Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

LET’S CONNECT THE DOTS ON THE OBAMA DOCTRINE

Friday, March 27th, 2015

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Obama’s Mideast Realignment

His new doctrine: Downgrade ties to Israel and the Saudis while letting Iran fill the vacuum left by U.S. retreat

By

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.

Call it the Obama Doctrine: The U.S. puts down the burden, and Iran picks up the slack. (more…)

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THE GLOBAL WAR ON MODERNITY

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Global War on Modernity

Islamists set the time machine to the Dark Ages. Putin dreams of czarist Russia. A common enemy: America.

A Russian-backed separatist near the Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, Dec. 16, 2014.
A Russian-backed separatist near the Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine, Dec. 16, 2014. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

By

Garry Kasparov  Mr. Kasparov is the chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. 

Globalization has effectively compressed the world in size, increasing the mobility of goods, capital and labor. Simultaneously this has led to globalization across time, as the 21st century collides with cultures and regimes intent on existing as in centuries past. It is less the famous clash of civilizations than an attempt by these “time travelers” to hold on to their waning authority by stopping the advance of the ideas essential to an open society.

Radical Islamists, from the Taliban and al Qaeda to Boko Haram and Islamic State, set the time machine to the Dark Ages and encourage the murder of all who oppose them, often supported by fatwas and funds from terror sponsors like Iran. The religious monarchies in the Middle East are guilty by association, creating favorable conditions for extremism by clamping down on any stirring of freedom.

Vladimir Putin wants Russia to exist in the Great Power era of czars and monarchs, dominating its neighbors by force and undisturbed by elections and rights complaints. The post-Communist autocracies, led by Mr. Putin’s closest dictator allies in Belarus and Kazakhstan, exploit ideology only as a means of hanging on to power at any cost. (more…)

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VIDEO – BILL WHITTLE – NOT ONE OF US

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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VIDEO – MONICA CROWLEY “WE ARE IN A HOLY WAR”

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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THE PRICE OF FAILED LEADERSHIP – MITT ROMNEY

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
THE PRICE OF FAILED LEADERSHIP
MITT ROMNEY
March 18, 2014

Why are there no good choices? From Crimea to North Korea, from Syria to Egypt, and from Iraq to Afghanistan, America apparently has no good options. If possession is nine-tenths of the law, Russia owns Crimea and all we can do is sanction and disinvite—and wring our hands.

Iran is following North Korea’s nuclear path, but it seems that we can only entreat Iran to sign the same kind of agreement North Korea once signed, undoubtedly with the same result.

Our tough talk about a red line in Syria prompted Vladimir Putin‘s sleight of hand, leaving the chemicals and killings much as they were. We say Bashar Assad must go, but aligning with his al Qaeda-backed opposition is an unacceptable option.

And how can it be that Iraq and Afghanistan each refused to sign the status-of-forces agreement with us—with the very nation that shed the blood of thousands of our bravest for them?

Why, across the world, are America’s hands so tied?

A large part of the answer is our leader’s terrible timing. In virtually every foreign-affairs crisis we have faced these past five years, there was a point when America had good choices and good options. There was a juncture when America had the potential to influence events. But we failed to act at the propitious point; that moment having passed, we were left without acceptable options. In foreign affairs as in life, there is, as Shakespeare had it, “a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” (more…)

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VIDEO – TRAVIS MILLS – AN INSPIRATION

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

 

Perhaps some of you saw Travis today ( January 29, 2014) being interviewed on Fox News.   He was severely injured in Afghanistan by an IED and lost all four limbs.   The following  two websites below tell the story of his journey which will be an inspiration to us all.   Nancy 

 

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THE QUIET FURY OF ROBERT GATES

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
THE QUIET FURY OF ROBERT GATES
Jan. 7, 2014 4:32 p.m. ET

http://

Robert Gates Reuters

All too often during my 4½ years as secretary of defense, when I found myself sitting yet again at that witness table at yet another congressional hearing, I was tempted to stand up, slam the briefing book shut and quit on the spot. The exit lines were on the tip of my tongue: I may be the secretary of defense, but I am also an American citizen, and there is no son of a bitch in the world who can talk to me like that. I quit. Find somebody else. It was, I am confident, a fantasy widely shared throughout the executive branch.

Much of my frustration came from the exceptional offense I took at the consistently adversarial, even inquisition-like treatment of executive-branch officials by too many members of Congress across the political spectrum—creating a kangaroo-court environment in hearings, especially when television cameras were present. But my frustration also came from the excruciating difficulty of serving as a wartime defense secretary in today’s Washington. Throughout my tenure at the Pentagon, under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, I was, in personal terms, treated better by the White House, Congress and the press for longer than almost anyone I could remember in a senior U.S. government job. So why did I feel I was constantly at war with everybody? Why was I so often so angry? Why did I so dislike being back in government and in Washington?

It was because, despite everyone being “nice” to me, getting anything consequential done was so damnably difficult—even in the midst of two wars. I did not just have to wage war in Afghanistan and Iraq and against al Qaeda; I also had to battle the bureaucratic inertia of the Pentagon, surmount internal conflicts within both administrations, avoid the partisan abyss in Congress, evade the single-minded parochial self-interest of so many members of Congress and resist the magnetic pull exercised by the White House, especially in the Obama administration, to bring everything under its control and micromanagement. Over time, the broad dysfunction of today’s Washington wore me down, especially as I tried to maintain a public posture of nonpartisan calm, reason and conciliation. (more…)

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TWO MARINE GENERALS OUSTED OVER 2012 ATTACK IN AFGHANISTAN

Monday, September 30th, 2013

 

The Wall Street Journal

Two Marine Generals Ousted Over 2012 Attack in Afghanistan

  • By JULIAN E. BARNES

WASHINGTON—The Marine Corps commandant on Monday ordered two high-ranking generals to leave the service as a result of their failure to put in place adequate defenses at a key base in Afghanistan, a rare instance of the military punishing senior officers for wartime lapses.

In an attack last year on Camp Bastion, a joint U.S-British and Afghan base in Helmand province in Afghanistan, 15 insurgents killed two Marines, wounded eight other Americans and eight British troops. The attackers also destroyed six Harrier fighter jets and damaged other aircraft.

The attack led Gen. James Amos, the Marine commandant, to request the retirement of the two major generals. It was considered an unusual step even for Gen. Amos, who has been particularly aggressive about pushing officers out of command if their performance has been found lacking.

“Commandership is a sacred responsibility, and standards for general officers are necessarily high,” Gen. Amos said in a meeting with reporters. “In their duty to protect our forces, these two generals did not meet that standard.”

Other senior officers who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have retired in the aftermath of questions surrounding insurgent attacks. But those retirements generally came after senators blocked their confirmation for promotion, not as a result of a public reprimand by top military leaders.

One of the officers, Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus, the former top commander in Helmand province, had been nominated for a third star and a top job on the Marine Corps staff. Gen. Gurganus’s nomination had been on hold, and will now be withdrawn. The second, Maj. Gen. Gregg Sturdevant, who commanded the Marine aviation arm, is currently serving on the staff of the Pacific Command.

The investigation by U.S. Central Command, which oversees American forces in Afghanistan, determined that the insurgents cut a hole in a fence near an unmanned guard tower on Sept. 14, 2012, then snuck into the base. The insurgents were able to roll grenades under fighter planes, badly heavily damaging the Harriers, according to the investigation report, which said destroying aircraft was the primary objective of the attackers. (more…)

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THE FAILED GRAND STRATEGY

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

 

The Wall Street Journal

The Failed Grand Strategy in the Middle East

  • WALTER RUSSELL MEAD
  • Mr. Mead is the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and editor-at-large of the American Interest.
[image]
Associated Press  An opponent of Egypt’s President Morsi holds up a picture of Barack Obama and the American flag during a rally outside the presidential palace in Cairo on July 7.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  Second, the struggle against terror is going to be harder than we hoped. Our enemies have scattered and multiplied, and the violent jihadi current has renewed its appeal. In the Arab world, in parts of Africa, in Europe and in the U.S., a constellation of revitalized and inventive movements now seeks to wreak havoc. It is delusional to believe that we can eliminate this problem by eliminating poverty, underdevelopment, dictatorship or any other “root causes” of the problem; we cannot eliminate them in a policy-relevant time frame. An ugly fight lies ahead. Instead of minimizing the terror threat in hopes of calming the public, the president must prepare public opinion for a long-term struggle.

In the beginning, the Hebrew Bible tells us, the universe was all “tohu wabohu,” chaos and tumult. This month the Middle East seems to be reverting to that primeval state: Iraq continues to unravel, the Syrian War grinds on with violence spreading to Lebanon and allegations of chemical attacks this week, and Egypt stands on the brink of civil war with the generals crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and street mobs torching churches. Turkey’s prime minister, once widely hailed as President Obama’s best friend in the region, blames Egypt’s violence on the Jews; pretty much everyone else blames it on the U.S.

The Obama administration had a grand strategy in the Middle East. It was well intentioned, carefully crafted and consistently pursued.

Unfortunately, it failed.

The plan was simple but elegant: The U.S. would work with moderate Islamist groups like Turkey’s AK Party and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to make the Middle East more democratic. This would kill three birds with one stone. First, by aligning itself with these parties, the Obama administration would narrow the gap between the ‘moderate middle’ of the Muslim world and the U.S. Second, by showing Muslims that peaceful, moderate parties could achieve beneficial results, it would isolate the terrorists and radicals, further marginalizing them in the Islamic world. Finally, these groups with American support could bring democracy to more Middle Eastern countries, leading to improved economic and social conditions, gradually eradicating the ills and grievances that drove some people to fanatical and terroristic groups. (more…)

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THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD PRESIDENCY

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

 

COMMENTARY


The Citizen of the World Presidency

In 2007, early in the improbable presidential candidacy of Barack Obama, the young first-term senator began a series of foreign-policy speeches that seemed too general to provide a guide to what he might do if elected. Aside from making it clear he was not George W. Bush and would get out of Iraq, the rest read like liberal boilerplate: “We have seen the consequences of a foreign policy based on a flawed ideology….The conventional thinking today is just as entrenched as it was in 2002….This is the conventional thinking that has turned against the war, but not against the habits that got us into the war in the first place.” In 2008, he visited Berlin and told an enraptured crowd: “Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for president, but as a citizen—a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world…the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together.”

In Obama’s fifth year as president, it is increasingly clear these vague phrases were not mere rhetoric. They did, in fact, accurately reflect Obama’s thinking about America’s role in the world and foreshadow the goals of the foreign policy he has been implementing and will be pursuing for three more years. Obama’s foreign policy is strangely self-centered, focused on himself and the United States rather than on the conduct and needs of the nations the United States allies with, engages with, or must confront. It is a foreign policy structured not to influence events in Russia or China or Africa or the Middle East but to serve as a bulwark “against the habits” of American activism and global leadership. It was his purpose to change those habits, and to inculcate new habits—ones in which, in every matter of foreign policy except for the pursuit of al-Qaeda, the United States restrains itself.

 I

In the beginning came “engagement.” In his first State of the Union speech in February 2009, Obama told us that “in words and deeds, we are showing the world that a new era of engagement has begun.” A few days later he delivered a speech about the Iraq war and said again that “we are launching a new era of engagement with the world.” There would now be “comprehensive American engagement across the region.” In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in September 2009, he repeated the phrase: “We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect….We have sought, in word and deed, a new era of engagement with the world.” (more…)

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