Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wednesday digest

- Although I think that Thomas Friedman unfairly lays blame at the feet of W. for the inability (I call it reluctance) of the international community to rein in Hezbollah here, he speaks the truth when he asks the following: "When will the Arab-Muslim world stop getting its "pride" from fighting Israel and start getting it from constructing a society that others would envy, an economy others would respect, and inventions and medical breakthroughs from which others would benefit?" Sadly, even some naturalized Arab-Americans are demonstrating that they are in Hezbollah's corner, which can only give credence to the "clash of civilizations" theory when those who should know better still paint Hezbollah as the victim.

I believe there are two errors that the West could make right now: in the longer term, throwing the baby named democracy out with the bathwater, and more immediately, buying into the illusion that a ceasefire is going to calm things down. It's obvious that a ceasefire is going to only embolden Hezbollah and their sponsor state, Iran, which is why it is crucial that Israel not lose its nerve, and abandon the at-times half-cocked approach they've taken thus far. The hand-wringers weigh in here, here and here, while the realists (in more ways that one) opine here, here and here. Oh, and a word from Dick Cheney's drinking buddy and the co-author of the 2004 inaugaral, here. Thankfully, it looks like Israel isn't going to let up for the foreseeable future, but there is still some receptivity on the part of the Israeli leadership to the deployment of an international force, which I think is TOTALLY wrong-headed. Hezbollah needs to be smashed to bits, and Israeli PM Ehud Olmert better keep an eye on Benjamin Netanyahu, because if the terrorists are able to function into the fall, I think we may see the resurgence of Likud.

- At home, I suspect that Quebec is still the tail wagging the dog on Canadian foreign policy. Harper better not back down on this one.

- The drunk man's babble is the sober man's truth. Sorry, Mel, but you've shown your true self no matter how many drinks you had.

- A little primer on Fidel Castro's rule, here.

- By Canadian standards, the free-trading, deficit-cutting, welfare-reforming, anti-gay marriage and UN-ignoring presidency of Bill Clinton would make Brian Mulroney look like a socialist, which is why I don't understand why liberals large and small adore Slick Willie so much. A look back at the biggest and most effective accomplishment in US social policy in years here and here. (Warning: If you measure success by the number of people who aren't on the public dole rather than the number of those who are, you best not read the links for the sake of your own blood pressure rating.)

- Finally, a story which is not getting covered nearly enough is the lack of progress being made in the Doha trade talks. The more free trade there is, the better it is for everyone all over the world. Would it be too much to ask for at least a few network journalists to turn their attention to this important issue? Then again, they're doing the important work of explaining to us the injustice of an oppressed and disenfranchised Middle Eastern minority being bullied around by a tyrannical and ruthless majority, and what talking head doesn't find THAT fulfilling?


At 2:14 PM, Anonymous the willowmaster said...

What are they going to report, that the US remains so stubborn with its subsidies that it condemns emerging markets to a cocooon of poverty?

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Road Hammer said...

Why not? It's long past time to de-romanticize the notion of the family farm and get the US agricultural sector off the public teat.


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