A Little Something to Fight the Poison

Saturday, October 19, 2002
HOW TO MAKE ENVIRONMENTALISM ATTRACTIVE TO NRA MEMBERS: Let environmentalist/paramilitary leader Dr. Bruce Hayse do the movement's recruiting! As reported by The Globe and Mail, the poaching/banditry situation has gotten so bad in the Central African Republic that the government has turned things over to an American "extreme environmentalist" and his private army:
In 2001, Dr. Hayse says, President Ange-Felix Patasse ceded authority over the entire Chinko River basin — 60,000 square miles — to Dr. Hayse's paramilitary forces, some of them recruited from villages that have been terrorized by poachers. Dr. Hayse is personally funding the effort, spending more than $150,000 (U.S.) so far...

He and his friends created African River and Rainforest Conservation, a nonprofit group. In addition to the mysterious mercenary "Dave Bryant," Dr. Hayse hired a political liaison and a community development specialist. They are arranging for well-drilling, medical care and loans for small business...

ARRC estimates its paramilitary patrols and humanitarian programs will cost $600,000 annually. Wealthier mainstream conservation groups have not rushed to help, fearful of the ARRC's tactics.

At least one private donor in Wyoming backed off, citing her attorney's advice that "the use of deadly force is not a charitable activity."
But why should we leave the gritty work of protecting the environment to those traditionally milquetoast kum-bai-yah lefties, when we've got other folks who would be much more committed to blowing away polluters and despoilers? I can see it now--after doing a tour of duty in the C.A.R. under Dr./Col. Hayse, Soldier of Fortune Magazine enthusiasts and militia members will return to the U.S. envigorated by their experience of pumping .50 cal rounds into poachers in the name of biodiversity, ready to take up anti-tank rifles for Greenpeace and the WWF. There's nothing that gives a guy more affinity for Mother Earth than letting a couple of slash-and-burn baddies have it with a well-placed RPG...
Well, it was fun while it lasted...

Eric and I have kissed and made up. Evidently, his attempt at satire went way over my groggy head at 8:00 AM yesterday. It's been a few years -- the last Eric/Manu bitch fight occurred probably about three years ago, and likely revolved around my inability to do my dishes.

For the record, here is one of the articles I reference in my comment to Eric's post -- the NYT one (sorry, the LAT piece seems to have disappeared -- I will try and track it down later). Both try and analyse why the US response to North Korea's admission will differ from its bellicose response to Iraq's non-compliance -- in the absence of any comment from Washington.

However, from today' s LAT, an article on how the US will turn to North Korea's neighbours (SK, Russia, Japan, China) to put pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its WMD programme. It certainly does help that the US has friends in that part of the world that can come to its aid -- even China has little to gain from the weird North Korean Marxists getting the bomb. In contrast, I guess that the only fast American allies in the Mideast (Turkey and Israel) have no sway on Iraq whatsoever.

What can we learn from this? Perhaps that multilateralism is the way to go -- but that for multilateralism to truly work, your partners have to be located in the region in question, and not in, say, Whitehall.
RIGHT DOWN MY ALLEY: A bunch of really interesting issues involving global justice, international law, and economics come together in an article by political theorist Thomas Pogge on Moral Universalism and Global Economic Justice.

One of Pogge's key arguments', noted by Junius, is that the current international order assists the survival of corrupt and authoritarian regimes by granting them a de facto right to legally control and transfer their nation's natural resources:
"a corporation that has purchased resources from the Saudis or from Suharto, or from Mobuto or Abacha, has thereby become entitled to be, and actually is, recognized anywhere in the world as the legitimate owner of these resources...a remarkable feature of our global institutional order."
In effect, Pogge argues that things might look very different if the international community took a stand against the ownership of a country's natural resources by corrupt and illicit regimes and had a norm analogous to the law in domestic society against the possession of stolen goods.
Thursday, October 17, 2002
If you've ever had to write a paper/article/thesis before, chances are you've run into this situation: you have an idea that (you think) is original, but before you write it down, you come across it in the published literature. The honourable thing to do, of course, is to cite it anyway.

Something roughly analogous happened to me in the blogosphere today. I turned up this Tom Friedman column reprinted in the Houston Chronicle, but before I could post, it turned up on Oxblog. So credit where's it due.

At any rate, Friedman is fairly even-handed, chastising the Israel divestment campaign before abruptly turning his sight on Israel's supporters as well. In doing so, he points out an unintended consequence of the West Bank settlement drive that I hadn't thought of before...
MANU, YOU ARE DEAD WRONG: I don't usually do this, but I want to respond directly to your post below because I'm quite disturbed by the poorly supported insinuations you make therein. I think that you are being awfully uncharitable to the Bush administration, an attitude that is inappropriate to these serious and trying times. The Bush adminstration has a very good explanation that puts paid to your thinly veiled accusations of inconsistency in its foreign policy: the key difference between country "I" and country "NK" is that "I" is violating specifically targeted UN Resolutions by pursuing WMD, whereas country "NK" isn't. "NK" has merely decided to move beyond a nuclear non-proliferation treaty that isn't in its best strategic interests, which doesn't seem like a terribly unreasonable move, does it?

This explanation is clearly supported by Bush's recent comments reiterating his administration's commitment to an international system centred around a United Nations that is "effective and respected and successful." Clearly, the Bush administration isn't talking about moving against "NK" because it is reticent to risk destabilizing the international system by unilaterally pursuing U.S. foreign policy in a manner that might be contrary to the principles of mutual amity and co-op...OW! Dammit, what are all of these damned pigs doing, flying out of my--
Okay, I'm having trouble sorting through some recent events, so I'm going to put them on paper (or pixel?) and maybe some of you can help me out.

On the one hand, you have a country called, say, "I", that is a member of an "Axis of Evil". It has a leader that is openly hostile to Western interests, terrorizes and oppresses his own people and has invaded his neighbours in the past. The clincher is that there is evidence that "I" would like to amass nuclear weapons, and it is believed that "I" will act on that intention in the future unless stopped. So, a world power called GWB has decided that "I" must change its ways. The idea has received lukewarm support at best from other nations, but GWB is intent on convincing the others that "I" must be reformed (likely by force). And if the rest of the world won't go along, him and his friend TB will do it themselves.

Now, on the other hand, you have a second country, named "NK". NK has a leader who is hostile not only to Western interests, but more fundamentally to the economic principles upon which the West is built. Like "I", NK starves its own people (both politically and literally). It has invaded its closest neighbour in the past, and continues to threaten it through both overt military actions and espionage. Like "I"'s neighbours, NK's neighbours (SK and J) are our allies; unlike "I"'s neighbours, however, SK and J are liberal democracies that should presumably be more deserving of our friendship and protection.

On top of this, NK then openly admits to running an ongoing nuclear weapons programme right now. Incredibly, GWB's only response is to say that this development is "troubling", and that this matter should be resolved peacefully.

Thoughts and insights?
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
MAYBE THEY SHOULD CALL 'EM THE RED JAYS: Because of all that crimson ink they're leaking.

Since we're on the topic, I'd like to briefly complain that the new millennium hasn't been at all kind to Canadian baseball, of which I've always been quite proud, in a quixotic sort of way. We're so badly outnumbered and we're a large part responsible for giving the "World" in World Series some semblance of truth, so it's hard not to cheer for us, right?

Anyway, I'll be very sad when they move or fold the 'Spos--I was really cheering for a Montreal-Minnesota series...
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
LIKE GOLDFISH (THREE SECONDS): The whole world watched for weeks after Sept. 11 happened, and for at least a few days after Oklahoma City (where the final death toll was lower than that of Bali), but on the nightly news, the Bali bombings have already been shoved below speculations about the D.C. sniper and have to compete with Martha Stewart's problems. A quick reminder.

Nevermind that no one has taken responsibility for the attack. Nevermind that it's got Al Quaeda's M.O. written all over it and the identity of the perpetrators might have great consequences for the continuing fight against terror or a strike on Iraq. The bottom line seems to be that it's far away and only one American was killed, so it's not that interesting, even in the middle of the "War" on Terror. Can you imagine what might have been if the U.S. press had given the African embassy explosions the same kind of coverage that it gave to Oklahoma City?

And the media does matter. The recent poll indicating that Americans seem to be more concerned about the sniper attacks than terrorism is indicative of how easily the average American's interest in foreign policy fades, and I think it's at least partially a function of what stories the media chooses to carry. Attitudes like these are very troubling when you consider the U.S.'s overwhelming role on the world stage.

Perhaps Bush has done the U.S. a significant service with all of his Iraq bluster--if nothing else, he has at least forced the average American to be semi-cognizant of the nation's foreign policy.
CalPundit fisks the Gettysburg Address [with thanks to Tapped]. Here's to the Rally Monkey, my good man.

One thing that is personally unfortunate about the Angels winning the pennant:

In May of 2001, I went to a conference in Los Angeles with a few of my co-workers (mostly Japanese). Once down there, we all wanted to catch a ball game -- our first choice was the Dodgers, but they were on a road trip, and so we settled on driving down to Anaheim to see the (then) lowly Angels play the (even worse) Tigers. A pretty lousy game as ball games go...though the home team did come from behind to win, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the suddenly notorious cheering primate.

Anyway, while at the game, I bought an Angels cap. When in Rome, right? (Actually, I searched high and low at Edison Field for a cap with the old-style California Angels logo, the one with the "A" and the hokey halo, but to no avail. Who woulda thunk that they would bring it back for this season?) For the last year and a bit, I wore it pretty much religiously when running or working out. Now, of course, I'm embarrassed to -- I'll look like I jumped on the bandwagon.

But in all seriousness, congrats to the Angels: Washburn and Appier did well for me in the pool this year. Besides, they give hope to us long-suffering Blue Jays fans (hey, it has been nine years...)
Monday, October 14, 2002
Gobble, honour of Canadian Thanksgiving, how about this editorial from the G&M -- which argues that a certain Middle Eastern country's recent drive towards political and judicial freedom, may be hobbled by the EU's refusal to offer it a timetable for admission. Sticks, not carrots, seem to be the side dish for this Turkey...