South Korean Repression

‘Quiet Diplomacy’ Update,” by Joshua, One Free Korea, 29 March 2005, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/03/quiet-diplomacy-update_29.html.

South Korea believes in One Korea, Free From Foreigners. They have realigned as a friend of Pyongyang.

They are against freedom. It is very hard to see the silver lining in this cloud.

[D]ue to intense though indirect pressure by Seoul officials, the North Korean execution tapes, purportedly of “middlemen” who help refugees escape to China, are not yet available for viewing by Koreans in the South. The indirect censure adds to frustration among those documenting the gulags and torture in the North. They charge indifference in the South to evidence of manifold suffering by ethnic siblings across the demilitarized zone.

What is so worrying about this is Seoul’s backsliding. They are becoming less internationalist and less free with every news story. China, Vietnam, and Cambodia are all getting better. South Korea is getting worse.

South Korea is not our enemy. They are a more-or-less free society that is heavily integrated into the world economy. But they are not a friend like Britain, India, and Japan. They are not allies.

South Korean policy appears to be a separate peace with that tailbone of the Cold War, North Korea. If they are strong enough to make peace on their own, then they are strong enough to defend themselves on their own.

United States Forces Korea has served its purpose. Bring them home.

Right Bolsheviks and Terri Schiavo

Theocracy in America,” by Collounsbury, Lounsbury on MENA, 29 March 2005, http://www.livejournal.com/users/collounsbury/304891.html.

Are “defenders” or Republican Lenninists? Col thinks so:

However, returning to the subject of Theocracy in America and the “God Botherers” – I confess one of my favorite memories of my father, otherwise … well a model for my personality, was his reducing some Mormon missionaries to tears, quite inspirational that – I find myself appalled in a real sense by this case. More in the sense in which these so called “Conservatives” in the American government lost their hypocritical attachment to local rights, family and whatnot to use the power of the State to intervene and even try to override the courts. These are the policies of Right Bolsheviks, not classic liberals by either instinct or nature. They are the actions of theocrats (in the wide sense the very same people often use in regards to the Islamists (who are not so far away from them in their thinking)), with this talk of “God’s Law” and the like. To take Central Government action to rip a case from its proper context and place it into another sphere, into the Federal court system in this case, is an abuse of power worthy of any theocracy.

The “theocrat” charge is exaggerated, but the rest isn’t

  1. The Schiavo Actists are not Conservatives. They are attempting to break family law, break the courts, and break local control.
  2. The Schiavo Activists are attacking marriage. The entire argument rests on the inability of Schiavo’s lawful husband to determine her medical treatment. If marriage is so weak, why would these activists bother defending it against homosexualists?
  3. Allowing for hyperbole. the Schiavo Activsts are like Bolsheviks. Some popular pundits are alreading justifying extreme means with the ends. Ann Coulter adocated executive nullification (the Andrew Jakcon Option), for goodness sake!

The Schiavo case has a wider context, and I will blog that once it is over. But the extremism of my friends on the right is still alarming.

Michigan To Roll Back Homosexualist Tyranny

Michigan Preparing To Let Doctors Refuse To Treat Gays ,” Proud Parenting, http://www.proudparenting.com/page.cfm?Sectionid=65&typeofsite=snippetdetail&ID=1204&snippetset=yes# (from Jaakko at Lounsbury on MENA).

The good news train rolls on

Doctors or other health care providers could not be disciplined or sued if they refuse to treat gay patients under legislation passed Wednesday by the Michigan House.

The bill allows health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds.

Happy news. The story is about rolling back government social engineering, freedom of contract, and denormalizing homosexualism. Michiganers should be proud.

The law is reasonable. It gives health-care providers twenty-four hours to make an objection known, but requires that emergency care be provided. Licensing gives doctors freedom from competition, and as long as the certification regime remains this is a reasonable cost

The Conscientious Objector Policy Act would allow health care providers to assert their objection within 24 hours of when they receive notice of a patient or procedure with which they don’t agree. However, it would prohibit emergency treatment to be refused.

Of course, not everyone is happy. Some people insist on special rights.

Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) the first openly gay legislator in Michigan, pointed out that while the legislation prohibits racial discrimination by health care providers, it doesn’t ban discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation.

“Are you telling me that a health care provider can deny me medical treatment because of my sexual orientation? I hope not,” he said.

India on Pakistan’s Toy Planes

India Quietly Welcomes U.S. Decision to Sell Arms to Both South Asian Nuclear Rivals,” NTI, 29 March 2005, http://www.nti.org/d_newswire/issues/print.asp?story_id=732AE955-80D2-4B11-ACD2-F1B05AFA24A5 (from Dawn’s Early Light).

Dawn’s Early Light’s Bill Rice was kind enough to email me a startling article. It looks like DEL’s improbable suggestion, that the sale of F-16s to Pakistan is a sign of improving ties to India, is right after all

Indian officials have publicly said only that they would consider the U.S. offer, but, ‘Even India, with a long tradition of making foreign policy self-goals, will find it hard to say ‘no’ to the extraordinary offer the Bush administration has put on the table — a promise to assist it in becoming a world power in return for resumption of arms sales to Pakistan,’ said longtime South Asian commentator C. Raja Mohan.

Mohan expressed doubt that India was genuinely concerned about seeing more F-16s in Pakistan.

‘Today, no one in India can credibly argue that additional F-16s in Pakistan’s hands will alter the military balance in South Asia,’ he said.

India has already acquired more-advanced Su-30 combat aircraft from Russia and is shopping for additional aircraft from other countries as well, AFP reported (Agence France-Presse I).

Huh. I wasn’t that optimistic. Or that observant. Congrats Bill.

My only issue is with Bill Rice’s closing paragraph

While the article quotes an analyst and not a government official, I think it lends support to the DEL prediction that Secretary Rice cut a deal with the Indian government on her last trip that was too good to pass up, and that the F-16 deal with Pakistan is part of the overall US plan. If India does buy US aircraft, whether it is F-16s, F-18s or a combination of both, it will be a sign that the US has struck an alliance with India to contain China.

Who are we allied with to contain Japan? To contain Britain?

China’s opening-up is transforming. If it goes well, war between Washington and Beijing will be as unthinkable as war between Paris and Berlin. Already it is as unthinkable as such a war was in 1910.

We must hedge and deter. But we do not “contain.”

India: Best Ally, Ever

F-18s never sold to any other countryAdd to Clippings,” by Indrani Bagchi, Times of India, 27 March 2005, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1063658.cms (from Free Republic).

At least, that appears to be America’s offer

Boeing, Lockheed Martin’s competitor in Indian markets, has sewed up a strategic alliance with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, to conduct research in aerospace materials, encompassing new age nanotechnology, smart materials and even simulation — to infuse the best of these new ideas and technologies into Boeing. These are technologies of critical importance to the future of aerostructures.

By allowing the F-18s to be sold to India, the US is making more than a simple statement of sale. Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, popularly known as F-18s, and land and carrier-based fighter jets have not been sold to any country, even to NATO allies, according to senior aviation officials.

Nice. India is a prospering democracy, and will be an important ally to the United States. America must shepherd China’s transformation from despotism to market-oriented friend. Building friendships with other regional powers is part of that.

medium_south_asia_india_vietnam.jpg
Friends India and Vietnam
China Looms (Peacefully?) in the Northeast

In different ways, this is as important as American military connectivity with Vietnam. In both cases, the Cold War alliance structure is finally melting away. America is a natural friend to all economically free and peaceful societies, and a natural ally to all free democracies.

In another angle, America’s sale of F-16s to Pakistan is still worrying. It may have been necessary, but as the article makes clear the F-18s are far superior to what we sold the pseudo-Islamist dictatorship.

As the details of the US deal for India unfold, it is clear thatthe F-16s for Pakistan are no match for what India could access from the US. The Lockheed Martin executive, Mike Kelly, was quoted as saying, “We have in the past taken up building of such exclusive fighters for UAE and are prepared to manufacture F-16s to India’s special requirements.”

American Warship Enters Vietnamese Waters

U.S. Navy Warship Visits Vietnam,” by Margie Mason, Associated Press, http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/11257373.htm (from Free Republic).

Docks at Saigon. Greeted warmly. Home movies and photographs taken. Fun had by all.

An American warship made a rare visit to Vietnam on Tuesday, a sign the two countries are looking to improve military ties 30 years after the Vietnam War.

Sailors dressed in white lined the decks of the USS Gary as the frigate docked in Saigon Port, where it is to remain for five days. The warship was just the third Navy vessel to make a port call in the communist country since the war ended on April 30, 1975.

The Stars and Stripes flew alongside the Vietnamese flag as the ship eased up the muddy Saigon River. Many of the more than 200 sailors aboard snapped pictures or videotaped its arrival.

The two sides signed a landmark bilateral trade agreement in 2001, and business has exploded in recent years. But work in the sensitive area of military cooperation has only just begun.

As the United States and Vietnam find common ground on issues of counterterrorism and regional stability, future military ties will likely include more ship visits and high-level exchanges such as Vietnamese Defense Minister Pham Van Tra’s historic trip to Washington in 2003.

“The most important thing for both of our nations and peoples to do is to continue to look forward, not backward,” U.S. Ambassador Michael Marine said.

Some in Vietnam believe the U.S. military may be looking to their country as a future strategic area to establish a base to counter growing Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. But Marine said that was not the case.

This is very good news. Normalization with Vietnam was pushed by Senators McCain and Kerry, and this happy news is a result of their work.

There is little need to contain China, but that does not mean we can be wreckless. We should hedge against future disasters and quietly remind China that peace is in its interests. Through demonstrating our security intention in lands surrounding China — from Mongolia to Korea to Taiwan to India to Kyrgyzstan, and maybe soon to Vietnam, we discourage Chinese military ambitions. This funnels Chinese ambitions into peaceful economics, increases security, and builds a future worth creating.