Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lebanon’s next war may also be Syria’s.


by Tony Badran

Media reports in recent days have painted dire scenarios for what is, supposedly, the inevitable conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Of particular note are persistent indicators that the next round, if or when it comes, will very likely involve Syria as well.

For quite a while now, the official position in Israel has been that the next war in Lebanon would be waged against the Lebanese state, not just against Hezbollah. The Israelis have also been warning Damascus that they would not tolerate Syria's passing on to Hezbollah weaponry that might alter the military balance of power, namely air defense systems.

On that point, two recent reports are of interest. The first, in the Qatari daily Al-Watan a couple of weeks ago, quoted Syrian sources as saying that "there is a strategic decision taken by Damascus not to allow Israel to defeat the resistance movements." One might have been tempted to dismiss this as rhetorical bluster, but another news report only a few days later called for a somewhat different assessment.

Speaking to the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai al-Aam, an unnamed American official sent a shot across Syria's bow, telling the newspaper that should Syria deliver to Hezbollah anti-aircraft missiles, "a war would doubtlessly break out, and this time Israel would strike targets in Damascus." The official added that the Syrians, according to intelligence reports, had allowed Hezbollah fighters to train on the SA-2 anti-aircraft (AA) system on Syrian soil. Those accusations were repeated last weekend by Israel's deputy foreign minister, Daniel Ayalon, after his meeting with Michael Williams, the United Nation's special coordinator for Lebanon.

The SA-2 itself may not be much of a threat to the Israeli Air Force. However, another pair of Russian-made AA systems – the mobile Pantsir and the shoulder-fired Igla-S systems – would cause concern. Both Syria and Iran have been persistently trying to obtain them from Russia, with conflicting reports about whether the systems have been delivered. Nor is it clear if Hezbollah has gotten its hands on the weapons or not. From an Israeli standpoint, however, this would qualify as a casus belli.

The result of a new war would doubtless be devastating for Lebanon – far worse than what happened in 2006 – and would likely spread to Syria. In a throwback to the policy of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, this past weekend Yossi Peled, an Israeli minister without portfolio, pointedly noted that Israel would "hold Syria and Lebanon alike responsible." 

There are other reasons why Syria could find itself engulfed in a future conflict. Although recent incidents, such as the explosion in a weapons depot in Khirbet Silm, indicate that Hezbollah has been reestablishing its positions in southern Lebanon since the 2006 war, the militia is said to have relocated its bunker infrastructure and dispersed its longer-range rockets throughout the Bekaa Valley and, reportedly, northern Lebanon.

Notwithstanding Hezbollah's intentionally-leaked information about its intention to take the war to Israel by invading Israeli villages near Lebanese territory, this relocation of the bunker complex would mean that, aside from the expanded destruction befalling Lebanon, the war would be fought nearer the border with Syria. This border, along with Lebanon's various ports, has served as Hezbollah's weapons supply route.

During the 2006 war, the Assad regime took the bold step of supplying Hezbollah directly from Syrian military stocks – particularly when it came to longer-range 220mm Katyusha rockets, such as the ones that hit a train station in Haifa, and Kornet anti-tank missiles. Such a repetition, not to mention the possible detection of Syrian logistical support during combat, would raise the probability of an escalation involving Damascus. Israel's armed forces would have to consider that possibility if it were to decide in favor of a ground incursion into the Bekaa Valley.

The security regime established under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 has failed to curb Hezbollah's rearmament, both by land and by sea (or, for that matter, to prevent Israeli overflights). Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has been quite explicit about his intention to continue supplying Hezbollah. Meanwhile, the sea routes to Lebanon have evidently been used to great effect. The arms-carrying ship intercepted by Israel in November of last year was reportedly bound for the port of Lattakia in Syria. That was surely the tip of the iceberg, and you have to wonder how many such ships have docked in Lebanese ports as well.

There have been a number of reports in recent years indicating deepening military and intelligence coordination between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and that includes Iranian listening posts and other technical assets present in Syria. Syria's direct arming of Hezbollah, like the numerous reports on the Russian air defense systems, speaks much to the evolution of Syria's view of the party. More than ever Hezbollah (not to mention Iran, its patron) is becoming integrated in Syrian military strategy.

This would explain Damascus' "strategic decision" to extend to Hezbollah all possible support in the event of a new war with Israel. However, it could be a decision Assad, ever the gambler, might live to regret. One thing for sure is that Lebanon – all of Lebanon – will certainly regret it.


Tony Badran is a research fellow with the Center for Terrorism Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



The War for 21st-century Freedom .


by Barbara Lerner

The Islamists are fighting for control of the world. We need a president who knows it.

Are you worried — like so many Americans after the Fort Hood massacre — about the growing threat of Islamist subversion and terror here at home? Worried, beyond that, about what we're doing — or not doing — militarily in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq? Worried about the growing reach and power of Islamist movements in Europe and South America, as well as Asia, the Middle East, and Turkey? Worried about the military alliances Islamist governments are forging with their secular mirror images: socialist-god governments in places like North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela?

Then focus like a laser on Iran, now, because Islamists will score major victories in all those places and more if we fail to prevent the ruling mullahs from openly, triumphantly making Iran the world's first Islamist nuclear power. The danger isn't only Iran's own catastrophic recklessness, once she gets the bomb, or the fact that all her Arab neighbors will respond by scrambling to go nuclear too. It's also that Islamists everywhere — joined by growing masses of previously undecided Muslims — will see Iran's success in achieving nuclear status the way Iran's mullahs see it: as a historic defeat for the West, blasting open the gate to a 21st-century world where Islam rules and Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists are subservient or worse. Islamist ranks will swell, everywhere, as confidence grows that the Islamist side is the winning side, and victory is near.


Most Americans can scarcely imagine an Islamist-ruled world. Most Muslims can, and they respond in one of three ways. Moderate Muslims wholeheartedly reject the Islamist vision and the support for jihad that is inseparable from it; Muslim extremists embrace it, many with growing fervor; and a third group sits on the fence, waiting and watching. Constant politically correct reassurances that only a minority of the world's Muslims support violence against us are based on the fantasy that only "Islamist extremists" do that; "moderate Islamists" don't. In fact, there is no such thing as a "moderate Islamist." All Islamists are extremists. It's an extreme creed. Moderate Muslims do exist, millions of them, many bravely fighting against the rising Islamist tide, but they aren't "moderate Islamists." Moderate Muslims are anti-Islamist Muslims, who oppose the imposition of Sharia and all the oppressive baggage that comes with it. They are on our side — freedom's side — and we should be on theirs. Instead, we mostly ignore them and fail to heed their warnings, reaching out to "moderate Islamists" instead, welcoming them into our critical institutions — as our military, aided by the FBI, welcomed Major Hasan.

When it comes to Islamists abroad, poll data make it clear that they are the overwhelming majority in the Middle East. Iran and Turkey were the two great Middle Eastern exceptions, as Islamism swamped competing ideologies in all the Arab lands. Iran may still be, if popular majorities in that once great nation were allowed free choice, but they are governed by an Islamist regime more despotic than any Persian shah, ancient or modern. Turkey, once the freest, most proudly westernized and progressive country of them all, is on the verge of the same sorry fate. If you doubt that, look again at the new Turkey,[1] governed by an Islamist party since 2002, a Turkey that is right now preparing to embrace Iran.[2]

Focus like a laser on Iran now, because we have only months — not years — to prevent Iran from blasting through that history-making gate. Don't waste precious time on the pretense that negotiations and/or sanctions can save us. As John Bolton,[3] Michael Ledeen,[4] Rich Lowry,[5] Andrew McCarthy,[6] and a few other brave souls keep pointing out, we have been negotiating with Islamist Iran for 30 years now, offering the mullahs one sweet deal after another, and getting blow after blow in return. Even if — mirabile dictuIran signed an agreement promising to forgo nuclear weapons forever, it would be worth no more than the 1938 Munich agreement. Iran's mullahs are fanatics, like Hitler, not rational criminals we can make a deal with, as we did with the Soviets. MAD — mutual assured destruction — worked, because the Russians weren't mad.

As for sanctions, if there ever was a chance they could have worked, even in their most robust form — a complete blockade of Iran's ports by America and the few allies who might have joined us — that chance is long gone. Years ago, such a blockade might, arguably, have brought Iran's Islamists to their knees by denying them the refined gasoline they need to keep the machinery of repression rolling, giving Iranians who hate the mullahs a chance of overthrowing them. Today, regimes like Russia's and Venezuela's would supply that gas and more, over land, and we would be forced either to retreat in defeat, or to do what we should have done soon after we invaded Iraq — as soon as it became clear that Iran was behind most of the IEDs that were dismembering our troops in Iraq.

As I and a very few others argued then,[7] we should have responded with an overwhelming air strike, not just on Iran's nuclear facilities, but on Iranian planes, ships, and tanks, and on the Islamist commanders who control those weapons — in the Revolutionary Guard, the Basij, and the regular military. Only a strike that decisive can give Iranians who despise the mullahs a fighting chance to overthrow them and create something better for themselves, and less threatening to us. Only a strike that powerful can shake the growing confidence of Islamists everywhere, forcing millions to rethink the wisdom of joining the reignited global jihad against us, the long-dormant, 14-century-old religious war against the Christian West, and against non-Muslims everywhere. Let's call this war what it is, for us: the war for freedom of religion in the 21st century, a fundamental freedom that includes the right to disbelieve. To mount a critical strike in this war only after a failed blockade of Iran that would increase the involvement of the Russians and unhelpful others makes no sense. It would sacrifice the advantage of surprise and needlessly increase the risk of an even wider war.


That's what we need to do, now — deliver a crushing blow to Iran's Islamists — to begin to turn the tide in the war for the survival of freedom in the world. Religious freedom, after all, is inseparable from freedom itself, the freedom we enjoy because our fathers defended it with America's full might, twice in the century just past. Tragically, the odds that we will rise to freedom's defense again in the next few critical months are almost nil. Some in our military and Defense Department are struggling, against the odds, to speed up the delivery of Massive Ordinance Penetrators[8] (MOPs) capable of destroying Iran's deeply buried nuclear facilities, but they can't supply our most critical lack.

Eight years after the bloody attack of September 11, 2001, we still don't have a commander-in-chief willing to order pilots with MOPs into action. Eight years after 9/11, we still don't have a president willing to face the scope of this war. Our military is the most formidable on the planet still, but we are forcing it to fight piecemeal wars, tied up in peacetime restraints, with murky goals. Eight years after 9/11, we still don't have the president we need: a president who will rally the country behind our cause — freedom's cause — and order our fighting men and women to do everything we must do for the victory we must have.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, ordinary Americans did rally, spontaneously, much as we did in 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. We came together as Americans, not just with flowers and tears, but with flags and fists, vowing to fight back and win. To do that, however, we needed a commander-in-chief with clarity of vision and an unshakeable commitment to victory — a Roosevelt, a Truman, a Reagan — and at first it seemed we might have one in George W. Bush. He made a brave start in 2002, calling Iran, Iraq, and North Korea what they were, "an axis of evil,"[9] but he rejected similar clarity about our Islamist enemies, in and out of government. In his rhetoric, the Islamists who had attacked us so viciously almost always morphed into nameless "terrorists." That lack of clarity about whom we are at war with hurt us, but at least Bush knew we were at war, and at first he fought it vigorously, winning swift initial victories against Islamist killers in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he failed to put America on a war footing by moving with equal swiftness to make us energy independent. He chose to re-embrace Saudi and Gulf State Islamists instead, and he told us all to go on about business as usual, squandering the national unity and commitment the attack had engendered.

Worst of all, Bush refused to face the fact that the Iranian government isn't just evil; it's actively at war with us — it has been since 1979 — and we are all but alone in pretending it isn't. Islamists in every corner of the globe were keenly aware of Iran's war against us from the start. For three decades now, they have watched Islamist Iran strike blow after blow against the American power they once feared, and pay no price for it. No price for our diplomats in Tehran in 1979, no price for our Marines in Beirut in 1983, no price for a long list of other American victims of Iranian-sponsored attacks from Somalia to South America. Islamists everywhere remember these American losses, even when we don't. They connect the dots we leave unconnected, and the pattern that emerges convinces many that Islam is, once again, a rising power, destined to subjugate the world as it did in centuries past. We are the main obstacle to that goal, and emboldened Islamists relish seeing us as a declining power, a once-mighty nation that no longer has the will to stand up against aggression in any sustained way. Still, there was an undercurrent of anxiety, a nagging doubt about whether that thesis would hold if we were struck a mighty blow on our home soil. After 9/11, Islamists everywhere wondered if things would be different now, if America might actually be a sleeping giant, awake at last, ready to strike back with its full might against any enemy who dared attack us.

They got their answer when Iran attacked us in Iraq, again and again, with her own men and with proxies, and, once again, we did nothing. Islamists everywhere watched for six long years as George W. Bush stubbornly refused to strike back at Iran or her subject state, Bashar al-Assad's Syria. Feeble diplomatic noises aside, Iran paid no price. Bush lost his way, preferring the fantasies Condoleezza Rice and other apostles of instant Middle Eastern democracy fed him, to the hard truths and good advice he got from Rumsfeld[10] and Cheney[11] — advice to strike back at Syria and Iran. Bush turned a blind eye to both, fired Rumsfeld, ignored Cheney, and left the American people frustrated, dispirited, and leaderless. They thought Obama couldn't be worse, but they were wrong.

Bush knew we were at war with somebody, even if he refused to act on the fact that Iran was the most dangerous of those somebodys. Obama denies we are at war, substituting euphemisms like "overseas contingency operations," then embarks on overseas apology tours and placates our enemies with the serial abandonment of our threatened allies like Georgia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Honduras, and Israel. See, also, his cool rejection of courageous Iranian protesters, persecuted Turkish secularists, the Dalai Lama, and Israeli settlers.[12] Contrast that with his warm praise for Arab states in his Cairo speech, states like Saudi Arabia, still number one in the world in funding Islamist terror. In Ankara, his praise for Turkey's Islamist globalists was just as fulsome. His approach to Russia, China, and Iran follows the pattern. The promised missile-defense role for our Czech and Polish allies that Moscow opposed? Forget it, and don't worry about our missiles at home either; under Obama, we're cutting back, unilaterally, even as Russia forges ahead, violating treaties. Deadlines to actually do something about North Korea and, above all, Iran? Obama doesn't do deadlines, even if he occasionally uses the word. His modus operandi is supplication and sweet talk, a never-ending supply of ever more costly carrots, and it has an impact. Enemies of freedom around the world applaud him, along with sycophants and fools, like the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Norway.

Popularity prizes aside, here are the results of Obama's diplomacy for America's vital interests: China still refuses to put any real pressure on North Korea or Iran; Russia takes a bite out of Georgia, menaces the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, and helps Iran's mullahs; while an increasingly cocksure Iran openly mocks us, broadcasting its coming nuclear triumph to the world.

Call it a strategy of pre-emptive capitulation, call it a post-national foreign policy, but Obama's fundamental assumption is that America is not an exceptional nation; we're just one of the many components of a new, transnational world where more and more of the rights and duties that once belonged to sovereign nations are ceded to international organizations like the U.N., organizations that loudly proclaim the lofty abstract goals Obama, too, embraces, in his rhetoric. Ignore the rhetoric, citizens. Look at the reality behind it. The U.N. is cowardly in the face of real danger — remember Rwanda — and a politically correct lynch mob in its absence. Time and again, it has failed to maintain the peace, security, and freedom that only American power can guarantee.


Discouraged? Don't be. All is not lost, because those who love freedom have two great trump cards: the fundamental honesty and good sense of the American people, and the back-against-the wall courage of the Israeli people.

Let's deal with the Israelis first, and face the facts. Israel is a small country; her six million cannot do what our 300 million can and must do. They cannot give Iran's evil government the overwhelming death blow it merits. But they can forestall total disaster by doing enough damage to Iran's nuclear sites to buy us a little time, and the odds that they will do just that in the next few months are at least 50-50. They have no choice, if they are to survive. Iran has made it clear to anyone who listens that she will use her nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel first, before she uses them against us, most likely in the form of a terrorist attack. If Israel does act to save herself — along with the home and heritage of the Judeo-Christian world — it will give us a second chance to do what we must do to save ourselves and what is left of the free world. That is what we must concentrate on now: how to rally the American people behind a new leader who will fight for America, and for the survival of religious freedom in the world.

I don't know yet who that new leader will be, but I know we will be able to recognize him — or her — by the positions he takes, before and after the Israeli strike against Iran. The commander-in-chief we need will refuse to echo any part of the chorus of condemnation that will greet Israeli action. He will give voice to America's relief at being given a reprieve from the imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and he will forcefully defend both Israel and the U.S. from all attempts at retribution, whether from Iran's mullahs and the Islamist terrorist groups they control, or from the hypocritical bullies at the U.N. and the EU. He will reach out to the Iranian people, too — to the young people who despise the mullahs — and offer them the help Obama denied them. But he won't limit his efforts to the Middle East. He will re-embrace our allies in Poland and the Czech Republic, encourage the Georgians, the Colombians, and the constitutional government of Honduras. He will strengthen our ties to Azerbaijan, even as the new Turkey turns its back on its old pro-western, secular-friendly Muslim ally.

At home, our new leader will do what any serious commander-in-chief of a nation at war would do. He will insist on an all-out national effort to increase our own supplies of energy as rapidly as possible. He will pay no obeisance to the ideologues who pretend that wind, solar power, and bio-fuels alone can make us energy independent in a practical amount of time. He will demand that we lift the self-defeating strictures that prevent us from drilling for oil in Alaska, on both coasts, and in the Gulf, and he will press for the rapid development of our nuclear power, but he won't stop there. He'll shake us awake to the stunning fact that, as Boone Pickens has pointed out, we are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, and he'll spur us on to make rapid use of it in our cars, buses, and trucks. Finally, the new leader we need will be serious, at long last, about sealing our borders against illegal immigrants, and about prosecuting and deporting Islamists who are here already, working to undermine our government and destroy our freedoms.

The American people are more than ready for such a leader. Faith in the fundamental honesty and good sense of most Americans undergirds this prediction; poll data support it. Deluged by politically correct propaganda, most Americans still manage to keep a pretty firm grip on reality. President Obama, especially, has worked tirelessly to downplay the Iranian threat, demonize the Israelis, whitewash the Palestinians, and convince Americans that the U.N. can be our savior.

The great American majority buys none of it. In the Pew poll of American attitudes toward 22 nations, only three got a favorable rating from fewer than 20 percent of us. Iran was dead last with 8 percent. Her two competitors for last place were North Korea with 12 percent and the Palestinian Authority with 14 percent. Israel ranked near the top. Despite overwhelmingly negative press coverage, 71 percent gave her a favorable rating. In Rasmussen polls, American voters see Israel as one of our top three allies, along with Canada and Great Britain, and they see Iran as our worst enemy. Eighty-two percent believe the Iranians are deter-mined to develop nuclear weapons, and a majority believe Obama's response to Iran has not been tough enough. Only 43 percent think he's doing a good job in protecting our national security overall — perhaps the same 43 percent who, in October, thought we were winning the War on Terror. In November,[13] that number dropped by nine points. Now, only 34 percent of Americans think we're winning. Even fewer see the U.N. as our ally: 27 percent. Similar poll data show most Americans don't buy politically correct propaganda on energy and homeland security either.

All this poll data points to one heartening conclusion: The great American majority has a much better grasp of the realities we face than our current leaders. A new American leader who speaks to those realities with clarity and force can rally the American people behind him, and renew this country's commitment to fighting and winning the great war for freedom in the 21st century.




[3] SB10001424052748703628304574452933624279114.html

[4] SB10001424052748704471504574442901560824682.html




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[9] dp/1400061946



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Barbara Lerner is a frequent contributor to National Review OnLine (NRO).

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


The Idiot Twins of American Idealism.



Former president George W Bush thought that the United States could turn Kabul into Peoria, the archetypal American city in the state of Illinois. President Barack Obama thinks that Kabul is just as good as Peoria. America has shed idealist delusion - that imposing the outward form of democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan would implant its content - in favor of an even stranger delusion, which refuses "to elevate one nation or group of people over another", as Obama told the United Nations on September 23.

It was mad to believe that America could remake the world in its own image. Given that more than half the world's languages will go extinct for lack of interest during the present century, it is even madder to turn foreign policy into an affirmative action program for disadvantaged cultures. But those are the idiot twins of American idealism: either one size fits all, or size doesn't matter. I do not propose to draw a moral equivalence between presidents Bush and Obama: Bush wanted to elevate American power and Obama wants to diminish it. Bush had better motives, but he was no less destructive of American influence.

Where are the realists? Self-styled realists, to be sure, idle at every corner on K Street. Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, the enemies of the so-called Israel lobby, claim to be realists. Why, they ask, should America ally with Israel, a land of seven million people, and offend a billion and a third Muslims, some of whom are sitting on a great deal of the world's oil? Why not force Israel to accept a peace on Arab terms, namely a return to the 1967 borders and the division of Jerusalem? Why can't we be rational and sensible and sophisticated like our European allies? A widely shared fantasy, though, doesn't qualify as reality. Mearsheimer, Walt and their kind are not realists at all, just majority-rule fantasists.

It is easy to confuse "realism" with a widely shared delusion. In the parlance of American foreign policy, "realism" means accepting a howling lie if it is accepted by a large enough number of people. The "realists" during the Ronald Reagan administration insisted that the Soviet Union was a successful, stable and permanent fixture in the world power equation. Reagan and his advisors saw in Soviet aggression a symptom of imminent internal breakdown. The head of plans at Reagan's National Security Council, Norman A Bailey, told me in early 1981 that American rearmament would overstrain the Soviet economy and bring about the collapse of communism by 2007. I thought him a dangerous lunatic and, like Tertullian, signed up forthwith.

Why pursue detente with a Soviet Union that inevitably would collapse of its own incompetence and corruption? And why ally with Muslim countries sinking into irreversible decline, in some cases civil war? Iran, Turkey and Algeria will age as rapidly as Western European countries, but without the wealth buffer to deal with a burgeoning cohort of dependent elderly.

Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan seem ungovernable. Among the largest Muslim countries only Bangladesh and Indonesia seem stable, but they have little relevance to American policy in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia's influence in the region is expressed mainly by financing fundamentalist madrassas (seminaries) in neighboring countries and writing checks to compliant former American presidents as well as "realist" academics. The Saudis will sell us the oil; we do not need to wash their feet in return.

Reality presented itself to the White House in the course of the current give-and-take over Israel and Palestine in the person of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, perhaps the last functioning realist in the Obama administration. The Pentagon, as I noted two weeks ago, views with realistic horror the possibility that Israel might exchange military technology with Russia and India. An immediate concern is the Russian-Indian joint venture to produce a fifth-generation fighter, but drone, anti-missile, and other technology are also a concern. That, there is reason to believe, explains why the US administration abruptly dropped its demand for a complete Israeli freeze on settlement construction and accepted the Israeli offer of a freeze on acquiring new land, once 3,000 homes at present under construction are complete.

That, contrary to Mearsheimer and Walt, is realism: in a world of weapons of mass destruction, very large numbers of poorly educated people make no contribution to military power. Even in the age of edged weapons, Persia's advantage in numbers at Gaugamela posed little threat to Alexander the Great. Despite its declining population, Russia is determined to exercise military power on a world scale through its edge in key military technologies.

Israel's contribution might be decisive in a number of fields, for example avionics and especially drone technology. Among the million Russians who emigrated to Israel during the breakdown of the Soviet Empire are more than 10,000 scientists, including some who designed Russia's best weapons systems. Moscow's impulse to reunite the old team is understandable. Throw Israel into the briar patch, and America might not like the result.

It seems a long and drafty walk down the corridors of time since Richard Perle, the chairman of Bush's Defense Policy Board, and David Frum, the speechwriter who coined the term "axis of evil", joined to write a book with the grandiose title, An End to Evil. That was only five years ago. Never were policy wonks more full of themselves, or more challenged theologically, or more likely to be forgotten. And it seems like an eternity since Obama set out to dismantle American strategic superiority.

Unlikely as it sounds, there is no "realist" school of foreign policy at work in Washington, just the idiot twins of idealism and the majority-rule fantasists. Gates seems capable of realism, at least when the intelligence reports smack him in the face like a dead mackerel. No one in Washington seems to ask the obvious questions:

  • Which countries are inherently friendly, which are inherently hostile, and which are neither friendly nor hostile, but merely self-interested?
  • Which countries are viable partners over a given time horizon, and which are beyond viability?
  • Where can we solve problems, and where must we resign ourselves to contain them at best?
  • Where can we make agreements in mutual self-interest, and where is it impossible to make agreements of any kind?
  • What issues affect American national security in so urgent a fashion that we should employ force if required?

A few suggestions:
China is the fulcrum of American strategy. The world's two largest economies have a natural self-interest in strengthening each other. Francesco Sisci and I proposed an economic alliance between America and China in this space a year ago[1].

It goes without saying that the political implications of such an economic alliance would be profound. Forget about the Uyghurs of Xinjiang or the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama: China is an empire in constant risk of provincial rebellion and cannot show mercy to any regional separatist without risking internal dissolution. That is the last thing the West should want; were China to descend into internal instability, America's economic prospects would turn sour for a generation.

If America wants to promote human rights in China, it should promote open capital markets, immigration of Chinese entrepreneurs, and other benign ways of opening Chinese society to more individual power. China also wants America to remain a power in Asia: China and its neighbors distrust each other more than ever they distrusted the United States.

Russia is a spoiler, but a bargainer. America has no interest in color revolutions in the Russian "near abroad" (just what is the strategic significance of the "Tulip Revolution" in Kyrzgyzstan?). Georgia and the Ukraine are respectively last and second-to-last in the world fertility tables and will cease to exist as national entities by mid-century. Why should America make commitments there?

The notion that the United States can contribute substantially to energy independence by running pipelines around the edge of Russian borders seems fanciful. These are all bargaining chips. America should trade away what it does not require (democracy in the "stans") for what it does require, for instance Russian strategic cooperation in non-proliferation, especially where Iran is concerned. This may be the one thing that the Obama administration has done right, although it remains to be seen whether it has done anything at all.

India is a prospective friend. The precedent of nuclear cooperation with India as well as India's common interest in suppressing Muslim terrorists brought the world's largest democracy close to the American camp during the Bush administration. India's economic boom, moreover, increases its links to the American economy.

Iran is past bargaining with; it must be ruined. In 2004, Gates and former Jimmy Carter security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski chaired a Council on Foreign Relations study of Iran that should be held up to undergraduates as a horrible example of self-deception posing as realism.

"Given its history and its turbulent neighborhood, Iran's nuclear ambitions do not reflect a wholly irrational set of strategic calculations," wrote Brzezinski and Gates. In fact, they argued, it is the American threat that prompted Iran at one point to seek to acquire nuclear weapons: "By contributing to heightened tensions between the Bush administration and Iran, the elimination of Saddam [Hussein's] rule has not yet generated substantial strategic dividends for Tehran. In fact, together with US statements on regime change, rogue states, and preemptive action, recent changes in the regional balance of power have only enhanced the potential deterrent value of a 'strategic weapon'."

After the Obama administration's unsuccessful attempt to appease Tehran, no one believes this rot, but Washington still cannot make sense of Iran. I have maintained that Iran faces internal implosion, not only because of the disaffection of its educated youth, but because it will run out of young people and run out of oil at roughly the same time, that is, about 20 years from now.[2] Iran is in a position similar to that of the Soviet Union in 1980: it must break out, or break down.

Russia sought to alleviate its own economic misery by harnessing the economy of Western Europe. The Reagan administration prevented that by installing medium-range missiles in Western Europe, and Russia nearly went to war to prevent it - but ultimately decided to give up without a shot fired.

Iran must act on what it believes to be the Shi'ite moment in world history or be reduced to an aging rump empire. Nuclear weapons would provide it with an umbrella under which to employ terrorism and subversion. Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons - if this is the case - probably is the one instance in the world where American interest requires the use of force.

America's strategic priorities are:

  • Speeding economic recovery;
  • Maintaining the integrity of the reserve role of the dollar;
  • Preventing rogue states from acquiring nuclear weapons or prospectively rogue states from using them - I refer to Pakistan;
  • Fostering the stability of key countries, especially China and India, and, above all,
  • Maintaining a technological edge of American weaponry so great as to give America strategic flexibility in all theaters.

It has no strategic interest in tilting at such windmills as:

  • Iraqi or Afghani democracy;
  • Palestinian nationhood;
  • Georgian independence;
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership for Ukraine.

To act on these priorities, America requires the cooperation of other countries, and in different ways. China is crucial to economic and monetary success; Russia is crucial to containing nuclear weapons; and India has a key role to play in deterring potential terrorists, including (as my Asia Times Online colleague M K Bhadrakumar has suggested) training and arming Afghanistan's northern tribes against the Taliban.

In lean times, even hyper-powers cannot indulge themselves in the sort of luxuries that feed their sense of moral superiority, or coddle their squeamishness: for example hosting the Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer or the Dalai Lama, or helping brave little Georgia stand up to nasty big Russia, or promoting color revolutions in odd fragments of the former Soviet Union.

We have to focus on core interests and concentrate on those countries that have the competence and will to assist us in pursuing our core interests. Most of the world will ruin itself quickly enough without our help. Our attention should abide with those countries that demonstrate long-term viability.


[1] See "US's road to recovery runs through Beijing", Asia Times Online, November 15, 2008,

[2] See "Why Iran will fight, not compromise," Asia Times Online, May 30, 2007,


Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman, Senior Editor of First Things

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Nazi Eurabia and America's Fate. Part I.


by Jim O'Neill


1st part of 2


 "The Crusader would have been quite justified in suspecting the Muslim even if the Muslim had merely been a new stranger; but as a matter of history he was already an old enemy. The critic of the Crusade talks as if it had sought out some inoffensive tribe or temple in the interior of Tibet, which was never discovered until it was invaded. They seem entirely to forget that long before the Crusaders had dreamed of riding to Jerusalem, the Muslims had almost ridden into Paris." — G.K Chesterton (1874-1936)[1]

"O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people." — Koran (5:51)[2]

"No one can be a true Muslim and a true American simultaneously." — Wafa Sultan (From A God Who Hates)

  Are you familiar with the word dhimmi? You should be; it means[3] an infidel (non-Muslim) living under the heel of an Islamic theocracy. The plural is dimam, and Europe has increasingly become a Balkanized checkerboard of nationalistic strongholds, and Islamic dimam regions.

The servitude of the dimam will be America's fate as well, unless "We the People" wake up to Islam's threat to our freedom. That's not hyperbole, people — just check out what has happened, and is happening, in Europe — Nazi Eurabia. America's next.

The term "Eurabia" was first popularized by the brave and outspoken Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, in a trio of books she wrote concerning the takeover of Europe by Muslims. When she was old, ill, and dying of cancer, she was put on trial by her native Italy — for daring to speak out against Islam — "those eternal invaders," as she called them.

The "Nazi" aspect of Eurabia has come about through a combination of the introduction of waves of rabidly anti-Semitic Muslim immigrants, and the re-emergence of a dormant European ant-Semitism — dormant for a relatively brief period following WWII, that is.

Excepting Denmark, Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII was, by and large, all too willing to cooperate with the anti-Semitic policies of their German conquerors.

It is important to realize that there was, and is, a great affinity between Communists and Fascists. The Nazis were no more a phenomenon of the right than Communism is. Fascism has always been aligned with the left. It is only because of the left's inimitable ability to turn the truth on its head that anyone suffers from the delusion that the Nazis were a right-wing ideology.

Fallaci makes the point simply and clearly in her book The Force of Reason. She quotes an article from one of Italy's premiere Fascist magazines, written during the waning days of Mussolini's reign in 1944:

"Roosevelt and Churchill and their partners must realize that should the Axis...miss victory, the majority of Fascists escaped from the scourge would go over to Communism. They would make common cause with it, and this would cross the gap that today separates the two revolutions."

So the swastika belongs to the left, and always has. After the war, the newly camouflaged Fascists, mingled with subversive Communists, and did indeed "make common cause" in the years following the war. They slowly took over the press, the media, academia, and the governments of Europe — until the only conservative power left was in the people themselves. Sound familiar?

These far left Communists and Fascists (neither calling themselves that, of course) pushed Europe inexorably to the left, and welcomed Islam as a "comrade in arms."

In his 1955 book War and Peace in the Law of Islam, Islamic law scholar Majid Khadduri wrote,[4] "The jihad [is] an instrument for both the universalization of religion, and the establishment of an imperial world state." The global Islamic Caliphate.

"An imperial world state" — one can see the allure of Islam to the far left. The far left and Islam have been using each other as "useful idiots" for decades — playing off of each other to the detriment of freedom, capitalism, and democracy. It would be amusing to see how this "marriage of convenience" works out — from a safe seat on the sidelines — but there is no safe seat in this game, and everyone is perforce a player.

With the assistance of liberal European media, politicians, and academics, Muslims have been immigrating to Europe for several decades. As the levels of Islamic immigration, and the time since the Holocaust increased, so has the amount of European anti-Semitism.[5]

As Bruce Bawer notes in "While Europe Slept," it is now "...the European elite's conviction that Islamaphobia is the new anti-Semitism — that Muslims are now the victims, Jews the Nazis."

In typical "turn the truth on its head" style, the liberal (read that as Communist/Fascist) elite in Europe, in conjunction with their Islamic cohorts, have declared "open season"[6] on Israel, and by implication, on all Jews.

The anti-Semitism in Europe became so bad that, in 2003, the European Union (EU) compiled a report titled "Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the European Union.[7] "Even though it was largely a whitewash of the situation, it was still deemed too inflammatory by the powers that be, and the report was buried and never published. Nonetheless, copies were leaked, and the report showed how widespread and violent, demonstrations of anti-Semitic behavior had become throughout Eurabia.

Lars Hedegaard, of the International Free Press Society, notes that Jews in Malmo, Sweden's third largest city, cannot walk the streets if they openly show signs of their religion. If you have the time, you should watch Pat Robertson's short video report[8] on the Malmo situation.

The European country with the worst anti-Semitism and Muslim invasion problem is, bar none, France. Perhaps no other incident so vividly portrays France's predicament as the horrific murder of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi in 2006. Halimi was a Jewish Parisian who was kidnapped by a gang of Muslim immigrants, eponymously named "The Barbarians." For about a three-week period, Halimi was systematically tortured by his Muslim captors.

According to the Wall Street Journal[9]...the gang phoned the family on several occasions and made them listen to the recitation of verses from the Quran, while Ilan's tortured screams could be heard in the background."

Guy Millière adds,[10] "The screams must have been loud because the torture was especially atrocious: the thugs cut bits off the flesh of the young man, they cut his fingers and ears, they burned him with acid, and in the end poured flammable liquid on him and set him on fire."

In the same FrontPage article, Millière touches on a cultural phenomena endemic to cowed "normal" Muslims, and intimidated European dhimmi: "Many other residents in the building had heard a man screaming, but had decided to mind their own business instead of calling for help, even anonymously. 'When you live here, you think about yourself, and only about yourself,' one of them said."

When Halimi was finally released, "He was naked, handcuffed, and bleeding profusely. He was incapable of speaking. His entire body — or "80% of it," according to police — had been butchered. He died of his wounds on the way to the hospital, just a few minutes after he was discovered," according to The New York Sun.

And the beat goes on — 704 incidents of anti-Semitism were registered in France[11] during the first nine months of 2009 compared to 350 during the same period of 2008.

Islamic intimidation and violence isn't limited to the Jews, of course.

In 2005 Denmark's largest newspaper Jyllands-Posten, in an effort to assert free speech, published a collection of cartoons[12] centered on Mohammed. The echoes from the blast reverberate to this day.

Recently Yale announced plans to publish a book about the Danish cartoons, titled The Cartoons that Shook the World — minus the cartoons. In a gutless move, Yale says[13] that the book will be sans cartoons, because they are "concerned about a possible resurgence of violence."

"When you live here, you think about yourself, and only about yourself." You see how it works? Welcome to the Caliphate.

It's also worth noting that Yale has been paid off like some street whore, with millions in Saudi donations. (Don't smirk Harvard, your hands are dirty too).

If bribery, threats, or intimidation don't work, Muslims may resort to murder. In 2004, Dutch political columnist, film maker and gadfly, Theo van Gogh, was murdered[14] for his "Islamaphobia." His crime? He had made a short film about Islam's misogynistic treatment of women, called "Submission."

When asked if he feared for his life after receiving death threats from Muslim extremists, he reportedly replied,[15] "Nobody kills the village idiot." Sorry Theo, but even the "village idiot" is not immune from Islamic hatred.

While bicycling one day, van Gogh was shot off of his bike,[16] and then shot eight more times, his throat slit — nearly decapitating him — and stabbed repeatedly. Then his murderer — Dutch-born Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri — took a letter he had written, and slammed a dagger through the letter and deep into van Gogh's chest, lest the letter blow away.

One of the lines in the letter reads:[17] "I know definitely that you, O America, will go down."

Speaking of Islam's treatment of women, Britain now provides free surgery for women who have been the victims of Islamic ritual female genital mutilation (FGM).

According to The London Times,[18] "The procedure, predominantly carried out on girls aged between 5 and 12, can range from the removal of the clitoris to the removal of all the exterior parts of the vagina, which is then sewn up."

The article continues, "Five hundred girls a year are treated for mental and physical complications at the UK's only specialist clinic at Guy's Hospital in London Bridge....But experts believe these figures are just the tip of the iceberg because a significant number of victims will never seek medical help."

The Times notes that it is estimated that a considerable number of Muslim women living in the U.K. are victims of FGM. "A study by the Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development, estimated that 66,000 women living in England and Wales had been circumcised...."

Granted, this specific practice is limited to women from certain areas of the Islamic world — still and all, the UN estimates[19] that "up to 130 million women have been genitally mutilated."

In other areas of the Caliphate, the Muslim men have other means to keep their women in line — acid. As Nicholas Kristof writes[20] in a New York Times article, acid is "commonly used to terrorize and subjugate women and girls in a swath of Asia from Afghanistan through Cambodia. Because women usually don't matter in this part of the world, their attackers are rarely prosecuted and acid sales are usually not controlled. It's a kind of terrorism that becomes accepted as part of the background noise in the region."

I urge you to look at some photos[21] of the victims of this Islamic technique of inspiring fear and submission. Especially if you're one of those liberal idiots who thinks "Burka Barbie" was a hoot. Go ahead, do it now — I'll wait.

These atrocities are not all that rare. In his article, Kristof mentions Shahnaz Bukhari, who runs a clinic for Muslim women. He notes that Ms. Bukhari has documented nearly 8,000 women "who were deliberately burned, scalded or subjected to acid attacks, just in the Islamabad area. In only 2 percent of those cases was anyone convicted."

"Just in the Islamabad area." You should check out her website.[22] One of the photos shows a woman who was blinded and had her nose cut off by her husband — yet another common technique for dealing with women who get too "uppity."

What about more civilized areas — like Saudi Arabia for example? Better, but still nothing to write home about.

The Huffington Post recently ran an article titled "Saudi Judge: Slapping your Spendthrift Wife is Okay."[23] As indeed it is — in Saudi Arabia.

As is selling your female children. An article from last spring noted that an eight-year-old girl had successfully sued for divorce[24] from the 50-year-old man her father had "married" her to — for $13,000. The article went on to note that there is a push to "put an end to the phenomenon." The "phenomenon" sounds an awful lot like legalized pedophilia to me.

Did you know that Great Britain has two legal systems — one for Muslims, and the other for the rest of us — the dimam? I'm talking about Sharia law folks.

Last year The Times of London observed[25] that "The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence."

Domestic violence? Oh yeah, there'll be a whole bunch of Muslim men headed for jail in Britain now.

And with Yale and Harvard turning out their post-America, indoctrinated "legal weasels," who despise the Constitution, and think it's just swell to look around the world for other, newer, better, more "socially just" interpretations of law — how long do you think it'll be before they make their move to insert sharia law into our U.S. system? Any bets?

So is there any hope for Eurabia, or as Bawer says, is it a case where "Europe is committing suicide, and perhaps all we can do is look on in horror?"

There are small signs of hope — I'll give you a couple. There was a short film made last year called Fitna[26] by Dutchman Geert Wilders. Insofar as it throws "radical" Islam into a bad light — or rather, simply throws it into light — Fitna was a courageous undertaking, with Theo van Gogh's murder still fresh in the minds of both the Muslims and the dhimmis of The Netherlands. You should watch it.

In Switzerland, the people recently voted to ban the building of minarets. Daniel Pipes notes that while the vote, in and of itself, may not be that consequential, it's indicative of a growing movement among the people (not the governments) of Eurabia.

After the Swiss vote, magazines across Europe polled their readers to find out how they would have voted on the same issue. Pipes writes,[27]"Although not scientific, the lop-sidedness of these...polls, ranging from 73 to 93 percent majorities endorsing the Swiss referendum, signal that Swiss voters represent growing anti-Islamic sentiments throughout Europe. The new amendment also validates and potentially encourages resistance to Islamization throughout the continent."

Switzerland may have started something — which is not surprising, really. Switzerland is the country that nobody messed with through two world wars. If you want to know why, check out their militia. As Bill Walker says,[28] "Nobody attacks the Swiss. Not even the Swiss attack the Swiss; their crime rate is minuscule."

I should also add that Denmark, as could be expected, has shown some courageous resistance as well.

What about America — how are we doing? How do we stack up against Eurabia?

Well, we're doing much better than Europe, thank God, but that is rapidly changing for the worse. America's a hard nut to crack, but the tag team of the far left and Islamic militants is already deeply entrenched in this country and are going about their business with a vengeance.

Like their European counterparts, the American left is rooted in Marxist/Communist/Fascist doctrines, and they have little trouble relating to another anti-freedom, anti-Western culture system, such as Islam.

Jim O'Neill

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.