Sunday, June 30, 2002
Sometimes you just despair

The United Kingdom (United Nations Association) held its conference in (sunny) Morecambe earlier this year and provided a whole document from chatter, codifying their inane hot air. They condemned the atrocities but argued against early intervention in Afghanistan. Instead, the UN should have tried to determine if Osama and Al-Qaeda was guilty. Why? Because all international coalitions would be far better if they were under the objective control of the United Nations rather than have "self-centred agendas" (like defending your country, for example) "from skewing the process".

The policy document adds up to a slew of disarmament, signing up to every international treaty that exists, placing all of our peacekeeping forces under UN control, less co-operation with the US and more co-operation with the EU. On the plus side, they do condemn human rights violations in China.

Do we need to sign up to every treaty written by the United Nations. A permanent seat at the Security Council is useful enough for our needs but should we withdraw our co-operation from the irrelevant areas of this assembly?
Friday, June 28, 2002

That ever so stable Eurozone

German Banks are going belly up at an increasing rate. Funny how we don't hear this on the BBC's business reporting?

Yes, Dorothy, it could happen here

Portugal cedes financial control to EU

It may be the case the Ambrose Evans Pritchard has a taste for the overly ambitious headline, and that the facts are not as alarming as the headline makes out, but they're still fairly alarming facts nonetheless.

Basically Portugal has breached the arbitrary limits set by the European (in)Stability Pact, which is part and parcel of Economic and Monetary Union. The European Commission have now said that they are "legally obliged" to take action against Portugal. This could take a number of forms.

1) A massive fine, about 0.75% of Portugal's GDP.
2) Portugal effectively ceding taxing and spending control to the master budgeteers of the European Commission, those chaps whose budget has been refused an audit certificate for five years due to rampant corruption.
3) The whole thing could come crashing down in the nick of time because France is also in trouble.

There may even be some riots in Lisbon, which would play well for a referendum on joining the Euro.

You may think that you've heard this all before. Germany, Italy, France and Belgium are all technically in default one way or the other and nothing serious happens to any of them. The point being that these are in the "magic circle" of original members (the other two are the Netherlands and Luxemburg). Plucky littly Portugal is not.

Could the same happen to us if we join the Euro? Put good money on it.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Homeland Security

Sir David Omand, former Permanent Secretary at the Home Office and a former Head of GCHQ, has been appointed the Intelligence and Security Co-Ordinator at No. 10. His role is as follows,

He will co-ordinate security, intelligence and consequence management matters and to deal with risks and major emergencies should they arise. Sir David will also act as Accounting Officer and Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet Office.

There is no greater indication of the emphasis that Blair places upon intelligence and the possibility of terrorist attack. The Civil Servant in charge of his own [Prime Minister's] department is a member of the JIC and is gearing up for the management of emergencies and risks by coordinating the work of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. His appointment follows a critical report from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee.

This also mirrors, in an understated way, the office of Homeland Security in the United States. The 'war on terror' is beginning to acquire an air of permanence in the corridors of Whitehall as the paradigm for intelligence gathering, with a role directly at the heart of government.

Leave the European Movement alone

The Bruges group has been complaining about the amount of European money going to pro-Euro pressure groups, most prominently among them the European Movement.

Now this is midguided. The European Movement has succesfully stifled new and original thought among the pro-Europeans for almost twenty years now.

Imagine what would have happened to the democratic side of the argument if we were dominated to the same extent by the Campaign for an Independent Britain or the Democracy Movement? We'd be dead in the water.

Let's wish the European Movement many more years of survival, it's one of the strongest weapons in the democrats' draw.

Was it worth it for Poland?

There's a very interesting piece on the "Tupper Times" on whether Britain should have been in the Second World War, a discussion that started here. I highly recomend this thought provoking piece, and remember you can debate this issue in the comments section here.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Double Consent

It pains me when I have to disagree with the Heritage Foundation, as I do just about all the time on foreign policy. When you disagree with the Times editorial writers or the Tory Reform Group I can survive as I tell myself that they are after all pretend conservatives who for their own weird reasons want to be attached to the true faith. However it is people like the Heritage Foundation who can at least think straight. I digress.

Anyway this chap from Heritage was on Newsnight last night, and he came out with some eminently reasonable suggestion on Bush dumping Arafat. The idea he said was that Palestinians could vote for whoever they want, the Americans also had the right to deal with whoever they want. Now this is not to point out that it is still possible to agree with "heritage" even if one thinks sensibly on foreign policy, but as an idea which I have been pushing for some time - the idea of double consent.

The idea that somewhere, like the Falklands wants to remain British is surely not to the point. It's whether Britain wants to retain the Falklands as well. The idea is that we in the metropolitan power should also consent to retaining the vestiges of Empire. And that is, in my opinion the crucial point. It is not whether they want to be defended by us, but whether we want to defend them.

Al Qaeda's dead

In this rather confusing analysis Eric Margolis says that Al Qaeda's not the problem, but Islamic millitancy is. And it's been made worse by the invasion of Afghanistan.

Don't really subscribe to it, as Bin Laden was a continuing menace to the US.
Tuesday, June 25, 2002

A use for Byers

According to David Farrer.

Not of the left

This little article really says what I’ve been struggling to articulate about the proposed switch to the left for the national interest crowd, advocated by among others Justin Raimondo.

It is frustrating to see all those people who scoffed at unrealistic Clintonian global ambition (backed by Blair) suddenly believing that eliminating terrorism from the face of the earth (backed by Blair) is a practical goal. However, the conservatives (deliberately small c) do have a head start on the left when abandoning the idealistic babble of the special relationship, European unity or whatever crusade de jour tickles the fancy of fleet street opinion pages. Firstly the national interest is not dirty talk to them, asking “what’s in it for us” is viewed as obscene in certain sections of the left. Secondly conservatives do not like unnecessary change, something World Wars, Cold Wars and Wars on Terror supply in spades. Finally most of the right, somewhere deep in their being (and I admit that it is not too obvious at the moment) care about over powerful states, and what better way of making a state powerful than total war?

There are no problems with working together with the left in certain policy areas, state surveillance comes to mind. But damitall, we are conservatives, we've just had our label stolen.

Coming to a government near you

Spain is to grant the judiciary power to ban a political party which "promotes radical changes to the country's existing democratic institutions".

Now I'm rather relaxed about the idea of governments banning parties that are front groups for terrorists - the ostensible reason for this (although I think that it can be counterproductive). But does it have to be so widely drawn?

After the recent attempt by the EU to outlaw "xenophobia" throughout Europe, is this perhaps a creeping harmonisation with German best practice?
Monday, June 24, 2002
The Beginning of the End for Zimbabwe

The government of Robert Mugabe has monopolised all the distribution of grain and maize under the state owned Grain Marketing Board. This body has proved unequal to the task of distributing maize or grain around the country and the FAO now estimates that six million people, half the population, face starvation. The death rate will soar as those who already suffer from immune deficiencies caused by AIDS and complicated by malnutrition will inevitably succumb.

Three thousand farmers have to stop work under the Land Acquisition Act (Section 8) although many are courageously continuing in order to feed their fellow citizens. As grain is running out, it is estimated that in a few more weeks, bread will run out in the cities. Mugabe is forgetting that even dictators have to keep their populations fed. During the lean periods, people are too busy trying to survive, to think and agitate for change. So famine will probably extend Mugabe's grip on power in the short-term but once the economy has turned the corner, many Zimbabweans may argue that peaceful change is no longer a morally acceptable course of action when dealing with such a monstrous regime and they would be right.
Saturday, June 22, 2002
Europe and Immigration

Immigration and Enlargement were the two reported themes of the summit in Seville and the resulting press release of measures to be undertaken was either a triumph, a fudge or a failure depending upon the country and the leader you are listening to.

No European Immigration and Naturalisation Service which counts as a plus. No economic sanctions on countries that do not co-operate with the EU (allowing Blair to be portrayed as getting tough on those who wish to better themselves by swimming to Rimini, Sicily or wintering in Latvia before heading west).

However, the summit did agree to link financial assistance to the willingness of Third World countries to accept the repatriation of their citizens. This measure was designed to hurt "people smugglers" and the illegal trade in migrants by ensuring that the migrants who have paid good money to be smuggled are promptly deported.

How it undermines this illegal trade was not detailed, although the governments of countries that displace their population, are usually corrupt and foundering in war. They might prefer to sup from a western teat (easier to hoodwink - ask the Palestinians) than take handouts from the criminal gangs but they will probably profit from both sides.

Less financial assistance means that the good such aid may do, after being filtered through the nets of corruption and bureaucracy, is lessened - and that gives even more incentive to the immiserised inhabitants of these regions to emigrate. As their lives are so hopeless, they still consider the risks of travel, death and deportation to be worthwhile in comparison to their normal existence. The EU has not examined the economic causes of migration and endeavoured the ameliorate these to lessen the movement of economic migrants.

The quickest way to stem the flow of migrants in the short term would be to overthrow the CAP and ensure that the major exports from Third World countries have a zero tariff. Then they would have the opportunity to earn an increased standard of living through trade, an opportunity denied many of them through the burdens imposed by the West.

The UK Is not able to implement any of these proposals. However, as we don't belong to the Schengen group, why do we require a European immigration policy? We are an island, with the unique problem of being a Mecca for all those who speak English, as well as for many who don't. Is it not practical to follow our own policy independent of Europe that allows entry to the skilled workers that we require and deters others?

Green cards and INS, anyone.
Friday, June 21, 2002

What's wrong with Pre-emption?

An interesting article about the Bush Doctrine. Basically this is seen as the idea that in today's world deterrence doesn't serve much useful purpose because the most deadly opponents of the United States are barking mad (supposedly they write for Free Britannia in their spare time).

Now this all is fine as far as it goes, but where does that leave Britain? Basically deterrence was predictable. You roughly knew what sort of action from which parties would entail action. With foreknowledge you could plan and even have some influence. Now we have to trust that America will get it right all the time (remember that asprin factory). Not only that we will also have to believe that America will not start picking enemies for domestic political reasons and leave us carrying the can.

Continuing our current alliance with America will mean that we will retrospectively approve of all that America does. Responsibility without power.

On Nepal

It looks like the Maoists are getting a little too friendly with the Gurkhas. This article is about a year old.
The 'War on Terror' (Nepal Theatre)

Perhaps the Maoists in Nepal do employ terror to achieve their ends, a Communist Republic sandwiched between two behemoths. But the 'war on terror' has been stretched to Kathmandu, and is now our excuse for supporting the government against the insurgency and provide $7m of military aid.

Our longstanding ties with Nepal and the role of the Gurkhas are surely sufficient reasons to lend external gestures of support to the existing regime. Using the justification of the 'war on terror' is now undermining our own post-imperial and Commonwealth ties in pursuit of an Americanised foreign policy, and further weakening any discourse of a distinctive British foreign policy.

The conference lasts for two days, including all the major players with interest in the region, and indicates a search for stability in the Himalayas. What are the chances of troops or advisers being deployed?
Thursday, June 20, 2002
Dancing to the tune of 1907

In the first decade of the last century, Russia was the fastest growing economy in Europe, a strong counterweight to the Central Powers and a rising power whose strength was marked by Germany in its prospective timetables for war. A decade has now passed since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Russian Republic is currently wedded to NATO through a ministerial council. Yet, it has regained its role as a source of raw materials for the West, it remains too big to be swallowed up by the EU and the economy appears to be undergoing a structural revival.

Hamish MacRae points out the possible economic advantages of a revived Russia as a supplier to the EU but, politically, Moscow will prove a counterweight and an obstacle to any overweening ambitions that Europe may hold for its hinterlands.

We're (sort of) going home

So we are really and truly going to leave our "six week" stint in Afghanistan. Well not quite, but honesty isn't this government's strong point.

It may be an opportune time to point out that more than ten months after the World Trade Center Bin Laden is still at large, and we're not quite sure where he is. Does anyone think that the war on Afghanistan has been succesful in its main aim - to publicly capture or kill Bin Laden and publicly dismantle Al Qaeda? Would waiting a few more weeks for the Taliban to squeeze out Bin Laden really have been such a bad idea?
Wednesday, June 19, 2002

I'm sure slander was not intended...

Iain Murray thinks I'm now condoning suicide bombing:

Saying "Oh, poor dears, you've got to make allowances" is a dreadful thing to say about people who meticulously plan and execute mass murders.

I don't say that, and neither in that one line did Mrs Blair.

Not being a Muslim, let alone one who believes that I will go to heaven if I end my life in committing mass murder, I do not know whether despair is totally absent.

However the very idea that you can believe this tripe does show that there is a certain amount of despair. If you were leading a perfectly happy and well balanced life are you likely to turn out to be (a) homicidal, (b) suicidal, (c) religiously fanatic let alone all three at once? Add to the fact that Palestinians have a long history of secularism (Hamas was given a helping hand by Israel in order to counter the PLO) and it is many of the secular organisations that are running these suicide bombers. I think saying that Muslim fundamentalism is the sole cause of this is going to go nowhere.

One wouldn't say that the Tamil Tigers who also practiced this were perfectly well balanced souls.

That the culture, families and leadership of the bombers have something to do with the despair I don't doubt, but it doesn't stop it being despair simply because you can't lay all the blame on the Israelis.

Even scum become scum for a reason. Although this doesn't stop them being scum.

In Defence of a Blair

Now I'm not going to pretend that Cherie Blair was anything but stupid to say what she did, or that party politics should not be a blood sport. However was what Cherie said either wrong or extremist? Here's what she actually did say:

As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up, you are never going to make progress.


Do young people "feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up"?

As it involves a thing as personal as hope, it is a subjective test. However, the act of suicide would indicate that they have no other hope. If they did feel that they had any other hope then they would surely stay alive for it.

Of course Israeli occupation is not the only source for the hopelesness, the useless leadership of the Palestinians, the money going to often destitute families and the propaganda pumped out in the school and mosque must share some of this blame.

But the very act of blowing oneself up surely should be taken as proof of hopelesness.

Will there ever be progress towards when there is suicide bombing?

According to many Israelis there won't be. I think that they are right on this.

Now she did not say that this was reprehensible and that innocent Israelis die, and she should have said these things. However what she did say was perfectly reasonable, and if anyone thinks that suicide bombing will lead to peace or that blowing oneself up is not a sign of despair then they would be the extreme ones.


From the Telegraph's City Comment:

It's odd, though, that those who urged us into the euro when it was falling do not seem to be calling for sterling to join the dollar now it's going down.

What, are you trying to tell us that the pro-Europeans don't have the interests of the country at heart? Surely not.

That roaring success the Euro

Both letters from the Telegraph (thanks to Robert Henderson for posting this):

SIR - My wife tried to pay her hairdresser in France, but the euro coins were refused as "Spanish euros". On the reverse was a naked lady
sitting on a bull. In the margin the coin had "EYPFIH" and below "2 EYP". Does this sort of thing nullify the whole purpose of the single currency?

Perhaps all the coins should be in Greek, thus restoring universality and bring some charm to an otherwise dreary System.
Dr Lindsay Hurst
Kingsbridge, Devon

One currency for Europe is not working. I have been staying at a good Spanish hotel, and its bar staff refused to accept euro coins bearing the Belgian symbol.
Duncan Measor
Alderley Edge, Cheshire

All highly anecdotal, but if more stories like this come filtering through it will be even harder to sell. "What, put my job and home at risk, and STILL pay to change my money when I go to Spain?".
Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Spinning Away

They really are losing their touch. First they try to muscle in on a funeral, now they seem to condone suicide bombers. New Labour really are losing their touch.

Something good

Every now and again it doesn't all turn out bad. David Blunkett has climbed down on the extraordinarily wide snooping powers, that would have given the IRA access to our e-mails.

Expect them to introduce it through a back door.

Left Behind?

Brendan O’Neil has upset a couple of people by asking why so many British Bloggers are right wing. But Brendan, they’re not. An old article of mine went through GB Logs looking for political content, and it was overwhelmingly to the left.

What poor Brendan seems to have done is landed in the wrong company. The right wingers tend to reference to each other, just as left wingers do. Obviously Mr O'Neil has stumbled onto web logs from his right wing surfing. If he had stumbled into it from the left he would be writing about how the left had taken up blogging because everyone had abandoned hard core socialism for the Third Way (and fondly imagining that he was being iconoclastic).

With the exception of a few pet lefties like Mr O'Neil and Junius, the left has been blogging away on its own. Its all rather parochial, and not much of it's interesting, but it is out there.

Missing the point

This idiotic outburst shows why most Labour MPs shouldn't be in charge of a birthday party let alone the armed forces:

Fiona Mactaggart: Did my right hon. Friend see any black faces during the trooping of the colour ceremony? I am afraid that I did not, which made me anxious that it is possible that the elite regiments of the British Army are failing to recruit from all the communities that make up Great Britain. If that is the case, what action will he take to ensure that every Briton has an equal chance to be a soldier in every regiment of our armed forces?

Well, no. The armed forces are not about giving self esteem but about protecting the country. We are already well on our way to changing our selection procedures to represent various interest groups, with a fall in fitness of the armed forces. By actually insisting that each regiment, specifically including the elite regiments, should actually practice "affirmative action" is a further weakening in the wall.

Any way, when did the failed leader of the Labour group in Wandsworth have any interest in defence?

The beam in your own eye

Expect to hear some outrage over the French refusal to put Hizbollah on the terror list because they're a "political party" and that including them would "destabilise Lebanon". Of course they've brought the EU along with them.

Now before we rush to judgement on this barmy decision (after all what else do you expect of the EU) let's ask why the IRA are not on any terrorist list. It's not because of the French, but due to American cowardice and double standards. While we are expected to send more troops to Afghanistan than the Americans can be bothered to muster, America won't even proscribe an active terrorist organisation that has put innocent British civilians in its sights. Will it destabilise Northern Ireland or is it because Sinn Fein are a political party (with a few more petrol bombs and baseball bats at their disposal than is strictly the norm for a democratic party)?

Not Democratic

I know, I know. I don't actually care if the people of Afghanistan live under democracy or some weird Tajik overlordship but can we please stop talking about how we've brought democracy? The Americans are now dictating how the cabinet should be selected. I wonder if the Bush would convene a constitutional convention to select his secretary of Agriculture? Thought not.

And please let's not talk about bringing democracy to Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Democracy only thrives in willing soil.

How to help the IRA

A rather disturbing follow up to my piece on the cyber-snooping bill, according to Christopher Montgomery (who's chairman of Friends of the Union) the IRA will also have access to your e-mails. That's really helpful for the peace process.
Monday, June 17, 2002

Sanction Stupidity

So we're thinking about imposing sanctions on countries that don't co-operate with us on illegal immigration. As this alarm is at the EU level, it does indicate that Schengen would not solve our problems on this matter as some of the more excitable Federasts would like us to believe.

It is also indicative as to how far we have lost control of the immigration agenda. In previous less enlightened times the government would have clamped down on welfare entitlements and the courts would have interpreted immigration entitlements as they were written in both Act and Treaty. Now we talk about impossing ineffective sanctions.

You know what they say about the size of your bomb

While I'm all in favour of the nuclear detterent, is the current plan for a "small nukes" factory at Aldermaston really that sensible?

The idea is to deploy these "against terrorist groups and rogue states". Now we haven't had to worry about a rogue state near us since De Valera kicked the bucket in the emerald Isle. And although I like to think of myself as hawkish on dealing with the IRA I somehow don't think that we'll be nuking the Falls Road.

So the idea is to complement America's (current) obsessions. What happens if they topple Saddam and finally fry Bin Laden? Will we be left holding the baby. Considering our continued membership of the EU after the Cold War, it will hardly be the first time.

If we want to invest in something nuclear, then why not an independent geo-positioning system for our missiles? At the moment we rely on the American system, a few hundred million would be able to launch enough sattelites to provide a fairly basic service and we would once again have that independent nuclear deterrent about which we boast so emptily.

However before I sound too critical, it is good to see some planning for the succession after Trident.
Saturday, June 15, 2002
Goodbye to the Malvinas

HMG has decided to scrap the Sea Harrier without talking to her Allies on teh grounds of cost and "the Navy would be able to dispatch a task force with air defence provided by a "coalition" aircraft carrier". Which of our allies would we have to go to, cap in hand, if a naval taskforce is needed to defend one of our territories. We will not be able to muster a naval taskforce between 2006 and 2012. Second Falklands War, anyone, especially as Argentinian democracy looks fragile at the moment.
End of the ABM Treaty

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has finally fallen into desuetude after its unilateral abrogation by the United States last December. Bush uses the opportunity to talk up his 'Shield of America' and the Russians decide to finally put Start II out of its misery in an understated mercy killing.

As we are closer to the missiles that any rogue state may lob at us than the United States, and as the Little Satan may prove just as much of a mouth-watering target, shouldn't HMG start setting up our own defences now that the ABM Treaty no longer binds our hands?
Friday, June 14, 2002

Are they with us?

So now the IRA are shown to be preparing for a new terrorist campaign, can we expect America to break off all support, cut channels of funding and support a tough British response to the terrorists? After all you are either with us or with the terrorists.

Keep out of Kashmir

According to this bishop Britain should be getting involved in Kashmir because (a) we started it and (b) we have lots of (second and third generation) Pakistanis and Indians who are just waiting to bust the bejesus out of one another.

One would have to point out that we left India more than fifty years ago, and the Kashmir fight developed when India decided to annex any vulnerable piece of territory, as the Nazim of Hyderabad could testify.

The immigration question is harder to answer, although anyone who thinks that there will be no repurcussions from the present influx of assylum seekers from Afghanistan or the Balkans may not be "mad, literally mad" - but they come close.

Well Protected

It's a good thing that we have an honest government, because otherwise this cyber snooping decree would be used by all sorts of inappropriate government agencies. So I'm sure that the Food Standards Agency and the Welsh Office are entirely appropriate bodies. You never know when the Sons of Glendower are about to go and poison those leeks.

History Mystery

I'm puzzled, who didn't know about 9-11 before it happened?
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Sucked into the Middle East

Ever since the "war on terror" commenced, any independent action that Britain may have taken in the Israeli crisis has diminished because of Blair's ever closer relationship with George Bush Jr. Sharon stopped over in London for "useful and constructive" talks with Blair after his visit to the US on the 10th June. A senior official stated that Sharon views Britain as one of the "least unfriendly countries" in the EU and discussed the proposed peace conference, where Israel opposes any role for the EU. So, Britain's diplomacy in the region may be aligned more and more with the USA in practice despite the policies that the EU constructs to defend its role in the Palestinian territories. An example of the current militarisation of US foreign policy forcing a division between British and EU goals.

Where's Bin Laden?

Sorry for asking (seems few others are), but maybe you can find out by watching unencrypted spy plane broadcasts. Maybe someone should pass this on the CIA.

And kill their familes too

Now am I being squeamish or is this really disturbing?

Families of suicide bombers should receive the death penalty. Who's saying this. Some Kach style nut, or is it just saloon bar talk? The proponent is Nathan Lewin who is described as the second most powerful attorney in Washington DC and is put forward as a candidate for the federal judgeship. That these are innocent civilians should give some pause for thought. What is really disgusting is this:

Lewin argued that the biblical injunction to destroy the ancient tribe of Amalek serves as a precedent in Judaism for taking measures that are "ordinarily unacceptable" in the face of a mortal threat.

Isn't that, like, genocide?

That this is a chap who is powerful in American politics should give us a pause for thought. If there is any evidence needed that American policy in the Middle East is at least partly free from rational constraints this is surely it. And we should not be tying ourselves to this suicidal policy, or will we be wondering why more Arabs want to fly planes into our buildings. But all we did was cheer on shooting innocent women and children, what's up with that?

I'm sure that there will be some well-meaning people who will defend this, but it doesn't make it rational and, not that I care too much, moral.
Wednesday, June 12, 2002

And the cynics come crawling out

Will no one believe the official story about a Latino petty crook becoming a nuclear mastermind? You would expect professional nay sayers like Justin Raimondo or Brendan O'Neil to pour scorn. But when such warbloggers as Iain Murray start pouring cold water on it then things may be falling apart.

Good story looking for a home, security services looking for love and appreciation. Any takers apart from Rantburg?


Just to show that the European Union is not the only union that England would be well rid of, it's good to see that St George's cross seems to be big at the moment.
Tuesday, June 11, 2002

New Conspiracy Theory

Was Al Qaeda planning to blow up Parliament? Iain Murray seems to think so. You should read the entry, so I can skip over the fact that this "revalation" is less well attested than the idea that Bush knew of 9-11 (no, I don't agree that he did, but just pointing out that this has far more "experts" jumping up and down). However terrorism deals with conspiracies, and all conspircacy theories sound outlandish until they are carried out, so let's take it at face value.

The conclusion would be that we now have a dog in this fight? Well, how.

Of course they didn't actually attack us, to contemplate attacking but not to do so, or not to be caught preparing it, is not a hostile act. It's thought crime.

So, if they wanted to attack us because of our support for America and they were attacking America because of its actions in the Middle East (is there anyone who seriously believes otherwise anymore) it is evident that we are being targetted because of our foreign policy. It is therefor a cost of intervention and not a reason for it.

We may have good reason to subsume our independence to America, but we have to realise that the death of many innocent civilians is one of the prices that we will pay for this.

Left on the bench

Excellent disection of the anti-war movement's interventionism from one time lefty Brendan O'Neil. What is also interesting is the way in which the same left wing assumptions are shared by so many right wingers, which is worse.

That George Monbiot should believe in vast government intervention where it is unhelpful should come as no surprise. That the Conservative Party or the Telegraph wants the same (albeit with more muscle) just shows an inability to think anything through.

Democracy? Pah

Afghanistan is holding a Loya Jirga, which is like a constitutional convention where as many of the parties as possible are represented. Unfortunately it's been held up for a day. Why? Although the official reason is logistics, it seems that the real reason is that there has been a tussle over whether the head of state would be the more Pashtun friendly (although not a fan of Pakistan, still not a fan of India) king Mohammad Zaher Shah or the Northern Alliance puppet (and therefore Russian and Indian controlled) Hamid Karzai.

Now its not the geopolitical implications that interest me, but the idea that the fight in the Hindu Kush had anything to do with democracy. To repeat, the loya jirga was postponed on Western advice so that only one candidate would be present. It may be sensible for us, or even for the Afghans, but let's stop all this rubbish about it being democratic.
Monday, June 10, 2002

Interesting Meeting

From the Peaceniks at the Committee For Peace In The Balkans:

Seminar on Tuesday 11th June 2002

War crimes, war crime tribunals and the International Criminal Court

Alice Mahon MP with Mark Littman QC

After the Nuremberg Tribunal, a movement grew up for the creation of a permanent International Criminal Court, worldwide in scope and based on the Nuremberg Principles. Ad hoc tribunals on Yugoslavia and Rwanda have been set up, but no permanent court yet exists.

Britain ratified this statute last autumn and is set to become a founder member if, and when, the ICC comes into being. It is anticipated that the 60 countries will have ratified the statute by the end of this year - the minimum number needed to bring the ICC into being. Only countries that ratify the statutes will be bound by the court. The United States has already indicated its unwillingness to do so.

Mark Littman QC considered the likely strengths and weaknesses of the International Criminal Court in the light of experience of the International Criminal Tribunal on Former Yugoslavia - and asks ‘can it dispense justice?’.

7pm in House of Commons, London SW1

Dishing the Tories

My improvement, Christopher Montgomery once again bravely sallies forth, once again slashing at a man he can claim to have made, Iain Duncan Smith and his softly-softly approach to the Euro. I must say that I disagree with Monty here, being a believer that not fighting a referendum on the Euro will have the same effect as winning the referendum - but just take less time and money.
Karen De Coster writes an interesting review of "The Fifty-Year Wound: The True Price of America’s Cold War Victory". As I've said before, I'm with Churchill rather than De Gaulle on the Cold War, however one can't deny that it was damn costly.

That's if you're not a born again Keynsian mainstream Conservative.

China to fight Maoists

I know, that's where they came from, but China's supposed offer of help to Nepal is going to have a couple of consequances:

1) It will put India in a squeeze while attention is on Kashmir.
2) It may stop all those people who think that China is any meaningful way Marxist. Silly me, nothing has stopped them yet.

First and last time

I got mentioned in the National Review Corner and due to the extended jubillee celibrations never noticed it, or reacted to it. Drat.

I should also point out that I got a mention in warblogger watch who seem (with the admirable exception of Franklin Harris) to be rather embarrased that any one to the right of Karl Marx should be sceptical of the war. It's still a good read, apart from the odd witchhunt, which makes Eric Blair's insistence on a pseudonym rather hypocritical.

Weekend posting and monitoring from me is now going to be very rare.

On Kashmir...

David Farrer says it all.
Sunday, June 09, 2002
Plenty of Questions, Very Few Answers

Emmanuel Goldstein has kindly asked me to contribute to his weblog, Airstrip One, and I have enthusiastically accepted as there is no thing anybody who writes likes better than entry into the blogosphere. Please note that my contributions will endeavour to maintain the high quality that has made me a regular reader of Airstrip One for many months.

My current career is in the financial services, but previous to this, a doctoral thesis was completed in the history of science. All details spared though if you wish to read the tome, please feel free to use Inter Library Loan and a microfiche reader.

Since my academic background is in history, anything written here will be informed by the historical context within which current policy or opinion is located. (Please comment if you find any mistakes or disagree with the interpretation given) However, contemporary events remain within the realm of our influence, and we should question the grand narratives that are used to justify particular policies or the maintenance of the status quo in British foreign policy.

For example, it is an unspoken assumption that we live in a world with one superpower. Yet, what justifies America’s entitlement to this term, with its connotations of unique power and strength in contrast to the other great powers? America’s economy is in relative economic decline and has been so for decades. The United States spends more on defence than any other nation but has not fought a major land war with another great power since Korea. Its diplomatic actions are constrained by the need to act in concert with others when it is willing to exercise its power in other regions. Would it be more accurate to describe the United States of America as a great power that is able to act globally but not on an individual basis? If so, we should move away from George Bush Sr’s concept of a ‘New World Order’, where the US acts as a global policeman and realise that we have finally entered the multipolar world that Paul Kennedy anticipated with “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers”.

If this is the case, then the United Kingdom has an opportunity to renegotiate and redefine its relationships with the United States and Europe over the next decade in order to rediscover the freedom of action that it lost following the various scuttles of Empire and the confinement of the Cold War.

If we look to examples in Europe, will we take heed of the lessons provided by Norway, Finland and Switzerland as they define themselves against a greater power? What strategy will best serve our interests? What are the costs of maintaining the current status quo?

Philip Chaston
Friday, June 07, 2002


Well thank God for that. India turns down British troops in Kashmir. Let's hope they keep to it.

It still should be noted how irresponsibly reckless our rulers are.

Now for someting completely suicidal

Perhaps this is not the silliest idea I've ever come across, but it comes close. British troops could police Kashmir. Sure, we'll be with the Yanks, but how long before they get bored? Don't any of the New Labourites know that there is a certain, erm, history involved with us in that area of the world?

Absent Danger

While you're about it, you could do a lot worse than checking out Christopher Montgomery's rather funny disassembly of the neo-Conservatives.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Background on Zim

An interesting article on Zimbabwe has been posted to the Airstrip One Forum.

Zim Watch

I know it's been a while, but this may shoot up the news again if the Kashmir stand off finishes. Famine is stalking the land, and up to a half of the population may need food aid, and in the last two years a third of the population have become unnemployed. Meanwhile Zanu supporters are being accused of hampering food supplies while Malawi is under threat as well, although Malawi is blaming the IMF, something the news media finds a bit more technical, and so boring, than blaming Bob. Which isn't surprising that there is talk of subjecting Zim to "Peer Review", although we will have to see how this will be enforced.

Suicide Bombing and other Benefits of Engagement

MI5 lists 350 terror targets in Britain. It seems that we are more vulnerable because suicide bombing is for the first time a real prospect for us. And this is all due to Britain's involvement in a war on terrorism that never affected us. Are there still people out there who think that we are safer because of our involvement in the Arab political cat fight?
Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Closer to the Brink

It seems that Brits have been told to leave India, rather than merely advised to. I hope that few of my readers live in an area with a high Indian or Pakistani population, because there could be trouble.

Corruption at the ECB

Just as the Euro was recovering credibility, they have to put Trichet in. Trichet, remember, is not only up to his neck in the Credit Lyonaise reporting scandal (which reads like Enron if the conspiracy theorists actually got it right) he is also a political appointee.

And they still think that the Euro is a sound bet?

Read the whole article

Tom Burroughes lambasts Paul Gottfried and other "Writers in Europe". Does he realise that he's actually, erm, an American? Not expecting him to know anything about current American conservative thought, just to actually read the "singularly bad-tempered article" in the Spectator when he hints that this professor of humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA, is one of the "traditional conservatives in America who are sympathetic to Europe". Or when he writes of "our visible Right deals". Oh well.

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