Saturday, June 26, 2010

Two Recent Obama Contradictions

United States President Barak Obama and his Administration have contradicted themselves in both of the major current issues:

1) Opening a Criminal Investigation into the BP Oil Leak While Imposing a Moratorium on All Drilling

The Obama Administration has opened a criminal investigation into the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, the message the Administration is implying is that BP’s behavior constituted criminal recklessness, which is in addition to any implication from any civil action the Administration is threatening that BP’s conduct demonstrated gross negligence. At the same time, the Administration has used the leak as an excuse to re-impose a moratorium on offshore oil drilling for six months, which it justified as necessary in order to determine the safety of deepwater drilling. Thankfully, a federal judge ruled against the Obama Administration, calling its action “arbitrary and capricious” and finding that it also made misleading statements in falsely claiming that certain scientists who participated in a study the government cited agreed with the moratorium. The six-month moratorium would have obligated drillers to remove their rigs from the Gulf of Mexico and send them to foreign areas, meaning that it could have been years until drilling resumed there, to the detriment of the local economy.

The point is that on the one hand, the Administration is declaring BP’s actions that led to the leak as outside the legal norm and thereby different from the actions of the other drillers it has not accused of similar misconduct, while justifying its moratorium on the contradictory grounds that drilling is inherently unsafe, regardless of whether BP or other drillers are behaving lawfully. In other words, if drilling is inherently unsafe, then BP ought not to be sued or criminally charged for any actions that led to the leak, for the Obama Administration should have barred BP from drilling in the first place instead of allowing it to continue, and the degree of BP’s recklessness or negligence would be irrelevant. The Administration’s actions in this matter would be like grounding all of a certain model of aircraft because of one crash – caused by a bad pilot, after already blaming the accident on pilot error.

2) Promoting General David Petraeus after Declaring the Troop Surge He Led in Iraq a Failure

As a Senator, Barak Obama joined most other liberal Democrats in opposing President George W. Bush’s troop surge for Iraq, wrongly predicting that it would fail or even make matters worse and criticizing General Petraeus for any optimistic reports that he gave that cited evidence that proved the surge was working. Even long after it had become abundantly clear that the surge, in fact, had worked and that the Liberation of Iraq had been successful both in its initial goal of removing a terrorism-sponsoring regime from power, as well as in defeating al-Qaeda and other jihadists who made Iraq a central battle in the War on Terrorism, Obama refused to admit that the surge had worked and that he had been completely wrong on the most significant issue of the time. However, he used the Iraqi surge largely as a model for agreeing with Bush’s proposed troop surge for Afghanistan, which was a tacit admission that the strategy had worked.

Now, President Obama has appointed Gen. Petraeus, the architect and hero of the Iraqis troop surge, to lead the War in Afghanistan in carrying out the troop surge strategy there, which is even more of an admission that Bush and Petraeus were successful, without Obama ever expressly admitting it. Indeed, the Obama Administration has acknowledged the United States victory in Iraq, which it has cited as justifying the continuation of the withdrawal of troops from there that had begun under the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration has even tried to claim credit for the victory in Iraq. Therefore, either Obama’s actions in the War on Terrorism in the battles of Iraq and Afghanistan represent a contradiction of his opposition to the Iraqi troop surge, or he has changed his mind and has completely vindicated Bush. Either way, Obama refuses to say.

Obama’s contention that the troop surge in Iraq did not work was itself a contradiction of his criticism of the Bush Administration’s conduct of the Liberation of Iraq prior to the surge, which he insisted was a failure. However, if the surge was not responsible for the U.S. victory in Iraq, then the conditions before it (under the Bush Administration’s management) must have been adequate enough apart from the surge to have produced the victory.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Commentary on the Colombian Elections

The candidate of the ruling conservative party easily, Juan Manuel Santos, won election to the presidency of Colombia. The results suggest strong public approval for outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, who is constitutionally limited to serving two terms.

Uribe, with help from the United States over the last several years, has scored unprecedented victories against the Marxist narco-terrorists that have been fighting in a civil war since 1965. Because Santos is expected to continue Uribe’s policies, the presidential election represents an American victory in the War on Terrorism, as well as toward efforts to eradicate cocaine in order to limit the smuggling of it into the U.S.

Because Colombia’s security is improving, its economy has also been improving. Its establishment of the rule of law, liberalization of the economy, and conservative fiscal policies, for which Santos was partly responsible as a minister in Uribe’s government, have helped its economy to grow.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush negotiated a free trade agreement with Colombia, but the liberal Democratic Senate has not ratified it and President Barak Obama has failed even to call for the ratification of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, all of which were signed by Bush. The agreements would be mutually beneficial economically because they would increase trade by eliminating each party’s tariffs on imports, which would lower prices for consumers. However, labor unions that supported Obama’s presidential campaign fear the competition from lower-cost imports. They oppose the agreements, despite the increase in employment that is produced by an increase in exports. The excuse Big Labor has been using against the free trade agreement with Colombia in particular is its human rights record, which has improved under Uribe.

In addition to the economic benefits for the Americans, Colombia’s economy is in the interest of the U.S. because of the significance of Colombia to the War on Terrorism and the reduction of drug abuse. Colombia, the strongest ally of the U.S. in the region, needs the economic benefits of free trade in order to continue to defeat the Marxist rebels and deserves a reward for its successes in its fight against them and the reforms it has undertaken.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Manute Bol, Rest in Peace

Manute Bol, a former National Basketball player and humanitarian from Sudan, died recently of natural causes at the age of 47. Bol, who at the time was the tallest player in history, played for several NBA teams from 1985-1994. He still holds or shares a number of records for blocking shots. But it is humanitarian work that merits his memorialization.

Bol, a Christian from the Dinka tribe, donated most of his millions of dollars in earnings to humanitarian work in Sudan. In Bol’s native Southern Sudan, the Arab Muslim-dominated government based in Khartoum in the northern part of Sudan, committed gross human rights abuses, including murder and enslavement, against the mostly Christian and animist South over a two-decades long war that resulted in the deaths of one to two million people. Bol not only donated and raised money for his suffering countrymen, but raised public awareness about the plight of the Southern Sudanese. He was forced by the Muslim Northern Sudanese government to become a refugee from Sudan, settling in the United States, where he resided at the time of his death. Bol was continuing his work with the Southern Sudanese government in a humanitarian capacity.

Bol, a national hero in Southern Sudan, is an example of how a Christian can sanctify athletics.

The Administration of President George W. Bush negotiated a settlement of the Sudanese Civil War. As part of the agreement, a plebiscite on independence for Southern Sudan is scheduled for next year. However, as I noted in my post from April of this year, Analysis of the Sudanese Elections, the government in Khartoum may be backpedaling from its promise to allow the plebiscite. In addition, the Arab Muslim Northern Sudanese government is responsible for the ongoing genocide being committed against black Muslims in the western Sudanese province of Darfur. I hope that Bol’s death reminds the world of the suffering in Sudan from a government with one of the worst human rights records in the world today.

The Clintonian Cynicism and Deception of Obama and His Supporters

As I noted in my previous post, Bill Clinton was the conduit for the Obama Administration’s corrupt offer of federal offices to candidates in exchange for their withdrawal from the Democratic Primary in order to clear the field for other Democratic candidates favored by the Administration.

Liberal Democratic supporters of the Obama Administration have falsely used the “everybody does it” defense – which is not a defense, but an admission – in order to excuse the scandal, just as they did when Clinton was accused of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying under oath in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit. As I explained in my previous post, this cynical defense of the Obama Administration is false. Even the scandal-prone Clinton Administration, for example, was never accused of offering offices in exchange for political favors, just as the allegation liberal Democrats’ made in defense of Clinton about all the Presidents or Founding Fathers committing such crimes or even that they had committed adultery is either false or – at worst – in a few cases, unprovable. In both cases, the liberal Democrats’ cynically impugned others, including many innocent people, in order to make the President they supported seem less bad by comparison.

Indeed, this scandal reveals a tactic of the corrupt Clinton Administration the Obama Administration itself and its supporters have copied: repeatedly denying an allegation for months in order to cover it up and then, once the Administration is forced to admit the allegations are true, declaring that there is nothing new to the charges, dismissing them as old news, and then accusing its critics of focusing on the past for political advantage and instead of on the “real issues” the Administration claims it is addressing.

These examples are part of a broader pattern of Clintonian tactics Obama has adopted. Obama makes Clintonian-style misleading statements that allow people to read falsely into them what they want without lying, which, like the defense offered of his Administration by its liberal Democratic supporters, depends upon a cynical view of the ignorance of the people, as well as an arrogant confidence in his ability to fool them.

As a presidential candidate, Clinton made statements that allowed people to read into them whatever they wanted. For example, he stated that he was against the “brain dead politics” of Congress. Because Democrats were in the majority in Congress at the time, Republicans thought that he was sounding moderate by criticizing his own party, while Democrats thought that he was sounding liberal by referring to the significant Republican minority they blamed for blocking them from taxing and spending more. The massive tax and spend policies Clinton pursued once in office (despite his labeling of his plan that he correctly predicted would increase the deficit as a “deficit reduction plan”) proved that he had fooled the Republicans by leading them to draw a false conclusion.

Another example was when Clinton was asked by a reporter whether he had been unfaithful to his wife. He replied that he had “caused pain in” in his marriage. The media reported that he had thereby admitted to adultery, which made him seem forthright, contrite and humble. The apparent admission of infidelity appeared to definitively address the allegations of adultery made against him by Gennifer Flowers that were damaging his campaign. However, a closer examination of Clinton’s words reveals that he did not admit to adultery, only to having “caused pain,” which could have been for the most minor peccadillo that was not even in the category of a sin against marriage, or perhaps even was because of some idiosyncrasy his wife found unacceptable. Indeed, he has never admitted adultery with Flowers or any of the several other women who claimed they were his mistresses, even after a test found his DNA on Monica Lewinsky’s dress. Using careful legal language, he only admitted vaguely to “an inappropriate relationship” with Lewinsky. To this day, his most ardent supporters deny that he ever committed adultery with her.

Similarly, when asked as a presidential candidate whether he were a Muslim or a Christian, Obama declared that he “prays to Jesus every night.” His statement allowed Christians to read into it that he was a Christian while Muslims could read into it that he was not denying he was a Muslim because of the absence of anything in his statement that specifically rejected Islam. Muslims accept Jesus as a prophet. Although some Christians falsely equate prayer with worship, prayer means “asking;” most Christians believe that God permits the living to ask the holy souls in Heaven for their intercession, as the Bible says that He is more receptive to the prayers of the righteous, and that with God, all things are possible. Therefore, Obama’s admission that he prays to Jesus does not necessarily mean his acceptance of Jesus as Divine, which is the most basic definition of a Christian. It is unclear what Obama’s religious views exactly are, as he has repudiated the church responsible for his supposed conversion to Christianity – an anti-American Black Nationalist church that honored the leader of the largest Black Muslim organization in the United States. He then made a Clintonian declaration that he now disagreed with its pastor's radical statements, without ever stating with what he specifically disagreed.

I would prefer to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but his habit of adopting Clinton’s style of deception makes it clear that he has failed to answer the important question about his religion adequately. I suspect that he is a Christian, but that he does not want to publicly reject Islam, either because he once made the shahada (the witness of the basic Muslim tenet), and thus would be regarded by Muslims as an apostate for rejecting Islam, or, as part of his foreign policy, because he wants to fool Muslims into believing that he shares their faith.

We conservatives must be careful to examine Obama’s words carefully without either cynically assuming he is lying or naively assuming he is telling the truth. We ought to ask Obama better questions in order to draw out the truth.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Liberal Democrats’ Cynical Defense of the Obama Administration

The Obama Administration has caused a scandal by offering federal offices to two individuals in exchange for withdrawing their candidacies for the Democratic Party nomination for United States Senate in order to clear the field for Democratic candidates favored by the Administration. The offer of Administration jobs to the Democratic Senatorial candidates in Pennsylvania and Colorado were in exchange for withdrawing from the Democratic primary were a possible violation of federal law.

Barak Obama, although not allegedly corrupt personally, was supported by the corrupt Democratic Chicago machine, and refused to support a reform candidate who ran against the machine. As President, he has surrounded himself with advisers from that machine, including the most important one, his chief of staff, who practiced the “Chicago Way.” Crooked politicians are often so inured to corrupt practices that they think that such practices are legally and morally acceptable.

The jobs-for-withdrawal scandal reveals that Obama Administration officials spent their time influencing state Democratic primary elections. It is one thing to influence public opinion in order to advance a political platform, even to the point of approving a particular candidate for public office, but another thing for public officials, who are paid by the taxpayers, to interfere with a primary election, where the motivation for the inference is not to support a candidate favoring a certain plank of the platform, but which candidate would make a better nominee for his political party. Offices are apparently awarded in the Obama Administration not to the most qualified candidate, or even as a reward to a qualified, trusted supporter, but in exchange for a political favor to advance the interests of the Democratic Party.

The liberal Democrats’ defense of the Obama Administration is to ask “So what?” or say, “That is politics” or to claim “everybody does it.” However, it is not true that everyone does it. I know from my own political experience that many people involved politics are honest citizens who idealistically want better government. Others are deterred from corrupt behavior by the law. Honest candidates for public office – even for state offices – are careful to avoid appearing to promise any jobs to supporters while volunteers are careful to avoid even asking for any. Honest people know it is illegal to promise jobs in exchange for support.

It is cynical to believe in stereotypes about politicians that suggest they are all or mostly all corrupt. It is unfair to the honest ones, scares away other honest people from getting involved in politics, and, moreover, represents cynicism about people in general, as politicians reflect the general population that elects them from its ranks. Yet the Obama Administration and its supporters rely upon these cynical stereotypes in order to defend itself, which only reinforces the stereotypes. Indeed, the liberal Democrats’ defense of the Obama Administration is to declare that the Administration is no worse than any other, which is an admission that, despite promises of “hope” and “change,” it is no better than the previous Administration they harshly criticized.

The Obama Administration’s liberal Democratic supporters claim that because the jobs offered to the Democratic candidates were non-paying, no violation of the law prohibiting the offer of a job in exchange for a favor occurred, despite the language in the law covering even such non-paying posts. However, the Administration itself apparently thought that the job it offered must have been of sufficient value, regardless of the level of compensation, in order to entice the candidate to withdraw his candidacy.

Furthermore, the Obama Administration engaged in a cover-up of the jobs-for-withdrawal scandal. It gave no answer for months to repeated questioning by reporters, declaring that it either did not have any information or would get back to the reporters with information. Then suddenly, the Administration got the White House Counsel, another taxpayer-funded official, to act as the criminal defense attorney for other Administration officials and declare that the now-admitted behavior was legal. There was no explanation given by the Administration as to what took it months to admit something it regarded as legal.

Interestingly, former President Bill Clinton was the Obama Administration’s conduit for making the corrupt job offer to the Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial candidate. In my next post, I shall discuss how this Obama Administration scandal is part of a pattern of Clintonian tactics and how the same cynical defense of Clinton’s corruption is being used by liberal Democrats to excuse it in the Obama Administration.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Helen Thomas, Liberal Pioneer of Adversarial Reporting

Helen Thomas, senior correspondent for the Associated Press and the dean of the White House press corps, resigned after her recent remarks in which she repeated the myth that Jews have not lived continuously in the Holy Land in characteristically rude terms, declaring that Jews should “get . . . out of Palestine” and “go back” to Germany and Poland. Despite being killed, enslaved or scattered by the Romans after the last Jewish Revolt, there has remained a continuous presence of a number of Jews in the Holy Land for thousands of years, such as in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. The Lebanese-American reporter’s statement was the latest in her history of anti-Israel comments.

The liberal media establishment disavowed Thomas for her bigoted comments, but still hailed her as a pioneer for reporters, especially for females. The near-nonagenarian’s career as a White House correspondent lasted through the Administrations of eleven presidents, beginning with President Dwight Eisenhower. For decades, protocol was for the president to call upon Thomas first as the most senior correspondent in terms of length of service, a custom President George W. Bush ended. To his credit, at times he even pointedly did not call upon the senior reporter for the largest wire service at all, despite her presence in the front row of the small press room in a privileged seat labeled with the AP brass plate (I know because I saw it on a private tour of the West Wing in 2001; in addition to standing at the podium, hers was the one seat I could not resist sitting in).

Despite being considered a reporter, Thomas was also an opinion journalist, a conflict that was a matter of some controversy within the media establishment. She expressed her liberal views in her column, but they also were reflected in her questions and statements at White House press conferences. Indeed, Thomas’ questions were not asked, especially of Republican presidents, in order to report information to her readers, but were asked in an adversarial manner in order to score rhetorical points, as if the Fourth Estate had been elected to debate the president like members of a parliament question their colleague serving as prime minister. Her questions of Democratic presidents were tough only when they strayed from liberalism.

Now the anti-Semitism behind Helen Thomas’ left-wing views has been revealed, but not as a mar on an otherwise good record, as the liberal media portrays it, but as a true reflection of her liberal anti-Israel, anti-American views.

The Obama Administration Is Unable to Define the Enemy

The Obama Administration has been unable to define the enemy in the War on Terrorism or even what to call the struggle to resist terrorism or attacks on the United States military by militants. Indeed, it is unable to accept that the U.S. is at war with its enemy or even that the enemy is at war with the U.S. Instead, the Administration refers to “overseas contingencies” instead of “war” and calls terrorist attacks “man-made disasters,” as if it were afraid to accuse anyone of terrorism or any form of militancy.

The Obama Administration’s attitude reflects its ideology and sets the tone for its actions. The Administration is still treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter instead of as a war. For example, it read Miranda warnings, including the right to remain silent, to the Christmas Day and Times Square Bombers shortly after arresting them, instead of allowing their interrogation to continue.

Moreover, the Administration’s statements suggest that it does not understand the religious motivation of Muslims engaged in militant jihad (Islamic holy war). A senior Obama Administration counterterrorism official, John Brennan, recently explained why the Administration avoids using certain terms. He stated that the term “War on Terror” is not apt because terror is a state of mind, but incorrectly stated that it is wrong to use the term “War on Terrorism” because terrorism is “a tactic.” Terrorism is a strategy, not a tactic. Hijacking airplanes and crashing them into buildings is an example of a tactic. Targeting innocent civilians instead of engaging a military in battle is a strategy. Regardless, it is possible to describe a conflict as a war against a particular misbehavior, such as piracy, as long as it is understood that a state cannot literally be at war with misbehavior, but with those perpetrating it.

The Obama Administration also eschews the use of the words “Islamic” or “Islamist” in describing the self-described jihadists who attack the U.S. military or innocent civilians because it maintains the view that these Islamic holy warriors are not true Muslims, but are incorrectly interpreting the Koran, the Islamic scripture. The Obama Administration is thus defining Islam as if the President is a caliph, the Muslim version of a pope. Although President Barak Obama was taught in a Muslim school as a youth in Indonesia, most liberals who lack all but the barest knowledge of Islam confidently hold the same view. Even some conservatives subscribe to this belief, referring to the terrorists as “hijacking” a religion of peace, for example. Many people refer to militant Muslims as “radicals,” which means that they believe that militant Muslims want to tear up Islam at its roots instead of to get back to its roots, as the jihadists insist they are trying to do. In fact, militant Muslims cite certain verses of the Koran in order to justify their violent actions carried out in the name of jihad as reflective of true Islam and some Islamic scholars agree with them, even to the point of accepting terrorism as a legitimate strategy and suicide attacks as a legitimate tactic. Therefore, regardless of whether their interpretation of Islamic scripture is the correct one, the point is that militant Muslims believe that they are acting out of religious conviction. To acknowledge that they are is not necessarily to accept that their interpretation is correct, but simply to acknowledge the religious source of their political ideology.

Brennan also explained why the Obama Administration avoids even the word “jihad,” besides its religious connotation. He noted that jihad can be “legitimate.” Jihad can be interpreted as spiritual warfare against the Devil, but it is not necessarily limited to spiritual struggle. The point is not whether it is legitimate, which is not for non-Muslims to judge, but whether or not it can be militant, as I noted it can be.

Apparently, there is no comprehensive definition from the Obama Administration either of the enemy or the resistance to it. Thus, the Administration fails to recognize the enemy’s ideology, which is religious in motivation, regardless of whether the enemy’s religious interpretation of its scripture is correct. It is difficult to identify – let alone to resist – an enemy that cannot even be defined.

I submit that “militant Muslims” is the best description of the enemy and, although the “War on Terrorism” is adequate, the “War Against Militant Islam” would be better, at least from the American perspective, and something like the “War of Militant Islam Against the World,” from a historical or global perspective, the optimum choice, as explained in my last post and in the posts referred to within it. Terms like “militant Islam” adequately identify the enemy and suggest the religious source of his ideology without making a judgment about whether or not the enemy truly represents Islam. They are also inclusive enough to include secular militant Muslims. As I have noted in my earlier posts, it is critical to understand that militant Islam of all kinds is encouraged by the religious belief that Allah favors Muslims in their military conquests and that once a territory is gained for Allah, it cannot be relinquished to non-believers. Therefore, it is necessary to defeat Muslims militarily, in addition to using other necessary methods, in order to prove that Allah is not blessing the efforts of jihadists engaged in terrorism or other forms of militancy against non-Muslims and that these militants are not the divinely-chosen leaders other Muslims ought to follow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Afghanistan Is Not the Longest Ever U.S. War

The media has declared that the War in Afghanistan is now the longest major war in United States history. The eight-year battle in the War on Terrorism has surpassed both the American Revolution and the Vietnamese War. However, depending on how one counts, the Afghan War is not the longest war in American history or even the longest major war.

The distinction between a major war and a minor war is between major actions and minor ones, or between frequent and sporadic combat, distinctions long recognized by historians. I consider warfare to include mutual combat, not one-time one-sided attacks by regular or irregular forces on the United States military, or terrorist attacks on civilians, or the violence committed by rioters or actions taken by or against individual pirates or other criminals.

The Afghan War was a major war from 2001-2002 and again over the last two or three years, but in between it was a minor war. Therefore, it cannot be recognized as a continuous major war. A similar situation occurred with both of the other eight-year American wars. The Revolution was a major war from 1775 to 1781, but only a minor war until 1783, while the Vietnamese War, in terms of U.S. participation was a minor war from 1961-1964 and again in 1975, but a major war from 1964-1973. Therefore, by counting the entire action of a major war, including its minor war phases, the Vietnamese War remains the longest major war in American history.

The Afghan War, however, may be viewed as a battle in the War on Terrorism, a major war which began on September 11, 2001, although it could be considered as having begun in 1998, after the twin U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and the American bombing of an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in response.

Two ongoing wars that have been subsumed as battles by the War on Terrorism are the Somali Civil War, a minor war, and the Iraqi War, a major war, although both have been intermittent. U.S. involvement in the former began in 1993 (against a militia whose arms were supplied by al-Qaeda) and has occurred sporadically again since 2007 against another al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militia. The war with Baathist Iraq lasted from 1991 to 2003, or could be considered to be ongoing if one includes the Baathist participation in the Iraqi insurgency after the overthrow of the Baathist regime in 2003. The Iraqi war began with the Liberation of Kuwait in 1991. In between then and the Liberation of Iraq in 2003, sporadic clashes occurred between Iraq and the Coalition, which became frequent from 2000-2003. Indeed, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein considered the war, which he called “the Mother of All Battles,” to have continued despite his acceptance of the 1991 cease-fire until his overthrow and even beyond, which is why his forces continued to attack the Coalition.

There were other wars in American history which arguably were even longer. The Cold War lasted from 1945-1991 (not including U.S. participation in the Russian Civil War, 1918-1919). Beginning with an attack on American troops by Communist Yugoslav troops on the Italian border in 1945, there were numerous sporadic engagements between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and other Communist states and rebel forces over the decades. There were two major U.S. wars which were battles of the Cold War: the Korean War and the Vietnamese War. The Korean War was a major war from 1950-1953, but there have been sporadic clashes ever since. The last mutual combat in which American troops participated was a firefight in 1985, although as recently as 1994, a U.S. helicopter was shot down by Communist North Korea. The Cold War also included minor wars: the Salvadoran Civil War (i.e. the U.S. participation of this major war was minor) in 1982 and the Invasion of Grenada in 1983. Post-Cold War combat with Communists continued in two other minor wars: the Bosnian Civil War in 1995 and the War in Kosovo in 1999. Attacks by Communists continued since then, even into the War on Terrorism, when the Japanese Red Army, which had a history of attacking American troops, fired a shell at a U.S. base in Japan in 2001 and a U.S. helicopter assisting the Philippines against an al-Qaeda affiliate was shot at by Communist Filipino rebels.

The Barbary Wars were a series of two wars that lasted from 1801-1805 and again in 1815 against two different enemies on the Barbary Coast, the first against Tripoli, the second against Algiers, that are usually grouped together by historians. However, the Barbary Wars could also be considered as part of the war of militant Islam against the world, as the Barbary States justified their piracy in jihadist terms. American combat participation in this long, intermittent Islamic holy war that began in the Seventh Century includes the U.S. interventions in Lebanon in 1958 (which also was part of the Cold War) and 1983, clashes with Libya in 1981 and 1989 and the bombing thereof in 1986, clashes with Iran in 1986 and 1987, as well as the Somali Civil War, the Liberation of Kuwait and the War on Terrorism. Thus, the United States has been defending itself against Islamic jihad since 1801, of which the War in Afghanistan is the latest battle.

For more on this long war against militant Islam, click on the link to Lepanto, by G.K. Chesterton, in which I contributed an essay, or view my post with the same title from April of 2009 and another post that month, The Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization, as well as a post the following month, Follow-up to the Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization. See also my post from April of 2009, Obama’s Standard for Justification for War Troubling.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Foreign Updates: Iraqi Elections, the Decline of the Euro, and Italian Crucifixes in Schools

Iraqi Elections
Iraq’s election commission has certified the results of its parliamentary elections. The party of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Sunni Muslim, won two more seats than the party of incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a secular Shi’ite Muslim, with neither attaining a majority. Maliki had alleged fraud, but none was found, meaning that the Iraqi elections were fair. A coalition will have to be formed in order for a prime minister to form a government.

As I observed in April, the minority Sunnis participated in the elections as never before, which led to a record voter turnout. Many of them voted for Allawi instead of boycotting the elections again and allowing the majority Shi’ites to dominate Iraqi politics. The close results because of the greater number of Sunnis coming out to vote hardly appear to represent a public repudiation of Maliki, who is credited with defeating the militant Muslim insurgency. Maliki, or at least his party, could even join in a secular Shi’ite-Sunni governing coalition. Indeed, the elections results demonstrate the clear rejection by Iraqi voters of militant religious parties such as pro-Iranian Shi’ite parties or pro-al-Qaeda Sunni parties.

The Decline of the Euro
The euro has lost 25% of its value from its high and is now barely worth more than its original value established in 1999 as a rival to the U.S. dollar. Since my last update in May, there continues to be much discussion about the possible contraction of the European Monetary Union (EMU) through the elimination of members like Greece or even the dissolution of the union entirely and abolishment of the euro. The experiment of a single currency without a single monetary policy has been revealed as a mistake by European centralizers who do not respect the sovereignty of diverse states which they encouraged to surrender their sovereign right as states over their own monetary policy to the EMU, but failed to account for different fiscal policies, some of which, like Greece’s overspending, undermine the foundation of the monetary union. The European centralizers apparently assumed, based on their political idealogy, that all of the member states were alike and therefore would adopt similar economic policies, which, for example, failed to recognize the different lifestyle of the southern Mediterranean.

Italian Crucifixes in Schools
The Second Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italy violated the European Council’s Convention of Human Rights in keeping Crucifixes in its schools, the Philadelphia Bulletin reported. The ruling overturns that of the Italian courts that they could remain. According to the Bulletin, the Court concluded that a Crucifix, a symbol of Jesus, Who is revered even by many non-Christians, constitutes indoctrination into Christianity. The secular European centralizers thus are not only violating the sovereignty of overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where parties on both the right and left of the state formerly ruled by totalitarian Fascists understand the necessity of acknowledging that human rights come not from the state, but from God, but undermining the very foundation of liberty.

As I have noted in previous updates, this case demonstrates the many dangers of European centralization. The European experiment of federalism is failing compared to the American experiment of federalism, despite the ever-growing centralization of the American federal government. The American system depends upon the shared beliefs by its member states in the American Creed, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that men’s rights come from their Creator, but with a respect for the diversity of those states. The European system fails to acknowledge that Christianity – not simply “Europeanness” – is the unitive force in Western Civilization, despite the even greater diversity between European states.