It is more than likely now that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee in the presidential election this November.
It is therefore very likely that the Republican platform will be what he wants it to be. And many Republicans, especially the go-along-to-get-along pillars of the Grand Old Party, most prominently its leaders in Congress, do not like what he wants. They repudiate him and his ideas. They say he is unfaithful to conservative principles and will alter long-standing Republican policies. But if their choice is between changing principles and policies to those of Trump or breaking the Party asunder by thwarting the will of the millions of voters he attracts, they will accept – are slowly coming round to accepting – Trump and his vision for America. (While probably still planning to knock it into a more familiar and acceptable shape.)
What do his conservative Republican critics object to in particular?
In an article hostile to Donald Trump, but accepting that he is almost certain to be the Republican nominee, Linda Chavez writes at Townhall:
Trump represents a repudiation of the Republican Party’s commitment to smaller government, free trade and an internationalist foreign policy.
Let’s consider these commitments one by one, and assess how far Trump is likely to change them, and how bad the change would be.
Smaller government is certainly a cherished principle of conservative Republicanism. We list it among our core conservative ideals, along with individual freedom, a market economy, and strong defense. Regretfully we admit that government is not likely ever again to be actually small, but does Trump not say anything that suggests he would reduce the hugely overblown bureaucracy oppressing Americans now? He does. He says he will lower taxes. Lower taxes must mean some shrinking of government. And that’s probably the most any conservative Republican could do.
It’s on free trade that we have a difference of opinion with Trump. He has indicated that he would match tariff barriers with tariff barriers. We think that’s counter-productive. But it’s not enough to induce us to call Trump a wrecker of American prosperity. In fact, most of his economic thinking is likely to increase American prosperity very considerably. He would stop foreign aid unless America got something back for it. He would make those countries that want American military protection contribute to the cost of it. And he has plans for job creation which we’re inclined to trust because, as an extremely successful businessman, he has done it.
As for the Republican “internationalist foreign policy” – we’re coming to that.
Here are some points from Charles Krauthammer’s syndicated column on Trump’s recent foreign policy speech. Much as we respect Charles Krauthammer, on this rare occasion we disagree with him.
On the Republican side … foreign policy has been the subject of furious debate. To which Donald Trump has contributed significantly, much of it off-the-cuff, contradictory and confused. Hence his foreign policy speech on Wednesday. It was meant to make him appear consistent, serious and presidential. …
Its major theme, announced right at the top [was]: America First. Classically populist and invariably popular, it is nonetheless quite fraught. On the one hand, it can be meaningless — isn’t every president trying to advance American interests? …
On the other hand, America First does have a history. In 1940, when Britain was fighting for its life and Churchill was begging for U.S. help, it was the name of the group most virulently opposed to U.S. intervention. It disbanded — totally discredited — four days after Pearl Harbor. …
The irony is … it is the underlying theme of [Obama’s] foreign policy — which Trump constantly denounces as a series of disasters. Obama, like Trump, is animated by the view that we are overextended and overinvested abroad. …
Both the left and right have a long history of advocating American retreat and retrenchment. The difference is that liberals want to come home because they think we are not good enough for the world. Conservatives want to wash their hands of the world because they think the world is not good enough for us.
That’s nicely put! Our disagreements will come below.
For Obama, we are morally unworthy to act as world hegemon. Our hands are not clean. He’s gone abroad confessing our various sins — everything from the Iranian coup of 1953 to our unkind treatment of Castro’s Cuba to the ultimate blot, Hiroshima, a penitential visit to which Obama is currently considering.
Trump would be rightly appalled by such a self-indicting trip. His foreign policy stems from a proud nationalism that believes that these recalcitrant tribes and nations are unworthy of American expenditures of blood and treasure.
At least Krauthammer calls it “a proud nationalism”. Linda Chavez, in her article, likens Trump’s nationalism to disreputable [?] European nationalist groups which are better described as tribal. She seems to forget that the United States has for centuries been a melting-pot, and the American nation has been – until very recently under Obama – the least tribal in the world. And Trump’s “nationalism” is better described as patriotism. That’s what an American’s “proud nationalism” really is.
This has been the underlying view of conservative isolationism … It is not without its attractions. Trump’s version, however, is inconsistent and often contradictory. After all, he pledged to bring stability to the Middle East. How do you do that without presence, risk and expenditures (financial and military)? He attacked Obama for letting Iran become a “great power.” But doesn’t resisting that automatically imply engagement?
More incoherent still is Trump’s insistence on being unpredictable. An asset perhaps in real estate deals, but in a Hobbesian world American allies rely on American consistency, often as a matter of life or death. Yet Trump excoriated the Obama-Clinton foreign policy for losing the trust of our allies precisely because of its capriciousness. The tilt toward Iran. The red line in Syria. Canceling the Eastern European missile defense. Abandoning Hosni Mubarak.
Trump’s scripted, telepromptered speech was intended to finally clarify his foreign policy. It produced instead a jumble. The basic principle seems to be this: Continue the inexorable Obama-Clinton retreat, though for reasons of national self-interest, rather than of national self-doubt. And except when, with studied inconsistency, he decides otherwise.
Is Trump’s patriotism a “version of isolationism”? Is it “inconsistent and often contradictory”? By “unpredictable” did he mean what Krauthammer is taking his words to mean?
What did Trump actually say?
We quote his speech in part (find all of it here):
America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration. But to chart our path forward, we must first briefly take a look back. We have a lot to be proud of.
In the 1940s we saved the world. The greatest generation beat back the Nazis and Japanese imperialists. Then we saved the world again. This time, from totalitarianism and communism. The Cold War lasted for decades but, guess what, we won and we won big. …
Does he regret those American involvements? Not at all. He is proud of them.
Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. … We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad. It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy.
With that we could not agree more strongly. It is not possible to turn states like Iraq and Afghanistan – Arab states, Islamic states – into Western style democracies.
And as for his comment on Obama’s actions – they have been “unpredictable” in that they make no logical sense. Krauthammer chooses them as examples of unpredictability to condemn Trump’s recommendation of it, when in fact Trump means something entirely different – as we shall see.
We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.
They have benefited so much, so sadly, for us. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.
Trump goes on to “identify weaknesses in our foreign policy” and to say how he would fix them. Among them (they are worth reading in full) is this:
We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we’ve never seen before in the history of our country. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, cannot be allowed. Remember that, cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. And under a Trump administration, will never, ever be allowed to have that nuclear weapon …
At the end of his analysis and outline of his intentions he promises:
This will all change when I become president.
To our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again. It’s going to be a great and reliable ally again. It’s going to be a friend again. We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests and the shared interests of our allies. …
Does that sound isolationist?
We need a long-term plan to halt the spread and reach of radical Islam.Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world. Events may require the use of military force, but it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.
Absolutely right! And no other politician, as far as we can recall, has said it before.
He goes on to speak of “working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world”, which is one of the few points on which we disagree. There can be no such thing as an American ally in the Muslim world, precisely because “the philosophical struggle” prohibits it. Islam is ideologically opposed to the West.
… And then there’s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone. ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly. They will be gone very, very quickly.
So that is what Trump means by “unpredicatble”. A commander-in-chief does not announce to his country’s enemy just when its army will stop fighting and when he will withdraw his troops – as Obama has done. It is a military absurdity!
He goes on to say “we have to rebuild our military and our economy”.
The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded their military capability, but look at what’s happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent, has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal. And it has to happen immediately. Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The Navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time. The Air Force is about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today. These planes are older than virtually everybody in this room.
And what are we doing about this? President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.
We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.
Does that sound “isolationist”?
But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely. In this time of mounting debt, right now we have so much debt that nobody even knows how to address the problem. But I do. No one dollar can be wasted. Not one single dollar can we waste. We’re also going to have to change our trade, immigration and economic policies to make our economy strong again. And to put Americans first again. …
But, he says …
I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries.
Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great — not good, great — for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.
Fixing our relations with China is another important step — and really toward creating an even more prosperous period of time. China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically, which they are doing like never before, we have lost all of their respect.
We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit that we have to find a way quickly, and I mean quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China, better than we have right now. Look at what China is doing in the South China Sea. They’re not supposed to be doing it. …
To be militarily strong again, and at the same time try to negotiate better relations with an aggressive Russia and China – is that “contradictory” or is it speaking softly while carrying a big stick?
I will not hesitate to deploy military force when there is no alternative. But if America fights, it must only fight to win. …
Our power will be used if others do not play by the rules. In other words, if they do not treat us fairly. Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce that line in the sand. Believe me. …
My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas … We have to look to new people because many of the old people frankly don’t know what they’re doing …
No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions … And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs. …
I will view as president the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. …
The world is most peaceful and most prosperous when America is strongest. America will continue and continue forever to play the role of peacemaker. We will always help save lives and indeed humanity itself, but to play the role, we must make America strong again. … We have to and we will make America great again.
Where are the alleged “inconsistencies”? Where is the “jumble”. (We urge doubters to read the whole speech and tell us if they find any inconsistencies or contradictions that we have overlooked.)
The speech as a whole could be taken as a manifesto of the new Republicanism – what the Republican Party will stand for under the leadership of Donald Trump. He will take the Party forward, but not in the direction it has long wanted to go. It wanted to go, but did not move. He will make both good and bad decisions, as leaders generally do. But he will make them in the interests of a strong and prosperous America, and that is an America that is good for the world.
Questions: Why is the Middle East in flames? Why are rivers of people flooding from the Third World into Europe? Why are millions hungering in squalid refugee camps? Why are jihadis torturing, beheading, burning, burying, drowning men and women and children and making taunting videos of themselves doing it for all the world to see? Why are thousands of women enslaved? Why are young boys being sent to their deaths in suicide vests? Why has Russia annexed a part of the Ukraine? Why has the tyrannical Iranian regime been able to free itself from sanctions and develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to the West? Why has China been able to extend it power with militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea?
Answer: Because Americans elected a know-nothing doctrinaire greenhorn to be its president and the leader of the free world.
Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:
Multiple Secretaries of Defense are complaining about micromanagement from the White House and in particular, the National Security Council. Which means [Susan] Rice.
“It was the operational micromanagement that drove me nuts, of White House and National Security Council staffers calling senior commanders out in the field and asking them questions, of second-guessing commanders,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Bret Baier in a new Fox News special called Rising Threats, Shrinking Military.
Gates’ successor, Leon Panetta, took office in July 2011 and told Baier he had similar concerns with the Obama administration, despite being a long-time Democrat who served as a California congressman for many years and as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff.
Panetta complained that the president’s national security council staff had gotten so large and overbearing in recent years, creating massive inefficiency with creating foreign and defense policy.
Chuck Hagel, who replaced Panetta in February 2013, agreed that the size and role of the White House staff during the Obama presidency made it difficult to accomplish tasks and be productive.
“There were always too many meetings and always too many people in the room and too many people talking,” Hagel described. “Especially young, smart 35-year-old PhDs love to talk because that’s the way you let everybody know how smart you are. So there were a lot of reasons those meetings descended into … nonsense and the hard time we had making a decision.”
Hagel focused especially on the inexperience of the president himself and his staff, describing how Obama is “one of the youngest presidents we’ve ever had, one of the most inexperienced presidents we’ve ever had. He has a staff around him that’s very inexperienced. I don’t think there’s one veteran on his senior staff at the White House. I don’t believe there’s one business person. I don’t believe there’s one person who’s ever run anything. Other than Vice President Biden, none of them have ever been elected to anything.”
Hagel added that he is not sure if Obama or his staff ever understood “the tremendous responsibility the United States has … to lead”.
Gates said he is concerned the president is suspicious of the military. He also said Obama was told by White House personnel during the debate over the war in Afghanistan that the Pentagon was trying to “box him in”, “trap him”, and “bully him”, which Gates said was never true.
“But there were clearly a number of people at the White House who believed that,” Gates said.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice imposed a gag order on military leaders over the disputed South China Sea in the weeks running up to the last week’s high-level nuclear summit, according to two defense officials who asked for anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. China’s president, Xi Jinping, attended the summit, held in Washington, and met privately with President Obama. …
The NSC dictum has had a “chilling effect” within the Pentagon that discouraged leaders from talking publicly about the South China Sea at all, even beyond the presidential summit, according to a second defense official familiar with operational planning.
So tensions are heating up. Rice is showing overt hostility to the military. And that’s the attitude emanating from the White House.
Obama has gone through multiple SODs and had bad relations with every single one of them. Including the current one [Ashton Carter] who was targeted by hit pieces from the WH, and whose authority over Gitmo Obama tried to ask Congress to usurp so he could free more terrorists faster. The facts are just impossible to ignore.
Obama made no secret of his contempt for America’s military. For America’s might. For America.
It was so well known that Scandinavians who shared his opinions gave him a Peace Prize when he’d only just begun to warm the desk chair in the Oval Office.
Now the world desperately needs an American leader who will make America great again.
With all the excitement over who will be the next president, the man in the office is getting little or no attention, even from his toadies in the media.
Victor Davis Hanson turns his thoughts to him, and sees him as the lamest of lame ducks.
He writes at PJ Media:
President Obama is boxed in a state of paralysis — more so than typical lame-duck presidents.
His hard-left politics have insidiously eroded the Democratic Party, which has lost both houses of Congress and the vast majority of the state legislatures, state elected offices, and governorships. Obama has redefined the black vote, as a necessary, no-margin-of-error 95% bloc majority to offset his similar creation of an increasingly monolithic 65% bloc white vote. We are no longer individual voters, but, in Chicago-politics style, merely faceless “Latinos”, “Asians”, “African-Americans”, “gays”, “women”, and now “whites”.
Obama issues a new initiative — and the nation snoozes. He wastes the day on the golf links — and the nation snoozes. He smear his critics, invites a rapper to the White House whose latest album cover has a dead white judge lying in front of the White House — and the nation snoozes. He cozies up to America’s enemies and snubs our friends — and the nation snoozes. For the nth time, he blusters about closing down Guantanamo — and the nation snoozes. He opens the border even wider to welcome in more illegal aliens and future constituents — and the nation snoozes. Lame duckestry means not even being able to wake up your opponents.
There is so far no Obama legacy, except the creation of Donald Trump, a $20 trillion debt and zero interest rates …
Almost every major bureaucracy is awash in scandal or charges of incompetence. The common theme of the disasters at the GSA, EPA, ICE, IRS, NASA, Secret Service, and VA is ideological subversion and ingrained hostility to meritocracy. Would anyone be surprised that another government official pled the 5th, created fake email personas, resigned at 5 PM on a Friday afternoon, declared a foremost mission Muslim outreach, or withheld subpoenaed documents?
Obamacare, borne of rank partisanship and serial mendacity, can survive until 2017 only by bailouts and executive-order manipulations. We now call health care affordable by ignoring the new astronomical deductibles: we pay premiums of $6,000 a year and forget that an annual $4,000 “deductible” ensures no one thinks the real cost is $10,000. Is that a small price to pay to ensure granny has contraceptive coverage?
Americans shrug that Obama has left the world abroad a far scarier place. Libya has been destroyed. We can see in Iraq what Obama would have done to South Korea had he been in Eisenhower’s shoes. Syria’s death toll is nearing Saddam Hussein’s. We gave up our golden special relationship with Israel for one of dross with an Islamist and roundly disliked Turkey that, logically, now dislikes us.
What was astonishing about Obama’s empty red lines that finished off any lingering sense of U.S. credibility and deterrence in the Middle East was that after issuing such threats and then ignoring them, Obama then blamed the UN and the U.S. Congress for setting them!
But then again, he blamed congressional Republicans for opposing the Iran deal and compared House members to Iranian theocrat hardliners, in a way his team earlier had compared them to suicide bombers. …
In a tragic sort of way, Obama has reminded us how savage is human nature, by demonstrating that a vicious thug like Putin won more of an amoral world’s respect for his savagery than a whining Obama earned pity for his diffidence.
While the Middle East is aflame, China is marking out new atolls to control, like toll pirates of the 17th century, European-Asian sea traffic. Russia is eyeing neighbors, unsure only whether gratuitously embarrassing Obama is worth the hassle of another annexation. Is the solution to global tensions really a trip to Cuba or shutting down Guantanamo by executive order? When Castro soon harangues Obama in Havana for his country’ sins, will he, as he did after Daniel Ortega’s April 2009 dressing down in Trinidad, sheepishly reply with, “I’m grateful that President Castro did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old”?
Obama cannot address the massive debt he has run up. He cannot address entitlement reform. He has neither the imagination to offer solutions, nor the disposition to share accomplishment with any other than himself — even if he had the political clout to compromise and reach consensus.
For the next nine months the Obama presidency will be mostly teeth-gnashing and petulance. He will offer executive orders and do his best to incite division and rancor from a somnolent public, the more the better to please his hard-core base, and to pave the way for a lucrative (and iconic) post-presidency among leftwing foundations, universities, non-profits, foreign governments, sports, Hollywood, Goldman Sachs progressives, and the media.
But at least Obama … transformed racial relations? Not really. Perhaps no single individual has done more to erode racial reconciliation than did Barack Obama. The racialism of the 2008 campaign — the nativist clingers of Pennsylvania, his “typical white person” grandmother who did so much to ensure his own upper-middle-class prep-school existence, the savage anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism of consigliore Rev. “audacity of hope” Wright, the childish calls to “get in their faces” and “bring a gun to a knife fight” – really was the foundation for the next eight years of Trayvon Martin as the lost Obama son, the Ferguson mythologies, racism explains all opposition to Obama, the beer summit, “punish our enemies”, and Eric Holder’s “nation of cowards” and “my people”.
Obama’s racial legacy is the strange phenomenon of whiny, wealthy black elites — whether a Skip Gates, Spike Lee, Melissa Harris-Perry, Will Smith, or Chris Rock — acting hurt and oppressed if rewards to elites such as themselves are not doled out on the basis of racial percentages. … America is now supposed to work on a strict 13 percent racial spoils system, everywhere except in non-disparate impact professional sports or federal employment. …
Cairo-speech mythohistories pass for foreign policy. Euphemisms about terrorism only empower radical Islam. The mythologies of Ferguson are canonized at the UN. All that can be said for all this and more is that our enemies were put off guard and confused that a president of the United States seemed so intent on deprecating his own country and traditions, and thus could think Obama’s sermonizing might really be some elaborate hoax, con, or Trojan Horse.
Nothing in the last eight years is sustainable or can be emulated.
Race relations will change after Obama for the simple reason that if they were to continue on his segregationist trajectory we would quite soon end up like Bosnia or Beirut.
Fiscal policy will change, because if we followed Obama’s all “by his lonesome” Bank of China credit-card binge borrowing of another $10 trillion in the next eight years, the country would implode.
Monetary policy will change because eight more years of zero interest would wipe out the age-old idea of the wisdom of saving money altogether. Government policy will change because the bureaucracy cannot endure legions of more Lois Lerners, Lisa Jacksons, Kathleen Sebeliuses, Hilda Solises, or Eric Holders.
Health care will change after Obama, because if Obamacare were to persist, the entire country would turn to cash-only concierge medicine.
Foreign policy will change after Obama, because to persist with his policies would lead to four or five major theater wars, a nuclear Middle East, Russia in the Baltic states, and Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as client states of China.
Immigration will change, because to follow Obama’s open borders policy is to arbitrarily declare federal law null and void, and to establish the roots of a new third world country, neither American nor Mexican, along the border, but inside the United States.
The media will change after Obama because it is about to be enshrined as an embarrassing government Ministry of Truth. It cannot again proclaim that the next president is the smartest person in the history of the presidency, a veritable god, a wizard that can lower the seas and cool the planet or send tingles down our legs or make us wish to press our pants just like the commander in chief. At some point, journalists will get back to sniping that the next president should know that there are not 57 states, that “corpseman” is not the proper pronunciation, that the trilled politically correct name for the Falklands is not the Maldives, and that presidents do not normally make fun of the Special Olympics.
We are witnessing the lamest of the lame-duck presidencies, with the power neither to act nor inspire — nor even to shock or surprise.
Who is the woman whom millions of Americans would vote for to become the first woman president of the United States? What sort of woman is she? What has she done? What does she stand for? What sort of model would she be for rising generations of Americans?
Is she a person who has achieved great things? No. Her only achievements have been catastrophes, bringing incalculable suffering upon millions of people who live their precarious lives in frail societies, most notably in Libya, where she brought unending chaos; in Nigeria, where she actively encouraged Boko Haram, the butchers of untold numbers of defenseless Christians; in Egypt, where she did all she could (but fortunately failed) to keep the tyrannical Muslim Brotherhood in power; in Iran, where she has helped Obama strengthen the oppressive dictatorship of the Ayatollahs.
Is she a woman of ideas? Does she at least associate herself with a political philosophy that promotes freedom, openness, tolerance? No. She has not articulated a single original political idea. And far from promoting freedom, openness and tolerance, she has actively worked with Islamic enemies of America to shut down free speech.
Is she clever? No. Cunning, yes, she is. But she lives in a sort of mental glass house in which she is forever throwing stones. Apparently oblivious to the facts of her own life, she denounces the very people and activities that support her political existence. It is a kind of blind, blundering stupidity.
Or call it “cognitive dissonance”. Examples of it are given by Victor Davis Hanson, who writes at Townhall:
Hillary Clinton recently said she would go after offshore tax “schemes” in the Caribbean. …
Yet her husband, Bill Clinton, reportedly made $10 million as an advisor and an occasional partner in the Yucaipa Global Partnership, a fund registered in the Cayman Islands.
Is Ms. Clinton’s implicit argument that she knows offshore tax dodging is unethical because her family has benefitted from it? Does she plan to return millions of dollars of her family’s offshore-generated income?
Clinton is calling for “huge campaign finance reform,” apparently to end the excessive and often pernicious role of big money in politics. But no candidate, Republican or Democrat, raised more than the $112 million that Clinton collected in 2015 for her primary campaign.
In 2013, Clinton earned nearly $1.6 million in speaking fees from Wall Street banks. She raked in $675,000 from Goldman Sachs, and $225,000 apiece from Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and UBS Wealth Management. Did that profiteering finally make Clinton sour on Wall Street’s pay-for-play ethics?
Clinton has also vowed to raise taxes on hedge fund managers. Is that a way of expressing displeasure with her son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky, who operates a $400 million hedge fund?
For that matter, how did Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea – who worked for a consulting firm and a hedge fund despite having no background in finance – reportedly become worth an estimated $15 million?
Hillary Clinton recently proposed a new $350 billion government plan to make college more affordable. Certainly, universities spike tuition costs, and student-loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Colleges spend money indiscriminately, mostly because they know that the federal government will always back student loans.
Yet, since she left office, Clinton routinely has charged universities $200,000 or more for her brief 30-minute chats. Her half-hour fee is roughly equal to the annual public-university tuition cost for eight students.
It’s been said that Clinton is trying to rekindle President Obama’s 2012 allegations of a Republican “war on women”. That charge and the war against the “1 percent” helped deliver key states to Obama. Renewing that theme, Clinton recently declared on Twitter, “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”
Does Clinton’s spirited advocacy of “every” survivor include the array of women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct? In other words, does Hillary now trust the testimonies of survivors such as Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, whose allegations must be “believed and supported”?
Ms. Clinton has also called for more financial transparency and greater accountability in general – something needed after scandals at government agencies such as the IRS, VA and GSA. But Clinton’s use of a private email server probably violated several federal laws. Her laxity with confidential communications was arguably more egregious than that of Gen. David Petraeus, a national icon who pleaded guilty to mishandling classified materials.
Perhaps Clinton assumes that the electorate is still in the ethical world of the 1990s. Back then, it was somewhat easier to dampen scandals – at least the ones that didn’t involve sex in the White House. But in the age of social media, 24-hour cable TV, instantaneous blogging and a different public attitude toward political corruption and sexual assault, Hillary Clinton now appears to be caught in the wrong century.
Womanizing and sexual coercion can no longer be so easily dismissed. The financial antics of the Clinton Foundation don’t past muster …
Ms. Clinton at times tries to offset scandals by pointing to her record as secretary of state. But few believe that her handling of Russia, Iran, China, Benghazi or Islamic terrorism made the world calmer or America more secure.
There is a brazenness, an audacity, a shameless impudence in her hypocrisy that has no match even among politicians. In this, one would have to look back to medieval Popes to find her equal.
Yet there are tens of millions of voters who would put enormous power into her hands. For no better reason than that she is a woman. Such people deserve their doom, of course. But what of the rest?
America must not fall into the talons of this hell-hag!
We are not alone in blaming Bill Clinton for letting the North Koreans become a nuclear-armed power. (See our post immediately below.)
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz says the same. And he too draws the analogy between Clinton’s deal with North Korea and Obama’s with Iran.
This is from the Washington Post:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) reacted to news of the alleged hydrogen bomb test by North Korea with an indictment of two decades of Democratic foreign policy, warning that any president who didn’t “tear up” the nuclear agreement with Iran would risk attacks on American and Israeli cities.
“This underscores the gravity of the threats we are facing right now, and also the sheer folly of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy,” Cruz told reporters … “When we look at North Korea, it’s like looking at a crystal ball. This is where Iran ends up, if we continue on this same misguided path. It’s worth remembering, we’re here because of the Clinton administration. The Clinton administration led the world in relaxing sanctions against North Korea. They used the billions of dollars that flowed into North Korea to develop nuclear weapons. Now we’re facing a megalomaniacal manic who may potentially have a hydrogen bomb.”
Cruz also derided the Obama administration for giving a job in the State Department and a role in the Iran negotiations to North Korea negotiations veteran Wendy Sherman– “the one person on Earth who has already messed this up. And sadly, they negotiated essentially the same deal.”
Asked how a Cruz presidency would respond to North Korea, the candidate said he would pressure China to “cut off their client state”, and “to continue to isolate North Korea, to continue to cut off North Korea, to raise the costs of their belligerence.” But he warned that “every bad actor would get worse” until Obama was replaced.
“For the remainder of President Obama’s term, we’re essentially in a Hobbesian state of nature, like ‘Lord of the Flies’,” he said. … “We saw last night the consequences of this deal if it is allowed to go forward. Iran’s nuclear test may not be underground, measured by an earthquake. It may be above the skies of Tel Aviv, or New York, or Los Angeles.”
Wendy Sherman is a trained social worker. Busied herself with child welfare. So President Clinton thought her admirably qualified to negotiate with North Korea, to keep that vicious Communist dictatorship from getting nukes. And after that triumph, President Obama judged her to be the ideal person to negotiate with Iran to the same end …
Oh no, wait! Obama saw her usefulness in failing to stop an enemy of the US acquiring nukes …
Iran is free to go. Free, that is, to become a nuclear power.
Caroline Glick writes at Front Page:
Given the Democrats’ allegiance to Obama’s disastrous policies, the only hope for a restoration of American leadership is that a Republican wins the next election. But if Republicans nominate a candidate who fails to reconcile with the realities of the world as it is, then the chance for a reassertion of American leadership will diminish significantly.
To understand just how high the stakes are, you need to look no further than two events that occurred just before the Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate.
On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to close its investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. As far as the UN’s nuclear watchdog is concerned, Iran is good to go.
The move is a scandal. Its consequences will be disastrous.
The IAEA acknowledges that Iran continued to advance its illicit military nuclear program at least until 2009. Tehran refuses to divulge its nuclear activities to IAEA investigators as it is required to do under binding UN Security Council resolutions.
Iran refuses to allow IAEA inspectors access to its illicit nuclear sites. As a consequence, the IAEA lacks a clear understanding of what Iran’s nuclear status is today and therefore has no capacity to prevent it from maintaining or expanding its nuclear capabilities.
This means that the inspection regime Iran supposedly accepted under Obama’s nuclear deal is worthless.
The IAEA also accepts that since Iran concluded its nuclear accord with the world powers, it has conducted two tests of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, despite the fact that it is barred from doing so under binding Security Council resolutions.
But really, who cares? Certainly the Obama administration doesn’t. The sighs of relief emanating from the White House and the State Department after the IAEA decision were audible from Jerusalem to Tehran.
The IAEA’s decision has two direct consequences.
First, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, it paves the way for the cancellation of the UN’s economic sanctions against Iran within the month.
Second, with the IAEA’s decision, the last obstacle impeding Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program has been removed. Inspections are a thing of the past. Iran is in the clear.
As Iran struts across the nuclear finish line, the Sunni jihadists are closing their ranks.
Hours after the IAEA vote, Turkey and Qatar announced that Turkey is setting up a permanent military base in the Persian Gulf emirate for the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Their announcement indicates that the informal partnership between Turkey and Qatar on the one side, and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State on the other hand … is now becoming a more formal alliance.
Just as the Obama administration has no problem with Iran going nuclear, so it has no problem with this new jihadist alliance. …
In other words, with the US’s blessing, the forces of both Shi’ite and Sunni jihad are on the march.
On the warpath, that is. But will the war be between Sunnis and Sunnis, and Sunnis and Shi’ites, or will it be a much wider conflagration?
Peter Apps, a Reuters defense correspondent and Executive Director of The Project for Study of the 21st Century, writes at Newsweek:
On Sunday, Nov. 28, Californians watched with bemusement and in some cases alarm as a bright light moved across the sky. It wasn’t a UFO. It was a U.S. Navy Trident ballistic missile.
It was, of course, just a test — the first of two in three days. They coincided with tough talk from U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who earlier that month had criticized Russia for engaging in “challenging activities” at sea and air, in space and cyberspace. Days earlier, he had been in the South China Sea aboard an aircraft carrier, sending a similarly robust message to China about its actions in the disputed region. …
The Project for Study of the 21st. Century recently published its survey of major conflict risk. Over six months, we polled 50 national security experts on the risk of a variety of potential wars.
The results make interesting reading. The most striking thing, though, is not the numbers themselves — it is the fact that there now seem to be multiple potential routes to a variety of potentially devastating state-on-state wars.
Our poll showed the experts — who ranged from current and former military officials to international relations professors and insurance and risk specialists — putting a 6.8 percent chance on a major nuclear war in the next 20 years killing more people than World War Two. That conflict killed roughly 80,000,000 at upper estimates. …
A majority – 60% – of the respondents believe that “the risk of nuclear had risen over the last decade” and 52% “expected it to rise further in the decade to come”.
The increasing confrontations with China and Russia have, of course, become increasingly obvious. Of our respondents, 80 percent said they expected a further rise in the kind of “ambiguous” or “asymmetric” conflict between major states. …
The world could see bloodshed on a previously unimaginable level. …
Despite this year’s nuclear deal, our experts saw a 27 percent chance Iran would end up in a shooting war with its enemies, be that the United States, Israel, the Gulf States or all. On average, they saw a 6 percent chance of such a war including at least one nuclear detonation.
At least one? Wouldn’t there be a retaliation? Could there possibly be fewer than two? And then probably many more?
Overall, our panel estimated the risk of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization fighting Russia in at least a limited military confrontation at 22 percent. That compared to only a 17 percent chance of U.S. and Chinese forces fighting (as well as a slightly higher 19 percent chance of Japan and China doing the same). …
After a generation in which major European war was simply never thought possible, it’s worth remembering the continent is still home to more than half the world’s nuclear weapons.
And they are all likely to fall into the hands of a Muslim majority around the middle of this century.
The experts, hampered by the usual myopia of experts, do not apparently take that into account:
And yet, amid such apocalyptic talk, our survey shows that all of these conflicts remain on balance unlikely …
Unlikely? Why do they say that?
At one of our events earlier this year, Harvard geopolitics expert Professor Joseph Nye pointed out that nuclear weapons have so far acted to avert war by functioning as a brutally effective “crystal ball”. What their existence meant, he said, was that national leaders knew what the consequences of going over the edge would be — complete and utter destruction and a war which everyone would lose.
Had the leaders of Europe experienced such clarity before World War One, he suggested, they could well have stepped back from the brink. And sure enough, it’s true that we have avoided such conflicts in the era of “mutually assured destruction”.
The dark-minded mullahs who rule Iran don’t care a fig about “mutually assured destruction”. They say that the state of Israel can be destroyed with one nuke, and even if Iran lost millions in a counter-attack, Iran would still survive as a large and powerful nation.
And, they believe, the Iranian dead would all be martyrs who’d dwell in paradise forever. And there they long to go.
For all their warnings and nice academic calculations in percentage terms of the chances of our civilization being destroyed, The Project for Study of the 21st Century experts – though made nervous by something they gingerly sniff in the wind – are, in our view, far too optimistic.
And out of touch.
Caroline Glock is closer to making the prediction that needs to be spoken. But even she stops short of actually making it.
We will make it:
Unless “a Republican wins the next election” who does not fail “to reconcile with the realities of the world as it is”, Iran will use its nukes.
“Apocalyptic” destruction will follow.
And that will be Obama’s legacy.
The Democratic Party must be “in denial”. Is it really offering as its only candidates for the presidency an old communist – aka “a democratic socialist” – whose mind was badly made up never to change again way back in the last century; some other man no one knows or cares anything about; and, primarily, a hideously corrupt old female whose reputation is laden with more scandals than any other figure in modern American history, and is the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI?
Yes, mirabile dictu, it is!
John Hawkins provides a useful summary of things the old woman has been and done:
Conservatives have been amusing themselves for months by watching Hillary Clinton supporters sputter out laughable answers when they’re asked to name her biggest accomplishments. You can’t blame them for not being able to come up with anything significant because Hillary has choked on the same question in interviews. That’s one of the reasons her staffers have been shielding her from the press like a mother standing between her child and Jared Fogle.
If you want to double down on the laughs, go read an actual list of “accomplishments” on her website.
All seven “accomplishments” are things Hillary didn’t have much to do with — like CHIP and the Family Medical Leave Act (Those went into effect when her husband was in office) or getting 9/11 first responders health care (Was that ever a question?). Alternately, they’re just ridiculous.
“Fought for children and families for 40 years and counting.”
“Told the world that ‘women’s rights are human rights’,”
“Stood up for LGBT rights at home and abroad.”
The very fact that Hillary Clinton considers those things to be “accomplishments” that she should be applauded for as opposed to things that should evoke eye-rolling and “Is she serious?” comments tells you a lot about why she shouldn’t be President.
Of course, the real problem Hillary has isn’t that she doesn’t have achievements; it’s just that they’re not exploits that anyone would want to base a run at the Presidency on.
1) She has been willing to endure America’s most humiliating marriage to achieve wealth and power: It’s fun to guess what Hillary Clinton would have done with her life if she hadn’t married Bill and ridden his coattails. City council member in Little Rock, Arkansas? EPA bureaucrat? A lawyer for Planned Parenthood? She’s a very small person who latched onto her husband’s very big last name.
In return, she had to stay married to a man who cheated on her. Constantly. Worse yet, not only did she know it, the whole world knows it.
Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for perjuring himself over an affair with Monica Lewinsky. He settled a sexual harassment case against Paula Jones. He was accused of sexual assault by Kathleen Willey. He was accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick. Then there’s Gennifer Flowers, Dolly Kyle Browning, Elizabeth Ward Gracen and undoubtedly dozens of other women he’s slept with. Given that some of the troopers who guarded him in Arkansas claimed they procured women for him and his confirmed trips to “orgy island”, the number may be in the hundreds and chances are, while you’re reading this, Bill is having sex with a woman who’s not Hillary Clinton. No normal woman would be so hungry for power over her fellow human beings that she would endure that and that does separate Hillary from the rest of us who aren’t as desperate for power.
2) Four people are dead in Benghazi because of her: It seems hard to believe that it’s even possible, but there were more than 600 ignored security requests related to Libya and the consulate in Benghazi. Had Hillary paid attention to those requests, it’s entirely possible that none of our men would have died in Libya. However, Hillary claims none of those requests reached her desk. Since it’s generally accepted that Hillary lies incessantly about anything and everything, maybe that’s another lie. On the other hand, given that she’s 68 years old, hasn’t driven a car since 1996 and clearly can’t handle her own email, maybe she just didn’t know what she was doing. Either way, if we had a different Secretary of State, those four men would probably be alive today. Most of us have made mistakes at work, but how many of us have the guts to ask for a promotion after four people DIED because we missed hundreds of requests for help from them?
3) She was one of the worst Secretaries of State in U.S. history: Donald Trump calls her “the worst Secretary of State” in American history, but this is an old country that has had a lot of people in that position; so that may be unfair. Maybe she’s just one of the worst Secretaries of State in American history. Look at what happened on her watch.
We helped radical jihadis take over in Libya and that country is falling apart. Benghazi also happened and while she was publicly telling the world a video caused it, she was privately telling people it was a terrorist attack. Additionally, we backed a radical jihadi takeover of the government in Egypt that thankfully fell apart. We pulled all our troops out of Iraq, which set the stage for ISIS to move in. Our relationship with the Israeli government deteriorated. So did our relationships with China and Russia. To top it all off, the State Department lost track of 6 billion dollars while she was Secretary of State. It would be easy to write Clinton off as a pitiable character whose ambition led her to take a job that was far too big for someone of her meager abilities, but unfortunately she’s trying to use her miserable failure as Secretary of State as a stepping stone to the presidency where she could do even more damage.
4) She managed to turn a career in government service into immense wealth: Hillary and her husband managed to become filthy rich one percenters because of their government service. Granted, they did cut a few corners in the process. For example, while Bill was governor, Hillary got away with taking a nearly $100,000 bribe from Robert L. “Red” Bone via sleazy cattle futures deals. While she was Secretary of State, money poured into the pockets of her husband and the Clinton Foundation from defense contractors and foreign governments that got fat contracts from the State Department. Among the governments that funneled money into the Clinton bank account via speeches are Iran, North Korea [actually, the State Department did not permit that one! – ed] the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China. They paid the Clintons an awful lot of money and if Hillary becomes our next President, people might be surprised at how much those foreign governments end up getting in return for making the Clintons rich.
5) She’s better at surviving sleazy scandals than anyone else: Hillary Clinton has been tied into more scandals than any other five politicians combined. Where she goes, an ocean of corruption, sleaze and controversy always follows. It’s amazing in a horrific way that Hillary is still considered a serious candidate for the presidency despite having more gaffes and scandals than the entire GOP field COMBINED. It would take a book to fully detail all of them, but just to name a few, there’s Emailgate, Pardongate, Whitewater, Travelgate, using the IRS to attack her political opponents, looting the White House, illegally acquiring FBI files on her Republican opponents, the Boeing payoff, the Uranium One payoff, the Norway embassy payoff, the Congo payoff, ripping off AIDS patients in the Third World, taking bribes via cattle futures, lying about landing under “sniper fire” in Bosnia, laughing about tearing apart a 12 year old girl in court to get a child rapist off and Benghazi. There are mob bosses with cleaner records than Hillary Clinton and yet, not only has she avoided prison so far, she’s running for President.
An appalling record. Yet it leaves out the worst thing Hillary Clinton accomplished.
She it was who insisted that Libya be attacked from the air to help anti-Gaddafi rebels depose the dictator. That they did (and tortured him to death). Tritely she squealed, “We came, we saw, he died.” And since then, Libya has been in chaos. From its shores untold multitudes of “refugees” sail for Europe. Many drown. Families are torn apart. Europe sinks.
If she could do so much harm as secretary of state, how much more could she do as president?
Obama is the man who shakes hands with himself.
Amir Taheri writes at Gatestone:
Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 “adoption day” he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president’s timetable the next step would be “the start day of implementation”, fixed for Dec. 15.
But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.
The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so.
The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.
The Islamic Majlis, the ersatz parliament, is examining an unofficial text and is due to express its views at an unspecified date in a document “running into more than 1,000 pages”, according to Mohsen Zakani, who heads the “examining committee”.
“The changes we seek would require substantial rewriting of the text,” he adds enigmatically.
Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama “deal” with any legal basis of their own. Obama’s partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else. So they have started doing just that without bothering about JCPOA’s other provisions.
Britain has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and companies blacklisted because of alleged involvement in deals linked to the nuclear issue.
German trade with Iran has risen by 33 percent, making it the Islamic Republic’s third-largest partner after China.
China has signed preliminary accords to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors.
Russia has started delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is engaged in talks to sell Sukhoi planes to the Islamic Republic.
France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-man delegation to negotiate big business deals, including projects to double Iran’s crude oil exports.
Indian trade with Iran has risen by 17 percent, and New Delhi is negotiating massive investment in a rail-and-sea hub in the Iranian port of Chah-Bahar on the Gulf of Oman.
With help from Austrian, Turkish and United Arab Emirates banks, the many banking restrictions imposed on Iran because of its nuclear program have been pushed aside.
“The structures of sanctions built over decades is crumbling,” boasts Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Meanwhile, the nuclear project is and shall remain “fully intact,” says the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi. “We have started working on a process of nuclear fusion that will be cutting-edge technology for the next 50 years,” he adds.
Even before Obama’s “implementation day”, the mullahs are receiving an average of $400 million a month, no big sum, but enough to ease the regime’s cash-flow problems and increase pay for its repressive forces by around 21 percent. …
The mullahs see the “deal” as a means with which Obama would oppose any suggestion of trying to curb Iran.
“Obama won’t do anything that might jeopardize the deal,” says Ziba Kalam, a Rouhani adviser. “This is his biggest, if not only, foreign policy success.”
Let’s pause and contemplate that for a moment! This farce of a deal, this green light to one of the most oppressive regimes on earth to go ahead and become a nuclear power, is – Obama’s “biggest, if not only, foreign policy SUCCESS”!
More follows on this success:
If there have been changes in Tehran’s behavior they have been for the worse. Iran has teamed up with Russia to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria, mocking Obama’s “Assad must go” rhetoric. More importantly, Iran has built its direct military presence in Syria to 7,000 men.
Tehran has also pressured Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Abadi’s weak government to distance itself from Washington and join a dubious coalition with Iran, Russia and Syria.
Certain that Obama is paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent “deal” the mullahs have intensified their backing for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Last week a delegation was in Tehran with a long shopping list for arms.
In Lebanon, the mullahs have toughened their stance on choosing the country’s next president.
And in Bahrain, Tehran is working on a plan to “ensure an early victory” of the Shiite revolution in the archipelago.
Confident that Obama is determined to abandon traditional allies of the United States, Tehran has also heightened propaganda war against Saudi Arabia, now openly calling for the overthrow of the monarchy there.
The mullahs are also heightening contacts with Palestinian groups in the hope of unleashing a new “Intifada.”
They have done so. (See yesterday’s post, immediately below.)
“Palestine is thirsty for a third Intifada,” Supreme Guide Khamenei’s mouthpiece Kayhan said in an editorial last Thursday. “It is the duty of every Muslim to help start it as soon as possible.”
Obama’s hopes of engaging Iran on other issues were dashed last week when Khamenei declared “any dialogue with the American Great Satan” to be “forbidden”.
“We have no need of America” his adviser Ali-Akbar Velayati added later. “Iran is the region’s big power in its own right.”
Obama had hoped that by sucking up to the mullahs he would at least persuade them to moderate their “hate-America campaign”.
“Death to America” slogans, adorning official buildings in Tehran have been painted afresh along with US flags, painted at the entrance of offices so that they could be trampled underfoot.
None of the US citizens still held hostages in Iran has been released, and one, Washington Post stringer Jason Rezai, is branded as “head of a spy ring “in Tehran. Paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent deal, Obama doesn’t even call for their release.
Government-sponsored anti-American nationwide events are announced for November, anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran.
The annual “End of America” week-long conference is planned for February and is to focus on “African-American victims of US police” and the possibility of “self-determination for blacks.”
Iran is inciting rebellion and treason among Americans.
According to official sources “families of Black American victims” and a number of “black American revolutionaries” have been invited.
Inside Iran, Obama’s “moderate partners” have doubled the number of executions and political prisoners. Last week they crushed marches by teachers calling for release of their leaders. Hundreds of trade unionists have been arrested and a new “anti-insurrection” brigade paraded in Tehran to terrorize possible protestors.
The Obama deal may end up as the biggest diplomatic scam in recent history.
Russia has brought fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries to Syria. He has put military “boots on the ground” there too. The aerial bombing and ground fighting have started. Command centers have been established. Russia is there to stay.
An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily deplores the fact that Russia is now the dominant great power in the Middle East.
And it is a fact. Obama has handed the region to Putin as on a golden platter.
And what’s worse, with Russia comes China and Iran. We can’t see Putin sharing power with any other country for very long. But right now, the Vast Nasty Country Conspiracy is in full operation. (See here, here, and here.)
Moscow won’t just be destroying IS; it will be replacing us as dominant power in the Mideast, where the oil the free world needs is. And Putin won’t be alone.
According to Russian Sen. Igor Morozov, who sits on Russia’s international affairs committee, Chinese forces are joining Russia against IS. “China has joined our military operation in Syria,” Morozov said in Pravda. “A Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, and an aircraft carrier follows it.”
With Iranian Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani believed to have met with Russian officials this month, the “genuinely broad” coalition against terrorism in which “Muslim countries are to play a key role” may end up as Russia, China and Iran.
Meanwhile, London’s Daily Express reports on German reporter and author Jurgen Todenhofer’s book, “Inside IS — Ten Days in the Islamic State.”
In it, he warns that the free world “is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS’, which “intends to get its hands on nuclear weapons”, then undertake “the largest religious cleansing in history”. Years ago, all these would have seemed laughable predictions. But Obama’s new world of American decline is full of such terrifying surprises.
Charles Krauthammer thinks, as we do, that Putin has little interest in defeating the Islamic State.
He writes, also at IBD:
If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin.
Two days earlier at the United Nations, Obama had welcomed the return, in force, of the Russian military to the Middle East — for the first time in decades — in order to help fight the Islamic State.
The ruse was transparent from the beginning. Russia is not in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The Kremlin was sending fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and SA-22 anti-aircraft batteries. Against an Islamic State that has no air force, no planes, no helicopters?
Russia then sent reconnaissance drones over Western Idlib and Hama, where there are no Islamic State fighters. Followed by bombing attacks on Homs and other opposition strongholds that had nothing to do with the Islamic State.
Indeed, some of these bombed fighters were U.S. trained and equipped.
Asked if we didn’t have an obligation to support our allies on the ground, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter bumbled that Russia’s actions exposed its policy as self-contradictory.
Carter made it sound as if the Russian offense was to have perpetrated an oxymoron, rather than a provocation — and a direct challenge to what’s left of the U.S. policy of supporting a moderate opposition.
The whole point of Russian intervention is to maintain Assad in power. Putin has no interest in fighting the Islamic State.
Indeed, the second round of Russian air attacks was on rival insurgents opposed to the Islamic State. The Islamic State is nothing but a pretense for Russian intervention. …
Just three weeks ago, Obama chided Russia for its military buildup, wagging his finger that it was “doomed to failure”. Yet by Monday he was publicly welcoming Russia to join the fight against the Islamic State.
He not only acquiesced to the Russian buildup, he held an ostentatious meeting with Putin on the subject, thereby marking the ignominious collapse of Obama’s vaunted campaign to isolate Putin diplomatically over Crimea.
Putin then showed his utter contempt for Obama by launching his air campaign against our erstwhile anti-Assad allies not 48 hours after meeting Obama.
Which the U.S. found out about when a Russian general knocked on the door of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and delivered a brusque demarche announcing that the attack would begin within an hour and warning the U.S. to get out of the way.
In his subsequent news conference, Secretary Carter averred that he found such Russian behavior “unprofessional.”
Good grief. Russia, with its inferior military and hemorrhaging economy, had just eaten Carter’s lunch, seizing the initiative and exposing American powerlessness — and the secretary of defense deplores what? Russia’s lack of professional etiquette.
Makes you want to weep.
Consider: When Obama became president, the surge in Iraq had succeeded and the U.S. had emerged as the dominant regional actor, able to project power throughout the region.
Last Sunday, Iraq announced the establishment of a joint intelligence-gathering center with Iran, Syria and Russia, symbolizing the new “Shiite-crescent” alliance from Iran across the northern Middle East to the Mediterranean, under the umbrella of Russia, the rising regional hegemon.
Russian planes roam free over Syria attacking Assad’s opposition as we stand by helpless. Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state beseeches the Russians to negotiate “de-conflict” arrangements — so that we and they can each bomb our own targets safely. It has come to this.
Why is Putin moving so quickly and so brazenly? Because he’s got only 16 more months to push on the open door that is Obama.
He knows he’ll never again see an American president such as this — one who once told the General Assembly that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and told it again last Monday of “believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion.”
They cannot? Has he looked at the world around him — from Homs to Kunduz, from Sanaa to Donetsk — ablaze with conflict and coercion?
Wouldn’t you take advantage of these last 16 months if you were Putin, facing a man living in a faculty-lounge fantasy world?
Where was Obama when Putin began bombing Syria? Leading a U.N. meeting on countering violent extremism.
Go on, weep.
That’s what we’re doing, figuratively at least.
If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject. – Ayn Rand
The political philosophy of the New Left is weak, shallow, and in its expression by some of its gurus, patently absurd. But it has won the West. It has won the academies of the pan-European word, and through them generations grow up steeped in the creed.
What is the creed, and why has it won?
It has won because it echoes a Christian teaching, to which some 8,000 generations (reckoning 4 generations per century) of Europeans have been subjected.
It is the notion that to be a good person you must pity other people and make sacrifices for them. Only if you do that, are you worthy and virtuous.
It has been drummed into every Christian from his earliest years, so even if he rebels against his religion, his class, his culture, his race, his nation, he clings to that idea as to the moral kingpin of his universe. Take it away, and the center will not hold.
The New Left was a rebellion by affluent, middle-class adolescents (some of them well advanced in middle age) against their class, culture, race, and nation, starting about twenty years after the end of the Second World War (1939-1945).
The old Left, a secular version of Christianity, won the support of middle-class intellectuals by directing pity on to the working-class. The intellectuals would, at whatever cost to themselves, lead the oppressed and exploited workers in revolution. In Russia to start with, they did just that before the end of the First World War.
By the late 1960s, the old Left, in the person of dictators and their henchmen, was actively oppressing millions, including the populations of the Eastern European countries and a part of Germany.
So the old Left lost its appeal partly because the Leftist regimes could not easily be held up as models of paradise on earth. In addition, the working-class in the West had generally become prosperous enough to be content with its lot.
The New Left found new victims to feel sorry for. It found them first abroad, in the Third World, which was not prosperous. It declared the people of Third World countries to be exploited and oppressed by European colonialism and imperialism, even if their countries were no longer colonies or parts of empires. Its concern extended to Third World descendants who lived in the First World.
Then it declared that in the First World, women were victims of male-dominated societies. Many women volunteered for the role.
Next, homosexuals were declared, and many declared themselves, victims of heterosexual-dominated First World societies.
The main thing was, New Left intellectuals found new groups to pity, and so new sources for pride in a feeling of self-worth.
After 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War – of which the West was the immediate winner – the old Left was held by Western intellectuals (whom Thomas Sowell calls “the self-annointed”) to have been the wrong Left. The New Left, they maintain, is the politically correct Left.
The strange thing about the (new or old) Left’s remedy for human suffering is this: While only the individual can feel pain and suffer distress; while no masses, no group, no class, no race as such can suffer or feel anything at all; yet the Plan of the Left to remedy suffering is always one that sacrifices individuals for the sake of the group. It is always a Plan that is implemented regardless of individual suffering. So important is the Plan itself, that any number of individuals may be persecuted, silenced, tortured, enslaved, killed for it.
There is no collective remedy for human suffering. The only prescription that works is individual freedom; leaving people alone to serve their own purposes in the manner they choose for themselves. (Nothing need prevent an individual from aiding other individuals if that’s what he wants to do.)
John Schindler, who calls himself “a traditional leftist”, writes about why he believes the New Left has won in an article titled Who Really Won the Cold War?, in The Federalist. I quote it in full.
While he makes some points I do not agree with (chiefly the idea he takes for granted that Leftism ideally serves the cause of “human freedom”), he makes many more that bear out what I have said about the old Left and the New Left, and how and why the New Left has won the Cold War. I found this surprising. But it explains why an essay by a “traditional leftist” appears in The Federalist.
He starts with a figure from the old Left who has just recently risen to prominence:
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party has sent shockwaves far beyond Britain. There has been disbelief that the United Kingdom’s storied left-wing party opted to be led by a man so obviously contemptuous of his own society. In the wake of their recent electoral debacle under the uninspiring Ed Miliband, Labour has chosen as its leader an activist who resembles a walking leftist cliché. Corbyn’s radicalism is not in doubt. Aside from his embrace of socialist-throwback platitudes that linger on his party’s left flank on the full range of domestic issues, in adamant rejection of Blairism, Corbyn’s foreign-policy views merit attention. Openly hostile to NATO and Britain’s longstanding “special relationship” with the United States, Corbyn adds overt sympathy for numerous authoritarian regimes.
He blames the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not the Kremlin, for the Ukraine crisis and has endorsed Russia Today, Putin’s TV propaganda network. Corbyn opposes essentially all overseas military operations by Britain and wants to parley with Bashar al-Assad, four years into Syria’s fratricide, while viewing Tehran as a partner for Middle East peace.
That said, leftist infatuation with foreign dictators is hardly new. For decades a crush on “progressive” despots safely far away from their own free country has been a staple of the Western far-Left diet. Corbyn is simply a paid-up member of his ideological tribe.
Yet Corbyn surpasses his predecessors in his fervent embrace of the social-justice message at home as well as abroad. He exudes hostility towards the Britain that made the historic Labour Party. This, after all, is a man who celebrates Hamas, Hezbollah, and related Islamist extremists as freedom-fighters, while explaining the death of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy”.
Unsurprisingly, Corbyn enthusiastically espouses multiculturalism and says Britain should “celebrate” record numbers of immigrants entering the country — a position not popular with many voters, who see the European Union being overwhelmed by waves of migrants from Asia and Africa. Between his crush on the West’s enemies and his desire to change his country’s population, Corbyn wants to abolish Britain, not reform it.
Yet we should not regard Corbyn as a particular outlier. In truth, his cocktail of trendy “progressive” opinions, which rejects virtually everything about their own society, is commonly found among postmodern Western leftists. The only difference is that Corbyn makes no effort to mask his views. Many of his fellow travelers obscure their take, which would be considered extreme by most voters, behind moderate-sounding language.
Unlike Barack Obama, who once assured us that he did not see a Red America or a Blue America, rather a United States of America — then proceeded to govern through two terms as a highly partisan liberal Democrat — Corbyn states openly that there is only one “real” Britain, and it is deep red (which in Britain, as most of Europe, means left-wing).
Corbynism is no sudden or shocking development, but the natural culmination of 50 years of left-wing views that have shifted from a desire to reform Western democracies to an unconcealed wish to kill them, or at least change them so fundamentally that they bear little resemblance to themselves.
The Old Left, for all its sometimes horrific flaws, sought socioeconomic change to benefit average citizens, not all-out social revolution. They, in their own way, were very much a product of Western culture. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which split the Left worldwide into communist and social democratic groupings, the latter worked within the socioeconomic system, embracing democracy while seeking minimal deep changes to society itself.
Even the communists were hardly social revolutionaries in practice. In the initial euphoria of the revolution there was experimentation. The Soviet Union became the first society ever to allow abortion and easy divorce. In Hungary, during the short-lived red revolution at the end of World War I, Bolsheviks embraced social radicalism and introduced sex education to undermine the traditional family.
However, once firmly in power, the Soviets dropped any pretense of social revolution to mirror the politico-economic one. While religion was persecuted and mild feminism got lip service, Stalin banned abortion and the party frowned upon sexual immorality. After all, the revolution needed soldiers and workers, and who but communist women could make those?
Although the abortion ban was dropped after Stalin, Soviet social practices remained highly “heteronormative,” with homosexuality being criminal while men and women were strongly encouraged to marry and be fruitful. In its most extreme form, Nicolae Ceaușescu nearly banned abortion and contraceptives altogether in his effort to build his highly fecund socialist Romania.
Many were the Western progressives who visited the East Bloc during the Cold War, having been fed propaganda about the wondrous “new society”, only to discover that communism was actually behind the West in matters of family, sex, and gender.
While the Soviets and their clients remained mired in traditional social models, the West moved on — or forward, depending on your viewpoint. The great social revolution of the 1960s, which passed the East Bloc by because communism had insulated the countries, brought forth a New Left in the West that was interested in matters of sex, gender, and race rather than who owns the means of production.
Their “long march through the institutions” after a half-century must be judged wholly successful. While the Right has won the battle for economics across the West — calls for public ownership now seem quaint rather than threatening to capitalists — the New Left has triumphed on the social front in every arena.
In the United States, which was more resistant to the New Left agenda than many Western countries, the Obama years have witnessed the victory of social justice on all major matters of race, gender, and sexuality. Thanks to activists, politicians, and courts, Americans today are living in a very different social and sexual world than their parents and grandparents.
More than a few communists saw all this coming. Beginning in the 1970s, East Bloc secret police began to notice the impact of the New Left on their Old Left countries. Cries for radical individualism from dissidents under Western influence troubled the communists, who didn’t know what to do about this trend, which they dismissed as a bourgeois affectation.
By the 1980s, the more perceptive East Bloc security services were denouncing this Western poison, which took the form of radical feminism, sexual freedom, environmental activism, and gay rights. To traditional communists, who barely understood this new ideology, it was a scary Western import, according to the secret police. Some in Eastern Europe termed this decadence “anarcho-liberalism”, and they considered it a disease of an affluent late capitalist society burdened with excessive consumerism and leisure time.
In the end, of course, the communists lost. Lots of average people in the East Bloc wanted the freedom to own cool shoes, while some pined for the social-sexual liberties that the West offered. In many ways, the revolutions of 1989 to 1991 that changed the map and politics of Europe and beyond can be viewed with a quarter-century of hindsight as the defeat of the Old Left in the East by the New Left in the West.
We are living still with the consequences of this seismic political shift. With the sudden disappearance of the communist threat, the Right lost interest in socioeconomic fairness, a Cold War necessity to keep reds at bay on the home-front, while oddly so did the Left.
The obsessive interest of the New Left in social justice has come at the expense of economic concerns, with the result that on a wide range of topics their positions, barring lip service, differ hardly at all from the Right. Few on the Left question our basic economic arrangements; tearing down our social foundations has been their core program.
Barack Obama is the most left-wing president ever on social justice, yet he is a darling of Wall Street. Hillary Clinton, despite her belated interest in social issues, is deeply enmeshed in high finance and will never challenge it. Thus Bernie Sanders, who is an amalgam of Old and New Left, is treated like an atavism by mainstream liberals when he opens the economics can of worms.
It’s all enough to make the few traditional leftists among us want to pull their hair out. The broad alliance of cultural Left and corporate Right, which questions none of our economics, has triumphed in our politics — or at least had until Donald Trump came along to question “settled” issues such as mass, often illegal, immigration. The cultural Left favors this because it gradually dissolves the traditional culture, which they despise, while the corporate Right favors it for the cheap labor. Postmodern capitalism is at least as revolutionary a force as anything cooked up by any Marxist, as well as something any Social Justice Warrior can live with.
For more than a generation we have sorely lacked mainstream contributions from social democrats who seek to make our society better, not destroy it. There ought to be no illusions about what the cultural Left seeks: a full revolution of our society and its history, which they see as benighted by irredeemable racism, sexism, and Old Think. Their opponents are objectively evil and on the“wrong side of history,” as Obama himself has assured us, and they must disappear. “Error has no rights,” the mid-nineteenth-century Vatican formulation, has oddly been adapted by our postmodern Left.
As communists once predicted the state itself would wither away, resulting in complete human freedom and progress, the New Left expects that all traditional societal arrangements will wither away, thereby allowing full human freedom and progress. One offered discipline and order and sometimes gulags; the other offers sexual liberty, anti-racism, and iPhones.
Both these beliefs are illusions, and dangerous ones, rooted in a Marxist sense of “knowing” where history is going. The working class was once revered by leftists as uniquely virtuous, while for the New Left that vanguard role is played by minorities sexual and racial, who are allegedly untainted by the dominant group. The essential willingness to ignore inconvenient truths remains the same.
Let us give the Old Left, particularly its social democratic guise, credit that they did not seek the extirpation of our whole society and culture, but instead its transformation. What the New Left today fights for is far more revolutionary and utopian. A Europe that seeks a future where actual Europeans are a dying remnant, replaced by more vigorous immigrants, is but one manifestation of this worldview.
Leftists once heartily sang the “Internationale,” which promised “This is the final struggle” (C’est la lutte finale). Communists were quite wrong about that. History has moved on and left them behind everywhere but Cuba, North Korea, and Western universities. Yet their social-justice descendants believe the same thing, with a different favored fantasy class.
They will be proved wrong, too. The Corbyn vision has no future to offer most Britons. It would be incomprehensible to generations of Labour patriots who fought for Britain, her values, and her allies. The only question is how much damage to what is left of the West will be inflicted before the New Left is vanquished, too.
I wish I could share his optimism that the New Left will be vanquished (in the foreseeable future).
And what I miss in the essay is any reference to the human misery that “traditional leftism” of the redder kind has caused wherever it has had power to cause it. Of course, his focus is on the British Left, which was never – until now? – as red as all that.
I dislike his implication that collectivism (aka Leftism) of his favored – or any – kind is a valid recipe for improving what Leftists have called “the human condition”.
But I applaud his recognition that the New Left “seeks the extirpation of our whole society and culture”, and that he deplores that terrible aim.
If only he could also see that it is logically, even necessarily, derived from the old socialist collectivist thinking to which he remains faithful!
Jillian Becker September 18, 2015