|The Week That Was
1. New on the Web: STEPHEN HAYWARD
PROVIDES A FINE SUMMARY OF RECENT HAPPENINGS IN CLIMATE POLITICS. It is
a perfect opener for the forthcoming COP-9, which begins its Annual Gabfest
in Milan on Dec 1. (For the uninitiated: COP stands for "Conference
of the Parties [to the Kyoto Protocol]. Some 180 national delegations try
to make sense about the real meaning of the 1997 treaty - which may go down
the drain unless Russia ratifies.)
2. NYET TO KYOTO: THE KYOTO PROTOCOL WILL LIKELY SOON DIE ON THE STEPS
OF THE KREMLIN, as Russia legislators are no longer fooled by its 'illusionary'
benefits and the unrealistic emission levels it sets out for the country.
3. RESEARCH DEBUNKS GREENHOUSE THEORY: Proof exists, but believers
would rather denounce than debate
4. NEW GAO STUDY SHOWS WHY EUROPE BENEFITS WHILE U.S. SUFFERS UNDER
RESTRICTIONS ON CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS
5. KYOTO PROTOCOL IS A PREDATORY TRADE STRATEGY Masquerading as an
Environmental Treaty (Financial Times)
6. BACK TO THE DARK AGES AS RESEARCHERS DELETE DODGY CLIMATE DATA
7. VIEW FROM CANADA: RUSSIA STRIKES A BLOW FOR FREEDOM ON KYOTO (National
8. INFANTILE RESENTMENT: A Sober British Appraisal That Includes Kyoto
2. Nyet to Kyoto
With so much of the fate of the Kyoto agreement riding on his work, you'd
think the Russian government would give Alexander Nakhutin a better deal.
Russia's chief greenhouse-gas emissions forecaster currently works out
of the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology, a mostly empty, crumbling
building on Moscow's outskirts, with a pack of ragged dogs slumbering
under the portico.
Down a lightless corridor and up a flight of dank stairs, the door to
Nakhutin's lab swings open on a bright surprise: There's a fresh coat
of paint, lots of light, and plenty of high-end computer equipment. Sadly,
however, the gear isn't for Nakhutin's research. It's for his new printing
company, he says. "My business income subsidizes my research budget,"
the Russian Academy of Science section head explains. "Without it,
I couldn't do any science."
Unorthodox as his funding methods may seem to Western eyes, when it comes
to global warming research, Nakhutin is a very heavy hitter. In a study
released last year, Nakhutin found that through five years of rapid economic
expansion since 1999, Russian greenhouse-gas emissions have ballooned
as much as 13% annually. If Nakhutin's projections are correct -- and
he is one of only a very few researchers with access to the best Russian
industrial data -- by the time the Kyoto treaty is due to be implemented
in 2008, Russian carbon emissions will be 6% greater than they were in
1990, or 30% higher than originally envisioned.
This is a forecast that spells deep trouble for Kyoto planners at the
headquarters of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change in Geneva. That's because the entire Kyoto concept is structured
around predictions that when Kyoto is implemented in 2008, Russian greenhouse
gas emissions levels will be 20% below levels in 1990 -- the baseline
year for Kyoto emissions targets, and the last year in which the Soviet
economy operated at full throttle.
Kyoto planners believe that between 1991 and 1999, the collapse of the
Russian economy reduced greenhouse gas emissions there by 39% -- a figure
they've always said will be only partially offset by Russian economic
growth before 2008. According to their projections, after 2008, Russia
will be in a position to make billions by selling "carbon credits"
to Europe, Canada and Japan on the carbon-trading marketplace at the centre
of the Kyoto concept.
Kyoto planners say the prospect of billions in profits from carbon credit
sales will persuade Russia to join the Kyoto club. And they say countries
with emissions greater than they had in 1990 will be able to meet their
Kyoto emissions reduction targets by offsetting their excess emissions
levels with pollution credits purchased from Russia.
If Russia's "carbon surplus" proves illusory, though, the supply
of carbon credits available on the Kyoto pollution market will be very
tight. That's going to make things difficult for many countries hoping
to purchase credits to offset pollution increases since 1990.
While Nakhutin's research upends Kyoto planners' projections in Geneva,
where it really hits home is in the Kremlin, which is under heavy pressure
from Kyoto planners, and politicians in Europe and Japan, to ratify the
agreement. Due to a legal stipulation requiring that Kyoto must be ratified
by countries responsible for at least 55% of the greenhouse emissions
from industrialized nations in 1990, the Kyoto agreement cannot survive
without Russian ratification.
According to Nakhutin, when Kremlin officials reviewing the case for
Russian ratification got wind of his findings, they expressed "worry,"
and demanded details. "We have a full-scale carbon emission inventory
underway right now," he says. "The government wants this information
for a decision on whether or not to ratify Kyoto."
Nakhutin's results won't be in for a while yet, but even so, enthusiasm
for Kyoto in the Kremlin is fading fast. Back in the spring of 2002, Russian
President Vladimir Putin promised to press the Russian Parliament to ratify
Kyoto. But in the face of accumulating evidence, Kyoto planners in Geneva
failed to anticipate a major boom in Russian carbon emissions when they
projected Russian emissions 20% below 1990 levels in 2008, the Kremlin
has been looking hard at its alternatives.
Last March, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development concluded that
ratifying Kyoto was not in Russia's interest. In June, Putin's top economic
adviser, Andrei Illarionov, told reporters that Kyoto offers Russia only
"illusory" benefits, and would force Russia to undertake expensive
restructuring. "The U.S. decided that these expenses were excessive,"
Illarionov said. "I'm not convinced that Russia can afford expenses
that the world's richest country couldn't afford."
At an international climate change conference in Moscow in September,
President Putin joked that global warming might benefit Russia. Then he
said Russia would have to continuing investigating whether or not to ratify
Kyoto. "The decision will be taken at the end of that work, and in
conformity with Russia's national interests," he said. A few days
later, Mr. Illarionov said he doubted Kyoto's "effectiveness."
Although Dr. Nakhutin's studies are still underway, the Kremlin likely
already knows enough about rising Russian greenhouse gas emissions to
realize Kyoto planners got their estimates wrong. Russian economic growth
was 10% in 2001. In 2002 it was 6%. Seven per cent growth is expected
this year. President Putin says the economy may double before 2010, and
triple before 2020.
Under these conditions, it's no surprise Russian views on Kyoto are themselves
facing a climate change.
In an assessment of the case for Kyoto ratification published last year,
the Kremlin acknowledged that Russian greenhouse gas emissions are rising
fast, and that energy consumption per unit of GDP will have to be reduced
by 36% over five years if greenhouse gas emission levels are going to
be 20% below 1990 levels in 2008. Last May, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail
Kasyanov raised this energy conservation figure to 50%.
At the Russian Ministry of Energy, just across Red Square from the Kremlin,
Oleg Plujnikov, the Ministry's deputy head of ecology, says energy efficiency
is now "mandatory" for Russia. Unfortunately for Kyoto planners,
however, Russian energy efficiency specialists like Igor Bashmatov, director
of Moscow's Center for Energy Efficiency (CENEf), say such pronouncements
are disingenuous at best.
With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bashmatov
carefully reviewed the Russian government's actual spending on energy
efficiency and found it disastrously below official pledges.
According to the CENEf, for the period between 2002 and 2005, the Russian
government has only allocated 14% of the funds it promised to energy efficiency.
Worse, says Bashmatov, only 4% of that money is spent directly on efficiency:
the rest goes on subsidies to increase oil and gas production. "The
best indicator of commitment is allocation of funds," he says, "but
we've never really seen anything more than verbal support."
According to Bashmatov, negligible political commitment means the 36%
increase in Russian energy efficiency needed to hit Kyoto targets is out
of the question: In the face of massive economic growth and emerging evidence
of a huge boom in Russian greenhouse gas emissions, the Kremlin, it seems,
has abandoned its own case for Kyoto ratification.
As long as this remains the case, when it comes to the Kyoto treaty,
the rest of the world might as well save its breath. Without Russian participation,
Kyoto -- as we know it -- will be just another grandiose idea consigned
by restless Russians to the dustbin of history.
Paul Webster is a writer who has reported on climate change issues in
Russia for Science and New Scientist.© Copyright 2003 National Post
3. Research debunks greenhouse theory
EDMONTON JOURNAL, 12 November 2003
Too many scientists have based their research, their reputations and
their incomes on the greenhouse theory.
So rather than debate the growing evidence that the greenhouse theory
is fundamentally flawed, many greenhouse-believing scientists have begun
viciously attacking those who question its conclusions and denouncing
any agnostic as a heretic -- especially ones presenting uncomfortably
Witness Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center
for Astrophysics. Both are noted solar physicists. Earlier this year,
they published an exhaustive study of the climate of the past 1,000 years
or so in the journal Climate Research. They examined more studies on historic
climate trends -- 240 in all -- than any previous researchers, and concluded
the 20th century was not unusually warm. In the past millennium there
had been at least one other period when, worldwide, temperatures were
as much as 2 C to 3 C warmer than the 1990s.
This was not a particularly startling conclusion. There have been dozens
of papers written by geologists identifying a Medieval Warm Period running
from about 800 to 1300 AD and a Little Ice Age spanning 1300 to about
1850. Soon and Baliunas merely confirmed that these earlier studies were
But Soon and Baliunas were both vehemently attacked. Myths were spread
that they had cooked their findings (as good scientists do, they acknowledged
in their article the very limitations in their results that have been
used to try to discredit them). Three junior editors at the journal that
published their study resigned claiming embarrassment that their employer
published shoddy research. Then the controversy sucked down the editor-in-chief.
However, when an independent review was conducted of the Soon/Baliunas
article, no misrepresentation was found nor any shortcomings with Climate
Research's peer-review process. (These latter facts are often left out
of news stories on the controversy, though.)
The reason for the hissy fit over Soon/Baliunas is simple though. The
pair do not shy from drawing obvious conclusions from their research:
if the warming of the 20th century is not unusual, then it is likely natural,
meaning the Kyoto accord is an exercise in futility. And even if the warming
is not natural, it is not extreme and thus nothing to worry about.
This is a threat to the greenhouse religion. Therefore the pair must be
burned at the stake.
The same fate is likely to befall Canadian researchers Steve McIntyre
and Ross McKitrick, who have just destroyed the "hockey stick"
theory on recent global warming for the British journal Energy & Environment.
(Questioned the theory, or called it into doubt might be less-charged
wording, but I'll stick with destroyed.)
The "hockey stick" has been among the holiest of holies in the
greenhouse priests' liturgy. It purports to show relatively stable climate
for the 900 years from 1000 to 1900, then a sharp spike upward from 1900
to today. Its implications for the greenhouse theory are so central that
it formed an integral part of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change's vaunted 2001 report, the one that claimed to confirm disastrous
manmade greenhouse warming.
We have known for a long time that the hockey stick compared apples and
oranges -- reconstructed temperatures from 1000 to 1900 (temperatures
deduced from studying tree-ring growth and ice cores, et cetera) and measured
temperatures from 1900 onward. When the 20th century's temperatures are
"reconstructed," they don't show the warming the hockey stick
But what McIntyre/McKitrick also reveal is the data used to craft the
hockey stick are based on "collation errors, unjustifiable truncation
or extrapolation ... obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect
calculation ... and other quality control defects." The wrong places,
the wrong dates and the wrong numbers were jumbled together to produce
the results the authors desired -- that industrial societies are threatening
the planet and only global regulation by the UN can save it.
Three "unjustified truncations" were uncovered by McIntyre/McKitrick.
Of 112 temperature records used to create the hockey stick, 13 were incorrectly
copied down, 18 mismatched the year and temperatures, 19 made unjustifiable
extrapolations to cover missing data, 24 contained obsolete data and all
28 that used tree-ring data miscalculated the information obtained by
reading the rings. That's a total of 105 records with errors, although
some contained multiple errors, so there were more than seven data sets
that were error-free, but not many more.
Emperor Kyoto has no clothes. It's time we called him on it.
Lorne Gunter, Columnist, Edmonton Journal
4. New GAO study shows why Europe benefits while U.S. suffers under
restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions
by Tom Randall, November 12, 2003
Issue: An October 28 report by the General Accounting Office demonstrates
why Europe benefits and the U.S. suffers under any climate change scheme,
such as the Kyoto Protocol or the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship
(S.139), which restricts the emissions of carbon dioxide. The report,
ironically, was requested by Senators Ernest Hollings (D-SC) and
presidential candidate John Kerry (D-MA) in an apparent effort to gather
information to promote the Lieberman-McCain bill.
What the report determined, in part, was that Europe has more than met
CO2 reduction targets; therefore measures such as Kyoto would impose no
restrictions on their economies but the burden on the U.S. would be
enormous. Hollings and Kerry, interestingly, left the following report
out of the floor debate:
While U.S. CO2 emissions rose by 22.5 percent from 1980 to 2000, those
Europe¹s principal economies dropped dramatically: Germany 22.3 percent,
United Kingdom -10.1 percent and France -119.9 percent. While the European
reductions were, in part due to closing of high-emission East German
facilities and switchover to North Sea natural gas, they were to a great
extent due to these countries¹ economies falling apart, often with
unemployment rates not seen in the U.S. since the Great Depression.
Comment 1: It should be obvious why Margot Wallstrom, the European
Commissioner for the Environment said, "[Global warming] is not a
environmental issue where you can say it is an issue where scientists
not unanimous. This is about international relations, this is about
economy, about trying to create a level playing field for big business
throughout the world. You have to understand what is at stake and that
why it is serious."
Comment 2: Global warming has always been about trying to make
hopelessly socialist economies competitive with the United States.
Comment 3: It is ironic that what Europe couldn¹t pull off,
many Democratic and liberal Republican Senators are trying to foist on
the nation with the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act.
5. Kyoto Protocol is a Predatory Trade Strategy Masquerading as an
Letter to the Editor in the Financial Times
by Marlo Lewis, Jr. November 17, 2003
Michael Grubb ("The world must keep its nerve over Kyoto",
November 13) wants the US and Russia to ratify the Kyoto protocol. What
a surprise! Mr. Grubb works for the Carbon Trust, an organisation set
up and funded by Tony Blair's government to facilitate business compliance
with Kyoto's energy suppression mandates. Kyoto would confer competitive
advantage on UK businesses vis-a-vis their US counterparts -- but only
if the US participated. If neither the US nor Russia ratifies, the treaty
is dead. And if Kyoto dies, the Carbon Trust has no raison d'être.
As is widely known, Kyoto would impose greater burdens on the US than
on Britain, France, and Germany. Owing to a combination of factors unrelated
to environmental concern - stagnant continental economies, low population
growth, Britain's switch from coal to natural gas, France's reliance on
nuclear power, and Germany's closure of obsolete East German factories
- those countries are within easy reach of their Kyoto target. In contrast,
a growing population, robust economic growth in the 1990s, the world's
highest per-capita vehicle-miles traveled, and the world's largest coal
reserves ensure that US carbon emissions will exceed the US's Kyoto target
by at least 30 per cent.
As for Russia, Kremlin officials such as Andrei Illarionov, the presidential
economic adviser, now realise that ratifying Kyoto would mean, "dooming
the country to poverty, backwardness and weakness". Gone forever
is the dream of a multi-billion-dollar windfall from selling surplus emission
credits. Russia's economy is growing so rapidly that emissions could exceed
the country's Kyoto target by 6 per cent in 2008.
Even if implemented by all industrial countries, Kyoto would have no discernible
effect on climate change. Kyoto is essentially a predatory trade strategy
masquerading as an environmental treaty.
As Margot Wallström, the European Union environment commissioner,
put it: "This is about international relations, this is about economy,
about trying to create a level playing field for big businesses throughout
the world." There are, of course, two ways to level the playing field:
reduce EU energy taxes and regulation, or increase US energy taxes and
regulation. Mr. Grubb and his sponsors obviously prefer the latter.
6. Back To The Dark Ages As Researchers Delete Dodgy Climate Data
www.john-daly.com, 15 November
Since the publication of the recent study by McIntyre & McKitrick
(M & M) (Energy & Environment, 14,751-771, 2003 ), in which they
found extensive statistical processing errors in Michael Mann's `Hockey
Stick' theory, there have been some strange happenings.
M & M found embarrassing statistical errors in Mann et al's original
work and now Mann claims that some of these errors were not part of the
original `Hockey Stick' at all, but were accidentally included in an Excel
spreadsheet which they sent to M & M, and that M&M should have
looked at the data on Mann's FTP site instead. This suggests the errors
were recent and did not contaminate the original `Hockey Stick'.
However, M & M have stated in various forums that they asked for
FTP data, not for a separate Excel spreadsheet -- and, in fact, Mann's
web page listed in his original paper of 1998 (MBH98) does not link to
the FTP data at the University of Virginia. After Mann disclosed the Virginia
FTP location, M&M found the identical file at Mann's FTP site as was
sent to them, plus the same data in a `MATLAB' version, both files dated
However, just days after the publication of the M & M paper, these
key files were deleted from Mann's University of Virginia FTP server sometime
between October 29 and November 8, 2003. Why were they deleted? Why were
they deleted just after the release of the M & M paper?
Whatever the reason for the deletions, it was all too late. Here are
the original files - (files can be obtained from John Daly)
More file deletions were to follow. Some data used in the M & M study
was originally located at Mann's old FTP site at the University of Massachusetts.
Mann's web page on MBH98 links to this FTP site. Shortly after M &
M made an initial reply to Mann's claims on an internet `blog' site, on
November 13, 2003 (a reply that said that they had new results to report
about the Virginia FTP site), the entire Massachusetts FTP folder on MBH98
was also deleted before M&M were able to copy it.
The deletion of the University of Massachusetts FTP site is surely the
strangest event yet. The mere deletion of these files, which had been
on public view for over a year and probably as far back as 2000, implies
an attempt at concealment. We can only wonder at what they contained.
The Hockey Stick was uncritically and enthusiastically embraced by the
IPCC, the U.S. National Assessment Team, and the whole greenhouse industry,
even though it overturned previous scientific knowledge about the climate
of the last millennium. As such, its conclusion should have been subject
to rigorous scientific scrutiny and replication. It wasn't. Instead, it
took two outsiders to do the audit that the industry itself should have
done. In finding so many faults and errors in the Hockey Stick, the whole
sorry episode reflects badly on the competence and the motives of the
`peer reviewers', the IPCC, and the US$4 billion research industry.
7. Russia strikes a blow for freedom on Kyoto
by Elizabeth Nickson, National Post, October 11, 2003
Praise that more-than-a-little-terrifying ex-KGB strongman Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin. Who would ever have thought that the Russian government,
which has made one bad decision after another for oh, 100 years or so,
could suddenly turn on a dime and throw a major spanner into the not-so-very-secret
and incredibly well-managed effort to destroy democracy and the nation-state?
One had to pause this week, and ponder with delight, the perfect ironies
of human life.
The forces of evil are still wondering why Russia did not ratify Kyoto.
"What could it be?" they ask. "He needs the money! He really
needs the money! Hey, it's probably not enough money. He's holding out
for a better deal. We've got to come up with more money! Well, that's
easy enough. There are thousands of funds to plunder. Rockefeller, now.
They can pay off the Russians. And we'll have our presshhhus gold ring."
Then they all bend over their crystal and wait for another message from
I prefer to think that the one country that has suffered more from the
madness of International Socialism can see its stalking horse bearing
down on them again, and they all started screaming and hiding under tables.
"We don't care how much money you'll give us, we are afraid! Very,
"Kyoto," said Jacques Chirac at The Hague in 2000, "represents
the first component of an authentic global governance." Well yeah,
no kidding. And income distribution on a scale hitherto unimagined before
in history. Or as Margot Wallstrom, the European Union's Environment Commissioner
says, Kyoto is about "the economy, about levelling the playing field
for big businesses worldwide."
Pause with me for a moment and hum a few bars of The Internationale.
The global environment crisis (which doesn't exist) has been created to
promote the biggest bureaucratic boondoggle that the heaven-born have
ever dreamed up: the Global Governance Agenda. The first step was to persuade
national governments to cede jurisdiction in key environmental areas to
the UN bureaucracy. Pretty much already done, except for those pesky Russians.
As Robert Bork says in, Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges,
international tribunals routinely exceed their jurisdiction, seriously
damaging both sovereignty and self-government.
Refresh my memory, who elected them? The UN, as was conclusively demonstrated
this year, has no accountability and spends rafts of our money, however
it wants. When things get tough, they take business class back to Manhattan
and go out for a comforting four-star expense-account dinner. A friend
tells me of the limos, Broadway plays, parties and fun laid on for friends
of cousins of members of the Canadian delegation when they go to New York.
Bureaucracy at the international level is a glittery upper-class life,
lived largely outside the law. Radwanski to the power of 100. Kyoto would
treble their number.
And sooner or later, they'll talk us into letting them have their own
money, without going to national governments, and asking. The very last
string of democratic accountability will be clipped. These plans have
been formulating for decades. A 0.5% tax on foreign-exchange transactions
would raise US$1.5-trillion annually, nearly equivalent to the U.S. federal
budget. User fees imposed on companies operating in the global commons,
taxes on international airline tickets, geostationary satellite orbits
and electromagnetic spectrum are other thefts ... er, taxes they're working
The big enchilada is the carbon tax. So rich, it would virtually elevate
such silent behind-the-scene actors as Canadian Maurice Strong, who, forgive
me for saying this, comes up in all the research as the key player in
global governance, to the realm of Emperor. For bureaucrats and academics
everywhere, global governance is the ultimate realization of Britain's
19th-century empire. The Victorians wanted India to be ruled by the ultimate
academic elite: impartial, incorruptible, omniscient. By 1947, 400 million
Indians had been ruled for almost a hundred years by 1,000 English civil
servants. Heaven-born indeed.
Next stop: every corner and hiding place in your life. Your property,
your car, your food, your house, your job, the way you treat your children,
wife, husband, parents. Any business you start, any idea you have, all
will be filtered through the geometrically increasing number of international
laws, regulations, prohibitions, committees, vetting functions and courts
that already operate.
Luckily it's all based on one piece of badly flawed reasoning.
Kyoto is founded upon the precautionary principle. It is the reason why
David Anderson [Canada's environment minister] can say that Chrétien
must ratify Kyoto, even if the scientific community is profoundly divided
on whether warming is happening, if human activity is causing it -- and
finally, if decreasing emissions can stop it. The precautionary principle
is promoted heavily by the environmental left, who seem to have captured
our government, and who certainly steer the global governance agenda.
It means: if anything could possibly cause harm, it must be stopped.
In May this year, 40 members of the international scientific community,
at a conference at London's Royal Institution, delineated what discoveries
would have been prevented if science at the time had been governed by
the precautionary principle.
This is a partial list: fire, steam trains, cars, rocket power, the space
program, commercial aviation, physics and material science, the mobile
phone, high-voltage power grids, the Internet, in vitro fertilization,
iron, the jet engine, knives, the discovery of DNA, the electric light
bulb, chlorine, antibiotics, the discovery of America, oil, open heart
surgery, organ transplants, measles vaccine, in fact, every medical advance,
and drug, molecular biology, neural lesions, the telephone, water supply
and distribution, X-rays.
Nothing, nothing we do has no theoretical risk. Nearly everything worth
doing is fraught with risk. Freedom means the freedom to fail, over and
over and over again. And when you do succeed, you can create antibiotics
and make rafts of dough. That would mean rafts of dough that are not wrenched
by parasites from the efforts of ordinary men and women operating with
the real risk of failure, in the real world. Somewhere the heaven-born
have obviously never been. Shut down the UN. Somewhere along the line,
it turned into Mordor.
8. Infantile resentment
The Spectator (U.K.) 11/22/03
By the time this magazine hits the streets it will be jostling for space
with about a million marchers. It is important to be fair to those who
have turned out to parade their hatred of the American President. Some
of them may be inspired by principled objections to, say, the treatment
of prisoners in Camp Delta, or US steel tariffs. These are indeed powerful
points to be made against Mr. Bush's government. What has brought so many
folk on to the streets, however, is a much broader case: that the President
is a cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomises
the arrogance of American foreign policy, and who by his violent and ill-thought-out
actions in Afghanistan and Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place.
In so far as this may be an accurate representation of the marchers' beliefs,
it deserves an answer. Let us dispense with the trivial abuse. The President
was duly elected. He cannot help his buzzard-like appearance. Whatever
the deficiencies of his syntax, they do not justify the loathing in which
he is held. It is said, next, that he is brutal and unilateralist, and
in this respect the Left attempts to differentiate him from Bill Clinton,
feminist, liar and all-round feng shui king, against whom they would not
dream of marching. They point out that Bush believes in the death penalty.
But Bill Clinton, be it ever remembered, flew back to Arkansas on the
eve of one poll to throw the switch on Ricky Ray Rector, who was so mentally
ill that he asked his guards to save his pudding for when he returned
from the electric chair. So much for the conscience of the unimpeachable
Bush is blamed for shelving the Kyoto Protocol. Not only is this document
based on dubious science. It has been ignored by most European countries,
would entail devastating cuts in US growth, and was only signed by Al
Gore in the full and cynical knowledge that it would have no hope of clearing
Congress. Bush is attacked for refusing to submit America to the jurisdiction
of the International Court. Bill Clinton was no less reluctant. So the
argument turns on the 'war on terror', and it is here, in the view of
the marchers, that Bush has been misguided if not positively evil.
We cannot know, of course, how another administration would have reacted
to the murder of more than 3,000 innocents in Washington and lower Manhattan.
Suffice it to say that the President has enjoyed more or less continuous
bipartisan support. Whatever the problems of Afghanistan today, American
taxpayers have paid for the removal of a barbaric regime, and installed
free speech, the rule of law and the emancipation of women.
As for the war in Iraq, the marchers might reflect on this. English men
and women, and many others, this week avail themselves of the ancient
freedom of assembly. At huge expense to the taxpayer, and attended by
every courtesy from the Metropolitan Police, they are allowed to insult
and humiliate the leader of a country which has guaranteed peace in Europe
for 50 years and which is Britain's most important ally. As they bawl
and wave, they might bear in mind that this was precisely the kind of
behaviour forbidden in Iraq these last 25 years. It is no thanks to the
marchers, or their supporters, that the Iraqis now have the freedom to
demonstrate without being shot or tortured. It is thanks to the man whose
visit they deplore. If their protest has any semantic value, if it amounts
to anything more than a spastic yelp, the marchers must mean that the
liberty they enjoy is a liberty they would have denied the Iraqis.
There is something chilling in the refusal of the marchers to see the
irony of their position; and that is because the march is only partly
rational, and only partly about Bush. This is about America, and a certain
infantile resentment of the only superpower. It is certainly sad that
Mr. Bush has failed to persuade the world of his cause, and that America
is not blessed, at this critical point, with eloquence. That is no excuse
for the anti-American sentiment now rising like scum to the surface of
modern Britain. We can forgive the anti-globalisation nutcases, who refuse
to see that free trade offers the best long-term hope for the poorest
of the planet. We indulge the traditional histrionics of Harold Pinter
or Tony Benn. More pernicious is the poison of British middle-class conservative
anti-Americanism, hidden during the Cold War and now potentiated by Bush.
That this new anti-Americanism is an ignoble feeling, to do with jealousy
and impotence, is proved by the haste with which those who feel it deny
it. There has always been scope for cheerful Churchillian exasperation
at American folly and excess. That is not the feeling abroad among conservative
anti-Americans. Too often they view America with a cold, snotty, arabising,
Philbyesque contempt, and openly desire her defeat. That is a mistake.
America has fought for freedom not only in Iraq, but also at Guadalcanal
and Omaha Beach, not to mention Bosnia, where western Europeans apathetically
connived in slaughter. America deserves better. So does Bush, and so does
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