By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
I really enjoyed those pictures of President Bush and President Vladimir Putin of Russia back-slapping and barbecuing down at the Bush ranch in Crawford the other day. It was heart-warming. You don’t see that very often. But you know what else you don’t see very often? Such a personal, important summit meeting that doesn’t reach any agreement. Now that’s unusual. But because the Taliban were falling at the time, no one paid attention. We should.
Houston, we have a problem here. And the problem can best be framed as: How much of President Bush’s pre-Sept.-11 foreign policy agenda is he ready to abandon in order to advance his post-Sept.-11 agenda?
The Bush team came to office obsessed with building a ballistic missile shield. In order to test missiles for such a shield the Bushies insist they must remove the restrictions set by the 1972 ABM treaty with Russia. Many experts argue that the U.S. could do all the testing it needs now within the ABM treaty, but the Bush hard-liners don’t care. Because what they really want is to get rid of the ABM treaty, and all nuclear arms control, so they can be free to pursue Ronald Reagan’s fantasy of a total Star Wars missile shield.
The Russians initially resisted changing ABM. The ABM treaty is critical to Russia as confirmation of its superpower status, and for maintaining nuclear predictability. By keeping ABM, the Russians feel they have a legal barrier that would prevent the U.S. from developing something more than just the “limited” shield the Bush team claims to want. What the Russians fear is a total Star Wars umbrella that might make the U.S. invulnerable to missile attack and thus able to strike Russia without fear of retaliation. This would upset the nuclear balance that has kept the peace since World War II.
Now for a brief aside: While the Bush administration was pushing missile defense as its priority before Sept. 11, some of us were arguing otherwise. We began by asking a simple question. What are the real threats to U.S. security? The answers were: nuclear proliferation, missile proliferation, terrorism, mafias, rogue states and financial contagion. Then we asked: Is there any way the U.S. could effectively deal with any of these threats without a cooperative relationship with Russia? Since the answer was NO, we argued that missile defense, not to mention NATO expansion, should be subordinated to forging a strategic relationship with Moscow. Nothing has vindicated that view more than the events since Sept. 11, when Russia’s support has been essential for fighting the Taliban, and would be even more critical for fighting Iraq.
Don’t upset the mutually assured destruction (MAD) balance that has kept us ‘safe’ from nuclear attack all my life. MAD was good enough for Dad and it’s good enough for me.
NJ.com: NewsFlash ACLU supports longtime critic Falwell in property lawsuit against Virginia
The Associated Press
11/28/01 12:32 PM
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union offered to support the Rev. Jerry Falwell in his challenge of Virginia laws that restrict how much property a church can own.
Though Falwell often chides the activist group, the offer was welcomed by Jerry Falwell Jr., who is representing his father in the case.
Proof that civil liberties are not just some leftist social agenda. While I understand the ACLU taking the case, I’d have been o.k. with the idea of just letting Falwell pray for a positive outcome.
November 29, 2001
An Implosion on Wall Street
The company’s autopsy will be a complicated affair, entailing numerous lawsuits. What is already clear, and will come as a shock to millions of trusting individual investors across America, is that the financials of a Fortune 500 company were essentially a mystery. Enron’s death watch began last month when it grudgingly disclosed that $1.2 billion of its market value had vanished as a result of “related-party” transactions with private partnerships that enriched company insiders. Then Enron admitted that it had overstated its profits over the last five years by $600 million. Dynegy cited Enron’s lack of forthrightness as a reason to walk away from the merger agreement.
Not very long ago, competitors and Democrats in Washington were worrying whether the close ties between Enron’s chairman, Kenneth Lay, and George W. Bush would give the company too much influence. Enron has aggressively lobbied, with some success in recent years, to limit regulation and disclosure of its trading operations.
Creative accounting and lack of proper controls allowed millions of American’s to be duped into furthering the wealth of the few at the expense of the many. Look for a similar outcome within government accounting practices as baby Bush and company stifle information that would make them look bad. They’ll probably be using the excuse of protecting our children from terrorists. They’ve already figured out how to save our children from prosperity. Will they figure out a way to blame Clinton? Count on it. Bush is as bankrupt intellectually as the Enron Corp appears to be financially.
Calendar Live – Is This Seat Worth $14? Is This Seat Worth $14?
L.A. moviegoers have a new option: The “upscale cinema.” Writer Jon Burlingame tries out the Bridge at Howard Hughes Center.
By JON BURLINGAME, Special to The Times
They’re called Director’s Halls at the Bridge: Cinema de Lux, and they are the ne plus ultra of L.A. moviegoing: Roomy leather seats, stadium seating, reservations required, assigned seating, ushers who don’t just clean up the popcorn after every show but escort you to your seats.
Of course, it’s not cheap. Top ticket on weekends is $14, but to a certain segment of the audience, it’s worth it. Plus the snack bars serve frozen cappuccino, personal pizzas and boneless hot wings. There’s even a lounge where alcohol and sandwiches are served before, during and after the movie.
What, no caviar. I’m outraged!!
Stolen-car suspect too young to drive / 12-year-old being held in Santa Cruz County Stolen-car suspect too young to drive
12-year-old being held in Santa Cruz County
Alan Gathright, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, November 28, 2001
The Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy knew it wasn’t a routine stop when he pulled over the new Acura sedan he said was weaving and lurching all over the road: The short, boyish driver was sitting on a backpack to peer over the dashboard.
Figuring he’d seen baby-faced state troopers who didn’t look old enough to drive, Deputy Derek Fenster gave the kid the benefit of the doubt and asked for his driver’s license.
Patting his pants pockets, the driver said, “Oh! I left my license at home, ” recounted Deputy Kim Allyn, the sheriff’s office spokesman. Fenster ordered the driver out of the car and was stunned to see he “was no taller than 4 feet. “
Further investigation revealed the motorist was a brash 12-year-old driving a stolen car — his second car-heist bust.
The kid had been in court THE SAME DAY for his first offense. Now would not be a good time to ask me if I thought the parents ought to be held responsible.