Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category
Natan Sharansky’s op-ed provides a stunning contrast between the Obama administration’s Iran capitulation and President Eisenhower’s negotiations with the then-Soviet Union. Check this out:
For starters, consider that the Soviet regime felt obliged to make its first ideological concession simply to enter into negotiations with the United States about economic cooperation. At the end of the 1950s, Moscow abandoned its doctrine of fomenting a worldwide communist revolution and adopted in its place a credo of peaceful coexistence between communism and capitalism. The Soviet leadership paid a high price for this concession, both internally, in the form of millions of citizens, like me, who had been obliged to study Marxism and Leninism as the truth and now found their partial abandonment confusing, and internationally, in their relations with the Chinese and other dogmatic communists who viewed the change as a betrayal. Nevertheless, the Soviet government understood that it had no other way to get what it needed from the United States.
The Soviets capitulated because they didn’t have any options. Soviet negotiators thought that President Eisenhower was a serious, hard-nosed negotiator. They didn’t fear him like they feared President Reagan but they knew they couldn’t take liberties with Eisenhower.
As a result of their capitulation, the Soviets experienced a shaming that they never recovered from. It took several more decades before the gulags closed and the dissidents were freed but the Soviets had been dealt a stunning defeat.
Imagine what would have happened if instead, after completing a round of negotiations over disarmament, the Soviet Union had declared that its right to expand communism across the continent was not up for discussion. This would have spelled the end of the talks. Yet today, Iran feels no need to tone down its rhetoric calling for the death of America and wiping Israel off the map.
The Iranians sized up President Obama and figured it out that he wasn’t a serious negotiator. To the Iranians, President Obama looked like a mark in a con man’s sights. They figured that President Obama could be flipped. That’s because they knew he was a desperate man in search of a legacy. As a result, the Iranians played hardball with him.
The sanctions were working. Iran’s mullahs would’ve been toppled if President Obama was interested in that. Unfortunately for Israel and the US, President Obama wasn’t interested in dealing the Iranian regime a death blow. Because President Obama zigged when other administrations would’ve zagged, Iran is poised to become a Middle East hegemon with a nuclear weapon.
While negotiating with the Soviet Union, U.S. administrations of all stripes felt certain of the moral superiority of their political system over the Soviet one. They felt they were speaking in the name of their people and the free world as a whole, while the leaders of the Soviet regime could speak for no one but themselves and the declining number of true believers still loyal to their ideology.
President Obama’s legacy will be his administration-long apology tour. He’s felt that the United States wasn’t a force for good. This will be his fitting epitaph:
It’ll take a generation to clean up all the history-changing messes he’s created. President Clinton said that the 1990s represented a “vacation from history.” On 9/11, history came to collect on that debt.
It might well be that 2009-2016 will be called the United States’ vacation from being the United States.
Technorati: Natan Sharansky, Soviet Dissident, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Leader of the Free World, Negotiations, Soviet Union, President Obama, Capitulation, Iran, Legacy, Sanctions, Apology Tour, Democrats
This weekend, after he met with Raul Castro, President Obama continued his hate America tour, declaring that he was “very aware of the fact that there are dark chapters in our own history.”
There’s no doubt that this nation has seen dark chapters during its history. While the darkest of those dark chapters is either the Civil War or the bombing of Pearl Harbor, not all of this nation’s darkest chapters involve war. The Obama administration is one of those dark chapters.
Betraying Israel is a sad chapter in US history. President Obama has frequently betrayed Israel, whether it’s through revealing Israel’s sensitive nuclear secrets or by sending his political operatives to Israel to defeat Israel’s sitting prime minister. Frankly, betraying Israel is betraying the United States’ Judeo-Christian heritage.
Frequently ignoring the Constitution is another instance where the Obama administration has led the United States into a dark chapter in our nation’s history. No other administration has had the Supreme Court rule unanimously against their power grabs thirteen times. That’s a record that’s as likely to get broken as Cy Young’s 511 victories as a pitcher.
Negotiating a nuclear proliferation treaty with Iran, which is what John Kerry’s framework really is, is a betrayal of our allies in the region. That’s before talking about how it establishes Iran as the regional superpower. That’s before talking about how it endangers our national security by pumping new money into Iran’s coffers to support regional and worldwide terrorist attacks.
That’s before highlighting this foolish statement:
“The cold war has been over for a long time and I’m not interested in battles that have been over frankly, before I was born,” President Obama stated.
It’s stupid for President Obama to insist that the Cold War is over. Putin’s on the march, gobbling up huge parts of neighboring countries. Further, I’m interested in hearing him explain how the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, when he was 28 years old. Perhaps he didn’t notice because he was too busy selling cocaine?
The only potential positive that might come out of the Obama administration is the stench that will remind us we’ve survived a national nightmare of incredible intensity.
Technorati: Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, State Sponsors of Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Iran, Appeasement, Terrorists, Cuba, National Security, Israel, Pearl Harbor, Civil War, Supreme Court, Constitution
The recently-announced framework between Iran and the P-5 + 1 is an interesting situation that’s having significant political consequences. What’s at stake is whether senators should support a freedom-loving democracy or whether they should support a terrorist-financing nation led by aging religious fanatics that chant ‘Death to America‘. That’s essentially the heart of this debate.
While Israel’s critics criticize Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, the truth is that these criticisms are pretty feeble, especially compared with the complaints Israel can make about the rockets launched by Iran-funded terrorist organizations into the heart of Israel. The Iranian-funded terrorists launch missiles into the heart of Israel. The Israeli settlers are building homes in the West Bank. The notion that there’s a moral equivalence between the 2 things is absurd.
Senators supporting the deal between the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany and Iran best be ready to defend a terrorist regime whose first ambition is to terrorize America’s most reliable ally in the Middle East and to create a region-wide hegemon with nuclear weapons. That’s what Iran’s first set of goals are. When Iran’s leader shouts “Death to America”, I’m certain he isn’t joking. Iran’s mid-term goal is to expand its hegemon into western Europe. That’s because their ultimate goal is to establish a worldwide caliphate that would give people the ‘option’ to either obey the Iranian mullahs’ dictates or die.
Here in the United States, Jewish voters are noticing who’s on Israel’s side and who isn’t:
Republicans currently in the Senate raised more money during the 2014 election cycle in direct, federally regulated campaign contributions from individuals and political action committees deemed pro-Israel than their Democratic counterparts, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and analyzed for The New York Times by a second nonprofit, MapLight. The Republican advantage was the first in more than a decade.
The alliances in Congress that pro-Israel donors have built will certainly be tested as they lobby lawmakers to oppose the deal with Iran and perhaps even expand sanctions against the country, despite objections from the Obama administration.
Donors say the trend toward Republicans among wealthy, hawkish contributors is at least partly responsible for inspiring stronger support for Israel among party lawmakers who already had pro-Israel views.
President Obama can’t hide his feelings for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lately, he hasn’t bothered trying to hide his contempt for Prime Minister Netanyahu. If President Obama’s hostility continues, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Jewish support for Republicans would increase.
If you’re an Israel-loving Jewish voter, there’s no reason to support the Democratic Party.
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.