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Bjork cries "Tibet! Tibet!" at a concert in Shanghai

China Photos/Getty Images

Give Björk points for chutzpah. At the end of her song, "Declare Independence," the iconoclastic Icelandic pop singer shouted, "Tibet! Tibet!" The incident would be unremarkable were she not in Shanghai at the time. Naturally, her outburst wasn't reported in China's rigidly state-controlled press, but it has stirred up nationalist anger online. And it made the closing moments of her concert a little awkward:

The atmosphere was very strange, uncomfortable compared to the rest of the concert," said audience member Stephen Gow, a British teacher who lives in Shanghai. People didn't boo, Gow said, but they left the Shanghai International Gymnastic Center hurriedly.

Björk appears to use the song as a neo-Wilsonian Mad-Lib. Last month, she dedicated it to Kosovo, and in the video for it, she wears an outfit bearing the flags of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, both Danish territory.

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Don't have a clue? Send in the Navy.

I'm a pretty reliable critic of the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East, but I can usually see the logic behind them. I have to admit, though, that the decision to send the U.S.S. Cole to the Lebanese coast has stumped me. U.S. officials say their intent is to bolster the embattled Lebanese government, force a long-delayed decision on a new president, and show Syria that America means business. But what is a missile destroyer supposed to actually do in this situation? Shoot at Hezbollah? The only things this boneheaded move will accomplish are to remind the Lebanese of 1983, when U.S. warships ineffectually shelled the Chouf mountains, and embarrass Prime Minister Fouad Seniora's government. The Syrians know this well, and they will use this incident to their advantage.

It's the starkest example I've yet seen of trying to use the U.S. military to solve a political problem. The good news is that Lebanon doesn't matter as much as many people seem to think it does, so any damage done here will be limited.