Friday, March 30, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal reviews likely reasons for Russia's latest hard stand on Iran in, "Little Sweaty Fist: Why is Putin Now Getting Tough on Iran?".

Thomas Sowell discusses the corner the Dems have painted themselves into on Iraq in his Townhall article, "Dangerous Demogoguery".

It is not just Congressional politicians who are so preoccupied with scoring points against the administration that they show no sign of concern for what the actual consequences of their words or actions will be for troops in the field, nations in the Middle East, or the global war on terror.

Much of the media is similarly caught up in scoring points on Iraq. For example, the cover of the March 18th issue of the New York Times magazine section featured a story about women in the military who said that they had been raped in Iraq.

A week later, they had to print a correction, after discovering that one of these women had not even been to Iraq. But any unsubstantiated charge against the American military rates headline coverage, even if there is no space for anything positive in Iraq.

Michael Ledeen at National Review Online brings up a good point about Britain's arrogance in their value of diplomacy with Iran in, "Just Like the Mullahs: Taking Hostages is Just Standard Operating Procedure for Iran." Beautiful.

The interesting and important question is what we — yes, we — are going to do about it. You can be sure that the “professionals” in Foggy Bottom and Whitehall are giving learned memos to their leaders in which the word “deescalate” appears with some frequency, along with “diplomatic solution.”

I doubt many of them will lose much sleep over their own considerable responsibility for the current unpleasantness, but let’s write a footnote that says: The Brits have labored mightily for many years to prevent the United States from pursuing vigorous action against Iran.

The starched-shirt set at Whitehall and at MI6 have a predictable aristocratic disdain for “cowboy” foreign policy, confident in their own consummate abilities to “understand the mullahs” where Americans couldn’t possibly get it, and hence in the ultimate success of the diplomatic track.

Now they will have to answer to the families of the hostages, whose accents are likely to be harsher than their own Oxbridge-speak.

James Taranto is still on fire at the WSJ Opinion Journal:

Great Moments in Political Honesty

From the Web site of KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa:

“Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack gave Sen. Hillary Clinton his endorsement for her presidential campaign.

The Clinton campaign has promised Vilsack to help pay off a $400,000 campaign debt he built up during his run for the White House. . . .

The campaign said there is no connection between Vilsack's endorsement and their commitment to help pay off his campaign debt.”

We're sure Mrs. Clinton would have been happy to pay off Vilsack's debts even if he'd endorsed Barack Obama.

Victor Davis Hanson provides solid analysis of all the nations that can still wield military power, and his prediction of Europe's future in the era of global terrorism, in his NRO article, "Houses of Straw: The EU's delusions about the sufficiency of "soft" power are embarrassingly revealed."

Europe is just one major terrorist operation away from a disgrace that will not merely discredit the EU, but will do so to such a degree as to endanger its citizenry and interests worldwide and their very safety at home.

Islamists must assume that an attack on a European icon — Big Ben, the Vatican, or the Eiffel Tower — could be pulled off with relative impunity and ipso facto shatter European confidence and influence.

Each day that the Iranians renege on their promises to release the hostages, and then proceed to parade their captives, earning another “unacceptable” from embarrassed British officials, a little bit more of the prestige of the United Kingdom is chipped away.