Leftists love wars and revolutions
Some 50 State Department officials have signed a memo calling on President Obama to launch air and missile strikes on the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad. A "judicious use of stand-off and air weapons," they claim, "would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process."
In brief, to strengthen the hand of our diplomats and show we mean business, we should start bombing and killing Syrian soldiers.
Yet Syria has not attacked us. And Congress has not declared war on Syria, or authorized an attack. Where do these State hawks think President Obama gets the authority to launch a war on Syria?
Does State consider the Constitution to be purely advisory when it grants Congress the sole power to declare war? Was not waging aggressive war the principal charge against the Nazis at Nuremberg?
If U.S. bombs and missiles rain down on Damascus, to the cheers of the C-Street Pattons, what do we do if Bashar Assad's allies Iran and Hezbollah retaliate with Benghazi-type attacks on U.S. diplomats across the Middle East? What do we do if Syrian missiles and Russian planes starting shooting down U.S. planes?
Go to war with Hezbollah, Iran and Russia?
Assume U.S. strikes break Syria's regime and Assad falls and flees. Who fills the power vacuum in Damascus, if not the most ruthless of the terrorist forces in that country, al-Nusra and ISIS?
Should ISIS reach Damascus first, and a slaughter of Alawites and Christians ensue, would we send an American army to save them?
According to CIA Director John Brennan, ISIS is spreading and coming to Europe and America. Does it make sense then that we would launch air and missile strikes against a Syrian regime and army that is today the last line of defense between ISIS and Damascus?
Does anyone think these things through?
Wherever, across the Middle East, we have plunged in to wage war — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria — people continue to suffer and die, and we are ensnared. Have we not fought enough wars in this Godforsaken region?
Last week, Russian planes launched air strikes on the rebels in Syria whom we have been arming and training to overthrow Assad.
Said John Kerry, "Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite." But why are we arming rebels to overthrow Assad?
Who rises if he falls? Moscow's alliance with Damascus goes back decades. Syria provides Russia with a naval base in the Mediterranean. Vladimir Putin's support for the embattled Syrian regime in the civil war being waged against it is legal under international law.
It is our policy that appears questionable.
Where did Obama get the right to arm and train rebels to dump over the Damascus regime? Did Congress authorize this insurrection? Or is this just another CIA-National Endowment for Democracy project?
Why are we trying to bring down Assad, anyhow?
U.S. foreign policy today seems unthinking, reactive, impulsive.
Last week, 31,000 NATO troops conducted exercises in Poland and the Baltic republics, right alongside the border with Russia.
For the first time since 1945, German tanks appeared in Poland.
Now we are planning to base four NATO battalions — one U.S.-led, one British, one German, and perhaps one Canadian, as the French and Italians are balking at being part of a tripwire for war.
How would we react if 31,000 Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Iranian and North Korean troops conducted military exercises across from El Paso and Brownsville, Texas?
How would we react if each of those countries left behind a battalion of troops to prevent a repeat of General "Black Jack" Pershing's intervention in Mexico in 1916? Americans would be apoplectic.
Nor are some Europeans enthusiastic about confronting Moscow. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the NATO exercises "warmongering" and "saber-rattling." He adds, "Anyone who believes that symbolic tank parades on the alliance's eastern border will increase security is wrong. We would be well-advised not to deliver any excuses for a new, old confrontation."
Not only is Steinmeier's Social Democratic Party leery of any new Cold War with Russia, so, too, is the German Left Party, and the anti-EU populist party Alternative for Germany, which wants closer ties to Russia and looser ties to the United States.
This month, we sent the USS Porter into the Black Sea. Why? Says Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, "to deter potential aggression."
While there is talk of a NATO Black Sea fleet, Bulgaria, one of the three NATO Black Sea nations, appears to want no part of it.
The European Union also just voted to extend sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Ukraine.
Looking for a four-year faceoff with a nuclear-armed Russia?
Heed Trump's Warning
One of Donald Trump’s political skills is giving widely condemned speeches.
His post-Orlando jeremiad fit the pattern, but the speech was a little like Wagner’s music as described in the famous Mark Twain line: Not as bad as it sounds. There is something so inherently inflammatory in Trump’s delivery that he could read the Gettysburg Address and some listeners would wonder how he could possibly say such a thing.
The kernel of Trump’s speech was rather obvious: “The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here. That is a fact, and it’s a fact we need to talk about.”
The reaction of much of the opinion elite was nearly instantaneous: Whatever we do, let’s not talk about that fact.
Countless articles have been written on how much better we are at assimilating Muslim immigrants than Europe is, usually with back-patting over our openness and fluidity as a society in contrast to the self-defeating insularity of a country like France.
This may be true, but the assumption that we have the magic formula is under stress now that we’ve repeatedly suffered mass killings by second-generation immigrants.
The Islamic State model of inspiring “lone wolves” already here is dependent on loosely assimilated American Muslims susceptible to its hateful appeals. Disturbingly, it is finding takers.
In six months, terrorists have killed more than 60 people on our shores; two of the perpetrators were the sons of immigrants, and one an immigrant herself.
One of the reasons we have avoided the problems of a France may be sheer numbers. France has 50 percent more Muslim immigrants than we do, even though it is a much smaller country. Only 1 percent of the U.S. population is Muslim; 7.5 percent of the French population is.
The Somali community in Minneapolis, seeded with refugees and then replenished with chain migration, has proved a rich recruiting ground for Islamist extremists. This suggests that when we have our own enclaves of poor Muslim immigrants, the experience isn’t a happy one.
On the current trajectory, we will take in 1 million Muslim immigrants or more over the next decade. It can’t be out of bounds to ask whether that’s a good idea.
Or it shouldn’t be. The immigration debate is so encrusted with unexamined pieties that any suggestion that we reduce the number or the composition of the current immigrant flow is taken as an attempt to kneecap the Statue of Liberty.
At bottom, the Trump doctrine on immigration is that our policy should serve our values and interests, and the status quo fails on both counts. That said, his proposed Muslim ban is a mistake. It communicates a hostility to all Muslims and, besides, is unworkable.
Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies outlines a more sensible course. He suggests a return to a Cold War-era ideological test for new arrivals, geared to the struggle against radical Islam. It would ask potential immigrants questions such as whether they support killing religious converts or homosexuals. Anyone answering “yes” would be excluded. Applicants could lie, but at least the exercise would send a signal about what constitutes a lowest common denominator of American civic life.
Responsibility for Omar Mateen’s heinous act is all his own, but it is certainly relevant that his Dear Old Dad supports the Taliban and hates gays. He is exactly the kind of immigrant you would hope to deny the priceless privilege of coming here.
Krikorian also proposes to reduce legal immigration. If we eliminated the visa lottery, tightened the criteria for family unification and accepted fewer refugees, we would diminish the number of low-skilled immigrants who have trouble thriving here, and at the margins, the number of new Muslim entrants.
Donald Trump does the cause of immigration restriction a disservice by rendering it in caricature. But the questions he raises won’t go away, and they shouldn’t.
Liberal Reporter Attempts to Buy "Assault Rifle" to Prove How Easy It Is, Gets Rejected
In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Chicago Sun Times reporter Neil Steinberg set out to buy an “assault rifle,” presumably to prove how easy it is. But the process didn't exactly go as planned.
In his column titled "Would-be Terrorists Can Buy Guns, But a Reporter? No," he points out how a journalist in Philadelphia was able to buy an "assault rifle” in less than 10 minutes. He also noted the percentage of gun transactions in America that don’t go through a background check, and so on. But not at the gun shop he visited. After filling out the required paperwork asking if he was an illegal alien, a fugitive, or whether he had been convicted on charges of domestic abuse, the reporter handed over $842.50 for a Smith & Wesson M & P 15 Sport II. He'd just made his first gun purchase. Since Illinois has a 24-hour waiting period after buying a firearm and taking possession of it, however, Steinberg had to wait.
Unfortunately for him, the gun store later called to say they were canceling the sale, but initially did not say why, as is their right.
Steinberg insisted it was because he’s a reporter. “[H]ating the media is right behind hating the government as a pastime for many gun owners,” he writes. “They damn you for being ignorant then hide when you try to find out.”
Later, the gun store sent Steinberg’s newspaper a statement, which read in part: “it was uncovered that Mr. Steinberg has an admitted history of alcohol abuse, and a charge for domestic battery involving his wife.”
Everyone in Chicago knows about his escapades as a drunk and a wife beater because he wrote about it, the staff at Maxon knew about his past and they denied his purchase based on Steinberg’s own admissions in his writings about it. The firearms dealer has the final say in whether you get a gun or not and because of Steinberg’s local reputation, they decided not to take a chance on him.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for 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)