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:

US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief

flynnout_eng
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.

How America must fight the jihadists in the cyberspace

world-map-networkConservative Review, by Benjamin Weingarten, February 10, 2017:

As the Trump administration reorients America’s national security and foreign policy towards the global jihadist threat, it is imperative that it take the fight to the enemy in every dimension: Land, air, sea, space, economic/financial and cyber.

In the last area, President Trump is reportedly pursuing an executive order to review our nation’s cybersecurity measures.

A disturbing investigative report published by the Associated Press (AP) on the Pentagon’s “WebOps” program suggests that our offensive cyber programs are in need of review as well.

The purported purpose of the Obama administration-initiated WebOps program was to stop prospective jihadis from joining the Islamic State through online counterpropaganda.

In practice, the program looks like a boondoggle.

According to the AP’s investigation, WebOps is plagued by among other things:

  • Gross incompetence in the form of operators engaging with would-be jihadis who have limited fluency in Arabic language, relevant cultural and historical knowledge, or expertise in jihadist groups, let alone Islamic theology;
  • Inability and unwillingness to honestly measure success as operators are scored based upon whether the subjects with whom they engage subsequently reflect “militant views or a more tolerant outlook,” which is of course inherently subjective.  Scoring teams were reportedly encouraged “to indicate progress against radicalism in their scoring reports even if they were not making any”;
  • “Grade inflation” as operators are in-part judged on the number of engagements they have with potential jihadis — figures that are manipulated by blasting out automated tweets to mass numbers of individuals; and
  • Minimal oversight as the firm hired to provide the operators was also scoring their work.

The AP asserts that there is a new $500 million contract for a five-year counterpropaganda program to be run in parallel with WebOps that has drawn allegations of potential corruption with respect to favoritism/conflicts of interest in the bidding process.

Reportedly, the contractor who runs the WebOps operation may be subcontracted on this parallel project, thereby keeping WebOps running for up to five more years.

The Washington Post describes another cyberwarfare counterpropaganda effort that appears more effective on its face.

The program, interestingly run by former Navy SEAL Michael Lumpkin —  who was previously tabbed by then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to facilitate the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl —  targets Facebook ads towards those identified as potential recruits to Islamic State. Such messages are delivered in Arabic and supposedly better tailored towards the would-be jihadis.

The ads “offer a harrowing view of life inside the self-proclaimed caliphate, sometimes with photos or cartoons and often in the words of refugees and defectors who warn others to stay away.”

The program seeks to more accurately measure effectiveness than WebOps apparently:

Each day, the team monitors the responses to different variations of the ads in real time, measuring how often each is viewed and for how long. Lumpkin discovered quickly that the appeal of different messages varied from one region to another. In locales with strong tribal traditions, appeals to family and duty seem to resonate. In others, it’s the testimony of defectors, supplied mostly by partner agencies. Their disillusionment reveals “the true nature of ISIL,” including harsh conditions that the group’s propaganda videos never talk about, Lumpkin said.

Of course, as Lumpkin acknowledges, as with the WebOps program, success is difficult to measure. Islamic State recruitment rates are falling, but Lumpkin cannot prove a link between his program and the reality on the ground.

An all-of-the-above counterjihadist effort makes eminent sense.

But programs such as these beg certain questions:

  • Are these programs based on a clear understanding of the enemy?
  • Are the people carrying out the programs competent?
  • Can we define success?
  • Is there any empirical evidence that suggest such programs have been successful in countering jihadism historically?
  • Do these programs represent the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars?

During the Cold War, we fought an ideological enemy in the Communists to great effect in part through propaganda delivered via radio, literature, and other means, challenging their totalitarian ideology, while illustrating that it was a failure and highlighting the blessings of freedom.

We conducted this ideological battle on the enemy’s own terms.

In the case of the jihadists, the enemy’s ideology is not based on a view of economics or history, but rather on faith.

Seeking to dissuade an enemy because of the horrific things Islamic State may do surely appeals to Westerners, but does it to the people Islamic State is seeking to recruit? In the Middle East, there is almost unanimous support according to Pew polls for making Sharia the law of the land. The Islamic State has built a caliphate ostensibly based on pure Sharia. Do we believe that Western messaging efforts are going to be able to compete with the Koran and hadith?

Generally speaking, as during the Cold War, information warfare is about demoralizing the enemy. Lauding liberty, and showing thriving Western life demoralized Communists. Jihadists alternatively view our infidel society as a decadent and corrupt affront to Islam.

One prospective way to demoralize them however is to show that we are stronger than them, and can dominate them wherever they seek to confront us. The strong horse is historically most respected in Islam-based nations.

Another initiative we can undertake —  in the private sector rather than through government —  is to lift up the voices of brave apostates and genuine anti-Sharia reformers. They will have more credibility than any Westerner seeking to dissuade Sharia supremacism, although we cannot know how effective such efforts will be. Apostasy is punishable by death, and challenging core religious tenets is likely to be met with substantial resistance.

Taxpayer dollars in the cyberspace might be far more effectively spent spreading disinformation meant to confuse the enemy on social media, infiltrating their information networks to obtain intelligence and thwart nefarious activities, and hacking and causing irreparable damage to their systems.

As the Middle East Media Research Institute writes:

The…Trump administration will have to deal with jihadis’ increased use of encrypted apps, Snapchat, and whatever social media emerge next. Many of his cabinet picks were asked about encryption during their confirmation hearings. If it does not move swiftly, the progress made over the past year on this issue may be lost; jihadis have shown great persistence in continually identifying and exploiting the weaknesses of these platforms, as well as constantly moving to new technologies and staying two steps ahead of Western security agencies.

Today’s generation of Internet-savvy millennial jihadis has infested U.S.-based social media platforms, relying on apps purchased from Google and Apple stores. They use them not only to disseminate their messages but also to recruit skilled individuals to hack websites, spread viruses, and carry out other cybercrimes.

…Right now, every single jihadi organization has an online presence, and every one of them is likewise investing tremendous resources in its cyber activity. These cyber-jihadis, led by ISIS, are swelling in number in the U.S., the West, and worldwide, and they are becoming more sophisticated by the day.

We must compete in cyberwarfare with the jihadis, but doing so requires knowing ourselves and knowing our enemy.

All efforts to do so must be oriented to the jihadist threat.

Programs in which success is not only highly uncertain but likely unquantifiable deserve the utmost scrutiny.

Precious resources —  whether in terms of dollars, people or technology —  ought to be invested wisely.

The American citizens deserve nothing less when it comes to ensuring their safety and security.

Ben Weingarten is Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication services firm. A graduate of Columbia University, he regularly contributes to publications such as City Journal, The Federalist, Newsmax and PJ Media on national security/defense, economics and politics. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. 

The Trump Way of Winning the War

The PLO is disoriented, panicked and hysterical. Speaking to Newsweek this week, Saeb Erekat, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas’s chief conduit to Israel and the Americans, complained that since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, no administration official had spoken to them.

“I don’t know any of them [Trump’s advisers]. We have sent them letters, written messages. They don’t even bother to respond to us.”

The Trump administration’s shunning of the PLO is a marked departure from the policies of its predecessor. For former president Barack Obama, together with Iran, the Palestinians were viewed as the key players in the Middle East. Abbas was the first foreign leader Obama called after taking office.

Erekat’s statement reveals something that is generally obscured. Despite its deep support in Europe, the UN and the international Left, without US support, the PLO is irrelevant.

All the achievements the PLO racked up under Obama – topped off with the former president’s facilitation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 against Israel – are suddenly irrelevant. Their impact dissipated the minute Trump took office.

Israel, in contrast, is more relevant than ever.

While Trump occasionally pays lip service to making peace in the Middle East, his real goal is to win the war against jihadist Islam. And he rightly views Israel as a woefully underutilized strategic ally that shares his goal and is well-placed to help him achieve it.

During the electoral campaign, Trump often spoke derisively of Obama’s nuclear pact with Tehran. And he repeatedly promised to eradicate Islamic State. But when asked to explain what he intended to do on these scores, Trump demurred. You don’t expect me to let the enemy know my plan, do you?

Trump’s critics dismissed his statements as empty talk. But since he came into office, each day signals that he does have a plan and that he is implementing it. The plan coming into focus involves a multidimensional campaign that if successful will both neutralize Iran as a strategic threat and obliterate ISIS.

Regarding Iran specifically, Trump’s moves to date involve operations on three levels. First, there is the rhetorical campaign to distinguish the Trump administration from its successor.

Trump launched the campaign on Twitter on Wednesday writing, “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the US has squandered three trillion dollars there.”

Shortly before his post, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi appointed Iranian proxy Qasim al Araji to serve as his interior minister.

At a minimum, Trump’s statement signaled an abandonment of Obama’s policy of cooperating with Iranian forces and Iranian-controlled Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

At around the same time Trump released his tweet about Iranian control of Iraq, his National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn took a knife to Obama’s obsequious stand on Iran during a press briefing at the White House.

While Trump’s statement related to Iran’s growing power in Iraq, Flynn’s remarks were directed against its nonconventional threat and its regional aggression. Both were on display earlier this week.

On Sunday, Iran carried out its 12th ballistic missile test since concluding its nuclear deal with Obama, and its first since Trump took office.

On Monday, Iranian-controlled Houthi forces in Yemen attacked a Saudi ship in the Bab al-Mandab choke point connecting the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Flynn condemned both noting that they threatened the US and its allies and destabilized the Middle East. The missile test, he said, violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that anchored the nuclear deal.

Flynn then took a step further. He drew a sharp contrast between the Obama administration’s responses to Tehran’s behavior and the Trump administration’s views of Tehran’s provocative actions.

“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions – including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms,” he noted.

“The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk.”

Flynn ended his remarks by threatening Iran directly.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he warned.

While Flynn gave no details of what the US intends to do to Iran if it continues its aggressive behavior, the day before he made his statement, the US opened a major, multilateral, British-led naval exercise in the Persian Gulf. US naval forces in the region have been significantly strengthened since January 20 and rules of engagement for US forces in the Persian Gulf have reportedly been relaxed.

Perhaps the most potent aspect of Trump’s emerging strategy for defeating the forces of jihad is the one that hasn’t been discussed but it was signaled, through a proxy, the day after Trump took office.

On January 21, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a remarkable message to the Iranian people on his Facebook page. Netanyahu drew a sharp distinction between the “warm” Iranian people and the “repressive” regime.

Netanyahu opened his remarks by invoking the new administration.

“I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime, which calls for Israel’s destruction,” the prime minister explained.

“But it struck me recently that I’ve spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people. So I hope this message reaches every Iranian.”

Netanyahu paid homage to the Green Revolution of 2009 that was brutally repressed by the regime. In his words, “I’ll never forget the images of proud, young students eager for change gunned down in the streets of Tehran in 2009.”

Netanyahu’s statement was doubtlessly coordinated with the new administration. It signaled that destabilizing with the goal of overthrowing the regime in Tehran is a major component of Trump’s strategy.

By the looks of things in Iran, regime opponents are taking heart from the new tone emanating from Washington. Iranian dissidents have asked for a meeting with Trump’s team. And a week and a half before Trump’s inauguration, regime opponents staged a massive anti-regime protest.

Protesters used the public funeral of former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to denounce the regime. In 2009, Rafsanjani sided with many of the Green Movement’s positions. His daughter was a leader of the protests.

Among the estimated 2.5 million people who attended the funeral, scores of thousands interrupted the official eulogies to condemn the regime, condemn the war with Syria and condemn the regime’s Russian allies.

This then brings us to Syria, where the war against ISIS and the campaign against Iran are set to converge. To date, Trump has limited his stated goals in Syria to setting up safe zones inside the country where displaced Syrians can live securely. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have agreed to cooperate in these efforts.

Trump is now engaged in a talks with the Kremlin both above and below the radar about the possibility of coordinating their operations in Syria to enable safe zones to be established.

It is fairly clear what the US objective here would be. The US wishes to convince Moscow to effectively end its alliance with the Iranian regime. Trump repeatedly stated that the entire spectrum of US-Russian relations is now in play. Talks between the two governments will encompass Ukraine, US economic sanctions on Russia, nuclear weapons, Russian bases in Syria and Russia’s alliance with Iran and its Hezbollah proxies.

Everything is on the table.

Trump understands that Russia is threatened by Sunni jihadists and that Russia views Iran as a counterweight to ISIS and its counterparts in the Caucasus. A deal between the US and Russia could involve a Russian agreement to end its support for Iran and Hezbollah in exchange for US acceptance of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, cancellation of sanctions and perhaps some form of acquiescence to Russia’s military presence in Syria.

Russia and the US could then collaborate with Arab states with Israeli support to defeat ISIS and end the Syrian refugee crisis.

Combined with actions the Trump administration is already taking in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and its telegraphed aim of backing a popular Iranian insurrection, Trump’s hypothetical deal with Russia would neutralize Iran as a conventional and nonconventional threat.

This then brings us back to Israel – the first target of Iran’s aggression. If Trump’s strategy is successful, then the PLO will not be Israel’s only foe that is rendered irrelevant.

Earlier this week it was reported that in the two-and-a-half years since the last war with Hamas, the Iranian-backed, Muslim Brotherhood-affiliate terrorist group has rebuilt its forces. Today Hamas fields assets and troops that match the capabilities it fielded during Operation Protective Edge.

Hezbollah, with its effective control over Lebanon, including the Lebanese military, is a strategic threat to Israel.

To date, Israel has demurred from targeting Hezbollah and Hamas missile arsenals, but not because it is incapable of destroying them. Israel’s efforts to avoid conflict with its enemies, even at the price of their rearmament, also haven’t stemmed from fear of European or UN condemnation or even from fear of the so-called “CNN-effect.”

Israel has chosen not to defeat its enemies – not to mention the EU-backed NGOs that whitewash them – because the Americans have supported them.

The Clinton administration barred Israel from taking decisive action against either Hezbollah or the Palestinians.

The Bush administration forced Israel to stand down during the war with Hezbollah in 2006.

The Obama administration effectively sided with Hamas against Israel in 2014.

In other words, across three administrations, the Americans made it impossible for Israel to take decisive military action against its enemies.

Under Obama, the US also derailed every Israeli attempt to curb the power of EU-funded subversive organizations operating from inside of Israel.

Trump’s emerging strategy on Iran and ISIS, together with his refusal to operate in accordance with the standard US playbook on the Palestinians, indicates that the US has abandoned this practice. Under Trump, Israel is free to defeat its enemies. Their most powerful deterrent against Israel – the US – is gone.

Israel has long argued that there is no difference between al-Qaida and Hamas or between ISIS and Hezbollah. It has also argued that Iran threatens not only Israel but the world as a whole. Hoping to co-opt the forces of jihad rather than defeat them, successive US administrations have chosen to deny this obvious truth.

Unlike his predecessors, Trump is serious about winning. To do so, he is even willing to take the radical step of accepting Israel as an ally.

The PLO is right to be hysterical.

***

Also see:

Report: Trump to Announce U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem Monday

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, byJoel B. Pollak, Jnuary 22, 2017:

Numerous unconfirmed reports are circulating in the international media that President Donald Trump intends announcing Monday that he will relocate the U.S. embassy to Israel from the coastal city of Tel Aviv to the capital city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has been Israel’s capital city since its founding in 1948, but most countries have deferred moving the embassy there because the original UN partition plan for the British Mandate proposed Jerusalem as a city under international sovereignty.

Jordan, the Palestinians, and all surrounding Arab nations rejected the UN plan, and the Jordanian army took over the eastern half of Jerusalem in 1948, expelling the Jewish inhabitants of the Old City, where Jews had lived for several millennia.

With that part of the UN plan effectively rejected by Jordan and the Arab world, Israel established its capital in western Jerusalem. Though Palestinians, in theory, claim all of Jerusalem for themselves, the part of Jerusalem west of the 1949 armistice line (the “1967 lines,” or the “Green Line”) will unquestionably remain part of Israel in any peace agreement.

The core of the Arab and Muslim rejection of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a rejection of Jewish claims to religious and historical connection to the city itself. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat once turned down an offer of shared sovereignty over the Temple Mount because, as he told then-President Bill Clinton, he saw the Jewish claim to the holy site as fictitious.

In 1995, Congress mandated that the U.S. move the embassy to Israel through the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The law, however, contained a waiver that allowed the president to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, acknowledging the supremacy of the executive in determining the foreign policy of the U.S. Trump’s pledge on Monday — if it comes to fruition — would decline that waiver.

Opponents of the decision to move the embassy have warned that it would set off violence in the Arab world. But it would also inspire joyful celebrations in Israel and around the world, as the U.S. would likely inspire other countries to follow its example, and would help Israel cement its national vision of “a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

At the inaugural ceremony itself, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles stressed the themes of Zion and Jerusalem, quoting from Psalm 137:5: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.”

President Trump was scheduled to speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayhu by telephone on Sunday afternoon.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Before and After Obama: 10 Signs of a Diminished America

TIM SLOAN, Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images

TIM SLOAN, Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John  Hayward, January 18, 2017:

The media acted as if Donald Trump’s campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” was an incomprehensible emotional outburst from people who didn’t realize, or wouldn’t accept, just how great Barack Obama was. President Obama has spent his final months in office giving juvenile speeches full of excuses for why nothing bad since 2009 was his fault, while everything good was his personal handiwork. Why, if you just ignore all the terrorist attacks that happened on American soil over the past eight years, you can believe his carefully-phrased assertion that there haven’t been any terrorist attacks!

In truth, everyone paying attention could see the signs of a diminished America, and they knew exactly what Trump was talking about. A new Gallup poll finds that American believe the country slid backwards in 14 out of 19 policy domains, with the worst deterioration in the national debt, crime, income inequality, and race relations.

The four areas of improvement Gallup found were in the situation for gays and lesbians (Obama’s only truly high mark), energy (which got better despite his policy preferences, thanks to the private sector), climate change (whose partisans scream that it’s getting worse!) and the economy. “Health care” was a complete wash, which is awful, given the amount of money Obama spent on it.

The new administration has its work cut out for it to repair the damage caused by eight years of Obama’s policies in the following ten key areas.

1. Terrorism: Let’s start with terrorism, since Obama has made such a fetish of implying it’s not worse, even though his heavily-lawyered denials merely claim that a highly specific and unusually organized sort of attack hasn’t been taking place. In essence, Obama wants congratulations because the Islamic State hasn’t marched an army across the Rio Grande and sacked San Antonio, or sent a squad of terrorists to take out a shopping mall with signed, dated, notarized orders from Raqqa in their pockets.

Obama’s factoid about zero “foreign-directed terror attacks” is based on the highly contentious notion that soldiers of Allah (even the one who had “Soldier of Allah” printed on his business card, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan) aren’t truly operatives of ISIS or al-Qaeda because they weren’t in constant two-way communication with the terrorist high command. (In Hassan’s case, even that weak excuse falls apart, because he was in touch with jihadi guru Anwar al-Awlaki.)

In truth, the number and frequency of deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil grew substantially worse under Obama. The raw number of fatalities under his predecessor, of course, is distorted by the horrific carnage of 9/11.

No one knew what a “lone wolf” terrorist was until Obama came along. The departing President seems to think “lone wolves” are less of a problem than big-ticket, carefully-planned professional atrocities like 9/11… but that’s the exact opposite of what his own intelligence community says. They’re warning that isolated extremists using the Internet to connect with global terrorist ideologies are difficult to spot in advance, and our resources are stretched to the breaking point keeping tabs on them.

The situation worldwide is even worse, with the number of annual terrorist deaths increasing over 400 percent since Obama took office. ISIS happened on Obama’s watch, while al-Qaeda and the Taliban are resurgent. The hellish mess he made of Syria will threaten the security of Western nations for years to come.

2. Cybersecurity: It should be clear by now that information security was, at most, a political annoyance to Barack Obama. His primary concern was controlling the public-relations fallout — keeping cybersecurity disasters off the media radar, because they made his administration look bad. Who can forget how the administration lied about the extent of the Office of Personnel Management data breach, leaving millions of victims vulnerable, while it scrambled to contain the P.R. damage? And remember, the intruders had been creeping around that gigantic, vital government database for a year.

The one-two sucker punch of Obama going nuclear over the menace of Russian hacking and WikiLeaks to delegitimize the 2016 election, and then springing alpha WikiLeaker Chelsea Manning from jail three decades early, should cement his careless and destructive infosec legacy forever — as if supporting his former Secretary of State’s presidential run after she trashed security protocols with reckless abandon wasn’t bad enough.

Obama apologists will say the Internet has become a bigger part of our lives over the past eight years, so it’s natural there would be more information-security controversies.The problem with that excuse is that the big cybersecurity disaster headlines were so often traced directly to administration policies — the OPM hack, the Clinton email scandal, the NSA/Edward Snowden controversy, software vulnerabilities kept secret by the government so it could exploit them, and others. The risky handover of Internet domain control to international control was Obama’s brainstorm.

Not every infosec threat since 2009 is his fault, but the gap between the rhetoric in his speeches and the way he coped with actual cyber disasters is. So is the way online adversaries have been emboldened by his failure to take action against them. We can’t even turn on our smartphones without worrying about Chinese spyware.

“On Obama’s watch, the State Department was hacked, the White House was hacked, the Department of Energy was hacked, and the National Nuclear Security Administration was hacked. A Government Accountability Office report found that cyberattacks against government agencies climbed 35% between 2010 and 2013,” noted Investor’s Business Daily in a November 2016 review of how cybersecurity grew worse under Obama.

IBD went on to quote an Inspector General report that OPM’s cybersecurity situation actually got worse after the attack, in keeping with the Obama tradition of talking big and doing little. His most comprehensive cybersecurity plan was rolled out in April of his last year in office, in an obvious example of passing the buck to his successor.

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Clinton and Trump offer diverse ME scenarios

foreign-policy

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis November 1, 2016:

Whoever is elected US president on Nov. 8, he or she will land in the middle of a foreign policy shambles and face a pressing need to rebuild America’s fences in most parts of the world, including the war-ridden, messy Middle East. The Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump, whose approaches are so different in every respect, will both find it impossible to isolate America from the Middle East

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence experts postulate divergent developments in response to the alternative results of the Nov. 8 presidential election, depending on the winner.

If it is Hillary Clinton, then –

  • Russia will deepen its expansion in the region, including in Syria and Iraq. The Russian naval units speeding to the Mediterranean at this moment are part of Moscow’s ramped up deployment in readiness for Clinton’s entry to the White House.
  • Vladimir Putin will not forgive the Democratic candidate in a hurry for her anti-Russian campaign gimmicks of depicting Donald Trump as his friend and alleging that Russian intelligence hacked DNC emails to turn the race against her.
    The Russian leader is not the forgiving sort when it comes to his reputation – and still less so when Russian intelligence, his alma mater, is impugned.
  • The high tensions expected to prevail between the Kremlin and the Clinton White House may well ignite a limited military conflagration between US and Russian forces in the Middle East.
  • Syrian rebels are counting on Clinton giving them arms and funds – in contrast to Barack Obama, and are therefore tenaciously holding out, despite their inferior resources against Russian-backed Syrian and pro-Iranian forces. They see her focusing on Bashar Assad’s ouster and, even more, on empowering the rebels to hamper Russia’s military designs in Syria. In this, she will find support from her friends in the Gulf emirates. The Syrian opposition believes that the sharper the tensions between Washington and Moscow, the better for their cause.
  • Clinton has a dilemma with regard to Iran. As co-author of the nuclear deal, she will also try to improve relations with Tehran. But by doing so, she risks alienating her friends, the Arab Gulf leaders.
  • She will soon discover that Iran’s rulers and military chiefs have no wish to cozy up to Washington, certainly not at the expense of their highly profitable ties with Moscow and Beijing.
  •  Clinton will no doubt try to repair the damage to US relations with Israel that piled up during Obama’s term of office.

If it is Donald Trump, then –

  • He will go for a US-Russian summit with Vladimir Putin to lay out a new world power order for the distribution of spheres of influence in different world regions, including the Middle East. He may make the summit trilateral by inviting Xi Jinping of China.
  • This summit will also seek economic understandings, a prospect which is already unnerving international markets. Trump will ask the Russian and Chinese leaders to share wholly or partly in the plans he put before the voter for strengthening the American economy.
  • The Republican candidate has said repeatedly that he would be glad to leave the war on ISIS in the Middle East to Putin and Tehran. In any case, his military advisers, led by Ret. Army Gen. Mike Flynn, perceive Moscow as already in control of the current military situation in consequence of Obama’s policies.
  • This policy however will put the Trump administration at odds with the Arab world, the Gulf emirates and Israel, all of which fear Iran’s continued drive for expansion across the Middle East under a supportive Russian umbrella.
  • He may try to compensate for this lack of equilibrium by taking a strong line against Tehran – even revoking the nuclear deal, which the outgoing president saw as his crowning foreign policy achievement. This could spark a US-Iranian showdown in the Gulf region. On the other hand, Iran is perfectly capable of dumping the nuclear accord on its own initiative.
  • During Trump’s first year as president, the traditional US-Saudi partnership for political, military and economic policies may start crumbling – especial on oil pricing. This alliance between the royal house of Saud and the US dates from the first encounter between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud 71 years ago. DEBKAfile’s Saudi experts estimate that after some initial rough patches, Donald Trump and King Salman will be able to find common ground and so put relations on a firmer footing than before. This would repair the discord with Riyadh engendered by the Obama administration and during Clinton’s term as Secretary of State.
  • Trump will endeavor to improve ties with Israel. In so doing, he will try and contain Binyamin Netanyahu’s ongoing understandings with Putin on the Middle East.

Did Russian’s Half A Million To Her Advisor Influence Hillary On Iran?

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Americans need to know whether Hillary Clinton and Thomas Pickering put America’s interests first, or those of Russia and Iran.

The Federalist, by Christine Brim, October 27, 2016:

The Clinton campaign has been complaining bitterly about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s possible ties to WikiLeaks’ daily dumps of campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. My new investigative report, “Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat: Thomas Pickering and Russia’s Pipeline Sales to Iran and Syria, exposes Hillary Clinton’s own damaging ties to Russia and Iran while she was secretary of State. Her Foreign Affairs Policy Advisor Thomas Pickering was a paid director for the Russian company Trubnaya Metallurgicheskaya Kompaniya (TMK) from June 30, 2009 to June 26, 2012. TMK is majority-owned by Russian billionaire oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky, a close Putin ally.

I discovered extensive proof of TMK’s business dealings in Iran and Syria while Pickering was on its board, including TMK sales of oil and gas pipelines to Iran that were specifically prohibited under U.S. laws and executive orders. Pickering was deeply involved with TMK. According to TMK records, he attended 143 of the 145 board meetings. Pickering is estimated to have been paid more than half a million dollars for his service to TMK from 2009 to 2012, based on TMK’s compensation rules. He has since claimed to have donated it all to an unnamed charity.

Clinton’s, President Obama’s, and Pickering’s interests converged during the time Pickering was on TMK’s board of directors. Clinton had announced the Russian “reset” in March 2009; Obama pleaded with Iran for a new beginning two weeks later; and Pickering joined TMK, which was publicizing its sales to Iran and Syria in numerous documents, in June of that year.

Yes, We Sell to Countries Americans Sanction

Pickering combined his commercial, nonprofit, and policy roles into a seamless whole, all with the common goal of ending economic sanctions against Iran and reversing U.S. Iran policies. He was Clinton’s foreign affairs policy advisor and email correspondent, a board member for two Iranian advocacy groups, a paid consultant to Boeing (now a $25 billion Iranian aircraft contractor, thanks to Pickering’s advocacy), a well-known “behind-the-scenes” negotiator with Iranian representatives, and a paid director for a Russian company—TMK—that was actively exporting pipelines to Iran and Syria.

TMK’s customers and sales were not secret. In marketing materials, legal documents, a tenth anniversary PowerPoint presentation, catalogs, and webpages, TMK openly stated it had “major” and “main” pipeline customers in Iran and Syria. Iranian customer websites named TMK as a vendor. Steelorbis.com, an online steel industry newsletter, published six different reports from 2009 to 2013 listing specific prices for TMK pipes delivered to an Iranian port. Here’s just one example, an excerpt from the February 18, 2011 article published when Pickering was a TMK director:

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In a February 5, 2010 $412,500,000 convertible bond offering circular issued by its financing subsidiary TMK Bonds S.A, TMK even formally disclosed that it was selling to Iran and Syria, stating “As a globally operating organization, we also conduct business with customers in Iran and Syria. The U.S. Department of State designates these countries as state sponsors of terrorism and subjects them to export controls.”

TMK’s U.S. division, TMK IPSCO, has plants in Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas, Ohio, Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kentucky. TMK pledged its U.S. assets as guarantors for international financing in at least two offers. Several executive orders on Iranian economic sanctions prohibit “any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person [company].”

Were Pickering’s Iran Dealings Illegal?

The Iranian ebusiness website pipeiran.com listed the Khatam-al Anbiya as a client and TMK’s Volzhsky Pipe Plant and TMK’s Romanian Division as vendors. Khatam-al Anbiya is the engineering and construction firm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). On October 21, Adam Szubin, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, stated “You cannot do business with IRGC companies….If you do, and you’re doing so knowingly, you are risking the most draconian sanctions in our toolkit, and that governs not just U.S. persons but actors all around the world.”

TMK’s customers in Iran were government-owned companies, and so were the ones in Syria. TMK’s three Iranian customers during the years Pickering served on the board were all listed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as “Specially Designated Nationals”: the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Petropars, and Pars Oil and Gas Company. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from conducting any kind of business with “Specially Designated Nationals.”

Similarly, TMK’s three Syrian customers were listed by OFAC as “Specially Designated Nationals” in 2011, while Pickering was on the Board: the Syrian Gas Company, the Syrian Petroleum Company, and the Al Furat Petroleum Company.

Pickering apparently did not disclose his links to TMK and TMK’s sales to Iran when he testified on Iran before Sen. John Kerry’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 28, 2012 while he was still a TMK director. That information might have been relevant (though it wasn’t legally required) for Kerry’s committee, since in his testimony Pickering recommended that, in return for hypothetical limits on Iran’s nuclear program:

Some freezing or easing of sanctions might be a fair quid pro quo for such steps… It would also help if we begin to consider freezing or relaxing the imposition of some sanctions in return for real progress in making their nuclear program more open and more fully inspected and in improving relations with Iran in other areas …My recommendation is that we now take the sanctions pressure and turn it into a useful diplomatic tool to begin serious diplomatic negotiations with Iran.

It Sure Pays to Work in Government

Emails released from Clinton’s private server show that Pickering was emailing, meeting, and coordinating foreign travel with Clinton and her staff from the beginning of her time as secretary of State and arguing for an end to economic sanctions on Iran all during the same years he was on TMK’s board of directors. Starting in December 2011, he also served in official capacity on Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Clinton appointed Pickering chairman for the Benghazi Accountability Review Board three months after he left TMK.

There’s much more in the investigative report “Clinton’s Shadow Diplomat” on these dangerous liaisons between Clinton and Pickering, and Russia’s pipeline sales to Iran and Syria. The bottom line for the American public and policymakers is this: Did Hillary Clinton and Thomas Pickering put America’s interests first, or those of Russia and Iran?

Pickering’s actions with Hillary Clinton, TMK, various Iranian groups, Boeing and all the rest were not an exception to how Washington insiders operate. Pickering’s actions were an exceptionally well-crafted version of what insiders do every day, and not just in Washington—in Moscow and Tehran, too. Some are just better at it, and Pickering is one of the best. Washington insiders don’t want to blow the whistle on Pickering. They want to be Pickering. And some of them are worse.

Christine Brim is a founder of Paratos LLC, a risk communications consultancy. Previously she served at the Center for Security Policy as a vice president and chief operating officer.

The refugee and asylum crisis: “Vetted” Iraqi refugee pleads guilty to supporting ISIS

Alessandro Rota | AP Photo

Alessandro Rota | AP Photo

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, October 21, 2016:

Last month, Francis Taylor, the DHS Under Secretary of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, told the House Committee on Homeland Security that “refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.” Well, earlier this week, an Iraqi refugee plead guilty in federal court on charges of attempting to give material support to the Islamic State. If one man can evade the “highest level of security checks,” time will only tell how many others pose a security risk.

In January, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, who was brought here as a refugee in 2009, was arrested in Houston on charges of attempting to provide material support to ISIS. According to the plea agreement in court this week, Al Hardan wanted to blow up two malls in the Houston area. “I want to blow myself up. I want to travel with the Mujahidin. I want to travel to be with those who are against America. I am against America,” said Al Hardan, according to the local CBS affiliate. According to the FBI special agent involved in the case, Al Hardan was working with another Iraqi refugee, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, who was brought in as a refugee in October 2012 and just 13 months later allegedly flew to Syria to fight for terror groups in the warn-torn country. Al-Jayab is in jail in Chicago awaiting trial.

That is some vetting system we have in place. Al-Jayab allegedly wrote to a friend last year that “America will not isolate me from my Islamic duty.” But rest easy, we are promised that the over 150,000 Muslim immigrants we will bring in this year alone will easily assimilate into American culture.

According to the State Department’s refugee database, America has admitted roughly 135,000 Iraqi refugees since FY 2008 — with no sign of the pace abating. Ever since Congress gave Obama a blank check for his refugee increase last month, Obama has already accelerated the pace of Syrian refugees on top of the existing flow of Iraqi refugees. The reality is that even if the administration had a solid vetting system in place — which they don’t — there is no way to vet a mentality within Sharia law. How many more of these individuals subscribe to the mindset of “America will not isolate me from my Islamic duty?” And this is not even a belief the administration cares to weed out through social media.

What is evidenced from this case in Houston is that it doesn’t take many bad apples to wreak havoc on our homeland. Al Hardan taught himself how to make bombs and use automatic weapons, all for the purpose of large-scale attacks .

In addition to the gaping security hole in our refugee program, Obama’s other legacy has been the destruction of the even more perilous asylum process. While refugees are processed overseas, asylum seekers are able to show up on our shores and declare a credible fear of persecution even when their claim is specious. A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies shows that applications for asylum seekers have increased ten-fold since 2009! According to Jessica Vaughn, 90 percent of these applications have been approved, even though many of them have traditionally been rejected due to fraud. Yet, thanks to Obama’s illegal executive action granting asylum-seekers parole pending the outcome of their application (which is usually approved), instead of keeping them in custody as the law dictates, our country has become a magnate for asylum seekers. Although most of the asylum seekers are from Central America, there are concerns about Middle Easterners travelling to Central American countries via Greece and applying for asylum there.  The U.S. Southern Command admitted to at least 30,000 “from countries of terrorist concern” crossing over our southern border in 2016.

vaughan-border-asylum-claims

Center for Immigration Studies

Between the influx of refugees and asylum seekers, the growing surge on our southern border, the massive and influx of Cubans who are automatically eligible for welfare, who is looking out for the security of Americans? We are entreated to sob stories and highbrow rhetoric about our obligations to the world, but what about the one authentic obligation of the federal government to secure the sovereignty of the people and the states?

Sadly, these are the issues that have gotten overshadowed in the reality TV show of this election. If Hillary wins, it will clearly not be a result of popular support for her immigration policies. Assuming Republicans keep Congress, they can easily block the extension of Obama’s refugee and asylum policies. Unfortunately, as we warned earlier this week, absent a new opposition party, that will never happen, even in the face of a large-scale terror attack on our homeland.

Make America Victorious Again

FOREIGN POLICYClaremont, by Angelo M. Codevilla, October 18, 2016:

At the 2016 elections our bipartisan foreign policy class is near-unanimous, not so much behind Hillary Clinton nor even against Donald Trump. Rather, it circles its wagons around its own identities, ideas, practices, and, yes, livelihoods. Clinton represents the ruling class’s people and priorities in foreign affairs as in domestic ones, though she seems to care even less about the former’s substance. Trump, a stranger to most of the foreign policy class (though not to its current epitome, Henry Kissinger) has voiced views on foreign affairs that are within the establishment’s variances in substance if not in tone. Chastise and threaten NATO for its lack of contributions? Senate majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) offered an amendment to that effect in 1970. Cozy up to Putin? Hillary Clinton brought him a bright red “reset” button in 2009.

Nevertheless, the foreign policy class does not merely reject Trump; it detests him. Why? Because Trump, in tone even more than substance, expresses the subversive thought that U.S. foreign policy has failed to “put America first,” causing the nation to suffer defeat after defeat. Hence, the entire foreign policy class—in the bureaucracies, think tanks, academe, and the media—are a bunch of losers. Millions of Americans consider these two thoughts to be common sense. But the above-mentioned class takes the first as the root of heresies, and the second as a demagogic insult. Consequently, the 2016 election is not so much about any particular plank in any foreign policy platform. It is about who defines and what constitutes common sense.

Who and what

Why the fuss? Obviously, foreign policy’s formulators and executors are their country’s fiduciaries. Though it follows logically that they should mind no interest before their country’s, nevertheless our foreign policy class’s defining characteristic for a hundred years has been to subsume America’s interest into considerations they deem worthier. The following is our foreign policy class’s common sense, which it hopes the 2016 elections will affirm.

Since Woodrow Wilson, Progressive Democratic and Republican statesmen have confused America’s interest with mankind’s. In practice, they have taken upon themselves the role of mankind’s stewards (or sheriffs, leaders, pillars of order, or whatever) and acted as if, in Wilson’s words, America has “no reason for being” except to “stand for the right of men,” to be “champions of humanity.” Accordingly, a series of statesmen has forsaken war and diplomacy for strictly American ends and with means adequate to achieve them, and adopted foredoomed schemes pursued halfheartedly—Charles Evans Hughes (commitment to China’s integrity and renunciation of the means to uphold it), Franklin Roosevelt (seeking world co-domination with Stalin and the U.N. to banish “ancient evils, ancient ills”), Harry Truman (pursuing peace through no-win war in Korea), Nixon/Kissinger (scuttling Vietnam to help entice the Soviets into a grand detente), George W. Bush (democratizing the Middle East because America can’t be free unless and until the whole world is free).

Instead of Theodore Roosevelt’s maxim “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” these Progressives’ maxim seems to have been: speak grandly while brandishing twigs. The pattern has been consistent: Think global order, make political-military commitments if not in secret then certainly without the American people’s affirmative consent, commit military forces while avoiding declarations of war or specifying how success is to be achieved, and refuse to calibrate American military commitments to what opponents might do to thwart our forces. Then, when the enterprise falls apart, seek scapegoats.

[***]

Inexorably, Progressive foreign policy is gravitating in the direction of foreign Progressive forces. For Progressives, the benevolence of “the Arab Street” and even of organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood is an article of faith. From government, the media, and the universities, Progressives indict as racists anyone who imputes responsibility for terrorism to Arabs, Muslims, or Islam. America’s Muslims vote Democrat. Any Progressive president would find it hard to depart from this part of his tribal identity, least of all Hillary Clinton, whose top aide, Huma Abedin, is deeply connected to the Muslim world. The Democratic Party, along with its bench in academe, has identified increasingly with Israel’s enemies as fellow Progressives. Surely and not so slowly, our foreign policy class has acted more and more as if Israel’s refusal to accede to Arab demands were the chief cause of the Middle East’s troubles.

Imagine, then, what effects the intensification of U.S. foreign policy’s trends would produce in the not so distant future. Then, considering how these effects would manifest themselves on America’s streets, ask how the American people are likely to react.

The 2016 election is about whether that pattern should change. How much, if at all, it would change under Trump matters much less than the mere possibility it might change. Trump’s virtue in foreign policy lies in having voiced this simple, vital thought: U.S. foreign policy must put America first, and deliver victories rather than defeats. Whether Trump really believes that, whether he would act on it, or even whether he understands past mistakes, is secondary.

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Five Major Foreign Policy Reveals from the Wikileaks Clinton Email Dump

Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

Breitbart, by John Hayward, October 17, 2016:

As emails hacked from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta continue to trickle into the public eye, major revelations regarding Hillary Clinton’s policy preferences on handling foreign policy, particularly rogue states, have come to the fore.

Below, five of the biggest reveals from the Wikileaks email dumps so far:

5. Clinton on Israeli-Palestinian talks says “A Potemkin process is better than nothing”: As with almost every major Democratic figure, Clinton thinks the “solution” to the Palestinian problem involves manipulating and pressuring Israel. However, emails produced by WikiLeaks suggest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels Clinton is “more instinctively sympathetic to Israel than the White House,” and the worst moment in his relationship with her came when she was “heavily scripted and reading from points prepared by the White House.” That’s funny, because President Obama and his defenders have been loudly insisting they were the best friends Israel ever had.

4. Clinton hearts Cuba: It is clear that Clinton will be useful to special interests that want to make money in Cuba, and enrich the dictatorship in return. Clinton’s team was also very happy to use Cuba as a political prop, in part because, as one special interest contact put it, “it would drive Rubio, Cruz, and others nuts.” The brutality and repression of the Castro regime mean absolutely nothing to these people, and yet they portray themselves as morally superior proponents of human rights. To read anything from the WikiLeaks dump referencing Cuba, you’d think the horrors of totalitarian communist repression were carried out by distant ancestors of the Castros, and it’s faintly amusing that anyone would still be hung up on it.

3. The project for “progressive Islam”: The most interesting thing about this leaked email is that Clinton’s inner circle and their connections in the Islamic world think “progressive Islam” is necessary, because on the record, Clinton claims Islam is already pretty darn progressive. Everything bad associated with Islam is supposedly the work of people who aren’t true Muslims. The interesting conclusion to be reached from following these discussions is that global Islam is much more complicated, and messy, than the official pronouncements of Democrats would indicate. As long as Democrats are single-mindedly determined to pander to Muslim-Americans, convinced the “anti-Muslim backlash” is a graver threat than terrorism, and above all else clubbing political opponents with accusations of anti-Muslim bigotry, they’ll remain dangerous on both national security, and the more subtle clash of civilizations.

2“Foreign govt donors: all the money is in”: Does anyone really doubt all that foreign money pouring into the Clinton Foundation is going to have a profound impact on American foreign policy, if Hillary Clinton gets into the White House? We’ll be lucky if the new Clinton Administration steering lucrative overseas contracts to Foundation donors is the worst of it.

1. Clinton said Iran could only be contained by bombing their nuclear facilities: Hillary Clinton’s conversation with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in 2013 included her suggestion that Iran should be made to feel more “pain” by “not in any way occupying or invading them but by bombing their facilities.” Painless aerial bombardment is the Democrats’ favorite foreign policy tool, along with supplying weapons to local fighters who will serve as America’s deniable, easily abandoned boots on the ground. Neither of those strategies works very well, as Blankfein observed to his credit… and Clinton agreed with his assertion that bombing-only campaigns have never “worked in the history of war.” It’s as muddled as everything else Hillary Clinton says on foreign policy, but it’s arguably a more aggressive stance than Obama doctrine.

Glick: From Yemen to Turtle Bay

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Iran’s game is clear enough. It wishes to replace the US as the regional hegemon, at the US’s expense.

Truth Revolt, by Caroline Glick, October 14, 2016:

Off the coast of Yemen and at the UN Security Council we are seeing the strategic endgame of Barack Obama’s administration. And it isn’t pretty.

Since Sunday, Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen have attacked US naval craft three times in the Bab al-Mandab, the narrow straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. The Bab al-Mandab controls maritime traffic in the Red Sea, and ultimately controls the Suez Canal.

Whether the Iranians directed these assaults or simply green-lighted them is really beside the point. The point is that these are Iranian strikes on the US. The Houthis would never have exposed themselves to US military retaliation if they hadn’t been ordered to do so by their Iranian overlords.

The question is why has Iran chosen to open up an assault on the US? The simple answer is that Iran has challenged US power at the mouth of the Red Sea because it believes that doing so advances its strategic aims in the region.

Iran’s game is clear enough. It wishes to replace the US as the regional hegemon, at the US’s expense.

Since Obama entered office nearly eight years ago, Iran’s record in advancing its aims has been one of uninterrupted success.

Iran used the US withdrawal from Iraq as a means to exert its full control over the Iraqi government. It has used Obama’s strategic vertigo in Syria as a means to exert full control over the Assad regime and undertake the demographic transformation of Syria from a Sunni majority state to a Shi’ite plurality state.

In both cases, rather than oppose Iran’s power grabs, the Obama administration has welcomed them. As far as Obama is concerned, Iran is a partner, not an adversary.

Since like the US, Iran opposes al-Qaida and ISIS, Obama argues that the US has nothing to fear from the fact that Iranian-controlled Shiite militias are running the US-trained Iraqi military.

So, too, he has made clear that the US is content to stand by as the mullahs become the face of Syria.

In Yemen, the US position has been more ambivalent. In late 2014, Houthi rebel forces took over the capital city of Sanaa. In March 2015, the Saudis led a Sunni campaign to overthrow the Houthi government. In a bid to secure Saudi support for the nuclear agreement it was negotiating with the Iranians, the Obama administration agreed to support the Saudi campaign. To this end, the US military has provided intelligence, command and control guidance, and armaments to the Saudis.

Iran’s decision to openly assault US targets then amounts to a gamble on Tehran’s part that in the twilight of the Obama administration, the time is ripe to move in for the kill in Yemen. The Iranians are betting that at this point, with just three months to go in the White House, Obama will abandon the Saudis, and so transfer control over Arab oil to Iran.

For with the Strait of Hormuz on the one hand, and the Bab al-Mandab on the other, Iran will exercise effective control over all maritime oil flows from the Arab world.

It’s not a bad bet for the Iranians, given Obama’s consistent strategy in the Middle East.

Obama has never discussed that strategy.

Indeed, he has deliberately concealed it. But to understand the game he has been playing all along, the only thing you need to do listen to his foreign policy soul mate.

According to a New York Times profile published in May, Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes is the president’s alter ego. The two men’s minds have “melded.”

Rhodes’s first foreign policy position came in the course of his work for former congressman Lee Hamilton.

In 2006, then-president George W. Bush appointed former secretary of state James Baker and Hamilton to lead the Iraq Study Group. Bush tasked the group with offering a new strategy for winning the war in Iraq. The group released its report in late 2006.

The Iraq Study Group’s report contained two basic recommendations. First, it called for the administration to abandon Iraq to the Iranians.

The group argued that due to Iran’s opposition to al-Qaida, the Iranians would fight al-Qaida for the US.

The report’s second recommendation related to Israel. Baker, Hamilton and their colleagues argued that after turning Iraq over to Iran, the US would have to appease its Sunni allies.

The US, the Iraq Study Group report argued, should simultaneously placate the Sunnis and convince the Iranians of its sincerity by sticking it to Israel. To this end, the US should pressure Israel to give the Golan Heights to Syria and give Judea and Samaria to the PLO.

Bush rejected the Iraq Study Group report. Instead he opted to win the war in Iraq by adopting the surge counterinsurgency strategy.

But once Bush was gone, and Rhodes’s intellectual twin replaced him, the Iraq Study Group recommendations became the unstated US strategy in the Middle East.

After taking office, Obama insisted that the US’s only enemy was al-Qaida. In 2014, Obama grudgingly expanded the list to include ISIS.

Obama has consistently justified empowering Iran in Iraq and Syria on the basis of this narrow definition of US enemies. Since Iran is also opposed to ISIS and al-Qaida, the US can leave the job of defeating them both to the Iranians, he has argued.

Obviously, Iran won’t do the US’s dirty work for free. So Obama has paid the mullahs off by giving them an open road to nuclear weapons through his nuclear deal, by abandoning sanctions against them, and by turning his back on their ballistic missile development.

Obama has also said nothing about the atrocities that Iranian-controlled militia have carried out against Sunnis in Iraq and has stopped operations against Hezbollah.

As for Israel, since his first days in office, Obama has been advancing the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations. His consistent, and ever escalating condemnations of Israel, his repeated moves to pick fights with Jerusalem are all of a piece with the group’s recommended course of action. And there is every reason to believe that Obama intends to make good on his threats to cause an open rupture in the US alliance with Israel in his final days in office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s phone call with Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night made this clear enough. In the course of their conversation, Netanyahu reportedly asked Kerry if Obama intended to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass in the UN Security Council after the presidential election next month. By refusing to rule out the possibility, Kerry all but admitted that this is in fact Obama’s intention.

And this brings us back to Iran’s assaults on US ships along the coast of Yemen.

Early on Sunday morning, the US responded to the Houthi/Iranian missile assaults by attacking three radar stations in Houthi-controlled territory. The nature of the US moves gives credence to the fear that the US will surrender Yemen to Iran.

This is so for three reasons. First, the administration did not allow the USS Mason destroyer to respond to the sources of the missile attack against it immediately. Instead, the response was delayed until Obama himself could determine how best to “send a message.”

That is, he denied US forces the right to defend themselves.

Second, it is far from clear that destroying the radar stations will inhibit the Houthis/Iranians.

It is not apparent that radar stations are necessary for them to continue to assault US naval craft operating in the area.

Finally, the State Department responded to the attack by reaching out to the Houthis. In other words, the administration is continuing to view the Iranian proxy is a legitimate actor rather than an enemy despite its unprovoked missile assaults on the US Navy.

Then there is the New York Times’ position on Yemen.

The Times has repeatedly allowed the administration to use it as an advocate of policies the administration itself wishes to adopt. Last week for instance, the Times called for the US to turn on Israel at the Security Council.

On Tuesday, the Times published an editorial calling for the administration to end its military support for the Saudi campaign against the Houthis/Iran in Yemen.

Whereas the Iranian strategy makes sense, Obama’s strategy is nothing less than disastrous.

Although the Iraq Study Group, like Obama, is right that Iran also opposes ISIS, and to a degree, al-Qaida, they both ignored the hard reality that Iran also views the US as its enemy. Indeed, the regime’s entire identity is tied up in its hatred for the US and its strategic aim of destroying America.

Obama is not the only US president who has sought to convince the Iranians to abandon their hatred for America. Every president since 1979 has tried to convince the mullahs to abandon their hostility. And just like all of his predecessors, Obama has failed to convince them.

What distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is that he has based US policy on a deliberate denial of the basic reality of Iranian hostility. Not surprisingly, the Iranians have returned his favor by escalating their aggression against America.

The worst part about Obama’s strategy is that it is far from clear that his successor will be able to improve the situation.

If Hillary Clinton succeeds him, his successor is unlikely to even try. Not only has Clinton embraced Obama’s policies toward Iran.

Her senior advisers are almost all Obama administration alumni. Wendy Sherman, the leading candidate to serve as her secretary of state, was Obama’s chief negotiator with the Iranians.

If Donald Trump triumphs next month, assuming he wishes to reassert US power in the region, he won’t have an easy time undoing the damage that Obama has caused.

Time has not stood still as the US has engaged in strategic dementia. Not only has Iran been massively empowered, Russia has entered the Middle East as a strategic spoiler.

Moreover, since 2001, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars on its failed wars in the Middle East. That investment came in lieu of spending on weapons development. Today Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria reportedly neutralize the US’s air force.

US naval craft in the Bab al-Mandab have little means to defend themselves against missile strikes.

The US’s trillion-dollar investment in the F-35 fighter jet has tethered its air wings to a plane that has yet to prove its capabilities, and may never live up to expectations.

Israel is justifiably worried about the implications of Obama’s intention to harm it at the UN.

But the harm Israel will absorb at the UN is nothing in comparison to the long-term damage that Obama’s embrace of the Iraq Study Group’s disastrous strategic framework has and will continue to cause Israel, the US and the entire Middle East.

 

In Debate, Hillary Dodges Blame for Libya, What Obama Called His “Greatest Mistake”

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Trump still has a lot to learn, but Clinton can’t learn lessons because she wrongly thinks that she already has the answers.

CounterJihad, Sept. 27, 2016:

The first Presidential debate revealed a Democratic candidate who believes she has all the answers even though her failed performance as Secretary of State led directly to the formation of the Islamic State (ISIS), aided the rise of Iran, and furthered much of the chaos in the Middle East.  She cannot learn anything while she believes she already knows everything.  Electing her promises more of the same, and ‘the same’ has been a disaster.

The Republican challenger, meanwhile, has much still to learn about the security structure he would command as President.  Clinton’s strongest moment against him on foreign policy came as she chided him for appearing to suggest that America would not honor its mutual defense treaties with Japan or South Korea.  Nothing is more important to the world than the reliability of America’s word.  Clinton should know that:  it was her former boss, President Obama, who personally kicked off the refugee crisis bedeviling Europe by failing to enforce his red line against Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. His failure to keep his word on a security agreement gave the Syrian regime free rein to wage war on its own population, putting millions on the road to Europe.

Trump’s strongest moment against Clinton came when he accused her of bad judgment in the formation of ISIS.  She attempted to respond by saying that George W. Bush had negotiated the withdrawal from Iraq, and that “the only way that American troops could have stayed in Iraq is to get an agreement from the then-Iraqi government that would have protected our troops, and the Iraqi government would not give that.”

That’s all true, but whose job was it to obtain such an agreement?  That was her job.  She was the one who was supposed to obtain that agreement, and she failed utterly.  As our earlier coverage states:

It was her job to negotiate an arrangement with the Iraqi government that would do two things:  allow a stabilizing US military presence to remain in Iraq, and allow the US Department of State the freedom of movement it would need to step up as guarantors of the peace.  The peace, you see, had been purchased not only by the US military’s victory on the battlefields, but also by its patient negotiation with militants formerly aligned with al Qaeda in Iraq.  These tribes, mostly but not exclusively Sunni, had rejected the terrorism of al Qaeda in Iraq in return for promises of fair treatment from the Iraqi central government.  This included jobs, assistance for communities recovering from the war, and many other things that the government promised to provide in return for the support of these former enemies.  The United States helped to negotiate all these agreements, and promised to see that they would be kept faithfully.

Instead, the Secretary of State failed to produce either a new Status of Forces agreement that would permit US troops to remain in Iraq, or an agreement that would allow State Department personnel to move about the country safely to observe whether agreements were being kept.  In the wake of the precipitous withdrawal of US forces, Prime Minister Maliki moved to arrest Sunni leaders in government, and broke all his promises to the tribes.

The result was that the western part of Iraq once again became fertile ground for an Islamist insurgency.

Clinton was similarly unreflective when she argued that Trump had supported “the actions we took in Libya,” without pausing for a moment to acknowledge what a destabilizing mistake it was.  Effecting regime change with no capacity to control the outcome is what allowed radical groups, including ISIS, to expand into the vacuum.  That one is also her fault personally, as she pushed President Obama to take this action.  Her own President says that he considers taking her advice on Libya to be his “worst mistake.”  Yet again, she has learned nothing, and does not seem to be aware that there is even anything to learn.

A similar failure to understand the lessons of the recent past occurred in their exchange on NATO.  Trump is right to be critical of the institution’s continuing relevance, but he is criticizing it on the wrong grounds.  That the other nations do not pay their way is true, but it is not the problem with NATO.  That it does not focus on terrorism is partly true, but it does not render the organization obsolete because a resurgent Russia remains a security challenge for western Europe.

Nevertheless, Clinton’s smug response is un-reflective and wrong.

You know, NATO as a military alliance has something called Article 5, and basically it says this: An attack on one is an attack on all. And you know the only time it’s ever been invoked? After 9/11, when the 28 nations of NATO said that they would go to Afghanistan with us to fight terrorism, something that they still are doing by our side.

What Clinton fails to mention here is that, like all of NATO’s decisions, invoking Article 5 must be done unanimously.  The reason to question NATO’s continued relevance is that the Turkish drift into Islamist politics makes it unlikely that a unanimous vote could still be reached.  Turkey has also shown signs recently of falling into Russia’s orbit.  If Turkey becomes a Russian ally in the way that China is, NATO may be rendered obsolete simply because it can never take a decision.  If Turkey becomes a Russian satellite, NATO will indeed have been rendered obsolete.  In either case, NATO’s continued relevance turns on figuring out how to swing Turkey away from Islamist thought and Russian influence, eliminating the unanimity requirement on NATO actions, or else developing a mechanism to expel the Turks from the alliance.   None of that exists, and since Turkey would have to agree to any of those changes, none of it is likely to come to exist.

Finally, on Iran, Clinton is wedded to a policy that Trump rightly describes as a disaster.

You look at the Middle East, it’s a total mess. Under your direction, to a large extent.

But you look at the Middle East, you started the Iran deal, that’s another beauty where you have a country that was ready to fall, I mean, they were doing so badly. They were choking on the sanctions. And now they’re going to be actually probably a major power at some point pretty soon, the way they’re going.

The horror show in Syria is linked to the Iran deal, as Obama decided to let Syria fester in order to pursue Iran’s approval of his deal.  Clinton’s role in this deal is something she herself has celebrated, so she cannot walk away from it.  Since then, Iran has developed new ballistic missiles that make sense only as a delivery mechanism for nuclear payloads.  It has bought advanced anti-aircraft missiles, and installed them around one of the nuclear sites allegedly to be made harmless by this wonderful “deal.”  Why is it hardening this site against air strikes if it intends to live by the deal?  Why develop a delivery mechanism for weapons you don’t intend to build?

Clinton cannot even ask these questions, because she is wedded to her failures.

Also  see:

Michael Ingmire’s Year of Focus: The Benghazi Attack and the 2016 Election

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Politichicks, by Michael Ingmire, Sept. 13, 2016:

“I got dreams, dreams to remember”-Otis Redding

Yes, I have dreams, talents, and aspirations that I work hard on everyday to fulfill. However, at this juncture, I hope that I am remembered for my efforts to help establish an atmosphere of credible accountability regarding the deaths of my nephew Sean Smith, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. They were murdered in the September 11/12th, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

But current history is a flexible and facile beast. Given to the whims of the truth or the illusions of the moment. I have my own perceptions concerning real accountability. There is a lack of justice in this world. I do wish and hope for accountability in the next. To paraphrase the parable in Matthew 25:31-46 while on this earth I am just trying to inform the sheep, not entertain the goats.

Considering the diminishment of the education system, I wonder if the history books will correctly identify the culprits and criminals behind the Benghazi attack. Since September 2013, I have written extensively on the subject of the September 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

I continue to learn new facts. I continue to comprehend and understand the full face of evil and how far one may go to cover the truth to further their power. That one may blatantly lie to win a some-to-be former President’s election and continue to lie to attempt to win a current election.

I continue to call our sitting, when not golfing, President and a former Secretary of State, war criminals, gun runners, and liars. Soulless wonders, who know no shame and embrace no honor. In retrospect, the past 12 months have been an eventful and amazing year in the discovery of new information about the Benghazi attack. But confirmation of the truth provides me with no joy, only a minor satisfaction of suspicions confirmed. I want some accountability. The Obama Administration can barely spell accountability, much less practice it. Here are a few of the more important moments of the past year concerning the Benghazi attack:

  • October 22, 2015, Hillary Clinton obfuscated and lied for 11 hours before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Despite being caught in several lies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi she was not held accountable for her failed Libyan policy, her lack of action during the attack, and the resulting cover-up. At the very least, Hillary Clinton should have been charged with perjury. The vaunted prosecutorial zeal of House Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy was missing in action and continues to be so.
  • January 15, 2016, the film “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” was released. Michael Bay’s masterful film, based on the book “13 Hours” by Mitchell Zuckoff and the Annex Security Team, brought the story of Benghazi to the big screen. “13 Hours,” was an exceptional book and the Michael Bay film revealed how horrific that night truly was for the viewing public and for those on the ground that night. Watching the film with my wife and another beloved nephew was one of the harder moments of the year for me. I have seen the film four times now and I garner new information with each viewing. A truly Oscar worthy film.
  • June 28, 2016, the House Select Committee on Benghazi releases it’s final report on the September 2012 attack. The House Select Committee on Benghazi failed the family members of the Benghazi murder victims with their lengthy 800 page report as they did not cover any aspect of pre-Benghazi attack. Nor did they truly hold President Obama, Secretary Clinton, or any member of the Obama administration accountable for their criminal behavior or dereliction of duty. With the exception of a few facts clarified, their efforts were a failure.
  • June 29, 2016, The Citizens Commission on Benghazi releases their report, “Betrayal in Benghazi: A Dereliction of Duty.” If you want to know about the before, during, and aftermath of the Benghazi attack, this is the report to read. It is 75 pages and truly nails why Benghazi is the worst cover-up in the history of the United States. It illustrates why President Obama and members of his administration are criminals that should be jailed for war crimes. The mainstream American media, including FOX news, failed to do any real news stories on this report. They continue to practice their own version of a dereliction of duty. They continue to neglect to report any news deemed harmful to the globalist, New World Order principles of the Obama administration.
  • July 5, 2016, FBI Director James B. Comey gives Hillary Clinton, in essence, a pass on her use of several private e-mail servers as Secretary of State. I will keep this bullet point simple: Director Comey is a coward for failing to recommend criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton for obvious criminal behavior. He should be removed from his office as should Attorney General Loretta Lynch, his partner in crime.
  • July 18, 2016, Gold Star Mother of Benghazi murder victim Sean Smith gives keynote address at RNC Convention. One of the finest moments of the RNC convention. Her sterling speech ended with the appropriate question concerning the nightmare of Hillary Clinton becoming President, “If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?”
  • August 8, 2016, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch files wrongful death and defamation lawsuit on the behalf of Pat Smith and Charles Woods. The lawsuit contends that “the deaths of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods were directly and proximately caused by the negligent and reckless actions” of Hillary Clinton. The suit addresses Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server that revealed the locations of Ambassador Stevens and thus the locations of Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. In addition, Mrs. Clinton defamed the character and integrity of Pat Smith and Charles Woods when she said that the family members were not telling the truth regarding her continued statements about “an awful internet video” being responsible for the attack.

Navigating Washington since Sean’s death has been an exhausting and frustrating process. Hundreds of phone calls to Congressional and Senatorial offices, thousands of hours of research, e-mails, articles written, interviews given. But when faced with the death of a relative due to governmental criminality, there is no other choice. At least, if you have a soul.

But walking the halls of Congress can be a spooky proposition when dealing with representatives that look and act dazed. Of course, except when they are figuring out ways to become rich via “public service.” They are a Congress that could count themselves as extras in the Walking Dead.

I remember walking the Halls of Congress in September 2014. This was the day after the first House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing. A stanza from an epic work by one of my favorite poets came to mind:

I think we are in rats alley. Where the dead men lost their bones.”
-T.S. Elliot, “The Wasteland”

With only a few exceptions, Washington D.C. has become a rats alley of greed, avarice, carpet baggers, criminal weasels and insider traders. Hucksters in the nightmare carnival that has become our political discourse and the process of government. Washington has demonstrated no bones and little courage when dealing with the current outlaw administration.

So where does the subject of Benghazi lie within the upcoming debates and campaign leading up to November 2016?  

First, we need to get our country back. We have an exceptional opportunity with the upcoming election. 88% of Congress is up for re-election. Someone not doing their job and acting like a thief trying to avoid a Calvary cross? Vote them out. Especially, if they enriched themselves with back room deals on the backs of the American people. Put them in jail when crimes are committed. Demand a Special Prosecutor when necessary. Get involved in your government and don’t suffer fools at face value.

Stop trolling blogs and read some books. Do your homework. That has been the lesson of Benghazi for me.

There is an ambivalence among a portion of the American public that I cannot fathom. When faced with the bad behavior of a politician they merely say “Well what do you expect? They are a politician.”

An inappropriate response to an even more inappropriate behavior.

I will make it clear, there is no possibility that America can survive Hillary Rodham Clinton as our 45th President. Everything we hold dear will be up for sale. Our liberties will be diminished and taken away. Electing Hillary Clinton leaves us even less safe than we are now. Open borders? Imagine metaphoric welcome signs at both ends of the country letting in terrorists and folks that do not respect us or follow our laws. A general decay will continue to prevail in this country until we resemble a rat’s alley.

The Supreme Court? The focus and process of the court will change over to a judicial social club under a Hillary Clinton administration. To a large degree, it already has. But it is not too late to stand up to the madmen and women of government and bring the Supreme Court back to a rational focus.

Donald Trump is the only choice for our 45th President in 2016. He will preserve our Constitutional rights and protect this country. He knows how to make money and America needs an enriched business structure. We need something other then the failed Social Service system currently disguised as government.

We need to eliminate or control terrorism in this lifetime. Mr. Trump states he wants to start with the elimination of ISIS. Recently, Hillary Clinton stated that ISIS is “rooting for Donald Trump.” Don’t make me laugh. The sons of ISIS will always worship their true Islamic mother and that is you Hillary. The last person ISIS wants to see as President is Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump has stated he will hold those responsible for Benghazi accountable. In my reality, the revelations of the past year about Benghazi and the other sordid scandals plaguing the Obama administration should have already placed President Obama and members of his administration, especially Hillary, in jail. In addition, why have none of the Benghazi terrorists, save one, been arrested? More empty promises from President Obama.

I believe Mr. Trump is serious about finding that justice for the family members of the Benghazi victims. I will support his efforts to do so. But to paraphrase Jamaican singer-songwriter Jimmy Cliff, there are “Many rivers to cross.” There is a lot of distance to travel to find some real truth and accountability within one’s self and to face the injustices of this existence.

To institute real change, it is up to you and me. It is our responsibility and our obligation. Donald Trump has been accused of being “politically incorrect.”

Mr. Trump has stated, in so many words, that America does not have the time to be politically correct. I agree. Continued political correctness may soon be the death of America. These are dangerous times. A failure to address evil is a failure of the human soul.

It is time for the U.S. Government to become responsible. To behave like a successful corporation that follows some ethical standards and that answers to it’s Board of Directors: The American people.

Michael Ingmire is a musician, writer, and activist based in North Carolina. As a musician he has opened for and shared stages with musicians/performers as varied as Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Copeland, Allen Ginsberg, Wilson Pickett, Mac Arnold, Bob Margolin, among many. You can access his music at http://www.reverbnation.com/michaelwolfingmire and on youtube as Michael Wolf Ingmire. After the death of his nephew, by marriage, Sean Smith in the 2012 Benghazi attack his writing took on a political tone and he has written for The Daily Caller, Fox News.com, and The Daily Signal. He is an active voice in the search for accountability about Benghazi.