At the UN, Pro-Freedom Donald Trump Stares Down the World’s Deep State

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters, in New York, United States, September 25, 2018. Roman Makhmutov / Sputnik via AP

PJ MEDIA, BY ANDREW G. BOSTOM, SEPTEMBER 25, 2018:

In September 2017, speaking at the United Nations, President Donald Trump decried the abject failure of socialism as a form of governance, and more broadly, as an ideology:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba, Venezuela — wherever socialism or Communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish, devastation, and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime.

During his speech at the UN today, Trump returned to the subjects of socialism, communism, and Venezuela, where he noted that “more than 2 million people have fled the anguish inflicted by the Socialist Maduro regime, and its Cuban sponsors.” He added: “Not long ago Venezuela was one of the richest countries on earth.” Trump observed: “Today socialism has bankrupted the oil-rich nation and driven its people into abject poverty.” And he concluded with another denunciation of socialist/communist totalitarianism as a predatory, liberty-crushing ideology that produces despair:

Virtually everywhere socialism or communism has been tried it has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery it brings to everyone.

Three years earlier, campaigning at the Iowa Family Leadership Summit in July 2015, Donald Trump gushed about Norman Vincent Peale (d. 1993), a staunch anti-Communist and his family’s pastor at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan:

Norman Vincent Peale was my pastor — “ The Power of Positive Thinking” [Peale’s 1952 book]. Everybody has heard of Norman Vincent Peale? He was so great. He would give a sermon — you never wanted to leave. I’m telling you, I still remember his sermons.

Peale minced no words about where he stood on the totalitarian menace of Communism in his 1952 bestseller, penned at a critical juncture in the Cold War: “No one has more contempt for Communism than I have.” Indeed, a Nashville Banner, January 20, 1951, front-page story featured coverage of an enormous anti-Communist rally, where Peale was the keynote speaker: “Dr. Peale Tells Thousands Here — The Future Belongs to Christ Not Communism.”

David Brody’s 2018 biographical analysis, The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography, elaborates on Peale’s earlier opposition to collectivism more broadly, encompassing both Communism and fascism. Two weeks after Trump’s birth in 1946, Peale opined in a newspaper column:

There are small-minded people who have the idea that to be a Christian today, one must lean way over to the left or right: either to take Communism on the one hand or something else on the other. For the life of me, I have never been able to understand how a man who regards himself as a leader of the Christian Church can attempt to deprecate the teachings of Jesus as to try and get them into the thinking of Karl Marx or of some Fascist. Those puny little fellows compared to the colossal mind of Jesus Christ, pale into mere insignificance.

Brody avers that Peale was also an “ardent” opponent of what he viewed as Franklin Roosevelt’s coercive New Deal era statism and “demagoguery,” particularly when FDR sought a third presidential term.

A January 2016 Washington Post story (notwithstanding the negative, tangential headline) riveted upon the warm, enduring relationship between the “Trump and Peale clans”:

Norman Vincent Peale presided at Donald Trump’s wedding to Ivana Trump. He also officiated at the wedding of Trump’s sister Maryanne. The mogul co-hosted the minister’s 90th-birthday bash … “The great Norman Vincent Peale was my minister for years,” … Peale, for his part, described Trump as “kindly and courteous” with “a streak of honest humility,” and touted him as “one of America’s top positive thinkers and doers.” The minister also called Trump “ingenious” and predicted that he would be “the greatest builder of our time.” Trump’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, formally joined Peale’s  Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan — a venerable affiliate of the Reformed Church in America — during the 1970s.

While Donald Trump (in a 2009 Psychology Today interview) credited Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking for keeping his mindset optimistic after a series of setbacks, I believe Dr. Peale’s staunch anti-totalitarianism — especially his anti-Communism — influenced Trump’s own worldview. Trump’s 2000 The America We Deserve, is the best summary explication of the pro-freedom ideology which animates his foreign policy considerations. Referring to what he designated “oppressive communism,” Trump championed “western style democracy” as his desired replacement for communist totalitarianism in the collapsed former Soviet Union. Trump also denounced the “disgrace” Castro’s communism had wrought upon Cuba:

Terror reigns, the police are unrestrained; beatings and citizen disappearances are common, and all free expression outside the Communist Party is crushed.

More importantly, as has remained his wont, Trump was gimlet-eyed about the persistence — and danger — of entrenched Communism in a powerful China:

I break rank with many business colleagues and foreign policy gurus … in my unwillingness to shrug off the mistreatment of China’s citizens by their own government. My reason is simple: These oppressive policies make it clear that China’s current government has contempt for our way of life. It fears freedom because it knows its survival depends on oppression. It does not respect individual rights. It is still, at heart, a collectivist society. As such it is a destabilizing force in the world, and should be viewed that way.

Donald Trump’s muscular anti-socialist/communist pronouncements and observations highlight the seditious role reversal underlying the manufactured “Trump-Russia collusion” faux narrative. A simple juxtaposition of Trump’s written and spoken words versus the writings, utterances, and behaviors of key players orchestrating what was tantamount to a putsch (or coup d’etat, per former federal prosecutor DiGenova) against Trump — John BrennanNellie OhrChristopher Steele, and James Comey — should make this dichotomy plain to even the most blinkered and doctrinaire Never Trumpers of any persuasion.

Former CIA Director John Brennan has admitted casting his 1976 POTUS vote for Communist Party of the USA leader Gus Hall, who was then virulently anti-American and an overt champion of the “liberating” hegemonic Soviet Communist terror state under Communist dictator (and Hall’s “Comrade”) Brezhnev. Hall articulated these views in a 1975 “Report to the 21st Convention of the Communist Party” (p. 33):

Détente is not an agreement to accept, or to turn one’s head from oppression by [US] imperialism anywhere. Comrade Leonid Brezhnev made this clear in a public statement here when he stated: ‘The Soviet Union’s support for all national liberation struggles and movements is non-negotiable.’

Consistent with this 1976 vote for American Stalinist Hall as POTUS,  Brennan, in his 1980 University of Texas MS thesis, adopted the moral relativism one associates with the Communist movement. Brennan declared “absolute human rights do not exist,” rendering “[human rights] analysis subject to innumerable conditional criticisms,” rejecting free speech and Western liberty as universal values, and rationalizing Soviet Communist totalitarianism. He proffered this unsettling apologetic for the appalling human rights record of the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union (although Brennan refrained from labeling the Soviet dictator “Comrade Leonid Brezhnev”):

Can human rights violations in the Soviet Union be as easily justified in terms of the preservation of the communist ideology? Unfortunately (looking at events from a democratic perspective), yes. Since the absolute status of human rights has been denied, the justification for the violation of any of those rights has to be pursued from a particular ideological perspective. Leonid Brezhnev could justify human rights violations in the Soviet Union as a necessary part of the preservation of the communist ideological system.

Diana West’s extensive, illuminating backgrounders contextualize the hard Left (even pro-Communist) proclivities of Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele. Nellie Ohr, for example (summarized in this West interview), is a full-throated apologist for Stalin’s 1930s Ukrainian terror-famine, which according to great Sovietologist Robert Conquest’s “The Harvest of Sorrow” (p. 306), killed some 14.5 million souls. “Confirmed socialist” Christopher Steele worked for the subversive, Marxist-infiltrated Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Even James Comey has acknowledged his dalliance with Communism, as reported in October 2003 by New York Magazine’s Chris Smith:

I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.

Having imbibed Norman Vincent Peale’s positive, pro-freedom, pro-capitalist, anti-totalitarian ideology, Donald Trump’s own muscular anti-totalitarianism stands in stark contrast to the hard left — even overtly Communist — sympathies of the cabal of anti-Trump pustchists aligned against him.

Also see:

Trump and Bolton Take On the International Criminal Court

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

American Greatness, by John Fonte, September 18, 2018:

Twenty years ago—the night of July 17-18, 1998 at the United Nations conference in Rome establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC), to be exact—an American amendment to restrict the role of this new supranational global court had just been overwhelmingly defeated. An observer remarked, “the delegates burst into a spontaneous standing ovation which turned into a rhythmic applause that lasted close to 10 minutes.”

From the delegations of the European Union and from human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and a group now called Human Rights First (all of whom were staffed with many American citizens) came wild cheers and applause throughout the night, as the Rome conference rejected a series of amendments proposed by the United States to place checks on the court.

Nineteen years later in November 2017, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda officially requested permission from the court’s pre-trial chamber to proceed, for the first time, to investigate U.S. soldiers and officials for alleged “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch praised the ICC move as a “potential, if long-time overdue, path to justice.” Amnesty International lauded the global prosecutor’s request as “a seminal moment for international justice.”

On September 10, at a Federalist Society luncheon, National Security Advisor John Bolton, speaking for President Trump, responded: “This administration will fight back to protect American constitutionalism, our sovereignty, and our citizens.”

Bolton’s speech was both hard-hitting and highly principled. Rich in historical and constitutional detail, the speech examines the actions of the International Criminal Court in the context of the core principles of American constitutional democracy and the principle that the only legitimate government is government by the consent of the governed. The speech was a tour de force that should be used in classrooms as a clear example of our constitutional morality and democratic sovereignty in action.

Shocked, Appalled, and Principle-Free
Critics immediately launched attacks on Bolton’s speech, but they never responded to his principled arguments in defense of democratic self-government. A hysterical headline on the front page of the New York Times declared “On War Crimes Court, U.S. Sides with Despots, Not Allies.” Human Rights First issued a short statement that Bolton’s announcement was “reactionary fear-mongering.”

Former George W. Bush Administration official John Bellinger worried that the current White House’s actions would “hurt the court and the cause of international justice.” Indiana international law professor David Bosco called Bolton’s speech “maximally offensive to the court, often inaccurate, but also hollow at its core.”

Harvard law professor Alex Whiting of the American Bar Association’s “International Criminal Court Project” criticized what he called “Bolton’s chest-thumping remarks” and the Trump Administration’s “embrace” of “propaganda tactics.” Whiting, too, worried about the harm to the potential effectiveness of the ICC.

None of these critics bothered to engage in a principled debate with Bolton’s constitutional reasoning. Are they capable of making a principled counter-argument?

A Frontal Assault on Democratic Sovereignty
The operating principles of the International Criminal Court are in direct contradiction to the values of democratic self-government. Under ICC rules, the soldiers and officials of a democracy (such as the United States, Israel, and India) that did not ratify the ICC treaty could nevertheless be tried by ICC judges (some from undemocratic authoritarian states, who are state parties to the treaty—e.g.,the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, Tajikistan) against the consent of that democratic state, if the alleged war crimes occurred on the territory of a member of the ICC. In the current situation, the alleged American “war crimes” occurred in Afghanistan, a treaty signatory, so the ICC prosecutor is attempting to assert jurisdiction.

Supporters of the ICC argue that under the principle of “complementarity” the accused nonmember nation-state has the option of trying its own soldiers and officials first. Supposedly, the ICC acts only if the nation-state is “unable or unwilling” to conduct a fair trial of its own citizens. Crucially, however, the final decision on a whether the nation-state is acting properly is, according to ICC rules, to be decided by the ICC, not the nation-state itself.

Further, the definition of what exactly constitutes a “war crime” differs. For example, the ICC relying on Additional Protocol I of the Geneva conventions of 1977 (which the United States did not ratify and, therefore, does not recognize as international law) considers an air force bombing of military targets, without prior warning to civilians in the area, a “war crime.” The United States Defense Department rightly disagrees. In prosecuting cases the ICC obviously privileges its own definitions of war crimes and international law, not those of the accused nation-state.

In short, the entire ICC process is entirely outside of American constitutional democracy and is antithetical to the universal democratic concept of “government by consent of the governed.” Hence, the ICC is, as Bolton said, a “fundamentally illegitimate” institution in principle and in practice.

Reasserting Sovereignty in a Globalized World
When President Trump referred to “sovereignty” 21 times in his 2017 speech at the United Nations many commentators pretended confusion. What was he talking about? What does a concept such as “sovereignty” even mean in our globalized world? But clearly, the Trump Administration’s policy, announced by Bolton, repudiating the attempted power grab by the ICC’s global prosecutor is a perfect example of democratic sovereignty in action.

This issue is part of the great struggle of our time between sovereign self-government and supranational globalism (or transnational progressivism). Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony, in a brilliant new book The Virtue of Nationalism, describes this conflict as one between nationalism and imperialism. It began, Hazony tells us, in the Hebrew Bible when the nationalism of the ancient Israelites was confronted by the imperialism of the Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian, and Roman empires. And it continues today as transnationalists promote a more centralized neo-imperialist EU against resistance from some nation-states more interested in maintaining their sovereignty.

The parameters of this global struggle are exemplified by two diametrically opposed reactions to President Trump’s U.N. speech. The transnational progressive Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was appalled. “This was a bombastic nationalist speech. It must have been decades since one last heard a speech like that in the U.N. General Assembly,” she fumed. “It was the wrong speech, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience.”

On the other hand, the democratic nationalist prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was delighted: “In over 30 years in my experience with the U.N., I have never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”

The Americanists” Fight Back
Eighteen years ago in a 19-page academic essay in Chicago’s Journal of International Law, John Bolton asked “Should We Take Global Governance Seriously?” He concluded, “sadly the answer is yes.”

Moreover, writing September 1, 2000, Bolton argued we should take the “debate over global governance” seriously “not only today but far into the foreseeable future.” Prophetically, Bolton described a conflict between “Globalists” and “Americanists” that will be “fought out at the confluence of constitutional theory and foreign policy.”

That conflict continues today, but with a vital difference. Whereas previous administrations would equivocate on this point, the Trump Administration with Bolton as its point man, is unequivocally putting the interests of the “Americanists”—of our Constitution, our sovereignty, and our citizens—first.

New Alliance Emerges in Eastern Mediterranean to Reshape Regional Security Landscape

Strategic Culture, by Peter Korzun, September 7, 2018: (H/T Warsclerotic)

The military-political landscape in Europe and the Mediterranean is changing. NATO is not as unified as it once was, and Turkey’s membership has become more of a formality than a real thing. A pro-US group consisting of Great Britain, Poland, and the Baltic States has emerged as part of a North Atlantic Alliance that is divided by differences and the open rift over the 2% financial contribution, a decree that is largely ignored, along with the other divisions that are weakening the bloc. Other groups are arising that also have common security interests. A new pact, an Arab NATO allied with the United States, will soon materialize in the Middle East.  Changes are coming, but they are hard to predict as everything is currently in a state of flux.

“The United States is interested in increasing its use of military bases and ports in Greece,” said General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), on Sept. 4 during his visit to Athens.  “If you look at geography, and you look at current operations in Libya, and you look at current operations in Syria, you look at potential other operations in the eastern Mediterranean, the geography of Greece and the opportunities here are pretty significant,” he added. According to the Military Times, “[N]o specific bases have been identified, but that Supreme Allied Commander Europe Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti is evaluating several options for increased US flight training, port calls to do forward-based ship repairs and additional multilateral exercises.” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross came to Greece right after the CJCS’s visit to take part in the annual Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.

Washington’s relations with Ankara continue to deteriorate. The idea of expelling Turkey from NATO is being discussed in the most prestigious American media outlets. The view that Ankara is more of an adversary than an ally is commonly held among American pundits.  General Dunford pointedly did not include Turkey on his itinerary, as top US military officials would normally do in order to maintain balance in their relationship with Athens and Ankara. This is a clear message to Turkey.

It was reported in May that the US military had started to operate MQ-9 aerial vehicles out of Greece’s Larissa military base.  That same month, the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier was one of the American ships making a port call. Greece’s Souda Bay naval base is being used to support US operations in Syria. US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt has often cited the strategic significance of the ports of Alexandroupolis and Thessaloniki.

Washington is interested in helping the Greek military conduct more effective operations in the Aegean and the Mediterranean. Greece is a crucial element in dealing with the challenges of the Eastern Med, the Maghreb, the Balkans, and the Black Sea region.

There can be no doubt that Ankara’s dispute with Cyprus and Israel over drilling rights in the Mediterranean was also on the agenda of the talks during Gen. Dunford’s visit, although no comments were made to the media in regard to this issue. Greece wants to transform Alexandroupoli into a hub for the gas being exported from Israel and Cyprus to Europe. The pipeline’s approximate length is between 1,300 to 2,000 kilometers, and it will begin in Israel and cross through the territories of Cyprus, Crete and Greece to eventually end in Italy. The hub will also have a rail link to Bulgaria. A floating LNG reception, storage, and regasification unit will be part of this project, to make it possible to bring in US LNG supplies.

The planned route of the EastMed pipeline, a project supported by the EU, will bypass Turkey, despite the increased cost. Ankara will hardly sit idly by and watch this turn of events. Turkey claims that part of the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus is under Turkish jurisdiction.  According to Turkey’s President Erdogan, the “Eastern Mediterranean faces a security threat should Cyprus continue its unilateral operations of offshore oil and gas exploration in the region.” The countries involved in the project may need US protection and help in order for this to come to fruition.

For the US, strengthening its relations with Greece means expanding support for the emerging Greece-Israel-Cyprus Eastern Mediterranean Alliance (EMA) that has been driven by the discovery of hydrocarbons in Israeli and Cypriot waters and by opposition to Turkey. As Ambassador Pyatt put it, “Americans are back in a really big way.”

A year ago the US opened its first permanent military base in Israel run by the US military’s European Command (EUCOM). Officially, the primary mission of the air-defense facility located inside the Israeli Air Force’s Mashabim air base, west of the towns of Dimona and Yerucham, is to detect and warn of a possible ballistic missile attack from Iran. This is part of a broader process as a new military alliance with its own infrastructure emerges.

In 2015, Greece and Israel signed a military cooperation agreement. Bilateral and trilateral military drills, such as Nobel Dina, a multinational joint air and sea exercise conducted under the partnership of Greece, Israel, and the United States, have become routine. In March 2014, Israel opened a new military attaché office in Greece to signify this ever-closer relationship.

Israel has a strong defense and military relationship with Cyprus. The three nations are pledging deeper military ties, in keeping with the declaration they issued at the first-ever trilateral defense summit last year.  Both Greece and Cyprus are EU members and Israel needs allies within the bloc. Greece opposed the EU’s decision to label products from Israel’s settlements. In May, the leaders of the three allied Eastern Mediterranean nations paid a joint visit to Washington.

Albania, Greece’s neighbor, has recently offered to establish a US military base on its soil. Albania‘s defense minister, Olta Xhacka, made the proposal in April during her visit to Washington.

Of all the members of the emerging alliance, only Israel is not a NATO member, but it’s an enhanced partner and a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue. What we actually have is a new alliance within the alliance, which was unofficially established to counter Turkey, a full-fledged NATO member.  Under the circumstances, it would only be natural for Ankara to distance itself from NATO to move toward Russia, Iran, China, the SCO, and, perhaps, the Eurasian Union.

The alliance of the US and the three Eastern Mediterranean states has emerged as a political and military “petite entente,” a force to be reckoned with at a time when NATO is facing serious challenges to its unity and the EU’s future is in question.

The two large entities that bring together nations sharing the same “values,” or the desire to counter China or Russia, are giving way to smaller groups of countries pursuing shared regional interests, thus undermining the very concept of what is known as the United West.

Iran is unsteady on the inside — the US should squeeze from the outside

Getty Images

The Hill, by Peter Huessy, July 5, 2018:

Americans are not eager to find more dragons to slay around the world. Thus, the military counter-terror effort against Iranian activity in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq will ultimately be largely a local affair with diminished U.S. support.

However, whatever deterrent forces we continue to deploy, such as our much-improved missile defenses and naval presence in the Persian Gulf region, the United States and our allies need to use whatever political, economic, diplomatic and commercial capabilities we have to help the people of Iran take the regime down themselves.

Can such a policy succeed? The signs are encouragingPresident Trumphas put together an emerging coalition to counter Iran that includes Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi coalition is now moving fast to take down the Iranian-financed and armed Houthis in Yemen; ISIS has been largely destroyed by U.S. and allied forces; and Israel and the U.S. have taken out key Iranian military targets in Syria.

Correlation of forces against Iran?

What the Soviets in the 1970’s called the “correlation of forces” is moving against Iran. That is due in significant part to the changed policies of the new American administration.

The Iranian currency is collapsingcapital flight is growing; the middle class is rebelling, as are minorities; and government repression has accelerated including beatings, jailing, extrajudicial executions, and arbitrary arrests.

Many thousands of Iranians are protesting in multiple cities and townships against regime-caused hardships, and the mullahs can only promise them “severe punishment.”

Current U.S. sanctions have intimidated numerous multinationals from investing in Iran. As a result, the oil and gas sector, the keystone of the entire Iranian economy, is suffering. We could, as we have previouslydone, impose serious penalties against European banks for facilitating illicit Iran-related financial activities.

A new policy and plan

What then should be our plan?

First, of critical importance, Iran should be removed from access to SWIFT, (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), so it cannot sell and purchase oil. SWIFT’s corporate rules prohibit its users from engaging in “conduct which is not in line with generally accepted business conduct principles” and in 2012 the European Union took exactly such action (but it was later rescinded in 2015).

Second, Iran’s oil exports should then be effectively embargoed, with concomitant steps taken by the U.S. and its allies to step up alternative oil production including ANWR and the Keystone pipeline.

Third, Iran should be removed from international forums and its embassies shuttered, even as we mount a campaign of public diplomacy to fully support the Iranian people in their struggle to be free.

Fourth, a fully-funded program of stopping desertification and enhancing water supplies for the people of a new Iran should be planned by America and its allies. Drastic water shortages are a serious threat to millions of Iranians.

Fifth, a cyber-campaign should be implemented against Iran’s nuclear weapons program and rocket manufacturing facilities.

Sixth, the U.S. should announce that if Iranian “fast attack” boats and drones resume harassing American naval vessels, the watchwords should be “sink ‘em”.

Seventh, our border security should be stepped up to ensure threats do not enter America.

Eighth, and most important, besides a public diplomacy campaign supporting Iranian dissidents, the U.S. should help the protesters in the street. Strike funds and encrypted phones should be supplied in a fashion similar to America’s support of Poland’s Solidarity movement during the Reagan administration.

Hard Choices

Iran is no true democracy; there are no moderates in power; Iran seeks no accommodation with the West, nor has the regime given up its quest for nuclear weapons.

In light of these truths, the inherited Iran policy must be junked. Unfortunately, changing U.S. Iran policy will not be easy. Critics of such a new administration policy say that proposing regime behavior change is a pipe dream and simply a demand that Iran “give up.” Others warn the “regime change evangelists” are back in the White House.

Non-intervention may sound attractive and it is a tempting path to follow. But what if Iran succeeded in its goal of becoming the hegemon of the Middle East, filling the vacuum that would be created by our complete withdrawal?

Such a power position would make Iran a key player of the production and sale of what some estimate to be 70 percent of the world’s hydrocarbons — a chief component of petroleum and natural gas — and would consequently give the mullahs huge leverage over the economies of all industrialized nations.

The choice before America and her allies is simple. Either help the people of Iran end the reign of the mullahs, or see a hegemon arise in the Middle East that is opposed to all our collective interests and security.

Peter Huessy is the director of Strategic Deterrent Studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies of the Air Force Association. He has been a guest professor on Nuclear Policy and Congressional Relations at the U.S. Naval Academy since 2011. Previously, Huessy was a senior defense fellow at American Foreign Policy Council.

Andrew C. McCarthy: Lessons from the Blind Sheikh Terror Trial, What Animates Jihadists, Why U.S. Middle East Policy Fails, Collapsing Iran’s Regime (Part I)

BIG IDEAS WITH BEN WEINGARTEN PODCAST, By Ben Weingarten, June 6,2018:

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT

My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In addition to being one of the nation’s foremost national security analysts and legal experts — formerly serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the vaunted Southern District of New York — he is one of the most humble, insightful and devoted patriots I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

In Part I of my in-depth interview with Andy McCarthy, we discussed his experience prosecuting the jihadist mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack and what it taught him about the Islamic supremacist threat America faces, the primacy of religion for Muslims in the Middle East and in the West, why Islamic supremacists choose jihadist savagery over assimilation, willful blindness in American national security and foreign policy regarding the nature of the jihadist threat, folly in American foreign affairs from Syria to Libya, and the imperative to collapse the Khomeinist Iranian regime.

What We Discussed

  • How McCarthy, an Irish Catholic kid from the Bronx became one of the nation’s foremost legal experts on jihad and Sharia law
  • The prosecution of the Blind Sheikh and his terrorist cell over the first World Trade Center attack and plots to destroy other New York City landmarks
  • McCarthy’s impressions having sat face-to-face with some of the world’s most evil jihadists, and why their portrayal as genocidal maniacs is wholly inaccurate
  • The strength of religion over other animating factors when it comes to jihad, and the West’s projection and mirror-imaging
  • Why Islamic supremacists do not want to assimilate into Western culture or adopt Western principles such as freedom of religion and individual liberty
  • The willful blindness and arrogance of America’s national security and foreign policy establishment over Islamic supremacism and the Middle East
  • Whether America is better off in homeland security and foreign affairs almost 17 years after 9/11
  • McCarthy’s belief in the Bush Doctrine
  • What America’s national interest is in Syria
  • McCarthy’s fear that America will be unwilling to engage in future wars of necessity given the expense in blood and treasure of the last two decades
  • What McCarthy would do if he were counterjihadist czar
  • The West’s disastrous record of colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots
  • The disaster of Iran Deal and the imperative to collapse Iran’s Khomeinist regime

What’s really behind Macron’s sweet talk about the Iran deal?

Ludovic Marin/AFP | Getty Images

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, April 25, 2018:

French President Emmanuel Macron is waging an all-out campaign to convince President Trump — and the American people — to keep the United States in the Iran nuclear deal.

In a speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday morning, Macron called on the United States to stay in the Iran deal. He began his remarks claiming that Iran would never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, delivering what at first appeared to be tough rhetoric.

But shortly thereafter, Macron quickly took a more capitulatory tone and showed his hand when he demanded that the nations of the world respect the sovereignty of the terrorist regime that rules the country. He then pledged that France would not leave the Iran nuclear deal (known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA).

He described Iran as a “great civilization,” but notably failed to mention that the ruling regime dismisses Iran’s historic Persian heritage and replaces it with an Islamic supremacist doctrine.

Here’s more of what Macron didn’t tell Congress and the American people:

Staying in the Iran deal would guarantee an economic windfall for France. He knows that continuing U.S. involvement in the deal — which effectively keeps it afloat — secures billions of dollars in trade deals for France. Leaving the deal would almost certainly terminate these agreements.

As the United States continues to warn against securing economic partnerships with the regime in Tehran, France has ignored these warnings. Paris is more than eager to execute multi-billion-dollar accords with the terrorist regime. France-based Airbus has a deal in place to sell 100 jetliners to the regime for $10 billion dollars. Total, a French oil and gas company, has signed a $2 billion deal with Tehran. Moreover, as the United States has tightened sanctions on the regime, France is working on bolstering trade with Iran.

The debate over the future of the Iran deal comes as the ayatollah’s theocracy is on the ropes.

Instead of focusing on building up the economy inside Iran, the regime has decided to dedicate most of its expenditures toward waging expansionist wars in foreign lands. Iran is in total upheaval, and protest movements continue to shake the foundations of the ruling class. The Iranian people are rising up throughout their country in defiance of the totalitarian state that rules over them with an iron fist. The Iranian economy is in tatters and continues on a downward spiral. Its currency, the rial, is depreciating on an exponential level. All of these circumstances pose real threats to the very existence of the regime.

President Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to stay in the Iran deal, negotiate a “fix” to it, or leave it altogether. Staying in the Iran deal, as presently construed, delivers a much-needed lifeline to the mullahs, who will continue to use the platform to negotiate bailout packages from European and Asian powers. Recent European proposals for reforming show that they have little interest in countering the serious threats from Iran.

The European model for stability and security with Iran, presented through the JCPOA, has no proven successes. If anything, it enriches the ruling parties in Europe while simultaneously bending the knee to Islamic totalitarians.

France and many others in Western Europe have surrendered their nations’ sovereignty — and moral authority — to radical Islamic theocrats. They believe that making a temporary peace agreement with the regime in Tehran — which serves as the incubator for Shiite radicalism — can perhaps stave off further terrorist threats. European powers have chosen to largely ignore the massive, uncontrolled Middle East migration crisis. And due to the influx of Middle East migrants and the Islamist doctrine they bring along, Sunni radicalism has become embedded in European society, so much that European intelligence agencies are entirely overwhelmed with domestic and foreign terrorist threats. French and German Jews are now attacked on what seems like a daily basis. Jews and other minority populations are fleeing the country in droves. Europe has surrendered minority protections to the interests of the millions of new migrants.

The French model is a model for surrender. President Trump knows that his primary duty is to protect the interests and safety of the citizens of the United States. He can do this by either reforming the Iran nuclear deal seriously, or simply leaving it altogether. President Macron and the French establishment are not serious about reforming the nuclear deal or keeping their own people safe from continuous terror threats. They have chosen the path of submission. President Trump must not make the same mistake. America does not bend the knee to foreign ideologies, particularly the Shiite radicalism articulated by the theocrats who rule Iran.

Trump’s Grand Strategy: Get the United States out of the Middle East, Now

Our troops in Syria are hostages to Obama’s deal with Iran, which mandates a state of perpetual war between America and the region’s Sunni majority. Donald Trump wants to withdraw from both.

Tablet Magazine, by Lee Smith, April 23, 2018:

“Mission Accomplished,” Donald Trump tweeted triumphantly after the recent limited strikes on Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons facilities. Critics were quick to portray the President’s boast as hot air, and pontificate about the need for a comprehensive White House strategy to deal with Syria and other long-term regional issues.

But Trump does have a strategy, which the strikes and the President’s tweets have made plain—a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria and a U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal. Washington has plenty of allies to work with and through in the Middle East, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia. Both share an American interest in rolling back Iran. Further, the White House can work against Iran and its partners in Syria through proxy forces on the ground.

The peculiar fact is that neither the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, nor the U.S. troop presence in Syria was designed to push back on the clerical regime. Quite the opposite—they are part of a strategy purposed, perhaps unintentionally, to relieve Tehran. But now Trump intends to get out of both—while reserving the prerogative to use force, as the strikes made plain.

There is little evidence to suggest that Trump is a grand strategist in the classical mode, but his instincts are right. Contrary to the horror and scorn with which both ideas have been greeted by the Beltway foreign-policy consensus, Trump’s grand Middle Eastern strategy makes sense.

The irony is that Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, sought to accomplish the same goal of withdrawing the United States from the mire of what Trump rightly describes as a “troubled” region. The difference is that Obama’s mechanism for extricating America from the Middle East was the nuclear deal with Iran, which has paradoxically entailed not only more bloodshed but also continuing U.S. military engagement on the ground. Obama’s big mistake was his naïve belief in Iranian PR, which transformed a militarily weak, economically backwards, and politically unstable country into a technological powerhouse fronted by the dashing revolutionary fashion-plate, Qassem Suleimani.

Obama’s grand strategy was to “balance” traditional U.S. allies against Iran to create a kind of stasis while the U.S. snuck out the back door. The problem with that strategy was that Iran was simply unable to fill the stabilizing role Obama had in mind. It’s too weak, and there are many, many more Sunnis in the Middle East than Shiites. Not even Vladimir Putin’s military escalation in September 2015 followed by massive infusions of U.S. cash to Iran and its clients could win a decisive victory for the Assad regime, which Russia and Iran support.

Why is this glaringly obvious failure in judgment still so difficult for D.C. pundits and think-tankers to understand? In part, because it would acknowledge that Obama wasn’t so smart, which means they aren’t so smart, either. It would also force the chattering classes to acknowledge years of U.S. complicity in the Syrian genocide. Americans, especially those on both the left and the right who see demonstrating American virtue as a main goal of U.S. foreign policy, still cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that Obama didn’t simply stand idly by while the Iranians and their allies slaughtered and gassed Syrians, although that prospect would certainly be bad enough. Rather, America actively assisted in the slaughter.

The money that the Obama White House provided Iran—tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, the $1.7 billion ransom for American hostages—helped fund Iran’s Syrian campaign. The weapons and the soldiers who committed genocide inside Syria were partly paid for with U.S. dollars. American aid to the Iraqi army and Lebanese Armed Forces helped stabilized Iranian holdings while the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its partners like Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, nearly all of whom were Sunnis, many of whose villages were then subjected to sectarian cleansing and replaced with Shia loyal to Iran. While D.C. partisans of “fighting ISIS” point to the prevention of a future terror attack on U.S. soil as the main rationale for their mission, it doesn’t take a genius to see how helping kill 500,000 Sunnis in Syria is more likely to produce future terror attacks than to prevent them.

Trump’s strategy is simple: Pull the plug. The Middle East is a “troubled place,” Trump said after the strikes. “We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.”

What this means in practice is that the President is almost certain to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement next month. He’s given Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to beat ISIS and then we’re out.

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