Politics & Policy

‘Brides’ for Chinese, &c.

You may have been wondering: “Where are Chinese men going to get wives, what with female infanticide leaving such an imbalance between men and women?” One answer, as this article tells us, is Burma: Burmese girls are sold into slavery, or “marriage,” or whatever you wish to call how they end up.

Bear in mind that the U.S. vice president recently extolled the one-child policy on his visit to China. The White House’s backtracking cannot really efface that.

‐So, I’m reading an article from the Associated Press, headed “Theology a hot issue in 2012 GOP campaign.” And I’m thinking, “No, it isn’t, not really. It’s a hot issue among the liberal media.”

Is that too fringy for you? Or just true?

‐In the current National Review, I have a piece on Saif Qaddafi, one of the dictator’s bad, bad sons. (Saif is complicatedly bad, however.) The funny thing is, Saif was one of the most interesting and incisive commentators on the recent war. (Is it over?)

For instance, here he is on the subject of NATO’s desire to get things over with in a hurry: “They want to finish as soon as possible, because they are hungry, they are tired. For them, Libya is like fast food, like McDonald’s. Because everything should be fast: fast war, fast airplanes, fast bullets, fast victory. But we are very patient . . .”

In the end, NATO was patient enough too, or so it seems.

You may enjoy reading more about this fellow, Saif — a piece of work, at a minimum (and now wanted at The Hague for crimes against humanity). (Saif called the ICC “a Mickey Mouse court.” That doesn’t mean he doesn’t belong there.)

‐Did you catch this, in the rush of daily life? “NATO and Afghan forces have killed a former Guantanamo detainee who returned to Afghanistan to become a key al-Qaida ally . . .”

Ah. The article continues, “The militant’s death was a reminder of the risks of trying to end a controversial detention system without letting loose people who will launch attacks on Americans.”

You don’t say? I thought the boys at Guantanamo were all innocent victims of the stupid Texan and his Torquemada vice president.

‐In the summer of 2001, a minor miracle occurred: Harvard named a president who respected the U.S. military. He was Lawrence Summers. He has an article in the current New Republic, recalling how it was.

“While university presidents are routinely called upon to be on hand to cheer athletic triumphs and to lend their presence to student cultural performances, no Harvard president spoke at an ROTC commissioning ceremony from 1969 until 2002.”

And I had forgotten — or never knew — this repulsive fact: “Harvard refused to permit undergraduates doing their ROTC training at MIT to note their service in the Harvard yearbook.”

You have to wonder whether these SOBs really deserved the protection of the U.S. military.

‐Needless to say, NR praised Summers for his words and actions. Was he embarrassed by that? Not that I could tell. When I met him at a reception in Davos, he said, immediately, “Thank you for your support.”

‐Would Summers have stepped up on the military if not for 9/11? Don’t know. Don’t know that it matters all that much.

‐For years and years, David Pryce-Jones and John O’Sullivan warned us of something: If the mainstream parties in Britain, particularly the Tories, did not address pressing issues, such as immigration and Islam, they would leave the field to fascists — and that would be a terrible and dangerous development.

I thought of them, for the hundredth time, when reading this headline: “Hundreds of far-right activists protest in London.” (Article here.)

Frankly, I thought of them, too, when I read that the Klan was protesting the recent “racial violence” at the Wisconsin State Fair. If the non-hateful don’t face problems honestly and boldly, we are well and truly screwed.

‐Boris Johnson, the writer and mayor of London, is a brilliant man — dazzling in his knowledge, humor, and overall flair. If being around FDR was like opening a bottle of champagne, being around Boris may be like opening two.

But he is the kind of Tory who believes that Bush and Blair should be tried at The Hague (seriously). And he is not exactly a passenger for the Straight Talk Express.

John Cleese made perfectly sensible observations, as this article tells us. One of them was, “I love having different cultures around, but when the parent culture kind of dissipates, you’re left thinking, ‘What’s going on?’”

The article then tells us, “The Monty Python star’s remarks prompted criticism from Mayor Boris Johnson, who said London’s diversity should be ‘celebrated’.”

Thanks, Boris, thanks ever so much. Profile in courage.

‐As I have noted, there’s something brewing in Cuba, with people losing their fear. And when people lose their fear, a dictatorship has to be concerned.

For a look into this, read Aramis Perez, a young Cuban American who combines analytical sharpness and moral sense. Isn’t that a priceless combination?

‐In college, some friends and I would occasionally play a game: We would name our ideal cabinet. (So, we were political junkies, sue us.) For example, Elliott Abrams would be secretary of state. (We thrilled to his every appearance on Crossfire, or Nightline, or whatever it was.)

This is not quite the same, but similar, and maybe equally fun: A reader has sent me an item from a British blog, in which the blogger names his “blogger cabinet” — a cabinet composed of bloggers he admires and values, for particular reasons.

Our reader says, “Shouldn’t we do the same for the U.S.?” We should. I’m not sure I know the blogosphere well enough — but others will.

It would be easier for me to do a “columnar cabinet” — a cabinet composed of columnists. But then, shouldn’t Thomas Sowell just be in charge of everything?

‐A few weeks ago, I commented on the photo of Michele Bachmann that Newsweek editors, in their goodness, put on their cover: It made her look as crazy and stupid as possible. The photo was virtually a hate crime.

A reader of ours has expressed it perfectly: “Jared Loughner with hair.” (Loughner was the Tucson shooter.)

‐Care for a name? A reader writes,

Andy Roddick had about all he wanted in an opponent at Flushing Meadows tonight — an opponent whose name is right out of Ring Lardner or some such. Is there a more perfect tennis-antagonist name than Jack Sock?

He won’t be 19 for a few weeks yet. I think we will hear enough from him that soon the novelty of the moniker will wear off. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Good idea!

‐Finally, some music — or at least some writing about music. The New Criterion has produced its 30th-anniversary issue. My contribution is a piece on Anton Bruckner, “‘Musical Love Letters to God.’”

Thanks for joining me, and see you soon.




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