American Elephants


America In Retreat by The Elephant's Child

ISIS would not exist, but for President Obama’s overwhelming urge to get completely out of Iraq because he hated George W. Bush and believed that he was elected to “get us out of Iraq,” tossing aside the difficult task of getting a status of forces agreement, the advice of his Secretaries of Defense and the military establishment. To his mind the subsequent failure of the Iraqi army proved that he was correct—not that they needed more training, as he had been warned.

Now he’s doing the same thing in Afghanistan, with the same results. Reportedly, ISIS has joined up with the Taliban to recruit fighters in Afghanistan. The current speculation is that Obama intends to turn over the problems in Iraq to Iran, and if they can clean it up, we’ll let them go ahead with their centrifuges. Obama does not believe in a “smarter” American leadership. He has no strategy at all, and doesn’t know how to lead.



The American People Don’t Think the White House is Tough Enough on Iran by The Elephant's Child

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‘The State Department now says that the United States has “shared interests” with Iran  — in Iraq, and talks are ongoing between the two countries about the rapidly deteriorating security situation in that country.”

Well, just a little cooperation. The Obama Administration leaks when Israel strikes Iranian missile convoys to Hezbollah, and negotiates with Iran about its nuclear weapons program. The Crisis in Iraq has made it clear that Iran is now the central player in Obama’s Middle East strategy.  Obama wants a U.S. alliance with Iran. He is set on building a new regional framework that includes not just our closest friends, but everyone — a geopolitical equilibrium  that includes the security needs of Iranians, Saudis, Israelis, Russians and Americans. a balance between  Sunni or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Shiia Iran.

Perhaps it’s a worm in the brain. Consumed by the necessity of being the opposite of the hated Bush, something has been gnawing away at reality. When the Mullahs scream “Death to America”, “Death to Israel,” and “Death to the Great Satan,” “Death to the Little Satan,” what did he think they meant? Iran clearly has no intention of abandoning its nuclear ambitions. Has Obama dreamed himself into the idea that they just want nuclear power? What did he think  Iraq wants those long-range missiles for?

On Tuesday Marine General James Mattis (ret), former head of U.S.Central Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee of his unhappiness at the current conduct of U.S. foreign policy.  He said the  U .S. is not adapting to changed circumstances in the Middle East” and the U.S. needs a “refreshed national strategy.” Army four star General Jack Keane, (ret.) a former vice chief of staff, also in the hearing, said al Qaeda has “grown fourfold in the last five years” and is “beginning to dominate multiple countries.” He called radical Islam”the major security challenge of our generation” and said we are failing to meet it.

The same day it was reported that Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, (ret.) former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had told a Washington conference “You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists.” His audience of military and intelligence professionals applauded. Officials, he continued, are paralyzed by the complexity of the problems of militant Islam, and do little, reasoning that “passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies.” Robert Gates, Former Sec. of Defense, wrote in Duty that it seemed Mr. Obama “doesn’t trust” the military, “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his.”

Republicans may disagree with their opponents policies or strategies, and they often do. Today’s Democrats are different. They are in politics to change society and “solve” its  problems, and are convinced that their policies are way stations on the path to a “better world.” Those who oppose them are seen as standing in the way of their “noble dream” and viscerally hated.They are the enemy in every sense of the word.

Bill Kristol believes that Obama’s dream was that he would be the American president who “would preside at, and take credit for the founding of a Palestinian state, as Harry Truman was to Israel.” That’s not going to work, but his policies have not lessened the crisis in Islam nor the discord between Islam and the West, but made it worse.

Whether this is accurate or not remains to be seen, but Obama’s reaction to Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to the House about Iran, was remarkably over the top. Mr. Obama seemed to believe that such an invitation must be cleared with the White House and the State Department, though such is not the case.

Republicans in the House are clearly troubled by Mr. Obama’s threat to veto any sanctions on Iran, which would take effect only if Iran was continuing with their effort to get nuclear weapons. It was only sanctions that brought Iran to the bargaining table, and the administration has been removing sanctions, and returning to Iran their funds that had been frozen as part of the sanctions. The administration assumes that Iran is bargaining honestly, the Republicans are more familiar with Iran’s history, and strongly suspect that truth cannot be expected from the mullahs.

Israel is more aware of Iran’s intentions, and watches much more closely. Small wonder that Republicans want to hear from Bibi Netanyahu.

Now we learn than members of Obama’s own campaign team have sent an army of operatives to Israel to help oust Mr. Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections. This time he has used an organization that receives taxpayer funds from the State Department to oust a long time ally of the United States. This is not just way beyond the rules of propriety, but may well be illegal. Obama has felt free to send his political operatives to influence elections in Canada and Australia. This time he has gone even farther.

When you are pursuing a dream of a noble and “better” world — “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” — the niceties aren’t important . The only thing that is important is winning. Why they never notice that collectivism and social justice and the “better world” never work, is because they didn’t do it, and didn’t do it here. This time it will be different.



Where Is The Evidence That Iran Is Developing Nuclear Power for Peaceful Purposes? by The Elephant's Child

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When a regime is secretly developing nuclear weapons, protestations that they are only developing nuclear power for “peaceful purposes” doesn’t meet believability standards. Nuclear energy developed for peaceful purposes can be developed right out in the open where everyone can see. No need to hide it under mountains nor in disguised locations.

When you add on to that mass rallies where the people are led in cries of “DEATH TO AMERICA” and “DEATH TO ISRAEL,” one should probably assume that they mean it, or at least the leadership does. They have devoted considerable resources to their missiles with assistance from Russia and North Korea. Missiles in development may be able to strike targets in Europe and Russia. Their program is a formidable weapon of terror.

Reuters just reported that Iran had stepped up its nuclear enrichment activities while supposedly under an agreement not to do so. A former chief of the IAEA has claimed that Iran may have five times as many centrifuges as they have admitted they have. It has been revealed that Obama has been writing secretly to the Ayatollah Khamenei sending 4 letters, none answered directly. Obama seems desperately set on a “deal” with Iran, but there seems to be little likelihood of anything significant, or even any agreement that the Iranians would observe.

Khamenei responded contemporaneously shortly after Obama’s letter:

Khamenei reiterated that the “current conditions of the region,” including those inside Iraq, are “the result of policies that non-regional powers and some regional countries adopted in Syria in an irresponsible way and we should stand up against these policies in a decisive way.”

Iran’s leader then dismissed “western claims” about fighting the Islamic State as dishonest. “We do not trust the honesty of those who made these claims and we believe that the issue of DAESH [a derogatory way of referring to the Islamic State] and terrorism should be resolved by regional countries.”

The twitter account in Khamenei’s name disparages the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, and makes it clear that Iran’s red lines for the negotiations are basically unsurmountable  obstacles to any meaningful deal.

A Democrat “Think Tank”, the Truman National Security Project”s campaign  to sell the public on an Iran deal has urged associates to brand critics of the Iran Deal as “Un-American.” Truman associates accuse congressional skeptics as “not rooting for an American win.”

There’s an adult response to serious international security questions.  Do I not recall Iran saying that the Americans worship life, but we worship death? Or do I misremember? President Obama and Secretary Kerry appear weak, desperate for an agreement that is likely to be completely meaningless. As Ronald Regan quoted an old Russian proverb — “Trust but verify.” Iran has been the major sponsor of international terrorism, and terrorism in the Middle East for a very long time. They have never observed any sanctions. Why do we assume they will start now?



President Obama is Writing Privately to the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by The Elephant's Child

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The news today is full of reports about the presidential correspondence with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The October letter was Obama’s fourth time to write Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since 2009. The correspondence clearly indicates the importance with which Mr. Obama views America’s relations with Iran. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say. …

The combination of stiff sanctions and the surprising drop in the price of oil combined with the rise of Sunni Islamic State militants had moved the relationship into an effective state of détente. That shift could presage more problems in the balance of power in the region and alienate key U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates who are central to the coalition fighting the Islamic State. Iran remains the world’s leading sponsor of terror and abuses of its own people.

Iran has watched while the U.S. heckles Israel about its conduct in the war in Gaza, allows Bashar al-Assad to continue his mass murder, refused to consider more sanctions, countenanced insulting remarks about the elected representative of the Jewish people, and watched the administration’s response to Russia, to China, and continuing refusal to consider “boots on the ground in Iraq” as evidence of the character of the Obama administration. It seems clear that the world has taken the measure of the Obama administration and believes the United States to be weak and indecisive.

The administration, on the other hand, seems to regard the current state of affairs as a potential opening to a diplomatic deal on their nuclear ambitions.

One wonders which part of “DEATH TO AMERICA!” and “Death to the Great Satan” and “Death to the Little Satan” is it that Mr. Obama doesn’t understand?

Mr. Obama and his team have assumed the chances for a deal with Iran at only 50-50. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Iranian counterpart on Sunday in the Persian Gulf country of Oman. Unfortunately, they considered the diplomatic negotiations with Iran so sensitive that they didn’t tell its Middle East allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE about Mr. Obama’s October letter. Leaders from those countries have expressed growing concern that softening demands from the U.S. to try to reach “a deal” with Iran will allow Iran to gain the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

The deadline for a nuclear deal is November 24. Iran is adopting a hardline negotiating position. So what harm can a letter from the American president do?

Actually, a lot. The Journal quotes a senior White House official who provides context for Obama’s outreach: “We’ve passed on messages to the Iranians . . . saying our objective is against ISIL. We’re not using this as a platform to reoccupy Iraq or to undermine Iran.”

Saying this to Iran is the diplomatic equivalent of telling an ill-reputed used-car salesman, “Money is no object, I don’t need a test drive, and I’m desperate to buy today.” It’s not very clever.

Iran’s hardliners are likely to see the president’s latest letter as a verification of increasing American malleability. But there’s a deeper issue here. As I noted in September, the administration’s willingness to see the best in Iran without challenging the worst manages to inspire only the latter. While we offer friendship, from Beirut to Baghdad, from Sanaa to Washington, Iran forges power through violent opportunism.

Other headlines don’t offer much confidence: “Pentagon: Iran Giving ‘Lethal Aid to the Taliban to Fight U.S.and Report: Iran Nuclear Program More Advanced that Previously Believed. or from the Weekly Standard: The Most Dangerous Man in the World.”

What can possibly go wrong?

 



Judge Jeanine Pirro States the Obvious, Clearly and Succinctly by The Elephant's Child

Reminder: Iran is Not On Our Side, Not Now, Not Ever. by The Elephant's Child

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that the “new world order is emerging” and that “Iran will have a strong role in creating it,” according to a Farsi language transcript of Khamenei’s remarks late last week to the country’s Assembly of Experts.

Iran will lead this “new world order” that will replace American influence as capitalism and Western influence collapses, according to Khamenei, who underwent surprise prostate surgery on Monday.

“Iran will have a strong role in creating the new world order,” Khamenei said, explaining that Tehran will expand its already growing influence in Latin America and even Asia.

We have important potential outside Iran, we have supporters, we have strategic depth, in the region, some because of Islam, some because of language, some because of Shia religion, they are our strategic depth, these are all our strengths, we should use them all.”

And it is not only in the region, outside the region, in Latin America we have strategic depth, in some important parts of Asia we have strategic depth, we have the tools to use these opportunities and we have to use these opportunities, using them makes the country strong.

A sign of the West’s waning power came when “the Zionist regime of Israel” supposedly “lost the battle against the small population of the Muslims in Gaza” according to a separate recounting of Khamenei’s remarks published by the state-run Fars News Agency.

The recent war in Gaza was an example of miracle; a small region with limited capabilities accomplished a task that brought the Zionist regime, as the symbol of the West’s power, to its knees” he was quoted as saying. “The current world order cannot continue and a new order is emerging.”

Back in the real world, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer warned against including Iran in any coalition to derail the jihadist group. “A nuclear Iran would be a thousand times greater threat to the world than ISIS, he told guests at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception at his residence. He also cautioned the U.S. against accommodating Iran during the current effort to degrade ISIS. He praised the American president for leading a coalition to defeat the terror group, but warned that Iran must not be a partner in this effort.

Now I know there is still some absurd talk in certain quarters about Iran being a partner in solving problems in the Middle East,” Dermer said. “They are not a partner, they were not a partner, they never will be a partner. Iran as a nuclear power is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS.”



Obama Can’t Identify the Problem, and Doesn’t Want To Deal With It. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is back from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, and on Monday he spoke at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. To sparse applause, he said the answer for ISIS’s “evolving terrorist threat” is not for America to “occupy countries and end up “feeding extremism.” …

The answer is not to send in large scale military deployments that over stretch our military, and lead for us occupying countries for a long period of time and end up feeding extremism.

Still blaming Bush, after all these years. The White House is struggling to find a message on the Middle East, any message. Marie Harf, State Department spokesperson, refused to acknowledge ISIS’ declaration of war with the United States of America. A reporter said “The reality is ISIS has announced it’s in a war against America,” adding that “Right or wrong that is what they are saying.”

Harf  emphasized the administration’s view that ISIS does not accurately represent the religion of Islam as a whole.

ISIL does not operate in the name of any religion. The president has been very clear about that, and the more we can underscore that, the better.

The Islamic State is fairly clear on who they believe themselves to be. Max Boot, is also clear:

Want to know what happens when the U.S. retreats from a leadership role in the Middle East? This is what happens–Egypt and the United Arab Emirates together collaborate to stage air strikes against Islamist militias in Libya. And meanwhile Qatar, which is at odds with its fellow Persian Gulf sheikhdom, the UAE, has been funneling arms to the very Islamist militias that UAE’s air force is bombing.

American officials quoted by the New York Times are said to be fuming about these attacks, “believing the intervention could further inflame the Libyan conflict as the United Nations and Western powers are seeking to broker a peaceful resolution…. ‘We don’t see this as constructive at all,’ said one senior American official.”

But guess what? When the U.S. has abdicated its leadership role, there is no reason for anyone–not our enemies and not our allies–to listen to what we have to say. In the case of Libya, the American failure to do more, in cooperation with our allies, to build up central government authority has brought us to a point where this country is fast becoming a failed state consigned to perpetual civil war.

Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson offered the usual mush:

Libya’s challenges are political, and violence will not resolve them. Our focus is on the political process there. We believe outside interference exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition. And that’s why our focus remains on urging all factions to come together to peacefully resolve the current crisis.

You see the problem. Obama believed from the first that American interference  was the cause of all the problems in the Middle East, and if we would just lend our expertise to “peaceful resolutions” then he would deserve the Nobel Peace Prize that he was so prematurely awarded.

Well, Hillary took a magical “reset button” to Russia, and Vladimir Putin decided the time was ripe to recover the Soviet Empire. Secretary Kerry has brokered “peace processes” and “cease fires” and misidentified intentions and misunderstood threats. We cannot even officially call the Fort Hood shooting terrorism, or call anyone a terrorist. This is not just a language problem, but a matter of facing up to reality instead of just wishful thinking.

“Both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have said there are no credible threats to the United States from the Islamic State terror group.” according to an intelligence memo  issued to state and local authorities.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described the Islamic State as “beyond anything we’ve seen.” He called on U.S. intelligence resources to “take a cold steely look” and to “get ready” for a “9/11 level threat” to the United States, and presents a “whole new dynamic” as a national security challenge.

Mush. It is all mush. We have another “cease fire” between Hamas and Israel, until Hamas is ready to fire some more rockets at Israel. The Islamic State has captured a region the size of Belgium, and is recruiting fighters from all over the Middle East, Europe, Africa and America and Canada, and growing exponentially.

They have captured a nation’s American military equipment; a Syrian air force base. aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons. They have demonstrated a brutality beyond imagining, and the State Department carefully doesn’t want to admit that the Islamic State has anything to do with Islam. We are not only unprepared to address the threat, we cannot admit that there is a threat, nor describe it clearly. We’re still babbling about “brokering a peaceful solution.” We are easy prey .




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