seen to have lost Kosovo.

One way this may be done is to argue, despite recent friendly words from Russia for Tadic, that it was above all Kostunica’s belief that Moscow could save Kosovo for Serbia which has backfired spectacularly. Indeed Kostunica’s party is formally allied to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.

Even until a few weeks ago it appeared that the EU was going to be badly split over the Kosovo issue. Now it appears that only Cyprus remains a “bitter ender” in opposing Kosovo’s recognition by EU states.

In a new paper by the European Council on Foreign Relations, Cyprus and Greece were given the unenviable title of the Russian “Trojan Horses” within the EU. But now, even Greece is signalling quietly that while it will not recognise Kosovo immediately, it will, given a decent interval of time.

Indeed, when Serbia comes to analyse “who lost Kosovo”, a debate which may come sooner rather than later, it may be seen to have proved a huge strategic error to try and rely on Russia. What appears to have happened is that the large number of countries which were either ambiguous about Kosovo’s independence or even opposed it, were highly alarmed by the way that Russia appeared willing to use the issue as a battering ram with which to divide the EU as part of its campaign to keep it weak.

Quite simply, a lumbering Russian bear, roaring: “I am back…” egged on by Serbia, terrified the flock of undecided EU sheep, including most prominently Germany, into rushing into the pen labelled “EU Unity”.

Last March Martti Ahtisaari the former Finnish president presented his plan for supervised independence for Kosovo to the UN. There Russia ensured that it failed to get Security Council backing.

Now, as it becomes clear that Russian policy is heading for failure over Kosovo, Ahtisaari is saying, with only the slightest hint of irony in his voice, that “the Russian attitude has reinforced the unity of the EU. I don’t think that was the original intent.”

One only needs to look at the map to consider why this was so. Kosovo, like the rest of the Western Balkans, is now an enclave deep inside EU and NATO territory. Russia’s attempt to set the agenda here in the face of what most EU leaders wanted has proved most unwelcome and counter-productive.

If an international conference is indeed called in the New Year, one scenario is that it could lay down the conditions for the recognition of the new state. Prime amongst them is likely to be the implementation of those parts of the Ahtisaari plan that can be realised without Serbian cooperation. They are also likely to include a demand for an invitation for the EU to send a Police and Justice mission and a so-called International Civilian Office, which would wield considerable power, to replace the current ailing UN mission.

In this way, the chapter that began with the Kosovo riots of March 2004 and then featured the diplomacy of Ahtisaari and the Troika, will close and a new one, full of fresh problems, will begin. It will almost certainly feature a new frozen conflict in Europe, which will include Belgrade’s blockade of the young state and the reality of a breakaway Serb-controlled region in the north of Kosovo itself.

Tim Judah, a leading Balkan commentator, is the author of The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia; and Kosovo: War and Revenge. Balkan Insight is BIRN's online publication.


  1. Why can't Bush sell something when he goes somewhere? Something that we make and get paid for.

  2. Maybe we could trade Iraq some oil for police protection.

  3. Didn't Saddam make the case that Kuwait was a break-away province of Iraq?

  4. Sounds to me like you've had too much already.:)

  5. "If enclaves of minorities in one part of the world desire independence and freedom are they entitled to them because of a universal human right? Is the right and entitlement as valid in Kosovo, Taiwan and say New Mexico? It can't be related to trade can it?"

    The question is simpler than that: Do ethno-linguistic minorities have a "right" to their own states, simply by virtue of their status as ethno-linguistic minorities?

  6. Taiwan was a goner the day the British handed over the keys and said (in the words of P.J. O'Rourke) "Good luck and bugger you."

  7. "Why can't Bush sell something when he goes somewhere? Something that we make and get paid for."

    That was the Clinton administration's gig.

  8. Reduce Global Warming!
    Nuke the Chi-Coms to glass,
    recognize Taiwan!
    (Just to balance Truman and Marshall's sellout to the Commies)

  9. Bring back Ping-Pong Diplomacy with the Taiwanese!
    ...a complete reset in the Far East!

  10. More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago, British charity Oxfam said in a study Sunday that largely blamed global warming.---
    More, More, More, Freak Shows.
    (Continental US has had FEW Hurricanes the last several years, Guam, far below average, Hawaii, NONE for 5 years or more, but...)
    hint: weather patterns move around over time.
    Then they move back!
    Rinse and repeat.
    "Oxfam... says that rising green house gas emissions are the major cause of weather-related disasters and must be tackled," the organisation said, adding that the world's poorest people were being hit the hardest.

    The world suffered about 120 natural disasters per year in the early 1980s, which compared with the current figure of about 500 per year, according to the report.

    "This year we have seen floods in South Asia, across the breadth of Africa and Mexico that have affected more than 250 million people," noted Oxfam director Barbara Stocking.

    "This is no freak year. It follows a pattern of more frequent, more erratic, more unpredictable and more extreme weather events that are affecting more people."
    The Oxfam study was compiled using data from the Red Cross, the United Nations and specialist researchers at Louvain University in Belgium.

    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Bali aims to see countries agree to launch a roadmap for negotiating cuts in climate-changing carbon emissions from 2012

    Not Enough Parking for Private Jets Going to UN Climate Conference in Bali ...

    As reported by Bali Discovery Tours on November 3 (emphasis added):
    Tempo Interaktif reports that Angkasa Pura - the management of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas.

    To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating "parking space" at other airports in Indonesia.The operational manager for Bali's Airport, Azjar Effendi, says his 3 parking areas can only accommodate 15 planes, which means that some of the jets used by VIP delegations will only be allowed to disembark and embark their planes in Bali with parking provided at airports in Surabaya, Lombok, Jakarta and Makassar.

    Talk about your really inconvenient truths.

  11. ""Why can't Bush sell something when he goes somewhere? Something that we make and get paid for."

    That was the Clinton administration's gig.
    Ron Brown is no longer with us, and Loral's not welcome!

  12. Clinton attempts to save Columbia from the Moronic, Radical Dems, and the Dems from themselves:

    Colombia's Fall From Grace -

    But there are also signs the worst may be over.

    Sources also tell me that many Democrats now feel they overreached earlier this year and that criticism of Uribe was sometimes unjustified or unrealistic. There is a general feeling that Democrats "have to come up with a line that is more constructive and more subtle," according to a Democratic congressional staffer.

    Also, party elders, particularly former President Clinton, have reminded Democrats that the current U.S. policy toward Colombia began with the Clinton administration and enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Future dealings with Colombian officials should acknowledge the significant progress achieved under Plan Colombia and show respect for the great sacrifice that Colombians continue to make in the service of shared objectives.

    Or as Clinton told a New York audience in June, "Those of us who want to continue progress owe it to our friends in Colombia to know what they've been through, and to express a little humility in the face of people who have already lost so much."

  13. Shackleton Redux (without the bad stuff)

    A century after Sir Ernest Shackleton's epic--but ultimately doomed--route to the South Pole, James Fox and Richard Dunwoody are setting out to reattempt the fateful expedition. The two Brits will depart on November 20th and, after joining Doug Stoup, tackle Shackleton's infamous 1915 route that ended when the great explorer's boat, Endurance, was trapped and crushed by ice.

    Dubbed "Beyond Shackleton," Fox, Dunwoody and Stoup's 60-day journey will take the men across the Great Crevasse Field, up a 10,000-ft ascent and across the vast, icy expanse of the South Pole. Like Shackleton, the crew will battle extraordinarily tough conditions: temperatures as cold as -58 and Katabic (descending) winds that clock in at upwards of 100 mph, all while dragging sleds weighing about 250 pounds.

    Presumably, they'll skip the part where they get stranded on the ice, fend off killer whales and have to paddle 800 miles in a lifeboat.
    --Damon Tabor

  14. Don't be so pessimistic deuce, we'll elect Clinton II and sell state secrets to China. We should still a few around here somewhere.

  15. In re Shackleton:

    The Endurance, by Caroline Alexander, is one of the best modern adventure books available. The photography alone is stunning. The children's version of same is superb as well, for those with young-uns on the XMas list. Sobering, poignant, inspiring.

  16. Need coffee myself. We should still have a few around here somewhere.

    That's the good thing about the French system, you elect a King for 7 years and he can deal. We need an energy czar for at least that amount of time, to deal, no shit back from anybody.

  17. Read it in the dead of winter by the flicker of candlelight, when the furnace is on the fritz and the Belgian plummer is on holiday. We did.

    (For Doug, of course, there is no dead of winter.)

  18. Draft Rufus!
    Lott Plans to Resign From Senate, Officials Say
    Officials gave no reason for the resignation, which Senator Trent Lott is expected to announce later today.

  19. Yeah, Photography is stunning.
    Nobody's ever imporoved on the large format Black and White classics, and nobody has the wherewithall to preserve all those plates through THOSE Conditions.

  20. Rufus would work good. I'd draft myself for nuclear, Ruf for bios.

    Kasparov in the Can

    Free, open, transparent elections on track in Russia.

  21. "The massive storm devastated Lott's home state, not to mention his oceanside home in Pascagoula. He found his refrigerator a few blocks away in a neighbor's yard. For him, the administration's bungled response was personal. He considered retiring."

    It's all Bush's fault and I quit.

    Wonder what's going on?

  22. This was a gripping account, also:

    Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    by Alfred Lansing
    Caroline's book is $85 at Amazon:
    What's up w/that?

  23. Bush caused Global Warming, which devastated Lott's abode.
    Displaced 3 strands of his perfectly styled Fraternity Cut.

  24. Maybe Lott's a tapper too. Never thought of that.

    deuce, a Light shines in the darkness, at least once a year. Guarded by an eight hundred pound pig too, Lester, the molester.

  25. "nobody has the wherewithall to preserve all those plates through THOSE Conditions."

    Frank Hurley. The photographer's photographer. Talk about utter devotion to one's craft...

  26. Very strange:
    The 85 bucks is for the German version, English is cheap.
    ...they don't do reprints in German?
    (He was English, after all.)

  27. But...
    The Carpenter was in his FIFTIES!
    ...and somehow endured!

  28. While the exactly reason Lott is stepping down before he finishes his term is unknown, the general speculation is that a quick departure immunizes Lott against tougher restrictions in a new lobbying law that takes effect at the end of the year. That law would require Senators to wait two-years before entering the lucrative world of lobbying Congress---NBC News

    Lookin' out for #1

  29. Really, it gets to the point where all an honest man can say is, our system is broken, it sucks.

  30. ...AND Bush abandoned the fragil Ego/hairdo in the Kerfulful over Strom Thurmond.
    Fellow "ex" racist.

  31. Care for Putin instead, Bobal?

  32. You need to learn a Lott more about Trent, Albob:
    Not only was he a Frat Guy, but a cheerleader, just like Bush.
    ...but he ended up w/Boner Envy.

  33. There is an interesting piece in the "New Republic" about the 2nd Amendment, it's legal history and the coming Court decision.

    But there was an even more interesting comment, as concerns "the People"

    I refer to the thesis of Carl T. Bogus's article "The Hidden History of the Second Amendment" in the Winter 1998 issue of the UC Davis Law Review. Bogus is on the law faculty of Roger William University in Rhode Island. Bogus explains that "the People" was a legal term of art in 18th century England for Parliament, as opposed to the crown. In American usage, it often appeared with reference to the states as opposed to the confederacy, later the federal government. He shows a compelling implication that the lawyers who wrote the Constitution and its amendments used the phrase to refer not to the citizens as individuals, but to the citizenry acting through its legislatures at the state level. He then shows that the citizen militias of the South were the primary means the government (i.e., the white land owners) had to maintain control of the slave population. The Southern slave owners were terrified that Congress would use its power to call forth the state militias to place the militias under federal command, thus preventing the state command from taking the swift action necessary during the slave rebellions that broke out often enough to be a constant worry. Virginia in particular made it quite clear that it would not ratify the Constitution without an understanding that it would be amended to make clear the states' authority to maintain such militias. Bogus's article ( goes into a great deal of historical detail to reach the conclusions I have summarized here, and it rambles a bit, but as law review articles go at least it is quite a page-turner. Does Sunstein, quoting Mark Tushnet, consider Bogus's contribution to this debate an example of "blowing smoke"?
    Dave Hunsberger

    The National Guard, an oft, if falsely, mentioned modern militia, was nationalized out from under Governor Wallace, as predicted by those that feared concentrated Federal power.

  34. ...nuff to make a Tapper out of a wide-stanced Southern Boy.

  35. Horribly sad, yes.

    But the last heartbreak was Mrs. Chippy. (And I say that as a dog lover.)

  36. That was for both Albob and 'Rat's threads!

  37. Ah, I take it back, it's only part broke.

  38. "Shackleton and two others climbed them, returned for the three men on the other side of the island and prepared to rescue their shipmates back at Elephant Island. After a couple of failed attempts, Shackleton did just that. And most remarkably, of course, he did all this without losing a single (human) life. "
    Big F...... Deal!

  39. Mr Putin just doing, in a more civil manner, what the General President of Pakistan has already implemented. With US subsidy

    Mr Putin faces radical jihadi in Chechnya, just as the General President faces in the Tribal areas. In fact many of the foreign jihadis in Pakistan are Chechnians.

    Mr Putin arrests and detains civil political foes, as does the General President.

    While Mr Putin is stepping aside, taking another official role, per the letter of the Russian Constitution, the General President abuses the Constitution of Pakistan with force of arms.

    One of the characters, Mr Putin, is seen, here at the Bar, as a danger to the world, while the other, is seen as a savior.

    Both are nuclear capable.

  40. The Bill of Rights was, just as predicted by some, a bad idea. Giving the impression, for instance, that if a right to own and operate a toaster were not listed, no such right would be presumed.

  41. That Baby Shower for Bhutto thing reminded me of the classic Oregon Video where they dynamited the Dead Whale on the Beach, all the spectators enjoyed the show.
    Until all the giant blobs of rotten Whale Blubber started raining down and pelting them good!
    Who could stage a better laugh?

  42. FOX is reporting that the FBI reported in May that jihadi were teamed up with Mexican drug cartels to smuggle men and weapons into Arizona, to attack an Army base on the Mexican border.

    That some of the jihadi are still in the country, hiding out in TX, now.

    Not like we didn't see it coming.

    Russia 141 million people
    Pakistan 164 million people

    Both nuclear capable, Pakistan with a larger Army.

    Neither controlly the mountains of the Pashtun.

    It is still morning.

  43. A well regulated kitchen being necessary to a free home, the right to keep and use a toaster shall not be infringed.

  44. The Ranch at Waco is well-guarded.
    All is well.

  45. But only a two slice toaster. And only with a toaster lock.

  46. North County Times
    U.S. renews warnings to Baja travelers
    Driving into Baja California may be losing its appeal for some North County travelers, as U.S. government advisories, Internet chatter and hand-wringing around local surf shops warn of increased trouble for American motorists in northern Mexico. 6 comment(s)
    Comments are interesting.

  47. What got me about that Lott story was I perceive the fix is in. Compound that with the fact Robert Vasquez, good guy, isn't going to be in the Republican primary here for lack of money, well, the fix is in here too. Our coming new Senator might as well be appointed by the governor, for all the real choice we'll have.

  48. "Surf City, USA"
    Sung by the La Mara Salvatrucha Choir.

    La Mara Salvatrucha: MS-13 Gang, The Worst of the Worst
    As with all “outlaw” gangs, MS 13 is involved in crimes: robbery, murder, drugs, rape, prostitution and so on. The biggest difference with gang is ...

  49. Yeah, Albob:
    Far be it from the Pub's to choose some shoe-in Iraq Vet to outflank the Dems.
    ...except Duncan Hunter's son who will win with NO help from the GOP, I'd guess.

  50. Mr Lott, he sees the writing on the Wall.

    Why wait until 2012, to leave, gettin' his ass kicked on every issue.

    Betcha he does not believe the GOP will have a filibuster capable minority.

    The "mighty" don't want to suffer the fall to impotence.

  51. Precisely my feelings about Mexico. Treat the illegal immigrants like sons and daughters, while our tourists get robbed and raped.

  52. The official word is it is a rare occurrence.
    At the Border, they're told to use the phone at MacDonalds!

  53. Takes a buck and a half to buy a Euro.

  54. Seems like Boeing could Ace out the French on the conversion alone.

  55. A few more Euros to buy a Kenyan

    yeah, you'd think so. WiO is doing good.

  56. Sharif Threatens Protests in Pakistan
    Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, pictured today filing nominations papers for parliamentary elections, said he would lead protests if his demands were not met.

  57. I forgot:
    What does WIO SELL?

  58. (Soybean exhaust to cure Global Warming?)

  59. Not sure, maybe it was foodstuffs.

  60. Yeah, but it was specialty stuff.
    "Overpriced Crap"
    as described by WIO hisself!

  61. How much would you make at 10 bucks a Bushel, Albob, if you were still running that Deere?

  62. ah the cheatin' human race. We have a girl here made a lot of money shipping 'organic' lentils all over--lentils she bought from the warehouse straight from commercial farmers around here. Not a thing organic about them, cept that they grew in dirt.

  63. 60 bushels an acre average, around here, times 10= 600 bucks an acre, but I don't know what the imput costs are now. But that's alot, I can tell you that.

  64. Nuclear Freak Slideshow
    Nice cap for Shariff,
    then comes madam Bhutto.
    Mr. Sharif's unimpeded homecoming stood in stunning contrast to his attempt to return here less than three months ago, when Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, ordered Mr. Sharif summarily deported. Left, supporters flood the streets after Mr. Sharif left the airport.

  65. "I have come to save this country," Mr. Sharif said at the airport arrivals hall to hundreds of supporters who screamed "Long Live! Long Live! Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!" And in a message to General Musharraf, they screamed: "Run Musharraf, run! The lion has come!" Left, Mr. Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz.

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. bob @ 10:11 and 10:15

    Made me smile.

  68. Islamist terrorists target Arizona base

    Fort Huachuca, the nation's largest intelligence-training center, changed security measures in May after being warned that Islamist terrorists, with the aid of Mexican drug cartels, were planning an attack on the facility.

  69. Bob makes me smile. Doug makes me laugh.

  70. After you've pulled your hair out.

  71. Oh boy, do they ever, Doug.

    Spencer Ackerman at TPM:

    So it begins. After years of obfuscation and denial on the length of the U.S.'s stay in Iraq, the White House and the Maliki government have released a joint declaration of "principles" for "friendship and cooperation." Apparently President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed the declaration during a morning teleconference.

    Naturally, the declaration is euphemistic, and doesn't refer explicitly to any U.S. military presence.

    -- Iraq's leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America, and we seek an enduring relationship with a democratic Iraq. We are ready to build that relationship in a sustainable way that protects our mutual interests, promotes regional stability, and requires fewer Coalition forces.

    -- In response, this Declaration is the first step in a three-step process that will normalize U.S.-Iraqi relations in a way which is consistent with Iraq's sovereignty and will help Iraq regain its rightful status in the international community – something both we and the Iraqis seek. The second step is the renewal of the Multinational Force-Iraq's Chapter VII United Nations mandate for a final year, followed by the third step, the negotiation of the detailed arrangements that will codify our bilateral relationship after the Chapter VII mandate expires.

    A "democratic Iraq" here means the Shiite-led Iraqi government. The current political arrangement will receive U.S. military protection against coups or any other internal subversion. That's something the Iraqi government wants desperately: not only is it massively unpopular, even among Iraqi Shiites, but the increasing U.S.-Sunni security cooperation strikes the Shiite government -- with some justification -- as a recipe for a future coup.

    Notice also the timetable. The U.S. and Iraq will negotiate another year-long United Nations mandate for foreign troops in Iraq, which will expire (I think) in late December 2008. According to today's declaration, following the forthcoming renewal at the U.N., "we will begin negotiation of a framework that will govern the future of our bilateral relationship." That means that during Bush's last year in office, the administration will work out the terms of the U.S.'s stay in Iraq in order to, at the very least, seriously constrain the next administration's options for ending the U.S. presence. Even if Bush doesn't take the audacious step of signing a so-called Status of Forces Agreement -- the basic document for garrisoning U.S. forces on foreign soil -- while he's a lame duck, the simple fact of negotiations will create a diplomatic expectation that his successor will find difficult to reverse.


    Let us now hand over to Rat.

  72. Team43 is moving right along, better late than never.

    The current cycle will end in Nov09, when the next set of Iraqi elections take place.

    Then we'd be well into the depths of the "Agreement".

  73. Forward-leaning something-or-other.


  74. On both sides of the deal, Iraq and US.

    Committed by those that came before.

  75. Endless occupation, at that point.

    As in Germany and Korea.


  76. But most of the Johnnies will be marching home!

    Hoorah! Hoorah!

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda ...

    But better late than never.

  77. Somehow I don't think the general population of Iraq will be quite so accepting and docile as the Germans and Koreans are.

  78. Won't have to be, but the Sunni seem pleased as punch, that the US President came to their desert, to a US base.

    The Shia population ...

    More diverse in opinions, but there are many more of them to successfully manage.

    Take the US troops off the streets, the majority of Iraqi will be happy to have locals take the fees and subsidies to replace them.

  79. ...all the while gleefully passing the Oil law?

  80. "Take the US troops off the streets"

    Vietman redux.

  81. If the Iraqi do not want an oil law, why force them to it?

    The US does not have a good bi-partisan alternative energy policy, nor a good off-shore exploration policy, are we thusly doomed?

    That Iraqi oil law and the reBaathification Authorization iare a US benchmarks, not an Iraqi ones.

    The Kurds are moving forward with oil agreements, regardless of the law. That's a fact on the ground.

    The Shia militias are profitting from their oil smuggling and those funds that do make it into the Federal Iraqi coffers are being reasonably distributed, according to US Generals and Mr Crocker.

  82. Could be, but without an invasion by the North, the Vietnam strategy could have succeeded.

    The insurgency did not take Saigon, the NVA did.

    I doubt the US would allow Iranian or Syrian tank Bns free access to Iraq. Even if our force levels were drawn down, especially so.

  83. 'I doubt the US would allow Iranian or Syrian tank Bns free access to Iraq."

    But this isn't a question of foreign conquest.

    Nor was it, in a manner of speaking, for south Vietnam.

  84. For every one guy we thought we had operating against us, we had 20. South Vietnamese.

  85. Depends upon the time frame involved, as to 'Nam. By the time the NVA rolled south, the VC had been handled, miltarily.

    That many people in the South did not appreciate the government there, quite true ....

    Even so, the South could have sustained, to some unknown future, if the NVA tanks and infantry were not involved in the final offensive.

  86. That many people in the US did not appreciate the South Vietnamese government, also true

  87. "That many people in the South did not appreciate the government there, quite true ....

    No, Rat. They were actively on the other side.

    My dad undertook in an official capacity with others the report that was leaked to the NYT.

  88. There is no doubt, trish, that many in the South were opposed to the Government there.

    That there were more of them opposed than generally reported at the time, or the activities they may have engaged in, without the NVA invasion, subjective speculation, even if well informed.

    Which is not to say the General Ky or Thee or Yee could have surfed the tsunami of commies, just that we don't know, then or now.
    What might have been

    It was not until later that it was postulated that Mr Diem may have been more right than wrong.

    But politics by assassination was all the rage, back in the day.

  89. "That there were more of them opposed than generally reported at the time, or the activities they may have engaged in, without the NVA invasion, subjective speculation, even if well informed."

    Well then, you're on your own.

  90. Given that Iraq has been occupied something like 20 times in its history and each occupier ended up fleeing it is hard to believe that the 21st occupation will fare any better - especially given our history in Vietnam ('oh we would have won if we'd just stuck it out' - but we didn't) it doesn't appear likely that the US people have the ruthlessness nor the patience to stick it out.

  91. Not that if the US had stuck it out, we'd have won.

    That if the NVA had not invaded the South:
    1. It would not have ended when it did
    2. It would not have ended like it did.

    Which does not revolve around US actions at the time, which was to do nothing, militarily.

    But around the actions taken by the North Vietnamese.

    That the US proxies in the South could have eventually collapsed, give ya that.
    Most did, from that era. Batista, Marcos, Diem, the Shah ...

  92. Over at the Belmont, W writes of the Blackwater Airships.

    Blimps in place of predators, for collecting intel.

    Ahead of the curve we were, again.
    Blimps, airships. Non-rigid

  93. Lewis Sorely got the last half of Vietnam right.

    The majority of the Southern VC infrastructure was cleaned out in pacification campaigns after Tet.

    Most of the latent Southern popular support died with it, helped along by atrocities like Hue.

    Coup de grace was the second, entirely Northern conventional invasion, the first having been thrown back by South Vietnamese ground troops, American advisers, and U.S. airpower.

  94. Somehow I don't think the general population of Iraq will be quite so accepting and docile as the Germans and Koreans are.

  95. The ARVN and South Vietnamese government became easy scapegoats for both sides of the political spectrum.

  96. The Vietnamese were sick of having other people in their country. The French, then briefly during WW II the Japs, then the French again, then us. Before all that, the Chinamen. They got saddled with a foreign marxist ideology, which they'll work out of, is the I see it. They have remarkably little animosity for us. The Buddist influence, enemies arise, mutually arise, then dissipate. They don't serve allah. Congress was craven to cut off the air support and funds cold turkey though, is also the way I see it.

  97. The Vietnamese have gotten into the Chinese habit of killing the baby girls, I read.

  98. Hillary and Huma It's not the lesbian connection, if any, that Hugh is concerned about. He wants to know about the 'deeply held' muzzie beliefs of this woman.

  99. "If enclaves of minorities in one part of the world desire independence and freedom are they entitled to them because of a universal human right? Is the right and entitlement as valid in Kosovo, Taiwan and say New Mexico? It can't be related to trade can it?"

    The answer is that groups don't have rights - individuals have rights. Group (i.e. ethnic-nationalist) and individual rights can exist in uneasy tension, but are at heart irreconcilable.

    As I said a while ago, think of it as multiculturalism on a state-level. Which is, oddly, one of the few areas where modern day 'liberal' is actually consistent with 19th century liberal thought (who believed in breaking down the multiethnic empires in Russia, Prussia, and Austro-Hungary).

  100. Someone said Huma is a fitting name for a muslim woman, 4/5ths of human.

  101. "As I said a while ago, think of it as multiculturalism on a state-level."

    To make sure I'm clear - the idea that people have to be represented and spoken for by people who look like them and therefore presumably advance their specific group interests.

  102. Nguyen Cao Ky has returned to Vietnam to stay, I read, after running a grocery store in California. Daughter's in the entertainment industry.

  103. I picked up his book at a used book sale at VMI a few weeks ago (Cheap military history - heaven!)...After finals are over I plan to get on it.

  104. Ash, you've admitted USA peoples aren't ruthless. Everybody knows we're not patient.

  105. ...which adds up to American people not being well suited for occupation...

    yet we persist in trying

  106. 2nd Amendment as Wedge Issue

    This writer thinks the D.C. decision will be hard for the Supreme Court to overturn, and that the issue might turn the election.

  107. Posted by Robert Cox
    4 of 47 | warn tnr | respond
    I commend the writer on their article, there seems to have been quite a bit of research done to come up with the materials. However, there are many other resources that apparently were not researched. Here are some quotes from the founding fathers and their contemporaries about guns and/or the second amendment. These have been gathered from several sources. We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; ---Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms. ---Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776 [The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. ---James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46. To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws. ---John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788) (make sure you read that carefully!) Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American...[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. ---Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive. ---Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787). [W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it. ---Richard Henry Lee, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788. The Virginia ratifying convention met from June 2 through June 26, 1788. Edmund Pendleton, opponent of a bill of rights, weakly argued that abuse of power could be remedied by recalling the delegated powers in a convention. Patrick Henry shot back that the power to resist oppression rests upon the right to possess arms: Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined. Henry sneered, O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone...Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation...inflicted by those who had no power at all? [W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually...I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor... ---George Mason The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals...[I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of. ---Albert Gallatin to Alexander Addison, Oct 7, 1789, MS. in N.Y. Hist. Soc.-A.G. Papers, Saint George Tucker (1752-1828) served as a colonel in the Virginia militia, was wounded in the Revolutionary War, was a law professor at William and Mary, and later was a justice on the Virginia Supreme Court from 1804 to 1811. He was also a friend of Thomas Jefferson. In 1803 he published a five-volume edition of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. To Blackstone's listing of the "fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject ... that of having arms ... suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law," Tucker in a footnote added: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." He cited the second amendment, noting that it is "without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government." He added: "Whoever examines the forest, and game laws in the British code, will readily perceive that the right of keeping arms is effectually taken away from the people of England." In discussing the second amendment, Tucker wrote: "This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty .... The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction. In England, the people have been disarmed, generally, under the specious pretext of preserving the game: a never failing lure to bring over the landed aristocracy to support any measure, under that mask, though calculated for very different purposes. True it is, their bill of rights seems at first view to counteract this policy: but the right of bearing arms is confined to protestants, and the words suitable to their condition and degree, have been interpreted to authorize the prohibition of keeping a gun or other engine for the destruction of game, to any farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game. So that not one man in five hundred can keep a gun in his house without being subject to a penalty." Tucker thus merged self-defense, prevention of standing armies, and protection from oppression all into a single concept--the generalized right of keeping and bearing arms as protected by the second amendment. More St. George Tucker from the appendix of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England (1803), "Here, let us again pause, and reflect, how admirably this division, and distribution of legislative power is adapted to preserve the liberty, and to promote the happiness of the people of the United States... Fifthly, and lastly; by the separation of the judiciary from the legislative department; and the independence of the former, of the control, or influence of the latter, in any case where any individual may be aggrieved or oppressed, under colour of an unconstitutional act of the legislature, or executive. In England, on the contrary, the greatest political object may be attained, by laws, apparently of little importance, or amounting only to a slight domestic regulation: the game-laws, as was before observed, have been converted into the means of disarming the body of the people:..." "The congress of the United States possesses no power to regulate, or interfere with the domestic concerns, or police of any state: it belongs not to them to establish any rules respecting the rights of property; nor will the constitution permit any prohibition of arms to the people;..." "If, for example, a law be passed by congress, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates, or persuasions of a man's own conscience or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble peaceably, or to keep and bear arms; it would, in any of these cases, be the province of the judiciary to pronounce whether any such act were constitutional, or not; and if not, to acquit the accused from any penalty which might be annexed to the breach of such unconstitutional act." Justice Story was appointed to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice by James Madison in 1811. In 1833 he wrote, "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States" His comments on the Second Amendment follow. "The next amendment is: 'A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' " "The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." So, in ending my comment, It's time to think again! The intent of all of these amendments was to protect INDIVIDUALS from government powers. They were meant as a guarantee to the individual state governments as well as the American citizens that the Federal government would not try to take away the freedoms which many of them had so recently fought for.

  108. Bobal: It's not the lesbian connection, if any, that Hugh is concerned about. He wants to know about the 'deeply held' muzzie beliefs of this woman.

    Or really. Hugh Hewitt wants to assert the "no religious test" clause of the Constitution on behalf of Mitt Romney, but he wants to ignore the same clause on behalf of the girlfriend of Hillary. Well Mitt is running for public office, but all Huma has to do is keep the bed warm for Hil.

  109. Look out for them Mormon Suicide Bombers, AlBob!

  110. "'I doubt the US would allow Iranian or Syrian tank Bns free access to Iraq."

    But this isn't a question of foreign conquest.

    Nor was it, in a manner of speaking, for south Vietnam.
    Unless you happened to live there when the RussoChiCommie-backed NVA was given the go ahead by the dems to take over.
    Then, it would be considered somewhat more than "a manner of speaking."
    Enough so that some hairs even got pulled out.

  111. It's a thankless job, keeping the bed warm for Hillary, but somebody's got to do it.

  112. "Lewis Sorely got the last half of Vietnam right.

    "The majority of the Southern VC infrastructure was cleaned out in pacification campaigns after Tet."

    Cutler, you need to have dinner with my father.

  113. Come up to western Pennsylvania over Christmas. Do you play cards?

  114. If you're serious, I used to. Made my gas money freshman year of college on fraternity poker. I haven't played in a while though.

  115. Oh, I'm serious.

    The problem would be getting the dear man to talk, which is not his wont, by either nature or profession.

    But he has a soft spot, as we all do, for intel aspirants.

  116. Unfortunately, I don't think I could do it this Christmas - heading to Florida over break for a combination of mental R&R, heavy pleasure reading, and continued physical training.

    But I'd love to take a rain check.

  117. Rain check granted.

    Summer of 2009.

  118. So long as I'm still on the East Coast, marked on my calendar.

    I'm like an elephant* in that regard.

    *typed without even thinking about the name of the bar

  119. The funny thing about all this is that Taiwan has an even stronger argument for independence than, from what I know of it, Kosovo does.

    The PRC has never controlled Taiwan. Of the five or so flags that have flown over the island, the PRC's is not among them.

    China's claims over Taiwan are tenuous at best, yet countries around the world are much more hesitant to piss on the plate of an economic giant like China than they are Serbia.