Posts Tagged ‘June’
Former London mayor Boris Johnson has told the Sunday Telegraph that the European Union is behaving like Adolf Hitler, striving to create a super-state. “Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically,” he said.
Johnson is a leader of the campaign to pull the UK out of the EU at the June 23 referendum. At this point the polls show the supporters and opponents of leaving the EU are split almost down the middle. Johnson’s comments received strong criticism from opponents who called them “offensive,” saying he showed a “lack of judgement.”
For his part, Johnson argued that “fundamentally what is lacking is the eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe. There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void.”
A group of concerned British ex-pats and Israelis has launched a public campaign to encourage pro-Israel Britons to “vote leave” in the upcoming EU Referendum. The “Support-Israel — Leave Europe” website focuses on four major reasons why Zionists should oppose the EU and seek to weaken it by encouraging Britain to leave.
The Thursday, June 23 referendum will decide whether Britain should leave or stay in the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold the referendum if he won the 2015 general election, seeing as so many in his own Conservative party, as well as the UK Independence Party (UKIP), argued that UK voters had not been asked since 1975—when they voted to stay in the EU—whether or not they thought this was still a good deal for them. And since the EU has changed tremendously since then, controlling every European citizen’s daily lives, Cameron announced: “It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.”
The Brexit (combination Britain and Exit) camp believes the UK is being held back by the EU, which imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees with little in to show for it (Britain has held on to the Pound, unlike everyone else in the union who have switched to the euro, whose value is being controlled in Brussels).
The Brexit camp wants Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming over to work. One of the main principles of EU membership is “free movement,” which means citizens of all EU countries don’t need to get a visa to go and live in other EU countries. And, as Boris Johnson has put it so eloquently, citing historic examples, the anti-EU British object to the “ever closer union” and the move towards the creation of a “United States of Europe.”
The Bank of England on Thursday warned that a vote for the UK to leave the European Union would hurt the economy and send the pound sharply lower, MarketWatch reported. The central bank said the “most significant risk” to its economic forecasts concern the so-called Brexit referendum on June 23.
“A vote to leave the EU could materially alter the outlook for output and inflation, and therefore the appropriate setting of monetary policy. Households could defer consumption and firms delay investment, lowering labor demand and causing unemployment to rise,” the BOE said in a statement accompanying its decision to keep its key rate at a record low of 0.5%. The BOE also said the pound is likely to depreciate further, “perhaps sharply,” in case of a vote to leave the EU. The pound has dropped 9% since its November peak, half of which reflects the risks associated with the referendum, the bank said, noting that “there are increasing signs that uncertainty associated with the EU referendum has begun to weigh on activity.”
Nevertheless, Conservative Party MP Iain Duncan Smith, who served as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions until March 2016, defended Johnson’s “historical parallels,” saying, “He talked about this nonsensical idea of trying to drive these different countries [together]. It’s a historical fact of life that if you go through Napoleon, Hitler, everyone else … I think the whole process of trying to drive Europe together by force or by bureaucracy ultimately makes problems.”
The Financial Times Brexit “poll of polls” shows 46% of UK voters want to stay in the European Union, while 43% would like to leave. However, the most recent poll, conducted on May 8 on a sample of 2,005 likely voters, showed almost the reverse picture: 46% want out, 44% prefer to stay, 11% are undecided.JNi.Media
A couple of days later, in an almost supernaturally handy turn of events, we had the answer: yes. The U.S. did exactly that at the end of July, agreeing to release five Taliban terrorists we’ve been holding at Guantanamo, in order to jumpstart the initiative – mainly ours – for talks with the Taliban.
Daniel Greenfield points out at FrontPage that in June, the Taliban offered to exchange U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for the five Taliban at Gitmo. The Haqqani network of the Pakistan Taliban has been holding Bergdahl since late June or early July of 2009, shortly after he went missing close to Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.
But the Gitmo Five were released without an exchange for SGT Bergdahl taking place. This will have to be a blow to his family in Idaho (not to mention a blow to Bergdahl).
It will also be another blow to U.S. credibility, already on the ropes. It certainly dents the credibility of detention as a deterrent to terrorism. Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, had a hilariously timed oped in Friday’s Washington Post online in which he argued that the Obama administration should declare that the “war against al Qaeda” – yes, that al Qaeda; the one that has our embassies shut down across the Muslim world this weekend – is over. Instead of acting on a war footing and killing terrorists, says Mr. Roth, we should be going with President Obama’s own expressed preference to “detain, interrogate, and prosecute” them.
Now, I have been a critic myself of Obama’s overreliance on drone killings as a method. And detention and interrogation, while important for intelligence gathering, are not methods of deterrence, nor is prosecution. I don’t argue for them as a substitute for drone attacks.
I’m getting those points out of the way so we can focus on what matters here, which is that detention is as close to meaningless as makes no difference, if we’re just going to turn terrorists loose anyway, to everyone we might have a yen to have “talks” with. The Obama administration, just a few days before his oped appeared, provided Kenneth Roth with a conversation-stopping answer to his proposition that we should kill less and detain more. The answer leaves Roth in the dust: whether we stop killing terrorists or not, we should release the ones we have detained in order to get terrorists to have talks with us.
I guess, technically, there would be a purpose for detaining a few from time to time, on the assumption that we may want to have talks with their comrades in terror in the future. This kind of preemptive hostage-taking is gang-and-guerrilla behavior, of course. The degrees by which the mode of thinking shifts from “responsible statesman” to “mob boss” are not subtle here.
In any case, we can reassure Mr. Roth that the U.S. ended the war on terror in 2009. Perhaps that’s not the same thing as the “war against al Qaeda,” but in the latter regard, Roth would do well to try and keep up: al Qaeda has been “decimated” and has been “on the path to defeat” for a year or more, according to the Obama administration.
The die seems to be cast; we can at least hope that God really does watch out for fools, drunks, and the United States, because our president certainly isn’t doing it. Given the reigning jumble of confused soundbites and incoherent actions that now masquerades as U.S. policy on the global threat of terrorism, we may justly ask, with our former secretary of state: what difference, at this point, does it make?J. E. Dyer