Obsurd statements from EU, Russian officials and liberal US media show where their true sympathies lie...

Senior European Union, Russian and Indian officials, along with every "compassionate" and "concerned" member of the US media, expressed their dismay following the execution of Saddam Hussein last evening in Iraq, while President Bush and most American political figures found peace and closure in the long battle fought by American troops who are ONLY IN IRAQ BECAUSE OF SADDAM. As I mentioned in the previous post, Alan Colmes from Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes disgusted me with his negative, "how can I make Bush look bad?" comments which were posed with such bristled rigidity that he appeared to have taken a large horse tranquilizer, but he never says much intelligent anyways. Colmes must have insinuated or flat out stated that the US was executing the former-Iraqi president and that they had failed to provide him a fair trial, oh wait, it was that they were risking provoking retaliatory attacks from Sunni-backed terror groups in and around Baghdad, oh but I mean, uh, oh, PLEASE SHUT UP ALAN.

I can respect the EU and Russian officials publicly questioning the moral premise for the death penalty, and choosing to express their distaste for the Iraqi governments use of the harsh measure following what many are calling an "unfair" (whatever that means) trial. I have absolutely no respect for the people that have chosen to take issue with President Bush and the interim Iraqi government for acting barbarically, for if they were so concerned about due process and the letter of the law in Iraq maybe they should show up and do something other than sell munitions and rifles to our our terrorist enemy.

Saddam was not a good man, I have never heard anyone suggest that, but he received more sympathy for his execution last night from people who were never able to extend the slightest bit of doubt or uncertainty in the case of Scott Peterson, whose wife's body happened to turn up in the same Bay that every news channel in the US had been broadcasting 24/7 had been the very location his had gone boating that morning?! If you killed Lacy Peterson, wouldn't you have thought the police were offering you an easy way out by leading you to the spot he was present at all morning when she disappeared? If that is not an obvious reason for at least one juror (OR MEMBER OF THE LIBERAL MEDIA) to rule out the death penalty though they still thought he "probably" did it.

However, despite all of the videotaped evidence of Saddam's atrocities, the wars we waged against him, none of this stuff matters because Bush might come out looking good at the end of the day. Someone should send out an intra-hippy memo and make sure these lunatics understand exactly how reckless they have become with words that aren't just empty rhetoric but rather brand what is by no stretch of the imagination a loss for the American military, but is instead a loss for the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, left-wing political hacks like David Letterman, Chris Matthews, Nora O'Donnell, and the entire cast of The View, think it is appropriate and classy to remind us everyday how much smarter they are than the President, or how much Donald Rumsfeld reminds them of Hitler, or pages worth of other ridiculous ad hominum attacks that have penetrated the thick skulls of their obviously sedated/shallow viewers that encourage such blather.

Personally, having now had the opportunity to watch the video footage of the execution I must admit it looked a little bit creepy, but I felt no remorse for the disgraced and condemned Butcher of Baghdad. When I heard he was dead I was reminded of the feeling of relief I had when as a little kid I had heard that famed serial-killer and child-rapist John Wayne Gasey was dead. I don't understand the type of moral-mindset that would allow a person, or in this case dozens of people, to find it appropriate to stand on principal when the world has lost the man that was the cause of all the problems these same people are so frequently bemoaning and relegating to the dust bin of American history.


Feeling so anticlimatic during truly historic moments, but finally closure..

Taliban insists that Saddam's execution to intensify jihad

Fact File: Saddam Hussein

As I sit here and listen to Alan Colmes on FoxNews' Hannity and Colmes drone on about the rash decision to execute Saddam due to the possibility that it may fuel terrorist response from Sunni groups enraged by the Shiite led government's treatment of their former frontman, I am beginning to bubble over with rage. The points he and the rest of his liberal breatheren have made in an attempt to paint the US as evil for not giving Saddam a "fair" trial and undermining our cause in the Muslim world. I wonder why they think the videos of innocent American's being beheaded have no effect on the Muslim opinions of their own culture?

I was watching MSNBC earlier and NBC's foremost arabic scholar and translator, whose name is currently escaping me, stated emphatically that not one single major terrorist organization within Iraq has condemned the execution of Saddam, let alone threatened retribution. Alan Colmes is intentionally misrepresenting the facts surrounding the imminent execution of one of the planet's most evil souls for purely political purposes. This, on top of the egregious abuses of the terms "losing" and "lied" and "insurgent" by democrats over the course of the entire war are among the most dispecable examples of political distortion I have witnessed in my young life. The tone with which these supposed "patriots" so smugly assert their brilliance by citing the fact that we are "failing" or losing is truly revolting. One would think that once a Congressman came to the conclusion that a policy was failing that the last thing they would do is run around the cable news circuit declaring victory. If that is a victory, it is the most intellectually devoid in the history of American government, and I suspect that it is unlikely to stand the test of time, as failure tends to be a poor policy objective when your responsibility is to actually govern, rather than just undermining the opposing political party.

"Click"-- trap door releases and the devil is gone, pronounced dead just seconds ago. May he burn in the fires of hell. Shame on you Alan; and Chris Matthews, you are a joke.

TWWI gets syndicated on Blog Critics...

This last week has been very interesting and exciting because I was lucky enough to be accepted at one of the internet's finest blog syndication sights blogcritics.org. Before now I was totally unexposed to the passionate and well-reasoned atmosphere that I have experienced in the comment section of my first article, and in the comment sections of several other articles. Though I have enjoyed maintaining my own site for the past six months and I have seen a substantial surge in readership as I have gradually become accustomed to writing for search engines, I had anticipated more by way of critical comments, especially considering the controversial nature of many of my posts. When I stumbled upon Blog Critics last week I leaped at the chance to contribute and thankfully the site's founder and publisher Eric Olsen recognized that I had an unique perspective to add to his very promising e-magazine.

Dedication does not even begin to describe the impassioned back-and-forth between various member-authors of the site, and though I have already seen a few comments removed by website administrators because of their strict no attack policy, commentary is largely the product of a carefully (and brilliantly) crafted strategy for fostering a totally web-based thought-machine for fellow insomniacs to hash out the details of their take on anything and everything that interests them. Though I am the newest member of the Blog Critics community, I am overwhelmed by the sense that I am finally participating in the revolution popularly known as the rise of new media.

China holds the key to unlocking growth in Africa...

The recent Beijing Summit made it clear that the Chinese government is becoming more publicly emboldened in their African policy initiatives. Many mainstream pundits and analysts have recently written about this topic, and I thought I would interject with my thoughts while the debate is still young and minds are still impressionable. I have for some time felt that it was essential for the Chinese to take the lead in Africa, and my confidence in this opinion has only been strengthened as coalition forces face increased difficulty in Iraq, and the situation in the Palestinian territories continues to deteriorate.

Though I wish the Chinese would take more responsibility in the current Middle Eastern crisis, I can understand their unwillingness to get involved in a situation that they are neither responsible for nor capable of substantially pacifying. Instead, they should use their experience in managing the development of their own impoverished regions to shape a more prosperous future for the people of Africa, and they should do so without the fear of igniting a diplomatic firestorm among Western governments that view a more proactive China as a threat rather than an opportunity. Africa now faces rampant disease, famine, violence, economic malaise, and is plagued desertification; all the while Western diplomats sit on their thumbs on the upper-east side and squabble over the merits of peacekeeping missions to halt genocidal slaughter in Sudan.

For decades, U.N. policy has failed the people it was established to benefit, those in the developing world, and until recently, there was no end to the destitution is in sight. There is no government in the world more experienced with and successful in the implementation of development policy than the Chinese. Its immense population has required its leaders to climb down from their perches in Beijing and travel to the poor villages in its western provinces to better understand the nature of poverty and conceive of more realistic and effective policies to combat its debilitating consequences. However, China has heretofore been unwilling to assert itself on issues which it fears may derail its economic prosperity because of political opportunists in Western capitols eager to keep them in check as they grow and expand their influence beyond their borders.

Nobody questions the merits of exploring innovative solutions to problems that have vexed policymakers for decades. However, few Western politicians or bureaucrats have been willing to admit that when their initiatives to stimulate economic growth abroad are compared with the initiatives undertaken by the Chinese government to combat similar inequalities domestically the proof is in the pudding. The Chinese economy is booming, its peasantry is becoming increasingly self-sufficient and educated, and most people would agree that the future for the Chinese people (ALL Chinese people) is bright, and their international prestige and influence growing. This leaves western leaders in the precarious position of having to confront a communist government whose success challenges the legitimacy of their own democratic systems. As the U.S. and her allies battle for the hearts and minds of impoverished, war-torn peoples in the Middle East, for whose current situation they bear the lions-share of the responsibility, it is essential that other less-developed regions do not become lost in the chaos. Missions that have been relegated to the back-burner since 9/11 because of the shift in our foreign policy mustn't be permanently retarded, for social stability in a world growing in both population and inequality is not guaranteed and should not be taken for granted anywhere or on any issue.

It seems logical to me that governments in the developed world would feel threatened by the rapid ascendancy of such a formidable competitor in the less-developed world, but I doubt that they have the resources necessary to offer a viable alternative strategy while they become further bogged down in the "War on Terror". As the Chinese begin to spread their wings and establish friendships with countries on the African continent that have felt slighted by the West for years, they are undoubtedly going to earn the respect of the people and governments of these countries, and will finally enter the realm of nations which share collective responsibility to provide aid and assistance to the developing world (G8 members). Therefore, I think it would be in the West's self-interest to allow, in fact encourage, the Chinese to expand into Africa unabated to both relieve themselves of the distraction it poses to progress on current initiatives elsewhere. It is important to make sure the Chinese do not become too ambitious for their own good but rather stay focused on international projects that they are best suited to manage, of which African economic development is clearly one.

Some may argue that by ignoring the African continent and allowing the Chinese to build their prestige through cooperation in economic development projects and poverty alleviation, the West would be squandering their opportunity to build the partnerships necessary to capitalize on the rich natural resources the developing economies in that region will become increasingly adept at harnessing, packaging, and exporting.

I take a contrary view, as I feel that the best way to substantially benefit from the vast reserves of oil, uranium, iron ore, and other minerals and fuels that have only begun to be realized is by allowing the Chinese multi-national companies to take responsibility for financing, constructing, and operating the sorely needed infrastructure that will allow these goods to be extracted and brought to market in a manner that is both efficient and has a real effect on the currently inflated market prices that are currently under the sole discretion of the OPEC ministers.

I suspect that the Chinese are not going to make an investment in these countries unless they have reason to believe that their return on that investment will be substantial. Even if the Chinese and their partners are reluctant to open up their co-ops to full participation from foreign companies and governments, there is likely to be a tangible easing of the pressure the economy's unprecedented growth has placed on global markets, so by allowing them to have preferential access to these reserves it should result in a decline in the price of oil contracts traded in Chicago, New York, and other major commodity markets around the world. This is Economics 101, simple supply and demand.

In terms of realizing benefit on behalf of the American people and the citizens of our Western allies, this tweak in the fundamental market makeup could have a tangible downward effect on the price of gasoline for consumers, as well as ease the burden on airlines that are struggling to cut costs and climb out of bankruptcy. Thus, it would be positive for American industry generally to encourage the Chinese to explore possible partnerships in countries like Zimbabwe, Zaire, Nigeria, Kenya, and others that are ready to test the waters of globalization and improve their embattled economies.

Another comparative advantage China offers its potential African partners is its rich experience in building a domestic economy upon a manufacturing force that can both produce at unparalleled levels while simultaneously maintaining a cost of production well below that sought by countries in the America's and Eastern Europe, which are its only true competitors in terms of quality of labor. The last great untapped labor force in the world occupies most of the African continent and if provided the proper industrial management, the continent has enough raw material to become very competitive in numerous industries by following the Chinese economic development model.

I believe strongly that one of the most debilitating handicaps endured by G8 nations is their irreversible and misguided obsession with framing the debate on international development and poverty alleviation as a domestic political issue, instead of leaving the diplomats to contrive of innovative solutions to the complex problems of the 21st century which are devoid of political calculation. After spending several months considering the merits of the solution I have proposed it seems apparent to me that it will be successful based upon one precondition: the US and her allies acknowledge China's right to use the arena of international trade and developmental economics to enhance its prestige among its peers atop the international community. The ideas I have articulated in this post are an attempt to refocus the debate on development policy in the West away from the prevailing approach of "what should we be doing", towards one that asks the question, "what should we be encouraging others to do?" I hope to stimulate thought, and I welcome all feedback.


View of the universe may be cast in new light as we focus our lenses on the heavens...

Today the EU hopes to begin a mission that may redefine our view of the universe by adding new focus to the cartographic conquest of deep space and worlds not too unlike our own. Until now, we have not had the ability to see with much clarity planets orbiting distant suns similar to our own, which has left only with speculation as to whether or not water, the essence of life in our own ecosystem, is widely proliferated though out the many billions of solar systems.

Moore's Law, the famous prediction made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore states that since microchip "complexity" is proportional to the number of transistors, it should hold that the performance of a single chip should double every 24 months. I have never put the time into looking for a comparable axiom coined by an astronomer or space physicist regarding the rate of improvement in our telescopic capability, but it seems to me that our discoveries in just the last five years would make the exponential implications of Moore's logic totally applicable. It has awed me to read about the incredible discoveries made by scientists at NASA and the European Space Agency toward realizing greater meaning of our seemingly insignificant existence in a remote and tranquil corner of the galaxies. We have witnessed and begun to unlock the mysteries of catastrophic interstellar collisions that puzzled and inspired great thinkers like Einstein and his theory of general relativity, or his brilliant thought on "large objects". I have been overwhelmed by the relative obscurity of these groundbreaking and before now science fictional observations that were once thought to be eternal mysteries. We have found planetary systems, made advancements in our physical understanding of the applicability of natural laws in anomolies such as black-holes, and the presence of "dark matter" has become a discovery well within our grasp. We even now believe that we have discovered actual flowing water on Mars, which if confirmed would turn our understanding of our own solar-system on its head.

I am very excited to view the heavenly images captured by the COROT satellite, but I am wish the world would pay better attention to what is going on in the world of astronomy, because it may end up being the biggest story since the Gospels.


Honoring President Gerald Ford

Former President Gerald Ford has just passed away in the last few hours and I am inclined to share my thoughts on his contribution to this nation and to the office which he reluctantly assumed at an hour of national turmoil. His legacy is not among the most favorable of America's chief executives, and the pundits, even at the hour of his death, are quick to acknowledge this fact (I speak specifically of the reflections from Robert Novak on FoxNews). However, the circumstances surrounding his ascendancy to the nation's highest office were perilous in a way unexperienced since the assassination of President Lincoln following the Civil War. He was the first unelected Vice President in our nations history, as well as the first unelected President, which was unquestionably a heavy burden to bear for a man who quite obviously never aspired to that post. Chosen by President Richard Nixon to replace the disgraced outgoing Vice President Spiro Agnew because he was seen as a safe choice who posed no threat to the embattled President, but in the end he saved the disgraced former president form enduring the embarrassment of a prolonged legal battle when he issued a very controversial executive pardon to his predecessor. Despite never being elected to the executive mansion, he was able to spurn the primary challenge from future President Ronald Reagan in 1976, though eventually falling to Jimmy Carter in the hotly contested general election.

He was one of the only presidents that didn't receive much attention in the any of the US history classes I have taken, but anyone who is a student of politics recognizes the very important role he played in preserving the dignity of the most powerful office in all the world. There are several ways to interpret the impact of Gerald Ford's presidency on the future of the office, and I believe his most important legacy will be the precedent he set when he made the very controversial decision to pardon Richard Nixon, which undoubtedly hurt his own political fortunes at the time, but will forever remind future presidents that sometimes what is popular is not what is wise.

The nation has tonight lost one truly great man, and I am confident that history will judge his brief tenure, though less spectacular than some, to be one of the most courageous.


Ignorant bigots like Goode cast dark cloud over Republicans in eyes of Muslims in America and abroad...

Ellison: 'Lawmaker has a lot to learn about Islam'-- CNN

Related Google News Links

Having had the opportunity to work as a intern in the office of Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert during the summer of 2005, I was fortunate to witness government in action from behind the scenes and my experiences will forever be among the most rewarding of my life. Speaker Hastert is without question one of the greatest Congressional leaders we have ever had and the professionalism of his staff has created in me a greater sense of responsibility for the way in which I present myself to everybody I meet. I can't help but wish that all Republicans were cast in the mold of Speaker Hastert and his staff, but as I watch the news tonight I am amazed by the backward, ignorant, bigoted comments made by redneck Congressman Vigil Goode and I wish that Speaker Hastert didn't have to be leaving his office in the Capital during such a low point in the history of the Republican Party.

My specific problems with Congressman Goode's comments involve the despicable way in which he tries to tie the use of the Koran in a Congressional swearing in ceremony to the current threats posed by illegal immigrants. The absolutely absurd notion that the illegal immigrants somehow had anything to do with the elction of Mr. Ellison, the newly elected Congressman from Minnesota who happens to be the first Muslim ever elected to the House, shocks and amazes me. The fact is, almost every single illegal immigrant in this country is probably a Catholic. Another comment made by the Congressman that I found abhorrent was his recollection of an encounter with a constituent who upon entering his DC office and viewing the 10 commandments on the wall asked why he had nothing from the Koran. According to the slightly retarded Congressman, he is a Christian and only supports Christian symbols of God's will for humanity (though he said it in his own slightly-dumbed down way). Well, I have news for Congressman Goode, the 10 commandments in fact do appear, almost verbatim in the Koran. Additionally (and this is something I was only recently enlightened on) the Koran also contains the book of Revelations, as well as all of the stories about Jesus that are so revered by Christians. I wonder why Congressman Goode hasn't taken the time to better understand Islam, considering the importance it will play in the future of our country as the primary tool used by the extremists spreading the hateful ideology that has spawned all of the terrorism that the world currently faces. It is probably because he is a stupid hillbilly who is motivated primarily by hate. Now here is one Republican we could really do without...

On a more positive note, I welcome Mr. Ellison, and from everything I have seen about him I am sure he will be an outstanding Congressman. I hope that his election will inspire Muslims, both Republican and Democrat, to consider a life of public service. They owe it to their country, but more importantly, they owe it to their religion. They can't afford to allow ignorant bigots like Congressman Goode determine and shape how Americans understand its principles.


Bush drops drawl and shots from the hip...

President Bush just left the podium in the Indian Treaty Room of the Executive Office Building, and I feel the need to hastily comment on a few observations I made on both his presentation and his message. First, he sounds like a different president. He appeared extremely confident and humble, two qualities that one would rarely attribute to his performance in most press conferences, but I get the sense that he has decided (about two years too late) that it is time to drop the drawl and show a different face to the American people, who have quickly lost their affinity for his "common man" approach to public speaking. It was refreshing to hear my girlfriend admit that he actually sounded coherent, rather than her typical impression of him as a bumbling fool. Second, I think the comments he made about the historical implications of his presidency being far from quantifiable will be lost on all of the cable news pundits who live and die by public opinion polls that are more driven by the sensational representation of the dire situation in Iraq than on any of the actual accomplishments (or lack thereof) of the administration over the past six years. It is the unfortunate byproduct of today's media environment that every minor development is considered crucial to the ultimate success of the mission, which any historian will tell you fails to do justice to the efforts of the president, his cabinet and the public perception of his policies. More to follow...

More troops definitely not the answer...

More troops will only fuel the violence- Pentagon: Times Online

Related Google News Links

I have always felt that the strategy employed by the Pentagon since the beginning of the war was the wisest approach to fighting this new type of counter-insurgency campaign, which would obviously tempt the patience of the American people. I cannot understand the logic in increasing our presence, as has been proposed by Senator John McCain among others, in a war zone rife with suicide attacks and IED's. Why would we put more American's on street corners to be easy pickings for such spineless tactics? Where is the wisdom in increasing the number of targets for these jihadies to drive their TNT-laden SUVs into? As far as I am concerned, and I say this with the utmost compassion for the current situation, Iraqi police make better sitting ducks than members of the US Army reserve. I can understand where Senator McCain is coming from, and if I was in his position I might view the situation similarly considering his presidential ambitions, but I think his advisers should tell the senator that this strategy is misguided. There are so many ways in which he could better distinguish himself from his competition for the Republican nomination, for I can only see his current position ultimately hurting him in the long run. In fact, he need only adjust his current policy slightly, in my opinion, to better address the realities of the current conflict and effect its long term outcome. If he were to change his calls for more "boots on the ground" in Iraq to calls for a substantial increase in our current Naval presence in the Persian Gulf, which is more in line with the current suggestions coming out of the White House, it may go a long way toward influencing the actions of the otherwise defiant regime in Tehran. With President Amadine-jihad suffering a setback in last weekends local elections, the time is right for the US to exert maximum pressure on the Iranian government and show the entire region that we will not cower in the face of belligerent extremism. I am confident incoming Defense Secretary Gates will continue the valiant struggle begun under his predecessor with the same ruthless tenacity that has made this war one of the most efficiently managed in American history (considering its unconventional nature). I can only hope that our next president will understand as well as President Bush has (and which the majority of the American people unfortunately have not) what is necessary to prevail.


Sacre bleu! Why can't American's go this fast too?

France hopes to set world speed record of 342mph with new TGV-- The Independent

Wikipedia History of the US Railroad

(Image on left shows proposed routes for future high speed trains in US, but proposals are all we have so far)

One of the most disappointing realities of daily life in urban America is the absolutely embarrassing state of public transportation compared to our European and Asian counterparts, which have both embraced the advances in railway technology, canvassing their countrysides with bullet trains that link their citizens in ways American Amtrak riders could never comprehend. Considering the importance of the railroad to the early prosperity of our infant nation in the 19th century, it is amazing to me that our adoption of advanced rail networks hasn't been embraced by politicians across the country looking for ways to unlock unrealized value from from their local industries, offer their constituents an efficient and cost effective alternative to air travel and keep pace with the hyper-modernization currently underway everywhere else in the developed world. Instead, Washington has been duped into rubber stamping the annual subsidies for Amtrak, which have done nothing more than provide disincentive to all probable sources of innovation in the industry. Living in Chicago, which is essentially the largest railroad crossing in the world, with massive rail yards in the outlying regions of the city through which more commerce travels by train than any other place in the world annually, it is impossible to ignore the positive role the railroad still plays in supplying the country with goods which would otherwise clutter the highways on the back of semi-trucks. But until we have an actionable plan for providing cheap, efficient and fast transportation from coast-to-coast, our interstate railroad system will only fall further from its pinnacle as the most advanced in the world just a few decades ago.

For all the talk of American dependence on oil and solving the problems of environmental degradation caused by rapid expansion of interstate highways filled with gas-guzzling SUV's, I have never once heard anyone propose the modernization and deregulation of the railways as an incremental step in the long-term process of finding solutions to these complex and costly matters. Instead, we have allowed the French and the Germans rise to the forefront of the industry, leaving us in the dust and making millions of dollars selling their state-of-the-art bullet trains to China, South Korea and other countries that are building 21st transportation networks to meet the demands of their 21st century workforce. I concede that their is only so much that can be expected of the government when it comes to doing what is sensible and consumer friendly, but I can't imagine anything happening unless more American's voice their opinions on the current state of the nation's railroads. Could anyone reasonably imagine having only one airline on which to fly, which was subsidized by the government and cost an arm and a leg? Or maybe just one car manufacturer which only sold two door sedans in beige? Of course you can't, because you know that it is your right as a consumer in America to have choices when it comes to purchasing your method of transportation. So what needs to be done to light a fire under the fannies of American travelers and commuters who are living in silent frustration? If only they new how good the French have it...


Chinese in Africa...

Mbeki warns on China-Africa ties

Related Google News Links

In June of this year I wrote the posting quoted below on another of my blog projects China Wakes. Recently, in response to the comments of South African President Mbeki from the BBC article above, many mainstream pundits and analysts have taken up the same topic and I thought I would repost my thoughts here. I still feel it is essential for the Chinese to take the lead in Africa, for essentially the same reasons I argue below. I will save for another posting any expansion on these thoughts.

BBC NEWS | Business | China defends its African relations

If there is one continent in the world that still elicits feelings of uncertainty in the minds of global political and economic leaders it is unquestionably Africa. The cradle of civilization now faces rampant disease, famine, violence and economic malaise, while Western diplomats sit on their thumbs on the upper-east side and squabble over the merits of peacekeeping missions to halt genocidal slaughter in Sudan. For decades UN policy has utterly failed the people it was established to benefit above any other, and no end to the destitution is in sight, at least until recently. There is no government in the world more experienced with and successful in the implementation of development policy than the Chinese. Its population has demanded that its leaders climb down from their perch in Beijing and travel to the villages, so as to better understand the nature of poverty and conceive of realistic and effective policies to combat its debilitating consequences. Well, the proof is in the pudding. The Chinese economy is booming, its peasantry is becoming increasingly self-sufficient and educated, and few people would argue that the future for the Chinese people is not bright and their international prestige and influence not growing. This leaves Western leaders in the precarious position of having to confront a Communist government, who's success challenges the legitimacy of their own democratic systems as they battle for the hearts and minds of impoverished, war torn countries in the Middle East, which are far more valuable to their self-interest than trying to tackle the complicated problems that plague the African continent.

It seems logical to me that governments in the developed world would feel threatened by the rapid ascendancy of such a formidable competitor in the developing world, but I doubt that they have the resources necessary to combat the Chinese as they begin to spread their wings and establish friendships with countries that have felt slighted by the West for years. Additionally, it seems to me that the West has already prioritized the Middle East ahead of all other development projects it plans to undertake for at least the first decade of the 21st century. Therefore, I think it would be in the West's self-interest to allow the Chinese to expand into Africa unabated, so as to both relieve themselves of the distraction it poses to progress on initiatives currently under way elsewhere, as well as to make sure the Chinese do not become too ambitious for their own good but rather stay focused on international projects that they are best suited to manage. The Chinese are well aware of where their comparative advantages lie, and I don't think they are eager to bite off more responsibility than they can chew. We will have to wait and see how the US and other governments engage the Chinese, but with any hope they will be embraced as a partner who shares our goals of global prosperity and alleviation of destitution around the world. Until we are given a reason to feel otherwise, it would be both irresponsible and ignorant to act otherwise. (June 21, 2006; China Wakes)

iWoz a must read for all 'technopreneurs'

My friend and I have both recently finished our undergraduate study and have decided to go into business together making Linux-embedded handheld computers. I am not an engineer, nor am I particularly savvy when it comes to electronics or computers, but after reading the recently published memoir from co-founder of Apple Computers and inventor of the modern personal computer Steve Wozniak, I am convinced that nothing will stand in our way.

Though the book is a bit remedial in its presentation (what more can you expect from a guy who has been teaching fifth grade for the last ten years) the wisdom imparted in its 300 pages has breathed newfound confidence into my previously doubt infested entrepreneurial spirit. I consider it an absolute must-read for every aspiring innovator who knows they can change the world but doesn't believe the world will ever notice. Thanks Woz...

Edwards has commanding lead in first Iowa poll...

More Good News for Edwards in Iowa - The Fix

Chris Matthews Has His Eyes on Edwards...

Related Google News Links

In a surprise to everyone who has been swept up in the Clinton/Obama hype of recent weeks, John Edwards, former Vice Presidential candidate and North Carolina Senator, has a commanding lead in early polling of primary voters in Iowa coming in with 36%, compared with 16% for Clinton and a mere 13% for neo-political rock star Barack Obama. Even more surprising is that outgoing Iowa governor, and the only officially declared candidate, Tom Vilsack could only muster 9% in his home state. I don't think Vilsack truly expects to win the nomination, but I do think he is eying the VP spot on the Dem's 2008 ticket. Edwards had a strong showing in the 2004 Iowa caucuses, coming on strong along with his eventual running mate John Kerry in the final two weeks of campaigning, following the implosion of then front-runner and now DNC chairman Howard Dean.

I think that Edwards has many factors working in his favor in the run-up to the 2008 campaign, primarily the fact that he is currently unemployed. This allows him to focus solely on campaigning without having to worry about how his votes in the Senate may affect how he is perceived in mainstream America. He has also had two years to float under the radar and plot his strategy for combating the much anticipated candidacy of Sen. Clinton who, until the recent emergence of Barack Obama and the comparisons of him to JFK, was clearly the favorite of the mainstream media. There is no question that this poll, which is the second to show such a commanding lead for the former-Senator, has placed him at the front of the pack heading into the long 2007 battle for the heart and minds of Democratic voters. This should scare Republicans because an Edwards-Obama or Edwards-Vilsack ticket may be tremendously difficult to defeat in a general election. If the Republican party rejects its more moderate figures, such as Rudy Guiliani and John McCain, in favor of a more conservative candidate, they put themselves at risk of losing the battle for the swing voters that Karl Rove so skillfully lured in 2000 and 2004. The race is on...

How to avoid Iraq becoming another Vietnam...

As far as I can see, there are emerging eerie similarities between the conflict in Iraq and the experiences of the United States during the Vietnam War, for the reasons, and ONLY the reasons that I elaborate on below...

First, the US military in Iraq has been effectively handcuffed by rules of engagement and coalition policies that limit the scope of operations to those of a defensive nature. This has marginalized the effectiveness of our counter-insurgency operations and prevented the Bush Administration from aggressively redefining the conflict to more accurately reflect the true nature of the enemy (which I will address further below). Similarly, during the war in Vietnam, the US decided the right policy was to maintain a defensive position in the south, rather than risk large scale casualties and a possible Russian intervention in an all out invasion of the North. I think it is fair to say that the Viet Cong would not have stood a chance against an invading US military, but politicians decided that an all out affair was a bad bet, and for all I know they made the right decision. But I can't help but feel that the outcome of the war in East Asia, and thus the mindset of the American people during this drawn-out conflict in Iraq, may have been fundamentally different if our strategy had focused on our strengths and less on our obvious shortcomings.

I find it difficult to believe that an insurgency as formidable and well equipped as that which we are current battling on the streets of Baghdad could possibly be home-grown, or entirely sectarian in nature, but rather bears the characteristics of a well financed and steadily reinforced militia serving as the proxy of our now long-standing enemy in Tehran. I believe that the only way to win in Iraq is by acknowledging the realities of the current conflict and taking the fight to the enemy, rather than give lip service to the hard work entailed in establishing an Iraqi military to assume responsibilities that I see as solely ours. Of course, politics prevent the president from doing just that, but with the midterm elections in the past and the Iranian regime basically laughing in our face as we scramble to fight an invisible enemy which they have financed, President Bush must not bend to the pressures of domestic politics because it is his and only his responsibility to make and implement US foreign policy. The only way out of Iraq, I fear, is through Iran...

Innovative solution for subverting armageddeon...

Prize offered to tag an asteroid

Related Google News Links

Apophis, a quarter-mile wide asteroid named after the Egyptian mythical demon of evil and destruction, is on a collision course with Earth-- maybe. NASA has already concluded that the asteroid will come closer than many of our current communications satellites when it passes in 2029, but depending upon the effect Earth's gravity has on the comets' orbit, it could be pulled into a direct collision course with our planet on its return in 2036. In an attempt to draw upon the collective resources and creative problem solving of the world's many stargazers, the Planetary Society has offered a $50,000 prize to anyone who can offer a sound proposal for tagging the asteroid to determine the probability that it will be sucked into a path of destruction.

Despite the fact that Apophis needs to pass through a 'keyhole several hundred meters wide' in order to become a serious threat to impact Earth (which seems rather insignificant in an astrophysical sense) this provides humans with the first tangible opportunity to affect their destiny as a species against the previously impervious forces of nature. It has long been thought that dinosaurs perished as a result of a cataclysmic impact from a meteor similar to Apophis, but because of their lack of advanced intelligence they were wholly ignorant of their fate until they were engulfed in an atmosphere that could no longer sustain their ecosystem. Had we faced such a danger even 50 years ago, the human race would have been close to powerless against an impending impact from an asteroid, but because of the great technological progress of the late 20th century, and assuming continued progression at or above current rates, human-beings have created for themselves an opportunity to become the first Earthly species to have complete control over its fate. Remarkable, aren't we?


Finally, TWWI moves to Blogger in Beta

Well, after months of anticipation, tonight I was finally invited to switch my blog over from the original Blogger service to the new hosting platform Google launched back in September. I have just started playing around with the services more advanced features, but so far I am very impressed. As usual Google lives up to my expectations. I would greatly appreciate any input anyone may have regarding the way in which I have organized everything, or if anyone would like to suggest any other blogs or news sources that you think I should read and link to in the sidebar. I would also like to thank those of you who regularly take the time to read what I have to say about whatever it is I have on my mind. It is really encouraging to know that my thoughts are getting out there! Hopefully I have inspired others to venture into the blogosphere!


Why not add "cracker" and "honky" to that list while your at it...

Activists urge boycott of the 'N-word' - Los Angeles Times

Apparently the leaders of black America have decided it is time to start looking within as they continue their fight against racism, which has been given renewed media attention following the racial tirade of Michael Richards (a.k.a. Kramer from the television series Seinfeld) directed toward two obnoxious hecklers during his recent stand-up performance in L.A. First of all, I want to applaud the Reverend Jackson and his posse for their genuine acknowledgment that the real root of the continued use of derogatory slurs like "nigger" is the prevailing notion that it is o.k. for blacks to use them, but it is reprehensible when it comes from a white man. This has baffled me since I was first introduced to rap music back in grade school, and it has continued to peeve me ever since. Why, I have always wondered, can't I (as a white man) use a word that seems to carry no negative connotations when shared between "brothers"? Why is it o.k., or at least accepted amongst whites, for black comedians such as Richard Prior to make fun of the "honky" or "cracker"? The obvious answer to both questions is that black American's as a collective whole still have a chip on their shoulder because of the sins of our ancestors, and as a result, they feel a sense of entitlement to say whatever they choose without retribution, while simultaneously scrutinizing the words of white men and women through a hyper-sensitive, politically correct microscope. I think that the decision by the leaders of the NAACP today to push for a community wide ban on the use of the "N" word is unquestionably a step toward pacifying once and for all the obviously tenuous issues of race and racism in America today. However, I find it hard to believe that any prominent black leader is going to stand up and call for an end to the racially motivated slurs many blacks use unabashedly toward whites.


Geriatric Jihad In Jabaliya

Grandmother targets Israeli troops as a suicide bomber - Los Angeles Times

Related Google News Link

64 year-old Palestinian grandmother Fatma Omar An-Najar who blew herself up hear Israeli troops yesterday may sound to the typical American watching Fox News as if she were another victim of the same radical Islamic psychological manipulation that has claimed the lives of 100+ Palestinian terrorists in the last 6 years, but upon further scrutiny both her motives and her justification become clear to all but the most pig-headed. Mother of nine and grandmother of forty, An-Najar's home was recently demolished by the Israeli army because she harbored Hamas militants and participated in a massive (and voluntary) human-shield demonstration which successfully rebuffed a planned Israeli offensive earlier in the week. First of all, I think it would be fair to assume that she has lost immediate family members to Israel's occupying force (possibly her husband or children) and for this reason it is reasonable to assume that she truly is sympathetic to the Hamas led resistance in the Palestinian territories. That said, are we or aren't we discussing a 64 YEAR-OLD GRANDMA?!?

Sympathtic or not, the Palestinian territories have turned into a war zone since the eruption of conflict over the kidnapped Israeli soldier and subsequent military offenses by the Jews. What was Fatma to do when young men fighting in her backyard demanded she provide them safe harbor? Certainly nobody suggests that she stand-up to them and refuse; well, except of course the Israeli military, which somehow gathered that she may be capable of such bold action under such distressing circumstances. What kind of sick-minded, evil people demolish the home of a grandmother who had no choice but to live in the middle of the violence. Do you know of any grandmother who wouldn't gladly give their life for the sake of their children/grandchildren? Considering conditions in her region, she was probably left with nothing when the Jews punitively destroyed her family's home, provoking her failed attack and even further compounding their public relations problems around the world.

Since the outbreak of renewed organized resistence on a large scale, followed by the most idiotic military campaign in the brief history of modern warfare, I have noticed a profound shift in tactics and long-term strategy from that of the Kamakazi operatives sent on high-risk/low-return missions toward one centered around accentuating the agglomerated capabilities of resistence movements under Hezbollah and Hamas on two fronts. From these strongholds the resistance is using weapons of the ballistic rather than suicide variety. I think Hassan Nassrallah, leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, truly gets it, let the Israeli come and kill you while your sleeping when they blow up your apartment building or place of business-- suicide bombers win no sympathy where it counts, in the West. The sooner we recognize this paradigmatic shift in the region's balance of power and moral superiority, the sooner our policies will effectively address the realities that we face in the Middle East.

Genomics break-through bad for the politically correct movement?

Medical News Today-Humans Differ Genetically More Than Previously Thought

Google News Links

I was immediately struck by the headline listed in the first link above because a fundamental assumption of human evolution and biological structure has now been shattered to bits. As I understand this information I have read and reread, it states that the genetic variation between individuals could now reasonably be considered a factor in that person's cognitive and physical development. Prior conventional wisdom asserted that all human-beings are at the genetic level 99.9% the same, when in actuality it appears that the probable genetic variation between two individuals may in fact be 10-15 times greater. Due to inexplicable circumstances encountered over the course of our species' evolution, it is now common for there to be found extra "copies" of genes at varying rates from individual to individual, rather than the presumed two (one from each parent) per genetic trait. Though the article, and most of the articles so far listed on Google News have stressed the importance of these findings for the prospects of prescribing the genetic catalysts of specific diseases among some and not other, I see quite different implications on the horizon for the the concept of the individual and the "genetic ceilings" of limited capability if science continues to follow along this path.

Anyone who hasn't seen GATTACA, the 1997 film staring Ethan Hawke, should be sure to add it to their Netflix movie list ASAP. Hawke plays a genetically deficient individual who was branded as below average at birth based strictly on a blood sample. The movie goes on to address many of the ethical conundrums that this discovery has now leapt from the silver screen of science fiction and has planted itself on a collision course with the bio-ethical debates that are currently raging throughout American society. Since it has been a few years since I have had the opportunity to view the film I will refrain from commenting at length herein, but once I have had the chance to watch it through and write a review worthy of its philosophical foresightedness.

For now I would like to leave everyone to ponder the possibility that our race defines more about us than what terms we preferred to be grouped under (i.e. black, hispanic, etc...). What if we are each, as a result of our racial and cultural heritage, quantifiably superior to our fellow man of different heritage at the most basic level of being? This question only broaches a conversation that cannot very easily be addressed at length at this time, but upon further reflection I will definitely post my thoughts. I would greatly appreciate hearing your's, so please comment below on the ideas put forth in all posts.


Making Meaning...

When I arrived at my office last Thursday I discovered that my great friend (and one of Asia's Top 25 entrepreneurs under the age of 25 according to Business Week) had left me a gift, and in the seventy-two hours that followed I spent every second of free time glued to the pages of Guy Kawasaki's new book The Art of the Start. I finally finished up the last ten pages yesterday while riding the El into Lincoln Park and I have been unable to divert my mind from trying to deduce what "meaning" I hope to make as I jump way in over my head into the sea of runaway ambition. So compelled to further explore this idea was I, that I just created a new blog called Makers of Meaning to use as a forum for commenting on the best and worst examples of entrepreneurs and corporations who have used actual imagination when conceiving their organizations role in the evolution of human innovation. There are several sections of this book which I plan to write on in much greater detail in subsequent postings, but in the mean time go to the book store and buy your favorite entrepreneur this phenomenal book for Christmas.

Making the most of eBay

This was on ebay:

You are bidding on the contact information for my friend who acquired a PS3 by waiting in line outside Best Buy for two days in advance. I was there with him the entire time, but already sold mine. He has in his posession a PS3, extra controller, extra charger, three games (Resistance, Madden, and Ridge Racer), and a 2 year replacement plan. Keep in mind that you are not bidding on an actual system, but only the information where you might obtain one. You will be able to contact him and he is very willing to sell if the price is right. The unit is in the Atlanta, GA area and he would be willing to deliver in person if close by. PayPal is the only payment form accepted.

There were 20 bids and the final price was $1,100.

Above italicized quoted from Marginal Revolution)

I applaud the innovative individual who thought up this brilliant scheme. I can imagine he had quite a good time this weekend.


Wii is where it's at...

Google News Results for "Nintendo Wii"

Nintendo Wii on Wikipedia

Wikipedia Nintendo Portal

Google sorted search results for "nintendo wii more:cheats"

Official site

I will never forget the day I received my very first Nintendo video game system....

Christmas 1992, I was nine and my sister five. We must have spent the next six months shooting ducks (Duck Hunt) and dodging evil mushrooms (Super Mario). Since that time I have totally shunned video games, playing only in short intervals (Halo only) and usually with great impatience... that is, until the other day when I had the opportunity to try out Nintendo's new Wii. Built upon a similar business plan to their original, revolutionary system, the Wii brings to life an entirely new paradigm in interactive video gaming. It is without question closer to achieving a virtual reality-like dynamic than any of its competitors, and I don't even need to play any of the other next generation systems (which I haven't) to make such an assertion. For all of the hype surrounding the PS3, I have yet to even talk to anyone that has anything good to say about it, primarily because nobody has been able to get there hands on one that they don't immediately list on eBay, but also because they focused all of their development efforts on graphics without fundamentally changing the type of games/interfaces that they offer.

Though I am eagerly anticipating the next installation in the Halo franchise from Microsoft, I doubt I will even consider picking up an Xbox controller until it comes out, and who knows if I will even see a PS3 until after the New Year. Thus, because of both Nintendo's imaginative design and its modest pricing I have decided to officially endorse Nintendo as the video game company of the past, present and future.


The Rundown On Web 2.0

Web 2.0 Companies Organized by Logo

Google News Results for "Web 2.0"

Web 2.0 on Wikipedia

I am sure everyone reading this post has heard of and likely experimented with the many new (and usually free) web companies focused on creating information sharing networks utilizing web-based software suits and giving users a tangible personal "presence" on the internet. The phenomenon began with the boom in popularity of blogs, again something I am sure all reads are familiar with, and has exploded as younger generations begin to swallow up a larger share of primary internet users. Rupert Murdoch has popularized the label "techno natives" to describe everyone under the age of 22 who has either a MySpace, Facebook or various other "blog" account on which they post photos of their friends, write about their favorite Simpson's episode and list their interests for the world to read. Anyone who has gotten swept up into the Google Revolution (like me) understands the true value of totally free services provided by companies that store any necessary information on the web to be accessed from anywhere. Internet startups are beginning to recognize that the traditional business model of charging for web-based services is dead and will remain so, and they have chosen to develop advanced applications, each with the potential to change the way we understand and use the vast maze of information available online. Certainly, each experiment with the next generation of internet evolution is a long-term trial in the fortitude of the internet business, which now must exist both in the world that is now and the world that is coming-- FAST.

A few tortured insomniacs undoubtedly stricken with carpel tunnel syndrome have made attempts to index all of these concept companies, which seem to materialize hourly and blow-up almost as quickly. Econsultant.com has a list of about 1200 companies that they have broken down into catagories and are accompanied by multi-lingual comments from users. Another list issued by Sacred Cow Dung is quite comprehensive and regularly updated. In the next few days I will profile my favorite Web 2.0 companies and I encourage all to start their own bookmark file of companies that they encounter because you never know when the services these high-unconventional companies offer will be useful.


Blair speech on a 'whole Middle East strategy': full text - Britain - Times Online

Blair speech on a 'whole Middle East strategy': full text - Britain - Times Online

In my opinion there is no political figure of the last several generations that has made a greater impact on the state of the world today than British PM Tony Blair. He has inspired me to lead a life of public service and he has set his nation on a course toward a bright future by constructively working with his counterpart across the pond in ways and at levels which his European brothers were never able to duplicate. His arguments in support of the war against terrorists has successfully plugged the intellectual leaks in President Bush's rhetorical style, and has retained much of the multinational forces' otherwise waning legitimacy.

The following is the text of the Prime Minister's annual address before the Lord Mayor's Banquet in London, a speech traditional used by British premiers to outline their foreign policy. The speech was delivered on 13 November 2006.

My Lord Mayor, My Late Lord Mayor, Your Grace, My Lord High Chancellor, Your Excellencies, My Lords, Aldermen, Sheriffs, Chief Commoner, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Remembrance weekend took on a special poignancy this year. No longer do we only look back, nostalgia mixed with emotion and pride, on the supreme sacrifices of two World Wars.

In this century, a new and unconventional enemy has appeared: a global terrorism, based on a thoroughly warped misinterpretation of Islam, which is fanatical and deadly. It was present for years but little noticed by us, before 9/11. Since 9/11, it has cast its shadow over the Western world.

The bomb which killed British forces in Iraq yesterday was a cruel and wicked reminder that this terrorism is dedicated to one end: to stop democracy flourishing in Arab and Muslim countries; to foster sectarian division; to drive out the possibility of reconciliation between people of different faiths.

In defiance of the wishes of the Government of Iraq, now elected, and of the UN which for over three years has supported that democratic process, they urge violence to eliminate hope. In Basra, we are halfway through the army and police operation, which British forces are supporting, to put the proper authorities in charge of the city. It is an operation that is succeeding. The bomb was designed to stop it.

Do not countenance the myth that it is a protest about the so-called occupation of Basra by British forces. On the contrary, the terrorists know the whole purpose of the operation we are conducting with the Iraqi forces is to allow Iraqis to take charge.

Once again we should reflect on the quite humbling courage of the British Armed Forces. They are remarkable people, making an extraordinary sacrifice. They have our admiration. And for the families of those that have fallen, we extend to them our most profound sympathy and condolences.

Both in respect of Iraq and Afghanistan this weekend we remembered those who have died. But it is critical that we understand what links both struggles. Of course, in each case there are very specific national factors at play.

But in the ideology and methods that are fuelling the violence in both countries, there is a common set of characteristics. It is the same ideology, the same methods that have seen thousands die in acts of terrorism across the world.

In Iraq, the pressure from such terrorism has changed the nature of the battle. Its purpose is now plain: to provoke civil war. The violence is not therefore an accident or a result of faulty planning. It is a deliberate strategy. It is the direct result of outside extremists teaming up with internal extremists - al-Qaeda with the Sunni insurgents, Iranian backed Shia militia - to foment hatred and thus throttle at birth the possibility of non-sectarian democracy. These external elements are, of course, the same elements driving extremism the world over.

This is crucial to our understanding of the right strategy to combat it. The majority of Iraqis don't want this extremism - they showed that when they voted for an explicitly non-sectarian Government. But the terrorists are trying to propel them towards it.

Just as the situation is evolving, so our strategy should evolve to meet it.

Inside Iraq we should empower the Iraqi leadership that wants to take responsibility - that knows that they, not us, must lead and win the fight against terrorism. To do this, effectively, they need our support, politically, in their economy and for their armed forces.

  • First, we need a strong political compact in Iraq led by the Iraqi Government to bring all parties together, with clear commitments to non-sectarian government and to democracy;
  • Second, we need to build Iraqi governing capability, especially in the disbursement of money for reconstruction and rebuilding of the economy;
  • Third, we must plug any gaps in training, equipment and command and control in the Iraqi Army and help the new Interior Minister root out sectarianism in the police, which in turn will allow us, within the timeframe set down by General Casey, to transition to Iraqi control.

However, most crucial is this. Just as it is, in significant part, forces outside Iraq that are trying to create mayhem inside Iraq, so we have to have a strategy that pins them back, not only in Iraq but outside it too.

In other words, a major part of the answer to Iraq lies not in Iraq itself but outside it, in the whole of the region where the same forces are at work, where the roots of this global terrorism are to be found, where the extremism flourishes, with a propaganda that may be, indeed is, totally false; but is, nonetheless, attractive to much of the Arab street.

That is what I call a "whole Middle East" strategy.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding that this is about changing policy on Syria and Iran. First, those two countries do not at all share identical interests. But in any event that is not where we start.

On the contrary, we should start with Israel/Palestine. That is the core. We should then make progress on Lebanon. We should unite all moderate Arab and Moslem voices behind a push for peace in those countries but also in Iraq. We should be standing up for, empowering, respecting those with a moderate and modern view of the faith of Islam everywhere.

What is happening in the Middle East today is not complex. It is simple. Iran is being confronted over its nuclear weapons ambitions. Its stock market has lost a third of its value in the last year and foreign credit is increasingly hard to come by. The statements of its President - such as wiping Israel from the face of the earth - are causing alarm, even in Iran.

To be fair, they have a genuine, if entirely misplaced fear, that the US seeks a military solution in Iran. They don't. But we all want Iran to suspend its enrichment process which if allowed to continue, will give them a nuclear weapon. Under the agreement we brokered in June, the US has said they will talk to Iran direct for the first time in 30 years, if they abide by the UN demand to suspend enrichment. But Iran is refusing to do it.

Instead they are using the pressure points in the region to thwart us. So they help the most extreme elements of Hamas in Palestine; Hizbollah in the Lebanon; Shia militia in Iraq. That way, they put obstacles in the path to peace, paint us, as they did over the Israel/Lebanon conflict, as the aggressors, inflame the Arab street and create political turmoil in our democratic politics.

It is a perfectly straightforward and clear strategy. It will only be defeated by an equally clear one: to relieve these pressure points one by one and then, from a position of strength to talk, in a way I described in July in my speech in Los Angeles: offer Iran a clear strategic choice: they help the MEPP [Middle East Peace Process] not hinder it; they stop supporting terrorism in Lebanon or Iraq; and they abide by, not flout, their international obligations. In that case, a new partnership is possible. Or alternatively they face the consequences of not doing so: isolation.

The basic point I come back to, again and again and which I have made many times here - is that whether in Iraq, or Afghanistan or indeed combating terrorism here, these battles are inextricably bound together. It is a global issue. It needs a global response.

Which brings me to the principal consideration of Britain's foreign policy over the past 10 years.

Global challenges can only be met by global alliances. A nation like Britain has no prospect - none - in the world as it is developing today, of pursuing its national interest except in close concert with others. That is why, no matter how tough the test, and these past years since 9/11 have shown how tough it can be - the alliances Britain has with America and within Europe, must remain the cornerstones of our policy.

Do not misunderstand me. I support the US willingly. I believe in the EU for reasons of principle. I supported the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq because I believed them right. I have put Britain at the centre of Europe because I am proud that we are part of the largest political union and biggest economic market in the world. For me these alliances have never been a struggle between individual conscience and duty to my country. It is a happy marriage of conviction and realpolitik.

But just for a moment, leave aside the obvious and deep-rooted ties of history with America. Leave aside the fact that only, together, when the US finally entered WWII, were we able to succeed. Leave aside the prospect of Britain facing the Cold War for half a century without the transatlantic alliance, an absurd thought. Leave it all aside and focus on today and the future.

Take any problem Britain wants solving: global terrorism - (assuming you don't believe that but for George Bush it wouldn't exist); climate change; Israel/Palestine; Iran and North Korea's nuclear programme; world trade; Africa in general, right now Sudan in particular; global poverty.

We may agree or disagree with the US position on some or all of these issues. But none of these vital British concerns can be addressed, let alone solved, without America. Without America, Kosovo could not have been attempted. Without Kosovo, Milosevic might still be running Serbia; and the Balkans rather than stabilising with a potential future in Europe, would have remained the destabilising force it was for most of the 20th Century. We need America. That is a fact.

All that, in a sense, is obvious. But - runs the more sophisticated argument -: America we like, this American President we don't. This is a comforting argument. It separates anti-America from anti-Bush. However it is also a cop-out.

Let us not kid ourselves. 9/11 would have changed any American President's foreign policy. 3000 innocent people dead in the streets of New York; the al-Qaeda operatives who did it, trained out of Afghanistan. Following 9/11, American policy was going to shift. It was going to get out after the terrorists with all America's might and any President who didn't do it, wasn't going to be President for long.

When I said, after 9/11 that we should stand shoulder to shoulder with America, I said it because I believed it. But I also thought it was profoundly in Britain's interests. I knew this attack wasn't aimed at America per se; but at America as the leading representative of our values.

Look round the world today; look even just within Europe. Britain is not the only country that faces a terrorist threat. We all do, allies and non-allies, anyone in fact that isn't "them". I thought then and I think now that defeating this threat - whose roots are deep and have been a long time growing - was going to take a generation; and I knew then and know now that defeating it, was never going to be done without an America prepared to lead as America, to its credit, has.

And the truth is, for Britain, it is always right for us to keep our partnership with America strong.

Post 9/11, there were no half-hearted allies of America. There were allies and others. We were allies then and that's how we should stay; and the test of any alliance, I'm afraid, is not when it's easy but when it's tough.

Most bizarrely, there is a significant section of British opinion today that wants us both distant from America and from the EU. Some Prime Ministers, when they actually have to deal with what can be a maddening process in Europe, become disillusioned with the whole thing. Not me.

I can't see a single good reason for Britain not being at the centre of Europe and every good reason why it should be. Europe gives us weight and strength. In fact, in my view, Europe should be far more confident about its potential. Provided it eschews grand institutional visions and concentrates on grand practical visions - for prosperity, in energy, fighting crime, in developing defence capability - it has a huge, even exciting future. Enlargement has been remarkable. And on all these issues Britain has been in a clear leadership position. We should rejoice in it.

These alliances will become more not less crucial.

We all welcome the benign economic and political development of China. But its force is one to be reckoned with. All of us too can see how Russia has emerged under President Putin as a stronger, more confident nation. But it also knows it is a major power and we rely on its energy resources. India is making extraordinary strides in every way. But it, like China, will be a nation more than twice the size, in population, of the whole of Europe.

Let me put this delicately but firmly. The world is changing. New powers are emerging. In the decades to come there will be many international negotiations, debates, occasionally, if only in a diplomatic sense, confrontations.

Britain in this early 21st Century world is a country with extraordinary strengths. It is well and justifiably respected. But it is also a country of 60 million people whose geography could fit neatly into a corner of Alaska. We will need collective strength in the years ahead. That strength is infinitely easier to generate, and more to our liking, if based on alliances with nations that share our values.

For that reason, our partnership with America and our membership of the EU are precisely suited to Britain. For that reason, it would be insane, - yes I would put it as strongly as that - for us to give up either relationship. For that reason anti-Americanism or Euroscepticism are not merely foolish they are the surest route to the destruction of our true national interest.

Both alliances are founded in history. Both are, however, now, at this point, utterly validated by the future. These are no misty-eyed products of sentiment, relics of a bygone age to be taken out and cradled fondly. They are the vital life source of British power, influence and weight in the new global community taking shape around us. To nurture and enhance them is not vain glory. It is the most hard-headed realism. Lose them - and alliances are like all living things, neglect them and they die - and we will spend a long time struggling to revive what's gone.

When people say: yes, but we want a "British" foreign policy, I say: of course we do, but in today's world a foreign policy based on strong alliances, is the only "British" policy which works.


The New Guy

Hey I'm Joe Ruf. I'm a new contributer to "The World We'll Inherit" (Good Title). Hope everyone appriecates, and doesn't judge, my imput. I assure you all my points can be backed up(though I will not be siting sources, this is not an essay) So Rock n Roll lets hear some opinions


We Decide 2006, Predictions...

Well, election day has finally arrived and everyone seems to agree that the country is likely to be a very different place Wednesday morning. These pundits seem to be following the conventional wisdom, which has the Democrats taking control of the House and at the very least narrowing the gap in the Senate, and the media has trumpeted the coming triumph of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who would become the first female Speaker of the House (which puts her frightening close to the oval office). There are several reasons why I disagree with the prevailing political prognostications--

1. Conservatives have been hearing for weeks/months that the Democrats are walking away with Congress and I am certain a lot of people will vote because they are scared.

2. Early voting is both new and unpredictable with some estimates putting the percentage of total votes cast early at about 30%. If anything this should make for an interesting case study in election dynamics and voter trends which could rewrite the campaign play book for both parties.

3. Saddam Hussein found himself on the front page of every newspaper in the world on Monday following his conviction on charges of crimes against humanity, for which he has been condemned to the gallows. Hopefully this timely verdict will remind enough people that "The Butcher of Baghdad" is the only person truly responsible for the mess in Iraq.

4. Gas prices have plummeted in the last 8-10 weeks. Actual savings from this drop in prices probably have yet to make up for the hundreds of extra dollars many Americans shilled out during the summer driving season, but as undecided voters drive to the polls and contemplate their decision, this tangible improvement in the their daily lives may make the difference.

5. $$$$. Money matters and the Republicans have more of it, so they have every reason to be optimistic about their chances to stage a last ditch comeback. It is this war chest that makes the Republican grassroots mobilization that much more effective than that of the Democrats.

Maybe I'm crazy and can't let go of the hope that everyone who is a supposed 'expert' is really a delusional crackpot, but I'm am going out on a limb and predict that the Republicans will retain their majority in both Houses. If they don't, we are going to have to live under the legislative agenda of Speaker Pelosi, a prospect which should scare anyone with half a brain.


Will Kim Jong-Il still be in power come Beijing 2008?

As I am sitting here watching the pundits tear each other to pieces on the FoxNews show Forbes on Fox, I am struck by what should have been a rather obvious point. The Beijing Olympics (a.k.a. China's great coming show) has the potential to make or break the emerging superpower in the eyes of the apprehensive western world. In Nicholas Kristof's brilliant book, and the inspiration for the name of my other blog, China Wakes he descibes a rather gruesome story that was recounted to him by a local party official in Beijing about the extent to which the government was willing to go to ensure the cities selection as the host of the '08 games. In touching detail and sincerity he tells the story of a young man who suffered from downs syndrome and suffered and sudden fits of seizure. This young man's parents' home was located along the route planned for the Olympic Committee's tour of Beijing and local police began to worry that he may unwittingly embarrass the city and cause the country their opportunity at securing the games. The government's solution was to kidnap him from his crying mother's arms and send him to a rural prison camp, where he was subsequently beaten to death without any recourse taken by the local government to compensate the family or bring to justice the guilty party. If the government is that paranoid about the impact a single mentally disabled Chinese may have on the image of their country in the eyes of the world, I find little reason to believe they are going find any benefit in allowing the North Korean leader to stay in power for very much longer. I have yet to see any indication that the US plans to change their policy, which is the obvious goal of the recent brazen tactics of Kim Jong-Il's regime, an thus it seems likely they will continue to flex their muscle and further pressure the Chinese to withdraw their support. Either way, a peaceful solution is quickly fading on the horizon.

An elevator to the stars?

The Standard - China's Business Newspaper

Related Google News Links

NASA's most recent public contest failed to produce to viable winner, but it has sparked the imaginations of future inter-stellar entrepreneurs. I have no suggestions on how to better build an elevator from the New Mexico desert to a platform in geo-synchronized orbit, but I link these stories in hopes of inspiring others to ponder these and other ideas that push the boundaries of what we now consider within the scope of human capability.