5 Best Thursday Columns

On rape apologists, euro hail-Marys, and a pale green Detroit

This article is from the archive of our partner .
  • Marian Tupy on 'How Not To Save the Euro'  In order to defend the euro as the common currency throughout Europe, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have promised to "harmonize taxes and labor regulations throughout the euro zone." But The Wall Street Journal's Marian Tupy warns that such action will do more harm than good to the economies that make up the EU. Tupy points to the disastrous results of harmonization between East and West Germany as an example of what would happen to the economies of ex-communist Eastern European countries, as well as wealthy Western European states, if the tactic is implemented on the continental level. "Yanking Polish and Slovakian tax rates up to western European levels would almost certainly reduce investment in central and eastern Europe, and result in a fresh economic downturn in that region," he explains. "That would, in turn, prompt financial transfers from western Europe, and particularly from Germany."

  • Brian Buldoc on the 'No Labels' Mystery Movement  Besides "discouraging incivility," it's uncertain what the purpose of the nascent, centrist-minded No Labels movement is. What constitutes "common ground" or "common-sense solutions"? The National Review contributor wonders this, having attended the speech-filled meeting at Columbia University. The movement's backers, self-styled "cool, civil centrists" like Charlie Crist, Michael Bloomberg, and Antonio Villaraigosa, emphasized "process not policy" and always urged against hyper-partisanship and "party bosses" who "corrupted" the political system. But what does the movement stand for, if anything? Buldoc takes a stab and guesses that the founders of No Labels hope that a more "civil process would result in liberal policy." He concludes: "There may be such a thing as good, principled moderation. But No Labels does not give voice to it."
  • Edward Niedermeyer on the Green Detroit Fallacy  For all the chatter about the Chevy Volt's potential, the American auto industry is driven by sales of gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs, writes the automotive industry blogger in a New York Times op-ed. Niedermeyer blames the 2009 government bailout of GM and Chrysler for failing to curb Detroit's worst tendencies. The Obama administration has "defined down the goals of the bailout," touting GM and Chrysler's "return to profitability and job creation," while ignoring the fact that Detroit has made little progress in developing the next generation of clean cars. For whatever reason, car buyers aren't excited by American-made hybrids. "Despite rolling out the much-hyped Cruze compact and the Volt plug-in hybrid," Niedermeyer notes, "G.M. still sells half again as many trucks and S.U.V.'s as it does cars. This year 73 percent of Chrysler's sales have been light trucks." The uptick in fleet sales to government agencies represents another alarming trend--"Detroit has gorged on such sales in 2010," explains Niedermeyer, "with some 32 percent of all vehicles from the Big Three sold through October going to fleet operators ... A quarter of all the hybrids built by Detroit since President Obama took office have been bought by federal agencies, showing that enthusiasm for Detroit's hybrids is limited somewhat to government fleet buyers." Without an environmentally friendly automobile people actually want to buy (and can afford), Detroit's green revolution could quickly fade to black.
  • Matthew Kaminski on the Pakistan Dilemma Convincing Pakistan to deny safe haven to Taliban insurgents sneaking over the border from Afghanistan seems like it should be simple enough, concedes the Wall Street Journal editorial board member. "Lean on Pakistan to cut links to extremists in the tribal regions along Afghanistan's eastern border and in southern Baluchistan, even as the CIA ramps up the number of covert drone strikes on those groups ... Pakistan can bring the extremists to heel at its pleasure." Kaminski acknowledges this is a "useful fiction, maybe even a necessary one," but it doesn't change the fact Pakistan has been unwilling to play ball. "The insurgents who kill American troops in Afghanistan ... operate all too freely from Pakistan." Amongst American military and intelligence personnel, "broken Pakistani promises and a perceived lack of urgency" from Pakistani officials has led to an uneasy working relationship, particularly now the Pakistanis have "denied American requests to expand drone coverage to the area around Quetta, the city in Baluchistan that is the heaquarters-in-exile of the Taliban." Ultimately, there are no attractive ways to resolve this problem. "Pakistan is becoming more like Afghanistan--only with a more advanced economy and nuclear weapons."
  • Sady Doyle on Michael Moore Dismissing Julian Assange's Rape Allegations  When Michael Moore posted $20,000 for the bail of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he dismissed the Swedish sex crime allegations against the man as "strange." What he also did was ignore the serious charges of rape against Assange and helped further smear the two women who accused Assange, figures blogger Sady Doyle at Tiger Beatdown. It's more than ironic that a "progressive" like Moore is helping Assange's defender's spread "misinformation" and "victim-harassment." Such actions are the reason why many rapes go unreported and only six percent of rapists serve time in prison. She writes to Moore: "You're the face of the Left. You have the platform, you have the power, you have the cash and the fame and the name and face recognition: You claim to speak for us. And when you speak, you don't stand against rape."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.