Quotes of the day
posted at 8:01 pm on July 27, 2014 by Allahpundit
The violence in Libya that caused U.S. embassy personnel to flee the country on Saturday is partly due to President Obama’s inability to bring calm to the region, key Republican members of Congress said on Saturday.
According to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the “deteriorating security posture” that is playing out across the region “is what happens when the United States is not engaged and lacks a clear foreign policy that includes strong U.S. leadership.”…
The country has been locked in violence and instability since Gaddafi, the former dictator, was ousted with American aid in 2011. Militia groups have had easy access to weapons, officials say, and some of the armed groups have focused their threats on Americans.
Taliban fighters are scoring early gains in several strategic areas near the capital this summer, inflicting heavy casualties and casting new doubt on the ability of Afghan forces to contain the insurgency as the United States moves to complete its withdrawal of combat troops, according to Afghan officials and local elders.
The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.
Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it. The Afghan ministries have not released casualty statistics since an alarming rise in army and police deaths last year.
Four-star Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, used a speaking engagement at the Brookings Institute on Tuesday to deliver a stinging rebuke of the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq.
“I have a hard time believing that had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today,” Gen. Amos said, the Fiscal Times reported Wednesday…
“We may think we’re done with all of these nasty, thorny, tacky little things that are going on around the world — and I’d argue that if you’re in that nation, it’s not a tacky, little thing for you. We may think we’re done with them, but they’re not done with us,” the commandant of the Marine Corps added, the paper reported. “We’re probably the only country in the world that has the resources and the capability to be able to do some of this that others can’t.”
The draft Kerry passed to Israel on Friday shocked the cabinet ministers not only because it was the opposite of what Kerry told them less than 24 hours earlier, but mostly because it might as well have been penned by Khaled Meshal. It was everything Hamas could have hoped for.
The document recognized Hamas’ position in the Gaza Strip, promised the organization billions in donation funds and demanded no dismantling of rockets, tunnels or other heavy weaponry at Hamas’ disposal. The document placed Israel and Hamas on the same level, as if the first is not a primary U.S. ally and as if the second isn’t a terror group which overtook part of the Palestinian Authority in a military coup and fired thousands of rockets at Israel…
If Kerry did anything on Friday it was to thwart the possibility of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza. Instead of promoting a cease-fire, Kerry pushed it away. If this failed diplomatic attempt leads Israel to escalate its operation in Gaza, the American secretary of state will be one of those responsible for every additional drop of blood that is spilled.
A real U.S. president would give Kiev the weapons it needs, impose devastating sectoral sanctions on Moscow, reinstate our Central European missile-defense system, and make a Reaganesque speech explaining why.
Obama has done none of these things. Why should he? He’s on the right side of history.
Of course, in the long run nothing lasts. But history is lived in the here and now. The Soviets had only 70 years, Hitler a mere twelve. Yet it was enough to murder millions and rain ruin on entire continents. Bashar Assad, too, will one day go. But not before having killed at least 100,000 people…
The world is aflame and our leader is on the 14th green. The arc of history may indeed bend toward justice, Mr. President. But, as you say, the arc is long. The job of a leader is to shorten it, to intervene on behalf of “the fierce urgency of now.” Otherwise, why do we need a president? And why did you seek to become ours?
Luckily for America’s self-esteem, it was liberal Democrats that produced this particular shambles [in Libya]. If Republicans had done this, the media would be on the administration non-stop, perhaps comparing Samantha Power to Paul Wolfowitz—a well-meaning humanitarian way over her head who wrecked a country out of misguided ideology. There might also be some pointed questions for future presidential candidates who supported this fiasco. But since both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have their fingerprints all over Libya, there isn’t a lot of press hunger for a detailed, unsparing autopsy into this stinking corpse of policy flub.
If Obama were a Republican, the press and the weekly news shows would be ringing with hyperbolic, apocalyptic denunciations of the clueless incumbent who had failed to learn the most basic lessons of Iraq. Indeed, the MSM right now would be howling that Obama was stupider than Bush. Bush, our Journolist friends would now be saying ad nauseam, at least had the excuse that he didn’t know what happens when you overthrow a paranoid, genocidal, economically incompetent Arab tyrant in an artificial post-colonial state. But Obama did—or, the press would nastily say, he would have done if he’d been doing his job instead of hitting the golf course or yakking it up with his glitzy pals at late night bull sessions. The ad hominem attacks would never stop, and all the tangled threads of incompetence and failure would be endlessly and expertly picked at in long New Yorker articles, NYT thumbsuckers, and chin-strokings on all the Sabbath gasbag shows…
But luckily for Team Obama, the mainstream press would rather die than subject liberal Democrats to the critiques it reserves for the GOP. So instead, as Libya writhes in agony, reputations and careers move on. The news is so bad, and the President’s foreign policy is collapsing on so many fronts, that it is impossible to keep the story off the front pages. “Smart diplomacy” has become a punch line, and the dream Team Obama had of making Democrats the go-to national security party is as dead as the passenger pigeon. But what the press can do for the White House it still, with some honorable exceptions, labors to accomplish: it will, when it must, report the dots. But it will try not to connect them, and it will do what it can to let all the people involved in the Libya debacle move on to the next and higher stage of their careers.
There is no ceasefire in Gaza because a ceasefire is in no one’s interest. Israel’s objective is clear: degrade Hamas’ capability to fire rockets at Israeli civilians and attack Israeli communities from underground. As for Hamas, its interest is irrational, macabre, and deranged, but no less obvious: Promote itself as the leader of the worldwide struggle against Zionism and Judaism, while ensuring collateral damage that will foment outrage at Israel. That is why Hamas stores weapons in schools, why its military headquarters is in the basement of a hospital. Hamas is not interested in minimizing pain. Hamas wants to maximize it.
Who wants a ceasefire? Obama and Kerry. They need the diplomatic victory after the failure of their misguided and poorly executed bid to reconcile the irreconcilable. The president’s approval rating on foreign policy is abysmal. A ceasefire might help the American people forget, just for a moment, that their president has failed to influence events in Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq, let alone advance American interests overseas. Since he became president, Israel is the one country in the world in whose affairs President Obama has seemed at all interested in intervening. It is the one country whose politics and actions Obama has had no trouble judging harshly. Next to golf, it’s his favorite pastime.
Barack Obama is not just over his presidency. When it comes to the outside world that has intruded so rudely on his pet domestic projects, he just. Can’t. Even…
Obama’s attitude toward Israel’s problems, and the world’s, is really just a particularly snobbish version of the generic American position on Old World religious and political dilemmas.
When we see these conflicts around the world, we often sympathize with the afflicted, and we like to help them when we count them among our friends and allies. What we do not like to do is feel as if we are being ensnared in complex fights revolving around age-old hatreds, regardless of how forceful our military presence is in the world.
Barack Obama’s fundamental disconnect from Israel and the world chimes too closely with America’s traditional wariness of foreign dramas to come across as truly anti-Semitic in substance. Yet, in style, his insufferably priggish attitude is so at odds with ours that he has made himself a target for ideological scorn, and it’s no surprise Obama retreats ever deeper into his cosmopolitan bubble.
People looking at the world today are, I think rightfully, seeing something of a parallel with confusions of a century ago. In the last weeks and months, what a crowding and a tangling of events we have seen. And we have seen, too, how, just like a hundred years ago, an event in one place has its connection and impact in others. A jet shot down over Ukraine has a consequence for Israel a week later…
The West has had some peace since the last great war, almost 70 years of it now. And we have had with that peace an astounding march of technological and material progress. Both tend to make people forgetful of worse times. It renders them careless of the foundations upon which peace is first secured and then maintained, and nourishes the delusion they are exempt from the horrors and perils that have been a constant in human affairs.
So it seems now to some, as it seemed to some a century ago, that there is a menacing scattering of events and conflicts, where a disturbance, an accident or misadventure (such as the shooting down of the passenger jet) in one arena could unwind into a chain of unforeseen events, a haphazard flow of unpredictable cause and effect. And here, despite Eliot’s cautions, we can draw another clear and unconfused message from history: Whenever full-scale war comes. it is always worse than the previous one.
Conservatives say Obama thinks he’s king. But they seem to confuse him with God.
It’s easy to forget that planet Earth has always been a turbulent locale. During the Reagan administration, often fondly recalled as a golden age, there was endless strife hither and yon: civil wars in Central America; Americans taken hostage in Lebanon; a U.S. military barracks blown up in Beirut; and Libyan terrorists bombing a Pan Am plane…
Yet the belief persists that the difference between a bad outcome and a good outcome is a willingness by the U.S. government to exercise leadership or show toughness or otherwise get involved. In practice, our interventions often exact a terribly high price for a dismal result. If there are two ways to get a dismal result, maybe we should choose the one that doesn’t cost us thousands of lives or billions of dollars.
We like to think we can easily shape the world to suit our preferences. But as the 19th-century historian Henry Adams pointed out, chaos is the law of nature, and order is the dream of man.