Posted tagged ‘Obama’s America’

Trump’s Constructive Chaos

October 19, 2017

Trump’s Constructive Chaos, Hoover InstitutionVictor Davis Hanson, October 18, 2017

(The old order changeth yielding place to new…. Alfred Tennyson — DM)

The Obama presidency was atypical in many ways—even when compared to other Democratic administrations, such as Bill Clinton’s. Obama tried to move the country hard to the left and, in the process, radicalized and then eroded the Democratic Party at the local, state, and federal levels. And with the loss of a once solidly Democratic Congress, Obama was reduced to running the government by fiat and edict rather than through legislative compromise and cooperation.

The national debt doubled to $20 trillion. The economy stagnated. Labor non-participation rates soared. Near zero interest rates wiped out the purchasing power of middle-class savers. Scandals at the IRS, the GSA, and the VA abounded; the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Justice Department were all politicized. The country divided further along racial and ethnic lines.

Abroad, Russian reset failed. Efforts to pivot to Asia and to deter Chinese expansionism died on the vine. Red lines in Syria were ignored. There was no containment of North Korea’s nuclear expansion. The Libyan intervention made things worse. The withdrawal from Iraq left behind a “secure” country in a word, a failed one in fact. The surge against the Taliban ended up as a telegraphed stalemate. The war against a “jayvee” ISIS stalled. There were many secrets hidden in the Iran deal.

To address these challenges, Trump could have tried carefully to patch things up in a makeshift and incremental fashion. Or he could have found such ad hoc mending largely a waste of time, and instead found a better solution in slashing and burning the mess that was left, in order to create new policies from scratch. Trump chose the latter option—and predictably, as the old order declined chaos has followed ever since.

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Almost daily, President Trump manages to incense the media, alarm the world abroad, and enrage his Democratic opposition. Not since Ronald Reagan’s first year in office has change and disruption come so fast from the White House.

Let’s consider foreign affairs first. In response to North Korea’s nuclear threats to hit the American West coast, Trump promised Kim Jung-un utter destruction. And for sport he ridicules him as “rocket man.” ISIS is now on the run. The terrorist group has given up on its once-promised caliphate—in part because Trump changed the rules of engagement and allowed American generals at the front to use their own judgment and discretion on how best to destroy their enemies. Trump has bowed out from certifying a continuation of the Iranian deal and sent it back to Congress for reform, rejection, or ratification. In the case of the Paris climate accord, he simply pulled the United States out completely, reminding its adherents that the use of natural gas has allowed America to reduce carbon emissions far more dramatically than have most of its critics. As in the case of the Iran deal, the Obama administration never sent the Paris agreement to the Senate for a treaty vote.

Domestically, too, Trump has not been afraid to make major changes. In terms of the so-called Dreamers—children who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents and protected by the DACA executive orders of Barack Obama—for now Trump has sent the matter back to the Congress for proper legislative review. On Obamacare, Trump has issued executive orders to free up the health market and remove subsidies and monopolistic regulations on how health plans are structured and sold. His reasoning was that the Obama executive orders on health care were illegal, so revising them was necessary and legal rather than inflammatory.

On cultural matters, Trump has waded into the NFL controversies, blasting players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem as unworthy to play. Trump—a thrice-married erstwhile womanizer and unlikely moralist—has condemned Hollywood mogul and sexual deviant Harvey Weinstein, and by implication the entire industry of celebrities that appeased and protected Weinstein’s vile behavior while lecturing America on its cowardly inability to call out sexual harassment.

Polls, to the extent they retain any credibility, are ambiguous about Trump’s chaotic leadership style. They show that the public is in agreement with Trump on most of these hot button issues, while not being especially fond of Trump himself—perhaps in the manner that patients may fear their oncologists but ultimately appreciate their treatments for metastasizing cancers.

So is Trump creating chaos, or simply cleaning up the political and cultural messes of the past decade—or both?

The answer is complex. To achieve perceived noble ends, the Obama administration often used dubious means, mostly through executive orders and by deceiving the public about Obamacare, illegal immigration, and the Iran deal. Now, Trump is using Obama’s own tools to reverse what Obama wrought.

Trump did not create a nuclear North Korea with missiles capable of hitting San Francisco. The appeasement that did was a result of thirty years of prior presidents passing the problem onto their successors in order to avoid a messy confrontation on their own watch. At some point, a reckoning was inevitable: either North Korea would establish a de facto right to deploy both nukes and intercontinental missiles, or be judged to be too unhinged to be allowed into the nuclear club.

Trump seemingly has deduced that North Korea cannot remain nuclear, and thus is trying to force China to rein in its client, while apprising Beijing that the past few years of U.S. appeasement were an aberration, and the new pushback the more normal American response. It is always easy to lose strategic deterrence, dangerous and costly to restore it.

Condemning ISIS as a group of medieval psychopaths who can only be stopped by annihilation and humiliation is not very Politically Correct—but that’s what Trump did. Such moral and military clarity is apparently impossible in today’s asymmetrical and unconventional wars of the Middle East. But Trump’s easy reliance on overwhelming firepower was as simplistic as it may have been effective—like Alexander the Great cutting apart the Gordian Knot instead of playing by the rules and vainly trying to unravel the knot’s endless folds and loops.

By any fair interpretation, the Paris climate agreement and the Iran deal were treaties and thus should have required a two-thirds vote from the Senate. Obama knew that ratification was impossible and would likely be unpopular, so he simply rebranded them as presidential protocols, signed them, and declared that they were legally binding agreements.

Trump is following the law by turning these agreements over to the Senate for debate and resolution. But he is also following his political instincts by assuming that both of these deals were flawed and put the United States at a disadvantage. Therefore, neither will likely win majority support in the Senate. Praise for stopping an illegal and unwise treaty or blame for reneging on an existing agreement will be shared with the senators rather than rest on Trump’s shoulders entirely.

Prior to the presidential election, illegal immigration had been ignored. Federal laws were unenforced. The border was not secure. Opportunistic parties leveraged illegal immigration for their own selfish agendas: the Left to recalibrate the electoral college of the American southwest, the right to ensure cheap labor, Mexico to obtain $25 billion in remittances and a safety valve for social oppression, and ethnic activists to perpetuate a near permanent constituency that will slow down assimilation, integration, and intermarriage.

Trump has not only committed to building a wall and deporting illegal aliens, but he has addressed the problem of sanctuary cities that in Confederate fashion defy U.S. laws. An incoherent multiculturalism often results in illegal immigrants celebrating Mexico and faulting the United States, romanticizing the country that they chose to leave while critiquing the one where they wish to stay.

As far as the NFL is concerned, the entire enterprise is an easy target. Most football fans are traditionalists and resent players kneeling during the National Anthem—much more so when such protestors are multimillionaires whose lucrative salaries depend on poorer fans attending or watching their games. If a country has no borders and cannot unite to stand for a brief expression of collective patriotism, then it symbolically does not exist as a country. The NFL bet otherwise, hoping that its players could be appeased and its fans would forgive and forget. But the fans have not forgotten and the players have only grown more emboldened by concessions of the terrified owners. Trump’s political instincts proved far more savvy than those of a naïve NFL, given that the league is now losing fans and money.

Are there any constant themes in all of Trump’s chaotic controversies?

The Obama presidency was atypical in many ways—even when compared to other Democratic administrations, such as Bill Clinton’s. Obama tried to move the country hard to the left and, in the process, radicalized and then eroded the Democratic Party at the local, state, and federal levels. And with the loss of a once solidly Democratic Congress, Obama was reduced to running the government by fiat and edict rather than through legislative compromise and cooperation.

The national debt doubled to $20 trillion. The economy stagnated. Labor non-participation rates soared. Near zero interest rates wiped out the purchasing power of middle-class savers. Scandals at the IRS, the GSA, and the VA abounded; the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Justice Department were all politicized. The country divided further along racial and ethnic lines.

Abroad, Russian reset failed. Efforts to pivot to Asia and to deter Chinese expansionism died on the vine. Red lines in Syria were ignored. There was no containment of North Korea’s nuclear expansion. The Libyan intervention made things worse. The withdrawal from Iraq left behind a “secure” country in word, a failed one in fact. The surge against the Taliban ended up as a telegraphed stalemate. The war against a “jayvee” ISIS stalled. There were many secrets hidden in the Iran deal.

To address these challenges, Trump could have tried carefully to patch things up in a makeshift and incremental fashion. Or he could have found such ad hoc mending largely a waste of time, and instead found a better solution in slashing and burning the mess that was left, in order to create new policies from scratch. Trump chose the latter option—and predictably, as the old order declined chaos has followed ever since.

 

 

Obama, pre-July 4th, rips Trump-fueled ‘nationalism’

July 3, 2017

Obama, pre-July 4th, rips Trump-fueled ‘nationalism’, Washington TimesCheryl K. Chumley, July 3, 2017

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, center, waves as he walks with his wife Michelle, left, and daughter Malia, rear, upon arrival for a tour at Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Obama and his family

To Obama, failing to fight climate change is tantamount to racism — not to mention silly sovereign politicking.

Trump’s “Make America Great Again.” Obama’s all about the world view. Trump’s “America First,” and all the other countries, second. Obama? Reverse that. Throw in some hefty taxes and spread the wealth — and then and only then, does America make the list.

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Barack Obama, never one to shy from ripping a Republican in the public eye, took occasion from his childhood hometown Jakarta to tear into President Donald Trump for — at root — having too much patriotism.

Call it Fourth of July celebrations, Obama style. America waves Ol’ Glory; Obama beats the global drum.

“The world is at a crossroads,” Obama said, to the Fourth Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora, The Hill reported.

 The overall theme of his message?

Countries ought not pursue sovereign national interests at the risk of the rest of the world. He was speaking largely of the Paris climate accord, and the need for global powers to embrace it.

But he was focused on those who stood opposed to joining it.

Hmm, wonder of whom he spoke? Could it be Trump, who’s flatly refused to jump on the Paris accord train?

To Obama, failing to fight climate change is tantamount to racism — not to mention silly sovereign politicking.

“We start seeing a rise in sectarian politics, we start seeing a rise in an aggressive kind of nationalism, we start seeing both in developed and developing countries an increased resentment about minority groups and the bad treatment of people who don’t look like us or practice the same faith as us,” he said, The Hill reported.

Of course, Obama didn’t use Trump’s name.

But just in case you missed the subtle hint, Obama also noted “the temporary absence of American leadership” on combating climate change.

The change in leadership style, post-Obama, present Trump, couldn’t be more different. Trump’s “Make America Great Again.” Obama’s all about the world view. Trump’s “America First,” and all the other countries, second. Obama? Reverse that. Throw in some hefty taxes and spread the wealth — and then and only then, does America make the list.

Thankfully, it’s Trump who won last November — not the Obama-light candidate of Hillary Clinton. That alone, heading into July Fourth celebrations, is fireworks worthy. Patriotic Americans have at least four years of being considered important, in the eyes of the White House — not just tools to advance a global agenda.

Report: Obama Administration Carried Out Massive and Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs

May 26, 2017

Report: Obama Administration Carried Out Massive and Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, May 26, 2017

(Be patient. The media will cover the FISA report fully and fairly after the source of President Trump’s mother’s recipe for Borscht is discovered, documented and fully analyzed. Did Putin give it to her and is his devotion to the Trump family at the root of Hillary’s defeat? Clearly, that is far more important than mere unconstitutional spying on American citizens by the Obama administration.  — DM)

By any measure, this story deserves the attention of the national media and Congress.  However, it is being buried in the crush of controversies related to the Russian investigation, embarrassing leaks, and other items. The media is correct in pursuing these legitimate stories but it should also give attention to this chilling report. There was equally limited coverage of the expansion of surveillance authority in the final days of the Obama Administration.  Privacy advocates have serious concerns about these privacy stories being pushed from public review.

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With the steady stream of controversies swirling around the White House, there has been little attention given a highly disturbing report that the Obama Administration engaged in previously undisclosed and violations of the Fourth Amendment.  Just a few days from the 2016 election, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) reportedly raised a highly unusual alarm over the creation of “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue” by possibly unconstitutional surveillance conducted under President Barack Obama.  If true, this should be given equal attention to the other stories crowding our front pages and cable coverage.  The Obama Administration has a well-documented history of abuse of surveillance and stands as one of the most antagonistic administrations toward privacy in our history.  Indeed, if true, many of the former Obama officials currently testifying against the Trump Administration were responsible for a far broader scope of abusive surveillance programs.

Recently disclosed top-secret documents from the FISA court suggest that the government admitted that the NSA was regularly violating surveillance rules. Not that these violations were occurring after the unconstitutional surveillance programs revealed by Wikileaks and Snowdon were curtailed.  It also would have occurred after the disclosure that the Obama Administration put journalists under surveillance.

The FISA indicate that the government informed the court that NSA analysts had been violating rules, established in 2011, that protect the privacy of citizens on the Internet.  Once again, the NSA claimed new “inadvertent compliance lapses.”  The Court noted in its dealings with the NSA a certain “lack of candor” in its disclosures to the FISA court.

It is very rare for the FISA court to make such statements.  (For full disclosure, I had occasion to go to the FISA court when I was an intern with the NSA and later became a critic of the court).  The standards for FISA are so low and easily satisfied (with little judicial review) that it is difficult to establish any illegality under the law.

Passed in 1978 as a compromise with the Nixon Administration, FISA allows for “foreign intelligence” surveillance and was designed to evade the fourth amendment protections governing the use of warrants.  FISA surveillance is permitted based on a finding of probable cause that the surveillance target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. That is manifestly different from probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime.   It is true that, if the target is a “U.S. person,” there must be probable cause to believe that the U.S. person’s activities may involve espionage or other similar conduct in violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.  However, citizens can be collateral to the primary target under FISA. In 1994 Congress extended FISA further to allow for covert physical entries in connection with “security” investigations, and then in 1998, it was amended to permit pen/trap orders. It has been used to gather business records.

By any measure, this story deserves the attention of the national media and Congress.  However, it is being buried in the crush of controversies related to the Russian investigation, embarrassing leaks, and other items. The media is correct in pursuing these legitimate stories but it should also give attention to this chilling report. There was equally limited coverage of the expansion of surveillance authority in the final days of the Obama Administration.  Privacy advocates have serious concerns about these privacy stories being pushed from public review.

Flashback: Obama Stranded Legal Cuban Travelers in Airports on Last Week in Office

January 30, 2017

Flashback: Obama Stranded Legal Cuban Travelers in Airports on Last Week in Office, BreitbartFrances Martel, January 30, 2017

(But that was different! Cubans fleeing persecution in the Castro Brothers’ Cuba weren’t potential terrorists and might become good American citizens and even vote Republican. — DM)

As the radical left organizes obstructions of airport terminals to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order enacting new security measures for travelers visiting from turbulent countries, few appear equally outraged that his predecessor, Barack Obama, issued a similar directive specifically targeting Cubans.

During his last week in office, President Obama repealed a long-standing executive order known as “Wet Foot/Dry Foot,” which allowed all Cubans legally touching U.S. soil to stay here illegally. The objective of the executive order was to give sanctuary to Cubans risking their lives on makeshift vessels trying to sail to the United States and escape the oppressive communist regime that has governed there for over half a century.

The move did not trigger widespread national protests in defense of the Cubans affected, even as U.S. immigration officials – confused by the lack of direction in Obama’s order – detained and interrogated countless travelers possessing legal visas to enter the United States. Many of these were elderly individuals, traveling to visit their children with no intention of stay.

The only activists who spoke up for them were members of the Cuban exile community, who told their stories to local press. Democracy Movement leader Ramón Saúl Sánchez – who the Obama administration threatened with deportation after 49 years in the United States – told Miami’s El Nuevo Herald that the individuals he was advocating for were stuck in airport interrogation rooms, their families panicked and receiving few updates.

“These Cuban travelers have tourism visas. They are being detained or deported,” Sánchez said on January 15. “Those being detained within the airport include people of advanced age, including one blind man, many of them ill.” He added that many elderly Cubans with whom he spoke after being released from interrogation were threatened with being detained in an immigration center, leaving them thinking, “if you’re going to throw me in jail just send me back.”

Relatives of those detained told their stories to the media. 67-year-old Justina Barroso Rodríguez, who suffers from hypertension, was placed in a jail awaiting deportation upon arriving in the United States on January 13. Her son, Danilo Alemán, told the Diario Las Americas that he had received little information on the matter, only that the repeal of “wet foot/dry foot” led to her detention.

“I would like to know, how would President Obama feel if it was his mother in the conditions my mother is currently in?” Alemán asked.

A 73-year-old Cuban woman who was fortunate enough to be released told Miami’s América TeVe that she was kept in isolation an entire day without foot. She refused to give the network her name and said she did not know when she had been initially detained, though she estimated it had occurred around 10AM local time and she had been released long after the sun had set. She possessed a legal visa, and said her crime was to mention the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act to an immigration official.

Those flying into Miami were among the luckiest Cubans following President Obama’s directive, even as their legal U.S. visas were not enough to prevent them from being detained. Cubans who had begun their journey to the United States through Central America and Mexico – who would have been able to enter the United States and legally stay there before President Obama’s last week in office, are now stranded throughout the region, held in dilapidated detention centers and threatened with deportation back into a communist autocracy.

In Panama, 18 Cuban refugees declared themselves on hunger strike this week, protesting the government’s refusal to grant them access to an attorney and forcing them into conditions with little food or basic hygienic necessities. The protest triggered another hunger strike at a detention center in Panama by anti-communist activists who fled Cuba to avoid becoming prisoners of conscience. “We are taking this measure for our freedom, because we cannot return to Cuba,” one of the individuals said in a statement.

The protesters alleged that Panamanian authorities had confiscated their passports and abandoned many in the dense forestry near the Colombian border. “They are putting us on trucks and letting us loose in the middle of the jungle,” one protester said, while another noted that those abandoned in such a way are left “without food, without water, they do not care if we are sick or injured.”

In Mexico, a country with a record of treating migrants inhumanely, Cubans seeking to cross the northern border into the United States are also stranded. “Many of us will die if we were to go to Cuba,” refugee Rodolfo Muñoz told local outlet KVUE this week. He and his wife, like many Cubans, are stranded in Nuevo Laredo, where the U.S. government has refused to let them pass. U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined an interview on the subject with the broadcast station. In a widely distributed statement, the agency said that Cubans have the option of filing a petition the enter the country based on a political asylum claim, but they risk months in a “detention facility” if they express their fear of political persecution to authorities.

Mexico has already begun to deport dozens of refugees back to Cuba, where the government executes thousands of politically-motivated arrests annually. Mexican authorities deported 70 Cuban refugees last Wednesday, with many more expected to be repatriated soon.

This appears to have been the Obama administration’s intended result. “We will have to get involved with the Central American and Mexican governments to promote the idea of a secure, orderly, legal migration or restricting or repatriating irregular immigrants,” an unnamed State Department official told El Nuevo Herald in July 2016, referring to the refugees as “immigrants.”

Some of those stranded in Mexico and Central America have protested that the treatment of Cubans under the Obama administration, which differed significantly from the welcoming attitude the administration had towards other Latin American immigrants, was a result of Cuban-Americans’ embrace of conservative values. A result of a combination of factors – from the massacre of Cuban patriots under Democrat John F. Kennedy at Bay of Pigs to the Democratic-majority Congressional Black Caucus’ embrace of Fidel Castro – Cuban-American voters are largely conservative on foreign policy issues and lean Republican. The final tally of November election results showed Cubans more likely to support Republican candidate Donald Trump than even non-Hispanic white Americans. These facts were not lost on some refugees traveling north.

“Obama, because he is leaving, suddenly takes up the idea of repealing a law that has been enforced for many years and has favored many Cubans. I think he got angry with the Cubans,” Cuban refugee Jose Enrique Manresa said, shortly after President Obama’s move prevented him from entering the country. “It is a reprisal.”

Adding insult to injury, the Obama administration presided over an unprecedented surge in recent years in Cuban refugee flows into the United States, a direct result of his policy of appeasement towards the Castro regime. In his last days in office, President Obama also signed an agreement emboldening the Cuban Coast Guard to conduct joint “rescue” operations in international waters, despite Havana’s multiple mass murders of refugees and Cuban-American activists at sea.

Urging Millions to Rise Up, Trump Foes Issue Call to ‘Resist Fascism’

January 14, 2017

Urging Millions to Rise Up, Trump Foes Issue Call to ‘Resist Fascism”Millions must rise up in a resistance [to] stop the Trump/Pence regime before it starts!’byNadia Prupis, staff writer

Source: Urging Millions to Rise Up, Trump Foes Issue Call to ‘Resist Fascism’ | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Thousands of activists, journalists, scientists, entertainers, and other prominent voices took out a full-page call to action in the New York Times on Wednesday making clear their rejection of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence with the simple message: “No!”

“Stop the Trump/Pence regime before it starts! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!” the ad states, followed by a list of signatories that includes scholar Cornel West; author Alice Walker; Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux; educator Bill Ayers; poet Saul Williams; CNN‘s Marc Lamont Hill; Carl Dix of the Communist Party USA; and numerous others.

Trump is “assembling a regime of grave danger” that is an “immoral peril to the future of humanity and the earth itself,” the call to action continues. “Millions must rise up in a resistance with a deep determination such that we create a political crisis that prevents the Trump/Pence fascist regime from consolidating its hold on the governance of society.”

Countering Trump and Pence’s “regime” will require a month of resistance leading up to the president-elect’s inauguration on January 20, the ad states. That means refusing to accommodate or work with the administration, as well as taking part in “protests that don’t stop—where people refuse to leave, occupying public space, and more and more people stand up with conviction and courage.”

(Image: RefuseFascism.org)(Image: RefuseFascism.org)

Such movements are taking shape elsewhere, as the Women’s March on Washington is now poised to be the biggest inauguration demonstration despite a shaky start and bureaucratic roadblocks.

The Times ad calls for concerned citizens to support the call to action—or commit to it themselves. More than 2,000 people have already signed the declaration.

“Our only recourse now is to act together outside normal channels,” the ad states. “Every faction within the established power structure must be forced to respond to what we do—creating a situation where the Trump/Pence regime is prevented from ruling.”

Obama’s Transparent Presidency

January 13, 2017

Obama’s Transparent Presidency, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 13, 2017

barack_obama_discusses_ukraine_with_national_security_staff

[During Obama’s Cario speech], he turned his attention to Israel and the Palestinians. Obama opened this section by presenting his ideological framework for understanding the conflict. Israel he insisted was not established out of respect of the Jews’ national rights to their historic homeland. It was established as a consolation prize to the Jews after the Holocaust.

That is, Israel is a product of European colonialism, just as Iran and Hamas claim.

In contrast, the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the land. They have been the primary victims of the colonial West’s post-Holocaust guilty conscience. Their suffering is real and legitimate.

Hamas’s opposition to Israel is legitimate, he indicated. Through omission, Obama made clear that he has no ideological problem with Hamas – only with its chosen means of achieving its goal.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

President Barack Obama promised that his would be the most transparent administration in US history.

And the truth is, it was. At least in relation to his policies toward the Muslim world, Obama told us precisely what he intended to do and then he did it.

A mere week remains of Obama’s tenure in office.

But Obama remains intent on carrying on as if he will never leave power. He has pledged to continue to implement his goals for the next week and then to serve as the most outspoken ex-president in US history.

In all of Obama’s recent appearances, his message is one of vindication. I came. I succeeded. I will continue to succeed. I represent the good people, the people of tomorrow. My opponents represent the Manichean, backward past. We will fight them forever and we will prevail.

Tuesday Obama gave his final interview to the Israeli media to Ilana Dayan from Channel 2’s Uvda news magazine. Dayan usually tries to come off as an intellectual. On Tuesday’s show, she cast aside professionalism however, and succumbed to her inner teenybopper. Among her other questions, she asked Obama the secret to his preternatural ability to touch people’s souls.

The only significant exchange in their conversation came when Dayan asked Obama about the speech he gave on June 4, 2009, in Cairo. Does he still stand by all the things he said in that speech? Would he give that speech again today, given all that has since happened in the region, she asked.

Absolutely, Obama responded.

The speech, he insisted was “aspirational” rather than programmatic. And the aspirations that he expressed in that address were correct.

If Dayan had been able to put aside her hero worship for a moment, she would have stopped Obama right then and there. His claim was preposterous.

But, given her decision to expose herself as a slobbering groupie, Dayan let it slide.

To salvage the good name of the journalism, and more important, to understand Obama’s actual record and its consequences, it is critical however to return to that speech.

Obama’s speech at Cairo University was the most important speech of his presidency. In it he laid out both his “aspirational” vision of relations between the West and the Islamic world and his plans for implementing his vision. The fundamentally transformed world he will leave President-elect Donald Trump to contend with next Friday was transformed on the basis of that speech.

Obama’s address that day at Cairo University lasted for nearly an hour. In the first half he set out his framework for understanding the nature of the US’s relations with the Muslim world and the relationship between the Western world and Islam more generally. He also expressed his vision for how that relationship should change.

The US-led West he explained had sinned against the Muslim world through colonialism and racism.

It needed to make amends for its past and make Muslims feel comfortable and respected, particularly female Muslims, covered from head to toe.

As for the Muslims, well, September 11 was wrong but didn’t reflect the truth of Islam, which is extraordinary. Obama thrice praised “the Holy Koran.” He quoted it admiringly. He waxed poetic in his appreciation for all the great contributions Islamic civilization has made to the world – he even made up a few. And he insisted falsely that Islam has always been a significant part of the American experience.

In his dichotomy between two human paths – the West’s and Islam’s – although he faulted the records of both, Obama judged the US and the West more harshly than Islam.

In the second half of his address, Obama detailed his plans for changing the West’s relations with Islam in a manner that reflected the true natures of both.

In hindsight, it is clear that during the seven and a half years of his presidency that followed that speech, all of Obama’s actions involved implementing the policy blueprint he laid out in Cairo.

He never deviated from the course he spelled out.

Obama promised to withdraw US forces from Iraq regardless of the consequences. And he did.

He promised he would keep US forces in Afghanistan but gave them no clear mission other than being nice to everyone and giving Afghans a lot of money. And those have been his orders ever since.

Then he turned his attention to Israel and the Palestinians. Obama opened this section by presenting his ideological framework for understanding the conflict. Israel he insisted was not established out of respect of the Jews’ national rights to their historic homeland. It was established as a consolation prize to the Jews after the Holocaust.

That is, Israel is a product of European colonialism, just as Iran and Hamas claim.

In contrast, the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the land. They have been the primary victims of the colonial West’s post-Holocaust guilty conscience. Their suffering is real and legitimate.

Hamas’s opposition to Israel is legitimate, he indicated. Through omission, Obama made clear that he has no ideological problem with Hamas – only with its chosen means of achieving its goal.

Rather than fire missiles at Israel, he said, Hamas should learn from its fellow victims of white European colonialist racists in South Africa, in India, and among the African-American community.

Like them Hamas should use nonviolent means to achieve its just aims.

Obama’s decision attack Israel at the UN Security Council last month, his attempts to force Israel to accept Hamas’s cease-fire demands during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, his consistent demand that Israel renounce Jewish civil and property rights in united Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, his current refusal to rule out the possibility of enabling another anti-Israel resolution to pass at the Security Council next week, and his contempt for the Israeli Right all are explained, envisioned and justified explicitly or implicitly in his Cairo speech.

One of the more notable but less discussed aspects of Obama’s assertion that the Palestinians are in the right and Israel is in the wrong in the speech, was his embrace of Hamas. Obama made no mention of the PLO or the Palestinian Authority or Fatah in his speech. He mentioned only Hamas – the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which shares the Brotherhood’s commitment to annihilating Israel and wiping out the Jewish people worldwide.

Sitting in the audience that day in Cairo were members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak rightly viewed Obama’s insistence that the brothers be invited to his address as a hostile act. Due to this assessment, Mubarak boycotted the speech and refused to greet Obama at the Cairo airport.

Two years later, Obama supported Mubarak’s overthrow and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to replace him.

Back to the speech.

Having embraced the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, branded Israel a colonial implant and discredited the US’s moral claim to world leadership, Obama turned his attention to Iran.

Obama made clear that his intention as president was to appease the ayatollahs. America he explained had earned their hatred because in 1953 the CIA overthrew the pro-Soviet regime in Iran and installed the pro-American shah in its place.

True, since then the Iranians have done all sorts of mean things to America. But America’s original sin of intervening in 1953 justified Iran’s aggression.

Obama indicated that he intended to appease Iran by enabling its illicit nuclear program to progress.

Ignoring the fact that Iran’s illegal nuclear program placed it in material breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Obama argued that as an NPT signatory, Iran had a right to a peaceful nuclear program. As for the US and the rest of the members of the nuclear club, Obama intended to convince everyone to destroy their nuclear arsenals.

And in the succeeding years, he took a hacksaw to America’s nuclear force.

After Obama’s speech in Cairo, no one had any cause for surprise at the reports this week that he approved the transfer of 116 tons of uranium to Iran. Likewise, no one should have been surprised by his nuclear deal or by his willingness to see Iran take over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. No one should be surprised by his cash payoffs to the regime or his passivity in the face of repeated Iranian acts of aggression against US naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

Everything that Obama has done since he gave that speech was alluded to or spelled out that day.

Certainly, nothing he has done was inconsistent with what he said.

The consequences of Obama’s worldview and the policies he laid out in Cairo have been an unmitigated disaster for everyone. The Islamic world is in turmoil. The rising forces are those that Obama favored that day: The jihadists.

ISIS, which Obama allowed to develop and grow, has become the ideological guide not only of jihadists in the Middle East but of Muslims in the West as well. Consequently it has destabilized not only Iraq and Syria but Europe as well. As the victims of the Islamist massacres in San Bernardino, Boston, Ft. Hood, Orlando and beyond can attest, American citizens are also paying the price for Obama’s program.

Thanks to Obama, the Iranian regime survived the Green Revolution. Due to his policies, Iran is both the master of its nuclear fate and the rising regional hegemon.

Together with its Russian partners, whose return to regional power after a 30-year absence Obama enabled, Iran has overseen the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Sunnis in Syria and paved the way for the refugee crisis that threatens the future of the European Union.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Islamist leader, was a principle beneficiary of Obama’s admiration of Islamism. Erdogan rode Obama’s wave to destroy the last vestiges of the secular Turkish Republic.

Now he is poised to leave NATO in favor of an alliance with Russia.

Obama and his followers see none of this. Faithful only to their ideology, Obama and his followers in the US and around the world refuse to see the connection between the policies borne of that ideology and their destructive consequences. They refuse to recognize that the hatred for Western civilization and in particular of the Jewish state Obama gave voice to in Cairo, and his parallel expression of admiration for radical Islamic enemies of the West, have had and will continue to have horrific consequences for the US and for the world as a whole.

Cairo is Obama’s legacy. His followers’ refusal to acknowledge this truth means that it falls to those Obama reviles to recognize the wages of the most transparent presidency in history. It is their responsibility to undo the ideological and concrete damage to humanity the program he first unveiled in that address and assiduously implemented ever since has wrought.

What Hath Barack Wrought?

January 8, 2017

What Hath Barack Wrought? PJ Media, Michael Walsh, January 7, 2017

obama-salman-saudi-sized-770x415xtObama and Saudi “king” Salman (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst – RTS77JX

Over at the Weekly Standard, my friend Lee Smith — one of the shrewdest voices in American journalism on the subject of the Middle East and foreign policy — takes the measure of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. It ain’t pretty:

The Obama chapter in American foreign policy ends like the climax of an action movie—with a fireball growing in the distance and filling the screen as a man in silhouette approaches in slow motion and then veers off camera. Barack Obama has set the Middle East on fire, and now it’s spreading.

The Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran has emboldened the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, which now makes war openly in four Arab states (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen) and is a growing threat to Israel and Saudi Arabia. The deal with Tehran that Obama boasts of as his signature foreign policy initiative guarantees, as the president himself acknowledged, that Iran will have an industrial-scale nuclear weapons program within 15 years.

After a 40-year absence from the Middle East, Russia has returned to the region, where it bombs Syria’s schools and hospitals as America and Europe watch helplessly. Washington’s traditional regional allies are scrambling to adjust to the new reality, which for the likes of Israel, Jordan, and Turkey means an opportunistic power on their borders that is allied with their existential enemies.

For Europe, the millions seeking refuge from the conflagration are agents of potential instability on the continent in the years to come; some in their midst are terrorists plain and simple. In just four years, or one presidential term, a civil uprising that started in Syria became a great Middle Eastern war over a host of sectarian, religious, and political hostilities dating back centuries.

Naturally, the country’s first affirmative action president doesn’t see it that way; no doubt, by his lights, he’s still every bit the equal of FDR and Abraham Lincoln he’s always thought himself to be. For a chief executive like Barack Hussein Obama, coddled practically from birth by a series of handlers, sycophants, media worshipers, excuse-makers and hagiographers, being an utter failure means never having to say you’re sorry.  The half-black president with the Muslim name was supposed to at least bring some cultural empathy to the thorny, if not to say intractable, problems of the Middle East — not just the eternal Arab-Israeli conflict but the even more eternal Muslim-Muslim conflict, not to mention the collateral damage of the one-sided Muslim-Christian conflict. That he hasn’t solved any of it is not his fault, but that he has exacerbated it most surely is.

Critics and even admirers of the president say that Syria will be a stain on his record. But that’s not how Obama sees it. The death and suffering of so many undoubtedly pains him, as he says. He says he wonders if he could have done anything else. Of course he could have, but he believed he had better reasons not to….

Obama’s foreign policy issued in part from his understanding of global realities but more from his interpretation of the American character. He believed that Americans tend to make a mess of things around the world. Obama is like a narrator in a Graham Greene novel; in our relations with the rest of humanity, as he sees it, we are 300 million naïfs abroad, whose intentions may be good but who lack the tragic sense that the rest of the world feels in its bones.

So who’s the naif now? Obama was less a Graham Green figure than Mark Twain’s Innocent Abroad. The way Smith sees it, Obama’s entire rationale was to wean America from what he saw as its shoot-first second nature; his entire foreign-policy apparatus became Dickens’ Circumlocution Office from Little Dorrit, dedicated to the proposition of How Not to Do It:

The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.

This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.

And that’s the Obama foreign policy in a nutshell. Of course in domestic affairs, the Choom Ganger from Punahou has been the exact opposite, baldly lying about such sub-rosa proclivities as same-sex marriage and hairy transvestites in the ladies’ loo until he was well past his final election. In both areas, however, he’s been a disgrace to the office and to the country, and we will be well rid of him when he finally leaves on Jan. 20.

Obama’s foreign policy, in the end, was not primarily about the rest of the world—it was about transforming the character of America. So where are we eight years on? Gelded, as he intended.

And, to coin a phrase, that’s one of the many reasons we now have Donald Trump. America never has been and never will be a neutered metrosexual among nations. As the Obama-ites are about to find out.