Friday, February 25, 2022

US lobbying firms cut ties with Nord Stream 2 following Russia sanctions announcement - Ronn Blitzer

 

by Ronn Blitzer

Russia-backed company has paid millions to American lobbyists to support the project

 

Two American lobbying firms that had been hired by Nord Stream 2 to drum up U.S. support for the pipeline are ending their relationships with the project.

President Biden announced Wednesday that he was issuing sanctions against Nord Stream 2 – owned by Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom – and its CEO Matthis Warnig. The lobbyists made their plans known to FOX Business Thursday morning.

US LOBBYISTS, INCLUDING FORMER BIDEN ADVISER, RAKE IN MILLIONS FROM RUSSIA-BACKED NORD STREAM 2

"We are terminating our engagement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project in compliance with U.S. sanctions," a spokesperson for lobbying firm Roberti Global said in a statement.

The statement was nearly identical to that of BGR Group, another firm Nord Stream 2 had paid big money.

"BGR is ending its engagement with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project in compliance with economic and trade sanctions announced by the U.S. government," the firm said.

Nord Stream 2

Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, northern Germany, on Feb. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File / AP Newsroom)

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES

According to records reported by OpenSecrets.org, Nord Stream 2 paid American lobbying firm Roberti Global $5 million since 2020 for co-founder Vincent Roberti to lobby in support of the pipeline. 

Roberti is a Democratic donor and a former adviser to Joe Biden's 2008 run for president.

Nord Stream 2 has paid roughly $1.6 million to BGR Group for the services of Walker Roberts since 2020, according to OpenSecrets.org. Roberts worked in the Reagan White House and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Chairman Richard Lugar.

Due to Russia deeming the pipeline a commercial project despite being run by a government-owned company, lobbyists have registered pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which does not require that they disclose what government officials they have met with. Typically, lobbyists working on behalf of foreign governments have to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which would require that they publicize with whom they meet.

 

Ronn Blitzer

Source: https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/american-lobbying-firms-cut-ties-nord-stream-2-russia-sanctions

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There's still time for Biden, NATO to stop Russia's Putin in Ukraine - Rebecca Grant

 

by Rebecca Grant

America literally can’t afford to sit this out. Putin must be stopped now.

 

Here’s the dirty little secret about Ukraine. For the most part, nobody cared. Many policymakers in Washington, D.C. didn’t think Ukraine was worth defending. Ukraine was not a strategic interest for America, they said.  Especially Obama and Biden liberals, but plenty others, too. 

All that changed Wednesday night.

RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the country's Paralympic team ahead of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games via a video link in Moscow, Russia February 21, 2022. Sputnik/Alexey Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the country's Paralympic team ahead of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games via a video link in Moscow, Russia February 21, 2022. Sputnik/Alexey Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Putin is far, far crazier than most Americans knew. He’s shocked the world by unleashing a war on 44 million people in Ukraine. Putin’s goal is to sweep in and wipe out Ukraine as a democracy in hours not days. To do this, Russia will strike Ukraine’s military command and control, causing chaos just when President Zelensky needs to reposition Ukraine’s forces.

Go sanction every Russian asset and kicking them out of all global business. But Russia will still have back-up from China and sanctions won’t affect Putin with the battle lust upon him. 

Putin’s Russia is truly a danger to America and our allies around the world. Don’t forget Putin controls over 6,000 nuclear weapons.

America literally can’t afford to sit this out. Putin must be stopped now.

Dan Hoffman: 'This is an utter failure of US strategy'

 

 

 

 

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Russia triumphant in Ukraine will doom America to years, even decades, of rearming and guarding Europe – at a time when we must focus on the economic and military threats from China. America’s military is already overstretched. Look ahead. A Russian sweep in Ukraine puts the Baltics, and even Poland, at risk.

Sadly, being Commander-in-Chief is clearly out of Biden’s comfort zone. Biden’s military response has been pathetic. I wager the a-ha moment for Putin in plotting his invasion of Ukraine started with the fall of Kabul, as the world watched Biden fumble the military response. Biden fired no one after the Afghanistan debacle so Putin realized he’d face a weak 

team. 

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE IN LARGEST EUROPEAN ATTACK SINCE WWII

Biden had weeks to put US military deterrence in action using strong statements and crafted military deployments. Again he failed. 

Kyiv resident: Ukrainians ‘don’t know what to do’ amid Russian invasion

 

 

 

 

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Team Biden also cynically ignored the fact that President William J. Clinton gave Ukraine security guarantees in 1994 when Ukraine dismantled its nuclear arsenal.

Just to keep the record straight, there were plenty of military indications of Russia’s menace even before the massing of troops that began in late 2021. The U.S. watched Russia build up its military after 2014 and master large-force snap military exercises. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley refocused strategy on preparing to fight Russia starting back in 2016, when Milley was Army Chief of Staff. President Donald Trump’s 2017 America First national security strategy called out the threat from Russia and so did the defense strategy released by Secretary of Defense James Mattis. So it’s not like we didn’t know. 

Lawmakers call for tough response from Biden to Ukraine invasion

 

 

 

 

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Here today, it’s not too late for the U.S. and NATO to help Ukraine fight off Russia and deny Putin the win. Specifically, the U.S. and NATO need to commit military assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine needs combat aircraft surveillance, position tracking of Russian forces, and cyber defense right now. Ukraine needs help striking Russian tanks and invasion forces while they come down the highways. With help, Ukraine can put up a tough fight as they did in 2014 and 2015. Remember Russia’s ongoing war in eastern Ukraine has already claimed 14,000 lives. 

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If Biden doesn’t give fast assistance, the alternative is supporting a long, bloody struggle as Russian forces occupy Ukraine.   

Washington inertia may return. Already the talk is shifting toward just supporting Ukraine’s resistance in hopes Putin gets tired of a quagmire. That’s hope, not reality. 

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Don’t get me wrong.  Americans should think very carefully about using our military.  No one – except Putin – wanted this war. But America’s strategic priorities have changed literally overnight, and we must face this new reality and act on it. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM REBECCA GRANT

 

Rebecca Grant is a national security analyst based in Washington, D.C.  She earned her Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics at age 25 then worked for RAND and on the staff of the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Since founding IRIS Independent Research, she has specialized in research for government and aerospace industry clients ranging from analysis of military campaigns to projects on major technology acqusition such as the B-21 bomber. Follow her on Twitter at @rebeccagrantdc  

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/biden-nato-russia-putin-ukraine-invasion-rebecca-grant

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Life Lessons With Doctor Bob: Chinese Virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan - Frontpagemag.com

 

by Frontpagemag.com

A brave scientist reveals how Covid was produced in a military-controlled, bioweapon laboratory in Wuhan.

 

 

Robert J. Shillman, aka “Doctor Bob,” has been a supporter of The David Horowitz Freedom Center for many years. He has recently started a podcast, Life Lessons with Doctor Bob, and he has agreed to let us share those valuable lessons about achieving success with our readers. His in-depth interviews with interesting and successful people prove that, unlike the MSM’s portrayal of America, this nation has been, and continues to be, a land of opportunity for anyone willing to put in the effort. Make sure to subscribe to the show at Doctor Bob's website: lifelessonswithdoctorbob.com.

In this new episode of Life Lessons with Doctor Bob, Doctor Bob welcomes Dr. Li-Meng Yan, the brave scientist who risked her life when she escaped from Hong Kong and fled to the U.S. with evidence that Covid was produced in a military-controlled, bio-weapon laboratory in Wuhan.

Don't miss it!

 

Frontpagemag.com

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/02/life-lessons-doctor-bob-chinese-virologist-dr-li-frontpagemagcom/

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Is Canada Becoming North America's Cuba? - Dennis Prager

 

by Dennis Prager

Canadians don't know what they're in for.

 


Canada is leaving the Western world.

In terms of all-encompassing government, suppression of dissent and the denial of fundamental human rights to many of its citizens, Canada is now more similar to Cuba than to any free country. Canada may eventually return to Western civilization, but as of this writing, the majority of Canadians appear to have no interest in it doing so. According to Maru Public Opinion, "two-thirds (66%) of Canadians support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bringing in the Emergencies Act ... A majority (56%) of Canadians do not support the truckers who are protesting in any way, shape, or form ... This is a majority view held in every province/region across the country."

I suspect that most Americans — and certainly most people outside of America or Canada — do not know precisely what Canada's Marxist prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is doing to his country.

So, allow me to review.

Last week, for only the second time in Canadian history other than wartime — the first time was under Justin Trudeau's father, Pierre Trudeau, the other Marxist to govern Canada — Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act. This statute enables a Canadian prime minister to suspend fundamental human rights and rule as a dictator.

The CBC described in detail how Trudeau is using the Emergencies Act to destroy the lives of Canadian dissidents. This should be read carefully. Such policies have never been enacted by a Western country against its own citizens (with the extremely rare exceptions of those actively engaged in terrorism):

"Using powers granted under the Emergencies Act, the federal government has directed banks and other financial institutions to stop doing business with people associated with the anti-vaccine mandate convoy occupying the nation's capital.

"The government's new directive, called the 'emergency economic measures order,' goes beyond asking banks to simply stop transferring funds to protest organizers. The government wants banks to stop doing business with some people altogether.

"The order says that banks and other financial entities (like credit unions, co-ops, loan companies, trusts and cryptocurrency platforms) must stop 'providing any financial or related services' to people associated with the protests — a move that will result in frozen accounts, stranded money and cancelled credit cards.

"The Emergencies Act gives authorities the power to freeze the finances of those connected to blockades and protests, and the consequences could last long after the demonstrations end...

"The regulation's definition of a "designated person" also includes ... anyone sending funds to support these protests...

"Mark Blumberg is a lawyer at Blumberg Segal LLP who specializes in non-profit and charity law. In an interview, he said that while the Emergencies Act gives banks time-limited powers, these institutions 'may just decide to shut the person's account down' because there could be 'huge risks' for banks servicing these customers in the future. Banks will be working with law enforcement to decide who should be 'de-banked.'

"A senior government official said ... police could gather the names and license plate numbers of people participating in a protest or an unlawful assembly and share that information with FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) ...

"Former CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) senior strategic analyst Jessica Davis (said) 'the people who are participating in the protest aren't going to be able to do things like pay bills, pay their hotel bills. They will eventually run out of supplies as well...

"With access to bank accounts and credit cards and other financial instruments suspended, protesters won't be able to pay for things like hotel and fuel bills...

"Over the longer term, Davis said, it may be hard for some of the truckers participating to ever find work again because they could lack the necessary insurance to operate a big rig. 'Paying bills, paying rent and any kind of day-to-day financial transaction can be stopped for people who are part of the protest movement,' she said. There may also be some 'unintended consequences' from frozen accounts, such as suspended alimony and child support payments, Davis said. 'It's going to be very difficult for them.'

"Banks have been granted immunity against legal action in the event of disputes over whether someone should have been denied financial services. 'No proceedings under the Emergencies Act and no civil proceedings lie against an entity for complying with this Order,' the regulations read."

None of these life-ruining, due-process defying measures is necessary. The truckers' demonstrations could have been ended by arresting drivers who would not move their trucks or simply just towing their trucks. The purpose of these regulations is to destroy dissenters and deter future dissent. In a word, it is to ruin the lives of those who disobey Justin Trudeau.

As one who has followed Canadian life over the decades — I have lectured in nine of Canada's 10 provinces — the moral descent of Canada is depressing but not especially surprising. Since I was in college in the 1970s, I traveled abroad every year of my life except in 2020 — to some 130 countries. I not only took interest in the countries I visited but in the tourists who visited them. I recall well that when I was young, many young Canadians stitched a Canadian flag onto their backpacks. As almost no tourists from other nations did that, I asked Canadians why they did. Their reason was to identify themselves as Canadian rather than as American.

I am not the first observer of Canadians to note that a major part of Canadian identity — especially among Canadian elites — is being a not-American. Many Canadians were and remain first and foremost not-Americans. Other than that, not much defines Canadians. And when a nation stands essentially for nothing, bad things eventually happen — because nothingness is eventually filled or replaced by bad.

On my radio show, I once asked the late Charles Krauthammer, one of the most insightful commentators of this era, what he saw as the greatest difference between his native Canada and his adopted country, the United States. Without hesitation, he said that in America the national motto is "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," and in Canada it is "Peace, Order, and Good Government."

The first inspires a nation. The second doesn't.

Upon the death of Fidel Castro, Justin Trudeau gave the most positive assessment of the Cuban tyrant of any Western leader. It is worth quoting in full because it demonstrates Trudeau's affection for communism and because Trudeau is transforming Canada into Cuba:

"It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba's longest serving President. Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

"While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro's supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for 'el Comandante.'

"I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honor to meet his three sons and his brother, President Raul Castro, during my recent visit to Cuba.

"On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader."

There does remain one major difference between Canada and Cuba. Few Cubans support their Marxist leaders, but most Canadians support theirs. They don't know what they're in for.

 

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/02/canada-becoming-north-americas-cuba-dennis-prager/

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Kremlin Invades Ukraine - Joseph Klein

 

by Joseph Klein

Putin warns the U.S. not to intervene.

 


It’s official. The oft-repeated warning from the Biden administration that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent has come to pass.

On February 21st, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent so-called “peace-keeping” forces across Russia’s border with Ukraine into two eastern Ukrainian provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, in the Donbass region. These provinces have been controlled by Russian-leaning Ukrainian separatists who have served as Russia’s proxies since 2014. However, to the rest of the world they are still considered within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.

Putin’s initial move in invading Ukraine followed his unilateral recognition of the “independence” of areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres denounced this decree as “a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

But Putin could not care less what the UN Secretary General or the international community as a whole thinks. In his blistering speech on February 21st, the Russian president claimed that all of Ukraine belongs to Russia and should never have been created as a separate country in the first place.

Early in the morning of February 24th (Ukrainian time), Putin broadened the theater of war in Ukraine. He declared a “special military operation” in the country on the pretext of helping the people of Donbass. It was the equivalent of a declaration of war on all of Ukraine, punctuated by explosions that were heard in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, in the aftermath of Putin’s “special military operation” order. Missile attacks and ground troop assaults are undoubtedly on the way.

Putin pulled the trigger for a full-scale invasion at about the same time that Secretary General Guterres pleaded with Putin, during the second emergency session in a week of the UN Security Council, to step back from the brink of war. “I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: President Putin,” the Secretary General said, “stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”

The White House issued a statement Wednesday night condemning Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine” and warning Russia of severe consequences. But this rhetoric is simply more of the same.

Putin has a clear end game in mind: he wants to take over all of Ukraine and is intent on achieving his objective on his own timetable. And he is very much willing to watch the Russian people suffer as he tries to restore several parts of the former Russian empire.

Biden is merely reactive and playing with a very weak hand.

The U.S. president talked tough before Russia’s invasion, giving the impression that very severe sanctions would be ready to go into force as soon as the first Russian troops and tanks crossed the Ukrainian border. All that Biden did right away, however, was to issue an executive order barring Americans from doing business in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas.

It took hours before a senior Biden administration official even used the word “invasion” to describe what was already underway. At first, the administration tried to downplay Russia’s military move into Ukraine, reminiscent of Biden’s attempt during a January press conference to draw a distinction between a minor “incursion” versus a full scale “invasion.”

German Chancellor Olaf Sholz took the initiative and suspended certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, at least for now. Germany has more to lose economically than the United States in taking that action (although natural gas from Russia is still flowing to Germany through existing pipelines).

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that the Biden administration welcomed Germany’s announcement and said that the administration would be “following up” with its own measures. That’s precisely what Biden ended up doing, following Chancellor Sholz’s lead from behind.

When Biden spoke to the country Tuesday afternoon, he announced what he described as the first “tranche” of sanctions. “We’ll continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates,” he said.

Biden announced that the United States is imposing “full blocking” on two Russian banks and “comprehensive sanctions” on Russian sovereign debt.

“That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western finance,” Biden said. “It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.”

Biden also decided to impose sanctions on several Russian oligarchs and their families.

In addition to the sanctions that Biden announced, he said that he has “authorized additional movements of US forces and equipment, already stationed in Europe to strengthen our Baltic allies: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.” These countries are currently members of NATO. Ukraine is not. While declaring that the United States has no intention of sending American troops to fight Russia in Ukraine, he said that the U.S. “will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made to NATO.”

Critics of President Biden’s handling of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine believe that Biden did not go nearly far enough in punishing Putin and his regime economically for initiating Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It took less than 36 hours for Putin to expand his invasion of Ukraine.

Why, for example, didn’t Biden immediately impose any sanctions directly on Putin himself and his family members?

Why didn’t Biden add to the sanctioned Russian banks that he announced on February 22nd another large Russian bank, Sberbank, which has been accused of transferring several million dollars from monies deposited in Ukraine to separatists fighting for Russian occupation? A senior U.S. administration official told reporters that U.S. sanctions against Sberbank could come later if Russia continues with its invasion of Ukraine. Let's see what happens now that Russia has continued with its invasion.

Why didn’t Biden immediately impose export controls to cut off Russia from sophisticated technologies it needs to keep its warplanes flying and its communications systems working? Why didn’t Biden immediately require any firms using U.S. equipment or software in order to make technological products overseas to obtain a U.S. license before shipping them to any Russian companies that support Russia’s military-industrial complex even indirectly? Better yet, why not prohibit such shipments altogether?

Biden tried in his remarks on February 22nd to prepare the American people for the “costs” they will bear “in defending freedom” for Ukraine. He had in mind the impact on energy prices and “the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.” But the U.S. president failed to answer two fundamental questions.

Biden has not explained why the American people should sacrifice to preserve the borders of Ukraine when the U.S. president has opened the U.S.-Mexico border to droves of illegal immigrants and dangerous drugs such as fentanyl. Biden has decided to sacrifice Americans’ safety at home in pursuit of his radical pro-illegal immigration policies, while asking Americans to accept “costs” in order to safeguard the Ukrainians’ “freedom.” Former President Donald Trump’s America First policies would not have entertained such perverted priorities.

Biden has also not explained why Americans should swallow even higher costs at the gas pump to defend Ukraine’s “freedom” so long as Biden’s war on fossil fuels continues to drive the rise in gas prices. The United States had achieved energy independence on Trump’s watch, which Biden sabotaged with his radical green agenda.

The U.S. president said during his February 22nd remarks that his administration is “using every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump.” He added, “We’re executing a plan in coordination with major oil-producing consumers and producers toward a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies.”

If that were so, why didn’t Biden issue an executive order immediately reinstating the permit to enable completion of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline?  Why didn’t he offer financial assistance to the pipeline’s Canadian developer to restore the project that it had abandoned because of Biden’s cancellation of the U.S. permit? Shouldn’t that have been part of Biden’s self-proclaimed “collective investment” to secure global energy supplies?

Why didn’t Biden immediately open up federal lands and waters to oil and natural gas exploration and drilling? Just days before Biden’s February 22nd remarks, the Biden administration did the very opposite.

The New York Times reported that the administration “is indefinitely freezing decisions about new federal oil and gas drilling as part of a legal brawl with Republican-led states that could significantly impact President Biden’s plans to tackle climate change.” The administration is insisting on including the “social cost of carbon,” which, according to the Times article, “is designed to underline the potential economic threats from greenhouse gas emissions so they can be compared to the economic benefits from acts like oil drilling.”

After a federal district court judge halted the use of a social cost metric because it would “artificially increase the cost estimates” of oil and gas drilling, the Biden administration decided to delay indefinitely the permitting and leasing for such drilling on federal properties. A spokesperson for the Biden Interior Department explained that her agency “is committed to ensuring its programs account for climate impacts.”

Biden could have easily reversed this decision as part of his response to the Russian invasion. This would have concretely demonstrated his self-proclaimed intent to “limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.” But the U.S. president chose to stick with the far-left green energy activists rather than help the American people pay for their necessities here and now.

With energy independence, the U.S. would have far more leverage to blunt Russia’s efforts to weaponize its energy resources. Biden has taken that away. According to Global Energy, “Russia producers nearly tripled shipments of oil to the United States in 2021.”

The sanctions imposed so far, and the threat of tougher sanctions to come, are obviously not deterring Putin as he proceeds with his extensive attacks on Ukraine. Putin has China to back up the Russian economy with purchases of Russian oil, technology exports, and financial assistance. Moreover, oil prices remain high while Europe and the U.S. remain dependent on Russian energy resources. Russia’s coffers are filling up with revenues to pay for Putin’s pursuit of his territorial ambitions.

Putin is ready to retaliate against sanctions by shutting off the supply of oil and natural gas from Russia to the U.S. and Europe, upon which they have become so dependent. Putin’s arsenal also includes potential cyberattacks against key U.S. and European infrastructure facilities.

President Biden expects that the American people will bear “costs” in defending Ukraine’s “freedom.” Many Americans are not eager to make such sacrifices, especially after Biden has already managed to impose significant costs on the American people all by himself.

 

Joseph Klein

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/02/kremlin-invades-ukraine-joseph-klein/

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Why Is Democratic Biden Rescuing Autocratic Erdoğan at the Expense of U.S. Allies? - Burak Bekdil

 

by Burak Bekdil

A nosediving, cash-strapped economy, international isolation and plummeting popularity have put Erdoğan back on the defensive. Is Biden actually trying to destabilize this part of the world by provoking Erdoğan's assertive aspirations just when they had been -- possibly temporarily -- buried?

  • In early January... in a bolder, less expected and potentially damaging geostrategic move that angered all four of Turkey's Mediterranean rivals (Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt), the Biden administration silently abandoned an eastern Mediterranean pipeline project (EastMed) that would carry Israeli gas through Cyprus to Europe.

  • "By undermining the project, the administration is undercutting three of our strongest allies in the region: Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, as well as the European Union's hopes for energy independence and economic prosperity." — Press release published on the congressional website of U.S. House Representative Gus Bilirakis, January 24, 2022.

  • "The Biden administration's actions in this matter are particularly objectionable and hypocritical in light of its tacit approval of Russia's Nord Stream pipeline, which will only deepen Europe's energy dependence on a volatile adversary." — Rep. Gus Bilirakis, January 24, 2022,

  • A nosediving, cash-strapped economy, international isolation and plummeting popularity have put Erdoğan back on the defensive. Is Biden actually trying to destabilize this part of the world by provoking Erdoğan's assertive aspirations just when they had been -- possibly temporarily -- buried?

In just over one year in office, U.S. President Joe Biden has swung from a pledge to oust Turkey's Islamist autocrat, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to occasionally appease him, first behind doors, and now publicly. Pictured: Biden meets with Erdoğan during the G20 Summit on October 31, 2021, in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

In just over one year in office, U.S. President Joe Biden has swung from a pledge to oust Turkey's Islamist autocrat, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to occasionally appease him, first behind doors, and now publicly.

Appearing to detest Erdoğan's suffocating regime, increasingly Islamist governance and pro-Russian aspirations, Biden, a year before he became president, had described Erdoğan as an autocrat and promised to empower Turkey's opposition parties through democratic processes.

Biden, the fourth U.S. president to work with Erdoğan, avoided any contact with the Turkish leader until April 23, 2021. Then, when Biden did address Turkey, he had bad news: Biden would be the first U.S. president officially to recognize the 1915-1919 mass-murders of Christian Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.

Then, however, Biden abandoned Afghanistan to the Taliban, adding to the list of his appeasement to bad fellows. Afghans are facing possibly the world's most brutal army of radical Muslims now installed in Kabul, and armed with what Biden said were "all the tools... and equipment of any modern military," which the Taliban had captured from the disintegrated Afghan National Army.

In an unrelated move, but immensely helpful to Erdoğan, the U.S. prosecution of a Turkish state-run bank, Halkbank, for allegedly helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions, was delayed until a legal appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court was concluded, the bank announced on January 17. That was music to Turkish ears.

U.S. prosecutors have charged Halkbank with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses, and accused the bank of helping Tehran transfer $20 billion worth of restricted funds, including at least $1 billion laundered through the U.S. financial system.

Aykan Erdemir, a senior program director for Turkey at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a former Turkish opposition member of parliament, thinks that shelving the prosecution of Halkbank could mean that any trial could be delayed until after Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2023.

"A lengthy court process would save the Turkish president and his inner circle from potentially embarrassing revelations by delaying the jury trial until after Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections," Erdemir wrote on January 19.

The court could impose multibillion-dollar in fines and sanctions on Halkbank, an outcome that would embarrass Erdoğan especially at a time of economic crisis. So it is possible that any U.S. prosecution of Halkbank could be shelved until after the presidential elections in Turkey in 2023 as a generous favor to Erdoğan. Halkbank should have been fined and sanctioned already.

Now what happens? Two pro-Hamas, pro-Muslim Brotherhood allies, Turkey and Qatar, have reached an agreement on ensuring security at Kabul's main airport, should they be awarded the mission amid ongoing talks with the Taliban government. Apparently, although Turkey and its closest Gulf ally, Qatar, had indeed agreed on a security framework for the airport mission, added talks needed to continue on other aspects , such as financing.

In early January, however, in a bolder, less expected and potentially damaging geostrategic move that angered all four of Turkey's Mediterranean rivals (Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt), the Biden administration silently abandoned an eastern Mediterranean pipeline project (EastMed) that would carry Israeli gas through Cyprus to Europe.

In a non-paper (an unofficial diplomatic correspondence) submitted to Athens explaining its reasons, the Biden administration described the project as a "primary source of tension" and something "destabilizing" the region by putting Turkey and regional countries at loggerheads. Greek public broadcaster ERT claimed that the non-paper also listed three reasons to explain why the US no longer supports the project: environmental concerns, lack of economic and commercial viability, and creating tensions in the region.

U.S. House Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Nicole Malliotakis sent a "stern letter" to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, objecting to the decision to withdraw support for the EastMed pipeline. According to a press release published on Bilirakis' congressional website:

"By undermining the project, the administration is undercutting three of our strongest allies in the region: Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, as well as the European Union's hopes for energy independence and economic prosperity."

"The Biden administration's actions in this matter are particularly objectionable and hypocritical in light of its tacit approval of Russia's Nord Stream pipeline, which will only deepen Europe's energy dependence on a volatile adversary," said Bilirakis. "The administration must realize the significant economic, environmental, and national security implications that are at stake in this matter and reconsider its decision to withdraw support for this critical project."

Malliotakis said:

"President Biden's decision to shut down America's Keystone XL Pipeline, greenlight Putin's NordStream 2 pipeline, and now disavow the Greek-Cypriot-Israeli EastMed Pipeline is a microcosm of this Administration's failed energy and foreign policy agendas This President is asleep at the wheel, and his decision-making could cause severe economic and national security consequences for America and our allies."

Ironically, Biden's EastMed move confirmed a recent, assertive statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry: "No initiative (in eastern Mediterranean) without Turkish partnership can succeed."

Biden's eastern Mediterranean policy calculus is encouraging Erdoğan to revive his more aggressive neo-Ottoman policies, which had peaked in 2020 in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, bringing traditional rivals Greece and Turkey to the brink of conflict.

A nosediving, cash-strapped economy, international isolation and plummeting popularity have put Erdoğan back on the defensive. Is Biden actually trying to destabilize this part of the world by provoking Erdoğan's assertive aspirations just when they had been -- possibly temporarily -- buried?

 

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from the country's most noted newspaper after 29 years, for writing in Gatestone what is taking place in Turkey. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18238/biden-erdogan

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A partisan investigation into Trump seems to have dead-ended - Andrea Widburg

 

by Andrea Widburg

And as is the case every single time, the problem is the fact that Donald Trump is clean as a whistle.

At least one criminal case that Democrat activists filed against Trump may be ending with a whimper.  You may recall that there's a criminal fraud case against Trump in Manhattan.  To the New York Times' manifest despair, it seems that there is no evidence of an actual crime.  Things are so bad that two of the lead prosecutors on the case quit when the district attorney expressed serious doubt in the case.

In 2018, Cyrus Vance, Jr., Manhattan's then–district attorney, charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with tax fraud allegedly related to overvaluing properties to obtain bank loans.  From the outside looking in, it was obviously a fallacious charge.  After all, any marginally competent bank conducts its own property valuation before issuing loans.

Nevertheless, Vance pushed hard, going so far as to get a ruling from the Supreme Court allowing the district attorney's office to get Trump's tax returns.  From Trump's point of view, that was probably the nadir of the case.

It turns out that, from the D.A.'s point of view, that order may have been the case's high point.  Things have gotten so bad that Alvin Bragg, the new district attorney and a hard leftist, was heard to say "he had doubts about moving forward with a case against Mr. Trump."  That language comes from a New York Times article informing readers that, because of Bragg's vote of no confidence in the case, two prosecutors — Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz — resigned from their jobs.

I know that schadenfreude — that is, rejoicing in the unhappiness of others — is an ugly thing, but I couldn't help myself as I read the article.  It took four reporters to write an essay that oozes despair in every sentence.

There's the stalled investigation: "Without Mr. Bragg's commitment to move forward, the prosecutors late last month postponed a plan to question at least one witness before the grand jury, one of the people said."  The fact that the grand jury process has halted is a problem because this grand jury term ends in April.  It turns out that prosecutors don't like to reconvene new grand juries for old cases in case witness testimony changes.  Too bad, so sad.


Image: Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore.  CC BY-SA 2.0.

My favorite part of the article comes when the four authors admit that they have no idea why Bragg lost faith in the case.  However, they concede that "prosecutors had encountered a number of challenges" when it came to giving Trump the equivalent of a colonoscopy by criminal legal process.  Why was this particular procedure coming up with nothing?  "Notably, they had thus far been unable to persuade any Trump Organization executives to cooperate and turn on Mr. Trump."

Maybe that's because there was nothing to turn on Mr. Trump about.  After all, Trump is the most investigated man in America, and those conducting these investigations are all deeply, almost religiously, hostile to Trump.  Yet he keeps coming out of these witch hunts as clean as a whistle.

The reporters are doubly disappointed because the tea leaves seemed so favorable for finally catching Trump in wrongdoing.  The investigation, they say, "had recently intensified."  Vance was questioning witnesses.  Times reporters hanging around the courthouse saw two witnesses (Trump's longtime accountant and a real estate industry expert) go in and stay "inside for hours."  It doesn't seem to have occurred to these disappointed reporters that the testimony from those two witnesses might have been what convinced Bragg that this case was a probable loser.

There's still hope for Democrats, though, because New York State attorney general Letitia James is pursuing the identical witch hunt against Trump and shows no sign of stopping.  She's even more of an ideologue than Bragg is and may be inclined to take the case all the way to trial, even if a wiser prosecutor would draw back before a humiliating loss.

The best that James can do is bring a civil case against Trump, which has a lower burden of proof.  But again, if a bank isn't doing due diligence by conducting its own property valuations before handing out millions of dollars, frankly, the bank deserves anything that comes its way.

The same Times article also looks hopefully to Georgia, where an equally spurious case is moving forward, this time saying Trump, by demanding an investigation into the shenanigans in Fulton County, was trying to "overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia."  Meanwhile, in Westchester County, New York, Democrats are going after Trump's dealings with a golf course.

The one success these investigations and prosecutions have had is that Mazars USA, Trump's accounting firm, finally quit.  To the reporters' obvious disgust, though, Mazars didn't announce that Trump was a fraud.  It simply washed its hands of everything.

There's a significant truth buried in this long article, replete with assurances that Trump is still at the center of vicious partisan lawfare along with acknowledgments that the cases just don't seem to go anywhere: Trump was the people's choice and a strong rebuke to Republican ineffectiveness and Democrat corruption at state and federal levels.  Rather than cleaning house, these same inept, corrupt people will do anything to keep Trump off the ballot in 2024.

 

Andrea Widburg

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2022/02/a_partisan_investigation_into_trump_seems_to_have_deadended.html

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Canceling Joe - John Stossel

 

by John Stossel

Rogan did what all of us should do if we're attacked for something we say.

 

 

Joe Rogan is amazing.

Five years ago, I left Fox to start Stossel TV. I left because I was frustrated by live TV. Guests talked so much but said little.

I now produce videos like the ones I used to do on "20/20." I like having a month or more to do research and then more time to edit the video into a short clip that explains complicated things but is also fun to watch.

This edited model succeeded. Our short videos average 2 million views.

People are busy. They don't want to sit through hours of live discussion.

But then Joe Rogan proved me wrong.

He talks to people, not for an hour, but often for three hours. Yet 11 million people stay to listen. Eleven million!

How does he do it? He had no journalism training. He acted on a sitcom and hosted the reality show "Fear Factor." I happen to be a mixed martial arts fan, so I did notice that Rogan was the best commentator at UFC events.

But hosting three hours of serious talk with intellectuals like physicist Brian Cox or mathematician Roger Penrose without the visual gimmicks that make TV bearable is very different.

So, I started listening to Rogan's podcasts. Suddenly, I found myself spending an hour, sometimes three, with Rogan and his guests. I learned more than I learn watching TV news.

I don't really know how Rogan does it. Maybe it's because he's a good listener who asks good questions. He remembers what he learned from past interviews and uses those ideas when he questions other guests. He somehow makes three educational hours fun.

Now Rogan is being criticized for broadcasting "misinformation."

He sometimes has anti-vaxxers on his show who claim COVID-19 vaccines are harmful. Rogan himself didn't get vaccinated. He believes his natural immunity (he and his family had COVID-19) is enough protection. If he got COVID-19 again, he thinks it wouldn't hurt him much because he's fit, takes vitamins, etc.

I'm skeptical. I'm about to get my fourth dose of vaccine.

But I still like hearing Rogan question anti-vaxxers and other people with unusual ideas. I learn from his show.

But other people say, "Rogan must be stopped. He kills people by broadcasting 'misinformation.'" Also, "He's racist because he said the N-word."

Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and some other musicians who I bet have never listened to Rogan pulled their music from Spotify, the service that carries his podcast.

They and others demand Spotify drop his show.

Spotify hasn't.

And Rogan, unlike many people attacked by the mob, didn't hide.

He did what all of us should do if we're attacked for something we say: fight back with more speech.

He quickly (without TV cosmetics — looks like he shot it in his backyard) released a video on Instagram, pointing out, "Many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact. ... If you said, 'I don't think cloth masks work,' you would be banned from social media. Now that's openly and repeatedly stated on CNN. If you said, 'I think it's possible that COVID-19 came from a lab,' you'd be banned from many social media platforms. Now that's on the cover of Newsweek."

Rogan is right. The smug arbiters of truth versus misinformation are often wrong.

Then Rogan faced another controversy. A video of him using the N-word was circulated. Rogan apologized but again fought back with more speech. He said he never called anyone the N-word; he'd only said it when others said it.

"I was quoting a Lenny Bruce bit," said Rogan. "Or a Paul Mooney bit. Or I was talking about how Quentin Tarantino used it repeatedly in 'Pulp Fiction.'"

Rogan's a comedian who's done thousands of shows and hundreds of podcasts. Of course he'll make mistakes and offend some people. So what? He corrects his mistakes.

Let Rogan speak.

 

John Stossel

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/02/canceling-joe-john-stossel/

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Pakistan's Taliban Plans - Lawrence A. Franklin

 

by Lawrence A. Franklin

At present, Pakistan's government appears entangled in a struggle to preserve its sovereignty against an energized and relentless Islamic insurgency.

  • Pakistan's Taliban movement, led by its most vicious and largest group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and apparently buoyed by the recent triumph of their ethnic Pashtun cousins in Afghanistan, is revitalizing its strategy either for regional autonomy or to overthrow Pakistan's government and replace it with an Islamic Emirate of Pakistan -- a Pashtunistan made up of Pashtuns, an ethnic group in central Asia -- under Sharia law.

  • Pakistan has been facing an ongoing internal threat to its sovereignty from its Pakistani Taliban. The confrontation has greatly increased since the victory of Afghanistan's Taliban over the United States last August.

  • Pakistan's ISI will likely try to influence its former apprentices in Afghanistan's Taliban, some of whom now serve in Afghanistan's cabinet, to discourage any effort to unite with the Pakistani Taliban to destabilize Pakistan.

  • At present, however, Pakistan's government appears entangled in a struggle to preserve its sovereignty against an energized and relentless Islamic insurgency.

Pakistan has been facing an ongoing internal threat to its sovereignty from its Pakistani Taliban. The confrontation has greatly increased since the victory of Afghanistan's Taliban over the United States last August. Pictured: Pakistani soldiers stand guard next to an armored vehicle on the border with Afghanistan in Chaman on October 5, 2021. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan's Taliban movement, led by its most vicious and largest group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and apparently buoyed by the recent triumph of their ethnic Pashtun cousins in Afghanistan, is revitalizing its strategy either for regional autonomy or to overthrow Pakistan's government and replace it with an Islamic Emirate of Pakistan -- a Pashtunistan made up of Pashtuns, an ethnic group in central Asia -- under Sharia law.

Pakistan has been facing an ongoing internal threat to its sovereignty from its Pakistani Taliban. The confrontation has greatly increased since the victory of Afghanistan's Taliban over the United States last August.

The TTP, according to the Carnegie Council, "is the largest militant organization fighting against the state in Pakistan. According to the UN, the TTP also boasts several thousand fighters in Afghanistan, with strongholds on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

The conflict had already reached a crisis point last month when the principal spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Khalid Balti, a.k.a. Mohammad Khurasani, was assassinated in eastern Afghanistan.

The murders on February 2 of five Pakistani Army Frontier Corps soldiers by TTP gunfire from inside Afghanistan represented yet another attack by the TTP after the breakdown of negotiations between the Pakistani Taliban and Pakistan's government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan.[1]

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an apparent effort to head off an attempt by Pakistan's Taliban to energize a Pashtun nationalist movement that would either secede from Pakistan or join with Afghanistan's Taliban to create an independent Pashtunistan, met with the TTP officials a few weeks after the victory last August by the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan.

When the talks between Khan and his Pakistani Taliban's negotiators stalled, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) prevailed upon their allies in Afghanistan's cabinet to serve as mediators between the government of Pakistan and the TTP.

The talks succeeded in getting Pakistan's groups to agree to a month-long ceasefire from November 9 to December 8, 2021. During this period, Khan's administration agreed to release Taliban prisoners in Pakistan in exchange for the terrorist group's pledge not to attack Pakistani governmental positions. The Pakistani government then released roughly 100 Tehrik-e-Taliban prisoners. However, after the ceasefire was over, Pakistan's Taliban leader, Wali Mehsud, refused to renew it. Islamabad, he claimed, had not held up its end of the bargain. Mehsud's refusal may have triggered Imran Khan's ISI's operatives to kill Khurasani, reportedly a brutal "crime boss."

The TTP claimed that the Afghan Taliban were "a role model to the group's fighters" and argued "that perseverance in the war against the Pakistani state will guarantee a similar victory to what the Taliban achieved in Afghanistan." The TTP has made progress toward reuniting most of the Pakistani Taliban's splinter groups, under the leadership of Wali Mehsud.

Pakistan's Taliban has since revised its principal propaganda theme from urging a universal Islamist jihad to a Pashtun nationalist focus.[2] The altered messaging is apparently designed to attract the support of the tens of millions of ethnic Pashtuns in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.[3] Neither country, as one might expect, accepts the former British Empire's artificial Durand Line boundary drawn in 1893 which divides the Pashtuns between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan's Taliban is strongest in the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province that is divided into North and South Waziristan and also includes the ethnic Pashtun-dominant populations of the seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).[4] The Wazir clan of the Pashtun people, who also reside in this region, are historically formidable fighters. Many of these Wazir Pashtuns, while not traditionally hostile to Pakistan's central government in Islamabad, now no longer trust Imran Khan's administration after the failure of the Pakistani Army to protect them from Pushtun groups that evidently are even more radical, as they had been promised.

In the past, the Tehrik-e-Taliban, operating under the umbrella terrorist alliance of the Pakistani Taliban, has scored some spectacular but intermittent triumphs against the Pakistani Army. When the Pakistani Army launched an offensive in early 2004 in Wana, South Waziristan, major elements of the army either defected to the Pashtun fighters or simply refused to fight.[5] Following this failed offensive, hundreds of Muslim mullahs declared as "martyrs" those Pashtuns killed in the Pakistani Army's offensive.[6]

The depth of conservative Islamic opposition to Khan's administration is another worrisome factor in Islamabad's calculus of the Pakistani Taliban's threat to Pakistan's sovereign unity. Islamic solidarity with the Pakistani Taliban was a major factor in the temporary takeover of large segments of the Swat Valley, a mere 90 miles from Islamabad, in November 2007.[7] This anti-government operation was spurred by the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammad ("Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws"), one of the most conservative legal Islamic political organizations in Pakistan. That was followed by a massacre perpetrated by the Pakistani Taliban on an Army-run school in Peshawar in mid-December 2014, in which 150 people were killed, most of whom were the children of Pakistani Army officers. The late Mohammad Khurasani, after the attack, taunted the Pakistani military by crowing that the attack was a "gift" to those who thought they had finished them.

Still another new trend increasing the Pakistani Taliban's threat to the current government is the ability of the militants to attract other separatist movements in Pakistan to their banner. Ethnic Baluchi irredentists who populate Pakistan's province of Baluchistan are now giving Pakistani Taliban elements sanctuary.[8]

Under the leadership of Mullah Wali Mehsud, the tempo of terrorist attacks by Pakistan's Taliban against government forces has increased. In early May 2021, four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the Baluchistan region on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Pakistan's ISI will likely try to influence its former apprentices in Afghanistan's Taliban, some of whom now serve in Afghanistan's cabinet, to discourage any effort to unite with the Pakistani Taliban to destabilize Pakistan.

At present, however, Pakistan's government appears entangled in a struggle to preserve its sovereignty against an energized and relentless Islamic insurgency.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.


[1] "Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's Discursive Shift From Global Jihadist Rhetoric to Pashtun-Centric Narratives" by Abdul Basit. Terrorism Monitor Volume 19 Issue 18. 24 September 2021. P.1.

[2] "Tehreek-e-Taliban: Jihadist Ethno-Separatism" Terrorism Monitor 24 September 2021 p. 2.

[3] Ibid. pp.2-3.

[4] "Increasing Talibanization in Pakistan's Seven Tribal Agencies" by Hasan Abbas. Terrorism Monitor 27 September 2007. Pp. 137-145.

[5] "Troop Defections Threaten Pakistan's Operations in Tribal Areas" by Tarique Niazi. Terrorism Focus: Tribal Agencies. 6 March 2007. Pp. 134-136.

[6] Ibid. p. 135.

[7] "Pakistan Loses Swat to Local Taliban" by Christine Fair. Pakistan's Troubled Frontier: Terrorism Focus. 13 November 2007. Pp. 219-222.

[8] "Baluch Nationalist-Separatist Militant Alliance Threatens Pakistani Security Forces" by Farhan Zahid. P.7.

 

Lawrence A. Franklin

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18255/pakistan-taliban

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An In-Depth Look at Islam's Achilles Heel - Raymond Ibrahim

 

by Raymond Ibrahim

Savvy Muslim activists know the avenue by which their grip on Western society and culture can be loosened. That's why they fight so hard to defend it.

The history of Islam and the West has been one of unwavering antagonism and seismic clashes, often initiated by the followers of Muhammad.  By the standards of history, nothing between the two forces is as well documented as this long war.  Accordingly, for more than a millennium, both educated and not so educated Europeans knew—the latter perhaps instinctively—that Islam was a militant creed that for centuries attacked and committed atrocities in their homelands, all in the name of "holy war," or jihad.  In the words of Konstantin Mihailović, a fifteenth-century Serb who was forced to convert to Islam in his youth and made to fight as a slave-soldier for the Turks until he escaped: "the Persians, the Turks, the Tatars, the Berbers, and the Arabs; and the diverse Moors ... [all] conduct themselves according to the accursed Koran, that is, the scripture of Mohammed."

This long-held perspective has been radically twisted in recent times.  According to the dominant narrative — as upheld by mainstream media and Hollywood, pundits and politicians, academics, and "experts" of all stripes — Islam was historically progressive and peaceful, whereas premodern Europe was fanatical and predatory.  Or, to quote the BBC, "[t]hroughout the Middle Ages, the Muslim world was more advanced and more civilised than Christian Western Europe, which learned a huge amount from its neighbour."

The reason for these topsy-turvy claims is that "who controls the past controls the future," as George Orwell observed in his 1984 (a dystopian novel that has become increasingly applicable to our times).  It is, therefore, unsurprising to discover that the greatest apologia for politically active Islamists and their leftist allies — and the first premise for all subsequent apologias for Islam — is purely historical in nature.

Recall, for instance, the most popular and oft-asked question to arise after the September 11, 2001 terror strikes: "Why do they hate us?"  Unbeknownst to most, this question presupposed — indeed, was heavily laden with — a historical point of view that had been forged over decades and largely remains unquestioned, even by critics of modern Islam: because Islam was tolerant and advanced in the past, this entrenched perspective holds, its current problems in the present — authoritarianism, intolerance, violence, radicalization, terrorism, etc. — must be aberrations, products of unfavorable circumstances, politics, economics, "grievances" — anything and everything but Islam itself.  Simply put, if they did not "hate us" before — but were rather progressive and tolerant — surely something other than Islam has since "gone wrong." 

From here one can see the importance of safeguarding the current narrative of a historically "advanced" and "tolerant" Islam vis-à-vis a historically "backward" and "intolerant" Europe.

I myself experienced firsthand just how important controlling this narrative is for political Islamists.  After the U.S. Army War College invited me to lecture on my last history book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its leftist allies launched an "unprecedented" attack on me and the War College.  They issued — on two separate occasions — press releases and hysterical petitions (presenting the War College — even me, an ethnic Egyptian — as "white supremacists") and made several direct calls to and met with the heads of the War College — all in an effort to get my talk canceled. 

In the end, they failed, in part because the National Association of Scholars sent a petition letter to then-president Donald Trump signed by over five thousand people, mostly university-affiliated academics.  Ten congressmen also came to my support.  More to the point, and as retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Allen West, who also came to my support, explained, "not one sentence of his recent literary project [Sword and Scimitar] was mentioned by these Islamo-fascists [as being wrong]."

When CAIR and "woke" allies realized that their attempts at academic censorship had failed and that I would speak anyway, they urged the War College, and it agreed, to allow another historian to present a "counterview" in response to my lecture.  This was John Voll, professor emeritus of Islamic history at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  (See here for how this renowned apologist misrepresented and whitewashed Islam's history of terror vis-à-vis the West.)  Unfortunately, and despite the fact that the War College videotaped my talk (objectively summarized by a reporter here) and informed me that it would be, like all of their talks, posted online, it never was published. 

At any rate, why did CAIR and its allies launch such an attack on me in the first place, especially considering that they did not respond similarly to my other books, which I also lectured about in other prestigious venues — books that dealt with current and hot topics (e.g., Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians and The Al Qaeda Reader)?  Why instead did they go after a book that revolved around, of all things, "ancient history" — and with such vehemence, at one point desperately insisting that if I am allowed to lecture on it at the War College, American servicemen would get so riled as to start massacring Muslims on sight? 

Because they too know what is at stake; they too know that "who controls the past" — which they are determined to continue doing — "controls the future."  So long as the people of the West accept as a first premise that Islam was historically and for centuries an advanced, enlightened, and tolerant force — especially in comparison to Europe — so long must all the violent and terrible things currently being committed in its name be chalked up to other factors — territorial disputes, grievances, economics, education, politics, and/or "lack of jobs" to quote the Obama White House — never Islam itself.

Such logic is admittedly sound — but only as long as its first premise remains unchallenged.  For those, however, who become acquainted with Islam's true history vis-à-vis the West, there is no "why do they hate us?" or "what went wrong?" to explain away.  Rather, the obvious becomes painfully clear: the Muslim world's present is, sadly, an extension — often a mirror representation — of its past. 

Image via Pexels.

 

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2022/02/an_indepth_look_at_islams_achilles_heel.html

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