Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

Israel/Gaza/Etc. Update for July 24, 2014

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

A whole bunch of news related to Israel’s incursion into Gaza:

  • Protective Edge enters its seventeenth day.
  • Hamas turns down John Kerry’s ceasefire deal. Wait, you mean the designated terrorist organization that uses its own civilians as human shields as part of its jihad to exterminate world Jewry isn’t moved by the verbal blandishments of the Secretary of State for the most feckless U.S. Administration in history? Imagine my shock.
  • And why would they heed John Kerry when they just got $47 million from him? Just think of all the missiles and tunnels those “humanitarian” dollars will buy…
  • Hamas provoked the current round of conflict because they suck at everything else.
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is shocked, SHOCKED that there are rockets at a UN school in Gaza.
  • Roger Simon calls for an investigation.
  • “Hamas hides its rockets in schools and places its command bunkers under hospitals. It wants war, and it wants civilian casualties.”
  • Even the Washington Post has a clue:

    The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.

    One of those demands is for a full reopening of Gaza’s land and sea borders. While this would allow relief and economic development for the territory’s population, it would also allow Hamas to import more missiles and concrete for new tunnels.

  • Sayeth Instapundit in reference to the Post piece: “Because ‘the world’ basically approves when people kill Jews.”
  • Parisian supporters of Palestine hold respectful protests, call for peaceful resolution of Gaza crisis. Ha, just kidding! They go all Kristallnacht on Jewish shops and yell “Gas the Jews!” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Pictures from that “mostly peaceful” protest. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Previously: The Battle of Rue de la Roquette.
  • In related news, students in the West Bank shout “Jews back to Birkenau!” Oh wait, did I say the West Bank? I meant Boston.
  • Chief Rabbi in The Netherlands has stones thrown at him. Next up: Hunting down that Zionist Frank girl…
  • FAA bans American flights taking off or leaving from Tel Aviv Airport, then lifts the ban, but not before Ted Cruz calls the action a boycott of Israel.
  • Cruz also says that the Obama Administration is the most anti-Israel administration America has ever had. Probably, though I know Israel was really not happy with the Eisenhower Administration during the Suez crisis…
  • “Anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank. Don’t forget to always add ‘innocent civilian’ or ‘innocent citizen’ in your description of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.”
  • Protestors March Against UK’s Non-Existent Austerity

    Saturday, June 21st, 2014

    I see that #NoMoreAusterity is trending on Twitter this morning. It seems the usual leftist protest sorts are rallying against the Cameron government’s “austerity.”

    The only problem is it doesn’t exist.

    Real austerity is cutting government spending until it matches receipts. Under David Cameron, deficit spending has merely gone from 11.4% of GDP in 2010 to a projected 5.8% in 2014. So the UK government hasn’t practiced austerity, it’s merely slowed the rate at which it’s digging its own grave.

    For the protestors, this simply will not do. They want government to give them things, and if it means having the moribund economies of Greece and Spain, so be it.

    But unlike Greece and Spain, the UK won’t be able to get Germany to bail them out, nor to hold down the hyperinflation that is the inevitable endpoint of excess deficit spending.

    Dispatches From the Fall of Iraq

    Monday, June 16th, 2014

    There’s enough (bad) news coming out of Iraq to do a roundup of links on it, so let’s get to it:

  • Yeah, Iraq is pretty much screwed.
  • ISIS begins wholesale slaughter of Shias, government troops, Christians, and pretty much anyone else who’s standing around.
  • But what’s a little genocide when there’s important golfing to be done?
  • Tal Afir falls to ISIS.
  • And they’re getting close to Baghdad:

  • Hey, remember when Obama declared that “the war in Iraq is over”? (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • Iraqis seem to have cut Internet service to the American embassy in Baghdad. Well, it’s a good thing the Obama Administration has such a sterling record of embassy security…
  • At least they sent an additional 100 marines.
  • Now would be a good time to listen to “Evacuation” from Mike Oldfield’s superb soundtrack to The Killing Fields, which played over the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Phnom Penh…
  • I would says its surprising that Iraq’s own Parliament couldn’t be arsed to get together a quorum for an emergency session, but they were probably getting out of the country as fast as possible. After all, it’s hard to enjoy the fruits of your graft after you’ve been beheaded…
  • Not exactly psychic: Back in January, The Economist published this piece talking about how ISIS’s brutality was engendering a “backlash” against it that would make it easier to contain. Yeah, not so much.
  • But hey, the situation in Iraq is so farked up Obama actually used the word “Jihadists”! Progress…
  • Related:

  • Also, thanks to Obama’s transcendent powers of suck, Libya is now actually worse than it was under Gaddafi.
  • In closing:

  • Ted Cruz Addresses the 2014 Texas Republican Convention

    Saturday, June 7th, 2014

    Ted Cruz spoke to the Texas Republican Convention yesterday. Since I suspect most of you didn’t have a chance to catch the livestream, here it is in handy YouTube form. Includes considerable criticism of Obama’s foreign policy (or lack thereof).

    Consider this a “Hey, it’s the weekend, here’s something vaguely resembling content” post.

    What UKIP’s Big Election Win Means

    Saturday, May 24th, 2014

    The UK Independence Party (universally known as UKIP) won a big victory in UK Council and European Parliament elections.

    I’ve been struggling with how to frame the significance of UKIP’s victory without committing the sort of ghastly “distant observer” mistakes that Europeans do when analyzing American political results (such as the British liberal who confidently assured me that Texas was becoming a blue state).

    Fortunately, Peter Oborne in The Spectator has done the task far better than I could have, so I’m going to break with blogging tradition by quoting whopping great swathes of his analysis.

    When [UKIP head Nigel Farage] emerged as a force ten years ago, Britain was governed by a cross-party conspiracy. It was impossible to raise the issue of immigration without being labelled racist, or of leaving the EU without being insulted as a fanatic. Mainstream arguments to shrink the size of the state, or even to challenge its growth, were regarded as a sign of madness or inhumanity — hence Michael Howard’s decision to sack Howard Flight for advocating just that during the 2005 election campaign. The NHS and Britain’s collapsing education system were beyond criticism. Any failure to conform was policed by the media, and the BBC in particular.

    Meanwhile, the three main political parties had been captured by the modernisers, an elite group which defied political boundaries and was contemptuous of party rank and file. As I demonstrated in The Triumph of the Political Class (2007), politicians suddenly emerged as a separate interest group. The senior cadres of the New Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties had far more in common with each other than ordinary voters. General elections were taken out of the hands of (unpaid) party activists and placed in the hands of a new class of political expert. Ed Miliband’s expensive American strategist, David Axelrod, who flew into London on a fleeting visit to the shadow cabinet last week, is an example.

    In this new world, the vast majority of voters ceased to count. The new political class immediately wrote off all voters in safe seats — from unemployed ship-workers in Glasgow to retired lieutenant colonels in Tunbridge Wells. Their views could be disregarded because in electoral terms they were of no account. This callous attitude brought into existence a system of pocket boroughs in parts of Scotland, driving traditional Labour voters into the hands of the SNP and (as can now be seen clearly with hindsight) jeopardising the union. The only voters that political modernisers cared about were those in Britain’s approximately 100 marginal seats — and even the majority of those were considered of no significance. During the 2005 general election I went to see the co-chairman of the Conservatives, Maurice Saatchi, who boasted that barely 100,000 swing voters in the marginal seats mattered to him. Saatchi reassured me that the Conservative party had bought a large American computer that would (with the help of focus groups) single out these voters and tell them what they needed in order to make them vote Conservative.

    The majority of national journalists, for the most part well-paid Londoners, were part of this conspiracy against the British public. They were often personally connected with the new elite, with whom they shared a snobbery about the concerns of ordinary voters.

    Immigration is an interesting case study. For affluent political correspondents, it made domestic help cheaper, enabling them to pay for the nannies, au pairs, cleaning ladies, gardeners and tradesmen who make middle-class life comfortable.

    These journalists were often provided with private health schemes, and were therefore immune from the pressure on NHS hospitals from immigration. They tended to send their children to private schools. This meant they rarely faced the problems of poorer parents, whose children find themselves in schools where scores of different languages were spoken in the playground. Meanwhile the corporate bosses who funded all the main political parties (and owned the big media groups) tended to love immigration because it meant cheaper labour and higher profits.

    Great tracts of urban Britain have been utterly changed by immigration in the course of barely a generation. The people who originally lived in these areas were never consulted and felt that the communities they lived in had been wilfully destroyed. Nobody would speak up for them: not the Conservatives, not Labour, not the Lib Dems. They were literally left without a voice.

    To sum up, the most powerful and influential figures in British public life entered into a conspiracy to ignore and to denigrate millions of British voters. Many of these people were Labour supporters. Ten years ago, when Tony Blair was in his pomp, some of these voters were driven into the arms of the racist British National Party and its grotesque leader Nick Griffin. One of Britain’s unacknowledged debts to Nigel Farage is the failure of Griffin’s racist project. Disenfranchised Labour voters tend to drift to the SNP in Scotland and Ukip in England.

    Read the whole thing.

    Mark Steyn has some choices quotes on the meaning of UKIP’s victory as well (as he almost invariably does):

    A casual observer might easily assume the election was being fought between Farage’s UKIP and a Tory-Labour-Liberal-Media coalition.

    (snip)

    The British media spent 20 years laughing at UKIP. But they’re not laughing now — not when one in four electors takes them seriously enough to vote for them. So, having dismissed him as a joke, Fleet Street now warns that Farage uses his famous sense of humor as a sly cover for his dark totalitarian agenda — the same well-trod path to power used by other famous quipsters and gag-merchants such as Adolf Hitler, whose Nuremberg open-mike nights were legendary. “Nigel Farage is easy to laugh at . . . that means he’s dangerous,” declared the Independent. The Mirror warned of an “unfulfilled capacity for evil.” “Stop laughing,” ordered Jemma Wayne in the British edition of the Huffington Post. “Farage would lead us back to the dark ages.” The more the “mainstream” shriek about how mad, bad, and dangerous UKIP is, the more they sound like the ones who’ve come unhinged.

    UKIP is pronounced “You-kip,” kip being Brit slang for “sleep.” When they write the book on how we came to this state of affairs, they’ll call it While England Kipped. A complacent elite assured itself that UKIP would remain an irritating protest vote, but that’s all. It was born in 1993 to protest the Maastricht treaty, the point at which a continent-wide “common market” finally cast off the pretense of being an economic arrangement and announced itself as a “European Union,” a pseudo-state complete with “European citizenship.” The United Kingdom Independence party was just that: a liberation movement. Its founder, a man who knew something about incoherent Euro-polities, was the Habsburg history specialist Alan Sked, who now dismisses the party as a bunch of “fruitcakes.” As old-time Perotistas will understand, new movements are prone to internecine feuds. UKIP briefly fell under the spell of the oleaginous telly huckster Robert Kilroy-Silk, who subsequently quit to found a party called “Veritas,” which he has since also quit.

    But Farage was there at the founding, as UKIP’s first-ever parliamentary candidate. In 1994, a rising star of the Tory party, Stephen Milligan, was found dead on his kitchen table, with a satsuma and an Ecstasy tab in his mouth, and naked except for three lady’s stockings, two on his legs and one on his arm. In his entertaining book, one of the few political memoirs one can read without forcing oneself to finish, Farage has a melancholy reflection on Milligan’s bizarrely memorable end: “It was the sad destiny . . . of this former President of the Oxford Union to contribute more to public awareness — albeit of a very arcane nature — by the manner of his death than by his work in life.” That’s to say, the late Mr. Milligan more or less singlehandedly planted the practice of “auto-erotic asphyxiation” in the public consciousness — since when (as John O’Sullivan suggested here a while back) the Tory party seems to have embraced it as a political philosophy.

    At the time, Milligan’s death enabled a by-election in the constituency of Eastleigh. Farage stood for UKIP, got 952 votes (or 1.4 percent), and narrowly beat the perennial fringe candidate Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony party, which, in a perceptive insight into the nature of government, was demanding more than one Monopolies Commission (the British equivalent of the Antitrust Division). While waiting for the count, Lord Sutch said, “Oi, Nige. Let’s go for a drink, shall we? The rest of this lot are a bunch of wankers.” In the BBC footage of the announcement of the results, Mr. Farage appears to be flushed and swaying slightly. Let Kilroy-Silk split to form a breakaway party called Veritas; Farage is happy to be in vino. He is a prodigious drinker and smoker. I can personally testify to the former after our Toronto appearance. As to the latter, not even Obama can get away with that in public. But Farage does.

    The wobbly boozer turned out to be the steady hand at the tiller UKIP needed. He was elected (via proportional representation) to the European Parliament, which for the aspiring Brit politician is Siberia with an expense account. Then, in 2010, Farage became a global Internet sensation by raining on the EU’s most ridiculous parade — the inaugural appearance by the first supposed “President of Europe,” not a popularly elected or even parliamentarily accountable figure but just another backroom deal by the commissars of Eutopia. The new “President” was revealed to be, after the usual Franco-German stitch-up, a fellow from Belgium called Herman van Rompuy. “Who are you?” demanded Farage from his seat in the European Parliament during President van Rompuy’s address thereto. “No one in Europe has ever heard of you.” Which was quite true. One day, Mr. van Rompuy was an obscure Belgian, the next he was an obscure Belgian with a business card reading “President of Europe.” But, as is his wont, Nigel warmed to his theme and told President van Rompuy that he had “the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk.” A few days later, having conferred in their inner sanctum, the Eurocrats ordered Farage to make a public apology. So he did — to low-grade bank clerks for having been so ill-mannered as to compare them to President van Rompuy. He was then fined 2,980 euros (about $4,000) for his impertinence, since when he has referred to the European president as Rumpy-Pumpy, a British synonym for a bloody good shag.

    (snip)

    As I understand it, at some point in the last decade a Labour prime minister exited 10 Downing Street by the back door and a Conservative prime minister came in through the front. And yet nothing changed. And the more frantically Tory loyalists talk up the rare sightings of genuine conservatism — Education Secretary Michael Gove’s proposed reforms! — the more they remind you of how few there are.

    And, even more than the policies, the men advancing them are increasingly interchangeable. I lived in London for a long time and still get to Britain every few months, but I can barely tell any of these guys apart. They look the same, dress the same, talk the same. The equivalent British shorthand for “the Beltway” is “the Westminster village,” which accurately conveys both its size and its parochialism but not perhaps the increasingly Stepfordesque quality of its inhabitants. The Labour, Liberal, and Tory leaders all came off the assembly line within 20 minutes of each other in the 1960s and, before they achieved their present ascendancy, worked only as consultants, special advisers, public-relations men. One of them did something at the European Commission, another was something to do with a think tank for social justice — the non-jobs that now serve as political apprenticeships. The men waiting to succeed them are also all the same. There are mild variations in background — this one went to Eton, that one is heir to an Irish baronetcy — but once they determine on a life in politics they all lapse into the same smarmy voice, and they all hold the same opinions, on everything from the joys of gay marriage and the vibrant contributions of Islam to the vital necessity of wind farms and the historical inevitability of the EU. And they sound even more alike on the stuff they stay silent on — ruinous welfare, transformative immigration, a once-great nation’s shrunken armed forces…

    (snip)

    On the Continent, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of a hermetically sealed elite, and with predictable consequences: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones. As noted, Farage is too funny to make a convincing fascist, but, with the great unwashed pounding on the fence of their gated community, the Westminster village have redoubled their efforts.

    (snip)

    On the Continent, on all the issues that matter, competitive politics decayed to a rotation of arrogant co-regents of a hermetically sealed elite, and with predictable consequences: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones. As noted, Farage is too funny to make a convincing fascist, but, with the great unwashed pounding on the fence of their gated community, the Westminster village have redoubled their efforts.

    (snip)

    Farage is a close student of the near-total collapse of the intellectually bankrupt Canadian Conservative party in the early Nineties, and its split into various factions. The western-based Reform party could not get elected nationwide, but they kept certain political ideas in play, which moved the governing Liberals to the right, and eventually enabled them to engineer a reverse takeover of the Tory party. UKIP, likewise, is keeping certain important, indeed existential questions in play, and it’s not inconceivable that Farage, who regards himself as a member of “the Tory family,” could yet engineer a reverse takeover of whatever post-Cameron husk remains half a decade down the road.

    Again, read the whole thing. (Which should be taken as a given for any Steyn piece. And since I’m swiping enormous chunks of his prose today, also consider buying some of his stuff.)

    One sign of how scared the political establishment is of UKIP is that the government is actually funding an advertising campaign against them.

    Here in the United States, both Republicans and Democrats should take a good, hard look at UKIP’s rise. Many of the “forbidden” topics UKIP is raising there (big government, control by a small cabal of elites, immigration) are animating the Tea Party (and even, to some extent, parts of Occupy).

    Weekend Roundup for April 28, 2014

    Monday, April 28th, 2014

    Not so much a #LinkSwarm per se, as a roundup of news you might have missed over the weekend:

  • NBA owner Donald Sterling, under the spotlight for a bizarre racist rant captured on tape, is a Democrat.
  • Catholic Church canonizes Popes John Paul II and John XXIII as Saints.
  • 3,000 Florida voters are registered at a single UPS store.
  • “The Europeans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”
  • John Kerry still pursuing the mirage of Middle East peace.
  • Obama Administration watchdog actually a lapdog.
  • Man up, Nancy Boy.
  • CNN analyst welches on Zimmerman bet.
  • William Friedkin’s brilliant movie Sorcerer is finally out on Blu Ray.
  • Venezuela: A Ray of Light Amidst the Encroaching Darkness?

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    When last we checked, Venezuela had come down with a case of Terminal Socialism. Here’s an update.

    Faced with crippling inflation and a shortage of basic goods due to endemic cronyism, horrible mismanagement and laughable official exchange rates, Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has finally thrown in the towel and instituted floating exchange rates… sort of:

    A dollar will cost you 6.3 bolívares if you are the government, or if you can persuade Cencoex (the government’s foreign-trade body) that you intend to import vital goods such as food or medicine. Then there’s the Sicad I rate, currently just over 10 bolívares to the dollar, but contingent on irregular, “auctions” (which are nothing of the sort). The new Sicad II process, which is as close to a free market as the government will allow, opened at a whopping 50 bolívares to the dollar. But even that is a bargain compared with the unofficial exchange rate, which at the time of writing stands at almost 68 bolívares.

    Meanwhile, shortages of basic goods mean Venezuelans get to enjoy that classic staple of late stage socialism: waiting in line to get food:

    And the violent crackdown against opposition protesters continues:

    Naturally, as a prelude to cracking down on the opposition, they followed the old socialist playbook by outlawing private ownership of guns. It’s always so much easier to oppress people once they’ve been disarmed. Even so, as the following video (via Legal Insurrection) shows, police don’t always get the upper hand:

    Security forces have also committed dozens of documented instances of torture.

    Are there any rays of home in the grim situation? Yes, Maduro’s government and opposition leaders have agreed to talks. Whether these can actually accomplish anything remains to be seen, but the fact that Maduro “ruled out any changes to the course of what he calls the Bolivarian revolution, the distinct brand of socialism created by his predecessor in office, Hugo Chavez,” tends to indicate that the prognosis is still grim.

    Other Venezuela news:

  • An interview with the jailed opposition leader.
  • Two relative of opposition figures murdered.
  • Globovision assignment editor Nairobi Pinto kidnapped.
  • Spain halts shipments of riot gear.
  • LinkSwarm for March 21, 2014

    Friday, March 21st, 2014

    Enjoy your complimentary Friday LinkSwarm, and be sure to tip your waitress!

  • Fourteen different ways you can you can avoid the ObamaCare tax.
  • Joaquin Castro to boycott Buc-ees? He should have almost as much luck in Texas boycotting air conditioning and football. Hey, when Castro can offer outstanding fudge and the largest, cleanest restrooms in the state, let me know…
  • Democratic Senators decide they’d like to avoid committing political suicide by voting for Obama’s gun-grabbing Surgeon general nominee.
  • Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall proves once again that taxes are for the little people.
  • Democrats recruit the perfect candidate for congress: an 86-year old ex-felon.
  • Rich liberal environmentalist Tom Steyer is 100% opposed to Keystone pipeline. Well, except when endangered Democratic Senators are involved.
  • What liberals are leaving out of their hagiography of Cesar Chavez: he opposed illegal aliens and would have hated amnesty.
  • Liberals hate the Koch brothers so much they freak out even when they’re donating money to a hospital.
  • How dare some racist Americans call some Muslims pedophiles just because they want to marry 8-year olds?
  • America could hurt Russia by lifting natural gas export restrictions.
  • Swell story of resurrecting a badly damaged B-2. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • It’s gotten to the point I can no longer tell liberal ranting from parody of same.
  • More Yelp hilarity for the Backstreet Pub and Grill owner who went out of his way to insult gun owners.
  • Supporting Neil Young and Scarlet Johansson against the Israel haters.
  • “Set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue….” Yeah, that’s pretty much where I stopped reading.
  • Solider adopts dog. Dusty room ensues.

  • On Barack Obama’s “Flexibility” With Russia

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

    Bloody Ukriane

    Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Ukrainian Dictators

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

    First word came that Yanukovich had left Ukraine for various rumored destinations from Russia to Dubai. Then came word that Yanukovich was denied exit from the country.

    But the delight of the day was ordinary Ukrainians touring the abandoned Presidential vacation palace, which such amenities as:

  • A classic car collection
  • A private zoo
  • A gold toilet
  • An actual galleon (helpfully named GALLEON; this pretty much confirms what we suspected of the vast range of Mr. Yanukovich’s imagination…) floating on an artificial lake.
  • Some Tweets on the theme:

    Also, Russia has a sad.