Filed under: History, Israel, Law, Liberalism, Middle East, Military, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Statism, Terrorism | Tags: Civilians as Human Shields, Hamas' Attack Tunnels, Israeli Defense Forces
From Friday’s Wall Street Journal :
JERUSALEM—White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.
Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu —and that both sides know it.
Funny. This is the customary way that Israel secured supplies of ammunition through a military to military purchase that required no approval from White House officials.
If people in Pennsylvania were shooting rockets at the White House many times a day leaving everyone to run for shelter immediately, would the administration be so eagerly pressing for a “cease-fire” that everyone knew those crazies in Pennsylvania would not observe? And if they were digging attack tunnels designed to come up in the Rose Garden, or down by Michelle’s veggie garden?
The U.S. government classifies Hamas as “a terrorist organization.” Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry just don’t seem to understand terrorism. “No victor-no vanquished.” let’s have another cease-fire. Hamas’ charter clearly says they intend to destroy Israel and all its people. Israel has the backing of Egypt, and Jordan and even the West Bank for attempting to stop the rocket attacks. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry just don’t seem to get it. But I repeat myself.
There are cease-fires, and Hamas breaks them. They fire rockets from their storehouses in UN schools, and the administration is shocked by the pretend numbers of casualties claimed by Hamas, and assumes them to be real. President Obama doesn’t like disagreement, and has proved to be somewhat vindictive.
Prime Minister Netanyahu explained the situation with Hamas quite clearly, in language easily understandable:
The difference between us is simple.
We develop defensive systems in order
to protect our civilians, and they
use their civilians to protect their missiles.
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Islam, Israel, Terrorism | Tags: Assad's War in Syria, Hamas' War on Israel, The Middle East Aflame
The outrage over Israel’s attempt to end Hamas’ rocket attacks on their civilians has brought demonstrations in Europe and even here. Hamas goes to great lengths to see that any news is slanted to favor Hamas, for to them any opportunity to discredit Israel or even cause them discomfort is a triumph over a hated enemy. In other words, you cannot believe Hamas’ counts of civilian deaths or deaths of children. Victor Davis Hanson sums it up:
Hamas sees the death of its civilians as an advantage; Israel sees the death of its civilians as a disaster. Defensive missiles explode to save civilians in Israel; in Gaza, civilians are placed at risk of death to protect offensive missiles.
Hamas wins by losing lots of its people; Israel loses by losing a few of its own. Hamas digs tunnels in premodern fashion; Israel uses postmodern high technology to detect them. Hamas’s missiles usually prove ineffective; Israel’s bombs and missiles almost always hit their targets. Quiet Israeli officers lead from the front; loud Hamas leaders flee to the rear. Incompetency wins sympathy; expertise, disdain. …
Democracy and free markets bring Westerners liberty, human rights, and prosperity — but many Westerners scorn these things in Israel, siding with those who deny human rights, ruin their economy, and practice a brutal prejudice against women, gays, and non-Muslims. In Gaza, a gay reporter, a female reporter with bare arms, a reporter with a small crucifix around his neck, the rare journalist who, surrounded by screaming Hamas supporters, dares to broadcast the truth from Gaza — all these in private would admit to being in fear while they are in Gaza in a way they are not when in Israel.
More Muslims were killed in two days in Syria than in the entire Hamas/Gaza War. More than 700 people were killed in Syria over last Thursday and Friday in some of the bloodiest days in that conflict to date. Assad is taking advantage of a media environment in which most everything else is ignored to concentrate on Gaza. That’s what civilian casualties look like in a real war. In Gaza, residents are warned when the IDF is going to demolish a tunnel, they get leaflets telling them what parts of Gaza are perfectly safe. The IDF is not only not interested in killing civilians, they try desperately to avoid it, for they are only interested in destroying tunnels and missile bases. Hamas sends civilians to the sites that are going to be attacked to act as human shields, and if they are killed, Israel can be blamed.
According to Twitter and Google, an NBC journalist reported they had personally witnessed an Israeli drone attack and fire on a he main hospital in Gaza. The report was shortly completely scrubbed. Israelis say they have confirmed that the Gazan hospital was hit by rockets fired in Gaza by Hamas, not by Israel or an Israeli drone. I understand that Gaza has only the one major hospital, the one where Hamas has it’s leadership’s bunker buried underneath the hospital. One hundred rockets fired from Gaza have fallen within Gaza.
Israel was celebrated by the left when it was represented by socialist kibbutzim, with happy workers tilling the fields. When it fought a war against the Arabs of the Middle East and won, they quit being celebrated. I have a hunch, which may be wrong, that the left is deeply influenced by words like “refugee camps,” “poverty,” “blockade,” ” border fence,” and conversely odd ideas about the Jews controlling governments or industries. Oddly, this time around, Israel is supported by Egypt and Jordan, and even the Fatah Palestinian faction that runs the West Bank want Hamas to become weaker.
The picture above is of a pleasant Syrian neighborhood.
Filed under: Freedom, History, Intelligence, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Military, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: Hamas' Attack Tunnels, Terrorists With One Idea, Using Civilians to Protect Weapons
“While Gaza is ‘Mired in Poverty,’ Hamas has built at least 36 tunnels at $1 million each.” That was the headline in the Washington Post.
While the Gaza Strip remains mired in poverty — the 2011 per capita income was $1,165 — Hamas is thought to have sunk more than $1 million into the excavation and maintenance of every tunnel. “Much to the misfortune of the people of Gaza, Hamas has invested far more resources in ‘underground Gaza’ than in ‘upper Gaza,’” wrote al-Monitor’s Shlomi Eldar. “The ‘change and reform’ that Hamas offered its voters was invested in its tunnels at the expense of the people of Gaza.”
The tunnel network, and the IDF has so far discovered 36 though there are undoubtedly more, was intended not just for kidnapping, but for a grand assault on the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah. The plan entailed a surprise attack in which 200 Hamas fighters would be dispatched through dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel , to seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.
Excavation of the concrete-lined tunnels which are elaborate, with arteries, veins and offshoots in intricate and elaborate arrangement has meant the seizure of tons of Hamas supplies and weapons, as well as plans for attacks. The tunnels were apparently constructed with the work of Palestinian children, (to get into small spaces?) at least 160 Palestinian children are known to have died in tunnel construction.
Egypt’s army said that they have destroyed 13 more tunnels running between the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip. Hamas uses the Gaza tunnels to smuggle arms, food and money into the Palestinian enclave. Hamas talks often of “the blockade” but all that is blockaded are arms, weapons and tunnel-making supplies. Food, medicine and ordinary goods are checked for the presence of weapons and sent freely into Gaza. Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and they have made many attacks on Egypt.
Con Coughlin reports in the Telegraph that Hamas terrorists are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to continue their offensive against Israel.
Israel left Gaza entirely in 2005. Settlers were forced to move. The Gaza territory could have been a thriving seaside resort, they have long beautiful Mediterranean beaches. Israel left a vast array of greenhouses that could have been a source of jobs for Palestinians, food, and income. Instead they destroyed the greenhouses.
Evelyn Gordon noted at the Commentary website that this sentence from a Haaretz news report “that Palestinians have been taught to measure their national self-worth by the amount of pain, or even mere disruption, they can inflict on Jews,” explains why Israel and Hamas go to war every few years.
Here is a translation of the main points of “The Covenant of The Hamas.” It’s important to understand who they are.
European newspapers are full of stories about all the protests against Israel going on across Europe. But one notices that the articles never mention who is protesting, the simply call them protesters. Accompanying pictures make it pretty clear that they are Moslem immigrants, unassimilated.
Now just to escalate the situation a little further — “Freedom Flotilla II” is set to sail for Gaza from Turkey. Same deal at 2010’s ‘Mavi Marmara’ scheduled to take off with Turkish military protection. The ostensible excuse is to bring “humanitarian aid to the Hamas-controlled coastal sector. It’s being organized by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) the same organization that was behind the previous flotilla that sought to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. “
” Israeli Navy Commandos boarded the ship, were attacked, and killed nine of the attackers. So far there has been only a declaration of intent.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has long been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel’s blockade of shipments to Gaza is only to prevent military weapons and tunnel construction material from reaching Gaza. Humanitarian aid gets through just fine.
Hamas hides rockets in schools, hospitals, and in private homes. When the IDF is sure where the missiles are coming from, they call the residents and warn them, send leaflets, and do everything possible to avoid injury to civilian Palestinians. Hamas demands that civilians stay in targeted locations as human shields for their weapons.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Intelligence, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Latin America, National Security, Politics | Tags: A World in Flames, The Administration Knew, The Islamic State
Weren’t we told by the administration that they were blindsided by the rapid advance by ISIS last month when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city fell to this new jihadi army that seemed to come out of nowhere? They not only captured Mosul, but five divisions of the Iraqi army fell and we heard of mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions, and terrified residents fled before the onslaught as the long column headed towards Baghdad.
The administration, according to the record was not surprised at all. Congressional testimony as far back as November made it cleat that the United States had been closely tracking the black-clad jihadis, a ruthless al Qaeda spinoff. Intelligence officials had been closely tracking the group since 2012.
According to McClatchy, Obama administration officials were quite aware of the group’s intention to send men and material back into Iraq and turn loose waves of suicide bombers, which they knew that Iraqi security forces could not handle. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk told a House committee in February that the campaign had the stated objective of carving out a Caliphate in the western regions of Iraq and Syria.
So — if the Obama administration had all that advance warning why are they still trying to figure out what steps, if any, they should take to stop their advance? With all the pictures of the long ISIS column strung out on the road to Baghdad, it looked like a pretty vulnerable target, but I’ve probably read too many thrillers.
They’ve seized all sorts of Iraqi military equipment, drained banks of their assets, seized oil and natural gas fields, military outposts. Nearly every day we hear about another town that has fallen or another outrage they have committed.
What started as a crisis in Syria has become a regional disaster with serious global implications,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.
Yet Defense Department officials say they might not complete work on proposed options for U.S. actions until the middle of August, a lifetime in a region where every day brings word of another town or village falling to the Islamic State. Some lawmakers and experts say the delay borders on diplomatic malpractice.
Chairman Royce said Iraqi officials and diplomats at our embassy began urging drone strikes as early as August last year against Islamic State bases near the Syrian border.
This was a very clear case in which the U.S. knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser on the Middle East.
“This miscalculation essentially has helped realize the worst nightmare for this administration, an administration that prided itself on its counterterrorism strategy,” said Nasr. “It is now presiding over the resurgence of a nightmare of extremism and terrorism.”
The article from the Merced Sun Star is long and, frankly, depressing. Dithering, indecision, Obama believes one of his greatest accomplishments is ending the war in Iraq, he can’t undo that. Drawing red lines in Syria, misunderstanding the Middle East. Obama came to office believing that the key to the problems of the Middle East was Israeli intransigence. If he could broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, then the problems of the Middle East would end. That’s why Kerry has been over there wearing out his welcome, pushing absurd agreements. Obama seems to have learned about the Middle East from his friend Rashid Khalidi, the firebrand Palestinian professor.
Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller has a column in Britain’s Telegraph today, suggesting that “Barack Obama has already checked out of his job,” in which he suggests that Obama is “no longer even worried about keeping up appearances, he doesn’t care enough to fake it.”
The United States has apparently not yet delivered the helicopter gunships and F-16 jet fighters that Iraq has already purchased. The administration has also dragged its feet on Baghdad’s request for U.S. military advisers, though 300 were dispatched after Mosul fell. Obama doesn’t seem to get along with Maliki. George W. Bush had weekly video conferences with him.
Gaza’s charter says they will eliminate Israel and take over the land. That’s fairly clear and straightforward. The Islamic State says they have established a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and then…? Putin is still busily working to take over the Ukraine, al Qaeda is threatening a cyber attack on the United States. We have thousands of children, (mostly between the ages of 14 and 17) who are being recruited by MS-17. Obama says he wants to send them back home, but he is settling them in all over the country, and schools will be expected to take the kids. The border is wide open because Border Patrol people have been called away to deal with the ‘unaccompanied children’, and security officials are worried. More businesses are moving their corporate offices overseas to escape taxes, and Obama can’t think of anything to do but punish them. Cutting taxes is not in his vocabulary.
What’s the old saying? Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.
Filed under: Freedom, Israel, Military, National Security | Tags: Hamas Interior Ministry, Israeli Defense Forces, The Terrorists in Gaza
Thomas Lifson at American Thinker has a brief column demonstrating an amazing run of bad luck. Pictures from Israel show that the same family that was killed in Syria by Bashar Assad, was unfortunately also killed by IDF bombing in Gaza just a few days ago.
(Click to enlarge)
The Hamas Interior Ministry has released guidelines for how activists should describe Palestinian war casualties. Some excerpts translated by Memri read:
Any one killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add “innocent civilian” or “innocent citizen” in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Begin [your reports of] news or resistance actions with the phrase “In response to the cruel Israeli attack” and conclude with the phrase “This any people have been martyred since Israel launched its aggression against Gaza.” Be sure to always perpetuate the principle of “the role of the occupation is attack, and we in Palestine are fulfilling [the role of] the reaction”
Avoid entering into a political argument with a Westerner aimed at convincing him that the Holocaust is a lie and deceit; instead, equate it with Israel’s crimes against Palestinian civilians.
Hamas has a long track record of using mosques, as well as schools and hospitals for storage of its rockets and weapons. They are quite effective at propaganda, and many seem to buy the idea that Israel is the evil country. The use of language is carefully constructed: “refugee camps,” “occupied territories.” Israel is probably the only country in the world that warns civilians in advance to evacuate an area where a bomb in going to strike a Hamas rocket storage site. Hamas brags of 16.000 rockets ready to strike Israel. As Benjamin Netanyahu said:
The difference between us is simple. We develop defensive systems in order to protect our civilians and they use their civilians to protect their missiles.
“The strong Israeli response is focused on eliminating the rocket-launching sites, military facilities in genera, Hamas militants, and the underground tunnels on the Egyptian border that have been used to smuggle arms.” There are limits to Israeli willingness to live under constant rocket attack. Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease fire. Hamas rejected it.
The current operation is intended to destroy the tunnels from Gaza into Israel, used by Hamas to attack and murder civilians. Finding them all is difficult and destroying them even more so.
The current operation, which is both meant to neutralize the tunnel threat and serve as leverage during the search for a ceasefire formula, should take, from a technical perspective, two weeks, officers said.
Filed under: Afghanistan, Capitalism, China, Domestic Policy, Economy, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Latin America, Middle East, National Security | Tags: Don't Blame Obama, He Didn't Know, No End of Excuses
He didn’t know that these unaccompanied minors had all sorts of contagious diseases unseen in this country for years. He didn’t know that there were Mara Salvatrucha recruiters among the unaccompanied minors. He didn’t have time to go to the border to spare from his fundraising. He didn’t know there were Americans aboard that Air Malaysian plane that was shot down by Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, because he had fundraisers to attend. He didn’t know that the world turmoil hasn’t been this bad since the 1970’s. He was only a kid then, so he didn’t know.
Filed under: Afghanistan, Africa, China, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Latin America, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Russia, The United States | Tags: A World in Turmoil, An Arc Of Instability, The Obama Foreign Policy
A Wall Street Journal’s front page article on Monday said politely “Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Unseen Since 70s.” “A convergence of security crises is playing out around the globe from the Palestinian territories and Iraq to Ukraine and the South Chin Sea, posing a serious challenge to President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and reflecting a world in which U .S. global power seems increasingly tenuous.”
The breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn’t been seen since the late 1970s, U.S. security strategists say, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, revolutionary Islamists took power in Iran, and Southeast Asia was reeling in the wake of the U.S. exit from Vietnam.
In the past month alone, the U.S. has faced twin civil wars in Iraq and Syria, renewed fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, an electoral crisis in Afghanistan and ethnic strife on the edge of Russia, in Ukraine.
Bewildered leftists say that he promised to end the War in Iraq, and wind down the war in Afghanistan and he did. He fulfilled his campaign promises. But there is ending and ending. I don’t know if anyone voted for Obama because he said he would end the War in Iraq. They voted for Hope and Change, and fancy theatrics and a litany of carefully crafted meaningless phrases.
Foreign policy is hard, and the big things may be controlled by the little things like personalities, and ego as well as deep knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of a country. Obama wasn’t much interested in foreign policy. He seems to have had in mind simply being the anti-Bush. Bush made wars, he would make peace. Bush had a muscular presence in the world and emphasized American strength. Obama wanted us to be just a nation among other nations, and let other nations deal with stuff. Obama found his national security briefings boring and quit going.
He yanked our people out of Iraq too abruptly and failed to establish a status of forces agreement to help prepare the Iraqi army for just what is happening now. The countries in Eastern Europe didn’t get their missile defense. Obama said in a May speech at West Point that the Obama foreign policy doctrine, would rely on U.S. leadership, but not troop deployments. Well, we’re not any good at the U.S. leadership business either, it seems.
A few meetings with Obama and Hillary’s “reset button” convinced Putin that nobody was likely to do anything, so he went right ahead to annex Crimea. The allies who had relied on America to prevent Russia’s ambitions lost confidence in American action as well. The Taliban got their leaders back. Obama drew a Red Line in Syria, and then erased it. The Arab Spring was misunderstood from the beginning, and the administration fell for the Muslim Brotherhood’s claim to Egypt. The feckless John Kerry has been trying to solve the problems of the Middle East by forcing Israel to give more land to the Palestinian terrorists. The Chinese, watching our military downsize, have decided to upsize theirs and are vigorously growing their navy and submarine fleet and flexing their muscles in the South China Sea.
And there is the self-declared new Caliphate, now encircling Baghdad, another surprise to the administration, and our negotiations with Iran go on. We want assurances, they are happy to give assurances. We seem unable to learn that deception is a way of life in the Middle East, and expect an agreement to be worked out that will enable them to have all the sanctions lifted.To call it all an “Arc of Instability” is perhaps the understatement of the year. But the stakes have never been higher.
Jonathan Karl lists some of the “instabilities.” Obama, we are told, no longer talks to anyone but Valerie Jarrett and Michelle. We are in the best of hands.
Filed under: Freedom, Israel, Military, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: Israel, Limits to Tolerance, Rockets from Gaza
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated a line that he used in the prepared statement he read at his Friday news conference on Fox News Sunday this morning. It warrants repetition. Israel and Hamas conduct in the current hostilities can be explained:
The difference between us is simple. We develop defensive systems against missiles in order to protect our civilians and they use their civilians to protect their missiles.
Here’s a brief cell phone video of “Summer Vacation In Israel” It conveys a sense of what it is like to live under constant threat of rocket attack, with only seconds to get to shelter.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Kidnapped Two Weeks Ago, Murdered Israeli Teenagers, National Grief
Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped over two weeks ago, and murdered by Hamas thugs. One can hardly imagine the grief of a nation. In a remarkably tasteless remark, President Obama urged Israel not to “destabilize the situation,” he warned Israel—not Palestine. Blame the families and friends of murdered kids, but not the murderers. He claimed that “Israelis have the full support and friendship of the United States.” I doubt that many Israelis believe that one.
The sixteen year olds are Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel who is also an American citizen. Our hearts go out to their families, and the Israeli people.
It is President Obama’s radical Mideast policies that have destabilized the entire Middle East. The president’s 2009 Cairo University speech helped to open the door to revolution and upheaval. He came to office with the illusion that all the problems in the Middle East were caused by the “problems between Israel and Palestine.” Obama believed that he could bring the Israelis and the Palestinians to the bargaining table and make a lasting peace agreement between them, and there would be peace in the Middle East, and he would be celebrated as the peacemaker or something like that.
The only flaw in the ointment was that Palestinians had not the slightest interest in peace, and wanted the Israelis all dead and no country of Israel to exist. The Palestinians fire rockets into Israel regularly, kidnap citizens, as they did these three teenagers. They bring up their children to hate Israel, toddlers are given mock suicide vests. The mothers of jihadists who blow themselves up in an effort to kill Israelis celebrate their dead sons as martyrs in a righteous cause.
In 2011, Obama declared out-of-the-blue that Israel should be shrunk back to its indefensible 1967 borders, and warned Israel “the status quo is unsustainable.” He declared “the international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome”, and claimed “the dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.” This is sheer ignorance of both the history of the Middle East and the history of the state of Israel.
The U.S led “peace framework” talks broke down earlier this year. The idea seemed to be that Israel would offer all sorts of concessions to the Palestinian Authority, and then the U.S would dangle releasing convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard before Prime Minister Netanyahu in the hope that he would fold.
The State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. They are the only country that shares our ideas of free markets and free people. The other guys are talking about blowing up Israel, driving Israel into the sea, preparing to attack the United States, declaring a new Caliphate, and trying to smuggle more weapons into Gaza so they can kill more Israelis. One would think our president and our State Department would notice the difference.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iran, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: "Death to America", Jihad Will Continue, One Side Negotiates
The Daily Caller headline: Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad Will Continue Until America is No More.
“Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason,” Khamenei told a meeting of members of parliament, according to the regime’s Fars News Agency. Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the “oppressors’ front.”
“The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic. Logic and reason command that for Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself,” he said.
“Today’s world is full of thieves and plunderers of human honor, dignity and morality who are equipped with knowledge, wealth and power, and under the pretense of humanity easily commit crimes and betray human ideals and start wars in different parts of the world.”
America has placed sanctions on Iran that were harsh, and brought the country to the bargaining table. The administration believed that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was more moderate, and open to reform. Not so. Iran has no intention of halting the expansion of the country’s research and development program, nor of continuing enrichment, and the country’s ballistic missile program is not up for negotiation. Now that the sanctions have been removed, their economy is functioning again.
IAEA officials met with their Iranian counterparts in Tehran to discuss information on the work on detonators and the outstanding issues on its nuclear program as part of seven transparency steps Iran had agreed to fulfill by May 15. They apparently lied.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iran, Islam, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Clear Simple Reasoning, Stop Iran From Getting the Bomb, WSJ's Bret Stephens
Important ideas can be explained briefly and thoroughly, so that real understanding happens. From Prager University, Bret Stephens, the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion page columnist on international affairs clarifies our relations with Iran, without even mentioning Obama administration illusions.
(h/t:Dave Swindle, PJ Media)
Filed under: Afghanistan, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Israel, Military, National Security, Politics, Russia, The United States | Tags: Russia and Ukraine, The Rise of al Qaeda, The World Demands Attention
So many of us on the right have felt we were confronted by a puzzle. The left was caught up in a bubble of ecstasy about their president. No superlatives were too extreme. After the Cairo speech in June, 2009, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas gushed ” I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above, above the world, he’s sort of God.”
Thomas added ,”He’s going to bring all different sides together … Obama is trying to sort of tamper everything down. He doesn’t even use the word terror. He uses extremism. He’s all about let us reason together…He’s the teacher. He is going to say,’now, children stop fighting and quarreling with each other.’ And he has a kind of a moral authority that he—he can—he can do that.”
Republicans were puzzled by the bubble. Republicans have been proud of some presidents and some candidates, but are not given to hero worship, and quick to point out flaws. Unfortunately. Democrats still worship FDR, sure that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that he saved the country from the Great Depression and from Hitler and Tojo. So they believe in intent, and are not given to analyzing the results — but we knew that.
Republicans thought Obama did not have the experience either in the private sector or in managing anything — no executive experience — to be successful in the presidency. Democrats, desperately aware of their own long dismal history with race, jumped on any lack of enthusiasm for the Obama presidency as a clear example of racism. If you didn’t think Barack Obama was beyond criticism, then you clearly were opposed to having a black man as president and you were a racist.
That’s getting harder to maintain as President Obama’s claim that he is “on the right side of history” has crumbled in the wake of his ineptness in foreign policy. He was famously caught ‘off mike’ telling then-president of Russia Dimitri Medvedev that “he could be more flexible after the election.”
Paul Mirengoff sums it all up very effectively at Powerline, in a piece titled “Barack the Surprised.” Mr. Mirengoff sums it up: “Obama’s biggest mistake is to ascribe his own ambivalence towards America to the world at large.” He quotes Leon Wieseltier in the New Republic in a piece titled “The Inconvenience of History.”
[T]he richest of the ironies about Obama’s foreign policy is this: the world that in his view wanted to be rid of American salience now longs for it. It turns out that Obama’s Iraq-based view of America’s role in the world, according to which American preeminence is bad for the world and bad for America, is not shared by societies and movements in many regions.
They need, and deserve, support in their struggles. (In Syria, for example, the tyrant enjoys the significant support of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, the Islamist rebels enjoy the significant support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and the moderate secular rebels enjoy the significant support of nobody.)
There are many places in the world where we are despised not for taking action but for not taking action. Our allies do not trust us. Our enemies do not fear us. What if American preeminence is good for the world and good for America?
Obama brought to the presidency a view that George W. Bush was responsible for most of the troubles in the world, and the United States was unnecessarily involved in the world. Obama told us he had a better understanding of the world because he had lived in Indonesia as a child, visited Pakistan, and his father was from Kenya. His opposition to everything Bush led him to want a much smaller military, less involved.
It was a shock to many when in the wake of Putin’s takeover of the Crimea, when Ukraine begged for help we sent MREs and military-type socks.
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to warn of playing politics with military readiness in a dangerous world. Al Qaeda is on the rise, encouraged by a passive White House. Panetta is speaking softly, but attempting to wake up those in charge.
While the temporary two-year budget deal in Congress provided some short-term stability, it failed to repair the extensive damage to readiness. There is simply no slack left in the system if the U.S. must respond to another crisis abroad.
In a troubled world, both our friends and our enemies will take note if we reduce our military readiness. No one questions the capability of our troops, our weaponry or our technology. What they do question is whether our democracy can function effectively to ensure our strength.
We have been told by those who know Obama that he does not change his mind. That does not portend well for the next 2½ years. Obama’s interest is focused on the midterm elections, not the world as it is.