Posts Tagged 'national security'

Iranian Moderates, Then and Now

We are hearing much these days about negotiations with the new “moderate” Iranian leadership. What is an “Iranian moderate”?

Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

December of 2001, shorty after the 9/11 attacks, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 4th President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, spoke at Teheran University.


Nuclear Weapons Can Solve the Israel Problem

Rafsanjani said that Muslims must surround colonialism and force them [the colonialists] to see whether Israel is beneficial to them or not. If one day, he said, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel’s possession [meaning nuclear weapons] – on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This, he said, is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.  [, citing three Iranian newspapers] Continue reading ‘Iranian Moderates, Then and Now’

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’

Israel’s critics need to face facts

Every critic of Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians must (apparently) be reminded of several basic facts.

First, a historical fact: Israel did not start the war.  In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine between Israelis and Arabs. Israel accepted the Partition Plan and announced its intention to live within its borders, in peace with its Arab neighbors.  Those same Arab neighbors rejected the plan, declared war, and vowed to wipe Israel off the map and sweep the Jews into the sea.  The borders have changed with every Arab failed attempt to accomplish this, but the aims of both parties have remained the same.

Second, another historical fact:  Israel has voluntarily withdrawn from territory occupied by its armies, sometimes unilaterally, several times in the past (Lebanon in 2000, Gaza in 2005).  In almost every case, the territory has then been used as a base for attacks on Israel, resulting in the murder of Jewish civilians.

Now, some current facts.

First, Israel is prepared to meet with the Palestinian Authority anywhere, at any time, without pre-conditions, to discuss peace.  This offer is frequently repeated by Israel, and consistently rejected by the Palestinians. (See most recent offer here.)

Second, Israel recognizes the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own.  In contrast, Palestinian leaders refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist within ANY borders.  Here is the Palestinians’ most “moderate” leader, Mahmoud Abbas:

“They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state,” Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General  Assembly.”

If Israel’s critics wish to be taken seriously, they need to admit these facts and explain how these problems can be addressed by Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories.  If not, they stand exposed as anti-Semites demanding that Israel commit national suicide.

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?’

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!’

It’s a Big War, and Iran is the Urgent Front

Michael Ledeen, over at Pajamas Media, has an excellent post entitled “It’s a Real War, Stupid. A Big War. A Worthy Challenge for America”.  You should read it.

His point is that we need to recognize the uncomfortable reality that radical Islam has declared war on us, and that we must confront this as a worldwide war rather than a series of unrelated regional and local conflicts.

His analysis is correct and perceptive.  Unfortunately, it is hard to muster much hope for our success, given the general collapse of Western resolve.  It is hard to see the West facing up to ANY of its problems, denialism having become our operative mode. 

 But the need is clear: We must mobilize all of the West’s resources in the struggle against Radical Islam, as Truman did in 1948 against communism.  Support for friends, non-support of enemies, active propaganda, and direct force when and where needed.

Syria is indeed a critical battlefield.  But we must not forget the most dangerous threat we face:Iran’s drive to become a nuclear power. 

We have dropped the ball on Iran long enough.  The recent reports of their uranium centrifuges being moved to “bombproof” subterranean sites suggest that the door is fast closing on our options.  A Syrian revolution, no matter how successful, will not stop Iran’s centrifuges.  Even an Iranian uprising might not do it.

A worldwide war must be waged simultaneously on many fronts.  But right now, no front is more pressing than Iran.

The Arc of Appeasement: Germany and Iran

Once again, a rising military aggressor is bent on domination of its neighbors and holocaust of the Jews.  And once again, the nations (in this case, one nation) which could stop them fails to act.

The arc of the Iran story is so redolent of the 1930’s British appeasers (not just Baldwin and Chamberlain, but a genuine broad-based political consensus, except for Churchill) that both stories can be told in the same words.

Stage One:  “(Germany/Iran) may be arming for war, but it is not strong enough to threaten peace anywhere. The real danger is posed by our ally (France/Israel).”

Stage Two: “(Germany/Iran) may be arming for war and getting stronger every day, but they are not irrational.  They may threaten the peace, but their fear of our ally (France/Israel), backed by their fear of us, will be sufficient to deter them.”

Stage Three: “(Germany/Iran) is a threat to peace.  They are already too strong for us to stop them militarily.  We must rely on diplomacy to make the best deal with them we can.” Continue reading ‘The Arc of Appeasement: Germany and Iran’

Moderate Terrorists Make Peace!

So, let’s see what else has been happening while US forces finally caught up Osama Bin Laden.  

Well, here on a back page of the newspaper I read that the Palestinians have finally negotiated a peace agreement…with themselves.  The Hamas terrorists in Gaza have formed a “unity” alliance with the Palestinian Authority/Fatah government in the West Bank, so that they can work together for their common aims.  The story did not mention what those aims are.

There are, at least in theory, some big differences between Hamas and the PA/Fatah.  Hamas is an openly terrorist organization, committed to the total destruction of Israel, and deeply hostile to the US.  Fatah? Well, not so much. 

The Fatah-controlled PA is generally regarded as “moderate”, meaning that they changed their constitution in recent years to erase their commitment to Israel’s destruction.  Fatah recently gave up promoting suicide bombings of civilians when Israel built a wall to keep them out.  This is why Fatah/PA is considered “moderate”: so much so that, in the interests of peace, the US now gives $400 million a year to Fatah/PA, and provides it with military training.  

So now moderate Fatah/PA and terrorist Hamas are united.  What does that make them? Moderate terrorists, I guess.  And how different are they?  Take the Bin Laden killing, for instance. Ismail Haniya, the leader of the Hamas government, called it a “continuation of the United States policy of destruction” and “state terrorism that America carries out against Muslims.”  The PA officially applauded the US action, but Fatah’s official military arm, The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,  echoed Hamas: Continue reading ‘Moderate Terrorists Make Peace!’

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’

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


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…”’

Progress on the Pirate Front

Here is the latest on the EU “War” On Piracy. Continue reading ‘Progress on the Pirate Front’

The Obama Doctrine?

Peter Wehner at Contentions, the Commentary blog, has an excellent short posting about the Obama Doctrine:

“At a new conference yesterday, President Obama took a shot at defining the Obama Doctrine. Here’s my effort at defining it: The Obama Doctrine means criticizing past presidents, Democratic and Republican; apologizing for past American sins, real and imagined, to both allies and enemies of the United States, on domestic and, preferably, foreign soil — in the hope that doing so allows Obama to speak with greater moral force and clarity. The overriding goal of the Obama Doctrine is to make the person it is named after look good, rather than, and if necessary at the expense of, the nation he was elected to represent.

He omitted only to mention the tendency to show toughness by pressuring our allies, and to show understanding by going easy on our enemies.   To repeat myself only slightly:

President Obama’s recent forays into the wider world have been positively Chamberlainesque (although there is no evidence that Chamberlain ever actually bowed to Hitler.) His humble apologies for our sins, his delicate refusal to criticize Iran’s warmongering or Saudi Arabia’s persecution of women or China’s dictatorship, his pious moral equivalence of Israel and Iran/Hamas/Hezbollah. And now the bi-lingual embrace of “mi amigo” Chavez.

Obama’s entire pre-presidential experience and body of work can be summed up as “effective self-promotion.” If he continues to think that the solutions to every problem is “More Obama,” then we are all in for a very rough time.

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’

Democrats win another domestic election

I know the election is over and it is time to, as they say, “Move On”.  But not quite yet.


Presidential elections can fit many patterns, and this one was no exception.  In retrospect it has a certain (and false) sense of inevitability.  Unpopular president, bad economy; these things don’t bode well for an incumbent party.   Yet nations, like individuals, possess a kind of free will, and formulaic determinism will always fall short.


But one pattern jumps out.  This was an election in which the domestic economy was the “top topic” on voters’ minds.  When that has happened recently, Democrats usually win. Continue reading ‘Democrats win another domestic election’

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