Tuesday, July 02, 2002

ZoNotes: Stuck in the Middle With You...

Off To the West Coast
ZoNotes takes the show on the road again, this time to the beautiful California outpost of San Diego. Postings starting Thursday will be infrequent and sporadic.

Dominican Thunder: Don't Make Sammy Mad!
One thing really sets my hair on fire -- the assertion that Prez Bush was a fool for trading Sammy Sosa, given his awesome home run power. You know how many world titles that Sosa has brought to Chicago while with the team? Could that be none? And if it's home run power that you want -- the Texas Rangers have perennial-All Star A-Rod for that!
Ok, with that out of the way, let us proceed to the news at hand. Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly coyly suggested that Sosa take a drug test to prove that he wasn't on steroids. There's something girlishly catty about this request -- if Sosa accepts, Reilly gets cute face time. If Sosa refuses, then obviously he's guilty, right? Reilly is a good writer, but he's too clever by half for this one. Sosa predictably lashed out at Reilly, who then acted "who, me?" I've always thought that some sportswriters were arrogant miscreants with no appreciation for the game. Why did Reilly pick Sosa? Why not Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter, Mo Vaughn, or A-Rod? Why isn't he knocking on Ken Griffey Jr.'s door?

Courting an Appeal
More criticism is in regarding the way that the Administration is forcing a play on the Bosnian police mission as a way to curtail the authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Humanitarian interventions -- Kosovo comes to mind -- are a dirty business. The missions require a significant use of violence to get the job done. It is hypocritical to argue in favor of a muscular interventionist policy and then argue that American and coalition troops won't get blanket immunity. If you're going to deputize a NATO-led force, you have to give it certain gurantees that its troops will have the benefit of the doubt. It is a tough tradeoff to make, but it must be made nonetheless. An Argentine security official mentioned in the aftermath of the Guerra Sucia against dissidents critical of the junta that if the Germans had won World War II, then the war crimes trials would have been held in Virginia. I don't think highly of the source of that quote, and it smacks of authoritarian cynicism. Unfortunately for the rest of us, it's a relevant point. The Nuremberg trials were conducted with Soviet judges in attendance --- not as a sign of respect to that country's draconian security apparatus -- but because the Russians were part of the victorious Allied powers. The whole point of war crimes trials is to get a conviction. To find someone not guilty kills the essential point of having a tribunal in the first place. Thus, the political composition of said court matters. Why go after Pinochet of Chile when you're toasting Castro? Why make hay over Israel when you won't go after Arafat?

"Apologies should never be repetitive."

Monday, July 01, 2002

War Liberal gets added to the Links section.
ZoNotes: Long Time Gone...

So as I was cable-surfing this weekend I happened upon a network offered by Comcast named G4, a 24-hour feast of video game reviews and "analysis." Checking out some of the shows, I realize that the gaming art has ascended from the 8-bit imagery of my long-forgotten youth to gripping scenery and sartorial resplendence. The games nowadays look so richly textured that it's like watching a movie now. I also picked up tidbits that Sony is preparing for its Playstation 3. And Microsoft, not to be outdone, targets 2006 for its XBox 2. The depth and breadth of the latest systems makes me feel like and old man, teetering on the brink of irrelevance.

Trial and Error
Meanwhile, at the UN Security Council, the U.S. vetoed extending the mandate for the Bosnia police operation -- having failed to secure blanket immunity for American personnel in the International Criminal Court, which begins operations today. Generally I think that international tribunals only work in an ad hoc setting. A permanent court makes for some overzealous prosecutors. Say former President Bill Clinton is enjoying a quaint vacation in London. Some rampaging leftist do-gooder armed with a warrant and a bad attitude could try to nab him on war-crimes charges for his role in authorizing Operation ALLIED FORCE against the Serbs. Outrageous you think? Nope. Former Nixon heavy Henry Kissinger is occasionally assailed by Spanish judge Garzon for Kissinger's alleged complicity with the overthrow of leftist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973. And before the chorus of reds bemoans American unilateralism, it's important to grasp that both Russia and China also have strong reservations about the ICC. That we were the ones to exercise the veto option is just the consequence of being the world's superpower.

"Regardless where the wine is from, the grapes crush all the same."