Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category
The first thing I need to say before getting into this post’s substance is that George Will is one of the brightest conservatives I’ve ever listened to. That’s why it was difficult for me to watch this video:
Here’s the transcript from the important part of Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: George, where do you think Cruz fits in the Republican presidential field? And what do you think are his realistic chances to win the nomination?
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: We’ve seen this movie before, Chris. In 1964, Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, partly on the theory called conservatives in the woodwork, that there were enormous number of conserves who only offered candidate who ignored what Cruz calls the mushy middle, they’d come out of the woodwork and form a national majority. Well, Goldwater’s 27 million voters, of whom I was one, suffice to carry six states.
The question for Mr. Cruz and for anyone seeking the Republican nomination is this, given that 18 states and the District of Columbia with 242 electoral votes voted Democratic in six consecutive elections and if the Democratic nominee holds that base, he or she will spend the fall looking for 28 electoral votes and will find them. Given that, they have to ask the question, what red, what blue state are you going to flip specifically? Can Ted Cruz campaign effectively in one of those 18 states? Pennsylvania, how is he going to do piling up big majorities to carry the state in the suburban counties, Bucks, Montgomery, around Philadelphia? I’m skeptical.
First, let’s stipulate that every Republican faces the same obstacle as Sen. Cruz. Next, let’s stipulate that some are better equipped to flipping some of the states that Will is referring to. Third, let’s stipulate that Will has said the same thing about every other Republican potential presidential candidate with one exception. That exception is Chris Christie.
Will’s defeatist attitude, which I’m certain he’ll characterize as simply a statement of fact, isn’t worthy of a man of his intelligence. According to this map, Will is right that Republicans start at a distinct disadvantage:
That’s the extent, though, that I’m willing to concede. There are 538 electoral votes, which is why the winning candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. Starting with 242 electoral votes means that 296 electoral votes are still up for grabs or solidly in GOP-controlled states.
First, let’s look at solidly red states. The GOP candidate starts with a base of 200 electoral votes. Next, let’s look at purple states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada. Florida has 29 EVs, followed by Ohio with 18 EVs, Virginia with 13 EVs, Colorado with 9, Nevada and Iowa with 6 apiece, New Mexico with 5 and New Hampshire with 4 EVs.
If Sen. Rubio is on the ticket, either as the nominee or running mate, that definitely flips Florida’s 29 EVs and likely puts Nevada and Colorado in the GOP column. Just putting those states in the GOP column gives the GOP ticket 244 EVs. If Scott Walker is the GOP nominee and Rubio is his running mate, that likely puts Iowa and Wisconsin in the GOP column. That puts the GOP ticket at 260 EVs. That means Hillary has to win Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia.
At that point, if Republicans win either Virginia or Ohio, they’d retake the White House.
Is it mathematically challenging? Yes, for both parties.
That’s before factoring in the quality of campaigns the two sides run and events that are beyond the candidates’ control. If Republicans run a youthful, energetic, ideas-driven ticket, they won’t have to say a thing about Hillary looking fatigued. It’ll be that obvious. Further, if the Middle East continues being a disaster and Russia continues its expansionist ways, Hillary will have lots of problems because she’s joined at the hip with President Obama as the co-architects of that foreign policy.
If Mr. Will wants to continuously be a pessimist about the GOP ticket for 2016, that’s his right under the First Amendment that he writes so eloquently about. It just doesn’t mean he’s right. He should know that campaigns and events matter. Right now, Hillary is a terrible candidate and events both domestically and especially internationally favor Republicans.
Technorati: George Will, First Amendment, Conservatism, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Electoral College, Foreign Policy, Republicans, Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Reset Switch, Russia, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Democrats, Election 2016
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.
When US. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian officials, the question will be whether the Obama administration will side with Tehran or whether they’ll side with traditional U.S. allies like Egypt and Jordan.
Egypt’s president called for increased U.S. military aid and creation of a regional coalition to fight Islamic State in an interview with Fox News that aired on Monday, just days before the United States sends its top diplomat to the country.
“It is very important for the United States to understand that our need for the weapons and for the equipment is dire, especially at the time when the Egyptians feel they are fighting terrorism and they would like to feel the United States is standing by them in that fight against terrorism,” said President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.
The Obama administration has shown its hand. They haven’t sent military supplies to Jordan, Egypt or the Iraqi Kurds. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll arm Egypt or Jordan because the administration doesn’t want to do anything to upset the mullahs. Strengthening the Arabs’ hands is a nonstarter with Iran’s mullahs.
In that sense, President Obama and John Kerry are setting US-Arab relations at least a decade. They’ve already set back the US-Israeli relationship a decade.
As the region grapples with the rise of Islamic State, which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq, political leaders of the five Gulf Arab states, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey have been meeting to forge unity and work together.
“The region is facing very tough circumstances now,” Sissi said through a translator. “The public opinion wants to see a big response from capable countries – countries that are able to provide assistance to it.”
el-Sissi has shown himself to be an incredible statesman. He’s reached out to Coptic Christians at great risk to his life. He’s willing to work with the Israelis — on a limited basis — to stop Iran’s agenda.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Jordan wants to accelerate Jordan’s war with ISIS, mostly because of ISIS’ torching the Jordanian pilot in a cage. Whatever their motivation, this is the type of coalition that US diplomats should welcome. According to el-Sissi, this administration has dragged its feet. Though that’s disappointing, it’s totally predictable.
I just wish our commander-in-chief was the heroic statesmen that el-Sissi and Abdullah are.
President Obama is complaining about the Senate Republicans sending a letter to Iran’s mullahs. Like the petty man he is, he threw in a dig at Republicans while criticizing them.
President Obama assailed 47 Republican senators Monday for writing an open letter to the leaders of Iran while the country is in the middle of nuclear negotiations with the United States and allied nations, arguing the communication made “common cause with the hardliners in Iran.”
The letter, released publicly Monday, advised Iran’s leaders that any pact negotiated by the Obama administration and signed by Iran, and not ratified by Congress, could be voided by future presidents or modified by future Congresses. It was drafted as a lesson in the workings of the Constitution, and framed as a rebuke to the president’s executive authority.
The mullahs aren’t negotiating with this administration. They’re toying with this administration. Any treaty negotiated with the mullahs won’t be worth the parchment it’ll be written on. It certainly won’t be worth ratifying.
And yes, it’s a treaty.
Speaking in the Oval Office, Obama said the American people would assess the merits of any finalized agreement with Iran. If a deal is reached, “I’m confident we’ll be able to implement it,” he added. “I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran. It’s an unusual coalition,” the president observed.
First, we don’t need to wait until the details of the treaty are revealed to “assess the merits” of the proposed treaty. We shouldn’t negotiate with terrorist-sponsoring nations like Iran until they stop sponsoring terrorists. Period. Negotiating with them gives them legitimacy. That’s the last thing we should do.
Next, blowing up a bad deal with some of the nastiest people on earth isn’t making common cause with them. As usual, President Obama has things bassackwards. His negotiating a treaty with them while pushing Israel under the bus is making common cause with the terrorists. That’s the “unusual coalition.”
Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have signaled to Israel that working together to take out Iran’s nuclear weapons is acceptable. Meanwhile, President Obama has continued his policy of appeasement towards Iran. While Republican senators align themselves with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, President Obama continues his policy of appeasement with Iran’s mullahs.
That’s “an unusual coalition.”
Watching this video will show that el-Sissi is more pro-traditional American than President Obama:
Thankfully, these 47 Republicans are playing hardball with the hardliners in Tehran.
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.
Al Franken issued a statement in advance of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech that read like it was written by the administration:
In a statement earlier Monday, (Sen. Al) Franken (D-MN) described the speech as a “partisan spectacle.”
“This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle, both because of the impending Israeli election and because it was done without consulting the administration,” Franken said. “I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening. I’m confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel.”
Franken is just one hyperpartisan Democrat who professes undying loyalty to Israel, then essentially calls Prime Minister Netanyahu a partisan. Doesn’t it sound like Franken’s support of Israel is conditional? In any case, the “partisan debacle” Sen. Franken worried about didn’t happen.
Alexis Simendinger’s fantastic article highlights how Prime Minister Netanyahu’s substantive speech changed the parameters through which politicians view the issue. Here’s one thing Ms. Simendinger highlighted from the “partisan debacle”:
Netanyahu denounced the contours of the deal being negotiated in Switzerland as playing into Iran’s hands. He warned the outcome could accelerate a path toward nuclear war in the Middle East because he believes the parameters would strengthen Iran’s capabilities within a decade to create a nuclear weapon with such speed, the world could not intervene.
“Why would anyone make this deal?” Netanyahu asked. “This is a question that everyone asks in our region.” He let the clear rebuke of the president hang in the air. “Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?” he continued. “Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal.”
There’s no question that Sen. Franken recited the Democrats’ script perfectly. Similarly, there’s no question that Prime Minister Netanyahu changed the terms of the debate going forward.
The only “partisan debacle” from yesterday’s speech came from the Democrats. John Yarmuth’s diatribe and Nancy Pelosi’s turning her back on Prime Minister Netanyahu set the Democrats’ highly political tone for the event.
Sen. Franken didn’t attend yesterday’s speech because he’s a partisan hack. He didn’t know that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech would be a “partisan spectacle.” That’s what he initially said but that’s only because that’s what the administration told him. The speech turned into a dissertation on the things Iran’s leaders have engaged in, including sponsoring terrorist organizations like Hezbollah to attacking US soldiers in Iraq with Iranian-manufactured IEDs.
Had Sen. Franken attended the speech, he might’ve learned something. It’s a shame he took the administration’s word that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech would be a partisan speech.
Alexis Simendinger’s article shows how the Iran-US negotiations have changed thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech. The debate has shifted thanks to Netanyahu’s speech. Here’s an example of how Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech shifted things:
Here are some points that resonated with lawmakers:
Obama is misguided, or wears blinders about Iran’s true ambitions and motivations. Speaking to the GOP-controlled House and Senate, Netanyahu reiterated his warning: “Don’t be fooled.” The prime minister reinforced views among conservatives and some Democrats that Obama’s record of recognizing and responding to brewing threats in the Middle East and elsewhere has been less than stellar. Netanyahu argued the administration is being duped by Iran’s negotiators. He believes pledges of reformed nuclear objectives will not change in Iran, no matter what Tehran may sign to win relief from the international sanctions regime. Netanyahu pointed to North Korea as an example of broken nuclear promises.
There’s no reason to think that President Obama and John Kerry will negotiate a deal that doesn’t sell Israel out. They’re both desperately searching for a legacy item. Without that, neither will be more than a footnote in the history books.
Here’s another game changer from Netanyahu’s speech:
Israel advocated tougher adjustments to any pact hammered out with Iran. Although Obama dismissed Netanyahu’s rhetoric as a debunked script that lacked internal logic, the prime minister did more in Washington than criticize negotiations and warn about Iran’s evil intentions.
The prime minister told Congress that any pact with Iran should “demand” that Tehran halt aggression in the Middle East, cease support for terrorism, and end threats against Israel. An agreement should require the verified destruction of all Iranian nuclear infrastructure, including centrifuges and heavy water reactors; include a longer breakout insurance period than one year; and maintain all sanctions for a decade or longer, or until Iran’s behavior is demonstrably and verifiably altered, the prime minister said. “The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal,” Netanyahu maintained.
President Obama has talked about Iran rejoining the fictional “community of nations” if they simply sign onto this treaty. That’s the rose-colored glasses perspective. Iran isn’t interested in changing. Whether they sign onto this treaty or not, they’ll still want to continue working on getting a nuclear weapon. Whether they sign onto this treaty or not, they’ll still continue supporting terrorist organizations like al-Qa’ida and Hezbollah.
These aren’t transient policy positions than change from administration to administration. They’re long-held positions that haven’t changed since the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. When they say they want to push Israel into the sea, that isn’t the mullahs throwing some red meat to the partisans. It’s their ultimate goal.
Prime Minister Netanyahu showed the world the difference between a mature statesman and a young, hip partisan. The difference was a game-changer.
After watching this video, it’s safe to say that John Kerry is the first US Secretary of State that’s delusional:
Here’s a partial transcript of what he said:
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS: OK, let’s — let’s move back, then, to Israel and Iran. You’re headed over for further negotiations. While you’re gone, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be addressing Congress. Susan Rice said it was destructive to U.S.-Israeli relations. Do you agree with that?
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Well, look, we’re not — the prime minister of Israel is welcome to speak in the United States, obviously. And we have a closer relationship with Israel right now in terms of security than at any time in history. I was reviewing the record the other day. We have intervened on Israel’s behalf, in the last two years, more than several hundred — a couple of hundred times in over 75 different fora in order to protect Israel.
I talk to the prime minister regularly, including yesterday. We are not — you know, we don’t want to see this turned into some great political football. Obviously, it was odd, if not unique, that we learned of it from the speaker of the House and that an administration was not included in this process. But the administration is not seeking to politicize this. We want to recognize the main goal here is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. And on that, Israel and the United States agree. And the testimony, in fact, to the efficiency with which we’ve been able to pursue that is the interim agreement that is in place today.
Israel is safer today because of the interim agreement that we created. The 20 percent enriched uranium has been reduced to 0. We have stopped the centrifuge production. We are inspecting inside of their facilities. We have stopped the Arak plutonium reactor in its tracks. Israel is safer today and that is the standard that we will apply to any agreement going forward. It is to guarantee that we will know that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon under the procedure that we’re putting in place.
Other than the times we’ve threatened to blow Israeli military jets out of the sky, Kerry’s thinking, Israel has never been safer than now. Except when President Reagan let it be understood that the United States wouldn’t tolerate Yassir Arafat’s intifada’s. Except when President George W. Bush sided with Israel in the latest intifada.
Shooting an allies’ planes out of the sky isn’t how we make Israel safer, especially when Israel’s planes were planning on destroying Iran’s centrifuges. Iran isn’t bashful about saying it wants to destroy Israel. How can Israel feel safe when its greatest ally, the United States, is negotiating with its most dangerous enemy to make it easier to wipe Israel off the map?
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.