American Elephants


A Petulant President Attacks His Critics in Congress, And Ignores the Ayatollah Who Calls Him a Liar. by The Elephant's Child
April 14, 2015, 6:52 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

In the fading days of his presidency, Mr. Obama clearly believes that he can determine American foreign policy all by himself. At the Summit of Americas in Panama City, the president was bad-mouthing America again, as he so readily does when abroad. But he was particularly annoyed that anyone would disagree with his unilateral outreach on Cuba, Iran and Climate Change. He was especially annoyed that Senator John McCain would dare to point out that the Ayatollah Khamenei disagreed drastically with Secretary of State John Kerry’s interpretation of the “framework” nuclear accord.

In fact it was the Ayatollah Khamenei who accused the White House of “Lying,” being “deceptive.” and having “devilish intentions”, according to multiple published accounts and posts of his own twitter feed.

Khamenei also disputed the key terms Obama administration officials have said were agreed upon in principle. Economic sanctions will not be phased out once Iran’s compliance has been “verified,” according to the Ayatollah. Instead, Khamenei said that if the U.S. wants a deal, then all sanctions must be dropped as soon as the agreement is finalized. Khamenei also put strict limits on the reach of the inspectors who would be tasked with this verification process in the first place.

President Obama held a press conference in Panama City, and announced huffily;

“That’s not how we’re supposed to run foreign policy, regardless of who’s President or Secretary of State. We can have arguments, and there are legitimate arguments to be had. I understand why people might be mistrustful of Iran. I understand why people might oppose the deal—although the reason is not because this is a bad deal per se, but they just don’t trust any deal with Iran, and may prefer to take a military approach to it,” Mr. Obama said.

But when you start getting to the point where you are actively communicating that the United States government and our Secretary of State is somehow spinning presentations in a negotiation with a foreign power, particularly one that you say is your enemy, that’s a problem. It needs to stop.”

It was the Ayatollah who first claimed that the Obama Administration was “spinning” what was in the framework, but Obama dismissed his remarks as posturing to protect his political position, and American critics should just shut up because the only alternative is war.

Secretary of State John Kerry on “Face the Nation” described the nuclear agreement with Iran as a  “global mandate” issued by the United Nations. “Congress assisted by passing sanctions.” Kerry said the State Department didn’t want the Iran talks to fall prey to partisan bickering in Washington.”We’ve earned the right to complete this without interference, and certainly without partisan politics.” Earned the right?

We don’t know how close or far the Iranians are to a nuclear bomb, or if they already have one. Our intelligence has always been surprised when a nation suddenly tests a nuke. They didn’t know it was imminent. The Obama Administration seems to believe that it would be fine for Iran to become a nuclear power. That if so, they would just become another state possessing nukes like us and Britain and France and Israel.We all get along and don’t worry about each other.

If Iran wants to dominate the Middle East, they could just control the warring tribes and we wouldn’t have to worry about interfering. But Iran is not just another country, but the world’s most active sponsor of terrorism around the globe, They are impelled by passionate religious fervor, and believe that Armageddon or the final battle would bring about the return of the Mahdi followed by eternal bliss. The Ayatollah Khamenei is dying of cancer. Does he want to get things settled within his life span?

The UN inspectors know they haven’t seen all the Iranian facilities, and they don’t know for sure if they even know how many there are. A military book talked about an EMP bomb. And there is Death to America Day, and the cry shouted by all every Friday after prayers. Our negotiators don’t seem to understand the basics of negotiation — negotiating from strength, and walking out if you don’t get some cooperation. It seems to be the Iranians who are negotiating from strength. But it is Americans and Israelis who will pay the price of Administration blundering.



“You Can’t Sell The Cow and Still Have the Milk” by The Elephant's Child
April 9, 2015, 6:57 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry speaks about the Ukraine crisis after his meetings with other foreign ministers in Paris

Obama’s sales pitch for his”framework” of a nuclear deal with Iran has not met with universal plaudits and applause. Partially because Iran doesn’t agree in the slightest with what the U.S. delegation claims to have been agreed upon. They seem to have a different idea entirely, which begins with the prompt end to all sanctions and continues with going to work on building their desired weapon without interference. Big words and big ideas slowly turn into farce.

Less than a week following the framework of a nuclear deal with Iran that allows the Islamic Republic to continue operating core aspects of its program, the State Department is looking for a new training course on how to negotiate.

The agency released a solicitation for “Negotiations” on Wednesday, revealing that the State Department is seeking a class for U.S. diplomats on “making and receiving concessions wisely.”

The overall course teaches the essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes for U.S. diplomats to succeed in any of 275 overseas posts performing the full spectrum of political and economic work,” the solicitation said. “This module will focus on the complex art of negotiating across diverse cultures to find common ground for advancing mutual interests.”

One might suggest that their timing was a little bit off, or make reference to “locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen.”. It would all be really funny if it weren’t so desperately important.



Didn’t Obama Promise That Iran Would Not Be Permitted to Have Nuclear Weapons? by The Elephant's Child

Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor at The Washington Post asked “Can President Obama sell an Iran deal at home?’

If his negotiators strike an agreement next month, we already know that it will be far from ideal: Rather than eradicating Iran’s nuclear-weapons potential, as once was hoped, a pact would seek to control Iran’s activities for some limited number of years.

Such a deal might be defensible on the grounds that it is better than any alternative, given that most experts believe a military “solution” would be at best temporary and possibly counterproductive.

But making that kind of lesser-evil defense would be challenging in any circumstances. Three conditions will make it particularly hard for Obama to persuade Congress and the nation to accept his assurances in this case: the suspicious, poisonous partisanship of the moment here, with Israeli politics mixed in; worries that he wants a deal too much; and the record of his past assurances.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anything in any proposed “deal” that would control Iran’s activities for any significant period whatsoever. Straw Man. What experts believe that a military “solution”would be counterproductive? The scare quotes around solution are probably deserved. Blame all on partisanship? Sorry, Republicans are not in doubt of Obama and Kerry as negotiators because of their party preferences, but because from the past history with the mullahs of Iran, we know that you cannot believe anything they say, only consider the evidence of what they do.

To give Mr. Hiatt credit, he goes through, gently, a list of Obama’s “unfulfilled assurances” that are “less than a case of Nixonian deception than a product of wishful thinking and stubborn adherence to policies after they have faded. But before anyone can suggest that he is not following the party line,He hastens to include successes like the killing of Osama bin Laden and a “potentially groundbreaking” agreement with China on global warming. That one is utterly meaningless. There is not much anyone can say in favor of the negotiations with Iran.

Iran is being granted the “right to enrich.” It will be allowed to retain and spin thousands more centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor.Obama has accepted Iran’s demand that any restrictions on their program remain time-limited. Assuming that they would pay any attention to time limits anyway.

Did you know that Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all? It is not a part of the negotiations. So why do you suppose Iran is building intercontinental ballistic missiles anyway? Does that question not trouble either Mr Kerry or Mr, Obama? The key word there is “intercontinental.”

Iran cannot be trusted at any time, or for any reason.

The sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table, but inexplicably Obama lifter them as soon as Iran demanded it. He’s really not much good at negotiating much of anything is he. That was before oil prices collapsed, which would heighten the effect of sanctions. Iran has plenty of oil for their own energy needs, less you think they are pursuing the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

They keep saying that Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s “new, more moderate president”, but have offered no evidence that he is more moderate, except that he smiles more than his predecessor. He said “Let anyone make his own reading, but this right is clearly stated in the text of the agreement that Iran can continue its enrichment, and I announce to our people that our enrichment activities will continue as before.” Kerry countered that “nothing is agreed on until everything is agreed on.”

An Iranian dissident group known for exposing key aspects of Iran’s secret nuclear work claims it now has evidence of “an active and secret parallel nuclear program” operated by Tehran. John Kerry said ‘We know about that.’

At the core of the Obama policy is an ideological aversion to American power. there’s some belief that everyone is reasonable and wants the same things.

“Obama’s approach to the world is predicated first and foremost on his bedrock intention to be a “transformational” president. The transformation is largely domestic—hence his preoccupation with the Affordable Care Act, which remakes a rather large swath of the American economy. Abroad and in aid of the main focus on his domestic agenda (‘nation-building at home”), the president’s overwhelming objective has been to keep international affairs at bay. But when world events do inevitably impose themselves, Obama is no less confident of his unique ability  to exert a transformational impact.”

Is the “transformational impact” of this self-infatuated narcissist going to be a large hole in the United States where the nation’s capitol used to be?

Here’s some of the essential reading:

Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy by Michael Doran

What the President Thinks He’s Doing by Elliott Abrams

The Obama Doctrine by Eric Edelman

The Reform Delusion by Reuel Marc Gerecht

Now we know who to believe on Iran by David Horovitz

There’s Nothing Unpatriotic About Challenging Obama on Iran by David Harsanyi



There’s a Bloodbath in Syria! by The Elephant's Child
April 26, 2011, 8:46 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East | Tags: , , , , ,

In Syria, the Assad regime made a fateful decision this week.  They used their army —even including tanks —to kill civilians protesting peacefully.  Bashar Assad made the decision that it was better to kill hundreds of unarmed Syrian citizens than to risk the fall of his regime.  This is the man whom Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton thought was a peaceful reformer. As Elliott Abrams says:

In Syria and Lebanon, there is confusion about the American position. Many believe we are Assad well-wishers, and certainly Obama’s policy for 2009 and 2010 lent credence to that view. Now, the administration is coy: It talks of new sanctions but does not impose them yet. It talks of U.N. action but it is the U.K. and France that introduce the resolution, not the United States. It will not recall the U.S. ambassador who was so foolishly dispatched to Damascus late last year.

Two weeks ago, al Jazeera turned against Assad and is doing what it did in Egypt — broadcasting whatever it can get its hands on about the brutality of the regime and the courage of the protesters.  The Amir of Qatar owns the station.

Syria is closely allied with Shia Iran, and with Hamas and Hezbollah, but the Syrian population is 74 percent Sunni. If the Alawite regime were to fall, it would be widely interpreted as a step toward the fall of the ayatollahs, so what happens in Syria is hugely important for American interests in the region.  The president is, um, testing the wind, thinking about sanctions. He could recall our ambassador. He could pressure Turkey very hard to distance itself from the regime.  He did say that Mubarak and Quaddafi must step down, he hasn’t even suggested that Bashar should.

He did issue a travelers’ warning.



Poll Positions by American Elephant

Many Republicans are fretting over recent polling (RCP average Obama +5.9) in the presidential election, fearing, as some pundit on CNN declared, “the election is over”. Liberals, on the other hand, are quite cocky.

But let’s hold on for just a second and put things in persepective. A quick google search indicates things may not be as dire as Republicans fear and liberals, and the media (redundant, I know) would have us believe. Let’s take a little trip back in the time machine:

Newsweek      Sept 30-Oct 2, 2004:      Kerry 49   Bush 46

AP/Ipsos            October 4-6, 2004:      Kerry 50   Bush 46

Reuters/Zogby   October 6-8, 2004:      Kerry 46   Bush 45


Gallup            Sept 30-Oct 2, 2000:      Gore: 47   Bush 39

And there is more reason for optimism. As HotAir reports, the McCain campaign is saying it’s going to take the gloves off and start calling attention to Obama’s nefarious associations with criminals and radicals since the MSM won’t.

If they also start pointing the finger at Obama and Democrats for the financial crisis, and drawing attention to the big bucks and advisers Obama got from Fannie Mae, then things might actually turn around.



Obama trailing…Kerry? by American Elephant
August 19, 2008, 12:50 am
Filed under: Election 2008, Politics | Tags: , ,

I’ve been meaning for some time to look up how Obama’s performance compares to Kerry’s at this point in the race, but as James Robbins at the Corner reports, naturally, someone’s already beat me to it:

A handy feature on the electoral-vote.com web site is a one-click comparison of the current electoral map projections with those on the same date four years ago. Today’s map shows Obama with a projected 275 votes to McCain’s 250, with 13 up for grabs. Four years ago — Kerry 317, Bush 202, and 19 tied. Interesting.

And we all know how that election turned out.

Seems to me that Democrats always fare far better in early polling. But the closer the elections get, and the more people start paying attention, the better Republicans do. Happened with George Bush in both his elections, happened with Reagan and Carter.

Not to say Republicans can relax. Obama is just an unqualified socialist. Kerry was an unbearable socialist. Just one more little reason for Democrats to worry, and for the rest of us to hold out Hope™ for America. (via Powerline)



Obama Kerry? You heard it here first! by American Elephant
August 15, 2008, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, Foreign Policy, Liberalism, Politics | Tags: , ,

With the Democrat Convention fast approaching, speculation is at a fever pitch over whom the Obamessiah will anoint his vice-presidential running mate. And since Kathleen Sebelius accidentally let slip earlier this week that the theme of the Democratic convention Wednesday night, the night the VP nominee will speak, will be national security and a tribute to veterans, the blogosphere has been a twitter with speculation that the theme is itself a hint to whom Obama will give his nod.

And so the chatter on teh interwebs, picked up by Drudge today, is that the anointed one might look to the annoying one — the “haughty, French-looking senator from Massachusetts who, by the way served in Vietnam” (James Taranto’s oft-repeated description) — to bolster his non-existent national security creds.

(By the way, I think the fact that this rumor made it to the top slot on Drudge suggests it might just be an actual trial-balloon.)

But this is an idea we floated, graphically at least, weeks ago in a piece picked up by Michelle Malkin, on the passing of the mantle of most egregious flip-flopper from Kerry to Obama.

But for the same reason we made the graphic, I think the idea of Kerry as VP will be very appealing to the man who has waged the most image-centered, superficial campaign in American history. You’ve seen the posters, the logo’s, “O-Force One”, the presidential seal:  Barack Obama is clearly a man who thinks he can graphic-design and photo-op his way into the White House without ever submitting to a substantial interview or debate. Indeed, I think the Berlin spectacle made it clear that it’s his strategy. It’s all branding. The man loves his “O”. I think whomever he picks, how it affects his “brand” will be of utmost importance to him. And what better to a campaign focused entirely on image than to turn the Obama “O” into “OK”.




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