Thursday, July 24, 2008

What's He Gonna Say?

From Bloomberg about Obama's big Berlin Speech:

``We may be in for a rude awakening,'' said Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a member of parliament's foreign affairs committee from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. ``Obama views cooperation as anything but a one-way street.''

Obama ``wants to make the old alliances more meaningful by asking more of the allies,'' said Jan Techau, a transatlantic affairs expert at the Berlin-based German Council on Foreign Relations. ``He will try and softly prepare the Europeans for what's going to happen as soon as he enters the White House, if he does so.''

Obama may demand ``greater burden-sharing'' from European allies in Afghanistan, said Eckart von Klaeden, foreign-affairs spokesman for Merkel's Christian Democrats.

``Obama has made it very clear that he will channel the resources from Iraq into Afghanistan, because Afghanistan in his eyes is the right war to fight,'' said Techau. ``And for that right war to be successful, he will ask for more.''

``I'm somewhat wondering about how realistic our expectations are,'' Stelzenmueller said, adding that she expects ``nothing concrete'' in terms of policy proposals. ``Ultimately, Obama has no choice but to pursue U.S. national interests, even though he displays multilateral instincts.''

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nice Post Over at Hermann's

Some people are pissed off that Iraq is going well. I know the newspapers really don't like to mention it. Clarsonimus notes how the Germans don't want to talk about it but they will gladly go to Iraq and drill some oil.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obama the American

Europe is excited about a possible President Barack Obama. This is something they did not think was possible, after all it has been shoved down their throats for decades what an unfair and racist society America is. Another thing shoved down their throats is that President Bush is the most evil, arrogant, violent, stupid, imperialistic and greedy man in the world.

Enter Obama stage-left politically, or so Europe hopes. Here’s the guy that is going to fix it all. He’s going to pull out of Iraq, he’s going to be Mr. Environmentalist, he's going to be some kind of new American Socialist. (What’s funny about this is that now that Bush is leaving most of Europe has conservative governments). They think he is just going to toe the line on what the world wants.

In Madrid recently, I had a conversation with a Spanish friend who was going on about Obama’s ethnicity and rumored (incorrectly) religious beliefs. He was describing him as black, as maybe Muslim, as a minority, just as “different”. So I told him, “You’re forgetting one thing. Above all that - he’s an American.”

I think Europe could be making the same mistake. If they think there is going to be some huge sea change in American policy due to an Obama presidency – they’re wrong. There will be changes of course. But there is no way he’s going to bail on Iraq immediately, he is already basically saying as much. There is no way he won’t continue in Afghanistan. He is not going to suddenly stop the fight against terrorism. He already voted for Bush’s renewal of the FISA electronic surveillance bill, the same goes for economic policies, etc. Obama has started his inevitable move toward the political center so he can get elected.

So in short, I’m expecting a nice honeymoon period for Barack Obama in Europe right after he’s elected. He will be seen as being able to do no wrong, as somehow just not like those other Presidents. Then there will be the gradual realization, issue by issue, that things really haven’t changed too much – just the packaging has.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Europe is going to miss George W. Bush. Now there was a guy everyone could agree on hating. Judging a book by it’s cover is just so much easier than reading it. George Bush's book cover was clear - Republican, white, rich kid, etc. Obama's cover looks easy to judge also - but is it?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Photo Exclusive! U.S. Illegal Workers Running in Fear

"Hispanos have become the invisible minority. Fear of the raids and of being deported have created an historic withdrawal .... Latinos have disappeared due to pure fear..." - El Mundo, June 2008

As you can see El Mundo is right on the money. Look at those poor bastards running in fear from the evil American "Domestic Security Squads." Oh the humanity! They have obviously disappeared due to pure fear ....

Well seriously folks, those are illegal immigrant workers in Los Angeles waiting for contractors or homeowners to drive by and give them work for the day, or week, or whatever. The police and the evil domestic security (Homeland Security) don't do jack squat to them. Everyone knows that these guys just want to work for an honest buck.

Is it a problem if every street corner in L.A. fills up with guys standing around looking for work? Of course. So some kind of order (and limits) have to be brought to the immigration system (or lack thereof) but mass deportations will never be a part of any "solution." All those guys probably have family members in L.A. - legal voting family members. McCain and Obama want those votes.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sunday Spanish Lunch - Before and After

Not a very "hard hitting" post subject, but isn't that a great looking couple of appetizers? That's a plate of Iberian cheeses and cured meats like Iberian bellota ham of course, and a few others I can't name right now. The salad is cogollos or heart of lettuce with tuna or bonito. Everything looks so organized at the beginning, but then it ends up like this:

Actually, the "after" part is my favorite time since that is when they whip out the booze and the coffees and we sit around wasting time. The booze is an herbal liquor that is supposed to help with digestion. I'm not so sure about that, but I do know it does the trick in the "getting a buzz on" department.