Qaddafi returns to Rome

Media machine and Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qadaffi pitched his infamous tent for his fourth Italian trip in the last year on Sunday, and wasted very little time in adding to his list of classics when commenting on Europe's immigration problems:

Libya turns to the European Union to support what Libya asks because Europe, in the future, might not be Europe any more but might turn black because of all the illegal immigrants.

It gets better:

We don't know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans … We don't know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions.

(Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was standing right next to Qaddafi when he made his comments.)

Qadaffi and Berlusconi are apparently firm friends. In 2008, Berlusconi signed an agreement granting the North African nation $5 billion over 25 years as reparations for Italy's former colonial rule. Last year, Qaddafi agreed to take in migrants intercepted at sea by Italy, and he is now requesting an additional $6.3 billion to help pay for costs associated with the policy. Controversially, Italy does not screen the migrants for refugee status before shipping them back across the Mediterranean to squalid detention camps.

While in Rome, Qaddafi also delivered an address to a few hundred women -- selected by a modeling agency -- in which he encouraged them to convert to Islam:

May Islam be the religion of all of Europe, convert to Islam, the true religion.

Three women allegedly converted on the spot. (He made a similar pitch last November.) The visit also included a horse show -- for which Qaddafi brought 30 Berber horses -- on Monday.

Can someone get this man on Twitter?

Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images


Be all that you can be in (somebody's) army

In an inspired bit of YouTube surfing, Gawker has assembled a compilation of military recruitment commercials from around the world. There are a few clunkers -- three minutes is an awful long time to watch a Russian paratrooper sort of rapping in front of an obstacle course -- and I have my doubts that this Japanese ad is not an elaborate sophomoric hoax, but on the whole they make for pretty fascinating viewing.

Watching these as an American, the most immediately noticeable thing is how little time most of the ads spend overtly appealing to patriotism. There's Estonia, which does it cheekily, and Lebanon, which does it with a slow-motion sentimentality that would be cloying under other circumstances but is actually quite poignant in the context of a country that is eternally trying to keep things together. France and India, meanwhile, both hearken back to the U.S. military ads of the pre-9/11 era, in which we mostly see the life-advancing stuff that enlistment is supposed to get you, with a minimum of actual warfighting. (A career in the Indian army evidently prepares you for a lifetime of golfing and competitive diving.)

The Ukrainian army opts for an admirably straightforward "you'll get girls" approach. Singapore features a naval vessel transforming into a giant robot, presumably developed to contain the same giant lava monsters that have long plagued the U.S. Marines. Britain's jarring entry -- which a student of post-colonialism would have a field day with -- looks like it was directed by Fernando Meirelles. (This kind of "I dare you" approach to recruiting must work in the U.K. -- back in the '90s, when the U.S. Army was mostly promoting itself as a way to pay for college, the Brits ran magazine ads showing a Royal Marine eating worms as part of a survival training course.)

But the real winner here, I think, is Sweden, which is promoting military service to young women as a means of avoiding working as an au pair for awful Americans: