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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

140,000 US-Made Teargas Canisters to Morsi’s Egypt

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The Egyptian publication Al-Masry Al-Youm reports that the U.S. government has supplied five containers carrying 140,000 teargas canisters to Egypt’s Interior Ministry. It further reports that this shipment left Wilmington, Delaware, on Mar. 14 aboard the SS Jamestown and that it has just arrived the port of Suez. They cost the Egyptian government just under US$2.5 million. According to ministry spokesperson Hani Abdel Latif, the ministry imported the grenades in order to protect state facilities.

Although shocking, this should not come as a surprise: On Feb. 25, 2013, the State Department spokesman confirmed that “we have approved an export license for the shipment of U.S.-manufactured nonlethal riot control agents to the Egyptian Government.” He added that “No U.S. security assistance funds have been used for the purchase of these products” and “we condemn any misuse of these products, of teargas that can result in injury or unlawful death, and any such misuse would jeopardize future exports.”

Comments: (1) I have waited six days to see if either government would deny that 140,000 canisters were delivered but neither has, suggesting this is an accurate number. (2) The transfer of this arsenal of crowd-control weapons reveals the depth of the Obama administration’s collusion with the wretched Morsi regime. (3) This idiocy alone justifies the title of my lecture in Washington on Apr. 16, “Amateur Hour: The Obama Administration’s Middle East Policy.”

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and The National Review Online, The Corner, April 14, 2013.

Iran’s Unhidden Plan For Genocide: Israel’s Decision (Third of Three Parts)

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Published in the print edition under the title, “Iran’s Unhidden Plan For Genocide: A Legal Assessment (Third of Three Parts).” Click here for part one and here for part two.

In the post-Holocaust and post-Nuremberg international system, the right of individual states to defend themselves against genocide is overriding, and thoroughly beyond legal question.

This right does not stem directly from the language of the Genocide Convention, which does not explicitly link genocide to aggressive war, but it can still be extrapolated from (1) the precise legal language of anticipatory self-defense, including an 1837 case known as The Caroline; and (2) all subsequent authoritative reaffirmations of law identifiable at Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. The right of anticipatory self-defense to prevent genocide can also be deduced from certain basic principles of self-protection codified at the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and, more generally, from the confluence of persistently anarchic international relations with now-obligatory norms of basic human rights.

Should Israeli decision-makers finally determine they do have a compelling right to act first against Iran to prevent genocidal aggression, any resultant Israeli resorts to preemptive force would still have to be consistent with the laws of war of international law, or the law of armed conflict. In detail, this would mean, for Israel, respecting the always indisputable primary belligerent requirements of “distinction” (avoiding injury to noncombatants), “proportionality,” and “military necessity.”

What about the future? What happens next concerning a steadily nuclearizing Iran? What about anticipatory self-defense in this particular case?

International custom is one of several proper sources of international law listed at Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Where it is understood as anticipatory self-defense, the customary right to preempt has its modern origins in an incident known in appropriate jurisprudence as The Caroline. During the unsuccessful rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada against British rule, The Caroline had established that even a serious threat of armed attack may justify militarily defensive action.

In an exchange of diplomatic notes between the governments of the United States and Great Britain, then-U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster outlined a framework for self‑defense which did not require a prior attack. Here, military response to a threat was judged permissible, but only so long as the danger posed was “instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment of deliberation.”

Strategic circumstances and the consequences of strategic surprise have changed a great deal since The Caroline, thereby greatly (and sensibly) expanding legal grounds for anticipatory self-defense. Today, in an age of chemical/biological/nuclear weaponry, the time available to any vulnerable state under attack could be only a matter of minutes. From the special standpoint of Israel, soon to face an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, an appropriately hard-target resort to anticipatory self-defense could be both lawful and law-enforcing.

Before the start of the Atomic Age, any justification of anticipatory self-defense would have to have been limited to expected threats of aggression from other states, not genocide. Today, however, the conceivable fusion of nuclear weapons capacity with aggression could transform war into genocide. Although there are no true precedents of resorting to preemption as a law-enforcing means of preventing genocide or “conspiracy to commit genocide” by one state against another, the pertinent right to such pre-attack self-defense is rooted, inter alia, in The Caroline.

After all, if it was already legal, long before nuclear weapons, to strike preemptively in order to prevent entirely conventional aggressions, how much more permissible must it be to strike preemptively to defend against a potentially genocidal nuclear war?

Nonetheless, some legal scholars argue that the right of anticipatory self‑defense expressed by The Caroline has been overridden by the more limiting language of the United Nations Charter. In this view, Article 51 of the Charter offers a far more restrictive statement on self‑defense, one that relies on the strict qualification of a prior armed attack. This very narrowly technical interpretation ignores the larger antecedent point, that international law is never a suicide pact.

Sensibly, law can never compel a state to wait until it has absorbed a devastating or even genocidal first strike before acting to protect itself. Both the Security Council and the General Assembly correctly refused to condemn Israel for its 1967 preemptive attacks. Incorrectly, however, whether or not it had then accepted the existence of a formal state of war between Israel and Iraq – a condition of belligerency openly insisted on by Baghdad – the UN did condemn Israel for Operation Opera in 1981. Of course, this legally incorrect condemnation was the direct result of regionally recurrent circumstances, conditions wherein an exterminatory power politics or geopolitics trumps law.

Betrayal: Republicans Who Voted for Hagel

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

All of Israel’s enemies are doing the hora. As for all of those conservatives who are shocked, shocked I tell ya, over Rand Paul’s vote for Hagel, are you serious? You expected him to stand against Hagel? Rand and his father are notoriously anti-Israel (anti-Semitic).

GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, and Richard C. Shelby of Alabama voted for Hagel’s Jew-hatred. Shelby’s constituents are not happy with him.

(Recommended blog article: Chuck Hagel — a litmus test for Republican weakness and stupidity).

The Right Scoop had the roll call vote:

FOX NEWS – The Senate approved Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Defense secretaryTuesday, ending a contentious battle that exposed deep divisions over the president’s Pentagon pick.

After Republicans blocked the nomination earlier this month, they ultimately allowed for an up-or-down vote on Tuesday. The margin was historically close, with 58 senators supporting him and 41 opposing in the end.

Though Hagel is himself a former Republican senator, the resistance to his nomination showed an unusual level of distrust among many senators toward the man chosen to lead the Defense Department — at a time when the country is trying to wind down the Afghanistan war, while assessing emerging threats from Iran, Syria and elsewhere in the turbulent Middle East and North Africa.

READ MORE…
Here’s the Roll Call Vote:

YEAs —
58
Baldwin (D-WI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coons (D-DE)
Cowan (D-MA)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Paul (R-KY)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs —41
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Enzi (R-WY)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kirk (R-IL)
Lee (R-UT)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

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Futile Israeli Efforts to Win Ankara Back

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The Government of Israel, we learned yesterday from a Turkish source, has delivered Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) equipment by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, that gives military aircraft protection from electronic attacks. Not only will the AWACS planes, in the wording of the Today’s Zaman article, “greatly increase [the Turkish air force’s] dominance over Turkey’s own airspace” but they will also be useful to it in the Syrian civil war and vis-à-vis “tensions with Israel and Greek Cyprus over the issue of gas drilling.”

Israel Defense continues: “There are voices within the Israeli defense establishment calling for the end of the Marmara crisis vis-à-vis Turkey, by finding a formula of apology, in order to return to the Israeli-Turkish alliance against Syria and Iran.” Ankara ordered the systems years ago but the Israelis held them back following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010. In part, the Israeli decision to deliver them resulted from pressure from Boeing, manufacturer of the AWACS planes. But in part, it has to do with a hope in Israel that the Turks will again become friendly; this move comes in the context of back-channel talks between the two governments and the decision last week, by Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, in the words of Israel Defense, to “allow the entry of Turkish experts and construction materials for the largest Turkish hospital building in the Gaza Strip, ahead the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan in Gaza.”

Comments: (1) As the Turkish newspaper itself notes, the AWACS will potentially be used against Israel in the Mediterranean Sea. (2) This move fits into a larger pattern of an Israeli and more broadly a Western reluctance to recognize the AKP-dominated government of Turkey as hostile. Neither appeasement nor seduction will work. The time has come to come to see Erdoğan & Co. as the opponents they are.

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and National Review Online, The Corner, February 18, 2013.

War on Everything But Islamic Terror

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Over a decade after thousands of New Yorkers were murdered by Muslim terrorists, the city’s mayor is declaring victory in the War on Salt. Next up he plans to wage a spring offensive on Styrofoam cups. After that, who knows?

We live in surreal times. In the Middle Ages, cats and rats were put on trial. In this modern age, we began by waging wars on poverty and drugs, both of which we lost, and have now retreated to fighting wars on food ingredients, the bags we carry them in and the containers out of which we eat and drink them.

There’s no telling what surreal enemy our wise and brilliant leaders will declare war on next. Shoes? Pepper? Umbrellas? Mathematics? The color blue?

There’s just no way to know anymore.

The United States has lost the War in Afghanistan, a minor matter that no news outlet can find the time to report on because they’re too busy covering a breaking story about a Republican Senator taking a sip of a water. Maybe a War on Water can be next. Was there a Styrofoam cup involved? It’s time for one of those hard-hitting investigations that reminds us what a tragedy it will be when the last newspaper is strangled with the entrails of the last news network and the media’s commitment to serious journalism is finally replaced by pictures of cats, wardrobe malfunctions and mutual accusations of racism. (And we won’t even notice when it finally happens.)

But who can find the time to fight a war against Islamic terrorists, when there are more pressing wars to be fought? Like a war on being fat.

Michelle Obama declared that obesity was a national security threat. And the Pentagon, which now exists only to ratify the latest leftist social experiment from the White House, whether it’s Green Energy, Gay Marriage or bombing the fattest state in the country (Michigan), issued a report agreeing that snack foods posed the greatest threat to the military since Global Warming and the lack of transgender toilets on submarines.

The military has been unable to identify the Fort Hood Massacre as a terrorist attack and fires any instructor who talks about Islam as anything other than a wonderful religion of peace practiced by our closest allies in Saudi Arabia and on board a plane headed for the Pentagon, but the political generals are always ready, willing and able to jump on any truly serious national security threat. If only Iran began developing the world’s biggest chocolate bar, then the bombing raids would begin as soon as the chocolate enrichment process reached the caramel-nougat line.

Faced with a seemingly unwinnable conflict against the Soviet Union, American leaders began to retreat into smaller social wars that were actually far more unwinnable. Those wars have also gone the way of the dodo. The War on Poverty is one with the ages and the War on Drugs is usually only mentioned in a pejorative context.

But the same government that couldn’t get a small percentage of the population to stop doing cocaine and heroin imagines that it will somehow be able to compel 11-year-old boys to stop eating candy and drawing guns. A heroin addict is nothing compared to a normal growing boy seeking a sweet sugar rush before playing a game of cops and robbers. The authorities would have better luck getting Obama’s campaign staff to Say No to Drugs.

The government that couldn’t stop drug use or defeat Islamic terrorism has set its sights on something easier. Taking candy from a baby.

During his State of the Union Address, in between promising to create hubs full of 3D printers and drag every three-year-old to a preschool so he can get a head start on being indoctrinated in important knowledge skills, like recycling and understanding white privilege, Zero Hussein announced that the mission in Afghanistan had been completed because Al Qaeda was defeated. Then he explained that while the war was over, American soldiers would have to go on staying in Afghanistan to continue fighting the already defeated Al Qaeda in a war that was no longer a war, but an extended vacation with shooting.

Since Al Qaeda did not have a significant presence in Afghanistan at any time during his maladministration, defeating it was fairly easy, and true to form it only cost thousands of lives. But somehow it still isn’t defeated. Still if fighting things that don’t exist gets applause, put your hands together for the War on Global Warming, which has recently been scaled down to Climate Change, which means that any time the weather changes, it’s probably due to people using the wrong kinds of light bulbs, driving the wrong kinds of cars and not paying enough attention to Al Gore’s latest plan to fill up the pockets of his cheap over sized suit and those of his Wall Street buddies who care almost as much about the environment as they do about feminism, racism and wiping out entire economies.

Obama’s Careful Phrasing Conceals Disasters

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

While President Obama’s State of the Union message was overwhelmingly domestically oriented, the foreign policy sections were most interesting.

The president began in the same neo-patriotic mode used in the second inaugural address, with a special emphasis on thanking U.S. troops. He used the imagery of the end of World War II paralleling the return of troops from Iraq to promote his idea that the American economy must be totally restructured.

Obama defined his main successes—careful to credit the military (whose budget he seeks to cut deeply and whose health benefits he’s already reduced) rather than his usual emphasis on taking the credit for himself—were the following points:

For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.
For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.
Most of Al Qaida’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken. And some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.Now there certainly have been accomplishments on these three fronts but these claims are also profoundly misleading and very carefully worded. Let’s take them one at a time.

Iraq Withdrawal. It is true that U.S. forces are largely out of Iraq yet this was inevitable, with one key reservation. There was no likelihood they would be there in a large combat role forever. Whatever one thinks of the invasion of Iraq, the American forces were staying for an interim period until the Iraqi army was ready. Any successor to George W. Bush would have pulled out the combat forces.

The reservation, of course, is that it was the success of the surge—which Obama and his new secretary of defense (yes, he will be confirmed) Chuck Hagel opposed. So he is taking credit for a policy that was inevitable and that was made possible by a success that he was against.

Lest you think that assessment is unfair to Obama consider this: he did absolutely nothing to make this outcome happen. No policy or strategy of his administration made the withdrawal faster or more certain.

Osama Bin Laden. This is a strange phrase: “For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.” It is a new way of putting the “Obama killed Osama” meme while hinting that al-Qaida is not a threat to the United States. Well, as Benghazi shows, al-Qaida is still a threat but wording the sentence the way Obama did implies otherwise without saying so and looking foolish at making an obviously false claim.

Al Qaeda. Notice a very strange and ungrammatical formulation: “Most of Al Qaida’s top lieutenants have been defeated.” I think this can only be understood as an incomplete change in the traditional slogan that al-Qaida has been defeated. The administration can no longer make this argument so it is looking for something that gets in bin Ladin’s assassination and that of other al-Qaida leaders (al-Qaida has been decapitated) with hinting that al-Qaida has been defeated.

In other words, someone did a bad job of proofreading the speech. Of course, all of this glosses over the fact that al-Qaida hasn’t been defeated. It is on the march in Mali, the Gaza Strip, Somalia, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Yemen, and other places.

Incidentally, al-Qaida will always be defeated politically because it has no strong political program or structure. That’s why al-Qaida kills but the Muslim Brotherhood wins. And Obama is helping the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Taliban. As for the Taliban, again there is a cute formulation: its “momentum has been broken.” In other words, the Taliban has survived, it is still launching attacks, and it might even take over large parts of Afghanistan after American troops leave. Momentum has been broken is just a fancy way of saying that its gaining power has been slowed down. Of course, after American troops leave, that momentum will probably speed up again.

In his second mention of foreign affairs, Obama spoke of economic issues, he says:

My message is simple. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away.In fact, though, businesses are not fleeing the United States because the wages are lower there while the Obama Administration puts into effect increasingly tight and costly regulations and imposes higher costs (including the impact of Obamacare). Moreover, wages are lower overseas.

President Obama’s State of the Union Speech: Full Text

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow citizens:

Fifty-one years ago, John F Kennedy declared to this chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.” “It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union — to improve it is the task of us all.”

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.

So, together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger.

But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs — but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs — but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.

It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class.

It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love.

It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.

The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together, and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.

Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget — decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.

Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion — mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.

Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how?

In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.They’d devastate priorities like education, and energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea.

Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse.

Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms — otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.

But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Most Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer tonight.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-obamas-state-of-the-union-speech-full-text/2013/02/13/

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