Why haven't the Left got Georgia on their minds?
Comment from Britain
Pity I was away last week. I must have missed the march through London against the Russian invasion of Georgia. What a magnificent sight it must have been - half a million protesters standing firm against tyranny and supporting freedom and democracy. I'd have loved to have heard Red Ken denouncing the bloodthirsty gangster regime in Moscow, George Galloway comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler and Tony Benn declaring it was all about oil.
What's that you say? There was no such rally? I suppose they must all have been too busy demonstrating against Chinese oppression in Tibet and demanding a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Or perhaps not. Funny how the Not In My Name crowd always overlooks aggression by Communist or 'former' Communist regimes.
There's no such reticence when it comes to portraying George W. Bush as the new Hitler or daubing swastikas on the Israeli flag. Look at the protests against the wars in Iraq and Lebanon. The same people who can't wait to burn the American flag in Trafalgar Square are only too happy to ignore Russian, Chinese and Iraqi genocide.
Where were all the marchers when the Russians were crushing Chechnya? Why so silent on Tibet? They must have been looking the other way when Saddam slaughtered the Kurds.
It hasn't been difficult to find apologists for the invasion of Georgia. We're told that the 'American-educated' Mikhail Saakashvili provoked the Russians beyond all reason. What did we expect encouraging the spread of democracy in former Soviet satellite states? No wonder Moscow feels threatened when independent countries it once ruled by military might become members of the European Union and apply to join Nato. Putting a Western missile defence system in Poland is like waving a red rag at a bull, the sophisticates say. Putin has no option but to retaliate. I don't remember them demanding the withdrawal of Soviet nukes pointing at Western capitals from East Germany. Back then, the Guardianistas were all for one-sided disarmament on our part.
The Left has always been picky about their protests. While they rightly denounce white racism in South Africa, they stay silent on black racism in Zimbabwe. They bang on about American cultural imperialism, but have nothing to say about Russian or Chinese military imperialism. America is constantly denounced for its 'yuman rites' abuses, but you never hear a dicky bird about the denial of basic freedoms in China or throughout the Muslim world.
Europe's Leftists define themselves by their hatred of the U.S., yet cheerfully tolerate all kinds of tyranny elsewhere. They're against 'torture' at Guantanamo Bay, but take a relaxed view of Chinese and Russian death squads. There are still plenty of 'comrades' in the Labour Party and the trades union movement who regret the day the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. They're only too willing to give succour to the enemies of freedom and democracy around the world.
Democrats and Drilling
It took a few months, and more than a few polls, but Democrats have concluded that they've lost the debate against more oil-and-gas drilling. The surrender became official on Saturday, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that even she was ready to "consider opening portions" of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil exploration.
That's great news, assuming she and her fellow Democrats really mean it. It wasn't too many days ago that the anticarbon Speaker lampooned drilling as "a hoax on the American people," while Barack Obama called it "another Washington gimmick." Now the Democratic Presidential candidate has also said he might be willing to change his mind and tolerate the exploitation of domestic energy resources. The good news for converts like Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Obama is that they have immediate opportunities to quiet Republicans and other skeptics and prove their new pro-drilling bona fides.
They can start with the 2008 Democratic Party platform, the policy outline for the election campaign that delegates will endorse at next week's Denver convention. Let's just say the draft now reads as if it was written before Speaker Pelosi's conversion on the road to ExxonMobil. For example, the platform draft now says that "We know we can't drill our way to energy independence." Then there's the bit about ending "the tyranny of oil," which will require "far more than simply expanding our economic and political resources to keep oil flowing steadily" from overseas and elsewhere. There's also no mention of drilling offshore, much less in Alaska, and nothing about exploiting our vast domestic supplies of oil shale.
Fortunately, Democrats have time to fix these political oversights. If they are serious, surely Democrats will have someone rise on the convention floor next week and offer an amendment that endorses offshore drilling and pledges not to extend the Congressional ban on drilling that expires on September 30. Come to think of it, Democrats should offer this amendment in prime time. How better to steal the drilling issue from Republicans? ....
We'll know Democrats are not serious if they limit their drilling support only to the so-called Gang of 10 proposal in the Senate. The bipartisan Gang would allow drilling only offshore of four states -- Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas -- and only if it is farther than 50 miles out. It would leave the most promising areas off limits, especially in the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico. And in return for this de minimis drilling, the Gang wants to spend $84 billion more in subsidies for ethanol and other "alternatives," while hitting the oil industry with a $30 billion tax increase. This proposal is a trick designed to give Democrats political cover while opening up very little new land or offshore area for drilling.
"Spengler" has an interesting explanation of Russian policy here. Putin is in most ways a typical Fascist leader but Spengler sees him simply as a Russian pursuing Russian interests. He thinks that Russia has a need to stop its population decline and that Putin sees the "rescue" of Russian-speakers in other countries as a quick way to do that. I think Spengler has a point but he overlooks the fact that Fascists tend to be aggressive, power-mad and "glory"-mad in general (though there have been some exceptions to that e.g. Peron and Salazar). I think Putin is mainly driven by a desire to have both Russia and himself feared and respected. When one considers how much the Western world today grovels to Muslims, one can see that he may get what he wants.
Walter Laqueur seems to be in broad agreement with Spengler.
The moral importance of Judeo-Christian religion: "We are constantly reminded about the destructive consequences of religion -- intolerance, hatred, division, inquisitions, persecutions of "heretics," holy wars. Though far from the whole story, they are, nevertheless, true. There have been many awful consequences of religion. What one almost never hears described are the deleterious consequences of secularism -- the terrible developments that have accompanied the breakdown of traditional religion and belief in God. For every thousand students who learn about the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, maybe two learn to associate Gulag, Auschwitz, The Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide with secular regimes and ideologies. For all the problems associated with belief in God, the death of God leads to far more of them."
A fun video about high fuel prices here
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)