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 on: Today at 04:10:50 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Eastern Ukraine's Pro-Russian Activists Stand Fast
Rebels Say They Have No Intention of Leaving, Despite Geneva Agreement
By Paul Sonne in Donetsk, Ukraine and Gregory L. White in Moscow
Updated April 18, 2014 4:52 p.m. ET

Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine said Friday they had no plans to vacate the government buildings they have occupied, despite the compromise agreement calling for that. Paul Sonne reports. Photo: Getty.

Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine refused to vacate the government facilities they have occupied, defying a compromise agreement struck a day earlier by international powers, including Russia, that called on them to leave.

Denis Pushilin, the leader of the uprising that calls itself the People's Republic of Donetsk, said at a news conference in the southeast Ukrainian city's seized administration building that the activists wouldn't exit until the new leaders in Kiev leave the government, which he said they have been occupying unlawfully since late February.

"After that, we'll also agree to do it," Mr. Pushilin said. Instead, he said he and other activists in the building were continuing to prepare for a referendum on the southeast Ukraine region's future, which they intend to hold by May 11. We will defend our interests "until the last drop of blood if necessary" against the "Kiev junta," he said. (Follow the latest updates on the crisis in Ukraine.)

The activists' refusal seemed to undermine a deal reached Thursday in Geneva by Ukraine, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union, aimed at neutralizing a crisis that has plunged Ukraine into political and civil disarray and thrown Russia and the West into their deepest conflict since the end of the Soviet Union.

Pro-Russian protesters tie a banner on barricades placed in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, on Friday. Reuters

It also appeared to confirm dwindling hope by the new powers in Kiev that the joint statement released at the close of the Geneva negotiations would translate into substantive results. "We don't have any excessive expectations from this statement," Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the country's parliament in Kiev on Friday, referring to the statement.

Late Friday, Mr. Yatsenyuk and acting President Oleksandr Turchynov announced what they said was a sweeping constitutional-reform plan aimed at addressing many of the concerns of their opponents in Ukraine's east, where many residents speak Russian and are wary of Kiev's new pro-Western leadership.

The plan calls for replacing appointed mayors and regional governors with officials elected locally and giving regional governments more power to determine how budget funds are spent. The plan would also allow towns, cities and regions to independently determine whether to make Russian an official language alongside Ukrainian. Language rights have been a central issue for protesters.

But hopes the reform plan would win parliamentary approval Friday fell short as Communist legislators, as well as those from the Party of Regions, which is particularly strong in the east and the party of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych, refused to back it. Messrs. Yatsenyuk and Turchynov said they hoped for passage soon.

Mr. Yatsenyuk said Ukraine's new government has prepared a draft law granting amnesty to any protesters on either side who give up their weapons and leave occupied buildings. In Kiev, pro-Western protesters who helped usher Mr. Yanukovych's ouster have continued to occupy the city's main Independence Square and some nearby buildings.

Kiev and its Western allies say Moscow has incited the separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine, a charge the Kremlin has denied. Western diplomats say they aren't optimistic that Russia will follow through and help force the militants to disarm and vacate the occupied buildings across eastern Ukraine. Russian officials say they have no influence over those protesters.

Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday evening saying it was disappointed with U.S. official responses to the Geneva deal and accused Washington of stubbornly supporting the Kiev government in what Moscow called its determination to use force against pro-Russian protesters in the east. The Foreign Ministry said the Geneva deal's call on protesters to give up weapons and occupied buildings should apply first to those in Kiev, "who participated in the February coup."

Donetsk activist leader Mr. Pushilin began his news conference earlier Friday with a nearly identical comment. But he said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who signed off on the statement in Geneva, "didn't sign anything for us, he signed on behalf of the Russian Federation." Mr. Pushilin said he isn't receiving any money from Russia.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has been tasked with assisting the effort to disarm the activists. But diplomats said the organization doesn't have the personnel on the ground in Ukraine to implement the disarmament effectively.

Mr. Pushilin denounced the new authorities in Kiev for sending in the Ukrainian military to try to control the situation in the country's east—an "antiterrorist" operation launched earlier this week that so far has yielded few results.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said whether military action continues will depend on whether the activists respond to the demands articulated in Geneva.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he hoped not to send Russian troops into Ukraine but didn't rule it out, accusing the Kiev government of committing "a serious crime" by using the military to quell unrest. Paul Sonne reports. Photo: AP.

"As far as the antiterrorist operation goes, it is continuing and its intensity will depend on whether there is any real fulfillment of the [Geneva] agreement," Mr. Deshchytsia told the Interfax news agency. Ukrainian authorities have said they put the operation on hold for the duration of the Easter holidays.

The Kiev government and Western officials have said some of the armed men in unmarked uniforms aren't local residents but Russian special-forces troops who are leading the uprising, as they did in Crimea. Moscow and the protesters in eastern Ukraine deny that, describing the events as an independent uprising.

Anti-Kiev activists who continue to hold municipal and security buildings across cities in southeast Ukraine have shown no sign of retreat.

Gun-wielding men traveling in an armed personnel carrier with protest flags rolled into the village of Seversk on Friday and took down the Ukrainian flag on the city administration building before speeding away, according to photos, an official at the local information site and the police department spokeswoman.

When the Ukrainian military arrived in such armed personnel carriers during the "antiterrorist operation" earlier this week, a number of the vehicles ended up being seized by angry activists. Ukrainian authorities said Friday that they had recovered two of the six vehicles.

In the city of Slovyansk, a hotbed of anti-Kiev sentiment in Ukraine's east, protesters who have taken control of the city administration building announced Friday that the city's mayor, Nelya Shtepa, was in their custody. "She is currently with us," an activist announced outside the building, saying the activists had decided to protect her after she had given up power. It wasn't immediately clear whether she had been taken hostage or was, in fact, in the building.

Outside the city, unidentified masked men with automatic weapons took control of the main television transmission tower for the area on Thursday and turned off Ukrainian channels, leaving only state-controlled Russian news that was broadcasting snippets from an annual televised phone-in session by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine's central state broadcasting operation in Kiev responded by shutting off electricity to the facility early Friday, causing the armed men to leave, according to a top official from the state transmission operator, who said the tower services about a million people. The official said the men showed up again hours later with more than double the force and managed to hook up electricity from another source.

Two masked men in green camouflage outfits, who stood outside the facility with automatic weapons on Friday, declined to discuss the situation or allow entrance to the television tower.

The news conference Friday in Donetsk, held by rebels who took control of the central regional administration building there on April 6 and proclaimed an independent "people's republic" the following day, showed the challenge Kiev faces in holding together Ukraine.

"To call us criminals and terrorists for occupying buildings, while calling the people in Kiev who have done the exact same thing heroes, is at the very least not right," Mr. Pushilin said. He echoed Mr. Putin's long-standing criticism that the West operates on a system of double standards when it comes to Russia.

Both Russian officials and activists in Ukraine's east have sought to present the recent seizure of buildings in the region as an equivalent response to the actions pro-Europe protesters took in Kiev in late 2013 and earlier this year.

The activists in Donetsk are demanding a referendum on the future of the largely Russian-speaking region, the home of the deposed Mr. Yanukovych, which has long had closer relations with Russia than much of the rest of Ukraine.

But when pressed on Friday, neither Mr. Pushilin nor other leaders of the uprising could say what exact question they hope to pose on any referendum on the region's "self determination." Mr. Pushilin said it would be the question of the Donetsk region's "sovereignty." Asked if that meant the region would stay part of Ukraine, he said he wouldn't rule it out.

Alexander Khryakov, another leader in the uprising, said the question was being formulated by experts and leaders and couldn't be described yet. Mr. Khryakov said his personal preference is a return to the Soviet Union, which would make the region part of the same country as Russia.

Mr. Khryakov said that authorities in Brussels and Washington, with their support of Kiev, have wakened the "Russian bear." He said: "The Russian bear is us, who stand for the all the hopes of our people here."

—Olga Padorina contributed to this article.

 on: Today at 04:07:43 PM 
Started by Quijote - Last post by Crafty_Dog
As is often the case with Stratfor, the economics of the following is littered with Keynesian babble, but there are some interesting details to be gleaned nonetheless.

 Berlin Fears a High Court Ruling Could Threaten the European Union
Geopolitical Weekly
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 03:03 Print Text Size

By Marc Lanthemann

The Greek economy ended its four-year exile from international markets last week with a triumphant 3 billion euro (about $4.1 billion) bond sale. The global financial media trumpeted this somewhat unexpected achievement as a sign that things were finally turning around in the European Union's most blighted country. Media reports to the contrary, Greece's return to the market does nothing to resolve Greece's systemic economic deficiencies. Instead, it enables Greece to build up more debt, which will leave it a permanent bailout state for the foreseeable future.

In any case, events in Athens, a city perennially destined to be a dependent on the great powers of any given time, will not be pivotal to the future of the European Union. Nor will decisions made in Spain, Italy or even France. Instead, the Continent's fate in the 21st century will be decided in Germany. Germany stands increasingly alone as the guardian of the very European order that allowed it to prosper and quelled its historical insecurities about its neighbors.

Something as seemingly banal as a conversation at an Italian restaurant in Berlin does a much better job of illustrating how far Europe actually is from recovery, and how the fate of the Continent lies in Germany's hands. In the first days of April, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere met with a group of scholars of constitutional law for dinner and discussion of the options for limiting the reach of Germany's powerful Federal Constitutional Court. The meeting stands testament to the German fear of seeing the European order crumble and to the severity of the political crisis brewing under the surface in the Continent.
The Perils of Unemployment

Stratfor has warned for years that the economic downturn that began battering Europe in 2008 would evolve into a full-blown social and political crisis. Nearly six years have gone by, and the European system remains as dysfunctional today as it was then. Great Depression-levels of unemployment have become the norm in Southern Europe, and have begun to creep northward.

Growing numbers of the unemployed and underemployed are fertile ground for political radicalism. Now, hopelessness about the future of Europe is moving into the mainstream. In election after election from France to Hungary, nationalist and Euroskeptic parties continue to gain in popularity to the point that they are becoming entrenched parts of the political system.

They remain a minority, for now. But many of them, in particular the National Front in France, have had to moderate some of the more radical parts of their platforms to break into the political mainstream. As popular discontent against what is seen as the failures of the pro-European mainstream parties grows alongside the economic crisis, so does support for some of the more nationalistic policies espoused by the far right.

The modern European establishment has only recently begun acknowledging the threat of radical parties. Next month's EU parliamentary elections have amplified the establishment's concerns. National elites have a tendency to deride what they perceive as loud and unrefined fringe groups, and to show considerable surprise when they become a political mainstay.

More aggressive commentators have denounced the European leadership for allocating inordinate resources to stabilizing the Continent's financial sector while pursuing tepid policies to stem the unemployment crisis. But while unemployment is ultimately a much more dangerous risk factor for the medium- to long-term stability of Europe, it is also a more difficult problem to solve.

Unemployment is a deeply political issue, much more so than a bank's balance sheet. It intersects not only with issues of economics, but also with myriad others including social welfare and sovereignty. While it is generally agreed that a growing economy leads to lower unemployment, the mechanics of job creation are not as clear-cut as those governing sovereign debt risk.

A sea change on how European elites, and Germany in particular, view the crisis now appears to lie ahead. The strategic threat posed by unemployment-fueled nationalism has become a core preoccupation in both Berlin and Brussels. It is becoming clearer that while current stopgap measures, including European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's famous open-ended bailout guarantee, may have warded off a fatal shock to Europe's economy, they are doing little to revive it.

Actually reviving it would require particularly bold action from the European leadership. Once-taboo topics such as giving the European Central Bank the ability to pursue monetary financing or mutualizing the debt of eurozone members are now openly discussed at the highest levels of European government.

The thinking has also changed within the German leadership, for whom austerity used to be a quasi-religious mantra and fears of inflation bordered on irrational. Now, even some of the most hawkish representatives of the German Central Bank are making cautious overtures regarding an expansionary monetary policy, especially as the European Union, including Germany, veers toward deflation.
The Limits of the European Central Bank

Calls for the European Central Bank to replicate the policies of its overseas counterparts have grown louder. These often overlook the fact that unlike the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, which have guaranteeing employment as a charter goal, the sole mandate of the European Central Bank is to ensure price stability, much like the German Central Bank on which it was modeled. Even then, the bank is remarkably constrained. For example, it cannot directly purchase government bonds. These legal constraints can be changed, but only through a difficult political process.

With interest rates at 0.25 percent and data unclear as to the effectiveness of negative interest rates, quantitative easing is becoming increasingly popular, even within the European Central Bank. It is one of the few powerful tools the European leadership has left to kick-start the Continent's moribund economy. It also happens to be the only one that has at least a veneer of legality. Even then, it is hard to conceive of a meaningful program on par with the United States' three rounds of quantitative easing that could be easily contained within the bounds of the European Central Banks's inflation control-only mandate.

Herein lies the root of the problem, which is that all the measures that might reboot the European economy in essence require sacrificing more sovereignty to a central European authority. Even at this hour, when consensus is slowly but surely building on the political side for more drastic action, the European Union's perennial mandate problem is derailing any hope of recovery.

So far, the European leadership (including the courts) has shown itself to be remarkably creative in finding loopholes and drafting tack-on amendments to sidestep some of the most cumbersome EU legislation and get the job done. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer when it comes to nations having to surrender sovereignty, whether economic, political or social, to a group of barely accountable European technocrats.

The debate surrounding the role of the German Federal Constitutional Court comes against this backdrop. The court, a revered institution in Germany, is spearheading the defense of national interests against perceptions of EU overreach into sovereign matters.
A Threat From the Constitutional Court

Much like the U.S. Supreme Court, upon which Germany's highest court was partially modeled after World War II, the German Federal Constitutional Court is the final interpreter of constitutional law. Accordingly, it has the last word on the legality of any treaties, agreements or actions undertaken by Germany at the European level.

The court already has challenged German involvement in some of the more creative legal acrobatics undertaken by the European Union. These include the establishment of the EU emergency bond-buying plan known as the Outright Monetary Transactions program. In that case, the German Federal Constitutional Court proceeded with caution and referred the case to the European Court of Justice. But there are strong indications that it could be more aggressive in future cases. A rejection of government moves in a landmark case, such as one involving potential German participation in a strengthened quantitative easing program, could derail the Continent's recovery.

Economic policy is not the only issue on which the court has proven to be a thorn in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's side. German electoral law currently requires a party to win a minimum of 5 percent of the national vote to enter the national parliament, a measure designed to keep small radical parties out of an already relatively fragmented parliament. Berlin used to apply a similar threshold to German parties seeking access to the European Parliament. The German constitutional court recently struck down this requirement, and some politicians fear it could soon do the same for German federal elections. The current surge in popularity of nationalist parties heretofore excluded from the legislature may jeopardize the existence of a strong government in Berlin, the only real decision-making body in a battered Europe.

The court's current course of action poses an existential threat to Merkel's political career and to Germany's economy and stability, which continue to depend on the health of the European Union and the economies of its constituent members. Should the court so rule, Germany could rapidly lose its place as the Continent's strongman, being condemned instead to internal paralysis as it watches Europe slowly stagnate.

As with most of the really important developments in Europe, the battle between the court and the German government will be drawn out and will remain out of the public eye for now. Still, the very existence of open discussions about reducing the power of one of the most trusted and impartial institutions in Germany testifies to how seriously the chancellor's office takes the danger of the fallout from the court's potential ruling.

Read more: Berlin Fears a High Court Ruling Could Threaten the European Union | Stratfor

 on: Today at 03:55:43 PM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by Crafty_Dog
"b. We are a union of states so the is in each contest in each state for who we want to empower as chief executive."

EXCELLENT soundbite!

 on: Today at 01:35:24 PM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by DougMacG
second post
Would someone be so kind (BD are you out there?) as to give the argument for the electoral college?

Bringing this request forward with a few thoughts. 

a. The central point and purpose of the constitution is to define limits on all rule and majority rule in particular.   Division of powers and super-majorities required on various important things are examples of this.
b. We are a union of states so the is in each contest in each state for who we want to empower as chief executive.
c. Because of the EC, a distribution of support is required to win.
c. In a close election like happened in Florida 2000, imagine that recount fiasco happening simultaneously in all precincts of all 50 states.

To those who oppose the electoral college I would ask, do you oppose the Senate and the Supreme Court as well.  Both are also designed to potentially deny or delay the majority their will.

 on: Today at 12:44:32 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
To all my good friends of that break-away faction of Judaism known as Christianity my warmest good wishes and prayers on this Good Friday-Easter weekend.

 on: Today at 12:44:08 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
To all my good friends of that break-away faction of Judaism known as Christianity my warmest good wishes and prayers on this Good Friday-Easter weekend.

 on: Today at 12:43:46 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
To all my good friends of that break-away faction of Judaism known as Christianity my warmest good wishes and prayers on this Good Friday-Easter weekend.

 on: Today at 11:29:48 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by objectivist1
The Disappearance of US Will

Posted By Caroline Glick On April 18, 2014

Originally published at the Jerusalem Post.

The most terrifying aspect of the collapse of US power worldwide is the US’s indifferent response to it.

In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, America’s most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.

As Gordon Chang noted at a symposium in Los Angeles last month hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, since President Barack Obama entered office in 2009, the Chinese have responded to his overtures of goodwill and appeasement with intensified aggression against the US’s Asian allies and against US warships.

In 2012, China seized the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. Washington shrugged its shoulders despite its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines. And so Beijing is striking again, threatening the Second Thomas Shoal, another Philippine possession.

In a similar fashion, Beijing is challenging Japan’s control over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and even making territorial claims on Okinawa.

As Chang explained, China’s recent application of its Air-Defense Identification Zone to include Japanese and South Korean airspace is a hostile act not only against those countries but also against the principle of freedom of maritime navigation, which, Chang noted, “Americans have been defending for more than two centuries.”

The US has responded to Chinese aggression with ever-escalating attempts to placate Beijing.

And China has responded to these US overtures by demonstrating contempt for US power.

Last week, the Chinese humiliated Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his visit to China’s National Defense University. He was harangued by a student questioner for the US’s support for the Philippines and Japan, and for opposition to Chinese unilateral seizure of island chains and assertions of rights over other states’ airspace and international waterways.

As he stood next to Hagel in a joint press conference, China’s Defense Chief Chang Wanquan demanded that the US restrain Japan and the Philippines.

In addition to its flaccid responses to Chinese aggression against its allies and its own naval craft, in 2012 the US averred from publicly criticizing China for its sale to North Korea of mobile missile launchers capable of serving Pyongyang’s KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles. With these easily concealed launchers, North Korea significantly upgraded its ability to attack the US with nuclear weapons.

As for Europe, the Obama administration’s responses to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and to its acts of aggression against Ukraine bespeak a lack of seriousness and dangerous indifference to the fate of the US alliance structure in Eastern Europe.

Rather than send NATO forces to the NATO member Baltic states, and arm Ukrainian forces with defensive weapons, as Russian forces began penetrating Ukraine, the US sent food to Ukraine and an unarmed warship to the Black Sea.

Clearly not impressed by the US moves, the Russians overflew and shadowed the US naval ship. As Charles Krauthammer noted on Fox News on Monday, the Russian action was not a provocation. It was “a show of contempt.”

As Krauthammer explained, it could have only been viewed as a provocation if Russia had believed the US was likely to respond to its shadowing of the warship. Since Moscow correctly assessed that the US would not respond to its aggression, by buzzing and following the warship, the Russians demonstrated to Ukraine and other US allies that they cannot trust the US to protect them from Russia.

In the Middle East, it is not only the US’s obsessive approach to the Palestinian conflict with Israel that lies in shambles. The entire US alliance system and the Obama administration’s other signature initiatives have also collapsed.

After entering office, Obama implemented an aggressive policy in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere of killing al-Qaida operatives with unmanned drones. The strategy was based on the notion that such a campaign, that involves no US boots on the ground, can bring about a rout of the terrorist force at minimal human cost to the US and at minimal political cost to President Barack Obama.

The strategy has brought about the demise of a significant number of al-Qaida terrorists over the years. And due to the support Obama enjoys from the US media, the Obama administration paid very little in terms of political capital for implementing it.

But despite the program’s relative success, according to The Washington Post, the administration suspended drone attacks in December 2013 after it endured modest criticism when one in Yemen inadvertently hit a wedding party.

No doubt al-Qaida noticed the program’s suspension. And now the terror group is flaunting its immunity from US attack.

This week, jihadist websites featured an al-Qaida video showing hundreds of al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen meeting openly with the group’s second in command, Nasir al-Wuhayshi.

In the video, Wuhayshi threatened the US directly saying, “We must eliminate the cross,” and explaining that “the bearer of the cross is America.”

Then there is Iran.

The administration has staked its reputation on its radical policy of engaging Iran on its nuclear weapons program. The administration claims that by permitting Iran to undertake some nuclear activities it can convince the mullahs to shelve their plan to develop nuclear weapons.

This week brought further evidence of the policy’s complete failure. It also brought further proof that the administration is unperturbed by evidence of failure.

In a televised interview Sunday, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akhbar Salehi insisted that Iran has the right to enrich uranium to 90 percent. In other words, he said that Iran is building nuclear bombs.

And thanks to the US and its interim nuclear deal with Iran, the Iranian economy is on the mend.

The interim nuclear deal the Obama administration signed with Iran last November was supposed to limit its oil exports to a million barrels a day. But according to the International Energy Agency, in February, Iran’s daily oil exports rose to 1.65 million barrels a day, the highest level since June 2012.

Rather than accept that its efforts have failed, the Obama administration is redefining what success means.

As Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz noted, in recent months US officials claimed the goal of the nuclear talks was to ensure that Iran would remain years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. In recent remarks, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US would suffice with a situation in which Iran is but six months away from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In other words, the US has now defined failure as success.

Then there is Syria.

Last September, the US claimed it made history when, together with Russia it convinced dictator Bashar Assad to surrender his chemical weapons arsenal. Six months later, not only is Syria well behind schedule for abiding by the agreement, it is reportedly continuing to use chemical weapons against opposition forces and civilians. The most recent attack reportedly occurred on April 12 when residents of Kafr Zita were attacked with chlorine gas.

The growing worldwide contempt for US power and authority would be bad enough in and of itself. The newfound confidence of aggressors imperils international security and threatens the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

What makes the situation worse is the US response to what is happening. The Obama administration is responding to the ever-multiplying crises by pretending that there is nothing to worry about and insisting that failures are successes.

And the problem is not limited to Obama and his advisers or even to the political Left. Their delusional view that the US will suffer no consequences for its consistent record of failure and defeat is shared by a growing chorus of conservatives.

Some, like the anti-Semitic conservative pundit Patrick Buchanan, laud Putin as a cultural hero. Others, like Sen. Rand Paul, who is increasingly presenting himself as the man to beat in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, indicate that the US has no business interfering with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Iran as well is a country the US should be less concerned about, in Paul’s opinion.

Leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz who call for a US foreign policy based on standing by allies and opposing foes in order to ensure US leadership and US national security are being drowned out in a chorus of “Who cares?” Six years into Obama’s presidency, the US public as a whole is largely opposed to taking any action on behalf of Ukraine or the Baltic states, regardless of what inaction, or worse, feckless action means for the US’s ability to protect its interests and national security.

And the generation coming of age today is similarly uninterested in US global leadership.

During the Cold War and in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the predominant view among American university students studying international affairs was that US world leadership is essential to ensure global stability and US national interests and values.

Today this is no longer the case.

Much of the Obama administration’s shuttle diplomacy in recent years has involved sending senior officials, including Obama, on overseas trips with the goal of reassuring jittery allies that they can continue to trust US security guarantees.

These protestations convince fewer and fewer people today.

It is because of this that US allies like Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, that lack nuclear weapons, are considering their options on the nuclear front.

It is because of this that Israeli officials are openly stating for the first time that the US cannot be depended on to either secure Israel’s eastern frontier in the event that an accord is reached with the Palestinians, or to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

It is because of this that the world is more likely than it has been since 1939 to experience a world war of catastrophic proportions.

There is a direct correlation between the US elite’s preoccupation with social issues running the narrow and solipsistic gamut from gay marriage to transgender bathrooms to a phony war against women, and America’s inability to recognize the growing threats to the global order or understand why Americans should care about the world at all.

And there is a similarly direct correlation between the growing aggression of US foes and Obama’s decision to slash defense spending while allowing the US nuclear arsenal to become all but obsolete.

America’s spurned allies will take the actions they need to take to protect themselves. Some will persevere, others will likely be overrun.

But with Americans across the ideological spectrum pretending that failure is success and defeat is victory, while turning their backs on the growing storm, how will America protect itself?

 on: Today at 11:23:05 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

"Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit." --James Madison, Federalist No. 51, 1788

 on: Today at 11:10:23 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog

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