Tag Archives: Isolationism

Remembering 9/11 and the Democrat weakness on foreign policy that caused it

The 9/11 attacks resulted from weak Democrat foreign policy
The 9/11 terrorist attacks resulted from weak Democrat foreign policy

One of my libertarian friends was objecting to the 9/11 memorial being conducted today. So I decided to re-post a VERY old post I wrote in February 2009 when I was just starting out blogging. In it, I explain why I became so conservative on foreign policy after 9/11. Watching the response of the secular left and libertarians to the attack (blame America and praise terrorists) turned me into a hawk.

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The Wall

Democrats have a reputation for not taking defense and counter-terrorism seriously. According to this post over at the American Thinker, the 9/11 tragedy was mostly due to a failure in intelligence caused by a “wall” between different intelligence-gathering organizations.

Gorelick, an appointee of Bill Clinton, is the one who constructed the wall of separation that kept the CIA and the FBI from comparing notes and therefore invading the privacy of nice young men like, say, Muhammed Atta and Zacarius Moussaoui. While countless problems were uncovered in our intelligence operations in the wake of 9-11, no single factor comes close to in importance to Jamie Gorelick’s wall.

In fact, it was Gorelick’s wall, perhaps more than any other single factor, that induces some people to blame Clinton himself for 9-11 since he appointed her and she acted consistent with his philosophy of “crime fighting.” She put the wall into place as Deputy Attorney General in 1995.

Now let’s see how a Republican president responded to a terrorist attack.

George W. Bush

George W. Bush’s bold action abroad gave us 7 years free from terrorist attacks on American assets. If there is one thing that deters future attacks, it is military invasions of countries that support and/or harbor terrorists. They understand military force. For Bush, one terrorist attack was enough to get us to respond with force.

As a result of the Bush doctrine of invading states suspected of developing and/or proliferating WMDs, Libya discontinued its weapons program and invited inspectors to come in and cart away all of its research equipment. That was the Bush doctrine – which Libya believed only because they saw that we were willing to back up our demands with force. We can have peace if our enemies believe that we have the will to go to war, and that our enemies fear that they will lose that contest.

Bill Clinton

Contrast George W. Bush’s immediate response to terrorism with Democrat Bill Clinton. According to Byron York, we had four terrorist attacks during Clinton’s presidency.

So Clinton talked tough. But he did not act tough. Indeed, a review of his years in office shows that each time the president was confronted with a major terrorist attack — the February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center, the Khobar Towers attack, the August 7, 1998, bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole — Clinton was preoccupied with his own political fortunes to an extent that precluded his giving serious and sustained attention to fighting terrorism.

How did Clinton respond to these four attacks? According to this interview with Richard Miniter, President Clinton was much less aggressive than Bush was, during his two terms. Bush’s administration did not fear public opinion, but Clinton’s administration did. Miniter lists sixteen of the Clinton administration’s failures to treat terrorism as a serious threat. Below, I cite my favorites. Read the whole list!

Lopez: In sum, how many times did Bill Clinton lose bin Laden?

Miniter: Here’s a rundown. The Clinton administration:

[…]4. Did not militarily react to the al Qaeda bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

[…]7. Objected to Northern Alliance efforts to assassinate bin Laden in Afghanistan.

8. Decided against using special forces to take down bin Laden in Afghanistan.

[…]11. Clumsily tipped off Pakistani officials sympathetic to bin Laden before a planned missile strike against bin Laden on August 20, 1998. Bin Laden left the camp with only minutes to spare.

12-14. Three times, Clinton hesitated or deferred in ordering missile strikes against bin Laden in 1999 and 2000.

15. When they finally launched and armed the Predator spy drone plane, which captured amazing live video images of bin Laden, the Clinton administration no longer had military assets in place to strike the archterrorist.

16. Did not order a retaliatory strike on bin Laden for the murderous attack on the USS Cole.

When you look at the facts, we begin to understand why Democrats perform so poorly on national security issues.

Peace Through Strength

Republicans, on the other hand, believe in peace through strength.

In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve “peace through strength.” During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.

I’ve been reading a lot about the run up to World War 2 lately. And what I discovered was that leading figures in the governments of both the Germany and Japan (in their correspondence) believed that no one in the West would stop them for being aggressive. So, in the 1930s, both Germany and Japan took aggressive actions against their neighbors. For example, Germany and Japan both seized territory from their peaceful neighbors. We got into a world war because we didn’t deter these early aggressive actions. That’s why we had to fight against a much stronger enemy in a world war – we gave them time to build up while we did nothing to prepare.

The differences between the two political parties could not be more clear. Weakness provokes war. Wars start when our enemies believe that they can strike us with impunity. Military strength, and the will to use it, deter aggression.

Are snowflakes and libertarians right to worry that killing Iranian terrorists will start a war?

Neville Chamberlain Obama: peace in our time
Neville Chamberlain Obama: peace in our time

I talked to a few progressives and libertarians on the weekend. They seemed to think that Trump’s decision to sanction two Iranian generals would lead to war. Now, I asked the libertarians and progressives a bit about how World War 2 started. They didn’t know anything about how it started. Let’s see what Trump did in Iran, and then look at WW2 history to see if it is likely to stop or start a war.

Before I start, I just want to say that someone shared a post by far-left filmmaker Michael Moore claiming that Americans had ever heard of Soleimani or the Quds Force. Here are my previous 134 posts on Iran, my previous 9 posts on the Quds Force, and my previous post on Soleimani. Speak for yourself, Michael Moore.

First, who is Solemani, and what is the Quds Force? The New York Times explains:

More than any other American military operation since the invasion of Iraq, the assassination yesterday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Qods Force of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, is a seismic event. The killings of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leaders of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, were certainly meaningful, but they were also largely symbolic, because their organizations had been mostly destroyed. Taking out the architect of the Islamic Republic’s decades-long active campaign of violence against the United States and its allies, especially Israel, represents a tectonic shift in Middle Eastern politics.

[…]In Lebanon, Mr. Suleimani built Lebanese Hezbollah into the powerful state within a state that we know today. A terrorist organization receiving its funds, arms and marching orders from Tehran, Hezbollah has a missile arsenal larger than that of most countries in the region. The group’s success has been astounding, helping to cement Iran’s influence not just in Lebanon but farther around the Arab world.

Building up on this successful experience, Mr. Suleimani spent the last decade replicating the Hezbollah model in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, propping up local militias with precision weapons and tactical know-how. In Syria, his forces have allied with Russia to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a project that, in practice, has meant driving over 10 million people from their homes and killing well over half a million. In Iraq, as we have seen in recent days, Mr. Suleimani’s militias ride roughshod over the legitimate state institutions. They rose to power, of course, after participating in an insurgency, of which he was the architect, against American and coalition forces. Hundreds of American soldiers lost their lives to the weapons that the Qods Force provided to its Iraqi proxies.

I think this part is worth emphasizing – Solemani was the aggressor in the Iraq embassy attack, and he has a record of attacking American armed forces:

Soleimani, who was designated and sanctioned by the U.N., E.U., and U.S. alike, directly approved Tuesday’s U.S. embassy storming in Baghdad by Iranian proxy militia Kataib Hezbollah, and was credibly assessed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as actively planning more “imminent” attacks against hard American assets in the Middle East, has been directly active in the mass murder of Americans. He personally oversaw the mass arming of Shiite Iraqi insurgents and it is estimated that the IRGC-QF targeted and killed over 600 Americans in Iraq from 2003–2011. The State Department asserts that this personally amounts to a whopping 17% of all deaths of U.S. military personnel during the Iraq War.

So, far from Trump’s response being disproportionate, this was actually a long-overdue response. It was even overdue from Trump.

The message that Iran got after 8 years of Obama was clear: acts of aggression committed by Iran against the United States and her allies would be rewarded, including the $1.7 BILLION payoff from the Obama administration. The Obama administration’s policy was isolationism and appeasement. And this was fine with Democrat voters, because not a single Democrat voter (or libertarian ) knew anything about Iran, the Iran deal, Soleimani, or the Quds Force. They are low-information voters.

Now let’s see how World War 2 started.

Here is a helpful lecture by military historian Victor Davis Hanson.

Germany re-armed in 1936. Austria was annexed in 1938. The Rhineland was re-occupied in 1938. Czechoslovakia was invaded in 1939. And the allied democracies did nothing to stop Hitler. Similarly, Japan also re-armed, broke treaties and invaded neighbors. And the allied democracies did nothing to stop them, despite having superior planes, tanks, and ships. This allowed the Axis powers time to research better weapons, re-arm, and gain a strategic advantage. The Axis powers could have been stopped early on, at a much lower cost in blood and treasure. It was the libertarians and the progressives with their policies of isolationism and appeasement that made World War 2 much worse than it needed to be.

VDH explains:

Hitler assumed the United States either could not or would not offer much military help to his intended European targets.

Why, then, did a relatively weak Nazi Germany between 1939 and 1941 believe that it could take on much of the world, and inspire Axis partners such as Italy and Japan to follow its suicidal lead?

The answer is obvious. British and French appeasement, Soviet collaboration and American isolation had together convinced Hitler and his Axis allies that the victors of World War I were more eager to grant concessions at any cost than were the defeated.

In the lecture, VDH explains that we know from the writings of the leaders of Germany and Japan that they interpreted the isolationist / appeasement policies of the libertarian progressives as weakness, and this is what caused them to re-arm and attack their neighbors. Prior to the historical start of WW2, the Western nations had better tanks, planes and ships than the Axis powers. But they refused to use them to deter the Axis powers. And that’s why World War 2 was much more costly and bloody than it needed to be.

Finally, I should quickly note that America pursued a different strategy in the Cold War, under Ronald Reagan. Reagan was villified by the libertarians and progressives for taking a strong stand against communism. Instead of appeasing and isolating, he put America on a war footing, making aggression costly to the Soviet Union. This approach worked to avoid an actual World War 3. Although his critics attacked him for being pro-war, his tough approach was exactly what was needed to cause the bully to back down.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Ron Paul’s isolationist foreign policy views echo Neville Chamberlain

From Doug Ross at Director Blue, 10 fun facts about Ron Paul.

Here’s fact #7:

And so I asked Congressman Paul: if he were President of the United States during World War II, and as president he knew what we now know about the Holocaust, but the Third Reich presented no threat to the U.S., would he have sent American troops to Nazi Germany purely as a moral imperative to save the Jews?

And the Congressman answered:

“No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t risk American lives to do that. If someone wants to do that on their own because they want to do that, well, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t do that.”

Paul then looked at me, and I politely thanked him for his time. He smiled at me again and nodded his head, and many of his young followers were also smiling, and nodding their heads in agreement. Clearly, I was the only one in the room who was disturbed by his response.

When I first presented the story of Paul’s comments about the Holocaust to major news media outlets two years ago, they were so stunned they were afraid to publish my story, and as a result it has remained unpublished until now.

I went to great lengths afterwards to learn more about the basis for Paul’s comments. I spoke to Eric Dondero, a former senior aide for Paul, in February 2010. Dondero is quoted in a Weekly Standard article today about Paul’s isolationist beliefs.

When I called Dondero again this morning, and told him I was finally going forward with the story, he told me that Paul had made similar comments to him.

“He told me numerous times it was not worth it to intervene to save the Jews in World War II,” Dondero said. “I don’t think that’s because he’s an antisemite. It’s because he’s an extreme isolationist and he’s trying to be 100% principled–he doesn’t think there’s any reason to intervene for human rights or any other reason anywhere on the planet.”

Calls to Rep. Paul’s congressional office and campaign office last week and this morning were not returned.

It’s not just the Holocaust, either. It’s the wholesale abandonment of the United Kingdom to conquest by Nazi Germany. And it’s not just the United Kingdom. It’s the complete takeover of the Asia-Pacific theater, and Australia, and New Zealand, by Imperial Japan. That’s what Ron Paul would have let happen.

Historians will tell you that Hitler could have been contained if Western leaders had responded militarily when he broke the Locarno treaties by remilitarizing the Rhineland in 1936. Do you think that Ron Paul would have gone to war in 1936 to stop Hitler – when he was still relatively weak? The Polyanna isolationism of Ron Paul is exactly what causes world wars. People like Ron Paul ignore aggressors when they make small invasions and then in a few years we have a world war on our hands. Ron Paul is a warmonger – his naive isolationism gets us into world wars by emboldening and coddling tyrants with a naive stick-your-head-in-the-sand foreign policy. Ron Paul doesn’t know anything about the threat of terrorism – his foreign policy is based on economics theories authored by people who died before nuclear weapons were invented. You can’t trust someone who makes foreign policy using theories, but who is ignorant of the real dangers we face.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”
– George Santayana 

It’s not a surprise to me that Ron Paul is popular with young people who don’t understand military history and the threat of terrorism. They don’t know who Neville Chamberlain was, or they would recognize Ron Paul as the second coming of Neville Chamberlain.

Thomas Sowell explains what causes wars

Let’s take a look at the lessons of history and find out what really causes wars.

Here’s an article from Townhall.

Excerpt:

On the international scene, trying to assuage aggressors’ feelings and look at the world from their point of view has had an even more catastrophic track record. A typical sample of this kind of thinking can be found in a speech to the British Parliament by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938: “It has always seemed to me that in dealing with foreign countries we do not give ourselves a chance of success unless we try to understand their mentality, which is not always the same as our own, and it really is astonishing to contemplate how the identically same facts are regarded from two different angles.”

Like our former ambassador from the Carter era, Chamberlain sought to “remove the causes of strife or war.” He wanted “a general settlement of the grievances of the world without war.” In other words, the British prime minister approached Hitler with the attitude of someone negotiating a labor contract, where each side gives a little and everything gets worked out in the end. What Chamberlain did not understand was that all his concessions simply led to new demands from Hitler — and contempt for him by Hitler.

What Winston Churchill understood at the time, and Chamberlain did not, was that Hitler was driven by what Churchill called “currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them.” That was also what drove the men who drove the planes into the World Trade Center.

Pacifists of the 20th century had a lot of blood on their hands for weakening the Western democracies in the face of rising belligerence and military might in aggressor nations like Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. In Britain during the 1930s, Labor Party members of Parliament voted repeatedly against military spending, while Hitler built up the most powerful military machine in Europe. Students at leading British universities signed pledges to refuse to fight in the event of war.

All of this encouraged the Nazis and the Japanese toward war against countries that they knew had greater military potential than their own. Military potential only counts when there is the will to develop it and use it, and the fortitude to continue with a bloody war when it comes. This is what they did not believe the West had. And it was Western pacifists who led them to that belief.

Then as now, pacifism was a “statement” about one’s ideals that paid little attention to actual consequences. At a Labor Party rally where Britain was being urged to disarm “as an example to others,” economist Roy Harrod asked one of the pacifists: “You think our example will cause Hitler and Mussolini to disarm?”

The reply was: “Oh, Roy, have you lost all your idealism?” In other words, the issue was about making a “statement” — that is, posturing on the edge of a volcano, with World War II threatening to erupt at any time. When disarmament advocate George Bernard Shaw was asked what Britons should do if the Nazis crossed the channel into Britain, the playwright replied, “Welcome them as tourists.”

Most people think that Thomas Sowell is a libertarian, but he isn’t a full libertarian. He just reports the evidence. If the evidence is pro-war, then he’s pro-war. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher called this view “peace through strength”. There is only one reason why evil people do not attack – because they think that good people have the firepower to make them pay dearly for their aggression, and – and this is very important – the will to use it. We need to be wary of people like Ron Paul who minimize patriotism and heroism, and charge proponents of military power with “imperialism”.

Here’s an article that explains it more.

Excerpt:

In France, after the First World War, the teachers’ unions launched a systematic purge of textbooks, in order to promote internationalism and pacifism.

Books that depicted the courage and self-sacrifice of soldiers who had defended France against the German invaders were called “bellicose” books to be banished from the schools.

Textbook publishers caved in to the power of the teachers’ unions, rather than lose a large market for their books. History books were sharply revised to conform to internationalism and pacifism.

The once epic story of the French soldiers’ heroic defense against the German invaders at Verdun, despite the massive casualties suffered by the French, was now transformed into a story of horrible suffering by all soldiers at Verdun— French and German alike.

In short, soldiers once depicted as national heroes were now depicted as victims— and just like victims in other nations’ armies.

[…]France, where pacifism and internationalism were strongest, became a classic example of how much it can matter.

During the First World War, France fought on against the German invaders for four long years, despite having more of its soldiers killed than all the American soldiers killed in all the wars in the history of the United States, put together.

But during the Second World War, France collapsed after just six weeks of fighting and surrendered to Nazi Germany.

At the bitter moment of defeat the head of the French teachers’ union was told, “You are partially responsible for the defeat.”

Charles de Gaulle, Francois Mauriac, and other Frenchmen blamed a lack of national will or general moral decay, for the sudden and humiliating collapse of France in 1940.

At the outset of the invasion, both German and French generals assessed French military forces as more likely to gain victory, and virtually no one expected France to collapse like a house of cards — except Adolf Hitler, who had studied French society instead of French military forces.

Did patriotism matter? It mattered more than superior French tanks and planes.

Everybody wants peace. Everyone – on both sides of the issue. But it is not weakness but strength that deters wars. Strength, and the will to defeat evil.

Ron Paul in Iowa debate: Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear bomb

The best clip from the Thursday night Republican primary debate.

From NewsMax.

Excerpt:

Iran should be allowed to have a nuclear bomb, Republican candidate Ron Paul suggested during Thursday’s presidential debate.

The maverick Texas Congressman also said it was time to stop the half-century old embargo on Cuba and all troops should be brought home.

His comments brought scorn from rival candidates. Michele Bachmann said she would do everything in her power to prevent Iran becoming nuclear.

Rick Santorum said “Iran is not Iceland, Ron. “It’s been at war with us since 1979.

“Anyone who suggests Iran is not a threat to this country is not seeing the world very clearly.”

Paul said it is natural for Iran to want a bomb as it is surrounded by countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel which all have one and with China, the United States and Russia all involved in the region. He said the U.S. should not get involved in the country’s internal affairs.

Consider this recent article on Iran’s weapons development, from Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Tehran’s navy deploys ships to the Atlantic capable of launching long-range missiles. This is not a joke. This is a dress rehearsal for the day an EMP attack ends our way of life.

‘Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?” Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked at “The World Without Zionism” Tehran conference in 2005. “But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.” He added that Iran had a “war preparation plan” for, as he put it, “the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization.”

Electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is not a subject familiar to most Americans. But it’s quite familiar to the Iranian military.

It’s been practicing for the day when an Iranian missile tipped with a nuclear warhead lifts off from a vessel parked in international waters off our shores, the warhead detonating high above the American heartland, sending electromagnetic waves rippling across the American landscape, frying every electronic circuit within range.

In a July 18 statement, Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said the Iranian navy plans on deploying warships in the Atlantic Ocean as part of a program to ply international waters.

Two days later, another Iranian rear admiral, Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi, revealed for the first time that his navy has equipped a number of its logistic vessels and units with long-range missiles.

The squadron will be equipped with the Nur missile, which is based on China’s long-range Silkworm C-802 anti-ship cruise missile and has a 125-mile range and 365-pound warhead.

It is not these ships and their missiles that threaten us, but what comes later as they use these forays to gain experience operating far from Iranian shores.

A simple Scud missile, with a nuclear warhead, could be fired from an inconspicuous freighter in international waters off our coast and detonated high over the U.S.

It would wreak devastation on America’s technological, electrical and transportation infrastructure. Masked as a terrorist attack, Iran would have plausible deniability of any responsibility.

Iran has practiced launching and detonating Scuds in midflight, launched from ships in the Caspian Sea. It’s also tested high-altitude explosions of its Shahab-3 ballistic missile, a test consistent with an EMP attack.

The warhead need not be of a staggeringly high yield — nor must the missile have an intercontinental range.

“One nightmare scenario posed,” according to Peter Vincent Pry, an expert on EMP who sits on a congressional panel looking into the threat of such a weapon, “was a ship-launched EMP attack against the U.S. by Iran, as this would eliminate the need for Iran to develop an ICBM to deliver a nuclear warhead against the U.S. and could be executed clandestinely, taking the U.S. by surprise.”

Iran has previously called for Israel, our ally, to be “wiped off the map“.

Excerpt:

Leaders around the world on Thursday condemned a call by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel be “wiped off the map,” and a top Iranian official said that mass demonstrations in his country on Friday would rebuff the rising criticism from abroad.

“I have never come across a situation of the president of a country saying they want to . . . wipe out another country,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair said at a summit outside London of the 25 leaders of the European Union’s member states.

Blair said Ahmadinejad’s comment was “completely and totally unacceptable.”

In a joint statement, the E.U. leaders “condemned in the strongest terms” the Iranian president’s call, saying it “will cause concern about Iran’s role in the region and its future intentions.” President Jacques Chirac of France told reporters that Ahmadinejad risked Iran “being left on the outside of other nations.”

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Israel, called the Iranian president’s statement “unacceptable.”

The statement was widely reported in the Arab world; leaders there reacted for the most part with silence. Most Arab countries have no diplomatic relations with Israel. But the Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said, according to the Associated Press: “We have recognized the state of Israel and we are pursuing a peace process with Israel, and . . . we do not accept the statements of the president of Iran. This is unacceptable.”

U.S. and European leaders have grown increasingly worried about the bellicose attitude of Iran at a time when it is pursuing a nuclear program that they have said may be intended to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran is also sharing weapons technology with North Korea.

Is Ron Paul right to want to let Iran have nuclear weapons and long-range missiles? Does he understand modern weapon systems? Is he aware of the threats that Achmadinejad has made to Israel and the United States? Is he aware of Iran’s military interference in Iraq? Does he understand how Iran influences Syria, which is now imitating Iran in shooting innocent people in the streets? Is he letting facts influence his ideology?