Bloggers give Bush credit for being the first president to welcome the Dalai Lama. They're also worried about Turkey's green-lighting of an invasion of Northern Iraq and assess would-be attorney general Michael Mukasey's first day of confirmation hearings.
China's Lama drama: George W. Bush is the first U.S. president to take an audience with the Dalai Lama, on whom he bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal today. China was unhappy about the visit, which accounted for the White House's media- and photo-averse orchestration of the meeting and for the nasty words from Tibet's ruling regime about the defiant monk with the highest world profile. Bloggers mainly applaud the president and tell the Reds to stuff it.
"Bush has done something right, made a good start," say the Snarky Bastards, "Maybe he'll make a habit of it."
Reacting to a Tibetan Communist Party flunky's comment that the Dalai Lama lacks patriotism and has tried to "split the motherland," Decatur Metro ripostes: "Oh China, you sure know how to sweet talk the rest of the civilized world with your nonsensical mandated patriotism. Certainly the Dalai Lama should love the country that destroyed his homeland and makes constant attacks on what's left of Tibetan culture. That makes complete sense."
James Ure at the Buddhist Blog is at peace: "Some might say that in accepting a hunk of gold that the Dalai Lama is falling prey to materialism but such a claim couldn't be further from the truth. By accepting this award, His Holiness is accepting it to advance his cause for Tibetan autonomy, maintain Tibetan Buddhism and to raise awareness of that campaign."
Nikolas K. Gvosdev, the Washington Realist, wonders if the visit of His Holiness represents more than good karma, "whether there has been any unofficial quid pro quo--essentially trading the Dalai Lama's visit here with a pledge that the president will attend the Olympic Games and that the visit will not be held hostage to further demands made on China."
"How can the Dalai Lama, a Nobel peace prize winner and universally recognized man of peace, like that 'war mongering' George Bush?" asks Lewis Karl at the Faculty Blog of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Law. "[U]nder Bush's leadership the peace prospects in the Middle East never seemed better, the North and South Koreans held an historic meeting, the U.N. is beginning to recognize that there are atrocities in Darfur and someone should do something to try to stop it. ... Libya has willingly disarmed and has become semi normal. ... All under good old George. But give Al Gore the Peace Prize for narrating a film on global warming which can be shown in schools only with a disclaimer. Go figure."
The Impudent Observer thinks other countries should butt out of U.S. domestic policy: "First, Turkey tells the American government which resolutions it can pass, and now China is telling our government who is allowed to visit the White House. I doubt very much if Turkey would allow America to determine what is said in their parliament anymore than China will allow the United States to decide who visits or does not visit government officials."
Read more about the Dalai Lama's visit with the president.
Cold Turkey: The Turkish parliament voted 507 to 19 to authorize a military invasion into northern Kurdistan under the pretext of hunting outlaw members of the PKK, a Stalinoid terrorist organization that has long been a thorn in Ankara's side. Perhaps not coincidentally, the vote came just days after the U.S. House foreign relations committee approved a nonbinding resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide, the mere talk of which upsets our Mideast NATO ally.
At Commentary's blog, Contentions, conservative war historian Max Boot sympathizes with Turkey: "Countries have a responsibility for policing their own soil and ensuring it is not used for attacks on neighboring states. Iraq has been falling down on the job. … And yet the PKK, a vicious Marxist terrorist group that seeks independence for Kurdish areas of Turkey, has been able to operate from northern Iraq with impunity. Turkey has suffered a steady stream of casualties, including the loss of thirteen soldiers in just one attack this month."
Scoop Shachtman at Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War lauds the Iraqi government's avowed commitment to curtailing cross-border attacks on Turkey: "A comparison can be made with the Palestinian Authority, which while under the control of Hamas continued to launch rocket attacks against Israel. No real undertaking to prevent such attacks was made, indeed Hamas was actively behind such attacks, and Israel therefore saw a legitimate reason for militarily intervening in Gaza to prevent further attacks. Iraq is therefore correct to make the move to prevent further attacks on Turkey."
"[I]f they invade Iraq. Pass the resolution," says Max Bergmann at Democracy Arsenal, who explains, "While the timing of the Armenian genocide resolution could probably not have been much worse, Turkey's sophomoric reaction and their continued suppression of free speech and expression and their general treatment of the large Kurdish population in eastern Turkey, should not be ignored by the U.S."
Read more about Turkey's possible invasion of Iraq.
The case for Mukasey: When Sen. Patrick Leahy asked him if he repudiated the notorious Jay Bybee memo authorizing the president to skirt the Geneva Conventions and allow torture, Michael Mukasey replied, "I do." Unequivocal answers before Congress, a sworn commitment to put the law before politics—all in all, it was a good news day for the man who wants to head a scandalized Justice Department.
At the Moderate Voice, Joe Gandelman thinks Mukasey's a shoo-in: "Unless there's some major hitch, this appointment will be seen as one of George Bush's smarter moves — defusing the Attorney General's office and the Justice Department from being enmeshed in the powder-keg of political polarization. Democrats and other Bush administration critics may have their differences with Mukasey, but right now all signs suggest that they will consider much him more than just "the President's lawyer."
But liberal Spencer Ackerman at TPMMuckraker reminds readers that "[a]mong Michael Mukasey's most controversial decisions as a judge was to sign a material-witness warrant for suspected (and now convicted) al-Qaeda affiliate and U.S. citizen Jose Padilla, which allowed his detention after his mid-2002 arrival at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. … It remains unclear whether Mukasey thinks U.S. citizens captured at home in terrorism-related investigations can be indefinitely detained."
Read more about Mukasey's confirmation hearings.