Skip to content

Huckabee: United States Does Integration Better than Europe

Mike Huckabee is a political rockstar in the United States.  Even atheist Democrats who disagree with many of his policies cannot help but be charmed by the former governor.  My friend and a fellow blogger Kevin (one such atheist Democrat) gives his take on this phenomenon at the blog Wyatt Gwyon:
Of the Republican candidates, Huckabee is the most straightforward in presentation and generally the most rigorous in his analyses… I certainly do not concur with the majority of the political positions that stereotypically come with his fundamentalist Christian system of belief, but I am clear on what he believes and can respect his convictions to those beliefs for their principled consistency. Huckabee is a profoundly known factor.
IMHO, style is what has buoyed Huckabee’s presidential bid.  It is not a coincidence that his campaign picked up momentum only a week after he became “Chuck Norris Approved” in a humorous commercial run  prior to him sweeping the Iowa primaries last week.

Huckabee has nonetheless been criticized for lacking a solid foreign policy platform.  This week, he dabbled on the issue of US-European relations by speculating who is better at cultural integration.  As reported by the National Review Online:
It is also difficult for us, with our culture of assimilation, to understand that life for European Muslims is different from life for American Muslims.  Muslims in Britain or the Netherlands or Germany are second-class citizens because those countries have more homogenous populations that don’t readily integrate outsiders.  Instead of melting pots, Europe has separate pots boiling over with alienation and despair. In some countries, like France, it is more a lack of economic integration, while in others, like Britain, it is more a lack of cultural integration, but whatever the reason, Europe is a much more fertile breeding ground for terror than the United States. Unintentionally, some of our closest allies are producing some of our clearest threats. 
I agree with Huckabee that Europe does a poorer job of integration than the US, and that this can breed violence.  However, I find it difficult to pin exactly why the US is a more successful 'melting pot'.  Perhaps one factor is upward mobility: I suspect an individual can transcend their parentage easier in the US than in most European countries, which in turn mitigates social and cultural stratification.

"Americans Armed to the Teeth"

Anglofritz writes on the new Small Arms Survey:
The United States has 290 million guns in circulation, which equates to about one per person or 90 per 100 people -- depending on who's crunching your numbers -- and the highest per capita ratio in the world. Either way it's a staggering stat and one that contrasts to those in the other "northern industrial states" like Canada, Sweden and Germany, where there is an average of 30 guns for every 100 people.

Rise in Racist Crime in Europe

After last week's attack on eight Indian men in Germany, there have been more media reports about additional racist crimes in various German cities, see for instance the German newspaper Rheinische Post.

Today, the
International Herald Tribune reports about a racism statistics for the EU:
Racist violence and crime have been on the rise in at least eight of the European Union's 27 member states in the last six years, the bloc's human rights agency said Monday. The figures were in a report that identified ethnic discrimination and unequal employment opportunities as serious EU-wide problems. The Vienna, Austria-based Fundamental Rights Agency said it was impossible to present a full picture of racist violence for all of the EU due to a severe lack of national data.

Killer of US Troops Released

Eva Haule of the leftist terrorist group RAF was released on parole on Friday. The court ruled that she no longer presented a threat to society. She has, however, shown no remoarse and has not "shed light on the numerous assassinations carried out by her group, many of which remain unsolved," writes Spiegel International

She was convicted of killing two Americans in a 1985 air base bombing. She was in prison since August 1986.

Freezer and Prostitutes: US and German Lawmakers Accused of Taking Bribes

Was the Atlantic Review too critical of conservatives lately? Not enough criticism of the left? Okay, here is something about corruption charges against a German Social Democrat and a US Democrat, who both made news in recent months and again this week: From International Herald Tribune:
A German lawmaker scheduled to go on trial in June resigned from Parliament on Tuesday and confessed to making false statements in connection with a corruption scandal at automaker Volkswagen AG. (...) [The state court in Braunschweig] said that six prostitutes were being summoned to testify as witnesses. Prosecutors have said the charges of accessory to breach of trust relate to Uhl's alleged participation in events in Barcelona and Seoul in 2001 "during the course of which the services of prostitutes allegedly were called upon."
The Economist:
Mr Jefferson is accused of straightforward corruption to enrich himself and his family. Prosecutors say he accepted nearly $500,000 in bribes in return for helping with business deals in Africa. He is also alleged to have offered a bribe to a top Nigerian politician. He denies the charges, but he was secretly recorded apparently discussing bribes, and the FBI found $90,000 in cash hidden in his freezer in 2005. The case embarrasses the Democrats, who recaptured Congress last year vowing to end the Republican “culture of corruption”.
Freezers and prostitutes... Usually, this would sound like a bad movie plot...

Fulbrighter Killed at Virginia Tech

The shooting on the Virginia Tech Campus started in the Introductory German class. The first victim was Professor Jamie Bishop, 35, who was a US Fulbright scholar to Christian-Albrechts University at Kiel, Germany. More information at Dialog International.
Our condolences to the families of all the victims of this tragedy.

UPDATE: Uwe Koch, president of the
German Fulbright Association, has sent the following Letter of Condolence to Virginia Tech and to the international mailing list for Fulbright Associations as well as posted it on the Memorial Site:
Dear Dr. Steger:

Senator W. Fulbright's idea was to build up a world of tolerance, mutual understanding - and even better - friendship; instead of animosity. If one lifts these ideas on a bigger scale, how can anyone see a reason in killing another person in an amok run like this. No one who bears Senator Fulbight's ideas and spirit in his own character can see any sense in this tragedy.

Members and Board of the German Fulbright Alumni Association convey their sympathies to the families of Professor Jamie Bishop (Fulbright scholar to Christian-Albrechts University at Kiel, Germany), Professor Liviu Librescu and all those who suffered from the Virginia Tech killings. In such a time of bereavement, it might be comforting to feel that one is not alone and that people all over the world also sympathize with these families.

Our most sincere condolences especially to Stefanie Hofer

On behalf of the board

Uwe Koch
Fulbright Alumni e.V.
German Fulbright Association

Afghan Narco-Trafficking: Europe is Financing the Taliban

Robert I. Rotberg with Harvard's Kennedy School of Government writes in The Boston Globe about "Losing the war in Afghanistan:"
THE UNITED States and NATO are about to lose the war in Afghanistan to an insurgent, revived Taliban. Deprived of sufficient firepower and soldiers, Allied forces are failing to hunt down and contain the Taliban, especially in the southern part of the country. Moreover, the crucial battle for Pashtun hearts and minds is also about to be lost. Only the rapid provision of security, roads, electricity, and educational and health services can counter the appeal of the renewed and reinvigorated Taliban. Urgently required are more troops for security and more funds for rebuilding essential services.
The op-ed focuses on the drug problem:
Narco-trafficking is fueling the Taliban, and fat profits from poppies and opium are partially responsible for the militants' resurgence. Indeed, Afghanistan is supplying about 90 percent of the world's opium and nearly all of the heroin that ends up in Europe. A recent study by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime forecasts a record crop of poppies this year, on top of last year's bumper harvest. To undercut the ability of the Taliban to purchase arms, pay soldiers, and buy the support of villagers, the United States and NATO need to break the back of the drug trade in and out of Afghanistan. However, reliance on eradication -- the current weapon of choice -- is foolish and wasteful. Uprooting crops and spraying have both had limited local effect. What is needed is a radically new, incentive-based method to provide better incomes to farmers from substitute crops.
Personal comment: So, basically, Europe is financing the Taliban, if the above mentioned numbers are correct. A few months ago, I read some criticism about these statistics, but I don't think it matters much if 90% or "just" 60% of Afghanistan's opium end up in Europe. It is a disgrace that our drug addicts finance criminals, insurgents, terrorists etc.
The "war on drugs" is not very effective, but is doing a lot of harm. A recent example: "Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned. More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids. The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year."
Iran has a big drug problem as well. Iranian drug addicts finance the Taliban and others involved in narco-trafficking as well.

Legalizing drugs in Europe would cut the huge profits the Taliban and other middle men make. Adult drug consumers could take their drugs under supervision in European hospitals, who would buy opium and heroin from some small Afghan coops, i.e. providing an income for them. All the money wasted in the "war on drugs" could be used to tell every European once a week that drugs are bad. If they don't listen, it is their problem. I don't mind if people are stupid and ruin their health by taking drugs; that's freedom of choice. I just don't want Europeans to finance militants in Afghanistan and elsewhere, because that causes international problems and makes Europe less secure.
Alcohol is causing big problems in European societies as well, but it is still legal. A few days ago, a sixteen years old Berliner died after drinking dozens of Tequilas in one of the popular "flatrate" parties.
What do you think? Am I underestimating the risks and overestimating the benefits of the legalization of drugs?

UPDATE: Our reader Axel brought us this interesting story in Spiegel International:
Governments in Berlin, Paris and Rome, along with NATO leadership are discussing a potentially explosive new idea: the legalization of Afghanistan's opium production. The plan envisages farmers being able to sell their poppies to officially licensed buyers for the same price they currently get from the drug barons. The product could then be sold to the pharmaceutical industry for pain medication and other products.