Democracies Up, Violence Down Again, Media Still Blind

June 2, 2009

[First published May 30, 2005] In his May 28, 2005, op-ed piece, “Give Peace a Chance,” in The New York Times (link here), John Tierney points out:

The new edition of “Peace and Conflict,” a biennial global survey being published next week by the University of Maryland, shows that the number and intensity of wars and armed conflicts have fallen once again, continuing a steady 15-year decline that has halved the amount of organized violence around the world.

Tierney is at a loss to explain this and first looks to an economist for an explanation, which is the there is less and less to gain economically from war. And then says:

Of course, wars are also fought for noneconomic reasons, but those, too, seem to be diminishing. The end of the cold war left the superpowers’ proxy armies without patrons, and the spread of democracy made nations less bellicose. (Democracies almost never fight each other.) Mr. Easterbrook calculates that the amount of military spending per capita has declined by a third worldwide since 1985. [Easterbook here]

He has pulled aside the shade and looked out the window, but since this is the only mention of the democratic peace in the whole article, he seems unsure, if not doubting, what he has seen. Again, I will provide some of the compelling evidence in a series of charts.

The following two charts show the rapid increase in democracies and liberal democracies since 1900.

The following chart plots the overall non-freedomness of the international system per year. This is the average rating of nations per year in their degree of freedom (the higher the rating, the less freedom).

The above are based on data from Freedom House (link here)

Now, lets look at the changes in regime type, as plotted by the “Peace and Conflict” study Tierney wrote his op-ed about (link here). See below.

The anocracies are akin to partially free, authoritarian, nations. Note that in these charts around 1990 is the critical year when the number of democracies spurt up and autocracies, those lest democratic, dive down in numbers. Now, lets see what happens to violence since 1946.

All forms of violence are headed down, and the crucial years are between 1985 and 1990, which is just the time when after a continual increase (see the first three charts), the number of democracies jump up. The way to understand this is that in the late 1980s, democracies achieved a critical mass in the international system, a tipping point for violence. Decades ago I predicted this point would be reached eventually, and now it has.

The last two charts taken together well substantiate President Bush’s Forward Strategy of Freedom, that it, foster freedom to foster peace. Do you think this might have something to do with the media largely ignoring the democratic peace in action, as shown here?


Link of Note

(Spring 2004) By John Mueller

He says:

It seems to me, though, that the most reliable restraints on violent behavior—both by individuals and by states—stem from human nature. For the most part, following the Rodney King prescription, we all—or almost all—actually do really want just to get along. There certainly is a quota of jerks out there, but most people most of the time are inclined to avoid conflict— certainly violent conflict. Their key goal is to live in peace and security, and they do this in part by adopting a live-and-let-live philosophy and by sharpening their skills from a very early age for determining whom to trust and befriend.7 By and large, their instincts predispose them not to belligerence or aggressiveness or even to stand and fight, but rather to flee conflict by removing themselves from threatening situations and moving from neighborhoods that are, or seem, dangerous. What is remarkable about most societies is how small in number, indeed how little in evidence, are the police forces required to maintain acceptable order. . . .

Thus, international war has declined remarkably since 1945 even while
international anarchy continues, effectively, to flourish: no one, surely, would confuse the United Nations or other international bodies with a Hobbesian
Leviathan.

Experience suggests, then, that alarm about international “anarchy” is much
overstressed. Regulation is not normally required, and “anarchy” could become a desirable state.

So, the decrease in violence is due to human nature and learning about violence — it is a natural result of the anarchic international system.

Not only has the democratic peace brought a greater peace to nations, but it has also enabled all kinds of theories explaining this peace to flourish.


Democratic Peace
Books/articles/statistics


The Blood Of Millions On Their Hands

April 29, 2009

The Blood of Millions on Their Hands

[First published on April 19, 2005] April 30th marks 30 years since the fall of Saigon, a horror story of the treason of American leftists and communists, and the blood on their hands. Their lying and deceit, their bamboozlement of a willing media and Democrat Party, and especially their exploitation of an army of young and empty minds that fearing the draft, or aroused by communist propaganda on behalf of North Vietnam, powered their demonstrations and protests marches.

In spite of the continued public support (as polls at the time showed) for our staying the course in Vietnam, and even though the war had been in effect won militarily, the alliance between the left, communists, Democrats, and major media forced an American military withdrawal from Vietnam, and a sharp decrease in aid to the South. Without sufficient American aid and support, the South collapsed under a conventional North Vietnam military offensive, and the North occupied and absorbed what had once been a sovereign country (no, it was not a civil war, but an invasion—the North and South had never been one country). Millions were killed and murdered before the United States turned tail to run off, and after the North’s victory, the killing did not stop. Hundreds of thousands were murdered — executed outright, or dying in “re-education camps,” and in the “new economic zones.” And never forget the over a million Vietnamese that risked an awful death on the ocean to escape the communists enslavement (the Boat People), of which perhaps 500,000 never made land again.

Then there was the communist Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in April 1975 after the United States stopped all aid to its defending Lon Nol regime. Result: about 2,000,000 murdered (for one Cambodian’s story, see ”The Karma of the Killing Fields,”, and for another, see ”A Birthday wrapped in Cambodian History”).

The left seems not to care about such consequences. They opposed the war against the Afghan Taliban, and against Saddam Hussein. And even after both were defeated, in the face of terrorist attacks they wanted immediate withdrawal. I leave it to your imagination the resulting cost in blood of terrorist victories in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Michael Dickey has informed me that:

On April 30th, thousands will be marching in Washington to honor the millions of killed and subjugated people of Indochina, to thank the forgotten heroes, and to remind us of what could have been. 57,000 Americans lost their lives defending the people of South Vietnam but history has proven their cause just. South Vietnam stood alone for two years; with minor material support, it could have defended itself indefinitely, just as South Korea has for nearly 50 years. Activists and protestors have been as silent as the [millions] murdered by the Vietnamese Communist government . . . . If there is a lesson to be learned from the Vietnam War that is applicable today, it is to not abandon a people in their darkest hour.

Visit http://www.april30.org for more information.


Link of Note

”Statistics Of Vietnamese Democide: Estimates, Calculations, And Sources (1997) By R.J. Rummel

Below is a summary table (from my Death By Government) of the Vietnam war dead and murdered. The link of note above gives all the sources and estimates involved in making the table, as noted in its footnotes. Study the table and then weep. These dead were all fellow human beings.


Never Again Series


Understanding Propaganda

February 9, 2009

[First published December 4, 2005] The “Strategy Page” has an excellent classification of the many propaganda techniques employed by the major media. If you thought you knew them all, there are some surprises in the list.

If I were still teaching, I would allocate one or more techniques to each student in my class, and then require that they bring to class an example from the media’s treatment of Iraq and the War on Terror.

Here is the list from Strategy page:

The Most Successful Propaganda Techniques

November 29, 2005: A list of the most common, and successful, propaganda techniques currently in use. If  you spend any time at all consuming mass media, you will find these techniques familiar.
 
# 1. Guilt By Association: This is used to damage someone’s reputation by associating them with an unattractive person or organization. It doesn’t matter if there is an actual association or not. 
Example: Kristen said that too many people were moving into the South without the input of Americans already living there. “This land is for my grandchildren, not world wide social experiments. She lives a couple states away from where David Duke has his national office, and some think many in the region feel the way she does.
 
# 2. Backstroke: Systematically belittling the goals of the subject of the article as the goals are being listed. For every step forward for the subject, the propagandist pulls the reader back.  
Example: This year the political party’s stated goal is to give the rally a warm atmosphere. We walked into the cave-like coliseum as the preparations for the rally were taking place. “We’re trying to create a family atmosphere” said one representative of the party as he squinted into the harsh lights. “There are the children’s rides” he said happily pointing to where union workmen smashed open wooden crates with iron crowbars.
 
# 3. Misinformation: This is a subtle technique, it involves reporting information in such a way that the final message of the story is not true, it’s what the propagandist wants you to believe. Example: Recently a well known conservative tried to run advertisements in university newspapers addressing slave reparations for black Americans. The writer listed several facts which he felt demonstrated why reparations are not necessary and not fair. One of these facts was the fact that black Americans in the United States today earn, on average, around 20 times more than blacks living in Africa, and therefore, according to the author, descendents of slaves are actually far better off today than the people who remained behind.  A second author, writing about the advertisement, stated only that “the first author said that blacks were better off being slaves.”, but didn’t explain the facts the first author had shared. Imagine if you read the second author’s report and weren’t familiar with the first author’s position. You would think the first author was a monster for saying that people were lucky to be slaves! But that’s not what the first author said, he said their descendants have a lot more money now than the people still living in the original countries have.  This is misinformation, you’re given a half truth about someone’s position, and it is presented in a misleading fashion. 
 
# 4. Over Humanization: It is a perfectly valid technique to tell a story by focusing on the real people who the story impacts. However, this is also an easy technique for manipulation when a propagandist tries to mask an issue by making anyone who has a valid disagreement look evil due to all the human suffering talked about in the story. Example: Standing in the dusty desert was Juanita Lopez Camal Esquedo and her 15 hungry children. Half of the children were blind, the other half were crippled. As the smallest child, little Juanita, looked across the barbed wire fence into America, she begged her mommy for some food. Since everyone in Mexico had died of starvation, and food would never grow there again, there was nowhere else for them to go. And after all, this was the only family that wanted to come into America anyway. Just one more family.  Over humanization can be used not only with illegal immigration, but also with any other potential tear-jerker topic. 
 
# 5. Name Calling: This is officially the oldest trick in the book. It is cheap and easy. Often immigration reform activists are called anti-immigrant, people who are against state sponsored racism are called “racists” themselves. Name calling clouds and confuses issues, and when repeated by enough people on one side of an issue, creates a weight of its own, which isn’t really there, but must now be explained before the victim “may” have an opinion regarding the issue in question. Example: By saying that the population is growing too quickly, many people assumed she was a racist.
 
# 6. He Said, She Said: This is a technique whereby the author can say something they know isn’t true, or isn’t fair, but they want to say it anyway. Example: Project USA is a group which claims to support reasonable levels of immigration. They’ve put up billboards with Department of Statistics information which states that the US population will double within 50 years. The billboards have pictures of children of different races with the words “The population of the US will double within this child’s lifetime. Stop it congress”. Some people say this is hate speech.  Note: a statistic (the fact that the US population will double at current levels of immigration) cannot be hateful. This is just a numerical fact, like saying water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The author knows this is an unfair statement, but wants to say it anyway. That’s why she says “some people say”, rather than “I say”. 
 
# 7. Unproven “Facts” This is when a (usually immature) “writer” is frantically trying to “prove” a position and they begin to quote “studies”, “reports”, and “experts” as “proving” this or that, but they never mention the study’s name, location, where copies can be found, or the conditions specific to the experiments. Example: Recent studies show that the media is right 99% of the time. Also, an expert from the University of Happiness was quoted as saying “People in the media work harder than anyone who thinks they have a real job”. 
 
# 8. Lying Sometimes complete lies are told. Example: An author in Arizona writes a report which states that the reason that a local mayor decided not to use the police to enforce immigration law was because protests by a certain ethnic group scared him away from it. In actual fact, as stated by the mayor himself, the reason the police weren’t used was because no training program had been set up between the police and the INS.  Any person who was a member of said ethnic group would gain from a report like this because, if people begin to hear that “that group is really aggressive and authorities do what they say” then the power of that group is enhanced, and everyone reading the “news” will begin thinking they should always let that group have what it wants. The fact that our police need special permission to enforce some laws and not others is a topic for another discussion. 
 
# 9. Telling the Truth, For a While  To throw people off the track, biased news services will give good accurate reporting for a while, usually when it no longer matters, then they will stick it to you the next time your guard is down. The best way to recognize this technique is to simply remember who the biggest transgressors are. You must understand that if someone lies or tries to manipulate a story once, they will do so again. They will never be non-biased. They will, however, say something fair from time to time. This is due to the fact that if they were biased every time they spoke, they would soon run out of credibility. Do not trust them twice. Would you buy a car from someone who cheated you on a previous purchase just because they say something you want to hear later? 


# 10. Not Talking at all about Something  Of course the biggest recent example of this are the Moslem riots in France. The fact that the rioters were still burning more than one hundred cars EACH NIGHT was suppressed and avoided, rather we were fed the line that the riots were over. The media went days and days not reporting on the riots which were revealing the complete failure of French social, economic, and immigration policy. However, France, being a socialist country, is favored by the socialist media, so the country’s failings were not reported. When you’re aware of a major issue underway, but see no coverage on it, then you can be sure the media is against the ideas which discussing that topic would raise. 
 
# 11. Subtle Inaccuracies/Dismissive Tone Misstating a topic, often a serious one, and pretending any objecting or concerned view is silly, unrealistic, or just not necessary. Illegal immigration is a major threat to the United States. With the rapid importation of distinct, and not particularly grateful, ethnic groups who have no interest in anything American, we create division, conflict, and risk. This is a risk that will grow to overwhelm our children.  One writer used a childlike, grandmotherly tone to try to belittle and dismiss this serious topic. Her style was to write with pleasantries such as “oh, my you’ve grown, look at the happy big new population”. This is an intentional disservice to the readers and an attempt to manipulate them into not recognizing the risk they and their children face of being supplanted in their own home once and for all by foreigners, who, by the way, won’t care about you once they outnumber you. At best, this is a foolish policy. At worst, it is self destruction. In any case, it must be controlled responsibly if we are to remain masters of our own future.  This author’s method is just one way to use a dismissive tone to trick people into not recognizing the topic’s seriousness. The next time you’re reading an article which seems to speak childishly of a serious issue, you should be aware that in all probability the author doesn’t fail to understand the seriousness of the issue, rather they may be trying to further an opposing agenda. 
 
# 12. A One One Punch pretending to represent two sides, but one side gets a couple of great lines , the other side gets a lame line. Example: Tax cuts are all the rage these days, but two senators disagree on how appropriate tax cuts would be right now. Left Senator Jones says “The rich are the ones getting a cut. Who needs rich people with more money?”. Right Senator Smith doesn’t think that’s correct. He thinks only certain individuals should benefit. “The smallest number of people who enjoy this are the people with the most money” repeated Left Senator Jones. “I think that money belongs to all the people, and the best way to give out money the government collects through friendly tax raises is for the government to do it! It’s like all the people getting a raise!”, said Left Senator Jones. Right Senator Smith didn’t agree. He thought the money should reflect the people who had earned the most. When asked why Right Senator Smith felt this way he said “People have to earn a living”. Left Senator Jones said “It is precisely this attempt by Senator Smith to keep people from earning a living that I and my party oppose!”. 
 
# 13. Volume This is related to Coordination, it is merely a deluge of the same story line everywhere, until it becomes dominant, and the media’s view of it becomes the dominant view (Elian Gonzalez, Florida Recount, Poor Election Night Coverage) If you pick a topic with a strong liberal attraction, you will often find that all the “news” stories about a given current event seem to draw a similar conclusion about it. When you notice this, just ask yourself if it’s probable that, in a nation of nearly 300 million, no one has a legitimate opposing opinion. For example, does everyone think Republicans want to poison themselves and all the rest of us? Does everyone want unlimited, uncontrolled, illegal immigration to displace their children? Does everyone love working from January till May for free to pay the government taxes? No, they don’t. 
 
# 14. Coordination This occurs when a number of like minded journalists all report the same angle at about the same time. This really doesn’t require a conspiracy, there are so few “journalists”, and they can easily see what their buddies’ takes are on issues, then parrot the same line. A couple years ago we saw an article in a Southeast paper that actually addressed the damage being inflicted by uncontrolled immigration. We were shocked. Unfortunately, there followed soon after a long rose-colored story about the wonderful immigrants saving our economy (which was the magnet for their arrival in the first place) at no expense to us, written by the previously honest author, plus 5 other additional co-authors (read “thought police”). It did have a tiny list of “challenges”, which was followed by an immediate rebuttal, and altogether comprised less than five percent of the article, which among journalists passes for equal time. Magically, a very similar article appeared at the same time in a nearby regional paper written by three other authors with almost the same structure, a list of wondrous immigrants and everything was perfect about them. Did the “Censoring 5” and “The Three Amigos” just happen to telepathically think the same thing, write it, and publish it at the same time? We’ll let our readers decide the odds of Spontaneous Identical Publishing (S.I.P.) for themselves. 
 
# 15. Fogging an Issue/Total Nonsense Sometimes certain groups have an interest in making sure that as few people pay attention to an issue as possible. A good propagandist can write a long, nonsensical article for the purpose of confusing the majority of readers, who themselves work hard all day. It doesn’t take much for them to see a catchy headline, then begin to dig into a long rambling article, then throw their hands up and say “I don’t have the extra energy to decipher this!”. The reader is correct, the fault is with the propagandist. Example: The Real Reason Why We Need Tax Cuts! A lot of people want tax cuts these days. Here’s the real reason they might not be such a good idea. The social ramifications are themselves reason enough! Given a perplexing view of the real inter-generational conflict in today’s “live and let live” society, most people make the more responsible choice. This leads us to the logical question, with school budgets tight, can we afford to argue over social services? A close examination of IRS records plainly displays the fiduciary incentive for economic re-examination in a post-socialist sense.   (this article will then ramble on like this for 3 or 4 pages) 
 
# 16. 2,3,4 Technique Mentioning only one side of an issue 2, 3, or 4 times in an article, each time pretending you are about to present the opposing side, but you never do. Then the article suddenly ends and the reader feels bombarded, outnumbered and alone. In reality the opposing view is by definition held by many people, the author merely refused to present the side of the argument he or she disagrees with. Example: The decision to seal off an additional 4 million acres was a controversial one. Barbara Oaks of Centerville says “There are great advantages to sealing the area off”. Many in town feel the same way, less traffic means less pollution, less damage to the area, and less noise. However, not everyone agrees with her.  The most common complaints don’t address the additional benefits of closing the forest, such as increased education opportunities for area children. Not many opportunities like this afford themselves year round, and keeping the area closed will guarantee the educational hikes around the perimeter can continue. Many longtime residents feel that closing all 4 million acres will be a burden. But don’t tell that to Steve Longmont. “I hope they close even more” Steve told our interviewers. “There’s no good reason for heavy travel through the whole forest, and I’d like to see the place prohibited”. Several area polls show a large number of people in favor of closing the area. Keeping the forest closed is what is best for the town. 
 
# 17. Preemptive Strike This is when the writer “attacks” the reader viciously at the very outset of the article with the “acceptable” view of the topic. The writer tries to “beat it into” the reader. Example: Just a couple days ago the possible presidential run of a politician who is very pro-enforcement of immigration law was featured in an article by an East Coast paper. The article began by saying the candidate doesn’t expect to win because of this or that, and in fact doesn’t think he’ll win at all, he just wants people to talk about immigration.  Nowhere in the article did the candidate say he didn’t expect to win, or that he only wanted people to talk about immigration. In fact, the article pointed out that he had already visited Iowa 4 times in 6 months, not at all like someone who doesn’t even want to win.  At the end of the article were instructions on how to defeat this candidate. The opening attack on his seriousness as a candidate, and the closing advice on how to defeat him are classic examples of Preemptive Strike. 
 
# 18. Framing the Debate Setting an argument around two “alternatives” which you would prefer, rather than the true alternatives. Example: The debate over how much funding to give to the project continued. Some are arguing for a reduced amount, while others want to see a much higher contribution level. The needs for both a lower budget and a higher budget have been laid out and defended in the debate brochure, which all members of the decision making body have been reading over for the last three days. (Note: the correct decision was to stop the project completely, it accomplishes nothing and the people running it are stealing the money, but you weren’t offered the choice of stopping it.) 
 
# 19. Token Equal Time Sometimes a weak, tiny understatement is added to a propaganda piece, apparently so the writer can pretend they had been fair. This technique is quite common, it consists of an article written with entirely one point of view, then at the end a meager statement from the opposing view is printed, it is immediately refuted, then the article either ends or continues on with the preferred point of view. 
 
# 20. “Interpreting” A Statement Have you ever seen a writer say that someone said something, then what the person said followed, but it didn’t look anything like what the writer claimed was meant? Example: The official said that they didn’t hold anyone from the previous administration responsible for the loss. “I think we should just focus on the future” said the official. (note: he didn’t say he didn’t hold anyone from the previous administration responsible, he said we should focus on the future. See the difference?) 
 
# 21. Withholding Information Is it the same as lying? Some in the media might not want to answer that question. Recently a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles was portrayed as a “jubilant son of an immigrant” in an article. What the article didn’t mention was that he also once said “Prop 187 is the last gasp of white America in California”, he belongs to, or once belonged to, a racist separatist organization which plans to takeover the American south west for Mexico to rule, and at a recent ceremony honoring early black leaders he called one of the early union members a n***** in front of 400 black leaders. 100 people walked out of the meeting room, though it was reported as 25% in order to diminish the effect. None of this was included in the article about the “jubilant son of an immigrant”   More recently there is the example of multiple murders on private land in Wisconsin by a Hmong immigrant. In actual fact, of the six people murdered all but one were unarmed, one was a woman, shell casings were found all around the area, meaning the murderer chased his unarmed victims all around to try and kill them. The story as reported called all the victims “hunters” to conjure up the image of tough armed men in a fair fight, even though the victims weren’t “hunting” at all but were warning the killer to stay off of their private land, hence he murdered them. The upsetting details only came out long after the story was initially reported.  Are the authors of these articles lying to the public by not presenting all of the information about the stories, or are the authors so incompetent and clueless that they aren’t even aware of these major points even though they are supposed to be writing about these important stories? The authors are either liars or morons. 
 
# 22. Distracting or Absurd Metrics With this technique, the writer attempts to drag the reader into a debate about what the reader is even seeing. This is usually used when the propagandist is falling behind and must hurry to destroy correct understanding of events. Example: During the French riots many writers began arguing about the number of cars burned and whether the number still “indicated” riot levels. In other words, let’s argue about what a riot is, and when you have enough destroyed cars, we’ll talk. Meanwhile, you’re discussing burnt cars and not the ongoing riots.


What? There actually is Censorship?

February 4, 2009

[First published February 16, 2005] I have called for the censorship of the media on the War on Terror, particularly the Iraq Battle, Highly secret information has been published for all the read, including our enemies. This has caused considerable outrage among bloggers: To give you a sample:

“Rummel . . . now “suggests destroying the First Amendment and the inalienable right to freedom of speech.” (link here)

“Last month R.J. Rummel . . . “announced that because so many libertarians oppose the Iraq war, he is no longer a libertarian but a ‘freedomist.’ This week we learned one of the differences between the two philosophies: freedomists don’t want a free press” (link here)

“Yet, apparently he doesn’t want “freedom for the media. That damn media, always getting in the way of the fight for freedom. What happens if the media isn’t censored now? Well…” (link here)

Interesting, that so many of those reacting to my call seem unaware of the actual censorship of the media. One would think that the media was able to print or say anything, and I was trying to initiate censorship. No way. As the link below illustrates, free speech is not free, and for publishing certain things the media is punished by the government. I am only trying to sensibly protect our soldiers and pursue our war on terrorism by restricting the media from giving “aid and comfort” to our enemies (part of the Constitution’s definition of treason in Article III, Section 3).

Of interest is why there is a large group of intelligent readers who don’t know or understand that the media is already censored. Could it be that they know this, but it is just that their loose rhetoric belies it. Or, they are just not thinking—not connecting the dots? Or maybe, there sense of proportion and importance is challenged. Well, I’ll leave this to the sociology of knowledge people, and simply say that I would rather preserve military secrets and sensitive information from the enemies of freedom than protect adults and children from seeing a raw, uncovered, naked female mammary gland.


Link of Note

”House Poised to OK Indecency Fine Increase” (2/16/05) By Genaro C. Armas

“A bill with strong bipartisan support would boost the maximum fine for indecency from $32,500 to $500,000 for a company and from $11,000 to $500,000 for an individual entertainer. . . . The Federal Communications Commission . . . has stepped up enforcement of the indecency statute, perhaps most notably with a $550,000 fine against CBS for its 2004 Super Bowl broadcast that included Janet Jackson’s breast-baring “wardrobe malfunction.” Radio personality Howard Stern also has been a frequent target.

“Fines for indecent programming exceeded $7.7 million last year. Four years ago, FCC . . . fines totaled just $48,000.”


The Washington Post Exhibits Its Leftism to China

December 30, 2008

[First published March 15, 2005] Recently, Philip Bennett, Managing Editor of The Washington Post, was interviewed by Yong Tang, People’s Daily Washington-based correspondent ( interview here). The biased leftism disclosed by Bennett is chilling and dangerous when one considers that we are at war, that he is speaking to the Chinese ruling thugs and people, and that China supports the terrorists and the other anti-democratic thugs of the world. So far, the media comments on the interview, including by conservatives, have not really caught much of what I find damning. So, I am quoting below the most revealing parts of the interview. I am not including the questions by Yong, unless necessary for understanding Bennett’s answer. I have tried to keep quotations in context so that they will not be misleading.

Bennett: The world image of US is so clearly linked to its foreign policy and particularly its policy toward Iraq and Middle East, say its support of HYPERLINK “http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/data/israel.html”Israel and its occupation of Iraq. . . . Another source of the resentment is the perception that Bush administration wants to act unilaterally in the world, outside of alliance that traditionally governed the ways Bush made foreign policy decisions.

RJR: A perception for which Bennett’s management of the news is partly responsible.

Bennett: The Bush administration believes that there isn’t a contradiction between defending its self-interest and promoting friendly and democratic regimes. Because they believe that promoting those kinds of governments would make the world more friendly to the US and therefore it is in the interest of America to do that.

RJR: He just does not understand the Bush foreign policy. True, democracies will be friendlier to the U.S., but the basic drive of the policy is that it will promote peace and an end to terrorism.

Yong Tang: Since the standard is not applied equally in the world, it is damaging Bush’s effort to promote the so-called democracy, isn’t it?

Bennett: If you look around the world in strategically important places, is the US actively engaged there promoting democracy or not? I don’t think there is much evidence that promoting democracy is what the US is doing. It is what it says it is doing.

RJR: My God, how can he not see what Bush has done in, or regarding, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Lebanon, Egypt, and Indonesia?

Bennett: No, I don’t think US should be the leader of the world. . . . I also think it is unhealthy to have one country as the leader of the world. That is also a sort of colonial question. The world has gone through colonialism and imperialism. We have seen the danger and shortcomings of those systems. If we are heading into another period of imperialism where the US thinks itself as the leader of the area and its interest should prevail over all other interests of its neighbors and others, then I think the world will be in an unhappy period.

RJR: He simply does not understand that if the U.S. does not lead, some other country or countries will, such as France and Germany, or even China as her power grows. He also shares the view of many on the left about U.S, imperialism.

Yong Tang: So the world order should be democratic?

Bennett: Democracy means many things. How do you define democracy? As a Chinese journalist, you may have your own definition of democracy which corresponds to your history and your way of seeing the world. I may have another definition. Someone else may have their own definitions. Democracy means a lot of different things. . . . So democracy is not a cure that could turn everything bad into good. It has its own advantages and its disadvantages.

RJR: There you have it. Hardly an encouragement to democratic forces in China

Bennett: We have a little bit different roles in newspapers compared with our counterparts in Europe and other countries. We don’t have any political point of view that we are trying to advance. We don’t represent any political parties. We are not tied to any political movement. On the news side of the paper we try not to give opinions.

RJR: Typical we-just-report-the-news view of the liberals and leftists who run the major American media.

Bennett: One of the jobs of our correspondents in Baghdad is to tell our readers what the Bush administration is trying to hide. Bush says democracy is advancing in Iraq, but our correspondents say the situation there is much more complex than that. Our job is to put that in the public domain and challenge the government and hold them accountable.

The government of the US is becoming much more secretive, much more hostile to the press in terms of giving us access to the information. So a lot of what we do here is to fight for access to the information that we think the public should have. . . .It is true that in the areas of national security many more things are becoming secrets since after 9/11. So it is a big thing for The Washington Post to be the first major newspaper in America to publish the pictures about the Iraqi Abu Ghraib prisoners abuse scandal. . . . So our reporters are trained, encouraged and supported in going out and finding things that the government is trying to hide from the public. That is a lot of what we do.

RJR: So, he wants to, in effect and blindly, act as the intelligence service for the enemy.

Bennett: Where the news gathering part of the Post failed was to be sufficiently skeptical about the administration’s claims that there are weapons of mass destructions in Iraq. . . . For me, this episode is a good example of how difficult it is to independently verify the government’s claims when the government is lying to you. . . .

RJR: This is one of the most prevalent and enduring mantras among the left. I’ve heard and read virtually all of Bush’s speeches on foreign policy, and he did not lie. He said what he believed, based on intelligence reports to him from not only the CIA, but the intelligence services of other democracies. Moreover, we are now finding out that indeed there was WMD in Iraq that Hussein had removed just before our invasion.

Bennett: Neither The Washington Post, nor The New York Times, nor any other big newspapers, refer to China today as a dictatorship regime. We don’t use these words on the paper any more. Now we say China is a communist country only because it is a fact. China is ruled by the Communist party. . . . On the contrary, we are trying to understand the complexity of China. . . . There are many things happening now in China. Sometimes it is extraordinarily contradictory because it is a big country and it is a country which includes many things happening at the same time.

RJR: Freedom house rates China among the worst in political rights and just below worst in civil liberties for 2004. Its thugs judicially execute more of its subjects than any other regime (from which still warm bodies they harvest the organs for top officials or for sale); return to Kim Jong Il’s hands thousands of poor North Koreans who have escaped from his border to border prison, many to be executed; beat, torture, and kill those who just want to exercise their religion; and allow no freedom of political speech. Moreover, they rule by conquest Tibet, Sinkiang (sovereign and independent as The Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkistan until invaded by communist forces in 1950), and all of Manchuria, never fully part of China until taken over by the communists.

Bennett: When I went to China, I felt I was seeing into the future. I think it is a deeply fascinating country. Every time when I go there, I see and learn things that I never expect to see and learn. It is a country with such beauty and potential. I also think how China resolve the challenges it face today will be a major force to decide the future of the planet . . .

I was very impressed by the degree of preparation, engagement, knowledge and vision that they [ruling thugs] have of China and China’s role in the world. There is no more complex job in the world in trying to run and administer a country so big with so many different issues, with people living in good wealth and poverty as well. The job is much more difficult than being an American President though they are different jobs in some ways.

RJR: Yes, you know, not much difference between a communist thug whose rule depends on his henchmen’s guns, and a democratically elected president, whose leadership depends on the support of the people. They are just “different jobs in different ways.” Deep sigh.


Link of Note

”China Puts Threat to Taiwan Into Law” (3/14/05) By Philip P. Pan, The Washington Post

BEIJING, March 14 — China enacted a law Monday authorizing the use of force against Taiwan if it moves toward formal independence, codifying its long-standing threat to attack the island. The measure could provoke a popular backlash in Taiwan and quickly unravel recent progress in cross-strait relations.

The National People’s Congress, the ruling Communist Party’s rubber-stamp parliament, approved the anti-secession law by a vote of 2,896 to 0, with two abstentions, defying U.S. appeals for restraint and strong protests by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian as well as some of his political rivals.

It is interesting to follow up the Post’s Managing Editor’s interview above with the papers’ treatment of the latest move by China’s ruling Hu Jintao. Pan does mention that the “law” was passed by the China’s rubber-stamp parliament (which some media do not mention), but the rest of the article’s tone gives more meaning to the “law” than it deserves. This is not a law in a democratic sense. It is not something passed by an elected legislature that governs the people and government. It is, pure and simple, a tool for misleading its own subjects and the world, and to lay down a marker to the United States and Taiwan. No law as we understand it governs China. In place of law are only communist party dictates that its thugs can violate or change as they will.