A bit of a chat about Royals… and Libya.
I was having fun on Imus again this morning… links below.
Government shutdown… and Donald Trump’s hair:
Obama running again… and Royal Wedding:
I was having fun on Imus this AM – Liz Taylor and Libya here:
Japan and Royal Wedding here:
First of all, I want to pay tribute to our armed forces, who are doing a great job, even if our politicians are not. But if our armed forces are in danger – which they are by the very nature of what is going on in Libya – they deserve to know why and we should be asking why.
The reason why the Coalition can’t state a clear goal for Libya is because none of its members have clear national interests at stake in Libya.
Some have claimed, most notably Democratic Congressman Ed Markey, that we are in Libya because of oil. I don’t believe this to be the case. If it really was about oil, we would have gone for stability and propped the Gaddafi regime up. The safe pair of hands that was the front of Saif Gaddafi traipsing around St Bart’s and employing pop stars to sing for him, while his madman father ruled with an iron fist at home. Libya has less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves, long term we’ll be moving to the abundant energy source that is gas – oil in Libya was not worth our military involvement for.
What about the humanitarian aspect? In this region especially, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Libya is a country of 6.5 million people – we’ve walked on by from bigger atrocities. What sort of precedent does this set? Aren’t there other countries which would be more deserving of our “help”? Statecraft is not the same as moral empathy.
So are we there for the removal of Gaddafi? There seems to be a complete lack of clarity around this point.
UN Resolution 1973 appears to be intrinsically illogical. So the UN is saying that it is legal to take out a man in a Libyan tank attacking rebels, but illegal to take out the man who sent him, i.e. Gaddafi. This makes no sense.
Our politicians are in a muddle. At the weekend, the UK Defence Secretary said that targeting Gaddafi was a possibility. Then the Chief of the UK’s Defence Staff said it wasn’t. After this bundle of contradictions we had David Cameron skirting around the issue for six hours in parliament on Monday. They are no clearer in the US.
Sending forces somewhere without a proper aim is downright irresponsible. History has proved a plan is only as good as the exit strategy (Iraq, anyone?). The UK Armed Forces minister admitted yesterday that we have no exit strategy. Our troops deserve to know what the endgame is. The human cost. And what about the physical cost? We’ve been told we’re having to live in “Austerity Britain”, to deal with deficit. Fine. But running around getting involved in aimless wars is not a sensible way to spend money.
Best case scenario seems to be that a rebel puts a bullet in the brain of Gaddafi in the next fortnight. Unfortunately, this is Gaddafi. Stalemate for months is a distinct possibility – he has spent 42 years hanging on in while other politicians on the world stage come and go.
If intervention was so necessary, as we were told by the “game changer” that was the Arab League saying something should be done, why didn’t they go in and do it? Libya is their neighbour. They understand the tribal aspects of the region in a way the West have catastrophically misunderstood over the centuries. The Arab League as I understand it spends a combined $80 billion a year on their military. Libya has less than 200 old jet fighters while Saudi and Egypt have formidable air power.
And the actual contribution from the Arab League? Increasingly mixed messages, some arms to the rebels from Egypt, a few Qatari jets flying over Libya and perhaps some money somewhere.
The shame of all of this is, we were doing so well. America was doing so well. For the first time in years our PR was looking up in the region – by staying out of it. Intervening in Libya as we have done could alter the dynamic of the Arab spring. Obama is acutely aware of this, hence his reluctance to act. As David Cameron rightly put it: you can’t drop democracy out of a plane at 40,000 feet. No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other. What was wonderful about Egypt, was that it was organic.
The Egyptian people owned their own revolution. Self empowerment enabled the region to regain pride in itself, to embrace human rights not as western ideals but as global ideals that belong to them too. Ideals that are far away from radical Islam. There was a shift in advantage to the West – being passive was active. I don’t recall seeing an American flag burn during the Egyptian protests, while such anti-Americanism was rife in the region before. By acting on Libya as we are now, we are handing out the anti-imperialist and anti-American PR card to radical Islam again.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. To govern is to choose the least worst option. Yes it was important to keep the flow of humanitarian supplies to Libya. To ensure Gaddafi & co know they will be held fully accountable for war crimes. To freeze their assets.
But this military venture into Libya. Really, what are we doing?
I am having problems understanding how Pete King could ever have been allowed to run for office under the banner of the Republican Party, let alone win.
King has been in the news lately because of his controversial House investigation into the radicalization of American Muslims, which begins tomorrow.
But why is he in government in the first place? King was extremely vocal in his support of terrorism, in the form of the Irish Republican Army. And apparently he has no regrets.
Now, there can be no doubt that the British, on many levels, were in the wrong when it comes to many countries in the world, including Ireland.
However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the IRA were terrorists. They almost blew me up once on my way to school. My near miss was commonplace – so many others were not so lucky. Now King tells The New York Times, that “I understand why people who are misinformed might see a parallel. The fact is, the IRA never attacked the United States.”
No. They just attacked the population of one of America’s key allies for years.
How can this hypocritical man be anywhere near a position of authority, let alone leading extremely sensitive hearings – on terrorism, of all things? King makes a mockery of the process – he is not a credible person to be in charge here, full stop.
This is a brilliant piece in Newsweek by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, on Clinton’s mission to put women and girls at the forefront of the new world order.
I was on Imus for the first time today… and had a fascinating time.
Discussion of Libya here:
And some lighter notes (including the Royal family) here: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4554752/bashing-royalty-back-in-fashion
Healthcare, as it is want to do, came up as one of my topics on the Fox Business Network last night.
I think we can all agree that no healthcare system in the world is perfect. On a philosophical level, I’m sure that most of us can agree that a mark of a modern civilized society is one where everyone can afford to call an ambulance. Especially in the world’s richest countries.
The question of course is, how is this paid for? It is an incredibly tricky situation where one must balance what is right with what is possible. Massachusetts residents have been in the news as they face potentially devastating tax increases in the coming years to pay health insurance benefits for municipal employees. The situation there is mirrored across the nation.
Root and branch reform is required of the American healthcare system. Obama did what he could with a level of legislation that has not been seen since the Johnson era – but will it be enough? From the research I’ve done the most expensive insurance I’ve found in the UK for someone with a pre-existing condition is around $5000 (and of course they can opt to just go with the NHS, for nothing at all). In the US many people find themselves paying upwards of $12,000 a year and that’s with no pre-existing conditions at all.
It took a disaster of the magnitude of World War 2 to give the UK its healthcare system. Washington, with its special interest groups and partisan politics, makes fundamental reform very difficult, yet over the next few decades American healthcare is a ticking timebomb. Nobody knows what the answer is, but all indications suggest that at some point everyone will have to work together to find one.
Last week it was announced that after all the outcry over Toyota’s brakes last year – which included Toyoda, Toyota’s CEO, being dragged to Congress – that the brakes had no defect after all. The problems came from “pedal misapplication” – i.e. the driver. Before this controversy, Toyota had been seen as the “teacher’s pet” of car companies – and for a time, thanks to the bad PR the Japanese company was battling, it looked like the situation would rescue both GM and Ford in a way no bailout ever could.
It is to be hoped, although it is doubtful, that lessons will be drawn from this. Congress – and the media – are far too quick to condemn on complex cases. In no small part this is a result of the 24-hour news cycle, of the Internet Age we all live in.
As Greg Gutfeld points out so succinctly: “reporters never met a hyped-up story [they] didn’t love”. And politicians love a bandwagon. We must be wary that in all the noise that modern communication creates, that the truth is not always drowned out.
In this case, Toyota has not been destroyed by an inaccurate finger being pointed – but people and companies have been and will continue to be by rumours of no real foundation. Because in 2011, when the truth does finally out, people are often very much over the story and the damage is very much done.