Is the Swamp swallowing Trump? (2) 1

We continue our discussion, started in the post immediately below, of the Swamp swallowing President Trump, now looking at changes in his avowed foreign policy towards Israel, Egypt, Iran and North Korea.

This is from an article by Ryan Mauro at Clarion Project:

Israel and its supporters in the West are seeing danger signs coming from parts of the Trump Administration. Since taking office, the camp that views Israel as a liability and “root cause” of Islamic extremism has been gaining ground. That camp is at odds with those who view the Islamist ideology as the root cause and believes it must be defeated for there to be peace in the Middle East.

The biggest danger sign for America’s best ally in the Middle East came with the recent release of the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism. It blamed Israel for sparking terrorism while applauding the Palestinian Authority’s counter-extremism efforts.

The report frames Palestinian terrorism as a response to Israeli misconduct, with no attribution to an Islamist ideology or culture with a genocidal desire to wipe Israel off the map. Palestinian terrorism is essentially presented as a form of “resistance” motivated by legitimate grievances against Israeli actions. In other words, the terrorists are misguided freedom fighters.

The identified “continued drivers of violence” are listed as a “lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.” The treatment of the Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, was mostly positive. The report lauded its efforts in combating extremism and claimed that it had minimized the incitement of violence by Palestinian Authority officials and institutions. It went so far as to say that incitement is now “rare” and “the leadership does not generally tolerate it.”

The State Department report undermines President Trump’s position on Israel.

The report by Tillerson’s State Department is even more hostile to Israel than the one issued under [Obama’s Secretary of State] Kerry, who furiously blasted Israel on his way out of office.

In fact, the State Department report spends more time assigning blame for terrorism to Israel than to Qatar, a massive sponsor of terrorism and extremism. One cannot help but wonder if Tillerson’s pro-Qatar position and business ties to the Qatari regime had something to do with it.

While the State Department plans a 28% cut in foreign aid to places around the world, State is planning to increase its aid to the Palestinian Authority.

State Department documents leaked to the media in April show it plans a 4.6% increase to the West Bank run by the terrorism-inciting Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip run by Hamas. A total of $215 million in aid is allotted for 2018.

The Palestinian Authority uses half of the foreign aid it receives to sponsor terrorism. It is increasing its compensation for terrorists in Israeli prisons by 13% and its financial aid to families of killed terrorists by 4%. The total amount of these two allotments is $344 million. …

On June 1, the Trump Administration backtracked on his vow to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, at least for the time being. No firm commitment to moving the embassy was made, despite Trump’s campaign promise.

Secretary Tillerson’s influence is widely seen as being responsible for the flip-flop. In May, Tillerson set off alarm bells for friends of Israel by refusing to commit to fulfilling Trump’s campaign pledge. He said that Trump’s promise has to be weighed against the considerations of the parties involved in the peace process. 

The “peace process” that has never advanced one inch towards peace and never could, but has become a ritual ceremony with implications of mysterious magical potency that will produce a sweet splendor at the end of days when a trumpet shall sound, and is not seriously expected by anyone ever to produce a result in reality.

In other words, Tillerson would rather upset Trump’s voters whom he made the promise to than upset Israel’s enemies, who are also America’s enemies.

Tillerson makes it sound as if an Arab government that genuinely gave up its genocidal ambitions would resurrect its genocidal ambitions because of where an American diplomatic facility is positioned. If that’s all it takes to trigger an Arab regime into a genocidal frenzy, then that regime was never truly interested in peace in the first place.

There are also danger signs in the staffing of the State Department.

In June, Tillerson appointed Yael Lempert as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Egypt and the Maghreb. According to her bio, she was previously in the Obama Administration’s National Security Council from 2014 to May 2017, serving as the Senior Director for the Levant, Israel and Egypt and a Special Assistant to President Obama.

This means that Tillerson’s high-level appointee served as an official involved in the tension between the U.S. and Israel that reached its peak as the Obama Administration came to an end. She also was centrally involved in the Obama Administration’s policy towards Egypt that favored the Muslim Brotherhood.

One report quoted a former Clinton official as saying:

Lempert is considered one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left. From her position on the Obama NSC, she helped manufacture crisis after crisis in a relentless effort to portray Israel negatively and diminish the breadth and depth of our alliance. Most Democrats in town know better than to let her manage Middle East affairs. It looks like the Trump administration has no idea who she is or how hostile she is to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

In December 2014, when Lempert was on the Obama Administration’s National Security Council, she met with anti-Israel activist Michael Sfard. He has been paid by the Palestinian Authority to act as an expert witness in terrorism trials in its defense. He also works in an organization that seeks to put Israeli officials and soldiers on trial for war crimes.

Under Trump, Lempert was involved in putting pressure on Israel to suspend its settlement construction.

Another State Department official to watch is Michael Sfard, who was Secretary of State John Kerry’s consul to Jerusalem. In March, Jordan Schachtel broke the story that Tillerson appeared to have chosen Ratney to oversee the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio.

Ratney is currently the Special Envoy for Syria, so his reassignment either hasn’t happened yet or the administration has changed its mind. He is, however, currently involved in talks with Israel regarding Syria for the Trump Administration.

National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster was asked twice whether the Western Wall is part of Israel and he refused to answer. He replied, “That’s a policy decision”. 

The peculiar non-answer appears significant in light of how the National Security Council is being staffed as McMaster shapes the office to his liking.

Kris Bauman was chosen in May as the top adviser on Israel for the National Security Council. Tellingly, the person he was replacing was the aforementioned Yael Lempert.

Daniel Greenfield reviewed Bauman’s 2009 dissertation and found highly disturbing content.

He blamed Israel and the West for failing to see “Hamas’s signals of willingness to moderate” and turning Gaza “into an open-air prison” instead of engaging Hamas. He advocated a policy that includes “Hamas in a solution,” dismissing Hamas’ oft-stated pledge to destroy Israel and kill Jews

Bauman cites The Israel Lobby, a book that purports to disclose how Israel secretly manipulates the U.S. institutions of power from behind-the-scenes. He says the Israel Lobby “is a force that must be reckoned with, but it is a force that can be reckoned with.”

Bauman  … blames the peace process for failing on Israel and the West because each offer “overwhelmingly favored Israeli interests.” Prime Minister Netanyahu is blamed for “inciting Palestinian violence” and deliberately undermining the prospects for peace.

A consistent theme appears in Bauman’s thesis: Israel is the instigator of terrorism. To defeat terrorism, stop Israel. And now he is in a strong position in the National Security Council to try to make that happen.

A cut in aid to Egypt must have been Tillerson’s decision, again apparently out of harmony with President Trump’s preference. (We are against all foreign aid, but if it’s going to be handed out, Egypt under President al-Sisi is a far worthier recipient than the Palestinian Authority which uses it to pay Hamas and imprisoned terrorists.) President Trump is friendly towards al-Sisi –  for the right reasons, that he is against the Muslim Brotherhood – the major jihad promoters whom Tillerson is strongly for! Trump spoke to al-Sisi to re-affirm their friendship, after Tillerson and Jared Kushner had completed their awkward visit to Egypt  and moved on to disturb and dismay the Israelis.

On North Korea, Tillerson contradicts Trump on US policy.

Vox reports:

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said North Korean threats to respond to a US strike with nuclear weapons “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” rhetoric that no previous American president has ever used with North Korea. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to cool things down, saying “nothing that I have seen and nothing that I know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours”.

“Americans,” the secretary said, “should sleep well.”

That soothing rhetoric lasted all of a day. On Thursday, top Trump aide Sebastian Gorka said … that Tillerson was not actually speaking for White House. Trump’s threats, Gorka said, were deadly serious.

“You should listen to the president,” Gorka said. “The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical.”

Gorka got major reinforcement later in the day from President Trump, who said that his past statement “maybe wasn’t tough enough.”

But Gorka is gone from the White House and Tillerson remains.

On Iran, Tillerson has maneuvered the President into keeping the unsigned agreement that Obama made with that evil regime; the “deal” that allows the mullahs to become a nuclear armed power after a few years. Candidate Trump promised during his campaign for the presidency that he would dismantle it. He has re-certified it, albeit with reluctance.

To be continued …   

McMaster of the swamp 4

Why did President Trump appoint H. R. McMaster to head the National Security Council?

President Tump wants to “drain the swamp” – the agencies and bureaucracies of government filled with anti-American, pro-Islam, pro-illegal-immigration, pro-Iran, globalist, anti-Israel, Leftist denizens who had their heyday, glorying in the slime of treachery, under the Obama administration.

But then he goes and appoints H. R. McMaster?

Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:

Derek Harvey was a man who saw things coming. He had warned of Al Qaeda when most chose to ignore it. He had seen the Sunni insurgency rising when most chose to deny it.

The former Army colonel had made his reputation by learning the lay of the land. In Iraq that meant sleeping on mud floors and digging into documents to figure out where the threat was coming from.

It was hard to imagine anyone better qualified to serve as President Trump’s top Middle East adviser at the National Security Council than a man who had been on the ground in Iraq and who had seen it all.

Just like in Iraq, Harvey began digging at the NSC. He came up with a list of Obama holdovers who were leaking to the press. McMaster, the new head of the NSC, refused to fire any of them.

McMaster had a different list of people he wanted to fire. It was easy to make the list. Harvey was on it.

All you had to do was name Islamic terrorism as the problem and oppose the Iran Deal. If you came in with Flynn, you would be out. If you were loyal to Trump, your days were numbered.

And if you warned about Obama holdovers undermining the new administration, you were a target.

One of McMaster’s first acts at the NSC was to ban any mention of “Obama holdovers.”

Not only did the McMaster coup purge Harvey, who had assembled the holdover list, but his biggest target was Ezra Watnick-Cohen, who had exposed the eavesdropping on Trump officials by Obama personnel.

Ezra Watnick-Cohen had provided proof of the Obama surveillance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. McMaster, however, was desperately working to fire him and replace him with Linda Weissgold.

McMaster’s choice to replace Watnick-Cohen was the woman who helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terrorist attack on a video protest.

After protests by Bannon and Kushner, President Trump overruled McMaster. Watnick-Cohen stayed. For a while. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen has been fired anyway.

According to the media, Watnick-Cohen was guilty of “anti-Muslim fervor” and “hardline views”.  And there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.

McMaster had even demanded that President Trump refrain from telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.

Another of his targets was Rich Higgins, who had written a memo warning of the role of the left in undermining counterterrorism. Higgins had served as a director for strategic planning at the NSC. He had warned in plain language about the threat of Islamic terrorism, of Sharia law, of the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants, of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of its alliance with the left as strategic threats.

Higgins had stood by Trump during the Khizr Khan attacks. And he had written a memo warning that “the left is aligned with Islamist organizations at local, national, and international levels” and that “they operate in social media, television, the 24-hour news cycle in all media and are entrenched at the upper levels of the bureaucracies”. ”

Like Harvey and Ezra Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had warned of an enemy within. And paid the price.

McMaster’s cronies had allegedly used the NSC’s email system to track down the source of the memo. The left and its useful idiots were indeed entrenched at the upper level of the bureaucracy.

Higgins was fired.

Like Harvey and Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had also become too dangerous to the Obama holdovers. Harvey had assembled a list of names and a plan to dismantle the Iranian nuclear deal. Watnick-Cohen had dug into the Obama surveillance of Trump officials. And Higgins had sought to declassify Presidential Study Directive 11. PSD-11 was the secret blueprint of Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Pete Hoekstra, the former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, linked PSD-11 to the rise of ISIS and called for its declassification.

Replacing Harvey is Michael Bell. When the Washington Post needed someone to badmouth Dr. [Sebastian] Gorka, they turned to Bell: the former chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University.  Bell suggested that Dr. Gorka was an uneven scholar. And Dr. Gorka was accused of failing to incorporate other perspectives on Islam.

The pattern has never been hard to spot.

McMaster forced out K.T. McFarland from her role as Deputy National Security Advisor. Slotted in was Dina Habib-Powell.

McFarland was an Oxford and Cambridge grad who had worked at the Pentagon for the Reagan administration. Dina Habib-Powell had no national security background. She was an Egyptian-American immigrant and former Bush gatekeeper whose pals included Huma Abedin and Valerie Jarrett.

K.T. McFarland had written, “Global Islamist jihad is at war with all of Western civilization.”

It’s not hard to see why McMaster pushed out McFarland and elevated Habib-Powell. …

But that is typical of the McMaster revamp of the NSC. It’s populated by swamp creatures who oppose the positions that President Trump ran on. And who are doing everything possible to undermine them.

President Trump promised a reset from Obama’s anti-Israel policies. McMaster picked Kris Bauman as the NSC’s point man on Israel. Bauman had defended Islamic terrorists and blamed Israel for the violence. He had urged pressure on Israel as the solution. Ideas like that fit in at McMaster’s NSC.

Meanwhile Derek Harvey, who had tried to halt Obama’s $221 million terror funding prize to the Palestinian Authority, was forced out.

When Adam Lovinger urged that “more attention be given to the threat of Iran and Islamic extremism,” his security clearance was revoked.  Robin Townley was forced out in the same way.

Meanwhile, McMaster sent a letter to Susan Rice, Obama’s former National Security Adviser, assuring her that the NSC would work with her to “allow you access to classified information.” He claimed that Rice’s continued access to classified information is “consistent with the national security interests of the United States.”

Why does Susan Rice, who is alleged to have participated in the Obama eavesdropping on Trump people, need access to classified information? What national security purpose is served by it?

The same national security purpose that is served by McMaster’s purge of anyone at the NSC who dares to name Islamic terrorism, who wants a tougher stance on Iran, and who asks tough questions.

And the purge of reformers and original thinkers is only beginning.

The latest reports say that McMaster has a list of enemies who will be ousted from the NSC. And when that is done, the NSC will be a purely Obama-Bush operation. The consensus will be that the Iran Deal must stay, that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, that we need to find ways to work with the aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that Israel must make concessions to terrorists.

If you loved the foreign policy that brought us 9/11, ISIS, and billions in funding to terrorists from Syria to Libya to the West Bank, you won’t be able to get enough of McMaster’s brand new NSC.

And neither will America’s enemies.

The swamp is overflowing. The National Security Council is becoming a national security threat. 

Caroline Glick writes on her Facebook page:

The Israel angle on McMaster’s purge of Trump loyalists from the National Security Council is that all of these people are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.

McMaster in contrast is deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump. According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.

Many of you will remember that a few days before Trump’s visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisers were blindsided when the Americans suddenly told them that no Israeli official was allowed to accompany Trump to the Western Wall. What hasn’t been reported is that it was McMaster who pressured Trump to agree not to let Netanyahu accompany him to the Western Wall. At the time, I and other reporters were led to believe that this was the decision of rogue anti-Israel officers at the US consulate in Jerusalem. But it wasn’t. It was McMaster. And even that, it works out wasn’t sufficient for McMaster. He pressured Trump to cancel his visit to the Wall and only visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — ala the Islamists who insist that the only reason Israel exists is European guilt over the Holocaust. …

The thing I can’t get my arms around in all of this is why in the world this guy hasn’t been fired. Mike Flynn was fired essentially for nothing. He was fired because he didn’t tell the Vice President everything that transpired in a phone conversation he had with the Russian ambassador. … Flynn had the conversation when he was on a 72 hour vacation with his wife after the election in the Caribbean and could barely hear because the reception was so bad. He found himself flooded with calls and had no one with him except his wife.
And for this he was fired.

McMaster disagrees with and actively undermines Trump’s agenda on just about every salient issue on his agenda.

He fires all of Trump’s loyalists and replaces them with Trump’s opponents, like Kris Bauman, an Israel hater and Hamas supporter who McMaster hired to work on the Israel-Palestinian desk.

And he not only is remaining at his desk. He is given the freedom to fire Trump’s most loyal foreign policy advisers from the National Security Council.

One source claims that Trump’s political advisers are afraid of how it will look if he fires another national security adviser. But that makes no sense. Trump is being attacked for everything and nothing. Who cares if he gets attacked for doing something that will actually help him to succeed in office? Why should fear of media criticism play a role here or anywhere for this president and this administration?

Finally, there is the issue of how McMaster got there in the first place. Trump interviewed McMaster at Mara Lago for a half an hour. He was under terrible pressure after firing Flynn to find someone.

And who recommended McMaster? You won’t believe this.

Senator John McCain.

That’s right. The NSA got his job on the basis of a recommendation from the man who just saved Obamacare.

Obviously, at this point, Trump has nothing to lose by angering McCain. …

If McMaster isn’t fired after all that he has done and all that he will do, we’re all going to have to reconsider Trump’s foreign policy.

Because if after everything he has done, and everything that he will certainly do to undermine Trump’s stated foreign policy agenda, it will no longer be possible to believe that exiting the nuclear deal or supporting the US alliance with Israel and standing with US allies against US foes — not to mention draining Washington’s cesspool – are Trump’s policies.

How can they be when Trump stands with a man who opposes all of them and proves his opposition by among other things, firing Trump’s advisers who share Trump’s agenda.

BUT  …

An article by James Carafano of the (powerful and usually admirable) Heritage Foundation contradicts all this; and so contradicts the entire conservative – and President Trump approving – ethos of the Heritage Foundation itself:

For months, there have been reports of strong disagreements in the White House.

There’s nothing wrong with that. In our view, that’s often the best way tough decisions get made.

In national security adviser H.R. McMaster, the president has a leader of the National Security Council who has made a career of fighting for national security interests that involve very real sacrifice.

McMaster is someone who can make the tough calls. He is the right leader for a tough, determined president who only wants the best for the American people.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone.

Here are five reasons why we think the president is already on the right track with his team.

  1. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

What’s wrong with demanding winning policies and not accepting anything less? Grit and resolve were elements of character that used to be admired in Washington.

The recently released film Dunkirk resonated with many Americans for a reason. It’s not just fine filmmaking. It is a reflection of what we see in ourselve — the strength and resilience to persevere.

McMaster gets that. Throughout his career, he has worked for leaders who demanded more — and he delivered. He will do so for this president.

  1. Politics end at the water’s edge.

If anything has plagued the White House’s national security and foreign policy decision-making over the past eight years, it’s that tough decisions got filtered through a political lens that put politics before the needs of the nation.

In the toughest times, the toughest presidents — Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan — never did that.

Likewise, the instincts of President Donald Trump’s team are to put the nation’s needs ahead of politics. Such instincts are the glue that helps hold this National Security Council staff together.

McMaster shares their instincts, and that is how he leads his staff.

  1. There is war to be won.

America is at war with al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. It faces daunting challenges from Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, and transnational criminal networks.

It’s time to settle on a team and get on with the business of winning. Now is not the time to make big changes in the national security and foreign policy team.

  1. Count on character.

When it comes to national security, Trump’s Cabinet officials — as well as his vice president, chief of staff, director of national intelligence, CIA director, new FBI director, and senior officials at the National Security Council — all share a core of character, competence, and the capacity for critical thinking and decision-making.

These are the essence of strategic leadership. They are the building blocks of a great team of leaders. No one exemplifies those traits more than McMaster.

  1. Leadership is a team sport.

What makes a foreign policy and national security team great is the capacity to work together in trust and confidence — regardless of the degree of difficulty or disagreements. McMaster is a team builder, not a divider or splitter.

There should be tough, tense moments in the White House. A president is ill served by yes men, and the country is ill served by a president who doesn’t demand the very best for the American people.

The finest steel comes from the hottest fire. The president and his team have an opportunity to prove this axiom is as valid as ever.

The White House needs to deliver a solid, actionable plan in Afghanistan that leaves no quarter for ISIS and al-Qaeda; that shows Russia, Iran, Pakistan, India, and the Taliban that we are winners, not quitters; and honors the sacrifices made by our military after 9/11.

We need a team that will consistently show resolve in the face of Russian aggression, patience and determination in the Middle East, support for allies in Europe and Latin America, and staying power in Asia.

In these tasks, the president will find no more a selfless servant than McMaster.

James Carafano is WRONG.

His article, in addition to being mostly bombast, is a piece of sycophancy worthy of Obama’s media toadies.

“A president is ill served by yes men “?  He’s  even worse served by no men – men who want to reverse the president’s foreign policies.

‘The finest steel comes from the hottest fire” – and the ashes of a president’s foreign policy come from any fire it’s consigned to.

McMaster must go!