Friday, March 04, 2005

We are not a sandwich. We are a country.


From the London Times:
WHEN an international news agency referred to Moldova as being “sandwiched” between Romania and Ukraine, a Moldovan official called to complain. “We are not a sandwich. We are a country,” he said.
I think they should put that on the flag and the money and every public building.

The Times notes that all the front-runners in Sunday’s parliamentary elections want to withdraw Moldova from the Commonwealth of Independent States (remember that?) and join NATO. This is the, sigh, “grape revolution,” because Moldova produces cheap wine. Also illegal migrants in the building and prostitution sectors elsewhere in Europe, so I guess grape revolution isn’t the worst of the available options.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mississippi may soon be the first state in which abortion is not available, as its last remaining clinic is being severely harassed by protesters and the state.

This week Bush and Rice have been making a big deal of emphasizing that Syria “needs to” remove not only its troops from Lebanon, but also its intelligence agents. While I can see the logic of that, I can’t help thinking that this is a way of keeping America’s options open by allowing the Bushies to accuse Syria of doing something which is not easily disprovable, just as Iraq couldn’t prove that it was not making nuclear weapons. Hard to prove a negative.

When Bush says that Syrian troops need to pull out before the next scheduled elections in Lebanon, only two months away, because “I don’t think you can have fair elections with Syrian troops there,” I just don’t know what to call it, because “irony” usually implies some degree of subtlety. As someone recently said when Tom DeLay accused the prosecutors of his associates as being partisan, that’s like a frog calling someone ugly. The problem is that Bush’s case for Syria not having a right to occupy another country, but we do, and for Iran and North Korea not having a right to nuclear weapons, but we do, rests purely on those countries being bad guys and the US being good guys, which means that to comply with our demands, those countries must also tacitly admit to being bad guys. This is also behind the Bushies’ attempts to scuttle any efforts to reward Iran and North Korea for complying, as if they’d rather have those two countries nuclear than give them the tiniest of figleaves. Like all classical bullies, the Bushies want their opponents not only to lose, but to be seen to lose, to be humiliated.

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