It seems that the next Cold War is going to have cleaner lines than the last one, with resurgent Russia and rising China presenting a united front against the dying Hegemon, also known as the United States.
For the US, the next time around, there will be no Sino-Soviet rift over world Communist leadership to exploit, no bitter Maoist memory of Stalin’s betrayal of the failed Chinese Communist uprising of 1927, no Maoist claim to Marxist truth, or Russian fear of Chinese hordes.
All of that belongs to the past. Masses of Chinese have traded their bicycles for gas-guzzlers, and their leaders have discarded their Mao books and Mao suits–and Communist ideology–to the dustbin of history. Red is gold, the color of money. To be a good Communist, or socialist, nowadays, means becoming a good capitalist, albeit with Chinese characteristics.
Energy-starved China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, wants secure supplies of oil and gas from Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter. Politically, both countries have an interest in isolating and weakening the US. Hence, their adherence to a “multipolar world,” a term that refers to their opposition to US hegemony, and Russia’s participation in the Chinese-sponsored Shanghai Cooperation Organization that seeks to counter US power and influence in Central Asia.
Hence, too, the importance of the Year of China in Russia–and the significance of remarks by visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian leader Vladimir Putin at Monday’s ceremony at the Kremlin that formally opened the year-long celebration.
The two leaders called for peaceful solutions to the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues, and pledged to stop an arms race in space. Translation: China and Russia will continue to block truly tough and meaningful sanctions on the nuclear armed and arming rogues, will never go along with use of force against the outlaw states, and will cooperate in a range of efforts aimed at ending US dominance of space, which is essential for US defense.
“I would like to emphasize with satisfaction that the positions of Russia and China on all the issues discussed either coincide or are similar,” Putin said.
Hu referred to Putin as “my good friend” and spoke of the “warm atmosphere of trust” at their meeting, underlining the growing friendliness between the two ex-rivals.
“We have agreed that strategic cooperation between China and Russia, permanent members of the UN Security Council, has major importance for international affairs in creating a favorable atmosphere, in making international relations more democratic and ensuring global peace,” Hu added.
Riots Enter French Politics
By ANGELA DOLAND Associated Press Writer
Wednesday March 28, 2007 4:31 PM
PARIS (AP) – It began with a routine ticket check at a Paris train station. What happened next – rioting, looting, tear gas – showed the anger that erupted into violence in France’s troubled neighborhoods in 2005 still smolders beneath the surface.
The rampage by youths, many apparently of African or North African descent, at a major rail hub Tuesday became an instant campaign issue in the French presidential race. It was a jarring reminder of the social tensions France’s new leader will contend with when he or she takes power in May.
Front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy of the governing right called the violence at the Gare du Nord unacceptable. His main rival, Socialist Segolene Royal, blamed Sarkozy’s camp, saying the right’s policing policies were an utter failure.
Anger erupted after a 32-year-old man without a Metro ticket punched two inspectors during a routine check, police said. The man, an illegal alien from Congo who has challenged France’s efforts to expel him, had been convicted in 2004 for insulting a magistrate, police unions said.
Dozens of youths gathered to defend the man from ticket agents, and the group swelled to 300 people and grew more and more aggressive, police said.
The youths wielded metal bars, smashed windows, looted stores and injured eight train agents and a police officer, police authorities said.
Rail lines connect Gare du Nord to the same troubled suburbs north of Paris that were gripped by rioting in October and November 2005. That violence was born of pent-up anger – especially among youths of Arab and African origin – over years of high unemployment, racial discrimination and economic inequality.
Since then, sporadic incidents have broken out in suburbs that many middle-class French people avoid. The violence at Gare du Nord was unusual because it is in the heart of Paris, the terminal for Eurostar trains linking France to Britain.
Far-right presidential candidate Philippe de Villiers, who wants to stop immigration to France, said the violence shows “there are ethnic gangs installed on our territory and who now feel that even the Gare du Nord is theirs.”
The check “got out of hand and transformed into urban guerrilla warfare, into unacceptable, intolerable violence,” new Interior Minister Francois Baroin told Europe 1 radio. “Nothing can justify what happened.”
Thirteen people were taken into custody, including five minors, police said. They were in custody on suspicion of violence against state agents, vandalism and theft.
The incident gave added urgency to addressing the problems of France’s disenfranchised minority youths – already a central issue of the campaign leading up to the April 22-May 6 two-round presidential vote.
Some of the youths rampaging at Gare du Nord shouted slogans against Sarkozy, who is seen by many youths in poor neighborhoods as the symbol of French police repression. He has alienated many with his tough policing and talk – as minister he once called delinquents “scum.”
Sarkozy said the violence showed that French children need lessons in civic responsibility in school.
“When individuals come to the rescue of someone who is committing fraud, that is particularly unacceptable, and I hope that the justice system will firmly sanction people who behave like that,” he told reporters.
Sarkozy has won praise from some observers for handling the 2005 riots with no major bloodshed. But his leftist opponents say he has exacerbated the suburbs’ problems, and that his government deepened divisions in French society.
“Police are afraid to go in certain neighborhoods, or to carry out certain security checks,” Royal told Canal Plus television. “Sometimes people are afraid simply when they see police.”
Associated Press writers Jean-Pierre Verges and Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this report.
by Bull Dog Pundit @ 2:37 pm. Filed under Politics, 2008, Religion, Culture
Over in the sidebar area there’s a link to this story from US News and World Report in which Dr. James Dobson, the very influential Christian conservative commentator said the following about a possible Fred Thompson candidacy.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson appeared to throw cold water on a possible presidential bid by former Sen. Fred Thompson while praising former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is also weighing a presidential run, in a phone interview Tuesday.
“Everyone knows he’s conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for,” Dobson said of Thompson. “[But] I don’t think he’s a Christian; at least that’s my impression,” Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination.
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Thompson, took issue with Dobson’s characterization of the former Tennessee senator. “Thompson is indeed a Christian,” he said. “He was baptized into the Church of Christ.”
In a follow-up phone conversation, Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger stood by Dobson’s claim. He said that, while Dobson didn’t believe Thompson to be a member of a non-Christian faith, Dobson nevertheless “has never known Thompson to be a committed Christian—someone who talks openly about his faith.”
“We use that word—Christian—to refer to people who are evangelical Christians,” Schneeberger added. “Dr. Dobson wasn’t expressing a personal opinion about his reaction to a Thompson candidacy; he was trying to ‘read the tea leaves’ about such a possibility.”
For the record, I don’t think that Thompson is running. But that’s beside the point.
My issue here is how Dobson is throwing around the term “Christian”. Now I don’t mean to sound like some left-winger who insists that those who favor no-limits on abortion and the like be referred to as “Christian” in the political sense.
Look, Dobson is flat out wrong. Thompson is indeed a Christian by the religious definition. Now, if Dobson had clarified his “Thompson isn’t a Christian” comment when he initially said it as meaning someone who doesn’t speak as publicly about his faith as Dobson would like then I wouldn’t have a problem with what he said.
But what I do have a problem with is Dobson claiming that Thompson isn’t a “committed Christian”, and thus would not excite Christians to vote for him. Can someone please tell me what ”committed Christian” means? I assume it doesn’t mean a Baptist who has been ordered to a mental institution.
Does it mean you have to mention “Jesus Christ, who is my Lord and Savior” in every interview or conversation?
Does that mean you have to go to a “born again” Church and sing along with the choir?
Does that mean you have to volunteer on so many church committees?
Have to volunteer at a soup kitchen?
Just how much do you have to do to pass Dobson’s “committed Christian” test and get his blessing for his followers to vote for you?
For example, many of my older relatives attend mass (Catholics) on a daily basis, pray every day, and are nice people who do good deeds – but you never hear them talking about their faith, because it’s a private matter to them. What would Dobson consider them?
And what of the person who does all of things I mentioned above, but has secret life no one knows about (ala Ted Haggard) that runs counter to all those tenets they profess to live?
Just because that person talks about their faith, does that make them more of a “committed Christian” than someone like my elderly relative who never utters a peep to others?
If so, then Dobson’s definition is to me, meaningless. Hell, Bill Clinton used to talk all the time about his religious beliefs, which really didn’t seem to fit his behavior did it?
And in order to get Dobson’s blessing do you have to talk openly about your Christian faith? What if you don’t feel comfortable doing that? Or what if you talk openly about your faith, but are pro-abortion in your political views?
Call me crazy, but I’m just more than a little uncomfortable with someone being the arbiter of what constitutes a “committed Christian”.
Exclusive: Koranic Law Coming to America? ‘Useful Idiots’ bash Christians, ignore real threats to our freedom
Author: Joel Himelfarb
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: March 26, 2007
Another useful idiot in the Jihadists’ war against America is a former New York Times reporter (surprised anyone?) Chris Hedges who appears to be off his meds as he charges that the rise of “Christian fascism” is the real religion-based threat to America. FSM Contributing Editor Joel Himelfarb takes Hedges to task.
Koranic Law Coming to America?
‘Useful Idiots’ bash Christians, ignore real threats to our freedom
By Joel Himelfarb
In the early days of Communism in the Soviet Union, V.I. Lenin coined the term “useful idiots” to describe people nominally hostile to Marxism who could be tricked into engaging in commercial or other activities (like promoting disinformation through the media) that help the Communist side.
With the Cold War over, today’s useful idiots include elite journalists who can be relied upon to launch hysterical attacks against law-abiding Americans for no legitimate reason, while ignoring the real dangers Americans face. When it comes to our current existential struggle against Islamist radicalism, I would have to nominate Chris Hedges, a former New York Times reporter and former Middle East bureau chief for the paper, for this dubious honor. Currently, Hedges is promoting his new book about what he views as the “real” religion-based threat to America’s survival, and in his view it isn’t posed by al Qaeda, Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorists or any other Muslim. Instead, it’s –get ready — the rise of “Christian fascism” in America.
Hedges wrote an article published March 2 by the Website www.popmatters.com in which he likens the appeal of Christian conservatives as represented by groups like Eagle Forum and the “Family Resource [sic] Council” to the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s. Hedges suggests that these American Christians, who have done such sinister things as buying television stations and sending their children to Christian schools, might try to seize control of the United States like Hitler and the Nazis did in Germany roughly 70 years ago. Hedges calls these Christians “the most dangerous mass movement in American history,” adding: “The unchecked rape of America, which continues with the blessing of both political parties, heralds not only the empowerment of this American oligarchy, but the eventual death of the democratic state and birth of American fascism.” (Hat tip to Robert Spencer, who runs the superb Jihadwatch and Dhimmi Watch Websites, for being among the first to point out Hedges’ attacks against Christians.)
When one looks at what is going on in the real world, Hedges’ analysis sounds positively deranged. Did Christians kill nearly 3,000 of our fellow Americans on September 11? Did Christians bomb Khobar Towers or the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania or the USS Cole? Were Christians responsible for the bombings, shootings, beheadings and other depravity we have witnessed in places as diverse as London, Casablanca, Madrid, Beslan, Gaza, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramadi, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Basra, Beirut, Riyadh, Bali, southern Thailand and scores of other locations? Of course not. The real threat to our freedom today is not posed by law-abiding American Christians who work long hours and take second jobs in order to enable their children to escape what they consider to be poorly-run public schools, but by radical Muslims seeking to replace our nation with a caliphate.
And jihad and terrorism are not the only tactics that radical Islamists are using to remake American society: People with a similar political/religious agenda are also seeking to make Shariah law (definitions vary, but in general it is taken to mean permitting harsh traditionalist interpretations of Islamic law including a husband’s almost unlimited right to use violence to “discipline” his wife). A 1993 article in The American Muslim outlined a plan to use the precedent of American Indian courts to set up a system of “Muslim family law.” It adds that: “Such a radical change in American law — allowing Muslims to take control over their family law issues — must be initiated from the indigenous Muslim community here in the United States.”
Could Minnesota (which seems to have become a testing ground for Shariah advocates) portend what the future holds, with a few well-organized Islamists trying to force Shariah on the rest of us? Some Muslim cashiers at Target stores refuse to swipe bacon through checkout scanners and insist that customers bag their own pork products. At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, for example, Somali cab drivers are asserting their “right” to refuse service to passengers carrying alcohol or traveling with service dogs, both of which they deem unclean. Airport officials have proposed stiff penalties including suspension of airport taxi licenses for any cab drivers, Muslim or non-Muslim, who refuse service for reasons other than safety.
Hassan Mahmoud, director of the Islamic Law Institute at the Muslim American Society (MAS) of Minnesota, depicted Shariah as a civil-rights issue and has been lobbying airport officials against penalizing the recalcitrant drivers. But some of the Somali drivers say they have no problem with the penalties. Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, supports them. “We tell the taxi drivers, if you don’t want to do this [transport dogs or liquor], change your job,” Jamal said. “You are living in a country where alcohol is not viewed the way it is in your country.”
The major push to impose Shariah in this country comes from the MAS. In 2004, the Chicago Tribune published a series detailing the fact that the MAS, with more than 50 chapters nationwide, is in fact the American affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood. Founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, an Egyptian schoolteacher, the Brotherhood has affiliates in nearly 70 countries. International terrorism consultant David Gartenstein-Ross points out that al-Banna, who to this day remains the spiritual inspiration and guide of MAS, said violence was an acceptable way to promote Islamic ideology and implored his followers to “[c]ompletely boycott non-Islamic courts and judicial systems.”
Mustafa Saied, a Floridian who formerly was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, left the organization in 1998 because of its anti-Semitism and support for violence in the Middle East. He told the Tribune that members preferred to operate in secret, in the event that U.S. authorities cracked down on Hamas supporters — many of whom are members of the Brotherhood.
What would our legal system look like if these people get their way and succeed in imposing Koranic law? One very plausible example came from Germany on Wednesday; the newspaper Der Spiegel reported that a German divorce court judge cited the Koran in rejecting a 26-year-old woman’s application for a speedy divorce from a husband who beat her and threatened to kill her. Because the husband and wife were both from Morocco, the judge reasoned, she would have to wait up to a year for divorce.
The bottom line is that the freedom and dignity of Americans — Muslim and non-Muslim alike — is indeed threatened by people who seek to impose this sort of agenda upon us — either through terrorism and violence or by judicial fiat. Chris Hedges’ ravings against the American Christian “threat,” by contrast, suggest that part of our country’s journalistic elite is so consumed with its petty hatreds that it has lost touch with reality and forfeited the right to be taken seriously.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Joel Himelfarb is the assistant editor of the editorial page of the Washington Times.