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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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Subtle - not our Mr. Bush

Geo Bush cancelled his trip to Canada on May 4. While the PMO is desperately spinning that the President's heavy schedule interfered, that schedule was light enough to ensure that on May 2 and 3 John Howard is coming to Washington.

Chretien must go.


Quebec inside the tent....Maybe

Last night's election of a majority Liberal government in Quebec is encouraging, I think. I have to qualify that because some of the most destructive and divisive years in the Canadian federation were when Robert Borassa - who had Jacques Chirac trumped on the arrogance front - was the "Liberal" premier.

The good news is that Charest has served in Ottawa and has more familiarity with the rest of Canada and its concerns than any Premier of Quebec since Levesque. His PC roots put him in touch with the anglo and multicultural worlds beyond Quebec's borders.

For a while, certainly until Chretien's long goodbye is finally done, Charest is unlikely to have too many demands for the Federal government and the rest of Canada. After Chretien it is anyone's guess.

As much as anything Charest's victory is likely generational more than a renunciation of separatism. The PQ and the Bloc are arguing about a world long past. The anglophone dominance of Quebec was ended by the Quiet Revolution and the flight of anglophones from Quebec. But the bitterness remained a potent tool to rally French Quebec. Bitterness can be cured only by time and death. The old guard of respectable soveigntists and rehabilitated radicals which made up the PQ and Bloc has been fighting and losing for forty years. For the next generation of Quebec leaders the game is not bitterness but pride.

Charest has the opportunity to take the resentments of the last generation and transmute them into a spirit of respect, confidence and co-operation within Quebec and in Canada. Let's hope he seizes that opportunity.

How Iraq was won

Fred Kaplan's article in link slate
is about how technology and doctrine managed to defeat, indeed destroy, a large Iraqi force. It is also about how to fight wars intelligently.

Were I a dictator at my best before date I would read this article and set to work feathering a nest out of country.

As I watched and read about the war one thing which struck me was that it all looked more like a construction site than a war zone. The armour, the burly Marines all looked like they were off to get a big dam built as fast as possible. The "fog of war" was dispersed by the communications and reconnaissance skills the American military has been honing for a decade. The war was run by professionals with a reasonable budget and defined goals. It was fought against none too zealous amateurs with no budget and no sense at all of mission.

The most intriguing part is that, after the cruise missile stocks and the JDAM supplies have been rebuild, another version of this war can take place quite quickly. Which the Syrians, Iranians and North Koreans are now all to aware of.


Howard's End

Prime Minister John Howard wants to reform the United Nations, saying the presence of France as a permanent member of the Security Council "distorts" the council.

He wants Japan, a South American country and India to be represented on the Security Council. France was there only because it was a global power at the end of World War II, he said. link the age

It will be interesting to see how far this trial balloon floats. At this point the coalition of the willing would have about 40 votes in the General Assembly. Pick the right candidate nations - I would prefer India to Japan which is Howard's suggestion - and there could be a majority in it.


Dumb Euros

Even if large amounts of these weapons were found, I could imagine the public in Germany and around Europe questioning whether the finds were true or simply planted evidence," says Jens Van Scherpenberg, a security expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

Some war opponents may even excuse Iraq's possession of banned weapons as the country's only means of standing up to American aggression. "In France, there are people who think Saddam Hussein had some reason to want to hide his arms, if that was the only way to confront American might," says Philippe Moreau Defarges, a senior fellow at the French Institute of International relations in Paris. link chrisitian science monitor

There comes a point where the scepticism of the Europeans ceases to matter. That point will be reached if - and, I suspect, when - the coalition finds WMDs (over and above the banned weapons already found) - and the Euros just deny it all the harder.

Thje French and the Germans are irrelvant now. If it is possible, they will become even less relevant in future if they hold these sorts of view....

Plunder: A tragedy

Kadun, and one lone guard watched as the thieves pried open the vaults, grabbing gold necklaces and precious stones. When those were gone, they fell upon the magnificent, inscribed carvings. With carts, cars, and blankets, they hauled off the treasures of seven millennia, taking with them the cultural memory of this already traumatized nation. Among the losses: two Babylonian lions, made of baked clay, a 4,000-year-old collection of tablets laying out exercises for schoolchildren, a 5,000-year-old statue of a bearded man holding a vase. >link christian science monitor

While assorted art and archeology experts point the finger at the US for failing to protect the Iraqi National Museum, the fact is that it was the Iraqis themselves who stole the nation's treasures. The tragedy is that these are also the treasures of the world and their loss ranks with the sacking of the Imperial Palace in China and the Cambodian destruction of Ankor Wat.

The Swedish Street - Silent

Now, the cacophonous shouts of "no war for oil" have become barely audible whispers about civilian casualties?a troubling, but very old malady in Baathist Iraq. Stockholm's popular dailies, who previously invested countless column inches to the anti-war cause, have stop harrumphing and started deflecting. Perhaps in a few months, when America's irrelevant enemies abroad produce a Mark Herold-inspired poster detailing civilian casualties, they will regroup. But for the most part, its time to say goodbye to all that. They will defeat America on another front, perhaps. They will always have Kyoto.

As the fiercest fighting draws to close, I am sifting through the debris of Europe's anti-war movement. The ideological revolution was contingent upon a great humanitarian disaster. Neither have happened. So what can they say in their defense? The ones who marched through democratic Sweden waving Iraqi flags? How do those opposed to war on a set of vague, lop-sided moral principals react when seeing cheering Iraqis swarm American Humvees, shouting that they, the wretched of the Earth, love Booooosh? I mean, what do they really think? Does anyone honestly believe that the scenes of liberation could ever trump their hatred of America's President? What about the Al-Samoud rockets, suspicious factories, POW executions, newly uncovered torture chambers, human shields, dead soldiers wearing gas masks, the cache of "ready to fire" Sarin-tipped missiles, the pathetic promises of a new, "creative" variety of "unconventional warfare"?

Prior to the war, the peaceniks operated on the principal of "plausible deniability"; we all knew Iraq was in violation of 1441, but who could conclusively prove it? To the hard-left the discoveries are mere inconveniences, CIA-planted speed bumps, predicated on a lie. The political conspiracy theorist always has an implausible answer for why his side lost: Israel planned 9-11, Germany was "stabbed in the back," there were no Cambodian "killing fields," the Holocaust was a large-scale typhus epidemic. There is, of course, little point in debating the cultists, the religious zealots, the righteously indignant. Ignore them and they won't go away, but it will significantly lower your blood pressure. link capitalism magazine

Deny, deny, deny...It is what the Left does best.

French Support for UN Sanctions

A French Embassy spokeswoman insists that the Roland-2 missile was an old model which the manufacturer stopped making years ago, though she admits the Roland-3 is a newer model. She says the Chirac government’s position is that new goods from France found in Iraq were probably illegal deliveries that Saddam purchased on a marche parallel, or black market. link msnbc

The Roland 2's were found at the airport and look to have been shipped in 2002. The Roland 3 was found partially destroyed.

The French are going to have to do a lot better than saying all this came through the marche parallel. A lot better.

Change comes in the wake of victory

"There is an opportunity here to forge a different relationship between us and the Arab states, and between us and the Palestinians....

"Opportunities have currently been created that did not exist before. The Arab world in general, and the Palestinians in particular, have been shaken. There is therefore a chance to reach an agreement faster than people think," he said. link upi</a>

After months of insisting on direct talks with Washington, North Korea signaled Saturday that it would be willing to accept U.S. demands for multilateral discussions over the communist country's alleged nuclear weapons program.

The shift is likely to ease tension on the Korean Peninsula, where recent South Korea-U.S. war games and Washington's decision to send additional long-range bombers to the region has stoked fears in the North of an imminent U.S. invasion
link chicago sun-times

This is a beginning of the world afer Iraq. A world in which America's freinds feel secure enough to concede a point or two and where her enemies have seen just what happens when America is pushed too far. Most of all, a world in which there is a sense the status quo is liable to change and stability is one among many foreign policy goals.

Look for Syria to start co-operating post haste.