On the Iran Deal, Obama Gets Tough…

With his fellow Americans, of course – not with the Iranians:

President Obama: I realize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of Iran. It is offensive. It is incendiary. We do take it seriously. But superpowers should not act impulsively in response to talks… Just because Iranian hardliners chant ‘Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hardliners that are more satisfied with the status quo. It’s those hardliners chanting “death to America” who’ve been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican Caucus.

So, there you go – the only people who want to kill the Iran deal are those on the side of the Iranian hardliners! Kerry is also out there warning us against upsetting the Iranian hardliners…and they’ll be mad as wet hens if we don’t do this deal! So mad, I guess, that they’ll start sponsoring terrorism and building up nuclear weapons…

This is getting unreal – the Obama position is that if you don’t want his deal, then you want war. Here’s just a small bit of advice for Obama and Kerry – the alternative to the deal isn’t war, but simply no deal. Status quo. And that means Iran’s government is still hobbled by sanctions and has much fewer resources for sponsoring terrorism and building nuclear weapons.

To me, the whole thing is clearly not about getting Iran to stop being Iran, but about getting sanctions lifted. Obama and Kerry appear to believe that we can befriend Iran’s current government and they’ll work with us for peace and stability in the Middle East…that it will be a peace of the grave for many and the stability of Iranian tyranny doesn’t seem to concern Obama. To Progressives any sort of peace is superior to any sort of war – and if it is a bunch of foreigners living far away who are paying the blood price for our peace, no problem at all.

Of course, we’ll get war, eventually. The thing about helping tyrannical regimes to gain in power and prosperity is that this merely provides them with more sinews for war, as well as convincing them we are a paper tiger which can be defied at will.


And, Now, Back to the Fun…

Yesterday was an experiment and it will become permanent. I spent a day away from the Internet. No Facebook, no Twitter, no reading the news. It was wonderful. I’m thinking that I’ll give up the internet for Lent. Really, boys and girls, if you don’t do it, already, then make it part of your life: unplug from time to time. The ‘net has become like the TV in 1984.


John Kerry says that Iran isn’t allowed to use the bucket of money we’re giving them for terrorist operations. I’m sure you’ll all sleep soundly tonight.

Trump really messed up on his comments about McCain. I’ve got lots of problems with McCain. I hope he draws a TEA Party challenger. I think he’s often a bit of a jerk in the demeaning way he deals with GOP base. But, no matter how you slice it, McCain is a war hero. The recent poll showing Trump leading the primary field nationwide had a little tid-bit in it for the detail-minded: the day after Trump’s insulting comment broke, his support dropped like a rock. He won’t win a single primary and he’ll never be President.

Monk Rock? Well, we Catholics are rather dangerous, transgressive outsiders these days…

Saudi’s threaten military action against Iran. So, Obama has fundamentally transformed us – it is not backwards, corrupt monarchies taking a stand for decency in the world instead of the United States.

The Democrat party has decided that writing off the elderly vote is best – Obama Administration proposes to deny self-defense rights to people on Social Security if third party’s handle their bills.

Walker up by 9 in Iowa. Walker wins Iowa, NH and SC, he’s the GOP nominee.

Out and About on a Friday – and Saturday and Sunday…

You know, just to keep things going.

Ok, so criminal justice reform is getting more front-burner. A genuinely bi-partisan group of people is looking for ways to reform our broken system. What I’d like:

End jail time for small time possession of illegal drugs. Anything less than a few ounces, maybe write the guy a ticket. No more jail time for failure to pay fines. End civil asset forfeiture. No more three strikes laws. Civil penalties for prosecutors who convict the innocent, or do fishing expeditions like the “Jon Doe” investigation in Wisconsin.

That would be a good start.

China seems to be dumping US Treasuries.

Women and minorities are obtaining concealed carry permits – a lot of concealed carry permits. Liberals won’t know what to do about this. As for us – it just means that, in the long run, a lot of women and minorities will eventually be voting conservative.

The guy who killed our Marines here at home spent a lot of time over in the Middle East. Someone please tell me why we allow easy travel between the Middle East and the United States.

Obama’s approval rating is 44.7%. Just keep in mind that it is very hard for a party to out-do it’s President’s approval rating on election day. To depress you, maybe what happens is Trump goes Perot next year and the final result is Hillary, 45%, Walker 42%, Trump 13%.

I actually spent some time reading the Iran deal. It is just terrible, as you suspected. Of course, people can read it different ways…I read it like an Iranian mullah who wants to do whatever he pleases. In that reading Iran…gets to do whatever it pleases. Seriously. 24 day waiting period for inspections. We not only have to lift sanctions, but help Iran gain market share and stamp on any State or local government which doesn’t want to do business with Iran. We have to give them scientific help of the best sort. And we have to obey the “spirit” of the deal – which is undefined. And if there’s a dispute about the implementation of the deal then we have 35 days to see it Iran’s way and if we don’t, then the deal binds us to see it Iran’s way. This isn’t diplomacy – this is Obama helping Iran to become the dominant power of the Middle East and pretending that he’s just making a nuke deal.

We are becoming a nation of cowards.

Hillary ain’t too popular.

From quiet homes and first beginning, out to the undiscovered ends, there’s nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends. – Hilaire Belloc

Obama’s Diplomacy in a Void

There are two reasons you engage in international diplomacy:

1. You both want roughly the same thing, but there are some thorny issues involved which must be addressed before either of you can get it. Trade agreements and alliances against a third party are this sort of diplomacy.

2. You and the other guy want diametrically opposed outcomes and you’re both trying to force the other to climb down, with a risk of war ever present. This sort of thing comes up when two nations with a great deal of enmity are getting at loggerheads.

The first example is mostly harmless in that success doesn’t lead to universal peace and brotherhood, but failure also doesn’t come with much cost. It would be the rarest of rare birds if, say, a negotiation over a trade deal resulted in war breaking out between the two parties because they couldn’t come to an agreement on tariffs. On the other hand, the second form of diplomacy is fraught with danger because the whole point of negotiating is to try to prevent a war – both sides want something the other side cannot agree to. In negotiating, what they are really doing is trying to answer the question, “are you willing to fight over it?”.

In the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War in 1877, Russia – victorious – was in a mood to just do as she wished with Turkish possessions…which then ranged deep into the Balkans of Europe and which were of great concern to other major powers. When Russia’s plans for prostrate Turkey became known, Britain, especially, let it be known that Russia’s plans were unacceptable and if not modified, war would result. The Germans, under Bismarck, held a conference of all interested parties in Berlin and to Bismarck fell the task of finding out if the British answer to the question was really, “yes”. Bismarck went at it for quite a long time against the British Prime Minister, Disraeli, trying to get out of him a “no”. At the end of it, Britain’s position was crystal clear and Bismarck, who was trusted by the Russians, let them know that if they persisted, they’d have a war with Britain, with incalculable risks that other nations would become involved. Russia, having got her “yes” from Britain, answered her “no” in reply…Russia didn’t want a war with Britain. They weren’t willing to fight over it. War was averted (well, strictly speaking, it was delayed…until 1914 when Russia started fishing in those same troubled waters…but, still, peace was achieved in the 1870’s which endured for decades). That is the sort of diplomacy we’re really thinking of when we think “diplomacy”.

Our liberals use the word diplomacy quite a lot – in fact, it is their magic talisman against all threats. All you gotta do is get some diplomacy going and everything can be made right. But what liberals don’t understand – refuse to understand – is that in the great international crisis, the question remains as always: are you willing to fight about it? If you are not willing to fight about it, then you will not get what you want. The other side, once sure you won’t fight, will just grab what they demanded – and then probably demand even more, just to see how far you can be pushed until the answer becomes “yes”, with the risk that they’ll miscalculate your weakness and thus provoke a war (this was Hitler’s problem in 1939 – he thought that after Munich he could take Poland without Britain fighting…he miscalculated…there was a lot of surrender in Neville Chamberlain, but not complete national abasement). In Obama’s Iran negotiations, what we are seeing are the results of one side thinking that negotiations are the end rather than the means – and they are viewed as an end, in themselves, because a person like Obama is fundamentally incapable of envisioning war resulting from failure.

Obama is going to get his agreement with Iran – which will be of no real value, because all Obama wants is the “agreement”…something on paper which says that peace and amity are secured. What actually happens is irrelevant – the agreement is all. This is diplomacy in a void – mere sound and fury, signifying nothing. I’ve watched a few MSM reports of late – forgive me for wasting my time – and they’re all, “there is only a few days left until the deadline”. Deadline? Deadline for what? Suppose we pass it – are we going to go to war? No. Impose new sanctions? No. Stop negotiating? No. We’ll just set a new deadline. Because we have to get an agreement – and, in fact, the current deadline, given Obama, means the pressure is on us. As we won’t do anything if the deadline is passed, it is up to us to get something on paper before the deadline arrives. The Iranians know this full well – and are taking advantage of it (their demand that all sanctions be lifted is a, “we know you won’t do anything, so give us all we want” ploy). At the end of the day, it would have been better all around if Obama had just unilaterally terminated the sanctions and entered into no negotiations, at all. Our overall position would be stronger – we could still, in theory, have a military option on the table, even if only as a wink and a nod to Israel, should they decide to strike. Now there is no military option, rumors that we’ve agreed to prevent even an Israeli strike, and an upcoming agreement which will commit us to removing sanctions without stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Obama is essentially going to make the United States the guarantor of Iran’s nuclear program – protected until fruition by an “agreement”…and once complete, impossible to reverse because you can’t ever force a nation to give up nuclear weapons.

My view is that Obama doesn’t understand this – he has shown over time that he understands very little about how the world works. Combine this with a set of liberals in his Administration who are likely convinced that Iran is only an enemy because of bad American actions, and you’ve got the impetus for one of the most astoundingly stupid foreign policy programs in human history. Obama is going to redeem Neville Chamberlain – after Obama gets done with Iran, people will be able to look back and say, “well, at least Chamberlain didn’t actually arm the Germans”.

How this mess is to be cleaned up remains to be seen – if Iran tests a nuclear weapon before 1/20/17, there will be no way for us to really do anything. We’ll just have to wait for the inevitable Iranian collapse – their fertility rate is below replacement level and corrupt, dictatorial governments are really never too long for this world. The USSR showed probably the maximum length of time such a thing can endure before it implodes. But this could mean several decades of a nuclear-armed Iran causing massive trouble around the world. If Iran doesn’t get a nuke before Obama leaves office, then the next President will have to make stopping Iran the first priority of foreign policy – and we’d better be loud and clear that our answer is “yes” to the question, or we’ll just be wasting our time.

Republicans Write a Letter; Liberals Go Insane

Our liberals have insta-amended the Constitution – now, instead of treason being defined as adhering to America’s enemies or levying war against the United States, it is now defined as “writing a letter Obama doesn’t like”. Our liberals have gone very deep into Deal Leader devotion on this.

The letter, itself, is not much – just noting to Iran’s leadership that any deal made with President Obama will not be held binding on future American Presidents. That is just a statement of fact – because if Obama does get a treaty, then it is a dead letter unless ratified by the Senate, which simply will not happen. If Obama gets some sort of executive agreement, then it is something which has no force of law and the next President can ignore at will (and likely will ignore because no President – not even Hillary – is going to want to be bound by what Obama did 2009-2017). To me, this was a wise thing to do – we don’t want the Iranians thinking that the entirety of the United States is whatever Obama says it is – he’s gone in less than two years and other people in the United States have other ideas. Indeed, enough people have other ideas to ensure that no treaty negotiated by Obama regarding Iran’s nuclear program has any chance of ratification (this is because Obama’s ideas on how to deal with Iran are so mind-bogglingly stupid that even a lot of liberal Democrats won’t sign off on them). But, a lot of liberals are just beside themselves over the Republican letter.

It is best seen, so far, with the #47Traitors hashtag on Twitter. Yes, they are really calling the Republican signatories traitors! I guess their memories don’t stretch back even to 2007 when then-House Speaker Pelosi went to the Middle East in an essay of foreign policy in direct contravention of Bush Administration foreign policy. I won’t even bother with the Democrats’ 1984 “Dear Commandante” letter to the communist dictator of Nicaragua, nor Ted Kennedy trying to work with the Soviets to defeat Reagan in the 1984 election; anything prior to, say, 2000 is ancient history and not at all relevant.

What I think is making the liberals really mad here is that the letter exposes the hollowness of Obama. Obama cannot get anything concrete done – everything he does especially in his last two years is subject to immediate reversal by whomever takes over on January 20th, 2017. And, rely on it, a very large amount of Obama’s actions will be immediately undone after he leaves office. Why should any President – even a liberal President – just keep an Obama order alive? Out of respect for Obama? Please. Liberals are in a shrieking conniption fit because they just got told that their Dear Leader is actually not all-powerful.

INSANE UPDATE: Democrats start petition to jail the 47, get 140,000 signatures.

Make a Deal With Assad?

So opines Leslie Gelb over at the Daily Beast – also noting that we’d have to do some sort of deal with Iran, while also keeping Saudi Arabia and Turkey on-side. Which is, well, a rather muddleheaded thing to try because, just as one for-instance, Iran and Saudi Arabia are not going to see eye to eye as long as their respective government’s are in power.

Now, as far as rat-bastards go in the Middle East, Assad is certainly not the worst, though he is pretty darned bad. In choosing what to do in that area, any where we turn we’re going to be dealing with nefarious characters. The question is which nefarious characters do we want to deal with, supposing we want a deal?

You see, we don’t actually have to be deeply involved at the moment in the area. To be sure, leaving it to fester in it’s own nastiness will carry the risk that some of the nastiness will be directed our way – vast numbers of people over there live for the day when they can kill lots of Americans. I’m sure ISIS has already got at least some preliminary plans to hit us – though being tied down in head-chopping, slave-dealing and attempted conquest, they probably can’t spare the time for us at the moment. We can pull back right now – and, in fact, under Obama it is probably better that we do so, given his complete incomprehension of the realities of power politics in the global arena. But even a hard-headed realist can make the argument that a U.S. withdrawal is a good course of action for the moment.

That argument goes like this: the American people don’t want to fight over there right now. The various factions fighting for power and influence all have, at best, grave doubts about us and, at worst, bitter enmity. For a variety of reasons, our post-9/11 campaign in the Middle East has failed and our prestige is at rock bottom in the Middle East. Getting our people out of there takes the immediate pressure off us – and by getting out of there, I mean all of us…troops, aid workers, diplomats, etc. If we really feel the desperate need to keep some sort of U.S. presence in a particular Middle Eastern nation (say, in places like Turkey, Jordan, Egypt), then it should be as small as possible. Essentially, don’t leave many American targets for the Islamists to attack. As we have recently proved, we’ve got enough oil and natural gas here at home so that even a complete collapse of oil production in the area can be endured…we’d be up to $5 a gallon gas, but as we recently paid $4 a gallon, we’d survive (and, of course, no one who attains any power over there is really going to cut off the oil spigot completely). As we are no longer involved, the blame for what happens there will less and less accrue to us and if there is an attack on us from the Middle East, the political will for war will swiftly return to the American body politic.

But we’re going to stay, of course, because inertia in politics is like that – we’ve been there, we are there, and so we’re going to keep on being there. And suppose Obama came down with a case of the ‘flu and had to spend a week in bed and during that time someone slipped him a copy of, say, Churchill’s The World Crisis or Hanson’s The Father of Us All and so Obama finally learned a thing or two about how the world works? We then might be able to proceed to a policy of U.S. engagement which isn’t stupid. And in an engagement policy which isn’t stupid, what is the best course of action?

Quite simply, it is to find a power player who can be purchased by us – and that does indicate Assad more than anyone else. His Iranian allies have not been able to restore his fortunes in Syria and he might be in the market for a new friend who can help out. Of course, he’d have to change his tune on a few things. We can’t expect him to do something enormous like make peace with Israel – but there is much he can do.

First off, no longer allow his territory to be a conduit of aid to the Iran-backed Islamists in Lebanon. Also, no longer keep any of his troops in Lebanon, thus freeing up that nation to be at least neutral in the various conflicts in the region…demilitarized, Jihadist sent packing or into the hereafter. Still a Muslim nation making rote denunciations of Israel and the United States, but no longer a subsidiary of Tehran and Islamism.

Secondly, part of Syria is going to have to become autonomous Christian areas…with Christian militias ostensibly under Syrian command, but really existing to keep Islamists out of Christian territory. It isn’t going to be much territory, but it has to be enough for Christians to live on in peace and security…and as they’ll be set up to lack heavy weapons, they’ll never constitute a threat to the existence of the Syrian government. Think of it as being akin to the Kurdish area of Iraq before everything fell apart in that nation.

Third, he’d have to amnesty those parts of the rebels who are not the full on, head-choppy Islamist fanatics…and incorporate them into his army and offer them a genuine seat at the power table in Syria. Not a full democracy – such is not really possible – but with veto power over government proposals which directly effect their lives. This new Syrian army – no longer being just the personal following of the Assad family – could then, with US air and some ground support (mostly special forces types), probably make short work of the biggest problem in Syria – the ISIS goons. Once the are taken care of, Assad gets U.S. aid to rebuild Syria and lines up with us against Iran in the regional balance of power.

Carried out with vigor and a keen eye to realities, such a policy could bring immense security relief to Israel (we might even be able to get Israel to give back a symbolic portion of the Golan: they can’t give it all back for security reasons, of course), free up Lebanon and turn Syria from long-term enemy to at least temporary friend – friend at least during the impending crisis of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and attempting to make Iraq a satrapy of Tehran…and if the deal can also be worked that the Kurdish areas of Syria are joined to those of Iraq in a new Republic of Kurdistan, then we’ve picked up three dominoes in the area and are in a much better position to confront Iran as well as an increasingly hostile Turkey. We’d also be less strategically dependent on Saudi Arabia and so we could start to systemically detach ourselves from the Saudis…until such time as they really feel the pressure from Iran and are willing to, well, not be quite so stoning-people, owning-slaves, flogging-bloggers sorts of people.

Of course, we’ll end up doing neither – we won’t get out, we won’t go in sensibly. So, get prepared for the worst of all worlds in the Middle East.

Making a Deal With Iran

It is hard to say what the real goal here is – it is clear that no matter what Iran does, while Obama is President we won’t go to war to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  Come what may, no amount of non-military pressure on Iran will succeed in convincing the Iranian government to give up their nuclear ambitions.  Given this, why make a deal, at all?  What is it that impels Obama and Kerry to seek a deal?

By making any sort of deal, all we do is increase Iranian legitimacy in the eyes of the world, alienate Israel and lower our prestige among both friends and enemies – the world will see that, in the event, we daren’t attack Iran…that we are, in some sense, afraid of them.  The Gulf States will either make the best deal they can with Iran, while Saudi Arabia and Turkey obtain nuclear weapons of their own to counter the Iranian force.  Can it be that Obama and Kerry, ignorant academics that they are, simply believe that a deal is better than a non-deal?  That the results don’t matter so much as the process, itself?

And here’s the bad news – an Iranian nuclear force is an existential threat to the life of Israel…just how long will the Israeli government hold off from saving themselves from extermination?