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Europhobic Wash Times Editorial about the "EUSSR"

The Washington Times let Paul Belien write the editorial "The 'EUSSR'" about the EU Summit:
Liberty and democracy require limited governments, while supranationalism by definition tends toward unlimitedness. The former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky refers to the EU as the "EUSSR." He does so, he explains, because the former USSR and the EU share the same goal: the obliteration of nations. "The European Union, like the Soviet Union, cannot be democratized," he says. If the EU becomes a genuine state itis bound to be an evil empire, because there is no European nation.
Belien concludes: "By seeking to extinguish national loyalty, the EU also destroys freedom, accountability and democracy."

Juergen Habermas and Al Gore: Profit Driven Media Endangers Democracy

Juergen Habermas, Germany's most prominent philosopher, criticizes excessive market influence on Germany's newspapers in Die Sueddeutsche. Sign and Sight posted a full translation. Andrew Hammel comments in German Joys:
In the United States -- once the home of aggressive investigative reporting -- troubling signs have emerged at some of the nation's top newspapers. The Los Angeles Times has been ruthlessly re-organized, and the Boston Globe has closed all of its overseas bureaus. At a time when the U.S. is fighting two wars. Habermas, whose 1962 Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere is considered a classic of modern sociology, warns of a similar process on the horizon in Germany. News and information, he warns, cannot be treated as consumer products. I note that Habermas does not mention blogs or other online information sources even once during the entire piece. Yes, blogs are still in their infancy and, and their influence is often exaggerated by fans. Still, Habermas' lack of curiosity about this looming transformation is disappointing. That caveat aside, Habermas, as usual, makes interesintg points.
Habermas is 77 and may be 'excused' for ignoring the blogosphere, which even much younger German academics ignore or underestimate. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia, "Jürgen Habermas currently ranks as one of the most influential philosophers in the world. Bridging continental and Anglo-American traditions of thought, he has engaged in debates with thinkers as diverse as Gadamer and Putnam, Foucault and Rawls, Derrida and Brandom."

Andrew Hammel
writes in another post that Al Gore new book "The Assault on Reason" comes with a similar message. Quote from that book:
It is too easy—and too partisan—to simply place the blame on the policies of President George W. Bush. We are all responsible for the decisions our country makes. We have a Congress. We have an independent judiciary. We have checks and balances. We are a nation of laws. We have free speech. We have a free press. Have they all failed us? Why has America's public discourse become less focused and clear, less reasoned? (...)
American democracy is now in danger—not from any one set of ideas, but from unprecedented changes in the environment within which ideas either live and spread, or wither and die. I do not mean the physical environment; I mean what is called the public sphere, or the marketplace of ideas. It is simply no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. (...) While American television watchers were collectively devoting 100 million hours of their lives each week to these and other similar stories [stories about celebrities and missing women, ed.], our nation was in the process of more quietly making what future historians will certainly describe as a series of catastrophically mistaken decisions on issues of war and peace, the global climate and human survival, freedom and barbarity, justice and fairness.

US-Iran: War or Negotiations?

For the first time in nearly five years a senior American official (Christopher R. Hill) traveled to Pyongyang on June 21, 2007, reports the New York Times:
The United States’ chief nuclear negotiator began a surprise two-day visit to North Korea today, saying he wanted to speed up six-nation talks aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program.
Since US-Iranian tensions are increasing and it is said "you make peace with your enemies and not with your friends," the US and Iran should consider direct negotiations that are not limited to the Iraq issue. Negotiations are not a sign of weakness. Nobody is criticizing the US for negotiating with the other member of the axis of evil, although North Korea has violated all kinds of agreements, is on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism and runs the world's biggest Gulag. How much more evil can you get? Oh, of course, I forgot the importance of humiliation in international politics. Because of the Tehran hostage crisis in 1979, the US can only talk to Tehran about Iraq, but not about the proliferation issue.... North Korea has not taken US hostages; they only kidnapped some Japanese.

The possibility of a US-Iran war is often debated in the comments section on Atlantic Review. Yesterday, Reid of America wrote among other things:
You may not like Bush but he is a man of his word and he has said he will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The die has been cast. Either Iran backs down or there will be war.
One regular reader going by the pseudonym "pen Name" and claiming to be from Iran responded to several statements by Reid:
We call you the Great Satan and you call us the Axis of Evil so that is tit for tat; business as usual. In regards to the "Death to America" etc. you killed Democracy in Iran to rape our oil resources; what do you expect?
Furthermore, you supported Saddam Hussein to the hilt in his war of agression against us from 1980 to 1988, you want us to love you?
In regards to Lebanon, it is you who do not respect her independence; you aided and abetted Israel's rape of Lebanon - we only came in afterwards to help the Shia of South Lebanon - the people with whom we have had an enduring relationship for the last 500 years.
As for Iraq, we will not permit that country be used as a basis of operations against us ever again. And who the hell are you to preach to us about respect for independent nations: You raped Serbia, mined the harbours of Nicaragua, intervened in El Salvador, overthrew the Governments of Dominican Republic, Chile, Guatemala, etc.
You cannot neutralize us; power is local and you aerial war will not accomplish your stated aims. And you will suffer pain and harm. You are not invincible. But since you want war, you will get it.
US-Iranian tensions are increasing. Opportunities and time for a diplomatic solution are diminishing, but from a Political Science Theory perspective it is unlikely that the US will start a war with Iran, writes Peter Howard.

Political Science Theories on the Likelihood of War between the US and Iran

Peter Howard of the American University looks at the "intensity of debate within senior Administration circles about how to address Iran's nuclear program" and then discusses the likelihood of a US-Iran war from the Poli Sci perspective. He points out that it is dangerous to have two armed forces so close to each other and that we should
never underestimate the role that stupidity and bad luck play in the unfolding of history. Anything can happen.
That said, is a war probable?
I don't think so.
Every major explanatory tool / theory we have in IR / Security, save one, suggests no war. To be clear, this is not a political or policy recommendation against war, but IR theory / Security Studies offering a theoretical prediction on future outcomes.
Continue reading "Political Science Theories on the Likelihood of War between the US and Iran"

New Fulbright Chapter in Maine

Maine is the last state in New England to form a Fulbright alumni chapter, writes the Portland Press Herald.
Why took it so long? Must be one of those mysteries that Maine is famous for. ;-) Anyway, congratulations! Here is a quote from the above mentioned article:
Somewhere in Macedonia, people know a little bit more about performance reviews because of Beth Richardson. The Fulbright Program sent the business professor from Saint Joseph`s College to the Balkan nation to teach graduate students about ethical business practices and human resources management. These are vital tools as the country tries to modernize and gain acceptance into the European Union. But Richardson said she got as much as she gave to the educational exchange program, which the U.S. government funds to improve relations with the world. For several months last year, she lived in the capital of Skopje, woke to the Muslim call to prayer, walked among locals at the outdoor market. ``I want others to have the experience that I had,`` she said. ``It was pretty great.`` To promote her experience, Richardson recently helped to found a state chapter of the Fulbright alumni organization.
The US Fulbright Alumni website has some information about the Maine chapter's activities.

Olympics 2008: Only Americans Remind China of its Responsibility for Darfur

Hosting the Olympics is a big honor for China and recognition of its rising power. Beijing would lose face, if a number of countries would boycott the games, which are supposed symbolize peace, international friendship and humanism. The Greek Fulbright Alumni even organized an international interdisciplinary conference on Humanism in Action: Olympism and the Fulbright Spirit right after the 2004 Olympics.

Does anybody really care about the humanism aspect of the Olympics? Does China deserve this honor despite its internal and external human rights violations? Who is reminding Beijing of the political responsibilities as host of the Olympic Games? German representatives do not bring up Darfur, because they are concerned about upsetting the rising superpower. Germany is more interested in trade and friendly relations with China and does not dare to play hard ball with China. Darfur activism is much stronger in the US than in Germany; not just in civil society, but also in politics:

• On June 7th, the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs held a hearing on "Darfur and the Olympics: A Call for International Action." You can read all the Testimonies.  The committee invited Jill Savitt, Director of the Olympic Dream for Darfur Campaign, to talk about her campaign and her call for China to bring the Olympic dream to Darfur. See the video below:

• The US House of Representatives passed a resolution on China, Darfur and the Olympics on May 16th:
Continue reading "Olympics 2008: Only Americans Remind China of its Responsibility for Darfur"

Airbus vs Boeing: New Round

So Airbus had its best day ever yesterday, with an astounding $45 billion single day list of orders [fr] (Boeing: 1.4 billion…) Interestingly enough, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which loves predicting Airbus’ demise, has not commented yet…
Bloomberg about the plane makers' order books:
Boeing's total for the year as of May was 417, more than double the orders at Airbus, which said on June 7 it had a total of 201 contracts through the end of May. Yesterday Airbus won a total of 219 firm orders at the show. Shares of EADS fell 16 cents, or 0.7 percent, to 24.12 euros yesterday in Paris. Boeing dropped 75 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $97.40 in New York. The stock of the European planemaker's parent rose just 0.8 percent over the last two years, while Boeing surged 51 percent.
See Airbus Military regarding European military transport capacity building.

Afghan Defense Minister Disputes Evidence That Iran Is Arming The Taliban

ABC News' The Blotter:
Despite claims by the United States that there is "irrefutable evidence" that Iran is smuggling weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Defense Minister of Afghanistan today disputed those claims.
This is to follow up last weekend's post in the Atlantic Review: NATO Accuses Iran of Arming the Taliban.