Beyond the Cusp

June 30, 2015

The Thirty Days of Ramadan

 

While there are thirty days in the Muslim holiday of Ramadan as of the writing of this article we are merely approaching the midpoint of the holiday and have but a dozen days’ worth of news to pull from; thus, this is more like the Twelve Days of Ramadan. Perhaps it would be worth it for us to recall back in the days of the Second Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan where the allied troops were warned by the commander of the combined forces, the commander of each nations’ forces, and likely had the reminder driven home by every level right down to your squad leader. Then, additionally, whenever your squad was to perform a patrol the warnings were given in reverse starting with your squad leader to your platoon officer to your company commander and potentially to your battalion commander and, should one be extremely fortunate, your brigade commander to whatever was appropriate to the size of the mission and numbers of troops being dispatched. The warning would quickly sound like a broken record (for those who have never seen a turntable, let alone a record player, a broken record would have damaged tracks causing it to skip, backwards in this case, and repeat the same thing until nudged forward) warning the troops not to eat when Muslims were able to see your actions as this would be insensitive to their fasting during the daylight hours and eating after sundown. Be extraordinarily polite when dealing with a Muslim and be respectful of this holiday of ultimate importance in Islam, and whatever one did or whatever the circumstance nobody, they would usually emphasize this by adding, and I mean nobody, then continuing with the admonition, should discharge their weapon particularly aimed at a Muslim as such action would be desecrating and disrespecting this holy month of Ramadan. For some untold reason these rules of respecting Ramadan by restraining from any use of force was not part of the observance of those the allied troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were observing as they continued their usual ambushes and planting IEDs (improvised explosive devices which served a similar purpose as mines and were simply more ingenious in their construction and camouflage) or other steps of violence against the infidel troops besmirching not only their sacred lands but their sacred holiday by presenting themselves as targets forcing them to shoot at them during Ramadan.

 

Getting down to the serious discussion, Ramadan began on Thursday, the 18th of June, but with Islam using the same changeover of days like the Jews the start is actually the evening before at sunset and will continue until Friday, the 17th of July ending at sunset. Thus far it has been a busy first half of Ramadan despite the allied troops has almost completely disappeared from Iraq and being pulled out from Afghanistan. It was kicked off in Israel with the regularly scheduled rioting, vehement protesting any anti-terror activities such as checkpoints, despite their numbers being decreased for the entirety of Ramadan while concurrently issuing additional travel permits so that Arabs from Gaza desiring to worship at the Temple Mount could do so if they placed any importance on such activities being performed there. These passes were not honored for one entire day in response to rocket attack made the night of Tuesday, June 23 on Israel during Ramadan out of Gaza. The ramifications concerning Ramadan violence took a serious turn for the worse on the second day of Ramadan which was June 19 when Danny Gonen and a friend stopped their vehicle as they were leaving a spring they had visited to assist an Arab man who flagged them down appearing to be in distress. It was then when the Arab man upon approaching the vehicle opened up with a handgun shooting both young men and murdering one of the young men, twenty-five-year-old Danny Gonen, who died as a result of his wounds soon after being airlifted still in an unconscious state to Tel Hashomer Hospital. His friend, whose name has been withheld, received moderate to serious wounds with gunshots mostly to his arms and legs and was taken by ambulance for treatment at Tel Hashomer Hospital. His condition after arrival and treatment at the hospital was reported as moderately injured but stable expected to recover.

 

Just two days subsequent on June 21 a Border Patrol Officer was stabbed repeatedly by his Arab attacker with his most serious wounds resulting from a stabbing wound to his neck. Before losing consciousness the Border Officer managed to shoot and fatally injure his attacker preventing him from injuring others at the scene of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The officer regained consciousness after treatment some time on Monday and is expected to recover from his wounds. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino paid him a bedside visit on Monday morning and was quoted to have told the officer’s family, “They told me what happened to him after the stabbing, it enhances his heroism.”

 

The next day, Monday, June 22, the body of a farmer, David Bar Kapara aged 70 years, was found in his orchards. David Bar Kapara was murdered by what was described as Arab laborers who illegally entered Israel seeking employment and who were likely told that David Bar Kapara and not having found work they struck out and murdered an elderly man little capable of posing any risk to his attackers, a craven and cowardly act. These individuals, when caught, should be charged with having committed a brutal and horrific act, murder of the most serious kind, premeditated as they likely demanded employment threatening David Bar Kapara, a seventy-year-old farmer who was the most innocent and helpless against such an attack by so many attackers and then beat him to death. They could have simply stopped at any time while he would have survived but instead continued the assault like animals in a killing frenzy. They deserve to be treated as the rabid animals their attack closely imitated with its depravity and brutality resulting in cruel murder on a defenseless elderly farmer without any provocation and resulting merely because of their frustrations, a motivation hardly the equivalence of their horrific actions.

 

Then come Friday, June 26, there was an assault on an IDF manned checkpoint in the Jordan Valley. The initial investigations have revealed the perpetrator stepped from his vehicle and proceeded to open fire on the soldiers without managing to hit any of them. A short but decisive gun battle ensued resulting on the attacker’s death and no injuries of the soldiers stationed at the checkpoint. This is being treated as another Arab terror attack. The terrorist was armed with a modified Carl Gustav automatic weapon pictured below. These attacks and attempted murders with one target having suffered fatal wounds have represented the unfortunate upswing in terror attacks both in severity and frequency with these attacks having taken place solely in Israel.

 

 

Modified Carl Gustav automatic weapon used in the Friday, June 26, 2015, assault on an IDF manned checkpoint during Ramadan celebration and observance

Modified Carl Gustav automatic weapon used in the Friday, June 26, 2015, assault on an IDF manned checkpoint during Ramadan celebration and observance

 

 

Come Saturday night an ambulance and its driver were shot upon while returning from Ofra driving on the recently opened new highway adjacent to Beit El in the Binyamin region of Samaria, north of Jerusalem. The terrorist was standing next to his car with its engine running when, without any warning, the terrorist brandished his weapon and opened fire hitting the vehicle three times but injured nobody. The terrorist then proceeded to fire at the next vehicle right behind the ambulance. After apparently missing striking both vehicles the Arab shooter decided to call it a night and climbed back into his vehicle and sped off out of sight. The ambulance driver was quoted revealing that, “We get a lot more attacks at the entrances to Jerusalem, where they throw rocks, firebombs, and other things at us. I was told that this was the first time they fired at an ambulance in this area.” Let us hope that was the last attack on that route from this day forward.

 

This weekend and start of the new week has seen more than its share of Ramadan violence. Still listing violence in Israel, on Sunday there were two separate incidents. The first incident there was nobody hurt or injured as the IDF and security sources prevented the attack by intercepting a woman, an Arab Palestinian, who was trying to cross the security fence from Qalqiliya into Judea-Samaria carrying a rifle slung across her back. During questioning the would be female terrorist revealed that Hamas had sent her to carry out a terror attack to shoot as many Israelis as she could before being captured or otherwise prevented from continuing her assault. Then early on Monday we suffered a far more serious attack when an Arab woman and terrorist stabbed the twenty-five-year-old female IDF soldier placed to guard Kever Rachael (Rachel’s Tomb) north of Bethlehem and south of Jerusalem. In the assault the IDF guard was wounded with repeated stabbings largely in her neck as well as other minor injuries. The soldier received treatment at the scene and was still unconscious and listed as serious when placed for transit to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. During the trip, the female soldier regained consciousness and by the time she was transferred to the hospital she was listed to be in stable condition. She is expected to also make a complete recovery.

 

There was another attack Monday night first reported in the final hour before midnight and Tuesday morning. In yet another shooting attack these terrorists this time opened fire on a car near the community of Shvut Rachel where their bullets wounded four occupants in the car in which they were traveling. Of the four injured three were in light to moderate condition and the fourth suffered serious wounds. The most severely wounded victim was evacuated to the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem along with one of those in moderate condition while the other two victims were transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. These attacks were in addition to the return of rockets across the Gaza front and the barrages of rocks, bricks, cinderblocks and other various objects hurled at vehicles mostly in Judea and Samaria with recent outbreaks beginning within Israel largely thus far in central and northern Galilee. There also has been a marked increase in rockets fired by the Gaza terrorist outlets including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

 

Israel was far from the only scene of Islamic Jihadist violence. By now it should be becoming evident that as Giulio Meotti in “Terrorists are not Barbarians, They are Enemies at War with the West” made evidently clear, this is not simply a bunch of lone wolf attacks or even coordinated attacks meant to simply scare and worry people but a bonafide war being waged by slow escalations with the eventual intent to make one last final thrust and depose every Western Government in Europe and around the developed world. These soldiers of this Jihad are slowly being placed in vital points to take out leadership and infrastructure thus causing maximum confusion and lack of leadership and then exploiting the chaos that results. In what many news services are covering as three completely separate incidents with nothing in common except that they have been declared by many government experts in the Western World are loudly and vehemently exclaiming that they have nothing to do with the religion of peace, Islam. Yet, in the weekend following a call by ISIS for their followers around the world to rise up and terrorize the world, and three responded. We have and will continue to be told that these three individuals had nothing in common with each other and these were isolated incidents which just happened as these three simply went insane each at their own time for their own reasons.

 

Tunisia is reporting that they have arrested the first of those who planned and carried out the beach terror attack in which at least thirty-eight people were killed. They have detained “a significant number of people from the network that was behind this terrorist” attack on a popular tourist resort in Port El Kantaoui. The authorities have also claimed to have identified 23-year-old Seifeddine Rezgui as the man who has pulled an AK-47 from its concealed location inside a beach umbrella and began walking along the beach shooting as he walked along the beach. During the same period there was an assault on a Shia Mosque in Kuwait City. This attack murdered at least another twenty-seven people and wounded over 200 others simply because they practiced a separate branch of Islam. Finally, in Lyons, France, Yassine Salhi, who has admitted to decapitating his boss and placing his head trophy style on the fence post at the gates to the factory, has been detained along with his wife, sister and one other person. The man beheading his boss and mutilating his body, being as disturbing as it may be, that is the worst of the story as the explosion caused by Yassine Salhi ramming and exploding his truck into the gas factory where he has been employed resulted only two injuries while the rest of the employees were evacuated with no further harm to people. This may result in having been a terror attack which also targeted the terrorist’s place of work and mutilating and decapitating his boss may also be classified as possibly the worst case of workplace violence. Even removing the French attack, the Kuwait and Tunis attacks murdered sixty-five innocent people thus far and let us pray for no more to be counted amongst the dead, and well over two-hundred injured. The fact that these attacks occurred almost immediately after ISIS leadership called for their followers to rise up and attack and terrorize those who are the enemies of ISIS and their version of Sunni Islam, a call that likely places two-thirds of Sunni Muslims as legitimate targets which has been proven by the numbers of fellow Sunni Muslims have been murdered after ISIS has taken some presumed Sunni areas where the people apparently were not quite diligent or exactly the same as the one defined by ISIS. The one item which the people need to start with their elected representatives is that they no longer jump immediately to the conclusion that nothing initially appears to be a terror attack and then dancing around the point avoiding that which is obvious to the rest of us as terrorism. They and their co-conspirators from the mainstream media must be forced to recognize that the so-called unwashed masses are literate these days and though we may not have gone to Harvard or Columbia Universities, we are thinking and smarter than many of them would believe and we can handle the truth (no matter what Jack Nicholson may declare). They need to trust the people as the people, as a group, will often come to a better conclusion than the five-hundred-thirty-five, thirty-six if we count the man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, seem to be capable of reaching. The people would not write laws which one must pass to know what is in it and the people would write laws that make sense and not make laws because they had little else to do. I’d rather have a society designed by fifty to one-hundred land-owning farmers than a thousand lawyers, and thinking of it, was that not who wrote the Constitution of the United States that our modern day heroes are attempting to redefine to mean what they want it to mean and have a court which has recently twisted almost to if not past the breaking point. No, give me that original and unpolluted document even with the first ten amendments and allow a start-over for America, she will be better for the restart. Just as Israel would be at a greater advantage and healthier to return to their original constitution, not the one started as a conglomeration of “Basic Laws” which can be changed at whim, I mean Torah, the five books of Moses, even if it does mean no government making new laws, just using the ones written in Torah, all six-hundred-thirteen commandments.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 16, 2015

Response From European Jews Very Telling

 

As commented upon yesterday, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks received some, should we say, oh so informative responses from both sides of the pond, Europe and America, quoting his saying during his speech at the Herzliya Conference, “Jews have been faced with a choice: live in Europe and criticize Israel or be silent – or leave Europe.” As expected, the responses from the United States were more subdued and respectful while the responses from Europeans rang especially true to form as they were near the exact responses Ze’ev Jabotinsky received from Eastern Europe in the 1930s when he warned, “vacate Europe before Europe vacates you.” Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks will prove to be as forward thinking and prescient as the prophets of ancient Israel who claimed their visions and warning to originate from on high. A definition of a prophet as being one who knows what time it is, and would apply aptly to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks as he appears to see the writings on the walls of too many synagogues and the desecrations of so many Jewish cemeteries and now Jews being refused entrance to particular colleges and even the Louvre museum in Paris is just too similar to the banning of Jewish professors and students from teaching or attending the colleges and universities as Germany ramped up their rejection of the Jews which culminated in the Holocaust, yet it is beginning to appear that Europe has forgotten this ugliness in her past and being hell bent on returning for another round of complete insanity.

 

The responses out of our European cousins, the European Jews, and especially their Rabbis, have been just as blinded by the seemingly empty promises of protection and affection for the Jewish population in Europe as were the protestations by German Jews when they were assured by their neighbors that their rejection and singling out for special laws and treatments was simply a temporary inconvenience, nothing more. During that fateful time it began with the very same BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement where the Jewish owned establishments were shunned by the Germans and later forbidden to frequent Jewish owned shops which eventually were destroyed during the riots known now as Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass after which the fate of German and eventually almost all of Europe’s Jews were fated and it was too late to leave, to flee to Eretz Yisroel just as Ze’ev Jabotinsky had begged and pleaded that they do just a few years earlier. The responses out of Europe and the United States complained that Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks delivered his “Doom and Gloom Speech” when actually the erudite and prescient man of learning delivered a message of hope, of truth and of and from his deep understanding of history being in a replay of one of its all-time favorite tunes, the tune calling to be rid of the Jewish menace, a tune played on their way to join the Crusades, played when the plague struck the cities of Europe particularly hard, played at the Spanish and other institutes of the inquisition, played before every pogrom, played as an accompaniment to the wars between Catholics and Protestants, played at the onset of the Shoah and being replayed again today as the lead for what is uncertain but the portends are evil, so very evil. Still the response was the same as each time before, the response of the intention to ignore the lessons of history and emphasize the slight and insignificant differences as proof that it cannot happen here as we are an integral and vital segment of the society and the government is behind protecting them. What will their story be when, for their protection, they are relocated to within a walled community with guards and lights around the perimeter? Will the next relocation also be accepted as the government being committed to their protection and just making arrangements to make keeping them safe, or will they finally awaken and realize the time has come to go where the government is honestly interested in keeping them and all Jews safe, Israel. What is even more important is this time; unlike in the 1930s when Ze’ev Jabotinsky pleaded his case always making sure his route back to Israel remained immediately accessible. Still, the cry was their protestation that, “It can’t happen here!” The excuses tagged on behind that phrase sounded more like reassurances made for their own mind’s serenity than a truthful estimation of their precarious lives.

 

The history of the Jews is often related looking at the calamities of both the Biblical years and those that followed managing to overlook the accomplishments of a small segment of the world’s populations which is an unfair telling. Perhaps that is the price paid for allowing ourselves to remain in the Diaspora instead of returning to our homeland sooner. We can only theorize how our lives might have proven to have progressed had we returned from the Roman dispersions immediately after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Might life have been so different living under the Eastern Roman Empire, a.k.a. the Byzantine Empire, followed by Ottoman Rule and enduring the turmoil during the centuries of the Crusades? The Jews who lived in Spain and the whole of the Arabic Muslim lands of North Africa and the Middle East fared no better and no worse than we did under the European Christian lands north of the Mediterranean Sea. Who knows how our lives might have been different and what twists and turns could have gotten us to this state where one would think we might have learned to see the signs, read the tea leaves if you will. Time after time we told ourselves that it can’t happen here and time after time it happened to that here wherever it happened to be. The Czars in Russia, the Inquisitors in Spain, the Catholics and Protestants in England, the Sultans of Algiers, the Commissars of the Soviet Union, the Imams of Iraq, the self-proclaimed or anointed ones, it made no difference, the leaders were different, the governances were different, their religions were all different but the cry was familiar, the Jew brought this pestilence, famine, disease, crop failure, economic hardship, threats from our neighboring country, millions of excuses, the same results, millions of dead or displaced Jews. There was a reason historically why our forefathers used to keep two suitcases packed with our barest of essentials and the items of our faith ready to relocate anywhere at any time and be able to set up anew.

 

It made no difference how crucial we were to their economic health, their physical wellbeing, their armies where our sons fought beside their sons and saved the realm, all of that was meaningless when the disease took hold once somebody decided to cry out those same words in a million tongues, it was the Jews, get them!. They are crying that same cry right now, it just sounds slightly different. This time it is the Zionist, the Israeli government; but these are simply strawmen set up to defuse the feelings of threat felt by the Jews despite their knowing deep inside that they are still screaming that it’s the Jews, just these Jews are all part of a foreign land allowing a feeling of comfort. But was the museum in Brussels in Europe or Israel? How about the Hyper Cacher market, Israel or Europe? We could go down the calamities and the demonstrations filled with hate which have plagued Europe and many targeting the Jews of Europe and it’s only getting worse by the day. It can and is happening here for all too many Jews. But when their Rabbis calm them and speak those soothing words you need to hear, that it is all a phase, it was young teenagers performing a rite of passage, that was because of Israel and not directed at us, the excuses are never ending but that last one is the most dangerous as it reverses the threat levels making Israel the one threatened, not the European Jew. Here is a little secret, Israel is viewed as the eight-hundred-pound gorilla who just reached her highly advanced capabilities for warfare to keep us safe while you are the tempting low hanging fruit as in Europe you are defenseless. They may say Zionist, say Israel, they mean Jews collectively and individually and they would much rather face the Jews individually in Europe than collectively and organized in Israel.

 

The threats are real and they are escalating which the reports by the police and authorities prove. Do not come and tell me about the report compiled for the community of religious leaders from your town, borough, county, city or whatever religious Kumbaya committee presented because we all know deep inside that that report was compiled in just such a way and the data massaged such that it allowed your Rabbi to deliver the sermon of his life depicting the struggle ahead as you repaired the world, you did Tikkun Olam. This, you were told was the challenge in front of you, not making Aliyah as there was so much you could do right there in your little community which would make the world a better and safer place where everyone was equal and people would break out in song and choreographed dance every so often in the center of town just like in an old Disney movie, say like The Music Man. It is not going to happen and the time is late with the situation approaching dire rapidly. Anyways, Tikkun Olam is not about perfecting the world through outside work and feel-good projects which make you believe you are making a difference when in reality you are just spinning your wheels for your own gratification, not to actually help these people who are not looking welcoming as much as they are wondering why you are doing whatever you are doing and what are you thinking. Tikkun Olam is about improving the world by perfecting yourself and making yourself the paragon of virtue and practicing the commandments because you have chosen to actually change the world for the better. Tikkun Olam is about looking deep within oneself and once we have gotten our souls and bodies to work in synchronization, both dedicated to Hashem, then we can worry about the person next and then the next after that, but first repair yourself and be the person you are proud for others to see. Be the person that when you arrive people know that wisdom and pure spirit has arrived and that alone can save the day. Tikkun Olam is what that young Muslim did during the attack taking place in the Hyper Cacher Kosher Market when Lassana Bathily who risked his life to save the market’s customers by concealing them within the freezer, and he did also turn the temperature to a point which balanced human survival and not destroying the contents of the freezer, and then remained outside the freezer and called the police outside and performed a reconnoiter of the situation which assisted and allowed for the Police to target their attack of the market and only shoot the perpetrator and save the remaining customers. This man took his actions above and beyond what might be expected of any normal person and took actions which mattered and saved lives because he believed that these people were worth saving as that is the message Lassana Bathily learned from his Imam and his study of Islam. His Imam teaching the enlightening and hopeful passages of the Quran, such as if you save one person, it says man, then you have saved a world. Lassana Bathily saved many worlds that day; the numbers vary but appear to center around a nice easy number, a dozen. How many worlds have any of us saved, perhaps that might be a better angle and the Jews in Europe could do little better than to speak the truth and by example lead your own Exodus to the Promised Land. Nobody expects anyone to be the next Moses as that would be a hard act to follow, but we can at least strive to be at least as good and promising an individual as Caleb who deserved a little more mention as he took the position of the opposition to the other ten spies who reported the impossibility of the Hebrews even with the help of Hashem and even after all they had witnessed, the ten plagues which broke Pharaoh, the splitting of the Red Sea and subsequent drowning of the Egyptian army, the handing down of the Ten Commandments and yet they doubted that Hashem would not be sufficient to win the day for them. Caleb was thought to be of similar mind while they knew Joshua was Moses’s protégé and thus would report that all would be a cake walk, but Caleb was expected to put the cherry atop the ice cream. Caleb told them that the lands were trembling and fearing their approach and with Hashem all things are possible, he took the righteous high road and then we hear almost nothing more after his one shining moment, but what a moment which I am sure we all wish we too could be such a shining example. Every Jew in the Diaspora if they get one person to also start to consider making Aliya then you have made the supreme effort of overcoming the highest hurdle, getting their attention and having them reason, especially as they will now reason with themselves and that allows. Hashem to add his voice, his quiet almost still voice and not the booming scare the entire valley voice. Lead by example, that is Tikkun Olam.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 13, 2015

A Chance America Riding Off Into the Sunset

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There has been speculation about what role the United States will play on the world’s stage as threats abound of various severities and natures almost everywhere one looks and still we hear from United States President Obama that he awaits final strategy and complete plans laid out before him from the Pentagon before he can act. This excuse from President Obama for not committing to some plan of action sounds unrealistic, especially as it is well known even personally after having served in the United States Army, the Pentagon has plans, War Scenarios, for near any contingency which might arise. This makes President Obama’s excuse of not having any plans before him sound quite lame. Even had the Pentagon not had an exact battle plan in place when ISIS first reared their ugly heads and started chopping heads, especially since some belonged to the United States, you can bet the Pentagon went to their files and had cobbled together six ways come Sunday for dealing with ISIS which probably had added contingencies for removing Bashir al-Assad from power and potentially addressing the Iranian nuclear issue as well. The one thing is, they were not short of was plans. The only thing necessary would be for the President to choose one and they would be implementing within forty-eight hours. Each set of plans would have in the full layout exactly which units were trained for that exact mission and which of those units was at full strength and had a ready status. They would have decided whether or not to use the ready actions units of which at least two brigades of Army would be on immediate deployment status and I can assume the Marines, Navy and Air Force have similar plans for immediate response to any call up.

 

We can trust the Pentagon has plans and that all the President need do is pick up that phone he claims he could use to call for action if Congress did not pass his legislation in a timely manner and instead call the Pentagon and request their actions and plans be presented. Then he could pick up that pen with which he threatened Congress to use to write Executive Orders and use it to sign off on a plan of action and then write an Executive Memo to the leaders in Congress informing them of the impending actions and the Pentagon would take care of the rest. There is one contingency for which the Pentagon likely has plans but would be unable to implement them until the President ordered them to follow and support somebody else’s initiation of actions. That is President Obama’s famous plan of leading from behind, better known as following which often is the action of those too cowardly to commit to actions and stick their neck out, something which would be risky against ISIS but the President can go ahead and stick his neck out, the military would be out in front and would do or die even knowing that in the end the President would claim the glory, after all he took out Osama bin Laden haven’t you heard. Leading from behind is not an option on this crisis but President Obama is not one to make definitive decisions which might have him owning his actions. President Obama would rather simply follow and take only that action was dictated by somebody else, the United Nations, the European Union, NATO led by another member, actually President Obama would follow anybody, well, anybody but Israel. Were Israel to engage ISIS, it would not be a complete surprise if President Obama gave weapons to ISIS through some obscure middleman leader of another nation who might be supportive of ISIS though doing so would be risky. But until somebody else takes the lead we can expect more excuses over action from the White House.

 

One wonders if President Obama has even requested the Pentagon produce their plans for dealing with ISIS and said plans actually called for the United States to sit this round out. We can figure that the United States is loath to send troops back into Iraq after being pulled out by President Obama in a manner that military planners had informed the President was a premature action which would cause more problems than it could solve. The one problem leaving a residual force would not have addressed was President Obama winning reelection on his promise to bring our boys home come something (keeping it family friendly) or high water. The Pentagon may have been requested to provide plans which would include supporting UN or EU or NATO action taken to facilitate leading from behind at which time the Pentagon action would most likely be exactly what we are seeing, doing nothing waiting for somebody else to take the initiative so they could follow thus leading from behind again allowing President Obama to risk nothing which actually making a choice and lead would mean. But this begs a question; what happens if the United States is about to return to her historic role of isolationism where the United States trades with her friends and with her enemies but on a lesser scale and dares not interfere in worldly matters allowing them to work themselves out without United States interventions. United States entering an isolationist perspective would only allow her deployment of troops to be limited and almost always to support trade more than worrying about such trivialities as world balance and defeating evil, that’s better left to the knights of Europe who have always done this before. Of course this before was before the United States encouraged Europe to stop their militarism and that the United States would spread her umbrella and cover them so they could turn to less harmful pursuits such as taking on debt and squabbling amongst each other, just this time no world wars starting in Europe, that was the deal the United States imposed on Europe. But now it appears the United States may be folding up that umbrella and claiming not to see the storm clouds rising out of the Middle East, a denial which is difficult to swallow.

 

The going theory is that the United States will return to the role of the world’s police and enforce the good behavior between the nations extending force projection where needed. That is not the historic tendency of the United States after any major conflicts; her historic stance has been a laissez-faire attitude of simple sitting back keeping her hands politely to herself, which is the norm from the United States. The average American knows little about world affairs and cares even less. The average American was defined by President Clinton in his initial campaign for the Presidency with his slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The stupid in this case was George Herbert Walker Bush (the elder and first Pres Bush) and the elections proved it as President Bush did not gain reelection largely due to his having broken his promise of, “Read my lips; no new taxes,” and then was forced to raise taxes by a Democrat Congress in order to get his budget passed with the military spending not slashed by the Congress. The election of President Clinton over reelecting President Bush was all about domestic policies over foreign policies.

 

You start to talk about foreign policy with the average American and their eyes gloss over and they drift into some zombie like state all catatonic and in shock after the first two or three sentences. Talk about immigration, taxes, domestic hot-button issues, government spending of which all is unnecessary except those they are or will receive, and the economy then you will engage in a sometimes heated debate. Talk about money and they will listen, talk about something happening in the Mille East or Asia and they will repeat what the media stated, that is bad, that is good and those people sure have as rough time, but then they will turn it back to how the government needs to take care of things at home first. The average American has all the sympathy you could ever ask for and they will donate more to charities than any other peoples on earth but when it comes to sending their young men off to fight in what they mostly see as somebody else’s war, then they need a ton of convincing and President Obama surfs waves, seldom makes waves when it comes to world politics. The President came from a past as a community organizer, read rabble rouser causing trouble to force government actions usually spending more money of which they get the lion’s share, and knows little outside of Chicago, let alone outside of the United States. He treats foreign policy as if it was a plague and to his outlook, as well as many Americans outlooks, simply does not go past the horizon and possibly not past the water’s edge.

 

We can bet that should the Democrat candidate become the next President, they too will do little as they can in foreign policy. We need remember that the Democrat candidate will not likely be Hillary Clinton but more likely somebody not even announced as of yet. Ms. Clinton’s campaign van has the wheels flying off and the engine is about to quit. The van is driving down the road to oblivion. But what if it is the Republican candidate, you inquire. There we need to find out who will take the lead and which ones do not survive the first three or four actual primary votes. We can make some specific and general observations. Rand Paul is an isolationist libertarian who believes if the United States hurts nobody then nobody would target the United States. Of all the governors and ex-governors running, only Jeb Bush might be a President inclined to use military force and actually have an active foreign policy. Others have claimed that they will repair the United States relations with Israel as well as Egypt and Saudi Arabia largely undoing some of the changes made under President Obama. Still, such actions do not necessarily mean a return into Iraq to defeat ISIS unless it becomes a dire threat to the stability of the Middle East. Only Senator Marco Rubio has direct experience with foreign policies as he in on the Senate Intelligence Committee which gives him access beyond the average Senator under the need to know doctrines. Almost any Republican candidate becoming President would easily take four months to a year to become fully briefed on every hot-spot that the Pentagon had plans and counter plans and different options under each plan and time granted each. Such amounts of information is why the President has a Secretary of Defense whose staff is divided so they can divide their work and attend to each contingencies. Still, the final decisions and person who must form the overall foreign police and who has to call in the troops for action when deemed to be necessary lies with the President and the President alone. That is one of the reason it is said that it is lonely at the top. We still have no real available input that any of the Republican candidates would press for an interventionist approach to foreign policies.

 

Likely the most pressing foreign policy might already have their hands tied should President Obama make any Iran nuclear deal somehow into a treaty without gaining Congressional affirmation. Such a decade long deal would actually prevent the next administration from taking any actions without smoking gun style proof that Iran had broken the agreement but as the agreement includes steps all the way through twelve years with little margin for change in the terms or even the terminology during that time period with the Iranians presumably free to complete their desired goal of deliverable nuclear warheads and the ICBMs on which to place them after ten years according to President Obama’s own admission which would leave them at a minimum two years to produce as many weapons systems as they are able starting with an unknown amount of LEU (low enrichment Uranium) with which to work and all of that Uranium a simple two day’s processing to be made weapons grade HEU (highly enriched Uranium over 90% purity) and then they would be capable of molding the cores and producing actual weapons. All of this is a guess of what the eventual agreement will appear to say and Iranian compliance to the terms and inspection protocols as well as their answering numerous questions about previous work performed largely by the military which Iran insists is an unprecedented and unnecessary invasion of their privileges and privacies. So, when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program the next President may be acting with his hands tied and possibly looking at a negative response from a nuclear armed Iran claiming their dominion over Iraq and dismissing the need for United States interference in their area of control which they will claim includes Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and who knows where else by January 21, 2017 when the next President takes office. After Iran there will be other situations such as Russia and their low-grade war with the Ukraine and its possibilities, China and their expansion Islands being built and potentially taking territorial control semi-legally over the entire South China Sea giving them control over one of the most active shipping lanes in the world. Speaking of choke points for shipping, Iran already has menacing control over the Straits of Hormuz where almost one third of the world’s oil is shipped by tankers and may through their proxies in Yemen, Houthis can also threaten to control the Bab-el-Mandeb which would cut off the southern exit of the Red Sea making the Suez Canal unusable and the Israeli southern port to the orient and Africa blockaded, a casus belli which could lead to a state of declared war by Iran on Israel and Egypt as both would have their shipping access to the world impeded illegally as Iran would have no other excuse other than they could close all shipping. These are just the top three and none of these includes the ISIS threat which may grow to the point where Iran and ISIS meet on equal footing with ISIS having gained an Air Force even if of a limited nature, and tactics which are prone to working, at least working well against the Iraqi army. ISIS has had far less success against the Kurdish Militias such as the Peshmerga (literally “one who confronts death”) and the People’s Protection Units (known as the YPG). These have held the northeast parts of Syria having an astonishing turning point in the city of Kobanê as well as the northern third or so of Iraq where the Kurdish forces saved thousands of Yazidi and whose Yazidi Militias have joined ranks with the Kurdish Militias. We could continue to the other continents and their probabilities for causing distress but that would leave Antarctica as probably the only safe haven if you desired no strife, or at least not yet.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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