Thursday, April 21, 2022

Mariupol commander asks world leaders for desperately needed help - Israel National News

 

​ by Israel National News

Commander of remaining Ukrainian troops in the war-torn city of Mariupol tells the world his soldiers may only have hours to live.

 

Burned-out building in Mariupol
Burned-out building in Mariupol                                                                                         iStock

The commander of the few remaining Ukrainian troops in the war-torn city of Mariupol announced on Wednesday that his soldiers are vastly outgunned and may only have hours to live, NBC News reported.

Approximately 500 wounded soldiers and civilians are barricaded in the Azovstal steel plant, which is being used as a last bastion to defend the city against Russian troops.

Major Serhiy Volyna described how his 36th Marine Brigade have been holding out inside the plant along with fighters from the far right Azov Battalion.

Volyna shared a video with news outlets on Wednesday in which he explained the dire situation the fighters are facing inside the plant and begged foreign leaders for help. He also shared it on his Facebook page, tagging world leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“We are probably facing our last days, if not hours,” he said.

“We appeal and plead to all world leaders to help us. We ask them to use the procedure of extraction and take us to the territory of a third-party state,” he said.

Ukraine on Sunday vowed to fight to the end in Mariupol, after a Russian ultimatum expired for remaining forces to surrender in port city where Moscow is pushing for a major strategic victory, AFP reported.

"The city still has not fallen," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said hours after Moscow's deadline had passed for fighters holed up and surrounded in a sprawling fortress-like steelworks to surrender.

"There's still our military forces, our soldiers. So they will fight to the end," he stated in an interview with ABC's "This Week.”

 

Israel National News

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/326154

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The Obama-Biden Disinformation Campaigns - Joseph Klein

 

​ by Joseph Klein

Obama criticizes what he and his third-term stand-in have done themselves.

 


Former President Barack Obama offered his definition of a “disinformation campaign” during his recent appearance at a conference sponsored by The Atlantic and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics on "Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy." Obama explained that it is "a systematic effort to either promote false information, to suppress true information, for the purpose of political gain, financial gain, enhancing power, suppressing others, targeting those you don't like."

Obama’s musings about what he considered to be such “toxic information” on social media that needed to be regulated posed a potential threat of a direct assault on the First Amendment. Moreover, by his own definition, Barack Obama’s presidency was an all-out, eight-year “disinformation campaign.”

While hard to believe, the Biden administration is turning out to be even worse in the “disinformation” department.

Turning first to the days of the Obama presidency, here are just three examples of outrageous disinformation that the former president and his administration were spreading:

1. Obamacare

In remarks that then-President Obama delivered at the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009, he promised the American people: "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what."

It was a complete lie that Obama and his senior administration officials spread about Obamacare scores of times.

Many Americans were shocked after they received notices cancelling their individual plans that did not meet Obamacare’s new mandatory standards for what all health insurance policies must provide. This forced the Obama administration to scramble to cushion the blow. In late 2013, Obama even issued an apology to those facing the loss of their individual health insurance due to Obamacare regulations.

During the recent "Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy" at which Barack Obama spoke, he glided over that history. He tried to explain away his past disinformation about Obamacare with even more disinformation. The former president claimed that he had been referring only to health insurance offered by employers, which was not the qualifier he used at the time when he assured Americans who liked their heath care insurance plans that they could keep them.

In any case, Obamacare’s new minimum standards that applied to employer-based health insurance policies, including requiring employers to offer coverage to dependents up to age 26, made these policies more expensive for employers and employees.

Some businesses dropped their health insurance coverage for employees altogether. Some employees with employer-based health insurance policies found themselves having to pay higher premiums, deductibles, and copayments since the passage of Obamacare. Yet Obamacare did not permit some people enrolled in employer-based coverage to pay lower premiums by allowing them to buy subsidized Marketplace coverage.

All of this did not comport with the Obama administration’s representations about Obamacare that Americans who liked their health care insurance plans would still be able to keep them.

Yet Obama had the audacity to say during his remarks at the "Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy" conference that “I actually, to this day, believe that what I said was accurate.”

Barack Obama continues to deserve four Pinocchios for his own disinformation on Obamacare.

2. The Benghazi Terrorist Attack

The Obama administration initially spread disinformation regarding the assault that commenced on September 11, 2012 against the U.S. consulate and nearby annex in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during that assault.

The evidence clearly established early-on that the assault was a premeditated Islamic jihadist attack. Yet, Obama’s White House spokesman Jay Carney falsely claimed during a press briefing on September 14th that the assault was “in response to a video, a film… that is offensive to Muslims." Obama’s then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice continued the disinformation campaign on national television during five Sunday news shows. It took more than a week after the Benghazi assault for Obama administration officials to finally admit publicly that it was a premeditated terrorist attack.

3. The Iran Nuclear Deal

Then-President Obama and other senior Obama administration officials lied about the terms of the disastrous nuclear deal that the Obama administration agreed to with Iran, in order to sell it to the American people. They falsely claimed, for example, that the nuclear deal would include “anytime, anywhere” inspections. Instead, what the Obama administration actually agreed to were neither “anytime” nor “anywhere” inspections. The Iranian regime remained firmly in control of access and barred inspections of its military sites altogether.

A New York Times Magazine profile of Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes used words like “false” and “largely manufactured” to describe so-called “information” that Obama himself had dished out to Americans about the deal.

Rhodes explained the Obama administration’s information manipulation strategy vis a vis the press. “We created an echo chamber,” Rhodes said. The administration rounded up so-called “experts” who “were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

Turning to President Joe Biden, he and his administration have followed in the footsteps of his former boss in spreading disinformation and have even taken their disinformation campaign further.

President Biden’s self-righteous White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who is reportedly negotiating to join MSNBC while still briefing reporters from her White House podium, is one of the Biden administration’s biggest purveyor of disinformation besides President Biden himself. No wonder Psaki hates being challenged with probing questions from outlets such as Fox News, which confront the Biden administration with its misleading and contradictory statements.

Psaki recently displayed her unprofessionalism during an on-stage interview with “Pod Save America.” Without a shred of evidence, Psaki accused Fox News of feeding its reporters, including White House correspondent Peter Doocy, questions that “might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a bitch.” Psaki’s insult echoed President Biden’s own hot-mic epithet that he uttered earlier this year about Doocy.

Fox News anchor and former White House correspondent John Roberts put Jen Psaki in her place with this tweet: “Note to @PressSec. @pdoocy makes the decisions on what topics he wants to quiz you on, and develops the questions himself. His philosophy is a basic tenet of journalism. Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. If that makes all of us "stupid s.o.b.s", so be it.”

It is becoming virtually impossible to separate the truth from the disinformation spread by the Biden administration.

One of President Biden’s most outrageous examples of promoting disinformation to the American people was the claim that his disastrous withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan was an "extraordinary success." The American people were not fooled, however. Thirteen U.S. service members dead, Americans and Afghan allies left behind to fend for themselves, and billions of dollars of sophisticated military equipment abandoned in Afghanistan to the Taliban are not the ingredients of “an extraordinary success.”

Then there is the Biden administration’s immigration fiasco. According to President Biden and senior members of his administration, the record-setting flood of illegal immigrants surging across the U.S.-Mexico border that began shortly after President Biden took office was just a “seasonal” phenomenon. They reluctantly admitted it was a “challenge,” but they told the American people repeatedly that the huge and growing influx of illegal immigrants into the country was certainly not a crisis.

The administration continues to play fast and loose with the truth about the horrendous conditions at the border and how illegal immigrants are being transported secretly to various parts of the United States after their release.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris falsely accused Border Patrol agents on horseback of using their reins to whip Haitians as they were trying to cross the Rio Grande. The photographer who took the photo of the encounter that Biden and Harris exploited said that his images had been “misconstrued” and that he had not seen the Border Agents ever “whip anybody.”

Despite this eyewitness account from the photographer who took the photos of the incident in question, Biden and Harris did not retract their accusation. President Biden and his so-called “Border Czar” were willing to throw overworked law enforcement officers who were simply doing their job under the bus with disinformation. It was all part of the Biden administration’s effort to divert the American people's attention from its disastrous open-border immigration policies.

The accused Border Patrol agents have since been cleared of wrongdoing. But President Biden and Vice President Harris have still not publicly apologized for their disinformation that smeared the reputations of the wrongly accused agents.

The Biden administration’s disinformation campaign has extended to the economy. President Biden and his senior administration officials first tried to downplay the inflation that has skyrocketed on President Biden’s watch as “transitory.” Then the pandemic and supply chain issues were blamed for the inflation until it became “Putin’s inflation.” Anything to shift blame from the reckless spendthrift legislation that President Biden and his Democrat colleagues pushed through Congress, as well as their war on fossil fuels, which were mostly responsible for triggering the inflation spike.

President Biden has also spread disinformation about laws passed in red states that he did not like, such as Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021 and Florida’s Protect Parental Rights in Education law.

President Biden condemned Georgia’s election law, which protects the sanctity of the vote with common sense procedural safeguards, as “Jim Crow on steroids" and “Jim Crow in the 21st century.” Biden sank to a new demagogic low when he resorted to conjuring up disturbing images of the South’s real Jim Crow segregationist past in an effort to link such images to Georgia’s 2021 election law. The president then followed up with a speech in Atlanta during which he despicably likened the senators opposed to a broad federal takeover of the voting process to notorious racists of the past such as George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis.

The truth is that in some respects Georgia’s law provides more voting rights, such as the right to cast no-excuse absentee ballots, than does Biden’s home state of Delaware or New York for that matter.

Reasonable people can disagree on policy issues such as how to protect fairly both voting access rights and election integrity. They should debate their positions on the merits. But President Biden decided instead to embark on his usual disinformation campaign to smear whomever and whatever he opposes.

The Biden White House has also spread disinformation about Florida’s Protect Parental Rights in Education law by falsely claiming that it is “designed to attack LGBTQI+ kids.” President Biden called the law “hateful.”

Florida’s law is neither hateful nor anti-LGBTQI+. What the law actually does is to protect children in kindergarten through third grade from becoming a captive audience for school instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity before they are ready to comprehend what they would be hearing. And it guarantees parents more rights in deciding how to handle such sensitive subjects with their impressionable children. The Biden administration and its leftwing base are trying to incite an emotional response with a false narrative of identity victimhood.

There are plenty more examples of the Biden administration ‘s spread of disinformation. Its lies and evasions about the president’s knowledge of his son Hunter’s business dealings and the president’s possible involvement come to mind, for example.

Suffice it to say that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have their own explaining to do when it comes to their abuse of the presidency in spreading disinformation to the American people.

 

Joseph Klein

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/04/obama-biden-disinformation-campaigns-joseph-klein/

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Does the Western Lifestyle Put Societies on the Path to Extinction? - Robert Spencer

 

​ by Robert Spencer

The Left’s malice - and the potential irreversible damage.

 


The rest of the world is noticing the West’s pronounmadness, trans madness, grooming madness, and other evils, and is drawing the obvious conclusions. The deputy commander-in-chief for coordination of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, said in a recent interview on Iranian TV that Europeans were losing the sense of their own national identity, and that the Western lifestyle had placed European societies on the path to extinction. He could have said exactly the same thing about the United States of America.

The March 31 exchange on Iran’s Ofogh TV began when an interviewer asked Naghdi: “If I am not mistaken, you expressed an opinion about the French national soccer team. You said that out of the 23 team members, 15 were Africans, and that of the 12 members of their national basketball team, ten were Africans. You inferred that France has no national identity.” It was an interesting question, because if an interviewer had asked it in France or any other country in Europe, or in the U.S., he or she would have been excoriated as a “racist” and likely fired, simply for asking the question. When a topic, any topic, can be more freely discussed on Iranian TV than on American TV, you know there is something wrong.

Naghdi didn’t berate the interviewer for “bigotry.” Instead, he answered: “The West delineates a certain lifestyle for societies, and how we should live. What has this done to the West itself? It has caused negative population growth, which forces them to import population from abroad. European societies will reach a point, within several decades, where you will have to search for a single person of the European race in France or in England, for example.” Well, yes, and not just France or England. Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) recently conducted a “micro-census” that found that fully twenty-five percent of the people in the country have a “migrant background.” Given the low birth rates of native Europeans all across the continent, it isn’t hard to see where this is tending. As far back as 2005, the renowned historian Bernard Lewis said that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century, “at the very latest.”

Naghdi continued: “In this situation, there is no more meaning to national identity. According to statistics, if you hold free elections in England in 2060, a Pakistani or an Indian will be the prime minister, and [British] Parliament will be filled with [immigrants] from Iraq, India, and so on. What will be the meaning of national identity there? There will be no such thing as the English people anymore. This will be a different nation and different society.” As if aware of what the Western establishment media would make of such talk, Naghdi added: “Some people might interpret what I say to be racial discrimination, but if you care about the value of preserving a nation’s identity and the continued existence of that nation, [know that] the path [the West] outlined for human society will ultimately be the annihilation of future generations.”

This was not, emphasized, some malady that is peculiar to the West: any society that adopts hedonism and the pleasure of the individual as the highest good, even at the expense of future generations, will suffer the same fate. Naghdi explained: “If the people who came from other places embrace this lifestyle as well, they will become extinct too. Humanity as a whole will head toward annihilation. In a few years, you will have to find the European race in museums, and they will tell [about] the people who used to live in Europe with light-colored eyes, blond hair, and white skin, and they spoke in such a manner. This will be the outcome if they continue this process. Is this a desirable process for any society?” No, it isn’t, but those who have recognized this are dismissed as “right-wing,” and a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps isn’t going to get any more traction with these observations in the West, either.

Naghdi returned to the initial question about sports teams, saying: “The reason that the Africans went there and took over the national teams… They swarmed society as a whole, not just the national sports teams. Those sports teams constitute a reflection of society. The reason is that within their own societies, those [immigrants] have not embraced the European lifestyle. They gave birth to children, started families, grew in number, and took over that society. These things are addressed to them too. If those Africans embrace the Western lifestyle, they, too, will head towards extinction.” The proof of what Naghdi is saying is in the demographics: all over Europe, birth rates are below replacement level for natives, but not for the newcomers. The outcome of that is inexorable.

Naghdi concluded: “Human society is heading towards extinction. Nobody is willing to get married anymore. They live with dogs, crocodiles, and cats. Nobody is willing to give birth to children, raise them, and build a life. This lifestyle they created… In England, they presented a new cabinet member for loneliness affairs.” Yes, human society is heading for self-destruction, unless there is a massive rejection of the Left’s worldview, and a renewal of traditional values. It’s already happening, and not just in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. History is full of surprises. The increasing resistance to the global Left could indicate that even the decline of the West is not irreversible.

 

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/04/does-western-lifestyle-put-societies-path-robert-spencer/

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The Regime Media’s Quandary: By Exposing Joe Biden They Exonerate Donald Trump - Steve McCann

 

​ by Steve McCann

They cannot run the risk of the inevitable comparison of Donald Trump and his family to Joe Biden and his family.

 

The regime media (the amalgamation of the legacy media, elitist opinion writers, and the internet troika: Google/Facebook/Twitter) finds itself in a quandary of its own making.  As the nation descends into recession and societal turmoil, the candidate for whom they prostituted themselves, Joe Biden, reveals on a daily basis that he is not mentally or physically capable of being President.  Further, it has become increasingly more difficult to continuously obfuscate not only the ongoing revelations in Hunter Biden’s laptop but Joe’s life-long history of corruption and mendacity. 

By comparison, for four years, despite a lack of evidence coupled with numerous exculpatory investigations, this same cabal incessantly promoted the fictitious narrative that Donald Trump was a racist, a xenophobe, a demagogue, and the most corrupt person to ever serve as president of the United States. 

Accordingly, the regime media proclaimed that was in the nation’s vital interest to replace Trump with the “decent, honest, and honorable” Joe Biden.  As he has the “experience and character” to rescue the nation and restore “decency and honor” in the White House.

The quandary: how does the regime media avoid the exposure of Joe Biden’s lifelong corruption and failures without the public’s inevitable comparison of the two men, their families, and their accomplishments?   A comparison that would result in the effective exoneration and rehabilitation of Donald Trump, whom they relentlessly accused of being the most unscrupulous person on earth.  A cudgel they could no longer use if he decides to run for the presidency in 2024.

Their only option is to continue steadfastly limiting any exposure of Joe’s career-long penchant for selling his political office for personal gain.  They will have to throw Hunter Biden under the bus by claiming he was solely responsible for any revelations of corruption emanating from his abandoned laptop.  That a gradually diminishing but dedicated public servant, Joe Biden, was blissfully unaware of what was going on in his name.  Meanwhile, they and the Democrats in Congress can never abandon their quixotic search for Trump wrongdoing or continue beating the drum that he is the personification of corruption.

Why do they need to obfuscate Joe Biden’s personal history?   They cannot continue to muddle the revelations in Hunter Biden’s laptop if it is general knowledge that Joe Biden’s malfeasance and the “Biden Family Enterprise” began almost immediately after Joe Biden was first sworn in as a Senator in 1973 when Hunter was two years old. 

In August of 2019, Politico International, in a lengthy article, traced the beginning of the “Biden Family Enterprise” back to 1973, Joe’s first year in the Senate.  Freshman Senator Biden adamantly demanded and was appointed to a seat on the Senate Banking Committee.  Soon thereafter, his brother James, then a 23-year-old business neophyte with a net worth of less than $10,000, decided to open a nightclub.  Per a bank officer, James used the Biden family “connection” to obtain $165,000 ($1.1 million in 2022 dollars) in mostly unsecured loans from a failing Delaware bank.  Within less than 18 months the venture started to unravel, and James was unable to make the loan payments.  Joe intervened with the bank’s Chairman to make certain the bank did not harass James for payment or foreclose on the nightclub. 

Miraculously, James was able to find another bank, which was on the Federal Reserve watch list, that gave him a $500,000 ($2.6 million in 2022 dollars) loan.  Around the same time Joe Biden met with that bank’s senior vice-president on “other matters” -- no doubt a coincidence.  The nightclub venture soon failed, leaving behind a trail of lawsuits and unpaid loans and debts. 

The Bidens sanctimoniously proclaimed that Joe and his status as a U.S. Senator had nothing to do with James getting the loans.  The fact that Joe served on the Senate Banking Committee (which oversees bank regulatory agencies) and his 23-year-old brother with no business experience received extraordinary – actually, unheard-of -- loans from two banks under scrutiny by the government was, no doubt, also a mere coincidence.

Thus began a pattern that over the years that continued to include James and occasionally other members of the Biden family, and eventually Hunter Biden as the ultimate front for the Biden family business.  A family enterprise that despite chartering and acquiring numerous companies over the decades never operated a successful business.  Perhaps no prominent family in American history has been involved in so many consistent business failures.  The only successful aspect of the “Biden Family Enterprise” was selling Joe Biden and his political influence.

It was while Joe Biden was vice-president that the flood gates opened and what was a domestic influence-peddling business expanded globally into Ukraine, China, Russia and Kazakhstan, among other nations.  The layers of greed and unabashed willingness to sell access to the second-highest office in the country is mind-boggling.   The most egregious examples are five deals with the Communist Chinese and the subsequent payments to Hunter Biden and the Biden family valued at $31 million.

For the past five decades, the legacy media and virtually all of Washington, D.C. has known about Joe Biden’s corruption and penchant for being a serial fabulist and compulsive liar.  However, when Donald Trump was elected President, he was immediately inundated with false and hyperbolic corruption charges.

A month before his inauguration on January 20, 2017, Politico Magazine featured an article full of absurd innuendos and breathtaking assumptions entitled: “Trump Could be the Most Corruptible President Ever.”  Within ten months after his inauguration it was unabashedly proclaimed to the nation that the Trump Administration was already the most corrupt in American history.

Unsurprisingly, by the end of his term the regime media and left-wing “historians” declared that Donald Trump was not only the most corrupt president in American history but also the worst.

The New York Times, in a hyperbolic October 2020 editorial, pleaded with the public to vote for Joe Biden “and return the country to a more peaceful, stable and respectful form of self-governance” and accused Trump of “rampant corruption, celebrations of violence, gross negligence with people’s health and incompetence—the worst American president in modern history.”

It would not be an overstatement to say that Donald Trump and his immediate family are the most investigated, vetted and audited people in American history.  Yet virtually nothing substantive has been found.  I spent nearly forty years in international finance and interacted with numerous domestic and international real estate developers.  Success in this field requires a single-minded focus and determination in order to build or acquire properties.  Virtually all developers at some point have skirted the law, or greased palms, or by-passed regulations. 

In light of Trump’s massive business success and nearly 50 years in real estate development, it is remarkable, considering the armies of investigators and auditors with unlimited budgets, that nothing of consequence has been unearthed.  Which confirms that Donald Trump is among the least corrupt men to serve as President of the United States.  In other words, Donald Trump is the antithesis of Joe Biden.

That is why the regime media, and the Democrat Party will do everything possible to avoid the full exposure of the decades of corruption within the “Biden Family Enterprise.”  They cannot run the risk of the inevitable comparison of Donald Trump and his family to Joe Biden and his family. 

Nor can the regime media risk the unmasking of their primary role in not only falsely incriminating Donald Trump but duplicitously praising and overtly suppressing damning information about Joe Biden during an election.  As the citizenry will rightfully conclude that they are chiefly responsible for the disastrous state of affairs in the country today.

Photo credit: Michael Vadon CC BY-SA 4.0 license

 

Steve McCann

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2022/04/the_regime_medias_quandary_by_exposing_joe_biden_they_exonerate_donald_trump.html

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Biden's Middle East: Saudi Arabia Embraces China; Will They Topple the Dollar? - Judith Bergman

 

​ by Judith Bergman

The vacuum that the US left behind -- the second one after Afghanistan -- is rapidly being filled by China.

  • If Saudi Arabia were to break the tradition of pricing its oil in US dollars, as it is contemplating doing, others could well start to price oil in Chinese yuan or other currencies -- negatively affecting the US dollar's status and potentially the entire US economy.

  • "China must brace for a full-blown escalation of the struggle with the United States and prepare to gradually decouple the Chinese yuan from the US dollar." — Zhou Li, former deputy director of the Communist Party's International Liaison Department, South China Morning Post, July 5, 2020.

  • That Saudi Arabia now seems to be seriously considering selling its oil in yuan signifies the extent to which the Biden administration's Middle East policies have left countries such as Saudi Arabia hedging their bets on China, as the ascendant power in the Middle East. China, on the other hand, is simply taking advantage of the current US administration's deprioritization of the region and its alienation of strategic US allies such as Saudi Arabia.

  • That alienation has mainly come, according to reports, because of Saudi "security concerns" -- a diplomatic euphemism, presumably, for America's enabling Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. This game-changer is doubtless seen by Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Sunni Gulf states, as a mortal danger.

  • The vacuum that the US left behind -- the second one after Afghanistan -- is rapidly being filled by China.

  • The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiative seeks dramatically to enhance China's global influence from East Asia to Europe by making countries worldwide increasingly dependent on China. China has signed cooperation agreements with 19 Arab countries for construction projects under the BRI.

  • China is also Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner -- an arrangement that extends to military cooperation....

  • In August 2021, the fifth China-Arab States Expo took place in China; during it, agreements worth an estimated $24 billion in investments between China and Arab countries were made.

If Saudi Arabia were to break the tradition of pricing its oil in US dollars, as it is contemplating doing, others could well start to price oil in Chinese yuan or other currencies -- negatively affecting the US dollar's status and potentially the entire US economy. (Image source: iStock)

Saudi Arabia is considering selling oil to China -- which buys more than 25% of Saudi oil exports -- in exchange for yuan (China's currency), according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal. The move would be unprecedented. Saudi Arabia, ever since its 1974 agreement with US President Richard Nixon, has been selling oil in exchange for US dollars.

The change, if realized, would be significant. The status of the US dollar, including as the world's reserve currency, depends on its dominance of global markets, especially the oil market, where 80% of sales are done in US dollars. If Saudi Arabia were to break the tradition of pricing its oil in dollars, as it is contemplating doing, others could well start to price oil in yuan or other currencies -- negatively affecting the US dollar's status and potentially the entire US economy.

Shortly after the news broke about the Chinese-Saudi talks on selling oil in yuan, according to Bloomberg, China's currency "surged". If Saudi Arabia were to sell its oil to China in yuan, it would be a victory for China, which is anyhow actively seeking to undermine the US dollar's global dominance.

"China must brace for a full-blown escalation of the struggle with the United States and prepare to gradually decouple the Chinese yuan from the US dollar," Zhou Li, a former deputy director of the Communist Party's International Liaison Department wrote in July 2020.

That Saudi Arabia now seems to be seriously considering selling its oil in yuan signifies the extent to which the Biden administration's Middle East policies have left countries such as Saudi Arabia hedging their bets on China as the ascendant power in the Middle East. China, on the other hand, is simply taking advantage of the current US administration's deprioritization of the region and its alienation of strategic US allies such as Saudi Arabia. That alienation has mainly come, according to reports, because of Saudi "security concerns" -- a diplomatic euphemism, presumably, for America's enabling Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

This game-changer is doubtless seen by Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Sunni Gulf states as a mortal danger. It was signaled through America's negotiations to reactivate what is reported to be a worse version of the 2015 JCPOA "nuclear deal," which the Trump administration pulled out of after evidence kept emerging of massive Iranian cheating. In addition, last year, the US officially took Yemen's Iranian-sponsored Houthi terrorist group off the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations – and refused to put it back even after the Houthis resumed missile and drone attacks on their neighbors in the Gulf.

The vacuum that the US left behind -- the second one after Afghanistan -- is rapidly being filled by China. Not only is Saudi Arabia one of China's most important energy suppliers, but the kingdom is an important link in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI is a gigantic global development project that Chinese President Xi Jinping launched in 2013 to build an economic and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond. The BRI seeks dramatically to enhance China's global influence from East Asia to Europe by making countries worldwide increasingly dependent on China. China has signed cooperation agreements with 19 Arab countries for construction projects under the BRI.

China is also Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner -- an arrangement that extends to military cooperation, which China's Minister of National Defense, Wei Fenghe and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister, Khalid bin Salman, agreed to boost in a virtual meeting in January. China, which has been selling weapons to Saudi Arabia for years, has reportedly also helped the Saudis to start manufacturing their own ballistic missiles.

The news about the Saudis considering switching oil sales to the yuan came after US President Joe Biden found himself snubbed by Saudi Arabia, which refused to take his phone call to discuss the current energy crisis, the spiraling prices of oil, and apparently what was to be a request for the kingdom to pump more oil so that the US, which has plenty, would not have to. "There was some expectation of a phone call, but it didn't happen," a US official said about a planned conversation between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Biden. "It was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil]."

OPEC, already in November, was showing perfunctory signs of being fed up with being betrayed by the US in favor of an expansionist Iran. "If you want more oil," OPEC said then, "pump it yourself." The snub clearly showed that America's standing in the Middle East, under Biden, has become -- unnecessarily -- immensely diminished.

"So the relationship is very strained," the Wall street Journal's Middle East correspondent Stephen Kalin said recently about the Saudi-US relationship.

"It's hard to really say exactly how bad it is. It might be the worst it's been in 20 years... What we hear from the Saudis is they feel like American politics is so unpredictable and so polarized that they can't really be sure whether the next administration is going to be friendly to them or hostile to them. Whereas with a place like China that has a leader who's been there for years, there's a bit more predictability, and that sort of matches the Saudi model of government, which obviously doesn't have elections and has a long sustained leadership."

While Saudi Arabia rebuffs the US president, it has invited President Xi Jinping to visit the kingdom in May. "Riyadh is planning to replicate the warm reception it gave to former President Donald Trump in 2017 when he visited the kingdom on his first trip abroad," according to the Wall Street Journal. "The crown prince and Xi are close friends and," according to one unnamed Saudi official, "both understand that there is huge potential for stronger ties... It is not just 'They buy oil from us and we buy weapons from them'." In January, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud visited China, where he met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Saudi Arabia will be hosting the first China-Arab summit, scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia later in 2022. "Going forward, China is ready to make good preparations for the China-Arab Summit, inject more momentum into bilateral ties and join hands to build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era," Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, recently said.

In March 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, issued a joint statement, declaring that the China-Arab summit will, "constitute a qualitative leap to advance Arab-Chinese relations and the Arab-Chinese strategic partnership to broader horizons..." Both sides stressed "the necessity for a long-term cooperation with higher level and quality between China and Arab states, particularly in the fields of trade, investment, industry, transportation, energy, agriculture, tourism, culture, education, science, health, media, sports and so on." China is constantly looking to deepen relations with the Arab world. In August 2021, the fifth China-Arab States Expo took place in China; during it, agreements worth an estimated $24 billion in investments between China and Arab countries were made.

 

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18450/saudi-arabia-china-dollar-yuan

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The Democrat Plan to Stop Joe Biden - Daniel Greenfield

 

​ by Daniel Greenfield

Who needs the Twenty-Fifth Amendment when you’ve got a family of crooks?

 


The Democrat Party is much more worried about stopping Joe Biden than whatever Republican he might end up facing in 2024. Everyone expects Biden not to run, but no one told him that.

Biden keeps talking about running again and it’s not a joke. After spending two generations clawing his way to power, the guy who would have been one of the youngest presidents when he first tried to make a dash at the big job, is not about to just walk away whistling to Delaware.

The Democrats have become a gerontocracy of dementia patients with the party trying to push Senator Dianne Feinstein, 88 years old, and Rep. David Scott, 76, to the exit after reports that they appear out of it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82, has vowed to run again and so have her number two and three, Steny Hoyer, 82, and James Clyburn, 81, who got Biden the party's nomination, making it rather difficult to dump Biden on account of being old or out of it.

The real issue comes from the poll numbers which are catastrophic for Biden and the Dems.

Fantasies of a Twenty-Fifth Amendment aside, which even if somehow executed would just saddle the party with Kamala in the White House who polls even worse than her boss, the Dems know that they’re going to be stuck with Biden’s idiotic nonsense for a few years.

Biden cunningly kept his promise to pick a black woman, but also picked one with little support from the black community or the Left, making it unlikely that he’d be ‘Breyered’ to make way for her. Kamala’s only base are the members of her staff and they’re leaving because they know that working for her isn’t a step toward working for the president, just a political dead end.

Dems want to get rid of both Biden and Kamala by keeping him from running again, but what’s going to convince a hack at the end of his wits that he needs to step down and make way?

Family.

The party has to walk a fine line between publicly damaging Joe Biden in a way that would doom the party if he were to run and win, and persuading him that he ought to consider spending the rest of his life in a padded Delaware basement stocked with lots of ice cream.

Biden’s son is the leverage. During the election, Democrats and their media feverishly suppressed any coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop only to now revive the story. In recent weeks and months, the New York Times and the Washington Post have legitimized the laptop.

Going much further, Yahoo News ran a Michael Isikoff article suggesting that Hunter may have been the target of a Chinese counterintelligence operation. Isikoff had been a crucial component of Russiagate with his previous Yahoo News article being used to justify a FISA warrant after he was privately briefed on the Steele smears. The last time Isikoff and Yahoo News put out an article suggesting that a White House candidate was a potential target of a foreign intel scheme, it was just the tip of a much bigger iceberg being used to try and wreck his candidacy.

The media’s treatment of Hunter Biden has been more nuanced than some conservatives realize. While there was a frantic effort to shut down reporting on Hunter during the election, there was no effort to shut down the actual investigation the way that Durham and others have been targeted. The media and the publishing industry abetted a redemption narrative for Hunter and even now the articles suggest that Hunter will likely have to do little more than pay a fine.

Democrats and the media are best served with Schrödinger's Hunter, not indicted or exculpated, but the subject of an ongoing investigation that can be used as leverage on his father, that holds out possible consequences for the son without severely damaging Joe’s election chances. 

They would like Joe Biden to say that he’ll be stepping down after one term and for the Hunter Biden investigation to go away with a slap on the wrist. But will the Dems get their wish?

The current investigation is relatively trivial compared to the sort that could be unleashed against Hunter and James Biden, Joe’s brother, and that’s the real power play. The same media that blithely provides inside details on the Hunter investigation could provide starter packs for a dozen more comprehensive investigations that would be far more damaging and dangerous.

It’s a game of chicken in which the Democrats and Biden are facing off. The party wants him to step down after one term, but without crashing the already damaged party car with a fight. But what if Joe Biden is ready to crash the car and wage a primary battle for the nomination? If black voters come out for him again while the white vote is split, Biden could win again.

Black voters are a solid part of the party’s base, and they’re also intensely loyal to the candidates they know. That’s why they initially backed Hillary over Obama, why they picked Biden, and why the Congressional Black Caucus is full of machine politicians in their seventies and eighties who have spent their whole lives commuting between mansions and D.C.

While black support for Biden has declined, it’s fallen less than among any other group.

Black voters helped Carter stave off a challenge from Ted Kennedy. They could play the same role for Biden and whatever candidate or candidates emerge to oppose him in the primaries. The primary battles fatally damaged Carter, but didn’t succeed in blocking him from the nomination thereby giving the Democrats the worst of both worlds.

That history could be about to repeat like a skipped record.

Democrats can’t afford to alienate black voters and they also can’t afford to alienate all the other voters by running the same old damaged ticket. They’re prisoners of their own demographics.

The party and its media don’t want Hunter and James Biden in real trouble, but they also don’t want his father on their ticket. Blowing up the investigation weakens Joe Biden’s election prospects, but it also weakens the party, and so the Dems have to play a double game, slowly legitimizing the investigation to weaken Biden while being ready to pull back at any time.

The quiet pressure campaign isn’t just being aimed at Joe Biden, but at his donors, warning supporters and staffers that there’s no future here because a bigger scandal could be coming.

Why bother investing your money and your career into a politician who’s on the way out?

How far will they go if Joe Biden doesn’t see reason and announce that he wants to spend more time with his word salads, inappropriate sniffing, and his Corn Pop? That’s the big question.

Joe Biden, despite his blowhard posturing, is naturally cautious. It’s why he pulled out rather than face Hillary in 2016, opposed taking out Osama bin Laden, and fled Afghanistan. Like most big talkers, he’s a coward whose boasts and lies are pathetically obvious overcompensation.

But is he really ready to give up the big chair and everything that comes with it to appear remotely on telethons? If he’s not, the Hunter Biden scandal may become very serious.

Who needs the Twenty-Fifth Amendment when you’ve got a family of crooks?

 

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/04/democrat-plan-stop-joe-biden-daniel-greenfield/

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Bulldozing Debate About the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict - Richard L. Cravatts

 

​ by Richard L. Cravatts

Princeton radicals promote a toxic referendum to divest from Caterpillar, Inc.

 


Last week, as Palestinian psychopaths murdered three more innocent Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv in an escalating campaign of terror, activist students at two American universities voted on repulsive resolutions to urge their respective universities to divest from companies doing business with Israel.

On April 5th, the undergraduate student government at Ohio State University passed what it categorized as an “emergency resolution,” asking the university to divest from Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar, Inc., and claiming that “by investing in such companies, The Ohio State University implicitly condones and profits from the decisions and actions of these companies, and, as such, becomes guilty by association . . , including, but certainly not limited to, the killing of innocent civilians.”

At Princeton University,  the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) sponsored “Referendum Resolution 2-2022” that does not, like the Ohio State vote, include Hewlett Packard as a target of divestment but similarly calls on Princeton to “immediately halt usage of all Caterpillar machinery in all ongoing campus construction projects given the violent role that Caterpillar machinery has played in the mass demolition of Palestinian homes, the murder of Palestinians and other innocent people, and the promotion of the prison-industrial complex (among other atrocities).”

The Princeton Committee on Palestine is the University’s own version of the toxic Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the rabidly anti-Israel student group responsible for most of the campus activism against the Jewish state. So, it is no surprise that this referendum is peppered with the counter-factual, demonizing language of social justice, oppression, victimization, and Jew-hatred.

“Caterpillar is one of the largest construction manufacturing companies in the world,” the referendum reads, “and its machinery is routinely used for violent, inhumane, and despicable purposes.” Not coincidentally, these activists have specifically targeted Caterpillar because the company “is listed as one of the only targeted construction companies in the national Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” a toxic and ongoing campaign against Israel that student groups such as PCP promote as part of the vilification and demonization of Israel.

The referendum proposes “that the undergraduates call on the Princeton University administration to immediately and permanently halt usage of Caterpillar manufacturing equipment in every ongoing University construction project,” but it is unclear how prohibiting Caterpillar machinery from moving dirt on the bucolic Princeton campus will improve the daily lives of Palestinians and help them in their purported quest for self-determination and statehood.

It is obvious that these virtue-signaling students can easily live in a world without heavy machinery; they are less likely, for instance, to call for divestment and a ban on Israeli-developed technology used in their cell phones and computers, but that type of activism requires a genuine commitment and personal suffering that students and faculty in the safe and comfortable confines of a university lounge would rather avoid.

More importantly, in almost every instance when students have asked university leadership to divest from companies doing business with Israel, or to boycott Israeli products, or even to institute an academic boycott that would bar Israeli scholars from contributing to or participating in research, teaching, and publishing with their American counterparts, administrators have politely, but firmly, refused to participate.

So, if Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber decides not to ban Caterpillar equipment to be used for ongoing work on his campus, will the anti-Israel group’s work to push for divestment have been futile? Not exactly, which is the precise point. In the end, anti-Israel activists do not really care if a call to boycott or divest is successfully initiated, or if Israeli scholars are purged from academia, or if Caterpillar tractors are banned from the Princeton campus. What is important, what is successfully achieved in each of these tactical assaults as part of the cognitive war against Israel is that activist students have yet another opportunity to publicly catalog the long list of alleged offenses being committed by the Jewish state,

At Princeton, even woke Jewish students got in the act by writing an opinion piece in The Daily Princetonian where they used the “as Jews” approach to supporting Palestinian solidarity while joining the anti-Israel chorus of the usual suspects who drive and sponsor the BDS campaign.

Referring to themselves as the Alliance of Jewish Progressives, the authors of the noxious piece disingenuously used their Jewishness as a cover for some of the allegations from critics of the referendum who noted that, as has been documented by the AMCHA Initiative and others who track anti-Semitism on campuses, BDS activity on a campus—and especially when orchestrated by SJP or other anti-Israel groups—frequently creates a hostile climate for Jewish students and often manifests itself as raw anti-Semitism. In fact, as one AMCHA report noted, “the consideration of anti-Israel divestment resolutions in student government or by the student body was strongly linked to a surge in antisemitic activity.”

But these virtue-signaling Jewish students would have none of that. Knowing that critics of the referendum understand that such campaigns are based on and inspire anti-Semitism because they target only Israel and hold Israel to a standard not demanded of other countries who behave even more poorly, the Jewish progressives proclaimed, defensively, that they “reject the idea that the PCP referendum is motivated by antisemitism or is itself antisemitic. Criticisms of the State of Israel, including anti-Zionism and the BDS movement, are not inherently antisemitic. Nor is solidarity with the Palestinian people.” But when Israel-haters, as these students did, contend that companies like Caterpillar “are complicit in racist, settler-colonial violence,” they expose their naïve and biased view that Israel is somehow illegitimate, that it is nothing more than a colonial outpost of some European country that has been settled and occupied by racist oppressors who brutally suppress Palestinian self-determination.

More serious is the fact that these self-identified Jewish progressives purport to be more concerned about the Palestinian cause than they are about protecting their fellow Jewish students from harassment and invective for their support of Zionism and Israel. “We do not believe that advocating for Palestinian liberation is a threat to Jewish safety,” they wrote, suggesting, contrary to evidence, that campaigns in support of the Palestinian cause do not increase the likelihood of anti-Semitic behavior or expression, “nor do we believe that Jewish safety is dependent upon Palestinian dispossession.”

Of course, anti-Israel activism on campuses like Princeton is not actually about helping the Palestinians avoid “dispossession,” whatever that means, It is not designed to help the Palestinians moderate their violence toward Israeli Jewish civilians; to end incitement; to encourage the Palestinians to not teach their children to loathe and wish to kill Jews from the time they are in kindergarten; to accept the frequent offers of statehood that they have repeatedly rejected; or to urge the Palestinian leadership to abandon their maximalist demands and give up the fantasy that the established and viable state of Israel will somehow be extirpated and that Palestine will be liberated, will be free. No, being pro-Palestinian on campus, by definition, only means being anti-Israel, relentlessly campaigning against the Jewish state and proclaiming its many alleged predations, and the BDS movement is the core tactic by which that activism manifests itself.

Referendums like the present Princeton divestment example are yet another cognitive assault against Israel, with activists not really caring one way or another whether a university divests from a company doing business with Israel, or an Israeli academic is barred from teaching in the United States, or CUNY School of Law student activists encourage their peers to “Demand that Zionist professors are not allowed on your campus” and to “Demand that Zionist students are not in spaces where Palestinian students are.”

In their fantasy world where social justice is realized, no Caterpillar bulldozers will exist, Palestine will be liberated, and Israel will disappear, but, absent that, their loathing of Israel and Zionism is so pervasive and fundamental to their existence that it is emotionally and morally satisfying for them merely to prolong their campaign of slanders, libels, and lies about Israel and its supporters, regardless of how this activism affects Jewish students who may or may not even support or care about Israel.

“We reject the idea that Jewish safety must come at the cost of Palestinian freedom,” the Jewish progressives cavalierly announced, but that view assumes that Palestinian freedom can only evolve through a process by which Jews are maligned and attacked for their support of Israel, that Palestinian self-determination itself requires a degrading and elimination of Jewish self-determination.

Roughly a quarter of Caterpillar's $5 billion annual revenue is earned in Asia, with China being the largest portion of that market segment. Had the sponsors of this bigoted referendum included China's use of Caterpillar machinery in the oppression of its Uyghur Muslims who are imprisoned, subjected to forced labor, and oppressed in concentration camps, or the company's sales to other despotic regimes and nations, then it might indicate that it was proposed out of goodwill and actual concern for human rights. But the fact that the sponsor specified the anti-Semitic BDS campaign as one of the justifications for the referendum reveals that this actually has little to do with Caterpillar and everything to do with a targeted, poisonous animus toward the Jewish state.

Two Princeton students, both members of the pro-Israel group Tigers for Israel, wrote an insightful opinion piece in The Daily Princetonian concerning the referendum in which they called on their fellow students to find alternate ways to debate the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. “Instead of supporting a resolution that is rooted within a bigoted global movement,” they wrote, “we ought to cultivate a Princeton campus where all students can safely cherish their identities and express their sentiments; where we collectively engage in a discourse free of hostility and intimidation; and where we sustain a positive environment for ourselves and future generations of Princeton students.”

Progressive profess to be tolerant, wise, and morally generous, but in their activism on behalf of the long-beleaguered Palestinians, they have revealed that while they purport to seek justice in Palestine, it is only justice for the Palestinian. For Jews, either on the Princeton campus or in Israel, there is no concern whatsoever, and if Jews must suffer and be threatened in pursuit Palestinian self-determination, that is a price progressives and Jew-hating activists are quite willing to let them pay.

 

Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., a Freedom Center Journalism Fellow in Academic Free Speech and President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Jew-Hatred Rising: The Perversities of the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/04/bulldozing-debate-about-israelipalestinian-richard-l-cravatts/

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The Middle East: An American Vision - Amir Taheri

 

​ by Amir Taheri

Review of Behind the Silken Curtain

  • "If my experiences in the days and weeks devoted to this problem have taught me any one thing, it is that everywhere the need is felt for an American foreign policy -- a foreign policy so firmly embedded on principle that it will hold equally for United States troops in China or the atom bomb, or Palestine." — Bartley Crum.

  • [Crum's] account ... clearly shows that President Truman, who always... sided with the forces of freedom and progress, was often opposed by his own State Department that practiced a value-free diplomacy in the name of preserving the status quo.

  • "We can throw our lot in with the forces... who prop up feudalistic regimes in the Arab states in the hope that these will serve as a cordon sanitaire against Soviet; who believe they can successfully continue the same processes of exploitation in the future which have proved successful in the past. Or we can throw our lot in with the progressive forces in the Middle East. We can recognize that there is a slow rising of the peoples, and that we must place ourselves on the side of this inevitable development toward literacy, health, and a decent way of life." — Bartley Crum.

  • He was against a status quo that subjected the nations of the region to despotism and poverty. He also realized that Arab despots and their hangers-on used the issue of Palestine as a means of diverting attention from their own misdeeds, wasting Arab energies on xenophobia and religious bigotry. The irony in all this was that Great Britain... sided with the Arab despots, and did all it could to discourage and weaken the very forces of reform and change that Crum saw as the natural allies of Western democracies.

  • The history of the past six decades shows that... [b]etting on the Arab "strongmen" was morally wrong and politically shortsighted.... By 1960, the switch that the British had tried to prevent in the Middle East had taken place almost everywhere, leaving the Western powers with no reliable ally but Israel, the very state whose emergence they had tried to prevent.

  • "[H]ere we Americans, too, have compromised with the basic principle of freedom for reasons of expediency. We have taken our cue from those British statesmen who have based their policy.... upon cooperation with local potentates rather than upon promotion of the genuine interests of the masses." — Bartley Crum.

  • Crum believes that Jews in Palestine could bring the modern world to the Arabs.....A Jewish state could be a model of modernity and democracy that Arabs could adopt. Arabs, Crum believed, needed a dose of the same creative spirit, love of hard work, social solidarity and egalitarianism that marked out Jewish settlements alongside poor and insalubrious Arab villages. Crum was shocked to see that none of the Arab witnesses testifying to the mission showed the slightest interest in improving the lives of the Arab masses.

  • In other words, real peace... depends on reform and democratization in the region.

  • Although war has a bad name these days, there are occasions when it is the only reasonable means of preventing even greater tragedies.

  • The Middle East conflict has been and, to a large extent remains, a struggle between the future and the past, democracy versus tyranny, and an open society against closed ones.

Bartley C. Crum's 1947 account clearly shows that President Harry Truman, who always sided with the forces of freedom and progress, was often opposed by his own State Department that practiced a value-free diplomacy in the name of preserving the status quo. Pictured: Crum (top left) with some of the other members of the Anglo American Committee on Palestine at the U.S. State Department, on January 5, 1946. (Image source Bettmann Collection via Getty Images)

Behind the Silken Curtain: A personal account of Anglo-American diplomacy in Palestine and the Middle East
by Bartley C. Crum
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1947. 297 pp. $3.00

In 1946, with the tragic memory of the Second World War still very much alive, few Americans could have imagined, or would have wanted to admit that far away Middle East would soon develop into one of the top concerns of US foreign policy.

One American who realized this before many others was Bartley C. Crum, recruited by President Harry Truman to serve as a member of the American team on a United States-United Kingdom mission on Palestine. Although a Republican, Crum enjoyed enough of a reputation as a man who could transcend partisan boundaries to serve under a Democrat president, in the interest of the nation.

Prior to his mission, Crum had had little interest in the Middle East that, to most Americans, was not the popular, and often passion-arousing, subject it has since become. This enabled Crum to embark on his mission with an open mind and certainly no hidden agenda.

For Crum, the mission that took several months and covered more than a dozen countries in the Middle East and Europe became an introductory course on the politics of a region that has dominated the headlines to this day.

Crum writes:

"If my experiences in the days and weeks devoted to this problem have taught me any one thing, it is that everywhere the need is felt for an American foreign policy -- a foreign policy so firmly embedded on principle that it will hold equally for United States troops in China or the atom bomb, or Palestine."

However, no one had told Crum what that policy was supposed to be. And his account of the mission clearly shows that President Truman, who always relied on his own instincts and sided with the forces of freedom and progress, was often opposed by his own State Department that practiced a value-free diplomacy in the name of preserving the status quo.

Crum states that the US faces a choice in the Middle East:

"We can throw our lot in with the forces of reaction who prop up feudalistic regimes in the Arab states in the hope that these will serve as a cordon sanitaire against the Soviet; who believe they can successfully continue the same processes of exploitation in the future which have proved successful in the past. Or we can throw our lot in with the progressive forces in the Middle East. We can recognize that there is a slow rising of the peoples, and that we must place ourselves on the side of this inevitable development toward literacy, health, and a decent way of life."

Crum had no doubts as to where his own sentiments lay. He was against a status quo that subjected the nations of the region to despotism and poverty. He also realized that Arab despots and their hangers-on used the issue of Palestine as a means of diverting attention from their own misdeeds, wasting Arab energies on xenophobia and religious bigotry. The irony in all this was that Great Britain, then under a Socialist Labour government, sided with the Arab despots, and did all it could to discourage and weaken the very forces of reform and change that Crum saw as the natural allies of Western democracies.

Before winning power in the general election of 1945, The British Labour Party had passed a key resolution on the Middle East, in effect endorsing the creation of a Jewish homeland in mandate Palestine. Once in power, however, Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin were convinced by the Foreign and Colonial Office, where British policy was made, that any change in Britain's traditional policy could weaken the Western position vis-à-vis the Soviet Union in the context of a looming Cold War.

The British establishment's policy on the Middle East was based on three assumptions.

The first was that it is natural for Arabs to be ruled by a "strongman". The second was that the Arab "strongman" had no principles apart from a keen desire to stay alive and in power. The third was that, if handled intelligently, the Arab "strongman" could be useful to the West.

The "strongman" could take decisions that no democratic government, subject the vagaries of public opinion and the pressure of elections, would be able to contemplate.

Within days of the start of the Anglo-American mission, it had become clear to Crum that some members of the American team found the British analysis irresistible. Loy Henderson, the senior State Department diplomat and head of the Middle East desk at Foggy Bottom, was one example. At times, he sounded more British than the British themselves. (Henderson was to become US Ambassador to Iran in the early 1950s.)

When the Anglo-American mission ended, it had become clear that the British colonialist view had triumphed over American idealism as echoed by Crum and a few other members of the US team. This meant that the two allies were committed to preventing change in the Middle East.

At the time change also included the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Crum's account refutes one of the most persistent fables in the Middle East: that Britain and the United States created Israel as an outpost of the "Imperialist West" in the Muslim world. Crum shows that, far from creating Israel as a state, the two Western powers did what they could to prevent its birth. It was the Jews' determination and their readiness to fight that forced both powers to admit the emergence of Israel as a state.

The history of the past six decades shows that Crum was right. Betting on the Arab "strongmen" was morally wrong and politically shortsighted. Five years after the Anglo-American mission, Egypt's feudalist monarchy had been replaced by a leftist military regime that regarded Britain and the US as guarantors of the ancien regime, and quickly turned to the Soviets for support. Six years after that the second pillar of the British policy in the Middle East collapsed when another group of leftist army officers toppled the British-installed monarchy in Iraq. In between, the Syrian "strongmen" had also found their way into the dustbin of history. By 1960, the switch that the British had tried to prevent in the Middle East had taken place almost everywhere, leaving the Western powers with no reliable ally but Israel, the very state whose emergence they had tried to prevent.

The tragic irony in all this is that while the British assumed that the Arab masses would not accept a Jewish state in Palestine, Crum found evidence to the contrary. Both Arabs and Jews in Palestine told him that they could, and in some cases actually desired, to live and work together. It was up to Britain and to a lesser extent the US to show leadership and help Arabs and Jews create the post-colonial state structures required for their coexistence.

Crum quotes a senior Arab supporter of reform:

"If they were sure that Britain and America wished the Jews and Arabs to get together, we would. But they are not convinced, these Arab leaders: they wish to maintain their position of power, and they know that depends upon toeing the {British} Colonial Office line."

While opposing the creation of a Jewish state, Britain moved quickly to create an Arab state in mandate Palestine. However, this was not a state for the Palestinians. It was an emirate carved out for the Hashemite family of Hejaz as a reward for their collaboration with Great Britain during the First World War. The newly created state was named the Emirate of Trans-Jordan, ignoring that its territory covered almost 90 per cent of mandate Palestine while 90 per cent of its inhabitants were Arabs from the British Mandate of Palestine.

Crum saw this as a scandalous example of colonial cynicism, and recommended that the United States reject the admission of Trans-Jordan to the United Nations. He writes: "There is no question that the removal of Trans-Jordan from the terms of the mandate was a violation of its original purpose."

One could only guess Crum's sense of outrage. While Britain used its military and diplomatic power to prevent the entry of Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust into Palestine, the Colonial Office, was creating an emirate for a wealthy Arab family whose members lived in Britain in golden exile and hardly felt homeless.

Crum is saddened by what he regarded as Britain's change of course in the name of Realpolitik. However, he is not censorious. Major powers make their biggest mistakes in the name of realism and expediency. He writes:

"It is tragic that Great Britain today seems to have forgotten the original intent of her own men of vision who knew what they were building and why. However, we must be careful, in judging Britain, to remember that here we Americans, too, have compromised with the basic principle of freedom for reasons of expediency. We have taken our cue from those British statesmen who have based their policy in undeveloped regions of the earth upon cooperation with local potentates rather than upon promotion of the genuine interests of the masses. Our course has been one of duplicity, with conflicting public and private pledges. I am sure our policymakers have been able to do this only because of lack of clear popular understanding of the issues involved."

Crum makes no claims to prophethood. However, it seems that having spent time in the Middle East where prophecy has been an export item for millennia, he acquired a vision that most of his fellow mission-members lacked. In a series of policy proposals at the end of the book, he foresees the so-called two-state solution that became official US policy only in 2004 under President George W Bush. He also insists that it must be made "fundamentally clear that Arab states have no special position in relation to Palestine."

Crum's wish was granted in 1980 at the Khartoum Summit when the League of Arab States eventually gave up its claims with regard to Palestine, accepting that the matter be left to Israel and the Palestinians. Thanks to Crum's exceptional powers of observation and the meticulous notes he took, we catch telling glimpses of a number of interesting figures who were to play bigger roles in later years.

Appearing in cameo roles here are such figures as Habib Bourguiba, the future father of Tunisia's independence. A French citizen at the time and a lawyer, he was enlisted by the Arabs to argue the case against a Jewish homeland at a series of hearings organized by the Anglo-American mission. A decade later, the same Bourguiba was to become the first Arab leader to recommend full Arab recognition of Israel. We also meet Hassan al-Banna, the mysterious Egyptian schoolteacher who had founded the Muslim Brotherhood, a rightwing religious outfit the British often used against the Left in Egypt. Here, al-Banna is fielded to back the British position and argue for the inclusion of Palestine into an undefined "Arab world."

Crum describes the grandfather of present-day Islamist terrorism as "a dark-headed, heavy-set figure with glowing eyes."

Echoing British claims, Banna tells the Anglo-American commission that Muslims will never accept a Jewish state in their midst.

Crum writes:

"El-Banna insisted that the Koran mentioned Christians and Moslems favorably, but had nothing good to say about the Jews, and that religious bonds between Jews and Palestine meant nothing because these bonds were diametrically opposed to the Koran and Moslem practices."

Incidentally, Crum describes the Muslim Brotherhood as "a Fascist religious organization", thus refuting the claim that "neo-cons" invented the concept of an Islamic fascism in the 21st century.

Other characters fielded by the British in what looked like a theatrical production included His Eminence Sheikh Ahmad Murad al-Bakri who bore the lofty title of The Grand Chief of the Sufis but was on British Colonial Office's payroll. We also meet Muhammad Fadil al-Jamali who was to become Iraq's Prime Minister thanks to the British before being put to death by pro-Soviet officers who seized power in 1958. At the time al-Jamali wanted the coastal part of mandate Palestine to be handed over to Iraq.

Then there was Azzam Pasha, an Egyptian grandee, who told the commission that it was not the Jew but the West that Arabs regarded as evil. He said European Jews were being brought to the Middle East as "Westerners in disguise" and "with imperialist ideas." In the next breath, however the same Azzam was calling on Britain to let Egypt annex the Sudan!

The Syrians testifying at the commission denied that a Palestinian entity ever existed, and argued that the mandate Palestine should be handed over to the military regime in in Damascus.

Remarkably, while all Arabs opposed the creation of a Jewish state in any part of the mandate area, few were prepared to hint at the possibility of creating a state for Arab Palestinians. The Syrians insisted that Palestine was part of Syria while the Egyptians had claims of their own. The Iraqis believe that Palestine actually belonged to them because, in al-Jamali's words "the coastline of Palestine represents the seaport of Iraq."

In his book, Crum makes no secret of whose side he is on. He is on the side of the Jews who came to Palestine to build a new country. However, he is not on their side solely, or even largely, because they are Jews. Nor is he supporting them only because so many Jews had suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Crum believes that Jews in Palestine could bring the modern world to the Arabs as well, a vision first raised by Theodor Herzl in his "New-Old State", one of the founding texts of Zionism.

A Jewish state could be a model of modernity and democracy that Arabs could adopt. Arabs, Crum believed, needed a dose of the same creative spirit, love of hard work, social solidarity and egalitarianism that marked out Jewish settlements alongside poor and insalubrious Arab villages. Crum was shocked to see that none of the Arab witnesses testifying to the mission showed the slightest interest in improving the lives of the Arab masses.

He writes:

"One felt their ever-present sense of fatalism. A child born crippled limps through life; a child made blind by trachoma is a victim of Allah's will, not man's. And, who is to say that Allah chose wrongly in singling out this child?"

To Crum the blame rests with nature and the imperial powers that dominated the Arabs for centuries. He writes:

"I did not blame the Arabs: they were the products of a cruel physical environment where nature sapped strength and vitality. They were the products of a political and social environment that only complicated their helplessness. For four centuries under Turkish rule, they had been subject to every pressure of ignorance. Human welfare had no part in the Ottoman Empire. It was truly pointed out to us that as far as the Middle East was concerned, the French and American revolutions might never have taken place. The doctrine of human rights and personal liberty -- the concept that man had dignity as human being and the latent power to lift himself from the mire of animal existence- had not penetrated the citadels of Islamic authoritarianism. "

Crum could not have known that the Anglo-American decision to effectively side with the Arab despots would in time breed four major wars and seven decades of tension and conflict in a region of vital importance to the Western powers. However, he knew full well that Arab ruling elites were not prepared to accept the existence of a Jewish state and that they would continue to use the Palestine issue as a means of diverting the attention of their own people from real problems such as tyranny, terror and poverty. Many Arab leaders still use the same arguments and excuses they did 70 years ago. The reason is that many Arab states have failed to modernize and democratize. In many cases, they remain as despotic as they were at the end of Second World War. Regimes of this type cannot conceive of rivals or adversaries in the normal political sense of the terms. What they need is an "enemy" who could be vilified on religious, ethnic and ideological grounds. Israel continues to fit the bill on all those scores.

The Human Development reports prepared by Arab intellectuals in the past few years paint a picture that is strikingly similar to the one that shocked Crum six decades ago. Israel remains the enemy because, being democratic, modern, economically successful and self-confident, it is the quintessential "other" to states that remain despotic, semi-medieval, economically underachieving, and ridden by self-doubt. Real peace, that is to say durable and "warm" peace, is possible only between states organized on similar principles and subscribing to similar values. Only like with like could live together in warm peace. The best that states based on divergent principles could hope for is a ceasefire or "cold" peace."

This means that as long as Arab states have not democratized, that is to say not transformed themselves into modern societies based on the rule of law, they cannot live in warm peace with Israel or any other democracy. In other words, real peace and thus Israel's ultimate security depends on reform and democratization in the region. In the meantime, while every effort should be made to promote peace, even in its "cold" version, that is to say a ceasefire with a more attractive label, armed vigilance remains necessary. Although war has a bad name these days, there are occasions when it is the only reasonable means of preventing even greater tragedies. For Israel, it is important to understand that it is involved in a long game in which patience and steadfastness are keys to ultimate success that in its case means survival. Building policies on quick fixes or looking for miracle solutions could generate even more complications, as did the rehabilitation of Yasser Arafat through the Oslo accords.

Crum's valuable book clearly shows that no amount of politics and diplomacy would have saved the still fragile Jewish "homeland" from total destruction, an eventuality that the British Colonial Office would not have regretted.

What saved the Jews was their readiness to fight even when the odds seemed heavily stacked against them. And, as Crum shows they were ready to fight because they knew they were fighting for themselves not for a despotic lord and master. David Ben Gurion's adamant quest for statehood was based on the understanding that the ideal could be an enemy of the real. This is why he accepted to build his dream state on a tiny chunk of land as full of holes as Swiss cheese. What mattered was to transform a cause into a state as quickly as possible.

The Middle East conflict has been and, to a large extent remains, a struggle between the future and the past, democracy versus tyranny, and an open society against closed ones. It also illustrates a fight between the ideal, which for many Palestinian elders is the destruction of Israel, and the possible reality of coexistence by two nations even in the context of a cold peace. Much of what Crum wrote 70 years ago remains true today.

 

Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18437/middle-east-american-vision

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