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Thursday, October 27, 2005

In case you have never heard of Iran's key foreign policy ambition or you somehow think this is a legitimate regime with a right to sovereignty and the like, I guess today's news should finally bury those notions:

There has been widespread condemnation of a call by the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

At least it is finally clear now and in the open. Seeing that even Old Europe has been roused to condemnation, the Iranian regime's status as a hostile power should now be undisputable. How to deal with the situation is still an open question, but I might point out that Israel now has the full right to take preventive military measures against Iran. The pressure is growing for Western leaders to get their act together one way or another.

PS: For BBC critics I might point out that it is odd that the headline focuses on the condemnation of Ahmadinejad's comments rather than the comments themselves.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Too lazy to write something myself, so here goes . . .
These tests are sometimes a bit odd; in most tests I ended up on the other side of the libertarian/authoritarian divide but there you go:

You are a

Social Conservative
(36% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(68% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

And now to reveal something about the private Timmyhawk: Although this is quite sexist, it is also quite true:

Curvy and Cute
Raw score: 51% Big Breasts, 54% Big Ass, and 64% Cute!

Thanks for taking the T and A and C test! Based on your selections, the results
are clear: you show an attraction to larger
, larger asses, and cuter composures than others who've taken the test.

Note that you like women overall curvier than average.

third variable, "cuteness" is a mostly objective measure of how innocent
a given model looked. It's determined by a combination of a lot of factors: lack
of dark eye makeup, facial expression, posture, etc. If you scored high on that
variable, you are either really nice OR you're into deflowering teens. If you
scored low, you are attracted to raunchier, sexier, women. In your case, your
higher than average score suggests you appreciate a cuter, nicer look.

Recommended Celebrities: Beyoncé and Actress Elisha

Link: The Tits, Ass, and Cuteness Test written by chicken_pot_pie on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

As a child I used to be a real dork and enjoy looking at world maps old and new. A habit I continued throughout my schooldays; in geography lessons, when others would secretly try roasting marshmallows in the back row, I would spend my time reading the atlas. (Interesting to note that none of us paid much attention to the teacher though.) That’s how this result gets explained:

Geography Genius
You scored 94% knowledge, and 0% confusion
Excellent! This is the highest score. You are very knowledgeable about the world. You didn't answer any (or many) of the questions with seriously incorrect answers. Great work. You are now ready to write your own Geography Knowledge test. Don't forget to vote on this test!

Link: The World Geography Knowledge Test written by dowland2005 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I have to say it happens only seldomly, but I am genuinly happy to see that Ken Clarke has been thrown out of the first round of voting. Some "big beast". In so many ways he was so wrong as Conservartive leader I am not even going to bother arguing why; it is all too evident to me.
The real choice will boil down to a match between the two Davids. (I don't see Liam Fox going further from here.) Both present good possible starting points for the Tories to regain power, and I think both would be up to the job in different ways. Anyway, that decision needn't be made yet, so for now we should just be happy that Clarke is out.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

So, in Basra, it has now come to this:

"The British Army handed the city to the Islamist groups as a gift," one human rights campaigner said.
"People are even saying bring the Americans here. Some people actually want the Americans instead."

Given that the past two and a half years the British press has almost uniformly been unfavourably comparing our troops’ performance to that of their US colleagues, I wonder how on earth it could have come to this? Perhaps the media couldn’t be bothered to do any research. To be clear, on balance our Army is better, for reasons too extensive to go into here. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean it will always be better, and the way the situation in southern Iraq has come about by British passivity is clear evidence of larger failure. In fairness it’s not so much the troops’ fault as it is the fault of a Government that lacks either the will or the understanding to succeed in Iraq. Which would mean more troops and a more active strategy. So now comes this:

BRITAIN is preparing to send one of the most potent fighting units to . . . . A battle group from 16 Air Assault Brigade, backed by the Army’s new Apache attack helicopter, has been earmarked for deployment

Of course, they’re not heading to Iraq where they are actually needed, because that would make military sense and we can’t have that now can we. No, they’re off to Afghanistan. To fight opium barons. Is that a real priority right now? Hardly. Afghanistan is admittedly in a mess, but this deployment will make no difference to the situation which is one of stable chaos. The only thing necessary in Afghanistan is to uphold the current status quo.
In Iraq on the other hand, developments are fast-paced and very important, and it is thus imperative to have enough forces on the ground to deal with increasingly assertive religious militias. Given that these could well be highly sympathetic towards Iran, it strikes me as pretty silly that a Government that apparently wants to bring Iran "into line", is not only shying away from, but actually withdrawing from confrontation with the Iranian regime’s possible allies. This is clearly shown by the decision, masked by administrative details, to reduce our troop levels in Iraq even more.
Even more risible in political terms is the fact that just a week earlier Reid had claimed that the Afghan effort 'won't affect Iraq'. I bet the Conservatives will really lay into him in Parliament, given such obvious inconsistencies when the Afghan deployment will also require a disproportionate amount of logistical support . . .
No, but seriously, it good to see that our Armed Forces are really at the cutting edge, deployed in highly important booster missions . . .

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

As I mentioned before, Richard North's paper on military technology integration has now been published by the Centre for Policy Studies. North has an article in the Spectator introducing his work which means it has at last a slight chance this issue will get into the wider debate. As I have said before, this is THE most important issue the UK is faced with. Our future as a sovereign indepedent nation state rests on how we answer the problems that North outlines. However you feel about the issue, you must give it some thought; even though I admit this is not always as exciting an issue for everyone as it is for me. But remember, if we lose our ability to carry out military operations independently from the EU, we have lost our sovereignty. Sovereignty is after all the ability to decide over war and peace.

Links: Here's the CPS press release, a summary of the report and you can download the full paper
The Wrong Side of the Hill: the secret realignment of UK Defence Policy with the EU

Go hence and read it. That's an order.

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In a Beeb story about defence policy problems there's a quote by the following:

Michael Moore
Liberal Democrat

That would explain this at least.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

BUNDESTAGSWAHL 2005 / GERMAN ELECTION LOG: MERKEL GETS IT . . . . . . the German chancellory that is. For what it's worth in identity politics terms, she is the first woman and the first former East-German to hold the post. Inevitably, given the share of the votes, the grand coalition with the social democrats means that she will nominally have a fairly limited scope for actually implementing any serious changes. As the Times reports:

it became clear that Frau Merkel had paid a very high price for the leadership. During a night of horse-trading, she was forced to give Herr Schröder’s Social Democrats eight seats in her Cabinet, leaving only six for her Christian Democrats.
The Social Democrats will control the Foreign Ministry, Finance, Justice, Employment, Environment, Health, Transport and Development Aid. The Christian Democrats are left with Defence, Home Affairs, Economy, Family, Education and Agriculture.

This is quite a mess, and exactly the kind of fudging I had been concerned a grand coalition would bring about. The consequence will be, unless Merkel turns out to be a really tough leader, that Germany will slumber along without any real decisions being taken, while the coalition partners snipe at each other. It is a pretty safe bet that both sides will just be waiting for the moment when opinion polls favour their own victory and then go for it and abandon the coalition. Who this will be depends on who is responsible for the policy deadlock that will undoubtedly ensue. I would expect logically that this would be the fault of Schroeder’s gang; after all, they stalled on carrying on reforms before the elections, and if things don’t change, they are the constant factor in the game whereas the Christian democrats are already a bit of change. Of course it’s the perceptions that matter, and people may end up giving Merkel the fault for slow or little progress. We shall see. But it is disappointing that the foreign ministry will remain under social democratic control, as I was expecting a Christian democrat foreign minister to make it easier to pursue join British-German interests. But who knows, the current favourite for the post, defence minister Peter Struck, is quite a solid type who has done a decent job wrestling with the legacy of his awful predecessor Rudolf Scharping. So, perhaps a little good news may yet spring form this all.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

According to soem recent polling us nasty Brits are no longer the most Eurosceptic. And now guess who is . . .

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Thanks to the Aspen Institute Berlin those in Berlin who are a little weary of always hearing the same anti-war orthodoxies about Iraq got to hear Christopher Hitchens in a Berlin bar (the Max & Moritz). It was quite good fun, though it is true that Hitchens is very rude. Still, made it more interesting I suppose. I have only read him in the past and it was nice to see and hear him live. In terms of the content, those who read Hitchens, Harry's Place, Norm or similar sites will probably be familiar with most of the left pro-war argument; and if you're not, well, why not? There were a number of witty moments too. At one point, when Hitchens was laying into Colin Powell, saying that after he had become the most overrated man in America he was now trying to become the most overrated man in the world, somebody in the audience heckled in and said that titel was already taken by Kofi Annan. Well, not your average German political audience there. In terms of his style of arguing he has a lot in common with his brother really, though politically not quite so. (As an aside, judging from what Peter Hitchens' website looks like, I don't think he's quite got with this blogging thing yet . . .).
Anyways, a good event.


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