Friday, December 07, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Elections in Russia and Venezuela, the contradicting CIA National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, the familiar Clinton campaign tactics were the topics this week.

WSJ's Bret Stephens reviews the recent elections in Russia and Venezuela, and the benefits and risks of using fear in the pseudo-commie countries.

Plainly the fear factor is central to the politics of both countries. But neither is it the whole story. Russians and Venezuelans alike elected their current leaders with bitter memories of democracy: economic collapse and social chaos under Boris Yeltsin; the incompetent revolving-door governments of Rafael Caldera and Carlos Andrés Pérez. Messrs. Putin and Chávez both came to office promising to reverse the disintegrating trend with what the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden once called "the smack"--he meant the word in its physical sense--"of firm government." Their track records over the past eight years represent, if nothing else, the fulfillment of that promise, and the widespread gratitude that promise-keeping engendered.

The WSJ editorial board responds to the NIE report on Iran:

Mr. Bush's efforts to further sanction Iran at the U.N. were stalled even before the NIE's release. Those efforts will now be on life support. The NIE's judgments also complicate Treasury's efforts to persuade foreign companies to divest from Iran. Why should they lose out on lucrative business opportunities when even U.S. intelligence absolves the Iranians of evil intent? Calls by Democrats and their media friends to negotiate with Tehran "without preconditions" will surely grow louder.

Boy did we miss the Clintons! They're back! Senator Boxer is holding up James Rogan's nomination to sit as a US District Court judge. Wouldn't be for Rogan's role in the impeachment hearings, hmm? "Hillary's Revenge" at the WSJ:

Dan Henniger at the WSJ asks when our presidential candidates will address the real threats in this, "Still a Dangerous World".