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That’s All Folks

March 4th, 2013 - 9:00 pm

Would you rather learn that your worst forebodings had been true; that things were not only as bad as you had feared, but worse than you could have imagined? Or would you prefer the consolation of empty hope, no matter how slender … and change no matter how slow … and hope … and change … and hope …?

Former State Department adviser Vasili Nasr, “a university professor who was seconded in 2009 to work with Richard Holbrooke, Mr Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, records his profound disillusion at how a “Berlin Wall” of domestic-focused advisers was erected to protect Mr Obama” in a new book.

“The president had a truly disturbing habit of funnelling major foreign policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers whose turf was strictly politics …

Admiral Mike Mullen, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until September 2011, is quoted lamenting how little support Mrs Clinton received from the White House, even though she remained on good personal terms with Mr Obama. “They want to control everything,” Admiral Mullen is quoted as saying …

“American foreign policy has been on a four-year autopilot, which I argue has been excessively risk averse and domestically focused. I don’t see any clear decision yet to change that,” said Mr Nasr in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

Foreign Policy, which has more excerpts from Nasr’s book has many quotes which basically serve to disculpate Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton from a looming policy disaster. It paints the picture of a President who would do almost anything to do nothing.

Are you safe? Are you kidding?

The president has marketed the U.S. exit from Afghanistan as a foreign-policy coup, one that will not only unburden America from the region’s problems but also give the country the freedom it needs to pursue other, more pressing national security concerns. … This is an illusion.

But we should not kid ourselves that the rhetoric of departure is anything more than rhetoric; the United States is taking home its troops and winding down diplomatic and economic engagement — but leaving behind its Predators and Special Forces. We should not expect that the region will look more kindly on drone attacks and secret raids than it did on invasion and occupation.

If you’re not completely surprised count yourself in company with Ralph Peters, who saw disaster amble up the road, casually set up shop and make itself at home. Writing before Nasr’s book and without making apologies for anyone in the State Department  Peters wrote in the NY Post  that, “like Garbo, President Obama wants to be left alone.” Nobody needs to bother him with the facts.

The world annoys him. His personal interests and political agenda are domestic in focus: “An economy that works for everybody” (without everybody working for the economy, of course) is his dream. But foreign-policy crises will be his second-term nightmare.

Obama and his party behave as isolationist Republicans did in the 1930s, when they refused to take Hitler or Japanese imperialism seriously. Obama’s infamous Cairo speech, pandering to Islamists and Israel-haters, is likely to be seen by historians in a light similar to Charles Lindbergh’s giddy infatuation with the Nazis.

And Benghazi was strictly trouble on training wheels.

We have a president whose self-esteem and regal taste for power is exceeded only by his naivety about the rest of the world. Now the question isn’t whether we’ll face foreign crises — perhaps, disasters — but which crisis will strike first or hit the hardest.

Any rational person would want Nasr and Peters to be wrong. Any human being who values his safety, life and property would like to believe that these two gentlemen to be completely and utterly mistaken.

Unfortunately Nasr is writing under the goad of professional self-preservation. He probably knows, better than most, how bad things are. How high the water in the hold of the Titanic is. To mix the metaphors he can hear the powder train creeping ever closer to the magazine and would like more than life itself to make sure than when it blows that someone besides Hillary and Richard Holbrooke are holding the bag.

His account, however self-serving, has the authentic ring of fear.  Still it sheds new light on some of the foreign policy mysteries that have puzzled observers. If Nasr right, the administration spends more time infighting than combating America’s enemies. And it spends more time politicking than anything else.

Therefore events in Libya, Syria, North Korea and China ought to be viewed not through the prism of national interest calculus but through the lens of domestic political advantage for President Obama. Only then can they be properly understood. None of that game theory crap. It’s “who sent you?” The foreign policy of a great state is being run not by foreign policy professionals but by political hacks from Chicago.

What could go wrong? Quite a lot apparently. Given the administration’s blunders Peters lists the places from which a catastrophe could suddenly emerge. The flashpoints he lists include, but are not limited to:

1. Russia;
2. Venezuela;
3. Mexico;
3. The Arab Spring Revolutions;
4. Afghanistan (“we’ve lost”);
5. Pakistan;
6. Islamist extremism;
7. Syria;
8. North Korea;
9. Iran;
10. China.

He adds, “And that’s not all, folks:”

Around the world, dozens of countries face looming economic crises (much of the European Community, Egypt, Argentina) or crises of governance (Cuba, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Congo, Zimbabwe, etc.), and the world is now so interconnected that none of these dangers, no matter how small they seem, can be dismissed. Threats develop in unexpected ways.

Our president means to ignore them until they explode.

Hey Mr. Nasr, come back here! Come back!

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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Top Rated Comments   
Malaysia Attacks Filipino Rebels With Jets and Mortars --

"Filipino rebels" ain't quite it. It's the Sultan of Sulu claiming Sabah.

Racist Incidents Stun Campus and Halt Classes at Oberlin --

The Assad statue in Raqqa goes down ala Saddam Hussein --

Hand out the arms and ammo
We're going to blast our way through here
We got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
And you know that it's right

We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together now

Call out Axelrod! Call out Gibbs! Call out Carney! Jarrett! The Revolution's here!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Israel warns it cannot "stand idle" as Syria war spills over border --

It was FDR who made the relevant analogy. The garden hose and the fire.

"Well, let me give you an illustration: Suppose my neighbor's home catches fire, and I have a length of garden hose four or five hundred feet away. If he can take my garden hose and connect it up with his hydrant, I may help him to put out his fire. Now, what do I do? I don't say to him before that operation, "Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15; you have to pay me $15 for it." What is the transaction that goes on? I don't want $15--I want my garden hose back after the fire is over ... "

For many years America put out the fires not out of altruism, but from self-interest because if a conflagration went out of control everybody's house got burned. However the long Pax Americana convinced the current elite that fires had lost their power to burn. A new natural law had replaced the old. Things didn't burn any more.

So Obama put his political hacks in charge of putting out the fires. And they said, "why bother Boss? Chris Matthews ain't interested in fires? Al Sharpton ain't interested in no fires." And there the matter ended.

Except it didn't. Because no natural laws had been repealed and fires are just as deadly as ever. If it jumps the break the fires may require an order of magnitude more in resources to put out than to prevent. Reality is cruel in that way. The day comes when it doesn't care what Chris Matthews thinks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't know if Mark Steyn's vision of sudden collapse in his After America is accurate, but yes, no sane person would wish a worst case scenario for America and the world. Contrary to the ideology of our times the world economic system that America has built has taken the human race to a high watermark materially. Much like the age that produced Christ, Buddha, Mahavir, and Lao Tsu produced a high watermark spiritually. Yes, America's anti colonial, but not post-colonial rise after WW2 was messy and not without many of the sins that the left criticizes it for, but the simple fact of America spreading material success around the world is the unacknowledged elephant in the room. The left can only see the manure, but when the elephant departs the shock will be considerable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (30)
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imho whoever won the last election was going to get lucky.
The thing about the Obama administration is that imho all the really bad economic things won't happen imho principally because of the massive turn in the oil patch which is just as profound as the first OPEC oil embargo of 1973. It bears mentioning that it wasn't just that OPEC jacked up prices but that US production started to decline. That's all turned around in the last three years or so. Here's an article in the Wall St Journal that argues "How Fracking Can Reduce the Budget Deficit"

The slow moral decline of the USA continues unabated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have ordered 'Furies, War in Europe, 1450 to 1700, by Lauro Martines. After that terrible time, Europe embraced the Enlightenment, and moved towards secularism. Like, a lesson was learned.
Between the Vienna Peace of 1815, and WWI, there was a sort of peace. But people were itching for battle by 1914, what with glittering uniforms, etc., and jumped right into the Battle of the Somme. I think WWII was a continuation of WWI (all the leaders had fought in WWI). And now, we in the West have enjoyed some 3 generations of peace. And we itch for war, revolution, excitement!!! Humans are a funny bunch, aren't we?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A combination of being an indecisive ditherer and a control freak is indicative of being controlled by someone else. This is a common phenomenon in puppet regimes, whether they are Vichy France, Communist Poland, or Apartheid Transkei. When our president shows signs of being both a control freak and an indecisive ditherer, it means the problem isn't personal with Barack Obama, but is rather an institutional reaction to outside control.

For all intents and purposes, George Soros effectively controls American foreign policy. The entire idea of America defending itself against al-Qaeda is repugnant to him. It is highly unlikely that he has ever forgiven the United States for bombing Budapest in 1944, and it is equally unlikely that he has ever forgiven the United States for winning WWII and vanquishing the Axis. Although Soros claims that the United States “overreacted” to the September 11 attacks, he probably approved of those attacks because when American power is crippled, his own political leverage is increased. Once the official foreign policy of the United States is crippled, George Soros can then run our foreign policy on his own.

George Soros has made it abundantly clear to world leaders that if you cross him, you will be overthrown. He claims to oppose totalitarianism, and then he labels anything and anybody who dares cross him as “totalitarian”. In reality, he is a bully and a megalomaniac who thinks he can either buy or bludgeon any enemy who crosses him. Cross him, and he will fund mass protests that seem spontaneous until one realizes that those mass protests would have run out of gas without his money.

When Barack Obama acts as both a control freak and an indecisive ditherer, he is showing that he is not his own man. He is showing that he has become emasculated by the power of George Soros, who has created the impression that he can make or break Barack Obama. When Barack Obama shows he isn't man enough to cross George Soros, all of his other behavior starts making sense.

So, it doesn't matter what I think. Talking to the Obama administration is like talking to a brick wall. I am not a billionaire like George Soros who has constructed an archipelago of nonprofit corporations to raise foot soldiers for his crusade for a so-called “open society” while laundering his fingerprints. What is the difference between an “open society” and a raped society, a raped society forced “open” by a megalomaniac who seeks to force his utopia onto humanity regardless of the damage it causes?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"When Barack Obama acts as both a control freak and an indecisive ditherer, he is showing that he is not his own man. He is showing that he has become emasculated by the power of George Soros, who has created the impression that he can make or break Barack Obama. When Barack Obama shows he isn't man enough to cross George Soros, all of his other behavior starts making sense."

I don't agree with this characterization. It sounds as if you think Soros is an externality. I think we had a coup d'etat in 2008 managed if not masterminded by Soros that involved some sort of conspiracy with Ayers and his communist connections, Gil and other leftist and useful idiot foundations, and sovereign wealth from the Middle East. Not even Soros has the kind of money necessary to do to markets what was done in 2008, so that's where the sovereign wealth part comes in. Obama is a puppet of this cabal, a Red Diaper Baby whose mothers milk made him a communist and he knew he wasn't his own man going in and was content to be a part of the conspiracy. Maybe he chafes a bit but he knew he was working for Soros going in.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of fools!" (Otto Von Bismarck,
A maniacal dictator of a bankrupt country took his country to the very brink of world domination while we were busy trying to climb out of massive unemployment, no money to buy anything, and the politics of a crazed generatoin. Led, no less, a man who would be America's king!
Question: Are we talking about the 1930s - or 2013?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned that a crisis involving a nuclear Iran is in the "foreseeable future".

The Nobel Peace laureate, 89, was speaking about prospects in the Middle East at the World Economic Forum.

He said nuclear proliferation in the region triggered by an armed Iran would increase the chances of an atomic war - "a turning point in human history".

What? I thought we were headed for a "World without Nuclear Weapons", a "Global Zero". No? You mean I was right -- that a lot of us were right -- to be doubt this.

Ha ha ha. The joke's on me. How many more times can we be right. I would like to be wrong for a change.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What we really need to worry about is that it would be a lot safer for Iran to attack us before exterminating "the Zionist entity." Administration fools or co-conspirators, hard to say which with this lot, keep talking about Iran and NorKor's lack of a suitable delievery system but all they really need is a couple of rust bucket tankers or bulk carriers to destroy a couple of US port cities or they could launch an air burst from each coast using relatively short range missles and the US is immediately back in early 19th Century technologically and will be for a very long time. With this lot in charge, they'll have to start an investigation and set up a Blue Ribbon Committee to decide who did it, conspiracy theories of our own military having gone rogue will abound and we'll dither and do nothing allowing the now almost completely re-established Caliphate to deal with Israel in their own time and manner without worrying about US or European interference.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Keep in mind that it is possible that Iran already has a nuclear device, and perhaps a weapon, developed in cooperation with the North Koreans.

And I would note that not everyone conducts their nuclear tests on their own territory. I offer the VELA incident:

On September 22, 1979, Vela 6911 recorded a series of nuclear intensity in the Indian Ocean. Immediately after, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico picked up an ionospheric disturbance -- essentially an increase of ionization in an upper portion of the atmosphere. The U.S. Navy also picked up a thud under the ocean in the area. All of these events occurring at roughly the same time pointed to something huge, like a massive explosion. It should be mentioned that the Vela satellites method of detecting this sort of incident had never failed before.

Anyone else thinking about the Three Conjectures?

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Makes our host seem almost prophetic does it not?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Subotai Bahadur: "They are deliberately trying to destroy us..."


(Altho sometimes, I find myself tossing and turning in the middle of the night wondering what they would do differently if they were out to destroy the country.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A part of this inactivity is probably based on the system of billable hours used by the lawyers who make up a large segment of Obama's administration. If you are a lawyer, you make more money by dragging out the process in league with your "opponent" who is also billing by the hour. The more delay and continuances, the more billable hours, the client's needs be damned.


Exhibit 3908 in the BP oil spill trial is a classic. Dated July 28, 2010, just days before the initiation of the static kill, which assassinated the well, Patrick Campbell of the Wild Well Control Inc (part of Superior Energy Services) wrote

"This is not about the 'how do you do it', it is about the 'Should you do it?'

"In the end, this comes down to some logic that should be able to be agreed. Imposing the Static/Bullhead kill under the prevailing circumstances defies the way we have always done things in the well control/capping/idling business for about 40 years. That being said, it's not indicative of some 'Universal and Irrevesable Theory' that suggests that the only 'one way' can be the 'correct way'. "

On August 2, BP adopted my suggestion to implement the static kill, and


Well control contractors get paid for "time and materials".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Doesn't anyone rememberr that in the 2007-2008 election runup, Obama's glaring lack of foreign policy knowlege and experience was to be offset by pairing him with the august, all-knowing Joe Biden?

I guess not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Further news, Jeb Bush proposes that we legalize a cohort of 10 million illegal aliens who can never obtain citizenship. If assimilation is the major hurdle to successful immigration policy, what impact will a caste of 10 million permanent, but legal, aliens have on our assimilation efforts?

Instead of immigration, the administration intends to criminalize 100+ million legal gun owners.

I’m reminded of George Burn’s maid speaking to him of his wife Gracie: “I have to tell her not to get which because she’s almost out of what.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“American foreign policy has been on a four-year autopilot.”

An autopilot holds a set course and attitude and keeps things stable although not correcting for errors due to winds or powerplant performance changes. I have seen nothing so sophisticated from this administration. It’s more like set the trim and retire to the upstairs lounge.

“It paints the picture of a President who would do almost anything to do nothing.”
Once again this brings to mind the smartest thing that Peggy Noonan ever wrote, speaking of a hypothetical John Kerry Administration:
“He would surround himself with very smart people and they would study things very carefully. And then they would do nothing, because they would conclude that what should be done is what Republicans would do, and they could not do that.”
Omit the “very smart people” and the “study” parts and substitute “Americans” for “Republicans” and you have it. But they have brought in – guess who – John Kerry – to try to be more true to the original concept.
Saw yesterday where compared to this point in the Bush Admin, Obama has created 5 times as many new regulations, and 3.5 times as many as the Clinton Admin at the halfway point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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