February 2009 Archives

The two greatest threats to America today are the Obama Administration and radical Islam. As Mark Steyn notes, the Muslim demographic is not only exploding worldwide (ten times faster than the natives in Britain) it is also becoming more intimidating, more violent, more extreme due to the tens of billions of dollars spent over the past 30 years by the Saudis on selling Islam as Mohammad realily meant it to be -- the ruler of the world.

At the same time, the principal defenders of freedom and Western heritage, Britain and the United States, are in the process of dismantling their free market economies and substituting "Can't we all just get along?" capitulation for a strong national defense and civilizational pride.

As the ex-Muslim emigré from Syria Wafa Sultan, now a psychiatrist living and working in southern California, reminds us, we are not engaged in a clash of civilziations with Islam, it is a war between civilzation and barbarism. But who is listening?

A small vignette from a young woman in the Swat Valley of Pakistan (which Mark Steyn talks about in his piece), who has learned of the Pakistani government's agreement that Islamic law will be enforced throughout the valley:

"Today the party of the Mullah announced that 'democracy' is un-Islamic. It is too late. We have lost the battle against the militants. We have seen day by day how government and army have [been] weakened, how they have finally been reduced to talk and to deal. Nobody is accountable for the thousands killed, for the closure of schools, for the beheadings of men and women. Nobody. Someone said to me the other day - 'Don't complain, because the one you complain to will be your enemy.'


"We no longer can turn [to anyone] here to complain. We now have to think about how to survive this. We now have to give up much of what many of us believe in - tolerance, peace, educated women, and freedom."

She believes the North-West Frontier Province is lost. And she questioned whether President Obama understands the extremists. "He seems to think that these people can be contained within their land, or [any] land. He thinks there is a meeting point, a dialogue possibility. Those who think that giving the militants their haven will contain them - well, the rest of the country and the world will see what this will lead to. This is not the end, it is only the beginning."


February 21, 2009, 7:00 a.m.

From Islamabad to Bradford
Degrees of accommodation.

By Mark Steyn in National Review Online


'It is hard to understand this deal," said Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's special envoy. And, if the special envoy of the so-called smartest and most impressive administration in living memory can't understand it, what chance do the rest of us have?

Nevertheless, let's try. In the Swat Valley, where a young Winston Churchill once served with the Malakand Field Force battling Muslim insurgents, his successors have concluded the game isn't worth the candle. In return for a temporary ceasefire, the Pakistani government agreed to let the local franchise of the Taliban impose its industrial strength version of sharia across the whole of Malakand Region. If "region" sounds a bit of an imprecise term, Malakand has over five million people, all of whom are now living under a murderous theocracy. Still, peace rallies have broken out all over the Swat Valley, and, at a Swat peace rally, it helps to stand well back: As one headline put it, "Journalist Killed While Covering Peace Rally."

But don't worry about Pakistani nukes falling into the hands of "extremists": The Swat Valley is a good hundred miles from the "nation"'s capital, Islamabad -- or about as far as Northern Vermont is from Southern Vermont. And, of course, Islamabad is safely under the control of the famously moderate Ali Zardari. A few days before the Swat deal, Mr. Zardari marked the dawn of the Obama era by releasing from house arrest A. Q. Khan, the celebrated scientist and one-stop shop for all your Islamic nuclear needs, for whose generosity North Korea and Iran are especially grateful.

From Islamabad, let us zip a world away to London. Actually, it's nearer than you think. The flight routes between Pakistan and the United Kingdom are some of the busiest in the world. Can you get a direct flight from your local airport to, say, Bradford?

Where?

Bradford, Yorkshire. There are four flights a week from Islamabad to Bradford, a town where 75 percent of Pakistani Britons are married to their first cousins. But don't worry, in the country as a whole, only 57 percent of Pakistani Britons are married to first cousins.

Among that growing population of Yorkshire Pakistanis is a fellow called Lord Ahmed, a Muslim member of Parliament. He was in the news the other day for threatening (as the columnist Melanie Phillips put it) "to bring a force of 10,000 Muslims to lay siege to the House of Lords" if it went ahead with an event at which the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders would have introduced a screening of his controversial film Fitna. Britain's Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, reacted to this by declaring Minheer Wilders persona non grata and having him arrested at Heathrow and returned to the Netherlands.

The Home Secretary is best known for an inspired change of terminology: Last year she announced that henceforth Muslim terrorism (an unhelpful phrase) would be reclassified as "anti-Islamic activity." Seriously. The logic being that Muslims blowing stuff up tends not to do much for Islam's reputation -- i.e., it's an "anti-Islamic activity" in the same sense that Pearl Harbor was an anti-Japanese activity.

Anyway, Geert Wilders's short film is basically a compilation video of footage from various recent Muslim terrorist atrocities -- whoops, sorry, "anti-Islamic activities" -- accompanied by the relevant chapter and verse from the Koran. Jacqui Smith banned the filmmaker on "public order" grounds -- in other words, the government's fear that Lord Ahmed meant what he said about a 10,000-strong mob besieging the Palace of Westminster. You might conceivably get the impression from Wilders's movie that many Muslims are irrational and violent types it's best to steer well clear of. But, if you didn't, Jacqui Smith pretty much confirmed it: We can't have chaps walking around saying Muslims are violent because they'll go bananas and smash the place up.

So, confronted by blackmail, the British government caved. So did the Pakistani government in Swat. But, in fairness to Islamabad, they waited until the shooting was well underway before throwing in the towel. In London, you no longer have to go that far. You just give the impression your more excitable chums might not be able to restrain themselves. "Nice little G7 advanced western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it." Twenty years ago this month, Margaret Thatcher's Conservative ministry defended the right of a left-wing author Salman Rushdie to publish a book in the face of Muslim riots and the Ayatollah Khomeini's attempted mob hit. Two decades on, a supposedly progressive government surrenders to the mob before it's even taken to the streets.


In his first TV interview as president, Barack Obama told viewers of al-Arabiya TV that he wanted to restore the "same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago." I'm not sure quite what golden age he's looking back to there -- the Beirut barracks slaughter? the embassy hostages? -- but the point is, it's very hard to turn back the clock. Because the facts on the ground change, and change remorselessly. Even in 30 years. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30 percent of the global population to just over 20 percent, while the Muslim world increased from 15 percent to 20 percent. And in 2030, it won't even be possible to re-take that survey, because by that point half the "developed world" will itself be Muslim: In Bradford -- as in London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and almost every other western European city from Malmo to Marseilles -- the principal population growth comes from Islam. Thirty years ago, in the Obama golden age, a British documentary-maker was so horrified by the "honor killing" of a teenage member of the House of Saud at the behest of her father, the king's brother, that he made a famous TV film about it, Death Of A Princess. The furious Saudis threatened a trade boycott with Britain over this unwanted exposure. Today, we have honor killings not just in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but in Germany, Scandinavia, Britain, Toronto, Dallas, and Buffalo. And they barely raise an eyebrow.

Along with the demographic growth has come radicalization: It's not just that there are more Muslims, but that, within that growing population, moderate Islam is on the decline -- in Singapore, in the Balkans, in northern England -- and radicalized, Arabized, Wahhabized Islam is on the rise. So we have degrees of accommodation: surrender in Islamabad, appeasement in London, acceptance in Toronto and Buffalo.

According to ABC News, a team of UCLA professors have used biogeographic theories to locate Osama bin Laden's hideout as one of three possible houses in the small town of Parachinar, and have suggested to the Pentagon they keep an eye on these buildings. But the problem isn't confined to three buildings. It ripples ever outwards, to the new hardcore sharia state in Malakand, up the road to nuclear Islamabad, over to Bradford on that jet-speed conveyor-belt of child brides, down to the House of Lords and beyond.

Meanwhile, President Obama has removed Winston Churchill's bust from the Oval Office and returned it to the British. Given what Sir Winston had to say about Islam in his book on the Sudanese campaign, the bust will almost certainly be arrested at Heathrow and deported as a threat to public order.


-- Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.

WHAT IS THE STOCK MARKET TELLING US?

You won't find a better short recapitulation of the damage the socialist ideologue Obama has wrought in the nation's economy since he emerged as the likely president.

Is It Any Wonder The Market Continues To Sink?

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Monday, February 23, 2009 -- Editorial

Last Oct. 13, in trying to explain why the market had sold off 30% in six weeks, we acknowledged that the freeze-up of the financial system was a big concern. But we cited three other factors as well:

• The imminent election of "the most anti-capitalist politician ever nominated by a major party."


• The possibility of "a filibuster-proof Congress led by politicians who are almost as liberal."

• A "media establishment dedicated to the implementation of a liberal agenda, and the smothering of dissent wherever it arises."

No wonder, we said then, that panic had set in.

Today, as the market continues to sell off and we plumb 12-year lows, we wish we had a different explanation. But it still looks, as we said four months ago, "like the U.S., which built the mightiest, most prosperous economy the world has ever known, is about to turn its back on the free-enterprise system that made it all possible."

How else would you explain all that's happened in a few short weeks? How else would you expect the stock market, where millions cast daily votes and which is still the best indicator of what the future holds, to act when:

• Newsweek, a prominent national newsweekly, blares from its cover "We Are All Socialists Now," without a hint of recognition that socialism in its various forms has been repudiated by history -- as communism's collapse in the USSR, Eastern Europe and China attest.

Even so, a $787 billion "stimulus," along with a $700 billion bank bailout, $75 billion to refinance bad mortgages, $50 billion for the automakers, and as much as $2 trillion in loans from the Fed and the Treasury are hardly confidence-builders for our free-enterprise system.

• Talk of "nationalizing" U.S.' troubled major banks comes not just from tarnished Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, but also from Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former Fed chief Alan Greenspan.

To be sure, bank shares have plunged along with home prices, and many have inadequate capital. But is nationalization really the only solution for an industry whose main product -- loans to consumers and businesses -- has expanded by over 5% annually so far this year?

• A stimulus bill laden with huge amounts of spending on pork and special interests is the best our Congress can come up with to get the economy back on track. Economists broadly agree that the legislation has little stimulative power, and in fact will be a drag on economic growth for years to come.

The failure to include any meaningful tax cuts for either individuals or small businesses, the true stimulators of job growth, while throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at profligate state governments and programs -- such as $4.2 billion for "neighborhood stabilization activities" and $740 million to help viewers switch from analog to digital TV-- has investors shaking their heads.

• A $75 billion bailout for 9 million Americans who face foreclosure, regardless of how they got into financial trouble, is the government's answer to the housing crunch. Many Americans who have scrupulously kept up with payments are steaming at the thought of subsidizing those who've been profligate or irresponsible.

With recent data showing that as much as 55% of those who get foreclosure aid end up defaulting anyway, a signal has been sent that America has gone from being "Land of the Free" to "Bailout Nation."

• Energy solutions ranging from the expansion of offshore drilling and the development of Alaska's bountiful arctic oil reserves to developing shale oil in America's Big Sky country, tar-sands crude in Canada and coal that provides half the nation's electric power, are taken off the table.

The market knows full well what drives the economy and that restraining energy supply will make us all poorer and investing less profitable. Taking domestic energy sources off the table makes us more reliant on sources from hostile and unstable regimes, breeding uncertainty in a capital system in which participants seek stability.

• Lawmakers who seem more interested in pleasing special interests than voters back home now control Congress. Some of the leading voices in crafting the massive bank bailout and stimulus packages -- including Sen. Chris Dodd, Rep. Barney Frank and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- were the very ones who helped get us in this mess.

They did so by loosening Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's lending rules and pushing commercial banks to make bad loans. Both Dodd and Frank were recipients of hefty donations from Fannie, Freddie and other financial firms they were charged with regulating.

• Trade protectionism passes as policy, even amid the administration's lip service to free trade. Congress' vast stimulus bill and its "Buy American" provisions limit spending to U.S.-made products and will drive up costs, limit choices and alienate key allies.

Already, it has triggered rumblings of retaliation in a 1930s-style trade war from trading partners, just as the Smoot-Hawley tariffs prolonged the Great Depression. Several European partners have begun raising barriers. Meanwhile, three signed free-trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and Korea languish with no chance of passage. Free trade offers one way out of our problems, yet it's been sidetracked.

• A 1,000-plus page stimulus bill is bulled through Congress with no GOP input and not a single member of Congress reading it before passage. It borders on censorship.
GOP protests of the bill's spending and the speed it was passed at were dismissed by Obama and other Democrats as seeking to "do nothing" or "breaking the spirit of bipartisanship." But voters are angry.

Along with thousands of angry phone calls to Congress, new Facebook groups have emerged, and street protests have sprung up in Denver, Seattle and Mesa, Ariz., against the "porkulus." CNBC Chicago reporter Rick Santelli's on-air denunciation of federal bailouts for mortgage deadbeats attracted a record 1.5 million Internet hits.

• Business leaders are demonized. Yes, there are bad eggs out there like the Madoffs and Stanfords. But most CEOs are hugely talented, driven, highly intelligent people who make our corporations the most productive in the world and add trillions of dollars of value to our economy.

They don't deserve to be dragged before Congress, as they have been dozens of times in the past two years, for a ritual heaping of verbal abuse from the very people most responsible for our ills -- our tragically inept, Democrat-led Congress.

• Words like "catastrophe," "crisis" and "depression" are coming from the mouth of the newly elected president, rather than words of hope and optimism. Instead of talking up America's capabilities and prospects, he talks them down -- the exact opposite of our most successful recent president, Ronald Reagan, who came in vowing to restore that "shining city on a hill."

Even ex-President Clinton admonished Obama to return to his previous optimism, saying he would "just like him to end by saying that he is hopeful and completely convinced we're gonna come through this."

• The missile defense system that brought the Soviet Union to its knees, and which offers so much hope for future security, is being discussed as a "bargaining chip" with Russia. This, at the same time the regime in Iran is close to having a nuclear weapon and North Korea is readying an intermediate-range missile that can reach the U.S.

This sends a message of weakness abroad and contributes to a feeling of vulnerability at home. A strong economy begins and ends with a strong defense.

All this in barely a month's time. And to think that more of the same is on the way seems to be sinking in. Investors are watching closely and not caring for what they see. Sooner or later, the market will rally -- but not without good reason to do so.

MarketObama.jpg

WHAT IS OUR GOVERNMENT DOING TO US?

People are getting angry about what the Obama administration is doing with the money of our children and grandchildren. And what it is doing to destroy the economy that made this nation great. Rick Santelli on CNBC exploded during his segment Thursday, February 19th. It was a sensation and Santelli was making the TV rounds Friday morning, the 20th.


As Obama's Marxist background amply demonstrates, his intention is to subvert the American economic system and put in its place a totalitarian socialist order.

The trillion dollar spending program does more to create dependency on government than any legislation in history. Hats in hand, bankers, auto companies, states, mortgage payers, all must now bow to government. But that's only the first step in creating a voting bloc that will ensure perpetual socialist control of the levers of power. Now the constitutionally mandated ten-year census will become a weapon in the community organizer's socialist takeover.

The president, a former community organizer, is steeped in Saul Alinsky's principles of radical revolution -- he has studied them, taught them, and written about them. As Alinsky himself wrote, his "rules for radicals" are essentially about one thing: "How to organize for power: how to get it and to use it." They instruct radicals how, through misleading language and stealthy infiltration of the institutions, to seize power. Anyone who has read Alinsky could have predicted that the census would be among Obama's top priorities. It is abstruse and bureaucratic, but it apportions political clout. It is tailor-made for an activist bent on shifting power from red states to blue.


To do that, Obama needs to cook the books. That is what the GOP should be paying attention to. The Constitution calls for an "actual Enumeration" of the population. Republicans traditionally take the view that this means an "actual Enumeration," a real head-count. Democrats believe this method tends to undercount society's ne'er-do-wells and others who "live in the shadows," i.e., their constituents. Thus, under the guise of promoting science and technology, Democrats press for sampling, surveys, and statistical models that they say would improve the accuracy of the census but will, in fact, move us away from actual enumeration and toward conjecture. In Utah v. Evans, the Supreme Court ruled that "actual Enumeration" gave Congress latitude to permit statistical counting methodologies but held that the law might rule out "gross statistical estimates."

So what's the difference? How far can Democrats push that envelope and count (or double count, or invent) new Democratic constituents? How many non-citizens or imaginary Americans will they include in their tabulations? We don't know. But you can bet the Obama administration plans to do for "actual Enumeration" exactly what it is doing to "stimulus," and for the same reason: to cement a permanent majority to sustain leftist policies.

The remaking of America should send chills down the spines of those who earn and produce and will now be sharing their wealth with the permanent hands-out new majority.

President Obama, once the candidate of an openly socialist party, has made a career of calling for fiscal and social upheaval, hiding behind such euphemisms as "redistributive change," "economic justice," and "spread[ing] the wealth around." He criticized the Warren Court for not being radical enough -- which is like saying Nadya Suleman wasn't pregnant enough -- because it failed to embrace a constitutional theory that would have imposed confiscatory tax policies to underwrite a new New Deal. He is, in short, the most left-wing politician ever elected to the presidency.

Is anyone protesting? The Republican National Committee says it's "disappointed" in Obama. This is all it can say in the face of "the most intrusive extension of central governmental control over the lives of Americans in our nation's history"?

Pakistan accelerates its downward slide to becoming an Islamic failed state -- with nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. All those who wanted President Musharraf to give up his authority as head of the armed forces and then to step aside as president should be second-guessing themselves about now. The weak government that succeeded him is showing it is incapable of fighting the radical Islamic uprising within the supposedly settled parts of Pakistan and has lost whatever influence it ever had in the tribal territories along the Afghan border. Musharraf tried a truce and the radical Islamic forces totally ignored what they had signed, using the withdrawal of Pakistani combat troops as an opportunity to strengthen their hold on the territory.

Now the government is sending a "hard-line" cleric to negotiate with the leader of the local Pakistani Taliban, who happens to be his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah, who has been terrorizing the Swat Valley, forcing adherence to Islamic law.

In the last few months, Swat has largely fallen to militants who have beheaded opponents, burned scores of girls' schools and banned many forms of entertainment. Gunbattles between security forces and militants have killed hundreds, while up to a third of the valley's 1.5 million people have fled.

Fazlullah is the head of TNSN [the banned pro-Taliban Tehrik-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammadi (TNSM - Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws) founded in the 1990s by, guess who? His father-in-law Sufi Muhammad who is on his way to negotiate a deal on behalf of the government! One can expect complete capitulation to the demands of the TNSM to install Sharia as the "law" of Swat Valley.

In an interview in July 2007 Fazlullah proundly announced he was Taliban and pledged his allegiance to Mullah Omar and his intention of forming a Omar-led caliphate straddling the Afghan/Pakistan border. (Asia Times, July 14,2007).

NATO commanders rightly express concern about this development, fearing what will result is a "safe haven" for Taliban fighters to rest and rearm in Pakistan before resuming their offensives in Afghanistan.

Muhammad and his convoy of 300 vehicles arrived in Swat's main city of Mingora on Tuesday as hundreds of jubilant residents lined the roads and shouted slogans. Many of those in the convoy with him wore black turbans -- a Taliban trademark.

"We will soon open dialogue with the Taliban. We will ask them to lay down their weapons. We are hopeful that they will not let us down," Muhammad told reporters. "We will stay here in the valley until peace is restored."

Who would believe Muhammad -- who clearly has brought reinforcements for his old organization in his 300 vehicle convoy -- about "peace" in the valley?

NATO forces are disintegrating in Afghanistan. German forces won't go near a battle zone; they're "rebuilding." Spain is pulling out. France refuses to increase its paltry number of soldiers. All this after President Obama's call to NATO allies to step up their commitment. The U.S. will have to increase its presence in Afghanistan and will have to act more aggressively in Pakistani territory if it is to end the violence in Afghanistan. There is great danger that the weak Pakistan government will fall and the military and the intelligence services (which was involved in the Mumbai massacres) will take over.


IRAQ TURNS AWAY FROM ISLAMIC-LED POLITICS

Despite the evil still stalking the innocent in Iraq in the name of Islam, Iraq itself has achieved a significant victory over the dark forces inhabiting and shaping that country for centuries. Charles Krauthammer expresses his dismay that the President of the United States paid it little heed ("shockingly detached and ungenerous" in his perfunctory remarks), even though the Iraqi success provides the United States with some real hope that progress can be indeed made to change the culture of violence and hatred that has been endemic in the Middle East. Krauthammer explains:


Iraq: Good News Is No News

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, February 13, 2009; Washington Post

Preoccupied as it was poring over Tom Daschle's tax returns, Washington hardly noticed a near-miracle abroad. Iraq held provincial elections. There was no Election Day violence. Security was handled by Iraqi forces with little U.S. involvement. A fabulous bazaar of 14,400 candidates representing 400 parties participated, yielding results highly favorable to both Iraq and the United States.

Iraq moved away from religious sectarianism toward more secular nationalism. "All the parties that had the words 'Islamic' or 'Arab' in their names lost," noted Middle East expert Amir Taheri. "By contrast, all those that had the words 'Iraq' or 'Iraqi' gained."

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went from leader of a small Islamic party to leader of the "State of Law Party," campaigning on security and secular nationalism. He won a smashing victory. His chief rival, a more sectarian and pro-Iranian Shiite religious party, was devastated. Another major Islamic party, the pro-Iranian Sadr faction, went from 11 percent of the vote to 3 percent, losing badly in its stronghold of Baghdad. The Islamic Fadhila party that had dominated Basra was almost wiped out.

The once-dominant Sunni party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the erstwhile insurgency was badly set back. New grass-roots tribal ("Awakening") and secular Sunni leaders emerged.

All this barely pierced the consciousness of official Washington. After all, it fundamentally contradicts the general establishment/media narrative of Iraq as "fiasco."

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WHAT BELIEF SYSTEM? II

Speaking of belief systems, here is a report from Orchard Park, New York:

Orchard Park police are investigating a particularly gruesome killing, the beheading of a woman, after her husband -- an influential member of the local Muslim community -- reported her death to police Thursday. ...

Muzzammil Hassan is the founder and chief executive officer of Bridges TV, which he launched in 2004, amid hopes that it would help portray Muslims in a more positive light.

Authorities say Aasiya Hassan recently had filed for divorce from her husband.

Now let me think....

WHAT BELIEF SYSTEM?

A survivor asked the key question after a female suicide bomber in Iraq blew herself up killing 40 women and children in Karbala, Iraq for a religious observance:

"What kind of belief system do these people have? Are they monsters?" a man shouted as he held his dazed and wounded son, wrapped in a red and yellow.

What belief system encourages committing suicide to kill others?

Female suicide bomber kills 40 in Iraq

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer
February 13, 2009

BAGHDAD - A female suicide bomber struck a tent filled with women and children resting during a pilgrimage south of Baghdad on Friday, killing 40 people and wounding about 80 in the deadliest of three straight days of attacks against Shiite worshippers.

The grisly assault, which also appeared to be the deadliest in Iraq this year, demonstrates the determination of some extremists to re-ignite sectarian warfare. It also underscores how fragile security remains here, even as the U.S. turns over more responsibility to the Iraqis.

Witnesses said many of the injured were hurt in a stampede as terrified survivors -- most of them poor Shiites exhausted after days of walking -- scrambled away from the tent in terror.

They left behind piles of clothing, small rugs and toddlers' strollers, Associated Press Television News video showed. A dismembered leg believed to have been the bomber's lay wrapped in an abaya in a cardboard box.

"It was a horrific scene with dead and screaming injured people on the ground," said Sadiya Kadom, 40, a Baghdad resident who was near the tent when the blast occurred.

more....

OBAMA BUNGLING THREAT TO THE WEST

Obama's bungling is weakening the U.S. and the West in their confrontation with their Islamist enemies, but, even worse, he is putting Israel's existence in severe jeopardy.

Caroline Glick details the series of Obama fiascos that is bringing this danger about.

Our World: Obama's new world order and Israel

Feb. 9, 2009
THE JERUSALEM POST

As we go to the polls today, the world around us is quickly changing in new and distressing ways. The challenges the international system will present the government we elect will be harsher, more complicated and more dangerous than the ones its predecessors have faced.

Bluntly stated, the world that will challenge the next government will be one characterized by the end of US global predominance. In just a few short weeks, the new administration of President Barack Obama has managed to weaken the perception of American power and embolden US adversaries throughout the world.

In the late stages of the presidential race, now Vice President Joseph Biden warned us that this would happen. In a speech before supporters he said, "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama... [We're] gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy... They may emanate from the Middle East. They may emanate from the subcontinent. They may emanate from Russia's newly emboldened position."

As it happens, Biden's warning had two inaccuracies. Rather than six months, America's adversaries began testing Obama's mettle within weeks. And instead of one crisis from Russia, the Middle East or the Indian subcontinent, Obama has faced and failed to meet "generated crises" from all three.

TAKE RUSSIA for example. Since coming into office, Obama has repeatedly tried to build an alliance with the "newly emboldened" Russian bear. A week after entering office, he announced that he hoped to negotiate a nuclear disarmament agreement with Russia that would reduce the US's nuclear stockpiles by 80 percent. At a security conference in Munich last weekend, Biden stated that the administration wishes to push the "reset button" on its relationship with Russia and be friends.

Responding to these American signals, the Russians proceeded to humiliate Washington. Last week President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Kyrgyzstan's President Kurmanbak Bakiyev in Moscow. After their meeting the two announced that Russia will give the former Soviet republic $2 billion in loans and assistance and that Kyrgyzstan will close the US Air Force base at Manas which serves American forces in Afghanistan.

After cutting off one of the US's major supply routes for its forces in Afghanistan, Russia agreed to permit the US to resume its shipment of nonlethal military supplies for Afghanistan through Russian territory. Those shipments were suspended last summer by NATO in retaliation for Russia's invasion of Georgia. And now they are being resumed - on Moscow's terms. The US, for its part, couldn't be more grateful to Moscow for lending a helping hand.

THE US ITSELF WOULDN'T have found itself needing Russian supply lines had the situation in nuclear-armed Pakistan not deteriorated as it has in recent months. Much of the situation in Pakistan today is due to the Bush administration's incompetent bungling of US relations with the failed state. For years the US gave tens of billions of dollars to the military government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf in turn used the money to build up Pakistan's military presence along the border with India, while allowing al-Qaida and the Taliban to relocate their headquarters in Pakistan after being ousted from Afghanistan by US forces.

Vigilant in maintaining his power, for years Musharraf repressed all voices calling for democratic transformation. For their part democrats in places like Pakistan's Supreme Court were not friends of the West. They did not oppose the Taliban and al-Qaida. Rather their enemies were Musharraf and the US which kept him in power.

Responding to a sudden urge to encourage the forces of democracy in Pakistan, while advocating their abandonment throughout the Arab world, secretary of state Condoleezza Rice compelled Musharraf first to resign as head of the Pakistani military - thus ending his control over the country's jihadist ISI intelligence services and over the pro-jihadist military. Then she forced him to accept open elections, which unsurprisingly, he lost.

The democrats who replaced him had absolutely no influence over either the ISI or the military and realized that their power and their very lives were in the Taliban's hands. Consequently, since Pakistan's elections last year, the new government has surrendered larger and larger areas of the country to the Taliban. Indeed, today the Taliban either directly control or are fighting for control over the majority of Pakistani territory. Moreover, the Taliban and al-Qaida have intensified their war in Afghanistan and are making significant gains in that country as well.

This would have been a difficult situation for the US to contend with no matter who replaced George W. Bush in the Oval Office. Unfortunately, due to Obama's stridently anti-Pakistani rhetoric throughout the campaign - rhetoric untethered to any coherent strategy for dealing with Pakistan - the Pakistanis no doubt felt the need to test his mettle as quickly as possible.

For his part, Obama gave them good reason to believe he could be intimidated. By letting it be known that he intended for his special envoy to the region Richard Holbrook's job to include responsibility for pressuring US ally India to reach a peace agreement with Pakistan over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir province in spite of clear proof that Pakistani intelligence was the mastermind of the December terror attacks in Mumbai, Obama showed that he was willing to defend Pakistan's "honor" and so accept its continued bad behavior.

LAST FRIDAY, the Pakistanis tested Obama. The Supreme Court freed Pakistan's Dr. Strangelove - A.Q. Khan - from the house arrest he had been under since his nuclear proliferation racket was exposed by the Libyans in 2004. Through his nuclear proliferation activities, Khan is not only the father of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal - but of North Korea's and Iran's as well.

Khan's release casts a dark shadow on Obama's plan to dismantle much of America's nuclear arsenal, because with him free, the prospect that Pakistan is back in the proliferation business becomes quite real. Already on Sunday Khan announced his plan to travel abroad immediately. For its part, the court in Islamabad specifically stated that Khan is free to resume his "scientific research."

Pakistan's open contempt for the US and its weakness in the face of the Taliban's takeover of the country has direct consequences for the US's mission in Afghanistan - and for its new dependence on Russia. This week the Taliban bombed a bridge on the Khyber Pass along the Pakistani border with Afghanistan that served as a supply line to US forces in Afghanistan. As US Brig.-Gen. James McConville stated in Kabul, the latest attack simply underlines how important it was for the US to resume its shipments through Russia.

MANY HAVE POINTED to Pakistan as an example of why Israel and the West have no reason to be concerned about Iran acquiring nuclear arms. To date, they claim, Pakistan has not used its nuclear arms, and indeed has been deterred by both India and the West from doing so.

While it is true that Pakistan has yet to use its nuclear arsenal, it is also true that since its initial nuclear test in 1998, Pakistan has twice brought the subcontinent to the brink of nuclear war. In both 1999 and 2002, Pakistan provoked India into a nuclear standoff.

Moreover, due to its nuclear arsenal, Pakistan successfully deterred the US from taking action against it after the September 11 attacks showed that al-Qaida and the Taliban owed their existence to Pakistan's ISI. Although Pakistan's government is not an Islamic revolutionary one like Iran's, the fact is that since it became a nuclear power, Pakistan has moved away from the West, not toward it. Indeed, its nuclear deterrent against India - and the West - has empowered and strengthened the jihadists and brought them ever closer to taking over the regime in a seamless power grab.

Far from arguing against preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the Pakistani precedent argues for taking every possible action to prevent Iran from acquiring them. After all, unlike the situation in Pakistan, Iran's regime is already controlled by jihadist revolutionaries. And like their counterparts in Pakistan, these forces will be strengthened, not weakened in the event that Iran acquires nuclear weapons.

Indeed, since Obama came into office waving an enormous olive branch in Teheran's direction, the regime has become more outspoken in its hostility toward the US. It has humiliated Washington by refusing visas to America's women's badminton team to play their Iranian counterparts. It has announced it will only agree to direct talks with Washington if it pulls US forces out of the Middle East, abandons Israel and does nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It has rudely blackballed US representatives who are Jewish, like House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman, at international conclaves. And it has announced that it will refuse to deal with Obama's suggested envoy to Iran, Dennis Ross, who is also a Jew. In all of its actions, Iran has gone out of its way to embarrass Obama and humiliate America. And Obama, for his part, has continued to embrace Teheran as his most sought-after negotiating partner.

MOVING AHEAD, the question of how our next government should handle America's apparent decision to turn its back on its traditional role as freedom's global defender becomes the most pressing concern. It is clear that we will need to embrace the burden of our own defense and stop expecting to receive much from our alliance with the US. But it is also clear that we will need a new strategy for dealing with the US itself.

In formulating that policy, the next government should draw lessons from fellow US-ally India. Once it became clear to the Indians that the Obama administration intended to treat them as the strategic and moral equivalent of Pakistan, they struck back hard. When the administration signaled that it would agree to Pakistan's assertion that its problems with the Taliban were linked to India's refusal to cede Jammu and Kashmir to Islamabad, New Delhi essentially told Washington to get lost.

In an interview on Indian television last week, ahead of Holbrook's first visit to the area this week, India's National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said that Obama would be "barking up the wrong tree" if he were to subscribe to such views. He added that India would be unwilling to discuss the issue of Jammu and Kashmir with Holbrook and so compelled Obama to remove the issue from Holbrook's portfolio.

At the same time, the Indian government released a dossier substantiating its claim that the December attacks on Mumbai were planned in jihadist terror training camps in Pakistan and enjoyed the support of the ISI. Moreover, in response to Khan's release from house arrest on Friday, India called for the international community to list Pakistan as a terror state.

In acting as it has, India has made two things clear to the Obama administration. First, it will not allow Washington to appease Pakistan at its expense. Second, it will do whatever it believes is necessary to secure its own interests both diplomatically and militarily.

A sound example for the next government to follow.

IS OBAMA CARTER REDUX?

It is a matter of grave concern when the President of the United States doesn't seem to have a clue about the war being waged by Islamic supremacists against the West and, in particular, against the leader of the West the United States. Obama misstates history of U.S.-Muslim relations, apologizes for who knows what and seeks to make overtures to regimes that want to see us destroyed. He has studiously avoided even the mention of "War on Terror," which itself is an inadequate euphemism for the war to preserve civilization from the assaults of barbarism.

During the campaign we chuckled at his reference to visiting 57 states with only one to go, but his historical ignorance on matters of world importance is breathtaking, as Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe points out below. Other observers have commented on Obama's know-it-all-superiority and incuriosity reflective of his extreme (some say pathological) narcissism that leads him to believe his rhetorical skills can put to rest a 1400-year war against the infidels. despite his apparent lack of knowledge about the ideological imperative driving the global jihad.

How ironic that on the same day a commentator at the blog Gateway Pundit made this observation:

There are two kinds of people in the electorate:


1. People who remember how horrible the Jimmy Carter years were.

2. People who are about to find out.

Jacoby:


Obama's charm offensive and the global jihad
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | February 4, 2009

EARLY IN HIS presidency, Jimmy Carter set about to a letter US policy toward the Soviet Union. Six days after his inauguration he sent a letter to Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev, hailing the two countries' "common efforts towards formation of a more peaceful, just, and humane world" and saluting Brezhnev's supposed "aspiration for strengthening and preserving. . . peace." In a commencement address at Notre Dame, he declared that Americans had shed their "inordinate fear of communism." In the months that followed, Carter slashed the defense budget, scrapped the B-1 bomber, welcomed the Sandinista coup in Nicaragua, and launched diplomatic relations with Cuba's dictator, Fidel Castro.

It wasn't until the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 that Carter finally woke up to his naiveté. Moscow's brutal aggression "made a more dramatic change in my opinion of what the Soviets' ultimate goals are," he admitted, "than anything they've done in the previous time that I've been in office."

Carter's failure to understand the threat posed by the Soviet Empire had costly consequences for America and the world. Will that pattern now be repeated with Barack Obama and the threat from radical Islam?

Ever since taking office two weeks ago, Obama has been at pains to proclaim a change in US-Muslim relations. In his inaugural address he invited "the Muslim world" to embark on "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." Six days later he gave Al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language satellite channel, his first televised interview as president. This week he continued his charm offensive with a friendly letter to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. He has promised to deliver a major address in an Islamic capital by spring.

The president cannot be faulted for using his bully pulpit to reach out to the world's Muslims, especially given his Muslim roots and family ties. But running through his words is a disconcerting theme: that US-Muslim tensions are a recent phenomenon brought on largely by American provincialism, heavy-handedness, and disrespect. Missing is any sense that the United States has long been the target of jihadist fanatics who enjoy widespread support in the Muslim world.

"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy," Obama said, although "we sometimes make mistakes" and "have not been perfect," and even though "too often the United States starts by dictating" and fails to use "the language of respect."

Such apologetic pandering is inexcusable. For decades, as commentator Charles Krauthammer noted last week, "America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them." To liberate oppressed Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Americans risked - and in some cases lost - their lives. Respect? Not even the Islamist atrocities of 9/11 provoked American leaders to treat Islam with disdain. "We respect your faith," George W. Bush earnestly told the world's Muslims on Sept. 20, 2001. "Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah."

Even more troubling is Obama's seeming cluelessness about US-Muslim history.

"The same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago - there's no reason why we can't restore that," he said on Al-Arabiya.

Well, let's see. Twenty years ago, American hostages were being tortured by their Hezbollah captors in Beirut and hundreds of grief-stricken families were in mourning for their loved ones, murdered by Libyan terrorists as they flew home for Christmas on Pan Am Flight 103. Thirty years ago, the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran, proclaimed America "the Great Satan," and inspired his acolytes to storm the US embassy and hold scores of Americans hostage. That same year Islamist mobs destroyed the US embassies in Pakistan and Libya, and staged anti-American riots in other countries.

Radical Islam's hatred of the United States is not a recent phenomenon, it has nothing to do with "respect," and it isn't going to be extinguished by sweet words - not even those of so sweet a speaker as our new president. Sooner or later, Obama must confront an implacable reality: The global jihad, like the Cold War, will end only when our enemies lose their will to fight - or when we do. Let us hope he's a quicker study than Jimmy Carter.

Obama -- and by inference the United States -- was subjected to ridicule by India when he voiced his intention to step into the India-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir to work out a solution. India reacted with outrage and the U.S. immediately backed off. A Singapore-based expert on Indian affairs expressed satisfaction with India's diplomatic offensive:

"You kill a chicken to scare a monkey," Mr Mohan said at a recent seminar in New Delhi on US relations with south Asia. "We killed the chicken and the monkey got the message."


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