Our Dangerous Historical Moment

Photo via NRO

Photo via NRO

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online, Feb. 19, 2015:

World War II was the most destructive war in history. What caused it?

The panic from the ongoing and worldwide Depression in the 1930s had empowered extremist movements the world over. Like-minded, violent dictators of otherwise quite different Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, and the Communist Soviet Union all wanted to attack their neighbors.

Yet World War II could have been prevented had Western Europe united to deter Germany. Instead, France, Britain, and the smaller European democracies appeased Hitler.

The United States turned isolationist. The Soviet Union collaborated with the Third Reich. And Italy and Japan eventually joined it.

The 1930s saw rampant anti-Semitism. Jews were blamed in fascist countries for the economic downturn. They were scapegoated in democracies for stirring up the fascists. The only safe havens for Jews from Europe were Jewish-settled Palestine and the United States.

Does all this sound depressingly familiar?

The aftershocks of the global financial meltdown of 2008 still paralyze the European Union while prompting all sorts of popular extremist movements and opportunistic terrorists.

After the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, America has turned inward. The Depression and the lingering unhappiness over World War I did the same to Americans in the 1930s.

Premodern monsters are on the move. The Islamic State is carving up Syria and Iraq to fashion a fascist caliphate.

Vladimir Putin gobbles up his neighbors in Ossetia, Crimea, and eastern Ukraine, in crude imitation of the way Germany once swallowed Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.

Theocratic Iran is turning Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon into a new Iranian version of Japan’s old Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The Western response to all this? Likewise, similar to the 1930s.

The NATO allies are terrified that Putin will next attack the NATO-member Baltic states — and that their own paralysis will mean the embarrassing end of the once-noble alliance.

The United States has now fled from four Middle Eastern countries. It forfeited its post-surge victory in Iraq. It was chased out of Libya after the killings of Americans in Benghazi. American red lines quickly turned pink in Syria. U.S. Marines just laid down their weapons and flew out of the closed American embassy in Yemen.

America has convinced its European partners to drop tough sanctions against Iran. In the manner of the Allies in 1938 at Munich, they prefer instead to charm Iran, in hopes it will stop making a nuclear bomb.

The Islamic State has used almost a year of unchallenged aggression to remake the map of the Middle East. President Obama had variously dismissed it as a jayvee team or merely akin to the problems that big-city mayors face.

Europeans pay out millions to ransom their citizens from radical Islamic hostage-beheaders. Americans handed over terrorist kingpins to get back a likely Army deserter.

Then we come to the return of the Jewish question. Seventy years after the end of the Holocaust, Jews are once again leaving France. They have learned that weak governments either will not or cannot protect them from Islamic terrorists.

In France, radical Islamists recently targeted a kosher market. In Denmark, they went after a synagogue. In South Africa, students demanded the expulsion of Jewish students from a university. A Jewish prosecutor who was investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina was found mysteriously murdered.

Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being blamed for stoking Middle Eastern tensions. Who cares that he resides over the region’s only true democracy, one that is stable and protects human rights? Obama-administration aides have called him a coward and worse. President Obama has dismissed the radical Islamists’ targeting of Jews in France merely as “randomly shoot[ing] a bunch of folks in a deli.”

Putin, the Islamic State, and Iran at first glance have as little in common as did Germany, Italy, and Japan. But like the old Axis, they are all authoritarians that share a desire to attack their neighbors. And they all hate the West.

The grandchildren of those who appeased the dictators of the 1930s once again prefer in the short term to turn a blind eye to the current fascists. And the grandchildren of the survivors of the Holocaust once again get blamed.

The 1930s should have taught us that aggressive autocrats do not have to like each other to share hatred of the West.

The 1930s should have demonstrated to us that old-time American isolationism and the same old European appeasement will not prevent but only guarantee a war.

And the 1930s should have reminded us that Jews are usually among the first — but not the last — to be targeted by terrorists, thugs, and autocrats.

Also see:

Khodorkovsky and the Freedom Agenda

Jailed Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands in the defendants' cage before the start of a court session in Moscow December 28, 2010. REUTERS/Tatiana Makeyeva

Jailed Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands in the defendants’ cage before the start of a court session in Moscow December 28, 2010. REUTERS/Tatiana Makeyeva

by :

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Until his arrest in October 2003, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the oligarch and oil executive, was the richest man in Russia. He might have still been the richest man in Russia today if he hadn’t started thinking about politics, and objecting to the fact that under President Vladimir Putin, Russia had abandoned all prospects for democracy.
With his billions, Khodorkovsky had the means to finance a challenge to Putin’s authoritarian rule. His arrest in 2003 and his 10-year imprisonment was ordered and orchestrated by Putin as a means of silencing and destroying the former KGB officer’s only potent challenger for power.

After 10 years behind bars, Khodorkovsky was suddenly released from prison last Friday, immediately after Putin issued him a presidential pardon.

He held a press conference in Berlin the next day. There he showed that prison had changed his political thinking.

Whereas in 2003, Khodorkovsky thought it was possible to transform Russia into a democracy by simply winning an election, after 10 years behind bars, he recognizes that elections are not enough.

“The Russian problem is not just the president as a person,” he explained. “The problem is that our citizens in the large majority don’t understand that their fate, they have to be responsible for it themselves. They are so happy to delegate it to, say, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and then they will entrust it to somebody else.”

In other words, until the Russian people come to the conclusion that they want liberty, no one can give it to them. They will just replace one dictator with another one. In his words, “If you have a ‘most important person’ in the opposition… you will get another Putin.”

So whereas George Washington was seen as the first among equals, an opposition leader who would succeed Putin, would be more like Robespierre in post-revolutionary France.

Khodorkovsky’s remarks show that you can’t instantly import democracy from abroad. The US defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War. But the Soviet defeat didn’t make the Russians liberal democrats. Until the seeds of democracy are planted in a nation’s hearts and minds, the overthrow of its overlord will make little difference to the aspirations of the people.

Over the past two months, in neighboring Ukraine, we have seen the flipside of Khodorkovsky’s warning. There, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been braving the winter cold to protest President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to ignore the public’s desire to associate with the European Union, rather than with Russia. As the protesters have made clear, they view a closer association with the EU as a means of securing Ukrainian independence from Russia.

For the past two months, Yanukovych has been alternatively assaulting and ignoring the masses rallying in Kiev’s Independence Square.

And last week he signed a deal with Russia that paves the way for Ukraine’s incorporation into Russia’s custom’s union, and its effective subordination to the Kremlin.

At this point, the opposition and Yanukovych are deadlocked. According to National Review’s Askold Krushelnyck, the protesters are trying to break the deadlock by turning to the US and the EU for help.

No, they are not asking for military support.

They have gathered information about financial crimes carried out by Yanukovych, his relatives and cronies. And they are asking the US and the EU to take legal action against them in accordance with their domestic statutes. They translated their information into English and posted it on a website (yanukovich.info), and ask that Western governments freeze their accounts and stop providing financial services to their shell companies.

What Ukraine’s protesters’ actions show is that they understand that when you are dealing with an authoritarian regime – particularly one supported by Putin’s authoritarian regime – it is not enough for a nation to seek democracy and independence. Outside help is also necessary.

Read more at Front Page

American Betrayal 2.0

2947115834By Frank Gaffney at CSP:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt should have described November 16, 1933 as a day that will live in infamy.  As syndicated columnist Diana West notes in her splendid new book,American Betrayal, that date marked the beginning of a sustained and odious practice of our government lying to us about the Russians.  It appears that the Obama administration is determined to perpetrate a reprise of this practice.  Call it American Betrayal 2.0.

According to Ms. West, the betrayal syndrome began when FDR normalized relations with the Soviet Union on the basis of a written promise from the Kremlin not to subvert the United States.  Of course, the Soviets lied.  But, for years thereafter, so did our own government – with horrific effects – by insisting the Soviets were reliable friends, and even wartime allies.

Sound familiar?  Today, Team Obama is engaging in its own, serial and disastrous betrayals – from promising you can keep your health care to a deal that will allow Iran to keep its nuclear weapons program.  But two others regarding the Russians warrant special attention.

First, the New York Times reported on the eightieth anniversary of the infamous normalization deal (without, of course, noting the irony) that the U.S. Department of State was beavering away at a new arrangement that would allow half-a-dozen Russian facilities to be installed across the United States.  Ostensibly, these sites would be used to help the Kremlin build-out and operate its so-called Glonass satellite system, a counterpart to and competitor with America’s Global Positioning System (GPS).

There are several things wrong with this picture.  First, it is not clear why we would want to help the Russians compete with the GPS.  Second, the practical effect of the Red Army having its own global positioning system is that it may make ours a more certain target in the event of any future hostilities between us, or perhaps even between the United States and Russian clients.

Then, there is the problem that Glonass signals may interfere with those controlling our GPS satellites, especially if the Russian ground stations might be in proximity to the American ones.  Another serious concern has to be precisely what electronic equipment the Russians will put into these facilities.  Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee, recently wrote three agency heads out of concern that, among other things, some of such gear might not actually be needed for Glonass – but be useful for espionage, electronic warfare or other activities inimical to our security.

According to the Times report: “For the State Department, permitting Russia to build the stations would help mend the Obama administration’s relationship with the government of President Vladimir V. Putin, now at a nadir because of Moscow’s granting asylum to Mr. Snowden and its backing of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.”

It is a travesty, but in keeping with past betrayals of America, that our State Department – presumably, with White House approval – believes that we need to make further concessions in response to bad behavior by the Kremlin.  The outrageousness of such an idea is compounded by the fact that the folks in Foggy Bottom neglected to secure its approval from either the Defense Department or the intelligence community.  Both are reportedly up in arms about it – as indeed they should be.  But will they prevail?

At the same time, the Obama administration has another betrayal in the works.  This one involves not only the nation as a whole, but several of its Democratic allies in the United States Senate.

It seems that Team Obama is intent on dismantling at least one squadron of fifty Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles as its preferred approach to meeting the reductions in nuclear forces required by the seriously defective New START Treaty with Russia.  A timeline provided to Congress indicates that, in order for that to happen by the “treaty compliance date” of February 5, 2018, the Air Force needs to begin the lengthy decommissioning process by launching an environmental impact assessment next month.

This should be a shock to Senators Max Baucus and John Tester of Montana and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.  They were assured by President Obama that the ICBM forces like those located in Montana and commanded by the Global Strike Command in Louisiana would not be affected by New START.  It was on the basis of such assurances that all three Senators voted for that accord.

These legislators and their colleagues from the other ICBM basing states – Republican John Hoeven and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Republicans Mike Enzi and John Barrasso of Wyoming – should take the lead in amending the National Defense Authorization Act scheduled to be considered on the Senate floor this week to ensure that, as the President promised, the land-based leg of our nuclear Triad is not further weakened.  That is especially advisable at a time when the Russians are aggressively beefing up their nuclear threat to this country and its allies.

America needs a reset, alright.  It should feature not further concessions to the Russians, however, but an end to the betrayals of our people to the benefit of the Kremlin that have been perpetrated now for eighty years.  No more.

Video: The Legacy of FDR’s Normalization of Relations with the USSR

nov16 (1)

With (left to right) Stanton Evans, Frank Gaffney, Diana West, Chris Farrell and (not pitcured) Stephen Coughlin

Eightieth Anniversary of Deal That Facilitated Penetration of U.S. Government, Society

Washington, DC — Eighty years ago this Saturday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed for the first time to recognize the Communist regime of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He did so on the basis of formal undertakings by then-Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov that the Kremlin would not engage in subversive actions in America.
The rest, as they say, is history. And a sordid and still unfolding history it is.

“The 16th of November 1933 is a day that truly should live in infamy. This symposium will explore its significance both in terms of much of the most sordid history of the 20th Century — and as the predicate for similar forces at work in the 21st.”

The Center for Security Policy is pleased to convene a symposium to review that history — both that of the immediate post-normalization period, of World War II, of the Cold War and of today — from noon-2:00 p.m. at the headquarters of Judicial Watch in Washington, D.C.

  • Diana West, author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character;
  • M. Stanton Evans, author of Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government Relations;
  • Christopher Farrell, Chief Investigator, Judicial Watch; and
  • Stephen Coughlin, author of the forthcoming book, Catastrophic Failure.
  • Frank Gaffney, President, Center for Security Policy, moderator.

Diana West at 7:09, Stanton Evans at 24:15, Chris Farrell at 47:09, Stephen Coughlin at 57:57 followed by Q&A (which you do not want to miss)

Russia’s Demographic Revolution

pic_giant_102213_SM_Russias-Demographic-RevolutionBy Daniel Pipes:

The stabbing murder on October 10 of an ethnic Russian, Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, apparently by a Muslim from Azerbaijan, led to antimigrant disturbances in Moscow, vandalism and assaults, and the arrest of 1,200. It brought a major tension in Russian life to the fore.

Not only do ethnic Muslims account for 21–23 million of Russia’s total population of 144 million, or 15 percent, but their proportion is fast growing. Alcoholism-plagued ethnic Russians are said to have European birth rates and African life-expectancy, with the former just 1.4 per woman and the latter 60 years for men. In Moscow, ethnic Christian women have 1.1 children.

In contrast, Muslim women bear 2.3 children on average and have fewer abortions than their Russian counterparts. In Moscow, Tatar women have six children and Chechen and Ingush women have ten on average. In addition, some 3 to 4 million Muslims have moved to Russia from ex-republics of the USSR, mainly Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan; and some ethnic Russians are converting to Islam.

These trends mean that Christians are declining in numbers by 0.6 percent a year and Muslims increasing by that same amount, which will have dramatic effects over time. Some analysts foresee Muslims becoming a majority in the 21st century — a demographic revolution that would fundamentally change the country’s character. Paul Goble, an expert on Russian minorities, concludes that “Russia is going through a religious transformation that will be of even greater consequence for the international community than the collapse of the Soviet Union.” A Russian commentator he quotes envisions a mosque on Red Square in Moscow. The facile assumption that Moscow is and will remain Western-oriented “is no longer valid,” he argues. In particular, he predicts that the Muslim demographic surge “will have a profound impact on Russian foreign policy.”

Within a few years, Muslims will make up half the conscripts in the Russian army. Joseph A. D’Agostino of the Population Research Institute asks: “Will such a military operate effectively given the fury that many domestic Muslims feel toward the Russian military’s tactics in the Muslim region of Chechnya? What if other Muslim regions of Russia — some of which contain huge oil reserves — rebel against Moscow? Will Muslim soldiers fight and kill to keep them part of the Russian motherland?”

Read more at NRO

 

KGB Defector: Soviets Engineered Islamist Hatred of America

KGB head Andropov said Islam and the Arab world was petri dish which could nurture a virulent strain of America-hate.

Pacepa

BY RYAN MAURO:

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking defector from the former Soviet bloc. He fled to the U.S. in 1978 when he was the deputy chief of Communist Romania’s foreign intelligence service. He was also a top advisor to Nicolae Ceausescu, the country’s Soviet-allied leader.

His newest book is Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion and Promoting Terrorism.

There is also a two-hour companion documentary titled,Disinformation: The Secret Strategy to Destroy the West.

The following is Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro’s interview with Lt. Gen. Pacepa:

Ryan Mauro: Why would the Soviet Union sponsor the growth of radical Islam if that ideology also hates communism?

Ion Mihai Pacepa: Because they have another, more important thing in common: anti-Semitism. Long before we had the Holocaust in Germany, we had the Russian word pogrom, defined by an authoritarian Russian dictionary as the “government-organized mass slaughter of some element of the population as a group, such as the Jewish pogroms in tsarist Russia.”[1] And long before we had Hitler’s Mein Kampf, we had the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a tsarist Russian anti-Semitic forgery that became the basis for much of Mein Kampf and for today’s new anti-Semitism.

Disinformation-Book-CoverThe KGB community, when I was at its top, spent many years and huge amounts of money to turn the Islamic world into an explosive enemy of the United States. Islam and the Arab world, Andropov told me in 1972, were a petri dish in which we could nurture a strain of America-hate, grown from the bacterium of Marxist thought. Islam’s doctrine of soul-purifyingjihad was the twin to our own soul-purifying romance with revolutionary nihilism.

The Muslims’ anti-Semitism ran deep. We had only to keep repeating our disinformation—that the United States was a war-mongering, Zionist country financed by Jewish money and run by a rapacious “Council of the Elders of Zion” (the KGB’s derisive epithet for the U.S. Congress), the aim of which was to transform the rest of the world into a Jewish fiefdom.

Although we now live in an age of technology, we still do not have an instrument that can scientifically measure the results of Andropov’s sustained disinformation operation. It is, however, safe to presume that the cumulative effect over 20-plus years of disseminating millions of copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion throughout the Islamic world and portraying the United States as a criminal Zionist surrogate should have made some dent. Witness the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, and the 1998 destruction of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

September 11, 2001 is another heartrending proof of that. Few people noted that on that same day, the KGB was celebrating 124 years since the birth of its founder, Felix Dzerzhinsky. A videotape depicting the grisly decapitation and dismembering of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 offers further evidence that Andropov’s strategy succeeded. Pearl was gruesomely murdered only because he was an American Jew.

Mauro: Does Russia remain anti-Semitic?

Pacepa: Unfortunately, Russian anti-Semitism is still alive and well. Prof. Rychlak and I have documented this in our new book, Disinformation. Here, let me give just two examples.

In August 1998, one of my former colleagues in my other life, General Albert Makashov, a member of the Russian Duma, alleged that the Jews were being paid by American Zionists to ruin the motherland,[1] and he called for the “extermination of all Jews in Russia.” Over and over, Russian television replayed his screaming in the Duma: “I will round up all the Yids [pejorative for Jews] and send them to the next world.”

On November 4, 1998, the Duma endorsed Makashov’s pogrom by voting (121 to 107) to defeat a parliamentary motion censuring his hate-filled statement. At the November 7, 1998 demonstration marking the 81st anniversary of the October Revolution, crowds of former KGB officers showed their support for the general, chanting “hands off Makashov!” and waving signs with anti-Semitic slogans.[2]

On August 3, 2001, a letter from 98 U.S. Senators expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism in the Russian Federation was sent to President Putin. It stated:

In years past, the U.S. Senate has been united in its condemnation of such virulent anti-Semitism, which, unfortunately, has been present during much of Russia’s history. Your remarks last year publicly condemning anti-Semitism assume special significance against a backdrop of centuries of tsarist and Stalinist persecutions. We strongly encourage you to continue to publicly condemn anti-Semitism whenever it manifests itself in the Russian Federation. We also believe that it is important to back up the rhetoric of condemnation with the substance of action.[3]

In January 2002, however, Jewish leaders from the Siberian city of Yekaterinburg reported to the prosecutors in Moscow that the Russian Orthodox Church had reprinted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion alleging Jewish plans to overthrow Christianity, and the priests were now selling it to the population. Nevertheless, no prosecutorial action was taken.[4] Aleksi II, the Patriarch of Moscow during those day was working for the KGB under the codename “Drozdov” and was awarded the KGB Certificate of Honor, as was revealed in a KGB archive accidentally left behind in Estonia when the Russians pulled out.

Read more at The Clarion Project

Is Russia Aiding Syria to Hide Its WMD?

wmdBY RYAN MAURO:

Russia’s chemical weapons deal with Syria may not just be a slick move to strengthen Assad. It may be the present-day activation of an old Soviet plan titled “Operation Emergency Exit” designed to cleanse a Third World ally of incriminating material.

Assad has already begun moving his chemical weapons onto Russian ships, according to Kamal al-Labwani, who is a prominent Syrian opposition figure that stands against the Assad dictatorship and the Islamists. The Clarion Project interviewed him in April 2012.

Labwani says that Assad is also hiding chemical weapons in vegetable-filled trucks with the intention of transferring them to parts of Lebanon dominated by Hezbollah. Immediately after the Russian-brokered deal was announced, the Clarion Project was told by an informed source that there was intelligence that Assad was already in the process of sending WMD-related materials to the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.

The Iraqi government, a supporter of Assad, has denied reports that it is also housing Syrian WMD. General Salim Idris, a rebel military leader, claims that Syrian materials have gone to Iraq, as does an anti-Assad newspaper in Lebanon. The paper says that at least 20 trucks crossed into Iraq without inspection.

As the highest-ranking defector from the East Bloc, Ion Mihai Pacepa, was privy to the deepest secrets of the Soviet Union when he the chief of Romania’s foreign intelligence service. He defected in 1978 and remains in hiding.

In August 2003, he wrote that he had first-hand knowledge of a secret Soviet plan named Operation Sarindar, or in English, “Operation Emergency Exit.” Its objective was to cleanse a Third World ally of chemical weapons in order to prevent the discovery of Russian complicity and to help frame the West as the aggressor.

Read more at The Clarion Project