Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Progressivism, Terrorism | Tags: John Kerry's Incompetence, The Geneva Accords, The Islamic Republic of Iran
So many of President Obama’s policies leave one puzzled. What can he possibly be thinking? Why would he do this? Why would he assume this to be a good idea? Particularly in the case of the interim agreement that the United States and its partners cut with Iran last week in Geneva which seems to be a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. The core objective of the past two decades — preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — and threatening fundamental regional and global interests have been ignored. Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, strengthening the forces of radicalism and terrorism in the region — what can he be thinking?
We have compared Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who pursued a policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler, and agreed to the Nazi demand that Czechoslovakia should cede the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany to stave off a threatened invasion — without consulting the Czechs.
Obama does manifest some of Chamberlain’s trusting naïveté and insular self-righteousness. More important perhaps, like Chamberlain, Obama thinks his job is to accommodate domestic war-weariness and to keep us out of foreign conflicts. Also like Chamberlain, Obama in the Middle East has inclined toward appeasing Muslims at the expense of Jews in the Holy Land. And like Chamberlain, Obama will go down in history as a failed leader of the leading Western democracy, one whose policies will have to be reversed—one hopes this time at less cost—by his successor.
Churchill succeeded Chamberlain in 1940 and saved the West.
The Obama administration apparently believes that the supreme leader might forsake his historic quest for nuclear weapons begun under the Ayatollah Khomeini and carried forth under Khamenei and every Iranian president. The United States, “the epicenter of evil” has rallied the West against the Islamic Republic.
The idea seems to be that the supreme leader, and his Revolutionary Guards who control the nuclear program, terrorist operations and domestic riot-control aren’t sufficiently committed to developing a nuclear weapon that the persuasive voices of moderation from the Obama administration can seduce them from this dangerous path. Um, they seem to believe that the newly elected president Hassan Rouhani, and foreign minister Mohammad Zarif are forces for moderation. The evidence for this is a nice smile and a lot of fantasy. They believe that Rouhani must be a reformer — he has a PhD from a Scottish university. Ruel Marc Gerecht, who is an expert, spells out the evidence for fantasy. Do read the whole thing.
At the core of Washington’s debate about Iran’s nuclear program is a confluence of naïveté and fear of another war in the Middle East. The latter reinforces the former and bends the analysis of Iran’s internal politics. It makes America’s foreign policy elite, which has never been a particularly God-fearing crowd, even more blind to the role of religion in Iran’s politics. The president himself appears to believe passionately that an irenic American foreign policy insulates the United States from Muslim anger and terrorism.
No one in the Middle East believes that Obama would order a strike. The Washington foreign-policy establishment have conceded the bomb to Iran. They argue for “containment.” The only thing that matters is that we will not bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. Most on the Left do not envision any need for a militarily strong and aggressive America pushing back against Iranian adventurism. Containment is a synonym for patient, peaceful engagement and American withdrawal. Gerecht summarizes:
President Obama’s eagerness to avoid an unpleasant binary choice—surrender publicly to Tehran’s nuclear fait accompli or preempt militarily—will have led him to a situation where he confronts the same choice, but with Iran’s hand stronger and America’s weaker. Khamenei will have called Obama’s bluff—and will have billions more in his bank account. In all probability, the president has bought into a process of diminishing returns that he cannot abandon for fear of the cruel binary choice. For that matter, he may already have decided that the left-wing of the Democratic party is right.
Well, that’s what we get when the president can’t be bothered to attend his intelligence briefings. Does he worry at all about the new ICBMs being developed by North Korea and Iran?
Dan Bongino, former Secret Service member, now running for Congress in Maryland, has said that the White House staff were like kids with a shiny new toy. No one knew anything about government, and they treated the president like a cult figure — if he said it, it must be true. Nothing could be more dangerous than an ideologically-driven megalomaniac surrounded by obsequious yes-men in the White House.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, Israel, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: Appeasing the Enemy, Foreign Policy Mistake, Nuclear Deal With Iran
The headline read: “Iran: White House Lying About Details of Nuke Deal.”
Iranian officials say that the White House is misleading the public about the details of an interim nuclear agreement reached over the weekend in Geneva. …
The White House released a multi-page fact sheet containing details of the draft agreement shortly after the deal was announced. However, an Iranian foreign ministry official on Tuesday rejected the White House’s version of the deal as “invalid” and accused Washington of releasing a factually inaccurate primer that misleads the American public.”
Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, is fully recognized under the draft released by Tehran. Iran proclaims no limits on their right to continue enriching uranium which should set alarm bells ringing loudly. They want time off from the sanctions that are disrupting their economy, so they can enrich in peace. John Bolton, who has long experience with Iran, says:
In exchange for superficial concessions, Iran achieved three critical breakthroughs. First, it bought time to continue all aspects of its nuclear weapons program the agreement does not cover (centrifuge manufacturing and testing, weaponization research and fabrication, and its entire ballistic missile program). Indeed, given that the interim agreement contemplates periodic renewals, Iran may have gained all of the time it needs to achieve weaponization not of simply a handful of nuclear weapons, but of dozens or more.
Second, Iran has gained Legitimacy. This central banker of international terrorism and flagrant nuclear proliferator is once again part of the international club. Much as the Syria chemical-weapons agreement buttressed Bashar al-Assad, the mullahs have escaped the political deep freezer.
Third, Iran has broken the psychological momentum and effect of the international economic sanctions. While estimates differ on Iran’s precise gain, it is considerable ($7 billion is the lowest estimate), and presages much more. Tehran correctly assessed that a mere six-months’ easing of sanctions will make it extraordinarily hard for the West to reverse direction, even faced with systematic violations of Iran’s nuclear pledges. Major oil-importing countries (China, India, South Korea, and others) were already chafing under U .S. sanctions, sensing President Obama had no stomach either to impose sanctions on them, or pay the domestic political price of granting further waivers.
Iran declares regularly its radical hatred for Israel and the United States. It continues to sponsor terrorism on a wide scale. It regularly states its wish to annihilate Israel even at the risk of its own self-destruction. From the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran and imprisonment of embassy personnel for 444 days until today, we have had no reason to trust Iran at any time. It is appeasement of the worst kind, and puts one of our greatest allies at greater risk.
If President Obama thought he was changing the subject from the ballooning disaster of ObamaCare with a “deal” that Americans would like, he was mistaken. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) spoke out at the end of October about a report claiming Iran is one month away from a nuclear bomb, ‘extremely alarming. ‘ The Institute for Science and International Security says Iran could produce one bomb in as little as 1 to 1.6 months, or using only 3.5 percent low enriched uranium, could make 4 bombs in 1.9 to 2.2 months using all of its existing 3.5 percent enriched uranium. Seems like a fine time to go for appeasement.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Foreign Policy, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Politics, The United States | Tags: Blinded by Ideology, Kerry's Munich, U.S. National Security
General Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces said, according to the Fars News Agency, run by the Revolutionary Guards, “America’s interests and all of Israel are within the range of the Islamic Republic and there is not the slightest doubt among Iran’s armed forces to confront the American government and the Zionists.” He mocked President Obama’s position that the military option remains on the table over Iran’s nuclear development. “If America had the ability and the will for war, it would allow no doubt in attacking Syria. America will soon find out that Iran’s power cannot be ignored.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran will not agree to halt its nuclear enrichment rights under any deal with the West. “The Islamic Republic of Iran makes no deal over its right” Zarif told reporters after daylong negotiations with the West in Geneva over Iran’s state-run nuclear program.
Iranian negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi revealed on Thursday that the West had accepted Tehran’s proposed framework for a nuclear deal. He said that Iran’s enrichment rights are the county’s ‘redline.”
U.S. sources familiar with the talks said that America is prepared to relax sanctions on Iran and work closely with it during a “six month confidence building period,” according to Reuters.
According to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the proposed agreement to relax economic sanctions while reigning in only parts of Iran’s nuclear program —was a “sucker’s deal.” It was Mr. Fabius and the French government whose well-deserved skepticism blocked the bargain intensely sought by the Obama administration and the Iranian mullahs. Yet in Geneva even France seems ready to join the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K. and Germany in being ready to grant de facto recognition of the Islamic republic’s “right” to enrich uranium. — because they have already accepted Iran’s spinning centrifuges. The deal-breaker for France was that construction would continue on Iran’s heavy-water reactor, giving Tehran a pathway to a plutonium bomb, and no single piece of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would be dismantled.
What are these people thinking? Right now, Iran is a weak country.We will never again have as much economic leverage over Iran as we do just now. The sanctions have been working and helped to jump-start the presidential campaign of Hasan Rouhani who was elected on promises to court the West and rescue their economy. Whether or not sanctions work depends on the threat of escalation, where restrictions scare off foreign businesses who want Iran’s energy.
New financial sanctions could lock up all of Iran’s currency reserved held abroad, which would effectively collapse Iran’s currency. Iran is intent upon becoming a nuclear power, but after the deplorable American policy in Syria, it is America that seems to be the weak nation with no commitment to it own power.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” discussing negotiations in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program, Nov. 10:
“This is a country that has tens of thousands of people in the street chanting “death to America,” the other day. “This is a country that is participating, as we speak, in a mass slaughter of men, women and children—tens of thousands of them—in Syria.”
It’s not only my concern that this is a bad deal. There are many, many Arab leaders in the region who are saying this is a very bad deal for the region and for the world. And you know, when you have the Arabs and the Israelis speaking in one voice, it doesn’t happen very often, I think it’s worth paying attention.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, History, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Can Obama Be Trusted?, Geneva "Peace" Talks, Secretary of State Kerry
It’s a theme I’ve run into many times in novels, the idea that there is a certain point at which many people stop in their growth and openness to new ideas. They do fine for years, but at some point they have received all accepted knowledge, and are no longer open to revision of their worldview. I sort of accepted that as a little weird, but I knew a few people who did seem stuck in the past. The adult who remains the cheerleader she was in college, the man who can’t quite relinquish his football hero days.
Barack Obama was swept up in radical politics at Columbia, if not before. He said in his book that he went to every socialist meeting he could find, and somewhere in there or in his community organizer days he acquired fixed ideas about the country and about the world. Richard Epstein notes that once Obama believes something, it is set in concrete. He does not change his mind.
The president has been certain that the central problem in the Middle East is the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and if that is solved, there will be peace. He has continually been trying to “restart” the “peace process,” without the slightest notion that as long as Palestinians teach their little children that killing Jews is their noblest goal, there is no hope of any peace process.
The foreign policy experts who study Iran are worried about Iranian progress on nuclear weapons, but Obama is sure that his charisma will allow his Secretary of State to make peace with the mullahs in Iran. The collapse of the so-called “Arab Spring” made no dent in his convictions, he has denied the resurgence of al Qaeda, refused to give up on the Muslim Brotherhood, and slashed aid to the Egyptians who threw Morsi out. The Saudis have lost all faith in help or assistance from the Americans in controlling Iran, and are looking for nuclear technology., and turning for help to the Russians.
Obama’s signature accomplishment is turning sour. As James Taranto said “The exposure of Obamacare as a massive consumer fraud —and of Obama as the Bernie Madoff of politics— is well underway.” Obama wants a major triumph, and he wants it badly. Ordinary things like 20,000 jobs on the Keystone XL pipeline don’t measure up. He needs something big to match the presidential ego.
The only world leader who seems to understand what is happening is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is warning that a pact easing sanctions “would be a mistake of historic proportions.” The deal being hatched in Geneva, and apparently we are already easing the sanctions, is precisely an effort to short-circuit Israel’s own options. History is not kind to appeasers. The New York Sun is not kind to Secretary of State Kerry’s history, character, and role in the current negotiations.
The Times of Israel reports that “the Obama administration plans to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough at the beginning of 2014. The Americans want to move from coordinating between the two sides to a phase of active intervention.”
According to Gal-on, whose left-wing Meretz party is in the opposition, the plan is based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps and will cover all of the core issues. …
The scheme is spread out over a gradual timetable, calls for the investment of billions of dollars in the Palestinian economy, and will include a suggestion for a broader regional peace treaty based on the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative, first proposed by the Arab League in 2002, calls for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians together with normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world. Central to the initiative was the complete withdrawal of Israel to its pre-1967 lines and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The Obama Administration, eagerly seeking a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, is now signaling that it will ease the sanctions that finally forced Tehran to the negotiating table.
In fact, the White House has already chosen to lighten Iran’s sanctions burden by slowing the implementation of existing sanctions and delaying congressional legislation that would impose new sanctions. Eli Lake and Josh Rogin reported in today’s Daily Beast that the Administration began softening sanctions after the June election of Hassan Rouhani by slowing the pace of designating Iranian front companies, individuals, ships, and aircraft as sanctions violators.
The Administration has also lobbied Congress to postpone any new sanctions to avoid disrupting the current round of negotiations with Iran. But this is a gross misreading of the situation. The prospect of new sanctions would enhance American bargaining leverage with Iran and increase the chances that an acceptable agreement can be negotiated with the recalcitrant regime in Tehran.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is saying that only sanctions and the threat of the use of force on Israel’s part are the only things that brought Iran back to the negotiating table, it’s hard to understand why making it harder for Tehran to sell its oil and conduct business with those willing to risk the ire of the West would scare them away again. But many Democrats are not willing to ease sanctions.
Most of the articles suggest that this is Kerry’s initiative, but I suspect that Kerry has his marching orders from Obama, and knows what he has to try to bring back to his boss. Any assumption that Rouhani’s charm offensive is meaningful is based on wishful thinking of the West. The time is running short. Be very worried.
Here are some additional links:
— How Can We Possibly Trust Obama on Iran? PJ Media
— Iran Nuclear Deal Expected as Early As Friday Wall Street Journal
— More Pressure on Iran Can’t Wait Commentary
— Exclusive: Obama’s Secret Iran Détente The Daily Beast
— More Obama Problems: Kerry’s Peace Push Commentary
— Kerry meets Iran foreign minister to close gaps in nuclear talks Reuters
Filed under: Afghanistan, Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Politics | Tags: Diplomatic Ties, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign Policy
And on the Foreign Policy front, all is not well either. So how is that vow to “repair America’s frayed alliances” supposedly frayed and battered by the Bush administration working out?
The Kingdom is not keeping secret any longer its disgust with the administration’s policy drift in the Middle East. Prince Turki al Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador in Washington explained his view of the deal Washington struck with Moscow over Syria’s chemical weapons.
“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal,” the Prince told a London audience, “would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious, and designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down, but also to help Assad butcher his people.” It’s a rare occasion when a Saudi royal has the moral standing to lecture an American President, but this was one of them.
The Saudis asked the U.S. to beef up our naval presence in the Persian Gulf against a potential Iranian counter-strike, only to be told that we didn’t have the ships. Mr. Obama was nonchalant about our shrinking Navy. But there are consequences for our actions on the international scene.
If you look at foreign newspapers, it is surprising how much of their “news” is devoted to America and what we’re doing, whether it’s fads or politics or policy. Americans, on the other hand, probably because we live in a big country with major cities across the U.S., don’t really pay much attention to what is going on elsewhere. Part of that is simply language. Most other countries learn English as their second language, Most Americans take a language course in high school, but never learn to speak one.
Mr. Obama has been quite clear that he wants the U.S. to be just another nation among other nations, not a superpower. He opposed the Iraq War as a “dumb war” with no understanding of why we were there, and assumed that the only reason for being in Afghanistan was to “get” bin Laden, which he couldn’t quite bring himself to order when it came to it, until forced into it. We had won the Iraq war, but V.P. Biden could not arrange a status-of-forces agreement, and when al Qaeda in Iraq returned and started killing Iraqis, their foreign minister begged for us to return, but too late. The War in Afghanistan was to be conducted “nicely,” with our troops training Afghan recruits with unloaded weapons to show our niceness, which got a lot of our troops killed. I would be willing to bet that Mr. Obama has never seen a military movie, nor read either any military history, nor any of the great military novels. I may be wrong.
The troubles with Saudi Arabia have been developing for some time. David Ignatius wrote that “Saudi officials in Riyadh that they told him that they increasingly regarded the U.S. as unreliable and would look elsewhere for their security. in 2011.” They were dismayed when we deposed Mubarak and even more so when we backed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi. They are afraid of the Iran/Syria nuclear adventurism, as are many other countries in the Middle East, with reason. The Syrian rebels have learned that there really aren’t any red lines, and any adversary can call our bluff. Obama is more eager to court enemies than reassure friends, as the Poles and Czechs have learned, when we withdrew ballistic-missile defense as a way to appease the Russians.
Fouad Ajami explains the problems of the Obama foreign policy cogently in a piece at the Wall Street Journal today, which may be behind a subscription barrier, but read it if you can.
We must not underestimate the tenacity of this regime and its will to rule. We should see through the rosy Twitter messages of President Hasan Rouhani, and the PowerPoint presentations of his foreign minister, Mohammed Jawad Zarif. These men carry out the writ of the supreme leader and can only go as far as the limit drawn by the Revolutionary Guard. …
The gullibility of Mr. Obama’s pursuit of an opening with Iran has unsettled America’s allies in the region. In Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates there is a powerful feeling of abandonment. In Israel, there is the bitter realization that America’s strongest ally in region is now made to look like the final holdout against a blissful era of compromise that will calm a turbulent region. A sound U.S. diplomatic course with Iran would never have run so far ahead of Israel’s interests and of the region’s moderate anti-Iranian Arab coalition.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Israel, Middle East, National Security, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Changing Values, Foreign Policy Confusion, The United States of America
Back in 2007, when Barack Obama was a mere senator, he was asked when Presidents have the authority to launch a military strike without congressional authorization. He had a precise answer at the ready. He told The Boston Globe:
The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.
The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.
The interview goes on, but of course it is hard to be consistent over time, and particularly when you are commenting on a situation and when you are embroiled in the situation yourself. Yet, it is useful to understand the changing views of an official. This is difficult territory. Still the interview is interesting, and Senator Obama is quick to grasp the opportunity to attack Bush with all the usual leftist talking points. Do not the comment on “warrantless surveillance of American citizens,” I think that’s something like hoist with your own petard.
The president, in an imprudent moment, announced that “Assad must go,” but did nothing at all to salvage his pronouncement, lessen the conflict, nor encouraged others to keep the rebellion from getting worse. Then he announced that he was drawing a”red line” in regard to chemical weapons, but did nothing about that either. People all over the Middle East seem to be killing their own people without any serious reaction from the rest of the world.
If we have a clear policy in regard to the Middle East, no one seems to know just what it is. One day Bashar al Assad is a “reformer”, then he is a perpetrator of crimes against humanity. Poison gas seems somehow worse than just shooting people, but for all of Obama’s declarations of red lines and crimes against humanity — we seem to have no policy except the delusion that all problems in the Middle East are because of the “conflict” between Israel and Palestine, and if the Israelis will just stop “building settlements” than all will be well. No mention of Palestinians rockets, of course.
It just doesn’t add up to a policy.
Filed under: Intelligence, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Politics | Tags: Animal Spies, Middle East Suspicions, The Mossad's Own Kestrel?
When you hear that the Americans are killing people with drones, and you live in a village in Elazig province of Turkey, and you find a strange bird wearing a metallic ring stamped with the words “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel,” well you just might suspect that the bird has been on a spying mission for the Jewish state.
Villagers turned the bird over to local authorities. So great was the level of concern for medical personnel at Elazig’s Firat University, that they initially identified the kestrel as “Israeli Spy” in their registration documents. Intensive medical examinations — including x-rays —determined that the bird was indeed, just a bird. There were no signs of a microchip that might transmit information back to Israel. The bird was allowed to fly off after authorities determined there was no need to press charges.
The incident does, however, demonstrate the degree of paranoia and xenophobia regarding Israel that exists among large segments of Turkish society. It comes at a time when talks between Turkey and Israel over compensation for families of those killed in the 2012 Mavi Marmara incident have stalled.
Eight Turks and one Turkish -American were killed on May 31,2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the Turkish vessel carrying “aid” to the embargoed Gaza Strip. The vessel was suspected of carrying weapons.
Saudi Arabia detained a vulture on spying charges. Homing pigeons ware accused in 2008 after being caught near the Nantaz nuclear facility. When our miniaturization technology appears on You Tube, and our Media filled with talk of surveillance techniques, it is likely we will be suspected of the worst. Americans are usually unaware of the extent to which other countries follow American news.
I’m glad they released the accused Kestrel. Looks like a nice bird.
Filed under: Fun n Games, Israel, Middle East, Politics | Tags: Baghdad Jim McDermott, Blaming the Victim, IRS Scandals Hearing
Congressman Jim McDermott is Seattle’s own. We call him Baghdad Jim — not a compliment. He is perhaps the most partisan politico on the Progressive side, or perhaps there are some worse. He is in another district so I don’t get a chance to vote enthusiastically against him.
Democrats, of course, claim to be outraged by the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which declared that Corporations may contribute money to political campaigns. They still don’t get to make donations directly to candidates. The problem for Democrats is that they had the donation bit sewn up with union money and NGO money and Enviro money. But Corporations have lots of money. They might influence an election. They might contribute to Republican causes. The Chicago Way — “At all times an election is too important to be left to chance.”
This IRS scandal just keeps getting worse. Millions of taxpayer moneys spent on agency events, overpaid speakers, $3000 hotel rooms. Obviously even the Democrats recognize the problems, acknowledge them and admit that there was wrongdoing, while they search for excuses or a way to blame it all on Republicans.
Sort of ‘If you didn’t want to get raped, you shouldn’t have dressed so slutty.’
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, National Security, The United States | Tags: Middle East History, The Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the 2013 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa held in Jordan. He unveiled a plan to boost the Palestinian economy. The plan is based on $4 Billion in new funding and seems to carry the endorsement of many foreign leaders. The idea is that we can buy peace in the Middle East. Good Luck with that.
The idea is to mobilize some $4 billion of investment. A team of experts — private citizens, donating their time — are analyzing the opportunities in tourism construction,m light manufacturing, building materials, energy, agriculture, and information and communications technology. The group will make recommendations to the Palestinians. They’re not going to decide anything. The Palestinians will decide that in their normal course of governance, But they will analyze and make recommendations on a set of choices that can dramatically lift the economy.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and the folks working with him believe that we can lift the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50 percent over three years. They foresee enough new jobs to cut unemployment by nearly two-thirds — to 8% down from 21% today and increase the median annual wage by as much as 40 %. Prime Minister Blair has always been an optimist. But the Obama administration is determined that the “Peace Process” will work. Obama does not change his mind.
“Secretary of State John Kerry says that it’s now or never for Israelis and Palestinians to reach agreement on a two-state solution. Interestingly, neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials have any idea what Kerry is talking about.” That’s Lee Smith writing at Tablet magazine. A few recent headlines while we were paying attention to other things:
“Assad on the March” Wall Street Journal
“Count Me Out on Syria” Victor Davis Hanson
John Kerry, as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was the man known to have Bashar Assad on his speed dial. Perhaps he’s been doing some re-thinking since Assad has used nerve gas on his people, and turned into a monster. You probably won’t want to read all of those links, but the headlines give you a sense of the state of things.
Here’s another: “Obama’s Iraq Surrender,” Front Page Magazine, May 31.
But a far bigger part of the picture is the accelerating destabilization of Iraq. The breakdown of Iraq, with its far-reaching regional ramifications, is attributable in no small part to President Obama’s abandonment of the U.S.’s mission in the country, a betrayal committed in total defiance of the military establishment’s recommendations, which squandered the hard-won victory handed down by President Bush. As predicted, our precipitous withdrawal has left the once pacified nation riven with sectarian strife, primarily among Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Kurds. As the region descends, the consequences of Obama’s folly are only becoming more obvious: a nation that once stood a chance at being a source of stability in the region is instead rapidly becoming its maelstrom.
Whether or not you agree with that paragraph, the article continues with a clear description of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1916, and the secret agreement between Sir Mark Sykes of Britain and George Picot of France, with Russia’s approval to create Middle East spheres of influence for France and Great Britain following their victory in WWI. The borders created to satisfy European sensibilities largely ignored the realities of historic ethnic, tribal and sectarian divisions which were exacerbated by the rise of dictators, tyrants and Arab monarchs who maintained power after the French and British withdrew in the middle of the last century.
It’s a good summary of the background of the Middle East, and useful for those of us who struggle to understand what’s going on, the actions of our own government, and what we think about it.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iraq, Israel, National Security, Progressivism | Tags: London Terrorist Murder, National Defense University, Stockholm Riots
An off-duty British soldier has been butchered on a busy London street by two Islamist terrorists, the first terrorist murder on the British mainland since the 7/7 suicide bombings of 2005. The British-born Muslim convert calmly spoke to a witness’s video phone.
We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. Your people will never be safe. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day.We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I apologize that women had to witness this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remover your government, they don’t care about you. Do you think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think your politicians are going to die? No, it’s going to be the average guy like you, and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so we, so you can all live in peace.”
Witnesses said the men first ran over the soldier with a car, just yards from the Royal Barracks. Then they set about him with meat cleavers and knives. He was slashed, and eviscerated and beheaded, shouting Allahu Akbar, as horrified passers-by watched.
Here, Christiane Amanpour and Wolf Blitzer wondered why David Cameron and the British government immediately blamed the incident as terrorism.
In Sweden, “unrest” in Stockholm’s suburbs continued for a fourth night as rioters showed their anger by setting fire to as many as 30 cars and buildings, and throwing stones at emergency workers. Another 11 cars were set on fire in Husby, an area of high-rise apartment blocks. Unemployment rates for immigrants from countries outside the EU are nearly three times as high as for ethnic Swedes.
Well, we just had the Boston bombing, which they also had trouble calling terrorism. A bunch of left-leaning media types were hoping out loud that it would turn out to be a “white American” rather than a Muslim extremist. NPR’s Diana Temple-Raston speculated on air that it was likely right-wing extremists behind the bombing because it was Hitler’s birthday that week, and “Hitler’s birthday is ‘big’ for the right.” And today we have learned that a man shot by an FBI agent in Orlando implicated himself and the older Tsarnaev brother in a gruesome 2011 triple murder.
We had considerable difficulty getting anyone to call the incident in Benghazi an “act of terror”, or “terrorism.” Comes right from the top.
President Obama spoke earlier today at the National Defense University, at Fort McNair, in his most droning, lecturing voice. When we were attacked on 9/11, we were shaken out of complacency. “This was a different kind of war. …A group of terrorists came to kill as many civilians as they could:”
And so our nation went to war. We have now been at war for well over a decade. I won’t review the full history. What’s clear is that we quickly drove al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but then shifted our focus and began a new war in Iraq. This carried grave consequences for our fight against al Qaeda, our standing in the world, and – to this day – our interests in a vital region.
For this president, the only reason for war was revenge against Osama bin Laden and his top deputies. Obama got bin Laden and has done in most of his staff, and ended Bush’s War in Iraq, brought 150,000 troops home, (and because of his mismanagement, never achieved a status of forces agreement, and an ill-prepared Iraq in now falling apart.) “We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan and increased our training of Afghan forces.” (Hamstringing our forces with the politically-correct idea that we should show our “trust” by having our forces unarmed. This has resulted in a death-toll under Obama that is twice as high as any under Bush). “For over the last decade our nation has spent well over a trillion dollars on war, exploding our deficits and constraining our ability to nation build here at home.” (This from the president who has spent a trillion dollars every year of his administration so far, mostly wasted). He went into a big defense of his drone policy, which is mostly making undeclared war on nations with whom we are supposedly not at war. His defensive comments indicate that he is aware of the opposition from other nations.
Barack Obama does not get terrorism.He is the Not-Bush, everything Bush did was deplorable and he is sure the world hates us for the luxury seaside resort detention center at Guantanamo. He cannot get his mind around the difference between terrorists who have no legal standing under the Geneva Conventions and ordinary criminals.
It was a lecturing, arrogant, defensive speech full of the usual straw men. He’s clearly threatened by all the scandals flowing around the White House. They are bad. Obama’s disregard for the Constitution and its provisions, contempt for the separation of powers, and unfamiliarity with good management and American tradition have led him to believe that he can approach governing America with Chicago-style politics. It would be a bad idea at any time, but in an economy weakened by Chicago-style economics, it has led to trouble. His overblown confidence in his own ideology is proving no more effective in the nation’s capitol than it is in the failing states run by Democratic administrations, like Illinois.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Iran, Islam, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: Dictators and Democracy, We Are Not At War With Terror, Weakness And Indecision
This video is from August 6, 2009. Not new, but it certainly demonstrates the problem. As long as we are unable to think clearly about terrorism, we will not solve the problem. I guess you could call political correctness a kind of worm in the brain, burrowing into every thought process and leaving a slimy trail of weakness, indecision, and misdirection.
This kind of sloppy thinking led to a failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq, with the consequences that have followed our abrupt pullout. It has led to the mistake of setting a date for our withdrawal from Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to wait until then to take over. It has led to attempting to impress the Afghans with our trust by depriving our own troops of weapons to defend themselves and costing more lives. We have lost far more of our troops under Obama than ever happened under George W. Bush.
And it’s the kind of thinking that deluded the administration to assume the Arab Spring was a democratic movement that would lead to peace in the Middle East and an end to terrorism. But the Arab world had no experience of democracy ever, and no idea how it was to work. What they have known forever is dictatorship, so a new set of dictators moved in.
Mr. Brennan is now the Director of the CIA.
Filed under: Economy, Foreign Policy, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Progressivism | Tags: The "Peace Process", The State of Israel, U.S. Foreign Policy
Barack Obama’s first trip to Israel as President of the United States started off with the presidential limousine breaking down because his people put the wrong fuel in it. A metaphor? Probably.
Mr. Obama has long-expected one of his signature achievements as president would be producing peace in the Middle East by bringing the “peace process” to a satisfactory conclusion. He has believed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be the cause of all Middle East problems, and he would just demand they sit down and talk.
Obama had some nice words in a speech to the Israeli people, then talked down to them. Then he had the extraordinarily bad judgment to give a speech in Ramallah on the West Bank, in front of a gigantic banner of Yassir Arafat, He actually said this:
I think it’s important for us to work through this [peace] process, even if there are irritants on both sides. The Israelis have concerns about rockets flying into their cities last night. And it would be easy for them to say, you see, this is why we can’t have peace because we can’t afford to have our kids in beds sleeping and suddenly a rocket comes through the roof. But my argument is even though both sides may have areas of strong disagreement [sic], may be engaging in activities that the other side considers to be a breach of good faith [sic], we have to push through those things to try to get to an agreement — because if we get an agreement then it will be very clear what the nature of that agreement is: There will be a sovereign Palestinian state, a sovereign Jewish State of Israel.
And those two states I think will be able to deal with each other the same way all states do. I mean, the United States and Canada has [sic] arguments once in a while, but they’re not the nature of arguments that can’t be solved diplomatically. And I think we can keep pushing through some of these problems and make sure that we don’t use them as an excuse not to do anything.
Can he possibly believe that the problems between Israel and the Palestinians is in any way similar to our arguments with Canada? His arguments with Stephen Harper over the Keystone XL must have been far more acrimonious than we knew. Talk about trivializing murder! The Palestinians bring up their children to be terrorists, extolling being a suicide bomber.
Israel’s demands have always been simple. Stop shooting rockets at us, and recognize the Israeli’s right to their own state. Obama added:
[T]he United States remains committed to realizing the vision of two states, which is in the interests of the Palestinian people, and also in the national security interest of Israel, the United States, and the world. We seek an independent, a viable and contiguous Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people, alongside the Jewish State of Israel — two nations enjoying self-determination, security and peace.
A viable and contiguous Palestinian state? There is no peace process. And the troubles between Israel and the Palestinians is not the reason for conflict in the Middle East. I heard on the radio that some 30 percent of Palestinians would prefer to live in Israel.
The State Department announced that they will unblock $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority. Congress froze funding for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the PA’s attempt to unilaterally declare statehood via the United Nations. Despite President Obama’s request to PA President Mahmoud Abbas not to go to the International Criminal Court to seek sanctions against Israel, Abbas, now in the ninth year of his four-year term, had vowed to do so.