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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Friday, July 11, 2008


“The disconnect between what Democrats are saying about Iraq and what is actually happening there has reached grotesque proportions. Democrats won an exhilarating electoral victory in 2006 pledging withdrawal at a time when conditions in Iraq were dire and we were indeed losing the war. Two years later, when everything is changed, they continue to reflexively repeat their ‘narrative of defeat and retreat’ (as Joe Lieberman so memorably called it) as if nothing has changed... Obama and the Democrats would forfeit every one of these successes to a declared policy of fixed and unconditional withdrawal. If McCain cannot take to the American people the case for the folly of that policy, he will not be president. Nor should he be.”

—Charles Krauthammer

Fox News/NY Times:
Report: Rangel Rents New York Apartments at Below-Market Rates

House Republicans Launch ‘American Energy Tour’
House Republicans are going all the way to Arctic Alaska to push their plan to lower gasoline prices.

Senate Dems Want to Keep Federal Gas Tax
Despite high gasoline prices, some Senate Democrats said Wednesday they do not support cutting the 18.4 cents per gallon tax currently levied by the federal government on gasoline, because it would damage the economy by costing many construction workers their jobs.

The Obama Glissade

By Tony Blankley
Way back in June, Sen. Barack "middle name not permitted to be mentioned" Obama campaigned on the theme of "Change We Can Believe In." Now, several days later, his theme should be "Change We Can't Keep Up With." Apparently, the change he was calling for was not for Washington politics, but for his primary campaign positions. Abortion, gun control, capital punishment, FISA laws, the status of Jerusalem, faith-based federal programs, public financing of his campaign, welfare, NAFTA and free trade, and his commitment to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his Trinity Church all have fallen to reconsideration, rephrasing, changed rhetorical modulation, and other semantic miracles...........


Jack Kelly writes:

The New York Times mentioned in a story June 21 that Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, was "in the midst of a major security operation." So what happened?

Marie Colvin of the Times of London had an answer Sunday: "American and Iraqi forces are driving al Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror."

Al Qaeda was making its "last stand" in Mosul, and now is done, finished, kaput, said Ms. Colvin, who was embedded with the 2nd Iraqi Division for Operation Lion's Roar. The victory is so complete that Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki said Saturday (7/05) his government has defeated the terrorists in Iraq. Defeated. Past tense.

Not a word about this "spectacular victory" appeared in the Washington Post or the New York Times Sunday, or on the evening network newscasts of ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN.

Read the rest of Jack Kelly's article Good News in Iraq.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Airbrushing Obama
—Hugh Hewitt

This past Sunday the Washington Post featured a major article on Senator Obama's "faith journey."

That would obviously be of interest to many people but, quite surprisingly, the piece didn't even mention Jeremiah Wright's influence on Senator Obama. Almost everyone following the race knows that Senator Obama spent 20 years in the pastor?s church, and was very close to Wright until the candidate had to throw Wright off the campaign and denounce his wild rhetoric.

Readers should be asking how such an article could come to be written and what it tells us about MSM's bias in favor of Obama. Rarely has so blatant a bit of airbrushing been done by a major newspaper, and the Washington post's decision to push Pastor Wright down the memory hole should be a warning to us all that there is no trusting the MSM in 2008.

Deadly Precedents in Kabul

By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart
Terrorism Intelligence Report

A July 7 attack on the Indian Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul that killed two high-level diplomats has all the signs of a targeted assassination versus a strike aimed at the building itself with the goal of incurring a high body count.

The morning of July 7, 2008, began normally enough at the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Afghan citizens began to queue up on the dusty street outside the fortified compound in hopes of obtaining a visa, while shopkeepers nearby offered refreshments, visa photos and other administrative services to the aspiring visa applicants. One by one, the Indian employees of the embassy began to arrive at work and pass through security checks at the gate.

At around 8:30 a.m, as two embassy vehicles were in the process of entering the compound, the stillness of the morning was shattered when a suicide operative rammed his Toyota Corolla into the second of the two embassy vehicles and then activated the powerful improvised explosive device (IED) concealed in his car. The powerful blast destroyed the two embassy vehicles and blew the gates off the embassy’s outer perimeter. The blast killed at least 58 people and injured more than 140. Among those killed in the attack were two high-level diplomats: Indian Defense Attache Brig. Gen. Ravi Dutt Mehta and the embassy’s Political and Information Counselor, Vadapalli Venkateswara Rao. The blast also killed two Indo-Tibetan Border Police security officers, a local Afghan employee of the embassy and some 10 local police officers assigned to guard the facility. Several other Indian employees were injured in the attack, as were two foreign diplomats and several security personnel as signed to the adjacent Indonesian Embassy. Among those hit the hardest were the people standing in the visa line.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, denied that the group was involved in the attack. However, it is not uncommon for the Taliban to deny responsibility for attacks that kill a large number of civilians, as they did in the Feb. 17, 2008, suicide attack in Kandahar that killed more than 100 people. The use of a suicide operative in the attack is a clear indication that it was conducted by the Taliban or their al Qaeda brethren, and the fact that the attack was conducted in Kabul — where a non-Afghan would stand out — would make the Taliban the most likely suspects, though it is quite possible they had assistance from al Qaeda or Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).

The explosive device was powerful, but it was not the type of very large device one would use in an earnest attempt to destroy a building. Due to the size of the device and the identity of the victims, it is quite possible that this attack was a targeted assassination attempt and not an effort to destroy the embassy itself. The attack was well-executed and effective, and there are several lessons that can be drawn from it.
Target Selection

The Indian Embassy is a logical target for the Taliban to strike for variety of reasons. Perhaps the most significant reason is the history of India’s involvement in Afghanistan. New Delhi has long sought close relationships with the government of Afghanistan as a way to encircle and pressure India’s rival Pakistan. To this end, India has been one of the largest international supporters of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government. The government of India was also heavily involved in supporting the Northern Alliance as it fought against the government of the Taliban — which was very much a creature of the Pakistani ISI. The Indian government saw support of the Northern Alliance as a way to keep a check on Pakistani influence in the region.

While a number of Taliban attacks in recent years have killed or injured Indian engineers and workers involved in Indian-financed reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, this is the first time an Indian diplomatic post has been the target of a large-scale attack, even though India maintains consulates inside Afghanistan in locations such as Jalalabad, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif and even Kandahar.

While Monday’s attack was the first attack of this scale against an Indian diplomatic target in Afghanistan, small-scale attacks have occurred before. In December 2007, the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad was targeted by a small-scale attack when two small explosive devices were hurled at the building during the night. The consulate in Kandahar was targeted by a similar attack in October 2006, when a man threw two hand grenades at the building from a motorbike.

Another reason for the Taliban to target the Indians is the Kashmir issue. The Pakistani ISI has long been supportive of Kashmiri militant groups, groups which have demonstrated links to al Qaeda and the global jihadist network. The Taliban government in Afghanistan was also supportive of Kashmiri militant groups. This support was clearly reflected in events such as the 1999 hijacking of Air India flight 814, in which Kashmiri militants landed the aircraft in Kandahar and held the passengers until the Indian government agreed to release a group of the militants’ imprisoned colleagues. The prisoners included a Pakistani cleric named Maulana Masood Azhar, founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), who had been arrested in Kashmir and imprisoned in India, and JeM operative Omar Saeed Sheik, who has been convicted in Pakistan and sentenced to death for his involvement in the murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. The Indian government claims that Taliban fighters have fought alongside Kashmiri militant groups, and this long history means that there is absolutely no love lost between the Taliban and the Indian government. Of course, the ISI, al Qaeda, and Kashmiri militant groups also have strong motives for attacking Indian interests in Afghanistan, and it is possible they were somehow involved.

In any event, the targeting of Indian interests appears to be part of a concerted effort. On July 8, a remotely detonated IED was discovered on a bus carrying a group of Indian construction workers to a road construction site in Afghanistan’s Nimroz province. There have been several Taliban attacks on Indian construction crews working to build roads in Nimroz province since the efforts began in 2004. These attacks include two suicide attacks this year, one in April the other in June, that resulted in the deaths of three Indians.
Soft Target?

One final reason that might help explain the targeting of the Indian Embassy is that, by nature of its location and construction, it is more vulnerable to an attack than the embassies of high-profile coalition countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The embassy had very little standoff separating the building from the outer perimeter wall, and as we have previously discussed, the critical element in keeping a facility like an embassy safe from large vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) is standoff — keeping the device far from the building.

Of course, the Indians realized the vulnerability of their facility and were concerned about recent intelligence indicating a possible attack. On May 27, the Indian Embassy sent out a security advisory to Indian citizens warning of suicide attacks and compound invasions directed against high-profile facilities in Kabul. Ironically, the advisory was signed by Brig. Gen. R.D. Mehta, the defense attache killed in the attack. In June, the U.S. Embassy also issued a Warden Message noting a threat to Afghan officials and coalition personnel in the greater Kabul area, but it was not as specific as the Indian warning.

Within the last month, security at the Indian Embassy had been augmented with the addition of a substantial sand-filled outer layer to its perimeter fence. Judging from the photos of the scene, the augmented wall performed fairly well, with most of the damage occurring to the gate — which was literally blown away — and the portion of the building adjacent to the gate. This is where more than a few feet of standoff distance would have been very helpful.

Since the days of castles and knights, gates have always been the most vulnerable area of a wall and a natural place to target an attack. In more recent years, we have seen attacks directed at the gates of hardened diplomatic facilities, such as the VBIED attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998, and the armed assault on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in December 2004.
Targeted Assassination?

In addition to being a target itself, the gate at a secure facility also serves as a choke point. Security procedures can also leave potential targets vulnerable to attack as the targets enter the facility, or as they wait outside for security to screen their vehicle prior to entry. Many larger facilities will have a secure sally port area inside the gate where vehicles are screened for explosive devices, but in a facility with very little standoff there is often not room for such an area, and vehicles are checked on the street prior to entering the gate.

During this time, the vehicles are vulnerable to attack. Because of this, motorcades transporting high-profile persons normally contact the facility by radio and ask to have the gate cleared so that they can enter quickly and avoid having to sit on the street where they are vulnerable. Such motorcades normally use vehicles that have been checked for explosive devices and then continuously watched to ensure no such device has been placed on or in the vehicle. This means that they do not need to stop to have their vehicles checked by security at the gate. That said, the gate is still a choke point along the route of the motorcade, and the vehicle is vulnerable to attack as it slows down to make the turn into the gate. This window of opportunity can be amplified if the gate personnel are not particularly on the ball and it takes them a bit of time to open the gate.

That the bombing occurred as a vehicle was entering the facility raises the possibility that the attack at the Indian Embassy was not directed at the facility in general, but was a specifically targeted assassination. Another factor that points in that direction is that the attack was conducted at 8:30 a.m. local time, when some of the first diplomats were arriving at the embassy, rather than later in the day when more of the embassy staff (including the ambassador) would have been present. Also, although the device was quite powerful, it was not really large enough to have taken down the embassy building. If the attackers were attempting to destroy the embassy, they would likely have planned to use a larger device like those used in VBIED attacks against similar targets in places like Iraq. And make no mistake, the Taliban has been consistently moving toward the al Qaeda in Iraq modus operandi over the past few years.

The possibility of a targeted attack is also raised when one considers that the individuals killed in the attack were two senior embassy officers — the defense attache, who by his very job is an intelligence officer, and the political counselor — a position often used as cover for a senior intelligence officer. Even if the political counselor in this case was not an intelligence officer, he might have been mistaken for one by the attackers. If the two regularly rode together to work on a predictable schedule (for a 9 a.m. Monday staff meeting, for example), they could have posed a very tempting target for a potential attacker.

Of course this could all be coincidence. The two senior diplomats killed could simply have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. The timing of the attack could have been because the morning rush hour provided the attackers an opportunity to get their VBIED past the roadblocks and to the target site. Also, the attackers could have chosen to attack a building with a smaller rather than a larger device to ensure they made it to the particular target since they were more concerned about symbolism than destruction. However, that seems to be a lot of chance, and an intentional assassination would seem to be more probable at this point.
Disturbing precedent

If the attack was a targeted assassination and not a series of coincidental events (or erroneous reports), it sets a dangerous precedent. First, the attack was very well-orchestrated. The plotters conducted their preoperational surveillance and planned their attack without detection (though the warning issued by the Indian Embassy last month could be evidence of an operational security leak). However, in spite of the warning, the attack team was able to gain the element of tactical surprise. They were also able to amass explosives, construct the VBIED and deliver it to the attack site on time and without detection. The device also functioned as intended, and the operative did not get cold feet and bail out on the operation. These steps are not as easy to successfully execute as they might seem, especially when one considers that the Indian Embassy is located in the heart of Kabul just down the street from, and in sight of, the Afghan Interior Ministry. Operating in the hea rt of Kabul is a far cry from pulling off an attack in a location such as Kandahar, where the population is either sympathetic to or afraid of the Taliban.

But by its very nature, the Indian Embassy would be an easy site to conduct surveillance on. In addition to the aforementioned merchants in the vicinity (a perennial favorite cover for surveillance operatives), there was also the visa line itself. Standing in a visa line provides a wonderful opportunity to loiter in front of an embassy for a prolonged period of time — perhaps hours — in order to observe security, monitor the arrivals of VIPs and generally watch what happens there.

Unfortunately, in spite of the warning of a potential attack and the increased physical security at the embassy, it is unlikely that the Indian government employed countersurveillance teams around their embassy.

While physical security upgrades are important and necessary, they can result in a false sense of security. The bottom line is that if potential attackers are permitted to conduct surveillance, they will be able to find vulnerabilities in security measures and procedures. With the Taliban demonstrating the ability to conduct sophisticated attacks in Kabul, perhaps with al Qaeda or ISI assistance in this case, other potential targets would be well advised to implement robust countersurveillance programs and deny the Taliban operatives carte blanche to conduct surveillance.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Obama would, in fact, govern from the left

By Dick Morris
The list of issues on which Barack Obama has flipped now that the primaries are over is long and growing rapidly.

• He says he believes in a Second Amendment right to bear arms.
• He now opposes late-term abortion.
• He suddenly is a devotee of using faith-based institutions to deliver public services.
• He now says that he won’t raise Social Security taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. In the primary, he said he’d eliminate the threshold entirely, including on people making as little as $100,000.
• He recently opposed the Fairness Doctrine for talk radio.
• Now he says he’s going to consult with the military before pulling out of Iraq.

But so extensive a list of flip-flops, all in the past few weeks, begs the basic question: Was he lying before when he was a liberal, or is he prevaricating now? More...

Judicial Watch files complaint over Obama’s mortgage

Bush hails FISA passage

Scapegoating Speculators
By Walter E. Williams
Despite Congress' periodic hauling of weak-kneed oil executives before their committees to charge them with collusion and price-gouging, subsequent federal investigations turn up no evidence to support the charges. Right now oil company executives are getting a bit of a respite as Congress has turned its attention to crude oil speculators, blaming them for high oil prices and calling for tighter control over commodity futures trading.

Let's look at the futures market and for........

We Can Lower Oil Prices Now
The Wall Street Journal


By Peter Zeihan


Geopolitical Intelligence Report

As students of geopolitics, we at Stratfor tend not to get overexcited when this or that plan for regional peace is tabled. Many of the world’s conflicts are geographic in nature, and changes in government or policy only rarely supersede the hard topography that we see as the dominant sculptor of the international system. Island states tend to exist in tension with their continental neighbors. Two countries linked by flat arable land will struggle until one emerges dominant. Land-based empires will clash with maritime cultures, and so on.

Petit vs. Grand Geopolitic

But the grand geopolitic — the framework which rules the interactions of regions with one another — is not the only rule in play. There is also the petit geopolitic that occurs among minor players within a region. Think of the grand geopolitic as the rise and fall of massive powers — the onslaught of the Golden Horde, the imperial clash between England and France, the U.S.-Soviet Cold War. By contrast, think of the petit geopolitic as the smaller powers that swim alongside or within the larger trends — Serbia versus Croatia, Vietnam versus Cambodia, Nicaragua versus Honduras. The same geographic rules apply, just on a smaller scale, with the added complexity of the grand geopolitic as backdrop.

The Middle East is a region rife with petit geopolitics. Since the failure of the Ottoman Empire, the region has not hosted an indigenous grand player. Instead, the region serves as a battleground for extra-regional grand powers, all attempting to grind down the local (petit) players to better achieve their own aims. Normally, Stratfor looks at the region in that light: an endless parade of small players and local noise in an environment where most trends worth watching are those implanted and shaped by outside forces. No peace deals are easy, but in the Middle East they require agreement not just from local powers, but also from those grand players beyond the region. The result is, well, the Middle East we all know.

All the more notable, then, that a peace deal — and a locally crafted one at that — has moved from the realm of the improbable to not merely the possible, but perhaps even the imminent.

Israel and Syria are looking to bury the hatchet, somewhere in the Golan Heights most likely, and they are doing so for their own reasons. Israel has secured deals with Egypt and Jordan already, and the Palestinians — by splitting internally — have defeated themselves as a strategic threat. A deal with Syria would make Israel the most secure it has been in millennia.

Syria, poor and ruled by its insecure Alawite minority, needs a basis of legitimacy that resonates with the dominant Sunni population better than its current game plan: issuing a shrill shriek whenever the name “Israel” is mentioned. The Alawites believe there is no guarantee of support better than cash, and their largest and most reliable source of cash is in Lebanon. Getting Lebanon requires an end to Damascus’ regional isolation, and the agreement of Israel.

The outline of the deal, then, is surprisingly simple: Israel gains military security from a peace deal in exchange for supporting Syrian primacy in Lebanon. The only local loser would be the entity that poses an economic challenge (in Lebanon) to Syria, and a military challenge (in Lebanon) to Israel — to wit, Hezbollah.

Hezbollah, understandably, is more than a little perturbed by the prospect of this tightening noose. Syria is redirecting the flow of Sunni militants from Iraq to Lebanon, likely for use against Hezbollah. Damascus also is working with the exiled leadership of the Palestinian group Hamas as a gesture of goodwill to Israel. The French — looking for a post-de Gaulle diplomatic victory — are re-engaging the Syrians and, to get Damascus on board, are dangling everything from aid and trade deals with Europe to that long-sought stamp of international approval. Oil-rich Sunni Arab states, sensing an opportunity to weaken Shiite Hezbollah, are flooding petrodollars in bribes — that is, investments — into Syria to underwrite a deal with Israel.

While the deal is not yet a fait accompli, the pieces are falling into place quite rapidly. Normally we would not be so optimistic, but the hard decisions — on Israel surrendering the Golan Heights and Syria laying preparations for cutting Hezbollah down to size — have already been made. On July 11 the leaders of Israel and Syria will be attending the same event in Paris, and if the French know anything about flair, a handshake may well be on the agenda.

It isn’t exactly pretty — and certainly isn’t tidy — but peace really does appear to be breaking out in the Middle East.

A Spoiler-Free Environment

Remember, the deal must please not just the petit players, but the grand ones as well. At this point, those with any interest in disrupting the flow of events normally would step in and do what they could to rock the boat. That, however, is not happening this time around. All of the normal cast members in the Middle Eastern drama are either unwilling to play that game at present, or are otherwise occupied.

The country with the most to lose is Iran. A Syria at formal peace with Israel is a Syria that has minimal need for an alliance with Iran, as well as a Syria that has every interest in destroying Hezbollah’s military capabilities. (Never forget that while Hezbollah is Syrian-operated, it is Iranian-founded and -funded.) But using Hezbollah to scupper the Israeli-Syrian talks would come with a cost, and we are not simply highlighting a possible military confrontation between Israel and Iran.

Iran is involved in negotiations far more complex and profound than anything that currently occupies Israel and Syria. Tehran and Washington are attempting to forge an understanding about the future of Iraq. The United States wants an Iraq sufficiently strong to restore the balance of power in the Persian Gulf and thus prevent any Iranian military incursion into the oil fields of the Arabian Peninsula. Iran wants an Iraq that is sufficiently weak that it will never again be able to launch an attack on Persia. Such unflinching national interests are proving difficult to reconcile, but do not confuse “difficult” with “impossible” — the positions are not mutually exclusive. After all, while both want influence, neither demands domination.

Remarkable progress has been made during the past six months. The two sides have cooperated in bringing down violence in Iraq, now at its lowest level since the aftermath of the 2003 invasion itself. Washington and Tehran also have attacked the problems of rogue Shiite militias from both ends, most notably with the neutering of Muqtada al-Sadr and his militia, the Medhi Army. Meanwhile, that ever-enlarging pot of Sunni Arab oil money has been just as active in Baghdad in drawing various groups to the table as it has been in Damascus. Thus, while the U.S.-Iranian understanding is not final, formal or imminent, it is taking shape with remarkable speed. There are many ways it still could be derailed, but none would be so effective as Iran using Hezbollah to launch another war with Israel.

China and Russia both would like to see the Middle East off balance — if not on fire in the case of Russia — although it is hardly because they enjoy the bloodshed. Currently, the United States has the bulk of its ground forces loaded down with Afghan and Iraqi operations. So long as that remains the case — so long as Iran and the United States do not have a meeting of the minds — the United States lacks the military capability to deploy any large-scale ground forces anywhere else in the world. In the past, Moscow and Beijing have used weapons sales or energy deals to bolster Iran’s position, thus delaying any embryonic deal with Washington.

But such impediments are not being seeded now.

Rising inflation in China has turned the traditional question of the country’s shaky financial system on its head. Mass employment in China is made possible not by a sound economic structure, but by de facto subsidization via ultra-cheap loans. But such massive availability of credit has artificially spiked demand, for 1.3 billion people no less, creating an inflation nightmare that is difficult to solve. Cut the loans to rein in demand and inflation, and you cut business and with it employment. Chinese governments have been toppled by less. Beijing is desperate to keep one step ahead of either an inflationary spiral or a credit meltdown — and wants nothing more than for the Olympics to go off as hitch-free as possible. Tinkering with the Middle East is the furthest thing from Beijing’s preoccupied mind.

Meanwhile, Russia is still growing through its leadership “transition,” with the Kremlin power clans still going for each other’s throats. Their war for control of the defense and energy industries still rages, their war for control of the justice and legal systems is only now beginning to rage, and their efforts to curtail the powers of some of Russia’s more independent-minded republics such as Tatarstan has not yet begun to rage. Between a much-needed resettling, and some smacking of out-of-control egos, Russia still needs weeks (or months?) to get its own house in order. The Kremlin can still make small gestures — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chatted briefly by phone July 7 with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the topic of the nuclear power plant that Russia is building for Iran at Bushehr — but for the most part, the Middle East will have to wait for another day.

But by the time Beijing or Moscow have the freedom of movement to do anything, the Middle East may well be as “solved” as it can be.

The New Era

For those of us at Stratfor who have become rather inured to the agonies of the Middle East, such a sustained stream of constructive, positive news is somewhat unnerving. One gets the feeling that if the progress could hold up for just a touch longer, not only would there be an Israeli-Syrian deal and a U.S.-Iranian understanding, the world itself would change. Those of us here who are old enough to remember haven’t sensed such a fateful moment since the weeks before the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. And — odd though it may sound — we have been waiting for just such a moment for some time. Certainly since before 9/11.

Stratfor views the world as working in cycles. Powers or coalitions of powers form and do battle across the world. Their struggles define the eras through which humanity evolves, and those struggles tend to end in a military conflict that lays the groundwork for the next era. The Germans defeated Imperial France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, giving rise to the German era. That era lasted until a coalition of powers crushed Germany in World Wars I and II. That victorious coalition split into the two sides of the Cold War until the West triumphed in 1989.

New eras do not form spontaneously. There is a brief — historically speaking — period between the sweeping away of the rules of the old era and the installation of the rules of the new. These interregnums tend to be very dangerous affairs, as the victorious powers attempt to entrench their victory as new powers rise to the fore — and as many petit powers, suddenly out from under the thumb of any grand power, try to carve out a niche for themselves.

The post-World War I interregnum witnessed the complete upending of Asian and European security structures. The post-World War II interregnum brought about the Korean War as China’s rise slammed into America’s efforts to entrench its power. The post-Cold War interregnum produced Yugoslav wars, a variety of conflicts in the former Soviet Union (most notably in Chechnya), the rise of al Qaeda, the jihadist conflict and the Iraq war.

All these conflicts are now well past their critical phases, and in most cases are already sewn up. All of the pieces of Yugoslavia are on the road to EU membership. Russia’s borderlands — while hardly bastions of glee — have settled. Terrorism may be very much alive, but al Qaeda as a strategic threat is very much not. Even the Iraq war is winding to a conclusion. Put simply, the Cold War interregnum is coming to a close and a new era is dawning.


"The pyramid of government-and a republican government may well receive that beautiful and solid form-should be raised to a dignified altitude: but its foundations must, of consequence, be broad, and strong, and deep. The uthority, the interests, and the affections of the people at large are the only foundation, on which a superstructure proposed to be at once durable and magnificent, can be nationally erected."

-- James Wilson

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


UN condemns India embassy attack

That'll stop 'em. Just make sure you follow it up with an angry letter.

War Games in the Gulf

(CNSNews.com) – Hours after the United States announced the start of military exercises in the Persian Gulf, Iranian news agencies reported that Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) missile units also have begun war games. Full story.

Sanitizing Obama's Past?

By Carol Platt Liebau

It's funny. When I was writing this morning that the MSM would be skirting journalistic malpractice if it continued to ignore Barack's ties to ACORN, I had no idea that the NY Times was running a story on his "organizing years."

Any mention of ACORN in the entire, lengthy piece? Of course not.

But then, one gets the point when the piece identifies Saul Alinsky -- whose thinking "influenced" the organization Barack was working for -- as nothing more than "a Chicago native regarded as the father of community organizing."
He was also, of course, a militant radical. He was also the subject of Hillary Clinton's senior thesis -- you know, the one the Clintons had Wellesley lock away from 1992 through the duration of the administration.

Lest any reader pick up on the fact that Alinsky was considerably more than just ... (Read on.)

Why a Black Artist Replaced the National Anthem

By Dennis Prager
Last week in Denver, almost all the values of the post-1960s left were exhibited in one act.

It happened on the Denver mayor's most important day -- the one in which he was to deliver his annual State of the City Address. The day was to begin with the singing of the National Anthem by the black jazz singer Rene Marie. But Ms. Marie had, by her own admission, long had other plans. Instead of the National Anthem, she sang "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," a song written in 1899 and often referred to today as the Black National Anthem.

What Marie did embodied a plethora of leftist ideals and characteristics: Read more.

Bobby Jindal, America's Most Transformational Governor

By Newt Gingrich
You may have heard his name mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate, but if you don't know anything more about Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, you should.

Governor Jindal is leading a revolution of conservative reform in Louisiana. He is the most transformational young governor in America today. The principles that motivate his Louisiana Revolution are the same pro-innovation, pro-competition, anti-bureaucracy and anti- big government principles that I urge each week in this newsletter - the same principles that are so desperately needed in Washington, D.C.

For those of you who don't yet know him, I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to Governor Bobby Jindal. Read more.


HeavyHanded, proud father of the bride with his two other daughters.

Europe's Demographic Nightmare
By Albert Mohler

"You can't have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home." That statement by Carl Haub of the Population Reference Bureau, points to Europe's looming demographic disaster.

Birthrates in much of Europe have fallen to level so low that the populations of several nations are beginning to grow smaller and older--fast. The New York Times Magazine took this on in its June 29, 2008 cover story.

Some are beginning to ask, "Where are all the European babies?" Playgrounds and elementary schools are beginning to look empty and unused in some communities.

Birthrates are a function of many factors, but there is no question now that Europeans have increasingly embraced a worldview that sees having children as something of a hobby--not a national priority.

That void will be filled by immigrants and will reshape Europe.

Monday, July 07, 2008


“This sense that America is in need of fixing in order to be a great country points to Obama’s real patriotism problem. And it’s not Obama’s alone. Definitions of patriotism proliferate, but in the American context patriotism must involve not only devotion to American texts (something that distinguishes our patriotism from European nationalism) but also an abiding belief in the inherent and enduring goodness of the American nation. We might need to change this or that policy or law, fix this or that problem, but at the end of the day the patriotic American believes that America is fundamentally good as it is. It’s the ‘good as it is’ part that has vexed many on the left since at least the Progressive era. Marxists and other revolutionaries obviously don’t believe entrepreneurial and religious America is good as it is. But even more mainstream figures have a problem distinguishing patriotic reform from reformation... Obama... will ‘remake’ the country. Well, what if you don’t want it remade? And Michelle Obama—who believes America is ‘downright mean’ and is proud of America for the first time because of her husband’s success—insists that Barack will make you ‘work’ for change and that he will ‘demand that you, too, be different.’ What if you don’t want to work for Obama’s change? What if you don’t want to be ‘different’?... The notion that what America needs is a redeemer figure to ‘remake’ America from scratch isn’t necessarily unpatriotic. But for lots of Americans who like America the way it is, it’s sometimes hard to tell when it isn’t.”

—Jonah Goldberg

“Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt. Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent. Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform... Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine... And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of ‘peace at any price.’ We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life. ... I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.”

—Ronald Reagan

“We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it.”

—Calvin Coolidge

“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors.”

—Joseph Story

NEA Seeks Peace Academy, College, Citizenship for Illegal Aliens

Washington - Some of the almost 10,000 members of the National Education Association (NEA) attending the teachers union's annual conference this week in the nation's capital spoke out on the issues they hope their lobbyists will fight for during next year's legislative session, including the establishment of a peace academy, in-state college tuition and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who graduate from high school. Full details.

Social Security, Medicare Will Cost $41 Trillion More than Available

The future costs to maintain Social Security and Medicare will exceed available revenues by $41 trillion in the next 75 years, according to a government report, and those costs will likely require trillions of dollars in new taxes or spending cuts. Full story.

Food Safety System Is 'Badly Broken,' Critics Say

Recent recalls and outbreaks of food-borne disease are evidence that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is dangerously close to being unable to guarantee the safety of the nation's food supply, say liberal health policy advocacy groups and the investigative arm of Congress.
Full story.

High Self-Esteem, Low Test Scores

By Burt Prelutsky
There are new studies and new polls that strongly suggest that we are breeding increasingly stupid kids here in America. Like our tasteless tomatoes, they merely look good and healthy.

But of course there is more than one way to test intelligence. So, while only 43% of our 17-year-olds know that the Civil War took place between 1850 and 1900, as opposed to, say, 1750-1800 or after 1950, they are very good at text-messaging. They also probably know the names of.....

My Right to Unlimited Rights

By Mike S. Adams
Not long ago, I was having a gathering of about eight people at my house. The last guy to show up walked right into my kitchen and then protested because he couldn’t find any bottled water in the refrigerator. Next, he complained that we ate all the snacks before he showed up thirty-five minutes late. When he finally came into the living room to sit down, he asked what we were talking about. I told him we were talking about economics, which involves not just demand but supply. I joked that he wouldn’t have to demand any bottled water and snacks if he’d remembered to supply some, too. That drew a laugh from one of our mutual friends.

This trait of being more in love with consumption than production is one shared by most of my socialist colleagues in academia. They base their lives on the idea of taking......

'Spiritual' Democrats and the Satanic Rape Ritual

By Jon Sanders
In Durham, N.C., a leader in the local Democrat Party and her husband are facing multiple charges in what WTVD ABC 11 News called "a satanic ritual that got out of hand." Charges in the case include kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, and assault with a deadly weapon.

Government At Its Worst

By Chuck Colson
A few years ago, a good friend of mine decided to buy an old country campground, enlarge it, restore it, and invite inner-city children to use it. It was, for him, the beginning of a nightmare that would last for years.

In order to proceed with the camp, numerous permits, clearances, and approvals were required by an astonishing number of government agencies. These ranged from a County Planning Commission to the state’s Historical and Museum Commission to the Environmental Protection Agency to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Absurdity was the order of the day. For instance, my friend .......

"The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institution may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest purposes. Should, hereafter, those incited by the lust of power and prompted by the Supineness or venality of their Constituents, overleap the known barriers of this Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity: it will only serve to shew, that no compact among men (however provident in its construction and sacred in its ratification) can be pronounced everlasting an inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchm[en]t can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other."

-- George Washington