Obama has sent a message to Iran that the best way to secure a deal is by wrapping it in an American hostage. He has told ISIS that we do negotiate with terrorists. And he has once again demonstrated that his vaunted “smart power” is nothing more than appeasement wrapped in excuses and lies.
We quote Daniel Greenfield writing at Front Page about President Obama’s decision to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba:
Carter couldn’t save the Soviet Union, but he did his best to save Castro, visiting Fidel and Raul in Cuba where the second worst president in American history described his meeting with Castro as a greeting among “old friends”.
Raul Castro called Carter “the best of all U.S. presidents”.
Obama’s dirty deal with Raul will make the worst president in American history, Castro’s new best friend.
Carter couldn’t save Castro, but Obama did. This was not a prisoner exchange. This was a Communist bailout.
Obama boasted that he would increase the flow of money to Cuba from businesses, from bank accounts and from trade. When he said, “We’re significantly increasing the amount of money that can be sent to Cuba”, that was his real mission statement.
The Castro regime is on its last legs. Its sponsors in Moscow and Caracas are going bankrupt due to failing energy prices. The last hope of the Butcher of Havana was a bailout from Washington D.C.
And that’s exactly what Obama gave him.
Obama has protected the Castros from regime change as if Communist dictators are an endangered species. …
Obama began his Castro speech with a lie, declaring, “The United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.”
The Cuban people have no relationship with the United States because they have no free elections and no say in how they are governed. The only Cubans who have a relationship with the United States fled here on rafts.
Obama did not make his dirty deal with the Cuban people. He made it in a marathon phone call with the Cuban dictator.
When Obama claims that his deal with Raul Castro represents a new relationship with the people of Cuba, he is endorsing a Communist dictatorship as the legitimate representative of the Cuban people.
This is a retroactive endorsement of the Castro regime and its entire history of mass murder and political terror. Obama is not trying to “open up” Cuba as he claimed. He likes Cuba just the way it is; Communist and closed.
Obama did not consult the Cuban people, just as he did not consult the American people. He disregarded the embargo, Congress, the Constitution and the freedom of the Cuban people.
His dictatorial disregard of the embargo, which can only be eliminated by Congress, in order to support a dictatorship, is a disturbing reminder that the road he is walking down leads to a miserable tyranny.
Cuban-American senators from both parties have been unanimous in condemning the move. These senators are the closest thing to Cuban elected officials. But Obama disregarded Senator Menendez, a man of his own party, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz.
Instead Obama chose to stand with Raul Castro and his Communist dictatorship.
Obama tried to whitewash his crime by exploiting Alan Gross, a USAID contractor who was imprisoned and abused by the Castro regime, as if the release of an American hostage justified helping the men holding him hostage stay in power. And the media, which was reprinting Castro’s propaganda claiming that Gross’ imprisonment was justified, is busy now pretending that it cares about his release. …
The blood money pouring out of American banks into the Castro regime will encourage other dictatorships to take Americans hostage as leverage for obtaining concessions from the United States. Americans abroad will suffer for Obama’s dirty deal.
No European country recognized ISIS in exchange for the release of hostages. Only Obama was willing to go that far with Cuba, not only opening diplomatic and economic relations, but promising to remove the Communist dictatorship from the list of state sponsors of terror despite the fact that the last State Department review found that Cuba continued to support the leftist narco-terrorists of FARC [The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia].
FARC had taken its own American hostages who were starved and beaten, tortured and abused.
Now Obama has given in to the demand of a state sponsor of terror to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in exchange for releasing a hostage. …
But Obama did not act to help Alan Gross. He did not even act because he genuinely thought that diplomatic relations would open up Cuba. In his speech, Obama used the claim commonly put forward by Castro apologists that the very fact that the Castros were still in power proved that sanctions had failed. Yet the lack of sanctions against Cuba by the rest of the world certainly did not usher in the new spirit of openness that Obama is promising.
Rewarding dictators with cash never frees a nation.
This embrace by Obama of the Communist totalitarians who rule Cuba was always on the cards, from the moment he was elected. Obama was raised to be a Communist. It’s plain to all but those who will not see that he likes Communism.
Obama is speeding up action on his agenda, to implement as much of it as he can while he is still in power. Over the next two years, unless Congress and the Supreme Court find ways to stop him, he will continue to prop up Communist regimes; advance the Islamic jihad; facilitate the annihilation of Israel; change the demographics of the United States by bringing in millions of uneducated proletarians from Latin America; and dissolve the borders of the country he was elected to defend.
All this is in accordance with well established Leftist doctrine. The ultimate aim is the abolition of the nation-state and the establishment of world Communist government.
Every day the evidence that America elected its own worst enemy to lead it mounts up. And still most Americans refuse to see it.
Today is the centennial anniversary of the start of the First World War. On 28 July, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian army fired the first shots, to crush rebellious Serbia. What happened then, and why, is traced in this video.
Blame is laid on the growth of nationalism, and even more on imperialism – the acquisition of colonies by the powers of Europe on other continents, in fierce competition with each other, Britain being far and away the winner. The fact that at least some empires, chiefly the British, brought incalculable benefits to the lands they conquered, colonized and ruled, is touched on briefly; in our view, too briefly.
We think it is an overview worth watching, though there are points where we would place a different emphasis.
We agree with the presenters that the day World War One broke out was the day Europe began its terminal decline.
UN watch 4
July 23, 2014. The United Nations holds an emergency session on the battle in Gaza as the Israeli Defense Force destroys the invasion-tunnels and rocket bases of the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas.
Delegates from countries that specialize in mass murder, such as Sudan, Syria, Cuba, and Iran, accuse Israel of “war crimes”. Most of the rest of the world’s delegates are on the terrorists’ side too.
A lone voice defends Israel, and accuses its accusers. It is the voice of Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
The United Nations must be destroyed.
We think that capitalism is practically synonymous with civilization.
But we cannot escape noticing that many a successful and powerful capitalist casts his vote, bestows his money, and expends his energy to sabotage the system by which he has become rich and powerful.
A case in point: the president of the US Chamber of Commerce recently visited Cuba, a graveyard of freedom and prosperity, and gave comfort to the communist regime by telling it that he was all for investing in it. Is he unaware that past “investment” in Cuba enriched no one but the dictators? He surely is. What can be deduced about him then? Is he crazy? Not clinically. Does he like communism? That would make no sense. What then?
Our preferred source of information and comment on Stalinist Cuba is Humberto Fontova, who writes about this:
US Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue … as a guest of Cuba’s Stalinist regime … gives a speech at the University of Havana …
“For years, the US Chamber of Commerce has demanded that our government eliminate the commercial embargo on Cuba. It’s time for a new approach,” proclaimed Donohue this week to an ovation from communist apparatchiks, some who in 1960 stormed into almost 6000 U.S. owned businesses (worth almost $2 billion at the time) and stole them all …
The Inter-American Law Review classifies Castro’s mass burglary of U.S. property as “the largest uncompensated taking of American property by a foreign government in history”. Rubbing his hands and snickering in triumphant glee, Castro boasted at maximum volume to the entire world that he was freeing Cuba from “Yankee economic slavery”! (Che Guevara’s term, actually) and that “he would never repay a penny”.
This is the only promise Fidel Castro has ever kept in his life. Hence the imposition of the Cuba embargo, not that you’d know any of this from the mainstream media, much less from Thomas Donohue.
The burglarized (and often brutalized) American owners filed those property claims against Castro’s regime with the US government. They’re worth $7 billion today – and must be settled before the so called embargo is lifted. This settlement provision for lifting the embargo was codified into U.S. law in 1996 by the Helms-Burton act, which means only Congress can lift the embargo, obviously after a vote. But the votes are not there.
Shouldn’t the President of an outfit like the US Chamber of Commerce be aware of this? Or is Donohue calling for more of Obama’s “executive overreach”?
“The reforms under Raul Castro’s government demonstrate that Cuban leaders understand that direct economic investment can be a powerful tool for economic development,” proclaimed Donahue to another ovation from his communist audience.
Oh, Cuba’s Stalinist kleptocracy understands this alright. But this “economic development” via foreign investment exclusively benefits the tiny Stalinist nomenklatura that has run Cuba since 1959 — and enthusiastically hosted Thomas Donahue this week. All foreign trade with “Cuba” is still conducted exclusively with the Stalinist regime — no exceptions. In fact private property rights still do not exist in Cuba, much less an independent judiciary and the rule of law.
According to figures from the US Department of Commerce, the US has transacted almost $4 billion in trade with Cuba over the past decade. Up until four years ago, the US served as Stalinist Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. We’ve fallen a few notches recently but we’re still in the top half.
For over a decade the so-called US embargo, so disparaged by Thomas Donahue, has mostly stipulated that Castro’s Stalinist regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products … And that’s the catch with Donahue’s gracious hosts. They’re desperate to abolish that provision.
Enacted by the Bush team in 2001, this cash-up-front policy has been monumentally beneficial to US taxpayers, making them among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by the Castro regime … [Cuba] per capita-wise qualifies as the world’s biggest debtor nation, with a foreign debt estimated at $50 billion, a credit rating nudging Somalia’s and an uninterrupted record of defaults. … Just this year the Russians wrote off almost $30 billion Castro still owed them.
Regarding the disconnect seen above between historic truth and Castroite propaganda, what we have here, amigos, is not a “failure to communicate”. Instead it’s perfect communication – between Castro’s propaganda ministry and the US media (and “business leaders”) to whom they issue press bureaus and visas, after careful vetting. These latter amply live up to their side of the bargain, “reporting” exactly what Castro wants them to report. …
One fine morning in February 2009 the Castro brothers woke up and decided to freeze $1 billion that 600 foreign companies kept in Cuban bank accounts. Another fine morning in April 2012 the Cuban regime arrested the top officers of Britain-based Coral Capital that had invested $75 million in the Castro brothers’ fiefdom and was planning four and luxurious golf resorts. These hapless (greedy, unprincipled and stupid, actually) businessmen find themselves with no more recourse to law than the millions of Cubans and Americans who had their businesses and savings stolen en masse in August of 1960 by Castro’s gunmen.
So not even the well-informed and enlightening Humberto Fontova casts light on the mysterious motivation of Mr Donahue and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The same Mr Thomas Donahue and his Chamber of Commerce support amnesty for illegals.
Investor’s Business Daily asks why:
Across Lafayette Park, facing the White House, sits an imposing stone structure, framed by ornate Corinthian columns and comprising a significant chunk of a full city block. It is home to the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, the historic bastion of American business and industry.
Since its founding slightly more than a century ago, the chamber has engaged in countless issues from keeping unions in check to job training and tax reform.
But increasingly, the chamber is straying from its original principles, and there is no greater example than its supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The national chamber is one of the nation’s loudest advocates for amnesty for people who broke the law entering the U.S.
Chamber President Tom Donohue even went so far as to warn the Republican Party on May 12 not to bother running a candidate for president in 2016 absent support from the congressional GOP for immigration “reform”, a term that has become synonymous with amnesty in recent months. …
The conventional wisdom is that business wants cheap labor. It’s a cynical argument but one that contains a grain of logic, and cheap labor would certainly be one of the byproducts of amnesty.
But if that’s an insufficient answer, what is the full explanation?
IBD does not know. “The future economic and political fallout of amnesty”, it argues, can only be bad for business and industry.
Bigger government, unsustainable federal spending, a growing welfare state and an electorate to perpetuate it hold the potential to doom the free-market system that the chamber has historically encouraged.
Amnesty would be a disaster for the federal budget. The taxpayer cost of amnesty for the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. is a staggering $6.3 trillion, according to a 2013 Heritage Foundation study. The group’s research shows that illegal immigrants are likely to receive three times more money in government benefits than they would pay in taxes.
How this level of government spending helps promote free-market commerce is baffling.
Amnesty would also be a disaster by growing the American welfare state. There are certainly some illegal immigrants in the U.S. who possess the education and skills to compete and advance in professional careers, but most do not. Census Bureau data show that the typical illegal immigrant is 34 years old, has a 10th-grade education and an annual income of less than $25,000. Amnesty would qualify millions of people for scores of means-tested welfare programs and would stretch welfare spending to the breaking point.
Less easily quantified is how amnesty would be a moral disaster. The idea of rewarding people for illegal behavior makes a mockery of the rule of law on which this nation was built.
President Obama makes a mockery of it anyway.
Rule of law is also a prerequisite for commerce on all levels; if one particular law or set of laws can be disregarded, any law can be disregarded. The erosion of the rule of law would create a chaotic environment in which commerce cannot be well conducted.
Some analysts have claimed that the only way the Republican Party can increase its share of the Hispanic and Latino vote is to support amnesty, a claim that further defies logic. Those who are legally eligible to vote did not break the law to come here. Amnesty for illegal immigrants would be a stunning insult to the men and women who played by the rules and entered the U.S. legally … For the GOP to believe that amnesty means victory at the ballot box is delusional.
It makes no sense for the US Chamber of Commerce to support such fatally flawed policy, yet it does, inexplicably so. … Amnesty is a very dangerous position for the chamber and one that would make the organization unrecognizable to the men who founded it.
Is it possible that Thomas Donahue is to the US Chamber of Commerce what Barack Obama is to the US – a leader into ruin?
On the question of why numbers of the most successful capitalists vote for the regulation of business and socialist redistribution (by voting Democratic), and positively encourage the survival of communist dictatorship, we invite readers to offer their theories.
We also invite opinion on the question of amnesty.
Ukraine is a far away country of which we know nothing, and Democrats and libertarians can see no reason why Americans should care if Russia swallows it.
But Americans need to take notice that Russia is also sniffing under the door of their homeland.
This is from Front Page by Joseph Klein.
Russia is also on the march far from its immediate neighborhood and much closer to the United States. According to Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, who discussed his concerns regarding the increased presence of Russia in Latin America at a Senate hearing earlier this month, there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel. It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced last month plans to build military bases in .. Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua …
Russia is already a major arms supplier to Venezuela, whose navy has conducted joint maneuvers with Russian ships. At least four Russian Navy ships visited Venezuela last August …
“Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers flew last October from an airbase in southwestern Russia and landed in Venezuela in routine exercise,” Russia’s Defense Ministry announced … “The nuclear-capable bombers, which took off from the Engels airbase in the Volga region, flew over the Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and along the southwestern coast of the North American continent, and landed at Maiquetia airfield in Venezuela.”
Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela, is so enamored of Putin that he expressed support last year for the Russian president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. During a visit to Moscow by Maduro last summer, Maduro and Putin reaffirmed, in Putin’s words, “their wish for continuing their course towards strategic cooperation in all sectors”.
Putin was the first Russian president to visit Cuba since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Pravda quoted Putin as declaring in 2012 that Russia gained the consent of the Cuban leadership to place “the latest mobile strategic nuclear missiles ‘Oak’ on the island”, supposedly as a brush back against U.S. actions to create a buffer zone near Russia.
Last month, according to a report by Fox News Latino, “the intelligence-gathering ship Viktor Leonov docked in Havana’s harbor without warning”. It was reportedly armed with 30mm guns and anti-aircraft missiles.
Left-wing Argentinian President Cristina Fernández is intent on forging closer relations with Russia, inviting Russia to invest in fuel projects. In return for Russia’s support of Argentina’s quest to annex the Falkland Islands, Fernández supported Putin’s grab of Crimea. Crimea “has always belonged to Russia,” she said, just as the Falkland Islands have “always belonged to Argentina”. …
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa praised Russia as a “great nation” during a visit to Moscow last October after Putin pledged to invest up to $1.5 billion into new domestic energy projects in Ecuador. Correa said Ecuador was also interested in buying Russian military equipment.
Brazil is planning to purchase short-to-medium-range surface-to-air Pantsir S1 missile batteries and Igla-S shoulder-held missiles from Russia. It has already bought 12 Mi-35 attack helicopters. This is all part of what Brazil views as a growing strategic relationship with Russia, as Brazil leads efforts to counter U.S. electronic surveillance that included alleged spying on Brazilian citizens. …
After Daniel Ortega, the leader of the Sandinista revolution, returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007, Russia and Nicaragua have moved in the direction of a strategic economic and military relationship. In October 2013, for example, Nicaragua and Russia signed a memorandum of international security cooperation. Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev noted during his visit to Nicaragua that “Nicaragua is an important partner and friend of Russia in Latin America,” pointing to the coincidence of views of the two countries’ authorities “on many issues”. For his part, Ortega said: “We are very grateful and very much appreciate the Russian people’s support of our country.” Ortega welcomed the arrival of two Russian strategic bombers Tupolev Tu-160. …
Nicaragua’s parliament has ratified a cabinet resolution allowing Russian military divisions, ships and aircraft to visit the republic during the first half of 2014 for experience sharing and training of military personnel … Furthermore, the parliament has approved the participation of Russian military personnel in joint patrols of the republic’s territorial waters in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean from January 1 through June 30, 2015.
Russia is also forging a closer relationship with El Salvador, which has been led by the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) that arose out of a left-wing guerrilla movement from the country’s 1979-1992 civil war. Leftist ex-guerrilla Sanchez Ceren has just won the presidential election. He can be expected to build on the Federal Law On Ratification of the Agreement on the Foundations of Relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of El Salvador, signed by Vladimir Putin in November 2012. It was the first interstate agreement between the two countries since they established diplomatic relations in 1992. In fact, given Ceren’s background – one of five top guerrilla commanders during the civil war that left 76,000 dead and over 12,000 missing – we can expect a more avowedly anti-U.S. government that will welcome Russia’s outstretched arms. After all, the FMLN leadership during the civil war described its own ideology as “Marxism-Leninism”.
Has Putin ever renounced the Marxist-Leninist ideology of the KGB, in which he served? He thinks the fall of the Soviet Union was a great tragedy, so the answer is “probably not”. But we guess that his main reason for regretting the passing of the USSR is that it was, or seemed to be for the greater part of some 70 years, a mighty power, and he is more concerned with extending Russian power again, recreating a Russian empire, than with the old failed Bolshevik ideology. South American leftist leaders may want to cozy up to Putin because they enjoy the Gemütlichkeit of a shared love of Communism, and he is obviously happy to have them hug him for any reason, but his motive in exploiting their sentimental friendship is to achieve imperial ends. He probably hates the fact that the West won the Cold War. He surely cannot hope to reverse that outcome. It would be an insane dream – if the US were not under the presidency of Barack Obama. Putin – and Iran, and China – can do a lot of damage to the world and the US in the three years left of Obama’s feeble leadership.
We are in principle against intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. But we are not for isolationism or pacifism – we regard either philosophy as a formula for national suicide. If other countries become belligerent, build up their armed strength, send their warships towards our shores, establish bases in countries on our borders, and declare their aggressive intentions towards us, the politics of those countries become our business. That is happening now. We are under threat – because Obama is deliberately weakening America. And his reaction to the result is to weaken America even more.
The conditions for major war develop much more easily when the U.S. is too weak. They are developing as we speak.
To a meaningful extent, the significant increase we’ve seen in unrest around the globe since 2010 has been made possible, and inevitable, by the retraction of American power. Even where we still have power in place, it has become increasingly obvious that we aren’t going to use it.
We quote from a website interestingly named Liberty Unyielding. The article on the extreme folly of the Obama administration’s moves to weaken America is by Commander Jennifer Dyer, now retired from the US navy. (Her own blog is at Theoptimisticconservative.wordpress.com):
The collapse of order in the Arab nations in 2011 was the first significant stage of the process. The perception that the United States would do nothing about a Hezbollah coup in Lebanon was tested in January of that year. The perception proved to be true, and when protests erupted in Tunisia and Egypt, for causes both natural and manufactured, a set of radical Islamist actors – the “establishment” Muslim Brotherhood, Sunni jihadists, Iran – saw an opportunity. The establishment Muslim Brotherhood has largely won out in Tunisia, but the battle still rages among these radical actors for Egypt, Syria, and now Iraq. Lebanon is being incrementally sucked into the maelstrom as well.
In multiple venues, Russia has watched the U.S. and the West effectively back Islamists in Russia’s “near abroad”: in Turkey (with support for the now struggling Erdogan government); in the Balkans, especially Bosnia and Kosovo; and in Syria. …
There was a time when the implicit determination of the U.S. to enforce the “Pax Americana” order – the post-World War II alignments of the region – held Russia in check. The Russians still derived some security benefit from that order, after all … It appears to me, however, that 2014 will be the year in which it becomes clear that, according to Russians’ perception, they no longer benefit from the old order. If we’re not going to enforce it, Russia will do what she thinks she has to.
In fact, Moscow’s pushback against the plan for Ukraine to affiliate with the EU constitutes just such a blow for perceived Russian interests. It is of supreme importance for Westerners to not misread the recent developments. The EU and the U.S. did back down when Russia pushed hard last fall. The only ones who didn’t back down were the Ukrainian opposition. I predict Vladimir Putin will try to handle the opposition factions cleverly, as much as he can, and avoid a pitched battle with them if possible. He respects what they are willing to do. But he has no reason to respect Brussels or Washington.
And that means he has more latitude, not less, for going after the regional props to the old order, one by one. As always, Russia’s inevitable competition with China is a major driver, along with Russia’s concern about Islamism on her southern border. The whole Great Crossroads – Southwest Asia, Southeast Europe, Northeast Africa, the waterways that snake through the region – is, if not up for grabs, at least in ferment. Look wherever you like: there are almost no nations where there is not a very present menace from radicalism, or where governments and even borders are not gravely imperiled by internal dissent.
Israel is the chief standout for politically sustainable stability and continuity. Romania and Turkey seem likely to at least retain their constitutional order in the foreseeable future, but Turkey’s geopolitical orientation, in particular, is less certain. Greece and Kosovo – even Bosnia – have serious internal problems. Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia all remain in crisis at various levels. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are relatively stable, and the Arab Persian Gulf states relatively so as well. But their neighborhood is going downhill fast. Iran is riding a wave of radical confidence, and the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan.
In this tumultuous region, it’s actually a little funny that Pakistan looks stable and staid compared to Iran, Afghanistan, and neighbors west. We can hope that Islamabad’s perceived need to maintain a symmetrical stance against India will keep Pakistan’s loose federation of intransigents federated, and the nukes under central control. But as we move across South Asia, we near another boiling pot. Thailand – long an American ally and pillar of stability in the region – has been rocked in recent months by national unrest of a kind not seen in Southeast Asia for decades. Islamist radicalism is a growing threat in Indonesia, and an unpacified one in the Philippines, after more than a decade of U.S.-Philippines collaboration in fighting it.
And, of course, China is making real, transformative moves against regional security with her proclamations about air space and maritime rights off her southeast coast.
This disruptive process, like the battles for many of the Arab nations, is already underway. We’re not waiting for something to happen; it’s started.
China assumes, quite correctly, that there will be no effective pushback from the United States. But two other nations with power and means will regard it as intolerable for China to dictate conditions in Southeast Asia: Japan and Russia. The dance of realignment among these nations has implications for everyone in Central Asia and the Far East. The day may be on the horizon sooner than we think when maintaining a divided Korea no longer makes sense to at least one of the major players. The day is already here when Chinese activities in Central Asia are alarming the whole neighborhood, just as Chinese actions are in the South China Sea. …
Russia and Iran are advancing on the US through Central America:
It’s no accident that as radical leftism creeps across Central America (falsely laying claim to a noble “Bolivarian” political mantle), the maritime dispute between Nicaragua and American ally Colombia heats up – and Russia shows up to back Nicaragua and Venezuela – and so does Iran – and unrest turns into shooting and government brutality and violence in Venezuela – and Hezbollah shows up there to openly support the radical, repressive Maduro government.
Now Iran has a naval supply ship headed for Central America, very possibly with a cargo of arms that are not only prohibited by UN sanction, but capable of reaching the United States if launched from a Central American nation or Cuba.
We’re not still waiting for the shocks to start to the old order. They’ve already started. I haven’t surveyed even the half of what there is to talk about …
She looks at the latest defense cuts with dismay and considers what the consequences will be:
This is the world in which the United States plans to reduce our army to its lowest level since before World War II, and eliminate or put in storage much of its capabilities for heavy operations abroad (e.g., getting rid of the A-10 Warthogs, moving Blackhawk helicopters into the National Guard). It’s in this world that DOD proposes to cease operating half of our Navy cruisers, while delaying delivery of the carrier-based F-35 strike-fighter to the Navy and Marine Corps. These cutbacks come on top of cuts already made to training and maintenance expenditures in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force that will affect unit readiness for years to come. …
Then comes what should be a shocking observation:
By cutting back on defense so drastically, America is deciding, in essence, to “fight fair”: to give whatever opponents emerge more of a chance to kill our soldiers, damage our interests, and drag out conflicts. …
That would be hard to believe of any American leadership – until now. It is ludicrous. Worse, it is lunatic. But Obama has never concealed or disguised his wish to weaken America’s military capacity.
The decision “to further limit our capabilities to use power in politically relevant ways” will result in “even more global unrest: more conflict, more shooting, more blood, more extortion and political thuggery menacing civil life in the world’s poorer and more vulnerable nations”, and that cannot be good for America. The point is that -
These unpleasant trends will spill over into civil life in the wealthier nations soon enough …
As it has, she points out, in Ukraine, Thailand, and Venezuela, “whether directly or through second-order consequences”.
Peace and freedom have to be tended constantly; they are not the natural state of geopolitical indiscipline, but its antithesis. …
We’re extraordinarily unprepared for the world that is shaping up around us. …
[And] a world that doesn’t want quiescent trade conditions, tolerance of dissent, the open flow of ideas, and mutual agreements, peacefully arrived at, will not have them.
That’s the world we are sentencing ourselves, for now, to live in. Perhaps we will learn from the consequences how to think again: about what it takes to guard freedom, and indeed, about what freedom actually is.
It is Obama who needs to think again, but there is no reason to hope that he will. It could hardly be more obvious that he does not care for freedom.
There’s nothing serious in mortality. All is but toys. Renown and grace are dead.
- Shakespeare, Macbeth Act ii, scene 3
We are not prudes or puritans. If Barry Obama wants to play the fool in his private life, it is nothing to us. But the presidency of the United States is an office which should be held with dignity. President Obama (a combination of words that never ceases to astonish us) fails in that duty.
This account of how he behaved at the Mandela memorial in Johannesburg may be a little too lurid, but it errs if at all in the right direction.
From the New York Post, by Andrea Peyser:
The president of the United States, leader of the free world, standard-bearer for everything upright, good and wholesome about the nation he leads, lost his morality, his dignity and his mind, using the solemn occasion of Nelson Mandela’s memorial service … to act like a hormone-ravaged frat boy on a road trip to a strip bar.
In front of 91 world leaders, the mourning nation of South Africa and Obama’s clearly furious wife, Michelle, the president flirted, giggled, whispered like a recalcitrant child and made a damn fool of himself at first sight of Denmark’s voluptuously curvy and married prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Not to be outdone by the president’s bad behavior, the Danish hellcat hiked up her skirt to expose long Scandinavian legs covered by nothing more substantial than sheer black stockings.
With Michelle glowering, the world judging and mental fidelity floating into the abyss, the president leaned into the air space of the cross-legged Danish cupcake, who is known in Copenhagen as a fan of America’s randy TV show “Sex and the City.’’ It was the memorial equivalent of a bodice-ripper.
Thorning-Schmidt placed her hands dangerously close to Obama’s side. The president’s cackling head moved inches from the Danish tart’s and yards away from his wife’s. Obama then proceeded to absorb body heat from the Dane, which he won’t be feeling at home for a long time.
This wasn’t a key party. This was a service that filled an entire Johannesburg soccer stadium for Mandela …
Actually, it didn’t fill the stadium. The attendance was poor. But that’s beside the point of this article.
It was unseemly.
Michelle frowned and looked as if she wanted to spit acid at the man she married, a good-time guy who humiliated her in front of their friends, the world and a blonde bimbo who hadn’t the sense to cover up and keep it clean.
Finally, Obama posed for an iPhone selfie with the Danish hottie and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Only after the damaging photo eruption did Obama get hold of himself and regain a dim memory of his marriage vows. He finally straightened his face and moved away from the gentle gams of the Danish object of his desire.
He leaned nearer to Michelle, who clearly wasn’t having any of her husband.
Perhaps at his wife’s insistence, he switched seats with her.
On Wednesday, Thorning-Schmidt saw nothing wrong with the public display of middle-aged lust. One Danish Facebook user called the antics of a president of 52 and a prime minister of 46 “frivolous and disrespectful”. Another said it was “extremely inappropriate and embarrassing”.
But Thorning-Schmidt attempted to laugh off the whole thing, saying, “It was not inappropriate.’’ Not inappropriate?
Pairing a black suit and blue tie is not inappropriate. Giving your wife grounds for divorce might be seen as otherwise.
But people won’t soon forget the escapades of the people whose salaries they pay.
President Obama has some explaining to do. To the woman he married. To his daughters. To the people of South Africa. And to the scandalized folks here at home.
He owes the world an apology.
Are the folks here at home scandalized? Not all Americans seem to have been scandalized by Obama’s lies about the murderous attack in Benghazi, the Fast and Furious gun-running, the persecution of conservatives by the IRS and of journalists by the Department of Justice, the embracing of Iran, the false promises made for Obamacare. But maybe a giggling flirtation by the President at a state mourning ceremony will evoke national condemnation. We wait to see.
That stupidity will certainly shake the pillars of US prestige throughout the world.
All four pictures copied, with gratitude, from Front Page.
See also our post of June 11, 2013, Our need for idols: observations on Mandela and Gandhi.
Today being the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, there will be many a paean of praise for him ringing through the land.
Though we deplore his assassination – most probably by the Communist arrested for the crime – we have found little to admire about JFK.
Which is why we were quite pleased to find this unenthusiastic review of his presidency and unflattering estimation of his character by Derek Hunter, who writes (in part) at Townhall:
President Kennedy remains popular with journalists and historians, but was not a popular president with the American people at the time. His re-election in 1964 was not certain. It was, in fact, a long shot at the time of his murder.
His presidency was, for the most part, a non-event. The Bay of Pigs was a fiasco, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought us to the brink of nuclear war, cost us missiles in Turkey and doomed Cuba to the underside of the Fidel Castro’s boot to this day.
On civil rights, something for which President Kennedy receives much credit and praise, he did little more than pay lip service to the concept. My friend and a host of the C4 Show … Clarence Mitchell IV, whose grandfather was Clarence Mitchell Jr., the chief lobbyist for the NAACP during the Kennedy years, tells me, “My grandfather always said President Kennedy, at the insistence of his brother Bobby, was not a champion of civil rights, that he was actually an obstacle. He kept things slow because he wanted the support of southern Democrats. It wasn’t about right and wrong with them, it was about what would get them the most votes.”
President Kennedy is given credit for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but he had little to do with it aside from having spoken on the subject a few times. In fact, C4 tells me that in August of 1963 there was a “big meeting” of civil rights leaders at the White House with the Kennedy brothers because there was talk that they might not endorse JFK’s reelection. They were promised what politicians always promise voting blocs they’re stringing along – action after the election. Tragedy intervened, so we’ll never know what he might have done, but we do know what he did do and that wasn’t much at all.
In fact, it seems nearly every positive development of that era is somehow credited to JFK – even those he had little to nothing to do with. It’s just been credited to him, or imposed on him, as part of the myth-making surrounding “Camelot.”
President Kennedy was a great orator and a master at public relations. He also had a press corps that adored him, thus insulating him from reality in the annals of history. (Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it?)
The “Camelot” legend was myth, constructed to obscure the reality of a despicable man elected through fraud and an unholy alliance with the mafia in Chicago.
The real John F. Kennedy was a womanizing misogynist, a spoiled brat who ran for the U.S. Senate for lack of anything else to do and to feed his controlling [pro-Nazi] father’s ego. Just eight years and very few accomplishments later, he sought the presidency for much the same reason.
He was a reckless man, sleeping with interns, girlfriends of mafia bosses, Russian spies and seemingly anyone else willing. He took his job seriously enough, but in perhaps the most blatant act of corruption since Teapot Dome, appointed his own brother Attorney General of the United States. Kennedys are loyal to Kennedys first; there is no second. The idea that Robert Kennedy could be trusted to, if called for, investigate possible corrupt actions of President Kennedy is laughable.
After his tragic assassination, the Kennedy myth-making started and hasn’t stopped. It started with the coaching of 3-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. to salute his father’s coffin for the cameras as the procession passed, and it continues to this day. Even his gravesite is a testament to that myth.
President Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and rightfully so. He did serve our country with honor in World War II. But real estate at Arlington is at a premium, with our heroes buried in close proximity to each other to accommodate all who deserve it. Yet the JFK gravesite sits alone in a large otherwise-vacant plot. I don’t begrudge him the eternal flame – though that seems a bit much. But his wife is buried next to him in spite of remarrying, and his brother, Robert, is buried there too, even though he did not serve in the military.
This “devout Catholic” family exemplifies hypocrisy on every level – from their bootlegging beginnings to their philandering lifestyle, there is very little about their legend that stands up to even the most cursory of scrutiny. Despite this fact, hours of television time, gallons of ink and gigabytes of web-space will be dedicated to how extraordinary JFK was, how they all were.
It’s simply not true.
We have little argument with all that. (But if they were not actually devout Catholics – and who can know? – it would be one thing in their favor in our eyes.)
For the rest, we would only comment that JFK and his brother Bobby were extraordinary of course as men of power. They are historical figures. But neither of them had an extraordinary mind, and neither left any great gifts to the world.
Steve Chapman writes (also at Townhall) that Kennedy …
… led people to imagine that their government had the boundless capacity to improve the world, and on the day he died, they could still believe that.
His administration and that of his vice president and successor Lyndon B. Johnson are significant in the same way: They represent the pinnacle of ambitious, visionary government. What each president lacked was a sober sense of the limits of what it could do, at home or abroad. …
Kennedy came into office having roused unrealistic expectations. …
His inaugural address did nothing to dampen the mood. It cast the United States not just as the defender of its own security and freedom, but as guarantor for the entire planet. Kennedy declared that “we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty (emphasis added).”
In case that promise did not seem sufficiently grandiose, he added, “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”
Kennedy gave the highest priority to the foreign arena. But Johnson’s domestic program grew out of initiatives begun by JFK. And LBJ was no more inclined to restrain his rhetoric.
He extolled his social welfare plan as though he were describing paradise: “The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. … It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community … beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor.”
Neither president paused to consider whether and how the clumsy tools of government could actually fulfill these dreams. Kennedy took the first steps into a war in Vietnam – which proved that supporting friends did not assure the success of liberty and that there were some burdens Americans would not bear.
When Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, he proclaimed that it represented nothing less than “a commitment to eradicate poverty. … Like many Great Society programs, it did not live up to its billing. …
JFK and LBJ set out to prove how much the U.S. government could accomplish at home and abroad, a mission that endeared them to those who believe in the promiscuous use of power.
They ended up proving how much it could not accomplish, and how little extravagance can buy.
They may have proved it, but new generations of believers in the promiscuous use of power have arisen and take no heed of the lesson. Obama is proving it all over again, disastrously. But will the believers in the state as an ever-flowing fountain of money, and the president as an all-wise all-good father, ever learn it?
“Stalin was a banner of creativity, of humanism and an edifying picture of peace and heroism!” declared Salvador Allende during a eulogy in 1953 to the Soviet mass-murderer.
Allende became the Communist president of Chile in November 1970. Fortunately, he was thrown out of power on September 9, 1973.
Now the triumph of capitalist Chile needs to be celebrated, and its economic ways emulated throughout the world.
This is from Investor’s Business Daily, by Monica Showalter:
By the looks of the bright, shiny Chilean capital, where it’s possible to shop at Starbucks, H&M or Banana Republic, dine at globally ranked restaurants … or marvel at the world-class architectural engineering of the continent’s tallest skyscrapers that escaped Chile’s 2010 8.8-scale earthquake unscathed, it’s hard to believe that 40 years earlier Chile was a tottering democracy in ruins, well on its way to becoming a Soviet-Cuban satellite.
The country changed course by a legislatively ordered military coup in 1973, which to this day remains globally reviled as if it were a destruction of democracy that came out of a vacuum. …
But the hard fact is, the military action led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet on Sept. 11, 1973, effectively turned back the global ambitions of an emboldened Moscow-Havana communist axis, which sought to take over South America as an enfeebled U.S reeled from the Vietnam War.
That strategy was to create a sort of “red sandwich” on the South American continent, with Cuba in the northeast and Chile in the southwest, and both sides training terrorists and revolutionaries to move inward and northward until they could reach the final prize: Mexico.
Pinochet turned it back … He [eventually] stepped down as promised …
Yet, instead of being seen as a hero who saved his country from a totalitarian fate, both the global and Chilean establishment, taking their propaganda cues from an embittered Cuba, continue to paint Pinochet as a villain and his action to save his country as a tragedy.
In reality, Pinochet was, as historian Paul Johnson noted, “the most misunderstood man of the 20th century”.
See, Chile’s story might not have ended in skyscrapers, OECD membership, a per capita income of more than $18,000, the region’s highest transparency, lowest infant mortality, least corruption and negative net debt had Pinochet just sat there and held the fort. And even that would have been a huge improvement over communism.
But besides blowing out a communist beachhead, Pinochet instituted the world’s first genuine free-market reforms. They effectively transformed his country from a messy Latin American semi-democracy into a first-world country with a booming economy.
Years before Reagan and Thatcher began their earth-shaking revolutions, which finished off communism as a cause and put even leftist politicians on the defensive around the world, Pinochet turned his nation’s fiscal matters over to a group of young economists trained by Milton Friedman.
Known as “Los Chicago Boys”, they had the decree powers of a military regime but the ideas of free markets. Using both, they effectively privatized state-owned industries, broke up crony capitalist cartels, enacted airtight property rights, cut red tape, opened Chile’s markets to the world — bringing its wines, seafood, fruits, timber, copper and, now, high-tech to the West in quantities never before seen — reformed social security, and, after a few miscues, restored the integrity of the country’s currency, credit rating and fiscal discipline.
What’s more, their reforms stuck, even as the country continued to re-elect socialist governments, because the institutions were so strong and the culture of ownership was so great. …
The left’s effort to revile Pinochet out of all proportion to the crimes of the era — while excusing the far more severe crimes of Cuba’s Castro and the Nicaraguan Sandinistas — ultimately amounts to an angry left’s effort to discredit Pinochet’s most lasting legacy: the free market revolution.
And this is from Townhall, by Humberto Fontova (also quoted at the top of this post):
On September 11, 1973 the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet slapped Fidel Castro so smartly that his Stalinist regime (and its dutiful U.S. Media minions) are still sniveling and sniffling and wiping away tears of shock, pain and humiliation.
We feel your happiness, Humberto!
True to form, The New York Times leads the sniveling. They just published an article decrying the Chilean “tragedy” (i.e. Chile saving itself from Castroism with a military coup and is today the richest and freest nation in Latin America.) The article’s author Ariel Dorfman is a former advisor to Chile’s Marxist president and Castro acolyte Salvador Allende. …
“Without the help of the New York Times, the Revolution in Cuba would never have been,” … beamed Fidel Castro during a visit to the New York Times offices in April 1959 to decorate their star Latin America reporter with a newly-minted Cuban medal.
“We’re following the example of the Cuban Revolution and counting on the support of her militant internationalism represented by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara!” boasted Chilean president Salvador Allende’s minister Carlos Altamirano in January 1971. “Armed conflict in continental terms remains as relevant today as ever!” he declared.
And he wasn’t bluffing. By the time of Pinochet’s coup, an estimated 31,000 Cuban and Soviet bloc operatives and terrorists infested Chile …
By 1973, 60% of Chile’s arable land had been stolen by Allende’s Marxist regime, often with the aid of Cuba-trained death squads. “In the final analysis only armed conflict will decide who is the victor!” added Allende’s governmental ally, Oscar Guillermo Garreton. “The class struggle always entails armed conflict. Understand me, the global strategy is always accomplished through arms!”…
Then, in September 1973, the military, led by General Pinochet, made a strike with arms against Allende. It was a successful coup d’etat. Allende committed suicide. Pinochet came to power.
Although he had acted with arms, and although he took tyrannical actions against his enemies, the Left did not think he was “a banner of creativity, of humanism and an edifying picture of peace and heroism.” Perhaps because those tyrannical actions of his were not remotely on the same scale as Stalin’s.
Allende and Castro’s media minions claim 3000 people were “disappeared” during this anti-Communist coup and its aftermath, collateral damage and all. Well, even if we accept the Castroite figure, compared to the death-toll from our interventions/ bombing- campaigns in the Mid-East (that have yet to create a single free, peaceful and prosperous nation) Pinochet’s coup should be enshrined and studied at West Point, Georgetown and John Hopkins as the paradigm for effective “regime–change” and “nation-building.” Granted, Pinochet had much better raw-material to work with.
But the Castroite –MSM figure is mostly bogus, as many of those “disappeared” kept appearing, usually behind the iron curtain.
More importantly, Pinochet and his plotters were scrupulous in keeping U.S. State Dept. and CIA “nation-builders” and other such egghead busybodies out of their plotting loop. (This probably explains Pinochet’s success.) Then two years after the coup they invited Milton Freidman and his “Chicago Boys” over for some economic tutelage. And as mentioned: today Chile is the freest and richest nation in Latin America.