South Korea: For the first time in seven years, South Korea has lit a 100-foot tower in the shape of a Christmas triee with 100,000 Christmas lights and topped it with a cross, along the Demilitarized Zone. A choir sang Christmas carols. The tower and carols could be seen and heard in North Korea.
. . . . . . .
Afghanistan-Iran: Iran is blocking almost 2,000 fuel tankers from crossing the border into Afghanistan, saying the trucks would supply U.S.-led coalition troops, according to Afghan officials. The unannounced blockade is in its third week, and Afghan officials do not know when fuel imports will resume, Afghan Deputy Minister of Commerce Sharif Shairifi said.
. . . . . . .
Sudan: Update. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz held talks with Sudanese President Omar al Bashir and Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir in Khartoum on 21 December in anticipation of the coming referendum on Southern Sudanese independence.
Phi Beta Iota: All three pieces with the commentary are worth reading. Even when wrong, the intellectual process and insights of the NIGHTWATCH leader are authentic, deep, and a real pleasure to consider.
1. Wrong. South Korea should not be provoking the North, and the US is long overdue from pulling out of South Korea. This is a regional matter and like Germany, reunification is inevitable. Meanwhile, the US military and the US taxpayer should not be burdened.
2. Right. Iran is Persia, and complicated. The US supply lines to Afghanistan, and US cultural and doctrinal inadequacies in Afghanistan, combined with the FACT that it is costing the US taxpayer $50 million per Taliban body, the US is PAYING for the Taliban drug crop, and the US is blindly accepting of Karzai’s deep deep corruption, all argue for a redirection of attention away from Afghanistan and toward respectful engagement with the Iran-Turkey axis of sensibility.
3. Wrong. Sudan is a bomb waiting to explode. They may go through the motion of a vote, but the raw fact that the south has the wealth and the north has nothing means that strategic instability is inevitable. Absent a regional plan to achieve tolerable prosperity for all, this is theater. The US and the Arabs are settling for theater over thinking.