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[Music clip: Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, fife'n'drum version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was a fife'n'drum rendering of Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2 and this is of course your objectively genial host John Derbyshire with commentary on the news from an unillusioned point of view.
Wednesday this week was July 12th, a memorable date for historical, political, and personal reasons.
As an American now, a real live nephew of my Uncle Sam, I'll do what I can to stop the U.S.A. from falling into the same pit.
Here's one of the things I can do: Call out the gross staggering stupidity of our foreign policy this past thirty-two years.
Radio Derb's position on NATO has been often stated, but I'll state it again for clarity.
It's a good idea for small, stable countries to unite in military alliance against a larger, unstable, and belligerent neighbor. The nations of Western Europe are justified in thus uniting for mutual assistance against possible misbehavior by Russia. Together they have three times Russia's population, many times Russia's wealth, and two — count 'em, two — nuclear powers. Makes sense.
That is Europe's business, though. There is no reason for the U.S.A. to be in NATO. When the Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991 we should have left NATO with all possible speed.
Instead we spent this past 32 years aggressively promoting NATO as a key instrument of Americam global hegemony, even though we knew perfectly well that Russians — all Russians, not just Putinists — nurse a deep collective neurosis about NATO. Longish quote:
Opposition to NATO expansion was [inner quote] "the one constant in what we have heard from all Russian interlocutors," [end inner quote] the U.S. ambassador to Moscow Thomas R. Pickering reported to Washington thirty years ago. Every leader in the Kremlin since Gorbachev and every Russian foreign policy official since the end of the Cold War has strenuously objected — publicly as well as in private to Western diplomats — to NATO expansion, first into the former Soviet satellite states, and then into former Soviet republics. The entire Russian political class — including liberal Westernizers and democratic reformers — has steadily echoed the same. After Putin insisted at the 2007 Munich Security Conference that NATO's expansion plans were unrelated to [inner quote] "ensuring security in Europe," [end inner quote] but rather represented [inner quote] "a serious provocation," [end inner quote] Gorbachev reminded the West that [inner quote] "for us Russians, by the way, Putin wasn't saying anything new." [end inner quote]
I took that quote from an essay in the June issue of Harper's Magazine, title: "Why Are We in Ukraine?" The authors are Benjamin Schwarz, editor of World Policy Journal, and Christopher Layne, Professor of International Affairs at Texas A&M. The essay is long — almost 8,700 words, which is seven or eight times the length of a broadsheet newspaper op-ed — but well worth your time.
Schwarz & Layne give a clear, detailed account of how our foreign-policy establishment, having won the Cold War, went ahead and methodically re-created it. Where Russia is concerned we are now back in 1963, but with
The answer to the question in this essay's title, "Why Are We in Ukraine?" is of course that we are in Ukraine because we are in NATO. The authors might as well have titled it, "Why Are We in NATO?" … a question I've been asking for years. Here I was back in June of 2020. Quote:
Where are our troops? Let's see. Fifty-five thousand of them are in Japan, I guess so that we won't be caught out by another surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
The numbers haven't changed much since I said that three years ago. As of the 2022 numbers, our troops in Japan are down from 55 to 54 thousand, in South Korea from 26 to 25 thousand, Germany and Italy about the same. So hey, we're still secure against another Pearl Harbor or a new Mussolini … not that the old Mussolini had any aggressive intentions against our territory, far as I recall.
We're still in NATO; and according to our President, speaking at a presser in Finland on Thursday, quote:
I'm saying, as sure as anything could possibly be said about American foreign policy, we will stay connected to NATO.
So I guess we'll still be able to launch NATO operations like the one in 2011 against Libya, the mission that killed Colonel Gaddafy and turned his country from a stable, bribable dictatorship to the chaos of warlordism, people-smuggling, and slavery it is today.
I'll conclude with an edited quote from the very end of that Schwartz & Layne essay, which I once again urge you to read. These are their closing words. Quote:
A more restrained and even pedestrian self-image might allow the United States at long last to pursue a more tolerant relationship with a recalcitrant world … It will eschew the theory of a global and universal duty, which not only commits it to unending wars of intervention, but intoxicates its thinking with the illusion that it is a crusader for righteousness.
03 — The skin or the heart? I mentioned there that Russia is politically primitive. So it is.
Vladimir Putin's in his 24th year as President, counting Medvedev as just his glove puppet. That's twice as long as FDR, and it's hard to see anything preventing Putin from attaining President-for-Life, if that's what he wants. There is no organized opposition, no guarantee of orderly succession, and political liberties are stifled; you could ask Alexei Navalny about that.
Corruption is at sensational levels. Transparency International ranks Russia at number 137 out of 180 nations, tied with Paraguay and Mali. (The U.S.A. is ranked at number 24.) The rule of law is at the mercy of oligarchs and power-players.
And so on. Politically, Russia is not a modern Western country.
Two weeks ago, following the attempted coup (if that's what it was) by Prigozhin and his militia, I had a longish segment mulling over Russia's condition and prospects.
That brought me a couple of angry emails. I had forgotten that there are, out here on the Dissident Right, people who are so disgusted by the degradations of our own cultural revolution — our open borders, the yielding-up of our cities to muggers, shoplifters, and homeless lunatics, the sexual mutilation of children, the abandonment of academic, professional, and criminological standards in the name of Equity, and all the rest of the current madness — a lot of people are so repulsed by it all they have turned to Vladimir Putin as the fearless upholder of Western Civilization.
I share their repulsion at all those horrors but, sorry, I can't see Putin's Russia as any kind of attractive alternative. Nor can any of the hundreds of thousands of Third World people paying out their life savings to people-smugglers in hopes of improving their circumstances. So far as I'm aware, Russia is not being overwhelmed by illegal aliens. Google the phrase "revealed preference."
I wouldn't dismiss my emailers out of hand, though. Russia's society is sick, for sure; but so are our societies, the societies of the liberal, democratic West. They are different kinds of sickness: theirs political, ours cultural. It's not crazy, though, to prefer the one kind of sickness to the other.
Back in 1941, when Chiang Kai-shek's China was at war with Japan, there was a widespread suspicion that Chiang was not fighting the Japanese whole-heartedly. He was holding back his troops, the suspicion went, in confidence that the U.S.A. would beat Japan and that he would then be able to unleash his men against Mao Tse-tung's communists.
According to American historian Theodore White, Chiang excused this policy by saying, quote:
The Japanese are a disease of the skin, the Communists are a disease of the heart.
Something similar can be argued here. On the one side there is autocracy, corruption, lawlessness, a President-for-Life and the assassination of political opponents: on the other, Drag Queen Story Hour and the sanctification of black lowlifes like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
Is one of these a disease of the skin, the other a disease of the heart? If so, which is which? Or are they both diseases of the skin, or both of the heart?
04 — Open borders, fifth century. Reporting on immigration issues, I try to find glimmers of light in the darkness — signs, however small, that the worm is turning, that ordinary citizens in Western countries are rising up against the open-borders madness, are waking up to the demographic destruction of their nations.
It's not easy, but I try my best. In that spirit, here's a cheering story from across the pond, actually from Wales.
We don't say much about Wales here at VDARE.com. They are a quiet people — well, except when they're singing — and keep mostly to themselves.
The Welsh really should, however, be more alert than the average ethny to the dangers of uncontrolled mass immigration. They weren't always confined to that mountainous little western fragment of Great Britain. Prior to the first century A.D. they owned all the southern part of the island.
Then the Romans showed up and made Britain part of their empire; but the native British seem not to have been heavily Latinized. When, four hundred years later, the Romans left, the Brits went back to being just British and speaking their own ancestral language, Brythonic.
Without the Roman legions to protect them, though, the Brits suffered from raiding by the wild Scots, who lived in Ireland, and by the Picts, who lived in Scotland. To help fend off these assaults, the Brits hired in fighting men from Europe: Angles from what is today Denmark, and Saxons from what is now northern Germany — regions that had never been Romanized.
So these rough, warlike young men from a lower level of civilization found themselves in what had recently been a Roman colony with all mod. cons., filled with people who knew how to dress with style but had forgotten how to fight.
The Angles and Saxons looked around at the lush fields and pastures, the brick-built houses and bridges, the paved Roman roads, the well-groomed delicate women, and said to each other: "Hey …" Then they sent messengers back to their places of origin to spread the good news.
The inevitable followed. Within a hundred years the Angles and Saxons owned what is today England. The native Brits had been driven off to the mountains of the west along with their Brythonic language, which over the centuries evolved into today's Welsh.
So, as I said, you'd expect the Welsh to be particularly skeptical about the benefits of mass immigration. Here in this week's news is a little tiny sliver of evidence that maybe they are.
The venue for this story is Llanelli, a small town in southern Wales, population 26,000. Llanelli has a fine old Edwardian hotel, the Stradey Park Hotel.
The owners of the hotel cut a deal with the U.K. government. In return presumably for some large sum of taxpayers' money that hasn't been made known to the public, the hotel's owners gave notice to leave to all occupants, took no further bookings, fired all of its staff — 50 full time workers and another 45 part-time — and hired in some security men to look after the place while necessary changes were made.
What was the point of all this? Well, you probably know that people-smugglers, with the aid of the French authorities, are shipping illegal aliens … sorry: "asylum seekers" north across the Channel to England at the rate, in good weather, of many hundreds per day. The total for last year was nearly 46,000 — getting on for twice the population of Llanelli.
As is the case here in the States, there is a problem of where to put them all. For a while it looked as though the British government might take up my suggestion of hulks, like the 19th-century prison hulks — old unseaworthy ships moored offshore.
This is proving to be a bust, however. There have been protests from both right and left. Local people have protested that the hulks are unsightly, which they certainly are, and that the wetbacks … sorry! sorry! "asylum seekers" would be free to come and go, bringing mischief and crime to local towns. Social Justice agitators, meanwhile, have criticized the hulks as "inhumane."
So what to do? Where to put this year's inflow of forty, fifty, sixty thousand invaders … sorry! sorry! "asylum seekers."
Well, how about a nice four-star hotel like … oh, the Stradey Park in Llanelli.
That's what the deal with the owners was about. The hotel expels its guests, cancels all wedding fixtures and such, fires all its workers, replacing them with a skeleton staff of ex-military security men, refits itself in a less luxurious style, and brings in 241 Albanian gangsters … sorry! sorry again! "asylum seekers."
The new guests were supposed to be moved in July 3rd. When word of the deal got around, though, local people rose up in protest. So far they have been able to prevent the foreign scofflaws … oh, you know what I mean, from being moved in.
Latest news I have is that the protestors are holding steady, although not without some sad flashes of pathological altruism, quote from one protestor:
I'm not a racist, I feel some sympathy with asylum seekers but the best hotel for miles around is not the place for them.
I can't help but wonder whether, back in A.D. four hundred and something, there were Brits near the Channel shore watching boatloads of tough young military-age males arriving from Anglia and Saxony, the Brits murmuring to each other: "I'm not a racist, but …"
How will it all work out at last? Let's just hope it works out better for Brits than that previous open-borders policy sixteen hundred years ago.
05 — Immigration bad news. That's as much good news as I can squeeze out of the immigration stories this week. The rest is bad. Here are two samples.
The worse of the two, although I'm sorry to say the less surprising, is that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have shafted working- and middle-class Americans yet again. It's what they live for, I think.
The Department of Homeland Security, the DHS, of course needs to have its operations funded for the coming fiscal year, the one that starts on October 1st, and it is up to Congress to approve that funding.
The House Appropriations Committee, 34 Republicans and 27 Democrats, duly did so before the July 4th recess. They budgeted 91½ billion dollars to fund DHS the next fiscal year.
That, however, was only part of the bill they passed. In there along with the funding, the Committee — with its Republican majority of seven, remember — also authorized major changes to the system of working visas for foreigners.
The H-2A visa, for example, which is intended to let farmers import agricultural labor, gets expanded so that the jobs for those laborers no longer have to be seasonal or temporary.
Similarly with the H-2B visa, the non-agricultural equivalent of the H-2A, notoriously used by American employers as a source of cheap blue-collar labor. This latest bill expands the number of H-2B visas, with at least 200,000 additional foreign workers joining our labor market on H-2B visas.
Such substantive changes to legal immigration programs should be debated and voted on in the authorizing committees, not snuck into an appropriations bill.
My second bit of bad news comes from abroad; in fact, from a broad named Giorgia Meloni (also known to Radio Derb listeners as Giorgia Pippalina). Ms Meloni is Prime Minister of Italy, having been elected to that office last September on a platform of, among other things, immigration restriction.
Svani ogni speranza! Vanish all hope! This week we learned that Ms Meloni will raise the number of work visas granted to applicants from outside the EU. Before the covid pandemic the number was 31,000 a year. The Prime Minister plans to raise it to 165,000 in 2025.
Yes: it's a fix on legal immigration, like the one House Republicans approved. Ms Pippalina … sorry: Prime Minister Meloni remains stalwart on illegals, badgering the EU to bribe North African countries to curtail people-smuggling — you know, the way they used to bribe Colonel Gaddafy before NATO punched his ticket.
That's less impressive than it would be if the lady was Prime Minister of some other country. Italy, like France and Greece, is a pass-through country for illegals, who mostly want to get to those lush welfare states further north: Britain, Germany, Scandinavia.
Still, it's not nothing. I'm sorry Ms Meloni had to blot her immigration record with an assault on the wages of working-class Italians. Perhaps she's been taking lessons from our own Congressional Republicans.
06 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: Those of us favoring patriotic immigration reform look up to Japan as a model. So far as I can discover there is no illegal immigration at all into Japan. There are some refugees accepted for settlement: 202 last year. That's less than two percent of the 10,195 people who applied.
And that was last year. In June this year Japan's parliament tightened up the asylum laws further. Now applicants who are denied refugee status twice will be forcibly deported.
Be still, my heart. However, while Japan's immigration law is a model for us all, that country is not totally immune to the idiotic fads afflicting Western societies.
Until this week, for example, an employer could prohibit men from using the ladies' bathroom. Then on Tuesday the country's Supreme Court ruled such restrictions unlawful.
The plaintiff in the case being ruled on is a 50-something man, an employee at the government economic ministry, who presents himself as a woman.
If you want to legally change sex in Japan, you first have to undergo the necessary surgery. This fellow can't, for health reasons, so he's legally male.
He filed to have the bathroom restriction lifted ten years ago, back in 2013; he filed suit in 2015, eight years ago. That's a heck of a long time to wait to use the bathroom. Sorry, sorry, … bad taste, I know.
Item: In the same general zone, a man presenting as a woman has won the Miss Netherlands title in a beauty pageant.
Having scrutinized numerous pictures of the contestants — nothing is too much trouble for your diligent host — I have to say, in all honest objectivity, this was a case of pandering to a silly fad. There is no way the winner, at left here, is as beautiful as the runner-up, at right.
Yeah, yeah: beauty's in the eye of the beholder. I don't nurse any strong prejudices in this area, though — I have written very sympathetically about Jan Morris — and I really am straining for objectivity. The winner there is not beautiful at all by any standard known to me.
But that's the way with fads: they can, when sufficiently entrenched, triumph over reality.
Item: A fair amount of what you need to know about crime and order in our society is embraced by the story of the Pittsburgh synagogue killer.
His name is Robert Bowers, a white guy aged 50. Back in October 2018 Bowers drove to a Pittsburgh synagogue where a service was under way and walked through the building shooting worshipers. Eleven people died, six others were wounded.
There isn't the faintest shadow of doubt that Bowers committed this horrible crime. He was at the scene when police arrived and he shot at them. They shot back, wounding him before arresting him. Survivors of the massacre identified him. He'd been posting antisemitic comments on social media. This was the guilty party, no doubt whatsoever.
Bowers was found guilty in a federal trial last month, June 16th, almost five years after the event. Why did it take five years to find him guilty, when his guilt could not have been more obvious? And why a federal trial, when murder is against the law in Pennsylvania?
I don't know. The answer to the first question is somewhere in the 650 words under the headings "Indictment and pretrial proceedings" and "Trial" in the Wikipedia page on the case. I gave it my best shot but my eyes kept glazing over.
I suspect the answer to the second question is, that anything sufficiently newsy is the business of the federal government nowadays. Gotta keep all those Washington, D.C. bureaucrats employed somehow.
Oh, and we're not yet through with the federal trial. Next week comes part two of the sentencing phase to, quote from the New York Times, January 13th, "to determine whether to recommend that the judge impose a sentence of death or life in prison," end quote.
We all know, of course, that should His Honor impose a death sentence, there will be a decade or two or three of further legal wrangling before the sentence is carried out, if it ever is.
And all this is just the federal proceedings. Then will come the state trial, which is being held in abeyance until the federal trial is over. Presumably the state trial will be just as lengthy and convoluted.
All this, in a case where the defendant's guilt is known, and has been known from the start, as well as any fact about the world can be known.
That's our justice system for you: a vast jobs program for lawyers and court officials, and a gross jeering insult to anyone seeking, you know, … justice.
Item: Featured heavily in the British news outlets this past few days has been the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
I'm not a follower of tennis and have no interest in the tournament itself. I just wish I could understand why so many literate, well-educated Americans think that the word "Wimbledon" is spelt with a "t."
No, it's a "d," same as "London." I never hear anyone say "Lonton." Why do so many say "Wimbleton"?
Am I being petty? So sue me. Then practice saying "Wimbledon." "Wimbledon," "Wimbledon," "Wimbledon," …
07 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time and attention; and Bruce Lee fans, pause to observe a minute's silence this coming Thursday, July 20th, the fiftieth anniversary of Bruce's death.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week. Here's Gracie to sing us out.
[Music clip: Gracie Fields, "Sing As We Go."]