The Return of the Shadow Warriors

American Thinker, by Daniel Ashman, Feb. 24, 2017:

Michael Flynn was fired from the Trump administration following vague, somewhat concerning, leaks about a phone conversation he had with the Russian ambassador. The intelligence community (IC) leaked this conversation to damage President Trump, who had previously tweeted, “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

These are glimpses into the soft civil war taking place between the IC and the democratically elected president.

shadow-wThis fight should be completely unsurprising. Kenneth Timmerman, in 2007, wrote a fabulous book called Shadow Warriors, which documented bureaucrats in the State Department and CIA, i.e. shadow warriors, nakedly harming President Bush. What Timmerman had the foresight to catalog years ago now serves as an explanatory backdrop to what is happening between Trump and the IC.

When IC people attack Flynn, it is not safe to take them at their word. They could be working for political reasons — or simply personal ambition. Timmerman provides many recent historical examples which show them doing exactly this. The IC has damaged their own credibility.

One example is the 2005 confirmation hearings for John Bolton as ambassador to the UN. The Democrats blocked Bolton’s nomination due to a confrontation he had with a State Department analyst, Christian Westermann. Democrats claimed Bolton’s actions had “grave and far-reaching implications for American credibility”.

What was Bolton’s horrible deed? He had written a speech, “Beyond the Axis of Evil,” to communicate the threats Americans faced from biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, from actors beyond North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. Bolton stated that Cuba had a biological weapons program and shared data with other states.

Westermann, based on the intelligence work of Ana Montes, went behind Bolton’s back to stop him. The problem is that Ana Montes was convicted in 2002 of espionage for Cuba. She avoided a death penalty by plea bargaining down to twenty-five years in jail.

Prior to conviction, Ana had been the top analyst on Cuba for the entire American IC. After her conviction, her disinformation remained in the system. Westermann was relying on the work of a Cuban spy to subvert Bolton. In response, Bolton had a frank conversation with Westermann.

In the confirmation hearings, Democrats and Westermann had turned the whole issue around on Bolton. Bolton was punished for speaking the truth about Cuba, and punished for confronting a bureaucrat in the IC about carrying water for a Cuban spy.

Like Bolton, Flynn has a reputation for calling stupid people out on stupid behavior. Maybe the IC took out Flynn because they are true patriots who think he posed a risk to America. Or maybe it’s because they didn’t like his political orientation and policy goals. Maybe it’s simply because he was going to tell the truth and make them look bad. One thing is certain, ascribing nefarious motivations to their actions is not a conspiracy theory, as Timmerman has documented this type of behavior.

The IC uses various disinformation methods to achieve their nefarious goals. One example Timmerman gives covers how CIA man Stephen Kappes hid important intelligence from the American people.

Kappes was in the CIA for over two decades so this is exactly the sort of “career IC” man one would expect to be nonpolitical. As deputy director, he was the second most powerful man in the CIA, so one would hope he would put patriotic love for America first.

The Bush administration had obtained media from an Arab television station which showed how the war had been effective at stopping terrorists. Bush wanted to share the video with the American people.

Timmerman writes what Kappes response was, “You’ve got to tell them they can’t use that tape unless they want to answer to me for getting one of my guys killed”. This would have been a laudable reason for Kappes to stop the information from coming out. The only problem was that Kappes was lying.

The CIA director and Bush appointee Porter Goss first told Bush not to publish the tape, to protect Kappes’s source. Then when Goss learned Kappes had lied, he went back to Bush to explain what had happened and clear release of the tape.

Bush lost trust in Goss. Only a couple of years later, in 2006, Goss was forced out of the CIA. Meanwhile, Kappes served as number two at the CIA into 2010. One lie from Kappes had served to hurt Republicans, prevent the truth from getting out to the public, hurt Goss, destabilized the administration, and furthered his own career. What a success! …for a shadow warrior.

Kappes’ deception figures as a relatively simple one in Timmerman’s book, in this instance anyway, as Kappes pops up fighting the shadow war numerous times.

Timmerman also recounts the Valerie Plame affair, which shows how the CIA carries out sophisticated psychological operations against America.

As readers will recall, CIA agent Valerie Plame arranged for her husband, Joe Wilson, to go to Niger to investigate whether Iraq was trying to buy uranium. Remarkably, Wilson was not bound to a confidentiality agreement. After the Iraq War started, Wilson went public bashing Bush. When Republicans defended themselves, Valerie Plame’s name came out, and Republicans got scorched again for leaking the name of a CIA agent

As then-senator Zell Miller wrote, “The rules on agents are clear. They can’t purposely distort gathered intelligence, go public with secret information or use their position or information to manipulate domestic elections or matters without risking their job or jail. But their spouse can!”

Wilson’s public attack on Bush wasn’t even truthful. Wilson focused on one piece of evidence, some forged documents, to discredit the idea that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. He completely bypassed the fact that an Iraqi delegation had gone to Niger in 1999 headed by Iraqi nuclear expert Wissam al-Zahawie. Wilson used a half-truth to deceive.

This CIA operation has permanently changed America. Many Americans now “know” that Bush lied. The Republican brand was damaged forever. And efforts to employ violence in self-defense against dictators working to procure uranium have been undercut.

What Trump is facing from the IC is nothing new. It is simply Shadow Warriors Part Two. As Timmerman has documented, a significant number of people in the IC, the shadow warriors, have a history of subverting America and democratically elected presidents, for political reasons. Anyone who says this is impossible is lying or ignorant of history.

Given the IC’s rabid lying attacks on Bush, there is no particular reason to believe them now. The attacks on Trump must especially be taken with skepticism as they come from anonymous sources, are vague, and merely hint at wrongdoing. Until the IC gives hard evidence that Flynn or Trump are Russian agents, these attacks say more about the IC than Trump. It suggests that certain shadow warriors perceive Trump as a threat to their well-being, and that they don’t like Trump’s policy stances. Never mind that he won the election in a free country.

One recurring theme in Shadow Warriors is that under the Bush administration, the shadow warriors didn’t face consequences. Westermann was not fired for spreading Cuban disinformation, nor for his political attempts to harm Bolton. Kappes was not fired for lying to Goss. And Plame actually got rich and famous.

Trump has approached these situations entirely differently from Bush. He has called out the IC for illegal subversive behavior in a direct and public manner.

There is a wonderful thread on Reddit in the Donald Trump forum (because the generic politics section of Reddit has banished Trump supporters), where users hypothesize that Flynn and Trump lured the IC into leaking Flynn’s private conversation on purpose, “In a single day, the deep state went from tinfoil hat conspiracy to common public knowledge. Amazing.”

It is impossible to know what Trump and Flynn’s intentions were, but these ideas are not so far-fetched. Shadow warriors exist. And by baiting them into leaks which self-expose, Trump would merely be using the same play that Plame and Wilson used when they baited Republicans into outing her, only this time the shadow warriors were the victim. Either way, Trump’s response to the IC has been strong.

As Zell Miller realized over a decade ago, “Something has to be done. We can’t let the CIA become the domestic dirty tricks shop, with Republican and Democratic agents each trying to pull down their opposing presidents.” Kenneth Timmerman has gone to great lengths to document these past abuses, which explain the current situation, and predict the future. A man ignorant of shadow warriors is but a wounded lion, staggering as the IC hyenas stalk from the shadows.

***

President Trump Blasts European Security: ‘Take a Look at What’s Happening in Germany, Take a Look at What’s Happening in France’

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Breitbart, by Oliver JJ Lane, Feb. 24, 2017:

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland Friday morning President Donald Trump took a swipe at the security situation in Europe, which has seen a number of bloody terror attacks in recent years.

Vowing that he would not allow the same attacks to take place in the United States, and that his administration would “keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country”, President Trump at first made light of press coverage he’d received over his comments on Sweden earlier in the week.

Referring to the Swedes who spoke out against the widespread perception that the migrant crisis has been well handled by their nation, among them Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson, President Trump said that his comments were quickly vindicated by civil unrest and criminality in Sweden itself. He said:

“By the way, take a look at what’s happening in Europe. I took a lot of heat on Sweden, and then a day later, I said ‘has anyone reported what’s going on?’.

“And it turned out that not so many of them did. Take a look… I love Sweden, great country, great people. They understand, the people over there understand I’m right”.

Turning to other European nations struggling with the impacts of the migrant crisis and the Islamist terrorists it has enabled to gain access to Europe, President Trump also namechecked Germany and France. Germany saw an unprecedented two years of Islamist terror to the end of December 2016, when a Berlin Christmas market was ram-raided by a terrorist driving a stolen truck. 12 were killed.

Speaking of Nice, France — also attacked by an Islamist driving a truck at high speeds to mow down pedestrians — and of the French capital, the American president relayed an anecdote of a friend who once regularly visited Paris for pleasure. With the deteriorating security situation in the city, President Trump said his friend no longer visited at all.

The remarks come just days after the latest Paris tourism figures show visitors fell 1.5 million in 2016, which cost the French economy some €1.3 billion.

Looking at these problems in Sweden, Germany, France, and elsewhere, the President promised he wouldn’t allow the same fate to befall the United States. He said:

“Take a look at what is happening to our world, folks. We have to be smart, we can’t let it happen to us. Let me state this as clearly as I can, we are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.

“We will not be deterred from this course, and in a matter of days, we will be taking brand new action to protect our people and keep America safe. I will never, ever apologise for protecting the safety and security of the American people”.

Watch: The President Trump CPAC 2017 Speech in Full

Countering Islamist Extremism the Right Way

islamist-extremism-governments-must-oppose-it-not-fund-it

Groups that preach Islamism must not be relied upon to counter violent extremism.

National Review, by Sam Westrop, Feb. 22, 2017:

As part of President Trump’s unapologetic promise to defeat “radical Islam,” critics expect an overhaul of the previous administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. Under Obama, officials adopted counter-extremism policies that European politicians tried over a decade ago and have since deeply regretted.

To tackle the threat of Islamism, the new administration must identify and challenge the specific groups and networks within American Islam that advocate extremist ideas, or officials may inadvertently repeat Obama’s practice of legitimizing Islamists as leaders of all American Muslims.

The British Experience
In 2005, a month after the 7/7 London bombings, the British journalist Martin Bright sought answers to a question that, somehow, no one in government or the media had ever thought to ask before: Who exactly were the people in charge of the Muslim community, and what did they believe?

After the Salman Rushdie riots in 1988, the British government blindly accepted the claims of self-declared community leaders to be representative voices of British Muslims. The government gave these leaders millions and millions of dollars of community funds, and, after 9/11, counter-extremism grants.

Bright’s investigation, however, revealed something quite different from what these Muslim leaders had been telling credulous politicians. The leading recipient of taxpayer funds, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), was in fact run by a violent Islamist group from South Asia, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which had close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and had been involved in the mass killing of Bangladeshis during that nation’s 1971 Independence War.

The government embraced Islamist groups such as the MCB so tightly that, as Bright revealed in 2005, Britain’s foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and MCB leader Iqbal Sacranie (an early supporter of Iran’s fatwa for the killing of Salman Rushdie) even used the same speechwriter. With the MCB in charge, Muslim organizations could not receive government backing for projects without the MCB’s stamp of approval. Naturally, the Islamists prospered. Moderate Muslims, meanwhile, were left without a voice.

Over the next decade, the true extent of Islamism’s grip over British Islam was slowly revealed, thanks to a motley collection of journalists, bloggers, and anti-Islamist Muslims willing to challenge government wisdom. Prison chaplains, it emerged, had been chosen primarily from the Deobandi sect, a hard-line branch of South Asian Islam from which the Taliban had emerged. Taxpayer-funded schools in Birmingham, the U.K.’s second-largest city, had been taken over by a network of Islamists who preached hard-line Islamist rhetoric to young children. Compelling evidence was uncovered to show that prominent Muslim charities controlled by JI and the Muslim Brotherhood were funding terrorism abroad. Counter-extremism funds were being handed to Salafist and Jamaat-e-Islami groups. And in 2009, the Labour government cut off ties completely with the Muslim Council of Britain after its officials were found to be signatories to the Istanbul Declaration, a document that advocated attacks on British troops and Jewish communities.

By 2011, the new Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, understood enough to signal a distinct change in government policy, telling the Munich Security Conference:

As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called “non-violent extremists,” and they then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence. . . . Some organizations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement.

The British government overhauled its counter-extremism programs and cut off dozens of Islamist groups from taxpayer funding. Politicians and journalists learned a very important lesson about Western Islam: It is a diverse mix of dozens of different political and religious sects, which includes both violent and non-violent extremists. No single group could represent all Western Muslims, and it was only by delineating British Islam into its diverse, competing constituents that extremism could be effectively tackled and suitable Muslim allies identified. After all, if policymakers did not know which networks and groups within Western Islam were the bad guys, then how could they learn who the good guys were?

As increasingly radicalized Muslim communities across Europe produced eager volunteers for jihad at home and abroad, governments finally began to understand what moderate Muslims had been desperately trying to tell them for years: Non-violent Islamism is not a bulwark against violent Islamism. Extremists are not allies in the fight against extremism.

Meanwhile, in America
Across the Atlantic, American officials distinctly failed to note the lessons that Europe has learned the hard way. The Obama administration’s foreign policy treated Islamists as forces of democratization, and its domestic policy legitimized Islamists as gatekeepers to the Muslim community.

First envisioned in 2011, the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program promised to “support and help empower American communities and their local partners in their grassroots efforts to prevent violent extremism.” In February 2015, the government launched CVE pilot programs in Boston, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. To kick things off, the White House hosted a three-day summit. Writing about the conference in the Los Angeles Times, Obama reiterated that the “focus” of CVE “will be on empowering local communities.”

Whom exactly was the White House empowering? Representing the pilot program in Boston, leaders from the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) and the Islamic Center of New England (ICNE) were invited to the White House summit. The ISB was established by the al-Qaeda operative Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who was jailed in 2004 for his role in a Libyan plot to assassinate a Saudi crown prince. The mosque’s trustees have included prominent Islamist operatives, such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood. According to a report published jointly by Muslims Facing Tomorrow and Americans for Peace and Tolerance, twelve congregants, supporters, staff, and donors of the ISB have been imprisoned, deported, or killed or are on the run — all in relation to terrorism offenses.

The ICNE was once a moderate local mosque, until its imam was ousted by Abdulbadi Abousamra (the father of ISIS terrorist Ahmad Abousamra) and Muhammad Hafiz Masood, who is now a spokesman for the Pakistani terrorist organization Jamaat-ud-Dawah. Masood’s brother, Hafiz Saeed, is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and was arrested this month by Pakistani law enforcement.

Taking part in the government’s CVE program was not just an opportunity for Islamists to rub shoulders with America’s political elite; it was also a chance to obtain taxpayers’ money. As part of the Boston CVE pilot program, a group based at the ISB named United Somali Youth received over $100,000, despite having initially joined protests against the CVE organized by Islamist groups, which claimed that the program was designed to demonize Muslims.

In 2016, despite widespread media criticism of the CVE pilot programs, Congress approved a further $10 million of CVE grants. As Obama was leaving office, the Department of Homeland Security awarded $393,800 to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an organization with a long history of ties to extremism. MPAC was founded by individuals closely involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. Its founder, Maher Hathout, declared that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah was “fighting to liberate their land” and exhibiting “an American value — freedom and liberty.” Before being offered almost half a million dollars, MPAC had also expressed opposition to the CVE program.

Another $800,000 of taxpayers’ money was awarded to Bayan Claremont (an Islamic graduate school in Claremont, Calif.), whose president, Jihad Turk, was recently a member of the executive council of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In 2008, federal prosecutors named ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator during the Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing trial. A judge later ruled that “the government has produced ample evidence” connecting Hamas and ISNA. Bayan Claremont faculty includes Ihsan Bagby, a former senior member of the Council on American–Islamic Relations, which was also designated an unindicted co-conspirator in 2008; Suhaib Webb, a former imam of the ISB who decries the “evil inclination” of homosexuality and “understands . . . animosity” towards Jews; and Edina Lekovic, an MPAC official who was the managing editor of an Islamist student magazine that, in 1999, called on Muslims to “defend” Bin Laden as a “freedom fighter.”

To flaunt its anti-Trump credentials, Bayan Claremont recently returned the $800,000 it received, despite successfully applying for the grant under Obama. Regardless, are these really the “community” leaders that the government’s “countering violent extremism” program should empower?

Making America Safe Again?
The Trump administration’s plans for CVE are not fully known. Most recently, White House sources announced that CVE would focus solely on Islamic extremism and would be renamed “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” Under Obama, all White House, Homeland Security, and Justice Department documents concerning CVE conspicuously omitted any mention of “Islam” or “Islamism.” Clearly, we should be pleased that the new administration is prepared to name the issue that occupies headline news almost every day. But we still do not know what Trump’s counter-extremism plans actually entail, although it seems unlikely that Muslim Brotherhood groups will receive more government grants.

Among moderate Muslims, however, there is some concern that a ham-fisted approach could be just as ineffective as Obama’s flawed ideas. If Trump fails to delineate American Islam into its various components, and instead treats all American Muslims as part of the same problem, then the government will find it impossible to tackle extremism effectively.

By cataloguing and excluding the “lawful” or “non-violent” extremists now in America, and the role they play in the radicalization of American Muslims, the government can work with genuinely moderate Muslim organizations to identify and prevent Islamists from, for example, operating schools and chaplaincy programs, obtaining taxpayer funds under the guise of community work, or using charitable endeavors to fund Islamist terrorism overseas.

President Trump’s former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, reportedly wanted to “wage ideological warfare” against radical Islam using social media. But, as with all attempts to tackle Internet problems, this would be a Sisyphean task, and a distraction from the threat posed by homegrown extremists, who carry out their most dangerous work offline.

Islamist groups thrive on legitimacy, which they obtain either by being treated as representatives of ordinary Muslims (as happened under Obama) or by leading unifying protests against the government (which is happening under Trump).

American Muslims are not going anywhere, nor should they. Islamism, however, should be fought. To do so, state and federal governments must delegitimize Islamism in political and civic circles. This cannot be achieved without the cooperation of moderate Muslims. Only a considered, intelligent approach to counter-extremism can effectively tackle the Islamists who have gripped American Islam so tightly.

At the cost of whole Muslim communities becoming isolated from Western society, tens of thousands of radicalized Muslim youth joining terrorist groups overseas, and civil unrest increasing, Europe has discovered that the pernicious effect of extremism is just as dangerous as an explosive act of terrorism. In America, let’s not learn these lessons too late.

— Sam Westrop is a fellow of the Gatestone Institute and a writer for Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

NatSec advisor Michael Anton outlines a way forward with an alternative to the “New World Order”

Michael Anton, center, at a White House news briefing Feb. 1. At left are Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Michael Anton, center, at a White House news briefing Feb. 1. At left are Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Note: Michael Anton is Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications, National Security Council. This article was prepared before the author accepted his current position. The views here reflect only those of the author. They do not represent the views of the Trump administration, the National Security Advisor, or the U.S. government.

American Affairs Journal

Trump’s campaign was driven by the basic awareness of ordinary citizens that American peace, prestige, and prosperity were not being served by our foreign policy. Among the many reasons to be hopeful about President Trump’s foreign policy is that he seems to understand that correcting the errors of the neo-interventionists does not require adopting those of the paleo-isolationists.

Excerpt:

Reforming the Liberal International Order

How best to remain safe, rich, and respected? Let us consider the ways in which the LIO might be reformed.

First, our trade policy is in obvious need of reform. The LIO elevates “free trade”—really, phonebook-thick agreements that regulate every aspect of trade, mostly to America’s disadvantage—to holy writ. It does so for political reasons as well as ideological ones, such as the often-inappropriate invocation of David Ricardo. The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has been composed entirely of true believers in the free trade doctrine for several decades. But the world economy has changed significantly since 1945, to state the obvious. In certain cases, at least, the conditions underlying that period’s commercial policy orientation (and the theoretical impulses behind it) no longer apply. The Trump administration is right to be skeptical of free trade ideology and to revisit trade policy based on core interests and commercial realities.

We could also be more sensible about our alliance structure. NATO is far from irrelevant today, but it could surely be made more relevant. Certainly, decades of joint exercise, interoperability rules, interchangeable weapons systems, and the like should not be tossed aside lightly, especially among countries with long histories of deep bonds and common interests. But it is reasonable to ask: What is the alliance for once its original purpose has evaporated? If it can be reformed to better address the threats of our time—terrorism, mass illegal migration—all to the good.

We must also ask: Why is it in our strategic interest to push that alliance’s borders ever outward? What do we gain by pledging American blood to defend places where it would take us a 48-hour airlift to mount a forlorn defense with one regiment? In what way does committing to impossible things enhance prestige?

The case for continued expansion of the LIO seems feeble indeed and has recently been taken to absurd extremes. One school of thought—let us call them the “neocons”—holds that since democracy is “our team,” and that team’s overall health improves when its prospects are expanding, then surely it is in our interest to democratize the world. No?

No. That is to say: America would likely be better off if the world were more democratic than it is, given that democracy correlates highly with friendliness or at least non-opposition to American interests, whereas “authoritarianism” (or, to be more precise, “tyranny”) correlates highly with opposition and even hostility to American interests. But in some regions, democracy also correlates highly with instability, which breeds war and chaos that are antithetical to American interests. In others, the rhetoric and mechanism of democracy are used—one man, one vote, once—to squelch robust democracy and impose a tyranny worse than what preceded the “democracy.”

Sticking with the LIO’s original context between 1945 and 1989, its first purpose was to preserve democracy where it already existed and was under threat, either by foreign conquest or foreign-directed internal subversion. Second, it was to restore democracy to “captive nations” whose liberty had been seized by a foreign power. Third, it was to develop democracy (gradually) in countries with substantial economies, deep reserves of human capital, and civil intuitions capable of serving as soil in which democracy could grow. Never did it mean imposition of democracy—much less suggest this imposition was a vital American interest.

Democracy is a precarious flower. It will not grow just anywhere. There are a great many patches of land we could easily seize that are nonetheless fit for growing only cacti or weeds. If we see the democratic flower struggling to bloom in a place where and at a time when we have the capacity to water it, and it is in our interest to do so, by all means we should consider it. But the fact that America has a “team interest” in the success or non-failure of democracy does not mean that we have an interest in trying to impose democracy in places where it is almost certain to fail. In fact, the opposite is true, because glaring failures undermine our prestige.

I would ask careful readers to please note that, for all the criticism of the foreign policy establishment, nothing here has specifically criticized the LIO per se. It served our interests well in the times and places for which it was built. It remains superior to most alternatives, including paleo-isolationism and neocon overreach. Confusion may arise from the implicit conflation of the LIO with the latter. It is not an outrageous error to make, precisely because the neocons have expended a lot of effort since the end of the Cold War to meld the two in the public mind, beginning with the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine strategy paper drafted in the Pentagon in 1992 and continuing in 2014 with Robert Kagan’s New Republicthink piece “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire.”

The very phrase “liberal international order” hints at the problem. It is at least a better term than President George H. W. Bush’s “new world order,” for the simple reason that the LIO has never prevailed over the entire world and never had a chance to. The failure to see this limit was, it seems, the core mistake of America’s post–Cold War foreign policy. The establishment thought it could take a system built (more or less) for the OECD or the Rich Nations Club and make it work everywhere. That was never possible and still isn’t. The “liberal international order” is thus better termed the “liberal rich-country order” or—if you prefer foreign policy jargon—the “liberal functioning-core order.”

Even if one were to assert that America’s national interest is to build and maintain a liberal order in every corner of the globe (which it isn’t), we would still face the thorny problem that America lacks the means to do so. We have to choose. What do we choose and on what basis?

In sum, the reach of “liberal international order”—while mostly beneficial to American interests—is in practice a lot smaller than the whole world. Even when created in 1945–1950, it was never intended to encompass the globe. It was built to protect the interests of America and its non-Communist friends in Europe and Asia and (in an update to the Monroe Doctrine) keep Communism out of the Western Hemisphere. The Middle East was added later, in stages, as Anglo-French hegemony collapsed after Suez, as the original Western-friendly Arab kings fell, and as the West (and the United States especially) became net oil importers. The attempt, beginning in 1991–92, to extend that order over the whole world was a case of American eyes being much bigger than our stomachs (or teeth), a confusion of ideology and interests. In fact, however, such expansion was never necessary to core American interests—peace, prosperity, prestige.

The uncertainty of the present moment does not derive primarily from President Trump’s supposed disregard for the fundamentals of the liberal international order. On the contrary, the uncertainty arises from a growing awareness of the disconnect between the instrumental policies of that order and its overriding purpose. In restoring a sense of the core objectives behind the LIO’s institutions, Trump actually shows a greater regard for it. These institutions will survive only if prudently amended to serve their essential purposes and meet their members’ needs.

Trump’s campaign was driven by the basic awareness of ordinary citizens that American peace, prestige, and prosperity were not being served by our foreign policy. Among the many reasons to be hopeful about President Trump’s foreign policy is that he seems to understand that correcting the errors of the neo-interventionists does not require adopting those of the paleo-isolationists.

While orienting foreign policy around American peace, prestige, and prosperity still leaves room for disagreements in policy formation, focusing on the ends rather than the means marks a dramatic change in the way our diplomats see things. The quicker we make that change, the quicker we will find clarity in strengthening the institutions that make the American people safe, respected, and wealthy—and the quicker we can reform those that do not.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume I, Number 1 (Spring 2017): 113–25.

Also see:

5 Points About New National Security Adviser Gen. McMaster

U.S. President Trump with NCA-appointee General H.R. McMaster (left) and US Ambassador to Israel-appointee David Friedman (R) (Photo: © NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Trump with NCA-appointee General H.R. McMaster (left) and US Ambassador to Israel-appointee David Friedman (R) (Photo: © NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 21, 2017:

President Trump has chosen General H.R. McMaster as the national security adviser and there’s plenty to be happy about. Below are five points to consider with his choice.

1. General McMaster is known for winning the most difficult of battles. As explained in this lengthy New Yorker article from 2006, he performed an amazing turnaround in the city of Tal Afar in Iraq. I remember when he arrived in 2005 and shocked observers by needing only about six months to change the situation by building strong relationships with Iraqis on the ground to kick the jihadists out and to quickly build up the local police force.

His warrior side will come in handy as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan bluntly refers to the situation as a “stalemate” requiring several thousand more troops for progress to happen.

2.He will never forget how Iran killed our servicemen and women in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  McMaster blasted the media for repeatedly referring to “alleged” Iranian support for militias and targets, saying it was “damn obvious to anybody who wants to look into it” that Iran’s proxy warfare against our troops was confirmed. He will never forget or forgive the Iranian regime for harming his brothers and sisters in the U.S. military.

3. He criticizes the ““almost narcissistic” U.S. expectations in Iraq and Afghanistan that don’t take into account the limitations of our abilities to shape those situations. Authorities on counter-insurgency like McMaster, Mattis and Petraeus are often criticized of pursing idealistic nation-building, but McMaster’s words reflect a realism about what can and cannot be achieved.

4. He wrote an acclaimed book about the Vietnam War, Deriliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. The title alone shows he is cynical towards the senior political class. If you are skeptical about President Trump, you can rest assured that McMaster will not be a puppet.

5. Jihad Watch just broke the story that McMaster said the “Islamic State is not Islamic” in a 2014 lecture. Comments like that by the Obama Administration were rightly criticized and so must his.

However, we should be fair to McMaster. Did he say it because he doesn’t believe we should focus on the radical Islamic ideology or, more optimistically, he does understand the ideology and was using the line to try to undermine ISIS’ legitimacy?

The record of McMaster points towards the former, as does the records of those he will be serving with. Defense Secretary General Mattis, for example, explicitly identifies political Islam as the enemy ideology that a strategy must be crafted around.

***

Jim Hanson defends H. R. McMaster’s counter-insurgency strategy (COIN) which is based on taking into account the political sensitivities on the ground in order to recruit Muslim allies:

 

A White House Initiative to Defeat Radical Islam

trump5MEF, by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 20, 2017

Originally published under the title “Defeating Radical Islam: How a New White House Initiative Can Get the Job Done.”

Who is the enemy? It’s been over 15 years since 9/11 and still this fundamental question rattles around. Prominent answers have included evil doers, violent extremists, terrorists, Muslims, and Islamists.

As an example of how not to answer this question, the Obama administration convened a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group in 2010 and included participants who turned up such gems as: “Jihad as holy war is a European invention,” the caliphate‘s return is “inevitable,” Sharia (Islamic law) is “misunderstood,” and “Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms … because terrorism is not Islamic by definition.”

The result? The group produced propaganda helpful to the (unnamed) enemy.

In contrast, then-candidate Donald Trump gave a robust speech in August 2016 on how he, as president, would “Make America Safe Again.” In it, he pledged, “One of my first acts as president will be to establish a commission on radical Islam.” Note: he said radical Islam, not some euphemism like violent extremism.

The goal of that commission, he said, “will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”

How not to do it: The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, starring Barack Obama.

How not to do it: The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, starring Barack Obama.

The commission “will include reformist voices in the Muslim community” with the goal to “develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners.”

On Feb. 2, Reuters reported that, consistent with the August statement, the Trump administration “wants to revamp and rename” Obama’s old CVE effort to focus solely on Islamism. Symbolic of this change, the name Countering Violent Extremism will be changed to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” (or a near equivalent).

To make the most of this historic opportunity, the Middle East Forum has crafted a comprehensive plan for a White House Commission on Radical Islam for the administration to use. Here’s a summary of how we see the commission working and having an impact:

Structure. To be successful, all its members must be selected by the president. Too many commissions have included contrasting ideologies and agendas, grinding out sausage-like self-conflicting reports that displease the administration and end up discarded. Also, learning from the struggles of the Tower Commission, which lacked sufficient powers, and the precedent of the Three Mile Island Commission, which actually had them, the commission needs the power to subpoena documents, compel testimony, and grant immunity.

Personnel. The commission should include a mix of experts on political violence and radical Islam, as well as elected officials, representatives of law enforcement, the military, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, technology specialists, Muslim reformers (as the president insisted), and victims of radical Islam. It should also include liaisons to those who ultimately will implement the commission’s recommendations: secretaries of the departments of state, defense, and homeland security, the attorney general, and the CIA director.

Mandate. The commission should expand on Trump’s commitment to explain the core convictions of Islamists (i.e., the full and severe application of Sharia), to expose their networks, and to develop new protocols for law enforcement. In addition, it should examine where Islamists get their resources and how these can be cut off; figure out how to deny them use of the Internet; offer changes to immigration practices; and assess how political correctness impedes an honest appraisal of radical Islam.

Implementation. For the commission’s work to be relevant, it must coordinate with federal agencies to gather data and craft recommendations, draft executive orders and legislation, provide supporting documents, prepare requests for proposals, outline memos to state and local governments, recommend personnel, and work out budgets.

Finally, the commission should be prepared that its reports may be used as evidence in criminal proceedings, such as was the case several times in the past (e.g., the Warren, Rogers, and Tower commissions).

The overall goal of the White House Commission on Radical Islam should be to bring the American people together around a common understanding of the enemy’s nature, how that enemy can be defeated, and specifics to accomplish this objective.

Perhaps this will start the long-delayed process of winning a war that has already gone on far too long. The United States has all the economic and military advantages; it lacks only a policy and a strategy, which the new administration, relying on a first-rate commission, can finally supply.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. Christopher C. Hull (IssueManagement.net, @ChristopherHull) is president of Issue Management, Inc.

Trump Chooses Army General H.R. McMaster for National Security Adviser

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, February 20, 2017:

On Monday, the White House announced Army Lt. General H.R. McMaster as the replacement for Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser.

McMaster was not one of the top candidates suggested by administration sources after President Trump’s first choice, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, declined the position. Over the weekend, President Trump began interviewing three new candidates, along with the current temporary occupant of the position, retired General Keith Kellogg. McMaster was one of the three, along with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen.

According to the White House announcement, Kellogg will continue serving under McMaster as chief of staff for the National Security Council.

Thomas Ricks at Foreign Policy predicted McMaster would be Trump’s choice for National Security Adviser on Monday morning, describing him as “smart, energetic, and tough.”

“He has good combat experience, he was a good trainer, and he led the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment well in his deployment to Iraq, most notably in pacifying Tell Afar, to the west of Mosul,” Ricks wrote, adding that McMaster was supported to a “surprising degree” by people who had worked for him in the past.

McMaster is the author of a highly-regarded book on Vietnam, Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chief of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. The book strongly argues that military leadership should be willing to stand up to civilian political leaders when war is not waged successfully, and also criticizes Vietnam-era military leadership for becoming distracted by bureaucratic infighting.

McMaster’s leadership at the famed Battle of 73 Easting in Operation Desert Storm was an important part of the U.S. military’s resurgence, poetically described as “exorcising the ghosts of Vietnam” at the time. In that battle, a vastly outnumbered American unit defeated Iraqi forces with superior tactics, coordination, and technology, without suffering a single casualty. Last February, McMaster wrote an extensive account of the battle, and the lessons it provides for future conflict, for The National Interest.

He is noted as an advocate of both strong conventional military forces and cyber-warfare capability. Concerned by cuts to both manpower and equipment modernization, he warned the Senate last year that “we are outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries… our Army in the future risks being too small to secure the nation.” One of the lessons he recommends learning from the Battle of 73 Easting, a quarter-century on, is that American forces may never again have such a pronounced technological advantage over enemy ground forces.

One of the adversaries McMaster particularly worries about is Russia. Defense One reported in May 2016 that he believes the Ukraine conflict has “revealed that the Russians have superior artillery firepower, better combat vehicles, and have learned sophisticated use of UAVs for tactical effect.”

McMaster feared American military planners have invested too much effort in “winning long-range missile duels,” proclaiming such tactics of limited use against the “dispersion, concealment, intermingling with civilian populations… the ability to disrupt our network strike capability, precision navigation and timing capabilities” demonstrated by Russian forces in Ukraine. He was also concerned about Russia’s advantages in battlefield artillery.

He was also concerned about Russia’s advantages in battlefield artillery, including their use of cluster munitions, thermobaric warheads, and heavy use of electronic warfare, citing reports of Russia’s astonishing effectiveness at shutting down Ukranian tactical radios, drones, and even the electrical fuses on their artillery shells. Even the vaunted American technological edge in air supremacy, tanks, and armored fighting vehicles has dangerously eroded, in McMaster’s estimation.

***

Also see:

Tucker Reacts: Trump Causes Firestorm with Remark About ‘Problems’ in Sweden

Fox News Insider, February 20, 2017:

Tucker Carlson reacted this morning after President Donald Trump mentioned the “problems” in Sweden caused by large numbers of refugees from the Middle East.

The president’s mention of Sweden, during his campaign rally Saturday in Florida, was immediately ridiculed, since there have been no terror attacks in Sweden.

It wasn’t immediately clear during the remarks what Trump was referencing with regard to Sweden.

Many news commentators bashed Trump after the rally and on Sunday shows, accusing him of trying to mislead people about a terror attack in Sweden.

Trump then tweeted yesterday that the remark was based on a “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment that aired Friday night.

Horowitz accused Swedish officials of being in denial about the problems.

Carlson joined “Fox & Friends” to discuss the fallout, first noting that all U.S. presidents should be “precise” with their words so people know exactly what point they’re trying to make.

But he said the media is ignoring the real story, which is the “massive social cost” and political backlash in European nations as a result of accepting large numbers of refugees.

Carlson said nations like Sweden and France have tried “really hard” and spent a lot of money on integration efforts and it “hasn’t worked very well.”

“Good for Trump and good for anyone else who raises at least that question. Let’s have an honest conversation about how you bring tons of people in and make them fully vested in your society. If they can’t do it, how are we gonna do it?” he asked.

Watch the discussion above.

Obama-linked activists have a ‘training manual’ for protesting Trump

Getty Images

Getty Images

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, Feb. 18, 2017:

An Obama-tied activist group training tens of thousands of agitators to protest President Trump’s policies plans to hit Republican lawmakers supporting those policies even harder this week, when they return home for the congressional recess and hold town hall meetings and other functions.

Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his new post-presidency website, is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.

In a new Facebook post, OFA calls on activists to mobilize against Republicans from now until Feb. 26, when “representatives are going to be in their home districts.”

The protesters disrupted town halls earlier this month, including one held in Utah by House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who was confronted by hundreds of angry demonstrators claiming to be his constituents.

The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”

“Express your concern [to the event’s hosts] they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption,” it says.

The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda, and to prime “the ground for the 2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.”

“Even the safest [Republican] will be deeply alarmed by signs of organized opposition,” the document states, “because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.”

After the event, protesters are advised to feed video footage to local and national media.

“Unfavorable exchanges caught on video can be devastating” for Republican lawmakers, it says, when “shared through social media and picked up by local and national media.” After protesters gave MSNBC, CNN and the networks footage of their dust-up with Chaffetz, for example, the outlets ran them continuously, forcing Chaffetz to issue statements defending himself.

The manual also advises protesters to flood “Trump-friendly” lawmakers’ Hill offices with angry phone calls and emails demanding the resignation of top White House adviser Steve Bannon.

A script advises callers to complain: “I’m honestly scared that a known racist and anti-Semite will be working just feet from the Oval Office … It is everyone’s business if a man who promoted white supremacy is serving as an adviser to the president.”

The document provides no evidence to support such accusations.

Protesters, who may or may not be affiliated with OFA, are also storming district offices. Last week, GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher blamed a “mob” of anti-Trump activists for knocking unconscious a 71-year-old female staffer at his Southern California office. A video of the incident, showing a small crowd around an opening door, was less conclusive.

Separately, OFA, which is run by ex-Obama officials and staffers, plans to stage 400 rallies across 42 states this year to attack Trump and Republicans over ObamaCare’s repeal.

“This is a fight we can win,” OFA recently told its foot soldiers. “They’re starting to waver.”

On Thursday, Trump insisted he’s moving ahead with plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which has ballooned health-insurance premiums and deductibles. “Obamacare is a disaster, folks,” he said, adding that activists protesting its repeal are hijacking GOP town halls and other events.

“They fill up our rallies with people that you wonder how they get there,” the president said. “But they’re not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.”

As The Post reported, OFA boasts more than 250 offices nationwide and more than 32,000 organizers, with another 25,000 actively under training. Since November, it’s beefed up staff and fundraising, though as a “social welfare” non-profit, it does not have to reveal its donors.

These aren’t typical Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street marchers, but rather professionally trained organizers who go through a six-week training program similar to the training — steeped in Alinsky agitation tactics — Obama received in Chicago when he was a community organizer.

Chicago socialist Saul Alinsky, known by the left as “the father of community organizing,” taught radicals to “rub raw the sores of discontent” and create the conditions for a “revolution.” He dedicated his book, “Rules for Radicals,” to “Lucifer.” Michelle Obama quoted from the book when she helped launch OFA in 2013.

Obama appears to be behind the anti-Trump protests. He praised recent demonstrations against Trump’s travel ban. And last year, after Trump’s upset victory, he personally rallied OFA troops to “protect” his legacy in a conference call. “Now is the time for some organizing,” he said. “So don’t mope” over the election results.

He promised OFA activists he would soon join them in the fray.

“Understand that I’m going to be constrained in what I do with all of you until I am again a private citizen, but that’s not so far off,” he said. “You’re going to see me early next year, and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.”

Added the ex-president: “I promise you that next year Michelle and I are going to be right there with you, and the clouds are going to start parting, and we’re going to be busy. I’ve got all kinds of thoughts and ideas about it, but this isn’t the best time to share them.

“Point is, I’m still fired up and ready to go, and I hope that all of you are, as well.”

Also see:

The CIA’s affront to Trump

CIA Bullies Trump Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

CIA Bullies Trump Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The Washington Times, February 15, 2017:

The CIA has denied a security clearance to Trump National Security Council (NSC) official Robin Townley without any allegation, much less evidence of disloyalty to the United States. Quite simply, it is because the CIA disapproves of Mr. Townley’s attitude toward the agency, and this is unprecedented. President Trump appointed Mr. Townley to coordinate Africa policy at the NSC. The CIA did not want to deal with him. Hence, it used the power to grant security clearances to tell the president to choose someone acceptable to the agency, though not so much to him. This opens a larger issue: Since no one can take part in the formulation or execution of foreign or defense policy without a high-level security clearance, vetoing the president’s people by denying them clearances trumps the president.

Hence, if Mr. Trump does not fire forthwith the persons who thus took for themselves the prerogative that the American people had entrusted to him at the ballot box, chances are 100 percent that they will use that prerogative ever more frequently with regard to anyone else whom they regard as standing in the way of their preferred policies, as a threat to their reputation, or simply as partisan opponents. If Mr. Trump lets this happen, he will have undermined nothing less than the self-evident heart of the Constitution’s Article II: The president is the executive branch. All of its employees draw their powers from him and answer to him, not the other way around.

Using security clearances for parochial purposes — usually petty ones — while neglecting security, never mind counterintelligence, is an old story at the CIA which I got to know too well during eight years overseeing the agency as the designee of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s budget chairman. Because I did my quality control job vigorously, and because I placed on the budget cut list some of the many outside contracts that seemed corrupt, the agency made repeated attempts to withdraw my top-level, cross-cutting security clearances. After I left the Senate staff for Stanford, when the Naval Postgraduate School asked me to teach a highly classified course on signals intelligence, the school’s security office asked the CIA for my clearances. The bureaucrats there said they had never heard of me. I had to call Director of Central Intelligence Bill Casey, who ended up phoning them in personally to a startled Navy chief.

The CIA uses pretense about security to insulate itself from criticism, to protect its own, and to intrude into policymaking. Security against foreign intelligence ranks low in its priorities. For near a decade, its bureaucrats refused to look into obvious evidence that their own Aldrich Ames had sold out America’s entire agent network in the Soviet Union. Moreover, according to its inspector general, they continued to pass reports from that network to the president because they happened to agree with the direction in which these KGB-produced reports were pushing U.S. policy. The CIA also uses secrecy to avoid responsibility. It crafts the conclusions of its reports specifically to be leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post, while making sure that the thin or nonexistent facts behind those conclusions never see the light of day.

The CIA’s denial of a clearance to a presidential appointee minus good cause, however, breaks new ground and shows truly revolutionary boldness. Traditionally, bureaucrats have used sticks and carrots to convince political appointees to play along lest they suffer unpleasantness. Thus, presidents have ended up having to choose between suffering appointees who have “gone native” or replacing them. Now, the CIA’s denial of Mr. Townley’s clearance removes all subtlety by demanding that Mr. Trump appoint only “natives.” If Mr. Trump indulges that demand for self-emasculation, the message will go out to all agencies: They need pay no attention to what political appointees tell them, and they need fear no retribution for this or for pressuring appointees in any way they want. The message to the people who Mr. Trump has appointed or who are considering working for Mr. Trump is just as clear: You have no choice but to make yourself acceptable to the bureaucrats because, if you don’t, they will hurt you and the president will not help you. This cannot help but skew the pool of potential members of the Trump administration.

We cannot know nor does it matter why Donald Trump seems to be deferring to bureaucrats who have gone out of their way to delegitimize him. But we can be certain about the kind of dynamic engendered by deference in the face of assaults.

Angelo M. Codevilla is professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University.

A new approach to U.S. Middle East strategy

Shattered Middle East Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Shattered Middle East Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The Washington Times, by , February 14, 2017:

The Trump administration has a unique opportunity to implement a new strategic policy to bring some semblance of stability to the current Middle East chaos. Under the pledge of putting “America first,” our core national security interest in the region should include the following:

• Eliminating the Islamic State as an identifiable entity.

• Preventing Iran from achieving a deliverable nuclear weapon capability.

• Preventing Iran from achieving regional hegemony.

• Supporting Iranians in their efforts to remove the corrupt Iranian theocracy.

• Keeping open vital sea lanes and strategic choke points.

  • Defending U.S. bases and facilities.

• Re-emphasizing our support for our friends and allies while assisting threatened minorities (Christians, Assyrians/Chaldeans, Kurds and Yazidis).

Our strategy in the past has been reactive, but now must be driven by our vital core objectives. In that sense, it is not in the U.S. interest to become involved in a 1,300-year-old, intra-Islamic sectarian fight between Shiites and Sunnis. From a Western perspective, there is no good side in this conflict. Both want to kill us.

It also must be recognized that much of the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement nation-state system formed in the Middle East after World War I is coming asunder. Syria and Iraq are fractured states and a readjustment of a regional balance of power between Shiite and Sunni will evolve out of the current crisis with or without U.S. involvement. Our invasion of Iraq and the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni army removed the main blocking force to the expansion of Iran’s Shiite Crescent and ensured the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) out of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq.

A Sunni entity that clearly is not ISIS should be assisted to coalesce in what used to be Iraq. Such an entity could involve Anbar Province and the Nineveh Plain, where Assyrians/Turkman/Yazidis are unifying in an effort at preservation and stabilization.

In areas outside of Alawite and Kurdish control and areas liberated from ISIS in the former Syria, Syrian Free Army (SFA) commanders believe that with U.S. and other Western support, they could pry off significant forces from jihadi militias to create a force to defeat Jabhat al-Nusra, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and ISIS. This approach should be explored. In implementing a new strategy, we must proceed in a manner that gains cooperation from those whose involvement is essential. This includes Russia, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and Turkey. The Gulf states must be persuaded to end support for Sunni jihadis, which can only happen if they are assured that they will not be threatened or surrounded by Iran’s Shiite Crescent.

The Trump administration’s recent declaration putting Iran “on notice” is a step in the right direction, as were U.S. Treasury sanctions on 12 entities for supporting Iran’s illicit ballistic missile program. Further, President Trump’s call for establishing safe zones in Syria, e.g., one in the northern Kurdish area, one along the Turkish border, and one on the Jordanian border, could help relieve economic pressure on Jordan and Turkey, which are providing support to millions of refugees. In return, we should expect Turkey and Jordan’s support for our new regional strategy.

President Obama’s policy that deliberately empowered Iran to advance its geostrategic ambitions and move toward a deliverable nuclear weapons capability is over. Our so-called nuclear agreement with Iran must also be terminated and Iran’s joint venture relationship, using North Korea as its off-site laboratory to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, must end. Holding Iran accountable to the agreement is a pipe dream. There is no agreement. Further, a clear, unambiguous declaration from the Trump administration with appropriate follow-on action will go a long way to gain Saudi and GCC cooperation.

With regard to Syria, Bashar Assad must go. It appears Russia may support such action as it reportedly proposed Alawite Gen. Manas Tlass (formerly with the Hafez Assad regime) as his replacement at the Astana talks. SFA commanders may accept this as long as the Assad clan is out of power and in exile. Under such an arrangement, the Alawites would keep control of Damascus and their coastal strip heartland, but lose the rest of former Syria. This is the de facto current situation on the ground today.

Russia may find such an arrangement acceptable, provided it keeps its bases in Latakia and Tartus. While these are major concessions, issues involving Ukraine/Crimea must also be part of the discussion, as well as Libya. The bottom line in the trade-offs must be Russia’s commitment to help in getting Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias out of what formerly was Syria.

Turkey also may be helpful in the overall realignment but must be managed carefully, as Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party) is moving toward an authoritarian neo-Ottoman jihad state. Clearly, the No. 1 Turkish concern is the Kurds. One option may be to not allow the Kurdish northern-Syria enclave “Rojava” to extend to the Turkish border. There would instead be a safe zone there, guaranteed jointly by Russia and Turkey. Gas and oil pipelines also are major factors that must be included in discussions with both Russia and Turkey.

Since we have no vital objectives in Afghanistan, we should stop wasting our national treasure to support a corrupt tribal society.

If this new strategic approach is followed, our vital core strategic objectives will most likely stand a better chance of being achieved while gradually bringing the current chaos under control.

• James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations. Clare Lopez is vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Obama’s Shadow Presidency

cvb_2-1Front Page Magazine, by Matthew Vadum, February 15, 2017

Former President Obama is waging war against the Trump administration through his generously funded agitation outfit, Organizing for Action, to defend his monumentally destructive record of failure and violent polarization.

It is a chilling reminder that the increasingly aggressive, in-your-face Left in this country is on the march.

Acclaimed author Paul Sperry writes in the New York Post:

Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.

In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.

What is Organizing for Action? It is a less violent version of Mussolini’s black shirts and Hitler’s brown shirts, or of the government-supported goon squads that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Castro brothers used to harass and intimidate their domestic opponents.

OfA isn’t, strictly speaking, a new group. After the 2008 election, the group, then known as Organizing for America, was a phony grassroots campaign run by the Democratic National Committee that sought to replicate the community organizing techniques Obama learned from the teachings of his fellow Chicagoan, Saul Alinsky. OfA was created in large part because the White House could not legally use the 13 million e-mail addresses that the Obama campaign compiled in 2008.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Edgar (D-Penn.), sounded the alarm about OfA in 2013, suggesting the group was dangerous to democracy. “If President Obama is serious about his often-expressed desire to rein in big money in politics, he should shut down Organizing for Action and disavow any plan to schedule regular meetings with its major donors,” he said as president of the left-wing group Common Cause. “Access to the President should never be for sale.”

“With its reported promise of quarterly presidential meetings for donors and ‘bundlers’ who raise $500,000, Organizing For Action apparently intends to extend and deepen the pay-to-play Washington culture that Barack Obama came to prominence pledging to end,” Edgar said. “The White House’s suggestion this week that this group will somehow be independent is laughable.”

But Edgar’s admonitions were ignored and since then Organizing for Action has thrived and grown rich, just like the Obamas.

As FrontPage previously reported, Obama has rented a $5.3 million, 8,200-square-foot, walled mansion in Washington’s Embassy Row that he is using to command his community organizing cadres. Michelle Obama will join the former president there as will the Obama Foundation. To stay on track, Obama wants his former labor secretary, Tom Perez, to win the chairmanship of the DNC in a party election later this month. “It’s time to organize and fight, said Perez who appears to be gaining on frontrunner and jihadist Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). “We must stand up to protect President Obama’s accomplishments,” adding, “We’re going to build the strongest grassroots organizing force this country has ever seen.”

No ex-president has ever done this before, sticking around the nation’s capital to vex and undermine his successor. Of course, Obama is unlike any president the United States has ever had. Even failed, self-righteous presidents like Jimmy Carter, who has occasionally taken shots at his successors, didn’t stay behind in Washington to obstruct and disrupt the new administration.

Organizing for Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that doesn’t have to disclose its donors, is at the head of Obama’s network of left-wing nonprofit groups. OfA, Sperry warns, has “a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.”

On its website, the group claims that there are “5 million Americans who’ve taken action” with OfA, and that those individuals “are part of a long line of people who stand up and take on the big fights for social justice, basic fairness, equal rights, and expanding opportunity.” Among its key issues are “turning up the heat on climate change deniers,” comprehensive immigration reform (which includes mass amnesty), “telling the stories of the millions who are seeing the life-saving benefits of Obamacare,” fighting for “a woman’s health care” which is “a basic right,” and redistributing wealth from those who earned it to those who didn’t.

OfA communications director Jesse Lehrich told Memphis-based WREG that the “grassroots energy that’s out there right now is palpable.” The group is “constantly hearing from volunteers who are excited to report about events they’re organizing around and all of the new people that want to get involved.”

Organizing for Action is drowning in money, by nonprofit standards.

By the end of 2014, OfA, which was formally incorporated only the year before, had taken in $40.4 million, $26 million of which was raised in 2014, according to the organization’s IRS filings. OfA’s big donors are members of the George Soros-founded Democracy Alliance, a donors’ consortium for left-wing billionaires devoted to radical political change. Among the DA members donating to OfA are: Ryan Smith ($476,260); Marcy Carsey ($250,000); Jon Stryker ($200,000); Paul Boskind ($105,000); Paul Egerman ($100,000); and Nick Hanauer ($50,000).

OfA also runs a project called the Community Organizing Institute (COI) which it says partners “with progressive groups and organizations to educate, engage, and collaborate.”

Organizing for Action describes COI in almost lyrical terms:

Building upon the rich history of community organizing in Chicago, the COI is a place to share stories, best practices, and innovations in order to build our community and empower individuals in the fight for change. It is a shared space for organizers, policy makers, advocates, and change-agents to come together for workshops, panel discussions, presentations, trainings, film screenings, and social gatherings—building a strong foundation for partnerships.

Translation: at COI you can learn how to spark riots, get arrested to make a political statement, organize lynch mobs and voter fraud on a massive scale, intimidate and shake down corporations, blackmail lenders, race-bait public officials and businesses into submission, smear and terrorize your opponents, shield illegal aliens from law enforcement, lead squatters to invade foreclosed homes, encourage welfare fraud, and use tax dollars to promote cockamamie social-engineering schemes.

Obama is “intimately involved” in OfA’s operations and issues tweets from the group’s account, Sperry writes. “In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.”

“It is fine for everybody to feel stressed, sad, discouraged,” Obama said in a post-election conference call from the White House. “But get over it.” Progressives have to “move forward to protect what we’ve accomplished.”

“Now is the time for some organizing,” he said. “So don’t mope.”

Organizing for Action has been doing anything but moping.

In recent weeks its activists organized marches across the country. Some became riots. After President Trump issued Executive Order 13769 temporarily banning visitors from seven terrorism-plagued Muslim countries, OfA organized “spontaneous” demonstrations at airports.

Obama praised the airport rabble-rousers, saying through a spokesman he was “heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country.”

“Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by the elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”

Reinforcements are coming to beef up Organizing for Action’s position, Sperry adds.

OfA will be soon aided by “the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched last month by Obama pal Eric Holder to end what he and Obama call GOP ‘gerrymandering’ of congressional districts.”

And more unruly protests, rioting, and violent attacks on Trump supporters will follow.

***

On ‘Hannity,’ panel discusses the gravity of the Trump administration leaks

Trump Administration Intel – White Hats Confer With Reform Agents Within Political Islam…

The Last Refuge,  by sundance:

To understand the activity within any intelligence action any observer must do two things:

  • #1 You must stay elevated. If you try to get into the weeds you will be lost because your insight will be lacking specificity briefs.
  • #2 You must always reflect upon the recent historic context of the engagement you are observing. Including, most importantly, the engagements of the parties therein.

The recent example of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo traveling to Saudi Arabia last weekend, at the request of President Donald Trump, to personally present Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef with an award named after former CIA director George Tenet, is an example of the need for this approach.

pompeo-and-crown-prince

If you want to understand what’s going on, you must understand the recent relationship of the parties.  It begins with understanding modern political Islam.

Within “political Islam” there are various factions. However, again with the intent to remain elevated, let us just approach two larger congregations as: “Authentic supporters” and “Reform Agents”.

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The modern extremist elements fall under the category of “Authentic Supporters” or Salafists (politically, The Muslim Brotherhood).   The “Reform Agents” are represented by people like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah III.

Within “Political Islam” these two elements (Authentic -vs- Reform) are fighting for the heart, soul, intellect and -in larger measures- the future of Islam in a modern world.

All the various Muslim factions fall along a continuum of authenticity to the principles of Islam. The more authentic the expression, the more violent and confrontational the group. The more moderate the expression, the reformers, the less violent… etc.

Over the course of the past decade each political side has surged and/or retreated during the larger struggle for the heart of those who adhere to the Muslim faith. The so-called “Arab Spring” was a surge of the Authentic group, and was empowered/emboldened by the foreign policy activity of exterior nations. In particular, the ideological sympathy of former President Barack Obama.

In the face of the growth of the various Authentic expressions, the Reform elements were in a retreating position attempting to contain the internal damage being carried out by the extremist groups. Reformers and more moderate voices were simply trying to hold on to the construct of a civil society amid the growing crisis created by emotional demands of extremists requiring adherence to Sharia, the authentic political law of Islam.

On January 19th 2015, three days before Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died from a lung infection, Egypt’s President Fattah al-Sisi was urgently summoned to met with him.

It was only a few weeks earlier (New Years Day 2015) when al-Sisi delivered an impassioned speech to a scholarly audience in Al-Azhar University in Cairo comprised of Islam’s most important religious leaders.

As the most notable and visible reformer (<- important link) President Fattah al-Sisi made the case for “a religious revolution in Islam that would displace violent jihad from the center of Muslim discourse“:

“The corpus of texts and ideas that we have made sacred over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. You cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You must step outside yourselves and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.” –LINK

el-sisi-in-saudiPresident al-Sisi’s visit to Saudi Arabia to visit with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was a meeting specifically requested by an aging 90-year-old Saudi King to recognize Sisi for his courage and leadership.

King Abdulaziz was intent on honoring his friend.

Saudi Arabia had been coping with the same internal conflict as all other Muslim nations who were caught between the internal struggle.

President Sisi left Saudi Arabia with the full support of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and upon his death a few days later the new Saudi King Salman; who  honored Sisi in a similar fashion as did his brother.

With the support of Saudi Arabia, the demands of al-Sisi to remove the extremism of the Muslim Brotherhood gained traction. The Gulf States finally, and collectively, pressured Qatar to stop aiding/financing extremism.

Under pressure Qatar conceded and expelled The Brotherhood along with the five leading voices of leadership within the Muslim Brotherhood. Recep Erdogan gave them refuge in Turkey.

This was the origin of the turning tide, when the Reform Agents began to stabilize and reassert their politics and internal domestic economies – the underlying wedge issue used by The Brotherhood to stir turmoil.

Unstable Yemen is to Saudi Arabia -> as unstable Libya is to Egypt -> as unstable Syria is to Jordan… and so it goes.

Each unstable nation being stirred by the extremist voices of various agents operating under the umbrella of the destabilizing politics expressed by The Muslim Brotherhood.

Remove the destabilizing agents and the Reformers believe they will be able to stop the extremists. This is the longer-term objective of those within the fight inside political Islam.

Now look again at the nations of Trump’s visa restrictions and you’ll note the presence of the destabilizing agents: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran [and Sudan, Somalia].

This is the necessary backdrop to understand events as they unfold and relate to President Donald Trump and his own foreign policy objectives and engagements.

It is not accidental that newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to meet with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef, after a phone call between Saudi King Salman and President Trump took place.

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Director Pompeo’s visit was to recognize the efforts of Saudi Arabia in the larger fight against Islamic extremism/terrorism.  However, based on internal consumption, Pompeo could not be seen publicly in this regard with King Salman himself.  The visible face of Saudi Reform is the crown prince.

  • Jan 20th – President Trump takes office.
  • Jan 26th – President Trump has a phone call with King Salman
  • Jan 26th – On the same day, State Dept. Nominee Rex Tillerson visits State Dept. HQ and the media report on the resignation of many existing State Department personnel.
  • Feb 1st – Secretary Rex Tillerson is confirmed by the Senate.
  • Feb 2nd – The three Muslim Awan brothers are terminated amid accusations they accessed congressional intelligence committee computers without permission.
  • Feb 8th – FOX reports administration considering labeling The Muslim Brotherhood as an official terrorist organization.
  • Feb 11th – CIA Director Pompeo travels to Saudi Arabia to deliver thanks.

By all appearances it seems the Trump administration was given a head’s up of sorts as to specific [Muslim Brotherhood] agents within the U.S. State Department. And also with key Democrat staffers, in highly sensitive intelligence positions, amid Congress.

Additionally:

To wit, Egyptian media announce that Fattah el-Sisi will be traveling to Washington DC to meet with President Trump:

[…]  Informed sources said that the presidency is currently coordinating with the US to arrange a visit next month. The sources referred to the visit as the first official one for an Egyptian president to Washington since 2009, as the last visit since then was paid by former President Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will leave Washington next Monday going back to Tel Aviv. Israeli TV reported on Sunday that Netanyahu is planning to form the ‘Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian’ axis.  (read more)

It is ironic, but not coincidental, that no official Egyptian delegation has visited the United States since President Obama traveled to Cairo and started “The Islamist Spring” which led to the uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood extremism in Egypt.

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Irony, because now the Trump administration is facing the internal extremist purging of the Muslim Brotherhood embeds remaining within the U.S. government leftover from President Obama’s aftermath…. and now, President Fattah el-Sisi, the destroyer of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt comes to officially visit President Trump in Washington.

I hope everyone can clearly see what’s going on in the bigger picture.

After eight years of Obama’s intense political embedding of extremist sympathy in every aspect of governance, and culture – President Trump is now tasked with removing it, all of it; and finding allies amid those who have already mounted the same effort.

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It is also important to remember the political enterprise of The Muslim Brotherhood not only employs congressional staffers, but also has key connections to elected officials within both parties.   Representative Adam Kinzinger and John McCain are two of the more obvious sympathizers on the right side of the UniParty.

Again, reference the seven states of turmoil/concern and you’ll notice a pattern:

Senator John McCain and Senator John Kerry in Cairo, Egypt – 2011

john-mccain-and-john-kerry-in-cairo-on-sunday-egypt-stock-exchange

What came next?…  The installation of the Muslim Brotherhood:

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Senator John McCain and Ambassador Christopher Stephens, Benghazi Libya 2012

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What came next?…. The rise of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood

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Senator John McCain travels to Syria in 2013

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What came next?  Yup, you guessed it – Muslim Brotherhood (via ISIS)

Isis soldiers in Syria

 

Why should Muslims Feel Entitled to Move to America?

American Thinker, by Matthew Voegtli, Feb.14, 2017:

Why should Americans feel obligated to open our borders for Muslims to move here en masse?  Foreign nationals in foreign countries do not have U.S.  Constitutional rights.  As the Supreme Court has held, an unadmitted and nonresident alien “had no constitutional right of entry to this country as a nonimmigrant or otherwise.” (Mandel, 408 U.S.  at 762; see Plasencia, 459 U.S.  at 32.)  Beyond this fact, the president has plenary power over foreign affairs and this includes, under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, the power to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals if he determines their entry “would be detrimental to the interest of the United States.”  The president as commander-in-chief is given this power, not New York Times columnists, not wailing Democrats, not the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the many activists groups calling for massive increases in Muslim immigration.

Remarkably many supporters of enhanced vetting to protect Americans have gone into a protective crouch and have not articulated reasons why we should be very careful about admitting more and more Muslims into America.

But we should be concerned.

There are claims that not one Muslim from the seven nations named in Trump’s executive order has been implicated in terrorism.  The New York Times in a lead editorial stated that not one person from those nations has engaged in terrorism, despite a Somalian refugee going on a rampage at Ohio State University last year.   Seattle-based  District Court Judge James Robart asked a federal prosecutor how many citizens of those seven countries were arrested for terrorism since September 11.  “Let me tell you, the answer to that is none, as best as I can tell.”

Then he issued an injunction freezing Trump’s executive order.  More significantly, even the San Francisco appeals court that upheld that injunction turned a blind eye (justice is supposed to be blind but not this type of blind) to the fact that 72 persons from the seven mostly Muslim nations covered by Trump’s extreme vetting order have been convicted of terrorism — not arrested, not indicted but convicted.  Deroy Murdock of National Review provides a few thumbnail sketches of some of those immigrants who have terrorized or planned to terrorize Americans and is correct to conclude that Trump’s executive order is meant to protect us from real-life mayhem

Scott Johnson, one of the founders of Powerline, has one superb work in uncovering the terrorism epicenter that the Somalian community of his hometown of Minneapolis has become over the years.  Many  Syrian refugees (and many other refugees from other Muslim majority nations)  support ISIS, according to a poll by the Arab Center for Policy and Research Studies; they harbor anti-Semitic and anti-Western ideologies and are primed to turn those views into action,

What has also been pronounced is the media blackout and amnesia over the litany of Muslim terror attacks over the years in America.  Here is a sampling: the first World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, Boston Marathon massacre, San Bernardino, the Orlando nightclub massacre, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, the aforementioned Ohio State attack, and on and on and more to come (for a much longer list see, “A Complete List of Radical Islamic Terror Attacks on U.S.  Soil Under Obama”).  There have also been planned attacks that were not successfully completed, among them the Underwear Bomber and the plot to blow up Times Square.

Apologists are wont to say some of these attacks were done by U.S.  citizens.  That is true, but they are often the sons of Muslim immigrants, and members of the second generation of Muslim immigrants too often become alienated from America and radicalized by mosques in America or by online campaigns to stoke terrorism against America.  The conclusion can be made that but for their parents moving to America there would be fewer murdered Americans.

Terror groups have openly boasted of their efforts to slip terrorists into the stream of immigrants coming into America from Muslim nations.  James Comey, head of the FBI, and James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, warned that vetting procedures were inadequate to protect us from the threats of terrorists coming to America .

Sometimes the future is visible in the present, and this is one of those times, since we can see how the European experiment with open borders and welcoming of Muslim refugees has turned out for them: mass terror attacks that have become so routine that even James Taylor has given up trying to bring solace to the beleaguered and endangered Europeans.  Crime waves have followed refugee waves.  Too many Europeans have paid a price for the generosity they have shown to Muslims, who have reciprocated by upping their demands, truck attacks, nightclub attacks, stadium attacks, Louvre attacks, attacks on women, beheading of  priests, desecration of churches, torture of Jews, London subway and bus bombings, and beheading a British soldier.  Are there any safe zones for Europeans?

Is it any wonder most Europeans are opposed to further migration (a bar on further Muslim migration has wide majority support in Europe?  A leaked German Intelligence report stated:

“We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples, as well as a different understanding of society and law.  German security agencies are unable to deal with these imported security problems, and the resulting reactions from the German population.”

According to the Federal Labor Office, the educational level of newly arrived migrants in Germany is far lower than expected: only a quarter have a high school diploma, while three quarters have no vocational training at all.  Only 4% of new arrivals to Germany are highly qualified.

For now, the vast majority of migrants who entered Germany in 2015 and 2016 are wards of the German state.  German taxpayers payed around €21.7 billion ($23.4 billion) on aid for refugees and asylum seekers in 2016, and will pay a similar amount in 2017.

A Finance Ministry document revealed that the migrant crisis could end up costing German taxpayers €93.6 billion ($101 billion) between now and 2020.  About €25.7 billion would be for social spending, such as unemployment benefits and housing support.  About €5.7 billion would be destined for language courses and €4.6 billion for integrating refugees into the workforce.

Mass migration has also increased the demand for housing and has pushed up rental costs for ordinary Germans.  Some 350,000 new apartments are required each year to meet demand, but only 245,000 apartments were built in 2014, and another 248,000 in 2015, according to the Rheinische Post.

Meanwhile, migrants committed 208,344 crimes in 2015, according to a police report.  This figure represented an 80% increase over 2014 and worked out to around 570 crimes committed by migrants every day, or 23 crimes each hour, between January and December 2015.

Mass migration is fast-tracking the rise of Islam in Germany, as evidenced by the proliferation of no-go zones, Sharia courts, polygamy, child marriages and honor violence.  Mass migration has also been responsible for social chaos, including jihadist attacks, a migrant rape epidemic, a public health crisis, rising crime and a rush by German citizens to purchase weapons for self-defense — and even to abandon Germany altogether.

Rolling out a welcome mat for Muslim immigrants and purported refugees has wrought havoc in Europe.

Is this what we want in America?

President Trump’s executive order has been attacked on other specious grounds.  One of them is that it mars America’s image.  Yet, other nations sell residencies if migrants have enough money –and these nations include Canada and New Zealand.   Six of the seven nations of Trump’s list bar entrance into their countries based on nationality.  A number of Arab nations agree with Trump on the need for such an executive order.  Contrary to claims from activists, the executive order is not recruiting more terrorists.

One might ask where is the gratitude from Muslims around the world for what America has done for them: America liberated Kuwait and Iraq from the murderous Saddam Hussein regime, established no fly and protected zones for them in Bosnia and Iraq, toppled the murderous Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, provided untold billions of dollars in aid over the years to Muslims throughout the world and allowed over 1.6 million Muslims to settle in America since 9/11, when we were attacked by Muslims in the name of Islam.

Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, Michigan

Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, Michigan

What have we received in return? Oil embargos, oil price gouging, terrorism and mass murder.

Emma Lazarus’s poem on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty is not a law; nor is it a suicide note.  The promise to open our doors to the needy has been met over America’s history.  The poem was written for another age and another world.  Activists might ignore facts and manipulate emotions to achieve their goals, but America should not be fooled and let down its shield.  Concerns about safety is not a paranoid delusion but even if it were, sometimes it is true that only the paranoid survive.  And as Joseph Heller put it, just because a person is paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t after you

US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief

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DEBKAfile, February 14, 2016

Michael Flynn’s abrupt resignation as National Security Adviser Monday night, Feb. 13, was a crippling blow to Donald Trump’s foreign policy strategy, less than a month after he entered the White House. Flynn was the architect and prime mover of the president’s plans for close cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was brought down by misinforming Vice President Mike Pence – and very likely the president too – on the content of the conversation he held with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration.

Although retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg takes over as acting NSA, the White House is urgently considering a permanent replacement to fill Flynn’s large shoes. Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ name has come up, but his indiscretions over state secrets still count against him. Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former Navy SEAL, is a strong contender, although more may emerge.

Even before picking his next national security adviser, Trump will need to determine how to proceed with his détente with Putin, the highly sensitive details of which were managed personally and confidentially by Mike Flynn as the centerpiece of the new administration’s foreign policy.

His contacts with Moscow were under heavy fire from the president’s friends and foes alike, both before and after the November election. It was defended stalwartly by Trump himself, Pence and Flynn. However, neither the president nor the vice president can tell exactly what Flynn promised the Russians and to what deals he committed them. Therefore, his successor will be required to start building Washington’s ties with Moscow from scratch.

While Flynn’s departure has caused havoc in the Trump administration, it is a catastrophe for the Middle East, because a core objective of the US-Russian partnership, which he shaped as a model for other regions, was to have been to clip Iran’s wings and cut down its standing down as premier Middle East power conferred by Barack Obama.

(How the Flynn mechanism was to work plus detailed analysis of the fallout from his departure will be covered exclusively in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly out next Friday).

Flynn alone was privy to arrangements concluded with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, President Putin in Moscow, Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisis in Cairo and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Some of his output began taking shape on the day he stepped down, when Syrian rebel groups led by Jordanian special operations officers attacked Syrian army positions in the southern town of Daraa. This was the start of an operation to drive Syrian government forces and their Iranian and Hizballah allies from the lands bordering on Jordan and Israel.

In Cairo, too, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon and his host, El-Sisi were hashing out a plan for the Egyptian army and Gulf forces to go into action against Hizballah in Syria and Lebanon.
Wednesday, Feb. 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to visit the White House for his first meeting with Trump as president. They too were scheduled to discuss US operations against Hizballah and the role Israel would play.

In the coming hours, Trump will have to decide whether to go ahead with these initiatives in the absence of Flynn and his detailed knowledge of how they should go forward, or simply put them on hold until his successor is in place and has time for a full study of their complicated ins and outs. At the same time, a different national security adviser in the White house might have different plans to those laid out by his predecessor.