Sunday, July 22, 2007

America's Best Worst Enemy

America's great hope in Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, seems to be in trouble. (This is a live Google, you'll get the latest news and evidance against the argument in this post. Such is fate) The question of the day is not how much longer he can hold on to power but how long his side can hold power.

Many have condemned him as an autocratic tyrant who will not allow a democratic Pakistan to rise. What many of these self same critics don't realize is they are playing Russian roulette with Pakistani society. Sure, there is a fairly good chance there could be an orderly change of government to whoever is Musharraf successor, but there is also a very good chance that chaos could become the order of the day or an extremist régime in no way friendly with normal, orderly society could seize control.

Don't say it can't happen. Proofs abound. Bush and his naïve Neocon foreign policy wonks certainly found that democracy just doesn't happen. Saddam was one mean assed tyrant, but then again, given the current situation in Iraq, maybe he had to be that way to keep peace in his own country if not order.

The deep of heart and ideal but shallow of reality and common sense rail against Mubarak of Egypt and the Saudi ruling family for there oppressive régimes as though with an open society, their country would be democracies like Europe or America. Fat chance. The chaos of Iraq or the alternative oppression of extremist religion such as in Iran or Afghanistan under the Taliban is the more likely result if their form of oppression was lifted.

That's basically the only two choices you got. Democracy is not easy. It just doesn't happen. And although no matter how good our intentions in countries that do not get the benefit of democracy and a free market, we are many time our own worst enemy. A big part of Musharraf's problem is his alignment with the west. He is tainted by association with America.

Let's face it, some people just got to hate. Today, a major sect of Islam thrives on hate, and currently much of it is directed at America. I see an opportunity here. Use the hatred against us as an asset to work for us.

The leader of a country doesn't necessarily have to be friendly with America to be of use to America. As long as he does not allow plotting against America by such groups as Al-Qaeda within his borders, he can rant and rave against American all he wants. We could even work secretly to insure he stays in power.

Musharraf's successor could campaign against us, use us as a whipping boy to make inroads with those that must hate somebody or someone, and at the same time have absolutely no intention of doing anything against America. He (or she) could take up the reins of power as an enemy of America with all the popular support that entails. They could use that power to clean out the Al-Qaeda camps in Northern Pakistan now in nationalist fervor to remove all foreigners from their country and not as a tool of the Americans. They could become America's best worst enemy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Beast that Ate Communism

China executed the head of their pure food and drug group that was suppose to stop the making of all those products that have shown up in the news lately as killing or poisoning people, and being recalled, and rejected. Like that's going to work.

At least the government recognizes they have a major image problem on their hands. The free market is not something to be taken lightly. It's what defeated communism in the late great Cold War.

When third world leaders realized they could benefit themselves – and secondly their people – by being friendly with free market countries as apposed to centralized, planned economies no matter how elegant or noble their saying may be, communism's days were numbered. Seems free markets are more efficient than planned economies, and the peace in between the heightened tension periods of the Cold War kept reinforcing that. Anybody and everybody couldn't help but notice the two Koreas, the two Germanys, the two Berlins, the difference between East and West Europe. As long as there was peace, communism never had a chance.

And if the free markets of America and to some lesser extent the rest of the free world were to turn away from products from China, no amount of executions or 5-year plans will bring them back. If the idea that anything with the taint of "made in China" is to be avoided, the economic smack-down will make the Long March look like a hike in the woods. Don't go there.

No one controls the free market – Duh! That's why they call it free – only the collective decisions of consumers drive the most efficient allocation of resources we have ever seen.

It's our greatest resource. Every producer, exploiter, seller, marketer, hawker, and pusher wants access to the free market and especially the American market. It's were economic dreams come true, and it's a nightmare if it turns away from your product. The leaders of China know this. That's why heads had to roll. But it may be too little too late.

I recently read an article – I believe it was in the NYTimes, but I don't remember – about a reporter getting a cool to almost hostile reception at a factory in China. The police were called, but the authorities took their cue from the operators of the factory. Seems industry has way more power in China than we realized, but they need to realize that reporters from the Gray Lady is the least of their worries. That bitch the free market is way more vengeful than any reporter from any newspaper ever thought of being.

It's unforgiving. It's the bitchest of bitches. It will leave you high and dry like boats in a diverted or dried up river. Whose head is going to be cut off then?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hamas Hate: Not Jews but Israelis

It's one thing to seize the government; it's a whole 'nother thing to run it.

Hamas has taken over Gaza. The picture of fighters in mask holding the offices of the previous government speaks volumes. Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes noticed it also. He wrote about it in his June 20, 2007, column. I won't site it since it is behind the Times wall…on second thought.

Anyway, one of the more juicier quotes – and Friedman has a knack with juicy turns of phrase – was on a subject I have been posting for some time. He wrote:

If it's O.K. to wear masks when confronting the Jews, it eventually becomes O.K. to wear masks when confronting other Palestinians. If it becomes O.K. to use suicide bombers against the Jews, it eventually becomes O.K. to use suicide bombers against other Muslims.
One of my earliest post, Reap the Whirlwind, was about the error of teaching hate and how Islam will rue the day they whole heartedly accepted this strategy for their children. As I wrote in Reaping the Whirlwind, I did not believe I would see the day when it happen, but we are living in fast times, and I am seeing my foreboding on the wrongness of teaching hate coming to pass.

Christians are no better – or worse – than Muslims in how they treat other people as well as their own kind. But at least Christians teach their children to love one another, turn the other cheek, do unto others as you would want done unto you before they become adults and start killing and exploiting the rest of the world. Hate is not institutionalized in Christian Sunday school and at the pulpit. Christians don't teach hate, and yet, look at all the bad they have done. As bad a things are, think how much worse things would be if Christians had taught hate.

As many have learned, and so too now must Hamas, governing is way more difficult than attacking the government. Hamas was elected the majority in the old dead Palestinian government because it cared and did more for the people than the Fatah party. Hamas then torpedo the idea of allowing Palestinians to vote on whether they should recognize Israel's right to exist because it threaten its reason for being not that of Palestinians.

I would have like to have seen the results of that vote.

History is full of noble intentions that fail in their implementation. Our very own George Bush and his Neocon policy wonks are a good example. If only the purpose of being President was getting elected, Bush would be one of the greatest Presidents we have ever had. I don't believe history is going to be anywhere that nice to Bush – especially if he and his administration has set up a situation in the Middle East – regardless however good their intentions – that the whole world must suffer.

Hamas needs to take off their mask and put them away. Government official conceal enough without mask. Hamas needs to count their numbers and realize they could do more with peace than could ever be achieved through terror. Hamas needs to think more about the daily lives and problems of Palestinian and less that of Israelis. The time of governing is upon them. The footnotes in history are full of many who have come as far only to fail.

Besides, in the Middle East, Jews are called Israelis – a citizen of a nation – while everywhere else they are just referred to as Jews. That's more progress than ever occurred for hundreds of years of European history. At least there's that.

Oh, and one more thing: Stop teaching hate. Hate comes natural. Love and forgiveness is the more difficult and righteous path and will lead to a more mission accomplished than any teaching of hate or sending you children tied with bombs to die.