Friday, February 21, 2003

Ailsa Craig
Is it sick to love a rock? I've been mooning lately, courtesy of Colby Cosh, over a steep barren "volcanic plug" ten miles off the west

coast of Scotland. It produces seabirds, curling stones and smugglers' caves and not much else. But its barrenness and

uncompromising tenacity in the middle of a wild ocean make my heart go pitter-pat. Oh, you know those things. She - I mean

it's just so cool and beautiful and Scottish. It is, by the way, just south of the Isle of Arran, where my father's family came from,

so maybe that's it, ancestral blood vibrations. I must have received the gene for searock-worship. I could see a religion based on it,

though, nice big temple out there shaped like a curling stone, or is it curling iron? Seabird sacrifice at the winter solstice. Although

probably in December the rock's covered in glaze-ice. Remember in Thomas Mann's "The Holy Sinner" when the "hero" turns into a

hedgehog and goes to live on top of a wild rock for ten years, before he becomes pope? Like that.

I should read that again. I may have got a detail wrong, but maybe not.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Ante up!
Why do I get the feeling that Saddam and the Euroweenies are playing poker with a Texan who knows the game just a little bit better

than they do? Maybe it's wishful thinking, but it's at least possible that the last six months have seen a session of high-stakes

diplomatic five-card stud (whatever that is) that has jockeyed all the other players into exactly the positions Bush wants them to

be in. And when the hands are laid down, I think we know which one's going to contain the 82d Airborne and the US Marines and

GPS-guided munitions by the thousands. Even if it was Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili who said it, there may still be some

truth to the statement that "God is on the side of the big battalions". And it doesn't hurt your chances of having Him on your side

when the opponents have played every combination they've got (oops, here I go into chess analogies) and your bishops still control

two long diagonals. When you add to that the risks of antagonizing the customer who is responsible for the profitability of many if

not most European companies and not a few Asian ones, I don't think it's unrealistic to think that France, Germany and Belgium

are taking risks they may not be able to back up with money. Everybody's quoting Maggie Thatcher about now not being the time

to "go wobbly". On the contrary, as I remember poker, maybe this is just the time to raise the stakes.

Anybody got the chutzpah to envision a generation of REAL American hegemony?
Studying for the bar exam, I must be suffering from brain-mush. I can't remember where I posted this comment.

I think it's true, though, and hope to expand on it after the exam, next week. Or maybe sooner, but it might not make

much sense. It's about the massive anti-Americanism on display this past weekend, which I think is a symptom of a

profound social disease among the European "antiwar" crowd:

The anti-Americanism seems to stem from a deeply immature fear of "upsetting the applecart" that may be explained

by the gradual deterioration inevitable under a mixed socialist economy. If you are unemployed and watching Islamic

immigrants flood in to take advantage of absurdly generous welfare systems, you would feel this sort of fear and might

react by thinking, "Don't do anything to get them upset", since you know your government won't do anything to stem the tide.

If you have no resistance in your heart, you might conclude you'd better not have children and your best course of action is

to get angry at a target you think you can affect, the offensively optimistic Americans who you see as making things worse

quicker. Despair becomes a habit and the old verities such as "No victory, no peace!" are mere jokes unsuited to practical

modern half-men. Thank God for America!

It strikes me that the intensity of the anger and concern showed by demonstrators can be seen as a reflection of their impotence

to effect any real change in their home countries, or at least their perception that they are powerless. Turning your anger on the

US only makes sense when the polls offer such "choices" as Chirac and LePen or Schroeder and Fischer, or even Merkel. The

title of this movie? "When Democracies go Bad" or at least stagnant and hopeless. When the people of historical democracies,

who shed blood for their own freedom, demonstrate in the streets by the hundreds of thousands to plead with their leaders not to

get them involved in a thoroughly moral and winnable war and can't even mention the Iraqi people's heartfelt wish to be rid of a

tyrant, something is wrong. What will they say if a million Iraqi immigrants leave Europe and go back to a peaceful and prosperous

Iraq? I wouldn't go expecting a lot of gratitude.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

I guess I pushed the wrong buttons too many times. This blog has exploded and I can't seem to figure out how to delete all the cabbage. I'll just blog along and see what happens. I've sent an email to BloggerPro, but haven't heard back. I can only trust they can figure out how to get things going. Now I have to go study for the bar exam - one week left! In limbo for a bit.
Robert Speirs