Saturday, June 22, 2002

Mojo Welcomes Summer With a Hike From Hell

So I was gonna try to post a few thoughts I’ve had regarding America's recent assistance to the Philippines, especially in context of a “Second Phase” of the War on Terror. Unfortunately, that’ll have to wait till tomorrow, as I’m just too exhausted. Some friends and I decided to take a nice, leisurely hike in the Cascades, to welcome in summer. What I thought would be a brisk walk to a small lake turned into a death march up 3000 feet of rugged terrain. Me not being in the best of shape (well, perhaps that’s a tad understated), I had a bit of trouble.

At one point I thought I was going to die from exhaustion, especially after my legs started cramping up halfway through the ascent. Many fine expletives were muttered under my breath. Long story short, I’m exhausted, sore, and cranky.

On the plus side, I did just get a new laptop (well it’s used, but it beats the hell out of my old laptop, which is an antique) from one of the friends. So tomorrow’s blogging will come to y'all via my small, sun-soaked porch. Huzah!

Friday, June 21, 2002

Even the New Outer Limits is Better Than This Crap

Eagerly anticipating my weekly Farscape dorkout, I happened to catch the Sci-Fi network's new Anthology show, Night Visions. And it sucks. Hard.

It seems like all these Neo-Twilight Zone shows keep getting worse and worse. Now the New Twilight Zone was OK, and Tales From The Crypt, although predictable, was still kinda cool, and it had the lovable Crypt Keeper on intros. And then came the new Outer Limits, which had the same ending every fucking episode: humanity is doomed because of its greed and maliciousness. I mean, if you made that point three or four times, you could hold my attention, but there's been like 200 episodes, and they all end the same goddamn way.

Sure, the Twilight Zone had its unhappy endings, caused by man's own weakness and folly, but there were just as many where there's a happy ending, or at the very least redemption. What made Rod Serling (bless his lefty heart) probably the best screen and stage writer of the mid 20th century was that he seemed like he wasn't sure if the future was full of hope, or full of terror. I think that's a healthy attitude and certainly the best mindset to produce the great stories Serling he did.

Now, along comes Night Visions. It's the Bud Light of anthology shows. Just like Bud Light has the alcoholic content of my piss, and yet it claims to be real beer, Night Visions has simple uninteresting little supernatural morality tales, and tries to sell them as thought provoking and scary Twilight Zoneesque stories. And, it's got a hip face, even better than Spuds McKenzie. Love him or hate him, however, Henry Rollins is not Rod Serling, no matter how serious he tries to sound.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I just realized I'm spending Friday night alone, watching the SciFi channel, and bitching about the poor quality of its programming on my website. As I'm suddenly only one step away from being Harry Fucking Knowles, I feel the need to drink very heavily.
NATO's New Focus

Ian over at Fierce Highway has a post regarding NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson's speech yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute. In it he announces the NATO's new focus on the threat of Terrorism.

We're living in a time of new threats, and if NATO has a future, it needs to adapt. I just hope Robertson and the rest of the NATO bureaucracy can get the ship on course in time to be of use.

Also, if you haven't seen it, check out the rest of Ian's site. It's got ton's of good stuff, and he seems like a pretty smart guy.
Turkey Controls Kabul

As of yesterday, Turkish forces are now in charge of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), responsible for security in Kabul.

I just wonder why this hasn’t happened earlier. It seems to me that we should be giving the Western-friendly Turks leadership opportunities as soon and as often as possible, to show that we really are at war with fundamentalist Islam, not the more general Islamic population.

I know the distinction between the radicals and the more passive general population in Islamic nations seems increasingly obsolete, especially after seeing the recent spate of happy-fun-Palestinian-suicide-bomber-parents celebrate their offspring killing Jewish women and children. However, as an honorable and decent people, we need to try our damnedest to separate the enemy from the innocent, as much as possible without sacrificing our own innocents.

The propaganda war for hearts and minds is an important part of our current war, and I think its something the government has so far neglected. A lot was made right after September 11 about using Madison Avenue as a weapon in the war on terror, but I haven’t seen much come from it, at least not on the international stage. Turkish control of Kabul, with the accompanying handover ceremony from the British, should be spun all over the damn world as an example of the West’s true positive intentions toward the Islamic world.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

No Problems so Far

The english language arm of Saudi idiocy, Arabnews, has this editorial about the Arab Boycott of America. Now, if it were a Taiwanese and Japanese boycott of Disneyland, I'd be worried....
It's Not Porn You Gutter-Brains
(or The Value of Unilaterism)

As I wrote yesterday, my new issue of Foreign Affairs arrived in the mail yesterday. It's got a lot of interesting articles in it, but the headliner and most interesting piece so far is American Primacy in Perspective, by Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth. In it the authors discuss the nature and degree of American dominance over international affairs, and how that dominance is affecting America's long term and short term goals. I've long thought of the United States as a new Rome in terms of global power and dominance, but this essay describes a power differential completely unprecedented in all of human history. Even in relative terms, no nation or empire has ever had the unilateral power that the US now possesses.

Fortunately, the full-text version of the essay is on the Foreign Affairs website, however, I'll briefly summarize what I think are the most important parts:

  • It's 10 years after the Cold War, and during that decade no power, or group of powers, has been able to effectively oppose the present unipolar, American-dominated power structure.
  • The United States is a completely dominant military power, while only budgeting 3.5% of GDP on the military. No other nation comes close to the ground, air, naval, and unconventional forces the US military fields. And our R&D investment continues to far outstrip that of all other nations.
  • On the Economic front, the US economy is twice as large as that of the nearest other nation (Japan), and America is the center of the global economic system.
  • There are many reasons to think that this dominance in military and economic matters will continue into the foreseeable future. Any opposition alliance or power block that other nations attempted in the past ten years have fissled and died. The EU nations are still members of an American dominated NATO, and any Sino-Russian alliance died on September 11. Almost all countries with the potential to oppose American Hegemony have more to gain by being partners in the current order.

The essay's final conclusion is that the United States is easily powerful enough to act unilaterally, with little to no serious short-term damage to American dominance. However, to sustain this power over the long term, the wisest course is one of engagement of Russia and China, while keeping in mind the sensitivities of our long term allies by restraining our unilateralist urges.

Overall, this essay is a fine strategic scale description of the current geo-political landscape. A thousand years from now, this type of overview will probably be the introductory chapter of a Martian high-school history textbook covering 21st century history. It's a fine read, and covers a number of interesting details and supporting facts that I've completely ignored in my summary. Go check it out.

However, I did have some problems with the essay and its conclusion. First off, the authors focus solely on International Relations, almost ignoring the existence of non-state players, such as Al-Qaeda. Also not mentioned is the continuing proliferation of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) weapons. The combination of these two items is the great threat to the American nation. Our infrastructure is wide open to any number of attacks from NBC armed terrorists, and these terrorists are the great threat to 21st century America.

Defending against the Islamist threat brings me to my second big problem with the essay: the long-term value of multilateralism. I agree in general that having the support of traditional allies is nice. In calm times, working in international coalitions is preferable, and building trust and cooperation is worth the diplomatic and political cost. President Clinton's constant pandering to European interests in the mid nineties was probably for the best in such a seemingly placid time.

But what good is diplomatic capital if its not used in times of need? The United States is currently in a war with forces determined not simply to dethrone it from its seat of power, but to completely destroy it as the symbol of secular western civilization. Weapons of mass destruction and modern networked communication and organizational structures make that task entirely possible, even to a small band of sufficiently devoted fanatics.

The survival of the entire free world is at stake, and if the rest of our allies can't see the need for swift decisive action, we need to have the moral courage to act alone to defend our civilization. Multilateralism is dangerous if it leaves us no way to destroy the one threat that can throw the whole world back to the Stone Age. We need to be able to move freely against states like Iraq, which are developing these very weapons that, in the hands of insane groups like Al Qaeda, can destroy us.
Sweet, Sweet Hubble Goodness!

Found on Ken Layne's site, check out this page with some sweet-ass Java applet that lets you zoom in on any part of several hubble telescope pictures. I don't know if they're using some sort of fractal compression or what, but it rawks. I'm serious, check it out yo!
Comment Madness!

Guess who just enabled comments on his blog? That's right, your ol' pal Mojo's gotten a YACCS comment system set up. Now my two regular readers (well ok, one if you don't count me) can endlessly hound me on my poorly thought out ideas, insensitivity, bad grammar, drunkenness, and my slovenly, unattractive appearance.

Hit me with your best shot kids!

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Happy Happy, Joy Joy!

The new Foreign Affairs arrived in my mailbox today! I'm sure this will inspire tons of posts shortly...
Pull the Plug

The Taliban's website "has been suspended."

Now, did they break some terms of service, or has Mullah Omar's accounts payable guy been forgetting the bills since that Ranger shoved a grenade up his ass?
How Conservative Am I?

Take this test to determine your political affiliation.

I scored 34, which puts me up with up there with Bob Dole (second only to Ronnie Reagan) on the ol' conserva-meter. I guess I'm more conservative than I thought, but they didn't count libertarianism as a possible outcome, so the results are pretty much meaningless, aren't they?

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Martyrdom Can Suck My Ass

19 more dead in Israel. There's very little to say, other than I just don't care at all about the Palestinians any more. Giving Arafat and his Hamas love-buddies a state is insane, and anyone who even contemplates such an action after yesterday is not to be trusted. A year ago I would have said a transitional state was a reasonable compromise, allowing Palestinians a degree of self-rule, while allowing Israel to pursue its own security needs. I still felt some amount of sympathy for the "Palestinian people," the innocent women and children who suffered needlessly because of a minority of extremists.

But now I say Fuck 'em. I can no longer distinguish "the people" from the whack-job terrorists. High-school age girls are sent, with mommy and daddy's loving approval, to kill a bunch of women, children, and elderly. This is a culture that worships the slaughtering of non-combatants, that teaches its youngest children that they should gladly spill their blood to kill as many Jews as possible. Little pictures of suicide bombers have replaced POGs as children's collectible of choice. Parents are proud that their sons have gone off to kill civilians.

There can be no Palestinian statehood now, or anytime in the foreseeable future. The culture of death the PA has created removed any chances of that at least six months ago. The Japanese were this insane in World War II, and the only terms of peace they finally understood came in the form of two mushroom clouds. There is no reasoning with people who are literally dying to kill you.

Fuck 'em.

Push 'em to the Dead Sea for all I care. If their brothers in the rest of the Arabic world are all that concerned they can give them sanctuary in their countries. Yeah, it'll leave "The Palestinian People" even more destitute and worthless than they already are, as difficult as that is to imagine. That's fucking tough. They made their little jihad bed, and now they can sleep in it. I'm not a Racist. I'm not a Zionist. I'm not even a Jew. I'm just someone who knows when I've seen one goddamn vile act too many. This is a dishonorable, barbaric force the Israelis are facing, and it's past time to get rid of it.

That's all I have to say on the matter. For a more thoughtful discussion on this topic, visit one of these fine writers:

Steven Den Beste
Jeff Goldstein
Tal G in Jerusalem

I know this went around last week, but I'm kinda slow...

How Compatible are You with me?
I'm apparently 94% similar to Jim Treacher.... Which I assure you is just thrilling.
Warren Ellis Online Comic

Via Asparagirl, Warren Ellis has a short one-shot comic on

I don't read comics that much anymore, especially since Preacher finished its run, but I do pick up Transmet trade paperbacks when they come out. Ellis is smart, funny, and only mildly pinko (for a comic writer he's practically a conservative).
U.S. prevented major Israeli attack on Syria
Found via Drudge. Headline says it all, really.
Krauthammer Jerusalem Speech

Found via a link from Nick Denton's site, Krauthammer's Rennert Lecture at Jerusalem on June 10th. Interesting thoughts on Zionist Messianism, the Oslo Accords, Fukuyamaism, and how all this relates to the current Israel-Palestine War.
Why I Love the USA
…Part 2 of a continuing series…

Your 'ol pal Mojo's got himself a theme song.

Can you guess what it is? I'll give you a hint:
I'm just a regular Joe with a regular job
I'm your average white suburbanite slob
I like football and porno and books about war
I've got an average house with a nice hardwood floor
My wife and my job, my kids and my car
My feet on my table, and a cuban cigar
Give up? See the rest of the lyrics here.

It's a song that makes me so very happy to be an American. Get a copy for the 4th of July. Play it loud, play it proud...

Sunday, June 16, 2002

More Self-Test Crap

But I was also borderline Anger.

The dark side is strong in this one...