Even while the Cold War was on, and not just in hindsight, the chances of a nuclear war between the West and Soviet Russia never seemed very high. The possibility of it never seemed critical enough to stir up intense or widespread fear. Not even when thousands of peace protestors marched on the streets of Europe’s capitals (at least some of them being perfectly aware of, and cynically indifferent to the fact that their movement was funded by the Soviets in hope of panicking the West into unilateral disarmament) did many people in the West seriously think – or at least show signs of thinking – that mankind was really in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the earth.
But if Iran becomes a nuclear power – which it will because Obama is letting it – the case will be very different.
Fear of “mutually assured destruction” may have had something to do with the Soviets’ restraint. The ayatollahs who rule Iran will not be restrained by that fear. They love death as we love life. Because death will translate them to a brothel in the sky.
So now the possibility of nuclear war is high. Would it be unreasonable if there were to be intense and widespread fear of it? Or if people in the West at least began to think that we are in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the earth?
No, not unreasonable. So why aren’t they? Because nuclear armageddon is not yet looming so large as to terrify us.
Before that happens other smaller wars will rage on. America might be singed by them but not devastated.
There’ll be no panic until the Iranians actually deliver their first uranium or plutonium bomb.
Yet there have already been irreversible changes, and the human race is in more danger now from human causes than ever before. Largely because of the ideology-driven policies of the Obama presidency.
J. E. Dyer writes (in part) at Liberty Unyielding:
The Iranian nuclear program is just one of several problems that are working together to destabilize our world, and throw it into – quite possibly – the gravest danger mankind has ever seen.
Even aside from her nuclear program, revolutionary Iran is backing insurgencies and radical clients around the Middle East (like the Houthi insurgency that just pulled off a coup in Yemen). The problem of radical Islamism is coming to a head with the vicious, bloody state-Islamism of ISIS, but also with tribal and Islamist-factional insurgencies elsewhere (Libya, Nigeria), and the collapse of century-old nation-states. Borders are being rendered meaningless. Huge tracts of territory are being taken over by opportunists, who bring no popular charter from anyone, but only a fanatical willingness to slaughter.
Russia, meanwhile … has already invaded Ukraine, something that would have been unthinkable ten years ago. China is imposing a veto on other nations’ economic and maritime activity in the South China Sea – a Chinese aggression against a core U.S. security principle that the world, until only a few years ago, expected American power to deter. Both Asian giants have bigger plans, which everyone can foresee, and there is no longer an American-led consortium with the preparedness and capability to stop them.
In fact, Russia and China are both modernizing their militaries and developing new strategic weapons as rapidly as they can, while the United States is losing ground with our strategic (as well as conventional) arsenal, and doing nothing about it.
Our fast-declining military advantage is one reason our power no longer carries the import it once did. But the more significant point here is that our legacy of power is now being turned against us. America is still the leader of the status quo pack: the nations that aren’t looking to shift borders, remake the map, create economic dependencies abroad, or establish a caliphate. And that leadership, particularly in the case of the Iranian nuclear program, is being leveraged to hold the status quo nations passive and inert while the radical actors do what they want.
Our president’s negotiating policy with Iran is worse than an obstacle to preventing an Iranian bomb. By fencing the “Iran problem” off and giving it time, Obama is actually aiding Iran in pursuing nuclear weapons. The main thing Iran needs is time, and Obama’s management of the P5+1 process gives her that.
Few if any of our highest-profile voices have found a way to make this plain, and articulate the implications. But the main implication – that in the crunch, Obama’s leadership will have to be actively disregarded, or we’re all sunk – is the one the nations in the most danger have to deal with. That’s their reality.
Israel is one of the nations facing this reality, but by no means the only one. Saudi Arabia, the other Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt; the nations bordering Libya and Nigeria; the nations of Eastern Europe; the neighbors in China’s sights in the Far East; the nations bordering the combined socialist and cartel-driven tumult in Central America – all face the same reality. Cooperating with Obama’s America under the old conventions can’t be a given for them, because it’s likely to actually do harm.
Just as important, to those who want to deter threats to American security, is that America herself needs to establish that Obama’s leadership is not what we are committed to. We vigorously disagree with giving Iran time to build a bomb. We have no intention of being held hostage to it.
We know there is a point, in general, at which the trend of policy is no longer disputable, but clearly weak and ineffective – even counterproductive, as with the Iranian nuclear program and the security of our own border. And we’ve reached that point.
The American people have to speak, as much as the other nations. That’s what’s going on with Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu. …
Having Netanyahu come speak to Congress is the way available to him of giving the American people a voice against the Obama policy on Iran. The same attempt is at work in the Iran-policy bills being pushed in the Senate. … [T]he untethered radicalism of the Obama approach – its violation of America’s own principles of power – is what they’re trying to hold in check.
The president is given primacy in foreign relations by the U.S. Constitution, and it is a very big step to posture against him. It’s not so big a step for a foreign leader to do so. His responsibility is to his people, not to a particular president of the United States, or to that president’s policies. The Obama administration does huff petulantly at the drop of a hat, and make it all personal, but the real point is that Netanyahu, or any other foreign leader, must look out for his country’s interests. [Prime Minister Netanyahu] knows that it’s in Israel’s interest to affirm her people’s iron-forged link with the American people, and to articulate what policies a true reckoning of that link would dictate in this hour. …
Boehner has made a big decision because America faces a problem of unprecedented dimension. The world is not what it was five years ago, and trying to maintain the same priorities would, in sober truth, be fatal.
Note; While we fully agree with Commander Dyer’s analysis and warning, we don’t ourselves use the term “Islamism”. The danger we are in comes from Islam, aided by the indulgence of the Obama administration.
Here’s Pat Condell again – as usual saying what few others dare to say.
This time he talks about Muslim anti-Semitism and how Europe is indifferent to it: truths that admirably offend multitudes of Muslims and Europeans.
He also accurately aims a dart at “progressive” Jews who madly cheer on their enemies.
(Hat-tip to our reader Stephen Stern)
Europe in general and France in particular have chosen to exchange loyal law-abiding highly productive Jewish populations – scientists, inventors, doctors, entrepreneurs, industrialists, writers and musicians – for welfare-dependent, violently law-breaking, Europe-hating Muslims. A crazy deal!
Jews are pouring out of Europe. Thousands have emigrated from France in the last few years, and the rate of emigration will now accelerate, while Muslims continue to arrive. They have taken over control of parts of the country, where they enforce their intolerant and cruel sharia law. They treat their women as slaves. Some obey orders from Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Last week in Paris, four al-Qaeda terrorists murdered journalists, cartoonists, and police officers, and shoppers in a Jewish supermarket; all in the name of their bloodthirsty god Allah.
Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin, who served as a US Military Attaché to Israel, writes at Gatestone:
A seemingly required inclusion in most [American] reports on the recent mass murder in Paris was the rhetorical question posed by reporters: “Will these events invite a wave of anti-Muslim incidents?” …
Under-reported, however, was how rapidly the assault against Charlie Hebdo migrated into an anti-Jewish mini-pogrom in the heart of Paris. What did shoppers in a kosher market, four of whom were slaughtered, have to do with the cartoon images of Mohammad? Nothing. But the assault on the HyperCacher Jewish kosher supermarket has a lot to do with the true nature of Islamic militancy.
It seems the drawings in Charlie Hebdo offended some true believers of Islam, but the mere existence of Jews also offends them. So, apparently, does the existence of Christians, Yazidis, Hindus, Ahmadiyyas; anyone considered a “disbeliever”, “infidel” or “not Muslim enough”; other Muslims, such as those blown up on the streets of Asia each week or the unfortunate Muslim policeman, Ahmed Merabet, wounded, then slaughtered at point blank range, on the sidewalk for not being “part of the plan”.
The Grand Mosque in Paris, like mosques all over the capital, was open for business on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer. Moreover, there was little discernible increased security around the Grand Mosque. It seems French security authorities were less worried about attacks directed at Muslim institutions than were America’s media commentators.
Perhaps [the American reporters] should have spent just a little time reporting on the anti-Jewish rioting that took place in the heavily Muslim neighborhood of Trappes, a suburb of Paris?
In reaction to the murders in Paris, the French capital’s Grand Synagogue was closed for the first time since World War II. In fact, synagogues all over Paris were closed. There were no Shabbat services this Saturday, the Jewish day of rest. The stores in the Marais, the Jewish section of Paris, were also shuttered. In light of all this, the expressed concern about possible anti-Muslim incidents, claims on television, such as on CNN, that “Muslims are the most persecuted people,” seemed jarring and wrong.
We of course do not think it a bad thing in itself when places of worship are closed. But as a symptom of the atmosphere of pogrom in Paris, the closing of the synagogues is ominous.
One cannot see how France can profit in the long run from its pro-Islam anti-Semitic policies. But do the indigenous French care what is happening to their nation? All Europe seems to be in a long-drawn-out suicidal death throe.
This is from Front Page, by Ari Lieberman:
It’s time that we finally admit it. The battle for Old Europe is over. The Gates of Vienna have finally been breached. Old Europe has been experiencing a tidal wave of violence and terror in recent years correlating to and in direct proportion with the growing influence of Muslims in the western part of the continent. [The] massacre in Paris by Muslims screaming “Allahuakbar” (what else?) represents a culmination of growing Muslim power and even dominance in France. Britain, Sweden, Belgium and the rest of the sorry lot are not too far behind. Today’s European Muslims have successfully accomplished what the Nazis could not accomplish in World War II. They have sown an irreversible dread into Europe and implanted a fascist-like Islamist seed that has taken firm root.
It is ironic that France has been the recent target of most of the violence. France of all the countries of Old Europe is one of Islam’s greatest appeasers. …
Since the mid-1960s, the French, motivated partly out of greed, partly out of a need to needle the United States and partly out of genuine dislike for the Mideast’s only democracy, have done everything in their power to appease tyranny rather than fight it, to prop it up rather than obliterate it.
In May 1967 France was the first Western power to unilaterally impose an arms embargo on Israel at a precarious time when Israel was facing existential threats from its Arab neighbors. … The world watched with feigned concern as hundreds of thousands of Arabs soldiers backed by modern Soviet T-55 tanks and Mig fighter jets converged on Israel’s borders. The French, who barely had time to shed the stench of their collaborationist Vichy past, chose to abandon and betray the Jewish State in a transparent effort to curry favor with the Muslim world. The French sold their morality for oil and a few Francs.
France’s duplicitous foreign policies when it came to appeasing two-bit Arab dictators only went from bad to worse. They helped Saddam Hussein construct an atom bomb plant and supplied the tyrant with massive quantities of Mirage fighter jets, missiles, tanks and artillery. …
The French really know how to pick ‘em. Successive French governments have developed a penchant for coddling up to the most vile Islamic dictators and terror sponsoring states. Close relationships were forged with Hafez Assad of Syria and arch terror chieftain Yasser Arafat, a despicable murderer who was always warmly greeted by adoring and fawning French officials.
Rather than fighting and combatting Islamic terrorists, the French have a nasty habit of paying them off. They released frozen Iranian assets in exchange for cessation of Iranian-backed terror attacks against France and paid Palestinian groups protection money in an effort to spare their commercial airliners from the scourge of Palestinian skyjackings.
France’s abominable foreign policy reared its ugly head yet again when on December 30, it backed a Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council that [would impose] dictates on Israel, compelling the Jewish State to withdraw to pre-1967 borders – borders which Israel’s former UN ambassador, Abba Ebban, perceptively termed “Auschwitz lines” – without addressing Israel’s security needs and territorial claims. …
To the leaders of France, composed of Neville Chamberlin lookalikes, adopting the Palestinian narrative and coddling up to the Mideast’s Muslim dictators, is good for business and insulates France against Islamic-inspired terror attacks. [The recent] barbaric Muslim massacre of French political satirists, journalists and policemen in Paris proves otherwise and should compel French leaders to reevaluate their foreign and liberal domestic policies. It should also serve as a wakeup call for the rest of Old Europe to do the same but something tells me that this will not occur and there will be no course correction. …
In a few weeks or perhaps months, all will return to “normal”. French Muslim Imams will continue to spew hate directed against the “infidels” from the mosques. Violent anti-Israel, Jew-hating protests will resume in the streets of Paris and Marseilles and French officials will once again move to condemn Israel for committing some imaginary offense because it’s good for business.
France’s policy of favoring Muslims and opposing the aspiration of the Jews to preserve their peoplehood, is very long established and deeply grounded.
In his 2006 book Betrayal: France, the Arabs, and the Jews, David Pryce-Jones outlines the history of French relations with the Islamic world, demonstrating how helpful France has consistently been to Arab and Islamic tyrants, in total disregard of moral values. “Morality, justice, fact – they were no obstacle.”
On France’s concept of itself as “une puissance musulmane” (a Muslim power), he writes:
[It is] a concept which could only encourage Arabs and Muslims to feel entitled to make special demands on the country so eagerly co-opting and enrolling them into its national purposes. The definition of Jews as people who must abjure any distinguishing national identity, or else suffer the consequences for preserving their specificity, is one of those special demands, and it happens to coincide exactly with the statute put in place in 1789 by the Comte de Clermont-Tonnerre, and cherished by the state ever since.
Ideas and attitudes work downwards from the political elite that conceives them to the people who have to live with the consequences. The foreign ministry, generally referred to as the Quai d’Orsay, is the institution above all others responsible over an extended period of time for realising the state’s grand design for Arabs and Jews and overseeing the political outcome that derives from it. … [A] small number of highly motivated and carefully selected men of like mind have fostered the preconceptions of Arabs and Jews that have now come to threaten the integrity of the French nation.
So any claim by any French leader that anti-Semitism is alien to France, or that the state has not encouraged conflict between Arabs and Jews, or that the attack by Muslims on the supermarket in a Jewish quarter of Paris is hard to explain, is sheer hypocrisy. France is beginning to pay the price for its short-sighted, immoral, and ultimately unprofitable policies.
While Christians’ thoughts are turned to the “Holy Land” in this season, and the cloying and absurd story of “God’s son” being born there is told and retold, we turn our thoughts to a present day reality in that most troubled part of our troubled world.
Reflecting our own views, here is an extract from a speech by George Deek, an Israeli Arab, speaking recently in Oslo:
In the Arab world, the Palestinian refugees – including their children, their grandchildren and even their great-grandchildren – are still not settled, aggressively discriminated against, and in most cases denied citizenship and basic human rights. Why is it, that my relatives in Canada are Canadian citizens, while my relatives in Syria, Lebanon or the gulf countries – who were born there and know no other home – are still considered refugees? Clearly, the treatment of the Palestinians in the Arab countries is the greatest oppression they experience anywhere.
And the collaborators in this crime are no other than the international community and the United Nations.
Rather than doing its job and help the refugees build a life, the international community is feeding the narrative of the victimhood.
While there is one U.N. agency in charge of all refugees in the world – the UNHCR, another agency was established to deal only with the Palestinian ones – UNRWA. This is no coincidence – while the goal of the UNHCR is to help refugees establish a new home, establish a future and end their status as refugees, the goal of UNRWA is opposite: to preserve their status as refugees, and prevent them from being able to start new lives.
The International community cannot seriously expect the refugee problem to be solved, when it is collaborating with the Arab world in treating the refugees’ as political pawns, denying them the basic rights they deserve. Wherever the Palestinian refugees were granted equal rights – they prospered and contributed to their society – In South America, in the U.S., and even in Israel. In fact, Israel was one of the few countries that automatically gave full citizenship and equality for all Palestinians in it after ‘48. And we see the results: despite all the challenges, the Arab citizens of Israel built a future.
Israeli Arabs are the most educated Arabs in the world, with the best living standards and opportunities in the region.
Arabs serve as judges in the Supreme Court; Some of the best doctors in Israel are Arabs, working in almost every hospital in the country. There are 13 Arab members of parliament who enjoy the right to criticize the government – a right that they exhaust to the fullest – protected by the freedom of speech; Arabs win popular reality shows; and you can even find Arab diplomats – and one of them is standing in front of you.
Today, when I walk the streets of Jaffa, I see the old buildings and the old port, But I also see children going to school and university; I see flourishing businesses; and I see a vibrant culture. In short, despite the fact that we [Arabs] still have a long road ahead of us as a minority, we have a future in Israel.
Not only does UNWRA teach children to become intifada fighters and suicide bombers, it was recently discovered to be storing Hamas’s weapons in its Gaza schools.
UNWRA must be destroyed!
An Egyptian atheist dares to speak the truth about Islam on television, and argues with a – thoroughly deluded, or deliberately lying – imam:
It would say a lot for Egypt under President Sisi if Ahmad Harqan can speak this freely with impunity. But is that the case?
This information accompanies the YouTube video captured by Memri:
“In an October 21 TV interview, Egyptian human rights activist Ahmad Harqan explained why he had become an atheist and said that Islam is a “harsh religion”, which was being implemented by ISIS and Boko Haram. They are doing “what the Prophet Muhammad and his companions did”, said Harqan. According to media reports, Harqan and his pregnant wife survived an assassination attempt on October 25, and when they went to the police to complain, were arrested for disrespect to Islam.”
We hope we will learn what happens to them.
After World War I, the Gaza Strip, which for centuries had been part of the Ottoman Empire, came under a British mandate. From 1949 to 1959, it was governed by Egypt, ostensibly under the authority of the Arab League. In 1959, the Strip was incorporated by Egypt, though the population was not granted Egyptian citizenship.
In 1967, the territory was occupied by Israel in the course of its defensive Six-Day War. Thousands of Israelis settled in the Strip and established industries there. But in 1993, by the tragically misconceived Oslo Accords, Gaza came under the administration of a “Palestine National Authority” (PNA). In its perpetual pursuit of peace with the Arabs, Israel agreed to remove the settlers. They resisted, and the Israeli government had them removed by force. They left acres of excellently functioning and highly lucrative greenhouses to the Arabs – who promptly destroyed them.
So it was that a Judenrein Gaza Strip became an autonomous “Palestinian” region, officially administered by the PNA.
In 2007, the terrorist organization Hamas, after an internecine struggle with the PNA, seized control of the Strip and proceeded to launch attacks on Israel with suicide bombers and rocket fire. Israel dealt with the suicide bombers by putting up a protective fence, and from time to time responds to the rocket fire with bombing raids. The world thinks Israel is not being fair to the Palestinians by taking these measures.
The world, chiefly the Western powers, has chosen to keep the population of Gaza as a perpetual beggar nation, dependent on aid. The children of Gaza are taught in schools run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) – created specially for the purpose of keeping generations of Palestinians as “refugees’ – and under its tutelage are raised to be Israel-haters and terrorists. The result is the perpetuation of intense hostility, which makes a mockery of the pretense of those same Western powers to be honest brokers of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Now the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has infiltrated the Strip and is threatening to take over control of it from its fellow Sunni-Muslim terrorists, Hamas.
This is from an article by Khaled Abu Toameh at Gatestone:
It is always dreamlike to see one Islamist terror group accuse the other of being too “lenient” when it comes to enforcing sharia laws. But it is not dreamlike when a terrorist group starts threatening writers and women.
That is what is happening these days in the Gaza Strip, where supporters of the Islamic State are accusing Hamas of failing to impose strict Islamic laws on the Palestinian population — as if Hamas has thus far endorsed a liberal and open-minded approach toward those who violate sharia laws.
Now, however, almost everyone is talking about the Islamic State threats against poets, writers and women.Until this week, the only topic Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were talking about was how to rebuild homes and buildings that were destroyed during the last war between Hamas and Israel.
It is no secret that the Islamic State has a presence in the Gaza Strip. According to sources there, many disgruntled members of Hamas and other radical salafi-jihadi groups have already joined the Islamic State, with some fighting together with ISIS groups in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this year, it was revealed here that Islamic State has already begun operating inside the Gaza Strip – much to the dismay of Hamas.
Hamas, nevertheless, continues to deny any presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. “There are no members of Islamic State in the Gaza Strip,” said Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry.
Many Palestinians, however, do not seem to take Hamas’s denials seriously, and remain unconvinced.
Over the past few days, two separate leaflets signed by Islamic State threatened to target Palestinian poets and writers for their “wantonness” and “atheism.” The leaflets mention the poets and writers by name – a move that created panic among many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The leaflets also included an ultimatum to Palestinian women to abide by Islamic attire or face the Islamic State style of punishment — presumably being stoned to death. The threat leaves one with the false impression that, under Hamas, women can wear swimming suits at the beach and walk around the streets of Gaza City in mini-skirts.
But this is what happens when one fundamentalist group believes that the other is not radical enough.
“We warn the writers and poets of their wanton sayings and atheist deeds,” one of the leaflets reads. “We give the apostates three days to retract their apostasy and wantonness and enter the religion of Islam anew.”
The threats issued by Islamic State have drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians. This is the first time that such threats have been made against poets and writers or women.
Although Hamas has denied any connection to the threats, Fatah officials [aka the PNA] in the West Bank were quick to accuse the Islamist movement — which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007 — of being behind the leaflets. …
Palestinians point out that the two leaflets were not the only sign of the presence of Islamic State inside the Gaza Strip. They say that Islamic State flags can be seen in many parts of the Gaza Strip, especially at football stadiums and public buildings. In addition, Islamic State stickers can be seen on the windshields of many vehicles.
More recently … families have begun attaching the Islamic State emblem to wedding invitations sent out to friends and relatives. Photos of Palestinians who were killed while fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria appear in many places, especially mosques and educational centers.
Of course, all of this is taking place while Hamas continues to insist that the Islamic State is not operating in Gaza.
Those who are taking the threats seriously are the women and writers whose names appeared in the leaflets.
Amal Hamad, a member of the Palestinian Women’s Union, expressed deep concern about the threats made by Islamic State. “We are headed toward the worst in the Gaza Strip,” she complained. “We hold the Hamas security forces responsible for the leaflets of intimidation and terror.” She and a large group of women in the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the repercussions of the threats.
Judging from reactions, it is clear that many Palestinians – including Hamas – are extremely worried about Islamic State’s presence in the Gaza Strip. Even if the terror group still does not have many fighters in the Gaza Strip, it already has countless followers and admirers.
It is also clear that if and when the Hamas regime collapses, the Gaza Strip will not fall into the hands of less-radical Palestinians.
The Gaza Strip has already been turned into an “Islamist Emirate” that is run by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad.
While Islamic State may have succeeded in infiltrating the Gaza Strip, its chances of entering the West Bank are zero. This is thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas are well aware that without the Israeli security presence in the West Bank, the area would easily fall into the hands of Hamas or Islamic State.
It is important to keep in mind that the countries in Europe now voting for a Palestinian state may effectively be paving the way for a takeover by Islamic State.
We wonder how many people living in Gaza secretly wish the alleged Israeli “occupation” were real, and are nostalgic for the days when it was. Their lives were better, and more secure, under Israel than under the PNA or Hamas.
Now they – especially writers, poets, and women it seems – must dread the prospect of life under the rule of the Islamic State.
But if the Islamic State does absorb Gaza, its population will be stateless no longer. As citizens of the Caliphate they may be miserable, but they will no longer be “refugees”.
No more UNWRA. No more exploitation of the Palestinians by the Arab States as “victims” of Israel.
Of course, the attacks on Israel will not stop. They will very likely intensify. Will the world object as much to Israel defending itself against the Islamic State as it does to Israel defending itself against Hamas?
Time may tell.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State is taking possession of the minds of millions of Muslims all over the world. If it is not growing territorially at this moment, it is certainly growing as an ideal.
An ideal of savage cruelty and enslavement! Islam triumphant.
The Egyptian Goddess Isis
(just for decoration)
President Obama believes that America is arrogant.* If his foreign policy can be explained by anything, it would be his intention to bring America down a peg or ten. Looked at like that, the disasters we see happening in many parts of the world are testimony not to Obama’s failure, but to his success.
Not that President Obama can have any objection to arrogance as such. He is an arrogant man. He just doesn’t want America to be proud of its superiority. He hates the very idea that it is superior. But while he would not even acknowledge its political-moral superiority as a republic constituted for liberty, he cannot deny that it is economically and militarily stronger than any other country. So he’s been working to change that for the last six years.
The whole world is the worse for his efforts.
This is from Front Page, by Bruce Thornton:
The 6 years of Barack Obama’s foreign policy have seen American influence and power decline across the globe. Traditional rivals like China and Russia are emboldened and on the march in the South China Sea and Ukraine. Iran, branded as the world’s deadliest state sponsor of terrorism, is arrogantly negotiating its way to a nuclear bomb. Bloody autocrats and jihadist gangs in the Middle East scorn our president’s threats and behead our citizens. Countries in which Americans have shed their blood in service to our interests and ideals are in the process of being abandoned to our enemies. And allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia are bullied or ignored. All over the world, a vacuum of power has been created by a foreign policy sacrificed to domestic partisan advantage, and characterized by criminal incompetence.
Incompetence is what it looks like. But if failure is the aim, then either the incompetence is only an appearance, or it is a means to the end.
How we have arrived at this point, the dangers to our security and interests if we don’t change course, and what must be done to recover our international prestige and effectiveness are the themes of Bret Stephens’ America in Retreat. The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder. …
A clear sign of American retreat is the precipitous decline in military spending. “In the name of budgetary savings,” Stephens writes, “the Army is returning to its June 1940 size,” and “the Navy put fewer ships at sea at any time since 1916.” The Air Force is scheduled to retire 25,000 airmen and mothball 550 planes. Our nuclear forces are being cut to meet the terms of the 2010 New Start Treaty with Russia, even as its nuclear arsenal has been increasing. Meanwhile Obama … issues empty threats, blustering diktats, and sheer lies that convince world leaders he is a “self-infatuated weakling”.
Unfortunately, 52% of the American people agree that the U.S. “should mind its own business internationally”, and 65% want to “reduce overseas military commitments”, including a majority of Republicans. This broad consensus that America should retreat from global affairs reflects our age’s bipartisan isolationism, the centerpiece of Stephens’ analysis. This national mood is not a sign of decline, according to Stephens, who documents the enormous advantages America still enjoys globally, from its superiority in research and entrepreneurial vigor, to its healthy demographics and spirit of innovation. But it does bespeak a dangerous withdrawal from the policies that created the postwar Pax Americana – even though this global order policed by the U.S. defeated the murderous, nuclear-armed ideology of Soviet communism, and made possible the astonishing economic expansion that has lifted millions from poverty all over the world. …
For Stephens, isolationism has not been the only danger to American foreign policy success. What he calls “the overdose of ideals”, specifically the “freedom agenda” of the sort George W. Bush tried in Iraq and Afghanistan, has misdirected our efforts and squandered our resources in the pursuit of impossible goals. The success of the Cold War and the subsequent spread of democracy and free-market economies suggested that the world could be not just protected from an evil ideology, but “redeemed” by actively fostering liberal democracy even in countries and regions lacking the necessary network of social mores and political virtues upon which genuine liberal democracy rests. But in attempting to redeem the world, Stephens notes, policy makers “neglected a more prosaic responsibility: to police it”.
The failures to create stability, let alone true democracy, in Iraq and Afghanistan have enabled what Stephens calls the “retreat doctrine”, one to be found in both political parties. Barack Obama is the master of this species of foreign policy, incoherently combining idealistic democracy-promoting rhetoric with actions that further withdraw the U.S. from its responsibility to ensure global order. Under the guise of “nation-building at home,” and in service to traditional leftist doubt about America’s goodness, Obama has retreated in the face of aggression, and encouraged cuts in military spending in order to fund an ever-expanding entitlement state.
But also, equally, in order to make America weaker.
Meanwhile, “Republicans are busy writing their own retreat doctrine in the name of small government, civil liberties, fiscal restraint, ‘realism’, a creeping sense of Obama-induced national decline, and a deep pessimism about America’s ability to make itself, much less the rest of the world, better.”
The “retreat doctrine” is dangerous because global disorder is a constant contingency. The remainder of Stephens’ book approaches this topic first from the perspective of theory and history, and then from today’s practice. History teaches us that all the substitutes for a liberal dominant global power have failed to prevent the descent into conflict and mass violence. The ideas of a balance of power, collective security, or the presumed peaceful dividend and “harmony of interests” created by global trade did not prevent World War I or its even more devastating sequel. Nor are they any more useful in our own times.
As for today, Stephens identifies several challenges to a global order fragilely held together by the commitment to liberal democracy, open economies, and the free circulation of ideas and trade. The “revisionists” attack this model from various perspectives. Iran sees it as a fomenter of godlessness and hedonism, Russia is moved to oppose it by “revanchism and resentment”, and China believes that it “is a recipe for bankruptcy and laziness”, lacking a “sense of purpose, organization, and direction”. All three see evidence for their various critiques in the failure of the U.S. to exercise its massive power in the face of challenges, and in the willingness of American elites to revel in guilt and self-doubt. These perceptions of national decline invite rivals and enemies to behave as if the U.S. is in fact declining.
The other international players that could worsen disorder are “freelancers” and “free radicals”. The former include those countries like Israel or Japan who, convinced that America will not act in its own or its allies’ interests, will understandably take action that necessarily entails unforeseen disastrous consequences. Much more dangerous are the “free radicals”, the jihadist gangs rampaging across 3 continents, and the nuclear proliferators like Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, whose collaboration with each other and rogue regimes like Venezuela endangers the world through provoking even further proliferation on the part of rivals, or by handing off nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations. And then there are “free radicals” like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, who have undermined global order by publicizing the necessarily covert tools, practices, and institutions that undergird and protect it.
Finally, there are the structural weaknesses of the globalized economy and its continuing decline in growth, which may create “breaks” in national economic systems that “will be profoundly disruptive, potentially violent, and inherently unpredictable”. Add America’s retreat from world affairs and reductions in military spending, and in the “nearer term”, Stephens warns, “terrorists, insurgents, pirates, hackers, ‘whistleblowers’, arms smugglers, and second-rate powers armed with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles will be able to hold the United States inexpensively at risk”, provoking further American retreat from world affairs and the inevitable increased aggression by our enemies and rivals. …
So what can be done? In his conclusion Stephens applies to foreign affairs the “broken windows” tactics of urban policing that caused rates of violent crimes to plummet over the last few decades. Thus “the immediate goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to arrest the continued slide into a broken-windows world of international disorder”.
This foreign policy would require increasing U.S. military spending to 5% of GDP, with a focus on increasing numbers of troops, planes, and ships rather than on overly sophisticated and expensive new weapons. It would mean stationing U.S. forces near global hotspots to serve as a deterrent and rapid-reaction force to snuff out incipient crises. It would require reciprocity from allies in military spending, who for too long have taken for granted the American defense umbrella. It would focus attention on regions and threats that really matter, particularly the borderlands of free states, in order to protect global good citizens from predators. It means acting quickly and decisively when conflict does arise, rather than wasting time in useless debates and diplomatic gabfests. Finally, it would require that Americans accept that their unprecedented global economic, cultural, and military power confers on us both vulnerability to those who envy and hate us, and responsibility for the global order on which our own security and interests depend. …
No matter how understandable our traditional aversion to military and political entanglements abroad, history has made us the global policeman, one committed to human rights, accountability, and political freedom. If we abdicate that position, there is no country powerful, or worthy enough, to take our place.
We agree with that.
And Thornton tantalizes us with this:
Stephens ends with an imagined “scenario” of how a serious global disruption could occur, one grounded in current trends and thus frighteningly believable.
When we’ve found out what that scenario is, which is to say when we’ve read the book, we’ll return to this important subject.
* “In his first nine months in office, President Obama has issued apologies and criticisms of America in speeches in France, England, Turkey, and Cairo; at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations in New York City. He has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision; for dictating solutions, for acting unilaterally, and for acting without regard for others; for treating other countries as mere proxies, for unjustly interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, and for feeding anti-Muslim sentiments; for committing torture, for dragging our feet on global warming and for selectively promoting democracy.” – Mitt Romney, quoted by PolitiFact.com
At UC Berkeley, students are content to let the flag of ISIS be waved on their campus, and some even wish the flag-waver “Welcome!” and “Good luck!”.
When he switches to an Israeli flag, students shriek fury at him.
… is not the same for the Coalition gander.
General Dempsey reported on Israel’s extraordinary efforts to avoid harming civilians.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience in New York that he believed the Israel Defense Force went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in this past summer’s military conflict in Gaza.
The military leader was speaking to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
In addition to praising the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties, Dempsey also said that the Pentagon sent a team to Israel to see what lessons could be learned from the IDF’s expertise during Operation Protective Edge. This included observing the measures taken by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties and the way in which the Israeli military dealt with the terror tunnels.
The reason this is such extraordinary news is that Israel was criticized harshly and repeatedly for failing to prevent the heavy loss of civilian life during the conflict, which saw more than a thousand Gazans die, including many civilians and children. Various human rights entities accused and continue to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. Even the White House and State Department repeatedly claimed Israel failed to do enough to prevent civilian casualties.
But when asked to address the alleged “callous indifference” by Israel to the extensive damage and civilian deaths, Dempsey told the audience that he thought the IDF “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.
“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.
Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.
“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said, which included “making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” Dempsey said.
In addition to dropping warning leaflets, Dempsey said, the IDF developed a technique called “roof-knocking.” This involves dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop. This “knocking” is a warning to residents to leave the building before it is shelled. Of course, even this effort to limit civilian casualties was criticized for not being gentle enough.
Dempsey said civilian casualties during the summer’s conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.
“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey said.
(It should also be remembered that Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, used civilians – children in particular – as human shields, often forcing them to remain in the very buildings they had been warned were to be bombed.)
Whatever lessons the team from the Pentagon learnt from the IDF’s expertise at taking measures to prevent civilian casualties, were apparently not applied by the US when the Air Force bombed IS/ISIS/ISIL in Iraq.
US bombing kills children in Iraq.
Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered his first major shakeup of his military since taking office three months ago, relieving 26 army officers of their commands and retiring 10 others as a monitoring group said airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group and other extremists in neighboring Syria have killed more than 860 people, including civilians, since they began in September. …
On Wednesday, three bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed at least 17 people and wounded nearly 40, police and hospital officials said. …
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that at least 50 civilians, including eight children and five women, also have been killed in the airstrikes, the group said.
The mainstream media do not feature these deaths. The TV news screens of the West are not filled with images of these dead children. They are of less concern than the dead children of Gaza. Because the hearts of the hardboiled media bleed only when the Israelis are doing the bombing.
What did the Obama administration have to say about all this?
When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop the flood of rockets being launched at its cities, and particularly when it mounted a short ground operation to locate and destroy infiltration tunnels under the border, there was the predictable response from the UN, the NGOs and Israel’s usual critics that it was causing ‘disproportionate’ civilian casualties in Gaza. Surprisingly (or not), the Obama Administration and State Department joined the chorus.
You probably recall John Kerry’s sarcastic remark that Israel had carried out a “hell of a pinpoint operation”. And you may remember that back in July, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “there’s more that could be done [by Israel]” to reduce civilian casualties. There are also reports of a particularly “combative” phone call from President Obama to PM Netanyahu during the war.
So [on November 8], the intrepid Matt Lee of the AP asked Psaki whether the Chairman of the JCS knew what he was talking about:
QUESTION: Yesterday, the ICC made its decision that there was no case to prosecute for war crimes in Gaza. But also yesterday – and you spoke about that very briefly here. But also yesterday, General Dempsey, who is no slouch when it comes to military things, told an audience in New York that the Israelis went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage during the Gaza war.
And I’m puzzled, because I thought it was the position of the Administration – or maybe it was just the position of the State Department and the White House – that Israel was not doing enough to live up to its – what you called its own high standards. Back on August 3rd, there was the statement you put out after the UNRWA school incident, saying that the U.S. “is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling’. And that was some pretty fierce criticism.
How do you reconcile these two apparent divergent points of view? When this statement came out, the United States was appalled? Did that just mean the State Department was appalled?
- PSAKI: No, that is the position of the Administration; it remains the position of the Administration. As we made clear throughout the summer’s conflict, we supported Israel’s right to self-defense and strongly condemned Hamas’s rocket attacks that deliberately targeted civilians, and the use of tunnels, of course, of attacks into Israel. However, we also expressed deep concern and heartbreak for the civilian death toll in Gaza and made clear, as you noted in the statement you pointed to, that we believed that Israel could have done more to prevent civilian casualties, and it was important that they held their selves to a high standard. So that remains our view and position about this summer’s events.
QUESTION: Okay. But I’m still confused as to how you can reconcile the fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – who knows a bit about how military operations work, I would venture to guess; I don’t know him, but I assume that he wouldn’t be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if he was – if he didn’t —
- PSAKI: Correct.
QUESTION: — says that the Israelis essentially did the best that they could and lived up to – by extension lived up to their high standards by taking – by going to, quote, “extraordinary lengths” to limit the collateral damage.
- PSAKI: Well, I would point you to the chairman’s team for his – more specifics on his comments. But it remains the broad view of the entire Administration that they could have done more and they should have taken more – all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.
But the Coalition is not required to do the same? Apparently not.
So is there an element of special treatment for Israelis? Do anti-Semitic Europe and anti-Israel pro-Islam Obama set the moral bar higher for Israelis than for any others – or for themselves?
To borrow a saying: We report, you decide.
… all add to the gaiety of nations.
As the world order disintegrates, its leaders and elites laugh and play merrily. We should all join the greatest party of all time.
If recognizing breakaway countries can stabilize the unstable Middle East, just think of how much stability it can bring to Europe. Now that Sweden has solved the problem of Muslim violence in the Middle East, perhaps a few breakaway republics will solve Muslim violence in Sweden.
Daniel Greenfield writes in the only way this subject – the absurd step Sweden has taken in “recognizing” a non-existent State of Palestine – deserves to be written about: with brilliant sarcasm.
And he puts forward a great plan to reward Sweden for solving the central problem of the world with the pronouncing of one magic formula.
On Thursday, Sweden finally solved all the problems in the Middle East by recognizing the State of Palestine.
For decades all the instability in the region had been blamed on the lack of a PLO state. Foreign policy experts stood in line to tell us all that the only thing that could end terrorism in the Middle East was a terrorist state. …
Our leaders kept the faith. The White House’s Middle East coordinator insisted that Israel’s obstinate refusal to create a Palestinian State, against the wishes of the unelected president of the Palestinian Authority who refuses to negotiate one or to stop the terrorism, was causing instability in the region.
Secretary of State John Kerry had denied that ISIS [the “Islamic State”] was Islamic, but blamed Israel for ISIS recruitment.
The Obama administration, and most other governments, also deny that ISIS is a state. But it has a government, a huge and growing army, it collects taxes and has a thriving economy from the sale of oil, it runs hospitals and schools, collects garbage, and maintains order by a system of instant decapitation for any head that pops up too far. True, it has no fixed borders, but then neither does “Palestine”.
But it wasn’t John Kerry who saved the Middle East from instability. Instead Sweden did it by recognizing a terror state whose leaders stopped bothering with the onerous duty of holding elections once they realized that the Eurocrats and Obama would keep shoveling money at them even if they chose their unelected terrorist leaders by playing Russian Roulette.
Sweden’s new Palestine not only dispensed with elections, routing the business of governance through its core PLO organizations, but also has no economy, instead employing an army of people who are paid not to run a country that doesn’t exist with money sent over by America, Europe and Japan.
Some would call that a scam, but it’s remarkably similar to how the European Union works.
In addition to lacking such luxuries as an elected government and an economy, the State of Palestine also doesn’t control Gaza, which is run by another terrorist group, Hamas. The international community has been ignoring that minor problem because it wouldn’t do for a bankrupt terrorist state which happens to be our last best hope for stability in the Middle East to be disqualified just because it’s actually two quarreling bankrupt terrorist states. …
With Sweden’s bold step, a bright future dawns over the Middle East. ISIS recruitment is bound to start falling as the Canadian and Swedish Jihadis with their Burqaed brides heading to kill as many Yazidis as they can will realize that there’s no more need for them to behave the way that their religion has for over a thousand years.
There’s a Palestinian State now. All their grievances have been met. A million cartoons and a thousand YouTube videos couldn’t outrage them now. Unless they were about Mohammed.
I wouldn’t be surprised if ISIS transformed into a humanitarian agency for gluing back all the Yazidi, Christian and Shiite heads that it cut off back on the bodies it beheaded. Even now, Sunnis and Shiites are hugging each other all over Iraq and only occasionally blowing themselves up in the process.
Sweden should be rewarded in kind:
Sweden has given a great gift to the world. It’s only a question of how to properly repay it and the answer is obvious. If Sweden recognizing a micro-nation inside Israel’s borders will stabilize the region, it’s only right for Israel, and all right-thinking people, to recognize a micro-nation inside Sweden.
Sweden ended the occupation of Norway, but it continues to occupy such embryonic nations as the Royal Republic of Ladonia and the Republic of Jamtland.
A “Royal Republic”? Hail, Ladonia, land of the brave and free!
While many of us might know Lars Vilks for his Mohammed cartoons, he also founded the Royal Republic of Ladonia after some of his other artwork was censored by Swedish authorities.
The Royal Republic of Ladonia was founded in 1996, three years after the Palestinian Authority, making it only slightly younger and a lot less violent than that micro-nation.
While Ladonia is only around a third of a mile in size, it has a government, a newspaper, a lot of citizens and almost as many nobles.
Queen Carolyn I rules over the constitutional monarchy while President Christopher Matheoss was recently elected by a wide margin over such candidates as Count Wrigley, Antonio Maria De Grandis and Alexander Nevzorov III.
Unlike Palestine, Ladonia holds elections making it a much more legitimate country. And unlike both Palestine and Sweden, Ladonia has freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.
Considering how many newly created countries lack either, the Royal Republic of Ladonia has more of a claim on existence for its mere willingness to extend these freedoms to all.
Israel should recognize the Republic of Ladonia. So should the United States. It’s the only hope for stabilizing Sweden which continues to experience outbursts of Muslim violence in its major cities.
A better case for independence can be made for the Republic of Jamtland, which unlike Palestine, has an ancient history and was an independent peasant republic before the Muslims even invaded Jerusalem.
It declared independence in 1963, a year before the PLO was founded …
Despite generations of Swedish occupation, the Jamtlanders have not turned to violence. At least not in several centuries. Ten of thousands gather for their Freedom Festivals. Their Jamtland Republican Army remains peaceful even when it sets up its own tolls and checkpoints. The only violence there can be seen from the Jamtland Republicans, a local American football team, vigorously playing on the field.
Jamtish, a dialect, is spoken. The flag of the Republic, blue for the sky, green for the forests and white for the snow, is waved. And the European Union and the Swedish government are denounced.
Considering the peacefulness and antiquity of the Republic of Jamtland, its sizable population and unique cultural heritage, recognizing this micro-nation would be the right thing to do. It’s time for Sweden to end the long occupation of Jamtland’s rivers and forests and for this brave republic to take its rightful place among the free and democratic nations of the world.
Sweden chose to recognize two terrorist states inside Israel’s borders. It would only be proper for nations of goodwill to recognize two wholly peaceful republics inside Sweden’s borders. …
Sweden saved the Middle East. Now maybe someone can save Sweden.