Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Congressional Approval Rating at 18%

Oh my golly, just had to post this via Instapundit. According to the latest Gallup Poll, Congress' approval ratings are at 18%, with disapproval at 76%.

That's all.

Ahmadinejad Threatens America Again (yawn)

More from Iranian Presidenti Imajihadi (or whatever his name is) on the MEMRI blog:

In a speech at a Tehran conference promoting Islamic studies and culture, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that "America is facing a dangerous future" and that "the Great Satan" (i.e. the U.S.) will lose the battle.

He called on Muslim clerics to invite all humanity to the true religion, Islam.

It's a short read. Check it out.

Digg Report

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 5036 Diggs, is a link to a couple of pictures "with" and "without" flash. Hee hee.

Digg's going to change the world, the rate they're going.

Swedish Government Unhappy with Russian Trade Practices

Looks like the US isn't alone in having concerns about Russia joining the WTO. The Swedes also have some concerns:

Swedish Trade Minister Sten Tolgfors told Reuters he felt direct trade discussions with Russia were no longer productive and he had asked for EU help as he accused the Russians of failing to live up to promises on timber tariffs.

"This is the first time my government is really this outspoken and critical towards Russia," he said in an interview.

More specifically:

"I think simply that the highest leadership of Russia has not seen the linkage to the conditions for the WTO membership. So that's why the promises made by ministers have not been fulfilled," Tolgfors said.

"It's very hard for me to continue a dialogue when the agreements are not fulfilled. That's why it has to go back to the Commission and they have to handle this issue with urgency in the WTO negotiations," he said.

Once again, it's good to not stand alone.

Japan and Indian Partner Up Against China

Looks like Japan and India are stepping up to the plate to counter China's increasing economic and political influence in the region. Of course, it would be great it everyone was capitalist and just competed, but as long as China remains a command economy, there's probably some value to the US not having to be the only one shouldering the load.

A quote:

As Beijing’s influence in Asia and around the world has grown, their common interests have forced Tokyo and New Delhi to begin warming their historically chilly relationship and to start forging closer economic ties. “The key issue facing the whole region is how to accommodate the rise of China,” said Suman Bery, the director general of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, a New Delhi research group. Indian economists estimate that Japanese investment in India will reach $5.5 billion by 2011, compared with just $515 million in the 2006 fiscal year.

It won't necessarily be a rosy path, though:

Culturally and economically, Japan and India remain far apart, a fact that government officials and economists said could complicate building a stronger relationship. Speaking Monday during a meeting in a New Delhi hotel to discuss the Japanese prime minister’s visit, Mr. Bery, the director of the New Delhi research group, said Japan’s manufacturing is “state of the art,” which has “not been our strong suit.”

I wish them the best.

Russia Warns Czechs Not to Participate in Missile Defense System

Russia has told the Czech Republic that allowing a radar installation on their property as part of the European missile defense shield would be a "big mistake." Now, one would expect rhetoric like this from Russia, if it's looking to restore the expansionist goals of the Soviet Union. One wouldn't expect rhetoric like this from a Russia who has given so many conflicting signals about participating in the missile shield and who wants to pretend it's a part of the civilized world.

Some quotes:

Russia’s military chief told the Czech Republic it would be making a “big mistake” to host a U.S. missile defense shield on its soil and urged Prague on Tuesday to delay a decision until a new U.S. president is elected.

I love the bit about waiting until a new US President is elected. That could go either way, of course, although it should give the Republican party a little bit to think about when it comes to Russian relationships, should they win the election.

The missile shield is the latest in a series of moves by Moscow’s former Warsaw Pact allies to embrace NATO, effectively moving the West’s military capabilities closer to Russia.

Baluyevsky said the Czech move was a political rather than a military decision.
“In my opinion it is a great disappointment that today’s discussion sees no change in the last four months by the Czech government. You have taken a decision to continue construction of a radar site on Czech territory,” he said.

“There are unfounded allegations that Russia is attempting to disrupt the peace and tranquility of Western Europe.”

I find "unfounded allegations" a little strong in this context. Russian's been doing plenty to "disrupt the peace and tranquility of Western Europe," and has plans for much more.

Iraqis on Trial for "Brutal Crushing" of Shiite Uprising Following First Gulf War

As much as I'm glad to see these guys in court for their crimes against the Shiite uprising following the first Gulf War, I'm reminded as well of how we promised them support and then failed to follow through. They were wiped out because we failed to provide the air and other support we promised, and for that, we should be ashamed.

These guys should hang, there's no doubt. And there are some American leaders who should be hanging their heads.