The Next Populist Crusade


I'm with Glenn Reynolds of on this one. If we want to curb carbon dioxide emissions, then let's ban private jets. It's funny seeing those Hollywood stars private-jetting into Washington to tell the rest of us that we've got to have a lower standard of living. Let them fly first class, and save the Earth! But maybe we should make an exception for Warren Buffett, who has the nerve to christen his Berkshire Hathaway corporate jet "The Indefensible."

At the same time, I agree with David Frum's post that we should not overhype the story about Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request for a military aircraft. It's not clear whether Pelosi or someone in her office requested a 42-seat plane, and on the basis of precedent, she is entitled to a military aircraft that could transport her nonstop to her district–something that was granted to Speaker Dennis Hastert after the September 11 attacks. The fact that Pelosi's San Francisco district is more than twice as far from Washington as Hastert's Illinois district might mean that a different plane is required.

What to Do About Iran

Here's the British writer Timothy Garton Ash, who wrote so wonderfully about the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, on Iran. He argues that bombing Iran would be disastrous and says that instead European nations should put more pressure on the mullah regime: more carrots from the United States, more sticks from Europe.

And what if this doesn't work? "Containment and deterrence." Here's his bleak conclusion:

The price to Iran of testing, let alone actually using, a nuclear device should be set very high. We should start now taking all measures we can to prevent an Iranian bomb being swiftly followed by a Saudi or Egyptian one. But I wouldn't count on this working either.

So here's the score: If we bomb Iran, the world will be a more dangerous place. If Iran gets the bomb, the world will be a more dangerous place. Conclusion: The world is likely to be a more dangerous place.

His arguments against bombing Iran are plausible. But they seem a bit less convincing to me when you consider the words quoted above.