Has there ever been a president of the United States – or of a middle school debating club – who knew as little, and cared as little to know anything, as President Barack Hussein Obama?
He employed an immature would-be novelist to make up stories about the world and international affairs, then acted on the fiction.
The result is that the Middle East is in flames, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions have been displaced, Europe is being overrun by Muslim “refugees”, and the savagely belligerent regime that rules the Islamic state of Iran is freely developing nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them – and getting more than a billion dollars from the United States to help them do it.
We quote from an article at PJ Media by the excellent Claudia Rosett (who has revealed much about Evil’s HQ, the United Nations):
It’s a good bet that by now the entire foreign policy cosmos … has read the York Times Magazineprofile of Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes, “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru”. The reporter, David Samuels, had extraordinary access to the White House, multiple well-placed sources and in his 9,500 word piece he provides plenty of attribution, including quotes from Rhodes himself. We get a detailed look, behind the White House facade, at Rhodes, “master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign policy narratives,” complete with his contempt for Congress, the press and the public; his manipulation of the media; and a case study of his “narrative” of liesconcocted to grease a path for Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement – the unpopular, murky, amorphous and deeply dangerous Iran nuclear deal.
Freighted with the far-reaching effects of a major treaty, the Iran deal was never submitted by Obama to the Senate for ratification as a treaty. Framed as an agreement with Iran, it was never signed by Iran. Sold by the administration as a transparent deal, it is turning out to be a slush heap of secrets. The real blob in this drama is the rolling sludge of presidential over-reach, White House fictions and raw abuse of public trust that has brought us everything from the indigestible “Affordable Care Act” to the Benghazi “video” narrative, to the Iran deal. …
Leading members of Congress are calling on President Obama to fire Rhodes “over accusations the White House intentionally misled lawmakers and the American public about the contents of last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran”.
In a letter to Obama, Senators Mark Kirk, John Cornyn and John Barrasso cite Rhodes’s statement to the New York Times that the White House peddled a phony narrative to sell the Iran deal because he considered it “impossible” for elected lawmakers to have “a sober, reasoned public debate, after which the members of Congress reflect and take a vote’. They note, if Rhodes “had conducted himself this way in a typical place of business outside Washington, where American taxpayers work, he surely would have been already fired or asked to resign”.
So, why does Ben Rhodes still have his job?
The broad answer involves the moral vertigo of modern Washington, the Instagram attention span of too many members of a Twitter-driven press corps, and the self-abasements of a culture in which the old American spirit of individual responsibility and free enterprise has been devolving — with many a prompt from President You-Didn’t-Build-That — into a selfie-snapping contest for “safe spaces” and “free stuff”.
In that context, dude, what difference does it make if Boy Wonder Ben Rhodes, speechwriter and “strategic communicator”, mind-melded with the president, carries on manufacturing and marketing the “narrative” that passes these days for foreign policy? Once you dispense with the baggage of reality, and its knock-on effects for those multitudes of lesser mortals who have never flown on Air Force One, what’s left is former White House staffer Tommy Vietor (“Dude, this was like two years ago”), buddy of Ben Rhodes, techno-chatting to one of Washington’s best reporters, Eli Lake (who knows plenty), that he’s sure most folks outside of Washington think the Rhodes profile was just a “fascinating profile of a brilliant guy with a really cool job”.
All these things matter. But there’s a far more direct answer to the question of why Rhodes still has his job.
Under the old rules of American politics, a top White House staffer getting caught betraying the public trust (and then gloating over it) would have been a firing offense. Not anymore. For this president, with his pen, phone and proclivity for executive diktat, the priority is not the rights of the American people, or their elected lawmakers in Congress, or fidelity to the truth. What matters is loyalty to Obama and his agenda – however radical that becomes, and whatever it might require in terms of lies, manipulation and disregard for democratic process.
The real story here is not Rhodes. It’s his boss. Rhodes is no rogue element on Obama’s staff. We’ve heard no protest from the White House over Rhodes’s statement in the Samuels profile that “I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends”.
What’s come out of the White House instead is an article by Rhodes on “How We Advocated for the Iran Deal”; now coupled with a rejection by the White House of an invitation from Congress for Rhodes to come testify on that very topic, at a hearing held earlier today. A prime distinction between these two poles is that Rhodes, when writing an article, controls the narrative from his keyboard (dispensing with assorted inconvenient truths on grounds that “I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to respond to those topics in the weeks and months to come”). In front of the likes of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, there’s the awkward chance that Rhodes might lose control of his narrative.
The White House argued that the invitation for Rhodes to testify “raises significant constitutional concerns rooted in the separation of powers”. That would be more persuasive had the president shown any such concern for the Constitution while ramming through the Iran deal. That was not solely a matter of peddling the Rhodes-Obama narrative. Obama also raced to get United Nations Security Council approval for the deal before Congress had a chance to delve into it. Recall Obama’s lead negotiator, Wendy Sherman, ridiculing the idea that the administration should take the position “Well, excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress”. (Yes, Wendy, this being America, that is exactly how it should have worked).
The White House further argues that “the appearance of a senior presidential adviser before Congress threatens the independence and autonomy of the President, as well as his ability to receive candid advice and counsel in the discharge of his constitutional duties”. Fine, if the White House is dealing with Congress and the public in good faith. But when the candid advice and counsel consists of concocting and packaging lies – excuse me, “narratives” – designed to neuter Congress and mislead the public, where does that take us? …
When an administration is caught deliberately spinning lies, when a White House official paid to uphold the public trust is exposed as deriding and manipulating that same public, the response needed for the healthy working of democracy is apology, contrition and a real remedy. If the official does not have conscience enough to resign, the president should do the honors, by firing him. Or her.
But nothing can undo the harm that the Rhodes-Obama twin-headed monster has done.
Under Obama, it has become standard procedure that such firings do not take place. Obama shrugs off the news, doubles down on the narrative and bulldozes ahead. Once the scandal is consigned to last week’s news cycle, for purposes of this administration it is down the Memory Hole. Obamacare, with its partisan vote, indecipherable text, soaring costs and disastrous web site rollout; an American economy choking under regulations; the disintegration of Libya, the vanishing red line in Syria, the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, the rise of ISIS, North Korea’s nuclear tests, Iran’s ballistic missile tests, China’s military buildup, Russia’s turf grabs – the Obama narrative says it is all under control. Nothing much to see here, move along. Or, to quote Obama’s first secretary of State, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
In the resulting vacuum, absent ethical or responsible leadership at the very top, we’re left to amuse ourselves with the chatter of the echo chamber – home to the infinitely malleable narratives of Rhodes and his boss. Last Wednesday, seeking to mollify the reporters so roundly insulted by Rhodes, White House spokesman Josh Earnest and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough brought a box of donuts to the White House press corps, calling their visit “press appreciation day”. Earnest assured reporters that Rhodes would revise the contemptuous statements about the press, “given a chance”. Does that mean Rhodes will now disavow, in the White House inner chambers, that “candid advice and counsel” so prized by the president? …
We wouldn’t be at all surprised if the White House press corps was bought off with a box of donuts.
Why would Obama fire Rhodes? If nothing else comes clear from this saga, it is that Rhodes has served for years as one of the chief ideological bag men of Obama’s presidency. If, under their ministrations the possibilities of free and open discourse are vanishing in Washington, replaced by bully pulpit narratives bouncing around the echo chamber, wasn’t that the reason Obama gave Rhodes all that power in the first place?
The four devastating mistakes of the West since the Second World War were:
- Establishing socialist welfare states – so creating classes of permanent dependents.
- Creating the European Union – its members thus losing sovereignty and democratic government, and coming under the corrupt and arbitrary rule of unelected bureaucrats.
- Allowing the influx of unlimited numbers of Muslim settlers – a continuing invasion and colonization that is likely to destroy European culture.
- The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. In America itself, President Obama increased economic redistribution through a tyrannical health care act, reduced prosperity, and weakened the rule of law. And his feeble foreign policy effected wars, civil wars, massacres, enslavements, and a vast displacement of populations.
Can the West recover?
There is no sign that socialist policies are changing in Europe. But the European Union is under increasing strain. Britain may withdraw from it in the near future, and that could encourage other members to recover their independence. Sovereign states will be able to change their immigration policies – though it is probably too late for any European country to save itself from eventual Muslim domination.
As for America, if another “progressive” (Democratic Leftist) president follows Obama, there will be no recovery from stagnation at home and weakness abroad. But America has a chance of changing for the better if a Republican administration is elected this year.
The fate of Western civilization depends on it.
The New Left, born in riot and blood in 1968, worked at taking over the institutions of the free West, and succeeded, eventually capturing the pinnacle of power with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. Those institutions which they could not dominate and turn – most importantly police forces and the military – they vilified and weakened.
Islam, assisted by the Left, has penetrated even those bastions of Western freedom. The Left made the accusation of “racism” so terrible a label, that politicians, journalists, and most private citizens would do anything to avoid being stuck with it. Islam (intensely intolerant itself) invented the idea that to criticize it was to be racist (though Islam is not a race). So while Muslims do much to make non-Muslims fear them – terrorizing them with mass slaughter – they cry that they are the victims of “Islamophobia”. And non-Muslims are so intimidated that they are submitting to Muslim domination.
In Rotherham and other cities, Muslims “groomed” hundreds of English girls in their early teens to be prostitutes, and the police would not act to save the girls for fear of being labeled racist. The British police submitted.
Now the British army …
This is from Breitbart:
British Army officers have visited and prayed at a ‘fundamentalist‘ mosque that has been linked to the 7/7, 9/11, and San Bernardino terrorist attacks, Breitbart London can reveal.
Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) – whose leadership once hosted an Al-Qaeda associate of Osama bin Laden, [and] who call on British Muslims to wage jihad against Western troops – became the focus of international scrutiny last year after San Bernardino terrorists Syed Farouk and Tashfeen Malik were found to have attended their mosques.
TJ is an offshoot of the radical Deobandi sect, founded in colonial India specifically to oppose Western culture. Their global Headquarters is in Dewsbury, England – a town that produced the leader of the 7/7 London bombings, several ISIS suicide bombers, and even Britain’s youngest convicted Islamist extremist.
The Deobandi school of thought also ‘gave birth‘ to the Taliban in Afghanistan. As British forces battled Taliban insurgents in 2001, with nearly 500 losing their lives, the Indian headquarters of the movement, the Darul Uloom Deobandi, continued to offer its explicit support to the terrorists.
“Brigade officers visit to the Zakaria Mosque. The officers were introduced to the ritual washing of hands, face and feet by Molana Farook Yunus, the project manager of [the Islamic charity] Kumon Y’All, before entering the prayer room”, announced the 4th Infantry Brigade of Catterick, North Yorkshire, on their Facebook page.
The Deobandi Zakaria mosque that the officers chose to visit sits in the Savile Town area of Dewsbury, which is 98.7 per cent South Asian and has been described as “the most segregated area in the UK“.
Another Facebook post revealed how, “the soldiers also visited the Institute of Islamic Education, a boarding school and darul uloom (Islamic seminary) in South Street”, which is located within the TJ’s headquarters.
TJ is commonly referred to as the “Army of Darkness”, and has been linked to high profile Muslim cabinet ministers, as well as being the group that Zacharias Moussaoui, a convicted 9/11 plotter, associated with.
Mr. Moussaoui was defended by the new London mayor Sadiq Khan. …
Breitbart London contacted the army to ask why they had chosen to visit Tablighi Jamaat …
An Army spokesperson [replied]:
It is vital that the Army reflects the society from which it is drawn. To do that we need to engage with all our communities and break down the myths about what the Army does and who we are. The visit to Dewsbury did exactly that and was part of a wider strategy of demonstrating that service with the British Army is entirely consistent with Islam.
It is not. Or should not be. The British army exists to protect Britons from enemies such as Islam, which exists, and has existed from its inception, to conquer the world and make all peoples submit to its savage rule.
In 1993, Tablighi Jamaat’s UK leadership hosted an Al-Qaeda associate of Osama bin Laden, who spoke to numerous future terrorists as he toured 42 TJ mosques and madrassas across Britain.
Cleric Masood Azhar spoke at three mosques in Dewsbury and Batley in West Yorkshire, including one sermon, “From jihad to jannat [paradise]”, which was heard by a “huge crowd”.
At a separate talk, he said the aim of all true Muslims must be the “elimination of the oppressive and infidel system by the blessing of jihad” and promised those who died for the cause would be guaranteed “Houris [Virgins]” who “yearn badly for martyrs”.
But the British army ignored all that. They preferred to take a rosier view of what the jihadis are about:
“The [Tablighi Jamaat] school provides a full-time education as well as training Imams, Islamic studies teachers and scholars in order to benefit the communities to which they return”, explained the 4th Infantry Brigade on Facebook.
The visit was organised by the Islamic charity Kumon Y’All. A project manager for the charity, Maulana Farook Yunus, told Pulse 1 Radio:
The Army is a lot of very powerful people and I am very passionate about tapping into that resource and using it for the betterment of society. I feel really happy that today they have come, we have met and had a few hours together. I feel that our relationship is getting better and stronger and we can use that for what we want to achieve.
There are plans for the Army to take part in the annual football tournament in Savile Town in July, and for a future visit by the Kumon Y’All charity to the Catterick barracks.
Colonel Butterwick of the 4th Infantry Brigade said: “It has been a fantastic day – we have learned so much and we have been warmly welcomed by everybody we have talked to. “What it does is bust myths and the more myth-busting we can do, the more we understand each other.”
They have allowed themselves to be bamboozled much. And they are enormously helping their colonizing conquerors to propagate myths.
If ever Islam allows itself to laugh, it has great cause to do so in triumph and Schadenfreude now.
(Hat-tip to our Blog Roll associate Chauncey Tinker)
We admired General David Petraeus when he led the “surge” of American military force that subdued the chaos in Iraq.
He was the last man we would have thought of as a coward.
But now it emerges that that’s what he is: a moral coward.
As such, he is typical of Western man faced with the savage onslaught of Islam.
This is from the Daily Caller:
In an op-ed for The Washington Post published Friday, former CIA Director David Petraeus said increasing anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States threatens to drive more “moderate” Muslims to terrorism.
For Petraeus, the rapid increase of ugly rhetoric against Muslims and Islam threatens to engulf even “moderate” Muslims.
“Ugly rhetoric”? No. Necessary outcry.
We approve of the writer’s putting the word “moderate” in quotation marks. Who are “moderate” Muslims? How do they only moderately obey sharia law – which is inseparable from Islam? Do they only half “kill the infidel”? Only partly throw homosexuals from heights to murder them? Only slightly subjugate women? Do not totally sever limbs?
The summary of Petraeus’s views goes on:
This is exactly what terror groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State want, as it supports their vision of the world as one divided between the forces of Islam and the forces of the decadent, satanic west. These groups then seize on a sort of “clash of civilizations” rhetoric to drive recruitment and push moderate Muslims into their ranks. Muslims in the West are apparently so at risk of joining up with al-Qaida, that Petraeus thinks we need to police our own speech, so as not to offend them and face the potential consequence of a growing, violent fifth column taking shape in the West.
So we must go silent to our subjugation or our graves, and make not a peep of protest as our civilization is destroyed?
“Rather than making our country safer, they will compound the already grave terrorist danger to our citizens,” Petraeus wrote. “As ideas, they are toxic and, indeed, non-biodegradable — a kind of poison that, once released into our body politic, is not easily expunged.”
“Setting aside moral considerations …
Why? That would hand victory to them!
… those who flirt with hate speech against Muslims should realize they are playing directly into the hands of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State,” Petraeus added. “The terrorists’ explicit hope has been to try to provoke a clash of civilizations — telling Muslims that the United States is at war with them and their religion.”
They are at war with us. That is what jihad is all about. Since its earliest days, Islam’s mission has been world conquest. We should be engaging them in that war. We are mightier in military strength than they are. We could easily defeat them if we just had the will to do so.
Can Petraeus really believe that if we refrained from morally condemning Muslim terrorism and their jihad and their rhetoric against us; if we said nothing; if by our silence we submitted now to their dominance and their law – they would stop the jihad? Stop the terrorism?
Islam is winning because powerful people in the West – politicians, military commanders, churchmen, opinion formers in the media – think like that.
Will a President Trump save us? Will he stop more Muslim immigrants entering America? Will he crush ISIS as he said he will? There’s no one else we can look to.
One powerful Muslim shows how much David Petraeus’s advice is appreciated on the Muslim side. His own advice is the same – and he throws it directly at Donald Trump:
The new Muslim mayor of London has issued a warning to Donald Trump: Moderate your stance on Muslims, or they will launch more attacks against America.
Could it be because the sort of advice Petraeus is giving us serves the interests of Islam extremely well?
When WMDs were not found in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, though they had been a compelling reason for the US invasion, the story coming through unofficial channels was that Saddam had hastily moved them to Syria, to be stored there for him until he had beaten back the President Bush-led onslaught.
Although the sources were unofficial, they had proved themselves to be generally trustworthy. So many of those who heard the story believed it. But the sources could not be cited.
When the story was largely confirmed to “defense reporters” by [then] Lt. Gen. James Clapper* in 2003, it was still not widely accepted.
Is it more likely to be accepted now? If so, it may be too late to be useful to those who have defended the invasion of Iraq, but not too late to be interesting to historians.
Today, May 2, 2016, Front Page is re-running an article by Bill Gertz that was first published in the Washington Times on October 29, 2003:
Iraqi military officers destroyed or hid chemical, biological and nuclear weapons goods in the weeks before the war, the [US’s] top satellite spy director said yesterday.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said vehicle traffic photographed by U.S. spy satellites indicated that material and documents related to the arms programs were shipped to Syria.
Other goods probably were sent throughout Iraq in small quantities and documents probably were stashed in the homes of weapons scientists, Gen. Clapper told defense reporters at a breakfast.
Gen. Clapper said he is not surprised that U.S. and allied forces have not found weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq because “it’s a big place.”
“Those below the senior leadership saw what was coming, and I think they went to extraordinary lengths to dispose of the evidence,” he said.
Congress is investigating whether U.S. intelligence agencies overstated information indicating that Iraq had hidden its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The Bush administration has defended the intelligence agencies on prewar reports that the weapons were there.
Iraqi government officials “below the Saddam Hussein and the sons level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to dispose, destroy and disperse [them]”, he said.
So maybe it wasn’t Saddam himself who gave the order to transport the WMDs to Syria, but some authority did. (Was there an authority in Saddam’s Iraq other than Saddam himself?)
Gen. Clapper said he felt strongly that the satellite imagery of Iraq’s weapons facilities before the war was “accurate and balanced”. …
He also said the Iraqi government carried out operations after the fall of Baghdad in April to cover up the hidden weapons programs. The chaos following might have included both looting and “organized dispersal made to look like looting“, he said. “So by the time that we got to a lot of these facilities, that we had previously identified as suspect facilities, there wasn’t that much there to look at,” he said.
Valuable documents on Iraq’s weapons were destroyed or lost in the chaos, which included burning of major government ministries.
Saddam began dispersing his weapons and sending elements of his chemical, biological and nuclear programs out of the country in the weeks before the war, he said.
The dispersal included moving both weapons and equipment as well as documents. …
As for shipping weapons out of Iraq, he said, there is “no question” that people and material were taken to Syria. …
Convoys of vehicles, mostly commercial trucks, were spotted going into Syria from Iraq shortly before the start of the war March 19 and during the conflict, he said.
It may be a sign of instinctive wisdom that people are inclined to believe what they overhear more than what they are told.
*James Clapper is now Director of National Intelligence.
It is more than likely now that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee in the presidential election this November.
It is therefore very likely that the Republican platform will be what he wants it to be. And many Republicans, especially the go-along-to-get-along pillars of the Grand Old Party, most prominently its leaders in Congress, do not like what he wants. They repudiate him and his ideas. They say he is unfaithful to conservative principles and will alter long-standing Republican policies. But if their choice is between changing principles and policies to those of Trump or breaking the Party asunder by thwarting the will of the millions of voters he attracts, they will accept – are slowly coming round to accepting – Trump and his vision for America. (While probably still planning to knock it into a more familiar and acceptable shape.)
What do his conservative Republican critics object to in particular?
In an article hostile to Donald Trump, but accepting that he is almost certain to be the Republican nominee, Linda Chavez writes at Townhall:
Trump represents a repudiation of the Republican Party’s commitment to smaller government, free trade and an internationalist foreign policy.
Let’s consider these commitments one by one, and assess how far Trump is likely to change them, and how bad the change would be.
Smaller government is certainly a cherished principle of conservative Republicanism. We list it among our core conservative ideals, along with individual freedom, a market economy, and strong defense. Regretfully we admit that government is not likely ever again to be actually small, but does Trump not say anything that suggests he would reduce the hugely overblown bureaucracy oppressing Americans now? He does. He says he will lower taxes. Lower taxes must mean some shrinking of government. And that’s probably the most any conservative Republican could do.
It’s on free trade that we have a difference of opinion with Trump. He has indicated that he would match tariff barriers with tariff barriers. We think that’s counter-productive. But it’s not enough to induce us to call Trump a wrecker of American prosperity. In fact, most of his economic thinking is likely to increase American prosperity very considerably. He would stop foreign aid unless America got something back for it. He would make those countries that want American military protection contribute to the cost of it. And he has plans for job creation which we’re inclined to trust because, as an extremely successful businessman, he has done it.
As for the Republican “internationalist foreign policy” – we’re coming to that.
Here are some points from Charles Krauthammer’s syndicated column on Trump’s recent foreign policy speech. Much as we respect Charles Krauthammer, on this rare occasion we disagree with him.
On the Republican side … foreign policy has been the subject of furious debate. To which Donald Trump has contributed significantly, much of it off-the-cuff, contradictory and confused. Hence his foreign policy speech on Wednesday. It was meant to make him appear consistent, serious and presidential. …
Its major theme, announced right at the top [was]: America First. Classically populist and invariably popular, it is nonetheless quite fraught. On the one hand, it can be meaningless — isn’t every president trying to advance American interests? …
On the other hand, America First does have a history. In 1940, when Britain was fighting for its life and Churchill was begging for U.S. help, it was the name of the group most virulently opposed to U.S. intervention. It disbanded — totally discredited — four days after Pearl Harbor. …
The irony is … it is the underlying theme of [Obama’s] foreign policy — which Trump constantly denounces as a series of disasters. Obama, like Trump, is animated by the view that we are overextended and overinvested abroad. …
Both the left and right have a long history of advocating American retreat and retrenchment. The difference is that liberals want to come home because they think we are not good enough for the world. Conservatives want to wash their hands of the world because they think the world is not good enough for us.
That’s nicely put! Our disagreements will come below.
For Obama, we are morally unworthy to act as world hegemon. Our hands are not clean. He’s gone abroad confessing our various sins — everything from the Iranian coup of 1953 to our unkind treatment of Castro’s Cuba to the ultimate blot, Hiroshima, a penitential visit to which Obama is currently considering.
Trump would be rightly appalled by such a self-indicting trip. His foreign policy stems from a proud nationalism that believes that these recalcitrant tribes and nations are unworthy of American expenditures of blood and treasure.
At least Krauthammer calls it “a proud nationalism”. Linda Chavez, in her article, likens Trump’s nationalism to disreputable [?] European nationalist groups which are better described as tribal. She seems to forget that the United States has for centuries been a melting-pot, and the American nation has been – until very recently under Obama – the least tribal in the world. And Trump’s “nationalism” is better described as patriotism. That’s what an American’s “proud nationalism” really is.
This has been the underlying view of conservative isolationism … It is not without its attractions. Trump’s version, however, is inconsistent and often contradictory. After all, he pledged to bring stability to the Middle East. How do you do that without presence, risk and expenditures (financial and military)? He attacked Obama for letting Iran become a “great power.” But doesn’t resisting that automatically imply engagement?
More incoherent still is Trump’s insistence on being unpredictable. An asset perhaps in real estate deals, but in a Hobbesian world American allies rely on American consistency, often as a matter of life or death. Yet Trump excoriated the Obama-Clinton foreign policy for losing the trust of our allies precisely because of its capriciousness. The tilt toward Iran. The red line in Syria. Canceling the Eastern European missile defense. Abandoning Hosni Mubarak.
Trump’s scripted, telepromptered speech was intended to finally clarify his foreign policy. It produced instead a jumble. The basic principle seems to be this: Continue the inexorable Obama-Clinton retreat, though for reasons of national self-interest, rather than of national self-doubt. And except when, with studied inconsistency, he decides otherwise.
Is Trump’s patriotism a “version of isolationism”? Is it “inconsistent and often contradictory”? By “unpredictable” did he mean what Krauthammer is taking his words to mean?
What did Trump actually say?
We quote his speech in part (find all of it here):
America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration. But to chart our path forward, we must first briefly take a look back. We have a lot to be proud of.
In the 1940s we saved the world. The greatest generation beat back the Nazis and Japanese imperialists. Then we saved the world again. This time, from totalitarianism and communism. The Cold War lasted for decades but, guess what, we won and we won big. …
Does he regret those American involvements? Not at all. He is proud of them.
Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. … We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad. It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy.
With that we could not agree more strongly. It is not possible to turn states like Iraq and Afghanistan – Arab states, Islamic states – into Western style democracies.
And as for his comment on Obama’s actions – they have been “unpredictable” in that they make no logical sense. Krauthammer chooses them as examples of unpredictability to condemn Trump’s recommendation of it, when in fact Trump means something entirely different – as we shall see.
We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.
They have benefited so much, so sadly, for us. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.
Trump goes on to “identify weaknesses in our foreign policy” and to say how he would fix them. Among them (they are worth reading in full) is this:
We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we’ve never seen before in the history of our country. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, cannot be allowed. Remember that, cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. And under a Trump administration, will never, ever be allowed to have that nuclear weapon …
At the end of his analysis and outline of his intentions he promises:
This will all change when I become president.
To our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again. It’s going to be a great and reliable ally again. It’s going to be a friend again. We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests and the shared interests of our allies. …
Does that sound isolationist?
We need a long-term plan to halt the spread and reach of radical Islam.Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world. Events may require the use of military force, but it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.
Absolutely right! And no other politician, as far as we can recall, has said it before.
He goes on to speak of “working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world”, which is one of the few points on which we disagree. There can be no such thing as an American ally in the Muslim world, precisely because “the philosophical struggle” prohibits it. Islam is ideologically opposed to the West.
… And then there’s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone. ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly. They will be gone very, very quickly.
So that is what Trump means by “unpredicatble”. A commander-in-chief does not announce to his country’s enemy just when its army will stop fighting and when he will withdraw his troops – as Obama has done. It is a military absurdity!
He goes on to say “we have to rebuild our military and our economy”.
The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded their military capability, but look at what’s happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent, has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal. And it has to happen immediately. Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The Navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time. The Air Force is about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today. These planes are older than virtually everybody in this room.
And what are we doing about this? President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.
We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.
Does that sound “isolationist”?
But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely. In this time of mounting debt, right now we have so much debt that nobody even knows how to address the problem. But I do. No one dollar can be wasted. Not one single dollar can we waste. We’re also going to have to change our trade, immigration and economic policies to make our economy strong again. And to put Americans first again. …
But, he says …
I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries.
Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great — not good, great — for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.
Fixing our relations with China is another important step — and really toward creating an even more prosperous period of time. China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically, which they are doing like never before, we have lost all of their respect.
We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit that we have to find a way quickly, and I mean quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China, better than we have right now. Look at what China is doing in the South China Sea. They’re not supposed to be doing it. …
To be militarily strong again, and at the same time try to negotiate better relations with an aggressive Russia and China – is that “contradictory” or is it speaking softly while carrying a big stick?
I will not hesitate to deploy military force when there is no alternative. But if America fights, it must only fight to win. …
Our power will be used if others do not play by the rules. In other words, if they do not treat us fairly. Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce that line in the sand. Believe me. …
My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas … We have to look to new people because many of the old people frankly don’t know what they’re doing …
No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions … And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs. …
I will view as president the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. …
The world is most peaceful and most prosperous when America is strongest. America will continue and continue forever to play the role of peacemaker. We will always help save lives and indeed humanity itself, but to play the role, we must make America strong again. … We have to and we will make America great again.
Where are the alleged “inconsistencies”? Where is the “jumble”. (We urge doubters to read the whole speech and tell us if they find any inconsistencies or contradictions that we have overlooked.)
The speech as a whole could be taken as a manifesto of the new Republicanism – what the Republican Party will stand for under the leadership of Donald Trump. He will take the Party forward, but not in the direction it has long wanted to go. It wanted to go, but did not move. He will make both good and bad decisions, as leaders generally do. But he will make them in the interests of a strong and prosperous America, and that is an America that is good for the world.
It is patently absurd to apologize for doing something you did not do. Obama likes to go round the world apologizing for what past American governments did. Is he about to apologize to the present Japanese government for the bombs President Truman decided to drop on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945? And ought they to be apologized for?
Victor Davis Hanson writes at Townhall:
The dropping of two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 remains the only wartime use of nuclear weapons in history.
No one knows exactly how many Japanese citizens were killed by the two American bombs. A macabre guess is around 140,000. The atomic attacks finally shocked Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese militarists into surrendering.
John Kerry recently visited Hiroshima. He became the first Secretary of State to do so – purportedly as a precursor to a planned visit next month by President Obama, who is rumored to be considering an apology to Japan for America’s dropping of the bombs 71 years ago.
The horrific bombings are inexplicable without examining the context in which they occurred.
In 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill insisted on the unconditional surrender of Axis aggressors. The bomb was originally envisioned as a way to force the Axis leader, Nazi Germany, to cease fighting. But the Third Reich had already collapsed by July 1945 when the bomb was ready for use, leaving Imperial Japan as the sole surviving Axis target. Japan had just demonstrated with its nihilistic defense of Okinawa – where more than 12,000 Americans died and more than 50,000 were wounded, along with perhaps 200,000 Japanese military and civilian casualties – that it could make the Americans pay so high a price for victory that they might negotiate an armistice rather than demand surrender. Tens of thousands of Americans had already died in taking the Pacific islands as a way to get close enough to bomb Japan. On March 9-10, 1945, B-29 bombers dropped an estimated 1,665 tons of napalm on Tokyo, causing at least as many deaths as later at Hiroshima.
Over the next three months, American attacks leveled huge swaths of urban Japan. U.S. planes dropped about 60 million leaflets on Japanese cities, telling citizens to evacuate and to call upon their leaders to cease the war.
Japan still refused to surrender and upped its resistance with thousands of Kamikaze airstrikes. By the time of the atomic bombings, the U.S. Air Force was planning to transfer from Europe much of the idle British and American bombing fleet to join the B-29s in the Pacific.
Perhaps 5,000 Allied bombers would have saturated Japan with napalm. The atomic bombings prevented such a nightmarish incendiary storm.
The bombs also cut short plans for an invasion of Japan — an operation that might well have cost 1 million Allied lives, and at least three to four times that number of well-prepared, well-supplied Japanese defenders.
There were also some 2 million Japanese soldiers fighting throughout the Pacific, China and Burma — and hundreds of thousands of Allied prisoners and Asian civilians being held in Japanese prisoner of war and slave labor camps. Thousands of civilians were dying every day at the hands of Japanese barbarism. The bombs stopped that carnage as well.
The Soviet Union, which signed a non-aggression pact with Japan in 1941, had opportunistically attacked Japan on the very day of the Nagasaki bombing.
By cutting short the Soviet invasion, the bombings saved not only millions more lives, but kept the Soviets out of postwar Japan, which otherwise might have experienced a catastrophe similar to the subsequent Korean War.
World War II was the most deadly event in human history. Some 60 million people perished in the six years between Germany’s surprise invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, and the official Japanese surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. No natural disaster – neither the flu pandemic of 1918 nor even the 14th-century bubonic plague that killed nearly two-thirds of Europe’s population – came close to the death toll of World War II. Perhaps 80 percent of the dead were civilians, mostly Russians and Chinese who died at the hands of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Both aggressors deliberately executed and starved to death millions of innocents.
World War II was also one of the few wars in history in which the losers, Japan and Germany, lost far fewer lives than did the winners. There were roughly five times as many deaths on the Allied side, both military and civilian, as on the Axis side.
It is fine for Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama to honor the Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims. But in a historical and moral sense, any such commemoration must be offered in the context of Japanese and German aggression.
Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan started the respective European and Pacific theaters of World War II with surprise attacks on neutral nations. Their uniquely barbaric war-making led to the deaths of some 50 million Allied soldiers, civilians and neutrals – a toll more than 500 times as high as that of Hiroshima.
This spring we should also remember those 50 million – and who was responsible for their deaths.
The world owes America gratitude for winning two world wars – and the Cold War. And for so much more that a book as long as the Obamacare act or the IRS’s tax rules could not contain all the reasons.
Questions: Why is the Middle East in flames? Why are rivers of people flooding from the Third World into Europe? Why are millions hungering in squalid refugee camps? Why are jihadis torturing, beheading, burning, burying, drowning men and women and children and making taunting videos of themselves doing it for all the world to see? Why are thousands of women enslaved? Why are young boys being sent to their deaths in suicide vests? Why has Russia annexed a part of the Ukraine? Why has the tyrannical Iranian regime been able to free itself from sanctions and develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to the West? Why has China been able to extend it power with militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea?
Answer: Because Americans elected a know-nothing doctrinaire greenhorn to be its president and the leader of the free world.
Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:
Multiple Secretaries of Defense are complaining about micromanagement from the White House and in particular, the National Security Council. Which means [Susan] Rice.
“It was the operational micromanagement that drove me nuts, of White House and National Security Council staffers calling senior commanders out in the field and asking them questions, of second-guessing commanders,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Bret Baier in a new Fox News special called Rising Threats, Shrinking Military.
Gates’ successor, Leon Panetta, took office in July 2011 and told Baier he had similar concerns with the Obama administration, despite being a long-time Democrat who served as a California congressman for many years and as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff.
Panetta complained that the president’s national security council staff had gotten so large and overbearing in recent years, creating massive inefficiency with creating foreign and defense policy.
Chuck Hagel, who replaced Panetta in February 2013, agreed that the size and role of the White House staff during the Obama presidency made it difficult to accomplish tasks and be productive.
“There were always too many meetings and always too many people in the room and too many people talking,” Hagel described. “Especially young, smart 35-year-old PhDs love to talk because that’s the way you let everybody know how smart you are. So there were a lot of reasons those meetings descended into … nonsense and the hard time we had making a decision.”
Hagel focused especially on the inexperience of the president himself and his staff, describing how Obama is “one of the youngest presidents we’ve ever had, one of the most inexperienced presidents we’ve ever had. He has a staff around him that’s very inexperienced. I don’t think there’s one veteran on his senior staff at the White House. I don’t believe there’s one business person. I don’t believe there’s one person who’s ever run anything. Other than Vice President Biden, none of them have ever been elected to anything.”
Hagel added that he is not sure if Obama or his staff ever understood “the tremendous responsibility the United States has … to lead”.
Gates said he is concerned the president is suspicious of the military. He also said Obama was told by White House personnel during the debate over the war in Afghanistan that the Pentagon was trying to “box him in”, “trap him”, and “bully him”, which Gates said was never true.
“But there were clearly a number of people at the White House who believed that,” Gates said.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice imposed a gag order on military leaders over the disputed South China Sea in the weeks running up to the last week’s high-level nuclear summit, according to two defense officials who asked for anonymity to discuss policy deliberations. China’s president, Xi Jinping, attended the summit, held in Washington, and met privately with President Obama. …
The NSC dictum has had a “chilling effect” within the Pentagon that discouraged leaders from talking publicly about the South China Sea at all, even beyond the presidential summit, according to a second defense official familiar with operational planning.
So tensions are heating up. Rice is showing overt hostility to the military. And that’s the attitude emanating from the White House.
Obama has gone through multiple SODs and had bad relations with every single one of them. Including the current one [Ashton Carter] who was targeted by hit pieces from the WH, and whose authority over Gitmo Obama tried to ask Congress to usurp so he could free more terrorists faster. The facts are just impossible to ignore.
Obama made no secret of his contempt for America’s military. For America’s might. For America.
It was so well known that Scandinavians who shared his opinions gave him a Peace Prize when he’d only just begun to warm the desk chair in the Oval Office.
Now the world desperately needs an American leader who will make America great again.
Seems it’s too late to stop fear by marching against it! Who would have thought?
The Belgians, being full of love for all mankind, planned to do it – and then realized it might not work. It might even attract more terrorism.
The Pope says use love to stop terrorism. But the Belgians are not totally convinced he is right.
Katie Hopkins writes at MailOnline:
So let’s just get this straight.
A peace march in Belgium was cancelled over fears ISIS could use it to launch another attack on Brussels.
Belgium security forces decided a March Against Fear, however topical, would be ill-advised because the fear is grounded in truth, and marching isn’t going to make it go away.
This is a bit like the people who say they are standing up to terror by continuing to use the underground. They are not actually standing up to anything. There is no real show of defiance. Everyone is scared to death.
In truth, they are gambling on the old adage lightning never strikes the same spot twice. Or for a more modern twist, suicide bombers never target the same subway twice in a week.
But if you live in jihadi central, that’s a pretty risky bet to place.
In place of the March Against Fear, a few pro-migrant groups turned up at the Old Stock Exchange in Brussels to watch mourners light candles for the dead, and shove a bit more leftie clap-trap down their throats, reminding them that irregular migrants are good people at heart and the last suicide bombers were actually home-grown, so not technically migrants at all. So that’s ok then.
In response, a group of anti-immigration protestors gathered at the Place de la Bourse to unfurl an anti-ISIS banner and vent their frustration at the direction in which the self-styled capital of Europe appears to be heading. …
The March Against Fear was cancelled because there was too much fear, and a riot broke out because the police objected to a peaceful protest.
There are a few things I notice around these incidents in Europe;
- Firstly, the anti-immigration protestors are always referred to as thugs. The language around them is universally ugly, despite the fact they are protesting against the very people who think it is acceptable to detonate themselves next to small babies wearing suicide vests filled with nails and shrapnel.
- They are called the far-right and lazy associations are made between them and Hitler. Even though in the UK it appears to be Labour supporters who have issues with Jews.
- Clearly Nazi salutes have no place in modern Europe. No one wants to see violence against the police, stones thrown or graffiti. But if you look carefully, trouble-making groups on the left such as No Borders build a far more subversive brand of trouble.
- The dreadlocked gangs of migrant-lovers, turning a blind eye to the destruction of Europe, are never referred to as the far-left. They are affectionately called anarchists, as if they are teenage boys, experimenting with Death Metal and living raw vegan.
- Despite absolutely no police response to terrorists … or marauding migrants … their rapid reaction to the presence of a handful of PEGIDA [Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West] overwhelming.
In Cologne, 150 officers were sent to police the migrant attacks on women on New Years Eve, resulting in 676 criminal complaints being filed. In comparison, 1700 riot police with water cannon were sent to stop a subsequent PEGIDA march through the city.
Whilst it seems perfectly acceptable to turn the water cannon on nationals, determined to stand up for their country and culture, it is never acceptable to criticise migrants, terrorists or extremists planning attacks.
It seems to me there is a yawning gulf between the treatment and reporting of the far-left and the far-right, and and even bigger chasm between nationals and migrant populations, who lack respect for the culture they have joined.
The left are so busy kowtowing to the rights of those who have chosen to join our culture, the right has lost the freedom to defend the culture they have chosen to join.
The police have an almost magnetic attraction to events which offer predictable policing – such as a PEGIDA March through a city centre, but are incapable of defending people from the actual threat of terror we all feel. …
People talk about the rise of the far-right. I fear the dominance of the smug, self-centred left … is far more threatening and far more real.
And the Pope is one of that company.
Today, in Belgium, at least 31 people were killed and over a hundred injured by Muslim jihadis. There were two attacks on Zaventem airport at 07:00 GMT, in which 11 people were killed and 81 injured. A third attack, in which 20 people were killed, was carried out an hour later in Brussels on the Maelbeek metro station, near the European Parliament.
Muslims had threatened that there would be attacks when Salah Abdeslam, the plotter of the jihadi attacks in Paris last November, was found in Brussels and taken into custody four days ago.
The attacks will no doubt be put down as usual by stupid politicians to Muslims who have embraced a “brand” or “interpretation” of Islam, commonly called “Islamism”, which they say is not anything like the “real” Islam. But in fact there is not a sliver of difference between Islam and “Islamism”, only between active jihadis and non-active jihadis. Jihad – “holy war” – is commanded by Islam and all Muslims are obliged to pursue it, either actively themselves or in support of others who who pursue it actively.
Islam itself is an intolerable totalitarian ideology. It must be treated with the contempt and loathing accorded by most people to Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism. There is no good Islam.
On Fox News “good” Muslims – absurdly chosen advisers to this or that US administration – are saying that in Brussels it is a problem of non-assimilation of the Muslim immigrants; of the young Muslim men who are killing people with nail-filled bombs because they are unemployed.
Is there anyone left who will swallow that story?
We quote below, in part, from our post, It’s not terrorism, it’s war, November 12 2014, in which we argue that terrorism is the method the jihadis are using, but their aim is to conquer, subjugate and kill. And that is what Western governments, which have insisted, and continue to insist, on importing millions of Muslims from the Third World, refuse to accept.
Jihad means Holy War. Jihad must be recognized as a war waged everywhere.
Even if European governments found a way to stop and punish jihadi violence in their own countries, the war would go on. At present they are all acting ineffectively. Instead of joyfully letting all Muslim citizens who want to go and fight with IS/ISIS/ISIL go, and refuse them re-entry, and deprive them of their citizenship (as Geert Wilders so rightly recommends), they try to persuade them not to go, and if they return they give them “therapy”, as if Islam were nothing but a nervous breakdown in a few gullible individuals.
It is foolish and dangerous to go on calling every Muslim “holy” warrior a terrorist. It is even more foolish and self-deceiving to call IS/ISIS/ISIL a “terrorist organization”. ISIS is one of the armies of Islam.
Islam is an ideology of world conquest. It is fighting a war against the non-Muslim world.
At the same time there are battles within Islam. Sunni versus Shia is a perpetual conflict. IS/ISIS/ISIL – the Islamic State – is Sunni. When Shia Iran becomes a nuclear power – which will be quite soon with Obama’s help – there will be a second Islamic force against the rest of the world, competing with the Islamic State for the victor’s crown.
Of course the Iranian force with its nuclear weapons will be a thousand times stronger than the Islamic State.
Even if the Islamic State were to be defeated by American or Western forces, the war would not stop.
The war will continue on the streets of Western cities in Sweden, Britain, France, Spain, Belgium – and America.
The EU “High Representative for Foreign Affairs”, Federica Mogherini – a life-long Communist, and one of the European leaders who acquiesced in Obama’s “deal” with Iran – brought herself to tears while publicly addressing the Muslim terror attacks in Brussels. She was visiting Jordan at the time.
Like almost all European political leaders, she has been ardently in favor of bringing millions of Muslims into Europe.
She has been consistently unsympathetic – positively antagonistic – to the people of Israel, who have been under terrorist attack by Muslims for decades.
Europe reaps what Europe sowed.