… ends with a diabolical act of treachery.
Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal:
Barack Obama’s decision to abstain from, and therefore allow, last week’s vote to censure Israel at the U.N. Security Council is a fitting capstone for what’s left of his foreign policy. Strategic half-measures, underhanded tactics and moralizing gestures have been the president’s style from the beginning. Israelis aren’t the only people to feel betrayed by the results.
Also betrayed: Iranians, whose 2009 Green Revolution in heroic protest of a stolen election Mr. Obama conspicuously failed to endorse for fear of offending the ruling theocracy.
Iraqis, who were assured of a diplomatic surge to consolidate the gains of the military surge, but who ceased to be of any interest to Mr. Obama the moment U.S. troops were withdrawn, and only concerned him again when ISIS neared the gates of Baghdad.
Syrians, whose initially peaceful uprising against anti-American dictator Bashar Assad Mr. Obama refused to embrace, and whose initially moderate-led uprising Mr. Obama failed to support, and whose sarin- and chlorine-gassed children Mr. Obama refused to rescue, his own red lines notwithstanding.
Ukrainians, who gave up their nuclear weapons in 1994 with formal U.S. assurances that their “existing borders” would be guaranteed, only to see Mr. Obama refuse to supply them with defensive weapons when Vladimir Putin invaded their territory 20 years later.
Pro-American Arab leaders, who expected better than to be given ultimatums from Washington to step down, and who didn’t anticipate the administration’s tilt toward the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate political opposition, and toward Tehran as a responsible negotiating partner.
Most betrayed: Americans.
Mr. Obama promised a responsible end to the war in Iraq. We are again fighting in Iraq. He promised victory in Afghanistan. The Taliban are winning. He promised a reset with Russia. We are enemies again. He promised the containment of Iran. We are witnessing its ascendancy in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. He promised a world free of nuclear weapons. We are stumbling into another age of nuclear proliferation. He promised al Qaeda on a path to defeat. Jihad has never been so rampant and deadly.
These are the results. They would be easier to forgive if they hadn’t so often been reached by disingenuous and dishonorable means.
The administration was deceptive about the motives for the 2012 Benghazi attack. It was deceptive about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s service record, and the considerations that led it to exchange five Taliban leaders for his freedom. It was deceptive about when it began nuclear negotiations with Iran. It was deceptive about the terms of the deal. It continues to be deceptive about the fundamental aim of the agreement, which has less to do with curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions than with aligning Washington’s interests with Tehran’s.
Now the administration is likely being deceptive about last week’s U.N. vote, claiming it did not promote, craft or orchestrate a resolution that treats the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City as a settlement in illegally occupied territory. Yet in November, John Kerry had a long talk on the subject with the foreign minister of New Zealand, one of the resolution’s sponsors.
“One of the closed-door discussions between United States Secretary of State John Kerry and the New Zealand government today was a potential resolution by the United Nations Security Council on a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict,” the New Zealand Herald reported last month. “‘It is a conversation we are engaged in deeply and we’ve spent some time talking to Secretary Kerry about where the U.S. might go on this,’” the paper added, quoting Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
The Israelis claim to have more evidence along these lines. If so, it means the administration no longer bothers to lie convincingly.
Even this might be excusable, if Mr. Obama at least had the courage of his mistaken convictions, or if his deception were in the service of a worthier end. Instead, we have the spectacle of the U.S. government hiding behind the skirts of the foreign minister of New Zealand — along with eminent co-sponsors, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal — in order to embarrass and endanger a democratic ally in a forum where that ally is already isolated and bullied. In the catalog of low points in American diplomacy, this one ranks high.
After the Carter administration pulled a similar stunt against Israel at the Security Council in December 1980, the Washington Post published an editorial that does the paper honor today.
“It cannot be denied,” the editors wrote, “that there is a pack and that it hounds Israel shamelessly and that this makes it very serious when the United States joins it.” The editorial was titled Joining the Jackals.
Unlike Mr. Carter, Mr. Obama hasn’t joined the jackals. He has merely opened the door wide to them, whether at the U.N. or in the skies over Syria or in the killing fields in Ukraine.
The United States abstains: What a fitting finish to this ruinous presidency.
Yes. For America, if not for himself, Obama’s presidency has been a colossal foreign policy failure.
If his domestic policy failures – a long list, headed by his failure to achieve even 3% GDP growth in any year of his two terms and his worsening of race relations – are added to the record, he surpasses Jimmy Carter to win the title of America’s worst president.
Egypt was somehow (how?) cajoled into bringing a resolution before the UN Security Council condemning the building of Jewish settlements on the so-called “West Bank” – ie. Judea and Samaria. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President-elect Trump opposed the move, and Egypt withdrew it – or, in UN-speak, Egypt “postponed” it, sine die.
Obama’s spite against Israel was not to be so easily frustrated. It is patently obvious that he feels his mighty will has been defied by Israel. Many times he ordered the Israeli government to stop building Jewish settlements on the “West Bank”, and he was not obeyed. So in the last days of his deeply regrettable presidency, he has paused between rounds of golf to find a way to squeeze in a vindictive act that he was looking forward to, to gratify his intensely anti-Israel, pro-Muslim sentiments. He has worked surreptitiously to bring a re-drafted resolution, serving the same ends, to the vote. And he has succeeded in doing so.
It is a heavy anti-Israel blow.
The traditional role of the US in the Security Council, when anti-Israel resolutions are voted on, has been to veto them. Not this time. The word in the ether is that he’ll have the US abstain – which means the resolution will be passed.
Aaron Klein writes at Breitbart:
The Obama administration secretly worked with the Palestinian Authority to craft a “shameful” United Nations resolution behind Israel’s back, an Israeli official told reporters on Friday.
The official told Breitbart Jerusalem by email:
President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN. The US administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tailwind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory.
President Obama could declare his willingness to veto this resolution in an instant but instead is pushing it. This is an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN and undermines the prospects of working with the next administration of advancing peace.
Not so sure about that. Trump is not likely to let his hands be tied.
The official sent the same quotes to major news agencies, including Reuters and the Associated Press. He spoke as four UN Security Council members met on Friday to discuss how to advance the anti-Israel resolution despite Egypt’s decision to delay the vote on the draft that it introduced. The draft was originally scheduled for vote yesterday, but was delayed following criticism from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President-elect Donald Trump.
After the meeting, diplomats said the UN will move forward with the vote, which is expected to take place Friday at about 3 p.m. Eastern (10 p.m. in Jerusalem).
The text of the resolution repeatedly and wrongly refers to the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem as “Palestinian territory occupied since 1967″. In In actuality, the Palestinians never had a state in either the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem and they are not legally recognized as the undisputed authority in those areas.
Jordan occupied and annexed the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem from 1948 until Israel captured the lands in a defensive war in 1967 after Arab countries used the territories to launch attacks against the Jewish state. In 1988 Jordan officially renounced its claims to the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
The text of the resolution declares that the Israeli settlement enterprise has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”.
That “two-state solution” is the longest-standing geopolitical joke in history.
When the Ottoman empire was broken up, the victorious allies of WWI created a bunch of new Arab states – there are 21 Arab states altogether – and allowed Britain a mandate over the Palestine region in order to implement the Balfour Declaration, which stated that Jews were to be “settled closely on the land”. Britain then illegally gave about two-thirds of the territory to the Emir Abdullah to rule over a new state called “Transjordan” – which was to be perpetually judenrein. The remainder was to be occupied by Jews and Arabs.
Then, after WWII, the UN divided the small remainder yet again, offering one part to the Jews to establish a state, and the other part to the Arabs to do the same. The Jews accepted; the Arabs refused, went to war against the Jews, and lost the war.
The offer of territory for a Palestinian state was made again, and again, and again. The Palestinian Arabs consistently refused all the offers. How can they do otherwise? To accept a Palestinian state with defined borders is to define the borders of the Jewish state, and so recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel. They want all the territory or none. To get all the territory they are perpetually at war with Israel.
Yet it is Israel that is forever being pressed by the Western powers to make concessions. The only concession the Arabs will accept is the abolition of the State of Israel and the handing over of its territory to them. Some Arabs – the Saudi Arabians for instance – have indicated that they might allow some Jews to go on living there. They are called the “moderates”.
The “West Bank” territory on which the Palestinians have refused to establish a state is called by its enemies “occupied Palestinian territory“.
[The resolution] calls for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”.
As the Committee for Accuracy for Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) pointed out in an email blast, international law does not make Israeli settlements illegal.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which is relied upon by those who claim the settlements are illegal, does not apply in the case of the West Bank. This is because the West Bank was never under self-rule by a nation that was a party to the Convention, and therefore there is no “partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party”, as Article 2 of the Convention specifies. Moreover, even if it did apply, by its plain terms, it applies only to forcible transfers and not to voluntary movement. Therefore, it can’t prohibit Jews from choosing to move to areas of great historical and religious significance to them.
…. The UN draft resolution text states that “cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution”, and it “calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-State solution”.
The UN must be destroyed!
Virtual Jerusalem reports:
The UN Security Council on Friday [December 23, 2016] approved the resolution demanding that Israel halt its construction in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem.
14 member states voted in favor of the resolution, which was resubmitted by New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela a day after Egypt, which originally submitted it, withdrew it.
Venezuela! A country where people are killing each other in food riots!
The United States abstained from the vote and did not use its veto power to stop the resolution.
Soon after it was announced that the resolution would be voted upon, senior Israeli officials attacked U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
“Obama and Kerry are behind this shameful move in the United Nations,” the officials said, according to Haaretz.
“Obama could announce at any time that he intends casting a veto on the resolution, but instead he’s pushing it. He is abandoning Israel and breaking a policy of decades to defend Israel in the UN,” they added.
One senior official added that Obama and Kerry were carrying out the move in the UN “in cahoots with the Palestinians” in an attempt to impose a policy on President-elect Donald Trump.
“Obama is attempting to get a decision passed by the UN, despite knowing that it does not represent the policy of the next president,” the official said, according to Haaretz. …
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, responded harshly to the American decision not to veto the UN Security Council resolution.
“Neither the Security Council nor UNESCO can sever the tie between the people of Israel and the land of Israel,” said Danon. “It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution. I have no doubt that the new U.S. administration and the incoming UN Secretary General will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” he added.
The new US administration will certainly act in support of Israel. The incoming UN Secretary General, however, is likely to be at least as hostile to Israel as all his recent predecessors have been.
This day of President-elect Donald Trump’s triumph.
To add to the pleasure of the victory, consider how glum must they be feeling, all those princes, emirs, CEOs, diplomats, wheeler-dealers, unscrupulous exploiters of the downtrodden, financiers of mass murderers who gave money to the Clintons – ostensibly to their “charitable” Foundation – in the expectation that a future President Hillary Clinton would reward them with favors. Millions, tens of millions of dollars, down the drain! George Soros, the èminence mauvaise of the whole international Left, poured … what… billions ? into getting the corrupt Clintons back into supreme power. All wasted, George, all wasted now.
The Clinton Foundation will get no more donations. Not much point now in its continuing to exist. It never did give anything worth mentioning to charity. And what need now for Bill and Hillary and Chelsea to jet round the world and live high on the hog – the “good causes” on which the Foundation spent most of its bribe-money?
The Clintons will be out of public life at last. As a former president, Bill and his wife will continue to have Secret Service guards – to her continuing annoyance. The disadvantage of being Someone Important without being important.
Let’s think gleefully of the impending departure from high office of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Loretta Lynch, Jeh Johnson. Maybe James Comey too.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR will no longer be welcome at the White House. Happiness!
And yet more happiness: Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, John Kerry – that bunch of irritating women who have surrounded Barack Obama – will pass into dim obscurity, and their dirty deeds will have to be undone, now that the eight-year long winter of our discontent is changed to glorious summer by this Son of New York.
What will the $400 million in cash, paid illegally by Obama to ransom American hostages held by Iran, be used for and by whom?
Dan Calabrese writes at Canada Free Press:
The entity within Iran that will likely use the cash is one Obama would rather you didn’t know about: There is principally one entity within the Iranian government that has need of untraceable funds. That entity is the Quds Force — the branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps focused particularly on furthering the regime’s goals world-wide by supporting and conducting terrorism.
This is the entity, for example, that was tied to the foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., in 2011, as well as to the successful plot to blow up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Notably, there is a federal statute that bars the transfer of “monetary instruments” — cash or its equivalent in bearer instruments—with the intent to promote “specified unlawful activity.” That term is defined to include a crime of violence or use of an explosive against a foreign country, a category that would include terrorism.
Proving intent is always difficult, but federal law recognizes that conscious avoidance of knowledge can be enough. So, for example, the person who transfers a firearm to a known bank robber need not be told directly that the weapon will be used in a bank robbery in order to be held responsible when it is—particularly if he took steps to conceal the transfer.
As it happens, though, there is more than one reason why no one in the administration will be prosecuted for consciously avoiding knowledge of how this cash likely will be used, and thereby violating the anti-money-laundering statute — even with proof that the cash was transported in an unmarked plane. For one thing, the law applies only to transfers to or from the territory of the U.S. This transfer occurred entirely abroad. In addition, there is a legal doctrine that bars the application of criminal statutes to government activity in furtherance of legitimate government business, unless those statutes are clearly meant to apply to such activity. So, for example, the driver of a firetruck cannot be held liable for speeding on his way to a fire.
The cash transfer here was said to have been arranged in furtherance of conducting the foreign relations of the U.S. The conduct of foreign relations is entirely an executive function. Those involved in this transfer would have the benefit of that doctrine.
So delivering a haul of cash to the mad mullahs in an unmarked plane is fine because, while illegal for anyone else to do, it’s just like the fire engine driver speeding to a fire. He has to do it! See how much the one is just like the other? …
No. The fire engine driver is an employee carrying out orders. Obama gives the orders.
The Obama Administration’s entire approach to Iran has been driven by a conceit both Obama and John Kerry share, which is the belief that the U.S. would never have gotten so crosswise with Iran if only truly great, expert diplomats had been on the job. Like, ahem, them. I will never forget Kerry’s haughty declaration about himself during the first debate with President Bush in 2004. Talking about how one deals with foreign leaders, Kerry insisted, “I know how to do this!”
Oh. Does he? All he’s done in dealing with Iran is give them everything they want in exchange for a bad and completely unenforceable deal that everyone can see will turn Iran into a nuclear power.
We’ve had problems with Iran because Iran is a terrorist state that attacks us and our allies, not because our diplomats have been too mean to the mullahs.
And now Obama and Kerry are turning a blind eye to the fact that they just bankrolled more terrorist activity. Because it takes a truly great diplomat, I guess, to understand what a great idea that is.
Yes. It seems to us most probable that Obama was less intent on freeing hostages than on getting cash to Iran. To help Iran! Because sanctions were making it hard for Iran to get hold of foreign currency. Which it needs to fund terrorism abroad.
But is Obama actually keen on getting Islamic terrorism funded? Or is he just endlessly trying to get Iran to love him? And if it is the latter – why?
Are there possible explanations we haven’t thought of?
Paying ransom for captured citizens is one of the worst things a government can do.
It obviously launches a lucrative industry, signaling that it will be profitable to go on capturing them wherever they may be found.
Obama paid a $400 million cash ransom for the release of American hostages held in Iran. It’s against the law, but such a triviality never bothered Obama. He tried to hide the transaction by sending Swiss francs and Euros packed in wooden crates in an unmarked cargo plane to Tehran. The American hostages were released.
Now more have been taken, of course.
When rumbled, the crooked administration came up with a cock-and-bull story about the money being a debt owed to Iran since the days of the Shah.
From the WSJ by Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee:
The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.
Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.
As usual, the administration lies to the American people, insisting that there is no connection between the money and the hostage release. Instead:
The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The settlement, which resolved claims before an international tribunal in The Hague, also coincided with the formal implementation that same weekend of the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran, the U.S. and other global powers the summer before.
“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” President Barack Obama said at the White House on Jan. 17 — without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.
Senior U.S. officials denied any link between the payment and the prisoner exchange. They say the way the various strands came together simultaneously was coincidental, not the result of any quid pro quo.
“As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim… were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. …
Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and a fierce foe of the Iran nuclear deal, accused President Barack Obama of paying “a $1.7 billion ransom to the ayatollahs for U.S. hostages.”
“This break with longstanding U.S. policy put a price on the head of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures” of Americans, he said.
Since the cash shipment, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guard has arrested two more Iranian-Americans. …
At the time of the prisoner release, Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House portrayed it as a diplomatic breakthrough. Mr. Kerry cited the importance of “the relationships forged and the diplomatic channels unlocked over the course of the nuclear talks”. …
Iranian press reports have quoted senior Iranian defense officials describing the cash as a ransom payment. …
The $400 million was paid in foreign currency because any transaction with Iran in U.S. dollars is illegal under U.S. law. Sanctions also complicate Tehran’s access to global banks.
According to the New York Post, there is proof that the administration is lying about there being “no link between the payment and the prisoner exchange”:
One of the American hostages who was released the day the United States sent $400 million to Iran said his plane to freedom was not allowed to take off until “another plane” arrived in Tehran, according to a report.
Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was among four Americans released this past Jan. 17, told Fox Business he wound up waiting for an extended time for the second plane to reach the Iranian capital and was never told why the arriving aircraft was so important.
“I just remember the night at the airport sitting for hours and hours there, and I asked police, ‘Why are you not letting us go?’ ” Abedini said. “He said, ‘We are waiting for another plane so if that plane doesn’t come, we never let you go.’ ”
The WSJ report concludes:
Revolutionary Guard commanders boasted at the time that the Americans had succumbed to Iranian pressure. “Taking this much money back was in return for the release of the American spies,” said Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Guard’s Basij militia, on state media.
Among the Americans currently being held are an energy executive named Siamak Namazi and his 80-year old father, Baqer, according to U.S. and Iranian officials. Iran’s judiciary spokesman last month confirmed Tehran had arrested the third American, believed to be a San Diego resident named Reza “Robin” Shahini.
Friends and family of the Namazis believe the Iranians are seeking to increase their leverage to force another prisoner exchange or cash payment in the final six months of the Obama administration. Mr. Kerry and other U.S. officials have been raising their case with Iranian diplomats, U.S. officials say.
Iranian officials have demanded in recent weeks the U.S. return $2 billion in Iranian funds that were frozen in New York in 2009. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the money should be given to victims of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks.
Members of Congress are seeking to pass legislation preventing the Obama administration from making any further cash payments to Iran. One of the bills requires for the White House to make public the details of its $1.7 billion transfer to Iran.
“President Obama’s … payment to Iran in January, which we now know will fund Iran’s military expansion, is an appalling example of executive branch governance,” said Sen. James Lankford (R., Okla.), who co-wrote the bill. “Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”
The only surprise is that Obama did something – though very much the wrong thing – to get American captives freed. Why? That’s the deeper mystery, the answer to which we may never know.
(Is one of the released hostages related, or closely connected, to one of Obama’s henchmen? To John Kerry, for instance? A good investigative journalist is needed to find out.)
We are about to make sweeping generalizations, with no attempt to accommodate all shades of opinion. ( Shades of opinion are welcome in comment.)
Left and Right inhabit different universes of discourse. Completely different issues concern them.
The biggest issues on the American Left (in random order) are:
- Climate and the Environment
- Social Justice
To elaborate a little more:
The Left – internationally – holds man-made global warming to be an urgent threat to all life on earth, and tries in the name of saving the planet to force redistribution of wealth over the whole world, the redistributing agent being ideally a world government run according to Leftist values.
The one freedom the Left passionately advocates for is that of Each to seek sexual satisfaction of any kind, and for Each to choose a personal sexual identity, all personal choices connected with sex to be protected by law and subsidized financially, where required, by government.
The Left catalogues all Americans and all foreign nations according to a race analysis, according to which the white race is privileged and oppressive, and all institutions, led by government, have a moral duty to compensate non-whites and handicap whites.
All inequalities between sexes, races, and classes are considered by the Left to be unjust, the injustice being perpetrated by institutions and needing to be corrected by government using any means, including quotas for opportunity and advancement; adjustment of standards for inclusion and compensation; enforced limitations on the expression of dissenting opinion; the redistribution of wealth and power.
The Right does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:
Man-made global warming is not true and would not be a bad thing if it were.
Sex is a private matter, only of public concern if it harms children.
Race is irrelevant to all political issues.
All justice is personal, having no meaning apart from the individual; standards must be upheld; power belongs to the powerful and cannot be bestowed; wealth is inescapably unequal in a free society, equality and liberty being mutually exclusive.
The biggest issues on the American Right (also in random order) are:
- Individual freedom
- The economy
- The Constitution
A little more:
The Right holds that individual freedom is the highest value. All innovation, all progress, depends on it. It requires absolute freedom of speech. The prime duty of government is to protect it.
Capitalism is the only system that lifts people out of poverty and secures prosperity. The Right wants the free market to be left to operate without government interference.
The government’s duty of protection requires a strong military to defend the nation from foreign attack; to maintain America’s superpower status of which the Right is proud; and specifically at this time to stop the advance of Islam and its terrorism.
The Constitution established the best possible system of government for a free society and the Right holds that it must be upheld and defended in its entirety.
The Left does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:
The individual is less important than the collective, and individual interests are always subordinate to those of the collective.
Capitalism is evil, it values profits above people, it allows some to be rich while it keeps the many poor. The economy needs to be planned centrally by government for the equal good of all.
Wars should never be fought. Spending money on the military is a huge waste. America should not be the world’s policeman. It should not be a superower.
The Constitution is an outdated document. It says nothing about slavery. It stands in the way of an enlightened executive, such as President Obama’s, hampering his laudable efforts to change America into a more equal society.
Plainly, there is no common ground between Left and Right.
Dennis Prager writes at Townhall:
Just about all candidates for president regularly announce their intent to unite Americans, to “bring us together”.
It’s a gimmick.
If they are sincere, they are profoundly naive; if they are just muttering sweet nothings in order to seduce Americans to vote for them, they are manipulative.
In his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, John Kerry, one of the most polarizing figures in modern American political history, said, “Maybe some just see us divided into those red states and blue states, but I see us as one America: red, white and blue.”
And President Barack Obama, who has disunited Americans by race, class and gender perhaps more than any president since the beginning of the 20th century, regularly campaigned on the theme of uniting Americans.
In his 2008 victory speech, President-elect Barack Obama said: “We have never been just a collection of … red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
In their current campaigns for president, Republican Gov. John Kasich and Democrat Hillary Clinton regularly proclaim their intention to bring Americans together. He, one suspects, because he is naive, and she, because she will say pretzels come from Neptune if it will garner votes.
Bringing people together is actually the theme of John Kasich’s entire campaign.
One headline on the “Meet John” page of his website says, “BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER, LIFTING PEOPLE UP.”
Senator Rob Portman said of Kasich on Feb. 1, 2016, “I am endorsing John Kasich because I believe he is the person our country needs to bring Americans together.”
And Clinton, who, according to CNN, is tied with Trump for the most negatives in presidential polling for either Republicans or Democrats since 1984, also speaks repeatedly about her ability and desire to bring Americans together.
The “Hillary Clinton for President Supporters” Facebook page has even said, “We’re in the business of bringing people together.”
What’s more, on April 6, 2016, CNN posted a YouTube video titled: “Hillary Clinton — We need a president who can bring people together.”
Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton, wrote on The Hill website that “Clinton wants to bring us together”.
Beyond Kasich and Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders made this a major theme in one of his ads called “Together”, which begins with Sanders saying, “Our job is to bring people together.”
Even Trump, who divides Republicans – not to mention other Americans – like no Republican ever has, uses this mantra.
A January article on The Hill site quoted Trump saying, “I can really bring people together.”
Gov. Chris Christie introduced Trump on Super Tuesday, and a NJ.com column released that night was titled, “Christie on Super Tuesday: Trump is ‘bringing the country together’.”
For the record, Sen. Ted Cruz speaks about uniting Republicans, but not often about uniting all Americans.
All calls for unity by Democrats are particularly fraudulent. Dividing Americans by race, gender and class is how the left views America and how Democratic candidates seek to win elections.
But calls for unity are meaningless no matter who makes them, because no one who calls for unity tells you what they really mean. What they really mean is that they want to unite Americans around their values — and around their values only.
Would Clinton be willing to unite all Americans around recognizing the human rights of the unborn? Would she be willing to unite all Americans around support for widespread gun ownership?
Of course not.
She is willing to unite Americans provided they adopt her views.
Would Sanders like to “bring people together” in support of reducing corporate and individual income taxes in order to spur the economy?
Would Kasich be in favor of “bringing Americans together” by having them all support increasing the size of government and the national debt? One hopes not.
I first realized the dishonesty of just about all calls for unity during a 10-year period in which I engaged in weekly dialogues with clergy of all faiths. Protestant and Catholic clergymen and women would routinely call for Christian unity. When I asked Protestants if they would support such unity if it entailed them adopting the sacraments of the Catholic Church and recognizing the pope as the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the discussion ended. Similarly, when I asked Catholic priests if they would give up the sacraments and the papacy in order to achieve unity with Protestant Christians, all talk of unity stopped. And, of course, the same would hold true for both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews who routinely call for Jewish unity.
Even more absurd are the calls of naive Christians and Jews to have all the “children of Abraham” – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – unite.
The calls themselves can even be dangerous. One would be hard-pressed to name a single free society that was ever united outside of wartime. The only truly united countries are totalitarian states.
So, why do presidential candidates repeat this nonsense every four years? Because Americans fall for it every four years.
But it’s time to grow up.
The gap between the left and right is unbridgeable. Their worldviews are mutually exclusive.
The Left is dangerously wrong.
Being skeptical by nature, principle, and habit, we don’t look for conspiracy theories, much preferring the “cock-up theory” of history and politics.
But when it comes to what happened last January to two US boats and their crews in the Persian Gulf – their capture by the Iranian enemy – our suspicions are aroused by a very strong smell of rat.
Ari Lieberman sums up what is known and unknown about the episode, writing at Front Page:
On January 12, at approximately 9:23 a.m., a pair American navy riverine command boats or RCBs, set sail south from Kuwait to Bahrain, headquarters of the U.S. 5 Fleet.
At 2:10 p.m., the navy received a report that the RCBs had been intercepted by the Iranians. At 2:45 p.m., the military reported that all communication with the RCB flotilla was severed.
At 6:15 p.m., the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Anzio received a communication from the Iranians that the sailors were being detained. Coincidentally, their detention coincided with Obama’s scheduled State of the Union Address, which predictably, made absolutely no mention of the event.
The Pentagon claimed that the RCBs strayed into Iranian territorial waters as a result of a “navigation error” and thereafter, one of the RCBs experienced engine trouble. They were then greeted by a pair of Iranian speed boats. Photos and video of the incident released by the Iranians show that the Iranian boats were armed with nothing more than forward-mounted Russian 14.5mm DShK machine guns of Korean War vintage.
At gunpoint, the Iranians transferred the boats and their crew to Farsi Island where they maintain a military base.
The boats and crew members were released some 16 hours later. … The Iranians thoroughly inspected the RCBs. Two satellite phone sim cards were stolen by the Iranians and the Pentagon has not divulged what, if any, information they contained.
The groveling John Kerry thanked his Iranian counterpart profusely for releasing the illegally detained sailors.
Aside from these bare facts, the Pentagon has not released any new information concerning the embarrassing incident, a humiliation unparalleled in modern U. S. naval history. …
Troubling questions remain unanswered.
First, how did an experienced naval crew, equipped with sophisticated navigational equipment and traveling a well-charted, straight forward path, encounter a “navigational error” that led them into the territorial waters of an extremely hostile entity? In the absence of additional information, the Pentagon’s explanation makes absolutely no sense. There has been speculation that the Iranians employed a device that spoofed or tricked the RCB’s on-board GPS devices with fake signals, leading the sailors into believing that they were on a correct course when they had in fact, substantially deviated. If the Iranians had in fact employed such a device, it would not have been the first time. In 2011, they reportedly misdirected a U.S. drone operating in Afghanistan by hacking into its GPS. The drone and all of its technology fell into Iranian hands relatively intact. The Pentagon has not issued any comment on this theory and notably, has not issued any denial of this troublesome scenario.
Second, and even more troubling, is how did 10 American sailors surrender their heavily armed and armored RCBs to a vastly inferior Iranian force without firing a single shot?
Why weren’t readily available military assets immediately deployed and dispatched after the military was notified of the hostile encounter?
Who gave the commander the order to surrender and was the decision to surrender influenced by political considerations, notably Obama’s State of the Union Address?
While the Pentagon continues to remain mute on these and other crucial issues surrounding the seizure of the RCBs, the Iranians have been extremely talkative, missing no opportunity to humiliate the “Great Satan”.
The list of outrages includes the following:
The sailors were forced to kneel at gunpoint with their hands interlocked behind their heads. The display was videotaped.
The commander was forced to apologize and acknowledge his “navigational error” and the graciousness of his Iranian captors on Iranian TV.
The Iranians re-enacted the surrender spectacle during one of their annual “Death to America” demonstrations.
The sailors were subjected to rather intense interrogation. Iranian TV aired footage purporting to show an American sailor crying. A female sailor endured further humiliation and was forced into Sharia compliance by being made to wear a head covering.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, publicly issued the Iranians responsible for capturing the RCB sailors with “medals of conquest”.
Approximately two weeks after the sailors were freed, Iran released footage of one its drones shadowing the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman … on the very day the sailors were captured. A U.S. Navy spokesman called the flyover “abnormal and unprofessional”.
As noted, two satellite phone sim cards, likely containing classified information, were stolen by the Iranians. In mid-March, naval commander Gen. Ali Razmjou of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards announced that Iran had retrieved thousands of pages of information from laptops, GPS devices and maps used by U.S. Navy sailors.
It is likely that we have not heard the last from the Iranians on this humiliating saga. In fact, Razmjou said that the IRG will publish a book about the incident.
The Iranian bombast stands in marked contrast to the Pentagon’s almost docile stance. The reasons for the Pentagon’s silence are not hard to fathom. Something happened in the Arabian Gulf on January 12 that if revealed, would likely cause considerable embarrassment to the Obama administration. …
Obama will continue to order the Pentagon to obfuscate and remain silent on the circumstances surrounding the seizure of U.S. personnel in the Arabian Gulf, because it will likely embarrass the administration and add to further congressional calls to toughen sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The order to the “experienced naval crew” to “surrender their heavily armed and armored RCBs to a vastly inferior Iranian force without firing a single shot”, MUST have come down the line from the highest authority.
We have frequently argued that Obama wants Iran to become a nuclear armed power, which is why he went to such great lengths, making every possible concession, to get his dubious “deal” agreed with the Iranian regime. Furthermore, Obama has shown consistently that he loves Islam, holding it in far higher esteem than the country he was so improbably elected to lead.
Looked at in the light of those suppositions, the incident of the captured RCBs can be seen as highly congenial to Obama’s agenda. So did Obama have anything personally to do with its occurrence?
Even if the story of the Iranian trick is true – their amazingly expert use of some technological marvel, the modern equivalent of the Sirens who lured Odysseus into their clutches – it does not explain why nothing was done immediately to recover the boats and the crews. Nothing, that is, other than Secretary of State John Kerry getting down on his knees and begging the Ayatollahs to return them. Which he did – though the groveling was called “diplomacy”, for the “success” of which Kerry expressed personal pride.
So how was it done? Why was it done? Was there a secret agreement between the White House and the Dark Tower to have it happen? If so, when was it brewed?
Thing is, the only beneficiary of it is the Islamic regime of Iran. So was the boost to the prestige of those evil men allowed for want of any other choice, or was it planned and intended?
Did the incident come about regrettably because of a series of cock-ups? Or was there a conspiracy over which the conspirers are crowing, one side openly, the other side secretly?
The fact that those questions can plausibly be asked, must cause American patriots to shudder.
Was John McCain far from being a war hero?
Was he even perhaps as traitorous as John Kerry?
This video is intended to show that he was:
(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter John Bobbitt)
What is unique about American foreign policy today is not just that it is rudderless, but how quickly and completely the 70-year postwar order seems to have disintegrated — and how little interest the American people take in the collapse, thanks to the administration’s apparent redeeming message, which translates, “It’s their misfortune and none of our own.”
We quote from an article by Victor Davis Hanson in the National Review.
He sets before us a picture of what passes for US foreign policy under Obama, and the disasters that have ensued from it – and continue to get worse.
ISIS took Ramadi last week. …
On a smaller scale, ISIS is doing to the surge cities of Iraq what Hitler did to his neighbors between 1939 and 1941, and what Putin is perhaps doing now on the periphery of Russia. In Ramadi, ISIS will soon do its accustomed thing of beheading and burning alive its captives, seeking some new macabre twist to sustain its Internet video audience.
We in the West trample the First Amendment and jail a video maker for posting a supposedly insensitive film about Islam; in contrast, jihadists post snuff movies of burnings and beheadings to global audiences.
We argue not about doing anything or saving anybody, but about whether it is inappropriate to call the macabre killers “jihadists”. When these seventh-century psychopaths tire of warring on people, they turn to attacking stones, seeking to ensure that there is not a vestige left of the Middle East’s once-glorious antiquities. I assume the ancient Sassanid and Roman imperial site at Palmyra will soon be looted and smashed. …
As long as we are not involved at the center of foreign affairs and there is no perceptible short-term danger to our security, few seem to care much that western North Africa is a no-man’s-land. Hillary Clinton’s “lead from behind” created a replay of Somalia in Libya.
The problem with Turkey’s Recep Erdogan is not that he is no longer Obama’s “special friend,” but that he was ever considered a friend at all, as he pressed forward with his plan to destroy Turkish democracy in the long march to theocracy.
There was never much American good will for the often duplicitous Gulf monarchies, so the general public does not seem to be worried that they are now spurned allies. That estrangement became possible because of growing U.S. self-sufficiency in oil and gas (thanks to fracking, which Obama largely opposed). Still, let us hope the Gulf States remain neutral rather than becoming enemies — given their financial clout and the availability of Pakistani bombs for Sunni petrodollars.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has it in for Israel. Why, no one quite knows, given that the Jewish state is the only democratic and liberal society in the Middle East. Perhaps it resembles the United States too closely, and thus earns the reflected hypercriticism that so many leftists cultivate for their own civilization.
Theocratic Iran has won more sympathy from the Obama administration. No neutral observer believes that the current policy of lifting sanctions and conducting negotiations will not lead to an Iranian bomb; it is hoped only that this will be unveiled on the watch of another president, who will be castigated as a warmonger if he is forced to preempt its rollout.
The current American foreign policy toward Iran is baffling. Does Obama see the theocracy as a valuable counterweight to the Sunni monarchies? Is it more authentic in the revolutionary sense than the geriatric hereditary kingdoms in the Gulf? Or is the inexplicable policy simply a matter of John Kerry’s gambit for a Nobel Peace Prize or some sort of Obama legacy in the eleventh hour, a retake of pulling all U.S. peacekeepers home from a once-quiet Iraq so that Obama could claim he had “ended the war in Iraq”?
Hillary Clinton has been talking up her successful tenure as secretary of state. But mysteriously she has never specified exactly where, when, or how her talents shone. What is she proud of? Reset with Russia? The Asian pivot to discourage Chinese bellicosity? The critical preliminary preparations for talks with Iran? The Libyan misadventure? Or perhaps we missed a new initiative to discourage North Korean aggression? Some new under-appreciated affinity with Israel and the Gulf monarchies? The routing of ISIS, thanks to Hillary’s plans? Shoring up free-market democracies in Latin America? Proving a model of transparency as secretary? Creating a brilliant new private-public synergy by combining the work of the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, and Bill’s lecturing –as evidenced by the Haitian renaissance and nation-building in Kazakhstan?
He also considers the administration’s domestic failures:
Meanwhile, no one seems to much care that between 2009 and 2017, we will have borrowed 8 trillion more dollars. Yet for all that stimulus, the U.S. economy still has staggering labor non-participation rates, flat GDP growth, and stagnant household income. As long as zero interest rates continue, the rich make lots of money in the stock market, and the debt can grow by $500 billion a year and still be serviced. Financial sobriety is now defined as higher taxes bringing in record revenues to service half-trillion-dollar annual additions to an $18 trillion debt.
The liberal approach to the underclass continues as it has been for the last 50 years: The elites support huge, unquestioned redistributionist entitlements for the inner city as penance for avoiding it. Minorities are left to run their own political affairs without much worry that their supposed benefactors live apartheid lives, protected by the proof of their caring. The public is left with the lie “Hands up, don’t shoot” as a construct that we will call true, because the made-up last-seconds gasps of Michael Brown perhaps should have happened that way. As an elite bookend, we have a Columbia coed toting around a mattress as proof of society’s insensitivity to sexual violence, which in her case both her university and the New York City police agree never occurred. In theory, perhaps it could have and thus all but did.
As far as scandals go, no one much cares any more about the implosion of the Veterans Administration. In the public’s defense, though, how does one keep straight the multitudinous scandals — Lois Lerner and the rogue IRS, the spying on and tapping of Associated Press journalists, the National Security Agency disclosures, Fast and Furious, the serial lying about needless deaths in Benghazi, the shenanigans at the General Services Administration, the collapse of sobriety at the Secret Service, the rebooting of air-traffic controllers’ eligibility to be adjudicated along racial and ethnic lines, and the deletions from Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server, which doubled as her government server.
Always there is the administration’s populist anthem of “You didn’t build that”; instead, you must have won the lottery from President Obama. If his economic programs are not working, there is always the finger pointing at those who are too well off. Michelle Obama lectured a couple of weeks ago on museum elitism and prior neglect of the inner city, in between recounting some slights and micro-aggressions that she has endured, presumably on jumbo-jet jaunts to Costa del Sol and Aspen. I think her point is that it is still worse to be rich, powerful, and black than, say, poor, ignored, and non-black. …
He concludes on a note of despondency not far off from despair:
The center of this culture is not holding. …
More Americans privately confess that American foreign policy is dangerously adrift. They would agree that the U.S. no longer has a southern border, and will have to spend decades and billions of dollars coping with millions of new illegal aliens.
Some Americans are starting to fear that the reckless borrowing under Obama will wreck the country if not stopped.
Racial tensions, all concede, are reaching dangerous levels, and Americans do not know what is scarier: inner-city relations between blacks and the police, the increasing anger of the black underclass at establishment America — or the even greater backlash at out-of-control violent black crime and the constant scapegoating and dog whistles of racism.
Whatever liberalism is, it is not working.
It’s certainly not “liberal” in the real meaning of the word. It is the opposite – dictatorial.
We call it Leftism. It has the Western world in its crushing grip.
Why are Western leaders reluctant to face the truth about Islam? Why are they “in denial” that Islam is the greatest threat to civilization in the world today?
Why are they anxious to pretend that the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) “has nothing to do with Islam”?
Robert Spencer writes at PJ Media:
Last Tuesday, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) declared that the State Department “ought to hire one or two experts in Islamic jurisprudence,” so as to refute the ideology of the Islamic State. “One must be able to turn to the Quran, to turn to the Hadith and show how ISIS is making a mockery of a great world religion,” he said.
The Congressman could try reading the Koran and the hadith himself. He doesn’t seem to have thought of that.
This followed just days after Pope Francis characterized moderate Muslim spokesmen as saying, “They (Muslims) say: ‘No, we are not this [i.e., jihad terrorists], the Koran is a book of peace, it is a prophetic book of peace.’”
Same goes for him.
The “prophetic book of peace” has been in the news recently, but not always in ways that show “how ISIS is making a mockery of a great world religion”. In fact, it has been quite the contrary:
1. Islamic State: Qur’an-waving gunmen murder 39 Indian workers
IndiaToday reported that in Mosul last summer, gunmen of the Islamic State murdered thirty-nine workers from India, after first inquiring to make sure they were not Muslims. All the while, in a vision rivaling the wildest leftist fantasies about “Bible-thumpers,” the gunmen were clutching copies of the Qur’an.
Somehow these gunmen got the crazy, Islamophobic idea that their actions were in accord with the teachings of the book they were holding. Yet Barack Obama and John Kerry and David Cameron and Theresa May and a host of others assure us that the actions of such people have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. Who could be right? How to tell? It’s a conundrum!
Suggestion: how about read the Qur’an and see what it says? “Slay the pagans wherever you find them” (9:5) — ah, but only “Islamophobes” quote such verses. It’s a “prophetic book of peace”, and no doubt these Qur’an-thumping gunmen were making a mockery of its teachings, right?
2. Boko Haram leader: “We follow the Qur’an … in the land of Allah”
Well, maybe not – or at least it can be said that all too many Muslims seem not to have gotten the “prophetic book of peace” memo.
After recent reports that he had been killed, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian jihad group Boko Haram, roared back defiantly in a new video. “Here I am, alive,” he proclaimed, “I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.” Shekau added: “We are running our caliphate, our Islamic caliphate. We follow the Qur’an … in the land of Allah.”
He follows the Qur’an? After massacring Christians, torching churches, and taking hundreds of non-Muslim girls as sex slaves, he claims to be following the Qur’an? Brad Sherman, as well as Obama, Pope Francis, and the rest, better hope that he is wrong about that, but unfortunately, he has many Muslims on his side, agreeing with him.
- Jihad group quotes Qur’an to justify massacre of Christians
One of them is the al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage. Last Tuesday, al-Shabaab jihadis raided a quarry inside Kenya, separated the Muslims from the Christians, and murdered thirty-six Christians.
In a statement justifying these murders, Rage exulted:
“We are uncompromising in our beliefs, relentless in our pursuit, ruthless against the disbelievers and we will do whatever necessary to defend our Muslim brethren suffering from Kenya’s aggression.”
“Ruthless against the disbelievers” is from the Qur’an. The full passage is: “Muhammad is Allah’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless against the disbelievers but merciful to one another” (48:29).
But perhaps Rage is blinded by his namesake vice – so blinded as to think that a command to be “ruthless against the disbelievers” means to be ruthless against the disbelievers, rather than to treat them to hummus and pita at outreach meetings. Yet unfortunately, others have read Rage’s guiding book, missed the “book of peace” passages, and come to similar conclusions.
- Kenya: Muslims murder 28 non-Muslims who couldn’t recite Qur’an verses
In fact, only a few days before their quarry murders, al-Shabaab did the same thing on a bus in northern Kenya. A passenger on the bus, Ahmed Mahat, recalled that the jihadis ordered the passengers to get off the bus. “When we got down, passengers were separated according to Somali and non-Somalis. The non-Somalis were ordered to read some verses of the holy Qur’an, and those who failed to read were ordered to lie down. One by one they were shot in the head at point blank range.”
That kind of action can make a mockery of a great religion in a hurry, and for it to happen twice in a week only underscores the cognitive dissonance between Western leaders’ view of the Qur’an and what it really is.
But surely things must be better in the West, no? No:
- UK: Qur’an-quoting Muslim plotted to murder Tony Blair
A young Muslim named Erol Incedal recently plotted to murder former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife.
When Tony Blair was Prime Minitser, he once stated in public that he had “read the Qur’an twice”, and still was of the opinion that it taught peace. Lying always came easily to Mr Blair. On that occasion, either he was lying about having read the (ill-written, boring, thoroughly unpleasant) book, or he had read it and was lying about what he found in it.
When searching Incedal’s home, investigators found a notebook that included this:
“Oh you the believers, fight those of the infidel who are near to you. Why do you not fight in Allah’s cause for those oppressed men, women and children who cry out: ‘Rescue us from this town.’”
Ironically, in light of Blair’s fulsome praise for the Qur’an, Incedal’s note is an amalgamation of these Qur’an passages (not that this has anything to do with Islam):
“O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him)” (9:123) …
These Qur’an passages are truly inspirational, but what they inspire is not exactly what Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Brad Sherman and the rest hope for or expect. Yet these five are by no means singular in their view of the Qur’an, and as long as the West persists in refusing to recognize the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, there are only going to be more of them.
We know why Obama will see, hear, speak no truth about Islam. He loves Islam.
But why do the others cling to their illusion that Islam is “a religion of peace” against overwhelming and terrifying evidence to the contrary?
Your theories are invited.