Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Ask not what her country can do for Gwyneth Paltrow...

www.stopabductions.com for instructions on building a helmet to screen your thoughts from aliens. And it’s fashionable too.

As predicted, the Israeli Election Commission has barred one Palestinian MP (so far) from running for reelection, while allowing Jewish nationalist Baruch Marzel (successor to Meir Kahane) from a banned party to run.

Philippines prez Gloria Arroyo has received a message from God not to run for reelection.

WaPo on Reagan administration efforts to get close to Iraq by selling it weapons and components of its chemical warfare program. Same old stuff, maybe a bit more detail. I’m sure any day now the UN inspectors will kick in the door at Dow Chemicals and forcibly remove its scientists for questioning. Mark Russell said we know Saddam has weapons of mass destruction--we’ve got the receipts.

I can’t figure out if there is an actual policy towards North Korea. Rumsfeld threatened them with war, Powell threatened them with long boring negotiations. One article said that the Clinton admin assumed that the NK government was irrational while the Shrub admin assumes it’s a rational actor, or maybe it was the other way around, because I don’t see how either view is reflected in actual policy. Others think the Bushies aren’t worried about NK because its government is bound to collapse--just any day now--and the US will put pressure on its neighbors to put pressure on it to ensure that. Worked so well with Cuba. The argument that you don’t negotiate with people who continually go back on their word is a sound one, of course, except 1) the US is in no position to make it, both in general and because the North Koreans have some reason to argue that the US isn’t keeping its end of the 1994 deal, 2) principles are great and all, but if the Dear Leader would give up nuclear weapons in exchange for a blow job from Gwyneth Paltrow or whatever the hell he wants, maybe we should just put a big red bow on Ms. Paltrow and parachute her into Pyongyang in the interests of large numbers of people not being turned into charcoal. All the American talk about not giving them anything in exchange for bad behaviour is especially worrying because it seems designed to back the Northies into a corner: they must not only give in, but be shown to the world as giving in, to the might and majesty of the United States of America.

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