Of Games That Politicians Play. On Capitol Hill

September 30, 2008

Of Games That Politicians Play. On Capitol Hill

Adam Lovejoy writes from Washington: What a show they are putting on here! It’s got everything in it: the drama, the suspense, the tension, the deadlines, the tired worn out faces of the key actors, the calls to protect the American people. Yes, what is now happening in the American capital is nothing more than a farce. The White House knows it, the members of congress know it, the lobbyists know it and the money men on Wall Street know it and only the American people are kept unaware of what is actually happening. They, the people, seem to be under the impression that their elected representatives on Capitol Hill are fighting for their interests. Yeah, sure they do: think of nothing else but people’s interests. Don’t sleep at night, thinking about ordinary Americans. That... 

China On The Horns of A Dilemma

September 30, 2008

China On The Horns of A Dilemma

(By Martin McCauley.) The party is about to end for the Communist Party of China (CPC). The climax came with the Olympic Games, followed by the Chinese astronauts blasting into space and returning triumphantly back. National Day celebrations begin on October 1 and would last a week. Then it’s back to reality. The Central Committee (CC) of the CPC convenes immediately after the festivities are over. It promises to be a volatile session. Ostensibly it is about agriculture but the effects of the world credit crunch and growing unemployment are bound to be broached. CC members – the second tier of Party power after the Politburo – are under tremendous pressure in their bailiwicks to bring back promises of money and credits from Beijing. The Chinese property market has taken an... 

America Takes On The Role Of World Peacekeeper. Without Asking Anyone

September 29, 2008

America Takes On The Role Of World Peacekeeper. Without Asking Anyone

We have recieved the following comment from one of our regular readers (“fiji islands”): It seems only the United States have the right to militarily intervene in the world’s hotspots. The God-blessed land of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet is the only nation, it believes, that has the moral authority to convene military operations or “preempt” possible attacks – anywhere in the world. It even denies other countries the right to act in self-defense, as was clearly the case with Russia in South Ossetia. As for Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, well, do as we say, not as we do. The US National Security Strategy states: ‘The United States must defend liberty and justice… for all people everywhere.’ But who will guard us from the guardians?... 

Would Beijing Prefer Obama or McCain To Win?

September 29, 2008

Would Beijing Prefer Obama or McCain To Win?

(Martin McCauley.) Like everyone else the Communist Party of China (CPC) is following the election campaign in the US with great interest. Beijing would love to know who will win the contest to become the 44th President of the United States. So important is the election on November 4 that Ma Hui, the director for the Americas of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver. This was the first time that the CPC has been represented at an American political party convention. So what did he make of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, his running mate? He must have been dazzled by the attire of Hillary Clinton who threatened to steal the show. Bill was there too, of course, and the Chinese comrade may have wondered who is really... 

Defence Review? Tell It To The Men And Women On The Front Line

September 28, 2008

Defence Review? Tell It To The Men And Women On The Front Line

(By Christopher Lee.) Former Lib Dem leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, has produced a timely report suggesting that the military covenant – an agreement between the armed forces and society – could be broken irreparably. Campbell touches upon a subject about which we should all care deeply. If asked, we’re all for supporting sailors, soldiers and airmen and women. We may not agree that they should have been sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, but we support them as service men and women and admire their courage. It is almost inconceivable that a British government of today would have gone to war in Iraq. Even ignoring the current financial and economic circumstances, the Weapons of Mass Disappearance story would simply not wash now. The government would like to get our troops back... 

Barack Obama Did Not Impress Some People During His First TV Debate

September 28, 2008

Barack Obama Did Not Impress Some People During His First TV Debate

It appears some of my readers have not been very impressed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s performance during his first round of TV debates with Republican candidate John McCain. I have received this comment from the US from two of my regular readers, who wrote it the style of an open letter to Obama. Here is how it goes: Dear Senator Obama, We strongly supported you before, but after yesterday’s TV debate we now have serious reservations about your ability to lead this nation on the world stage. In short, you missed several key points completely or made the wrong conclusions when discussing foreign policy issues. 1. The United States unilaterally attacked Iraq, abridging all international laws for the first time in their history. Yet you, Senator, neglected... 

Paul McCartney Plays In Tel Aviv. He Might Actually Regret That He Ever Went There

September 27, 2008

Paul McCartney Plays In Tel Aviv. He Might Actually Regret That He Ever Went There

Sir Paul McCartney played a gig on Thursday in Tel Aviv, in front of 40,000 fans. There was a lot of fuss surrounding his trip because more than forty years ago the Beatles had been banned from playing in Israel by its government. The ban came weeks before the concert of the Fab Four. Even the tickets had already been printed and had to be destroyed. Of only people had known then how expensive those unused tickets would be now. And there was even a bit of political controversy surrounding McCartney’s visit to Israel. Some extremists supposedly threatened him because they were unhappy that the singer was acknowledging Israel’s existence by going there. It was stupid, of course, because you can’t just pretend that Israel doesn’t exist. Being a cynical type I even thought... 

The Spanish Conundrum: Why Is ETA Still Killing People?

September 26, 2008

The Spanish Conundrum: Why Is ETA Still Killing People?

Martin McCauley writes from London: The news that the Basque terrorist group ETA has killed a member of the Spanish armed forces on Monday shocked Spain. It was the third car bomb attack in 24 hours. Even more frustrating for the authorities was the fact that the soldier was murdered in Cantabria, the province to the west of the Basque Region. ETA has once again signalled its intention to strike against those representing the Spanish state, whether they’d be employed by the federal or regional governments. What is ETA and why is it killing still people in the first decade of the 21st century? ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or The Basque Region and Liberty) was founded in 1959 to fight for Basque independence. It was created in response to the passive attitude of the ruling party, the Nationalist... 

The Omagh Tragedy Teaches One Thing: Intelligence Blunders Can Be Costly

September 25, 2008

The Omagh Tragedy Teaches One Thing: Intelligence Blunders Can Be Costly

(By Martin McCauley.) The claim by the BBC Panorama programme that the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had been monitoring the Real IRA bombers just before the carnage occurred in Omagh, on 15 August 1998, has sent shock waves through Ulster. If it is true it means a shocking breakdown in intelligence gathering and dissemination. The head of the Northern Ireland police force has stated that he was unaware that the mobiles of the bombers were being monitored. Apparently, GCHQ even identified one of the bombers. They were the same group which had planted a bomb a short time before in Banbridge, Co Down, which fortunately did not claim any lives. Even after the explosion GCHQ did not immediately reveal what it knew. If one wants to be charitable, one would say that the officers monitoring... 

The Labour Party Conference Is Pathetic. They Look Ridiculous. They Are On Their Way Out

September 24, 2008

The Labour Party Conference Is Pathetic. They Look Ridiculous. They Are On Their Way Out

Is it just me or does Foreign Secretary David Miliband really look like the white twin brother of the actor Will Smith? The same narrow brow, the strangely shaped ears, the same weird haircut that seems to be glued to the scalp and the same unhealthy glow in the eyes. And, of course, the same abysmal acting skills. Because just like Smith, who really isn’t a master of transformation and comes across exactly the same in every role he plays, Miliband simply can’t conceal his obsessive desire to replace the current leader, Gordon Brown. So great is this desire, in fact, that I think that the Foreign Secretary will never get his prize. Because when you want something too much and it is obvious to everyone around you, someone else, who is keeping his cards close to his chest, will... 

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