Friday, September 25, 2009

The Onion: Nadir 0f Western Civilization to Be Reached This Friday at 3:32 P.M.

Link: "Nadir Of Western Civilization To Be Reached This Friday At 3:32 P.M.," The Onion, September 25, 2009

Did you notice? Did you celebrate?

I guess it's all uphill from here.

Is Putin Even Playing in Our League?

In some sports, teams commonly play pre-season or exhibition games with teams that are not at the same professional level. In college, mens basketball teams will often play national teams teams from other countries. In soccer, such games are even more common. In fact, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest soccer competition in the U.S., is open to all teams from amateur to professional, which has lead to some quite entertaining and embarrassing upsets.

Similarly, in international relations, different countries operate at different levels. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—arguably constitute the highest level. (Although, the G-8 might better reflect true international power and prestige.) Developing countries might constitute a mid-level or semi-pro league, and the perpetual political and economic basket cases would be the amateur level.

Yet even among its international "peers," the United States is the lone superpower, albeit much less dominant than a few years ago. China and Russia are aspiring superpowers. China is about 20 years into a massive military buildup . . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

Title of the Week (Month?)

"Shrieker of the House"
James Taranto is, of course, referring to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The War President

WARNING: Don't read further if you want to think happy thoughts today.

Yesterday, President Obama announced that the U.S. was reneging on its commitment to build a missile defense system—the "third site"—to defend Europe against ballistic missile attacks from the Middle East.

This is not a surprise. But that doesn't make it any less disheartening to the Americans, Poles, and Czechs who think about and understand such things. Adding insult to insult, he announced it on the 70th anniversary of Russia's invasion of Poland, which was guaranteed by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. While I'm not yet ready to call this latest perfidy a Putin-Obama Pact—it's more of an anti-pact—I can't help but wonder if it won't have similar effects on Europe and the world. Given the Obama administration's . . .

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Each of us has memories of that terrible day eight years ago. These are some of mine.

That Tuesday morning I was at home in my apartment in Foggy Bottom, three blocks west of the White House. I had planned to go jogging that morning near the Pentagon on the Mt. Vernon Trail, but as usual, I was running late. My first indication that something was wrong was that my Internet connection had suddenly become glacially slow. A few minutes later . . .

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama Speaks

As has been my practice with presidential speeches since the Clinton administration, I read the texts of President Obama’s last two speeches instead of watching or listening to him speak. One reason is that it allows me to consider what is said more carefully and critically, and I generally rely on the pundits to inform me on how well the President gave the speech.

Most of this is a mental self-defense mechanism. Reading a speech reduces the emotional impact, allowing me to concentrate on the substance, if there is any. In the 1990s, the mere sight or sound of President Clinton began provoking such a visceral response that I found myself immediately changing the channel whenever I saw him speaking. Listening for any length left me feeling like I’d just been slimed. President

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