Climbing Mount Hillary
Al-Qaeda, once described by president Obama as being on the road to extinction, has now seized Mosul, the third largest city in Iraq. The Christian Science Monitor's Dan Murphy wrote "the scale of the catastrophe, as troops loyal to Mr. Maliki flood north and troops controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government rush west and south, can't be overstated. Chicago is the United States' third-largest city. Munich is Germany's. Osaka is Japan's." The Washington Post puts it more bluntly: "ISIS: The al-Qaeda-linked Islamists powerful enough to capture a key Iraqi city".
Whether it will be this generation's Buôn Ma Thuột remains to be seen. But things aren't much better across the border in Syria, where ISIS threatens to wrest control of the boundary between the two countries. Who can stop them? Like the NVA in 1975 they know who's not coming. The only thing between them and the gates of the presidential palace are the locals themselves.
Slate's Joshua Keating writes "after the fall of Mosul today, some terrorism experts, including Charles Lister of Brookings and Peter Neumann of King’s College, suggest that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria—the militant group that took over the city, is coming close to actually being the “Islamic State” implied by its name".
As Liz Sly notes in the Washington Post, ISIS, which began only about a year ago as the Syrian offshoot of al-Qaida in Iraq, now “effectively governs a nation-size tract of territory that stretches from the eastern edge of the Syrian city of Aleppo to Fallujah in western Iraq – and now also includes the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.”
Islamic rebels are on a rampage in Libya as well. "The newly elected Libyan prime minister has taken charge of his office with the help of an Islamist militia ... Maiteg, who was recently elected prime minister by Libya's Islamist-dominated parliament ... held his first Cabinet meeting behind closed doors." To quote Hillary Clinton's surprised reaction in the wake of the Benghazi consulate attack, “how can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city (Benghazi) we helped save from destruction?” The cry of surprise speaks volumes because it explains Benghazi and a whole lot of other things too. It's the cry of a rube who's just bought a bridge in Brooklyn and found it belongs to someone else.
Shifting the view to Southwest Asia, the Washington Post reports that "Pakistan militants launch new attack on Karachi airport; Taliban claims responsibility." The Taliban, you will remember, is that defeated organization written off by president Obama.
Nake Kamrany, writing in the Huffington Post, looks across the border and advises Obama to end the war in Afghanistan by getting a deal with the Taliban while he can. "President Obama's magnanimous decision to gain the freedom of U.S SGT Bowe Bergdahl after five years captivity in exchange for five Taliban Guantanamo prisoners (each after 12 years of captivity) may pave the way for broader peace agreements and an end to the war in Afghanistan."
A "peace agreement" in this context can only mean surrender. But even the chance to grovel may be slipping away. Kamrany points out that the surrender barge is leaving the pier and may leave Obama alone on the dock with about 10,000 zombies converging on the quay. "During June of 2013, when the U.S. still had leverage, a diplomatic opportunity for a peaceful resolution availed itself when President Obama ordered a peace conference with the Taliban. The Taliban acquiescent and opened an office in Doha, Qatar. Afghan President Karzai opposition and some U.S. State Department diplomats congruence did not capitalize on the opportunity for reconciliation."
And now it may be too late to avert humiliation. Still why not eat the crow? Obama can tell Journolist to spin it as victory and may still need the Taliban's help to deal with the next al-Qaeda front: Western cities. The VOA writes, "Jihadist Recruitment in West Difficult to Stop". The war is coming Mainstreet USA. The UK recently discovered that "militants" were planning to take over British schools under an operation codenamed Trojan Horse. It "was an organized attempt by Islamists to co-opt schools in Birmingham, England and run them according to their extremist ideals."
Investigations by Ofsted and the Education Funding Authority in 21 schools found evidence of an organised campaign to target certain schools by Islamists and that head teachers have been "marginalised or forced out of their jobs".
Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School, Park View School - all run by the Park View Educational Trust - Oldknow Academy and Saltley School were placed in special measures after inspectors found systemic failings including the schools having failed to take adequate steps to safeguard pupils against extremism.
The Islamists planned to use the exquisite PC rules of Western society and the mantle of "multiculturalism" to gradually recruit their own Taliban, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram right under the noses of our great leaders. All these developments cast doubt on the famous State assertion by the Department, made at the height of Obama's presidential re-election campaign: that al-Qaeda is on the "path of decline that will be difficult to reverse”.
The contrary seems true: the Obama administration is on a losing streak that will be difficult to reverse.
By itself the terrorism defeats would be serious, but taken in the broader context of other Obama administration failures, they leave little of the of administration's narratives intact. Suppose it's all a crock? What if al-Qaeda in ascendance; suppose Obama has lost against Putin in Eastern Europe; maybe China is expanding in Asia. And zounds, what if Iran will actually get a nuclear bomb despite the lifted sanctions. etc. etc.
It is the possibility that all the reports have been cooked, all the narratives faked that gives the most unease. Riffling through a list of Obama's public policy achievements is like opening a briefcase of money with which you've been paid only to discover it contains nothing but newspaper cut as hundred dollar bills. An electorate which believed it had struck a golden vein with the Lightworker must now reconcile itself to the contingency that it's been paid in worthless scrip.
In an example of just how far the rot has gone, the NYT editorial board wrote on June 5, “the administration has now lost all credibility” with regard to its telecommunications data collection program. Would that that the failures were limited to the NSA, though that in itself is a debacle so great that in any other administration it might have brought down the president. In the Obama administration, the NSA scandal simply had to get in line behind VA, Obamacare, IRS, the borders enforcement collapse, etc. It's Dense Pack. There are so many catastrophes one loses track.
What is most troubling about the administration's failings is that they are generalized. They are everywhere you look. Failure is not the exception but the rule. The medical term sometimes applied to this condition is metastasis. "Metastasis, or metastatic disease, is the spread of a cancer from one organ to another." This means the problem can longer be treated with local excisions. The cancer now affects the whole organism. Untreated, this metastasis is of course a death sentence for the Obama administration. The only question must be how much else will be pulled down before the disease runs its course.
While first step must be an acceptance of the seriousness of the condition, the next must surely be the identification of an alternative to Hillary Clinton as the standard bearer of the liberal future. Hillary Clinton's unsinkable candidacy contains the key symptom of the disease afflicting the Democratic Party. She has been described as "representing a third Obama term" which if accurate means she is Exhibit A of all that ails them.
Despite Obama's faults, Hillary may be the one person who makes him look good by comparison. Selecting Hillary as antidote to Barack Obama is like choosing to floss with razor blades after chewing on broken glass. It is a sign of a major hardware failure. The motherboard is fried, the hard disk has crashed, the power supply has blown. Or maybe all three at once.
If this is the best alternative the Democratic party can put forward then the political system is truly kaput. Clinton, even more than Obama, symbolizes the sheer sterility of Democratic power politics, which now is stuffed like a Christmas turkey full of stale ideas from the era of Karl Marx and Tammany Hall and bizarrely called "progressive".
While many pundits have focused on the Tea Party as the symbol of rebellion in American political life, they have failed to focus on a far more important mystery: why has there been no rebellion or insurgency within in the Democratic Party? The fact that the dog did not bark in the night-time means something altogether sinister. The current crisis is unlikely to be resolved solely on the efforts of conservatives. The Tea Party, doughty though it may be, must find allies to make a difference. But where are those allies? They must of necessity include passengers on the liberal train, but who is willing to say basta!
Although dramatic news developments will continue to grab the spotlight the key things to watch for in the next months are the outcome of the struggle between the Tea Party factions and the GOP establishment and the possible emergence of a non-Clinton candidate for 2016.
Recent items of interest by Belmont readers based on Amazon click-throughs.
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