branvanguard.jpg (15001 bytes) Brandeis Vanguard

A blog by patriotic Brandeis University students who support America, American values, freedom, and democracy world wide.

Saturday, April 05, 2003
I've disagreed with every single column that Ellen Ratner, Liberal & Proud, has written, except this one. Interesting view of the role of embedded journalists. My favorite quote:

I think the biggest benefit of embedded reporters is to humanize a sector of America too long demonized by many of my friends on the left, lots of who came up in life as 1960s anti-war protesters.
Interesting article in the New York Times today about how professors are more vocally anti-war than students. It mentions students who have publicly criticized professors for postponing or canceling classes in order to go protest. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Friday, April 04, 2003
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 06:59:43 -0800 (PST)
From: StudentsforProtectingAmerica
Subject: Rally this Saturday the 5th

For those of you who are interested, Students for Protecting America is helping to organize a "Support the Troops" rally, along with the Northeastern College Republicans and other groups at 12:00 noon this Saturday, April 5th at the Boston Common across from the State House. Please join us and/or tell others who would be interesting in coming. Thank you.

Brett Joshpe

NOTE: There is a commuter rail train that leaves Brandeis at 10:30. You can take it to Porter Square, then go to Park St. on the red line. Boston Common is near by.
Good News! The Brandeis Alumnas (she got a doctorate in Neuroscience here in 2001) who is suspected of being a member of Al-Queda operative has been caught in Pakistan! Apparently, KSM gave the FBI her name
Regarding the LA Times article, there was another little problem...my last name was misspelled (I guess that's a draw-back of having a hard to pronounce last name).

Moving on, as I type this post, Saddam International Airport has just come under coalition control! Semper Fi! I think that the airport is due for a renaming, no? Anyone have any suggestions? (Update: Sky News is reporting that it's been renamed "Baghdad Int'l Airport")

I just wanted to share this article by Bernard Lewis, one of the most renown scholars on the Middle East (he spoke here at Brandeis last semester; did anyone else attend his talk?), and author of the book What Went Wrong). His opinion piece in the National Post (Canada) is called: Saddam's regime is a European import The piece is very inreresting, as Lewis traces the rise of Saddam's regime to the French surrender to the Nazis in 1940. Syria and Lebanon remained under Vichy control, and as such, became bases for the Nazis to do whatever they wanted, which included the spreading of their ideology and propaganda. I reccomend reading the article (as well as other works by Lewis)

Finally, I just wanted to share this letter to the editor, from a soldier based in Qatar which ran in today's Boston Globe--the subject: "war protesting comes at a price".....and this price is playing into the hands of Saddam (even if this was not the intention of the protester).

Thursday, April 03, 2003
I was going to post this as a comment‚ but it turned into a mini-screed so I figured it deserved its own post.

Regarding the LA Times article: I really found most of Gordie's comments quite insulting. It's nice to know he has such little respect for a generation of students he's supposedly helping to educate.

"These are not people with a fully developed sense of citizenship"? I suppose citizenship to Gordie is thinking and doing what he believes is right. Sorry Gordie‚ I prefer to decide these things for myself. To me‚ that is true - and fully developed - citizenship.
Just found this via instapundit: Kim Jong il has a blog, complete with excerpts from top secret IM conversations with Bush.
The Department of Defense has an incredible story how an Iraqi family risked their lives to save Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the former POW.

An Iraqi lawyer went to the hospital to visit his wife. When he saw Pfc. Lynch being tortured, he said: "My heart stopped ... I knew then I must help her be saved. I decided I must go to tell the Americans."

Over the course of the next few days, the lawyer made several 10km round trips on foot, sometimes through battlefields, to give vital information to the US Marines. He and his wife also risked their lives making detailed maps of the hospital where Pfc. Lynch was held. Their kindness and bravery is incredible. If there is any sort of medal that can be given to foreigners, they deserve it.
News from the flag waving jingoist front: while shopping for a flag at Victory today, I saw an article saying that the Waltham Town Council has passed a resolution in support of our troops and is planning to send care packages. They will be collecting items at Victory and several other places around town. Take that Bezerkly!

Speaking of flag waving jingoism, Harvard Law school is holding a rally this Saturday at 1:30 in front of the State House. I'm taking the 12:14 commuter rail. Anybody care to join me?
Comments on the article about UWS in the LA Times

An introductory asside, Mrs. Mehren (the reporter) should be commended for doing a good job on her reporting in this article. The comments that I have about the article are in no way a cricism of her, rather, it is about some of the "misinformation" which she was fed by other individuals. We'd also like to thank her and the photographer for coming out to the campus to interview us.

First off, while the article said that UWS was an unofficial club isn't an error. At the time of the interview, we were only a "recognized" club, bus last Sunday we were formally chartered by the student Senate, so we're now an official club here at Brandeis (hooray!). This is a minor detail.

Now on to some of Professor (Gordy) Fellman's claims...it looks like it'll be time for a Fisking (click the link for a definition)

"At a campus rally when war erupted in Iraq, about 500 students "drifted in and out," said Brandeis sociology professor Gordon Fellman".
This is an incorrect figure, as the Waltham News Tribune, who was at the rally, reported only 200 students. while the Justice estimated between 150-200. Is Gordie trying to claim that all the people who were passing through Rabb were ralliers? (Note: for non-Brandeis visitors, Rabb is the major humanities quad; look at the map. He must be using what MIra termed "math for sociologists"...

"Because the United We Stand presence accounted for just "five or six people," Fellman said it would be more accurate to call the group "Divided We Stand.""

Gordie seems to forget that many of our supporters were in class at the time of their rally (10:30AM--1PM). Our supporters and members value their education. As for our numbers counter-rallying ranged from 1-10 (depending on the time), plus we had people at the table in Usdan. So Gordy, would you like to propose anothe name?

"Phrases like 'United We Stand' make it sound like there is consensus on this issue, and there is not," said Fellman, who also directs the university's peace studies program. "I understand it rhetorically, but I do not find it useful."

Professor Fellman is right that there isn't concensus on this campus, and the same with the nation; however, he seems to forget that the majority of the US population stands united against terrorism, dictators and the like. We also stand united for the values for which this country stands. By the way, why is this name not useful?

In any case, Fellman said, no single group could encompass the views of students "who seem mostly to be sitting this one out."

Okay, I'm actually gonna agree with Fellman here, there is a lot of apathy on this issue. However, how many students do you think there are who are afraid of exrpressing their opinion for fear of retribution?

"Voting is not that big with this generation either," Fellman said. "These are not people with a fully developed sense of citizenship."

Huh? I don't quite understand this quote...can anyone please explain it to me? I know that I vote, as do many of my peers...I'm just gonna shrug my shoulders on this one.

moving on from Gordie, I just want to correct the information presented by the anti-war crowd:

...[the] president of the Brandeis Anti-War Coalition, said her organization passed out yellow ribbons too -- along with black ribbons to symbolize "mourning for anyone who dies in this war."

Just for the record, it should be known that these yelllow ribbons that they passed out were ones that they took from us. And as for the black ribbons, I've heard a myriad of different reasons for them, but I won't open that can of worms.

Finally, on a positive note, one other little oversight in the article, where it said:

He also handed out ribbons for students to pin to their backpacks to show their backing for U.S. troops in Iraq

I just want to say, that I can't take credit for this effort. There were many people who volunteered and helped out at the table. As such, though the article says "he", the credit belongs to the members of the organization--not to me. Great job everyone! It was a GREAT DISPLAY!

Oh, and I almost forgot to say, my mom isn't quite a "crafts aficionado", rather, we just happen to have a lot of ribbon in our basement back home...why? I don't quite know.



Iraq Deploys New Camouflage Gear



Branvanguard's top reporter, Robert Fisk (who is a verb), reports that "Saddam's masters of concealment" have invented a new camouflage technology, known as Weakly Armored Regiments Concealed by Recruited Indigent Minituarized Elements, also known as WARCRIME. Fisk has seen an example of the WARCRIMEs in action and reports that the unilateralist coalition is sure to be routed when faced by "children jumping over a farm wall beside a concealed military radio shack." Our scientists belive that these WARCRIMEs are impervious to RADAR, SONAR, and even the best Amerikkkkkkan night vision goggles. An anonymous Pentagon official reports that he is "shocked [and awed] by the use of WARCRIMEs." Actually, he only said "shocked" but we had to insert "and awed" to tie this post to the official motto of Gulf War II: "we will, we will shock and awe you."



Note: no politicians were saddened in the writing of this post.

"United We Stand" is featured in today's edition of the LA Times!
(Commentary on the article will be come later this afternoon)
Doing busy work all day got to me, so I had to release some pent-up energy. Is there a better way to do expend some of this excess energy than Fisking items from this week's issue of the Justice?

I've taken the liberty of performing a through Fisking of the letter "The real March Madness is in Iraq, not basketball"
and
Patriotism has run amok in America.
(click the links to go to the Fiskings)

In unrelated news, the De Genova issue over at Columbia continues to make headlines, as apparently Professor De Genova failed to appear for his lectures today. Furthermore, it appears that one of his students is planning on becoming a Marine, and she is not happy with her professor's remarks. Instapundit has the complete wrap up

Speaking of Instapundit, Glenn has posted a series of satellite images of Baghdad which are really neat to look at.

Finally, the US Marine 3rd Infantry Division has just crossed the Euphrates River over in Iraq! Semper Fi!

Wednesday, April 02, 2003
I want to point out an article in the Financial Times about Jacques Delors's views on the Iraq war (link courtesy of Daniel Drezner). For those of you keen on European and European Union politics, Delors is a former president of the European Commission and before that Francois Mitterrand's finance minister. He was a key instigator of economic and monetary unification (read: the euro), and to Margaret Thatcher, father of contemporary supranational bureaucratic euro-socialism. I only point this article out because you know things are topsy-turvy when someone of his background criticizes Chirac for going too far. Naturally he has some kind of an agenda, as the article hints at, namely the expansion of the European Union. But interesting nevertheless.
I really dislike the article Patriotism has run amok in America.



I've gotten used to people being upset at seeing American flags in America; what continues to astound me is that these people don't understand the importance of symbols. They let other people know where you stand, and seeing lots of the same symbol being displayed prominently creates a comforting feeling of solidarity among people who believe in the values the symbol represents. Symbols, like the American flag, yellow ribbons, and ads for freedom fries do not physically alter the world or provide material benefit to America. They do provide a psychological and morale benefit. It feels nice to see people wearing ribbons and displaying flags on campus.



Publicly displayed symbols also have a some influence on public policy. Citizens in a democracy make a concerete impact on how their government is run only once every few years - though elections. The outcome of elections is determined by on public opinion. As a result, politicians are sometimes swayed by what they perceive public opinion to be. People are also influenced by the general attitudes of other people around them - if a lot of people believe something, it would start to seem normal and more acceptable, therefore creating a bandwagon effect. How do politicians and the general public judge what people think? The most accurate way is polls. Yet seeing the people around you display the symbols of a certain cause is a visual, and therefore more compelling "proof."



So wear your ribbons and wave your flags, folks! I hope that on matters of national security our leaders doesn't care about public opinion, but in case they do, let them know where you stand. Waving a flag shouldn't be the only thing we do - but it does have a role in promoting our point of view.

So after a few weeks of balanced reporting and decently informed foum articles‚ The Justice has more than its share of anti-war screeds--um‚ I mean articles--this week. However‚ the only one that made me want to throw the paper across the room was this letter from a grad student about the patriotism at March Madness. Maybe someone else can write a reasoned response‚ or maybe just a fun Fisking‚ because all I can do right now is grit my teeth and say "Grr...."
News from Lexis Nexis via blogs of war:
There is an almost universal conviction in the Arab street, echoed by many influential politicians, that after defeating Iraq the U.S. will target Syria next, possibly Iran, and eventually Saudi Arabia. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Saud became one of the first senior Arab leaders to repudiate that local theory

Don't kid yourself, prince Saud. If Saudi Arabia does not clean up its act soon (and by soon I mean by the end of Gulf War II), it will be facing "regime change" itself. The US does have a list, and after our encouter with a certain 15 Saudi citizens, there is no reason to think that Saudi Arabia is last on that list.
Good news everyone! Coalition forces rescue POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch. Strange how you don't hear about Iraqis trying to rescue their prisoners of war - or whether Iraqi POWS want to be "rescued".
Rather than post in the comments section, I figured I'd respond front and center, just to give the blog more of a dialogue feel.

I love arguing about professors' politics (see my letter in the Justice). Professors are entitled to whatever views they want, but their political opinions should never take precedence over teaching. To continue with my ideological guerilla warfare riff, universities aren't training camps. They are citadels for the exchange of ideas, and letting a silly, self-indulgent noise-fest interfere with classes is an affront to the idea of a liberal education.

I'd love to see a list of professors who participated or canceled their classes so students could attend without missing class.

And welcome aboard, Dahlia. :-)

Well hi there everyone. Toby gave me an invitation to join you guys here and I jumped at the chance. Hope I can add some value to your great blog.

Now‚ in my Con Law class on Monday we were talking about university speech codes. No one really knew what the Brandeis policy was so I looked it up in Rights and Responsibilites. There is actually very little discussion of speech‚ but section 7 deals with "Campus Protests and Demonstrations". It clearly states that these are "time‚ place‚ and manner" distinctions rather than content-based and in general the policy is rational and not offensive. But let's look at this:

A protest‚ rally‚ or demonstration must not interfere with the missions‚ processes‚ procedures or functions of the University. Therefore‚ protesters must recognize and allow the staff and faculty of the University to engage in the performance of their duties‚ and for students to pursue their educational activities. Impeding or restricting these activities by making noise‚ blocking entraces or exits from University facilities‚ or by coercion‚ intimidation or threats or use of violence is unacceptable.

Now‚ I didn't make it to Rabb during the first-day-of-war protest‚ but the chanting could easily be heard from Usdan and I know of people whose classes were cancelled because the noise was too loud to conduct a class. The protest clearly interfered with the basic mission of the University - to provide students with an education - and restricted students who wished "to pursue their educational activities". I don't think there's anything that can be done about it after the fact‚ but it's definitely good information to have for future use.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003
According to Eugene Volokh (Law Prof at UCLA Law) says: that we'd be worse off with the U.N. on our side, since Kofi Annan would probably be pressing for a ceasefire -- and Iraq would have a greater incentive to promote civilian casualties to encourage just that. (from Instapundit)

I find myself in agreement with some of his points.....
Some in the anti-war crowd claim that the US armed Saddam...however, according to a study done by the Stockholm Int'l Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the lead seller of arms to Iraq between 1973-1990, the leading arms supplier to Iraq was....the USSR! And who was the second leading supplier to Iraq (drumroll please)....FRANCE! In fact, of Iraq's total arms imports, the contribution from the US was just 1%! A graphical representation of the data can be seen here

Daniel Drezner has a little more on this topic
Incredible story of an Assyrian Christian anti-war protestor who visited Iraq, changed his mind, and risked his life to get the true story of life under Saddam out to the free world.
I'm gonna break away from the Asia discussion for now, and focus on the issue of "free speech" here in the US.

Apparently, former VP Gore has come out in support of the Dixie Chicks . To recap the story, one of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, said at a concert in London: ``Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.'' (note: Maines is from Texas).

These comments (perhaps the result of a "slip of the tounge"?) infuriated many back here in the US, especially back in Texas. As a result of Maines' words, many fans of the band became enraged, and demanded that their local radio stations yank the group from the airwaves. (Story) As a result, the Dixie Chicks have tumbled on the charts, and in sales, and some radio stations even sponsored events where people could bring their Dixie Chicks CDs to be run-over with a steam-roller, etc.

Gore is quoted as saying:

"They were made to feel un-American and risked economic retaliation because of what was said. Our democracy has taken a hit," Gore said. "Our best protection is free and open debate."


I feel that Mr. Gore, along with the Dixie Chicks and some other Hollywood figures are forgetting that free speech is a two-way street. Sure, you can criticize the President and/or his Administration, but at the same time, people also have the right to criticize you and/or boycott you. The general public has a right to say "I no longer want to listen to their music"....and along those lines, they have a right to call their favorite radio stations and request that the group be removed from the playlist (or bumped down on it).

In turn, a radio station, in order to stay popular and profitable needs to respond to the wishes of its listeners, and so on (the concept of supply and demand). This is why the Dixie Chicks aren't being played as often on the radio.

I believe Mr. Gore and the group have overlooked the fact, free and open debate is currently taking place......
It looks like our main source of disagreement is China and North Korea, so I'm going to drop Europe for a bit.

I believe that people are severely underestimating the threat that North Korea poses. The danger is not that NK would gain nuclear arms, and Japan and other East Asian nations would follow suit. While China would not be thrilled by a nuclear Japan, I think it realizes that Japan does not really pose a danger to itself. The biggest worry for everyone, right now, is that the desperately starving North Koreans would do something stupid and start a nuclear war in the region. The North Korean government has shown a fondness for brinkmanship and is not considered entirely sane by most people; it is very easy to see confrontational diplomatic negotiations getting out of hand, some signals being misinterpreted, and somebody (probably NK) setting of an atomic bomb in the region. This is the nightmare scenario that everyone, including China, fears.

Any war that North Korea starts would probably be first directed at South Korea. However, since America has 40,000 troops on the border, the US would have to get involved - this is something that China does not want, because then it would have to get involved as well. In addition, if the situation goes nuclear, it could go nuclear beyond the dropping of just one a-bomb - we could get into a tit-for-tat situation, with NK, US, and possibly China too taking turns annihilating cities, or even whole countries. the environmental consequences would affect everyone in the region - including China. Nuclear bombs are much bigger now, and can level more than "just" a city. On top of all this, it is suspected that North Korea now has missiles that can go as far as Alaska. If this is the case, NK poses a global danger and not just a regional one.

On the subject of "containment", I do not see how this is possible. We may be able to keep NK within its borders, but I don't see how we'd be able to prevent it from acquiring more powerful, and longer range, weapons of mass destruction.
It looks like our military's strategy of Shock and Awe can pentrate even the thickest tin-foil hat. NBC-TV fired Peter Arnett for saying on Iraqi TV that the US led war effort has failed. Arnett's response: "I am still in shock and awe at being fired .... I report the truth of what is happening here in Baghdad and will not apologize for it." Shocked and awed, hmmm? Well, I suppose it is better than being Saddened. Yet not all hope is lost: Arnett is now writing for the Mirror, where he can expound on the awful Truth Of What Is Happening: "Who would have had believed Umm Qasr would hold out for six days?" The horror! Six full days! Instapundit has some wonderful links to comments on the story.
Now we're talking.

I don't actually think China views North Korea as a threat to itself, except in the sense that NK might go out and cause trouble that will spill over into China. I don't think the oligarchy that governs China is all too concerned about the prisoners, I mean subjects, of Kim Jong Il. They simply don't want to see a nuclear-armed Japan, which is an ever more possible outcome as Kim grows more belligerent. Whatever the motivation, more cooperation from China would of course be welcome.

And I agree entirely about reassessing allies (ahem, the Saudis). The cold war forced the United States to make regrettable choices about friends, but backing a bunch of scummy thugocracies was preferred to having to deal with a bunch of equally scummy but hostile communist dictatorships. Now it's time to clean house and put our foreign policy on a more solid and moral footing. However, I disagree about North Korea being a menace to everyone. North Korea is, thankfully, a problem for East Asia and its concerned powers (including the United States). If we can get the various concerned states to cooperate, Kim should be containable, that is, if cooperation doesn't lead to him being toppled.

And we had detente. No nation is perfect; some (like the United States) are just more perfect than others. I would love it if Bush announced that the U.S. security guarantee is from now on conditional. It would destroy NATO, but it might lead to a more serious Europe. I've argued this elsewhere, especially in the pages of Concord Bridge, but what the transatlantic community needs is seriousness more than anything else. Much of Europe (and many Americans) live in a fantasy world in which all problems can be blamed on America's cowboy president and his cabal of neo-conservatives.

Conspiracy theories are the panacea (and luxury) of the frivolous.
Just read a great column on Ann Coulter's page.
We're losing this war! The Elite Republican Guard is assembling outside New York City! Head for the hills! The "fierce firefight" referred to in the editorial concerned a battle in Nasiriyah in which American troops took an entire city with nine casualties. That's what most people call a "triumphal ass-kicking."

It puts things in perspective: yes, it is awful that 44 brave Americans have died as of Monday March 31st, 5:30 p.m. EST. Yet compared to what they and their fellow soldiers have accomplished in the last 10 days - taking control of almost 2/3 of Iraq, advancing to within 50 miles of Baghdad, and securing about 800 oil-fields with hardly any set on fire, it is a miracle! It is a triumph of the US military's technology, training, and above all, courage.


For a bit more perspective, Bill Whittley has written an excellent article comparing the war against Iraq to the Civil War, looking at current events through the lens of History. (I admit it, I have a weak spot for anyone who capitalizes important concepts).


We fight wars not to have peace, but to have a peace worth having. Slavery is peace. Tyranny is peace. For that matter, genocide is peace when you get right down to it. The historical consequences of a philosophy predicated on the notion of no war at any cost are families flying to the Super Bowl accompanied by three or four trusted slaves and a Europe devoid of a single living Jew.

Read it in its full (and very long) entirety.




We are dealing with two separate types of behavior: that of old Europe and that of China.


China is clearly motivated by simple self-interest and opportunism. What I was commenting on in my first post is that China had realized that one of its allies of convenience had suddenly grown powerful enough to be a menace to China. North Korea, to China, was a necessary ally in the Cold War, but now China fears that the nuclear weapons it helped NK obtain are a danger to it - either directly, or, more likely, indirectly because NK's bizarre actions could percipitate a regional nuclear war. It is much the same problem we face with Iraq: when Iran was the bigger danger, we armed Iraq to confront it then during Gulf War I we had to face the very weapons we gave to Iraq. During the Cold War, every nation had to choose between different degrees of evil, to pick one bad dictator to back against one who was even worse. Yet now the world is changing, and the first set of dictators has been defeated. It is now time to take a look at our former "allies." This reevaluation is not limited to only the US, or Europe, or the entire free world - as events have shown, even totalitarian regimes like China's have to do this. And it turns out that some nations, like North Korea, are a menace to everyone. (And, based on what I have read, the NK regime is far more evil than Stalin, and possibly Hitler, ever were).


When it comes to (old) Europe, I am starting to suspect them guilty of something worse than mere "accomodationism". After our discussion tonight, I tried to look at their behavior through the lens of pure self-interest: to Europe, America is a rival and terrorist nations are mortal enemies (even if Europe does not publicly acknowledge it). So what is Europe doing? It is letting its two "enemies" fight it out, and is arming the weaker one to make the stronger one bleed more. This strategy works only because America has given Europe the guarantee that we would protect them no matter what. For example, regardless of how shamefully France acts, it is hard to imagine America sitting still if France is invaded again. Yet this strategy depends very strongly on the "free-ride behavior": if Bush were to publicly announce that America would not respond to any attack on Europe, be it conventional, unconventional, or even terrorist in nature, you would see a drastic change in European policy. Defense spending would sky-rocket while sales to terrorist nations would halt. It would be a matter of self-defense: the Europeans would no longer be able to afford to wait and watch while America dealt with their enemies. They would have to side with the benevolent rival against a common mortal enemy.


Oh, and as far as Europe's "backbone", they may talk tough - occassionaly - but they accomodated the Communists. France, for example, forced refugees who fled the Soviet Union and sought sanctuary in France to go back to Russia.

Monday, March 31, 2003
Regarding the whole issue over the comments by the professor at Columbia U. last week, the blogsphere has begun to pick up on it.
Daniel Drezner has a lot on the subject, as does
Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. Instapundit) who has a post here (he links to a Columbia group blog, which covers it throughly, albeit having someone of a hard-left slant at times) and an earlier one (with links to Drezner, and a piece by the professor's college roomate).

And on the topic of speech at colleges, comes this story about an issue at Muskingum College (it's in Ohio) in which students were ordered (by the administration) to take down US flags.
So rather than respond to Tobias' post (don't worry - I will before I go to bed), I made these two cute pictures:

Ben & Jerry
My proposal for the debate.....

Paleocon
Pat Buchanan, the Paleo-con
Did everyone see the piece by Brandeis's Kanan Makiya on National Review Online today? It's a good argument. It's time to see a major Iraqi figure emerge as the face of the new Iraq, as our troops near Baghdad.
I hate to play de Villepin at this party, but that's a bit of an oversimplification. Unfortunately, much, if not all of the world beyond our shores plays a very different game of international politics. American foreign policy has this innate Wilsonianism that suggests American efforts can alter the international system. With America as the only nation that can project force anywhere in the world, this tendency is strengthened.

Most nations, however, do not share this view. Most nations have not had their national outlooks defined by two vast oceans and an optimistic democratic republicanism. Thus it is hard to criticize China for unflinching support of a friendly regime on its border, whose presence prevents “Western” encroachment upon its frontiers (remember that China was nearly carved up by the European powers a century ago, and before that was laid low by Britain during a string of “opium wars”). And don’t forget nominal ties of Communism.

As for the case of Europe, I am a forthright critic of “accomodationist” tendencies in various European states. Europe has shown a disturbing willingness to close its eyes to the threat from various Arab dictators, while explicitly refusing to investigate where its aid to the Palestinian Authority goes. And their behavior in the security and defense realm represents classic free-riding behavior, especially in the wake of the cold war, when European governments funneled peace dividends towards burgeoning social budgets. However, Europe has not always lacked backbone in the face of evil. Even Charles de Gaulle was a staunch anti-communist, and backed the United States when necessary. (If you don’t believe that, let me refer you to this Michael Ledeen piece on NRO, in which he cites the following de Gaulle quote from the Cuban Missile Crisis: “‘This is serious, and when the United States asks France for her support on a serious matter, she will give it. Just tell me what you want France to do.’”) Europe firmly stood by our side throughout the cold war, with a few exceptions.

And, for the record, the United States also condemned Israel’s strike on Osirak.

All that being said, I wish the rest of the world embraced America’s hope for a truly better world, rather than simply accepting the rotten state of things. It is heartening to see the “coalition of the willing” nations line up to support us, especially those of Eastern Europe, who have an intimate understanding of the wages of tyranny. But be careful not to attribute to pure idealism what may stem, at least partially, from more realistic calculations of national interest.

Keep a close eye on events. We may be witnessing a long-term realignment of the international system. Or we may just be witnessing one of the periodic eruptions in the Western alliance. Time will tell.

Sunday, March 30, 2003
Via instapundit: China pressures North Korea to halt its threatening behavior and posturing regarding its nuclear program. This is the first time that China is giving less than absolute support for the evil Communist regime. It is interesting because in the past fifty years, there has been a pattern of America & Israel dealing with nations and organizations that threaten world security and the rest of the world condemning our actions. During the Cold War, America staunchly opposed the Soviet Union while (Western) Europe played both sides of the game, arguing that the USSR wasn't really that bad. When the US moved nuclear weapons into Western Europe to counter the threat of Soviet nukes in Eastern Europe, the Europeans condemned us. When Israel bombed the (French built) Osirak reactor, the world condemned it. When America dealt with the Taliban in Afgranistan, many nations condemned us, just as they are condemning America's decision to forcibly disarm Iraq. Yet those same nations depend on America to protect them. They forget that our fight against terrorists is making the world safer for them. It is because we spend a large fraction of our GNP on our military, and because we are willing to use our military and risk the lives of our citizens, they are able to neglect their defense budgets and spend the revenue from their extremely high taxes on socialist policies. They operate on the assumption that as long as they play "nice" with the enemies of the free world, those enemies would focus their energy on other nations - like America. They know that if things really get bad, America will always be there to protect them. They are like spoiled little rich kids who 'hang with the "wild crowd" and "live dangerously", knowing that mommy and daddy will always be there to bail them out. Yet that is changing. Britain has woken up. So has Australia, and Spain, and all of New Europe. Now it looks like China is also starting to realize that terrorist and crazy dictators armed with nukes are a danger to them too.
An interesting piece about an MTV survey about support for the war from Opinionjournal.com. A quote from the article:

"But the interesting thing is that MTV is putting real faces on the young airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines who constitute our armed forces. Whatever else it may be, this is clearly not your father's protest generation."

That's certainly encouraging news. I think it's easy to exaggerate the strength of the protest movement, since they do a good job of making a lot of noise. This Sarah Maserati piece on NRO also questions the idea that the anti-war movement is gathering strength.

Lastly, I want to link to one of my favorite blogs. Daniel Drezner is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago and an international relations scholar. He provides a range of quality links, as well as pointed insight from someone who knows his stuff.