Thursday, June 05, 2003

I began to write an annoyed response to the this article about the kids at the Oxford Democracy Forum, but I got sidetracked after reading a post at the related Oxblog mentioning the dispute about just what Wolfowitz said in Singapore. The Guardian quote appears to have been taken ot context.
From ABC:
"The country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse," Wolfowitz said. "That I believe is a major point of leverage." "The primary difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options in Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil."
Also of interest Josh Marshall on the Pentagon transcript of the Wolfowitz Vanity Fair Interview, which seems to have been cleaned up for publication.

There is a difference between invading a country in order to control its one important resource, and invading that country because there is no other way to force it to do what you want, since that one resource generates so much cash. It's an important distinction, logically, but not necessarily, politically.

I'm not in the mood to take on the Americans in Oxford right now. I have to go to work. The one comment I'll make is that the Germans and the British should be careful in their comments about Americans. Much as I'm embarrassed by the behavior of Americans in Europe, and I think I would be as well be the 'scholars' (their term) at Oxblog, the behavior of Brits and Germans in Spain is just as bad, if not worse. A German tourist can best be described as a person who will take your photograph even after you've told him not to, frowned at him, yelled at him, and waved him away. After snapping the picture he'll look at you quizzically as if you are an odd species of bird, and leave.
To be a visitor in a foreign country is to be a guest in someone else's home. It's supposed to be tiring; that's the difference between being a traveler and a tourist. But also I think that there's a certain deference to community that Catholicism teaches and Protestantism lacks. Americans don't understand that deference, nor do Germans and Brits.
I'm sorry about Oxblog. The fact is that for the powerful -those not in need of it- nationalism and enlightenment are simply opposed. Given the luxury of freedom, one is either curious, or not.

Friday the 6th: I got an email from Josh Chafetz of Oxblog and The Oxford Democracy Forum telling me that he has nothing to do with Americans for Informed Democracy, the subject of the Times article I linked to here. In my sloppiness, and that's what it was, I confused the moderates with the conservatives (my apologies to the conservatives.)

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