Libertarian Hawk


Liberal Immodesty on Climate Change Threat Sets Record Highs

September 24, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

????????????????????????????????According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, summer 2014 was the hottest on record—a claim that President Obama gleefully trumpeted at the United Nations’ Climate Summit on Tuesday. Major news outlets have uncritically repeated the refrain.

NOAA reported, “The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for the June-August period was [a] record high for this period, at 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), beating the previous record set in 1998.”

Interesting. Did NOAA’s analysis highlight all the cold records broken this past summer, this past year, and in recent years, globally and regionally? Did the mainstream media hype all of those records when they were broken?

For example, the U.S. had its coolest summer in five years, and New York City its coolest in a decade. The UK and Austria saw their coolest Augusts in 21 and 8 years, respectively. New England recently experienced record early frost.

Even NOAA’s report inadvertently admits, when it cites 2014’s second-, third-, and fifth-place finishes in various warming categories, that the planet isn’t warming.

For example, their admission that “The global land surface temperature was 0.99°C (1.78°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), the second highest on record for August, behind 1998 [emphasis added]” reveals that the Earth has been cooling since 1998.

Their claim that “The June-August worldwide land surface temperature was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 20th century average, the fifth highest on record [emphasis added]” discloses that there were four separate years when this period was hotter than summer 2014—which again means that the Earth has cooled since then.

Yet none of the global warming computer models that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cited in its late 20th/early 21st century reports predicted zero global warming over the next decade and a half, which is what we’ve seen since 1998. Not one.

Note that all of the above evidentiary exceptions to the global warming hysteria were cited by either NOAA or mainstream publications hyping the NOAA announcement. We haven’t even gotten to data reported by global warming skeptics, i.e. real scientists.

For example, Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That—the most popular climate skeptic site on the Internet—notes that record low temperatures were twice as frequent as record high temperatures in the U.S. this year, and three times as frequent in July. similarly documents the large number of all-time cold temperature records broken in the U.S. over our cooler-than-average summer.

And although shills for the NOAA report point out that summer 2014 was cool on the East Coast but warm on the West Coast, the winter of 2013-14 was the 34th-coldest on record nationally. Doesn’t anyone remember that painful phenomenon we experienced known as the polar vortex?

In addition, weather disturbances such as hurricanes and tornadoes—which climate change proponents claimed were increasing due to global warming—have been at record lows.

And we’re not even addressing the growing body of evidence, increasingly infiltrating the mainstream media, that factors other than anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are primarily responsible for global warming. We’re just trying to get some honest data on whether the globe is even warming—and, to put it mildly, environmentalists aren’t helping.

The lesson to be learned from all this partisan hype is that you can’t just pick the records you want to report on and ignore the rest, as liberals always accuse the right of doing on climate matters. You can’t arbitrarily decide on the timeframe and location to be examined, then crow because some record was set there. From 9am on March 4 until 3pm on July 15 in the Northeastern corner of Siberia, record high temperatures were recorded!

Honest metrics must be chosen and agreed upon beforehand—prior to a single measurement being taken—and assessed without bias, with no flashing quirky extreme results that you found after weeks of fishing through the data. In fact, real scientists try to disprove a phenomenon’s predominantly accepted explanation, even—or especially—if they espouse it, so they can see whether it survives rigorous scrutiny.

But according to liberal logic, if tank top sales are up in West Hollywood while the Antarctic witnesses record icecap growth, then the latter can be safely ignored while the former can be hyped as rock-solid proof of our urgent need for climate justice.

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For Liberals, Mandela’s Communist Sympathies Are a Delightful Bonus

December 11, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

MANDELA_SACP_RALLYWhile conservatives debate whether former South African President and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela’s efforts to eradicate apartheid outweigh his one-time endorsement of violent terrorist tactics and shady alliances with despots, liberals seem curiously untroubled by the revelation that he used to be a communist.  In fact, it seems to make them like him even more.

In 2011, British historian Stephen Ellis documented Mandela’s one-time membership in the South African Communist Party and his ideological affinity with such communist leaders as Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Joe Slovo.  This was in addition to Mandela’s known political alliances with American foes such as Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Muammar Gaddafi.

So what do liberals think of Mandela’s flirtation with communism?  In a purportedly tough-minded historical assessment titled “Nelson Mandela, Communist,” New York Times columnist Bill Keller asked, “Does it matter?” and then, implying that it doesn’t, sneered, “The news excited some critics and historical revisionists, who claimed it exposed the A.N.C. as a Stalinist front…  [But] Mandela’s Communist affiliation… doesn’t justify the gleeful red baiting.”

Keller went on: “Mandela’s brief membership in the South African Communist Party… say[s] less about his ideology than about his pragmatism…  The early collaboration of the A.N.C. with the Communists was a marriage of convenience…  Communist ideology undoubtedly seeped into the A.N.C., where it became part of a uniquely South African cocktail with African nationalism, Black Consciousness, religious liberalism and other, inchoate angers and resentments and yearnings.”

In other words, communism in the A.N.C. wasn’t an isolated pollutant that trickled into an otherwise pure mountain spring.  It was a contaminant that blended in with the roiling cauldron of other ideological toxins that made up the A.N.C., including Black Nationalism, Black Liberation Theology, and socialism.

Keller continued: “Perhaps the most important and lasting personal effect of the South African Communist Party on Mandela was that it made him… a committed nonracialist.  The A.N.C. in its formative years admitted only blacks.  For a long time, the Communist Party was the only partner in the movement that included whites, Indians and mixed-race members.  That relationship is one of the main reasons Mandela cited for his rejection of black nationalism and his insistence that multiracialism remain at the heart of the A.N.C. ethic.”

So the definitive 20th century international hero for multiracialism and racial justice didn’t reject racism on his own, but only once his organization was infested by communist doctrine.  That’s how high-minded Mandela’s philosophy was: communism actually improved it, rather than making it worse.

For that reason, one wonders whether the American left is more excited by Mandela’s multiracialism or his one-time affinity for redistributing wealth.

For example, New York City Mayor-elect and self-described socialist Bill de Blasio, who supported Nicaragua’s Sandinistas after they left power, and honeymooned in communist Cuba, extolled to a Harlem audience the virtues of Mandela’s campaign against economic inequality—which coincidentally parallels De Blasio’s raison d’être.  He urged the crowd, “If you believe in progressive values… all you need to do is look to the example of Nelson Mandela.”  Could Mandela’s death have come at a more propitious time for the candidate who campaigned on the promise of grinding his heel into the faces of New York’s high-income earners and tossing their custom-made suits to the crowd?

For his part, Obama recently announced his intention to spend the rest of his Presidency spreading the wealth around—at least when he’s not busy slobbering all over communist leaders like Raul Castro.  In Obama’s view, income inequality is the greatest factor holding back our economy.  Not sluggish business investment, not stifled entrepreneurial spirit, not excessive government regulation or anemic job creation or artificially low interest rates.  No, the most important influence on our economy is hard-working capitalists getting paid too damn much.

Similarly, Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats have renewed their push for raising the minimum wage for burger flippers to the starting salary of high school teachers.

And David Simon, creator of Obama’s favorite TV show “The Wire,” with its relentless left-wing propagandizing, recently wrote a long, incoherent essay in The Guardian arguing that America should become more Marxist.

As Michael Goodwin noted in the New York Post, the Democratic Party has no more centrists.  The closest equivalents exist within the Republican Party, and they’re called RINOs.

Today’s Democrats aren’t troubled by Mandela’s former communist sympathies, because they share them.

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Always Putin America’s Interests Last

September 11, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

putin obama contrastEverything about liberals’ foreign policy is at best indirect and ineffective, at worst backward and harmful to our national interest.

Apparently President Obama doesn’t think it’s suicidal enough for the U.S. to refuse for five years to directly confront Iran, the largest state sponsor of terror, over its development of nuclear weapons.  It’s not enough for Obama to decline to at least lend vocal support to the masses in Tehran protesting the crooked presidential election of 2009.

It’s not enough for Obama to fail to confront Iran indirectly by at least addressing her ally and proxy Syria for the two years during which President Bashar al-Assad slaughtered hundreds of Syrian rebel fighters and civilians.

It’s not enough that when Obama finally decided to do something about Syria, he chose to aid the rebel fighters after they had been infiltrated by al-Qaeda operatives, who stepped in to fill a vacuum in fighting strength for the increasingly desperate rebels.  Now the arms and vehicles Obama recently started sending rebels will surely find their way into al-Qaeda’s hands.

No, all this isn’t enough for Obama, because it doesn’t weaken the U.S.’s standing in the world sufficiently, and it fails to fully embody his strategy of “leading from behind.”  Now we have to watch our foreign policy being written by the communist, anti-American leader of Russia.

Here’s how we got to this point: After proposing doing something about Syria’s weapons of mass destruction, but failing to make an elementary case for taking action, Obama watched public, Congressional, and international support for strikes hover at dismally low levels, and decided he needed a graceful way to skirt his own demands for an attack.

Secretary of State John Kerry accidentally made the casual suggestion that the West might avoid military action if al-Assad agreed to submit his chemical weapons to international supervision.  Russian President Vladimir Putin, who opposes U.S. military action in Syria, jumped on the idea, gave it his endorsement, pledged Russia’s cooperation, but warned that his acceptance was conditional on the U.S. abandoning all plans to attack Syria.

And thus was formed Obama’s weasel way out of his own self-created conundrum.  At the end of his Syria speech Tuesday night, Obama announced that the potentially embarrassing upcoming Congressional votes on military strikes would be postponed indefinitely so a diplomatic solution could be worked out.

And all this for the low price of capitulating to Russia and letting Putin dictate the terms of our containment strategy toward rogue Middle Eastern regimes such as Syria’s.  That tradeoff should work out about as well as trusting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to let the United Nations inspect his weapons production facilities.

Thus Obama has accomplished two goals—squirming out of his prior, unpopular ultimatum and diminishing the U.S.’s status to the point that Putin is now lecturing the U.S. in the New York Times about its unhealthy addiction to the concept of American exceptionalism.  (Obama of course believes in American exceptionalism, just as he suspects that the Russians believe in Russian exceptionalism and the Syrians believe in Syrian exceptionalism.)

Obama isn’t content to give Iran a pass on developing nuclear weapons, Syria a pass on slaughtering civilians for two years, and the rebels a pass on demanding arms from the U.S. while allying with al-Qaeda.  He is now happily siding with an al-Assad ally to figure out how to neutralize… al-Assad.  What could possibly go wrong?

Putin also recently reopened his offer to send Iran surface-to-air missile systems and help build them another nuclear reactor.  We are officially letting our foreign policy be written by a material supporter of two of the largest state sponsors of terror on earth.

To be sure, even when Obama proposed striking Syria, he didn’t want to do it in a way that would actually achieve results helpful to the U.S.  In the earlier part of his speech on Tuesday, Obama hedged all bets, announcing to Syria the limits of his proposed attack, the campaign’s narrow scope, and the U.S.’s circumscribed moral culpability for improving the country’s situation.

Thus, Obama contrasted his proposed strikes with other recent U.S. conflicts: “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria.  I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan.  I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo.”  He also insisted that the U.S. should not remove al-Assad because “we learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next.”

But at least Obama seemed resolute in his desire to do something that he believed, however dubiously, would be effective.

But now he’s concluded that our resolve is moot, because some anti-American ally of al-Assad’s has a more effective idea for making sure al-Assad doesn’t misbehave again.

Why is striking Syria off the table only because Syrian ally Putin opposes it?  Why is Obama sending arms to rebels who will funnel them to our mortal enemy al-Qaeda?  Why didn’t Obama do something about Syria for two years while the conflict was manageable?  Why didn’t Obama support the Iranian protestors in 2009?

The answer is the same: Liberals don’t really oppose tyrannical governments, so long as they hate the U.S. and make us look bad; and they don’t really support our allies, not if they favor liberty-promoting, limited constitutional governments.

The left doesn’t support limited constitutional government or liberty at home.  Why would we expect them to support these ideals abroad?

The most positive thing you can say about liberals’ foreign policy is that they don’t wish any worse on the rest of the world than they do on the U.S.

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No Military Strikes Against Syria Unless…

September 04, 2013 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

obama-red-line-cartoonThe answer to the question, “Should the United States carry out military strikes against Syria in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people?” is a resounding, “No—not unless”:

Not unless Obama makes an airtight case to the American people that military strikes are somehow vital to our national security interests.  Not that they help resolve a humanitarian crisis, not that they uphold international law, not that they allow us to fulfill a wanton promise he made a year ago so he can save face.  That they are somehow absolutely necessary for the defense of the country.  Note that this does not require that Syria be about to carry out an attack against the U.S., merely that the government be harboring members of terrorist networks or developing weapons of mass destruction to use on us or our allies.  It also requires that not responding to their provocations would be viewed as a sign of weakness, and that there isn’t a better or more direct target we should go after.  So far Obama hasn’t made the case for any of this.

Not unless our action is effective rather than symbolic, like President Clinton’s bombing an empty aspirin factory in the Sudan.  Obama’s lukewarm “shot across the bow” language is not promising.

Not unless there’s a concrete goal to our military action, a point at which we will stop attacking because we have achieved our goal.  In Iraq, that point was Saddam Hussein letting us inspect his military arsenals for weapons of mass destruction, and it evolved into Iraq establishing a constitutional government and the U.S. halting insurgent attacks.  For Syria that point could be al-Assad leaving office.  But Obama has stated that he’s not even seeking that outcome.

Not unless we’re prepared to do what it takes to accomplish our military objectives swiftly and conclusively, with all necessary force and no self-defeating hand-wringing over casualties, for which the moral liability lies with the Syrian government and not ours.  The Achilles Heel of Bush’s Iraq War strategy was that the President didn’t supply our armed forces with enough soldiers to get the job done properly; as a result, the conflict dragged on for years until Bush came to his senses, ordered the 2007 surge, and finished the conflict decisively.  Obama’s suggestion that he won’t come on strong in Syria and finish whatever job he has in mind is not promising.

Not unless we don’t telegraph our intentions to al-Assad, telling him when, where, and how we’re going to attack, and reassuring him beforehand as to the limits of our actions.  Though there may still be ways to build the element of surprise into an attack strategy, already Obama has revealed too much of our hand to the Syrian leader.

Not unless public support for a strike against Syria increases.  I’m not one for arguing that political leaders should carry out policies only if they have a strict majority of public support, but twenty-nine percent backing for a potentially years-long, multi-billion-dollar effort that could cost U.S. lives is pathetic.  (Nearly three-quarters of the American public supported going to war against Iraq in 2003.)  Tepid public support suggests that Obama has not made the case to Americans for why strikes are necessary.

And not unless President Obama obtains Congressional approval, as President George W. Bush did before invading Iraq in 2003, as Obama failed to do before striking Libya in 2011, and as the War Powers Resolution requires.  Secretary of State John Kerry’s insistence that Obama has the constitutional authority to strike even if Congress turns him down is not encouraging.

The answer to the question of whether we should carry out military strikes against Syria is also “Even if”:

If the above conditions are met, we should carry out strikes even if anti-war leftists and isolationist libertarians complain about getting involved in yet another conflict in the Middle East.  If intervening in Syria is somehow necessary for our national security interests and we don’t do it, then the enemy will bring the conflict to us one way or another.

Even if Great Britain, Denmark, Luxembourg, or whoever refuses to get involved.  The U.S. doesn’t let Old Europe set our geopolitical strategy.  If we decide not to get involved in Syria, it should be because it doesn’t help us, not because we want to make the British Labor Party happy.

And even if we’re sick of war.  Yes, we’re bored with headlines covering endless conflicts in the desert and tired of hearing reports about Americans being killed.  But we wasted a year obsessing over Monica Lewinsky while Osama bin Laden plotted, and as a result we had to spend the next decade drowning in stories about Kandahar and Ramallah and Fallujah.  If military strikes in Syria will halt the spread of terror—and that’s a big if—then it’s worth dealing with the threat now.

Not unless all of the above conditions are met should we even think about carrying out strikes against Syria.  And the prognosis for meeting them is looking increasingly weak.

Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics

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Newt Is Right: The Palestinians Are an Invented People

December 14, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

Frontrunner-of-the-month GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich caused a stir at Saturday night’s Iowa debate when he affirmed his previous characterization of “an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and were historically part of the Arab community.”

For once, Gingrich is correct.

The label “Palestine” was used historically to refer to the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (and beyond); the term had no political import.  During the first half of the 20th century, “Palestinian” referred largely to Jews living in Palestine.  The Palestine Post, for example, was printed in Hebrew and English, and in 1950 was renamed The Jerusalem Post.

The British, who controlled Palestine after WWI, divided it in two in 1923, giving 75% of the land—the area that is now Jordan—to Palestinian Arabs, and the remaining 25% to Palestinian Jews.  But that wasn’t good enough to satisfy regional Arabic despots.

In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan to create side-by-side Jewish and Arab states out of the 25% that was left of the original Palestine, west of the Jordan River.  The Arab regimes surrounding Palestine rejected the deal; this resulted in the 1947-1948 Civil War and the creation of the Jewish state.

During the subsequent 1948 Arab-Israeli War, started against Israel one day after it declared statehood, Arab governments encouraged hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs to flee their homes in order to facilitate the onslaught of the invading armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen against Israelis.  These regimes promised to return to Palestinian Arabs the property they had left once Israel was defeated; however, Israel won, and refugees were forced to relocate outside of Palestine.

As Gingrich noted, plenty of Muslim countries could have given Palestinian Arab refugees a state, but none did.  The countries to which refugees scattered—chiefly Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan—suppressed any burgeoning sense of Palestinian identity to a far greater degree than Israel ever did.

Strangely, Palestinian Arab refugees did not protest after the Arab-Israeli war when Egypt and Jordan grabbed the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem—the same territories that the United Nations had set aside to serve as their home state.  To this day, Palestinian Arabs insist on being granted, not the territory set aside for them in 1923 in present-day Jordan, not the territory taken over in 1948 by Egypt and Jordan, but one tiny sliver of land in the Middle East that has served as a refuge for Jewish Holocaust survivors and a base for Jews to call their home state.

The “Palestinian people” was a fiction created post-WWII to facilitate the insertion of a fifth column inside Israel to demand endless, untenable land concessions and eventually encroach upon the entire Jewish state.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977, former Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Zuheir Mohsen admitted, “The Palestinian people does not exist.  The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.  In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.  Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.”

How much clearer can it get?  How much more nakedly could the founders of the Palestinian strategy reveal their modus operandi?

That the Palestinian people are invented is not in question.  The only question is whether they should be awarded their own state.  Anyone who cares about the security of Israel, the only free nation in the region, should answer with a resounding no.

Back to Saturday’s debate: Moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Gingrich if he thought his comments were dangerous.  Gingrich replied, “Is what I said factually correct?  Yes.  Is it historically true?  Yes…  [E]very day, rockets are fired into Israel…  Hamas does not admit the right of Israel to exist, and says publicly, ‘Not a single Jew will remain.’ The Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month… ‘Israel has no right to exist.’”

He continued: “The Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story.  Somebody ought to have the courage to go all the way back to… the context in which Israel came into existence…  ‘Palestinian’ did not become a common term until after 1977.  This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage.”

In response to Gingrich’s defense, hapless Mitt Romney floundered all over the place, claiming that, although he mostly agreed with Gingrich, it was a “mistake” to call the Palestinians an invented people (though they are), Gingrich had made it “more difficult for [Israelis] to sit down with the Palestinians” (though it’s already impossible), and Gingrich had decided to “throw incendiary words into a place which is a boiling pot” (though the situation is already hopeless).

Despite his ideological missteps, character flaws, and general unsuitability to be our nominee, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due, and in this case it goes squarely to Gingrich.  As he summed up, “It is helpful to have a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, [like] Ronald Reagan, who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’  Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and reframed the world…  I will tell the truth, even if it’s at the risk of causing some confusion… with the timid.”

If Gingrich doesn’t get the nomination—and he doesn’t especially deserve to—he may at least serve the same function that other unlikely nominees have served on various issues from Santorum (Iran) to Cain (taxes) to Bachmann (ObamaCare) to Perry (Social Security): namely, to push Mitt Romney to the right.  Based on his comments on the Palestinians, Gingrich may even serve as a model for pressuring our nominee to speak the truth.

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They’re Giving Out Statehood Like Lollipops These Days!

September 21, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel


History has taught us that the farcical “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority breaks down every single time it is forcibly initiated by the West.  The routine disintegrates because it always unpeacefully proceeds in the following manner: Palestinians make demands, and Israel agrees to them; Palestinians smell blood in the water and up the stakes, and Israel necessarily balks; Palestinians attack Israel, and Israel counterattacks; the world condemns Israel for its “disproportionate” response, and Palestinians secretly celebrate Israel’s global denigration without shedding a tear over the deaths of its own civilians; and then the whole sordid cycle starts again.

The Palestinians’ latest gambit for feigning legitimacy in the eyes of free nations is for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to request a platform for better infiltrating, isolating, and attacking Israel—I mean, “statehood”—at the United Nations’ Security Council meeting this Friday.  This entreaty would require fulfilling President Obama’s outrageous demand earlier this year that Israel return to its undefendable, pre-1967 borders and cede east Jerusalem to the Palestinians.  A usefully idiotic coalition of Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and Lutheran priests in Jerusalem have boosted the PA’s bid.

The PA’s move on Friday will almost certainly be blocked by the United States, which, as a core member of the Security Council, has veto power over any such bid.  If its statehood attempt fails, Abbas has implied that the PA will present its case to the U.N. General Assembly, whose peanut gallery of Third World dictatorships will likely approve an upgrade for the PA from “entity” to non-voting, non-member observer state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the PA’s bid for statehood as unhelpful posturing and insisted Palestinians earn concessions by returning to the peace process, not trying to circumvent it and gain statehood so they can strong-arm Israel via the U.N.

Palestinian leaders have threatened that if they don’t succeed at gaining statehood, there may be unpleasant consequences, i.e. more protests, violence, and attacks on Israel.

History has also taught us that—in addition to the peace process always failing—whenever Israel capitulates to the PA, Palestinians’ demands only escalate to unreasonable levels, and mayhem ensues over Israel’s failure to meet their impossible conditions.  In contrast, whenever Israel firmly rejects the PA’s ultimatums and warns that military force will be used against reprisal attacks, Palestinians back down.

In other words, people respond to threats.  Groups, organizations, and nations respond to threats.  Even animals are smart enough to respond to threats.  The Palestinians are no different.  If Israel resolutely rebuffs their ridiculous demands and issues threats against retaliation, the PA will surely back down as well.

Why is the PA’s bid for statehood, and the whole peace process, ridiculous?  Because only good-faith parties respond in a reasonable manner to the give-and-take process of negotiations, in which each party’s ongoing actions build up its reputation as either a credible partner or a backstabber.  The Palestinians always fail to live up to their end of the deal, yet keep getting a free pass to continue as an equal partner in the process.

Two parties cannot negotiate if one refuses to recognize the other’s right to exist, existence being an obvious precondition for negotiation.  How can the PA credibly claim to be negotiating with an entity it refuses to acknowledge as legitimate and has repeatedly stated it wishes to wipe off the map?  How can the PA purport to be acting in good faith when it maintains close ties with anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas—whose charter calls for the expulsion of all Jews from Palestine—and refuses to denounce this organization’s tactics or even label it a terrorist group?

As Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted, Israel has previously “shown great generosity towards the Palestinians, but it did not bring us peace…  It’s been 18 years since the Oslo Accords and we’ve tried everything…  [Ehud] Barak, in Camp David, agreed to all [Palestinian] demands.  What did we get in return?  Another intifada and more bloodshed.”

The U.S. should forcefully reject the PA’s bid, vigorously protest its request for an upgrade to non-member status, and permanently withdraw the half a billion dollars in annual aid it gives to the Palestinians.  The latter measure, in addition to preventing funds from being diverted to a political entity with a history of sponsoring terror, will signal to the PA that it has no business trying to morph into a state of semi-authenticity under the cover of the scores of reprehensible prison states unconscionably given legitimacy at the despicable U.N.

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Obama to the World on Libya: You First

March 23, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror


Here’s a fun fact regarding President Obama’s Saturday announcement that the U.S. would finally be getting around to joining the international coalition to use military force against Libya’s Colonel Moammar Qaddafi in retaliation for his having unleashed government firepower against rebels.  Guess how many times Obama used any of the following words in his speech: victory, victorious, win, winning, defeat, right, just, moral, triumph, success, good, evil.  (Hint: it’s the same number of controversial NCAA Final Four picks he made last week.)  That’s right—0!

In contrast, he managed to squeeze in all of these words and phrases: international (10 uses), allies (6), partners (6), community (5), United Nations (3), not acting alone (3), coalition (2), league (2), council (2), coordinate (2), agree, join, meet, part, and union.

With so little emphasis on what we’re actually doing in Libya, how we’re going to do it, and with what expected results, an alien visiting Earth might be forgiven for wondering why we need to engage in so much coalition-building to do it.

What kind of corporation launching a new product deemphasizes: the product, the technology required to develop it, the need for it in the market, and the projected sales; yet fills up their business plan with reams of details on which contractors they’re going to generously give business to, which stores they’re going to offer their product to, which companies’ toes they’re going to avoid stepping on, and which corporations they might someday merge with?

The message Obama has been sending the world is: we’re not necessarily going to do anything about Libya, and we’re definitely not going to take the lead on it, but if there are lots of others of you who are going to do something, then we’re right there with you.

There are good arguments for and against bombing Libya; a sane case can be made either way.  A surprising number of liberals have come out in favor (Hillary Clinton, John Kerry); a surprising number of conservatives have come out against (Andrew McCarthy, Haley Barbour).

I happen to favor air strikes, though not without being able to see the other side’s point.  The idea that we should butt out of Libya, Egypt, Iran, etc. is premised on the notion that no matter what we do, Middle Eastern dictators will be replaced by worse dictators of the hard-line Islamic variety.  I reject this idea, and I don’t care about the warning the do-nothing crowd has offered that radical Islamist groups favor removing these tyrants.  Just because those groups support toppling Ahmadinejad, Mubarak, and Qaddafi doesn’t mean we can’t support it, but for different reasons.  They support it because it’s their best chance to install Islamic leaders; we support it because it’s our best chance to install pro-liberty leaders.  The choice isn’t “Do nothing” or “Topple the dictator and let the chips fall where they may”—the missing alternative is “Topple the dictator, and make sure someone better gets in there.”

That said, if I were Leader of the Free World, I think I would have circulated an inkling to the globe what my position was one way or another, pretty early on, before any action were too late.

Instead, Obama has given the impression that he wanted to find out what the cool kids were doing so he could join them and be part of the crowd.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we could believe that Obama has been seriously, meticulously scrutinizing the situation in Libya, weighing his options, not committing until the exact right time.  (It wouldn’t be so bad, in other words, if Obama hadn’t been spending his time playing golf, announcing his bracket picks, and practicing his Brazilian Portuguese.)  But given his talk during the 2008 campaign about the necessity of international consensus and the arrogance of acting alone, odds are he was waiting until a critical mass of world players signed on before sticking his scrawny neck out.

There are three possibilities that explain Obama’s dithering on Libya, none reassuring.  First: he had no idea what to do, was being pushed back and forth by pro- and anti-invasion camps in his administration, and simply went with the international consensus once it coalesced.  Second: he favored invasion, but didn’t want to take action until there was international support.  Third, and most disturbing: he didn’t favor invasion, but decided to go with that option once the world’s players came out for it.

Given Obama’s hemming and hawing on Afghanistan, whereby private accounts suggest he didn’t want to initiate a troop surge in 2009 but did so anyway, and given his indirect ties to Qaddafi via Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan, I fear the third possibility most likely.

Behold a president who acts, not because he believes the United States has a unique historical and moral standing in the world and should take the lead on rectifying injustice, and possibly not even because he thinks it’s the right thing to do, but because… everyone else is doing it.

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Obama to Gulf Tarballs: “We Are Not Amused”

July 07, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Obama

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

It’s no coincidence that the Tea Party movement is springing up now, 235 years after the Boston Tea Party.  Barack Obama is the closest thing this country has had to royalty since King George III.

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth II visited New York City for the third time in her life and the first time in 34 years.  New Yorkers were aflutter over the prospect of royalty tramping around on gritty Manhattan soil.  QE2 addressed the United Nations and then, to cleanse herself of that demoralizing experience, did something pro-American and visited Ground Zero, where she dedicated a new park to 67 Britons who died on September 11.

Americans get keyed up over this kind of thing because it’s so alien to our way of life.  To us, a visit from the Queen is a novelty act, like Lindsay Lohan showing contrition for her actions.

While New Yorkers dutifully read up on how they should behave if they met the Queen—don’t bow or curtsy, we are not her subjects; use the title Your Majesty, then switch to Ma’am—too many Americans still haven’t learned how to stop treating Obama like royalty.

His supporters don’t exactly bow in his presence; they get rowdier than that.  They whoop and holler and sing hosannas, when they’re not crying, fainting, and melting into a pile of mush.

Royalty is the perfect metaphor for the Obama administration: symbolic figureheads who shake hands, soak taxpayers who fund their lavish lifestyles, and don’t do much besides look elegant (except when Barack is swatting flies off his face or Michelle is wearing a Mark Rothko painting).  Whereas Brits are reassured that their royal family is just for show and that there’s an actual political administration getting the work done, in the U.S. we have no such consolation in the Age of The One.  Even when Obama is touring a natural disaster area like the Gulf oil spill zone he behaves like royalty, prancing through the dunes in his silk shirt, daintily noshing lobster salad, and privately contemplating his forehand.  When Obama stepped off the plane in Huntsville, Ontario for the G8 summit, the first thing he asked his hosts was whether there were a lot of golf courses in the area.

Royalty strut around on the taxpayer’s dime, bestowing awards upon the little people who volunteer to help littler people via charity boondoggles and fundraising spectacles.  Similarly, Barack jets around the country on Air Force One speaking at union events and elementary schools, trying to convince the country to get excited because some two-bit smelting plant in Ohio was given a million-dollar grant to go green and is managing to break even instead of going bankrupt.

Royalty play expensive, individualized sports requiring fancy equipment—polo for the royal family, golf for Obama.  (I doubt the Queen would do very well at bowling, but I doubt she would denigrate retarded children after getting a dismal score.)

Royalty are bestowed with honorary titles, awards, and ceremonies based on the mere fact of their existence.  Already Obama-friendly municipalities are naming roads, community centers, and paid holidays after him, to say nothing of his infinitely premature Nobel Peace Prize.

Royalty are famous for being famous.  How else can you characterize Obama’s overnight notoriety and meteoric rise to frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination after a mere speech he gave at a convention?  Obama became well-known for being well-known—liberals fell all over themselves to prove their commitment to the cool kid before everyone else found out it was cool to support him.

Royalty believe in bogus organizations like the UN and their power to bring about change through fantasizing.  They don’t appreciate the corruption inherent in such bloated Potemkin goodwill societies and the spite harbored by poisonous partners admitted due to an unrestricted membership policy.  Naivety about the organizational structure of the UN and its inefficiency in getting anything done may stem from the fact that royalty, like Obama in his guise as a former community organizer, don’t have actual responsibilities.

Royalty are given significant power and are thrust into the public eye at a young age despite negligible accomplishments.  They have the spotlight on them for so long that they forget what it’s like to live as everyday citizens.  Similarly, Obama was elected President of the Free World in his 40s after having served less than one full term as U.S. Senator, most of which was spent running for President, and before that serving as a state Senator in which capacity his most remarked upon accomplishment was voting “Present” 130 times.  As with Obama, royalty’s assumption of power is referenced using such adulatory terms as “ascension” and “coronation.”

Royalty are depicted in solemn portraits; their countenances are ubiquitous.  Similarly, you may have seen Obama’s face reverently displayed two or three trillion times since his presidential candidacy began.

For the British, the royalty are a harmless relic, colorful fodder for tabloid speculation.  For Americans, who have lived without royalty for centuries, the mere prospect of their reintroduction should be a dangerous reminder of what happens when our leaders are worshipped instead of held accountable as public servants.

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