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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kosovo Independence Will Come With a Cost

"Once you're into this family, there's no getting out."

Human beings are tribal. We can be multi-tribal and change tribes, but there is a primitive part in all of us that always knows our inner-homey. Sometimes tribes are not obvious. Teams, gangs, fraternities all define new tribes. Some are more permanent than others. There comes a time when primitive loyalties can surface and we are reminded who we are.

When that call comes, blood rises. It is a call stirred by fighting words, a racial slur, hardcore bigotry or a call to nationalism. Some of us become more of who we are with age or by being provoked by real or perceived external threats. Symbols, flags, songs, or words can all stir our tribal instincts.

Multi-culturalism and diversity can be less than skin deep.

Opponents of Kosovo Independence Fear Separatist Reaction

Radio Netherlands

The expected declaration of independence by Kosovo has a number of nations on edge. Those who oppose Kosovo's autonomy harbor separatists of their own. A free Kosovo could be just the rallying call these movements need.
With all the signs pointing towards a declaration of independence from Kosovo after the UN-set deadline for reaching a settlement passes on Monday, the European Union is bracing itself for a wave of renewed calls for autonomy from separatist movements across Europe.

If Kosovo declares independence from Serbia, it will set a powerful precedent for movements from Spain to Scotland, all wanting to rewrite the map of Europe and form their own independent states, according to experts.

"There is a real risk that the quasi-dogma of the intangibility of borders which has existed since the end of the World War II will fall," French political scientist Jean-Yves Camus of the Paris-based IRIS institute told AFP. "This would benefit movements which seek to rewrite the map of Europe based on ethnic, linguistic or cultural criteria," added Camus, a specialist on separatist movements in Europe.

The emergence of similar lifestyles and English as a common language in Europe, combined with the disappearance of borders and the lack of democratic legitimacy of EU bodies, had fueled "the development of micro-distinctive identities," said Camus.

While Kosovo's ethnic majority leaders have vowed not to unilaterally declare independence from Serbia without US and European Union approval, they are expected to announce their intentions to form a new state in early 2008.

Opposition includes fear of own breakaway states

Many of the countries which oppose the creation of an independent state of Kosovo have at least one separatist movement working towards autonomy within their own borders.

Russia has been fighting Chechen separatists for years

Serbia's ally Russia, which leads the opposition, has problems with separatists in Chechnya and the Caucasus region while Spain has had a long-running dispute with the armed ETA movement. Other countries against Kosovo's independence such as Cyprus and Greece have ethnic minorities which demand more power.

"In the West, this [Kosovo] solution will set off separatists in Europe,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published in French newspaper Le Figaro earlier this year. ”Look at Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country."

Spain is currently experiencing a period of unease as its northern Basque Country and its wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia have stepped up their demands for more autonomy.

Last year Catalan voters overwhelmingly backed a new charter which recognized the region as a "nation" within Spain and grants it enhanced powers in taxation and judicial matters.

Separatists claim EU structure makes autonomy possible

As in other separatist regions of Europe like Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium, and northern Italy, supporters said Catalonia deserved extra powers because it makes a bigger contribution to the economy.

The armed Basque separatist group ETA ended a 15-month ceasefire in June while the Scottish National Party, which came to power in May, plans to hold a referendum on independence in 2010.

Lingusitic divisions have led to a debate on splitting Belgium

Belgium meanwhile has been without a government for six months after a general election on June 10 highlighted deep divisions between the nation's majority Dutch-speakers and Francophones.

For many nationalists, membership in the 27-nation European Union has only served to make separation seem more viable.

"Europe can regulate our functionings and transfer payments. Why must we maintain this intermediate roof we call Belgium," the leader of the Flemish nationalist party, Bart De Wever, told French daily Le Monde last month.

Russia to block independence at UN level

Meanwhile, Russia stepped up its opposition Tuesday by announcing that it would demand that the UN Security Council annul any unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.

"Russia will of course demand the annulment of such a decision. We will demand a meeting of the Security Council because it would be a violation of a Council resolution," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted the country's chief Kosovo negotiator Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko as saying.


  1. Free Scotland!

    In the West, this [Kosovo] solution will set off separatists in Europe,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published in French newspaper Le Figaro earlier this year. ”Look at Scotland"

    Scotland for the Scots! Live Free or Die! The British boot must be taken from their neck!

    Dad had a case of the Scottish heirs one time. He went over there and came back laughing..they said, if only Bonnie Prince whoeveritwas hadn't been drinking the night before, and slept in, we wouldn't have been beaten at the Battle of whatitsname and we wouldn't be part of the damned UK now. Booze and Independence don't mix.

  2. But, it's serious stuff, another reason we ought to have an English as the official language amendment to the Constitution.

  3. La Mecha

    MEChA is an Hispanic separatist organization that encourages anti-American activities and civil disobedience. The radical members of MEChA who refer to themselves as "Mechistas," romanticize Mexican claims to the "lost Territories" of the Southwestern United States -- a Chicano country called Aztlan. In its national constitution, MEChA calls for self-determination by its members to liberate Aztlan. MEChA's national constitution starts out: "Chicano and Chicana students of Aztlán must take upon themselves the responsibilities to promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán."

  4. Bringing Hispanic Family Values to the USA

    Another Day in Hispanic Heaven

    DENVER -- The parents of the 10-year-old Denver girl who died after being caught in the crossfire of what police said was a gang or drug shootout promote a gang lifestyle on their MySpace pages.

    Auralia Cisneros died after being shot in the head at her home late Monday. Police said two armed men outside the Cisneros' West Denver apartment were engaged in a shootout with the girl's father inside the apartment at the time.

    Police have said the shootout was drug-or gang-related, an allegation disputed by friends of the family.
    --- The dad's MySpace page was still accessible Friday morning , and included pictures of Auralia.
    It showed a black background with blue marijuana leaves.

    On the mother's page, the News reported that a row of liquor bottles was shown next to "Who I'd like to meet."

    Amanda Salas, Auralia's mother, told the newspaper, "It's OK, it's just people's opinions. It's just a MySpace page."

    Even Auralia appeared to have had her own MySpace page. She listed her age as 16 and lists her hometown as "Dope City," the newspaper reported.
    Click here to read the full story in the Rocky Mountain News.

  5. LA Unified School district now sports a 50% graduation rate.
    Districts with equally high "immigrant" enrollments have equally miserable graduation rates.
    Not really a serious problem for the countries future:
    Just ask your local denier.
    We are the World!
    Open Immigration for Everyone!

  6. Condi's African Holiday

    This regional morass of wars and rivalries formed the backdrop last week to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's one-day visit to African Union headquarters in Ethiopia. It is far from clear what Rice hoped to accomplish by traveling to Africa. She didn't bring any plans to solve any of the region's problems or even suggest new ways of looking at them. Even more troubling, Rice devoted the majority of her attention not to pointing a finger at Eritrea and Sudan for their bad behavior, but to attacking Ethiopia and pressuring the southern Sudanese to cut a deal with Khartoum.

    It seems fairly clear that Ethiopia's hands are not clean in its handling of the separatist war in Ogaden. But at the same time, it is equally clear that Ethiopia is the only state among the warring factions that has tried to bring a semblance of law and order and openness to its war torn, fractured society.

    Beyond that, Ethiopia is without a doubt the US's most loyal, stable, militarily capable and strategically valuable ally in the region. And yet, in her public statements, Rice singled Ethiopia out for censure demanding that it curtail its operations along its border with Eritrea. She also called for an Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia despite the fact that she knows that the African Union has not been successful in raising a peacekeeping force to deploy to the country that could secure a peace. Rice refused to accept Ethiopia's position that the ONLF is a terrorist organization and took a step back from US threats in September to label Eritrea a state supporter of terrorism despite its open support for the al-Qaida linked ICU.

    Then too, aside from declaring that the peace agreement between the southern Sudanese and the Khartoum government must not be permitted to unravel, she offered no helpful advice on how to prevent that from occurring. Rice refrained from attacking Khartoum for boycotting her visit, and apparently sufficed with pleasantries in her meeting with south Sudanese leader Pagan Amum.

    Rice's foray into the Horn of Africa left an acrid aftertaste. Her superficial treatment of deep and dangerous conflicts indicates her lack of interest in the strategically vital region. Most troubling though, was her abusive treatment of Ethiopia. By attacking the US's strongest ally while making light of the actual conflicts plaguing the area, Rice showed that in the Horn of Africa her view of her role as chief US diplomat is no different from her perception of her role in the Middle East and Asia. Apparently, as Rice sees it, her remaining time in office is best spent weakening America's allies and giving a free ride to its foes.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi should be thankful that her main focus lies elsewhere.

  7. How to abolish the CIA
    Your Hoagland Comment was a real weiner, Trish:
    See No Evil.

  8. Westhawk's piece really deserves the "bite me" retort - and from those who are out there every motherfucking day pulling near miracles out of their asses.

    I'll only add that he don't know jack about either the Agency's unique mission nor its operations, nor why they can't be parceled out to other organizations that carry the legal burden of heavy Congressional oversight, regulation, and general scrutiny. You can kiss all of your covert and most of your clandestine capability goodbye. And you'll deserve what you get.

    We've been over all this before and I'm tired of arguing with you, so prattle on and have a pleasant day.

  9. We got to listen to some former commie who just became a US citizen in April of this year tell us we need to abolish the CIA?

  10. an alcohol addled mind that is past its apogee, still can produce some interesting product, but here and more and more he is sadly wrong.

  11. Bobal: But, it's serious stuff, another reason we ought to have an English as the official language amendment to the Constitution.

    There's no need. I'm a first generation "begotten" Fil-Am (born here to immigrant parents) and I can barely understand or speak Tagalog. America is the tower of babel in reverse. People come here and drop their native tongue like a hot potato.

  12. Many here have thought Mr Hitchens to have been wrong all his life. How many other Trotsky fans are there at the Bar?

    He happened to think that Saddam needed to go, so he supported the US invasion of Iraq.

    Looking for allies, any port in the storm, many embraced Mr Hitchens and his position.

    I've alway enjoyed reading his missives, because a self proclaimed intellectual, a man of letters, is often entertaining from a cultural perspective.

    That the "Left" abandoned Mr Hitchens, for staying true to his beliefs on Saddam, was also instructive as to their primary motivations.

  13. The reason to keep the CIA, is not for its "covert operations" and information gathering capabilities, but for the leftist dolts it keeps employed and their value as a source of bafflement and subterfuge to penetrating eyes. The real value of the CIA is that of confusion and distraction from where the real work is taking place. Though most others already understand the quality of agents and quality of hard work the CIA produces.

  14. Btw,

    Lots of words, but not one as to the real reason why Kosovo should not be allowed independence.

  15. The real reason, no nation state can exist with:
    Kosovo�s population range from 1.9 to 2.4 million.

    Less than a good sized modern city.
    Need about 20 million people to have a viable Nation State, less than that is an artifical political entity.

  16. Those numbers you spout Rat, on the surface, seem pretty arbitrary. How does population relate to criteria for Nationhood in your view? Heck, to broaden the question even more - what are the necessary elements of Nationhood?

  17. The quality of the people and the society has more to do with a nation than numbers. Some non viable countries come in continental sizes.

  18. Here is one of the planet's cesspools, Nigeria, 2003 population of 124,009,000:

    Nigerian ex-oil governor arrested
    By Alex Last
    BBC News, Lagos

    Mr Ibori's assets are said to include a jet and London property
    Nigeria's anti-corruption agency has arrested former Delta State Governor James Ibori, over allegations of corruption and money-laundering.

    The head of the agency, Nuhu Ribadu, said Mr Ibori would be charged in the high court in Abuja on Thursday.

    Mr Ibori is also under investigation by the Metropolitan police in the UK.

  19. Nationhood, historically, seems to be determined by a 'will to power' in a Hobbesian world. Nations seem to be primarily arbitrarily bounded. I guess the most cohesive nations are more ethnically/culturally unified but with transitory nature of people coupled with the modern rapidity of communication a unified culture, a 'pure' culture is virtually non=existent. This all depends on how broadly one defines a culture.

  20. No Ash, when Orwellian language becomes the mantra
    of the the leftist opinion makers and they create contra-factual nonsense such as, "our strength lies in our diversity", we create dysfunctional societies. They will never be around to accept the authorship of their work and its dismal results.

  21. The trend, globally, definitely seems to be tending toward a more diverse, defuse world, is it not? Whether this is a strength of not is a different story but with modern travel, communications, and global trade it seems inevitable that cultures will change and assimilate various features of others. A nations boundary becomes increasingly irrelevant in such a world.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Portland Board of Trade--prices as of close yesterday--

    Soft White Wheat--$12.25 per bushel
    Canola--$17.75 per hundred weight
    Barley--$256 per ton(usually around $90 per ton)
    Green peas--13.5 cents per pound
    Lentils--26 cents per pound

    Wheat, Barley at the height of my lifetime. Way up.

    Canola, peas, lentils--I have seen these prices before. They may go higher next spring as farmers switch to wheat, barley. The amount of land devoted to these is much less than to wheat, barley around here. We're the "Lentil Capital of the World" according to our propaganda. Barley follows corn closely. Most used for feed.

  24. Geographicly isolated islands in the middle of the North Atlantic are not analogous to south central Europe.

    Nigeria is self-supporting, is an exporter of energy and is a viable State, though not a well managed one.

    The very idea of little "States", scattered around the EU, makes that European Union the Nation, the once independent Nations becoming provinces.
    As in the US model

    Or the US should send fifty Ambassadors to the UN, rather than one. As a function of equality with the EU and AU models.

    New Hampshire, Delaware and Wyoming in need of equal representation within that World Governing body.

    As we move towards a world of fragmented City States. As exists in the Levant, an excellent example of the future under that model.

  25. But remember, bob, there is no "core" inflation.

    Gotta factor out food and energy, to be "fair" and "accurate"

  26. Puts me in mind of the old Hindu saying "Do the work you must do without regard to the fruits of the action."

    your retired farmer :(

  27. Some of the guys made two, three years of contracts on their future wheat crops when the prices began to move, at $6.00 a bushel--owieee--:(

    A free market is an unpredictable, risky thing.

  28. One thing this country could use would be a good smaller combine, so people with small acreages could get in the game. About the size of the Internationals of the 1950's era. But I don't think anyone makes them anymore. 10 foot header, simple 4 or 6 cylinder. Nowadays it's either a 30+ foot header, air conditioned computerized behemoth, or a scythe.

  29. When Thing Go Wrong

    Last summer my friend Wayne burned one up--there is only one door on these new models, only one way out--from the cab you can't tell what the heck is going on behind--a belt got hot, started to smoke, flared up, just a burnt out piece of metal in about 7 minutes, everyone was shouting, waving at the driver--he got out just in time.

  30. Pope Lauches Attack On Dogma!

    Says views should be based on science rather than dogma, global warming dogma, that is.

  31. bobal said: Pope Lauches Attack On Dogma! Says views should be based on science rather than dogma, global warming dogma, that is.

    Oh, I thought he was making a belated assault on the 1999 Kevin Smith film "Dogma"

  32. more celebration of diversity

    US Minorities Don't Trust Each Other

    Dec 12 12:27 PM US/Eastern

    The three main minorities in the United States -- blacks, Hispanics and Asians -- have little trust for each other and hold prejudiced views about Americans of different ethnic origins to their own, a poll showed Wednesday.
    "This extraordinary poll reveals some unflattering realities that exist in America today," said Sandy Close, head of new America Media (NAM) which sponsored the poll together with ethnic media groups.

    Forty-four percent of Hispanics and 47 percent of Asians are "afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime," the survey of 1,105 adults drawn from the three ethnic groups showed.

    More than half of black Americans polled and 46 percent of Hispanics said Asian business owners do not treat them with respect.

    And half of African-Americans said Latin American immigrants "are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the black community."

    Hispanics and Asians, whose populations are made up mainly of immigrants, were positive about the American dream, saying that those who work hard in the United States reap the rewards of their toil.

    In contrast, more than 60 percent of African-Americans dismissed the American dream as not working for them.

    All three ethnic groups viewed white Americans in a more favorable light than they did members of another minority.

    Sixty-one percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of Asians and 47 percent of African-Americans said they would rather do business with whites than members of the other two groups.

    "The poll reaffirms that while race relations between ethnic groups and whites grab the headlines, there are also serious racial problems between minority groups in America," said Sergio Bendixen, an expert on Hispanic and multilingual polling.

    "Blacks feel they are left out of the American Dream and are being displaced by newcomers, and each group buys into the negative stereotypes about the other two," he said.

    The three minority groups did agree that the United States would be a better place if blacks, Asians and Hispanics held more authoritative positions at universities, in business, media and government.

    They also said they believe racial tensions in the United States will ease over the next 10 years.