Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Economist: The Most Powerful Villain in Central Asia

This is why The Economist is one of the greatest organs for information. The story of Islam Karimov needs to be told not only as many times as is needed. All of the rhetoric about changing the way that US, and EU, foreign policy has an effect on spreading liberal democracy, peace, and liberty for the better is completely (and I do mean what I say here) empty until regimes like Mr. Karimov's are condemned in the same breath as Saddam Hussein and Usama Bin Laden. In all the American coverage of the riots mentioned in this piece, very little attention was given to the killing being done by a U.S. ALLY IN THE WAR ON TERROR. These forces were not killing militants in a mountain training camp and they weren't mowed down by remnants of the Taleban. Protesters were killed a la Tianenmen Square and the response by those crusading to end the terrorizing of civilian populations has been woefully inadequate.

The only things that I would add to this piece are:

1 - This is not the first news about the repressive tactics of the Karimov government.
2 - This may be the single best example of a morally bankrupt regime that inspires terrorist Islamists to push for Islamic states built to extract revenge from the powers of the world
3 - The haphazard execution of the war in Iraq, both the inadequate planning and the fantical excitement to begin combat, have weakened our moral authority and material preparedness to make any legitimate overtures to challenge this regime diplomatically or militarily
4 - I would wager that the evils of the current administration in Uzbekistan are nowhere near sufficient to warrant a place among the "Axis of Evil" and it is therefore probably not in the top 100 of agenda items for W this term.

the United States needs to not only tighten the purse strings on the money that we send to this "government", but also start talking about what options are on the table.

Daily Kos: Gov. Schweitzer Has A Plan For US Energy Independence

This is an interesting tidbit. It is also one of very few things over the past five years that has made me optimistic about the future of America if only for a few seconds.

NY Times: Another Political Firing Over Uncomfortable Truth

I don't normally take much from the columns of Bob Herbert. I usually find that while I agree with his overall point of view, his criticism of the current administration generally seems too harsh and/or too instinctive. While this column certainly hit the traditional liberal points of criticism, including the "world of fantasy" in which the administration is said to function, it was relatively measured in its tone. Far from calling the POTUS, VPOTUS, and Atty. Gen. ranting racists or bumbling babies, which many might in commenting on this story, Herbert concisely draws attention to the serious problem of racial profiling and thus the danger of ignoring the issue. As a minority, I take the issues of racial profiling and police brutality VERY seriously and while they are not really an issue of national security, they are certainly vitally important to the security of a healthy and growing segment of the population.

Let me finally say that I realize that Herbert is a professional journalist and so it is his job to comment as a rational and responsible columnist. However, because not all of his colleauges follow through on this commitment, I think it is worth the effort to highlight a good example, so congrats Mr. H.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


BBC News: Christian Coalition Founder Advocating Political Assasination ?

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it

Regardless of one's own political leanings, it must be obvious why this sort of a statement is so irresponsible. The State Department's comment, that the remarks were "inappropriate," fails to capture the significance of such dangerous, and yes, "terrorist" speech. Pat Robertson in a icon of the American Right with a national following and considerable political influence. In recent memory the radical elements in Robertson's America have a pretty mixed track record when it comes to leaving exhortations to violence in the realm of harmless rhetoric. The CBN seeks to portray Chavez as a leader already at war with the United States. Taking their characterization of the situation for granted, one might believe that if the US government is not going to "exercise that ability" then perhaps an enterprising groups of citizens should.

This would be a perfect opportunity for the White House to try to sew some unity for a change by commenting. While the administration is certainly justified in renewing criticisms of the domestic and international policies of Venezuela, it would do well to voice (1)definitive rejection of the instinctively hostile basis for Robertson's sentiments and (2)a hope for a renewal of cooperation between Venzuela and the US on drug control and terrorism.

Chavez is a popular figure and the elected leader of his nation and has demonstrated his ability to withstand challenge. It would be in the best interest of America and regional stability not to alienate the chief oil producer in the Americas and push it even further into an alliance with Cuba. And if a statement to such effect goes a little way towards healing the partisan rift here at home, is that really so bad?

This inaugural post will serve as an introduction to this project. This marks my third foray into blogging and my second attempt at an independent blog of my own. It is my hope that the posts here will catch some attention and generate debate geared more towards finding common ground than in proving opponents to be incorrect. It is always helpful to point out to our opponents the flaws in their logic or the bias in their sources, but ultimately the goal of civil discourse, as opposed to politics, should be to improve our own understanding and that of our adversaries to that we are no longer battling one another. So with that I launch this project hoping that it will find an audience and inspire commitment in commentors and the publisher.