Senator Fulbright's birthday (April 9th, 1905) was on Sunday. He died eleven years ago, but many observations continue to be topical and controversial today, e.g. this quote about "superpatriots" from his book The Arrogance of Power (USA-Amazon.com) (Deutsches Amazon.de):
There are two Americas. One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.
From the same book:
To criticize one's country is to do it a service and pay it a compliment. It is a service because it may spur the country to do better than it is doing; it is a compliment because it evidences a belief that the country can do better than it is doing. Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism -- a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation.
A Congressional Research Service report, obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, shows that the U.S. appropriated $28.9 billion in foreign assistance to Iraq in the last three years, while "U.S. assistance to Germany totaled some $4.3 billion ($29.3 billion in 2005 dollars) for the years of direct military government (May 1945-May 1949) and the overlapping Marshall Plan years (1948/1949-1952)." (HT: Think Progress) TomPaine.com criticizes Iraqi reconstruction shortcomings and corruption and demands:
Congress should establish a permanent committee on war profiteering and corruption modeled after the one Harry Truman chaired during World War II. The president’s own administration officials report that the reconstruction of Iraq has been botched. In early February, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, released a report to the Senate Armed Services Committee that describes a significant gulf between the aims of U.S. reconstruction officials and what they will be able to accomplish. What Bowen called a “reconstruction gap” mostly affects three sectors essential to the success of Iraq’s reconstruction: water, electricity and oil. After an investment of billions, Bowen reports that slightly more than a third of all water projects planned will ever actually be completed. Currently, two of three Iraqis are left with no potable water; only one in five has sewerage.
While President Bush vows to transform Iraq into a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, his administration has been scaling back funding for the main organizations trying to carry out his vision by building democratic institutions such as political parties and civil society groups. (...) Among the projects facing closure is the Iraq Civil Society and Media Program, funded by USAID and run by America's Development Foundation and the International Research & Exchanges Board. The program has established four civil society resource centers around the country, conducted hundreds of workshops and forums, and trained thousands of government officials in transparency and accountability. It also helped Iraqis set up the National Iraqi News Agency, the first independent news agency in the Arab world. The program was supposed to run at least through June 2007 but without $15 million more, it will have to close this summer.
In light of the intensive debate about new laws against illegal immigration in the U.S., Wash Post Columnist Fareed Zakaria is concerned that Americans favor European immigration policies, which would result in less integration and less security. He gives the example of Germany's failed "Green Card" initiative to attract Indian computer specialists without giving them the prospect of becoming German citizens, unlike the U.S. Green Card system. The U.S. should not adopt a similar immigration policy towards Mexicans:
Many Americans have become enamored of the European approach to immigration -- perhaps without realizing it. Guest workers, penalties, sanctions and deportation are all a part of Europe's mode of dealing with immigrants. The results of this approach have been on display recently in France, where rioting migrant youths again burned cars last week. Across Europe one sees disaffected, alienated immigrants, ripe for radicalism. The immigrant communities deserve their fair share of blame for this, but there's a cycle at work. European societies exclude the immigrants, who become alienated and reject their societies. One puzzle about post-Sept. 11 America is that it has not had a subsequent terror attack -- not even a small backpack bomb in a movie theater -- while there have been dozens in Europe. My own explanation is that American immigrant communities, even Arab and Muslim ones, are not very radicalized. (Even if such an attack does take place, the fact that 4 1/2 years have gone by without one provides some proof of this contention.) Compared with every other country in the world, America does immigration superbly. Do we really want to junk that for the French approach?
He concludes that immigrants must
have some hope, some reasonable path to becoming Americans. Otherwise we are sending a signal that there are groups of people who are somehow unfit to be Americans, that these newcomers are not really welcome and that what we want are workers, not potential citizens. And we will end up with immigrants who have similarly cold feelings about America.
UPDATE: Our reader Fuchur pointed out Zakaria fails to recognize the changes in Germany's immigraton policies. Besides he points out that there have not been "dozens" of terrorist attacks contrary to Zakaria's claims. Read his comment. Fuchur has written the criticism of Zakaria, we at Atlantic Review failed to do. Sorry! Thank you, Fuchur! A new post about immigration shortly.
In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence, and corruption. General Tony Zinni in Battle Ready.
Former CENTCOM commander retired General Tony Zinni specified these charges at Meet the Press:
I knew the intelligence; I saw it right up to the day of the war. I was asked at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing a month before the war if I thought the threat was imminent. I didn't. Many of the people I know that were involved in the intelligence side of this, or, or in the military felt the same way. I saw the -- what this town is known for: spin, cherry-picking facts, using metaphors to evoke certain emotional responses, or, or shading the, the context. We, we know the mushroom clouds and, and the other things that were all described that the media's covered well. I saw on the ground, though, a sort of walking away from 10 years worth of planning. You know, ever since the end of the first Gulf War, there have been -- there's been planning by serious officers and planners and others, and policies put in place. Ten years worth of planning, you know, were thrown away; troop levels dismissed out of hand; General Shinseki basically insulted for speaking the truth and giving a, an honest opinion; the lack of cohesive approach to how we deal with the aftermath; the political, economic, social reconstruction of a nation, which is no small task; a belief in these exiles that anyone in the region, anyone that had any knowledge would tell you were not credible on the ground; and on and on and on. Decisions to disband the army that were not in the initial plans. I mean there’s a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the secretary of state say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policy made back here. Don't blame the troops. They're the ones that perform the tactics on the ground. They've been magnificent. If anything saves this, it will be them.
Industrial leaders, trade unions and politicians are meeting today to discuss long-term energy security, diversification and free-market reforms. The International Herald Tribune explains that Germany is one of the most energy dependent EU countries:
The energy sector is heavily dependent on oil and gas. Mineral oils make up 37 percent of needs, but 97 percent is imported, a third coming from Russia. Gas accounts for 23 percent of consumption, of which more than 80 percent is imported, 37 percent from Russia. (...) With growing dependence on Russia for its energy, some politicians say it is time to diversify sources. The coalition's energy experts also agree that Germany needs a policy that is much more aggressive in dealing with global warming, promoting efficiency and becoming economically competitive.
Germany's energy policy has for years been influenced by the big companies that have hampered competition and have done their best to prevent diversification of energy sources because it would undermine their position in the market. These policies damage our economy and our competitiveness. (...) For 20 years Ruhrgas, which has long term contracts to import gas from Russia, has owned a piece of property at one of the big harbors where it has blocked the building of such a terminal because it would undermine their monopoly on the domestic gas market.
Recently it was revealed that the Schröder government offered a government loan guarantee for the Russian pipeline project. Merkel's long-term energy concept is not expected till 2007. Today's energy summit is overshadowed by a debate to use nuclear power longer than previously decided. If you would like to save energy and money, check out the Online Advisor for fridges, freezers, heating and pumping systems. Fulbright Alumnus Steffen Schmuck-Soldan, PhD, works for the NGO co2online, which created them.