Fools rush in

December 24, 2009

Only in a Wonderland tea party could this be considered a good idea: Senator John Kerry (D-Boor) wants to go to Iran, and the White House won’t oppose it:

Sen. John Kerry has suggested becoming the first high-level U.S. emissary to make a public visit to Tehran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, a move White House officials say they won’t oppose.

The offer comes as mass protests against Iran’s regime are resurfacing and a U.S.-imposed deadline nears to broach international sanctions against Iran.

“This sounds like the kind of travel a chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee would — and should — undertake,” said a White House official, adding it would be at Sen. Kerry’s own behest.

Obama said he’d meet without preconditions, but I don’t recall anything about “without sense.”  Just what in Heaven’s name is Kerry, a former presidential nominee and current chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, thinking? Is he thinking? Or is this just another item to buff up the wanna-be Boston Brahmin’s resume? Iran is an avowed enemy of the United States that has considered itself at war with us for 30 years. It has supplied weapons to our enemies that have killed American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has threatened a nuclear attack against one of our closest allies and waged a terror-war against Jews around the world. It rigged its most recent election in defiance of every democratic norm. The regime has never shown any interest in serious negotiations with us.

Rather, it wants us dead.

And Kerry wants to reward this same millenarian, fascist regime in Tehran with a visit from the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, the highest-ranking visit in three decades? John, just what do you hope to accomplish?

A trip by Sen. Kerry could provide the Obama administration a last-minute chance to directly convey its views to Iranian leaders before the U.S. moves to increase financial pressure on Tehran in an effort to derail Iran’s nuclear programs.

Brilliant. As if we haven’t tried time and again since 1979 to “convey our views” to Tehran, all to the same effect: bupkis. Every administration from Carter through Bush the Younger tried to reach a grand bargain with Iran, and all wound up with egg on their faces.  Iran is only stringing us and the rest of the West along until it can achieve what it wants: nuclear weapons, dominance in the Middle East, and the furtherance of global jihad.

And John Kerry wants to be the next to play.

Kerry’s potential visit won’t be without effect, however. No, it will have an effect, alright: the betrayal and demoralization of the democratic resistance in Iran, which has the regime so worried that they have had to declare a state of emergency in Isfahan, one of their most important cities:

Iran security forces and opposition protesters stepped up clashes on Wednesday in the city of Isfahan, the birthplace of Iran’s top dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. Montazeri’s death this past weekend, and the rituals marking his passing, coincide with a new push by regime opponents during a 10-day religious commemoration.

The government has responded by harassing two reformist clerics who could replace Montazeri, as well as stripping the opposition’s top political figure – Mir Hossein Mousavi – of his sole official post.

In Isfahan, pro-regime basiji militiamen used batons, chains, and stones to beat mourners who gathered at the city’s main mosque to remember Montazeri, the spiritual mentor of the Iranian opposition, whose websites reported the clashes.

“While people were reciting the Quran [in the mosque], plainclothed forces attacked them and threw tear gas into the mosque yard and sprayed those inside with pepper spray after they closed the doors,” reported the reformist Parlemannews. “They severely beat the people inside,” then doused the clerical speaker with pepper spray and arrested him.

“Tens of thousands gathered outside for the memorial but were savagely attacked by security forces and the basijis,” witness Farid Salavati told the Associated Press. He said that dozens were injured as riot police and vigilantes clubbed and kicked men and women alike – some in the face – and arrested 50 people who had gathered to mourn the grand ayatollah.

Montazeri – the chosen successor of Iran’s first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, until a falling out in 1989 – had been unrelenting in his criticism of the officially declared reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June, as well as of Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is invalid,” protesters shouted on Wednesday, referring to violence since June, in which severe force has been used against Iranians who marched to reverse the official result. They wanted to see the “Green Movement” presidential candidate, Mr. Mousavi, elected. Scores died in June and thousands were arrested; protests have flared repeatedly around the nation since then.

So, naturally, Kerry’s visit, if it happens, will be interpreted as a willingness to work with the current regime and a stamp of legitimacy from the American government, as well as a big, bright signal that the resistance cannot count on the world’s most important democracy in its hour of need. Genius. Sheer genius. Just what I’d expect from that pompous jackass Kerry and an administration that would rather vote “present” than tell him to sit down and shut up.

I hope Nile Gardiner is ready to revise his list of the Obama administration’s top-ten foreign policy screw-ups for 2009.

Or maybe this will the the first for 2010!  Doh

LINKS: More at Hot Air and Legal Insurrection.

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The Hermit King steps out

December 24, 2009

Interesting. Long a minor actor in geopolitics, South Korea is preparing to play a larger role in global security matters:

More than 56 years after the end of the Korean War ushered in a long period of relative military isolation, South Korea is finally taking steps towards a regional security role commensurate with the country’s advanced economy. But South Korea’s rise as a military power is complicated by its domestic politics — and a belligerent North Korea.

Despite a technologically advanced military and a Gross Domestic Product that, at just shy of $1 trillion, makes it the world’s 15th-wealthiest country, the Republic of Korea has rarely deployed troops outside its borders. In 1999, Seoul sent 400 soldiers to boost a U.N. force trying to stabilize East Timor when that country broke away from neighboring Indonesia. The Timor deployment was South Korea’s first overseas military operation. South Korean troops had fought alongside the U.S. in Vietnam.

South Korean medics and engineers subsequently joined the U.S.-led coalitions in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003. The Afghan mission was curtailed after the Taliban kidnapped a South Korean church group in Afghanistan and murdered two of its 23 members. The extremists released the surviving captives when Seoul promised to stick to a planned withdrawal by the end of 2007. The Iraqi mission ended peacefully in 2008. That year, Seoul also sent a warship to patrol Somali waters for pirates.

But South Korea’s planned second deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 will mark its true debut as a regional military power. In response to U.S. President Barak Obama’s call for a bigger international coalition in Afghanistan, Seoul has pledged a Provincial Reconstruction Team and a powerful infantry force to accompany it, for a total of around 500 troops.

The author argues that the PRT is merely a political cover for the deployment of combat troops, meant to keep South Korea’s rather pacifist Left from putting up too strong an opposition. But the move seems not to be engendering  much resistance in South Korea, regardless, as there seems to be public sentiment for the nation pulling more of its own weight after decades of being protected from Mordor North Korea. South Korea has gone so far as to commission three small aircraft carriers. Once fitted with aircraft, this will give Seoul a power-projection capability few Asian nations have.

In my opinion, this is can be an unalloyed good for the world: a stable democracy with a powerful economy should shoulder some of the burden of protecting constitutional government and freedom of the seas in a dangerous world. (While recognizing the political difficulties for Tokyo are much, much greater, I’d love to see Japan do something similar.) The United States should be mentoring South Korea in this, just as, under George W. Bush, we agreed to promote democratic India as a potential global power.  The time is now to strengthen old alliances and build new ones among democratic, capitalist powers facing the twin threats of jihadism and the rise of Russian and Chinese aggressive nationalism and geopolitical ambition.

Sadly, we are lead by exactly the wrong president.

(via Real Clear World)


Arrogance, corruption and stupidity

December 24, 2009

Early this morning Last night the Senate passed its version of health-care reform on a party-line 60-39 vote, the first time that’s happened on a truly major piece of legislation since the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Thankfully, I’m not into omens, but how fitting that Nebraska should reprise its old role! The LA Times called the moment “historic.” Perhaps, but I would remind them of what Karl Marx once said about historic repetitions.

And yes, the oddity of me quoting Marx has not gone unnoticed. But the progress of this abominable bill through the Senate has brought us to an odd time, indeed, when even cats and dogs will ally.

I was all set to write a long screed about what a terrible piece of legislation this is and how rotten the process became, but Oklahoma’s Senator Tom Coburn, a physician, does it for me:

This vote is indeed historic. This Congress will be remembered for its arrogance, corruption and stupidity. In the year of 2009, a Congress ignored the coming economic storm and impending bankruptcy of our entitlement programs and embarked on an ideological crusade to bring our nation as close to single-payer, government-run health care as possible. If this bill becomes law, future generations will rue this day and I will do everything in my power to work toward its repeal. This bill will ration care, cut Medicare, increase premiums, fund abortion and bury our children in debt.

This process was not compromise. This process was corruption. This bill passed because votes were bought and sold using the issue of abortion as a bargaining chip. The abortion provision alone makes this bill the most arrogant piece of legislation I have seen in Congress. Only the most condescending politician can believe it is appropriate to force Americans to pay for other people’s abortions and to coerce medical professional to take the lives of unborn children.

(via Gaius)

Go, read the rest. Some form of nationalized health care, whether the Senate’s, the House’s, or a compromise monstrosity, is almost certain to pass in the next few months. Regardless of which, just remember the arrogance, corruption, and stupidity of those who passed it when you go to vote next November.

RELATED: A powerful House Democrat is not impressed with ReidCare.