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Israel Joins New Asia Bank — Opposed by US

by Dr. Alon Levkowitz

April 16, 2015

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 295

(Jerome S. Kaufman aside:)

(BESA Center is a brilliant Israeli Think Tank and comes out with some great academic papers.  But, I don’t much care for their name “Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.” 

Anwar Sadat was a clever western educated Egyptian statesman. With the help of Israel’s usual self-defeating demeanor, inexperience and naïveté, Sadat snatched total victory from the Israelis, reversing the  Egypt defeat in the 1973 war despite their surprise attack and initial gains.    

Israel, in a supreme gesture of stupidity following intimidation by Jimmy Carter, returned the captured Sinai, all its oil wealth, its thriving community, great strategic depth, ideal airspace, a perfect area  for continued Israel growth, and matchless  military superiority for the vague promise of “peace”. Unfortunately, Sadat’s own gesture toward peace of any kind with the Israelis, cost him his life through his assassination by the Muslim Brotherhood or aligned elements.

The vaunted “peace” has  continued only because of Israel’s overwhelming superior military and cultural society.  At this much later date Egyptian leader, General al-Sisi and his military fully understand the importance of Israel to Egypt’s very existence. Unfortunately his gestures of mutual accommodation puts his own life very much at risk.

The Sadat name therefore continues to remind me of a very bad deal.  Jews seem to be far more comfortable  mourning the days when they were slaves in Egypt or slaughtered peasants in Mother Russia and Poland than to maintain positions of genuine, timeless strength. Hopefully, Netanyahu, as a result of his Obama tutorial, will turn this around. But, don’t hold your breath.)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of article below:

The Israeli government’s decision to apply to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), despite Washington’s displeasure, is an expression of Israel’s strong interest in increasing its economic engagement in Asia.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his capacity as minister of finance, signed a letter of application to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on March 31, despite Washington’s displeasure. Fully aware of Washington’s failed attempt to convince its allies not to join the AIIB, the decision to apply demonstrates Israel’s understanding of the rising importance of Asia, especially China, to Israel’s economy.

The new bank is viewed by many as an important indicator of the changing economic and global balance of power, appearing as a threat to the World Bank. The decision to join the AIIB is another phase in Israel’s policy to improve relations with Asia. Additional moves include negotiating free trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea.

Does the AIIB symbolize a global financial shift towards China? Is it yet another indication of the gradual decline of the United States in Asia and the global arena?

During the 1990s, there were a few failed initiatives to establish new regional economic and political organizations in Asia mainly as a result of Washington’s objections. Malaysia’s prime minister at the time, Dr. Mahathir Muhammad, called for the establishment of a regional organization that would include all Asian nations and exclude the United States. This attempt was blocked by Washington and Tokyo.

After the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Japan initiated another attempt for Asian nations to establish an Asian Monetary Fund (AMF), which would attend to Asian needs in contrast to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), increasingly criticized for its lack of sensitivity to their needs during the 1997-1998 economic crisis.

The AMF initiative was thwarted by Washington because of concern that it might lead to the decline of US power through the IMF and in Asia as well. In the end, Beijing also seemed to back Washington’s opposition based on the worry of the rise of Japanese power in the region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the plans for the AIIB in a speech to the Indonesian parliament in 2013. The bank looks to invest about $100 billion in infrastructure projects in Asia in contrast to the World Bank, which has a global, not regional focus. Another difference between the two banks is the amount that they would invest in Asia.  While the WB total work program funding for 2015 in Asia is $172 million, the AIIB intends to invest more than $800 million in Asia in 2015.

The AIIB will boost China’s role in the global economy beyond what is currently reflected in the voting mechanisms of the IMF and World Bank. It will also allow China to enhance its soft power in Asia. The AIIB might, as suggested by Washington, have transparency and technical problems, but the fundamental issue for the Americans is that it challenges its global hegemonic position.

Washington’s allies, mainly in Asia, were faced with a dilemma: to join or follow Washington’s recommendation not to. While the United States is undoubtedly an important ally for many countries, China’s importance as a major trading partner and ally also carries substantial weight.

For example, South Korea found itself in a dilemma, stuck between Washington’s request to abstain from joining the AIIB and to deploy the American Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. On the other hand, Beijing asked Seoul to join the AIIB and abstain from deploying THAAD. In the end, Seoul decided to join the AIIB and delay its decision on deploying the sophisticated anti-missile system. One possible reason why Seoul decided to join the Chinese led bank could have been to assist infrastructure projects in North Korea which would decrease Pyongyang’s incentive to initiate military provocations.

Besides South Korea, many other US allies decided to join the AIIB in spite of Washington’s objections. These include Britain, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. Tokyo and Washington are the two main economic powers that have so far decided not to join the new bank. However, based on Washington’s past record of opposing Asian regional initiatives at the beginning, only to later reverse its decision, it is likely that Washington and even Tokyo will also join in the long run.

The AIIB is another indication of China’s growing economic growth and willingness to challenge American power on the world stage.  And although Washington and Beijing do not see eye to eye on political, security, and economic issues, both states are economically interdependent, which could serve to constrain their rivalry over the balance of power in Asia.

The Israeli government’s decision to apply to the AIIB, despite Washington’s reticence, shows that it understands that it cannot afford to be left out of Asia’s economic rise. Once its application is approved, Israel will be able to initiate projects in Asia through the AIIB and assist Israeli companies in the process, thus increasing its relations in Asia.

========================

Dr. Alon Levkowitz, a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is an expert on East Asian security, the Korean Peninsula, and Asian international organizations.

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family. ________________________________________

IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis

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By Jerome S. Kaufman

Editor/Publisher Israel Commentary

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11155 

Monday, April 13, 2015

I had the great privilege of watching Senator Rubio declare himself a candidate for the awesome responsibility of President of United States of America and I loved every minute of it.

He is a great speaker -  bright, clean-cut, handsome, a beautiful wife and family and he did remind me of our last member of the Court of King Arthur  —  John F. Kennedy!  

He began by saying, “I have come here to make an announcement as to how I can best serve you.”  What a novel idea in the present political climate. I thought it was all about serving the politician and his Party. 

His speech was clear, precise, factual, direct, no fumbling around.  No tele-prompters or excessive use of notes. He did not read his speech. It came from the heart. Most important I did not see the awful narcissistic mannerisms of the present office holder.

But, what did he say?

1. He is the proud son of immigrants. He is thus a first generation American and from those have come some of our most dedicated, productive and successful political servants. His dad was a bar tender, his mom was a domestic servant. How basic can you get?  

He grew up the son of refugees who I am sure kissed the ground of this country the moment they arrived for having the good fortune to finally arrive in this wonderful land. The Jews called it, the Goldina Medina, the Golden Land of Freedom and Opportunity. I am sure the waves of Cubans, Irish, Italians, Poles, Russians, Slavs,  and so many others dreamed of it in the same way. 

2. He said that unfortunately, the American dream has gone awry over the last 6 plus years. Too many Americans are now beginning to doubt whether that dream is still possible to achieve in the Goldina Medina.  Hard working families are now living paycheck to paycheck. Young Americans are not able to start a career or family because they owe thousands of dollars in student loans or have useless degrees that do not lead to jobs.  Small business owners and the middle class are made to struggle under onerous taxes, more government regulation and hostile interference. 

We have been steered off the course where prosperity is dependent upon our ability to compete on the world stage.  Modern jobs require special skills and far different education than those of the past.  Our educational system is frozen in old formats that are no longer pertinent. They are ineffective, expensive and inaccessible to those that need it most. 

On the world scene our current President likes to lead from behind. How that is supposed to work is beyond explanation. The President never seems to have understood that when America ceases to lead, worldwide chaos is the result. 

We are years past any form of isolationism or disregard of the rest of the world. The world has shrunk. Even worse, for another inexplicable reason,  the present administration has chosen to favor out enemies and betray our staunch allies. He has deliberately weakened our military, diluted our patriotism and destroyed our ability to contain and defeat our enemies wherever and whenever necessary.

Major changes are essential to our very existence. We must reform our tax costs, reduce the myriad numbers of mindless regulations. We must control spending and modernize our immigration laws, and repeal and replace the bankruptcy upon us because of an overly ambitious and poorly devised Obamacare. Nancy Pelosi’s recommendation for Congress to sign the law before they read it and figure it out later was the lousiest piece of advice of the century.

If we can correct all these things and modernize our educational system the American work force will find millions of higher paying jobs. It should also be our goal to return to the times when a high school graduate actually came out knowing something and had the necessary skills to go right to work and make some badly needed money.

And let us remember that the family, not the government, is the most important institution in this country and all human life deserves the protection of our laws.  And, parents, not outsiders with their own agendas, must be allowed to determine the education most appropriate for their children. 

Worldwide, America must once more accept the mantle of global leadership. We must abandon this nation’s dangerous concessions to Iran and Obama’s mindless  hostility to Israel.  We must no longer remain passive in the face of Chinese and Russian aggression. We must reverse the hollowing out of our military and give our men and women in the military the resources, the care and the gratitude they deserve.

Furthermore we cannot ignore the human rights violations and disregard of democracy in Cuba and so many other countries round the world. Our enemies are testing us in all of the above  and we are flunking their tests badly.

We must correct all these problems to make our own nation safer and our people more prosperous. There is now a generational choice as to what kind of country we will now be.  We no longer can afford the leaders from yesterday taking us back to the solutions of yesterday. Yesterday is over.  If we fail our children, they will be the first generation to inherit a country worse off than the one that was given to their parents!

We must change the decisions we are now making by changing the people who are making them. I find comfort in the ancient biblical command:

Be  strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed for G-d is with you wherever you go.

 Senator Marco Rubio Presidential Announcement Full Speech (C-SPAN)

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B. Saudis side with Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu! Now that’s a first!

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11070

The Saudi Military Intervention in Yemen

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah

Jerusalem Issue Briefs Vol. 15, No. 10 March 31, 2015
Institute for Contemporary Affairs

-The Saudis did not conduct detailed, top-level discussions with the Obama Administration on U.S. support for the operation until a few days before the beginning of the air strikes.

-It appears that the Saudis have little trust in the U.S. administration and suspected that the Obama administration’s Iranian agenda would lead it to stop the Saudi coalition acting against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen.

-Moderate Arab countries have come to the conclusion that they must fight for the survival of their regimes and that terrorism identified with the Sunni jihadists is the main factor for instability. Their scorched earth practices offer fertile ground for the incursion of “heretical” Shiite forces from Iran.

It is hard to believe that the Saudi military intervention in Yemen came as a surprise to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Such a critical act, code-named “Operation Storm of Resolve”  involved coordination with nine other Arab partners, contacts with Pakistan, and the deployment of Arab air power in Saudi Arabia. It could not have gone unnoticed even by the most negligent officer in the U.S. intelligence agencies whose vigilance of the area is one of their top priorities. Moreover, a week or so before the first Saudi wave of attack, the U.S. Administration chose not only to evacuate its diplomats from Aden but also to withdraw a small contingent of Special Forces deployed in the Al-Anad airbase in the vicinity of Aden.

From different accounts relating to the decision-making process that led to the military intervention, it is known that traditional U.S. allies (such as Turkey and Egypt) began to discuss the military coalition at the beginning of March, following the visit to Saudi Arabia by Turkish President Erdogan who expressed his support for the operation. It was no surprise to hear afterwards that Turkey provided logistical support, verbally attacked Iran and called on Iran and the militant groups to withdraw from Yemen.

On March 4, Saudi King Salman pressed Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to “boost the number of troops in the kingdom,” the Financial Times1 reported.

The coalition was ultimately created on the weekend preceding the Saudi attack at a meeting held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Incredibly, General Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the U.S. learned the Saudis were going to attack Yemen only one hour before the operation was launched. In other words: the U.S. was taken by surprise and the Saudis had succeeded in their deception plan.2

The Saudis are exasperated by the Obama Administration’s courtship of Iran — the same Iran that supports their enemies in Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and Iraq, and claims control of four Arab capitals (Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana’a). Saudi Arabia decided it was time to draw the line between the main two camps fighting over hegemony in the Middle East (the Iran-led axis versus the moderate-Arab camp led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia) and demanded that the U.S. choose sides in the war.

This may explain why the Saudis discussed with the U.S. different options in Yemen but never went into details about their military intentions. It is evident that the Saudis perceived that the U.S. did not approve of such a move after the Americans expressed reservations about such intervention.

This could explain the low-profile U.S. “logistic and intelligence support” given to the operation. As in the “lead-from-behind” 2011 Libyan war strategy, the U.S. chose to stay “under the radar” to avoid openly associating with the operation it had to accept after the fact as a reality. The U.S. administration, taken by surprise, did not react immediately. Only two days later Obama called the Saudi king to express half-hearted U.S. support.

The Saudi coalition also has another dimension: For the first time since 1948 the Arabs have succeeded in creating a military coalition aimed at an Arab state and not linked to the Arab-Israeli conflict. While Arab armies joined the military coalition in the first Gulf War, the coalition was led by the United States and was built around the American and international forces that took part in the campaign against Saddam Hussein. The Arab forces served more as a fig leaf.

Today, moderate Arab countries have come to the conclusion that they must fight for the survival of their regimes and that terrorism identified with Sunni jihadists and the extremist ideology of Salafi Islam is the main factor for instability. Their scorched earth practices offer fertile ground for the incursion of “heretical” Shiite forces from Iran.

Islamic organizations classified by the different regimes as terrorist groups have become the main target of the moderate regimes. This is the concept at the core of the pan-Arab force to be created as an intervention force to back Arab regimes under attack.

Egyptians have pointed to Libya as being the next target for an Arab military intervention, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for Arab military intervention in Gaza (meaning against the Hamas).

B. Saudis side with Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu!  Now that’s a first!

Excerpted from Haaretz, Israeli Newspaper

Sunday, April 12, 2015 Nisan 23, 5775

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on Tuesday drew cackles from the usual news sites, he garnered support from an unexpected place: Saudi Arabia.

A day after the prime minister declared that the “enemy of my enemy is my enemy,” Faisal J. Abbas of Al-Arabiya, a Saudi-owned news channel, penned an opinion piece Wednesday calling on U.S. President Obama to listen to Netanyahu on Iran.

“It is extremely rare for any reasonable person to ever agree with anything Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says or does,” wrote Abbas. “However, one must admit, Bibi did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran.”

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Obama toys with cutting Israel adrift in the Security Council.

By UN Ambassador John Bolton

The Weekly Standard

April 6-13, 2015

The administration leaks suggesting that Israel be cut adrift in the Security Council in effect threatened “collective punishment” as a weapon in U.S.-Israel relations. This is especially ironic coming from “progressives” who have repeatedly accused Israel of “collective punishment” by forcefully retaliating against terrorist attacks. But more important, exposing Israel to the tender mercies of its Security Council opponents harms not only Israel’s interests, but America’s in equal measure. Roughly half of Washington’s Security Council vetoes have been cast against draft resolutions contrary to our Middle East interests.

America’s consistent view since Council Resolution 242 concluded the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is that only the parties themselves can structure a lasting peace. Deviating from that formula would be a radical departure by Obama from a bipartisan Middle East policy nearly half a century old.

In fact, Israel’s “1967 borders” are basically only the 1949 cease-fire lines, but its critics shrink from admitting this tedious reality. The indeterminate status of Israel’s borders from its 1948 creation is in fact a powerful argument why only negotiation with relevant Arab parties can ultimately fix the lines with certainty.

That is why Resolution 242’s “land for peace” formula, vague and elastic though it is, was acceptable to everyone in 1967: There were no hard and fast boundaries to fall back on, no longstanding historical precedents. Prior U.N. resolutions from the 1940s, for example, had all been overtaken by events. Only negotiation, if anything, could leave the parties content; externally imposed terms could only sow future conflicts. Hence, Resolution 242 does not call for a return to the prewar boundaries, but instead affirms the right of “every State in the area” to “secure and recognized boundaries.” Ignoring this fundamental reality is fantasy.

So what drives Obama to conjure his Security Council threat? Obviously, deep antipathy for Netanyahu is one reason. Obama didn’t like Netanyahu before Israel’s recent election, and liked him even less after Bibi’s speech to a joint session of Congress. Hoping to motivate lukewarm or indifferent Likud voters to pump up his election-day support, Netanyahu emphasized his opponents’ efforts to turn out anti-Likud Arab voters, and Obama flayed him for it. Obama also opposed Netanyahu’s pre-election criticism of the “two-state solution” and disdained Netanyahu’s efforts to clarify his comments after he won.

So Obama’s list of complaints about Netanyahu is long and getting longer. But if the criticisms were really about Netanyahu’s campaign tactics, threatening to let slip the dogs of political war in the Security Council would hardly be an appropriate response. Obama’s punishment would simply not fit Netanyahu’s crime.

Far more disturbing, Obama’s post-election statements demonstrate something much deeper than just animosity toward Netanyahu. Obama said that “Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don’t believe in a Jewish state, but it also, I think, starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.”

With these comments, Obama is criticizing not just Netanyahu, but the very legitimacy of Israel’s democracy, giving an implicit green light to those prepared to act violently against it. Obama’s remarks are substantially more egregious than Secretary of State John Kerry’s 2014 criticism that Israel’s unwillingness to follow the White House lead in the Palestinian negotiations made it understandable if there were another Palestinian intifada or further efforts by the international “boycotts, sanctions, and divestiture” movement against Israel.

Obama is thus going well beyond acting unpresidential or even immature. Whether one takes his or Netanyahu’s side, the administration’s approach is now squarely contrary to America’s larger strategic interests. And the global harm that will be done to common U.S. and Israeli interests through Security Council resolutions if Washington stands aside (or worse, joins in) will extend far beyond the terms of one prime minister and one president.

Consider the inevitable damage merely from the sort of council resolution threatened by Obama’s leakers. Declaring that a Palestinian state exists outside of Israel’s 1967 boundaries would instantly terminate all bilateral Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy on these central issues. What else would there be to talk about? Resolution 242’s basic premise would be upended; rather than enhancing the role of diplomacy between Israel and the relevant Arab parties, a Palestinian statehood resolution would eliminate it.

The reverberations would echo even wider. Already, Obama’s representatives on the U.N. Human Rights Council declined to defend Israel during the HRC’s annual festival of Israel-bashing, another first from our transformative president.

More seriously, Israel’s “occupation” of West Bank lands would immediately render it in violation of the statehood resolution, thus exposing it to international sanctions, including from the Security Council if Obama continued to stand aside. Prosecutions of Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court would instantly have a jurisdictional basis, and those officials would also be exposed to “universal jurisdiction” statutes that have become all the rage with the international left in recent decades. And won’t the White House be surprised when “Palestine” gains admission to the entire U.N. system, triggering a statutorily required cut-off of U.S. contributions to each agency that admits the new state!

No end of mischief will flow from even one undisciplined Security Council resolution, let alone whatever else Obama is prepared to allow. Obama’s criticisms, with the implied charge of racism not far beneath their surface, have once again brought Israel’s very legitimacy into question. We are all too close to resurrecting the U.N.’s 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution. Daniel Patrick Moynihan would not recognize Obama as a president from the Democratic party.

Obama needs reminding that petulance is for teenagers, not presidents. U.S. interests extend beyond personalities and temporary frustrations. As in many other policy areas, Obama’s “l’état, c’est moi” approach is laying foundations for enormous problems both today and long after he leaves office. If anyone wants a convincing argument why national security must be at the very center of America’s 2016 presidential contest, Obama has surely supplied it.

John R. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-06.

II  Video Senator Lindsay Graham addressing the US Senate, calling our Barack Obama

03.23 Graham Israel Floor Remarks

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http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11098

Disclaimer: I am the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

My mother was transported to Auschwitz from her home in the Maramures region of northern Romania and my father fled into the Soviet Union from his eastern Polish town.

So, everything that touches on the Holocaust has special meaning for me.

I grew up with the accented English, the vast unknown past, the sense of loss, human, historical, cultural.

I saw the film WOMEN IN GOLD one or two days after its national release

For the first time since the mid ’70s release of STAR WARS or THE GODFATHER, I had to wait on line.

The showing was sold out as was the showing before it.

WOMAN IN GOLD is the story of a relationship between Maria Altmann, descendant of a prestigious Austrian Jewish family, the Bloch-Bauers and Randol Schoenberg, a young lawyer, descendant of an equally prestigious family, the Schoenbergs and their attempt to obtain restitution of a valuable painting of Ms. Altmann’s aunt by Gustav Klimt one of Austria’s most famous artists.

It is also the story of their attempt to obtain justice from the Austrian government and an acknowledgement of its participation in the Nazi theft.

The leads are portrayed by Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. They are magical.

It is a fantastic film. Cinematically. Narratively. Perfect casting.

For reasons unknown, an early viewing at the Berlin Film Festival was subject to a cruel, almost anti-Semitic review by the international VARIETY critic. He seems to be angry that Ms. Altmann and Mr. Schoenberg had the temerity to sue for Ms. Altmann’s property.

My question if I were to confront this critic would be: Are Jews not allowed to own property? He barely reviews the film while using his “review” as a blog of his political thoughts.

One of the things that many people fail to admit is that the Holocaust was not just a genocide, it was a mad grab for Jewish “things”. It was theft, greed, pure and simple. It was pagan covetousness by the Nazis, the natives, and the neighbors. They stole everything — Candlesticks. Earrings. Factories.   

I remember my mother telling me the following:

Her father had a small factory that made earthenware dishes. He employed native girls to paint flowers on the dishes and sold them all over northern Romania. The family lived in a stone house that had been in the family for over one hundred years. They had large fields and grew some of their own food. They had a horse.

When my grandmother was deported to Auschwitz in June, 1944 she had some diamond jewelry. I am not sure if they were rings or earrings.

As they walked to the train depo she threw them in the fields.

She was dead within two days.

(Above written by Elaine Rosenberg Miller)

(In the meantime  many of her tormentors — craven, masochistic, depraved dregs of humanity escaped from imprisonment and death via  ratlines carefully  organized with the  documented collusion of elements of the Vatican, the Catholic Church and US Army Intelligence!

Ratlines were a system of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of World War II. These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly ArgentinaParaguayBrazilUruguayChile, and Bolivia.

Other destinations included the United States, Great Britain, Canada and the Middle East.

So much for the supposed moral superiority of the Western world.)

Jerome S. Kaufman

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By Jerome S. Kaufman

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11084

A Bret Baier Special Report was shown on Fox TV, April 2, 2015 6:30 PM immediately after Obama’s glib address to the nation featuring an endless parade of questionable facts and groundless conclusions relative to the supposed nuclear arrangement just completed with Iran.

But, No! It is not even an “arrangement” but just the “outline of a  framework.” This, after months of daily genuflecting to Iran. Furthermore,  it is a “framework” obviously written in saw dust with not a bit of concrete in the mix.

I  Prior to the panel discussion and most revealing , Bret Baier showed a video of Barack Obama Dec. 2013, presenting his criteria for an agreement with Iran at that time.

Obama stated that if Iran were really interested in only a nuclear program for peaceful purposes:

  • It had no need for an underground fortified nuclear facilities at Fordo and  Arak in which to conceal its activities.

 

  • They also had no need for heavy water nuclear reactors. (Heavy water is the key to one type of reactor in which plutonium can be bred from natural uranium. A nation seeking large quantities of heavy water most likely wishes to use the material to moderate a reactor and most likely planning to produce plutonium.)

 

  • Advanced centrifuges are also not required for a peaceful nuclear program. They are used to produce enriched uranium made suitable for use in a nuclear weapon. In the meantime, Iran insists that its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes.

These original demands by Obama have somehow been bypassed or watered down with the current “Framework.” Equally as dangerous is the not addressing properly the need for  outside periodic, impromptu inspection and surveillance of these facilities.

Panel experts  Charles Krauthammer and  Jonah Goldberg  both felt that the “framework” Obama had agreed to was a disaster for the United States. It in no way hindered Iran’s nuclear program but in fact, as PM Netanyahu warned on many occasions, enhanced it.  

Iran has no intention of abandoning its nuclear weapon development.  Its  only intent with these negotiations is to promise whatever in order to get the economic sanctions, somewhat in place by the US, EU, UN, removed. Krauthammer stated their economy would then boom and they would have virtually limitless funds for nuclear development and equally important, the diffusion of Islamist terrorism throughout the world. And there is no question that Iran is the main force behind the many awful incidents of unrestrained terror occurring all over the world.

Mara Liasson, the third panelist, went off in a different direction basically stating that this supposed agreement was likely a good political move by Obama theoretically giving the Democrats some argument to defend the absolute disaster that has been his foreign policy. Somehow I find this sort of specious reasoning sickening. Never mind what is good for the United States of America. Rather spin the narrative so it is good for the Democratic Party in the next election.

II Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying About New Nuke Agreement

Says White House (Obama) misleading Congress, American people with his fact sheet

Redacted from an article

BY: Adam Kredo

April 2, 2015 5:40 pm

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.

Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.

Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.

“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”

Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion—and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.

Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.

“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” he wrote on Twitter.

He then suggested a correction: “Iran/P5+1 Statement: ‘The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions’. How about this?”

The pushback from Iran’s chief diplomat follows a pattern of similar accusations by senior Iranian political figures after the announcement of previous agreements.

On Thursday evening, Zarif told reporters the latest agreement allows Iran to keep operating its nuclear program.

“None of those measures” that will move to scale back Iran’s program “include closing any of our facilities,” Zarif said. “We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.”

“Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility,” Zarif said. “We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.”

The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.

Zarif said that once a final agreement is made, “all U.S. nuclear related secondary sanctions will be terminated,” he said. “This, I think, would be a major step forward.”

Zarif also revealed that Iran will be allowed to sell “enriched uranium” in the international market place and will be “hopefully making some money” from it.

Compiled from various sources by Jerome S. Kaufman

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http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11062

Revised from an Israel Commentary article of April 2012

April 1, 2015

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=3171

Published in “Israel Hayom” (Most read daily newspaper in Israel)

March 30, 2012

Passover, and especially the legacy of Moses and the Exodus, has been part of the American story since the seventeenth century, inspiring the American pursuit of liberty, justice and morality.

The special role played by Passover – and the Bible – in shaping the American state of mind constitutes the foundation of the unique relations between the American People and the Jewish State. As important as are the current mutual threats and interests between the US and Israel, the bedrock of the unbreakable US-Israel alliance are permanent values, principles and legacies, such as Passover.

In 1620 and 1630, William Bradford and John Winthrop delivered sermons on the “Mayflower” and “Arbella,” referring to the deliverance from “modern day Egypt and Pharaoh,” to “the crossing of the modern day Red Sea” and to New Zion/Canaan as the destination of the Pilgrims on board.

In 1776, Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense (which cemented public support for the revolution), referred to King George as the “hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh.”

Upon declaration of independence, Benjamin Franklin, the most secular Founding Father, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second third American Presidents, proposed a Passover theme for the official US seal: the Pillar of Fire leading Moses and the Israelites through the Red Sea, while Pharaoh’s chariots drown in the Sea.

The inscription on the seal was supposed to be: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” framing the rebellion against the British monarchy as principle-driven. The lessons of the Jewish deliverance from Egyptian bondage reverberated thunderously among the Rebels, who considered the thirteen colonies to be “the modern day Twelve Tribes.”

The 19th century Abolitionists, and the Civil Rights movement from the 1940s to the 1970s, were inspired by the ethos of the Exodus and by the Bible’s opposition to slavery.

In the 1830s, the Liberty Bell, an icon of American independence, was adopted by the Abolitionists, due to its Exodus-inspired inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof” (Leviticus 25:10).

Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), and her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe (“The Little Rabbi”) were scholars of the Bible and the Exodus.

Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery in 1849 and freed Black slaves on the Underground Railroad, earned the name “Moses.” The 1879/80 Black slaves who ran away to Kansas were called “the Exodusters.” The most famous spiritual, “Go Down, Moses” was considered the National Anthem of Black slaves.

In 1865, following the murder of President Lincoln, most eulogies compared him to Moses. Just like Moses, Lincoln liberated slaves, but was stopped short of the Promised Land. France paid tribute to the martyred Lincoln by erecting the Statue of Liberty, featuring rays of sun and a tablet, just like the glaring Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the Two Tablets of the Ten Commandments.

In 1954, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. compared the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools to the parting of the Red Sea. In 1964, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King proclaimed: “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh’s court centuries ago and cried, ‘Let my people go.’”

President Reagan mentioned (Reagan at Westminster, 2010) Exodus as the first incident in a long line of Western resistance to tyranny: “Since the exodus from Egypt, historians have written of those who sacrificed and struggled for freedom – the stand at Thermopylae, the revolt of Spartacus, the storming of the Bastille, the Warsaw uprising in World War II.”

In July, 2003, President Bush stated, in Senegal, “In America, enslaved Africans learned the story of the exodus from Egypt, and set their own hearts on a promised land of freedom.”

In March, 2007, President Obama said in Selma, Alabama that the civil rights pioneers were the “Moses generation” and he was part of the “Joshua generation” that would “find our way across the river.”

(What Chutzpa! Obama as Joshua! More confirmation of Obama’s classic narcissism and grandiose posturing) jsk

In 2012, the statue of Moses stares at the Speaker of the House, another statue of Moses towers above the seats of the Supreme Court Justices, a Ten Commandment monument sits on the ground of the Texas State Capitol and a similar monument will be shortly erected on the ground of the Oklahoma State Capitol.

In 2012, the leader of the Free World and its sole soul ally in the Mid-East, Israel, are facing the most lethal threat to liberty since 1945 – conventional and non-conventional Islamic terrorism. Adherence to the legacy of Passover, marshaling the conviction-driven leadership of Moses, and demonstrating the Joshua and Caleb courage and defiance of odds, will once again facilitate the victory of liberty over tyranny.

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative”

Addendum Comments:

On Apr 1, 2012, at 12:12 PM, Cody Flecker wrote:

Actually Uriah P Levy was the first Commodore in the US Navy serving in the war of 1812. His nephew was Jefferson Monroe Levy, and it was he who bought the run down home and estate of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello) at an auction. Jefferson Monroe Levy while not a religious Jew was at best an observant Jew. He was one of the founders of the American Jewish Congress, after the pogroms started in Russia in the latter part of the 19th century. The Admiral that you are referring to was Admiral Rickover who was the father of the modern nuclear fleet.

Judah P Benjamin was the highest elected Jew in the Confederacy 100 years before those honors were again bestowed upon a Jew (Henry Kissinger)

Regards,

Cody Flecker

Thanks and … How about Benjamin Cardoza, Supreme Court Justice (Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (May 24, 1870 – July 9, 1938) was a well-known American lawyer and associate Supreme Court Justice and actually the first Hispanic on the Court well ahead of the present Far Left Justice Sonia Sotomayer that erroneously declared for that honor.

Haym Solomon was the guy that financed George Washington through the American Revolution.

Admiral Hyman Rickover, Father of US Nuclear Navy  developed nuclear powered submarine, died 1986

So, be very proud and have a sweet Passover.  jsk

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Lt Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret)  What is Obama’s Strategy:  

Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Inquiry & Analysis Series | 1148 | March 30, 2015

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11046

The March 31, 2015 Deadline Means Nothing To It

By: Y.Carmon and A. Savyon*

In light of their November 2014 failure to bridge the gaps and arrive at an agreement, Iran and the P5+1 group together decided to extend the validity of the November 24, 2014 Geneva Joint Plan of Action by an additional six months, to June 2015.

Following this agreement, the U.S. planned a two-stage continuation of the talks, as follows:

1. Three months (by the end of March 2015) to reach a framework agreement

2. Three additional months (by the end of June 2015) to agree on the technical specifications of this agreement.

(In the meantime Iran’s uranium centrifuges run merrily along. Oh yeah, they are for peaceful use.  That is why a huge portion of the facility is buried deep within the confines of an impenetrable mountain!) jsk

However, in a February 18, 2015 speech, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced that he completely disagreed with this procedure, and determined that an agreement would be arrived at not in two stages but in one stage to be completed by the end of June 2015, and that the agreement would include the removal of all sanctions on Iran. This means that the March 31, 2015 deadline is completely unimportant to Khamenei.

The U.S. (Obama/Kerry) is disregarding Khamenei’s announcement, and is attempting, without success, to force Iran into the two-stage process that it set out. Iran is refusing to sign any interim document, and for this reason Western foreign ministers involved in the negotiations, such as U.K. Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond, are saying that understandings which might be reached at this stage will only be oral ones.

It should be emphasized that Iran has not backed down in any way, at any stage, from the positions with which it began the talks:

1. Tehran rejects the removal of its enriched uranium from Iran.

2. Tehran rejects a gradual lifting of the sanctions.

3. Tehran rejects restriction of the number of its centrifuges.

4. Tehran rejects intrusive inspections and snap inspections.

5. Tehran rejects any halt to its research and development
activity.

6. Tehran rejects any change to the nature of its heavy water
reactor at Arak.

7. Tehran rejects any closure of its secret enrichment site at
Fordow.

8. Tehran rejects all restrictions to its nuclear activity
following the agreement’s expiration.

9. Tehran rejects the inclusion of its long-range missile program
in the negotiations.

10. Tehran rejects reporting on its previous clandestine military
nuclear activity.

11. Tehran rejects allowing inspections of military sites
suspected of conducting nuclear activity.

In his February 18, 2015 announcement, Khamenei specified that he would accept only a single-stage agreement, and that this agreement must include the lifting of all sanctions on Iran and that it must clearly state that the West may not take advantage of the framework agreement in order to force its position on Iran in the second stage when the details are discussed.

The following is Khamenei’s February 18 announcement about the nuclear negotiations:

“The hands of the Iranian nation and its senior officials were never tied, and we have shown this to be so. From now on, we will also demonstrate this with our initiatives and our courage. It is America that is stuck and entangled in a problem, and the entire reality inside and outside the region proves this.

“It is you [Americans] who have continually been defeated for these many years; it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that advances, and can in no way be compared to [to the Iran of] 30-some years ago…

“Iran is moving forward, while the Americans, who have not succeeded in uprooting [the Islamic Republic of Iran], are now forced to tolerate the regime of the Islamic Republic. Their political, security, economic and cultural plans will not stop us from advancing…

“[In the nuclear negotiations,] I will accept an implementable plan, but I will not accept a bad agreement. Like the Americans, I too believe that failing to reach an agreement is preferable to a bad agreement, and I believe that failure to reach an agreement is preferable to an agreement that will damage Iran’s national interests and pave the way for the humiliation of the Iranian nation.

“The conduct of the U.S. in the negotiations, and of some of the European countries that obey it, is illogical. Because of their many expectations, they think all their demands will be met, but this is not how negotiations work. The Iranian nation will not tolerate bullying, greed, and irrational conduct. I agree to continue to advance in the negotiations in order to arrive at a good agreement… The negotiations must maintain the honor of the Iranian nation, and the advancement [of its nuclear program]…

Additionally, Khamenei threatens to impose natural gas sanctions, saying: “If there are to be sanctions, the Iranian nation can and will also impose sanctions.”

 

*Y. Carmon is President and Founder of MEMRI; A. Savyon is director of  MEMRI’s Iranian Media project.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independentnon-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

________________________________________
IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis

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PS  A just published simple solution by Ambassador John Bolton. Please see below.

 

Petition created by Christians United for Israel

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world. We have over two million members and conduct over 40 pro-Israel events every month.

(Copy and Paste to your Search Engine:)

https://secure2.convio.net/cufi/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=BB63A64FF46A12D24451C88967062D17.app220a?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=351

(Please send note below immediately to your Senators and Congressmen.  Their email addresses are easily found on the Internet or by calling their offices and asking for their vote at the same time)

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11015

Dear (Your Senator/Congressmen),

Please ensure that Congress will review and modify as necessary any nuclear agreement with Iran.

Every major arms-control agreement in recent history has been submitted to Congress for approval. A nuclear agreement with Iran should be no different.

This is why I strongly support S. 615, the Corker-Menendez Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015. This bill ensures that Congress will review any nuclear agreement with Iran.

If you have already co-sponsored S. 615, thank you. You are upholding your vow to protect our Constitution and our country.

If you have not co-sponsored this bill, I ask that you do so as soon as possible.

Things are moving quickly. The Administration may reach a framework agreement with Iran by the end of this month. You must act now to ensure that any final deal is subject to your final approval.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

Must view Video:

US Admiral James (“Ace”) Lyons on the failure of US Policy vs. Islamic Fundamentalism

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II   Simple solution by Ambassador John Bolton (My man!)

Jerome,

Here’s some free advice for President Obama – to stop Iran’s bomb, bomb Iran.

My editorial in yesterday’s New York Times was the most emailed article on their site for a single reason… The American people understand the grave threat posed by Iran better than our president does. And certainly more than Hillary Clinton does.

I’m not blind to the threat, nor am I afraid to say and do what’s necessary to protect America.

 

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http://israel-commentary.org/?p=11002

SHABAT HAGADOL

By Rabbi Berel Wein

Jerusalem, Israel

The Shabbat that immediately precedes the holiday of Passover carries with it the title of being Shabbat Hagadol – the great and exalted Shabbat. There are many explanations advanced as to why this Shabbat should merit that special title. The one most often advanced is that the tenth day of Nissan – the day when the actual redemption from Egypt began by the Jews taking the paschal lamb into their possession – fell on the Shabbat before the actual exit from Egypt.

This traditional explanation has always been found somewhat wanting and many other explanations have been advanced over the centuries. It is said that once the door has been opened for the great, then even the small may also enter. Therefore I am taking advantage of this opportunity to offer my own idea regarding Shabbat Hagadol.

The rabbis taught us that every generation has people who expound ideas on Torah subjects that are relative to the issues and mindset of that particular generation and environment. In fact, the task of the Torah scholar and communal leader is to show and teach the relevance of the eternal Torah to the particular circumstances and events of the present time.

I feel that Shabbat Hagadol has special significance and importance to our current situation in the general and Jewish worlds. Shabbat Hagadol represents the prelude to redemption, the beginning of the process, the bumpy ride that comes before the smooth highway and the ultimate goal of freedom, liberty, security and spiritual attainment.

I am not a kabbalist or philosopher. I would not hazard to say that this is the immediate pre-messianic time or that it is not. Far greater people than I are involved in such discussions, which until now have come to no resolution. But I do feel that any rational observer of the Jewish world currently senses a volatility….. a feeling of change that dominates and makes obsolete old programs and policies.

After over a millennia of teeming Jewish life, scholarship and community on the European continent, it is now obvious to all that as far as Jews are concerned, Europe is done. The State of Israel, surrounded by enemies, violence, political turmoil and engulfed in its own internal divisions and societal conflicts, thrives and grows.

It is interesting and perhaps even disturbing to note that the current diplomatic conflict between Israel and the United States administration occupies more media space and comment then any other current topic. It is ludicrous to think that our little state, the size of New Jersey and with a population approximately perhaps equaling that of New York City should argue on equal terms with the country of the size, strength and population of the United States of America.

But that is exactly what is happening before our eyes. Europe, the United States, the Moslem world, are all engaged in momentous sociological, diplomatic and technological change. Our world is one that would be completely unrecognizable to the generation of our great grandparents. This great wave of change, of uncertainty and danger, of fear and optimism combined, is the Shabbat Hagadol of our current generation. It is the prelude to better times leading to Jewish and human redemption.

I think that all sections of the Jewish world recognize this fact. Some sections react to it by redoubling their efforts to hold onto the past, sanctifying the bathwater and not only the baby. Others wish to plunge headlong into the future, but because events and consequences are unforeseen, their policies and struggles may in the end tend to be meaningless.

Shabbat Hagadol should serve as a stabilizing rudder in the rough seas that we sail upon. For Shabbat, in all of its greatness, serves to face forward and yet look back at one and the same time. It ends the week and begins the week for us. That is why it is hagadol – great beyond all days and holy beyond all ordinary concepts.

It begins the process of redemption within all of us and points towards the ultimate deliverance of Israel and of all of humankind. Without the passage through Shabbat Hagadol there can be no Passover. For the achievement of freedom and liberty, of holiness and purpose, of sanctity and uniqueness is a process and not an instantaneous sudden event.

We are in the midst of such a process that forces us to rethink our past and to somehow chart a course of action, thought and belief for our future. The holiday of Passover, which will be soon upon us, will give us time and opportunity to reflect on what Shabbat Hagadol has taught us. There is no greater “greatness” than being realistic while anticipating miraculous events.

We shall yet live to see that “as in the past days of the Exodus from Egypt, so shall I show you miracles once again.”  

Shabbat shalom,

Berel Wein

Rabbi Berel Wein is the founder and director of the Destiny Foundation. For over 20 years, he has been identified with the popularization of Jewish history through lectures, more than 1000 audiotapes, books, seminars, educational tours and, most recently documentary films.  He has authored five Jewish history books. His newest book is The Oral Law of Sinai. He is a member of the Illinois Bar Association and lives and teaches in Jerusalem. 

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I  ANOTHER SCORNED U.S. ALLY TURNS TO RUSSIA

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10979

By AARON KLEIN

Editor, World Net Daily

Saudi Arabia has quietly reached out to our arch foe Russia in an attempt to temper Iran’s regional influence and reach a compromise on Tehran’s nuclear program, Middle Eastern defense officials told WND (World Net Daily).

The Saudi move already has resulted in the opening of back-door dialogue between the two countries aimed at possibly forging a new alliance, the officials said.

The talks may showcase Saudi desperation in light of the Obama administration’s rapprochement toward Iran, perhaps the House of Saud’s biggest competitor for influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

Already, the shifting U.S. regional alliances have seen Russia’s military relationship with long-time U.S. ally Egypt grow ever closer.

The Obama administration has been cool to the secular, moderate government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which ousted the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies led my Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Ever since the U.S. abandonment of Sisi’s regime, Egypt has grown increasingly closer to Russia, as evidenced by the $3.5 billion arms deal between Cairo and Moscow signed last year.

Earlier this month, Egyptian Defense Minister Sidqi Sobqi and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced in Moscow the expansion of Russian military cooperation, which will reportedly include a historic joint naval drill in the Mediterranean Sea.

Additionally, Egyptian soldiers and officers will reportedly train in Russian military academies, reported the Moscow Times.

Now the purported opening of a new dialogue between Moscow and Riyadh seems to continue the trend of former U.S. allies reaching out to the Russian axis.

There is much bad blood between Saudi Arabia and Russia. The Saudis have been backing the insurgency targeting the regime of Syrian President Basher al-Assad, known to closely cooperate with Moscow.

Moscow has long accused the Saudis of supporting Islamists operating in the Caucuses, primarily Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, as part of an alleged destabilization campaign.

The Russians have also claimed the Saudis, working in conjunction with the West, have been attempting to lower oil prices in a scheme to damage the Russian economy.

The sour relations go back to the Cold War era, when the Saudis sided with the U.S. by supporting the American-aided mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Russian invasion there.

II   Let’s take a quick  count of the US allies that Obama has deliberately alienated since he took office.

By Jerome S. Kaufman

1. The minute he took office Obama returned to England the treasured bust of Winston Churchill that was given to us by the British in appreciation of the fantastic victory our two countries had accomplished over Nazi Germany in WWII.   To Obama, Churchill represented the British colonialism against which his father, through his mother, had indoctrinated him.  

2. Obama Threw Eastern Europe Under the Bus.  The  Heritage Foundation criticized the Obama administration for abandoning its Eastern European allies. Obama gave up proposed missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.  This emboldened Russia and increased our own vulnerability to Iran’s missile capabilities. The abandonment  certainly has done just that with Russia gobbling up Crimea and a large chunk of Georgia and the Ukraine with much more to come. The Baltic states now live in fear for their very existence now that the US military umbrella is gone.

3. Obama ruined our relationship with Syria by deliberately vacillating between supporting Bashar Assad or the Syrian people that had rebelled against him. Syria is now, in fact, a non-existent country. How far behind is Lebanon with the Islamic State on its borders and those of Israel? 

4. He destroyed the hard won victories and territories US Forces had accomplished in Iraq. The country is in complete disarray with control being contested by ISIS and Iran and the US no longer a consideration.

5. The Gulf Emirates no longer have any faith in our defending them against Iran and its impending nuclear power.

6. Obama will soon abandon Afghanistan  leaving it vulnerable to the guaranteed resurgence of the Taliban

7. Alienated the French.  U.S. attorney general Eric Holder,  in Paris for a terrorism summit, did not join world leaders German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  for the march and rally that drew a million people days after 12 French civilians were shot at the offices of satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. 

8. Obama is throwing our staunch ally Israel under the bus, allowing and promoting Iran’s development of  nuclear weapons and threatening to stop protecting Israel against the threats and insane rulings of the UN and the World Court.

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The whole iceberg portrays a US military force deliberately decimated by Obama with his complete plans  yet to be  fulfilled. Russia, China, Iran, the Islamic State are all well aware of this decimation and are taking full advantage — grabbing territories and killing people all over the world in their thirst to fill the power vacuum Obama cleverly created.

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http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10958

How Russia Views the Iran Nuclear Talks

By Anna Borshchevskaya

PolicyWatch March 12, 2015

Diplomats from Iran and the P5+1 nations — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, and Germany — are rushing to conclude a nuclear agreement before the self-imposed March 24 deadline. While many details remain unavailable, the technical debate largely centers around the “sunset clause” under which international limitations on Iran’s uranium enrichment program would expire after a set time period, with some constraints perhaps lifted earlier to reward good behavior. Critics — most prominently Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu — argue that rather than preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons, such a deal could put it on a path to reaching that capability legally.

Moscow’s approach to the negotiations is a complicated mix of skepticism and realpolitik, and it should be viewed through the lens of broader Russian policy toward the United States. On the one hand, Iranian officials have noted that the Kremlin remains their closest ally in the talks. And according to Sergei Chemezov — the chief executive of the Russian defense company Rostec, who has been on U.S. sanctions lists since April 2014 in connection with the Ukraine crisis — Moscow offered to sell Tehran the advanced Antey-2500 air defense system last month. On the other hand, Russia has threatened and withdrawn such offers in the past, including a frozen 2010 contract for the less advanced S-300 system.

Moreover, U.S. officials generally regard Russia’s behavior in the actual negotiations as more helpful than not, and Moscow has largely fulfilled its commitment to enforce some of the international sanctions against Iran — this despite its skepticism about the utility of such measures and its past efforts to water down the toughest sanctions. Even so, Russia’s warming relationship with Iran and its wider policies toward the Middle East pose significant challenges to U.S. security interests, and Washington should tailor its approach to dealmaking and Russia diplomacy accordingly

The closeness of current Russo-Iranian ties is unprecedented, with many Iranian diplomats openly referring to Moscow as a friend. On the nuclear front, the state-run Russian firm Atomstroyexport helped the Iranians complete the Bushehr nuclear power plant and officially gave them control of the facility in September 2013. And last November, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced an agreement to build two new reactor units in Iran, possibly to be followed by six more.

Bilateral cooperation has intensified and expanded to other sectors in the context of President Vladimir Putin’s standoff with the West over Russian aggression in Ukraine. In August 2014, for example, the Russian Energy Ministry announced an oil-for-goods deal with Iran worth $1.5 billion per month; under the proposed terms, approximately 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day would be provided at a discount in exchange for Russian goods and services. Analysts questioned the accord’s logistical feasibility, and its current status is unclear, but the agreement remains on the table.

Similarly, Iranian ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei reportedly announced plans in December to boost bilateral trade from the current $3-5 billion to $70 billion. Previously, in a June 2014 interview with the influential journal Russia in Global Affairs, he had offered advice on how to minimize the effects of Western sanctions and praised the prominent role Moscow is taking internationally.

Meanwhile, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has met with Putin four times in the past year, and other senior officials have held multiple meetings as well. Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to Tehran in January, the first such visit by an official in his position in fifteen years. He and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehghan signed a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation, and while the details remain sparse, the document apparently mentioned joint military drills. Russian press reports of such cooperation are only increasing as the P5+1 talks intensify this month.

In general, Moscow has sought to minimize tough sanctions on Iran, with top officials frequently claiming there is no evidence that Tehran is conducting nuclear weapons research. Indeed, when the International Atomic Energy Agency announced in November 2011 that Tehran had apparently been working for years on a weapon, the Kremlin accused the agency of bias and said it was interfering with diplomatic efforts toward a solution. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has also argued that Iran deserves to be an “equal partner” in resolving Middle East issues, and that sanctions hurt Russian-Iranian trade.

During the P5+1 negotiations, Russia has been a strong voice in favor of relaxing sanctions. In 2010, the Kremlin agreed to support the proposed sanctions, yet it convinced the UN to water them down, and it also extracted an unprecedented concession: the lifting of U.S. sanctions against the Russian military complex, which would technically allow Moscow to sell antiaircraft batteries to Tehran. As mentioned previously, however, Russia agreed to suspend (but not cancel) an $800 million contract with Iran for S-300 antiaircraft missiles — a system that could help shoot down American or Israeli warplanes in the event of a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Similarly, Russia played a prominent role in the November 2013 Geneva deal that aimed to grant Iran sanctions relief. Putin noted the success of Russian diplomacy in those negotiations; according to a report last month by the Kremlin-operated news agency RIA Novosti, he stated, “We put forth a conceptual basis for movement along this path — the principles of gradualism and reciprocity. This approach was supported by all stakeholders.”

For all of Moscow and Tehran’s lofty public pronouncements about friendship and cooperation, Russia’s Iran policy is ultimately driven by its global interests: namely, reducing the West’s influence and raising Russia’s, even at the expense of security. Iran’s interests largely coincide with these goals, so cooperation with Tehran fits well with Moscow’s agenda. Putin’s repeated calls for a “multipolar” approach are simply a means of achieving these aims rather than a genuine interest in multilateralism.

From this perspective, Iranian analysts privately express reservations about the true extent of Moscow’s cooperation with Tehran, and Russian analysts argue that Iranians have not forgotten the S-300 snub. Tehran would no doubt feel more assured if Moscow rejected sanctions altogether. It is also doubtful that Russia can deliver as much on the economic front as it promises. Yet the two countries share clear geopolitical and defense interests and will try to cooperate on them despite international sanctions, as signaled by the recent Antey-2500 offer.

This interest-based approach could affect Iran’s nuclear future as well. The Russian nuclear industry has grown substantially since the mid-1990s, and the Kremlin plans to significantly expand the role of nuclear energy, new reactor technology, and exports of nuclear goods and services. For example, according to the World Nuclear Association, Russia is a global leader in fast neutron reactor technology. Further cooperation with Iran on nuclear energy therefore fits well with Russia’s plans. Moscow often asserts that Iran is not an “outcast” and therefore sees no reason to halt cooperation.

Both countries also oppose any attempts to support democratic movements in the Middle East. Most notably, they continue to back the Assad regime in Syria and hold similar views on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

WHAT CAN WASHINGTON EXPECT FROM RUSSIA?

Moscow will no doubt continue to emphasize the importance of finding a multilateral solution to the Iranian nuclear issue — it will also continue using this multilateral forum to push its own self-serving agenda. Although Moscow does not want Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon, it feels less threatened by Iran’s program than the West. So if the P5+1 is unable to reach a deal, Moscow can wait and then continue expanding nuclear cooperation with Tehran. And if a deal is reached, Moscow will strive to ensure that the terms allow it to maintain such cooperation.

In either case, the United States can count on Moscow using Iran as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from the West on a number of fronts, such as minimizing international pressure related to Russia’s behavior in Ukraine and Syria. Putin knows that Washington wants a nuclear deal more than Russia does, so why not profit from this disparity?

With or without a deal, the Kremlin will continue supporting Assad, proceeding with aggression in Ukraine, and attempting to profit from regional conflicts. In February, for example, Chemezov told reporters that conflicts in the Middle East help Russia’s arms sales, which reached $13 billion in 2014: “I don’t hide it, and everyone understands that the more conflicts there are, the more weapons are bought from us. Our volumes continue to grow, despite sanctions.”

If Washington hopes to counter this strategy, it would need to remind the Kremlin that a nuclear Iran is not in Russia’s long-term interest, and that playing a constructive role in curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions would raise Russia’s status as a global power that truly helps ensure global and regional security. Ultimately, however, Washington should have no illusions about Putin’s intentions, and should not be quick to offer generous concessions for little in return.

Anna Borshchevskaya is an adjunct fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Russia’s policy toward the Middle East. In addition, she is a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy and was previously with the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Atlantic Council. 

Originally from Moscow, Ms. Borshchevskaya came to the United States as a refugee in 1993 and has since received an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a BA in political science and international relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

II   According To Dick Cheney, This Is Why President Obama Is The Worst President In His Lifetime

BY KAY STEIGER

MARCH 17, 2015

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said that President Barack Obama was “playing the race card” to excuse criticism of his record as president. “I think they’re playing the race card, in my view. Certainly we haven’t given up—nor should we give up—the right to criticize an administration and public officials. To say that we criticize, or that I criticize, Barack Obama or Eric Holder because of race, I just think it’s obviously not true,” Cheney said in a wide-ranging interview with Playboy magazine released on Tuesday. “My view of it is the criticism is merited because of performance—or lack of performance, because of incompetence. It hasn’t got anything to do with race.”

Cheney likewise thought that the protests in Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement that stemmed from it had been wrongly linked to race. “Well [pauses], what I see is disturbing. It’s always a tragedy when there is a death involved and so forth. But it seems to me it’s a clear-cut case that the officer did what he had to do to defend himself. He was perfectly within his authorities to take action …

And I’ve been disappointed, I guess, in the Obama administration’s response. I think there should have been more people who were ready to stand up and say, ‘Look, the evidence is pretty overwhelming. The grand jury has reviewed it thoroughly. Here’s what we know. This is what happened.’ And that we should not sort of throw it all over on the burden of race, or racial inequality or racial discrimination, as being responsible for this particular event,” Cheney said. “I don’t think it is about race. I think it is about an individual who conducted himself in a manner that was almost guaranteed to provoke an officer trying to do his duty,” Cheney concluded.

Cheney went on to say that Obama had undone some of the legacies of President George W. Bush. “[H]is precipitous withdrawal and refusal to leave any stay-behind forces, to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqis, was a huge mistake; we are paying a price for it now. He’s having to go back in now, and the guy who campaigned on the basis of bring the boys home and get out of Iraq is now redeploying forces to Iraq,” he said.

Cheney also called Obama “the worst president in his lifetime,” even when stacked up against other liberal presidents. “I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president in my lifetime, without question—and that’s saying something. I used to have significant criticism of Jimmy Carter, but compared to Barack Obama and the damage he is doing to the nation—it’s a tragedy, a real tragedy, and we are going to pay a hell of a price just trying to dig out from under his presidency,” he said

The conservative critique that the Obama administration is “playing the race card” is fairly common. After Obama gave a deeply personal speech about race after the death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in Florida, conservatives were quick to say that Obama was the “first racist in chief” or that Obama was making the death of the unarmed teen “all about race.”

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I Dramatic Decisive Victory

By David Daoud

The Algemeiner

MARCH 17, 2015 9:01 PM

20th Knesset. With almost all the ballots counted for Israel’s general election held today, the ruling Likud party of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has scored a dramatic and decisive victory over the rival Zionist Union party

99% of votes have been counted from a total of 4,223,057 and Likud is in first place with 23.29 percent. Zionist Union is trailing far behind in second place with 18.76 percent, almost 5 percentage points behind Likud.  (Media and Polls caught lying through their wishful thinking teeth once again)

The results give Netanyahu 29 seats in Israel’s Knesset, a full 5 more than the Zionist Union with 24. The tally significantly exceeds exit poll results which showed the two parties in a dead heat.

The United Arab List is in third place at 10.95 percent or 14 seats, followed by the centrist Yesh Atid with 8.78 percent or 11 seats and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu with 7.42 percent or 10 seats. Bayit Yehudi now holds 6.40 percent or 8 seats, Shas has 5.82 percent or 7 seats, Yisrael Beiteinu has 5.17 percent or 6 seats, and United Torah Judaism has 5.18 percent.

Meretz (The Left wing party) looks like it has barely passed the threshold at 3.90 percent or 4 seats, but Eli Yishai’s Yachad only has 2.98 percent and does not pass the electoral threshold.

71.8% of those eligible to vote made their way to the election booths on Tuesday from all around Israel, and some Israelis even traveled from abroad to cast their vote. This is the highest voter turnout since the 1999 elections, and is 4% more than the elections in 2013.

II Netanyahu: the Comeback Kid

By Michael Freund
Jerusalem Post
March 17, 2015

Going in to today’s balloting, Benjamin Netanyahu was Israel’s Prime Minister and, if the exit polls on Israel’s main television stations prove accurate, he will not be looking for a new job any time soon.

After months of trailing the Zionist Union party at the polls, Netanyahu’s Likud pulled off a stunning come-from-behind victory.

Despite the disgraceful way in which Israel’s left-wing media went after the premier and his family in a thinly-veiled attempt to topple him, Netanyahu emerged on top, with the Likud tying or edging out the Zionist Union in all three television exit polls.

Quite simply, Netanyahu is the comeback kid of Israeli politics, the man who has managed to defy the critics, the media, various American Jewish millionaires and the administration in Washington, all of whom sought to bring him down.

Like Bill Clinton in the 1992 Democratic primaries, Netanyahu overcame scandalous allegations in the press, and surged to victory.

In the coming weeks, he will patch together a coalition and form the next government.

It will presumably include Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home, the Haredim, Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu, with the Likud serving as the leading party.

This will give Netanyahu a coalition whose seats will number in the low 60s. Though far from ideal, it will nonetheless enjoy an internal cohesion and ideological consistency that was largely missing from the outgoing government.

In today’s voting, the right-wing and religious parties have once again prevailed, underlining the fact that a majority of Israelis continue to cherish the Land of Israel and will not countenance turning over territory to our enemies.

The results are a ringing defeat for the left and their policies of appeasement.

At a time of grave peril, with the threat from Iran mounting daily, the people of Israel knew exactly whom to trust, giving Netanyahu the push he needed to make it past the finish line.

Despite the vitriol hurled at him daily for the past few months, our premier refused to back down, and would not give in. And now he will have an unprecedented opportunity not only to write yet another chapter in his storied political career, but to lead the nation with a solid right-wing team around him. The comeback kid is here to stay.

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The Israelis prove they are no different from the rest of the world – indulge in their own “entitlements” (freebies), while they enable their own self-destruction, refusing to acknowledge that their only hope of survival is their military strength.

The freebies they get from ISIS or Iran or Saudi Arabia when its own crisis is over, will not quite approach what they get in their own country and … may G-d have mercy on their souls. Over two thousand years of exile has taught them nothing. 

Jerome S. Kaufman

Netanyahu Slips in Polls Days Before Israeli Elections

Labor Party Leader Herzog Benefits from Perception That Prime Minister is Not Focused on Economy

By Joshua Mitnick
The Wall Street Journal
March 11, 2015

TEL AVIV—Less than a week before Israel’s general elections, the party of incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu has begun to fall behind an opponent who promises to restart talks with Palestinians and smooth the prime minister’s notoriously rocky relations with the White House.

Two polls on Wednesday put Isaac Herzog, leader of the dovish Labor Party, slightly ahead and suggest that support for Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud party among working-class Jews has eroded because of their widespread perception that he has focused on nuclear threats from Iran and extremist Muslims at the expense of economic problems.
“He’s talking about something that isn’t relevant—Iran and ISIS,’’ (Not relevant! How stupid can you get?)  said Avi Biton, owner of a snack bar and a Likud voter in previous elections. “Today my kids don’t have the ability to settle down and buy a house. If they can’t do that, this country has no reason to exist.”

Polls by Israel Army Radio and the daily Haaretz released on Wednesday showed Mr. Herzog’s Zionist Union, a new, center-left alliance of the Labor Party with another political faction, winning 24 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, or parliament, to 21 for Likud party. A survey on Tuesday by Channel 2 television showed Zionist Union picking up 25 seats to Likud’s 21.

The polls show Mr. Netanyahu, who is seeking a fourth term as prime minister, lost support after his speech to Congress last week warning against the terms of a nuclear deal being negotiated between six world powers and Iran. The speech, cheered by Republicans in Congress, angered President Barack Obama. At home, former supporters of the prime minister said they were concerned more about the threat of rising housing prices than the threat of a nuclear Iran. Some retired generals  criticized Mr. Netanyahu for alienating Israel’s most important ally.

On March 3, the day of the congressional speech, Labor had a narrower lead over Likud. In early February, polls showed Likud slightly ahead in a race that has always been close. The trend appears to have raised alarm bells within Likud.

“If in the coming days we don’t close the gap between Likud and Labor, there is a genuine risk that Tzipi Livni and Herzog will be the next prime ministers of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu told a gathering of supporters according to the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon. Ms. Livni heads the Ha’tnuah party that joined forces with Labor in the alliance. Mr. Herzog agreed to rotate the prime ministry with her after two years if they win.

If Labor does come out ahead, it would almost certainly offer Mr. Herzog the major advantage of being given the presidential mandate to form a governing coalition supported by a parliamentary majority. Mr. Netanyahu may still be in a better position to form a coalition, while Mr. Herzog would be faced with the difficult task of putting together a majority coalition among many parties that normally clash. At the very least, a result mirroring the current polls could weaken Mr. Netanyahu politically and he would be forced to wait to see if his opponent fails to cobble together a majority.

According to a Channel 2 poll on Tuesday night, Likud and hard-line allies would still control the largest bloc of seats in the parliament, with 44 seats. Labor and one other leftist party would have 30, centrist parties would control 20, and ultra-orthodox and Arab parties each control 13 seats.

A scion of one of Israel’s most prominent political families, Mr. Herzog is promising to reset Israeli-U.S. ties and deal more discreetly with their differences over the Iran nuclear deal. He also pledges to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and make housing prices more affordable. The latter point speaks to what Israelis say is the most important election issue this time around—the high cost of living and other socioeconomic problems.

If Mr. Herzog succeeds in forming a coalition, it would make him the first Israeli leader in 16 years to hail from the Labor Party, which dominated for the first three decades of Israel’s existence and spearheaded peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s.
The 54-year-old partner at one of Israel’s leading law firms is the grandson of Israel’s first chief Ashkenazi rabbi. His father Chaim Herzog was a general in Israel’s military and served as Israel’s president and its ambassador to the U.N. His uncle, Abba Eban, was Israel’s foreign minister.

Still, to most Israelis he lacks Mr. Netanyahu’s stage presence, combat history and experience handling national-security issues. Mr. Herzog still faces the daunting challenge of persuading undecided Israeli voters he should be the beneficiary of their dissatisfaction with Mr. Netanyahu. Even for longtime Labor Party supporters such as 63-year-old Nava Rosenberg, this election remains a referendum on Mr. Netanyahu.

Herzog hasn’t inspired the enthusiasm enjoyed by previous leaders of his party such as Yitzhak Rabin or the country’s revered founder, David Ben-Gurion, even among his supporters. He is battling an image as stiff and timid. But he has been aided considerably by joining forces in December with Ms. Livni, a former peace negotiator. Their alliance has helped unite centrist and left-wing Israelis and invigorated Labor’s platform for the first time in years.

“Herzog isn’t strong, he’s not decisive, he doesn’t have the personality to lead the Israeli people to big decisions,’’ she said. “But I hate Bibi, so I’m voting for Herzog. It isn’t because I love Herzog. There is nobody else.  (Huh?)

 

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By  AMBASSADOR JOHN BOLTON

II Video: Political analyst Dinesh D’Souza weighs in on President Obama’s difficult relationship with Israel and Hillary’s latest gaff

March 3, 2015

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=10858

The Wall Street Journal,

February 18, 2015

With the supposed cease-fire in eastern Ukraine a mirage, the White House can soon be expected to return to its public pondering of whether to supply Kiev’s military with lethal aid to fend off the Russian-backed insurgency. If President Obama finally does decide to send antitank weapons and other hardware the Ukrainians have pleaded for, it will be only the latest example of the administration’s too-little-too-late temporizing.

Indecisiveness is the predominant characteristic of how Mr. Obama executes U.S. national-security policy. Undoubtedly there are other influences: ideological blinders; mistrust of America’s presence in the world; inadequate interest, knowledge, focus and resolve. But in implementing his policies, good or bad, the president has shown that equivocating is what he does best.

Mr. Obama’s approach is the polar opposite of the “energy in the executive” that Alexander Hamilton advocated in Federalist No. 70, especially in foreign policy. The unitary presidency, not Congress, possesses “decision, activity, secrecy and dispatch” so necessary for high statecraft. This president’s record of dithering is long and depressing.

In June 2009 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ’s rigged presidential election in Iran spurred massive, peaceful protests. For several days Mr. Obama declined to address the ayatollahs’ unleashing of the Basiji militia against innocent civilians, prompting dissenters to make signs asking, “Are you with us or against us?” The Revolutionary Guards were certainly against them—and the Green Movement was brutally repressed. By the time Mr. Obama finally spoke out, haltingly, the moment had passed, and the Islamic Revolution had stabilized.

Similar hesitation applies to Mr. Obama’s handling of Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program. He has relied on negotiations and sanctions to transform Iran’s weapons infrastructure into a “peaceful” program, but this approach has consistently failed. To be effective, sanctions must be comprehensive (targeting only named individuals or firms is easily circumvented); universally accepted (not true here, as China and Russia repeatedly demonstrate); and vigorously enforced. The Obama administration’s episodic, negligently enforced Iran sanctions meet none of these tests.

President Obama chronically disregards the integral relationship between diplomacy and force. His foreign-policy mantra that “all options are on the table” regarding Iran proves the point. What from some presidents might sound ominous, from Mr. Obama sounds pro forma.

Colin Powell as secretary of state once advised British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that “if you want to bring the Iranians around, you have to hold an ax over their heads.” Instead, Mr. Obama is holding a selfie stick over his own. The U.S. has done too little on Iran, and now we are nearly too late to stop the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, Mr. Obama hasn’t acted at all. Pyongyang has had six years to advance its nuclear program and ballistic-missile efforts. In recent months U.S. and South Korean commanders have voiced fears that North Korea is near to miniaturizing its weapons and mounting them on ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast.

In Syria, whatever slim chance there was of empowering a “moderate” anti-Assad opposition when the civil war began four years ago disappeared while Mr. Obama dithered. His declaration of a “red line” regarding Bashar Assad ’s use of chemical weapons in Syria might have been a sign of forceful policy; it quickly faded.

In Iraq, the president’s inability or unwillingness to reach a “status of forces” agreement resulted in the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. forces, thereby leading directly to increased Iranian influence in Baghdad. The Islamic State terrorist hordes rose almost inexorably from the ashes of al Qaeda in Iraq, and its increasing control over vast portions of Syria and Iraq followed. Today, Mr. Obama’s feeble proposed authorization for military force against Islamic State should top the list of prime too-little-too-late exhibits.

Libya’s collapse after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi and the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi further show Mr. Obama’s unwillingness to see the growing radical-Islamist threat. He didn’t handle the threat adequately before the consulate attack, didn’t act decisively during the attack and, most egregiously, failed to retaliate or exact retribution afterward. Yemen’s current disintegration is a tragic reprise of the Libya debacle.

Mr. Obama’s sanctions-focused response to Russian aggression in Ukraine has been similarly piecemeal and ineffective. Authoritarian regimes are not impressed by hardships imposed on mere citizens; the real peril to Vladimir Putin comes from collapsing global oil prices. If the U.S. had supplied weapons to Ukraine early, it might have deterred Moscow’s aggressiveness, preventing or minimizing the conflict, thereby avoiding the slow-motion partition of Ukraine now under way. Today is too late.

Note also that the leader of the West has been absent from negotiations over Ukraine’s fate. Instead, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has the initiative—ruling out military aid, seeking a deal with Russia—largely because she assesses accurately that Mr. Obama will do nothing consequential to constrain Moscow.

Nowhere is Ukraine more closely watched than in Beijing, where Mr. Obama’s weakness and irresolution are empowering China to make ever-broader territorial claims in the East and South Seas, to suppress dissent in Hong Kong and to turn a covetous eye on Taiwan. Beijing is surely calculating that as U.S. leadership falters in Europe, so it will in the Pacific.

Why is Mr. Obama unwilling to act swiftly and decisively in foreign affairs? The most basic reason is his deterministic view of an “arc of history” bending inevitably to outcomes he finds ideologically desirable. And since a critical element of his ideology is that America’s presence in the world contributes to problems as much as solving them, the president’s policy of withdrawal and passivity is no surprise.

Failing to act when it could make a difference only feeds the appetites of aggressors. Europe acquiesced as Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland, undertook Anschluss with Austria, annexed the Sudetenland and subsequently destroyed Czechoslovakia. When Poland’s turn came, these prior hesitations had convinced Hitler that he enjoyed impunity. He told his generals weeks before invading: “Our enemies are little worms. I saw them at Munich.” Imagine what our adversaries today think of us.

Mr. Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad” (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

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