Friday, February 25, 2005
...over at Americans For Rice.com, our 527 group around which Team Condi will be built. Coming are some boffo shirts, of course (can't wait to get mine; I'll finally have an excuse to lose weight!). But of greater import is the bulletin board system that is being set up by the webmaster to facilitate communication among Rice people across the United States.
A concious attempt to ape Joe Trippi. Credit where credit is due: we bow to the Master, even if he is a Democrat.
Meantime, this picture got splashed across the front page of Yesterday's Washington Post:
Good Golly, Miss Molly!
Anyway, one blogger called this photo, "Condi Enters the Matrix". Looks like Condi has decided to take after Keanu Reeves. Seems fine to me. As long as she doesn't do the Morpheus thing with her hair.
Oh, and let's see as little of Agent Smith as possible.
Meantime, the fashion editor of the WaPo, Robin Givhan, had an estrogen explosion in reaction to Condi's Wiesbaden homage to cyberpunk. Money freakin' graph:
Rice's coat and boots speak of sex and power -- such a volatile combination, and one that in political circles rarely leads to anything but scandal. When looking at the image of Rice in Wiesbaden, the mind searches for ways to put it all into context. It turns to fiction, to caricature. To shadowy daydreams. Dominatrix! It is as though sex and power can only co-exist in a fantasy. When a woman combines them in the real world, stubborn stereotypes have her power devolving into a form that is purely sexual.
Next thing you know she'll be penning love sonnets to the Secretary.
Only one thing to be said: Jesus tap-dancing Christ.
Paging Agent Smith......
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
...has a wonderful piece on Europe's reluctance to take up Bush's challenge to proclaim liberty across the planet. Europe has simply lost faith in its own beliefs, and has chosen to trade liberty for security, with a dollop of cynicism on top. Read it; it's worth the time. (Hat tip: RealClearPolitics.com)
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Look at all that long Chinese coastline....
The important news of the week happened prior to George W. Bush's trip to Belgium. The European Trip is designed as window dressing to make Continental politicians feel important. The real business of state happened just prior to Bush's departure with Condoleezza Rice.
A "Two Plus Two" meeting between Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld on the one hand and Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura and Defense Minister Yoshinori Ono on the other took place in the runup to Bush's departure for Europe. The agreement renewed and deepened the security treaty between the U.S. and Japan and, of greatest import, placed Taiwan as
an issue of mutual interest between the U.S. and Japan.
Make no mistake, the Japanese knew exactly what they were doing and exactly who they were urinating on.
The Chinese have been playing a double game for some time. They have kept Mr. Kim on a bit of a leash, with enough slack to allow him to cause trouble for us down the line. The last thing the Chinese wanted was a raucously independent Republic of Korea on the Yalu River, filled with grievance at both Japan and China. So they let Kim have his bombs, secure in the knowledge that they would build up enough chits with the Americans and the Japanese for them to have to come to Beijing and pay the danegeld to get a settlement. North Korea's primitive fission devices would never be used against China, so the mandarinate in Beijing has thought of ways to use the Chia Pet as a catspaw in their larger design to exhaust America in the Pacific and replace her as the dominant power. And they talked a good game to the west, telling all who could hear that Kim simply was hard to deal with, and so on.
"Secwetawy Wice, I wiwl make you my chocwate wuv bunny yet! You wiwl not wesist my bouffant and my pwatforwm shooz!"
Meantime, the Chinese Navy has grown in capability and striking power. Chinese maritime and naval shipbuilding is nonstop. The Japanese see this. Late last year, the Japanese discovered a Chicom sub in Home Island waters. This was bad medicine, (bad juju in diplomatic parlance) and the Japanese knew that the Chinese were sending them a message. So Japan decided to send one back. And this one stuck. There is no way that the Chinese will misunderstand this understanding.
This is a naval pact. The U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Japanese Combined Fleet will effectively become a single navy. Its mission will be to keep the sea lanes open between the straits of Malacca and the Japanese Home Islands. Conversely, it will have an offensive mission; bring the main fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy to battle in a decisive action and sink their fleet (such an action will take place in the Phillipine Sea-look at the map) while at the same time turning back an attempted landing on Taiwan.
Tall freaking order. However, other than the Royal Navy, I can't think of two navies who could pull this off. If you combine America's air carrier task forces with Japan's very modern frigate and destroyer forces (and her nascent carrier force, she is working along these lines as well), you have a naval alliance that simply is unbeatable. This really narrows the military choices available to the Mandarinate, and consequently, reduces the political choices as well.
A couple of things need to happen on this side of the Pacific.
First, we need to make the final turn of our attention away from Europe and to Asia. The notion that there must be a rapproachment between the EU and the United States is driven, if by nothing else, by our strategic needs in the Middle East. I suspect that Europe has a lot less intrinsic strategic value in our calculus' than it did before September 11th, and I treat this trip to Bruxelles as a boatload of merde. Shoot, they don't even like us anymore! I half suspect that we are getting in bed with the Japanese as the first step in a quadripartite pact among the U.S., Japan, India, and Australia (the Sumatra Earthquake Four, if you'll recall) to safeguard the Pacific from a Chinese Hegemony. The EU is throwing in its lot with the Chinese (witness Chirac's and Schroeder's eagerness to sell weapons to Beijing) in an attempt to balance the Super Power. We've simply stolen a march on both the Europeans and the Chinese, and have beat them at their own game-at least for now. Key player to watch: authoritarian Russia.
Second, we have to solve the naval shipbuilding crisis in this country. The littoral warfare program may be the best idea that has come along in some time; heavily armed littoral warfare "Streetfighter" ships designed to inflict maximum damage on Chinese capital ships, destroyers, frigates, and invasion escorts. This program will be commented on further on this blog; we'll have to see what comes of it in future years. Numbers and information will tell the tale of the Next War.
From today's online New York Metro magazine:
Tom Cruise Wants to Assist(hat tip: Nachum at Free Republic.com)
With on-set Scientology.
In the upcoming Steven Spielberg remake of War of the Worlds, one family fights for survival when Earth is invaded by Martian war machines. But on the set of the movie, there’s been an invasion of another sort: Scientologists! Tom Cruise, the film’s star and the religion’s most well-known adherent, has set up a Scientology tent with a volunteer minister. “It’s a gift from Tom to the crew,” says Lee Anne De Vette, Cruise’s sister and spokeswoman. “You can receive what’s called an assist there,” a Scientologist practice that, as she describes it, seems to be a glorified mini-massage. “If someone has an injury in a certain part of their body, if their back is killing them, they can come in and get an assist. It’s something that helps the body get in better communication with itself.” Actual Scientology literature is available, too, in case “someone walks in looking for a solution.” All of which has caused a certain amount of grumbling. Scientology watchdog Rick Ross says that he’s received e-mails from crew members wondering, “Where are the booths for the Catholics and the Jews?”
Yeah, well, Catholicism is for the Little People. Travolta and Cruise? Big Hollywood goes for the Quack Shit like Kabballa and Scientology. Next year it will be phrenology. Paging Piltdown Man!
Really, after Battlefield Earth was released, I was convinced that Jesus Christ Almighty would have prepared a special place in Hell for anyone associated with such an awful film or the religious quackery that sponsored it.
Of course, perhaps I spoke to soon.....
Monday, February 21, 2005
....committed suicide today. His body was found this morning at his Colorado home by his son. I disagreed with him politically, but in retrospect, understood his stand as a 1970's form of libertarianism. He parted company with the Left (but not by much) when it came to firearms, so the late Dr. gets huge props in my book. As James Lileks observed..
File under Capote, Truman – meaning, whatever you thought of the latter-day persona, don’t forget that there was a reason he had a reputation. Read "Hell's Angels." That was a man who could hit the keys right.
Thompson invented Gonzo journalism-an intense, activist, involved writing that placed the observer in the middle of the story. Lileks was right; Thompson's later years were a shadow of his previous work. His Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas were two of the great works that announced the death of the 1960's, although HST probably didn't realize it at the time.
I respected him for his gun collection, if nothing else.