Archive for September, 2010

THE GLOBAL TEA PARTY?

September 30, 2010

Henry Olsen, vice president at AEI, has commented in The Weekly Standard on the center-right victory in Sweden’s September 19, 2010. Sweden has been the northern light of liberals and the pole star of US congressional progressives. The social democrats (SAP) with their communist and environmental friends were defeated. It is an unprecedented success worldwide for conservative parties. Olsen incorrectly states that it was an unexpected victory. It was not. Opinion polls since August 2010 predicted defeat for the Left.

The Global Tea Party (center-right victories all over Europe) is promising for the GOP in November. The Republicans can ride on a wave of populism and fiscal conservatism to victory. GOP could look to foreign counterparts for lessons in how to manage the campaign in October 2010.

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US FOILED TERROR ATTACK IN EUROPE

September 29, 2010

AP has reported that a commando-style terror plot in multiple European cities has been stopped. US drone in Pakistan saved Europe this time.

The plan is said to have included attacks on hotels in London and in cities in France and Germany. The plotters are said to have been of Pakistani or Algerian origin and trained in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The model seems to have been the 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, in which armed gunmen killed more than 200 people in coordinated attacks at hotels and other easily accessed venues.

The US has stepped up drone strikes in Pakistan. More than 20 strikes this month represent a monthly record.

Al Qaeda has moved outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan to other countries such as Somalia and Yemen in its operations.

The drone strikes are a product of precise intelligence and precise weapons. We’ve been hitting targets that pose a threat to our troops in Afghanistan and terrorists plotting attacks in South Asia and beyond.

The French ban on burqa-style Islamic veils in France may have been the reason for planned attacks against France.

CAN POLITICAL WAR TOPPLE THE NORTH KOREAN REGIME?

September 29, 2010

Christopher Whiton’s article for Fox News (September 27, 2010) is an excellent analysis. Whiton asks how the foreign ministries will react to the meeting of North Korean leaders.

The author of the article stated:

Kim Jong Il’s third son, Kim Jong Eun, is expected to be named as successor. The son himself is only in his 20s and has never been observed playing a major role in Pyongyang politics.

More nuclear talks will probably be futile. America and its allies have other options. The apparent fragility of the succession offers clues to a better strategy than nuclear talks:

political warfare aimed at helping the North Koreans to topple the regime.

UKRAINIAN-AMERICANS WON’T MEET WITH UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT

September 28, 2010

Around 200 Ukrainian-Americans in New York took to the streets on September 22, 2010, to protest President Viktor Yanukovych’s policies. Ukrainian-American organizations in the U.S. also rejected Yanukovych’s invitation to meet with him.

Before the visit to America the Yanukovych administration sought to appease Ukrainian-Americans. The president wrote a letter to UCCA, a leading organization in the United States.

The web section on the Holodomor, the Stalin-ordered famine of 1932-33 that killed millions of Ukrainians, had been removed from the official presidential website after Yanukovych’s inauguration in February 2010. But it mysteriously re-appeared in an edited version – albeit without reference of the famine as an attempted genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Some parts of the president’s letter upset UCCA:

We understood that there is no sense to meet with Viktor Yanukovych. The president has not yet answered the list of grievances that the World Congress of Ukrainians presented to him at the meeting in June 2010 despite his promise.

Askold Lozynskyj, a New York attorney and prominent Ukrainian-American:

Yanukovych promised to solve museum problems in Ukraine, but he did not. Instead he let Mr. Soldatenko, a Communist Party leader, play a prominent role in the matter. He never gave up his party membership card and also denies the Holodomor was an act against Ukrainians and talks in a derogatory way about the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which fought for Ukrainian national independence through the mid-20th century, and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Instead of accepting Yanukovych’s invitation for a meeting, Ukrainian-Americans took to the streets of New York with slogans, like “Ukraine’s sovereignty is not for sale,” “Russian fleet – out of Ukraine,” “Impeach Yanukovych,” “Worse than Kuchma,” “No slavery for Ukraine.”

Many analysts said that Yanukovych’s attempts to appease Ukrainian communities abroad derive from his administration’s worries of their influence on Western governments.

But influence aside, the mere fact that the Ukrainian president has to face a demonstration anywhere he goes in the West, generates critical public attention.

POLISH PRESIDENT HONORS NKVD VICTIMS IN KHARKIV, UKRAINE

September 27, 2010

On September 25, 2010, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov laid flowers at a memorial placque in Kharkiv. It was at a site of a former inner prison of NKVD, where Polish officers were executed.

Komorowski was in Ukraine to honor the memory of Polish officers, who were tortured in Kharkiv’s prisons and concentration camps.

Present were Ukrainians, Russians and representatives of other peoples who became the victims of Stalinist repression in the 1930s and 1940s.

DOES SWEDEN NEED ELECTORAL SUPERVISION?

September 26, 2010

It started before the Swedish election on September 19, 2010. Denmark’s two government parties, the liberals and the conservatives, proposed to send election observers to Sweden to monitor the balloting. The reason was that Channel TV4 in Sweden had refused to show the commercials of the Sweden Democrats, the anti-immigration party.

It would, they said, be appropriate to send observers to the Swedish elections . A leading Danish government representative said that he would discuss it with the Council of Europe member states if Sweden would in one form or another be put under surveillance, so that democracy could be secured.

The Swedish parties rejected all forms of election control. They claimed Sweden was an open and stable democracy.

With extensive election irregularities that occurred in Sweden in the aftermath of the election in September it might have been prudent to have had Danish election observers.

The Stockholm tabloid Expressen on September 26, 2010, cited the following cases:

In Arvika, Varmland province, invalid ballots were left in an open plastic bag instead of a sealed security bag stipulated by the rules.
Also in Varmland other votes were left in unsealed envelopes.

In Visby, Gotland province, the election room was unattended during the recount of ballots . A man and his daughter came into an empty room where the ballots were kept.

In Halmstad, Halland province, several hundred votes were locked in a vault and forgotten.

In Leksand, Kopparberg province, 1,000 votes were forgotten at a gas station and were therefore not counted on election night .

A serious problem was that in many parts of the country voters could not vote because their names had already been checked in the election register.

If the center-right alliance had won a majority by a wide margin these mistakes may never had been noticed. Instead the vote was very close and the Alliance lost majority by only two seats – one in Varmland province and one in Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg – with only seven and 19 votes. As a result over 25 appeals have been lodged.

The Swedish parliament has 349 seats. Of these 310 are so-called permanent seats . In the distribution of those seats the small parties are disadvantaged. The province of Gotland, for instance, an island in the Baltic Sea, has only two seats. These are always awarded to the largest parties, this year the social democrats and the conservatives.

To correct the imbalance a further 39 seats, so-called compensatory seats exist, where the parties most negatively affected by the system of the permanent seats are compensated. As the new party, the Sweden Democrats, received 20 of the compensation seats there proved to be too few compensation or adjustment seats. The Election Law had not provided for new parties entering the parliament.

It seems indeed as if Sweden would need election supervisors from the Council of Europe if there are new elections in three provinces affected by the irregularities.

WIKILEAKS INTERNAL CONFLICT

September 26, 2010

Wikileaks has according to the Stockholm tabloid Expressen on September 26, 2010, had another defection.

It is the site’s German spokesman leaving fighting with founder Julian Assange .

There is great resentment against Assange and more group members will leave. Wikileaks has been severely damaged by the rape accusations against the Australian leader in Stockholm. Now it seems to be time for a new setback.

Daniel Schmitt, the spokesman in Germany says that he has decided to leave. The quarrel has been over what documents to publish. Assange accused Schmitt of disobeying him and that he was disloyal to the project. Schmitt’s real name is Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

UKRAINE, THE WEST AND RUSSIA

September 24, 2010

On September 23, 2010, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych sdaid the his country is determined to join the European Union as reported in Wall Street Journal Europe. On the other he claimed that strong ties with Russia were needed too guarantee strong energy supplies which also was of interest to the West. This meant that Ukraine would be a bridge between Europe and Russia.

Comment: Ukraine’s geopolitical location makes it important to the West. Much depends on if there really will be a policy of balance of Ukraine. Russia is geographicall closer to both Europe and of course the United States. Much depends on Russia’s willingness to lessen its antagonism in relation to the West. It would be more natural for Russia to turn to the West than to the Asian mainland with its growing superpower China. On the way to the United States in September 2010 Yanukovych met with EU leaders to discuss initial steps to join as member. A summit is planned for November which is good. Ukraine also negotiates av free-trade agreement with the EU.

The signing of a deal with Russia to continue the naval presence on Ukraine’s territory has been rightly opposed in the West. As long as Russia does not send strong signals of closer ties with the West the treaty on Sevastopol is questionable at least. Other deals could probably have been made between Ukraine and Russia.

European integration is, according to the president, an important instrument to modernize the country, to bring it closer to modern standards. One can only hope the president is serious on this matter.

Mr. Yanukovych acknowledged that there were internal problems in Ukraine. He ought to emphasize more strongly protection of freedom of speech in the country. There has been a number of disturbing signs that media is not allowed to criticize his government.

GEOSTRATEGY OF UKRAINE

September 24, 2010

Since the election in February 2010 of President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine the geostrategic question has been: is Ukraine moving closer to Russia or is the European integration continuing. There are well grounded fears that the momentum of Ukraine’s political and economic reforms will be lost in the coming four years.

It is critical that the United States and Europe continue to engage Ukraine. Meanwhile it is necessary to check if Ukraine’s domestic policies have changed since February 2010.

Is Ukraine continuing on the path to a stable parliamentary democracy?

How well is the country’s economy after the financial crisis that began in 2008?

How should the United States and the EU organize its policy toward Ukraine?

Some of these questions will be treated more in detail during the fall of 2010 on the Global Civil War blog.

U.S. SOLAR-POWERED SPYPLANE IN THE WORKS

September 23, 2010

Boeing’s SolarEagle spyplane is unmanned, solar-powered and can fly for five straight years without stopping. On September 20, 2010, Fox News reported on this important breakthrough.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has reached an agreement with Boeing to create and operate this amazing solar-powered spyplane. The SolarEagle will be constructed under an $89 million contract, aiming to make its first demonstration flight in 2014.

Boeing’s Phantom Works says:

“SolarEagle is a uniquely configured, large unmanned aircraft designed to eventually remain on station at stratospheric altitudes for at least five years.”

To enhance its capabilities and design, the aircraft will have highly efficient electric motors and propellers — and a funky, 400-foot wingspan for increased solar power and aerodynamic performance.

Several other unmanned prototypes are in the works as the Pantom Ray, a fighter to make its first flight in 2011. It will be hydrogen-powered and designed to stay in the air for up to four days.