Monday, August 16, 2010

Obama will not protect Israel from Iranian nukes

But what if the Ayatollahs put their first nuclear device on a ship and sailed it into New York harbour? They have plenty of "martyrs" who would be willing to crew it and they would kill just as many Jews that way. And guess who the "Great Satan" is? It wasn't Israel that Osama bin Laden attacked

To all intents and purposes, there are no circumstances in which Obama would order an attack on Iran's nuclear installations to prevent Iran from developing and fielding nuclear weapons. Evidence for this conclusion is found in every aspect of Obama's foreign policy. But to prove it, it is sufficient to point out point three aspects of his policies.

First of all, Obama's refuses to recognize that an Iranian nuclear arsenal constitutes a clear and present danger to US national security. Obama's discussions of the perils of a nuclear Iran are limited to his acknowledgement that such an arsenal will provoke a regional nuclear arms race.

And yet, while a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is bad, it is far from the worst aspect of Iran's nuclear program for America. America has two paramount strategic interests in the Middle East. First, the US requires the smooth flow of inexpensive petroleum products from the Persian Gulf to global oil markets. Second, the US requires the capacity to project its force in the region to defend its own territory from global jihadists.

Both of these interests are imperiled by the Iranian nuclear program. If the US is not willing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it will lose all credibility as a strategic ally to the Sunni Arab states in the area. For instance, from a Saudi perspective, a US that is unwilling to prevent the ayatollahs from fielding nuclear weapons is of no more use to the kingdom than Britain or China or France. It is just another oil consuming country. The same goes for the rest of the states in the Gulf and in the region.

The Arab loss of faith in US security guarantees will cause them to deny basing rights to US forces in their territories. It will also likely lead them to bow to Iranian will on oil price setting through supply cutbacks. In light of this, the Iranian nuclear program constitutes the greatest threat ever to US superpower status in the region and to the wellbeing of the US economy.

Then there is the direct threat that Iran's nuclear program constitutes for US national security. This threat grows larger by the day as Iran's web of strategic alliances in Latin America expands unchallenged by the US. Today Iran enjoys military alliances with Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia.

As former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton has argued, at least the Soviets were atheists. Atheists of course, are in no hurry to die, since death can bring no rewards in a world to come. Iran's leaders are apocalyptic jihadists. Given Iran's Latin American alliances and Iran's own progress towards intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran makes the Cuban missile crisis look like a walk in the park.

In the case of Iran's nuclear weapons programs, because the Iranians have openly placed Israel first on their nuclear targeting list, US debate about Iran's nuclear program has been anchored around the issue of Israel's national security. Should the US attack Iran's nuclear installations in order to defend Israel?

Given the distorted manner in which the debate has been framed, the answer to that question hinges on Obama's view of Israel. Recent moves by Obama and his advisors make clear that Obama takes a dim view of Israel. He views Israel neither as a credible ally nor a credible democracy.

First there is the character of current US military assistance to Israel and to its neighbors. In recent months, the Obama administration has loudly announced its intentions to continue its joint work with Israel towards the development and deployment of defensive anti-missile shields. Two things about these programs are notable. First, they are joint initiatives. Just as Israel gains US financing, the US gains Israeli technology that it would otherwise lack.

Second, as Globes reported last week, the Obama has actually scaled back US funding for these programs. For instance, funding for the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile program - intended to serve as Israel's primary defensive system against Iranian ballistic missiles -- was cut by $50 million.

The defensive character of all of these programs signals an absence of US support for maintaining Israel's capacity to preemptively strike its enemies. When the Pentagon's refusal to permit Israel to install its own avionics systems on the next generation F-35 warplanes is added to the mix, it is difficult to make the argument that the US supports Israel's qualitative edge over its enemies in any tangible way.

As to the UN, as former Obama and Clinton administration officials Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon explained in an article in the Washington Post last week, Obama's national security strategy effectively revolves around subordinating US national security policy to the UN Security Council. In the remote scenario that Obama decided to use force against Iran, his subservience to the UN would rule out any possibility of a surprise attack.

Although in theory the US military's capacity to strike Iran's nuclear facilities is much greater than Israel's, given its practical inability to launch a surprise attack, in practice it may be much smaller.

ALL OF these factors constitute overwhelming evidence that there are no conceivable circumstances under which Obama would order a US strike on Iran's nuclear installations to forestall Iran's development of nuclear weapons.



Confusion on the Left

The acerbic Maureen Dowd sometimes gets a few things right, as we see in the excerpt below:

After Bush, Democrats thought the way to paper over the distinction between liberals and radical lefties was to call everyone progressives. But calling yourself a progressive is just a stupid disguise where you pretend the contradiction isn’t there.

Some liberals, like the president, felt he could live without the public option, whereas lefties thought the public option was essential. Some liberals, like the president, think you can escalate our wars to end them, whereas lefties just want the wars ended.

There are deep schisms within the Democratic Party that were masked for a time, first by Bush and then by Obama’s election. Now that the Democrats have the presidency and the power and can enact legislation, it’s apparent that the word progressive is kind of meaningless.

President Obama is testing how elastic he can be, how much realism he can have before he betrays his idealism. For better and worse, he is an elitist and a situationist. But the professional left — like the professional right — often considers pragmatism a moral compromise.

The lefties came to the defense of the centrist Clinton during impeachment. Now that Obama is under attack, however, they are not coming to his defense, even though he has given more to the liberal cause than the scandal-stunted Clinton ultimately achieved.

He has shepherded the biggest expansion of social programs since the Great Society and spearheaded the biggest spending program with the stimulus. But for the left (and for some economists), it was not as big as it ought to have been.

Obama got elected because of the clarity of his campaign and his speeches. But, surprisingly, he’s in some ways an incoherent president. He’s with the banks, he’s against the banks. He’s leaving Afghanistan, he’s staying in Afghanistan. He strains at being a populist, but his head is in the clouds.



The Leftist attitude to money

The article below is from Australia and refers to the Australian Federal election next weekend. I think it will be clear, however, that in essence it applies to Leftists everywhere.

The Labor party is Australia's major party of the Left and its Federal leader is Julia Gillard

I once had the misfortune of working with some ‘Labor types’ in a commercial setting. Didn’t they turn out to be a bunch of rapacious little capitalists! They had a cartoon image of what business is: shamelessly and greedily gouging customers.

My ‘comrades’ – few of whom remain in the commercial world – thought business was a big game and a bit of a hoot. One of them asked me to refer to him as a ‘businessman’. (I’ve never known a proper businessman who wants to be referred to as one.)

This election campaign is a reminder that Labor and left-wing types have – and always will have – a problem with money. They have complete contempt for it; a total lack of respect for it.

This contempt manifests itself in waste; and in this election campaign, Julia Gillard’s bizarre defense of ‘wasteful’ spending of other people’s money.

Most Labor people either loathe money, and especially people who have it, or think that it’s something you just ‘get’. The former is an old relic of tedious class warfare, grounded in an element of truth that greedy people aren’t always noble.

But it’s this ‘getting’ attitude that is, perhaps, most damaging. Watch Labor and left-wing types around money and they’re always getting: the unions ‘get’ money from their members, the politicians and their staffers ‘get’ money from taxpayers, their allies in the universities and in the arts ‘get’ grants, Labor-aligned lobbyists ‘get’ concessions for their clients.

What they’re not doing – particularly now they’ve abandoned their working class roots – is ‘earning’ or ‘creating’ money. I’m not talking about earning in the sense of getting a pay cheque, which of course union and party hacks all get; I’m talking about earning or creating by providing value to an employer or customer.

Earning or creating money is hard. You work long days for your boss, or create a great product that meets a customers need. When the money comes in you respect it, because it was so difficult to get the darn thing.

So when you see a government that takes the money, and shows lack of respect for it by wasting it and pissing it up against a wall, it’s infuriating.

Because Labor types don’t earn or create money, financial waste doesn’t matter as much to them. When Labor sees money they only see numbers to be manipulated. Earners and creators see time, sweat, risk, hard work, commitment.

Labor’s warped attitude to money is why we can have the schools building program waste, the bungled home insulation scheme, and the oversized stimulus package.

It’s why Julia Gillard in defending the school halls program has effectively said financial waste is fine so long as it stimulates the economy and saves jobs.

This strange financial moral equivalence was given intellectual credence by left-wing economist Joseph Stiglitz who said there “will always be some” waste with stimulus packages. Well, there always will be, Joseph, if Labor governments are implementing them.

But the left’s attitude to money is also why the 7.30 Report’s Kerry O’Brien seemed to think the $20 billion difference between what the Coalition would have spent stimulating the economy during the GFC, and what the government spent, was neither here nor there.

Where would $20 billion come from? From hundreds of millions of hours of Australian’s working and earning time: of electricians fixing, bakers baking, writers writing, salesmen selling. As Tony Abbott said: “$25 billion – that’s quite a lot of money.”

It’s clear during this election Australians are keen to give Labor the benefit of the doubt. But when it comes to Labor and money, Labour and financial discipline and respect for taxpayer money, the doubts are considerable.




President Dithers again: "President Barack Obama has backtracked over his enthusiastic support for the building of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York, saying he was "not commenting on the wisdom of making the decision". The decision to build an 15-storey Islamic centre in Manhattan, including a mosque, two blocks from the Ground Zero site of the September 11th terrorist attacks has incensed many Americans, with polls indicating that more than two-thirds oppose it."

Japan's socialist government bows to political correctness: "Not one member of Japan’s Cabinet visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, a first since the 1980s. The move by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Democratic Party of Japan is meant to show respect to China and South Korea, which consider the shrine a tribute to Japan’s military past, Kyodo News reported. Instead, Kan paid tribute to unknown soldiers who died in the war with a visit to a national cemetery in Tokyo.”

Say goodbye to Fannie and Freddie: "On Tuesday, the Obama administration plans to hold a conference to address the question of what to do with the two companies. Clearly, it would be an inexcusable mistake to reconstitute them as private companies in anything close to their prior form. Some people have suggested recasting them as a single new ‘Fan-Fred agency’ that would continue to securitize and guarantee home mortgages. It’s true that Fannie and Freddie played an important role in developing the market for mortgage-backed securities. But they have completed that work, and they should not be preserved in any form. They should be thanked for their successes and gracefully retired.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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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