Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Russia, Mexico, and the Arab World
KGB Takeover of Russia
It is becoming more apparent that the Russian Federation (under strongman/egomaniac Vladimir Putin) is deliberately becoming more hostile to the West, in a classic xenophobic way that only the Russians have mastered. In openly discussing defensive missile ideas with our European allies, President Bush was faced this week with renewed Russian threats: they warned they would point their nuclear-armed missiles at European targets if NATO forces even considered any new defensive upgrades on the Continent. At the same time Anglo-Russian relations plunged to new Cold War lows after ex-KGB agents have begun a global assassination campaign that also caused numerous people in England to be exposed to radiation. The radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London several months ago sparked the beginning of these multinational murders. Radiation was also discovered on several planes flying in an out of Heathrow Airport, causing British Airways to decontaminate them (thank you Russia!). Also, radiation levels in the hotel where Litvinenko was poisoned are still dangerously high and several staff at the hotel were also exposed to serious doses, which was slipped into the poor mans' tea and caused his demise two weeks later.
The more serious problem is that Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced so many high level officials that saying a KGB takeover of the Russian government is indeed a truthful statement. In fact, almost 80% of all Putin appointees are former KGB agents, a very bad sign indeed. Resurgent Russian aggressiveness is badly damaging relations with other European nations as well: taking out large chunks of Estonia's cyberspace, knocking off its critics in London, bullying Czechs and Poles into submission over plans for a US defensive system, tightening its stranglehold on gas and oil supplies for an energy-starved Europe, sabre rattling on behalf of its nice friends in Serbia again. There is no doubt that we have entered another troubling phase in relations with Russia.
It is now looking more farsighted than short for English Prime Minister Tony Blair to continue to modernize the British Navy's nuclear deterrent. The last six months in Britain has seen a major brawl over the building of new nuclear-armed submarines. The older Vanguard-class SSBNs are still a very capable platform and now with Russia threatening European and NATO nations with nuclear missiles, Blair's decision seems to be somewhat prescient. Blair survived a rebellion by lawmakers in his own party when Parliament approved his program to replace Britain's fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines. The government was supported by the opposition Conservative Party. Former leader William Hague said that not renewing nuclear defenses would force Britain to depend on France and the United States.
"As far as we can see into the future nuclear weapons will remain part ... of the global security setting. They will not be dis-invented," he said. "This country has set a good example in the reduction of its nuclear arsenal. But we should not think for a moment that if we were to divest ourselves altogether of that arsenal, other nations would be likely to follow suit."
Border Fence Too Expensive?
Vasko Kohlmayer has an excellent article over on American Thinker which discusses why the proposed border fence for the southern border of the United States is not too expensive. Here are the highlights:
Just how small this figure actually is becomes obvious when we place it next to some other budget items. Within days of Hurricane Katrina, for example, Congress and the president allocated some $250 billion for the stricken area. It is interesting to note that the politicians did not at the time complain that the amount was too high, or that the monies could not be found, or that the budget would not sustain the expense. On the contrary, they boasted loudly about their ability to put federal resources to good use while reaping praise for their perspicacity and compassion.
Now think about it: In less than ten days our government was easily able to come up with more cash for Katrina relief than it would take to construct a fence along the whole length of the US-Mexican border.
The ‘expensive' excuse becomes even more ludicrous when we realize that Katrina - despite the extensive coverage it received - was only a local emergency. The porous southern border, on the other hand, represents a genuine national crisis that poses a serious threat not only to our national security but also to our cultural and fiscal survival. Yet for some reason our politicians just cannot find enough money to address this problem.
One country that clearly recognizes the value of a good fence is Saudi Arabia. Fearing an inflow of unwanted refugees from neighboring Iraq, the Saudis have decided to erect a high-tech barrier all along their 550 mile border. Justifiably proud of their common sense, one Saudi familiar with the details boasted: ‘It's being done in true Saudi style. State-of-the-art equipment and no expense spared.' The project's estimated cost is $1 billion. Our politicians should blush crimson knowing that the Saudi fence will incorporate many technologies invented and perfected in America.
While our elected federal officials needed less than two weeks to allocate $250 billion for a local disaster caused by Katrina, they are unable to come up with far less to address a dire national emergency. ‘It'd be just too expensive,' is their favorite mantra.
While watching CSPAN today I saw President Bush's Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary take interviews live on TV, and most of the discussion was about the rebuilding of New Orleans, or the lack thereof. Secretary Alphonso Jackson is a black lawyer who has been friends with President George W. Bush for over 20 years and has been to New Oreleans since Hurricane Katrina between 40 and 50 times. This is an extraordinary number. Unfortunately, he was savagely attacked by mostly black callers for the lack of progress in the rebuilding of New Orleans, to which he responded:
The real problem in Lousiana has been the infighting between the governor of the state Kathleen Blanco and the mayor of New Orleans, idiot-in-chief Ray Nagin. The Congress, with the prodding of President Bush, has allocated over 100 billion dollars to rebuild the Gulf Coast and city of New Orleans. Neighboring Mississippi is doing exctionally well, but Louisiana is faltering because of Democratic ego jockying (and then blaming president Bush for the lack of success in rebuilding). The President of the United States cannot command that the mayor or governor do things, or replace them, because the USA was setup to make sure that this nation was not run like England was; where the King had ultimate power and could replace or execute just about anyone, on a whim. The REAL problem with the reconstruction not occurring in New Orleans is an on-going power struggle between Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin, both of whom should be thrown out of office for their continueing incompetence.
Again, HUD Secretary Jackson was savagely attacked by looney left-wing callers but I appreciate his candor and kindness in responding to these sorts of vicious personal and professional attacks. Sir, I salute you!
The Arab World
Consider the overall state of the Arab world:
*It does not produce a single manufactured product of sufficient quantity to sell on world markets,
*Arab productivity is the lowest in the world,
*It contains not a single world-class university,
*The once great tradition of Arab science has degenerated into a few research programs in the fields of chemical and biological warfare,
*No Arab state is a true democracy,
*No Arab state genuinely respects human rights,
*No Arab state hosts a responsible media,
*No Arab society fully respects the rights of women and minorities,
*No Arab government has ever accepted public responsibility for its own shortcomings.
FROM THE RELIGION OF PEACE