Search
Archives
Categories

Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

Prior to Super Tuesday’s primaries and caucuses, Donald Trump’s ceiling of support seemed to be in the 35%-36% range. He won handily in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. It’s particularly noteworthy that those 3 states were open states where Democrats were allowed to cause mischief or where independents could vote.

Yesterday’s events were closed events, with only Republicans voting. This table shows yesterday’s results:

Combining the 4 events together, Sen. Cruz got 41% of the votes cast. Meanwhile, Trump got 33.3% of the vote.

I haven’t hidden my disgust with Trump. If I were king for a day, I’d banish him to Gitmo and throw away the key to his cell. I’ve got great company in not respecting Trump. Steve Hayes’ article lowers the boom on Trump, especially this part:

The worst of these moments may have come when Trump mocked the disability of a journalist who had criticized him. At a rally in Sarasota last November, Trump was discussing Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for the New York Times. “The poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy,” Trump said, before flailing in a manner that resembled a palsy tremor. Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects the movement and positioning of his joints.

When Trump was criticized, he said he couldn’t have been mocking the reporter because he was unaware of Kovaleski’s condition. That wasn’t true. Kovaleski had interviewed Trump a dozen times and said they had interacted on “a first-name basis for years.” Trump then accused Kovaleski of “using his disability to grandstand.”

This came up last Friday, as I drove my 8-year-old son to see the Washington Capitals play. I’ll be gone on his birthday, covering presidential primaries, so this was an early present.

My son and his older sister have followed the campaign, as much as kids their age do, and they’re aware that I’ve traded barbs with Trump. So we sometimes talk about the candidates and their attributes and faults, and we’d previously talked about Trump’s penchant for insulting people. On our drive down, my son told me that some of the kids in his class like Trump because “he has the most points,” and he asked me again why I don’t like the Republican frontrunner.

I reminded him about the McCain and Fiorina stories and then we spent a moment talking about Kovaleski. I described his condition and showed him how physically limiting it would be. Then he asked a simple question:

“Why would anyone make fun of him?”

Why indeed?

I’d flip this around a bit. I’d ask what qualities or policies would convince me to vote for Mr. Trump. In terms of national security policy or taxes, regulations, federalism, the Constitution and the rule of law, I find Mr. Trump utterly deficient. Listening to Trump answer a question on national security is torture. At times, he’s said that he’d “bomb the s— out of ISIS.” At other times, he’s said he’d talk Putin into taking out ISIS. Bombing the s— out of ISIS sounds great but that’s just part of the threat ISIS poses. That does nothing to stop ISIS from radicalizing Muslims in Europe or the United States. Apparently, Trump hasn’t figured that out, mostly because he doesn’t even have an elemental understanding of foreign policy.

On national security, Trump says he’ll be strong and frequently pronounces himself “militaristic.” But he doesn’t seem to have even a newspaper reader’s familiarity with the pressing issues of the day. He was nonplussed by a reference to the “nuclear triad”; he confused Iran’s Quds Force and the Kurds; he didn’t know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah. The ignorance would be less worrisome if his instincts weren’t terrifying. He’s praised authoritarians for their strength, whether Vladimir Putin for killing journalists and political opponents or the Chinese government for the massacre it perpetrated in Tiananmen Square. To the extent he articulates policies, he seems to be an odd mix of third-world despot and naïve pacifist.

Like Steve Hayes, I’m a proud member of the #NeverTrump movement. While pundits like Sean Hannity and Andrea Tantaros talk about Trump like he’s a conservative god, I won’t. That’s because I care more about the principles that make conservatism and capitalism the most powerful forces for positive change.

Why anyone would vote for a disgusting, immoral liberal like Donald Trump is mind-boggling. Personally, I won’t.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

It isn’t surprising that Donald Trump is an unhinged anti-war liberal with a passion for conspiracy theories. That’s been obvious for months. Saturday night, however, Trump the 9/11 Truther, made his first appearance on a debate stage. As a result of what Mr. Trump said, Medea Benjamin praised Mr. Trump, saying “It felt surreal to hear Donald Trump, the leading Republican contender for President, saying what we at CODEPINK have been shouting to the winds for 14 years now: that Bush and his cronies lied about WMDs, that the Iraq war was catastrophic, and that Bush never ‘kept us safe’ because 9/11 happened on his watch.”

This is a time for choosing for the so-called Republicans who support Trump. These Republicans can’t pretend that they’re patriots. They can’t pretend that they care about protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. They can’t tell us that they support Mr. Trump because they hate political correctness. They can’t even hide behind the fallacy that they support Mr. Trump because “he gets things done.”

The indisputable truth is that the thing bigger than Mr. Trump’s ego is the paranoia that fuels his truther beliefs. Here’s something Mr. Trump said that isn’t getting talked about enough:

TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center — the World — excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.
RUBIO: The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him. (APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And George Bush– by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.

Mr. Trump couldn’t know that President Bush got information from the CIA on bin Laden, much less know whether President Bush refused to act on that intelligence. We know that it’s impossible for Mr. Trump to know this because that’s the type of intelligence that would get an SAP classification. We know that because of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Trump’s supporters need to ask themselves whether they’re supporting him because they thought he was a patriot who would change this nation’s direction or did they support Mr. Trump because they thought he was a liberal anti-war activist that’s praised by far left organizations like Code Pink? Five minutes into this video, Carl Higbie, a former Navy Seal, insists that ISIS will be gone within 2 years:

HIGBIE: I think we see ISIS gone within 2 years. We put 250,000 boots on the ground. I know people that that’s not a popular comment but we do what’s necessary. We set the threshold. We say ‘if you do this, we’ll do this’. You follow through.

Apparently, Mr. Higbie isn’t well-informed. All he has to do is watch this video to be better informed:

Mr. Higbie can forget about a Trump administration that will put 250,000 boots on the ground to defeat ISIS. Trump has repeatedly said that he’d farm US national security out to Putin. Trump said repeatedly that he wants Putin to take out ISIS. Though you can’t trust anything Mr. Trump says from one day to the next, there’s no question that he’s repeatedly said that he wants Putin to do our dirty work with regards to ISIS.

Anyone that supports a presidential candidate that sounds like an anti-war CODE PINK activist one minute, then says he’d get Vladimir Putin to take out ISIS isn’t thinking straight.

Steve Hayes’ tweet about Donald Trump’s interview is frightening. According to Hayes, Trump told Fox’s Martha Maccallum that “he’ll get Russia to takeover much of the campaign against ISIS b/c of better relations w/Putin.” Trump’s ego is frightening. He actually thinks that Putin cares about ISIS. That’s delusional. Why would anyone be stupid enough to trust our national security to Putin? And yes, stupid is the right word.

Putin’s interest in that part of the world is to protect its satellites, Iran and Syria. ISIS isn’t something that the Russians worry about. The next commander-in-chief needs to be able to analyze situations in the Middle East. Trump hasn’t shown anything remotely resembling that type of ability.

Trump’s organization is confused at best. Trump’s analysis of the Middle East is delusional. That’s worthy of a vote for him? I don’t think so.

On a night when Sen. Rubio exceeded expectations, Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished with 2.8% of the vote in Iowa, sounded totally unlike his dad and his brother. Gov. Bush sounded like a total sourpuss, saying “Speaking of Rubio and Cruz Monday night, Bush said they don’t have the experience to win. And the two other candidates that are likely to emerge in Iowa are two people that are backbenchers that have never done anything of consequence in their life. They’re gifted beyond belief. They can give a great speech. But I think it’s time for us to recognize that maybe what we need is someone who can lead.”

Bush’s supporting super PACs spent almost $25,000,000 attacking Sen. Rubio in the hopes of building Bush up. Rubio far exceeded expectations, finishing with 23.1% of the vote in Iowa. Meanwhile, the guy who thinks we need “someone who can lead” finished a mere 20.3% behind the guy who Jeb thought should wait his turn. That doesn’t sound like a guy who entered the race saying that he wanted to run a joyous race. That sounds like a bitter man who didn’t see this impending defeat coming.

What’s particularly insulting is Jeb’s suggestion that Sen. Rubio is incapable of leading people. Part of leadership is understanding what’s important to people, then offering a vision that inspires them to achieve their goals. If there’s anyone on the GOP side that can do that, it’s Sen. Rubio. Half the battle of leading is directing people to where they already wanted to go. People want to prosper. Sen. Rubio offers that. People want to feel safe from the advances of ISIS. Sen. Rubio certainly passes the commander-in-chief test.

People have tried crippling Sen. Rubio’s campaign by saying he’s an inexperienced first-term U.S. senator. It’s indisputable that he’s a first-term senator but that isn’t a strike against him. When Barack Obama started running for president, the truth is that he was just 2 years removed from being a state senator in Illinois. He spent the first 2 years playing politics and not taking policy seriously.

That isn’t what Sen. Rubio did. Sen. Rubio took his responsibilities seriously on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees. He learned national security issues until he could recite them backwards or frontwards.

The Bush dynasty should go into hibernation. The American people aren’t interested in dynasties.

The latest Monmouth University poll shows Donald Trump with a 7-point lead in Iowa. It’s a lead that doesn’t exist at this moment. According the poll’s horserace numbers, “Donald Trump earns 30% support [with] Ted Cruz [at] 23% support when likely caucusgoers are asked who they will caucus for on February 1st.” Marco Rubio finished with 16%.

The bad news for Mr. Trump’s supporters is that “the current poll estimates turnout will be approximately 170,000 voters, which would far surpass the 122,000 record GOP turnout from four years ago.” Yesterday, reporters on the ground in Iowa said that there hasn’t been a big upswing in Republican registrations in Iowa. In fact, National Journal’s Ron Fournier noted that Republican registrations are down slightly from 2012.

That’s proof that the onslaught of new Trump voters hasn’t materialized, at least at this point. The Trump wave will either have to happen Caucus night or it won’t happen. Projecting a record turnout is one thing. It’s quite another to project a turnout that would be 50% bigger than the record turnout.

Decreasing the turnout projection to 130,000 voters, which would still be a record level, puts the race in a tie at 26% for Trump and 26% for Cruz, with Rubio at 15% and Carson at 12%.
“Turnout is basically what separates Trump and Cruz right now,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ. “Trump’s victory hinges on having a high number of self-motivated, lone wolf caucusgoers show up Monday night.”

Most of the reporters on the ground in Iowa are projecting a record turnout in the 130,000-140,000 range.

The bad news for Trump-Cruz is that last night’s debate was Sen. Rubio’s coming out party. Last night, Sen. Rubio showed himself to be the only ‘complete package’ candidate in the race on either side of the aisle. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a Rubio guy since Scott Walker dropped out. With that on the table, let’s get into why I was impressed with Sen. Rubio.

It wasn’t that Sen. Rubio didn’t stumble. When they got into a discussion about immigration, he took a couple of hits. It’s that he focused much of his attention on his vision for the economy and foreign policy while training his attacks on Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and President Obama. Sen. Rubio’s quip that Sanders “would be a good president — of Sweden” was followed by him saying “We don’t want to be Sweden. We want to be the United States.” It was the best line of the night.

During his speech from the Oval Office Sunday night, President Obama called on Congress to trample innocent people’s civil rights in the name of national security, saying “To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.”

That’s interesting since the Washington Free Beacon reported that 72 employees of the Department of Homeland Security are on the Terrorist Watch List. Either there are lots of terrorists working at DHS or that list isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. I suspect it’s the latter. Either way, using that list to deny people the right to protect themselves would be a great injustice to the law-abiding people on that list.

That doesn’t mean I think everyone on the list is innocent and should have the right to purchase weapons. What I’m saying is that the TWL isn’t airtight and shouldn’t be used to determine a person’s civil rights status. Sen. Rubio explains it perfectly during this interview:

If people want to read a good fictional novella, I’d recommend that they read Rand Paul’s op-ed. What Sen. Paul’s op-ed misses in serious policies, it makes up for with sensationalism and old-fashioned BS.

Early in the article, Sen. Paul reveals his goal by talking about Hillary Clinton’s and Marco Rubio’s “liberation foreign policy.” After that, Sen. Paul’s op-ed reads like a letter from an angry child upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s good reason for that. Sen. Paul’s upset that nobody’s paying attention to him. There’s a reason for that. He’s sounding more and more like a not-quite-as-crazy-as-his-dad-noninterventionist.

First, Sen. Paul’s accusations are without merit. He’s basing his statements on a myth. Early in the op-ed, he said “When I forced the Foreign Relations Committee to debate an authorization of military force against ISIS, Senator Rubio and McCain insisted that the new authorization be unlimited temporally or geographically. Basically, they want a war without end against an undefined enemy in an unspecified region of the world.”

I don’t recall Congress putting a time limit on FDR after Pearl Harbor. I don’t recall Congress giving FDR permission to declare war on Japan but not on Germany and Italy. War is, by its chaotic nature, open-ended time-wise. I’d be worried if Sen. Rubio and Sen. McCain agreed to give President Obama an AUMF that had an expiration date. That’s the definition of insanity.

This sounds like a petulant child:

Senator Rubio wrote the President at the time that he saw “no legal reason preventing” him from using his “commander-in-chief” powers to attack ISIS. His letter makes no mention of the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authority.

There’s a reason for that. The AUMF that the House and Senate passed gave the president, then George W. Bush, the authority to go after terrorists “with global reach.” ISIS definitely fits that definition.

As we enter into the season of determining the next Commander in Chief, I hope voters will seek out a leader who will learn from history and not pursue a reckless policy that seeks to liberate the world but in reality traps us under a mountain of debt and beguiles us into perpetual war.

I hope that voters will learn from recent history that the terrorists haven’t quit fighting a war against us. Sen. Paul apparently hasn’t figured it out that we don’t quit fighting a war if the terrorists haven’t quit waging war against the United States. That’s the definition of national suicide.

Sen. Paul isn’t concerned with preventing terrorist attacks. The thing that he’s most worried about is “mountains of debt.” It’s time he figured out how to fight the terrorists while reducing the debt.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Donald Trump didn’t have a clue about foreign policy. I’m thinking that because Mr. Trump thinks that going into Afghanistan after 9/11 was a mistake but thinks that bombing the s— out of ISIS is smart.

During an Oct. 6 appearance on CNN, Mr. Trump said “We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. It’s a mess, it’s a mess and at this point we probably have to (leave U.S. troops in Afghanistan) because that thing will collapse in about two seconds after they leave.” Of course, Trump denied saying that, telling Alisyn Camerota “We made a mistake going into Iraq. I’ve never said we made a mistake going into Afghanistan.”

Everyone’s seen the video of Mr. Trump talking about bombing the s— out of ISIS. That’s when he said “ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because they have certain oil camps, certain areas of oil that they took away. They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the s— out of ’em. I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left. And you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there and in two months, you ever see these guys, how good they are, the great oil companies? They’ll rebuild that sucker, brand new — it’ll be beautiful.”

According to Trump’s logic, if it can be called that, it was a mistake to go into Afghanistan and kill the terrorists that planned, then executed the terrorist attacks on 9/11 but it’s a beautiful thing to “bomb the s— out of ISIS” even though ISIS hasn’t attacked the United States … yet. In what galaxy does that make sense in? I don’t have a problem with going after ISIS. Readers of LFR know that I’m down with that.

I’m questioning why Mr. Trump thinks it was a mistake to go into Afghanistan to demolish the terrorists that attacked the US on 9/11. Does Mr. Trump think that defeating the Taliban and sending al-Qa’ida running didn’t protect the United States? If Mr. Trump thinks that, then he isn’t too bright.

Actually, I think Mr. Trump is bright. I just think he speaks first, thinks later, if even then.

Finally, Sen. Cruz criticized Sen. Rubio for promoting the establishment of a no-fly zone that would slow the onslaught of Syrian refugees but he hasn’t criticized Mr. Trump for saying invading Afghanistan after 9/11 was a mistake. Sen. Cruz and Mr. Trump deserve each other.

There’s no question about whether Ted Cruz is a skilled debater. Apparently, though, his debating skills are limited. Sen. Cruz thinks that political opportunity outweighs the need for honesty and intelligence. This time, Sen. Cruz thinks that creating a no-fly zone in Syria is foolish.

During his interview with Bloomberg, Sen. Cruz criticized Sen. Rubio and Mrs. Clinton “for supporting a no-fly zone and arming the so-called moderate rebels. I think none of that makes any sense. In my view, we have no dog in the fight of the Syrian civil war,” he said, arguing that Rubio and Clinton “are repeating the very same mistakes they made in Libya. They’ve demonstrated they’ve learned nothing.'”

Sen. Cruz should be ashamed of himself. Saying that a no-fly zone is a mistake is a mistake. I suspect that he knows that but he couldn’t resist the opportunity of linking Sen. Rubio and Mrs. Clinton. Building a safe haven, which a no-fly zone would do, might cause a dramatic reduction in refugees leaving Syria.

Is Sen. Cruz foolish enough to think that a dramatic reduction in Syrian refugees fleeing their country is a mistake? Seriously? Is Sen. Cruz foolish enough to think that potentially reducing the number of ISIS terrorists using the crisis to get into western Europe and the United States is a mistake? If he is, then he isn’t qualified to be commander-in-chief.

I don’t think Sen. Cruz is that stupid. I think, though, that Sen. Cruz can’t resist being a political opportunist, even if that means being dishonest.

“If the Obama administration and the Washington neo-cons succeed in toppling Assad, Syria will be handed over to radical Islamic terrorists. ISIS will rule Syria.”

Sen. Cruz, establishing a no-fly zone is the opposite of toppling Assad. It’s simply creating a safe haven for victims of Assad’s brutality. It wouldn’t require but a handful of US boots on the ground while protecting Syrians.

If you want to talk about learning from the past, let’s look into how establishing a no-fly zone in 1991 in northern Iraq created Kurdistan. The US protected the Kurds from Saddam Hussein after Operation Desert Storm. Now the Peshmerga, the Kurds’ army, are one of our best allies in the Arab world. If that’s Sen. Cruz’s definition of a mistake, he should visit dictionary.com. Their definition of mistake is “an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.”

I’d argue that protecting the Kurds and creating a loyal Arab ally in the heart of the Middle East is a success story.

When then-Candidate Obama ran for office in 2008, he sounded an optimistic tone, constantly talking about “hope and change.” A month into President Obama’s administration, President Obama’s governing motto morphed into “We won.” President Obama killed bipartisanship a month into his administration. It’s been downhill since. Salena Zito’s latest column highlights President Obama’s boorish behavior last week in the aftermath of ISIS’s terrorist attacks on Paris.

Ms. Zito noted that the definition of leadership “is guidance, direction, inspiration, motivation. And, at a moment when our nation felt most vulnerable and needed reassurance that the man in control was looking out for our welfare, we found ourselves irrevocably disappointed. Americans wanted sober, serious and authoritative. What they got was prickly and tone deaf.” President Hope and Change hasn’t listened to We The People since the passing of his failed stimulus bill. We saw the last of President Hope and Change about 3 years before the end of his first term.

Pressured by reporters about his strategy for fighting ISIS, his ill-tempered response offered no direct answer. Instead, he sharply rebuked his critics before doubling down on his tepid, ever-changing policy for taking on the terror group.

President Obama is too narcissistic to admit that he’s gotten virtually every major foreign policy wrong. It isn’t just that others might’ve done details differently. It’s that they wouldn’t have been foolish enough to offer Russia a reset button or negotiate with Iran, the biggest state sponsor of terror. They definitely wouldn’t have held a Rose Garden press conference to announce that he’d traded 5 top terrorist generals for an American deserter.

Ms. Zito got the ending right:

The majority of Ameri­cans are not behind Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, according to Bloomberg and NBC News polls conducted last week. The fear felt by Americans crosses both parties, and it is not unreasonable. In such a time of crisis or doubt, a president’s purpose is to calm our fears, not to put on a professorial hat and declare, “I am right and you are wrong.”

The fact is, Obama will never change; anytime he is backed into a corner, he not only puts on that professor’s hat but he also blames whatever problem exists on Congress and, inevitably, divides the country still further.

That is not leadership — but it sure is politics.

President Obama failed Leadership 101 in college. That’s why he’s spent the last 7 years as the Divider-in-chief.