Belmont Club


Failure accumulates gradually and then its effects become manifest all of a sudden. The slow part is nearly over. The Washington Post reports that Iran and Hezbollah are worming their way into the ruins of Syria.  “Officials think Iran’s long-term goal is to have reliable operatives in Syria in case the country fractures into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.”

A senior Obama administration official cited Iranian claims that Tehran was backing as many as 50,000 militiamen in Syria. “It’s a big operation,” the official said. “The immediate intention seems to be to support the Syrian regime. But it’s important for Iran to have a force in Syria that is reliable and can be counted on.”

Iran’s strategy, a senior Arab official agreed, has two tracks. “One is to support Assad to the hilt, the other is to set the stage for major mischief if he collapses.”

Iran is playing a long-term and global game. The Jerusalem Post reports that North Korea’s recent nuclear test was actually Iran’s as well. “Expert warns Tehran may be bypassing int’l inspections via North Korea, says Iranian scientists may have been present at test.” The rogue states have got their supply chain, or soon will.

This is also Claudia Rossett’s contention in the Wall Street Journal. She argues that North Korea, Pakistan and Iran — to name some — have created a distributed research, production and distribution system for weapons of mass destruction.

A big question hanging over North Korea’s latest nuclear test, conducted Feb. 12, is whether it was also done for the benefit of Iran, or was possibly even an Iranian test, courtesy of North Korea’s facilities….

For years, North Korean weapons tests have effectively doubled as marketing displays, rolling out the latest round of North Korea’s lethal wares. “North Korea will sell anything to anybody,” says Bruce Bechtol, a political scientist and former senior defense intelligence analyst specializing in North Korea. Bechtol adds that Iranian officials have been present at every major North Korean missile test, as well as both previous nuclear tests.

Since the 1960s, North Korea’s sales have run the gamut, from conventional weapons, to increasingly sophisticated, longer-range missiles, to collaborating with Syria on the construction of an entire clandestine nuclear reactor with no evident purpose except to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. Among North Korea’s many clients over the years have been Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and Libya under Muammar Qaddafi, as well as Iran, and Iran’s satellite Lebanese terrorist organization, Hezbollah.

In this trade, North Korea has created a niche for itself as a full service back shop for rogue states, offering an unblinking willingness to violate any and all international norms in exchange for cash, oil and yet more weapons technology. Not only does North Korea’s regime supply its clients with weapons; it also has a history of providing weapons experts, military training, procurement and smuggling services, money-laundering facilities and in some cases, help with weapons production.

What is essentially a Walmart for terrorist WMD weapons is now in rudimentary existence. This is not as as far-fetched a prospect as it once was. The tendencies are acknolwedged in the open news. The President warned Syria against transferring chemical weapons to Hezbollah. And having done that, he promptly did nothing more.

But Israel bombed a site said to be involved in transferring such weapons to Hezbollah in preparation no doubt for use on the Jewish state. But that can only slow things down.

Israel has said that if it saw chemical weapons on the move, it would act to stop them. By hitting the research center, part of a military complex that is supposed to be protected by Russian-made antiaircraft defenses, Israel made it clear it was willing to risk direct intervention to keep weapons and missiles out of Hezbollah’s hands.

Israel has done so before, in September 2007, when it destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor that was under construction with North Korean help. The facility hit last week was also believed to be a center for study on nuclear issues, officials say.

It’s pathetic to watch the international Western elite paralyzed with political correctness and depend for their physical safety on Israel, which they regard as a rogue state. Their priority is to disarm themselves as quickly as possible right down to the last “high powered magazine”.

One of the more bizarre events from the State of the Union Address was the instructional video shown to reporters on how to escape a biological attack should one occur. Jonathan Tamari wrote, “the surprise of the night, for me anyway, was shortly before the speech when the press staff over at the House asked for our attention so they could show us a video on how to use escape hoods in the event of a biological attack.”

Maybe the possibility of a WMD terror attack is no longer as absurd as it once seemed.  The supply network is bound to be expanded as time goes one, like an international Ho Chi Minh trail; interrupted at whiles by desultory efforts by the Obama administration, but sure to grow like a malignant vine. Lyndon Johnson never throttled the Trail. It throttled him.

And there are other indications which suggest that the bad guys know they have got Obama’s number. He’s standing like a deer in the headlights and or perhaps more aptly, like a child hiding behind the lectern. They’re lining him up. When Hillary Clinton went to China in 2012, senior officials refused to meet with her insisting instead on seeing Panetta. Now Foreign Policy reports that the Russian foreign minister won’t return Kerry’s call on the Korean crisis. This lack of respect is telling.  President Obama may act like he bestrides the world, but the obvious reality is that not even the president of a fourth rate country like North Korea appears to take him seriously. Even his political enemies were watching the State of the Union speech with a feeling of sadness.

As the speech went on, though, the reason became clear: There were no 2014 budget proposals. The president didn’t even mention his forthcoming budget—again, that’s usually a big part of what this speech is for. And he didn’t make any significant proposal for reforming any government program, for launching any new one, ending any old one, or doing much of anything in particular that he hasn’t been pushing unsuccessfully for years. It was like an eighth-year State of the Union address, not a fifth-year one.

You have to try to cover up such things, of course, especially if you’re a Democrat, and so the president did speak of all manner of obnoxious federal micromanagement initiatives with fancy names—manufacturing hubs, a “partnership to rebuild America,” a challenge to “redesign America’s schools,” an “Energy Security Trust,” and so on. But you know what these things are? They’re nothing. They’re the headings that the wonks in a Democratic White House put at the top of otherwise blank memos at the beginning of a process that, months later, is supposed to end up with a budget and a State of the Union address. And here they were at the end of that process with barely more meat on their bones than when they started. Some of these proposals might “happen” and some of them will not, but there won’t be any difference between the two.

And this makes for a dangerous situation that is growing ever more so at an increasing rate. Perhaps some of the sadness should be reserved for ourselves. When the ship goes down the small fry will be the first in the ocean.

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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