American Elephants


Obama’s Completely Disastrous Iran Deal. by The Elephant's Child

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Obama has attempted to declare that the Iran Deal is not a treaty, but some kind of executive agreement. If it were a treaty, there are Constitutional laws about treaties that govern the situation, and he would have to present the agreement to Congress, and if Congress refused to pass it, it would be all over. The only reason he is claiming that this is not a treaty is because he doesn’t want Congress to have any authority over whether it lives or dies. How can he get away with that?

The first problem with the deal is that it gives Iran an undeserved respectability that comes simply from being allowed to sign a significant international agreement, with six world powers.

Any agreement has to begin with the ugly but accurate assumption that Iran will act in bad faith and cheat at every opportunity. Papers captured from the Osama bin Laden raid have confirmed that Iran has partnered with al Qaeda, and has supported the Islamist terrorist group. Richard Epstein says:

The agreement starts off on a grand note: “The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iranˈs nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.” But it is straight downhill from there.

Worse still, China and Russia should not be understood as adverse to Iran, their present and future ally. They are better understood as a Fifth Column against the West, and Iran’s many other foes, whose role in the negotiations is akin to the role that Vladimir Putin played in the embarrassing negotiations over chemical weapons in Syria that all but destroyed Obama’s credibility in foreign policy. Putin will be happy to take any excess uranium ore off the hands of the Iranians. But at the most opportune time, he might be prepared to return it to Iran if doing so would benefit Russia. The Chinese, for their part, also sense weakness in the United States and the West, as they build up illegal islands in the South China Sea subject to our diplomatic objections that accomplish nothing.

Europe is in need of oil and natural gas to prevent Vladimir Putin from using energy as a club over them. They are also anxious to sell stuff to Iran, because European economies are not healthy. They must see this deal as a retreat from the basic guarantee that the U.S. will provide meaningful guarantees for the security of our allies. That may make them a little less hostile to Russia and China because they fear that they cannot rely on America. And the Saudis and the Israelis face a starker situation.

Iran funds Bashar al-Assad in Syria, backs Hamas, launches terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East. They are quite clear about wanting to annihilate Israel. They are eager to confront their Sunni rivals like Saudi Arabia, and eager to annex Iraq. President Obama still cannot even say “Islamist terrorism.” The whole deal seems to be based on Obama’s odd idea that Iran wants to be a peaceful state, and we can appoint them to be in charge of the Middle East and make everyone else behave — so we can finally remove ourselves from the Middle East entirely — and the disaster of George W. Bush’s very bad and unnecessary war.

There is not the slightest indication that Iran would allow any inspections, nor that they would allow any interference with their program to acquire nuclear weapons and the intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver them. One might well ask why “intercontinental?”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has cast doubt on whether Iran will abide by the terms of a nuclear agreement between Tehran and U.S. led world powers.

Secretary Kerry says: “Nobody has ever talked about dismantling” Iran’s Nuclear Program, but in 2013, he insisted that dismantlement was the whole point. Kerry insists that the chants of “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel” are just something like PR for the enjoyment of the people, and don’t really mean anything.

When we began our negotiations, Iran had enough fissile material for 10 to 12 bombs. They had 19,000 centrifuges, up from the 163 that they had back in 2003 when the prior administration was engaged in them on this very topic,” Kerry said Thursday. “So this isn’t a question of giving them what they want. It’s a question of how do you hold their program back. How do you dismantle their weapons program? Not their whole program.

“Let’s understand what was really on the table here. We set out to dismantle their ability to be able to build a nuclear weapon, and we’ve achieved that. Nobody has ever talked about actually dismantling their entire program, because when that was being talked about, that’s when they went from 163 centrifuges to 19,000.”

Does that make any sense at all? How have we dismantled their ability to build a nuclear weapon? They have made it clear that they don’t plan to allow any inspections, and we have to give them long advance notice, and we can’t inspect any military sites anyway.

Iran says it will not allow American or Canadian inspectors working for the U.N. Nuclear watchdog to visit its nuclear facilities. My understanding is that they have not formally signed anything. The signing will theoretically take place in 60 days. The Ayatollah Khomeinei has said that Iran will not sign anything.

Abe Greenwald, writing at Commentary magazine’s blog says:

If you think the United States just struck a poor nuclear deal with Iran, you’re right; but if that’s your key takeaway, you’re missing the point. Iran’s nuclear program was last on the list of the Obama administration’s priorities in talking to Tehran. The administration readily caved on Iran’s nukes because it viewed the matter only as a timely pretense for achieving other cherished aims. These were: (1) preventing an Israeli attack on Iran; (2) transforming the United States into a more forgiving, less imposing power; (3) establishing diplomacy as a great American good in itself; (4) making Iran into a great regional power; and (5), ensuring the legacies of the president and secretary of state as men of vision and peace. …

Obama came to office promising to limit American action as well. In his standard progressive view, the United States has been too eager to throw its weight around and impose its norms on other countries without giving sufficient thought to the resentment it might sow. He ended the war in Iraq and sought to remake the United States as a humble power. “Too often the United States starts by dictating,” he told a Saudi news outlet soon after being elected. He, by contrast, would do a lot of “listening.” The Iran negotiations became Obama’s magnum opus on the theme of listening. Americans listened to Iranians dictate terms, shoot down offers, insult the United States, and threaten allies. America has been humbled indeed.

But such humility is necessary if diplomacy is to be made into a nation-defining ethos. And if we could successfully negotiate with theocratic Iran, then surely Americans would see that diplomacy could conquer all. So, for the sake of proving this abstract principle, Obama foreclosed any non-diplomatic approach to Iran before a deal was reached. As he told Tom Friedman in April, “there is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward — and that’s demonstrable.” So declared, so demonstrated.

Do read the whole article. I think Mr, Greenwald is clear thinking, absolutely correct and positively frightening. Obama seems to be delusional.



A Glimpse Into How the Progressive Mind Works by The Elephant's Child

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From David Horowitz, who knows the Left intimately:

In confronting the Left, conservatives should not make the mistake of assuming that progressives share our understanding of society’s problems, merely differing about the practical steps needed to address them. No one should think that progressives want to see our communities prosper within the framework that has defined America since its inception and provided its blessings. The nature of the progressive outlook inspires contempt for the American past and disdain for America’s social contract, which it regards as tainted by racism, sexism and imperial ambition. …

A defining characteristic of the progressive outlook is its belief in the doctrine of original innocence. The modern source of this belief is the French radical Jean-Jaques Rousseau, who maintained that private property is the cause of social evils and that “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains.” This is a doctrine so obviously false it hardly needs refutation, except that progressives believe it. What they believe is that “society” is the root cause of social problems. In their view, human beings are naturally cooperative and sharing, honest and moral, but are corrupted by social institutions that encourage prejudice and greed and set them against each other. They believe that “social justice” is the model of how human beings naturally relate to each other, that equality and cooperation reflect human nature, and that socialism is therefore the name of a truly human future.

Conservatives believe the opposite. They believe that human beings are the root cause of social problems and that social institutions are corrupt because human beings create and run them. It is the barbarity of the species that requires the intervention of a social order with the disciplines of morality and law to civilize its inhabitants. This is also what the Founders believed. It is why they did not create a pure democracy that would express the popular will, which they regarded as unruly, emotion driven, and dangerous. Instead they devised a system of checks and balances to frustrate the majority’s natural instinct to tyrannize the weak and outnumbered. And they set limits to government. …

 Because Progressives see themselves as social redeemers and their goal as saving the world, they regard politics as a religious war. This is why they are intolerant toward those who disagree with them and who stand in the way of their “solutions.” It is why they exclude conservatives from the educational institutions they control. It is why they can commit character assassinations without regrets. Obama never apologized for accusing his opponent of killing a cancer patient during the [2012] election campaign, because saving humanity means never having to say you’re sorry.

This is why Obama has given away the store in negotiations with Iran. He believes that Iran’s leaders have the same care for their families and concern for their citizens as we do, and that they would never even consider using a nuclear weapon.  He’s wrong.



The Iran Deal Actively Helps Iran to Perfect Its Nuclear Program by The Elephant's Child

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Omni Ceren writes from The Israel Project, a non-partisan American educational organization dedicated to informing the Media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East:

The Iran Deal commits the international community to actively helping Iran perfect its nuclear program over the life of the deal. On a political level it means the deal will be seen as accomplishing the exact opposite of what the Obama administration promised Congress. Instead of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, it will commit the U.S. and its allies to funding and boosting it.  On a policy level it means Iran’s breakout time will be constantly shrinking.

The commitments across the JCPOA obligate a range of global powers:

Russian sponsorship/cooperation on nuclear research at Fordow — The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) will be converted into a nuclear, physics, and technology centre and international collaboration will be encouraged in agreed areas of research. The Joint Commission will be informed in advance of the specific projects that will be undertaken at Fordow…The transition to stable isotope production of these cascades at FFEP will be conducted in joint partnership between the Russian Federation and Iran on the basis of arrangements to be mutually agreed upon.

European sponsorship of nuclear security, including training against sabotage — E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices…Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.

International sponsorship/cooperation of Iranian fuel fabrication, which will help Iran complete its mastery of fuel cycle, making Iran’s program harder more opaque and difficult to regulate — The Joint Commission will establish a Technical Working Group with the goal of enabling fuel to be fabricated in Iran while adhering to the agreed stockpile parameters… This Technical Working Group will also, within one year, work to develop objective technical criteria for assessing whether fabricated fuel and its intermediate products can be readily converted to UF6.

This deal does the opposite of rolling back Iran’s nuclear program. It funds, protects, and perfects the nuclear program.



Obama’s Astonishing Speech to the VFW by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama spoke to the VFW National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Tuesday. It was an astonishing speech, in which Mr. Obama laid out his worldview more directly than he has previously done.

For too long, there had been a mindset where the first instinct when facing a challenge in the world was to send in our military — and we have the greatest military in human history.  But we learned, painfully, where that kind of thinking can lead — that rushing into war without thinking through the consequences, and going it alone without broad international support, getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts and spreading our military too thin actually too often would play into the hands of our enemies.  That’s what they wanted us to do.

And who paid the price?  Our men and women in uniform.  Our wounded warriors.  Our fallen heroes who never come home.  Their families, who carry that loss forever.

And so I said then that our brave troops and their families deserve better.  We cannot expect our military to bear the entire burden of our national security alone.  Everybody has to support our national security.

Translation: See, I’m more responsible than the hated Bush who got us into a war in Iraq. And if we cannot expect the military to bear the burden of national security, why do we have a volunteer military?

Mr. Obama has just announced (not in this speech) that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will no longer require incoming U.S. citizens to pledge that they will”bear arms on behalf of the United States” or “perform noncombatant service” in the Armed forces as part of the naturalization process.

And so today, we’re pursuing a new kind of leadership — a smarter, broader vision of American strength, one that relies not only on our outstanding military, but on all elements of our national power.  And that starts with the recognition that our strength in the world depends on our economic strength here at home.

At this point he goes into a lengthy explication of just how wonderful the economy is, how many jobs he has created. manufacturing booming, reducing dependence on foreign oil, affordable health care, and either he has a movie of his own wonderfulness running in his head or he is seriously delusional. He blames his cuts in our military forces on Republicans. But he did actually call ISIL a “barbaric terrorist organization,” though the attack in Chattanooga was, once again, caused by a “lone wolf.”

Real leadership, he says, means “having the courage to lead in a new direction, the wisdom to move beyond policies that haven’t worked in the past, having the confidence to engage in smart principled diplomacy that can lead to a better future.”

“That’s what we’re doing in Cuba, where the new chapter between our peoples will mean more opportunities for the Cuban people.”

The speech is long, but I would urge you to read it with a critical eye, to understand where he is really going and what he seems to believe. And to understand how he lies, and how carefully he presents his actions to a public for whom he has the utmost contempt.



Selling Out Your Country, Step by Step by Step! by The Elephant's Child

It’s no wonder that Obama dashed off to the United Nations Security Council to attempt to block Congress from doing anything to discredit his proud catastrophe in waiting. The administration raced straight from Vienna, without waiting for even comments from Congress.

It has now been 4,403 days  — since June 2003 — since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first reported that Iran had breached its legal obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It took another three years to get the matter before the Security Council. From 2006 to 2010 were six hard-fought resolutions that managed to avoid vetoes from Russia and China. Four of those resolutions contained sanctions provisions.

The resolutions didn’t stop Iran from working on nuclear weapons, but they were a universal statement that Iran was a pariah state. It was in breach of fundamental international law, and legitimately subject to sanctions until there was independent, reliable verification that Iran had fully complied.

Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized the U.N. First gambit. Secretary Kerry said it wasn’t deliberate. He said he and the President had wanted the U.N. to hold off until Congress completed its 60-day review as specified in U.S. law, but the other global parties simply couldn’t wait. Complete nonsense.

“It’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany, Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do,” Mr. Kerry lectured his former Capitol Hill colleagues on ABC’s “This Week.” Mr. Kerry added as a sort of consolation that his hard bargaining did get the U.N. to delay the provisions of Monday’s resolution from going into effect for 90 days.

Yeah, sure. “Mr. Obama deliberately structured his Iran negotiation to make Congress a secondary party to the U.N. The Security Council vote means that the process of lifting international economic sanctions is now under way and the pact will roll forward. Mr. Kerry ad supporters of the deal will also now argue that if Congress does reject the pact, the international coalition  and sanctions regime can’t be reassembled.” The Wall Street Journal added:

The U.N. vote lets him assert that disapproval in Congress will pit America against the rest of the world outside the Middle East.

Congress shouldn’t fall for it…

The bigger issue here is self-government. The U.S. Constitution gives Presidents enormous clout on foreign policy, especially when Congress won’t assert its own powers. But Mr. Obama doesn’t have the authority to let the United Nations dictate to America’s elected Representatives.

Even if Mr. Obama does veto a resolution of disapproval, a bipartisan majority vote against the Iran deal would be a forceful statement to Iran and the world that Mr. Obama is acting without the support of the American people.

Breitbart reports that there are two secret “side deals” between Iran and the IAEA to accompany the main Iran nuclear deal, which will not be shared with other nations, Congress, or the public.



The More We Learn, the Weirder It Gets! Some Deal! by The Elephant's Child

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On July 15, six days ago, President Obama had a press conference to extoll the “comprehensive, long-term deal that we have achieved with our allies and partners to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon represents a powerful display of American leadership and diplomacy.” It wasn’t really a press conference. He was not interested in questions, but only in getting his spin across. Very little was true, lots of straw men, and the major take-away was about Major Garrett’s question about the four Americans held in Iran on trumped-up charges, a question Obama did not want to address. It’s worth reading the president’s claims to grasp the administration position.

In light of the president’s comments, it is very useful to note that the Iranian negotiators have not signed any agreement, and may not.
Michael Ledeen explains. It seems to be a matter of the Ayatollah Khamenei hating the Great American Satan so much that they don’t want to make a deal — even though they want the concessions. The head of the Revolutionary Guards announced that the Grand Bargain was unacceptable and would be rejected.

John Kerry has been hitting all the media opportunities to try to sell the deal. Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , in the meantime, denounced the United States in a new speech. “Our policies toward the arrogant government of the United States will not be changed at all,” he said, reminding Iranians that “American policies are 180 degrees different from us,” while chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were heard in the background.

Secretary Kerry admitted that he was troubled by those statements in an interview with Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya News.  This is not exactly new, one would think that Mr. Kerry might have noticed before this.

Khamenei also mentioned Iran would never “stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon”— all the same old terrorists.



Hoover fellow Charles Hill Discusses the Iran Deal by The Elephant's Child

Charles Hill is one of our nation’s most accomplished diplomats. He is now the diplomat in residence at Yale, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution. He served in the State Department at the right hand of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State George Shultz. He has written important works such as Trial of a Thousand Years: Islamism and World Order, and he teaches “Grand Strategy,” a course that has become legendary among generations of Yale Undergraduates.




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