Bloggers are aghast at a proposal by the Bush administration to give Iran nuclear technology in return for giving up uranium enrichment. They're also worrying about the fate of Somalia's capital city. But perhaps it's just the date that's making everyone so skittish.
Deal or no deal? In an attempt to woo Iran away from enriching uranium, the United States—as part of a package offered by the European Union—has offered to provide the rogue nation with nuclear technology. But bloggers are split on the potential efficacy of the deal.
The libertarian blog The Phalanx is pessimistic about the proposal. "If Iran accepts the offer, which they probably won't, a dangerous precedent will be set, soon the developing world and tyrants-in-training will follow Iran's lead in extorting financial concessions from the West under the threat of developing an indigenous nuclear program," he writes. Many conservatives, like James Joyner of Outside the Beltway and jcb of Part-Time Pundit, are comparing the proposal to the Agreed Framework deal between the United States and a nuclear-ambitious North Korea. "We're only America, of course we should grovel to third-world crackpots!" jcb snips.
However, The Gun Toting Liberal is praising the move. "For the first time in a VERY long time, I *slightly* tip my hat to the President and his Administration for this shocking move toward 'good world citizenship,' " he admits. Nema Milaninia, the Iranian-born editor of group blog Iranian Truth and the executive director of the International Studies Journal, is also advocating diplomacy. He writes, "Negotiations are the only path to peace. … The path to war is often characterized by indirect bickering and direct silence."
Neolibertarian blogger John Henke of The QandO Blog lists several reasons why this deal could be a good one. Most significantly, Henke points out that "Iran has the legal right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program. If Iran insists upon exercising that right, there's just not much we can legally do to stop them."
At Daimnation!, Canadian blogger Damian P. suspects that there is some craftiness going on behind the scenes. "My theory is that the Americans are making this offer on the assumption that Iran will reject it out of hand, thereby proving that the Iranians are interested in much more than just a power plant," he supposes.
Read more about the Iranian deal. Vivienne Walt explained Iran's nuclear ambitions for Slate in 2005. In April, Fred Kaplan asked if Iran and the United States can avoid a war. Kaplan's latest commentary on Iran is here.
Mogadishu falls: The capital of Somalia has fallen to Islamic rebels, and rumors are spreading that the African nation could become the new Afghanistan. Military blog StrategyPage has been following the rebels' march and progress as the Islamic Courts Union, a coalition of warlords. According to StrategyPage, which calls this "a win for al Qaeda," potential challengers are out there, but "the Islamic Courts are better organized, and believe they have God on their side."
On Granite State Pundit, journalist Dan Pierce has an extensive post about the situation. He believes that the United States' failure to effectively support Somalia, despite funding opposition forces, demonstrates the country's inability to fight nontraditional enemies. "What we have not shown any success at doing is knocking down the underlying power of our enemies, which is their faith and the appeal of that faith to millions of their co-religionists. We can call it a 'perversion' of Islam all we want. …This ideology has such power because it offers hope to the hopeless."
Liberal group blog MyDD's Jonathan Singer agrees with Pierce that the Somalia situation will challenge the United States. Singer fears that our military is too stretched out but says, "America cannot afford not to act. But one question remains as a result of the excessively risky Bush foreign policy: Do we have sufficient infrastructure and money to act as may be necessary?"
Ian Welsh, a contributing editor at the liberal group blog The Agonist, is attempting to be pragmatic. "Somalis will be better off under this militia than they were under the Warlords. They will be able to walk the streets safely. … Sure it'll be horrible in many ways - especially for women. But it will still be preferable to the constant threat of violence and rape," he suggests.
Read more about Somalia.
Apocalypse? No: Bloggers seem to be engaged in a half self-deprecating, half sincere contest to see who can reference the fact that, numerically, today's date is 06-06-06, or 666. The phenomenon is disgusting law professor and blogger extraordinaire Ann Althouse, who derides numerology as "utterly pathetic."
Media blog Gawker has a post compositing the spooky events, such as Scientology sponsoring a NASCAR team and Ann Coulter combating Matt Lauer on Today about 9/11 widows. "[M]uch of our daily reading seems to be touched by the hand of Satan," Gawker intones. (Speaking of Coulter, InstaPundit wonders if the timing of her new book, out today, is a coincidence.)
On The Corner, the group blog of the National Review Online, contributor Kathryn Jean Lopez has posted steadily about the number, and Jonah Goldberg got in on the fun, too. But as Save Yourself From This Corrupt Generation points out, at least they're celebrating in Hell.
Read more about the devil's big day.
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