The new-found riches of Afghanistan 0

The discovery in Afghanistan of vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, niobium, and lithium — used in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys – must change any prognostications made for that benighted country.

At last there’s something there that the world wants other than opium. Afghanistan will surely become richer, and may even be dragged into the 21st century. But will it be less strife-torn, or more?

How will it change American plans to withdraw troops? How will China act? How will Russia? How will Pakistan (part of the find being on its border)? How will India?

American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.

And who among the Afghans will profit most from it?

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. …

Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts.

Russians did the original prospecting that revealed the deposits, but the Soviets withdrew before they had time to assess their size, let alone exploit them. Americans found the Russian documentation and looked further.

In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

During the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.

The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted. …

But the results gathered dust for two more years, ignored by officials in both the American and Afghan governments. In 2009, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq was transferred to Afghanistan, and came upon the geological data. Until then, no one besides the geologists had bothered to look at the information — and no one had sought to translate the technical data to measure the potential economic value of the mineral deposits.

Soon, the Pentagon business development task force brought in teams of American mining experts to validate the survey’s findings …

Read it all – it’s a dramatic story.

Though probably not an introduction to a period of peace and co-operation.

There will be nuclear war 0

The Guardian, which is strongly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel, reports that the Obama administration is secretly in contact with Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza:

The United States is sending a succession of envoys to engage with Hamas but lacks the bravery to talk to the Islamist movement openly, its leader, Khaled Meshal, said in an interview with the Guardian.

Meshal praised President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia for meeting him in Damascus and the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, for hosting the discussion 10 days ago. He told Medvedev that the US was also talking to him. “I thanked him for that meeting and told him the Americans contact us, but are not brave enough to do so openly,” said Meshal. “I am confident that in the very near future, everyone will realise that they will have to deal with Hamas.”

The claim that the US is engaging with a group it lists as a terrorist organisation will upset the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, whose security forces have locked up and allegedly tortured leading Hamas members in the West Bank.

Meshal said the tectonic plates in the Middle East were shifting, with Iran, Turkey and Syria emerging as regional powers. Egypt was in the throes of a battle for succession that would paralyse it as a regional player. As a result, Israel was losing its power to impose conditions on a weakened Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

As it felt its power ebbing, Israel needed a new war but was crippled by self-doubt, Meshal said. He claimed the attacks on Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and against Hamas in Gaza in 2009, left both organisations stronger politically and militarily.

“Israel is conducting exercises threatening Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria. It needs a war, but choosing the front to fight on will not be a picnic and this reflects the crisis in Israel. It does not want peace, but the option of war is not easy for it,” he said.

Hamas and Hezbollah, it should be remembered, exist to attack Israel. Hamas was created by the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah – “The Party of God” –  by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, both for the sole purpose of attacking Israel.

Hamas and its supporters are provoking war. The Turkish-led flotilla that tried to break the Gaza blockade was a trap into which the Israelis unaccountably fell.

Caroline Glick writes:

The fact that IDF forces boarding the ships would be met by trenchant, violent opposition was knowable simply by looking at Turkey’s role in the operation. First of all, the Turkish government-supported NGO behind the operation is IHH. As the US government, the Turkish government in the 1990s, the Investigative Project on Terrorism and countless other sources have proven, IHH is a terrorist organization with direct links to al-Qaida and Hamas. Its members have been involved in terrorist warfare from Chechnya and Bosnia to Iraq and Israel.

(And the Turkish Prime Minister has the chutzpah to call in the Israeli ambassador and reproach Israel for attacking “peaceful humanitarians”!)

It’s surprising that the IDF did not anticipate an armed attack, but they did not. They shot paint-balls at their assailants, who use knives, clubs, and at least one gun. Eventually the Israelis had to defend themselves with bullets. Hamas has won a world-wide propaganda victory claiming that the only aim of the ships was “to take humanitarian aid” to Gaza, and that innocent “peace protestors” were shot down in cold blood by the Israelis. Most of the world is only too willing to believe them.The world denies Israel the right to defend itself. But Israel’s only choice is between self-defense and obliteration.

Hezbollah – which John Brennan, Obama’s National Security Adviser, absurdly declares has a “moderate” faction that should be negotiated with – has recently been armed by Syria with Scud missiles. Iran has enough enriched uranium to make at least two bombs, and probably already has them. In addition it might have bought one or more from North Korea.

There will be war, and it will be nuclear war.

Israel will have to use nuclear weapons.*

There will probably be nuclear war in the Far East too. Nuclear-armed North Korea is threatening “all-out war” against South Korea, and China will support its Communist ally.

The wars will be the result of Obama’s policies of “engagement” with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, and North Korea.

Obama the Disarmer – the passionate nuclear disarmer – will be a cause of nuclear war.

*Go here to watch a Pajamas TV video of Sam Cohen, “Manhattan project member and father of the neutron bomb”, saying what we say about Iran, Israel, and the necessity for Israel to use its nuclear bombs. He advises the Israelis to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities “tomorrow morning”.

The fourth man 1

The president of the United States does not like the country he leads. He may sometimes feel the need to say or do something to suggest that he has America’s interests at heart, but the weight of evidence that he does not accumulates and becomes too massive to miss. Not only does he apologize for America abroad, he even has his envoys deplore its laws in talks with foreign regimes, as Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner did recently to the Communist Chinese. And he personally endorsed the criticism of the same laws – Arizona’s new legislation dealing with illegal immigration – made by Mexico’s President Calderon, when the two of them stood side by side on the White House lawn.

And now it emerges that he initiated or at the very least advocated the agreement that Iran made with Brazil and Turkey to have some uranium enriched for it – a ploy that his administration condemns as an effort to stall new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. The sanctions would be weak, and very unlikely to stop Iran making nuclear bombs, but the administration boasts of getting Russia and China to vote for them.

Obama performed this outrageous, underhand act last month in a letter to President da Silva of Brazil.

The New York Times reports:

Brazilian officials on Wednesday provided a full copy of the three-page letter President Obama sent to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in April, arguing that it laid the groundwork for the agreement they reached in Tehran.

“There continues to be some puzzlement” among Brazilian officials about why American official[s] would reject the deal now, a senior Brazilian official said. “The letter came from the highest authority and was very clear.”

So there was a fourth party to the agreement, which was announced one day before the US presented its draft resolution on Iran sanctions to the Security Council.

As it was the work of all four leaders, Prime Minister Erdogan and Presidents Ahmadinejad, da Silva, and Obama, it should rightly be called the Iran-Brazil-Turkey-US Agreement.

Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary-Contentions, points out:

If the mere fact of this new deal wasn’t enough to undermine international support for sanctions, the revelation that Brazil acted with the express written permission of Obama must be seen as a catastrophe for international efforts to restrain Tehran. Why should anyone take American rhetoric about stopping Iran seriously if Obama is now understood to have spent the past few months pushing for sanctions in public while privately encouraging third parties who are trying to appease the Iranians?

Wisdom 0

Bertrand Russell wrote of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (who preached the Second Crusade) that “his sanctity did not suffice to make him intelligent”. No doubt the same could be said of all religious leaders.

Tenzin Gyatsu is the present (14th) Dalai Lama, exiled from Tibet by China. “His Holiness” has been in New York this week, “giving teachings” as his website puts it. Thousands of Americans waited in line to learn wisdom from him.

He declares himself to be a Marxist because he thinks Marxism “has moral ethics”, though he’s noticed that capitalism makes people better off and “brings freedoms”.

Funny that he fell out with the rulers of China.

This comes from First Things:

No wonder the American left loves him.

The Dalai Lama admits to being a Marxist.

He should have told Obama. Maybe he wouldn’t have been forced to leave the White House through the trash door following their meeting in February.

AFP reported:

TIBETAN spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says he’s a Marxist, yet credits capitalism for bringing new freedoms to China, the communist country that exiled him.

“Still I am a Marxist,” the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived today with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.

“(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits,” the Dalai Lama, 74, said.

But –

“(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people’s living standards improved,” he said.

According to Fox News he himself doesn’t get a penny of profit from his lecture tour:

During a press conference this week, the Dalai Lama said Marxism remains “the only economy system expressing concern of equal distribution (of wealth); that is moral ethics.”

He takes no payment for his appearances and asks that proceeds from ticket sales go for hunger relief and other charities. But he admits he doesn’t keep track of where the money goes. “This is up to the organizer,” he says. “I have no connection.”

Posted under Buddhism, China, Commentary, communism, Economics, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 21, 2010

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Gate-crashing into history 0

Who or what now holds the office of President of the United States of America?

The answer to the question is itself a question mark.

David Solway asks the question and his answers are questions. Here is part of what he writes:

Who is this guy? And what does so enigmatic a figure augur for the United States and, indeed, for the future of us all? No matter what hypothesis or conviction one espouses concerning his definitive DNA, it seems fair to say that a shadow of the clandestine — or if one prefers, the inscrutable — envelops this president.

Even Obama’s most avid supporters, if they are honest, must allow that, compared to his POTUS predecessors, unambiguously little is known about his antecedents or, for example, the salient facts of his academic career — many of his records are still under seal, his college and university transcripts have not been released and, broadly speaking, his significant documentation is rather flimsy. There is not much of a paper trail here; for that matter, there is scarcely a Hansel-and-Gretel bread crumb trail. How such a man could be elected to the presidency … remains a riddle for the sphinx. …

In any event, there can be no doubt that the dossier is scanty and that this is a truly amazing deficiency. We simply do not have a clear portrait or a crisply factual biography of the president. But what we do know about his close affiliates — America-and-Jew bashing Reverend Jeremiah Wright, former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, hysterical and racially divisive Cornel West, unrepentant Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, unscrupulous entrepreneur Tony Rezko — is profoundly unsettling. … [T]he asymmetric relation between what we know and what we don’t know must distress any rational person curious about so influential an actor on the current political scene.

That Louis Farrakhan, like millions of others, feels that Obama was “selected” for our times should give us further pause. On the contrary, it may not be out of place to suggest that we are now afflicted with the worst possible president at the worst possible time, with Iran darting toward the nuclear finish line, the Palestinians as intransigent as ever, the Russians moving back into the Caucasus region, negotiating with Venezuela and solidifying ties with Iran, Syria and Turkey, terrorism … on the rise and U.S. citizens increasingly at the mercy of the jihadists, China holding massive quantities of American Treasury notes, Obama considering ruinous cap-and-trade legislation at a time when the AGW consensus is collapsing, the American debt estimated to hit 100% of GDP in 2011 and its unfunded entitlement liabilities totaling over $US 100 trillion, leading to the prospect of monetary collapse. None of these critical issues have been substantially addressed by the president, except insofar as his actions in some cases, lack of action in others, have only exacerbated them. The collateral fact that we really have no valid and comprehensive notion of who exactly is leading us at this crucial historical juncture boggles the mind.

Yes, this riddle of a man, this living quandary named Barack Hussein Obama is so unlikely a president of the United States, it’s as if he has gate-crashed into history.

Obama’s abasement of America 1

China is one of the worst, possibly the worst regime on earth. Under Mao tens of millions were starved to death, more millions committed suicide, and hundreds of millions were deliberately murdered – many more than the 70 million calculated, because for decades most newborn baby girls were killed. China still allows no free speech, no free press, no freedom of assembly. Torture is routine in its prisons and gulags. Its citizens are imprisoned without trial. In any case trials are travesties of justice. The government’s entire business is to protect itself against the people. In sum, China is an evil Communist dictatorship. The dictators are wholly without moral compunction.

In very bad faith these monsters accuse America of “violations of human rights”.  Obviously this is chutzpah writ very large indeed. The Chinese cite crime levels in the US as if common crime were the result of government policy. They cite measures of defense, such as those taken under the Patriot Act, as if they were morally illegitimate.  (See the accusations below in our post, Seeing ourselves as others see us.) The contrast between the governmental system of the United States, designed to protect the people from tyranny, and the Communist system designed to tyrannize over the people, could not be greater.

It is true that the present administration of the United States has a dictatorial inclination, so much so that we often allude to Obama as “the dictator”. We don’t doubt that he is a collectivist by temperament and training. We would not be astonished to learn that he thinks the Chinese system of government is better than the one set up by the framers of the United States Constitution. While he is in power he can do a lot of damage – has done much already – but he will not destroy American freedom. The people will not let him.

He himself does not value individual liberty. He has absorbed a distorted version of American history from his Marxist parents, mentors, teachers, and associates.

And so he has his legates confess what he sees as America’s political sins to – the Communist dictators of China!  In what amounts to a form of apology, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner tarred his own country with guilt and shame – and then boasted that had done so.

It was not even enough that Obama’s envoy should  express repentance for the accusations China made; in addition he threw in one that the Chinese had not mentioned. He condemned a perfectly constitutional and morally defensible law recently made in Arizona to protect itself from massive illegal immigration. (Posner has probably not even read the law. Neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor  Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano, has read it, by their own admission!)

Obama has done dreadful harm to his country: crippling its economy, putting it into unfathomable debt, appeasing the Islamic bloc while it is at war with Islam, and simultaneously  antagonizing its traditional allies. But of all that he has done, abasing the nation he leads before the blood-soaked  despots of Communist China is surely the most despicable.

A choice of dooms 0

In her Jerusalem Post column this week, Sarah Honig tells a story about a man being offered a choice between two ways of getting killed.

It is an apt illustration of the choice Obama is offering Israel.

Sarah Honig writes:

Time to quit quibbling. No pedantic hairsplitting can mitigate the evidence: The Obama administration cynically links Iran to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The premise is simple and chilling. If Israel wants a last-minute, last-ditch, quasi-credible American move to keep Iran from obtaining nukes, it must pay the piper by making hefty concessions to the sham paraded as the Palestinian Authority. Boiled down to its bare essence, the White House diktat means that Israel can maybe extricate itself from existential Iranian threats by submitting itself to existential Iranian-proxy threats.

Had Barack Obama ever read Shalom Aleichem’s autobiography he’d have encountered the author’s harrowing recollection of the story his grandfather told him about “the bird-Jew.” That was how the grandfather referred to Noah, a pious innkeeper who lived in constant dread of the gentile village squire. Trembling, Noah headed for the manor to renew his lease. His timing was off, because the courtyard was full of festive guests ready to go hunting.

The squire, in a jovial mood, agreed to renew the lease if Noah would climb the stable roof and pretend to be a bird, so he could shoot him. Fearful of angering the nobleman, the worst consequence the Jew could imagine, Noah obsequiously did his bidding. He went up and, as ordered, bent forward, flung his arms sideways and assumed a birdlike pose. At that point the squire fired and Noah fell, as any slain bird would.

Although realizing he was about to be put to death anyway, the bird-Jew played along with his executioner, still absurdly terrified of what might happen if he didn’t. Obama is the proverbial squire in our own tale, casting Israel as the latter-day bird-Jew.

Israel is now squarely in Obama’s gun sights. It’s blamed for all Mideast ills. Obama, after all, is the high priest of the political theology of American/Western guilt. Israel embodies Western culpability. If Obama preaches American penance vis-à-vis Arabs/Muslims, Israel obviously must atone in more than words for the sins he ascribes to it.

Patriotic Americans are now told insidiously that by not bowing down to Obama’s ultimatums Israel jeopardizes the lives of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. When depicting a pacified Mideast as a “vital national security interest” that must be secured, the “peeved” Obama puts Israel on notice that he will shove a solution down its intransigent throat.

The nature of his cure is determined by his diagnosis, which in turn is colored by his perception of democracy’s foes as frustrated potential friends. In Obama’s universe, it’s the West’s haughty insensitivity which sparks Arab/Muslim hostility. Islamic expansionism and exclusionism aren’t problems but cultural assets for America. Consequently democratic Israel must sacrifice its self-preservation to facilitate appeasement of Muslims sworn to annihilate the Jewish state.

Obama’s radical worldview places the onus on the victim. Its corollary contention is that were the aggressor’s grievances redressed, all would be hunky-dory.

The great American silent majority may not be fully aware of Obama’s dangerous undertones. Many of his Jewish voters willfully prefer not to understand. They’d rather not admit liability for their political folly – a common psychological shortcoming.

So we Israelis are left alone. It’s up to us not to be bamboozled.

While the current US administration calls the shots, there is no Israeli-American alliance we can remotely count on. Obama will do nothing whatever to even diminish the danger of an Iranian nuclear threat against Israel. Otherwise he wouldn’t have frittered valuable time for more than a year, twiddling his thumbs. The sanctions Obama proposes are preposterously useless anyhow and further diluting them to win Chinese and Russian acquiescence would make them altogether laughable. China and Russia, let’s not forget, are Iran’s principal enablers. Obama knows this.

Had Obama wanted to effectively deal with Iran’s rogue regime, he’d need no allies. America could have unilaterally declared stringent sanctions, imposed them on prime trading partners and enforced an air-and-sea blockade that few would have dared breach. No military attack would be required. [We’re not convinced of this – JB.]

But that’s not Obama’s agenda. We must suspect that he desires a nuclear Iran to render Israel more vulnerable, pitiably dependent and pliable, thereby facilitating his envisioned great rapprochement with the Muslim world.

Obama’s endgame is to debilitate, demoralize and destabilize Israel. All he offers Israelis is a choice of how his inimical goal will be achieved. This may be via allowing Iran the weaponry with which to intimidate Israel or by shrinking Israel into the Auschwitz borders (as ultra-dove Abba Eban called the 1949 armistice lines into which Obama schemes to squeeze us).

We can avoid Iranian nukes by opting for the Auschwitz borders or we can avoid the Auschwitz borders but be bullied by Iranian nukes. The unspoken signal from Washington is: Either way, you’re dead. …

We agree that Obama is intent on debilitating, demoralizing and destabilizing Israel, but we don’t think that is his “endgame”.  Those are means to an end.

Obama’s end is to destroy the State of Israel.

The view from the left 0

Hard as it is to believe, this Washington Post column by Fred Hiatt is not satire. He seems seriously to mean what he says.

Gays, immigrants, union leaders, budget hawks, campaign finance reformers, environmentalists, free-traders, human rights activists and civil libertarians all have had cause to wonder whether they were right to trust Obama. The list is familiar, but the explanation remains disputed.

My theory: The culprit is less ideology than Obama’s fidelity to a strategy he can’t, for tactical reasons, publicly acknowledge. Given the hand he was dealt, the evidence suggests he resolved that he had to choose only one domestic and one foreign objective for his first two years in office.

An ambitious set of goals motivated Obama’s candidacy, and early in his presidency the rap was that he was taking on too many. But the legacy of wars abroad and the Great Recession at home threatened his ability to accomplish any of them. Simply managing that bleak inheritance, he realized, might consume his entire term.

To avoid that trap, Obama had to govern with discipline. First, he would have to turn potential negatives into successes. At home, that meant not only engineering a stimulus program to end the recession but also designing financial reform to prevent a recurrence. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it meant charting a path to not just to withdrawal but stable outcomes.

Since both fronts would take enormous energy and political capital, Obama could not afford to squander whatever remained across an array of worthy electives. So over time he subordinated everything to just two: health-insurance reform and blocking Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Anything else, no matter how popular or deserving, had to give way if it interfered with those.

Obama has put enormous energy into repairing relations with Russia, for example, and relatively less into ties with allies such as India, Mexico or Britain because stopping Iran would require Russia’s support of sanctions. Without a new START arms-control treaty, Russia would not play ball on Iran, so Obama worked assiduously to negotiate a new START. The nuclear summit he hosted in Washington this month; playing down trade tensions with China; the relative reticence on North Korea’s nukes; prodding Israel toward peace talks — all of these were crafted with an eye toward Iran.

At home, the mono-focus is more obvious. Obama would like to close the Guantanamo prison, curb traffic of assault weapons crossing the Mexican border, reform immigration laws and reduce carbon emissions. But each would have carried a political cost, to Obama or Democratic allies he needed on health care, so they all had to wait.

I don’t mean to suggest that Obama would go to any lengths to achieve the main objective. He bargained hard on START, for example, insisting that the treaty meet U.S. military needs as well as serve the larger goal.

And it’s not that he has abandoned everything else: Where he could advance other objectives at minimal cost, he has done so, usually by executive action. He wouldn’t fight for labor law reform, but he promulgated regulations that favor unions. He hasn’t replaced No Child Left Behind, but he allowed his education secretary to spur reform by judicious granting and withholding of stimulus funds. There’s no climate change legislation, but the Environmental Protection Agency hiked mileage standards for cars and trucks. And so on.

Obama can’t acknowledge all this. You don’t tell allies, whether gay rights groups or India, that they’ve slipped down your priority list. (That’s especially true now, before an election, as immigration, education and energy advocates jockey to go next.) And the best negotiating strategy to get things you want isn’t always to show how much you want them.

So we may have to wait until Obama writes his memoirs to discover why he elevated these two goals. Was he set on health reform from the start, for instance, or did congressional politics nudge that ahead of, say, coping with climate change?

Abroad, the strategy, with its hope of turning autocracies such as China and Russia into long-term partners, remains at best unproven. At home, it seems to be paying off, with major health reform approved and financial reform in sight. For those at the back of the line — such as the District last week — the opportunity costs are sharply felt. But even at such times, it’s hard not to admire Obama’s focus.

Every statement cries out for exegesis. Some of them – Obama’s “ending of the recession”, his financial reform, his “charting a path to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan” – need at least a paragraph each. But there’s one that clamors for objection above the rest.

“Blocking Iran’s development of nuclear weapons” has been Obama’s foreign policy priority? Everything else except health care has been subordinated to that goal? He’s focussed on it?

Strange – we haven’t noticed that he’s done a damn thing about it. It seems to us that he’s perfectly willing to let Iran become a nuclear-armed power. A series of  “deadlines” have been allowed to pass without there being any penalty for Iran’s ignoring them. Talk of sanctions has been nothing but talk, and those talked of have been steadily weakened. No military option is “on the table”. Obama has begged Ahmadinejad for his friendship, and the poisonous little dictator has gleefully said no over and over again. How come Mr Hiatt hasn’t noticed all that?

How has the START treaty affected Iran? Russia is still not willing to vote for sanctions. And what US military needs have been served by it?  It is plainly to the detriment of the US and the advantage of Russia. Relations with Russia are in no way “repaired”. If changed at all, they’re probably worse. Nor will China vote for sanctions. And Obama’s “reticence” on North Korea’s nukes has resulted in – what?  As for the nuclear summit, Iran wasn’t even mentioned. And “prodding” Israel – that has made the world safe from Iranian bombs? What it has really done is tell Israel that it has “slipped down the priority list”, along with India and Britain and a number of other allies.

Well, we’ve recovered from being flabbergasted by Mr Hiatt’s quaint perspective and now we find it amusing. And it’s gratifying to know that numerous bunches of lefties (but surely “free-traders” and “budget hawks” do not belong among them) feel disappointed by the president of their dreams. From our perspective he has gone fearfully far to satisfy them, with the “executive action” and “regulations” and so on that Mr Hiatt tells us were thrown to them as mere sops or stop-gaps. So apparently he might have gone further and done even worse.

The implication of Mr Hiatt’s apologia for his hero is that when he has succeeded with his two chosen “electives”, he will go further. Now the health care legislation has been forced through, but there still remains the other goal Mr Hiatt believes Obama is focussed on: stopping Iran going nuclear.

If Mr Hiatt is right and the achievement of that goal really stands between Obama and the rest of the far left agenda he’s expected to foist on us, then we can rest easy. Or could, if dread of those bombs wasn’t keeping us awake nights.

But what if Mr Hiatt is wrong? We’ll get the bombs and the radical left agenda.

Why? 2

This warning is in today’s Investor’s Business Daily:

An unclassified Defense Department report says an Iranian missile could strike the U.S. by 2015. If only we were working as hard to defend ourselves as they are to destroy us.

In any discussion of the Iranian nuclear threat, the assumption is always that Tehran’s target is Israel. Iran’s quite mad president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has pledged to wipe Israel off the map as part of his grand scheme to usher in the age of the 12th Imam. Tehran may have a bigger fish that it wants to fry, namely us.

“With sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the United States by 2015,” said the 12-page Defense Department report, released Monday, on the “Military Power of Iran” …

There is no shortage of such assistance. A recent report by the CIA’s Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center said production of medium-range missiles remains one of Tehran’s “highest priorities” and that China, North Korea and Russia are all helping Iran produce such missiles.

Iran has long worked with North Korea, particularly on intercontinental ballistic missiles. Iran’s cooperation with North Korea began in the 1980s, when Tehran financed Pyongyang’s production of Soviet-designed Scud missiles and received 100 of them. Later, North Korea shipped engines for Rodong midrange missiles to Iran. Pyongyang has also helped Tehran set up missile production facilities, and North Koreans are regular visitors to these plants. Iran’s Shahab-3, which can reach all of Israel, is simply the Islamic country’s enhanced version of the North Korean Nodong. Confirmed reports place Iranian scientists and engineers inside North Korea in 1993, when the Nodong-class missile was first tested and unveiled.

Iran is working hard to improve its missile capabilities. It has successfully test-fired the Sajjil-2, a solid-fuel, high-speed missile with a range of 1,250 miles. In February 2009, Iran demonstrated its global reach with the launching of its Omid satellite. Iran’s multistage Safir-Omid space launch vehicle owes much to North Korea’s Taepodong missile.

A country capable of orbiting a satellite is capable of putting a warhead anywhere on this planet. We forget that such a missile wouldn’t have to be accurate. A single nuclear warhead detonated over the American heartland would emit an electromagnetic pulse that would fry our technological infrastructure and catapult America and its economy back to the 18th century.

Iran has long been testing the in-flight detonation of its Shahab series over the Caspian Sea. Such tests would make no sense unless the Iranians were planning for the day when an Iranian missile with a nuke would detonate high over an Iowa cornfield and devastate the American nation.

Obama knows this. He  is doing nothing effective to defend America against it. He is actively taking steps to weaken America’s defenses.

Why?

Could the answer be that Obama wants Iran to be nuclear armed?

And here is another warning from the same source:

Now that the uptrend in homegrown terror is obvious, the FBI warns that American jihadists pose as big a threat as al-Qaida terrorists. And these bad guys may be living next door.

In a major switch from past rhetoric, authorities see an alarming rise in jihadist activity across the country. Radicalization is not confined to Europe, and it’s far more prevalent here than officials have been willing to admit.

Four years ago, FBI headquarters pooh-poohed concerns expressed by this paper that we had an internal security problem tantamount to Britain, which has far fewer Muslims. Following a PC script, the agency argued that our Muslim population is better assimilated and less extreme. That only lulled the American public deeper into a false sense of security about the homegrown threat.

“I don’t think al-Qaida is largely represented in the United States, or people that espouse violent extremism,” FBI Director Robert Mueller assured the public in 2006.

Now the nation’s top cop is singing a different tune.

Not only does al-Qaida still aim to strike inside the U.S., but “homegrown and lone-wolf extremists pose an equally serious threat,” Mueller warned lawmakers last week, citing the Fort Hood shootings. Many U.S.-born jihadists, such as Bombay attack planner David Headley of Chicago, are plotting terror overseas.

Mueller also pointed to the plot to bomb New York subways, hatched by three high school buddies from Queens. In the most serious terror plot in America since 9/11, the Muslim men planned to strap on explosives and hit the Grand Central and Times Square stations during rush hour.

From New York to the Denver suburbs, Americans have been shocked to find their own neighbors plotting or committing violence against them. In 2009 alone, 41 Muslim-Americans were involved in terror, accounting for almost a third of all the homegrown terror suspects since 9/11 (excluding terror-finance cases).

Even Muslim clergy are increasingly dangerous. U.S.-born imam Anwar Awlaki — who ministered to the 9/11 hijackers, inspired the Fort Hood terrorist and allegedly directed the Christmas crotch bomber — recently claimed jihad is “becoming as American as apple pie.” …

Another popular American-Muslim cleric — Detroit imam Luqman Abdullah — preached violent overthrow of the government before dying last fall in a shootout with FBI agents. He called cops “kaffir dogs” and exhorted his flock to shoot them in the head.

“America must fall,” he said, and be replaced by Saudi-style theocracy. “The worst Muslim is better than the best kaffir,” or infidel. Hardly fringe, Abdullah was embraced by the Muslim community. …

This is a powder keg ready to explode. Yet this administration remains focused on “right wing” militia groups and “anti-government extremists” as the top threats. It has even banned agencies from talking about “jihad” or “Islamic extremism,” as if that will defuse it.

Why?

Is it possible that Obama wants Islam to triumph?

Too big to see 0

A shift of power from the United States to its enemies – chief among them China, Iran, and Russia – is being deliberately carried out by Obama and his gang.

China now wields economic power over America. Iran is being allowed to develop a nuclear arms capability. Obama has concluded a treaty with Russia whereby America will weaken itself while Russia will strengthen itself militarily.

What’s more, America will pay Russia to do it.

Why is there no protest, no outcry about this?

Is it too dreadful for most Americans to notice, so they turn their eyes away from it?

Is it too big to see?

Frank Gaffney at Canada Free press explains just how the new START treaty is to Russia’s advantage and America’s detriment:

President Obama announced last Thusday that he had concluded a follow-on to the 1989 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia. He characterized the cuts that it would make in the two nations’ nuclear arsenals as a major step towards his goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. In practice, however, the so-called “New START” accord will contribute primarily to the denuclearization of the United States and to making the world a more dangerous place. Accordingly, it would be more accurate to call it “False START.”

The first thing to note about the Obama treaty is that it confers real advantages on the Russians. For starters, the Kremlin will have to make essentially no cuts in the numbers of its deployed strategic launchers, whereas the United States will have to destroy several hundred of ours.

It is unclear at this writing whether such reductions by the U.S. will, as a practical matter, make it difficult – if not impossible – for America to preserve its strategic “Triad” of land- and sea-based ballistic missiles and long-range bombers. If so, there could be serious implications for strategic stability as the confidence of friends and foes alike in the robustness of our deterrent declines markedly.

What is clear, though, is that we will be obliged to cut back our arsenal to match the lower levels that the Russians can afford to maintain at the moment. The advisability of such a step would be debatable even if it produced a genuine equality between the two parties.

Unfortunately, the seeming equality thus established is deceptive in at least three respects:

First, the Russians are aggressively modernizing their strategic forces with both new missiles and warheads. They claim that by 2015 roughly 80% of their long-range arsenal will have been upgraded – an activity we are subsidizing by paying to dismantle their old weapon systems, freeing up funds for Moscow’s modernization programs.

By contrast, the United States has not introduced a new nuclear weapon in over fifteen years. Its missiles, submarines and bombers are, by and large, even older, with some dating back to the 1950s and ’60s. Today, the Nation has no capability to produce new nuclear weapons and could not manufacture them in quantity for many years – the only nuclear power of whom that can be said.

Second, the Russians are reintroducing multiple, independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) on their land-based ballistic missiles. This step could enable a break-out capacity that would allow Moscow rapidly to deploy far more weapons than its forces are allowed to have under the new START treaty. By contrast, the United States decided back in the 1980s that such a capability was “destabilizing”; it has systematically de-MIRVed its underground silo-launched intercontinental-range ballistic missiles ever since.

Third, the newly unveiled START accord fails to take into account or otherwise limit several thousand Russian “tactical” nuclear weapons. The Kremlin has focused for twenty years on such low-yield devices; some with the explosive power of the Hiroshima weapon and fitted on submarine-launched cruise missiles are deployed off our coasts today. While the administration says such armaments could be the subject of a future, bilateral treaty that makes still deeper reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear stocks, don’t count on it. In any event, they will constitute a real, asymmetric advantage for Russia for many years to come. This is a particularly worrisome prospect to American allies in Europe who have long relied on America’s “extended deterrence” to counteract such threatening Kremlin capabilities.

Then, there is the matter of missile defense. The Obama administration tried to finesse Russian insistence on including in the new accord language that would capture American defenses against missile attack by confining to the preamble an acknowledgement of a “relationship” between such systems and offensive forces. The United States claims that, by its nature, such preambular language is not binding. Yet, a Kremlin spokesman has already served notice that Moscow will feel free to abrogate the START follow-on treaty if it believes that U.S. missile defenses in Europe are a threat to its deterrent.

The biggest problem of all with the New START treaty, however, is that it is a product of President Obama’s fixation with “devaluing nuclear weapons” and ridding the world of them. On these grounds, he refuses to take the steps necessary to modernize America’s deterrent. Even though he professes that a nuclear-free globe will not be realized any time soon, he is condemning the nation to unilateral disarmament by allowing the steady and unavoidable obsolescence of the U.S. stockpile, and the dissipation of the workforce and infrastructure needed to maintain it, to continue unabated.

The acuteness of this obsolescence has reached a point where the directors of the nation’s nuclear laboratories have felt compelled to express strong concerns about the continued reliability of the arsenal. …

These factors ensure that the New START treaty will contribute to U.S. nuclear disarmament alright, but do nothing to advance the ostensible purpose of the exercise – namely, enhancing the security of this country or the world.

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