Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sign of Hope?

The BBC is reporting today that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has gone to Kuwait and apologized to the Kuwaiti government and the Kuwaiti people for supporting Saddam when he invaded their country back in 1991.
Mr Abbas said he was turning over a new leaf.

"We apologise to Kuwait and the Kuwaiti people for what we did," said Mr Abbas.

I noticed just last night, however, that commenter Outlaw Michael Cosyns, over on Yosemite Sam Hammorabi's blog, sounded a note caution about Mr. Abbas, who is evidently a Holocaust denier.

Well, it's not that I have given up hope. It's just that I am of the opinion that, while remaining hopeful, it would be wise "om een stok achter de deur te houden", like they say in Flemish (to keep a stick behind the door, meaning to be prepared in case of). Just consider these examples:
. . .
* A figure like Mahmud Abbas, one of the contenders for the Palestinian Presidential elections, with his perfectly mached suit, white hair and noble and staid appearance automatically commands respect, and so, when I first learned of his existence (when Arafat appointed him PM), I was hopeful at the emergence of a credible Palestinian leader. Yet according to LGF, which I find a credible although one-sided source of information, Abbas is a Holocaust denier. In Europe, you can be jailed for being a negationist.

Om een stok achter de deur te houden. Keep a stick behind the door. I like it.

*

A few days after the American presidential election Firas Georges wrote on his Iraq & Iraqis blog:
For me as an Iraqi I am happy and thankful for the results because I couldn’t afford to face new policy from another party who think that things in Iraq should be turned to UN, which we know very well in Iraq, how corrupt it is. What proves my wards the letter of UN secretary general to Prime Minister Alawy on the 6th of Nov 2004 about warning the Iraqi government not to attack Faluja…..OK, not to attack; what’s the plan then?. Answer…none in the letter.


Ms. Riverbend, the Doleful Dame of Baghdad, gnashed her teeth, had to held back from putting her Army-boot through the television screen, and was finally forced to pop a couple handy Valium.
Well, what is there to say? Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe it...

To the red states (and those who voted for Bush): You deserve no better- I couldn't wish worse on you if I tried. He represents you perfectly... and red really is your color. It's the color of the blood of thousands of Iraqis and by the time this four-year catastrophe in the White House is over, thousands of Americans, likely.

*

Rachel, a Brit in London, has returned to the comments pages around the Iraqi Blogoshere, peddling once again her EVIL EMPIRE line of shabby goods. Here's just one example from Iraq at a Glance:
Yes, four more years - God help us - I hope that, despite your fascist right-wing administration, we still have a world in four years time. Have you actually read George Orwell's 1984 - 'cos everyday your country resembles that of Wilson Smith more and more.


*


Victor Davis Hanson, riffing on Tolkien's tales, ponders the current malaise in European military matters and wonders if deep embers may once again come to life if provoked enough.
Tolkien always denied an allegorical motif or any allusions to the contemporary dangers of appeasement or the leveling effects of modernism. And scholars bicker over whether he was lamenting the end of the old England, old Europe, or the old West — in the face of the American democratic colossus, the Soviet Union's tentacles, or the un-chivalrous age of the bomb. But the notion of decline, past glory, and 11th-hour reawakening are nevertheless everywhere in the English philologist's Lord of the Rings. Was he on to something?

More specifically, does the Ents analogy work for present-day Europe? Before you laugh at the silly comparison, remember that the Western military tradition is European. Today the continent is unarmed and weak, but deep within its collective mind and spirit still reside the ability to field technologically sophisticated and highly disciplined forces — if it were ever to really feel threatened. One murder began to arouse the Dutch; what would 3,000 dead and a toppled Eiffel Tower do to the French? Or how would the Italians take to a plane stuck into the dome of St. Peter? We are nursed now on the spectacle of Iranian mullahs, with their bought weapons and foreign-produced oil wealth, humiliating a convoy of European delegates begging and cajoling them not to make bombs — or at least to point what bombs they make at Israel and not at Berlin or Paris. But it was not always the case, and may not always be.

Towards the end of his article, VDH hands the Europeans their MENU for the future:
But gut-check time is coming for Europe, with its own rising unassimilated immigrant populations, rogue mosques entirely bent on destroying the West, declining birth rate and rising entitlements, the Turkish question, and a foreign policy whose appeasement of Arab regimes won it only a brief lull and plenty of humiliation. The radical Muslim world of the madrassas hates the United States because it is liberal and powerful; but it utterly despises Europe because it is even more liberal and far weaker, earning the continent not fear, but contempt.

Ouch! Europeans, that's GOTTA hurt!
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