March 5th, 2015

The significance of the Clinton email problem

Many Democrats are circling the wagons, as is their wont.

But so far the flap over Hillary Clinton’s use of private instead of government email for official business while she was Secretary of State has raised two important issues that could make Hillary vulnerable—actually, should make her vulnerable, but that depends on whether the MSM is on her side or not, and how many people care about stuff like the following:

(1) It may have compromised national security

(2) The intent may have been to thwart FOIA requests. In fact, there’s little question that it did thwart FOIA requests.

March 5th, 2015

Found: remains of oldest human lineage

Sometimes I toy with the idea of dropping politics entirely from the blog or at least having some politics-free days more often.

I don’t really foresee doing the former, and I doubt I’ll be doing the latter either. I seem to be hooked on watching the sun slowly (or maybe quickly) setting on the republic and commenting about what a very fascinating sunset it is.

Which is all just an intro to the present post, which features an old interest of mine: the fossil record of the human lineage. I was an anthropology minor in college, and physical anthropology was hugely engaged in trying to sort all of this out. Well, they still have a lot of sorting to do, and part of it is this exciting find:

The new fossil, found at a site called Ledi-Geraru, has a handful of primitive features in common with an ancient forerunner of modern humans called Australopithecus afarensis. The most well-known specimen, the 3m-year-old Lucy, was unearthed in 1974 in Hadar, only 40 miles from the Ledi-Geraru site. But the latest fossil has more modern traits too. Some are seen only on the Homo lineage, such as a shallower chin bone.

The picture that emerges from the fossil record is that 3m years ago, the ape-like Australopithecus afarensis died out and was superseded by two very different human forms. One, called Paranthropus, had a small brain, large teeth and strong jaw muscles for chewing its food. The other was the Homo lineage, which found itself with much larger brains, a solution that turned out to be more successful.

“By finding this jaw bone we’ve figured out where that trajectory started,” said Villamoare [of the University of Nevada]. “This is the first Homo. It marks in all likelihood a major adaptive transition.”

It’s amazing, too, how much information can be gleaned from such a small item:

jaw

And what an exhilarating moment it must have been when the find was made:

The human jaw was discovered in January 2013 by Chalachew Seyoum, an Ethiopian national on the team, and a student at Arizona State University. He was part of a group that had set off from camp that morning to look for fossils on a hill that was later found to be brimming with ancient bones.

Villamoare, who was on the expedition, recalled the moment of discovery. “I heard people yelling Brian! Brian! And I went round the corner and there was Chalachew. He recognised it, and said: ‘We’ve got a human.’ It had eroded out of the stratigraphy. It was in two pieces and was missing some of the teeth, but it was clearly of the genus Homo.”

Note this little piece of information, too:

What drove Australopithethus to extinction and led to the rise of Homo is a mystery, but researchers suspect a dramatic change in the environment transformed the landscape of eastern Africa. “It could be that there was some sort of ecological shift and humans had to evolve or go extinct,” said Villmoare.

I doubt it was their carbon footprint and all that coal they were burning.

March 5th, 2015

Why I will not make predictions on King v. Burwell based on the SCOTUS hearings

I have learned that’s like reading tea leaves—reading tea leaves in a steamy room where you can’t even see the leaves or the tea.

If previous examples serve, nobody knows. Nobody has much of a clue whether any question each justice asks has any meaning whatsoever in terms of prognostication, or whether it’s just the justices getting their jollies and messing with your (or the plaintiffs’, or the defendents’, or their lawyers’) minds.

But I’ll stick to my previous prediction, based on my general hunches about such things. I was right about the way the previous Obamacare decision (mandate) would go, although I failed to predict the details of Roberts’ reasoning. I make essentially the same prediction now that I made then, for a related reason: the Court’s reluctance to change things and fear of the major consequences of doing so. In the previous case, the issues were constitutional, and it would have been easier to rule against the Obamacare mandate because for the most part the law hadn’t yet gone into effect. In the present case, the issues are statutory, but the law has been in operation for over a year and a significant number of people have come to rely on it.

Should that matter? Isn’t the law the law? And wouldn’t that be all the more reason to stop it now, anyway, before it becomes more and more irrevocable? Well, that’s not the way people—even SCOTUS justices—usually think. If a ruling has enormous potential consequences that seem negative to the justices, it enters into their decision-making process and increases the burden on those who would argue for that change to occur. If in this case the justices fail to overturn the state subsidies as I am predicting they will, it will most likely be based on emotional/political reasoning on their part regarding consequences for real people in the real world, although they will most assuredly find legal cover for it by coming up with other reasons to justify the decision.

That is one reason I’ve been thinking that the Republicans should have come up with a very clear alternative many months ago, one on which they were united, and one they publicized highly so that the SCOTUS justices could see that the consequences of invalidating the state subsidies would not be chaos.

Scott Johnson of Powerline agrees that the outcome of King v. Burwell will be a ruling for the defense, and cites a case with legal precedent to illustrate the general manner in which he thinks it will be accomplished. In Weber, a 1979 SCOTUS case challenging exclusionary racial quotas for whites of a type that had been expressly forbidden by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, this is how a similar statutory dilemma was resolved:

Professor Kull recalls the result, recapitulating the decision more concisely than the Court speaking for itself:

Justice William J. Brennan, writing for a five-to-two majority, could not and did not controvert Justice William H. Rehnquist’s demonstration that Congress in 1964 had intended, by this and other language in Title VII, to prohibit the quota that excluded Brian Weber. His central contention was rather that the color-blind means chosen at the time did not serve the underlying congressional objective, which he identified as the desire to improve the economic position of black workers. It followed that the statute’s true purpose would be served by refusing its enforcement.

Brennan piously intoned the proposition: “It is a familiar rule, that a thing may be within the letter of the statute and yet not within the statute, because not within its spirit, nor within the intention of its makers.” Brennan was the keeper of the “spirit,” which was a pure triumph of the leftist will, 1979 edition. In tune with the times, the Supreme Court, I am afraid, stands poised to give us the 2015 edition supporting the gospel according to Barry.

Note that Weber was decided in 1979. That’s a long time ago, reminding us (as if we needed reminders) that this slide towards saying that the law means whatever we want it to mean, and that we don’t need legislative methods to change legislature to suit our current will, had already taken hold by then.

[NOTE: If you want to read other prognostications based on the King v. Burwell hearings, see this.

I will add that I hate to be gloomy here, and I hope I’m wrong, but I have to be truthful about what I see at this point. In order to change things (and minus a black swan event), it would be necessary for conservatives to control House, Senate, and presidency, and to do so for long enough to nominate more SCOTUS justices of the conservative persuasion. That’s a tall order. And to consolidate those gains, conservatives have to mount their own Gramscian march through the institutions of education, press, and entertainment.]

[ADDENDUM: Hey, if I've gone this far with predictions, I'll go even further in throwing caution to the winds and saying that it will either be 5-4 with Kennedy joining the liberals, or 6-3 with both Kennedy and Roberts doing so but for different reasons.]

March 4th, 2015

I’ve got a question for President Obama

And I wish someone would ask it of him. For real.

Please read my new essay in The Weekly Standard, and pass it on to anyone you know who could ask Obama or who knows someone who could ask him or who knows someone who—well, you get the idea.

Here’s an excerpt:

President Obama has repeatedly denied that terrorists have anything to do with the real Islam. But what would Obama say about the fatwa that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s leading political and religious authority from 1979 to 1989, issued condemning author Salman Rushdie to death for writing a book deemed blasphemous to Islam? Khomeini was about as “real Islam” as it gets…

The fatwa Khomeini issued makes chilling reading even today. Here’s a translation:

“I would like to inform all the intrepid Muslims in the world that the author of the book entitled ‘Satanic Verses’. . . as well as those publishers who were aware of its contents, are hereby sentenced to death. I call on all zealous Moslems to execute them quickly, wherever they find them, so that no one will dare to insult Islamic sanctity. Whoever is killed doing this will be regarded as a martyr and will go directly to heaven.”

Nothing to do with Islam? I would remind Obama, as he ponders that question, that at the time of the Rushdie fatwa Khomeini had not only been “Supreme Leader” of Iran — a country that has the seventh-largest Muslim population in the world — for almost a decade, but he also had long been considered an expert in Islamic law and had written many books on the subject.

Khomeini was no fringe figure who did not understand the religion he’d spent most of his life studying. What’s more (as you will see if you read the entire essay), the present religious-day leaders of Iran fully support the Rushdie fatwa to this day, despite a common misconception that it has been withdrawn. Not only is it still in force, but current Supreme Leader Khamenei (Khomeini’s successor) reaffirmed the fatwa in 2005, and the bounty on Rushdie’s head was increased to 3.3 million in 2012.

So President Obama, what’s that about terrorism having nothing to do with Islam?

March 4th, 2015

Bibi’s alternatives

A lot of Democrats, led by Obama, are carping that Netanyahu’s speech didn’t offer a “viable alternative” to the disastrous, suicidal course Obama has chosen (no they didn’t use those adjectives). But Netanyahu certainly did provide one; it’s just not one that they like. And his assertion was that it’s Obama’s alternative that’s not viable.

Before I describe Netanyahu’s alternative, let me say add you don’t have to offer a detailed alternative to state that something is a dreadful idea. Saying Netanyahu offered no alternative and that therefore Obama’s deal should go ahead is like saying that you shouldn’t desist from jumping off a cliff unless the person trying to talk you out of it has offered you a good job.

But Netanyahu’s alternative (or rather, alternatives) was actually fairly clear. The first part went like this:

Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

In other words, doing nothing—keeping the status quo—is a better alternative. Obama’s deal instead gives Iran concessions that will increase the danger to the world, not just to Israel.

Here’s the second part, and it involves setting conditions for easing restrictions on Iran. These conditions are of course nothing that Iran would agree to, but they are conditions that would be necessary before Obama’s concessions would begin to make any sense:

I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.

The third part is a slight modification of the second part, and it has to do with the ten-year period after which all bets are off:

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires. If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

The fourth part is an explanation of the practical reasons that Netanyahu’s proposal is likely to work better than Obama’s proposal—which boils down to the fact that Iran is hurting economically, and so this is a good time to continue the pressure rather than to lift it:

My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons. Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

The fifth part is a reiteration of how important keeping the pressure on Iran over time would be:

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

Most of the rest of Netanyahu’s speech is devoted to saying that choosing this path would lead to a better deal than Obama’s bad deal. There is really nothing obscure or difficult-to-understand about what Netanyahu is proposing, and it certainly seems a lot more viable than anything Obama has planned.

Paul Mirengoff of Powerline summarizes the alternatives very well:

The answer to Obama’s point is that the absence of a deal doesn’t mean the absence of a strategy for preventing Iran from obtaining nukes. In fact, the absence of a deal would facilitate two approaches that hold more promise of thwarting Iran than even a decent deal.

In theory, there are three scenarios under which Iran won’t get the bomb. First, military action might prevent it. Second, the right kind of regime change might prevent it. Third, a deal might prevent it.

The first and second scenarios are the most effective because the third depends on some level of cooperation and compliance by a notoriously hostile and unreliable regime.

The way—the only way—to ever get Iran to agree to any deal would be a remarkable amount of pressure. Even then, the agreement would probably be bogus. Obama has no appreciation of the nature of the Iranian regime (or he is actively colluding with it), and is pretending he has a “partner for peace,” just as the left has pretended the same about the Palestinians (for example, Arafat) vis a vis Israel.

[NOTE: I forgive Netanyahu for referring to Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” in his speech and getting the meaning of the poem somewhat wrong—as most people do. Netanyahu wasn’t there as a poetry critic (fortunately) when he summarized it as “the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference.” Look here for why that’s a common misunderstanding of the poem’s more complex message.]

March 4th, 2015

Iran says…

…that they want Obama to bow even lower and grovel even more.

They are just laughing at him now.

March 4th, 2015

Heat on Hillary’s emails

The revelations about Hillary Clinton’s email system are growing more troubling for the left, and in a way more puzzling. For example, we have this article in The New York Times, which seems to be leading the attacks. The headline is “Using Private Email, Hillary Clinton Thwarted Record Requests” (on Benghazi, no less), and if that isn’t the sort of thing you might read in some conservative periodical I don’t know what is.

The reason for the Times going after Hillary like this can’t be the mere need for intellectual consistency because the left went after people on the right who used private email. Lack of consistency has never bothered the Times before, nor has the need to print the truth.

I aired some theories on their motivation yesterday, mostly amounting to their desire to get out in front of the story at the outset and let it blow over. But this “thwarting” accusation seems more serious than anything that’s been said before. Is the Times actually turning on Hillary, and if so why? Do they know something we don’t, some other more serious problems that could emerge later, after she’s nominated, and spoil Democrats’ chances in 2016? Are they trying to forestall her nomination entirely?

My alternate explanation is an admittedly Byzantine one. Back in 2012 I mentioned that I thought Clinton had become Obama’s SOS with the idea that he would back her in 2016, but that Obama being Obama he couldn’t be trusted to actually follow through. Could he be sabotaging her now, letting the Times know that he doesn’t want her as his successor, and thus releasing the attack? It seems far-fetched, but the entire thing is so odd that it’s one of the few possibilities I can come up with. Maybe Hillary has some goods on him, and he’s afraid she’ll spill the beans, and he wants to discredit her? Or maybe she disagrees on his course in Iran, and he’s afraid she won’t continue his glorious legacy the way Liz Warren would?

At any rate, you can find some good pieces about Hillary’s email situation in the listings at Memeorandum.

March 4th, 2015

Comedy on the right

A lot of people on the left might think the phrase “conservative comedy” could only be either (1) a sarcastic description of everything the right does, or (2) an oxymoron.

I once had an argument with an acquaintance on the left who swore that the right was completely devoid of humor. After feigning insult because I like to think of myself as both conservative and at least occasionally intentionally funny, I insisted that there’s plenty of humor on the right, and that my friend just didn’t know enough people on the right to realize the truth of that. I did.

But that was before Greg Gutfield had appeared on the Fox News horizon. If our discussion had occurred after that event, I would have referred my friend to Gutfield’s show “Red Eye,” which is not only genuinely funny but which features humor of the sort a leftie could appreciate—hip, ironic, off-the-wall, with lots of sexual references. It’s the sort of thing I’d think would appeal to the young, as well.

How do I know so much about Gutfield’s show, which appears on Fox at 3AM? Well, I said I was a night owl, and although I don’t watch it often, every now and then it just so happens that I do, if only for a few minutes. During the 2012 election I remember thinking that the right should promote the show heavily to young people, as an example of the fact that conservatives aren’t hopelessly and ridiculously out of touch, dull, and serious. Gutfield is in a sense the conservatives’ secret weapon, although they may not realize it.

And now I read that Gutfield is leaving “Red Eye,” although the show itself will continue with a different host. He’s leaving to start a weekend show for Fox that will air at a more reasonable hour than 3 AM, and I’m all for it. The odd thing is where I read this news: in a paean to Gutfield published in, of all places, the The New Yorker.

Two examples of Gutfield’s humor will suffice. I don’t know that this sort of thing will appeal to my reader demographic, but he certainly made me laugh:

Sometimes, Gutfeld tweaked cable-news conventions, as when he purported to address banking reform by convening a sixteen-person panel of experts, including familiar Fox News personalities such as John Bolton, and markedly unfamiliar ones, such as Rosie O’Donnell. As he introduced them, they appeared (or seemed to appear) live, forming a four-by-four matrix of pundit redundancy—by which point it was time, of course, for Gutfeld to thank them all, by name, and then end the segment…

…[I]n 2009…Gutfeld was obliged to apologize to the Canadian military, after a particularly irreverent discussion. The head of the Canadian land forces had said that the Army might need “a short operational break” lasting “at least one year” following its engagement in Afghanistan. Gutfeld had wondered whether this might not be “the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country,” adding, “The Canadian military wants to take a breather, to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants.”

Well, you had to be there. Or you had to be pretty young.

Gutfield was a good friend of Andrew Breitbart, and the latter was a guest on Gutfield’s very first show. Later, Gutfield said that the interesting thing about Breitbart was that “there wasn’t anything like him in the conservative movement.” True, and the same goes for Gutfield. Conservatives should pay attention.

March 3rd, 2015

A rhetorical observation

I’ve said many times on this blog that I don’t like political speeches and generally hate to listen to them, except for Churchill’s.

But I immediately noticed a phrase in Netanyahu’s speech today that I think was his tribute to Churchill. I have read that Netanyahu sees his role as issuing a vitally important warning of impending danger, much as Churchill warned Parliament about Hitler and the grave peril a re-armed Germany represented.

I see that this comparison was not lost on John Boehner, either:

Mr Netanyahu is due to be presented with a bust of Winston Churchill by the Republican speaker John Boehner, who controversially invited him to speak in Washington without discussing the matter with the White House.

Interesting, considering that early in his presidency Obama returned a bust of Churchill to the British.

Here’s the phrase in Netanyahu’s speech that caught my ear:

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

And although Netanyahu’s delivery can’t be compared to Churchill’s (whose can?), this is the moment it conjured up:

I would guess that Netanyahu was fully aware of the reference. I doubt very much that the same could be said of Obama.

[NOTE: I want to clarify that I think Netanyahu’s speech was good.

But I mean it when I say I almost never like speeches by politicians, except for Churchill. I suspect I would have liked Lincoln as well, but there’s no recording. In Churchill’s case I respond to the incredible trifecta of his sonorous voice; his ability to write and deliver forceful and beautiful and completely clear phrases, almost like poetry; and the profound thoughts he is expressing.

I don’t think anyone compares.

I tend not to be an auditory processor in general. But I also (and this may sound paradoxical, but I don’t think it is) am extremely sensitive to tone in human voices. I loved Churchill’s. Netanyahu’s (and that of most speakers) doesn’t have the timbre; it sounds flattish to me.

But that’s not really any special dig at Netanyahu. As non-Churchillian speeches go, his was a good one: clear, forceful, and especially graceful under the circumstances.

See the left’s reaction, if you have a strong stomach.]

March 3rd, 2015

Is Hillary in trouble?

There are two newish problems for Clinton, both related to her tenure at State.

The first is the fact that the Clinton Foundation accepted foreign contributions while Hillary was Secretary. The second is that during the time she held that office she never used government email to transact her official business, instead relying on a private email account.

Both things may be in violation of the law. Both things are certainly highly suspicious. I find it curious that the NY Times broke the second story when they didn’t have to cover it, as the paper has demonstrated time and again how adept it is at picking and choosing and ignoring the stories it wishes to ignore.

I don’t have an answer, except that maybe it’s a way to fully address the story now and see which way the wind blows. Hillary is increasingly seen as having some liabilities as a candidate in 2016, and better to find out as early as possible how serious those drawbacks are. However, the MSM and the left have learned from reaction to the Obama administration that the American people do not (as Richard Fernandez might say) “…seem to notice anything; we have the responsiveness of a corpse and it’s interesting to consider how long till we become one.” This may give them good reason to believe these new stories will blow over quickly and to little effect.

Not a pretty picture. But I agree that there is a lethargy abroad in the land, a jaded acceptance of these sorts of things as business as usual—the IRS scandal and Benghazi and Obama’s grab for power in encouraging illegal immigration and perhaps even raising taxes through executive action rather than the legislature (which is the newest plan, apparently). In the immortal words of one Hillary Clinton, the public may be feeling that, “What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?”

The answer is “plenty.” But not if the American people no longer care. Perhaps we have become a nation of men, not laws, rather than “a government of laws, and not of men.” In this article in The American Spectator, David Catron is writing about the pending Obamacare case of King vs. Burwell. But he might have been writing about any number of actions of this administration that have demonstrated a willingness to disregard the law in order to reach the left’s desired ends:

If Roberts is once again cowed, and allows the IRS to rewrite an act of Congress to suit the Obama administration’s political agenda, our President will regard it as a sign that he has safely crossed the constitutional Rubicon. It’s no coincidence that John Adams included Livy among those who influenced his view that a republic was “a nation of laws, not of men.” Livy personally witnessed the events that converted Rome from the former to the latter. If the Court caves again, we will have witnessed the same fundamental transformation of our country.

When Obama talked about fundamentally transforming America, how many people understand that this was what he meant? Quite a few, but not nearly enough. Certainly by 2012, however, it was crystal clear, and still America voted for him.

Hillary Clinton seems poised to continue with the program should she be elected the next president. Why would she respect the rule of law when Obama hasn’t? Why should she, when he has shown Congress (and perhaps the courts as well) to be a toothless tiger? Why would anyone respect the rule of law after Obama?

March 3rd, 2015

Netanyahu’s speech

Here’s an open thread to discuss Netanyahu’s speech.

[ADDENDUM: Transcript here.

And if you read to read some depressing stuff, read the comments here.

And Ace has quite a roundup of mocking/trivializing tweets from the liberal/left politicians and pundits on Netanyahu’s speech. It’s exactly as expected, but still must be seen to be believed.]

March 3rd, 2015

Catch up with Fernandez

Sometimes I think this blog could consist entirely of daily links to the writings of Richard Fernandez and some choice excerpts, and it would be a net gain for my readers.

No, I’m not going to give up writing, and defer to Fernandez instead. But I will for this particular post.

On spying a copy of Mein Kampf in a rack of free religious pamphlets at his church, Fernandez writes:

Evil intentionally leaves its artifacts in the most sacred places of its victims in order to gauge whether there is any resistance left about. If there is no reaction they’ll enlarge the abomination…

Lately we don’t seem to notice anything; we have the responsiveness of a corpse and its interesting to consider how long till we become one. I wondered how long that Mein Kampf sat on that shelf, if one or several Western parishioners who recognized it stifled the impulse to object to its presence under one of the many inhibitions were are lumbered with…

We are conflict-averse. We want to be left alone but by ironic consequence, we will not be. As a whole we have tended to confuse Christianity with passivity, and civility with letting things slide, as if the whole message of the Gospels and the entire content of tolerant civilization consisted of taking punches on the chin and begging for more…

…the former idea of Christian otherwordliness was to never fear the consequences of doing the right thing. You did the principled thing and took what came, trusting that in life there was nothing to really fear but cowardice and evil. “For what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul?” It is the complete opposite of passivity. And we have lost the sense of it. We have lost its secular equivalent too.

Today we as a civilization are far more worried about what people will say…For so long as we ask: “If I argue shall I be considered bigoted?” ”Will we be judged as lacking in civility?” ”Will I still be invited to cocktail parties?” And that classic: “who am I to judge anyway?” then we will deserve to perish.

Please read the whole thing. And some of the comments are excellent, too.

Actually, I could just say read everything Fernandez ever wrote. But I’ll highlight one more essay in particular:

…[Obama] needs Iran to get him out of the jam caused by his feckless withdrawal from the region. ISIS flourished in the resulting vacuum and daily humiliates the president with publicized outrages. With Obama powerless to prevent it, he needs someone who can pull him out of the quicksand.

But as the Daily Beast notes the price will be steep. “The bargain for making a deal with Iran, these critics say, has allowed Iran a free hand to assert dominance in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.” Having spent years campaigning against American military action Obama has essentially left himself no other choice but to rely on someone else…

…Micah Zenko at Foreign Policy is calling the debacle Obama’s Bay of Pigs in the Desert. The Obama administration has effectively destroyed its own credibility, by the ample display of stupidity, possibly past the point of recovery. As a Brookings Institution article puts it “If America leads, will anyone follow?”…

Who wants to join the club where Obama’s the leader of the band? Not unless you want a knife in the back. The late Russian oppositionist Boris Nemetsov speaking from beyond the grave in a September, 2013 Foreign Policy article said: “Obama is a Hollywood actor, a weak man with no balls. Nobody should ever expect him to help Russians seeking civil freedom.”…

The president who is publicly nursing his wounded honor in anticipation of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech is also the same president pathetically hanging on Tehran’s rulers every word, like a waiter expecting a tip. The Iranians themselves have characterized Obama as ‘desperate to reach a nuclear deal’, as if he were some loathesome toady. All the same he is counting on them to beat ISIS, having made a hash of his own efforts. What a crazy situation it is when an American president’s fortunes depend on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard…

…By outsourcing operations to Iran Obama is giving up the last shreds of American freedom of action in the region. He is thereby opening the door to a great danger.

Again, I suggest you read the whole thing.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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