Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category
Sunday, January 15th, 2017
A Remarkably Complete Analysis of the Recent Unexpected and Highly Anti-Israeli Resolition That the Obama Administration Allowed to Be Passed.
Obama’s Betrayal of Israel
by Guy Millière
January 13, 2017
• President Obama’s decision not to use the US veto in the UN Security Council and to let pass Resolution 2334, effectively sets the boundaries of a future Palestinian state. The resolution declares all of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem — home to the Old City, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount — the most sacred place in Judaism — “occupied Palestinian territory,” and is a declaration of war against Israel.
• Resolution 2334 nullified any possibility of further negotiations by giving the Palestinians everything in exchange for nothing — not even an insincere promise of peace.
• The next act is the Orwellian-named “peace conference,” to be held in Paris on January 15. It has but one objective: to set the stage to eradicate Israel.
• In this new “Dreyfus trial,” the accused will be the only Jewish state and the accusers will be the OIC and officials from Islamized, dhimmified, anti-Israel Western states. As in the Dreyfus trial, the verdict has been decided before it even starts. Israel will be considered guilty of all charges and condemned. A draft of the declaration to be published at the end of the conference is already available.
• The declaration rejects any Jewish presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines — thereby instituting apartheid. It also praises the “Arab Peace Initiative,” which calls for returning of millions of so-called “refugees” to Israel, thus transforming Israel into an Arab Muslim state where a massacre of Jews could conveniently be organized.
• The declaration is most likely meant serve as the basis for a new Security Council resolution on January 17 that would recognize a Palestinian state inside the “1967 borders,” and be adopted, thanks to a second US abstention, three days before Obama leaves office. The betrayal of Israel by the Obama administration and by Obama himself would then be complete.
• The US Congress is already discussing bills to defund the UN and the Palestinian Authority. If Europeans think that the incoming Trump administration is as spineless as the Obama administration, they are in for a shock.
• Khaled Abu Toameh noted that the Palestinian Authority sees Resolution 2334 as a green light for more murders and violence.
• Daniel Pipes recently wrote that it is time to acknowledge the failure of a “peace process” that is really a war process. He stresses that peace can only come when an enemy is defeated.
• Resolution 2334 and the Paris conference, both promoted by Obama, are, as the great historian Bat Ye’or wrote, simply a victory for jihad.
The Middle East is in chaos. More than half a million people have been killed in the Syrian war and the number is rising. Bashar al-Assad’s army used chemical weapons and barrel bombs against civilians; Russia has bombed schools and hospitals.
Syrians, Christians, Yazidis, Libyans, Yemenis and Egyptians all face lethal treats. Iranian leaders still shout “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” while buying nuclear equipment with money from lifted sanctions. Turkey is sliding toward an Islamist dictatorship, and unable to stem attacks against it.
The only democratic and stable country in the region is Israel, and that is the country U.S. President Barack Obama, in the final weeks of his term, chooses to incriminate. His decision not to use the US veto in the UN Security Council, to let pass Resolution 2334, effectively sets the boundaries of a future Palestinian state. The resolution also declares all of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, home to the Old City, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount — the most sacred place in Judaism — “occupied Palestinian territory,” and is a declaration of war against Israel.
UNSC Resolution 2334 nullified any possibility of further negotiations, by giving the Palestinians everything in exchange for nothing — not even an insincere promise of peace. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech five days later confirmed Obama’s support for the resolution. Kerry, like US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, used the existence of Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria as a pretext to endorse the position of Palestinian leaders, who want to ethnically cleanse Jews from these areas. But this was just a prelude.
The next act is the Orwellian-named “peace conference,” to be held in Paris on January 15. It has but one objective: to set the stage to eradicate Israel.
Organized by François Hollande, a failed French President who will leave power in four months, it was supported from the start by the Obama administration. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called it “the new Dreyfus trial.” The accused will be the only Jewish state and the accusers will be the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and officials from Islamized, dhimmified, anti-Israel Western states. As in the Dreyfus trial, the verdict is known before it starts. Israel will be considered guilty of all charges and condemned to what its accusers hope will be the beginning of its end.
Is Barack Obama planning another betrayal of Israel at next week’s Paris “peace conference,” organized by French President François Hollande? Pictured: Obama and Hollande in Washington, May 18, 2012. (Image source: White House)
Some commentators have compared what will happen in Paris to the 1942 Wannsee Conference in Nazi Germany, because the aim seems clearly to be the “final solution” of the “Jewish problem” in the Middle East. A draft of the declaration to be published at the end of the conference is already available. It affirms unreserved support for the “Palestinian Statehood strategy” and the principle of intangibility (that the borders cannot be modified) of the “1967 borders,” including East Jerusalem, the Old City and the Western Wall.
The draft declaration rejects any Jewish presence beyond these borders — thereby instituting apartheid — and praises the “Arab Peace Initiative,” which calls for returning millions of so-called “refugees” to Israel, and thus the transforming of Israel into an Arab Muslim state — where a massacre of the Jews could conveniently be organized.
The declaration is most likely meant to be the basis for a new UN Security Council resolution that would endorse the recognition of a Palestinian state in the “1967 borders” as defined in the declaration. The new resolution could be adopted by a second US abstention at the Security Council on January 17, three days before Obama leaves office. The betrayal of Israel by the Obama administration and by Obama himself would then be complete.
On January 20, however, Donald J. Trump is to take office as President of the United States. Trump sent a message on December 23: “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!” He added explicitly that the U.S. “cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect.”
On January 5, the US House of Representatives approved a text harshly criticizing Resolution 2334. Congress is already discussing defunding the UN and the Palestinian Authority. If Europeans and members of UN think the incoming Trump administration is as spineless as the Obama administration, they are in for a shock.
Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens recently wondered if the creation of a Palestinian state would alleviate the current Middle East chaos. His answer was that it would not, and that the creation of a Palestinian state would be seen as a victory for jihadists. He also noted that the Palestinian Authority still behaves like a terrorist entity; that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would encourage Hamas and lead to the creation of another terrorist Islamic state in the West Bank, and that an Israeli withdrawal is something that most Palestinians do not even want:
“[A] telling figure came in a June 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, which found that a majority of Arab residents in East Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel than in a Palestinian state.”
Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab journalist who has never yet been wrong, noted that the Palestinian Authority sees Resolution 2334 as a green light for more violence, murders and confrontation. He added that if presidential elections by the PA were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win by a comfortable margin.
In another important article, Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes writes that it is time to acknowledge the failure of a “peace process” that is really a war process. He stressed that peace can only come when an enemy is defeated. He predicts that for peace to come, Israel must win unambiguously, and the Palestinians pass through “the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair.”
Jihadi indoctrination, as well as the financial aid given to Palestinian terrorists, have been paid for by the United States, France, and other Western European nations. That too should stop.
Resolution 2334 and the Paris peace conference, both promoted by Obama, are, as the great historian Bat Ye’or wrote, simply victories for jihad.
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.
Sunday, December 18th, 2016
The following is a rather gloomy, but likely accurate view of the future of the World order for decades to come and the retreat of the United States as a strong world leader.
Foreign Affairs Magazine
Liberalism in Retreat
The Demise of a Dream
By Robin Niblett
The liberal international order has always depended on the idea of progress. Since 1945, Western policymakers have believed that open markets, democracy, and individual human rights would gradually spread across the entire globe. Today, such hopes seem naive.
In Asia, the rise of China threatens to challenge U.S. military and economic hegemony, as Beijing seeks to draw American allies such as the Philippines and Thailand into its political orbit. In the Middle East, the United States and its European allies have failed to guide the region toward a more liberal and peaceful future in the wake of the Arab Spring and have proved powerless to halt the conflict in Syria. Russia’s geopolitical influence has reached heights unseen since the Cold War, as the country attempts to roll back liberal advances on its periphery.
But the more important threats to the order are internal. For over 50 years, the European Union has seemed to represent the advance guard of a new liberalism in which nations pool sovereignty and cooperate ever more closely with one another. But today, as it reels from one crisis to the next, the EU has stopped expanding. After the British vote to leave the bloc last June, it will probably shrink for the first time in its history.
Across the ocean, the U.S. commitment to global leadership, which until now has sustained the order through good times and bad, looks weaker than at any point since World War II. The Republican president-elect Donald Trump ran on an explicitly “America First” platform, pledged to renegotiate U.S. trade deals, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, and called into question U.S. commitments to NATO. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s “rebalance” to Asia has struggled to take off. Beijing has wasted no time in laying out its own vision for a more integrated Eurasia that may exclude the United States and in which China will play the leading role.
Over the past half century, as other political systems have crumbled, the liberal international order has risen to face its challenges. Yet so long as the economies of its leading members remain fragile and their political institutions divided, the order that they have championed is unlikely to regain the political momentum that helped democracy spread across the globe. Instead, it will evolve into a less ambitious project: a liberal international economic order that encompasses states with diverse domestic political systems. In the short term, this will allow democracies and their illiberal counterparts to find ways to coexist. In the longer term, providing it can adapt, liberal democracy is likely to regain its supremacy.
LIBERALISM ON TOP
In the aftermath of World War II, Western policymakers, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, set out to build a global system that would ensure that they would never repeat the disastrous failures of international cooperation of the interwar period. The architects of the system sought to promote not just economic development and individual fulfillment but also world peace. The best hope for that, they contended, lay in free markets, individual rights, the rule of law, and elected governments, which would be checked by independent judiciaries, free presses, and vibrant civil societies
Over the past half century, as other political systems have crumbled, the liberal international order has risen to face its challenges.
At the heart of the order were the Bretton Woods institutions—the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank—and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which became the World Trade Organization in 1995. Underpinning all these institutions was the belief that open and transparent markets with minimal government intervention—the so-called Washington consensus—would lay the foundation for economic growth. Guided by these principles, U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support helped Germany and the other nations of Western Europe, as well as Japan, recover from the destruction of World War II.
Western policymakers were confident that transitions to open markets would inevitably lead to the spread of democracy. On many occasions, they were proved right. Liberal democracy has gradually expanded across Europe, Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa, especially since the end of the Cold War. According to the U.S. nonprofit Freedom House, the number of democratic governments increased from 44 in 1997 to 86 in 2015, accounting for about 68 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of the world’s population.
As the order expanded, a new liberal idea gained ground: that governments that mistreat their populations and foment instability in their neighborhoods forfeit their sovereign right to rule. The International Criminal Court, which encroaches on sovereignty in the name of justice, was established in 1998. One year later, British Prime Minister Tony Blair laid out his doctrine of liberal interventionism in Chicago, declaring that, in a world of growing interdependence, “the principle of non-interference must be qualified in some important respects.” In 2005, the UN General Assembly endorsed the “responsibility to protect,” the concept that when a state fails to prevent atrocities, foreign governments can intervene to do so. In an ascendant liberal international order, the fundamental Westphalian principle that sovereign governments have the right to control their internal affairs—the principle that underlies international law and the UN—increasingly depended on governments’ adhering to Western standards of human rights. The liberal order seemed to be setting the rules for the entire international community.
THINGS FALL APART
But over the past decade, buffeted by financial crises, populist insurgencies, and the resurgence of authoritarian powers, the liberal international order has stumbled. According to the political scientist Larry Diamond, since 2006, the world has entered a “democratic recession”: the spread of individual freedom and democracy has come to a halt, if not retreated.
The greatest danger comes from within. The system’s leading powers are facing sustained domestic political and economic uncertainty. More than 25 years of stagnant median wages in the United States and parts of Europe have eroded the credibility of elites and the appeal of globalization. The opening up of economies to ever more trade, investment, and immigration has increased total national wealth, but it has not translated into local gains for large segments of society. The lax financial regulation that preceded the 2008 financial crisis and the bank bailouts that followed it have shattered people’s faith in government, and the Great Recession undermined their support for open capital markets, which seemed to benefit only a narrow global elite.
Trump’s victory, the decision by a majority of British voters to leave the EU, and the rise of populist parties in both the prosperous north and the poorer south of Europe represent visible symptoms of this deep unease with globalization. So, too, does the collapse in popular support in the United States and the EU for expanding international trade, whether through the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the United States or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Europe. In a 2014 Pew Research survey, 87 percent of respondents in developing economies agreed that trade benefits the economy, whereas around half of all respondents in France, Italy, and the United States said they believed that trade destroys jobs and lowers wages.
Across Europe, resistance to deeper political integration has grown. For the past 60 years, the willingness of the EU’s member states to pool their sovereign power in supranational legal structures provided a benchmark for other countries that sought to cooperate more closely in their regions. As the political scientist Simon Serfaty put it in 2003, Europeans had transformed their systems of political governance from city-states to nation-states to member states. Now, this process has ground to a halt—and it may well reverse.
The British vote to leave the EU will likely prove an outlier: the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community, the EU’s predecessor, only in 1973, 16 years after its founding; the United Kingdom has a long history of Euroskepticism; and it opted out of the single currency and the Schengen area of open borders. Other countries will probably not follow the United Kingdom out of the EU. But few European leaders appear willing to continue relinquishing their countries’ sovereignty. Many European states have rejected EU requests that they accept a quota of refugees. The richer members of the eurozone are refusing to pool their financial resources in a common deposit insurance scheme to ensure the long-term viability of the single currency. Today, many European politicians are demanding more national sovereign control over the application of existing EU laws and the design of new forms of integration.
Few European leaders appear willing to continue relinquishing their countries’ sovereignty.
In this context, the hope that the EU might provide a template for liberal regional integration elsewhere seems increasingly lost. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South America’s Mercosur, the African Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council remain mechanisms for only limited political and economic cooperation among governments. China and Russia, meanwhile, have used this period of Western self-doubt to modernize their militaries and assert their regional and geopolitical interests. They have built institutions, including the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, that have helped them coordinate and legitimize a parallel political order that challenges Western norms of democratic governance and that rejects any external interference in support of human rights.
AMERICA IN RETREAT
For the past seven decades, the United States has provided the security umbrella under which the liberal international system has flourished. But today, the United States is more inward-looking than at any point since World War II. After the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the chaos that followed the intervention in Libya, Obama has recalibrated the United States’ international role, consistently encouraging allies in Europe and the Middle East to take greater responsibility for their own security. In his presidential campaign, Trump twisted this argument into an explicitly transactional bargain: the United States should become a mercenary superpower, protecting only those countries that pay, so that it can focus on making itself great again at home. In so doing, he ignored the hard-won lesson that investing in the security of U.S. allies is the best way to protect the United States’ own security and economic interests. How exactly Trump will govern, however, remains unclear.
Rightly or wrongly, the United States’ allies, from Europe to Asia, now fear that the superpower may no longer be an engaged and committed partner. These fears come at a dangerous time. A Europe hobbled by institutional and economic weakness is more vulnerable to the diverse forms of pressure that Russia is currently applying, including financial support for European populist parties and threatening military maneuvers on NATO’s eastern borders. Despite Russia’s own economic weakness, Putin’s advocacy of a new European order based on cultural and national sovereignty appeals to Europe’s increasingly vocal nationalist parties, from the UK Independence Party to France’s National Front and Hungary’s Fidesz, whose leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has publicly advocated building an “illiberal state.”
Many of the United States’ other allies and democratic partners around the world are also on the back foot. Japan and South Korea are struggling to manage the twin challenges of aging populations and economies that are overly dependent on exports, and his-torical antagonisms prevent them from presenting a united front to promote liberal democracy in their region. Large emerging-market democracies, such as Brazil, India, Nigeria, and South Africa, have so far failed to overcome entrenched obstacles to sustainable economic growth and social cohesion. And the perception that U.S. global power is waning and that the Washington consensus does not guarantee economic progress has bolstered strongmen in countries as diverse as the Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey, who have undermined the institutional checks and balances that underpin liberal democracy.
Of course, supporters of the liberal international order have long displayed an inconsistent commitment to its principles. The United States and its allies may have generally promoted respect for the rule of law and liberal governance within their borders, but the dominant objective outside them has been to protect Western security and economic interests, even if doing so damaged the credibility of the liberal international system.
The United States has often acted unilaterally or selectively obeyed the rules of the international order it promotes. It invaded Iraq under a contested legal mandate, and the U.S. Congress has refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, among numerous other multilateral conventions and treaties. And in 2011, the British, French, and U.S. governments stretched their mandate—granted by UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya—when they helped overthrow Libya’s leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi. And various Western governments have condemned Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for indiscriminately shelling civilians in Syria while simultaneously supporting Saudi Arabia’s bloody campaign in Yemen.
The United States’ allies, from Europe to Asia, now fear that the superpower may no longer be an engaged and committed partner.
Small wonder, then, that the West’s opponents have interpreted calls to enlarge the liberal international order as an excuse to expand Western political power. Putin sounded this theme in October, at the annual conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, when he accused the United States of promoting globalization and security “for itself, for the few, but not for all.” It is also unsurprising that the world’s principal multilateral institution, the UN Security Council, remains frozen in the same old standoffs, riven by disagreements between China and Russia, on the one hand, and France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, on the other. As a result, liberal attempts to reform the concept of state sovereignty, such as the introduction of the notion of the responsibility to protect and the establishment of the International Criminal Court, have failed to acquire international legitimacy—take, for instance, the ongoing failure to stem the violence in Syria and the announcements in October by the governments of Burundi, Gambia, and South Africa that they will withdraw from the court. Even the Internet, which promised to foster a more liberal international order by empowering individuals instead of governments, is now increasingly dominated by ideological polarization over national firewalls, surveillance methods, and privacy violations.
Do these challenges herald the end of the liberal international order? Probably not. Established liberal democracies remain resilient. Whatever domestic challenges they may face, from inequality to unemployment, they approach them from a position of strength compared with emerging-market countries, many of which boast high levels of GDP growth but have yet to make the transition from export- and investment-led growth to consumption- and innovation-driven growth. Western democracies are designed to allow the people to vent their frustrations and refresh their political leadership. Their economies operate in a relatively dynamic, transparent, and open manner, which fosters innovation. These qualities allow their political institutions to recover legitimacy and their economies to regain momentum. On the other hand, centrally controlled or illiberal countries, such as China and Russia, have yet to prove that their political systems will survive the economic transitions they are undertaking.
Still, liberal democracies cannot postpone difficult political decisions any longer. They need to fix themselves first if they are to sustain their liberal international order. They must boost productivity as well as wages, increase work-force participation even as new technologies eliminate old jobs, integrate immigrants while managing aging societies, and, in Europe’s case, evolve from centrally funded welfare states to more locally governed welfare societies, in which regions, cities, and other municipalities control a greater share of tax income and so can tailor the provision of social services to local needs. Liberal governments can rise to these challenges, whether by investing more in education, improving physical and digital infrastructure, or modernizing regulations that stifle entrepreneurship and growth in the service sector. These may seem like modest steps. But the appeal and, indeed, the survival of a liberal inter-national order depend on its ability to deliver returns to the societies within it that are superior to any alternative.
If the liberal world can get itself back on track, and does not itself turn to protectionism, it will likely find that the non-Western rising powers, China chief among them, will want to sustain the existing international economic order of relatively open markets and free flows of investment. After all, only through continued integration into the global supply chain of goods, services, people, and knowledge can emerging markets meet the aspirations of their growing middle classes. As the scholar G. John Ikenberry noted in his 2011 book, Liberal Leviathan, the United States and China—the two powers that will most likely determine the future of world order—may both refuse to compromise on their core principles of domestic governance and national security, but they can best coexist and prosper within a liberal international economic order.
It is in the West’s interests, therefore, that China’s economic development continue smoothly. U.S and European markets for goods, services, and infrastructure should remain open to Chinese foreign direct investment, as long as Chinese companies abide by U.S. and European rules on security and transparency and the protection of intellectual property. European countries should take the same approach with Russia, on the condition that Russian companies abide by EU rules. A mutual commitment to the liberal international economic order would help Western governments and their illiberal counterparts keep open other avenues for cooperation on shared challenges, such as terrorism and climate change, much as China and the United States have done over the past several years.
Western democracies are designed to allow the people to vent their frustrations and refresh their political leadership.
Meanwhile, European governments and businesses should take part in the Chinese-led effort to connect Northeast Asia with Europe across the Eurasian continent, a component of a series of regional infrastructure projects known as the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2016, the volume of global trade stagnated for the first quarter and then fell by 0.8 percent in the second. This reflects an ongoing structural decline in the growth rate of trade, as emerging markets, such as China, make more of their own products and developed countries bring some production back onshore. Against this backdrop, ramping up investment in infrastructure that can connect the thriving coastal areas of Asia to its underdeveloped hinterlands and then to Europe could create new opportunities for economic growth in both the liberal and the illiberal worlds. Rather than challenge such initiatives, the United States should support Western-led regional and multilateral financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank, as they join forces with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank (set up by the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) to pursue projects that are in every country’s economic interest while adhering to environmentally and financially sustainable principles.
Similar cooperation will be harder to build with Russia. Russia’s system of centralized and opaque political and economic governance makes deeper integration incompatible with the EU’s market and rules-based system, and NATO members have begun a much-needed upgrading of their military readiness in the face of recent Russian provocations. EU and NATO tensions with Russia will likely persist, even if Trump’s election heralds a change in U.S.-Russian relations. Still, the Chinese initiative to build new ways of connecting the Eurasian economy could provide an alternative way for the United States and Europe to engage with Russia.
The countries that built the liberal international order are weaker today than they have been for three generations. They no longer serve as an example to others of the strength of liberal systems of economic and political governance. Autocratic governments may therefore try to establish an alternative political order, one governed by might rather than by international laws and rules.
But liberal policymakers would be wrong to urge their countries to hunker down or resort to containment. An extended standoff between supporters of a liberal international order and those who contest it may accidentally lead to outright conflict. A better approach would be for liberal countries to prepare themselves for a period of awkward coexistence with illiberal ones, cooperating on some occasions and competing on others. The international political world will remain divided between liberals and statists for the foreseeable future, but both sets of countries will depend on a liberal international economic order for their prosperity and internal security. Time will tell whose form of government is more resilient. If history is any guide, liberal democracy remains the best bet.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
Well, mercifully, we are at the end –– the end of the most awful presidential election of our time and really since the early 19th century involving Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. What is worse this time, is that the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is awful. He is vulgar, disreputable, a womanizer, a poorly educated lout. A disgrace to even imagine him as president. And his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton (and her equally corrupt husband, former President Bill Clinton), is a dreadful, dishonest, lying, elitist traitor. Her resume is long in politics so there is more evidence to review of her 30-40 years in the spotlight. Thus, I ask you to please see how Ayn Rand’s past words and Victor Davis Hanson’s present words all fit to describe her. To vote for him is an enormous risk and embarrassment.To vote for her is to turn our government into an even greater slimy hell hole than it is today. What is one to do?
“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing –– When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors –– When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you –– When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty being self-sacrificed –– You may know that your society is doomed.”
Atlas Shrugged, 1957
Victor Davis Hanson
November 1, 2016
Epic greed, power, and pride: Where’s the bottom? With Bill and Hillary, there’s no telling. What was the Clinton telos? The end point, the aim of all their lying, cheating, criminality, dishonor, and degradation? Given the latest Weiner scandals coming on top of the latest WikiLeaks scandals, we wonder, what did the Clintons really wish to end up as — and why? Are they Goethe’s Faust or tortured souls crushed by the weight of their money bags in Dante’s Fourth Circle of Hell? For a few criminals, remorse comes with old age; but for the Clintons, near-70 was to be the capstone, the last chance to trump all their prior shenanigans. They were artists of amorality, and the election of 2016 was to be their magnum opus. Collate the FBI reopened investigation, WikiLeaks Podesta trove, revelations about the Clinton Foundation, the e-mail–server scandal, the DNC disclosures, and the various off-the-cuff campaign remarks of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and one then ponders what was the point of the Clinton shakedowns, the loss of reputation, the crude lawbreaking, as they neared their seventh decade. To paraphrase Barack Obama, in his progressive sermonizing on making enough money, did the two ever think they had enough money, enough honors, enough power already? The Hillary/Bill fortune — generated by pay-for-play influence peddling on the proposition that Bill would return to the White House under Hillary’s aegis and reward friends while punishing enemies — hit a reported $150 million some time ago, a fortune built not on farming, mining, insurance, finance, high-tech, or manufacturing, but on skimming off money. The Clintons are simply grifters whose insider access to government gave them the power to make rich people richer. Long gone was the Scrooge-like need to write off used underwear as charitable tax deductions or to play 4-trillion-to-one odds in rigging a $100,000 cattle-futures profit on a $1,000 “investment,” or Hillary’s decade-and-a-half as a corporate lawyer masquerading as a children’s advocate. How pathetic the minor league Whitewater cons must seem now to the multimillionaire Clintons — such a tawdry ancient example of amateurish shakedowns when compared with the sophistication of real profiteering through the humanitarian-sounding, high-brow, corrupt Clinton Foundation. So the Clintons finally got their millions and what such millions can ensure for their separate lifestyles. They have at last beautiful gated estates, tasteful and secluded from hoi polloi, light years away from Arkansas and the Rose Law Firm. Progressive Chelsea married a multimillionaire hedge-fund operator whose father served five years in federal prison for bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Her parents’ profiteering can allow Chelsea to announce, perhaps even sincerely, that she is not interested in money. Why should she be, given her own reported $15 million net worth from maternal spin-off favors? She lives in a $10 million Manhattan residence, so her parents had no motivation to get more in order to “provide” for their offspring. Instead, was bringing Chelsea down to Bill and Hillary’s level as a Foundation fixer a way to leave her a post mortem primer on how to get even richer? In sum, there was certainly no need for Hillary to even have considered flying to the Moroccan autocracy on the eve of announcing her presidential candida to leverage a $12 million speaking “fee” from a cut-throat Moroccan mining company, Why the drive to pile profits on top of profits on top of profits? Or, as Hillary’s top aide, Huma Abedin, put it of the quid pro quo fee (i.e., the mining company felt that it had gotten from the Clinton-run State Department a U.S.-financed Export-Import Bank loan of $92 million): This was HRC’s idea, our office approached the Moroccans and they 100 percent believe they are doing this at her request. Translated: A President Hillary Clinton would probably have no regret that dozens of heads of state, the majority of them dictatorial and not especially friendly to the U.S., would feel that they had done business with Hillary and Bill — and she, as a recipient of their largess, would owe them commensurate attention. Why did multimillionaire Hillary charge UCLA, in the era of thousands of indebted students, $300,000 (rather than, say, $149,999.99) for a brief, platitudinous speech? Why did multimillionaire Bill need more than $17 million for being honorary “chancellor” of the financially for-profit but tottering Laureate University (whose spin-off associate organization was a recipient of State Department largesse)? Did he think the extra millions were worth the embarrassment of being the highest-paid and least-busy college executive in U.S. history? Apparently, the good life did not drive the Clintons so much as the quest for the supposed best life. Even though they had finally “made it” among the multimillionaire set, the Clintons always saw others (no doubt, deemed by them less deserving) with far, far more — whether Jeffery Epstein, with his ability to jet wherever and with whomever he pleased, or green half-a-billionaire Al Gore, who ran even more successful cons, such as rapidly selling a worthless cable TV station to beat impending capital-gains taxes, and selling it to none other than the anti-Semitic Al Jazeera, whose carbon-generated profits come from autocratic Qatar. (The media never audited Gore’s attempt to become a cable mogul, unlike their current concerns about a potential Trump media outlet). The rich did not pressure the Clintons for paid favors as much as they sought out the Clintons as targets for graft. They certainly understand and smile at Hillary’s boilerplate promise of “making the rich pay their fair share” — the mantra of those who are worth over $100 million and immune from the impact of any tax hikes, or, for that matter, immune from any consequences whatsoever of their own ideology. The Clintons suffer from greed, as defined by Aristotle: endless acquisition solely for the benefit of self. With their insatiable appetites, they resented the limits that multimillionaire status put on them, boundaries they could bypass only by accumulating ever greater riches. The billion-dollar foundation squared the circle of progressive politicians profiting from the public purse by offering a veneer of “doing good” while offering free luxury travel commensurate with the style of the global rich, by offering sinecures for their loyal but otherwise unemployable cronies, and by spinning off lobbying and speaking fees (the original font of their $100-million-plus personal fortune and the likely reason for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to put all her communications, mercantile included, on a private server safe from government scrutiny). Acquiring money to the extent that money would become superfluous was certainly a Clinton telos — and the subtext of the entire Podesta trove and the disclosures about the Clinton Foundation. Power and pride were the other catalyst for Clinton criminality. I don’t think progressive politics mattered much to the Clintons, at least compared with what drives the more sincere Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Hillary, like Bill, has no real political beliefs — though she doesn’t hesitate to pursue a mostly opportunistic progressive political agenda. By temperament and background, the Clintons are leftists and will follow a leftist vision, sort of, but one predicated on doing so within the constraints of obtaining and keeping power. Trade deals? Hillary is flexible given the fickle public mood. Fracking? It depends on where the money is. The Keystone Pipeline? What are the pros and cons in key swing states? Wall Street criminality? One has to distinguish a wink-and-nod political façade from a private flexibility. Gay marriage? She can reluctantly “evolve” under pressure. Immigration? It hinges on Latino demography in swing states, and how bothersome, as their aides put it, “needy” Latinos and “brown” op-ed writers become. Black Lives Matter? Had the black vote not won Obama the 2008 and 2012 elections, Hillary would probably have persisted in Bill’s 1990’s mode (when he condemned rap singer Sister Soulja for her racism and her anti-white rhetoric) and in her own critique of black “super predators,” as she called gang members in 1996. For the Clintons, power is the narcotic of being sought out, of being surrounded by retainers, of bringing enemies to heel and enticing sycophants with benefits. Liberalism and progressivism are mere social and cultural furniture. For the Clintons, power is the narcotic of being sought out, of being surrounded by retainers, of bringing enemies to heel and enticing sycophants with benefits. Liberalism and progressivism are mere social and cultural furniture, the “correct” politics of their background that one mouths and exploits to obtain and maintain political clout — and to get really, really rich without guilt or apology. As in the quest for lucre, the Clintons’ appetite for high-profile authority is endless. Just as $150 million seemed as nothing compared with the billions and billions raked in by their friends and associates, so too eight years in the White House, tenure as governor, senator, or secretary of state were never enough. In between such tenures, the Clintons suffered droughts when they were not on center stage and in no position to wield absolute power, as they watched less deserving folk (the Obamas perhaps in particular) gain inordinate attention. A Hillary presidency would give the Clintons unprecedented Peronist-like power, in a manner unlike any couple in American history. Of course, the Clintons are not only corrupt but cynical as well. They accept that the progressive media, the foundations, the universities, the bureaucracies, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley honor power more than trendy left-wing politics; they well understand that their fans will, for them, make the necessary adjustments to contextualize Clinton criminality or amorality. Sexual predations, the demonization of women, graft, and unequal protection under the law are also of no consequence to the inbred, conflicted, and morally challenged media – who will always check in with the Clinton team, like errant dogs who scratch the backdoor of their master after a periodic runaway. The Clintons have contempt for the media precisely because the media are so obsequious. They smile, that, like themselves, the media are easily manipulated and compromised — to the extent of offering their articles, before publication, for Clinton approval (as the New York Times’ Mark Leibovich did; leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign (as Donna Brazile did); or saying (as Politico’s chief political correspondent did), “I have become a hack. . . . Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I f**ked up anything.” The Clintons view such sycophants not with affection, but with disdain, given that they are moochers no better than the Clintons, with the same base desires, albeit better camouflaged by their pretense of objectivity. To paraphrase Demosthenes’s warning of the impending arrival of the war-scarred and half-blind Philip II, the Clintons have devoted their lives, their health, their very bodies and souls to get where they are. And their visible scars prove it. They have long ago lost any sense of shame — Bill is hourly caricatured as a sexual predator, and the best that can be said of Hillary’s character is that the bankrupt Left shrugs, “She may be a crook, but she’s our crook.” In Dorian Gray fashion, their sins are now imprinted on their faces and visible in their tremors. They were and are capable of any and everything. And one wonders whether, in fleeting seconds here at the end of things, they still believe that it was all worth what they have become. —
NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
This is an important article. There is so much “garbage” heaping up in the Hillary campaign, if Trump stays on offense and on message without what looks to be self inflicted wounds, he might just win and prove that I am not a “Cassandra.” However , I will be extremely surprised if he wins. I still believe he is a Trojan Horse, placed in the Republican Party to split it wide open and allow Clinton to win despite all her negatives. We shall see..
Trump Will Be President If He Stays On Offense in the Next 90 Days
August, 14, 2016
Trump needs to put his boot on Hillary’s neck and not let up. Trump will be president if he’s relentless.
If he does the following things I mention in this article Trump will be president. There really is gold mine with what is going on with Hillary. The Wikileaks scandal has the capability of completely undoing Hillary’s campaign but it won’t happen on its own. It’s up to Trump to continue to expose what actually is happening. This whole episode right now about Trump’s second amendment comments has put him on defense. Trump really doesn’t need to be on defense regarding his second amendment comments. Even Never Trump conservatives have recognized that the media is desperately trying to make a mountain out of a molehill and a feeble attempt to connect dots that are not even there. What we are seeing from Hillary’s trail of bodies is out in the open for all to see. It’s being reported far and wide by reputable sources of people close to her campaign getting murdered.
Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange has been dropping bombshell after bombshell after bombshell regarding Democrat Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. His latest is that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was in charge of voter expansion who was found murdered in July, was a Wikileaks informant.
In an interview on Dutch television. Assange believes, as I do, that Rich was not robbed, but was rather murdered and the murder made to look like a robbery.
We know that the Kahn family are Clinton plants and Hillary is hiding behind them and using them as shields to go after Trump and using their dead son. The problem is, it’s a losing battle to go up against Gold Star Families who had a son who lost his life for his country. If Trump can get past these media landmines and distractions he can put all his focus on Hillary Clinton and go after her with a vengeance on what the WikiLeaks investigations have already revealed.
Trump will be president if he goes on offense by spending real money against Hillary Clinton.
Many political experts are besides themselves that Trump is not spending real money to combat Hillary’s war chest. Hillary has spent close to 50 million dollars in television ads against Trump in all the states that are going to win the election. Throughout the campaign you see some weeks where Trump is either close or gaining. There’s a slew of new recent polls that show an uptick for Trump.
Rasmussen (Clinton +3) and Reuters (Clinton +6) continue to view this as a relatively tight race, which is better than the double-digit race that some other pollsters are seeing.
The state polling was likewise pretty good for Trump yesterday, with a Fox 13/Opinion Savvy poll showing him only trailing in Florida by one point, a Suffolk poll showing him with a 1 point lead in Iowa, and a Gravis poll showing him with a 4 point lead in Georgia.
It’s during this time Trump can grab the bull by the horns and really start moving those numbers in his direction by spending some serious money. He has the money and he has the capability to raise more if he needs to. Get his message out quickly and make a big dent and stay on message and hit Hillary hard. Trump will be president if he does all these things.
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
The Republican Party is in the process of eviscerating itself thanks to Donald J. Trump.Whether there are tens of thousands of Republicans who loathe Trump, leaving the party is a bad move, especially as regards the “down party” candidates. Losing the House and the Senate gives Clinton a huge opportunity to dismantle the Country and the party. This piece is critical of the fleeing Republicans, but is a good up-to-date picture about what these ‘loathers” are and what they are doing.
August 9, 2016
At the first Republican candidate debate, the moderators asked the candidates if they would support whoever received the nomination and not engage in a third party bid for the office of president. Donald J. Trump was the only candidate to claim that he would consider continuing his campaign on a third party platform. Now that Trump has secured the Republican Party nomination, Republicans are coming out of the wood work to say they will not vote for Donald Trump.
Monday evening, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) declared in a Washington Post editorial she will not vote for her party’s nominee, Donald Trump. On the same day, fifty of the republic’s Republican national security officials signed a letter, published in The New York Times, declared they do not support Donald Trump. Among the signers are “former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Homeland Security Secretaries Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge.”
The letter begins:
The undersigned individuals have all served in senior national security and/or foreign policy positions in Republican Administrations, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. We have worked directly on national security issues with these Republican Presidents and/or their principal advisers during wartime and other periods of crisis, through successes and failures. We know the personal qualities required of a President of the United States.
None of us will vote for Donald Trump.
From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.
It would be nice to ask these individuals what the “personal qualities” a president is “required” to possess are. Nowhere in the Constitution is the “personal qualities” of a president listed that are “required” of the individual seeking the office. And, there is some question about plenty of presidents past and their “personal qualities,” including Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
The most audacious statement made by these 50 top security Republicans is the claim Trump “is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief,” from a foreign policy perspective, because he would be “dangerous” and place our republic’s well-being and national security at risk. Where have these 50 been the last eight years? The most dangerous president from a foreign policy perspective that has weakened our national security and placed this republic’s well-being at risk currently occupies the Oval Office. Yet, these individuals refuse to vote for Trump, who would be a far sight better than what lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue now.
According to the letter, “Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U. S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”
Seriously? These men and women just described the current occupier of the Oval Office – Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Soebarkah. And, believe it or not, they just described the Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton. They have been drinking the “fool-aid” way to long.
Continuing on, the group details exactly what is meant in these broad statements.
In addition, Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U. S. foreign policy must be based. At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends. Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics. Despite his lack of knowledge, Mr. Trump claims that he understands foreign affairs, and “knows more about ISIS than the generals do.”
Exactly how much understanding did Hussein Soetoro possess of any of these “concerns” the group is now voicing about Donald Trump? Soetoro became notorious for his “American Apology Tour” taken shortly after entering office. In addition to complimenting America’s adversaries, Soetoro provides our republic’s enemies with arms and training while working to ensure Iran has nuclear capability. In constitutional terms, this defines treason. And, the current foreign policy of this nation revolves around the “others first, America last” mantra. If this is “contemporary international politics,” this republic could stand a little “America first” thinking. Unless these people live with Trump, they have no idea if he is or isn’t educating himself on foreign affairs. Could Trump know more about ISIS than current generals in the armed forces? Who knows, but, at least Trump recognizes who the enemy is and is willing to call it by name.
Since the Constitution established our system of government as a republic, our foreign policy should reflect the very nature of our founding, not democratic values or governance by mob rule.
Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.
And, is the public to believe Hussein Soetoro possesses the temperament to be president? He has placed “yes men” in department head and secretarial positions in order to rule by decree; never considers a conflicting view from his own or encourages dissenting views; and never acknowledges his mistakes or errors, much less learns from them. Hussein Soetoro’s acts of passive aggression certainly alludes to his “lack of temperament” to be President. Again, this could be the exact description of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
There have been reports that Hussein Soetoro has had “outbursts” signaling an inability to control his emotions. Moreover, he has a “leap before you look” philosophy, ignoring any consequences that could occur from his actions. In fact, the only “reflection and careful deliberation” on the part of Hussein Soetoro probably only occurs in the White House “throne” room. As it stands right now, Hussein Soetoro lacks the respect and trust of all other world leaders, thereby maligning the united States’ standing in the world. Wasn’t it Hussein Soetoro, along with his accomplice Hillary Rodham Clinton, that engaged in ousting legitimate foreign governments to put in place one of their choosing, initiated military action in Libya to oust Ghaddafi leaving a governmental void resulting in the advancement of Muslim terrorist groups, and allowed four Americans to be killed at Benghazi while running armaments to ISIS? After all of this, Hussein Soetoro wanted to “stage a coup” against Syrian president Bashar al-Asaad, thereby poking the Russian bear, Putin.
Believe it or not, one can maintain a cordial relationship with other nations’ leaders, earn their respect and trust, and place America’s interests first without causing “a temporal vortex that will swallow the world whole and everyone in it.”
In our judgment, Mr. Trump has none of these critical qualities. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Hillary Clinton certainly does not have any of these “critical qualities” and neither does Hussein Soetoro. In fact, Clinton and Soetoro both are mythomaniacs. Neither would know the truth if it jumped up and bit either one. Hussein Soetoro has sewn division across all demographics and socio-economic lines by weaving lies as truth. In fact, where Hussein Soetoro is concerned, the truth is an inconvenience that needs “reworking” into something more palatable. It’s the same with Hillary Clinton, but worse in that she blatantly denies truth with lies, trying to turn lies into truth and truth into lies. With these two, it’s their way or the highway. When it comes to tolerating personal criticism, Hussein Soetoro maligns those who criticize him while Hillary disposes of her critics. If erratic behavior is a disqualifying character, Hillary should have been encouraged to step aside some time ago. And, for Pete’s sake, who exactly are “our closest allies?” Does anyone in government actually know who our allies are? If appearances were to be the judge of who are “our closest allies,” it would be those who hate us the most and call for our deaths.
We understand that many Americans are profoundly frustrated with the federal government and its inability to solve pressing domestic and international problems. We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us. But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.
re not these individuals declaring they will not vote for Trump part of the federal government at one time or another and engaged in contributing to the “profound frustration” many Americans have with government’s inability to address domestic and international problems? Unfortunately, these individuals have blinders on if they cannot see the most reckless President in US history is in office right now. These individuals should have more than doubts about Hillary Clinton. They should be totally opposed to her based on her platform of destroying the God-given rights of every citizen of this republic, turning this nation into a banana republic, and on her criminal activity throughout the years going all the way back to Arkansas moving forward to Benghazi, with the most recent being “emailgate.” This latest, following her responsibility for the murder of four Americans at Benghazi, demonstrated her inability to protect national security and promote the republic’s well-being.
The “Fool-aid Fifty” remained silent throughout the lawless Hussein Soetoro administration, meaning these “fool-aids” consented to the action of the administration. Yet, they leave the punch bowl to come outside to declare their lack of support for Donald Trump, projecting the exact actions and philosophy of Hussein Soetoro, as well as Hillary Clinton, onto Trump. While many citizens have their doubts about Donald Trump, citizens are assured of a continuation of the status quo should the Republican establishment have succeeded in placing their choice candidate as the nominee. Likewise, citizens can expect more policies similar to the Hussein Soetoro administration should Hillary Clinton succeed in winning the election. In fact, it will be worse. For where Hussein Soetoro failed, Clinton may just succeed given the propensity for individuals associated with the Clintons having a high incident of “accidents.”
One thing is certain. This is probably the most crucial election in American history. The literal survival of the republic hangs in the balance. With the Republican Party tearing itself apart, the election of the president hinging on the Electoral College, and the rejection of Trump by numerous Republicans, citizens could see another Gore/Bush scenario, meaning Hillary would win should Trump take the popular vote. While Donald Trump may not be the answer, Hillary would most definitely be reminiscent of “Gozar, the Destructor” or “Viggo, the Scourge of Carpathia.” And, let’s not forget, the Democratic Party is knowingly supporting a criminal and traitor for the office of the president. Maybe the “Fool-aid Fifty” can tell America why the Republican Party and themselves favored the status quo and did not put forth a candidate that would be the answer to the challenges facing America.
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