Are we losing it?
It's hard to win a war that you pretend you're not fighting: http://t.co/08jTD5TBuY
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) March 9, 2014
This isn’t a full transcript, but it’s a good selection of key points made during last week’s Senate Appropriations hearing.
…is based in fantasy:
For five years, the Obama administration has chosen to see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is. In this fantasy world, the attack in Fort Hood is “workplace violence.” The Christmas Day bomber is an “isolated extremist.” The attempted bombing in Times Square is a “one-off” attack. The attacks in Benghazi are a “spontaneous” reaction to a YouTube video. Al Qaeda is on the run. Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” The Iranian regime can be sweet-talked out of its nuclear weapons program. And Vladimir Putin is a new, post-Cold War Russian leader.
In the real world, it was a pen pal of the late jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki who opened fire on soldiers at Fort Hood. The Christmas bomber was dispatched from Yemen, where he was instructed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Times Square bomber was trained and financed by the Pakistani Taliban. Benghazi was a deliberate attack launched by well-known terrorist groups. Al Qaeda is amassing territory and increasing its profile. Assad is a brutal dictator, responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Syrians. The Iranian regime is firmly entrenched as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and remains determined to lead a nuclear state. And in Russia we face a Cold War throwback willing to use force to expand Russian influence.
Well, to be fair, his domestic policies are based on fantasies, too.
Did Obama blow up the Mideast peace “process”?
Kerry’s a dolt, but he probably has some smart people working for him. Obama’s just got Valerie Jarrett.
…and is totally owned on Twitter, largely by @iowahawkblog.
It’s frightening to think how close that fool came to being president.
How they so badly misjudged it:
Russia and the West do indeed have competing interests in the post-Soviet space. The problem with the realists is that they fail to see the moral, tactical and legal disparities that exist between the aims and methods of East and West. When Brussels and Washington propose EU and NATO membership, they are offering association in alliances of liberal, democratic states, achieved through a democratic, consensual process. Russia, meanwhile, cajoles, blackmails and threatens its former vassals into “joining” its newfangled “Eurasian Union,” whose similarity to the Soviet Union of yore Putin barely conceals. The right of sovereign countries to choose the alliances they wish is one Russia respects only if they choose to ally themselves with Russia. Should these countries try to join Western institutions then there will be hell to pay.
Despite all this, Cohen complains of a “Cold War double standard” in the ways we describe Western and Russian approaches to the former Soviet space. The West’s “trade leverage” to persuade Ukraine is treated benignly, Cohen writes, while Putin’s use of “similar carrots” is portrayed as nefarious. A crucial difference, however, is that when a country turns down a Western diplomatic package, as Ukraine did at the November Vilnius Summit (thus sparking the massive protests in Kiev that ultimately overthrew Yanukovych), the EU does not invade.
It should not come as a surprise why countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and other former Warsaw Pact nations that lived under the heel of Russian domination for so long might want to join the NATO alliance, which, according to its charter, is purely defensive. NATO has no designs on Russian territory and never has. But in the fervid and paranoid minds of the men running the Kremlin (and, apparently, in that of Stephen Cohen and other opponents of NATO expansion), the alliance’s defensive nature is irrelevant. If Russia were a healthy, liberal, pluralistic society at peace with itself and its neighbors, it would have nothing to fear from America, the EU, or NATO. Indeed, as crazy as it may sound today, in the 1990s, some Russian and Western leaders spoke optimistically of Moscow joining the latter two institutions. But these hopes of a European Russia were dashed when Putin came to power.
If it hadn’t been Putin, it might have been someone else. There may be something in the Russian character that wants a czar.
What to do about it. Note this one:
Move to set up the anti-ballistic missile facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic which Obama scuttled in 2009–on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, when it was an ally of Nazi Germany, in 1939.
They won’t do anything that requires an admission that they were wrong.
Mead makes the point that the pundits who predicted until Saturday that Russia would not move into Ukraine are solipsists — they assume that Putin sees the world as they do and will act as they would. That would indeed be nice. But Putin doesn’t see the world they way we — Obama supporters and Obama critics — do. We are told we should not mourn the transformation of a unipolar world into a multipolar world. It’s just selfish to want to see the United States as the world’s leading power. But the alternative is between a unipolar world and a zeropolar world, in which aggressive actors like Putin’s Russia, the mullahs’ Iran and Syria’s Assad can inflict tyranny, suffering and death to millions–and no one can stop or (preferably) deter them.
It is weakness, not strength, that is provocative:
A hundred years ago Theodore Roosevelt had warned Americans that, if we wanted peace in the Pacific, we should either withdraw from the Philippines or build a navy that Japan must respect. We did neither. Instead, US policy consisted of sonorous moral commitments to peace and good order, coupled with an increasingly hollow military: the unbridled tongue and the unready hand. The American people paid the price in blood.
Reagan: "We win, they lose." Obama: "If we're nice to them, they'll be nice to us!"
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) March 3, 2014
[Update a while later]
Also some gorm. RT @Rand_Simberg: Someone needs to ship a metric buttload of feck to the White House, stat.
— Charles G Hill (@dustbury) March 3, 2014
…was easy to predict.
And in fact, Sarah Palin did predict it in the first campaign.
The only people who didn’t see it coming are the people we foolishly reelected last year.
[Update a while later]
From terrible to even worse:
The sequence of the past week, then, has a grim logic. Ukraine unrest builds and its pro-Russian leader gets toppled. The Sochi Olympics come to an end. The United States announces military force reductions. Putin moves to secure Russia’s sole warm-water navy base and bring Ukraine to heel. Russia knows that the United States has a security treaty with Ukraine, so the next move is very much Washington’s. Obama delivers a terse statement in which he does not characterize Russia’s move as an “invasion,” takes no press questions, and then heads off for “happy hour” and delivers a sharply partisan speech to the Democratic Party. Obama has made no effort to unify Americans ahead of what may be the most dangerous foreign policy situation since the end of the Cold War.
Putin knows that the United States is debt-ridden and war-weary. He knows that Europe is in no mood for a war and is not capable of sustaining one without the United States, and that Britain is incapable of stopping him on its own (UK is a signatory to that Ukraine security treaty). He also knows that if the U.S. abrogates its security treaty with Ukraine, then the world stops spinning around Washington and may start spinning around Moscow. He also knows that the team atop the U.S. government consists of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. Those four hardly constitute a national security dream team. None of them have a record of consistently pursuing America’s national interests above other considerations.
I'm sure glad Obama, Biden, Kerry and Hagel are in charge of foreign policy. #ThingsNoSanePersonIsSayingToday
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) March 1, 2014
[Update a few minutes later]
Party like it’s 1914:
everyone who understood how to confront the threat of the Soviet Union can say, “I told you so, and we knew how to handle them.” Reagan, Ed Meese, John Paul II, Caspar Weinberger, Strom Thurmond, and thousands of others who shared their moral clarity. Don’t forget, Ted Kennedy was feeding information to Soviet leaders about how to confront Ronald Reagan. Some were on the wrong side of history, some were on the right.
During this era, Obama was on the wrong side.
Again, back to the tape. Now in this digital age we have a president that is not only illiterate in the history of European confrontation, but his tendencies skew toward America’s enemies. Here’s the even scarier part: Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for an American guarantee of security.
It’s starting to feel like 1914, and unfortunately Putin seems to be holding the best hand. America is weak and has a leader who is incompetent at best, and at worst has a history of siding with America’s enemies. Just this week, as Putin was massing force on the Ukrainian border, Jay Carney was warning Putin not to take steps that might be “misinterpreted.” Putin listened. The only place his moves were being misinterpreted was in the Obama White House. Only there, in the bubble of new-age foreign policy nonsense, was there a misinterpretation. Everyone else knew what Putin was up to, except the people we pay to know.
What a disaster the last election was, on multiple fronts.
Two thirds of American voters want a Congressional investigation into Benghazi.
The election was stolen through administration and media lies, and corruption on several fronts.
Here are seven people to blame for it. Note that Barack Obama is one of them.
But she left off Jimmy Carter, who is going to visit, as though they haven’t suffered enough.
[Update a few minutes later]
Venezuelan violence, the farce of Cuba, and Marco Rubio’s best speech. He does seem to be about the best extemporaneous speaker out there.
Let it vote for partition.
I’ve never heard a good explanation of why we should hold this artificial “nation” together. Let the Europeans go with Europe, let the Russians go with Russia.
[Update a few minutes later]
The populist media campaign for the Eurasian Union is now in the hands of Dmitry Kiselyov, the host of the most important talk show in Russia, and since December also the director of the state-run Russian media conglomerate designed to form national public opinion. Best known for saying that gays who die in car accidents should have their hearts cut from their bodies and incinerated, Kiselyov has taken Putin’s campaign against gay rights and transformed it into a weapon against European integration. Thus when the then German foreign minister, who is gay, visited Kiev in December and met with Vitali Klitschko, the heavyweight champion and opposition politician, Kiselyov dismissed Klitschko as a gay icon. According to the Russian foreign minister, the exploitation of sexual politics is now to be an open weapon in the struggle against the “decadence” of the European Union.
Following the same strategy, Yanukovych’s government claimed, entirely falsely, that the price of closer relations with the European Union was the recognition of gay marriage in Ukraine. Kiselyov is quite open about the Russian media strategy toward the Maidan: to “apply the correct political technology,” then “bring it to the point of overheating” and bring to bear “the magnifying glass of TV and the Internet.”
Why exactly do people with such views think they can call other people fascists? And why does anyone on the Western left take them seriously? One line of reasoning seems to run like this: the Russians won World War II, and therefore can be trusted to spot Nazis. Much is wrong with this. World War II on the eastern front was fought chiefly in what was then Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Belarus, not in Soviet Russia. Five percent of Russia was occupied by the Germans; all of Ukraine was occupied by the Germans. Apart from the Jews, whose suffering was by far the worst, the main victims of Nazi policies were not Russians but Ukrainians and Belarusians. There was no Russian army fighting in World War II, but rather a Soviet Red Army. Its soldiers were disproportionately Ukrainian, since it took so many losses in Ukraine and recruited from the local population. The army group that liberated Auschwitz was called the First Ukrainian Front.
The other source of purported Eurasian moral legitimacy seems to be this: since the representatives of the Putin regime only very selectively distanced themselves from Stalinism, they are therefore reliable inheritors of Soviet history, and should be seen as the automatic opposite of Nazis, and therefore to be trusted to oppose the far right.
Again, much is wrong about this. World War II began with an alliance between Hitler and Stalin in 1939. It ended with the Soviet Union expelling surviving Jews across its own border into Poland. After the founding of the State of Israel, Stalin began associating Soviet Jews with a world capitalist conspiracy, and undertook a campaign of arrests, deportations, and murders of leading Jewish writers. When he died in 1953 he was preparing a larger campaign against Jews.
This all points out the meaninglessness of “right” and “left” in Eurasia, and the nonsense of the notion (as Jonah Goldberg is always quick to point out) that fascism is “right wing.” Both Nazism and Stalinism are perversions of Marxism (not to imply that Marxism can ever be applied in the real world unperverted). Their differences are trivial relative to their similarities.
[Update a while later]
This seems sort of peripherally related: “Time travelers, don’t kill Hitler.”
I disagree with the notion that the Holocaust was the Worst Thing Ever, or even uniquely evil. The notion that it is is largely squid ink to distract us from the much greater crimes of Stalin, Mao, and other communist monsters, whom much of academia either wants to downplay as unrepresentative of “true” Marxism, or actually admire.
[Update late morning]
No, fascism and socialism still aren’t opposites.
It was a fraud and a lie in Egypt as well as Benghazi.
It’s lies all the way down with this gang.
“I am a Ukrainian.”
I want us to be free, too.
It’s been a quarter of a century:
Most analyses of the Rushdie Rules focus exclusively on the growth of Islamism. But two other factors are even more important: Multiculturalism as practiced undercuts the will to sustain Western civilization against Islamist depredations while the Left’s making common political cause with Islamists gives the latter an entrée. In other words, the core of the problem lies not in Islam but in the West.
Yes, and there is a deep rot in our universities, as demonstrated by groups like the American Studies Association.
It sure would be nice if our so-called “elites” were actually elite in something.
Mark Steyn continues his free-speech crusade (and I use that word deliberately):
I don’t care for all this beyond-the-pale stuff, because the pale is already way too shrunk. And, aside from anything else, once you get into the habit of banning and proscribing, your critical thinking goes all to hell. Many of us have seen one or two of those ill-advised shows on al-Arabiya or al-Jazeera in which some fire-breathing imam invites on a despised, Westernized, apostate woman in order to crush her like a bug, only to have her run rings round him. The Syrian émigré Wafa Sultan famously did it to Faisal al-Qassem and Ibrahim al-Khouli. It’s hardly surprising that a culture that puts so much of life beyond discussion renders its inmates literally speechless — to the point where, faced with, say, a school teddy bear innocently named Mohammed, the default opening gambit at the local debating society is to shriek “Allahu Akbar!” and start killing.
We’re not at that point yet. But, raised in the cocoon of conformity that is American academe, the Left is increasingly showing all the critical-thinking skills of your average dimestore mullah. The other day, in between its ongoing complaints about Michael Douglas’s “homophobic” awards acceptance speeches, Salon ran a story by one of its many pajama boys headlined “Ted Nugent Writes Insanely Racist Op-Ed.” Apparently, Ted had written a “vile rant” at “the batshit insane right-wing fever swamp of a site known as WorldNetDaily.” “Even for Ted Nugent,” cautioned Elias Isquith in his opening sentence, “this is bad.” Alas, poor old Ted couldn’t quite live up to his batshit-insane billing: There followed a few unexceptional observations about black crime and broken families maybe a smidgeonette more heated than one might hear from, say, Bill Cosby or Juan Williams. More to the point, the hapless pajama boy didn’t even attempt to explain what was so objectionable about Nugent’s “rant.” As the Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle put it, “Salon calls out Ted Nugent’s ‘racist’ MLK Day column — without refuting his points. Must be Friday.” All Mr. Isquith can do is reprise Ted Nugent’s words and then shriek “Batshit insane!” and “Insanely batshit!” over and over, like Lady Bracknell with Tourette’s.
Which brings us to Michael Mann, the fake Nobel laureate currently suing NATIONAL REVIEW for mocking his global-warming “hockey stick.” Of the recent congressional hearings, Dr. Mann tweeted that it was “#Science” — i.e., the guy who agrees with him — vs. “#AntiScience” — i.e., Dr. Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. That’s to say, she is by profession a scientist, but because she has the impertinence to dissent from Dr. Mann’s view she is “#AntiScience.” Mann is the climatological equivalent of those bozo imams on al-Arabiya raging about infidel whores: He can’t refute Dr. Curry, he can only label her.
His voice will be missed.
[Update a couple minutes later]
More thoughts from Dave Swindle.
[Update a while later]
Roger Simon remembers him as well:
The phrase Tikkun olam – to repair the world — is often used in the Jewish tradition, sometimes by people Barry did not think the best of, and for good reason. But Barry himself embodied that tradition more than anyone I can think of. He indeed was a “repairer of the world,” the conscience of the White City. To say that he will be missed is a cliché not worthy of him.
But he will be.
Why and how we should break it now.
It’s been a major thorn in the world’s side for decades, including fueling Islamic terrorism.
Well, what to make of this?
Altoon Mayor Matthew Pacifico said Miftakjov is a student at Penn Stat University Altoona.
He is charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction, risking a catastrophe, possessing instruments of crime, prohibited offensive weapons, incendiary devices, recklessly endangering another person, and several drug-related charges.
Officers had been investigating an alleged marijuana growing operation when they discovered the alleged bomb, according to a statement posted on the police department’s Facebook page.
They said the bomb was found inside a suitcase along with “assorted bomb making materials.”
“The bomb was safely deconstructed by experts from the Pennsylvania State Police Bomb Squad,” the statement read.
Unless it’s a nuke or chemical weapons, it is not a “weapon of mass destruction.”
It’s too early to tell, but there’s no mention of his religion, just his Russian nationality. He’s a college student in Altoona now, but it looks like a couple years ago, he was a HS sophomore in Belmont, California:
Sophomores are required to take the ELA (English language arts) portion that is a multiple-choice test along with an essay prompt. The following day sophomores took the mathematics portion with a total of 92 questions.
”I thought the English [section] was easier, but overall the CAHSEE was really boring,” Vladislav Miftakhov said.
He doesn’t seem to update his Facebook page much, which might explain why it says San Carlos (might be where he lived while attending the school in Belmont), rather than western Pennsylvania. But he did have an interesting answer to a question about that time, two and a half years ago:
“Do you believe Bind Laden is dead?”
It’ll be interesting to see how they caught him. I’m guessing it wasn’t NSA data mining, though.
…seems to have gone off the deep end.
Hmmm…I have a “Jewish-sounding” name.
The latest document release makes clear that what anyone paying attention at the time thought had happened was what had happened:
In the fall of 2012, the Obama White House was focused on re-election to the point that it was shutting its real duties out. President Obama was shutting his own real duties out, campaigning far more than governing. He hadn’t met with his jobs council in months. He was skipping his daily security intel briefings. The Sept. 10 release was sent out to make him look presidential, without actually performing the duties of president. There was no security meeting, and no forces were actually moved around anywhere to gear up for the 9-11 anniversary. There was a conference call, a conversation, and a press release.
The administration had been warned that security in Benghazi was deteriorating and an attack was likely and would be deadly, repeatedly. The black flag of Islam was already flying over government buildings in Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Libya, was gaining power. Terrorists had already attacked the Red Cross and the British embassy in Benghazi, forcing both to abandon the city. The last remaining target of three that al Qaeda had stated its intent to attack was the US facility. But Clinton’s State Department consistently denied requests to beef up security, and Obama couldn’t be bothered to give a damn about anything but winning re-election.
The attack happens. It’s clear from the beginning that it was an attack, the military briefed administration officials that it was an attack, but the State Department had been denying field requests from Benghazi to beef up security, and there’s a paper trail of those denials. Obama hasn’t been attending to his daily intel briefings. Obama, derelict in his duty every bit as much as Clinton, has been campaigning on the theme that “al Qaeda is defeated and on the run.” Well, here they are to spoil that particular campaign line and re-write their own in the blood of four Americans.
The inconvenience of four dead Americans could not be allowed to become speedbumps slowing Obama’s path to re-election.
And so the ongoing parade of lies.
A lot of sound and fury, but it doesn’t signify nothing. It tells the Iranians that the thing the president values most is the talks themselves – not stopping their nuclear program, not cutting their regional ambitions down to size, not defending American allies. The Iranians understand that Obama’s greatest desire is to be able to say that his central foreign policy promise – that he can settle conflicts through diplomacy – is finally, five years on, being fulfilled.
For their part, the Iranians know that with the talks set to begin, they have what amounts to a blank check from the White House to make mischief. They know that Obama will now say and do little lest Iran play its trump card – leaving the talks. Obama is thus playing cuckold, willing to absorb repeated public humiliation so long as his partner doesn’t leave him.
That’s been clear since he first ran for president and said he’d go to talk with Tehran “unconditionally.”
…lied. People died.
Ham testified in the classified session that there was some peripheral chat about a demonstration, but that he and other commanders were always clear, from the beginning, that Benghazi was a terrorist attack. That’s the word they delivered to President Obama and his top advisers including then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Ham has been consistent both in sworn testimony and in his public comments.
So that was always the military’s take. It was as we all know not President Obama’s take. He was selling the attack as a demonstration in response to a movie for weeks after the fact. Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sold the same line, and then hand-picked the Accountability Review Board to conduct a phony investigation into the attack.
Sort of like the IRS “investigation.”
Even Dianne Feinstein is disputing the latest attempt to misshape the narrative.
Should it be taken over by the Navy? Space is more like the sea than like the air, and I argue in my book that a US Space Guard would be a better organization for many things currently being done (or neglected) by NASA, the Air Force and the FAA.
…now controls more territory than at any time in history.
Smooth move, Barack.
Even the media is starting to notice.