All posts in Foreign Policy

Oh yeah and on the China-Japan issue…

China doesn’t think we’ll do anything.  That is the primary reason for their aggressive behavior.  Just one more place where things are spiraling out of control as a result of this administration’s abdication of responsibilities.

Okay, wait a second, does he actually believe this?

The more realistic and cynical mercenaries in Obama’s camp no doubt understand that Ambassador Susan Rice’s continued insistence that the rampaging violence and murder by the Libyan Muslim group was purely a spontaneous act brought about by hurt feelings at the YouTube trailer on Mohammed is, as the Libyan President calls it, preposterous.

Then something perhaps even scarier dawned on me.  Maybe Obama actually believes his own propaganda.  I wonder if he is constitutionally incapable of recognizing that his sophomoric thesis that his election would bring about a new age of warmth and conciliation between the United States and the Muslim world was, well, preposterous.

Nah…

This is INSANITY folks–

My grandfathers who fought in WWII would be rolling in their graves if they could see the pathetic vile embarrassingly obsequious nation of wimps we have become.  We have an ambassador murdered and the obsessing over…ROMNEY?  Even libs know it’s insanity:

This goes way beyond Obama and the November election.  Now our universities and schools are closing because Muslims are threatening violence?

Hello?  Hello?

A victory of substance over form: Why I’m on board with Condi

The most disgusting part of politics has to be the deceit and disingenuousness that permeate seemingly every part of it.  The stench is especially unbearable when the media fans it while professing impartiality and exuding condescending self regard for its assumed role in our national affairs.

Every once in a while, though, the vapid bleating of the media elite runs into a person who is not only armed with blunt facts but who is also willing to contradict one of the herd’s carefully manicured cliches.  Katie Couric, meet Condi Rice.  In the following interview, Couric does her best to intimidate Ms. Rice with an “everybody knows” assumption which she covers in the silky and smooth-from-training comforter of condescension, fully expecting Ms. Rice to keep nodding and just go along, but FULL STOP.  Come again?

Of course, it’s not long before Rice has know-nothing Couric on her heels, and yet she manages to accomplish this feat in a disarming and inoffensive way.

I don’t know if Romney can bring her in but I’m all for a Romney-Rice ticket if he can.  Watch:

 

A Krugman takedown

Must read/watch this Krugman beatdown.

Classic that it comes at the hands of a lowly Spaniard, who reminds us of the utter nonsense that is Krugman economics. So let me get this straight, we’re going to get out of this mess (defined as too much government spending and suffocating debt) by taking on more debt and spending more… I see.

But rest assured the former Enron advisor still has the ear of the president.

Whaaaat? You mean Obama’s a hypocrite?!

It only makes it worse when you consider the most visceral hatred for Bush came from the compassionate liberals so horrified at the mistreatment of criminals in the War on Terror.  Of course, it was never really about that.

In a city full of them, Harold Koh is Washington’s biggest hypocrite.

As the dean of Yale Law School, Koh was the most prominent critic of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies, deriding them as “executive muscle-flexing.” The former President, Koh said, was the “torturer-in-chief.” In a 2002 interview with The New York Times, he referred to the war on terror as “legally undeclared” and questioned the administration’s right to kill terrorists on the battlefield. “What factual showing will demonstrate that they had warlike intentions against us and who sees that evidence before any action is taken?” he asked.

In 2009, after the election of Barack Obama, Koh was awarded the job of State Department legal adviser. Since that time, he has defended a war waged in Libya without explicit congressional authorization, drone strikes targeting suspected terrorists and the extrajudicial assassination of an American citizen who had become a leading Al Qaeda ideologist.

None of these, however, can be considered the greatest of Koh’s manifold hypocrisies. That honor stems from a 2010 speech in which he triumphantly declared that the Obama administration “unequivocally guarantee(s) humane treatment for all individuals in U.S. custody as a result of armed conflict” (emphasis original).

One wonders, then, what Koh would make of Eli Lake’s blockbuster Daily Beast story last week. Reporting from Somalia, Lake found a secret prison holding alleged terrorists captured by, or with the assistance of, the United States.

“Overcrowded, underfunded, and reeking of urine, the Bosaso Central Prison could make even the most dedicated insurgent regret ever getting into the terrorism business,” Lake wrote. The prison’s warden told Lake that nearly 400 men are being held in a facility designed for 300. There today exist an untold number of such prisons where terrorism suspects, dispensed with by the United States, live in substandard, dehumanizing conditions.

The proliferation of such hellish prisons — which make Guantanamo Bay look like Trump Tower — is a function of two, seemingly contradictory impulses of the Obama administration: a near-religious conviction in its own moral immaculateness and the imperative to wage an aggressive fight against Al Qaeda.

The Russian Foreign Minister chides the US on Syria…from Tehran

This whole mess in Syria is just one more catastrophe in the short (we hope) life of the Obama presidency. First there’s the fact that according to Obama, Pelosi, Kerry and other leaders of the Democratic Party Assad is a model leader and the great hope for peace and democracy in the Middle East. Then Assad butchers his political opponents by the thousands.

Obama’s big stick (Joe Biden insists that he has one), which he waves around when he can hide behind drones and pick off low risk targets like Gaddafi, all of a sudden goes flaccid when the villain is a hero of the left and the villain’s wife is Vogue Magazine’s Rose of the Desert. (See Anna Wintour).

Now it turns out that not only was Syria arming American-killing terrorists in Iraq and backing Israeli-killing terrorists in Lebanon but our good friend Russia (clearly a staunch ally ever since Barack pressed the reset, or overcharged, or whatever button that was) has been supplying Assad with military equipment that may or may not have been used to obliterate Syrian citizens.

So while we’re trying to get Russia on board with some plan to slow down Assad’s massacres the Russians are providing the weapons that are being used for the killings we’re acting like we’re trying to stop.

Suffice to say that it doesn’t appear that (a) Obama has made any progress with Syria or the Middle East in general (which wouldn’t be an issue were it not for his juvenile overconfidence coming in) or (b) the reset thing has worked out so well.

To top it off, Russia now boasts that of course it is supplying Syria with military equipment while scoffing at the notion that any of its equipment is being used to harm law abiding Syrians and also managing to get in a jab at the US for good measure. And you want to know the kicker? The Russian Foreign Minister made his pronouncement from Tehran.

It’s worse than Bush’s shoe.

It’s time for him to go. Let’s give Romney a shot.

Must read on the lunacy of Democrats on Syria

The ongoing drama in the Middle East starring Hillary as our genius ballerina doing pirouettes around Assad while batting eyes at Putin makes me crazy.

Apparently the Syrian pas de [trois?] has a similar effect on Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine:

The efforts of Pelosi, Kerry, and Obama were based on the myth that, unlike his father, Assad was “a reformer.” Indeed, Secretary of State Clinton was still clinging to that myth last year, after the revolt against Assad was already underway. Ms. Clinton cited reports from U.S. lawmakers who have visited Damascus. Presumably, she had in mind the likes of Speaker Pelosi and Senator Kerry.

Why has the Democratic leadership’s line on Assad been so staggeringly wrong? I’m tempted to believe that the explanation lies in Bush-derangement syndrome – that Pelosi, Kerry, and Obama acted the way they did because Bush had acted the opposite way. Certainly, there was a twinkle in Bush’s eye when he said, during the unveiling of his portrait as the White House, that Obama could look at the picture while making difficult decisions and ask himself: “What would George do?”

Read Paul’s post on the Democrats’ “criminal stupidity” in its entirety here.

Measuring lessons from Estonia

This article about Estonia is circulating on the web.  The conclusion we’re supposed to draw is that austerity works.  However, given that the corollary from the CNBC article is that these measures work even in the Eurozone, I’m not buying it.

But first the good stuff:

Sixteen months after it joined the struggling currency bloc, Estonia is booming. The economy grew 7.6 percent last year, five times the euro-zone average.

Estonia is the only euro-zone country with a budget surplus. National debt is just 6 percent of GDP, compared to 81 percent in virtuous Germany, or 165 percent in Greece.

Estonia’s achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider that it was one of the countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis. In 2008-2009, its economy shrank by 18 percent. That’s a bigger contraction than Greece has suffered over the past five years.

How did they bounce back? “I can answer in one word: austerity. Austerity, austerity, austerity,” says Peeter Koppel, investment strategist at the SEB Bank.

After three years of painful government belt-tightening, that’s not exactly the message that Europeans further south want to hear.

At a recent conference of European and North American lawmakers in Tallinn, Koppel was lambasted by French and Italian parliamentarians when he suggested Europeans had to prepare for an “inevitable” decline in living standards, wages and job security, in order for their countries to escape from the debt crisis.

While spending cuts have triggered strikes, social unrest and the toppling of governments in countries from Ireland to Greece, Estonians have endured some of the harshest austerity measures with barely a murmur. They even re-elected the politicians that imposed them.

“It was very difficult, but we managed it,” explains Economy Minister Juhan Parts.

“Everybody had to give a little bit. Salaries paid out of the budget were all cut, but we cut ministers’ salaries by 20 percent and the average civil servants’ by 10 percent,” Parts told GlobalPost.

“In normal times cutting the salaries of civil servants, of policemen etc. is extremely unpopular, but I think the people showed a good understanding that if you do not have revenues, you have to cut costs,” adds Parts, who served as prime minister from 2003-2004.

As well as slashing public sector wages, the government responded to the 2008 crisis by raising the pension age, making it harder to claim health benefits and reducing job protection — all measures that have been met with anger when proposed in Western Europe.

The article goes on to explain that coming from the former Soviet bloc better prepared Estonians for the sacrifices they would need to make in order to right the ship.  This is all no doubt true.

But ultimately the truth is simpler than all this.  There are 1.3 million people in this country.  They are smart, educated, motivated and hard working.  Unfortunately when people say “austerity” today they are fitting themselves and the term into the neat little template that has been created for us by the media, European ministers and their protesters.  Austerity in practice means cutting expenses, or more accurately slowing the growth in government expenditures, while checking the continued expansion of promised benefits.  Austerity as the term is used today has been shackled by its political intonations, put up as nothing but a straw man that ministers can throw to the dogs to be devoured.

Estonia did not impose austerity.  If the article is correct, Estonia attempted to impose some order on its governmental P&L.  It actually cut its costs.  It did what any rational state who actually wants to foster business would do:

Estonia has also paid close attention to the fundamentals of establishing a favorable business environment: reducing and simplifying taxes, and making it easy and cheap to build companies. Its location — with quick access to Nordic, German and Russian markets — has also helped, along with the very low debt level Estonia inherited when it broke from the Soviet Union. Joining the euro zone on Jan. 1, 2011, Estonia’s stable economy shone, despite the crisis in the currency bloc.

This is not austerity.  It is common sense.

Estonia is an outlier of the Eurozone.  It speaks a different economic language.  The fact is that Estonia is thriving despite the Eurozone.  And that may be just enough to save it when the Austerity-talking countries bring Europe to its knees.

In the meantime, enjoy the scenery:

[Zero Hedge has a funny little piece this morning on the joke that is Austerity in Europe.  Here’s the graph from the post:

How is that “serious and frank discussion” working out, Kofi?

In a classic case of it’s easy to pick on the vulnerable bad guys, the Obama-Annan school of foreign policy has run into the reality that their words mean little and their threats mean even less.  Syria is a train wreck but Assad’s got friends who’ll back him up and his enemies are blowhards.  Is Syria really different from Libya?  Probably so.  But the real difference is that Gaddafi didn’t have any friends left.

I’m not saying we should intervene in Syria.  But a “big stick”?  I don’t think so.

Obama “shrugs off” the Poles and the Jews

Maybe to you the difference between calling the World War II concentration camps which the Germans set up in Poland for the slave labor and extermination of peoples they deemed undesirable (including millions of Jews) “Nazi death camps” and “Polish death camps” is insignificant.

It isn’t to me.  And apparently it isn’t to our allies the Poles.  If Hitler and his Third Reich had overwhelmed England in 1940 and with Japan somehow defeated the U.S. and then set up a concentration camp in, let’s say, Hawaii where a million Americans were gassed or worked to death, would you be okay with the leader of the free world (not sure who that would be but I digress) calling the murder camp in Hawaii that “American death camp.”  I wouldn’t.

A simple apology for the “misstatement” as the White House calls it would be in order.  Why when he’s ready to apologize for so many other things about our country is he unwilling to personally apologize for something like this?  It’s confounding.

Making matters worse is Obama and his devotees are so impressed with his smooth talking style.  They consider him–as he and his mother consider[ed] him–to be extraordinarily brilliant and a master craftsman of words.  But the facts don’t lie.

Like so many others before him, he isn’t nearly so smart as he is obnoxiously arrogant.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Obama’s words had hurt all Poles and he expected more from Washington than just regret.

“I am convinced that our American friends can today allow themselves a stronger reaction than a simple expression of regret from the White House spokesman — a reaction more inclined to eliminate once and for all these kinds of errors,” Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.

“Today, this is a problem for the reputation of the United States,” the prime minister said.

Members of Poland’s Jewish community — including the country’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich — said in a statement that: “We expect President Barack Obama to personally correct his words.”

Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski said meanwhile he had sent a letter to Obama “counting on (…) cooperation in correcting this unfortunate error” which “I am certain in no way reflects the thoughts or views of our American friend.”

I’m not so sure.

The Poles aren’t backing down

The Poles are still upset with our president’s egregious comments about “Polish death camps”:

“We can’t accept such words in Poland, even if they are spoken by a leader of an allied country,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk told journalists in Warsaw today. “Saying Polish concentration camps is as if there was no German responsibility, no Hitler.”

We referred to this story yesterday. Maybe Obama can figure out a way to blame Bush for his ignorance too.