Tarheeltalker

The Future of Europe?

This is a subject that   I have been pondering for quite  awhile and  is probably just an initial effort at expressing  some opinions. To me the subject is at once complicated, disturbing and perhaps  a view of  our ( United States ) future.

I am a great fan of political novels, especially those set in our era. Those that depict events similar  to those that are occurring and make reference to actual people and places in the course of their books. I have referred before to Daniel Silva whom I thoroughly enjoy and I have just finished a book by Michael Walsh, Hostile Intent, that addresses some similar issues but from a  quite different perspective. Factored in to my post is a challenging nonfiction book that I have just begun to read. It  is by British author Melanie Phillips  and it its premise dovetails nicely with my fictional reading.

These slightly disparate works all have one word common to them that struck me quite forcefully. That word is Londonistan, which is the title of Ms Phillips book. Walsh mentions and I am fairly certain that Silva does also. Both fictional writers speak heavily of the concept as well.

What is the concept of which they speak? Ms Phillips says it best in the intro to her book. She begins her intro with the London subway suicide bombings of July 7. 2005 and  its implications . She asserts that  it reveals London as the  epicenter ( good Joel Rosenberg word) of Islamic militancy. She uses the word ” Londonistan” which is  a mocking play of the names of London and state sponsors of terrorism such as Afghanistan. You can think of others. She added this chilling detail that one could argue that al-Qaeda actually began in London in the 1980s and 90s. She continues to  talk about Britain in essence turning on itself and attacking its own historical values.

And this next may be the most troubling. There is underway an attempt to establish a separate Muslim identity in the country. This is  in  a country approximately 5% Muslim . So there is a  minority attempting and succeeding in many ways to impose its values on the host country. A tiny but illustrative example is that piggy banks are banned from British banks lest Muslims be offended. Funny, maybe, but not ha-ha funny by any means. British Muslims actually insist they are under Western attack  and blame any wrongdoing by Muslims on others. One more thought before part #1 closes.

 British liberals fear being labeled racist or Islamophobic so Muslim extremism goes somewhat  unchecked and  criticism is against the so-called bigot. The London train bombings were, by this logic, caused by American , Israeli or British policies.

My intent is to refer to Ms Phillips book  again in part #2 as well  as some fictional  references from Walsh and perhaps Silva. As I alluded,  her book is a difficult read for me but I hope to plow through  a bit further.

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August 11, 2010 Posted by | International politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Channeling His Inner Truman

The President continues to bob and weave as regards the Nigerian bomber. Doubtless, the more said, the better. He is now invoking words that hark  back to  the plain-spoken one, President Harry S Truman. Obama says that failures regarding the bomber should be laid on his desk, saying  ” the buck stops with me”  as concerns intelligence failures.

But, not so fast. Apparently top anti-terror official John Brennan thinks there is blame enough to share. He said  that he let the president down and told him that he would do better. This is the same guy who said there was no smoking gun as regarded intelligence failures  over  the bombing attempt. Mark Steyn has a great line regarding that statement. It is probably a poor choice of words said Steyn to say smoking gun regarding an attempted suicide bombing. Besides if the metaphorical gun were smoking that would have been bad news.

One last aside. Apparently Obama didn’t really mean that line about the stopping buck since he blamed U S spies for not “aggressively”  chasing down the Al-Qaeda  guys that planned and funded the attack. Is that a sound of resumes being sent out from Langley? Maybe so.

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Much Ado About Yemen

The little country of Yemen is very newsworthy these days; more so than in a while. The map shows the country’s position and an interesting one it is. One can see it shares a border with Saudi Arabia and how it juxtaposes with Iran, Iraq Egypt,etc. And of course there is that little thing about the Christmas Day bomb attempt by a young Nigerian who was allegedly trained and funded by al-Qaeda from Yemen, whew! 

But the Yemeni news continues. Seems that the terror guys have posed threats credible  enough to get both the United States and Britain to close their embassies in Yemen. This on one hand, while on the other we offer financial aid and training for Yemeni police and military. Full power of the United States at work and will spare no effort. So said the President, in words to that effect, and no more diplomatic presence. If we’re scoring ladies  and gentlemen, we will give this round to Osama and friends ( Yemen is an ancestral homeland for the bin ladens) are we not? 

I heard a retired general on Fox this morning, can’t remember his name, who called Yemen a “petri dish” for terrorism. Now, biology was never  a strong  subject for me but I believe that has something to do with an environment where things are grown. If that is the case, this impoverished country with a near non-existent economy will loom increasingly large on our radar. 

Yemen,et al

January 3, 2010 Posted by | International politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The System Worked ?

So said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in commenting on a failed terrorist attempt to take down Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam  to Detroit. No,wait a minute. Yesterday, she said that it failed miserably. So, which is it? Did it fail or not ? If one measures that by the new security measures and  the additional U S marshals assigned to aircraft, I’m going with failure.There are lots of  ways to look at this event that could have , but thankfully, did not have tragic consequences. The alleged bomber, who

is in custody, is Nigeria, although funded from Yemen  and claims that there are more like himself on the way. Comforting thought, is  it not? Yemen  itself does seem to be developing into fertile ground for Al-Qaeda. Although it is located at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula, it isn’t  that far from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,etc.We sorta know about them and terrorists,do we not?

The President issued  a statement today from Hawaii, 3 days after the near bombing, if you are counting. What he said sounded good. We’re gonna get ’em, not just words but”every element of our national power.” No matter where they are, he added.

Imagine, if you will, thoses words coming from Bush, war mongerer, etc. And, if he had waited 3 days before speaking on the issue. Wonder if there will  be any criticism of the President  in that regard?

We have been providing support, both overt and covert to Yemeni  forces and that support is slated to increase even more next year. Senator Lieberman, who has been there recently thinks that Yemen could be the next battleground, not that it hasn’t  been before. In October, 2000, the USS Cole was victimized by a suicide bombing.And, there is even a 9/11 connection.

So, let us hope that the President backs up his rhetoric in an appropriate fashion.

December 28, 2009 Posted by | International politics, military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments