Archive for June, 2012

CHINA STARTS “COMBAT READY” PATROLS IN DISPUTED SEAS

June 30, 2012

Reuters on June 28, 2012, reported that China has begun combat-ready patrols in the waters around a disputed group of islands in the South China Sea, the Defense Ministry said, the latest escalation in tension over the potentially resource-rich area. Excerpts below:

Asked about what China would do in response to Vietnamese air patrols over the Spratly Islands, the ministry’s spokesman, Geng Yansheng, said China would “resolutely oppose any militarily provocative behavior”.

China is involved in long-running disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines about ownership of the South China Sea and its myriad, mostly uninhabited, islands and atolls. Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims.

Last week, China said it “vehemently opposed” a Vietnamese law asserting sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands, which straddle key shipping lanes and are thought to contain rich energy reserves.

The South China Sea is potentially the biggest flashpoint for confrontation in Asia, and tensions have risen since the United States adopted a policy last year to reinforce its influence in the region.

At stake is control over what are believed to be significant reserves of oil and gas.

…Vietnam said CNOOC’s plan was “illegal” and the blocks encroached on Vietnamese territorial waters.

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ANCIENT INDIAN CIVILIZATION AND PAKISTAN

June 29, 2012

GeoCurrents on June 28, 2012, commented on a recent Foreign Policy article in which Robert Kaplan argues that Pakistan’s problems—and its destiny—are rooted in its physical landscape: “Pakistan’s present and future, for better or worse, are still best understood through its geography.”

Kaplan believes that the country does indeed have a specific geographical logic—one that shapes its politics and guides its development. That logic is founded on possession of the Indus Valley and (most of) the fertile plains of the Punjab, areas that, he claims, automatically tie in with the adjacent western uplands and hence to the vital trade routes of Central Asia and the Middle East. Polities based on this geographical space, he argues, were a staple feature of South Asian history: “This entire middle region — not quite the subcontinent, not quite Central Asia — was more than a frontier zone or a bold line on a map: It was a fluid cultural organism and the center of many civilizations in their own right.” Such a territorial foundation, he further contends, became all the more important with the advent of Islam in the subcontinent: “Pakistan is the very geographical and national embodiment of all the Muslim invasions that have swept down into India throughout its history.”

The geopolitician contrasts this naturally constituted Indus-based state with another geographical formation further to the east: “the Indian subcontinent has two principal geographical regions: the Indus Valley with its tributaries, and the Ganges Valley with its tributaries.” The key to the current geopolitical tussle for Afghanistan, he contends, is the unprecedented attempt by a Ganges-based state (India) to leapfrog an Indus-based state (Pakistan) by gaining influence over South Asia’s crucial northwestern borderlands (Afghanistan): “Today’s political geography is historically unique, however: an Indus Valley state, Pakistan, and a powerful Ganges Valley state, India, both fighting for control of an independent and semi-chaotic Central Asian near abroad — Afghanistan.”

Finally, Kaplan says :“Why geography — unfortunately — is destiny for South Asia’s troubled heartland.”

Comment: This article provided by GeoCurrents presents a good idea of Kaplans recent article on Pakistan. Most likely the prominent American geopolitician is well versed in the ancient cultures of Indian civilization and its troubling Muslim invasions.

U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER HELD IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS

June 29, 2012

On June 28, 2012, Fox News reported that the the GOP-led House voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide key information pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, making Holder the first sitting Cabinet member to be held in contempt. Excerpts below:

The vote was 255-67 , with 17 Democrats breaking ranks to side with Republicans in favor of contempt.

The vote follows a roughly 16-month investigation by the chamber’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee into the failed gun-running sting known as Fast and Furious — run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a division of the Justice Department led by Holder.

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., filed two subpoenas over that period requesting additional information. But he has more recently focused on information related to a February 2011 letter to Congress that falsely claimed the ATF was unaware the operation involved the underground sale of the assault weapons.

“Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided and politically motivated investigation during an election year,” Holder said afterward. “By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety.”

The vote, which holds the attorney general in criminal contempt, was followed by a second vote that held Holder in civil contempt of Congress. The civil contempt vote allows Congress to go to court to seek additional documents.

The criminal-contempt vote is supposed to direct a U.S. attorney to convene a grand jury to review the case and decide whether to indict Holder.

However, considering Holder would be investigated by his own employees, some analysts have said it’s unlikely that would happen. If the case proceeds, though, Holder could face a maximum one year in jail if convicted.

Prior to the vote, House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “It’s important to remember how we got here. The Justice Department has not provided the facts and information we requested. … It’s our constitutional duty to find out.”

GOP’S ROMNEY: ‘I WILL ACT TO REPEAL’ OBAMACARE IN CLEAR MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

June 29, 2012

Fox on June 29, 2012, reported that Governor Mitt Romney swiftly reacted to the Obamacare decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Excerpts below:

“As you might imagine I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, and I agree with the dissent, what the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected President of t he United States, and that is I will act to repel Obama Care. Lets be clear about what the court did and did not do. The court said that Obama care does not violate the Constitution. What they did not do was say Obama-care was a good law or its good policy,

Obama care is bad policy yesterday, its bad policy today.

Obama care was bad law yesterday, it’s bad law today. Let me tell why I said that, Obama care raises taxes on the American people by approximately 500 billion dollars, Obamacare cuts medicare, cuts medicare by approximately 500 billion dollars and even with those cuts and tax increases, Obama care raises billions to our national debt and pushes obligation the oncoming generations.

Obamacare is a job killer, businesses across the country have been asked what they think of Obama care, 3 quarters of those surveyed by the chamber of commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people.

…[it] is now a time for the American people to make a choice. You can choose whether you want to have a larger and larger government more and more intrusive in your life. Separating you and your doctor. Whether you’re comfortable with more deficits. Higher debt that will be passed onto the coming generations. Whether you’re willing to have the government put in place a plan that potentially causes you to lose the insurance that you like.

My mission is to make sure that we do exactly that. That we return to the American people the privilege they’ve always had that lived their lives that they feel most appropriate. Where we don’t pass onto coming generations massive deficits and debt. Where we don’t have a setting where jobs are lost.

If we want good jobs and bright economic future for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace Obamacare.

KISSINGER IN WARSAW: EUROPE LACKS INTERNAL STRUCTURE AND A MILITARY FORCE

June 28, 2012

Wall Street Journal on June 27, 2012, reported that forty years after being credited with complaining there is no single phone number to reach the leadership of Europe, Henry Kissinger visiting Warsaw, Poland, says the Continent still doesn’t have an authoritative chief who could take a call. Excerpts below:

The former U.S. secretary of state, who worked in the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford at the height of the Cold War, on denied ownership of a phrase often attributed to him—”Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?”—and said it may have actually been coined by a European politician.

Despite decades of integration that produced a common currency, the euro and the passport-free zone for travelers, the European Union lacks a strategic concept that would allow it to become a superpower and doesn’t have a clear representative for other countries’ leaders to contact, Mr. Kissinger said.

The EU, roiled by a debt crisis that threatens to undermine the euro currency, has since 2009 had a permanent president of the European Council, the name for formal meetings of heads of EU states. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who heads the government of the EU’s largest economy, is seen as the most powerful figure within the bloc despite holding no formal role in the EU’s bureacracy. It also has a top diplomat, Catherine Ashton—whom Mr. Kissinger and his Polish host, Mr. Sikorski, mentioned as one of the possible contacts in Europe.

But each of the EU’s 27 member states continues to run its own foreign policy, while the council president merely coordinates summits of the states’ leaders.

But he said the Continent lacks an internal structure—and a joint military force—that would allow it to take a bigger role in world affairs.

GEOPOLITICAL DISCUSSIONS ON UKRAINE’S DEVELOPMENT AND EURO 2012 IN KYIV

June 27, 2012

Kyiv Post, Ukraine, on June 27, 2012, reported that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Kyiv on June 25. Excerpts below:

During the meeting, the sides discussed reforms in Ukraine and preparations for the EURO 2012 European Football Championship. “During the meeting, the sides discussed, in particular, the holding of the EURO 2012 football championship in Ukraine. Henry Kissinger praised Ukraine’s preparations for the finals of the European Football Championship,” reads the statement. Yanukovych and Kissinger also discussed Ukraine’s development in the context of global challenges and global economic crisis. During the meeting, they also spoke about the development of relations between Ukraine and the United States.

DANIEL PIPES: AFTER AN ISRAELI STRIKE ON IRAN

June 27, 2012

The Washington Times on June 25, 2012, published an opinion article on how the Iranians will respond to an Israeli strike against their nuclear infrastructure? This matters greatly, affecting not just Jerusalem’s decision but also how hard other states work to impede such a strike. Excerpts below:

Interestingly, both of the two prior Israeli strikes against enemy states building nuclear weapons, Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, prompted no retaliation. This does not mean the Iranians will follow suit, but it does suggest that the indignity of having one’s nuclear ambitions crushed by an aerial bombing does not inevitably lead to violent response.

Michael Eisenstadt and Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy have helpfully provided guidance to possible Iranian actions in “Beyond Worst-Case Analysis: Iran’s Likely Responses to an Israeli Preventive Strike.”

They note that analysts have a bias to conjure best-case assessments for a policy of deterrence and containment (some commentators go so far as to welcome an Iranian nuclear capability) while portraying the effect of a strike as the worst case.

Mr. Eisenstadt and Mr. Knights, in contrast, argue that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s history since 1979 suggests “a more measured and less apocalyptic – if still sobering – assessment of the likely aftermath of a preventive strike.”

A few missiles from Iran would get through Israeli defenses, leading to casualties likely in the low hundreds. Missiles from Hezbollah probably would be limited because of domestic Lebanese considerations. Likewise, Hamas might opt out of fighting for its own reasons. Also, the Syrian government is not likely to make war with Israel while battling for its life against an ever-stronger opposition army.

…dangers are unpleasant but not cataclysmic, and manageable but not devastating. The mullahs face various limits on their ability to retaliate, including their military weakness and their need not to alienate more of the world.

The authors also consider three potential consequences of an Israeli strike. Yes, Iranians might rally to their government in the immediate aftermath of a strike, but in the longer term, Tehran “could be criticized for handling the nuclear dossier in a way that led to military confrontation.” The so-called Arab street is perpetually predicted to rise up but never does; some unrest among the Shia of the Persian Gulf will be counterbalanced by the many Arabs quietly cheering the Israelis.

In all, Mr. Eisenstadt and Mr. Knights expect a short phase of high-intensity Iranian response, to be followed by a “protracted low-intensity conflict that could last for months or even years” – much as already exists between Iran and Israel. An Israeli preventive strike, they conclude, while a “high-risk endeavor carrying a potential for escalation in the Levant or the Gulf, it would not be the apocalyptic event some foresee.”

Daniel Pipes is a well-known American Middle East expert.

NAZISM, COMMUNISM, AND MILITANT ISLAMIC TERRORISM

June 26, 2012

The comment below is from a newsletter issue published by Swedish author Bertil Haggman in 2003:

Linking the three main proponents in the 20th and 21st century of mass murder of foes (be it on class, racial or religious grounds) is a wortwhile study, as militant Islamic terrorists hope to kill millions of Americans.

1. Nazi Germany (1933 – 1945)

In 1992 Professor Rudolph J. Rummel published his book Democide: Nazi Genocide and Mass Murder Rummel estimating that there were around 21 million victims, including circa 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, of Nazism.

Nazism was the second totalitarian ideology that promoted genocide and mass murder. The first had been communism.

2. Communism (1917 – ongoing)

”The apperance of communism as the major political manifestation of the twentieth century has to be seen in tandem with the rise of fascism and nazism. In fact communism, fascism, and nazism were generically related, historically linked, and politically quite similar. They were all responses to the traumas of the industrial age, to the appearance of millions of rootless, first generation industrial workers. World War brought about the collapse of existing values and of the political order in Tsarist Russia and in Imperial Germany. It generated acute social tensions as well in newly industrialized Italy. All these gave rise to movements that rapped the concept of social justice around the message of social hatred and that proclaimed organized state violence as the instrument of social redemption.

The titanic war later waged between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia has made many forget that the struggle between them was a fratricidal war between to strands of a common faith. To be sure, one proclaimed itself to be unalterably opposed to Marxism and preached unprecedented racial hatred; and the other saw itself as the only true offspring of Marxism on practicing unprecedented class hatred. But both elevated the State into the highest organ of collective action, used brutal terror as the means of exacting social obedience, and both engaged in mass murders without parallel in human history. Both also organized their social control by similar means, ranging from youth groups to neigborhood informers to centralized and totally censored means of mass communication. And, finally, both asserted that they were engaged in constructing all powerful ”socialist” states.”

Professor Rummel estimated that 62 million were murdered in the Soviet Union (1917 to 1987) and 35 million in China (1928-1949). Comment: The number of victims in China are in 2012 estimated at 80 million.

3. Militant Islamic terrorism (1993 – )

It should be noted that the massmurders of Nazism and Communism took place among Europeans. The United States was spared such violence. But from the 1990s Americans have been declared the main enemy of militant Islamic terrorism and according statements of Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden this would preferably take place on a massive scale using if possible ABC-weapons.

So far the terrorists have managed to kill between 3,000 and 4,000 Americans. With European support for the war waged by America on militant Islamic terrorism European countries cannot be excluded as possible future targets. One problem for the fundamentalist terrorists is of course that both in America and in European countries there are Arab immigrants that might also be killed in an attack as a side effect. That, however, does probably not bother the terrorists. Fundamentalist terror is presently also waged in a number of other countries: Islamic Jihad and Hamas against Israel, Muslim terrorists (Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Toiba) against India in Kashmir, and against the Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. At the moment there also seems to be a risk for Al Qaeda moving from Afghanistan to Kashmir, that is, those who managed to slip through the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

No doubt the US administration is doing its utmost that the same mass murders that occured under Nazism and Communism not reappear on American soil. Meanwhile it is time for serious research on the linkage between national socialism, communism, and militant Islamic terrorism as threats to civilization.

War is endemic in Islam confirmed and approved by theory and religion. Conduct of foreign relations has traditionally been dealt with under the heading ”holy war”. Militant Islam has taken over that tradition of a permanent war between believers and non-believers. Ibn Khaldun, the 14th century Islamic macrohistorian, suggested that defeated Muslims were entitled to hope and plan for resumption of battle, however long it took to wait for a second round. The risk for the United States is that the present war on the West turns into a second Cold War, but with much more physical fighting than psychological warfare. Peace, in this framework, is dormant war and diplomacy a substitute for war. Treaties, such as Oslo, are to be regarded as diplomatic expedients only.

Fortunately the United States seems prepared to strike enemies first as described by President Bush in his speech on June 1 at the United States Military Academy.

“We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge…In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act.”

ORDER AND HISTORY

June 26, 2012

The famous German-American philosopher Eric Voegelin is of growing importance in the analysis of the present global crisis and civil war. His views on civilizations is of utmost importance. Voegelin understood the difference between Mesopotamia and other older civilizations and the civilizations of Israel and Greece. His analysis can be found in the three books Order and History (1956-87) Israel and Revelation (1956), The World of the Polis (1957), and Plato and Aristotle (1957). The books were republished in 2000-2001.

In his books Voegelin sees politics as “the little world of order”. Individuals and political parties who create that little order face the problem of survival which influences their work. The greater search for order is however the substance of history.

In the present age we live in a crisis and a global civil war. It is important to see the work of the politicians in the correct light and reflect on the meaning of order in history. The answers can be found in the Jewish, ancient Greek and Roman cornerstones of Western civilization.

There is also room for reflection on the Indo-European roots of Western civilization, that contributed so much to the rise and rule of the West.

KYRKANS EGEN JURIST MEDGER ATT PRÄSTEN ÄR DEN HEMLIGE STASIAGENTEN

June 26, 2012

Tidningen Expressen, Stockholm, rapporterade den 26 juni 2012 att den präst i Svenska Kyrkan Expressen avslöjade i april 2012 att den svenske prästen och kyrko¬herden Aleksander Radler i 24 år spionerat för den östtyska säkerhetstjänsten Stasi under täcknamnet “Thomas”. Över 1 000 dokument från Stasis eget arkiv visade hur han angett sina egna studiekamrater i Östtyskland, och hur han fortsatt att spionera för Stasi i Sverige. Bland annat hade han lämnat detaljerade rapporter till Stasi från sina möten med biskopar. Aleksander Radler har förnekat allt och hävdat att bevisen är fabricerade. Utdrag ur artikeln nedan:

Det råder ingen tvekan om att prästen Aleksander Radler är identisk med den hemlige Stasi-agenten “Thomas”.

Det beskedet har Luleå stifts jurist Anna Wernqvist fått vid ett besök på Stasi-arkivet i Berlin.

– Det var anmärkningsvärt att det var så tydligt att det var han, säger Anna Wernqvist.

– Vi trodde att det kanske fanns utrymme för tvivel, men efter vårt besök kunde vi konstatera att det råder inget tvivel om att det är han, säger Wernqvist.

– Såvitt jag kan bedöma är det klart att Radler är Thomas. Det är också så jag kommer att föredra ärendet för domkapitlet.

Enligt Anna Wernqvist kommer en tjänsteman knuten till Stasi-arkivet att skriftligen intyga att Radler är identisk med Stasi-agenten “Thomas”.

Wernqvist konstaterar att Expressens avslöjande att flera av Aleksander Radlers studiekamrater dömdes till fängelsestraff på grund av uppgifter från den hemlige agenten “Thomas” bekräftas av Stasi¬arkivet.

– De händelserna kommer också att framhållas i intyget som vi får, säger Anna Wernqvist.

Radler går snart i pension, men Svenska kyrkans utredning av hans Stasi-förflutna kommer att drivas vidare trots det.