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Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
-- Ronald Reagan

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Friday, January 31, 2003
French Unilateralisme, Part Deux

From Hillel Fradkin's column on National Review Online today.

[T]he French and their supporters derive no more sober conclusions with regard to our present wars, including the war on terrorism. Though there is sympathy for our loss on 9/11, there are objections to our prosecution of this war — its scope, our alleged indifference to civilian casualties, our alleged abrogation of civil liberties. French critics have gone so far as to profess to hear fascist American jackboots in our streets and across the world. We would, they tell us, do far better to follow the sober French example when faced with terrorism in the '90's and "learn to live with it" as one French commentator advises.

This is a most curious example and advice. When France was hit by terrorism on the part of Algerian Islamic radicals in the '90s it responded by giving its support and advice to the Algerian government in its war with the radicals. Indeed the terrorism it suffered was partially the result of that support. France now has peace on its streets but the Algerian civil war goes on. It has already claimed anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 lives, most of them civilian and many of them killed by government forces. Some of the radicals have found a haven in Britain, claiming asylum as human rights victims. Last week some of these "victims" murdered a British policeman. Thus it is that humanitarian France has learned to live with terrorism.

Trashy Liberals

Liberals need to learn to pick up after themselves. According to the San Francisco Examiner, in a speech to the Quality of Life Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, Public Works Director Edwin Lee said that the city's "liberal values" contribute to its soft-on-trash culture. "In the next city poll," he said, "I'd like to see the question, 'Where do you think the trash comes from?' "

Silly boy! Everyone in SF knows that trash comes from hate-mongering conservatives and their non-recycling, non-composting, air-polluting lifestyle!

Victor Davis Hanson

Another fine essay today. Well worth reading.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Well, if the US is unilateral, then having eight Europeans leaders on our side is... octolateral! Or maybe nonolateral, since there's nine overall. Read this: United We Stand.

But I thought we were going to "go it alone?" Oh, that's right, what we really need to do is get the UN to back us. The same UN that puts Libya in charge of Human Rights and schedules Iraq to co-chair the conference on disarmament with the mad mullahs of Iran. The same UN that coddles Yasser Arafat. That's whose approval we need. Duh!

It's not unilateral, but it's interesting

Might have to buy that Steven Pinker book. See this.

AIDS Unilateralism

There's just no pleasing some people. It's not enough to commit an incredible amount of money to fighting AIDS in the lost continent of Africa - to really garner goodwill, you have to send it through the UN!

Big spending on AIDS seen as go-it-alone plan

President Bush's new $15 billion initiative to fight AIDS globally includes the largest amount ever, American or otherwise, devoted to treatment of those infected with the disease in the poor world, US officials said yesterday.

But activists said the proposal also suggests that the United States wants to act unilaterally and does not trust global coalitions.

''The sheer ambition of this, the size of it, is fantastic and truly scales up the response to AIDS,'' said Mark Malloch Brown, administrator of the United Nations Development Program. ''The trick for the United States is that if it wants to leverage its money and get the world to spend $10 to $12 billion a year on AIDS, you can't do it unilaterally.''

French Unilateralisme: Make sure you see the photo!

Ivorian Accord Falters, France Ready to Evacuate

Former colonial power France, which brokered the agreement and has sent 2,500 soldiers to the West African country, said it was ready to evacuate thousands of its citizens. Hundreds started to make their own way out on chartered planes.

Opponents of the deal say Paris pushed President Laurent Gbagbo into agreeing to give too much to rebels as a price for ending the four-month-old conflict in the world's biggest cocoa producer -- including the defense and interior ministries.

The army has rejected these key cabinet posts being given to rebels. It has also dismissed suggestions that it would demobilize its forces in the same way as the rebels.

Gbagbo's ruling party and four others that signed the deal at the weekend said in a Paris statement they opposed giving the security ministries to the rebels, adding that aspect was decided without their consent at a West African summit.

Word of the Day: Unilateral

Really, I suppose it's the epithet of the day, because it's always used to imply bad behavior. Reminds me of a post I entered the other day: "It's more important to do things together than to do the right thing." In any case, "unilateral" is here to stay.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Something Awful is pretty good.

The UN's "Moral Authority"

Iraq to chair U.N. disarmament conference. No, this is not a joke, just like Libya's leadership of the UN's human rights committee. It's all based on the alphabet, you see, and the I's have it. So, they Iraq will co-chair the session with... Iran! The UN is a joke.

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen

See this: Hydrogen Hopes By Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon. An interesting analysis (which I have not fact-checked) of renewable energy.

From Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus Column

Two more quick words on the State of the Union: My favorite line from any SotU was uttered by Gerald R. Ford, in 1975: “The state of the Union is not good.” Sometimes, when I’m going through a particularly rough patch, and a friend says, “How are you, Jay?,” I’ll answer, “The state of the Union is not good” — in honor of GRF, the only president from my home state of Michigan.

Finally, I believe I have a favorite cartoon. That may seem a ridiculous thing to say, when you’ve seen thousands — tens of thousands — of cartoons in your time. But . . .

Back in the ‘80s, during the Reagan years, The New Yorker ran a cartoon at Thanksgiving. A family was sitting down to a traditional turkey dinner, and someone said, “Dad will offer a prayer of thanks to God, and Mom will give the Democratic response.”

I just thought that was worth repeating.

Monday, January 27, 2003
An interesting perspective on racial preferences

By Ron Paul. I don't have a link; this excerpt came to my inbox from the Federalist Digest.

Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans only as members of groups and never as individuals. Racists believe that all individual who share superficial physical characteristics are alike; as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called 'diversity' actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups. ...The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims. Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence, not skin color, gender, or ethnicity. In a free market, businesses that discriminate lose customers, goodwill, and valuable employees -- while rational businesses flourish by choosing the most qualified employees and selling to all willing buyers. More importantly, in a free society every citizen gains a sense of himself as an individual, rather than developing a group or victim mentality. This leads to a sense of individual responsibility and personal pride, making skin color irrelevant. Rather than looking to government to correct what is essentially a sin of the heart, we should understand that reducing racism requires a shift from group thinking to an emphasis on individualism.

"It's more important to do things together than to do the right thing."

Scrappleface's parody of the French and German "multilateralists"

Read This

Poor Word Choice

From a Financial Times article. "US presses Europeans to weaken alliance"

"It is not really the 'old Europe' that worries Rumsfeld. It is the 'new Europe' that France and Germany are creating," says a EU military officer. "Washington is worried about the potential of the Franco-German axis."

Are the French sure they want to be part of a German "axis" again?

For future reference

This is interesting, if a bit old now: “Oil Weapon” Myth

Just wanted to note it in case I want to look back on it later.

Anarchy in the UK

Theodore Dalrymple on the failure of gun control in Britain.

[credit: junkscience.com]