Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the US, did a good job of walking a tightrope in discussing the mess President Obama created in the Middle East:
This article shows how frayed the relationship is between the Saudis and the Obama administration:
Asked when he was told by Saudi Arabia that it would take military action in Yemen, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, told a Senate hearing on Thursday he spoke with Saudi Arabia’s chief of defense “right before they took action.” He added that he couldn’t assess the likelihood of the campaign succeeding because he didn’t know the “specific goals and objectives.”
Translation: The Saudis told Centcom that it was taking military action against the Iran-supported Houthi rebels moments before launching airstrikes against Houthi rebels. The other noteworthy tidbit of information is that Centcom can’t evaluate what the likelihood of the Saudi airstrikes is because it wasn’t briefed by the Saudis.
Nations collaborating with each other might not know everything that the other nation is planning on doing but they’d have a pretty good idea what assets are being deployed and where. They’d know what their ally’s goals were, too. Clearly, that isn’t happening here.
During his interview with Chris Wallace, al-Jubeir emphatically stated that they’re willing to deploy ground troops if they determine that’s what’s needed to destroy ISIS. When I heard that, I wished that our commander-in-chief had that type of spine. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with President Obama. What’s especially sad is that President Obama’s world view is totally upside down. America’s traditional allies are President Obama’s enemies. Countries that’ve traditionally been America’s enemies are this administration’s friends.
The saddest part is that it’ll take the Republican’s next term in office just to clean up this administration’s foreign policy disasters. I’ve said this before but I’ll repeat it here. I never thought I’d see the day when another president’s foreign policy ‘accomplishments’ paled in comparison to Jimmy Carter’s lackluster list of accomplishments.
Unfortunately, I’ve lived to see that day. Then again, I didn’t think I’d live to see the day when Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would form a de facto alliance to counterbalance the US-Iranian alliance.
Ed Morrissey’s column has a section that should frighten thoughtful Americans of all political stripes:
Funny, but the White House took a distinctly less charitable approach to the ally that opposed Iran the previous week. Benjamin Netanyahu, in fighting for re-election in Israel, told voters there that he could no longer support a two-state solution under the current conditions of Palestinian leadership. He also warned Israelis that outside activists had attempted to boost voting of Israeli Arabs in an attempt to defeat Likud, and urged Israel’s Jews to turn out more heavily for him. In the final days of the election, Netanyahu won handily.
Did the Obama administration shrug Netanyahu’s words off as “intended for a domestic political audience?”
Of course not.
Ever since, the White House has been in high dudgeon, slamming Netanyahu’s campaign for both the comments about Arab turnout and the futility of negotiating with a Hamas-partnered Mahmoud Abbas. Netanyahu has tried making amends for both statements, but as late as Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf sniffed that the US didn’t find Netanyahu credible any longer. “Given his statements prior to the election, it’s going to be hard to find a path where people seriously believe, when it comes to negotiations, that those are possible.”
Let’s get this straight. Benjamin Netanyahu, the elected head of government of a US ally, defies Obama on a policy that impacts Israel’s security, then apologizes for it, and yet is considered someone who lacks credibility. However, when the head of state of a nation that has sponsored terrorism for decades openly says, “Death to America,” the Obama administration shrugs off the statement as mere domestic politics and considers him a credible partner for peace.
We are truly through the looking glass with this President.
It has become abundantly clear that Obama wants a deal for the sake of claiming a foreign policy achievement, no matter what the cost, and no matter what it does to our allies, especially Israel. The situation is reminiscent of another confrontation between Western powers and an extremist dictatorship that professed its own destiny to rule the world, and where the dictator even wrote out his plans for world domination and practically begged everyone to read them.
Ed’s right. President Obama wants a foreign policy achievement in the worst way. If he signs the deal with Iran, what he’ll get won’t be an achievement but it will be done for the worst reasons.
Simply put, this would be a foreign policy achievement in the same way that trading the Taliban Five for Bo Bergdahl was a foreign policy accomplishment. Signing a nonbinding agreement with Iran is just as foolish as trading for a soldier who was just charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
I could write President Obama’s legacy a month after he leaves office. It won’t take time to see how his policies worked out. They’re already failing without much hope of turning around. If the Iranian people strip the mullahs of their power, this agreement won’t be a total, longlasting disaster. Regardless of whether the Saudi attack on Yemen uproots the Houthis, it’s clear that President Obama’s policies failed Yemen’s government.
I could write that President Obama “served with distinction and honor” only if I applied the same standards that Susan Rice applied to Bowe Bergdahl. Otherwise, I’d have to say he’s been a disaster.
Technorati: Iranian Nuclear Program, President Obama, Marie Harf, State Department, Foreign Policy, Bowe Bergdahl, Desertion, Susan Rice, Taliban Five, National Security, Democrats, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu
Senior intelligence people say certain that Hillary’s messages totally hacked by several foreign governments.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) March 19, 2015
Here’s what Mssrs. Rogin and Lake wrote:
Hillary Clinton didn’t take a basic precaution with her personal e-mail system to prevent hackers from impersonating or “spoofing” her identity in messages to close associates, according to former U.S. officials familiar with her e-mail system and other cyber-security experts.
This vulnerability put anyone who was in communication with her clintonemail.com account while she was secretary of state at risk of being hacked. Clinton said at the United Nations last week that there were no security breaches of her personal e-mail server, which she used to send and receive more than 60,000 professional and personal e-mails. But former cyber-security officials and experts told us that there were gaps in the system.
That’s just the start of things. Here’s more:
Experts told us that oversight was just one flaw of a security system that would have been relatively easy for foreign intelligence services and others to exploit. “I have no doubt in my mind that this thing was penetrated by multiple foreign powers, to assume otherwise is to put blinders on,” said Bob Gourley, the chief technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2005 to 2008 and the founder of Cognitio, a cybersecurity consultancy.
“If a Sender Policy Framework was not in use, they could send an e-mail that looks like it comes from her to, say, the ambassador of France that says, ‘leave the back door open to the residence a package is coming,'” added Gourley. “Or a malicious person could send an e-mail to a foreign dignitary meant to cause an international incident or confuse U.S. foreign policy.”
Guy Benson wrote this scathing opinion of Hillary:
This is unforgivable. Myopia, paranoia, arrogance and reckless incompetence, all rolled into one set of astounding revelations. By the way, just a few days ago, the State Department shut down large parts of its email system due to malware placed by Russian hackers who somehow burrowed into the network.
It’s one thing to have our national security email system hacked by experts working for hostile foreign governments. It’s another when our national security email system was hacked because Hillary Clinton didn’t take minimal security precautions to protect her private email account, which she used for conducting diplomacy.
Hillary’s recklessness, coupled with her intent to avoid oversight scrutiny, has compromised US national security. I’ll state without hesitation that Hillary isn’t qualified to be the US commander-in-chief. Exposing sensitive and/or classified communications to foreign governments was avoidable. For that reason, Hillary flunks the commander-in-chief test. Period.
Until Hillary Clinton affirms under oath that she signed form OF-109 and provides forensic proof that she complied with the form’s requirements, everything else, like James Carville’s op-ed, is irrelevant. Saying ‘Trust me’ won’t suffice.
Here are the first 2 things on the OF-109 form:
1. I have surrendered to responsible officials all classified or administratively controlled documents and material with which I was charged or which I had in my possession, and I am not retaining in my possession, custody, or control, documents or material containing classified or administratively controlled information furnished to me during the course of such employment or developed as a consequence thereof, including any diaries, memorandums of conversation, or other documents of a personal nature that contain classified or administratively controlled information.
2. I have surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents and papers relating to the official business of the Government acquired by me while in the employ of the Department or USIA.
To this point, Hillary hasn’t stated whether she signed this document or whether she complied with this requirement. Those points require all State Department employees to affirm that they’ve turned over all records (past tense), both classified and unclassified, to the State Department Intelligence Agency before their last day of work with the State Department.
According to the GSA website, Form OF-109 hasn’t changed since the Clinton administration:
Separation Statement Current Revision Date: 09/1994
The last time this form changed was before the Gingrich Revolution. That’s more than 20 years ago.
Finally, we don’t have verified forensic corroboration that Hillary turned over everything she was required to turn into the State Department because that corroboration is only possible through a thorough search of Hillary’s server. That clearly hasn’t happened. Until it does, ‘trust me’ won’t cut it.
The latest polling measuring President Obama’s national security leadership isn’t the much-needed good news that this administration needs:
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Congressional leaders invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress?
Good thing 56%, bad thing 27%
Do you think the Obama administration is too supportive of Israel, not supportive enough, or are the administration’s policies about right?
Too supportive 14%, not supportive enough 41%, about right 35%
Democrats that complained about Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu are on the wrong side of that fight by a 2:1 margin. That isn’t the bad news from the poll, though. This is definitely worse news for President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats:
Do you think the United States has been too aggressive, not aggressive enough or about right in trying to get Iran to stop building a nuclear weapons program?
Too aggressive 7%, not aggressive enough 57%, about right 27%
Do you favor or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran if that were the only way to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?
Favor 65%, Oppose 28%
When 3 in 5 voters think you aren’t pushing Iran hard enough to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, you’re in a bad position. When 1 in 4 voters thinks you’re being about right, then most voters think you’re a wimp. When two-thirds of people think we should use military force to prevent “Iran from getting nuclear weapons” and you’re an anti-war president, you’re in trouble.
President Obama’s leadership on national security matters, if it can be called that, is pathetic. And yes, President Obama is anti-war. He’s lost 2 wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) thus far. He’s on the path to losing another war to ISIS. His coalition of 60 nations that are fighting ISIS is fiction. His policies towards Russia are helping Putin rebuild the former Soviet empire.
Other than those things, President Obama is a picture in foreign policy leadership.
According to this article, President Obama has turned the US Air Force into a pro-Iranian Air Force:
According to the report, Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff Beni Gants to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.
The sources added that Gants and his commanders prepared the requested plan and that Israeli fighter jets trained for several weeks in order to make sure the plans would work successfully. Israeli fighter jets even carried out experimental flights in Iran’s airspace after they managed to break through radars.
However, an Israeli minister “who has good ties with the US administration revealed Netanyahu’s plans to Secretary of State John Kerry” and as a result Obama then threatened to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.
It’s simply stunning that President Obama would threaten to shoot down Israeli jets if they tried destroying Iran’s uranium enrichment plants. Has President Obama gone totally insane? The thought that President Obama would shoot down Israel’s jets to protect Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities is like hearing President Obama lifting protection from Poland to tell Putin he was a trusted ally.
President Obama’s foreign policy has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel to it. It’s like we’re being told that the sun sets in the east and rises in the west. Nothing about President Obama’s foreign policy makes sense.
Netanyahu had to abort the operation and since then relations between Israel and the United States have been declining, according to the sources quoted in the report.
President Obama is the most anti-Israel president in US history. Whoever’s in second isn’t close. The thought that a US president is willing to protect the biggest state sponsor of terrorism while shooting down our best ally in the region’s planes indicates President Obama’s priorities aren’t America’s priorities.
President Obama is an historic president … for all the wrong reasons.
This NYTimes article is totally farcical. Check this paragraph out:
Asked whether the accord would guarantee that Iran would remain at least a year away from being able to produce enough fuel for a single nuclear weapon, a senior official said that the agreement was still under negotiation and that it was not yet clear how long the accord might last. He noted that some “transparency measures” that might provide insight into the inner workings of Iran’s nuclear activities might be in effect for an “extended period of time.”
The thought that the mullahs’ word is worth anything is utterly laughable. Trusting them is like trusting Bernie Madoff with the password to your retirement account. Nobody in their right mind would trust them. Thinking that President Obama would call out Iran if they violated the treaty is just as laughable.
If this is part of the administration’s ‘prebuttal’ to Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress, then they’re a laughingstock. They’ll be ridiculed by serious news organizations.
The officials were also vague about whether, and how quickly, Iran would have to answer a dozen questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency about research it is suspected of carrying out on nuclear designs, what the agency calls the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s program. The I.A.E.A., the United Nations’ inspection agency, said again last week that Iran stonewalled inspectors on answering most of its questions, which the Iranians insist are based on fabricated evidence.
The treaty still hasn’t been signed and Iran is already attempting to shroud its nuclear program in secrecy. Israel shouldn’t trust Iran at this or any other point. Israel shouldn’t trust President Obama either. He’s clearly undermined Israel’s ability to protect itself from the existential threat known as Iran.
This is either red flag city or it’s entirely predictable. Saying that “officials were also vague about whether, and how quickly, Iran would have to answer a dozen questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency” is essentially the same as saying that this administration won’t take this part seriously. If this administration was serious about preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, they’d back this provision up with the option of military force and harsh sanctions.
The fact that the Obama administration and other Democrats support this is frightening. The fact that Hillary hasn’t spoken out about this is telling, too. Hillary’s silence is deafening. She’s as dovish as President Obama.
President Obama’s PR campaign isn’t working:
This week, Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that Mr. Netanyahu was wrong when he predicted that the interim agreement reached with Iran would fail and would result in the collapse of the sanctions regimen against Tehran, and administration officials suggested that his opposition to a comprehensive agreement was also wrongheaded.
But the concerns voiced by Mr. Netanyahu are also shared by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states that are regional rivals of Iran. Mr. Kerry plans to meet with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and other Arab officials over the next week to try to reassure them about the agreement.
When the Saudis agree with Israel’s prime minister and disagree with our president, that’s a PR disaster for the Obama administration.
President Obama has no fiercer defender than Rep. Betty McCollum, the Democrat representing Minnesota’s 4th District. That doesn’t mean she’s accomplished much. It just means she’s represented a district that’s as competitive of a district as Nancy Pelosi’s. Rep. McCollum’s op-ed reads like something approved by President Obama himself and possibly written by Susan Rice with the assistance of Ben Rhodes.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a heated reelection campaign. Yet he is traveling 5,900 miles to give a speech before a joint meeting of Congress on March 3 — just two weeks before Israelis go to the polls. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), working with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, a former Republican political operative who renounced his U.S. citizenship, extended the invitation in a clear effort to undermine the president while the United States and its five partners engage in tough negotiations with Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, a national security priority I strongly support.
TRANSLATION: Rep. McCollum hates Israel. What’s worse is that she supports President Obama’s bad faith negotiations with Iran that is aimed at giving Iran the time it needs to enrich enough uranium to build a nuclear weapon. Any statements that President Obama is trying to prevent Iran “from obtaining nuclear weapons” is BS.
Charles Krauthammer’s article blows that myth to smithereens:
The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reported its concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed … development of a nuclear payload for a missile.” Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Monday of the “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.
That doesn’t sound like President Obama is working tirelessly to prevent the Iranian mullahs from getting a nuclear weapon. That sounds like President Obama has given Iran permission to build nuclear weapons.
Here’s more of Rep. McCollum’s BS:
“To think about going behind the back of a friendly country’s administration and working out this kind of arrangement with the parliament or the Congress — it’s unheard of,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. Such an unprecedented lack of respect toward a U.S. president has not gone unnoticed in Israel, either.
Rep. McCollum expects Israel to respect a president who’s handing a nuclear weapon to Iran, still the biggest state sponsor of terrorism? That’s frightening, especially considering this information:
The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping, and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy. Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental-ballistic-missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations. Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads.
In other words, Rep. McCollum supports Iran getting the capability to launch ICBMs. She supports Iran having the ability to hit NYC with nuclear weapons.
Basharat concluded his Haaretz column by saying, “Any leader who tried to do to the Americans what Netanyahu has done would be ejected immediately, not from Washington but from office in his home country.” That’s one opinion. I will respectfully leave that choice to Israeli voters. In the meantime, I will respectfully abstain from attending Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign rally.
That’s laughable. After Rep. McCollum does a hatchet job on one of America’s staunchest allies, she then pretends that she doesn’t care who wins the Israeli elections. I believe that like I believe that waving a red cape in a bull’s face won’t provoke an attack. That’s why Minnesotans think Rep. McCollum is a joke.
Last night, Gov. Scott Walker, (R-WI), went ‘on the record’ with Fox’s Greta van Susteren:
One of the first things that Gov. Walker touted was the positive impact Act 10 has had on education:
GOV. WALKER: People claimed that public education would fall apart. Instead, by getting rid of seniority and tenure, we empowered school districts to put their best and their brightest in the classrooms by hiring based on merit and pay … Today, our schools are better. Our graduation rates are up. Our third-grade reading scores are up. Our ACT scores are the second best in the nation.
Thus far, we’ve watched DC pundits and British blowhards ask trivial questions of Gov. Walker about such non-pressing importance like whether he believes in evolution or whether he thinks President Obama is a Christian.
When Gov. Walker didn’t play their gotcha games, the media acted like they’d been scandalized. What’d happened was that Gov. Walker essentially told them, politely, was that he wanted to talk about important things, not the gotcha stuff they wanted to talk about. Thank God for that.
Other than the DC blowhards, nobody gives a rip about Gov. Walker’s thoughts on evolution or President Obama’s faith. What they care most about is what he’ll do to fix the messes that President Obama has created. The people understand that the next president will have to deal with a defiant Vladimir Putin, a terrorist nation that’s expanding its reach and a regulatory regime that’s crippling innovation and job creation.
GOV. WALKER: You’ll appreciate this, Greta. I was in Green Bay, WI, this afternoon. I was at 2 of the leading job creators talking about opportunities for people with disabilities and somebody in the press at the end of the event asked a question about this very subject and I said “I challenge you to go out and walk with me down the streets of Green Bay, WI, and ask 100 people on the street what they really care about. I’m certain not a one of them will talk about the issues we heard about in Washington.
That’s a perfect way to deal with the Gotcha Media. Gov. Walker didn’t respond this aggressively initially but he’s catching on quick. The thing he already understands that Jeb Bush never will is that the press will back down a bit (not a lot but a little) if they’re worried about some timely sharp elbows to keep them on the straight-and-narrow.
Think of it like a Bob Gibson fastball past your head or into your ribs if you showboated after hitting a home run off of him.
The thing that Gov. Walker now understands is that the Gotcha Media that cover the campaigns need him more than he needs any one of them. It isn’t that he needs to constantly pick fights with the reporters covering his campaign. It’s that he needs to remind them that he’ll give preferential treatment to people who don’t ask gotcha questions. If reporters ask tough, policy-oriented questions, he should answer respectfully.
It won’t take long for the reporters to figure out, and adapt to, the ground rules.
Brian Beutler’s article is a testimony to how warped hardline progressives’ thinking is. Check this out:
At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works.
As a theme, this riff should have struck a chord with the conservative movement’s myriad Reaganologists.
This, supposedly, is Beutler’s attempt to prove that Barack Obama is the next Reagan. Let’s check that comparison. The ‘Obama Recovery’ is still the slowest recovery in history. It’s created few full-time jobs. Most of the jobs it’s created are part-time jobs. Economic growth has stagnated because a) regulation has skyrocketed and b) Obamacare became the law of the land.
Most of the full-time jobs that’ve been created were created in spite of Obama’s policies. Think Texas, which is pretty much putting anti-Obama policies in place, and North Dakota, where the Bakken Boom is happening because they didn’t have to deal with Obama’s oppressive, stifling regulations.
Any comparison with Reagan is foolish. In September, 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs. For 6 straight quarters, GDP topped 5%. Thus far, the economy hasn’t grown by 4% two quarters in a row. It hasn’t had back-to-back quarters topping 3.5%.
Comparing Obamanomics with Reaganomics is like comparing a small plate of tofu with a thick, juicy steak with a side of hash browns. They’re both food but that’s where the similarity ends.
The economy’s rapid growth in recent quarters has scrambled these assumptions, and now the White House is pitching the Reagan comparison to political reporters in Washington.
What rapid growth? Seriously? Economists will slap down Beutler’s claims in a New York minute.
“All historical analogies are imperfect,” Obama’s senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told me recently, but “people connected the economic success of the ’80s to Reagan’s policies and Democrats also became convinced that the only way to win was to move to the middle. … We want to make sure people understand the policies we put in place, how they work, how they’ve improved their situation, so when Republicans get back into it we’ll have shifted the four corners of the political debate to the left.”
First, there’s no question that President Obama’s policies are definitely to the left of where people are at. Further, there’s no question that it’ll take time to fix the myriad of messes President Obama has created.
Finally, here are the biggest ways to show Obama isn’t like Reagan:
- Economic growth was robust during the last 6 years of Reagan’s time in office.
- Economic growth during President Obama’s time in office has been pathetic.
- Reagan’s national security policies brought the Soviet empire to its knees.
- President Obama’s policies of appeasement has helped terrorism expand its control while threatening most of the civilized world.
Other than that, Obama’s accomplishments are virtually identical with Reagan’s.