The crocodiles of Foggy Bottom 1

A trenchant quip made years ago about the British Foreign Office could be applied with equal validity to the US State Department, thus:

They found a mole in the State Department: he was working for America.

As the rest (it is implied) are working against America, the only periods in recent history when its own policies were not different from those of the president, were when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were in the White House. And the only time when the music from Foggy Bottom was in complete harmony with the Song of the Oval Office was when Barack Obama was taking the solo lead in “Apologies to the World for America”.

An editorial at American Greatness describes the swampy crocodile pond at Foggy Bottom:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has isolated himself from his own department and allowed subordinates to fill a handful of top positions with people who actively opposed Donald Trump’s election, according to current and former State Department officials and national security experts with specific knowledge of the situation. …

Rumors have circulated for months that Tillerson either plans to resign or is waiting for the president to fire him. The staffers describe an amateur secretary of state who has “checked out” and effectively removed himself from major decision making.

About 200 State Department jobs require Senate confirmation. But the Senate cannot confirm nominees it does not have. More than nine months into the new administration, most of the senior State Department positions — assistant and deputy assistant secretary posts — remain unfilled.

What’s more, the United States currently has no ambassador to the European Union, or to key allies such as France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meantime, Obama Administration holdovers remain ensconced in the department and stationed at embassies in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East.

The leadership vacuum has been filled by a small group opposed to the president’s “America First” agenda.

At the heart of the problem, these officials say, are the two people closest to Tillerson: chief of staff Margaret Peterlin and senior policy advisor Brian Hook, who runs the State Department’s in-house think tank.

Peterlin and Hook are longtime personal friends who current staffers say are running the departmentlike a private fiefdom for their benefit and in opposition to the president and his stated policies.

The lack of staffing gives the duo unprecedented power over State Department policy. Since joining Tillerson’s team, Peterlin and Hook have created a tight bottleneck, separating the 75,000 State Department staffers — true experts in international relations — from the secretary. … That has meant Peterlin and Hook make the decisions. …

Peterlin and Hook have stymied every effort by pro-Trump policy officials to get jobs at the State Department. “Peterlin is literally sitting on stacks of résumés,” one national security expert told American Greatness. Together, Peterlin and Hook are “boxing out anyone who supports Trump’s foreign policy agenda”.   

Peterlin, an attorney and former Commerce Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, was hired to help guide political appointments through the vetting and confirmation process. She reportedly bonded with Tillerson during his confirmation hearings, and he hired her as his chief of staff. Peterlin then brought in Hook, who co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign-policy advisors who publicly refused to support Trump because he would “act in ways that make America less safe”.

In a May 2016 profile of NeverTrump Republicans, Hook told Politico, “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one.”

And that is the Man who is making US foreign policy.  It is not the policy of the elected president.

Hook now directs the department’s Office of Policy Planning, responsible for churning out policy briefs and helping to shape the nation’s long-term strategic agenda.

In September, Peterlin and Hook hired David Feith, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and the son of Douglas J. Feith, one of the architects of the Iraq War. Feith shares with Peterlin and Hook a deep dislike for President Trump. Feith, according to one State Department employee with knowledge of the hire, had been rejected by the White House precisely because of his opposition to the president and his policies. Peterlin and Hook forced him through anyway.

Incredibly, even the State Department’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond, was an outspoken NeverTrumper before the election, frequently tweeting jibes and barbs at the candidate. … .

State’s anti-Trump climate has shut out several top-notch foreign policy hands.

Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, worked on Trump’s national security transition team and was hired as a senior policy advisor. She was considered for the job Hook now has in the Office of Policy Planning. But she was isolated from career staffers and quit after a few days.

At least Skinner managed to get into the building. Another former Reagan Administration staffer with decades of experience in U.S.-Russian affairs and international economics had spent months in 2016 campaigning for the president in critical battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. As soon as Trump won the election, this experienced analyst and several other pro-Trump associates were passed over for State Department jobs. It’s to the point that even internship candidates are being rejected if they volunteered for the Trump campaign. …

No name given there. But among the “pro-Trump associates passed over” we think of John Bolton, who would make an excellent Secretary of State.

In government today, the maxim that “personnel is policy” is truer than ever. As a result, the State Department mirrors the management style not of its leader, but of Tillerson’s chief aides who are at odds with the president’s stated foreign policy agenda.

A State Department staffed with opponents of the president is hardly useful to Americans who voted to reject the failed foreign policies of the past two administrations.

President Trump made “draining the swamp” a cornerstone of his campaign. How can he drain the swamp if the swamp dwellers control his administration and drown out voices of his most innovative supporters?

Two foreign policies 3

The US government has two foreign policies: one is President Trump’s, the other is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s.

In the case of US policy towards Iran, for instance, President Trump abominates the “deal” Obama made with that evil regime and wants to tear it up, while the Secretary of State wants to preserve it.

The “deal” (it is not a treaty, it isn’t even signed by either side) requires the president of the United States to certify, every 90 days, that Iran is complying with it.

Iran is not complying with it.

Against his better judgment, for reasons we have to assume were sound at the time, President Trump has re-certified it twice. He must have done so with great reluctance, such a horrible thing it is, giving the America-hating mullahs the right to start building a nuclear arsenal in a few years from now. Under its cover, Iran isn’t even waiting the few years; it is working constantly towards its nuclear goal.

So President Trump cannot certify for a third time that it is in compliance.

And according to AP, he won’t.

AP reports:

President Donald Trump could announce his secret decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal next week.

U.S. officials familiar with the president’s planning said Wednesday he is preparing to deliver an Iran policy speech in which he is expected to declare the landmark 2015 agreement contrary to America’s national security interests. …

Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline to tell Congress if he believes Iran is complying with the seven-nation pact and if it advances US interests.

The president has called the 2015 deal, which forced Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for broad relief from international economic sanctions, one of the nation’s “worst and most one-sided transactions” ever. But many of his top national security aides don’t want to dismantle the deal, and America’s European allies have lobbied the Trump administration heavily not to walk away from the agreement.

Even AP – which cannot conceal which of the two US foreign policies it favors – cannot claim more for the “deal” than that it “forced Iran to scale back its nuclear program”. But it is not scaling it back much, if at all. So much for the “forced”.

“We’re going to give him a couple of options of how to move forward to advance the important policy toward Iran,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Wednesday. He said the Iran deal comprised “only a small part” of the government’s approach to Iran, a traditional US  adversary in the Middle East that Washington considers the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

President Trump’s Secretary of State is going to give him, the president, a couple of options.

Tillerson will preserve the deal, but will do it in such a way that the president doesn’t lose face!

The Iran deal’s future may hinge on a face-saving fix for Trump so he doesn’t have to recertify the Islamic republic’s compliance every 90 days …

Several officials familiar with internal discussions say the periodic deadlines have become such a source of embarrassment for Trump that his aides are trying to find ways for him to stop signing off on the accord without scuttling it entirely.

So having to certify that Iran is in compliance when it isn’t, is only a source of embarrassment to President Trump? Not a lie to America and the world against his own will and principles? Those officials should not be in the White House or the State Department or wherever they are lurking!

Trump has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to certify Iranian compliance again after having done so twice already, declaring last month he even had made his mind up about what he’ll do next. “Decertification” could lead Congress to reintroduce economic sanctions on Iran that were suspended under the deal. If that happens, Iran has threatened to walk away from the arrangement and restart activities that could take it closer to nuclear weapons.

That last sentence is one of many in the report which shows AP’s bias. A warning to the president. “Walk away from the deal?” It is walking away from it. “Closer to nuclear weapons”? It is close to them now.

The UN (along with Europe) is on the side of keeping the deal. Because (like Europe) it is on the side of Iran. Its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has recently admitted that it cannot verify that Iran is implementing the most important part of the “deal”, Section T – the part that prohibits Iran from developing nuclear weapons for 10 to 15 years from the time the “deal” was agreed.

The plain fact is  that the IAEA is not just useless in keeping Iran from becoming a nuclear power, it is helping it on the excuse that if it asked for the permission of Iran to inspect its  military bases – which according to the stupid “deal” it must – it knows Iran will not give it. And that would confirm President  Trump’s criticism of the deal. “We just don’t want to give them [the US] an excuse” to “bring down the deal”, an IAEA official said.

Since the IAEA cannot inspect the sites, and so cannot say that Iran is not keeping to the “deal”, AP declares that the agency has found Iran in compliance:

Because the UN nuclear watchdog has found Iran in compliance, it’s difficult for the US administration to say otherwise. However, Trump and other officials, including Tillerson, have said Iran is violating the spirit of the agreement because of its testing of ballistic missiles, threats to US allies in the Middle East, and support for US-designated terrorist organizations and Syria’s government.

So Tillerson does at least admit that Iran is “violating the spirit of the agreement”.

But he and US Defense department officials, including the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, still want to keep itSince the IAEA has not certified that Iran is in breach of it, they pretend that means it is not in breach of it.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Iran “is not in material breach of the agreement”.

Why do they pretend this?  Because –

At the same hearing, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he believed the deal is still in the US national security interest.

For US officials involved in the decision-making process, the focus on finding a way for Trump to avoid anything looking like approval for the accord has become a source of frustration. Various options are in play to resolve the problem, but none are clean solutions, according to officials.

And they will  not consider simply accepting President Trumps wish to scrap the useless “accord”. So all their difficulties are of their own making – finding a way to implement their own policy rather than the president’s, while making the president think that they are implementing his!

The most likely strategy centers on Trump not certifying Iran’s compliance. Below the president, diplomats and officials would then strive to manage any fallout with Tehran and US allies by emphasizing that Washington isn’t leaving the deal or immediately applying new nuclear sanctions on Iran. After that, Trump wouldn’t have to address the certification matter again, officials said.

And as long as the issue doesn’t come before him for his signature, they can merrily proceed with their own plans?

Whether AP is aware of it or not, its report reveals a contempt for President Trump on the part of Tillerson and the generals. It suggests that they regard the president as so naive that he can be hoodwinked by a trick which removes the need for him to certify that Iran is keeping the deal, but yet preserves the deal

Mattis hinted his boss may try to decertify without breaking the deal.

His boss may try? He, Mattis – along with Tillerson – will try.

“You can talk about the conditions under one of those, and not walk away from the other,” he said.

While Mattis described the issues of certification and upholding the deal as “different pieces”, they overlap.

How can Iran’s breaking of the deal – which is what decertifying means – not cancel it? The breaking cannot just be a “different piece” which “overlaps” the deal as a whole. It is the essence of an agreement that it must be kept by both sides or it is invalidated. By a “different piece” they can only mean that the clause calling for certification is not the whole of the agreement. By saying it “overlaps” the clauses, they are tacitly acknowledging that declaring the agreement broken by Iran does affect the whole thing.

They are trying to preserve a broken deal!  Of course it’s a strain even on the skills of an equivocating diplomat to reconcile “broken” with “not so broken we have to discard it”.

Why are they straining to keep it?

In January, Tillerson must waive multiple sets of sanctions on Iran for the US to uphold its part of the deal. The issue of US national security interests is relevant to those decisions.

How “US national interests” are protected or advanced by the “deal” is not explained. It has never been explained.

Obama’s “deal” makes it possible for the belligerent, America-hating theocrats of Iran,  who believe absolutely in Shia Islam and its centuries-long ambition to subdue the world under Shia Muslim rule, to become a nuclear power. How is that in the interests of the United States?

President Trump sees that it is not. As AP itself reports: President Trump “is expected to declare the landmark 2015 agreement contrary to America’s national security interests”. 

May he do so! Then let’s see by what contorted argument the resistance within the administration tries to justify preserving the abominable “deal”.

Is the Swamp swallowing Trump? 1

Is the  Swamp swallowing President Trump?

Seems so.

Seems he’s being isolated in the White House. His enemies have put a wall round him. They’ve stopped him from reading Breitbart. They take him print-outs of the news they want him  to read. The only person they cannot stop getting close to him is his son Don. They are trying to stop Don taking Breitbart news to him. 

People who should be carrying out his orders are not doing so. They do what they want to do. And what they want to do is the opposite of what he wants them to do.

They have got rid of or blocked everyone who was on his side.

But is the stalwart redoubtable winner Donald Trump so easily held captive? So easily bent to others’ will? Surely not!  

Linda Goudsmit writes at Canada Free Press an open letter to President Trump from which we quote:

Mr. President, your government continues to be informed and advised by Obama legacy staffers who remain in government advancing Obama’s anti-American, pro-Islamic, pro-Iranian, and pro-Muslim Brotherhood agenda. …

Identifying your friends and identifying your enemies in your administration, the military, and among national security staffers is an urgent matter. … Any advisor or staffer who refuses to utter the words radical Islamic terror does not belong in your administration. If staffers embrace sharia law, promote Islam, are apologists for Islam, are members of the Muslim Brotherhood or CAIR and support Obama’s purging of materials that implicate Islam, they are your enemies and must be removed.

You are being surrounded by Obama leftovers who will continue to disinform you so that your decisions will tilt toward Obama’s failed globalist policies.

Mr. President you are being dragged into the swamp you were elected to drain.

H.R. McMaster was recommended for the position of National Security Advisor (NSA) director by #2 swamp creature John McCain. Under McMaster’s leadership the people who have the courage to speak out and expose the existential danger of Islam are being purged from the military and from the national security staff. Those who have the courage to support the initiatives of your America-first candidacy are being eliminated while the Obama globalist leftovers remain.

Trump loyalists Michael Flynn, K.T. McFarland, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Derek Harvey, Rich Higgins, Adam Lovinger, Steve Bannon, and Sebastian Gorka are all gone. Obama loyalists Dina Habib-Powell, Allison Hooker, Fernando Cutz, Andrea Hall, Rear Admiral David Kriete, Jessica Cox, Stephanie Morrison, Heather King, and Robert Wilson all remain. McMaster’s indefensible defense of Obama loyalist Susan Rice allowed her to retain her security clearance. McMaster claimed Rice did nothing wrong unmasking the identities of Trump transition aides and leaking the transcripts of Mr. Trump’s phone conversations with foreign leaders. REALLY? …

Sixteen years [after 9/11) there is no excuse for illiteracy regarding Islam, yet the national security voices are still trying to deny the connection between Islam and terrorism.

And now former FBI director Robert Mueller is investigating you?? Mueller is another leftover whose past foretells his future. Mueller has been part of the intricate cover-up protecting the Muslim Brotherhood for years.

Judicial Watch has uncovered stunning documentary evidence that Robert Mueller worked with Islamist groups to purge anti-terrorism materials offensive to Muslims while he was FBI director. Offensive to Muslims? Is this the metric for our national security? Candidate Trump promised to reverse Obama’s suicidal policies – President Trump has hired personnel who continue to advance them. …

You and your America-first policies pose an existential threat to the globalist elite and that is why they are determined to destroy you and eliminate any Trump administration personnel who share your vision. H.R. McMaster is part of the insidious swamp battling against you. He is part of the reheated Obama leftovers who are hazardous to your presidency. Candidate Trump’s courageous Americanism and bold America-first policies require President Trump to find fresh ingredients – throw out the leftovers. H.R.McMaster and his gang need to hear: “You’re fired!”

The last and most difficult message I have for you is a personal one. Your daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are loyal loving members of your family and your administration but you must never forget that they have been educated toward globalism by the prevailing re-education curriculum in American schools. You can be proud of their extraordinary achievements but must never forget that their prism is not your prism. They were raised on John Lennon’s “Imagine.” You were raised on the “Star Spangled Banner” – the difference is Huge.

And Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:

The foreign policy deck has been cleared of Islam realists. And it shows.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that Sebastian Gorka was “completely wrong” in his resignation letter’s assessment of the battle over Trump administration policy.

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked Tillerson about Gorka’s accusations, especially regarding the president’s recent speech on Afghanistan.

“Sebastian Gorka in his resignation letter wrote this about the Afghanistan speech: ‘the fact that those who drafted and approved the speech remove any mention of radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of the presidential campaign has been lost.’ Is he right?” Wallace asked.

“I think he’s completely wrong, Chris,” Tillerson said. “And I think it shows a lack of understanding of the president’s broader policy when it comes to protecting Americans at home and abroad from all acts of terrorism. The president has charged us to develop policies and tactics, both diplomatically and militarily, to attack terrorism in as many forms wherever it exists in the world and wherever it might present a threat to the homeland or to Americans anywhere.”

“This means that we have to develop techniques that are global in nature. All we want is to ensure that terrorists do not have the capability to organize and carry out attacks,” he added.

Are there any non-Islamic global terrorist threats? What are we fighting in Afghanistan except Islamic terrorism?

Are we at war with Mormons or the Amish in Afghanistan? Who are the Taliban again? Or the Haqqani Network? Or the Islamic State?

Best not to ask. See nothing. Hear nothing. Say nothing. It’s worked brilliantly since 9/11. I can imagine how different things might have been under Secretary of State [John] Bolton. But as Whittier said, “For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.”

And now the President’s Keepers are not allowing John Bolton anywhere near him.

Ryan Mauro writes at Clarion Project:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opposes designating the [Muslim] Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and is going to bat for Qatar and Turkey. National Security Adviser McMaster is also reportedly opposed, as would be expected from his staunch stance against using terminology like “radical Islam” and his endorsement of a book with the premise that only “militant Islamists” are our enemies, not non-violent Islamists.

Now, we have someone as the new Chief of Staff [John Kelly] who authorized the writing of a thank-you letter to CAIR.

A thank-you letter to an Islamic organization that supports Hamas and its terrorism, preaches the Islamization of America – and approves of the appointment of H. R. McMaster to his powerful position as the President’s chief advisor on national security (which in itself should be a warning to the President).

And this is from an article by Jeff Crouere at Canada Free Press:

President Donald Trump is attacked on a daily basis by his enemies in the media, the political establishment, and the deep state. He is under unrelenting assault, more so than any other U.S. President in recent history.

Usually, even a besieged President can count on support within the ranks of his top advisers. While they may disagree in private, top administration officials have an obligation to present a unified front to the American people. However, when a President starts getting attacked by a member of his own administration, it is time to fire that untrustworthy individual and demand loyalty of everyone else.

If the appointee is not fired, he should have the decency to resign if he cannot publicly support the President. A principled letter outlining the reasons for his resignation is what National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn should have delivered to President Trump.

Cohn, a former Democrat, was dissatisfied with the President’s balanced criticism of “both sides” in the aftermath of the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia. Instead of keeping his complaints private, Cohn gave a controversial and utterly unhelpful interview to the Financial Times blasting the President while inferring his own moral superiority. According to Cohn, “This administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities.”

Of course, Cohn was referring to the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who attended the initial Charlottesville rally. He is right, the groups must be vigorously denounced, which is why the President condemned them multiple times. How many more times must the President criticize the hateful beliefs of these groups before it satisfies Cohn and the liberal media?

What really upset Cohn and all of the other Trump critics is that the President also criticized the “Alt-Left” groups who participated in a counter-rally in Charlottesville.  In the Financial Times interview, Cohn laughably said “Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.”

The “Alt-Left” protesters in Charlottesville included people who engaged in a variety of violent activities such as throwing bags of urine and feces and using pepper spray and bats to assault people. They also attacked innocent journalists, a photo journalist for a local TV station and a reporter for The Hill, who were trying to cover their activities.

The “Alt-Left” counter demonstrators in Charlottesville included anarchists, socialists and communists who subscribe to a deadly ideology that has caused the death of untold millions of people around the world. It is an ideology of evil that should be criticized by President Trump and everyone in his administration, including Gary Cohn.

Instead of telling the truth about the “Alt-Left” protesters, Cohn decided to launch a public attack against the President, who has been unfairly criticized by the liberal media since the day he entered the presidential race on June 16, 2015. …

These “Alt-Left” groups are spearheaded by the notorious band of thugs known as Antifa (anti-Fascist). While Cohn and his liberal colleagues in the media and the Beltway think the group is fighting for “freedom”, a growing number of Americans strenuously disagree. In fact, a recent White House petition demanding that the Pentagon label Antifa a terrorist group “on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality and safety” accumulated over 302,000 signatures in only eight days. …

As the President courageously declared, [Antifa’s] violent behavior undoubtedly contributed to the chaos and turmoil in Charlottesville. Sadly, Gary Cohn does not want to admit this reality for he prefers the illusion of political correctness.

Reportedly, in the aftermath of the President’s Charlottesville comments, Cohn was under intense pressure from his Wall Street friends to resign from the administration. He should have done the President and the country a big favor by succumbing to the pressure.

To be continued …

The Department of Treason 1

How can President Trump do the job he was elected to do when almost all the personnel in almost all the government agencies are working against him? 

So vast a treasonous plot will not be easy to destroy.

The State Department, almost entirely staffed by subversives it would seem, is surely the worst. It is Treason’s HQ: a huge powerful machine that has been striving for years to help the globalist internationalists realize their dream of world government. When they achieve it – and victory was in sight until American voters went and put Donald Trump in the White House – the Great Redistribution will be carried out. That is the consummation of all that Dame History has been working towards since she emerged from the primeval dark. The wealth –  that they say morally belongs to everyone regardless of who made it – will be spread nice and evenly over all the peoples of the earth. (After the ruling globalist internationalists have taken a generously fair share for themselves, of course.)

The elaborate plot to bring about world government, and its horrifying good works, is to be achieved through the creation of fear. Fear that the earth is burning up and only the UN’s global warming experts can save the planet and the human race.

This is from the Washington Times, by Ben Wolfgang:

Newly released documents show just how badly the State Department wanted to get the U.S. into — and now to remain a party to — the Paris climate agreement that President Trump opposed in his campaign.

As Mr. Trump meets next week with other world leaders at the Group of Seven summit, the emails and cables underscore how the Obama administration’s State Department consulted with outside liberal groups and other allies to push the deal across the finish line.

The documents were released after legal prodding by Chris Horner, a lawyer and a senior fellow at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, amid an ongoing fight inside the administration over whether to exit the deal, which commits the U.S. to significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions over the next decade.

Some of the emails show the State Department laying the groundwork for the responsibility of overseeing U.S. participation in the deal — political power that could be lost if the agreement is scrapped.

We are happy to be able to contribute to advancing the administration’s climate agenda, and now that we [are] staffing up with expertise, we are eager to get the ball rolling on some specific work that will be relevant for you,” Rodney Ludema, a chief economist at the State Department, wrote in a February 2015 email to Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s lead climate negotiator.

In other messages, officials discuss possible economic repercussions of the deal to European countries, acknowledging that U.S. involvement is necessary to make the entire deal work. The cable focuses on how European nations are banking on the U.S. to make a similarly ambitious emissions commitment.

An exit from Paris would negate much of the State Department’s work in 2014 and 2015, both in preparing the U.S. side of the agreement and negotiating with other nations to get them on board.

“Certain sectors are concerned that too much leadership on emissions reductions could cost Europe jobs,” one cable reads in part. “While Germany is lobbying other member states to get in line with 2030 targets, a German industry group is warning that if the rest of the world does not join Europe in agreeing to substantial reductions in emissions, the European industries could face ‘billions’ in losses.” …

Critics charge that the documents, along with the broader fact that the department by all accounts is leading the pro-Paris charge inside the administration, show that State Department officials believe that remaining a part of the treaty will preserve their power and influence.

“State focuses on what’s best for State. Will their lives be enriched or made more difficult by having to advance and defend the new administration’s stated policy? Less money, no massive expansion of a climate diplomatic corps? Then undermine adoption of the policy,” Mr. Horner said.

State is largely populated by those whose worldview embraces such gestures advancing an agenda in the name of global salvationism,” he said. “President Trump should view State’s input here with great suspicion, taking note of its record on this matter.”

While other top administration officials — including Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry — also favor remaining a part of the Paris deal, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has been among the most outspoken in favor of maintaining a U.S. seat at the table.

At a meeting of Arctic nations last week, Mr. Tillerson signed an agreement that trumpeted the Paris climate pact and stressed the importance of addressing climate change. Still, he made clear that the administration has not made a decision how to proceed.

Mr. Trump originally promised a decision before the G-7 meeting, but the timetable was pushed back amid continued debate inside the White House.

“We are appreciative that each of you has an important point of view,” the secretary of state said at last week’s Arctic conference. “We are going to make the right decision for the United States.”

Top leaders in the business community, including Mr. Tillerson’s former company, Exxon Mobil Corp., also have been pressuring Mr. Trump to remain a part of the deal.

Sources familiar with the internal White House debate say the president has been swayed by the near-unanimous support for the pact among leading CEOs.

But critics, such as Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt, have argued that the U.S. has put itself at a major economic disadvantage with the terms to which the Obama administration agreed in the Paris deal.

Scott Pruitt was an excellent choice to head and change (and dissolve?) the vicious EPA.

But there are traitors in the White House too.

The achievements of President Trump in his first four months in office 8

Wanna see Democrats and media hacks weep? Hand them this list!

So writes Joan Swirsky at Canada Free press. We want to see Democrats and media hacks weep, and we also want to see conservatives and libertarians, nationists and populists, Republicans and all our friends and allies smile.

Here is the list:

If these accomplishments are not familiar, that’s because 99 percent of the media – the jerks – are a de facto arm of the Democratic National Committee and the far-left fringe, and are so terminally distressed by the fact that Mr. Trump won the presidency that they obstinately refuse to report what by any objective standards is the news. This is because:

  • They’ve been pushing leftist values for well over a half century and are unable to admit that their anti-Trump, pro-Hillary message was an utter and complete failure.
  • They are part and parcel of the vast, contaminated, rancid, crooked, pay-for-play, corrupt swamp that candidate Trump promised to drain, and President Trump is now draining.
  • The man they mock – for his syntax and phrasing, style of governing, unpredictability, and so-called contradictions – has both confounded and trumped them at every turn.

This is why they remain fixated on the fairy tale of a Trump-Russian connection. They have nothing else – as in nothing!

LIGHTNING

After Pres. Trump’s first month in office,

  • 235,000 jobs were added to our economy in February, 100,000 more than expected;
  • 40 percent fewer illegal immigrants crossed our border;
  • $3 trillion was added to the stock market;
  • Judge Gorsuch, a constitutionalist worthy of Justice Scalia’s seat, was nominated to the Supreme Court.

In his first 100 days:

  • appointments of Vice President Mike Pence, pro-life conservative;
  • Justice Neil Gorsuch, an originalist committed to the Constitution;
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, staunch conservative committed to the rule of law;
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis, a warrior committed to restoring America’s military;
  • Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a former general committed to border security;
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a former CEO who understands how the real world works;
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, a brain surgeon from a humble background;
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, a doctor who understands health care;
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an advocate of school choice and educational reform;
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and expert on the energy industry;
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former CEO who understands the business world;
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a conservative committed to reining in big government;
  • U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a fearless advocate for American values;
  • U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a true friend of Israel;
  • White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, a conservative warrior against crony capitalism and the left;
  • National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, an accomplished military commander;
  • and White House Counterterrorism Adviser Sebastian Gorka, committed to defeating radical Islam.

President Trump;

  • restored the U.S. alliance with Israel and welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House;
  • restored U.S. leadership in the world;
  • enforced red lines against the use of chemical weapons in Syria;
  • dropped the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) on ISIS, sending a clear message to Iran and North Korea;
  • secured the Chinese cooperation in pressuring North Korea and the release of Aya Hijazi, American charity worker held in Egypt since 2014;
  • imposed a five-year ban on lobbying the government by former White House officials and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign governments by former White House officials;
  • repeatedly called out the liberal media for “fake news”;
  • repealed Obama mandate that forced states to fund Planned Parenthood;
  • signed executive order reinstating Reagan policy against taxpayer funding of overseas abortions;
  • stopped U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which promotes abortions;
  • signed the following Executive Orders
    1. to mandate a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS,
    2. to begin construction of the border wall and hire additional 5,000 border agents,
    3. to order the Justice Department to cut funding to sanctuary cities,
    4. to institute a temporary federal hiring freeze,
    5. to institute a travel ban on individuals from a select number of countries embroiled in terrorist atrocities;
    6. to withdraw from the Transpacific Partnership trade deal,
    7. to mandate that two regulations will be repealed for every new one issued,
    8. to institute a comprehensive approach to illegal immigration and crime; et al.

THUNDER

Further,

  • Pres. Trump issued orders to seek increased penalties for crimes against police;
  • to promote energy independence; to put American companies and workers first;
  • to review federal regulations in education; to investigate national security impact of foreign steel imports;
  • to require an audit of executive branch agencies;
  • to order every agency to create a regulatory reform task force;
  • to roll back Obama environmental infringements on private property.

In addition,

  • Pres. Trump issued orders to prevent future taxpayer-funded bailouts; to reverse Obama restrictions on offshore energy development;
  • for a major review of national monument designations on federal lands;
  • to establish a new office to reform the Veterans Administration bureaucracy;
  • to address concerns of Rural America;
  • to establish a White House Initiative on historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • to create a commission on drug addiction and the opioid crisis;
  • to combat transnational criminal organizations and international trafficking; to repeal the following:
  1. Obama’s transgender public school bathroom mandate,
  2. Obama’s “Stream Protection Rule” that has hurt the coal industry,
  3. Obama’s Social Security Administration’s gun ban,
  4. Obama’s Labor “blacklisting” rule with $500 million in regulatory costs,
  5. Obama’s Interior rule that restricted state and local authority in land use decisions,
  6. Obama’s unfunded education mandate that created new standards for teachers,
  7. Obama’s education rule that undermined state and local control,
  8. Obama’s regulation that prevented drug testing for unemployment compensation,
  9. Obama’s rule that banned some hunting in Alaska,
  10. Obama’s regulation that created vastly more paperwork and reporting of worker injuries,
  11. Obama’s regulations on Internet Service Providers,
  12. Obama’s rule that allowed states to force workers into government-run savings plans, and the Dodd-Frank regulations that disadvantaged domestic companies.

Going further,

  • Pres. Trump Imposed sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile violations and human rights violations;
  • Ordered review of the Iranian nuclear deal;
  • Produced a budget that cut $54 billion from bloated federal bureaucracies, that would eliminate 50 programs and more than 3,000 federal jobs, and that boosted spending for defense, homeland security and veterans; produced a tax-reform plan that simplifies the tax code and reduces taxes for businesses and families;
  • Approved construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline; shut down illegal immigrant advocacy program at Department of Justice;
  • Established Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office;
  • Reduced illegal immigration at the border by 61 percent;
  • Called for “major investigation” of voter fraud led by Vice President Mike Pence;
  • Called for repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which limits free speech of pastors and churches;
  • Called for 50 percent cut in funding to the United Nations; supported English as official language by dropping Spanish version of the White House website;
  • Purged “climate change” alarmism from White House website;
  • Returned bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office;
  • Succeeded in getting NATO nations to boost defense spending by $10 billion;
  • Halted $180 billion in Obama regulations;
  • Signed legislation expanding private healthcare options for veterans;
  • Relaxed Rules of Engagement in the fight against ISIS;
  • Imposed sanctions on Venezuelan vice president for international drug trafficking.

UP, UP & AWAY

At this early point,

  • Consumer confidence is the highest in 17 years;
  • Small business confidence highest in 11 years;
  • Stock market is up 10 percent since inauguration, up 15 percent since election;
  • Exxon Mobil announced $20 billion-45,000 job expansion in U.S.;
  • Charter Communications announced $25 billion expansion, creating 20,000 jobs in U.S.;
  • Accenture announced $1.4 billion expansion, creating 15,000 jobs in U.S.;
  • Intel announced $7 billion expansion, creating 10,000 jobs in the U.S.
  • Pres. Trump ordered renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico;
  • Named former Congressman Scott Garrett, an outspoken critic of the Export-Import Bank to the bank’s Board of Directors
  • Today, U.S. unemployment is at its lowest level since 1988!

The U.S. debt decreased by $100 billion during Pres. Trump’s first hundred days; the U.S. Manufacturing Index soared to a 33-year high! In the first month alone, he added 298,000 jobs; housing sales are off the charts right now … in 2011, the average time a house was on the market was 84 days, now, it’s just 45 days; illegal immigration is down 67% since the Inauguration; NATO announced Allied spending is up $10 billion.

This Mt. Everest of accomplishments belongs to a man who is straight out of central casting. Every day, he looks like a million dollars and is stunningly successful in his dealings with everyone from heads of state to manual laborers to ardent fans to entrenched skeptics. Every day, he brings both ebullience and laser-like focus to a job he clearly relishes, displays admirable courage in making hard choices, and is zooming along at warp speed to Make America Great Again!

All this while never hesitating to take on the sacred cows of the leftist jerks among us – political correctness and global warming rank high – and to illuminate the public about the widespread scourge of the fake news and fake polls that those same leftist jerks tried but failed to foist upon us in the November election.

It was easy for the media when all they had to do was pretend that 94-million unemployed citizens, a weakened military, alienated allies, a genocidal Iran deal, and unprecedented escalation of Muslim Brotherhood operatives implanted in the highest reaches of our government, and an increase in the national debt by $9 trillion to almost $20 trillion, were nothing to worry about – all while they asked the guy in the Oval Office what his favorite ice-cream flavor was!

Now there’s a grown-up in charge and the children among us (Democrats, leftists, progressives, whatever they’re calling themselves these days) are as ineffectual – indeed, impotent – as they were when Donald J. Trump announced for the presidency in June of 2015.

Important omissions:

President Trump also fired dangerous James Comey from his directorship of the FBI.

He gained the co-operation of China – at least to some extent, though how far remains to be seen – in dealing with hostile North Korea.

His tax proposals will reduce the burden of taxation – and at the same time increase revenue.

His proposed health legislation, while not ideal, at least hastens the end of Obamacare.

While we fully appreciate the quantity and quality of these achievements, and the speed with which they have been executed, there are others we are hoping to see in due course (perhaps in some cases over-optimistically). Chief among them are (in no special order):

The disarming of  North Korea.

The cancellation of the Obama “deal” with Iran and the destruction of Iran’s  nuclear facilities.

The permanent crushing of ISIS.

An effective restraint on Muslim immigration.

Effective resistance to the Islamic jihad, putting a stop to both its stealthy and its terrorist tactics.

The completed Wall on the southern border of the United States.

The US embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The defunding of the UN – ideally to the end that it withers and dies.

The defunding of sanctuary cities.

The defunding of so-called universities that have become madrassas to indoctrinate leftist ideology.

A refusal to sign any international agreement demanding action to “change the climate” of the earth, since it is impossible as well as unnecessary, and the pointless effort is a colossal waste of money.

*

Update:

Two more needed achievements we hope to be able to celebrate:

The investigation, conviction, and incarceration of both Obama and Hillary (among others) for their various crimes including treason.

The Muslim Brotherhood declared a terrorist group.

.

[Hat tip for these additions to our highly valuable commenter liz)

Make war not love 3

Last week Bashar al-Assad attacked his own people and killed many of them with poison gas. President Trump ordered that two US ships patrolling the eastern Mediterranean fire cruise missiles to destroy the Syrian airfield from where the gas was carried and the aircraft that carried it.

We were delighted that he did. We cheered. The mass-murdering  tyrant Assad and his allies and supporters, Russia and Iran, were being shown that the United States was no longer going to stand by while they committed such atrocities. We also applauded Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s announcement that Assad must go.

We invited our readers, both here on The Atheist Conservative website and on our Facebook page, to tell us what they thought about President Trump’s action.

Few agreed with us. Most said that Assad should be left in place because who knew what would follow his deposition. We argue that whatever followed, Syria could hardly experience worse than it has under Assad’s rule.

They argued that there was no firm evidence that Assad was responsible for the gassing. Some wanted him to be blamed and punished fairly, justly, as in an American court of law; not taking his past record into account; looking only at this particular atrocity and whether the evidence was strong enough for him to be found guilty of it.

Some declared that they had until now been Trump supporters, but his stroke against Assad had changed their view of him.

How many, we wonder, of those who voted Donald Trump into power now think he has done something so wrong that they regret their choice?

We cannot know. We do not trust the polls, and there is not going to be another presidential election in the near future to give the answer.

We can only point out that if we lose Trump, we lose the war. He is all we’ve got between us and the end of our civilization.

What war? How will it be the end of our civilization if we lose it?

Let’s look round the world and see what’s happening.

This is from an article at Gatestone by Guy Millière, titled Geert Wilders and the Suicide of Europe:

For years, the Dutch mainstream media have spread hatred and defamation against [Geert] Wilders for trying to warn the Dutch people – and Europe – about what their future will be if they continue their current immigration policies; in exchange, last December, a panel of three judges found him guilty of “inciting discrimination”. Newspapers and politicians all over Europe unceasingly describe him as a dangerous man and a rightist firebrand. Sometimes they call him a “fascist”.

What did Geert Wilders ever do to deserve that? None of his remarks ever incriminated any person or group because of their race or ethnicity. To charge him, the Dutch justice system had excessively and abusively to interpret words he used during a rally in which he asked if the Dutch wanted “fewer Moroccans”. None of Wilders’s speeches incites violence against anyone; the violence that surrounds him is directed only at him. He defends human rights and democratic principles and he is a resolute enemy of all forms of anti-Semitism.

His only “crime” is to denounce the danger represented by the Islamization of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe and to claim that Islam represents a mortal threat to freedom.  …

What is happening in the Netherlands is similar to what is happening in most European countries. In the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, the number of no-go zones is rapidly growing. Islamic riots occur more and more often. Ethnic gangs are growing more violent. Ethnic cleansing is transforming neighborhoods. Jews are leaving for Israel or North America.The Muslim population is sharply increasing. Radical mosques are proliferating. Islamic organizations are everywhere.

Politicians who dare to speak the way Geert Wilders does are treated the way Geert Wilders is treated : scorned, marginalized, put on trial.

The vision of the world in Western Europe is now “hegemonic”. It is based on the idea that the Western world is guilty; that all cultures are equal, and that Islamic culture is “more equal” than Western culture because Islam was supposedly so long oppressed by the West. What adherents of this view, that the West is guilty, “forget” is that Islam long oppressed the West: Muslim armies conquered Persia, the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa and the Middle East, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Serbia and the Balkans, and virtually all of Eastern Europe. The Muslim armies were a constant threat until the marauding Ottoman troops were finally turned away at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.

This European vision also includes the idea that all conflicts can be peacefully settled, that appeasement is almost always a solution, and that Europe has no enemies.

It also stands on the idea that an enlightened elite must have the power, because if Adolf Hitler came to power through democratic means eighty years ago, letting people freely decide their fate might lead to ill.

The dream seems to be of a utopian future where poverty will be overcome by welfare systems, and violence will be defeated by openness and love.

Repeat: Islamic terrorism “will be defeated by openness and love”.

It is this vision of the world that may have prompted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the doors to more than a million unvetted Muslim migrants, despite a migrant crime wave and an increasing number of rapes and sexual assaults. The only candidate likely to beat Angela Merkel in this year’s German elections is a socialist, Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president.

In France, Marine Le Pen, the only candidate who speaks of Islam and immigration, will almost certainly be defeated by Emmanuel Macron, a former minister in the government of François Hollande — a man who see no evil anywhere.

It is this vision of the world that also seems to have led British Prime Minister Theresa May to say that the Islamic attack on March 22 in Westminster was “not an act of Islamic terrorism”.

This romanticized, utopian vision of the world also explains why in Europe, people such as Geert Wilders are seen as the incarnation of evil, but radical Islam is considered a marginal nuisance bearing no relation to the “religion of peace”. Meanwhile, Wilders is condemned to live under protection as if he were in jail, while those who want to slaughter him — and who threaten millions of people in Europe — walk around free.

Of all the countries in Europe where the indigenous Europeans have capitulated to Islam, the one most eager to submit to that supremacist totalitarian conqueror is Sweden. Recently a jihadi drove a truck into a crowd of Swedes, killing four.

What will the Swedes – what remains of them – do to save themselves from Islamic terrorism?

They will ban the use of vehicles in Swedish cities:

Virginia Hale reports at Breitbart:

Cars and other vehicles “have turned into deadly weapons”, and should be banished from cities to stop attacks like the one in Stockholm from happening in future, according to Aftonbladet editorialist Eva Franchell.

Crackdowns on immigration or extremist ideology are not the way forward when it comes to terror prevention, according to the veteran journalist, writing after Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm left four people dead.

Instead, it is cars — which she calls “effective murder machines” — that Franchell says “[which] must simply be removed from city centres and places where people gather, if people are to be protected in future”.

Vehicles are “easy to steal, and so nothing has been able to stop their advance”, writes Ms. Franchell.

It just isn’t reasonable that a big truck can be driven right into one of Stockholm’s busiest streets on a Friday afternoon right before Easter.”

Noting how it is a popular destination for tourists, Franchell says the city centre must be a “safe environment” for visitors to enjoy. She described it as “remarkable” that it is possible to drive around the Swedish capital’s medieval old town.

Outlining her vision for a car-free Stockholm, she argues: “Most problems with regards to mobility and public transport can be solved, and deliveries to shops and restaurants could take place at times when people aren’t out on the streets.”

“Vehicles have been allowed to dominate our cities for decades and it’s the people who need space. It’s vital now that cars be regulated,” the piece concludes.

The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions.

“Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained.

Cars are evil, and the need to get rid of them is a feminist issue. Two big important fights to be engaged there, with cars and sex inequality.

So are we and President Trump in a very small minority of Westerners who think that we should use all our strength to defeat Islam and its helpers and allies?

We don’t know. But there are voices raised on our side.

This is from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, by Yaakov Lappin:

The conflict in Syria has long ceased being a civil war, becoming instead a clash between coalitions and blocs that divide the entire Middle East.

The Iranian-led axis is the most dangerous and highly armed bloc fighting in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not an independent actor, but rather, a component of this wider axis. In many respects, Assad is a junior member of the Iranian coalition set up to fight for him.

Russia joined the Iranian axis in 2015, acting for its own reasons as the pro-Assad coalition’s air force, helping to preserve the Syrian regime.

This coalition enabled the Assad regime to conduct mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from Syria, while also using unconventional weapons against civilians in an effort to terrorize rebel organizations into submission.

Feeling confident by its growing control of Syria, Iran also uses its regional coalition to arm, finance, and deploy Shi’ite jihadist agents all over the Middle East, and to attack those who stand in the way of Iranian domination.

The Iranian-led axis has been able to spread violence, terrorism, and Islamic militancy without facing repercussions.

Until recently, the United States focused its attention exclusively on Sunni jihadist threats – ISIS and al-Qaida-affiliated groups. While these terrorists certainly need to be attacked, turning a blind eye to the activities of the more powerful radical Shi’ite coalition did nothing to stop the region’s destabilization. In this context, Assad’s numerous crimes against humanity went unanswered.

This helped embolden Assad to use chemical weapons. It also gave the Iranians confidence to magnify their meddling in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, and to target many other states. The end result is Iran’s enhanced ability to export its Khomeiniest Islamic fundamentalist doctrine.

That sent a troubling message to America’s regional allies, who, in the face of these threats, formed a de facto coalition of pragmatic Sunni states – a coalition that includes Israel.

On April 6, the U.S. sent a signal that something may have changed. A cruise missile attack on an Assad regime air base, in response to a savage chemical weapons massacre in Idlib, Syria, was, first and foremost, a moral response to an intolerable act of evil.

But the strike also carries a wider prospective message about Washington’s new willingness to enforce red lines against Assad and his Shi’ite allies.

Potentially, it is an indication that the U.S. is willing to use its military prowess beyond the objective of targeting ISIS, and that it recognizes that Sunni jihadists are not the only global security threat that warrants the use of military force.

Statements by senior Trump administration officials indicate that a shift has occurred. “What you have in Syria is a very destructive cycle of violence perpetuated by ISIS, obviously, but also by this regime and their Iranian and Russian sponsors,” National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster told Fox News Sunday.

Russia must choose between its alignment with Assad, Iran, and Hizballah, and working with the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. The firm comment was made hours before he touched down in Moscow for talks.

According to U.S. officials, the April 6 missile attack destroyed 20 percent of Assad’s fighter jets. It represents the first time that Washington has taken military action against a member of the Iranian-led coalition.

The strike could evolve into a “dialogue of deterrence” that the U.S. initiates against dangerous actors. These radical actors all have “return addresses”, and are likely to prove responsive to cost-benefit considerations, despite their extreme ideology. They may think twice before considering further development and usage of unconventional weapons.

Washington is now able to exercise muscular diplomacy – the only kind that is effective in the Middle East – and inform all members of the Iran’s pro-Assad coalition that the deployment of unconventional weapons will not be tolerated. It can also begin to rally and strengthen the pro-American coalition of states in the Middle East, who seek to keep a lid on both ISIS and Iran.

With American officials indicating that they are “ready to do more” in Syria if necessary, signs suggest that the strike represents the start of a policy of deterrence, and leaving open future options for drawing additional red lines.

In theory, should Washington decide that Iran’s transfer of weapons and extremist Shi’ite military forces to other lands has reached unacceptable levels, or that Iran’s missile development program has gone far enough, it could call on Tehran to cease these activities. This call would carry substantially more weight following last week’s missile attack on the Syrian airbase.

The U.S. is in a better position to inform Assad and his allies that there is a limit to how far they can go in pursuing their murderous ambitions.

While the objective of creating a renewed American deterrent posture is vital, it should not be confused with plans for wider military intervention in the seemingly endless Syrian conflict.

There is little reason to believe that conventional weapons use against Syrian civilians is going to stop any time soon, or that the enormous tragedy suffered by the Syrian people is about to end.

And there is certainly no indication that the U.S. is planning to initiate large-scale military involvement in this failed state.

Hence, the missile strike should be seen for what it is: an attempt to boost American deterrence, which can then be leveraged to restrain radical actors that have, until now, been operating completely unchecked.

That is a message that will likely be heard loud and clear not only in Damascus, but also in Tehran, which has not given up its long-term ambition of building nuclear weapons.

North Korea, which helped build Syria’s plutonium nuclear plant (destroyed in 2007 in a reported Israeli air strike), and which maintains close links with Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, can be expected to take note as well.

If a policy of strategic deterrence follows the strike, it could have an impact on a coalition that is not just keeping Assad’s regime alive, but spreading its radical influence in many other areas.

In Syria, the Iranian Republican Guards Corps (IRGC) oversees ground operations across many battlefields to prop up Bashar al-Assad. Iran has gathered and armed tens of thousands of Shi’ite militia members from across the region into Syria, and manages a local force composed of 100,000 members. They fight alongside the Syrian Arab Army against Sunni rebel organizations, thereby increasing and entrenching Iranian influence.

The IRGC and its elite Quds Force are also helping to fill Hizballah’s weapons depots in Lebanon, with a vast array of surface-to-surface projectiles that are all pointed at Israel, often using Syria as an arms trafficking transit zone. Syria acts as a bridge that grants Iran access to Lebanon, and allows it to threaten both Israel and Jordan.

Jordan, an important U.S. ally, is deeply concerned by Iran’s actions in Syria, as evidenced by recent comments made by King Abdullah, who told the Washington Post that “there is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah/Lebanon.” IRGC forces are stationed within a mere 45 miles from Jordan’s border, he warned, adding that any hostile forces approaching the Hashemite Kingdom “are not going to be tolerated”.

Hizballah, a Lebanese-based Iranian Shi’ite proxy, evolved into a powerful army by sending 7,000 to 9,000 of its own highly trained members into Syria’s ground war. It helped rescue the Assad regime from collapse, and took part in battles stretching from Aleppo to the Qalamoun Mountains northeast of Damascus.

Last year, the Arab League and the Sunni countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council all declared Hizballah to be a terrorist entity.

Just as Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias have poured into Syria, the same has happened in Iraq, where 100,000 fighters supported by Tehran fight alongside the Iraqi government forces against ISIS. The IRGC’s network extends to Yemen’s Houthi Ansar Allah forces, who receive Iranian assistance. Ansar Allah, a heavily armed Shi’ite military force, fires ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia on a regular basis.

The IRGC and Hizballah have been linked to a recent large-scale terrorist plot in Bahrain.

If the message addressed in the cruise missile strike is followed up with a strategy of deterrence, addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei as much as it was addressed to Assad, the U.S. could begin projecting to the world that it recognizes the threat posed by Shi’ite jihadists as much as it takes seriously the threat from their fundamentalist Sunni equivalents.

Washington’s campaign to pressure Russia to distance itself from its Middle Eastern allies could play an important part of this message.

It will take more than pressure. It will take war. If we want to save ourselves, we need all the cruise missiles we can make, and probably all the nukes too.

But if the West has no stomach for war, then it will perish in a state of “openness and love”, congratulating itself on its virtue: its fairness, its peacefulness, its generosity, its tolerance, its refusal to be racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or sexist. A great moral victory. And then – no more fairness, peacefulness, generosity, tolerance. No women driving cars. Just Islam.

Why Bashar al-Assad must go 2

“It is not our business what happens in Syria,” some of our commenters have written on these pages and on our Facebook page. “We are not the policeman of the world.” “Let them kill each other.”

Many of our regular readers are libertarians. The big fault in the thinking of American libertarians is their preference for isolationism. As if what happens in the rest of the world has no effect on America.

But not all the commenters who want President Trump to do nothing about the gassing of civilians in Syria are libertarians. A few are conservatives who are well aware of the danger in isolationism, but who do not see Assad himself as a significant threat to any but his own people.

While Barack Obama stood back from interfering in Syria, refused to be the policeman of the world, and let Assad kill half a million of his own people, Russia crept up to become the dominant power in the Middle East. And not only by adopting Assad as its pet dictator on the Mediterranean, but far more dangerously by becoming Iran’s best friend – a position Barack Obama coveted. He begged for it, he groveled for it, he paid for it, but while the reigning mullahs accepted everything he gave them, they continued to treat him with the contempt he all too well deserved.

Under Russia’s protection, Iran has projected its destructive power into Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon – from where it is mounting a growing threat to Israel.

The anti-America axis formed by Russia, Iran, and Iran’s nuclear partner North Korea, needs to be broken up. Sending the Russians home from Syria would be a good start.

We quote from an article at the National Interest by Matthew RJ Brodsky:

Last week the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that when it comes to Syria, “Our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.” That expression of U.S. policy came the same day that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson intimated that Assad’s future would “be decided by the Syrian people”.

The Syrian people have tried to do precisely that since March 2011, but they were met by the regime’s snipers, tanks, aircraft, barrel bombs, chemical weapons, torture, mass graves and war crimes. Leaving Assad’s fate to the people matches the language espoused by Damascus, Tehran and Moscow, meaning Assad isn’t going anywhere. …

Secretary Tillerson had said, “Russia and Iran will bear moral responsibility,” but later added that he knew Assad was behind the attack. However, in the words of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, “There is not a fundamental option of regime change.”

Unfortunately, the lesson is that this is what happens when the U.S. telegraphs that vicious dictators who use chemical weapons against their own people can remain in power. It sends a message to North Korea and Iran, one that will not be lost on Hezbollah in any upcoming conflict with Israel.

Despite the wishes of some in the West, Bashar al-Assad is not a solution for Syria, nor should he be a solution for the United States. The overwhelmingly compelling moral reasons for such a decision are manifest at this point. Going beyond humanitarian considerations, the fabric of Syrian society is irreparably torn. [A] social compact provided the modicum of legitimacy necessary for the thirty-year reign of Bashar’s father until his death in 2000. Without it, Bashar lacks the legitimacy to rule anything beyond his own family or the Kalbiyya tribe from which he hails. Indeed, having turned on the Sunni population who represent 75 percent of the country, Bashar now stands as a great magnet to which jihadists of all stripes are attracted, and that pull will continue as long as he is in power.

There’s also the problem of strength — a necessary trait in Middle East leaders. Bashar doesn’t have the military capability to regain, hold and consolidate control over Syria even if such an outcome were desirable. …

Assad, who is currently conscripting old men and underage women to serve in his military, is wholly reliant on outside powers with interests directly opposed to those of the United States. In early 2013, the first critical moment came when Assad risked losing what was left of his power but Iran and Hezbollah intervened, bolstering the regime. The respite they provided proved to be temporary and their resources inadequate to the ultimate resolution of the conflict. Assad was once again on the ropes by September 2015, but was revived by Russia’s entry into the conflict. Even their considerable military assistance wasn’t enough to win decisively.

The fact that Assad and his backers have resorted to the repeated use of chemical weapons and the continuous targeting of hospitals and schools demonstrates the weakness of their combined conventional military strength.

Simply put, to advocate for Bashar to remain in power is to acquiesce in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s role as Syria’s kingmaker. [Putin’s] purpose in Syria is to keep Assad in power, provide security for [Russia’s] Iranian client and increase the Russian threat to NATO’s southern flank by upgrading and expanding its Mediterranean base in Tartus, making its presence a permanent feature in the Middle East.

Working to boost Assad also means strengthening Iran in their long pursued and nearly completed task of creating a Shia land corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea, running through Iraq and Syria. … [This] will greatly add to [Iran’s] corrosive power before the key provisions of the nuclear deal fall away, greatly enhancing [its] position in the coming years. …

Sending Bashar al-Assad a military message that there are certain levels of barbarity that the world will not tolerate is a beginning. But ultimately, [Assad] needs to pay the price for his actions in a manner that will resonate loudest among the rogue regimes of the world that would consider the use of weapons of mass destruction. That will mean ensuring that the ruling Assad dynasty comes to an end in Syria.

Or America can run down its defenses, spend more on social security, open its borders, abolish its police forces, hide its flag, concentrate on learning new pronouns to cover as many sexual preferences as can be thought up in the safe play-rooms of the universities and the smelly streets of San Francisco and endlessly debate what bathrooms each pronoun can use, cover the land with bird-mincing windmills to provide a little energy now and then, fund the growing movement to humiliate white men, turn the public schools into madrassas, elect some corrupt narcissistic commie, preferably female, to lead the country, appoint judges who will rule according to their feelings, and die.

The dangerous Russian alliance 1

According to the Pentagon:

A ballistic missile launched by Iran on Sunday [March 12, 2017] was North Korean in construction or design. …

This latest test could set Iran on a collision course with the Trump Administration, which has promised to take a hard line on Iran.

Why has President Trump not already torn up the “deal” Obama made with Iran? It really is “the stupidest deal of all time”, as President Trump himself called it.

Is the process of disempowering Iran starting with a warning to Iran’s nuclear-armed ally North Korea?

Reuters reports:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday [March 17, 2017] issued the Trump administration’s starkest warning yet to North Korea, saying that a military response would be “on the table” if Pyongyang took action to threaten South Korean and U.S. forces.

Speaking in Seoul after visiting the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean peninsula and some of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, Tillerson said former President Barack Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” towards Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs was over.

“We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson told a news conference.

He said any North Korean actions that threatened U.S. or South Korean forces would be met with “an appropriate response,” turning up the volume of the tough language that has marked President Donald Trump’s approach to North Korea.

“Certainly, we do not want for things to get to a military conflict,” he said when asked about possible military action, but added: “If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table.”

Nuclear co-operation between Iran and nuclear-armed North Korea is hastening the day when there will be a nuclear-armed Iran.

But at present, the alliance between Iran and Russia is even more dangerous. 

This is from an article at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, by Anna Borshchevskaya, dated February 6, 2017:

It is going to be difficult to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran. Too many interests hold them together …

From Moscow’s perspective, the U.S. has been and will continue to be an enemy, no matter how hard any U.S. president tries to improve relations. Putin needs the U.S. as an enemy to justify domestic problems at home and he sees the current geopolitical order, anchored by the U.S., as disadvantaging him. Nothing short of a rearrangement of that order will satisfy Putin. Nobel Prize-winning author and journalist Svetlana Alexievich observed in October 2015 that Russians “are people of war. We don’t have any other history. Either we were preparing for war or we were fighting one. And so all of this militarism has pushed all of our psychological buttons at once.” Putin needs allies who share this worldview.

President Trump expressed two contradictory policies during his campaign: being tough on Iran and improving relations with Russia. These two goals are incompatible because Putin wants a partnership with Trump in Syria, but Syria is where Putin is most closely allied with Iran. In order to push Iran and Russia apart, Trump needs to resolve this contradiction. The recent Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan only brought Russia and Iran closer together, if anything, given their pledge to fight “jointly” against ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Fateh al-Sham [aka the al-Nusra Front]. This development will also make it even more difficult for Trump to ally with Russia on Syria.

So far, Putin has succeeded in balancing Israeli and Sunni interests with its growing relationship with Iran. But it is unclear how long Putin can sustain this policy. Certainly, Putin did not hesitate to discount Israel’s interests when it came to selling S-300 weapons to Iran. Indeed, it is not in Israel’s interest for Putin to continue supporting Bashar al-Assad and thereby expand Iran’s influence in the Middle East. The Trump administration could encourage and support U.S. allies like Israel in order to make it more difficult for Putin to maintain his balance of good relations with all sides. It should also step up security cooperation with its allies to demonstrate that it is still committed to the region.

In the long term, Russia and Iran diverge somewhat on Syria. Iran perceives Syria as within its sphere of influence, which is not very different from how Putin views the former Soviet Union countries that he does not consider real states. Iran is interested in exacerbating sectarian divisions in Syria so that the Assad regime becomes an Iranian client-state with no independent decision-making. Iran is also closer to Assad himself than Putin, who simply wants Assad or someone else like him to ensure his interests in Syria. He cares more about how he can leverage Syria in his relations with the West than Syria itself. At the same time, Putin also increasingly perceives the Middle East as falling within the Russian sphere of influence, albeit differently than Iran. Historically, Moscow always looked for buffer zones out of its sense of insecurity, and this is precisely how it feels now.

The Trump administration could emphasize to Putin that Russian and Iranian interests in Syria are bound to clash in the future, and therefore an alliance with Iran can only go so far. But most of all, the U.S. needs to be present in the region and regain its leadership position. Putin preys on weakness and has perceived the U.S. as weak for years. He stepped into a vacuum in the Middle East, especially in Syria, that was created by America’s absence. By taking an active role in the region, the U.S. would limit Putin’s influence, including his alliance with Iran.

The article ends with a statement that seems to contradict the one with which the quotation opens.

Can the US “limit Putin’s influence, including his alliance with Iran”, or is it “going to be difficult to drive a wedge between Russia and Iran”?

The Russian-Iranian alliance is extremely dangerous for the US and the world. Can President Trump weaken it? Can he disengage Russia from Iran? Can he subdue Russia’s intensifying belligerence? Will he tear up Obama’s “deal” and put an end to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear bombs and the missiles to deliver them to the Middle East, Europe, and America?

Is there a plan to achieve all that, a process starting with the much-needed, long-delayed, serious warning to North Korea?