Wednesday, November 21, 2012


"GAZA (Reuters) - With gunshots, sweets and cries of victory, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip poured into the streets to celebrate a ceasefire deal on Wednesday which ended eight days of deadly fighting between Israel and Islamist militants. After being stuck at home for days for fear of Israeli air strikes, tens of thousands of Palestinians crowded into cars and doubled up on motorcycles, waving flags and chanting for Hamas, Israel's main adversary and rulers of the Gaza Strip. Women leaned over balconies ululating with joy as children stuffed four-abreast in the open trunks of cars clapped and sent out hoarse screams of "God is Great!". "We feel like we've gotten our freedom back, our lives back. Thank God for Hamas, and thank God for the patience and strength of the Palestinian people in humbling Israel," said Mohammed Skeik, marching with a pack of fist-pumping friends. The Egyptian-brokered ceasefire put an end to Israeli air raids which bombed hundreds of Hamas targets and the firing of more than 2,000 rockets and mortar bombs by Hamas and other factions into Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In all, 162 Palestinians, including 37 children and 11 women, were killed in the offensive, along with three Israeli civilians and a soldier. Firing a deafening burst from his Kalashnikov rifle, Mohammed al-Ghazaleh boasted: "(Israeli Prime Minister) Netanyahu will mourn tonight, while the people of Gaza are steadfast in their resistance and have triumphed." "Israel won't think of challenging us like this ever again. We payed a dear price in the blood of our people for their aggression, but we made great gains and showed our strength," he said. Members of Hamas's top political echelons, also forced to seek shelter during the raids because Israel had them in its sights, joined eagerly in the grandstanding. "The resistance achieved a historic victory against the occupation and laid the foundation for the battle of liberation for all our land and sacred sites," said senior Hamas official Ahmed Bahar. During a lull in fighting eight days ago, Israel launched an offensive by assassinating Hamas's acting military chief, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, on November 14. "Jaabari won, alive and dead," Hamas activists shouted through loudspeakers of Gaza mosques. Gaza's revelers seemed less concerned with the details of the truce or whether they thought Israel would keep its part of the bargain than achieving what they saw as a symbolic victory. "Imagine, the rockets of our resistance hitting Tel Aviv, hitting them and making them afraid everywhere they were. Nobody thought we could strike at them like this," said Saleh Abu Khaled, sitting on the stoop of his apartment, his children frolicking around him still in their pajamas. "It doesn't matter if they break the truce, we're ready to fight them again tomorrow. But we hope they learned a lesson this time," he said, grinning widely. The agreement calls on Hamas and Israel to cease all forms of military activity, including Israel's targeted killings of militants, and for an easing of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza said: "We are satisfied and proud of this agreement and at the steadfastness of our people and their resistance."'
Noah Browning, et. al., "Jubilant Palestinians mob Gaza Streets." Reuters. 21 November 2012, in
On the face of it, the cease-fire between the Hamas regime in Gaza and Israel is an unmitigated defeat for the latter. Make no mistake about it. Notwithstanding the many hundreds of rockets that were fired from Gaza into Israel, including some reaching both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the Israeli government when it came to take the only step that would end that state of affairs definitively, a full-scale military intervention on the ground, flinched and failed to take the ultimate step. All the rhetoric that will be emitted in the coming days cannot obviate this fact. As the Israeli periodical Haaretz has noted, the terms of the cease-fire are almost exactly the same as that of 2009 1. In effect, by the mere fact that Hamas ability to launch missiles into most areas of Israel proper, has not in the least been damaged or effected by the clash of arms with the Jewish State, means that Hamas has in fact emerged the victor. Just as the Hezbollah was the victor of the 2006 Lebanon War. Unlike operation 'Cast-lead' in 2009, Israel's deterrence has been very negatively impacted. In short, by not winning, Israel has lost and by not losing, Hamas has won. I for one, cannot in the future imagine that many governments will now take as seriously Netanyahu's threats to bomb Persia over the latter's nuclear weapons programme. Given the outcome of the conflict with Gaza, how can anyone? Similarly, if Israeli has shown a willingness to agree to abide (provisionally) by a modus vivendi with Hamas, one can well ask why not a similar modus viviendi of mutual deterrence with Persia?
1. Barak Ravid, "Cease-fire Agreement almost identical to that reached in Operation Cast Lead." Haaretz. 21 November 2012, in

Thursday, November 15, 2012


"Two projectiles, which Stratfor believes to be Fajr-5 rockets due to their range, landed near Tel Aviv -- one just south of the municipal line and one in the water just outside of the southern suburb of Bat Yam. No injuries have been reported. A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces denied that a rocket had landed in Tel Aviv, although this statement conflicts with eyewitness reports and may reflect the fact that projectiles have landed in areas just south of the actual Tel Aviv municipal boundary. Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have claimed responsibility for the attack. This strike is the furthest Hamas has ever struck into Israeli territory and signals a major escalation. Hamas has moved beyond retaliation for yesterday's airstrikes or provocative bombings and instead is engaged in war. An Israeli ground offensive is now almost assured. Central Israel is now under rocket fire for the first time since Saddam Hussein launched Scud missiles into Tel Aviv during the first Gulf War. This escalation follows a spike in Israeli airstrikes over the Gaza Strip in the last 12 hours. The Israeli air force has hit more than 200 targets and Palestinian casualty numbers have risen to 15 fatalities and dozens injured. The targeting of Israel's largest population center raises the specter of a ground operation. While limited rocket fire directed at small towns in the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip have been tolerated by the Israelis for the better part of the last decade, Stratfor expects rocket fire into the area where nearly 40 percent of the country's population resides -- and extending rocket fire to an area that now includes over half of the country -- to result in firmer action taken by the Israeli military to remove this threat. Regardless of where the missile hit, the incident indicates that Gaza still has Fajr-5 rockets despite Israel's efforts yesterday to eliminate those stockpiles. The revelation that Gaza militants still have Fajr-5 missiles in their arsenals means that the airstrikes yesterday were incomplete. As Israeli intelligence continues to collect information on missile sites in Gaza, we can expect to see more airstrikes to eliminate them. The IDF's official website and multiple media sources have already reported that paratroopers and soldiers from the IDF's Givati infantry brigade are beginning to prepare staging areas on the Gaza border for a ground offensive. While this alone does not make a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip imminent, the fire on central Israel now makes this possibility all the more likely. However, if airstrikes do not prove sufficient to eliminate the long-range missile threat, Israel will need to be more methodical in finding and destroying those missile sites. That increases the likelihood of an Israeli ground operation, as that is the only way to secure the missile sites and prevent their further deployment".
"Tel Aviv Targeted by Rockets." Stratfor: Global Intelligence. 15 November 2012, in
The news from the Near East in the past few days is perhaps the best illustration of the late British Prime Minister's admonition that 'events my dear Boy, events', have a way of superceding the best laid plans of man and beast. With the eyes of the monde fixated on the Crisis in Syria, Gaza's quietly fraught, cease-fire from 2009's hostilities with Israel, was something which was far from being on anyone's agenda. No longer. It would appear that given the upcoming Israeli general elections in January 2013, it is highly unlikely that the current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was looking to commence a war with the Hamas statelet in Gaza 1. However, it would appear that violent reaction in Gaza to the Israeli assassination of its military chief was something that the Israeli Cabinet could not overlook. Hence the beginning of the current Israeli bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip. So far with few civilian casualties. Given however the ability of Hamas to launch strikes (so far completely harmless) on large population centres in Israel proper, it difficult to imagine that the current Israeli government can do other than launch sometime of military operation into the Strip itself. And given Netanyahu's and Defence Minister Barak's past criticism of Israeli military operations in the 2006 Lebanon War, one can reasonably expect something akin to but even harsher than, "Operation Cast Lead" the 2009 military campaign, with all that implies 2. To complete the picture for complexity, the new Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt will be under great pressure to respond in some demonstrable fashion to a prolonged Israeli military campaign. How that position can be squared with Egypt's economic reliance on the USA and the West, and with its current peace treaty with Israel has yet to be seen 3. Finally, the failure of Israeli military strikes to effectively put an end to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel proper, puts paid I believe to any idea that an Israeli military strike against Persia in the hopes of destroying Persia's nuclear reprocessing sites could be at all successful. Certainly, any success sans American military assistance looks quite unlikely.
1. Yossi Verter, "Gaza - the First Netanyahu War." Haaretz. 15 November 2012, in
2. On this point, see: "Considering an Israeli Ground assault on Gaza." Stratfor: Global Intelligence. 15 November 2012, in
3.Heba Saleh, "Gaza tests Morsi influence over Israel." The Financial Times. 15 November 2012, in

Friday, November 09, 2012


"Conservatives are divided, acrimoniously so, over three schools of explaining The Defeat.
1. The Near Fatalists. Some are terrified that we are witnessing the final establishment of the long-feared dependency majority, where half the country is not paying federal income taxes and are on the receiving end of government largess and expect “them” to pay their fair share to pay for it; 2. The Should’ve, Could’ve, Would’ve What If-ers. The disappointed tacticians believe that should/would/could Romney have run differently (e.g., hit harder on Benghazi, mixed it up in the second and third debates, organized a Contract with America as a broad-based conservative crusade, etc.) he could have gotten the necessary 1 to 2 million extra votes in the swing states. Similarly, had the storm not arisen, or had Christie just been civil rather than going gaga over Obama/Springsteen, Romney’s momentum would not have been lost the last week; 3. The Big Tenters. The strategic centrists will now call for compromising on social issues, abortion, illegal immigration, fiscal policies, etc., to widen the tent in order to bring in young women, blacks, Latinos, gays, etc. and build “a new conservative majority....” Instead, I fear exegesis (1) is, with each year, more telling. We have never quite had the present perfect storm of nearly half not paying federal income taxes, nearly 50 million on food stamps, and almost half the population on some sort of federal largess — and a sophistic elite that promotes it and at the same time finds ways to be exempt from its social and cultural consequences. For an Obama, Biden, Kerry, Pelosi, or Feinstein, the psychological cost for living like 18th-century French royalty is the promotion of the welfare state for millions of others who for now will be kept far away, in places like Bakersfield or Mendota.... In Michigan in September I had a talk with a retired auto worker who did not care that the bailout cost $25 billion, was not sustainable, shorted the legal first-in-line creditors, shorted politically incorrect managerial pensioners, or ensured the Volt debacle. He simply said to me, “Obama saved my son’s job and I don’t care about much else.” That’s the rub in the short term that seems to the norm in at least the past and future few years. It means that the Republicans, without a once-in-a-lifetime Reagan-like perfect candidate — or some sort of national crisis in the manner that Iran once derailed Jimmy Carter, or Ross Perot once caused incumbent George H. W. Bush to implode — can’t quite get that extra 2 to 3 percentage points they need on the national scene to succeed
Victor Davis Hanson, "Three Ways of Explaining Defeat." The National Review. 7 November 2012, in
"Those growing tired of Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker’s shop-worn aphorism about managing post-crisis economies – “We all know what to do: we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it” – might think it definitively refuted this week by Barack Obama’s US election win. As it happens, several leaders of big advanced economies have survived elections since the global financial crisis hit in 2008. Yet an (admittedly brief and unscientific) scan of the evidence suggests victory depends not just on their own or their economies’ performance but on arriving in office at the right time to escape the initial blame. Within the Anglosphere, the electoral outlier is not the victorious Mr Obama but the defeated Gordon Brown, crushed in the UK election of 2010. The same year Julia Gillard, who became Australia’s prime minister after dumping Kevin Rudd in an internal Labor Party coup, survived an election, and in 2011 Stephen Harper in Canada and John Key in New Zealand were re-elected with increased seat tallies.... In reality, economics and elections have an imprecise relationship. As the newly world-famous statistician Nate Silver of the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog has pointed out, models that forecast US presidential elections based on economic fundamentals – as opposed to his own method of aggregating opinion polls, or a mixture of economic data and approval ratings – have a pretty poor record. The best-known fundamentals model, developed by Ray Fair, of Yale University, predicted a narrow win for Mitt Romney, although the actual outcome was just within the model’s margin of error. Since 2008, an equally strong indicator of re-electability seems to be timing one’s arrival in office to ensure one’s predecessor gets the blame. A financial crisis with deep roots has evidently inflicted lasting damage on the credibility of the political parties that held power during the years it was growing.... By this token, along with Mr Obama’s valiant efforts to keep growth going with fiscal easing, he was fortunate to be elected in 2008 just late enough to escape much of the censure for the recession. According to a regular Gallup poll, since mid-2010 around 70 per cent of Americans have consistently blamed George W. Bush for the US’s economic problems, with only about 50 per cent inculpating Mr Obama. Exit polls from Tuesday’s election suggested the same. This is not entirely fair. The financial deregulation that facilitated the crisis started under Bill Clinton, while Mr Bush’s irresponsible spending sprees and tax cuts, though reducing the US’s fiscal space to respond to the recession, did not directly cause it. Few of the leaders elected just as the crisis hit had spent their time in opposition warning that a debt bubble was about to pop. But the far-reaching shadow of blame for a crisis a long time in the making continues to fall over elections held several years later"
Alan Beattie. "Obama evaded the shadow of crisis to win poll." The Financial Times. 8 November 2012, in
There has been endless recriminations in the American 'Conservative' (read: right-wing nationalists of 19th century style neo-liberal bent) movement over the 'meaning' or 'meanings' of what occurred on Tuesday in the American Presidential and other elections. From what one reads (and the Hanson essay is not the most escapist or extreme of the lot), one is almost transported back to 428 Anno Domini in Carthage with Saint Augustine as the Visigoths were at the gates. Thankfully none of that is true. For whatever one makes of him (and personally I do very little myself), the American President is by a combination of choice and circumstance, fundamentally a moderate. He is not the 'European Socialist' of Right-wing fantasy. He is not set to bankrupt the country. Nor is he a McGovern-style (or should I say George F. Kennan-style?) isolationist. As the New York Times reporter David Sanger has shown in his new book, in many ways, the incumbent has followed policies derived or inherited from Bush the Younger. In a good number of circumstances he has followed polices which have long tradition in American diplomacy 1. In retrospect, his 'leading from behind', is a policy that I for one can well imagine Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles following (and in the case of the former did follow in the Indochina Crisis of 1954) 2. His widespread employment of drones, shows an intelligent application of an imaginative and cost-effective tactic on the so-called 'war on terror'. This is not to say that I myself have the highest opinion of American diplomacy of the last four years. Merely that in comparison to American diplomacy of the Bush the Younger years, I find the diplomatic record of the incumbent American President to be a 'gentleman C' (even if he is not one...). Similarly on the economic front, notwithstanding the exaggerated claims by the American Right, the incumbent's record, is as the ever-wise Martin Wolf has shown, nothing to sneeze at, given both the historical and international counter-examples 3. It is not to argue that the record is perfect, far from it, merely that given the fact that the American economy is climbing out of a massive, financial cum recessionary crisis, the record could have been worse.
As per the 'surprise' of the elections results: in point of fact there should be no such 'surprise'. Like almost every American President seeking re-election since the Great War, whose's first-year in office featured an economic down-turn, the incumbent was almost automatically ensured re-election. Every American President who has had a recession in their first year in office has been re-elected. Bar none. Whereas all but one, repeat one, American President who has not had a recession in their first-year in office has failed to be re-elected. And that one exception was former President Clinton....Similarly, in the four greatest Congressional mid-term landslides in the past Seventy-years of American history, each one was followed by a defeat for the Presidential candidate of the party who won said mid-term election. Nota bene: all four elections (1938 / 1946 / 1994 / 2010) were won by Republicans. Indeed, Tuesday's election results reminds me ever so much of the 1948 elections, where the Republican candidate (also by the bye originally from Michigan) was sideswiped by the incumbent in a surprise upset.
To conclude: I do not care to indulge in the histrionic readings of what occurred on Tuesday, nor do I think of it as the end of the road for the White Race in America....4 I do believe that a victory for Governor Romney, who is indeed a true-blue gentleman, as opposed to his opponent, would have ushered in a more sane political atmosphere in Washington, DC. Something which is ever so needed at this time both in terms of economic and foreign policy. The pity of the matter is that au fond, the GOP is still the 'natural party of government', what our Marxist friends like to refer to as the 'historical bloc'. It is supported strongly (but not strongly enough unfortunately) by the largest & by far most important in every sense, population group in the country. What the GOP needs to do is to get a sense of proportion. As George Kennan once noted precisely about the mind-set of the more wide-eyed supporters of the Conservative Movement in American:
"It seems that this country doesn't want government....It will suffer unlimited injustices and infrigments on liberty from irresponsible private groups, but none from a responsible governing agency. Its people rather go down individually, with quixotic courage, before the destructive agencies of uncontrolled industrialism---like Ethopian tribesmen before Italian gas attacks---than submit to the discipline necessary for any effective resistance 5."
Regardless, I am sure that within either two or four years time, the GOP will regain its dominance once again. Why? As the late and splendid Harold Macmillan once put it: 'events my dear boy, events'.
1. See on this vital point, the following review article: Timothy J. Lynch. "Obama and the Third Bush Term". International Affairs. (September 2012), pp. 1101-1111.
2. On the standard scholarly treatment of the Indochina Crisis of 1954, see: Richard Immerman & George Herring, "Eisenhower, Dulles and Dienbienphu: 'the day we didn't go to war' revisited." In Dienbienphu and the Crisis of Franco-American relations. Edited by Denise Artaud, et. al. (1990).
3. For this see: Martin Wolf, "A slow convalescence under Obama." The Financial Times. 3 October 2012, in
4. See on this bizarre point, John L. Sullivan, "Barak Obama's new ethnic majority." The Spectator (London). 7 November 2012, in The flaws in the argument are many but the chief one is pointed out by Victor Hanson: it does not tell us why the incumbent won in states (like New Hampshire) which are overwhelmingly White and with overwhelmingly married couples.
5. Quote comes from John Lewis Gaddis's splendid biography of Kennan, see: George F. Kennan: An American Life. (2011), p. 100. I should point out, that like Kennan, my conservatism is of the Burkean rather American Nationalist variety.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


"I hope to see the Conservative Party return with a substantial majority. I have bitter memories of the Attlee-Cripps regime when the kingdom seemed to be under enemy occupation. I recognize that individually some of the Liberal candidates are more worthy than many of the Conservatives, but any advantage to them can only produce deplorable instability.... I have never voted in a parliamentary election. I shall not vote this year. I shall never vote unless a moral or religious issue is involved (e.g., the suppression of of Catholic Schools). Great Britain is not a democracy. All authority emanates from the Crown. Judges, Anglican Bishops, soldiers, sailors, ambassadors, the Poet Laureate, the postman and especially ministers exist by the royal will. In the last 300 years, particularly in the last hundred, the Crown has adopted what seems to me a very hazardous process of choosing advisers: popular elections. Many great evils have resulted but the expectation of a change in my lifetime is pure fantasy. Crowned heads proverbially lie uneasy. By usurping sovereignty the peoples of many civilized nations have incurred a restless and frustrated sense of responsibility which interferes with their proper work of earning a living and educating their children. If I voted for the Conservative Party and they were elected, I should feel morally inculpated in their follies - such as their choice of Regius professors; if they failed, I should have made submission to socialist oppression by admitting the validity of popular election. I do not aspire to advise my sovereign in her choice of servants".
Evelyn Waugh, "Aspirations of a Mugwump", in the Spectator (London), 2 October 1959.
"A statesman is an easy man he tells his lies by rote, a journalist makes up his lies and takes you by the throat. So stay at home and drink your beer and let the neighbors vote".
William Butler Yeats. "The Old Stone Cross". The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats. (1956).
As per the sentiments of both Yeats and Waugh, I will not be nor have I ever voted in any type of elections. The sordidness of contemporary politics prevents one from even thinking momentarily about participating in an event which is by definition vulgar and for the most part, at least as presented in the public realm, for the most part stupid. To add to which, I in fact find aspects of both programmes of both American political parties to be both repugnant and attractive: id. est., I am in favor of the strictest type of gun control (AKA no selling or even ownership of hand guns or any other type of gun by the general public), as well as opposed to abortion and pornography. I am in favor of the strongest type of environmental laws on development and climate change legislation and violently opposed to 'affirmative action' and any legislation dealing with immigration which is post-facto to the Johnson Immigration Act of 1924. Therefore, it is quite easy to see that the programmes of both political parties cannot by definition fully find favor with me. Added to which, the structural nature of the American political system leaves me both frustrated and cold. A political system which to a very limited degree, was workable circa 1789 has been to my mind, completely out of date for the last hundred years and in the past half-century almost unworkable in fact. With a system of 'division of powers', as opposed to parliamentary sovereignty, almost ensuring that political gridlock be the rule rather than the exception. In addition, the system confuses roles and offices: the President is an odd combination of a temporary Monarch / Head of State, who is also as the Americans charmingly describe it 'the chief executive'. When unfortunately, most of those elected to those post are usually sent for reasons having to do with their fitness for the former and not the latter. Ergo, the rather, shall we spotty curriculum vitae of past holders of the office in the recent past: one a peanut farmer, who promised to 'never lie to you'. Another a second-tier Hollywood film actor, who could not remember members of his own cabinet. Another was a ex-alcoholic, whose all but five years in public service, lead him naturally enough to make reference to 'Grecians' and to name the son of the Lord God, as his 'favorite philosopher'. And of course there is the current incumbent, who notwithstanding his many solid qualities, was elected with less than four years of experience of national office. And with no executive experience whatsoever. The upshot of this bias by the voters is that the 'executive' in 'chief executive' is more often than not ignored in the selection process of the prospective candidate. Finally, of course the system of universal suffrage is also problematic in the extreme: a political system which mandates that illiterates, and uneducated & semi-educated have the same 'vote' as say the creme de la creme of the nation is to my mind nonsensical in the extreme. However as Waugh notes to expect change for the better in my life time is pure fantasy.
With all the above understood, the reader may ask himself why I believe that Governor Romney will be a better holder of the office than the current incumbent? Actually, per se, I do not. It is clear to me, from the one time that I had an opportunity to hear both man speak that it is self-evident, that notwithstanding personally rather unattractive character aspects of the American President, that he is (marginally perhaps) more intelligent, more capable and probably will, notwithstanding everything else, have a better rating as President than Governor Romney would. My concern lies elsewhere. It lies in fact with the following quote from the late, great British diplomatic historian of the twentieth century, A.J.P. Taylor in his book on the Habsburg Empire:
"The German nationalists, the spokesman for the 'people of the state', suddenly behaved as though they were the representative of an oppressed minority; and their members of the Imperial Council modelled their tactics on the Irish obstruction at Westminster, though the Irish wished only to finish the English connection, whereas the Germans, at any rate in theory wanted to make their Empire stronger....Their conduct in the Imperial Council had not even the ingenuity and wit which had dignified their Irish example; it was mere hooliganism and violence, a fit index of the political culture of the 'state people'. The nationalist members shouted and stamped for hours on end; they banged their desks and hurled their inkpots at the Speaker, until at last the police were called in and put an end to this grotesque parody of representative government. Still more: Schonerer and his friends called on the German population of Austria to revolt and demonstrating masses crowded the streets of Vienna, Graz and Salzburg; crowds in no sense revolutionary, but composed of rich, respectable citizens...who now welcomed this irregular way of displaying their importance....The movement against Badeni was the culminting point of all German negations, which did more than anything else to destroy the Habsburg monarchy: the Germans were strong enough to prevent the transformation of Austria into a non-national state, but not strong enough to transform it into a German national state " 1.
Less anyone cannot guess my meaning here, it is rather simple for 'Germans' read the White population of the United States. Except whereas in the Hapsburg Monarchy the German population never accounted for more than a plurality of the population, currently the White population accounts for upwards of three-quarters of the population 2. It is this core elements of this population which are: i) make-up the heart of that political primitivism called the 'Tea Party' movement; ii) which is also violently opposed to the incumbent President , his party and policies. If we look at matters historically speaking, the last time that a Presidential Candidate of the Democratic Party won a majority of the White vote was in 1964. In short, we have a case wherein the political grouping which is supported by the largest element in the country is unwilling to govern responsibly and in turn is unwilling to allow the political groupings supported by the vast majority of the rest of the population to go about governing the country in a rational fashion. Hence the hysterics which erupt every time the country submits to rule by the Democratic Party: the Carter years, the Clinton years and now the ‘Tea Party’ hysterics of the past four years. Given this sad, but undeniable empirical fact, I submit that notwithstanding his undoubted qualities as the holder of the office of President, the current incumbent’s remaining in office for another four years is something to be unwished for and avoided. Especially since he will no doubt not be elected by more than a hairs breath, which will in turn lead to more hysterics, more political blockage and so much less the prevalence of good government. Something which the American polity needs ever so much at the present time. Of course in a Leibnizian, best of all possible worlds, the majority element of the country should submit peacefully to rule by the minority if it is derived by democratic means. Unfortunately, I know of no such Leibnizian monde in fact. Either in the present time, nor historically speaking. To expect that mankind would change his nature at this late date is as Evelyn Waugh would accurately characterize it: ‘pure fantasy’.
1. A. J. P. Taylor. The Habsburg Monarchy, 1815-1918. (1942), p. 230-231.
2. This figure is derived from John Cassidy of the New York, see: John Cassidy, "Cassidy's Count." The New Yorker. 5 November 2012, in

Friday, November 02, 2012


"Japan’s coastguard said it responded by warning the Chinese ships not to enter Japanese waters. It said that four Chinese ships entered the waters it claims but then left. A Chinese ship had previously sent out such a warning in September, the JCG said. This move by China could change the status quo in a dispute that has escalated in recent years, Chinese analysts said. Last month, Beijing announced a territorial baseline for the disputed islands that defined the exact geographical location of its claimed territory to back its long-standing claim. “Chinese government vessels did not chase Japanese boats out of the islands’ territorial waters in the past, as these waters were an area controlled by the Japanese coastguard,” said Li Guoqiang, an expert on border issues at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “But the situation changed when we created a legal basis for enforcing our claim by announcing the territorial baseline for the islands in September.” Beijing’s announcement was in reaction to Tokyo’s decision to nationalise some of the disputed islands, a move that set off a furious reaction in China. The Japanese government said the step was aimed at preventing the nationalist governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, from purchasing and developing the islands, and provoking China. However, Beijing has rejected that argument as a ruse. Last week, Zhang Zhijun, China’s vice-foreign minister, again blasted Japan for the decision in an indication that a series of negotiations with his Japanese counterpart to seek a resolution to the current tension have run aground. In the first half of September, dozens of Chinese cities witnessed large-scale anti-Japanese demonstrations, and some nationalists went on a rampage, damaging Japanese restaurants, department stores and Japanese-branded cars. There have also been some attacks against Japanese citizens in China. Chinese maritime surveillance vessels and fisheries administration vessels have patrolled the waters round the islands almost daily over the past month. Chinese navy ships have also appeared in waters close to the islands twice over the past two months. Mr Li said the Chinese government was still restraining itself and would not lightly add to the tension. “But if the Japanese don’t change their ways and return to the path of negotiation, such friction could increase,” he said. “Then, it would not be a question of just four vessels but many more.”'
Kathrin Hille & Michiyo Nakamoto, "China raises stake over disputed lslands." The Financial Times. 31 October 2012, in
"History shows that the danger threatening the independence of this or that nation has generally arisen, at least in part, out of the momentary predominance of a neighbouring State at once militarily powerful, economically efficient, and ambitious to extend its frontiers or spread its influence, the danger being directly proportionate to the degree of its power and efficiency, and to the spontaneity or “inevitableness” of its ambitions. The only cheek on the abuse of political predominance derived from such a position has always consisted in the opposition of an equally formidable rival, or of a combination of several countries forming leagues of defence. The equilibrium established by such a grouping of forces is technically known as the balance of power, and it has become almost an historical truism to identify England’s secular policy with the maintenance of this balance by throwing her weight now in this scale and now in that, but ever onthe side, opposed to the political dictatorship of the strongest single, State or group at a given time."
Sir Eyre Crowe, "Memorandum of the Present State of British Relations with France and Germany." In British Documents on the Origins of the War. Volume III: Testing the Entente, 1904-1906. Edited G. P. Gooch & Harold Temperley. (1928), p. 403.
The mots of Sir Eyre Crowe, are most apt when one considers the increasing pressure that Peking is employing in the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Senkaku Islands. The fact is that no doubt for reasons of primat der Innenpolitik, the PRC is endeavoring to browbeat the Japanese government into accepting the Peoples Republic's claims about the islands. At this point, given the progression of Peking's policy over the past few years, one can only come to the conclusion that Peking's policies are not amenable to sweet reason or any type of logical or rational form of argument. And that it is come closer and closer to the time that the Western Powers and in particular the United States, must seriously contemplate employing its own forces in the immediate region of the islands in order to exercise a necessary deterrent vis-`a-vis Peking. Unless and until something akin to this occurs, look for more and more pressure of a military variety to be employed by the regime in Peking. With all that implies for the peace of the world.