Archive for April, 2007

Putin Worried By Kasparov’s Moves

April 18, 2007

“It is no longer a country… where the government tries to pretend it is playing by the letter and spirit of the law.”

These words were uttered by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov about Russia. Kasparov retired from chess to take on Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is the leader of the United Civil Front, a group that seeks to publicise and challenge Putin’s attempts (successful!) to turn Russia away from democracy.

Kasparov was arrested last Saturday for demonstrating with like-minded Russians; Kasparov was dragged away by some of the thousands of police Putin ordered onto the streets of Moscow.

Putin may have fooled Bush, but Kasparov is a canny customer who will prove a worthy adversary. One can only hope he will be receiving the backing of pro-democracy movements/countries around the world.

Two pieces of advice for the Grandmaster – get a food taster quickly and avoid British Airways.

 See also: NY Times and BBC

The Blame Game

April 18, 2007

As the true horror of events at Virginia Tech sink in, it is very difficult for people not to be seeking somebody to blame. For the past 36 hours or so, the news networks have been posing questions and replaying interviews in which University authorities or the police are being blamed for the massacre of over 30 people on the campus.

Many are holding them responsible for not ‘locking down’ the campus (if this, indeed, is possible) in order to pre-empt a mass-murder situation. Hindsight gives us the perfect response to a catastrophe every time. Unfortunately, nobody could have predicted the acts of a madman.

There is only one person to blame.

The gunman, himself.

Either through insanity or a shear disregard for life, he took the lives of those innocent people. It is unkind and callous to suggest that the University or the police allowed this catastrophic event to take place through their inaction. Horrors of this ilk are impossible to predict, for the most part.

In future, there might well be protocols in place to deal with such events. For the time being, let the investigations take place.

The victims and their families and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at this terrible time.

McCain – Man of the Hour

April 15, 2007

Throughout history, there have been innumerable examples of people excelling at crucial moments, more through simply being the right person at the right time than having earned the honour. It is a simple truism to say that without the intervention of these folk, the history of countries, continents, and, indeed, the world would have been significantly different.

When one considers the impact of people like Churchill, Gorbachev, and Gandhi, to name but three, it is clear that the world would undoubtedly be a less pleasant place.

Today, we stand at another crossroad in mankind’s journey. The free, democratic countries around the world are under attack from Islamic extremists. People of every faith (including Islam) are being persecuted by these terrorists. The will to fight for freedom and justice is weak among many countries. Why? For many, the threat is not crystal clear. Hence, the vitriol aimed at Bush and Blair et al.

Many sought peace with Hitler, too, but were, fortunately, ignored.

John McCain stands alone with regard to his resolute defence of the war – not how it was handled but why. He is prepared to sacrifice his Presidential campaign, if necessary. He will not shy away from reality. Following his visit to Iraq, McCain wrote an excellent piece in the Washington Post, where he stated…

“There is no guarantee that we will succeed, but we must try. As every sensible observer has concluded, the consequences of failure in Iraq are so grave and so threatening for the region, and to the security of the United States [and the world! – Libertas01], that to refuse to give Petraeus’s plan a chance to succeed would constitute a tragic failure of American resolve.”

The Democrats fail to see the catastrophic consequences of capitulating to the extremists (or, at least, they seem to – maybe for political reasons at home).

Bush was the man of the hour for the start of the war on terror campaign following the events of 2001 and Hussein’s refusal to adhere to UN resolutions.

McCain is shaping up to be the ideal candidate to continue the fight. A man of principle and vast experience whose passion for America and what it stands for knows no bounds. 

See also Michigan for McCain – Has McCain’s Moment Arrived?

Pelosi Panders to the Syrians – Resignation Next?

April 5, 2007

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, led the Democrats to a new low this week when she visited Syria and offered an alternative to President Bush’s foreign policy.

Bush’s policy includes taking the fight to the terrorists, punishing nations who harbour or support terrorism, and offering a hand of support to those who stand up against totalitarian regimes. It is hard to imagine anyone could be so vehemently opposed to these ideas – then, one remembers that many in the Democratic Party are more concerned about their own short-term political careers than the security of the US and the world at large.

Pelosi’s jaunt to Syria is designed to undermine Bush and the war on terror. Is she so myopic that she fails to see the encouragement she is giving to the self-proclaimed enemies of the US and Israel? Is she blind to the religious, personal, and political restrictions placed on citizens of Syria?

She seems to prefer to negotiate with Assad rather than work with Bush. Wearing the headscarf hardly strengthens the position of women in a country where gender equality is guaranteed by law but is not a reality for many women (Human Rights Watch).

The US is at war with the Islamic extremists. Syria supports the terrorist groups who are attacking Coalition forces and who are undermining democracy in Iraq. Pelosi is irresponsible, at the very least, and verging on treasonous, at the very worst.

Pelosi has emboldened the enemy through her actions. If the mainstream media were more objective, her position as Speaker might be in jeopardy. Her resignation would be an honourable step. An admission of misjudgement would be most welcome.

Her disloyalty might come back to haunt the Democrats, if the public catch on to the implications of her visit to Syria.

Iran 1 United Kingdom 0

April 5, 2007

“I’d like to say that myself and my whole team are very grateful for your forgiveness. I’d like to thank yourself and the Iranian people… Thank you very much, sir.”

These are the words of an unidentified British sailor. Hardly the language one expects from a member of Britannia’s wave-ruling navy. Alas, the kowtowing to Iran is becoming infectious.

The treatment of the sailors has been unforgivable. How one of the sailors can thank Ahmadinejad when the female sailor was forced to wear a hijab is beyond belief. The media, of course, have made very little criticism of the parading of the sailors on television, or the forced confessions, or, indeed, the hijab.

It is not hard to imagine the uproar there would be if the US or the UK forced its prisoners to appear on television, let alone if they coerced female Muslim terrorist suspects to wear western-style clothing.

Iran wins this battle but the incident counts as useful evidence in building a case against the volatile and unpredictable Ahmadinejad. Some will be fooled by this Easter ‘gift.’ It certainly will not distract President Bush, who knows that Ahmadinejad would like to present another ‘gift’ to the world in the form of a nuclear weapon.

Publicly, the UK came out of this incident rather embarrassed. One must hope that, privately, the UK plans to help the US (ideally UN as well, but that’s pure fantasy) to ensure future incidents with Iran do not involve nuclear weapons.

The Falklands Conflict

April 3, 2007

Twenty-five years ago, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. The UK, led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, responded by sending a Task Force 8,000 miles to recover its territory. One of the main guiding principles was that of freedom. The right of the Falkland Islanders to be British and enjoy the liberties associated with that.

The military operation was against the advice of many of Mrs Thatcher’s (now Lady Thatcher) advisor’s. Fortunately, the Iron Lady’s resolve was firm and the hostile actions of Argentina’s military dictatorship were punished.

This week, the UK has expressed regret over the Conflict. This seems to have been interpreted by Argentina as a sign of weakness, since the vice-President, Danile Scioli, has renewed claims to the island. Furthermore, Argentina has broken up a joint venture with the UK to search for oil and gas. Some people/countries never learn.

The strength the UK demonstrated in 1982 is sorely needed today in the current dispute with Iran. So far, Iran has achieved its goal of appearing to stand up to a world power and get away scot-free. More significantly, the 15 sailors are still captive at this time.

It is interesting to look at the BBC Have Your Say pages where readers can express their opinions on issues. The majority of opinions published regarding the war in Iraq are very much against the US/UK actions in that country. However, the incident with Iran has prompted a clear majority of British contributors to speak out in favour of a strong military response.

It is disappointing that many people do not seem to see the connection between Iraq, Iran, extremism, and terrorism. Freedom is being threatened. If and when the 15 sailors are released, the threat to world peace will continue to exist in the form of the Iranian leadership. Will those British citizens, who want action for the sake of 15 sailors, continue to press for action for the sake of stability in the region, freedom from oppression for millions, and the safeguarding of our way of life?

More Falklands Info