Monday, February 14, 2005

Blasts From The Past, And Other Places Part 3

It’s a good thing the Olympics are above politics

Over the weekend an Iranian Judo champion Miresmaeili pulled out of a schedule match with an Israeli athlete stating that he could not compete because his country does not recognize Israel.

That did not stop an Algerian Muslim who faced and defeated the Israeli the following day. Because of Iran’s absolute intolerance it lost a chance to show up the one nation it hates the most. Plus the Mullahs were terrified he might lose, thus making Israel appear stronger than Iran. It is the reverse line of thinking that Hitler had for the 1936 games when he wanted to show Aryan superiority, just to be embarrassed by Jesse Ownes.

Foolish decisions like this are why Islamic fundamentalism is doomed. It’s very nature is negative.

Bring The Troops Home, From Germany

President Bush’s announcement that the 1st Infantry and 1st Armored divisions are coming home over the next few years is a great decision on two fronts.

There usefulness in Germany ended with the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1989. The new Russian army cannot put down small rebel uprisings much less take on Western Europe, so there is no reason for U.S. forces to be forward deployed in that region.

The second reason is it will teach the Germans that friendship is a two-way street. The German people who gain their living working on the bases or in other support roles are going to find themselves out of a job. Perhaps if their government had been a bit less of an obstacle to U.S. interests in the Middle East this huge redeployment would not have taken place. Italy, which has backed the U.S. and sent 3,000 troops to Iraq, is home to the 173rd Airborne Brigade as well as large naval and air facilities, will not suffer the same fate.

While this is not stark naked retribution by the Bush administration, it does slightly reveal the president’s feelings toward our erstwhile ally. After all Europe is still closer to the Middle East then the continental U.S., which should make is a simpler logistical exercise to move troops to where they are needed. (Not that this matters. It took months to deploy an Apache helicopter brigade during the Bosnia crisis so location is not everything.)

Another upside for President Bush is these units will be moved to the U.S., which will mean jobs for Americans. Never a bad thing to promise during an election year.

The removal of the 2nd Infantry from South Korea seems to fall into a different category. South Korea has been very supportive of our actions and has always been a strong ally. Our presence there has always been more a sign of good faith rather then a true defensive need. South Korea is fully capable of defending itself against any North Korean aggression, particularly in light of the fact that its northerly neighbor is all but destitute and probably incapable, and hopefully unwilling, to attack southward again. Plus the South and it is working the political side of the game in the hope of eliminating the border and again becoming one nation. This is not the time to argue the wisdom of this move.


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