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TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2010
HERE IT COMES – AT 9:15 P.M. ET: When conservative talk show hosts said this was coming, the better people laughed and sneered, and made nasty comments about I.Q. and college board scores. But, alas, the trial balloon has gone up:
(Reuters) - The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.
Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax "was not as toxic an idea" as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.
Necessary for what? That's what Americans want to know. Necessary for programs that a majority of Americans don't want? Necessary to pay the inflated benefits and pensions for an increasingly powerful public sector?
Little by little, the Obama administration is turning us into Europe. That's not what we want to be. The majority of Americans are descended from those who fled Europe in search of something better.
We are headed for a major social schism – a clash between the doers and the takers, between traditional believers in limited government, and believers that dynamic countries like Sweden (snore) have found the answer.
Barack Obama ran as a moderate. Hold the laughter.
April 6, 2010 Permalink
BIBI REDUX – AT 8:16 P.M. ET: A few weeks ago President Obama went all out to humiliate the prime minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu. Now, having gotten some quality practice, he's out for the president of Afghanistan. The Wall Street Journal reports Mr. Obama's strange tactics:
President Obama isn't faring too well at converting enemies to friends, but he does seem to have a talent for turning friends into enemies. The latest spectacle is the all-too-public and counterproductive war of words between the White House and our putative ally, Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The only winner so far in this spat is the Taliban.
The Obama Administration seems to have had it out for Mr. Karzai from the day it took office, amid multiple reports based on obvious U.S. leaks that Vice President Joe Biden or some other official had told the Afghan leader to shape up. The tension escalated after Mr. Karzai's tainted but ultimately recognized re-election victory last year, and it reached the name-calling stage late last month when President Obama met Mr. Karzai on a trip to Kabul and the White House let the world know that the American had lectured the Afghan about his governing obligations.
This is the same American president who took four days to wander up to a microphone and denounce the suppression of democracy demonstrators in Tehran. Strange set of priorities.
The public rebuke was a major loss of face for Mr. Karzai, who later returned fire at the U.S., reportedly even saying at a private meeting that if the Americans kept it up, he might join the Taliban....
...The kindest word for all of this is fiasco. American troops are risking their lives to implement a counterinsurgency strategy that requires winning popular support in Afghanistan, and the main message from America's Commander in Chief to the Afghan people is that their government can't be trusted. That ought to make it easier to win hearts and minds.
We know Karzai has been a disappointment, but this is not the way pros handle a situation like this.
Mr. Karzai has been disappointing as a nation-builder, has tolerated corrupt officials and family members, and can be arrogant and crudely nationalistic. Presumably, however, Mr. Obama was well aware of these defects last year when he recognized the Afghan election results and then committed 20,000 more U.S. troops to the theater.
You go to war with the allies you have, and it's contrary to any diplomatic principle to believe that continuing public humiliation will make Mr. Karzai more likely to cooperate.
The common sense to all this:
Coming on the heels of the U.S. public chastisement of Israel's government, the larger concern over the Karzai episode is what it reveals about Mr. Obama's diplomatic frame of mind. With adversaries, he is willing to show inordinate patience, to the point of muffling his objections when opposition blood ran in the streets of Tehran. With allies, on the other hand, the President is unforgiving and insists they follow his lead or face his public wrath. The result will be that our foes fear us less, and that we have fewer friends.
COMMENT: I suspect that Obama, very much a third worlder, has contempt for those who ally themselves with the U.S., since he believes this country is hopelessly immoral.
It must do wonders for the morale of American troops in Afghanistan to watch this public spat. It must do wonders for the Chicago Democratic machine to see how well they taught their disciple to act like a political thug.
April 6, 2010 Permalink
REPUBLICANS DO THEIR HOMEWORK – AT 8:08 P.M. ET: A controversial Obama judicial nominee is in trouble, thanks in part to real digging by the GOP. From The Politico:
Law professor Goodwin Liu is young and progressive, and could be on the fast track to the Supreme Court — but his nomination to a lower court has already hit a troubled patch after he neglected to send some of his most controversial statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Tuesday, Liu sent an additional 117 items to the committee — including some of his most incendiary statements on issues such as affirmative action, school busing and constitutional welfare rights. Liu’s hearing has already been postponed once, and his failure to disclose controversial writings has Republicans saying Liu’s nomination is in “jeopardy.”
The missing material “creates the impression that he knowingly attempted to hide his most controversial work from the committee,” Judiciary Republicans wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on Tuesday.
Liu has been nominated to the 9th Circuit, a traditionally liberal bench, and conservatives from California to Washington are declaring war on his nomination.
COMMENT: Liu's nomination is just further proof that Obama wants to move the country far to the left, not just more toward "liberalism." Republicans will have a popular stand here, although, again, it means antagonizing another ethnic group, in this case Asian Americans. But this is not a man we want to see on the Supreme Court, or any other for that matter.
April 6, 2010 Permalink
A BIT OF BOTHER ON THE BORDER – AT 10:23 A.M. ET: Guess who's coming to dinner? From the Washington Examiner:
Somalis with ties to a terrorist organization are believed to be plotting to illegally enter the United States after being mistakenly released from custody in Mexico, a confidential federal law enforcement report said.
The report, obtained by the Washington Examiner, said that 23 Somalis who entered Mexico illegally earlier in the year were caught there, then released in late January.
Only 16 of the 23 people were identified by both Mexican and U.S. law enforcement officials, while the "other 7 are unknown," the report says.
Included in the group is Mohamed Osman Noor, 35, of Somalia, who U.S. officials suspect has strong ties to Al-Shabaab Mujahideen, an Islamist insurgency group in the ongoing war in Somalia with ties to al Qaeda.
The report was written by an intelligence official with the Laredo Sector Border Intelligence Center, a joint federal task force under the Department of Homeland Security that operates on the border.
"All were in Mexican Immigration custody due to illegal entry into Mexico and were released on January 21, 2010," it said. "All agents are reminded to maintain a heightened level of awareness and emphasize officer safety tactics when encountering individuals at all times. All agents are highly encouraged to wear ballistic armor, utilize long arms and work in groups when responding to illicit activity along the immediate border."
COMMENT: That's okay. Stay cool. They just want to come to register for Obamacare. No, not really.
For years there's been speculation that terror groups have been eyeing our southern border for logical entry points. Now, with Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil establishing close ties with radical Mideast nations, the threat from the south becomes greater. This Somali group entered Mexico illegally, but one has to assume that Mexico wasn't their ultimate destination.
A source of legitimate concern. What are we doing about it?
April 6, 2010 Permalink
ANOTHER SETBACK FOR AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY – AT 9:26 A.M. ET: After all the chest-thumping about sanctions on Iran – coming in weeks, the president said, sounding like a pitchman for a new feature film – we've suffered a setback at the UN. Financial Times reports:
The United Nations Security Council yesterday failed to include Iran's nuclear programme on its agenda for April, underlining the likely slow road to sanctions that Barack Obama, US president, had hoped to have in place "within weeks".
Japan's Yukio Takasu, this month's president of the 15-member council, said no meeting had been scheduled because it was not yet clear "when this might be taken up. It may not be taken up."
What? What did that man just say?
Mr Obama, buoyed by what Washington officials perceived as a shift in China's attitude towards imposing fresh sanctions on Iran, said a week ago that he wanted to see a fourth round of UN measures in place within weeks.
China had insisted that further time should be given for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear stand-off. But western diplomats said that Beijing was now ready to engage on the sanctions issue by attending talks in New York among ambassadors of the so-called P5 plus one - the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany.
Chinese officials have been circumspect and the talks, which could be a prelude to Beijing accepting increased pressure on Iran, have yet to be scheduled.
I can't stand the swift pace of this progress. I'm out of breath already. Aren't you?
Mr Takasu said yesterday that, even if the P5 plus one eventually agreed a package of proposed sanctions, it would be "highly desirable" for the 10 nonpermanent members of the council, including Japan, to also be consulted. "It's the intention of the concerned countries to have a resolution in the Security Council," said Mr Takasu, whose country has supported previous sanctions measures. "How soon and how we will be consulted, we will have to wait and see."
COMMENT: Wait and see? What a sense of urgency. Our relationship with Japan has deteriorated recently, and Mr. Takasu's marked indifference might be a reflection of that. Maybe if Japan attacked Pearl Harbor again, Obama would show the Japanese more respect. It's the way things are.
April 6, 2010 Permalink
A MOMENT TO PAUSE – AT 9:03 A.M. ET: There has been a mine tragedy. We sometimes look at these stories, then quickly glance over to something else. But please remember that these men are the salt of the Earth. They get the work of this country done every day. And, at the end of a work day, you can actually see what they've done, and accomplished. So take a moment to pause and reflect:
MONTCOAL, W.Va. — The death toll from a blast at a West Virginia coal mine rose to 25 on Tuesday, federal safety officials said, making it the worst mining accident in the United States in 25 years.
Four miners were still missing, and the officials said it was likely that those men also had been killed in the explosion on Monday.
A recovery operation was called off early Tuesday morning because high levels of methane gas made the mine unsafe for rescuers. Workers were boring holes into the mine to try to get more oxygen inside, an effort that was not expected to be completed for several hours.
“The bodies will not be recovered until the mine is ventilated,” Ronald L. Wooten, the state’s mine health safety director, said at a news conference early Tuesday.
COMMENT: The New York Times, to its credit, has an excellent set of photos on its front internet page, depicting life in a mining community after an accident.
April 6, 2010 Permalink
THE FIELD MARSHAL SPEAKS – AT 8:41 A.M. ET: President Obama, fresh from his great victories in international affairs – in the immortal words of Dwight Eisenhower, if you give me a week, I might be able to think of something – is now changing America's nuclear-weapons doctrine. Better start building those shelters. Pre-fabs available from Home Depot. From David E. Sanger and Peter Baker of The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Obama said Monday that he was revamping American nuclear strategy to substantially narrow the conditions under which the United States would use nuclear weapons.
That's like John Edwards rewriting the rules for women's dormitories.
But the president said in an interview that he was carving out an exception for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated or renounced the main treaty to halt nuclear proliferation.
Discussing his approach to nuclear security the day before formally releasing his new strategy, Mr. Obama described his policy as part of a broader effort to edge the world toward making nuclear weapons obsolete, and to create incentives for countries to give up any nuclear ambitions. To set an example, the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary.
Sure. Why would we develop new weapons just because the Iranians are? I don't know how long Bob Gates, a good defense secretary, will put up with this leftist stuff.
Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors and seeks to revamp the nation’s nuclear posture for a new age in which rogue states and terrorist organizations are greater threats than traditional powers like Russia and China.
Hey, guys, who fed you that line? When it comes to nukes, traditional powers will be heavy hitters for decades to come.
As far as the "sharp shift" from his precessors, I have a question: Who would you trust on national defense? Ronald Reagan or Barack Hussein Obama Jr.? Who would you trust? George W. Bush or Obama? Who would you trust? Richard Nixon or Obama? Who would you trust? Harry Truman or Obama?
Don't you like easy pop quizzes?
This story worries me. Get this:
It eliminates much of the ambiguity that has deliberately existed in American nuclear policy since the opening days of the cold war. For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.
April 6, 2010 Permalink
IMAGINE IF CBS COULD FINE NBC – AT 8:18 A.M. ET: The United States Government, which runs General Motors, has imposed the maximum possible fine on Toyota. This raises very serious conflict-of-interest questions.
We learned in school that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Same with the power to fine or even harass. From the Washington Times:
Toyota Motor Corp. faces a maximum penalty of more than $16 million, a record civil penalty against an automaker, for failing to promptly notify the U.S. government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles, federal officials announced Monday.
Toyota has recalled more than 6 million vehicles in the U.S., and more than 8 million worldwide, because of reports of acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the popular Prius hybrid model.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday that documents obtained from the Japanese automaker showed that Toyota knew of the problem with the sticking gas pedals in late September, but did not issue a recall until late January. The sticking gas pedal recall involved 2.3 million vehicles.
"We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations," Mr. LaHood said in a statement. "Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families."
COMMENT: I don't know. This bothers me. Not to defend Toyota, but please note that this administration is running GM, a major Toyota competitor. Also note that the United Auto Workers, which has vast influence among the Obamans, hates Toyota.
Creepy feelings, creepy feelings. Much government power.
April 6, 2010 Permalink
MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2010
CRAZY KARZAI – AT 6:40 P.M. ET: Afghanistanian President Hamid Karzai has launched several stunning verbal attacks on the United States, even as American forces are trying to save his country and his government. His lack of gratitude is classic. Try helping anyone in the Muslim world and you're usually repaid with abuse. From Fox:
The Obama administration once again is troubled and "frustrated" by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who reportedly is threatening to align with the Taliban while accusing the United States of meddling in his country's affairs.
"The remarks are troubling and the substance of the remarks are simply not true," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.
President Obama's top spokesman suggested the trouble with Karzai could endanger U.S. military operations in the country. He was reacting to comments Karzai made Saturday during a private meeting with Afghan lawmakers. They came after Karzai and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to patch things up Friday following a similar outburst earlier in the week in which he accused Western governments of sabotaging his election.
"I said it was troubling on Friday. Obviously, it didn't get any better," Gibbs said.
COMMENT: Look, we're stuck with Karzai. He's a corruptionist, a liar, and a crook. Otherwise, he's a terrific guy with a flair for nice colors. Gives good commencement speeches in America, too.
I won't defend the conniving Karzai, but the fact is that there's no great penalty for attacking the United States. And why shouldn't he attack us? We have a president who's already announced that our forces will start leaving Afghanistan next year. Try being an Afghan leader getting that message while fighting an insurgency. The insurgents may be running the show in a couple of years. s
Strange, but Karzai didn't make sport of the United States when George Bush was president. I wonder why.
April 5, 2010 Permalink
QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 6:27 P.M. ET: From conservative law professor and blogger Hugh Hewitt, in the Washington Examiner:
The president's popularity is plummeting -- down to a 44 percent approval rating in the most recent, post-Obamacare CBS poll -- and his rhetoric is getting angrier as he tours the country demanding that critics of Obamacare shut up.
His predecessor, George W. Bush, was blasted by the media when he used "Bring it on" against our nation's enemies.
President Obama's jeering "Let them try" challenge was followed by a sneering attempt at stand-up in Portland, Maine, on Friday when he compared critics of the new health care regime to fools wondering why seeds don't sprout immediately upon planting.
Americans love a good winner, but when the winner is a whiner, the public's reaction is not going to be admiration.
The president ran in 2008 as a post-partisan "uniter" who would usher in an era of bipartisan reform, but he has chosen to become a polarizing figure and a Chicago jam-down artist for whom trash talk is as much a part of his daily game. Rarely has the promise been so far removed from the result.
COMMENT: So true, so true. This is what happens when you send an amateur to do the job. At base, Obama is a small-timer with a golden voice. He reminds me of many of the Hollywood executives I've known who think their Ivy League degrees bought them talent. And, strangely, a lot of them also say they like basketball, and have those little miniature hoops in their office.
April 5, 2010 Permalink
REID IS HARRIED – AT 6:15 P.M. ET: Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, may not be back after the November election. Moving vans may be alerted. From The Hill:
Majority Leader Harry Reid barely cracks the 40% mark in his bid for re-election and trails two of his possible opponents by double digits, according to a new Rasmussen poll.
When paired against former state GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden, Reid trails 54%-39%. Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle leads by a similar margin of 51%-39%.
Reid does slightly better against businessman Danny Tarkanian, to whom he would lose 49%-42% if the election were held today.
A devastating 53% of Nevadans have a "very unfavorable view" of Reid.
COMMENT: They are obviously tough in Nevada.
It's fairly common, by the way, for members of Congress who rise to high position to begin to suffer in popularity in their own states or districts. Voters sometimes get the sense that the congressperson or senator has lost touch with the folks back home. This is especially a problem with senators who become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. An inordinate number of them have come to political grief when running for reelection.
But the election isn't being held today. Let's see if Republicans will fight hard enough to carry today's advantage through to November.
April 5, 2010 Permalink
THE MAN WHO WOULD TAKE OBAMA'S SEAT – AT 9:46 A.M. ET: There is a very spirited race going on in Illinois, political garden spot of the nation, for the Senate seat rarely used by Barack Obama before he was elevated to royal status. NRO reports on the defective-on-delivery Democratic candidate:
Republicans are well positioned to do something extraordinary in November: Win the Senate seats vacated by a Democratic president and vice president in the next election cycle. In Delaware, Republican Mike Castle leads his opponent by approximately 20 points — game over, in all likelihood. In Illinois, things are getting interesting. Polls show a tight, volatile race between Republican Congressman Mark Kirk and former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a Democrat.
In Illinois, Republicans have nominated attractive Congressman Mark Kirk. And the Dem candidate? A chip off the old cell block:
Alexi Giannoulias is a young, exceedingly ambitious politician with extensive ties to the very worst elements of the sordid Illinois Democratic machine. (With impeached/indicted former Governor Rod Blagojevich and convicted felon Tony Rezko in the mix, the TV commercials practically write themselves):
Friday's Chicago Tribune featured an in-depth look into the financial troubles of Giannoulias's family bank, including the role the candidate himself played in loaning $20 million to known members of organized crime:
"The family bank of Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias loaned a pair of Chicago crime figures about $20 million during a 14-month period when Giannoulias was a senior loan officer, according to a Tribune examination that provides new details about the bank's relationship with the convicted felons."
Look, these people have to eat, and they need proper guns.
Oh, and Obama has a walk-on in the drama:
Incidentally, how did a certain good-government, transparency-advocating, hopey-changey presidential candidate react to this news about his hoops buddy?
"After the press revealed that Giannoulias had basically lied about Giorango, Obama said he was "concerned," but he didn't actually do anything about it. Nor did he have any problems taking about $14,000 from Giannoulias, his family members, and at least one other manager at Broadway during his 2008 presidential campaign two years later."
Yes. Very, very "concerned."
It's no secret that Illinois has been plagued by political corruption for generations. Despite Illinois being a solidly blue state, there's a reasonable chance that its citizens simply won't abide a dishonest mob banker representing them in the U.S. Senate. Stay tuned: Between the Democrats' Chicago Way tactics and Giannoulias's disreputable background, this race could get ugly.
COMMENT: Get? It already is ugly. But we wait for the White House press corps to ask the president a single question about the strange doings in the land of Lincoln.
April 5, 2010 Permalink
THE TRUTH DRIBBLES OUT – AT 9:15 A.M. ET: Despite the White House's perpetual campaign, with the president making one ridiculous claim after another, the truth about the economy, and other things, drips out like an intravenous feeding. It's just as pleasant as well. From Fox:
Despite a modest rise last month in employment, the White House on Sunday braced out-of-work Americans for a slow economic recovery.
Obama's chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers said on a pair of talk shows that a year after the passage of the stimulus bill, the U.S. economy still has "a long way to go."
Summers said pushing the unemployment rate down from its current 9.7 percent level won't be easy.
But wasn't that the purpose of the stimulus bill?
He said Obama was preoccupied with creating jobs. "The trend has turned, but to get back to the surface, we've got a long way to go," Summers said.
The economy added about 162,000 jobs in March, the most in nearly three years. A large percentage of the gains were temporary census workers hired by the federal government, and the unemployment rate held firm at 9.7 percent. The additional 123,000 private-sector jobs were the most since May 2007.
The economy is growing again, but at a pace unlikely to quickly replace the 8.4 million jobs erased in the recession that began in late 2007. More than 11 million people are drawing unemployment insurance benefits.
COMMENT: Job growth depends on the ability of industry to hire people. But industry is being hit with new taxes and Obamacare costs. Not wise, not wise. This administration has yet to contemplate the meaning of the term, "timing."
At the same time, a few people at the top, especially on Wall Street, are hauling in outrageous "bonuses," for work whose value is often hard to discern. This is causing palpable anger throughout the country, and justifiably so. The free-enterprise system, like all social mechanisms, has the capacity to destroy itself, and a small number of high-profile but irresponsible "players" (that's what they often call themselves) seem determined to do so.
April 5, 2010 Permalink
WHAT? YOU MEAN THEY'RE NORMAL PEOPLE? MY PILLS! QUICKLY, MY PILLS! – AT 8:50 A.M. ET: There is shocking news to report. Please sit down. American pollsters – not connected with any foreign government, oil company, or failing cable network – have concluded that tea party people are normal. Andrew Malcolm of the L.A. Times's Top of the Ticket blog, has the story:
Now, comes a pair of polls, including Gallup, that paint a revealing detailed portrait of Tea Party supporters in most ways as pretty average Americans. A Sunday poll -- actually three national phone surveys of 1,000 registered voters -- found that 17% of all polled, or more than 500, called themselves "part of the Tea Party movement."
"It's a good sample size," David Winston, polling director of the Winston Group that did the poll for an education advocacy group, told the Ballot Box blog of The Hill newspaper.
The Tea Party adherents broke down 28% independent, 17% Democrat and only 57% Republican.
They aren't fascists? It's a crooked poll.
A new Gallup Poll out this morning of 1,033 finds nothing fringe about self-proclaimed Tea Party adherents; they are slightly more likely to be employed, male and definitely more conservative. But otherwise Gallup's Lydia Saad writes, "their age, educational background, employment status, and race -- Tea Partiers are quite representative of the public at large."
COMMENT: Do these results mean that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews have to banish themselves to Venezuela and join the Caracas Foreign Legion? Let us hope so.
I wonder how much these polls will be quoted today by the mainstream media. Don't hold your breath.
April 5, 2010 Permalink
OUR UNSERIOUSNESS ABOUT IRAN – AT 8:11 A.M. ET: After the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the British and French declarations of war against Germany, there followed a long lull that came to be known as the "phony war." Some assumed the sides just wouldn't fight. They were wrong.
Now we have the "phony policy." It's our policy toward Iran. The president and his trusty sidekick, Hillary, say that an Iranian nuclear bomb is "unacceptable." They make much noise about "crippling" sanctions. Or sanctions that "bite." Or something.
But nothing much happens, and virtually every report we've read from knowledgeable Washington sources tells us that the international law firm of Obama & Clinton is resigned to an Iranian nuke, and will try to "deter" the Iranians once they have the monster weapon.
The Wall Street Journal, in a scathing editorial this morning, tears the Obama policy apart and condemns it to the environmentally approved dustbin of history:
'Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite." Thus did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seek to reassure the crowd at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee two weeks ago about the Obama Administration's resolve on Iran. Three days later, this newspaper reported on its front page that "the U.S. has backed away from pursuing a number of tough measures against Iran" in order to win Russian and Chinese support for one more U.N. sanctions resolution.
Hillary would have made a great Hollywood agent. She doesn't know where the lies stop and the truth begins.
This fits the pattern we have seen across the 14 months of the Obama Presidency. Mrs. Clinton called a nuclear-armed Iran "unacceptable" no fewer than four times in a single paragraph in her AIPAC speech. But why should the Iranians believe her? President Obama set a number of deadlines last year for a negotiated settlement of Iran's nuclear file, all of which Tehran ignored, and then Mr. Obama ignored them too.
The Iranians have good reason to think they have little to lose from continued defiance. Tehran's nuclear negotiator emerged from two days of talks in Beijing on Friday saying, "We agreed, sanctions as a tool have already lost their effectiveness." He has a point.
And now the truth. Drum roll please. Faster:
All of these actions suggest to us that Mr. Obama has concluded that a nuclear Iran is inevitable, even if he can't or won't admit it publicly. Last year Mrs. Clinton floated the idea of expanding the U.S. nuclear umbrella to the entire Middle East if Iran does get the bomb. She quickly backtracked, but many viewed that as an Obama-ian slip.
The only question is, which ally will Obama blame when Iran gets the bomb? Israel? The new Iraq? Maybe he could find something about Italy. He will not blame himself. Never has. Heavenly creatures do not blame themselves.
And what will be the consequences of this major foreign-policy failure? The Jo
The Journal points out that, even foreign-affairs hands who accept the inevitability of a nuclear Iran, concede the meaning:
...even they acknowledge that a nuclear Iran "would be seen as a major diplomatic defeat for the United States," in which "friends would respond by distancing themselves from Washington [and] foes would challenge U.S. policies more aggressively." And that's the optimistic scenario.
President George W. Bush will share responsibility for a nuclear Iran given his own failure to act more firmly against the Islamic Republic or to allow Israel to do so, thereby failing to make good on his pledge not to allow the world's most dangerous regimes to get the world's most dangerous weapons. But it is now Mr. Obama's watch, and for a year he has behaved like a President who would rather live with a nuclear Iran than do what it takes to stop it.
COMMENT: The Journal is right about Bush. During his second term he allowed his foreign policy to be taken over by Condi Rice and other members of his father's crowd. The result was decline, drift and indecisiveness.
The Obama administration is even worse. I think Bush was sincere about wanting to stop a nuclear Iran, even though his vision was frustrated by his own appointees. I don't get the sense that the Obama administration is sincere at all. I don't think the president cares all that much. I suspect his reasoning is that we can't morally prevent a "third-world" country from having the bomb, when we have so many. That passes for strategy in some circles.
April 5, 2010 Permalink
TERROR UPDATE – AT 7:53 A.M. ET: A new terrorist attack against an American target in Pakistan reminds us that the war goes on every day, even though Americans seem to have put it largely out of their thinking:
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A terrorist attack near the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan killed two consulate security guards and at least four others Monday, authorities said.
The two consulate employees who died were Pakistani, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said, and "a number of others were seriously wounded."
At least six people were killed in all, a government official said.
The coordinated attack involved a vehicle suicide bomb and attackers who tried to enter the consulate by using grenades and weapons fire, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.
The blasts in the capital of the North West Frontier Province came hours after a suicide attack killed at least 30 people and wounded 50 others in another part of the province.
The two attacks reflect "the terrorists' desperation as they are rejected by people throughout Pakistan," the embassy statement said.
Peshawar is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Islamabad, the country's capital.
COMMENT: This new attack comes at a time of increased aggressiveness by terror groups in Iraq. This is the long war. It will not end on President Obama's timetable. The terrorists believe they can wait us out and wear us down. Now that the president has given time schedules for our withdrawal from Afghanistan, the terrorist thinking may be right.
In a catastrophic and dishonorable action, the United States Congress cut off aid to South Vietnam in 1975, dooming that country to a Communist takeover. Once the reds took over, the "anti-war" groups in the United States, and their allies in the press, who had been so weepy about the "Vietnamese people," had nothing more to say about them.
History can repeat...unless that is prevented by a GOP victory at the polls in November.
April 5, 2010 Permalink