Thursday, 30 January 2003

Weasel/Non-Weasel Scoring

As a service to the Blogosphere, I will keep a tally of declared Weasels and Non-Weasels. Glenn Reynolds adds Albania and Slovakia, two current non-members of the EU, to the list of declared Non-Weasels, and this Radio Free Europe story adds 3 more, which makes the current list as follows:


  • Belgium (vassal Weasel #1)

  • France (or, West Weaseldom)

  • Germany (or, East Weaseldom)

  • Luxembourg (vassal Weasel #2)


  • Albania

  • The Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Hungary

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Romania

  • Slovenia

  • Slovakia

  • Spain

  • United Kingdom

For those keeping score at home, that's Weasels 4, Non-Weasels 13. Here's the tale of the tape for the Weasels and Non-Weasels (from the 2002 CIA World Factbook):

  • Population — Weasels: 154 million, Non-Weasels: 268 million.

  • Gross Domestic Product — Weasels: $3.97 trillion, Non-Weasels: $4.84 trillion.

  • Land Area — Weasels: 937,147 sq km, Non-Weasels: 2,070,853 sq km.

  • Military Expenditures — Weasels: $88.5 billion, Non-Weasels: $71.9 billion.

  • EU Council of Ministers Votes — Weasels: 74, Non-Weasels: 104

Now, exactly which countries speak for Europe again? The Non-Weasels out-muscle the Weasels in every major category except miltary spending. (Of course, this begs the question: why are the Weasels so unwilling to use their military power to support their fellow Europeans?)

The bottom line here isn't really about Europe versus America. Rather, as Steven Den Beste points out, the primary difference between “old” Europe and “new” Europe is that the latter has moved beyond the use of knee-jerk anti-Americanism as a substitute for establishing a thoughtful and responsible foreign policy.

Sean-Paul Kelley has a map which distinguishes the “real Weasels” from the temporary ones; if accurate, Jacques “the human weather vane” Chirac and Gerhard Schröder aren't going to be sharing tea and crumpets anytime soon.

I've updated the post to include three additional allies reported by Radio Free Europe.

Glenn Reynolds links to this TechCentralStation piece making a similar argument.

For the peanut gallery

For the poor souls who got this site while searching for “Jennifer Garner lingerie,” presumably due to my Super Bowl commentary, I feel obligated to provide the following links, courtesy of Moxie and Ryan McGee: “Lifestyles of the Rich and Bloggerly” and “Jennifer Garner is not a drag queen.”

I'm providing these links solely as a public service and without further comment.

Two Editorials

From this week's Economist (subscription required):

Going to war this way is far from ideal. If war is necessary, it would be better under explicit UN authority, commanding the sort of legitimacy that only the Security Council can confer. That is why so many voices, not least American ones, are urging Mr Bush to try harder to talk his allies round, give the inspectors more time, or offer Iraq a “final, final” opportunity to disarm. And if it were indeed the case that extra time and effort, or offering Iraq yet another last chance, could produce consensus, Mr Bush would be wise to heed these voices. But it is probably not the case. For, at bottom, if the Security Council splits it will not be because of a lack of time or a failure of diplomacy. It will be because of a difference of opinion. America and Britain say that if Iraq under its present management got hold of a nuclear or biological bomb, this would be so dangerous that it would be worth going to war to prevent it. Many other governments demur. And it is hard to see how extra time will convert them.

... which dovetails nicely with The New Republic's, assailing the New York Times editorial page for “moving the goalposts” over the past four months:

[T]he supposition that any level of Iraqi defiance would spur the Security Council to authorize war is ahistorical. During the 1990s, our non-British allies compiled a record of consistent appeasement. After Iraq whittled away at the prerogatives of weapons inspectors, going so far as to deem areas as large as Washington "presidential palaces" and thus off-limits, China, France, and Russia refused to back even a toothless resolution admonishing Iraq for its lack of cooperation. After Iraq expelled the inspectors, France and Russia opposed pinprick bombing. If they considered bombing too strong a response to massive violations then, why would they support the vastly stronger alternative of full invasion in response to weaker violations now? It may be that our allies' reluctance to enforce Iraqi disarmament stems in part from their distaste for Bush and his cowboy style, disregard for environmental accords, and fondness for protectionism. But the lack of commitment to Iraqi disarmament on the part of France, Germany, and Russia long predates the Bush administration. And yet many American liberals prefer to reside in an alternate universe where the United Nations stands poised to defang Saddam if only the United States would be just a bit more reasonable.

There is one sentence in Tuesday's Times editorial that comes closest to expressing the true sentiments of antiwar liberals: "The world must be reassured that every possibility of a peaceful solution has been fully explored." Consider the implications: The character of the Iraqi crisis is such that there is always the possibility of a peaceful solution. At every point in time, Saddam permits the minimal level of inspections cooperation he can get away with. Whenever he is threatened, he backs down until the crisis subsides, only to ratchet up his defiance later. The only logical end to this cycle is Saddam's successful acquisition of a nuclear weapon, at which point disarmament, forcible or otherwise, will no longer be an option. Indeed, this would be the actual result of the policy favored by antiwar liberals--whether they consciously desire it or not.

Andrew Sullivan also takes down the Times editorial in question.

Expanding Weasels

Charles Johnson (lgf) passes on word that West Weaseldom is coordinating its position at the U.N. with Syria. From there, it's a hop, skip, and jump from weaseldom to evildom; they don't call Syria a “state sponsor of terrorism” for nothing, you know.

Old Cliché Watch

If eight European leaders issue a joint statement in support of the Iraqi war, would that constitute “news” in the New York Times? Apparently not.

So much for the Times being the “newspaper of record.”

Apparently Howell Raines finally figured out how to spin the news:

Assuming a somewhat frayed mantle as global diplomat, Prime Minister Tony Blair set off for the United States tonight to meet with President Bush, bearing an unusual pledge of support on Iraq from eight European leaders but leaving behind a continent ever more divided over the need for war.

LeBron's Hummer

Since the LeBron James/SUV story broke, am I the only one who has experienced several double-takes in response to the oft-repeated phrase "LeBron James received a Hummer from his mom"?

Weasels 2, Non-Weasels 8

(Via Glenn Reynolds and MoronWatch:) The Axis of Non-Weasels has spoken, which the Times of London characterizes as an important show of support for British PM Tony Blair and the United States. Meanwhile, Côte d'Ivoire (the country formerly known as Ivory Coast, one of France's fiefdoms in west Africa) is proving to be a bit too hard for West Weaseldom to handle alone; perhaps the French oppose unilateralism because they know from first-hand experience that it never works. (Unfortunately, they seem to forget the other part of the equation: maybe it never works because it's French unilateralism...)