Medan det dekadenta väst ser åt fel håll så gör Putin vad han vill

A Show of Contempt, at Home and Abroad, Steyn Online, Mark Steyn, April 18, 2014

 

Bundy ranch and dronesA scene from Cowboys And Aliens? Or the Bureau of Land Management droning the Bundy ranch?

If Putin closes down a transgender nightclub a week before the Special Olympics, he can get America’s attention. When he annexes neighboring states, not so much. Under Nato, the US has collective-security treaty obligations to the Baltic States, but if I were Estonian I wouldn’t bet on them. Not unless the Russians make the mistake of bombing a gay wedding in Tallinn.

David Goldman, meanwhile, is weary of the admiring line that that Putin guy is some kind of genius. He doesn’t have to be when we’re idiots.

. . . .

In the Second World War, when the Japanese took Singapore and inflicted what Churchill called the most ignominious defeat in British military history, it was famously said of the colony’s ill-prepared defenses that the guns were pointing the wrong way. In America today, the guns seem to be pointing the wrong way.

Happy Easter, Happy Passover. On this Good Friday, we mark the tenth anniversary of Mel’s movie, and over the weekend we’ll have something with a lighter touch.

Caroline Glick, my old colleague from The Jerusalem Post, has a column using a very Steynian word, “The Disappearance of America’s Will“:

The most terrifying aspect of the collapse of US power worldwide is the US’s indifferent response to it.

In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, America’s most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.

That first sentence is very true. Thirteen years ago, the left hopped aboard the war-on-terror bandwagon for reasons of electoral self-preservation, and hopped off as soon as they could. But, after a decade of ineffectual thankless three-cups-of-tea transnational ersatz “nation-building” in Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush, the right has largely checked out of global geopolitics, too. Whether the GOP nominates a compassionate amnesty guy like Jeb Bush or goes full Rand Paul, the world and its woes will not be much of a factor. Miss Glick again:

The generation coming of age today is similarly uninterested in US global leadership.

During the Cold War and in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the predominant view among American university students studying international affairs was that US world leadership is essential to ensure global stability and US national interests and values.

Today this is no longer the case. It is because of this that the world is more likely than it has been since 1939 to experience a world war of catastrophic proportions.

There is a direct correlation between the US elite’s preoccupation with social issues running the narrow and solipsistic gamut from gay marriage to transgender bathrooms to a phony war against women, and America’s inability to recognize the growing threats to the global order or understand why Americans should care about the world at all.

If Putin closes down a transgender nightclub a week before the Special Olympics, he can get America’s attention. When he annexes neighboring states, not so much. Under Nato, the US has collective-security treaty obligations to the Baltic States, but if I were Estonian I wouldn’t bet on them. Not unless the Russians make the mistake of bombing a gay wedding in Tallinn.

David Goldman, meanwhile, is weary of the admiring line that that Putin guy is some kind of genius. He doesn’t have to bewhen we’re idiots. Miss Glick notes that, as a show of “strength”, the US sent an unarmed warship to the Black Sea:

Clearly not impressed by the US moves, the Russians overflew and shadowed the US naval ship. As Charles Krauthammer noted on Fox News on Monday, the Russian action was not a provocation. It was “a show of contempt.”

As Krauthammer explained, it could have only been viewed as a provocation if Russia had believed the US was likely to respond to its shadowing of the warship. Since Moscow correctly assessed that the US would not respond to its aggression, by buzzing and following the warship, the Russians demonstrated to Ukraine and other US allies that they cannot trust the US to protect them from Russia.

In other words, Putin correctly identified the show of strength as a show of weakness, and revealed it to the world as such. In the land of the unfocused, the clear-sighted man is king.

~Perhaps Americans will get the quiet life they long for if they let the world go its own way. But oddly the less power the United States projects around the planet the more it turns on its hapless citizens right here at home. I write often about the utterly repulsive paramilitarization of the American bureaucracy, most recently with regard to the snipers deployed by the Bureau of Land Management in a cattle-grazing dispute. Guest-hosting for Rush yesterday, I remarked that the showdown between guys in cowboy hats and invaders wearing the full Robocop was like something out of that terrible film from a year or two back, Cowboys And Aliens. John Fund has a column today on the United States of SWAT:

Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.

“Law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier,” journalist Radley Balko writes in his 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop. “The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop — armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”

The proliferation of paramilitary federal SWAT teams inevitably brings abuses that have nothing to do with either drugs or terrorism. Many of the raids they conduct are against harmless, often innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations.

Take the case of Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif., who was “visited” by a SWAT team from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2011. Agents battered down the door of his home at 6 a.m., dragged him outside in his boxer shorts, and handcuffed him as they put his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a police car for two hours while they searched his home. The raid was allegedly intended to uncover information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who hadn’t been living with him and was suspected of college financial-aid fraud.

As I always say, the US Secretary of Education doesn’t employ a single teacher but he is the only education minister in the western world with his own personal SWAT team. Americans will end their days in a very dark place unless this vile trend is reversed.

Around the planet, Russia’s neo-tsar, the Chinese Politburo, apocalyptic ayatollahs, Afghan goatherds and Benghazi jihad punks laugh at the very idea of American power, but on the home front, if your estranged wife failed to repay her college loan or you drink loose-leaf tea, you’ll get your door kicked down and be cowering in terror.

In the Second World War, when the Japanese took Singapore and inflicted what Churchill called the most ignominious defeat in British military history, it was famously said of the colony’s ill-prepared defenses that the guns were pointing the wrong way. In America today, the guns seem to be pointing the wrong way.

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Is Israel An Apartheid State?

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Palestinian terrorist calmly describes how he murdered two young Israeli hikers

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Håller Obama på att vakna till insikt om Irans fräckhet?

Obama signs law designed to bar Iran’s UN envoy | The Times of Israel.

Amid hostage crisis controversy, US leader endorses ban of any representative ‘engaged in terrorist activity’

April 19, 2014, 2:01 am
Iran's newly appointed UN ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi (screen capture: YouTube)

Iran’s newly appointed UN ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi (screen capture: YouTube)

US President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a bill designed to bar Iran’s pick for UN ambassador from US soil over his links to the 1979 American embassy hostage siege.

But Obama also issued a statement saying that he would only regard the legislation as guidance, warning it could infringe upon his executive powers as president.

The spat over Hamid Aboutalebi’s nomination has blown up amid a cautious thaw in relations between the US and Iran as Tehran’s new leadership seeks to negotiate a nuclear treaty with global powers.

The United States said earlier this week that it would not issue a visa to Aboutalebi because he was involved in the hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran.

The move followed outrage in Congress over his selection by Iran and reflected the extent to which the episode in 1979, which was seen as a humiliation for the United States, still challenges Obama’s efforts to improve relations with Tehran.

The law bars from US soil “any representative to the United Nations who the president determines has been engaged in terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a the US at to US national security interests.”

Despite signing the bill Obama made plain his reservations about its implications in other potential cases.

Citing precedent established by former president George H.W. Bush, Obama wrote that the law could restrict his powers to accept or reject the credentials of foreign ambassadors.

“Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity,” Obama said in signing the measure.

“I share the Congress’s concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our nation.”

But he added that he would treat the new law as an “advisory” only.

Presidents sometimes release signing statements when they believe that a new law infringes on their executive powers as defined by the US Constitution.

In 1979, dozens of American diplomats and staff were held for 444 days by radical Iranian students at the US embassy in Tehran.

The protracted standoff profoundly shocked the United States and led to the severing of all diplomatic ties between the US and Iran for the past three decades.

As the host government, the United States is generally obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at the United Nations.

Aboutalebi, a veteran diplomat who currently heads Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s political affairs bureau, has insisted he was not part of the hostage-taking in November 1979, when a Muslim student group seized the US embassy after the overthrow of the pro-Western shah.

He has acknowledged he served a limited role as a translator for the students who took the Americans.

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Bennett: Judea, Samaria Key to Israel’s Security

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Den Palestinska Myndigheten kan falla i slutet av året.

PA To Fall By End Of Year, Says Palestinian Minister

Talk is of ‘handing Israel back the keys,’ says Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud al-Habash.

By Jack Khoury and Barak Ravid

April 17, 2014 ”ICH” – ”Haaretz” – Palestinian Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud al-Habash told Haaretz that the idea of dismantling the Palestinian Authority has come up yet again during internal discussions, and he estimates that the PA will be dismantled by the end of this year.

Habash, who met Wednesday with Israeli MKs at his office in Ramallah, stated, “We’re a government that cannot govern,” adding that “the PA has no problem giving the keys to Israel, to let Israel oversee administration of Palestinians’ civil affairs, so that Israel can bear the responsibility for the failure of the peace process.”

Habash also expressed sorrow over the shooting attack that took place on Monday north of Hebron, in which Israel Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi was killed and his wife and child injured. “I feel sorry for any spilled blood,” said Habash. “We are against killing and violence, but at the same time, we expect that Israel would admonish and express sorrow over the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians.”

“Over the last year,” he said, “roughly 60 Palestinians have been killed, including 14 children under age 15, and Israel did not issue a single condemnation.”

A senior Israeli official commented on Habash’s remarks, calling him “one of the biggest inciters against Israel,” adding that “the Palestinian Authority is constantly inciting against Israel.”

Talks between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams were supposed to continue Wednesday night, but a senior Israeli official said the meeting had been postponed until Thursday to allow American envoy Martin Indyk to participate, and to allow Israeli officials to attend Mizrahi’s funeral.

Although the talks between Israel and the PA are set to go on until April 29, all issues remain unresolved, PA officials told Haaretz, adding that Israeli reports of progress in the talks are exaggerated.

“We feel that the Israelis are talking about some progress – and even starting to believe themselves – even though it’s a lie and there’s actually no breakthrough. Everything seems stuck,” a high ranking Palestinian official said.

Expulsion proposals will not be accepted, PA says

Sources in the PA made clear that they would not agree to discuss any proposal that includes an expulsion of released prisoners to the Gaza Strip – or to any other location. Such a position, they say, was already discussed, and was accepted upon the negotiations’ start.

Earlier this week, Haaretz reported that the Palestinian position on the matter was raised early in the negotiations, and was flatly rejected by the Israeli team. But a Palestinian source who spoke with Abbas on Thursday said that the PA president’s position on the matter was firm.

Sources in the PA – and from within prisoners’ families – have suggested that Israel’s fierce opposition to the release of Israeli Arab prisoners is not security-related, seeing as the prisoners in question are mostly older men who have been jailed for decades. Rather, they say, it arises due to a fear of the celebrations that would arise in their town upon their release, what could been seen as an injury to Israeli deterrence.

© Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Lite smutskastning:

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Vart tog USA:s egen vilja vägen?

Column one: The disappearance of US will, Jerusalem Post,  Caroline B. Glick, April 17, 2014

 

In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, the America’s most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.

Obama on PassoverObama on Passover Photo: REUTERS

The most terrifying aspect of the collapse of US power worldwide is the US’s indifferent response to it.

In Europe, in Asia, in the Middle East and beyond, the America’s most dangerous foes are engaging in aggression and brinkmanship unseen in decades.

As Gordon Chang noted at a symposium in Los Angeles last month hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, since President Barack Obama entered office in 2009, the Chinese have responded to his overtures of goodwill and appeasement with intensified aggression against the US’s Asian allies and against US warships.

In 2012, China seized the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. Washington shrugged its shoulders despite its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines. And so Beijing is striking again, threatening the Second Thomas Shoal, another Philippine possession.

In a similar fashion, Beijing is challenging Japan’s control over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and even making territorial claims on Okinawa.

As Chang explained, China’s recent application of its Air-Defense Identification Zone to include Japanese and South Korean airspace is a hostile act not only against those countries but also against the principle of freedom of maritime navigation, which, Chang noted, “Americans have been defending for more than two centuries.”

The US has responded to Chinese aggression with ever-escalating attempts to placate Beijing.

And China has responded to these US overtures by demonstrating contempt for US power.

Last week, the Chinese humiliated Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his visit to China’s National Defense University. He was harangued by a student questioner for the US’s support for the Philippines and Japan, and for opposition to Chinese unilateral seizure of island chains and assertions of rights over other states’ airspace and international waterways.

As he stood next to Hagel in a joint press conference, China’s Defense Chief Chang Wanquan demanded that the US restrain Japan and the Philippines.

In addition to its flaccid responses to Chinese aggression against its allies and its own naval craft, in 2012 the US averred from publicly criticizing China for its sale to North Korea of mobile missile launchers capable of serving Pyongyang’s KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missiles. With these easily concealed launchers, North Korea significantly upgraded its ability to attack the US with nuclear weapons.

As for Europe, the Obama administration’s responses to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and to its acts of aggression against Ukraine bespeak a lack of seriousness and dangerous indifference to the fate of the US alliance structure in Eastern Europe.

Rather than send NATO forces to the NATO member Baltic states, and arm Ukrainian forces with defensive weapons, as Russian forces began penetrating Ukraine, the US sent food to Ukraine and an unarmed warship to the Black Sea.

Clearly not impressed by the US moves, the Russians overflew and shadowed the US naval ship. As Charles Krauthammer noted on Fox News on Monday, the Russian action was not a provocation. It was “a show of contempt.”

As Krauthammer explained, it could have only been viewed as a provocation if Russia had believed the US was likely to respond to its shadowing of the warship. Since Moscow correctly assessed that the US would not respond to its aggression, by buzzing and following the warship, the Russians demonstrated to Ukraine and other US allies that they cannot trust the US to protect them from Russia.

In the Middle East, it is not only the US’s obsessive approach to the Palestinian conflict with Israel that lies in shambles. The entire US alliance system and the Obama administration’s other signature initiatives have also collapsed.

After entering office, Obama implemented an aggressive policy in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere of killing al-Qaida operatives with unmanned drones. The strategy was based on the notion that such a campaign, that involves no US boots on the ground, can bring about a rout of the terrorist force at minimal cost human cost to the US and at minimal political cost to President Barack Obama.

The strategy has brought about the demise of a significant number of al-Qaida terrorists over the years. And due to the support Obama enjoys from the US media, the Obama administration paid very little in terms of political capital for implementing it.

But despite the program’s relative success, according to The Washington Post, the administration suspended drone attacks in December 2013 after it endured modest criticism when one in Yemen inadvertently hit a wedding party.

No doubt al-Qaida noticed the program’s suspension. And now the terror group is flaunting its immunity from US attack.

This week, jihadist websites featured an al-Qaida video showing hundreds of al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen meeting openly with the group’s second in command, Nasir al-Wuhayshi.

In the video, Wuhayshi threatened the US directly saying, “We must eliminate the cross,” and explaining that “the bearer of the cross is America.”

Then there is Iran.

The administration has staked its reputation on its radical policy of engaging Iran on its nuclear weapons program. The administration claims that by permitting Iran to undertake some nuclear activities it can convince the mullahs to shelve their plan to develop nuclear weapons.

This week brought further evidence of the policy’s complete failure. It also brought further proof that the administration is unperturbed by evidence of failure.

In a televised interview Sunday, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akhbar Salehi insisted that Iran has the right to enrich uranium to 90 percent. In other words, he said that Iran is building nuclear bombs.

And thanks to the US and its interim nuclear deal with Iran, the Iranian economy is on the mend.

The interim nuclear deal the Obama administration signed with Iran last November was supposed to limit its oil exports to a million barrels a day. But according to the International Energy Agency, in February, Iran’s daily oil exports rose to 1.65 million barrels a day, the highest level since June 2012.

Rather than accept that its efforts have failed, the Obama administration is redefining what success means.

As Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz noted, in recent months US officials claimed the goal of the nuclear talks was to ensure that Iran would remain years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. In recent remarks, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US would suffice with a situation in which Iran is but six months away from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In other words, the US has now defined failure as success.

Then there is Syria.

Last September, the US claimed it made history when, together with Russia it convinced dictator Bashar Assad to surrender his chemical weapons arsenal. Six months later, not only is Syria well behind schedule for abiding by the agreement, it is reportedly continuing to use chemical weapons against opposition forces and civilians. The most recent attack reportedly occurred on April 12 when residents of Kafr Zita were attacked with chlorine gas.

The growing worldwide contempt for US power and authority would be bad enough in and of itself. The newfound confidence of aggressors imperils international security and threatens the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

What makes the situation worse is the US response to what is happening. The Obama administration is responding to the ever-multiplying crises by pretending that there is nothing to worry about and insisting that failures are successes.

And the problem is not limited to Obama and his advisers or even to the political Left. Their delusional view that the US will suffer no consequences for its consistent record of failure and defeat is shared by a growing chorus of conservatives.

Some, like the anti-Semitic conservative pundit Patrick Buchanan, laud Putin as a cultural hero. Others, like Sen. Rand Paul, who is increasingly presenting himself as the man to beat in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, indicate that the US has no business interfering with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Iran as well is a country the US should be less concerned about, in Paul’s opinion.

Leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz who call for a US policy based on standing by allies and opposing foes in order to ensure US leadership and US national security are being drowned out in a chorus of “Who cares?” Six years into Obama’s presidency, the US public as a whole is largely opposed to taking any action on behalf of Ukraine or the Baltic states, regardless of what inaction, or worse, feckless action means for the US’s ability to protect its interests and national security.

And the generation coming of age today is similarly uninterested in US global leadership.

During the Cold War and in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the predominant view among American university students studying international affairs was that US world leadership is essential to ensure global stability and US national interests and values.

Today this is no longer the case.

Much of the Obama administration’s shuttle diplomacy in recent years has involved sending senior officials, including Obama, on overseas trips with the goal of reassuring jittery allies that they can continue to trust US security guarantees.

These protestations convince fewer and fewer people today.

It is because of this that US allies like Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, that lack nuclear weapons, are considering their options on the nuclear front.

It is because of this that Israeli officials are openly stating for the first time that the US cannot be depended on to either secure Israel’s eastern frontier in the event that an accord is reached with the Palestinians, or to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

It is because of this that the world is more likely than it has been since 1939 to experience a world war of catastrophic proportions.

There is a direct correlation between the US elite’s preoccupation with social issues running the narrow and solipsistic gamut from gay marriage to transgender bathrooms to a phony war against women, and America’s inability to recognize the growing threats to the global order or understand why Americans should care about the world at all.

And there is a similarly direct correlation between the growing aggression of US foes and Obama’s decision to slash defense spending while allowing the US nuclear arsenal to become all but obsolete.

America’s spurned allies will take the actions they need to take to protect themselves. Some will persevere, others will likely be overrun.

But with Americans across the ideological spectrum pretending that failure is success and defeat is victory, while turning their backs on the growing storm, how will America protect itself?

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