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July 2017

Lutey Tunes by Mark Steyn

Apologies to all my readers: Last week I carelessly wrote about President Trump’s Warsaw speech as if the words therein corresponded to the definitions ascribed to them by Oxford, Webster’s or any other English dictionary. My mistake. Apparently the plain meaning of the words is entirely irrelevant. Because the words aren’t words per se, they’re “dog whistles”:

Trump’s white-nationalist dog whistles in Warsaw

As James Taranto noted during a previous dog-whistling frenzy:

“The thing we adore about these dog-whistle kerfuffles is that the people who react to the whistle always assume it’s intended for somebody else,” he wrote. “The whole point of the metaphor is that if you can hear the whistle, you’re the dog.”

Indeed dog whistles are all they hear. If Trump is, as has been said, the all-time great Twitter troll, in Warsaw he was trolling for western civilization, and an entire army of mangy pooches began yowling and – to mix canine metaphors – set off like greyhounds in pursuit of a mechanical hare. Even if the speech had not been worth it on its own merits, it would still have performed a useful service in demonstrating that the western left now utterly despises western civilization. As I noted on Friday, this is the most pathetic humbug:

Ours is the civilization that built the modern world – as even the west’s cultural relativists implicitly accept, if only because they have no desire to emigrate and try to make a living as a cultural relativist in Yemen or Niger.

Because you can’t. Only a very highly evolved and advanced civilization can support a swollen elite grown rich on contempt for it. Most of the lefties stuck to the big-picture contempt: the dog whistles of faith, family, God, west, civilization. But for The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capeheart the most deafening dog whistle of all was played by a full-size symphony orchestra:

There was a line during Trump’s oration that sounded like an off-beat cymbal in his rhetorical sis-boom-bah in “defense of [Western] civilization itself.” See if you can pick it out.

‘Americans will never forget. The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

‘We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

‘We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.’

“We write symphonies.” What on Earth does that have to do with anything?

Well, I would have thought that was obvious, though apparently Washington Post columnists need it spelled out: Trump is hymning the unique range of western achievement, not just the structures of functioning self-government, the rule of law and free speech, but the greatest accomplishments in science and intellectual inquiry, and a magnificent legacy of artistic expression, too, from paintings and cathedrals to plays and symphonies. What’s to argue about?

Al-Qaeda Funder Who Tried to Have Judge Murdered Pleads Guilty By Bridget Johnson

A former Ohio State student has pleaded guilty to support for al-Qaeda and trying to hire a hitman to kidnap and kill the judge who was overseeing his terror case.

Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, is an Indian citizen who came to the U.S. to study engineering in 2002. In 2008, he married an American citizen. He was indicted with his brothers, Ibrahim Mohammad, Asif Ahmed Salim and Sultane Room Salim, all of whom have pleaded not guilty, in September 2015.

A year after he was wed, Mohammed traveled to Yemen to give $22,000 that he and associates had raised to Anwar Al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born al-Qaeda recruiter killed in a 2011 drone strike.

While being held in the Lucas County Corrections Center in Toledo, Ohio, on the pending terror charges, Mohammed, according to the indictment, told another inmate that he wanted to kill the judge in his case, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary. The inmate introduced Mohammed to a hitman who was actually working undercover for the FBI.

The undercover operative told Mohammed it would cost $15,000 to kidnap and murder the judge, with a $1,000 down payment. The terror suspect said he could sent the money through a courier or the “hitman” could meet his wife in Chicago to collect. “The sooner would be good, you know,” Mohammed told the FBI operative of the timing.

Mohammed called his wife, who arranged to meet the would-be hitman at a post office in Bolingbrook, Ill., on May 3, 2016, and gave him $1,000 cash in a white envelope. Mohammed told the undercover agent May 11, 2016, that the balance of payment would be coming from Dubai, routed through Texas.

He pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support or resources to terrorists and one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Mohammed is expected to serve 27.5 years in prison then be deported at the conclusion of his term.

“This defendant conspired to attack our service members abroad as well as a judge in Toledo,” Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja said in a statement. “He threatened the hallmarks of our democracy. He is a dangerous criminal who deserves a long prison sentence.”

The Terrifying Way Sweden Is Killing Itself By Bruce Bawer

I could be writing every week about Sweden. Every day. Every hour. For reasons that will be analyzed by historians for a long, long time – provided the Western world doesn’t become so thoroughly Islamized that the possibility of objective historical scrutiny is utterly obliterated – the Swedes have chosen a path of cultural and societal suicide that puts all other countries in the shade.

For anyone curious about self-destructive psychopathologies, it is a grimly fascinating phenomenon. Why, of all places, Sweden? How can a Swedish woman raped by an illegal Muslim immigrant be so bursting with racial guilt that she hesitates to report the crime to the police for fear that her report might lead to her rapist’s punishment or deportation? Or, more generally, because news of the offense might result in an increase in “Islamophobia?”

This is the kind of madness that’s going on in Sweden now. More than any other country in Europe, it has a government and a media that are in denial about the truth, a legal system that punishes those who dare to tell the truth, and a people who have been brainwashed for decades with the vile lie that they have a moral obligation to hand their country over to hostile, despotic strangers from far away.

No, Sweden isn’t North Korea. The ugly news does get out, one way or another. Some of it, anyway. It’s just that, with extremely rare exceptions, the important facts about the nation’s disastrous Islamization don’t find their way into the country’s own mainstream media. On the contrary, Sweden’s major TV, radio, and print outlets are notorious for the fidelity with which they parrot the government line and omit or whitewash uncomfortable news developments.

No, if you’re looking for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about most of the nasty stuff going on in Sweden these days, you’re better off checking out Swedish websites such as Avpixlat and Fria Tider, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and two Norwegian sites: document.no and rights.no, the latter being the site of the organization Human Rights Service.

I’ve previously quoted a March 11 Jyllands-Posten editorial that spelled out the Swedish situation quite frankly: what should “most worry Sweden’s neighbors,” the Danish editors wrote, is the Swedes’ “unwillingness to openly and honestly discuss the government-approved multicultural idyll. … In the long run, the mendacity that characterizes the Swedish debate cannot be maintained. The discrepancy between the official, idealized version of Sweden, ‘the people’s home,’ and the brutal reality that everyone can see has simply become too great.”
German Judge Says Turkish Man’s Forced Violent Sex Is “Culturally” Not Rape

Indeed. This is a country where rapes by Muslim men are systematically ignored by the authorities or responded to with minimal punishment. Routinely, Swedish courts refuse to return these monsters – some of whom have repeatedly subjected small boys and girls to violent sexual abuse – to their home countries for fear that they’ll be put in danger. In other words, Swedish judges care more about the safety of foreign rapists than that of Swedish children.

(No wonder U.S. News and World Report has just named Sweden the best country in the world to be an immigrant. Yet another cockeyed ranking. The proper question isn’t which country is best for immigrants, but which country has the most sensible immigration policy.)

It’s a country where even prominent Swedish feminists – fanatical boosters of multiculturalism – are now moving out of Muslim-heavy neighborhoods not only because of the Muslim rapists but because of the Muslim “morality police,” who are less concerned with monitoring rapists than with controlling women’s conduct. (One such feminist organized “coffee shop meetings” with Muslim male community leaders in an attempt to resolve the situation, but gave up.)

It’s a country where the government rolls out the red carpet for returning ISIS members, giving them special benefits, in hopes that they’ll see the light and put down their weapons.

It’s a country where, while Muslim rapists and terrorists are forgiven, critics of immigrant conduct are punished. In May, a 70-year-old woman in Dalarna, Sweden, was arrested for writing on Facebook in 2015 about immigrants who “set cars on fire and urinate and defecate in the streets.” (She faces up to four years in prison.)

No surprise, then, that on July 7, Jyllands-Posten reported that the Swedish government plans to alter the nation’s Constitution in such a way as to give itself the power to limit online free speech about precisely these ticklish matters. Among other things, wrote Jyllands-Posten, it will become illegal “for certain websites to publicize information about private persons’ ethnicity or conviction of crimes.”

Of course: the best way to address the ever-rising tide of Muslim criminality is to close down every last media outlet that reports honestly about it. The mainstream Swedish media are already playing ball; it’s just a few recalcitrant websites that need to be scrubbed clean. Presumably the next step will be to block access in Sweden to Jyllands-Posten and other foreign news sources that tell Swedes the truth about what’s going on within their own borders.

Then everything will be just perfect, no? And what are the chances that no matter how much Sweden tightens its already alarming (if currently tacit) limits on freedom of speech, Reporters without Borders will keep Sweden at its ridiculous #2 spot on the World Press Freedom Index? CONTINUE AT SITE

The Left Won’t Let Go of the ‘Russian Collusion’ Meme By Michael Walsh

Now the top story on the Drudge Report, the top Must-Read on Lucianne.com and listed on Real Clear Politics: my latest column for the New York Post regarding the ridiculous stories in the New York Times about “Russian collusion.”

The news was delivered by the New York Times in the breathless tones that might announce a cure for cancer or the discovery of life on Mars: “President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”

To which a rational response is … who wouldn’t? And also: So what? A third response is unprintable.

As I said on the Dennis Prager radio show an hour ago: think David Mamet.

Just as the “Russian collusion” fantasy — a resentful smear cooked up in the immediate aftermath of Clinton’s stunning defeat last fall — was finally fading from the fever swamps of the “resistance” and its media mouthpieces, along comes the Times with a pair of journalistic nothingburgers.

They first reported that Trump Jr., along with Paul Manafort (then the campaign manager) and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer “linked to” the Kremlin, back in June, shortly after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination. The second claimed she’d promised dirt on Clinton and the Democrats in order to entice Trump Jr. and the others.

According to the younger Trump, the Clinton angle was just a ruse: “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” he told the Times.

The real reason, it seems, was that Veselnitskaya wanted to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, an Obama-era law that allows the US to deny visas to Russians thought guilty of human rights violations. In retaliation, the Russians promptly ended the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.

Honestly, where does this end? Having had their two big scoops instantly blasted back into their faces, the Left has now moved on to claiming that Donald Jr. “lied” about the meeting with a Russian lawyer nobody ever heard of. This is the baleful legacy of the Mike Flynn affair, where it was not the “crime” of meeting with Russians (is that against the law?) but the “coverup” of a non-existent transgression.

But this is where we are now: once the instruments of the state roll into action, the slightest discrepancy or memory loss can now be twisted into a felony: just ask Martha Stewart or Scooter Libby.

And that’s what all the fuss is about? No campaign in its right mind would turn down an offer of information on their opponent. That is what opposition research is all about. You can bet Hillary wouldn’t have hung up on the person who claimed to have dirt on The Donald. After all, the Clinton campaign lobbied the comedian Tom Arnold two days before the election to release potentially embarrassing footage from Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.” Arnold declined.

The Curious Case of Ben Sasse By Mike Sabo

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has become something of a lightning rod on the Right.https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/10/curious-case-ben-sasse/

Many movement conservatives are drawn to his erudite and scholarly manner and see him as a principled statesman in contrast to Donald Trump who, they argue—and quite rightly I might add—has abandoned what has come to be called conservatism. Those inclined to support Trump instead, tend to view Sasse as part of the problem due to his vocal rejection of much of the Trump agenda—and thereby the views of the tens of millions of people who voted to implement that agenda. They see Sasse as possessing utopian political sensibilities combined with an overly moralistic view of politics that lacks a spirited defense of the people’s right to rule themselves—even if ruling themselves may mean, occasionally, getting it wrong.

Stepping back and viewing Sasse’s positives and negatives in a clear light can help us see the truth contained in these conflicting portrayals.

Sasse is obviously a good family man and understands the devastating impact of fatherlessness on our culture, as is attested by his recent Father’s Day message. His advocacy of recovering liberal education is very important in light of the intellectual rot to which most, if not all, of our public universities have succumbed. And his absolute hatred of the worst Canadian export of all-time—the rock band Nickelback—should have all Americans nodding their heads in agreement.

His recent book, The Vanishing American Adult, has garnered much acclaim and deserves to be read. In the book, Sasse explores how younger generations are increasingly ill-prepared to thrive in the world and form stable families of their own. By teaching the importance of reading, hard manual labor, and learning from individuals who have significant life experiences, Sasse charts out a path that he hopes will lead younger generations to live better lives and, ultimately, to help form a healthier civic culture.

That the book’s teachings are laudable is virtually unquestionable. But doesn’t Sasse, who has only been in the Senate for two-and-a-half years, have better things to do? It’s surely true that the decline in the American character is worthy of contemplation and exploration. But Sasse is supposed to be a full-time legislator.

What Does a Senator Do, Anyway?

Comey’s Flynn Spin, “Something Big is About to Happen” By Bruce Heiden

To grasp the distortion James Comey makes of his February 14 meeting with President Trump, first review the meeting of January 27.

In a previous article, I showed how the version of the February 14 Flynn conversation leaked to the New York Times in May was tailored by James Comey to create the misleading impression that President Trump asked Comey to shut down part of the FBI investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Comey knew this was false at the time. In his sworn testimony, he indicated Trump’s comments about Flynn were much more narrowly focused. But since Comey’s purpose was to prompt the appointment of a special counsel, the former FBI director needed to suggest that the president had sought to impede the broader Russian investigation, and he did so by leaking truncated quotations that omitted qualifications the president had actually uttered.

Comey also knew—or at least had compelling reason to know—that Trump’s comments about Flynn were not a request or direction of any sort. Here is how we can tell.

Before February 14

According to Comey’s written testimony, he and Trump had met for discussion on two occasions prior to their February 14 meeting.

The first time was on January 6 at Trump Tower. After leaders of the Intelligence Community briefed the president-elect and his security team on their assessment of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Comey and Trump met alone for a special briefing on the “Steele dossier” and what the incoming president should do in case an effort was made to compromise him. From Comey’s description of the meeting, the FBI director came with much information and expertise to convey, while Trump knew little. Comey did most of the talking while the president-elect listened to his information and advice.

The second meeting took place on January 27 at a dinner the recently inaugurated president and Comey shared together at the White House. Once again, the Steele dossier was a topic of discussion (probably the main topic, as I have explained here). In Comey’s June 8 written testimony he paraphrased that discussion as follows (emphasis added):

During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6….He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen. I replied that he should give that careful thought because it might create a narrative that we were investigating him personally, which we weren’t, and because it was very difficult to prove a negative. He said he would think about it and asked me to think about it.

Here we see President Trump actually mentioning giving an order to the FBI director, with the qualification “considering.” As Comey realized, this is not an implied order, but rather an invitation for Comey to advise the president about his tentatively proposed plan. Not only does Comey give the president advice, he advises him to shelve his proposal, and the president agrees. Moreover the president indicates that he expects to exchange views with Comey again, and instructs the FBI director to prepare independent thoughts for sharing with him.

Thus, in both of Comey’s prior meetings with Trump, Comey used his expertise as FBI director to give him counsel. Trump apparently welcomed Comey’s knowledgeable input, since in the second meeting he elicited it, followed it, encouraged more of it, and also indicated that Comey should expect a further consultation.

February 14: Alone at Last

On February 14, Comey and five other officials with intelligence responsibilities presented the president and some other members of his administration with a scheduled counterintelligence briefing in the Oval Office. When the briefing concluded the president told those present that he wanted to speak with Comey alone. Comey’s testimony suggests that a meeting between only the president and the FBI director was something that he and possibly others considered odd and inappropriate. During his oral testimony, in response to a question from Sen. Mark Warner (D–Va.), Comey elaborated, explaining that when he was alone with the president, he thought, “Something big is about to happen. I need to remember every single word that is spoken.” This observation seems intended to spread an aura of abnormality and impropriety around whatever the president said.

Nevertheless after reviewing Comey’s testimony about his prior discussions with Trump, one wonders why Comey wouldn’t have been expecting the president to seek an opportunity to confer with him alone, since 18 days earlier the president had told him to think about his proposal to investigate the Steele dossier. Both of Comey’s discussions with Trump had concerned the Steele dossier, and both discussions had occurred without others present. When the president asked the gathering to leave him alone with Comey, the FBI director had good reason to expect the president to seek his input about the Steele dossier. Did Comey forget what the president told him? Someone should ask him.

Imposter Mayor Fashioning himself as an international progressive hero, Bill de Blasio has no real interest in the job he was elected to do. Seth Barron

Mayor de Blasio made a surprise departure from New York City yesterday—just one day after the assassination of NYPD officer Miosotis Familia while she guarded a violence-plagued Bronx corner—in order to attend anti-capitalist protests in Hamburg, site of the G-20 summit. A few hours after de Blasio’s plane departed, a train derailed in Penn Station, where extensive track work is scheduled to begin this weekend. It was the third derailment at Penn since March; the incidents have become so commonplace that New Jersey Transit commuters reportedly showed little surprise when their train car slid off the track.

The mayor has indulged his inflated sense of his own importance before: he loves to attend summits, conferences, rallies, and protests where he can pontificate about inequality. He particularly enjoys hobnobbing with international mayors. Soon after his inauguration, de Blasio met Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and burbled about their common goals. “It’s absolutely amazing by the way, 3,000 miles apart, we have come up with such a similar vision of what our cities need,” said de Blasio. “What we want to do now is constantly communicate as we implement this vision and help each other figure out what’s working and what’s not.”

Last September, after an Afghan immigrant had perpetrated a series of bombings in New Jersey and New York City, de Blasio, Hidalgo, and newly elected London mayor Sadiq Khan penned a joint op-ed titled, “Our Immigrants, Our Strength.” The essay made the false claim that “militant violence is astonishingly rare” among immigrants; the line was stricken from later editions.

Following President Trump’s election, de Blasio became particularly besotted with the potential of mayors to change the world. In this new era, de Blasio told the U.S. Conference of Mayors convention last January, “the role of mayors will be amplified. It’s a time where actual, tangible work is going to be more important than ever.” A few days later, at a protest on the night before Trump’s inauguration, de Blasio announced that “mayors are gathering from all over the country in a common cause . . . Mayors all over the country are signing this pledge for common action—that the next 100 days will be days of action together.” He then introduced a “dynamic, progressive leader from the heartland,” Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges, who echoed de Blasio’s grandiose rhetoric, asserting that President-elect Trump “will have to get through all the mayors in all the cities in this country if he wants to get to our beloved communities. When he comes for our artists, who are going to be more important now than ever with their voices of dissent, he’s going to have to get through me!” This inspiring vision of mayors as bulwarks against tyranny has no basis in history or law.

De Blasio’s meaningless and absurd promise to ensure that New York City adheres to the Paris Climate Accords underscores a fundamental truth about his mayoralty: he has no interest in what his job actually entails. Mayors do important work: they administer streets, schools, and police, and they manage a municipal budget. De Blasio has little interest in such banalities; he imagines that mayors are the true rulers of the world, because, as he told the Conference of Mayors, they “represent the majority of Americans.”

Singing a Hwasong Jed Babbin

North Korea — and China — have us where they want us.

North Korea reached a milestone on the Fourth of July by launching its first ICBM, the “Hwasong-14.” Fired on a steep trajectory the missile flew for almost forty minutes before coming down about 800 miles from the launch pad. On a shallower trajectory, it could have reached Alaska.

The launch was accompanied, as usual, by a taunt from Kim Jong Un. This time he said the launch was a message to “the American bastards.”

Days before his inauguration, Mr. Trump wrote a tweet that said of North Korea’s ambition to develop an ICBM, “… it won’t happen.” Now it has.

The missile had some very important features. It was a two-stage missile, of which at least the first stage was liquid-fueled, meaning it took considerable time to fuel and, unlike solid-fueled missiles, had to be launched within a day or two after fueling.

The nosecone, in which a nuclear weapon could ride, is, according to a Washington Times report, very similar to a Chinese-supplied one Pakistan uses atop its nuclear-armed missiles. It may be that North Korea bought it from China or Pakistan or manufactured the nosecone itself. The missile’s engines closely resemble those of Russian-designed launchers, probably resulting from Russian scientists giving North Korea their designs and either Russian or Chinese engineers helping North Korea to develop a similar missile.

It is probable that the North Koreans haven’t yet devised a nuclear warhead capable of functioning after undergoing the enormous stresses of a missile launch and the tremendous heat generated during reentry into the atmosphere. But it’s only a matter of time, and not much time, until they do.

North Korea is under a total arms embargo by UN resolution. China would have violated the UN arms embargo by sending such missile nosecones to North Korea. There’s no reason to believe the Chinese haven’t and will continue to do so.

And they’ve done much more. China is almost certainly supplying the mobile missile launch systems such as those North Korea displayed in its huge April military parade.

On the day of the Hwasong-14 launch, the president launched his response on Twitter. He wrote, “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”

As they say on Monday Night Football, “C’mon, man.” South Korea and Japan are as dependent on us for defense leadership as the deadbeats of NATO despite their enormous investment in defense. They will have to follow our lead, and when we don’t lead, they’ll remain in a state of political entropy. China isn’t going to put any “moves” on North Korea because North Korea may be doing exactly what China wants it to do.

China’s goal is not to avoid war: it is to keep us tangled up with North Korea while it expands across the South China Sea and elsewhere. And although China has enormous influence on North Korea, China may not have the power to disarm Kim of his nuclear weapons or missiles unless it decides to remove Kim and substitute a more pliable puppet.

Yes, China doesn’t want an influx of North Korean refugees that might result from toppling Kim’s regime. But that concern pales in comparison to China’s fear of a unified, democratic, and U.S.-aligned Korea on its border. In short, relying on China to restrain or topple the Kim regime is foolhardy.

Mr. Trump said he was considering “some pretty severe things” in response to the North Korean missile test and said he’d confront the threat “very strongly.”

The Trump administration said that it would be ready to use force to counter the growing threat of a North Korean attack. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that “[North Korea’s] actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution,” and that America has “considerable military forces. We will use them if we must. But we prefer not to have to go in that direction.” That is an understatement.


The ceasefire in three Syrian provinces announced Friday after the Trump-Putin meeting in Hamburg is the first step in the right direction that the United States has taken in the Middle East in more than 20 years. The Syrian deal should be understood in the context of President Trump’s address in Warsaw the day before, a challenge to Russia to “join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.” Syria’s civil war has become a school of subversion for tens of thousands of Shi’ite as well as Sunni terrorists, and the major powers have an urgent interest in extinguishing it.

As a first step towards a “broader and more detailed arrangement,” in the words of a senior State Department official, the ceasefire opens a path to what I have called a Westphalian Peace, referring to the 1648 treaty that ended the devastating Thirty Years War. Trump achieved this result by calling Russia to account for past misbehavior while offering a deal that is in both countries’ best interests. It is a small step involving only a fraction of contested Syrian territory, but the agreement nonetheless breaks new ground.

The senior official briefing reporters July 6 said, this is an important step, but it is a first step in what we envision to be a more complex and robust ceasefire arrangement and de-escalation arrangement in southwest Syria. The official added that “there’s an expectation the Russians will use their influence to ensure that [the Iranians] respect the ceasefire.” He added, “The basis of the whole understanding is obviously that each side, each party to it uses its influence with those parties on the ground with which we have relationships. So we and Jordan, in particular, have good relationships with the Southern Front, with the principal armed factions in southwest Syria.”

As I explained in a June 9 essay [“No-one likes Trump, I don’t care”], “There is no way to end the conflict without an agreement with Russia and China, who are backing Iran’s intervention in Syria as much as Washington backed the Sunni rebels fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime. That means both sides must leash their own dogs.”

Trump sent a double message to Moscow in Warsaw. The address was reminiscent of Reagan’s spirited defense of freedom before the Berlin Wall in 1987, and not by accident. The defense of a beleaguered Western Civilization echoes a speech that White House chief strategistSteve Bannon made before a Vatican conference in 2014. The salient fact about the speech, though, is where it was given, namely in Poland, not in the Ukraine. America has fundamental interests in Poland, which is a NATO member and the land of origin of nearly 10 million Americans. It does not have fundamental interests in the Ukraine, a country artificially stitched together from Russian, Ruthenian, Polish and other ethnicities by Nikita Khrushchev as a buffer against the West.

Tillerson Starting Shuttle Diplomacy in Middle East, Hoping to Resolve Dispute Over Qatar Washington fears conflict among U.S. allies will drag on for months By Felicia Schwartz

WASHINGTON—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in the Persian Gulf region for a round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at resolving a conflict among U.S. allies that Washington fears will drag on for months.

The former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive, who has close ties to many Arab officials in the region and has attempted to mediate the dispute, is throwing himself more deeply into efforts to resolve differences between Qatar on one side and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on the other.

The four countries accuse Qatar of funding terrorist groups and meddling in their domestic affairs, and severed diplomatic relations and imposed a transport ban on June 5. Qatar denies the allegations and accused the bloc of Arab nations of waging a smear campaign.

Top officials from the feuding nations have been passing through Washington in recent weeks, making their case to Mr. Tillerson and others.

The U.S. diplomat first traveled to Kuwait and later will head to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to try to bring the sides closer to a solution.

It is unclear if he will meet with Emirati and Bahraini officials this week.

“The purpose of the trip is to explore the art of the possible of where a resolution can be found,” said R.C. Hammond, a communications adviser traveling with Mr. Tillerson. “Right now…we’re months away from what we think would be an actual resolution and that’s very discouraging.”

Mr. Tillerson’s trip to the Gulf follows stops in Ukraine and Turkey, where he headed after the summit leaders from the Group of 20 leading nations in Germany.

Last week, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates met in Cairo to formally discuss Qatar’s response to a list of demands that includes curbing diplomatic ties with Iran, severing links with the Muslim Brotherhood and closing the Al Jazeera television network. CONTINUE AT SITE