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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, piano version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your lyrically genial host John Derbyshire, podcasting to you from the magnificently-equipped Taki's Magazine sound studio here on Taki's private island in the balmy Aegean Sea.
I should thank the many listeners who helped locate the hymn I sang for you last week to Haydn's tune Austria. The hymn's lyrics, I now know, were written by Walter John Mathams and first published in 1896. I posted three full verses at VDARE.com last weekend. And yes, the hymn fell out of hymnals in the mid-1950s, apparently being too belligerent for postwar Christian sensibilities.
I promise not to inflict my singing voice on you this week. We shall instead have something much more soft and soothing to close our broadcast. But first, the news.
02 — Ululating in Anbar. How about those ISIS guys, eh?
Last weekend ISIS fighters took the Iraqi city of Ramadi, 80 miles west of Baghdad and the capital of Anbar Province. You may remember Anbar Province from nine years ago. Key phrase: "the Sunni Awakening."
A thumbnail sketch of the history here. The two different kinds of Muslim Arabs in Iraq, the Sunnis and Shi'as, had been muddling along for a few centuries, with the Shi'a increasing in numbers until now they are a big majority. The increase was from Sunnis converting to Shi'ism. The main reasons for that were: one, the change from nomadism to settled town life, which Shi'ism is better suited for; and two, the Ottoman Turks, who owned Iraq from the 16th century down to WW1, were Sunni, so Shi'ism was an emblem of Arab resistance against Turk.
In spite of losing numbers to Shi'ism, the Sunnis did better than the Shi'as under the Ottomans and the British. In the 1970s Saddam Hussein's dictatorship came up, and the Sunnis ran that show too.
Then came the U.S. invasion in 2003. We brought down the government and disbanded the army. That left a lot of unemployed and disgruntled Sunnis, more than ever aware of their minority numbers among the Shi'a.
The result was a big insurrection. Al Qaeda tried to leverage the insurrection, but in Anbar they overreached and alienated the Sunni tribes, who at last decided to join with the Americans and put down al-Qaeda. That was the Anbar Awakening, 2006 to 2008.
So far so good; but by that time Iraq had a government run by Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'a. The Shi'as running Iraq were, let's say, less than enthusiastic about a Sunni Awakening; so once the U.S. started withdrawing, the Anbar tribes were increasingly starved of money and weapons.
By the time al-Qaeda morphed into ISIS, Anbar was ripe for plucking. The local tribes were still willing to fight against ISIS, but they got no help from the Iraqi government.
The mistrust cut both ways. The help the Anbar tribes wanted was weapons and money; they weren't keen on having the Shi'a-dominated Iraqi army come in and fight alongside them.
Quote from the Washington Post story, May 19th, quote:
Tribal leaders have at times been reluctant to coordinate with the government because of years of discrimination and abuse by authorities in Baghdad.
The police in Ramadi, for instance, who were fighting alongside the tribesmen against ISIS, hadn't been paid for six months.
So Ramadi fell. Now ISIS is in control. They're chopping off heads, smashing up antiquities, and … what else are they doing? Ululating, that's what. They're ululating. [Clip.]
What do we learn from this, comrades? Given the dismal performance of the Iraqi national army in the fight for Ramadi, it's tempting to draw the lesson that Israeli General Moshe Dayan taught forty years ago when some interviewer asked what he believed was the most essential thing to do if you wanted to win a war. Dayan replied: "Fight against Arabs."
That can't be right, though. The Arabs of Iraq held off Iran for years in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s — the war about which, you may recall, Henry Kissinger remarked that, quote, "it's a pity both sides can't lose." Yeah, yeah, I know: That was the Iraqi army we disbanded in '03. It does scotch the slur about Arabs not being able to fight, though. Iran had 2½ times as many people as Iraq, and plenty of U.S. ordnance left over from the Shah. Their troops were fired up with revolutionary zeal and the desire for martyrdom. The Iraqis did well to force a tie.
And hey, ISIS are Arabs, too, mostly — the ones who aren't Pakistani, Afghan, Nigerian, Somali, Turkish, British, and residents of Minneapolis.
So if it's not the Moshe Dayan lesson, what lesson is it? Next segment.
03 — The Joe Biden lesson. I'd suggest that the lesson to be learned from the fall of Ramadi is the Joe Biden lesson.
After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Biden was the leading proponent of dividing Iraq into three countries: one each for the Kurds, the Sunnis, and the Shi'as. Everybody laughed, mainly because the guy saying this was Joe Biden, the court jester of American politics. We just laugh instinctively at anything Joe Biden says.
Stopped clocks are right twice a day, though. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings cometh forth wisdom; and the fool in King Lear is the only character who talks any sense. We should have listened to Joe.
Actually I've over-simplified there. It wasn't just Joe. Other people were saying the same thing. It was kind of obvious. Ed Luttwak I think was arguing for partition at one point.
So why didn't the idea of partition catch on? Well, apart from the fact that State Department bureaucrats just don't have that much imagination, there were sound diplomatic reasons for not breaking up Iraq. It was generally believed, for example, that the Turks wouldn't have stood for an independent Kurdistan. I explained to the State Department how the idea could be sold to the Turks, but they didn't listen, I don't know why.
So we settled for Iraq staying in one piece to appease the Turks, for which the Turks have been so grateful, haven't they?
Iraq is cursed with the most horrid blight any nation can be cursed with, the blight of diversity — big sub-populations who hate each other's guts, haven't been softened by decades of prosperous consumerism, and are armed to the teeth.
Under a ruthless, by-all-means-necessary dictator like Saddam, a place like that can be held together for a few years, but if you give these people any freedom, they'll just start cutting each other's throats. They certainly won't co-operate against an external threat like ISIS … as the fall of Ramadi last week shows.
One possible response to that for outside powers like the U.S.A. is a policy of quieta non movere, or in English: "let sleeping dogs lie." When these places have a good firm dictator to keep the lid on, leave 'em alone.
That's a good idea in itself, and as a general policy I support it, but with two necessary qualifications.
Qualification One: You have to remember that the the stability you're preserving is illusory. The dictator is keeping the lid on a boiling pot, and boiling pots can boil over, as Syria and Yemen show.
And as Libya also shows, in fact. It's getting to be a commonplace now to hear people say: "We should have left Libya alone. It was fine under Gaddafy. He had the place under control." Well, no, he didn't. When we made our move in 2011, Gaddafy was already fighting a civil war. I personally think the particular move we made was a dumb move, and I said so at the time; but Gaddafy's days were numbered anyway.
Qualification Two: You have to preserve the gunboat-diplomacy option. If you're a major power, you can't let small nuisance nations vex you with impunity. They need reminding not to tug on Superman's cape. So when the dictator makes trouble, or looks like doing so, you bomb his palace, sink a few of his ships, and hope he learns the lesson. If he doesn't, you do it again twice as hard. Think Reagan, Libya, 1986. Gunboat diplomacy — I'm a big fan.
04 — ISIS and the antiquities. Did I mention Syria back there? While we're recording ISIS victories, we should include their capture on Wednesday this week of Palmyra, in central Syria, 130 miles from Damascus.
Palmyra's a very ancient place, a natural oasis stop on the trade routes across the Syrian desert. It has some fine antiquities: temples, arches, and colonnades from the Roman period, some excavated sites from earlier.
The population in normal times was about 200 thousand. We're told that only a third of those were able to flee, as the Syrian government forces defending the place prevented people leaving until the situation was obviously hopeless. So 100 thousand and some people there are now at the mercy of ISIS, which has not built up much of a reputation for mercifulness.
Given the definitely un-enviable plight of those people, I hope I may be excused for crowing just a little about the threat to the antiquities.
One thing ISIS does when they take over a place is smash up pre-Islamic antiquities. So now there is much fretting about the fate of Palmyra's antiquities.
OK, here's where I crow. Cast your mind back to the spring of 2003, when U.S. troops had just entered Iraq. On April 13th that year the New York Times ran a story on the looting of the Iraqi National Museum. A hundred and seventy thousand items had been carried away from the museum by looters in the previous three days, said the Times.
Well, I wrote a column about that, arguing that this looting was a jolly good thing. It wasn't very likely, I wrote, that these looters wanted a Sumerian vase to put on their chest of drawers. What they wanted was the money that a Sumerian vase fetches on the international antiquities market, which is a lot of money to a museum clerk in Baghdad. So most of those looted objects would end up in the West, in the homes of collectors or in institutions; and they'd be much safer there than in a place like Baghdad.
Quote from me:
At any point in history, some parts of the world are civilized, and some are sunk in barbarism. The civilized part of the world at present is what we call the West — a term not to be taken with strict geographical seriousness, as it includes places like Japan and Australia. The Arab countries, including Iraq, belong to the sphere of barbarism, subject to unpredictable spasms of war, revolution, and chaos. In the present age, priceless artefacts from mankind's history should be kept in the West as far as possible. This gives them their best chance of surviving for another century or two.
That column of mine was greeted with squeals of outrage from all over. Surely, people said, surely I wasn't suggesting that some nations are better able to preserve priceless antiquities than other nations?
Wasn't that demeaning to the Iraqis, saying "Hey, you people are so hopeless you can't be trusted with your own antiquities"? Wasn't it like saying — oh my God! — that some nations are more civilized than other nations?
Well, yes and yes, it was and it was. It is in fact the case that some nations are more civilized than other nations. Australia, say, is more civilized than, say, Yemen. Does anyone deny this?
Yes, of course, lots of people do. The great fantasy of our age is that in the human world, everything is equal to everything else. I don't subscribe to that fantasy, though. I was right about the Iraqi National Museum twelve years ago, and I'm still right about it. That's why I'm crowing. I'd ululate if I could, but I don't know how.
So can we kiss Palmyra's antiquities goodbye? Not necessarily. ISIS operations have to be financed somehow, and they don't seem to be issuing bonds, running mail-order marketing campaigns, or opening call centers.
I'm hoping that after a symbolic bulldozing of some of those old temples, the ISIS guys now in occupation of Palmyra will gather up what portable antiquities they can find, get in touch with the appropriate middle-men, and sell them off to collectors in the civilized world. It's the best thing that could happen.
05 — Whispering softly down the ways. Remember Ferguson, Missouri? That was two or three black riots ago. I know, it's hard to keep track. Was it Ferguson where blacks burned down a CVS convenience store and an old folks home to show their righteous anger about the use of force against black criminals? No, that was Baltimore. In Ferguson they burned a QuikTrip convenience store and a gas station. Try to keep things in the proper order.
Just to remind you about Ferguson: Around noon on August 9th last year, Gentle Giant Michael Brown — or Mikey Brown, to properly infantilize him, to render him as innocent-sounding as possible … Mikey Brown … let's go the whole distance on infantilization here and say "Mikey-poo" — Mikey-poo Brown, in company with a friend, stole several packets of cigarillos from a convenience store. When the store clerk tried to stop him, Mikey-poo, quote, "used his physical size to stand over him and forcefully shove him away."
Where's that quote from? It's from the Department of Justice report into the incident, released in March this year. That's where I'm getting my information here, from what was then Eric Holder's Department of Justice, nowadays of course Loretta Lynn's. [Clip: "You ain't woman enough to take my man."]
Continuing: Following the crime a call went out over police radio, with descriptions. Officer Darren Wilson was nearby and heard the call. Just then he saw the Gentle Giant and his friend walking down the middle of the road, Canfield Drive, answering to the descriptions and bearing cigarillos. Officer Wilson called for backup and pulled over to get out of his car; but Mikey-poo stopped him opening the car door, reached inside, grabbed and punched officer Wilson, and went for his gun.
Officer Wilson fired, shooting Mikey-poo in the hand. Mikey-poo ran. Officer Wilson got out of his car and gave pursuit. After running 180 feet, Mikey-poo turned and ran back 22 feet towards the officer, posing an obvious physical threat. Officer Wilson shot him in self-defense. One bullet entered the top of Mikey-poo's head and killed him.
That's the version of events in the Department of Justice report, the best fit to (a) Officer Wilson's testimony, (b) credible witness reports, and (c) physical evidence. The Department of Justice found no reason to charge Officer Wilson with any crime. To quote their precise words, bottom of page 86, quote:
For the reasons set forth above, this matter lacks prosecutive merit and should be closed.
Executive summary: Mikey-poo was a thief and a bully who attacked an armed police officer and was shot dead for his foolishness, in an entirely justified act by the officer.
Question: Imagine you are a proudly ethnocentric person, keen to support and promote your people, your ethny, your race. In furtherance of that, you seek some heros for your people to emulate. Would this be your idea of a hero — a suitable person for your co-ethnics to admire and emulate?
For blacks in Ferguson, Missouri the answer is apparently "yes." A brass plaque is being installed in Canfield Street, Ferguson, near the spot where Mikey-poo left us to go join the Choir Invisible. The plaque has an inscription, thus:
I would like the memory of Michael Brown to be a happy one.
The sappy banality and erratic punctuation there betray the influence of the late Maya Angelou, I fear. However, as Dr Johnson said: "In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath."
The plaque has an image of Mikey-poo at his graduation from Normandy High School, an institution described by the Washington Post as, quote, "a struggling school that had lost its state accreditation." That makes graduation from Normandy sound like a pretty low bar; but Mikey-poo had trouble clearing even that bar. He only graduated in August, after extra classes.
I should say that the opinions I have just expressed are not exclusive to the crabbed-old-white-racist community. They are shared by some blacks.
Here for example is the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, described by World Net Daily as a civil rights activist and author of a book titled "Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America." Quote from him:
First they sent White House officials to Brown's funeral, now they're elevating this thug into a civil rights hero. It sends the message that it's good to be a thug and that you'll be a hero and worshiped. This is an awful message to send to kids who don't have two parents … I wouldn't be surprised if they erected a memorial for Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray and others. The liberal black leaders don't want to promote good citizens because there's no payoff for them.
I think Rev'm Peterson has got a good piece of the issue right there. Should he happen to find himself on a cruise ship in the Aegean, I'd be glad to buy him a drink … except that as a man of the cloth, I guess he doesn't touch liquor. Whatever … a game of beach volleyball with the girls? Your call, Rev.
06 — Grand Unified Theory of liberalism. In the subtly artful way we at Radio Derb put together these podcasts, all those segments have a connecting thread. You wouldn't think so, would you? But that's our genius. All the idiocies and follies of modern America are in fact connected at a deep level, like the laws of physics. Let me explain.
Headline from today's New York Post, quote: Bratton laughs off protesters, asks City Council for more cops.
Story, in summary: Bill Bratton, the New York City Police Commissioner, went before an open meeting of the City Council to beg for more cops to, quote, "fight ISIS-inspired terrorists and improve community relations."
His presentation to the City Council was interrupted five times by black hecklers in the public seats. One of them called Bratton, quote, "a racist bastard."
Towards the end of the story we read this, quote from the New York Post:
Bratton's remarks come as shootings are up about 7 percent year-to-date compared to 2014. There have also been 13 more homicides this year compared to the same period last tear.
Further down on that same page of the Post is a story about a recent rash of muggings in Central Park, which the paper says is turning into, quote, "a leafy snake pit." Quote from that story, quote:
Cops recorded 18 serious incidents through Sunday, compared with 11 incidents during the same time period last year.
It's not just New York City, either. Here's a story from the Baltimore Sun, May 21st. (Baltimore is a large city in the state of Maryland.) Headline: Baltimore's mayor: Spike in crime "disheartening". Text of the story:
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the city's recent spike in violence "disheartening" Thursday as police work to address a dramatic increase in homicides and nonfatal shootings …
Funny, isn't it? You might almost think that our big-city police forces are holding back — you know, as if they'd been spooked by something or other this past few months and feel that in their daily work they are treading their way through a minefield. What could have made them feel like that?
And as Commissioner Bratton's remarks remind us, this is happening just at a time when one of the most savage terrorist movements of our age is brimming with triumphalist confidence and winning major victories in the Middle East. With our borders wide open thanks to the combined efforts of anti-white Democrats and cheap-labor Republicans, you have to wonder how much longer it'll be before ISIS is running operatives here in the U.S.A.
Coincidentally, I note this out of the House Committee on Homeland Security, May 21st, quote:
Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence hearing entitled "Admitting Syrian Refugees: The Intelligence Void and the Emerging Homeland Security Threat," scheduled for Thursday, May 21, 2015, has been postponed to a date and time to be announced.
I wonder why that hearing's been postponed? I wonder even more wonderingly why the heck we are admitting Syrian refugees at all. Back in February that same Committee on Homeland Security, the whole Committee, were told by the FBI that they couldn't adequately screen Syrian refugees.
We have admitted 815 refugees from Syria so far, 92 percent of them Muslim. The administration hopes to get the number up to 2,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September.
Perhaps that's why they've postponed the Subcommittee hearing: because publicity about it might affect the shoveling of unscreened Muslim "refugees" into American towns and cities.
Perhaps by September our towns and cities will have ceased policing operations altogether, making the environment absolutely ideal for ISIS.
I dunno: but if you work in a really tall, really prominent building in a U.S. city, you might want to consider a change of employer at this point.
07 — Meritocracy, multiracialism: pick one. There are signs that non-black America's long obsession with its own racial guilt may be coming to an end, or at least turning in an interesting new direction. The levels of non-black sympathy for blacks, and willingness to bend over backwards making excuses and allowances for them, seem to me to be at a historic low, like the water levels in a California reservoir.
Consider for example the situation with Asian Americans. Two significant stories here from the last few days.
Story Number One: Jerry Hough, 80 years old, is a Professor of political science at Duke University in North Carolina. Duke has an exceptionally high concentration of white race guilt and ethnomasochism. Remember the Duke lacrosse team rape hoax? — for which no-one of significance at the university ever apologized.
Well, Professor Hough took exception to a May 9th editorial in the New York Times blaming white people for the Baltimore riots. He sent the Times a letter, which they published, detailing his objections and blaming blacks for their own problems. He for example compared blacks unfavorably with Asians, saying that while every one of his Asian students had, quote, "a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration," blacks had weird made-up names symbolizing their lack of such desire.
The interesting thing here is that Prof. Hough is an old lefty: an Obama voter and admirer of Martin Luther King, who back in the day looked fondly on the Soviet Union as a model for human progress.
The authorities at Duke denounced Prof. Hough in the approved Newspeak style, calling his comments "noxious" and "offensive." They probably said "abhorrent," "hurtful," and "nasty," too — I confess I didn't read the whole driveling thing. Prof. Hough seems not to care. Why should he? He's eighty.
And then, Story Number Two: Last Friday, May 15th, sixty-four Asian-American groups filed a complaint with the federal Departments of Education and Justice against Harvard University for discriminating against Asians.
Of course Harvard does discriminate against Asians, and so do all the other Ivies. Ron Unz did a brilliant quantitative analysis on this topic two years ago, showing how for years the universities have kept Asian enrolment in a tight narrow band around 15 to 18 percent, even as numbers of college-age Asian Americans have soared.
I personally like meritocracy; but as I've often remarked, you can have meritocracy or you can have a multiracial society, but you can't have both, not without a lot of ugly friction of this kind. There are statistical differences between the races in behavior, intelligence, and personality. It's simple biology.
And there is in fact a race-realist argument for the kind of discrimination these Asian groups are complaining about. Razib Khan, himself an Asian American, has a good sensible post on this at Ron Unz's web magazine. Sample quote:
It may not be as much discrimination, even of the implicit sort, as opposed to the natural sorting of personality types.
The acronym PAMS, P-A-M-S, crosses my mind. It stands for "Passive Asian Male Syndrome," and I have heard it occasionally in self-deprecatory grumbling by Chinese friends.
Whatever the case with all that, the liberal dream of a black-and-Asian alliance against the white devils is looking more and more improbable. The current issue of the neocon magazine Weekly Standard has a story under the headline The Other Racial Divide, subheading: Were Asian-American businesses targeted in the Baltimore riots?
They undoubtedly were, just as they were in the Rodney King riots of 1992. The U.S.A. now has a whole generation of Asian-American adults whose families ran small stores in the ghettos, and who through their childhood watched their parents being insulted and robbed by blacks. Read Ying Ma's 2011 book Chinese Girl in the Ghetto.
Hatred of Whitey is a strong unifying force, but I doubt it's strong enough to keep the Alliance of the Oppressed intact for much longer.
08 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Just a tangential observation following that last segment.
On Wednesday this week at VDARE.com I posted a document that's been bouncing around the Twittersphere. It's a list of this year's graduates of the M.A. program in Statistics at Columbia University.
Of the 93 names listed, only 7½ are not obviously East Asian. (The half is an ambiguous name.) Factor that into the Asian-American groups' complaint againt Harvard.
And contra Prof. Jerry Hough, the large majority of the Asian names have given names that are not American. Most are Chinese names like Minqian or Xiaohuan. Probably these are foreign students, not Asian Americans.
The list brought to mind a thing I've heard more than once from Chinese friends. They have said something like this, quote:
Why do you Americans fill up your best universities with foreign students? You have all these great old institutions of higher education. They should be for your own people. Don't you have any patriotism?
My friends have a point. It's hard to blame foreigners for taking advantage of our stupidity, but … why are we so stupid?
Item: What was the reason Mikey-poo Brown attacked Officer Darren Wilson? You might suppose he was just a big stupid guy who didn't like cops. Well, President Obama has a different opinion. The reason Mikey-poo attacked Officer Wilson was, Obama believes, because he was afraid of being deported.
You heard that right. The Gentle Giant, a U.S. citizen born in this country to citizen parents, was afraid of being deported, according to Obama.
That at any rate is the logic of the latest recommendation from the policing task force Obama set up last year following the Ferguson riots. This latest recommendation is, that, quote from the Washington Times, May 18th, quote:
In order to rebuild trust between police and their communities, the federal government should stop enlisting state and local police in most immigration enforcement.
So: A black robber gets shot, blacks riot, the President sets up a policing task force, and they recommend a reduction in enforcement of immigration laws.
I offer that as yet more evidence for my Grand Unified Theory of American liberalism. It's all connected at a deep level, see?
Item: I'm way over my time here, so just a fast roundup of super-brief items.
A dating website for homosexuals has ranked the nations of the world on "gay happiness." Number one ranked on the Gay Happiness Scale? Iceland! So if you're Icelandic and homosexual and happy and you know it, clap your hands.
The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who is a guy, has married another guy. This isn't the first homosexual First Couple — that was, yes, Iceland — but it's the first in the EU, and I think the first male First Couple.
We are told that the honeymoon has been postponed due to the Prime Minister's busy schedule … Which for my money is a wee bit too much information …
And finally, if you read that story about a restaurant in Nigeria serving human flesh, apparently it was not true. Western news outlets who carried the story are now apologizing all over. Authorities in Nigeria have indignantly denied the story; and if you can't believe Nigerian authorities, who can you believe?
09 — Signoff. Signoff. I leave you in haste, ladies and gentlemen, with thanks for listening and very best wishes for the Memorial Day weekend.
Since I touched on some Asian themes back there, here to see us out is some actual Asian music: the Street Song from the Chinese opera, Lady Magnolia, which readers of my novel Fire from the Sun will know all about.
There will of course be more from Radio Derb next week. Take it away, Su San.
[Music clip: The Street Song from 玉堂春.]