Archive for Foreign Policy

Where Have I Heard This Before?

This:

“We have no interest in seeing Russia weakened or its economy in shambles. We have a profound interest, as I believe every country does, in promoting a core principle, which is: Large countries don’t bully smaller countries,” Obama told reporters.

Really? Because the opposite appears to be true.

It sounds an awful lot like this:

“It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century,” Kerry said. “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.”

That was almost a year ago. What’s changed? I love the sanctions, and the oil price plummet has squeezed Putin by his rubles, but if our leaders really believe their striped-pant rhetoric, dasvidaniya Ukraine.

His visit comes a day after city officials in Mariupol, Ukraine, said shelling in southeastern Ukraine killed at least 30 people, including two children.

Another 102 people were injured, at least 75 of whom needed hospital treatment, and many suffered shrapnel injuries, Mariupol City Council said.

Pro-Russian separatists are blamed for the attack on residential areas in the port city, Donetsk regional police chief Vyacheslav Abroskin said on his Facebook page.

PS: And don’t think Iran hasn’t taken notice.

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I’ll See Your Mark Steyn…

And raise you a Kevin Williamson:

Let us call the roll of national badasses: the 75th Ranger Regiment, USMC Force Reconnaissance, the SEALS, Delta Force . . . James Taylor?

What sort of warriors does a weary nation facing a savage enemy turn to? “The Quiet Professionals,” “Semper Fidelis,” “Death from Above” . . .

“A Churning Urn of Burning Funk.”

The spectacle of the Obama administration’s dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to “share a big hug with Paris” as James Taylor — who still exists — crooned “You’ve Got a Friend” is the perfect objective correlative for American decline: The pathetic self-regard of John Kerry and James Taylor’s Baby Boomers meets the cynical, self-serving, going-through-the-motions style of Barack Obama’s Generation X as disenchanted Millennials in parental basements across the fruited plains no doubt injured their thumbs typing “WTF?” It is the substitution of celebrity for power, of sentiment for analysis, of sloppy gesture for clear-headed commitment.

We’re responding to barbarism from the 7th century with soft rock from the 1970s.

It’s not about James Taylor, as past his sell-by date as he is. It’s about John Kerry. It’s about Barack Obama. It’s about what used to be the United States of America.

Does a policeman arrive at the scene of a gangland murder (late, after first sending a crossing guard) with a troubadour and a “big hug” for the victims, spouting liberal pieties that while these may be gangland murders, they are the crimes of no particular gang? Maybe in today’s America they do.

When it comes to jihad, there are no obvious solutions, but there are some obvious non-solutions, and an impromptu James Taylor concert surely is one of them.

Williamson’s solution:

Seriously: If you’re going to send a past-its-prime musical act to an ally in distress — instead of showing up to join the rest of the heads of state in a show of solidarity — then send in the wild boys from Huntington Park, Calif., who are, like the last effective foreign policy maintained by this country, born of the 1980s. James Taylor tells France, “You’ve got a friend.” Slayer tells the world, “You’ve got a problem.” And there’s something in the Slayer catalog for everybody: “Jihad” for the most literal-minded; “Evil Has No Boundaries,” a sentiment that social conservatives could surely endorse; “War Ensemble” for the neocons; and President John Bolton’s agenda for his first 100 days in office: “Raining Blood.” (“Endless war?” President Bolton scoffs. “Try three weeks.”) If you find yourself in a fight, you want to know that you’ve got a friend. But do you really want that friend to be James Taylor?

He suggests Metal, but I wonder if another genre might not be more juste?

Islamist terrorists, meet Neo-Nazis. You two should hit it off. Or just hit.

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Oh No He Di-unt!

Someone please tell we we are not being led by such a team of imbeciles. Someone? Anyone? Hello…hello?

After the administration’s noticeable lack of presence in post-attack Paris events, Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in France this week, bringing with him a “big hug” and a serenade from soft rock singer James Taylor.

Kerry is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Paris after Islamist terror attacks left 17 people dead, not including the 3 gunmen killed in police raids. He met Friday morning with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and French President Francois Hollande “to share a big hug with Paris.”

Later in the day, Kerry attended a ceremony with Taylor in tow, who broke out the guitar and played his 1971 hit “You’ve Got a Friend” for all in attendance.

First of all, “You’ve Got a Friend” was written by Carole King, so I don’t know why Kerry left her at home.

Second of all, the lyrics go:

Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there

But as photographic evidence clearly demonstrates, we weren’t there, or anywhere near:

I had a few issues with Bush’s Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice (insufficient support for Israel), but my God, they are towering statespersons compared to Obama’s dunces:

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I am embarrassed to be an American.

PS: Maybe Kerry said he’s bring a “big lug” instead of a “big hug”. His French isn’t as good as he thinks it is.

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Waiting for Dumbo

Boy, this story about Obama blowing off the rally against Muslim terrorism in France is getting a lot of play. Let’s look at some of the takes.

Josh Earnest (by name and nature):

Some have asked whether or not the United States should have sent someone with a higher profile than the ambassador to France. I think it is fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there.

Eric Holder was in town, but he had tickets to the Folies Bergère.

A little more Earnest:

ACOSTA: Does the president believe that the White House made a mistake?

EARNEST: I have not spoken to the president about this specific matter.

ACOSTA: And you said that this decision did not reach his level. Doesn’t the buck stop with the president?

EARNEST: It always does. He would be the first person to tell you that.

ACOSTA: So why wasn’t this decision brought to him?

EARNEST: Well, Jim, I’m not going to sort of unpack the planning and logistics that go into these kind of decisions.

ACOSTA: Why not?

Sometimes the best questions when asking truth of power are the simplest. Why? Why not? And then just wait:

EARNEST: Well, just because they’d be pretty complicated.

Netanyahu solved the “complications”.

Andrea Mitchell, considering the usual suspects:

Look at the pictures of the unity march Sunday, world leaders representing all of Europe, even Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu along with his adversary Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but not President Obama, Joe Biden, or anyone else from the cabinet.

President Obama was at the White House, the Vice President was at his home in Delaware. This comes after a noticeable absence of really strong reaction after those horrors in France last week.

Some comments that he made in the Oval Office, at a photo opportunity, and a line or two added to a community college event in Nashville.

Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for a counter-terror meeting, but he didn’t march. At the time he was actually doing interviews with Meet The Press, by satellite and other TV networks.

Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be the only top official with a real explanation. He was keynoting a climate summit in India, he will now travel to Paris Thursday, he was planning to be nearby in Geneva for nuclear talks with Iran.

A “climate summit” in India trumps a multi-million person march against terrorism and mass murder? Obama chose rather to meet with the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, and he had a better excuse.

Jake Tapper:

This president has acknowledged in the past that he doesn’t have the same prediliction for optics, as he refers to it. Images as previous presidents said. He has said it was not his strength. I think it was more than just optics. If you look at the reality of the march, world leaders were not actually marching all the way, but be that as it may, this is being referred to here in France as France’s 9/11.

This is being referred to as a demarcation, a moment where this country is changing.

17 innocent people killed here in France is horrific but can’t compare to 3,000. You also have to look at the fact of, who was the first world leader to come to the United States after the trauma in 2001 who was it?

The president of France. Jacques Chirac came to Washington D.C. and New York right after 9/11, within a week and a half or so.

How far has the Messiah tumbled when he prompts unfavorable comparisons to Jacques-[bleepin’]-Chirac?

But enough with the lap dogs of the press. Jonah Goldberg:

I mean, look, first of all, the guy with the Greek columns, the guy who campaigned in Berlin that somehow he doesn’t like the the theater of politics strikes me as a little ridiculous. The pattern here is that whenever they blow it with their communication shop, the pattern is to then say, ‘well, we’re just too good for the optics,’ but other times they’re perfectly happy to exploit optics and do theater, just sometimes they’re bad at it and say — It’s like when you trip and you say I meant to do that.

Look, everyone agrees that this was a mistake. The question is why this is a mistake.

Goldberg has his theory. And Rush Limbaugh has his:

He’s not gonna subject himself. He’s not going to put himself in a group where he is seen as one of many, many equals.

The other thing is, what was being condemned here? Militant Islam was on the plate here for being condemned. Now let’s face it. This is the president, who at the United Nations, said that we must never allow the word of the prophet to be smeared. I’m paraphrasing. This is the president who wrote that one of the most beautiful sounds he’s ever heard is the morning call to prayer at a mosque in a city where Islam is being practiced. The White House is saying, nah, Obama couldn’t go because this wasn’t about Obama. That’s exactly right, by the way. They may be trying compliment or stave things off, it wasn’t about Obama, so why should he be there? He wasn’t gonna go out and be about, you know, one of 40 people doing the same thing.

There are many other comments and opinions. This is just a sample.

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Nixon Went to China

And they didn’t write like this about him:

[I]ts state-run media says “U.S. public opinion has downgraded” the American leader in the wake of this week’s elections.

“Obama always utters ‘yes, we can,’ which led to the high expectations people had for him,” reports the Global Times, which has close ties with China’s Communist government. “But he has done an insipid job, offering nearly nothing to his supporters.”

It added: “U.S. society has grown tired of his banality.”

“He has managed to take U.S. troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but left no peace,” the state-run media organ said. “Osama Bin Laden was killed during his tenure, but the IS (Islamic State) has emerged from the Middle East.”

I’m no fan of the ChiComs, but they sure have Obama nailed. I grew tired of his banality in 2008. Glad the rest of America finally followed suit.

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Dear Ayatollah

Hi! This is Barack Hussein Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. How are you? Oh yeah, I’m President of the USA too, LOL. For now! ;)

Listen, lemme tell me why I’m writing:

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that, according to people briefed on the letter, Obama wrote to Khamenei in the middle of last month and stressed that any cooperation on dealing with the Islamic State, or ISIS, was tied to Iran striking a deal over its nuclear program. The U.S., Iran and other negotiators are facing a Nov. 24 deadline for such a deal.

A senior congressional source told Fox News that there is not anything definitive as to whether the letter even exists. But the source indicated they don’t doubt that it’s true because “we’ve seen [the president] do it before, so there is [a] precedent.”

According to the Journal, Obama has written to Khamenei four times now since taking office.

The congressional source told Fox News that the letter would upset the inroads they’ve tried to make with “the Sunni league,” noting that the president should have informed Congress of this back-channel if it was in fact going on.

“This f***s up everything,” the source said.

That’s how you know this story is true. Obama f***s up everything.

What does Obama write about? Sasha and Malia? The dogs? Hanging queers? Stoning women? And does he sign them “The Great Satan”?

I don’t think you have to kill everybody with whom you share absolutely no values. But you don’t have to write to them either.

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Amateur Hour

Have you heard the good news?

Turkey has agreed to allow the U.S.-led coalition to use its military bases for the fight against the Islamic State and to use Turkish territory as part of a training program for Syrian opposition fighters, Obama administration officials said Sunday.

“That’s a new commitment and one that we very much welcome,” Susan E. Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Or we would…if it were true:

Turkey denied Monday that it has reached any “new agreement” with the United States to allow the use of Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey for attacks on the Islamic State militant group, despite suggestions from the Obama administration that a deal had been reached.

A statement issued by the office of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said talks are continuing between Ankara and Washington over whether to permit U.S. forces to use Incirlik in the fight against the Islamic State, a radical al-Qaeda offshoot that has captured parts of Syria and Iraq. However, “there is no new agreement on the Incirlik issue,” the statement said.

You can understand why the regime would send out Susan Rice of a Sunday morning to spread a false narrative. It worked so well last time.

I was just culling the list of categories we link to our posts. Who cares about Mohamed Morsi anymore? Gone. Same with Barney Frank, even Ted Kennedy. But I stumbled a category we created called Amateur Hour. I debated keeping it, but we use it so rarely…I deleted it. I am so sad now.

The rest of the world must be looking at us and thinking this administrated is peopled by humiliated rejects from American Idol. Is the “She Bangs” guy free for Secretary of State?

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Apology Tour

Not Obama’s (this time), Biden’s:

US Vice-President Joe Biden has apologised to the United Arab Emirates after suggesting it had fuelled the rise of extremist groups in Syria.

The White House confirmed the call to the UAE, a day after Mr Biden offered a similar apology to Turkey.

Mr Biden told the Harvard students on Thursday that Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia had extended “billions of dollars and tens of thousands of tonnes of weapons” to Sunni fighters battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

He called the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Sunday to offer his apologies, following a request from the UAE authorities for “a formal clarification” of the comments.

His remarks were “amazing and ignore the role of the Emirates in the fight against extremism and terrorism,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Mohammad Gargash said, quoted by state-run WAM news agency.

In the telephone call, Mr Biden said that his remarks “regarding the early stages of the conflict in Syria were not meant to imply that the UAE had facilitated or supported IS, al-Qaeda or other extremist groups in Syria”.

It is the second time in two days that he has had to call a key coalition partner to clarify his remarks.

On Saturday, he rang Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he reacted angrily to the comments, saying that if “Mr Biden used such language, that would make him a man of the past for me”.

It is not unusual for Joe Biden to speak his mind but recently he has found himself back-pedalling fast multiple times, says the BBC’s Tom Esslemont in Washington.

It’s hardly news that Biden is a knucklehead. But this episode reminds us of the fiction that he was supposed to be Obama’s sage counsel on world affairs. Obama thinks he’s a sager counsel than his sage counsels anyway (in the case of Biden, he’s not wrong).

I don’t see Biden’s offensive comments in his prepared remarks, so we have to go to the news media:

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem with Syria,” he said. “The Turks, who are great friends… the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down [Syrian President Bashar Al Assad] and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shiite war. What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of weapons into anyone who would fight against Al Assad.

“Except that the people who were being supplied were [Jabhat] Al Nusra and Al Qaida and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world,” he added, naming Syria’s Al Qaida affiliate.

I don’t know, is Biden wrong? If he didn’t say this in his prepared remarks, was this his unfiltered view? What the hell is the matter with us if the vile, awful, antisemitic Turks are our “great friends”? If diplomacy is the art of disguising what you think, Biden is not your man. If you want a peek inside the mind (to be generous) of this administration, there’s no one better.

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Once Upon a Time in America

That was then:

This is today:

The foreign minister of Russia has said it is time for a “reset 2.0″ in ties with the US, while blaming the Obama administration for their poor state.

Sergei Lavrov, who was minister during the 2010 “reset” of relations, said the current US administration had “wrecked much of the co-operation structures”.

“It is absolutely in our interests to normalise relations but we didn’t wreck them,” he told a Russian TV channel.

“Now there’s a need for what the Americans might call a ‘reset’,” Mr Lavrov told Russia’s Channel Five (in Russian).

“The current US administration is today wrecking much of the co-operation structures that it created itself along with us. Most likely, something more will come up – a reset No 2 or a reset 2.0.”

If not for the birth of her granddaughter, and if not her departure from this gaggle of losers a year and a half ago, I would call that a bitch-slap of Hillary Clinton. So I won’t. But it ain’t a peck on the cheek either.

Hey Barack, the 1980s called: they said you suck.

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Is This Still Smart Power?

It’s no surprise that that most self-celebrating of social media, Twitter, is this regime’s go-to method of foreign policy.

There was Michelle:

Then Jen Psaki:

Of course, Barack’s selfie:

With such a record of success, it’s no wonder they brought the hashtag to bear in the war on terror:

The State Department social media initiative designed to engage with ISIS terrorists and jihadist sympathizers is “embarrassing,” “ineffective” and “distressing,” the head of a prominent intelligence group wrote Tuesday in a scathing editorial.

The “Think Again Turn Away” campaign and Twitter account, launched by the State Department in December, in part, to dissuade on-the-fence jihadists from joining the fight against the West is actually serving to embolden and legitimize the social media presence of bloodthirsty terrorists already on the ground, Rita Katz, the director of the SITE Intelligence Group, wrote in a Time magazine article published online Tuesday.

The State Department’s “English-language outreach program is not only ineffective, but also provides jihadists with a stage to voice their arguments,” Katz claimed, calling the initiative’s Twitter account a “gaffe machine that “walks dangerous ethical lines.”

“Thirteen years into the war on terror, it is distressing to see certain ways the U.S. government is combating domestic radicalization by groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State,” Katz wrote. The account regularly (engages) in petty disputes with fighters and supporters of groups like IS (also known as ISIS), Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab, and (argues) over who has killed more people while exchanging sarcastic quips.”

“In order to counter a problem, one must first study it before adopting a solution. Had the people behind Think Again Turn Away understood jihadists’ mindsets and reasons for their behavior, they would have known that their project of counter messaging would not only be a waste of taxpayer money, but ultimately be counterproductive,” she wrote. “I would much rather see the State Department’s online ventures involved in projects that explain the great things American policies have achieved — not arguing with jihadi fighters on who killed more innocent Muslims.”

I don’t think they’re getting any smarter:

The U.S. State Department ratcheted up the online propaganda war on Wednesday, tweeting a photo composite showing four dead ISIS jihadis who it suggested were killed in overnight airstrikes in Syria.

The ‘Think Again Turn Away’ program’s Twitter account blasted out the image to nearly 8,000 followers. The initiative’s goal is to dissuade would-be jihadis, including so-called ‘foreign fighters,’ from joining up with ISIS.

One ISIS-linked Twitter account with nearly 10,000 followers claimed Tuesday night that the ‘first victims of air strikes by US on Syria’ were ‘children and women.’

Another tweeted news stories from dubious sources claiming French fighter jets mistakenly bombed Kurdish allies, killing 75 fighters in a friendly-fire cockup.

Separately, a weeks-long Twitter campaign centered around the hashtag #AMessageFromISIStoUS spread a series of chest-puffing boasts, including direct threats against the U.S. homeland.

We rightly condemn ISIS for broadcasting their executions of innocents hostages. But posting pictures of dead terrorists? In a Twitter account? By our government? Not only is it juvenile, it’s unseemly. Kill ‘em, kill ‘em all. Just don’t act like them.

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What Obama Knows

The title is Bret Stephens piece on the sad lack of understanding held by the current resident of the White House. It reminds me of What Maizie Knew, the terrific short novel by Henry James. Maizie knew a lot more than our President seems to, even as a little kid. But that’s a digression. Bret Stephens outlines a few of the spectacular holes in our President’s knowledge base:

…Now turn to Yemen. In 2012, after the Arab Spring, the president singled out Yemen as a model for a prospective political transition in Syria. Mr. Obama was at it again just two weeks ago, citing the fight against al Qaeda in Yemen as the model for the war he intends to wage against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Whoops. “Over the weekend,” noted McClatchy’s Adam Baron on Monday, “the growing gap between administration rhetoric and reality came to a head, as the acerbically anti-American Houthi rebels—who American diplomats allege have close financial and military ties with Iran—took control of many areas of the capital, Sanaa, with minimal resistance from the U.S.-supplied Yemeni armed forces.”

Keep going around the world. He declared victory over al Qaeda and dismissed groups such as ISIS as “the jayvee team” at the very moment that al Qaeda was roaring back. He mocked the notion of Russia being our enemy—remember the line about the 1980s wanting “its foreign policy back”?—just as Russia was again becoming our enemy.

He predicted in 2012 that “Assad’s days are numbered” just as the Syrian dictator was turning the tide of war in his favor. He defended last November’s nuclear deal with Tehran, saying “it’s not going to be hard for us to turn the dials back or strengthen sanctions even further” in the event that diplomacy failed. In reality, as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes, “burgeoning trade ties with Turkey, increased oil sales to China, and reports of multibillion-dollar Russian-Iranian trade deals, not yet consummated but in the offing, are giving [Iran] a ‘Plan B’ escape hatch.”

I clipped that section from the middle. You can read more at the beginning and at the end. It all amounts to the same stuff. We have a loser in the White House.

And so I have a question guys: Should we be bombing Syria? On the one hand, I see the necessity, but on the other I see the absolute lunacy of trusting any of us to an aggressive foreign policy moving forward. We just can’t make up our minds. The summer is over (sob), but the analogy to our foreign policy that persistently comes to my mind is the lemonade stand run by a bunch of eight year olds, until they get bored. We are the true JV’s.

– Aggie

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When You Want Something Done Right

You have Joe Biden do it:

“They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice,” he forcefully told an audience at an event on the New Hampshire-Maine border. “Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.”

Not bad. And he wasn’t done:

Describing the perpetrators as “barbarians,” Biden vowed that Americans would not be frightened or intimidated by the heinous acts.

“We came back after 9/11. We dusted ourselves off and we made sure that Osama bin Laden would never, ever again threaten the American people,” Biden said. “We came back Boston strong, blaming no one but resolve to be certain that this didn’t happen again.”

“As a nation, we’re united, and when people harm Americans, we don’t retreat,” he later said. “We don’t forget.”

I’m glad to know we finally have a strategy!

Or do we?

Obama said they do have a regional strategy. Ultimately, he said, “our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it is no longer a threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States.”

He clarified that if the U.S. is joined by an international coalition, they can “continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”

What happened to “the gates of hell”? What happened to “we don’t retreat”, “we don’t forget”?

What else in the Middle East is “manageable”? Iraq? Syria? Iran? We can’t even “manage” our embassy pool in Tripoli.

Obama tried. His prepared remarks said we would “degrade and destroy” ISIS—which is already a mixed signal. Degraded is not destroyed; destroyed renders degraded irrelevant.

He ended up reiterating his original statement. Gates of hell, degraded, destroyed, managed—if you’ve got several strategies, you’ve got no strategy.

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