The Kensington Review

15 November 2004

Latest Commentary:

No More Excuses in Reforming American Intelligence --On September 11, 2001, the United States intelligence community was caught napping. The result was 3,000 dead. Some of the blame for that failure lies in the people who worked in American intelligence. And some of it was institutional. For three years, the Bush administration has avoided dealing with these shortcomings. Initially, there was resistance to act because that is the modus operandi of the Yosemite Sam White House. Then, the 9/11 Commission (which the Bush crowd opposed creating) had to make its report before sensible action could be taken. Lastly, the election kept all of official Washington pre-occupied. The hour is late, and Mr. Bush needs to act. He only has four more years, and at the glacial pace his staff are moving, it may not be enough time.

EU3 and Iran Cut Nuke Deal -- On the surface, the deal between the EU3, as Britain, France and Germany have become known, and the theocracy of Iran to halt the latter’s “peaceful” nuclear program is an unenforceable charade, a fig leaf. However, the bargain that appears to have been struck over the week-end, and which still requires some finalizing, makes a virtue of necessity on both sides. It is diplomacy at its finest, leaving everyone with something, and giving everyone’s domestic opposition a stick with which to beat the government. The parties have made a lousy deal because that was the only one they could get.

Japanese Economic Growth Halted -- When Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the Japanese Diet last October and called for new elections, his platform called for raising Japan’s GDP to 2% this year. At the time, this journal wrote that the relatively ambitious target showed just how lame the Japanese economy had become. The first few months after the election suggested that Japan had turned the corner, with first quarter GDP growth at 6.3% and second quarter at 1.1%. Third quarter expectations of 2% growth, if met, would have fulfilled the platform promise. Instead, the annualized figure for the latest quarter was a feeble 0.3%. The champagne must remain corked for some time yet.

“Polar Express” Isn’t Quite Perfect -- The team of Tom Hanks and Robert Zemickis has done some brilliant work in Hollywood. “Forrest Gump” and “Castaway” were great films by any measure. The new one, an animated rendering of Chris van Allsburg’s “The Polar Express,” is a departure only in form, not in style. The movie is certain to be a holiday classic, and anything that reduced that saturation broadcasting of “It’s a Wonderful Life” can’t be all bad. The critics who have found fault have made mountains out of molehills.



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