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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #100 on: October 20, 2006, 01:03:25 PM »


 

PART 2: The assassin's mace

If America ever goes to war with China, Chinese military doctrine suggests the US should expect attacks on a number of key points where it is particularly vulnerable - where a single jab would paralyze the entire nation. China would aim at targets such as the US electricity grid, its computer networks, its oil supply routes, and the dollar. Other vital "acupuncture" points are outlined below.


1 A powerful triumvirate
No one ever imagined before 1991 that China and Russia would come together to form a close-knit alliance politically, diplomatically and, most important of all, militarily. For more than three decades before the break-up of the Soviet Union, China and the USSR had been bitter rivals, even going into a shooting war with each other along their common border.

But now the picture has changed completely. China and Russia have embraced one another and help each other ward off the military advances of the lone superpower in their respective backyards. In fact, it was a series of strategic blunders by the superpower that forced China and Russia into each other's arms. How so?

When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, it would have been the best time for the US to use soft power to win over Russia into the Western fold. Russia at that time was an economic basket case, with the price of oil at $9 per barrel. But the promises of economic assistance from the US and Europe proved empty, and the Russian oligarchs were the main beneficiaries of relations with the Western powers.

NATO and EU then slowly advanced eastward, absorbing many of the countries making up the former Warsaw Pact alliance. Serbia, a close ally of Russia, was subjected to 78 days of continuous air bombardment. Regime changes were instigated by US and Western-financed non-governmental organizations in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan - all former Soviet republics and considered Russia?s backyard - giving Russia a feeling of strategic encirclement by the US and its allies. There was also the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by the establishment of US bases and deployment of troops in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

These aggressive geopolitical moves by the US pushed Russia into the waiting arms of China, which badly needed Russian energy resources, modern weapon systems and military technology as a consequence of the US-led arms embargo imposed after the Tienanmen incident. Furthermore, China also needed a reliable and militarily capable ally in Russia because of the perceived threat of the US.

Reinforcing this Chinese perception was the outrageously wanton bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade by US-led NATO forces in 1999; the spy plane incident in 2001; the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the ABM Treaty in 2002; the enhanced military cooperation between the US and Japan; the inclusion of Taiwan in the Theater Missile Defense program.; the setting up of a military base in Kyrgyzstan which is only some 250 miles from the Chinese border near Lop Nor, China?s nuclear testing ground.

Add to that the announcement of President George W Bush that the US would come to the aid of Taiwan in the event that China uses force against it; the sending of two aircraft carrier battle groups to waters near Taiwan in 1995-1996; and the naval show of strength of seven aircraft carrier battle groups converging off the China coast in August 2004. All these aggressive moves by superpower America pushed China to embrace its former bitter rival, Russia.

Both China and Russia needed a secure and reliable rear; and both are ideally positioned to provide it. Moreover, their strengths ideally complement each other. It must be borne in mind that both are nuclear powers. The abundant energy resources of Russia ensures that China will not run out of gas in a major conflict - a strategic advantage over the US and its key allies.

Russia is also supplying China with many of the modern armaments and military technology it needs to modernize its defense sector. This effectively militates against the arms embargo imposed by the US and the EU on China. Russia in turn needs the increased trade with China, China?s financial clout and assistance, and manufactured goods.

The coming together of China and Russia was one of the most earth-shaking geopolitical events of modern times. Yet hardly anyone noticed the transition from bitter enemity to a solid geopolitical, economic, diplomatic and military alliance. The combined strengths of the two regional powers surely surpass that of the former Warsaw Pact. If we add Iran to the equation, we have a triumvirate that can pose a formidable challenge to the lone superpower. Iran is the most industrialized and the most populous nation in the Middle East. It is second only to Russia in terms of gas resources and also one of the largest oil producers in the world. It is also one of the most mountainous countries in the world, which makes it ideal for the conduct of asymmetric and guerrilla warfare against a superior adversary.

Iran borders both the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, two of the richest oil and gas regions of the world. Most importantly, it controls the gateway to the Persian Gulf - the Strait of Hormuz. Modern bottom-rising, rocket propelled sea mines and supersonic cruise missiles deployed along the long mountainous coastline of Iran, manned by "invisible" guerrillas, could indefinitely stop the flow of oil from the Gulf, from which the US gets 23% of its imported oil.

Japan also derives 90% of its oil from the Persian Gulf area, and Europe about 60%. In a major conflict, Iran can effectively deprive the US war machine and those of its key allies of much needed energy supplies.

Imagine the war machine of the superpower running out of gas. Imagine also a US economy minus 23% of its imported oil. This 23% can rise considerably once Chinese and Russian submarines start sinking US-bound oil tankers. The triumvirate of China, Russia, and Iran could bring the US to its knees with a minimum of movement.

2 The US's geopolitical disadvantage
Another "acupuncture point" in America?s anatomy in the event of a major conflict with China (and Russia) is its inherent disadvantage dictated by geography. Being the lone superpower, any major conventional conflict involving the US will necessitate its bringing its forces to bear on its adversaries. This means that the US must cross the Pacific, Indian, and/or Atlantic Oceans in order to bring logistics or troop reinforcements to the battlefield.

In so doing, the US will be crossing thousands of miles of sea lanes of communication (SLOC) that can easily become a gauntlet of deadly Chinese and Russian submarines lying in ambush with bottom-rising sea mines, supercavitating rocket torpedoes, and supersonic cruise missiles that even aircraft carrier battle groups have no known defense against. Logistic and transport ships and oil tankers are particularly vulnerable.

The air corridors above these sea lanes will also be put at great risk by advanced air defense systems aboard Sovremenny destroyers or similar types of warships in Chinese and Russian inventories. In short, the US will be forced by geography to suffer all the disadvantages of conducting offensive operations against adversaries in Eurasia.

Of course, the US has "forces in being" and "logistics in place" in numerous military bases scattered around the world, especially those strategically encircling China, Russia, and Iran. But when the shooting war starts, these bases will be the first to be hit by barrages of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and long-range land-attack cruise missiles armed with electro-magnetic pulse, anti-radar, thermobaric, and conventional warheads.

Following the missile barrages, the remnants of such weakened US military bases will easily be overwhelmed by blitzkrieg assaults from Russian and Chinese armored divisions in the Eurasian mainland. China, for instance, has four large armored units constantly on standby, poised to cross the Yili Corridor in Xinjiang province at a moment?s notice. The US base in Kyrgyzstan near the Chinese border would not stand a chance.

China, Russia and/or Iran, on the other hand, will operate on interior lines within the Eurasian mainland. When they move troops and logistics to meet any threat on the continent, they will have relatively secure lines of communication and logistics, using inland highways, railways and air transport.

Since the US cannot correct the dictates of geography, it and its main allies Japan and the UK will have to live and fight with this tremendous geopolitical disadvantage. Of course the US can bypass this geographic obstacle if it attacks China and Russia with its intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-launched ballistic missiles and strategic bombers in a nuclear first strike, but China and Russia have the means to retaliate and obliterate the United States and its allies as well.

There are some among the leading neo-conservatives in the US who believe that a nuclear war is winnable; that there is no such thing as mutually assured destruction (MAD). Well, that truly mad way of thinking may well spell the end of planet earth for all of us.

3 Asymmetric attack
Superpower America is particularly vulnerable to asymmetric attack. A classic example of asymmetric attack is the September 11, 2001, attack on America. Nineteen determined attackers, armed with nothing but box cutters, succeeded in toppling the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and causing the death of some 3,000 Americans. Notice the asymmetry of casualty ratio as well - the most lopsided casualty ratio ever recorded in history.

China, Russia, and Iran also possess asymmetric weapons that are designed to neutralize and defeat a superpower like America in a conventional conflict. Supersonic cruise missiles now in their inventories can defeat and sink US aircraft carriers. The same is true for medium- and short-range ballistic missiles with independently targetable warheads, extra-large bottom-rising, rocket-propelled sea mines (EM52s), and supercavitating rocket torpedoes (SHKVAL or "Squall"). The US Navy has no known defense against these weapons.

Iraqi insurgents are conducting a form of asymmetric warfare. They use improvised explosive devices, car bombs, booby traps and landmines against the most modern army the world has ever seen. The US's huge advantage in weaponry is negated by the fact that its soldiers cannot see their adversary. They are fighting against a "phantom" enemy - an invisible army.

And how can you win against an enemy you cannot see? This may be one reason why reports of massacres of Iraqi civilians by US soldiers have been increasing lately. But turning sophisticated weapons against civilians will never win wars for America. It will only heighten the rage of the victimized population and increase suicide bombings against US forces.

Connected to asymmetric warfare is asynchronous warfare, where the weaker side bides its time to strike back. And it strikes at a time and place where the adversary is totally unprepared.

For example, if the US were to strike Iran?s underground nuclear facilities with bunker-busting tactical nuclear warheads, Iran could bide its time until it develops its own nuclear weapons. It could then use its Kilo class submarines, equipped with supersonic "moskit" cruise missiles armed with Iran?s own nuclear warheads, to hit New York, or Washington, DC as a payback to the US for using nuclear weapons against Iran. Or the Iranians could infiltrate nuclear scientists into the US, where they would fabricate a "dirty" bomb to be detonated near the US Congress, in full session while the president is making his annual state of the nation address.

The possibilities for asymmetric and asynchronous warfare are limitless. Various weapons are available to the asymmetric or asynchronous attacker. If a simple box cutter produced such devastating results on September 11, 2001, imagine what chemical or biological weapons dropped from a private aircraft could do to a crowded city; or trained hackers attacking the US banking system and other key infrastructure and basic services; or man-portable surface-to-air missiles attacking US airlines taking off or landing in various airports around the globe; or non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapons hitting New York City or the US Capitol. No amount of even the best intelligence in the world can totally guard against and stop a determined asymmetric attacker.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #101 on: October 20, 2006, 01:04:32 PM »



4 Attack on US's command and control
C4ISR stands for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. In a war situation, C4ISR is a prime target because therein lies the center of gravity of one's adversary. Neutralizing C4ISR is like cutting off the head of a chicken. It can run around in circles for a while, but will soon collapse and die. The same is true in warfare.

Having the mightiest and most modern armed forces in the world, America prides itself with having the most sophisticated and advanced C4ISR. US military spy satellites can gather intelligence data and disseminate it on a real time basis. US surveillance and reconnaissance satellites are so sophisticated that their sensors can detect objects on Earth as small as one-tenth of a meter in size, from several hundred miles up. Satellite sensors can also penetrate clouds and bad weather or see in the night. Some of these spy satellites can also monitor radio or telephone conversations.

Aside from communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, satellites are also used for navigation, most especially in guiding ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and other smart weapon systems to their targets. Without satellite guidance, such "smart" and precision weapons turn into "dumb" bombs and directionless missiles.

The advances in C4ISR are rapidly revolutionizing warfare. Gathering, processing, disseminating, and acting on intelligence is now made possible on a real-time or near real-time basis on a global or regional level. Because of these developments, a new war principle is emerging in the modern battlefield: "If the enemy sees you; you are dead."

The US is far advanced in its C4ISR compared with, for instance, China. China cannot hope to catch up and match the American system anytime soon. So in order for China to survive in the event of a major conflict with the US, China has to resort to asymmetric means. This means that China has to develop effective means of countering and neutralizing America?s C4ISR. And that is what China had been working on for more than two decades now.

The heart of America?s C4ISR lies in its technologically sophisticated satellites. But this seeming strength is also an Achilles' heel. Neutralize or destroy the key satellites, and America?s major forces, such as aircraft carrier battle groups, are blinded, muted, and decapitated. This concept is part of China?s strategy for "defeating a superior with an inferior" called shashaojian, or "assassin?s mace". It is like the mace kept by ladies in their bags, which they use when attacked by a mugger or rapist. They squirt the mace into the eyes of an attacker to temporarily blind him, giving the intended victim time to escape.

China now has the capability to identify and track satellites. And for more than two decades they have been busy developing anti-satellite weapons. China has been developing maneuverable nano-satellites that can neutralize other satellites. They do their work by maneuvering near a target satellite and neutralizing the target by electronic jamming, electro-magnetic pulse generation, clinging to the target and physically destroying it, bumping the target out of orbit, or simply exploding to bring the target satellite down with it. Such nano satellites can be launched in batches on demand by road-mobile DF21 or DF31 booster rockets.

Another anti-satellite weapon in the works is a land-based laser that blinds the sensitive sensors of satellites or even destroys them completely. Of course, if worse comes to worst, China can always use its weapon of last resort, destroying adversary satellites with a high-altitude nuclear burst. But this will only be used if China has not yet fully developed the other options when major hostilities start. With the neutralization of its C4ISR, America would be like "a blind man trying to catch fish with his bare hands", to quote Mao Zedong. In short, America would be brought to its knees.

5 Attack on US aircraft carrier battle groups
Aircraft carrier battle groups are the mainstay of US military supremacy. They serve as America?s chief instrument for global power projection and world dominance. In this category, the US has no equal. At the moment, the US maintains a total of 12 aircraft carrier battle groups. In comparison, China has none.

From June to August 2004, the US, for the first time in its naval history, conducted an exercise involving the simultaneous convergence of seven of its 12 aircraft carrier battle groups to within striking distance of China?s coast. This was the biggest and most massive show of force the world has ever seen. It was to remind China that if it uses force against Taiwan, China will have to contend with this kind of response.

It was mentioned earlier that China?s strategy in defeating the superior by the inferior is shashaojian or the "assassin?s mace". "Mace" is not only a blinding spray; it is also a meaner and deadlier weapon, a spiked war club of ancient times used to knock out an adversary with one blow. The spikes of the modern Chinese mace may well spell the end for aircraft carriers.

The first of these spikes consists of medium- and short-range ballistic missiles (modified and improved DF 21s/CSS-5 and DF 15s) with terminally guided maneuverable re-entry vehicles with circular error probability of 10 meters. DF 21s/CSS-5s can hit slow-moving targets at sea up to 2,500km away.

The second spike is an array of supersonic and highly accurate cruise missiles, some with range of 300km or more, that can be delivered by submarines, aircraft, surface ships or even common trucks (which are ideal for use in terrain like that of Iran along the Persian Gulf). These supersonic cruise missiles travel at more than twice the speed of sound (mach 2.5), or faster than a rifle bullet. They can be armed with conventional, anti-radiation, thermobaric, or electro-magnetic pulse warheads, or even nuclear warheads if need be. The Aegis missile defense system and the Phalanx Close-in Defense weapons of the US Navy are ineffective against these supersonic cruise missiles.

A barrage of these cruise missiles, followed by land-based intermediate- or short-range ballistic missiles with terminal guidance systems, could wreak havoc on an aircraft carrier battle group. Whether there are seven or 15 carrier battle groups, it will not matter, for China has enough ballistic and cruise missiles to destroy them all. Unfortunately for the US and British navies, they do not have the capacity to counter a barrage of supersonic cruise missile followed by a second barrage of ballistic missiles.

The first and second spikes of the "assassin?s mace" are sufficient to render the aircraft carrier battle groups obsolete. But there is a third spike which is equally dreadful. This is the deadly SHKVAL or "Squall" rocket torpedo developed by Russia and passed on to China. It is like an under-water missile. It weighs 6,000lbs and travels at 200 knots or 230mph, with a range of 7,500 yards. It is guided by autopilot and with its high speed, makes evasive maneuvers by carriers or nuclear submarines highly difficult. It is truly a submarine and carrier buster; and again, the US and its allies have no known defense against such a supercavitating rocket torpedo.

The "assassin?s mace" has still more spikes. The fourth spike consists of extra-large, bottom-rising, rocket-propelled sea mines laid by submarines along the projected paths of advancing carrier battle groups. These sea mines are designed specifically for targeting aircraft carriers. They can be grouped in clusters so that they will hit the carriers in barrages.

The final spike of the mace is a fleet of old fighter aircraft (China has thousands of them) modified as unmanned combat aerial vehicles fitted with extra fuel tanks and armed with stand-off anti-ship missiles. They are also packed with high explosives so that after firing off their precision-guided anti-ship missiles on the battle group, they will then finish their mission by dive-bombing "kamikaze" style into their targets.

If we now combine the mace as a means of blinding an adversary and the mace as a spiked war club, one can see the complete picture of how China will use the "assassin?s mace" to send America?s aircraft carrier battle groups into the dustbin of naval history. Although China does not possess a single operational aircraft carrier, it has converted the entire China mainland into a "virtual aircraft carrier" that is unsinkable and capable of destroying all the aircraft carrier battle groups that the US and its allies can muster.

The sad part for the US Navy is that even if American leaders and naval theorists realize the horrible truth that aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete in modern warfare by China?s "assassin?s mace", the navy cannot just change strategy or discard its carriers. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been poured into those weapon systems and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be affected if such behemoths are turned into scrap. Besides, even if US Navy authorities wanted to change strategy, the all-powerful and influential military-industrial complex lobby would not allow it.

So, if and when a major conflict between the US and China occurs, say over the issue of Taiwan, pity those thousands of American sailors who are unfortunate enough to be in one of those aircraft carrier battle groups. They won't stand a chance.

A challenge to America
The 10 "acupuncture points" mentioned in this article are like a 10-stage riddle. It is an "assassin's mace" or war club of olden times with 10 deadly spikes. Any one of those spikes can bring America to its knees. I therefore throw this riddle to the think tanks in the Pentagon, to the US Congress, to the president's men, to US academe, and to every concerned American.

America is in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter of the "great game", and it is behind in points. If America can solve the riddle in time, it wins the game, it can seize global leadership, and the 21st century will truly be the American Century.

On the other hand, failure to solve the riddle will shake America to its very foundation and cause this great nation to collapse - just like that vivid image of the collapsing Twin Towers familiar to each and every American. America loses, and it will be down and out for the rest of this century.

Wake up, America!

 

 

Victor N Corpus is a retired brigadier general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); former chief of the Intelligence Service, AFP; and holds a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #102 on: December 11, 2006, 10:18:21 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: India's Nuclear Negotiations Enter a New Phase

After 16 months of lobbying and debate, U.S. President George W. Bush is set to sign a landmark civilian nuclear deal with India into law on Monday. The move comes as Congress is preparing to wrap up its lame-duck session -- and as the administration is searching for a much-needed foreign policy success.

With this deal, India will assume roughly the same position as Israel in the nuclear club. Though India is not a signatory of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the U.S. Congress has made a rare exception for it to bypass some key elements of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. Thus, in exchange for placing its civilian nuclear reactors under international safeguards, India will be given access to civilian nuclear fuel and technology from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group -- and sales to India can technically begin.

Nonproliferation lobbyists in Washington have been vocal in their protestations that making such extraordinary exceptions for a nonsignatory sets a dangerous precedent for rival nuclear powers, like China, to sign similar deals with countries like Pakistan -- whose reputation was badly tarnished by the discovery of A.Q. Khan's peddling of nuclear secrets.

Opponents also assert that by allowing India to import uranium for its civilian reactors, the deal indirectly contributes to the advancement of India's military reactors -- which, significantly, are not under international safeguards. Simply stated, the argument is that India, at its current rate of domestic uranium production, could not sustain the production of weapons-grade plutonium and enriched uranium for both military and civilian use. Under the nuclear deal, however, India will be able to import uranium for its civilian reactors and, therefore, could divert more of its domestic uranium production toward its military reactors.

Despite such concerns, the Bush administration is determined to forge ahead with this deal. Below the surface lies Washington's goal of developing India as a strategic proxy in the Indian Ocean basin. During the Cold War, such a close partnership was nearly impossible: India, despite its socialist tendencies, gravitated toward the Soviet orbit even though it publicly was committed to nonalignment. In that environment, the United States was compelled to throw its support to Pakistan, seeking to counter Soviet expansion on the subcontinent. However, the dissipation of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry provided an opening for Washington to re-examine its South Asia policy and pursue a strategic alliance with India. The economic and military strengthening of a secular, democratic power in the region was seen as a way to help safeguard the United States' energy interests in the Gulf and deal with a growing threat from China. And, following the 9/11 attacks, the relationship with India was seen as a way to sustain pressure on Pakistan, forcing its compliance in helping to contain transnational jihadists.

Though the strategic underpinnings of the nuclear agreement are well-defined, the actual legislation has taken a beating over the past year and a half -- and there doubtless will be grumblings from India when the revised agreement goes before the Indian Parliament for debate. For instance, the latest version of the legislation contains a clause mandating that the U.S. president "must terminate all export and re-export of U.S.-origin nuclear materials" to India, and discourage other suppliers from continuing nuclear exports to India should India test a nuclear device, as it did in 1998. Indian atomic scientists and military officials are wholly opposed to a moratorium on nuclear testing, and likely will declare this provision a deal-breaker.

The other big sticking point for India is a provision on securing its cooperation in containing Iran, which U.S. lawmakers have stressed is a necessary condition. The original Senate bill contained a binding clause, stating the need for a presidential determination that India is "fully and actively participating in U.S. and international efforts to dissuade, sanction, and contain Iran for its nuclear program consistent with United Nations Security Council resolutions." The revised bill, however, includes a non-binding provision that calls for the president to give a "description and assessment" of India's compliance in dealing with Iran. Though the requirement has been watered down, the mere inclusion of an Iran clause will be cause for protest by India's vocal leftist parties. These parties provide needed support for the ruling Congress-led coalition, and they use their growing political clout as a means of pressure to keep the Singh government from getting too friendly with the United States and thereby alienating long-standing allies like Iran.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will have his challenges ahead, to be sure, but in presenting the deal to Parliament, he can be expected to emphasize that it does not embody the final form of the nuclear agreement. Rather, the first major hurdle has been cleared: for the U.S. Congress to change existing laws on selling nuclear supplies to a nonsignatory of the NPT. Washington and New Delhi now must enter a new phase of negotiations to draft a binding bilateral treaty, termed the "123 agreement." They will spend the next several months ironing out the remaining kinks in order to arrive at a final draft -- which again must go to the U.S. Congress for approval. During this treaty construction process, the more contentious, nonbinding aspects of the legislation will likely fall through the cracks, giving Singh more leeway to sell the deal at home.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #103 on: December 13, 2006, 07:27:08 PM »

Santorum's Farewell Speech--The Full Text
12/7/06 | Rick Santorum

Mr. President, I rise today to talk about why I voted against Dr. Gates and lay out in detail the concerns I have about the security posture of the United States today and how I do not believe that Dr. Gates is the appropriate choice to confront them. While I think he certainly has a lot of positive qualities, and in normal times I would certainly defer to the President's judgment on this, we are not in normal times. I believe we need a Secretary--and I think we need leaders in this country, particularly the Secretary--who has insight into the nature of our enemy and is willing to provide the vision necessary, not just for our people in the military but the country, on how to defeat them. On one particular vital aspect of that vision I think he is in error, and that error causes me to object and to vote no to his nomination.

What I would like to do is lay out what I see as the problem confronting America and the complexity of that problem, which I think has grown more complex since the last time that we have been in this Chamber, over 6 weeks ago. I would like to go back to two speeches I gave last summer, one at the National Press Club, and the other at the Pennsylvania Press Club--one obviously in Washington, the other in Harrisburg. I gave those speeches because I thought it was important that at a time when our country is at war and our country is struggling with this war that we have a better definition as to who the enemy is and what we need to do about it. I made that issue, the issue I discussed in these two speeches and subsequent speeches during my campaign, the centerpiece of the campaign. Many political advisers suggested to me that this was a wrong tactic in a State where the favorabilities for the war and the President were in the low thirties to make this the centerpiece and, in fact, draw divisions between myself and the President where I put myself in a position which some suggested was to the right of the President. But I thought it was important for the country and for me personally as a U.S. Senator to address the issues that I thought were critical to the time.

So I went out and gave two speeches about the importance of defining our enemy. If there has been a failing--obviously, for the last several weeks and months we have been talking about the failings of the administration with respect to the policies within Iraq--I would make the argument that the larger failing, not just of the administration but of the Members of Congress and leaders in this country, is that we have not had the courage to stand up and define the enemy as to who they are and study and understand them and explain to the American people who they are.

I defined the enemy back at the National Press Club speeches as Islamic fascism. I said that is the biggest issue of our time, this relentless and determined radical enemy that is not just a group of rag-tag people living in caves but, in fact, people with an ideology, a plan, and increasingly the resources to carry out that plan, as well as, increasingly, a bigger and larger presence throughout the Islamic world, these radical Islamic fascists.

As I said, I understand this is an unpopular war. When I stepped forward to define the enemy as radical Islamic fascists, I was ridiculed by the media and others, saying that my words were too harsh, saying that at worst my defining the enemy was incorrect, at best it was inflammatory. But I did so because I believe words matter. If you are going to confront an enemy you have to understand who that enemy is and you have to communicate that to the people of America. And we must do that.

Many people talk about this war as if it is an attempt simply to create fledgling democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. While this may be an appealing possible outcome, we all must recognize that Iraq and Afghanistan are battlefields in a much more complex and broader war. That includes every continent with the exception of Antarctica. The war is at our doorstep, and it is fueled, as I mentioned, literally and figuratively by the evil of Islamic fascism.

Whether we know it or not, they have been at war with us, and the State of Iran specifically has been at war with us, since 1979 when they declared war against the United States. They have not rescinded that declaration. So when we talk about engaging Iran as the Secretary, the new, future Secretary of Defense has talked about, we are talking about engaging someone who is at war with us, who has declared war with us, and who has been at war and, and as I will talk about here, and I think it has been widely reported in the press, has been doing a lot to substantiate the claim that they have been at war with us.
But this threat is not exclusively based in Iran. It is gaining strength and spreading throughout every region of the world. I have addressed the issue of Islamic fascism but have not yet spoken to the subject of Iraq. Iraq is the central front in the war on Islamic fascism. However, contrary to the Iraqi Study Group, the Baker-Hamilton commission, the answer to this problem can be found--the answer to Iraq can be found not in Iraq but in Iran. It is Iran and its client State of Syria that serve as the principal instigators and fomenters of the conflict in Iraq today.

The President gets advice from the CIA that the opposition in Iran is weak and divided and therefore we should do nothing in Iran because we have no alternative. We have no one we can use in Iraq to confront the Iranian Government to cause any kind of changes. So the President gets advice from his intelligence team that we are without options in Iran.

The Pentagon advises the President and says we don't know if we have the resources to open up a new battlefield or confront, militarily, Iran, and therefore we have limited options in Iran.
The State Department--yes, State Department--they think that Iran is the solution to the problem; that negotiating with them and getting them to be our pals can in effect solve the problems; so confronting Iran would be the absolutely wrong thing to do in solving the problem in Iraq.

So the President is being advised by all of his minions that Iran and confrontation with Iran is not an option, as we heard from the testimony of the new Secretary of Defense.

Let's look at other interested parties as we look at how we solve the problem in Iraq and dealing with Iran. The American media seems to be very focused and spends a lot of time talking about how poorly things are going in Iraq. They report daily--not just recently but repeatedly for the past 3 years, daily--the body count in Iraq. It is the lead and has been virtually every single day for 3 years.

Is their interest in shifting focus and covering the problems in Iran? Not if we can drive home a story like this in Iraq.

Republicans and Democrats, leaders in the Congress, why don't they focus and talk more about Iran? Democrats, if you look through--as unfortunately many Republicans and Democrats do--look at it through the eyes of politics, why would we change focus and focus on Iran as the problem? We saw from the last election there is grand political advantage of keeping the focus on Iraq and the problems in Iraq. Why aren't the Republicans, then, stepping forward and pointing to the difficulty and problems that Iran is causing in Iraq and call for confrontation? If we saw anything from the last election, the American public has no appetite for a broadening of this war, increasing the complexity of this war. You might be seen as warmongering, digging us deeper and more dangerously into a region of the world that we would rather not be in in the first place.

So what do we have? We have the Baker-Hamilton report which is a prescription for surrender. It is just a matter of time. It is certainly not a prescription for victory. Nowhere does it mention, other than of course that we would like victory, nor is there a prescription for victory in that report.

So now we have the slow process of how we exit ourselves because we have no option to confront the real problem. We have no willingness on the part of any level of Government to confront it. So we are destined at this point to focus on something that is insolvable without confronting Iran, and that is the war in Iraq.
Who are these Iranians? Who are these Islamic fascists? I do not mean to exclude Sunni Islamic fascists because they were the principal--or they were the first, let's put it that way--in launching the war against the United States. I should not say the first. They were the first in recent times--certainly 9/11--in launching the war.

So this is not just a Shia problem, but it is increasingly becoming a Shia-dominated field as they continue to spread control in Iran with their influence and money. But let's not leave out Saudi Arabia and others that have used their resources to foment Islamic fascism all over the world with their resources--Sunni Islamic fascism.

So where are we? What can we do to confront this problem?
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The interesting thing is that this problem is growing--I don't know about exponentially, but I don't know of a single country in the Middle East where the threat of radical Islam has not grown over the last 30 years, since Iran took over control--since the radicals took over control in Iran, the last 27 years. Every capital, every regime is feeling the pressure. And not just since 2003, but systematically over the years we have seen, particularly in Arab Muslim countries and Middle Eastern Muslim countries, this rise. But, again, not exclusive: Indonesia, Malaysia--this is not exclusive to the Arab world. Obviously Iran, which is Persia.
So what have we seen over the past 6 months? We saw a situation in the central synagogue in Prague where the Islamic fascists intended to carry out, on Rosh Hashanah, a mass kidnaping when large numbers of Jews would be celebrating the new year. When the world's attention now was focused on Prague, they designed to make impossible demands and then blow up the synagogue and everyone within it. Those people were not marked for death because they supported the war in Iraq. They were not marked for death because they oppressed these Islamic fascists. They were targeted because they were Jews. This is evil.
Islamic terrorists organized an assault on civilian aircraft leaving London, planning to blow up 10 or more planes this summer as they flew over the North Atlantic. You may not know that two of those participants were a husband and a wife, a husband and a wife who were going to board that plane and explode that plane over the North Atlantic while holding in their arms their 6-month-old child.

This is evil.

Islamic terrorists slaughter innocent Iraqis every single day on both sides of the divide within Islam. As we know, in recent days they beheaded an orthodox priest and crucified a 14-year-old boy guilty of nothing but being Christian.

This is evil.

Almost everyone has now heard of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the fact that he denies the existence of the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the Earth. But he has been remarkably clear about his mission, remarkably clear about his messianic vision of a Shiite religion, his vision to destroy the Western world and impose a caliphate on the world in which the world would submit to Islam or die in the process.

He said:
Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?

Then he answered himself:
But you had best know this slogan and this goal is attainable and surely can be achieved.
So do we have any questions about the nature of our enemy? Do we have any questions about the capability of this oil-rich country? Yet just this past week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent an open letter, a conciliatory letter, to the American people, addressed to the ``noble'' American people. He called on America to withdraw from Iraq and end support for Israel, and, of course, to convert to Islam. This man may be a fanatic, but let me assure you he is not a stupid fanatic. This man understands and studies America. The Islamic fascists respect us enough to get to know us. They respect us enough so they know what buttons to push and how hard to push them. They respect us enough to figure out what it will take to defeat us.

I wish that were the case for the American people.

He couched his warning in the words that are familiar and comfortable with Americans--``freedom,'' trying to appeal that he would be free of this illegitimate regime in his mind, which is the current administration, and we would free them of this burden of fighting. It is a great appeal and many would like to see the end of this war, but we should not be fooled.

Our troops in Iraq are being killed by Iranian weapons today paid for with Iranian money smuggled into Iraq by Iranian logistics and utilized by Iranian-trained terrorists.

A couple of years ago you needed a security clearance to know this. Now, if you care to know, if you want to know this uncomfortable truth about Iran, you can know it. Iran is the centerpiece in the assault against us and other countries in the civilized world, which is why I fought so hard for passage of the Iran Freedom and Support Act.

I stood on the Senate floor at this very desk and argued in May or June of this year for passage of the Iran Freedom and Support Act. I said we should not be negotiating with Iran, that we should be confronting Iran.

Bernard Lewis tells a familiar opinion that he has. He tells a lot of them. He said that the oddity in particular of the Arab and Middle Eastern Islamic world is that the more we have strong relations with the government in an Arab Muslim country the more the people of that country hate us; and the more that we stand up and confront leadership of those countries the more the people like us. Is it no wonder he recounts on the day of 9/11 when there was but one Middle Eastern Muslim capital there was a candlelight vigil in support of those who died on 9/11, and that was in Tehran, Iran.

It is not hard to understand when you have regimes throughout the Middle East who oppress their people that when you stand up and confront those regimes and call them the evil they are the people understand and respect your honesty, agree with you, and support you.

This summer when we attempted to negotiate with Iran, we told the people of Iran that we are not on their side, that we want to make deals with people who oppress them, who torture them, who enslave them, who abuse them, and who kill them. That is why we should not have entered into any negotiations in spite of the entreaties of Europe with this evil regime in Iran. We should confront them, and only confront them. If we want the support of the people of Iran, we have to earn it with the integrity of our mission, and we are not doing that.

So I stood up on the floor of the Senate and said we needed to confront Iran, that we needed to fund full democracy groups, that we needed to use the public airwaves and the Internet to disseminate information to cause a change in the Government of Iran, and that we needed to sanction them. And this administration opposed me. The Senate opposed me by, I think, a 54-to-46 vote. That is why I continue to work on the Iran Freedom and Support Act.

Over the intervening months, what happened? Iran did as I predicted on this floor back in the spring--they played us along. They said: Well, you know we will negotiate with you as long as we can continue to produce nuclear materials and continue our nuclear program. So we negotiated and we negotiated and they developed and they developed. So finally in September of this year, enough people on both sides of the aisle and enough people in the administration finally were convinced that this was not a viable strategy anymore. What did we gain? We passed the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which probably surprised most people in this Chamber. We passed it unanimously--one of the last things we did before we broke. Most Americans don't know it. Unfortunately, most in the Middle East don't know it. I suspect if we went into the bowels of the State Department they may know it, but they are not going to do a damned thing about it because that is not their intent. They do not want to do anything about it. My guess is they will take that money and spend it on a lot of conferences and studies on what we should do instead of giving it to the bus drivers who went on strike as a strike fund so they can stand up to the government. Instead of giving it to dissent groups so they can disseminate information, instead of actively engaging we will appease. We will study, we will delay, and they will have time to further build.

But we did pass the bill. That would be on one of my to-do lists in the next Congress.

Is this bill going to be enforced? Are we going to confront Iran? Are we going to try to do something or are we going to sit by and allow them to develop these weapons? They are not developing them alone. No, there are a lot of reports that they are working with others around the world. Who are those others? I talk about Islamic fascism, and I keep focusing on that. But, unfortunately, over the past several months it is increasingly clear to me that the situation is becoming even more complex. We are not just facing a group of people who are in the Middle East desiring to overthrow the world and oppose a caliphate on us, but they have allies--unlikely allies in some respects, unlikely allies as the German Nazis and Japanese imperialists who had very conflicting ideologies but had a common purpose, and that was destroy the West, destroy the English-speaking world and the Western world, and put it under the domination of those countries.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #104 on: December 13, 2006, 07:29:14 PM »

So it is today. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. What Iran has found and the Islamic fascists have found is there are plenty of enemies of the United States. In fact, they had a meeting just this year a couple of months ago in Havana, Cuba. The nonaligned states met. There were 100 nations. On their agenda was to redefine the word ``terror'' to include ``the U.S. occupation of Iraq'' and the ``Israeli invasion'' of Lebanon. Of course, there was no mention about the incursion of Hezbollah. They found solace with these countries. We saw it played out at the United Nations just a couple of weeks later where President Ahmadinejad, President Hugo Chavez, to thunderous applause of many in the United Nations community, demonized America. But another member of that crew of nonaligned nations was North Korea.

I mentioned before that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program. They are indeed pursuing a nuclear program, and there have been many intelligence reports published that have suggested there were Iranian scientists there the day North Korea exploded their nuclear weapon. In fact, the scientist who had been working with North Korea, AQ Kahn, is the same scientist who has been working with Iran in the development of their nuclear program. Some have suggested that they are working collaboratively and jointly in their development of nuclear weapons which, of course, would have put Iran's nuclear program well ahead of where everyone believes it to be.

So we have not only the Islamic fascists led by Iran, but we now have an alliance between Iran and North Korea; North Korea, which is a threat in their own right, now with nuclear weapons and their increasing ability to deliver them with long-range missiles, including the development of, as they hope to do, ICBMs which could reach the United States of America.

We confronted North Korea as soon as they detonated their explosives. We had a U.N. resolution confronting them. North Korea condemned that nuclear U.N. resolution and called it ``a declaration of war'' and threatened the United States by declaring:

We will deliver merciless blows without hesitation to whoever tries to breach our sovereignty and right to survive under the excuse of carrying out a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Not only do we have a threat of North Korea now launching a nuclear weapon, but we have the clear threat of North Korea and Iran proliferating nuclear technology. In addition, as Iran, working with North Korea, develops their nuclear program, and as the world sits fecklessly by and lets them do it, others in the region legitimately have their tensions increased and have talked about the need for those nations to develop nuclear weapons,

Thus starting an arms race in a region of the world where it is the last place we want a nuclear arms race.
Finally, we have the issue of whether this nuclear material that is being developed in both North Korea and Iran will end up in the hands of terrorists, to be delivered in a nonconventional way. North Korea is a new threat on the horizon, but it is not alone. In fact, North Korea has expressed direct support for Iran's nuclear development program and stressed that the United States and the West have no right to defy such a program.

The Iranians have also commented officially on friendly ties between Tehran and Pyongyang after the Islamic revolution, saying Iran ``highly praises North Korea for its steadfastness against the domineering policies of the United States.''

But the threat goes even further. Ahmadinejad, with Kim Jong Il, like Mussolini and Hitler, intends to conquer Western civilization. Again, that is not Hitler. But they also, like the Soviets under Nikita Khrushchev, see the advantage of placing weapons of mass destruction within short ranges of the United States.

Obviously, one likely candidate would be Venezuela. I don't know of any regime currently that is more vehement and more anti-American than Hugo Chavez and the regime in Venezuela, so it probably comes as no surprise that Ahmadinejad and Chavez have had meetings, and they are now aligned and allies and working together and have, in fact, formed a defense pact between the two countries.

Venezuela is a serious threat not just because of their relationship within Iran but because of what it has attempted to do throughout the region, as well as its own potential threat.

Just a few weeks ago there was an election in Nicaragua, right before our election, where Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega won the election, took a congratulatory call from Hugo Chavez, who said:

We're happy here. We're very proud of you.
Now, like never before, the Sandinista revolution and the Bolivarian revolution unite, to construct the future, socialism of the 21st century.

Chavez made no secret about his support for Ortega or his support for the new rulers in Bolivia. Chavez is doing all he can to build military power and might and influence in the region of the world that is uncomfortably close to the United States.

As we know, Chavez has been clear about his disdain for America. What we don't know is what Venezuela has been up to. I suspect that most Members of this Senate do not know that Venezuela is the leading buyer of foreign arms and military equipment in the world today, that Chavez is building an army of more than 1 million soldiers. I suspect most in this Senate do not know that over the next year he plans to spend $30 billion to build 20 military bases in neighboring Bolivia which will dominate the borders of Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, assembling those military bases on the borders of the countries I just mentioned. These military bases, while they will be manned by Bolivian soldiers, will be commanded by Venezuelan and Cuban officers.

How does he do this? How is he able to accomplish what Fidel Castro has been seeking to accomplish now for 4 1/2 decades? The answer to that, of course, is very simple. It is a three-letter word: oil. Oil and its huge profits are financing this, just like oil and its huge profits are advancing Islamic fascism in the Middle East. It is no wonder again that Venezuela and Iran have formed an oil pact. Why? As they have clearly said before, oil is a ``geopolitical weapon,'' according to Chavez. He also said:

I could easily order the closing of the refineries we have in the United States. I could easily sell that oil that we sell to the United States to other countries of the world ..... to real friends and allies like China.

They have even closer relationships with the Islamic fascists in Iran. A recent congressional report found that Hezbollah may right now have established bases in Venezuela which have issued thousands of visas to people from places such as Cuba and the Middle East, possibly giving them passports to a vague United States border security.

To make matters worse, we see, with the help of Venezuela, Cuba and China are now exploring for oil within 50 miles of the coast of the United States, while the Senate blocks a measure to allow us to explore for oil within 100 miles of our own shore. So while China, Cuba, and Venezuela draw oil from our shores, we stand idly by and let them do it to arm against us.

Let's not overlook the role of Russia in working with all of these governments--Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. Last summer, Russia signed an arms deal with Venezuela to the tune of $1 billion. Last month, Russia began deliveries to Iran of highly sophisticated SA-15 anti-aircraft missiles valued at $700 million. The purpose of these missiles? To defend Iran's nuclear program. That shouldn't come as a surprise. Russia has consistently opposed the efforts of the United States to sanction the other enemy, North Korea, for their nuclear programs, and has insisted on diluting the effects of every resolution that was passed condemning North Korea. The Russians claim sanctions don't work. Yet, oddly enough, they just imposed sanctions on their neighbor, Georgia.

Yes, we live in a very complex time and we have enemies who are very dangerous, in which their relationships are growing, and so with it their commensurate power to confront terrorists of the world, and the rest of the world sits and hopes and hopes that we can negotiate our way out of this problem; that since we are people of reason and rational folks, we can deal with them on that level. Have we forgotten our history? We have been in this situation before.

I have titled this address ``The Gathering Storm of the 21st Century.'' It is not a coincidence that I do so in harkening to the book written by Winston Churchill, ``The Gathering Storm,'' talking about the lead-up to World War II. Just like Britain in 1940, after the fall of France, we are engaged with a struggle now with the enemy--alone. Just like Britain in 1940, we entreated the rest of the world to join us against this evil, and the world fell silent. For a year and a half until Pearl Harbor, and actually long after that, since the United States was certainly not prepared for war, Britain fought this battle alone. And with the exception of the State of Israel, we are fighting this battle alone, and I suspect we will for quite some time. So what lesson can we learn? What lesson can we learn from history? What we know is America is very reticent to get involved in wars, and rightfully so. In the First World War, we only entered after a German U-boat sank American civilian and commercial ships in the North Atlantic. World War I was the war to end all wars. After the defeat of the German armies, it seemed as if peace was going to be with us for a long time. But it did not last a generation. As I said, we ended up with the situation in World War II. But even after the fall of Europe to the Nazis and the Italian fascists, America stood by, hoping this problem would go away.
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It was not until Pearl Harbor that things changed.

The Cold War was only after Stalin's aggression in the Middle East in Greece that we decided to engage and recognize that the Soviet Union was not our friend as many thought after World War II but, in fact, our new foe. And now, after the fall of the Soviet Union we thought we would have a peace dividend, peace for a long time, and we find that other forces of evil have cropped up to confront us.

If it were not for the fact of September 11, we would be allowing that to continue today. But we engaged the enemy because they attacked us directly here at home. But now we are growing tired. We are wearying of the battle. I said earlier that these Islamic fascists understand us better than we understand them. They understand our history better than we understand their history. They need not look long to see how quickly America tires of confrontation and conflict and death.
And so they plan and, more importantly, they kill, every day. It is recorded here every day, and support for this war goes down every day. And they check another box in Tehran.
Winston Churchill wrote in ``The Gathering Storm'' a short description of the gathering storm:

How the English-speaking peoples, through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.
We are at such a moment. Are we going to allow the wicked to rearm? We paid a terrible price for waiting. We lock at each war, each major conflict, we paid a terrible price for waiting. In many cases, it was a price paid in America. In many other cases it was a price paid in countries around the world. Are we going to pay that price at some day in the future or are we going to confront this enemy?

If we learned anything from the 20th century, it should be this lesson: When leaders say they are prepared to kill millions of people to achieve their goal, we must take them at their word. The enemy before us that I have described has said it clearly, repeatedly, and pointedly, and even more threateningly, because this is an enemy who doesn't see death as a tragic consequence of the war; they see it as their objective of war.
The ayatollah and the mullahs of Iran have repeatedly said that the object of jihad is not success, it is death. It is reaching the next level. It is ending this miserable life which we have on Earth and in pursuit of jihad, guaranteeing yourself eternal life with Allah.

Here in America, we refuse to recognize, many, that we are at war with this great evil.

We shrink from the recognition of identifying the enemy and confronting them, whether they be the Islamic fascists led by Iran or the socialist rulers of North Korea and Venezuela. We are sleep-walking through the storm, as we have done in the past. We pretend it is not happening or that it is simply because of the incompetency of the current administration or of a member of that administration.

But how do those who deny this evil propose to save us from these people? By negotiating through the U.N. or directly with Iran? By firing Don Rumsfeld, now getting rid of John Bolton? That is going to solve the problem? These people are now going to be nice to us because we removed these people who were agitating them or causing problems? Maybe relocating our troops to Okinawa or Kuwait or some other place will get these people to simply leave us alone? Maybe if we just abandon Iraq and Afghanistan to the chaos and slaughter of Islamic fascists, their thirst for blood will be met? Or maybe it is just engaging in one-on-one discussions with Iran and North Korea and other reasonable dictators?

No, I do not think any of those things will work. And history has proved they have not worked. We need to begin to confront our enemies. And that does not mean we have to launch a military mission into the countries I spoke of. But we have to do more than just adjust tactics in Iraq. If the focus of the next year and a half is simply adjusting tactics within Iraq, it will fail. It will fail. We must go after the regimes that recruit, pay, train, and arm their surrogate militias in Iraq. Again, I am not talking about military confrontation; I am talking about political and economic warfare to bring down the terror regimes in Tehran and their satellite puppet state in Syria. The best way to do that is to work with their own people who want freedom.

I talked about the Iran Freedom and Support Act, but there is much more we need to do. We need to implement it. And we need to use the public diplomacy apparatus we have to motivate and change the hearts and minds. A free Iran will change the world because it will deprive the terrorists of the single greatest source of support and isolate the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-il.

Why is a free Iran and a free Iraq so essential? Because neither the United States of America nor any of our Western allies can defeat radical Islamic fascism on our own. We cannot defeat radical Islamic fascism. The only thing we can do is, through democracy-building and through support of moderate Islam, give those who truly seek the true meaning, the true moderate meaning of Islam the opportunity to be successful in suppressing its radical elements. We have to create that environment, and we have not in Iraq because Iran and Syria have not let us.

I remember reading commentaries from so many people talking about that things went well originally in Iraq. It seems like things were going OK, and then, after a year or so, it really started to turn south. Well, immediately after we were there, the Iranians were scared to death of us and dared not play in that sandbox. But they quickly surmised that we were not serious, that we were not going to confront this evil, so they began what we now see.

We need to counter Hugo Chavez. We need to do more to develop closer relationships with the countries in Central and South America, through trade and through diplomatic negotiations. We must fight for the hearts and minds of Central and South America, and we must do so much more deliberately and aggressively than we have. (Marc:  I just don't see us as being in a position to do this) We have to do more to confront North Korea and its threat. That includes options, particularly missile defense. Finally, we have to confront the root cause of all of this, the root cause being oil.

There is one regret I have of not coming back here. It is--and my colleagues know I can be somewhat single-minded--to focus the attention of this body and this country on energy security. It is lunacy, it is suicidal to continue to allow the energy markets at the levels they are right now given the fact that a vast majority of those energy dollars are going to people who want to kill us and destroy everything we believe in. We can no longer play games with our energy security.
I spent a lot of time talking about this war, and I have fought very hard to pass legislation, both the Syrian Accountability Act and the Iran Freedom and Support Act, that will try to hurt our enemies and strengthen our country. I will do my best, after I leave this place, to continue to confront these enemies and to give the United States the opportunity to succeed in this war.

Osama bin Laden said:

In the final phase of the ongoing struggle, the world of the infidels was divided between two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. Now we--
Understand this.

Now we have defeated and destroyed the more difficult and the more dangerous of the two.

Understand what bin Laden is saying. ``We,'' these Islamic fascists--they claim they defeated the Soviet Union, not Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, not Pope John Paul II, but Islamic fascism, the mujahedin in Afghanistan. History will make a plausible case for this assertion that, in fact, they had a lot to do with defeating the Soviet Union. But he continues with one final sentence:

Dealing with the pampered and effeminate Americans will be easy.

You see, they think they understand us. They think they know how to get to America. Open a paper every day and see what their tactic is. Open a paper every day, turn on a television every day, turn on your radio every day, sign on to the Internet every day and see what their tactic is and see how they believe they will defeat us.

I believe we need strong leadership to confront this greatest enemy that we have. The stakes are high, too high not to join together--Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, American, European--to confront this dangerous enemy. We must stop them.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #105 on: December 13, 2006, 07:29:59 PM »


Winston Churchill, in June of 1940--I will close with this, for my colleagues who have been patiently waiting--Winston Churchill, in 1940, addressed the British people as Britain stood alone:

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.

Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to do our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ``This was their finest hour.''

This is the call of this generation. This is America's hour. This is the hour that we need leadership, Churchillian leadership, who had a keen eye for the enemy and a resolve in spite of the political climate to confront it. I ask my colleagues to stand and make this America's finest hour. I regret that the new Secretary of Defense is not up to the task, in my opinion. I hope others are.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.
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« Reply #106 on: December 14, 2006, 02:12:09 PM »

In a saner, more responsible America, Santorum would still be in office.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #107 on: December 14, 2006, 09:52:03 PM »

Is this the Santorum of which you speak?

Sen. Santorum re:Liberals, "It is an entire culture that focus (sic) on immediate gratification and the pursuit of happiness and personal pleasure. And it is harming America."

The "pursuit of happiness" is one of the "unalienable rights" of people enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. Of course, I may have a different copy than the senator.

RE: Evolution "“For one, biological evolution, the theory that all living things are modified descendants of a common ancestor, relies heavily on the sensitive philosophical belief that evolutionary change can give rise to new species, and can explain the origin of all living things.”

Last time I checked biological evolution was a bit more than a "philosophical belief"

RE: Boston's Priest/Child Sex Scandals" "While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

Cuz it's "liberal" Boston's fault the boys were abused, not the priests, right?

And I'm not even gonna touch his wonderful "man on dog" sex talk.

I think on take a pass on Santorumland
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #108 on: December 21, 2006, 03:47:14 PM »

ISRAEL: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Saudi National Security Council Secretary-General Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Egyptian political adviser Osama el-Baz met secretly for five hours in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in October, Palestinian news agency Maan reported, citing a specialist in Israeli affairs. Leaders at the meeting, which reportedly occurred during Eid al-Adha, discussed cooperation to confront the Iran-Syria axis and their militant group proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

stratfor.com
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #109 on: January 16, 2007, 11:08:58 AM »

The many stripes of anti-Americanism
By Neil Gross
The Boston Globe
Monday, January 15, 2007

Last week, Venezuela swore in for a third term President Hugo Chávez -- a man who routinely denounces U.S. "imperialism" and who referred to President George W. Bush as the devil in a speech before the United Nations. Chávez's reelection caused some commentators here to fret about the so-called "pink tide" of socialism that is sweeping Latin America, from Bolivia to Brazil, but there has been no sense of shock or outrage that a politician spouting fiery anti-American rhetoric could win 63 percent of the votes in his country.

In part, this is because Americans have grown used to the idea that much of the world hates us. Indeed, in the years since Sept. 11, 2001, we have gone from having the world's sympathy to being perceived as the world's bully, denounced on the streets of Caracas, Tehran, Paris, and even London for our unilateralism, aggressive military stance, and free-market economic policies.

But is anti-American sentiment as rampant as it seems? In their new edited volume, "Anti-Americanisms in World Politics" (Cornell University Press), international relations scholars Peter Katzenstein and Robert Keohane bring together a distinguished group of social scientists to consider how much anti-Americanism there is, and whether, in fact, anti-Americanism is any one thing at all.

The plural "anti-Americanisms" in the book's title reveals its core insight: Anti-Americanism is not a single, unitary phenomenon. Instead, Katzenstein and Keohane suggest there are four distinct strains.

The first, liberal anti-Americanism, appears in democracies like France or England. Here opposition to American policies often involves the charge that the United States is being hypocritical by not living up to its professed values and ideals -- values its critics share. When Europeans express outrage over the treatment of prisoners by U.S. military personnel in Guantanamo Bay, or in secret detention centers abroad, these are examples of liberal anti-Americanism. How can a country that says it stands for freedom condone such obvious abuses of human rights?

The second strain, social anti-Americanism, comes from critics of the United States who are staunch supporters of the social welfare state, and thus oppose American economic policy because it promotes laissez-faire ideals and erodes welfare state protections. Social anti-Americanism is at play when Bolivian President Evo Morales, for example, rails against American-led globalization on the grounds that, among other things, it exposes people to the vicissitudes of the market.

More dangerous, according to the editors, are the two remaining strains. Sovereign-nationalist anti-Americanism, which may be found in parts of Latin America and Asia, involves opposition to American geopolitical and cultural dominance on the grounds that they are threats to national identity and strategic interests, as can be seen in Chinese saber-rattling over Taiwan. Radical anti-Americanism, meanwhile, of the kind typically associated with Islamic fundamentalism, holds, according to Katzenstein and Keohane, that "America's identity" must be "transformed, either from within or without."

Too often commentators who have written on anti-Americanism make do with anecdotal evidence: The burning of an American flag, or a chilly electoral climate for politicians who are seen as kowtowing to United States interests, are taken as signs that anti-Americanism is on the rise. By contrast, most contributors to the Katzenstein and Keohane volume rely on quantitative evidence from large-scale social surveys. Two especially noteworthy findings emerge.

First, fewer people around the globe hate the United States than might be imagined. As political scientist Giacomo Chiozza notes in a chapter analyzing data from a survey carried out in 44 countries in 2002, 43 percent of respondents worldwide said they had a "somewhat favorable" view of the United States, and 21 percent said they had a "very favorable" view. To be sure, anti-American sentiment is strong in some countries and regions. In the Middle East, for example, three quarters of respondents had negative views of the United States overall. But in France and Germany, more than 60 percent of respondents had positive views of the United States.

What's more, even where anti-American sentiment is high, people often express appreciation for aspects of American society. While 70 percent of respondents in the Middle East held negative views of the United States war on terror, only about one-quarter said they did not admire the advances made by the United States in science and technology. Similarly, while 57 percent of Egyptians said they disliked American popular culture, a third said they appreciated American ways of doing business. Radical anti-Americanism, encompassing dislike of the United States on all fronts, is rare, and in general there is more dislike for American policies than for the American people.

Second, in most countries, anti-Americanism involves more distrust than outright bias. The distinction is crucial. Where there is distrust, people may be skeptical of US motives and claims, but are open to considering the American point of view. Anti-American bias, by contrast, occurs when policies and actions undertaken by the U.S. government and American corporations are seen as expressions of an unchangeable national identity and character, such that dialogue over disagreements is deemed to have no value.

It is distrust rather than bias that seems to characterize Chinese anti-Americanism, for example. Political scientists Alastair Johnston and Daniela Stockmann, who contributed the China chapter, observe that Chinese "amity" toward the United States is in decline as China asserts itself as a budding superpower. However, Chinese dislike for US economic and cultural power is "still quite distant from the level of hatred and bias" the Chinese direct at Japan and the Japanese.

Likewise in the Middle East, according to political scientist Marc Lynch. Although "America rarely gets the benefit of the doubt with Arab audiences," in countries like Egypt "relations with the United States are openly, intensely debated" -- a fact that suggests anti-American attitudes "have not yet hardened into a rigid, taken-for-granted consensus."

Taken as a whole, the chapters in the book suggest it is not too late to undo some of the damage that has been done to America's global reputation. Gauging the strength of anti-American sentiment around the world, in all its varieties -- and understanding its roots -- is a crucial first step toward reversing it. Dialogue with those who express radical anti-American sentiment and would take up arms against us may not be possible or desirable. With everyone else, it is imperative.
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G M
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« Reply #110 on: January 16, 2007, 04:24:07 PM »

Is this the Santorum of which you speak?

Sen. Santorum re:Liberals, "It is an entire culture that focus (sic) on immediate gratification and the pursuit of happiness and personal pleasure. And it is harming America."

The "pursuit of happiness" is one of the "unalienable rights" of people enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. Of course, I may have a different copy than the senator.

 rolleyes If you'll read the writings of the founding fathers and compare that with the decadent weakness that passes as modern leftist thought you might grasp what Santorum was talking about.**

RE: Evolution "“For one, biological evolution, the theory that all living things are modified descendants of a common ancestor, relies heavily on the sensitive philosophical belief that evolutionary change can give rise to new species, and can explain the origin of all living things.”

Last time I checked biological evolution was a bit more than a "philosophical belief"

**It's a theory. A theory I happen to agree with, but it is a theory as defined by the scientific method.**

RE: Boston's Priest/Child Sex Scandals" "While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."

Cuz it's "liberal" Boston's fault the boys were abused, not the priests, right?

**Anytime a crime is comitted, it's the fault of the criminal. The catholic church was criminal in it's cynical protection of pedophile priests. Having said that, i'm amazed how the post-modern/post-moral left is incapible of condeming anything, unless it's condeming the US, white males, political conservatives, christianity or western civilization.**

And I'm not even gonna touch his wonderful "man on dog" sex talk.

**I missed that talk. Was he "intolerant" of such things? I'm sure was very offensive to liberals and very un-pc. Just another lifestyle choice for the left coast, right?**

I think on take a pass on Santorumland

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buzwardo
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« Reply #111 on: February 20, 2007, 10:39:01 PM »

As some may have noted, it's been a while since I last posted. Have had a lot going on; I'm now a WooFeR, or Wilderness First Responder, an appellation that seems oddly appropriate to hold around here. Run an AR 15 a lot better than I use to, and have a new gig that cuts into my thoughtful keyboard time. Managed to develop a case of pancreatitis, too, an ailment that, if given the option, I highly recommend avoiding.

Bumping heads with some politically correct gibberish, a circle jerk that makes it prudent for me to employ some self censorship. I find the whole thing galling and hence don't be surprised to find me posting under another handle. My new gig also brings some significant challenges my way, so I don't expect to be posting with past regularity.

With all that said, if feels good to be back. What follows is an essay that recently caught my eye.



12 February 2007

A Global Intelligence Briefing for CEOs

The following is an article that is being sent around the internet. I do not know the original source publication, so I will post it here until I find an original source to link to.

This article is discussed in this Evolving Excellence blog post.

-------------------------------------------------------------

What In The World Is Going On?
A Global Intelligence Briefing For CEOs
by Herbert Meyer

Four Major Transformations
The War in Iraq
The Emergence of China
Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization
Restructuring of American Business
Implications of the Four Major Transformations
The War in Iraq
The Emergence of China
Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization
Restructuring of American Business
About Herbert Meyer

Four Major Transformations

Currently, there are four major transformations that are shaping political, economic and world events.  These transformations have profound implications for American business owners, our culture and our way of life.


1. The War in Iraq


There are three major monotheistic religions in the world: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  In the 16th century, Judaism and Christianity reconciled with the modern world.  The rabbis, priests and scholars found a way to settle up and pave the way forward.  Religion remained at the center of life, church and state became separate.  Rule of law, idea of economic liberty, individual rights, human rights - all these are defining points of modern Western civilization.  These concepts started with the Greeks but didn’t take off until the 15th and 16th century when Judaism and Christianity found a way to reconcile with the modern world. When that happened, it unleashed the scientific revolution and the greatest outpouring of art, literature and music the world has ever known.


Islam, which developed in the 7th century, counts millions of Moslems around the world who are normal people.  However, there is a radical streak within Islam.  When the radicals are in charge, Islam attacks Western civilization.  Islam first attacked Western civilization in the 7th century, and later in the 16th and 17th centuries.  By 1683, the Moslems (Turks from the Ottoman Empire) were literally at the gates of Vienna.  It was in Vienna that the climatic battle between Islam and Western civilization took place.  The West won and went forward.  Islam lost and went backward.  Interestingly, the date of that battle was September 11.  Since then, Islam has not found a way to reconcile with the modern world.


Today, terrorism is the third attack on Western civilization by radical Islam.  To deal with terrorism, the U.S. is doing two things.  First, units of our armed forces are in 30 countries around the world hunting down terrorist groups and dealing with them. This gets very little publicity.  Second we are taking military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.  These are covered relentlessly by the media.  People can argue about whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong.  However, the underlying strategy behind the war is to use our military to remove the radicals from power and give the moderates a chance.  Our hope is that, over time, the moderates will find a way to bring Islam forward into the 21st century.  That’s what our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is all about.


The lesson of 9/11 is that we live in a world where a small number of people can kill a large number of people very quickly.  They can use airplanes, bombs, anthrax, chemical weapons or dirty bombs.  Even with a first-rate intelligence service (which the U.S. does not have), you can’t stop every attack.  That means our tolerance for political horseplay has dropped to zero.  No longer will we play games with terrorists or weapons of mass destructions.


Most of the instability and horseplay is coming from the Middle East.  That’s why we have thought that if we could knock out the radicals and give the moderates a chance to hold power, they might find a way to reconcile Islam with the modern world. So when looking at Afghanistan or Iraq, it’s important to look for any signs that they are modernizing.  For example, women being brought into the workforce and colleges in Afghanistan is good.  The Iraqis stumbling toward a constitution is good.  People can argue about what the U.S. is doing and how we’re doing it, but anything that suggests Islam is finding its way forward is good.


2.  The Emergence of China


In the last 20 years, China has moved 250 million people from the farms and villages into the cities. Their plan is to move another 300 million in the next 20 years.  When you put that many people into the cities, you have to find work for them.  That’s why China is addicted to manufacturing; they have to put all the relocated people to work.  When we decide to manufacture something in the U.S., it’s based on market needs and the opportunity to make a profit. In China, they make the decision because they want the jobs, which is a very different calculation.


While China is addicted to manufacturing, Americans are addicted to low prices.  As a result, a unique kind of economic codependency has developed between the two countries.  If we ever stop buying from China, they will explode politically.  If China stops selling to us, our economy will take a huge hit because prices will jump.  We are subsidizing their economic development, they are subsidizing our economic growth.


Because of their huge growth in manufacturing, China is hungry for raw materials, which drives prices up worldwide.  China is also thirsty for oil, which is one reason oil is now at $60 a barrel.  By 2020, China will produce more cars than the U.S.  China is also buying its way into the oil infrastructure around the world.  They are doing it in the open market and paying fair market prices, but millions of barrels of oil that would have gone to the U.S. are now going to China.  China’s quest to assure it has the oil it needs to fuel its economy is a major factor in world politics and economics.  We have our Navy fleets protecting the sea lines, specifically the ability to get the tankers through.  It won’t be long before the Chinese have an aircraft carrier sitting in the Persian Gulf as well.  The question is, will their aircraft carrier be pointing in the same direction as ours or against us?


3. Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization


Most countries in the Western world have stopped breeding.  For a civilization obsessed with sex, this is remarkable.  Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1.  In Western Europe, the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, or 30 percent below replacement.  In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today.  The current birth rate in Germany is 1.3.  Italy and Spain are even lower at 1.2.  At that rate, the working age population declines by 30 percent in 20 years, which has a huge impact on the economy.


When you don’t have young workers to replace the older ones, you have to import them.  The European countries are currently importing Moslems.  Today, the Moslems comprise 10 percent of France and Germany, and the percentage is rising rapidly because they have higher birthrates.  However, the Moslem populations are not being integrated into the cultures of their host countries, which is a political catastrophe.  One reason Germany and France don’t support the Iraq war is they fear their Moslem populations will explode on them.  By 2020, more than half of all births in the Netherlands will be non-European.
The huge design flaw in the post-modern secular state is that you need a traditional religious society birth rate to sustain it.  The Europeans simply don’t wish to have children, so they are dying.


In Japan, the birthrate is 1.3.  As a result, Japan will lose up to 60 million people over the next 30 years. Because Japan has a very different society than Europe, they refuse to import workers.  Instead, they are just shutting down.  Japan has already closed 2000 schools, and is closing them down at the rate of 300 per year.  Japan is also aging very rapidly.  By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be at least 70 years old.  Nobody has any idea about how to run an economy with those demographics.


Europe and Japan, which comprise two of the world’s major economic engines, aren’t merely in recession, they’re shutting down.  This will have a huge impact on the world economy, and it is already beginning to happen.  Why are the birthrates so low?  There is a direct correlation between abandonment of traditional religious society and a drop in birth rate, and Christianity in Europe is becoming irrelevant.  The second reason is economic. When the birth rate drops below replacement, the population ages.  With fewer working people to support more retired people, it puts a crushing tax burden on the smaller group of working age people.  As a result, young people delay marriage and having a family.  Once this trend starts, the downward spiral only gets worse.  These countries have abandoned all the traditions they formerly held in regards to having families and raising children.


The U.S. birth rate is 2.0, just below replacement.  We have an increase in population because of immigration.  When broken down by ethnicity, the Anglo birth rate is 1.6 (same as France) while the Hispanic birth rate is 2.7.  In the U.S., the baby boomers are starting to retire in massive numbers.  This will push the ‘elder dependency’ ratio from 19 to 38 over the next 10 to 15 years.  This is not as bad as Europe, but still represents the same kind of trend.
Western civilization seems to have forgotten what every primitive society understands you need kids to have a healthy society.  Children are huge consumers.  Then they grow up to become taxpayers.  That’s how a society works, but the post-modern secular state seems to have forgotten that.  If U.S. birth rates of the past 20 to 30 years had been the same as post-World War II, there would be no Social Security or Medicare problems.


The world’s most effective birth control device is money.  As society creates a middle class and women move into the workforce, birth rates drop.  Having large families is incompatible with middle class living.  The quickest way to drop the birth rate is through rapid economic development.  After World War II, the U.S. instituted a $600 tax credit per child. The idea was to enable mom and dad to have four children without being troubled by taxes.  This led to a baby boom of 22 million kids, which was a huge consumer market that turned into a huge tax base.  However, to match that incentive in today’s dollars would cost $12,000 per child.


China and India do not have declining populations.  However, in both countries, there is a preference for boys over girls, and we now have the technology to know which is which before they are born.  In China and India, many families are aborting the girls.  As a result, in each of these countries there are 70 million boys growing up who will never find wives.  When left alone, nature produces 103 boys for every 100 girls.  In some provinces, however, the ratio is 128 boys to every 100 girls.


The birth rate in Russia is so low that by 2050 their population will be smaller than that of Yemen.  Russia has one-sixth of the earth’s land surface and much of its oil.  You can’t control that much area with such a small population.  Immediately to the south, you have China with 70 million unmarried men - a real potential nightmare scenario for Russia.


4.  Restructuring of American Business


The fourth major transformation involves a fundamental restructuring of American business.  Today’s business environment is very complex and competitive.  To succeed, you have to be the best, which means having the highest quality and lowest cost.  Whatever your price point, you must have the best quality and lowest price.  To be the best, you have to concentrate on one thing.  You can’t be all things to all people and be the best.


A generation ago, IBM used to make every part of their computer.  Now Intel makes the chips, Microsoft makes the software, and someone else makes the modems, hard drives, monitors, etc.  IBM even outsources their call center.  Because IBM has all these companies supplying goods and services cheaper and better than they could do it themselves, they can make a better computer at a lower cost.  This is called a ‘fracturing’ of business.  When one company can make a better product by relying on others to perform functions the business used to do itself, it creates a complex pyramid of companies that serve and support each other.


This fracturing of American business is now in its second generation.  The companies who supply IBM are now doing the same thing- outsourcing many of their core services and production process.  As a result, they can make cheaper, better products.  Over time, this pyramid continues to get bigger and bigger.  Just when you think it can’t fracture again, it does.  Even very small businesses can have a large pyramid of corporate entities that perform many of its important functions.  One aspect of this trend is that companies end up with fewer employees and more independent contractors.


This trend has also created two new words in business: integrator and complementor.  At the top of the pyramid, IBM is the integrator.  As you go down the pyramid, Microsoft, Intel and the other companies that support IBM are the complementors.  However, each of the complementors is itself an integrator for the complementors underneath it.  This has several implications, the first of which is that we are now getting false readings on the economy.  People who used to be employees are now independent contractors launching their own businesses.  There are many people working whose work is not listed as a job.  As a result, the economy is perking along better than the numbers are telling us.


Outsourcing also confused the numbers.  Suppose a company like General Motors decides to outsource all its employee cafeteria functions to Marriott (which it did).  It lays off hundreds of cafeteria workers, who then get hired right back by Marriott.  The only thing that has changed is that these people work for Marriott rather than GM.  Yet, the headlines will scream that America has lost more manufacturing jobs.  All that really happened is that these workers are now reclassified as service workers.  So the old way of counting jobs contributes to false economic readings.   As yet, we haven’t figured out how to make the numbers catch up with the changing realities of the business world.


Another implication of this massive restructuring is that because companies are getting rid of units and people that used to work for them, the entity is smaller.  As the companies+ get smaller and more efficient, revenues are going down but profits are going up.  As a result, the old notion that ‘revenues are up and we’re doing great’ isn’t always the case anymore.  Companies are getting smaller but are becoming more efficient and profitable in the process.
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buzwardo
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« Reply #112 on: February 20, 2007, 10:39:32 PM »

Implications Of The Four Transformations


1. The War in Iraq


 In some ways, the war is going very well.  Afghanistan and Iraq have the beginnings of a modern government, which is a huge step forward.  The Saudis are starting to talk about some good things, while Egypt and Lebanon are beginning to move in a good direction.


A series of revolutions have taken place in countries like Ukraine and Georgia.  There will be more of these revolutions for an interesting reason.  In every revolution, there comes a point where the dictator turns to the general and says, ‘Fire into the crowd.’  If the general fires into the crowd, it stops the revolution.  If the general says ‘No,’ the revolution is over.  Increasingly, the generals are saying ‘No’ because their kids are in the crowd.


Thanks to TV and the Internet, the average 18-year old outside the U.S. is very savvy about what is going on in the world, especially in terms of popular culture.  There is a huge global consciousness, and young people around the world want to be a part of it.  It is increasingly apparent to them that the miserable government where they live is the only thing standing in their way.  More and more, it is the well-educated kids, the children of the generals and the elite, who are leading the revolutions.


At the same time, not all is well with the war.  The level of violence in Iraq is much worse and doesn’t appear to be improving.  It’s possible that we’re asking too much of Islam all at one time.  We’re trying to jolt them from the 7th century to the 21st century all at once, which may be further than they can go.  They might make it and they might not.  Nobody knows for sure.  The point is, we don’t know how the war will turn out.  Anyone who says they know is just guessing.


The real place to watch is Iran.  If they actually obtain nuclear weapons it will be a terrible situation.  There are two ways to deal with it.  The first is a military strike, which will be very difficult.  The Iranians have dispersed their nuclear development facilities and put them underground.  The U.S. has nuclear weapons that can go under the earth and take out those facilities, but we don’t want to do that. The other way is to separate the radical mullahs from the government, which is the most likely course of action.


Seventy percent of the Iranian population is under 30.  They are Moslem but not Arab.  They are mostly pro-Western.  Many experts think the U.S. should have dealt with Iran before going to war with Iraq.  The problem isn’t so much the weapons, it’s the people who control them.  If Iran has a moderate government, the weapons become less of a concern.


We don’t know if we will win the war in Iraq.  We could lose or win.  What we’re looking for is any indicator that Islam is moving into the 21st century and stabilizing.


2.  China


It may be that pushing 500 million people from farms and villages into cities is too much too soon.  Although it gets almost no publicity, China is experiencing hundreds of demonstrations around the country, which is unprecedented. These are not students in Tiananmen Square.  These are average citizens who are angry with the government for building chemical plants and polluting the water they drink and the air they breathe.


The Chinese are a smart and industrious people.  They may be able to pull it off and become a very successful economic and military superpower.  If so, we will have to learn to live with it.  If they want to share the responsibility of keeping the world’s oil lanes open, that’s a good thing.  They currently have eight new nuclear electric power generators under way and 45 on the books to build.  Soon, they will leave the U.S. way behind in their ability to generate nuclear power.


What can go wrong with China?  For one, you can’t move 550 million people into the cities without major problems.   Two, China really wants Taiwan- not so much for economic reasons, they just want it.  The Chinese know that their system of communism can’t survive much longer in the 21st century.  The last thing they want to do before they morph into some sort of more capitalistic government is to take over Taiwan.


We may wake up one morning and find they have launched an attack on Taiwan.  If so, it will be a mess, both economically and militarily.  The U.S. has committed to the military defense of Taiwan.  If China attacks Taiwan, will we really go to war against them?  If the Chinese generals believe the answer is no, they may attack.  If we don’t defend Taiwan, every treaty the U.S. has will be worthless.  Hopefully, China won’t do anything stupid.


3.  Demographics


Europe and Japan are dying because their populations are aging and shrinking.  These trends can be reversed if the young people start breeding.  However, the birth rates in these areas are so low it will take two generations to turn things around.  No economic model exists that permits 50 years to turn things around.  Some countries are beginning to offer incentives for people to have bigger families.  For example, Italy is offering tax breaks for having children.  However, it’s a lifestyle issue versus a tiny amount of money.  Europeans aren’t willing to give up their comfortable lifestyles in order to have more children.


In general, everyone in Europe just wants it to last a while longer.  Europeans have a real talent for living.  They don’t want to work very hard.  The average European worker gets 400 more hours of vacation time per year than Americans.  They don’t want to work and they don’t want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies.


The summer after 9/11, France lost 15,000 people in a heat wave.  In August, the country basically shuts down when everyone goes on vacation.  That year, a severe heat wave struck and 15,000 elderly people living in nursing homes and hospitals died.  Their children didn’t even leave the beaches to come back and take care of the bodies.   Institutions had to scramble to find enough refrigeration units to hold the bodies until people came to claim them.  
This loss of life was five times bigger than 9/11 in America, yet it didn’t trigger any change in French society.  When birth rates are so low, it creates a tremendous tax burden on the young.  Under those circumstances, keeping mom and dad alive is not an attractive option.  That’s why euthanasia is becoming so popular in most European countries.  The only country that doesn’t permit (and even encourage) euthanasia is Germany, because of all the baggage from World War II.


The European economy is beginning to fracture.  The Euro is down.  Countries like Italy are starting to talk about pulling out of the European Union because it is killing them.  When things get bad economically in Europe, they tend to get very nasty politically.  The canary in the mine is anti-Semitism.  When it goes up, it means trouble is coming.  Current levels of anti-Semitism are higher than ever.  Germany won’t launch another war, but Europe will likely get shabbier, more dangerous and less pleasant to live in.


Japan has a birth rate of 1.3 and has no intention of bringing in immigrants.  By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be 70 years old.  Property values in Japan have dropped every year for the past 14 years.  The country is simply shutting down.


In the U.S. we also have an aging population.  Boomers are starting to retire at a massive rate.  These retirements will have several major impacts:
- Possible massive sell-off of large four-bedroom houses and a movement to condos.


 - An enormous drain on the treasury.  Boomers vote, and they want their benefits, even if it means putting a crushing tax burden on their kids to get them.  Social Security will be a huge problem.  As this generation ages, it will start to drain the system.  We are the only country in the world where there are no age limits on medical procedures.


 - An enormous drain on the health care system.  This will also increase the tax burden on the young, which will cause them to delay marriage and having families, which will drive down the birth rate even further.


Although scary, these demographics also present enormous opportunities for products and services tailored to aging populations.  There will be tremendous demand for caring for older people, especially those who don’t need nursing homes but need some level of care.  Some people will have a business where they take care of three or four people in their homes.  The demand for that type of service and for products to physically care for aging people will be huge.
Make sure the demographics of your business are attuned to where the action is.  For example, you don’t want to be a baby food company in Europe or Japan.  Demographics are much underrated as an indicator of where the opportunities are.  Businesses need customers.  Go where the customers are.


4.  Restructuring of American Business


The restructuring of American business means we are coming to the end of the age of the employer and employee.  With all this fracturing of businesses into different and smaller units, employers can’t guarantee jobs anymore because they don’t know what their companies will look like next year.  Everyone is on their way to becoming an independent contractor.  The new workforce contract will be, ‘Show up at the my office five days a week and do what I want you to do, but you handle your own insurance, benefits, health care and everything else.’


Husbands and wives are becoming economic units.  They take different jobs and work different shifts depending on where they are in their careers and families.  They make tradeoffs to put together a compensation package to take care of the family.  This used to happen only with highly educated professionals with high incomes.  Now it is happening at the level of the factory floor worker.  Couples at all levels are designing their compensation packages based on their individual needs.  The only way this can work is if everything is portable and flexible, which requires a huge shift in the American economy.
The U.S. is in the process of building the world’s first 21st century model economy.  The only other countries doing this are U.K. and Australia.  The model is fast, flexible, highly productive and unstable in that it is always fracturing and re-fracturing.  This will increase the economic gap between the U.S. and everybody else, especially Europe and Japan .


At the same time, the military gap is increasing.  Other than China, we are the only country that is continuing to put money into their military.  Plus, we are the only military getting on-the-ground military experience through our war in Iraq.  We know which high-tech weapons are working and which ones aren’t.  There is almost no one who can take us on economically or militarily.  There has never been a superpower in this position before.


On the one hand, this makes the U.S. a magnet for bright and ambitious people.  It also makes us a target.  We are becoming one of the last holdouts of the traditional Judeo-Christian culture.  There is no better place in the world to be in business and raise children.  The U.S. is by far the best place to have an idea, form a business and put it into the marketplace.  We take it for granted, but it isn’t as available in other countries of the world.


Ultimately, it’s an issue of culture.  The only people who can hurt us are ourselves, by losing our culture.  If we give up our Judeo-Christian culture, we become just like the Europeans.  The culture war is the whole ballgame.  If we lose it, there isn’t another America to pull us out.
 ------------------------------

About Herbert Meyer


Herbert Meyer served during the Reagan administration as special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council.  In these positions, he managed production of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret projections for the President and his national security advisers.  Meyer is widely credited with being the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Unions collapse, for which he later was awarded the U.S. National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the intelligence community's highest honor.  Formerly an associate editor of FORTUNE, he is alsothe author of several books.



http://www.evolvingexcellence.com/globalintelligence.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #113 on: February 21, 2007, 11:24:49 AM »

Woof Buzwardo:

Good to have you with us again!

That was a quality read-- I have been spreading it forward from here.

Marc
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #114 on: March 21, 2007, 01:06:40 AM »

Yet another fine read from Stratfor.com
==========

Geopolitics and the U.S. Spoiling Attack
By George Friedman

The United States has now spent four years fighting in Iraq. Those who planned the conflict never expected this outcome. Indeed, it could be argued that this outcome represents not only miscalculation but also a strategic defeat for the United States. The best that can be said about the war at the moment is that it is a strategic stalemate, which is an undesired outcome for the Americans. The worst that can be said is that the United States has failed to meet its strategic objectives and that failure represents defeat.

In considering the situation, our attention is drawn to a strange paradox that has been manifest in American foreign policy since World War II. On the one hand, the United States has consistently encountered strategic stalemate or defeat in particular politico-military operations. At those times, the outcomes have appeared to be disappointing if not catastrophic. Yet, over the same period of time, U.S. global power, on the whole, has surged. In spite of stalemate and defeat during the Cold War, the United States was more in 2000 than it had been in 1950.

Consider these examples from history:

Korea: Having defeated the North Korean army, U.S. forces were attacked by China. The result was a bloody stalemate, followed by a partition that essentially restored the status quo ante -- thus imposing an extended stalemate.


Cuba: After a pro-Soviet government was created well within the security cordon of the United States, Washington used overt and covert means to destroy the Castro regime. All attempts failed, and the Castro government remains in place nearly half a century later.


Vietnam: the United States fought an extended war in Vietnam, designed to contain the expansion of Communism in Indochina. The United States failed to achieve its objectives -- despite massive infusions of force -- and North Vietnam established hegemony over the region.


Iran: The U.S. containment policy required it to have a cordon of allies around the Soviet Union. Iran was a key link, blocking Soviet access to the Persian Gulf. The U.S. expulsion from Iran following the Islamic Revolution represented a major strategic reversal.


Iraq: In this context, Iraq appears to represent another strategic reversal -- with U.S. ambitions at least blocked, and possibly defeated, after a major investment of effort and prestige.


Look at it this way. On a pretty arbitrary scale -- between Korea (1950-53), Cuba (1960-63), Vietnam (1963-75), Iran (1979-1981) and Iraq (2003-present) -- the United States has spent about 27 of the last 55 years engaged in politico-military maneuvers that, at the very least, did not bring obvious success, and frequently brought disaster. Yet, in spite of these disasters, the long-term tendency of American power relative to the rest of the world has been favorable to the United States. This general paradox must be explained. And in the course of explanation, some understandings of the Iraq campaign, seen in a broader context, might emerge.

Schools of Thought

There are three general explanations for this paradox:

1. U.S. power does not rest on these politico-military involvements but derives from other factors, such as economic power. Therefore, the fact that the United States has consistently failed in major conflicts is an argument that these conflicts should not have been fought -- that they were not relevant to the emergence of American power. The U.S. preoccupation with politico-military conflict has been an exercise in the irrelevant that has slowed, but has not derailed, expansion of American power. Applying this logic, it would be argued that the Soviet Union would have collapsed anyway under its own weight -- as will the Islamic world -- and that U.S. interventions are pointless.

2. The United States has been extraordinarily fortunate that, despite its inability to use politico-military power effectively and its being drawn consistently into stalemate or defeat, exogenous forces have saved the United States from its own weakness. In the long run, this good fortune should not be viewed as strategy, but as disaster waiting to happen.

3. The wars mentioned previously were never as significant as they appeared to be -- public sentiment and government rhetoric notwithstanding. These conflicts drew on only a small fraction of potential U.S. power, and they always were seen as peripheral to fundamental national interests. The more important dimension of U.S. foreign policy was statecraft that shifted the burden of potential warfare from the United States to its allies. So, regardless of these examples, the core strategic issue for the United States was its alliances and ententes with states like Germany and China. Applying this logic, it follows that the wars themselves were -- practically speaking -- insignificant episodes, that stalemate and defeat were trivial and that, except for the domestic political obsession, none were of fundamental importance to the United States.

Put somewhat differently, there is the liberal view that the Soviet Union was not defeated by the United States in the Cold War, but that it collapsed itself, and the military conflicts of the Cold War were unnecessary. There is the conservative view that the United States won the Cold War in spite of a fundamental flaw in the American character -- an unwillingness to bear the burden of war -- and that this flaw ultimately will prove disastrous for the United States. Finally, there is the non-ideological, non-political view that the United States won the Cold War in spite of defeats and stalemates because these wars were never as important as either the liberals or conservatives made them out to be, however necessary they might have been seen to be at the time.

If we apply these analyses to Iraq, three schools of thought emerge. The first says that the Iraq war is unnecessary and even harmful in the context of the U.S.-jihadist confrontation -- and that, regardless of outcome, it should not be fought. The second says that the war is essential -- and that, while defeat or stalemate in this conflict perhaps would not be catastrophic to the United States, there is a possibility that it would be catastrophic. And at any rate, this argument continues, the United States' ongoing inability to impose its will in conflicts of this class ultimately will destroy it. Finally, there is the view that Iraq is simply a small piece of a bigger war and that the outcome of this particular conflict will not be decisive, although the war might be necessary. The heated rhetoric surrounding the Iraq conflict stems from the traditional American inability to hold things in perspective.

There is a reasonable case to be made for any of these three views. Any Stratfor reader knows that our sympathies gravitate toward the third view. However, that view makes no sense unless it is expanded. It must also take into consideration the view that the Soviet Union's fall was hardwired into history regardless of U.S. politico-military action, along with the notion that a consistent willingness to accept stalemate and defeat represents a significant threat to the United States in the long term.

Resource Commitments and Implications

Let's begin with something that is obviously true. When we consider Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran and even Iraq, it is clear that the United States devoted only a tiny fraction of the military power it could have brought to bear if it wished. By this, we mean that in none of these cases was there a general American mobilization, at no point was U.S. industry converted to a wartime footing, at no point were nuclear weapons used to force enemy defeat. The proportion of force brought to bear, relative to capabilities demonstrated in conflicts such as World War II, was minimal.

If there were fundamental issues at stake involving national security, the United States did not act as though that was the case. What is most remarkable about these conflicts was the extreme restraint shown -- both in committing forces and in employing available forces. The conservative critique of U.S. foreign policy revolves around the tendency of the American leadership and public to recoil at the idea of extended conflict. But this recoil is not a response to extended war. Rather, by severely limiting the force available from the outset, the United States has, unintentionally, designed its wars to be extended. From this derives the conservative view that the United States engages in warfare without intending victory.

In each of these cases, the behavior of the United States implied that there were important national security issues at stake, but measured in terms of the resources provided, these national security issues were not of the first order. The United States certainly has shown an ability to mount full-bore politico-military operations in the past: In World War II, it provided sufficient resources to invade Europe and the Japanese empire simultaneously. But in all of the cases we have cited, the United States provided limited resources -- and in some cases, only covert or political resources. Clearly, it was prepared on some level to accept stalemate and defeat.

Even in cases where the enemy was engaged fully, the United States limited its commitment of resources. In Vietnam, for example, the defeat of North Vietnam and regime change were explicitly ruled out. The United States had as its explicit goal a stalemate, in which both South and North Vietnam survived as independent states. In Korea, the United States shifted to a stalemate strategy after the Chinese intervention. So too in Cuba after the Cuban missile crisis; and in Iran, the United States accepted defeat in an apparently critical arena without attempting a major intervention. In each instance, the mark of U.S. intervention was limited exposure -- even at the cost of stalemate or defeat.

In other words, the United States consistently has entered into conflicts in which its level of commitment was extremely limited, in which either victory was not the strategic goal or the mission eventually was redefined to accept stalemate, and in which even defeat was deemed preferable to a level of effort that might avert it. Public discussion on all sides was apoplectic both during these conflicts and afterward, yet American global power was not materially affected in the long run.

The Spoiling Attack

This appears to make no sense until we introduce a military concept into the analysis: the spoiling attack. The spoiling attack is an offensive operation; however, its goal is not to defeat the enemy but to disrupt enemy offensives -- to, in effect, prevent a defeat by the enemy. The success of the spoiling attack is not measured in term of enemy capitulation, but the degree to which it has forestalled successful enemy operations.

The concept of a spoiling attack is intimately bound up with the principle of economy of force. Military power, like all power, is finite. It must be husbanded. Even in a war in which no resources are spared, some operations do not justify a significant expenditure. Some attacks are always designed to succeed by failing. More precisely, the resources devoted to those operations are sufficient to disrupt enemy plans, to delay an enemy offensive, or to create an opportunity for political disruption of the enemy, rather than to defeat the enemy. For those tasked with carrying out the spoiling attack, it appears that they are being wasted in a hopeless effort. For those with a broader strategic or geopolitical perspective, it appears to be the proper application of the "economy of force" principle.

If we consider the examples cited above and apply the twin concepts of the spoiling attack and economy of force, then the conversion of American defeats into increased U.S. global power no longer appears quite as paradoxical. In Korea, spoiling Communist goals created breathing space elsewhere for the United States, and increased tension levels between China and Russia. A stalemate achieved outcomes as satisfactory to Washington as taking North Korea would have been. In Cuba, containing Fidel Castro was, relative to cost, as useful as destroying him. What he did in Cuba itself was less important to Washington than that he should not be an effective player in Latin America. In Vietnam, frustrating the North's strategic goals for a decade allowed the Sino-Soviet dispute to ripen, thus opening the door for Sino-U.S. entente even before the war ended. The U.S. interest in Iran, of course, rested with its utility as a buffer to the Soviets. Being ousted from Iran mattered only if the Iranians capitulated to the Soviets. Absent that, Iran's internal politics were of little interest to the United States.

If we apply the twin concepts to Iraq, it is possible to understand the reasons behind the size of the force deployed (which, while significant, still is limited relative to the full range of options brought to bear in World War II) and the obvious willingness of the Bush administration to court military disaster. The invasion four years ago has led to the Sunnis and Shia turning against each other in direct conflict. Therefore, it could be argued that just as the United States won the Cold War by exploiting the Sino-Soviet split and allying with Mao Zedong, so too the path to defeating the jihadists is not a main attack, but a spoiling attack that turns Sunnis and Shia against each other. This was certainly not the intent of the Bush administration in planning the 2003 invasion; it has become, nevertheless, an unintended and significant outcome.

Moreover, it is far from clear whether U.S. policymakers through history have been aware of this dimension in their operations. In considering Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Iran, it is never clear that the Truman, Kennedy, Johnson/Nixon or Carter/Reagan administrations purposely set out to implement a spoiling attack. The fog of political rhetoric and the bureaucratized nature of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus make it difficult to speak of U.S. "strategy" as such. Every deputy assistant secretary of something-or-other confuses his little piece of things with the whole, and the American culture demonizes and deifies without clarifying.

However, there is a deep structure in U.S. foreign policy that becomes visible. The incongruities of stalemate and defeat on the one side and growing U.S. power on the other must be reconciled. The liberal and conservative arguments explain things only partially. But the idea that the United States rarely fights to win can be explained. It is not because of a lack of moral fiber, as conservatives would argue; nor a random and needless belligerence, as liberals would argue. Rather, it is the application of the principle of spoiling operations -- using limited resources not in order to defeat the enemy but to disrupt and confuse enemy operations.

As with the invisible hand in economics, businessmen pursue immediate ends without necessarily being aware of how they contribute to the wealth of nations. So too, politicians pursue immediate ends without necessarily being aware of how they contribute to national power. Some are clearer in their thinking than others, perhaps, or possibly all presidents are crystal-clear on what they are doing in these matters. We do not dine with the great.

But there is an underlying order to U.S. foreign policy that makes the apparent chaos of policymaking understandable and rational.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #115 on: March 22, 2007, 11:57:29 PM »

That was an extremely insightful analysis by Stratfor regarding Geopolitics and the U.S. Spoiling Attack.  Thanks for bringing us posts like that Crafty.  They certainly take a long view.  Agree or disagree, they offer insight and analysis that I don't find elsewhere.

I think they hit the Vietnam context right on the money.  From a US war point of view it was a failure.  From a south vietnamese view it was a failure.  There was unbelievable loss of life.  But it was a unique battle in a larger fight against global communist expansionism.  The losses hurt us but the struggles like Vietnam along the way slowed down the expansionism.  We gave up officially in the 1970s and the surrender was a failure.  Millions more died or fled.  But by the end of the 1980s China was capitalistic(somewhat) and the Soviet empire collapsed.  The efforts to oppose or slow down their expansion by the U.S. played a role.

The need to topple Saddam Hussein was intuitive and hard to put to words.  The official justifications were clumsy, such as the marketing focus on WMD and the 23 reasons contained in the congressional joint resolution authorizing use of military force in Iraq.  Those were symptoms or examples of the need, not true articulation of the problem or the solution. 

I think it was Rick Neaton on another board who explained it in simple terms I could understand.  We toppled Saddam as part of a policy aimed at of preventing something we call the next 9/11.  We were not prosecuting Iraq for their affiliation with al Qaida or retaliating for the 2001 attack which they did not plan or carry out.  We found and used justifications to stop a declared enemy from playing a part in the next attack on the US.  We were stopping, delaying or spoiling the possibility of a militant islamic superstate from getting a foothold and combining resources against their common enemy.

As I understand the Stratfor analysis, the result in Iraq, like Vietnam, might be ugly, but a few important things were accomplished.  The central enemy, a stateless force of al Qaida and miltant Islam, is not finding safety, sanctuary, financing or weapons for the next attack.  Meanwhile American forces happen to be trapped in the heart of the islamic world and the middle east, not just with our guns, but with our eyes, ears, cameras, listening devices and the miltants we capture for interrogation, calling lists etc. That is not all bad.  In the end and especially if and when America leave, a different balance of power will emerge and we will have had quite a large opportunity to impact with timing and force just how that new balance evolves.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #116 on: March 23, 2007, 12:09:13 AM »

Doug:

I agree about Stratfor and recently became a Lifetime Subscriber.  I had been "grandfathered" at a early subscriber rate for the longest time-- which was rather gracious of them-- but was given to understand that it would be coming to an end.  So when a really good price for a LS was offered, I took it.  A tidy chunk of change it was, but given the quality of their work for some years now I decided to take the chance.  I think in a few years I will be feeling pretty smug about my decision.

I remember the discussions we had on OP in which Rick Neaton figured so prominently.  I've been trying to lure him here, so far with no luck.  I always found him to be:

1) a remarkably well-informed man about the middle east, not only in the recent past but across the flow of decades and
2) quite thoughtful and insightful about it all.

(We exchange emails from time to time, mostly on the stock market.  He still follows the Gilder thing, and thinks LNOP is going to be a big one.  On this basis alone I have taken a position in LNOP.)

Thomas Friedman who has a higher opinion of himself than I do of him, recently suggested that Pelosi is useful to Bush and Petraeus in that she and her howling horde serve the purpose of allowing Petraeus to put the heat on getting factions to work together and produce results lest the Dems get the upper hand and force us into bellicus interruptus.
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rickn
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« Reply #117 on: March 23, 2007, 05:56:44 AM »

Hey guys, I do lurk here frequently.

I think the spoiling attack reasoning is a rather lame excuse.  Basically, Stratfor says that the US lucks into longer term good results even though it loses these short term battles/wars.

Iraq was designed to be a winning attack and a defeat to one state sponsor of terrorists.  Also, it was designed to be a geo-political thorn in the sides of the other troublesome nations of that region.  IMO, problems began with the public justifications for this war when Bush decided to use the UN.  Instead of being able to publicly define the war in terms of US national interests, the war had to be defined in terms of UN interests.  The only UN justification for toppling Saddam was the WMD's.  None of the prior UN Security Council resolutions really dealt with Saddam and terrorists even though he had long been a major state sponsor of many terror groups and had also offered safe havens for many other terrorists.

Thus, because of the emphasis upon the UN and WMD's, the US entered this war with the public expectation that we were toppling Saddam to gain control of large stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.  You can recall the early media coverage of the war.  Any time the US approached what was thought to be a large WMD cache or factory, the media became all excited.  There, at last, was the ethical justification for toppling Saddam.  All of this went for naught because Saddam either had never replenished his chemical supplies from the Iran-Iraq war or he had already hidden them.  In either case, the absence of the WMD's undercut the credibility of the Bush Administration and tainted all of its other judgments about the war, the war on terror and, now, its entire administration.

Because we opted for the UN, the US was never able to emphasize the relationship of Saddam to the war on terror.  Bush elected not to emphasize the connections between Iraq and the 1993 WTC bombing.  He never emphasized the apparent close coordination in 1998 between Iraq's IIS and al Qaida before the embassy bombings.  The axis of evil came and went from the State of the Union, even more misunderstood and distorted by Bush political opponents than the famous 16 words that led to the Plame fiasco.

Iraq is not a spoiling attack.  It is a pre-emptive war.  Bush announced that doctrine on 1 June 2002 at that year's West Point graduation.  It was/is designed to draw and divert AQ resources away from the continental US and focus them on the US military in Iraq.  It ingeniously played upon the weakness of jihadi masculinity and their need to save face.

Iraq was also a pre-emptive strike against Iran.  Since 1979, Iran has been the leading state sponsor of terrorism in that region.  By transforming Iraq after we invaded Afghanistan, the US has geographically isolated Iran.  That is why Iran's little President continues to squeal like a pig and is actively seeking nukes.

However, since we used the UN justifications instead of our national interest, the US was pre-empted from accurately explaining to the public its own national security justifications for overthrowing Saddam.  The irony of being pre-empted from properly explaining a pre-emptive war should not be lost on anyone.
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G M
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« Reply #118 on: March 23, 2007, 07:51:38 AM »

I read the stratfor article and thought "Ok, i'm glad there is a method behind the madness". Reading what Rickn wrote i'm going to have to go with Rick's assessment.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #119 on: March 23, 2007, 10:33:25 AM »

I too find Rick's analysis quite strong.  I think he is correct.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #120 on: April 04, 2007, 11:23:06 AM »

OPINIONJOURNAL FEDERATION

Cold War II
What Islamist Iran has in common with the Soviet Union.

BY DAVID HAZONY
Wednesday, April 4, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

A new Cold War is upon us. Though there is no Soviet Union today, the enemies of Western democracy, supported by a conglomerate of Islamic states, terror groups and insurgents, have begun to work together with a unity of purpose reminiscent of the Soviet menace: not only in funding, training and arming those who seek democracy's demise; not only in mounting attacks against Israel, America and their allies around the world; not only in seeking technological advances that will enable them to threaten the life of every Western citizen; but also in advancing a clear vision of a permanent, intractable and ultimately victorious struggle against the West--an idea they convey articulately, consistently and with brutal efficiency.

It is this conceptual strategic clarity that gives the West's enemies a leg up, even if they are far inferior in number, wealth, and weaponry. From Tehran to Tyre, from Chechnya to the Philippines, from southern Iraq to the Afghan mountains to the madrassas of London and Paris and Cairo, these forces are unified in their aim to defeat the West, its way of life, its political forms and its cause of freedom. And every day, because of this clarity, their power and resources grow, as they attract allies outside the Islamic world: In Venezuela, in South Africa, in North Korea.

At the center of all this, of course, is Iran. A once-friendly state has embarked on an unflinching campaign, at considerable cost to its own economy, to attain the status of a global power: through the massive infusion of money, matériel, training and personnel to the anti-Western forces in Lebanon (Hezbollah), the Palestinian Authority (Hamas and Islamic Jihad), and the Sunni and Shi'ite insurgencies of Iraq; through its relentless pursuit of nuclear arms, long-range missiles and a space program; through its outsized armed forces and huge stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons; through its diplomatic initiatives around the world; and through its ideological battle against democracy, Zionism and the memory of the Holocaust. For the forces of Islamic extremism and political jihad, Iran has become the cutting edge of clarity.


 

The West, on the other hand, enjoys no such clarity. In America, Iraq has become the overriding concern, widely seen as a Vietnam-style "quagmire" claiming thousands of American lives with no clear way either to win or to lose. (As the bells of the 2006 congressional elections continue tolling in American ears, it is hard to hear the muezzins of the Middle East calling upon the faithful to capitalize on Western malaise.) Europeans continue to seek "diplomatic solutions" even as they contend with powerful and well-funded Islamists in their midst and their friends among the media and intellectual elites--forces that stir public opinion not against Iran and Syria, who seek their destruction, but against their natural allies, America and Israel.
Throughout the West we now hear increasingly that a nuclear Iran is something one has to "learn to live with," that Iraq needs an "exit strategy," and that the real key to peace lies not in victory but in brokering agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and "engaging" Syria and Iran. The Israelis, too, suffer from a lack of clarity: By separating the Palestinian question from the struggle with Hezbollah and Iran, and by shifting the debate back to territorial concession and prisoner exchange, Israelis incentivize aggression and terror, ignore the role Hamas plays in the broader conflict, and send conciliatory signals to the Syrians. Like the Americans with Iraq, Israelis have allowed themselves to lose sight of who their enemies are, how determined they are, and what will be required to defeat them.

The greatest dangers to the West and Israel, therefore, lie not in armaments or battle plans, but in our thinking. Like World War II and the Cold War, this conflict cannot be won without first achieving clarity of purpose. Even the most urgently needed actions, such as stopping the Iranian nuclear effort, require leaders who understand the nature of the threat and have sufficient public support to enable them to act decisively. To achieve this, however, requires a major, immediate investment in the realm of ideas--a battle for understanding that must be won before the battle for freedom can be effectively engaged.

Israel, in particular, has a pivotal role to play. As the frontline state in the conflict, and the lightning rod of Islamist aggression, it is to Israel that the world looks to see how it will respond. From its birth, Israel has served as a model to the West: in deepening its democratic character while fighting a series of wars; in fighting terror effectively, from the defeat of the PLO in the early 1970s in Gaza, to the Entebbe raid in 1976, through Operation Defensive Shield in 2002; and striking pre-emptively against enemies who combined genocidal rhetoric with the acquisition of sophisticated weapons, as with Egypt and Syria in 1967, and Iraq in 1981.

Israel can again serve as a model of a state proud of its heritage, a democracy that knows how to fight against its tyrannical foes without sacrificing its own character. But to do this will require that Israel, too, disperse the conceptual fog in which it has been operating, recognize the strategic costs of ambiguous outcomes such as with the Lebanon war last summer, and adopt a clear and coherent vision and plan of action. If the West is to act decisively and with clarity, it may need Israel to show the way.


 

What would such a struggle look like? We should not fear to call this conflict by its name: It is the Second Cold War, with Iran as the approximate counterpart of the Soviet Union. Like the U.S.S.R., Iran is an enemy that even the mighty United States will probably never meet in full force on the battlefield and instead must fight via its proxies, wherever they are found. Like the Soviet Union, the ayatollahs' regime is based on an ideological revolution that repudiates human liberty and subjects its political opponents to imprisonment and death, a regime which, in order to maintain its popular support, must continue to foment similar revolutions everywhere it can, to show that it is on the winning side of history. And like the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the Iranian regime today has two clear weaknesses, which could ultimately spell its downfall: economic stagnation and ideological disaffection.
With unemployment and inflation both deep in double digits, an increasing structural dependence on oil revenue, a negligible amount of direct foreign investment, and a stock market that has declined over 30% since the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's heavy investment in other people's wars and its own weapons and terrorist groups must in the end exact a price in terms of support for the regime. Today, moreover, the great majority of Iranians do not identify with the government's Islamist ideology, and among young people the regime is widely derided.

Is it possible to bring about the fall of revolutionary Iran? Despite the obvious differences, there is a great deal the West can learn from the way victory was found in the first Cold War. Led by the United States, Western countries in the 1980s mounted a campaign on a wide range of fronts--military, technological, diplomatic, public relations and covert operations--to convince the Soviet elites that their regime was failing at every turn, and was headed for collapse. By deliberately escalating the arms race and through trade sanctions on the Soviets, America increased the pressure on the Soviet economy. By supporting dissident groups, sending radio transmissions into the Soviet Empire, and making dramatic pronouncements such as Ronald Reagan's famous Berlin Wall speech in 1987, the West emboldened the regime's internal opponents. And by supporting anticommunist forces around the world, from Latin America to Africa to Western Europe to Afghanistan, the West halted the expansion of the communist bloc and even began to roll it back. In all cases the goal was the same: to make it clear to the ranks of Soviet elites, upon whom the regime's legitimacy continued to depend, that they were on the wrong side of history.

When taken in combination with the Soviet Union's failing economy and widespread ideological disaffection among the populace--much as we see in Iran today--it was possible for the West's multifront strategy to bring about the downfall of what was, during the time of Jimmy Carter, believed to be an unstoppable, expanding historical juggernaut for whom the best the West could hope was "containment" and "détente." Its vast nuclear arsenals, its pretensions to global dominance, its coherent world-historical ideology--none of these could protect it against the determined, united efforts of the free world. But it required, above all, a spiritual shift of momentum which began at home: A belief that victory was possible, that the Soviet Union was impermanent, and that concerted effort could change history. It required a new clarity of purpose.


 

By most measures, Iran is an easier mark than the Soviet Union. It does not yet have nuclear weapons or ICBMs; its Islamist ideology has less of a universal appeal; its tools of thought control are vastly inferior to the gulag and the KGB; and its revolution is not old enough to have obliterated the memory of better days for much of its population. In theory at least, it should be much easier for the West to mount a similar campaign of relentless pressure on the regime--from fomenting dissent online, to destabilizing the regime through insurgent groups inside Iran, to destroying the Iranian nuclear project, to ever-deeper economic sanctions, to fighting and winning the proxy wars that Iran has continued to wage--in order to effect the kind of change of momentum needed to enable the Iranian people to bring their own regime down the way the peoples under communism did in the 1980s and 1990s.
Yet it is precisely because of the ayatollahs' apparent frailty that the West has failed to notice the similarities between this menace and the Soviet one a generation ago. For despite their weakness on paper, the forces of jihad are arrayed in full battle armor, and are prepared to fight to the end. What they lack in technological and industrial sophistication, they more than make up for in charisma, public-relations acumen, determination, ideological coherence and suicidal spirit. Above all, they possess a certainty, a clarity and a will to sacrifice that will greatly increase their chances of victory, and of continued expansion, until they are met with an equally determined enemy.

The fall of the Iranian regime will not end the global jihad. Beyond the messianic Shiite movement, there is still a world of Sunni and Wahhabi revolutionaries, from al Qaeda to Hamas, determined to make war on the West even without Iran's help--just as anti-American communism did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union. Yet there can be no question that today, it is Iran that has earned the greatest admiration, given the global jihad its greatest source of hope and funds, and racked up the most impressive victories, taking on the West and its allies throughout the Middle East--and especially in Iraq, where its proxy insurgencies have frustrated American efforts and even brought about a shift in the internal politics of the United States. Iran is not the only foe, but it is the leader among them. It is only through Iran's defeat that the tide of the Second Cold War will be turned.

Mr. Hazony is editor in chief of Azure, in whose Spring issue this article appears.


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SB_Mig
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« Reply #121 on: April 11, 2007, 10:30:02 AM »

Two questions I would pose:

1) Seeing as we are heading into a political quagmire here in the States (Dems controlling votes, but completely inefficient at governing and Repubs too concerned about saving face/the Presidential election to think about much else), are there any viable political options for the situation in Iraq the Middle East at this point?

2) Is there a solution besides turning that part of the world into a glass factory or complete withdrawal of US forces with which the American public would be satisfied? And if so, who would be able to push that solution forward?
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ccp
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« Reply #122 on: April 29, 2007, 04:29:28 PM »

Well, I recall George Will pointing out around 1990 or so how George Herbert Bush's seeking the World's approval before forcing Hussain out of Kuait was a dangerous precendent that would forever leave the US impotent to act without the tacit approval of the"World". 

So now the US is not supposed to act without the UN's approval.  We can thank Bush senior for that precedent which was gloriously promoted for the next eight years by the greatest con artist of our generation.  Even our enemies welcomed this. Gee, I wonder why that would be. rolleyes

As for SB's second question I have not read about any alternative posed by anyone that is satisfactory. 

This all said I am not sure WW3 is going to be West vs radical Islam anyway, and not West vs. China.

     
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #123 on: May 03, 2007, 10:19:08 AM »

Good questions SB Mig.

This analysis from Stratfor I think does a good job of showing just how complicated all this is.
===============

The Iraq Security Conference: Hanging a Deal on Faulty Assumptions
By Kamran Bokhari

After weeks of playing hard to get, Iran announced April 29 that Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will attend the May 3-4 conference in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, where Iraq's neighboring states and major world powers will explore ways to stabilize Iraq. The same day, Iranian national security chief Ali Larijani traveled to Baghdad on a surprise three-day visit apparently aimed at discussing security and the upcoming conference with Iraqi officials.

The United States welcomed Iran's decision to attend the conference, calling it a "positive" development. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hinted before Iran's announcement at the possibility of meeting directly with Mottaki on the sidelines of the conference. President George W. Bush later explained that Rice and Mottaki could engage in bilateral talks within the context of the multilateral event, though he ruled out separate public-level talks between Tehran and Washington. Things still could go wrong before May 3, and Mottaki could decide against attending the conference, but for now it looks like he will show up. Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Mostafavi said May 1 that, while Iran is ready to hold "discussions" with the United States, the conditions are not appropriate for negotiations.

The potential open engagement between the United States and Iran at the foreign ministry level would be the culmination of back-channel negotiations that started even before the United States led the invasion of Iraq. In other words, the Bush administration -- long after having scrapped its original deal with Tehran on the makeup of a post-war Iraqi government -- has reached a preliminary understanding with Iran's clerical regime on how the two sides will proceed with regard to stabilizing Iraq in the wake of the unexpected Sunni insurgency, the subsequent sectarian war and the involvement of Arab Sunni states in the fray.

The Sharm el-Sheikh conference, then, represents the launch of the formal process of hammering out a complex, multi-party deal to piece together the Humpty Dumpty that is Iraq.

The U.S.-Iranian back-channel talks were never going to result in a deal on how to divide Iraq; rather, they were a way for Washington and Tehran to work out their respective concerns about a future post-Baathist Iraq before taking the problem to the wider forum. The back-channel talks, which provide the context for the multilateral conference, will continue -- though the real deal will likely emerge from this wider forum.

Throughout the years of behind-the-scenes talks, the two sides have been unable to reach an understanding that balances the concerns of both with regard to Iraq's future. Iran does not want an Iraq with close ties to the United States -- one that threatens Iranian national security and Tehran's regional aspirations. Conversely, the United States does not want to see an Iraq dominated by Iran -- a situation that would allow Tehran to threaten the Arab states in the Persian Gulf/Arabian Peninsula, and thus U.S. regional interests. Moreover, the involvement of Sunni Arab states that feel threatened by the rise of Iran and its Shiite Arab allies has further complicated U.S.-Iranian dealings. Saudi Arabia, which has emerged as the leader of the Arab world, has been spearheading the move to counter Iran.

Complications aside, the Saudi efforts to insert themselves into the equation have given Washington a tool with which to counter Iranian moves. In fact, just as the Bush administration has used the Iraqi Sunni card to rein in the country's Shia (Washington has signaled to the Shia that it is willing to cut deals with the Sunnis, especially the Baathists), it has leveraged its alignment with the Arab states to contain the Iranians. While the United States needs Iranian cooperation to stabilize Iraq, the Iranians also need the United States to ensure that the Arab states and their Iraqi Sunni allies will not threaten Iranian interests.

The upcoming conference, therefore, is immensely important to all sides. The meeting represents a formal acknowledgement by all parties of the sphere of influence the Iranians and the Saudis will have in Iraq. Both Riyadh and Tehran want assurances that each other's respective proxies -- the Shiite militias and the Sunni insurgents -- will be restrained from creating security issues for them. In recent weeks, the Iranians have demonstrated they can get Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, the Mehdi Army, to more or less go along with the security plan. On the other hand, the Saudi announcement of the arrests of jihadist militants and the seizure of large sums of cash and weapons was meant as a reciprocating message that Riyadh, too, can rein in the jihadists who threaten the Shia -- and, by extension, the Iranian position in Iraq.

The general understanding has been that a U.S.-Saudi-Iranian deal could help stabilize Iraq -- the assumption being that Riyadh and Tehran have the ability to rein in their respective militias and insurgents in Iraq. Although ending the violence is beyond either country's ability, the Saudis and the Iranians are letting on that they can contain their fighters -- for a price. The Saudis want to ensure that Iraq's Sunni community has a sufficient share of the political pie in Baghdad so that, even with Shiite domination of the Iraqi state, the Iranians could not use Iraq as a military springboard into the Arabian Peninsula. For their part, the Iranians want assurances that the Sunni minority in Iraq never again will be in a position to threaten Iran's national security. More than that, however, the Islamic republic would like to be able to use its influence to pull strings within the Iraqi Shiite-dominated government.

This is the dilemma that faces the United States and the Sunni Arab states. They want to figure out how to acknowledge Iranian influence in Iraq's affairs, but still prevent Tehran from using such influence to enhance its power. Iraq's ethno-sectarian demography -- it is only approximately 20 percent Sunni -- is what scares Washington and its Arab allies. They are hoping, then, that ensuring the Sunnis a sufficient share of the Iraqi government will serve to check the Iranian/Shiite rise. To achieve that goal, however, the United States and Saudi Arabia would have to make a major reciprocal concession: acknowledging that a larger share of the pie will be in the hands of the Shia. This is one of the key reasons why reining in the Shiite militias has become a prerequisite for containing the Sunni insurgency.

This brings us back to the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, where Tehran is hoping the United States and its Arab allies acknowledge Iranian interests in Iraq in exchange for Iran's willingness to restrain the Shiite militias. The Arabs are willing to give Tehran the recognition it wants, though they are operating from a position of relative weakness and cannot trust that Iran would not use a relatively stable Iraq to extend its influence across the Persian Gulf.

Furthermore, although the Bush administration is downplaying the possibility, the Arabs are concerned that the political pendulum in the United States is swinging heavily in favor of an early pullout -- or major drawdown -- of coalition forces from Iraq. Since, in the long run, they cannot trust Washington to underwrite a deal with the Iranians, the Arabs are hesitant to sign a document that would effectively give Iran the room to maneuver as it pleases. This is the root of the Saudi reluctance to use its influence among the Iraqi Sunnis to help contain sectarian violence.

More important, however, Iraq's Sunni and Shiite communities are so internally factionalized (the Shia to a greater extent) that neither Tehran nor Riyadh is likely to succeed in shutting down the militancy. Moreover, the multiplicity of Shiite political and militant factions makes it difficult for Iran to keep all of them happy -- and thus on board with any deal it might be willing to cut. The continuing strife in the Shiite south, especially in the oil-rich city of Basra, is but one example of the problems the Iranians face in this regard.

Similarly, the Saudis cannot claim to speak for all the Sunnis. But even more problematic for Riyadh is that its best weapon against the Iranians is the jihadists, especially those affiliated with al Qaeda -- precisely those who pose a major national security threat to the Saudi kingdom.

The question, then, is whether the Saudis and the Iranians can actually deliver on a triangular deal involving each of them and the third main state actor in Iraq -- the United States. It would appear that their fears over their respective interests have forced them to deal with one another despite their apprehensions.

Ultimately, however, the three big players are negotiating a security deal that rests on the faulty assumptions that each side has enough sway over the various factions inside Iraq to make an agreement actually work.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #124 on: May 03, 2007, 04:42:33 PM »

Second post of the day:

WSJ
The American Century
By LEO MELAMED
May 3, 2007; Page A17

If one had to pinpoint the birth of globalization, a good bet would be Aug. 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon dropped the U.S. dollar's convertibility to gold. This led to an irreversible breakdown of fixed exchange rates, initiated the modern era of globalization, and provided the rationale for the launch of financial futures by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

As the world left the gold standard in favor of the information standard, the U.S. had the so-called "first mover advantage." For the next three decades we dominated the world's capital markets, dwarfing everyone. With derivatives, the CME, Chicago Board of Trade and New York Mercantile Exchange initiated the modern futures era. In over-the-counter, financial engineers created a vast array of financial instruments. In securities, Chicago Board Options Exchange stock options were born, and the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, as well as other American exchanges grew without equal -- deeper and more liquid than anywhere else.

Merton Miller, Nobel Laureate in economics, liked to say the period between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s was unique. In his view, no other 20-year period in recorded American history witnessed even a tenth of the financial innovation of those two decades. But time marched on. Suddenly, American first mover advantage was over. The growth track the U.S. maintained in the decades after the onset of globalization has been steadily leveling off, while the growth track of other industrial nations has ramped up. The U.S., its commercial enterprises and its exchanges are facing serious competition from other capital markets.

Recently three major studies, one led by Glenn Hubbard and John Thornton, another by Sen. Charles Schumer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the third by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, have concluded that America is losing its dominance in world securities markets. These studies were a wake-up call. But reducing the Sarbanes-Oxley regulatory requirements, as these studies suggested, while a good idea, will by itself not alter the dynamic. Nor will we fix the problem with populist demagoguery advocating a protectionist agenda. "America First" solutions have been tried before and are self-defeating. In today's globalized marketplace, such remedies would be devastating to both U.S. capital markets and the American standard of living.

To find a solution one must first recognize the cause of the problem. We have entered a new era in the global marketplace. The industrial world has caught up with us. It has learned the value of Milton Friedman's free-market precepts, adopted them and put them to work. All major capital markets have modern trading capabilities, competent securities and derivatives exchanges, cutting-edge technology and banks that are as solid as our own. We are beginning to feel the competitive pinch from the Asian giants China and India. Within a decade their competitive presence will be felt in every segment of the marketplace. Needless to say, we were excellent teachers and our students learned well.

To remain competitive in the 21st century, the U.S. must first accept the reality of the modern global paradigm. We cannot pretend or assume that things will ever again be as they were. In the future, our private sector will have to fight for business flows on a world stage. It will require our best efforts and brightest minds. Similarly, U.S. government officials must accept the fact that U.S. businesses face competitors from across the ocean rather than across the river.

The old road map is history. The new map necessitates continued deregulation to promote continued innovation, reduction of burdensome compliance costs, containment of baseless litigation and open markets for goods. Beyond that, we must redouble our efforts to sustain the academic excellence that helped give us our first-mover advantage in the first place.

The fruit of our labor resulting from a three-decade, first-mover advantage is a priceless intellectual legacy -- a unique reservoir of knowledge, ideas and experience that can become an arsenal of competitive weaponry for the future. This, coupled with the constitutional and cultural birthright that encourages Americans to think freely, experiment and create, gives us an endowment of extraordinary potency.

Mr. Melamed is chairman emeritus of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
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DogBrian
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« Reply #125 on: June 04, 2007, 12:07:07 AM »

I read both the Bible and the Koran.  Almedimejad is as much a Muslim as George Bush is a Christian.  Neither are true followers of their religion.  They are pitting one group against the other to bring about global change.  They are both misguiding the public into fighting one another while a third party will benefit from the war.

If you study the same old formula that has been used by the elite over the centuries it seems this coming WWIII is nothing more than a manufactured war to make people so sick of monotheist religion that people turn to atheism.  Once people give up religion, then the State can become their religion.  Or if Al Gore has his way, we will all turn to Gaia worship.

The Hegelian Dialectic can be summed up like this......A problem is started, the public responds with a reaction (fear in the case of terror), then a solution is created and the public accepts.  This is known as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

This is better explained here.  http://www.calvertonschool.org/waldspurger/pages/hegelian_dialectic.htm

If we are going to look at the struggle between Muslims and Christians in modern times Operation AJAX deserves some attention.    https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol48no2/article10.html  Essentially, Prime Minister Mossadeq nationalized his countries oil reserves.  British Petroleum, with the help of the CIA, conducted black operations of terrorism, killing innocent people and blaming it on Mossadeq.  The people of Iran eventually revolted and the CIA put the Shah in power as a puppet leader.  This is what Ron Paul was referring to during the debates when he mentioned the Iran Hostage Crisis and 9-11 as being 'blowback.'  In other words, it is our foreign policy in the Middle East that has created modern terrorism against American targets.

If you will recall during the Iran Hostage Crisis, Ahmedimjad was one of the captors.  The hostages were released on the 444th day after Regan’s inauguration.  This is known as the 'October Surprise.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_surprise#1980_Carter_vs._Reagan A deal was supposedly made between the terrorists and the Regan administration (Karl Rove) to NOT release the hostages until after Regan defeated Carter in the election!

We have done business with Ahmedimajad before.  There are a few other connections as well.  For instance, the Aga Khan is a powerful Ishmaeli sect Muslim who receives little to no attention in the media.  He traces his origin to the Prophet through his Catholic wife Fatima.  He has extreme influence in the Muslim world and is intermarried to the British Royal family bloodlines.  The previous Aga Khan went to Harvard.  There are stories of the Aga Khan commanding students to jump off of buildings to their deaths as a show of his influence over others.  Just rumors?  Maybe not.  The Aga Khan is the hereditary leader of the 'Order of the Assassins.'

During the 11th century, Hassan Ben Sabbah was an Ismaeli Muslim who would drug and kidnap young men and take them to his palace in the desert.  When the boys would awaken, the palace was a paradise full of drinking, multiple women, anything a man could desire.  He would spend three days in the palace believing he died and went to heaven.  At the end of the three days, Hassan would tell the boy he was being sent back to earth and would have to kill a target in the name of Allah.  Upon completion of his mission, he would spend eternity at the palace with 77 virgins.

The Assassins derived their name from either Hassan Ben Sabbah's name or by the Hashish they would chew on while conducting their operations.  The Assassins dipped their hats into the blood of their victims.  These hats were called Fez Caps.  The same hats as the Shriners wear on their heads.

Hence the creation of the 'Order of the Assassins.'  Quite similar to the suicide bombers in Iraq today.  Suicide bombers are often found with hashish in their mouths.  They are not Muslims, they have been brainwashed into blowing themselves up.  The Aga Khan, as the leader of the Assassins, is supplying the suicide bombers in Iraq via Iran so that America is forced to continue operations in Iraq with no possible way to exit.  All this is going on to fool the public into supporting a war that does not benefit Muslims or Christians, but only benefits the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Media Complex.

Amedimajad and Bush are business partners.
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G M
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« Reply #126 on: June 04, 2007, 09:00:16 AM »

Posted by: DogBrian
Insert Quote
I read both the Bible and the Koran.  Almedimejad is as much a Muslim as George Bush is a Christian.  Neither are true followers of their religion.  They are pitting one group against the other to bring about global change.  They are both misguiding the public into fighting one another while a third party will benefit from the war.

****What sura, or suras in the koran would you cite that would invalidate Ahmadinejad's islamic identity? What theological authority do you possess to declare President Bush not a christian? What 3rd. party do you suggest is pulling the conspiratorial strings from the shadows?****

If you study the same old formula that has been used by the elite over the centuries it seems this coming WWIII is nothing more than a manufactured war to make people so sick of monotheist religion that people turn to atheism.  Once people give up religion, then the State can become their religion.  Or if Al Gore has his way, we will all turn to Gaia worship.

****What elite? Where and when?****

The Hegelian Dialectic can be summed up like this......A problem is started, the public responds with a reaction (fear in the case of terror), then a solution is created and the public accepts.  This is known as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

****Don't problems, including wars have their own causes that don't require a dark conspiracy?****
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DougMacG
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« Reply #127 on: June 04, 2007, 10:01:50 AM »

Adding to the questions and challenges that GM posted, I disagree with the  'October surprise' part of Brian's post:

Quoting:"
If you will recall during the Iran Hostage Crisis, Ahmedimjad was one of the captors.  The hostages were released on the 444th day after Regan’s inauguration.  This is known as the 'October Surprise.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_surprise#1980_Carter_vs._Reagan A deal was supposedly made between the terrorists and the Regan administration (Karl Rove) to NOT release the hostages until after Regan defeated Carter in the election!"

The wikipedia statement admits it lacks a citation.  The phrase 'October surprise' was supposed to be the opposite - the incumbent would time some major event, such as the negotiated release of the hostages, with the final weeks of the campaign to steal the momentum.  There is no reference to Karl Rove at the link and no credible mark in history tying the Reagan campaign to delaying the release of the hostages. 

The hostage crisis was the captors fault.  The fact that America was incapable of solving it was a symbol of the weakness that Reagan was running against.

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DogBrian
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« Reply #128 on: June 04, 2007, 10:47:36 AM »

Glad you asked those questions....

I will get back to you on the Koran and Ahmadinejad....I am not a theological authority.  I was simply placing my personal views on the table for discussion. But I do know that Ahmadinejad has been misquoted and mistranslated many times.  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14733.htm

In addition, common sense is all I need to realize Ahmadinejad is not a true Muslim.  Good Muslims and Christians can live in peace all over the world.  It is the derainged narcissistic leadership that misguides.  Not for religious purposes but for personal reasons.  Bin Laden himself said that attacking innocent woman and children is forbidden by the Koran.  Of course, I dispise Bin Laden as well, but apparently he is more of an authority on Islam than I.  Sorry for this crude example but is a Catholic Priest who rapes an alterboy a true Christian?  I would say definately not.  So I can apply the same reason to our world leaders today.

1.  President Bush participates in Satanic rituals at a place called the Bohemian Grove.  Every year in July a group of all-male prominent business, political, media types meet for two weeks to conduct global policies, take drugs, dress like woman, and have sex among other things. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_PAqT2JZOw and http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1038800910961311325&q=bohemian+grove+martial+law+9-11

2.  There are many 3rd parties which pull 'conspiratorial strings in the shadows.'  One group met in Turkey this past weekend.  The Bilderberg Group has been conducting business in secrecy for over 50 years!!!  http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55917

Some other groups besides the now exposed Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations would include the Club of Rome and the Committee of 300.  Shouldn't it be a red flag when some of the most powerful people meet and there is no media converage?  We are too busy learning about Paris Hilton's sex tape and who is the father of Anna Nicole's daughter.

In addtion, shouldn't it be a HUGE red flag when both Bush and Kerry are members of Skull and Bones and ran against eachother in 2004?  Shouldn't that suggest that no matter who won the election, Skull and Bones definately wins?  Is it too far fetched to consider that our President has more allegiance to a secret society such as Skull and Bones than to the American people? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pUogbYkoHc

3.  "Don't problems, including wars have their own causes that don't require a dark conspiracy?"  Of course they do.  JFK explained this phenomenom, “When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters-one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.”

There are bankers and defense contractors who become extremely rich from war both in power and resources.  Just google in 'Ford IBM WWII' and you can learn so much about corporations taking advantage of war.

Examples of corporations, politicians, elitists and 3rd parties profiteering from crisis is endless.  

NEW YORK (Fortune) - The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.  http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/31/news/newsmakers/fortune_rumsfeld/

Some elitists that are worth mentioning who protect their bloodlines are:
Astor
Li
Rosthchild
Rockefeller
Warburg
Russell
Stewart

If you think 'conspiracy' is not possible then learn about Jeckyll Island and the formation of the Federal Reserve.  http://shop.wnd.com/store/item.asp?ITEM_ID=1882

I could go on and on and on but not one person will be convinced unless they do their own research.

I hope I answered your questions G M and thank you for taking an interest.
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DogBrian
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« Reply #129 on: June 04, 2007, 11:09:32 AM »

Thank you for the pointing out my error. DougMacG.

Let me clarify.....Try this link to the Iranian Hostage Crisis October Surprise.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_surprise_conspiracy

"Jimmy Carter had been attempting to deal with the Iran hostage crisis and the hostile regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini for nearly a year. Those who assert that a deal was made allege that certain Republicans with CIA connections, including George H. W. Bush, arranged to have the hostages held through October, until Reagan could defeat Carter in early November, and then be released, thereby preventing an “October surprise” from the Carter administration in which the hostages would be released shortly before the election. The hostages were released the day of Reagan's inauguration, twenty minutes after his inaugural address."

And I appalogise, Karl Rove was NOT involved in the Iran Hostage Crisis, there was an article from Sept 2006 where Rove promised an October Surprise.  I should not have mentioned him at all.  http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/9/20/141615.shtml



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DogBrian
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« Reply #130 on: June 05, 2007, 01:02:52 PM »

Foreign News Media reports on the Bilderberg Group meeting in Turkey this past weekend.

http://www.youtube.com/p.swf?video_id=Qcjk0_wj7Do&eurl=&iurl=http%3A//img.youtube.com/vi/Qcjk0_wj7Do/2.jpg&t=OEgsToPDskKa1ZiY_xtezI6mymIfebM0
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G M
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« Reply #131 on: June 06, 2007, 01:11:27 AM »

Forget ther Bilderbergers, it all boils down to the jewish bankers. C'mon Brian, you ain't nada in the conspiracy world until you get to that position where you start quoting the "Protocals of the elders of Zion". Don't go halfway, dive right in!
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DogBrian
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« Reply #132 on: June 06, 2007, 03:06:22 PM »

GM, Nothing more to say about the time I spent answering your questions then to refer to 'The Protocals of the Elders of Zion?'

The Protocals are a playbook for any group to control a population, not just Jews.

I cannot understand how people are so resistant to believing that there are people who will do whatever means possible to take control of the populations and resources of the world.

"We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covet means for expanding its sphere of influence; on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free
choice, on guerillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which as conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly-knit highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed." JFK

"Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order . Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond,  whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government." Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference, Evians, France, 1991

"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." Woodrow Wilson

"We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether
World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent." -- Statement made before the
United States Senate on Feb. 7, 1950 by James Paul Warburg

"The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise their power from behind the
scenes." Justice Felix Frankfurter, U.S. Supreme Court

Are we so conditioned to resist 'conspiracy theory' that they can tell us right to our faces yet we still do not listen?

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G M
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« Reply #133 on: June 06, 2007, 04:19:07 PM »

http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/conspiracy_theory/the_paranoid_mentality/the_paranoid_style.html

http://www.csicop.org/si/9609/conspiracy.html
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DougMacG
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« Reply #134 on: June 07, 2007, 12:34:59 AM »

Brian,  I appreciate your correction on the 'October Surprise' post, but then you re-posted the unsubstantiated smear from wikipedia. At the link, wikipedia makes clear that they don't have a source to cite for its validity. They are the messenger, not the source and they are saying that they don't have a source.  Or a second source.  I stand by what I wrote that there is "no credible mark in history tying the Reagan campaign to delaying the release of the hostages". 

You posted: "
President Bush participates in Satanic rituals at a place called the Bohemian Grove.  Every year in July a group of all-male prominent business, political, media types meet for two weeks to conduct global policies, take drugs, dress like woman, and have sex among other things." 

Sorry I don't watch the videos, but I am not aware any credible information that Bush has taken drugs since being elected to anything or has ever partaken in gay male sex.  If he had, it would affect my view of him morally but not establish a conspiracy in my mind for anything beyond drug use and gay sex.

I get absolutely no red flag from knowing that George Bush and John Kerry both went to Yale.   http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/11584
"George W. Bush '68 [was] President of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity ...John Kerry '66 [was] President of the Yale Political Union...Members of DKE and the YPU do not often cross paths on campus."

"Shouldn't it be a red flag when some of the most powerful people meet and there is no media converage? "  - No flag for me.  I wish they would talk. 

"Is it too far fetched to consider that our President has more allegiance to a secret society such as Skull and Bones than to the American people?"  - Yes, it's too far-fetched, and it reminds me of the cheap argument that Bush and Cheney would rather enrich a fews friends they worked with for a few years than do their very best for the American people.  I just don't equate making mistakes or choosing policies different than I would choose with having bad motives and the wrong interests in mind.

I joked for years that cold viruses are bottled and released by cold remedy companies.  I don't happen to believe that, and I certainly don't believe Don Rumsfeld favors an American Bird Flu outbreak because of a stock he owns.  Good grief, what in his behavior makes anyone think he needs the money that badly.  God Bless his right to invest in public health oriented, biotech stocks. If his ownership is a public fact, then I assume the investment was made with full disclosure. That kind of accusation should make every rational person afraid to enter public life, IMHO.

Back to the first example - if Reagan had negotiated with the Iranians to hold American hostages LONGER, wouldn't they later want to humiliate him with proof of that treason, to put it lightly.  Sorry, I just don't buy it.

In each story there just seems to be something missing.  What were Bush and Kerry conspiring to do? I don't believe Kerry was conspiring to lose. Why would he?  What other evil act did the 1980 Reagan campaign commit to make anyone believe they would risk siding with hostage takers holding Americans.  Important people have met in the wilderness setting you refer to in California, I don't see it as a cause of globalization or anything else.

I believe that you 'could go on and on' , but even if one of these loose strands turns out to be true, in my view that wouldn't validate the rest of them. They are not tightly interwoven.   - respectfully, Doug.


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DogBrian
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« Reply #135 on: June 07, 2007, 03:47:37 PM »

Gary Sick was an Iranian expert in the Carter Administration and single handedly investigated the 'October Surprise' and wrote a book entitled, "October Surprise: America's Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan."  That is what sparked the controversy.  Personally, I believe that his allegations are true upon looking at the evidence.  There is plenty of book reviews and commentary on his findings if you so desire to look into it.

I do not consider Wikipedia as a trusting source, I was only using it as an intro into the topic.

I was not implying that Bush was personally involved in gay sex or drug use, but Bohemian Grove is a club where that type of activity is rambid.  But I was suggesting that Bush participates in the Satanic Rituals.  In fact Bush Sr. has been quoted joking that if Bush Jr. did not behave, then he would sacrifice him to Molech (the 40 foot owl god at the grove.)  Watch the videos.....It should bother most people.  Also, on the cover of SKY magazine, Henry Kissinger is

Would you let someone who participates in this sort of activity babysit your kids, let alone lead a Country?

I was not suggesting that Kerry threw the election so Bush could win.  I am explaining that no matter who wins the election, Skull and Bones has their man in office.  Only 15 men are tapped each year.  Most of these men become quite powerful. 

A red flag should not be raised because world leaders are talking, a red flag, for members in a democratic society, should be raised when world leaders (including our own) are talking in SECRECY with limited press coverage.  Paris Hilton gets 10,000+ articles while Bilderberg gets 200 this past week.  http://www.infowars.com/articles/nwo/bilderberg_cowardly_corporate_media_hides_bilderberg.htmY

**Yes, it's too far-fetched, and it reminds me of the cheap argument that Bush and Cheney would rather enrich a fews friends they worked with for a few years than do their very best for the American people.  I just don't equate making mistakes or choosing policies different than I would choose with having bad motives and the wrong interests in mind.**

We will fundamentally disagree on your above statement.



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« Reply #136 on: June 08, 2007, 10:04:24 AM »

GM, Nothing more to say about the time I spent answering your questions then to refer to 'The Protocals of the Elders of Zion?'

**How seriously do you expect to be taken with your conspiracy theories?**

The Protocals are a playbook for any group to control a population, not just Jews.

**Does this mean you accept the "Protocals" as a valid document?**

I cannot understand how people are so resistant to believing that there are people who will do whatever means possible to take control of the populations and resources of the world.

**Human history is nothing but people questing for power. What you are asserting is that dark, complex conspiracies shape the world.**

"We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covet means for expanding its sphere of influence; on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free
choice, on guerillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which as conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly-knit highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed." JFK

"Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order . Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond,  whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government." Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference, Evians, France, 1991

"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." Woodrow Wilson

"We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether
World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent." -- Statement made before the
United States Senate on Feb. 7, 1950 by James Paul Warburg

"The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise their power from behind the
scenes." Justice Felix Frankfurter, U.S. Supreme Court

**Give me the source documents for the above quotes please.**

Are we so conditioned to resist 'conspiracy theory' that they can tell us right to our faces yet we still do not listen?

**I am a trained criminal investigator. I am not "conditioned" to do anything but search for evidence.**


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« Reply #137 on: June 08, 2007, 10:07:29 AM »

http://ftp.fas.org/irp/congress/1991_cr/h911104-october.htm



PARTISAN POLITICS AND THE MYTH OF THE OCTOBER SURPRISE -- [FROM NEWSWEEK NOV. 11, 1991] (Extension of Remarks - November 04, 1991)
[Page: E3694]
---
HON. BILL MCCOLLUM
in the House of Representatives
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1991
Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, when the country is desperately asking Congress to address the issues that are important; this Congress prepares to conduct a partisan, political witch hunt called the October Surprise.
The Democrat Party, the party of Jimmy Carter, frustrated at their inability to smear President Reagan during the Iran-Contra extravaganza now want to try to smear President Bush with innuendo and myth. I am placing in the Record a copy of the cover story from this week's edition of Newsweek magazine which reveals the myth of October Surprise.
Perhaps the members of the Democrat Party can read this article and save the money they plan to spend to pursue this political farce.
A copy of the article follows:
[FROM NEWSWEEK NOV. 11, 1991]
It is a story that will not die--a dark tale of conspiracy and political intrigue that, if true, would constitute something like an accusation of treason against George Bush, the late William Casey and other members of Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign. Briefly put, the `October Surprise' theory holds that Bush or Casey--or possibly Bush and Casey--cut a secret deal with Iran in the summer or fall of 1980 to delay the release of 52 U.S. hostages until after the November elections. Their objective, or so the theory holds, was to deny Jimmy Carter whatever political advantage the hostgages' last-minute release might create--or, in short, to swing the 1980 election toward Reagan and Bush.

The October Surprise theory has been kicking around for the past 11 years, and it has become a mother lode for conspiracy junkies of all political persuasions. It got its biggest boost early this year when Gary Sick, a former member of Jimmy Carter's National Security Council staff, wrote an article on the op-ed page of The New York Times asserting his belief that it could have happened. Sick, who has already written a much-praised book (`All Fall Down') about the Iran hostage crisis, is about to publish a second book laying out his case for the October Surprise. The new book, to be published this week by Random House, is entitled `October Surprise.' The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meanwhile, voted last week to launch an investigation of the October Surprise theory, and the House Rules Committee is scheduled to vote this week whether or not to launch a separate investigation headed by Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana. So, true or not, the October Surprise is about to become yet another exhibit in the Beltway's chamber of Alleged Political Horrors--to escalate, along with the BCCI scandal, the Iran-contra affair and the savings and loan crisis, from cocktail-party gossip to subpoenas, sworn testimony and endless disputes among lawyers, investigators and witnesses.

Like all good conspiracy theories, this one forces all who would deny it to prove a negative--to prove that something did not happen. As any logician can testify, proving a negative is ultimately impossible. Equally disturbing, the October Surprise theory has now become complicated and so hideously detailed that no reasonable person can say with absolute certainty that there was no conspiracy and no deal. but Newsweek has found, after a long investigation including interviews with government officials and other knowledgeable sources around the world, that the key claims of the purported eyewitnesses and accusers simply do not hold up. What the evidence does show is the murky history of a conspiracy theory run wild.

Washington in the fall of 1980 was, like the rest of the United States, obsessed with the U.S. Embassy hostages in Iran. It was a national crisis: Public officials, the voters and the news media were grasping at every rumor. Jimmy Carter, then running for a second term, was almost completely preoccupied by obscure events half the world away; so was the Reagan campaign. In April, the Carter administration launched a desperate military gamble to extract the hostages from captivity, and failed, miserably, in the smoking wreckage at Desert One. The campaign proceeded: Carter turned back Edward Kennedy's challenge in the Democratic primaries, and Reagan dispatched George Bush. The hostage crisis, seemingly at an impasse, continued to simmer amid the hullabaloo of an election campaign. The election came and went, with Carter's landslide defeat--and in December, with the hostages still held in Iran, rumors of some sort of backstage contract between the Republican campaign and the Iranian government first appeared in print.

The outlet was hardly prestigious: the Executive Intelligence Review, a periodical published by followers of right-wing political extremist Lyndon LaRouche. On Dec. 2, 1980, EIR ran a story alleging that former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, a target for LaRouche followers, `held a series of secret meetings during the week of Nov. 12 in Paris with representatives of Ayatollah Beheshti, leader of the fundamentalist clergy in Iran.' This was attributed to `Iranian sources' in Paris. The article continued: `Top level intelligence sources in Reagan's inner circle confirmed Kissinger's unreported talks with the Iranian mullahs, but stressed that the Kissinger initiative was totally unauthorized by the president-elect. `If you know any way of controlling that man,' said one Reagan insider, `please let me know'.' (Kissinger said the EIR report was `totally untrue.')

The story said that this meeting was the climax of a prior liaison: `* * * it appears that the pattern of cooperation between the Khomeini people and circles nominally in Reagan's camp began approximately six to eight weeks ago, at the height of President Carter's efforts to secure an arms-for-hostage deal with Teheran. Carter's failure to secure the deal, which a number of observers believe cost him the Nov. 4 election, apparently resulted from an intervention in Teheran by pro-Reagan British intelligence circles and the Kissinger faction.'

EIR said that its source `stressed' that those involved in this effort `did not have the approval of Ronald Reagan himself.' Fast-forward to 1983, when the LaRoucheans returned to the story. An article in the Sept. 2 issue of their journal New Solidarity gave more detail. `During the pre-election period, Carter and his crowd were frantically trying to negotiate a deal based on arms and spareparts shipments, which Iran desperately needed after the outbreak of war with Iraq on Sept. 22 * * *
The deal * * * fell through when the hard-line mullahs boycotted the Majlis in late October. Ayatollah Beheshti--known as the most pro-Soviet of the mullahs--was the key mover behind this.'

When the story got its next boost--in an April 1987 article in The Miami Herald--it was from former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani Sadr, by now in exile in Paris. Bani Sadr `said he learned after the hostage release that two of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's advisers had been involved in negotiations with the Reagan camp. The negotiations were to delay release of the hostages until after Reagan became president * * * The former president identified the two as Hashemi Rafsanjani [now himself Iran's president] and Mohammed Beheshti.' Bani Sadr said he had asked both men about this. `They laughed,' he said. `They didn't say no'.'

The Herald's story didn't get much play. But when Bani Sadr next spoke, to Flora Lewis of The New York Times in August 1987, the story grew. With The New York Times, Bani Sadr was more specific than he had been with The Miami Herald. He said negotiations with the Carter administration had been going well. `But then in October, everything suddenly stopped. My aides found out it was because the group in charge of the hostage policy, Rafsanjani, Mohammed Beheshti and Khomeini's son, did not want Carter to win the election. There was a meeting in Paris between a representative of Beheshti and a representative of the Reagan campaign.' These and subsequent events, Lewis wrote, `confirm for him persistent rumors that the Reagan campaign offered arms if the hostages were not released until after the 1980 election. * * *' The story had finally made it into the mainstream.

The timing was propitious--high summer, so to speak, for conspiracy buffs. The reason was the Iran-contra scandal, which proved that the Reagan administration had indeed engaged in secret dealings with Iran. Although the exact starting point of those secret negotiations remains obscure to this day, it seems clear that the roots of Iran-contra run deeper than anyone has been able to document publicly. The Reagan White House, it seems clear, was obsessed by Iran during the early 1980s. Iran-contra also showed that the administration was eager to engage in covert action, and that it was ready to lie, destroy documents and cover up a range of covert activities that violated the law.
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« Reply #138 on: June 08, 2007, 10:09:32 AM »

Contragate, in short, created fertile ground for the October Surprise theory. Reporting in November 1987, the joint investigating committee created by the House and Senate relegated the October Surprise rumors to a footnote. `There have been allegations that officials of the 1980 Reagan campaign--in order to prevent a pre-election announcement by President Carter (an `October Surprise')--met with Iranian emissaries and agreed to ship arms to Iran in exchange for a post-election release of hostages,' the report stated. `Reagan campaign aides were, in fact, approached by individuals who claimed to be Iranian emissaries about potential release of hostages, as were other campaign staffs. The committee was told that the approaches were rejected and found no credible evidence to suggest that any discussions were held or arrangements reached on delaying release of hostages or arranging an early arms-for-hostages deal.'

It is likely that the October Surprise would have died somewhere in late 1987, except for the appearance of a group of apparently knowledgeable, conspiracy-minded `super-sources.' Journalists are vulnerable to the lure of a super-source--another Deep Throat, someone who knows all and pieces everything together in a nice, neat package. In the October Surprise case, there are four would-be Deep Throats: Barbara Honegger, Richard Brenneke, Jamshid Hashemi and Ari Ben-Menashe. At some point each has claimed first-person knowledge of the conspiracy. The stories they told overlapped in broad outline--and in some cases, they compared stories, swapped details and helped each other become more convincing. Journalists committed to the notion of the October Surprise often acted as a conduit between them.

Barbara Honegger: Honegger was a researcher in Reagan's 1980 campaign and worked at the White House and the Justice Department until 1983. In summer of 1987, Honegger claimed that in late October 1980, in the Reagan campaign headquarters in the Washington suburb of Arlington, she had heard a jubilant staffer say, `We don't have to worry about an October Surprise. Dick cut a deal.' Dick, presumably, was Richard Allen, the Reagan campaign's top foreign-policy adviser and subsequently Reagan's first national-security adviser. It was the first confirmation from inside--a bull's-eye for the conspiracy theorists and the journalists who were following their trail.

But there were several problems. The most basic was that Honegger was never able to identify this alleged staffer or say whether she had any reason to believe the staffer knew what he was talking about. The second was that Honegger, who published a book, `October Surprise,' in 1989, herself seemed to have some difficulty in separating fact from fiction. Even Christopher Hitchins, a columnist for The Nation magazine and a sometime proponent of the October Surprise theory, said her expose was `diffused and naive.'

Richard Brenneke: A businessman from Portland, Ore., Brenneke claims to have worked for the CIA for 18 years as a contract operative. He met Honegger in August 1988 in Washington, where she told him about her theories on the October Surprise. Brenneke, astonishingly enough, claimed he had been present when the deal was done. He said the meeting had taken place in Paris, at the Hotel Raphael, on Oct. 19, 1980. And Brenneke confirmed what Honegger already thought: William Casey, then Reagan's campaign manager and later CIA director during Iran-contra, had represented the Reagan-Bush campaign. Donald Gregg, then a member of Jimmy Carter's National Security Council staff and later a national-security adviser for Vice President Bush, had been there, too. The Iranians were two arms dealers, Manucher Ghorbanifar and Cyrus Hasehmi.

Then, two weeks later, Bani Sadr expanded his previous story. In Playboy magazine, Bani Sadr made the most surprising charge so far--George Bush was also present in Paris. (In a scathing story on the October Surprise, The New Republic reported last week that Bani Sadr has now retracted his claim that Bush was present.) Brenneke said he, too, could confirm that Bush was in Paris--and he said so, under oath, in Denver on Sept. 23, 1988.

Brenneke was testifying on behalf of Heinrich Rupp, 58, a pilot and gold dealer who had been convicted of bank fraud. Rupp was an old friend, Brenneke said, the two had been involved in covert ops for the CIA. Brenneke gave sensational testimony. He said he had worked for the CIA for 18 years, until 1985. He said that on Oct. 19, 1980, Rupp had flown `Mr. Bush, Mr. Casey and a number of other people to Paris, France, from the United States for a meeting with Iranian representatives.' Brenneke said he had been directly involved in one of what he said were three meetings with the Iranians. He listed the Americans as Bush, Casey, Donald Gregg and Richard Allen. He said the Iranians included Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was then speaker of the Iranian Parliament and now president of Iran, and Cyrus Hashemi.

Brenneke's testimony made news--and among those who read it, with mounting fury, was the investigator from Sen. John Kerry's subcommittee, Jack Blum. Blum has spent thousands of hours checking what Brenneke had told him and had begun to believe that Brenneke was a fraud. The final proof, for Blum, came when be read Brenneke's assurance to the judge in Denver. `I will say, your honor, I have made these statements to Senator Kerry's committee and the United States Senate--again, under oath. * * *' Blum knew that was not true: Brenneke had never mentioned any involvement in the October Surprise. Blum pressed the U.S. attorney's office in Denver to file perjury charges, and Brenneke was indicted in May 1989.

The trial, in April 1990, pitted Brenneke against the U.S. government--and the government lost. Donald Gregg, now U.S. ambassador to South Korea, testified he had not been in Paris on Oct. 19 or 20, 1980. Two of Casey's former secretaries said he had not been out of the country at that time. Two Secret Service agents said they were guarding Bush on the campaign trail when the meetings allegedly took place. A CIA records specialist said there was no trace that Brenneke had ever worked for the agency. But the government's case was sloppy, and Brenneke's lawyers played on the jury's doubts so skillfully that Brenneke was acquitted. In the process, he said he never meant to testify that he had actually seen Bush in Paris--only that he had been told Bush was there.

Ari Ben-Menashe: Ben-Menashe first surfaced as an October Surprise source in 1990, while he was being held in a federal prison in New York City on charges of attempting to sell U.S.-made military transport planes to Iran. Tried in October, he was acquitted after maintaining he had the secret approval of both the Bush administration and the Israeli government. Although Israeli officials deny it, Ben-Menashe claims he was an Israeli intelligence agent and an adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Like Richard Brenneke, Ben-Menashe has been interviewed many times by journalists looking into the October Surprise (Newsweek, Nov. 4). Ben-Menashe says he, too, was in Paris on Oct. 19-20, 1980, as a member of a six-person Israeli team that helped set up the meeting. He says he saw Bush and Casey there, and that they were accompanied by Robert Gates, who is now George Bush's nominee as CIA director. He says the Iranian delegation was led by the Ayatollah Mehdi Karrubi, not Cyrus Hashemi and Manucher Ghorbanifar. He told Newsweek that the meeting took place at the Hotel Ritz, not the Raphael or Crillon as Richard Brenneke claims; he also told another investigator, Israeli author Shmuel Segev, that the meeting was held at the Hotel George V. ABC News gave Ben-Menashe a lie-detector test in November 1990; according to Christopher Isham, an ABC producer, Ben-Menashe failed it.

Jamshid Hashemi: Jamshid Hashemi is a younger brother of Cyrus Hashemi, an Iranian arms dealer who died in London in 1986. Jamshid has been a source for ABC News and for `Frontline,' the PBS documentary program. He claims that he, his brother Cyrus and Karrubi met William Casey in a hotel in Madrid in July 1980, to begin negotiating a secret deal with the Reagan-Bush campaign. There is at least some corroborating evidence for this claim. For one thing, knowledgeable officials agree that Cyrus Hashemi played a minor role during the hostage crisis--offering to help establish communications between the Carter White House and Iranian leaders. For another, as ABC-News reported, the register at the Madrid Plaza Hotel actually shows that `A. Hashemi' and `Jamshid Halaj' were registered as guests at the time in question, late July 1980.
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« Reply #139 on: June 08, 2007, 10:12:32 AM »

There are, of course, myriad further details to these shifting and mutually contradictory allegations. But the essentials are clear. There were two sets of meetings, the first between Karrubi, the Hashemi brothers and William Casey in Madrid, and the other in Paris in October. The second meeting involved either Casey and Gregg--or Casey, Bush and Gates--on the American side. On the Iranian side, depending on which `witness' is believed, it involved either Cyrus Hashemi and Manucher Ghorbanifar or the Ayatollah Karrubi. Bush, Gates and Gregg have all denied that they were in Paris on those dates, and that they ever tried to arrange a deal with any Iranian leaders. Casey is of course dead. So is Cyrus Hashemi. Ayatollah Karrubi has denied ever visiting Madrid.

A team of Newsweek correspondents has spent much of the past eight weeks exploring the evidence for these allegations. The Newsweek team believes that:

Casey did not go to Madrid: Jamshid Hashemi told his story at length to PBS's `Frontline' series in April and to ABC's `Nightline' in June. He would not appear on camera for either program, and he did not reply to Newsweek's requests for an interview. He alleges that in March or April 1980, Casey made contact with Cyrus and himself while the pair were on a visit to Washington. Casey, he says, wanted to establish contact with an Iranian who was close to Ayatollah Khomeini. The brothers agreed to act as go-betweens. The meeting took time to set up, but in July, Cyrus asked Jamshid to bring the Ayatollah Karrubi from Teheran to Madrid to meet with Casey. According to Jamshid, Mehdi Karrubi arrived with his brother Hassan.

They talked with Casey over two consecutive days, Jamshid says--two morning sessions of some three hours apiece. Then in August, Jamshid says, there was a second meeting between Casey and Karrubi, also in Madrid. After an exhaustive search of press reports, of Casey's diaries and of the diaries of his colleagues, ABC's `Nightline' reported that there was a three-day window--July 27, 28 and 29--during which Casey's whereabouts were unknown. On the 30th, ABC reported, Casey was being interviewed by an ABC correspondent at Reagan campaign headquarters and dined that night with Bush in Washington.

But Casey's whereabouts during the July `window' are convincingly established by contemporary records at the Imperial War Museum in London. Casey, it turns out, took a three-day breather from the campaign to participate in the Anglo-American Conference on the History of the Second World War. As a veteran of the Office of Strategic Services--the forerunner of the CIA--Casey delivered a paper on OSS operations in Europe during the war. He went to a reception for conference participants on the evening of July 28, and he was photographed there. He delivered his paper on the morning of July 29.

ABC News acknowledged these facts in an update later in June--but still maintained that Casey had enough time on July 27 and 28 to fly to Madrid to meet with the Iranians. A close examination of the conference records by Newsweek, however, demonstrates that Casey in fact was present at the conference sessions in London on July 28. Historian Jonathan Chadwick, who organized the conference, kept a precise, day-by-day and session-by-session record of who was present and who was not. According to Chadwick's records, Casey was present at 9:30 a.m. on the 28th, stayed for the second morning session, leaving after lunch and returning at 4 p.m. He was also present, of course, on the 29th, when he delivered his paper. `I was very excited that such a big man was coming, but it turned out to be a disappointment,' Chadwick said. `He just talked it through in a very gravelly voice. He came over as a very tough sort.'

There are records showing where Casey slept and ate as well--at the Royal Army Medical College, close to the Imperial War Museum. Officials there say they have a bill in the name of `W. Casey' charging him for a room on the nights of July 27 and 28, and for `messing'(eating a meal) on the 28th and 29th. There is, in short, no possibility that Casey could have held meetings with anyone on two successive days in Madrid.

Finally, there are large questions about Jamshid's story. He told ABC's Ted Koppel, for instance, that he and Cyrus made big profits in the arms trade as a direct result of the meeting in Madrid. But there is little evidence that the Hashemis had much money to spare. Elliott Richardson, who was Cyrus Hashemi's attorney in a 1984 arms-smuggling case, said that Cyrus seemed to be dealing in a `remarkably petty' quantity of arms.

The Paris meeting did not occur: The vast discrepancies between Ben-Menashe's account and Brenneke's account show, at the very least, that one of the two men is lying. But the weight of evidence suggests that both versions are false.

Ben-Menashe has changed his story repeatedly: did it happen at the Ritz, as he told Newsweek, or at the Hotel George V, as he told Shmuel Segev? He is also confused about the dates. In an interview with Newsweek, Ben-Menashe said he was sure it was Oct. 19 or Oct. 20 because it was close to the Jewish festival of Sukkot. Sukkot, a movable feast, occurred on Sept. 25 in 1980.

There is reason to believe, meanwhile, that Brenneke was nowhere near Paris on Oct. 19-20, 1980. The evidence consists of Brenneke's own credit-card receipts and desk diary for that period of time. According to a recent story in New York's Village Voice newspaper by Frank Snepp, a former CIA agent who is now a freelance journalist and investigator, Brenneke's credit-card receipts show that he stayed at a motel in Seattle, Wash., from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19. His desk calendar, Snepp also reported, showed that he was home in Portland on Oct. 20. These records, Snepp said, were shown to him by Peggy Adler Robohm, a writer who at first admired and wholly believed Brenneke's stories. Robohm got the records from Brenneke himself, during a short-lived collaboration on his autobiography. Fearful of being caught in a literary fraud, Robohm ended their collaboration last summer.

(Brenneke did not return repeated calls from Newsweek. But one of his lawyers, Mike Scott, said Snepp's story was false.)

There is, finally, solid evidence that George Bush did not go to Paris on Oct. 19-20, 1980--the U.S. Secret Service logs recorded where candidate Bush was on those days. Those logs show that Bush campaigned in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on Oct. 17, and that he went to the Chevy Chase Country Club, outside Washington, during the day on Oct. 19. They also show that he delivered a campaign speech before the Zionist Organization of America at a Washington hotel that night. The logs show that he returned to his home at about 9:30 on the night of the 19th. The next day, Oct. 20, the Secret Service logs and press reports both record that Bush was back on the campaign trail in New Haven, Conn. Given the travel time involved, there is no reasonable possibility that he could have flown to Paris, met the Iranians and returned to the United States in that time period.

These details may or may not convince conspiracy theorists who cling to the October Surprize--just as the Warren Commission report failed to convince a whole generation of would-be investigators that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed John F. Kennedy.
But the evidence on Bush and Casey's whereabouts--and on the bona fides of their accusers--must also be considered against the broad history of U.S.-Iran relations in the 1980s. Indeed, the October Surprise theory rests on two broad-brush assumptions that are highly suspect.

One is the notion that Iran must have gotten U.S. weapons from the Reagan administration in return for delaying the hostages' release. Despite the record of the Iran-contra scandal, however, there is oddly little evidence of any substantial weapons `payoff' to Iran. An authoritative analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows that Iran spent approximately $5 billion on arms between 1980 and 1983--and $3 billion of that total went for military equipment from communist-bloc countries. It is true, apparently, that Israel supplied Iran with $50 million worth of spare parts for U.S.-built F-4 Phantom jets in the spring of 1980. But $50 million is chicken feed for swinging a U.S. presidential election. And Iran never got spare parts for its more potent F-14s, which rarely flew during the Iran-Iraq War but which could well have deterred Iraqi air attacks on Teheran and other cities. Only the United States could have provided the parts. Arms dealer Ian Smalley, who made a fortune selling weapons to Iran, says he does not believe that the Reagan administration cut a deal. `If the U.S. had been in the market, we would have been out of business,' Smalley said.

A second pivotal notion is that secret negotiations on the hostage issue between the Carter administration and the Iranian government inexplicable broke down during October 1980. (Gary Sick, among others, places great emphasis on this fact.) But Iranian leaders were arguably distracted by the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War, which began on September 22. In a report for the Council on Foreign Relations, former Carter administration official Harold Saunders argues that the war `diverted and absorbed the attention of Iran's leaders'--and Saunders said that only `skillful management' by Rafsanjani got the Iranian Parliament to resolve its disagreements on the hostage issue. If, as some October Surprise proponents have claimed, Rafsanjani participated in the alleged secret deal with the Reagan campaign, why did he try to resolve the hostage impasse while Carter was still in power? Then, too, many Iranians hated Jimmy Carter. Eric Rouleau, who is now France's ambassador to Turkey, was a journalist in Teheran at the time. Rouleau, who knew many Iranian leaders personally, says he heard no gossip about any pending deal with the Reagan campaign. But the Iranians were well aware that releasing the hostages could help Carter win the election--and Rouleau says there was `a lot of discussion, lots of declarations, to the effect that the Iranians would never give any kind of `gift' to President Carter.'

There is, finally, one tantalizing coincidence in the secret record of the hostage crisis. On July 1, or July 2, 1980, Cyrus Hashemi met with a member of the Iranian leadership at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid. He was, apparently, acting as a go-between for the Carter administration, which by then was desperately seeking some new avenue to reopen the hostage negotiations. (That meeting, Newsweek sources say, led to a last-ditch diplomatic initiative by Secretary of State Edmund Muskie in September.) Within a week, according to Bani Sadr's diaries, Bani Sadr was told by the Ayatollah Khomeini's nephew that Iran had been approached by Reagan's men with a proposition on the hostages. The meeting site--Spain--was mentioned. Could it be that the ayatollah's nephew confused Reagan with Carter--and that the whole notion of the October Surprise stems from that simple mistake?

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« Reply #140 on: June 08, 2007, 10:22:20 AM »

Glad you asked those questions....

I will get back to you on the Koran and Ahmadinejad....I am not a theological authority.  I was simply placing my personal views on the table for discussion. But I do know that Ahmadinejad has been misquoted and mistranslated many times.  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14733.htm

In addition, common sense is all I need to realize Ahmadinejad is not a true Muslim.  

****Wishful thinking isn't common sense.****

Good Muslims and Christians can live in peace all over the world.

****Where and when has this been true?***

  It is the derainged narcissistic leadership that misguides.  Not for religious purposes but for personal reasons.  Bin Laden himself said that attacking innocent woman and children is forbidden by the Koran.  Of course, I dispise Bin Laden as well, but apparently he is more of an authority on Islam than I.  

****I thought you had read the koran..... Cite some suras rather than using a statement by Bin Laden as your source.****

Sorry for this crude example but is a Catholic Priest who rapes an alterboy a true Christian?  I would say definately not.  So I can apply the same reason to our world leaders today.

****Sodomy isn't a key theological concept of christianity, while jihad IS a key element in islam, but you knew that because of your understanding of the two religions, right?****

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #141 on: June 08, 2007, 10:42:00 AM »

Good research skills to find such an on-point piece GM.

Not to interrupt the flow between you and Brian, but a moment's tangent on Lyndon LaRouche:

A child of the political turmoil of the late 60s, I remember LaRouche, described in the article in your post as "a right wing extremist", as being part of the Trostky-ite Progressive Labor Party.  (I'm much less certain of my memory when I say I also remember him/his organization being in serious criminal legal trouble for fund-raising that basically came down to stealing from widows and orphans e.g. getting credit card information from old people, then running up their cards with donations to LaR and his movement).

From time to time one sees a table of his people hawking his writings and EIR-- which is a weird publication indeed.  To call it "Right Wing" slanders those of us who believe in free minds and free markets-- "fascism off its medications"  I think would be closer.

I've never, ever run across anyone who supports LaR.  The people manning these tables are some real drones.  Very disciplined, very relentless, and very angry-- especially when they run into someone well enough informed to call them on lies stated as facts.    This is something I do with good manners and good cheer, yet more than once I have felt an effort on their part to intimidate me.

Who are these people?  How do they make their money?  Where does LaR get his money?
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DogBrian
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« Reply #142 on: June 08, 2007, 06:38:53 PM »

The article from Newsweek was dated in 1991.  Fair enough.  But in 1991, most of the information on this topic involving the Reagan administration was 'classified' and not available for investigation, it should have been released 12 years after Reagan left office, but Bush has blocked the release of these papers.

But how can this case be closed when 68,000 pages of information (obviously not all are pertenant to Iran-Hostage Crisis) were withheld from The House Investigators? http://www.russbaker.com/The%20Nation%20-%20Why%20are%20they%20hiding.htm

Bush issued Executive Order 13292 to withhold Reagan papers from the public.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030325-11.html
and the Washington Post analysis... http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A20731-2001Oct31?language=printer

LOST HISTORY REVISITED:
The Bushes & the Truth About Iran
September 21, 2006
by ROBERT PARRY

Secret Republican & CIA contacts with Iran’s Islamic regime more than a quarter century ago are relevant today because an underlying theme in the current President Bush’s rationale for war is that direct negotiations with Iran are pointless. But Bush’s own father may know otherwise.

The rest of the article here http://baltimorechronicle.com/2006/092106PARRY.html
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G M
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« Reply #143 on: June 08, 2007, 08:08:25 PM »

If there was an October suprise, as you claim without evidence (there is a profound difference between asserting something and proving the same) it would have taken place BEFORE Regan was in office, so the red herring about his Presidential papers being classified is irrelevant.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #144 on: August 15, 2007, 11:21:43 AM »

'Peace Mission'
By RICHARD D. FISHER, JR.
August 15, 2007

The world will understandably have some questions this Thursday when Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian leader Vladimir Putin meet at Garrison Chebarkul in Russia to review troops from both their countries, as well as four states of former Soviet Central Asia. The event will mark the end of maneuvers called Peace Mission 2007, and it raises some important questions. Does this exercise signal a stepping up of already substantial military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing? And if it does, cooperation against what or whom?

 
On the march, but to what end?
The answer to the first question is clearly yes, cooperation is increasing. This year's Peace Mission in Russia involved about 4,000 troops and 100 aircraft from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, a threefold increase in participants over Peace Mission 2005, held in China. This year's Peace Mission exercises, conducted from Aug. 8 to 17, included full-fledged conventional air-ground offensive maneuvers that stressed ground and airborne assault, and coordinated air strikes by attack aircraft and attack helicopters. Russian and Chinese reporting thus far indicates the maneuvers were directed against "terrorist" strongholds in rural and urban settings.

Less clear is against what or whom the show of force was directed. The military exercises are sponsored by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a intergovernmental group founded with Chinese help to promote worthy goals of cooperation and peace in former Soviet Central Asia. In practice, however, the organization's priorities have evolved over time, and its top mission now seems to be to stop overt Islamic identification among the peoples of the region, who are mostly ethnically Turkic and traditionally Muslim.

If one includes the currently Chinese-held territory of East Turkestan (Xinjiang), Central Asia covers nearly two million square miles in the strategic heart of Eurasia, populated by peoples who have never willingly accepted rule either from Moscow or Beijing. It is rich in resources, notably oil and natural gas. For now Central Asia's rulers are mostly former Soviet officials, as fearful of Islam as are China or Russia. But they are not secure. Change in an Islamic direction, which is possible -- even likely -- will spell trouble.

To begin with, then, Peace Mission 2007 is a cooperative exercise by the rulers of the Central Asian states, supported by China and Russia, designed to prevent political instability. But that is not all. "Peace Mission 2007" also reveals a worrying pattern of cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, broadly speaking, against the west and democratic ideas.

In July, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization decided to draw up a shared list of proscribed organizations, to include terrorists of course, but also, western human-rights advocates fear, democracy advocates. They have good reason to worry. At the Army Chief of Staffs' conference in Urumqi, in Chinese-controlled East Turkestan (Xinjiang), Russian Chief of the General Staff General Yuri Baluyevsky attacked "certain Western states" that advocate "the formation of the so-called 'true democratic' institutions of state and public management . . . which causes destabilisation of the situation in the states of the region."

Both Russian and Chinese officials have claimed the Peace Mission exercises are "not directed against any one country." But when the United States asked the Chinese government if it could send observers, hoping for a return of its generous hosting of People's Liberation Army (PLA) observers at the 2006 Valiant Shield, a large exercise involving the U.S. and its Asian allies, China said "no."

Beijing evidently wishes to minimize attention to its increasing long-distance force projection abilities, demonstrated in, but not limited to, Central Asia. The PLA's contingent included 1,600-1,700 airborne and ground troops plus associated light-weight armor and about 36 aircraft. Not large numbers to be sure, but this marks the first ever PLA foreign deployment of such a combined arms group. On July 30, PLA Senior Colonel (equivalent to a brigadier general) Lu Chuangang, told state media that Peace Mission would test their capability in "long distance mobility" and "long distance integrated support."

Most western analysts have been skeptical that Beijing harbored such large ambitions. The operations in Peace Mission suggest China does, a possibility supported by other evidence. China is refurbishing the former Russian aircraft carrier Varyag and planning its own carrier force. A military airlifter is being developed that could carry 60 tons of cargo, similar to the U.S. C-17. Last December, the PLA Navy launched a 20,000 ton landing platform dock amphibious assault ship. In May, a Chinese shipbuilding official admitted to me their development of a landing helicopter dock air-amphibious assault ship.

New PLA airlifters and new medium-weight wheeled airmobile fighting vehicles being produced by the PLA will give it a future army-airborne projection capability that would compliment nicely that of Russia's. Peace Mission 2007, in fact, resembled the coordinated operations needed to shore up a tottering dictatorship, much as Soviet forces did in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. This follows the 2005 Peace Mission exercises, which demonstrated air and naval capabilities the PLA needs to attack Taiwan.

But the SCO's ability to develop a deeper military alliance is not certain. Russian press reports note that China rejected Russia's proposal to co-host the exercises with the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization, indicating that currently coincidental Russian-Chinese security agendas could easily diverge. Russia-friendly Kazakhstan did not allow Chinese troops to travel across its territory, adding thousands of kilometers to their journey. The SCO must soon also face the question of whether or not to make full members of current observers India, Pakistan and Iran -- respectively, a nuclear-armed democracy, a nuclear-armed failed state and a future nuclear-armed rogue state.

All in all, Peace Mission 2007 provides plenty of reason for concern. It highlights the direct military interest Russia and China are taking in Central Asia, an area of which the U.S. and Europe know very little. Even more worrying, the Chinese role in the exercise provides yet more evidence of the dimensions of Chinese military ambitions and capabilities, the potential targets of which are by no means limited to Central Asian Muslims.

Mr. Fisher is a vice president with the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

WSJ
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ccp
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« Reply #145 on: August 17, 2007, 08:03:06 AM »

Well it seemed to me some years back the world would be split into large geopolitical groups.  Europe vs. N America, vs S america vs China etc.  Perhpas economic globalization will counter this trend but somehow I don't think so.

Is this the beginning of a period of China-Russia dominating Asia vs America-Europe (Post Sarkozy)?  Which camp is Africa going to wind up in?  Chavez is trying to wrest control of S America and some of the Caribbean.  I presume he would like to tie up with the Communists and pseudo-communists.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070817/ap_on_re_eu/russia_china_maneuvers_1

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #146 on: August 17, 2007, 08:13:05 AM »

Indeed. In this regard I am often reminded of Orwell's analysis in 1984.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #147 on: August 17, 2007, 03:30:48 PM »

I enjoyed the last two geo-political posts, ccp and cd, just want to add or quibble slightly.  I find alignments in the world today very puzzling.  Regarding China-Russia dominating Asia, they are missing some key pieces such as Japan, So. Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc,  Australia (greater Asia?), USA (with Hawaii and troops/ships in Asia), and perhaps missing India, Pakistan and who knows about the Middle East.

Regarding USA and Europe, I have almost no idea from current events whether or not western Europe is allied with us (nor which smiling or frowning face to follow that with).  Eastern Europe is probably a more reliable ally but brings little to the table.

The battles of Africa are taking shape with South Africa the friend of all dictators and the Horn and the North certainly on Al Qaida's To Do list and the US in absence or retreat.  Remember the embassy bombings?  IMO that is another reason it is unacceptable to lose the current battles.  Even in victory there would be plenty of trouble around the world.  A surrender in Iraq or Afghanistan would likely mean surrender to and empowerment of our enemy many places elsewhere.

The Chavez story and other instability in Latin America is troubling.  They don't want our help and don't pose a direct threat to us so it just a downward spiraling wait-and-see situation.  Very sad IMO.  CCP's recent comment with the inspirational story of the illagal immigrant doctor achieving great success nailed my thoughts on this.  Paraphrasing - why can't this be done in Mexico (or so many other places) - why do they design and maintain a system that seems to lock out real achievement?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #148 on: August 29, 2007, 11:20:55 AM »

I wasn't quite sure where to post this one , , ,

Sarko Steps Up
The French President's Un-Chirac foreign policy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Nicolas Sarkozy made headlines this week by telling his diplomatic corps that "an Iran with nuclear weapons is for me unacceptable." But the French President did more in his speech than name the gravest current threat to global security, itself a feat of clear thinking. He also signaled that France means to be something more on the international scene than an anti-American nuisance player.

That's worth applauding at a time when the conventional wisdom says the next U.S. President will have to burnish America's supposedly tarnished reputation by making various policy amends. In Germany, under the conservative leadership of Angela Merkel, foreign policy views have been moving closer to the Bush Administration's, not further away, while new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made clear he will not depart significantly from the pro-American course set by Tony Blair.

But it is Mr. Sarkozy who, true to his reputation, has been the boldest in stepping up to his global responsibilities. On Afghanistan, he told the assembled diplomats, "the duty of the Atlantic Alliance as well as that of France," is to "increase efforts." He then announced he would be sending additional trainers to assist the Afghan Army. On Israel, he said he "would never budge" on its security. He warned about Russia, which "imposes its return on the world scene by playing its assets with a certain brutality," and he cautioned against China, which pursues "its insatiable search for raw materials as a strategy of control, particularly in Africa."





It's hard to imagine Jacques Chirac, Mr. Sarkozy's predecessor, speaking this way. (Mr. Sarkozy has also reportedly described French diplomats as "cowards" and proposed "[getting] rid of the Quai d'Orsay." Imagine the media uproar if President Bush mused about doing the same to Foggy Bottom?) No less a departure from past practices at the Élysée Palace is his stance on Iran. In January, Mr. Chirac had mused that an Iranian bomb would "not be very dangerous." Mr. Sarkozy, by contrast, has previously insisted on the need to "leave all options open" when dealing with Iran's nuclear programs.
In his speech this week to the diplomats, Mr. Sarkozy warned of the need for tough diplomacy, including "growing sanctions," to avoid the "catastrophic alternative: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran." That doesn't sound far from Senator John McCain's useful formulation that "There's only one thing worse than the United States exercising the military option; that is a nuclear-armed Iran." The important point is that Mr. Sarkozy has put on record that he won't let Iran develop a bomb under cover of feckless Western diplomacy.

One test of his resolve will be how much France assists the Bush Administration as it seeks to round up votes in the U.N. Security Council for a third round of sanctions on Iran next month. The Administration has had a hard time moving the diplomacy beyond symbolism in part because of the economic ties that other permanent members of the Council, including France, have with the Islamic Republic. The French say they've already pulled out some of their investments in the country, and in recent months France, Germany and other European countries have in fact cut back their export credits to Iran.

Mr. Sarkozy could now demonstrate real seriousness by forcing French energy giant Total from its $2 billion investment in the huge South Pars natural gas project. A corruption probe into the decade-old project could give him the leverage to do so, as could rising pressure in the U.S. Congress to start enforcing sanctions against companies that do business with rogue regimes.





Whatever Mr. Sarkozy does, however, he has plainly set a new tone for French foreign policy. That's not to say we agree with him on every point: He reiterated France's opposition to the war in Iraq and called for a "horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Yet even that puts him well to the right of every U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate. And he warned against the "risks of an antagonistic multipolar world," the very world Mr. Chirac seemed to strive for by opposing the U.S. at every turn.
In a speech last year in New York, Mr. Sarkozy noted that "I've always favored modest effectiveness over sterile grandiloquence. And I don't want to see an arrogant France with a diminished presence." With his remarks Monday, Mr. Sarkozy has given the best evidence to date that his presidency will attempt to enhance French influence not by opposing the U.S. but by working with it.


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #149 on: August 29, 2007, 10:54:33 PM »

Intelligence Guidance: Aug. 29, 2007
August 29, 2007 19 00  GMT



1. The United States is preparing itself for the no-holds-barred fight over the future of both the Iraq war and the Bush administration that Gen. David Petraeus' upcoming report will trigger. We need to scrupulously follow something that we rarely do because it rarely matters: Congress -- specifically, networking among key national security legislators on both sides of the aisle. The Republican senators, of course, are the ones to watch most closely (doubly so if they are up for re-election), but also watch Hillary Clinton. As the Democratic front-runner, she has a vested interest in finding a solution before the November 2008 election. If enough shifts occur to allow for the override of vetoes, Congress could legislate away the president's options. This happened to Gerald Ford in 1975 and to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938.

2. The Iranians have noticed that the United States is paralyzed, and they understand that it will remain so until the country internally figures out first who will be making policy and then what that policy will be. Iran will be making a grab for Iraq in some form -- that is clear. What is not clear is when, how or what competition it will face. Watch the regional players who have an interest in all things Iraqi or Iranian; there are ample opportunities and dangers for each of them. Everyone will be waiting for the United States to tip its very confused hand, but it would be truly surprising if at least one party did not jump the gun.

3. Ukraine's parliamentary elections will be held Sept. 30. Those elections are Russia's best chance to reassert control over its wayward former province and resurge its power along its Western periphery. However, polls indicate the race is on the edge of a knife. If Russia fails to arrange for an allied Ukraine, its broader effort to re-establish itself as a major player will fail before it begins. Therefore, Russia cannot risk the election following Ukraine's internal logic. It must intervene. How? When? Via whom?

4. Turkey has selected its new president, Abdullah Gul of the ruling "Islamic lite" Justice and Development (AK) Party. Turkey's secular tradition (and the military, the guardian of that tradition) demands that Gul also be secular, and while Gul says he will comply, there is no shortage of doubts -- within both the military and the AK Party -- that Gul will be looking out for his party's interests. What are the military's redlines for the new president? Considering a rising Russia and Iran, where will Gul's first major challenge come from?

5. We are still more than six months away from the official crowning of Russia's next president, but it now seems that First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov is the shoo-in. With that decided, Russian politics can now get on with the next order of business: figuring out who gets which jobs. In any country, the competition would be complicated and fierce; in Russia, it will be more complicated, fiercer and bloody. Who is on the rise? Who is falling? Of the people on those lists, who truly matters? And most of all, is Ivanov the real deal or merely a figurehead?

6. China has laid out a clear, crisp energy policy that, if completed, would largely redirect all of Central Asia's resources to Beijing and completely excise Russian economic influence from the region. Russia's response, so far, has been silence. Either Russia's Asian blind spot has reasserted itself with a vengeance, or China and Russia have struck a broader agreement that moves well beyond the isolation of Central Asia.

stratfor.com
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