If only we had known that Facebook and Twitter was swifter and more effective in toppling tyranny and spreading freedom. Maybe we would have lost fewer young American lives occupying two obstinate Middle Eastern countries.
Mubarak may be leaving but he will not be leaving anytime soon. Scott Horton suggests the reason:
So why is Mubarak trying to squeeze a few more months out of his three-decade career in office and avowing his intentions to stay in Egypt rather than packing for the Riviera? It may be because exile isn’t what it used to be; over the last 30 years, things have gotten increasingly difficult for dictators in flight. Successor regimes launch criminal probes; major efforts are mounted to identify assets that may have been stripped or looted by the autocrat, or more commonly, members of his immediate family.
The Holy Scriptures warn us of false messiahs promising “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. However, the Good Book says precious little about folks who receive Nobel Peace prizes when they have no peace accomplishments to merit it. President Obama has been awarded this honor after a mere nine months on the job, with America embroiled in two land wars and, most recently, having just bombed the moon. The event is rich with irony. But our President accepted the award with appropriate humility and understood it as a reminder of what he has yet to be accomplished, rather than a metric of “mission accomplished” achievements to quote his Nobel-prizeless predecessor. Whether Obama’s over-the-top apologetic rhetoric on foreign soil has emboldened terrorists remains to be seen. What is certain is his turning sabre-rattling into multilateral cooperation has at least emboldened our European allies. Which after the last eight years , is worth, at least, an honorable mention.
That Darwinian missing link which connects man and monkey seems ever-elusive. But scientists have uncovered the latest set of old bones, that with the diligent help of cg artists can be covered with tell-tale fur so it can look as chimplike as it does human. The funny thing about the latest in our “scientific discoveries” is that it is looking more and more as though our ancestors weren’t the knuckle-dragging chimpanoids that the old evolutionary charts used to serve up. And I can’t help but observe that old “ardi” looks quite humanlike except for all the …umm…monkey hair that the artist renditions insist on adding. Is it just me or is this evolution thing starting to look like so much monkey business? Time Magazine explains:
The elusive common ancestor’s bones have never been found, but scientists, working from the evidence available — especially analyses of Australopithecus and modern African apes — envisioned Great-Great-Grandpa to have looked most nearly like a knuckle-walking, tree-swinging ape. But “[Ardi is] not chimplike,” according to White, which means that the last common ancestor probably wasn’t either. “This skeleton flips our understanding of human evolution,” says Kent State University anthropologist C. Owen Lovejoy, a member of the Middle Awash team. “It’s clear that humans are not merely a slight modification of chimps, despite their genomic similarity.”
The elections in Lebanon were a very pro-western surprise. People are calling it the Obama Effect.
…President Bush with his Axis of Evil bluster has been replaced by President Obama with his clear diplomatic message of resolve and hope. It seems as though an American President may be affecting the Iranian elections again, this time positively. From the recent polls it looks like Ahmadinejad is in trouble. His main opponent, Hussein Moussavi, is a reformist who is running an Obama style campaign attracting a huge youth surge. Moussavi stands for equal rights for women and decries Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy as “adventurism, illusionism, exhibitionism, extremism and superficiality.” In this election, Obama appears to be helping the candidate who is real relations to America. The American President is a role model instead of a straw man.
Likewise in Lebanon. As the New York Times reports, until recently it seemed as though the Iranian backed Hezbollah party would win the majority. Now it looks as though the coalition that is more favorable to America will retain power.
The New Republic has an interesting take on the Cairo speech:
Obama’s Cairo speech had a misleading quality to it. The president was speaking the rhetoric of Reagan, while intending to execute the policy of George H. W. Bush. Conveying the image of an emotional, forthcoming, and understanding bridge-builder, he is actually a cautious and calculated leader, wanting to scale down America’s foreign policy–back to the days when “interests” were king, not “ideologies.” Obama is a new type of the old “realist.” He is a realist with feelings–one that can naturally combine a call for halting Iran’s nuclear weapons because of “America’s interests” (and others’) with his personal story of “an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama.”
Obama goes to the Egypt. Bin Laden comes out of the woodwork.
The al-Qaeda leader’s remarks, aired on Wednesday by Al Jazeera television, came a day after comments by his deputy who described Mr Obama as a criminal and warned Muslims not to fall for his polished words.
Their statements marked a concerted al-Qaeda propaganda drive to pre-empt a major speech to the Muslim world that the US president is due to deliver in Egypt on Thursday.
“Obama and his administration have planted seeds for hatred and revenge against America,” the Saudi-born bin Laden said in the audio recording.
Okay, nobody has accused Obama of having a shortage of gray matter. But, wow! His first televised interview, he does for Arabic television. And he can say that members of his family are Muslim, and that he grew up in Muslim countries. All the stuff that didn’t play well in West Virginia, gives this guy a leg up in the West Bank. Hopefully, this does more than reduce the flag burnings. Hopefully, it helps reshape the globe. Yes we can.
After jetting the globe, helping heal the Northern Ireland divide, facing down steroids in major league baseball and accomplishing great things in general, George Mitchell will now be the special envoy to the Middle East. Looks like Mitchell’s good luck is about to change.
A Jew prays for the children of Gaza:
Almighty who makes exceptions, which we call miracles, make an exception of the children of Gaza. Shield them from us and from their own. Spare them. Heal them. Let them stand in safety. Deliver them from hunger and horror and fury and grief. Deliver them from us, and from their own.
Restore to them their stolen childhoods, their birthright, which is a taste of heaven.
Remind us, O Lord, of the child Ishmael, who is the father of all the children of Gaza. How the child Ishmael was without water and left for dead in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba, so robbed of all hope, that his own mother could not bear to watch his life drain away.
Be that Lord, the God of our kinsman Ishmael, who heard his cry and sent His angel to comfort his mother Hagar.
Be that Lord, who was with Ishmael that day, and all the days after. Be that God, the All-Merciful, who opened Hagar’s eyes that day, and showed her the well of water, that she could give the boy Ishmael to drink, and save his life.
New York Times reports:
In Damascus, President Sarkozy met with President Assad after holding earlier talks in Egypt and discussions with Israeli leaders and Palestinian officials in the West Bank. Hamas is headquartered in Syria, and Mr. Assad is key ally of both Hamas and the Islamist Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. There was no immediate indication that the French leader had secured a commitment from Mr. Assad to put pressure on Hamas.
After talks with Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Assad said that Israeli leaders “have not learned the lessons of the war in Lebanon” in 2006 when Hezbollah emerged politically strengthened from a bruising battle with Israel.
“Israel is falling into the same trap again and the Israelis will pay the highest price,” Mr. Assad said, calling the Israeli offensive a “war crime.”
Mr. Sarkozy said the violence “must stop immediately, as soon as possible.”
Money cannot do it. Machetes cannot do it. UN peacekeepers cannot do it. Africa’s problems are God-size. At least, that is the opinion of Matthew Paris, who, very inconveniently, happens to be an atheist:
Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
Well, clearly George W. Bush learned one thing from Ronald Reagan: to duck. Today in Iraq, the outgoing U.S. presdient was assailed by a shoe-wielding Iraqi reporter. While some pundits have interpreted the attack as a pointed critique on the Bush Doctrine, White House officials have assured us that it is simply another example of America being greeted as liberators. “When they can’t throw confetti,” a spokesman explained, “They improvise.” God bless you, Mr. Bush.