Thursday, March 25, 2010

Obama’s Alliance With Iran

By "Spengler"

Ralph Peters’ op-ed in today’s New York Post shows that our putative allies in Afghanistan as well as Iraq are in bed with Iran. He argues that it’s a blunder. It will be a blunder, but it’s actually Obama’s policy, and it was spelled out by now Defense Secretary Gates and Zbignew Brzezinski back in 2004. It’s as bad as Peters says it is, and then some.

“It’s wretched enough that our ‘friend’ Ahmed Chalabi has become Iran’s point man in Iraq. Now ‘our man in Kabu,’ President Hamid Karzai, is quietly shifting his loyalty to Tehran,” Peters writes.

Peters continues:
Beyond Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad’s recent chummy visit to Karzai — reported by the media but played down by Washington — Iran’s been training Taliban forces to kill our troops more efficiently.

Karzai hasn’t complained. Nor has he objected to Tehran’s expansion of its support for its clients in western Afghanistan. He wants that support for himself.

Where I disagree with Peters is in the matter of the administration’s intent. In a March 16 “Spengler” column for Asia Times Online, I quoted State Department officials’ on-record invitation to Iran to play a major role in Afghanistan. Getting Iran involved IS the administration’s “exit strategy.” Obama wants an ALLIANCE with Iran. And that’s why he picked a fight with Netanyahu over the non-issue of apartment construction in a part of North Jerusalem that every draft piece plan agrees will remain Israeli. If Israel hits Iran’s nuclear capacity, the deal is off.

As I wrote March 16:
Despite the enormous difference in outlook between the last administration and the present one, there is an underlying continuity in Washington’s stance towards Iran, due to the facts on the ground put in place by Iran itself. I wrote on this site in October 2005, shortly after Ahmadinejad came to power:

I do not believe any formal understanding is in place, but the probable outcome is that Washington will refrain from military action to forestall any Iranian nuclear arms developments, while Tehran will refrain from disrupting Washington’s constitutional Potemkin Village in Iraq. Tehran thinks strategically, as befits a country with a government newly elected by an overwhelming majority, while Washington thinks politically. President George W Bush is struggling to persuade the American public of the wisdom of his nation-building scheme in Iraq, and badly wants the Iranians to keep their hands in their pockets. Iran is prepared to do so as long as America keeps its opposition to its nuclear program within the confines of the diplomatic cul-de-sac defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency. (See A Syriajevo in the making?, Asia Times Online, October 25, 2005)

Nation-building in Iraq is the tar baby that has entrapped American foreign policy. The notion that the United States should take responsibility for the political evolution of a country cooked up by British cartographers with the explicit purpose of keeping Sunni Arabs, Shi’ite Arabs and Kurds at each others’ throats, ranks as one of the great political delusions of the past century. Since the American invasion in 2003, it always has been in Iran’s power to make the country ungovernable. More important to Iran, though, is the potential acquisition of nuclear weapons. Should it become a nuclear power, Iran could set its cats’ paws in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan to whatever task it chose with far less fear of American retribution.

The Obama administration’s abortive opening to Iran always aimed at obtaining Iranian help in stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, among other things by soliciting Tehran’s good offices with the Shi’ite Hazara minority in Afghanistan. Iran has ties both to the Hazara as well as to their mortal enemies, the Sunni Taliban, and keeps its options open. Its prospective influence in Afghanistan is potent enough to panic the US – Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived in Kabul unannounced on March 8, the same day that Ahmadinejad was expected in the Afghan capital, prompting the Iranian president to postpone his trip by two days. Gates’ unexpected trip was interpreted as a pre-emptive action against Iranian influence. Karzai embraced his Iranian counterpart as a friend and ally.

As Asia Times Online’s M K Bhadrakumar wrote on March 13: “Karzai can hope to tap into Iran’s influence with various Afghan groups, which traditionally focused on the Persian-speaking Tajiks and Hazara Shi’ites but today also extends to segments of the Pashtun population. Significantly, Ahmedinejad was received on Wednesday at Kabul airport by the Northern Alliance leader Mohammed Fahim, who has become the first vice president in Karzai’s new government despite strong opposition from the US and Britain.” (See A titanic power struggle in Kabul, Asia Times Online, March 13)

The United States responded to Ahmadinejad’s Afghan visit by paying obeisance to Iran’s influence. “The future of Afghanistan has a regional dimension and we hope that Iran will play a more constructive role in Afghanistan in the future,” said US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley. He added in the past, the US and Iran have “cooperated constructively” and hoped that they would do so again, given that Iran has “a legitimate interest in the future of Afghanistan”.

The answer to the question: “What is Obama’s exit strategy from Afghanistan?” – is a Great Gamelet in which Iran and Pakistan work out a power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan and establish a miniature balance of power between Sunnis and Shi’ites. All that is missing is Johnny Depp in Mad Hatter makeup replacing Richard Holbrooke as AfPak czar, distributing 3-D glasses to the diplomatic corps.

Outrageous, but true.

Solution to the next mystery: Why is General Petraeus going around saying that Israeli intransigence is putting American lives at risk in the Middle East?

In order to make Iraq look better than it was and to make Petraeus surge look like a success, the Bush administration made a conscious decision to treat Iran carefully — Bush was as emphatic as Obama in dissuading the Israelis from striking Iranian nuclear capability.

Petraeus made his reputation with the surge knowing perfectly well that if Iran wanted to jack up the list of US casualties, it could.

When he says that Israel is endangering American lives, the question is — how? Who is going to kill Americans? The Egyptians are virtually allied with Israel now — they let Israeli subs and missile boats through the Suez Canal. The only possible answer is: the Iranians, via their proxies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Provoke Iran, and Americans will die. JCS Chief Admiral Mullen has been saying the same thing for some time. These are officers whose careers advanced on the strength of a de facto deal with the Iranians and now they are stuck with it. And that’s why they are dumping on Israel: if Israel hits Iran, the whole American “exit strategy” (based on a silly balance of power game involving Iran) falls apart.



Oh, Canada!

by Ann Coulter

Since arriving in Canada I've been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution for speeches I hadn't yet given, and denounced on the floor of the Parliament (which was nice because that one was on my "bucket list").

Posters advertising my speech have been officially banned, while posters denouncing me are plastered all over the University of Ottawa campus. Elected officials have been prohibited from attending my speeches. Also, the local clothing stores are fresh out of brown shirts. Welcome to Canada!

The provost of the University of Ottawa, average student IQ: 0, wrote to me -- widely disseminating his letter to at least a half-dozen intermediaries before it reached me -- in advance of my visit in order to recommend that I familiarize myself with Canada's criminal laws regarding hate speech. This marks the first time I've ever gotten hate mail for something I might do in the future.

Apparently Canadian law forbids "promoting hatred against any identifiable group," which the provost, Francois A. Houle advised me, "would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges." I was given no specific examples of what words and phrases I couldn't use, but I take it I'm not supposed to say, "F--- you, Francois."

While it was a relief to know that it is still permissible in Canada to promote hatred against unidentifiable groups, upon reading Francois' letter, I suddenly realized that I had just been the victim of a hate crime! And it was committed by Francois A. Houle (French for "Frank A. Hole").

What other speakers get a warning not to promote hatred? Did Francois A. Houle send a similarly worded letter to Israel-hater Omar Barghouti before he spoke last year at U of Ottawa? ("Ottawa": Indian for "Land of the Bed-Wetters.")

How about Angela Davis, Communist Party member and former Black Panther who spoke at the University of Zero just last month?

Or do only conservatives get letters admonishing them to be civil? Or -- my suspicion -- is it only conservative women who fuel Francois' rage?

How about sending a letter to all Muslim speakers advising them to please bathe once a week while in Canada? Would that constitute a hate crime?

I'm sure Canada's Human Rights Commission will get to the bottom of Francois' strange warning to me, inasmuch as I will be filing a complaint with that august body, so I expect they will be reviewing every letter the university has sent to other speakers prior to their speeches to see if any of them were threatened with criminal prosecution.

Both writer Mark Steyn and editor Ezra Levant have been investigated by the Human Rights Commission for promoting hatred toward Muslims.

Levant's alleged crime was to reprint the cartoons of Mohammed originally published in a Danish newspaper, leading practitioners of the Religion of Peace to engage in murderous violence across the globe. Steyn's alleged crime was to publish an excerpt of his book, "America Alone" in Maclean's magazine, in which he jauntily described Muslims as "hot for jihad."

Both of them also flew jet airliners full of passengers into skyscrapers in lower Manhattan, resulting in thousands of deaths. No, wait -- that was somebody else.

Curiously, however, there was no evidence that either the cartoons or the column did, in fact, incite hatred toward Muslims -- nor was there the remotest possibility that they would.

By contrast, conservative speakers are regularly subjected to violent attacks on college campuses. Bill Kristol, Pat Buchanan, David Horowitz and I have all been the targets of infamous campus attacks.

That's why the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute (a sponsor of my Canada speeches) and the Young America's Foundation (a sponsor of many of my college speeches) don't send conservatives to college campuses without a bodyguard.

You'd have to be a real A-Houle not to anticipate that accusing a conservative of "promoting hatred" prior to her arrival on a college campus would in actuality -- not in liberal fantasies of terrified Muslims cowering in terror of Mark Steyn readers -- incite real-world violence toward the conservative......

If a university official's letter accusing a speaker of having a proclivity to commit speech crimes before she's given the speech -- which then leads to Facebook postings demanding that Ann Coulter be hurt, a massive riot and a police-ordered cancellation of the speech -- is not hate speech, then there is no such thing as hate speech.

Either Francois goes to jail or the Human Rights Commission is a hoax and a fraud.



BrookesNews Update

Will the US economy survive Obama's economic policies? : The sheer magnitude of Obama's tax and spending program is completely unprecedented. It fiscal weight is such that if it is allowed to go unchecked it will do to the American economy what similar policies did to Argentina
Is the Chinese economy running out of steam? : If the present trend continues manufacturing will start to contract and the recession will then rapidly spread down China's production structure. Of course, the government can only push down on the monetary accelerator. But in a sense this is where monetary and capital theory combine to produce an unstable and highly explosive mixture
U.S. government, on its way to bankruptcy, part 1: The U.S. government has gross debt outstanding of $12 trillion. Depending on the source and calculation methodology, the U.S. government is on the hook for an additional $50 to $100 trillion more in unfunded liabilities. Using $75 trillion as the proxy for unfunded liabilities, that's debt plus unfunded liabilities of 6 times GDP and an eye-popping 41 times 2009 receipts. This is a recipe for disaster
Tony Abbot's maternity leave fiasco : Tony Abbot's proposal to impose a maternity levy on those businesses that have the audacity to generate a taxable income in excess of $5 million dollars is another example of the Liberal Party's incompetence, opportunism and absence of economic credentials
Soderbergh's Che and historical accuracy, Part II : Surprise, surprise, Steven Soderbergh, the mastermind behind that outrageous piece of agitprop called Che, turns out to be another nasty little leftist liar. We now learn that the script was basically supervised by none other than the sadistic Castro: mass murderer, drug runner, terrorist sponsor and Hollywood's favourite Marxist thug
Thoughts on the benefits of share market diversification : The use of sophisticated mathematics and probabilities in compliance with the modern portfolio theory misses he entire point of an investor-entrepreneur activity



The latest Leftist attempt to tear down America's military: “The Pentagon is scheduled to announce Thursday that it will relax enforcement of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ rules that prevent gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military, a decision that officials described as a temporary measure until Congress can take permanent action. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to announce that the military will no longer investigate the sexual orientation of service members based on anonymous complaints, will restrict testimony from third parties and will require high-ranking officers to review all cases, sources familiar with the changes said"

More sanctions against Iran are not the answer: “Because President Barack Obama’s attempt to entice Iran to give up its nuclear program has ended in unsurprising failure, he is now trying to ratchet up the pressure on the regime by leading the drive to increase international economic sanctions. However, even if he were to succeed in getting Russia and China to go along in the United Nations Security Council, the measures would probably be unsuccessful in achieving their stated goal.”

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best: "Never in the history of our country have there been so many people who believe they are ‘entitled’ simply because they exist. America’s current economic crisis and the exorbitant amount of personal debt is evidence of this twisted mentality. Over several generations society has taught the wrong values resulting in a populace that is totally clueless when it comes to right and wrong or basic respect for other peoples rights. We are facing the downfall of society as we know it and the price will be mind numbing.”

The fix is in: "Americans would do well to ponder a recent admission by a former British minister in the Blair government. On March 2, the Guardian reported that the ex-minister, now Lord Warner, said that while spending on Britain’s National Health Service had increased by 60 percent under the Labour government, its output had decreased by 4 percent. No doubt the spending of a Soviet-style organization like the NHS is more easily measurable than its output, but the former minister’s remark certainly accords with the experiences of many citizens, who see no dramatic improvement in the service as a result of such vastly increased outlays. On the contrary, while the service has taken on 400,000 new staff members — that is to say, one-fifth of all new jobs created in Britain during the period — continuity of medical care has been all but extinguished.”

The reality of Obamacare: "The Obama administration has turned the insurance industry into the Blackwater of socialized medicine. That’s what Obama always had in mind. During the now-legendary health-care summit, Obama, who loves to talk about ‘risk pools,’ ‘competition, ‘consumer choice,’ and the like, let it slip that he actually doesn’t believe in insurance as commonly understood. … A risk pool is an actuarial device where a lot of people pay a small sum to cover themselves against a ‘rainy day’ problem that will affect only a few people. Such ‘peace of mind’ health insurance is gone. What we have now is health assurance. With health assurance, there are no ‘risk pools’ really, only payment plans.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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