Tag: Secretary of State

Cultural Sites Are No Crime


It should not be surprising that even commenters on Fox News would miss the obvious. President Trump tweeted about having 52 targets to match the 52 American hostages seized and held by the Khomeinist regime at its founding. He included the word “cultural” to describe at least one of the targets. Why is no one seeing the obvious here?

The US military does not develop target lists of international cultural treasures to smash. Who does not get this? President Trump is no LBJ, picking tactical targets. Surely everyone understands this. So, you can go with the obstinate position of someone like Ben Shapiro, certain that President Trump has no coherent foreign policy thoughts, and keep writing off every success as fortuitous and no thanks to The Great Big Ugly Man. On the other hand, you might just think for yourself for a moment.

Christmas Present for Hezbollah? [UPDATE: 1 January 2020]


Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Esper announced on December 29 that F-15E Strike Eagles bombed several Khomenist Iranian regime proxy force sites in Iraq and Syria. This apparently followed repeated provocations, attacks on Iraqi government forces where there were also U.S. forces in the vicinity. Such attacks would be intended to push U.S. forces into more and more protective isolation or withdrawal from the region, ceding regional influence to the Iranian ayatollahs.

The airstrikes back the increasing campaign of economic and diplomatic pressure, which is squeezing the thugocracy as the population increasingly shows unrest and discontent with the regime.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy two good martinis today, starting with the Justice Department referring former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe for criminal prosecution after the inspector general accused McCabe of “lacking candor” under oath four times.  They also applaud North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp for backing the nomination of Mike Pompeo for secretary of state.  It may be an election year ploy, but it’s still the right decision.  And they shake their heads as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls himself an undocumented immigrant who was raised by poor immigrants, none of which is true.  It’s reminiscent of Cuomo declaring himself black, Muslim, Jewish, gay, and a woman not long ago while also stating there is no room for pro-life, pro-gun, or pro-traditional marriage conservatives in New York.

Elections and Cakes Have Consequences

Brad Avakian

Brad Avakian, the Democrat who lost his race to be Oregon’s Secretary of State.

The dust is settling on election season, mostly. The Democrats have been doing their best to kick it up as much as they can in the presidential election, but that’s proving to have dubious results at best. Of course in the states, the Democrats have lost a lot of ground. In many ways, they are being pushed back to their coastal strongholds to lick their collectivist wounds. But even those are not safe. Though Oregon is mostly a one-party state, and almost all major offices are held by Democrats, Republican Dennis Richardson managed to take the Secretary of State’s office in a race against Brad Avakian.

Questions for Mr. Tillerson


Rex TillersonThe American appetite for businessmen in government is a hardy perennial. Ross Perot won 19 percent of the popular vote in 1992 on the strength of his “get under the hood” appeal. The Republican Party nominated Wendell Willkie in 1940 (though he’d been a Democrat until 1939) because he was perceived as a businessman “with a heart.” Now, the president-elect has chosen ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Is a businessman – a great dealmaker – according to the Trump camp, what we need as Secretary of State?

Progressives tend to respond in Pavlovian fashion to corporate CEOs, especially oil company executives. “Corporate America” is their bête noire – which just demonstrates their tunnel vision. In fact, the leaders of big corporations in the US tend to bend with fashion in political matters. Recall that a number of large companies denounced Indiana when it passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and some even withdrew from the state. Among those bringing pressure to amend or repeal the law were Apple Corporation, Angie’s List, Subaru, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and Gen Con. Some of the nation’s largest companies are very generous to progressive causes, and when they start foundations, it’s Katie-bar-the-door (yes, that means you Ford Foundation).

In my experience, small business owners tend to be more conservative than executives of large corporations. Why? 1) Small businesses lack the heft to influence the government; and 2) they lack the manpower/income to comply with costly regulations. Large companies are better positioned to lobby the government for favorable treatment, including policies that will harm their competitors (which often includes the small businesses), and they have the staff to fill out stupid, useless government forms.

John Kerry’s Staggering Naiveté


AP_john_kerry_syria_nt_130830_16x9_992Secretary of State John Kerry’s mien is so European that even Europeans must find it off-putting. More disturbing, however, is his astonishing lack of knowledge about the nature of ISIS. One wonders, for example, what French president François Hollande made of Kerry’s comment that the murders of the staff of Charlie Hebdo possessed “a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong.”

Kerry’s staggering moral confusion has been roundly — and rightly — criticized. This criticism, however, has missed the larger point, which is that Kerry is wrong on its merits: last week’s terrorist attack in Paris was every bit as “focused” and not at all “indiscriminate.” Don’t take my word for it, take the Islamic State’s. Two days after the attacks the Islamic State released a statement calling Paris a “capital of prostitution and obscenity.” By “obscenity,” of course, ISIS refers to things like attending sporting events, listening to rock music, and hanging out at cafes with friends sipping alcohol. As far as it is concerned, such pleasures are no less obscene than depicting Mohammed, a fact which Kerry’s ignorance disqualifies him as Secretary of State.

That more than half of the 129 victims were under the age of 30 only reinforces ISIS’s seething hatred of all things joyful. The Taliban’s ban on kite-flying is instructive here. What on earth, you may ask, us un-Islamic about flying a kite? The reason for the ban was this: one does not fly a kite for any purpose other than to have fun and — for Islamic primitives like the Taliban — that is sufficient to justify a ban. Islamists aren’t ambivalent about pleasure;  they have a seething hatred for it (with one well-known exception).

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?