American Elephants


Today’s Must Read Essays. Matters of Strength and Weakness. by The Elephant's Child

Michael Doran, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. He specializes in Middle East security issues. “I Don’t Bluff..”

President Obama has repeatedly promised to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. If there is no other choice, he says, he will resort to force. In a March 2012 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, the president famously rejected the alternative policy, namely, allowing Iran to go nuclear and then trying to contain it. He emphasized the point dramatically: “[A]s president of the United States,” he said, “I don’t bluff.”

Really? Suppose this statement was just a show of toughness, timed to keep supporters of Israel on his side during the 2012 campaign season. Suppose that, when it came to Iran, in his heart of hearts, the president actually preferred a strategy of containment to a strategy of prevention. Suppose that was actually his policy aim from the outset—but, for obvious reasons, he couldn’t say so. How would he proceed?

He would proceed exactly as he has been proceeding—trumpeting his intention to roll back the Iranian nuclear program while actually avoiding confrontation at all costs.
Read the whole thing:

Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution: “What are the Metaphysics of Islamic Denial?”

After six years, it is no surprise that the Obama administration does not see the Taliban as “terrorists” or that it will not associate “violent extremism” with radical Islam or just Islam.

After all, when Maj. Hasan murdered U.S. soldiers it was nothing more than “workplace violence,” as if he were a disgruntled post office employee of the 1970s. Our two top intelligence chiefs assured us that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular” and that jihad “was a legitimate tenet of Islam.” Add in “workplace violence” and the old “overseas contingency operations.” Do we remember that Ms. Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security warned us about right-wing returning veterans as the most likely to terrorize us? When someone blows up people at the Boston Marathon, beheads a woman in Oklahoma, or puts a hatchet in a NYPD officer’s head, he is not a terrorist or proselytizer fueled by Islamic hatred of non-Muslims as much as mentally confused. (I suppose in a way that a Hitler or Stalin was not.)      Read the whole thing:

Again, Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution: “Obama Does Have a Strategy

The Wise People of American foreign policy — Madeleine Albright, General Jack Keane, Henry Kissinger, General James Mattis, George Shultz, and others — recently testified before Congress. Their candid and insightful collective message dovetailed with the worries of many former Obama-administration officials, such as one-time defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, as well as a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Their consensus is that the U.S. is drifting, and with it the world at large: The Obama administration has not formulated a consistent strategy to cope with the advance of second-generation Islamic terrorism. It is confused by the state upheavals in the Middle East. It is surprised by the aggression of Putin’s Russia and the ascendance of an autocratic China. Our allies in Europe, much of democratic Asia, and Israel all worry that the U.S. is rudderless, as it slashes its military budget and withdraws from prior commitments.

While I think the symptomology of an ailing, herky-jerky United States is correct, the cause of such malaise is left unspoken. The Obama team — with its foreign policy formulated by President Obama himself, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, White House consigliere Valerie Jarrett, Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and present Secretary of State John Kerry — is not in fact befuddled by the existing world. Instead, it is intent on changing it into something quite different from what it is.

So far from being chaotic, current U.S. foreign policy is consistent, logical, and based on four pillars of belief.
Read the Whole Thing



The Machines Are Taking Over, Doing Things On Their Own! by The Elephant's Child

Bwa ha ha ha. I just started to go to whitehouse.gov to get the text of the speech, entered the website, and this is what I got:

Capture



What Was Missing In Obama’s Foreign Policy by The Elephant's Child

From Defense analyst Nadia Schadlow writing at warontherocks.com — via the WSJ’s Notable & Quotable column Sept. 7, 2014:

President Obama’s commitment to reducing America’s reliance on the military instrument of power is well-known. It has been a constant theme of his presidency—from his first presidential campaign through his major speech on foreign policy at West Point earlier this year. It is therefore paradoxical that the administration’s foreign policy outlook and operational style have made use of the military instrument almost unavoidable. By failing to understand that the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention—American foreign policy risks being reduced to a reactive and tactical emphasis on the military instrument by default. . . .

The tactical mindset that dominates national security decision-making prioritizes military means over political ends and confuses activity (such as the bombing of enemy positions) with progress. Because the use of military force is not connected to operational plans for subsequent political consolidation, the United States vacates the space between war and peace. And because they cannot match American military power directly, it is in this space—battlegrounds of perception, coercion, mass atrocity—that America’s enemies and adversaries prefer to operate.

“the space between war and peace is not an empty one—but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention.” I love it when someone calls to our attention something seemingly obvious to which we pay little attention, and changes the pattern of our thought.

Excellent website. Add warontherocks to your  choice website list!



A Must-See Collection of Historical Photographs. by The Elephant's Child

Here is a fascinating display of historical black and white photographs — colorized for modern eyes. Up until the 1970s color photography was somewhat rare and the color prints did not always age well anyway. Admitting my vast age, I was far more familiar with black and white photos than color, and as far as that goes, the color was not always accurate, so I can’t quite understand the idea that “colorizing” old photos “gives us our only chance at seeing what the world really looked like back then.” But it is a theme I have heard often, so it must be true for those for whom black and white photos are — weird.

The colorizing is beautifully done. You will enjoy these 53 historical photos.



Some Words of Wisdom on Free Contraceptives: by The Elephant's Child

I liked this excerpt from Betsy”s Page:

It’s amazing how much like those 19th century nativists decrying the influence of Catholics in America some liberals are sounding these days as they pick out that the five justices who formed the majority in the Hobby Lobby decision are Catholics. Suddenly, Catholic-bashing is creeping into liberal analysis of Supreme Court decisions that liberals don’t like. It really has been amusing to hear all these nice liberals bemoaning the use of the Religious Freedom Reformation Act when it was a law passed with near unanimity and signed into law with great self congratulation by Hillary Clinton’s husband. Suddenly, liberals no longer like the idea of finding a balance between the reach of the federal government and people’s individual religious beliefs if it interferes with their desired policy goals.

And all this for the goal of forcing employers to provide employees free contraceptives. It has always struck me as rather strange that that is the one prescription that the administration wants to insist should be provided at no cast to insured employees. Think of all the possible medicines that they could have chosen to be provided for free – prescriptions for heart problems, cancer, diabetes, asthma, HIV, or psychiatric treatments. But none of those were considered worthy of mandating that they be provided free of cost. Only contraceptives. Not covered with a deductible or for a certain percentage. Nope, absolutely free. I would love to have a reporter ask Obama why didn’t they have similar mandates for other medical needs? I think it was all done deliberately so that they could take advantage of the opposition that they knew would arise in order to gin up their phony cries about a war on women.

Hobby Lobby is a retail chain with nearly 600 stores. Their beginning wage is $15 an hour. They pay for their employees health care, including most contraceptives. They exclude only four abortifacients. Contraceptives are available at a month’s supply as low as $3.97, online, I believe. And the prices go up from there. Free, which means the taxpayers, including all the women past menopause have to pay for them. I think Democrats just don’t get the meaning of “free” as they use it.

 



Seventy Six Reasons For American Exceptionalism! by The Elephant's Child

Buzz Feed Has a marvelous list of “76 Reasons Why America is The Greatest Country In the World,” is not to be missed: Here’s a sample

5. WE’RE THE BEST AT TROLLING OTHER COUNTRIES

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“I baked this cake for my co-workers on Canada Day”

 

16. ROAD LEGAL

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Extra special full on patriotism for our 238th Fourth of July!
Great good Humor!



Monday Morning Cute! A Black Rhino Calf Born in the Miami Zoo. by The Elephant's Child

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On Sunday, May 25th, a Black Rhinoceros was born at Zoo Miami. This little girl weighed  122 pounds. Black Rhinos are highly endangered as they continue to be poached at alarming rates in Eastern and Southern Africa.There were once over 100,000 running wild in Africa— within the past century, those numbers are down to an estimated 5,000. They are killed for their horns which are prized in some eastern cultures for medicinal purposes and as status symbols. Sad.

Here she is with mom. Check out all the babies at zooborns.

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