Perhaps you've seen the reports in the news: the current population of 1.57 billion Muslims makes up 23% of the world's population. The data are from a Pew Study.

Details are here, including interactive maps. There is also a link to a PDF of the full report of 62 pages, which I have not yet gone over.

I wonder how many of the 1.57 billion are practicing Muslims? I wonder how many have taken, or are ready to take, the path of violent jihad? Even 1% would be a lot of folks.
Recently, and with little fanfare, the United States co-sponsored with Egypt a U.N. resolution against any speech that contained "racial and religious stereotyping." This is not a good thing. Islamists world-wide have pushed for restrictions on any speech or art that "offends" them, like the Muhammad cartoons. Islamists also have sought to stifle any speech that "defames" Islam; this latter category has been made to include any linking of Islam and terrorism. Even in Western countries--such as The Netherlands and Canada--individuals have been prosecuted for speech that "offends" Muslims: even when the content of the speech is objectively true.

Politically, this seems part of the Obama administration efforts to curry favor in the Islamic world, even at the cost of an essential American freedom.

Pakistan Christian Post.

AP story.

Here is the page on the official U.N. site that links to the document: "Freedom of Opinion and Expression." Notice, however, that though this document is available in several languages, English is not one of them. If anyone out there can read French, Spanish, Arabic, or Chinese, feel free to provide a translation.



I have been AWOL from the blog for a while now. Why?

1. I have been very busy with my day job.

2. I am realistic about my impact on the world. Pontificating on my blog is a non-essential activity (where as teaching, parenting, and husbanding remain my top priorities).

3. I am thoroughly disgusted with the way things are playing out with this administration. I have nothing good to say right now about this president; therefore, I choose to say very little. One more critic of this White House is not necessary.

Having said that, Dennis Boyles offers a provocative essay in NRO today concerning the ramifications of the "change" in American foreign policy.

What would a future look like in which the United States of America retreated from global hegemony?

BOYLES:

"A less-than-forceful America has serious implications for Europe. If Obama is willing to throw the Poles to Putin, what does that mean for the rest of Europe? Just the idea of defending themselves is enough to bankrupt most European states. A strong America may have been unpopular. Thatís the price a nation pays for its superpower status, and even when the Left was at its most successful in demonizing the U.S., they could never quite diminish the hopeful respect for American ideals that always lurked nearby.

"But Obama may have found a way to reinvent America as something in his own image, even if more loathsome: a weak nation shrinking from the responsibilities of strength. A weak America is a prize that Yank-bashers have been dreaming about for 50 years, because thatís an America that, perhaps rightly, will be truly and forever despised."

In the weeks and months to come, I intend to explore the possibilities of a more humble and more sustainable American presence in the world--which I am increasingly inclined to advocate. I am not sure the doomsday scenario Boyles predicts is inevitable.

I have no complaint with the disgust Boyles evinces for the President's actions in re international relations. Obama has a distorted notion of the American past, which negatively affects his strategic vision. On the other hand, this president may be traveling in the right direction for all the wrong reasons.

An American retreat is definitely bad news for Europe, which they will come to realize in due time, probably sooner rather than later. A less dominant America is problematic for American business interests, which most certainly means dramatic changes in our national lifestyle. But, in the end, a world view in which we rediscover our own hemisphere and de-emphasize our self-imposed commitment to provide security for Europe and Western-dominated commerce may well prove much healthier and wealthier for us in the long run.

George Washington warned us NOT to "entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice." Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt convinced us that Washington's advice was anachronistic. I am beginning to wonder whether they sold us a "pig in a poke."

More to come.
Headline from The Telegraph (UK).

Taliban targets descendants of Alexander the Great

If you read the article, you learn that the target is a tribe believed to be the descendents of Alexander's army. They are blue-eyed, blond, and pagan.
Article.

More Christians massacred. Slave raids continuing. The Islamic regime in The Sudan has a lot to answer for. Protected as they are by China's Security Council veto, the U.N. cannot stop the violence.

I wonder why the Congressional Black Caucus has done so little of substance.

What can we as a nation do? Probably nothing in a conventional military sense. Though I would not be opposed to the CIA shipping lots of Iraqi surplus AKs and RPGs into the south, and into Darfur.
Yesterday, September 15, was observed as Battle of Britain Day. The Few deserve to be remembered by all free peoples.

More from Brits at their Best.
Imports from China are in the news again with the restrictions on tire imports. Rather than write about the specifics of trade and tires, I want to consider trade and national security.

Liberty, or independence, means the ability to practice self-government. Dependency restricts self-government because external pressures may force decisions to be made that otherwise would not have been chosen. Dependency also includes reliance upon others for the necessities of life.

Nations which wish to govern themselves, in their own best interests, cannot afford to become completely dependent upon other nations for the basic necessities of life.

For example, a nation must try to be self-sufficient in food production, otherwise it can be put under lethel pressure by other nations.

But what of other goods?

Energy certainly. Steel. And probably also others such as plastics, electronics, and machine tools.

And if war comes, as it has again and again in history?

In the industrial age, production capacity usually has won wars. In the Civil War Northern industrial power combined with political will to insure victory. In WW1 the U.S. supplied the Allies with the means to wage war prior to our official entry. During WW2 a key decision was made to outproduce our enemies, and to fight accordingly, for example on a broad front in Europe. The Cold War was brought to an end, in part, when the U.S. began an arms buildup supported by our large economy that the U.S.S.R. did not have the economic base to match.

In a modern war perhaps having a GM to convert production to trucks and tanks is not as critical as in WW2. But what of electronics, the nerves and senses and even brains of today's weapons? Can we afford, at some future date, to have our electronics production all outsourced to Malasia and China?

Trade is a national security issue.
Equality of the masses never really worked out anyway.

Chinese millionaire buys world's most expensive dog.

Which raises the question: what to call China's present economic/political system. I vote for mature fascism, but perhaps Western categories are not the best in this case.