Friday, February 11, 2005

Terror-Assisting Lawyer Convicted

Yesterday afternoon a federal jury convicted prominent lawyer Lynne F. Stewart on five counts of "providing material aid to terrorism and of lying to the government when she pledged to obey federal rules that barred her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, from communicating with his followers." Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman is an Islamist cleric involved in a 1993 plot to bomb various targets in New York City; his group was also implicated in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The government had alleged that Ms. Stewart secretly conveyed messages from the imprisoned Sheik Omar Adbel Rahman to his rabid followers fomenting violence against the Egyptian government.
Ms. Stewart was convicted on two counts of conspiring to provide material aid to terrorists, by making the views and instructions of Mr. Abdel Rahman available to his followers in the Islamic Group, an organization in Egypt with a history of terrorist violence. She was also convicted of three counts of perjury and defrauding the government for flouting federal prison rules that barred Mr. Abdel Rahman, a blind Islamic cleric, from communicating with anyone outside his federal prison in Minnesota except his lawyers and his wife.
Convicted on all counts along with Ms. Stewart were Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Mohamed Yousry:

Mr. Sattar, 45, an Egyptian-born postal worker from Staten Island who worked as a paralegal in the sheik's 1995 trial, was convicted of conspiring to kill and kidnap in a foreign country, the most serious charge in the trial. He was also convicted of soliciting violence, because of an October 2000 fatwa, or religious edict, that he helped compose that called on Muslims around the world "to fight the Jews and kill them wherever they are." He has been imprisoned and will remain at the Metropolitan Correctional Center until his sentence.

The other co-defendant, Mr. Yousry, 48, an Arabic-language interpreter who helped Ms. Stewart and other lawyers speak with the sheik, was convicted of three counts of terrorism and conspiracy. Like Ms. Stewart, he was out on bail last night.
Ms. Stewart, naturally, proclaimed the righteousness of her cause.

"I see myself as being a symbol of what people rail against when they say our civil liberties are eroded," she said to a small cluster of her supporters outside the federal district courthouse. "I hope this will be a wake-up call to all the citizens of this country, that you can't lock up the lawyers, you can't tell the lawyers how to do their jobs."

"I will fight on, I'm not giving up," she promised defiantly. "I know I committed no crime. I know what I did was right."

But then her voice wavered and tears came to her eyes.

Ms. Stewart's zeal in defending the Islamists that plotted to kill thousands of Americans springs readily from her life-long embrace of radical leftist causes. The New York Times, waxing eloquent to portray Ms. Stewart in a heroic light, almost tripped over itself to paint a rosy picture of her career of "activism" - a resume written to warm the hearts of the thousands of "progressives" living on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Long before Ms. Stewart took up the defense of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric on whose account she was convicted yesterday, she was taking cases that no one else wanted. Among her more prominent clients were a Mafia hit man, leftist revolutionaries and a man accused of trying to kill police officers. But she also defended the poor and obscure.

Some say that Ms. Stewart never gave up the ideals of the 1960's. In the 1995 interview, Ms. Stewart said the struggle by Egyptians against their authoritarian government was "the only hope for change there, the one that gathers the imagination of the people, that motivates them."

Sheik Omar Adbel Rahman preaches violent revolution and the imposition of sharia law. He is an exponent of the most virulent form of Islamist thought - the same brand advocated by Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. His ideology demonizes democracy, subjugates women and advocates the murder of civilians, the death penalty for minor crimes, the persecution of homosexuals - all of which would seem to offend leftist sensibilities. However, Sheik Omar Adbel Rahman is a sworn enemy of the US and has plotted to overthrow the current Egyptian government, which has allied itself with the US. Thus, the sheik and his followers are the left's new best friends.

[Ms. Stewart took up Sheik Omar Adbel Rahman's] defense in 1994, shortly before his trial, after two other civil rights lawyers had been taken off the case. The sheik, a spiritual leader of the Islamic jihad movement, was accused of plotting to blow up New York City landmarks. He was convicted and sentenced to life in federal prison, but Ms. Stewart contended that he had been made a target by the United States government and continued to defend him.

"He's being framed because of his political and religious teachings," Ms. Stewart said in an interview in 1995. Those qualities aligned him, she said, with others she had defended, like David J. Gilbert, a member of the Weather Underground who was convicted in the 1981 Brink's armored-car robbery in Rockland County, or Richard C. Williams, who was convicted of setting off bombs at military sites and corporate offices in the early 1980's.
Apparently, Ms. Stewart will gladly defend anyone who attacks the U.S. This makes her popular in certain New York circles, and among lawyers, generally.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the Islamic cause became unpopular in the United States. Ms. Stewart's supporters say that the case against her stuck only because the political environment in the country had changed.

Notice how the Times cleverly manages to conflate Islamic and Islamist, while putting the entire sentence in the passive tense, as if neither Islam or Islamism had anything to do with the reason why they became unpopular.

But if the left has lost a champion in Ms. Stewart, the Times is quick to suggest a replacement. Running alongside the account of Ms. Stewart's conviction today is a long, glowing profile of William H. Goodman, another New York lawyer who zealously represents Islamist terrorists, including Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad who is accused of fundraising for al Qaeda and Hamas. The Times practically fawns over Mr. Goodman's leftwing credentials:

He is a proud relic of the anti-establishment legal tradition. He was virtually swaddled in the legal wars decades ago over trade unions, the Communist Party and civil rights. His father, Ernest Goodman, was a prominent left-leaning lawyer in Detroit.

Sure, Mr. Goodman said in his faded Manhattan office this week on an off day in the sheik's trial, he had toyed for a while with striking out in some other direction. But after graduating from the University of Chicago and its law school, exposure to lawyers he saw as courageous fighters in the causes of the 1960's left him with a fervor for the family business of standing up for the forgotten and the unpopular.

"If I wanted to be part of the most passionate struggles that were affecting society and the world," he said, "I could do it as a lawyer."

Apparently, the "causes of the 1960's" now coincide with the aims of Islamist fanatics who seek to end Western Civilization. Not surprisingly, Mr. Goodman formerly served as "the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a group founded by the fiery lawyer William M. Kunstler and others." William Kunstler reveled in the term "radical lawyer" and applied his talents to defending leftist causes and Islamic terrorists, including El Sayyid Nosair, a follower of Sheik Omar Adbel Rahman who was aquitted of assasinating militant Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York.

Mr. Goodman's work there, he said, was in familiar territory. Almost instantly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said, he knew that lawyers with views like his would be busy for years. The center's lawyers challenged the treatment of detainees and asserted that the United States government illegally shipped suspects to countries where they were likely to be tortured to get information from them.

In an interview at the time, his description of the challenge he said he faced drew wide attention among lawyers who were critics of the Bush administration. "My job is to defend the Constitution from its enemies," he said in a November 2001 article in The New York Times. "Its main enemies right now are the Justice Department and the White House."

Odd. After September 11th, most people realized that the US was under attack and needed to be defended. Mr. Goodman, however, came to the exact opposite conclusion. In the mind of the modern leftist, only America (Western Civilization, Capitalism, etc.) is guilty. No one else. Ever. But Mr. Goodman's mindset is one that the Times finds so admirable that it felt necessary to put it in print to offset Ms. Stewart's demise.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Bush Makes Priorities Clear

After previously signing legislation that required the hiring of thousands of additional border patrol agents, the Bush administration slyly used the fiction of fiscal discipline to weasel its way out of that commitment.

Officially approved by Bush on Dec. 17 after extensive bickering in Congress, the National Intelligence Reform Act included the requirement to add 10,000 border patrol agents in the five years beginning with 2006. Roughly 80 percent of the agents were to patrol the southern U.S. border from Texas to California, along which thousands of people cross into the United States illegally every year.

But Bush's proposed 2006 budget, revealed Monday, funds only 210 new border agents.

The shrunken increase reflects the lack of money for an army of border guards and the capacity to train them, officials said.

Retired Adm. James Loy, acting head of the Department of Homeland Security until nominee Michael Chertoff takes over, said funding only 210 new agents was a "recognition that we need to balance those things as we go on down the road with other priorities."

The White House referred questions about the border agents to the Homeland Security Department.

The law signed by Bush had a caveat that went virtually unreported at the time. A summary, published by the Senate Government Affairs Committee, required the government to increase the number of border patrol agents by at least 2,000 per year, "subject to available appropriations."

One really can't complain, of course. The Bush administration has made its position on illegal immigration perfectly clear over the past four years: they just doesn't care. In the Karl Rove/George W. Bush perspective, the more Mexicans who flow across the southern border, the better. That these millions of illegal aliens are undercutting American workers and driving down their standard of living means nothing to the White House. That an unsecured border crossed daily by thousands of aliens whose points of origin and intentions we do not know, clearly doesn't concern the administration. That American cities and towns are increasingly flooded by waves of people who don't speak English (and increasingly refuse to learn it) and show little sign of assimilating into American culture, apparently strikes the president and his counselors as a perfectly acceptable situation.

It is doubtful, however, that the American people see it this way. Illegal immigration will likely become an increasingly important issue among voters sick of watching their society dissolve around them. Democrats - desperate for an issue, any issue - like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton - have already siezed on immigration as the GOP's achilles heel. Of course, the Democrat Party has been so long wedded to the politics of racial identity that it may be hard for Ms. Clinton to effectively argue against illegal immigration without alienating her party's fractured base. Who amongst the left will first hurl the dreaded "racist!" epithet at Ms. Clinton?

From budgets that reveal deficits as far as the eye can see and massive entitlement give-aways to open borders and Wilsonian crusades ... Watching the Bush Administration systematically betray every principle of conservative thought while being hailed as savior by conservatives provides interesting theater. Sooner or later, however, conservatives are going to wake up and realize that someone had a really great party on their credit card, and has left them a crushing bill. Rather like the Democrats after the Clinton administration.

Not Just the Imams...

In fairness to the Muslim clerics who gleefully used the horrendous loss of human life from December's Indian Ocean tsunami as evidence that God hates infidels (i.e., anyone whose religious beliefs differn from their own), they were hardly alone in making theological merry over the disaster.
Writing in the Free Presbyterian Magazine, the Rev John MacLeod compared the disaster to the biblical flood "on the world of the ungodly" in the time of Noah.

In the article, Mr MacLeod wrote: "Possibly ... no event since Noah’s flood has caused such loss of life by drowning as the recent Asian tsunami.

"That so many of our fellow creatures should have perished in so short a time, and in so awful a fashion, was a divine visitation that ought to make men tremble the world over."

More than 160,000 people - mostly ordinary Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Indians and Thais - have been confirmed as victims of the disaster on Sunday 26 December.

Mr MacLeod said: "To rule out the hand of God in this ... is to forget that He is in sovereign control of all events. If the sparrow falling to the ground is an event noted, and ordered, by Him, how much is this the case when the souls of so many thousands are parted from their bodies?"

He went on to say that some of the places most affected by the tsunami "attracted pleasure seekers from all over the world".

"It has to be noted that the wave arrived on the Lord’s Day, the day that God has set apart to be observed the world over by a holy resting from all employments and recreations that are lawful on other days," he said.

"We cannot but fear that it found multitudes unprepared for the eternity into which they were ushered so suddenly."

Mr MacLeod told The Scotsman he stood by the article but said he had concluded by saying such acts of God did not necessarily claim the worst sinners. "None of us has reason to be complacent, including myself," he said.

He said people should "of course" give to the tsunami appeals but refused to say if he had made a donation.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

India's Rich Frown on Girls Too

The preference for baby boys among India's poor has been long documented and has resulted in the continued practice of infanticide for female babies. The introduction of modern pregnancy screening techniques (ultrasound) has somewhat lessened the practice of infanticide in favor of aborting female fetuses. Poverty is usually cited as a primary "root" cause for the devaluing of female babies. However, recent research indicates that the termination of female fetuses is even higher among wealthier Indians, leading to a potentially critical imbalance in the ration between the sexes among children. According to the Hindustan Times:
UNICEF consultant Satish Agnihotri's studies have found that the incidence of female foeticide is, in fact, higher in the prosperous regions of the country, resulting in a significant decline in the sex ratio even in urban areas. The Census of India 2001 says that there is a 32-point decline in the sex ratio in urban areas, as against a 14-point fall in rural regions.


The child sex ratio in prosperous states like Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Delhi has fallen below 900; and in some districts like Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab) it is 754:1000 with both Patiala and Kurukshetra (Haryana) having only 770 girls. Ahmedabad (814) and South West Delhi (845) are not far behind.

In Punjab the figure is down to a shocking 793 girls (875 in 1991); in Haryana 820 (879); in Gujarat 878 (928); in Delhi 865 (915); in Himachel Pradesh 897 (951) and in Rajasthan 909 (916).
A steep imbalance in the sex ratio spells serious long term trouble for Indian society. It means that many young males will be unable to find a wife or start families of their own - important socializing influences on male behavior. How then will such males occupy their time? Many may choose to leave India, looking for wives and families abroad. Those who remain are likely to form and increasingly restless and dangerous segment of society, possibly fueling a more militarily aggressive Indian foreign policy over the next few decades as the Indian army find no shortage of recruits.
Familes will practically come to an end and balanced societies would be wiped out because rising female infanticide would mean no girls for young men to marry. Already Haryana and Punjab are grappling with this problem. Parents of young men are a harassed lot. Reason: They can't find any girls to marry off their sons. But this does not mean the longing for a male child has decreased. That remains intact.
The Indian government has responded to the problem with monetary payments for families choosing to rear girls.

The government recently announced the new Janani Suraksha Yojana (Safe Motherhood scheme) in an attempt to end gender discrimination and female infanticide. The scheme now offers a higher incentive (Rs 1000 [$US1=Rs47.5] instead of Rs 500) to poor mothers giving birth to girls.

Previously, a woman got Rs 500 at the birth of a boy or girl. But now if she gives birth to a daughter, she will receive Rs 1,000. Former Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj claimed that the new scheme would encourage the nurturing of baby girls.

It seems unlikely that an extra Rs 500 will induce significant numbers of poor women to reconsider terminating female fetuses without any change in the cultural climate. Nor will such payments have any effect among more prosperous women.

Boston Scare Reveals Chinese Smuggling Corridor

The recent dirty bomb scare that sent FBI agents scurrying around Boston searching for a half dozen illegal aliens from China with alledged terrorist designs has inadvertantly exposed one channel for the illegal transport of Chinese immigrants into the US. The terror threat turned out to be a hoax, but the investigation it spawned revealed the sleepy Mexican border town of Mexicali to be a major way station for Chinese planning to illegally cross into the US.
Mexicali, a sprawling industrial city of about 800,000 people 120 miles east of San Diego, may seem like an unlikely stop for Chinese border crossers. It lies across the brackish Colorado River from Calexico, a California border town of 30,000 people in a sparsely populated agricultural region. Tree-covered mountains rise 4,000 feet to the west; hundreds of miles of desert lie east.

But Mexicali is part of an elaborate smuggling route that starts in China and ends in U.S. coastal cities, where Chinese find work at restaurants, garment shops and other places where they blend in easily, U.S. law enforcement officials say. Calexico is one of the largest points of entry for Chinese immigrant smugglers, along with Los Angeles, New York and Seattle.
US officials refuse to say how many Chinese have been arrested crossing the border. But given their stunning success with Mexican immigrants, one can only guess. The problems related to massive illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America are disturbing enough. However, China represents a rising military and economic threat to the US. An open door for undocumented Chinese presents security problems potentially as great as posed by the entrance of undocumented Arabs into the US. It represents yet another reason for immediate action to secure the US southern border.

Immigration Debate Divides Europe

Finally awakened to the scope of the immigration problem and the threat it poses, European politicians are scrambling to do something to appease their increasingly worried citizens. Three countries currently offer a glimpse of politicians in transition between the former politically correct orthodoxy that immigration in an unmitigated good and those who realize the damage done to their societies by unfettered invasion.

In Denmark, the government of center-right Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen appears on course for an electoral victory. Mr. Rasmussen made curtailing immigration the centerpiece of his campaign.

The telegenic Mr Rasmussen, who has presided over a successful economy, has stolen the clothes of the populist far-right Danish People's Party, which has given unofficial support to the government, by launching an unprecedented crack down on immigration.

In July 2002, Denmark tightened its laws and decided only to accept refugees as defined by the Geneva Conventions, meaning those who have been or have concrete fears of being persecuted because of their race, religion or political beliefs. Denmark has also made it harder for foreigners to get residence permits and bring in spouses born outside the EU, and closed a host of asylum reception centres. The combined measures led to a dramatic drop in the number of asylum-seekers, from 12,512 in 2001 to 3,222 last year.

The popularity of Mr. Rasmussen's hardline on immigration has outweighed public discontent with his deployment of Danish troops to Iraq.

British politicians know they have a problem, but unlike Denmark's Mr. Rasmussen, they don't quite know how to come out and say it openly. The out-of-power Tories, led by Michael Howard, have seized on the issue, deriding the Labor government's refusal to deal with the situation. No doubt sensing public's growing apprehension in the face of a coming election, Labor officials now promise immigration reform.

[Home Secretary Charles Clarke] told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost: "Migration for work, migration to study is a good thing.

"What is wrong is when that system isn't properly policed, and people are coming here who are a burden on the society, and it is that which we intend to drive out."

He added that around 140,000 migrants enter Britain each year to work, but that he would not limit the number because the needs of the economy could change.

"We will establish a system . . . which looks at the skills, talents, abilities of people seeking to come and work in this country, and ensures that when they come here they have a job and can contribute to the economy of the country," he said.

He also said the Government would improve border controls because it was "very difficult" at present to estimate how many people were entering Britain illegally.

British citizens should wonder - especially in an age of terrorism - how their government tolerated border controls that makes it "very difficult" to even guess how many aliens have entered their country illegally. But at least the British have crossed the psychological barrier of political correctness and admitted that they have a problem. In that, they join Denmark and the Netherlands.

Spain, on the other hand, remains mired in politically correct thinking, refusing to acknowledge any problem at all. The ruling socialist government has announced an ambitious plan to legalize as many as one million illegal aliens already living in Spain.

The initiative, which coincided with the arrival this weekend of the biggest single boatload of African would-be immigrants to Spain, has alarmed EU governments which favour tighter controls. But Spain insists its humane response to hundreds of thousands who seek a foothold in Europe - and who help to keep the Spanish economy afloat - points the way for a continent becoming more dependent on immigrant labour. "Immigration for a socialist government is not just a policy of public order or border controls," said the Immigration Minister, Consuelo Rumi.

For the next three months, any immigrant who has lived in Spain since August and can produce a job contract may apply for a year's residence and a work permit. Up to 1.5 million immigrants may qualify, but no one knows how many work illegally in construction, domestic service and agriculture.

The concession that Spain's economy has become dependent on cheap immigrant labor is revealing for what it admits about Spain's demographic situation, which prevails generally across Europe. Other European governments have expressed grave concern about Spain's plan to legalize so many immigrants. Once made into legal Spanish citizens, these immigrants will find themselves with easy access across all EU borders. The security risk posed by so many undocumented aliens - many from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East - suddenly bearing EU passports hasn't escaped notice in Berlin or Amsterdam.

Not all Spaniards applaud their government's largess.

... misgivings fuelled opposition from Spain's conservative Popular Party. Angel Acebes, the PP's general secretary, warned of a "massive" response, as those who obtain permits can be joined by their families, placing Spanish health and education services under strain. But the government insists costs will be covered once immigrants and their employers start paying tax and social security contributions. Most of Spain's illegal immigrant workers are Latin Americans on tourist visas, and Moroccans who slip border controls.

The fertility rate amongst Spanish women is 1.27, according to 2004 estimates - far, far below the replacement rate needed to keep the population stable. Indeed, even with so many aliens illegally entering the country, Spain's population grew at an anemic 0.16% (estimated) in 2004. So, in a sense, the socialists in Madrid correctly understand that their welfare state can only be sustained by importing more non-Spanish workers. Unfortunately, in the long run, Spanish culture cannot.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Islamic Democracy in Action

The Bush Administration has warned Americans that the incipient democracy for which US soldiers continue to give their lives in Iraq may not exactly resemble western democracies. What then might it look like? Perhaps Indonesia, in whose relatively recent democratic republic various Islamist political parties have been elected to power, can give us a hint. Proposed legislation in Jakarta seeks to elevate Islamic moral codes into secular law.
Under the proposed draft, offenders caught kissing in the open could be jailed for up to 10 years and find as much as 300 million rupiah ($33,000), reports the Jakarta Post.

Unmarried couples living together could be penalized with up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of 30 million rupiah.

It would also give police and officials the power to raid houses of all those they suspected of living together.
Not to worry, however. The law's application will not be automatic, assure Indonesian officials.
Justice ministry official Abdul Gani Abdullah said the law would only apply if others complained.

"Kissing in public is a crime if the people around are not happy and lodge a complaint. But if they think it's alright, then no action will be taken," he told AFP news agency.
"The same goes with cohabitation. If neighbors think the presence of an unmarried couple living together is a nuisance, they can report it to the police."
Does Mr. Abdullah assume there are no busybodies in Indonesia? In every society there exists a large number of people for whom constant complaint provides their only satisfaction in life. Or - taking a more cynical view of his demurrals - does he count on the usual busybody distribution to greatly expand his powers and budget?

Some Indonesians see possible problems with the proposed laws.
Legal expert Andi Hamzah asked: "What about tourists? Will we hunt them down too?"
Not to worry. If the Islamic parties get there way, there probably won't be many tourists arriving to contaminate Indonesia's Islamic paradise.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Going Dutch

In the face of ever-growing public pressure to deal with the problems spawned by open-door immigration, the Dutch government has proposed every bureaucrat's dream of a solution. Prospective immigrants to the Netherlands will now have to pass a comprehensive exam covering Dutch history, society and culture before they can immigrate.

[Immigration Minister Rita] Verdonk's ministry estimates that up to 350 hours of study will be needed to pass the test, which will be taken via telephone on a speech-controlled computer system. Those sitting the exam will pay a fee of about €350 (£240), and can prepare for it by studying an "integration pack", which will cost €45.

A video accompanying it, designed to give an insight into life and social mores in the Netherlands, includes images of topless women sunbathing and of a gay marriage.

Well, at least the Dutch know their cultural priorities.
Available in 13 languages, it describes the political institutions of the Netherlands and chronicles the country's history, highlighting important political and cultural figures from William of Orange to Anne Frank.
The proposed immigration test requires approval from the Dutch parliament before it will go into effect. Initially, it will apply only to those seeking to immigrate to the Netherlands. However, the government may ultimately test those immigrants already residing in the country.
Initially the test will be required of foreigners applying for an immigration visa from outside the Netherlands but [Ms. Verdonk] said she plans to extend examinations to people already living in the country.

This means some 755,000 people already in Holland could eventually be required to prove their knowledge of Dutch history and language, or risk a fine and possibly the loss of residency rights.

Those who want to come to the Netherlands will have to take the exam in their home country before being granted a visa, unless they come from countries exempted from the law, which include other EU states and the US.

The Dutch government appears to be betting that 1) the test will pose such a difficult burden that many potential immigrants will simply look elsewhere, and that 2) it will screen out ignorant fanatics mostly from the Islamic world who find liberal Dutch culture intolerable. The former notion fails since the test won't apply to immigrants from other EU countries, already reeling from immigrant tsunamis of their own. The latter idea assumes that Islamist fanatics don't understand Dutch culture -- in fact, they probably understand it all too well. The globetrotting jihadists responsible for so much carnage in recent years are decidedly not ignorant bedouin snatched up from the Saudi desert and dropped into a red light district in Amsterdam. The jihadists currently breeding in Europe are well-educated and well-travelled; they attend Western universities and have sampled decadent Western diversions. They know the West - particularly Europe - and still despise it.

The test also represents a clever way for the Dutch government to avoid acknowledging the real nature of its problem. The threat to Dutch society comes from intolerant Muslim immigrants in particular, and far too many non-European immigrants in general. But the politics of multiculturalism forbid the government from simply forbidding any further immigration by Muslims and greatly reducing non-European immigration. The test hopes to accomplish those goals without ever stating them. The inability of the Dutch government to forthrightly declare its national and cultural interests, and act accordingly, is a serious ideological vulnerability - not only for the Netherlands, but for Europe and the US as well.