Foreign Policy

Here’s the Real Poop on Civic-Minded Seattle

With the weighty issues of Iraq, the war on terror, Terri Schiavo and Pope John Paul II occupying the minds of many Americans, I would like to discuss a lighter topic, one that is nonetheless still relevant to life in Seattle: canine waste matter.

That’s right, dog poop.

Every morning, I walk my dogs and — in an attempt to retrieve what they leave behind — cautiously step into grassy minefields of dog poop so thoughtlessly uncurbed by other dog owners, I think about the vaunted and reputed civic-mindedness of Seattleites.

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High Time for Confronting North Korea

During Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s trip through Asia last week, the North Korean nuclear threat was the major topic of discussion, particularly in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo. In the months preceding the trip, North Korea had raised the stakes in the increasingly tense standoff by officially declaring that it indeed possessed nuclear weapons. In response, Rice put forth the Read More ›

Honoring a True Martyr for Freedom in Iraq

Gamal al-Alusi was born to Iraqi exiles in Germany and grew up in Hamburg. One of his longtime German friends described Gamal as an intelligent young man who liked to play basketball and take flying lessons. He was also social and humorous, and served as a peacemaker among his friends.

Like other teenagers, he sneaked around with his girlfriends behind his traditional parents and had future plans that changed from week to week. As is also fashionable among many European youths, his political views during early years were characterized by the friend as being “radical” and even “anti-American.”

Nevertheless, Gamal apparently felt having a “normal” job in Germany would not give him the satisfaction of having done something meaningful with his life. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, he left Germany and went to Iraq with his father, Mithal al-Alusi, an Iraqi native who had been a vocal critic of the Ba’ath regime.

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Operation Paul Bunyan 2?

North Korea is at it again. After the armistice of 1953 that “ended” the Korean War, North Korea’s communist regime continued to harass South Korea as well as the American forces stationed there to protect South Korea. These efforts to destabilize South Korea and drive away the US forces from the Korean Peninsula intensified during the Vietnam War. While President Read More ›

Urge to Rant Propelling Blogs to Status of Mainstream Media

I recently attended my first “Blogger Bash” hosted by Andrew MacDonald of Sound Politics, intended as a gathering of all Puget Sound area bloggers. As someone new to the world of blogs — shorthand for “Web logs” — the event offered some insights into this new alternative media phenomenon. Blogging has received much attention lately. Names like RealClearPolitics, Instapundit and Read More ›

China’s Strategic Direction

Much was made about “people power” and the coming of democracy to Central Asia when the repressive government was toppled by street protests in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. While I am a firm believer in the great power of freedom, and predicted a successful Iraqi election, I am uncertain whether such optimism is warranted in Central Asia. What Read More ›

How to Define Success in the War on Terror

“What is success?”

So asked a senior federal law-enforcement official at a recent meeting I attended in Washington, D.C. The context was the war on terrorism.

This was not a rhetorical question. The official was mulling over how to measure success in the counter-terror war. He seemed uncertain and appeared to be seeking an answer for himself.

What he did know, however, was that whatever success may be in such a war, domestic law enforcement — by itself, in any case — was not enough.

One significant difficulty is that the culture of law enforcement does not lend itself neatly to dealing with strategic-intelligence issues. Long having been rewarded for “cracking” individual cases and presenting glossy press conferences, law enforcement has been confounded by a murky environment in which to “catch them in the act” is not only extraordinarily difficult, but can also represent a fatally late failure.

To deter terrorists from launching attacks is better than catching them in the act, but as the official asked, “How do we know whether what we do has a deterrence effect?” In other words, how do we know if our homeland-security measures actually deterred attacks — for there have been none since 9/11 — or have the terrorists merely been waiting and preparing for the “right moment” to strike again?

In the absence of hard, measurable data, the official considered the effects of our protective efforts to be marginal at best — psychologically reassuring to the public at large, perhaps, but not particularly central to the core issue of combating terrorists.

So preemption has been offered as the more-effective solution. Since passive, defensive measures alone cannot possibly protect against every single terrorist attack, taking the fight to the terrorists before they can carry out their plans has become more attractive and acceptable.

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Draft Rumor Targets Supposedly Gullible College Students, Says Volunteer Military Advocate

SEATTLE, OCT. 22 — “The most potent campaign rumor of the year is the web-induced claim that if re-elected Bush President will reinstitute the draft,” says Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute and a pioneer in the 1960s movement to institute an all-volunteer military. “It’s potent, but it is also false.” “Whether the Kerry camp originated the story or simply Read More ›

We Can Fight Terrorism by Fostering Free Debate

Israelis understand terrorism well. Long before 9/11 and Beslan, Israelis experienced unrelenting terrorist attacks for decades, including hijackings, suicide bombings and attacks on children. Nothing that we experience today is new to them. They live in a world of guards outside every restaurant, market and bus stop, guards who check bags for explosives. During my trip to Israel to attend Read More ›