Archive for the 'War' Category

This too shall pass (probably)

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Way back a decade and a half ago we were very optimistic about the direction the so-called New Media would take this country. Creative Destruction, new business plans rendering obsolete the Rathergate-infested old media’s, and so forth. We even trotted out Thomas Kuhn from time to time. By “optimistic” we meant of course that things in the country would develop along a line pretty much compatible with our quite brilliant views.

How times change. Universal internet and universal mobile devices took things in a different direction. Instant cursing is in the trillions, and soon there may be a Nobel Prize for vilest tweet. The creators and lead marketers of instant everything (Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, etc) often can combine leftism with monopolistic zeal in business to an extraordinary degree. Actually the two things aren’t that different in some ways, which is why we and Ralph Nader can find ourselves in agreement on aspects of this.

So now we see author, scholar and broadcaster Dennis Prager getting censored by YouTube for videos with Alan Dershowitz and others in a series sometimes featuring distinguished MIT and Princeton professors; he also is mocked by the NYT for saying perfectly true things about its so-called best seller list. And we see 40 year litigator, CEO of Center for the American Experiment, and founder of TIME’s blog of the year John Hinderaker censored by Twitter for perfectly innocuous stuff.

Maybe the thought monopolists can endure forever. We don’t know. But if things can change this much over the last 15 years, there’s no safe way of predicting what can happen over the next period of time. Meanwhile, we’ll watch but not comment much on today’s comey-this-or-that; too many slings and arrows. So back to China and fan blades.

D-Day these days

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Yahoo:

Senior Airman Logan Ireland is one of over 15,000 transgender troops serving in the U.S. military. Back at home, the fact that Logan is transgender is very much a part of how he’s viewed. But in Afghanistan, he says it’s like he’s “on vacation,” finally able to be himself. He’s able to serve his country and live life as the man he says he was born to be. But even though transgender people are twice as likely to serve in the military as their fellow citizens, current policy prohibits them from serving as openly transgender. Since Logan recently told his commander that he’s transgender, he’s now at risk of being discharged. “[Transgender troops] are getting discharged left and right,” he says, “and these are good people for the military.” His fiancée, Laila, is also in the army as a healthcare management administration specialist. She, too, is transgender, born male, and has been in the military for 12 years. At work, though, she’s forced to identify as a male and correct patients when they use female pronouns. She even has to use the male bathroom.

Question 1: who is going to have the baby? Question 2: if you dig them up in 100 years, what will the DNA tests show? Question 3: would there have been any chance to win WWII with stuff like this going on?

Remembering D-Day in several ways

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

It seems like such a quintessentially American moment. It isn’t the casualties. Alhough more men died on D-Day than in the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, far more American blood was shed at Antietam in a single day. The power that D-Day has over us comes from the insane nature of the approach. The big, fat open targets of the LST’s versus men on bluffs in heavily armed pillboxes. The greenness of many of the soldiers. S.L.A. Marshall takes us there for a moment:

Not seeing the captain die, Williams doesn’t know that command has now passed to him. Guiding on his own instinct, the coxswain moves along the coast six hundred yards, then puts the boat straight in. It’s a good guess; he has found a little vacuum in the battle. The ramp drops on dry sand and the boat team jumps ashore. Yet it’s a close thing. Mortar fire has dogged them all the way; and as the last rifleman clears the ramp, one shell lands dead center of the boat, blows it apart, and kills the coxswain. Momentarily, the beach is free of fire, but the men cannot cross it at a bound. Weak from seasickness and fear, they move at a crawl, dragging their equipment. By the end of twenty minutes, Williams and ten men are over the sand and resting in the lee of the sea wall. Five others are hit by machine-gun fire crossing the beach; six men, last seen while taking cover in a tidal pocket, are never heard from again. More mortar fire lands around the party as Williams leads it across the road beyond the sea wall. The men scatter. When the shelling lifts, three of them do not return. Williams leads the seven survivors up a trail toward the fortified village of Les Moulins atop the bluff. He recognizes the ground and knows that he is taking on a tough target. Les Moulins is perched above a draw, up which winds a dirt road from the beach, designated on the invasion maps as Exit No. 3.

Williams and his crew of seven are the first Americans to approach it D Day morning. Machine-gun fire from a concrete pillbox sweeps over them as they near the brow of the hill, moving now at a crawl through thick grass. Williams says to the others: “Stay here; we’re too big a target!” They hug earth, and he crawls forward alone, moving via a shallow gully. Without being detected, he gets to within twenty yards of the gun, obliquely downslope from it. He heaves a grenade; but he has held it just a bit too long and it explodes in air, just outside the embrasure. His second grenade hits the concrete wall and bounces right back on him. Three of its slugs hit him in the shoulders. Then, from out of the pillbox, a German potato masher sails down on him and explodes just a few feet away; five more fragments cut into him. He starts crawling back to his men; en route, three bullets from the machine gun rip his rump and right leg.

The seven are still there. Williams hands his map and compass to Staff Sergeant Frank M. Price, saying: “It’s your job now. But go the other way — toward Vierville.” Price starts to look at Williams’ wounds, but Williams shakes him off, saying: “No, get moving.” He then settles himself in a hole in the embankment, stays there all day, and at last gets medical attention just before midnight.

On leaving Williams, Price’s first act is to hand map and compass (the symbols of leadership) to Technical Sergeant William Pearce, whose seniority the lieutenant has overlooked. They cross the draw, one man at a time, and some distance beyond come to a ravine; on the far side, they bump their first hedgerow, and as they look for an entrance, fire comes against them. Behind a second hedgerow, not more than thirty yards away, are seven Germans, five rides and two burp guns. On exactly even terms, these two forces engage for the better part of an hour, apparently with no one’s getting hit. Then Pearce settles the fight by crawling along a drainage ditch to the enemy flank. He kills the seven Germans with a Browning Automatic Rifle.

For Pearce and his friends, it is a first taste of battle; its success is giddying. Heads up, they walk along the road straight into Vierville, disregarding all precautions. They get away with it only because that village is already firmly in the hands of Lieutenant Walter Taylor of Baker Company and twenty men from his boat team.

And from what seems like a century ago (2009), the NYT reports that a WWII veteran was angry about being excluded from an event in Normandie:

Queen Elizabeth…was not invited to join President Obama and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, next week at commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, according to reports published in Britain’s mass-circulation tabloid newspapers on Wednesday. Pointedly, Buckingham Palace did not deny the reports. The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks

Perhaps Queen Elizabeth should just chill out and listen to her iPod, and it’s not just QE2 being dissed. We’ve gone from disagreeing with the Left to really hating them.

Widening gyre again

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Within the lifetime and personal memories of many Americans still living, most everyone knew farmers and soldiers. As late as America’s entry into World War I, over 42% of Americans still lived on farms. Your grandparents knew farmers and soldiers. It’s hard not to know a farmer or have spent time on a farm when 4 out of 10 of your countrymen lived their lives in agriculture.

Similarly, everyone knew soldiers not so long ago. WWI drafted 2.8 million Americans, when America only had 50 million men in total. WWII took 10 million draftees, and there were 3.4 million between Korea and Vietnam. One way of looking at Vietnam, for example, is that the draftees were as many as all boys in the United States who turned 18 in 1970 — a pretty large group of Baby Boomers. And none of these figures include the men who enlisted — surprisingly, perhaps, the total number of Vietnam veterans is over 2,500,000. So for a long time in America it has been true that most Americans knew something of farming and the military in a direct personal way.

No longer. As a statistical matter today, there are almost no new soldiers or farmers in America. Annual military recruits amount to 175,000 or so a year in a country of 300,000,000. And it’s even worse in agriculture. There are lilterally almost no new farmers in America today. At the time of WWII, farming still occupied 18% of the labor force — it’s less than 2% today. Every single year America loses more farmers than it creates. Many (perhaps most?) young Americans probably have not one single friend who becomes a farmer or soldier today.

Mark Steyn asks from time to time why there have been virtually no war songs during the last decade, as opposed to WWII. Part of the reason is Hollywood, of course, but another aspect of the phenomenon is this: all Americans were involved in WWII (see the PBS Soundies program, for example); very few are involved in America’s battles today. In WWII, war songs were about us; today war songs would be about them.

We sometimes hear from voices in the new media that this is the same America that won WWII. Well, this is pretty clearly not the America of WWII. Not even close, as the 5.4 million majority of those under 30 proved last November when they voted. And there is not much memory of that older America to boot. There are justifiable reasons to be very concerned about these collective losses of experience, memory and toughness in our very dangerous world.

The inventions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were disruptive, as we noted nine years ago. But they were disruptive over an extended period of time, since their roll-outs were slow and uneven. But nine years ago there were no iPhones, no twitter, no tumblr, almost no YouTube, and indeed, our first mention of Google was only months old. Furthermore, the roll-out of these technologies has been nearly instant and worldwide. Eight years ago, for example, Facebook was arguably worth a mere billion dollars or so. Fast forward: there are two billion smartphones in use today, for example. We have a country where the young don’t know Shakespeare and haven’t read the Bible, and their lives are almost wholly unconnected with the past. No wonder that things are so messed up.

We see VDH is quoting Yeats today, as we have done occasionally. The poem was written in 1919, just after the world war. Somehow today it feels closer to the start of one.

Force, object, and you know the rest

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

An author in Le Figaro:

Le supranationalisme est le résultat d’un dépassement de la pensée des Lumières dans le sens où il manifeste concrètement la croyance que des principes universels régissent la vie de l’homme. Le multiculturalisme, de son côté, vient de la perception romantique de l’Autre, envisagé comme fondamentalement bon et doté d’une identité immuable. Malgré leurs origines philosophiquement divergentes, ils ont le même effet: le démantèlement de l’État-nation. Et de façon étrange, ils semblent avoir fusionné pour s’arrêter sur la même vision de l’avenir: un monde sans frontières, sans distinction entre «nous» et «eux», sans nations, un monde pour l’Humanité…

le problème le plus profond avec l’islam, c’est la charia, une loi de compétence universelle et non-territoriale qui affronte donc frontalement la philosophie universaliste de l’UE et de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme. Il est absolument urgent de réaffirmer devant les communautés islamiques l’importance de la loi territoriale séculaire. Et la seule façon de le faire est d’être d’une fermeté absolue en matière de loyauté nationale. Autant de choses qu’une administration bureaucratique et universelle comme l’UE ne pourra, par définition, jamais mettre en oeuvre. Les musulmans doivent faire passer la loi nationale avant les règles du Coran (un récent sondage en Hollande montre que 70% d’entre eux s’y refusent).

70% is a pretty big number. Tick tick tick, as we’ve often said. More better, more worse. Stay quiet and you’ll be okay. (BTW, the piece also uses a variant of oikophobia.)

Double down or change

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

They were utopians in 1623 until they could have starved to death:

The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.

For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could…

no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family.

This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability

Double down or change. Starve or change course, that’s what it takes sometimes. As Thomas Kuhn said, about scientists no less, “the proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds. The transfer of allegiance from paradigm to paradigm is a conversion experience.” Precisely. (We’ve noted that one of the strangest experiences we ever had was stepping into a voting booth on the West Side in 1980, and finding, against our will, that we were suddenly physically unable to pull the lever for JEC, even though that was our explicit intention until then.) For the moment, as Wretchard notes, change is still difficult for our misguided confrères, because there’s always “someone” to fall back on who will take care of things. We believe that time is coming to an end in each of the three areas we touched on in the Kuhn piece. How unpleasant or catastrophic this becomes remains to be seen.

Paradigm shifts coming?

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

From Thomas Kuhn:

In a sense I am unable to explicate further, the proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds…

The transfer of allegiance from paradigm to paradigm is a conversion experience that cannot be forced…

Darwin, in a particularly perceptive passage at the end of his Origin of Species, wrote: “Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume…I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are shocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine…but I look with confidence to the future, — to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to look at both sides of the question with impartiality.”

And Max Planck, surveying his own career in his Scientific Autobiography, sadly remarked that “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

(1) There’s the expensive silliness of CAGW, which China, India and much of the rest of the world won’t buy into, and the West can destroy itself if it wants. Will the young continue to go along with the foolish oldsters or will they eventually rebel? (2) How will the crisis of victocracy be settled? As an attitude, you’re either on the Mosby side or you’re not. There’s no middle ground, only doubling down. (Clarice notes an amusing tweet from Joan Walsh in that regard.) Make no mistake, this has to get settled, because we’re nearing the end of doubling down, as this sad piece illustrates. (3) And then there’s the longest war in history, dating back to a few years after 632. Things seem to be coming to a head there as well. Note in all cases which side our self-styled elites are on.

Contrasting views of the value of life

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

A:

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
creeps in this petty pace from day to day
to the last syllable of recorded time.
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death.
Out, out brief candle.
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
and then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing.

B:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us: that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Two amazing writers, yes? BTW, where did we last see signifying nothing? Oh yeah.

Good morning people, it’s a new dawn

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Kissinger, Shultz:

For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests—and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability…Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today…the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon

Georgetown professor Kroenig:

From the beginning of the atomic era, American scientists understood that these sensitive nuclear technologies could be used to make fuel for nuclear energy or for nuclear weapons, and the United States immediately began working to close off this pathway to the bomb. The McMahon Act of 1946 made it illegal for the United States to share nuclear technologies with any country. Even countries like Britain and Canada that had helped America invent the bomb during the Manhattan Project were cut off. Later, under President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program, the United States loosened restrictions on nuclear cooperation somewhat, but it always drew a bright line at uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing because the risk of proliferation was simply too great…we gave up the game. Iran out-negotiated us. We abandoned a clear international standard we had established in order to meet Iran halfway in its unreasonable demands. What we have to show for it is not a historic deal, but the death of a 70-year-old bipartisan pillar of American foreign policy.

The title is from Woodstock.

There will be growth in the spring

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

NYT:

I think that it’s important to recognize that Iran is a complicated country — just like we’re a complicated country

More wisdom here. Help!

The shocking power of the narrative

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

We confess to being blindsided by the raw power of MSM narratives, despite having observed them rather closely for years. We expected their power to diminish, and instead the opposite has happened. The young don’t know anything, and between the media and the academy, they believe everything from the silly (CAGW) to the deeply pernicious. This Iran farce is something else again: it is at least 3 standard deviations from reality and yet the true believers still believe. We’ve never seen anything like it in our lives. (Sometimes the deviations from reality are funny, but not with Iran.) Still, there are cracks in the façade — witness Chuck Schumer coming over to the Dark Side. Strange world indeed.

2 Voices

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Thomas Sowell, who was born in 1930, and hence knows some things:

Clearing the way for Iran to get nuclear bombs may — probably will — be the most catastrophic decision in human history.

So there’s The Voice of Doom, and then again there’s The Voice. It’s a heckuva voice, and it’s almost like that well-rehearsed speech was sincere and everything. (How long ago was it written?)

Bonus unfun: just how bad a deal? This bad.

Les hommes sérieux

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Foreign Policy:

A central concern is “breakout time” (the minimum time needed to make weapons-grade uranium). According to current reports, a deal would ensure Iranian breakout time would be moved back to one year. French negotiators want to ensure that Iran’s agreed upon breakout time will last the entire duration of the deal — and after. They also want a deal that lasts as long as possible. “Ten years is short when you talk about nuclear issues,” one diplomat said.“Ten years is short when you talk about nuclear issues,” one diplomat said.

Another diplomat summed it up: “We spent more than 10 years talking, slowly setting an architecture of sanctions, of pressure, defining principles of negotiations. Once we dismantle this, it won’t come back up. So we better get the best possible deal.”

French diplomats insist a political agreement, if reached by March 31, will only be a first step. Tough negotiations will continue. Bruno Tertrais, an expert in nuclear issues who is influential in the French diplomatic community, even suggested recently a series of temporary deals could be a better alternative to a bad definitive deal.

None of this goes against longstanding French policy, though. France has consistently been the toughest member of the European Union when it comes to Iran, going back to the administration of President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. Paris has consistently advocated for firmer sanctions and E.U. sanctions, beyond the scope of United Nations resolutions. In 2012, France was notably responsible for convincing Europeans to ban the import on oil products, despite the objections of many countries.

Nuclear deterrence has been central to France’s foreign policy ever since Charles de Gaulle’s presidency, a pillar that has been largely bipartisan. And just as nuclear doctrine has stayed remarkably stable through the years, so have the officials in charge of conducting French nuclear strategy and proliferation policy, regardless of who is in the Élysée.

In fact, some of the most preeminent positions in the French diplomatic and defense establishments are occupied by career civil servants trained as nuclear strategists who have worked on Iran for over a decade. This close-knit group of diplomats includes, among others, Araud, as well as Jacques Audibert, Hollande’s diplomatic advisor, who both previously served as France’s chief nuclear negotiator with Iran.

These diplomats generally share the conviction Tehran’s enrichment program is aimed at obtaining a nuclear weapon and that a bad deal that allows the Iranians to keep enriching uranium at dangerous levels will lead to a disastrous game of regional proliferation. Araud, Audibert, and their colleagues know the situation well: They have been engaged in 12 years of talks on these issues and at this point they feel they have little reason to trust the Iranians, or believe regional arrangements with Iran would decrease its desire to acquire nuclear capabilities. But policymakers in Paris might not trust the Americans much, either — and not just when it comes to the nuclear negotiations. French officials no longer hide their dismay at many of Washington’s policies in the Middle East.

Good piece, but they forgot the Chirac Doctrine.

Microaggressions in a macro world

Friday, March 27th, 2015

To the pathetic millennials and those who cheer them on, if you ever think about microaggressions, you’re the problem. You have no sense of humor. You might qualify as a future college professor, however, which shows how low we’ve fallen.

All this while WWIII is beginning.

IAEA report

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Excepted from a WaPo story:

Iran isn’t providing needed access or information, nuclear watchdog says…Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA, said in an interview that Iran has replied to just one of a dozen queries about “possible military dimensions” of past nuclear activities. Amano said that Iran has provided only “very limited” information about two other issues, while the rest have not been addressed at all.

Amano said that the six global powers negotiating with Iran should insist that the country implement the additional protocol that would allow IAEA inspectors to go anywhere at any time to examine sites suspected of harboring secret nuclear weapons development. That additional protocol, Amano said, will be “very much needed. It will give us more powerful tools to look at activities not declared to us.” Iran signed the protocol in December 2003 and initially implemented it, Amano said, but the country ended its compliance in 2006.

Amano said that near the top of his list of unanswered questions about possible military dimensions of Iranian nuclear activities was the Parchin military complex. He said that the IAEA has information that Iran conducted experiments in a high-explosive chamber there…the agency said in its report that it “is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Even the UN is tougher than the US. What times we live in! Eli Lake has an interesting report too.

Everything new is old again

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Totten:

the Houthis have virtually no chance of ruling the entire country. Their “territory,” so to speak, is restricted to the northwestern region surrounding the capital. Previous governments had a rough go of it too. South Yemen was a communist state—the so-called People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen—until the Soviet Union finally ruptured, and four years after unification with North Yemen, the armed forces of each former half declared war on each other.

Far more likely than a comprehensive Houthi takeover is a new and more dangerous phase of Yemen’s endless self-cannibalization—more dangerous because this otherwise parochial and irrelevant conflict has been internationalized, with ISIS, the Saudis, and Iran squaring off against each other in yet another regional proxy war.

The Houthi movement is named after Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, an insurrection leader killed by the former government in 2004. They are Shias, but unlike the “Twelver” Shia Muslims of Iran—who revere eleven imams and await the birth of the occluded twelfth—most of Yemen’s Shias are “Fivers.” Iran doesn’t mind. From its point of view, better the odd “Fiver” Shias than Sunnis, but all that really matters is that the Houthis are willing to say yes to Tehran, its weapon shipments, and its top-notch military advisors and trainers.

The next-door Saudis, of course, are backing what’s left of Hadi’s former government down in Aden. They’ve been Yemen’s primary patron since the 1930s and won’t sit back and idly watch as Iran’s Islamic Revolution is exported to their back yard any more than the United States would have allowed the Moscow to conquer Canada during the Cold War.

Yemen’s conflict is tribal, sectarian, and political at the same time, and it’s becoming increasingly internationalized even as the US is leaving. It’s also a little bizarre. Last month, President Hadi declared Aden the new capital, though no one in the world, not even his allies, recognize it as such. A few days ago a Houthi-commanded military jet flew over the city from Sanaa and fired missiles at his residence…

Osama bin Laden’s family is of Yemeni origin, as was Anwar Al-Awlaki, one of Al Qaeda’s chief propagandists before the Pentagon vaporized him with a Hellfire missile in 2011. The deadliest bomb-maker in the world plies his trade with Yemen’s branch of Al Qaeda and has planned at least three attacks against commercial airliners. And now that Iran is involved in the Saudi family’s sphere of influence and the Sunni majority is backsliding, ISIS and Al Qaeda are gaining even more traction.

Talk about the need for a two state solution. The factions above have been going at it since a little after 632. No end in sight however.

Some French policies, now and then

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Now, via WSJ:

“Making the end of March an absolute deadline is counterproductive and dangerous,” France’s ambassador to the U.S., Gérard Araud, said via Twitter after the latest round of negotiations in Switzerland concluded Friday. “No agreement without concrete decisions on issues beyond the enrichment capability question,” he said a day earlier, specifically mentioning the need for extensive monitoring and clarity on Iran’s past research work. Western officials believe they included the pursuit of nuclear-weapon capabilities. In a sign of France’s determination, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called his negotiating team in Lausanne on Thursday to insist no deal could be forged that allowed for the rapid easing of U.N. Security Council measures, according to European officials. France worries the quick repeal of the U.N. penalties could lead to a broader collapse of the West’s financial leverage over Tehran

Sounds like they’re hanging tough, but that’s nothing compared to their policy a decade ago.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

But not necessarily of little minds. A dangerous consistency is perhaps the hobgoblin of certain ideologues. Cases in point: (a) Paul Mirengoff discusses this fellow Malley; and (b) what’s going on in Egypt. Never in recent memory has the world been so inverted, when common sense is denounced as extremism, and a certain kind of extremism has become conventional wisdom among the chattering classes. Help!

Bonus fun if you can find it: Tim Blair goes all un-PC.

15 years that went by pretty fast

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

NYT:

entire industries have emerged and seized the dominant positions in the Nasdaq index even as their predecessors faltered. Apple, now the world’s largest company by market capitalization, barely registered in 2000, and the first iPhone was not announced until 2007. Over a billion smartphones were shipped in 2014.

Google, which now ranks third and dominates the market for Internet search advertising, went public in 2004 at $85 a share, giving the company a market value then of $23 billion. Today, its market capitalization is over $360 billion, and its shares were trading this week above $570.

Facebook, now No. 5 in Nasdaq’s ranking, dominates social networking, another industry that did not exist in 2000. It went public less than three years ago, and is already valued at over $180 billion.

Had the Nasdaq index itself not been transformed by innovation and competition, it would be nowhere near its previous peak. The stocks of many of the surviving companies, like Microsoft and Intel, have not come close to the levels they reached before 2000. That means investors who bought and held the stocks of individual companies in 2000, as opposed to broad mutual funds tied to the Nasdaq or index funds like the QQQs, are still underwater

Some things are going really well and some are going really badly. Hard to know where we’ll be in another 15 years.

They sow not, neither do they reap

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Wretchard: “It’s almost as if there were two parallel universes. The real one in which the rest of the world lives and the fantasy land bounded by the Beltway and the media capitals.” Don’t forget the universities too. The closer you get to these tenured or semi-tenured worlds the further from reality you get. After all, you’re living off the productivity of others, in a world where income and performance often bear no relation to each other. WRM: the government needs “to make foreign policy for the country they’ve got, rather than making foreign policy for a hypothetical country that exists only in their hopes.” They sow not, neither do they reap; but ah, how they dream.