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June 2014


“It would behoove U.S. policy makers to stop impotent regrets about the loss of a “united, democratic, progressive Iraq,” which ever existed only in their own minds. Rather, they should get used to the region’s new map and demand of Sunni-stan’s sponsors in the Gulf that they guide it to getting along with its neighbors.”

Sunni fighters from around the Muslim world, having failed to conquer all of Syria from the Assad regime’s Alewites (a branch of Shia Islam) have been pushed eastward into majority-Sunni areas. These extend from east-central Syria into north-central Iraq. A wholly artificial border divides them. In recent days, they have established control over Sunni-majority areas of Iraq, from Fallujah and Mosul to the edges of Tikrit and Samarra. Our foreign policy establishment’s illusion that world events are principally about the United States, and its reflexive commitment to existing international borders, has led it to misunderstand that the region’s wars have been about re-drawing the unnatural borders imposed by the Wilsonians who subdivided the Ottoman Empire in 1919.

Our establishment, having neither ideas nor means for stopping this re-drawing, has reacted by hand-wringing (e.g. “the fall of Mosul” WSJ 6/11). Herewith, some suggestions for understanding these events’ implications for U.S. interests.

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, regardless of U.S. motives, made it possible for all of the region’s peoples to set about forcibly securing the political arrangements they desired. In the war that followed Saddam’s overthrow, the U.S. government believed that the issues were moderation versus extremism, democracy versus autocracy, and modernity versus the Middle Ages. But the folks who were actually doing the fighting had other things in mind.

The objective of Iraq’s Kurds, unequivocally, was to establish Kurdistan — with its own excellent army (the Peshmerga) its own language, flag, and institutions. They achieved all that, have invited Kurds living inside Syria, Turkey, and Iran to join them, and have mostly watched the region’s other peoples fight among themselves.

Thus the “Iraq War” pitted local Sunni Arabs, supported by the entire Sunni world, against local Shia Arabs, supported by the one and only Shia power, Iran. (The Americans’ practical objective, to tamp down the fighting, made them targets for both sides.)



The Islamist Plague

Rachel Ehrenfeld

Many Western commentators have adopted the narrative that al Qaeda and its ilk are the exception to the “religion of peace” — Islam.

However, the rise of “political Islam,” the brainchild of the Muslim Brotherhood, is more akin to a highly infectious disease. No vaccine is available; its spread can only be halted by identifying and eliminating the sources of infection. Yet, despite the mortal danger posed by the increasingly violent global jihadist movement, willful blindness persists in the United States and the West.

Once the Soviet Union imploded and Islamist fundamentalism exploded, Muhammad replaced Marx and Lenin, and radical Islam replaced the socialist-nationalist doctrines of the Arab revolutionaries. The collapse of the Soviet Union served as the catalyst for an alliance between radical Sunni and Shiite movements that helped to revive Islamist fundamentalism. The spread of the Islamist ideology was paid for by the oil-rich Arab/Muslim states, which also used their money to buy Western “opinion makers,” including businessmen, politicians, the media, and academics.

New communication technologies allowed the increasingly vitriolic Islamist rhetoric to spread instantaneously. Instead of taking measures to stop the instructive incitement for murder, the West sank further into appeasement, thus encouraging the spread of the jihadist agenda.

While the bloody attacks of ISIS and Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria are portrayed as a Sunni vs. Shiite struggle, the role of Ayatollah Khomeini, as the leader of the “Islamic Revolution,” should not be forgotten.

Musil and Meta-Musil: The Inevitable World War I By Spengler

The West wasn’t pregnant in August 1914, only constipated.

Rather than give birth to the future, it emptied its bowels of rancor. No disaster in world history was more predictable or longer in preparation. Robert Musil’s great novel The Man Without Qualitiesdepicts Vienna’s elite in the months before the war, pursuing petty concerns unaware that their world was about to disappear. It is the great European anti-novel because its self-referential premise – the protagonists do not know what every reader knows – forbids an ending. There are no right choices because nothing can prevent this bubble of a world from popping. After Musil – meta-Musil, so to speak – comes the great evacuation. The novel is considered a masterpiece in the German-speaking world. Few Americans know it, and fewer of these can make sense of it.

As the hundredth anniversary of World War I approaches, we will hear endless variations on a lament for Western Civilization. All of them go more or less as follows: At the height of its prosperity, scientific discovery, and artistic achievement the nations of Europe inexplicably plunged into a mutual slaughter that prepared the ground for the greater slaughter of 1939-1945. That is simply wrong. Europe had done this sort of thing twice before, first in the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648 and again in the Napoleonic Wars of 1797-1814.

French casualties in the Napoleonic Wars were comparable to World War I in proportion to population. France lost between 1.4 and 1.7 million men under Napoleon out of a total population of 29 million. Men aged 17 to 49 typically made up about one-fifth of the 18th century population. The total military manpower pool of Napoleonic France was less than six million men, which means that casualties came to 23% to 28% of total manpower, more than in World War I. Vast numbers died from other nations; of the 500,000 soldiers in the polyglot army that Napoleon marched into Russia in June 1812, only 16,000 returned. The events of 1914-1939, Winston Churchill said aptly, were “a second Thirty Years’ War.” In fact, the first Thirty Years War was in some ways worse. It killed nearly half the people of Central Europe and emptied great swaths of Spain and France.

Beguiled as we are by the Enlightenment’s idea of progress, we play down the precedent for our own problems. In the enlightened reading, the Thirty Years War was a religious conflict, the last blood-orgy of medieval superstition, before the Age of Reason swept away the cobwebs of fanaticism. That is entirely false: after the initial, abortive revolt of the Bohemian Protestants against the Austrian Empire, the Thirty Years’ War became a Franco-Spanish conflict, fought by fanatics on both sides who believed that their nation was chosen by God to be his agent on earth. It was a religious war, to be sure, but a war between two perverse, nationalistic readings of Catholic Christianity. The same ethnocentric megalomania impelled the nations of Europe into 1914.


Saturday was the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That event is supposed to have caused World War I, which was commonly labeled “the war to end all wars.”

I say supposed to have caused the war because if we look at what actually happened, we can gain a far better understanding of the lessons the world should have but never learned from World War I.

We know the vast scale of the number of dead, wounded, and missing. There were more than 200,000 Americans, three million British, six million French, seven million Germans and nine million Russians among them.

Ignorance of the lessons of World War I is a commonplace. The first among the lost lessons is: contrary to what we are told by an endless string of movies and novels, great wars cannot be begun by accident or by relatively small events such as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.

Belgium’s independence began in 1830, and nine years later, Germany, England, and France entered into a treaty that guaranteed its neutrality, promising not to engage in war within its borders. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany had other ideas. He saw Britain, under King George V, as trying to encircle Germany and prevent it from becoming the great power Wilhelm believed was its destiny. He pushed German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck from office and his military leaders, led by Field Marshall von Schlieffen, had by December 1905 drafted secret plans to invade Belgium with a massive force and sweep south to conquer France. Germans of that era often toasted to “der Tag,” the day that Germany’s conquest of Europe would begin.

German planning for the war, over the nine years from 1905 to 1914, was developed in the most minute detail. The Schlieffen plan included the movement of armies down to the mobilization of each unit of two million troops, equipping them and sending them by rail (with each locomotive planned to move specific cars and leave at a specified minute) to the points of disembarkation to invade Belgium.

Bismarck predicted that the next great war would start with “some damned foolish thing” in the Balkans. When Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, a month of diplomacy ending in ultimatums sent between France, Germany, and Russia provided Wilhelm with the spark he chose to begin the long-planned war.


The Steep, Steep Price of Thad Cochran’s Victory in Mississippi

The Republican Party has to stand for more than “just win, baby.”

If you’re a Republican who went all out for Thad Cochran’s win last week, I hope you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and asking yourself whether Cochran’s victory was worth it. Because the price looks awfully steep – i.e., having a Republican candidate denounce the conservative positions of his opponent and a big chunk of the grassroots.

Great, a 76-year-old who wanted to retire is now a favorite to return for a seventh term. Look, I get it, Chris McDaniel had more rough edges than sandpaper origami, and yes, there was always the likelihood that the Democrats would attempt to turn him into the Todd Akin of this cycle. But anytime a Republican tries to beat another Republican by adopting the rhetoric of the Democrats, they’re playing with fire.

Was Thad Cochran’s victory worth having a Republican explicitly running on the glory of earmarks and the value of large federal spending projects in the state? Why not just hold up a giant flashing neon sign saying “WE DON’T REALLY CARE ABOUT THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT”?

Was it worth running radio ads declaring, “By not voting, you’re saying, ‘Take away all of my government programs, such as food stamps, early breakfast and lunch programs, millions of dollars to our black universities”?

Was Cochran’s victory worth a flyer like this one, contending that the Tea Party is racist?

Yes, yes, the Cochran backers will insist they themselves had nothing to do with those radio ads or flyers. They just happened to benefit from messaging that demonized the positions of the grassroots.

Once a Republican candidate is running on those messages…how many differences with the Democrats are left? “Hi, I’m the candidate of bringing home the bacon and higher spending, and I think the Tea Party is racist. But I’m completely different from the Democrat, I swear!”



I was recently in Fort Worth, Texas and happened upon the National Sheriffs’ Association annual conference and exhibition. A two-part seminar presentation scheduled for June 25 caught my eye: “The Sovereign Citizen Movement— The Emerging Threat to Law Enforcement, What Cops Need to Know.” The SCM is the latest round of what is a constant plague that ebbs and flows through American (and other) society: anarchy. A “sovereign” has the highest authority; nothing can overrule him or constrain him. He is entirely self-governed, which means he is above the laws enacted by others. Indeed, he is literally an outlaw living in a “state of nature” which Thomas Hobbes described as being where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

The term “sovereign citizen” is an oxymoron because a citizen is a member of an organized state with duties as well as rights. A citizen is subject to the sovereign power of the government and the moral order of the society the government has been established to defend. The personal declaration of “sovereignty” by the anarchist removes him from both state and society.

The concern of law enforcement for such “individuals” is clear and certainly took on more meaning this month with the cold blooded murder of two Las Vegas policemen by Jerad and Amanda Miller who were practicing anarchists. They yelled to others at the pizzeria where they shot the cops at lunch: “Tell the police the revolution has begun.” And they had shown their rejection of law earlier by stealing cars in Washington and Indiana. They had posted photos of themselves dressed as the psychotic comic book villains Joker and Harlequin. They draped a Nazi flag over the body of one of the dead officers.

The slain policemen were Alyn Beck, who left a wife and three kids, and Igor Soldo, whose wife had just given birth to their first child. The Millers then killed a woman at random in the entrance of a Wal-Mart. In the gun battle with responding police, Jerad was fatally shot and Amanda committed suicide. Beck and Soldo were not the first victims of anarchists. The FBI attributes the deaths of six officers between 2000 and 2011 to “sovereign citizen extremists.”

In should be noted that the vast majority of Americans do not share the Miller’s antipathy towards authority. The latest Gallup Poll (June 5-8) on confidence in institutions rated the Military first with 74% support and the Police third with 53% support.

Violence is not (yet) the main threat from anarchists. A 2011 report on the SCM by the FBI’s Counterterrorism Analysis Section opens “They could be dismissed as a nuisance, a loose network of individuals living in the United States who call themselves ‘sovereign citizens’ and believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. Some of their actions, although quirky, are not crimes. The offenses they do commit seem minor, like creating false license plates, driver’s licenses, and even currency.” They have also printed up fake “diplomatic” papers that claim to make them exempt from all taxes and laws of the United States. Financial fraud is also common, as they do not believe the banking system or the national currency are legitimate so they can abuse both at will.


Editor’s note: Below are the video and transcript to Caroline Glick’s address at the Freedom Center’s 2014 Texas Weekend. The event took place May 2nd-4th at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

CAROLINE GLICK: It’s amazing. You know, the Peace Process fell apart over the past six weeks. (Applause.) I don’t know if you know that, but there’s no more Peace Process, and I know you’re all shocked by that because everybody was probably totally optimistic that for the first time in 90 years the Arabs, the Palestinian Arabs were going to say, We accept Israel’s right to exist. They’ve never done it before, but suddenly, because John Forbes Kerry is such a brilliant man and such a great negotiator and just leader in general, just all-time good guy, right? Is John [O’Neill here?]

Anyway, then everything would be great, right? And then it all failed.

Now, there’s a stunning interview that was published yesterday in (inaudible), which is Israel’s — one of Israel’s largest tabloids. It came out Friday. Friday papers in Israel are like the Sunday papers. And an unknown American official — and I am willing to put good money on saying that it was Martin Indyk — but he gave the most extraordinary interview to (inaudible), where he engaged in rank anti-Semitic diatribes against Israel in order to blame Israel for the failure of the Obama administration’s Peace Process.

And I actually just got this on email — sorry, Congressman Gohmert — while you were speaking. So it took — I had to read it, but I want to read it to you just for a second, just some quotes, which are extraordinary.

It said here, One bitter American official told (inaudible) — the reporter — I guess we need another intifada to create the circumstances that would allow progress. It says, We need another Palestinian terror war against Israelis, where Israeli men, women and children get slaughtered in order to create the circumstances that would allow the progress. A third intifada, the Americans made clear — quote — would be a tragedy — you can see them crying.

The Jewish people — here is the good part — the Jewish people are supposed to be smart. It is true that they’re also considered a stubborn nation. You’re supposed to know how to read the map. In the Twenty-First Century, the world will not keep tolerating the Israeli Occupation. The Occupation threatens Israel’s status in the world and threatens Israel as a Jewish state.

(Inaudible) went on, Pressed by (Inaudible), the reporter, on perceived international hypocrisy over Israel’s presence in the West Bank — And you have to understand, just for a second (Inaudible) is a radical leftist whose formative years were spent in the Communist Youth Movement in Israel, and, yet, here, he is pressing these American friends of his — on perceived international hypocrisy over Israel’s presence in the West Bank when the world — quote — closes its eyes to China’s takeover of Tibet, it stutters at what Russia is doing in Ukraine, et cetera.

“Moderate Muslim”Saba Ahmed Unveiled By Deborah Weiss

During a recent Heritage Foundation event on Benghazi’s unanswered questions, Brigitte Gabriel, President of Act! for America, proclaimed that the peaceful majority have been irrelevant to history’s outcome when tyrannists have had the power and motivation to destroy freedom. But a Muslim audience member whose question prompted Brigitte’s comments, insists she’s not irrelevant.

On June 16, 2014, The Benghazi Accountability Coalition, spearheaded by Ginni Thomas, held a half-day seminar with a series of speakers to raise issues regarding unanswered questions about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four American patriots at Benghazi.

Brigitte Gabriel was one of three speakers on the first panel. During Q&A, a hijabbed Muslim woman standing in back of a packed audience complained, “Salam Alechim, peace to you all. We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there are 1.8 billion followers of Islam. We have 8 million plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here.” She asked how the jihadist ideology can be fought with weapons and stressed the need to bring Muslims to the table in order to solve the problem.

After one panelist asserted that nobody on the panel thinks all Muslims are the problem, Brigitte responded to the question. She noted in her emphatic and dynamic voice how interesting it was that the panel had not discussed Islam or Muslims, but the murder of those at Benghazi and yet the questioner asked about Islam out of context. “Of course not all [Muslims] are radical, but it’s 15 – 25% according to all the world’s intelligence, which equals 180 – 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of western civilization.” Brigitte went on to explain that we should worry about the radicals because it is they would kill, behead and massacre. Throughout history it was the radicals that drove the agenda and “the peaceful majority were irrelevant”. This was true in Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, China, and pre-World War II Japan. Additionally, on September 11, 2001, it took only 19 hijackers out of 2.3 million Arab Muslims living in the U.S. to bring America to its knees and kill almost 3000 Americans. “I’m glad you are here” Brigitte said, “but where are the others speaking out?”

Borgias, Anyone? Ed Klein’s Blood Feud: Roger Simon

Bill, Hillary, Michelle, and Obama equal narcissism gone berserk, but is President Jarrett waiting in the wings?
Blood Feud [1], Ed Klein’s new book on the Clintons and the Obamas currently rocketing to the top of the Amazon best seller list even before its official publication day, is a lurid, irresponsible work of yellow journalism filled with suppositions, inaccuracies, myriad anonymous sources, made-up dialogue and (often extreme) bias.

In other words, it is essentially like your average front page story in the New York Times.

But unlike the Times, Klein gets it essentially right about his subject — the Clintons and the Obamas despise each other.

And unlike the Times, Blood Feud is a compulsive read. I dare you to put it down. The book reminds you of nothing so much as an episode of Shonda Rhimes’ [2] television series Scandal [3] — and a particularly excessive episode at that. Even at its most seemingly illogical, Klein’s work has the ring of truth. He’s on to something, even if he hasn’t hit the bull’s eye.

The main characters here — Hillary, Michelle, Barack, Bill and, to an extraordinary extent, real “power behind the throne” Valerie Jarrett — read like a group of Borgias set free on today’s Washington, loathing each other and plotting revenge while living a lifestyle even the one percent could barely dream of.

The idea that these people could even utter the words “income inequality” is farcical. At some point they may have had political ideas of some sort — who knows — but that was in a galaxy far, far away and has been lost forever in the latest round of golf, $200,000 speeches to Arab potentates or spur-of-the-moment trips to Maui to woo Oprah at her mansion.

A lot of the book too reads like a companion piece to Hillary’s latest — well, not exactly, since no one appears to be interested in that door stopper –because most of the leaks appear to be from people anxious to differentiate Hillary from Obama. POTUS, as we know, is not exactly popular these days and anyone seeking the presidency would be well advised to separate herself from him as far as possible. This accounts for much of the amusing dish in the book, Hillary even dropping the F-bomb in front of some of her amazed old classmates from Wellesley when referring to Obama’s undeniable executive incompetence.

Enemies: A Love Story, at Home and Abroad. In Search of What You Resent By Victor Davis Hanson

The Maliki government in Iraq fueled anti-Americanism as it systematically destroyed the coalition government that the Americans had created and protected by the surge. Maliki, who had once been hunted by the genocidal Saddam Hussein, in a sense was a creation of the United States and its commitment to consensual government in Iraq. So was the pluralistic idea of a Shiite majority for the first time gaining ascendency on the principle of one person, one vote — and through the blood and treasure of American soldiers during the surge. No foreign leader in recent memory has been so lucky to have an American patron.

By 2011, Maliki thought he could pose to Iraqis with cheap anti-Americanism while bluffing the Obama administration into agreeing to a status of forces renewal agreement that both sides knew was in their mutual interest. But the fool Maliki did not realize that politics for the Obama administration (“ending one war, winding down another”) was even more a first principle than it was for Maliki. The result is Obama pulled every American out of the hard-won and stable Iraq (“stable” is Obama’s characterization, not mine alone), found his reelection narrative, and now Maliki is close to losing his country.

Maliki failed to grasp that Obama had even less trust in the influence of America to do good things abroad than did Maliki himself. But the larger irony is that now Maliki is begging for a return of American hard power to save his government from those killers that his policies helped create. In extremis, he understands that no other country would depose an oil-rich tyrant, stay on to foster democracy, leave the oil to its owners, and then leave when asked — and finally consider coming back to the rescue of an abject ingrate.

The Latin America narrative in the age of Obama — often best characterized in Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, or Venezuela — is little empathy south of the border for the Yanqui paradigm of free-market democratic capitalism. The stale 1960s rhetoric of colonialist, imperialist, racist, etc. is back in vogue in much of Latin America, and Mexico as well, encouraged by an administration that itself is unlikely to defend present or past U.S. conduct.

Likewise the themes of most Chicano-Latino studies programs in the U.S. are American culpability, racism, and colonialism — the same old, same old whine [1] of the myriad faults of the U.S. In my community, the time it takes a first-generation foreign national to cross the border illegally, and then to develop a sort of resentment toward the U.S. and a romance about the birthplace he abandoned, seems about five years.

Why then are tens of thousands of Latin Americans willingly flooding into a supposedly racist country where cutthroat capitalism ignores the poor and the oppressed such as themselves? In most past polls of Mexican citizens, two general themes often show up: the majority of Mexican nationals believe that the American Southwest still should belong to Mexico, and a sizable minority would like to leave Mexico for the U.S. You figure out the mentality. I cannot but I do detect the vague paradox: Mexico wants Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California back so that it resembles Mexico, which many Mexican citizens would then leave because it had become, well, Mexico. What is this strange attraction toward a country that, in so many formal announcements both south of the border and among open-borders advocates north of it, is supposedly suspect?