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Thursday, February 05, 2004
Here's a collection of articles I've enjoyed lately:
Jonah Goldberg with Division Diversions:
In other words, living in an evenly divided society is an interesting challenge politically, but not a really big problem, while living in a deeply divided society is cause for stocking up on bottled water and shotgun shells.Mark Steyn with International Terrorism Takes A Hit:
Ask yourself: "If liberals believe that it's such a wonderful thing to live in a united nation, why aren't they more nostalgic for the 1950s or 1920s?" Well, we know the answer. If the American consensus isn't a liberal consensus, then, well, to hell with consensus. So, even today liberal and feminist historians mock and deride the 1950s as if the American soul were locked in a steamer trunk for the entire decade. And liberal politicians, like Dean, talk about the 1960s as a time of great unity, because in their book "unity" means liberal ascendance and nothing more.
You can find other examples of long-running local conflicts around the world from Burundi to Nepal that seem to have mysteriously wound down over the last two years.Mark Steyn with The Alternative To War Was Simple: Defeat:
Might be just coincidence, as the media's bien pensants assure us is the case with Colonel Gaddafi's about-face: nothing to do with Bush and his absurd war, old boy, don't you believe it. Or it might be that putting the bank transfers of certain groups on an international watch list has choked off the funding pump for a lot of terrorism.
The Right should know better. If he wants, Mr Howard can have some sport with Mr Blair. But, if he aids the perception that Blair took Britain to war under false pretences, the Tories will do the country a grave disservice. One day Mr Howard might be prime minister and, chances are, in the murky world that lies ahead, he'll have to commit British forces on far less hard evidence than existed vis à vis Saddam. Conservatives shouldn't assist the Western world's self-loathing fringe in imposing a burden of proof that can never be met. The alternative to pre-emption is defeat. If you want a real "underlying issue", that's it.Michael Segal with The Know-'Em-All:
To a typical intellectual, how much you know is far more important than knowing whom you can trust and count on. This is why Mr. Bush is so infuriating to intellectuals. He makes no pretense that he has all the answers, and he talks like a regular guy--but the team he leads is reshaping the Middle East with a brashness and vision equal to that of his Reaganite predecessors, as well as making major changes in domestic policy.Gary "War Nerd" Brecher with Burundi: Heightism Rears Its Ugly Head:
Polls show that most Americans admire Mr. Bush's personal qualities, but to intellectuals he doesn't show the personal quality they most admire. Thus to them Mr. Bush's successes seems undeserved, attributable to others. Although the president's IQ is estimated (based on SAT scores) as greater than that of 90% of Americans, he is portrayed as the puppet of smarter men.
They signed a “peace accord” on Burundi a couple of weeks ago. I guess it makes some people feel better, writing out these treaties and getting the local gangs to sign on the dotted line for human rights and kindness to animals. I hope so, because it sure doesn’t accomplish anything else. There’s a war in Burundi, and there always will be, and no signatures on UN letterhead are going to stop it.Enjoy.
People know that by now. We all know these treaties don’t matter. You see a headline “Peace Treaty in Congo” or “Accord Signed on Rwanda” and you go on to the next story, because you know it doesn’t mean a thing. Even the words they use sound fake, like “accord.” It’s one of those words they only use in the papers. They could sign an accord a day in Central Africa, in fact it seems like they do, and the only difference it would make would be on some bureaucrat’s resume.
When you look hard at a place like Burundi, you start to realize that war is normal in most of the world. Tribes move around, try to grab the good land just over the next hill, and when they do, the locals try to push them back. Boom, you’ve got a war.
Europe used to be like that. People don’t remember that the Hungarians only got to Europe a thousand years ago. They came straight off the Steppes and cut through Eastern Europe like a smalltime Mongol horde, and when they came to a nice piece of grazing land they said, “We’re staying.” In those days, it was tribes, not land, that counted. So a king wasn’t king of any particular piece of land, he was king of his tribe of people: “King of the Franks,” or “King of the Magyar.” The big battles come when one tribe decides to make the move on another tribe. That’s what the battle of Hastings was, for one example: Normans vs. Saxons in a classic gang turf war, South Central LA with chain-mail hauberks instead of Raiders jackets.