American Elephants


The First Year of the Battle by The Elephant's Child

Much is being made of the fact this is the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States. And a very strange year it has been.

At the website American Greatness (recommended) Scott Gerber, a law professor at Ohio Northern University, has reviewed the past year. The liberal media began calling for the undermining of Trump’s presidency from almost the moment he was elected. President Trump frequently refers to the daily barrage of attacks as a “witch hunt”— and it has been. I knew it was bad, but Dr. Gerber puts it all together into a fascinating but damning essay. Do read the whole thing.

The liberal media began calling for the undermining of Trump’s presidency from almost the moment he was elected. For example, on November 17, 2016, Paul Waldman opined in the Washington Post that President-elect Trump “shouldn’t ever be treated like an ordinary president with whom Democrats just have some substantive disagreements,” while Dahlia Lithwick and David S. Cohen insisted in the New York Times on December 14, “As Monday’s Electoral College vote approaches, Democrats should be fighting tooth and nail.”

With respect to the Electoral College itself, Theodore G. Venetoulis proclaimed in the Baltimore Sun that it was “the electors’ duty” to reject Trump and let the U.S. House of Representatives pick the president.

For the Left, their entire reason for existence is being in control. From being in charge, all blessings flow:  big donations, graft, obsequious attendants, attention of the media, fame, fortune, publisher’s willing to publish, television appearances, large gifts, big salaries, recognition, even the possibility of making the history books, wealth and position. And the reason for all those ‘blessings’ is their stated desire to make everybody more equal.  And thus you are supposed to believe their cries to soak the rich, and succor the poor in making the bounty of America more available to all. Uh huh.

The Left has always treated Republican presidents badly. Eisenhower, in spite of winning a rather large war in Europe, was supposed to be not very bright man from Kansas who was more interested in golf than world events. And everyone knows about Nixon.  Ronald Reagan was a minor movie star, not very bright, and shockingly inept on the world stage, embarrassing in his meetings with Gorbachev. Both Bushes got the full treatment, in spite of the fact that the senior President Bush was a real war hero. George W. got us into an unnecessary war, ran it badly, “Bush lied,people died”, and although there weren’t any nukes, there were vast quantities of poison gasses. But everybody was tortured at Gitmo, and look how badly he performed with Hurricane Katrina. Iraq was a success until Obama snatched defeat from the path of victory. Democrats have always been rotten, but this time they have a young, ill-informed and passionately partisan media, easy to manipulate, as Ben Rhodes has told us.

President Donald Trump is doing a pretty remarkable job. The market is reaching new all-time highs, unemployment is low, consumer confidence is soaring, the cabinet is outstanding and getting important things done (which the Left really hates). His current Asian tour is impressive. His judicial nominees are outstanding, if the Senate will just get busy and confirm them all. I guess the problem is really us. We should be loudly celebrating the accomplishments. The Left runs on talking points and attempting to control the national conversation. Republicans are not inclined to brag and celebrate loudly, which I guess we should be doing. It is all about the national conversation and allowing Democrats to control that is a big mistake. This time they really have gone too far.

 

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Donald Trump’s Generals: The Most Renowned Wartime Commanders of Their Generation by The Elephant's Child

A blog called “Breaking Defense” has written well on Trump’s Generals. The Left, constantly looking for something horrible in Trump’s plans, finds the naming of so many retired military men to top positions will possibly undermine the principal of civilian control—as if Constitutional niceties are of enormous concern to the  Left—who have been ignoring that ancient document at their convenience for the last eight years. I’m getting really tired of the Left and their antics.

Donald Trump’s decision to lean heavily on generals in building his national security team has been received with sighs of relief by many foreign policy and national security experts. By the nature of their profession, senior military leaders tend to be pragmatic internationalists who know how to run large organizations. They understand from experience how the world works. They are generally disciplined and well-read. Having come of age on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, these generals are also intimately familiar with the horrors of war, and the second- and third-order consequences of firing the first shot. …

Indeed, the generals likely to form the top ranks of a Trump administration are among the most renowned wartime commanders of their generation. As the presumptive Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis will have as his chief military adviser Marine Corps General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Dunford, appointed by Obama as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both flag officers earned their nicknames the old fashioned way during multiple combat tours. They are also close to retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, another combat veteran and the former commander of US Southern Command, who will reportedly serve as Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security. According to a knowledgeable source, it was Mattis who took upon himself the heartbreaking task of telling John Kelly that his son, 1st Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, had been killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

Trump’s Generals, Part 2: Jim Mattis vs. Iran

Trump’s Generals, Part 3: Mike Flynn vs. Al Qaeda

Trump’s Generals, Part4: John Kelly vs. The Narco-Terrorists

Like many Republicans, when President Elect Trump announced his first nominees for cabinet positions, I was reassured that Mr. Trump knew what he was doing and was getting excellent advice. After 8 years of an administration that assured us that they were completely in control of foreign policy, but could not manage to call the enemy by name or even admit that it was an enemy (junior varsity?) I was delighted. It’s a pretty impressive national security lineup. Get acquainted.



Uncommon Knowledge: Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson on grand strategy, immigration, and the coming election.  It’s a fascinating conversation, worth every minute. I hope you can find time.

 



Why World War II Matters — Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child


Here’s a fascinating lecture by Victor Davis Hanson on why World War II matters. It ended 71 years ago, ancient history. The very last of those who served in the war are nearly all gone, and even those who really remember are passing on. How do we make those to whom it is ancient history, who may not even know who was fighting or why they were fighting or why it matters understand?

Dr. Hanson, Central Valley farmer, college professor, military historian, columnist, author and fellow at the Hoover Institution is presented here by the Hillsdale College History Department. Enjoy. It’s well worth your time.



“Why is the World So Dangerous?” by The Elephant's Child

“Herbert  E. Meyer (Herb) served as vice chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council under President Reagan. He was one of the few people in the 1980’s to perceive that the U.S. and its allies might have turned the corner and were on the way to winning the Cold War.”

You may not have noticed, but the media seldom talks about facts. It’s almost all opinion. Herb Meyer talks facts, and gives you the evidence on which the facts are based.  That original paper: “Why Is The World So Dangerous?” from 1983 has long since been declassified, and is available to be downloaded here. Most of his speeches are different versions of “Why is the World So Dangerous”— because that’s what we need to hear. This one was delivered to the Northwest Business Club on March 9th this year. He gives us his version of history, and explains what we need to know to cope. The address is a little over an hour and worth every minute, so try for some time this weekend. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll think a little differently about the world today. He is a great speaker, funny, charming, and utterly fascinating.

ADDENDUM: If you go to You Tube, there are lots of Herb Meyer’s speeches, many with the same name. I picked this one as one of the most recent. and they are similar because Mr. Meyer has to put you in the right historical frame of mind to grasp the changing nature of the trends. His basic argument does not change, because, well, he’s clearly right, and a little repetition merely reinforces the point.



Obama Managed to Ignite a Firestorm in Britain by The Elephant's Child

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I always understood that the White House had a Protocol Office that kept  Presidents informed on manners and customs in the various countries the President might visit, and with how to treat the diplomats and leaders of other countries. I don’t know if President Obama has abolished the office, or if he just doesn’t pay any attention.

On his visit to England, President Obama felt called upon to write an op-ed in The Telegraph, one of the leading British newspapers. He skirted the history of British-American relations, and then summarized what he expects the British need to do to get our full support. We must be resolute and adaptive in preventing terrorist attacks, resolve conflicts in the Middle East, invest in NATO so we can meet our commitments and then he stuck his nose into the upcoming Brexit election, which is a difficult and touchy issue in England about whether to continue membership or leave the European Union.

That ignited a firestorm. It was a remarkably poor choice for an American president to tell the British what to do.

So I will say, with the candour of a friend, that the outcome of your decision is a matter of deep interest to the United States. The tens of thousands of Americans who rest in Europe’s cemeteries are a silent testament to just how intertwined our prosperity and security truly are. And the path you choose now will echo in the prospects of today’s generation of Americans as well.

As citizens of the United Kingdom take stock of their relationship with the EU, you should be proud that the EU has helped spread British values and practices – democracy, the rule of law, open markets – across the continent and to its periphery. The European Union doesn’t moderate British influence – it magnifies it. A strong Europe is not a threat to Britain’s global leadership; it enhances Britain’s global leadership. The United States sees how your powerful voice in Europe ensures that Europe takes a strong stance in the world, and keeps the EU open, outward looking, and closely linked to its allies on the other side of the Atlantic. So the US and the world need your outsized influence to continue – including within Europe. …

When it comes to creating jobs, trade, and economic growth in line with our values, the UK has benefited from its membership in the EU – inside a single market that provides enormous opportunities for the British people. And the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU will advance our values and our interests, and establish the high-standard, pro-worker rules for trade and commerce in the 21st century economy.

— “President Obama’s warning to those championing Britain’s exit from the EU was stark: Leave, he said, and the “U.K. is going to be in the back of the queue” on trade deals with the U.S.”

Mr Obama’s catchphrase is ‘Yes, you can! – so why is he telling us Brits “No you can’t’?

— “Obama infuriates the Brits as he threatens to send UK to the back of the queue’ if they vote to leave the European Union.”

— “Barack Obama, our fair-weather friend, is wrong about the EU”

— “Armed Forces Minister: Obama ‘Woefully Ignorant ‘ of Threat EU Membership Poses”

— “Obama might as well have declared: ‘Britain lost the War of Independence because you have small d**ks’

American presidents usually do not comment or express opinion publicly in elections in other countries, but Australia and Canada have heard from Mr. Obama about their internal affairs.

Mr.Obama has been very outspoken about his irritation at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress when he was invited by Republicans to address them. When Honduran President Zelaya was ousted in a military coup after he tried to rewrite their Constitution to extend his tenure in office, President Obama commented in favor of Zelaya and in contradiction of Honduran Law. Obama’s campaign people have turned up in other elections.



Kim Jong-un Conducted a Test of a Hydrogen Bomb, Or Maybe Not. by The Elephant's Child

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Kim Jong-un has been busy. On January 6, he conducted a nuclear test of  what was billed as a a hydrogen bomb, but probably wasn’t. On February 7, he put a satellite into orbit, thereby demonstrating an ability to deploy long-range rockets that might be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to America’s West Coast. And then he executed the chief of the North Korean army’s general staff for unknown reasons.

But finally, he’s getting some serious pushback. South Korea has closed the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a business development in North Korea, run by South Korean managers, funded by South Korea, and employing North Korean workers. The New York Times reported that South Korea suspected that the North had taken the $560 million that South Korean factories had paid its workers since 2004 and used it for nuclear weapons development and missile technology. Closed down, and a major blow to the North.

South Korea also announced that it might deploy THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System) a powerful American missile defense system that has the potential to better defend South Koreans and American troops stationed in South Korea from any missiles from North Korea.

This should have been done years ago, but the Obama administration had to be dragged into it by Congress. Experts on the government of North Korea say to sanction North Korea severely and keep it up until the government collapses.

China doesn’t like the North Korean government but likes the alternatives far less. South Korea isn’t up for the burden of supporting North Korea in the event of reunification, The two Koreas are far apart in terms of economies, education levels and ideologies, but a merger shouldn’t be a disaster. Kim Jong-un keeps executing people he doesn’t like, including an uncle. It’s complicated.




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