Mark Steyn thinks Europe as we know it is on its way to ruin. As an aside, he remarks on the tonnage of the soon-to-be ratified European Union (EU) constitution.
Many Americans wander round with the constitution in their pocket so they can whip it out and chastise over-reaching congressmen and senators at a moment's notice. Try going round with the European Constitution in your pocket and you'll be walking with a limp after two hours: It's 511 pages, which is 500 longer than the U.S. version. It's full of stuff about European space policy, Slovakian nuclear plants, water resources, free expression for children, the right to housing assistance, preventive action on the environment, etc.Sounds like a monument to micro-management, no?
President Ronald Reagan liked to say, ''We are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around.''[SNIP]
Europe's problems -- its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed -- are all of Europe's making. By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches -- and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.At least Americans will unequivocally know where we stand.
Some of us think an Islamic Europe will be easier for America to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous pseudo-allies. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent.
Meanwhile, there’s some background the question posed to President Bush by Interfax journalist Alex Amishkov. In private, Russian President Vladimir Putin had this remark for the POTUS:
When Bush confronted his Russian counterpart about the freedom of the press in Russia, Putin shot back with an attack of his own: "We didn't criticize you when you fired those reporters at CBS."
It's not clear how well Putin understands the controversy that led to the dismissal of four CBS journalists over the discredited report on Bush's National Guard service. Yet it's all too clear how Putin sees the relationship between Bush and the American media—just like his own. [SNIP]
Bush's aides have long feared that former KGB officers in Putin's inner circle are painting a twisted picture of U.S. policy. So Bush explained how he had no power to fire American journalists. It made little difference. When the two presidents emerged for their joint press conference, one Russian reporter [Amishkov] repeated Putin's language about journalists getting fired.
Most assuredly, while occupying his former post, President Putin read the US Constitution countless times. (Whether he understood it is a separate question. One might argue that, if he had, he’d have defected to the US in the eighties, rather than staying on to become president of his country in its present form.)
But, regardless of whether he believes that the US has a government-controlled press or not, this is the former head of the KGB we’re talking about here; a guy who understands the value of information, or, rather, disinformation. That is, disinformation administered to his own countrymen. That’s what it was all about.
And, on the historical front, I watched an episode of The History Channel’s “Days that Shook the World” yesterday while doing the humdrum, but necessary Saturday clean-up. The episode featured attempted assassinations of a pair of twentieth-century heads of state: Adolph Hitler and Charles de Gaulle.
Most notable were the divergent motivations of the sets of would-be assassins. Count (Colonel) Claus von Stauffenberg’s--and his conspirators'--motive was to disengage Hilter’s grip on Europe and to halt his attempt to exterminate various groups—most infamously, Europe’s Jews.
But, the Algerian Secret Army (OAS) wanted to prevent de Gaulle from disengaging his country’s grip on Algeria.
Extremely fascinating stuff, like a movie (And, no, I never read The Day of the Jackal or saw either movie version). You find yourself rooting for Stauffenberg and, conversely, rooting for de Gaulle. His would-be assassins came off rather Keystone Cop-ish in the dramatization: hundreds of shots fired with not one striking anyone, much less the target.
Always fun to learn new things.