Thursday, September 22, 2005

911 Call Freedom's in Dange

If you live in or around New York City. Or if you ever have, you know how amazing it is for cops and fire fighters, especially their unions to agree on anything. But the Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Patrolmean's Benevolent Association have finaly found common ground. Once again at ground zero.

Tomorrow is the deadline for the decision on the so called Interantional Freedom Center . This is the abherration of a museum that the moonbat NYC Lower Manhattan Cultural Council(LMCC) wants to foist on New York and on the nation, as part of a redesigned World Trade Center. It is unac ceptable to the city, the state and the nation.

As reported here and elsewhere the LMCC is likely to turn the exhibit into a Political statement that bashes the government, the military and America herself. The LMCC display, now at Cooper Union in Manhattan bashes the administration repeatedly. It mocks the military, and American values by insulting and purporting to speak in the name of Pat Tillman the US Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan.

While three of New York's congressional delegation are on board, threatening to withold funds and investigate if necessary, it should not come to that. Conatct NYC's Mayor and New York State's Governor and let them know this memorial should not be tainted by those who would use the word freeedom to mock America's values.

Mayor Bloomberg can be reached at: 212 New York(639-9675) (or 311 for residents)

Governor Pataki at : 518-474-8390
See todays New York Post for more details.

Catch and Release Guantanamo Style

This should provide some food for thought for anyone wavering on the issue of the prison at Guantanamo. The facility was created to hold personnel captured fighting US forces, or committing acts of terror. Personnel who were not uniformed soldiers. The administration claims that it has the right to hold these combatants, in order to protect American lives.

Apparently the real problem with the process was not prisoner’s rights, but early releases. As in Iraq, some detainees have been unconditionally released. Declared to be “no longer a threat.” And as in Iraq some of these men immediately picked up where they left off.

According to a Sept. 22, London Daily Telegraph Report:

“More than a dozen prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the ‘battlefield’ to fight Americans. The terrorists, freed in the belief that "they posed a very low threat", have either been killed, captured or wounded in attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Others are thought to be still organizing attacks with the Taliban or al Qa'eda.”

This dozen only represents those who have been found out. How many more constitute those others. So far 170 prisoners have been unconditionally released. So far a dozen plus have been killed captured or wounded. The purpose of the prison was to protect Americans, not to mention Afghanis building a democracy.

It is unlikely that this evidence will convince the left that this prison is a necessary evil of modern life. But there is hope that it will convince anyone who merely harbored doubts. It is unfortunate, that America, the symbol of democracy worldwide, must maintain such a prison. But we must remember why.

We didn’t ask to be attacked on September 11, 2001. We didn’t ask the Taliban to harbor al-Quaeda. We didn’t tell them to wage a war of terror. We didn’t force them to fight as non-state guerillas. And we certainly didn’t tell the prisoners we released to pick up arms again.

Americans, who are liberal on the law, have problems with the detentions. Even some moderates, including military officers have expressed doubts. The idea of due process is deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society. But we must remember what we are up against.

Despite the new designation of enemy combatants, these prisoners are more akin to prisoners of war than to criminals. The designation, which stripped them of certain POW rights, was assigned because they are not uniformed agents of a state. They are terrorists and guerrillas. They were captured in the act of waging war on America or her allies. Captured almost exclusively by military agencies. Overwhelmingly they are not American citizens, and were not captured on American soil. They were not arrested by law enforcement authorities.

As initially conceived and enacted the prison at Guantanamo had problems. Some of these problems have slowly been corrected. Conditions have improved at Guantanamo. The release of 170 prisoners shows that the military and administration are serious about trying to sort threats from the harmless

Other problems are more intractable. When we hear anecdotal evidence of abuses at Guantanamo, we should remember that such anecdotes come from every prison and jail in existence. Prisoner abuse is an act that occurs for complex social and psychological reasons. It is not a symptom of conservative politics. Prisons in Chirac’s France and Schroeder’s Germany have been found to tolerate abuse as well.

We should also remember that among the few prisoners released were many who remained our enemy. In our attempt to appear fair and honest we put the lives of American soldiers, and Afghanis at risk. And if one or more of those released prisoners goes on to al-Quaeda level mass terrorism we will have risked even more.

Do our liberals have any good answer to the problem? For years we’ve allowed murderers back on the street in America. Respect for the constitution has forced us to tolerate that. But the constitution calls on the Government to provide for self defense. It does not require us to allow foreigners to walk free while planning our destruction.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Europe vs the US

The concept of Balance of Power has been the basis for the modern the study of International Relations (IR). Though liberal internationalist claim it is obsolete. In its most basic form it says that in the international sphere, lesser powers will band together in the face of a greater power. The concept even informs the current National Security Strategy of the US, which calls for a “balance of power” favorable to democracy. Recently pundits like Thomas Barnett and Thomas Friedman have posited that globalization has nullified the need for this strategy. Today however, it looks like our own allies are balancing against us. The recent refusal by NATO to expand the mission in Afghanistan is the latest sign. NATO insists that an expansion into anti-terrorism would put their peacekeeping forces at risk. It would also free American military forces now conveniently tied down. From resistance to the war in Iraq, to a contrarian stance on Iranian nuclear issues, our European Allies have been steadily showing the signs of “balancing” against US policy.

Balance of Power theories generally fall into the realist school of IR. In recent years a neorealist view has gained currency. This version of the theory emphasizes balancing against threats and minimizes balancing against power alone. Historically, states will balance against threats first. So western Europe, during the Cold War, balanced against the nearer and more aggressive Soviet Union, by siding with the more powerful, but friendlier and more distant US.

In the absence of a direct threat to security nation states seek to increase their own power and influence, and to minimize the influence of any dominant or potentially dominant power, known as a hegemon.

Since 1991 we have lived in an era of American hegemony. Whether or not we directly threaten a nation state or not, the inclination of lesser powers has been to commence balancing against American power, to preserve their own freedom of maneuver. These lesser or regional powers include the obvious candidates, China, Iran, North Korea and even Russia. But the list also includes our allies. The European Union, under the leadership of France and Germany seeks to lessen American influence.

The “Atlantic Union” consists entirely of democracies. Even in a post Soviet era we share mainly overlapping security interests. So why should our allies be balancing against us? Answers from abroad generally include phrases like, “American arrogance,” or “unilateral policy” or “irresponsible.” The bottom line is that nation states like humans resist limitations on their freedoms. States naturally seek to reduce the power of any state that can dominate international politics. It’s never easy being number one, even one’s friends can become resentful and jealous.

This also explains why Britain and the recently freed nations of eastern Europe have chosen to stand with us. They feel more threatened by nearby German and French primacy in Europe, than by America’s global ascendancy. They are in fact counterbalancing the western European mainstream.

These minor acts of balancing may indicate a significant shift in global alignments. Western Europeans, who today spend far less on defense then America don’t see threats in the same terms we do. Europeans have indicated that they no longer feel indebted to American power for their security.

Globalization theorists like Friedman and Barnett have down played classic realism with its emphasis on balancing. They assert that economic linkages between nation, globalization, and trade have reduced the likelihood of war between developed nations, and their near peers and trading partners. There may be something to the idea that nations with serious economic interdependencies are not likely to go to war. China indeed may never want to fight a war with the US. But globalization theorists need to remember that the most recent global power struggle included serious balancing efforts, but no great power war.

For almost fifty years the US and the Soviet Union waged a serious competition for global supremacy, without fighting a war. Balancing, alliances, economic competition, espionage, and other tactics were the means of fighting the cold war. While one should not expect a cold war with Europe or even China, it is best to remember the limitations of globalization. It may even be that Europe and China may wish to preserve American hegemony in the globalizing world. But if they do, they will seek to constrain that hegemony, to rein our power as tightly as possible, while at the same time trying to shape it to their own ends.

So today, knowing how important the mission against al-Quaeda and Taliban holdouts in Afghanistan is, our allies refuse to actively participate. They would rather see a powerful America stretched a little thin. By doing so they constrain our efforts in Iraq. They gain a greater voice in negotiations with Iran. A game in which they are willing to allow the Iranians more points than is in our interest. So now the Iranians too are able to balance American power, and with the complicity of our own so called allies. Who said balance of power politics are dead?

Today's Read:

Conservative Grapevine