(Video) Obama’s clown-car diplomacy

April 10, 2015

You know, this really does explain things:

Hey, it’s Friday. We could all use a laugh. smiley rofl

Lest we cry, instead. smiley crying


Why the ten-year period of the Iran “deal” is meaningless

April 9, 2015
"It's all good. No worries!"

“It’s all good. No worries!”

The President recently gave an interview to NPR in which he explained the reasoning behind the deal framework whatever-it-was reached with Iran over its nuclear program. Most analysts concentrated on Obama’s comments about the possible situation in the years just after the ten-year period (1) expires:

Under the framework announced last week, Iran would be kept at least one year away from a bomb for the first decade of the deal, Obama said as he sought to sell the deal to skeptics. Yet that constraint would stay in place only for 10 years, at which point some restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities would be eased.

“Essentially, we’re purchasing for 13, 14, 15 years assurances that the breakout is at least a year,” Obama said in an NPR News interview. “And then in years 13 and 14, it is possible that those breakout times would have been much shorter. But at that point we have much better ideas about what it is that their program involves.

Analysts have pointed out several legitimate reasons for concern: Iran has already said it will deploy improved centrifuges, meaning they can generate more enriched uranium even with the fewer devices allowed under the agreement. Iran will not permit inspection of military facilities, meaning all sorts of secret work could go on in those. (And what happens if Fordow and other sites are declared “military?”) They are not giving up their ballistic missile program. And though Obama and Kerry assure us that sanctions can be reapplied in the event Iran is caught cheating (not “if,” but “when,” in my opinion), the fact is that sanctions would take months of negotiations with our allies (and the Russians and Chinese) to reapply –if they can be reapplied– and then about another year to actually bite. Under Obama’s forecast, then Iran would then have plenty of time to build a bomb even after the ten-year wait, just by having everything else ready to go.

So, yes, there are many, many major problems with this agreement no one agrees on. ( I pointed out a few others here)

But there’s another flaw few seem to be commenting on, even though, if true, it renders the whole process not just meaningless, but a farce. From that same AP article, see if you can spot the problem:

Breakout time refers to how long it would take to build a bomb if Iran decided to pursue one full-bore — in other words, how long the rest of the world would have to stop it. U.S. intelligence officials estimate Iran’s breakout time is currently two to three months.

I made it too easy, didn’t I?

Hello? Anyone home? The arrangement reached in Lausanne is supposed to lead to a final deal in –ahem– roughly two months. Who here doesn’t think Iran will find ways to stretch that to three, four, or five or more months? It will be easy, because the Obama administration wants a deal more than a junkie wants his next fix, and Tehran knows this. And yet our intelligence services estimate they are no more than three months from a nuclear weapon, should they give the final order to build one?

Who the hell gives a damn about ten years from now when we’re talking potentially of a matter of weeks?

The Obama administration has conceded that Iran will get a bomb, and these negotiations are just a clown show to keep us distracted until it’s a fait accompli.

And there will be Hell to pay because of it.

via Jim Geraghty, who also noticed that little detail.

RELATED: Why the deal isn’t a deal, by Jonah Goldberg.

Footnote:
(1) If you don’t know why it’s significant that Islamic hardliners would agree to a ten-year deal, I suggest you read up on something called “hudna.”


(Video) In which Marco Rubio tac-nukes Obama

March 19, 2015

x

I haven’t seen the Senator from Florida this fired up since he roasted now-retired Senator Harkin (D-IA) over Cuba. And Rubio has every reason to be angry: Obama’s petulant and childish refusal to call (1) and congratulate Israel’s prime minister on his election victory is a disgrace and embarrasses the United States. Even Iranian President Rouhani received the courtesy of a call soon after his win, and he heads an enemy state!

Of course, this is only the latest in a string of insults against Netanyahu and Israel that demonstrate Obama’s antipathy toward the Jewish state, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. I have to suspect that’s why the LA Times hides (or has disposed of) the Khalidi tape: if it were to come to light, it would expose for all to see the antisemitism  I suspect Obama harbors in his heart.

Anyway, enjoy:

You know, if he keeps this up, he’s going to make a lot of people forget his “Gang of Eight” immigration debacle.

Footnote:
(1) Apparently he finally did, but the delay was unconscionable.

 


I weep: our foreign policy has been reduced to hashtags

April 25, 2014
Your Obama foreign policy team

Your Obama foreign policy team

Well, I weep and I mock.

For those not familiar with Twitter, “hashtags” are labels preceded by a number sign, as in “#politics.” They were developed to make it easier for people to search for related messages on the system, though people also use them as asides to provide commentary, humor, or snark.

A few weeks ago, the United States Department of State, faced with the slow-motion dismemberment of Ukraine by Russia, apparently decided that hashtags were also effective tools of superpower diplomacy. Thus we saw this from State’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki:

My reaction, you’ll be surprised to learn, was one of dismay and disgust. This is hardly the serious diplomacy one would expect from a department once headed by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Hay, Dean Acheson, and George Schultz. One would think that, having been roundly mocked here and overseas (You mean you didn’t hear the giggling from Moscow?), the State Department would have given up on managing our foreign affairs like it was a popularity contest, complete with cheerleading. But, no. No, some genius at State decided this was a winning strategy and deployed it again, only this time with an exhortation to Putin:

“Promise of hashtag??” You have got to be kidding me. “Yes, Vlad, be nice to Ukraine. You wouldn’t want to fail the spirit of the hashtag, would you?” Someone last night speculated that an intern forgot to substitute the real hashtag in place of the placeholder word “hashtag,” but that’s immaterial. The whole idea that anyone should think that using catchy social media slogans as a tool of diplomacy would be seen as anything other than self-inflicted humiliation is laughable. That the “strategy” originated at the highest levels of State is infuriating.

And so I couldn’t resist commenting:

And then I offered examples of the promise of hashtag and its power in US foreign affairs:

Others pointed out that the promise of hashtag was global. For example:

Indeed, Lincoln ended the Civil War with it:

But this one, I think, summed up the depth and gravity of State’s strategic thinking in this crisis:

While this baby speaks for me:

But I did offer Ms. Psaki and her co-workers a friendly and much-needed hint:

No, they do not, and it’s in part because people who think they do are in charge of our foreign policy that the world has become a much more dangerous place. It’s a common joke that both sides make to wish for the day “when the adults will be in charge, again,” but, in this case, it’s no longer a joke.  We’re facing foes around the globe who operate via the calculus of power, will, and national interest, while we are represented by community organizers who treat serious matters of state as occasions for virtual rallies.

Argh.

RELATED: More at Twitchy here and here. Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s foreign policy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The proper way to apologize to President Karzai

February 25, 2012

You may have heard of a recent ruckus in Afghanistan after American forces burned some Qurans that prisoners were using to transmit coded messages. (1) In the ensuing demonstration of Muslim maturity and Afghan civility, two Americans were killed. So, President Obama did the proper thing (2) and apologized abjectly and profusely to Afghan President Karzai. (3)

This inspired YouTube user KiraDavis422 to issue her own apology. I think it’s something we Americans need to hear and think deeply about.

(Mild language warning.)

Food for thought, isn’t it?

via jkinlosangeles

RELATED: Max Boot, an analyst and writer I deeply respect, thinks Obama’s apology was proper. I respectfully disagree, at least with the groveling nature of it.

Footnotes:
(1) In violation of proper procedure, meaning they did it where the savages could find out.
(2) From a self-abasing, American-declinist, “smart power” point of view, at least.
(3) Whom we put in power and only remains in power (and alive) because of us. We apologize for that.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The fruits of Smart Power: Syria attacks US embassy

July 11, 2011

Since coming into office in 2009, the Obama administration has emphasized a policy of “reaching out” to the Syrian government, sending an ambassador there for the first time in four years. When the “Arab spring” revolts reached Syria and the Assad regime responded by shooting unarmed protesters in the streets, Secretary of State Clinton deployed Smart Power and called Assad a “reformer.” Despite Syria’s status as an Iranian ally and client, despite its support of terror (It’s even on Clinton’s list), and despite its pursuit of nuclear weapons, the Obama administration has shown remarkable restraint. Today, Team Smart Power got their reward.

Our embassy attacked by a mob:

Protesters loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad briefly broke into the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday and security guards used live ammunition to prevent them storming the French embassy, diplomats said.

No casualties were reported in the attacks but a U.S. official said Washington condemned Syria’s slow response and its failure to the prevent the assault on its embassy.

The attacks followed a visit by the U.S. and French ambassadors to the city of Hama last week in support of the hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators who have been gathering there despite attacks by Syrian forces.

“We are calling in the Syrian charge (d’affaires) to complain,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We feel they failed (in their responsibility to protect U.S. diplomats). We are going to condemn their slow response.”

Well, that’s showing them. I bet the Syrian charge is even now quaking in his oxfords as he heads for his meeting with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Outreach and Apologies — quaking from laughter, that is.

And I’m dead serious in the subject line: this attack on our and the French embassies was not a spontaneous expression of outrage on the part of people who just love Boy Assad. Syria attacked our embassy. The country a mafia-ocracy with the Assad clan at the top, and nothing happens without their say-so. You can bet this originated with the Mukhabarat, Syria’s intelligence service, who did the same thing in 2006. Assad was angered by the visit the US ambassador paid to Hama, a center of anti-Assad sentiment (1), and so, just like the little thug he is, he sent his boys around to trash our embassy.

And our response is to stamp our foot and whine “stop it!”

There was a time when this garbage would have been met with a different kind of protest: a warship and a barrage by naval artillery, sending its own message: “Don’t make us angry.”

But that was long ago, before the era of Hope, Change, and Smart Power.

Here’s how a “Phineas administration” would handle it. Since no American lives were lost, we can start with just a nice, little chat: the charge would come into this meeting and sit down before the desk of the Secretary of State. The Secretary would then quietly lay out a series of satellite photos — Mukhabarat headquarters, the Presidential Palace, Assad’s favorite summer home on the Mediterranean coast, you get the idea.

And in case the Syrian diplomat didn’t quite catch the drift, the Secretary would make the implied message clear: “That embassy is sovereign US territory. If this or anything like this ever happens again, I guarantee you President Assad will wake up to something far worse than an angry mob.” To put the punctuation on this, there would be small news items about the redeployment of (cruise missile carrying) US naval assets to the Eastern Mediterranean for “exercises.”

And that’s how you deal with Capone Assad.

LINKS: More at Hot Air and Legal Insurrection. Bryan Preston at PJM’s The Tatler blog sees the nature of the attack the same way I do and says the 3AM phone is ringing. Moe Lane has advice for Democratic administration appointees. As usual, Barry Rubin has sharp, hard-headed analysis.

Footnotes:
(1) The Assads have “a history” with Hama. A bloody one.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The fruits of Smart Power: Czechs walk out on missile defense

June 16, 2011

It may come as a surprise to the Smartest President Ever(tm) and his brilliant foreign policy team, but when you pull the rug out from under an ally in order to appease the guys they fear, they aren’t likely to want to play with you anymore:

The Czech Republic is withdrawing from U.S. missile defense plans out of frustration at its diminished role, the Czech defense minister told The Associated Press Wednesday.

The Bush administration first proposed stationing 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an advanced radar in the Czech Republic, saying the system was aimed at blunting future missile threats from Iran. But Russia angrily objected and warned that it would station its own missiles close to Poland if the plan went through.

In September 2009, the Obama administration shelved that plan and offered a new, reconfigured phased program with an undefined role for the Czechs. In November 2009, the Czech Republic was offered the possibility of hosting a separate early warning system that would gather and analyze information from satellites to detect missiles aimed at NATO territory.

Defense Minister Alexander Vondra told the AP that the Czech Republic wanted to participate but “definitely not in this way.”

“Shelving the plan” is much too antiseptic a description for what really happened. As I wrote at the time:

This is an utter, craven appeasement of Moscow, which has never wanted this system installed in its former empire, making ridiculous claims that it somehow threatened Russia. As originally conceived, the radar stations and roughly a score of interceptor missiles were to protect Europe from a growing Iranian threat. They represented no threat to Moscow. In fact, the Bush administration offered to cooperate in a partnership with the Russians on a European missile shield. Russia’s outrage was in fact a cover for their fear of a continuing loss of influence over their former subject peoples in Central and Eastern Europe.

Poland and the Czech Republic saw this in a similar manner. They cooperated with the US over Afghanistan and Iraq (even sending troops to both places) and agreed to the missile-shield proposal. This was done not just out of a sense of interests shared between fellow democracies, not just out of a sense of worry over Iranian ambitions, but out of a very real geopolitical calculation that closer military ties to the world’s remaining superpower would protect them from a resurgent Russian bear. For the last eight years they have stuck their necks out to help us, and now President Obama has made fools of them.

And Washington expected Prague to accept a consolation prize? Seriously? Why not give them some DVDs, too?

Way back when, Ed Morrissey points out, the Obama Office of the President-Elect (1) transition team promised to “restore our standing in the world.” This is just the latest example of how that’s working out in practice.

The building of alliances and friendships between states is the result of painstaking diplomacy in which each side not only seeks to meet its own best interests, but to assure the other side that such an alliance is in their best interests, too. It’s a mutual exercise in trust-building that includes confidence that one party won’t stick a knife in the other’s back.

And like the husband who comes home to find someone else in his bed, it only takes one betrayal to wreck all that effort. As with Britain, as with Israel, and as with Poland, Obama administration foreign policy seems to be all about pimp-slapping our friends to appease our rivals, going out of its way to betray that trust, as if telling these nations “you won’t leave us; you’ve got nowhere else to go.”

Except the Czech Republic decided otherwise and left. As Team Obama pursues the “Welcome Back Carter” (2) style of diplomacy, don’t be surprised to see other nations decide their best interests are served elsewhere, too.

Footnotes:

(1) I’d forgotten about this bit of egoism.

(2) Glenn Reynolds famously worried that “Jimmy Carter, part two” might be the best-case scenario. I’m worried he’s right. Though, while reading Schweizer’s book “Reagan’s War,” the resemblance between Carter and Obama’s approach to national security is stunning.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


France may kill me yet — through an overdose of irony

April 15, 2011

I’m serious, you’d better have the paramedics ready; I’ll likely need them after reading this:

Libya conflict: France eyes new UN resolution

The French defence minister has suggested a new UN Security Council resolution may be needed for Nato allies to achieve their goals in Libya.

Gerard Longuet was speaking after a joint letter by the US, UK and French leaders said there could be no peace while Col Muammar Gaddafi was in power.

The current UN resolution makes no mention of regime change.

(…)

Speaking on French radio, Mr Longuet conceded that ousting Col Gaddafi would be “certainly” beyond the scope of the existing UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya, and could require a new council vote.

“Beyond resolution 1973, certainly it didn’t mention the future of Gaddafi but I think that three major countries saying the same thing is important to the United Nations and perhaps one day the Security Council will adopt a resolution.”

Oh, isn’t that just special? France is considering asking for a resolution authorizing regime change in an Arab state!

Now, where have we heard that idea before? Let me think… Oh, yeah, now I remember! It was in the last year or so leading up to the US-UK lead invasion and liberation of Iraq, when we pushed for UN sanction for regime change in Iraq, something for which there was far more immediate humanitarian and geopolitical logic, even with the errors regarding WMDs. And what did France do back then? Stand with their longtime ally who twice saved their croissants from the Germans and kept Soviet tanks from rolling into Paris? Support their friend whose military shield allowed them to gorge themselves on domestic entitlements to the point of a national coronary, all while letting them pretend they still were a world power?

Don’t be naive.

Lead by their corrupt president, Jacques Chirac, and their slimy, sanctimonious, Napoleon-worshiping foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, they repeatedly stabbed us and the Iraqi people in the back. Here’s just one example. We were double-crossed again and again, and an American Secretary of State was humiliated before the world. And lest anyone think France was acting out of noble principles (France?), think again.

And now France wants the UN Security Council, where they fought us tooth and nail, to approve doing the very thing in Libya we did in Iraq. Oh, and any new resolution requires at least our non-opposition.

Sweet.

Mind you, I don’t disagree with the idea in principle; having started a war in Libya, we have to see it through to the end, which means getting rid of Qaddafi.  As Emerson said:

“When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

The worst outcome would be some sort of a stalemate in which Daffy Qaddafi survives in power, even over a rump state. I guarantee you he will have the money, means, and motive to take revenge. More Lockerbies, anyone? And Europe is dependent on Libyan oil, far more so than we, and yet they’ve launched a war against one of their key suppliers. Economic and strategic self-interest now dictates that France must wage …wait for it… a war for oil!

Never mind. I think I’ll have another heaping helping of irony, thanks. It’s delicious!

via Hot Air

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


So, how soon will they call Professor Ferguson a racist?

February 15, 2011

Yesterday I quoted Niall Ferguson’s article in which he ripped the Obama administration’s foreign policy from stem to stern for the incompetence it revealed in the Egyptian crisis. That same day he appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show and proceeded to demolish the feeble attempts of the hosts, particularly the clueless Mika Brzezinski, to defend and praise the administration’s handling of Egypt. Click the image to watch at Hot Air; you won’t regret it.

For shame, Dr. Ferguson. You denied the genius of The One, He Who Is The Smartest President Ever. Obviously, you are a racist who wants to lose the future and see Obama fail*.

*Dear DNC, did I get the talking points right?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Our CIA Chief is a clown, too

February 11, 2011

I wonder if he and Clapper bring rubber chickens and squirting flowers to meetings? After seeing this reassuring bit of news last night, I wouldn’t be surprised:

CIA Director Leon Panetta caused confusion when he suggested Egypt’s president was poised to step down, reinforcing questions about the spy agency’s ability to track unrest in the region.

Amid furious speculation that Hosni Mubarak was preparing to announce his exit in the face of mass protests — which later proved to be wrong — Panetta appeared to endorse the media reports before a congressional committee.

Asked about news accounts that Mubarak about to relinquish power, Panetta said: “I got the same information you did, that there’s a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening.”

But a US official later had to explain that Panetta was merely referring to media reports and not privileged information from inside the Central Intelligence Agency.

Emphasis added, after I was done banging my head on the desk.

So, let me get this straight: the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the guy in charge of the main electronic and human intelligence apparatus of the world’s mightiest power, one that costs us billions per year, in the midst of a crisis says he has no better source of information than CNN? Really, Leon??

Hey, can I have his job? I can turn on a TV, too, and I bet my analysis will be more accurate.

And think about this: We’ve been Egypt and Mubarak’s patron for 30 years. They returned the promise ring to the Soviets so they could go out with us. They’ve worked with us against Iran, Iraq under Hussein, and al Qaeda. Our military and theirs has a close patron-client relationship.

So what must’ve Mubarak and the government there thought when their patron’s top spy publicly kicks the legs out from under the Egyptian by saying he has information that Hosni will be out by that evening? “News to me?? Is this an order from Washington?” And then to find out that Panetta’s source is nothing more than TV talking heads… Well, I imagine he said something like that famous Strother Martin line from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid:

“Morons! I’ve got morons on my team!”

Morons. Clowns. Obama administration. There’s a difference?

PS: Just as I’m writing this, word comes that Mubarak is out in what looks like a military coup. As to what comes next… Maybe we should do like Panetta and just turn on the TV.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dissed at our own state dinner

January 23, 2011

Wow.

Chinese Pianist Plays Propaganda Tune at White House
US humiliated in eyes of Chinese by song used to inspire anti-Americanism

Lang Lang the pianist says he chose it. Chairman Hu Jintao recognized it as soon as he heard it. Patriotic Chinese Internet users were delighted as soon as they saw the videos online. Early morning TV viewers in China knew it would be played an hour or two beforehand. At the White House State dinner on Jan. 19, about six minutes into his set, Lang Lang began tapping out a famous anti-American propaganda melody from the Korean War: the theme song to the movie “Battle on Shangganling Mountain.”

The film depicts a group of “People’s Volunteer Army” soldiers who are first hemmed in at Shanganling (or Triangle Hill) and then, when reinforcements arrive, take up their rifles and counterattack the U.S. military “jackals.”

The movie and the tune are widely known among Chinese, and the song has been a leading piece of anti-American propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for decades. CCP propaganda has always referred to the Korean War as the “movement to resist America and help [North] Korea.” The message of the propaganda is that the United States is an enemy—in fighting in the Korean War the United States’ real goal was said to be to invade and conquer China. The victory at Triangle Hill was promoted as a victory over imperialists.

According to the article, the pianist claims to have chosen the piece himself. Regardless of whether he did or was told to play it by Beijing, the Chinese government certainly knew its significance. And so did the millions in China who saw the performance via Phoenix TV, which, like many media outlets in Hong Kong, has strong Chinese Communist Party connections and knew in advance what would be played.

To twist the knife on this humiliating insult, the White House knew this song would be played, but apparently no one in charge bothered to check into its significance — or they knew it, but didn’t want to risk offending their loan sharks guests by prohibiting it.

How embarrassing. Obamateur Hour strikes again.

via Blue Crab Boulevard

LINKS: Moe Lane would be chewing out the Chinese ambassador right now. Big Peace has the relevant clip from the propaganda movie the song is featured in.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


And you mocked Smart Power?

January 20, 2011

I'm so happy I get to stay!

So, Hu Jintao was feted last night at a state dinner, where the world was treated to a big announcement from President Obama of an important agreement between our landlords China and the poor house United States. What do you think it was? A way to euthanize the North Korean regime peacefully?  A deal to bring China’s undervalued currency up to realistic levels? An agreement by China to release the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner from house arrest?

Don’t be so pedestrian, folks! I’m talking something really big: we get to keep the pandas!

Let’s also never forget that throughout our history our people have worked together for mutual progress. We’ve traded together for more than 200 years. We stood together in the Second World War. Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans have helped to build America, including many who join us here tonight.

The Chinese and American people work together and create new opportunities together every single day. Mr. President, today we’ve shown that our governments can work together as well, for our mutual benefit. And that includes this bit of news -— under a new agreement, our National Zoo will continue to dazzle children and visitors with the beloved giant pandas.

There you have it, my friends, straight from the lip of the most powerful man in the world*. These are the fruits of the Smart Power we were promised in 2008.

Via Allahpundit, who collects some of the best snark on this.

*No, not Hu Jintao. The other guy!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What’s Russian for “Buyer Beware?”

December 26, 2010

The Russians have agreed to purchase two amphibious warships from France:

After a long hesitation and arduous negotiations, Russia has decided to buy at least two of France’s advanced Mistral-class amphibious warships in an unprecedented military deal between Moscow and the West, the two nations said Friday.

The multimillion-dollar sale, announced jointly by the Elysee Palace and the Kremlin, marks the first time in modern history that Russia has made such a major defense acquisition abroad, illuminating a fast-evolving relationship with former Cold War enemies. The swift changes were dramatized at last month’s NATO summit in Lisbon, when President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to work with NATO on ways to cooperate with the U.S.-led alliance in erecting a missile defense system for Europe.

The Mistral sale, whose financial terms were not disclosed, also signaled a triumph for French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s relentless salesmanship and a boost for France’s sagging defense industry and 10 percent unemployment rate. It will, the Elysee declaration noted, provide the equivalent of 5 million hours of work over four years for 1,000 qualified French employees at the STX shipyards at St. Nazaire on the Atlantic Coast. And it might lead to the purchase of two more vessels.

“Presidents Medvedev and Sarkozy hail the concretization of this unprecedented cooperation, which will benefit industry and employment in our two countries, and which illustrates the will and capacity in France and Russia to develop large-scale partnerships in all areas, including defense and security,” the Elysee said.

Dear President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin: You may want to rethink that deal.

More seriously, the article notes the strenuous objections of the nation of Georgia, parts of which were recently ripped away and occupied by the new Czars, and also objections from Republicans in Congress. Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has been silent. Still hitting that reset button, I guess.

To be honest, though, I doubt we could have done much to stop the sale without putting a serious strain on our relationship (such as it is) with France; they have a problem with high unemployment, too, and have a national interest in maintaining a naval shipbuilding industry.

Whether the ships they build work or not is another matter…

*To answer the question in the subject: Покупатель Остерегайтесь

via Gabriel Malor on Twitter


North Korea: Bandit King backs down

December 20, 2010

He's just ronery

I’ve written before that North Korea can be reasonably described as a mountain bandit state, a kingdom of bullies that extorts what it needs to survive from its neighbors by threatening to do something violent, no matter how crazy it looks. And they keep doing it because it works. Time and again since the accession of North Korean mutant psycho-dwarf dictator Kim Jong-Il, North Korea has threatened war and devastation. Then, afraid North Korea might really start a huge conflagration (and most everyone admits that a renewed war on the Korean peninsula would be a bloodbath), concerned nations rush into give Kim everything he wants while pretending to be firm with him, in return for promises not to do whatever it was again. North Korea then breaks these promises, gets more stuff it can’t produce on its own, and the whole farcical ballet starts again. Rinse and repeat.

The thing to remember about bullies and bandits is that they rely on you being afraid of them. Call their bluff, and they often back down. The current case in point being North Korea’s threat to “retaliate” if South Korea carried through with a live-fire exercise on Yeonpyeong island, a recent target of a North Korean artillery barrage. Instead of backing down, the South Koreans flipped a large finger toward the North and went ahead with the exercise.

Guess who backed down?

NORTH Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il offered up a major last-minute nuclear concession and was forced last night to turn the other cheek.

This came after the South refused to cancel a live-fire artillery drill near their maritime border.

The North Korean Supreme Military Command said last night it would not retaliate for the South’s 90-minute artillery exercise, saying it was not worthy of a response.

Despite the nuclear inspections breakthrough offered to US envoy Bill Richardson in Pyongyang, the South launched the drill at 2.30pm (4.30pm AEDT) – on Yeonpyeong Island – the scene of North Korea’s deadly artillery attack last month – in spite of threats of retaliation and even nuclear war from the North.

South Korean fighter jets armed with guided missiles streaked through the air above Yeonpyeong and warships cruised the area to silence any response from the North as the test shelling began.

The North last night called the drills a “reckless military provocation” but said it was holding its fire because Seoul had changed its firing zones.

The official Korean Central News Agency statement suggested that the North viewed yesterday’s drills differently from the ones last month because South Korean shells landed farther south of the North’s shores.

Given that the North claims the waters far to the south of the island, at face value their retreat is vindication of the resolve of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Pyongyang had apparently offered before the live-fire exercise to allow nuclear inspections to resume — in return for cash. Thus they were starting the bandit-ballet again. Only, this time, South Korea called them on it. Good for Seoul and President Lee Myung-Bak. Let’s hope this heralds the start of a new, fear-free, and tougher line toward North Korea and its bandit king, Kim Jong-Il.

via Roy Medcalf

UPDATE 12/22/2010: At Pajamas Media, Claudia Rosett thinks this is all part of the same charade, too, and that Kimm has hung out his Christmas stocking for Obama to fill.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Smart Power in action: the cartoon version

December 4, 2010

This is a darned accurate summary of Obama administration diplomacy in the Middle East, as revealed in the State Department cables released by Wikileaks, courtesy of Mere Rhetoric:

Be weak towards our enemies and hard on our friends. Is it November, 2012, yet?

PS: These animations have become sort of an Internet rage, recently. You can make your own at Xtranormal.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Want to make Kim Jong-Il soil himself?

November 30, 2010

I can't trust anyone these days!

Just whisper in his ears the magic words, “China is willing to sell you out.” From the The Guardian:

China’s moves to distance itself from Kim are revealed in the latest tranche of leaked US embassy cables published by the Guardian and four international newspapers. Tonight, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said the US “deeply regrets” the release of the material by WikiLeaks. They were an “attack on the international community”, she said. “It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems,” she told reporters at the state department.

The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:

  • South Korea’s vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul’s control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.
  • China’s vice-foreign minister told US officials that Pyongyang was behaving like a “spoiled child” to get Washington’s attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests.
  • A Chinese ambassador warned that North Korean nuclear activity was “a threat to the whole world’s security”.
  • Chinese officials assessed that it could cope with an influx of 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability, according to a representative of an international agency, but might need to use the military to seal the border.

In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington.

China has also said that it would not intervene militarily in the event of a North Korean collapse, and that a unified Korea ruled from Seoul could remain a US ally as long as American troops did not cross north of the DMZ; China sees its interests in trade with the US, South Korea, and Japan, not in propping up an increasingly unstable client that doesn’t even serve anymore as a useful buffer.

That, my friends, is the core of a deal that would have cynical power-players like Metternich and Kissinger drooling with anticipation. The only reason North Korea survives is through the shipment of cheap fuel and food across the Yalu river border. If China were to decide that its interests were better served by a reunified and stable Korean trading partner, even if a US ally, then all it has to do is turn off the drip-feed and… Bye-bye bandit kingdom.

While Kim Jong Il is desperately trying to secure the succession for his son, Kim Jong Un, one can see this playing out like the East German collapse and German reunification in 1989-90: the old regime dies off, the new rulers haven’t the skill or will (or both) to maintain control of a failing state, and the regime collapses of exhaustion to be absorbed by its democratic cousin.

The question is what will Kim Jong Il and his military do. As the cables hint, they were probably the only ones among the concerned powers (the US, China, South Korea, and Japan) who had no inkling of China’s real feelings.  Will this knowledge lead Kim to moderate his behavior or the military to remove him, so China doesn’t pull the plug? Will they keep pushing the limits under the assumption that China, in the end, won’t cut them loose? Or, as Allahpundit fears, will they decide to go out in a blaze of glory?

My own guess is that Kim will try to make nice with Beijing and not do anything more provocative than he already has and mollifying them with vague promises of reform, while continuing to secure the throne for his son. Then, when Dear Leader passes on, a transitional regime —with or without Kim Jong Un— will oversee an East German-style endgame.

At least, that’s what I hope. This still has every chance of blowing up in all our faces, mostly due to the unpredictability of those running the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a state.

POSTSCRIPT: Regarding the Wikileaks release, I have three observations

  1. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange needs to meet a bad end, soon. He is harming my country in a time of war; he shouldn’t have gotten this far.
  2. The real fallout of these documents isn’t what they reveal (and much of that validates the Right’s views), but that we look like such idiots when it comes to security that few will be willing to talk confidentially with us for quite a long time.
  3. While the security weaknesses revealed in this scandal reach back at least several years, the response to the Wikileaks revelations has shown the Obama administration as weak and incompetent — and a danger to our national security.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tell me again why we give the UN any money?

July 12, 2010

Just when you think that body couldn’t be any more useless and corrupt, they do something like this:

UN Fails to Condemn North Korea for Killing Over 40 South Korean Sailors

When the results of the international investigation into the sinking of the South Korean ship the Cheonan were released in May, the U.S. State Department was adamant that it believed North Korea was responsible — and that the country would have to face some actual punishment for killing 46 innocent South Korea sailors.

“I think it is important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said May 21 while visiting her Japanese counterpart in Tokyo.

Fast forward to today, when the United Nations released a presidential statement which not only does not specify any consequences for the Kim Jong Il regime, but doesn’t even conclude that North Korea was responsible for the attack in the first place.

The statement acknowledges that the South Korean investigation, which included broad international participation, blamed North Korea, and then “takes note of the responses from other relevant parties, including from the DPRK, which has stated that it had nothing to do with the incident.”

“Therefore, the Security Council condemns the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan,” the statement reads.

Isn’t diplomacy-speak wonderful? Not only does the UN issue the weakest form of statement, the “presidential statement,” but it can’t even name the party behind the attack. I bet the families of those 40 dead sailors feel oh-so-comforted, knowing Turtle Bay has their backs.

As Daniel Halper asks,

“…how long did it take for the UN to issue a condemnation of Israel’s action against pro-terrorist flotilla members?”

A perfectly legal action, bear in mind, as opposed to North Korea’s act of war.

Tell me again, does the United Nations do any good, and is there any reason for us to remain a part of it?

Really, just try to convince me. I love fantasy stories.

(via Jeff Emanuel)


It’s the thought that counts?

June 5, 2010

Memo to Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State:

Dear Madame Secretary,

The Queen’s birthday is next week.

yours,

–Phineas

Doh


Quote of the day, insane moral equivalence edition

May 18, 2010

Via Power Line:

To compare in any way the lawful and democratic act of the government of the state of Arizona with the arbitrary abuses of the unelected Chinese Communist Party is inappropriate and offensive.

Background.


An insult and a humiliation

May 16, 2010

You have got to be kidding me. While discussing human rights in China with the Chinese government, the American negotiators denounced Arizona:

The United States and China reported no major breakthroughs Friday after only their second round of talks about human rights since 2002.

The Obama administration wants to push Beijing to treat its citizens better, but it also needs Chinese support on Iranian and North Korean nuclear standoffs, climate change and other difficult issues.

(…)

[Michael] Posner said in addition to talks on freedom of religion and expression, labor rights and rule of law, officials also discussed Chinese complaints about problems with U.S. human rights, which have included crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.

He said U.S. officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to ask about a person’s immigration status if there is suspicion the person is in the country illegally.

I’m flabbergasted. To hold up the Arizona law as an example of American human rights violations as part of some public breast-beating is ludicrous. For one, Arizona SB 1070 (PDF) mirrors federal law on the subject and merely makes what was already a federal offense a state crime, too. It contains even stricter protections against ethnic profiling than the corresponding federal law. To use it as an example of a “human rights violation” is just plain ignorant and stupid. Has anyone in DC bothered to read the bill?

It’s also a tremendous insult to Arizonans, who are rightly concerned about the problems caused in their state by illegal immigration, and a humiliation of the United States.  China’s record of human rights violations since the Communists took power in 1949 is long and grotesque; to mention in passing just Tibet, Tiananmen Square, and the state-induced famine that killed tens of millions, would barely scratch the surface. And it continues to this day.

What kind of idiots do we have representing us? Putting a law that the vast majority of Americans approve of on the same level as the actions of the butchers of Beijing is nonsensical at best, and to criticize an American state to a foreign government is absolutely unacceptable.

I realize the Obama administration looks down on the country it governs; we’ve known that from before his election. But do they have to slap us in the face to ingratiate themselves with bloody-handed dictators, too?

(via Power Line)