Nudity.

Since I actually stayed up to watch the debate between US president and Senator John Kerry, I have decided to share my favorite line.

“I just know how this world works.”

I leave it up to you who stated that… you’re right: the nude guy.

Kerry was no Jed Bartlet tonight, but I think it is hard to claim that Bush had any substantial message simply because he managed to drop a foreign leader’s name here and there and insisted adamantly that not mentioning mistakes is the smart thing to do, in order not to hurt the feelings of those who are busy dealing with their consequences in Falludja. Actually, that was the answer he gave to almost every question.

By the way, does anyone beside me find it even remotely strange that three German channels broadcast this debate live while only two at a time broadcast the debates between Chancellor Schroeder and his challenger Edmund Stoiber in 2002?

Update by David:

I liveblogged the whole thing over at Europundit. Short version: Kerry won.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Not Europe and tagged by Tobias Schwarz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tobias Schwarz

German, turned 30 a while ago, balding slowly, hopefully with grace. A carnival junkie, who, after studies in business and politics in Mannheim, Paris, and London, is currently living in his hometown of Mainz, Germany, again. Became New Labourite during a research job at the House of Commons, but difficult to place in German party-political terms. Liberal in the true sense of the term.

His political writing is mostly on A Fistful of Euros and on facebook these days. Occasional Twitter user and songwriter. His personal blog is almost a diary. Even more links at about.me.

41 thoughts on “Nudity.

  1. Oops. Maybe tampering with someone else’s post wasn’t such a good idea. But your update mysteriously broke the link to fafblog, so it was all for the better maybe

  2. Well,

    Being in the states, Kerry did win the debate and respectability. He actually looked like a smart, savvy, presidential figure.

    Meanwhile, life-long republicans were actually seen “wincing” whenever Bush spoke. Bush appeared confused, befuddled… almost like he hit a happy-hour on the way to the debate to relax.

    Not good. In short, he looked stupid.

    Don’t trust the polls, btw. I am seeing a remarkable thing here in the states, something that the polls do not pick up on. All around me, rather apathetic co-workers are registering to vote. In the past, if about 50% of eligible voters showed up to vote, it was considered a successful vote. But whenever more than 50% showed to vote, it usually was bad for the incumbent. I see an enormous number of people intense about voting for the first time, and the polls do not reflect them, since US polls only hit voters who have voted in prior elections (the likely to vote), and don’t even bother with newly registered.

    The 51/46 Bush over Kerry lead may well be an illusion. I believe it is. If Kerry does well, or even just holds his own in the next two debates, he is the likely winner. The pressure is on Bush to find a message, and to stop masticating the English language.

    But, that’s what he gets for being a “divider”, not a “uniter”.

  3. Moo Lah!

    My favorite.

    Traveller, debates do not decide elections. 90% of most voters have their minds made up. You non scientific observations mean nothing, other than that your apathetic co workers were too lazy or preoccupied to think about what was going on in the world. I don’t know how you extrapolate your co workers attitudes to the rest of the US but I find it curious.

    Bush did what was expected. Kerry did as well. Bush voters and fence sitters don’t particularly care about poor english. Bush seemed honest if not articulate. Most Americans are not going to by this ‘We need to check with the world first’ bit that Kerry keeps peddling. Most Americans hold the UN in very low esteem. And most Americans realize that Kerry can’t get Europe on board anymore than Bush can, because fundamentaly, it’s not in Europe’s interest. That’s the issue. Not debate performance.

  4. 90% of most voters have their minds made up. You non scientific observations mean nothing,

    That first number is obviously the result of an unreferenced poll, it may not necessarily be applicable for the reasons that Traveller pointed out.

    Bush voters and fence sitters don’t particularly care about poor english. Bush seemed honest if not articulate.

    On the contrary, fence-sitters that are unaware of the policies of the candidates are going to pay the most attention to presentation and demeanor.

    Of the two candidates, only one was Presidential, and it wasn’t the President.

    Most Americans hold the UN in very low esteem. And most Americans realize that Kerry can’t get Europe on board anymore than Bush can, because fundamentaly, it’s not in Europe’s interest. That’s the issue. Not debate performance.

    That’s pure Republican loony-spin. The polls prior to and in the early stages of the war showed that a majority of Americans wanted the Saddam Hussein/Iraq handled through the UN.

    As Kerry reminded 80Million Americans last night, there was a right way and a wrong way to handle the Saddam Hussein threat, and Bush chose the wrong way.

    And Bush could not articulate any substantial defense last night. No wonder he was so flustered,defensive and peeved-looking.

  5. Rupert,

    My point was simply that many many Americans who have stayed out of politics are getting back into politics, or entering it for the first time.

    The 2000 election showed Americans that a handful of votes can actually make a difference. And I have seen statistics that an unusual number of people are registering to vote for the first time, though it is almost evenly split.

    Regards.

  6. And most Americans realize that Kerry can’t get Europe on board anymore than Bush can, because fundamentaly, it’s not in Europe’s interest.

    I cannot speak for most Americans. However, most Americans I know think that Kerry can get Europe “on board” (though I’m not sure that your ‘board’ and theirs are the same ‘board’.) I also think that, in this respect, most Americans that I know are correct. It is in Europe’s interest to return to the playground – once the game rules are not dictated by the school bully.

    Most Americans hold the UN in very low esteem.

    (I assume that this is the same “most Americans” as above.) Finding any agreement between all nations in the world is a non-trivial task. So difficult, in fact, that it is very tempting to try to force the ‘obvious answer’ down everybody’s throat rather than to (seemingly) continue beating one’s head against a brick wall. However, persevering on the long and apparently thankless path of forging concensus has two great advantages. Firstly, one makes friends rather than pushing others away. Secondly, the result has a chance of working.

  7. That first number is obviously the result of an unreferenced poll, it may not necessarily be applicable for the reasons that Traveller pointed out.

    Fair enough.

    On the contrary, fence-sitters that are unaware of the policies of the candidates are going to pay the most attention to presentation and demeanor.

    Who said fence sitters were unaware?

    That’s pure Republican loony-spin. The polls prior to and in the early stages of the war showed that a majority of Americans wanted the Saddam Hussein/Iraq handled through the UN.

    I said Americans held the UN in low esteem. I wasn’t addressing American attitudes towards the invasion of Iraq visa-vi the UN or the legitamacy of an institution like the UN. Post Iraq invasion polls show that Americans find the UN doing a poor job upholding it’s charter. Isn’t that obvious? 17 UN sanctions mandating Iraqi disarmarment, yet no action. Sudan being elected to UN Human Commission while committing genocide. Oil for Food scandal. Why are France and Germany on the Security Council when they have no military to speak of yet India is not? It’s absurd and in dire need of reform.

    As Kerry reminded 80Million Americans last night, there was a right way and a wrong way to handle the Saddam Hussein threat, and Bush chose the wrong way.

    That’s one opinion.

    My point was simply that many many Americans who have stayed out of politics are getting back into politics, or entering it for the first time

    I don’t know if that’s an accurate description. Getting ‘back into’ implies that they were in it before. What I’m seeing is a lot of people who have never had an interest in politics because they were too self absorbed or ignorant of the political process or the goings on in the world around them. The Democratic party seems to have attracted a lot of these sort of people. The Fringe. The “Amerikkka” haters who draw Hitler mustaches on pictures of GW as if the comparison is even remotely valid.

    The thing for me about John Kerry is he essentially agreed with GW on Iraq. Invasion, intelligence and all. Any fool can say ‘you fucked up.’ But what is his alternative? To go back to the institution that failed in it’s duty in the first place. This election isn’t going to be about how bad George Bush is, but what is the alternative. Speaking well can’t mask your contradictions.

    Cheers.

  8. Why are France and Germany on the Security Council when they have no military to speak of yet India is not?

    Germany isn’t, actually, but they’re currently lobbying for a permanent seat — along with India and some other countries.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled flamefest.

  9. Frankly, Rupert, trying to dismiss the argument that Kerry might pick up new voters by insulting said voters doesn’t really help your case.

  10. Tobias touches upon the real issue (for a Euro website) when he points out how this election seems more important to Europeans than their own, domestic ones.

    Just the fact that this is so seems quite pathetic. Why is Europe in this role? Historical happenstance? Or perhaps because it was easy to choose a path of free-riderism? It’s certainly upsetting to realize that the driving force behind your economy might not be under your “control” after all. That, in the end, seems to be at the crux of European concerns.

    Let’s face it: Americans have less and less in common with Europeans, and vice versa. Why force the issue? Let’s just dissolve our “mutual bonds”, and realize that we might very well become enemies in the future.

  11. LOL, I select a quote of the day every day – and my favorite line was exactly the same.

    But yes, Kerry was the winner of the debate.

  12. …the driving force behind your economy might not be under your “control” after all…

    Unlike, for example, the American ecomony which is very definitely under America’s control? So, why all the fuss about oil? With the possible exception of North Korea, it is hard to think of a country in total control of its economy or associated driving forces. Isn’t this considered a good thing?

    …Americans have less and less in common with Europeans…

    Yes… The debates highlight one growing difference: few European countries would have the participants 10 feet apart, few try to control the television cameras during debates and few heads of European states are so unfamiliar with public challenges by political rivals. (Has GW ever addressed a left-leaning group?) A president wrapped in so much political cottonwool combined with another growing difference between the two continents, a military far greater than necessary for its purported task of defending the country, is a dangerous combination. Perhaps Europeans feel that the US election is important for the world, not just for Europe.

    And, No… Commercial inter-dependence is a commonality far outweighing everything else. (I hope.)

  13. Just the fact that this is so seems quite pathetic. Why is Europe in this role? Historical happenstance? Or perhaps because it was

    There is no comparable election to a European institution. National European parliamentary and presidental elections cause more interest in the countries having them than US elections.

    How could the elections to an office that controls the world’s largest military and has great influence on the world’s largest budget not be of utmost interest?
    If you are complaining that Europe is no longer the leading continent in the world, than you are very late. That has been pissed away in 1917 at the latest.

  14. The debate was pretty much a micro-cosm of this entire election.

    Kerry scored more debate points, but only by taking multiple sides on every issue. Bush stuck to his guns, but it wasn’t pretty.

    Bush could do himself a favor by being better prepared for the next 2 debates, but I don’t think it will matter much. Kerry seems prefectly comfortable winning every battle in such a way that it ensures he’ll lose the war.

  15. few heads of European states are so unfamiliar with public challenges by political rivals. (Has GW ever addressed a left-leaning group?) A president wrapped in so much political cottonwool combined with another growing difference between the two continents, a military far greater than necessary for its purported task of defending the country,

    I don’t particularly understand this emphasis on the President. He is one man. What matters is the party, and in that respect, yes the Republican Party has addressed ‘left leaning groups’. Although the left to Europe is probably way left to most Americans. There was an interesting show on NPR’s ‘This American Life’ called ‘The Big Tent’ which argues that the Republican Party is now the more inclusive party. More willing to listen to dissension and alternative points of view. If your a Democrat and your pro life, your told to shut up. If your gay and a Republican, your views are heard, if not agreed with.

    The American military just doesn’t defend the country. It defends, in many cases, many places in the world.

  16. “There was an interesting show on NPR?s ?This American Life? called ?The Big Tent? which argues that the Republican Party is now the more inclusive party.”

    Duh….

  17. I don’t particularly understand this emphasis on the President. He is one man.

    As far as I can see, that one man, his style and his appointed team, are the main reasons for Europe’s feelings towards the US. Without Bush, Europe would probably be split like America in any feelings they have towards the parties.

    The American military just doesn’t defend the country. It defends, in many cases, many places in the world.

    Agreed. So as this role decreases the size of the military should decrease, not increase.

  18. Kerry’s debate win was a triumph of style over substance, aided by a clearly partisan media in the US, touting him the “winner” within 5 minutes after the debate. If you doubt the power of the main stream media (MSM) in affecting US elections just look back to the democratic primaries when the MSM played an undeniable role in railroading Kerry as the democratic candidate in the first place. Rupert is optimistic that Americans won’t fall for style over substance. I’m not so sure. Kerry’s whole message boils down to trying to convince the American public that we will be less hated in the world if he is president. Many Americans will certainly fall for this because they are in denial that Americans are the new Jews. Most Americans have no idea of what is going on in Europe – with their vast slums of unassimilated Muslim immigrants creating “no-go” zones and their politicians kowtowing to Arab interests, in the onward march towards “Eurabia”. Most Americans have never heard of the term “dhimmitude”, are unaware that Canada looks poised to adopt Sharia courts and so on. Kerry is selling tham a pipe dream that there is safety in numbers. Once they figure out what is really going on all the gains that the despised Bush has made will be lost. There will be no pressure on Middle eastern regimes to reform from within and in the meantime the US will be hit with another inevitable attack on its own soil. When the US population wakes up to all of this reality in 4 years they will elect an administration that is so far right wing and militaristic that it will make George Bush look like a leftists wetdream. My mother always said – be careful what you wish for – it may come true…..

  19. My mother always said – be careful what you wish for – it may come true…..

    A wetdream?

  20. I don’t think the majority of American voters (the majority of voters everywhere) would appreciate it but you can endorse the anyone-but-Bush campaign and so giving some support to Kerry and still know that the election of Bush could be in the interest of European affairs to some extent. Election of Bush should make the US more of a sole target to AL-Qaeda and the likes of them.
    I hope Kerry wins and I hope that the US and European politics will better cooperate on a lot of issues, fighting and preventing terrorism not the least of these. I think this could imply more European victims of the terrorism.

  21. John Kerry is not in the least suggesting America will be any less strong or pronounced in defening itself, only that we will build more strategic relations in foreign policy.

  22. I’ve noticed this trend since the debate. A great many of the non-American blogs I’ve visited (I’m American) have postings from very strong Bush supporters whenever the topic of the debate comes up. It’s odd because these types of posts weren’t present the other numerous times I’ve visited. By “these types” I mean the insulting Rupert-type, and the just plain wierd Caroline type posts. It appears that there is some sort of concerted effort to get people to blog in support of Bush in order to make his support seem larger than it is. I do hope the readers here understand that it is not true that most Americans, “don’t particularly care about poor english.” Or that the democratic party, in particular, attracts “people who have never had an interest in politics because they were too self absorbed or ignorant of the political process or the goings on in the world around them.” This is a bit precious coming from a man who thinks Germany has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
    I don’t know if there is a Canadian here who wants to address, “Canada looks poised to adopt Sharia courts.” My apologies in any event.

    John Kerry can talk in great detail about just about any US policy, and he was the debate champion in college when he was at Yale. Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom in the US is that the average voter will be turned off by knowledgeable detail. That this type of discourse is too easily smeared by the Bush team. Therefore, the “debate” that was held, with its 32 pages of rules, was merely a forum designed to make Kerry more appealing to undecideds and to create a situation where Bush would not be shown up when he could not answer detailed, policy related questions, of which he is “proudly” distainful.

    God save us and the world from this pampered, learning disabled, deliberately ignorant, responsibility shirking, death mongering fool and his complex regarding his father. God save us from people who think intelligence, and an ability to speak knowledgeably and at length, are not assets in a US politician. God save us from political operatives so keen to obtain power that they are willing to risk the country’s welfare to nominate an unqualified person because of his name recognition to the presidency.

  23. The funny thing is that some people think they observe the opposite trend on US blogs!
    A Jonathan finds out (and is enjoying the observation) that sites like Political Animal’s get less visitors from people who only want to disrupt the debate (referred to as trolls).

    So he wrote:
    “I swear I’m going to do a thesis on measuring political momentum by the number of trolls posting on blogs. Bet it does a helluva lot better than Gallup. It has been *quiet* here and on atrios’ for the last few days!”

  24. Frans,
    The two observations go hand-in-hand: The 101st Keyboarding Division evidently got their marching orders to pull out from their trenches at the overtly (Democratic) partisan sites and to attack secondary targets where they might find some less-committed people to befuddle.

  25. I don’t know if there is a Canadian here who wants to address, “Canada looks poised to adopt Sharia courts.” My apologies in any event.

    Seek and ye shall find. This is old news.

    I do hope the readers here understand that it is not true that most Americans, “don’t particularly care about poor english.” Or that the democratic party, in particular, attracts “people who have never had an interest in politics because they were too self absorbed or ignorant of the political process or the goings on in the world around them.”

    Most American’s care about character. Voting for the war and then claiming it was wrong makes your character suspect methinks. If your specualtions are true, Kerry should be leading big time. The Democratic party has traditionally been the populist party. It has historically attracted people of lower education and people who are not too aware of what’s going on in the world. It’s the party of the poor South, Get out the Vote drives, union organized voting drives etc. Go to a college campus and ask kids about the issues in this election. Half of them can’t find Iraq on a map but they know that George Bush = Hitler. That what this election is about for the Democratic party. Bush hatred, not issues.

    John Kerry can talk in great detail about just about any US policy,

    Of course he can, but can he defend his positions on them?

    This being a European blog, I suppose anyone that supports finds Kerry distasteful is a troll. Oh well.

  26. Ah, a link to frontpagemag. How telling, Mr. InterRupter. Unfortunately, hyping up a request by some Muslim fundies (to turn the voluntary-participation system that can be appealed at regular courts existing, for all religions, since an 1991 ‘Arbitration Act’ into something stronger) into official Canadian policy won’t impress any European beyond the Haider-NPD-Csurka-Fortuyn-le Pen types, who don’t cruise up on this blog.

    In fact, official Canadian policy is the opposite of the FrontPageMag/WorldNutDaily/etc. spin. Responding to demands and protests by women’s groups (not only Muslim, BTW: Jewish too), an overhaul is to limit the autonomy of religious abiters, and lessen the possibility of discrimination, by introducing mandatory training for arbiters and mandatory legal counsel for those (especially women) going to the arbiter. If I recall correctly the new stricter version is about to be adopted in the coming weeks.

  27. After the above, the unintentional irony in this parapgraph of the FrontPageMag article is even more funny:

    Well, we all thought the Netherlands or France would be the first to adopt some form of Sharia law as the thin end of the wedge of catering to Muslim immigrants who universally appear unable to fit in with their host societies. Yet the Netherlands has just put a four-year moratorium on all immigration, including “asylum seekers”, has stopped schooling Muslim children in the home language of their parents/grandparents, and has closed down many of its Muslim community centers. And France is banning the headscarf on school property and is shoveling undesirable imams out of the country at a rate of knots.

    But after being so wrong about Iraq, the Netherlands, France, Canada, they are still cocksure about the soundness of their judgement, like their removed-from-reality President.

  28. Rupert, aren’t you tired of self-provocators?

    BTW, to tick you off, it was one of Hitler’s main tactics to claim persecution from the people he persecuted or planned to persecute.

  29. “I hope Kerry wins and I hope that the US and European politics will better cooperate on a lot of issues, fighting and preventing terrorism not the least of these. I think this could imply more European victims of the terrorism.”

    Myself, I am pretty much apathetic about Kerry. Many Europeans seem to hold illusions about his actual (professed) views, i.e. he is even more partial in the I/P conflict, offers no solution to Iraq, clings to the belief of benevolent imperial might (“America leads the world”), doesn’t promise to undo what the Bush government destroyed in international treaties (arms control, Kyoto), is a last believer in the War On Drugs, and so on.

    As for what he will do if elected, one could argue that he may tailor his words for the elections, or alternatively that he could be convinced to change his views for the better. But I’m sceptical, Kerry doesn’t strike me as bold enough (=believe he can convince people) to implement any big, needed, changes in face of a right-wing press.

    My fear is that Kerry could be a President doing nothing much, but soon ‘owning’ the problems inherited from Dubya in the public’s eyes – leading to a Repub return giving much wider powers to the Repubs, than they could gain in this close election. And that under a much more able (hence damaging) leader than the current incumbent.

  30. Ah, a link to frontpagemag. How telling, Mr. InterRupter. Unfortunately, hyping up a request by some Muslim fundies (to turn the voluntary-participation system that can be appealed at regular courts existing, for all religions, since an 1991 ‘Arbitration Act’ into something stronger) into official Canadian policy won’t impress any European beyond the Haider-NPD-Csurka-Fortuyn-le Pen types, who don’t cruise up on this blog.

    What’s telling is that a large amount of noise in opposition to this proposal has come from Muslims in Canada. Probably because they have experienced Sharia. This issue isn’t whether Sharia decisions can be appealed if they violate Canadian secular law, but the fact that Muslim women may be forced into these tribunals and may not know that they have a right to appeal to Candian courts. Sharia is inherently sexist and unequal.

    an overhaul is to limit the autonomy of religious abiters, and lessen the possibility of discrimination, by introducing mandatory training for arbiters and mandatory legal counsel for those (especially women) going to the arbiter. If I recall correctly the new stricter version is about to be adopted in the coming weeks.

    I couldn’t find this anywhere. Do you have a link?

    After the above, the unintentional irony in this parapgraph of the FrontPageMag article is even more funny

    Is Slate too Right of center for you?

    “This Canadian fondness for multiculturalism at any cost stands in stark contrast to the French approach to religious diversity. Last week, the French government began enforcing its controversial new ban on the wearing of overtly religious symbols?Muslim headscarves, large crosses, yarmulkes?in public schools. French democracy now means that everyone must subordinate their religious differences to their French citizenship, whereas Canadian multiculturalism means the civil law must bend and bend again to accommodate religious differences?even where those religious differences violate the spirit of Canadian equality. Somehow, the Canadians are prepared to sell the farm, while the French will settle for shooting all the animals.

    When an official government policy of diversity and tolerance gives its official thumbs up to any legal system?Jewish, Muslim, or Martian?fraught with judgment and intolerance, the consequence is a legal hall of mirrors: A system of laws equally protecting the rights of religious minorities to treat one another unequally.”

  31. A gem from Rupert:

    “Why are France and Germany on the Security Council when they have no military to speak of yet India is not?”

    Others pointed out that Germany doesn’t have a permanent seat but actually teamed up with India (and Brazil and Japan) to get one, I will only wonder about the ‘no military to speak of’ part – France is a nuclear power, is possibly second only to the USA with foreign bases, Germany has the most peacekeeping troops deployed in the Balkans and Afghanistan; by military budget size France is 6th, Germany 7th, India 10th in the world; by Navy size France is 5th, India 7th, Germany 12th, by air force size India and France are tied at 4th, Germany is 8th, but in both fields France & Germany have more modern ships/planes than India or some other top-listed.

    (That said, I’d prefer the transformation of European armies to fast-deployable peacekeeping forces, rather than creating our own overbloated and destructive military-industrial complex.)

    (Self-provocator link, second try)

  32. A gem from Rupert:

    To err is human. Kerry stated stated in debates that KGB headquarters were in “Treblinka” square. Yes, the death camp.

    I will only wonder about the ‘no military to speak of’ part – France is a nuclear power, is possibly second only to the USA with foreign bases, Germany has the most peacekeeping troops deployed in the Balkans and Afghanistan; by military budget size France is 6th, Germany 7th, India 10th in the world; by Navy size France is 5th, India 7th, Germany 12th, by air force size India and France are tied at 4th, Germany is 8th, but in both fields France & Germany have more modern ships/planes than India or some other top-listed.

    I’m comparing France, Germany, et al. to America. So by comparison, they really don’t have any military to speak of. And they certainly don’t have the projection capabilites of the American military with which any peackeeping operation is vital. Without America you have no security in the Security Council.

  33. “Sharia is inherently sexist and unequal.”

    So are rules for Orthodox Jews as arbitrated by Orthodox rabbis, and so is the whole framework of Catholicism as arbitrated by priests. Will you join me in a demand to remove all religious arbitration, in Canada as well as the USA? And what about religious schools (f.e. Bob Jones University) and homeschooling? Nevermind, you ignored the point about the the possibility of appeal at general courts under the inherently non-sexist and equal Canadian laws…

    “I couldn’t find this anywhere.”

    You should try harder, or you shouldn’t just look at Fox, FrontPageMag, and some Slate 🙂

    This CSM article appears to be my source, which I re-found by a single Googling with three keywords. Also worth to read this cached article, this further bit of legal background:

    …It has existed by statute since 1889. All that happened in 1991 was that Ontario’s Arbitration Act was amended to codify certain procedures to make them fairer.

  34. “I’m comparing France, Germany, et al. to America. So by comparison, they really don’t have any military to speak of.”

    Now I’m confused. So you think the USA should sit alone at the UN SC, deciding the matters of the world?

    What was that about India?…

    And they certainly don’t have the projection capabilites of the American military with which any peackeeping operation is vital.

    Well, Germany has a problem with lack of big transport planes, but they still manage get around with their peacekeeping missions on their own in the Balkans and in Afghanistan. France has no such problem. On the other hand, the old NATO Transall machines will be replaced by the recently ordered Airbus-400M planes across Europe.

  35. We’ve had the power projection debate a number of times in the past guys. The US changed the nature of their troops and their military doctrine earlier than did Europe, for a number of reasons. Despite winning a war, the US is not currently able to win a peace.

    In essence, let me quote Andrew Moravcsik here –

    “The Iraq crisis offers two basic lessons. The first, for Europeans, is that American hawks were right. Unilateral intervention to coerce regime change can be a cost-effective way to deal with rogue states. In military matters, there is only one superpower — the United States — and it can go it alone if it has to. It is time to accept this fact and move on.

    The second lesson, for Americans, is that moderate skeptics on both sides of the Atlantic were also right. Winning a peace is much harder than winning a war. Intervention is cheap in the short run but expensive in the long run. And when it comes to the essential instruments for avoiding chaos or quagmire once the fighting stops — trade, aid, peacekeeping, international monitoring, and multilateral legitimacy — Europe remains indispensable. In this respect, the unipolar world turns out to be bipolar after all.”

    (http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20030701faessay15406/andrew-moravcsik/striking-a-new-transatlantic-bargain.html)

    I repeat what I have said numerous times before. There are more policy dimensions to US military spending than defense, like education, and social security. With respect to military effectivity, I suggest that the marginal increase of power projection capability per dollar spent is decreasing. It’s the ten million dollar cruise missile vs. ten dollar ten story that is happening everyday in Iraq.

    No doubt that European armies will not currently be as efficient fulfilling the first part of Mr Moravcsik’s argument – and the A400M planes are still largely computer models, not to speak of the politcal battles fought over their overdue acquisition. But there is increasing evidence Europeans are better at the second, including the British, although one might argue they got the better hand by being stationed in the South.

    If anyone still wants to employ the dreadful Mars and Venus quip – these two apparently cannot do without each other. At least for the forseeable future.

  36. So are rules for Orthodox Jews as arbitrated by Orthodox rabbis, and so is the whole framework of Catholicism as arbitrated by priests

    There is no equivilant of Sharia in Christianity, ‘Catholic Framework’ or otherwise. Sharia covers every aspect of your life and has a volumnous legal framework to back it up. Futhermore, there are no ‘Christian’ countries. Every country with a sizeable Christian population is secular. The schooling comparison I don’t really understand. Education is not law. Law affects everyone. If I choose to go to Bob Jones university who am I affecting but myself? Does Bob Jones U have a 1400 year history of practicing law that discriminates? The comparison is silly, imo. I never said that Sharia arbitration shouldn’t be practiced, it’s simply a practical concern. Again, it’s telling that the most vigorous opposition is coming from Muslims, women in particular. Why is that?

    Nevermind, you ignored the point about the the possibility of appeal at general courts under the inherently non-sexist and equal Canadian laws…

    I clearly did not: “This issue isn’t whether Sharia decisions can be appealed if they violate Canadian secular law, but the fact that Muslim women may be forced into these tribunals and may not know that they have a right to appeal to Candian courts.”

    You should try harder, or you shouldn’t just look at Fox, FrontPageMag, and some Slate 🙂

    Thanks for the link. But since there is review and likely overhaul, my concerns seem to be validated.

    Now I’m confused. So you think the USA should sit alone at the UN SC, deciding the matters of the world?

    What was that about India?…

    The SC doesn’t decide the matters of the world. It back’s up UN resolutions with force. What India lacks in sophisticated equipment it makes up for in sheer manpower. Neither Germany or France can match that and ultimately it comes down to boots on the ground. Furthermore, future trends look bad for Western Europe. Shrinking military budgets, declining populations, and lethargic economies don’t bode well. If the EU ever coalesces then they should get one seat, not 2 or 3.

  37. Unilateral intervention to coerce regime change can be a cost-effective way to deal …

    Maybe one has to be a politics professor to call the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents to transform Iraq into its current state: “cost-effective”.

    There are more policy dimensions to US military spending than defense…

    If your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like nails.

    When an official government policy of diversity and tolerance gives its official thumbs up to any legal system?Jewish, Muslim, or Martian?fraught with judgment and intolerance, the consequence is a legal hall of mirrors: A system of laws equally protecting the rights of religious minorities to treat one another unequally.”

    So, Rupert, you wouldn’t be in favour of any president hijacking the American constitution to enforce his own bigoted, religeous views?

  38. Tobias quotes Andrew Moravcsik: “The Iraq crisis offers two basic lessons. The first, for Europeans, is that American hawks were right. Unilateral intervention to coerce regime change can be a cost-effective way to deal with rogue states. ”

    Mr. Moravcsik is wrong here. It’s not only that his ‘cost-effective’ cynical with regards to the dead and the destruction as Michael D points out, not even that the 139 billion spent so far (and the hundreds of billions to be spent, including crippled soldiers’ future payments) far outstrips the costs of all possible kinds of containment & inspections.

    The main problem with the argument is portraying the Iraq war as ‘dealing with a rogue state’. Iraq in 2003 was no more ‘rogue’ than a great many other countries (including, if we consider all the international treaties torn up, the USA); while had Iraq in 2003 been a real rogue, that is a state with WMDs and a dictator willing to use them, a war would have been the worst solution – not the least because even if won, post-war chaos is the best condition for WMDs to get on the black market. (There was even an MI6 analysis that said so, but it was suppressed by the Bliar government before the war.)

    So no, the Iraq war didn’t prove military intervention as a cost-effective method of dealing with rogue states. As for dealing with inhumane dictatures, it makes no sense to make an evaluation separate from the second point about ‘winning the peace’.

    The second point is also problematic for me. The dualist picture ignores that decisions about how to fight the war will affect the possibilities thereafter. Also, a cooperation that allows both poles to develop their respective potential is just as unrealistic with the real existing political elites on both sides of the pond (and both sides of the political divides!) as to expect either pole to do it right alone. Sadly.

    “A400M planes are still largely computer models, not to speak of the politcal battles fought over their overdue acquisition.”

    Now, that is a thing of the past. They were ordered finally last year. However, true, they won’t enter service until 2009.

    By the way, the EU/US war over Airbus/Boeing just hotted up again. It seems to me an own goal for the US, as this time the EU clearly expected the US move and responded with its own official WTO indictment of US subsidies for Boeing within an hour. The interesting part is that Boeing circumvent the disputed 1992 EU/US agreement also by receiving Japanese subsidies for the 7E7. Given that the 7E7 programme went ahead with a single, giant order from a Japanese airline, and remembering how the Japanese government jumped in with $120 million when the USA at long last withdrew an $18 million aid to Uzbekistan’s dictator, we can observe a strategic relationship that silently grew startingly close.

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