Sunday, June 26, 2005


Globalization and Security VII (conclusion)

Thoughts on US International Directions

Stemming from the previous sections of this paper are a number of policies and directions that it is felt the US should follow in dealing with other nations. A broad summary of these suggested policies and directions is given here, together with the status in parentheses of the policies actually in force by the US gevernment:

1. Support globalization and free trade efforts worldwide. (current policy)

2. Support developing nations with bilateral trade agreements, loans and aid. (current policy)

3. Maintain a "Leviathan force" to discourage aggressive nations, thus providing a security umbrella for smaller, and less powerful nations. (current policy)

4. Support the growth of democracy worldwide, instead of supporting stability via dictatorships. (a new policy direction being implemented now)

5. Maintain mutual defense treaties now in force and help maintain the forces needed by nations for their own defense. (current policy)

6. Strengthen, and give urgency to anti-proliferation efforts. (current policy)

7. Maintain forces trained for counter-insurgency and occupation duties. (not being done as yet for occupation specialists as part of the DOD Transformation effort, but the concept is under consideration)

8. Support freedom of the seas, but not via the LOST (Law of the Seas Treaty). (not clear, yet to be ratified)

9. Support reformation of the UN without giving up the veto or any form of sovereignty. Consider reducing the US role and contributions, so long as the UN is simply an anti-US forum. ( being considered now)

10. Continue to deny the authority of the ICC, and to execute separate treaties with individual nations to protect our citizens and warfighters. (current policy)

11. Continue to support Iraq in the war against insurgency, to develop the security needed for the new government to prevail, and to help rebuild the infrastructure of the nation. (current policy)

12. Take all steps necessary to stop the nuclear proliferation programs of Iran and North Korea, and other bad actors as they emerge. (current policy)

It appears that these current twelve policies generally suggested here regarding globalization, investment and aid, bad actors, emerging or developing nations, nuclear proliferation and defense are in effect or are being pursued by the US government now. As always, the devil is in the details.

References used in the series of posts:

1. Applied Economics, Thomas Sowell, 2004
2. Free to Choose, Milton and Rose Friedman, paperback edition, 1979, 1981
3. The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas L. Friedman, 1999, 2000
4. The Pentagon's New Map, Thomas P. M. Bartlett, 2004
5. Imperial Hubris, "Anonymous" (Michael Schurer) , 2004
6. Why We Fight, William J. Bennett, 2003

Friday, June 24, 2005


Globalization and Security VI (continued)

Bad Actors

At the moment, one can easily identify two more nations that can be classified as bad actors: North Korea and Iran. Both have been pursuing nuclear weapons, and both have evidently made considerable progress in that direction.

The US has joined with 11 initial nations to form the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), for the purpose of interdicting WMD elements and devices wherever found, on land, sea or air. The US State Department site:
gives an overview of the PSI, its interdiction rules and the countries that have joined the initiative. The starter nations were; Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Japan, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain. All agreed to and signed the Statement of Interdiction Principles which governs the activities of the PSI.

This effort is one part of the total approach to stopping proliferation of WMD, and it was successful in the case of Lybia. But they haven't been able to inhibit the NK or Iran.

The NK government is being prodded to return to the six-party talks on giving up its nuclear weapons program. The single most important nation at the table here is China, that has do-or-die influence on the NK. There is some chance that the NK will return to the table this July, but speculation is that the NK is merely delaying the talks in order to produce a sufficient number of nuclear warheads to provide a serious threat to the US. China is playing a waiting game as well, since they could stop the NK program overnight, but have not done so.

Iran is still in talks with France, Germany, and the UK under UN auspices on ending their nuclear weapons program. The US is not participating directly at this time, but has adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Israel has threatened to attack every nuclear facility in Iran if the Iranians do not accede to the request to end its program in a verifiable manner.

This is the summer, or perhaps the fall, for possible tests of nuclear weapons by either the NK or Iran. Such an event would probably be the trigger for Israel to attack Iran, or for both the US and Israel to attack through the air. If the NK tests its weapon, this will raise the stakes very high for the US.

In truth, the US cannot afford to allow the NK to go on developing WMD any more than it can allow Iran either. One main problem is the possible sale of WMD to third parties, who would not be constrained in the least from covertly shipping such weapons to the US and detonating them all at once. The thought of OBL with a few nuclear weapons at his disposal, together with a number of ships that are known to be available to him for transport to the US, is frightening.

A second main problem is the State of Israel’s very existence. Ten or so multimegaton nuclear bombs could essentially wipe out the country: its cities and most of its people. Along with many other people that would be in the path of the fallout, say, in Jordan, Iraq, and maybe even Iran itself, or Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, depending upon the prevailing winds. But Israel would cease to exist. Is it any wonder that they are deeply concerned?

Mad to consider? Ask yourself why a nation rich in oil reserves, such as Iran, needs so desparately to develop full weapons-grade nuclear capabilities and facilities of its own, and the means to deliver weapons as far away as Israel? Does anyone really hate Israel and the Jewish race that much? You decide.

(to be continued)


Globalization, World Peace and The Middle East – VI

Bad Actors

When we discover a known criminal in the act, or even if he merely possesses the tools of the trade, such as a lockpick kit or an unregistered weapon, we arrest him, search him, try him, and most likely convict him and send him off to jail. Even if he only attempts to buy a gun, he is arrested for violating parole. If the criminal has two major prior crime convictions, in some states he is sent to jail for life as a “three-time loser”. If the criminal commits a heinous crime, such as kidnapping, rape or murder, he can be either jailed for life or executed.

We have police forces everywhere that are empowered to seek out, arrest, and jail suspected criminals, and to use whatever force necessary to quell any resistance. They can obtain the right to enter homes, offices and automobiles to search for and collect evidence against the criminal.

Nations can adopt criminal behavior too. Once they have radically violated the norms of behavior of nations, they are defacto ”on parole” as bad actors, till punishment can be arranged. Their list of criminal acts can include, but are not limited to: hostile acts against other nations, such as firing on people, ships or aircraft; invasion and takeover of another nation; genocide; inhuman treatment of its citizens by torture and starvation; support to terrorists in other nations; development, stockpiling and use of chemical or biological agents on people, or suspected development and possession of nuclear weapons.

In most cases of bad-acting nations, the indictments for their crimes are supported by direct evidence of wrongdoing, which makes their condemnation virtually automatic. The problem is to bring them to justice, since there are no international police forces standing up to the possible “arrest, conviction, and punishment” of the offending nation. The United Nations has attempted such police actions in the past, but the only really successful interventions have been led by the United States, which has provided the bulk of the troops, tanks, artillery, trucks, supplies, and financial support to carry the interventions to a conclusion.

Support by other nations has been reasonable in the past, but relatively limited, to the point where that support has been more symbolic than real. There has grown up a seemingly accepted policy by the UN member nations that the only legitimate intervention is one where the UN has “authorized” it. In fact, many people have the notion that this has become international law, which is not the case at all.

Then too, considering the nature of the UN Security Council, with veto power spread among the five original powers, many rogue nations that are “clients” of one or more of the superpowers can continue their criminal actions because sanctions may never be passed, or even if passed, they are easily circumvented with help from other interested power nations.

The current case in point is obviously Iraq, which had developed a 21-count indictment from the UN and the US/UK, 18 different sanctions over 10 or so years, for their behaviors over time. These indictments included serious commitments of every one of the possible criminal actions discussed above, and more. The UN, however, with three nations heavily influenced by having Iraq as a Client, and with lucrative contracts with Iraq for oil in process, would not vote in favor of a police action to rein in Iraq, but merely “serious consequences” (S-1441).

One has to wonder what was meant by “serious consequences” to a nation and its leader that had already had significant sanctions placed on them for more than a decade. We now know, of course, that the three powers had also benefited by under-the-table financial arrangements with Iraq through the oil for food program all along during this time.

So the US Administration and the Congress acted preemptively, together in a consortium with now over 60 other nations, using its self-defense clause in the UN treaty to justify the invasion of Iraq, defeat of its armed forces and to effect the deposition of its leader – Saddam Hussein.

The self-defense aspect was based on intelligence estimates at that time that Iraq had significant stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, and nuclear), and had used them more than once in the past. That this proved to be flawed intelligence in no way indicts the US for acting under false pretenses. The other 20 counts against Iraq were more than sufficient to justify taking down the Iraqi government of Saddam by force.

(Part VI to be continued)

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Globalization V: Security

The Logic of it All

In his prescient book, The Pentagon’s New Map, Tom Barnett created a logical “Decalogue” that defined the link between the military posture of the world and the market posture of the world. In short, he delineated the following ten aspects in a dependent sequence:

1. Look for resources, and ye shall find: for fossil fuels, more will be found, so supply and demand aren’t the main problem. Sources for electricity can be found. It is moving the energy from those who have it to those who need it that is the problem.

2. No stability, no markets: consumer markets are built on trust that the supplier will extend credit to the consumer by some mechanism, and have every expectation of being paid in return. Stability of a nation leads to ease of extending credit.

3. No growth, no stability: A growing economy promotes attitudes of risk-taking, entrepreneursmanship, and a rising demand for increased stability in order to feed growth further. Without growth, the economy stagnates, and rules become "optional".

4. No resources, no growth: without stable access to energy resources, emerging nations cannot sustain sufficient growth without seriously damaging their environments.

5. No infrastructure, no resources: The infrastructure for moving energy resources to a nation in the form of electric and pipe lines and LNG vessels is the foremost need for developing its economy.

6. No money, no infrastructure: Most developing nations cannot self-finance their own buildup of infrastructure, hence they must seek foreign aid and financing, else they will labor in vain to expand their economy.

7. No rules, no money: Foreign investors need to see the rule of law, transparency, and good corporate governance before they will invest their money.

8. No security, no rules: Well-formed rules of law are only nurtured and maintained under the blanket of real internal and external security for the nation.

9. No Leviathan, no security: Many nations have historically provided their own defensive forces (a Leviathan writ small), but today there is only one nation capable of providing the Leviathan force worldwide to shelter those who are weak from potential predator nations, and that is the US.

10.No will, no Leviathan: To be willing to spend both resources and lives to maintain and deploy a significant Leviathan force in defense of smaller nations is a sterling act of faith and dedication to the principles of freedom, free trade, and democracy. This nascent and sometimes very real threat to deploy the Leviathan acts as an effective preventative against rogue and aggressive nations, and hence contributes enormously to world security.

That the US has done so efficiently and effectively more than once speaks for itself. The US, so far, has had the will to act in this role, and the faith that such acts will ultimately result in greater world stability and peace. This, despite the shrill cries of the moment against such acts by those who believe the US has an entirely different motive, that of empire-building. This is nonsense, of course, as any rational citizen knows instinctively. One merely has to ask the Kuwaitis, or the Germans, or the Japanese. All three conquered by the US and Allies, and allowed to reconstruct themselves.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Globalization (IV)

Different Strokes: Many Paths

According to K. Singh, there are over 1,800 bilateral trade agreements in force today between nations. There is one well-known trilateral agreement, NAFTA, between the US, Canada and Mexico. A movement to create a one-size-fits-all trade agreement, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), was promoted by the OECD, but it failed to reach acceptance, largely because it would have been unfair to small nations. The World Trade Organization is considering inclusion of some form of the provisions from MAI into their agreement structure.

Other nations have been negotiating their own versions of tripartite or multipartite agreements, such as the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement between North and South America, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum linking virtually all Pacific Rim nations, and the TransAtlantic Economic Partnership between the US and Europe. The International Monetary Fund is also considering modifications to its rules and agreements to force liberalization of investments between member nations.

The crux of these negotiations is squarely on the protections wanted by investors against fraud, nationalization, expropriation, and the like, and wanting specific performance by the client, versus the loss of some considerable sovereignty and flexibility by the client nation to create and change its development plans, and the lack of reverse protections for the client nation against predatory practices of some investors. For each form of globalization there have been a few steps forward, and then a step or two backward as the full difficulty of reaching agreements unfolds for all to critique.

Some of the serious difficulties that have arisen between parties to an agreement has come from “second order” effects, where, for instance, the client nation establishes an environmental law or zoning law that impacts the trade and investment agreement after the agreement has been in force for several years, with considerable sunk costs to the investor at that point. These cases go to adjudication. Another possible showstopper is the conflict between free markets and socialism/communism. Greater national globalization leads inevitably to greater national democracy, and vice versa.

But the general trend is towards more and more bilateral and multi-lateral investment agreements, with considerable standardization of rules applying to both sides appearing in each new version negotiated. Globalization is very much a work in progress, and it is strongly supported in many ways by the US government, US industries, and Transnationals.

This support is not meant to dominate nations financially, but rather to bring them into the 21st century as effective partners, with strategic investments and developments, improved infrastructures, and fruitful economic progress, all with well-proven rules for the efforts. It is obvious also that the economic rise of India, China, Japan, and the EU have resulted in new sources of investment funds and agreements that have been and will be put into place outside of the purview of the US, which is what should be.

Properly done, achieving most or all of the steps to globalization for a nation would be a win-win situation over time: a win for the nation’s social and economic health, and a win for the investors. As in everything complex, the Devil is in the details.

(to be continued)
(references to follow)


The Process of Globalization (III) con't

Recognizing the Inevitable

First of all, the choice all nations face today is whether to join the rush to globalization of economies or not. It is possible to wall off a nation and revert to self-support only, which will condemn its citizens to a life of hardship and penury. But as soon as sufficient people in the nation become convinced by way of the internet, TV, radio and travel that they are being held back through tyrannical laws and their government, they will protest.

Eventually, perhaps many years later, they will revolt and install a new government more attuned to their needs and desires. Obviously, there are regimes that are far harder to overthrow successfully because of the in-depth, iron control exercised by the leaders. These rulers are merely postponing the day of change, and at the same time, oppressing their people for many years beyond what otherwise might be the beginning of a better life for them all.

So, for rational leaders, there is really only the choice of when to join and how. For irrational leaders, their choice to suppress globalization changes will redound on them sooner or later. Other forcing functions may come to bear as well then, besides finances, such as the UN and world opinion.

Mentioned earlier were TV and the internet. They are a prime force for change. These conveyers of lifestyle images of the Western world are powerful means for comparing that style with the penurious lifestyles in much of Africa and the Middle East. Not only the lifestyles but also the literature is largely available on the web, and becoming more so. The question: “Why not us too?” jumps into the citizen’s minds easily.

So what is this globalization? It is the process of integrating a nation into the global economy step by step, and it must be done with great care, since the end result will be enormous changes in the operating rules both between that nation and others, and within the nation itself.

The most interesting fact about the globalization process is that it is not ruled by any single nation or group of nations, nor by the UN, but rather it is a consensus on high-level economic directions formed by the major governments ( such as via the G8, for example) and the top Financial Centers (FCs) of the world economy.

But once a nation decides to integrate, their main contacts to begin the process become one or more of the FCs. These FCs reside in major cities such as: London, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Frankfort, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bombay, Shanghai, Paris, Zurich, Sao Paulo, and Paris, to name a few of the twenty-five centers that operate today.

These financial centers privately control well over 80% of the investment funds in the world, such as stocks, bonds, and other instruments. The value of the holdings of the FCs tops an estimated 28 to 30 trillion dollars as of 2005. Thus, virtually all of the truly major capital for developments around the world comes from one or more of these sources.

Government largess, direct loans or outright gifts of serious money, appear to be reserved for emerging HNs, but seldom HNPs, and to those HNs that are politically and geographically important. By “serious money” is meant a support program of tens of billions of dollars per year, such as has been granted to Egypt by the US ( to bribe them not to attack Israel again, it seems. ).

In addition, FCs are very well coordinated between themselves. They send out investigators to examine a nation and its industries, its potentials, and its current rules and internal practices. They recommend the necessary changes and a schedule for their accomplishment. If the nation signs up but does not meet their conditions in a reasonable time, or if they cheat, they are downgraded by the entire FC clan, and cannot receive any further investment funds at favorable rates, if at all, except in dire emergencies.

If a nation wants to join the process, it must be willing to accept the rules for globalization as determined by the FCs, which means altering many important aspects of the internal and external operation of the nation: transparency of their books, standard accounting practices, no hidden funds, ensuring that the private sector of their economy is the driving force in the nation, maintaining a low rate of inflation, getting rid of corruption as much as possible, opening its industries to foreign ownership, privatizing state-owned industries and utilities, opening their banking to private ownership, and a host of other stated rules.

A critical rule is that the financial reporting from that nation must be extremely detailed and timely, and the reports are scanned daily, hourly, or more often, over the financial internet. Any anomaly that shows up is broadcast to all other FCs for follow up. The follow up is thorough and complete, with on-site inspections and many interviews. A principal rule being enforced today is that of fair treatment of workers, their working conditions, and their benefits in country.

It is a very hard road to tread, especially for dictators that suddenly find themselves relegated to almost a cheerleading role. Even current nations that consider themselves far along the path to globalization, such as the US itself, have many rules yet to be implemented, Tariffs, for example, are to be halted in truly globalized economies, but the US has many tariffs on the books today, as do most of the Western nations of the EU. So it is an ongoing process of installing free trade and scheduling tariff reductions between nations by negotiations in a steady, strong push.

Thus to make serious investment funds available to an HN nation, it must go to an FC, and then be willing to make all of the needed changes in accord with a plan and a national business model that is acceptable to the FC. This means that large financial firms in the key centers have substantial veto power on the plans and aspirations of the HN nations, and even greater power once a nation is signed up and has begun to receive loan installments. The nation’s progress to plan is monitored very carefully, and if there are problems, they will be investigated. The money spigot can be turned off in an instant if the nation is deemed to be failing in its commitments.

Globalization is on-going now. Its results may not be very highly visible to the average citizen, except at times when a nation moves against its rulers in the name of reform and social justice. Then that nation becomes newsworthy and the spotlight sometimes catches a little of the news from the financial side as well as the rioting, fall of the government, and elections.

( To be continued )
(References to follow)

Friday, June 17, 2005


World Peace: The Middle East, and All the Rest

The Larger Context – Real Peace in the World


It is not easy to characterize each country in the world, but here, for purposes of illustration of the thesis that the United States can make a huge positive difference in the world, nations have been placed into categories that are generally accepted in the international community to represent their economic level at this time. This will permit a tentative and high-level examination of each category and their special needs in the context of a global world economy, followed by examination of the role the US can and does play now, and what it must do in the future. The choices here are not so important: that one nation is in the wrong category does not influence the outcome here by much, if at all.

We are continually beset by the problems of being in the Have world of nations when faced with a large number of Have Nots. Out of some 200 nations, I would put the US, Canada, Mexico, the EU (25 nations), Russia, India, China, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and Japan in the Have (H) category.

That leaves 163 nations in the Have Not (HN) category. The Middle East, Africa (minus South Africa), Malaysia, Indonesia, Venezuela, and the western-most nations of South America are in the HN category. The HN nations can be further divided into those who have significant oil and export it, and those who don’t. Thus The Middle East, Indonesia, The ‘stans and Venezuela are Have Not with Oil (HNO) nations. This amounts to perhaps 19 or 20 HNO nations in the world.

Why this subdivision? It is obvious. The Have nations, with their needs to keep their engines turning over, buy the oil, and are increasing their consumption every year beyond what they can pump for themselves. So the importance of oil is growing by the year, and the HNOs are the suppliers, as they hold perhaps 3/4ths of the proven reserves. The major powers, the US, Canada, Russia, the EU, China, and Japan are competing for the ever-dwindling supply of oil, mainly from the Middle East. Thus, to no one's surprise, oil is a major economic driver for the world economy.

The HNO nations, on the other hand, have so far refused to develop their infrastructure, their people, and their other resources using their massive profits from oil sales. Hence, these nations typically have an upper class that is super wealthy, and lower classes that have not benefited from this flow of oil money very much, if at all. The contrast between their capital cities and their rural towns and villages is stark, dismal and unreal.

The HNOs do spend money on their military. Many have large standing armies, relatively modern weapons, tanks, artillery, air defense installations, aircraft, munitions, coastal navy ships, bases, and troops. The major arms exporters find a ready market for the equipment their nation is willing to sell to the HNOs. This holds for communications, television networks, automobiles, white goods, and the other trappings of the H nations as well, but only for those who can afford them, obviously – the elite.

The other HN nations, about 148 of them, are the Poorest in the world (HNP), and they do not even have what benefits oil has brought to the HNOs. These nations are rural, subsistence-level societies, with little or nothing that will bring them into the emerging Have category at this time, except for poorly exploited (or unexploited) natural resources, food products and tourism.

Some HNP (as well as HNO, of course.) have benefited by having been colonized by European powers in previous centuries, which left them with better than usual infrastructures, rules of law, and administration of government, if they were wise-enough to maintain and use them once they attained their independence. Most European nations possessed at one time or another major colonial empires, gained by subjugation of the indigenous populations and deals that carved up the lands between themselves. Economic vestages of these empires still exist in the form of international corporations that hold dominating contracts for exploitation of resources in former colonies.

It is well-documented that these HNP nations are becoming seriously disrupted by the continuing rise in the price of oil, and are thus set back even further in their attempts to rise above their current economic status. They cannot draw the investment funds to develop their hydroelectric power, coal resources, or other energy resources because they cannot pay for them. UN, World Bank, and the IMF assistance has been insufficient for many years.

The tax base of HNPs is too low to provide for the roads, power lines, water, sewage disposal, communications, police, fire departments, health care, transportation, and the myriad other services we H nations take for granted, except, of course, in their main cities, their tourist attractions, and where the wealthy elite live.

HNP nations deal also with rampant corruption, which usually results in loan money from the H nations never quite filtering down in enough quantity to aid the masses living in poverty to any great degree. In many cases, what money there is finds its way to the military of the nation, to defend itself (and especially the elite) from others who might covet their land. Then too, where military necessity dictates it, not where economics would dictate, they develop their road systems, communications, and, largely for pride and show purposes, air and rail transport.

It is apparent that the world prefers to deal with the HNOs, and to recycle their petrodollars. The HNP nations are largely ignored in the financial centers of the world. But economic considerations also lead to the question of security, since any economy cannot grow and succeed without its basic security needs being satisfied. Investors will not risk significant development capital if a nation is likely to be faced with insurrection, invasion, or massive corruption: that is, lack of basic security and the rule of law. The rate of conflict around the world is at an average of 37 significant engagements per year involving two or more nations, which is down from about 65 per year in the 1980s.

This then, in very, very broad terms, is the world situation we are in now, mainly from an economic viewpoint. The US is the super power of the world at this time, with an enormous economy, an unstoppable military, raw resources still available, technical competence, an awesome infrastructure, and tiers of educated people at several levels.

We trade with almost every country in the world, with a few exceptions, and we are the main consumer of natural resources in the world. Our economy is heavily based on oil resources now, and will continue to be for some time to come. Hence our trading relationships with HNOs everywhere.

So what are we to do with this super power we have for the Have Nots of the world? What could we do if we worked ever more closely with other major powers to aid the Have Nots? Does the UN figure into this equation, or not? Can we eliminate the corruption that plagues current aid efforts?

Could we achieve the near total abandonment of war around the world? Could we create the climate for secure investment that is needed in the HNs? And, could we start the growth cycle for HNs to move into the Have category, and thereby bring many hundreds of millions of people out of starvation and hopelessness into a livable existence? Could we halt or at least minimize the expenditures on military hardware and troops in the HNs? What needs doing first, second, and third, and....?

(to be continued)

Thursday, June 16, 2005


The Middle East Challenge – II

US Obligations

We are committed to the support of Israel in the event of an attack. The US finances Israel yearly. This will not change.

We have supported the new Palestinian government, and the idea of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel.

We have close working relationships with Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States.

We are committed to the reconstruction of much of Iraq, and to the support of the new government until it can defend itself.

We support Egypt financially to the tune of 50 billion dollars a year. This investment is questionable, to say the least.

We have an arrangement with Uzbekistan for use of bases – details not known.

We have a NATO partner in Turkey to the North, but Turkey did not allow us to transit the 4th Armored division through their country to Iraq. We do have airbases in Turkey. Since Turkey is questionable they must be considered carefully and consulted in any plans we make. They have earned a penalty.

We have no working arrangements with Iran or Syria of any real importance, to my knowledge. Business arrangements for oil exploration, drilling, production management and purchases are in place for Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, The Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.

Suggested US Policies

1. Promotion of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Maintain the pressure for reforms across the board. Use economic pressure where possible. Use military presence as a form of indirect pressure.

2. Maintain a substantial Strike Force and Special Operations Force in Iraq and in the Straits for the foreseeable future, in addition to our peacekeeping forces. Build large permanent installations for US troops, training, and equipment, and for the Air Force, and Navy.

3. Be prepared to engage Iran or Syria or both in the event of their making hostile moves. Continue all forms of intelligence gathering.

4. Support the walling off of Israel from Palestine. Support the honest proposals from either Israel or Palestine to end the conflict and establish a Palestinian State. Be prepared for yet another breakdown in Israel-Palestine relations and the tentative cease-fire.

5. If the Iranian government flatly refuses to cease development of weapons grade plutonium, consult with our partners in the Proliferation Security Initiative about further steps. Be prepared in the ME area to perform limited strikes on nuclear facilities in that event, and be prepared for any retaliation. Consider the testing of nuclear weapons by Iran a hostile action. Coordinate this with Israel.

6. If the Iranian situation is taken to the UN, first, be certain to maintain our freedom of action under the self-defense provision of the charter. There should be a UN ultimatum with a short time limit given to Iran at the outset, not limited sanctions as was tried in Iraq, together with a "whatever means necessary to enforce the ultimatum" clause. Mere sanctions provably do not work.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


The Middle East Challenge -- I

After Iraq, What?

Assuming that the Iraqi situation is coming under control soon now, and our 150 thousand troops will be rotated out in stages over the next year or so, what is our next move? First, we must be careful to phase the rotations in conjunction with the Iraqi military buildup and proof by combat. Second, we must have assurances that there will be no massacre of Sunnis by the Shiites, who have control of the new army of about 150 thousand troops now.

In a few years they could have 300 thousand troops trained, equipped and proven. Were the Sunnis and others continue the jihad then, it is entirely possible for the Shiites to resort to their ancestral tribal ways and simply wipe out the Sunnis once and for all.

But, what of us? What are we destined to do after the rotations are largely over? Will we pack up and go home, and hope to forget the Middle East, except for our support of the new Iraq, and of course, Israel. Or will we exploit the opportunities we have made for ourselves there? We will have several permanent bases in Iraq.

The jihad will not be over when relative peace comes to Iraq. There are three regimes in the Middle East that have been thorns in our side for a long time: the Saudis, the Syrians, and the Iranians. All three have supported terrorists. Of the three, Iran poses the most serious threat to us, since they are pursuing nuclear power, and presumably the bomb.

We also have the North Koreans, who are building nuclear weapons at an alarming rate now, and are aggressively threatening their use, if we don’t pony up billions in aid. That is blackmail, in plain English. In fact, it is more than speculation that the NK has been aiding Iran in its weapons programs, and selling them missile technology. But since we are pursuing the six-party talks with the NK, I will defer further discussions about the NK problem for the moment. What America will do next will be driven by the sum of the threats in the Middle East and in North Korea. We cannot ignore either one.

The big question is whether we should seek a permanent solution to the continuing problems in the Middle East or not. Must we be passive and only driven by immediate threats? Must we abandon Israel, as the Muslims demand as one criterion for peace? Must we be somehow tied to the status quo in Saudi Arabia, or should we let the Wahabbis do their deeds and overthrow the current government?

A critical factor in all of this is oil. At least 2/3rds of the world’s proven supplies of oil are in this region. Yet, with all of the petrodollars the Arab/Muslim nations have amassed in the last 20 or 30 years, there is no real change in the lives of the under classes. They are oppressed and impoverished. What is more difficult is that the Muslim nations have not developed any industry to speak of, and therefore have little two-way trade with the Western world, except for recycling petrodollars through investments.

The whole world needs oil. Fully 20% of China’s oil comes from the ME, for example. Should the ME oil be stopped from flowing to the West and the Far East, there would be a huge financial and energy disruption throughout the world. The price of oil would skyrocket, which we in the US could handle with some difficulty, as could China and perhaps the EU and Russia, but smaller countries of the world would be absolutely devastated by the ultra high price of oil.

But suppose the West were to be shut out from ME oil, and not Russia and China. Or perhaps just the US might be blocked out from access to ME oil, with the EU cravenly joining the other nations against us to assure their access to oil, as some in Europe have suggested. This leads to a few conclusions:

1. Middle East oil should be shared throughout the world at fair market value for all nations.

2. This may well not happen if Russia and China combine to shut everyone else from the ME, except their favored nations. China is already inserting their troops into the African Continent to protect their oil concessions.

3. The majority of people in the ME are living at the poverty level, and are not enjoying the riches that their leaders do. This leads to continual strife and terrorism. For the under classes, there is no future.

4. By blaming Israel and the US for their woes, they focus on the wrong thing. Their real problems are internal, but an external power, such as Israel and the US, presents the radical Islamists with a convenient target for their rage.

5. If we in the US withdraw from the ME, there will be no one to stop successive takeovers of countries there by Russia or China or both. We would then have to mount a huge effort to dislodge them, and to restore the countries to their people, or accept the aggressions as faites accompli.

6. The threat of use of nuclear weapons in such a confrontation is voided by the obvious capabilities of Russia and China to assure destruction of the US.

7. The forces of the nations in the ME are weak and incapable of defending themselves in open battle against a relatively modern and large army such as those of Russia and China. Even Iraq will have few aircraft, tanks and artillery once they reestablish their army.

8. Democracy exists in Israel and is emerging in Iraq, and perhaps Lebanon. Egypt has a President-for Life, Libya has a despot, the Mullahs run Iran, and Assad runs Syria. The Saudi family runs Saudi Arabia.

9. Current so-called democratic reforms in these countries are trivial showpieces, in my opinion.

10. Hence, we really cannot withdraw completely from the ME, much as the Muslims want us to, on worldwide shared-energy, geopolitical and humanitarian grounds.

(To be continued)

Sunday, June 12, 2005



The Far-Right Christians

Approximately 150 million of the 250 million Christians in the US rate themselves as Evangelicals (or evangelicals, meaning they believe in personal witnessing around the world). This witnessing comes from the various Bible scriptures that exhort Christians to go forth and spread the good news of Christ.

A small number of the evangelicals are extreme fundamentalists, and represent a hard core of rightwing believers. Many other Christians have little or no knowledge of their version of faith, nor do they know of, or approve of, movements to take over the government and install a Theocracy. I have no idea, for instance, how many there are. I was told that there were about two or three million across the nation. That is a big number, certainly, but it represents perhaps a hundredth of all Christians.

The majority of Christians I know are moderate, center-left or center-right people, who simply wouldn’t think of setting up some sort of Theocracy of the Right. They would be shocked to learn of a large movement to do so, since it is basically against the teachings of the religion. Respect for the law, and obedience to it is ingrained into the Christian heart.

We live in the City of Man and obey the Rules of Man. When we are in the City of God, we obey the rule of God. In other words, there is a clear separation of the State from the Church as a fundamental tenet of Christianity.

The saying of Jesus was very clear: “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and render unto God that which is God’s.”

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Diversity Defeats

The EU in Retrograde Motion

The EU is being steadily defeated by the very diversity it tries to unite. The number of factors that tend to rend such a union apart far exceeds the payoffs for joining. I would cite the following as a beginning set of factors pushing them apart:

Individual cultures.

Individual political views.

Individual social views.

Individual economic views.

Individual resources.

individual industrial capabilities.

Individual security views.

Individual world views.

Individual religious views.

Individual reactions to growing Muslim power within each nation.

Individual reactions to the looming inability of their governments to afford the social benefits the people are promised.

Individual reactions to being ruled centrally from Brussels.

Nationalism, and reaction to yet another layer of government over them.

Historical distrust.

That seems to me to be enough to derail the EU constitution, and three governments and their peoples have confirmed this now: France, Holland, and the UK (postponing their referendum).

Monday, June 06, 2005


Contributions to This World?


Recently, I was asked what my contribution to the world was, and was I happy with myself for those contributions. It was a fair question for anyone who makes the slightest effort to think about life, goals, religion, society, and death.

So I cast around my memory and my papers for a direct answer. This cast took me back to the earliest time that I began to break out of the mold set by my parents, my church, and my school, and to think for myself, hesitantly, and even fearfully.

For it is an unknowable universe out there, and the beginnings of scientific knowledge was then still not too far from the basics of the solar system, and in the intervening years, science has progressed but very small baby steps relative to that which we crave to understand.

It is a awesome task to set out on one’s own into the sum of our knowledge and beliefs, and then to attempt to construct a livable worldview from all of the available competing sources of supposed wisdom. That sketchy worldview has been filled out a bit since then, after a very long time and a lot of agonizing effort.

But this article is not about my worldview: that can be read in my other writings. But it is from that worldview that I evaluated and selected the few small accomplishments in my life that I am proud of, and love to think upon in my leisure.

First of all, I married an exceptional woman, who has been at my side for over 48 years, and has supported me unfailingly in all of my endeavors. I love her and am proud of her.

Second, we had two enormously talented and energetic children, who have grown into exceptional women, and who have built their own wonderful families. I love and am proud of both of them, the men they married, and their children.

Third, I spent most of my career in defense systems engineering. I believe I made many valuable contributions to the teams of engineers I was surrounded with, and to the goals and products for the defense of our country the – USA -- Holland, and NATO. By my count, I contributed substantially to 9 very large projects, and another 20 or so smaller ones, most of which were classified.

For me, it was a lifetime of contributions, helping in some measure to keep us free from the aggressions of the USSR and subjugated states of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. I have written about a few of these contributions in this blog earlier.

Fourth, I volunteered for service during the Korean War, and did my duty to my country for four long years. This service I am proud of too, but I will leave the details out.

Fifth, I believe I and my family have lived a good life, with no harm to others in any direct way (excepting the Korean War), law-abiding and Christian. We have striven to obey the tenets of the Church, though we are all sinners in the eyes of God.

Sixth, I have supported a young student from his late undergraduate years till now, and his family, to the point where he is now poised to go out from his residency into the medical profession as a full-fledged Doctor. This I am proud of also, for him, for his family, and for my wife and myself as well.

The seventh, and for the moment, final, contribution is my continuing support for the ideals of this country, its Constitution, Bill of Rights, and form of government. As a conservative, right-of-center, voting Republican, I have seen this nation take on and discharge many tasks for freedoms worldwide that other nations shunned. I am proud to be an American.

No one can say with honesty that they are entirely satisfied with their contributions to this existence. I am not satisfied. Perhaps that is one more motivation for this blog.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


The Anti-Chomsky Reader.

Chomsky Reviled

(edited by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, San Francisco: Encounter Books, 260 pages, $17.95)

Along with Ward Churchill and many other squirrely leftwing liberals is the infamous Noam Chomsky. Many of his pet ideas are nicely punctured in this book using Chomsky's own words:

A review by Mark Bauerlein

“One of the peculiar phenomena of our time is the renegade Liberal,” wrote George Orwell in 1945. He meant not the classical liberal who believed in individual freedoms and small government but the leftist liberal who glorified communist experiments and disdained middle-class life. To Orwell, the existence of intellectuals who loved the Soviet Union despite the purges, mocked “bourgeois liberty” despite the pleasing bourgeois circumstances of their own lives, and identified with revolutionary movements that would speedily ship them off to camps—this was a fact in need of explanation.

The same puzzle is presented by today’s leading leftist intellectual, Noam Chomsky. For 40 years, in books, lectures, articles, and TV and radio shows, Chomsky has pioneered the leftist critique of Western imperialism, media conglomerates, and U.S.-style capitalism. The charges he raises are familiar—corporations subjugate the Third World, mass media peddle pro-capitalist propaganda, etc.—but he evidently has the ability to make them seem fresh; millions idolize him as the clear-eyed conscience of the times.
Further to his advantage, while Chomsky’s discourse is extreme and accusatory, his demeanor is equable and deliberate. He is, after all, a distinguished professor at MIT and the most renowned linguist of the 20th century. For many, the combination of virulent radicalism and reasoned temperament is wholly seductive, and attacks upon Chomsky by conservatives and centrists have only granted him a martyr’s aura.
Chomsky’s antipathy toward the U.S. government has never wavered. Even 9/11 was fitted to the theme of U.S. guilt. The killing of 3,000 Americans, accompanied by the “you had it coming” glee of some leftists abroad, put many American progressives on the defensive. But not Chomsky. In the weeks after the attacks, he systematically interpreted them as a logical outcome of U.S. history and policy.

In 9/11, a set of interviews published in late 2001, Chomsky spared the nation no culpability: “The U.S. is a leading terrorist state, as are its clients.” American history was but one bloody aggression after another, each whitewashed by compliant news media and fed to a gullible public. Chomsky was careful to describe the 9/11 attacks as a “horrendous atrocity,” but he also painted violence against the U.S. as an understandable reaction to American foreign policy. In a lecture at MIT, where Chomsky has taught since 1955, he even found a silver lining in a past surprise attack: “The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor led to many very good things. If you follow the trail, it led to kicking Europeans out of Asia—that saved tens of millions of lives in India alone.”

Curiously, such rhetoric, which seemed to wear thin in the 1990s, gained a newfound visibility after 9/11. The attacks brought renewed scrutiny to America’s place in the world, and Chomsky offered an extreme moral vision that in its intensity, if not its content, fit the aftermath climate. The press seemed to fumble for unambiguous interpreters of the event, and Chomsky, previously a minor figure at best in the American media, provided a seamless understanding of U.S. guilt. He appeared on CNN to debate William Bennett. He was the subject of a 2003 New Yorker profile. Last year he showed up on Bill Maher’s HBO talk show. His post-9/11 book reportedly sold more than 300,000 copies, and activists besiege him for help and endorsements.

The Anti-Chomsky Reader is a polemical broadside intended to slam Chomsky into oblivion. Reviewing his career and ideas, the discussion reaches back to the 1960s and his anti-war activism, then moves to the Cold War, the media, Israel, the Holocaust, 9/11, and, finally, Chomsky’s linguistics. The editors, Peter Collier and David Horowitz, are active intellectuals in the Republican Party: Collier is the publisher of Encounter Books, a conservative press in San Francisco, and Horowitz, the editor of, is a prolific writer who courts confrontation with the left. Other contributors also are experienced culture warriors. They include Ronald Radosh, a former Communist and SDS member who steered rightward after he researched the Rosenberg case and found evidence of guilt; Eli Lehrer, a former editor at American Enterprise magazine; and Stephen Morris, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute and long-serving anti-communist scholar.

Their aim is to topple Chomsky’s standing—a task easier to conceive than to complete. Chomsky’s unyielding anticapitalism tempts many critics into an equally strident anti-Chomskyism. The temptation is particularly strong for Collier and Horowitz, who have complex personal histories dating back to their days editing Ramparts, a leading leftist magazine in the 1960s and early ’70s. Now staunch conservatives, they have renounced their former comrades, especially icons such as Chomsky.

They and the other contributors do not hesitate to call him a liar and self-promoter, a man of “devious ambiguity” and “fevered imaginings.” The frustration they feel at Chomsky’s fame and influence suffuses the prose and sometimes blunts the argument. The final entry by amateur linguist John Williamson, for instance, documents a 10-month e-mail exchange between the author and Chomsky on matters of linguistics and war in which Chomsky betrayed his hauteur and mendacity as if on cue. (Needless to say, displaying Chomsky’s arrogance in a private communication does little to alter his standing.)

But it would be wrong to judge this volume as merely the opposite of the adulation of Chomsky’s fans. Collier and Horowitz understand well the manufactured reality of political fame, and to dismantle it requires not contrary vitriol or clever rejoinders but direct, fact-based assertions that undermine the authenticity of the image. To that end, the contributors follow a simple procedure: Quote actual statements by Chomsky and test them for evidence and logic. The best contributions to the volume add the effective and timely tactic of citing Chomsky’s progressive virtues and revealing how smoothly he abandons them.

According to his followers, for example, one of Chomsky’s signal talents is his ability to penetrate the veneer of mass politics and uproot hidden facts and motives. In his words, he aims to see through “professed goals” and uncover “background factors” in political events.
Stephen Morris tests that capacity in his discussion of Chomsky’s thoughts on America’s misadventures in Southeast Asia. Thirty-five years ago, Chomsky approached the war as if it were a propaganda endeavor that discerning critics like himself were able to puncture. But what happened to that discernment, Morris wonders, when Chomsky toured North Vietnam in April 1970?

Chomsky’s analysis of U.S. actions plunged deep into dark U.S. machinations, but when traveling among the Communists he rested content with appearances. The countryside outside Hanoi, he reported in The New York Review of Books, displayed “a high degree of democratic participation at the village and regional levels.” But how could he tell? Chomsky did not speak Vietnamese, and so he depended on government translators, tour guides, and handlers for information. In Vietnamese hands, the clear-eyed skepticism turned into willing credulousness.
Another virtue Chomsky prizes is a solid grasp of historical facts. In his thinking, popular U.S. history is an insidious rationalization of racism and greed. To understand the past rightly, he insists, one must contrast a real truth (the U.S. is a violent empire) with a widespread myth (the U.S. promulgates freedom and prosperity). As the editors of Chomsky’s book What Uncle Sam Really Wants put it, “Chomsky is a scholar; the facts in this book are just that, and every conclusion is backed by massive evidence.”

Thomas Nichols takes on this historiographic talent in his entry on Chomsky’s use of facts and footnotes. Nichols points out that Chomsky’s footnotes are red herrings, his numbers exaggerated, and his facts tendentious. For instance, a footnote in Chomsky’s World Orders Old and New that purports to demonstrate a point in fact leads only to an earlier Chomsky title, and in that text the relevant passage footnotes still an earlier Chomsky title.
But his most damning discovery is broader: that Chomsky lacks a historian’s openness to fresh evidence. All historians know that understanding history is an unfolding enterprise, ever subject to revision. And yet not one revelation of the last 20 years has led to a moment’s reassessment by Chomsky. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the opening of KGB archives, testimony by dissidents and ex-Communists—nothing alters his outlook. When Vaclav Havel addressed Congress in 1990 and praised the U.S. for inspiring those under the totalitarian boot, Chomsky scorned this freedom fighter for uttering an “embarrassingly silly and morally repugnant Sunday School sermon in Congress.” The truth remained: “In comparison to the conditions imposed by U.S. tyranny and violence, East Europe under Russian rule was practically a paradise.”

With its record of crimes and hypocrisies, Chomsky argues, the U.S. could sustain its moral identity only if it had a press primed to play lieutenant to the capitalists and generals. This raises another commended Chomskyan asset: media savvy. In 1988’s Manufacturing Consent (co-authored with Edward Herman), Chomsky launched a widely repeated argument against the consolidation of media and their goal of propagandizing for a power elite. The book (along with a documentary based on it) remains a favorite on college campuses; even among Chomsky’s critics, few are willing to defend centralized media. Indeed, media savvy is a valuable trait, and one would think that an anti-conglomeration media theorist would keep abreast of changes in media structures and deliveries.

And yet Eli Lehrer finds that, in the last 10 years, Chomsky has all but ignored the most striking new medium of our time: the Internet. He says little about the weblogs and other virtual newsroom start-ups that have done the very work he advocates, forcing into the public eye stories that traditional media outlets ignored. When he does heed the Internet, he makes the same charges he leveled against the networks, in the process misrepresenting basic aspects of online communication. The Internet is just the kind of populist medium that Chomsky supposedly reveres, but all he can do is squeeze it into a conspiracy theory.

Other essays in the volume recount similar failings of Chomsky on Chomskyan grounds. He downplays the Holocaust and anti-Israeli terrorism. A philosopher of language, he tosses around the words genocide and terror indiscriminately. (As the U.S. prepared to invade Afghanistan, he predicted, “Looks like what’s happening is some sort of silent genocide.”) An uncritical defender of the Third World revolutionaries, Chomsky limits the motives of terrorists to reflexive moves against U.S. aggression, a refusal of responsibility that mirrors the paternalism of the colonialist. The only independent thought and action he allows them is the formation of socialist movements.

In turning Chomsky’s virtues against him, The Anti-Chomsky Reader offers a challenge to those who fixate on only the crimes in U.S. history. At its best, the volume transcends the pro-Chomsky/anti-Chomsky debate to focus on larger outcomes in a post-9/11 world. Let us have pointed dissent, it suggests, but without an obsession with U.S. guilt. Keep the virtues—mistrusting government, exploding myths, analyzing media—but apply them impartially. Chomsky is caught in a Vietnam-Watergate time zone, when the Pentagon and White House assumed the most fiendish place in democratic protest. It’s time to recognize that fiends may collect wherever power is concentrated.

Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory University.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Dutch to EU Constitution: Nay!

A Political EU is in Jeopardy

By a 62.8% "nay" vote, the Dutch rejected the proposed constitution for the EU. Their parliament was for the constitution by the margin of 66% to 33%, almost the exact opposite of the people.

What we are seeing is rejection by the people of the elite form of non-elected, bureaucratic government in Belgium, and in each nation of the EU, that was spearheaded by the French under Jacques Chirac. Tony Blair of the UK is now waffling in his support as well, possibly because he sees the handwriting on the wall. Britain is touted to be the most hostile to the proposed EU constitution.

It is not over till it is over, however. EU officials have declared that they would continue the ratification process, which must be unanimous for it to go into effect. So they will keep voting until they get the result they want.

Sound familiar?


Color Test

Color is black

Color is Blue


Islamic Hate

Three Complementary Reasons for Islamic Hatred of the US

1. US presence and influence in the Middle East.

2. US policies considered to be anti-Muslim worldwide

3. US way of life, moral values, and sexual sins

Our presence in the ME includes Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gulf States, and direct pressure on Saudi Arabia to keep oil cheap. It includes our support for Israel ,as well, against Palestine.

US policies that are considered anti-Muslim worldwide include our support for Russia, China, and India against Muslim insurgencies, and our cooperation with Pakistan, as well as support for a number of Muslim governments that have been deemed tyrannical and apostate.

The US way of life shocks the orthodox Muslim to the core. Our treatment of women is perhaps the first sin: Muslims do not give women full rights by any stretch. Easy access to liquor, porn, strip clubs, licentious behavior, sleezy publications, and on and on, are an anathema to the orthodox Muslim, even as he has his hypocritical holidays in the fleshpots of the world.

But the underlying reason they hate us is that we are not Muslim, we are infidels.
To borrow a phrase from our wild west, "the only good infidel is a dead infidel."

We shall see!

Sources: Imperial Hubris by "Anonymous" (Michael Scheurer)
Unholy Alliance by David Horowitz

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