Beyond the Cusp

December 14, 2013

Hagel’s Syria Conundrum

United States Secretary of Defense has a dilemma concerning supporting the Syrian rebels fighting to unseat President Bashir al-Assad and his oppressive Alawite regime; he is unsure where the secular forces are that he wishes to aid. Anybody familiar with the Middle East or who had paid attention to the various events unfolding in what was euphemistically referred to as the Arab Spring would have predicted the events to come in the Syrian civil war right from the start. Even Tunisia which likely had the easiest transition from their former oppressive leader to an elected oppressive leadership depicted the direction that every single Arab uprising was destined to travel. They would be initiated by secular libertine interests only to be replaced by populist Islamic rulers either from the Muslim Brotherhood or possibly aligned with al-Qaeda who would be just as oppressive and economically depressing as their former dictators. Egypt was the fortunate state as it has actually returned to its military rule which, though far from idyllic, is far more accommodating of a plurality culture than the Islamists who support oppressive and destructive intentions for all non-Muslim segments of their societies demanding a Dhimmi existence at best and eradication at worst. Syria simply lasted long enough in its revolutionary struggle for the Islamists to be required to actually fight for their preeminent positions because the secular revolt proved insufficient to oust a very tenacious Bashir al-Assad. Thus, in Syria the cat is out of the bag and it has become obvious even to those who most stubbornly desired to never see the reality, that the change which was to come in the Middle East from the more accurately described Arab Winter was a transition from nationalist oppressive dictatorships to Islamic oppressive dictatorships. So, now poor Secretary of Defense Hagel is left with aid to equip the secular resistance in Syria and nobody or place to ship it too where the Islamist forces would end up the recipients.


Exactly how did this dilemma come about? Initially the revolution in Syria consisted of the Free Syrian Army which was pluralistic and fighting for a secular western style governance in Syria just as the secular forces had risen up for freedom and liberty in Tunisia and Egypt and the rest. This was the high point for the secularists as they were at their peak strength with the largest forces they would muster in their efforts to overthrow Syria’s dictatorial government. Virtually everybody who was going to join their cause and fight for an open and inclusive society were enlisted and either they were going to win a quick and easy victory or die trying. Well, they did not win a quick victory but did begin to die trying and as they did their forces began to dwindle as there were no reserves from which to draw replacement troops. The Islamists, in this case Sunni in particular, realized that the secularists were going to be unable to win this revolution for them and were required to grab the opportunity offered them and try to unseat a wounded Assad or simply permit Assad to win and then unleash his revenge on a hapless nation. They chose to take their shot at removing Assad and replacing him the old fashion way, by sheer force. As time wound on it should have become painfully obvious to the Western interests who were backing the secularist Free Syrian Army that there would soon be nobody left to aid or at least such a small and ineffectual force as to be useless and in an impossible position caught between the Islamist forces and Assad’s Syrian military might.


So, what are the libertine forces from the Western nations to do facing this new reality of all this aid and nobody to receive it? The one suggestion we might wish for them to entertain would actually make for their gaining an advantage out of two less than promising difficulties. The one way that they can come out winners with an ally in place, at least for the time being as nothing is guaranteed to last eternally, would be to recognize the Kurdish forces in the area bordering Iraq and Syria and recognize a new liberated group who desperately want and most definitely deserve their own nation. The British had promised the Kurds their own nation which would have included a small section of eastern Turkey, areas of northeastern Syria and the northern third of Iraq but, as the British were want to do when redrawing the lines of the Middle East after World War I, they broke their promise just as they carved up three quarters of what was set aside for the Jewish State to form a Palestinian Arab state ruled by the Hashemite allies called Jordan, the British enlarged Iraq to include almost all of what would have been Kurdistan simply so the Getty family could exploit the northern Iraqi oil fields with the blessings of their friend whom they placed to rule Iraq in their interest. So, why not do the right thing for a huge change and set to rights an exploitive decision by the colonialist powers that used self-serving interests to guide them and paid service to their greed rather than doing that which they knew was right and promised and forgo some amount of profit. Here is your way out of this predicament and an honorable path as well, which is why nobody in Washington, London or Paris will ever think of setting promises kept even if at a later date.


Beyond the Cusp


February 27, 2013

Republican Lack of Discipline Exposed by Hagel Confirmation

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There is a theory throughout the free world that on certain votes party discipline is expected. Such examples abound in the Parliaments in Europe, Israel, Japan, Australia, Canada and any we may have omitted. It has often been on display within the United States Congress, but almost exclusively by the Democrat legislators and almost never, actually might be never, from the Republican side of the aisle. The nomination by President Obama of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense was problematic even before his dreadful performance at his confirmation hearings. As positions go in a President’s Cabinet, Secretary of State, CIA Chief, Chief of the FBI are the few of the positions which rival Secretary of Defense in their importance. This makes the ability to answer questions competently and without overly long hesitations very crucial. Mr. Hagel’s performance left loads to be desired. He not only stumbled on answering questions but also had to correct answers he had given after conferring with handlers sent to aid him in his responses. The United States does not need or desire a Secretary of Defense who is less prepared to answer vital questions than the average Senator would be. Even if this had been the only problem with the Hagel appointment it still would have been worthy of greater objection than was displayed.

But there were already other questions and difficulties posed by Senator Hagel’s previous statements concerning the United States staunchest Middle East ally Israel and his lack of resolve shown towards the Iranian nuclear program as well as his soft approach to such terrorist groups denoted as such by the State Department as Hamas and Hezballah. When one additionally inspects Senator Hagel’s voting record his appointment becomes all the more troublesome. Add in his flippant disregard for many such votes and his snide remark that there was no evidence that any of his votes ever did any damage to Israel which though technically true, it is not for want of trying on Hagel’s behalf and solely due to the fact that Hagel’s vote was among the minority and the vast majority of his fellow Senators supported the United State’s ally Israel. The final nail in the coffin for the Hagel appointment should have come when at least one Republican Senator decided to filibuster the nomination and requested his fellow Republicans support his efforts. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma even wrote a letter asking as much and despite being given the support of a number of fellow Republican Senators; the party supported his efforts only through one cloture vote stalling the confirmation over one little weekend.

After supporting the Senator Inhofe intent to filibuster on a Friday vote, Senator Reid, the Majority Leader of the Senate, was assured by numerous Republicans that they would no longer support any further Republican efforts to filibuster and delay a confirmation vote. What makes the whole cloture vote fold by Republican Senators so disheartening is when the actual vote came to confirm the Hagel appointment as Secretary of Defense, the final vote was insufficient to have overcome the filibuster by a fair margin of 58-41, two votes short of cloture if the Senators had voted their up or down vote during the cloture vote. Despite the four Senators from the Republican side of the aisle who voted to approve the Hagel nomination, the cloture vote of 71-27 reveals that an additional thirteen Republican Senators voted to end the filibuster by their own party than eventually supported the nomination. The question which those whose Senators voted for cloture despite opposing the nomination must be asked is why, knowing that a vote for cloture guaranteed the nomination, did they ignore the sole path to resist this atrocious appointment and fold to the demands of President Obama, Senator Reid and the Democrats? Are they that afraid to stand strong for their beliefs and only vote their conscience when it will not make a difference and when their vote matters simply fold under even the slightest of pressures from the Democrats? What are they afraid of, missing out on some brie and red wine luncheons in the Capital Building or some other social affairs? If they are unable of standing when their votes matter, perhaps they should be replaced. If your Senator was among the four that voted for Hagel, well, at least they were consistent and voted their minds. But if your Senator is among the thirteen who voted for cloture thus guaranteeing a confirmation which they then voted against, you may wish to replace the worms you currently have as the next choice could not be worse. Maybe you can find a real Republican Senatorial candidate to run against the worm in the next primary and send a real conservative Constitutionalist Senator to Washington. Would that be too much to ask? My Senator, he was the one who first stated intent to filibuster and the other supported him and is known as Senator No. I am glad you asked.

Beyond the Cusp

February 18, 2013

Obama Appointments Should Pose No Surprises

Some of my fellow Jewish friends and acquaintances have expressed surprise, possibly some cases of actual shock, at some, if not all, of President Obama’s choices for the main three appointments for his second term. It appears as John Kerry was the least controversial among them as Secretary of State but even this was at the least somewhat problematic. The seeming arrogance with which Secretary Kerry announced that he had ideas which would very likely restart the peace talks and guide them to a definitive conclusion was somewhat over the top. There have been numerous people with many more years experience with the problems and machinations of the Middle East who remain stymied by the Israeli Palestinian negotiation challenges yet Kerry is going to walk in cold and solve everything. The last neophyte to attempt to solve this problem with their grand and simplistic schemes was his boss, President Obama, and he made a catastrophe with his mechanisms and imposed conditions which we will discuss later in this article. Anybody looking into Senator Kerry’s record on votes affecting Israel in particular and the Middle East in general will note that his record of Israel favorable voting patterns appeared to be spaced with four years being questionable followed by two years of fairly pro-Israel voting which were then followed by reelection and the cycle restarting. But, the three appointments of John Kerry for Secretary of State, Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, and John Brennan to be Chief of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) are all problematic for individual and overlapping reasons.


Now on to Senator Chuck Hagel who is still being debated but is extremely likely to have his appointment ratified by the Senate as there will be at least eight and probably many more Republican Senators who will vote in favor ending any serious filibuster as has been promised by Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma. Condemning Senator Hagel’s voting record on all things concerning Israel in any manner would be repetitively redundant. Yes, it has been that bad and that much noted since his appointment as to demand such wording. What does deserve noting with an explanation has been his grand denial of ever voting to harm Israel. He made a very carefully crafted and misleading statement concerning his voting record. He claimed, “There is not one shred of evidence that I’m anti-Israeli, not one (Senate) vote that matters that hurt Israel.” Making sure that I am being honest and not casting aspersions where none apply, Chuck Hagel made an absolutely valid statement when taken in the context of it being spoken in politispeak, the form of newspeak used in Washington DC to avoid taking responsibility for one’s past actions. So, why don’t we transcribe Hagel’s masterful use of politispeak into every day common English and reveal his actual meaning. His statement does not refer to how he voted on items and legislation which concerned Israel. His statement renders his vote meaningless as he refers to the vote outcome and not his participation. His claim is no legislation on which he voted either passed or failed due to his vote that then resulted in harm to Israel. To make his statement accurate, he would have had to say, No legislation which I voted against supporting Israeli needs or wishes ever was defeated, they all passed and every vote I cast in favor of legislation and other items that would have been deleterious to Israel all never passed but my intention, votes, desire and heart really were placed in using every effort at my disposal to damn Israel and anything favorably relating to Israel but was denied my victories as I was in the minority on every vote. Now, that is a bit longwinded but gives a far more accurate appraisal of the truth behind Senator Hagel’s mendacity. Truth be told, President Obama chose Senator Hagel for the same reason he chose Senator Kerry, they both share his animus towards Israel and the United States Military and her standing as the leading nation in the world. They both support his desire to denude America’s nuclear weapons stores, unilaterally if possible, while diminishing the American standing Navy, Air Force, and Army while leaving the United States at the mercy of the rest of the world and both have a particular dislike for Israel. Thankfully, the last appointee poses mostly different problems.


Somehow, even after John Brennan decided to opt out of being appointed as CIA Chief at the beginning of President Obama’s first term due to expected difficulties over his record from the work he performed legitimizing the Bush Presidency’s numerous presumed irregularities in interrogation techniques and rendition usage as being within legal and acceptable standards, but now we have Mr. Brennan being appointed to be Chief of the CIA not only with the Bush record but also of having been one of the lead persons responsible for the use of drones in order to take out terror suspects even to include citizens of the United States. As I mentioned last week or so, I have to give Code Pink recognition and credit for consistency as they protested Mr. Brennan’s hearings holding him responsible for both his actions in the service of President Bush as well as his service of President Obama. But even if his involvement with both of these questionable utilizations of American forces, personnel, and their treatment of prisoners or Jihadists without judicial oversight, there are other reasons to be suspect of Mr. Brennan. During hearings before the Congress Mr. Brennan stated the following in a presentation when referencing Jerusalem calling it, “al-Quds,” the Islamic name and not its Jewish, Christian or common referenced name. Mr. Brennan also shares another set of values which correspond very closely to those of his boss, President Obama. Some of their shared views may be a result of both men spending parts of their youth growing up and attending schools in dominant Muslim areas of Indonesia. They both look to the Islam practiced during their youth in Indonesia which was open, peaceful, and largely influenced by the earliest passages of the Koran which were part of the Mecca Koran. The fact that the Middle Eastern and North African Islamists operate under the influence of the later written passages from the Koran as written in Medina to fit the life and practices of a society based on caravan raiding, protection schemes and based on a warlord mentality appears to have totally eluded them. Instead, they believe what they see is a Muslim world that suffers from ailments resulting from European colonialism, Western intolerance towards Islam, Westerners complete misunderstanding of the Islamic meaning of Jihad, Western misgivings of Muslim culture, and Western prejudice. They both believe that in order to repair the disconnects between the Islamic world and Western countries that Islam is not in need of making any changes in their lack of tolerance of other cultures or religions and that all of the problems are strictly found with the Western countries and especially Israel who need to learn more about Islam and be more understanding, less supercritical, and understandably accept that they are responsible for any intolerance or violence which emanates from the Muslim world. Despite their use of drone targeting of known Jihadists, even despite collateral casualties, they are likely to increase such attacks while calling on everyone else to change their rhetoric and adopt a more conciliatory approach to any problems with Islamic entities. Their disconnect between their demands and their actions is simply astounding. The one last shared view is that despite anything else, Israel is a separate and totally unique problematic situation which requires a completely different set of rules and actions. Everything that causes the Palestinian leadership to complain must be caused by Israeli intolerance, insensitivity, aggression and mere existence. No sacrifice demanded of Israel can be considered unreasonable while every point made by Israel is of no consequence.


And that leads us to why it was absolutely no surprise that President Obama chose three candidates who all believe that the solution to much of what ails the Middle East can be solved by crushing Israel with demands of complete and total sacrifice and surrender to the Palestinians and all of Islam. All we need to do is return to the early years of President Obama’s first term when he was the new man with all the answers that would forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It was in these early times that President Obama came forth with his new approach and fresh ideas that were to produce a final solution to this impossible problem. President Obama did indeed have a revolutionary set of ideas, or at least he must have since his first two suggestions had never before been even considered, let alone proposed. Even in their wildest demands, the Palestinians had never demanded of Israel what President Obama was to propose. His first groundbreaking proposal was for a building freeze in all of the contested lands. Prime Minister Netanyahu eventually complied with a ten month building freeze on all such areas except within Jerusalem. This led to one meeting between President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and President Abbas where there was one handshake, a bunch of pictures, three very short speeches, and then nothing until three weeks before the freeze was to end when
President Abbas demanded the freeze be extended or else he would not talk. Well, he met one last time with Netanyahu and demanded a new freeze with no ending and walked out never since to return. Fresh off his rousing defeat, President Obama plowed ahead and suggested that the negotiations should use the 1967 lines as the starting point for borders. Another ground shaking proposal which has since joined the building freeze as Mahmoud Abbas’s opening preconditions thanks exclusively to their originator, President Obama. Now you likely understand why these three, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and John Brennan were chosen to lead the international Obama team for his second and final term. The gloves are off and Israel has been sighted in and they are ready to fire for effect. G0d help Israel, she needs every bit of help she can get.


Beyond the Cusp


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