01:14 Joe does Ireland. (And insults his mostly English ancestors.)
08:23 Is America weak? (What are our national interests?)
15:35 Norks get naughty. (40 years of Nork-watching.)
18:35 Unequal treatment of ”Unequal Treaties.” (Russia gets a pass.)
24:01 Whither the Russia-China bromance? (The ChiComs play a long game.)
28:43 Japan leads the way. (Through the demographic transition.)
35:05 Anarcho-tyranny strikes a pub. (Golliwogs are a hate crime.)
37:25 Nashville killer’s manifesto? (The FBI’s still ”reviewing.”)
38:53 Cleopatra was black, says Netflix. (Who wasn’t?)
40:41 Killed trying to rape a crocodile. (Darwin award of the week.)
42:27 Signoff. (With Lilliburlero.)
Contemplating the national and international scenes as a patriotic American, I try — I really do try — to keep my pecker up, but it gets more and more difficult as the stupidity, dishonesty, and irresponsibility of our ruling class becomes ever more apparent.
This week offered two very plain illustrations: Joe Biden visiting Ireland and the leaking of our national secrets. I'll take them in turn.
Come to think of it, I'll add cruelty to the list. Mumblin' Joe had a selfie taken with former terrorist leader Gerry Adams, who has the blood of untold numbers of Irish people on his hands. Surviving family members of Adams' victims must have wept to see Biden's silly grinning mug in that selfie.
Only a small minority of Adams' victims were British soldiers or policemen: far more were women, children, and helpless old people. And if you want to tell me that other terrorist groups, people Adams considered to be his enemies, did things just as beastly, then please tell me why Joe Biden didn't take a selfie with one of their leaders.
Biden of course nurses the romantic notion that the term "Irish American" refers to someone descended from the famine ships of the middle nineteenth century, whose distresses were all the fault of the evil Brits. Yes, many Irish Americans were famine refugees; and yes, the famine itself was a dreadful business, although the notion that it was a deliberate act of British policy is a gross and preposterous slander.
The idea that "Irish Americans" are all famine ship descendants is false none the less. I haven't worked the numbers and I don't know anyone who has, but given the high fertility rates in the 18th and 19th centuries, at this point it's probable that most Americans with some Irish ancestry are descended not from famine ship survivors of the 1840s and 1850s but from the so-called "Scotch-Irish" who poured in a century earlier — all through the 18th and early 19th centuries, in fact — from Northern Ireland and the Scottish lowlands.
Well-nigh all of these Scotch-Irish were Protestants. A great many were fleeing famine and religious persecution: famine — a common occurrence in Ireland all through history — was no respecter of denominations, and the Church of England was going through a triumphalist phase, with Presbyterian houses of worship in Northern Ireland being boarded up by the authorities.
That's all real history, of course. Joe Biden doesn't know any real history. Heck, at this point the poor old fool doesn't know his arse from his elbow. Even when his mental faculties were intact, though, I doubt he knew anything about Ireland beyond those fuzzy, half-remembered tales about famines and anti-Catholic persecutions.
Joe actually may know something about the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, whose 25th anniversary was the excuse for his junket.
The prime mover of the Agreement was the Clinton administration: former senator George Mitchell chaired the meetings that hammered it out. Mitchell was a Democrat, same as Joe Biden. Their Senate careers overlapped by more than a decade, so I assume they knew each other well.
The Tony Blair administration of Britain were happy to go along with whatever Mitchell worked out. They regarded the Irish troubles as a unwanted distraction from their main policy goal, which was to reshape Britain's demography by unrestrained mass immigration. Ireland? Eh, let the Yanks sort it out.
So Britain and Ireland got the Good Friday Agreement. The people of Ireland, North and South, voted for it in referendums because they were fed up with the violence. Convicted terrorists of both factions, who should have been hanged in batches, were let out of jail. Gerry Adams got a well-paid government job and a chauffeured limousine.
And yes, the last 25 years have been an improvement on what went before. Now things are starting to wobble, though. Brexit destabilized the situation.
The UK left the EU in 2020 but the Republic of Ireland remains a member; so now the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is a border between two very different customs and immigration regimes.
There were two good, legal, fair and conclusive solutions to that.
The British government is too spineless to impose either option. Instead they are doing what they do best: fussing, dithering, and avoiding hard choices. The terrorists see their opportunity and the Molotov cocktails are flying again.
The story here is that 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, who is some kind of techie for the Air National Guard, got hold of classified information concerning, among other things, our military involvements in Ukraine, Israel, and South Korea, and shared it with his buddies at an online gaming website.
Did he have formal clearance to these documents? We haven't been told, but it's not improbable. My own military service was at an even more peripheral level than Airman 1st Class Teixeira's: I was helping to run a Junior ROTC contingent at a British boys' school. Yet I distinctly remember having to sign Ministry of Defence documents swearing that I would not share any classified information that came my way with persons not cleared to receive it.
Again, though, we see here the careless, loose, slipshod way our government carries out its functions.
Didn't Teixeira's military superiors impress on him the need to keep classified stuff hidden from the eyes of civilians? Obviously not. Will they make a stern example of him — a full court-martial followed by a double-digit prison sentence or a firing squad? I doubt it.
In lieu of any original insights from me on this security breach, I'll offer you this, quote:
In the last two years, the Pentagon has embarked on a woke agenda. The army is short by 15,000 in its annual recruitment quota. The defense budget has not kept up with inflation. One of the greatest intelligence leaks in U.S. history just occurred from the Pentagon.
I took that from an April 12th post at the American Greatness website. The author is Victor Davis Hanson, with whom I had some brief intercourse during my days at National Review.
I liked the stuff VDH was writing, informed as it was by a broad and deep knowledge of classical antiquity, but I found him hard to engage with in person. I mean, if I asked him a question, or tried to get some conversation going, he just wouldn't return the ball back over the net.
Possibly he found my approach objectionable in some way he was too polite to point out. Or possibly he is like that friend of Dr Johnson's — was it Goldsmith? I forget — who, when Johnson asked how such a superbly good writer could be such a poor conversationalist, replied, quote: "Sir, I have only sixpence in my pocket, but I can draw on a thousand guineas." End quote.
[Added when archiving: Yes, it was Goldsmith. I really should stop relying on my memory, though. Here's the actual quote from Boswell's Life:
"In our way to the club to-night, when I regretted that Goldsmith would, upon every occasion, endeavour to shine, by which he often exposed himself, Mr. Langton observed, that he was not like Addison, who was content with the fame of his writings, and did not aim also at excellency in conversation, for which he found himself unfit; and that he said to a lady, who complained of his having talked little in company, 'Madam, I have but ninepence in ready money, but I can draw for a thousand pounds.' I observed, that Goldsmith had a great deal of gold in his cabinet, but, not content with that, was always taking out his purse. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir, and that so often an empty purse!'"
Whatever, VDH is turning out some good stuff. That quote about the Pentagon is Number Ten in a list of ten reasons VDH gives us for why our enemies no longer fear us and nations that were once our friends no longer see the point of helping us.
VDH closes with a somewhat neoconnish flourish, quote:
Without America, the result is a new Chinese order in which, to quote the historian Thucydides, "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."
I don't altogether agree with that. Yes, we have weak and foolish leaders. Even thus afflicted, though, we are plenty strong enough to defend our own national interests. The problem is that the 20th century left us with an inflated idea of what our national interests are.
Our national interests do not include providing military defenses for regions like Europe or the Western Pacific, whose nations are sufficiently wealthy and populous to defend themselves. They do not include keeping 35,000 of our military in Germany, 12,000 in Italy, 54,000 in Japan, and 25,000 in South Korea.
They surely don't include sitting humming a jolly tune while a Chinese high-altitude spy balloon surveys our territory, or hiring poorly-supervised labs in foreign countries to help us out with bioweapons research, or throwing our borders open to traffickers of people and narcotics.
Our national interests do not include shutting down our own fossil-fuel extraction while China is building two new coal-fired power plants per week.
And our national interests definitely don't include wildly inflating our currency under the assumption that foreigners will go on buying our Treasury bonds without noticing our fiscal irresponsibility.
A weak country is a country that is unable to defend its national interests. That's not us. We can defend our national interests. We only lack leaders with a sensible view of what our national interests are … and aren't.
04 — Norks get naughty. News story from the Daily Mail, April 13th, opening paragraph, quote:
Fears are rising that Kim Jong Un could go rogue with South Korean officials saying their northern counterparts have not been responding to routine daily phone calls on the cross-border inter-Korean hotlines for more than a week.
That follows the Norks' latest test of an ICBM, carried out that same day, Thursday. The missile flew about 620 miles in the direction of Japan before landing in the sea.
We don't know much about these missiles. Are they solid-fueled, so they can be launched without delay, or liquid-fueled, which have to be fueled up before they can be launched? We know even less about the quality of their warheads, supposing they even have any.
At the rate the Norks are test-firing them, though — 68 last year, 11 so far this year — they are obviously working hard at improvements.
I've been watching the Norks for forty years. At any point in those forty years I would not have been much surprised to see either a sudden total collapse of the political system in North Korea or a sudden wanton act of military aggression by North Korea against the South, or Japan, or post-Soviet Russian Siberia.
Nothing ever did happen, though, so I'd be super-surprised if anything did now, surprised right out of my boots.
At some point in that forty years my interest expanded from just North Korea to Northeast Asia in general, probably helped along by having lived a year in Chinese Manchuria. It seems to me we don't pay half as much attention to the region as we should.
China, Russia, Japan, the two Koreas … There's a lot of highly inflammable stuff there. I have a steady quiet intuition that Northeast Asia will dominate the foreign news through the middle decades of this century.
I need another segment to enlarge upon that.
05 — Unequal treatment of "Unequal Treaties". Consider for example the Russian city of Vladivostok. Look how perfectly it's situated to control the Sea of Japan! And it is indeed the home of Russia's Pacific Fleet. Strategically located? Oh yeah.
However, Vladivostok has only been Russian since the Treaty of Peking in 1860. Before that it was Chinese. In fact that whole great slab of far Eurasia, all up the Pacific coast and west into Siberia, was Chinese until 1860. The other two big cities of the region, Khabarovsk and Blagoveschensk, were also Chinese.
All right: If you want to pick nits, it was Manchu. This is the outer-outer borderlands of Manchuria. The Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, which first defined the eastern land border of Russian Siberia, was signed between Russians and Manchus.
Since the Manchus had conquered the Chinese Empire forty years previously, however, it was de facto and I'm sure also de jure a treaty between the two empires, Russia and China.
So how did Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, and Blagoveschensk get to be Russian? Well, long story short, Manchu China in the 1850s was having very serious trouble on two fronts: the great Taiping rebellion and the Second Opium War. The Russians, seizing their opportunity, sent a military expedition and boatloads of settlers down the Amur River. The Treaty of Peking in 1860 was the final result.
So doesn't this count as an unequal treaty, giving up all that nice Siberian land and a very strategically-located city to the Russians? Yes, I'm sure it does.
So why don't we hear the ChiComs bellyaching about it? Isn't Outer Manchuria historically part of the Sacred Soil of the Motherland, just like Tibet and East Turkestan, Hongkong and Taiwan?
In the minds of the ChiComs, it probably is. As for the absence of bellyaching: It's easy enough to understand for the first decade of Communist China, when they were ideologically bonded with the USSR.
After the split with Khrushchev in the 1950s the ChiComs did actually do some bellyaching to the Russians, but Khrushchev ignored it. Push came to shove in 1969 on the border river. As they say in that part of the world, the military situation developed not necessarily to the ChiComs' advantage.
Following that ass-whupping the ChiComs toned down the bellyaching with Russia about "Unequal Treaties."
Mrs Derbyshire, who was educated in China from the late 1960s through the 70s, tells me that Russia was never mentioned in this context by her teachers. "Unequal Treaties" were always treaties with Britain, France, Japan, or America, never Russia.
However, she also tells me that in the various Chinese online chat groups she belongs to, it is quite common when the unequal treaties are mentioned for someone to ask: "What about all the land Russia stole from us? Why does our government never talk about that?"
So what is going on here? My guess is that the ChiComs are playing a long game, a very long game. Another segment.
Got it? What's that … you found three already? OK, that'll do to make my point.
Now get up again and go looking for an item that says "Made in Russia." I'll go take my dog for a walk while you're doing that.
So, no hits, right? Right. That's just to illustrate what I'm sure you know: that China is a manufacturing and exporting superpower, while Russia isn't. Well, Russia is an exporting superpower, but not for manufactured goods.
All that Russia exports is stuff it pulls out of the ground: coal, oil, gas, minerals. China isn't so well-endowed with fossil fuel. They get most of theirs from the Middle East.
So there's a big difference between the two nations, Russia and China.
Here's another big difference: Population. Russia's is 141.7 million, China's 1.413 billion. There are very nearly ten Chinese for each Russian.
Here's another one: water. Most of China's water is in the south. North China is close to being a desert — quite big stretches actually are desert. China's capital, Peking, occasionally suffers from sandstorms.
Getting fresh water from where it's plentiful to where the people are has been a problem throughout China's history; so much so that the Sinologist Karl Wittvogel coined the phrase "hydraulic despotism" to describe the style of government that, according to him, developed to cope with just this problem.
This isn't anything like as much of an issue in Russia. They only have one-tenth the number of people to keep hydrated, hardly any desert country, and those icy, snowy winters to get them thinking that their problem isn't too little water but too much.
Plus Russia contains the world's largest freshwater lake: Lake Baikal in Siberia. Baikal contains more fresh water than all five of our own Great Lakes combined.
Is Lake Baikal anywhere near China? Depends who you ask. Its southernmost tip is just sixty miles from the northern border of Mongolia.
Present-day Mongolia is an independent nation. Not much more than a hundred years ago, however, it was part of the Chinese Empire. The more fiercely nationalist sort of Chinese person thinks it should properly belong to China today. When Nikita Khrushchev went to visit Mao Tse-tung in 1958, Mao's opening remarks included a demand for the "return" of Mongolia, which was a Soviet satellite state at that point.
So North China needs water and there's a limitless supply in Russian Siberia, just sixty miles from the border of China's last empire. And China has w-a-a-y more people than Russia — including, of course way more soldiers.
And China has a far more dynamic economy that Russia's. China lacks only oil, gas, coal, and other stuff Russia digs out of the ground.
And for strategic location for a nation that wants to dominate the northeast Pacific, Vladivostok is hard to beat.
So … what am I implying? Sure, I know that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have been all handshakes, smiles, and hugs recently.
As I said, though, the ChiComs play a long game. My prediction is that the Russia-China relationship will go off in very interesting directions in a decade or two.
07 — Japan leads the way. I'm not quite through with Northeast Asia. Tuesday this week our correspondent Federale posted a very thought-provoking piece about Japan.
I think most of us in the West carry around a loose, vague narrative about modern Japan. They got seriously beaten in 1945 and it turned then against nationalism and militarism. They became a nation of pacifists — hard-working pacifists, devoting their energies to manufacturing goods for export, keeping geopolitics at arm's length.
Along the way there, perhaps because they were exhausted from working so hard, the Japanese lost their philoprogenitive urge. They didn't want to have kids any more. Their fertility went off a cliff; villages emptied out; age ratios got so out of balance they had to develop robots to care for the elderly.
Japan is a dying nation, right?
Not at all, says Federale. Quote:
Japan has always planned to reassert itself on the world stage. It merely "endured the unendurable," as commanded by its Emperor, for a period, until the political tides changed.
Japan has always been ethnocentric and nationalist, says Federale; they've just been keeping quiet about it.
Now they are coming out of their shell. While I'm making predictions, here's another one: Japan will have nukes before this decade is out. (I recall a radio interview with a Japan expert some years ago. He was asked: Suppose Japan decides to go nuclear, how long would it take them to get the Bomb? His answer: "About a week.")
[The] global fertility rate has plummeted 50 percent since 1970 as developed countries ditch traditional family values.
I'm going to go smug here. I know, I know: you hate it when I go smug. Just this once, though, I can't resist it. Hold on, let me put on my smug face … Okay, got it.
That phrase "first over the bridge" that I uttered a couple of sentences ago will have reminded serious Derb fans of a passage in Chapter 11 of my sensationally best-selling book We Are Doomed, which I wrote fifteen years ago.
Am I going to quote you the passage? You're durn tootin' I am. Quote:
It is a plausible general principle that, when the human race in its overall development comes to some kind of bridge, the first nation to cross the bridge successfully has a great advantage over other nations. Britain was the first nation to industrialize, and dominated world affairs for a century afterwards. If demographic decline is inevitable — which of course it is: the Earth must have some maximum carrying capacity — the first nation to get through the transition intact, and conquer the associated problems, will be at a huge advantage. On current showing, that will be Japan.
If I'm right about that, which of course I am, Northeast Asia in the coming decade or so will get really interesting.
Imprimis: Sam Francis' term "anarcho-tyranny" got an airing on Tucker Carlson's show last week. Our own James Fulford supplied a comprehensive follow-up post April 4th.
The ink was barely dry on that — or the pixels barely luminescing, whatever — when we heard of a perfect specimen of anarcho-tyranny from across the Pond.
The husband-and-wife owners of a pub in Essex had, as part of the pub's interior decor, a display of 15 golliwog dolls they had been given over the years as gifts from customers who knew their fondness for golliwogs.
Inevitably (I suppose) someone took offense at the display and made a complaint to the police. Six — count 'em, six — uniformed police officers showed up at the pub, confiscated the golliwogs, and interrogated the landlady. (Her husband was out of the country.) They were, they told the lady, responding to a hate crime complaint.
Oh, and — quote from the Daily Mail, quote:
They also took a book about the history of golliwogs.
To get the full anarcho-tyrannical flavor of this episode you need to know that, according to my friends and relatives over there, if you come home and find your house has been burgled, you will be lucky if a single copper shows up in response to your phone call. Most often a voice at the other end of the phone line will give you a number you can pass on to your insurance company.
Item: Last week's podcast included a segment about the trans-sexual woman who shot up a school in Nashville, Tennessee, killing three adults and three children. I remarked that, quote:
When police searched the shooter's home after the event they found a manifesto she'd written. It's usual in such cases for a document like that to be made public so that citizens might understand what drives someone to such a dreadful deed.
In this case, however, the manifesto is being kept under lock and key. News reports have been telling us repetitively for two weeks that it is, quote, "under review" by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. That must be a very intensive review.
Here we are a week further on, and there has still been no publication of the manifesto. I guess the FBI is still reviewing it.
The way it's going, that manifesto could take as long for them to review as Hunter Biden's laptop.
Item: Netflix has produced a docuseries about Cleopatra. The great queen of Egypt, who was of entirely Macedonian-Greek ancestry, is played by a black actress.
That brings to my mind the dumbest item in the commentary that followed my getting fired from National Review back in 2012.
This item was published in the The Guardian, Britain's leading crazy-left broadsheet newspaper. The author was a black American mathematician named Jonathan Farley.
Dr Farley objected to the idea that black mathematicians of the first rank have been few and far between, since, actual quote from him:
Obviously Euclid, Eratosthenes and other African mathematicians outshone Europe's brightest stars for millennia.
Euclid and Eratosthenes were Greeks of the third and fourth centuries B.C. who lived in Greek cities on the North African coast — Alexandria and Cyrene. There is no evidence they were black. From what we know of them and their societies it's extremely improbable.
You need to know that muthi is a herbal African folk medicine and a Sangoma is a doctor of traditional Zulu medicine.
OK, here's the story. Quote:
The quest to become bedroom warriors turned into tragedy after a Limpopo family lost three sons in a crocodile attack. A family known for its bedroom curse of failing to perform when it matters most, during intercourse, fell in deadly jaws of the strongest reptile after a Sangoma gave them muthi and instructed them to go and rape a female crocodile.
The old aged weeping father who lost three sons during the ritual reveals that the muthi was supposed to act as a shield that weakens the reptiles after being dissolved in stagnant water to make it easy for his boys to catch and complete the ritual by taking turns to rape a crocodile.
I won't apologize. It's a hobby-horse of mine that I need to air now and then; and it's Mrs Derbyshire's native ground, which fortifies the connection.
And any time I talk about Ireland and its problems, I feel I should put in a word for the Unionists of Ulster, whose voice isn't much heard in the USA over all the screeching from Irish nationalists about the Saxon yoke, Oliver Cromwell, and the Black and Tans — which, someone should tell Joe Biden, is not a rugby team.
The Ulstermen are a proud and brave people with a strong sense of ethnic identity. As a key component of the Scotch-Irish population they have helped provide the USA with sixteen of our Presidents.
The only negative thing I'd say about them is, their songs aren't half as good as what the rebels have.
There will be more from Radio Derb next week.
[Music clip: Unknown artists, "Protestant Boys."]