As the roof of Europe begins to fall in … 4

Greek fury, British candor.

See a video clip of Greek politicians slapping each other here. A male member of the Nazi “Golden Dawn” party and a female member of the Communist Party come to blows on a TV show, after the Nazi throws water (or something) at another leftist lady.

And here Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party “tells it like it is” in the European parliament. ( A talking shop merely, it has no powers. The EU is run by the diktat of bureaucrats. It is not a democracy.)

The view from the left 0

Hard as it is to believe, this Washington Post column by Fred Hiatt is not satire. He seems seriously to mean what he says.

Gays, immigrants, union leaders, budget hawks, campaign finance reformers, environmentalists, free-traders, human rights activists and civil libertarians all have had cause to wonder whether they were right to trust Obama. The list is familiar, but the explanation remains disputed.

My theory: The culprit is less ideology than Obama’s fidelity to a strategy he can’t, for tactical reasons, publicly acknowledge. Given the hand he was dealt, the evidence suggests he resolved that he had to choose only one domestic and one foreign objective for his first two years in office.

An ambitious set of goals motivated Obama’s candidacy, and early in his presidency the rap was that he was taking on too many. But the legacy of wars abroad and the Great Recession at home threatened his ability to accomplish any of them. Simply managing that bleak inheritance, he realized, might consume his entire term.

To avoid that trap, Obama had to govern with discipline. First, he would have to turn potential negatives into successes. At home, that meant not only engineering a stimulus program to end the recession but also designing financial reform to prevent a recurrence. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it meant charting a path to not just to withdrawal but stable outcomes.

Since both fronts would take enormous energy and political capital, Obama could not afford to squander whatever remained across an array of worthy electives. So over time he subordinated everything to just two: health-insurance reform and blocking Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Anything else, no matter how popular or deserving, had to give way if it interfered with those.

Obama has put enormous energy into repairing relations with Russia, for example, and relatively less into ties with allies such as India, Mexico or Britain because stopping Iran would require Russia’s support of sanctions. Without a new START arms-control treaty, Russia would not play ball on Iran, so Obama worked assiduously to negotiate a new START. The nuclear summit he hosted in Washington this month; playing down trade tensions with China; the relative reticence on North Korea’s nukes; prodding Israel toward peace talks — all of these were crafted with an eye toward Iran.

At home, the mono-focus is more obvious. Obama would like to close the Guantanamo prison, curb traffic of assault weapons crossing the Mexican border, reform immigration laws and reduce carbon emissions. But each would have carried a political cost, to Obama or Democratic allies he needed on health care, so they all had to wait.

I don’t mean to suggest that Obama would go to any lengths to achieve the main objective. He bargained hard on START, for example, insisting that the treaty meet U.S. military needs as well as serve the larger goal.

And it’s not that he has abandoned everything else: Where he could advance other objectives at minimal cost, he has done so, usually by executive action. He wouldn’t fight for labor law reform, but he promulgated regulations that favor unions. He hasn’t replaced No Child Left Behind, but he allowed his education secretary to spur reform by judicious granting and withholding of stimulus funds. There’s no climate change legislation, but the Environmental Protection Agency hiked mileage standards for cars and trucks. And so on.

Obama can’t acknowledge all this. You don’t tell allies, whether gay rights groups or India, that they’ve slipped down your priority list. (That’s especially true now, before an election, as immigration, education and energy advocates jockey to go next.) And the best negotiating strategy to get things you want isn’t always to show how much you want them.

So we may have to wait until Obama writes his memoirs to discover why he elevated these two goals. Was he set on health reform from the start, for instance, or did congressional politics nudge that ahead of, say, coping with climate change?

Abroad, the strategy, with its hope of turning autocracies such as China and Russia into long-term partners, remains at best unproven. At home, it seems to be paying off, with major health reform approved and financial reform in sight. For those at the back of the line — such as the District last week — the opportunity costs are sharply felt. But even at such times, it’s hard not to admire Obama’s focus.

Every statement cries out for exegesis. Some of them – Obama’s “ending of the recession”, his financial reform, his “charting a path to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan” – need at least a paragraph each. But there’s one that clamors for objection above the rest.

“Blocking Iran’s development of nuclear weapons” has been Obama’s foreign policy priority? Everything else except health care has been subordinated to that goal? He’s focussed on it?

Strange – we haven’t noticed that he’s done a damn thing about it. It seems to us that he’s perfectly willing to let Iran become a nuclear-armed power. A series of  “deadlines” have been allowed to pass without there being any penalty for Iran’s ignoring them. Talk of sanctions has been nothing but talk, and those talked of have been steadily weakened. No military option is “on the table”. Obama has begged Ahmadinejad for his friendship, and the poisonous little dictator has gleefully said no over and over again. How come Mr Hiatt hasn’t noticed all that?

How has the START treaty affected Iran? Russia is still not willing to vote for sanctions. And what US military needs have been served by it?  It is plainly to the detriment of the US and the advantage of Russia. Relations with Russia are in no way “repaired”. If changed at all, they’re probably worse. Nor will China vote for sanctions. And Obama’s “reticence” on North Korea’s nukes has resulted in – what?  As for the nuclear summit, Iran wasn’t even mentioned. And “prodding” Israel – that has made the world safe from Iranian bombs? What it has really done is tell Israel that it has “slipped down the priority list”, along with India and Britain and a number of other allies.

Well, we’ve recovered from being flabbergasted by Mr Hiatt’s quaint perspective and now we find it amusing. And it’s gratifying to know that numerous bunches of lefties (but surely “free-traders” and “budget hawks” do not belong among them) feel disappointed by the president of their dreams. From our perspective he has gone fearfully far to satisfy them, with the “executive action” and “regulations” and so on that Mr Hiatt tells us were thrown to them as mere sops or stop-gaps. So apparently he might have gone further and done even worse.

The implication of Mr Hiatt’s apologia for his hero is that when he has succeeded with his two chosen “electives”, he will go further. Now the health care legislation has been forced through, but there still remains the other goal Mr Hiatt believes Obama is focussed on: stopping Iran going nuclear.

If Mr Hiatt is right and the achievement of that goal really stands between Obama and the rest of the far left agenda he’s expected to foist on us, then we can rest easy. Or could, if dread of those bombs wasn’t keeping us awake nights.

But what if Mr Hiatt is wrong? We’ll get the bombs and the radical left agenda.

Crawl, Britannia! 0

The British are becoming dhimmis in their own land.

Here is a portrait of a British dhimmi:

A SCHOOL has become the first non-Islamic primary in Britain to get strict accreditation for serving Halal food, it emerged yesterday.

Although it is a non-faith school, 95 per cent of pupils at Daisyfield Primary School in Blackburn, Lancs are Muslim.

In an illustration of the rapidly changing face of Britain, it is the first state, non-Muslim, primary school to get the certificate from the Halal Monitoring Committee.

Headmaster Peter Fenton, who received the certificate from local councillor Salim Mulla, said: “I am pleased our self-managed kitchen has been recognised as meeting the standards of the Halal Monitoring Committee for purchase, storage and preparation of our meals.”

Moulana Hanif, Halal Monitoring Committee local area representative, said: “I would personally like to thank Daisyfield for taking this very important step towards supplying genuine Halal products to the children attending the school.

“We hope all schools will follow, so that genuine Halal products are provided to Muslim children, which is a very important part of our faith.”

Salim Mulla presents the Halal certificate to head Peter Fenton

Nothing succeeds like failure 1

It cannot be said that the mess Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made of foreign relations amounts to a failure, because it is highly possible that the mess is what Obama wanted her to achieve, in which case it’s a success.

Her latest betrayal of an old ally is in connection with the Falkland Islands, for the retention of which Prime Minister Thatcher fought and won a fierce war with Argentina.

Ken Blackwell writes this about it at Townhall:

During an official visit to Argentina, Mrs. Clinton referred to the Britain’s Falkland Islands as “Las Malvinas–the Argentine name for them. She said the U.S. was willing to mediate the conflicting claims of Argentina and Britain to the collection of rocky crags that have been British since 1833. The Falklands have been British a decade longer than Texas has been American. Argentina still claims these crags–and is even keener to have them back now that oil is rumored to be bubbling beneath the stormy seas of the South Atlantic.

Every one of 3,000 living souls on the Falklands is British–and defiantly so. …

Is the Obama administration determined to undo everything Ronald Reagan accomplished? In 1982, Argentina’s rogue government got into trouble because of its insane economic policies. The military junta then in charge in Buenos Aires in 1982 started yelling “Remember the Malvinas!” They hoped to distract their tormented people from their hardships at home by naked aggression abroad. The Argentine military invaded the sparsely populated Falkland Islands–there are almost 800 of them, most of them uninhabited.

The Argentine junta reckoned without the Iron Lady, Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. There was never a doubt that Mrs. Thatcher would respond to this brazen aggression with force.

She quickly assembled and sent to sea a Royal Navy battle fleet. She personally went to the fleet’s embarkation point to see off the young warriors. Not since World War II had Britain’s people been so united about anything. …

The Falklands War was short, sharp, and bloody. …

Thousands of young Argentine draftees, poorly trained, poorly supplied, and even more poorly led, were quickly rounded up on the islands. Britain lost 255 dead in this war while 649 Argentines were needlessly sacrificed to the Buenos Aires dictators’ vainglory. As a result of this humiliating defeat, Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri and his fellow thugs were soon sent packing.

Back then, the Reagan administration quietly but firmly backed Britain with critical intelligence and re-fueling stations. But now, we face another possible crisis over the Falklands. And all because of Hillary Clinton’s clumsy attempt at “even-handedness”–which is in fact ham-handedness.

Britain loyally supported us in Iraq. She is our strongest ally in Afghanistan. Tied down fighting at our side, Britain would be hard-pressed to eject the Argentines should the left-wing government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner decide once again to invade the homes of those staunchly British Falklanders.

The Argentines are crowing over the Clinton Coup. He’s never seen “such substantial support” from the U.S., says Argentina’s Ambassador in Washington Hector Timerman. Buenos Aires’ official mouthpiece, Ruperto Godoy called Mrs. Clintons’ comments “very significant, very important.”

Blackwell recalls some other notable failures/successes:

Hillary’s comments are indeed significant. She is buying trouble for us around the globe. From a failed “Re-Set” button with the Russians, to a dangerous appeasement of Iran and China, from bribing the PLO on the West Bank with $900 million to shutting down missile defense for Eastern European democracies, from siding with the dictator in Honduras, to opening the door to a second Falklands War, this administration’s foreign policy is in shambles. And we’re only 14 months into it.

There is no alternative 0

Margaret Thatcher famously said when she was Prime Minister of Great Britain that “There is no alternative”, meaning no alternative to the free market if prosperity and liberty were to be regained. Thatcherites turned the four words into a cheerful, optimistic slogan.

She was right, of course. For a few years during her premiership – a small Silver Age –  the British became a (comparatively) free, property-owning, share-holding people. Then the socialists who had been in power since the end of World War II, whether they’d called themselves Conservatives or Labour, came back into power as the Labour Party for thirteen years, and ruined the country. At last the Conservative Party under the leadership of David Cameron may be returned in the forthcoming general election, but it will make no difference.

Now the words “there is no alternative” have another, completely different meaning.

Melanie Phillips explains with this article in the Spectator:

David Cameron’s strategy is fundamentally and, we can now see, finally and irrevocably flawed. His message, as defiantly and unequivocally re-stated today, is one of radical change. The key question this provokes, however, is change from what?

The people are indeed desperate for change – but from Gordon Brown and the Labour government and what it stands for. What Cameron defiantly and unequivocally offers is radical change from conservatism to produce an agenda that, far from promising a radical change from Labour, is merely a paler version of Labour.

So when millions of natural conservatives yearn for a radical and unequivocal change from the nihilism and injustice and bullying of political correctness, for a change from the deliberate gerrymandering of the demographic and cultural identity of this country, for a change from the enslavement of frivolous and destructive ideology, for a change from the destruction of the traditional family and the appeasement of radical Islamism, for a change from the empty and mendacious promises of spin, they get instead ‘the party of the (failing) NHS’ committed to green diversity and with even a smug reference to the women candidates forced upon local constituency parties, a promise to be tough and honest and upfront in cutting spending to tackle the deficit while financing a new army no less of health visitors, a commitment to support marriage in the tax system but also (presumably) unmarried couples in the benefit system, nothing at all about Islamism, nor the destruction of the country’s powers of self government through the EU, nor the deliberate and covert destruction of its demographic and cultural identity except for a glancing reference to cutting immigration.

The political crystal balls on the western side of the Atlantic project the same message of hopelessness.

Mark Steyn, writing in Investor’s Business Daily, laments that a change from a Democratic to a Republican majority in Congress will in all probability make no difference to America’s descent into the terminal illness of socialism:

So there was President Obama giving his bazillionth speech on health care, droning yet again that “now is the hour when we must seize the moment,” the same moment he’s been seizing every day of the week for the past year, only this time his genius photo-op guys thought it would look good to have him surrounded by men in white coats.

Why is he doing this? Why let “health” “care” “reform” stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest?

Because it’s worth it. Big time. I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture.

It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible.

In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally “conservative” parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect.(Let’s not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a “conservative.”) The result is a kind of two-party one-party state.

Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic. …

Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever expanding number of government jobs will be statists — sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily “compassionate” statists, but always statists.

The short history of the postwar welfare state is that you don’t need a president-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life: The people can elect “conservatives,” as the Germans have done and the British are about to do, and the left is mostly relaxed about it because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha’penny or some such would agree to go and warm the seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects strolled in and took their rightful place.

Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A big-time GOP consultant was on TV crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass ObamaCare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November.

Okay, then what? You’ll roll it back — like you’ve rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago?

Like you’ve undone the Department of Education and of Energy and all the other nickel ‘n’ dime novelties of even a universally reviled one-term loser like Jimmy Carter? …

Look at it from the Dems’ point of view. You pass ObamaCare. You lose the 2010 election, which gives the GOP co-ownership of an awkward couple of years.

And you come back in 2012 to find your health care apparatus is still in place, a fetid behemoth of toxic pustules oozing all over the basement, and, simply through the natural processes of government, already bigger and more expensive and more bureaucratic than it was when you passed it two years earlier.

That’s a huge prize, and well worth a midterm timeout.

I’ve been bandying comparisons with Britain and France, but that hardly begins to convey the scale of it. ObamaCare represents the government annexation of “one-sixth of the U.S. economy” — i.e., the equivalent of the entire British or French economy, or the entire Indian economy twice over.

Nobody has ever attempted this level of centralized planning for an advanced society of 300 million people.

Even the control freaks of the European Union have never tried to impose a unitary “comprehensive” health care system from Galway to Greece. The Soviet Union did, of course, and we know how that worked out.

This “reform” is not about health care … it’s about government.

Once you look at it that way, what the Dems are doing makes perfect sense. For them.

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth 0

European leaders are feeling how sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless US president.

According to this Washington Times report, Europe is rapidly losing its enthusiasm for Obama.

To Europe’s dismay, Mr. Obama can’t find the time to attend this year’s annual U.S.-European Union Summit – something Mr. Bush always managed to do. Mr. Obama’s decision to skip the summit offended Europeans, who saw it as a deliberate snub of the European Union – their favorite project to centralize government and internationalize the governance of human affairs great and small. Given Mr. Obama’s embrace of such ideas domestically, Europeans were understandably puzzled that he would not rush to link arms with them in the summit.

Further souring relations was Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates’s blast at much of Europe for dithering on defense. At last month’s meeting of NATO officials, Mr. Gates said the “pacification of Europe” (meaning Europe’s turning away from war and defense spending as necessary policies to keep the peace) was making it difficult for the allies to “operate and fight together.”

“The demilitarization of Europe,” he argued, “where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it, has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st.”

Europe (with the exception of Britain) has contributed little to its own defense ever since the end of World War II. It has depended heavily on the US to “keep the peace”. (The funds that European states might have needed to spend on defending themselves have been lavished on welfare.) This is perhaps the first time strong objection to that state of affairs has come from an American administration:

Mr. Gates is absolutely right … The in-your-face nature of his words is striking. No Bush administration official … ever publicly criticized Europe’s lack of military spending and support for NATO so bluntly. … Now we have a secretary of defense arguing that European fecklessness threatens world peace.

Yet it’s surely ironic that Obama’s Secretary of Defense should be saying this, since Obama himself favors disarmament, has taken active steps to weaken America’s military superiority, and has expressed an ideological ambition to rid America of its nuclear arsenal.

European interests are plainly of little concern to Obama, and his foreign policies are increasingly rousing Europe’s irritation, most recently Britain’s, the staunch ally of America in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars:

It is one thing to start a quarrel with France or even the EU, but Mr. Obama has managed even to offend the British. Many commentators in the UK now accuse Mr. Obama of harboring anti-British sentiments. The State Department’s recent announcement that we would remain neutral in the Falklands Islands dispute between the UK and Argentina has only fueled that perception. …

In general, Europe’s unwarranted expectations of Obama have been disappointed, its adoration scorned, its proffered gifts of wisdom spurned:

With regard to the Obama presidency, illusions are shattering across Europe. There, as here, the left’s exaggerated hatred of Mr. Bush was matched only by their naive embrace of Mr. Obama. They now increasingly realize that although Mr. Obama may admire Europe’s domestic polices on health care and energy, he has little practical use for the European Union’s pretensions to world influence and leadership.

But he does seem willing to give them precisely what they’ve requested for years: A diminished U.S. role in the world. Mr. Obama is pulling back on the projection of American power. Leaving the Europeans to their own devices (and ignoring their summits) is merely part of that program.

Their confusion is understandable. They expected that waning American power would mean less criticism from Washington and more European influence over U.S. policy. It didn’t work out that way….

Europe may never get over its disdain for Mr. Bush. But they may someday come to realize that things were not as bad under Mr. Bush as they thought. At least he showed up to their meetings.

Britons awake, and have a cup of tea! 0

There could be no better symbol of old British common sense, kindness, friendliness, normality, sanity, good cheer and healing than a cup of tea. (Usually served with milk and sugar.) Any disaster can be faced, dealt with, overcome, remedied, survived, reduced, or eliminated once you’ve had a cup of good strong tea. In the Kingdom of the rainy islands, tea is a panacea.

Your spouse left you? Have a cup of tea.

Your horse came in last? Your bus was bombed and you lost a leg? Your TV’s on the blink? You trod on your glasses? Your Social Security benefit hasn’t come through? You’ve been told to wait two years for an urgent operation? The Labour Government’s bankrupted you and the whole country?

Never mind, have a cup of tea.

So however unsuitable it may seem to hold a Tea Party in imitation of the the American Tea Party Movement in the very country against which the first political Tea Party launched a Revolution, in another way the idea could not be more British.

Daniel Hannan, British Conservative Party member of the European Parliament, held a Tea Party in Brighton, UK, on Saturday, February 27, 2010, with only two days’ notice – chiefly through the Telegraph, where his columns appear. He spoke about the fiscal irresponsibility of the government.

It was a small beginning, but the idea might spread and a British Tea Party movement grow into a nation-wide protest against big government and high taxation.

Here Hannan thanks the 300 or so who attended:

Thanks to everyone who came to the Brighton Tea Party, and apologies to those who couldn’t get in. We opened and filled an adjoining room, but it was still quite a squash. The hotel manager told me afterwards that there had been more than 300 people present, not counting those who had had to be turned away. Not bad for a meeting organised with two days’ notice.

If you can run a tea-party in Brighton Pavilion – the constituency which the Greens are most hopeful of winning – you can run one anywhere. You don’t have to be a small-government Conservative to feel that taxation, spending and borrowing are currently too high.

Let me say it one more time. Gordon Brown has doubled the national debt. Every second, it rises by another 5,000 pounds. Our deficit is 12.6 per cent of GDP compared to Greece’s 12.7. All this despite the additional trillion pounds taken in taxation since 1997.

We can’t afford another month of this, let alone another five years.

Thanks to the Freedom Association for helping to put everything together …

The Freedom Association is our partner organization. We are once again proud of what it’s doing for the cause of freedom in socialist Britain.

Is America in decline? 2

Is the world entering a post-American era? Will the 21st century be dominated by some other power, or several others?

In the splendid speech that John Bolton delivered at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2010, he said of Obama, “He is the first post-American president.”

In Obama’s eyes, American superpower status is already over. The decline is happening. There’s no reason to regret it, and it would be pointless and unnecessary to try to halt or reverse it. Obama is content to let America be a nation among the nations, no different in any important respect, and certainly no better. “He sees American decline as a kind of natural phenomenon,” Bolton said.

In Bolton’s own view, however, America is still exceptional and still the one and only superpower. If its status as such is under threat, that threat proceeds from Obama himself, who, almost casually – not caring very much, as John Bolton remarked, about foreign and national security policy – is himself weakening it.

What Obama does care about is domestic policy. To achieve his redistributionist goals he has put America into crushing debt; and being determined, it seems, to turn America into a European-style socialist state, he can only make the debt vaster and heavier. That alone weakens America.

China is America’s chief creditor, but that does not mean China is now a second superpower. A China growing in wealth and confidence, and becoming an increasingly significant world actor, may pose an economic threat to America but is not, or not yet, a rival world power. Militarily it is far from a match. Militarily, America is still far and away the most powerful nation.

But there again, if Obama has his way, it won’t be for much longer. He has, in Bolton’s words, an “incredibly naïve idea” that if the US would get rid of its own nuclear weapons, other countries would give up theirs; those that do not have them but want them – such as Iran and North Korea – would abandon their intense efforts to obtain them; and the world would live at peace forever after. This belief or ambition represents, as John Bolton put it, “a pretty deep-seated strain in the left wing of the Democratic Party.” Obama will soon negotiate an arms control agreement with Russia by which he will undertake substantially to reduce America’s nuclear capability. America will not develop new nuclear weapons, or arms in outer space, or even keep its existing arsenal battle-ready by testing for safety and reliability. It is as if America had no enemies; as if America were not under attack; as if 9/11 had never happened; and as if Iran and North Korea would not drop nuclear bombs on America and its allies if they could do it and get away with it.

Furthermore, with the rest of the dreaming Left both at home and internationally, he aspires to another vision of a new earth: one that is not only sweetly irenic but held forcibly in union by a supreme governing authority. Those proposals for world taxes that we hear of; the intricate business of trading in carbon indulgences in the name of saving the earth from being consumed by fire or ice; international treaty regulations that would result in banning the private ownership of guns – all these are measures to realize the tremendous objective of “world governance”. It would mean the end of American independence, the end of national sovereignty. It would mean that the Revolution was lost, as Bolton said.

In a sense it would be the end of America, because America is an idea of liberty. And it is an idea that the world needs. Its loss would be a colossal disaster, a tragedy for the whole human race.

Can America be saved?

In his book titled The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria asserts that “America is closing down”, but allows that it “won’t be demoted from its superpower position in the foreseeable future” because “it’s not that the United States has been doing badly over the last two decades. It’s that, all of a sudden, everyone else is playing the game.”

America can “remain a vital, vibrant economy, at the forefront of the next revolutions in science, technology and industry, as long as it can embrace and adjust to the challenges confronting it”.

“The challenges” come from other nations, now rising, which he groups together as “the rest”.

China is the first of them because it is becoming an economic giant. The 21st century, he considers, may be the Chinese century.

What if [China ] quietly positions itself as the alternative to a hectoring and arrogant America? How will America cope with such a scenario – a kind of Cold War, but this time with a vibrant market economy, a nation that is not showing a hopeless model of state socialism, or squandering its power in pointless military interventions? This is a new challenge for the United States, one it has not tackled before, and for which it is largely unprepared.

Next in line is India. Poorer but democratic, India is “the ally”. Then come Brazil and Chile (plausibly); South Africa (less plausibly); and (implausibly) Russia. (Russia is a demographic basket case.)

Ironically, Zakaria says, these nations are rising because they learnt from America:

For sixty years, American politicians and diplomats have traveled around the world pushing countries to open their markets, free up their politics, and embrace trade and technology. … We counseled them to be unafraid of change and learn the secrets of our success. And it worked: the natives have gotten good at capitalism.

America, then, has not been a malign power, or not always. In Roosevelt’s day other countries believed that “America’s mammoth power was not to be feared”. It was after it had won the Cold War, when it became the only superpower, that it began to go to the bad. “Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has walked the world like a colossus, unrivaled and unchecked”, and this “has made Washington arrogant, careless, and lazy.” Furthermore, he tell us, “people round the world worry about living in a world in which one country has so much power.”

To relieve that worry, America “must reduce its weaponry and work towards a non-nuclear world.” It is hypocritical for the US to insist that other countries should not have nuclear weapons while it is hoarding a nuclear arsenal of its own. By giving them up it would “gain credibility”, an end he apparently considers so desirable that it would be worth risking the nation’s very survival to achieve it.

The summer of 2002, Zakaria says, was “the high water-mark of unipolarity”. The world felt sympathy for America after 9/11. America went to war in Afghanistan, which was not good but not too bad. But then it invaded Iraq, which was very bad, and the world’s sympathy dried up. America was being too “unilateral”, too “imperial and imperious”.

George W Bush and “the nefarious neoconservative conspiracy” antagonized the world. He and his conspirators “disdained treaties, multilateral organizations, international public opinion, and anything that suggested a conciliatory approach to world politics.”

So the world’s dislike, contempt, and fear of America were justified, or at least understandable, in the light of the foreign policies of the “arrogant” Bush administration. Zakaria even claims that the animosity filled the Republicans – already full of “chest-thumping machismo” – with pride.

He asks:

Can Washington adjust and adapt to a world in which others have moved up? Can it respond to shift in economic and political power? … Can Washington truly embrace a world with a diversity of voices and viewpoints? Can it thrive in a world it cannot dominate?

The advice he gives to “Washington” for success in adjusting, adapting, responding, embracing, and thriving is to be conciliatory, apologetic. It must listen more; proclaim universal values”, but “phrase its positions carefully”; be like the chair of a board gently guiding a group of independent directors. America must “learn from the rest”. The president must meet more non-government people, have smaller entourages, rely more on diplomacy. Consultation, cooperation, compromise are the key words. He objects to such accomodations being called appeasement. Consult and cooperate, he urges, with Russia, and with “multilateral institutions” such as the UN, NATO, AFRICOM, OAS, and the International Criminal Court. (Even internally, the US legal system “should take note of transnational standards”.)

The federal government has been “too narrow-minded” about terrorism. When bin Laden got America to “come racing out to fight” him (in response to 9/11) this was “over-reaction.”  Zakaria’s advice: “take it on the chin” and “bounce back”. The government must stop thinking of terrorism as a national security issue, and think of it as criminal activity carried out by “small groups of misfits”. Although Democrats were on the whole “more sensible” about terrorism, both parties, he says, spoke “in language entirely designed for a domestic audience with no concern for the poisonous effect it has everywhere else.” His solution is better airport control round the world. The more urgent problem in his view is that American Muslims have become victims of over-reaction to terrorist attacks. Instead of being “questioned, harassed, and detained” they should, he urges, “be enlisted in the effort to understand the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism.”

Zakaria does not consider himself anti-American. He does not even see himself as a man of the left. He reiterates that he is a free marketeer. It is because America became “suspicious of free markets”, he says, that partly explains its “closing down”.

He wrote his book before the economic crisis. He saw a globalized economy bringing about an increasingly prosperous world in which the poorest nations were rising strongly enough for him to declare that “the world is swimming in capital”, and “there really isn’t a Third World any more “. But even then the dollar was sliding, and America was showing signs of being “enfeebled”.

At a military-political level America still dominates the world, but the larger structure of unipolarity – economic, financial, cultural – is weakening… every year it becomes weaker and other nations and actors grow in strength.

For all its military might, its chest-thumping phase is over and now it is “cowering in fear”. It must, he says, “recover its confidence.” ‘It must stop being “a nation consumed by anxiety”, with a tendency to “hunker down”, unreasonably “worried about unreal threats” such as terrorism, and rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. (Iran, he explains, has good reason to fear the United States, with its armies on two of its borders. It’s only to be expected that Iran would try to arm itself with nuclear bombs and missile delivery systems. He does not explain why America should not fear this as a real threat.)

He is certain about what America needs to do to propitiate and serve the world it has alienated. It should ‘‘build broad rules by which the world will be bound’’, rather than pursue “narrow interests”.

What the world really wants from America is … that it affirm its own ideals. That role, as the country that will define universal ideals, remains one that only America can play.

We know Obama has read Zakaria’s book, or at least looked into it, because there is a photograph of him holding it, one finger marking his place. Obama is doing much that Zakaria advises in foreign affairs. But that’s less likely to be because the writer has impressed the president with his arguments than because they have both drunk from the same ideological well.

Obama’s foreign policy lets us see if Zakaria’s theory works. So far it has not.

So is America’s decline beyond all remedy?

It’s a relief to turn from Zakaria’s dull and weakly reasoned book with its uncongenial credo to an article titled The Seductions of Decline (February 2, 2010) by brilliantly witty and insightful Mark Steyn. If America believes it is in decline, he says, it will be. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The view that America has been too arrogant a power; that it is not and should not be exceptional; that humility and apology are required of it; that only endlessly patient negotiation in a spirit of compromise will improve foreign relations and dissuade states like North Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear arms; that Islamic terrorism should be treated as crime and not as the jihad its perpetrators declare it to be; that Russia should be consulted on, say, the deployment of American missile defense; and that the US should reduce its nuclear arsenal and work towards a non-nuclear world – will bring about the decline.

National decline is psychological – and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline.

His answer to the question “is America set for decline?” is yes, because of the policies of Obama and the Democrats, which arise from their acceptance of decline.

Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: Unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the American economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet.

American decline, he says, “will be steeper, faster and more devastating than Britain’s – and something far closer to Rome’s.” It will not be like France’s, or Austria’s.

Why did decline prove so pleasant in Europe? Because it was cushioned by American power. The United States is such a perversely non-imperial power that it garrisons not ramshackle colonies but its wealthiest “allies”, from Germany to Japan. For most of its members, “the free world” has been a free ride.

And after “Washington’s retreat from la gloire” as hegemon of the world, when America “becomes Europe in its domestic disposition and geopolitical decline, then who will be America?”

Of the many competing schools of declinism, perhaps the most gleeful are those who salivate over the rise of China. For years, Sinophiles have been penning orgasmic fantasies of mid-century when China will bestride the world and America will be consigned to the garbage heap of history. It will never happen: As I’ve been saying for years, China has profound structural problems. It will get old before it gets rich.

Not China then. Russia?

The demographic deformation of Tsar Putin’s new empire is even more severe than Beijing’s. Russia is a global power only to the extent of the mischief it can make on its acceleration into a death spiral.

Not Russia. How about the Caliphate that the terrorist war is being fought to establish?

Even if every dimestore jihadist’s dreams came true, almost by definition an Islamic imperium will be in decline from Day One.

So what might the post-American world look like? Mark Steyn’s answer is deeply depressing:

The most likely future is not a world under a new order but a world with no order – in which pipsqueak states go nuclear while the planet’s wealthiest nations, from New Zealand to Norway, are unable to defend their own borders and are forced to adjust to the post-American era as they can. Yet, in such a geopolitical scene, the United States will still remain the most inviting target – first, because it’s big, and secondly, because, as Britain knows, the durbar moves on but imperial resentments linger long after imperial grandeur.

But nothing is inevitable, and Mark Steyn offers a last hope. Though “decline is the way to bet”, the only thing that will ensure it is “if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy.”

When in 2008 a majority of the American electorate voted for Barack Obama to be president of the United States, it seemed that the deal had been made. But now Obama is failing, the Democratic majority is under threat, and the Tea Party movement is reclaiming the Revolution.

This could be another American century after all.

Jillian Becker   March 1, 2010

Europe betrayed 0

Here is an account of how and why twenty million Muslims were imported into Europe, and to what effect.

The information is condensed from Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’or. (The wording is largely hers, with some added notes and comments of my own – JB.)

1969 France sells 110 Mirage jets to new Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. Explores with him the concept of a Euro-Arab dialogue. Becomes in the following years a major supplier of arms to many Arab states.

1973 May: London. Conference of Islamic Cultural Centers.  Islamic leaders decide to create, fund and support cultural centres in Europe as ‘a great need was felt [in Europe] for the tenets of Islam’ and such centres would help Muslim communities in Europe play this role [of teaching the tenets of Islam] effectively and fruitfully.’ The Conference also ‘decided to establish the Islamic Council of Europe to serve as an organ of co-ordination among all Islamic institutions and centres.’ It was to ‘propagate the true teachings of Islam throughout Europe.’ Thus there was to be a ‘stepping up of the activities of the Islamic Da’awa [proselytism]’.  To this end, an International Islamic News Agency was to be established, also a Jihad Fund open to subscription ‘with no restrictions’.

The ‘rights’ of immigrants to preserve their beliefs, traditions and national cultures were to be guaranteed by the Europeans. Facilities for the teaching of Arabic were to be ‘improved’. The establishment of a Euro-Arab University was proposed (and initial steps to do so were taken in subsequent years including the founding of the Euro-Arab Business Management School in Granada in 1994).

October 16-17: Kuwait. Mortified by the defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in their war against Israel, the Arab oil-producing countries meet and decide to quadruple the price of oil and to reduce their production of crude oil by 5% each month until Israel withdraws from the territories those three countries lost to Israel in 1967 and failed to recover in 1973. Impose an oil embargo on the US, Denmark, the Netherlands as states friendly to Israel. Sheikh Yamani of Saudi Arabia threatens that the oil states could ‘reduce production by 80%’ and asks the West ‘How could you survive with that?’ In response the US stands firm, France and Germany panic.

November 6: Brussels. Meeting of the EEC nine members. Ignoring objections from Washington, the meeting insists on starting an appeasing approach to the Arab oil states. They issue a joint Resolution based on their dependence on Arab oil, in which they pledge themselves to support the Arabs diplomatically in their conflict with Israel. This was sufficient to induce the Arab states to increase oil supplies and ‘open a dialogue’ (as already conceived in discussions between France and Libya). Thus began a Euro-Arab political solidarity pact that was hostile not only to Israel but also to America.

November 26-27: Georges Pompidou, President of France, and Willy Brandt, Chancellor of West Germany meet. Reaffirm intention to ‘engage in a dialogue with the Arabs’.

November 28: Algiers. Sixth Summit of the Arab Conference. Arab heads of state address a Declaration to the EEC,  noting with interest ‘the first manifestations of a better understanding of the Arab cause by the states of Western Europe’, and setting out Arab political preconditions for the projected dialogue.  The Declaration stresses that the political and economic aspects are interdependent and non-negotiable – ie the supply of oil depends on EEC acceptance of Arab political conditions concerning Israel.

December 15:   Copenhagen. An EEC summit,  called by President Pompidou of France, considers the planning for co-operation between the EEC countries and the Arab League. Four Arab foreign ministers, delegated by the Algiers Arab summit, are invited  to monitor the project. They suggest various strategies in the context of the conditions that the Arab states place on any accord with the EEC.

1974 February 24: Lahore. The Second Islamic Conference, organized by the recently created Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) confirms and elaborates the conditions for co-operation with the EEC.

June 10: Bonn. Britain (which had joined the EEC in 1973, as had Ireland and Denmark), had vetoed the Euro-Arab Dialogue in protest against Holland being under an Arab embargo ‘for being pro-Israeli’, but  the embargo was lifted against Holland, so now  the foreign ministers of the EEC states meet to discuss ‘the Dialogue’.  Areas of co-operation  between Europe and the Arab states include industry and agriculture, science and technology, finance, education, and ‘civil infrastructure’. The Arab states, in other words, are being promised massive transfers of money and know-how with programmes to industrialise and modernise their countries.

Note:  All this was desperately desired by the Arab states, and the provision of it could have been used by Europe as a counter-lever to the oil blackmail which the Arabs had brought to bear on Europe. Furthermore, the Arab oil states needed to sell their oil to Europe, and needed to invest in a thriving European economy. The European governments could have dictated terms. But the EEC, under insistent French leadership, preferred to appease rather than negotiate. The motivation for France was not only commercial. It was a desire to re-acquire a large sphere of influence in the Arab world, in pursuit of an intense ambition to achieve super-power status and so to rival the United States.

July 31: Paris. The first official meeting at ministerial level between the Europeans and the Arabs to discuss the organization of the Dialogue.  An institutionalized structure is created to harmonize and unify the trade and co-operation policies of each of the  EEC countries with the member states of the Arab League.

The EEC founds The European Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation ‘to improve political, cultural, and economic cooperation between Europe and the Arab world’.   Its Executive Committee set to meet regularly every six months.  All the  political parties and groupings of Europe are members of it.  It is to keep in regular contact with European governments, the Presidency of the European Council of Ministers, and the EEC Commission.

September 14-17: Damascus. To meet Arab demands in preparation for the next summit of the Arab Conference, the Association convenes representatives of all the parliamentary parties of the EEC member states except Denmark and resolves, inter alia, to permit the participation of the PLO and its leader, Yasser Arafat, into all negotiations, and  to bring pressure to bear on the United States to shift its Middle East policy in favour of the Arabs. Also to permit Arab countries to export millions of their populations into all the EEC countries, along with their culture and their customs.

October: Rabat. The Seventh Summit of the Arab Conference confirms that the indispensable political preconditions for the Euro-Arab Dialogue have been met by the EEC. The Arabs stress that the interdependence of the political and economic aspects of European-Arab cooperation is not negotiable, ie European oil supplies are dependent on European support for Arab political demands.

A permanent Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) secretariat of 350 members is created, with its seat in Paris,  for the purpose of promoting economic and political cooperation. The EAD is organized into various committees charged with planning ‘joint industrial, commercial, political, scientific, technical, cultural, and social projects’.  European members are for the most part persons with vested interests in the Arab and Islamic world, whether commercial or in relation to their academic jobs as Arabists and Islamists.

Note: The EEC had been conceived of as an economic institution, dealing with markets, finance, and trade. The Arab states’ pressure for a unified European policy to meet  their political demands were a vital factor in the development of the EEC  from an economic to a political union.

1975 June 10: Cairo. First meeting of The Euro-Arab Dialogue. EEC delegates meet with those of 20 Arab states and the PLO.  The basis of the agreement with Europe is emphasised:  economic deals with Europe in exchange for European alignment with Arab policy on Israel.

With that locked in place, other agreements could follow.

July 24: Rome, and November 27: Abu Dhabi.  EAD meetings. Co-operation extends and deepens.

1976 May 18-20: Luxembourg.  EAD organization and procedures are defined. ‘The Dialogue’ is composed of three organs:

A General Committee – presidency jointly held by heads of Arab and European delegations.  All delegates on both sides are of ministerial and ambassadorial rank.  Purpose, to keep the Dialogue on track. (No wavering on Europe’s part from the founding commitments.) Meetings secret.  No recorded minutes. Can publish summaries of decisions and issue press releases.

A Working Committee. Made up of business experts, economists, oil specialists along with Arab League and EC representatives.  Again, joint Arab League/EC presidency.

A Coordinating Committee.  To co-ordinate the work of various working parties set up by the other committees.

Further EAD meetings (several in Brussels, then in Tunis in February 1977) establish the conditions for an intertwining of Arab and European policies: the establishment of a Palestinian state with Yasser Arafat as its leader; a campaign to bring worldwide political and economic pressure on Israel to force its withdrawal to its 1949 armistice border [as a step in a policy of ‘stages’ with the ultimate aim of extinguishing the State of Israel]; an international boycott of Israel and opposition to any separate peace treaties; promotion of Anti-Israel media propaganda.

Note: The Arabs at this point had not got all they wanted from Europe. They had to accept some significant failures – attested to by the fact that Israel continued to exist, which is nothing short of astonishing in the light of the jihad campaign working so persistently and in most respects triumphantly against it – but they contented themselves temporarily with partial success.

Meetings of the EAD committees continue into 1978.  Then the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel acts as a brake on EAD activity.

1980 The EAD meets again when the Europeans are worried about declining oil production in Iran, and the Arabs want to complain to Europe about the Israeli-Egyptian treaty.

1981 January 25-28: Mecca and Taif. The Third Islamic Summit Conference issues a Declaration of Holy Jihad ‘as the duty of every Muslim, man or woman, ordained by the Shariah and the glorious traditions of Islam; to call upon all Muslims, living inside or outside Islamic countries, to discharge this duty by contributing each according to his capacity in the cause of Allah Almighty, Islamic brotherhood, and righteousness.’

One of the chief aims the declaration specifies is ‘to save Al-Quds’ – ie to take Jerusalem into Arab possession. To this aim, through the EAD, Europe accedes, co-operating with the Arab campaign to isolate and vilify Israel and  helping to deliver the United Nations as an  instrument of Arab jihadic purpose.

Note: The EC/EU’s moral commitment to connive at the Palestinian jihad compromised the very foundations of freedom and Western culture, and did not make Europe safer.

Europe is also a designated target of jihad. The national governments are not unaware of the threat that hangs over them, and from early on fear has been one of the motivating causes of the European policy of appeasement:-

1998 Damascus:  Three years before ‘Islamikazes’ carried out the 9/11 mass murder of Americans in New York, six years before the massacres of commuter-train passengers in Madrid, seven years before the underground and bus bombing atrocities in London, a conference of the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue is held in Syria, under the auspices of the murderous dictator Hafiz al-Assad. Members of fourteen national European parliaments and the European Parliament attend, also representatives of the European Commission. Arab members of sixteen non-democratic parliaments and representatives of the Arab League bring a heavy threat to bear openly on the Europeans: they stress that ‘peace and stability in Europeis ‘closely connected’ to Europe’s compliance with Arab Middle East policy. The official reports of the Dialogue constantly reiterate this point. It could not have been impressed more firmly on European parliamentarians and the EU Commission that jihad could be unleashed against Europe itself if Arab conditions were not met.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the EAD continued to serve as a vehicle for policy decided at Islamic Conferences. It was the principle instrument for implementing the resolutions of the Arab conferences. It advanced the Arab mission of implanting millions of Muslims into Europe who come with no intention of integrating into European culture and society, but arrive with the desire and the legal right, granted by the EEC/EU, to impose their own culture upon the host country – a culture fired by a fundamentalist mission of violent jihad.

It facilitated the creation of those fundamentalist trends. It introduced the educational and cultural programs of the European Islamic Centres into European schools – programs enthusiastically accepted and applied by European political leaders, intellectuals, and activists. EAD facilitated the creation of fundamentalist trends.

2000 The European Commission provides  funds to revive a dormant organisation called the European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation, known as MEDEA. (The Euro-Arab political partnership was increasingly called ‘Mediterranean’, the Arab states being referred to as ‘the South’ and the EU states as ‘the North’.)  MEDEA is now chaired by a  Belgian minister for foreign affairs who reorganises MEDEA’s European Parliament section of over 100 members. There are also MEDEA sections in individual national parliaments. Subsequently the organisation issues regular press releases to opinion- makers, intellectuals and pressure groups, and plays a major role in spreading Arab influence in Europe.

2001 September 11: New York and Washington. ‘Islamikaze’ terrorists fly hijacked planes into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, killing close on 3000 people. Another hijacked plane is forced down by its passengers near Shanksville in Pennsylvania. President Bush declares ‘War on Terror’.

October: The US, its military assisted by seven other countries, the UK primarily, also Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Italy, invades Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to overthrow  that fundamentalist Islamic government. The Taliban had equipped al-Qaeda, the  organization, led by Osama bin Laden, which had despatched the terrorist attackers of America. The Taliban is (temporarily) overthrown.

2002 June 20. Brussels:  The Arabs ask for special privileges for Arab immigrants into the EU to put them ‘on an equal basis with Europeans’. The host countries are exhorted to provide Arab immigrants with vocational training, freedom of movement, suitable living conditions, and financial aid if they should choose to return to their homelands.

2003 March 20: The US and Britain invade Iraq to overthrow the dictator Saddam Hussein. Other countries, including Spain, lend various degrees of military assistance.  France and Russia emphatically oppose the invasion. Anti-war demonstrations, intensely anti-American, are staged throughout Europe.

In this year the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI) reports to the European Commission that the economic outlook for Europe is  gloomy but would be brightened if there were to be increased Arab immigrationIn Britain, however, the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, warns that the imposing of mass immigration on a populace that did not want it, threatened the social fabric of Britain because of “the disintegration of community relations and social cohesion”.

December 2-3. Naples:  At a Euro-Mediterranean Conference of ministers of foreign affairs, EU officials reaffirm Europe’s ‘solidarity’ with its ‘Mediterranean partners’. At this conference even more foundations, committees and subcommittees are proposed.  The European Bank  – an institution funded entirely by Europe’s tax-payers – will open a subsidiary to serve Arab (sharia conforming) requirements. The absence of democracy in the Arab states, their economic stagnation, continuing terrorism carried out in many parts of the world in the name of Islam, are not matters on which the Europeans choose to lay stress.

2004 March 11 Madrid: Terrorist bombs are exploded by Muslim residents of Spain on commuter trains. Nearly 200 people killed, nearly 2000 injured. The response of the Spanish electorate a few days later is to vote Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who supported President Bush in his war on Iraq, out of power, and vote in Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who has opposed Spain’s participation in the Iraq war. The change favours the Islamic terrorists. The result amounts to a national capitulation to terrorism.

November 2.  Amsterdam: Theo van Gogh, Dutch film maker, is shot, stabbed and has his throat slit by a Dutch-born Muslim. The victim had made a film about the abuse of Muslim women.

In this year Eastern European countries are admitted into the EU. Arab leaders fear that their immigrants will no longer be welcome in Western Europe. They ask for and are granted assurances that Europe’s chief sources of immigration will continue to be ‘above all the Mediterranean Arab countries.’  So EU policy in this regard is (yet again) shaped to conform to Arab demands. It will ‘balance’ its expansion into Eastern Europe with an increase in Arab immigration.

2005 July 7: London. Terrorist bombs explode on three underground trains and a bus in central London.  56 killed, about 700 injured. The killers are identified as British born Muslims.

Violent jihad had been unleashed against Europe from within.

Increasingly the continent is being made to feel the tragic consequences of its policies. In the light of the demographic facts on the ground – a drastic shrinking of indigenous populations and an exponential rise in the numbers of  Muslims – it seems it may now be too late for it to save itself.

Jillian Becker February 11, 2010

This England 0

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,–

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

-William Shakespeare, King Richard II, Act 2 scene 1

*

Liberty is all but lost in Britain, but the people make the fullest possible use of the little they still have: sexual freedom (a majority of children are now born to unmarried mothers), and the freedom to drink themselves sick.

Now we at The Atheist Conservative are libertarians, not prudes. It’s not the drinking of alcohol or extra-marital sex that we deplore, but the decadence of a nation whose recent ancestors governed – and governed well for the most part, in our opinion – the greatest Empire in the history of the world. (Our sympathies are with the Americans, however, in their revolution.)

This is how young Britons ‘saw in’ the freezing New Year a month ago, reported by the MailOnline. This England is a tawdry region on the western edge of the socialist European Union.

Binge-drinking revellers fuelled a chaotic start to 2008 as over-stretched ambulance workers battled to cope with emergency calls flooding in at a peak of one every eight seconds.

In the capital alone the London Ambulance Service had to deal with its highest number of emergency calls since the Millennium – the majority related to excess alcohol.

As midnight came and went there was mayhem as scores of drunken partygoers around the country tumbled into the streets, some wearing little more than their underwear.

Fights erupted and a string of dishevelled young men and women collapsed on benches and in doorways, too inebriated to remember or care that the night was supposed to be a celebration.

There to mop up the mess were thousands of emergency workers drafted in to provide cover on the busiest night of the year.

In the first four hours of 2008, London Ambulance Service (LAS) dealt with an astonishing 1,825 calls alone, peaking at over 500 calls an hour between 2am and 4am….

Meanwhile in the West Midlands the ambulance service fielded 1,400 calls in just five hours – a rate of one every 12 seconds. It was mirrored by the North East Ambulance Service which received 1,860 calls between 11pm and 5am.

Last night the astonishing number of calls to deal with booze-fuelled illness or injury prompted accusations that lives of those in real emergencies were being put at risk and demands for partygoers to wake up the costs of binge-drinking.

LAS spokeswoman Gemma Gidley said: “These calls put the Service under increased pressure to manage demand when we have to ensure we respond quickly to other patients with potentially life-threatening emergencies.

“People need to think about the real consequences of drinking so much that they require treatment.”

In the south, the South Central Ambulance Service dealt with three times more incidents that normal.

Control room duty manager Michele Foot said: “I think we should start charging people for the drink related stuff – it’s most self inflicted.” [The tax-payer paid for all the hospital treatment the drunks were given by the National Health Service – JB]

In some areas special temporary treatment sites were set up to cope, paramedics set out on foot in busy city centres and volunteers from the St John Ambulance Service and Red Cross were drafted in.

Alternative transport was arranged for drunken revellers to take the strain off ambulances.

Hundreds of arrests were made by police for public order offences, as well as violence and sex and drug-related crime.

Riot vans parked in city centres prepared to deal with the inevitable fall out of a night of excess….

In Birmingham a group of friend bragged they would be “crawling” by the end of the night.

In Newcastle, in scenes mirrored everywhere, a young woman – shoeless and seemingly very much the worse for wear – had to be aided by paramedics while nearby a well-built man lay face down in the street after being set upon by four other men.

“This is going to be a long night,” said one weary paramedic, confiding: “We will spend all night picking up people who are too drunk to walk and people who got into fights.”

Everywhere revellers who had lost all their inhibitions were happy to brag about their drinking exploits.

Sisters Sarah and Teri Crame, both dancers, wore burlesque outfits better-suited to the boudoir as they strutted through the rain-soaked street.

“We’ve been drinking since about seven,” said Teri. “We’re both wrecked and loving it. Mixing our drinks always leads to trouble – we’ve had wine, lager and vodka tonight.”

In Cardiff a group of young women, who would have been well-advised to cover up, tottered along in nothing more than heels and white underwear. …

Bearing the brunt of the chaos, Paramedic Martyn Sullivan said: “We’ve had a lot of drunken calls and a lot of assault. I’ve been threatened myself tonight.”

In Bristol, a young woman wearing a tiny black dress despite the elements slumped on the floor as a friend, laughing, spent five minutes trying to lift her.

Meanwhile a semi-naked man argued with police and other partygoers vomited over railings into the river.

Fights broke out long before midnight and continued into the small hours.

In Slough, Berkshire a crowd of drunken teenagers was involved in a punch up which ended with a 17-year-old boy being stabbed in the chest. Another person was stabbed in Woking, Surrey after a mass brawl.

In Hampshire every custody centre in the county was full. …

Go to the article to see the pictures.

And here are some more in the Mail.

And here are some in the Sun.

Posted under Britain, Commentary, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 31, 2010

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