Is this man not an utter nutcase, a dangerous nutcase. After all, he is the leader of a quarter of a million Muslims in Australia.

How did the Labor prime minister, John Howard, react? “He played down the seriousness of recent statements made by the clergymen, describing it as a mere joke.” That’s perfectly clear although it comes from the garbled translation.

Will some of you out there concoct of a negotiating plan for dealing with this man? ~Marty Peretz

While The Plank offers some interesting commentary from time to time and  occasionally even some real humour, The Spine, TNR editor Marty Peretz’s blog, seems to offer nothing but the blogging equivalent of nails across a chalkboard.  I almost never look at it, but this evening I saw the title of the latest post, “Exposed Meat,” assumed (correctly) it referred to the Muslim cleric in Australia who referred in a rather unflattering way to unveiled Australian women and went on to read it.  I thought to myself: “Let’s see what he has to say about this one.”  I would have said that it was a surprise that the post was an error-ridden, poorly-written jumble, but then I remembered that this is Marty Peretz we’re talking about.  Quick, Marty, use ultramontane in a sentence

For the record, Mr. Peretz, Howard is the Liberal Prime Minister of Australia.  The Liberal Party is Australia’s center-right governing party and their closest equivalent, to put it in American terms, to the GOP (no offense intended to any of our Liberal Party friends).  The Australian Labor Party, led by Kevin Rudd, has a less-than-flattering picture of PM Howard on its main page that would have told Mr. Peretz after about ten seconds of research that John Howard was not a Laborite. 

In response to this, I hereby announce Larison’s Second Law Of Foreign Policy Commentary (see the First Law): If you do not know the basic political landscape of another country (i.e., which party is which, whether it is a republic or a kingdom, etc.), you are unqualified to comment on anything related to that country’s politics.