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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

The US Press to Keep Britain in the European Union

Monday, February 4th, 2013

In a high-stakes gamble, British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week, in his long anticipated speech about the European Union, that he would like the E.U. to be an open, internal market based on nation states rather than the centralizing and protectionist supranational European superstate currently in the making. To achieve this vision, the E.U. treaty, which explicitly calls for “an ever closer union,” needs to be revised. Cameron promised the British public that he would renegotiate the treaty to allow Britain to opt out of centralizing E.U. policies. He also committed to holding a referendum on Britain’s E.U. membership after the renegotiation, or by 2017 at the latest.

Cameron says he is confident that he will be able to persuade his E.U. colleagues of his views. If he fails, however, it will leave the British Conservative Party with no other option than leading Britain out of the E.U. The odds, moreover, are against Cameron.

His speech was not well received on the continent: Cameron was accused of pandering to the British electorate. Guido Westerwelle, Germany’s Foreign Minister sniffed that Cameron wants to “cherry pick” which aspects of E.U. membership to take or leave. Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s minister for the E.U., said that the E.U. is not “an a la carte package.” Spain and Italy were equally critical, while E.U. President Herman Van Rompuy cast doubt on whether a major revision of the treaty – essential to Cameron’s strategy – would take place.

These reactions are indicative of the contempt the political elites have for the concept of democratic accountability. Cameron was right to insist that democratic accountability is currently lacking in the E.U., while this should be one of the basic principles on which it is built. As The Wall Street Journal noted: “It says something about the mentality of too many European officials today that they are shocked that a British Prime Minister would put British interests and values at the core of his concerns.”

The reason why so many European politicians seem prepared to sacrifice prosperity and democratic representation on the altar of centralization is that their political cultures lack the democratic tradition of Britain. It is no coincidence that Switzerland, the most democratic country in Europe and also the one with the longest democratic tradition, categorically refuses to join the E.U.

Apart from Switzerland, the strongest democratic traditions are found in the countries belonging to the so-called Anglosphere. Cameron began his speech by referring to the British character, “independent, forthright, passionate in defense of our sovereignty.” He added that “in Europe’s darkest hour, we helped keep the flame of liberty alight. Across the continent, in silent cemeteries, lie the hundreds of thousands of British servicemen who gave their lives for Europe’s freedom.” Indeed, and the same applies to Americans, Canadians and Australians – the other nations of the so-called Anglosphere, the set of English-speaking nations of European stock with a Western cultural heritage.

In his 2004 book, The Anglosphere Challenge, American author James C. Bennett argued that the cultural and legal traditions of English-speaking nations make them particularly sensitive to anti-democratic tendencies. Historian Andrew Roberts points out that the Anglosphere was central in defeating Nazism and Communism in Europe. He says that it will also be crucial for the defeat of Islamism. Bat Ye’or argues in her book Eurabia, that the E.U. is one of the vehicles of Islamization in Europe today. By undermining the national identities of its member-states, which are seen as incompatible with the aim of building a pan-European superstate, the E.U. is also depriving the European peoples of the identity which they badly need if they are to assimilate the masses of Muslim immigrants who have settled in Europe during the past decades.

JUDGING FROM the American reaction to David Cameron’s speech, however, it seems that Britain can expect little support from the Anglosphere in its opposition to the centralizing E.U. tendencies. Prior to his speech, Washington warned Cameron not to be too critical of the E.U. and not to allow a referendum on the E.U.

Philip Gordon, the U.S. assistant secretary for European Affairs, was sent to London to tell the British government that “referendums have often turned countries inwards.” It is unclear what that assessment is based on: countries that allow referendums are usually the most democratic in the world and democracy is characterized by openness to the outside world. A Downing Street spokesman reacted to the American intervention with the remark: “The U.S. wants an outward looking E.U. with Britain in it, and so do we.”

US, West, Ignoring Pakistan’s Nuclear Threat

Monday, February 4th, 2013

For more than two decades now, the West has been occupied with nuclear 
programs of classic anti-Western forces, such as Iran, the now-toppled
 Gaddafi regime of Libya and North Korea. Nonetheless, the West has
 been overlooking an Islamic country that already has nuclear arms 
rather than nuclear ambitions: Pakistan.

Pakistan is a nuclear power that might swiftly fall into the hands of Islamists.  If that happens, Pakistan might well be the most dangerous country in the world.  That is so because if the Islamists take control of Pakistan, they will not worry about the consequences of launching a nuclear attack even on other nuclear powers.

In fact, the prospect of retaliation action might feed into their sense of being on a martyrdom mission.   They would consider a global nuclear catastrophe as saving the world from its sins.

American diplomacy is indeed concerned with Pakistan’s nuclear power falling into the wrong hands.  A U.S. embassy cable –made public by Wikileaks–discussed the possibility of Islamists gaining power in Pakistan, leading to a tense nuclear stand-off with India. This reveals, however, that the U.S. concern for Pakistan’s nuclear power is still limited to the
 regional level.

That is naïve.

Pakistan is already developing a long-range delivery system for its nuclear weapons, particularly the Hatf-7 – a missile with an estimated range of 1,500 miles. The missiles name translates as “Doom” in both Arabic and Urdu.  The Pakistani Air Force also operates state of the art F-16 fighters; Pakistan’s F-16Cs are very advanced and are capable of carrying and delivering nuclear missiles.

So, will Pakistan’s Islamists actually come to power? Is there much the world can do to prevent to prevent it?

The biggest difference between Pakistan and most Muslim states is that Pakistan has a functional electoral system that actually works. That also means it could bring the Islamists to power. Luckily, thus far, the Islamists have not yet been able to control the Pakistani electoral scene.  A 2008 poll showed a minority of Pakistanis supported Islamist militants, were critical of the U.S. and sought a “moderate Islamic state.” That minority, however, is window for the Islamists waiting to be opened.

Another warning sign is that Pakistan’s Taliban is considered a unified entity with Afghanistan’s Taliban and is not by any stretch less active.

On the other hand, Pakistan has a strong military institution that seems to control the country’s politics.  In 2008, Al-Jazeera aired a documentary about Pakistan titled, “An Army That Owns a State,” in which it argued that the entire Pakistani state is just a façade for the
 military institution which actually has the final say on the country’s politics.  True or not, the Pakistani army has been successful at keeping the Islamists out of controlling the government as well as a serious partner of the West in its war on terrorism.

Nonetheless, some say the Pakistani military has also been supporting the Islamists at the same time.  For example, the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp, told this author that both the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani
 Intelligence– better known as the Inter-Services Intelligence — had been supporting the Islamists at the same time they were supporting NATO operations against them.

 There seems to be much to support General Kemps’ views.  Countless reports seem to confirm Pakistan’s involvement in supporting the Taliban, including a U.S. cable made public by Wikileaks, which was circulated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Last May, the killing of Osama Bin Laden, for example raised more questions regarding Pakistan’s true stance on terror. Bin Laden was located in an suburban area barely 30 miles away from Pakistan’s capital, and only a few hundred yards away from Pakistan’s top military academy, the Pakistani version of West Point.

At the time, some U.S. officials said the Pakistani government will have a lot
 of explaining to do, though no serious questioning or explaining it seems was ever done. The U.S. and NATO apparently feel that Pakistan was too important of an ally in its war on terror to offend.

It is safe to assume that the Pakistani military and intelligence officers realize their importance to the U.S. in its war on terror, and are not afraid to push the envelope in both aiding the terrorists and joining the war on terror at the same time in order to gain more significance to the U.S.

The Un-Realism of Today’s Foreign Policy

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

One of the main features of this misguided contemporary foreign policy debate is the corruption of the concept of ‘realism.’ In some ways, the school called realism was simply a way of teaching principles long regarded as obvious in Europe to Americans, whose idealism about the world had both good and bad implications. Both isolationism and the idea that America’s mission is to spread democracy are typical non-realist patterns of how American exceptionalism plays into foreign policy thinking. That’s why the concepts that made up realism were introduced to the United States by Hans Morgenthau, a refugee from Germany, and most clearly practiced in office by Henry Kissinger, ditto.

But American policymakers–with notable and often disastrous exceptions–have mostly used a realist approach in their work to the point that they take it for granted. At times, of course, ideology has overridden realism, with the two most obvious cases being Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. Republican presidents, for a reason we will see in a moment, have tended to be more universally Realist because they have accepted the idea of the predominance of national interest and power. The one who was probably least so was George W. Bush.

And, no, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and John Brennan are not ‘realists’ or realists either.

This is a complex subject and one discussed at some length in my book, Secrets of State. It is important to emphasize that Morgenthau articulated ideas already widely held and practiced but never so effectively put into words. In his writings, Morgenthau stressed that the making of foreign policy lay at the juncture between human nature, the characteristics and views of leaders, and objective factors of geopolitics.

The assumption of international affairs’ thinking was that strong countries want to stay strong and be stronger; weaker countries want to survive. They thus must analyze how to achieve these goals. A good realist disregards ideology, which gets into the way of objectively viewing this situation.

The problem that many who claim to practice this view today don’t understand is that the realist knows that ideology does get in the way of objective interest all the time. The first question a realist asks is: asks “How does this policy affect the power and interests of the nation?” But the realist knows that this is the way things should be done, not necessarily the way that things happen.

Today, realism has been corrupted into a bizarre reversal of its principles which begins by asserting that it doesn’t matter who rules a country; they must follow a policy that maximizes the country’s interest. Note the distinction:

The realist says, “If I were making policy this is what I would do….” Or: “This is what the government should do.”

The contemporary misunderstanders say that this is what a country will do.

Here’s a simple example: Egypt has national interests. These include maintaining peace with its neighbors, focusing on stability and development. It can seek Arab or Islamic leadership but what will that bring but instability, violence, and the waste of resources? That would be an ideological deviation from Egypt’s national interests. After all, Egypt tried such a policy (Arab nationalist version) for decades and it was a disaster. The realist says: Egypt shouldn’t do it. The pseudo-realists who control much of the Western debate today, on the other hand, say: It is impossible for Egypt to be radical or governed by an ideology that runs against the objective national interests. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood must become moderate. [For a picture of the Brotherhood that shows this isn’t true, see Eric Trager’s excellent lecture.]

At the same time, though, realism understands that conflict is a natural part of the international environment and can be very useful for a regime. If you stir up people, get them obsessed with foreign enemies, and engage them in international adventures—as dictators including Hitler and Saddam Hussein understood—they are more likely to support the current government, excuse its failings, and ignore domestic problems. This is the role that the Arab-Israeli conflict has played in Arabic-speaking countries.

Wiser leaders like Egypt’s like Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Jordan’s King Hussein understood that the fanatical pursuit of this conflict was not in their country’s true interests. But such is the power of ideology, the opportunism of their opponents, and the value of such a policy for radical regimes that they received scant praise for their objective and pursuit of national benefits.

Palestinians’ Nazi-Style Youth Movement Prepares for Jihad

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Thousands of Palestinian schoolchildren have been receiving military training in the Gaza Strip to prepare them for jihad against Israel.

According to Mohamed Siam, a senior official with the Hamas-run ministry, some 9,000 high school children have already joined 36 camps throughout the Gaza Strip and are being taught how to use various types of weapons and handle explosives.

Hamas says that the purpose of the camps is to prepare Palestinian children, both militarily and psychologically, for the “liberation of Palestine, from the Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea,” in other words, all of Israel.

How can anyone talk about the two-state solution when thousands of Palestinian children are being trained to use weapons and explosives to replace Israel with an Islamic state? Does Mahmoud Abbas really believe that these schoolchildren will ever accept his strategy of peace with Israel? These are questions the West needs to ask itself before once again pressing for a two-state solution.

The training is being held under the supervision of the Hamas government’s Ministry of Education, and the training camps have been named Al-Futuwwa [meaning, spiritual chivalry].

According to Wikipedia, Al-Futuwwa was the name of the Hitler-Jugend [Hitler Youth] style of pan-Arab fascistic and nationalistic youth movement that existed in Iraq in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1938, the Al-Futuwwa youth organization sent a delegate to the Nuremberg Nazi party rally, and in turn hosted the Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach. In 1941, the fascistic pan-Arab Al-Muthanna Club and its Al-Futuwwa movement participated in theFarhud attack on Baghdad’s Jewish community.

Last week, during a graduation ceremony for thousands of school children, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared that his movement was planning to establish a military academy for training and educating seventh and ninth graders. The goal, he said, is to prepare Palestinian children for jihad against the “Zionist entity.”

Addressing the cadets, Haniyeh declared: “You are the future leaders. You will march your people toward freedom and dignity. The Al-Futuwwa will end in victory and the liberation of all Palestine, “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

Not surprisingly, parents in the Gaza Strip have not protested against this form of child abuse. Many parents, in fact, seem to like the idea that their children are being trained how to handle explosives and various types of weapons.

More disturbing is that only a few of the dozens of Western-funded human rights organizations that operate in the Gaza Strip have raised their voices against Hamas’s abuse of children. Even the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which was created to work for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection, has yet to condemn Hamas for recruiting school children to its military apparatus.

Many of Hamas’s children will undoubtedly be sent to the battlefront during the next round of fighting with Israel. Some will also be dispatched on suicide missions against the “Zionist enemy,” while others will be provided with assault rifles and rockets to be used against Israeli targets.

By poisoning the hearts and minds of schoolchildren, Hamas is raising an entire generation of Palestinians on glorification of suicide bombers, jihad and terrorism.

And this is happening at a time when some governments and leaders in the West are talking about the need to revive the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel — and at a time when the Palestinian Authority is making efforts to achieve unity with Hamas.

These are questions that Abbas needs to ask himself as he continues to seek unity with Hamas; and that the West might do well to ask itself, too.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Standing in Israel’s Shoes

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

What if Americans woke up to hear on the morning news that Canada had tens of thousands of missiles, many with chemical warheads, aimed at them? And that the Canadian government — a vicious enemy of the U.S. itself — was losing control of these weapons, which were in danger of falling into the hands of terrorist groups that were sworn to destroy the U.S.?

And what if, at the same time, it was reported that Mexico — whose president had recently called Americans “bloodsuckers, warmongers … descendents of apes and pigs,” and said that Mexicans should “nurse their children on hatred” for the U.S. — was descending into chaos, unable to feed itself but still, above all, obsessed with hatred for its neighbor.

If that wasn’t enough, suppose the newscaster reported that terrorists who had taken over a coastal strip of California from the Mexican border to Monterey — who had pelted the rest of the country as far as Washington D.C. and New York City with deadly missiles a few months ago — had instituted military training in high schools to produce the “next generation of resistance fighters” who would “liberate the land” occupied by those pesky Americans.

Finally, what if, say, Venezuela was developing nuclear weapons and every other day one of their officials promised to root out the ‘cancer’ that was the U.S.?

Boker tov, people, welcome to Israel.

I didn’t mention that the U.N. is planning yet another resolution condemning Israel, or that Jew- and Israel-hatred is reaching new heights worldwide, especially in Europe and of course the U.K. Or that the president of the U.S., Israel’s main ally, has nominated three more or less anti-Israel candidates for Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and CIA director.

But despite all this, Israel just completed a free and fair election — not so usual in the Middle East — in which the major issues were social and economic. Surveys (like this one last year) show Israelis to be happy overall. Israel’s economy is doing well, although there are concerns about rising inequality and a housing shortage (but there is also a recognition that these problems can and should be solved). There is a broad consensus in Israel on questions of national security, including the need to attack Iran if it is about to obtain nuclear weapons, and on the unlikelihood of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Here in the U.S., the nation is bitterly divided on left-right lines. There is no consensus on how to deal with either security or economic issues. The Congress is suffering from permanent gridlock. The economy is slowly improving, but employment is not — and that appears to represent a structural change in the kind and number of jobs available. Many states and municipalities are close to bankrupt (California and Fresno come to mind). Infrastructure is decaying and we don’t seem to have the will to fix it. The middle class is becoming harder to get into from below, and harder to stay in. Americans don’t (yet) have to worry about missile attacks from Mexico, but its prestige and ability to protect its interests abroad have fallen sharply.

Despite the existential threats, Israel is in some important ways doing better than we are. And if it succeeds in weathering its primarily external threats, it will be around for a long time. The U.S., on the other hand, while still enormously powerful, seems to have lost its way.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Judgement Day in Africa

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Ten months ago, in March of 2012, I wrote about the awakening of radical Islam in Africa. We noted at the time that in the countries of North Africa – Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia – the organization called “al-Qaeda of the Maghreb” operates, and from time to time kidnaps and murders tourists and professionals such as  engineers who come to these countries as tourists or to perform specific functions. My conclusion at that time was:

The population of Africa is involved in a series of disputes with a tribal background, and in which the Islamist and ethnic components play an important, and sometimes critical part. The combination of Saudi Arabian money, Wahhabi propaganda, the presence of terror organizations and wide distribution of weapons (some of which disappeared from weapons storehouses of the Libyan army as a result of the fall of Qadhaffi), does not contribute to the easing of relations between various groups of the African population, and developing trends also do not indicate a tendency toward calm. Recent events in Algeria are the proof of what was already apparent: an area that is neglected by the government will become a hothouse for terror. Most of the territory of Algeria, which is more than ten times the size of Israel, is located in the vast, largely unpopulated Sahara Desert. There are  small concentrations of population situated near sources of livelihood such as  a spring or a well, and recently, mines and sources of energy – oil and gas. These clusters are isolated and exposed to armed groups that roam the area freely, propounding slogans and messages characteristic of al-Qaeda.

One of these groups, which calls itself the “Signed-in-Blood,” under the command of Mukhtar Belmukhtar, and numbering about forty fighters, carried out the attack on the gas drilling installation in ‘Ayn Aminas, abducted about 700 workers, some of whom were European, and held them as hostages. The subsequent attack of the Algerian army on the gas installation caused 55 fatalities: 32 terrorists and 23 hostages, and freed 685 Algerian workers and 107 foreign workers. The attackers, who arrived in several all-terrain vehicles, used heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades and personal weapons, and a number of Algerian soldiers were killed and wounded in the course of the battle with them.

The world, especially the European countries, severely criticized the clumsy and unprofessional way that the Algerians dealt with the matter. In response, the government of Algeria defends itself with the claim that if they had not acted quickly and decisively, the number of victims would have been far greater.

The natural question is why a gas production facility was attacked, and what motivates the terror organizations to harm especially Algeria. The answer has to do with the developments of recent years in North Africa. The dictators of these states rule their oppressed peoples by the use of force. When Libya fell, along with it fell the doctrine that guided the West, according to which these dictators will deal in the accepted way in Africa (with determination and ruthlessness) with terrorist elements such as al-Qaeda of the Maghreb, who roam the area, threatening to overthrow the fragile regimes and establish upon their ruins Islamic states that will then export terrorism to the more affluent parts of the world.

Radical Islamic agents are involved up to their necks in the wars of Mali and Somalia and in battles that are being waged in Libya, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria and in Kenya. The murder of the American ambassador in Libya last September was only one example of these groups’ activities. The governmental chaos that reigns in these countries creates a situation that allows the jihadi organizations to control vast territories, which serve them  as a base for organization, storage of armaments and training, so that they can continue their efforts to bring down African states, whose illegitimate boundaries were demarcated by colonialism, with the aim of dismantling the nation of Islam into small, weak units.

European workers who come to the African countries are perceived as an offshoot of colonialism, because their whole task – in the eyes of the jihadists – is to strengthen Western  hegemony over the peoples of Africa, on their habitat and their natural resources, to employ and exploit them and turn them again into slaves of the smug and arrogant West. That is why these organizations abduct European workers; it is to discourage other Europeans from coming. And the ransom money paid by the companies greases the wheels of these jihadi organizations. They spend the infidels’ money on acquisition of weapons, ammunition, communications equipment, navigation equipment and vehicles, and the money also allows the organizations to purchase collaborative activity from other groups among the population, and to bribe governmental officials and military and intelligence personnel.

White House Response to Morsi’s Vitriol Reveals Its Policy Rationale

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

When it came to light that Egypt’s new president had made blatantly antisemitic (in the Western context today they could also be called racist) remarks, it finally became necessary–albeit only when the New York Times covered a story (putting it in the most apologetic light, by the way) that’s been evident during many years–for the U.S. government to reluctantly and grudgingly remark on these statements, through the medium of spokesman Jay Carney. A State Department statement said that Morsi’s saying he is against intolerance was an important first step and expected him to show that he believed in religious tolerance.

My problem in dealing with such statements is that they are seen as isolated acts. As I’ve been writing now for about 30 years, the Muslim Brotherhood has always talked this way as do Hamas, Hizballah, the Ba’th Party, the Iranian regime, and many—though not all—Arab intellectuals, journalists, politicians and journalists in living memory. In fact, already a new Morsi statement has surfaced, “We must nurse children on hatred towards Jews.” Note he did not add, until I become president and then we can start teaching them to live in peace with others of different faiths.

It isn’t just pathetic but also weird that educated Euro-North Americans who are eager to destroy the career of anyone who has ever uttered a single sentence that was or can be portrayed as hate speech will accept those who issue whole reams of the stuff. What is truly ridiculous about this kind of controversy is the outrage or apologia over one statement. In fact, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership including leading figures in the ruling party have made hundreds of radical statements. They are either ignored or explained away as insignificant.

Here are just two from the very top of the organization.

First, Khairat El Shater, the Brotherhood’s Deputy General Guide said in April 2012: “Our main and overall mission as Muslim Brothers is to empower God’s Religion on Earth…and to [establish] the subjugation of people to God on Earth.”

Second, Muhammad Badi, the Brotherhood’s head, explained in his September 2010 speech which virtually announced the launching of the revolution to overthrow the Mubarak regime: “…the factors that will lead to the collapse of the United States are much more powerful than those that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire….The United States is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise….”

Yet people who point to the Brotherhood’s radical history, extremist statements, and intolerant behavior now in a systematic way are ridiculed. We aren’t even hearing the pragmatic-sounding argument: “Of course, these people are extremist, totalitarian, and anti-American but we have to deal with them. ” No, what we are getting instead is: “They aren’t really extremist, totalitarian, or anti-American and we prefer to deal with them because they are moderate and a bulwark against the Salafists.”

All three of the top foreign policy appointments just made by President Barack Obama–John Kerry as secretary of state; Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, and John Brennan as CIA director–strongly endorse that latter stance. Indeed, Brennan practically created it.

The White House’s response to Morsi’s remarks was in the framework of that approach, condemning the language of one particular statement while praising Morsi for some things he’s done. He is praised for not abrogating the Egypt-Israel peace treaty–yet–and for helping get a ceasefire in the latest Israel-Hamas war. It is good that Morsi helped U.S. goals in that case but since he was, in effect, doing even more to help his ally Hamas, one should be entitled to a certain element of cynicism. The Egyptian regime is apparently blocking some–not all–of the weapons going into Gaza because a direct confrontation with Israel is not in its interests. Of course, direct confrontation with Israel (after 1973) wasn’t in Egyptian, Syrian, or Iraqi interests either. That’s why they used terrorist group clients to do the job.

But the main problem with the White House response is not that it was too weak but that it deals with calling Jews the offspring of pigs and monkeys against whom eternal war must be waged as entirely isolated from any analysis or policy consideration. None of these factors are considered as part of the Egyptian president’s and Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and worldview.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/white-house-response-to-morsis-vitriol-reveals-its-policy-rational/2013/01/22/

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