White Russian People Power

Belarusian National Republic,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belarus_National_Republic.

Protesters clash with police in Belarus, 150 people arrested,” Kyodo News, 25 March 2005, http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&cat=8&id=332026 (from Coming Anarchy).

I’ll sign off tonight on some hopeful news. Really hopeful news. Belarus may join Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan

Pro-democracy protesters clashed with police in Minsk near the palace of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday and 150 protesters were arrested, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

The police made the arrests after some 1,000 pro-democracy protesters reportedly tried to gather near the presidential palace, demanding democratic reform.

As you can tell by the national shield, the Belarussian government never got over its Soviet fix

Interesting, not only are Belarussia’s historical symbols much more “European”

medium_belarushistoricalcoatofarms.png

They still have a government-in-exile from the post-World-War-I days. Nifty!

Let’s hope!

The Trifurcation of Iraq Continues

The Trifurcation of Iraq Has Begun,” by Tom Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 28 February 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001563.html.

Sunni Powers Oppose Federalism in Western Iraq,” by Mazen Ghazi, Assyrian International News Agency, 24 March 2005, http://www.aina.org/news/20050324135407.htm (from Informed Comment).

Remember Dr. Barnett’s post on the falling-apart of Yugoslavia-on-the-Tigris Iraq?

Meanwhile, down south, there are some pretty out-in-the-open dreams about breaking off from the Sunni and Kurdish north. Some of this is a desire to take their oil and leave, which is natural, and some of it is desiring to be away from the real and potential violence elsewhere in Iraq, and that’s even more natural. Being built around the port of Basra, there is likewise a stronger desire to connect up with the outside world. The election showing of the Shiite coalition will dampen this some, as the article points out, but it ain’t going to go away. We’re watching the same dynamics, often economically driven more than by ethnicity or religion, that dismembered the false state that was Yugoslavia. Iraq is a similarly odd historical creation by outsiders (Churchill had a big hand), and it may well have to devolve into smaller bits before it can come back together in larger ones.

medium_sunni_iraq.png
Proposed State for the Iraqi Sunnis

It rolls on

Leading Sunni powers took a swipe at calls for a federalism in western Iraq, warning this only plays into the hands of the occupation by contributing to slice the country.

“Such calls only serve the interests of the occupation and fuel sectarian strife by pitting Iraqis against one another,” Mothana Harith Al-Dari, spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), told IslamOnline.net on Thursday, March 24

Al-Anbar governor Fassal al-Ka’oud had proposed a federal rule in the predominantly Sunni western governorates of Saladin, Ninawa and Al-Anbar, to face up to the new political reality in the war-torn country.

Calls for federalism, however, were quickly endorsed by the Assyrian Democratic Movement, which wants a self-ruled Christian governorate in Ninawa plains.

“Christian villages in Ninawa plains want their own governorate to enhance their political, economic and administrative rights within the state,” said Isac Isac, the movement’s public relations officer.

If nations and states lined up in the Middle East, the proposed state would be part of Syria.

Maybe it will be.

The End of France’s Future

Are they winning?,” The Economist, 23 March 2005, http://economist.com/world/europe/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3798465.

The thrust of the article is the sudden “no” sentiment in France to the referendum on the European Constitution, but the economic news is even more depressing

Whether they represent a new trend or not, the new polls show that a French no is now a real possibility. How to explain such a surge of Euro-hostility? Partly, no doubt, it is a protest against an unpopular government, led by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the prime minister, which seems to have lost its way at a time when voters are most anxious about jobs and pay. Unemployment is over 10%. Growth is still sluggish. Rents are rising. Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets. Yet the government lacks any serious plan to revive the economy or increase jobs. Moreover, a whiff of sleaze hangs in the air, after the resignation of Hervé Gaymard as finance minister over a housing scandal, not to mention the opening this week of a corruption trial that fingers colleagues of Mr Chirac when he was mayor of Paris.

Malaise!

As for the Constitution issue… that’s more understandible. “Europe” was designed to end war in Europe forever by uniting France and Germany under one regime. Books such as Before France and Germany and Mohammed and Charlemagne persuasively argued that the “French” and “German” nations were illusions, and that a Carolingian or “European” nation truly occupied those lands. (This was one of the bases of my graduate research at USD).

Unfortunately for France, America has successfully moved to “drown” Carolingia in a a large structuer — first a free Western Europe and now the continent-stradling behemoth we see today.

France’s dream is dying. Their future worth creating is fading away. I feel sorry for them.

Update: Bizblogger shares his take

After all of Chirac’s discussion of a powerful Europe to counter-balance the weight of the U.S., what an interesting twist of irony it would be if France were the country that undermined his wish.

I wouldn’t view this as ironic. France may have more to fear from a federal Europe than Britain. France’s actions in the EU and her opposition to America are explained by Paris’s desire for Carolingia. To “end war in Europe forever,” France wants to merge with Germany. First to counter the Soviet threat and now to ensure American power in Europe, Washington wants France submerged in a wider Europe. A “No” vote may hurt America more than France.

Syria Even Stupider than Thought

Leb Land bis: It Appears Syria is stupider than I thought.,” by Collounsbury, Lounsbury on MENA, 25 March 2005, http://www.livejournal.com/users/collounsbury/302946.html.

Col quotes from news that the United Nations uncovered Baby Assad physically threatening ex-PM Harari directly before Harari’s assassination

Bashar Assad, the Syrian president, had threatened Rafik Hariri, the assassinated former Lebanese prime minister, “with physical harm” if he opposed the extension of the Lebanese presidency of Emil Lahoud, a UN inquiry said on Thursday.

The inquiry also said the Syrian government bore “primary responsibility” for the political tension that preceded the February 14 killing, although it did not say who was actually responsible for the attack.

Collounbury was a doubter of the Syrian angle before, and said “there is no key state interest for the US to destabilize Syria,” so his change of heart is all the better to read

While one would be well served in maintaining a degree of skepticism, I have to say this information causes me to favor the “idiot self inflicted wounds” path to Syria.

Ultramarooons.

Housekeeping

To better harmonize this site’s categories with del.icio.us and Technorati, I’ve renamed some of the more obscure sections

Akademeia is now
Aphrike is now
Arabian Peninsula is now
Free Europe is now
Free Persia is now
The Faith is now
The Foundation is now

Additionally, the unwieldy “social genetics” has been broken up into four pieces: Abortion, Babes, Homosexuality, and Women.

Unrelatedly, Coming Anarchy has a great discussion on “Bad Democracies, Good Dictatorships.”

Update: The Subcontinent is now .

As I Said, Liberating Shia

Iraqi Shiism could topple the mullahs,” by Cameron Khosrowshahi, International Herald Tribune, 24 March 2005, http://www.iht.com/bin/print_ipub.php?file=/articles/2005/03/23/opinion/edkamran.html, (from American Future).

Hmmm… if only some blogger had written about Iran-Iraq ties increasing freedom before this

Rather than worrying about Iran’s influence over Iraq, we should be harnessing the strength of Iraq’s newly empowered Shiites against the regime in Iran. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiites, is cut from a different cloth from the ruling clerics in Tehran.

He is of the quietist tradition, which holds that mosque and state should be kept separate. There are already profound roots for this philosophy within Iran itself. It was the conventional thinking among the religious authorities of my grandfather’s era and was the norm until Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini politicized Iranian Shiism.

A major artery of information flow and exchange has existed between the two countries for centuries. As Iraq’s democracy and civil society stabilize, more and more Iranians will travel to Najaf and Karbala as pilgrims and seminary students. The Iranian state can restrict movement, what its people say, read and write, and what they see and hear on radio, TV and the Internet. But it will never be able to curtail their right to perform the pilgrimage to Iraq, which is a religious duty. The ideas these pilgrims take back with them to Iran could be the beginnings of an authentic counterrevolution against the tyranny of the mosque.

Sistani’s religious credentials and learning dwarf those of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his counterpart in Iran. There are many Iranians who would rather listen to the Iranian-born Sistani if he chooses to speak to them. Moreover, his call to freedom will be couched within a language they understand, that of tradition and religious scholarship.

The Iraq War is the engine for peaceful regime change in Tehran. The Shia are the natural allies of freedom. And everything else I have been saying for months.

Asia Realigned?

Focus of Indo-Japan relation should be FDI-based: Kamal Nath,” Navhind Times, 17 March 2005, http://www.navhindtimes.com/stories.php?part=news&Story_ID=03179.

Brazil, Germany, India, Japan Accelerate U.N Reform,” China View, 23 March 2005, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-03/23/content_2731138.htm.

The Year of Korea-Japan Friendship,” by Curzon, Coming Anarchy, 24 March 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/03/24/the-year-of-korea-japan-friendship/#more-385.

S. Korea Will Ease Regulations on Trade and Traffic with the North,” Arirang TV, 24 March 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200503/200503240007.html (from Gardner in Korea).

South Korean Links to U.S. Called Frayed,” by Brian Lee, JoongAng Daily, 26 March 2005, http://joongangdaily.joins.com/200503/23/200503232225161809900090309031.html (from One Free Korea).

Perhaps the Republic of Korea will not be in the Pacific NATO. Hopefully South Korea’s Roh is an aberation, or he is playing a deeper game, but he positioning himself to be North Korea’s best friend.

As new Core India continues to join the world, emphasizing investment not aid with old Core Japan…

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Kamal Nath today said the emphasis of India-Japan bilateral trade relationship should be foreign direct investment (FDI) based and not official development assistance (ODA) based.

“India is one of the largest ODA recipients from Japan. However, in the changed context of our desire for seeking a new economic partnership, it is important that we shift the emphasis of India-Japan relationship from ODA-based to FDI -based,” the Minister said.

The Commerce Minister, who was speaking at a symposium on ‘Japan and India: challenges and responsibilities as partners in the 21st century in Asia’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said there is a vast potential for higher levels of Japanese investment in India.

“Japanese business can make use of the growing opportunities in sectors like infrastructure, telecom, power and construction in India,” he said.

… and as India and Japan march with emerging Brazil and old Germany to obtain world prominence…

The countries of the Group of Four – Brazil, Germany, India and Japan – demanded Tuesday a resolution in the reforms of the United Nations Security Council prior to coming September.

The Group of Four gathers states who declare themselves prepared to take the rights and duties inherent to the condition of permanent member of the UN Security Council.

… South Korea picks a(n economic?) fight with Japan …

There could be a hard diplomatic war… that may reduce exchanges in various sectors and cause economic difficulty… But we do not have to worry much about it … we are determined to take the hardship on our shoulders if we really have to.

… while attempting to integrate with North Korea economically

The South Korean government will ease regulations on trade and traffic with North Korea, starting from as early as next week.

Under the new measures, military inspections will be abolished for vehicles crossing the western section of the inter-Korean border using the road running alongside the Gyeongui railway.

The road is frequently used by South Korean businesses to transport machinery and equipment to the industrial park in the North Korean border city of Kaeseong.

Also up for changes are customs procedures. South Korean companies doing business in the North no longer have to report to the Unification Ministry on what items are being carried in and out of the South.

Unification Ministry officials say the latest measures are aimed at providing convenience for companies operating in the North.

… as Korea’s military alliance with the United States continues to crumble

On her return from an eight-day trip to the United States, Park Geun-hye, chairwoman of Grand National Party, told reporters yesterday that relations between South Korea and the United States are far worse than Koreans imagine they are.

“I met various politicians,” said Ms. Park. “If the mistrust that prevails among the politicians spreads to the general public of the United States, bilateral ties between the two countries will face greater problems.”

Ms. Park had a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the North Korean nuclear crisis, among other issues. She said a lack of cooperation between South Korea and the United States was the chief reason for the current stalemate in trying to end Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons efforts.

If the gap in South Korea-U.S. cooperation widens, the North Korea nuclear problem will only become tougher,” said Ms. Park. She added that differences in actions taken and words spoken by the South Korean government have led to the erosion of trust between South Korea and the United States.

Depressing news. If South Korea is attempting a xenophobia One Free from foreigners Korea strategy, it is the worst disaster of the Bush Presidency. And the Roh Presidency.

Alabama to Forbid Homosexualist Adoptions?

Bill would forbid gay adoptions,” by Jannell McGrew, Montgomery Advertiser, 23 March 2005, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/NEWSV5/storyV5GAY0323W.htm (from War Liberal through Eschaton).

Promise of good news from Alabama

Gay Alabamians hoping to adopt children in this state may never get the chance. A group of state lawmakers is pushing a measure to stop them.

However, current law effective forbids it anyway, so the move is pretty symbolic

The Alabama Legislature is considering a proposal that would make it illegal for a person who is gay to adopt a minor. Currently, there is no state law that would prohibit a person who is homosexual from adopting children. However, because of the state’s Marriage Protection Act, which only acknowledges marriage as being between a man and a woman, same-sex couples are effectively prohibited from adopting children

It is good to see states fight back against the progressive agenda. Attempts to create a New Style Marriage or New Style Family are dangerous and should fought against.