The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Identity Crisis

There is something unique in the Iraqi resistance. It is incredibly divided, uncoordinated even. Iraq is like the French resistance without Charles DeGaulle to unify them or the Vietnamese with Ho Chi Minh. Perhaps there is simply not the right personality to unite the Iraqi resistance. I think the problem is deeper then that.

We could compare it to the Chinese resistance to the Japanese during WW2. There to was a divided resistance, fiercely opposed to one another and only cooperating in the face of Japanese agression. And we can note a similarity in that although the different Iraqi resistance groups have conflicting views of what Iraq should be, there is a truce until the crusaders are gone. One can imagine the place will descend into civil war if the Americans leave and the Interim Iraqi Government falls.

But again, the situation in Iraq is different, because the groups are defined by their religion or race (at least the ones making noise, the Sunnis and Sadr's Shiites) as opposed to something as fleeting as a your political view. Perhaps we could compare it to the former Yugoslavia? There the war was on religious lines. But Iraq is again different, because in Yugoslavia, they all agreed on how they defined themselves. They divided themselves on religious lines, that meant conflict, but one which has relatively simple solutions (usually just cutting up the country on religious lines). The Iraqis do not yet agree on how they define themselves.

What is an Iraqi? Is he first a muslim? Some might say so, if so, Iraq should hold together. Is he first an Arab or Kurd? The Kurds would agree, they might even be tempted to formalise the de facto independence they've had for the past ten years and distance themselves from turbulent arab Iraq. Is he a Sunni or Shiite first? Given the division of the violence and the lack of any recognised leader of all the resistance, many of them think so. Thus we have an Iraq with no easy solution, because they have not defined themselves.

Iraq is thus a puzzle. Bush perhaps hopes that they are muslim enough to keep the country together, but not too muslim or they'd fight for their Islamic Republic. Bush and Iraq's worse nightmare would be if the Arabs see themselves as Shiites and Sunnis, a situation ripe for civil war which could no doubt lead the Shiite majority to abuse the Sunnis, or perhaps the Sunnis win if they have enough foreign fighters on their side. Either way, its a lose-lose for the US. Another possibility, perhaps the most likely, would be a racial division of Iraq. The Kurds proclaim independence, and unless Turkey or the overstretched US oppose it, there is little the Iraqis could do about it. The Arab Iraqis would then be deprived of the oil-fields near Kirkuk, Iraq's main economic asset and be doomed to povert, althought it does mean oil is out of the hands of any extremists.

These are the problems caused by Iraq's, and more generally the arab world's identity crisis. I was completely ignorant of the situation in Iraq at the war's beginning, and merely viewed that it was all-good to topple a despot. In retrospect, I wonder how the administration could not see it as the Pandora's Box it is, even though its obviously easy to say this after the fact.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


When is @#$% Acceptable?

There are only eleven times in history where the "F" word has been considered
acceptable for use.

They are as follows:

11. "What the @#$% do you mean we are sinking?"

-- Capt. E. J. Smith of RMS Titanic, 1912

10. "What the @#$% was that?"

-- Mayor Of Hiroshima , 1945

9. "Where did all those @#$%ing Indians come from?"

-- Custer, 1877

8. "Any @#$%ing idiot could understand that."

-- Einstein, 1938

7. "It does so @#$%ing look like her!"

-- Picasso, 1926

6. "How the @#$% did you work that out?"

-- Pythagoras, 126 BC

5. "You want WHAT on the @#$%ing ceiling?"

-- Michelangelo, 1566

4. "Where the @#$% are we?"

-- Amelia Earhart, 1937

3. "Scattered @#$%ing showers, my ass!"

-- Noah, 4314 BC

2. "Aw c'mon. Who the @#$% is going to find out?"

-- Bill Clinton, 1999

and a drum roll............! ...

1. "Geez, I didn't think they'd get this @%#* ing mad."

-- Sadaam Hussein

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Evil, evil Florida

Lets get it right this time!


North Korea and the United States : A non-issue

Why does this topic come up time and again in debates as if it were a major issue and important to American interests? North Korea, that relic of the Cold War, that Far Eastern Albania, backward, poor, unable to feed itself and squandering a quarter of its GDP on its military.

Kimmy wants nukes and might get them, that's a problem. But not for the US. The closest US state is thousands of miles away, so this not a threat like Cuba was a threat. And even if the Japanese or Chinese markets are important, American intervention is unnecessary for reasons I will state later.

Now, you might argue the US has a moral obligation to protect its partners and allies in the region. The US cannot stand idle and let a Bomb hang over Seoul. That's Cold War thought. Back in the 50s the US was the lone power of the free world in East Asia, propping up the corrupt regime of Syngman Rhee. And this, in the face of China, a relatively industrialised North Korea and the threat of the Soviet Union.

But this isn't the 50s. Japan is the #3 power, South Korea is a rich industrialised democracy and China is rising up as the new force majeure. The nations in the region which must deal with impoverished North Korea are perfectly able to do so on their own.


Money means a lot in the army, reflecting the amount training, guns, missiles and any other military equipment. This graph shows that North Korea simply cannot compete with its neighbors militarily, the 3 of them spend 22 times more on their militaries, there is no contest. The trio of S.Korea, Japan and China would have Air and Naval superiority and N.Korea's forces would have to face a 2 front war. The starving N.Koreans would greet their southern brothers with a mix joy, envy and a hint of resentment, just as the East Germans did towards the West Germans upon reunification. But there would be no active opposition or sense of an occupation.

Simply put, the powers in the region are capable of defeating North Korea, that regime detested abroud and at home would be squeezed between Korean and Chinese forces. America need not waste time here, its allies are capable of dealing with the problem, and have vital motivations to do so. America need only provide aid, and minor support, perhaps even participation in any eventual war, but not leadership. Americans must begin to realize that the US is no longer the only actor of the increasingly hard to define, free world. Half a century of Cold War pre-eminence and superpower status has clouded the minds of men today. That must change if America is to find a place for herself in today's world.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

18 to enter her

They really should bump down the age to sixteen. There's no reason 2 years is gonna make us more responsible.


First post!

So just everything setup, hope it works eh? Or right, let me introduce myself. I'm Craig, this is my corner (duh). I'll be posting here my thoughts, essays etc... I'll talk about morals, the world's hotspots and why X is wrong. May also setup random pointers.

I will post approximately whenever I feel like it which hopefully will be enough for you :-P

And if you're wondering why I'm making so many posts in one day, its cause I've only now managed to get the damn publish button to work :-x