Welmer

Exploring the East, Revisiting the West

Welmer header image 2

The Cost of “Chivalry”

June 9th, 2009 · 10 Comments

I have been expecting kidnapping to become more popular for some time now. Given rising inequality and the fact that many people living in America (whether citizens or not) have less to lose than they did before, it only makes sense. However, what I did not expect, and never even thought of, was state-sponsored kidnapping to exact concessions from an increasingly wimpy and inept foreign policy team. It seems the Iranians and North Koreans were a step ahead of me here.

Not long ago, Iran arrested Roxana Saberi, an American “journalist” of Iranian and Japanese descent for spying. Saberi had been working as a freelancer, occasionally contributing pieces to NPR, and can be seen in photographs with a number of powerful Iranian politicians, who appeared quite pleased to have the company of the attractive former pageant winner. I really have no idea whether Saberi was spying or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me — she was caught red-handed with classified documents, after all.

However, what is really interesting is how the Iranians orchestrated a media circus over Saberi’s imprisonment. There were pious proclamations from Ahmadinejad about the need to respect her rights even as American news organizations across the spectrum wailed and gnashed their teeth over Saberi’s confinement. Hillary Clinton stepped into the limelight to demand Saberi’s release as the case generated a steadily rising level of anxiety. The Iranians really played this one beautifully.

Now let’s be honest about Saberi and how important she really was as a journalist. She had a few skills and some inside information that were of value in covering Iran, but she was not by any means a major media player. Her true value lay in the fact that she was a beautiful American woman. All she had to do was go through the motions and she’d go places. Perhaps some American CIA manager, working on his native assumption that she would have the same immunity and freedom to do as she pleased in Iran as America, actually did recruit her. We may never know, but the debacle proved to be a boon to Iran, which played her for concessions even as its government managed to look merciful throughout the ordeal. Who knows what Iran managed to squeeze out of the Obama administration, which would have looked weak and un-chivalrous if it had allowed a poor, innocent young American beauty to languish in the dungeon of some monstrous Islamic stronghold, guarded by nasty, bearded, wife-beating fanatics?

If Saberi had been some poor American guy who got caught unintentionally taking photos of an anti-aircraft battery and subsequently thrown in jail, I suspect we wouldn’t have heard much. In fact, I doubt Hillary Clinton would even be bothered enough to take up the matter in a meeting; she probably would have simply handed responsibility over to some powerless underling. I am sure the Iranians have figured this out, so they went for the big fish: an American woman. America so values its women and is so blasé about kicking its men to the curb that any regime with any sense should know which pieces are worth taking.

Recent news suggests that North Korea has figured this out as well. North Korea has actually been taking female prisoners for quite some time — in fact, Kim Jong Il has been at it since the 1970s when his father ran the country. However, until recently, most of the captured women were from various Asian nations. Quite a few Japanese women and a few Chinese women have been captured, but neither the Japanese nor Chinese governments were too concerned about the abductions, as women in East Asia are valued about as much as men in America.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling, both from San Francisco, were seized by North Korea after an illegal entry while filming a documentary for Al Gore’s “Current TV” media company on March 17. According to reports, they were caught near the Tumen river, which serves as the the border between the northeastern part of North Korea and China. Evidently, the Tumen was still frozen at the time and the two young women thought it might be a good idea to mosey across. Reuters reports that they did not actually touch land on the North Korean side, but rather had set up their cameras and equipment on the frozen river. However, if this clip is any indication of Ms. Ling’s reporting style (notice how she ignores the police cordon to get a shot of the bullet-ridden bodies and has to be shooed away by police), I wouldn’t doubt for a moment that she walked right over to the North Korean side without a second thought.

The circumstances of this arrest do not suggest espionage, but rather monumental stupidity. And arrogance. What American man, if not drunk or insane, would think he could get away with illegally crossing into North Korea? Perhaps the two women thought it would be like swimming the Rio Grande from Mexico — a mere afternoon excursion that, at worst, might result in a bus ride back across the border. Unfortunately for the two young ladies, North Korea doesn’t mess around, and they’ve just been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor (ouch!).

Once again, Hillary Clinton has jumped into the fray, and, using the exact same term she did when Saberi was thrown in the slammer in Iran, has dismissed the North Korean charges as “baseless.” How creative… She is also said to be hard at work selecting a special envoy to help get the girls out of the country before they have to start work in uranium mines, or wherever NK plans to send them. Al Gore allegedly plans to travel there to work on the girls’ release as well; we can only hope that an exchange is arranged whereby Al Gore will stay in North Korea and perform the hard labor in their place.

If Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee have done anything, they’ve significantly damaged American security interests in the region. In fact, their capture may have given North Korea just enough leverage to detonate an atomic bomb a few weeks ago and begin carrying out missile tests. Just for that, I’d suggest that even if the North Koreans hadn’t caught them, they’d still deserve some jail time over here for such a thoughtless escapade.

However, one can never underestimate the depth of pity for American girls, no matter what they do. The lesson learned here is that America’s cultural tendency to empower young women without holding them responsible for anything can be problematic in both the domestic and international arena. Additionally, the huge amount of value that America places on its spoiled daughters has already begun to incur enormous costs, and threatens to seriously damage our international standing.

Tags: China · Men · Predictions

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 miles // Jun 9, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Roxana Saberi is a very Asiatic-looking Persian. Those ancients sure got around.

    If we did not have the nuke arsenal, the submarines, the navy, the air force, and the satellites bequeathed to us by white beta males, we wouldn’t last two weeks in this world. Our current leadership (“community activists”-ha!) would be chewed up and spit out by these other negotiators and players.

    Our current leaders are like newbie-racecar drivers given a NASCAR-quality stock-car to race against better drivers in pedestrian Chevys, Toyotas, and Fords. We’d finish in the back half of the pack if it weren’t for the stock-car under current governance. Our country is twisted against itself with so many diversity-laws, equal-this-and-that-laws that many positions near important levers of power are given to time-servers and the lesser talented. A nation is only ultimately going to be as great as its populace. Looking at demographics, how much longer can we remain great unless we make sure no one else is able to build a maxim gun (nuke arsenals and missile defense systems) of their own.

    My prediction? China will use its debt over us and North Korean nukes as an excuse to vastly expand their nuclear capabilities and navy in the name of defense……………………..and will emerge as our military equal in about three decades, and will cease taking any shit from us. The only lever we have over them is food production, but their population will have diminished greatly by that time (whaddya’ think—down to about a manageable 750 million by then?). If it wasn’t for our massive cold-war military build up, it would have happened already, but we -will- be eclipsed.

    If the west doesn’t relearn how to make babies…………its all going to be eclipsed. Thats why I think artificial wombs (that will induce more women to have children painlessly—-no messy pregnancies, no getting fat, no morning sickness, no missed work) will re-invigorate our birthrate. Women still like kids, they just dont want to fuck with the hassle. Europe and Russia especially (and South Korea OMG!) cannot go on with each generation barely over half the size of the preceeding generation, while importing low IQ’ed replacement humans from second and third world cultures. This is untenable long term. The West has to address this at some point, the boomers will start dying off in just a few more years.

  • 2 novaseeker // Jun 9, 2009 at 7:42 am

    “If the west doesn’t relearn how to make babies…………its all going to be eclipsed. Thats why I think artificial wombs (that will induce more women to have children painlessly—-no messy pregnancies, no getting fat, no morning sickness, no missed work) will re-invigorate our birthrate. Women still like kids, they just dont want to fuck with the hassle. Europe and Russia especially (and South Korea OMG!) cannot go on with each generation barely over half the size of the preceeding generation, while importing low IQ’ed replacement humans from second and third world cultures. This is untenable long term. The West has to address this at some point, the boomers will start dying off in just a few more years.”

    Miles –

    I actually don’t think the artificial wombs will make a bid difference. I think the reason why women have fewer kids is not avoiding pregnancy itself, but the cost of each kid and the impact of the kid on her work life and career — well beyond the time of pregnancy.

    I don’t really see any way that the birth rate goes up again in the West unless the state takes over child raising, as some of the more Marxist second wave feminists like de Beauvoir suggested would need to take place in order for women to gain full equality. And I don’t think that’s particularly likely in the next 20-30 years, which is the critical crunch period.

    We know what has happened in other cases where women were empowered: the birth rate crashed, and patriarchal societies mopped up the remains. The same will happen to us.

  • 3 A Reader // Jun 9, 2009 at 8:30 am

    “We know what has happened in other cases where women were empowered: the birth rate crashed, and patriarchal societies mopped up the remains. The same will happen to us.”

    novaseeker:

    Any examples? I’d be interested in reading those histories.

    This post gives some compelling evidence that chivalry is merely a Western cultural problem. It is not therefore an insurmountable issue, as you depressingly suggest on your blog, because cultures can change. We need to work to make that happen.

  • 4 Rebel // Jun 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

    The West has become a matriarchy.
    China is a patriarchy.

    Let’s welcome China as the next world power and let’s allow the West to die out.
    It’s in our own best interest as men.

  • 5 novaseeker // Jun 9, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Sparta and Babylon are the two historical examples that are best known. Some also raise late Rome as another example.

    Sparta is perhaps the best documented example. There is a research paper by two economists here: http://www2.montana.edu/ahanssen/Papers/sw144.pdf describing what happened.

  • 6 sestamibi // Jun 9, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Check this out. I’ve been referring back to it ever since it came out three years ago.

    http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/the_return_of_patriarchy

  • 7 Ovid // Jun 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Hey Nova,thanks for that pdf.I copied it to my hard drive a couple of years ago and then lost it when I reinstalled my OS.I’ve been looking for it for two years now.Thanks!

  • 8 Lukobe // Jun 9, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Artificial wombs? Brave New World, anyone?

    Bottle of mine, it’s you I’ve always wanted! / Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?

    Or, better yet, the axolotl tanks from Dune.

    Nah, I don’t think that’s a good idea.

  • 9 Justin // Jun 11, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Great analysis, Welmer! I had not considered events from that angle, but you are spot on. Thank you.

  • 10 whiskey // Jun 12, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Ling is the sister of TV personality Lisa Ling, and IIRC Sabieri had connected relatives as well.

    Connections and family ties allow family members power to get things done. A former FBI official, an unconnected White man, “disappeared” in Iran while visiting his wife’s relatives. Nothing was said or done.

Leave a Comment