There was a time, between the mid 1960s and the collapse of the Evil Empire around 1990, when little children were raised by “progressive” parents to fear that a terrible nuclear war was about to destroy all life on earth, starting at any moment, and all because the Western world was armed with nuclear weapons. The instilling of terror in the poor tots could not start early enough in the passionate opinion of hippie and New Left moms and dads. Ghoulish lullabies were sung to babies about carrion crows sitting on their cradles.
By winning the Cold War, the wicked West – led by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – put an end to that scam. Though maybe not to the effects of the dread deeply implanted in two or three generations of children.
What is it with the Left that it wants to instill anxiety and fear in their kids? Do they want their nights riven with shrieks as junior wakes hysterical from a nightmare? Seems so.
They’re at it again. This time the bed-time story – and the day time lesson – is that the earth is about to heat red hot, boiling oceans are about to rise and flood the continents, all the cuddly white polar bears will drown (because they cannot swim and have to to dwell on ice floes which will melt under them), the tops of the mountains will lose their pretty caps of snow, fish will mutate into Jesus Christ or Charles Darwin, and all because the wicked West won’t stop using aerosol cans, herding flatulent cows, driving motorcars, and breathing out.
This is from Front Page, by Mary Grabar:
Under [Arne Duncan's] watch the Department of Education has become a propaganda arm used to influence the next generation to accept the idea of catastrophic man-made climate change as per the UN, the Environmental Protection Agency, and such groups as the National Wildlife Federation.
In a multi-pronged approach, the Department is teaming up with various non-profit and government organizations and curriculum companies to promote “fun” contests and activities for students, while promoting the next phase of Common Core “State Standards” — in science.
For example, the Department’s latest Green Strides newsletter (February 28) announced three contests for K-12 students who display their agreement with the government’s position on climate change.
In that newsletter, the Department of Education announced that another federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and its National Environmental Education Foundation, have “launched an exciting video challenge for middle school students called Climate Change in Focus”. In this contest, middle school students are asked to make a video that “expresses why they care about climate change and what they are doing to reduce emissions or to prepare for its impacts”. To win loyalty to the EPA, it is announced that winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website. The effort sounds like the kids’ cereal box promotions of yore: the top three entries will receive “cool prizes like a solar charging backpack”, winning class projects will receive special recognition for their school, and the first 100 entrants will receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine.
Another contest, National Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment, invites students “between the ages of 13-21 to report on an environmental issue in their community in an article, photo or photo essay, or short video”. Entries should “reflect firsthand investigation of topics related to the environment and sustainability in the students’ own communities, draw connections between local and global perspectives, and propose solutions”.
Students are also encouraged to make nominations for “Champions of the Earth”, a “UN-sponsored award for environment, Green Economy, and sustainability”. …
Students already get exposed to climate change and sustainability in textbooks which are bought with taxpayer funds, as well as in videos and online materials produced by taxpayer-supported Public Broadcasting. Many students, of course, have had to sit through Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. …
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) — the next phase of Common Core — will make the situation worse, however. Students will be even less capable of distinguishing science from propaganda. These standards, like those for math and English Language Arts, were produced by Achieve, a nonprofit education group started by corporate leaders and some governors.
Started by lefties is our guess. Sensible decision to be “non-profit”. Who would buy their product?
As in the standards for English Language Arts and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education”. They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context”.
In plain words, indoctrination – teaching what to think, instead of education – teaching how to think.
And they can even manage to do this with the teaching of Mathematics. Wow!
It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object. The standards bypass essential math skills in favor of “process”, they asserted last fall at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog. [They said that] Common Core standards, in all disciplines, are written with a lot of fluff to conceal their emptiness. …
Lerner and Gross condemn the “slighting of mathematics”, which does “increasing mischief as grade level rises, especially in the physical sciences”. Physics is “effectively absent” at the high school level. … [They] attack the “practices” strategy, as an extension of the “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s, which had “no notable effect on the (mediocre) performance of American students in national and international science assessments”.
With some sarcasm, they write, “It is charming to say ‘students learn science effectively when they actively engage in the practices of science’.” However, … beginners don’t and can’t “practice” [science] as do experts. The practices of experts exploit prior experience and extensive build-up in long-term memory of scaffolding: facts, procedures, technical know-how, solutions to standard problems in the field, vocabularies — of knowledge in short.
Not only do the Next Generation Science Standards shirk the necessary foundations in math and science knowledge, but they explicitly call for including ideological lessons, such as “Human impacts on Earth systems”.
For grades K-2, students are to understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students will learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.” …
The objective, of course, is not teaching legitimate science, but indoctrination.
Amazingly, ten states have already voluntarily adopted the Standards.
Such efforts, coordinated by the Department of Education, threaten the future of science itself.
When will this lunacy pass? We venture to state our secret conviction, hoping the all-powerful EPA Gestapo is not listening:
The planet we live on is not under any existential threat. And if it were, there’s not a thing anyone could do about it.
So sleep well, children. Happy dreams.
We took this picture of Obama in triumph from Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute.
I think this cartoon does the best job of capturing the destructive impact of big government on economic performance.
As so often we are in agreement over an important issue with Daniel Greenfield, who writes at Front Page on the international order – or disorder:
The international community looked into Putin’s eyes and blinked. Multilateralism has failed as badly as it did in the days of the League of Nations, but then again it never actually worked.
The international order that everyone pretends is a real force in world affairs is really the United States and a few partners doing all the work and letting the diplomats and bureaucrats of the world pretend that they matter.
Without America, the United Nations would be just as useless as the League of Nations. With America, the United Nations is only a deterrent when the United States puts its foot down and the rest of the world doesn’t get in the way.
It has become fashionable to denounce the United States as a rogue state. A military intervention, even with the backing of its Western allies, but outside the framework of the organizations of the international order, was deemed unilateralism and cowboy diplomacy. …
The multilateral system is helpless in the face of aggression. That is as true today as it was eighty years ago. International agreements are worthless without steel and lead behind them. The United Nations is incapable of acting when one of its more powerful members is the aggressor, the foreign policy experts of the left crank out editorials explaining why we can’t do anything and the Secretary of State explains that our weakness is really a strength.
Truth is, there is no such thing as “international law” in the sense that there are laws within nations; because no “international law” can be enforced - unless it is in the interest of the mightiest power to enforce it.
International law couldn’t stop Hitler. It couldn’t stop Japan. It took the United States to do that. The foreign policy experts will deny it, the editorials will decry it and the Common Core textbooks will refuse to print it; but it takes a rogue nation to stop a rogue state. …
The issue isn’t whether the United States should intervene in Ukraine, but whether it should have the option to do something more meaningful than draw faint red lines and threaten worthless sanctions. Every mob throwing things at soldiers and police isn’t necessarily composed of the good guys just because they have photogenic protesters and colorful flags.
Our instinct to automatically support the underdog is just another dangerous figment of the multilateral mindset.
The United States has unselectively adopted the human rights agenda of the internationalists and allowed our foreign affairs priorities to be curated by the diplomats of the left who know exactly whom to denounce and what not to do about it.
UN Ambassador Samantha Power, wearing a bitter frown, agonizing over the woes of the world, is the face of our senseless and useless diplomacy that forces us to play the moral scold without being able to back it up.
American foreign policy has become indistinguishable from the United Nations agenda and just as impotent, fixated on the recommendations of human rights committees instead of national interests, incapable of addressing historical alliances, and unable to build its responses around anything except the same Powerian empty shriek of self-righteous human rights outrage.
Obama’s America has turned a cold impartial face to its allies, aspiring instead to become the vessel of international organizations while assigning its morality to an international committee. American foreign policy is under international management and that transfers its decision process from D.C. to an international network of committees incapable of doing anything except generating worthless reports and denouncing Israel.
The United States was the ghost in the machine of the United Nations, but now that the United States is the United Nations, the United States has become the puppet of a puppet. …
The United States should have a strong military, not so that it can use it, but so that it won’t need to use it. Military budget cuts send the message that we won’t intervene in international conflicts which makes it more likely that our enemies will start conflicts and that some of those conflicts will drag us in anyway …
The United States should have clear commitments and agreements that it keeps, rather than randomly butting into every single conflict and human rights violation on the planet. Its leaders should decide whether they really are serious about Syria or Ukraine or any other place on earth that they issue press releases about and keep quiet about them if they are not. …
History isn’t made by nations defending international law, but acting on their own imperatives. Only a rogue nation that isn’t bound by the chains of multilateralism can take the unilateral action necessary to stop a rogue state.
American cowboy diplomacy is the only defense the world has against commissar diplomacy, cossack diplomacy and caliphate diplomacy.
A Palestinian Muslim spells out what is wrong with “the Kerry plan” for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It could not be clearer, but we don’t expect Secretary of State John Kerry to understand it. Even if he could and did, we doubt that he’d change or abandon his silly and evil plan, because – plain to see – the intention of Obama and his coven is to destroy the State of Israel.
This is from Gatestone, by Daoud Assaf:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently warned that “the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians” cannot continue, noting that while there is prosperity and momentary security in Israel, it is “an illusion” that is bound to change if [peace] talks flounder. “The risks are very high for Israel,” Kerry said. “People are talking about boycott. That will intensify in the case of failure. We all have a strong interest in this conflict resolution.”
In short, Kerry is threatening Israel with a boycott and even security unrest if it does not accept the peace plan he says he will deliver in two weeks. Is Kerry actually endorsing the anti-Israeli boycott that delegitimizes America’s only stable and democratic ally in the region? Also, what is the peace plan Kerry is so determined to force on the Israelis and Palestinians?
Kerry’s talk of boycotting Israel comes at a time when the anti-Israeli boycott rhetoric is becoming shrill; one day after Kerry’s talk, two major European banks decided on actions against their Israeli counterparts. Sweden’s Nordea Bank, the largest in Scandinavia, asked for “clarifications” from Israel’s Bank Leumi and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank regarding their activities in the West Bank. Also Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, said on its website that it was boycotting Israel’s Bank Hapoalim for “legal and ethical” reasons, again in reference to its operations in the West Bank.
Recently, the $200 billion Dutch pension fund PGGM also decided to divest from the five largest Israeli banks, ostensibly because of their involvement in the West Bank.
Kerry’s comments were not only a stab in the back that any country would not expect from its closest ally; they also provided support to the enemies of Israel – such as the smiling, racist members of the European Union.
For decades, the EU and many European nations have been secretly funneling hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ euros to organizations that work towards overthrowing Israel. The EU also, despite mountains of evidence, could not even bring itself to declare Iran’s proxy organization, Hizballah, a terrorist group; and if Iran is legitimized, so probably will be Iran’s other proxy terrorist group, Hamas.
Joining this club of racists is the United Nations, whose record of one-sided anti-Israel hostility is so pronounced that even one of its own translators commented on it. This record not only includes the frequent resolutions condemning Israel, as opposed to any other nations that commit far worse human rights violations than those Israel is [falsely] accused of committing, but also the openly racist Durban Conferences, ostensibly organized to counter racism, but which, as anyone can see, in fact promote it.
The cumulative effect of this pile-on against Israel only provides approval for the enemies of Israel to intensify their attacks — including anti-Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] campaigns — even more.
Kerry, and many others in the West, understand perfectly well that boycotting Israel reduces job opportunities not only for Jews, but also for Palestinians who work for in Israeli factories, farms and settlements, inside Israel as well as in the West Bank. The Palestinians who work there often receive ten times the remuneration, as well as better working conditions, than they would find among their own people, as has been revealed recently by the workers at companies that have actually been building real bridges of peace such as SodaStream, rather than organizations that have been sanctimoniously blowing up the bridges for peace, as Oxfam has. As usual, the Europeans know what will happen if there are fewer ways for the Palestinians to earn a decent living, as they knew when they left all their colonies. … The Europeans evidently care more about flagellating Israel than helping Palestinians. …
The question then arises: Why do those in the West who claim such hand-wringing concern for the Palestinians seek to harm Israeli businesses that offer them jobs? Do they forget that the Arabs refused to accept a partition plan in 1948, and started all subsequent wars to prevent Israel’s existence? Do they think that if Israel just withdraws to the 1967 line that the Palestinians will disregard their Charters, which view Israel as one big settlement and which assume a Palestine “from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea”?
In our view, it is past time that Israel set its borders – and they should be from the river to the sea.
In other words, is the Arab-Israeli Conflict — which it is, far more than a Palestinian-Israeli Conflict — actually about territory, or about the existence of Jews who have come home to the land given to them by the Holy Qur’an, Sura 7 [Al-A'raf; "The Heights"] 137: ” And We made those who had been persecuted inherit the eastern and western lands which We had blessed. Thus your Lord’s gracious promise was fulfilled to the children of Israel, for they had endured with patience; and We destroyed all that Pharaoh and his people had wrought, and all that they had built.”
An interesting quotation that, of a sura that most Muslims seem to ignore.
Of course, even though we Muslims might prefer it if the Israelis were someplace else, as a Muslim, I must ask why are Israelis always found guilty for defending themselves? Could it be that the old, politically-incorrect anti-Semitism has now simply been replaced by a new, supposedly politically-correct anti-Israelism?
Also, what is this peace plan Kerry is so determined to force on Israel?
Kerry’s plan, recently outlined in the media, includes: the division of Jerusalem; Israel’s withdrawal from most of the West Bank, while it would retain control over the largest Jewish settlements there; a land swap to compensate the Palestinians for the settlement bloc [one can only imagine the years of wrangling about what a "commensurate piece of land" would consist of in each instance, thereby perpetuating the conflict a few more millennia]; recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as a “Jewish state”, and compensation for Palestinian refugees who would no longer have a “right of return” to Israel.
But it does not include compensation for the Jews who were expelled from Arab lands or forced to flee, and had all their property confiscated.
In addition, the London-based newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, reported on January 8, 2014 that Kerry’s plan actually revolved around solving the Palestinian refugees’ problem through “settling them in Jordan under Jordan’s king and granting the king $55 billion for hosting the Palestinians for five decades.”
And where would they go after that, Mr Kerry?
Actually, that is where they belong. Jordan was created to be Arab Palestine by the British. They took some 80% of the Palestine region over which they were granted a mandate by the League of Nations after World War I, and handed it to Emir Abdullah, the Hashemite Sharif of Mecca, to be – as “the Emirate of Transjordan” – an Arab-only area in which no Jews would be allowed to live, although the explicit provision of the Balfour Declaration was that Jews should be “settled closely” on the the land. And it was for that purpose the League of Nations had given Britain the mandate.
A careful look at the [Kerry] plan, however, raises the following issues:
Palestinian Authority President Abbas has already said he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. But the real problem is that even if he did, he or his successor could easily change his mind and retract the recognition of Israel after it had already given back the West Bank … as in the time-honored tradition of Hudaibiyya which his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, repeatedly invoked in Arabic to justify signing the Oslo Accords.
“Hudaibiyya,” a footnote explains, “is the story of Mohammed’s promise to the tribe of the Qurayesh in Mecca not to attack for ten years; but after assembling a powerful army, Mohammed returned after three years, conquered the tribe, occupied the city and gave tribes’ members the choice of either becoming Muslims, or leaving their homes and going elsewhere.”
So much for treaties, as can presently also be seen in the ongoing Palestinian abrogations of UN Resolutions 242 and 838, as well as of bilateral agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel — again endorsed by Secretary Kerry.
Palestinians also say Abbas does not represent them because he has overstayed his four-year term by six years, and therefore has no legitimacy, or mandate, to sign anything. Abbas would undoubtedly also be regarded by many Palestinian hard-liners as a traitor — as was Egypt’s President, Anwar al Sadat — and almost certainly be assassinated. …
Kerry also wants Israelis, including those who live in settlements, to be surrounded by a Palestinian state. If I were a Jew, I would frankly not want to be living in a tiny country or a settlement surrounded by people who are incited day-in and day-out [by being told that] that their mission in life is to kill you, let alone that the entire country is regarded by many Arabs as one big settlement … It is bad enough when a country — now home to over a million Arabs, who have all the same opportunities as the Jews — is slandered in a lie that it is [an] apartheid [state], but for a new Palestinian state to be legally born [an] apartheid [state], officially free of Jews, after having had to listen to the international community unjustly hurl that word around all those years — seems both legally and morally indefensible.
Last of all, it is important not to forget that historically, whenever Israel gives land for “peace,” as in Egypt, southern Lebanon and Gaza, instead of rewards it gets concussions. …
Despite everything, the Israeli government has recently exhibited a willingness to accept Kerry’s plan.
As a tactic only, we hope.
The Palestinians have, as usual, rejected the plan: senior Palestinian Authority official Yasser Abed Rabbo called Kerry’s plan “Israeli ideas.” In addition, last month, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told an audience at a conference in Munich he could never agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
To this author, Kerry’s peace plan seems to be based on assumptions that are likely not to materialize or … The Palestinians have been offered a state many times since 1947; each time they have rejected the offer. It seems, looked at dispassionately, that they are less interested in having a Palestinian state than in destroying a Jewish state.
At the same time, Kerry’s boycott threats only embolden Israel’s many adversaries, including the Europeans, who seem to enjoy colluding with the Arabs, probably for the money, to launch new BDS campaigns, as they high-handedly compromise the interests and legitimacy of Israel, the only ally on which America can actually depend in the unstable Middle East.
When not making excuses for President Obama’s dismal economic record, liberals try to explain away Texas’ stellar growth. But … the Lone Star State proves limited government works. …
Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called it the “Texas Unmiracle.” Time magazine dismissed Texas’ burgeoning growth as mere luck. Others chimed in along the same lines, insisting that low taxes, limited government spending and a business-friendly environment couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Texas’ better-than-average growth in GDP, jobs and incomes. And so, as Krugman put it, Texas “offers no useful lessons”.
We quote from an Investor’s Business Daily report on the economic success of Texas – resulting from its “un-liberal policies”.
An article this week in Washington Monthly written by Phillip Longman and titled “Oops: The Texas Miracle That Isn’t” spends 4,700 words claiming to have exposed the miracle as a fraud. But his debunking effort turns out to be phony.
Longman admits Texas has “outperformed the rest of the country in its growth of high-paying jobs.” That, he says, is “potentially a very big deal.” So he spends the rest of the article trying to explain it all away. He argues, for example, that the growth is almost entirely due to the boom in oil and gas production, though that industry directly accounts for just 8% of the new jobs.
In any case, he overlooks the fact that the oil and gas industry is doing well because Texas — unlike other energy-rich states such as, say, California — isn’t smothering it to death with regulations.
Longman then tries to deny the fact that people are flocking to Texas from other states in search of opportunity by citing just one year’s data on net migration — from 2010, a relatively low year for Texas.
Truth is that, since 2000, Texas has enjoyed a net migration of more than 2 million people, accounting for 40% of its total population growth, according to Census Bureau data. Between 2005 and 2012, nearly a quarter-million came from California alone.
Another way to look at it: In just five years, $14.4 billion worth of income shifted from other states to Texas, according to the Tax Foundation. Over the same years, liberal bastions such as California lost $15.8 billion, New York $21 billion and Massachusetts $4 billion.
Does that look like a “low level of net domestic migration to Texas”? Clearly, people are moving to Texas for a reason. And that mystifies those on the left because Texas has fewer government services, doesn’t try to soak the rich and spends less per student on education. Never mind that Texas students get a better education than those in big-spending California, according to a McKinsey & Co. study. Or that it has a lower poverty rate than California and New York.
And this migration trend isn’t limited to Texas. Between 2000 and 2011, the states with the biggest gains were more conservative, while the biggest losers were all liberal, according to a state freedom index report from the George Mason University Mercatus Center. …
Fact is, Texas has pursued decidedly un-liberal policies. It has one of the lowest levels of government spending, among the lowest tax burdens and consistently ranks as the most business-friendly state in the nation.
As a result, its real economy grew 13% between 2009 and 2012 — twice as fast as the nation overall. Private-sector jobs climbed 12% since Obama’s “recovery” started 4-1/2 years ago, compared with 7% nationwide. And per-capita income has been rising faster — 50% since 2000 vs. 44% nationwide. …
Texas is just an example of what invariably happens when a state, or nation, pursues free-market economic policies. And that’s why the left is so desperate to make its success disappear.
No state can have a truly free market when the federal government is regulatory, controlling, and redistributive as it is now. But Texas shows what can be done even in these trying circumstances.
Listen to Governor Perry of Texas. It’s a thrilling and rousing speech.
(Hat-tip for the video, our reader and commenter donl)
We return to the subject of our yesterday’s post Curious and curiouser. Even our source, DebkaFile, now expresses puzzlement about the story. While it is certain that Israel did intercept and capture a ship carrying Iranian arms, there are things about the event and its aftermath that just don’t add up.
Our sources discount the overblown claims that this unquestioned IDF success in capturing dozens of Syrian-made 302mm rockets carried by the ship saved four million Israelis from attack.
For two years, the IDF refrained from cutting short the incessant stream of mobile Grad rockets and other weapons systems flooding into the Gaza Strip from Libya via Egypt. Those weapons had already imparted to Hamas, Jihad Islami and the al Qaeda affiliates in Sinai the ability to strike Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion, an ability exhibited during Israel’s 2012 Gaza operation.
Two puzzling questions are raised by the Iranian missile ship episode suggesting that there was more to it than meets the eye.
The capture of a small merchant with a crew of 17 unarmed seamen scarcely warranted a naval commando force of the size employed, especially as it sailed without an Iranian naval escort; nor was there any sign of Iranian naval units based in Port Sudan coming to its rescue.
The original report indicated the size of the force, and the importance attached to the capture:
The operation was carried out under an air umbrella by hundreds of naval commandos without casualties.It was directly commanded by the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz from high command headquarters and the Navy Chief Maj. Gen Ram Rottberg from a floating command post at sea.
Then there is the second puzzling question, the answer to which would probably explain the first:
It is also strange that, in their comments on the operation, neither Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon nor any Israeli general offered a word of thanks to Washington for its cooperation, after the White House spokesman Jay Carney described how the US military and intelligence had worked with Israel to track the missile ship and were even under orders to arrange its interception, should the Israeli Navy for some reason opt out.
Is this a sign that US cooperation was inconsequential – or even conjured up post factum?
We think it was made up after the event. What we cannot work out is why.
With the facts on the ground now established in Crimea — several thousand facts in the form of Russian troops — the question now becomes: Will sustained economic, political and military isolation of Russia work? Will it reverse Vladimir Putin’s adventurism and deter future aggression?
Michael Gerson asks these questions at the Washington Post – as if there would be any sustained economic, political and military isolation of Russia.
In any case, his answer is no.
He writes at the Washington Post:
One of [Putin's] primary foreign policy goals is to relitigate the end of the Cold War. His intervention in Ukraine will press toward that objective until serious resistance is met. Like international aggressors before him, Putin would prefer the fruits of war without its costs.
Does he have reason to believe the resulting isolation of Russia will be sustained? The history of the “reset” says no. The weariness of Congress and the American public with conflict — which Obama emphasizes and encourages in his own rhetoric — says no. America’s humiliating dependence on Russian influence in the Syrian crisis says no. The desire for Russian help in the Iranian nuclear negotiations says no. The dependence of Europe on Russian natural gas says no. European Union vacillation and disunity say no.
It is, perhaps, this confidence that has led Putin not only to intimidate but also to humiliate. To sponsor Edward Snowden. To follow a 90-minute telephone conversation with Obama with troop movements. Many Russian goals in Crimea might have been achieved by intelligence assets and paramilitary forces. The use of Russian troops was intended as a broader message to Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East: Don’t waste your hopes on the West.
Criticisms of the Obama administration’s foreign policy are now coming in waves. Its policy is improvised and feckless. Or it consists of cliches (“an interdependent world”) and condescension (“19th-century behavior”).
But Obama deserves more credit for good intentions and intellectual consistency.
Or no credit because of naivety and ignorance? Or – as we read him – an actual desire for America to lose, decline, and fall?
His foreign policy does have a theory. He believes that as U.S. power retreats from the world, a variety of good things will fill the vacuum. Allies and international institutions will take more responsibility. The United States will be better able to promote liberal norms, unburdened by discrediting military power.
If he believes that, then naivety and ignorance is right.
Gerson continues to give him the benefit of the doubt. He puts the best possibly interpretation on Obama’s actions: they may be mistaken but they’re benign.
This vision gives permission for drastic defense cuts, abandoned “red lines,” a scramble for the exits in Afghanistan and the ceding of leadership in crises such as Syria. It dovetails with domestic political imperatives — for Obama to be the ender of wars, focused on nation-building at home. …
The columnist himself has a better grasp of geopolitical realities:
The problem is this: When enlightened liberal norms are divorced from U.S. power, liberal norms do not win out. The vacuum is filled by:
●Radical Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra, which prosper in chaos. In an atmosphere like Syria, the most brutal are the most successful, and eventually become regional and global threats.
●Despots such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, who still believe in military solutions — such as using chemical weapons and “barrel bombs,” filled with oil and metal shards, on civilians — because these solutions are working for them.
●Nationalist powers such as Russia and China, which is now throwing its military weight around East Asia. Japan is experiencing an upsurge in nationalism.
In the 20th century, the United States was both unique and irreplaceable because it exercised great power without the blood-and-soil nationalism of Russia, Germany or Japan. It stood for universal, liberal, democratic ideals. We should not expect those humane ideals to thrive in the vacuum left by a retreating America.
He would seem to be using “liberal” in the real meaning of the word, and not as a euphemism for anti-Americanism, statism, and collectivism. In which case, his liberalism isn’t Obama’s liberalism. But he seems to think it is. Which is why, we suspect, he takes so mild a view of the president’s motives and intentions.
Charles Karuthammer, also writing at the Washington Post, is more scathing:
Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he’s got three more years of luck to come.
He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it’s not in Russia’s interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it’s a sign of weakness.
Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia annexed it 20 years before Jefferson acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot.
Now Russia looms over the rest of eastern and southern Ukraine. Putin can take that anytime he wants — if he wants. He has already destabilized the nationalist government in Kiev. Ukraine is now truncated and on the life support of U.S. and European money (much of which — cash for gas — will end up in Putin’s treasury anyway).
Obama says Putin is on the wrong side of history, and Secretary of State John Kerry says Putin’s is “really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century.”
This must mean that seeking national power, territory, dominion — the driving impulse of nations since Thucydides — is obsolete. As if a calendar change caused a revolution in human nature that transformed the international arena from a Hobbesian struggle for power into a gentleman’s club where violations of territorial integrity just don’t happen.
“That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior,” says Kerry. Makes invasion sound like a breach of etiquette — like using the wrong fork at a Beacon Hill dinner party.
How to figure out Obama’s foreign policy? In his first U.N. speech, he says: “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.” On what planet? Followed by the assertion that “alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War” — like NATO? — “make no sense in an interconnected world.”
Putin’s more cynical advisers might have thought such adolescent universalism to be a ruse. But Obama coupled these amazing words with even more amazing actions.
(1) Upon coming into office, he initiated the famous “reset” to undo the “drift” in relations that had occurred during the George W. Bush years. But that drift was largely due to the freezing of relations Bush imposed after Russia’s invasion of Georgia. Obama undid that pushback and wiped the slate clean — demanding nothing in return.
(2) Canceled missile-defense agreementswith Poland and the Czech Republic. Without even consulting them. A huge concession to Putin’s threats — while again asking nothing in return. And sending a message that, while Eastern Europe may think it achieved post-Cold War independence, in reality it remains in play, subject to Russian influence and interests.
(3) In 2012, Obama assured Dmitry Medvedev that he would be even more flexible with Putin on missile defense as soon as he got past the election.
(4) The Syria debacle. Obama painted himself into a corner on chemical weapons — threatening to bomb and then backing down — and allowed Putin to rescue him with a promise to get rid of Syria’s stockpiles. Obama hailed this as a great win-win, when both knew — or did Obama really not know? — that he had just conferred priceless legitimacy on Bashar al-Assad and made Russia the major regional arbiter for the first time in 40 years.
(5) Obama keeps cutting defense spending. His latest budget will reduce it to 3 percent of GDP by 2016 and cut the army to pre-Pearl Harbor size — just as Russia is rebuilding, as Iran is going nuclear and as China announces yet another 12-plus percent increase in military spending.
Puzzling. There is no U.S. financial emergency, no budgetary collapse. Obama declares an end to austerity — for every government department except the military.
Can Putin be faulted for believing that if he bites off Crimea and threatens Kiev, Obama’s response will be minimal and his ability to lead the Europeans even less so?
Would Putin have lunged for Ukraine if he didn’t have such a clueless adversary? No one can say for sure. But it certainly made Putin’s decision easier. …
Next weekend’s Crimean referendum will ask if it should be returned to Mother Russia. Can Putin refuse? He can already see the history textbooks: Catherine the Great took Crimea, Vlad (the Great?) won it back. Not bad for a 19th-century man.
The Cold War is not over. Russia is winning it the only way it could, by America choosing to lose it.
From this Investor’s Business Daily editorial we get a clear understanding of how drastically and easily Obama and his clique are sabotaging the United States.
As Russia test-fires new, updated ICBMs on the heels of its Ukraine invasion, Obama’s top arms negotiator is busy downsizing and mothballing America’s nuclear arsenal and destroying our deterrent.
Thanks to Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, a left-wing peacenik and old Soviet apologist, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is inching dangerously closer to first-strike capability.
Gottemoeller, a longtime anti-nuke activist, is the architect of the disastrously one-sided 2010 U.S.-Russia New Start deal that slashes America’s nuclear arsenal from 5,000 deployable warheads to just 1,550.
One-sided is right. Ms Gottemoeller is only anti-nuke when the nukes are in the arsenal of the US. She loves them when they are in the hands of KGB officer Putin.
In a major concession to Moscow, the deal also limits our development of missile defense interceptors.
The administration won’t even certify to Congress that Russia is complying with its end of the deal (the requirement was removed from the last budget deal). That’s because it’s not. And while we’re gutting our nukes, Russia is upgrading its arsenal.
Moscow’s nuclear modernization program includes new warheads and delivery systems, both missiles and bombers. Yet, “We are not developing new nuclear weapons or pursuing new nuclear missions,” Gottemoeller recently clucked.
Worse, the administration has agreed not to even test our aging nukes for reliability. Gottemoeller is pushing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as a top priority.
Despite her overtures — or perhaps because of them —
Perhaps? Precisely because of them!
Moscow has toughened its posture toward the U.S. and is no longer interested in arms control talks.
No matter, Gottemoeller is fine with disarming America unilaterally, if necessary.
She proposes cutting our strategic warheads to as low as 300. Next, she wants to cut tactical or battlefield nukes, both deployed and non-deployed, even though Russia has a massive 10-to-1 advantage in such weapons. She even wants to ban fuel production.
How can she do that without a treaty? Easy. Obama can make an executive agreement, bypassing the difficult Senate ratification process.
Like her boss, Gottemoeller thinks America is a global “bully” and that its nuclear superiority has created a global arms race. She argues the U.S. must show humility by signing nuclear disarmament treaties and become strategically equal with Russia.
Not even equal. Inferior.
… Most Cold War babies grew up hating the Soviet Union. Not “Rosie” Gottemoeller.
She admired the former communist superpower. Her father told her the Soviets were better at science, so she studied Russian and immersed herself in Soviet propaganda. She’s visited Moscow so many times she now considers it her “second home”.
Second home? If home is where the heart is, Moscow is her first and only home.
Where are you, Joe McCarthy, when we need you?
With her sitting across the negotiating table -
No wonder Moscow is thumbing its nose at arms reduction.
No wonder a Russian general recently threatened to take preemptive military action against U.S. and allied missile defenses in Europe.
No wonder Russian strategic nuclear bombers are flying so close to Alaska and California.
No wonder Putin has no problem marching into Ukraine. He knows nothing will happen.
Even the IBD does not see what is staring it in the face, the fact that its own story makes blindingly obvious. It concludes:
His Soviet-style power play shows just how dangerously naive Obama and his nutty no-nuke advisers are. Gottemoeller’s ambitious plans for further denuclearizing the U.S. will only invite worse military aggression.
He and they are not naive. No one except a baby or a lunatic could be that naive. They are deliberately giving America to the Russians – to Putin, who wants to restore the Soviet Union and its empire. Why can’t the opposition forces see what’s happening and take every step necessary to stop it? Is it because they are naive – or lunatic? Or is it because they cannot bring themselves to believe the evidence so plainly set before their own eyes?