First he comes for the banks and health care, uses the IRS to go after critics, politicizes the Justice Department, spies on journalists, tries to curb religious freedom, slashes the military, throws open the borders, doubles the debt and nationalizes the Internet.
He lies to the public, ignores the Constitution, inflames race relations and urges Latinos to punish Republican “enemies.” He abandons our allies, appeases tyrants, coddles adversaries and uses the Crusades as an excuse for inaction as Islamist terrorists slaughter their way across the Mideast.
Now he’s coming for Israel.
Barack Obama’s promise to transform America was too modest. He is transforming the whole world before our eyes. Do you see it yet? Read the rest of this entry »
His new doctrine: Downgrade ties to Israel and the Saudis while letting Iran fill the vacuum left by U.S. retreat
Max Boot Mr. Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present” (W.W. Norton, 2013).
Data point No. 1: President Obama withdrew U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 and is preparing to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016, even while keeping a few more troops there this year and next than originally planned.
Point No. 2: The Obama administration keeps largely silent about Iran’s power grab in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, even going so far now as to assist Iranian forces in Tikrit, while attempting to negotiate a nuclear deal with Tehran that would allow it to maintain thousands of centrifuges.
Point No. 3: Mr. Obama berates Benjamin Netanyahu for allegedly “racist” campaign rhetoric, refuses to accept his apologies, and says the U.S. may now “re-assess options,” code words for allowing the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state over Israeli objections.
Taken together, these facts suggest that Mr. Obama is attempting to pull off the most fundamental realignment of U.S. foreign policy in a generation. The president is pulling America back from the leading military role it has played in the Middle East since 1979, the year the Iranian hostage crisis began and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. He is trying to transform Iran from an enemy to a friend. He is diminishing the alliance with Israel, to lows not seen since the 1960s.
A man prays during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, at Jama Masjid in New Delhi on Oct. 6, 2014. Eid al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
This essay is adapted from Ms. Hirsi Ali’s new book, “Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now,” to be published Tuesday by HarperCollins (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp). Her previous books include “Infidel” and “Nomad: From Islam to America, A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.”
March 20, 2015:
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE: No symbol represents the soul of Islam more than the Shahada. But today there is a contest within Islam for the ownership of that symbol. Who owns the Shahada? Is it those Muslims who want to emphasize Muhammad’s years in Mecca or those who are inspired by his conquests after Medina? On this basis, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims.
The first group is the most problematic. These are the fundamentalists who, when they say the Shahada, mean: “We must live by the strict letter of our creed.” They envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version. What is more, they take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.
I shall call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty. They aim not just to obey Muhammad’s teaching but also to emulate his warlike conduct after his move to Medina. Even if they do not themselves engage in violence, they do not hesitate to condone it.
“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims. In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.
Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace. Read the rest of this entry »
This article by Stephen Hayes gives detailed examples of how Democrats tried to undermine U.S. foreign policy from 1979 – 2007 – exactly what they are now accusing the 47 Republicans who signed the letter to Iran of doing.
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE: In the early 1980s, Senator Ted Kennedy secretly approached leaders of the Soviet Union with a proposal: I’ll help you with Ronald Reagan’s defense buildup if you help me defeat him in the 1984 presidential election. Former senator John Tunney conveyed the offer on Kennedy’s behalf.
Finally, a debate about Iran. Last week, 47 Republican senators released a public letter addressed to the leaders of the Iranian regime. The letter made what might have seemed a self-evident point: If the Obama administration reaches a deal with Iran, Congress will not be bound by parts of the deal to which it has not assented.
“The letter to Iranian leaders from 47 Republican senators could well destroy critical bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy for years to come and treacherously undermine the bargaining power of the person constitutionally authorized to conduct American affairs abroad—the President of the United States,” wrote Les Gelb, president emeritus and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “On top of what House speaker John Boehner did by unilaterally inviting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, this letter seriously points to one terrible conclusion: a formidable number of congressional Republicans hate President Obama more than they love America.”
The New York Daily News labeled “traitors” the letter’s signatories and its author, Senator Tom Cotton (combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bronze Star). Max Fisher at Vox.com called the letter “unprecedented” and claimed Republicans were bringing their legislative obstructionism to “the previously sacrosanct realm of foreign policy.” John Kerry bellowed that the “letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.” Hillary Clinton claimed that if the senators’ objective wasn’t to undermine the president, it was to help the mullahs in Iran. President Obama accused senators of forming a “coalition” with Iran’s hardliners. NBC News called the letter “stunning” and declared that it signaled an end to the days when politics stopped at the water’s edge.
We’ll resist the temptation to attach labels to those making these claims or offer judgments on their love of country. Instead, some perspective:
In 1979, Senator Robert Byrd traveled to the Soviet Union during the SALT II talks to “personally explain the requirements of our Constitution” to Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev. Byrd later wrote: “In Leningrad, I explained that I had come to the Soviet Union neither to praise nor condemn the treaty but to create a better understanding of the treaty in the Senate and to explain to the Soviets the Senate’s constitutional role in treatymaking.”
In the early 1980s, Senator Ted Kennedy secretly approached leaders of the Soviet Union with a proposal: I’ll help you with Ronald Reagan’s defense buildup if you help me defeat him in the 1984 presidential election. Former senator John Tunney conveyed the offer on Kennedy’s behalf. Read the rest of this entry »
New technologies will allow many states—and nonstate actors—to make low-cost but highly credible threats
March 19, 2015
A U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, 2010. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Amy Zegart Ms. Zegart is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and co-director of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. She is on the board of directors of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, which manufactures military equipment, including equipment for drones.
Imagine an aircraft carrier—in the sky, not on sea. From its bay, it deploys swarms of armed drones that can fly, spy and kill, all guided by the touch of a computer keyboard thousands of miles away. This isn’t a scene from a science-fiction movie. It’s part of a recent proposal from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon skunk works that brought us the Internet, videoconferencing and GPS. Now Darpa is soliciting ideas from companies on how to bring this technology to life.
Equally important are the questions about how drones will be used strategically. Drones do not only offer new ways to kill. They can prevent war. The cumulative U.S. and Soviet nuclear stockpile peaked at 70,000 weapons in 1986. None of them was fired, but all kept the peace by threatening mutually assured destruction.
Pentagon planners and defense intellectuals have spent decades analyzing the functions of nuclear weapons, but they have never considered seriously how drones could change the face of combat and coercion, whether by threat or with deterrence. Meanwhile, more than 20 nations, including China, are developing lethal drone technologies. In December, Iran said it was deploying an aerial drone replicated from Boeing’s ScanEagle surveillance drone. But Iran’s version is fashioned to crash into designated targets, earning it the nickname “suicide drone.”
Drones are going to revolutionize how nations and nonstate actors threaten the use of violence. First, they will make low-cost, high-credibility threats possible. Military planners have long assumed that high-cost actions risking blood, treasure and national reputation make the most credible threats. The classic example is U.S. Cold War “tripwire” forces in Germany. Risking 200,000 American lives signaled to the Soviets and to NATO allies that any Soviet invasion would kill many Americans, inevitably drawing the U.S. and its nuclear forces into war. Putting lives on the line proved that U.S. leaders meant it when they said the nuclear umbrella covered Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
The secretary of the United States Navy on what it takes to protect and project U.S. power.
Ray Mabus Mr. Mabus is secretary of the United States Navy.
Size matters. It’s as true for America’s Navy as anywhere. It is the size of our fleet that uniquely enables the United States Navy and Marine Corps to maintain presence around the globe, around the clock. That presence has kept the peace and promoted prosperity via trade across open sea lanes for nearly seven decades.
The U.S. has the most powerful Navy in the world, but comparing the size of our fleet directly to other nations’ fleets—as pundits and politicians of late have done—is fundamentally flawed. As America’s “Away Team,” the U.S. Navy protects and projects our leadership role because it can get anywhere faster, stay longer and carry everything it needs to execute its missions—all without needing anyone else’s permission.
In the first 54 days of the air campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, for example, the U.S. relied solely on Navy F/A-18 Hornets flying sorties from the sovereign territory provided by the USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf. Land-based bombers were delayed until host nations granted approval.
To combat Ebola in West Africa, V-22 Ospreys put Marines on the ground the same day as President Obama’s order, providing logistical support to doctors. During Operation Tomadachi, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, more than 16 ships, 130 aircraft and 12,000 U.S. sailors and Marines delivered 340 tons of supplies.
Since World War II, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have secured the high seas, enabling 90% of world-wide seaborne trade and 95% of voice and data transfer carried by undersea cables to move without interruption.
But maintaining the U.S. Navy’s global presence requires continued investment in ships. President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget calls for $161 billion to fund our assigned missions and continue to grow our fleet. The challenging fiscal climate demands aggressive efforts to cut costs intelligently. We have and we will continue to do so, but not at the expense of maintaining presence. Cutting ships would jeopardize U.S. security and the global economy. Read the rest of this entry »
So John Kerry wants to “re-ignite” Syrian peace talks that have already blown up twice, telling CBS News that he is prepared to meet with Bashar Assad in person because “we have to negotiate in the end.” What a non-surprise. The secretary of state always had a terrific soft spot for the Syrian president-for-life. Sooner or later Mr. Kerry was bound to seek a fresh opening, the way liberals always do with the brutality artists who never quite disenchant them.
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire . . .
That’s Kipling. As for Assad, he wasted no time treating Mr. Kerry’s hopeful overture with lordly contempt: “Talks about the future of the Syrian president are for Syrian people alone,” he said, responding to the suggestion that he might be prepared to negotiate his departure from the palace. Rejection, Assad knows, typically ignites attraction.
That’s not all Assad knows. Three years ago his imminent fall from power was treated as a certainty by Western intelligence agencies. Barack Obama could say that “Assad must go” because the U.S. president figured he wouldn’t have to lift a finger to see his demand fulfilled.
But finger-lifting was more than Mr. Obama was willing to do. He would say he was going to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels, but he wouldn’t do it. He would say he was going to enforce a chemical red line, but he wouldn’t do it. He would say he would punish the Assad regime if it didn’t honor its disarmament commitments, but he wouldn’t do it.
In October, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power accused Syria of maintaining undeclared chemical weapons sites. Nothing was done. In January, Der Spiegel reported that Mr. Assad still retains a covert nuclear-weapons program. The news disappeared like a pebble in the ocean.
So Assad knows that Mr. Obama will do nothing to dethrone him. He knows also that the administration—which came to office as the most pro-Syrian in history—still wants to befriend him. White House officials whisper that Mr. Obama sees Assad as the only sure bulwark against an Islamic State takeover of all of Syria, which is why the president has steadfastly opposed military operations of any kind against Assad. Read the rest of this entry »