They’re both here!  Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review enjoy reading how Hillary Clinton’s closest supporters think she’s a mediocre candidate who repeats the same mistakes and wasn’t ready for the 2016 campaign.  They also slam the Jeb Bush volunteer who confronted Donald Trump on Monday with left-wing talking points and note how Trump sullied a good response with another Twitter attack.  And they unload on the U.S. official in Russia who responded to the Dutch conclusion that a Russian-made missile destroyed a commercial airliner last year by saying there was too much focus on assigning blame.

Vladimir Putin, the Strong Horse

 

horse_1456083iOsama Bin Laden said, “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse.” Understanding that fact of human nature and geopolitics, Vladimir Putin galloped into Syria to show the Middle East that Russia rides high while the US flees from the world stage.

While President Obama busies himself making silly faces toward a selfie stick, many beleaguered residents of Syria and Iraq are more than happy to welcome a new sheriff to town.

Amid the ornate walls of Damascus’ famed Omayyad Mosque, preacher Maamoun Rahmeh stood before worshippers last week, declaring Russian President Vladimir Putin a “giant and beloved leader” who has “destroyed the myth of the self-aggrandizing America.”

“It will become a classic,” says Dominic Green in the current issue of Commentary, in a review of Fault Lines, a memoir by David Pryce-Jones.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Pryce-Jones describes his boyhood during the Second World War, when he thrilled to the sights and sounds of the Blitz, even as his parents’ home in London was destroyed. He also talks about how he became a writer, in a career that led him to become an insightful observer of Arab culture, both its glory during his early life and its decline ever since.

Which One of Us Is Delusional?

 

I don’t believe that the geopolitical instability we’re seeing now is entirely Obama’s fault. There is a limit to what American power can accomplish. But I found his interview with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes terrifying. If you haven’t watched it, I don’t quite have the right words to describe it, so I suggest you do.

That the administration doesn’t realize how terrifyingly out-of-touch he sounded — and is promoting the most-ridiculed moment of it — is likewise terrifying: Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 12.40.39 Chris Christie summed up a few — only a few — of the reasons to feel puzzlement about this comment:

ISIS and Religious Genocide in the Mideast

 

ShowImageNina Shea, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, gives a devastating account of this reality at National Review Online:

The Islamist genocide — and there can be no doubt that it is genocide, despite world silence – of the Christians, Yazidis, Mandeans, and other defenseless ethno-religious minorities of Syria and Iraq continues. The killing of these peoples is deliberate and brutal and is rooted in religious hatred of the “infidel.” It is meted out in sudden violent executions, mass deportations, and the gradual, methodical destruction of their civilizations.

Washington is blind to this genocide that occurs alongside, but is separate from, a sectarian Muslim power struggle. It has failed to defend them militarily. Now it is failing to provide humanitarian help in the only manner left: resettling the survivors out of harm’s way, in countries where they will be able to rebuild their families and preserve their unique ancient cultures without fear. Rescue is the very minimum we can do to help these victims of genocide. ….

Moments of Silence, Near and Far

 

151003-F-QU482-010On Saturday past I attended the second-to-last game of the season for the Minnesota Twins. They lost the game and their chance at a wild-card post season berth.

Before the game began, there was an announcement for a moment of silence for the victims of the Umpqua Community College shootings. It was a traditional public gesture, and as is right and proper the attendees stood and were dutifully silent as the moment passed. I stood with the crowd, but I admit my mind was not with that tragedy.

About two hours after the Umpqua shootings, a United States Air Force C-130 transport aircraft crashed in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. All on board the aircraft were killed: four aircrew members, two security force Airmen, and five military contractors. Two Afghans were killed on the ground. The aircraft was destroyed at a property loss of approximately 68 million dollars. Preliminary statements from the Air Force indicate that the aircraft crashed during a night take-off from the Jalalabad Airfield. The crew were members of the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron operating out of Bagram, Afghanistan.

Status Quo Vadis?

 

Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu stood before the UN to give what has since been described as a scathing speech, denouncing the world’s silence when it come to Jewish suffering. It was the pause heard around the world, and Bibi did what Bibi does best, by providing powerful quotes and newsworthy sound bites. The essence of the speech was ensuring the safety of Israeli citizens and slamming the international community for their failure to understand Israel’s need to do just that. Netanyahu has uttered those very words many times, and he does so flawlessly with right and might, but that night reality echoed his sentiment in the eeriest manner.

While Bibi was speaking, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were shot to death in front of four of their children as they were driving near their home in Samaria. A day later, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita Bennett were murdered and three other people injured while walking back from the Kotel through the old city, one of the victims a 2-year-old toddler who was shot in the leg. Twelve hours later, before the chaos had a chance to settle, an Israeli teenager was stabbed at a gas station in Jerusalem. In the past three days, four Israelis have been murdered, dozens of Israelis have been injured, 36 terror attacks have been perpetrated against Israel, and many more foiled.

Who Should We Send to Sing to Our Rebels in Syria?

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 08.06.44Well, goodness. Think anyone’s going to notice that? I hope not. It might make future allies a little uneasy about allying with us.

Russia has targeted Syrian rebel groups backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in a string of airstrikes running for days, leading the U.S. to conclude that it is an intentional effort by Moscow, American officials said.

The assessment, which is shared by commanders on the ground, has deepened U.S. anger at Moscow and sparked a debate within the administration over how the U.S. can come to the aid of its proxy forces without getting sucked deeper into a proxy war that President Barack Obama says he doesn’t want. The White House has so far been noncommittal about coming to the aid of CIA-backed rebels, wary of taking steps that could trigger a broader conflict.

The NSA and our Allies

 

480px-National_Security_Agency.svgAsked how the United States could better undermine good will from our allies — particularly, among commercially successful, technically savvy nations with small-l liberal values — one would be hard-pressed to find a better answer than to cite (essentially) unlimited powers of surveillance, coupled with the stated belief that technology companies should be encouraged/required to provide our intelligence services with backdoor access to their databases. For good measure, emphasize that we consider these methods to be in accordance with the fairly radical demands of the Fourth Amendment as it relates to our own citizens. Then, add that our supposed good judgement and self-restraint did not stop us from tapping the personal phone of the head of state of one of our closest allies, who just happens to have grown up under a government infamous for tyrannical surveillance.

Unfortunately, that is precisely the situation we find ourselves in and — unsurprisingly — it has consequences:

Judges at the European Union’s top court struck down the so-called safe-harbor accord after an Austrian law student complained about how U.S. security services can gain unfettered access to Facebook Inc. customer information sent to the U.S. Other U.S. companies, including Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc., may also be effected.

Can Obama’s Foreign Policy be Reversed?

 

shutterstock_13753447Conservatives hope that, with the next election, they can undo Obama’s fundamental transformation and revive the United States’ reputation as a valuable friend and a dangerous enemy. But is that even possible? A country that twice elected a Barack Obama — and that could very well elect a Bernie Sanders from the Left or a Rand Paul from the Right — can never be a dependable ally. America might, for a time, become a dangerous enemy, but only until the next election or poll.

Perhaps, the most a conservative president could accomplish in the short term is to keep his or her mouth shut, increase the size of America’s stick, and use that stick when our nation or our citizens are attacked. Until the United States shows that it will consistently protect itself, no potential ally or enemy will take it seriously.

Crimea River, Says Sputnik News

 

article-2127660-1288DA1D000005DC-0_634x396Today’s report on the unbelievably fraught, perilous, unstable, and ghastly state of the world is brought to you by Russia’s пропаганда organ Sputnik News. (I still cannot believe they gave it that Leika-the-Space-Dog of a name: Didn’t they market test that? Hell, maybe they did — maybe I’m just old as dirt and these new-fangled Millennials think Sputnik sounds like a totally credible name for a Russian newspaper.)

Anyway, they write:

Jumping at a Chance? US Makes Fuss of Russia Violating Turkish Airspace

What Is Conservatism? It’s not a hard question — it’s a title that proves everything old is new again. ISI Books has reissued What Is Conservatism? It’s the 1964 classic edited by Frank S. Meyer and featuring contributions from the likes of William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, and Friedrich Hayek, plus a new foreword by Jonah Goldberg.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Goldberg explains why he calls this volume, “The Federalist Papers of American conservatism,” which of its essays everyone should read right now, and what a book from half a century ago can teach conservatives in 2016.

Hearings on Hillary

 

NYPostemailsHearings by the Republican majority on recent scandals have been mostly ineffective. In the IRS hearings, three former or current heads of the IRS were key witnesses. Those of us who stayed up with the Lois Lerner epic became familiar with the disdain exhibited by John Koskinen, the current head of the IRS, when he testified.

What the committee seems to do – I am talking about any investigating committee in recent history — is to get the head of the agency or subject under consideration and grill him or her. What happens is that the committee and the public gets the “ignorance of the chief.” The top people don’t know any details. This is true in two senses. If the witness is hostile, and they always are, then they can use ignorance as a delaying tactic. Even if, mirabile dictu, they are willing, they are still lawyers and administrators who deal with paper and people on a very high level. Details are not their forte.

Now we are, allegedly, going to hear from Hillary. But Gowdy has not laid the predicate for Hillary’s testimony. What should we see before her? Something like this:

The Obama Administration’s Hypocrisy in Colombia

 

JM Santos, Raul Castro and Farc Leader Timochenko

It should come to no one’s surprise that the Obama Administration quickly lauded the recently announced deal on justice between the Colombian government and the Marxist, narco-terrorist guerrilla group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  After all, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has used the Obama playbook on Iran to push through his historic peace accord with the FARC: Start negotiations without preconditions with a terrorist sponsor or organization, draw redlines only to capitulate later, and promise one thing to its electorate while doing the opposite.

Here’s what we know from the announcement. Special tribunals will be created to hold accountable those guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity such as massacres, kidnappings, hostage-taking, forced displacement of citizens, recruitment of child soldiers and sexual violence, and torture. The special tribunals will be comprised of a combination of Colombian and foreign judges. Individuals who confess to committing these crimes will serve a maximum of five to eight years in a restricted area, not in a prison cell (basically what FARC members are doing now). As for those who don’t admit to a crime, but are later found guilty by the tribunal, they will serve a maximum of 20 years in a prison cell. Additionally, FARC leaders are permitted to return to politics after implementation of the peace accord concludes.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are impressed with National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke for exposing liberals who demand we “do something” to stop mass shootings but don’t actually have any ideas.  They also sigh at another disappointing jobs report.  And they have fun with the news that eight members of the Iranian women’s soccer team were actually men.

Obama’s Failed Experiment

 
image

Philip Fuxa/Shutterstock

In science, when you conduct an experiment to test a theory and get a result you didn’t expect, you learn from the experience and re-think your theory. But what do you do in politics, when you implement a policy you were certain would succeed but which fails miserably? We’re about to find out.

A Brief Primer on Japanese Politics

 

Tokyo skylineThere’s a deep sense of disillusionment and malaise here in Japan. Perhaps, rather than sleeping through politics, the country is just ignoring it. Remember the 80s, when this country was going to take over the world? Many people (including me) spent that decade learning Japanese in school, preparing for a future when we’d need language skills to impress our bosses.

As it happened, I did need it. But that’s just me. For the rest of the Western world, the takeover got lost in two decades of Japanese economic recession and general stagnation. The economy has been so sluggish — and for so long — that it’s hardly even a political issue any more. Successive governments have pulled so many levers, pumped so much new currency into the economy, that it’s like watching one of those movie scenes where a character continues to perform violent CPR on some lifeless unfortunate, with ever more desperation, while everyone stands around pitying them.

What Happened?

President Obama’s Downsized Foreign Policy – Is It Conservative?

 

Obama & Abe Review Troops.Speaking ten years after the conclusion of the calamitous Crimean War, Conservative Prime Minister Lord Derby cautioned that foreign policy should avoid “quixotic action – inimical to the welfare of the country.” Six years later, in 1872, Conservative Party leader of the opposition and former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli spoke, “though so momentous are the consequences of the mismanagement of our foreign relations, no one thinks of them till the mischief occurs, and then it is found how the most vital consequences have been occasioned by the mere inadvertence.” With these statements in mind, one might question whether President Obama may have been channeling conservatives when he allegedly uttered his rule of foreign policy, “Don’t do stupid [expletive].”

Traditionally, conservatism has not valued bellicose talk nor attempted to find the next “Munich” behind every negotiation. All conflict was not seen as equal – and all agreements were not as tough as some may suggest. Instead, conservatives tried to see the bigger picture. Conservative foreign policy acknowledges power is precious and ephemeral and, thus, best applied sparingly, primarily to protect the nation’s sovereignty. Righteous, courageous, humanitarian, or moral crusades might have merit, but outlay must always adhere to dominion.

Prior to the 20th century, American foreign policy was by and large a bipartisan affair centered on nationalism, placing American interests first. It was one of realism; i.e., the belief that all states desire power and expansion for self-preservation. The United States foreign policy focused on preserving itself as it negotiated, intrigued, and fought its way westward. Teddy Roosevelt promoted the idea that national security is enhanced when power is distributed or balanced, and believed America must be a world power to ensure security. In 1919, Woodrow Wilson took a different approach advocating morals are universally valid and democracies quell the instinct for power (war), therefore the promotion of democracy and international conventions were the best tonics for peace. Conservatives looked askance at Wilson’s internationalist approach, claiming it would threaten American sovereignty and interests with entanglement. Realism, not internationalism, was their view.

Congratulations on Your New Job!

 

departmentseal2So, it’s Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

Perhaps you slept in, after staying up late to watch the results of the elections. The results are okay. They suggest shy grounds for hope among those of us who dearly love our country and pray it will retain those qualities that cause us to love it — or hope, at least, that it will continue to exist, because as you’ve probably noticed, things are getting awfully hairy out there, and we’re all kind of wondering.

The phone rings. You answer groggily, but you pull yourself together fast when you realize, to your surprise, that the voice on the other end of the phone is the president-elect’s. For a second, you’re baffled — is this a hoax? Why me? — but no, the voice quickly persuades you that it’s not a joke at all: He (or she) has been reading you on Ricochet, likes the cut of your jib, and feels you couldn’t possibly make a worse hash of our foreign policy than the last few we’ve had, so why not?