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Archive for June, 2006

Friday, June 30th, 2006

BLOGOSPHERIC CONVERSATION

Lexington Green of Chicago Boyz had a kind word for Zenpundit and related blogfriends while pointing to Curzon’s latest travelogue at Coming Anarchy. Lex was referencing the evolution of discussion between a number of bloggers and Dr. Thomas Barnett:

“Barnett has a small selection of blogs on his blogroll, among which the ChicagoBoyz are honored to have a place (due I think primarily to this and this). A few of these blogs have been engaged in something like a polymorphous, attenuated and elaborated conversation with Barnett, and with each other, which is greater than the sum of its parts”

I agree. In the cross-blog discussions I know that my views have changed or new ideas have arisen because of the comments and insights of other bloggers.

Speaking of crossblog conversations, here is a literal example I recommend listening to in podcast form.

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Friday, June 30th, 2006

THE WAGES OF INDECISION

Brief commentary on the Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan case.

The Bush administration lost this case not because detainees cannot be tried for war crimes, or that they must be classified as P.O.W.’s or because the Bush administration opted for military commissions per se but because they were following neither international law, statutory law nor even the precedent of Ex Parte Quirin, which I have long argued is the governing standard. The Supreme Court, at least in the part highlighted by SCOTUSblog, agreed:

“Quirin held that Congress had, through Article of War 15, sanctioned the use of military commissions to try offenders or offenses against the law of war. 317 U. S., at 28. UCMJ Art. 21, which is substantially identical to the old Art. 15, reads: “The jurisdiction [of] courts-martial shall not be construed as depriving military commissions … of concurrent jurisdiction in respect of offenders or offenses that by statute or by the law of war may be tried by such … commissions.” 10 U. S. C. §821. Contrary to the Government’s assertion, even Quirin did not view that authorization as a sweeping mandate for the President to invoke military commissions whenever he deems them necessary. Rather, Quirin recognized that Congress had simply preserved what power, under the Constitution and the common law of war, the President already had to convene military commissions-with the express condition that he and those under his command comply with the law of war. See 317 U. S., at 28-29. Neither the AUMF nor the DTA can be read to provide specific, overriding authorization for the commission convened to try Hamdan. Assuming the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U. S. 507, and that those powers include authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see, e.g., id., at 518, there is nothing in the AUMF’s text or legislative history even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in UCMJ Art. 21. Cf. Ex parte Yerger, 8 Wall. 85, 105. Likewise, the DTA cannot be read to authorize this commission. Although the DTA, unlike either Art. 21 or the AUMF, was enacted after the President convened Hamdan’s commission, it contains no language authorizing that tribunal or any other at Guantanamo Bay. Together, the UCMJ, the AUMF, and the DTA at most acknowledge a general Presidential authority to convene military commissions in circumstances where justified under the Constitution and laws, including the law of war. Absent a more specific congressional authorization, this Court’s task is, as it was in Quirin, to decide whether Hamdan’s military commission is so justified. Pp. 25-30″

Having wandered in a weird zone of their own making for several years in an effort to make no clear decision between the differing agendas of the Departments of Justice, Defense and State; and to delay military trials that could result in death penalty convictions that would offend European and Muslim opinion, the Bush administration is now back to square one. He who hesitates, is lost.

To be tried, the detainees must face a court-martial or properly constituted military commission. It may have been possible, under the standard of “exigency”, to have conducted battlefield trials by commission in Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of the Taliban by the loose and somewhat incoherent structure set up by the Bush administration but not several years after the fact. Time for calm reflection negates exigency.

Having precedents from WWII available in regard to commissions and ample time to ask for legislative authorization I can only conclude that the Bush administration’s entire legal strategy was to secure not an ultimate conclusion for their judicial process, but an unlimited delay. Their preference for trying small fry and marginal figures,when they finally began judicial proceedings, instead of al Qaida operatives of unimpeachable guilt like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, adds to my suspicion in this regard.

What should the Bush administration do now ? Go to Congress and ask for legislation on military commissions whose procedures fits precedents from our past wars and satisfies the complaints SCOTUS outlined in their Hamdan decision. Then let the commissions roll.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

LINKS ON HAMDAN CASE:

Glittering Eye
Captain’s Quarters
Balkinization
Volokh Conspiracy
Brad Plumer(MoJo)
RealClearPolitics
Dean’s World
Chicago Boyz

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Thursday, June 29th, 2006

IN RUSSIA’S POLITICAL SHADOWS: NEO-EURASIANISM?

File this under wacky and potentially worrisome ideologies.

I am passing this along because, as goofy as this will read, it is not the first time I have heard rumblings about the following nonsense “Neo-Eurasianism” and its purveyor, Aleksandr Dugin.

From HNN - ” The Rise of Integral Anti-Americanism in the Russian Mass Media and Intellectual Life” by Dr. Andreas Umland.

An excerpt on Dugin’s Neo-Eurasianism movement:

“Whereas most nationalist authors and journalists remain within the limits of traditional Russian anti-Westernism, Dugin’s writings and speeches are informed by his intimate knowledge various non-Russian forms of anti-liberalism including West European integral “Traditionalism” (René Guénon, Julius Evola, Claudio Mutti, etc.), European and American geopolitics (Alfred Mahen, Halford Mackinder, Karl Haushofer et al.), the German so-called “Conservative Revolution” (Carl Schmitt, Ernst Jünger, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, etc.) and the francophone, neo-Gramscian “New Right” (Alain de Benoist, Robert Steuckers). In most of his public statements, to be sure, Dugin plays down the influence of Western authors on his thinking, and instead uses the term “neo-Eurasianism” (an explicit reference to a reputed Russian émigré intellectual movement of the 1920s and 1930s)—an obvious attempt to hide his true sources.

In his many books and articles, Dugin draws the picture of an ancient conflict between

*free-market, capitalist, Atlanticist sea powers (“thallasocracies”) that go back to the sunken world of Atlantis, are in the tradition of the ancient states of Phoenicia and Carthago, and are now headed by the “mondialist” United States, on the one side, and

*autarkic, etatistic, Eurasian continental land powers (“tellurocracies”), originating with the mythic country of “Hyperborea,” continuing the tradition of the ancient Roman Empire, and now having as its most important component Russia, on the other.

The secret orders or “occult conspiracies” of these two antagonistic civilizations—Eternal Rome and Eternal Carthago—have been in an age-old struggle, an occult Punic war, that has, often, remained hidden to its participants and even its key figures, but has, nevertheless, determined the course of world history. The confrontation is now entering its final stage, the “Great War of the Continents.” This demands Russia national rebirth via a “conservative” and “permanent revolution.” The new order to be created would be informed by the ideology of “National Bolshevism” and an exclusively “geopolitical” approach to international relations. A victory in this “Endkampf” (final battle; Dugin uses the German original as introduced by the Third Reich) against Atlanticism would create a “New Socialism,” and imply territorial expansion as well as the formation of a Eurasian bloc of fundamentalist land powers (including, perhaps, a “traditionalist” Israel!) against intrusive, individualist Anglo-Saxon imperialism.”

While the bizarre occultish references are reminiscient of the faddish, theosophical and volkisch fringe of German politics circa 1890-1920′s, Neo-Eurasianism would not be entirely alien to the most mystical cultural traditions of Russian Pan-Slavism and Russophilism. ” National Bolshevism“, moreover, was influential in Russian emigre communities in the 1920′s and 1930′s as an attempt to conciliate Russian nationalists with the Stalinist U.S.S.R.

While officially disapproving, Stalin did have some sympathies toward using the “National Bolshevist” program’s Russian chauvinism and anti-semitism to strengthen popular support for his terror regime. Elements in Soviet policy that emerged most strongly during and immediately following WWII but enjoyed a sinister revival in the 1980′s, prior to Glasnost when persecution against dissidents and Jewish “Refuseniks” were at its peak.

Where this silliness matters is as an ideological wedge to move Russia away from connectivity and globalization and to justify the reimposition of a more statist, autarkic, political economy. The Neo-Eurasian foreign policy fits comfortably with siloviki (Putin’s political clan) determination for Russia to reassert itself in its “Near Abroad” but runs against siloviki economic interests of developing Russia’s potential as a global energy exporter. While Dugin has gained a following of sorts, it would appear, he (and Neo-Eurasianism) is not yet a player of great significance. Let’s hope it stays that way.

LINK:

RP’s Weekly Russia Experts’ Panel: Defining the “Post-Soviet Space” -Untimely Thoughts

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Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

A NAVAL SALUTE TO HALFORD MACKINDER

This should delight the boys at Coming Anarchy.

Proceedings, the journal of the U.S. Naval Institute, has an article ” Control of the Sea Protects the New Global Heartland ” (registration req.) by Commander Henry J. Hendrix that pays a nod to one of the fathers of geopolitical theory, Sir Halford J. Mackinder:

“Mackinder wrote in his original paper that the central Asian pivot area occupied “the central strategical position . . . she can strike on all sides and be struck from all sides . . . .”2 Today, Southwest Asia occupies the “central strategical position” internationally. But instead of drawing that importance from its geographic position, it finds itself pushed to the fore by its abundant energy reserves. Southwest Asia exports only about 25% of the world’s energy needs, but it has about 75% of the world’s energy reserves.3

Over the next ten years, as Asian powers such as India and China continue to improve the standard of living for their people, automobiles will become increasingly common. With larger population bases, this movement will in turn drive energy demand to the point where the oil beneath the sands of this strategic region will increasingly attract the interest of all global powers.
4 One report predicts energy consumption will increase by 50% over the next two decades, a sharp rise over the 34% increase that occurred over the past 20 years.5 China alone is projected to see its energy consumption rise by 150%, while India is expected to double its energy demand. Energy will dominate these two nations’ foreign-policy calculations in the years ahead.6

Not a mind-blowing piece but it was nice to see an article about modern naval policy with that kind of historical connection.

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Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

FISKING THE NEW YORK TIMES ON REVEALING INTELLIGENCE PROGRAMS

Blogfriend Marc Schulman at American Future properly takes New York Times executive editor, Bill Keller, to task:

“It’s not our job to pass judgment on whether this program is legal or effective, but the story cites strong arguments from proponents that this is the case. While some experts familiar with the program have doubts about its legality, which has never been tested in the courts, and while some bank officials worry that a temporary program has taken on an air of permanence, we cited considerable evidence that the program helps catch and prosecute financers of terror, and we have not identified any serious abuses of privacy so far. A reasonable person, informed about this program, might well decide to applaud it. That said, we hesitate to preempt the role of legislators and courts, and ultimately the electorate, which cannot consider a program if they don’t know about it.”

By publishing the story, the Times is passing judgment on whether the program is legal. I doubt very much that the Times would publish an article having as its headline “Secret Intelligence Program Is Legal”. If the paper thought it was legal, what would be the point of disclosing it? To publish an article on a secret program after the government has requested that it not be published necessarily implies that the Times believes that its legality is questionnable. And to do so without having identified any privacy abuses is to indict the government for a victimless crime. “

Well said. If anything, Marc is too kind to the Times whose editors were well aware that the intelligence program was targeting members and suspected associates of al Qaida, that it was working well and without any abuses of power or constitutional questions. And nevertheless, they chose with deliberate intent, to compromise it.

The appointment of a special prosecutor is warranted.

Read Marc’s post in full here.

UPDATE:

Austin Bay has much to say on the topic with which I agree.

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