What No Security Guarantee Means

Give Kim Jong-il the Erich Honecker treatment?,” The Marmot’s Hole, http://blog.marmot.cc/archives/2005/02/23/give-kim-jong-il-the-erich-honecker-treatment, 23 February 2005.

The Marmot has a great post on China, North Korea, and Taiwan. He mentions adding People’s Republic to the G8. He voices the concerns of many that selling out a democracy is a bad idea. And then he gives the clearest reason, yet, why trading the Taiwan security guarantee for North Korea will not work:

Now, Currie does suggest two possible cards to use with China. One is inclusion into the G-8. Seems worth a shot, but doesn’t exactly strike me as something that the Chinese would be willing to tank North Korea for. The other is the “Taiwan card,” in which case we’d warn China that should North Korea go nuclear, Taiwan is next. Makes sense, and fully justifiable, but I’ve yet to be convinced that anyone in the White House has the balls to actually play it. Thomas P.M. Barnett suggests we trade Taiwanese defense guarantees for North Korea. Again, a completely reasonable proposition by an individual much smarter than myself. The problem with it, however, other than the prospect of selling out an economically vibrant democracy, is that it would seem to suggest that without U.S. defense guarantees, the Taiwanese would simply do what we want them to do and make nice with China. I’m given the impression, however, that the Taiwanese might not necessarily play along, and one of the reasons they haven’t actually declared independence is because of U.S. pressure/possible loss of U.S. support. Take away U.S. defense guarantees, and Taipei might go for broke, test a nuke and declare independence, in which case China would have not one, but two possible headaches on its borders, headaches that could become ours if things get out of control.

As Taipei is already a virtual nuclear state, it would not take long for the Republic of Taiwan to be a nuclear power.

Do we really want to live in a world where there is yet another isolated nuclear state in Asia, where democracies know they cannot trust the United States, and where China’s strategic position gets even worse?

The Brutal Colonizer

The War We Haven’t Finished,” by Frank C. Carlucci, New York Times, http://nytimes.com/2005/02/22/opinion/22carlucci.html, 22 February 2005.

First, I was angry. Then I was horrified. Then I was resigned. Then I knew.

The world reacted in horror six years ago when the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic embarked on an ethnic cleansing operation against Kosovo’s Albanians, forcing 700,000 people, nearly half the population, to flee the province. Reports of massacres and images of mileslong lines of refugees fleeing into neighboring Albania and Macedonia compelled the world to act. The NATO air campaign against Serbia that followed convinced Belgrade to give up its brutal assault, and Kosovo was put under United Nations administration.

And so it remains to this day: an international protectorate, legally part of Serbia, but with a 90 percent ethnic Albanian population that would sooner go to war than submit to Belgrade’s rule. Kosovars seek an independent state, and the seemingly endless delays over final-status talks are only causing deep frustration and resentment.

Their discontent is not simply a matter of hurt pride over national sovereignty; Kosovo’s unsettled international status has serious repercussions for daily life. Because it is under United Nations administration, Kosovo is in economic limbo: it cannot be part of the international bank transfer system, it is ineligible for sovereign lending from development banks, and it can attract few foreign investors. With 70 percent unemployment, the province is being starved of the commerce it badly needs.

The United Nations’ brutality once confused me. Whever blue helmets go, horrible suffering follows. Few organizations would disarm civilian populations and heard them into ghettos to be slaughtered, but the U.N. did. Few organizations would allow its peacekeepers to fire at refugees while the refugees are being slaughtered by machete-wielding thugs, but the U.N. did. When I thought at the uncalculating evil the United Nations represented, the only moral response seemed to be withdrawal.

But the violence is calculating. The evil is intentional. Whether or not corrupt aparatchicks like Kofi Annan know this isn’t an issue. The U.N sends a clear message to the world: Act up and we will mess you up.

Tom Barnett wrote of a Wolfowitz Reconstruction as a veiled threat, but U.N. peacekeeping is far worse. The U.N has abetted ethnic cleansing, genocide (by its surreal standards), “emergency sex, and countless other evils.

The United Nations offers a hobbesian, criminally reckless system administrator to the world. By implementing Barnett’s vision we can do better. In the meantime, the U.N. is better than a vacuum.

But not by much.

The Blogger Crusade

The Rapid Development,” by Ioannes Paulus II, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20050124_il-rapido-sviluppo_en.html, 24 January 2005.

Dated to coincide with the Feast of the Patron Saint of Journalists, the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter on the Media clearly references the power of New Media (and connectivity to boot!)

The rapid development of technology in the area of the media is surely one of the signs of progress in today’s society. In view of these innovations in continuous evolution, the words found in the Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Inter Mirifica, promulgated by my venerable predecessor, the servant of God Paul VI, December 4, 1963, appear even more pertinent: “Man’s genius has with God’s help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times. The Church, our mother, is particularly interested in those which directly touch man’s spirit and which have opened up new avenues of easy communication of all kinds of news, of ideas and orientations

Many challenges face the new evangelization in a world rich with communicative potential like our own. Because of this, I wanted to underline in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio that the first Areopagus of modern times is the world of communications, which is capable of unifying humanity and transforming it into – as it is commonly referred to – “a global village”. The communications media have acquired such importance as to be the principal means of guidance and inspiration for many people in their personal, familial, and social behavior. We are dealing with a complex problem, because the culture itself, prescinding from its content, arises from the very existence of new ways to communicate with hitherto unknown techniques and vocabulary.

The great challenge of our time for believers and for all people of good will is that of maintaining truthful and free communication which will help consolidate integral progress in the world. Everyone should know how to foster an attentive discernment and constant vigilance, developing a healthy critical capacity regarding the persuasive force of the communications media.

Also in this field, believers in Christ know that they can count upon the help of the Holy Spirit. Such help is all the more necessary when one considers how greatly the obstacles intrinsic to communication can be increased by ideologies, by the desire for profit or for power, and by rivalries and conflicts between individuals and groups, and also because of human weakness and social troubles. The modern technologies increase to a remarkable extent the speed, quantity and accessibility of communication, but they above all do not favor that delicate exchange which takes place between mind and mind, between heart and heart, and which should characterize any communication at the service of solidarity and love.

The apostle Paul has a clear message for those engaged in communications (politicians, professional communicators, spectators), “Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another… No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Eph 4: 25, 29).

Until Christ’s bodily return, human causes will have human leaders. We are lucky that Christ’s Vicar is here to guide us spiritually and remind us of truths. He also reminds us how technologies can be used to promote justice and a more Christian world. The letter emphasizes that communication tools are real tools for the Faith. It is right and question to consider their use seriously.

Given that, which of the following does not promote justice but instead spews foul language ungracefully

  1. Bloggers discover a major news anchor used false documents to tar a sitting President
  2. Bloggers discover a major news executive claimed U.S. troops targeted journalists, but then refused to support his claims
  3. Bloggers discover a minor news reporter is homosexual

The Holy Father’s closing words:

To those working in communication, especially to believers involved in this important field of society, I extend the invitation which, from the beginning of my ministry as Pastor of the Universal Church, I have wished to express to the entire world “Do not be afraid!”

Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank “among the marvelous things” – inter mirifica – which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom.

Do not be afraid of being opposed by the world! Jesus has assured us, “I have conquered the world!” (Jn 16:33)

Do not be afraid even of your own weakness and inadequacy! The Divine Master has said, “I am with you always, until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). Communicate the message of Christ’s hope, grace and love, keeping always alive, in this passing world, the eternal perspective of heaven, a perspective which no communications medium can ever directly communicate, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor 2:9).

To Mary, who gave us the Word of life, and who kept his unchanging words in her heart, do I entrust the journey of the Church in today’s world. May the Blessed Virgin help us to communicate by every means the beauty and joy of life in Christ our Savior.

To all I give my Apostolic Blessing!

Good to be Back

Back from the University. A great trip. Before, during, and after the meal (paid for by the U!), a lot of good information. A big focus on both human rights and political economy, meaning its right up my post-PNM alley.

Also, many many pcSpeak: beautiful women tdaxpSpeak: hot girls, everywhere. Very pleased.

Mananged to get lost again near Sioux City on the way home. Fortunately, got lost along the Big Sioux River, meaning the view was wonderful. A good time.

Baghdad Spring

When Camels Fly,” by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/20/opinion/20friedman.html, 22 February 2005.

Tom Friedman continues to be a terrific columnist for the New York Times. From his latest:

It’s good news, bad news time again for the Middle East. The good news is that what you are witnessing in the Arab world is the fall of its Berlin Wall. The old autocratic order is starting to crumble. The bad news is that unlike the Berlin Wall in central Europe, the one in the Arab world is going to fall one bloody brick at a time, and, unfortunately, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and the Solidarity trade union are not waiting to jump into our arms on the other side.

No one is more pleased than I am to see the demonstration of “people power” in Iraq, with millions of Iraqis defying the “you vote, you die” threat of the Baathists and jihadists. No one should take lightly the willingness of the opposition forces in Lebanon to stand up and point a finger at the Syrian regime and say “J’accuse!” for the murder of the opposition leader Rafik Hariri. No one should dismiss the Palestinian election, which featured a real choice of candidates, and a solid majority voting in favor of a decent, modernizing figure – Mahmoud Abbas. No one should ignore the willingness of some Egyptians to demand to run against President Hosni Mubarak when he seeks a fifth – unopposed – term. These are things you have not seen in the Arab world before. They are really, really unusual – like watching camels fly.

Something really is going on with the proverbial “Arab street.” The automatic assumption that the “Arab street” will always rally to the local king or dictator – if that king or dictator just waves around some bogus threat or insult from “America,” “Israel” or “the West” – is no longer valid. Yes, the Iraq invasion probably brought more anti-American terrorists to the surface. But it also certainly brought more pro-democracy advocates to the surface.

Call it the “Baghdad Spring.”

But we have to be very sober about what is ahead. There will be no velvet revolutions in this part of the world. The walls of autocracy will not collapse with just one good push. As the head-chopping insurgents in Iraq, the suicide bombers in Saudi Arabia and the murderers of Mr. Hariri have all signaled: The old order in this part of the world will not go quietly into this good night. You put a flower in the barrel of their gun and they’ll blow your hand and your head right off.