Busy Week Ahead

So NATO meets next week, right after the Supreme Court nomination, and then Trump will visit Britain meeting with May and the Queen, then spending the weekend in Scotland before going to Helsinki to meet Putin. Quite the schedule isn’t it?

I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the NATO meeting. Just as much to hear what is not said as what is. NATO is unraveling, because Europe will not pay for its own defense, even a fraction of it, preferring to let Uncle Sugar do it.

Well, that is not so true for Eastern Europe, who mostly are trying, but Germany and France are simply useless these days, couldn’t mount a decent parade.

There is a report that the British government has forbidden President Trump from meeting with Nigel Farage, now that is cheeky, and if I was Trump, I’d make damned sure I did, but it’s a small thing.

What is not a small thing is Iran, Melanie Phillips has that story.

Britain and the EU regard the Iranian fanatics as people with whom they can to do business – both diplomatic and economic. But the only reasonable, moral and self-defense position is to regard them as a regime beyond the pale which must be destroyed.

No one wants war; the aim should be to prevent the terrible war that is almost inevitable unless the Iranian regime is removed. The best and most likely way to achieve this is for the people of Iran to rise up against it. […]

The result is popular demand for an end to the regime itself. In stark contrast to uprisings that have erupted in the Arab world, the Iranian demonstrators support Israel and the West. The Iranian regime regularly pronounces “Death to Israel.”

The protesters have been shouting instead “Death to Palestine” and demanding that the regime stops funding Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria’s President Assad and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Suddenly, what seemed impossible is now being talked about as a distinct possibility: that a regime which until now has been strutting across the region imposing increasing control may in fact collapse.

So what’s changed? In two words: President Trump. By withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal, he has changed the entire power dynamic within Iran and in the region. Now sanctions have been reimposed and are about to bite far more severely.

With tacit backing by both the US and Russia, Israel has been attacking Iranian military assets across Syria.

The game is now afoot to achieve what until now no one contemplated as a serious possibility: to pry Russia away from Iran and squeeze Iran out of Syria, thus smashing the fulcrum of Iranian power in the region. […]

Clearly, much remains murky and alarming about such a complex dance of deterrence.

America’s ultimate strategic goal, however, is clear: to weaken, stymie and ultimately destroy the Islamic regime in Iran.

Yet, incredibly, Britain and Europe are still attempting to support it. This weekend, the five powers still party to the nuclear deal – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – are meeting Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in Vienna to discuss how it might continue without US support.

This, even though earlier this week, six people were arrested in Belgium, France and Germany, including an Iranian diplomat posted to Vienna, over an alleged Iranian terrorist plot to attack an Iranian-opposition rally in a Paris suburb this weekend.

Britain, France and Germany may realize very soon that they will need to choose between trading with Iran and trading with the US. The State Department has threatened to punish sanctions violators, while major European companies such as Peugeot, Siemens and Total are reportedly preparing to halt their dealings with Tehran.

Both Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have made a point of telling the Iranian people that they have American and Israeli support and that the fight by the US and Israel is merely against the regime that oppresses them.

Quite. There is a real chance here, like the one that Obama ignored to rid the world of Iran’s odious government, and Europe is attempting to sabotage it. With allies like this, who needs enemies?

Melanie thinks much of this is down to anti-Semitism. It may be so, I don’t know, nor does it matter, really. It exists, and it must be dealt with.

I pay more attention to Britain than the continent as all know. It’s an unbelievably dark landscape these days, dissidents in jail for political speech, the will of the people subverted by the government with regard to Brexit, the government conspiring to demonstrate against the President of the United States, and divers horrid things.

American ideas about rights and responsibilities which we celebrated this week, almost all came from (no longer great) Britain, but they have been evicted from the ancestral home, no doubt for Muslim immigrants.

An entire century ago American troops were attacking Imperial German troops in France. Three times in the last hundred years we have kept Europe free. It’s a fool’s errand, they have no inclination to keep themselves free. Time to move to the east, or come home.

The time may well have come to write off Western Europe, including the United Kingdom. And yet, we often said much the same about Obama’s America. And you know, there are the same stirrings going on in May’s England as there were in Obama’s America.

Once again it was true here, as Kipling said

It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late,
With long arrears to make good,
When the Saxon began to hate.

They were not easily moved,
They were icy — willing to wait
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the Saxon began to hate.

Their voices were even and low.
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not preached to the crowd.
It was not taught by the state.
No man spoke it aloud
When the Saxon began to hate.

It was not suddenly bred.
It will not swiftly abate.
Through the chilled years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date
That the Saxon began to hate.

It was the undoing of Kaiser Bill, Hitler, Tojo, and the Soviet Union, and the Radical American left and I hear it stirring today in England. Or one hopes, anyway.

Advertisements

And so, in Iran

Pictured: The Iranian city of Mashhad, enveloped in a haze of air pollution. Of the 500 most polluted cities of the world, Iran with 19 cities comes fifth. (Image source: Tasnim/Wikimedia Commons)

There’s an article, a quote really, over at Oyia Brownthat caught my eye. It is from a quite long article from Gatestone, comparing contemporary Iran to East Germany. It’s well worth your time, Here’s the quote:

On December 28, 2017, major protests against the Iranian regime broke out in Mashhad and quickly spread to numerous other urban centers. Mostly merely noisy at first, some turned violent and eventually the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) suppressed the phenomenon, killing some and arresting thousands of others. Protests have continued, but news about them is scanty. How are they to be evaluated?

There are interesting parallels with the twilight of the East German regime. By a coincidence, the Iranian regime is in its fortieth year and the East German regime suddenly collapsed just after its leaders had held a large-scale pompous celebration of its fortieth anniversary in the capital, East Berlin.

At its downfall, the government and security apparatus of the so-called “German Democratic Republic” appeared to be, as always, thoroughly in control, yet it took only a few chance events to start a domino effect that swept it away. There was the swell of holidaymakers who drove their polluting “Trabis” into Hungary or Czechoslovakia and thence via Austria into West Germany, because those East European countries had stopped preventing them. Beginning on September 4, 1989, there were the Monday marches that set out after the morning “Prayer for Peace” in Leipzig’s St. Nicholas Church.

The fortieth anniversary celebration took place on October 6. On October 9, the morning march in Leipzig encompassed 70,000. In a fateful turning point, the local leaders of the regime decided not to send in the police for fear of mass casualties. Thereafter the marches knew no limits and not just in Leipzig. On November 9, a government spokesman, trying to placate the citizens with a minor concession, issued a mumbled announcement about making it easier to get permits to visit West Germany. East Berliners misunderstood him to mean that the border was now open and rushed to the checkpoints to West Berlin. The guards, equally confused, let them through. Where a hundred thousand had marched to celebrate the regime on October 6, now tens of thousands began to stream through daily in both directions.

Do read it all. If you’re as slow as me, several times.

A Summit and a Communique

So we have a joint communique. It reads well, it says things that need to happen, and probably its covered in fine leather, the best. What does it mean?

Everything or maybe nothing at all. It’s much too early to tell. On July 5, 1776, Tom Jefferson’s Declaration was mostly a list of people George III thought should be hanged. Its high flown and moving words meant very little until made good in Patriot (and British) blood.

It’s a good start, and you can’t reach the finish if you don’t start. It starts from the fact that last year, the whole nuclear thing became real for Kim, and he got scared right out of his mind when he saw a glimpse of the real power of the United States, sword unsheathed, coming at him, with a president who really would let slip the dogs of war. And to fight through to victory, not some measly little-limited war.

Call it a near-death experience, cause that is pretty much what it was, those change people. Maybe it has here too, he’s a young man, long time left to enjoy life.

Melanie Phillips has as good a write up as I’ve seen.

As Trump himself has said, however, this is merely the start of a process. It has been suggested that his strategy is to reel Kim in over time like a big fish on a line, with every step towards denuclearisation being rewarded by another step in relieving sanctions. And that may be so.

Certainly, Trump’s over-the-top gushing over Kim should not be taken at face value. This was just part of the choreography for his grand theatre of negotiation. Nor do I think it credible that either he or his hawkish Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or even more hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton could have failed to factor in the need for robust verification of the de-nuclearisation process and the difficulties in achieving that.

I was most interested by the body language between the two men, and also by something Kim said. Trump’s bombastic bonhomie seemed to me to signify the biggest beast in the jungle beating his chest to demonstrate his dominance; the more effusive the compliments, the louder the message that Trump could afford to be generous because the other guy had lost. It was not designed to make Kim look his equal. It was designed to humiliate.

That’s true, and I doubt it has much to do with Trump’s feelings (or lack thereof) for Kim. It’s a warning, to the Ayatollahs, to China, to the G7, to Putin, to all and sundry that the sheriff is watching them, and limited nonsense will be tolerated.

The only thing that has reduced American dominance in my lifetime is American non-leadership. America is still the worlds most powerful economy coupled with the worlds most powerful military just as it was in 1944. One is well advised to pay attention when such a one speaks.

And Trump is also right on Europe, there is very little support in America for continuing to support Europe, either militarily or economically. The Europeans have grown too arrogant, too sure of their entitlement, too lazy to defend themselves, and the people of America have noticed. Uncle Sugar is retiring. We’ll defend our friends, mostly the ones we restored from communism, and don’t want to go back, but that is close to the limit, and it just might be as anti-German as anti-Russian.

Melanie ends with this, and I think it a fair assessment.

The American strategy towards North Korea cannot be viewed in isolation from its strategy of isolating, weakening and ultimately destroying the Iranian regime. Tehran will be sweating that the outsourcing to Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons programme is not disrupted by the Trump/Kim negotiating process.

It cannot be sure. Trump’s policy of isolating Iran is already working. From being the unrivalled grandmasters of geopolitical chess, the Iranian regime now finds that the board and its pieces have been thrown up into the air by a vandal against the international order whose behaviour it cannot predict. And both China and Russia have already moved as a result to accommodate him.

Who knows where this will end? We cannot at present tell whether Trump will succeed or fail. But one thing seems indisputable: the assistance previously given by the US to the forces of utmost evil in the world has been stopped in its tracks. And only the most unhinged haters of this most extraordinary US President can deny that achievement.

A Big Week

So the G7 today in Canada, then on to Singapore for the Nork summit, and then the IG report drops. Quite the week coming up. We’ll talk about the G7 today, although I find Europe increasingly irrelevant.

Benny Avni has a pretty good piece up at the New York Post so we’ll base off that.

Well before his threatened steel and aluminum restrictions on European countries (as well as on Canada and Mexico), Trump slaughtered some of Europe’s most sacred cows.

He withdrew from the Paris accord on greenhouse-gas emissions and broke away from the Iran deal. Europeans strongly believe the former will save the planet. (It won’t.) They also hope the latter will tame the Islamic Republic. (Again, nope.) As important, they want their continent’s economies to have access to Iranian markets.

Then Trump offended the Euros’ collective sense of decorum by moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

But on that, as on other issues, Europeans are far from united.

And strangely, America pretty much is, at least the part of America that hasn’t run screaming in terror to their safe spaces. We seem to have become far more level-headed with Trump in the White House, which I think goes with having a President that at least appears to listen to us, and take us seriously.

What I see in Trump is a man who uses all applicable tools, trade, aid, defense policy, the military itself, tariffs, even Twitter to help the US win. It’s a worldbeater, especially in a world of globalist technocrats who focus on process, not results. What we are doing now is the American way, best described by Great Satan’s Girlfriend, in my article Hyper Puissance, The American Way, and Donald Trump

Which may funnily enough hinge on a factor that is flat out tough to factor in:

Unbridled free inquiry.

“Courtney, free societies have, in general, a decided advantage when it comes to creativity and innovation, including in the military realm. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that”

All the cool kids know how Great Satan’s indispensable ally just to the east of Durand line sold access to that ditched sexed up chopper of Abottabad/Abottagood infamy. Theft of high tech and reverse engineering are the fortunes of unfree regimes and will directly impact the Diffusion of Military of Power.

Stuff that makes the West the Best — Wonderbra, BvB, individualism, scientific inquiry, rational critical thinking, democracy with it’s inherent capitalism, political freedom, dissidence and open free wheeling debate functions as kryptonite in Smallville in regards to autocrazies, despotries — and by extension — to their acquisition, development and deployment of military power.

And central to that common sense, what stops a criminal regime, like Iran, is military force, and plenty of it. Why did you think we are having a summit in Singapore next week with Whoa Fat because Trump has great hair? It’s B2s and CBGs, and Infantry in the south, and above all a President not afraid to use them. It’ll work on Iran too, or they’ll die, which is another way of saying they’ll work, just messier.

In addition, Europe is far from united, Britain would be leaving, if it had any leadership at all, Italy is tending that way, the Visegrad countries are cleaving closer and closer to the US, not the Brussels-Berlin Axis, and the Balts care more about defense than anything, and that is done by Americans and Brits.

Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel, long presiding over Europe’s largest economy, recently said the continent can no longer rely on America and should instead defend itself.

Well, good luck with that.

Germany is currently one of NATO’s worst deadbeat members, investing a mere 1.22 percent of its GDP in the military. That’s well below the alliance’s agreed-on 2 percent. America spends more than 3.5 percent of GDP on the military. The US is by far the most muscular NATO member, as it has been since the alliance’s inception.

Germans have grown fat under America’s military umbrella. They and other Europeans developed a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil attitude, which is increasingly untenable in a growingly hostile world.

Demanding more European funding for defense was one of Trump’s early mantras. Yet this year Germany is, at best, expected to up its military budget to 1.5 percent of its GDP. The only Europeans that contribute their required share are Greece, Estonia, Britain and Poland. The rest slouch toward Germany.

How will Europe, then, “defend itself” — let alone contribute to global security?

Will its carriers sail the Pacific, where Europeans hope to surpass America in exports to Asia, but where China threatens to dominate and limit freedom of navigation? And what if, God forbid, a future nuclear-armed Iran turns its ire on one of the continent’s capitals?

We’ve written about how important the control of the sea is, the main one here. What has always been true is what Sir Walter Raleigh said back in the early 17th century and remains true:

Whoever commands the sea, commands the trade;

whosoever commands the trade of the world

commands the riches of the world,

and consequently the world itself.

There’s only one answer there, and it is the United States, before that it was Great Britain, since at least the Armada. That’s why the world is as it is, and why Europe is making itself increasingly irrelevant.

Video Wednesday

These have been accumulating so lets watch them together, and clean out the files a bit.

Via The Conservative Woman, Thanks, Laura

Enemy of Our Foes and a Friend of Our Allies

What a nice way to wake up! Welcome Home, Guys!

Must be quite the feeling to get out of a North Korean jail, and then off an airplane that is marked “United States of America” and be met on the airstairs by the President himself and Mrs. Trump, at three in the morning.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, from Caroline Glick:

For more than twenty years, successive U.S. administrations have been vexed by the challenge of Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. And from the time the problem first emerged during Bill Clinton’s tenure at the White House, there have only been two viable means to block Iran’s path to the bomb.

The first path is the path of regime change. This option requires the U.S. to precipitate Iran’s economic and social collapse through crippling economic sanctions and active support for the Iranian people as they rise up against their theocratic overlords.

The second path is to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and assets through limited covert and overt strikes.

Parallel to these two options, over the years, U.S. policymakers — first and foremost President Barack Obama — created two imaginary options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. Obama and his advisors framed the public discourse around their nuclear negotiations as a contest between them.

First, they said, is the option of all-out war. The U.S. could lead an invasion of Iran, along the lines of the U.S.-led invasion of Iran in 2003. In the course of a massive war, the U.S. goal would be to overthrow the Iranian regime and forcibly end its nuclear program.

The other option, they insisted, was to cut a deal with Iran under which Iran would voluntarily give up its nuclear program in exchange for trade deals, and for international acceptance of Iran’s other malign behavior – from its sponsorship of terrorism and regional aggression, to its development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

The purpose of the Obama administration’s propaganda war on behalf of the nuclear deal was to delegitimize criticism of the content of the deal by claiming that everyone that opposed the policy was a warmonger (or, conversely, making “common cause” with hard-liners in the Iranian regime that wanted war against the U.S.).

In the event, both of the options were imaginary. No one in the U.S. or the international community has ever proposed a massive U.S.-led invasion of Iran. It was never considered. It is a policy that exists nowhere and is advocated by nobody.

As for the notion that Iran could be convinced to concede its nuclear program voluntarily in exchange for international legitimacy, planeloads of cash, and a blind eye to its other bad behavior, this, too, was a fantasy.

Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), did not involve Iran agreeing to give up its nuclear program. The deal simply required Iran to work on certain aspects of its nuclear program – advanced centrifuge development and ballistic missile development, for instance — while limiting others, like certain uranium enrichment activities, for the duration of the deal.

In other words, to prevent the imaginary possibility of a U.S. led ground invasion of Iran, the Obama administration financed Iran’s regional aggression and sponsorship of terrorism to the tune of $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. It legitimized Iran’s ballistic missile program and guaranteed Tehran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

While doing all of that, Obama’s nuclear diplomacy weakened the America’s ability to implement either of the two actual options for blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

The JCPOA required the U.S. and its partners to abrogate the crippling nuclear sanctions which were spurring the Iranian people to rise up against the regime.

As for the option of limited strikes, the JCPOA rendered them politically impossible. How could the U.S. sabotage or destroy its diplomatic partner’s nuclear installations?

All of that changed on Tuesday.

By abandoning the JCPOA and reinstating U.S. sanctions that were suspended in 2016, Trump resuscitated both actual options for blocking Iran’s path to the bomb.

The sanctions option, which he implemented right after he concluded his remarks, will destabilize the regime by drying up its financial flows.

The downstream impact of the sanctions is twofold. First, they will diminish Iran’s ability to sponsor terror and carry out regional aggression in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan, and beyond. Second, by reinstating crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, the U.S. will weaken the regime’s hold on power.

As for the option of direct strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations, Trump did not put the option on the table on Tuesday, but he created the political space to consider them either separately or in conjunction with sanctions. Indeed, at his cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump intimated that the prospect of just such strikes is under consideration when he warned Iran of “severe consequences” if it reinstates the nuclear activities it had limited under the JCPOA.

The salutary effects of Trump’s move are not limited to the its positive implications on U.S.’s real options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. His announcement accomplished two related goals as well. […]

Keep reading: Trump’s Iran Deal Decision Was a Masterstroke. Keep reading.

There may be a phrase in this article that I disagree with. If so, I missed it.

The world is once again beginning to be safe for free people. There is still a lot of hell to go through, but we have started the return.

 

%d bloggers like this: