German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the new face of Western resolve, will meet with the Dalai Lama this Sunday. In a move obviously intended to further rile Beijing, Germany’s leader will receive His Holiness in the German chancellery.
China immediately summoned Berlin’s ambassador to complain. Chinese diplomats are busy these days because this week they also objected to the Tibetan’s upcoming visit with Canada’s Stephen Harper, scheduled for next month. The Canadian prime minister also went out of his way to poke the Chinese in the eye by announcing that he too would receive the Nobel laureate in a government facility (the Dalai Lama’s last meeting with a Canadian leader, which took place in 2004, was a five-minute affair in the residence of the Roman Catholic archbishop in Ottawa).
China’s dominant Han ethnic group has struggled to control the Tibetans for centuries, but the Chinese Communist Party has opened an especially ugly chapter in this history by trying to suppress—and even eliminate—Tibetan folklore and customs. Many call Beijing’s “modernization” efforts “cultural genocide.” China’s current supremo, Hu Jintao, should be able to shed some light on this. After all, as Party secretary for Tibet he presided over a crackdown that led to the deaths of dozens and perhaps hundreds of citizens in 1989. Many believe he was chosen to be China’s leader precisely because of his brutal repression of the Tibetans.
President Bush, to his credit, has hosted the Dalai Lama. That, however, was the old Dubya. The exhausted president we see today has been reduced to throwing South Lawn events for Chinese authoritarians, denigrating Taiwanese democrats, and helping Beijing repress its Muslims. We know that something must be terribly wrong when a Canadian leader appears more inspiring than ours.
At a book promo event yesterday at Emory University, a student asked our worst ex-president if he thinks Iran is a threat to Israel. “Iran is quite distant from Israel,” said Carter. “I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel.” Carter appears to be operating under the delusion that Hizballah, which receives over $100 million per year in Iranian funding, is some kind of independent operator.
On this score, Carter disagrees with Hassan Nasrallah himself, the leader of Hizballah, who only a month ago told Iranian TV:
We are ready to become dismembered limbs to keep Iran strong and dignified, for we are strong if Iran is strong. I am but a small soldier for Imam Khamenei. . . . The youth of Hizballah acted in the name of Imam Khomeini and invoked Imam Hussein, and saluted the Iranian people.
Carter also offered up what is perhaps the most lamely-formulated statement of opposition to the Iranian nuclear program I’ve ever seen: “Obviously, we all hope we can do whatever we can to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.” Almost Churchillian.
The case of Andrew Meyer, the University of Florida student tasered by campus police while resisting arrest for disrupting a speaking engagement by Senator John Kerry on Tuesday, has provided excellent fodder for the Left’s paranoid nightmares about the cryptofascist United States. Finally, they tell us, the ugly, brutal face of Amerika has been revealed to all.
At the Huffington Post (which collectively reads as if it were written by the ensemble from Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), the feminist writer Naomi Wolf declares that this “shocking moment for society” is the “iconic turning point and it will be remembered as the moment at which America either fought back or yielded.”
No, it was not September 11—when 3,000 Americans were killed in spectacular terrorist attacks and the nation girded itself for war—that marked the decisive moment in America’s recent history, but rather the tasering and subsequent arrest of a deranged and self-promoting college student in Gainesville, Florida. And in the dreams of Naomi Wolf—where she, Andrew Meyer, and the rest of the crew at the Huffington Post represent some sort of Leninist vanguard—it is not Islamic terrorists whom America must “fight back” against, but rather our very own government. “It is time to rebel in the name of the flag and the founders,” Wolf, our latter-day Abigail Adams, pronounces.
In yesterday’s The Hill, we read this:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) went after fellow Democrat Jim Moran of Virginia Tuesday, calling on him to retract his comments about the Israel lobby. “His remarks were factually inaccurate and recall an old canard that is not true, that the Jewish community controls the media and the Congress,” Hoyer said at a news conference in the Capitol. In an interview published in the September-October issue of Tikkun magazine, Moran said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, “has pushed this war from the beginning. . . . They are so well-organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful—most of them are quite wealthy—they have been able to exert power.” Asked if he considered Moran’s remarks anti-Semitic and if he should apologize, Hoyer reiterated that he found them “factually inaccurate” and said Moran should “retract” them. In a statement issued by Moran’s office, the congressman admitted that the tone of his remarks was “unnecessarily harsh,” but that he stood by his statements that AIPAC does not represent “mainstream American Jewish opinion.”
In today’s Politico, we learn that
Sixteen of Democratic Rep. Jim Moran’s House colleagues rebuked him in a withering letter Wednesday for saying last week that the pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, “pushed [the Iraq] war from the beginning.” It was the Virginia congressman’s latest dust-up over Israel—and one that brought a demand for a retraction by the House Democratic leader, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. Moran’s colleagues . . . called the remarks of the Virginia congressman in the progressive Jewish magazine Tikkun inaccurate and “deeply offensive.”
First, all praise to Representative Hoyer and his colleagues for condemning Representative Moran’s comments. As for Moran: this isn’t the first time he’s waded into this cesspool. In 2001, he said then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was coming to Washington “probably seeking a warrant from President Bush to kill at will with weapons we have paid for.” And in 2003, at an antiwar forum in Reston, Virginia, Moran said: “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should.”
A round of applause, please, for Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, who, a couple of days ago, very deftly rubbed Bashar Assad’s face in the humiliation of Israel’s recent air strike. Olmert displayed an uncharacteristic sense of insouciance and panache in announcing to a group of journalists (Russian ones, no less) that “we are willing to make peace with Syria unconditionally and without demands. I have a lot of respect for the Syrian leader and the Syrian policy.” Magnificent! Assad, of course, is as far away from being able to hold peace talks with Israel as he has ever been—he and his feckless military, and Syria’s much-touted mutual defense pact with Iran, are the laughingstock of the region. And now Olmert is publicly offering him “unconditional” peace talks! Absolutely perfect! Three cheers for Olmert and whoever convinced him of the idea.
I’ve blogged before about an excellent bill called the DREAM Act (the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act). As I noted previously:
This legislation would create a fast-track toward citizenship for a select group of undocumented immigrants—those who entered the U.S. before age 16, have no criminal record, graduate from high school, and then complete two years either in the military or in college.
This would not only offer a welcome path toward citizenship for many promising young people but also might ease some of the recruitment problems that Army has been facing of late.
This win-win idea, which has broad bipartisan support, was a casualty of the implosion of the immigration bill in June, but it is being revived. This week, as noted in this article, it may be attached to the defense authorization bill. This prospect has the xenophobic Right in a predictable lather. See, for instance, this post on the anti-immigrant web site Vdare, started, ironically enough, by an immigrant (Peter Brimelow, who came to the U.S. by way of Britain and Canada). In typically overwrought language, a Vdare blogger writes (underneath the headline “Treason Lobby’s DREAM Act”) that the DREAM Act “fits with the ideals of many neoconservatives like Max Boot who have called for an illegal alien legion.”
The Washington Post has picked up the shocking story (broken by the New York Times and mentioned in contentions last week) of China Security and Surveillance Technology. This is a company that supplies high technology tools of repression to Beijing’s secret police and whose stock is hot right now; it has also received the lion’s share of its capital from U.S. hedge funds, and is about to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Columnist Harold Meyerson tells the story in today’s edition. He estimates that “high-end surveillance equipment” which was a $500 million industry in 2003 may be worth “$43 billion . . . by 2010.”
“To be sure, leading American companies have a long and sordid record of investing in totalitarian states, including Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, and axis-of-evil Iran,” Meyerson notes. “But distinguish as we must among the various levels of hell, at least those American companies did not invest in the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, or the Revolutionary Guard. Maybe that was only because it was hard to turn a buck on the Stasi. Once China turned repression into an investment opportunity, however, capitalism responded as capitalism is supposed to respond: it wanted in. There are mega-bucks to be made, the hedge funds concluded, in hedging against democracy.”