Monday, December 04, 2006

About staying power, gas and other sources of energy

Before we proceed with the next tiresome instalment of the State of Malcontent (will it never end?) a few intriguing articles out of today's current affairs vacuum:

- On 1st November Heather Robinson wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal all Americans can take to heart. "My Country Needs Me. Iraqi democrats haven't given up the fight. How can we?" chronicles the trepidations of Mr Al-Alusi, founder of the now 15,000 members strong Iraqi Nation Party. I'd would like to add the following remarks:

First, now that diplomatic efforts are exerted to get Syria and Iran involved in normalizing the situation in Iraq, one wonders how these countries can possibly have that ability, given that neither has a hand in the pernicious "resistance"?
Secondly, since the Democratic Party in the U.S. has won the last elections on a leave-Iraq ticket and public opinion has shifted against the war, it is only to be expected that the U.S. Army will be withdrawn as soon as it is practically possible. In such case my sad advise to the American nation would be, not to entertain in the foreseeable future any thought of a military intervention again, since you have proved the terrorists right when they said that it would only be a matter of time before the Americans left (see Vietnam), as they just don't have the staying power to stick it out.

There's more of this sort. John Allen excelled again this weekend in an article "Benedict and religious freedom in Turkey" . It lists all Benedict's references to religious freedom made during the trip, which is very practical. It also mentions a few other remarkable facts: 1. that Turkish ID cards specify one's religious persuasion (wait till the boys in Brussels hear about this!), and 2. that "the (present) Turkish constitution recognizes every citizen's right to freedom of worship and freedom of conscience". As is made evident by Pope Benedict's six different remarks on this matter, the daily reality is at best one of (bureaucratic) harassment. One of the more important arguments in favour of Turkish accession to the E.U. is the guarantee it offers of freedom of religion. Since present Constitution isn't able to change the facts on the ground, who is to say that E.U. accession requirements will. I'd hate to spoil the party, but aren't we kidding ourselves here just a little?

This piece shows how my suspicion of the delicate profile of the heroic Mesrob II was regrettably justified.

With all the attention focused elsewhere it must be noted that the developments in Moscow are not of the heartening kind. While we are high-fiving for having won the Cold War, now that the adrenaline has worn off, we are in danger of losing the battle over Energy. Read Richard Rahn's "Russian Bear sets a trap" to see how gullible we are! And me thinking bears get trapped, instead of setting them...

While on the subject of the Russian Bear, The Daily Star of Beirut tells how Moscow is coming to the aide of the Ayatollahs' nuclear program. In passing it states something noteworthy:

"Echoing Russia's concerns, U.N. atomic watchdog chief Al-Baradei on Sunday warned against the diplomatic isolation of North Korea and Iran, saying confrontation would only lead them to accelerate their nuclear programs".
Be that as it may (or not), but is Mr Al-Baradei here not overstepping the mark, just like his colleague at the U.N., Kofi Annan is prone to do? I'm not sure of Mr Al-Baradei's status, but if he's a simple civil servant acting as chairman (like Mr Annan) shouldn't he refrain from making political statements? Educated comments invited. What to think of the man's naivete when he states that "...We need to ... change the hearts and minds in Iran ..."! I ask you: hearts and minds in Iran?! To touch the heart you need to be able to look somebody in the eyes. Ever tried to see Ahmadinejad in the eyes? Good luck to you!

For bed-side literature, try this one .

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