Category Archives: Foreign Policy

Putin’s PR Quagmire

Europe, Foreign Policy, Russia, Terrorism

Opines Tom Piatak of Chronicles magazine:

Most Ukrainians do not want to be part of Russia’s “near abroad.” In this they resemble most Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Finns, Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians. Those who experienced Russian rule, either under the tsars or the commissars, generally do not harbor any nostalgia for it. Instead, they fear its return. A post-Communist Russia does not pose any threat to us, and the United States should stay out of Russia’s dispute with Ukraine for that reason. But Russia does pose a potential threat to its neighbors, and giving support to rebels who shoot down airliners will do nothing to reassure those worried by a revival of Russian power. Putin’s task should be to allay the fears of Russia’s neighbors, not to stoke them.

MORE.


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GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train

Foreign Policy, Iraq, Left-Liberalism, Military, Neoconservatism, Old Right, Republicans, War

“GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

… Texas Gov. Rick Perry was not the only Republican warbot to pile on Sen. Rand Paul. “In the past three days alone, recapitulated Politico, Perry used a Washington Post op-ed to warn about the dangers of ‘isolationism’ and describe Paul as ‘curiously blind’ to growing threats in Iraq. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) accused the Kentucky senator on CNN of wanting a ‘withdrawal to fortress America.’ And former Vice President Dick Cheney declared … that ‘isolationism is crazy,’ while his daughter, Liz Cheney, said Paul ‘leaves something to be desired, in terms of national security policy.’

Like McMussolini, the vampiric father and daughter duo are a spent force, easily dismissed by a young turk. But can Rand stand up to the Joint Chiefs? Military movers and shakers are heavily vested in the sunk-cost fallacy—the irrational notion that more resources must be committed forthwith in Iraq (and elsewhere), so as to “redeem” the original misguided commitment of men, money and materiel to the mission. To that end, repeated ad nauseam is the refrain about our “brave men and women of the military,” whose sacrifice for Iraqi “freedoms” will be squandered unless more such sacrifices are made. The Skeptic’s Dictionary dispels this illogic: “To continue to invest in a hopeless project is irrational. Such behavior may be a pathetic attempt to delay having to face the consequences of one’s poor judgment. The irrationality is a way to save face, to appear to be knowledgeable, when in fact one is acting like an idiot.” Besides, it’s time the military heed its paymasters, The American People, a majority of whom “don’t want to send U.S. soldiers back into Iraq.”

Read the complete column. “GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train” is now on WND.

Our German readers can now follow this column and other worthy writers in the JUNGE FREIHEIT, a weekly newspaper of excellence.

Editors wishing to feature the “Return to Reason” column in their publications, pixel or paper, please contact Bookings@ilanamercer.com. Or, ilana@ilanamercer.com


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Germany Scores Twice

Europe, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Sport, Uncategorized

Germany’s first victory this week is to have threatened to expel the top CIA official from the country. Via DER SPIEGEL:

Initially, there had been talk of a formal expulsion of the CIA employee, who is officially accredited as the so-called chief of station and is responsible for the US intelligence service’s activities in Germany. A short time later, the government backpedalled and said it had only recommended that he leave. Although it cannot be compared with a formal explusion, it remains an unfriendly gesture.
On a diplomatic level, it is no less than an earthquake and represents a measure that until Thursday would have only been implemented against pariah states like North Korea or Iran. It also underscores just how deep tensions have grown between Berlin and Washington over the spying affair. … there was absolutely no talk of any apology from Washington.

One US official dismissed the threat of expulsion of a top CIA official from Germany as a “childish” reaction on behalf of the Germans. Natürlich. When a European superpower refuses to be spied upon by Uncle Sam, they’re deemed to be acting out like kids.

An excellent account of the latest developments is here.

Germany’s second big win in short succession was a 1:0 victory over Argentina, in the game that earned the Germans the 2014 World Cup in football.

Ann Coulter should be pleased that the interminable tournament has finally concluded.


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Bill Clinton Correct About Cheney

Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Neoconservatism, War

Just as I was beginning to harbor some hope that Mark Levin would ditch neoconservatism, the broadcaster galvanized rhetorical firepower to defend Dick Cheney, this week, from Bill Clinton’s coruscating attack. Levin went so far as to scold Genghis Bush for not helping Cheney out. After all, said Levin, Cheney was a sickly man battling the administration all alone over Iraq.

Hopeless.

Admittedly, Bill Clinton has given voice to the truth late in the day, but everything he said about Cheney is correct.

Meet the Press’s David Gregory had asked “Bill Clinton about the current crisis in Iraq and whether Dick Cheney is a ‘credible critic’ in going after the Obama administration for ISIS taking over major cities there. Clinton chuckled and said, ‘I believe if they hadn’t gone to war in Iraq, none of this would be happening.’”

A no-brainer.

How, however, will Bill cover for wife Hill, who has “refused to atone for her role in the prosecution of an unjust war.” As detailed in “Confess, Clinton; Say You’re Sorry, Sullivan”:

During the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate in New Hampshire, Clinton was asked whether she regretted “voting to authorize the president’s use of force against Saddam Hussein in Iraq without actually reading the national intelligence estimate, the classified document laying out the best U.S. intelligence at that time.” Her reply: “I feel like I was totally briefed. [Expect the “I-feel-like” locution to proliferate if a woman is ensconced in the White House.] I knew all the arguments. I knew all of what the Defense Department, the CIA, the State Department were all saying. And I sought dissenting opinions, as well as talking to people in previous administrations and outside experts.”

Back to the humdrum truth Bill uttered to Gregory about Cheney:

Gregory brought up Syria, which Clinton didn’t deny is a problem all on its own, but “what happened in Syria wouldn’t have happened in Iraq” if the Bush administration hadn’t taken the country to war and Iraq wouldn’t have been so “drastically altered.”
Clinton also found it “unseemly” that a former vice president is “attacking the administration for not doing an adequate job for not cleaning up the mess that he made,”


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UPDATED: Don’t Know Shiite From Shinola (From Figurative Crucifixion to Cookies)

Bush, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Islam, Terrorism, War

“Don’t know Shiite From Shinola” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

Almost unanimous on the right is the mystifying notion that a reduced American footprint in the world, President Barack Obama’s doing, has brought about the “sudden” eruption across Iraq of a particularly savage faction of Sunni fundamentalists called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This small band of zealots has conquered a third of Iraq, including the metropolis of Mosul, from which 500,000 residents have fled. Tikrit too is under ISIS control. Fallujah fell in January.

Odd too is the idea that ISIS, currently barreling toward the capital, Baghdad, is somehow a new killer on the block. While the gang, led by newcomer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is not as ancient as the Egyptian goddess by the same name—ISIS was previously known as Al Qaida in Iraq (A.Q.I.), reflecting its earlier, more modest mission. A.Q.I. was the brainchild of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, described aptly in the New Yorker as, “A Jordanian who had been a convicted thief and sex criminal before turning to radical Islam.” Commensurate with its morphing, expansive ambitions, A.Q.I. changed its name to ISIS. Whereas “Al Qaida was originally envisioned as a kind of Sunni foreign legion, which would defend Muslim lands from Western occupation,” writes New Yorker staffer Lawrence Wright, “Zarqawi had a different goal in mind. He hoped to provoke an Islamic civil war.” George W. Bush’s invasion primed Iraq for Zarqawi’s purposes. “There was no better venue than the fractured state of Iraq, which sits astride the Sunni-Shiite fault line.”

So savage and extreme is ISIS, always has been, that it had been “booted out of the Al Qaida consortium,” attests Wright. Remember the “Dear Al (Zarqawi)” letter penned by Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in 2005? In it, Bin Laden’s Capo Bastone (Zawahiri) had asked the lieutenant (Zarqawi) to reconsider the wisdom of slaughtering so many Shia civilians in Iraq. Al-Z no. 1 broached the topic by counseling Al-Z no. 2 about the wisdom of bringing “the Muslim masses to the mujahed movement.” To that end, killing so many of them was probably unhelpful. Yes, the Shia are a handful—theologically problematic—conceded Zawahiri. Suspect too was the Shia’s history of “connivance with the Crusaders.” But while Zawahiri didn’t give a dried camel’s hump about his Shia brethren, he thought better of slaughtering them, preferring to forgive their “ignorance.” Besides, added Zawahiri as an afterthought, it’s impossible for the mujahedeen to kill all Iraq’s Shia.

While Zarqawi rejected Zawahiri’s soft approach, his personal odyssey has a happy ending. Zarqawi died, killed by Americans in 2006. But his legacy, like that of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, lives on in ISIS. Shia Iran, once a bitter enemy of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, now has pride-of-place in the Iraq that Bush built. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been galvanized to the aid of the Iraqi army. But it is not the 930,000 members of the Iraqi security forces that the Revolutionary Guard aims to rouse. Despite the princely sums ($25 billion) Americans spent to train and prepare it, in Mosul, this inorganic, artificial creation of the Bush brigades fled before 1,300 ISIS fighters. To fight the marauding Sunnis, the Revolutionary Guard will likely corral well-motivated, tribal Shia militias. (In Iraq, Shiites make up about sixty percent of the population. Sunnis comprise less than twenty percent.)

It is this cauldron of sectarian strife that Saddam Hussein kept from bubbling over. …

… Read the complete column. “Don’t know Shiite From Shinola” is now on WND.

Our German readers can now follow this column and other worthy writers in the JUNGE FREIHEIT, a weekly newspaper of excellence.

Editors wishing to feature the “Return to Reason” column in their publications, pixel or paper, please contact Bookings@ilanamercer.com.

UPDATE (6/20): From (Figurative) Crucifixion to Cookies. One-Upon-A-Time They Crucified Me for what I would write about Iraq. Now I get a cookie. I’ll take the cookie. This reader calls his comments, “Thoughts while shaving.” His are regular quips at “Comments.” Funny. He writes:

ramblindon • 5 hours ago “Thoughts while shaving: While some contributors to WND are tedious at best, Ilana Mercer is not to be counted among them. With first cup of coffee in hand it just about jumped out of hand when reading the ‘Don’t know Shiite from Shinola.’ You get a ‘cookie’ Ilana Mercer! Period! End Report!”


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Is Laura Ingraham Dissociating From The ‘War Party’?

Bush, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Neoconservatism, Republicans, War

Is broadcaster Laura Ingraham prepared to entertain the fact that her passionate populism may also require that she reject the War Party’s recreational wars? “Congressman Gutierrez,” she said on ABC’s Power House, “is closer to the Republican grassroots on this issue [Iraq], than the Republican leaders are. He’s on to something.”

What did Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez say?

“We shouldn’t have been in Iraq in the first place,” he said. “I voted against the incursion in Iraq. They said we would be welcomed as liberators; we weren’t. They said it was going to be paid for; it wasn’t. We should never have been there. This is a centuries-old fight between Sunnis and Shia.”


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