Friday, December 28, 2007

NATO, Arabs, and China

NATO Plans To Invade
The Russian parliament has approved the suspension of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. This treaty was a Cold War effort, hammered out after years of negotiations in the 1980s, that limited the size and composition of Russian armed forces in western Russia (and thus able to threaten Western Europe.)

The Treaty became moot about a year after it was signed, and is a largely useless relic of the Cold War. But now Russia is threatening to build up combat forces on its Western borders, in response to a government approved conspiracy theory that NATO is planning to eventually invade Russia. Senior Russian officials openly talk about this, and many Russians believe it as well.

Fatal Jealousy
One thing that keeps the Islamic world favorably disposed towards Islamic terrorism is widespread fear and hatred of the Western world. Opinion surveys continue to show that Moslems hate and fear the West, more than Westerns hate and fear Moslems (despite the growth of Islamic terrorism.)

The fear comes largely from the poor economic, political and scientific performance of the Moslem, especially the Arab, world when compared to the West. It's a perverse expression of jealousy and resentment. There are practical reasons for this lack of progress. For example, the Arab world didn’t adopt printing until two centuries after it became common in the West. This was partly due to the complexities of written Arabic. There are thousands of rules governing how Arabic letters are joined, and it was difficult for typographers to make it work. A further complication was resistance from the Islamic religious establishment. Printed Arabic had to be very much like written Arabic, otherwise one was defaming the language of the Koran, which is God’s word. This is one of the reasons the Arab world publishes books at a tenth the rate of the rest of the world. The lack of books leads to knowledge being transmitted more slowly.

That brings up another obstacle. For a thousand years, there has been a struggle between a large segment of the Islamic clergy, and Moslem scientists and engineers. In a pattern that persists to the present, Islamic conservatives condemned many things that are “new” as “un-Islamic.” Thus the al Qaeda enthusiasm for this attitude is nothing new. The price paid for this attitude has been enormous. Moslem countries contain a disproportionate number of the illiterates on the planet. Arab college students are much less likely to study science and engineering than are non-Moslem students. The West produces more than a hundred times as many Nobel prizes in science, per million people, than does the Islamic world.

The education shortage results in less wealth. GDP of all Islamic countries is a fifth of the European Union and the United States (which contain half as many people.) Unemployment rates are much higher in Islamic countries, and most are ruled by dictators or monarchs. Without science, education and democracy, you find that science and economic progress cannot flourish. It’s only recently become fashionable among Moslems to attribute this to internal conditions. The Arab Reform Movement tries, with limited success, to overcome this “blame the outsider” attitude. Even the Saudi royal family is behind the Arab Reform Movement, and the need for the Islamic world to invest more in education and economic freedom. But thousand year old habits are difficult to erase quickly. This is why Westerners can speak with educated Moslems and come away thinking that friendly relations between the Western and Islamic world are more likely than not. But among the vast majority of poorly educated, and often illiterate, Moslems, the West is feared and hated. Moslem tyrants play on this, as they have for centuries, to blame the misery the tyrants have created on infidel (non-Moslem) foreigners.

This instinctive Islamic ill-will towards the West changes very slowly, and until it changes a lot, easily recruited Islamic terrorists will feel compelled to kill Westerners.

Hot Line With America
China and the United States have agreed to establish a hot line between the Pentagon and the Chinese Defense Ministry. This would make it easier to defuse any accidental (or intentional) confrontations between U.S. and Chinese military forces. Such a hot line has been under discussion since early 2001, when a Chinese fighter collided with an American patrol aircraft off the Chinese coast.

Taiwan recently revealed that it was manufacturing longer range (over a thousand kilometer) cruise missiles, and aiming them at China. The United States was alarmed at this, fearing it was now easier to get dragged into a Taiwan-China war. In response, Taiwan promised to notify the U.S. before any of these new missiles were fired at China. Taiwan is building up its missile force in response to the 988 ballistic missiles China has aimed at Taiwan.

Although Taiwan and China are quite hostile to each other, the same cannot be said about Taiwanese and Chinese. Some 400,000 Taiwanese (out of a population of 23 million) live in China. Each year, Taiwanese make 46 million visits to China, and Chinese make 1.56 million visits to Taiwan.

Russia and China have established an informal "free trade for weapons" alliance. Basically, both nations support each other in selling weapons to anyone who can pay. This includes international pariahs like Burma, North Korea, Iran and several African dictatorships. The Western custom of not selling to those perceived as evil is not a factor here. The ability to pay is. The only nation China opposes weapons sales to is Taiwan, and that's only because China believes it may one day have to fight Taiwan in order to annex it. Think of it as free trade free of any moral constraints.

“This Is America. So Sue Me.”
We’ve been following the case of Joe Vento for some time, but for those of you who may not be familiar with it, here’s a brief history. Mr. Vento is the owner of Geno’s Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. Vento started the restaurant in 1966 with just six dollars to his name. Today, Geno’s is a popular tourist stop and a thriving, multi-million dollar business. Through hard work and dedication, Mr. Vento has become a living example of the American Dream. In 2005, Mr. Vento put up a sign in his restaurant that read, “This is America. When ordering, please speak English.” Guess what happened next. Mr. Vento was slapped with a discrimination complaint by the bureaucrats at the Philadelphia Human Rights Commission.

Last week, he was grilled by the grand inquisitors of political correctness for six hours as he defended his First Amendment right to put up a sign in his own business and ask that his customers speak the language of our country. According to the Associated Press, “…a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania testified that Vento's signs harken back to the ‘Whites only’ postings of the Jim Crow era.” Asking customers to speak English is now being equated with racism. As outrageous as this is, it shouldn’t be a total surprise. In recent years militant homosexual activists have tried to insist that anyone who believes marriage is between a man and a woman is a bigot! Sadly, Vento may lose his business over this silliness, but there is a much bigger case looming on the horizon.

Although the overwhelming majority of the American people support making English our official language, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an agency of our federal government, announced in April that it was suing the Salvation Army over its requirement that employees speak English on the job. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) attached an amendment to the EEOC’s budget that withholds funds for this lawsuit. On November 8th, the House narrowly approved a similar amendment on a vote of 218-to-186. (It should have been unanimous!) But, I’m sorry to say, this language was dropped from the omnibus spending bill by the majority party during closed door negotiations.

My friends, our nation is in deep trouble when normalcy is decried as bigotry; when common sense values that unite us are forced to give way to political correctness that divides us. Teddy Roosevelt once wrote: “We have room but for one flag, the American flag… We have room but for one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality…; we have room for but one soul [sic] loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.” Roosevelt was right then, and, if this nation is going to remain free and prosperous, we must have the courage to boldly and unapologetically defend our values today

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