Kerry Crosses Picket Line In Chicago

In what appears to be yet another flip-flop, John Kerry reportedly crossed a picket line in Chicago to speak at a Rainbow-PUSH meeting, Instapundit reports this evening:

Northwestern Univ. Law Professor James Lindgren sends this email:

As the New York Times reported yesterday, John Kerry refused to cross a picket line on Monday in Boston to speak to the National Conference of Mayors. He was quoted as saying on Sunday night: “‘I don’t cross picket lines,’ he said. ‘I never have.'”
Yet this morning (Tuesday) in Chicago Kerry spoke at the annual meeting of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, which was being very actively picketed by a labor group, Voices of Morality (VOM). VOM is leading a labor discrimination protest against Daimler-Chrysler (the signs that the picketers were holding looked very much like ones in pictures on the VOM website). Jackson and the PUSH conference were being targeted because, according to a local Chicago ABC TV news report, Jackson has ties to Daimler-Chrysler. The reporter referred to the PUSH coalition conference as one on “labor,” but neither the official text of the Kerry speech nor the PUSH website lists that as the topic of the conference, though of course PUSH is best known nationally for its labor activities–picketing corporations and negotiating financial deals with them.

Sure enough, Chicago’s ABC station confirms the professor’s report in an exclusive story on its website:

While Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry addressed education during a speech at Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, critics of Daimler-Chrysler picketed outside the building.
Reverend Jackson is trying to help Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry connect with African American voters and this year’s Rainbow PUSH conference provided a perfect venue. But Kerry’s appearance this morning was overshadowed by a crowd of black activists. They’re angry at Jackson for allowing an allegedly racist auto company to underwrite a portion of the [Rainbow-PUSH] conference.
“The black vote is not for sale. The black vote is not for sale,” chanted the demonstrators.
Nearly a hundred African American demonstrators protested outside the Rainbow-PUSH convention. They accuse the Reverend Jesse Jackson of selling out the black community by allowing automotive giant Daimler Chrysler help underwrite the cost of the convention. The carmaker is accused in a lawsuit of subjecting black buyers to racially discriminatory sales policies and making derogatory racial comments about African Americans.

It appears from the story that not only did the pickets exist, but that the demonstration was large enough even for a Senator to notice. It also calls into question Kerry’s association with Jesse Jackson’s organization, which has raised eyebrows in the past for its arm-twisting — some would say extortionate — practices in getting money out of corporations, not to mention the disposition of the cash afterwards.
John Kerry, of course, had this to say on Sunday evening:

Later Sunday night, after attending Mass and receiving communion at St. Vincent’s Waterfront Chapel overlooking Boston Harbor, Mr. Kerry was asked how he would respond to the mayor. “I don’t cross picket lines,” he said. “I never have.”

The question of the day for Kerry: Which is it, Senator? Do you cross picket lines or not? Perhaps he wouldn’t cross picket lines before he would.

Speaking Of Irrelevancy, How ‘Bout That Dead Guy For President?

Nominating conventions for political parties usually include a certain level of regional silliness; delegates wear outrageous outfits and cover themselves with buttons, shirts, and hats that represent their home state as much as their favored candidate. Delegate counts usually are coupled with sloganeering such as, “The great state of Texas, home of the Alamo and the world’s largest spitoon, casts its 78 votes for John Doe!” It’s all in fun, and the relentlessly upbeat messages contribute to the carnival atmosphere in which everyone wants to participate.
Given all of that, the Greens certainly know how to take the party out of the Party:

Major-party convention halls usually ring with unabashed pride and self-promotion as vote announcers remind everyone that “the great state of [fill-in-the-blank]” is home to this sainted man or that unparalleled mountain range.
At the Greens’ convention, though, the spin was a little different. Delegates were told, for example, that “the great state of Indiana” extends “from the shores of polluted Lake Michigan in the north to the clear-cut banks of the Ohio River in the south, with many other sins in between.”
Before casting its votes, New York trumpeted itself as “home of Wall Street and unbridled corporate greed.”

No wonder these people can’t win an election. Who goes running out to the polls to vote for the buzz-killer? And if you think that’s bad, you haven’t heard about the crowd-pleasing announcement from the great state of Minnesota at the convention:

And the great state of Minnesota? It is, delegate Kellie Burriss of Minneapolis intoned, “the land of 10,000 lakes and the Boundary Waters — as well as the home of the Prairie Island nuclear power plant.”
The reference to nuclear power drew a chorus of boos from the Greens, but that changed to loud, sustained cheers when Burriss read out the state’s votes, which included “one vote for Eugene Debs,” cast by delegate Wade Hannon of Moorhead, a teacher and counselor.

The Debs vote received a second ovation when the chairman repeated the vote for the record. Why haven’t you seen Debs on the stump? He’s been dead for 78 years, that’s why. Debs ran for President five times as a Socialist between 1908 and his death in 1926, including once from federal prison on espionage charges. In his first foray, the Strib notes, he toured the country from a train he dubbed the “Red Special”.
So the Greens, who continually chafe at the lack of respect they get, give ovations when casting votes for long-dead Socialists. I’d say the two-party system appears safe for the near future.

Is Quid Pro Quo Latin For Gephardt’s Out?

The other shoe dropped in the kerfuffle over John Kerry’s refusal to cross the ersatz picket line outside of the Mayors’ Conference Sunday. Today, the police union announced that it has dropped plans to picket the Democratic National Convention next month due to Kerry’s sop to the union this weekend:

Boston’s main police union abandoned yesterday their threat to picket at the site of next month’s Democratic National Convention, handing Senator John F. Kerry a major victory on the day he honored the union’s picket line by not making a speech before a US Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston. …
The shift in the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association’s picketing strategy would allow Kerry and thousands of convention delegates and members of the media to enter the FleetCenter unimpeded, despite the city’s ongoing labor woes. But Kerry’s cancellation drew sharp criticism from both Democratic and Republican mayors, who angrily accused the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of caving in to a local union that is making unreasonable demands.

Kerry pandered for the labor vote, without a doubt, and manuevered his fellow Democrat, Mayor Thomas Menino, into the fire by showing him up instead of supporting him and the other mayors. The immediate announcement makes the quid pro quo rather transparent, and should further incense Menino that Kerry tried to build his labor cred on his back.
The Globe includes more denunciations of Kerry’s actions by the mayors who wound up crossing the picket line only to be shown up by the Democratic nominee, and they aren’t pulling any punches:

Kerry’s cancellation and an earlier snub by Senator Kennedy dominated the news coming out of the four-day conference, which wrapped up yesterday. As the gathering proceeded, Kerry’s move drew heated denunciations from several mayors.
Mayor Manny Diaz of Miami called Kerry’s cancellation “a slap in the face of the nation’s mayors” and added that Kerry allowed a local labor dispute to scare him from an opportunity to discuss urban issues with a crucial audience.
“I am thoroughly disappointed in his decision, thoroughly disappointed,” Diaz said.
Mayor Douglas Palmer of Trenton, N.J., president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, pointedly noted that Kerry will need the support of local leaders, especially in swing states, in his bid for the presidency.
“We are really where the rubber meets the road,” he said. “We’re very disappointed and angry that Senator Kerry didn’t come to address the mayors.”

One reason I’m posting separately on this story rather than updating my earlier post is that I think Kerry’s actions in being so ostentatiously pro-labor may mean that Rep. Dick Gephardt is out as Kerry’s running mate. If Kerry picks Gephardt, then he has no worries among labor; unions love Gephardt, the primary old-fashioned labor pol in national politics. If Kerry is leaning towards another candidate, like John Edwards or someone else with a similar lack of credentials, then Kerry has to overtly demonstrate his brotherhood with the rank and file, especially given his wealthy origins and current status. I think Dick may wind up sitting out this election, too.
UPDATE: More confirmation that Gephardt can cozy up to the TV this November instead of heading to the stump:

Missouri favorite son Dick Gephardt is not the favorite vice presidential candidate of several rank-and-file state Democratic leaders looking to deliver its 11 electoral votes to John Kerry.
Asked which prospective running mate would help Kerry win the battleground state, eight of 11 county chairmen and chairwomen selected at random by The Associated Press chose Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Gephardt and Edwards are among those Kerry is reported to be considering. … “Gephardt just doesn’t have the get-up-and-go that Edwards has,” said Irma Brannum of Poplar Bluff, the Butler County party chairwoman. “Edwards is the exciting one,” said St. Charles County chairman Joe Koester.

If Gephardt can’t excite the Show-Me State, he’s not likely to help much anywhere else, either.

Iranians: Maybe They Just Dig Photography

CNN reports that the US has expelled two members of the Iranian security detail at the UN for suspected espionage, and their activities certainly call into question the Islamic Republic’s intentions towards the West:

The United States has expelled two Iranian security guards at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations for conduct unbecoming to their status, according to a U.S. official.
The two were seen taking pictures of New York City and transportation systems, the official said.
It was the third occasion that they were spotted videotaping and taking photographs, the official said.

The pair was expelled over the weekend, but one assumes that after three sightseeing tours, they have the film they need to further their mission, whatever that may be. The official who sourced the story refused to name the landmarks involved, and in New York, the possibilities are almost unlimited.
It recalls the information gathered after the 9/11 attacks that revealed the terrorists’ activities in videotaping their intended targets as well as other potential attack sites. Of course, the terrorists weren’t diplomatic personnel from Iran, either. Now that we’ve tightened our visa process (to whatever degree that’s been successful), perhaps this is how al-Qaeda will operate — through diplomatic assignments in order to infiltrate the US unmolested. If true, the expulsion puts Iran at the top of the list of high-focus countries in the war on terror.
Of course, the Republican National Convention takes place in New York at the end of August…
UPDATE: More information from the AP:

The guards were taking photos of infrastructure, modes of transportation and New York City landmarks, a U.S. official said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. They were the third set of Iranian guards caught taking pictures.
“The other ones were warned. This was the third time, and this time we kicked them out,” the U.S. official said.
The two Iranians, who did not have diplomatic passports, left the United States in the last few days, the official said. … According to the U.S. official, the first photographing incident took place in June 2002, the second in November 2003, and the third occurred recently, the official said.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in November that two Iranian citizens were questioned while taking video images of the subway tracks on the No. 7 line in Queens.

Counterterrorism is an unusual place to put in a “three strikes and you’re out” rule, isn’t it? After the first incident, we should have demanded the videotape back, and perhaps we did, but any further incidents should have resulted in immediate expulsion. After all, as the AP notes, it’s not as though it would risk our diplomatic relationship with the Iranian mullahcracy, because we have none to damage.
Taking pictures of infrastructure and transportation appears to be more of a preparation for an attack on the ability to keep people alive in the city rather than just a showy (but deadly) attack on a building complex. Again, when would such systems be taxed to their limits? In August, when thousands of Republicans come to the Big Apple to nominate Bush for re-election, with the nation focused on the convention. I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar has been happening in Boston, either, especially since two of the four 9/11 flights took off from Logan Airport and AQ terrorists continue to operate out of Beantown.

Comment Moderation Enabled

As I wrote this weekend, I have upgraded to Movable Type 3.0 for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons was to enable comment moderation to combat spam. A significant amount of my blog time has been spent in updating my MT-Blacklist profile and in deleting comment spam attacks as they come in different forms. I’d much rather spend my time writing and responding to real comments and e-mails from CQ’s readers. In order to accomplish this, I need your help in maintaining some semblance of order around here.
Movable Type 3.0 integrates with Typekey, a validation service that allows blogs to identify commenters and allow them automatic, immediate posting of comments. It’s free and only requires a username and a valid e-mail address, and you can even specify that the e-mail address does not get passed to the blog when you comment. I get no other information about you, and while Typekey builds a user profile for you, you decide how much, if any, of the profile to fill out. One Typekey registration is all you need for all MT blogs, not just Captain’s Quarters, and as more bloggers move to v3.0, you will see comment moderation more often than not.
So what’s the benefit? I can ban abusive users immediately, and spammers can’t access my comments at all. Most CQ readers know that I never ban people for disagreeing with me — heck, I love debate, and some of my best readers hardly ever agree with what I write. I only get rid of the crap that gets dropped on here from people pushing their porn sites, or Viagra, or home financing options. No one’s paying me to carry their advertising, and I resent it as much as I find most of their products and services distasteful. I recently had a rash of some extremely vile r*pe and inc*st spams posted on my site. My family reads this blog, for Pete’s sake!
For the next couple of weeks, I will have light comment moderation enabled, and after that, I may have to restrict the site to Typekey-enabled commenters only, if that doesn’t stop the spam deluge. I’m not trying to inconvenience people, but the waste of time and bandwidth has become too much for me to ignore. If you have questions or comments, feel free to post them here or e-mail me for clarification. I appreciate your help!
Please remember: Typekey-enabled commenters automatically have their comments approved!
UPDATE: I put the link for the registration page instead of Typekey’s home page, which oddly doesn’t provide that link themselves. Corrie in Itasca notified me of the problem — thanks!

Romney Steps In Where Kerry Fears To Tread

In a misstep that may demonstrate a critical lack of courage in the face of adversity, John Kerry left his political support twisting in the wind yesterday when he abandoned Boston Mayor Thomas Menino due to the presence of police pickets. While not technically on strike, Kerry nonetheless opted — after failing to reach a diplomatic solution to the impasse — to snub the Mayors’ Conference led by his campaign co-chair Menino. Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney took the opportunity to speak in his absence, demonstrating an executive persona that Romney hinted Kerry lacks:

First, John Kerry, the putative Democratic presidential nominee, decided Sunday not to attend the annual meeting of the nation’s mayors here, refusing to cross a picket line of police union members feuding with Boston’s mayor. Then, on Monday, Boston’s mayor, Thomas M. Menino, who is not only a Democrat but also the host of the Democratic National Convention here in July, welcomed a stand-in for Mr. Kerry: Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts.
Mr. Romney, not generally considered a friend to Democrats, seized the opportunity to praise Mr. Menino and needle Mr. Kerry.
“I wanted to indicate my support of Mayor Menino,” Mr. Romney said. “He’s a man of courage and integrity,” he added, saying, “In the executive responsibility, you put first the people and not the pickets.” …
“A mayor, a governor and a president have a responsibility to make tough decisions and balance budgets. A senator doesn’t, and that’s a big difference. Senators don’t have to balance budgets. Senators don’t have to make those kinds of trade-offs. That’s what the mayor has to do, and that’s why I want to be here for him.”

Of course, one of the knocks on John Kerry is that he lacks executive experience, a common charge against any candidate who has served primarily as a legislator. This perception is one of the reasons no one has been elected President straight from Congress since 1960, when Kerry’s idol John F. Kennedy edged out Richard Nixon. Certainly, it has been and will be one of the Bush campaign’s themes in the coming election, especially given the lack of legislative accomplishment from Kerry’s 19-year tenure in the Senate.
However, just because the perception exists doesn’t mean that Kerry had to feed it, and he did exactly that by deciding to leave his fellow Democrat holding the bag. After all, Menino crossed the picket line, as did the other attending mayors, most of whom are Democrats, and few of whom appreciated being shown up by Kerry. The Post notes a few of the reactions from the conference:

“Some of the mayors here are disappointed, frustrated, angered by Kerry not showing up,” [Menino] said. “It’s all about respect of the mayors, and there was no respect of the mayors.” While Mr. Menino said he was not about to withdraw support from his party’s candidate, he added, “John Kerry will have to live by this decision.” …
Several mayors at the conference expressed frustration and resentment toward Mr. Kerry.
Mayor Rich Borer Jr. of West Haven, Conn., a Democrat, said he believed that Mr. Kerry should have attended and might even have been able to mediate an agreement between the city and the union. “It makes it a little more difficult for me as a man to sit there and say Kerry is the guy when he didn’t show up,” Mr. Borer said.

Mayors represent the front line of party politics. They know the local players, understand the subtleties at the precinct level, and can tap the right people to turn out voters. Snubbing them may not push them to endorse Bush, but it makes them less enthusiastic about supporting Kerry. Kerry just made all of the mayors out to be anti-labor simply by their presence at the conference and shined the national spotlight on them in doing so. Especially in regards to Boston and Menino, Kerry may live to regret that as the nominating convention approaches; Menino may just leave him with another opportunity to respect the picket line more than his supporters, and this time Menino can shine that spotlight right back on Kerry.

Voting Themselves Into Irrelevancy

Extending the debate into the monochromatic nature of the John Kerry campaign, today’s Washington Post again details complaints from the African-American community about the lack of access to the Democratic nominee and the paucity of its representation within his organization. At the same time, the Post inadvertently notes the reasons why Kerry feels little pressure to change:

Although the Massachusetts senator has many black supporters, civil rights leaders and academics are grumbling about his absence from black communities and a lack of top black officials in his campaign.
“You pick up the paper . . . and you see a picture where he’s surrounded by all whites,” Ronald Walters, a University of Maryland political scientist who helped run two presidential campaigns, said of Kerry. “That’s sensitive to black Democrats. It raises questions about the lack of blacks and Hispanics in his inner circle.”
Nine out of 10 black Americans voted for former vice president Al Gore in 2000, following a decades-long trend of crucial support for Democrats. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that Kerry has similar support among black Americans, but Walters and others said he must do more to make sure they vote.

Over 90% of the black vote went to Al Gore in 2000 … and he lost anyway, and that in a race where evangelicals stayed home in droves, an unlikely event this time around. Unfortunately for African-Americans, 2000 proved one thing: Republicans can win without them and Democrats can lose even when they have almost complete support from them. Lockstep, or bloc, voting has made their constituency somewhat irrelevant at the national level, although that is certainly not true at state and local levels. That lesson has mostly been lost on African-American community leadership, and so they continue to concentrate their efforts on a party that doesn’t even go through the motions anymore to include them at high levels of power. In contrast, although the Bush administration received little of their support, Bush has named blacks to prominent positions within his Cabinet, yet receives little credit for doing so.
In pressuring their community to focus solely on the Democratic party, they have thrown away their options to play on both sides of the aisle. While Republicans would love to have an opportunity to attract more support especially from middle-class blacks who might appreciate the laissez-faire economic policies of the GOP, they traditionally receive little response for outreach efforts. Take the assertion towards the end of the article that Jesse Jackson makes of being “shut out” of the government:

More than ever, Jackson said, black Americans are primed to vote against a sitting president. “Bush has a closed-door policy on civil rights and labor,” he said. “He has not met with the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Congressional Black Caucus, except for once, or organized labor. We don’t have access to our government.”

Jackson lied. George Bush met with the NAACP — he spoke at their meeting in 2000 during his first campaign for president. In return, they produced a series of ads tying him to the dragging-death lynching of James Byrd, a particularly egregious campaign commercial that even some NAACP members questioned, especially since Texas enthusiastically prosecuted the murderers responsible and sentenced them to death. Now that the NAACP burned its bridges with Bush, Jackson complains that Bush doesn’t want to walk across the smoking wreckage.
All they proved was that the NAACP and the political class of the African-American community have no intention of ever working with the GOP. Why, then, does John Kerry need to parcel out key positions to them when he can make more effective use of patronage with other constituencies? Until moderates within the black electorate take back control from the Jacksons and Kweisi Mfumes, Democrats will continue to ignore them and Republicans will focus elsewhere.
UPDATE: Jim Miller has more thoughts, and some historical analysis that may surprise you. It surprised me a bit.

C’est Un Jerk, N’est-Ce Pas?

The Telegraph notes that Jacques Chirac went out of his way to antagonize George Bush at the NATO summit yesterday, lashing out in personal terms after hearing that Bush endorsed Turkey’s application to join the EU:

President Jacques Chirac shattered the carefully contrived show of transatlantic amity at the Nato summit yesterday when he made an unprecedented attack on President George W Bush for meddling in the European Union’s business by supporting Turkey’s membership. … yesterday the French president lost any such reserve when he told Mr Bush that EU affairs were none of his business.
Stung by Mr Bush’s call for the EU to give Turkey a firm date for accession, Mr Chirac responded: “He not only went too far but he has gone into a domain which is not his own. He has nothing to say on this subject. It is as if I were to tell the United States how it should conduct its relations with Mexico.”

Pardonnez-nous? Was it not Monsieur Chirac who repeatedly lectured President Bush on how to defend the United States during the war on terror? Has it not been the French, and their German sidekicks, who have obstructed American diplomacy in an effort to keep the Oil-For-Food money flowing from Saddam Hussein? Maintenant, the French President once again wants to instruct heads of state when they should take the opportunity to remain silent. However, I suspect that Bush will make sure that he reminds Chirac that America is not Eastern Europe, and we do not hold French controls on diplomacy in high regard. (For that matter, neither does Eastern Europe, but that’s another story in France’s fantasy of world-power status.)
The Telegraph recounts other examples of Chirac’s gall, demonstrating that if diplomacy between France and its allies seem a bit strained, the only constant in the equation is Chirac himself:

The comments will rank alongside his other recent broadsides: his rebuke to Tony Blair in October 2002, when he called the Prime Minister “very rude”, and his patronising response in February 2003 to eastern European candidate countries that supported America’s policy in Iraq, telling them they had “missed a good chance to keep quiet”.

And yet this is the man that John Kerry wants to placate most of all. He may be the only one who actually can do it; they seem to have the same people skills.

Iraqis Rejoice

After the surprise handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government took place today two days ahead of schedule, a move some Americans stretched into an expression of desperation, Iraqis would not countenance such cynicism. The AP reports that callers flooded the first independent talk-radio station in Iraq with expressions of joy and pride in their first opportunity for legitimate self-government in 35 years:

The callers clogged Radio Dijla’s telephone lines to congratulate interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, urging him to be strong, while warning insurgents against continued violence.
“I send my congratulations to all Iraqis and every Iraqi home,” a woman who identified herself as Um Yassin gushed, her voice choked with emotion. “I want to tell Dr. Allawi to be bold, to be strong. We need him to build up the army because we need them at a time like this.”
Her message was echoed by dozens on the day Prime Minister Allawi was given a letter transferring sovereignty back to the citizens of Iraq after about 14 months of coalition administration.
But in the midst of adulation for the new government, callers urged that all must be vigilant for insurgents seeking to sow more chaos in a country plagued by violence since Saddam Hussein (news – web sites)’s regime was toppled.
“I send all the Iraqi people my blessings,” said Ali, a caller from Baghdad. “But I warn these terrorists, all the Iraqis will rise up and strike them with steel.”

Wow … that doesn’t sound like a nation that doesn’t want to be free, that wants to be one with al-Qaeda and live in an Islamofascist theocracy. It sounds like a people who want to be free and who want to be rid of the Saddam remnants and foreign thugs who keep slaughtering their fellow citizens. In short, it sounds like a country that’s ready to fight for its liberty.
Sounds like we handed over sovereignty right on time.

More Good News In South Asia

Despite predictions of a continent-wide conflagration sparked by the war on Islamofascist terror, prospects for peace in the region have become strengthened with renewed vigor in Pakistani-Indian diplomatic efforts. Today, both countries announced new agreements on missile testing and expansion of diplomatic ties:

India and Pakistan made progress toward ending five decades of enmity by agreeing Monday to notify each other before missile tests, open new consulates and try to end a deadly dispute over the Himalayan enclave of Kashmir.
“Both sides are committed, both sides are determined, both sides have the goodwill,” Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar told New Delhi TV after six hours of talks with his Indian counterpart, Foreign Secretary Shashank, who uses only one name. …
The agreements by Khokhar and Shashank were part of a process begun last year with the goal of a summit this year by the leaders of India and Pakistan to resolve conflicting claims to Kashmir. The South Asian neighbors have fought two full-scale wars and a 1999 border clash over the Himalayan enclave.
Khokhar brought an invitation from Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for new Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has pledged to remain on the peace path paved by ousted Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose Hindu-nationalist party lost elections last month.

Normalizing diplomatic relations between the two South Asian nuclear powers has been a foreign-relations goal of the present administration, which has worked diligently behind the scenes to push the two once-bitter enemies to the negotiating table. After 9/11 and Pervez Musharraf’s conversion to anti-Islamofascism, the US has been especially keen on resolving the long-standing disputes over Kashmir and other border issues in order to have both countries concentrate on the broader threat of al-Qaeda and other Islamofascist threats in the region. No doubt, if Pakistan and India can reach a peaceful accommodation, that results in a diplomatically isolated Iran, which would then have Western-friendly nations virtually surrounding it.
The governments of India and Pakistan have worked hard to build a more peaceful relationship, but some credit must also go to the Bush administration. I rather doubt that our own mainstream media will give it to them.
UPDATE: Miles Davis, the ever-polite opposition on my blog (along with other well-mannered readers such as Arne Langsetmo and Adaplant, and even Linda sometimes, when she disagrees!), challenges me to find evidence of the Bush Administration’s efforts in this regard. Fair enough — I should have done more homework when I posted. With just a few minutes to do this — I have an appointment tonight — here are a few examples:
* Powell goes to New Delhi and Islamabad to smooth tensions and restart peace negotiations (10/01, Guardian)
* Powell takes another trip to both capitals in 2003 (Pakistan Times, 4/03)
* Powell tries to use subtlety rather than impose mediation to bridge the Pakistani-Indian gap (India Digest, 1/04)
* Strategic reasons why the Bush Administration has taken a much broader interest than previous administrations in South Asia (Asia Times, 1/02)
* Powell convinces Pakistan to rein in India-targeted terrorism (The Hindu, 10/01)
* Powell urges new talks between India and Pakistan (CBC, 7/02)
There are plenty more examples, but in Googling Powell India Pakistan, what one notices is the lack of reporting on these efforts by the American media. Don’t you wonder why that would be?