The Price of Stability

What you failed to comment on is why the Guangzhou provincial authorities are so determined to bring down the editors of the Southern Metropolitan Daily. Could it be the harsh penalties, like the routine use of public executions for bribery, embezzlement and stealing gasoline, that await local officials who are exposed as a result of the aggressive reporting of the Southern Metropolitan Daily? Could the frequent and by now mostly ineffective use of the death penalty indicate a lack of stability and the rule of law? Just as the practices of guanxi in business dealings indicate a lack of an open and transparent financial system.

Could there be instability in the overheated economy and the failing banking system, where the People’s Bank of China lack an effective macroeconomic mechanism to set monetary policy like the Federal Reserve system in the US?

With the Communist leadership in Beijing using the promise of economic prosperity to legitimize their rule, could there be too much pressure on provincial authorities to meet unrealistic growth rate numbers leading to “runaway bank lending to questionable infrastructure and industrial projects that are driving up commodity prices and exacerbating power shortages”?

Clearly, while it has made great strides economically, and with the current leadership under Hu and Wen, great strides diplomatically with its neighbors (North and South Korea, Australia, the countries of Central Asia and South East Asia), China is still a developing country. In domestic politics, with the National People’s Congress standing committee’s “reinterpretation” of the basic law of Hong Kong, though it will not likely break the agreement of 50 years of noninterference in Hong Kong affairs, the leadership in Beijing has shown itself to be intolerant of dissent. The Taiwanese, of course, knows this, but if they do not unilaterally declare independence, maintaining the ambiguous status quo, they can wait, enjoying relative peace and prosperity without interference, while China matures.

~ Cao Lie Qiao, New York City

Sascha Matuszak replies:

My thoughts exactly.

The poise and maturity China shows on the international front is in direct contrast to the crude and heavy handed approach to many domestic problems.

The leaders in Beijing don’t seem trust their own people enough to let go and allow common Chinese to blossom. Imagine what 1.3 billion unfettered individuals could offer the rest of the world in terms of artistic, economic and social innovations…

On the other hand, imagine how much damage 1.3 billion unfettered individuals could do to a now relatively stable social system.

There is definitely a well defined dichotomy between China on the international stage and the domestic China. Always has been – always will be?

Western Meddling in Cyprus: Unwanted Interventionism, Ominous Implications

We do not have a prime-minister but a president in a presidential system. My vote is for yes just because we have a small chance to reunite our country. Otherwise we know that this would mean partition and that the green line will become the outer border of the EU . This is what the interventionists always wanted. In fact partition for many reasons is their first option and I do not think that they do care so much about the career of Mr. Anan. They care more about Turkey’s accession to the EU.

So in fact the dilemma is between a certain death by a firing squad or to gamble in a Russian roulette. I’ll take the latter and vote for yes. If we survive we may have the chance to gather the bits and pieces of our country and people both Greeks and Turks and somehow put them together and build a better future. If it is proven to be a disaster, well, as I said this is a Russian roulette.

There is no other option. As a left-winger supporting the party whose leadership says “yes and no” I’ll vote for yes for one more reason: The No vote has nothing to do with anti-imperialism but with a sickening racism and nationalism. Things are far more complicated than what it seems to be. On one hand a NO coalition consisted of orthodox bishops, conservative right-wingers (with a sinful present), small far right parties, nationalist greens and leftist bureaucrats, on the other hand a YES coalition of much of the rank and file of the left, liberal right-wingers (with a sinful past), some small center left parties. I just wish we the Cypriot people had the power to solve the problem ourselves and we would do it if we were left alone. But unfortunately in our 4000 year long history we have never governed ourselves.

~ Adonis Florides, Limassol

Christopher Deliso replies:

Thanks very much for your enlightening letter. I fully understand that the situation is more complex than is being depicted. However, in your last two sentences you yourself sum up the problem best: foreign interventionism. That is precisely what I am arguing against. I certainly am not arguing for a divided Cyprus – just questioning whether the alleged ‘peace’ plan they are advocating will really bring peace.

One other point I didn’t have space to mention: Turkey and the EU. Do you not think it is possible that the EU has saddled that country with ‘solving’ Cyprus as a prerequisite for membership – precisely because they know it was an unachievable task? This is one of the many Herculean labors Turkey has been saddled with since Greece surprised everyone by dropping the veto on Turkish membership. Then those European countries who had been telling Turkey nice things about how they’d love to have them except for those Greeks finally had to put up or shut up. As it turns out, they have put off – delaying Turkey’s membership talks as long as possible, to hide the embarrassing reality that they don’t really want them to join the club. Of course, the US has a different view. But then again, they’re not in the EU.

Locked on Course to Wider War

There are millions of Christians worldwide who do not ascribe to the Rapture Theory or Zionist ideologies. (The word “rapture” does not appear in the Scriptures or any early Christian writings or teachings, and the theory itself is of very recent origins, tracing back to Scotland in the 1830s.)

It is a grave misfortune that Mr. Roberts fails to make this distinction.

~ Nancy Henker

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Nancy Henker is confused. I explicitly reported an article dealing with the views of ONE Christian sect dismissed as “bonkers.” She must be the only reader who thinks I characterized all Christians as holding such views!!! Try to imagine the Pope, for example, with such views!

I agree with Paul Craig Roberts that America is on the path to (endless) wider war that has been very much supported by the joining together of fundamentalist Christians and Zionists. I do not see a way of escape in the immediate future. Because America in general criticizes Christianity existing in public places (public schools and government), they have not discerned the rise of fundamentalist Christians (who spread “democracy” through militarism) to influence our foreign policy and turn the US into the Roman Empire. If Americans sought to understand Christianity, they would have understood, as Jesus said, that God’s kingdom is not of this world. By regarding Christ as the basis of all government (“and the government shall rest upon His shoulders”) instead of despising Him, they would have been able to stop the fundamentalists /Zionists who by leaving Christ have become warriors that establish peace through the sword.

~ Irene L.

Vladimir Suchan’s backtalk

Vladimir Suchan in his letter pointed out that the US State Department website has decided to NOT recognize the UN and internationally-recognized borders of Serbia by considering a separate status for Kosovo. Of course, this is illegal and criminal on the part of the US Government.

When does the US Government get to unilaterally decide the borders of sovereign nations? It is pretty outrageous and absurd. After all, this was the same US Government that argued that Croatia’s and Bosnia’s borders were somehow sacrosanct and etched in stone. In fact, it was the Serb-dominated Communist Yugoslav regime that created those internal administrative borders after 1945. Those borders were essentially arbitrary and conditioned the the existence of the Yugoslav federation. Now, all of a sudden, the US is doing an about face and considering the Serbian borders as very malleable. Serbia’s borders are whatever the US Government says they are. This is how things work now. This is what international law and the UN have been reduced to. The US gets to tell countries what their borders are.

We should also not forget that Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, those anachronistic CIA propaganda machines from the Cold War, have been calling Kosovo by its Albanian name of “Kosova” for years now. RFE/RL are part of the US Government, they were set up by the CIA during the Cold War to transmit propaganda to Eastern Europe. Why is this propaganda dinosaur, RFE/RL allowed to continue its existence? Didn’t the Cold War end? Why do we need more propaganda and brainwashing in the post-Cold War era?

Nevertheless, RFE/RL has already begun treating Kosova as a part of some sort of US-created Greater Albania. So we already know where the CIA stands on the Kosovo issue. And what is the CIA but a branch of the US Government. And let us not delude ourselves, the US State Department announced in 1999 that the US policy on Kosovo is to create some sort of “independent” Kosovo state or nation. We have to ask though: Why is the US Government seeking to dismember UN-recognized states and alter internationally-recognized borders?

This issue has rarely been raised but is very important. Who gave the US Government this power to decide on the borders of sovereign states? Then someone elect the US Government as arbitrator of national borders. Also, what does the majority population of Serbia think about its territory being dismembered by a hostile foreign state,the US? Shouldn’t the majority Serbian people get a say in this decision? Isn’t that the democratic way to resolve the issue? By analogy, it would be like Serbia deciding that California, which is majority Hispanic, should be returned to Mexico and be made a part of Mexico from which the US took it by force and illegally in the 1800s. What would the majority American population think of that? Now you know how Serbs feel. It is merely a might makes right policy. It is the law of the jungle. It is an animalistic and brutish approach to solving national issues. But this is where US foreign policy has led to. It has nothing to do with justice or law or fairness, but the law of the club. It shows a bankrupt US foreign policy and a cynical contempt for diplomacy. This is the reality of US foreign policy.

~ Carl Savich

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Mr. Savich has a point. In fact, I deal with precisely this “might makes right” approach in my newest article, “Lost in Translation.”

The Real Lessons of 9/11

This is the best article written yet on our situation in Iraq and 911. Why it is not given full treatment by the American media is a scary happening, and maybe even be a larger problem than our giant foreign policy mistakes.

~ Col T.W.McGuire USAF-Ret, Montgomery, AL

Going Back Where They Came From

Good day. I am a 44-year-old female. I am a traditional Catholic. I voted for Reagan, Reagan, Bush, Perot (ugh, must admit that one) Dole, Bush, and now I am going to write you in this election, Mr. Buchanan. …

I am voting for you because you are the only one that is sane. Wish I had known this earlier.

~ Elizabeth Chambers, West Linn, Oregon

GIs Puzzled by Iraqi Resistance to Censorship

Bravo and a thousand thanks to Jeremy Sapienza for his gusty, forthright remarks in GIs Puzzled by Iraqi Resistance to Censorship. As a fifty-year-old US veteran I just can’t understand the mindset of today’s military. Where did these guys graduate from, Shooting Gallery University with a major in censorship, suppression and thuggery?

“The commander’s explanation reveals that he has no regard for the basic freedoms that he is supposedly in Iraq to promote,” Sapienza writes. “‘I think it was important [to remove the posters] because al-Sadr currently stands for all things that are anti-coalition,’ he said. ‘It’s important to show [the people of Washash] that we can deal with the propaganda in a non-threatening way, rather than coming in hard and forcefully.'”

Reports of GI’s smashing up homes, ransacking rooms, heisting personal possessions, and wholesale arrests – not too mention shooting ambulances – smacks of terrorism, the type of thuggery we attribute to Saddam’s secret police and deck-of-cards henchmen – which we’ve now hired (“Saddam’s Ex-Generals Put in Charge of New Army“) to help put down the insurrection. As Jeremy indignantly says: “Yeah, Iraqis should thank the occupiers for not massacring them for having photos of their preferred leader. Gimme a break.”

Too bad the Neocon newspaper shills, Safire, Coulter and Will haven’t half the guts of Sapienza or Charley Reese when it comes to clarity of thought, or the basic interpretation of the US Constitution!

~ Douglas Herman, USAF veteran, Kodiak, Alaska

Bush Outsources Mideast Policy

As he ages, Pat Buchanan is showing his true colors more vividly – and looking better and better!

The Neo-Cons who have hijacked our politico-economic-social and cultural system have taken their wild-eyed and brutally enforced positions to such a degree as to set off in high relief old-time Conservatives like Buchanan – making those latter standard bearers for fiscal responsibility and common decency look positively rational.

Would that Buchanan would join with his natural ally, Ralph Nader, in offering a viable alternative to the War Party of Bush & Kerry! Now that would be a Revolution!

Lock and load, Pat!

~ Gary Corseri

President Bush May Never Have Read Bin Laden Brief

Thanks for your fine essay at, “President Bush May Never Have Read Bin Laden Brief.” For some time, I have been emailing around to various colleagues and friends about the fact that GWB was in Crawford, Texas at the time of the Aug 6, 2001 PDB. I am glad to see you take it up and get that highlighted so prominently. Well done!

Some other points:

1) The Senior White House Official you quote admits GW was at the Crawford Ranch, and says he was briefed personally (which GW likes, that “interactive” style, again). But WHO briefed him on the PDB in Crawford? Not Tenet. Someone else, by phone? By a staff person present with him on vacation?

2) Recall, too, from Richard Clarke’s book Against All Enemies, that Clarke, beginning the first week of July 2001, is putting everyone on full alert, telling them to “cancel summer vacations.” (p. 236, mentioned twice). Obviously, that order did not apply to the President, but it does mean – given the full alert, the “spiking” of reports of threats, et al – that extraordinary measures for monitoring the situation during the President’s vacation should be in place.

3) It should be recalled that GW’s nearly month-long holiday, Aug. 4 to Aug. 28th, was one of the longest of Presidential vacations. If he had stayed in Crawford until after Labor Day as originally planned, according to USA Today‘s article of August 3, 2001 (I have the article in a file someplace) then that would have broken the record for longest running President’s vacation since one taken by Richard Nixon of a 30 day period.

4) And I don’t have the documentation with me, but even before GW’s August vacation, it seems to me that the press – here in Europe and in the U.S. – was running occasional stories concerning GW’s spending an unusual amount of time vacationing, or relocating to “The Western White House.”

5) Moreover, whatever one thinks of GW’s strong support for Ariel Sharon in Israel, GW’s first 8 months in office before 9-11, were striking for the President’s almost complete inattention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during that time (a time when violence there was escalating to new levels).

So, there are these and, no doubt, many other dimensions of this problem.

But let’s sum up. Here’s a President vacationing in Crawford, Texas, at a time when his National Security Advisor had put his staff and others on “Full Alert” because of the possibility of a domestic attack by al-Qaeda, which Tenet, too, was concerned about. Moreover, GW is not just vacationing, but taking one of the longest Presidential vacations in history during this time of threat (a time that is threat not just in hindsight, but in terms of a full alert announced then, during those pre-9/11 months, so threatening that Clarke urges a canceling of staff vacations). And again, this long vacation in a time of threat came after GW had already developed a hefty vacation habit, a habit which looks all the more inappropriate given that he simultaneously cultivated a near total neglect of his mediating role regarding the hottest conflict in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian one.

Presidents warrant their vacations, but what we see of GW’s presidential style, through the window of questions raised about his one August 2001 vacation – well, this doesn’t correspond to my definition of “serving as President of the United States.”

~ Mark Lewis Taylor, Professor of religion and culture, Princeton Theological Seminary

The Basic Flaw in Neoconservatism

Neocons like to mention Germany and Japan post-WWII as examples of successful democratization by force. In fact the democratization of Germany and Japan was driven more by fear of being thrown to the Soviet wolves than admiration for America and Britain.

The American South was just as thoroughly smashed in 1865 as Germany and Japan were in 1945, but Radical Reconstruction still failed.

~ George Carty

Critics’ Corner

Iraq bad, but Bosnia, Haiti, Somalia, etc. good? Commie Idiots.

~ Doug Schmitt

Eric Garris replies:

We started in 1995 to fight against Clinton’s interventions. We opposed US intervention in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.

Democrats are always the worst warmongers. That is why I have been an active Republican for years. If you bothered to read you would see that our top columnist today is Pat Buchanan, hardly a commie.

Too bad your government spent all that money on the military instead of giving your parents tax cuts to send you to a school where you could have learned to read!

Your website is a slap in the face for me and all of my brothers who fight for this country and put their life on the line for freedom!

~ Pfc. Staley

Eric Garris replies:

No, our website is the expression of the freedom that your brothers and you supposedly are fighting for. Unfortunately, too many of you seem to have lost that understanding.

It is a shame when good Americans surrender to the likes of bin Laden who have demanded that we give up our freedoms. Fortunately, I am confident most Americans will stand up to him and won’t try to adopt the principles of the enemy we are fighting.

Previous Backtalk