Posts Tagged 'Iran'

This Is A Sad Day

The US and Iran have agreed to a deal, one that will ease sanctions and effectively remove all military options from the table.  In return, Iran will promise…something (yet to be determined).

No surprises here.  It sounds essentially like the deal Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton made with the North Koreans in 1994, after which the North Koreans went ahead and developed their nuclear weapons.

The Washington Post story reporting the deal included this astonishing comment:

“The Obama administration has been seeking to quickly finalize an agreement in the face of threats by Congress to impose additional economic sanctions on Iran.”

In other words, the threat of stricter sanctions on Iran put pressure on…Obama!

(I thought the whole idea was to put pressure on Iran. I guess I really don’t understand this negotiating business after all.)

The only remaining question is whether Kerry will carry an umbrella and wave a piece of paper when he arrives back in the US. Continue reading ‘This Is A Sad Day’

Iran, Obama, Munich, and the US Senate

My friend David Smith is keeping the heat on Montana’s isolationist senators. Here is his latest letter.

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WHERE ARE BAUCUS AND TESTER ON IRAN?

Last August, 76 of the 100 members of the US Senate sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to act resolutely to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons development. The letter stated:

“We believe there are four strategic elements necessary to achieve resolution of this issue: an explicit and continuing message that we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, a sincere demonstration of openness to negotiations, the maintenance and toughening of sanctions, and a convincing threat of the use of force that Iran will believe. We must be prepared to act, and Iran must see that we are prepared.” (1)

Our Senators, Jon Tester and Max Baucus, were among the small minority that refused to sign the letter. Continue reading ‘Iran, Obama, Munich, and the US Senate’

“We believe…Iran,”

Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN and the world, decrying Iranian President Rouhani’s “charm offensive” as more deceit and stalling.  This has been going on since the US and others first imposed sanctions on the Mullah’s regime, to get them to stop developing nuclear weapons in 1996 (in Bill Clinton’s first term!) Eighteen years of world protest and Iranian stalling!

Netanyahu demolished the Iranian claim that they are only planning “peaceful uses”; if so, he asked, why are they also building ICBM missiles capable of reaching New York?

In response, President Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney yesterday said:

We believe that the Iranian leadership has very publicly…changed their approach to resolving this issue with the international community.”

The Iranian regime says it has changed; so our president believes them.

I am speechless.

 

76 Senators Oppose Iranian Nukes; What about the Other 24?

Just when I am about to give up all hope that the US may finally stand up to the Iranian regime and their full-speed development of a nuclear Holocaust weapon, something positive happens.

Led by Democrat Bob Menendez (NJ) and Republican Lindsey Graham (SC), no fewer than 76 US Senators have signed and sent a letter to President Obama, urging him:

to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the process. We need to understand quickly whether Tehran is at last ready to negotiate seriously. Iran needs to understand that the time for diplomacy is nearing its end.”

The letter is commendably specific:

“Iran must cease installing centrifuges, agree to the removal of 20 percent enriched uranium from Iran, and cease work on the heavy water reactor being built in Arak.”

Further, the Senators identify

“four strategic elements necessary to achieve resolution of this issue: an explicit and continuing message that we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, a sincere demonstration of openness to negotiations, the maintenance and toughening of sanctions, and a convincing threat of the use of force that Iran will believe. We must be prepared to act, and Iran must see that we are prepared.”

Altogether a clear, concise, and reasonable summary of US policy as stated (but, so far, not enforced) by the president.

So here is my question.  Apparently 24 Senators refused to put their name on this letter. Why?  Which part of the letter do they find objectionable?  Are they foreign policy “realists” who think that the world will just have to learn live with a nuclear Iran?  Or are they “anti-Zionists” of the sort who blame Israel for all such problems? (Note: Chuck Hagel would have been a certain non-signer, so there is one good by-product of his recent job change.) Or are they just old-school appeasers and isolationists who think we should avoid conflict with foreign regimes no matter what they do to us or our allies? (Note: Republican Rand Paul did not sign.)

Or what?

I am writing this while summering in the beautiful state of Montana, and I notice that neither Democrat Max Baucus (retiring at the end of this term) nor Democrat Jon Tester (presumably planning to stay on) are signatories.  I’d like to know why.  And I’d like to know the same about the other non-signers.

Wouldn’t you?

 

Many People Believe They Are Only Sacrificing Israel

Faced with the unmasking of the neo-isolationist Obama and his Chamberlain-esque foreign policy (appeasement of enemies, abandonment of friends, and underfunding of defense), I cannot help but think back to the last time world peace was threatened by such fuzzy-brained pacifism: the 1930′s.

Then, too, building strong defenses was anathema, because it was the easiest place to cut costs, and also to avoid worrying our enemies. Then, too, the concern was that our edgy ally (then France) would get us into big trouble with its extreme demands.  And, then, too, we worried that the seemingly aggressive (to judge them by their deeds and their words) upstart nation with the seemingly irrational leader were really only trying to correct past injustices and imbalances; appeasing their demands while uttering soothing reassurances was the best way to settle them down.

So the current Obama foreign policy farce has already had a full dress rehearsal and tryout on the road; it was…less than a hit.

Much has been made of the possibility of a nuclear Iran contemplating an intentional genocidal attack on Israel’s 6 million Jews (now conveniently gathered together in an area smaller than New Jersey).  The apocalyptic nutcases who hold power in Iran have in fact talked about doing just that, many times over the past dozen years.  Fortunately, the wise “realists” of the foreign policy establishment have always known it was just talk.  “You know how kids are.”

The other worry (as if Holocaust II were not enough to get your attention) is that a nuclear Iran will be the undisputed power center of the Middle East.  Here we ought to heed the warning given by Winston Churchill after the 1938 Munich sellout of Czechoslovakia.

“It must now be accepted that all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe will make the best terms they can with the triumphant Nazi power

“In fact, if not in form, it seems to me that all those countries of Middle Europe… will, one after another, be drawn into this vast system of power politics – not only power military politics but power economic politics – radiating from Berlin, and I believe this can be achieved quite smoothly and swiftly and will not necessarily entail the firing of a single shot.

Many people, no doubt, honestly believe that they are only giving away the interests of Czechoslovakia, whereas I fear we shall find that we have deeply compromised, and perhaps fatally endangered, the safety and even the independence of Great Britain and France.”

How chillingly familiar it rings.  Already we see Egypt making its obeisance to the new regional power.  “It must now be accepted that all the countries of [the region] will make the best terms they can with the triumphant…power.”   It may not “entail the firing of a single shot” – just a few successful nuclear weapon tests.

In the 1930′s, inflated and premature fears of German military power paralyzed French and British (and American) action when it might have succeeded, and put off the showdown until Hitler was actually ready.   Excuses for inaction are always plentiful.

Of course, “Many people, no doubt, honestly believe that they are only giving away the interests” of our ally - isolated, democratic, freedom-loving Israel.  But here, as in 1938, they may find themselves mistaken.

The uncomfortable deja vu of all this brings to mind Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Bullwinkle: “Hey, Rocky; watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”

Rocky: “That trick never works.”

Bullwinkle: “This time for sure.”

Bullwinkle (after trick fails): “I gotta get a new hat.”

Last Chance to Stop Hagel

It looks like President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary is unstoppable, despite Hagel.  But we must try.

After one of the lamest congressional hearing performances in memory, Hagel is still standing.  There are still plenty of senators claiming that Obama has the right to any lame-brain isolationist anti-Semite he wants for his cabinet.

(And Obama has, especially in his “more flexible” second term, packed the cabinet with pretty mediocre minds.  This is one way  to be “the smartest guy in the room.”)

Continue reading ‘Last Chance to Stop Hagel’

So who says Hagel is anti-Israel?

So who says Hagel is anti-Israel?  The regime in Iran, that’s who.

On the Iranian government-run channel Press TV, the headline (from last week) was:

Obama to name anti-Israeli Hagel as Defense Secretary

“All signs indicate that US President Barack Obama is poised to nominate anti-Israel ex-Senator Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary soon, informed sources say…

“Hagel’s nomination is expected to spark a row in the Senate. Many pro-Israeli groups and neo-conservatives have spouted diatribe against Hagel over his criticism of Washington’s anti-Iran policies and Israel’s sway over the US political arena.  ” Continue reading ‘So who says Hagel is anti-Israel?’

Isolationist Obama Unmasks Himself with Hagel

Well, that didn’t take long.  I wrote recently (below) that “If Obama accepts a new round of Iranian talks, or if he nominates Hagel for Defense Secretary, then Israel will know beyond a doubt that it will have to deal with Iran alone. “

It gives real plausibility to the notion (see below) that Obama’s inaction on Iran is not just avoidance, but active collusion in stalling until Iran is beyond the point of being stoppable.

Hagel has a strong record as an enemy of America’s friends (Israel) and a friend of America’s enemies (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah).  In other words, an isolationist.

In nominating him, President Obama sends a message to the world: Israel is on its own.

He has fully embraced the isolationist creed: The only thing worse than having enemies is having friends.

This is looking like a replay of the Republican-led (and Democratic-followed) isolationism of the post-WWI years. Back then, the US decided France and Britain were the threat to European peace, and Germany was the power whose grievances needed to be appeased.

So,  here we go again.

It might seem that opposition to Hagel’s nomination is pointless, now that Obama has revealed himself so nakedly; any other Obama nominee will have no choice but to carry out the boss’ directions.  But at least a strong opposition in the Senate (and public opinion) would remind Obama that most Americans are not quite so ready to throw our allies under the bus.

So I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to stop this tragedy.  The new website www.ChuckHagel.com is an excellent resource.

And let me know what you think, by clicking on “Leave a comment” above.

What Would the Second Obama Do?

by David Smith

With all due respect to my friend Moleman, I say: Forget the 12th Imam.  Consider the Second Obama.

In one of those “I didn’t know the mic was hot” moments, President Obama was overheard reassuring the Russians that “After the election I will have more flexibility.”  He was asking them to be patient in their demands that we back off from building our long-promised missile defens shield.

You should read the ABC News story here.  You really should.

Obama has often been accused of “kicking the can down the road” by putting off controversial decisions until after he is re-elected.

The Keystone pipeline?  Sorry, I need more time to think about it.  Check with me in late November.

Action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program?  Sorry, I’m still not sure they really want to make warheads.  I’ll keep my eye on it.  Maybe by December the picture will be clearer.

Building a missile defense shield so no other country (or insane militant America-hating theocracy) can attack us?   Let’s talk about that next year.

This pattern raises a question.  How does this flexibility work?  What would he like to do but feels it unwise to do prior to the election?

The answer: Anything to lose votes.

Yes, but whose votes?

Hard-core Democrats will vote for him even if he allows oil drilling in the NPR building.

Hard-shell Republicans will vote against him even if he pilots the first bomber over the Iranian warhead factories.

So who decides elections?  Moderates and Independents, that’s who. Continue reading ‘What Would the Second Obama Do?’

Iran Plays “Rope-a-Dope” with Us

Mister Moleman is pleased to present a new friend (actually an old friend of mine, but new to you), Mister Dave Smith.  He is an old union man, now retired, who has made valuable anonymous contributions to this blog in the past.  Today we celebrate his “coming out.”

by Dave Smith

Iran continues to play “rope-a-dope” with the US and the world.  First, they rattle sabres, threatening Israel and the US with destruction (which they cannot yet carry out.  They threaten closure of the Straits of Hormuz, our terror of higher gas prices.  Then, they offer the “olive branch” of negotiations, to stall for a few months before they need to utter the next round of threats.  All the while, they openly develop the weapons that will make them truly dangerous and make a second holocaust possible.

And the US policy? Admit military impotence (even shrink our own forces), worry about offending Iran, and put off serious sanctions until we can be sure they won’t affect oil prices.  And warn Israel against taking action to defend themselves.  “Leave it to us,” the US says.

I don’t know what Israel should do about Iran. But it seems obvious what America and our president should do. Continue reading ‘Iran Plays “Rope-a-Dope” with Us’

Military Options Are Not Hopeless

Jonathan S. Tobin, writes in Commentary blog Contentions: Echoes of 1967 in Israel’s Iran Dilemma.  This is a refreshing counter-point to Barry Rubin’s depressing piece (cited below).

I myself don’t know what Israel’s leadership should do.  I have no inside information on Iranian defences or Israeli military options.

But I like what Tobin is saying.  He simply argues that the military option is not hopeless.  Iran is not invulnerable.  This doesn’t sound particularly controversial until you consider how many supposed “realists” treat with the contrary proposition as a default axiom, a matter that must be taken on faith.

Tobin also points to the similarity with 1967, when world opinion was united in urging Israel not to take preemptive action against Egypt’s planned holocaust.

What is most surprising is today’s “realist’s” claim that an Israeli strike would turn Iran into an implacable enemy of Israel!  Have these guys been listening to Iran’s leaders lately?  It’s worse, more openly genocidal, than anything Nasser ever spouted.

Barry Rubin is wrong!

I never thought I would write these words, but Barry Rubin over at Pajamas Media is wrong in his effort to reassure us that Israel will not attack Iran’s nuclear program.  Rubin is a perceptive and courageous analyst of the Middle East and its problems.  But this piece is merely a rehash of “realist” pap about how Iran is so well protected that an Israeli or US attack “will not stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”  There is also the usual stuff about how Iran’s leaders can’t really be as crazy as they sound, and how deterrence just might work on these 12th-Imam fanatics.

Now, we’ve been hearing about Iran’s invulnerability for years.  Yes, we know that some of Iran’s facilities are deep underground.  We’ve been hearing that for years from those urging inaction.

Fact:  In May of 2006, James Fallows wrote in the Atlantic: “Now that Iran unquestionably intends to build a nuclear bomb, the international community has few options to stop it—and the worst option would be a military strike.”

Fact: In 2009,  Defense Secretary Gates, obviously speaking at the president’s direction, has announced that the US has no military ability to destroy the fast-developing Iranian nuclear program.  All we would do would be “send it further underground.”

Fact:  In May of 2011, The AP reports thatIran has moved some of its centrifuge machines to an underground enrichment site that offers better protection from possible airstrikes, the country’s vice president said Monday.”

Questions:  If they’ve been so bloody invulnerable for so long, why are the Iranians suddenly burying them? Continue reading ‘Barry Rubin is wrong!’

Iran’s Underground Weapons Program Moves Underground

Lost in the (certainly justifiable, if premature) celebration of the imminent fall of the monster Gaddafi, the world seems to be underreacting to this disturbing AP news story from the Middle East:

Iran moves centrifuges to underground site

“Islamic Republic transfers some of its uranium enrichment machines to subterranean facility
offering better protection from possible airstrikes:  Associated Press”

Iran has moved some of its centrifuge machines to an underground enrichment site that offers better protection from possible airstrikes, the country’s vice president said Monday.”

“Engineers are “hard at work” preparing the facility in Fordo, which is carved into a mountain to protect it against possible attacks, to house the centrifuges, Fereidoun Abbasi was quoted as saying by state TV.”

What makes this puzzling is that authoratative-sounding media pundits and prestigious national security experts have been assuring us for years that Iran’s nuclear program could not be stopped by airstrikes, since it was buried in deep subterranean facilities.  This was all patiently explained to neocon hotheads who called for air action similar to the successful attacks that ended both Iraqi and Syrian nuclear programs in past decades.  As the “wise men” made clear, the only alternative to diplomacy and sanctions was a horrendous nightmare of “boots on the ground”; and nobody wants that now, do they?

So now it turns out that the uranium centrifuges, the biggest and most vulnerable part of the program, were sitting around in the open air?   Oops.

This whole debate had settled down somewhat in recent years, as both the Administration and the news media (but I repeat myself?) took their eye off the Iranian ball.  If you want a refresher course in this denialism, take a look back at my dialogue with Frankie Sturm,  then Communications Director of the Truman Democrats (a misnamed organization trying to resurrect national security credibility for the Democratic Party).  The title was “A Perfect Storm of Appeasement”, and it was written in February of 2009 – two and a half years ago.

Here is Mr. Sturm, expressing the left’s conventional wisdom at the time (and since):

There’s a lot out there on the futility of air strikes. Here is one article from the Atlantic and another link to a study by the Oxford Research Group. It was easy to take out Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1983 because the entire program was contained in that single, above ground installation. The suspected nuclear site in Syria that Israel took out recently is a similar story – it was just one above ground building. Iran learned from the Israeli airstrike against Iraq in 1983. That’s why they’re so thoroughly buried underground.

Oops. Continue reading ‘Iran’s Underground Weapons Program Moves Underground’

The Latest Palestinian Peace News

Palestinians Endorse “Country-Of-Origin Labeling”

Here are two news reports from the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

First, Hamas clarifies its position on future Israeli borders.

Osama Hamdan, Head of the Hamas Foreign Liaisons: Armed Confrontation Will Continue to Be “the Backbone of the Resistance”, the Israelis Must Return to Their Countries of Origin - interview aired on Al-Jadid/New TV on May 4, 2011: (that is 2 weeks before recent the Netanyahu/Obama exchanges):

“There is no doubt, however, that the armed confrontation will continue to be the main effort and the backbone of the resistance, until the liberation of Palestine.”

“I think that politically, the two-state solution is over. The people who suggested this notion are the ones who say so. Therefore, trying to talk about a two-state solution again is like talking about something that is over and done with.” 

“I think that we are entering the phase of the liberation of Palestine. When we talk about the liberation of Palestine, we are talking about the notion of Return: the return of the refugees to their homeland, and the return of the Israelis to the countries from which they came.”

So there you have it: the Palestinian view of future Israeli border is not pre 1967, but rather pre-1948.  Actually, it is even worse.  Though Jews have lived in the area for thousands of years, they are now to…get out.

At least the Palestinians support “Country-Of-Origin Labeling”

And here is news of the welfare state, Palestinian Authority style: Continue reading ‘The Latest Palestinian Peace News’

Again With the Pirates?

by Hans Moleman

The CBS headline reads: “4 Americans on hijacked yacht dead off Somalia“.  It ought to read: “U.S. Impotence Displayed on High Seas”.

Pirates.  Incredibly, in the 21st century, the greatest military and naval power in history finds it impossible to protect its citizens from…pirates.

Somali pirates have been terrorizing the sea lanes off the Horn of Africa for a decade now.  The business is booming, because it pays off royally, and with surprisingly little risk.  The ship owners and insurers pay ransoms in the millions, and with every ransom payoff, more ships are hijacked.

And the navies of the world try feebly to deal with it.

Nests of pirates were eradicated in the Mediterranean, when the Romans (Pompey) decided to deal with them.  In the eighteenth century, piracy in the Western Hemisphere was eradicated when the British Empire (Royal Navy) decided to deal with it.

Against concerted effort by ships (and hearts) of oak, the pirates were powerless.  But against today’s astonishingly powerful fleets, Somalis in small boats, armed with small arms, fear little.

The CBS story reports that “the hijacked yacht was being piloted towards the Somali coast – and was being shadowed by a U.S. Navy warship“  when the pirates decided to shoot the Americans onboard. Continue reading ‘Again With the Pirates?’

Iran: Same Old Debate, But the Clock is Ticking

One might ask what progress has been made on stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program since the Obama administration took over a year and a half ago. In that respect, I recently reviewed a dialogue I had with Mr. Frankie Sturm, Communications Director of the “Truman National Security Project” back in March of 2009.  It turns out that every word written then is still relevant today; the only progress has been in Iran’s weapons program and in the erosion of US diplomatic prestige.  The Doomsday Clock is still inexorably approaching High Noon. (Whatever happened to the Doomsday Clock, BTW?)

Anyway, take a look and see if you don’t agree. 

See “A Dialogue with Mr. Frankie Sturm on Iran” here.

Agnostic about Genocide?

My friend Ben Finiti talks of having become a political agnostic, uncomfortable taking sides on many of the most contentious issues of our time. I feel the same – up to a point. I agree that many questions (stimulus, bailouts, immigration, health care, etc.) offer at least two sides with plausible concerns, relevant facts, and about the same level of good- and bad-faith arguments.  To invest in one position, I must do one of two things. I must decide that I know what this is all about and am sufficiently informed, disinterested, and dispassionate to be able to say which position should prevail. Or I must use my affiliations as guides to my positions (“My friends/family/party are for it, so that must be the right position.”) Like Ben, I find it increasingly difficult to do either on most issues.

But not on all issues. In the Middle East and around the world today, a struggle of titanic proportions is taking shape. The battles are still small by 20th-century standards. In Afghanistan and Iraq, US troops fight in the field.  Around the globe, security forces try to thwart murderous terrorists before they can strike at civilian targets.  Under multiculturalist banners, unassimilable immigrants demand recognition of Sharia law, accommodation of “honor killings”, and punishment for anti-Islamic speech. Continue reading ‘Agnostic about Genocide?’

Paging Dr. Walt and Dr. Mearsheimer

I Have a Question, Doctors

A few years ago, two professors wrote a book.  Stephen Walt (Harvard) and John Mearsheimer (Chicago) published The Israel Lobby in 2007, and it made quite a splash.  Its central thesis was that US foreign policy was directed by Israel and its friends, to the detriment of America’s real interests.  In other words, the Jews are running this country.

 Accusations of anti-Semitism arose, but were deftly parried by the authors and their defenders.  It’s about Israel, they responded; it has nothing to do with Jews!

(This is why I wish that Ben Gurion had given the Zionist entity a different name, like maybe Semitia.  But then the world’s W’s and M’s would have patiently explained that they are not anti-Semites, but anti-Semitians.  If he’d named it Jewland, W and M could explain that their problem is with Jewlandians, not Jews. Oh, well.)

 Here I note that I venture no judgment on the inner prejudices of W and M.  But I do note that if you check their book on Amazon, you will learn that “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine; Beyond Chutzpah; On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism; Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid (by Jimmy Carter); The Holocaust Industry; and The Power of Israel in the United States.”  I know that guilt is not proven by association.  You may draw your own conclusions.

 So, in the dark days of the dreaded neocon likudnik administration of George W. Bush, professors M and W surveyed US mideast policy and made an interesting discovery.  Every action occurred in Israel.  The Muslim states were mere passive observers, reacting to Israeli and US provocations.  The best example was in their look at Iran. 

 “Israel’s perception of the Iranian threat underwent a fundamental change in the early 1990’s, as evidence of Teheran’s nuclear ambitions began to accumulate.  Israeli leaders began warning Washington in 1993 that Iran was a grave threat not only to Israel but to the US as well.  There has been no letup in that alarmist and aggressive rhetoric since then, largely because Iran has continued to move ahead on the nuclear front.” Continue reading ‘Paging Dr. Walt and Dr. Mearsheimer’

Iran Threat Must Be Faced

by David Smith

The Iranian regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today poses a grave and imminent threat to world peace. A wealthy nation, led by apocalyptic anti-Semitic fanatics committed to the eradication of a neighboring nation, is rapidly developing the weapons that will put that goal within its reach.

The whole world knows it; indeed, Iran barely bothers to deny it.

The Iranian regime is and has always been an avowed and implacable enemy of both Israel and of our own country. Their hatred of us and their desire to destroy Israel are not new. What is new is their development of the weapons needed to accomplish their goal of a Jew-free Middle East.

There can be no mistake; the Iranian regime is preparing for its “Final Solution” to the problem of Israel – nothing less than a Second Holocaust. Their denial of Nazi genocide is a smokescreen to distract attention from their plans to out-murder Hitler. With a weapon that Hitler could only dream of, Iran will have instant genocide – the extermination of 6 million Israeli Jews in a single day – at their fingertips.

Diplomacy and sanctions have been tried and have not worked. China (politely) and Russia (rudely) have made it clear (repeatedly) that they will oppose or sabotage serious sanctions. Sanctions will not work under such circumstances. Continue reading ‘Iran Threat Must Be Faced’

OK, This Is Just Funny

OK, this is just plain funny.  “Obama To Enter Diplomatic Talks With Raging Wildfire“, on YouTube from Onion News Network.

Sad that it is so funny.  But still funny.  I don’t care who you are.

 

Russia, China Doom US Appeasement

Today’s news:  Russian leaders Vladimir Putin rejects sanctions against Iran, even as China indicates willingness to consider more sanctions.

Tomorrow’s headline:  China rejects Iran sanctions, even as Russia softens its position.

The Day after Tomorrow’s headine: China tags out, Russia tags into Iran-defense match.

Several things become clearer every day.

First, Iran is playing its diplomatic stalling game with masterful finesse.  They have been at the table for years with the Europeans, and now with us. Feeble sanctions are enacted, and then flouted by various nations.  And in the background, the steady hum of thousands of gas centrifuges, both in Qom and Natanz, creating the stuff of Iran’s dream: the Jew-liquidating Final Solution: the Mullah Of All Bombs.

Second, Russia and China are not displeased with Iran’s challenge to the West, and will not impede it in any way.  But, to avoid burning all bridges to the West, Russia and China will continue to play tag-team in threatening to veto any UN Security Council action, swapping the good-cop/bad-cop roles from time to time.  They know that the present US administration will not consider military pressure on Iran without a UN mandate.  Russia and China are Iran’s insurance policy against any possible UN action.  With their backing, Iran fears no sanctions, and has zero incentive to negotiate in good faith. Continue reading ‘Russia, China Doom US Appeasement’

A French Lesson

File this under “Never Thought I’d See the Day…”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has publicly rebuked Obama’s airy internationalism in the face of the Iranian threat.  The US media seems to have missed the story.  It happened on September 25, and Breitbart has it.

Sarkozy Mocks Obama At UN Security Council

Sarkozy: “We live in the real world, not the virtual world. And the real world expects us to take decisions.” 

“President Obama dreams of a world without weapons … but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite… Continue reading ‘A French Lesson’

The Next Holocaust

I have just finished reading an interesting and disturbingly timely book. Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust, by Theodore S. Hamerow, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin, chronicles and analyzes a story too rarely told:  why the USA and Western European democracies exerted so little effort to prevent Hitler’s genocide of the Jews of Europe.

Hamerow gives full credit to the supreme efforts made by the allies in the war to defeat Hitlerism – once the allies belatedly recognized that their appeasement and isolationism would not avert the danger of further territorial aggression.

But he focuses on the numerous instances when the US and Britain failed to take available steps to assist Hitler’s victims.  The public silence about the death camps.  The repeated failure to offer wholesale welcome to refugees.  And, above all, the refusal to divert even limited military resources to disrupting the railroad networks supplying the death camps.

In the final analysis, there were three reasons why the West only watched the Holocaust.  Continue reading ‘The Next Holocaust’

Obama’s Isolationism Unveiled

OUTREACH TO ENEMIES, PUSHBACK TO ALLIES

Health Care Reform and the recession have kept America’s attention firmly riveted on the new administration’s domestic direction.   But something much bigger is happening in the world, and it is going largely unnoticed.

The sole superpower is withdrawing from world affairs.

It is quickly becoming clear that President Obama’s foreign policy has a simple but astonishing goal: to rid us of both enemies and allies. Continue reading ‘Obama’s Isolationism Unveiled’

“Iran Will Never Negotiate…”

I was planning to write about something positive and uplifting for a change. Maybe Obama’s speech to schoolkids.   

Instead, I am forced to turn back to the ugliest story developing anywhere in our world. The newly re-installed (through a clumsy whitewash of an election) president of Iran is back in the news, on the eve of a US-set September deadline for serious progress on stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program. To encourage progress on the issue, our President Obama has been tactfully and diplomatically silent about the stolen election, the arrest, beatings, and murder of Iranian democrats, the threats against Israel’s very existence, and the other human rights atrocities that are Ahmadinejad’s daily bread.  We remain silent in order to avoid giving Mr. A reason to turn against us.  

And how is that working so far, you ask? Continue reading ‘“Iran Will Never Negotiate…”’

Israel Sees Secret Holocaust Plans

On an official visit to Germany, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu received an unusual gift.  This gift was a set of plans for the Nazi Holocaust.  (It was not an “official gift”, but rather one from a private citizen, a newspaper publisher.  The official gift was an iPod loaded with the speeches of Angela Merkel.)

The documents, “which include architects’ drawings of rooms including one marked ‘Gaskammer’, or gas chamber…”, gave Netanyahu a welcome opportunity to remind the world that the next round of the Holocaust is being prepared right now in Teheran.  Continue reading ‘Israel Sees Secret Holocaust Plans’

Rene Girard, scapegoats, and the next Holocaust

One of the most original thinkers of our time, Rene Girard, has an excellent article in First Things (one of the most important publications of our time), entitled “On War andApocalypse“.

He reviews his theory of mimetic rivalry and scapegoating, and then offers some related reflections on modern Islamism.  It is most thought-provoking, as RG often is.  And this is clearer than much of his writing (he is, after all, a Frenchman.)  Continue reading ‘Rene Girard, scapegoats, and the next Holocaust’

Ahmadinejad and Munich Nostalgia

 

Whenever the subject is Iran, I find my thoughts drifting back to the 1930’s, and I realize I am becoming a Munich bore.  But I can’t help it.

Mr. Ahmadinejad (I started to write Herr Ahmadinejad, but I am really trying to lay off on the sarcasm) was interviewed in Der Spiegel [here] yesterday by a German reporter who pulled refreshingly few punches. 

What first grabbed my interest was Mr. A on the subject of the rights of the Palestinians.

Ahmadinejad: We are defending more than the basic rights of oppressed Palestinians. Our proposal for resolving the Middle East conflict is that the Palestinians should be allowed to decide their own future in a free referendum. Do you think it right that some European countries and the United States support the occupying regime and the unnatural Zionist state, but condemn Iran, merely because we are defending the rights of the Palestinian people?

I flashed back to Churchill’s magnificent speech in Commons opposing Chamberlain’s Munich agreement.  (It will be a most hopeful sign when this great oration is once again studied in both civics and literature classes.)

Continue reading ‘Ahmadinejad and Munich Nostalgia’

Appeasement, Old and New

It is common for pundits to quote Churchill about the policy of appeasement and its inevitable failure to cope with aggressive dictators.  But this unfairly allows the policy’s opponents to define it, and gives rise to the feeling (by modern-day appeasers) that the term is an ugly epithet which no one of good will really deserves. 

 

But in fact it was Chamberlain himself who called his policy “appeasement”.  And under that very name it was extremely popular, as witness the cheering crowds greeting his return from Munich, and his 369-150 vote of support in Commons.

 

So how did Chamberlain define appeasement?  One of his best summations was the following, from his speech in defense of the Munich agreement, where Czechoslovakia was sold out in exchange for Hitler’s promises of peaceful behavior.

  Continue reading ‘Appeasement, Old and New’

A Dialogue With Mr. Frankie Sturm on Iran

by Mr. Hans Moleman

(Mr. Moleman began this dialogue by critiquing Mr. Sturms’s original paper, in a post entitled “A Perfect Sturm of Appeasement”.  Mr. Sturm responded, sparking a dialogue that is still going, and for which Mr. M is grateful.  There are now 7 responses back and forth.)

The Truman National Security Project is a worthy effort by a group of “Truman Democrats” to craft a foreign policy that more consistent with the Truman postwar principles than with the pacifist policy of every Democratic candidate since George McGovern.

 Unfortunately, their latest paper “Iran: Putting the Threat in Perspective” by Frankie Sturm  suggests that the “Truman Democrats” are still stuck in the dead-end of a thoughtless (or cynical) anti-neo-conservatism. 

Continue reading ‘A Dialogue With Mr. Frankie Sturm on Iran’


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