Friday, October 18, 2002

WORLD SERIES PREDICTION: I predict it will be won by the first team to win four games.
(Well, after the All-Star Game, you never know...)
Seriously, the teams look pretty evenly matched to me.

Points in the Angels' favor:
Slightly better bullpen, including the "K-Rod" (and I love that nickname) X-factor
A manager who's learned from his one postseason boneheaded in-game move
Home-field for seventh game
Lineup prone to unstoppable phases

Points in the Giants' favor:
Slightly more reliable starting pitching
A manager who looked great compared to his NLCS counterpart
My brother's in-laws as fans

Both teams have been clicking on all cylinders and strike me as exceptionally solid from 1-25 on the roster, as opposed to relying on front-line talent as the Yankees did in their recent run.
Because I must make a pick, it'll be Angels in 7.
Check out Rob Neyer and Derek Zumsteg for some good analysis of why the
Angels should pitch to Bonds more often than not.
MORE NORTH KOREAN FORESIGHT: Andrew Sullivan cites a Charles Krauthammer column from 1994 on the accord with North Korea:

(1) The NPT is dead. North Korea broke it and got a huge payoff from the United States not for returning to it but for pretending to. Its nuclear program proceeds unmolested. In Tehran and Tripoli and Baghdad the message is received: Nonproliferation means nothing. (2) The IAEA, if it goes along with this sham, is corrupted beyond redemption. It is supposed to be an impartial referee blowing the whistle on proliferators. Yet if Washington does not want to hear the whistle, the IAEA can be bullied into silence. (3) American credibility - not very high after Clinton's about-faces in Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti - sinks to a new low. This is a president easily cowed and dangerously weak. Said one government official to the New York Times, "It's one of these cases where the administration was huffing and puffing and backed down." Better though, said another, than "falling on our own sword over phony principle." If nonproliferation, so earnestly trumpeted by this president, is a phony principle, then where do we look for this president's real principles? This administration would not recognize a foreign policy principle, phony or otherwise, if it tripped over one in the street. The State Department, mixing cravenness with cynicism, calls this capitulation "very good news." For Kim Il Sung, certainly. For us, the deal is worse than dangerous. It is shameful.

On the other hand, Sullivan also cites an interview Jim Lehrer conducted earlier this year with the hapless Wendy Sherman (the coordinator for North Korean policy in the Clinton administration, cited below). Regarding the inclusion of North Korea in Bush's "axis of evil" formulation, Ms. Sherman said:

It was very understandable as a rhetorical device to rally the American people to cause against terrorism and to the cause against weapons of mass destruction, which none of us want. What I think was wrong about it in terms of North Korea is North Korea has negotiated successfully with us. We have a 1994 framework agreement that stops the production of fissile material, which is the plutonium, the kind of plutonium needed to build nuclear weapons. They agreed to that framework agreement. They have principally kept to that agreement and taken the steps that were necessary for it to take. It's not finished yet. We still have a ways to go, but they do and can follow through. We need to hold them to it. Our agreements have to be verifiable. They need to be tough but it can be done.

Read that again - "They have principally kept to that agreement and taken the steps that were necessary for it to take." I have nothing to add.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

WORLD SERIES PREDICTION: Coming tomorrow. I need to think a little more.
GIVING BLAME WHERE BLAME IS DUE: Via InstaPundit, James Lileks has it all figured out regarding the Bali bombing. I especially liked this bit:

[I]n retrospect, Indonesia looks quite wise. If they had bowed to U.S. pressure, al-Qaida would think they'd joined Bush's mad crusade. Now they have a chance -- a precious, rare chance -- to show that wiser heads know best what to do: nothing. But we're not counseling rash inaction -- no, Indonesia must proceed with care, consulting friends and neighbors, before deciding which form their inaction should take. (After a suitable debate, that is.)

You think that's funny? Read the last sentence in this New York Times article, quoting Wendy Sherman, the Clinton administration's North Korea policy coordinator (time for Ms. Sherman to edit that part of her resume):

"One has to be careful, or you may end up in a circumstance that could be more precarious than you began with," Ms. Sherman said. "The administration ought to be multilateral, deliberative and very thoughtful about how we proceed here, because it is serious."

Life imitates Lileks...
MEDIA MANIPULATION 101: Franklin Foer has a tremendous piece in the New Republic about how Iraq manipulates its coverage by the international media. Here is the first paragraph, with its unbelievable conclusion:

If the bombs begin falling on Baghdad, a broad swath of the TV-viewing world will quickly become intimate with Jane Arraf, CNN's Iraq correspondent for the past four years. Arraf files her reports from the third-floor landing of a blocky white building a few hundred meters from the Tigris River, with the ancient city's minaret-filled panorama behind her. CNN shares the building with the BBC, Associated Press, Reuters, and the handful of other news organizations that have a permanent presence in Baghdad. But there's an uncomfortable fact about this building to which these tenants don't often call attention: It's the Iraqi Ministry of Information.

Read the entire piece; it's very chilling.
I strongly believe that after the U.S. overthrows Saddam, there will be a tremendous unwillingess amongst leftists to admit that they were ever opposed to the U.S.' actions.
TWO-SCORE YEARS AGO: Rob Neyer hs a fascinating piece on how the Angels' and Giants' peaks may each have come in 1962. (Presumably, he's only referring to the period after the Giants moved to San Francisco; they won a number of World Championships in New York.)
MORE ON RABIN: Ha-aretz discusses the question of "what if Rabin had lived?" The author quotes a Netanyahu ally, who observes:

Had Rabin lived, he said, he would "most likely" have lost the elections to Netanyahu, who had a big lead in the opinion polls - even before the wave of suicide bombings in March 1996. "The Labor Party would then most likely have replaced Rabin with Ehud Barak and history would have played out the way it has."
Elitzur said the claim by many on the left that "the world would have been fundamentally different" had Rabin not been killed, was an attempt by the supporters of the Oslo accords to explain away the great failure of the process which Rabin led. "But in the end I don't think history would have been different. Yigal Amir did not change Oslo. The failure of Oslo was not the result of Rabin's absence."

There is much truth in those observations. Netanyahu led Rabin by 22 points in January 1995 and by 23 points in April 1995. Rabin's assassination gave Shimon Peres, by contrast, a big lead in the polls. Having been in Israel at the time, I can attest to the fact tha there was never less opposition to the peace process than in the aftermath of Rabin's murder. What changed the picture was an orgy of bus-bombings by Hamas. (A reading of the list will show that there were a large number of such bombings when Rabin was alive, as well - a large contributing factor to his low poll numbers.)
More importantly, ascribing the failure of the peace process to Rabin's murder ignores the proximate cause of the war of the last two years: the refusal of the Palestinians to compromise on the demands which they entered the Oslo process, most notably the "right of return." That final phase of bargaining would have arrived regardless of whether Rabin had lived, and I haven't seen a good argument that Rabin would have made any difference in the Palestinians' refusal to cross that line.
It is a natural tendency to assume that the most dramatic events were the most pivotal events, as well. But that is not always the case.
MORE ON NORTH KOREA: Lots of embarrassing things were written several years ago regarding the accord which has now been blown to bits (pun not intended, hopefully). TNR's blog has one. More excruciating is a NYT editorial unearthed by Jonah Goldberg, which I will reproduce in full.

Diplomacy with North Korea has scored a resounding triumph. Monday's draft agreement freezing and then dismantling North Korea's nuclear program should bring to an end two years of international anxiety and put to rest widespread fears that an unpredictable nation might provoke nuclear disaster.
The U.S. negotiator Robert Gallucci and his North Korean interlocutors have drawn up a detailed road map of reciprocal steps that both sides accepted despite deep mutual suspicion. In so doing they have defied impatient hawks and other skeptics who accused the Clinton Administration of gullibility and urged swifter, stronger action. The North has agreed first to freeze its nuclear program in return for U.S. diplomatic recognition and oil from Japan and other countries to meet its energy needs. Pyongyang will then begin to roll back that program as an American-led consortium replaces the North's nuclear reactors with two new ones that are much less able to be used for bomb-making. At that time, the North will also allow special inspections of its nuclear waste sites, which could help determine how much plutonium it had extracted from spent fuel in the past.
A last-minute snag, North Korea's refusal to resume its suspended talks with neighboring South Korea, was resolved to Seoul's satisfaction. If Washington and Pyongyang approve the agreement, and if the North fulfills its commitments, this negotiation could become a textbook case on how to curb the spread of nuclear arms.
Hawks, arguing that the North was simply stalling while it built more bombs, had called for economic sanctions or attacks on the North's nuclear installations. The Administration muted the war talk and pursued determined diplomacy.
Reassuring the North paid off in the end. Given the residual mistrust between the two sides, the U.S. will now sensibly provide more tangible reassurance. It is moving toward diplomatic recognition, in the form of an exchange of liaison offices, and economic cooperation, in the form of heavy fuel oil from others in the U.S.-led consortium and the start of construction of new nuclear reactors.
In return, the North will put its nuclear program in a deep freeze by not refueling its nuclear reactor, arranging temporary safe storage of the spent fuel rods removed from that reactor and sealing its reprocessing facility to prevent the extraction of plutonium from those fuel rods. Implementing the freeze and allowing it to be verified are important tests of the North's good faith.
Then, in elaborately choreographed stages detailed in a confidential note, nuclear dismantling will proceed step-by-step with reactor replacement. That gives both sides leverage against reneging. At the end of stage one, with construction of the first reactor well under way but before key nuclear components have been supplied, the North will allow special inspections of its nuclear waste sites.
In stage two, as construction proceeds on the two reactors, the North will gradually ship its 8,000 spent fuel rods abroad for reprocessing. In stage three, as the second replacement reactor nears completion, the North will dismantle all its bomb-making facilities, including its old graphite reactors and reprocessing plant.
Critics say the U.S. is in effect bribing North Korea to comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Yet Washington has previously provided inducements to others, including South Korea, to refrain from bomb-making. It has gotten the North to do a lot more than the treaty requires, like dismantle its nuclear installations.
From the start, the hawks' alternative to diplomacy was full of danger. Their solution -- economic sanctions and bombing runs -- might have disarmed North Korea, but only at the risk of war. President Clinton, former President Carter and Mr. Gallucci deserve warm praise for charting a less costly and more successful course.

Those "hawks" look a little smarter now, don't they? At least Josh Marshall has enough intellectual integrity to admit that on many of the big foreign-policy questions over the last couple of decades, the "hawks" were right.
This John McCain quote cited by Rod Dreher holds up a little better:

On at least eight previous occasions, North Korea has lied to the Clinton Administration. With this agreement, Administration officials have willingly acquiesced in Pyongyang's almost certain further deception. Yet again, the Administration has mistaken resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis with merely postponing its apogee.
...I suspect that the Administration's willlingness to delay the resolution of this crisis is premised on their presumption that the bankrupt North Korean economy will force the regime's collapse before they violate the agreement. Unfortunately, their economy may be salvaged during the interim period by the hallf a billion tons of oil they will receive annually, the opening of trade relations with the U.S., and greater trade with its Asian neighbors, which the agreement [provides for]. Thus, the Administration has accomplished the remarkable feat of allowing the North Koreans to have their carrot cake and eat it too.

IN CASE LOU PINIELLA ISN'T AVAILABLE: You, too, can apply for the Mets' managerial opening by filling out this application.
THIS SOUNDS LIKE A HOAX: But it's funny.
WISE WORDS FROM THE ECONOMIST: Here are excerpts from this week's lead editorial:

Reasonable people can and do disagree about whether it is worth going to war to defang Iraq. But how has the balance of that argument changed in light of the unsurprising fact that the terrorists have struck again? Did thinking about Iraq lower America's guard in South-East Asia, or anywhere else? There is no jot of evidence for this. Since September 11th, the Americans have intensified their intelligence-gathering in every sphere. Just recently this has led to a spate of arrests of al-Qaeda suspects around the world. If there was a failure in Bali, it does not seem to have been a lack of American attention but Indonesia's failure to heed the timely warnings it received from both America and others.
None of this is to argue that the Bush administration has performed flawlessly. As in any war, there have been both tactical errors and strategic ones. A tactical error in Tora Bora enabled the al-Qaeda leadership to escape. The Economist submits that it was a strategic error to confine Afghanistan's international peacekeepers to Kabul; and to give Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military dictator, a green light to undermine what was left of his country's parliamentary system. There is, furthermore, serious force in the argument that an American war against Iraq might turn more Muslims against America. The war against Islamic terrorism must in large part be a war for the hearts and minds of Muslims. That is uncontroversial. The hard question is how to win this part of the war.
Some of America's critics counsel a generalised flaccidity, in the style of Mrs Megawati: keep a low profile and do nothing at all that might stir up the hornets. Others compose a list of useful chores for the superpower to take on right away, the one common feature of which is that none of them is Iraq. Solve Palestine, solve Kashmir, end world poverty, turn Muslim leaders into democrats, make the lion lie down with the lamb. Curiously, it is assumed in the case of Iraq that American intervention is pre-ordained to be incompetent and that the looked-for benefit will be outweighed by the unintended consequences. Everywhere else, American omnipotence is taken for granted. Solve Palestine? A decade of intensive American peacemaking led by Bill Clinton failed, yet it is blithely assumed that America has now merely to brandish a magic wand or big enough stick to make Israel disgorge the occupied territories it has been choking on for decades.
Even in its present muscular mood, even with its present unchallenged power, an America that is asked to do the impossible, or which promises it, is bound to disappoint. Deliver us from evil, goes the cry from every point of the globe; just make sure not to stir up any hard feelings while you're about it.
This is an impossibility. America cannot fight al-Qaeda without offending the millions of Muslims who persist in thinking that al-Qaeda has half a point. And though all the items on that list of chores matter, all require a long slog. The regional conflicts in Palestine and Kashmir are a thicket of thorns. Democracy? America can preach and nudge, but cannot at a stroke impose pluralist values on all the countries where people are denied them. In the meantime, one of the weapons America must deploy against al-Qaeda is traditional statecraft, which often entails opportunistic alliances with the sort of regimes—in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan—Americans would not choose to be governed by themselves. There may be ways to assuage some Muslim “grievances” without tipping into appeasement. But do not expect too much. The chain of causation that is said to lead from Palestine to the decision of a terrorist to murder young partygoers in Bali is not going to be easy to interrupt by making an adjustment in diplomacy.
Above all, America must not let the things which it cannot do right away stop it from doing the things that it must do right away. In the view of this newspaper, one of those is preventing Mr Hussein, a proven sociopath, from acquiring an atomic or biological bomb, and so the ability to threaten or kill millions of people. It is possible, if the UN cannot do this peacefully, that the only way to stop him is by war. It may also be possible that such a war will further inflame Muslim opinion against the West (even though millions of Iraqis will doubtless rejoice in his removal). But all of these things were true last week, before a gang of terrorists killed hundreds of innocents in Bali. How perverse it would be if that crime were to distract the world from an action that could yet save millions.

Read the whole thing.

A REVIVED KOREAN CONFLICT: A couple of thoughts:
1) How ironic - and predictable - is it that not long after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, one of Jimmy Carter's signature accomplishments - the 1994 accord with North Korea - has been publicly revealed as a fraud? Geitner Simmons has more in a wide-ranging post.
2) Andrew Sullivan is right. I'm not sure that the Clinton administration had a better option, but the effect is the same; a foreign policy turns out to have been a short-term palliative at best, with the Bush administration left to clean up the mess.
IN HIS MEMORY: Today is the seventh anniversary under the Hebrew calendar of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. I mostly agree with thisthis Jerusalem Post editorial:

[W]e believe it is both idle and disreputable to speculate what Rabin would have done had he lived. At the very least, his memory should rise above partisan squabble.
...What is inarguable is that Rabin's legacy goes beyond the potentialities, illusions, and mistakes of Oslo. It goes, rather, to his participation in the 1941 Palmah raid into Syria; his role in freeing 200 illegal immigrants at the Atlit detention camp in 1945; his role in opening the road to besieged Jerusalem in 1948; his historic tenure as chief of staff in 1967; his distinguished ambassadorship to the US; his first turn as prime minister, during which the successful raid in Entebbe was carried out in 1976; the peace he signed with Jordan in 1994. As much as Oslo, all of these heroic chapters in Israel's history are a part of Rabin's legacy, and they must not be forgotten.
What is also fairly clear is that Rabin thought of himself, above all, as a champion of Israel, and that everything he did, Oslo perhaps above all, followed from that self-conception. This is very different from being, as Peres seems to be today, a disinterested advocate of "peace" or some other supranational interest. It means making loyalty to the Jewish people in their homeland the supreme criterion, which at times might entail striking peace treaties, at other times going to war, but never putting a mere idea ahead of the flesh and blood of a single Jew.
After Rabin's assassination, as Palestinian terrorism mounted, Rabin's epigones in Labor spoke of "making sacrifices for peace," even as those sacrifices entailed hundreds of Jewish dead. But blood sacrifices for "peace" was a logic alien to Rabin. To him, ideas existed in the service of men, not the other way around.
In coming years, as hagiography gives way to history, it will be fitting for Israelis to examine Rabin's life and legacy in a colder, more sober light. And indeed, the record is far from spotless. As with other martyred statesmen, from Gandhi to Kennedy, the reality of the man never fits the storybook version, and Rabin will merit close scrutiny no less than the others. This also is to the good. And Rabin's ghost, as blunt and unpretentious in eternity as he was in life, will smile on approvingly.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

BACK TO BASEBALL: David Pinto, via STATS Inc., lists the top 10 finishers in each league in Bill James' "Win Shares."
A couple of notes on the leaders:
1) I'm surprised Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Tejada are so close; they were further apart under the short-form method of figuring Win Shares. Texas must have played as a really great hitters' park this year. I had thought that it would be a travesty to give Tejada the MVP over A-Rod; this indicates that they're closer than I thought.
2) One fascinating item in Bill James' book introducing Win Shares was a description of how often a team has the top two pitchers in the league. It happens surprisingly often, and occurred again this year in both leagues. But in the NL, Arizona had the top 3 pitchers in the league - which happens much less often.
EVEN IN THE GUARDIAN.... Clive James argues that the bombing in Bali shows the foolishness of blaming the West for the terrorist attacks it suffers - an argument bordering on heresy at the Guardian. Here, he has some choie words regarding the war on terrorism and the Arab-Israeli conflict:

On Monday morning, the Independent carried an editorial headed: "Unless there is more justice in the world, Bali will be repeated." Towards the end of the editorial, it was explained that the chief injustice was "the failure of the US to use its influence to secure a fair settlement between Israelis and Palestinians." I count the editor of the Independent as a friend, so the main reason I hesitate to say that he is out to lunch on this issue is that I was out to dinner with him last night. But after hesitating, say it I must, and add a sharper criticism: that his editorial writer sounds like an unreconstructed Australian intellectual, one who can still believe, even after his prepared text was charred in the nightclub, that the militant fundamentalists are students of history.
But surely the reverse is true: they are students of the opposite of history, which is theocratic fanaticism. Especially, they are dedicated to knowing as little as possible about the history of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. A typical terrorist expert on the subject believes that Hitler had the right idea, that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a true story, and that the obliteration of the state of Israel is a religious requirement. In furthering that end, the sufferings of the Palestinians are instrumental, and thus better exacerbated than diminished. To the extent that they are concerned with the matter at all, the terrorists epitomise the extremist pressure that had been so sadly effective in ensuring the continued efforts of the Arab states to persuade the Palestinians against accepting any settlement, no matter how good, that recognises Israel's right to exist. But one is free to doubt by now - forced to doubt by now - that Palestine is the main concern.

TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN WAR: Barry Rubin plays the game and offers some answers.
A "MEASLY, MOTH-EATEN NATION:" Steven Den Beste really dislikes France and its UN machinations regarding Iraq.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

FORGET "CROSSFIRE:" I want to see this talk show.
ON HITLER IN HISTORY AND THE PRESENT: I agree with very little of what Michael Lind writes, but he has a fascinating piece in the Washington Post on Hitler analogies:

What is at issue here is a matter of moral intelligence, not just good taste or historical accuracy. This kind of casual and unreflecting use of the Hitler smear trivializes both Hitler and the radical evil of the Holocaust.
...The Holocaust cannot reasonably be assimilated to other historical events and trends. The mass death in Cambodia under the communist regime of Pol Pot was not an episode of "autogenocide" comparable to the Holocaust; most of the victims died of a famine caused by socialist agricultural policies, which produced the same result in Mao Zedong's China and Josef Stalin's Soviet Union. The mass executions of political opponents and "class enemies" in Cambodia and other communist states were monstrous crimes, but of a kind all too familiar from the history of dictatorships and revolutions. Nor was the ethnic cleansing of Albanian Kosovars by Serbia comparable to the Holocaust. While the Serbs carried out mass executions of military-age men and mass rapes of women, they aimed to deport, not kill, most of the Albanian population. The Nazis, by contrast, sought to extinguish entire categories of people.
Common sense is missing altogether when the plagues that decimated American Indian populations after their contact with Europeans are called a "Columbian holocaust." Conquerors and traders from Europe exploited and enslaved native Americans, but they cannot be held morally culpable for spreading Old World diseases by sneezing. If they could, then Americans suffering from AIDS and West Nile virus, diseases which spread from Africa, could be called victims of an African attempt at genocide in North America.

I agree, up to a point. Lind is correct to note the influence of early 20th-century theories of eugenics on the Nazis, but he argues:

Even if there had been no Jews in Germany or German-occupied Europe, there would have been a Holocaust of some kind -- the planned, putatively "scientific" extermination of so-called "dysgenic" groups. Stigmatized by pseudoscience as literal "subhumans," homosexuals, the mentally and physically handicapped, and ethnic minorities such as Jews and Gypsies could be exterminated like animals, using methods like those used in industrial agriculture -- the cattle car, the slaughterhouse and Zyklon B, an insecticide used against crop-destroying pests.

Perhaps, but (a) it would've been on a totally different scale, and (b) Lind fails to appreciate the centrality of anti-Semitism to the Nazis program. At most, the eugenics component provided a framework; the animating principle was anti-Semitism.
Lind concludes:

It follows from all this that there should be an absolute ban on Hitler analogies in every sphere of society and every form of partisan rhetoric. Hitler should not be revived in Baghdad, or the White House, or Denver, or the Maryland suburbs, or on the "Today" show. Hitler should be left in Hell, where he belongs.

Sounds good. But the arguments prove too much. Used intelligently (and I'll stipulate that it usually isn't, including most of the examples Lind cites), the Hitler example is: (a) a useful reminder that world-threatening evil does and can exist if we are not careful, and (b) provides a useful standard for inspiring action against lesser horrors. Not for lack of trying, Saddam may not equal the depravity of Hitler. But, as Quentin Tarantino, (of all people) might say, it's "not the same thing, [but] the same ballpark."
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg has more on the subject.

MORE ON GLENN REYNOLDS' HASHEMITE FANTASY: This Jerusalem Post article argues that the U.S. should revive the old "Jordanian option" of returning the West Bank to Jordan, and sweeten the deal for Jordan by giving it the lower two-thirds of Iraq. The remainder of Iraq would become an independent Kurdistan.
Without getting into many of the problems of that scenario (especially for Turkey, which would not want an independent Kurdistan on its border), I'll just say that the scenario is extremely unlikely; the Hashemites want more Palestinians in their territory, having learned the futility of trying to deal with Arafat back in 1970. I think it's more plausible that Jordan would be willing to give up some territory as part of a new Palestinian state, if that meant they'd be able to shed Palestinians along with the territory. The article is an audacious attempt to meet some real concerns (the viability of Jordan, the inability to trust the Palestinians with a state, but unlikely to actually occur. The writer himself indicates that the idea isn't presently being considered.
PEANUT-FARMER PERSPECTIVE: VodkaPundit has an excellent summary of the record that warranted Jimmy Carter's Nobel Peace Prize. And Richard Cohen napalms the political considerations of the Nobel committee:

In their official announcement, the Norwegians -- the Peace Prize is the only one not awarded by the Swedish academy -- contrasted Carter's approach to the Iraq crisis to Bush's and then, as if no one got the point, its chairman, Gunnar Berge, told a reporter he was "unequivocally right" when he asked if the prize represented "a kick in the leg" to Bush. Unequivocally wrong! The kick was aimed a bit higher than that.
I have some questions for Berge. What if Bush is right on Iraq and Carter is wrong? What if the president's seemingly steadfast march to war mobilizes the rest of the world to finally do something about Saddam Hussein's concurrent march to acquire weapons of mass destruction? What if Bush actually gets the United Nations to enforce resolutions demanding that Iraq abide by the agreements it has signed? Who then will deserve the Peace Prize?
Or, to put it another way, what would you say, Mr. Berge, if the United States and its allies did nothing and Hussein got his hands on a nuclear weapon? What if he was then able to intimidate his neighbors or obliterate Israel, a nation where most of the population lives in two metropolitan areas? What would you say then, Mr. Berge?
In honoring Carter, the committee evoked the smugness of little powers -- the many nations whose role is to carp from the sidelines while America does the necessary business of protecting them from their own folly. In this regard, it will be a minor miracle if next year's prize does not go to French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who criticized the United States last week for its "simplistic vision of the war of good against evil."
"Young countries," Raffarin told the National Assembly, "have the tendency to underestimate the history of old countries." Oui! But old countries are sometimes world-weary and cynical, urging a "realism" that is sometimes a misnomer for the moral corruption they know so very well. I will take the idealism of the young any day.

THE DEFINITIVE HIGH-SCHOOL YEARBOOK COMPANION: Bill Simmons has the last word on yearbook quotes.
UPDATE: The column proved so popular that Simmons added more.
THE HEIR TO THE ENGLISH MR. BLAIR: Check out Tim Blair's page for important coverage of the Bali bombing. It appears that the attack may have a similar impact in Australia as September 11 did on the U.S.
THE FBI NEEDS ALL THE HELP IT CAN GET: Jim Henley is one of the best places to go for news & commentary on the D.C.-area sniper. He has two plausible suggestions to help identify the killer; click here and here to read them.
MOTHER'S MILK: If you want to read a truly heartwarming story, click here. (Via Iain Murray.)