Belmont Club

Hillary at the Charge

When the cad Harry Flashman found himself pursued by wolves and enemies in the fictional book Flashman at the Charge, he did what any self-respecting bounder would do: tossed everything overboard, including his girlfriend, to save his skin.

I’ve seen horror in my time, human, animal, and natural, but I don’t know much worse than that memory-those dim grey shapes bounding behind us, creeping inexorably closer, until I could make out the flat, wicked heads and the snow spurting up under their loping paws. I must have been petrified, for God knows how long I just stared at them-and then my wits came back, and I seized the nearest rug and flung it out to the side, as far as I could. …

I was cursing and scrabbling in the back looking for something else to throw-a bottle, that was no use, but by George, if I smashed one at the bottom it might serve as a weapon when the last moment came and they were ravening over the tailboard-in desperation I seized a loaf (we’d finished the ham) and hurled it at the nearest of them, and I am here to tell you that wolves don’t eat bread-they don’t even bloody well look at it, for that matter. …

“It’s no go … horses are almost played out! Can’t … We’re too heavy! Throw out some weight … the food … anything!” … I groaned and cursed, while the freezing wind whipped at me, casting about for anything else to jettison. The furs? We’d freeze without them, and Valla didn’t have a stitch-Valla! For an instant even I was appalled-but only for an instant. There was eight stone of her if there was an ounce-her loss would lighten us splendidly!

The tradition of saving yourself at all costs has not weakened over the years. The Washington Post reports that Syrian president Bashar Assad has thrown his homicidal cousin to the wolves to preserve his hide.

BEIRUT — Syrian authorities have arrested a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad who is accused of killing a military officer in a road-rage incident that sparked rare protests in a key regime stronghold. …

The arrest of a member of the president’s family is highly unusual, but it comes after rare protests by government supporters in Latakia and amid mounting speculation that Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power is slipping. Rebel forces have recently seized significant territory as the military struggles with manpower losses.

On Saturday, scores of protesters called for the arrest and execution of Suleiman, a militia leader and a cousin once removed of the president. They accuse Suleiman of fatally shooting a colonel during a traffic altercation Thursday.

The Opthalmologist of Damascus is probably staying up nights now that his regime is collapsing and the Russians and Saudis are openly haggling over where to dispose of his carcass. Reuters reports that “Russia and Saudi Arabia failed in talks on Tuesday to overcome their differences on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad”. The Saudis are determined to get rid of him once and for all.

While Russia’s Lavrov urged an alliance of Syria and several other Middle Eastern countries against the “Islamic State” militants, his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir rejected the idea of Riyadh’s forces fighting alongside Assad’s troops.

“When it comes to the coalition, presumably a coalition including Saudi Arabia and the Syrian regime, I believe that it should be ruled out. It’s not part of our plans,” al-Jubeir said.

Al-Jubeir also stressed that Syrian president Assad had no place in Syria’s future.

“We believe that Assad is part of the problem and not part of the solution,” he said.

Under these circumstances Assad needs all the help he can get.  While he may be fond of his murderous cousin he is not so affectionate as to risk finishing up in a meat freezer like Khadaffy.

Perhaps most ominously for Assad, the Saudis offered to buy Russian weapons, a move that must surely raise doubts in Damascus about the continued loyalty of the Kremlin to the Syrian cause. “There have been several visits of Saudi military delegations to Russia during the last two months, the contacts have been intensified, discussing the types of weapons to be included into an upcoming military contract with Russia. I am confident that such contract will be signed soon,” Al-Jubeir told the Russian Interfax news agency.

Money can be very persuasive, as is fear.  Nobody knows that better than Assad himself.

Roger Simon applies the same line of reasoning to examine Barack Obama’s position with respect to Hillary Clinton.  The imperatives of self-preservation are ruling the roost. With the political wolves pursuing Obama’s Iran deal and his legacy in peril, the president just might have to put aside his loyalty to his former Secretary of State unless she’s willing to back his agreement with Tehran.

Clinton doesn’t address the specifics of the deal at all, as opposed to Chuck Schumer who did so at considerable length in his rejection of the pact. It’s virtually impossible to support rationally this absurd agreement in which the U.S. gave in on practically everything and then donated $150 billion to the ayatollahs for the privilege of doing so.

Nevertheless, Hillary has no choice but to support it for two reasons. One: Bernie Sanders is backing it and he is getting all the popular attention on the Democratic side. But that’s minor and perhaps transitory. The major reason is clear and deserves a separate paragraph.

Hillary Clinton is in such deep legal trouble over her emails that she needs the backing of Obama to survive. [itals. mine] He controls the attorney general’s office and therefore he controls Hillary (and her freedom) as long as he is president. Everything she says and does in the presidential campaign must be viewed against this reality. This is further enhanced by her need to hold together Obama’s electoral coalition. But that’s the least of it compared to having erased 32,000 emails, most of which were undoubtedly government property, and done who-knows-what to the server, something that not even Nixon would ever have dreamed of.

Coercion you say?  No just business. Doubtless the president would have stood by her the way Hillary stood by her husband Bill, except for  the wolves. The wolves have changed everything. And the wolves have just come half a step closer. McClatchy reports that “The inspector general for the Intelligence Community notified senior members of Congress that two of four classified emails discovered on the server Clinton maintained at her New York home contained material deemed to be in one of the highest security classifications – more sensitive than previously known.”

It is no surprise that the investigators are suddenly belatedly discovering that some of Hillary’s aides may be truly to blame for any national security missteps. McClatchy continues:

As pressure builds on Hillary Clinton to explain her official use of personal email while serving as secretary of state, she faced new complications Tuesday. It was disclosed her top aides are being drawn into a burgeoning federal inquiry and that two emails on her private account have been classified as “Top Secret.” …

“We will follow the facts wherever they lead, to include former aides and associates, as appropriate,” said Douglas Welty, a spokesman for the State Department’s inspector general.

Despite the acknowledgment, the State Department inspector general’s office has left numerous unanswered questions, including exactly who and what is being investigated. The office initially declined to comment and referred questions to the Intelligence Community inspector general’s office, which said it is not currently involved in any inquiry into aides and is being denied full access to aides’ emails by the State Department. Clinton, herself, is not a target.

This opens the possibility investigators may find that Hillary has been the trusting victim of designing underlings. Rather than being to blame, she is the one who deserves sympathy.  The emerging scenario is this: the president is considering tossing Hillary to the wolves if she doesn’t sign on to his deal with Iran. Hillary, looking to get out from under, is lightening ship by casting about for any likely fall guy within reach. But will they be satisfied by a few shrieking junior victims?  Will Assad’s foes be sated by devouring his cousin?  Perhaps Flashman will have the last word in the end: “I am here to tell you that wolves don’t eat bread-they don’t even bloody well look at it.”


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