zenpundit.com » 2003 » September

Archive for September, 2003

Sunday, September 28th, 2003


“Really, I think that the editor is dead wrong: there is no such thing as politically unbiased news about the US and its actions at home and abroad from almost any source. The reason why is, there is no disinterested source. We are the 500lb. gorilla: US actions and policies affect virtually every nation on Earth, and most of all affect the ruling classes and intellectualist elites of every nation on Earth. As a result, there are no disinterested parties when it comes to US policy and national events.”

And the threat of the semi-covert Transnational Progressivism intellectual movement among American governmental and academic elites is essentially that ( with a wink and a nod) they say to these foreign ruling elites ” Do not worry. We will restrain and marshal American power in partnership with you and your interests. We see overwhelming American dominance as a threat just like you do so we will help you erect counterweights to limit American freedom of action and do nothing to undermine your own, often illegitimate and undemocratic, power structures “.

These are the real stakes in 2004. A large bipartisan swath of the elite foreign policy establishment is absolutely furious with Bush for rejecting this implicit understanding with the rest of the world’s power-brokers. Bush has upset all the restrictive applecarts ( Kyoto, ICC, the UNSC ” veto ” power over intervention) they designed to tie the hands of future American presidents. The Transnational Progressives don’t really give a rusty damn about whether Iraq is running well or no anymore than they did about the survival of the Bosnians or the morality of negotiating with Slobodan Milosevic while the Balkan strongman played at genocide. They’re after power for themselves, to be exercised in the most opaque and unaccountable manner the American electorate can be made to tolerate. The dream is to quietly and slowly jerry-rig a structure for America that apes that of the EU bureaucracy who are proof against democratic recall or oversight.

To them, Islamist terrorism is simply ” the cost of doing business” for the lone superpower to be paid for by the rest of us.

Sunday, September 28th, 2003


The conflict over Iran’s blatant violation of the NPT and , thus far, refusal to adopt the IAEA suggested additional protocol has become a focal point in the power struggle between moderate reformers and the extreme hardliners in the Khameini-Rafsanjani-Pasdaran ruling clique. The recent Bush-Putin summit indicates that Russia will not continue to covertly aid Rafsanjani’s dream of a nuclear-armed Iran in the glare of world publicity. They’re willing to help the mullahs of course and have done so since at least 1992 but not at the diplomatic cost of appearing to openly sanction cheating on the NPT

Sunday, September 28th, 2003


I had an ominoius discussion at a history conference with Dwight King, one of the nation’s top academic experts on Indonesia who also has on the ground experience there with post-Suharto political reform. While lauding the current moderate, tolerant and pro-reform stance of Indonesia’s often syncretic Muslim associations, in response to a question from me he dropped the bombshell that Saudi Arabia has established and financed 14,000 Islamist boarding schools in Indonesia of the kind now infamous in Pakistan for generating the footsoldiers of the Taliban. What will be the outcome for Indonesia should this effort go unchallenged for twenty years ?

I often advocate the stick in international politics because at root, most of the world’s dictatorships are run by barbarians but this case is one that clearly calls for more in the way of carrots. We can open the door wider for Indonesian students to study here, particularly the children of the middle-class and business elite; the Peace Corps can make Indonesia a priority; we can build up the power and professionalism of Indonesia’s police forces to be a democratic counterweight to their corrupt and human-rights abusing Army and improve trade relations with Jakarta.

The War on Terror is a war but it is also a battle of ideas. We musn’t vacate that field to the enemy.

Sunday, September 28th, 2003


The Economist thinks so.

Thursday, September 25th, 2003


And they are not exactly a group of militant Pentagon neocons either. Go here.

Switch to our mobile site