Regime Transformation

Philanthropy and the American Regime: Is It Time for Another Congressional Investigation of Tax-Exempt Foundations?” by John Fonte, Hudson Institute, November 2004.

U.S., ‘We Have Different Timeframe for N. Korean Peninsula Policy’,” by Jung-Ahn Kim, The Dong-A Ilbo,, 18 January 2005.

Per Baal Shem Ra‘s question…

A policy of…

  • Regime Transformation is the challenging of a functional regime.
  • Regime Improvement is the support of a functional regime
  • Regime Maintenance is the support of a dysfunctional regime
  • Regime Revolution, or “Regime Change,” is the challenging of a dysfunctional regime



Therefore, diplo bs lies-with-style aside, American policy…

  • Towards Egypt is regime transformation (they play by the rules, but need to be better)
  • Towards China is regime impovement (they play by the rules, and we support their efforts)
  • Towards Saudi Arabia is regime maintenance (they support terrorists, but we need them for the present)
  • Towards North Korea is regime change / regime revolution (we hate them and they should die)

Regime transformation has been in the news lately. Mostly in the lie with style diplo-speak of America’s North Korea policy. For example

The remark of Steven Hadley, the national security advisor-designate, was most specific among the U.S. North Korean policies mentioned by dignitaries nominated as the core diplomatic lineup in the second Bush term.

The Korean Assembly delegation, which visited Washington in December last year, quoted Hadley as saying, “The United States demands regime transformation, not regime change of North Korea.”

The closest I have found to a defintion of “regime transformation” is Fonte’s. It’s in a different context, refering to anti-American activities, but I think its still valid

The Regime Chart at the end of the paper suggests four possible relationships of American
philanthropy to the American regime during the period of the Reese Committee in the 1950s
and today. Square 1, Regime Maintenance, in the bottom left hand corner of the chart
suggests philanthropic support for institutions and projects that would strengthen the nation’s
political and cultural institutions and help affirm and perpetuate the regime. Square 2,
Regime Improvement, in the upper left hand corner of the chart suggests that philanthropy
seeks to strengthen the regime through activities that promote improvement and reform. Both
Square 1 and Square 2 are ultimately aimed at perpetuating the American regime and
transmitting it to future generations.

Square 3, Regime Transformation, in the upper right hand corner suggests that the core
institutions and structures of the American Regime are themselves flawed and, thus, the
regime should not be transmitted to future generations, but transformed in an evolutionary
and non-violent manner into a new form of regime
. Square 4, Regime Revolution, in the
lower right hand corner posits that the regime is essentially illegitimate and that the only
course of action is revolution.

Being more than a half-century ago, the Reese definition is somewhat dated. But the only substantive change I would make is the assumption that some regimes should be “passed on” and others should not be. A better way to look at it would be Barnett’s direction not speed mantra. “Dysfunctional” or “not-to-be-passed-on” regimes may be better thought of as “backwards-tending” or retrograde.

Or maybe not. That’s a post for another time…

Persian Bombs and Terrorist Bombs

Hariri Killed in Huge Car Bombing in Beirut,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent,, 14 February 2005.

U.S. Warns of U.N. Penalties After Lebanon Killing,” by Steve Holland, Reuthers,, 14 February 2005.

The former Prime Minister of Lebanon was killed in a bomb blast. He resigned his position after Syria changed Lebanon’s constitution to keep its man President. Hopefully, PM Rafik al-Hariri’s death will not be in vain

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States condemned the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in Beirut on Monday and said it would consult with the U.N. Security Council about taking punitive measures against those responsible.

At the same time, the 15-nation Security Council planned a formal meeting on Tuesday about the killing as well as its resolution demanding Syrian troops get out of Lebanon.

But in a thinly veiled warning to Damascus, which has occupied Lebanon for years, McClellan said the United States will consult with other governments in the region and on the Security Council about “measures that can be taken to punish those responsible for this terrorist attack.”

A goal, he said, will be “to end the use of violence and intimidation against the Lebanese people and to restore Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty and democracy by freeing it from foreign occupation.

We continue to be concerned about the foreign occupation in Lebanon. We’ve expressed those concerns,” McClellan added.

The attack came at a sensitive time for U.S. policy in the Middle East. The Bush administration is hoping Iraq’s elections will produce a representative government that will ultimately pave the way for a U.S. withdrawal, and is working with Israel and the Palestinians on a peace deal.

The United States and France had engineered a resolution in September telling Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and refrain from intervening in Lebanese affairs. They sought unsuccessfully to head off a constitutional amendment that extended the term of the Syrian-backed president of Lebanon, Gen. Emile Lahoud, by three years.

“This murder today is a terrible reminder that the Lebanese people must be able to pursue their aspirations and determine their own political future free from violence and intimidation and free from Syrian occupation,” McClellan said. (Additional reporting by Adam Entous and Evelyn Leopold)

Juan Cole reports the Syrians were probably not behind the bombing

A shadowy and previously unknown group called “Aid and Jihad in the Lands of Syria” claimed responsibility in a videotape that I saw on al-Jazeerah. The spokesman reading the message was dressed as a Muslim fundamentalist big posters were behind him with Muslim fundamentalist slogans.

Personally, I find the likelihood of the Saudi connection generating al-Qaeda-type violence against him somewhat more plausible than that it came out of local politics, since local politics had been fairly civil in Lebanon.

That’s probable. The Iraq War is spreading the fire of freedom and salafism throughout the Middle East. The status quo, shattered during the invasion of Iraq, continues to melt away. Good.

But given the fluid situation, how should we shape it? Syria should be our target. They support anti-Israeli attacks from Lebanon. They support anti-Iraqi attacks from Syria. They have harbored anti-Turkish terrorists. As the joint Franco-American resolution made clear, their geeky dictator has squandared his father’s network of friends. The only thing that keeps Syria in the game is Iran.

But Iran’s foreign relations are in flux. Iran is well positioned to be Iraq’s long term guide. Further, Iran is placed to cause trouble by supporting the Shia’s in Saudi’s Eastern Province.

Iran has big interests in the Middle East. Between the present Iraq and a future Eastern Arabia, Persia is looking to be a permanent regional hegemon. How does supporting a diplomatically inept Syria help Iranian interests? It doesn’t.

We should use the tension of Iran’s quest for the Bomb, along with events like al-Harari’s assination, to make a deal with Iran: the Bomb for Syria. It’s in their interests. It’s in our intersts. It’s in the interests of the peace of the world.

And the Bush administration may be bright enough to see this.


Update: Cliff May quotes Walid Phares with another take

“Rafiq Hariri was close to Syria in the 1990s; he distanced himself from Syria after the war in Iraq. Last summer, he resigned in protest of the continuing Syrian occupation of Lebanon. As a consequence, he was threatened by the Syrian Baathists. Hariri was close to the French and the more moderate Saudis, and was seeking rapprochement with the Lebanese Christians and Druze, and with the United States.

“Last fall a car bomb – almost certainly planted by Syrian intelligence agents in Lebanon — missed one of his allies, a Druze former minister. In September 2004, the United States and France introduced UN Security Council Resolution 1559, calling for Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Hariri supported the resolution. Media in Lebanon yesterday quoted French and Western sources warning the Syrians not to harm Hariri. Today, sources from the Lebanese opposition charge that the Syrian regime was behind the assassination.

“Other sources have said that Hariri endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It is known that Hezbollah, a close ally of Syria, has vowed to support the radical Jihadists against Israel, and against any settlement between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“This assassination may trigger a significant confrontation between the Lebanese opposition and the Syrian military occupiers.”

Friedman on Vasco da Gama

No Mullah Left Behind,” by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times,, 13 February 2005.

After laying the groundwork with a tale of fraid connectivity

The Wall Street Journal ran a very, very alarming article from Iran on its front page last Tuesday. The article explained how the mullahs in Tehran – who are now swimming in cash thanks to soaring oil prices – rather than begging foreign investors to come into Iran, are now shunning some of them. The article related how a Turkish mobile-phone operator, which had signed a deal with the Iranian government to launch Iran’s first privately owned cellphone network, had the contract frozen by the mullahs in the Iranian Parliament because they were worried it might help the Turks and their foreign partners spy on Iran.

Why? High oil prices

The Journal quoted Ali Ansari, an Iran specialist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, as saying that for 10 years analysts had been writing about Iran’s need for economic reform. “In actual fact, the scenario is worse now,” said Mr. Ansari. “They have all this money with the high oil price, and they don’t need to do anything about reforming the economy.” Indeed, The Journal added, the conservative mullahs are feeling even more emboldened to argue that with high oil prices, Iran doesn’t need Western investment capital and should feel “free to pursue its nuclear power program without interference.”

Friedman then lays out the possible Vasco de Gama Projects, and the costs for not building them

This is a perfect example of the Bush energy policy at work, and the Bush energy policy is: “No Mullah Left Behind.”

By adamantly refusing to do anything to improve energy conservation in America, or to phase in a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax on American drivers, or to demand increased mileage from Detroit’s automakers, or to develop a crash program for renewable sources of energy, the Bush team is – as others have noted – financing both sides of the war on terrorism. We are financing the U.S. armed forces with our tax dollars, and, through our profligate use of energy, we are generating huge windfall profits for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan, where the cash is used to insulate the regimes from any pressure to open up their economies, liberate their women or modernize their schools, and where it ends up instead financing madrassas, mosques and militants fundamentally opposed to the progressive, pluralistic agenda America is trying to promote. Now how smart is that?

I’ve blogged before on the oiltyrant nexus. We need to cut it. We need to force reform. We need to bring freedom to the oil despotisms of the world.

Farkers Use Internet Explorer

tdaxp: Browser Share,” Site Meter for tdaxp,, 14 February 2005.

Earlier I noted that the fark torrent had singlehandedly pushed Firefox to the majority browser for this site. Because of fark Firefox usage jumpted to 51%. Now, with the wave subsiding, IE has taken an incredible lead


The more fark traffic flows to tdaxp, the more IE-heavy usage becomes.

My theory is that the people who check fark regularly, and so see stories first, are early adopters. The same people who absolutely must be the first to see photoshopped Vatican guards also must have advanced browsers. But there’s a practical reason too. Fark is a mountain of links, and Firefox’s tabbed browsing makes navigating links much easier.

In conclusion? Regularly farkers are geeks (like me). And everyone else should get firefox.

Cobuyitaphobia Blogosphere

Accessibility & transparency: should Carly have blogged?,” by Debby Weil, BlogWrite for CEOs,, 10 February 2005 (from The PubSub Pulse).

Debby Weil wonders if HP’s Carly Fiorina would still have a job if she was a blogger

Yesterday’s abrupt news that Carly Fiorina was ousted as CEO of H-P got me to thinking… should Carly have had a blog? BTW, the link on Carly’s name goes to the bio page on H-P’s site where the copy has already been changed to “Former Chairman and CEO.” Don’t write off the blogging idea as ridiculous. Consider…

An Internal Blog
If Carly had had an internal blog (i.e. behind H-P’s firewall and not for public viewing), she might have been able to warm up her apparently chilly and/or distant relationship with many H-P employees. Maybe she could have reestablished some of the collegiality that defined H-P’s culture not so long ago. She might have titled her internal blog “Dateline Carly…” and doled out choice anecdotes about her constant travelling. Maybe she could have blogged about how wonderful it was to fly on the corporate jet and how much she appreciated it. I bet they had great snacks on the plane. Did she have a real bed? She might have shown a photo of it. People *love* this kind of detail, especially when it’s divulged by a celebrity… and it’s pretty harmless info.

The post goes on to compare her to Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz, who does blog.

Of course, there’s still the little matter of the huge publicly traded companies she ruined


HP’s Fiorina doesn’t get Valentine from Board, quits,” by Dave Taylor, Intuitive Systems,, 9 February 2005.

Cobuyitaphobia is the fear of synergetic mergers. HP’s board should have been cobuyitaphobes when Fiorina merged them and Compaq. Dave over at Intuitive Systems gives more details on HP’s dismissal of Fiorina.

I’ve been tracking the performance and strategic management of HP CEO Carly Fiorina as I’ve watched her steer Hewlett-Packard further and further from the path of success in the challenging personal computer and peripheral industry. I’ve talked about Fiorina’s rift with the Board, HP’s dispute with Apple about the iPod, and HP saddles PC division to printer group, among other topics.

To reiterate, though, it was her reinvention of the company as a centralized management hierarchy, after decades as a loose collection of mostly autonomous divisions, that began concerning me, then her decision to saddle the successful printer division — typically viewed as the bright spot in the HP portfolio — with the failing personal computer division, rather than jettison the completely commoditized business. The acquisition of Compaq was really the beginning of the PC debacle at HP, not changes in the industry, but that’s another topic entirely.

Fiorina’s prize for dragging down HP?

Two additional items of data have surfaced as the day has proceeded. First, the Board of Directors apparently asked Fiorina to resign, so it wasn’t so much that she offered to step aside at all. Second, and this is one of those stories of how CEOs just live different lives to you and me: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Fiorina’s severance package is going to be $21.1 million. Nice work if you can get it.