Posts from April 2003


: There was a lot of wailing and nashing at the arrest of an Intel employee, Maher Hawash, as if this was some obvious act of the big fascist state. I said nothing because I have at least enough faith in our system to believe that there had to be some reason to hold the guy and if not, the truth — or at least the questions — would emerge. Well, he was just charged with aiding al-Queda and the Taliban. I don’t care if he had a respectable software job. If he helped our enemy, he is our enemy. If he helped terrorists, he is a terrorist. And he will receive a fair trial. [via Instapundit]

The sun never sets

The sun never sets
: Nick Denton, back off the beach, writes today about the dangers of America as the guarantor of the world’s safety or democracy or economy:

A guarantor, whether an insurance company or a central bank, typically encourages perverse behavior. Countries borrow too much, and their banks lend too freely, both in the expectation of a bailout by the International Monetary Fund.

The US, by assuming the role of global guarantor, runs an analogous risk. By guaranteeing the security of Israel, it ensures that no Israeli government will make a territorial settlement with the Palestinians. By guaranteeing the global order, unilaterally, the US encourages the caprice of a country such as France. By supporting the Mubarak regime in Egypt, the US removes the pressure for democratization. With an external power guaranteeing stability, the people of Egypt and other puppet states can never take ownership of their own predicament. As bankers sometimes say, the road to hell is paved with guarantees….

So, a therapeutic suggestion. Now is the perfect time for the United States to withdraw from the Korean peninsula. The prospect of an American imperium is on people’s minds. Having demonstrated its power in Iraq, the US can abdicate without revealing weakness….

Let someone else worry for a change. It will do them good.

Spoken like a true British imperialist.

It was the colonial infection of Britain, France, Germany, Holland, and even Soviet Russia that got us in this mess, let’s remember: Not so much guaranteeing the security of their colonies (though that was the conceit) but babying them so they never did develop their democratic muscle and so they resented nations with power.

Britain planned to be the guarantor — having been the creator — of Iraq for a few generations and then just said, to hell with it, let somebody else worry about it.

I hope that’s not what we’re about. I hope we do mean what we say: That we will nurture democracy and security and economies in Iraq and in Palestine and in a few other choice places and then leave friends — as we did, truly, in Germany and Japan. I hope we set and meet that high standard again. But at least we have experience at it.

The imperial example is not ours. It is, again, Britain’s and France’s and so on and so on.

Lock up Grandma!

Lock up Grandma!
: Geraldo Rivera threatens to get a “real weblog.” [via I Want Media]

Sars and Chinese blogs

Sars and Chinese blogs
: Preston Whip, a Hong Kong blogger, took a tour of Chinese blogs to see what they were saying about SARS and among them he found this class analysis of disease:

The ruling class accumulates capital by brutally squeezing peasants. The rich live in obscene luxury while peasants are impoverished. SARS has erupted as a result of the unhygienic conditions the impoverished class face. The ruling class live separately from these conditions, but they have a moral duty and must help shoulder the responsibility to establish a fair foundation for all people in society. The price of the rich living extravagently is the disorder of the lower classes and a disease like SARS.

Today, he also links to a story about rioting in one Chinese town over SARS.

Could disease bring revolution?

: And Preston responds to my post about smelling a rat in China’s decision to close Internet cafes. He thinks my suspicion of cynical behavior from Chinese leadership — taking this convenient opportunity to try to shut down Internet usage — may be right but he also gives us an interesting view of the spread of the Internet in China:

Beijing, like most other large Chinese cities, has seen cyber cafes pop up like bean sprouts. The ensuing competition has meant that access to the internet is affordable (I

The Persian bridge

The Persian bridge
: Hoder (does he need an introduction? he’s the Persian blogging pioneer who has been reporting on the arrest of Iranian blogger Sina Motallebi) writes about this very blog today. It’s on his Persian blog — so I have no idea what he said — but you can see the headline in English here: “Jeff Jarvis is trying to bridge between Iranian and American blogosphere in his BuzzMachine” or “ديالوگ بين بلاگستان ايرانی و آمريکايی ”

To Hoder’s many readers: Welcome!

: Thanks to Sobh in the comments, here’s a translation:

He says: Jeff Jarvis is one of famous webloggers/journalists of English blogland. He’s got concerned to Persian weblogs after Sina’s arrest (some may say he is a spy of CIA!) and in his weblog named Buzz Machine, is making a dialog, as he says, between Persian and English blogland by pursuing English Iranian blogs. For example yesterday he made a permanent section in his weblog for links to Iranian weblogs and listed some most active ones in it. Except that, he is continually quoting from some interesting Iranian weblogs. (I wish there were more Iranian weblogs, getting updated from inside Iran.) Jarvis has launched Entertainment Weekley and some other magazines before and now is running

Spy? I’m sure he’s just joking but it would improve my image and explain lots of mysterious behavior.

: Just so we’re clear, I know that Hoder was joking and I loved the joke. I don’t want anything to be gained or lost in the translation here…