on: April 18, 2014, 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: April 18, 2014, 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: April 18, 2014, 10:22:16 AM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
The Goldberg File
By Jonah Goldberg
April 18, 2014
Editor's Note: Jonah will be back to filing your favorite "news"letter next week. In the meanwhile, we editorial lackeys thoroughly enjoyed reading this blast-from-the-past G-File originally sent on November 30, 2012, and we trust you will too.
Dear Reader (Well, maybe not so dear. It occurs to me that going by the logic of the White House, you people should be presenting me with proposals for this parenthetical gag and then I'll decide which one I'll deign to use),
I know it's been a while, and for those of you new or recently signed up to this fully operational "news"letter let me say a few things. 1) Booger! 2) Hitler was a "man of peace," and 3) you are not a zombie.
As longtime readers of this product may recall, point one is a reference to the inaugural episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, where Johnny Fever ("That's 'Doctor Johnny Fever' to you kid" -- The Couch) is lured from his exile in disco and called back into doing Rock and Roll. His career had taken a bad turn when the FCC dinged him for saying "booger" on the air. Andy Travis, WKRP's new station manager, tells him he can not only do Rock and Roll again, but he can even say "booger" on the air if he wants to. Jack Fowler, NR's publisher, made me a similar offer when he asked me to revive the old Goldberg File. The Doctor was well-pleased , and so was I.
I bring this up because I just want to emphasize that I get to write about what I want here. We have a lot of new subscribers coming and, even though in my imagination you all talk to each other, in reality some of you don't know the score and have been complaining. So there it is. B to the double Oh to the G, E-R.
Hitler the Moderate
Twice this week I wrote columns I didn't like that much, and that always puts me off my feed. When you have to grind out two syndicated columns a week, this happens. The muse, that selfish tramp, decides to stay in bed all day watching reruns of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. And you're left hunting and pecking letters on the key board without the power of Greyskull coursing through your fingers. Or something like that.
The first column, on Mohamed Morsi, was perfectly passable, but it wasn't fun to write, and I just didn't get to make the point I wanted to make.
Well, like the cummerbund on a really fat man at a super classy cheesesteak-eating contest, the G-File is here to catch the crumbs so I can take a second bite. Which brings me to point No. 2.
The point I made about Morsi is that simply because he opted not to join Hamas in a war against Israel right now doesn't mean he's a moderate.
The point I wanted to make is that there's no inherent conflict between what we routinely describe as "pragmatism" and being a fanatic or even an ideologue.
Consider the man in the mustache.
In a major speech in May 1933, Hitler proclaimed he had set "only one great task" for himself and his government: "to secure peace in the world." The National Socialist Party craved "from its innermost heart to live in peace and friendship." He continued to hit this note throughout most of the 1930s. In 1935: "National Socialist Germany desires peace from its innermost ideological convictions. . . . Germany needs peace and desires peace."
Historian Ian Kershaw writes, "Since the Munich Agreement, there was, it seemed, little room for doubts about Hitler's diplomacy, and his speeches in the spring and summer of 1939 – especially his highly effective rebuff of President Roosevelt on 28 April – made a considerable impact, seeming to confirm to many Germans that his underlying aims were to preserve peace, not to wage war."
It's also important to remember that Germans weren't the only ones who bought Hitler's peace talk. For years, in America and the U.K. it was respectable, albeit debatable, to claim Hitler was a "man of peace." Wyndham Lewis, an oddball and right-wingish character, said as much in his 1931 book,Hitler. He recanted in 1938 with the book The Hitler Cult. But just as Lewis was coming to his senses, many on the left were losing theirs. Forget Neville Chamberlain. In 1938 former Labor Party leader and president of the British Peace Pledge Union, George Landsbury, proclaimed, "I think Hitler will be regarded as one of the great men of our time." Landsbury was also apparently the head of War Resisters' International and chairman of the No More War Movement.
Hitler's peace propaganda in the 1930s did exactly what he needed it do: buy him time. In a secret speech to the German press in 1938, Hitler explained:
Circumstances have compelled me to speak for decades almost solely of peace. Only through continued emphasis on the German desire for peace and intentions of peace was it possible for me . . . to provide the German people with the armaments which were always necessary as the basis of the next step. It goes without saying that such a peace propaganda which has been cultivated for years also has its doubtful side; for it can only too easily lead to the view being formed in the minds of many people that the present regime identifies with the determination and the will to maintain peace under all circumstances.
My aim here is not to preach the usual -- albeit wholly valid -- sermonettes about the follies of appeasement and the need for vigilance and all that. Rather, it's to point out that even though Hitler meets just about everyone's definition of a fanatic and at least most folks' understanding of an ideologue, he was still capable of what sensible people took to be moderation and pragmatism. And it wasn't all propaganda or Teutonic Jedi mind tricks, either. Hitler was a pragmatist, particularly on the world stage but also with regard to economics, when it suited his purposes. For instance, when the fascist chancellor of Austria Engelbert Dollfuss (yes, you read that right)was deposed in a Nazi coup, the fascist dictator of Italy Mussolini sent troops to the Austrian border to defend Austrian independence from Nazi aggression. Hitler backed down, renounced the coup, and played nice. He was after all, a "pragmatist."
Indeed, pragmatism in political affairs is in no way incompatible with ideology, and yet they are one of the intelligentsia's (and would-be intelligentsia's) favorite false antipodes.
That's right, I used the phrase "false antipodes" and I liked it. But if that bothers you, feel free to substitute "ersatz orthogons."
Yes, yes, I know I wrote a whole book on how pragmatism and ideology aren't what people think they are, but this is sort of a new point. There is something about the modern mind in general and the liberal mind in particular that seems incapable of grasping that ideologically dogmatic people can also be reasonable.
Obama isn't an ideologue, we're constantly told, he's a pragmatist! Why? Because he doesn't automatically and indiscriminately take the cartoonish left-wing position. I can't count how many times I've read or been told that Ted Kennedy was a "pragmatist" because he was willing to work with conservatives to achieve his profoundly ideological goals. And yet, if you call him an ideologue, the Morning Joe types roll their eyes as if calling a left-wing ideologue an ideologue is something only a right-wing ideologue would do.
President Obama marveled at Mohamed Morsi's "pragmatism" because Morsi didn't punctuate his ululating with chants of "Death to Israel!" Moreover, Morsi opted not to go to war with Israel now. Both Obama and Joe Klein took this as proof that Morsi's a "moderate." To me this is like someone in 1935 saying Hitler was a "moderate" for not invading Poland before he was ready to invade Poland.
Note: I'm not saying that I know Morsi will invade Israel. The future is unknowable. He may end up more constrained by the Egyptian people than he'd like. Who knows? What I am saying is that it is idiotic to conclude that Morsi isn't ideologically committed to the tenants of the Muslim Brotherhood (which includes eventually erasing Israel), simply because he refused to let Hamas dictate his agenda to him. The pragmatist Morsi used his success with the cease-fire to parlay it into seizing dictatorial power – power Morsi the ideologue needs to take care of business.
Politics as the Zombie Walks
In other words, ideologues and fanatics (not the same thing, by the way) can be intelligent and patient, too.
And yet, sometimes all it takes for liberals to forget this is to stop saying the obviously stupid stuff and obtusely pushing in the same direction over and over again. We have defined ideology down to the point that so long as you don't behave like a zombie, you're pragmatic. And yes, this brings me to point No. 3, or as my inner Dadaist likes to say, "Melting Clock!"
Just as Charlie don't surf, zombies don't strategize. They smell fresh human flesh and they walk in that direction. If they hit a wall, they walk into the wall or maybe slide around it, gliding along their shoulder, like a drunk trying to find the back of the 7-11 to throw up. What they don't do is think about how to get where they need to go. They take the path of least resistance, but always head in the same direction.
This is how many people think of ideologues. The assumption is that ideology is a high-bleach-content brainwash, making temporary concessions, reasonable adjustments, or intelligent course corrections impossible. The ideologue, like the zombie, walks into walls over and over and over again like a wind-up toy with an eternal spring. But that's not a description of what an ideologue does, it's a description of what an idiot does.
Take Van Jones ("please!"). He's still a radical. But he realized that talking like one turned people off. His epiphany wasn't to have reasonable convictions, it was to sound like he did. "I'm willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends," he once explained when he decided to stop touting his Marxism.
President Obama clearly had a similar revelation at some point in the mid-1990s. And conservatives could learn a lot from him.
I deliberately avoided using this G-File for yet another post-election post-mortem. The stink of recriminations fills the air like the stench of stale flounder in the men's bathroom at a trimethylaminuria clinic. But I just can't help myself.
"Moderation in all things." That was Aristotle's advice. Lost to history is the fact that Aristotle drunkenly blurted this out while swinging from an elaborate sex-trapeze in a Macedonian brothel ("I think you should spend a few more minutes googling that" – the Couch).
I don't think it's great advice, truth be told. Nearly all categorical statements can be falsified. There are certainly areas where moderation is either ill-advised or moderation is simply a trite phrase meaning "something less than extreme." I am not moderate in my hate for Nazis or my love for my daughter. Etc., etc.
That said, Republicans could stand to learn how to sound more moderate. Barack Obama usually (though not always) sounds reasonable as he moves the country on an unreasonable path. Ronald Reagan, almost always sounded reasonable when he was staking out fairly strong ideological positions. Both men took advantage of the fact that their seeming moderation elicited immoderate condemnations from their opponents. Nothing drives your opponents more crazy than being utterly reasonable. And nothing makes demonizing or delegitimizing your opponents easier than letting them shriek unreasonable things for you. The Republicans need to get back to being the party that elicits unreasonable shrieking from their opponents. Not the other way around.
on: April 18, 2014, 08:33:44 AM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
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on: April 18, 2014, 08:30:01 AM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Our society is in the midst of a deep discussion over homosexuality. There are articulate voices on both sides of the conversation. Then there are @#$! like these , , , females. Wherever we may be on the spectrum, I think we can all agree that this is profoundly wrong:http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archbishop-prays-while-topless-gay-activists-shout-curses-and-douse-him-wit
PS: Note the anti-free speech nature of the Belgian law that was applied against this man.
For me, the social code around which we should all be able to unite it rather simple. "One is free to do it, and others are free to make of it what they will."