Obama’s shattering success 3

In just five years, Barack Obama has succeeded in crippling the American economy and shattering the world order under the Pax Americana.

Americans feel the grave economic effects of his domestic policies more immediately and urgently, but it is the shattering of the world order that will ultimately change their lives for the worse.

President Vladimir Putin found that “he could  annex Crimea without firing a single bullet”. He has good reason to think that “he will later be able to do the same with the rest of Ukraine”. But he will probably “wait until the situation worsens and the impotence of the United States and Europe becomes even more obvious”.

That is part of the picture of the crumbling world order, described here by Professor Guy Millière (of the University of Paris), at Gatestone.

[Putin] apparently considers that he has in front of him a weak and declining America. And the general demeanor of the present U.S. administration tends to prove him right. The United States seem in full retreat. U.S. military budgets continue to fall. For the last five years, Barack Obama spoke of “ending” the wars in which the U.S. was involved, and he depends on Russia’s cooperation for further negotiations with Iran, for dismantling chemical weapons in Syria, and for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Putin doubtless thinks that Obama will not enter into an open conflict with Russia. Sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States are insignificant, and Putin has every reason to think they will not increase. …

[He] evidently considers Europe even weaker than America. The way European leaders speak and act shows that he is not wrong. For decades, Western European countries relied on the U.S. defense umbrella; none of them today has an army capable of doing more than extremely limited operations. Their foreign policy positions converge with the Obama administration positions. They all have deep economic and financial links with Russia and cannot break these links. The UK needs the Russian capital invested in the City of London. France cannot cancel its Russian warship contract without having to close its shipyards in Saint Nazaire, and without being confronted with major social conflicts. Germany could not survive long without Russian oil and natural gas. Overall, Russia provides thirty percent of the natural gas consumed in Western Europe. Putin apparently thinks that Europe will not enter into an open conflict with Russia. …

Either the West will stand up to Putin, and it will have to do it fast, or Putin will win. Obviously, Europe will not stand up. Polls indicate that Americans are turning sharply toward isolationism.

Showing his view of the situation, Obama recently said that Russia is nothing but a “regional power”, acting “out of weakness”.

What is Russia’s “region”?

Russia covers ten time zones and has borders with Europe, the Muslim Middle East, China, North Korea, and Alaska.

Yes, Russia has a common border with the United States. The US is in its region.  

If massing troops on the borders of Ukraine and annexing Crimea are signs of “weakness,” by its evident impotence, America appears even weaker.

Will Putin be content with annexing Crimea, or even the whole of Ukraine?

Several plebiscites have been held since 2006 in Transnistria, a strip of land between Ukraine and Moldova, and each of them has indicated a willingness to join Russia. Estonia includes a large Russian minority, and Russian leaders in Moscow speak of the need to “protect” the Russian population of Estonia.

Estonia is a member of NATO. If Russia were to attack it, NATO, according to Article 5 of its charter, should defend it with prompt military action. But would it?  NATO’s military power is America’s military power. Under Obama,what chance is there that America would go to war in Europe?

The world order built after the Second World War was shaped by America. For almost five decades, its goal was to contain Soviet expansion. In the late 1980s, the Soviet empire collapsed, and another phase began: an arrangement in which America would keep the peace and assure the survival of liberty.

America has apparently abrogated that responsibility.

And if Russia is not deterred, other powers will be encouraged to advance their interests abroad by force.

Rogue leaders around the world are watching and drawing their own conclusions.

[The Iranian Ayatollah] Khamenei sees no reason to stop saying that America is the “Great Satan” and that Israel has to be wiped off the map. China sees no reason to hide its intention to occupy the Senkaku/Diyaoyu Islands. Last week, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un fired six missiles into the sea of Japan. [President] Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela reaffirmed its alliance with Russia and positioned Russian missiles in Caracas.

Guy Millière predicts that the chaos will increase and speed up. He sees disaster coming fast.

If we do not see the Ukraine as a warning signal, we could quickly discover that life could now easily enter the state of nature in Hobbes’s Leviathan: [solitary, poor,] nasty, brutish and short.

Russia sniffing under the door 1

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.

Ending the pax Americana 2

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.

In Chile a revolt against economic success presages disaster 1

This information was given to us as a comment on our post Saved from Communism – and flourishing (September 15, 2013) by our reader – and citizen of Chile –  Carlos. It confirms the two reports we quoted, which praise Chile for its spectacular economic achievements since 1973. But it is also a reality-check and corrective to their optimism, because it also tells the distressing story of how the Left is trying to sabotage the system that worked so well and return the country to failed collectivist policies:

The information you cite on this post is correct. The country I grew up in was entirely different from the one my parents knew. Latin American nations have always been poor in ways someone that hails from the Anglo-Saxon world can’t fathom, and it’s been like that since the Spaniards came hundreds of years ago.

My parents, the son and daughter of poor country workers (the kind that toiled the land without technology or electricity), are now medical professionals, wealthy, and have traveled to all continents. It’s the kind of story you hear in those once poor third world countries that lead free market reforms, or about first generation immigrants that arrive to the US as paupers and then, after some decades, amass the kind of wealth only a small percentage possess in their countries of origin.

Besides [and because of] having the highest per capita income of the region, the people of Chile surpass others in South America on eating and drinking alcohol, so much that, just like the US, obesity and diabetes are a major health concern of all ages.

With all this, you would think that the Chilean people would be happy and elated about their progress …

Yes, progress – because obesity and diabetes are bad effects of eating too much, not too little …

…  but that could not be farther from the truth. The political consensus, accepted by pretty much everyone, is that the Chilean economic system is immoral and awful; a system built on “inequality and greed”.

Like in the US and Europe, the political Right has abandoned the Universities and intellectual spheres, leaving them to the Left to reign supreme. Socialism of all stripes is discussed on all political talk shows, while the greatest and most successful economic reforms in Chile’s history (the greatest reduction of poverty in recent years, for one) are scorned as “neoliberalism” and not egalitarian, and capitalists are despised with the same animus as your lefties [in the US] inveigh against the “one percenters”.

While the European welfare states are teetering, the people here hate the privately managed social security, accusing them of being thieves. The general belief here is that if something, whether minerals, forests, social security funds, etc., is owned by the State it is the property of everyone, which is good (no matter how much it costs or how much the national debt rises), but if it is private then someone somewhere is stealing from them (with commodities this is believed even if the prices are low).

This thinking is also applied to education.

Throughout 2011, huge protests broke out clamoring for free university education and the end of the voucher system for funding school education for poor families. The protesters were led by a member of the Communist Party, who was acclaimed and embraced by the fawning media. The protests ended up with more than a thousand policemen injured (beaten, burned by molotov bombs, etc.) and damages to schools on strike (by their own students, if not older members of left wing fanatic groups) that, according to the Minister of Education, amount to the cost of building 11 all-new schools.

Street violence is now a staple of the national life, with policemen attacked with a shower of rocks, molotov bombs, and acid (yes, ACID). Even the horses that policemen use have been the subject of horrible knife cuts. The last protest to commemorate the 40 years of the coup ended up with a policeman with his face (nose, teeth, cheek) destroyed by a rock blow, as several others had their hands burned with acid. (See videos of the riots here  – where a fallen mounted policeman is stoned – and here and here.)

All of this without counting the crude and disgusting language the police are subject to by the crazed mass that revels in violence.

The two greatest universities of the country are hostile grounds for Presidents of all stripes. Years ago, Ricardo Lagos, a Socialist President, was verbally abused in the Law faculty of the University of Chile and paint was hurled at him for the crime of not been socialist enough. And just three or two years ago, the current President, Sebastián Piñera and other political colleagues where attacked in the Catholic University of Chile by a group of students that behaved like a group of crazed baboons hooting and jeering.

The “secular religion” of the Left, besides the sanctification of the “Dear Leader”, is the adoration of the martyrs of the Revolution.

At the tax payer expense, a Museum of the Memory was built to commemorate all the 3000+ victims of the Pinochet dictatorship, all under a language of Human Rights violations. Of course, there is no mention of Allende’s association with the Soviet Union, one of the greatest Human Rights violators ever, only surpassed by others that applied the system of Scientific Socialism, which Allende and the Left adhered to and admired. There is no mention, also, of the more than 400 police and military men that were murdered by the paramilitary groups; no mention of the human disaster that Allende government was (with a ridiculous high inflation, shortages of the basic victuals, rationing lines, out of control political violence, aggressive taking over of land and industries, the State controlling most of the economy); no mentioning of the language the Left used during Allende’s reign: the threat of violent Revolution, and, most disgusting of all, the claims that, after killing the men of the Bourgeoisie, they would take their women ‘to the bed’, a nice and blithe euphemism for rape.

Our Communist Party has expressed, openly, their grief for the passing of the lunatic dictator Kim Jong-il, and gave vocal support to the Assad regime on the glorious duty of massacring their own people (a very Communist endeavor, you know). These horrendous, ignominious, disgraceful acts in support of murder and evil that boggle the mind are met with total (yes, that is the word) indifference by the general populace, while Pinochet’s dictatorship is routinely condemned.

Michelle Bachelet, a member of the Socialist Party who governed Chile between 2006 – 2010, will return again as a candidate for the next election. While in her first mandate she tended to be Center-Left, supported by a somewhat moderate coalition, and applying as much fiscal sanity as a Socialist can have, this time she comes at the head of a new political group that includes the Communist Party and is bent on changing the “Neoliberal” system, increase taxes and all the litany of reforms that scares investors and ruins long term economic projects. She enjoys the support of nearly 40 – 45% of voters, mostly because of her motherly appearance and the fact that she is a woman.

The problem with Chile is that, as Ayn Rand would say, its very core, its spiritual, cultural and historic center, is complete and powerfully rotted with Altruism. It is embedded in the national soul. Its roots lie, I believe, with the Catholic creed, and is something that most Chileans embrace. This allows for any right, any value to be sacrificed on the altar of the Collective, Public, Tribal good.

This is the reason I am writing this to you, because I think that in some years, Chile will utterly fail in its quest for economic development, and it will be a disaster.

Economic liberalism, individualism, is the antithesis of Altruism.

The Left has learned NOTHING from the experience of Allende’s government: the living members of his administration have publicly refused to ask for forgiveness for ruining the economy and the coexistence of a nation that some three years before was peaceful and stable. The younger members of the Left believe that the CIA and the Right ruined the economy just to get rid of Allende. The lessons of History only apply to their enemies.

It is a very bleak picture that I have painted of the current situation of Chile, but it is one that any of us living here would profess, any of us that believe in freedom, private property and the secular Rule of Law focused on defending individual rights.

World War IV 1

The US is at war. Not with “terror”, which is absurd. Not even with “terrorism”, which is almost as absurd. But with Islam. Which doesn’t mean that we regard every Muslim in the world as an enemy. We are under attack by Muslims who are fighting the jihad, directly or indirectly, as the ideology of Islam requires every Muslim to do.

We need to recognize this, and declare it to be the case. And we need also to recognize our enemy in Islam’s ally – the Left.

We call it World War IV. (World War III was the “Cold War”.)

Michael Ledeen is of much the same opinion. Though he defines the enemy more narrowly as “radical Islamists” and “radical leftists”.

He writes at PJ Media:

It’s hard to get our minds around the dimensions of the slaughter underway in the Middle East and Africa, and harder still to see that the battlefields of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria and Mali are pieces in a global war in which we are targeted. For the most part, the deep thinkers zero in on the single battlefields. What if anything should we do about the big fight in Egypt? Should we assist the Syrian opposition? What to do in Lebanon or Jordan? Should we respond positively to the Iraqi government’s request for security assistance? Is anyone thinking hard about Tunisia, likely to be the scene of the next explosions?

It could not be otherwise, since our government, our universities, our news organizations and our think tanks are all primarily organized to deal with countries, and our analysts, policy makers and military strategists inevitably think inside those boxes.

We don’t have an assistant secretary of defense for global strategy. (Actually we do, his name is Andrew Marshall, he’s a sprightly genius of 92 years, and he runs a largely ignored corner of the Pentagon called “Net Assessment”). But we do have one for the Near East and South Asia. And there’s hardly a professor in America who is talking about the fundamental change in the nature of global affairs in which we are enmeshed, the paradigm shift from the post-World War II world dominated by the United States and the Soviet Union, to … we know not what.

So there’s a global war, we’re the main target of the aggressors, and our leaders don’t see it and therefore have no idea how to win it.

Any serious attempt to understand what’s going on has to begin by banning the word “stability”, much beloved of diplomats and self-proclaimed strategists.

Yes. What is the point of wanting stability in or between tyrannies? How long should we want them to last?

If anything is fairly certain about our world, it’s that there is no stability, and there isn’t going to be any. Right now, the driving forces are those aimed at destroying the old order, and their targets (the old regimes, very much including the United States) have until recently showed little taste to engage as if their survival depended on it. But things are changing, as always.

The war is easily described: there is a global alliance of radical leftists and radical Islamists, supported by a group of countries that includes Russia, at least some Chinese leaders, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The radicals include the Sunni and Shi’ite terrorist organizations and leftist groups …

Their objective is the destruction of the West, above all, of the United States.

The alliance of Islam and the Left is very strange. The Left champions women, sexual and ethnic minorities, condemned criminals, thin people, the planet, and promiscuous copulation. Islam is an ideology concerned centrally with the subjugation of women. It hangs homosexuals; massacres blacks in Africa even if they’re Muslims; tortures prisoners; and has issued no fatwa against the fat. Its only aim for the planet is to put it under a caliphate. It punishes non-virgin brides and stones adulterers to death.

If the alliance is victorious and overcomes liberty, which of the allies will have its way?

What if they win? Some of them want to create a (Sunni or Shi’ite) caliphate, others want Castro- or Kim-style communist dictatorships. …

For the present, Islam is pre-occupied with internecine wars.

War is foggy, and alliances are often very unstable, especially at moments when the whole world is up for grabs. Look at Egypt, for example. At one level, it’s a sectarian fight: the “secular” military vs. the “Islamist” Muslim Brotherhood. So nobody should be surprised when the Brothers burn churches and murder Christians. But the top military dog, General Sisi, has some pretty impressive Islamist credentials. Indeed, his elevation at the time of the Brothers’ purge of Mubarak’s generals was frequently attributed to his close ties to the Brotherhood.

I don’t think anyone nowadays would call him a friend of the Brothers. So what happened? Did he go secular all of a sudden? Was his “Islamism” a trick from the get-go? Or is “Islamism” less monolithic than some suppose? A Saudi of my acquaintance showed up in Cairo a few days ago with a bunch of checks, some currently cashable, others postdated over the next twelve months, all hand-delivered to Sisi and his guys. Their advice to the Egyptian military is to mercilessly crush the Brothers, and their advice will likely be adopted, both because the junta knows that death awaits them if they lose (2 Egyptian major generals and 2 brigadier generals, along with many colonels, have been assassinated by the Brothers in the current spasm), and because only the Saudis can foot the huge bill facing Egypt just to provide the basics for the people. Most of whom, to the evident surprise of Western leaders and journalists, seem inclined to support the junta. (Neighborhood militias have taken on the Brothers throughout the country, for example).

So we’ve got an indubitably Islamist regime – the Saudi Wahhabis – supporting a military junta whose leader is famously Islamist against the infamously Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, they may well all yearn for the destruction of the infidel West (although the junta impiously pockets our dollars), but for the moment the struggle for power trumps the power of the faith.

In Egypt the internecine war is not even between Sunnis and Shiites, but between Sunnis and Sunnis. (Christian casualties are collateral damage.)

Notice that this bloody confrontation [in Egypt] has nothing to do with the celebrated Sunni-Shi’ite war that is so often invoked to “explain” current events. It’s all happening within Sunni Egypt (although the Shi’ite Iranians are certainly meddling – surprise! – on behalf of the very Sunni Brothers). And there are plenty of “foreign fighters”, just as there were in Iraq, just as there are in Afghanistan: in the last 8 days, according to usually reliable sources in Cairo, 253 Uzbeks, 21 Yemenis, 40 Afghans and 11 Turkmens have been arrested, along with 126 Hamas operatives, who bring weapons and train pro-Brotherhood Egyptians. …

Maybe the Middle East is now the scene of a war between Islamists and ex-Islamists, or between pious Muslims and not-so-pious ones, or even between Muslims and ex-Muslims. In this context, we should ban the use of the word “moderate” along with “stability”…

We’re all for that.

Move on to Syria.

You’ve got Bashar Assad on top in a neighborhood of Damascus, supported by Iran and Russia, fighting against a variety of insurgents including al-Qaeda units, Salafists, former members of Assad’s military, and the usual mob of adventurous souls, including Americans and Europeans, who believe they are waging jihad in the name of Allah.

Assad is actually a figurehead; the real capital of Syria is in an office of the Iranian supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. A leader of the Syrian opposition made this clear, saying that Hezbollah and Iran were the real powers in Syria, and there’s plenty of evidence for his assertion, including dead Hezbollahis and Quds Forcers.

So al-Qaeda’s fighting Iran in Syria, right? That fits nicely into the Sunni vs. Shi’ite meme … But wait: our very own Treasury Department, which is as good as we’ve got when it comes to deciphering the crazy quilt network of global terrorism, told us in no uncertain terms a couple of years ago that there was a secret deal between AQ and the mullahs. Moreover, the tidal wave of terrorism that has crashed on Iraq is universally termed a resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has been Iranian-sponsored since Day One . … [So there is] an Iranian (Shi’ite)-sponsored (Sunni) al-Qaeda assault against (Shi’ite) Iraq, and right next door an Iranian-assisted (Sunni) al-Qaeda, alongside other (mostly Sunni) foreign and domestic fighters against a (kinda Shi’ite) regime under the control of (totally Shi’ite) Tehran. …

Let’s get outside these little boxes and look at the big board.

There’s an alliance plotting against us, bound together by two radical views of the world that share a profound, fundamental hatred of us. If they win, it’s hell to pay, because then we will be attacked directly and often, and we will be faced with only two options, winning or losing.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that they’re divided, and slaughtering each other. And it’s not always possible for us to sort out what “each other” even means. But one thing is quite clear, and I know it’s an unpopular idea, but it’s a true fact: they’re not an awesome force.

That is true. And because they are not militarily a match for the US, Michael Ledeen thinks they will fail.

The radical left has failed everywhere, and so have the radical Islamists. Both claim to have history (and/or the Almighty) on their side, but they go right on failing. The left is now pretty much in the garbage bin of history (you can hire Gorbachev for your next annual meeting if you can afford his speaking fee), and the “Muslim world” – sorry to be so blunt – is a fossilized remnant of a failed civilization. Look at the shambles in Iran, look at the colossal mess the Brothers unleashed on a once-great nation.

So we’ve got opportunities, lots of them. We’ve already passed up many: failing to support the Iranian people against the evil regime that is the central source of terror against us and our would-be friends, failing to support Mubarak against the Brothers, failing to quickly support the opposition to Assad at the outset, before the enterprise got buried under a heap of jihadi manure, and so forth. OK, we’re human, we’re led, if that’s the right verb, very badly, by ideologues who think we [Americans] are the root cause of most of the world’s problems. Which is the same thing our enemies believe …

Just think of the consequences of a free Iran: the fall of the Syrian regime, a devastating blow to Hezbollah, the Revolutionary Guards, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Bad news for the Brothers. A kick in the solar plexus of the nasty lefties in South America…

Think globally. Act as if you understood it. On our side, confound it.

Excellent advice. But omitted from the reckoning is the “stealth jihad”. Islam’s advance by immigration, taking over regions within Western countries, imposing sharia wherever they can, infiltrating governments, disseminating their propaganda surreptitiously through the public schools with false accounts of Islam and its history in prescribed books.

And is the left “in the garbage can of history”? Our view is that the USSR was defeated in the Cold War, but Communism was not. It is crowing its triumph in almost every Western university. It’s purring in the public schools. It colors many a ruling from a judge’s bench. It holds the mass media in thrall. It beats its dreary drum and sounds its infuriating trumpet in the United Nations. And it has a protégé of its acolyte Frank Marshall Davis, a member of its New Party, a disciple of its prophet Saul Alinsky presiding over the United States.

Which side, so far, is winning?

Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah 2

Two major terrorist groups are going about their savage work: al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. Both are Islamic, one Sunni and one Shia.

They are in violent conflict with each other in Syria, and other Islamic states. Both are at war with the non-Islamic world.

Cliff May writes (in part) at Townhall:

Back during the Bush administration, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage famously called Hezbollah the “A Team of terrorists,” adding, “al-Qaeda is actually the B Team.” How do these two organizations compare today? …

Hezbollah and Iran [are] joined at the hip: the former is financed and instructed by the latter. That has not always been understood, despite the fact that, prior to 9/11/01, Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. And Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, has proclaimed, “Death to America was, is, and will stay our slogan.”

It’s well known that Hezbollah has been sending combatants into Syria in support of Bashar Assad, the dictator and Iranian satrap. Less publicized are Hezbollah’s operations in other corners of the world. A Hezbollah attack on a bus in Bulgaria last July killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian. In Nigeria, authorities recently broke up a Hezbollah cell, seizing what one Nigerian official called “a large quantity of assorted weapons of different types and caliber.” …

A 500-page report issued last week by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman reveals that Iran has established an archipelago of “clandestine intelligence stations and operative agents” in Latin America that are being used “to execute terrorist attacks when the Iranian regime decides so, both directly or through its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah.” The following are South American countries in which Iran or Hezbollah has set up intelligence/terrorism bases: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.

Nisman provides additional evidence — not that more is needed — that Iranian officials and one Lebanese Hezbollah operative were responsible for two terrorist bombings in Argentina in the 1990s. There’s an American nexus too: Nisman charges that Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attaché in Buenos Aires — implicated in the 1994 attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people were killed — directed “Iranian agent” Abdul Kadir, now serving a life sentence in connection with the 2010 plot to bomb John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Connect the dots, Nisman argues, and they draw a picture of Iran “fomenting and fostering acts of international terrorism in concert with its goals of exporting the revolution.”

All this considered, can al-Qaeda (AQ) still be considered a serious competitor? Yes, it can! Last weekend, my colleague, über-researcher Tom Joscelyn, pointed out that AQ and its affiliates now “are fighting in more countries than ever.”

In Afghanistan, AQ maintains safe havens in the provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. The Taliban, its loyal ally, is responsible for a level of violence “higher than before the Obama-ordered surge of American forces in 2010,” according to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.

AQ and its affiliates have bases in northern Pakistan. The Pakistani government, Joscelyn notes, “continues to be a duplicitous ally, sponsoring and protecting various al Qaeda-allied groups. The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban, remains a threat after orchestrating the failed May 2010 bombing in Times Square. The State Department announced in September 2010 that the TTP has “a ‘symbiotic relationship’ with al Qaeda.”

The AQ-affiliated al-Nusrah Front may be the most effective force fighting against Assad’s troops and against Hezbollah and Iranian combatants in Syria. AQ is resurgent in neighboring Iraq, with April 2013 being the deadliest month in that country in nearly five years, according to the U.N.

AQ has expanded operations in Yemen. In Somalia, Shabaab — which formally merged with AQ last year — is far from defeated and has managed to carry out attacks in neighboring Kenya and Uganda as well.In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues to slaughter Christians. In Egypt, al-Qaeda members and associates — including Mohammed al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri — are operating more freely than ever. On 9/11/12 they hoisted an AQ flag above the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

Libyan groups closely linked to al-Qaeda were responsible for the 9/11/12 attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb easily took over northern Mali until French forces pushed them out of the population centers. Al-Qaeda affiliates are becoming more visible and perhaps viable in Tunisia, too.

Despite all this, the State Department report asserts that “core” al-Qaeda “is on a path to defeat.” I am not convinced that there is sufficient evidence to substantiate that thesis. And even if it does prove to be accurate, who’s to say that a weakening core can’t be compensated for by a stronger periphery?

In the final analysis, “Which is the A Team of terrorism?” is not the paramount question. What is: in the years ahead, does the U.S. have what it takes to be the A Team of counterterrorism?

Better still, will America recognize and name the enemy at war with it – Islam? And at last begin to take effective steps to defeat it?

Immigrants: one solution to two problems 1

A new, strange, brilliant idea to solve the problem of too many poor illegal immigrants streaming over the southern border and living as “undocumented aliens” in the United States:

Issue hundreds of thousands – even millions – of permanent residence visas to European immigrants with money and skills, who will not be a burden on the welfare system of America, but will create jobs and increase wealth. Their culture will be entirely compatible. They will assimilate with no trouble at all. Whether they’re from Britain or the continent, they will speak English. (Most non-British Europeans have the start of learning English at school.) They will melt in the demographic pot. Their laws are like America’s laws. Their religions are or were the same as most Americans’. (Okay, we declare an interest: They’ve mostly given up religion now, so would happily swell the ranks of us unbelievers.)

Let the legal immigrants from Europe vastly outnumber the illegal immigrants from South America.

The scheme will also be a lifeline thrown to indigenous Europeans, as they are being crushed in their native lands by immigrants from the Islamic world. (And socialism.)

America is the depository, the great treasure house, of European culture. Indeed, America is Europe’s greatest product. Let it continue to be so: Europe triumphant in the New World, as the old continent sinks under the onslaught of a horde from the dark ages.

It’s time to re-write the poem on the Statue of Liberty:

Keep, ancient lands, your new sharia law!

Give me your gifted energetic best,

Your higher earners yearning to make more,

Your market-savvy ready to invest,

Your managers who’ve learnt to run the store,

Your traders who have undercut the rest,

Your masterminds who know what freedom’s for.

Jillian Becker    June 8, 2013

Private cities and the problem of government 2

This fascinating article is from Canada Free Press, by Kelly O’Connell:

In Honduras, a novel undertaking has been constructed—private cities whose purpose is to maximize safety and happiness (also referred to as “Free Cities”, “Charter Cities”, “Model Cities”, or in Spanish, “RED—Regiones Especiales de Desarollo”, and “Ciudades Modelo”.). This idea is a capitalist’s dream, but a liberal’s nightmare. And in a most fascinating manner, the idea of a privately owned commons has brought to the surface the multifarious contradictions of the modern age—with our continual demand for “liberty” while the deified state grows into a malignant colossus.

The full 18-member Honduran Supreme Court must still rule on President Lorbo’s agreement. But even if the idea does die in Honduras, private cities—like those modeled in early colonial America, Singapore and India’s old British empire, are still an option for virtuous, libertarian minded souls. …

The real questions raised by the rise of private cities is what is the nature of the city, man, law and moral authority. Specifically, what is the meaning of law and the state? Further, what gives a country moral authority in which to erect statutes, establish courts, prisons and pass and enforce sentences? …

The idea — a city built by private funds, with rules not derived from a state legislature, but the settlement’s founders. Add to that a private security force and strong walls. And so a libertarian entrepreneur answered the call for action:

Last Tuesday, the government signed an agreement with private investors led by Michael Strong—a libertarian entrepreneur and close associate of Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey—to construct a city-from-scratch in one of at least three special development regions (“las Regiones Especiales de Desarrollo” or “REDs”) scattered around the country. REDs possess the legal right to establish—or outsource to foreign governments and companies as necessary—their own hospitals [for profit], schools, judges, and even police, all independent of Honduran law. …

The REDs are the brainchild of Paul Romer, the New York University economist who has proposed building “charter cities” as a solution to endemic poverty. Romer believes that importing sound laws and policies into small corners of badly run countries will help leaders reform their governments from the inside-out. Honduras certainly qualifies—the original banana republic is still grappling with the political fallout of a 2009 coup while cocaine traffickers have pushed its murder rate to the highest in the world.

In early 2011, aides to Honduran president Porfirio Lobo invited Romer to the capital of Tegucigalpa to make his case to Congress. Within weeks, Congress passed a constitutional amendment granting Lobo’s government the power to create and administer the REDs.

Is it inherently immoral for private citizens to buy land, recruit residents, write their own laws, and then begin operating as a franchise community? If so, why? After all, what is it that makes a city, state or country legitimate? On the alternative, given the socialist direction many countries in the West are following, is it possible that only a self-derived city could chart a course against the political grain here? Or does mankind have to bow and scrape at the feet of the modern government colossus irrespective of whether it is just, moral, or effective—simply because it is called “government”? …

It’s certainly not “immoral” to establish a private city and “operate as a franchise community”. Morality doesn’t come into it.The first question is: will states, will governments – all to a greater or lesser extent in the hands of statists, liberals, collectivists – allow it? Will the Honduran Supreme Court allow it? We wait to see.

If private cities are inherently illegal, what about the foundations of America, which were done along these same lines? Interestingly enough, the debate in the American colonies was over whether an immoral government had the right to dictate to men how to act. The Founders decided it did not. So the question raised is whether immoral modern governments can derail moral private communities? After all, what is a government in the first place?

What would characterize a “moral government”? If by “moral” is meant “democratically elected and not oppressive”, aren’t all governments in actuality oppressive to some degree and so to some degree “immoral”? And if so, is it not because oppression is inherent in the nature of government and therefore inescapable?

We think that even if the answer to that question is yes, state government is nevertheless necessary – to uphold the rule of law and protect the nation from foreign invasion. Which is where we part company with libertarians (while remaining sympathetic to libertarianism) and anarchists.

Certain anarchists declare their position somewhat confusedly on this question:

A group of writers calling themselves Private-Property Anarchists have taken on [ie challenged] the theory that only the state possesses the inherent ability to organize a government or police its citizens. In a most obvious way this makes perfect sense since government will always be assembled from some group of residents who then decide upon rules, structure and powers of government. Why must we assume one group of freely assembled persons are more acceptable than another? Further, with the failure of much of modern government to address basic needs, how can anyone help but try to find a better way to manage the affairs of men? …

Several aspects of law should be mentioned on this issue. The first is that it is a fairly recent development for the state to own all official policing powers. According to Bruce Benson’s The Enterprise of Law, Justice Without the State, the Anglo-Saxon law was fixated on protecting property. Further, with the development of English lex mercatoria, ie mercantile law, much enforcement and many remedies to this day were created for enforcement by private parties.

In fact, even the criminal code was mainly enforced by private parties in the history of Anglo-Saxon law. … Englishmen also resisted public prosecution because “a private prosecutorial system was necessary to check the powers of the Crown. If not so limited the power of criminal prosecution could be used for politically oppressive purposes.”

The great fear in the liberal establishment is that a private system of government and law will be antinomian, that is—lawless and a mere tool for the use of greedy capitalists and megalomaniacs. Yet, the opposite is true. In fact, people allowed to build their own justice systems for their own small city-states are apt to be more motivated to create justice and order than those presiding over the legislatures of far-flung empires.

But to build a justice system, big or small, is to establish government.

American citizens are certainly not pleased with the state of our justice system. For example, Edward P. Stringham in Anarchy and the Law argues, if the American legal system and police powers are so successful, and in effect the only game in town, why do private police, i.e. security guards, outnumber official state police?

The debate over private cities begs the question of what is a government in the first place. Let’s remember Jefferson’s sublime words from the Declaration:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

If critics attack the lack of inherent authority of private communities, what is their basis? If a private city creates a better economy, a more just police and legal system, and a safer environment than public communities—is it not the latter which are truly the immoral and lawless frauds? We do well to ponder the foundation of legitimate, God-given government. This can only be established upon the rule of law, civil rights and respect by the leaders for the consent of the governed—or all we have left is an illegitimate tyranny.

While we cannot fathom what the meaning of “God-given” can be here (it makes no sense at all, even if  everyone who founds a nation and everyone in power is a believer in “God”), we see the writer’s point. “Legitimacy” as commonly perceived on whatever grounds does not in itself make for good governance.

What we wonder is: How would the forum, whatever it is called, set up in a private city to “create a better economy” (ie let an economy run itself, we hope) and establish a police and legal system, be different from any other democratically elected government? If the people as a whole retain too much power over it, will it not soon fall apart under the pressures of conflicting expectations and demands? And if they retain too little, won’t it gather power, grow, and become the enemy of the people just as every government does, even those democratically elected?

We are all for private cities. We like the idea immensely. We would like to see them established. We would like to live in one. We don’t see why they shouldn’t be self-governing. We think the government that such property owners would elect stands a good chance of doing a better job of governing than existing governments do. But we do not think that, given the minimum power it would need to be effective, it would be immune from avarice for power, or resist the temptation to find a compelling necessity to expand and oppress. How to prevent that; how to limit the power of government, is the perpetual problem of all democracies, great and small.

What’s wrong with democracy 7

Adolf Hitler did not seize power in Germany; he was given power by democratic process, and then he established his dictatorship.

Hamas came to power in the Gaza strip through democratic election. It is unlikely to allow another election.

In Tunisia and Egypt, democratic elections have brought parties to power which intend to bring their countries under sharia law.

Elections in Iraq and Afghanistan will not give Iraqis or Afghans freedom under the rule of law. The majority of Iraqi and Afghan voters do not want freedom under the rule of law.  To call either country a democracy in the Western meaning of the word is to affect deliberate blindness.

Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:

The advocates of democracy have been unable to admit that Hamas, Al-Nahda, the Brotherhood and the Salafis are the people’s choice because they represent their values and ideals. The Salafist victory in Egypt was not based on any external factor or political cunning, but on their core message of hate for non-Muslims, repression for women and …  tyranny for Egypt.

Democracy is not in itself a prescription for good government. The very fact that it expresses the will of the majority of a nation is precisely why it is dangerous.

The trouble with democracy is that it is representative. It is representative in Egypt, in Tunisia, in the West Bank, in Iraq and beyond. …

Democracy has not worked all that well throughout the rest of the world either.

After all the efforts made to keep the Sandanistas out of power, El Salvador’s supreme leftist pedophile Daniel Ortega is back in the Presidential Palace in Nicaragua. …

Twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the second largest party in the Russian Duma is the Communist Party. Its actual vote totals are probably higher due to the fraudulent nature of the elections under the control of Putin’s United Russia Party. This roster is rounded out by the Liberal Democratic Party, which is run by a career lunatic who has proposed conquering Alaska, dumping nuclear waste on nearby nations and rounding up the Jews into camps. If Putin’s power base finally collapses, then the party best positioned to pick up the pieces is the Communist Party. It’s not at all inconceivable that within the decade we will see the return of a Communist Russia. …

Democracy is not a universal solvent. It is not a guarantor of human rights or the road to a free and enlightened society.

A strong showing at the ballot box eliminates the need to gather a mob. …

In Turkey the electoral victories of the AKP gave [it] the power to radically transform the country. Given another decade the elections in Turkey will be as much of a formality as they are in Iran. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will follow the same program, bringing down the military leadership as soon as they can to the applause of the European Union and the United States who care more about the appearance of democracy than the reality of the totalitarian state they are endorsing.

When Western powers facilitate – in Iraq and Afghanistan compel  - democratic elections, they only encourage a charade; they play along with the pretense that universal suffrage will guarantee freedom. But most Russians and Nicaraguans don’t want freedom. The men of Iraq and Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, do not want freedom; their religion negates freedom, commands submission to an ancient set of oppressive laws.

Democratic elections are only as good as the people who take part in them. When the people want the Koran or Das Kapital, then they will get it.

Such elections measure the character of a people …  The Egyptians failed their election test [of character] … As did the Tunisians and the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza.

To the advocates of universal democracy such failures are only a temporary manifestation that can be reversed with enough funding for social NGO’s and political outreach. But the reality is that they represent a deeper moral and spiritual crisis that we ignore at our own risk.

Democracy worked for the West, as the least bad system of government yet devised, because the West wanted freedom under the rule of law. Nations get the government they deserve. Or, as Daniel Greenfield puts it, “Governments reflect the character of the people they rule over.”

The “democratic” elections that have taken place in Islamic states prove it.

Democracy is allowing the Muslim world to express its truest and deepest self. … By helping to liberate them we have set their worst selves free.