Tag Archives: Middle East

Charles Krauthammer and Ralph Peters on Obama’s foreign policy

What will we do now?

Moderate conservative Charles Krauthammer summarizes Obama’s foreign policy in the Washington Post. (H/T Muddling Towards Maturity)

Excerpt:

It is perfectly obvious that Iran’s latest uranium maneuver, brokered by Brazil and Turkey, is a ruse. Iran retains more than enough enriched uranium to make a bomb. And it continues enriching at an accelerated pace and to a greater purity (20 percent).

It will… make meaningful sanctions more difficult.

[…]But the deeper meaning of the uranium-export stunt is the brazenness with which Brazil and Turkey gave cover to the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions and deliberately undermined U.S. efforts to curb Iran’s program.

The real news is that already notorious photo: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world.

Krauthammer then explains what drove Brazil and Turkey to abandon US interests and side with Iran.

He writes:

They’ve watched America acquiesce to Russia’s re-exerting sway over Eastern Europe, over Ukraine (pressured by Russia last month into extending for 25 years its lease of the Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol) and over Georgia (Russia’s de facto annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is no longer an issue under the Obama “reset” policy).

They’ve watched our appeasement of Syria, Iran’s agent in the Arab Levant — sending our ambassador back to Syria even as it tightens its grip on Lebanon, supplies Hezbollah with Scuds, and intensifies its role as the pivot of the Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance. The price for this ostentatious flouting of the U.S. and its interests? Ever more eager U.S. “engagement.”

They’ve observed the administration’s gratuitous slap at Britain over the Falklands, its contemptuous treatment of Israel, its undercutting of the Czech Republic and Poland, and its indifference to Lebanon and Georgia. And in Latin America, they see not just U.S. passivity as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez organizes his anti-American “Bolivarian” coalition while deepening military and commercial ties with Iran and Russia. They saw active U.S. support in Honduras for a pro-Chavez would-be dictator seeking unconstitutional powers in defiance of the democratic institutions of that country.

Now take a look at the words of moderate Ralph Peters in the NY Post. (H/T Muddling Towards Maturity)

Excerpt:

What Brazil and Turkey just did wasn’t intended to impede Tehran, but to make it harder for Western powers to impose sanctions. Both countries want Iran to run interference for them.Once Iran gets the bomb and takes the (slight) heat, Brazil and Turkey both intend to go nuclear.

Brazil wants vanity nukes to cement its position as South America’s hegemon, a regional alternative to the US. Turkey’s slow-roll Islamist government dreams of a new Ottoman age — as it turns from the West to embrace the Muslim states it ruled a century ago. After easing Tehran’s path to the bomb, Ankara will claim that it needs its own nuclear capability to maintain regional stability.

But the coming widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons will be profoundly destabilizing. Each Middle Eastern country, especially, that goes nuclear increases the probability of a nuke exchange exponentially.

As Western states fantasize about a “nuclear-weapons-free world,” their developing-world darlings are scrambling like mad to develop nuclear arsenals. And we don’t get it.

Canadian federal government defunds anti-Israel organizations

Stephen Harper: not a primping peacock bitterly clinging to his teleprompter

Story from the National Post. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

Excerpt:

Since last fall, the federal Conservative government has been withdrawing taxpayer funding from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that use their grants to take sides against Israel in the Middle East conflict. Now comes word that last week, Ottawa told the United Nations it would no longer fund the world body’s Palestinian refugee agency. From now on, Canadian aid to Palestinians will be directed to specific projects. We will no longer give lump-sum aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), since most of that money simply goes straight into the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) general treasury, where it might be used for humanitarian projects or might be used to arm and train terrorists.

This is a bold move for Ottawa, which is the first Western government to cut off funding for UNWRA.

Although UNWRA has long been a biased player in the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is seldom criticized for its incitement of anti-Israeli hatred and violence by Palestinians. It has funded textbooks that deny the right of Israel to exist and paid teachers who call on Palestinian children to push the Jewish state into the sea. It harbours radical Islamists and anti-Semites on its payroll and was even caught in 2004 using its own ambulances to ferry terrorists away from Israeli sites they had just attacked.

[…]Ottawa also announced it would defund Alternatives, a Montreal NGO that two summers ago organized an education camp in Quebec, welcoming “500 motivated militants” from Lebanon, Iraq, “Palestine” and Venezuela.

International Development Minister Bev Oda withdrew $7-million in tax dollars, too, from KAIROS, an “ecumenical partnership” that had adopted a vehemently anti-Israel policy and been at the forefront of boycotts against the importation of Israeli goods and visits by Israeli professors.

Now there is some real leadership on foreign policy, from prime minister Stephen Harper.

New Bible software takes Bible study to a whole new level

This story about a new Bible software called “GLO” was sent to me by one of my ex-co-workers from 13 years ago!

Check out these videos:

Cool. One thing I would add to this software is resources for allowing people to explain the Bible to their neighbors. Probably the most useful thing would be to evaluate major passages to see when they were written, how closely the passage is based on eyewitness testimony, whether it appears in other New Testament sources, whether it passes criteria like embarrassment and dissimilarity, and whether it is confirmed by archaeology or even non-Biblical sources.

Additionally, commenter Matthew has some concerns:

Translations? Only NIV, which is OK but far from exemplary. For $90 this needs every translation known to man, in most languages. And full text of all historic bibles as well.
Scholarship? An article found through google critiques Glo for not having a panel of scholars advise on the extra-biblical resources offered.

I don’t think this thing is meant as a scholarly resource – they are aiming for a different market.

Debates about the Bible

If you think that talking about the Bible with non-Christians is fun, you might want to take a look at these debates:

If you like seeing fringe historical skeptics of Christianity go down in flames, check out this post for some historical debates with evangelicals and radical skeptics.

Scary happenings around the world that the Democrats ignore

I was trying to work my way through the latest voluminous post from my buddy Binks over at Free Canuckistan, and I thought that I would share some links with you from stories around the world. Warning, these are pretty depressing.

Brazil: Brazilian President Will Seek to “Criminalize Words and Acts Offensive to Homosexuality”.

In a written address delivered to the Third Congress of the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites, and Transsexuals (ABGLT), Lula denounced groups, most of them Christian, who have objected to plans to outlaw such speech, calling them “hypocrites.”

“Some backward as well as hypocritical sectors … have criticized our government for supporting initiatives that criminalize words or acts that are offensive to homosexuality,” he wrote. “That has no importance.  I will continue, with the support of the entire government, to maintain that attitude.”

As LifeSiteNews has reported in the past, Lula has for several years sought to pass a “homophobia law” that would make it a crime to criticize homosexual behavior.

India: India is in peril. Obama is making it worse.

The real threat is of an Islamist takeover of Pakistan. Yet Obama’s strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan (or ‘Af-Pak’ in Washingtonese) inspires little confidence. Throwing more money at Pakistan and keeping up the pretence that the badly splintered and weakened al-Qa’eda poses the main terrorist threat risks failure.

…As Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley pointed out just before leaving office in January, ‘You can’t really solve Afghanistan without solving Pakistan.’

…Yet to mend a broken policy on Pakistan, Obama is doing more of what helped to create the failure — dispensing rewards upfront.It’s no wonder that even as the Taleban’s sway in Pakistan spreads, the US defense secretary Robert Gates declared in Krakow that the United States ‘would be very open’ to an agreement in Afghanistan similar to the one Pakistan made with the Taleban which ceded control of the Swat Valley to the Taleban. All this is music to the ears of the Pakistani military and its offspring — the Taleban.

Venezuela: In Venezuela, political opposition has a price.

In 2002-2004, almost 5 million Venezuelans signed one or more in a series of three petitions calling for an election to remove President Hugo Chavez from office. After Chavez survived the recall vote of August 2004, the names of those who had signed the final petition were compiled into a database using software called Maisanta.

Now economic analysis has found evidence that petition signers paid a price in lost employment and wages. This tends to corroborate long-held suspicions that the Chavez government used the Maisanta database as an enemies list. The analysis also quantifies the loss to Venezuela’s economy due to the regime’s apparent indulgence of political vendettas.

Middle East: Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, Jihadic Style.

…there were three carefully organized explosions on one day in Iraq, which killed a total of 80 civilians. One explosion was carried out by a woman in a black abaya, holding a 5 year-old child’s hand, (probably not her own). She killed herself and 28 other Muslims in a crowded market in a Baghdad slum. The civilians, many of whom were other women, were waiting on line for free flour, cooking oil, tea, macaroni, and other staples that the police were handing out. Of course, police officers died as well.

I have written a number of articles about Muslim mothers who have participated, both directly and indirectly, in the honor killing of their daughters; and about female Muslim suicide-homicide bombers who have specifically targeted other women and children.

For example, in 2008, in Iraq, one of four female homicide bombers entered a tent that provided shelter to weary female religious pilgrims. She sat down, read the Koran with them, and left a bag behind that, moments later, blew them all up. Please note that she targeted weary, religious Muslim women.

Thus, I was dismayed but not surprised when a Sunni, Al-Qaeda plot emerged, one in which male terrorists raped eighty Muslim girls and women, then turned them over to Samira Jassim who patiently, persistently, “maternally,” persuaded the rape victims, (many of whom had been targeted because they were depressed or mentally ill), to “cleanse” their shame by blowing themselves and other Muslims up. Twenty eight women did so.

Middle East: Nine Muslim countries among top 13 “egregious” violators of religious freedom. (Quote below is from CNN)

A U.S. government panel listed 13 countries Friday as “egregious” violators of religious freedom.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report named Myanmar, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Cuba: What Bob Gates Should Do With the Gitmo Uighurs.

So, Defense Secretary Gates now confirms for the first time that, yes, the Obama administration intends to release “some” Uighurs into the US–said Uighurs being the 17 Chinese Muslims at GItmo whom Andy McCarthy describes as being “steeped in jihadist ideology, trained in explosives and assassination tactics, and anxious enough to get that way that they high-tailed it from China to Afghanistan to become more lethal terrorists.”

Egypt: Coptic Priests and Women Assaulted.

The Egyptian State Security forces attacked and demolished on 26/04/09 at 7.30 am the services building belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Masrah Matrouh, assaulting the Coptic priests and Coptic women and men. More than 1000 Copts have surrounded the remains of the demolished building, ready for martyrdom, said a church member.

Scotland: Scottish Schoolchildren to Attend Government Funded “Islamophobia Workshops”. (from UK Press)

The Scottish Government is to back efforts to challenge Islamophobia in schools across the country.

More than £81,000 will be spent on holding more than 150 workshops in secondary schools over the next two years.

The move was announced by the Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop and welcomed by the charity Show Racism The Red Card, which will put on the 90-minute workshops.

And here’s one from Laura over at Pursuing Holiness…

Europe: Hey, Europe – don’t like U.S. control of the internet? Then build your own.

ICANN is a non-profit organization that coordinates things like the system that allows you to type hotair.com instead of 67.192.179.13 into your browser’s address bar.  It has that authority thanks to a Joint Project Agreement with the Department of Commerce.  It also manages domain name disputes like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals vs. People Eating Tasty Animals fight over peta.org.  (The carnivores lost.) That JPA is going to expire on September 30th, and the United Nations and the European Union are continuing their ongoing fight to gain control.

I’m not a big fan of ICANN for a number of reasons.  But turning control of basic internet functions that we’ve come to take for granted over to the nanny-state Europeans is even worse.  People who “issue binding regulations governing all aspects of public life on all member states, right down to the sizes of apples and oranges in street markets” are not fit guardians of the internet.

They micromanage business and their impulse is to criminalize and control dissenting opinion

Commenter ECM sent me this article from the UK Times featuring a video of actual torture.

The 45-minute tape shows a man that the Government of Abu Dhabi has acknowledged is Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan — one of 22 royal brothers of the UAE President and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince — mercilessly and repeatedly beating a man with a cattle prod and a nailed board, burning his genitals and driving his Mercedes over him several times. He is assisted by a uniformed policeman.

This act, by a member of the United Arab Emirates Royal Family, is actually torture. When the USA waterboards a terrorist, it’s not torture, and we potentially save thousands of lives from future terrorist attacks. Check out this article from the Weekly Standard regarding the Democrats’ politicization of national security and foreign policy.

Excerpt:

…In a letter to his intelligence community colleagues last Thursday, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair described those briefings. “From 2002 through 2006 when the use of these techniques ended, the leadership of the CIA repeatedly reported their activities both to Executive Branch policymakers and to members of Congress, and received permission to continue to use the techniques.”

That passage from Blair’s letter – along with another confirming that the interrogations produced “high-value information” that provided a “deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization attacking this country” – was dropped when language from the letter was released publicly. A spokesman for Blair attributed to the omission to normal editing procedures.

In an interview this morning, senior Bush administration official accused the DNI of “politicizing intelligence” by attempting to hide his judgment that the program had produced valuable results. This official also accused the Obama administration of double standards, citing its professed belief in transparency and its unwillingness – at least so far – to declassify memos that demonstrate the value of the interrogation techniques Obama has banned.

I have an idea. Let’s kick these bums out in 2010!

Featured site: The Western Experience

I had plans of writing lots of wonderful posts on foreign policy when I started this blog. But when I tried to do so, I found out that watching all the episodes of Danger Man and Secret Agent, together with my wargaming experience, was no preparation at all for being able to blog on current events!

And that is why I am glad to tell you about a relatively new blog called The Western Experience, that started up around the same time I did. The blog features great posts on foreign policy, and it’s off to a fast start in terms of readership!

Here are some of The Western Experience’s recent posts:

Blogging about foreign policy is hard. So I really appreciate Jason’s work on these issues.