Duly Noted: Incremental Encroachment


Some of the bits in the mosaic of our time are overlooked because we look for boulders. This column presents underrated issues that might deserve attention.
1. As a rule, the discontent of the electorate points at a reverse for the party in power. In the coming US election, this rule might not hold up. The incessant demonization of Bush could doom the Democrats’ White House hopes. For all the real or claimed wrongs ultimately not the Republican candidates but Bush personally might be blamed.
2. According to Vremya Novostei (8 April) Russia’s top election official is prepared to send election monitors to America. The candidates there have no equal access to the mass media, which “does not exist” in the US. How will the Republicans thank Moscow for supporting the case they make about their coverage by a biased press?
3. Bush wanted to “fight them over there” so as not to have to fight them “over here” says The Economist (29 March). In doing so America “overstrained” its military and left the “home front vulnerable.” Fighting there so as not to have to fight here might be as true as is the bit about the over extension. The relationship between the military’s presence in Iraq and the weakness of the defenses against terrorism at home is shaky. Combating terrorism on the home front is not a function of the armed forces but of the police and the FBI.
4. Not a few political lives in the US – and elsewhere – depend on America’s success or failure in Iraq. The greatest potential political benefit is what the doomsayers and doom makers might harvest as a reward of failure. Some motivated campaign talk creates a danger to be faced later. Careless statements made to indicate that difficult problems have easy solutions will function as a shackle for the elected. An example is the April 9 claim of Clinton that defines Obama as all talk but no action regarding an unconditional post-election retreat on the double.
5. At the NATO summit in Bucharest and during the Sochi tête-à-tête with Bush, Putin kept protesting the stationing of an anti-missile defense system to be located in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin cannot possibly believe that a dozen of rockets could endanger – even if evil intent is assumed – a Russia that possesses missiles in the four-digit range. With security not qualifying as a valid reason, alternative explanations emerge: (1) By exerting pressure, Russia seeks to hand the US a political defeat; (2) Moscow wishes to establish its right to determine how strong and safe Europe, and especially the eastern flank of NATO are allowed to be.
6. What NATO is good for is a seriously posited question. There are several answers. One could argue that new dangers arose with the disappearance of the Soviet threat. Potential but not far-fetched sources are Russia and China. A clear-cut threat comes from the Jihadists located in the West as immigrants or active in Near Eastern states. Therefore, thanks to its expansion and the globalization of politics, NATO is subject to out-of-area challenges. Second, NATO might be a suitable instrument to commit America to Europe at a cut-rate price for the latter. Third, NATO might indeed be, as some insinuate, purposeless. To some foes of developed countries and successful societies this makes the forces pleading for separation temporarily valuable because they blunt US power. Lastly comes the ignored but imaginable American isolationist’s response. Irritated by the blows and kicks ritually administered in the name of Europe, these could also answer with a “nothing.” If this is made to happen, it will be the USA that drops Europe. Unlike Europe’s ambivalent distance to the States this break will be unequivocal. Through utilizing the results of a few bilateral contacts in Europe, the US is as defensible without NATO as NATO is handicapped without America.
7. Lest we forget. Ever serious, Fox News quotes on April 1 an Islamist lawyer residing in the West: “as a Muslim […] I must have hatred to (sic) everything that is not Muslim.” Apparently, the advantages of residence and education are no antidote for fanaticism.
8. Incremental encroachment. The original issue regarding Islamic clothing in countries hosting large numbers of Muslims involved the headscarf. In Europe – but also in once secular Turkey – the front line in the battle of the symbols has moved significantly. The main contested issue now involves the burqa that gives total coverage. If the trend continues, all non-believers will be declared to be unbelievers and these will be forced to run for cover as they deny and insult the Prophet.
9. Europe’s old-style religious and social (not racial) anti-Semitism of the past is now copied by the anti-Christianism and anti-Semitism of radical Muslims in Europe.
10. Some immigrants might assert that their entry into advanced countries is their basic, therefore undeniable, right. At the risk of the accusation of prejudice, some of these must be reminded of another self-evident right. It is that the natives prefer “to live differently.” Therefore, they do not wish to adjust to the life-style that invited or uninvited guests try to force upon them. This is so even if the claim is shrewdly raised that submission is a test of the hosts’ tolerance.
11. A small news item told that out of 37 spies in the US 17 were ideologically motivated. In earlier years, the traitors for money were the majority. The numbers suggest that we can find here a symptom. It reflects the erosion of values and of the undermining of the sense of citizenship that is advocated by the relativists that control the pulpit, the schools and much of the media.
12. It is a positive and, regarding the above, contradictory sign that, the protest of the suppression of Tibetans is spreading. Unfortunately, some of this could be protest for the fun of it by people who do not know and care to find out about the fundamental, inherent-to-the-system causes behind the subjugation of Tibetans.
13. In the case of Tibet and other ethnic groups under pressure there is confusion of the terms “separatism” and “autonomy.” This can reflect ignorance regarding the actual goals of such movements or is caused by the lack of clarity pertaining to the meaning of these terms. In significant instances, however, the misuse of these words is the result of disinformation propagated by suppressors or their sympathizers.
14. Significantly, China’s problem with minority regions is not limited toTibet. Using the population reserves of the majority, the territory of the Uighurs and Mongolians is also inundated by Han settlers in order to create a new majority. With this, a tested recipe from central Europe is put to creative use.
15. The future might prove that last week’s most significant news item could prove to have been a new North Korean threat. This time the target was South Korea that is under new management. For no returns, its undaunted old government has supplied the Reds in the North. Pyongyang had an opportunity in the past to discover that if there is nothing else around to eat it may bite the hand that feeds it. All too often, their practice netted them not a slap but an apology of the abused. Now the newly elected President in Seoul had the audacity to announce that the continuation of aid is connected to the fulfillment of earlier promises made in exchange for grants. Guided by old reflexes, the Beloved Leader’s gang responded with threats. Nuclear war was one of the verbal torpedoes fired. The interesting thing about this is not that it happened and that it suggests that, while beggars may not be choosy, being aggressive increases alms. In this case, it is the reception of the news that makes the matter notable. Its presentation reveals a lot about what might be wrong in advanced societies. In those organs that carried the report it got just a few inches of space – less than a Richer 3 quake would score in California. This handling of the matter threatens the reputation of the ostrich. Their claim to uniqueness used to be that they stick their head into the sand. Let the big birds awake! They are being successfully copied.
16. If one calculates rationally, it appears that North Korea loses benefits – payments for better behavior – and fails to realize some goals – such as normalized relations – it claims to have set. All this because the Beloved Leader continues to pursue the nuclear armament program that he has repeatedly promised to terminate. Conclusion: the bomb is of paramount importance. You may connect the dots that lead us to the comparable case of Iran.
17. The radicals that govern Gaza demand that Israel open the common border. If this is not done, their wards are in danger of “suffocating.” We might have a remarkable case wrapped into this demand. It is not unusual that a party commits openly to the destruction of another state. When such an entity demands that, to survive, it be allowed to have access to its chosen enemy, we seem to have entered the realm of the surreal.
PS. It is reported (12 April) that from Gaza Hamas has subjected an Israeli refinery to a rocket attack. It so happens that this is the refinery that delivers Gaza’s fuel. The deliveries are interrupted. Wait for news that Hamas protests the hardship created for innocents by the lack of gas.

No. 3, Where to Fight Them

It is nonesense to speak of fighting them over there so we won't have to fight them over here. We can avoid fighting them over here by keeping them over there, i. e., preventing the entry of Muslims into the United States. Especially students.