Disastrously Delusional- Kerry on “Meet the Press”

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The events of this week in the Ukraine, particularly Russia’s de facto occupation of the Crimea, have highlighted the shambles that is US foreign policy.  Aside from revealing the complete impotence of NATO, the situation which has evolved in the last 72 hours has brought to the fore the contrast between the Machiavellian power-broker realism of Putin/Lavrov and the naive and feckless bumbling of Obama and SecState John Kerry.

To the list of foreign policy disasters that include the Cairo speech, the West Point speech, cut and run in Iraq, a stunted “surge” in AFG, the “Arab Spring” debacle, leading “from behind” in Libya, the Benghazi attack and cover-up, supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, being caught bluffing with the “red line” nonsense in Syria, selling out our Israeli allies to make a deal virtually guaranteeing a nuclear Iran, we have the crowning fiasco, and likely the most dangerous in long-term impact for the United States and the world.

Kerry’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today reveals just how misguided and dangerously naive the arrogant amateur buffoons are who are careening our ship of state onto the shoals at flank speed.

This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century, and there’s no way to start with that if Russia persists in this, that the G8 countries are going to reassemble in Sochi. That’s a starter. But there’s much more than that.

Is he kidding?  Power politics was centuries old when Machiavelli defined it in his works in the 1530s.  Power politics has dominated every century since, including the 20th.  In fact, there is virtually no reason to suddenly embrace some notion of “21st Century” statecraft that is any different from that of the previous five centuries, since the emergence of modern nation-states.  That Kerry and Obama think otherwise, and think the rest of the world behaves accordingly, is the height of hubris.  Treating the world as you wish it to be rather than how it exists is simply bankrupt intellectual foolishness.  But there’s more.

And we hope, President Obama hopes that President Putin will turn in the direction that is available to him to work with all of us in a way that creates stability in Ukraine. This does not have to be, and should not be, an East/West struggle.

There is no excuse whatever, other than a willful ignorance of history, to utter such a decidedly stupid and ill-informed comment publicly.  The central theme to the existence of European Russia is an eight-century long existential struggle between East and West.  The tragicomic foolishness of Hillary Clinton’s “reset button”, so contemptuously ridiculed by Foreign Minister Lavrov, was indicative of just how amateurish and incompetent the Obama Administration’s foreign policy and national security players were, and just how precious little they understood the art of statecraft.  Statements like the above reveal how little those players know about the history of the nations and peoples with which that statecraft requires them to interact.

There is worse to come later in the interview with David Gregory.   These two positively head-scratching pronouncements can rightfully make one wonder how tenuous this Administration’s grip on reality truly is:

David, the last thing anybody wants is a military option in this kind of a situation. We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.

President Putin is not operating from a place of strength here. Yanukovych was his supported president… President Putin is using force in a completely inappropriate manner that will invite the opprobrium of the world.

Such a bizarre pair of assertions is difficult to explain.  The several thousand Russian forces, which include mechanized infantry, attack aviation, and self-propelled artillery certainly seem to point to the notion that Vladimir Putin believed some semblance of a military solution was desired to ensure Russia maintained a friendly buffer between Russia and what Putin believes is a hostile West.   A buffer that incidentally includes the strategically vital naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and has a population demographic of approximately 60% ethnic Russians.

As for understanding a position of strength, one might also wonder just how Kerry would go about defining strength.  There is virtually nothing NATO can do militarily, should they even be willing; the United States, with shrinking defense budgets, is in the midst of gutting its military to pre-World War II levels.   The leverage the EU has over Russia is limited, despite Russia’s very significant economic problems.   Any “opprobrium”, or threats by the US, France, Canada, and the UK to suspend the G-8 Summit, is positively pittance to the Russians in comparison to the security of their strategically essential western neighbors, regions that have countless times stood between Russia and destruction at the hands of a conquering West. Russia has acted virtually unchallenged, presenting a fait accompli to the West that, despite assertions to the contrary, will not be undone.  If ever there was a position of power, Russia holds it right now in the Crimea, and will be asserting it anywhere and everywhere in the “near abroad” that Putin has long promised to secure.

The United States never has had all that much leverage to prevent Russia and a talented autocrat like Putin from leaning on their western border states, despite the fitful attempts by the US to draw some of those states into the Western sphere.  The invasions of Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008 proved that beyond a doubt.  But what is most disturbing about the current crisis is watching the US Secretary of State and the US President misread, misstep, and attempt to bluster their way through another confrontation with a geopolitical rival that is acting without restraint and without regard for the empty rhetoric from the Obama Administration.   The most fundamental lesson of statecraft is that of understanding power.  To that end, we have another object lesson in the use of that power.  There is no such thing as hard power, soft power, or “smart” power.  There is just power.  As it has since antiquity, power consists of the capability to enforce one’s will upon an adversary mixed with the willingness to use that capability.

Putin and Lavrov know that lesson well.  They are hard-bitten professionals who act as they believe necessary to promote Russian interests and improve economic and physical security.  Obama and Kerry are rank amateurs, blinded by an ideology that begets a naive and woefully unrealistic understanding of how the world works.  They have been outfoxed and outplayed yet again, seemingly willingly forfeiting US influence and credibility in pursuit of a badly-flawed world view in which influence is based upon hollow threats and ill-conceived public statements.  Any doubts regarding that assertion should be erased when one listens to the cognitive dissonance emanating from our Secretary of State as he describes the Crimean crisis in terms which have little to do with reality.   It is to weep.

“If you wanted to make some money in Washington, you would have to toe the line that the Muslim Brotherhood was not a threat.”

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Author and Middle East expert Barry Rubin gives an unvarnished appraisal of the Obama Administration’s embracing of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Faustian deal with Iran.

There was a secret debate happening in the Defense Department and the CIA in which some people thought that all Muslims were a problem, some believed that only al-Qa’ida was a problem, and still others thought the Muslim Brotherhood was a problem.
The main problem, however, was that all Islamism was a political threat, but it was the second position that eventually won over the Obama administration. Take note of this, since 2009, if you wanted to build your career and win policy debates, only al-Qa’ida was a problem. The Muslim Brotherhood was not a threat; after all, it did not participate in September 11. This view was well known in policy circles, but it was easy to mistake this growing hegemony as temporary.
The importance of moral courage in the senior uniformed and civilian leadership cannot be overemphasized.  Nor, unfortunately, can the glaring lack of that courage in the actions and words of blatant political sycophants like Ray Mabus, Mike Mullen, George Casey, Marty Dempsey, Sam Locklear, be minimized.  The indicators of their pliability to political masters, and their willingness to compromise their oaths and integrity, are symptoms of a much more damaging disease.
Some high-ranking defense department officials–for example, one on the secretary of defense’s level–were pressured to fire anti-Muslim Brotherhood people. I know of at least five such incidences.
Oh good.  After all, the Brotherhood is “largely secular”, or so we are told.    We must pay no attention to Brotherhood’s motto, or the words of their founder.   To point those out, it would seem, is to jeopardize one’s livelihood.
Al Banna:  “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”
Brotherhood motto:  “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
The quashing of dissenting voices has to start with the subjugation of those who hold influential positions, and are ostensibly to supply meaningful advice and counsel.   The Obama Administration has become a notorious echo chamber, and has become so along ideological lines.   Worse, the opinions and views which prevail are from those with no discernible qualifications or talents.   Quite the contrary, the people who hold sway in our Defense and State Departments, and in National Security posts, are and have been mediocre, talentless ideological fops, remarkable only for their arrogance and demonstrated lack of acumen in international affairs.  Figures like Tom Donilon, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Jim Clapper, and John Kerry have aided in the non-stop catastrophes that have characterized US foreign policy during the Obama Administration, from the Cairo Apology speech to the Munich-esque Iran deal.
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Sandwiched in that dreary record of abject failure is the forcing of a Muslim Brotherhood government on the people of Egypt.  When Egyptians rose up by the MILLIONS in the streets this past July, and ousted Muhammed Morsi’s brutal theocracy, the Obama Administration turned its back on Egypt, asserting that a “democratic regime” had been overthrown by military coup against the will of the people.   Ignored, of course, was that the Morsi/Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was guilty of brutal repression of its citizens, and was openly and systematically murdering and driving Egypt’s millenia-old Coptic Christian community out of the country.   Also ignored was Morsi’s immediate renouncing of the peace treaty with Israel, and tacit support for Islamist infiltration into the Sinai.  Without US support, Egypt has turned to the new power broker in the Middle East, Putin’s Russia.   Yes, the same Russia who has propped up Assad in Syria, and who is a long-time benefactor of post-1979 Iran.   THAT Russia.
Rubin’s missive is worth the read in its entirety.   It highlights how our President and his Administration has come to turn its back on its allies, negotiate away US interested and influence, and sought to treat America’s sworn ideological enemies as allies.   And why any voice raised in objection to such a course is decidedly unwelcome.
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The result of such ideological pactum servae is the imbecilic notion that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular”, and that an alliance with “moderate Islamists” in Syria is something to strive for.    The Muslim Brotherhood is, as it has always been, the most Islamist of factions.  To behave as if they are otherwise is either foolhardy or deliberately subversive.   And finding a “moderate Islamist” is somewhat akin to finding a tall midget.
H/t to FranD

Kerry Wants Iran in Syria Negotiations? “It’s mind-numbing.”

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John Kerry wants Iran involved in mediation in Syria.

“You have a forest fire that’s raging and you’re calling in some of the arsonists … to discuss the best way to put it out,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group. “It’s mind-numbing.”

Our allies, the French?  They want no part of Iran in Syrian negotiations.  Neither do ex-pat Syrians.  The Russians?  All for it.

Either John Kerry is dim-witted to the point of disability, or he is a traitor.  Or working for one.  The more he sells America’s safety to Iran, the less any other possibility remains.

Enemies, domestic.

Clueless Stupidity from Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH)

Annie Kuster was in a “town hall” Q&A about the Middle East, when the question was asked about House Resolution 36, the resolution to establish a House Select Committee on Benghazi.   Take it away, Annie.

Not only did Kuster apparently not know that a “House Resolution” emanates from the very same House of Representatives of which she is (nominally, at least) a part, she wasn’t even aware of the existence of HR36.   Nor could she find Benghazi on a map.  Note how her people cut things off in order to stop the intellectual bleeding, but it was a little late for that.  She looked like the vapid, uninformed nincompoop she is.  And Kuster’s answers are typical of the level of understanding that many of the far-left “feel good” liberal candidates have about the world around them, the economy, health care, and most of the other important topics of the day.

Hey, New Hampshire voters, at least the ones with the “Kuster for Congress” bumper stickers, this imbecile is YOUR fault.  Her stupidity is YOUR stupidity.   Revel in how incompetent your candidate is.   And wonder not why I assume you to be similarly uninformed and ignorant when I see that thing on your car.   You voted for a moron.

H/t to Delta Bravo!!!

Negotiations

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They are the intentional life-blood of domestic politics.  As was intended by the Founding Fathers in their brilliance in the Separation of Powers of our three branches of government.

Barack Obama wants to negotiate.   Loves to negotiate.  Willing to negotiate with just about anyone.  Traditional adversaries and sworn national enemies?  No problemo.  Russia?  Sure.  Tell Mr. Putin about my flexibility.  Iran?  Absolutely.  No matter they still vow the destruction of an ally.  Pick up the phone.   The Taliban?  Why not.   Let’s get together and talk through our differences.  North Korea?  Red China?  He’s all ears.  (Heh.)   Obama is willing to auction off American standing and American interests like so much attic junk at a white elephant sale.

But domestically?  With Congressional Republicans?  No way, no how.  Not interested.  Don’t wanna hear it.   Not gonna budge.  Because that means HIS prestige.   And he is clinging to that no matter the damage to the country that elected him.   He will hold our national defense hostage, like a petulant schoolboy, if he is not allowed his Obamacare, and another $1 trillion annual budget deficit, while continuing profligate government spending of tax dollars.   Perhaps if for the next meeting House Republicans showed up attired in dishdasha, shouting “Death to America!” and demanding conversion to Islam, Barack would hear them out with a sympathetic ear.

Gotta say one thing, though.   Barack Obama is really getting the hang of this leading from behind.

IRS Scandal: Lois Lerner Wants Immunity

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Seems “retired” IRS Senior Executive Lois Lerner wants immunity before being called again to testify at Congressional Oversight Committee hearings regarding the IRS targeting Obama political opponents for special scrutiny and privacy invasion.

IRS scandal figure Lois Lerner is negotiating through her lawyers with Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about possibly gaining immunity to testify again in the committee’s investigative hearings.

Funny, that, given her assertion in those hearings that:

“I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations”

Why, that would make any notion of immunity quite unnecessary, were it true.  But she is indeed seeking immunity.   She may already be facing a perjury charge if she is found to knowingly have violated IRS rules with her actions, or allowed others to do so under her supervision.   That would make her a liar, and that, under oath.

As for the President, a while back he parroted that rock-solid font of unvarnished truth, Jay Carney, in calling the use of the IRS as a political cudgel against political opponents a “phony scandal”.  Because Barack Hussein Obama is a liar also, he of the inveterate type.   In fact, can anyone tell me the last time Barack Obama said something to the American people what was actually true?  About Benghazi?  About the IRS scandal?  About unemployment?  The economy?  Tony Rezko?  Obamacare?  Syria?  The NSA?  About guns?  The weather?  Sequestration?  ANYthing?

The Obama-Kerry Syria Narrative Unravels Completely

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There have been many, myself included, who viewed with more than a little skepticism the Obama Administration’s instant and unequivocal claim of proof that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons on 21 August, allegedly killing more than 1,400.  Whatever the number of killed, the video of dead children and contaminated victims occupied every network lead news story for more than a week.

Yet, the assertion didn’t make sense.  Why would the Assad regime use chemical weapons and take the chance of being even more of a pariah and losing support of its greatest benefactor, Russia?  Especially when the regime had the initiative almost everywhere and the crisis of the preceding months had passed?  For no tactical advantage?  There was a chance, of course, that the Assad regime had miscalculated in the wake of Obama’s non-response to the “red line” violation in March of 2013.  Or a chance that a field commander used such weapons without regime authorization.  But, especially after Obama’s foolish threat of a “red line” that “changes the calculus” (for which he apparently has little stomach to make good on that threat), use by one of the various Islamist extremist/Al Qaeda-affiliated “rebel” groups seemed every bit as likely.

An opinion piece by Ken Timmerman in The Daily Caller last week went unnoticed by many, but it makes some pretty damning statements regarding the Obama-Kerry casus belli for military action against Syria.

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

The intercepts of communications that were alluded to by the US media and the White House, which supposedly spelled out regime elements as being responsible for the attack, were not quite as advertised, according to Timmerman.

According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.

According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

An international version of the selective editing of the Zimmerman police calls, NBC-style, as it were.  Not surprisingly, the Russians were highly skeptical, and then outright dismissive, of the Obama Administration claims.  But there is more, information that has not been presented to the American public by either Obama or any of his foreign policy or intelligence personnel.    This bit of evidence, if it is indeed true, is even more troubling than the intentional doctoring of Israeli communications intercepts to build a false case.

…evidence known to the U.S. intelligence community, and presumably, to Congress.

An Egyptian intelligence report describes a meeting in Turkey between military intelligence officials from Turkey and Qatar and Syrian rebels. One of the participants states, “there will be a game changing event on August 21st” that will “bring the U.S. into a bombing campaign” against the Syrian regime.

The chemical weapons strike on Moudhamiya, an area under rebel control, took place on August 21. “Egyptian military intelligence insists it was a combined Turkish/Qatar/rebel false flag operation,” said a source familiar with the report.

This, of course, would not be the first time that the Obama Administration and its officials in the State Department have made public statements they knew not to be true, in order to deflect blame and obfuscate an ugly truth.   The attack on the Benghazi consulate, a year ago this coming Wednesday, was attributed to the actions of a spontaneous demonstration by Libyan protesters when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and now-SecState Susan Rice (then-UN Ambassador) knew good and well what they were saying to the American people and the world was simply not true.
Now, Obama finds himself painted into a corner by his own ill-considered rhetoric and the emphatic assertions of his Vice President (“no doubt” about Assad regime use of chemical weapons) and his Secretary of State.   Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle should recognize the titanic blunder committed by President Obama, and stop doubling down on his incompetence and that of his foreign policy team in a vain attempt to maintain “credibility”.
Worse for Obama than the Assad regime not being credibly linked to a chemical weapons release is the alternative, is that “rebel” groups may have gotten their hands on some of the Syrian stockpile and have used those weapons themselves, doing so in order to bring the US and other Western nations into the Syrian Civil War to overthrow Assad and allow them to establish yet another anti-Western Islamist regime in a strategic country in the Middle East.   One has to wonder if the harsh and uncompromising words used to describe the Assad regime will be employed to describe the anti-regime forces whose hands may be very dirty, as dirty at least as the regime’s, in this civil war.
The entire of the Obama Administration’s case for military action against Syria is collapsing.   What we were told was true, likely wasn’t.   Obama and Kerry both also likely knew that.   I will say it again.  Our foreign policy is in shambles.
H/T to Fran D!

Obama “Snubs” Putin, Cancels Meeting over Snowden

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Seems Barack Obama is miffed at Vladimir Putin.   So much so that he has canceled a bilateral meeting with the Russian President coincident with the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg in early September.  On Leno last night, our esteemed Statesman put forth this gem regarding Putin’s Russia:

“There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality”

Such ill-informed and ill-considered commentary is endemic of this Administration’s lack of competence in the sphere of international relations.   Obama has little concept of a “Cold War mentality”, and less of what Russia’s was during those 45 years.  In addition, Obama has no real understanding that Soviet Russia was far more Russian than Soviet in its approach to diplomacy and geopolitics.  And, thus, Russia is today what Russia has been for centuries.   Russia remains xenophobic and deeply suspicious of its neighbors and the west.   Putin, being a REAL Cold Warrior, is imbued with a soul-deep understanding of power politics and the value of economic and military leverage.  He is not willing to come bearing Russian strategic interests for bargain like so many Pokemon cards.

Obama, on the other hand, has no feeling for power politics.  In fact, he is loath to admit that they are the basis for relations between great national rivals such as the US and Russia.  He and his foreign policy team are also willfully ignorant of history, and approach international affairs with a twisted and dangerous belief in moral equivalence, where allies, rivals, adversaries, and sworn enemies are all peers in some Model UN project being conducted at an Ivy League seminar.  This situation partially explains why the US was an active participant in the “Arab Spring”, and the overthrow of two (almost three) admittedly repressive regimes that most represented US interests, and opened the window for Islamic Extremists to seize power in key nations.  It explains Hillary Clinton’s imbecilic “Reset Button” concept to Russia, a nation with a history eight centuries of virulent conflict with the West, as if Putin will be willing to wipe away Russia’s heritage because Barack Obama brings Hope and Change with him.

One of the more enlightening quotes came from one of this Administration’s staunchest supporters, uber-liberal Senator Chuck Schumer.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that “Putin doesn’t deserve the respect after what he’s done with Snowden.” “I know what he’s doing. He’s trying to make Russia a big power again…”

Yes, Chuck, he is.   He said he would, and he has acted on those words.   You and your colleagues on the far-left are the ones who refuse to acknowledge his ambitions for Russia and himself.   If you did, perhaps you wouldn’t be actively eroding the power of your own country so that it will no longer be a great power.

Obama has far more to talk to Putin about than Putin does Obama.  This bit of childish petulance on the part of the American President is indicative of the dangerously ineffectual US foreign policy path.   Yes, Putin does deserve respect.   He is acting in what he perceives are the best interests of his country.

O, that we should have a President who even knows what America’s best interests are, let alone with the courage of conviction, diplomatic acumen, and mastery of statecraft to act upon them.  Seems the “flexibility” Obama promised to Putin includes such foolish charades as this.