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Why Won’t China Help With North Korea?



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A good piece from Berkeley prof. Robert Scalapino on the NK problem seen
from China’s point of view.

Uh-Huh



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St. Crispin’s day, eh? That was the speech that Henry V made before he went into battle against, oh, France. Speaking of that play, I seem to recall that the greatest movie version of Henry V (the one starring Laurence Olivier, of course) was designed partly as a morale booster for the Brits ahead of the Normandy landings. It’s a stirring film, but the French must have found it a somewhat tactless selection. Too bad.

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Blair



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I must say that Tony Blair’s address to the Commons today made me think of the St. Crispin’s Day speech. I don’t want to overpraise it, but it was so impassioned, so moving and so convincing. I cannot think of a single American politician of either party capable of giving an oration remotely as good. We are so very, very fortunate to have Blair on our side.

Web Briefing: July 25, 2014

Saddam’s Not Budging



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The The Today Show can stop saying “possible war.”

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The Brutal Truth



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Here’s what one British Labour MP has to say about Iraq. Be warned, it does not make easy reading. These are words that the writers at Le Figaro might want to consider the next time they consider describing Jacques Chirac as “a champion of all the oppressed of the Earth.”

Imagine



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According to NPR this morning, Iraqis have not yet been told about the ultimatum. Hmmm, do you suppose that Saddam could be less sure of that much-vaunted “100 percent” support than he likes to let on?

Drinking At The Switch



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Oh No



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Next Time



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John, next time we’re up late in The Corner, you bring the ice cream.

Eu Standards



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A democratically elected government leader is invited to speak to the EU ‘parliament’ in Brussels. Then he is warned that if he accepts the invitation he will be denied a visa. Impossible? No, not if the EU’s leaders are busy looking for another dictatorship to crawl to, in this case China. The unfortunate democratic leader? He’s the President of Taiwan.

I Hate The French Vanilla



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Finally, an alternative to Ben & Jerry’s.

Larry Eagleburger



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Just called France a nation of pipsqueaks on Fox. I was only half paying attention, but he sure did. Who would have known.

Orange On St. Pat’s Day



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St. Patrick is the saint of ALL Ireland, including the Orange bits. As I
had occasion to remind a colleague earlier today, the largest structure in
Ireland named after St. Patrick is a Protestant cathedral. “Patrick” was
until recently a common name among N. Ireland Orangemen. It was certainly
common in the Scottish border country from which they came. The great
American revolutionary Patrick Henry was from Border Protestant stock.

Context



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Went to a bar with a colleague before the speech. The guys behind it were wearing t-shirts with a red-white-and-blue shambrock. Below it, Edmund Burke’s line about the triumph of evil and good men doing nothing. Then: “Support the troops / St Patrick’s Day 2003.”

Color of The Day



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Isn’t there something inapt about going to code orange on St. Patrick’s Day? Memo to Karl Rove: Good luck explaining this one to Irish Americans.

Favorite Lines



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My favorite lines weren’t uttered by the president, but by my kids. Just as the speech was beginning, my three-year-old daughter informed me that “The president man has to catch some bad guys.” She apparently thinks George Bush is some kind of superhero who will remove his suit Klark Kent-style, fly over to Iraq, and physically take care of that supervillain Saddam. My slightly more sophisticated son, age five, saw NBC flash to a view of American soldiers in Kuwait watching the president’s address. His comment: “Those are the good guys!” Right on, kids.

Assertions



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I didn’t especially care for Bush’s delivery. Bush should have been less somber, and more assertive. His brow seemed furrowed throughout the entire speech. I enjoyed many of the same lines Rod did: drifting toward tragedy/setting a course toward safety, and not a question of authority/a question of will. I also agree with Jonah that the highlight of the speech was when he spoke directly to the Iraqi people–because of the effect it would have on Americans. Let’s hope it persuades the Iraqis, too.

Gwb Speech



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The President’s motivation is perfectly plain and perfectly rational: he
doesn’t want to lose a city. Taking out SH doesn’t eliminate the
possibility of this happening, but it sure reduces it.

My personal guess is that GWB wants to roll up all these nuke and
incipient-nuke dictatorships. (I heard a story that at a Cabinet meeting
after the Taliban fell, he turned to Condi Rice and asked: “Who’s next?”)
After Iraq, massive pressure on Iran would be logical–or some sort of
ultimatum to them, followed by a pre-emptive strike. Then North Korea,
which will be tricky & involve real diplomacy, with some nonzero probability
of war (I’d say 30 percent).

We simply can’t let these nutso states get nukes, or in NK’s case keep them.
We have to stop it, or else face losing a city or two. That’s the lesson of
9/11. GWB is on the case. Of course he might fail–any human enterprise
might fail. He’d be violating his oath of office if he didn’t try, though.

I like this man and I support what he’s doing. Let’s roll.

What Was Missing



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I thought Bush’s speech would be more Reaganesque, in the sense that Reagan liked to use props to illustrate his points. Remember those speeches from behind the desk in the Oval Office, in which Reagan would display some black-and-white satellite photo purporting to show Soviet missile deployments, or some such thing? I’ve been expecting Bush to use this approach for weeks, and thought that he would do it for sure tonight. Something like pictures of suspicious-looking trucks racing away from a death factory a day before Hans Blix showed up there.

The Nudity Was Tasteful!



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Oh, wait. I was watching something else.

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