Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

What Putin is teaching us about foreign policy: Obama’s weakness provokes aggression

Vladimir Putin and the Clown of the United States
Vladimir Putin and the Community Organizer of the United States

Other than Weekly Standard, my two favorite places to read about foreign policy are the Wall Street Journal and the UK Telegraph. And my favorite writer from all three of these is Bret Stephens, columnist at the Wall Street Journal.

Here is his latest article (click through to WSJ), then we’ll go to the UK Telegraph after.

Stephens writes:

David Petraeus testified last month to the Senate Armed Services Committee on U.S. policy in the Middle East. Regarding Syria, the former general and CIA director urged a credible threat to destroy Bashar Assad’s air force if it continues to bomb its own people. He also recommended “the establishment of enclaves in Syria protected by coalition air power, where a moderate Sunni force could be supported and where additional forces could be trained, internally displaced persons could find refuge, and the Syrian opposition could organize.”

But Barack Obama does not agree. At his Friday press conference, the president described such views as “mumbo-jumbo,” “half-baked ideas,” “as-if” solutions, a willful effort to “downplay the challenges involved in the situation.” He says the critics have no answers to the questions of “what exactly would you do and how would you fund it and how would you sustain it.”

America’s greatest living general might as well have been testifying to his shower drain for all the difference his views are going to make in this administration.

So it is with this president. It’s not enough for him to stake and defend his positions. He wants you to know that he thinks deeper, sees further, knows better, operates from a purer motive. His preferred method for dealing with disagreement is denigration. If Republicans want a tougher line in Syria, they’re warmongers.

Yes. Every time the President gives a speech on policy, you can count on him to present alternatives to his own very left-wing views as incredibly evil, incredibly stupid or both. He thinks that he knows everything, and that talking to people who disagree with him, no matter how qualified they are (e.g. – General Petraeus) would be a waste of time. Everyone who opposes his fact-free, pot-smoking, college dorm discussion view of reality is stupid or evil or both. And this man is President.


For a relatively trivial investment of some jet fighters and a brigade-sized support force, Moscow extends its influence in the eastern Mediterranean, deepens a commercially and strategically productive alliance with Iran, humiliates the U.S., boosts Mr. Putin’s popularity at home, and earns a geopolitical card he can play in any number of negotiations—Ukraine, gas contracts, Mr. Assad’s political future, you name it. If things don’t work out, he can pull up stakes within a week without much loss of money, lives or prestige. It’s a perfect play.

Now let’s go to the UK Telegraph, and Matthew K. Lewis.

He writes:

Russian warplanes began bombing American-backed Syrian opposition strongholds on Wednesday, a move that can be viewed as the latest example of American humiliation abroad.

As was the case when Russians invaded Ukraine, the Russians cloaked their activity in lies.

In the former example, Russian soldiers didn’t wear uniforms, a thinly-veiled move meant to create the impression the fighters were merely Ukrainian “separatists.”

Likewise, Wednesday’s bombings ostensibly targeted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil); in fact, the strikes were aimed at moderate rebels and civilians – part of a plan to take out any opposition to their client, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

[…]This all comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s drawing of a “red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons, only to back down when the Assad regime – by most accounts – used them.

Weakness invites provocation, and – never one to miss an opportunity to outmanoeuvre Mr Obama – Mr Putin provided a self-serving opportunity that would also allow the president to save face: Moscow would push Syria to put their chemical weapons under international control.

[…]It’s also important to note that in the wake of the red line being trampled, Russia invaded Crimea. President Obama’s legacy may be mixed, but one thing is for sure: Vladimir Putin is much more powerful and provocative than he was before Mr Obama took office, and Russia has only expanded its sphere of influence.

[…]For those paying attention, Mr Obama’s foreign policy world-view has failed.

Russia is our enemy, and they are trying to undermine us everywhere they can. Obama is meeting this challenge with the typical weakness he has shown in negotiations and stand-offs since he went on his Worldwide Bow Down To Dictators tour. His priorities seem to be to cut military spending and impose political correctness on the armed services. His latest great achievement in that regard is to nominate a gay civilian who has never served in the military to be head of the entire U.S. Army. That’s what he is most concerned about, political correctness. Not national security and not foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton walks out of press conference when questioned about e-mail server

What difference does national security make?
What difference does national security make?

This is from The Hill.


Hillary Clinton dismissed the controversy surrounding her private email server and defended her conduct as legal during a press conference Tuesday in Las Vegas.

A visibly aggravated Clinton repeatedly insisted that she had done nothing wrong and seemed frustrated by questions about the issue.

[…]Asked if the server, which has been turned over to the Department of Justice, had been wiped clean, Clinton initially shrugged and later joked: “Like with a cloth or something?”

“I don’t know how it works digitally at all,” she added.

With a cloth or something? That’s the contempt she has for those who try to get the truth and hold her accountable. That’s what she would be like as President – “how dare you judge me, peasants?”

Although Clinton said that no material on her e-mail server was classified… well, let the Washington Times explain:

More than 300 of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails — or 5.1 percent of those processed so far — have been flagged for potential secret information, the State Department reported to a federal court Monday as the political furor continued to grow for the Democratic presidential candidate and her aides.

[…]Mrs. Clinton has insisted that she never sent any classified information from her account at all and that none of the messages she received had information that was marked classified at the time — though some of it has since been designated.

[…]Internal watchdogs have contradicted Mrs. Clinton’s account, saying messages clearly contained classified information, even if it wasn’t marked as such, and should have been kept more secure than on her own server.

These are the e-mails that Clinton insists are her “personal business”. You know, recipes, Yoga, pictures of Chelsea’s weddings… nothing classified. Move along, nothing to see here.

The UK Daily Mail got a world exclusive scoop yesterday. Doing the journalism that the left-wing United States media won’t do.


The IT company Hilary Clinton chose to maintain her private email account was run from a loft apartment and its servers were housed in the bathroom closet, Daily Mail Online can reveal.

Daily Mail Online tracked down ex-employees of Platte River Networks in Denver, Colorado, who revealed the outfit’s strong links to the Democratic Party but expressed shock that the 2016 presidential candidate chose the small private company for such a sensitive job.

[…]It will be the small scale of the firm and its own home-made arrangements which will raise the most significant questions over security and over what checks Clinton’s aides made about how suitable it was for dealing with what new transpires to be classified material.

The article says that the firm did not even have an alarm.

So… the entire national security of the nation… was being managed by a company that ran out of a loft apartment… with servers in a bathroom closet? That’s really secure and great disaster recovery, too.  Is that a good way to safeguard national security secrets? There is a reason why government employees have to use secure servers that are disaster-resistant, encrypted, and so on. This was not a casual mistake by Clinton – she went out of her way to make sure that what she wrote in her e-mails would never be discovered and used against her.

A former CIA analyst explains what should happen to her in the Washington Examiner:

If Hillary Clinton allowed classified information onto her private server or personal phone, she should be disqualified from becoming president, former CIA spy Bob Baer said Saturday.

Baer, a former CIA officer and commentator on national security issues, said that sending or receiving top secret information is a “transgression that I don’t think the president of the United States should be allowed to have committed.”

In an interview with CNN International, Baer claimed that the markings on emails believed to have crossed the private server Clinton maintained as secretary of state represented the highest levels of secrecy in the government.

“You don’t get any more secret than that,” he said.

“Even Snowden didn’t get into that,” Baer said. “If this in fact was on a private server, you and I would get fired and possibly jailed. This could be a felony.”

Baer said that when he was on assignment, he wasn’t allowed to receive messages at that level of classification, and that putting it on a private server or handheld device was a major mistake.

“If this was on her server and it got into her smartphone, there’s a big problem there,” he claimed. “Seriously, if I had sent a document like this over the open Internet, I’d get fired the same day — escorted to the door, and gone for good, and probably charged with mishandling classified information.”

She’s running for the White House, but her lousy judgment could land her in the Big House. Unforgiveable.

What did Hillary Clinton accomplish as Secretary of State?

What difference does national security make?
What difference does national security make?

Thomas Sowell writes about Hillary’s foreign policy achievements in Investors Business Daily.


U.S. intervention in Libya and Egypt, undermining governments that were no threat to American interests, led to Islamic extremists taking over in Egypt and terrorist chaos in Libya, where the American ambassador was killed, along with three other Americans.

[…]In Europe, as in the Middle East, our foreign policy during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state was to undermine our friends and cater to our enemies.

The famous “reset” in our foreign policy with Russia began with the Obama administration reneging on a pre-existing American commitment to supply defensive technology to shield Poland and the Czech Republic from missile attacks.

This left both countries vulnerable to pressures and threats from Russia — and left other countries elsewhere wondering how much they could rely on American promises.

Even after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Obama administration refused to let the Ukrainians have weapons with which to defend themselves.

[…][Obama and Clinton] both opposed the military “surge” in Iraq, under General David Petraeus, that defeated the terrorists there.

Even after the surge succeeded, Hillary Clinton was among those who fiercely denied initially that it had succeeded, and sought to discredit Gen. Petraeus, though eventually the evidence of the surge’s success became undeniable, even among those who had opposed it.

The truly historic catastrophe of American foreign policy — not only failing to stop Iran from going nuclear, but making it more difficult for Israel to stop them — was also something that happened on Hillary Clinton’s watch as secretary of state.

What the administration’s protracted and repeatedly extended negotiations with Iran accomplished was to allow Iran time to multiply, bury and reinforce its nuclear facilities, to the point where it was uncertain whether Israel still had the military capacity to destroy those facilities.

There are no offsetting foreign policy triumphs under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Syria, China and North Korea are other scenes of similar setbacks.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, news has now come out that the Benghazi investigation has managed to get hold of e-mails that Hillary Clinton sent to her non-State-Department-employee friend Sidney Blumenthal. They did NOT get the e-mails from Hillary, like they were supposed to. They got them from Sidney Blumenthal. Why didn’t Hillary hand over those work-related e-mails? You can read about that story in the Washington Times.

And more – Clinton approved of the release of one of the Benghazi terrorist attack suspects in 2012. She assured conservative Congressman Tom Cotton that the Benghazi suspect would be monitored by the Tunisians, so that he could do us no more harm. Well, he ended up in Mosul, Iraq, and was just killed by an airstrike in June 2015. You can read more about that story in The Weekly Standard.

Seriously… I would think that the Libya debacle alone would be enough to sink Hillary’s presidential hopes. When you add the Russian reset, Benghazi YouTube alibi, Libya, Egypt, Syria, the Clinton Foundation scandal, and so many other failures and mistakes, we’d be better off hiring a clown to be President than putting her in charge. She just isn’t qualified to the job. She just doesn’t take national security and foreign policy seriously. She is only interested in one thing: getting elected.

Three serious breaches of national security under this Democrat administration

What difference does national security make?
What difference does national security make?

The first one was Edward Snowden’s leak of classified data.

This article from Reuters has an update on the damage that Snowden caused.

It says:

Britain has pulled out agents from live operations in “hostile countries” after Russia and China cracked top-secret information contained in files leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the Sunday Times reported.

Security service MI6, which operates overseas and is tasked with defending British interests, has removed agents from certain countries, the newspaper said, citing unnamed officials at the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Home Office (interior ministry) and security services.

Snowden downloaded more than 1.7 million secret files from security agencies in the United States and Britain in 2013, and leaked details about mass surveillance of phone and internet communications.

[…]British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Snowden had done a huge amount of damage to the West’s ability to protect its citizens.

“As to the specific allegations this morning, we never comment on operational intelligence matters so I’m not going to talk about what we have or haven’t done in order to mitigate the effect of the Snowden revelations, but nobody should be in any doubt that Edward Snowden has caused immense damage,” he told Sky News.

[…]A Home Office source told the newspaper that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not grant Snowden asylum for nothing.

“His documents were encrypted but they weren’t completely secure and we have now seen our agents and assets being targeted,” the source said.

A British intelligence source said Snowden had done “incalculable damage”.

“In some cases the agencies have been forced to intervene and lift their agents from operations to stop them being identified and killed,” the source was quoted as saying.

You’ll recall that it was a British agent who stopped a recent attack by an Islamic terrorist. And now, British agents from MI6 are pulling out of their stations. There is a cost to focusing too much on global warming and free contraceptives, and not enough on national security and foreign policy.

Note that we haven’t done anything to Snowden or Russia that might discourage others from doing similar things in the future, because I guess the Democrats think that would be too mean. I don’t think it would be too mean.

Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks

Here’s the second great intelligence failure, Private Bradley Manning.

Bradley E. Manning, the soldier convicted of leaking a trove of classified documents, was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday for the largest public breach of secret data in U.S. history, sparking a debate over the length of his prison term and whether he could ever win an early release.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, also demoted him from private first class to private and dishonorably discharged him from the Army at a brief court-martial hearing at Fort Meade, Md.

[…]Manning, 25, was convicted July 30 on 20 charges, including six under the Espionage Act, for downloading, copying and passing to WikiLeaks more than 700,000 raw U.S. military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables, all classified “Secret.”

[…]His defense attorney, David Coombs, argued that the military was partly to blame because it should have pulled Manning’s access to classified documents after a series of extreme emotional events the junior intelligence analyst experienced during his deployment in Iraq.

Manning raged at superiors, emailed photos of himself dressed as a woman and punched a female soldier in the face.

Manning now wants to get a sex change and be referred to as Chelsea. What exactly was he doing with all of this classified information? Does the Obama administration not check people for these things, or did he get a free security pass because he was gay?

China hacking

Here’s the third great intelligence failure, the recent China hacking of government employee data.

Here’s Jonah Goldberg writing in The Stream.


[I]t was revealed last week that the Chinese stole millions of personnel files and mountains of background-check information from the U.S. government. I suppose I should say the Chinese “allegedly” stole the information, but many lawmakers, government officials, anonymous intelligence sources and industry experts are convinced that the Chinese did it. Besides, we normally use “allegedly” in such cases because we don’t want to prejudice a jury — and this case is never, ever going to court.

The damage is hard to exaggerate. Former NSA counterintelligence officer John Schindler calls it a “disaster” in a column headlined “China’s hack just wrecked American espionage.” Joel Brenner, America’s top counterintelligence official from 2006 to 2009, says the stolen data amounts to the “crown jewels” of American intelligence. “This tells the Chinese the identities of almost everybody who has got a United States security clearance,” he told the Associated Press.

Countless current and past federal employees are now extremely vulnerable to blackmail and even recruitment by Chinese intelligence operatives. Millions are open to identity theft (the files included all of their personal information, including Social Security numbers, and in many cases medical, family, romantic and substance-abuse histories). My wife, who previously worked for the Justice Department, may have lived a fine and upstanding life, but I don’t relish the fact that some chain-smoking Chinese bureaucrat is going over her personal information.

Many are calling it a “cyber Pearl Harbor.”

I would not want to be a non-official cover agent working for the U.S. government right now.

Next time, let’s vote for the serious party.

What happens to crime rates if we punish police officers for stopping crime?

This story from Heather MacDonald in the Wall Street Journal is scary.

She writes:

The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.

In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%. “Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro at a May 7 City Hall hearing.

Murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence 7%.

Those citywide statistics from law-enforcement officials mask even more startling neighborhood-level increases. Shooting incidents are up 500% in an East Harlem precinct compared with last year; in a South Central Los Angeles police division, shooting victims are up 100%.

By contrast, the first six months of 2014 continued a 20-year pattern of growing public safety. Violent crime in the first half of last year dropped 4.6% nationally and property crime was down 7.5%. Though comparable national figures for the first half of 2015 won’t be available for another year, the January through June 2014 crime decline is unlikely to be repeated.

What could the cause of this be? Well, it’s the backlash against police officers who defend themselves from assault by criminals who attack them:

Since last summer, the airwaves have been dominated by suggestions that the police are the biggest threat facing young black males today. A handful of highly publicized deaths of unarmed black men, often following a resisted arrest—including Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y., in July 2014, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 and Freddie Gray in Baltimore last month—have led to riots, violent protests and attacks on the police. Murders of officers jumped 89% in 2014, to 51 from 27.

The state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, wants to create a special state prosecutor dedicated solely to prosecuting cops who use lethal force. New York Gov.Andrew Cuomo would appoint an independent monitor whenever a grand jury fails to indict an officer for homicide and there are “doubts” about the fairness of the proceeding (read: in every instance of a non-indictment); the governor could then turn over the case to a special prosecutor for a second grand jury proceeding.

This incessant drumbeat against the police has resulted in what St. Louis police chiefSam Dotson last November called the “Ferguson effect.” Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the “criminal element is feeling empowered,” Mr. Dotson reported. Arrests in St. Louis city and county by that point had dropped a third since the shooting of Michael Brown in August. Not surprisingly, homicides in the city surged 47% by early November and robberies in the county were up 82%.

Similar “Ferguson effects” are happening across the country as officers scale back on proactive policing under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric. Arrests in Baltimore were down 56% in May compared with 2014.

But there’s more – there’s also leniency towards property and drug crime, and criminals are getting the message:

As attorney general, Eric Holder pressed the cause of ending “mass incarceration” on racial grounds; elected officials across the political spectrum have jumped on board. A 2014 California voter initiative has retroactively downgraded a range of property and drug felonies to misdemeanors, including forcible theft of guns, purses and laptops. More than 3,000 felons have already been released from California prisons, according to the Association of Deputy District Attorneys in Los Angeles County. Burglary, larceny and car theft have surged in the county, the association reports.

“There are no real consequences for committing property crimes anymore,” Los Angeles Police Lt. Armando Munoz told Downtown News earlier this month, “and the criminals know this.” The Milwaukee district attorney, John Chisholm, is diverting many property and drug criminals to rehabilitation programs to reduce the number of blacks in Wisconsin prisons; critics see the rise in Milwaukee crime as one result.

Yes, this is what happens with the leftist mainstream media and the Democrats who run big cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, Seattle, etc. get together and decide that they are more opposed to police officers than they are to criminals. If we as a society choose to intimidate and persecute the police for doing their jobs, then crime goes up. What’s my counter to this? Well, it might be time to start thinking about moving out of big cities, especially ones that are run by Democrats. I just don’t see how this is going to get fixed in the near-term, given that Obama rolled back welfare reform, and welfare is what causes women to have children before they get married. Fatherless children are more likely to become criminals. The decline of marriage and family that everyone seems to be celebrating as “tolerance” will just make more delinquent children. So, just when we most need the police (since we insist on attack marriage with welfare, no-fault divorce and same-sex marriage) we are actively working to undermine them.

But that’s not all I am seeing that troubles me. I see a lot of support for amnesty, and that means a lot more Democrat voters in the future, especially in states with a high concentration of illegal immigrants. Not only that, but there are problems of underfunded pensions at the state level, and the trillion dollar student loan bubble, and the problem of continued funding of entitlement programs like Social Security. And of course we have the $10 trillion that the Democrats added to the debt, and the problems in so many countries in the Middle East, like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria. The whole Middle East is on fire, and this is bound to affect us as our defense spending declines.

How to respond to this? I think having earnings and savings is key, and maybe trying to move away from areas that are likely to have high crime, and strains on state and local budgets from illegal immigrants, pension obligations, etc. I really have no answer to the student loan bubble, the entitlements, the debt and the foreign policy threats. What I am doing is focusing on earning money (through work) and saving it by restricting spending on luxury items, e.g. – travel, fun, etc.