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Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas District 10): Reclaiming the mantle of leadership on the world stage

In the absence of American leadership, dangers gather in far-away lands and terrorist threats against our homeland grow. This became explicitly clear as the Obama administration wrapped up its second term, leaving behind a foreign policy legacy that included the establishment and explosion of the Islamic State, a reckless nuclear deal that enriched a terror-sponsoring regime in Iran, and an emboldened tyrant in North Korea committed to bullying, blackmailing, and possibly attacking the United States with nuclear weapons.

Our allies didn’t trust us and our enemies did not fear us.

However, because of efforts by the current administration and actions taken in the House of Representatives, we are no longer pushing the most pressing problems to the next generation. Instead, we are confronting them head-on.

Earlier this year our military began implementing a new strategy that has empowered our battlefield commanders to hunt terrorists more aggressively. This is in stark contrast to the Obama era, which saw American planes drop leaflets ahead of an attack, warning our enemies to flee. This approach has allowed American-backed forces to liberate key ISIS strongholds that include Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. We are finally on the verge of destroying the so-called caliphate.

After two years of implementation, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has turned out to be exactly what critics predicted — an extremely flawed accord that left key components of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place. The JCPOA has not only strengthened the oppressive government in Tehran with planeloads of cash and sanctions relief, it has also failed to alter Iran’s destabilizing and anti-American behavior.

Around the entire Middle East, Iran has been fomenting chaos through the formation of a “Shia Crescent” by supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shi’ite militias in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Last month, after careful evaluation, the president rightly chose not to recertify the disastrous nuclear deal and sanctioned the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Anti-Trump Chihuahuas Overlook the President’s Many Achievements By Roger Kimball

I am told that on that this day in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Despite Walter Duranty’s protestations to the contrary in The New York Times, that was while Stalin was systematically starving millions—yes, millions—of his own people. He went so far as to seal the windows of trains running through the areas he wished to devastate so that passengers could not throw out food to the starving multitudes. FDR knew this. So: was his diplomatic action a good thing or a bad thing?

On this day in 1985, Ronald Reagan travelled to Geneva to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev. The Cold War was still raging. So: was Reagan’s action a good thing or a bad thing?

Fun archival project: go back to the 1980s and read what The New York Times (and kindred outlets) had to say about Ronald Reagan. He was a moron. He was a war monger. He was being played by Gorbachev.

Fast forward to today. Andrew Rosenthal, writing in The New York Times, wants us to know how “grown-ups” deal with Vladimir Putin. His proffered adult is Prime Minister Theresa May, who, in her address at the Lord Mayor’s banquet, gave a tart (and accurate) assessment of Putin’s hostile actions, from his annexation of Crimea to his propaganda war and “weaponization” of information technology. Spot on, Mrs. May!

Andrew Rosenthal contrasts May’s blast against Putin with Donald Trump’s diplomatic efforts.

Let’s leave aside the hypocrisy of a reporter for The New York Times stepping onto his high horse to deliver anti-Russian salvos. Shameless: he even invokes Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech in Berlin. Go back and read what the Times had to say about that phrase at the time.

You do not have to convince me that Vladimir Putin is a nasty piece of work. Indeed (commercial break), I am just about to publish Putin on the March, Douglas Schoen’s brilliant book on that subject.

The world is full of bad guys. But if you are president of the United States, you should understand that the interests of peace and the interests of prosperity demand that you get along with other nations, if at all possible, especially powerful nations. Donald Trump was quite right when he tweeted a few days ago that “having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. . . . I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!”

It is “a good thing, not a bad thing” to have a good relationship with Russia. Ditto on China, Vietnam, South Korea, and the Philippines.

Yesterday, just back from his 12-day, 20,000-mile whirlwind trip through Asia, the president gave what posterity will regard as a turning-point speech. The master word of this speech was “confidence.” “When we are confident in ourselves,” the president said, confident in

our strength, our flag, our history, our values—other nations are confident in us. And when we treat our citizens with the respect they deserve, other countries treat America with the respect that our country so richly deserves.
During our travels, this is exactly what the world saw: a strong, proud, and confident America.

Donald Trump displayed, in a way we have not seen since the heyday of Ronald Reagan, what foreign-policy leadership looks like. We have serious differences with Russia and China. We also have areas of agreement and potential agreement. To address the former a canny leader endeavors to exploit the latter. This Donald Trump is doing.

Trump’s South China Sea Message He laid down some important markers on his Asia tour.

An underreported theme of President Trump’s Asia tour was his attention to a regional flashpoint overshadowed by North Korea: the South China Sea. While Mr. Trump avoided public statements on the issue in China, he laid down important markers in Vietnam and the Philippines.

For five years China has escalated tensions by building military bases on artificial islands. Last year a United Nations tribunal found that China’s claim to territorial waters violated international law, but Beijing dismissed the judgment. Chinese vessels continue to harass the ships of the other six nations that claim territory and economic rights in the area.

In his Nov. 10 speech to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Danang, Mr. Trump cited territorial expansion as a threat to regional stability. “We must uphold principles that have benefitted all of us, like respect for the rule of law, individual rights, and freedom of navigation and overflight, including open shipping lanes. These principles create stability and build trust, security, and prosperity among like-minded nations,” he said.

The remarks are a direct challenge to China, which warns away ships and planes that pass near the land features it controls. Beijing reacted with outrage after the U.S. Navy conducted four “freedom of navigation operations” this year to assert the right to use waters claimed by China. An estimated $4.5 trillion in trade transits the South China Sea annually.

U.S.-Vietnam relations continue to warm as a result of China’s pressure. In July Vietnam abandoned oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone after threats from Beijing. Mr. Trump urged the Vietnamese to buy Patriot missiles, and the relationship could deepen into a strategic partnership.

In Manila, Mr. Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued a joint statement that stressed “the importance of peacefully resolving disputes in the South China Sea, in accordance with international law, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.” Last year’s tribunal decision was based on the convention.

This is significant because Mr. Duterte previously offered to put the verdict aside and sought to cooperate with Beijing on oil-and-gas exploration. But China’s aggressive behavior is creating political pressure on Mr. Duterte to defend Philippine claims.

House Committee Votes to Limit Palestinian Aid if ‘Pay-to-Slay’ Policies Continue By Bridget Johnson

WASHINGTON — A bill to kill funding to the Palestinian Authority if they continue paying stipends to the families of terrorists passed through the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday despite some activists asserting that the legislation had been weakened to the point where it wouldn’t deeply wound the PA.

The act is named after Taylor Force, a 28-year-old Army vet, was stabbed to death by a terrorist from the West Bank while visiting Tel Aviv with Vanderbilt grad school classmates in March 2016.

A study of the Palestinian Authority’s 2017 budget by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found that nearly half of all foreign aid received by Ramallah goes to prisoners, former prisoners or families of “martyrs,” defined as those “killed or wounded in the struggle against Zionism.” The PA’s budget allocates $190,869,166 for “martyr” payments, up from $174,630,296 in 2016.

The bill would stop U.S. direct aid to the PA unless the secretary of State certifies the Palestinian Authority “is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control,” “is publicly condemning such acts of violence and is taking steps to investigate or is cooperating in investigations of such acts to bring the perpetrators to justice,” and “has terminated payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for such acts of terrorism and to any individual who died committing such acts of terrorism, including to a family member of such individuals.”

There are two Democrats among the 155 co-sponsors: Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.J.) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).

“Since 2003, it has been Palestinian law to reward Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails with a monthly paycheck. Palestinian leadership also pays the families of Palestinian prisoners and suicide bombers. These policies incentivize terrorism,” said Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). “With this legislation, we are forcing the PA to choose between U.S. assistance and these morally reprehensible policies, and I am pleased to see this measure move forward in both chambers with so much support.”

The Taylor Force Act moved forward in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in August before lawmakers left for the summer recess.

The Zionist Organization of America said Wednesday that they “reluctantly” supported the House bill as it puts conditions on only a portion of U.S. aid.

Trump’s Unsung Success in the Middle East By David P. Goldman

President Trump’s Middle East policy is simple: Back our friends and scare the hell out of our enemies, and negotiate where possible with our competitors like Russia and China. By and large it’s working, unlike the catastrophically failed polices of the previous two administrations. Trump did what he said he would do and succeeded. You wouldn’t know that from the #fakenews media.

Start with Israel: The Muslim strategy to destroy Israel hasn’t envisioned war–not at least since 1973–because Israel in all cases would win. Instead, the objective is to ring Israel with missiles and force Israel to retaliate against missile attacks in such a way that the “international community” would respond by imposing a “settlement” on Israel that would leave Israel vulnerable to further missiles attacks, and so forth. This is stated explicitly by Palestinian strategists cited by Haviv Rettig Gur in The Times of Israel.

George W. Bush and Obama gave aid and comfort to the encircle-and-strangle strategy by tying Israel’s hands. Then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wouldn’t let Olmert attack Hezbollah with full force in 2006. Rice thinks the Palestinian movement is a branch of the U.S. civil rights movement (if you don’t believe that characterization, read her book “Democracy,” which I will review for Claremont Review of Books).

Obama sandbagged Israel during the 2014 Gaza rocket attacks, suspending delivery of Hellfire missiles to the Jewish State. Israel is the only country in the world that embeds human rights lawyers in every infantry company to make sure that its soldiers keep collateral damage to a minimum.

Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese militia, has 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel, and many of them can hit any target in the country. In the case of a major rocket attack from Hezbollah against Israel, military logic dictates the preemptive neutralization of rocket launchers embedded in civilian populations–what an Israeli strategist close to the PM described to me as “Dresden.” There would be tens of thousands of civilian casualties. Trump will not tie Israel’s hands in the case of attack, and will not interfere with Israel’s ability to defend herself. That makes Israel’s deterrent against Iran credible.

Hillary Clinton insisted that the “technology of war,” in particular the rockets ringing Israel, would force Israel to accept a phony peace agreement whose main effect would be to bring the rocket launchers closer to Israel. The photograph below shows the runways and main terminal building of Israel’s international airport from an Arab village in Judea: Hand this over to the Palestinians and primitive short-range missiles can shut down the Israel economy. There’s an easy way to stop the rockets, which is to kill the people who shoot them. That might mean killing the human shields whom the cowardly terrorists put in front of the rockets, but under international law, a country acting in self-defense has every right to kill civilians.

PINING FOR FIG LEAVES Obama partisans fret as Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US confront reality on Iran. Caroline Glick

Friday, long-time US diplomats and Middle East experts Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky published an article in Foreign Policy expressing “buyers’ remorse” over Saudi Arabia’s newfound willingness to take the lead in regional affairs.

Titled, “Donald Trump has unleashed the Saudi Arabia we always wanted – and feared,” Miller and Sokolsky note that for generations, US policymakers wanted the Saudis to take a lead in determining the future of the region.
In their words, “During decades of service at the State Department, we longed for the day when riskaverse Saudi leaders would take greater ownership in solving their domestic and regional security problems and reduce their dependence on the United States.”

But now, they argue, under the leadership of King Salman and his son, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudis are going too far.

Domestically, Miller and Sokolsky accuse Salman and Mohammed of upsetting the traditional power sharing arrangements among the various princes in order to concentrate unprecedented power in Mohammed’s hands. This, they insist, harms the status of human rights in the kingdom, although they acknowledge that Mohammed has taken steps to liberalize the practice of Islam in the kingdom to the benefit of women and others.

While upset at the purge of princes, ministers and businessmen, Miller and Sokolsky are much more concerned about the foreign policy initiatives Mohammed and Salman have undertaken with everything related to countering Iran’s rise as a regional hegemon.

In their words, “Abroad, the Saudis are engaged in a cold war with an opportunistic Iran that’s exploiting their missteps in Yemen and Qatar.”

Miller and Sokolsky note that Mohammed’s campaign to defeat the Iranian-backed Houthi regime in Yemen has been bogged down. His effort – backed by US President Donald Trump – to force Qatar to abandon its policy of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran has similarly come up short.

They continue, “The latest Saudi gambit – pressuring the Sunni Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign in an effort to expose an Iranian- and Hezbollah- dominated Lebanon – is perhaps too clever by half. What are the Saudis going to do, given their Shiite adversaries’ advantages in Syria and Lebanon, when the Lebanese find themselves plunged into domestic crisis or a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah?” The veteran diplomats conclude their missive by urging Trump to implement his predecessor Barack Obama’s Saudi policy. In their words, Trump needs to place heavy pressure “on the king and his son to de-escalate this conflict and restore equilibrium to America’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran.”

“Because make no mistake,” they warn, “Saudi independence is illusory. Riyadh desperately wants us to back them – and bail them out when they get in over their heads with Iran. If Washington is not careful, the Saudis will sandbag America into standing up to Tehran while the Saudis hide behind its skirt.”

As if synchronized, Robert Malley, Obama’s former Middle East adviser, makes a similar argument in an article in The Atlantic. Malley took a lead role in expanding the US’s ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Iran and Hezbollah during the Obama years.

There are several problems with these policymakers’ claims. The first is that in criticizing the Saudis they deliberately ignore the Obama administration’s central role in engendering the current situation in which the Saudi regime feels compelled to take the actions it is taking.

The Middle East’s Problems Are Really Our Problems By Shoshana Bryen

It’s our problem, actually, and we’ve made it theirs.

It is the West that simultaneously wants “the Arab Spring” and “stability.” Democracy and strong government control. Honest government and stable kleptocrats.

Check out our split-brain reaction to the Palestinian Authority. By rights, the U.S. should have nothing to do with people who venerate and pay for terror against civilians; teach their children that their country is “from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea; rob donors and international agencies blind; jail people for their Facebook posts; hold office eight years after the end of a single elected term; refuse to seat an elected parliament; and refuse to acknowledge the permanence and legitimacy of America’s ally, Israel. And yet the U.S. treats Palestinian leaders as if they were diplomats, declines to close the PLO “embassy” in Washington, trains their police, maintains the functional equivalent of an embassy in eastern Jerusalem for them – while declining to do the same for the State of Israel in western Jerusalem, and gives priority to the so-called “peace process” over security for our democratic ally.

In the name of “stability.”

We’re not much better in the rest of the Arab world. Knocking off the Taliban in 2002 and Saddam Hussein in 2003, the U.S. installed governments presumed to be based on American-style democratic norms. The Taliban is thoroughly resurgent, while American casualties rise. Iraq ended up with ISIS, Iranian and Iranian-sponsored militias, and a Baghdad government beating on our Kurdish allies. The 2011 “Arab Spring” was supposed to be the harbinger of Arab governments that honored Western education, free speech, civil society, women’s rights, regular elections, and tolerance of minorities and minority opinion. That was supposed to be Libya after we ousted Gaddafi in 2012 and how it was going to be when the CIA-armed “moderate Syrians” ousted Bashar Assad. How’s that working out?

Over the weekend, in a joint statement, President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump agreed that “[t]here is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.” In the official communiqué produced on the margins of the conference in Da Nang, the two presidents “[c]onfirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254. They also took note of President Asad’s recent commitment to the Geneva process and constitutional reform and elections as called for under UNSCR 2254.”

Assad wins with our blessing. Never mind the 500,000-plus Syrian casualties, the 4.8 million Syrians who fled to camps in the region, the 6.6 million internally displaced, and the million who have requested asylum in Europe. Maybe it was just an effort to show increasing “stability” in the region, but it is an example of how willing countries – including Russia – are to dissemble so as not to admit that Iran and its militias have no intention of leaving Syria and are, in fact, building a permanent base less than 30 miles from Israel’s border. There will be no stability.

Now we’re dissembling on Lebanon – and on Saudi Arabia – neither of which was stable when the media suddenly discovered them.

Ignorance and Caricatures Mar Our Understanding of Russian Foreign Policy And why it’s harming our national interests. Bruce Thornton

All it took to transform Vladimir Putin from a candidate for a foreign policy “reset” into a global villain was a change in presidents.

In 2012 Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney for his 1980s view that Russia under Putin was our most serious global rival. Obama earlier had sent his Secretary of State to offer a cartoonish “reset button” to the Russians, and followed up a few years later by offering Putin “flexibility” after his reelection. After Hillary’s defeat and Trump’s campaign suggestions of outreach to Russia, Putin suddenly became a villain straight out of Joe McCarthy’s central casting, the Svengali who seduced Republicans into “collusion” with “fake news” and “hacks” in order to put into power a president beholden to him. At least Senator John McCain has been consistent, holding fast to his reductive view of Putin as a dead-eyed KGB thug with whom it is impossible to do geopolitical business.

Once again, our foreign policy lacks continuity and coherence because we ignore history and rely instead on gratifying caricatures that serve partisan interests or moral preening rather than our country’s security and interests.

As a result of this bad habit, we find it impossible to look beyond the media cartoons, received wisdom, and partisan trimming, and instead learn the full context of a nation’s motives and beliefs. We need to understand all the springs of a geopolitical rival’s actions, not to forgive or rationalize them, but to follow Sun Tzu’s advice to know your enemy so you can properly counter his designs. It may make us feel better and more righteous to reduce Putin to an autocratic illiberal “gangster” or “murderer” or “kleptocrat,” but that won’t help us manage our relations with a nuclear-armed geopolitical rival seeking to expand its reach and influence.

One important dimension of Russian culture that we slight is religious faith. We in the West have been undergoing secularization for two centuries, and now have reached the point where religion is either an archaic superstition impeding human progress, or a quaint life-style choice with holiday traditions, tolerated as long they stay out of the public square. But Orthodox Christianity has retained a place in Russia that Christianity has lost in the West. And faith remains one of the foundations of Russian national sovereignty and patriotic pride to an extent that our elites, committed to a transnational globalism and secular technocracy, find retrograde. Despite the historical truth that our own political order recognized faith as its foundation, today we find taking religion seriously to be naïve or sinister, a sign of nefarious plots to restrict personal freedom by evoking religious authority. Hence the “evangelical fundamentalist” bogey that for nearly half a century progressives have brandished in order to delegitimize conservatives and their “bitter clinging” to patriotism and religion.

Nationalism and Orthodox Christianity, in contrast, long ago melded in Russian history, and was strong enough to survive the seven decades of atheist communism. Thus ignoring the role of history and religion in Russian foreign policy compromises our understanding of events. Take Putin’s annexation of Crimea a few years ago. In the standard Western narrative, Putin subverted a democratically elected government in Ukraine to protect its puppet oligarchy useful to the Russian plutocrats and their selfish interests. But from Russia’s point of view, it was the West that interfered in Ukraine’s politics and subverted democracy in order to advance a larger design: Basing NATO forces deeper into Russia’s sphere of influence, including Crimea, the historical home of an important Russian naval base.

These two views are not mutually exclusive. As Christopher Caldwell writes, “Both of these accounts are perfectly correct. It is just that one word [democracy] can mean something different to Americans than it does to Russians.” This is not to endorse postmodern radical relativism, the view that, as Hamlet says, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” The point is we are handicapping ourselves if we don’t understand that other point of view and take it into account in our calculations. If we had done so in the 1990s, we might not have been so hasty in enlarging NATO to include countries in Russia’s historical sphere of interest, both humiliating Russian national pride, and committing ourselves to protecting those countries against their only possible aggressor, Russia.

Trump’s Asia Trip Bolsters ‘America First’ The president projects American power after eight years of pathetic servility. Matthew Vadum

President Trump used his historic trip to Asian nations to bolster international resolve to combat North Korean nuclear adventurism and Islamic terrorism, as well as to promote his signature “America first” trade policies.

The tour was calculated to project American power after eight years of pathetic servility, weakness, and apology tours by President Obama, and, of course, to bolster Trump’s standing as a world leader, among other things. Despite some grumbling from Democrats like Nancy Pelosi who said the Chinese were likely laughing at Trump for treading lightly in China about that country’s trade imbalance with the U.S. after using strong rhetoric domestically, reviews have been generally positive. Trump was presidential, as pollsters like to say.

As he departed the U.S. on Nov. 3, the White House said Trump’s foreign trip, “the longest trip to Asia by an American president in more than a quarter century” to promote his counter-terrorism strategy “and reaffirm the importance of a free and open system where all independent nations are strong, sovereign, and free from the threats of terrorism, coercion, and nuclear war.”

In a nutshell, that is exactly what President Trump did overseas.

In Seoul, South Korea, Trump warned that “three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world” have been sent to the region in case North Korea refuses to make a deal on nuclear weapons. During his visit to Asia the media reported that the carriers USS Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan, and USS Theodore Roosevelt, were conducting drills in the ocean near the Korean Peninsula.

“We have a nuclear submarine also positioned,” Trump said in a joint appearance with Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in. “We have many things happening that we hope, we hope — in fact, I’ll go a step further, we hope to God we never have to use.”

In South Korea’s National Assembly, Trump offered a nuclear ultimatum of sorts to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who has been taunting his neighbors and the U.S. by testing missiles in waters off Japan and not far from U.S. overseas territories.

“This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past. Do not underestimate us. Do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty,” Trump said.

Trump Shines in Foreign Policy By James Lewis See note please

Alas, this is too optimistic…while Trump and Mattis are doing well, our homeland security is damaged by pockets of Isis enthusiasts, lack of a good immigration policy and a State Department that does not recognize the dangers of Radical Islam and jihad. They also ignore Africa and the spread of Islamic terror …..rsk
Remember ISIS? When Obama left office, it was still a growing network of eager sadistic killers, with secret sponsorship by Turkey, by some Gulf Arab regimes, the Wahhabi radicals, and by the Iranians. Today a lot of those boastful YouTube killers are just smoking splotches in the sand.

A single MOAB bomb was dropped on a mountain tunnel complex in Afghanistan, apparently a clean target with no “weddings” going on. The day afterwards the media said that 94 ISIS killers died, but that assumes that somebody had already cleaned up that collapsed tunnel structure; not a chance. So a hundred or more of the worst human beings since Hitler died in one big explosion.

Most important, the United States sent a strong signal of determination. Trump-Mattis announced a strategy of “surround and kill the enemy in place.” For mass-murdering criminals there will be no mercy.

The U.S. media just rolled its eyes and yawned, but the Muslim world got the message loud and clear. They’ve been wondering how long the United States, which was the winning power in the Cold War and the two world wars was going to come back to its senses. Well, the MOAB bombing wasn’t wish-washy, it wasn’t half-hearted and it didn’t signal cowardice and weakness. The United States was finally getting serious.

Obama would never even name the enemy, and most importantly, under Obama the United States lost the moral high ground against child-murdering sadists; we started to support Sunni killer cults in Syria.

If ISIS is just a minor nuisance, as Obama tried to tell us, that would make the genocides of history meaningless. But genocide is first-degree murder on an enormous scale. Murder with malice aforethought is punished for a good reason. The church killer in Tennessee the other day had a previous conviction for attacking a two-year-old baby, and he should have been put away for good. It would have saved many good and decent lives in Tennessee.

ISIS is just like that guy, except they think God wants them to kill babies.

Obama never, ever seemed to get that basic point of morality, nor did Hillary, nor did any other Democrat. Trump and Mattis obviously understand it, and Mattis has been subtly reminding Muslims that yes, they also have a moral code that prohibits baby killing (it depends on the religion of the baby). Since Mattis took over, DOD press releases constantly remind Muslims that baby-killing is the worst evil.

Obama seemed to take the side of the enemy, and Bush just called the whole thing “the War on Terror,” totally ignoring the monstrous doctrine that runs Al Qaida and ISIS and other jihad killer cults. American military who were on the ground in Syria and Afghanistan were tremendously demoralized by U.S. failure to cast this war in the proper moral terms. Mattis in particular emphasizes morality in war, a concept liberals can’t even imagine. You kill people because they are beyond evil. You don’t kill innocents. Somehow the Democrats can’t seem to remember that.

So Trump and Mattis have been effective against ISIS because they know they are doing the right thing. So do the rest of us. (But Hillary never seemed to get the point, either.)