American Elephants


How the EU went Wrong and Why they did. by The Elephant's Child

George W. Bush gave a speech last Thursday at “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In the World” event in New York City. Politico called it a speech on Trumpism, but they were perhaps a bit hasty with their definition. But then, any opportunity to accuse Trump of designated awfulness, is the goal of the current news media.  I had admired George Bush for his ability to avoid speaking out on politics as a past president, especially in not commenting on Obama who had canceled all his executive orders, which must be galling.   I know it’s hard, but we really don’t want to hear from past presidents or past candidates. Their time is past.

We’re having some trouble with definitions, and throwing way too many “isms” around:  nationalism and nativism, for example. The Left, big on wide open borders, prefers to define nativism something evil, as if favoring your own citizens over illegal immigrants is reprehensible? Look up the definition of nativism. Other troublesome words are bigotry, prejudice, civility and incivility, and immigrant and migrant. ABC recently called illegal aliens (illegal: not according to law, alien: owing allegiance to some other nation) to avoid using such negative language, “undocumented citizens.” No, they’re not.

We are living in a time when the difference between undocumented citizens, immigrants and migrants is increasingly important. Europe, because of their cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits, has a declining birthrate. Because they have a declining birthrate, without enough young people working to pay for the cradle-to-grave social welfare benefits they so generously offered in order to get elected, they thought by inviting more immigrants to work and pay for the benefits, they could still prosper. “Poor” Americans have more living space than ordinary Europeans who are not poor. And more amenities.

The inviting immigrants in was a mistake for Europeans. They were feeling sorry for those in Middle Eastern refugee camps, and the well-meant invitation quickly became a flow of migrants from every hell-hole on the planet, and many ordinary countries that just didn’t have the presumed wealth of Europe.

Charles Hill explained how modernity went astray, based on a system that made room for wide cultural diversity based on a judicial doctrine of “the equality of states.”      (Do read Hill’s whole piece linked just above. It’s not long.)

The EU would become a new form of trans-national entity that would eschew war, abolish sovereign borders, exalt diplomacy, and supersede the Westphalian system by offering the world a compelling model of how to dismantle the state by devolving some of its powers downward according to the concept of “subsidiarity” while pulling other powers up into a pan-European bureaucracy in Brussels which, however defined, would not be a state. The EU assured that it was entirely un-religious and noted the care with which the text of its voluminous constitution – unratified – avoided any reference to Europe’s Christian heritage.

Put simply, the EU made itself the epitome of the Modern Age by relentless secularization. Islamism, emerging from the post-World War I collapse of the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate, made itself the vanguard of jihadist religion’s rise to become the implacable adversary of modernity. If Europe is where the siege is to take place, the drawbridge already is up:

Ambassador Hill adds: “Transatlantic unity has been the keystone of the defense and extension of freedom in wartime for a hundred years and must remain so.”

It is not the EU but NATO that has been the key to transatlantic solidarity. Strengthening NATO as a military alliance with political consequences in support of a reformed EU must be at the core of American policy. NATO’s role “out of area” will be vital along with continued efforts to integrate like-minded partners to the extent possible: Russia, Israel, the Gulf Arab states. The Modern Age itself is at stake.

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Just how far do Russia’s ambitions go? by The Elephant's Child

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed Tuesday that both Russian and Georgian troops will withdraw to their positions before the present conflict, in order to halt the fighting in South Ossetia.

“I have decided to end the operation to compel the Georgian authorities to peace. The aim has been achieved” Medvedev was quoted by Tass news agency as saying. Medvedev has also been reported to have ordered Russian forces to “eliminate the aggressor” in case Georgians resume military activity.

Uh huh. A military operation such as the Russians just demonstrated is a carefully planned and organized action. Vladimir Putin is pushing to reassert Russia’s authority in a former Soviet state. Putin is using the separatist issue in South Ossetia as an excuse, and if he is allowed to get away with it, all the former Soviet states are threatened. You don’t just round up two divisions, hundreds of tanks and bombers, and a squadron of of warships overnight. It takes a lot of planning and organizing.

Russian bombers have indiscriminately hit residential and industrial areas, and killed hundreds of civilians. Russian forces took the central city of Gori, just 40 miles from Tibilisi, the Georgian capital. Russian troops also invaded from Abkhazia and took the city of Zugdidi to the west.

Russian claims of Georgian ethnic cleansing seem to be well-rehearsed propaganda. This is the first Russian military offensive outside of Russia’s borders. But there has been a consistent pattern of threats and provocations against other Russian neighbors, such as shutting off oil or natural gas delivery to Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and even Lithuania, a NATO member. They launched a cyber-assault on Estonia, and have opposed two antimissile sites in Eastern NATO nations.

There is a message here for Europe from the Kremlin. It says very clearly: We can shut off the supply of Siberian gas any time we want, and we can turn off every spigot in the region any time we choose.

Europe, protected throughout the Cold War by an American military umbrella, has long wallowed in a dream of a world without conflict. But as the well-known adage from Flavius Vegetius Renatum, circa 375 AD, goes “Si vis pacem, para bellum” goes: If you want peace, prepare for war. It remains very good advice.



Sounds Like Genocide to Me by The Elephant's Child
April 7, 2008, 1:38 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Media Bias, News, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Holodomor Memorial

Russia’s lawmakers have passed a resolution stating that the 1930’s famine that killed millions of peasants in Soviet Ukraine should not be considered genocide. Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the 89 year old renowned author dismissed Ukrainian claims that the famine was genocide as a myth. Historians agree that the 1932-1933 famine was instituted by Soviet authorities under Joseph Stalin.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is leading an effort to gain international recognition of the famine as an act of genocide.

That the Great Famine was engineered to force peasants to give up their plots of land and establish collective farms is a matter of history. The number of peasants deliberately starved to death is estimated to be around 10 million, but the actual number is unknown. Grain was removed by the authorities from the villages, and the animals, and any food, and the peasants and their children were forced to remain. Ukrainians call it Holodomor, or death by hunger.

Many argue that the famine was meant to target private landowners as a social class in order to pay for the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union. Others suggest that the famine was simply meant to eliminate Ukrainians as an ethnic group, as if one were better than the other.

President Vladimir Putin’s government has angrily clashed with nations formerly of the Soviet bloc about efforts to reinterpret 20th century events. Moscow accuses those nations of seeking to rewrite history and cast Russia as the villain.

Americans in 1933 were assured by New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty that “any report of famine” was “exaggeration or malignant propaganda”. Duranty received the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting, though the British chargé d’affaires in Moscow reported in his dispatach that “According to Mr Duranty the population of the North Caucasus and the Lower Volga had decreased in the past year by three million and the population of the Ukraine by four to five million”. Robert Conquest says that “the influence of his false reporting was enormous and long-lasting”.

Also in the news is President Bush’s visit to the Ukraine to stress America’s support for its leaders hopes to join NATO. President and Mrs. Bush visited a memorial honoring famine victims along with President and Mrs. Yushchenko.

Of course the demand for the recognition of the Great Famine as an act of genocide is connected to Ukraine’s desire for NATO membership, and Russia’s angry denials are a sign of their displeasure at the actions of its former state.

Events have consequences. People have long memories.




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