Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Assimilation is a crime against humanity.

So says Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He added that "ethnic Turks abroad should be more confident in standing up for their interests, and should win election as mayors and members of European national parliaments."


Glenn Reynolds:

It’s pretty thoroughly established that red wine’s resveratrol activates the SIRT-1 gene, which seems to clean out intracellular gunk. (The gene is also triggered by calorie restriction.) Studies show that rats dosed with resveratrol—or given low-calorie diets—seem to live longer and remain far more vital than ordinary rats. Sirtris Pharmaceuticals is currently conducting human testing of a drug called SRT501 as a treatment for diabetes, but it may also hold promise for retarding the aging process and alleviating a number of inflammatory diseases that go with getting older.
Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Good grief...

From the BBC:

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable".

Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.

Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.

Not knowing our enemy: the defense community does not understand the enemy’s motivation which comes entirely from Islamic doctrine.

Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, [8] spoke about the danger of ignoring our enemies’ declared intentions on The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq at the National Defense University on December 1, 2005:

Likewise, the nature of today’s jihadist enemies can only be understood within the context of their declared strategic doctrine to dominate the world. Just as we ignored Mein Kampf ” to our great detriment” prior to World War II, so we are on the verge of suffering a similar fate today.

Of course, that is a comparison that, according to the rules of political correctness, cannot be made. And not being able to make it is part of our [5] cultural disarmament. We are not permitted to even imagine that we might have an enemy as ruthless and imperialist as the Nazis. Just as it would be an insult to all Germans to call them Nazis, so it would be an insult to all Muslims to call them Jihadis. But what if a [10] similar dynamic was at work whereby a small but dynamic minority began to gain inordinate influence over the larger majority? Could we not talk about it? And should honest Muslims, like honest Germans, be throttling such a discussion because it offends them? Whose side are they on? That of decency, or Islam “right or wrong”?
Read the rest of this analysis here.

Iranians in Nicaragua...

Good grief!

The British government

...has drawn up a controversial phrasebook on the language of terrorism and is insisting civil servants no longer blame fanatical extremism on Islam, for fear of upsetting the Muslim community.

The new counter-terrorism guidelines suggest that phrases such as "Islamic terrorist" and "jihadi fundamentalism" are too inflammatory and imply that all Muslims explicitly are responsible for extremism.

Instead the leaked Home Office document advises Whitehall bosses that they refer to violent extremism and criminal murderers or thugs to avoid any link between Islam and terrorism.

Samuel Huntington's clash of civilizations and...

his conclusions regarding the implications of such clash for the west:

THIS ARTICLE DOES not argue that civilization identities will replace all other identities, that nation states will disappear, that each civilization will become a single coherent political entity, that groups within a civilization will not conflict with and even fight each other. This paper does set forth the hypotheses that differences between civilizations are real and important; civilization-consciousness is increasing; conflict between civilizations will supplant ideological and other forms of conflict as the dominant global form of conflict; international relations, historically a game played out within Western civilization, will increasingly be de-Westernized and become a game in which non-Western civilizations are actors and not simply objects; successful political, security and economic international institutions are more likely to develop within civilizations than across civilizations; conflicts between groups in different civilizations will be more frequent, more sustained and more violent than conflicts between groups in the same civilization; violent conflicts between groups in different civilizations are the most likely and most dangerous source of escalation that could lead to global wars; the paramount axis of world politics will be the relations between "the West and the Rest"; the elites in some torn non-Western countries will try to make their countries part of the West, but in most cases face major obstacles to accomplishing this; a central focus of conflict for the immediate future will be between the West and several Islamic-Confucian states.

This is not to advocate the desirability of conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth descriptive hypotheses as to what the future may be like. If these are plausible hypotheses, however, it is necessary to consider their implications for Western policy. These implications should be divided between short-term advantage and long-term accommodation. In the short term it is clearly in the interest of the West to promote greater cooperation and unity within its own civilization, particularly between its European and North American components; to incorporate into the West societies in Eastern Europe and Latin America whose cultures are close to those of the West; to promote and maintain cooperative relations with Russia and Japan; to prevent escalation of local inter-civilization conflicts into major inter-civilization wars; to limit the expansion of the military strength of Confucian and Islamic states; to moderate the reduction of counter military capabilities and maintain military superiority in East and Southwest Asia; to exploit differences and conflicts among Confucian and Islamic states; to support in other civilizations groups sympathetic to Western values and interests; to strengthen international institutions that reflect and legitimate Western interests and values and to promote the involvement of non-Western states in those institutions.

In the longer term other measures would be called for. Western civilization is both Western and modern. Non-Western civilizations have attempted to become modern without becoming Western. To date only Japan has fully succeeded in this quest. Non-Western civilization will continue to attempt to acquire the wealth, technology, skills, machines and weapons that are part of being modern. They will also attempt to reconcile this modernity with their traditional culture and values. Their economic and military strength relative to the West will increase. Hence the West will increasingly have to accommodate these non-Western modern civilizations whose power approaches that of the West but whose values and interests differ significantly from those of the West. This will require the West to maintain the economic and military power necessary to protect its interests in relation to these civilizations. It will also, however, require the West to develop a more profound understanding of the basic religious and philosophical assumptions underlying other civilizations and the ways in which people in those civilizations see their interests. It will require an effort to identify elements of commonality between Western and other civilizations. For the relevant future, there will be no universal civilization, but instead a world of different civilizations, each of which will have to learn to coexist with the others.

Clash of Civilizations revisited.

There was a fantastic article in The New York Times a month ago, by Fouad Ajami, in which he revisits Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations and decides that Huntington was, presciently, quite correct in his assessment. Samuel Huntington observed that

“The relations between Islam and Christianity, both Orthodox and Western, have often been stormy. Each has been the other’s Other. The 20th-century conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism is only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon compared to the continuing and deeply conflictual relation between Islam and Christianity.”
Ajami concludes that
Rather than Westernizing their societies, Islamic lands had developed a powerful consensus in favor of Islamizing modernity. There was no “universal civilization,” Huntington had observed; this was only the pretense of what he called “Davos culture,” consisting of a thin layer of technocrats and academics and businessmen who gather annually at that watering hole of the global elite in Switzerland.
It is not pretty at the frontiers between societies with dwindling populations — Western Europe being one example, Russia another — and those with young people making claims on the world. Huntington saw this gathering storm. Those young people of the densely populated North African states who have been risking all for a journey across the Strait of Gibraltar walk right out of his pages.
The ramparts of the West are not carefully monitored and defended, Huntington feared. Islam will remain Islam, he worried, but it is “dubious” whether the West will remain true to itself and its mission. Clearly, commerce has not delivered us out of history’s passions, the World Wide Web has not cast aside blood and kin and faith. It is no fault of Samuel Huntington’s that we have not heeded his darker, and possibly truer, vision.
Read it all!!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Spies and YouTube videos.

"...the vast majority of valuable intelligence, the spies tell us, isn't hidden in some secret filing cabinet; it's out in the public sphere."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The child-men phenomenon.

"Once upon a time, video games were for little boys and girls—well, mostly little boys—who loved their Nintendos so much, the lament went, that they no longer played ball outside. Those boys have grown up to become child-man gamers, turning a niche industry into a $12 billion powerhouse."
Fascinating article on the problem with the child-men who are not "very promising husbands and fathers [because] they suffer from a proverbial “fear of commitment,” another way of saying that they can’t stand to think of themselves as permanently attached to one woman."

Read the whole article here.

The Seinfeld War?

The War about Nothing? Here's a lengthy article in The Atlantic Monthly on the status of the Middle East after Iraq.

Tags: >

Eurekas and epiphanies.

"WE’VE all heard the tales of the apple falling on Newton’s head and Archimedes leaping naked from his bath shrieking “Eureka!” Many of us have even heard that eBay was created by a guy who realized that he could help his fiancée sell Pez dispensers online.

The fact that all three of these epiphany stories are pure fiction stops us short. As humans, we want to believe that creativity and innovation come in flashes of pure brilliance, with great thunderclaps and echoing ahas. Innovators and other creative types, we believe, stand apart from the crowd, wielding secrets and magical talents beyond the rest of us.

Balderdash." Read the whole article.

Speaking of religious wars, tyranism and barbarism, here's what...

Harry Jaffa of the Calremont Institute had to say:

In the aftermath of the religious wars in Europe, in which Protestants and Catholics slaughtered each other without restraint, our Founding Fathers recognized that majority rule was not possible if Protestants could thereby determine the religion of Catholics, or Catholics of Protestants, or Christians of Jews, or Jews of Christians. Government by majority rule—democracy in any sense—is not possible unless sectarian religious differences are kept out of the political process. But in Iraq, in the Middle East generally, there are no political differences that are not sectarian.

According to Abraham Lincoln, “The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society.” By this he meant the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence. It was fidelity to these principles that led Lincoln in “the great secession winter” of 1860 and 1861 to refuse any compromise that permitted the extension of slavery. Compromises are possible only among those who share principles more fundamental than the interests they are asked to compromise. As a practical historical fact when compromises are not possible war is the alternative, as it was in our Civil War. John Stuart Mill, an admirer of Lincoln, declared that Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians.” The dominant forms of political life throughout the Middle East are, with only one exception, as barbaric as those of Europe during the wars of religion. Only a despotism, as benign as we can find, and one that can begin turning people away from sectarian fanaticism, will answer our purpose. Otherwise, they will have to fight it out among themselves, as we did.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Weeping Widows of Iraq...

Army LTC Linda Holloway, Anbar Province, Iraq, says:

"Millions of men have lost their lives as a result of the many years of war in Iraq (The Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, the Gulf War of 1991, and United States 2003 Invasion of Iraq). leaving the Iraqi women widows and struggling to take care of their family as best they can in war torn country...This program is designed to empower the weeping widows to take a more active role economically and politically in the rebuilding of not only their local communities but the country as a whole."
Go to this link to read all about the program and to contribute.

(Hat Tip: Matel in Iraq).

Television at its best...

when advertisements don't mention their product, but create good feelings... here's one of the ads that appeared at the US Super Bowl games...

Preparing women to be bombs:

"How I Hoped to Turn My Body into Slivers to Tear the Sons of Zion to Pieces, and to Knock with Their Skulls on the Gates of Paradise" and other shockers at MEMRI.

Of cannibalism, society and man:

General Butt Naked confesses to killing some 20,000 people before finding himself standing nude in battle on a bridge outside Monrovia and hearing the voice of God tell him he was Satan's slave and should repent immediately. Since when he's been an evangelical preacher in Ghana.

And we shrug and move on. Hey, it's Liberia. Back in 2000, the country's Ministry of Information had hailed President Charles Taylor for the ease of access he offered to his people "so that everyone will at least have the opportunity to have the ears of the Chief Executive, instead of a select few." By contrast, only a select few got the opportunity to have the ears of the previous Chief Executive, Samuel Doe. He'd fallen into the hands of Prince Johnson, one of Charles Taylor's allies in the battle to unseat him. "That man won't talk!" barked Johnson. "Bring me his ear!" So the boys sliced off his left ear, and then the right, and made the president eat them.

But the lads kept the best bits for themselves. They removed His Excellency's genitals and chowed down in the belief that the "powers" and "manhood" of the person whose parts you're eating are transferred to the eater. A New York returned to a Hobbesian state of nature is a delicious fantasy because it's so remote, but in Liberia who needs the movies? They're living it — right down to the whole Quentin Tarantino "Stuck In The Middle With You" menu options. And when it turns up on page 37 of the newspaper we give it nary a thought because who expects anything of West Africa anyway?

Liberia's not a "victim" of European colonization. Founded by freed American slaves, its first republic lasted from 1847 until Samuel Doe's coup in 1980. In the seventies, before nude warlords came a-rampaging, Monrovian bigwigs didn't merely pull their pants on before swaggering forth, they favoured morning dress of an anachronistic gentility reminiscent of the antebellum South.

In other words, Liberia went backwards.
Read the whole Mark Steyn article.