Posted tagged ‘Trump agenda’

What’s really hidden deep within all this intel squabbling

March 24, 2017

What’s really hidden deep within all this intel squabbling, Hot Air, Andrew Malcolm, March 24, 2017

(Please see also, Will Smoking Gun Documents Vindicate Trump? — DM)

One of the tricks in political communications when experiencing difficult times is to drag several other issues into the fray, muddying the waters to distract attention from the main controversy.

That’s what you’re witnessing now in the arcane kerfluffle over wiretapping, eavesdropping, surveillance and congressional protocol. So, let’s clear things up.

Forget President Trump’s unsubstantiated tweets about being wiretapped by a certain ex-president who’s fled to French Polynesia for a month. Forget about Russians and what they may or may not have done last year. And ignore the manners expected of a House committee chairman. In other words, disregard all the pots calling all the kettles black.

Here’s what really matters: During the waning days of the Obama administration U.S. intelligence was indeed monitoring the conversations of foreign persons of interest after the Nov. 8 election and before the Jan. 20 inauguration. That’s normal and actually encouraging given how many key things those agencies have missed in recent years.

In those eaves-droppings they overheard Trump aides being mentioned or talking to agencies’ foreign targets. That’s called “incidental contact” in the intel world. That means they weren’t supposed to be targeting the American, but he or she came up. That’s unavoidable in intelligence-gathering if you’re doing a thorough job.

T o avoid “unmasking” those innocent bystanders, t ranscripts of those overheard conversations refer to the foreign target by name and identify the other person simply as American No. 1 or American No. 2. A very small number of very senior intelligence officials will know the actual identity of the American, people like, oh, then-CIA director John Brennan or Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser.

Remember Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn? He was picked up talking with the Russian ambassador as part of his transition work. Subsequently, he was fired , not for the conversation but for misrepresenting that conversation to Trump teammates, including Vice President Pence. Trump accurately saw that as fatally corroding the trust he needs in such a close aide.

But here’s the deal: We should never have known it was Flynn.

Yes, as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Flynn was very unpopular among Obama administration members and indeed was frozen out of contact with the commander-in-chief because he favored a much stronger response to ISIS, among other things. Talk about a president dodging opposing views.

Like Flynn or not, it is illegal — as in against the law — for anyone to reveal the name of an incidentally-overheard American. Someone in a small circle of Obama intelligence officials who knew the identity of that American No. 1 committed a felony by leaking Flynn’s name to media.

Safe to say the leak, like numerous others since Hillary Clinton was not inaugurated as president, was not intended to facilitate the smooth presidential transition that Obama so often publicly promised.

Before you faint from the revelation of illegal duplicity among partisan spies in Washington, hear this. Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has made public appeals for information on intelligence matters, beyond official intel briefings.

On Wednesday Nunes, who was on Trump’s transition, said, “I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community … collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.” The chairman said the monitorings involved transition team members and possibly Trump himself, adding, “I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”

Nunes then briefed Trump at the White House, a violation of political protocol because he did not first tell committee Democrats. They went into immediate p hoto-op orbit to — wait for it — distract from the actual revelation about their departed dear leader.

But forget such hissy fits. Also, ignore whether this supports Trump’s claim of being “wiretapped” by Obama.

We now know Obama administration intelligence operatives listened in on Trump aides’ conversations. We now know they illegally leaked the identities. And it’s not a stretch in this poisonous partisan environment to wonder if those intel encounters were truly incidental.

Or perhaps did the monitoring use foreign officials as mere covers to gather information, hopefully damning, on the Republican’s transition team and on this Trump usurper who had no business upsetting Clinton on Nov. 8?

Trump’s Greatest Deal

March 24, 2017

Trump’s Greatest Deal, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, March 24, 2017

(Before the Flynn debacle, Trump’s efforts to get Russia to divorce itself from Iran appeared to be proceeding well. Please see, Highly Classified National Security Information Must Not be Leaked. Part b of the article is titled “Flynn telephone conversations.” Part c is titled “General Flynn, Russia and Iran.” Flynn’s departure from the Trump administration and America’s current Russophobia do not augur well for future success in pushing for the divorce. — DM)

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

If Trump can convince Russia to ditch Iran, then he has a chance of dismantling the regime in Tehran and so defusing the Iranian nuclear program and destroying Hezbollah without having to fight a major war.

The payoff to Russia for agreeing to such a deal would be significant. But if Trump were to adopt this policy, the US has a lot of bargaining chips that it can use to convince Putin to walk away from the ayatollahs long enough for the US to defuse the threat they pose to its interests.

The problem with the Russia strategy is that since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, the Democrats, their allied media outlets and powerful forces in the US intelligence community have been beset by a Russia hysteria unseen since the Red scares in the 1920s and 1950s.

The fact that Obama bent over backward to cater to Putin’s interests for eight years has been pushed down the memory hole.

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What can be done about Iran? In Israel, a dispute is reportedly raging between the IDF and the Mossad about the greatest threat facing Israel. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot thinks that Hezbollah is the greatest threat facing Israel. Mossad Director Yossi Cohen thinks Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest danger facing the Jewish state.

While the media highlight the two men’s disagreement, the underlying truth about their concerns has been ignored.

Hezbollah and Iran’s nuclear program are two aspects of the same threat: the regime in Tehran.

Hezbollah is a wholly owned subsidiary of the regime. If the regime disappeared, Hezbollah would fall apart. As for the nuclear installations, in the hands of less fanatical leaders, they would represent a far less acute danger to global security.

So if you undermine the Iranian regime, you defeat Hezbollah and defuse the nuclear threat.

If you fail to deal with the regime in Tehran, both threats will continue to grow no matter what you do, until they become all but insurmountable.

So what can be done about Tehran? With each passing day we discover new ways Iran endangers Israel and the rest of the region.

This week we learned Iran has built underground weapons factories in Lebanon. The facilities are reportedly capable of building missiles, drones, small arms and ammunition. Their underground location protects them from aerial bombardment.

Then there is Hezbollah’s relationship to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

For more than a decade, the Americans have been selling themselves the implausible claim that the LAF is a responsible fighting force capable and willing to rein in Hezbollah. Never an easy claim – the LAF provided targeting information to Hezbollah missile crews attacking Israel in 2006 – after Hezbollah domesticated the Lebanese government in 2008, the claim became downright silly. And yet, over the past decade, the US has provided the LAF with weapons worth in excess of $1 billion. In 2016 alone the US gave the LAF jets, helicopters, armored personnel carriers and missiles worth more than $220 million.

In recent months, showing that Iran no longer feels the need to hide its control over Lebanon, the LAF has openly stated that it is working hand in glove with Hezbollah.

Last November, Hezbollah showcased US M113 armored personnel carriers with roof-mounted Russian anti-aircraft guns, at a military parade in Syria. The next month the Americans gave the LAF a Hellfire missile-equipped Cessna aircraft with day and night targeting systems.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun is a Hezbollah ally. So is Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf and LAF commander Gen. Joseph Aoun.

Last month President Aoun told Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, that Hezbollah serves “a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”

And yet the Americans insist that it continues to make sense – and to be lawful – to arm the LAF.

You can hardly blame them. Denial is an attractive option, given the alternatives.

For the past eight years, the Obama administration did everything in its power to empower Iran. To make Iran happy, Obama did nothing as hundreds of thousands of Syrians were killed and millions more were forced to flee their homes by Iran and its puppet Bashar Assad.

Obama allowed Iran to take over the Iraqi government and the Iraqi military. He sat back as Iran’s Houthi proxy overthrew the pro-US regime in Yemen.

And of course, the crowning achievement of Obama’s foreign policy was his nuclear deal with the mullahs. Obama’s deal gives Iran an open path to a nuclear arsenal in a bit more than a decade and enriches the regime beyond Ayatollah Khamenei’s wildest dreams.

Obama empowered Iran at the expense of the US’s Sunni allies and Israel, and indeed, at the expense of the US’s own superpower status in the region, to enable the former president to withdraw the US from the Middle East.

Power of course, doesn’t suffer a vacuum, and the one that Obama created was quickly filled.

For decades, Russia has been Iran’s major arms supplier. It has assisted Iran with its nuclear program and with its ballistic missile program. Russia serves as Iran’s loyal protector at the UN Security Council.

But for all the help it provided Tehran through the years, Moscow never presented itself as Iran’s military defender.

That all changed in September 2015. Two months after Obama cut his nuclear deal with the ayatollahs, Russia deployed its forces to Syria on behalf of Iran and its Syrian and Lebanese proxies.

In so doing, Russia became the leading member and the protector of the Iranian axis.

Russia’s deployment of forces had an immediate impact not only on the war in Syria, but on the regional power balance as a whole. With Russia serving as the air force for Iran and its Syrian and Hezbollah proxies, the Assad regime’s chances of survival increased dramatically. So did Iran’s prospects for regional hegemony.

For Obama, this situation was not without its advantages.

In his final year in office, Obama’s greatest concern was ensuring that his nuclear deal with Iran would outlive his presidency. Russia’s deployment in Syria as the protector of Iran and its proxies was a means of achieving this end.

Russia’s alliance with Iran made attacking Iran’s nuclear program or its Hezbollah proxy a much more dangerous prospect than it had been before.

After all, in 2006, Russia supported Iran and Hezbollah in their war against Israel. But Russia’s support for Iran and its Lebanese legion didn’t diminish Israel’s operational freedom. Israel was able to wage war without any fear that its operations would place it in a direct confrontation with the Russian military.

This changed in September 2015.

The first person to grasp the strategic implications of the Russian move was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu recognized that with Russian forces on the ground in Syria, the only way for Israel to take even remedial measures to protect itself from Iran and its proxies was to drive a wedge between President Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs wide enough to enable Israel to continue its raids against weapons convoys to Hezbollah and other targets without risking a confrontation with Russia. This is the reason that Netanyahu boarded a flight to Moscow to speak to Putin almost immediately after the Russian leader deployed his forces to Syria.

Israel’s ability to continue to strike targets in Syria, whether along the border on the Golan Heights or deep within Syrian territory, is a function of Netanyahu’s success in convincing Putin to limit his commitment to his Iranian allies.

Since President Donald Trump entered the White House, Iran has been his most urgent foreign policy challenge. Unlike Obama, Trump recognizes that Iran’s nuclear program and its threats to US economic and strategic interests in the Persian Gulf and the Levant cannot be wished away.

And so he has decided to deal with Iran.

The question is, what is he supposed to do? Trump has three basic options.

He can cut a deal with Russia. He can act against Iran without cutting a deal with Russia. And he can do nothing, or anemically maintain Obama’s pro-Iran policies.

The first option has the greatest potential strategic payoff. If Trump can convince Russia to ditch Iran, then he has a chance of dismantling the regime in Tehran and so defusing the Iranian nuclear program and destroying Hezbollah without having to fight a major war.

The payoff to Russia for agreeing to such a deal would be significant. But if Trump were to adopt this policy, the US has a lot of bargaining chips that it can use to convince Putin to walk away from the ayatollahs long enough for the US to defuse the threat they pose to its interests.

The problem with the Russia strategy is that since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, the Democrats, their allied media outlets and powerful forces in the US intelligence community have been beset by a Russia hysteria unseen since the Red scares in the 1920s and 1950s.

The fact that Obama bent over backward to cater to Putin’s interests for eight years has been pushed down the memory hole.

Also ignored is the fact that during her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton approved deals with the Russians that were arguably antithetical to US interests while the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in contributions from Russian businessmen and companies closely allied with Putin.

Since November 8, the Democrats and their clapping seals in the media and allies in the US intelligence community have banged the war drums against Russia, accusing Trump and his advisers of serving as Russian patsies at best, and Russian agents at worst.

In this climate, it would be politically costly for Trump to implement a Russian-based strategy for dismantling the Iranian threat.

This brings us to the second option, which is to confront Iran and Russia. Under this option, US action against Iran could easily cause hostilities to break out between the US and Russia. It goes without saying that the political fallout from making a deal with Russia would be nothing compared to the political consequences if Trump were to take the US down a path that led to war with Russia.

Obviously, the economic and human costs of such a confrontation would be prohibitive regardless of the political consequences.

This leaves us with the final option of doing nothing, or anemically continuing to implement Obama’s policies, as the Americans are doing today.

Although tempting, the hard truth is that this is the most dangerous policy of all.

You need only look to North Korea to understand why this is so.

Seemingly on a daily basis, Pyongyang threatens to nuke America. And the US has no good options for dealing with the threat.

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged during his recent trip to Asia, decades of US diplomacy regarding North Korea’s nuclear program did nothing to diminish or delay the threat.

North Korea has been able to develop nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles while threatening the US with destruction because North Korea enjoys the protection of China. If not for the Chinese, the US would long ago have dealt a death blow to the regime.

Israel has moved Russia as far away from Iran as it can on its own. It is enough to stop convoys of North Korean weapons from crossing into Lebanon.

But it isn’t enough to cause serious harm to Tehran or its clients.

The only government that can do that is the American government.

Trump built his career by mastering the art of deal making. And he recognized that Obama’s deal with Iran is not the masterpiece Obama and his allies claim but a catastrophe.

The Iran deal Trump needs to make with the Russians is clear. The only question is whether he is willing to pay the political price it requires.

Obama Admin Loyalists, Government Insiders Sabotage Trump White House

March 22, 2017

Obama Admin Loyalists, Government Insiders Sabotage Trump White House, Washington Free Beacon, March 22, 2017

The White House. Photo credit  MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Obama administration worked in its final weeks in office to undermine the incoming Trump White and continues to do so, according to multiple sources both in and out of the White House.

Behind the effort, these sources say, are senior government officials who previously worked under President Obama and remain loyal to his agenda. These individuals leak negative information about the Trump White House and its senior staff to a network of former Obama administration officials who then plant this information in key media outlets including the Washington Post and New York Times.

Meanwhile, holdovers from the Obama administration are working to undermine the Trump administration’s agenda through efforts to alter official communications, a number of administration officials confirmed in conversations with the Washington Free Beacon.

Multiple sources expressed concern over what they described as an unprecedented effort by the former administration to subvert President Donald Trump’s team. These sources would only speak on background because they were not officially authorized to publicly discuss the situation, which is said to have fostered a level of discomfort and distrust in the West Wing.

The Free Beacon first reported on several portions of this effort earlier this year, including separate campaigns to undermine current CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, both of whom were subjected to leaks aimed at undermining their credibility.

“We have members of the former administration at the highest levels who through their actions after January 20 have demonstrated their refusal to recognize the results of the general election,” one senior administration official told the Free Beacon. “They have pursued, organized, and managed a comprehensive subversion of the new administration.”

In one instance, Trump administration officials found evidence that the administration’s executive order banning travel from certain Muslim-majority nations had been selectively altered to bring it more in line with Obama-era talking points.

Several hours before the orders were set to be signed by Trump, officials noticed that language concerning “radical Islamic terrorism” had been stripped from the order and replaced with Obama-era language about countering violent extremism.

West Wing staffers quickly scrambled to rewrite the order to bring it back in line with Trump’s rhetoric, sources told the Free Beacon. The alteration of these directives is said to have spooked some senior officials working on the issue.

A series of targeted leaks also has fostered concerns that Obama administration holdovers are seeking to handicap the new administration.

Several weeks before his resignation, former national security adviser Flynn requested staff assemble an in-house phonebook that included contact information for senior White House staff. Before Flynn signed off on the effort, the phonebook was leaked to the press.

Additionally, the previous administration permitted staff to accrue substantial amounts of vacation time in its last year in office. As soon as team Trump entered the White House, it was obligated to pay out all of these hours. White House sources say the cost was in the millions of dollars.

The payout prevented the Trump White House from hiring key staff in its opening days due to insufficient funds, according to those familiar with the situation. Flynn, for instance, was able to hire only 22 people to work on the White House National Security Council, which topped around 420 staffers under Obama.

“They put landmines everywhere,” according to one senior administration official.

Outside of the White House, meanwhile, a team of former Obama administration officials is working to subvert Trump’s agenda.

Former Obama administration officials such as Ben Rhodes, the architect of Obama’s pro-Iran press operation, and Colin Kahl, a senior national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, have engaged in public efforts to “purge” the current White House of officials they disagree with.

Earlier this month, Kahl admitted on Twitter that he is seeking to provoke the firings of Trump’s handpicked team “in the West Wing,” including senior advisers Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, and NSC leaders Michael Anton and KT McFarland.

As part of this effort, Kahl, Rhodes, and others have leaked damaging stories about these officials to allies in the media.

The latest target, Gorka, has been falsely accused of being a Nazi sympathizer and an Islamophobe. The campaign against Flynn unfolded in a similar manner and sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter speculated that these leaks will continue.

“They have a network of journalists for whom they have served as sources and they have fed stuff to these journalists,” one senior U.S. official told the Free Beacon. “That’s what pretty obviously is going on. I’ve never seen this happen before. I’ve never heard of it happening throughout history.”

Putting the current White House in a permanent state of defense is a key objective of this strategy, according to one senior Republican foreign policy operative who is close to the White House.

“Part of this campaign, of course, was the media operation of selective leaks, many of which were illegal and directly targeted the staff and officials of the incoming Trump administration,” the source said.

This targeted media campaign is similar to the method used by Rhodes and others to push the Iran nuclear deal.

“You can tell what’s clearly going on because many of the same media outlets who formed crucial parts of Ben Rhodes’ Iran Deal ‘echo chamber’ are springing to launch coordinated attacks on Sebastian Gorka today,” said one longtime political consultant who is close to the White House NSC. “The way it works is, one highly partisan journalist goes out on a limb in dishonestly characterizing the target. That dishonest story is used to build on the next, in which the original lie is taken as fact, and then repeated in an echo chamber until it becomes conventional wisdom.”

Where is the America in which I grew up?

March 20, 2017

Where is the America in which I grew up? Israel National News, Joe David, March 20, 2017

(I was born in America a bit more than seventy-five years ago and feel the same way. Will America recover? Can she?  Will the “Deep State” allow it? Please see also,
I Will Name Names’: Infighting At EPA Drives Top Official To Resign and To Truly Beat The Bureaucrats, Trump Needs To Shut Their Agencies Down. President Trump needs all of the help he can get, and even that may be insufficient.– DM)

Some believe that it may be too late to stop this cozy triumvirate from achieving their goal, because they are too rooted for one president alone to handle. But one thing is for sure, whether the president wins or loses, the deep state’s cover has been blown. Thanks to the messaging of one brave man the America has wised up to what is happening and what is at stake. Hopefully that means that there will never be any turning back for the country and it will always be looking forward toward achieving a freer and healthier tomorrow.

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The America I knew growing up is rapidly disappearing. Law and order is being replaced by mob rule. A madness has claimed the country, introduced in recent years by hate groups who are dedicated to using violent protests to cause political instability. In a frenzy of madness, often triggered by just an innuendo, these groups want to crush all opposition to their agenda. For astute observers of our culture, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Our great universities, which were once citadels of reason, a safe place for open discourse, have abandoned both – and they have become instead centers for cultivating insurrection, with minimal tolerance for truth and clear thinking.

As a result of the events in the last eight years, I have come to the conclusion that my beloved country – the land of liberty, once ruled by freedom of speech, law and order, and a constitutional government – is being irreparably compromised by rebellion. In just a matter of a few years, many Americans have tossed aside sense and have joyfully embraced mob violence (examples, Berkeley University, inauguration riotsMichael Savage attack, and much, much more). The lessons in history on the fall of great nations have all been ignored – for those lucky enough to have once learned these lessons in school.

Every scheme that man could conceive to break a nation is being used today by agitators (i.e., followers of Saul Alinsky) in their eagerness to wipe away our liberties and independence in their move toward complete political control.

The strong, proud country of yesteryear, which once produced wealthy entrepreneurs and productive workers, is rapidly vanishing. Its citizens are demanding entitlement programs over honest employment, and, to get their way, they are using divisive rhetoric and action. Progressive leaders have spawned a lazy generation of lazy parasites who expect everything to be given to them – from housing and food to university education and medical plans. (Several supporters: Bernie SandersElizabeth Warren, and other left-wingers.)

What few resources that haven’t been squandered on federal aid programs (international and domestic) are insufficient to sustain us for long. America has seriously been weakened by poor management, and today it faces the world, impoverished and vulnerable, a cripple on broken crutches about to collapse (from the load of a nearly 20-trillion-dollar National debt).

Reaching this state didn’t occur overnight nor was it a result of one or two leaders. It was achieved over the years by the focused efforts of universities committed to turning students into social reformers obsessed with deconstructing a great nation To quote David Horowitz in his March 14, 2017, letter to his readers, we have reached this point “through silent planning, crafty messaging using pop culture as their vehicle, and the subtle brainwashing of the most impressionable group of people in our society – students.”

Our great universities aren’t completely to blame for what is happening in our country. If they were, their mistakes and deceits would have been exposed and corrected by a fair-minded media. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Instead, the universities have been protected by a mass media, stripped of objectivity and impartiality and bent on advancing their views with minimal respect for truth. As a result, educators have been free to do whatever they like, while journalists aggressively discredit anyone who challenges them. (Review almost any news spin on major school issues.)

Protecting these two deceivers from their questionable activities is a shadow government, made up of federal, state, and local workers who remain securely positioned, regardless of who is in the White House. This shadow government or deep state, as it is currently being called, has compiled over the years sufficient data on all us (by tapping into our emails, phone and medical records, and more) in order to silence us, when necessary.

Until recently, its existence was never obvious. The country moved along quietly, controlled by this shadow government, its citizens under the illusion that their freedom and independence was secure. From time to time there would be a news-breaking scandal when someone in position would question the decision of the deep state. But before the truth could be examined closely, the whistleblower would be compromised and the matter would come to a swift end.

Then, one man entered the political scene about a year ago who recently stepped into the Oval Office, a flawed but determined man, with one obsession, to turn America around and clean the swamp. Almost immediately, all hell broke loose across the country.

In an effort to discredit the man, everything positive that he was trying to do for the country was overshadowed by vicious innuendo and news stories. A sex tape, tax reports, an alleged Russian connection, and more were used against him to build a major scandal. In the establishment’s effort to bring him down, it exposed itself for what it really was attempting to do. That became obvious recently, when someone in position released highly classified CIA information. This information which was leaked to WikiLeaks by someone like an Edward Snowden, buried in the deep state, revealed the establishment’s true intent: not just to discredit a man, but to break a nation.

Some believe that it may be too late to stop this cozy triumvirate from achieving their goal, because they are too rooted for one president alone to handle. But one thing is for sure, whether the president wins or loses, the deep state’s cover has been blown. Thanks to the messaging of one brave man the America has wised up to what is happening and what is at stake. Hopefully that means that there will never be any turning back for the country and it will always be looking forward toward achieving a freer and healthier tomorrow.

Taiwan Receives U.S. Navy Frigates, Plans Purchase of American Fighter Jets

March 20, 2017

Taiwan Receives U.S. Navy Frigates, Plans Purchase of American Fighter Jets, Breitbart, Frances Martel, March 20, 2017

AP/Daniel Morel

The government of Taiwan is planning to request the purchase of new fighter aircraft from the United States, The Guardian reported today, just as it completes the transfer of two decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates. The move comes amid concerns that the Communist Party in Beijing is seeking to crack down on the pro-independence government of President Tsai Ing-wen.

The Guardian cites Taiwanese Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan as alerting the nation’s legislature that his government is seeking to purchase more modern aircraft to replace its currently fleet of F-16s. Feng’s request for more modern aircraft was a response to a review of Taiwan’s defense capabilities recently released by his ministry and published every four years. The review warned that the Chinese government had significantly expanded its ability to attack Taiwan is necessary. China has invested heavily in military construction in the South China Sea, particularly in regions that are not sovereign Chinese territory but China insists has belonged to them since ancient times.”

The fighter jet purchases are part of a greater proposed defense spending increase in the year’s budget. The South China Morning Post reports that Taiwan is looking to increase its defense spending from two to three percent of its GDP in 2018, a high not seen since 1999. This would mean spending up to $11.4 billion on defense. Tsai’s predecessor, the Kuomintang Party’s Ma Jing-yeou, took a conciliatory approach to relations with Beijing.

The Guardian notes that China is proposing a seven percent increase in its defense spending to $151 billion.

The budget announcement also featured the revelation that Taiwan was now capable of launching missiles that can hit the Chinese mainland, a distance of nearly one thousand miles.

Taiwan recently expanded its naval capability by receiving two decommissioned American Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, who began their sail out of American port on March 9. The frigates are expected to begin active duty for the Taiwanese defense forces in May.

The Chinese government appears concerned with Taiwan’s moves to protect itself from a mainland invasion. State propaganda outlet Global Times published a column Friday warning Taipei to abandon hopes of being recognized as a sovereign nation and instead accept the status China insists it has as a rogue province. “No soldiers believe Taiwan forces are capable to defend the island if the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launches a comprehensive offensive against Taiwan,” the column reads. “As long as the Tsai government accepts of the 1992 Consensus, the island’s security will be ensured. The eight-year-tenure of Ma Ying-Jeou is the most secure period Taiwan has enjoyed since entering the 21st century.”

“Therefore, the most important thing for Taiwan is not to provoke the one-China policy. This is the correct political way to protect the island’s security,” the column concludes.

Taiwan did just that late last year following the election of President Donald Trump in the United States. President Tsai called Trump to congratulate him on his election victory and Trump, in an unprecedented move, accepted the call, implying he understood Tsai to be a fellow head of state. The Chinese communist government condemned Tsai and insisted in assurances from Washington that the Trump administration would not abandon the “One China” policy, which demands foreign nations also deny Taiwan’s sovereignty. Trump reportedly agreed to the One China policy in a February phone call with President Xi Jinping.

Tsai, meanwhile, has insisted on respect for her nation’s self-governance. In a speech in January, Tsai condemned Beijing for “going back to the old path of dividing, coercing, and even threatening and intimidating Taiwan.” “For the sake of safeguarding regional peace and prosperity, I want to once again reiterate that our commitments will not change, and our goodwill will not change. But we will not bow to pressure, and we will of course not revert to the old path of confrontation,” she promised.

Trump Admin To Boycott U.N. Council Over Anti-Israel Agenda

March 20, 2017

Trump Admin To Boycott U.N. Council Over Anti-Israel Agenda, Washington Free Beacon, March 20, 2017

UN PHOTO / Jess Hoffman via Wiki Commons

“The argument that the U.S. has to participate in bodies like the United Nations Human Rights Council or risk losing our influence over it is ridiculous,” said one senior administration official familiar with the boycott. “The UNHRC is, like its predecessor, morally bankrupt and the only good news is that its actions have little practical effect in the real world. We’ve wasted enough time and money on it.”

The declaration signals a vast departure from the Obama administration, which, in its final days in office, helped craft and garner support for a fiercely anti-Israel resolution. The Obama administration’s efforts, which were widely condemned by Israel and U.S. pro-Israel groups, broke with decades of U.S. policy when it promoted this effort.

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The Trump administration will boycott the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, or UNHRC, due to its efforts to advance an anti-Israel agenda, according to senior administration officials familiar with the effort who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The UNHRC, which includes member countries cited for mass human rights abuses, is poised on Monday to adopt at least five anti-Israel resolutions, prompting outrage in the Trump administration over what officials described as the council’s unjust bias against the Jewish state.

The action on these items has prompted the Trump administration to boycott the council and refuse to attend the Monday meeting, according to administration officials apprised of the situation who spoke with the Free Beacon.

The boycott comes on the heels of the resignation of a Jordanian U.N. official who had sought to advance an anti-Israel agenda opposed by the United Statesand other nations.

Trump administration officials said the increased pressure on the U.N. is part of a larger effort by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley to significantly reform the international organization and root out those who use it as a platform to push anti-Israel initiatives.

On Monday, the UNHRC is set to consider an agenda known as the “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” It is said to include several anti-Israel declarations that the Trump administration fiercely objects to.

Senior Trump administration officials who spoke to the Free Beacon said the upcoming resolutions affirm the U.N.’s unacceptable bias against Israel, which remains the only member nation that has specific agenda items aimed against it.

The efforts to criticize Israel threaten the council’s credibility and are said to have motivated the Trump administration to boycott Monday’s meeting.

Haley and other senior administration officials have determined that this anti-Israel bias must be addressed before the U.S. rejoins the council and gives it legitimacy, according to sources.

The Trump administration told the Free Beacon it is fully committed to voting against “every resolution” targeting Israel and that it will encourage allies to do the same.

“The argument that the U.S. has to participate in bodies like the United Nations Human Rights Council or risk losing our influence over it is ridiculous,” said one senior administration official familiar with the boycott. “The UNHRC is, like its predecessor, morally bankrupt and the only good news is that its actions have little practical effect in the real world. We’ve wasted enough time and money on it.”

The declaration signals a vast departure from the Obama administration, which, in its final days in office, helped craft and garner support for a fiercely anti-Israel resolution. The Obama administration’s efforts, which were widely condemned by Israel and U.S. pro-Israel groups, broke with decades of U.S. policy when it promoted this effort.

Newly installed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated recently that the United States intends boycott the UNHRC until it implements much needed reforms, chiefly its anti-Israel bias.

The latest move is meant to bolster this policy and send a message that the UNHRC’s bias against Israel must cease before the U.S. considers the group legitimate.

The Trump administration intends to vote against every U.N. resolution against Israel and will urge other nations to do the same, according to officials.

The administration also is pushing other nations to criticize the UNHCR’s anti-Israel bias and promote significant reforms.

Does Germany Owe Us ‘Vast Sums’?

March 20, 2017

Does Germany Owe Us ‘Vast Sums’? PJ MediaMichael Walsh, March 19, 2017

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Merkel, more than anyone, is the woman who destroyed the notion of European cultural cohesion, the unity of its history, and its Western identity. Her folly in throwing open the borders of the European Union (which is itself a Franco-German political fantasy now coming unglued) to the “migrant” hordes of an invading Islamic world will reverberate for decades to come. In an effort to replace the German population — which, largely thanks to its women, is almost wholly uninterested in reproducing itself — the childless chancellor could only see a mechanical solution to a problem of reproductive biology, without ever once (in true East German fashion) asking herself why.

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President Trump’s recent meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel went about as well as could be expected. He treated her with thinly veiled contempt, avoiding her gaze, staring off into the middle distance whenever possible, his body language proclaiming his true feelings. Whether he heard her softly muttered request for a photo-op handshake at the end of their meeting doesn’t matter: his mien made his feelings abundantly clear.

Germany, or bits of it, has gone from being a mortal enemy in 1941 to a four-power protectorate in 1945 to an American client state until 1989, to a nominal ally up to the present. The German media — and the Trump-haters in the American press — acted as if the president had just delivered her an ultimatum about the Sudetenland — even though, as you can see below, Trump shook hands with the chancellor at least three times.

Eins (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

But Merkel, more than anyone, is the woman who destroyed the notion of European cultural cohesion, the unity of its history, and its Western identity. Her folly in throwing open the borders of the European Union (which is itself a Franco-German political fantasy now coming unglued) to the “migrant” hordes of an invading Islamic world will reverberate for decades to come. In an effort to replace the German population — which, largely thanks to its women, is almost wholly uninterested in reproducing itself — the childless chancellor could only see a mechanical solution to a problem of reproductive biology, without ever once (in true East German fashion) asking herself why.

Trump also spoke some unwelcome truths to the German people, foremost among them their debt to the United States of America from liberating them from Hitler, for midwifing the Federal Republic of Germany, for supporting Germany unification (despite the wretched George H. W. Bush/ James A. Baker III administration’s indifference, if not outright opposition, to it) and, paramount, for the American nuclear umbrella and thousands of troops that allowed the postwar Germans to establish and maintain their cushy social-welfare state. The Allies wanted a defanged Germany, and boy did they ever get it.

And yet that denatured Deutschland is what is killing Germany. When you enter the workforce in your mid-to-late twenties and retire in your fifties, your exposure to the vicissitudes of life is as minimal as it can be. And when that work is punctuated by six weeks of vacations, multiple days off, spa treatments and a strictly regulated set of working-hours… well, Bruder, you were on Easystrasse.

Throw in Germany’s historical notion of Kinderfeindlichkeit — hatred of children — and you have a surefire prescription for national suicide: Germany, literally, has nothing to live for.

But the free ride’s now over, and the Germans don’t like it one bit:

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense. “There is no debt account at NATO,” von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO.

“Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” von der Leyen said. She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.

A “modern security concept” sounds very much like the Obama administration’s notion of “soft power.” And no power in Europe is softer than Germany’s.

Zwei (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump said on Twitter on Saturday – a day after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington – that Germany “owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” Trump has urged Germany and other NATO members to accelerate efforts to meet NATO’s defense spending target…. During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to the 2 percent military spending goal.

Big deal. Trump got all kinds of grief from the foreign-policy establishment when he voiced his skepticism about NATO during the campaign, but he was on to something. The rapid expansion of what used to be the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (essentially, the U.S. and Britain, with other spear-carriers, and minus the French) has gobbled up several of the former Soviet client states in eastern Europe, pushing itself right up to the Russian border. To say this is provocative to the Russians under the Soviet-restorationist  (in territory rather than Marxist philosophy) regime of Vladimir Putin is an understatement.

I’m not privy to what Trump told Merkel in private, but it’s hard to imagine the president didn’t put the iron laws of political economics to her in the bluntest possible way. Merkel has had the freedom to import and support a million cultural hostiles a year with no meaningful work skills in large part because Germany pays so little for defense, and can afford to amuse itself with virtue-signalling while its citizens are robbed, raped, and murdered — although even that largesse is coming to an end.

So it’s amusing to watch the knee-jerk Left instantly come to the side of the country they used to love to hate — Germany — the instant Trump criticizes their beloved Angela Merkel. Here’s the Washington Post, which under Jeff Bezos and editor Marty Baron has turned into a snarling, rabid dog of Trump-hatred, spouting the new Party Line:

Since World War II, Germany has intentionally kept its military small. The country defines itself by its pacifism and its commitment to the idea of “never again.” Germany’s defense spending — or lack thereof — has frequently been criticized and mocked in the past. In 2014, for instance, German forces made headlines when they were forced to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise, exposing the state of its underequipped military.

But, Germans argue, they make up for this in other ways. As Merkel argued in a speech last month, mutual security goes beyond military spending. International development aid on things like hospitals and schools does as much for peace as warheads in Europe. “When we help people in their home countries to live a better life and thereby prevent crises, this is also a contribution to security,” Merkel said in Munich. “So I will not be drawn into a debate about who is more military-minded and who is less.”

She and other German leaders also point out that they’re bearing the brunt of the Syrian refugee crisis, spending 30 to 40 billion euros a year. If that was included in the tally, they say, they’d be putting more than 2 percent of their budget a year toward security. (They’re also quick to note that U.S. military interventions are one reason there are so many displaced people from the Middle East.)

Auf wiedersehen (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Now that is the very dictionary definition of chutzpah.

Although it’s — alas! — unlikely to happen, sensible Germans who wish to maintain and further their cultural patrimony need to dump Merkel in the upcoming elections. What will come after her might well be worse — it may well be a Leftist coalition, unlike the current closeted leftism of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party — but if Europe is to have any chance at survival, that’s a chance that’s still worth taking. And least then we can see the German government for what it really is.