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.
The State Department has spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars acquiring Art. That is to say, paying for objects that its resident or consultant aesthetes swear are works of Art, worth every penny.
The acquisitions were apparently a priority for Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. If you would see her monument, tour US embassies and look about you.
Fashionable Art doesn’t come cheap. So there was no money left to pay for such a humdrum thing as effective protection of the US diplomatic and CIA missions in Benghazi. Denied the security they needed, four Americans, including the ambassador, were killed there by savage jihadis. Well – Hillary might say – there has to be human sacrifice on the altar of Art, it makes all the difference, and if you don’t understand that, you are a philistine bourgeois.
Look on the bright side. The Art is displayed in many a US embassy. Americans can be proud.
In London, there’s a granite wall built by Sean Scully that cost $1million. We couldn’t find a picture of it, but it’s like this one displayed in an art gallery.
Daniel Greenfield illustrates an article on the subject – which inspired this post – with these pictures of works by Cy Twombly. The top one is at the embassy in Rome.
From his text:
Beijing [embassy] contains $23 million worth of art. Bern has $1.2 million and Luxembourg has $2.2 million.
And here is the grave of Ambassador Stevens, murdered at Benghazi. We don’t know how much it cost, or who paid for it.
Post Script: Here is some wall art that really has meaning. The wall is part of the US mission in Benghazi. The paint is blood. A hand put it there the night of the attack. It might have been the hand of Ambassador Stevens himself – or of one of his brutal killers. One does not have to read Arabic to know who signed in for the event on the other wall.
(Hat-tip: our reader and commenter donl)
This map and the text come from an article by Katie Pavlich at Townhall:
Government watchdog Judicial Watch has released an unclassified map showing the military fleet positions the night of the 9/11 Benghazi terror attack. The map shows dozens of military ships, including two aircraft carriers and 13 destroyers, were stationed in the North Africa Area of Responsibility when radical Islamic militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Diplomatic Security agent David Ubben, a survivor of the attack, waited severely wounded on a roof with Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty for 20 hours before help arrived. Woods and Doherty were killed during the waiting period.
Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Randall R. Schmidt supplied Judicial Watch with the map and has been investigating the Benghazi attack for more than a year. Based on his experience as a fighter pilot, Schmidt has repeatedly said there is no reason why military forces could not have responded more efficiently to the attack.
“Destroyers could have responded to the attack,” Schmidt told Judicial Watch, adding that forces in the area are trained to do rapid response. “There were enough forces to respond.”
… or to the ignominy she deserves?
A recent Time magazine cover …
is revised to be far more apt:
This version is from here, where the touch-up of the original is attributed to IownTheWorld.com
… between the true and the false.
Judge Jeanine Pirro talks about the dishonest woman who wants to be president.
The picture and the following text by Roger L Simon come from PJ Media:
Whether they know it or not, Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, center-right folks, all those who favor smaller government and increased freedom, do have a principal enemy. But … it’s no longer Barack Obama. He is over. He was already a lame duck when Obamacare plucked most of his remaining feathers. The damage he can do may still be serious, but most of it will be reparable.
The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the “gains” of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy — Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing — and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats.(We can call this system Soros Marxism, meaning a ruling clique of increasingly rich corporate czars employing a propagandistic veneer of socialist equality to keep the power and wealth for themselves.) …
The New York Times (the very model of that propagandistic veneer) already knows their bread is buttered with Hillary, not Obama. They demonstrated that … with their revisionist article on Benghazi, bent on taking that scandal (Hillary’s Achilles’ heel) off the table for the coming elections or at least seriously defusing it.
For the New York Times’s special pleading on this issue, and criticism of its spurious case, see our post, Signs of Democrats’ desperation over the scandalous tragedy of Benghazi, December 29, 2013.
Republicans would do well to redouble their efforts to make sure this particular obfuscation does not succeed by doing the proper research and communicating the results to the public — succinctly and repeatedly.
If the Republicans could do anything so sensible it would be mighty nice!
Benghazi could be used to bring Hillary down permanently. It wouldn’t even be difficult. It would take nothing more than the resolution to accuse her of dereliction of duty, extreme incompetence, and the callous sacrifice of American lives, day after day, at every possible opportunity, through every available medium, loud and clear.
But will they do it? Or will they McCain the issue ? Which is to say, politely overlook it. Or Romney it? Which is to say, touch on it ever so lightly and immediately let it go.
Maybe one of the younger bolder men of the party – Ted Cruz perhaps? – will seize the hammer of Benghazi and flatten Hillary with it.
A big effort is underway to let former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (in particular, we surmise, since Democrats want her to be their 2016 presidential candidate), and President Obama, and former US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice off the hook for lying about the Obama terrorist attack that killed the US Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans on 9/11/12.
The New York Times has done its bit with an “in depth” investigation. It tries, first, to make critics of the Banghazi fiasco seem to have lied by suggesting that they blamed al-Qaeda, and the NYT finding is that “al-Qaeda was not involved”. But al-Qaeda affiliates were involved. And in any case the involvement of al-Qaeda was not the most vital point in the case against the administration, above all the State Department, for their mishandling of the whole tragic affair.
More urgently the NYT claims that no lie was told by Hillary Clinton, Obama and Rice because the obscure video they blamed for provoking a “spontaneous” attack by sadly hurt Libyans was the cause of the onslaught. If the attackers are suddenly telling that story now to the NYT, which clearly wanted to elicit that answer, how likely is it they are telling the truth?
Here is a discussion of the issue on NBC news.
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.
In this video it is said that Valerie Jarrett was in the situation room on 9/11/2012 when the terrorist raid on the US mission in Benghazi was carried out. It is also said that she gave the “stand down” order. We can accept all that as likely to be true.
What we find hard to believe is that her reason for giving the “stand down” order to stop any military rescue of the beleaguered Americans was because she feared failure – as is claimed here.
We also don’t think it probable that Jarrett’s reason for trying to stop the killing of Osama bin Laden – which she did for some months – was fear of failure.
We suspect her reasons had more to do with her sympathies being for Islam rather than America.
We do not quarrel with the accusation of treason. And we would like Obama to be impeached. But we don’t think he will be.
Watch the video and see what you think:
Apparently recalling that it should provide accurate information rather than shill for Barack Obama, CBS has issued this report on the Benghazi disaster more than a year after it happened:
This comes from Breitbart by Joel B. Pollak:
On Sunday evening, CBS News’ 60 Minutes featured an investigative report on the Benghazi attacks by Lara Logan. Logan’s reporting confirmed that the Obama administration had been warned, months in advance, about inadequate security at the U.S. facility in Benghazi, and that it knew the story about a YouTube video was untrue.
It was a reversal for CBS News, which played a key role in the Benghazi cover-up in 2012.
A year ago, CBS News released a previously unaired clip of an interview for 60 Minutes with President Barack Obama on Sep. 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, in which the president suggests clearly that the attack on the U.S. consulate was premeditated. The interview contradicted Obama’s subsequent claims that the attack had been a response to an anti-Islam YouTube video, repeated to the public for several days.
CBS News had withheld that portion of the Sep. 12 interview until Oct. 19, choosing instead to release a portion in which Obama criticized rival Mitt Romney’s condemnation of the administration’s response to events – a repeated theme as the media helped Obama deflect responsibility. …
Whistleblowers testified to Congress earlier this year they were pressured by Clinton’s chief of staff not to cooperate with congressional investigators.
Logan’s investigation featured an interview with one of those whistleblowers, Greg Hicks, who had been the deputy to slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Logan also interviewed “Morgan Jones” (pseudonym), a former British soldier who had been advising the U.S. on security in Benghazi and had warned the State Department that Libyan guards being trained to guard the compound were not up to the job.
Morgan’s warnings came to fruition on Sep. 11, 2012, when he saw the guards disperse after being told by the attackers: “We’re here to kill Americans, not Libyans.” Morgan did what little he could to stop the attack. …
Yet the Obama administration did not send any assistance throughout the night, and is thought to have issued a stand-down order to prevent any intervention.
What Logan’s report makes clear is that there is no way that President Obama or his Secretary of State could plausibly claim that a YouTube video had inspired a spontaneous act of violence on that scale against the U.S. consulate, the CIA annex and their personnel.
That story was a lie when it was told – and it was a lie aided and abetted by the mainstream media, including CBS News and 60 Minutes, which could have exploded the administration’s YouTube video alibi even as Obama and Clinton were telling it to the families of the victims, to the voting public, and to the world.
[This CBS] report is commendable, but as an attempt to atone for malpractice, it is far too little, too late.
John Hinderaker comments at PowerLine:
The person most responsible for the Benghazi disaster is Hillary Clinton.
Is there any logical explanation for how she can be considered a viable presidential candidate, given what we now know about her role in Benghazi, and the lies she told to cover up her own culpability?