Syria-ously Pro-Iraq

Syria signals change in policy toward Iraq,” Associated Press, 1 May 2005, (from Blogs for Bush).

American-Iranian agent given high-ranking Iraqi government job? Check.

Iranian client state open relations with American-Iranian client state? Check.

American-Iranian Connectivity continues to grow…

Syria announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Iraq more than two decades after ties were severed, boosting regional hopes for securing borders and signaling a willingness to change its policy toward the violence-torn country.

With Iraq’s neighbours concerned that violence and ethnic instability in Iraq could spread throughout the region, they pledged on Saturday to cooperate with Iraq’s newly elected government on “overall border security.”

..

But Syria’s decision to re-establish ties after 23 years of severance could be key to easing the insurgency in Iraq and boosting regional security, given Syria’s 310-mile (499-kilometer) shared border with Iraq and its strong ties with Iraq’s Sunni tribes, analysts said.

It’s almost as if America and Iran is trading something for something Almost as if America wants stable Shia regimes around the Persian Gulf.

If only some blogger had predicted this…

Hmmm…

Influence v. Source Code

The Eastern Question: Part III,” by Chirol, Coming Anarchy, 3 May 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/05/03/the-eastern-question-part-iii/.

Chirol at Coming Anarchy makes a good point about the difference between influence and style. We have nothing to fear from a state that’s in China’s political orbit. We have everything to fear from one that acts like the old China

We need to remember that influence and ideology are different. A country where China has influence through say business interests like Kazakhstan isn’t as dangerous as a country running China’s “code” like Burma or North Korea. The west in the broadest sense is expanding its system, running its source code in more countries and that is part of the Eastern Question. Countries merely competing for influence is another matter entirely.

Thus, in order to maintain not the balance of power, but to maintain peace and international prosperity, we must expand or realign large sections of the world. Thus the latest Eastern Question deals more with the balance of power between stability and chaos than among states. The Cold War era was stable and thus safe. Since it ended, we’ve seen anarchy erupt across the globe. Keeping that in check and molding these regions into stable democracies will be our challenge.

Countries like Russia and China have had to slowly become like us in order to compete with us. All other isms have failed. Liberal democracy has no credible ideological competitors. We can’t fall into the classic trap of “masterly inactivity” we need to be forward thinking and acting.

Well said.

Increased 4GWS1, Political Effort Against Distant Enemy

Bomb attacks on the rise as ‘New Baath party’ is born,” by Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad, The Independent, 3 May 2005, http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=635173 (from Democratic Underground).

Give the enemy credit where credit is due…

After earlier catastrophic defeats, anti-Iraqi forces are consentrating on an intense form of 4GWS1.

The bombings in the past week underline that the insurgents have lost none of their ability to carry out attacks, almost always without regard for civilian casualties, all over Iraq. In the three months since the elections on 30 January there was a drop in American losses which led to official optimism that the guerrilla war was on the wane.

There has been an increase in the number of assassination attempts against Iraqi senior security officers based on precise intelligence about their movements. A bomb yesterday slightly wounded Major-General Fuleih Rasheed, the commander of a police commando unit linked to the interior ministry, and two of his men in the Huriya district of northwest Baghdad. The bomb exploded as Maj-Gen Rasheed’s convoy raced past the point.

A third bomb in Baghdad in the Zayouna district killed two policemen and wounded 10 people.

Assassination and general terrorism is the first stage of fourth-generation war. It’s not necessarily a bad sign than the anti-Iraqis are still in the 1st stage: a 4G war can easily be decade long. But last April was definitely worse for us.

At the same time, the insurgents are trying to seperate their distant enemy (us) from their near enemy (the Iraqi government)

The insurgents are less interested in participation in the present government than in direct talks with the US, a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces and the right to rebuild the Baath party. In Sunni Arab towns and cities a so-called New Baath party is beginning to emerge and is said to be very well organised.

Removing American support for Iraqi’s democratic government would make the anti-Iraqi goal of killing everybody who opposes them that much easier. We must not let them win.

Geogreen Labour to Embrace Nuclear Power

Blair planning revival of nuclear power,” by Roland Gribben, Telegraph, 3 May 2005, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2005/05/03/cnucp03.xml&menuId=242&sSheet=/money/2005/05/03/ixcity.html (from Tim Worstall through macroblog).

After Tony Blair wins reelection, one of his biggest plans is to increase British use of nuclear power

Downing Street policy advisers, with Mr Blair’s blessing, have been taking the lead in encouraging major industrial users, including chemical companies, glassmakers and brickmakers, and investment bankers to start discussions on building atomic plants in anticipation of a post-election change in energy policy.

One senior Government adviser has advanced the case for nuclear power accounting for 35pc of electricity generation, against 23pc currently. It could fall, on present trends, to a projected 4pc in 2020 when all but one of the early plants will have been mothballed.

The reasons given are both geostrategic and green — a perfect marriage of the two movements

While nuclear power hardly figured in the Labour manifesto, Mr Blair, briefly shadow energy secretary before he became party leader, has been signalling his support for a revival of the industry because it offers a ‘clean’ route to help meet targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Blair and his advisers recognise there will be considerable problems in “selling” the rebirth of nuclear power to the public, hence the emphasis on “environmental benefits”. The need for security of supply and “protection” against the rapidly rising cost of energy is also one of the points being made by pro-nuclear advocates.

Britain gets it. China gets it. France — which gets 70% of its energy from atomic energy plants — also gets it. We should too.

Competitive Liberalization of People Movement

Microsoft Wants No Limit On Hiring Foreigners,” Associated Press, 27 April 2005, http://www.thekcrachannel.com/technology/4423402/detail.html (from Democratic Underground).

Canada is wooing Mexican immigrants,” by Chris Hawley, Arizona Republic, 3 May 2005, http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0503canada03.html.

While Microsoft founder Bill Gates is asking for more open immigration rules in the United States

Bill Gates is urging an end to federal limits on foreign engineers who can be hired by U.S. companies.

In some rare personal lobbying of the Bush administration and Congress, the Microsoft mogul said it doesn’t make sense to put limits on the number of “smart people” who can come into the country.

Currently, no more than 65,000 overseas engineers, scientists, architects and doctors are allowed to take such jobs in the U.S.

U.S. labor groups and out-of-work computer engineers argue otherwise, but Gates and other technology executives say they need a larger labor pool.

It’s a sensitive issue with Americans watching jobs moving overseas.

Canada is already doing just that

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Canada’s Immigration Policies Hasten the Harmonizatoin of North America

As the United States fortifies its border with Mexico, Canadian companies are reaching out to immigrants who are frustrated by U.S. restrictions and tempted by dreams of a better life in Canada.

The Canadian government has been relaxing its immigration rules in an effort to attract students and skilled workers from all over the world. That, and the push by companies promising jobs and visas, is attracting Mexican professionals turned off by the Minuteman Project, new border walls, tougher U.S. entry requirements and laws like Proposition 200 in Arizona.

“Live in Canada!” says a Mexico City newspaper ad placed by a Canadian labor recruiter, as a photo of the Toronto skyline beckons. “Voted the No. 1 country in the world for living four years in a row,” an immigration counseling company boasts on its Web site.
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Canada has its arms open to immigrants, and the United States has its arms closed. It’s as simple as that,” accountant Marcos Ramírez Posadas said as he stood in line with other visa applicants outside the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City.

I like competitive liberalization. While Canada’s unilateral policies often cause trouble, I hope the US and Canada compete to attract foreign workers. Gates’ words are signs that similar openness may soon be coming to the United States.

My only criticism of these immigration plans such as H1-B is that they rarely provide a pathway to citizenship. My friends at USD’s CompSci program have a lot of hassles to go through because of American immigration rules, and they are not guaranteed citizenship at the end of their work. This is wrong. My friends Ilknur, Preaad, Tenuun, Ramana, Shujin, Xingming, &c work hard in America. My friends should be able to become Americans.

Post Script: A DU poster notes the “coincidence” of Gates’ personal lobbying and this. Hmmm…

CCK Sees Social Security Clearly (And Helps Bush)

John Thune Wants to Steal Your Social Security Money,” by Chad Shuldt, Clean Cut Kid, 29 April2005, http://www.cleancutkid.com/2005/04/29/john-thune-want-to-steal-your-social-security-money/.

Social Security’s Progressive Paradox,” by Julian Sanchez, Reason, 2 May 2005, http://www.reason.com/links/links050205.shtml (from South Dakota Politics).

Remember this?

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Key: Blue, rejectionists; Red, reformers; Orange, rejectionists ready to deal; Dark Blue, extreme rejectionists; solid lines, mutual support; arrow lines, mutual opposition

It shows a successul 4GP network attack on a 2GP defending network. It shows the current state of the social security debate, with the (mostly Republican) Reformists splitting the (mostly Democrat) Rejectionist camp by offering progressive indexing.

The success comes from Bush splintering the Democrat network. While mainstream liberals such as the New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post are urging Democrats to compromise, netroots such as CCK have different ideas

There is one proposal out there that is based around “progressive” indexing, and it’s likely to be presented to Congress since “everything is on the table” (other than keeping Social Security as close to possible in its current state). But make no mistake about it, progressive indexing is just another scheme to rob working people of the money they have already paid into the system through taxation on every dollar they worked to earn.

Now, CCK is right that progressive indexing is an attempt to re-welfare-ize social security..

Neither is the notion of Social Security as “insurance” terribly coherent, if it ever was. Even when Social Security was first instituted, over half of Americans who reached the age of 21 would survive past age 65. As of 1990 the percentages were over 72 percent for men and 83 percent for women. Aging is not a “risk” to “insure” against; it’s a normal part of life to plan for.

What worries liberals about progressive indexing, and about the shift to a more overtly welfare-like Social Security system, is that welfare benefits tend to be politically unpopular—and much easier to cut than benefits perceived as universal. Social Security, in other words, is a massive Rube Goldberg device, an ornate and utterly superfluous system of transfers from the middle and upper classes to themselves, the sole purpose of which is to construct—and conceal—a much smaller welfare machine for elderly retirees nestled deep in the guts of the meta-contraption. Some defenders of the status quo are now attempting—though they scarcely seem to believe it themselves—to argue that Social Security is no less vital for the middle class. But corner a progressive over a quiet drink and he’ll probably admit that, in fact, the only defensible purpose of Social Security is to ensure that nobody retires in poverty. There may be political reasons for cutting a monthly check to Bill Gates when he turns 65, but there are no sane policy reasons.

Yet here the irony. CCK sees the issue clearly — proressive indexing will “weaken” the ageist everyone-to-elderly income transfer aspect of Social Security. But his actions — begging the liberal leadership to get back in line and scaring the “masses” with pseudo-facts — disrupt his own network and make Bush’s job easier.

President Bush laid a political trap that SS Rejectionists jumped in to. That’s the power that comes from understanding modern politics clearly.

Asian Geopolitics Roundup

Korean troubles, Chinese scheming, Perisan bloggers, and more! May 3rd, 2005:

Korea: Josh at OFK Fisks the New York TimesNick Kristoff’s criticism of Bush’s Korea policy. Not that the Souks are helping. Between media lynching American servicemen and curtailing the free press, Seoul has other dreams than being a liberal democracy.

Willl South Korea lose face if its soldiers liberate Nork concentration camps? And if that day does not come soon, who will be the next Pyongyang despot?

China: DU notes that Chinese military jets are flying closer to Japan. If Beijing isn’t careful, Tokyo could do something drastic like ditching Pacifism. Or even a revolution at home.

Other Chinese endevours are smarter. Beijing is trying hard to woo the Taiwanese, but apparently not the Maoists. Simon reports that scary Philippine rebels are upset that China abandoned Maoism. I imagine Beijing’s reaction would be the same as when the Nepalese crazies said the same thing: You guys are violent, but Mao was never violent.

Iran: From South West Asia, Younghusband at Coming Anarchy looks at Iranian bloggers.

On the lighter side, Mutant Frog offers tips for killing a hooker and getting away with it… eek!