Category ►►► Nobel Nitwittery
October 12, 2010
(The title uses the portmanteau neologism "moggled," which I take to mean a combination of muddled and boggled. But should I know? It's not like I just made it up, you know.)
Two stories related to the Middle Kingdom, a.k.a. the Country at the Center of the World, a.k.a. the People's Republic of China: We roll the stories side by side in a split-screen, and it gives us the perfect metaphor of the waning days of the American Left in full geshrei.
First we have this:
China on Monday blocked European officials from meeting with the wife of the jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner, cut off her phone communication and canceled meetings with Norwegian officials -- acting on its fury over the award.
As China retaliated, U.N. human rights experts called on Beijing to free imprisoned democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo, who was permitted a brief, tearful meeting with his wife Sunday.
Mr. Liu dedicated the award to the "lost souls" of the 1989 military crackdown on student demonstrators.
That last line refers to the Tiananmen Square Massacre, of course. For those too young to remember -- it shocks the memory to realize that butchery was 21 years ago -- here's a recap:
- Beginning on April 14th, 1989, students and others began crowding Tiananmen Square in Beijing, initially only to mourn the death (heart attack) of Hu Yaobang, who was both Chairman and Secretary General of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, second only to PRC leader Deng Xiaoping. Hu was a "reformer," like Deng; but Deng and other officials thought he went too far to help those who had been persecuted and tortured during the so-called Cultural Revolution; he was too sympathetic to Tibetan independence; and he went too easy on students who had protested in 1986 for greater intellectual freedom... hence Hu was a hero of the Chinese student intelligensia. Hu was forced to resign in 1987 and died two years later.
- The funeral gathering in Tiananmen Square turned into a demonstration for liberty; ultimately 100,000 students crowded into the city square; they spilled over into the surrounding streets of Beijing, and other students held demonstrations and protests in many other Chinese cities.
- For seven weeks, the PRC allowed the demonstrations to continue -- one group even sculpted a makeshift imitation of the Statue of Liberty, which they called the Goddess of Democracy -- and many around the globe thought that China had finally turned a corner, as the Soviet Union had (though Russia seems to have turned three more corners and ended up back on Oppression Avenue). But then on May 20th, Deng declared martial law.
- However, demonstrators blocked the People's Liberation Army from entering the square; amazingly, the PLA refused to use military force to push their way in and withdrew four days later.
- The demonstrations continued. Subsequently, more army units were called in, many from outlying provinces, as the Politburo thought the PLA soldiers from the Beijing area were too sympathetic to the students.
- From June 1st-5th, demonstrators clashed with the army again, setting up barricades and hurling Molotov cocktails at the military vehicles. This time, the PLA responded by opening fire upon the crowd, ultimately killing between 800 and several thousand protesters, as well as many ordinary residents killed by wild shots striking nearby residential buildings. The complete death toll is unknown to this day.
- In case you're interested, the name Tian-an-Men translates to "the Gate of Heavenly Peace."
In one bizarre and amazing incident, an unknown man with a shopping bag stood in front of a column of tanks, blocking their entry into the square; when they tried to deviate around him, he scampered back in front of the column. Eventually he was grabbed by soldiers and hustled offstage, but not before creating one of the three most iconic news videos of the 1980s:
Man blocks tank column's entry into Tiananmen Square, June 5th 1989
(The other two are East and West Germans swarming over the Berlin wall with pickaxes in November of 1989, tearing it down chunk by chunk; and the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28th, 1986.)
Following the massacre, President George H.W. Bush signed the 1990 Foreign Relations Act that banned exports to China of military equipment, including the famed C-130 transport, which China wanted in order to transport troops around the far-flung countryside of the PRC, brute force to hold together the Chinese Communist empire. That ban has remained in effect through four U.S. presidential administrations.
Until today, that is; and that brings us to the second story in our Chinese finger-puzzle:
President Obama issued a waiver loosening Tiananmen arms sanctions for C-130 military transports for China a day after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an imprisoned Chinese dissident who dedicated the prize this past weekend to the victims of the 1989 crackdown.
Chinese state-run news media on Monday hailed the White House waiver announcement as a sign Washington is moving to lift the 11-year-old arms embargo.
Well! The administration of President Barack H. Obama moved quickly to split hairs:
However, White House National Security Council spokesman Michael Hammer said the waiver issued on Saturday will not allow C-130s sales. "Under this announcement, we are not selling any aircraft to anyone," he stated in an e-mail.
I'm sure Mr. Hammer is correct: The sales won't take place until after the next announcement... probably after the November 2nd elections. But the message abides, even if it has yet to be translated into more concrete support for Chinese national and international oppression:
John Tkacik, a former State Department China affairs specialist, said the C-130 waiver and China's response appeared linked to Mr. Gates' visit to the region.
"It sends the wrong message to the Southeast Asians, its send the wrong message to the Chinese," Mr. Tkacik said. "We should not be encouraging the Chinese to have long-range air-lift capabilities for their military."
Regardless, the suspicious timing makes plain that lifting the C-130 ban was one of two things:
- Either the announcement was a deliberate attempt to support China in its "fury" at the Swedish Academy showing some spine for once and awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo -- who co-authored Charter 08 in December 2008, calling for democracy in the People's Republic of China, and was sentenced a year later to 11 years in prison and two years deprivation of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power" -- and who yesterday dedicated his award to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre...
- Or else it was another example of the colossal incompetence, kow-towing, and naïveté of this administration -- just a series of unfortunate events and meaningless coincidences!
The spectacle of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner being slapped in the face by last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner -- and doesn't Obama's "victory" in 2009 look petty and ill-conceived now! -- is a perfect lead-in to the November elections. This is not your Grandma's Democratic Party; this is a Democratic Party so smitten by either internationalist socialism or anti-colonialism (take your pick) that it does everything in its power to diminish and disfigure the United States, transforming us into a vile lickspittle to every thuggish, totalitarian nation in the world... and at the same time, an international laughingstock. How proud we must all feel, now that our nation's leader has made a point of lifting his leg all over Liu Xiaobo.
Oh, my mistake; I'm afraid I talked about President Obama like he was a dog.
December 27, 2009
Will B.O. Run for Reelection? - Obamic Options 006
This is a strange post, I assure you. Even by Big Lizard standards, this draws an extra flask of Weird.
My Obamic Option for today is... Will President Barack H. Obama actually run for reelection in 2012? Or has he something loftier in his future?
Don't become a mob; let me present my case:
- The predicate of this question is very specific; we assume a universe where his reelection prospects look at least "iffy." I think we all agree that if it looks like he's going to cruise to victory, he'll stick with the presidency.
So assume point 1 above -- that his chances are dicey (like Bush in 2004, Clinton in 1996, LBJ in 1968 -- and unlike Reagan in 1984 and Nixon in 1972).
- One of my operating contentions is that, whether Obama realizes it or not, the presidency is really not the position for which he is ideally suited.
He may have thought being president was like being a gentleman farmer, but he has already learnt better. The job requires decisiveness, leadership, the ability to persuade opponents to your own side, and the willingness to stand up and accept responsibility, to be accountable for failure as well as applauded for success -- all traits that B.O. notably lacks.
The entirety of his past experience has been in positions where all he has to do is schmooze, nod sagely to what others say, make his own lofty pronunciamentos... then sit down to his 633rd testimonial dinner. The presidency does not fit that job description, but there is a powerful and personally lucrative position that demands a man exactly like Barack Obama.
- Ergo, I argue, Obama is admirably suited to one job only: Secretary General of the United Nations.
The role of Yenta in Chief (or Yentor, since he's male) fits Obama's personality, talents, and experience like a drum. A Secretary General "Lucky Lefty" Obama would never again have to be "the decider;" the Secretary General never decides anything. Like the Director in C.S. Lewis' immortal novel That Hideous Strength, Obama's world comprises nothing but shades of grey. It's amusing and apropos that he calls himself "post-racial"; what does post-racial mean but beyond black and white?
And what's beyond black and white is an achromatic melange of greys, from steel to slate to iron to charcoal. Nothing is ever completely right, nothing ever utterly wrong; there is no conclusion; nought is finally decided; there is always a third way (or fourth, or tenth).
But is the One actually qualified for the exalted, opalescent apex of world diplomacy? Yea, verily.
- Barack H. Obama exceeds every job requirement:
- He's a "person of color" -- important in a world where most delegates see whites as nameless, faceless "oppressors" who must be relentlessly resisted.
- He professes a very, very, very deep Liberalism... yet in reality, he is an Alinskyite: He doesn't believe in power as the means to some other end but as the end in itself. In fact, everything is topsy-turvy in Obamunism: Left-liberalism is the means to power, not the other way round; the principles of the New Left are infinitely maleable and can easily adapt to the accretion of any available power du jour.
- As a specific instance of (b), Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush... even as he replicated virtually all of Bush's "warmongering" foreign policy. Why? Because Obama has clearly signalled that he intends to lose all those wars -- and blame the losses on Bush and the conservatives. Thus hawkishness can be presented as the necessary precursor to pacifism... and all the aging hippies pump their fists and shout "Right on!"
- He is either an antisemite himself, or else he is at least willing to surround himself with antisemites -- important in a world where, to quote Billy Carter, "They is a hell of a lot more A-rabs than they is Jews."
- Obama loves tyrants and dictators and hates messy "democracy" -- important inasmuch as, to paraphrase poor Billy this time, they is a hell of a lot more despots than they is democrats.
- He's not pushy or commanding; he makes no demands and doesn't press any particular principles. Just let him speak (endlessly), party like it's 1999 again, and receive award after citation after laurel, even if undeserved, and Barack Obama will be as happy as a doornail.
- Final qualification: Although he's American, a real black eye, he's an anti-America American ("the idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone/All centuries but this, and every country but his own"), which is a real feather in his cap. They balance out, subtracting what would otherwise be a deal-killer.
So what does this chain of reasoning portend? This: I predict that, if the Obamacle ponders the race of 2012 and sees a strong Republican contender and only luckwarm support for himself, he will try to cut a deal with the U.N.; current Secretary General Nanki-Poo would retire with all honors... then the General Assembly offers Obama the job.
I suspect he would consider the move a promotion; I can even play TOTUS and write his speech for him:
All of our greatest problems are collective problems, and they are international in scope. I have tried as hard as possible and have achieved goals both remarkable and unprecedented... but I've reached the limit of what can be achieved from the narrow, parochial viewpoint of the head of one particular government, even one as powerful as the United States. With the current crisis, this is no time for a man to play small ball.
To further the great project and bring about the vision that we all hold so dear, every one of us -- that of a single, unified, global government that does not waste time and resources in pointless bickering, but gives us action, action, action to implement the demands of the citizens of the world -- I must step up to the plate and accept the awe-inspiring responsibility the world offers me.
I must, with great humility, embrace my destiny to save not just the United States or even the Western hemisphere, but the entire global world. Therefore, with a light heart and great expectations, I hereby announce that I cannot be a candidate for the presidency of the United States this year, 2012; I leave that mission to those Democrats better suited to its limited and parochial nature.
See? I warned you it was weird. Perhaps next time you'll pay heed and flee while you still have legs to carry you.
I myself would rank the odds of my prediction coming true as no better than one in ten, and possibly a miniscule fraction of that (if I have over-analyzed my man). But if wrong, the only price I will pay will be a few chuckles and a bit of raillery; so what the heck.
If I'm right, however, I'll be hailed as a blogospheric godling. It's almost win-win!
Intense excavations of Jurassic Obamic Options have unearthed these previous fossils:
- Obamic Options 001
- Obamic Options 002: The Limits of Tolerance of Pinkos
- Another Noble Obamic Musing - Obamic Options 003
- Could He Ever Bring Himself to Say It? Obamic Options 004
- Extradition Indecision - Obamic Options 005
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
October 9, 2009
The Nobel Cheese Prize
The Norwegian Nobel Committee insists that the Nobel Peace Prize is not "politicized," even in the wake of today's award to President Barack H. Obama, essentially for having the "potential" to be the most internationalist, anti-American, defeat-and-retreat president in history. The chairman of the committee, Thorbjorn Jagland, actually admitted the pick this year was intended to bring about a desired political result:
“It’s important for the committee to recognize people who are struggling and idealistic,” Mr. Jagland said in an interview, “but we cannot do that every year. We must from time to time go into the realm of realpolitik.
But liberals and lefties still insist the prize is meaningful, that it's not hopelessly debased and discredited because of its extraordinary embrace of leftism. They especially insist it's not partisan.
All right, so let's investigate the winners' political leanings; to trim the field to something manageable, let's restrict inquiry to American winners who were politicians, or who won the award for primarily political activity (as opposed to, say, Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, winners in 1997): Among all American politicians who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, how many were Republicans and how many Democrats?
At first blush, it appears fairly even: six Republicans and nine Democrats. But what fascinates is the distribution of those wins.
Here is a table of American political recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. To make things easier, I have colored the Republican recipients' rows reddish and the Democrats' bluish:
|Recipient: Red for Republican, blue for Democrat||Year|
|President Theodore Roosevelt||1906|
|Secretary of State Elihu Root||1912|
|President Woodrow Wilson||1919|
|Vice President Charles G. Dawes||1925|
|Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg||1929|
|Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Nicholas M. Butler||1931|
|Secretary of State Cordell Hull||1945|
|Diplomat Ralph Bunche||1950|
|Secretary of State, Defense George Marshall||1953|
|Chemist Linus Pauling (won for campaign against nuclear testing)||1962|
|Rev. Martin Luther King, jr (won for campaign against Jim Crow laws)||1964|
|Secretary of State Henry Kissinger||1973|
|President Jimmy Carter||2002|
|Vice President Al Gore||2007|
|President Barack H. Obama||2009|
The point that jumps right out is the divide -- the chasm -- between those prizes awarded to American politicos up through 1931 and those from 1945 onward... which is to say, before the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (early prizes) and after World War II ended (late prizes).
There were six early prizes, and all but one went to Republicans. But this perfectly matches the party affiliation of the presidency -- six presidents during that period, only one (Wilson) a Democrat.
The early prizes simply reflect the fact that political Nobel Peace Prizes during this period were typically awarded for administrative initiatives. For example, TR received his for negotiating the Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the Russo-Japanese war; while Elihu Root got his for a series of negotiations, arbitrations, and treaties while serving as Roosevelt's Secretary of State. Thus it's no surprise that a recipient's political party would correspond to that of the president who appointed him.
But look at what happened after World War II: Among the nine late prizes, only one went to a Republican, Henry Kissinger -- in stark contrast to the presidencies during the post-war period, six Republicans and six Democrats. And the only Republican to receive the award during that time had to share it with Vietnamese Communist Party mass murderer Le Duc Tho.
More telling, Kissinger won the prize for brokering a "peace treaty" that overthew the spectacular victory in Vietnam, won by Gen. Creighton Abrams after he replaced Gen. William Westmoreland, and substituted an even more stunning and inexplicable defeat, which owed more to Richard Nixon's domestic troubles than any military losses. Thus the lone award to a Republican was for betraying the conservative principle of peace through strength.
Since the end of WWII, conservatives have been utterly shut out of the Peace Prize sweepstakes:
- Eisenhower did not win for winning the war against totalitarian fascism and Naziism;
- Ronald Reagan did not win for winning the Cold war and liberating tens of millions from Communist tyranny (neither did Pope John Paul II, but I'm still talking about Americans);
- George W. Bush did not win it for removing two of the three most violent, sexist, and repressive regimes in the ummah.
But Jimmy Carter (!) won the Prize for relentlessly wandering the globe, preaching appeasement of evil and bullying beleaguered Israel into signing fraudulent "peace accords" with the Palestinians, who never had any intention of honoring them.
And now Barack H. Obama has won it for... well, to be perfectly blunt, for being the first black President of the United States. He certainly had accomplished nothing else when he was nominated for the Prize, less than two weeks after being sworn in as president; and arguably, he hasn't done anything more since then to bring about actual peace anywhere. Militarily, he has continued the (victorious) Bush policy in Iraq -- and now advocates continuing the (failing) Bush strategy in Afghanistan. Some peacemaker!
I believe the point is made: Prior to the Great Depression and the huge boost it gave to the stature of international socialism, the Nobel Peace Prize was a meaningful recognition of attempts to bring about world peace -- even misguided attempts, such as Woodrow Wilson's establishment of the League of Nations (which the United States never even joined, so flawed was the design).
But after global depression and war, the Prize became a political football awarded to whomever seemed to best articulate the leftist view of politics and the advance of world socialism... whether or not his accomplishments had anything to do with fostering peace; indeed, whether or not he had any accomplishments at all. That it has remained, as today's announcement makes clear. It's unlikely that anyone associated with conservative principles will ever again win -- and certainly not for upholding those principles.
The record screams for itself.
Cross-posted to Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Imagine There's No Peace Prize, It's Easy If You Try
So at the very moment that President Barack H. Obama convenes his "war council" to decide whether to accept Gen. Stanley McChrystal's recommendation to expand operations in Afghanistan -- changing to a counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy and adding 40,000 additional troops to the war effort -- the Norwegian Nobel Committee announces that the president, who has fewer peace-related accomplishments (or accomplishments of any sort) and done less for the advancement of peace than possibly any previous recipient, has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
Could the two be connected? Is the committee attempting to nudge Obama towards rejecting McChrystal's strategy in favor of withdrawal and appeasement of the Taliban? It could even be a direct bribe, since it includes more than a million dollars in prize money.
Nah; I'm sure there's no connection and no bribery. It's just another one of those amazing coincidences that seem to swirl around liberals and leftists.
(A reporter at the White House press briefing noted that Obama was nominated twelve days after being inaugurated. Now there's an accomplishment!)
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
October 12, 2007
Le Duc Tho, Jimmy Carter, Yassir Arafat - and Al Gore?
As you've all no doubt seen, the whispers turned out to be correct, for a change: Algore, in conjunction with the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, has won the Nobel "Peace" prize.
Now perhaps someone can explain to me what on earth global warming has to do with "world peace"...
Oh, wait; here we go:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said global warming, "may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the earth's resources. Such changes will place particularly heavy burdens on the world's most vulnerable countries. There may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states."
Well! Who can argue with that?
Drudge has already linked to speculation that this will propel Algore into the presidential race, a possibility that Friend Lee and I were kicking around recently:
All of Gore's body language and every answer he has given to questions about running have been to discourage the idea that he would become a candidate. But for whatever reason, he has declined to make a definitive statement taking himself out of the running.
Only he knows the reason for that. Is it just to play with the press and the political community and then revel in the absurdity of all the speculation or is it because he actually believes there might be a set of events that would make is possible for him to run and win?
I assume that if Gore does decide to run, his entire campaign will more or less revolve around implementing some draconian, Luddite shutdown of industry in order to appease the Globaloney gods. Will that, combined with his status as the angriest dog in the world, be enough to knock Hillary off her pedestal of clay?
"Rantin'" Al vs. "Hell-to-Pay" Hill -- the main event!
I have long believed that Hillary Clinton's only political asset is the "aura of inevitability" that surrounds her like a foggy, opalescent soap bubble; a serious campaign kafuffle could puncture it. Within the soap bubble, an old and familiar dust-devil still swirls around Sen. Clinton (D-Carpetbag, 95%), like the cloud constantly following around Pig Pen in Peanuts: a curious Clintonian cacophany of coincidence, inside of which weird things just... happen.
- A thousand dollars of aimless investment miraculously turns into $100,000 worth of cattle futures;
- Billing records vanish, then just as mysteriously reappear after the statute of limitations has run;
- The Attorney General of the United States abruptly cannot bear to appoint an independent counsel to investigate even the most well-founded allegations of gunpowder, treason, and plot;
- Documents disappear from the National Archives and are destroyed, and the miscreant -- former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger -- not only gets off with a slap on the well-padded wrist, he ends up advising Hillary on national-security issues. Son of a gun! Wonder how that just happened to... happen?
None of these incidents has any real cause, and certainly nobody is to blame; they're just -- amazing coincidences. Nobody in the elite media would dream of questioning the First Lady or the senator (now) from the great state of New York; and like Mary Poppins, she never explains anything.
But this is possible only because of the magic bubbles that others have always lent her, hiding the cacophany of coincidence: First, President Bill prevented those prying eyes, for his own reasons, by coarse and vulgar threats. Then she was shielded by being the senior junior senator from New York, with all the political power that carries.
And now, the aura of her inevitable presidency -- created by the press, the Democratic primary voters, and even the other Democratic candidates -- shields her from questions she shies from answering and arguments she shrinks from debating, even during a so-called "candidates' debate."
But now, if Mr. Inconvenient Truth decides to ride his Oscar, Emmy, and Nobel steed into the Democratic primary (campaign slogan: "Re-elect Al Gore!"), how long before his rusty sword lances that boil of inevitability? There is real bad blood between the Clintons (especially Hillary) and the Gores (especially Tipper -- mee-ow!); I think the latter believe that all the money, political muscle, and attention lavished upon the former played a major role in the latter winding up unemployed and overweight in 2001. All the king's Carvilles and all the king's Begalas were so busy getting Hillary the Roman toga she was promised, in exchange for not divorcing Bill, that they were unavailable to help push Vice President Gore over the top.
I believe there is at least a 50% chance that the Democratic race for the nomination is about to go from Clintonian coronation to globaloney Gore-gasm in sixty seconds. If Rantin' Al Gore decides to throw his head into the ring, then all bets are off.
And who knows? I might even pull an incredible victory out of a prediction I had long since written off as failed. And that would make it all worthwhile.
© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved