Syria, Turkey, the Kurds

Well, we talked about the President’s Kurdish strategy yesterday. Like some of you, I was supportive but a bit worried. We just plainly cannot go around the world interfering in every conflict, no matter how rich it makes the military-industrial complex. As is usual, as soon as I talked a bit about it, the situation changed. How? the Kurds struck a deal with Syria. That to me makes far more sense. If anything in the mid-east makes much sense at all. Seraphim Hanisch writing in The Duran is quite a bit more positive than I am, so let’s take a look.

President Trump was right again. According to a new Fox News piece published late Sunday evening, Kurdish forces negotiated a deal with Damascus to face off Turkey’s offensive. Russia is involved in the dealmaking as well.

The New York Times reported that the deal– which was announced Sunday evening– would enable President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to attempt to regain a foothold in the country’s northeast. The Kurdish fighters had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to Assad’s government for support.

“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government — whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty — for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression” by Turkey, the SDF said in a statement.

The Washington Post reported that the deal was reached after three days of negotiations between the Kurdish forces, Russian envoys and Damascus. […]

The media is portraying this as a Terrible, Awful, Not-so-Good, Unbelievably bad move for Trump who, as the American MSM, now even including Matt Drudge and more and more people even from Fox News will be happy to tell you, is facing the early termination of his Presidency with a growing level of “support” for impeachment and removal from office, per the Compleat Fake Impeachment Scandal.

These anti-Trump forces – basically globalists, secular humanists, represented in a very large number by the ranks of US Representatives and Senators in our own government, and reinforced by the severely biased globalist, secular humanist-biased Western press – are engaged in all-out waragainst the American president.

However, President Trump is playing the long game, and as usual, the foreign policy moves he makes (when he does so unfettered by “advisers”) are practical, needful, and nearly perfect. He is not afraid to gamble as he did with this Turkey / Kurd situation.

I don’t know about you, but I see little in that to argue with. In fact, the howl that went up from all the usual (globalist) suspects told me it was probably an excellent idea. I’m not very enamored of Russia’s involvement, to be honest, but Syria even with the support of others in the neighborhood, probably isn’t big enough to carry the ball alone. The best thing is that those 50-100 American special forces are not in the line of fire.

There are reports that Turkish troops/auxiliaries are killing civilians, including women and children. That probably helped precipitate the deal. It’s also normal Turkish practice, they practically invented ethnic cleansing. In this case, they are bringing opposition to them into the field, and that too is good. Erdogan is getting much too big for his britches and needs a lesson.

President Trump spoke about this situation the other day:

SOTU 2019, and The Old Dominion blows up

The President gave an outstanding SOTU the other night, If you missed it, here it is. I know the feeling, I finally found enough time last night.

One of the things that is very rare is that he is very good with a set piece speech like this, while also being very good with the off the cuff ones, like his rallies. Very unusual for anyone to be good at both. PowerLine and others report that CBS and CNN snap polls found 76% approval.

He’s got a good message, a quite traditional pro-America message when he can get it through the media, who does their best to stifle it. The shutdown delay, and associated hype, probably helped him, as well.

One of the losers of the night was the Dems and their Mean Girl Caucus. It’s not a good look when Congresscritters (who are unpopular, all on their own) remind all and sundry of both the cool kids in junior high and the KKK. You know, like this.

And that is how they came off to me, and probably a lot of others. Sitting there stone-faced at the receipt of much good news about America, only cheering for themselves. As usual.

Then there is the mess the Dims have made in Virginia. Melanie Phillips explains it well.

But now Democrats have revealed a brutalised contempt for life itself.

In the Virginia assembly, Democrat delegate Kathy Tran proposed a law loosening restrictions on abortion in the final stages of pregnancy. She later confirmed that this would permit the termination of a pregnancy up to the very moment of delivery, in other words after labour had started.

The capacity to keep premature babies alive at an ever earlier stage in pregnancy has produced a fraught debate about the need to reduce the abortion time limit. But if a baby is in the process of being born, it is by definition capable of life. It is not longer a foetus; it is indisputably a baby on its way into the world. The suggestion that it might be killed at the very moment of its birth is grotesque – and it’s hard to understand how in practice this could be done without committing infanticide.

The Tran bill failed to pass, but not before it was defended by Virginia’s Democrat governor Ralph Northam, who is himself a paediatric neurologist. He told a WTOP radio show that Tran’s comments were “blown out of proportion” and said third-trimester abortions were rare.

These were done, he said, “in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s not viable. If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen.The infant would be delivered. The infant would be comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother. So I think this was really blown out of proportion”.

Northam was immediately accused of promoting infanticide, an accusation he vehemently denied. His spokeswoman said he had been “talking about prognosis and medical treatment, not ending the life of a delivered baby”; his words were being taken out of context by Republicans, she said, and the notion that he would approve of killing infants was “disgusting.”

But what else would any such resuscitation “discussion” be about? Moreover, Tran’s proposed measure wasn’t about non-viable foetuses or catastrophic deformities or allowing terribly sick newborns to die. It was instead about third-trimester abortion, the deliberate extinction of any viable infant life, in circumstances where continuing with the pregnancy was deemed to threaten the mother’s life or her physical or mental health.

You already know my views, I could be persuaded that anyone espousing such views should be aborted themselves before they can hurt more kids. YMMV, but I’d be surprised.

In any case, the world blew up for Dims in Virginia, Melanie again.

So either Northam was being disingenuous, or he didn’t understand what Tran’s proposals actually were.

What then happened, however, graphically demonstrated how the Democrats are now being sucked into a woke vortex of their own making. It was revealed that in 1984 Northam had featured, on his medical-school yearbook page, a photograph of a man in blackface and a man in a KuKluxKlan hood. Northam immediately apologised for appearing in the picture; then said that neither person in the photograph was him; then he said he had put on blackface decades ago to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest.

All hell then broke loose and Northam’s future as Virginia’s governor – an office he won after accusing his opponents of racism – is now in jeopardy.

But Virginia’s Democrats then descended into yet another circle of politically correct hell. Virginia’s Attorney General, Mark Herring, admitted that he also had worn blackface in the 1980s. And Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who was poised to succeed Northam if he was hounded out of office, was suddenly accused by a fellow Democrat of sexual assault.

It gets better. The Atlantic reports:

“Fairfax has emphatically denied any wrongdoing and says he had a consensual sexual encounter with his accuser, Vanessa Tyson, a professor of politics at Scripps College. (He has also accusedLevar Stoney, a rival Democrat who is mayor of Richmond, of spreading the story. Stoney denies doing so.) This week, Tyson hired the same law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her in high school. Fairfax has also refused to resign.”

So now Virginia’s top three Democrat officials are simultaneously accused of advocating infanticide, displaying racial bigotry and committing sexual assault. […]

What’s happened in Virginia is that the cultural firebombs that the left repeatedly throws at its opponents over race, sexual violence and abortion have suddenly blown back at them and are setting their hair alight. As Rich Lowry writes, in the coming primary season no Democrat will be safe.

“Any lapses will be interpreted through the most hostile lens, made all the more brutal by the competition of a large field of candidates vying for the approval of a radicalized base. The Democrat nomination battle might as well be fought on the campus of Oberlin College and officiated by the director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion”.

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

Meanwhile, over a sickening culture of institutionalised dehumanisation no liberal progressive turns a hair. Why should they? They created it.

In other words, conservatives are fighting back, using the tools the Dims developed and have been using forever. It’s time and way past time.

The Democratic Party is brutalised and degraded, perhaps irrevocably. And millions of decent Americans are watching this political and cultural death spiral, and drawing their own horrified conclusions.

As that old Progressive Democrat Harry S Truman said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Thank God.

Eighty Years On

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement, where Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of the UK essentially ceded the Sudetenland, a German heritage area (and vital to the defense of Czechoslovakia) to Adolph Hitler.

I have more sympathy for Chamberlin than most do. My analysis says that if Britain (and France) had gone to war in 1938, they would have lost. The British rearmament was just gearing up, and the things that would save Britain in 1939 were not available in 1938.

What has come down to us though, is that it is always unwise to appease a totalitarian. That is often true. It probably was in the case of Gulf War 1, the second Iraq war is not nearly as clear.

There are cases coming up, mostly in the intersections between Russia, China, and Iran in the Eurasian landmass, where like trying to save Czechoslovakia, it might be clearly an overstretch for the United States to interfere.

That does not mean that we must sit back and allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, or colonize a goodly chunk of the near east.

We too have our vital interests, centering on keeping the maritime trade routes open, and our allies, most of whom, other than Israel are parts of Oceania. One can even make this case for Britain, itself, although what we would have in times past called Christendom, roughly western Europe, is also a vital American interest.

There’s an interesting discussion of this here.

But our own, overriding vital interest is the freedom and liberty of Americans, nothing at all may be allowed to interfere with this interest. Compared to this, all other interests are secondary

In a sense, America holds the ring, keeping the Eurasian conflict confined to Eurasia.

We need to see clearly what is, and what is not, in our vital interest. As Russia and China also recognize, nuclear war is in nobody’s interest, the problem arises with rogue states like Iran and North Korea, who may not understand that calculus, which is why we need to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons because it is not a given that deterrence will work with them. That is one of America’s most vital interests.

Perhaps these or similar thoughts inspired my friend, the Administrator of All along the Watchtower (and inactive editor here) Chalcedon 451 to recall to us (in a Tweet) a post of his, which has much relevance for us.

[…]In the end, politics is a second order activity. As the third Marquis of Salisbury once said: ‘God is love and the world is what it is. Explain that?’ The answer is that we are a fallen species. At best we can produce Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and St. Francis; at worse, we produce Attila, Alexander Borgia and Hitler. We have the instincts of angels, and of demons. St Paul knew, as our faith knows, that left to ourselves we will veer off and like the dog return to its vomit. Original Sin is the one dogma that can be proven from our own experience of ourselves.

Politics can cure relatively few of our ills. At best there are some good people there who wish to make a difference to the lives of their fellows; the problem comes when they take the short cut of using the resources of others to fulfil that purpose. The intention is good, but the State is not a person and it is generally a mistake to allow its cold charity to replace the instincts of the human heart. It is best if politicians remember they are merely instruments in God’s hand and do not imagine they are that hand, or even God himself. In an era when faith in God is less, it was replaced by faith in politicians and the State; we are coming to the end of the short era in which that appeared to be a viable option to even the politicians.

People want to be told things are going to be all right in the end; children always want a good night story which ends well. That is not how life is. It is easy, tempting and inevitable that I should end by saying we need a Churchill. But we ought to recall that for the whole of the 1930s he was ignored and in the wilderness. The new democracy did not wish to be lectured or told that all was not going to be well. It wanted to believe that there would be ‘peace in our time’; it wanted to believe that Hitler was not evil in human form; it wanted, and got, its good night story. It also reaped the whirlwind.

‘Blood, toils, tears and sweat’, that was what Churchill promised us in 1940. That same democracy which had wanted pretty lies, woke up and took the truth on the chin. Our politicians are wrong to underestimate our capacity for hearing the truth spoken; as they are to underestimate our need for fairy stories.

From Conservatism, and you should read the rest even though I have presumed to grab more than I should.

There is a lot packed into those short paragraphs, and they are valid for us all. As we reflect on what the last eighty years have taught us, I think Chalcedon’s message strikes quite close to the heart of several of history’s messages to us.

The Psalmist reminds us:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

That is good advice for us all.

Trumping the UN, and Cutting Our Own Throats

If you haven’t seen President Trump’s excellent speech at the UN, here it is.

There are quite a few highlights, but the only one I’ll put here is this:

We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants “Death to America,” and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. Just can’t do it.

Long ago, like Lou Aguilar at The American Spectator, I saw the 1953 movie The War of the Worlds. I remember it much the way he does, especially this:

The setup comes soon after the A-bomb fail. A desperate general tells physicist Gene Barry (in a superb stoic performance) that there’s nothing more his military can do against the Martian war machine, and the last best hope for Earth is for Barry’s band of scientists to develop some sort of chemical weapon. They drive trucks full of scientific equipment into the last city standing, Los Angeles, only to have its panicked residents manhandle Barry, smash his equipment, and seize the truck in a suicidal attempt to flee the Martians. “They cut their own throats!” declares the shaken Barry to his colleagues.

The image of a berserk crowd destroying its best long-term bet for illusory gain could be a metaphor for the upcoming midterm elections. Under the management of Donald Trump and the Republicans, this country has seldom been in finer shape. It enjoys record-high employment, consumer confidence, stock value, and rising wages. Two nuclear threats have been reduced, and a terrorist caliphate dissolved to attain that most elusive balance of peace and prosperity. And none are benefiting more from this condition than the three pillars of progressive identity politics — blacks, Hispanics, and women. Black, Latino, and female unemployment have never been lower.

He is exactly correct. These are by almost any measure, the good old days, and they are improving by the week. But what are we seeing? A slow moving soft coup in the government, a revolt of the opposition party who is putting their thugs into the streets, just as the Blackshirts and Brownshirts were in Italy and Germany in the 20s and 30s. Not to mention the spectacle of one of the best judges in the country dragged through the mud (not of his creation) for partisan political purposes. The whole garish spectacle has become sickening, and must be tamped down, or we will see violence in the streets.

This is all quite literally insane. It threatens the freedom of the United States, and cannot be tolerated. Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence, and we all believe that: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

Surely, one does not throw prudence to the wind when things are going well for almost everyone. Only a deluded fool or an ideologue (often the same thing) would even think of such a thing. But that is where the United States is.

Well, in just a few weeks we will have an election, the projections run from a blue wave to a red tide, with the blue wave getting more press (given the press’ bias, that should surprise no one) but even conservative pollsters are warning of such a thing

But Lou’s last paragraph is spot on so it will end my post as well.

It really is a War of the Worlds, between the real world and a fantasy one. Right now, the fantasists are leading. If people vote them into power this November, they will be cutting their own throats.

“Well Roared, Paper Tiger “

And so the EU has passed a law prohibiting European companies from following the US sanctions on Iran. They’re so cute sometimes.

The sanctions target the use of US dollars in any transactions, as well as autos, civil aviation, coal, industrial software, and metals. The ones scheduled for November are more far-reaching.

According to Soeren Kern

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK openly admitted that for the EU the Iran deal is all about money and vowed to protect European companies from US penalties:

“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.

“The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with third countries [China and Russia] interested in supporting the JCPOA and maintaining economic relations with Iran.”

Well, as an aside, that’s a goodly share of the problem with the EU generally, it’s all about money, just listen to project fear in the UK compared to the love of Britain coming from leave. Greed is not the most important thing in the world. In any case, Most European businesses aren’t buying this horse dung.

The document, riddled with EU jargon, states:

“The Blocking Statute allows EU [economic] operators to recover damages arising from the extra-territorial sanctions within its scope from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorized to do so by the [European] Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union.”

In other words, the EU is prohibiting EU citizens and companies from complying with US sanctions and is authorizing EU companies hit by US sanctions to sue the US government for compensation in European courts.

In addition, European companies that do pull out of Iran without approval from the European Commission face the threat of being sued by EU member states.

Even the European press isn’t buying this nonsense. It’s a vanity project to show themselves they aren’t dependant on the US and guarantee their legacy. Well, Obama tried that, how did it work out?

Radio France Internationale (RFI), a French public radio service, said that the effects of the Blocking Statute would be “more symbolic than economic.” It added:

“The law would be more effective for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) doing business in Iran. For large corporations, the solution lies in negotiating waivers or exemptions with the United States. But such requests from France, Germany and the United Kingdom have already been rejected by Washington.”

La Croix wrote:

“Suffice to say that the implementation of this blocking law remains very hypothetical, as it goes into uncertain legal territories.

“Total, Maersk and Peugeot have already decided to leave Iran. Moreover, companies investing in Iran do not seem to believe much in the effectiveness of the regulation. The oil group Total, the ship-owner Maersk or the automaker Peugeot have already decided to leave. German group Daimler announced its withdrawal from Iran yesterday. These groups are more afraid of the US’s ability to implement sanctions than the EU’s wrath.”

In Germany, the public broadcaster ARD published an opinion article by Brussels correspondent Samuel Jackisch titled, “Well Roared, Paper Tiger — EU Defenseless against US Sanctions.” He said that the EU’s new policy was “logical, but largely meaningless,” and an attempt by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to “defend her political legacy.” He added:

“The EU can try to turn the tables on transatlantic relations, but in the end the US still comes out on top.

“The German export industry’s business with Iran may not be small at around three billion euros. However, the bottom line is that the same companies export 35 times as much to the USA. The EU is demanding that its largest corporations risk the entire cake for a few more crumbs.”

German public broadcaster ZDF wrote:

“The peculiar construction of the EU Blocking Statute remains: Ordinarily, regulations and laws prohibit something. For example, an anti-dumping law prohibits companies from price dumping in order to force competitors out of the market. But the EU Blocking Statute is a call to action: Do trade with Iran and do not let threats from the US president dissuade you!

The newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung quoted the Chief Executive of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Martin von Wansleben, who described the EU’s measure as a “helpless political reaction.” He said that its purpose was to show that the EU does not bow to US sanctions. For individual companies, he said, the blocking regulation has “no relevance.”

In Austria, Der Standard wrote:

“The Blocking Regulation is not an effective antidote to US sanctions, as the historical example suggests…. Although Washington should refrain from extraterritorial sanctions, the US market is too important for corporations to expose themselves.”

In Italy, Südtirol News quoted stock market expert Robert Halver of Baader Bank:

“Due to the US sanctions against Iran, German industry will not touch Iran. If you realize that German industry is doing a hundredfold business in America, you will not do business with Iran, because then sanctions against German companies will exist. Therefore, Iran is certainly going to bleed very heavily at the moment.”

As John Bolton noted:

“Now there may be some small European companies that continue to do business, but they will be insignificant,” John Bolton said during an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday. “Russia and China may continue to do business, but I don’t think they’re enthusiastic about this. They’re not going to be stepping up their efforts.”

Who’s out? These folks, for a start. Some familiar names there.

Daimler follows similar decisions by: Adidas (Germany); Allianz (Germany); AP Moller-Maersk (Denmark); Ciech (Poland); Citroen (France); CMA CGM(France); DZ Bank (Germany); Engie (France); ENI (Italy); Lloyds (UK); Lukoil (Russia); Maersk Tankers (Denmark); Oberbank (Austria); Opel(Germany); Peugeot (France); PGNiG (Poland), Renault (France); Scania(Sweden); Siemens (Germany); Swiss Re (Switzerland); and Total (France).

In other words, as both Bolton and the President have noted, you can trade with the US or you can trade with Iran. You can no longer trade with both. Pick one.

In one corner is a failed state, the world’s largest promoter of terrorism, and a country that appears to be on the verge of a revolution.

In the other corner is the world’s largest economy backed by the world largest military, which has guaranteed your freedom and security for generations.

You choose. Choose wisely.

 

A Summit, Hysteria, and Bovine Excrement

Well, Putin and Trump had a meeting yesterday in Helsinki. Afterwards, Trump said some things that bothered the left. In other words, it was a day ending in Y. I wasn’t all that fond of them, either, really. But then, I never thought Trump was God and never made mistakes. Hannity is as good as anybody on it.

Frankly, I can’t decide whether the left’s goal is to destroy Trump at any cost whatsoever. Or maybe it is to destroy Russia for throwing the communists out, and the United States for winning the cold war. Or both. Apparently, they think a nuclear war is just the way to do that.

I can’t see any particular reason to trust the US Intelligence Community, all my life they’ve always been wrong, from Vietnam to the cold war (whose end they failed to see coming) to Iraq and Afghanistan. And that doesn’t even mention the crap they got up to in the last few years. Now they seem to be in bed with a faction that is at best committing sedition, coming very close to treason itself. On the other hand, there is absolutely no reason to trust the Russians.

So put your earplugs in, it ain’t gonna get much better. Personally, I think we need more streetlights on Constitution Ave, and a whole lot of ¾ in manila rope, yes, some assembly required. Not that anybody asked me. So take an even strain, the adults are in charge but keep your powder dry in any case.

In the meantime, Scott Adams and Dave Rubin.

And VDH on the FBI, Trump, and Russia.

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