Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Thoughts in Progress

In more or less chronological order

Further to the point about informative programmes on the BBC, Radio 4 had ANALYSIS 09_12_04. A couple of quotes:
It’s a trifle ironic that the neo-conservatives are joining forces with British euro-sceptics to oppose the EU Constitution, while saying they support Tony Blair.  After all, he’s calling for a 'Yes' vote in the referendum.  But the neo-conservatives aren’t the only ones in Washington tilting at the treaty.  So are more traditional conservatives...
...
Trade’s very important, but trade is not economics.  It is only a part of it. So we read about trade statistics, trade flows, trade imbalances and we forget about investment. 

Yes, the United States now trades more with Asia than it does with Europe.  Europe also trades more with Asia than it does with the United States.  But, if you put the investment picture in, the whole picture reverses back to the basic point, which is that the transatlantic economy is the core of the global economy.  Take a country like Germany, which is the number one export country in the world. Export led growth - that’s been their whole strategy.  Well, the value of German investments in the United States is five times what German exports are to the United States.
BBC -  No action on 'gay Jesus' - police

10 Dec - Again on the subject of informative programmes on the BBC:  the last part of Empire Warriors was  about the Kenya 'emergency', of 1954-6 mainly. When it was over, 6000 rebels had been killed, 2000 loyal members of the tribe and 31 white settlers. It did not mention how many, if any, killed there were from the British military. Key point: the British made a major mistake in arresting moderates like Jomo Kenyatta.

11 Dec -  FT -  Dock of the bay
The Pentagon says there is nothing wrong with the hearings it has been forced to set up to ensure that the
Guantánamo Bay inmates are being justifiably imprisoned. The FT security correspondent, Mark Huband went to Cuba to see for himself. 18:09 | Read

12 Dec - Bernard Guetta asks  so many French - 67% of them according to a poll in Le Figaro - oppose Turkey's accession to the EU. He continued, though not on the transcript, also fifty-something percent of Germans. So it's the French and Germans who oppose, but not the Italians, Spanish or even the British, though the British aren't really in Europe themselves. Very funny.

13 Dec - C4 News led with Spain - predictably partisan piece on the Spanish parliamentary commission. 'Mr Zapatero told the commission: ... the outgoing PP administration wiped computers of information before they left - particularly material relating to the 11 March attacks.'

FT -  Continental drift
With the Atlantic seeming ever wider between Europe and America, it is essential to remember that more unites than divides them
18:09 | Read

Slavoj Zizek, The Borrowed Kettle: 'We all remember the old joke...' A good start. Those of us who have never heard of it now feel totally inadequate, but awed by the author's superior knowledge. If it had been so well known, he would not have used it as the title of his book (£16). Anyway, it goes on :
... about the borrowed kettle which Freud quotes in order to render the strange logic of dreams, namely the enumeration of mutually exclusive answers to a reproach (that I returned to a friend a broken kettle): (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you; (2) I returned it to you unbroken; (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you.
I had got this much from the mention in the FT (11 Dec). Maybe it relates to Iraq along something like the lines of : 2) we will be welcomed as liberators by Iraqis; 3)  Saddam Hussein destroyed civil society so much that it will take a while to rebuild it and he brutalized Iraqis so much that they distrust all authority. But no, it continues:
For Freud, such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments of course confirms per negationem what it endeavors to deny ­ that I returned you a broken kettle... Now, in June 2003, when, after hundreds of investigators were looking after the WMD, none were found, the answer to the critics who ask the elementary question "If there are no WMD, why then did we attack Iraq? Did you lie to us?", is structured precisely like the argument about the borrowed kettle: (1) We DID find them (the two mobile labs...); (2) OK, these two labs do not really prove anything, but give us more time, and we will find them, there HAVE to be some WMD in Iraq; (3) even if there are no WMD in Iraq, this was not the only reason we went to war, there are also other good reasons to topple a brutal dictator and aggressor like Saddam.
Very clever. Serendipitously, I found 'Knee-Deep', a review of Timothy Garton Ash's Free World.

14 Dec - BBC's weather forecast says there may be rain in London, the first for 5 weeks.

BBC WS news mentions the FT report from Ukraine 'Western diplomats.. .say Mr Kuchma came under intense pressure to act [to use violence against the protesters in Kiev]  from Mr Medvedchuk and Mr Yanukovich.... They say Mr Kuchma apparently called off the Interior Ministry troops because he did not want to leave office with blood on his hands.'

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