The Russian menace 4

The Democrats and the Left in general, emotionally unable to accept that they have been massively defeated in the recent general election, bring up one excuse after another to explain how the Republicans managed to get control of the Presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate, all but 16 governorships, and a majority of state Legislatures.

One of the more persistent – and most laughably implausible  – excuses is that “the Russians” helped Trump to win by leaking (genuine and dishonorable) emails that had passed among members of the Democratic candidates’ team.

What is funny about this is that for decades the Left was pro-Russian, most ardently when it was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Now the fact that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was head of an arm of the KGB,  is held against him by the former fans.

The same excuse, that the Russians are interfering in the election process, is being prepared for the likely toppling from power of the German government, a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. (In practice, all of them are socialist parties.)

This government has wrecked Germany, not yet as an economy, but as a nation. It is now a country in which women are afraid to go into public places for fear of being raped and murdered by Muslim immigrants, and where free speech is proscribed to protect the ever-growing Muslim population, and the government itself from criticism for having let in the Muslim hordes claiming to be”refugees”.

Those who would speak out, and do, against the influx of the “refugees” are routinely called “far right” or “hard right” – implying “racist” and “Nazi” (since the Left has got away with labeling Hitler’s National Socialist party as rightists).

The Financial Times of January 30 (only accessible online to subscribers), carries an article by Stefan Wagstyl headed Russia’s next target?, in which it is asserted that [many] Germans are “braced for Russian interference in this year’s federal election”, and that this has already been happening “during election campaigns in three regions” where “emotions were running high about the flow of one million refugees into Germany and support was surging for the hard right Alternative for Germany party [AfD]“.

The writer proceeds:

Now Berlin fears that Moscow could be planning another intervention …

Notice how a first intervention – in the US – is at this point treated as a fact –

… ahead of September’s Bundestag poll with the aim of undermining Ms Merkel. The chancellor herself has warned that thatRussian internet-based misinformation could “play a role in the campaign”. … Berlin’s concerns are heightened by US intelligence agencies; claims that Moscow interfered in the US presidential election through hacking into Democratic party computers and releasing information aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton to the benefit of Donald Trump.

So those unproved allegations, though alluded to as mere “claims”, are used as if they were established fact by politicians who wish they were true.

Why do they want them to be true?

An electoral defeat for Ms Merkel – or even a serious setback – would be a huge victory for Russian president Vladimir Putin. He is keen to break western unity on the sanctions imposed over Russian aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea – unity largely orchestrated and upheld by Ms Merkel. In the longer term, he wants to divide the EU, split NATO and push back an alliance that has extended its reach deep into territory once controlled by Moscow.

Next comes one of the shining illusions of the Left:

Moreover, Ms Merkel is seen in Moscow as the pre-eminent representative of a liberal order that Mr Putin has long feared might undermine his authoritarian grip on Russia. If she can be humbled, her values could also be tarnished.

While we don’t dispute that the Russian government under Putin is authoritarian, we quarrel with the assumption that Merkel’s government is not.

That assumption is so embedded, it accounts for much of the bewilderment as to how Donald Trump ever came to be elected, and the conviction that all opposition to the ruling elite of Europe is “hard left”.  Wagstyl mentions that “her supporters, led by former US President Barack Obama, see Ms Merkel as a liberal beacon in a world of rising nationalism highlighted by Mr Trump’s victory, the UK’s Brexit vote and surging support for far-right leader Marine le Pen”.

So he sees “liberal” as the sweet opposite of naughty “nationalism”; and  the UK’s and US’s choice of independent nationhood and patriotism as identical to Marine le Pen’s movement – which can fairly be called “hard right” even by those of us who are sympathetic to all organized resistance to the  national-suicidal policies of the ruling elite. “Hard right” implies “fascist”. But if the word “fascist” means anything, it means authoritarian, and what are the ruling elite if not authoritarian?

Yet even the Russians still call the EU “liberal” – although, Wagstyl notices, they recognize that the days of such “liberalism” are numbered:

Sergei Karaganov, a foreign policy specialist close to the Kremlin, wrote this month that the world was witnessing the end of EU-style liberal politics. “The old world order is destroyed. We must start building a new one.”

It was perfectly honorable to want to “transfer western values east” into “post-Soviet Russia” through “a plethora of organizations, headed by the German-Russian Forum, financed mostly by German business, and the Petersburg Dialog, funded mainly by the German foreign ministry”. But now, the organizations are being used to channel influence the other way.

“Under Putin, these networks have taken on a different, more nefarious goal: to alter the rules of bilateral relations, influence German policy toward eastern Europe and Russia and impact EU decisions …”

An acknowledgment is made that the present attitude of the “liberal” globalists with Russia was not always thus. The “German political world” is “increasingly critical of Putin’s authoritarian rule” ( but not its own). And “elite opinion has grown wary of Moscow’s charms”.

As it is through the internet  that Russia can now “reach the general population” and influence the way it votes, the fear is growing of cyber attack.

German officials are especially concerned about the hacking of government networks for political ends. [There was] a 2015 attack on the Bundestag when huge amounts of data were removed [stolen]. The BfV intelligence agency blames this raid on a cyber group known as APT28 that is thought to be managed by the Russian secret service [our italics]. … The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it played any role in US political hacking or the Bundestag attack and dismissed suggestions that it interfered in other countries’ elections.

And –

German security officials concede that they they cannot prove that the Kremlin was ultimately behind the Bundestag hack.

They only think it is “very likely”.

“The chancellor’s chances of losing the Bundestag poll are considered to be small. But” -Wagstyl sounds note of caution – “so  were Mr Trump’s chances of winning the White House.” And he concedes: “No one knows whether the Kremlin tipped the balance there, or what it might attempt in Germany.”

The drift of the entire article, however, is that the Kremlin wants to tip the balances, has tried to tip them, has succeeded in the US, and that if Ms Merkel’s “liberal” government falls, it will most likely be because of Russian interference. 

One good thing that emerges clearly from all this anxious suspicion is that the ruling elite is feeling very insecure. And well it might. The people over whom they exert their “liberal” power are rebelling, and are more than likely to unseat those “liberals” who established and dominated the old world order; who brought alien masses flooding into Europe without the consent of the people they rule – the people whom they are now smearing with insults, trying to silence with tyrannical legislation, and who may be about to dethrone them.

We hope they do dethrone them.

It must not be the Russians who then build a new world order. Theirs would be at least as bad as the old.

We hope for the success of western populism – of the Trumpist popular revolution – in Germany and throughout Europe.

The ruinous presidency of Barack Obama 4

… ends with a diabolical act of treachery.

Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal:

Barack Obama’s decision to abstain from, and therefore allow, last week’s vote to censure Israel at the U.N. Security Council is a fitting capstone for what’s left of his foreign policy. Strategic half-measures, underhanded tactics and moralizing gestures have been the president’s style from the beginning. Israelis aren’t the only people to feel betrayed by the results.

Also betrayed: Iranians, whose 2009 Green Revolution in heroic protest of a stolen election Mr. Obama conspicuously failed to endorse for fear of offending the ruling theocracy.

Iraqis, who were assured of a diplomatic surge to consolidate the gains of the military surge, but who ceased to be of any interest to Mr. Obama the moment U.S. troops were withdrawn, and only concerned him again when ISIS neared the gates of Baghdad.

Syrians, whose initially peaceful uprising against anti-American dictator Bashar Assad Mr. Obama refused to embrace, and whose initially moderate-led uprising Mr. Obama failed to support, and whose sarin- and chlorine-gassed children Mr. Obama refused to rescue, his own red lines notwithstanding.

Ukrainians, who gave up their nuclear weapons in 1994 with formal U.S. assurances that their “existing borders” would be guaranteed, only to see Mr. Obama refuse to supply them with defensive weapons when Vladimir Putin invaded their territory 20 years later.

Pro-American Arab leaders, who expected better than to be given ultimatums from Washington to step down, and who didn’t anticipate the administration’s tilt toward the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate political opposition, and toward Tehran as a responsible negotiating partner.

Most betrayed: Americans.

Mr. Obama promised a responsible end to the war in Iraq. We are again fighting in Iraq. He promised victory in Afghanistan. The Taliban are winning. He promised a reset with Russia. We are enemies again. He promised the containment of Iran. We are witnessing its ascendancy in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. He promised a world free of nuclear weapons. We are stumbling into another age of nuclear proliferation. He promised al Qaeda on a path to defeat. Jihad has never been so rampant and deadly.

These are the results. They would be easier to forgive if they hadn’t so often been reached by disingenuous and dishonorable means.

The administration was deceptive about the motives for the 2012 Benghazi attack. It was deceptive about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s service record, and the considerations that led it to exchange five Taliban leaders for his freedom. It was deceptive about when it began nuclear negotiations with Iran. It was deceptive about the terms of the deal. It continues to be deceptive about the fundamental aim of the agreement, which has less to do with curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions than with aligning Washington’s interests with Tehran’s.

Now the administration is likely being deceptive about last week’s U.N. vote, claiming it did not promote, craft or orchestrate a resolution that treats the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City as a settlement in illegally occupied territory. Yet in November, John Kerry had a long talk on the subject with the foreign minister of New Zealand, one of the resolution’s sponsors.

“One of the closed-door discussions between United States Secretary of State John Kerry and the New Zealand government today was a potential resolution by the United Nations Security Council on a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict,” the New Zealand Herald reported last month. “‘It is a conversation we are engaged in deeply and we’ve spent some time talking to Secretary Kerry about where the U.S. might go on this,’” the paper added, quoting Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

The Israelis claim to have more evidence along these lines. If so, it means the administration no longer bothers to lie convincingly.

Even this might be excusable, if Mr. Obama at least had the courage of his mistaken convictions, or if his deception were in the service of a worthier end. Instead, we have the spectacle of the U.S. government hiding behind the skirts of the foreign minister of New Zealand — along with eminent co-sponsors, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal — in order to embarrass and endanger a democratic ally in a forum where that ally is already isolated and bullied. In the catalog of low points in American diplomacy, this one ranks high.

After the Carter administration pulled a similar stunt against Israel at the Security Council in December 1980, the Washington Post published an editorial that does the paper honor today.

“It cannot be denied,” the editors wrote, “that there is a pack and that it hounds Israel shamelessly and that this makes it very serious when the United States joins it.” The editorial was titled Joining the Jackals.

Unlike Mr. Carter, Mr. Obama hasn’t joined the jackals. He has merely opened the door wide to them, whether at the U.N. or in the skies over Syria or in the killing fields in Ukraine.

The United States abstains: What a fitting finish to this ruinous presidency.

Yes. For America, if not for himself, Obama’s presidency has been a colossal foreign policy failure.

If his domestic policy failures – a long list, headed by his failure to achieve even 3% GDP growth in any year of his two terms and his worsening of race relations  – are added to the record, he surpasses Jimmy Carter to win the title of America’s worst president.