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Belmont Club

Sleepwalking Through History

February 27th, 2013 - 2:41 pm

In the Obama administration things just happen. For example, “the Associated Press has learned that the Homeland Security Department official in charge of the agency’s immigration enforcement and removal operations [Gary Mead] has resigned after hundreds of illegal immigrants were released from jails because of government spending cuts.”

But the resignation is just routine according to administration officials. Quoting an ICE spokesperson, the Huffington Post said “there was no connection between the retirement of Enforcement and Removal Operations Director Gary Mead and the release earlier this week of hundreds of undocumented immigrants from detention”.

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said Mead had announced his plans to retire “several weeks ago” to senior leadership at the agency. Mead will retire at the end of April, she said in a statement.

“The Associated Press’ report is inaccurate and misleading,” she said.

No connection.

What is true in domestic matters is even more true in foreign affairs.  Bill Gertz reports that “United States intelligence agencies recently detected China’s military shifting road-mobile ballistic missiles closer to its southern coast near the disputed Senkaku Islands amid growing tensions between Beijing and Japan over the islands dispute.”

Some days ago the New York Times reported that “Japan has asked the Chinese government to explain why Chinese ships have strategically placed several buoys in the East China Sea near a group of disputed islands, a Japanese government spokesman said…”

The spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, told reporters that ships from China’s State Oceanic Administration, which is similar to the coast guard, had placed the buoys last week in Chinese-controlled waters near the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The uninhabited islands have been controlled by Japan for decades, but are claimed by China and also Taiwan.

Japanese media reported that the buoys might be used to track Japanese submarines in waters around the uninhabited islands, where Japanese and Chinese ships have chased each other in recent months. If so, their placement could represent another step in an ominous escalation in the standoff, which began with coast guard and other nonmilitary ships, but has recently begun to involve more heavily armed navy ships.

At another time this might have been a major presidential concern.  In days past the rising tensions between the two Asian giants might have provoked a soul searching reflection on whether the breakdown of the Pax Americana in the region was endangering world peace. But not today. Today the main problem is how to get as far away from the ticking timebomb as possible.

The LA Times says the administration has been working hard to avoid “alienating” Beijing over the islands. As in the case of Gary Mead the key problem is not to prevent the fiasco, but to distance the President from the fiasco. The LA Times continues:

The Obama administration has acknowledged Japan’s administrative authority over the islets and is bound by treaty to protect territories under Japanese administration. Still, analysts expect the two leaders to largely sidestep the issue in public remarks as Obama tries to balance Washington’s close ties to Tokyo with the need to maintain strategic relations with China, an increasingly crucial market and trading partner for the United States as well as North Korea’s closest ally.

Michael Ledeen writes that the Syrian civil war has metastized. Quoting specialty publications he notes that the conflict is now roiling Kurdistan.  It is dragging in Hezbollah — and Israel and Lebanon and …

Has Obama yielded to the advice of his senior military and foreign policy advisers, and–in partnership with, say, the Brits, the French, and the Jordanians–put some teeth in his thus-far empty cry “Assad must go”? Or is it, as no doubt some of the Islamists must suspect, a joint Israeli-Jordanian operation?

I don’t know. Kerry is apparently whispering to some of the opposition that “help is on the way,” which could mean almost anything. But whatever is going on should greatly concern the Iranians and their killers in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. For starters, the FSA has used some of their new toys to attack Hezbollah, in both Syria and Lebanon, which is tantamount to an attack on Iran itself.

I’m surprised that these attacks on Hezbollah haven’t received more attention, because they clearly show that the Syrian war has metastasized. In the past, the fighting spilled over across the Turkish border, but that seems to have stopped. The FSA warned Iran and Hezbollah that they were going to act, and now they have.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish elephant is breaking a lot of glasses and dishes, and again we don’t hear a lot about it.

Ledeen drolly asks, “the Syrian War has metastasized. Is Obama in it?” Nobody outside the magic circle seems to know. But here’s the more disturbing possibility: nobody knows.

Perhaps the President he hasn’t made up his mind over whether or not he has made up his mind. The common default assumption of journalistic observers is that a rational actor lives in the White House. They believe there’s Plan A. And a Plan B.

But supposing there’s no plan A or B. Or maybe a Plan exists, but its really Plan Number 97.b.1 — one so mutable that it changes from hour to hour depending on who the President spoke to last, so people can’t remember what it is current any more. Or equivalently, suppose the plan depends on Axelrod’s polling results for the day.

If so what is the meaning of the question: is Obama in or out of Syria? Will he support Japan or mollify China? What government service will he cut next?

It’s hard enough when you don’t know the answers to the questions. It’s a little harder when you can’t make up your mind what the question means.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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All Comments   (20)
All Comments   (20)
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Obama's plan A is to make sure that another Democrat gets elected after him. Hillary wants her turn for the next 8 years. Plan B is to make sure that another Democrat gets elected after him. Plan C, make sure another Democrat...well you get the picture.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Note that, in order to reduce expenditures, The wOn could have chosen to release prisoners held at Federal prison facilities, but instead chose to release illegal immigrant detainees at facilities such as that at Otay Mesa, California just west of San Diego. The facility at Otay Mesa is operated by a private for-profit non-union corporation, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Thus, choosing this course allows The wOn to stick it to private industry while protecting Federal government union jobs, as well as the more obvious benefit of terrorizing the American public by the release of criminals.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
It's ironic how often the Right is accused of "sleepwalking through history" when the reverse is true.

Eisenhower was supposedly sleepwalking relative to the Soviet threat - JFK attacked him from the RIGHT. In fact, Ike had a vigorous series of program underway, much of it highly classified, ranging from from the U-2 to the A-11, to multiple ballisitic missiles to the B-52, B-58 and B-70 to the National Reconnisance Office. In reality JFK found things well in hand and shut down some of the programs, even when they were successful - and then began a set of epic blunders that we still suffer from today.

Similarly, Reagan supposedly was a clueless old man - because he did not give a speech on AIDS and refused to acknowledge the inevitability of the relentless march of the Left. That the USSR collapsed because of his plans was supposedly just a accident.

We know now that JFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Obama were the real sleepwalkers.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Oof, I meant Marie Claude! Bring back the edit function!
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Just for Walt: an updated version of a French nursery song about a sleepyhead:

Frère Barack, Frère Barack,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Appelez les marines! Appelez les marines!
Dum, dum, dumb!
Dum, dum, dumb!

(Apologies to Marie Claire)
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment

If it isn’t Plan 1a, or 1b, or maybe even 2a, then it must be Plan 2b, right? The following is a transcript of Obama demanding the Cabinet come up with options.

2b or not 2b, that is the question
Or maybe there are questions not to ask
To act at all could surely be the wrong thing
Why set a man to do a hopeless task
1a was much too risky in the long run
1b had flaws that made us wince with pain
2a was little better but was simpler
2b just takes us back to 1 again
And so I shall announce my firm decision
3a it is and that’s my final word
So I’ll expect to see 3a tomorrow
And everyone involved of course be heard
You guys and gals at State, Defense and Homeland
Submit in detail what you think we need
And Commerce, Labor, Energy and Housing
Will do the same of course with all due speed
You guys at Goldman Sachs will put your oar in
You Google guys and gals will data mine
And Axelrod and guys will do some polling
And have it on my desk by half past nine
This being president is all so stressful
No time to exercise or sleep or talk
A good thing I have found the right solution
I get my sleep and at the same time walk

2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Government will have to take its medicine sooner or later. These exercises show that the problem isn't that the American people are going to revolt. It show that the government is revolting against its duty and against any inkling of decency.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
The only hope that I see is roll up your sleeves politicking and taking control of local offices, followed by relentless refusal to accept any transfer of authority fom the constitutional local level. To a small extent this is happening with some local law enforcement officers. We need to get control of local prosecutors and judgeships, as well as the host of local boards and elected authorities that the Left use as cash cows. Once we have these in hand, and it will be trench warfare to wrest them from the Left, then we can pursue two paths.
1. Defund their sinecures.
2. Refuse cooperation followed by affirmative defense against illegal usurpations.

My expectation is that this will evolve into an inkblot strategy. Local control of the legal and administrative apparatus in a few communities will enable control over a county and then a state. That is what politics in a federal Republic is supposed to be. Unfortunately for over fifty years while the Left wing of the Democrats have practiced that approach the conservatives have been passive. We can't blame the Democrats or Cloward-Pliven or Gramsci for this. What they did was natural. The only unnatural problem was that the conservatives ceded all local politics to their enemies.

We have to stop thinking that our problems will be solved by ignoring the leeches in the local offices while supporting some OK sounding guys for the Senate in the expectation that they will sort our problems out. That type of thinking gets us a Secretary Hagel.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
"as Obama tries to balance Washington’s close ties to Tokyo with the need to maintain strategic relations with China"

Sounds like his policy with Palestine. Should be interesting to see how well that works out.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
What if there is a Plan A or Plan B, but it is written as خطة or as План b? Or if it is written solely in his heart and is merely an intent to destroy the Great Source of Evil in the World [that's us, by the way] at every turn?

What would he have done differently in his career if it was written in Arabic, Russian, or in hatred on his inmost heart?

Sociopathy is ingrained in the human condition. 3% of any statistically significant group is sociopathic or psychopathic. That is your lunatic fringe. The dangerous thing is that their abilities are spread across the normal bell curve distribution. We lock up the ones on the far left side of the curve. We are governed by those on the right side of the curve.

Sociopathy includes as part of the definition a lack of empathy for others and a lack of remorse for the ill consequences of one's actions. When has Buraq Hussein I; Augustus, Imperator, Basileus, Princeps Senatus, and Pontifex Maximus, EVER expressed real human feeling for anyone. Body language is real. Facial expression is real. They are windows to inner feelings, and Obama has absolute contempt for the mass of Americans who are not of his inner circle. Those few, he has tolerance and contempt for.

So, when dealing with entities that are not real [reminds me of the status of Chinese when my father came over here. We were not, by law, human and had neither access to the law and courts, nor could anything done to us be a crime because we were less than animals under the law.] what he does is irrelevant except insofar his actions benefit his plans.

Release hundreds of violent criminals who are also illegal aliens on the public? It just teaches the lesser beings not to oppose him. Freeze reinforcements to Americans in a war zone? Those who die will merely be American soldiers and to him a particularly loathsome form of American, and if it damages the interests of the country and enhances the enemies of the country; to him it is all to the good and shows what happens when he is resisted. Create a private army that has contempt for and denies the power of the Constitution and will follow any order, and it is but the lash that Americans deserve.

Equip them with weaponry denied to civilians, arm them with hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition, and train them with target like these [actual "No Hesitation™" targets made by Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. under DHS contract]

to train them not to hesitate in killing Americans [DHS are not the cops that would respond to real crimes, if they show up they are storming homes.]; and it is probably written in one of those plans in whatever language.

To assume that he is rational, has good intent for this country, its people, its interests, and its allies is to go against the evidence of his life and career.

Granting that he is protected by the bodyguard of a worshipful media and surrounded by rent-seekers of both parties to whom proximity to the radiant throne is the be-all and end-all of existence. But even those of us who live with the consequences of his actions, whose children die in our uniform at his command, do not want to see.

There are none so blind ....

Subotai Bahadur
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
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