Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Education, Free Markets, Freedom, Immigration, Intelligence, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Russia, Syria, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Identity Politics, Meaningless Abstractions, Standing Firm
The situation in Syria was not only an affront to international law, but a probe of sorts to test the new president of the United States. President Trump’s response was prompt and direct, but careful. It was not, as the Democrats try to claim, the start of a war, or a sign of the belligerence of an out-of-control administration. It was a very specific and limited missile strike against the specific airbase that had launched the Sarin Gas attack on Syrian rebels by their own administration. Because it was directed so specifically, it announced that poison gas attacks were simply not acceptable, and this strike was a clear warning that we are a powerful nation and we are capable of much more. There will be no more statements of “red lines” that are not observed.
America means business. It was not, as has been claimed, an attack on Assad. The Russians and Syrians were warned, so there would be little or no loss of life. These distinctions are important. The free world approved.
Democrats are not good at distinctions. They are more comfortable with generalities. Hillary was interviewed by the New York Times Nicholas Kristof at the “Women in the World” summit. Kristof asked Hillary:
I have to ask fundamentally, a man who bragged about sexual assault won the election and won 53 percent of the white women’s vote. What does that say about the challenges that one faces in women’s empowerment, that in effect misogyny won with a lot of women voters?
In the first place, Trump did not brag about sexual assault. He spoke of women and celebrity and said that when you are a celebrity, some women will let you do anything you want to them. He did not say that he had done anything.
Hillary immediately blamed everything on identity politics: misogyny—she lost because she is a woman. The country is just not ready for the first woman president. Fine distinctions: Hillary ran for the presidency because she wanted to be the first woman president, not because there were things she wanted to do to improve the country or help Americans. That’s why her brief career in the Senate was marked only by a bill to name a post office, and her career as Secretary of State resulted only in Benghazi and a record amount of air travel miles. There were no accomplishments. The change was her gender. She promised to continue all the accomplishments of the Obama administration but to do it as a woman.
Nikki Haley, a woman, has made a real difference in her brief time as Ambassador to the United Nations. People are already suggesting that she can be the first woman president. She has demonstrated over and over competence, authority, determination, and things have shifted because of it.
In this strange new universe, a real-estate developer and reality-TV celebrity with no political experience whatsoever, obviously won the election because he is a man. Identity politics is the controlling theme. You can be decide your identity and your gender by your feelings of the moment, which, making fine distinctions — is clearly nuts.
Insist on fine distinctions. Don’t let them get away with sloppy thinking. Insist on free speech. Hold college and university authorities to task for allowing bad behavior to destroy the educational process. Speak out.
Surely you have noticed that what the Left advocates are abstractions. Social justice —there is no such thing. We have laws and courts, and they don’t do social justice. Equality —you can have equality under the law, but you can’t make people equal, some are smarter, some are more beautiful, some are stronger, some are older. Diversity—to the Left refers only to skin color, certainly not to diversity of ideas. Our values —one of Obama’s favorites, “that’s not who we are as Americans.”
Filed under: European Union, Foreign Policy, Iran, Media Bias, Middle East, National Security, Russia, Syria, The United States | Tags: An Appropriate Response, Bashar Assad's War Crime, World Approval
Bashar Assad’s Sarin attack on the Ghowa agricultural region just outside Damascus, which has been held by rebels, was also an attack on International Law. The attacks came in early morning hours when many were still asleep. Initial estimates of the numbers of dead range upwards of 1,400, including way too many children.
Headlines in the media ranged from an irresponsible “TRUMP DECLARES WAR,” to less bellicose statements, but few recognized the very limited nature of the act. It would have been more accurately described as a direct response on the specific Syrian airfield from which the Sarin gas attacks were launched, to put that airfield out of business— and prevent further attacks. It was a correct and immediate response.
President Trump has received wide support from world leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande in a joint statement said “President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development. His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own population had to be sanctioned.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said the action was an “appropriate response.” Israel, Australia, Japan, Italy all expressed their support for American action and condemned the use of chemical weapons. Even Erdogan’s Turkey expressed support. The use of chemical weapons is an international war crime.
Russia predictably denounced the strike as an “act of aggression against a UN member,” and said they would demand an urgent UN Security Council meeting. Iran also condemned the US strike.
Hollywood celebrities chimed in with commentary on Twitter in about the manner you would expect. Perhaps someday they will learn that their commentary is not valued for its international expertise, but for the humor.
Barack Obama drew a Red Line in Syria, then failed to follow through and essentially told the world that they could act with impunity, and America would do nothing. Always a mistake. Russia moved in as a military patron and Iran has become Assad’s protector on the ground with arms supplies and Hezbollah.
The next step should be to establish safe zones in Syria, with protection from possible attacks. The Wall Street Journal said:
Every military operation carries risks but this one could also have major political and strategic benefits if Mr. Trump follows the air strike with some forceful diplomacy. The demonstration of renewed U.S. purpose in the region could have an electrifying impact across the Middle East. The Saudis, the Gulf Sunni states and Turkey would begin to rethink their accommodation to the Russia-Assad-Iran axis of dominance that none of them wants.
Mr. Trump also needs to make Russia and Iran begin to pay a price for their support for Mr. Assad’s depredations. They have had no incentive to negotiate an end to the civil war because they see themselves on the road to a relatively cost-free victory. That calculus may change if it looks like the costs of intervening are rising and Mr. Assad is no longer a sure winner.
The Journal added:
The larger point for Mr. Trump to recognize is that he is being tested. The world—friend and foe—is watching to see how he responds to Mr. Assad’s war crime. His quick air strike on the evening he was having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping makes clear that the Obama era is over. If he now follows with action to protect Syrian civilians and construct an anti-Assad coalition, he may find that new strategic possibilities open up to enhance U.S. interests and make the Middle East more stable.
ADDENDUM: The missile strikes were delivered while President Trump was having dinner at Mar -a-Lago with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Presumably the Chinese President took notice, as did the rest of the world. A bit of a wake-up call. New administration in town.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Foreign Policy, History, Intelligence, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Russia, Syria, The United States | Tags: "Imprimus", Hillsdale College, Russia's Vladimir Putin
In Imprimus, the free monthly publication of Hillsdale College, always interesting, Christopher Caldwell, senior editor at The Weekly Standard, takes on “How to Think About Vladimir Putin.” He stresses that he is not telling anyone what to think about the Russian President, but only how to think about him. In a period when the Democrats are just sure that Putin intervened in the election to defeat Hillary Clinton with the cooperation of Donald Trump, this is what fuels the fury. If Hitler were conveniently still alive they would be sure he was trying to defeat Hillary too. But I found this piece fascinating, and a corrective I needed.
Vladimir Vladimirovich is not the president of a feminist NGO. He is not a transgender-rights activist. He is not an ombudsman appointed by the United Nations to make and deliver slide shows about green energy. He is the elected leader of Russia—a rugged, relatively poor, militarily powerful country that in recent years has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled. His job has been to protect his country’s prerogatives and its sovereignty in an international system that seeks to erode sovereignty in general and views Russia’s sovereignty in particular as a threat.
By American standards, Putin’s respect for the democratic process has been fitful at best. He has cracked down on peaceful demonstrations. Political opponents have been arrested and jailed throughout his rule. Some have even been murdered—Anna Politkovskaya, the crusading Chechnya correspondent shot in her apartment building in Moscow in 2006; Alexander Litvinenko, the spy poisoned with polonium-210 in London months later; the activist Boris Nemtsov, shot on a bridge in Moscow in early 2015. While the evidence connecting Putin’s own circle to the killings is circumstantial, it merits scrutiny. …
When Putin took power in the winter of 1999-2000, his country was defenseless. It was bankrupt. It was being carved up by its new kleptocratic elites, in collusion with its old imperial rivals, the Americans. Putin changed that. In the first decade of this century, he did what Kemal Atatürk had done in Turkey in the 1920s. Out of a crumbling empire, he rescued a nation-state, and gave it coherence and purpose. He disciplined his country’s plutocrats. He restored its military strength. And he refused, with ever blunter rhetoric, to accept for Russia a subservient role in an American-run world system drawn up by foreign politicians and business leaders. His voters credit him with having saved his country.
Here’s the whole article, do read the whole thing, you’ll be glad you did. And you might consider subscribing to Imprimus. It’s free and informative.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Election 2016, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Law, National Security, News of the Weird, Politics, Progressives, Regulation, Russia | Tags: Assorted Democrats, Attorney General Sessions, President Trump?
Well this is indeed interesting. Following up on the claims of contacts with the Russian ambassador, or Russians in general by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and/or the Trump campaign—which were quickly exposed as silly, since it was the Obama State Department that arranged the meeting with the ambassador, and it turns out that all 100 of the senators met with the Russian ambassador. Clearly evil. Then Democrat leaders who were expressing their dismay at Sessions contacts with the Russian ambassador were not only shown to have met with Russians, but pictures quickly appeared showing Vladimir Putin and Chuck Schumer together, and Nancy Pelosi sitting across the table from the ambassador she swore she had never met.
Democrats were still trying to figure out whether they had destroyed Jeff Sessions, who they are quite sure is a racist, but then it turns out the adorable little biracial child he was holding on his lap at his swearing in ceremony is his granddaughter. Obviously a bigot.
Next came the outraged tweet from President Trump asserting that the Obama Administration had wiretapped the Trump Tower campaign headquarters during the campaign. That’s getting serious. A spokesman for the Obama White House made it very clear that no one in the White House had ordered a wiretap. Which was a totally waffling response. Only a judge can order a FISA wiretap, and you don’t order a judge to do it. Asking somehow wasn’t mentioned, so it all remains a mystery, doesn’t it?
I’m not sure what all the sudden interest in the Russians is. Everybody has met with the Russian ambassador, and he has been to the White House (Obama’s White House) many times, I think the number was 22, but that may not be correct. I guess they must be trying to prove that Russian interference cost Hillary the election, but that completely ignores the problem that no one could think of an accomplishment from Hillary’s travels as Secretary of State aside from her travel miles. Democrats insisted that Hillary’s emails and private server, which was open to any and all foreign hackers weren’t anything important, but then they found out that as governor of Indiana, Mike Pence had used his private email account to discuss state business, but it turned out that there is no law against Gov. Pence using a private email. And the Associated Press published the Governor’s wife’s email address, for which Vice President Pence has demanded, rightfully, an apology.
Sounds a lot more like a potential soap-opera script than a couple of days in the leading nation of the free world, but there you go.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History, National Security, Politics, Progressivism, Russia, The United States | Tags: Lies and Condesension, Obama's Temper Tantrum, Russian Hacking
It’s quite clear that President Obama is having a temper tantrum in his final days as president. He seems to be doing absolutely everything he can think of to cause problems for the incoming administration and the American people. Talk about a graceless exit!
Most importantly, Obama wants the American people to believe that Hillary lost the election and the opportunity to retain all of his policies, because of Russian hacking. Not just that, Trump, you see, said he wants to try to get along with President Putin, and Trump even said that Putin is a “strong leader.” And Trump has named as his Secretary of State, one Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil. Besides being head of a world renowned evil OIL company, Mr. Tillerson actually knows Vladimir Putin, and has a friendly relation with him. Obviously Mr Trump is planning to turn America over to the Russians, or something like that.
The reason why it is so important that you blame Hillary’s loss on the Russians, is because she was going to extend Obama’s wonderful policies, otherwise people might think that the Democrats’ loss of the election was somehow a rejection of the Obama administration. And the American people could not possibly have meant that. Obama said that if he could run for a third term, the American people would vote for him.
It is clear that if there was any Russian hacking, it had no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the election, unless millions of citizens read that the Russians had possibly hacked the Democratic National Committee, and John Podesta’s email, and suddenly decided that because of that they had to change their vote and vote for Trump. Sound likely? Didn’t think so. There was no hacking that affected the electoral vote whatsoever. Didn’t happen.
Here’s Investor Business Daily’s take on the Russian Election Hacking case.
Here’s fearless reporter Sharyl Attkisson with Eight Facts on the”Russian Hacks.”
Here’s John Hinderaker at Powerline “Today’s Intelligence Report Proves Nothing (Updated)
David Harsanyi at The Federalist: “Russia Isn’t our Friend, But That Doesn’t Make the Left’s Conspiracy Theories True.”
Here’s Victor Davis Hanson, who sums up the whole flap in “Obama’s Legacy of Deceit”
Why does the Obama administration contort reality and mask the consequences of its initiatives?
Two reasons come to mind. One, Obama advanced an agenda to the left of that shared by most past presidents. Obamacare, the Benghazi catastrophe, the Iran deal, his strange stance toward radical Islam, and the Bergdahl swap were unpopular measures that required politically-driven recalibrations to escape American scrutiny.
Second, Obama’s team believes that the goals of fairness and egalitarianism more than justify the means of dissimulation by more sophisticated elites. Thus Gruber (“the stupidity of the American voter”) and Rhodes (“They literally know nothing”) employ deception on our behalf. Central to this worldview is that the American people are naive and easily manipulated, and thus need to be brought up to speed by a paternal administration that knows what is best for its vulnerable and clueless citizenry.
Such condescension is also why the administration never believes it has done anything wrong by hiding the facts of these controversies. Its players believe that because they did it all for us, the ensuing distasteful means will be forgotten once we finally progress enough to appreciate their enlightened ends.
Filed under: Asia, Bureaucracy, China, Communism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economics, Election 2016, Europe, Freedom, History, Immigration, Middle East, Military, National Security, Politics, Progressives, Russia, The United States | Tags: Grand Strategy, Uncommon Knowledge, What History Tells Us
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.