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EU Willing to Take on Bosnian Peace Role
EFL World Wire

ROME -- European Union defense ministers on Saturday offered to take over peacekeeping in Bosnia from NATO by the middle of next year, a move that could free up U.S. troops for other hot spots.

EU officials said the switch could also mean a reduction in the size of the Bosnian peace mission by about half to 6,000, though ministers said it was too early to fix a firm number of troops needed.

Britain offered to lead the force, which would be the EU's most ambitious operation since it launched a joint military structure at the beginning of this year.

The United States and other NATO nations would have to agree before the alliance hands over the Bosnian mission, something Washington had been reluctant to do.

However, with U.S. forces stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, European officials said they did not expect Washington to object.

"My understanding is that the Pentagon should be favorable to a reduction of its commitments in the Balkans because they already have so much going on," Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino told a news conference.


Emphasizing the bloc's expanding defense ambitions, Martino said there was wide backing for a French plan for the EU to set up a force of paramilitary police units -- similar to the French gendarmerie or Italy's carabinieri -- able to support military peacekeepers.

Such forces are seen as increasingly needed to back nation-building efforts in states emerging from civil strive to help local authorities restore order and fight crime.

I was pretty down on the plan to have a military arm of the EU. Looks like I was in error. The idea of being able to bring in gendermerie, carabinieri and/or guadia civille looks like a real plus.
Posted by: Super Hose || 10/04/2003 9:48:44 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6477 views] Top|| File under:

#1  a move that could free up U.S. troops for other hot spots.

This might be a dumb question, but why don't the EU just send their troops to the "other hot spots" instead of to Bosnia, where everything seems mostly peaceful already?
Posted by: g wiz || 10/04/2003 21:59 Comments || Top||

#2  g wiz,

France is in the EU thats why.....
Posted by: GregJ || 10/04/2003 22:15 Comments || Top||

#3  why don't the EU just send their troops to the "other hot spots" instead of to Bosnia, where everything seems mostly peaceful already?
  • Hot spots = lots of shooting
  • Mostly peaceful = not much shooting
See where this is going? ;)
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 10/04/2003 22:57 Comments || Top||

For its intellectuals, France falters
EFL, read the whole thing
PARIS A growing sense of France's decline as a force in Europe has developed here. The idea's novelty is not the issue itself. Rather it is that for the first time in a half century that the notion of a rapid descent in France's influence is receiving wide acknowledgment within the French establishment.
At its most hurtful and remarkable, and yet perhaps its most honest, there is the start of acceptance by segments of the French intellectual community that French leadership, as it is constituted now, is not something Europe wants - or France merits.
Lovely understatement
Several current books, three on the bestseller lists, have focused discussion on the country's incapacities, rigidities and its role, they say, in the context of the Iraq war, in dividing the Western community and fracturing notions of Europe's potential unity.
Yes unity isn't helped when you tell other European nations to shut up when they do the job that you should be doing
The books, with titles that translate to phrases like "France in Free Fall" or "French Arrogance," are merciless in their accusations of the fantasy-driven ineffectualness of French foreign policy and the extent of the country's economic breakdown. Or they more specifically target what one of books, "Le Pouvoir du Monde," by Bernard Poulet, regards as the implosion of the newspaper Le Monde, mirror of the French establishment, from one-time symbol of rectitude to self-appointed "universal mentor and Great Inquisitor"; or what another, essentially a short essay, called "Au Nom de l'Autre" by Alain Finkielkraut, contends is the rise in France of a new kind of anti-Semitism in proportions greater than anywhere else in Europe.
Creating state run islamic schools won't help
Together, they project the image of a decadent France, adrift from its brilliant past, incapable of inspiring allegiance or emulation and without a constructive, humanist plan for the future.
Yes, menacing with vetos is not very constructive
Of all the books, the current No. 2 on the bestseller list of L'Express, "La France Qui Tombe," by Nicolas Baverez, has been the focus of unusual attention.
I hope we'll get German translations as soon as possible
Posted by: True German Ally || 10/04/2003 1:22:39 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6486 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Reality always sets in the morning after.
Posted by: Baltic Blog || 10/04/2003 5:00 Comments || Top||

#2  TGA >> Great post. At least a few inside of France can see exactly what the rest of the world already does.
Posted by: Paul || 10/04/2003 7:58 Comments || Top||

#3  TGA

France and Germany have produced some grat thinkers throughout history. Are the new generation of intellectuals offering any solutions? The US and Britain have both been through periods where we looked to be following bad models leading nowhere.
Posted by: Superhose || 10/04/2003 10:06 Comments || Top||

#4  Superhose

As a French let me tell that I disagree. Thinkers produced by France have usually been first rate bastards and fourth rate thinkers. Take a look at the Enlightenment philosophers: Diderot, Voltaire and their ilk were
for slavery, for restricting to the rich (on the base that the poor were not educated enough) and... for forbidding education to the poor (ie they were more reactionary than the monarchy).
Forget Voltaire's "I disagree with your opinions but I will fight to express it". This was a
hollow sentence: in practice he supported the
didcriminations and repression as long as the
victims were Catholic. The ideas of the Enlightenment philosophers are directly responsible for the horrors of the revolution.

Now let's take a look at Sartre who as a philosopher was only a dumbed down Heidegger,
who didn't take part i the Resistance and whose
career was in no small part due to the support
of communist networkQ.

About the next generation of intellectuals: Bernard Henri Levy and Glucksman have spoken
against the anti-American hysteria. But they
are fifty something and dont have direct access
to media. Baverez (author of "La France qui
tombe") is strongly anti-american but at least
he is lucid and doesn't want a clash for the sake
of it. Begbeider (the guy who designed the
propaganda for the communist party, who got historical lows) has just written a repugnant
novel entitled "Windows of the world" where
the people trapped in WTC spending their last
minutes fist-fucking. He is still a moderate
compared to Nabe. However I have to say that
I never heard of the later two (Begbeder and Nabe)
as philosophers or thinkers. AFAIK they are
novelists but fashionable ones. I hope they will
not get more tha five minutes of fame.

Posted by: JFM || 10/04/2003 11:47 Comments || Top||

#5  Take a look at the Enlightenment philosophers: Diderot, Voltaire and their ilk were
for slavery, for restricting to the rich (on the base that the poor were not educated enough) and... for forbidding education to the poor (ie they were more reactionary than the monarchy).

I would argue that these were the fashions of their times. One truly overrated French thinker you have not mentioned is Derrida - in my view, he is a self-important moron verging on self-parody.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 10/04/2003 13:43 Comments || Top||

#6  I thing Rantburg needs a French troll, you know, a Murat from Marseilles.
Posted by: Raj || 10/04/2003 15:00 Comments || Top||

#7  Zhang Fei:

No they weren't the fashions of that time. French
monarchy hadn't abolished slavery, true, but it had been restricting it. In addition a slave became a free man at the instant it set foot on the soil of continental France. Positions of Voltaire and Diderot (both of them investors in slave-trading companies) were more favorable to slavery than the "reactionary" French monarchy. See also Voltaire's "Candide" where he derides the
Jesuits who had taken arms in order to protect Indians from slave-traders.

For the education thing: education was mandatory
in France since, I think, Louis XIV or at the most since Louis XV. Thanks to the Catholic Church it was also largely free. Of course very poor peasants needed the work force of their children and were unable to send their child to school. But it is still wrong to say that asking to forbid
the education of poors and peasants was the fashion of the time. It was purely and simply a try for preventing other classes to compete with the bourgeoisie. Compare to Nazi laws forbidding education to Slavs.

Posted by: JFM || 10/04/2003 15:03 Comments || Top||

#8  TGA, Zhang Fei and JMF

In the US there are a bunch of liberal and conservative think tanks funded through private foundations. Out of these think tanks come actual policy initiatives that are often implemented sometimes sucessfully. Are any of the intellectuals in Europe generating policy recommenations to address issues?

For example, it doesn't take a genius to see that French influence is waning. I have read Chirac has a plan to bring the economy of France back in line by 2005. Is there a legitimate plan or is he playing a Gray Davis shell game?
Posted by: Super Hose || 10/04/2003 15:29 Comments || Top||

#9  JFM with reference to slavery during Voltaire's era: No they weren't the fashions of that time.

I used the word fashions which is now taken to mean fad, when I should have used the word customs. Given that slavery was not only legal, but a business in which one could invest passively through ownership of stock, I would say that slavery was the custom of the era, just as it was around the rest of the world. But even the writers of the American Constitution were mostly slave-owners, and I put that down to economic survival - if others are slave-owners, and the major economic sector is labor-intensive agriculture, it is impossible to compete without being involved in the trade. And without the leisure from being an owner of income-producing property, how is one to write profoundly thoughtful political works such as the Federalist Papers?

Compare to Nazi laws forbidding education to Slavs.

We can't really compare Nazis, who should have known better, to the French philosophers from over a century ago. The French philosophers were the products of their times - aristocracy was held to be better than the common man. The Nazis should have learned the lessons of the past, namely, that the only race is the human race, but did not.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 10/04/2003 16:25 Comments || Top||

#10  Zhang: I had the opportunity to hear Derrida speak once at my university. He came to town and enormous buzz, and they had the largest lecture hall set aside for him. Even though I'm across campus in the med school I figured, "well it IS Derrida", and went to the lecture.

The man is incomprehenisble. I don't mean that his thoughts are so dense or so advanced that you can't understand him, I mean he's incomprehensible. His speech was total word salad. Since deconstructionist thought means in the end that words mean what you want them to mean at the moment, he just went off on an extended tear and never once got back to whatever point he was trying to make.

My seat was in the middle toward the back, and I got to watch people -- at first a trickle, then more -- bailing out during the lecture. My own moment came about 1/2 way (who could tell?) when he said, and I quote from a seared memory, "... when it comes to pass that the blindly doubled shall lead the doubly-blind ..."

What? What was he saying? What? I realized at that moment, an epiphany if you will, that Derrida was a complete, fucking idiot. It was all a scam and a well-paying one at that, and Derrida had all these smart people snookered.

That was my moment with Derrida.
Posted by: Steve White || 10/04/2003 17:00 Comments || Top||

#11  I am a solutions type guy so I looked for a website that might be helpful for the intellectuals of France. I found some motivational materiel from one of my favorite companies despair.inc. It might be helpful :-)
Posted by: Super Hose || 10/04/2003 17:05 Comments || Top||

#12  JFM I wouldn't be so hard on French philosophers although I must say that my personal preference are Montaigne and the "moralistes". Voltaire and Diderot may not be right on every issue but they did some compelling writings. And Julien Benda's "La trahison des clercs" (1927) still should be read by everyone interested in France. Sartre certainly is the most overrated French intellectual, and yes Steve White, Derrida is just over the top. I tried to read him but I gave up. Foucault has been rather influential though.
JFM I disagree: Glucksmann and Lévy have very much access to the media, especially Glucksmann is somebody who regularily appears on French TV.
Super Hose, German Thinktanks? Well, not as defined as in the U.S. The political parties certainly have theirs (the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung publishes some very interesting political /philosophical ideas). But German intellectuals are mostly into discussing things, you can hardly speak of well defined strategies. The German "intellectal crisis" isn't quite the same as expressed in the French books quoted in my posted article: The notion of "German grandeur" has certainly been buried in 1945.
I hope we'll get more discussions about European issues. The politicians pretty much try to establish a European Constitution without asking the people. That should not stand.
Posted by: True German Ally || 10/04/2003 17:42 Comments || Top||

#13  Raj:

I thing Rantburg needs a French troll, you know, a Murat from Marseilles.

I'm sure the Samizdatas will be glad to let you have Kodiak.
Posted by: Angie Schultz || 10/04/2003 17:49 Comments || Top||

#14  La France a perdu une bataille. Mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre!
Posted by: True German Ally posing as Charles de Gaulle troll || 10/04/2003 17:54 Comments || Top||

#15  In my first experience of reading Derrida, my thoughts flashed from "Wow! This is really deep" to "What the *%&( is he saying?" to "Is this guy for real?", all in within a 10-minute interval.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 10/04/2003 18:03 Comments || Top||

#16  TGA

The Contract With America and the revamp of the Defense Department that Donald Rumsfeld is working on were spawned in Conservative think-tanks.
I beleive one of the reasons why Hilary didn't acheive Universal Health Care is because she tried to create the program after the election with eveyone watching. It's better to pull out a policy already canned that you can steamroll the opposition with before they can respond.
It may be easier to accomplish this type of policy formulation in a two-party system.
Posted by: Super Hose || 10/04/2003 21:38 Comments || Top||

#17  I agree. That's why Schroeder's haste to "reforms" now isn't appreciated too much by the Germans even if some parts of them make sense.

It's like going to a restaurant. You don't really want to see how your food is prepared. You want to see it looking good on the plate.
Posted by: True German Ally || 10/04/2003 22:56 Comments || Top||

There are some very good French thinkers, Luc Ferry and Alain Renault have been attacking the generation of '68's stupidity for over a decade now.
Posted by: Ernest Brown || 10/05/2003 10:08 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
United States sanctions on Myanmar forcing young women into prostitution
Yup. It's all our fault...
US sanctions imposed on Myanmar to press for democracy and the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi are inflicting economic hardship and mass job loss on its people, a US official said Thursday. Reports from international groups in Myanmar show young women driven out of the country's hard-hit garment sector are being forced into prostitution, Matthew Daley, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, testified before subcommittees of the House International Relations Committee. Economic sanctions signed into law by President George W. Bush last July include a ban on the import to the US of all Myanmar products, a freeze on certain of its assets and a ban on the export of financial services to Myanmar. But the sanctions are proving to be a double-edged sword, said Daley. "These measures immediately disrupted the economy in Burma," said Daley, using Myanmar's former name.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what sanctions are supposed to do?
"The garment sector was hardest hit and the (governing military) junta has been unable or unwilling to assist affected businesses or their employees," he said.
'Nother words, they're not carrying out the functions of government...
"The measures now in place send a clear signal to the junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners and move down the path to democracy," Daley said. "Unfortunately, the sanctions also affect ordinary Burmese... Some international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have expressed concern that the destruction of already troubled export industries, especially the garment sector, will lead to significant unemployment and a spike in economic migrants seeking illegal work inside Burma or over the border in Thailand or China."
Oh. Well. In that case I guess we shouldn't have sanctions, huh?
Within the first month of sanctions, said Daley, "we estimate that more than 40,000 garment sector jobs were lost. In the long term, the garment sector will likely lose 100,000 jobs, most of which are filled by young women." He said credible NGO reports indicated that some of the young women forced into unemployment by US sanctions "have entered the flourishing illegal sex and entertainment industries.
But if the economy's that disrupted, who's going to pay for them? Hookers aren't free, y'know...
"Such effects are unfortunate, but Burma's greatest misfortune is the junta's misrule and the suffering of all the Burmese people, every day, under this military dictatorship."
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 10/04/2003 00:06 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6470 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Poor girls, it's a pity that the terrorists are now using the funds to pay them instead of on weapons.
Posted by: Charles || 10/04/2003 0:34 Comments || Top||

#2  Its weird how I can piss off effect so many peoples live all across the globe.

I hope the Dixie Chicks won't have to become prostitutes now that I'm not buying their records.

It's actually not really our fault, its that the flesh traffic industry has such low barriers to entry. Don't know how to fix that problem.
Posted by: Super Hose || 10/04/2003 16:04 Comments || Top||

Cuban Should Be Awarded Nobel Prize for Nuts of Iron

HAVANA -- A top democracy activist launched a new challenge to Fidel Castro's government, turning in more than 14,000 signatures of people seeking a human rights referendum just six months after a crackdown on the opposition. Does he like the prison food?

It was the second year in a row that activist Oswaldo Paya has delivered piles of signatures to the government as part of the Varela Project -- seen as the biggest homegrown, nonviolent effort in more than four decades to push for reforms in Cuba's one-party system. I don't know that I would have the guts to sign his paper.

In turning in the 14,384 new signatures on Friday, Paya said he was determined to keep pressing for the referendum, even though the government had rejected the first package of thousands of signatures delivered in May 2002. I'm sure they reconsider now that more people have signed on.

He said the continued mobilization of Cubans demanding human rights on this communist-run island was more important than the government's acceptance of the project. Mobilizing people in protest of a totalitarian regime for human rights - just don't have any big demonstrations in a square or anything.

"Hope is reborn," Paya told reporters after the petitions were accepted by a government clerk. "Cuba needs changes and there is a citizen vanguard willing to achieve them." I don't think I'm that optimistic for change in Cuba.

The petitions propose a referendum asking voters if they favor civil liberties like freedom of speech and assembly, and amnesty for political prisoners. They also seek changes in election laws. What elections?

"The Varela Project lives," Paya told reporters Friday morning in a hastily called news conference at his Havana home. "The campaign continues across the country."

He then went to the National Assembly, accompanied by his wife, Ofelia, and another project volunteer. Paya lugged the large box stuffed with petitions lined with signatures up the concrete stairs of the government building as a small group of journalists and curious neighbors looked on. Hopefully, from an angle that is not in the line of fire.

Last year, he brought 11,020 signatures, but lawmakers shelved the petition, saying that the changes sought were unconstitutional. Friday's signatures are all new, Paya said, bringing to 25,404 the combined total of signatures submitted.

Paya says that tens of thousands of other signatures have been seized by state security officials. There was no immediate response from Castro's government. I think they are trying to tell you something.

Dozens of petition workers have been picked up for questioning in recent weeks, Paya told reporters Friday. None were formally charged, he said. Castro is certainly much more forgiving than Sadaam.

In a letter to National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon delivered with the petitions, Paya said that many Varela Project volunteers were among 75 dissidents who were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms in the spring.

Governments around the world have condemned the crackdown, which began in March.

"The majority of these, the prisoners of the Cuban spring, suffer unjust imprisonment and are an example of the strength and dedication of our people," Paya wrote in his letter.

"The rights that we demand in the Varela Project are enunciated in the constitution. But we also have them because we are human beings, sons of God," he added. "And because of that will we continue demanding them for all Cubans, with the faith that we will achieve them." If Cuba ever does become free, they will owe ths guy a large debt.

Paya has emerged in recent years as Cuba's best known opposition activist and has been acknowledged by rights groups and leaders the world over.

His name has also been mentioned among possible nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize, to be announced on Oct. 10.
Posted by: Super Hose || 10/04/2003 10:07:23 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6490 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I see a real possibility for Paya to get the Nobel Peace Prize. Castro has pissed off the EU lately.

This will have the added bonus of Jimmy Carter having to explain why he has been so silent about the Cuban repression lately.

If Hans Blix gets it instead this will definitely be the end of my remaining respect for this prize.
Posted by: True German Ally || 10/04/2003 22:18 Comments || Top||

#2  TGA - right on the mark!
Posted by: Frank G || 10/04/2003 22:21 Comments || Top||

#3  Thanks for the link, I've used it for a story. I met Oswaldo Paya once, the man struck me as humble, determined and very smart. I don't think he has a shot at the Nobel Prize though, I expect anti-Americanism to win again this year.
Posted by: Sorge || 10/04/2003 23:15 Comments || Top||

#4  Frank and TGA - I'm afraid I have to agree with Sorge on this one. Paya has two reeeeally big strikes against him - he's opposing a Communist dictatorship, and he's NOT fighting against the evil hegemonic imperialist AmeriKKKan fascist juggernaut that wants to conquer the world and rape its resources and enslave its huddled masses, blah, blah, blah.

Nope, it'll probably be Blix - once again proving, as someone said at the time of the award to Jimmuh Chamberlain...uh, Petain...dammit, I meant CARTER...that the Nobel Peace Prize has all the moral authority of a "Father of the Year" award from NAMBLA.
Posted by: Jeff || 10/05/2003 3:24 Comments || Top||

Latin America
Chavez Cancels Venezualean News Broadcasts for the Foreseeable Future

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Media regulators cut cables to satellite dishes and seized broadcasting equipment at a 24-hour news station that had endorsed an opposition-led strike aimed at ousting President Hugo Chavez on Friday. So much for seeing Jesse Ventura's debut.A protest over the move Friday was dispersed with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Authorities with the state telecommunications committee, Conatel, on Friday took equipment used to broadcast live reports outside of Globovision's channel studios, but didn't remove the equipment because of protesters who had gathered outside, said Globovision Director Alberto Federico Ravell.

"This is the first step they are taking to shut down the channel," Ravell said.

Conatel officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Information Minister Jesse Chacon denied that the government was closing the TV channel, saying only that Globovision "doesn't have permission to use that frequency." Chacon said Globovision must apply for authorization to recover the confiscated equipment, which could be granted in 90 days. Zimbabwe and Venesuala have purcahsed the same script.

At Conatel headquarters in Caracas, national guardsmen fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters who threw cans of paint and glass bottles at the building.

Authorities plan to crack down on other broadcasters illegally using certain frequencies, Infrastructure Minister Diosdado Cabello said.

Since taking office in 1998, President Hugo Chavez has repeatedly clashed with the mostly opposition-aligned news media, threatening to revoke broadcast licenses of TV channels that he accuses of conspiring against his government.

Most broadcasters openly supported an unsuccessful general strike aimed at toppling Chavez that ultimately cost the country an estimated $7.5 billion. They also suppressed reports of Chavez's dramatic return to power when a 2002 military uprising failed. I'm sure that the cut in revenues would have severely impacted the budgets of FARC and Al Queda, had Castro not stepped in.

Chavez said last year's short-lived coup and the crippling two-month strike would not have been possible without the support of four of Venezuela's TV channels, including Globovision.

"The destabilization ... wouldn't have happened, it wouldn't have been of the magnitude it was if it wasn't for television," said Chavez. "It was only possible with the unlimited support of four private channels."

In the past year, Chavez supporters have harassed and attacked dozens of reporters, photographers and news cameramen. Explosives have been tossed at newspaper offices and radio and television stations. Prominent journalists have received death threats.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that embassy officials were talking to Venezuelan authorities to determine the legal basis for Friday's move. "We urge the government of Venezuela to ensure that press freedoms in Venezuela not be infringed upon in any way," the statement said. Why make such a lame statement at all?
Posted by: Superhose || 10/04/2003 10:38:35 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Fidel Jr. huh? Where's the outcry from the other So. American countries? Where's the request to the US to intervene? Only when it's too late, and Venezuelan-backed guerrillas are in their countries, bombing their capitals....Chavez must be removed before he starts the mass-killing of the opposition. You know it's only a matter of time. I guess when the person created the "disappeared" is a leftist hack, Bono et al aren't interested?
Posted by: Frank G || 10/04/2003 10:43 Comments || Top||

#2  "creating" - not "created".....D'oh!

in the immortal words of Bart Simpson:
"Me fail english? That are impossible"
Posted by: Frank G || 10/04/2003 13:02 Comments || Top||

#3  How long until Democrat Congressmen start falling in love with Chavez? Which do you think will be the first to praise what he's "done for his people"?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 10/04/2003 16:34 Comments || Top||

#4  Standard Stalinist doctrine - the peepul can't have news, they might try and think for themselves. Can't have that...
Posted by: mojo || 10/04/2003 16:56 Comments || Top||

#5  I'm voting Chris Dodd - defender of the Boland amendment even after the fall of the Sandanistas as the first
Posted by: Frank G || 10/04/2003 21:17 Comments || Top||

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Sat 2003-10-04
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Fri 2003-10-03
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