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[A review of Hugh Hewitt's book, If It’s Not Close They Can’t Cheat , originally posted on Amazon.]The results of this year's presidential election boil down to one simple question: does America want to win the war against terrorism? The choice between the two political parties will determine the answer. All other issues are beside the point if we cannot defend ourselves. If America votes Republican, it chooses to keep up the fight and America will win. Should it vote Democrat, America will suffer unspeakable loss of life and liberty because the Democrats won't take the fight to our terrorist enemies.Given the high stakes involved, everyone who cares about the country's defense should get this book. This reviewer ex-Democrat turned Republican reviewer strongly recommends it. Consider this book the serious voter's guide to the 2004 elections.


The Commoditization of Oil

When was the last time you thought or worried about the price of aluminum?  How about copper?  Nickel?  Lead?  How about cattle, coffee, or cocoa?  Wheat?  Corn? All of this stuff is important in our daily lives and in world commerce.  But unless you are a commodities trader, their prices are not of much concern to you.  One principal reason they are not is that they are plain and simple commodities.  Their prices and markets are not politicized. Thus the single greatest impact of America's victory in Iraq will be the commoditization of oil and the end of its politicization. 



Wonder why Barack Hussein Obama's been plunging in the polls?  Consider how he's elevated a policy dispute into a character issue. Sen. Obama thinks he can sell icicles to Eskimos.  That self confidence is likely what brought him to Pastor Rick Warren's mega-church last weekend to woo evangelicals. Mr. Obama thought he had an opening, because religious young people are as attracted to what's hip and cool as much as their less religious contemporaries, and young evangelicals tend to be very concerned about the environment and helping the poor. But far and away the most important issue for evangelicals, young and old, is abortion, and Sen. Obama has one of the most radically pro-abortion records of any politician in America.  The less evangelicals -- and most ordinary Americans -- know about it, the better for Sen. Obama.  So a politician with less ego and more judgment would have stayed as far away from the Saddleback Church as possible. As Arnold would say, big mistake.


Eco-Imperialism’s Deadly Consequences

The United Nations' global warming bureaucracy is meeting (vacationing?) in Milan this week pondering how to revive the beleaguered international global warming treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol. This week's news that Russia might say "nyet" to the treaty all but seals its doom.


The Fraud of Selling Fear

If there is one thing that truly infuriates me in the investment business it's the goofy gurus I call French Bears.The French, you see, are intellectual descendants of the 17th century philosopher René Descartes. Descartes taught his fellow Frenchmen that consciousness somehow creates reality. His most famous quote is cogito ergo sum -- I think, therefore I am. This of course is exactly backwards: it's because Descartes is what he is, a human being with a brain, that he can think at all. The French have been getting things backwards ever since, always putting theory above reality.



Did you see the huge crowd outside the Russian Embassy in Washington DC protesting the war in Georgia? Neither did I. Now that we have a genuine war of aggression, the silence on the Left is deafening. "You might think, at a moment such as this, that the moral calculus would be pretty well understood," the Washington Post said in an editorial today (8/14).  "Russian troops are occupying large swaths of Georgia, a tiny neighboring country, and sacking its military bases.  Russian jets have roamed the Georgian skies, bombing civilian and military targets alike. Russian ships are said to be controlling Georgia's port of Poti, while militia under Russia's control reportedly massacre Georgian civilians.  Yet in Washington, the foreign policy sophisticates cluck and murmur that, after all, the Georgians should have known better than to chart an independent course." It is scandalous to liberals that terrorists at Gitmo don't have easy access to lawyers, but most don't care how many Georgians the Russians kill. Vladimir Putin is counting on this.



Enders Wimbush has been a good friend of mine since he was Director of Radio Liberty under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He played a pivotal role in bringing freedom to the subject peoples of the Soviet Union. He possesses one of the sharpest geostrategic minds not just in Washington, but in the world. I encourage you to read his analysis of America’s stakes in Asia carefully. -JWAsia, more than the Middle East, will compete for the attention of America's next president. It is in Asia that America's most vexing security challenges will likely emerge in the next few decades.The shape of New Asia will be formed in large part from three powerful interactive forces: America's resolve, or lack of it, to play the key role in creating a new security architecture for Asia; the specter of an unmanageable rising China; and the deterioration of security in the "Crescent of Crisis" stretching from the southern Philippines to the Persian Gulf.It is ironic that as America's presidential candidates debate how the U.S. can achieve its goals in Iraq and get out, for most Asian strategists the post-Iraq world has already begun.



Barack Hussein Obama's efforts to explain his energy policy indicate why his campaign has emphasized celebrity over issues.  The liberal San Francisco Chronicle says he is offering "more flip-flops than a Lake Tahoe souvenir stand." In a speech in Lansing, Michigan Monday (8/04), Mr. Obama  called for release of 70 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.  As the AP's Tom Raum noted in his lead, this was a reversal of a position he had taken less than a month before.  "The strategic oil reserve, I think, has to be reserved for a genuine emergency," Sen. Obama said in a press availability in St. Louis July 7:  "You have a situation, let's say, where there was a major oil facility in Saudi Arabia that was destroyed as a consequence of terrorist acts, and you suddenly had huge amounts of oil taken out of the world market, we wouldn't just be seeing $4 a gallon oil.  We could see a situation where entire sectors of the country had no oil to function at all.  And that's what the strategic oil reserve has to be for." Now, apparently, a drop in the opinion polls is reason enough to tap the strategic petroleum reserve.



Back in 1984, if you had bet Bulgaria would in 2004 host a convention of European free market think tanks including many from what were then communist countries, you probably would have been given very good odds. Yet during the last days of October, a remarkable conference -- the First European Resource Bank -- was held in the pleasant ski resort of Borovets, Bulgaria. This "Resource Bank" essentially was a convention of European free market think tanks. Representatives from organizations in 20 countries came together for mutual support, communication and cooperation.