A video showing abducted Nigerian schoolgirls converting to Islam may cast doubt on narratives that Boko Haram problem is really about patriarchal fears of women’s education (“why are men scared of smart girls”) or simple “ethnic tensions” in Nigeria.
Boko is wired. Heather Murdoch of the Christian Science Monitor writes: “three weeks after hundreds of teenage girls were abducted while taking exams, it remains unclear how many girls were taken, who they are, who did it, at what time, and exactly how.”
On the same day that a man looking nearly identical to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video of 100 girls kidnapped by his group – the official Nigerian response in the nation’s capital was to claim that Mr. Shekau is dead.
Actually, the government’s position is that Shekau has been dead for some time – a position widely seen here as a form of counter-propaganda designed to dispirit Boko Haram members.
Nobody becomes that invisible without influence. The terror group Hillary never wanted to name seems to have an influence all out of proportion to its rag-tag appearance. Maybe there’s another root cause for Boko Haram. How about oil? The left-wing Guardian actually advances this thesis, only it uses the word “climate change” in place of hydrocarbons. “Islamist militancy in Nigeria is being strengthened by western and regional fossil fuel interests.” Boko Haram is about climate change.
Close but not quite. Boko Haram might be about oil. The Voice of America noted in Feburary that Boko Haram had threatened to destroy oil refineries. After all, Nigeria sells about 40% of its oil to the United States, of which it is a major supplier. And Nigeria a big player on the world market. Big enough to make oil producers in the Gulf care what happens to it.
Wikipedia says “Nigeria’s proven oil reserves are estimated by the U.S. United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) at between 16 and 22 billion barrels (3.5×109 m3), but other sources claim there could be as much as 35.3 billion barrels (5.61×109 m3). Its reserves make Nigeria the tenth most petroleum-rich nation, and by the far the most affluent in Africa. In mid-2001 its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels (350,000 m³) per day”.
So maybe it’s not about climate change. Not directly anyway. Across the Pacific China is openly moving oil rigs into the South China Sea. The Wall Street Journal’s latest article is succinctly titled: “China Answers Obama. An 80-ship flotilla plants a Chinese oil rig in Vietnamese waters.”
Less than a week after President Obama’s Asian Reassurance Tour, Beijing offered its rejoinder, sending a flotilla of 80 military and civilian ships to install China’s first oil rig in disputed South China Sea waters, well within Vietnam’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone. When some 30 Vietnamese naval vessels demanded the rig’s withdrawal on Sunday, China’s ships responded by ramming several of the Vietnamese boats and injuring six sailors. …
The truth is that this is China’s latest attempt to revise the East Asian status quo through intimidation and force. China claims sovereignty over some 90% of the 1.35-million-square-mile South China Sea, and it is staking that claim by flexing its muscle around the sea’s outer reaches. Along the eastern edge, China seized Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 2012. Since March it has blockaded Philippine Marines on Second Thomas Shoal.
This week’s oil standoff also wasn’t begun on a whim. China developed the CNOOC 0883.HK +1.08% 981 rig so it would not depend on foreign companies to drill in contested waters. “Large deepwater drilling rigs are our mobile national territory,” explained Wang Yilin, chairman of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation, in 2012. The sea grab follows several years of gradually intensifying pressure—from Chinese tourist boats landing on disputed South China Sea islands, to Chinese fishing vessels cutting the acoustic cables of Vietnamese oil exploration ships.
As Chinese-Vietnamese relations have worsened, Hanoi has procured new military hardware—including Kilo-class submarines, guided-missile frigates, land-based antiship cruise missiles and jet fighters—and sought closer ties with India, Japan and the U.S. The Vietnamese and U.S. militaries held their first joint naval exercises in 2012, a year after a U.S. Navy ship called at Cam Ranh Bay for the first time since the Vietnam War.
It looks like China suspects what game is afoot and, like some supersized Oklahama land-man, is acquiring all the drilling acreage it can, while in the West the media prattle on about “smart girls” and “Islam being hijacked” and “climate change”.
Even the Washington Post is yelling and screaming at the Obama administration. The editorial board wrote: “A Beijing power play in the South China Sea is met with U.S. inaction”. Not to worry. A State Department hashtag is probably being crafted as we speak.
WITH A $1 billion oil rig the size of a football field, China has literally laid down a new marker in its ambition to dominate the South China Sea — and challenged President Obama’s “rebalancing” policy in Asia, only weeks after the president’s tour of the region. The rig is about 130 miles off the coast of Vietnam, in waters that Vietnam claims as an exclusive economic zone under international law. China’s claim is more tenuous, but it is backed up with a flotilla of some 80 ships that for a week have engaged in a dangerous contest of ramming and water-hosing Vietnamese vessels.
The message of the deployment is as simple as it is provocative: The regime of Xi Jinping intends to unilaterally assert China’s sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea without regard for the competing claims of five other countries or Mr. Obama’s newly restated commitment to uphold defense agreements with two of those nations. In that sense, the rig, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is a fundamental challenge to the international order the United States has tried to preserve since the end of the Cold War.
Japan certainly gets it. Defense News reports that a Japanese commission will probably recommend revising the country’s pacifist constitution. “TOKYO — By the end of this week, a key panel will recommend Japan adopt the right to collective self-defense, a move that would fundamentally change Japan’s deterrence posture, according to a senior member of the Japanese government who requested anonymity.”
Japan can guess what’s coming and they are fixing to do something about it. Deep beneath the layers of misinformation and bumbling the senior members of the administration know what’s coming too. Joe Biden’s son is reportedly joining a Ukrainian gas company, an industry whose development his father, the vice-president endorsed earlier this year. It may have privately occurred to the Bidens that the dustup in Eastern Europe is in large part about oil and geopolitical rivalry.
But whatever people tell their stockbrokers privately, publicly it is The Narrative all the way down. Publicly it is showtime all the way through; cancel the Keystone Pipeline to save us from Global Warming. The dissonance between reality and fantasy was never so apparent. The State Department’s top arms control officer, Rose Gottemoeller, still trots out the line that we can trust Putin enough to do an arms control deal with him.
The State Department’s top arms control official is stressing that it is in the best interests of the United States to continue doing nuclear security work in Russia — even as the Ukraine crisis rages. …
The collaboration also involves upgrading the physical security of buildings in Russia where sensitive nuclear material is stored, DOE officials have said previously.
Although language in the House bill suggested this work had already been stopped and should remain so until the resolution of the situation in Ukraine, Gottemoeller said it was her understanding it had been unaffected by the crisis. A spokesman for the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration made a similar statement to GSN earlier last week.
Gottemoller may spare a thought for Russia’s biological weapons.
A House subcommittee heard from an array of experts on the potential threat of Russian biological weapons
“It is an existential risk to society,” Dr. Christopher Davis, a biomedical weapons expert and former member of the U.K.’s Defense Intelligence staff, said of infectious diseases and the “rapid emergence of multi-drug resistant forms.”
“Some of the most vexing security problems facing the United States and the international community originate with disease,” Dr. Amy E. Smithson, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said in her opening statement. “Enter the prospect of a state or terrorist group deliberately releasing disease… and the problems for public health services multiply exponentially.”
All the more reason the world has to make a deal with Putin, she’ll probably argue. Especially concerning those unspecified experimental Russian biological weapons Time also talked about, the ones that can warp your chromosomes. Suppose the world isn’t being wracked by issues like “smart girls” or “gay rights”. What if the world is going to pieces over oil, national rivalry, rampant political corruption and the rise of unopposed tyranny?
If you hold the newspaper at just the right angle, you’ll glimpse it.
Recently, Caroline Glick talked about the disappearance of American will. The actual problem may be slightly different. The more precise statement is the disappearance of the public’s ability to see the truth. America’s PC elite is rewriting history at a dazzling pace. “Days before the National September 11 Memorial Museum opens in New York, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is stepping up its campaign to urge organizers to edit a video presentation on al-Qaeda, to remove terms such as ‘Islamist extremism’ and ‘jihadism.'”
Why, generations hence will think September 11 was committed by Jews. After all, who would have guessed Boko Haram had kidnapped Christian girls unless they read it on the Belmont Club or had not the group itself told the public so?
When low information voters look at the world all they see it as a collection of Narratives. In that world, Donald Sterling, Jay-Z and Kim Kardashian are the weighty issues of the day. In that universe Hillary Clinton is the smartest woman who ever lived.
It’s little wonder that Nigeria cannot even find the Boko Haram. The West can’t see a thing outside the narrow little video feed it is provided. It’s like a dray horse trudging along on blinkers, paying taxes, paying taxes and able to do little else.
Reason Magazine recently described the triumph of spin over reality. Its article is titled, “Reality Show President: Inside the White House PR Machine”, which opens with a quote from Obama. “I am who the media says I am. I say what they say I say. I become who they say I’ve become.”
“The White House has effectively become a broadcast company,” says Michael Shaw, publisher of Bagnewsnotes.com, a site dedicated to the analysis of news images. Shaw explains how strategically composed photos, taken by official White House photographers, travel from social media sites that are controlled by the administration to the front pages of newspapers around the world. …
And so, says Shaw, the public has been fed a steady diet of whatever kind of president the news cycle demands. When conspiracy theorists questioned Obama’s patriotism, we saw images of Obama the American everyman. To celebrate the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ 1955 refusal to move to the back of a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, we saw Obama reenact her famous image. Time and again, we see Obama striking poses out of John F. Kennedy’s repertoire. The official White House photographers have created a presidential identity for every conceivable occasion—as long as the image is flattering, and almost always, larger than life.
In a way Obama is like JFK. Neither had a manned space program to speak of. Kennedy because he hadn’t built it yet. Obama because he unbuilt it.
Russia is to deny the US future use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites as it hits back at American sanctions imposed over Ukraine crisis.
That’s OK, the White House already has a heroic pose and hashtag ready to counter that.
The West isn’t just operating on missing data. It’s operating on bad data, Reality Show data produced by Ben Rhodes. If there’s one thing worse than an information system that gives you no answers, its one that gives you the wrong answers. One day we may wake up to find the real world is out there. One which unlike the Obama Reality Show, runs on energy, security and food; a world where love, belief and country still matter. Not Black Masses, kissing NFL lovers or transgender soldiers.
It’s like being in a nightmare where you are paralyzed as some nameless fear comes closer and closer. The West is transfixed, stunned by its own toxic cocktail of lies. That we will wake up is inevitable. The danger is that if we remain asleep too long, the world may already be burning by the time we look out the window.
Recent purchases by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.
Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.
The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific