Lexington posted an interesting article from Barbra Amiel who sneers at the European union, wants Britian to stay out and become positively orgastic towards the Anglosphere. I wrote a comment, somewhat provocatively, about how England has always been conflicted by its role in Europe. That on the one hand it want to be a part of the continent but not unless the country gets to call the shots and dominate the continent as it has done so from the late 1700s-1945. Millie Woods wrote a response to my comments.
Millie is a frequent commentator at many blog comment boxes and we completely disagree with each other. Nonetheless, our irreconciable differences in no way diminish my respect and admiration for her. Unlike her, however I don't view the Anglosphere with any awe and my respect towards it is always conditional.
Hence, I'm far more skeptical about the linguistic advantages the Anglosphere offers.
First, I see a very dangerous provincalization. Look at the immense difficulties the American military and spy agencies are currently experiencing in hiring fluent speakers of certain languages. Further, the society is profundly indifferent; so much so that it has allowed the universities to simply scale down to the barest minimum foreign language study and not to oblige fluency in the regional studies programs. So in America, the vast majotrity of students don't speak Arabic, Russian etc even though they graduated with one or several degrees in Russian or Mideastern studies. Those that persued other degree programs have in all likelihood never been exposed to any kind of foreign language. Indeed, Martin Kramer has lambasted the deleterious effects of an ideologically driven pedagogy that has completely gutted Middle Eastern studies. In general culture, the number of foreign language books translated into English has
Second, sharing the wealth: sure as long as you learn, speak or know English. That tendency merely reinforces the provincialization of the Anglosphere. The Anglophones assume that they're well-informed but are they? For example, the fact that Salam Pax and the other Iraqi bloggers write in English really assist the Anglophone grasp the variegated reality that is Iraq? I'm somewhat surprised that I haven't found any blogs that mention or link to Iraqi blogs written in Arabic. I'm further amazed that I haven't spotted any Iraqi blogs written in French considering how France was the country's second or third largest trading partner in the 80 until the Gulf War.
Third, a lot of bloggers cite India as a prime example of English acts a stabilizing lingua franca in a country with hundred of languages and redoutable social cleavages. Um huh right. And when the Americans contact a call centre, the Indian employees have to invent a persona like April or Charlie and hide their accents because the former will be flustered if they have to remember, much less pronounce, a name like Shiva Ranpapunjaganji or Abihijeet Sawheny as well as deal with the lilting IndoEnglish accent. Indeed, by acommodating the Anglosphere, the Anglopshones have even less incentive to learn, cope and adapt to non-Anglsopheric cultural-linguistic phenomena.
In fact, the Americans in Kosovo are a prime illustration of lack of adaption skills. I've read enough articles and stories from the non-American peacekeepers in Kosovo to know that the soldiers are quite impressed and envious of the creature comforts that the American encampment has; nonetheless, the same marvelling also leds the non-American peacekeepers to be dismissive of the Americas qua peacekeepers. The former sardonically point out that it's rather difficult to get to know the the community that latter police if they simply rumble through the town in their armoured vehicles, always patrol on foot as if they were about to be ambushed at every step and live in an encampent that looks like its Anytown USA in some foreign country. The last is as incongruous as a Scottish castle in America. The locals mirror the non-American peacekeepers' assessment. There's more tension and social akwardness where the American patrol than in comparable areas by non-American peacekeepers.
One last point, I also see a major cleavage within the Anglosphere: the growing rift between the industralized Anglopsheric countries and the 'southern' Anglosphere over issues of family, culture and morality. Since the ascension of Gene Robinson as bishop of the American Anglican church, the African Anglicans have severed their ties in protest. To me, the growing cultural cleavages between the Anglo-African countries and the industralized Anglospheric ones constitutes the principal danger
that threatens to shatter the Anglosphere's general unity.
Ahir, escotava les not?ticies sobre el balan? dels morts i baixes. 27 morts incloent-hi el Consol general angl?s i uns 400 ferits. Condolo amb els familiars i als amics de les viticimes. En un espai de menys d'una setmana, Turquia ha soferda 4 atacs a la bomba. Tothom especula si o no si Al Qu'ida o un filial s'implica en aquest atemptats i qu? significa orientar els blancs a fora d'Iraq.
Personalment, sospito que els terroristes planfiquen a atacar continualment amb bombes- com les grups esquerrots turcs feren als anys 70- per provocar que l'ex?rcit intervengui a la politica a trav?s un cop d'estat o un pronunciamiento constitutional degut que la magna carta turca ho permet car l'ex?rcit es garator del secularisme republic?. Tanmateix, el fet que la pol?s i espions turcs no han ni poguts infiltrar aquest(s) grup(s) ni aconseguir intel?l?gencia sobre aquest atacs es una mica omniosa. Em pregunto si el enfocament contra els kurds ha distret les forces pol?ciales a deixar cr?xier una mena?a sota llurs nasos fins que fossi massa tard.
Suposo que les investigacions subseq?ents ens fornir? respotes o almenys pistes. En tot cas, aquells occidentals que recolzen l'anti-guerra s'ho hauren de reavaluar llur posicionament. l'atemptat d'ahir exposa que tothom en qualcom lloc esta vulnerable per un atac similar. ?Com poden advocar que aquexios tipus d'atacs manifesten la crit de gent oprimida; doncs justificats?
This article simply illustrates just how bizarre Ottawa works. The Canadian general, Walt Natynczyk, is the deputy commander of teh American 3rd Infantry division.Before some Canadian freak out and ask how is this possible. It's possible under one of the various military cooperation treaties that allow low ranking Canadian general officers to command large units like a division so that if ever Canada has to mobilzed a similar sized units, we'd have the experience of how to raise, equip, train and deploy them.
The general's leadership role underscores just how ambigious the country's position is vis-?-vis the war. His presence reminds me of Mackenzie King's ludicruous word touture of constriction if necessary but not necessarily constription. Mind you this is the first time. Canada's navy was the leader of the interdiction force established by the UN to prevent sanctions leaking. When the war occurred the Canadian commodore had orders thatteh Canadian ship wasn't to participate actively in the war but to continue the interdiction efforts. See the tortured logic? In any case, I wonder how Martin will reconcile the glaring contradictions.
Fa uns 48 hores desdels resultats electorals catalans. Francament n'estic de content que els partits catalanistes han gunayats les eleecions. Parlant amb els pares, papa opina que l'augment especatular dels republicans senyala al PP i als socialistes que aplicar la politica mutatis mutandis contra Ibitixarria es paper mullat.
John analitza els resultats perl seu cant?. En actualitat ni els socialistes ni el PP han realment gunyats, digi que digi John. El PP en particular ha caigut de la tercera a la quarta for?a pol?tica. No exactament un recolzament a la plataforma electoral de Piqu?. Per mi, ell retornar? a Madrid i buscaran encara un nou lider per filial catal?. Estic mes en acord quan John diu que els socialistes catalans han esdenginut la segona for?a pol?tica... per? al cap i al fi no entrar? Maragall com president de la Generalitat tal com s'esperava. Doncs, aviat assistirem com a espectadors a la defenestraci? de Zapatero i l'emerg?ncia de l'alian?a Bono-Chavez-Ibarra ? la c?pula dirigent. Que si aquest triumvir li guanyar? al partit les pr?ximes eleccions nacionals, es a veure.
It's quite reasonable to decry that Bush's commitment toward free trade is deeply disappointing and quite bewildering. His trade policy can be summed up by a pseudo-campiagn slogan: free trade abroad but protectionism at home. Last week, the WTO ruled that the American steel tarrifs are illegal and authourized the European union to undertake puntative measures if the Americns don't comply. Andre Sullivan blasts how Europeans will craft their puntative measures to ensure Bush's electoral defeat a year from now.
Sullivan has no justification to denonouce such a policy. American international commercial policy has been the country's most visible Achilles' tendon. Domestic interest groups can easily hijack legislation and protect themselves from international competition. Speaking as a Canadian I'll go through a brief list: first, there's the ongoing softwood lumber dispute. The American slapped on a 18,2% tarrif on softwood early this year. The results have been a gutting of the industry in both British Columbia and Quebec. In March, Quebec forestry industries were losing a 1000 workers a day Then came 1 case of mad cow disease in Alberta and the Americans completely shut down exports for nearly 7 months. Only in October were the measure being lifted but very slowly. In between, there's the serghum wheat dispute. It was only a matter of time before foreigners got wise and realize that one of the most effective ways to advance one's foreign policy goals is to ensconce themselves in American economic policy. So what the Europeans are doing, is taking into account the internationalization of American domestic politics within international trade policy and adopting their foreign and economic policies accordingly. If Americans are troubled and outraged by this trend, then now is a propitious time to reflect on how to decouple purely domestic politics and limit the influence of local pressure groups from international trade relations. If not, similar situations will only become more comonplace.