American Elephants


Are We Thinking Clearly About the Iran Deal? Or Fooling Ourselves? by The Elephant's Child

On August 4 — David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the “Breakout Timelines Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? (JCPOA) suggested that the likely breakout for a nuclear weapon for Iran is seven months.

Senator Menendez responded: ” [Six-to-seven months] would be concerning to me, because I already am a little concerned that what we bought here was a very expensive alarm system … [S]ix or seven months is not going to be helpful if they decide to break out, because by the time we re-impose sanctions … it [wouldn’t] be meaningful. The next president of the United States … will only have one choice: to accept Iran as a nuclear weapons state or to have a military strike.

The Institute analyzed the imprudent assumption on which the Obama administration bases its one-year contention:

The bare-boned limits on Iran’s centrifuge program provide for at least a 12-month breakout period. However, based on ISIS analyses the agreed limits do not guarantee a 12-month breakout timeline during the first ten years of the agreement, if Iran can relatively quickly re-deploy its already manufactured IR-2m centrifuges. The administration has taken the position that Iran will not deploy these IR-2m centrifuges, because they have assessed that they will not work well enough. However, this assessment depends on an assumption about Iran’s manufactured IR-2m centrifuges that may not hold. Moreover, available data indicate that the breakage rate of the IR-2m centrifuges are no worse than those for the IR-1 centrifuges. Uncertainties about the quality of the existing IR-2m centrifuges make a definitive resolution of this issue difficult. Nonetheless, straightforward prudence would argue to include these centrifuges in a breakout, since their redeployment would have a major impact compared to IR-1 centrifuges and the United States lacks high assurance that the IR-2m centrifuges will not work adequately if deployed. In this case, the 12-month breakout criterion does not hold during the first ten years of the agreement. At a minimum, it is arguable whether the breakout criterion holds. [Emphasis added].

Another witness was Gary Samore, executive director for research in Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  He said:

Senator, I don’t think re-imposition of sanctions is an effective response to breakout. I think the only effective response to breakout is military force. I mean, if the Iranians have decided to run the risk of openly dashing for a nuclear weapon, I don’t think sanctions are going to deter them or stop them.

Senator Menendez responded: So it seems to me that if Iran makes a political decision to move forward because it believes it’s the preservation of the regime, the revolution, or its place in the region, then ultimately … we are just kicking the ball down the road, but we will have a stronger, resurgent Iran with more money and greater defense capabilities than it has today.

There seems to be a basic assumption here that Iran wants to become an nuclear power to be — what?  merely a powerful nation among the powerful nations of the world. Not that Iran’s urgent desire is to destroy the United States of America, which the Ayatollah loathes, and the nation of Israel, — which he also loathes. In spite of all the evidence do we fail to understand Iran’s real aims? And prepare for that? They talk about increases in terrorism. They talk about Iraq and ISIS, and the other Gulf States. They even mention the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear state, as if that just places Iran in the world’s grouping of states that have nuclear weapons to insure that nobody attacks them.

One would think that observing the actions of ISIS, the beheadings, the immolations, the crucifixions, the destruction of the monuments of history and the behavior of al-Qaeda, there would be some recognition of the fact that these people don’t really observe the same standards nor conventions. We have been told that we worship life, while they worship death — but that makes no sense to the Western mind, so we ignore it.



The Great Unlearning: How Our Society Became So Stupid. by The Elephant's Child

Bill Whittle takes on the big problem.

Parents? The Schools? Television? Social Media? The Press? Hollywood? Absence of knowledge of history, math, economics, in favor of gender, sexism, racism, inability to read? What is most important and what should we tackle first?



Obama’s Humiliating Capitulation to Iran’s Mullahs. by The Elephant's Child

a1900mknPresident Obama is furious about the criticism of his Iran Deal. I don’t think he expected opposition, and now he is afraid that Congress may actually attempt to defeat him.

Barack Obama came to office with a head full of cheering audiences, pre-presidential seals, roman columns, adoring songs and media excitement. Nobody paid much attention to his imitation of the Lincoln trip to the nation’s capital, and taking the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible, but it indicated the height of his self-expectation.

Obama believed that the problems of the Middle East, Bush’s unnecessary and evil war in Iraq, the problems of Afghanistan, the fighting between Sunni and Shiia, were all due to the problem of Israel’s intransigence. Obama intended to force Israel and Palestine to make peace, he would bring about a two-state solution, and we would withdraw from the Middle East, he would become the greatest president in U.S history, the United States would end its bullying interference in the world and we could just settle down to be one happy socialist nation among the nations of the earth — no more exceptional than any other.

Obama has consistently misled us about the concessions he as making to Iran. MEMRI (The Middle East Research Institute) has revealed that according to Iranian officials the secret negotiations with Iran began in 2011 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hardline “Death to America” official, was still Iran’s president. Claims that the election of Rouhani marked a moderate turn for Iran were bunk.

When the White House emerged from very prolonged nuclear negotiations in Europe with a tentative nuclear deal, President Barack Obama was enthusiastic. The deal he presented to Congress was essentially a settled deal. His administration had already submitted the terms to the United Nations for ratification and Obama was certain that made it a done deal. Then he assumed that the objections were all due to the evil Republicans, but no less a figure than Charles Schumer came out forcefully against the deal, and nine prominent House Democrats representing major constituencies also said they would vote against the deal. Virginia Senator Jim Webb has come out against it.

Barack Obama contends that those  who oppose him are making common cause with the Islamic Republic’s theocratic regime hardliners. That, or they are putting the interests of Israel above those of the United States. No president in history has ever made such outrageous claims about the opposition party.

He claims that” This is the strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated.” It actually rewards decades of covert and illegal nuclear activities by Iran.

He says this deal “permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”   Yet that agreement is only on paper, and Iran has a long, long record of cheating on every ‘agreement,’ including  during the long period of negotiations, when there was clear evidence of their cheating.

Obama says the deal contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. In reality the entire agreement is based on the assumption  that Iran will comply with the deal, which is highly unlikely.

“If Iran cheats, we can catch them, and we will.” said the president.  Iran says we will have no access to any military site, that inspections will have to give a lengthy advance notice, and they may just not allow any inspections anyway. We didn’t catch the Pakistanis, nor the North Koreans, nor the Libyans (though they voluntarily gave theirs up), we have always misjudged others efforts.

Even worse, we have pledged, in the agreement, to  help them develop their “peaceful” nuclear energy, visiting our nuclear plants, and protecting them from sabotage.

President Obama’s speech on the Deal at the American University was mean spirited and downright ugly. His idea, repeated, that the only choice was his deal or war, is nonsense. Iran declared war on America in 1979 and has been waging war ever since.

This president has never seriously attempted to work with Republicans in Congress at any time. He discarded any notion of working with his opponents with respect or showing a willingness to working with them a long time ago.

Monica Crowley, who is a keen observer of the scene in Washington DC. remarked last week that this White House is the most tightly-controlled in history, that Obama is the ultimate control-freak, and that nothing goes forward in his administration without his approval. No investigation is performed without his say-so.

This all seems to be based on a fantasy that Obama can turn the Middle East and all of its problems over to Iran, who will bring peace and order to the region, enabling America to leave the region in their capable hands. He denies the meaning of the “Death to America” cries, has extolled the ancient Persian dynasty, and ignores the extensive descriptions of the dangers of an EMP attack on the United States that are found in IRGC official papers. They just might go for that one, it’s estimated to kill 90% of all Americans. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC,  was just discovered visiting Moscow to see Vladimir Putin in complete defiance of Iran Deal prohibitions. Obama has gone into partnership with him.

The Ayatollah Khamenei has written a 426 page guide on how to rid Israel of the Jews. It’s his own version of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s 1925 tract against the Jews. He uses words like “nabudi” which means annihilation. It’s all based, he says, on “well-established Islamic principles.”

So we are giving them the Middle East, all of their sanctioned funds returned, the Ayatollah’s personal slush fund of $900 billion. The mullahs are already scooping up billions in unfrozen assets. Obama has accepted their offer to provide their own nuclear-site samples for examination. They’re back in business with European countries anxious to trade. Nobody is shouting “Death to Germany” or “Death to France.” The IAEA admits that it cannot answer even the most basic questions about Iran’s programs and progress.



Quotations Worth Remembering : by The Elephant's Child

From William Voegeli’s The Pity Party:

In contrast to America,countries like Canada and Australia treat immigration the way Harvard treats college admission or the New England Patriots treat the NFL Draft as a way to get the talented that can benefit the institution and keep out the untalented. Here in America we increasingly treat immigration as if it were a sacred civil right possessed by seven billion foreigners.

From Milton Friedman:

It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promised a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing.



R.I.P. Robert Conquest by The Elephant's Child

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The great historian of Russia has passed away at the age of 98. Robert Conquest spent 28 years at the Hoover Institution where he was a Senior Research Fellow. He has, perhaps, been best known for his landmark work The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties. Thirty-five years after its publication, the book remains one of the most influential studies of Soviet history and has been translated into more than 20 languages. It is a detailed log of Stalin’s assassinations, arrests, tortures, frame-ups, forced confessions, show trials, executions and incarcerations that destroyed millions of lives.

Conquest was the author of twenty-one books on Soviet history, politics, and international affairs, including Harvest of Sorrow, which exposed the terror famine in the Ukraine, Stalin and the Kirov Murder, The Great Terror a Reassessment, Stalin: Breaker of Nations and Reflections on a Ravaged Century and The Dragons of Expectation. The last two are treasured books of mine.

He wrote one science fiction novel, and lots of poetry for which he also received awards.

He had no shortage of awards, the Jefferson Lectureship, the highest honor bestowed by the federal government for achievement in the humanities (1930), the Dan David Prize (2012), Poland’s Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit (2009), Estonia’s  Cross of Terra Mariana (2008), and the Ukrainian Order of Yaroslav Mudryi (2005).

Educated at Winchester College and the University of Grenoble, he was an exhibitioner in modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving his BA and MA in politics, philosophy, and economics and his DLitt in history.

Conquest-2005-copyConquest served in the British infantry in World War II and thereafter in His Majesty’s Diplomatic Service; he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. In 1996 he was named a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

( from the Hoover Institution, and Cynthia Haven)



Americans Disapprove the Iran Deal By a 2 to 1 Margin by The Elephant's Child

If you thought possibly that there was something wrong with the “Iran Deal” here it is:

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the nuclear inspection organization is barred from revealing to the United States any details of deals it has inked with Tehran to inspect its contested nuclear program going forward, according to regional reports.

So America is supposed to sign a “deal” but we are not allowed to know any details? And that is successful negotiating?

The White House did not pursue the nuclear agreement with Iran as an international treaty, because getting U.S. Senate advise and consent for a treaty has “become physically impossible”, Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Have you forgotten already, Mr. Kerry, just who the United States Senate is? They are the elected representatives of the American people who are charged by the Constitution with approving any international agreements, usually called “Treaties.” If they don’t approve a treaty, the agreement fails. Pretending that such a deal is somehow not a treaty because the Senate might not approve it is completely absurd.

Americans oppose President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran’s mullahs by a whopping 57% to 28%. Once the American  people learned that Iran is under no obligation to end its proxy terrorist wars against our troops and our allies (and receives billions of dollars to enhance their effort), and get 24 full days to decide whether they will allow inspectors access, and that there were side agreements that even Congress didn’t get to read, we could safely say that they began to have real doubts. Even 32% of Democrats don’t believe that the agreement will make us safer.

Secretary of State Kerry is not the most convincing witness for the Iran Deal. His insistence that this is the best possible deal, and will prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapons for at least the next 15 minutes or so, is not much of a confidence booster.  Nor does his ability to sell the deal to a dubious Congress create much confidence in his ability as a negotiator, as does his insistence that this is the best deal we could get.

John Hannah of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies noted that:

Specifically, the president said, Iran’s obligation not to develop nuclear weapons “under the Non-Proliferation Treaty does not go away,” while “the Additional Protocol that they have to sign up for under this deal, which requires a more extensive inspection and verification mechanism … stays in place.” Moreover, the president pointed out that in 15 years, the United States will be “much more knowledgeable about what [Iran’s] capabilities are, much more knowledgeable about what their program is and still in a position to take whatever actions we would take today” to stop any effort by the mullahs to break out to a bomb.
Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of the history of appeasement, and whether comparisons to Munich are appropriate. There is a history and if we do not learn from history — we’re going to be in trouble, big trouble.


A Little Reminder of the Astonishing Changes In the World by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama spoke on Sunday in Kenya about Africa’s bleak history, referencing the racism his grandfather faced as a cook for the British during the colonial era, and the ethnic violence that erupted after a disputed election in 2007. He urged Africans to build stronger and more tolerant democracies. Graft, he said, is “not something that is just fixed by laws, or that any one person can fix. It requires a commitment by the entire nation—leaders and citizens—to change habits and change culture.

What does this have to do with rather primitive cell phones? It’s that modern cell phones are now common in Africa. You may see a Masai tribesman in the remotest part of Africa, herding goats in his red blanket, talking on a cell phone. Poverty is being eliminated, life expectancy is longer, and trade and investment are changing Africa. Leon Louw urges more “exploitation.” More people buying things from Africa, investing in Africa and employing people in Africa. Yet the assumption is that poverty is increasing, while the opposite is the case, and should be celebrated.

If you have not watched the 9 minute video below, you can see the important part about eliminating poverty and the proliferation of cell phones at about 9: 30, and the potential difference that BitCoin may make. Mr. Obama’s advisors did not prepare him for recognizing the advances that Africa has made.

Last time he made a speech in Africa, Obama told the people that they couldn’t all have cars and air-conditioners or the oceans would boil over.

Time and technology move on, and change the world.




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