The problem with George Stephanopoulos’s Clinton-gate mess is that his own words prove him to be both a bully and a hypocrite, as well as abjectly unethical.
Set aside the fact that — if not outed — he would likely never have informed his viewership about his contributions to the Clinton Foundation (and presumably would have continued to grill authors like Peter Schweizer for attacking the pay-for-play Clinton culture). Set aside the fact that, in Clinton Foundation tax-reporting fashion, he “forgot” a $25,000 donation when he initially and erroneously stated that he had contributed $50,000 rather than the actual $75,000. And that he confused the news source that originally discovered his gifts. What we are left with is George Stephanopoulos indicting George Stephanopoulos.
I spent about 20 years getting people ready to answer questions from tough and even hostile inquisitors. It is what trial lawyers do. I can thus attest that over-preparing a witness can be worse than failing to prepare the witness at all. Ironically, this is especially so with a smart witness.
A person of merely average intelligence is apt to follow advice. A seasoned lawyer can quickly demonstrate how foolish he can be made to look if he doesn’t listen carefully to the questions, or if he readily accepts a loaded question’s premise. The smart guy who radiates self-confidence is often a different story. He outsmarts himself. He thinks, “What would I ask me?” Worse, he manages to hear the question that he calculates should be asked, which is not always the question that is actually asked. When he is over-prepared — when he and his handlers have pored over his vulnerabilities and meticulously scripted what he will say when grilled about them — the smart guy will give the scripted answer. It can end up sounding dumb, even smarmy, if he has the question wrong.
I think that’s what happened to Jeb Bush when he was asked about Iraq by Fox News’s Megyn Kelly this week.
Uzay Bulut is a journalist based on Ankara, Turkey.
“The international community must aim at strategic and long-term alliances based on common values. I do not think there is a big difference between ISIS and the Iranian authorities… The Iranian regime cannot be part of a long-term solution.” — Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Neuroscientist and spokesperson for Iran Human Rights (IHR).
The international community tries to solve the most immediate problems without taking into account the long-term effects of their policies. … As long as the Iranian authorities do not have the popular support of their people, they cannot be regarded as reliable partners.” — Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
“A democratic Iran where human rights are respected is the only sustainable solution. … This can only be achieved by more international focus on the human rights situation.” — Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, a Norwegian-Iranian neuroscientist who left Iran together with his older siblings in the early 1980s, is the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights (IHR). The organization was started about 10 years ago as a network of defenders of human rights, and in recent years has developed a broad network inside Iran.
The contention that there are only two options in dealing with the rogue Ayatollahs’ regime – negotiation or military option, which supposedly amounts to war – defies reality. Such a contention is either mistaken or misleading.
The threat of a limited surgical naval or air force bombing of critical nuclear installations – with no ground troops – would not amount to a war, would deter the Ayatollahs, possibly moderating their nature, and – if activated – would permanently cripple their pursuit of nuclear capabilities, and could be repeated if necessary from US military bases in Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Indian Ocean or from US aircraft carriers.
Recent precedents document that there are many military options, which are dramatically short of war, but are critical to moderate the nature of rogue regimes and prevent war. On the other hand, the removal of a military option from the table – while negotiating with rogue regimes – whets their appetite and fuels war.
In great measure, the roots of present-day Islamic terrorism lie in the partition of India, according to a comprehensive narrative by Narendra Singh Sarila, author of The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India’s Partition. Sarila, a former senior-level Indian civil servant and aide-de-camp to England’s last ruler in India, Lord Montbatten, argues that the British used a divide-and-conquer strategy in India, fostering and exaggerating Muslim-Hindu acrimony, to safeguard British regional power against the Russians and maintain U.K. access to Middle East oil fields.
Pursuing a divided India in which they could maintain a measure of control, the British warded off pressure from U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Indian leadership for a unified, independent India. Using diplomatic legerdemain, the British created a separate Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, giving Muslims territorial launching points to pursue jihadist expansion in the region that continues to this day.
The Vatican this week agreed a treaty with the Palestinians, to cover its interests in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, which referred to its treaty partners as the “state of Palestine.”
When the newly elected Pope Francis came to Israel last year, making the Holy Land his first overseas visit, he let it be known that he wanted to put relations between the Vatican and the Jewish people onto a different footing.
Now we know what that meant.
The Vatican this week agreed a treaty with the Palestinians, to cover its interests in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, which referred to its treaty partners as the “state of Palestine.” A Vatican spokesman said: “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists.”
The Saudis are in play, casting about for partners.
In a clear vote of no-confidence in US President Barack Obama’s leadership, Saudi King Salman led several Arab leaders in blowing off Obama’s Camp David summit this week. The summit was meant to compensate the Sunni Arabs for Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
Salman’s decision is further proof that US-Saudi relations have jumped the tracks. For 70 years the Saudis subcontracted their national security to the US military. Deals were closed with a wink and a nod. That’s all over now.
Obama has destroyed Washington’s credibility. Salman views its gentleman’s agreements as worthless. All he wants now is military hardware. And for that, he can send a stand-in.
The Saudis never put all their eggs in America’s basket. For 70 years the Saudis played a double game, maintaining strategic alliances both with the liberal West and the most reactionary forces in the Islamic world. The Saudis pocketed petrodollars from America and Europe and transferred them to terrorists and jihadist preachers in mosques in the US, Europe and worldwide.
Iran isn’t the Saudis’ only concern. Although for outsiders the worldview of the theocracy governing Saudi Arabia seems all but identical to the worldview of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis consider the Brotherhood a mortal foe. The Saudis claim that their tribal, top-down regime is the genuine expression of Islam. The Brotherhood’s populist, grassroots organization rejects their legitimacy.
And so, since the Arab revolutionary wave began in late 2010, the Saudis opposed the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis are the primary bankrollers of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime.
During Operation Protective Edge last summer, the Saudis sided with Sisi and Israel against Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its Turkish and Qatari state sponsors. Although Saudi Arabia had previously been a major funder of Hamas, that backing ended in 2005 when, following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas forged strategic ties with Iran.
On April 15, 1953, North Korean Po-2 biplanes strafed a U.S. Army tent on Chodo Island, off the Korean mainland. The attack killed two U.S. servicemen.
Remarkably, that night, more than 60 years ago, was the last time a U.S. soldier lost his life to fire from enemy aircraft. Since the Korean War, U.S. air power has played a critical role in virtually every conflict, and the U.S. has enjoyed near-total air supremacy in every battle it’s fought.
But that streak isn’t going to continue automatically. Despite lavish spending on our air forces; flawed procurement priorities and strategic doctrine, driven by contractors, has put the future of U.S. air power at risk.
Take the new F-22 fighter. It’s the most expensive fighter in the air today, but as a recent story in The National Interest by long-time United States Naval Institute writer Dave Majumdar points out, even its missiles will have a hard time getting past the ability of Russia’s truly fearsome Su-35S Flanker E to jam radars and other sensors. The F-22 is very stealthy while the Su-35S is not, but a senior U.S. Air Force official tells Majumdar that the F-22 will have a hard time killing the Su-35Ss. These new Flankers are already in service with the Russian Air Force, and independent air analysts see this same plane achieving lopsided kill ratios against the U.S.’s other next-generation fighter, the F-35.
These are not good times for the Republic (and if you laughed or scratched your head at me calling America a republic, I rest my case).
But they are amusing times, at least for those of us capable of extracting some measure of mirth and schadenfreude from the president’s predicament.
With the sand running out on the Obama presidency, it’s finally dawning on the president’s friends and fans that he can be a real jerk.
Consider the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank. For the last six years, he’s spent much of his time rolling his eyes and sneering at Republicans. His subspecialty is heaping ridicule on conservative complaints about, well, everything and anything. If it bothers conservatives, it must be irrational, partisan, churchy, fake, hypocritical — or all of the above. Meanwhile, poor Barack Obama, while not always without fault in Milbank’s eyes, is the grown-up, the good guy trying to do good things amidst a mob of malcontents and ideologues.
Erdogan is not happy with the powers the Turkish constitution grants him. He wants more.
Once he has given orders, there should not be judicial, constitutional or parliamentary checks and balances. He will become the first ballot-box Sultan of the Turkish Empire of his dreams.
367 parliamentary votes are required to pass a constitutional amendment in parliament without a referendum, and at least 330 to make Erdogan an elected Sultan. But if he wins, he will be the president of less than half of the Turks, with the other half hating him more than ever.
It is election time in Turkey. On June 7, the Turks will go to the ballot box to elect a government and a prime minister who will rule the country for four years.
In reality, they will go to the ballot box to decide whether they want an elected Sultan or not.
Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants more than just to win a parliamentary majority for his Justice and Development Party (AKP). He wants a two-thirds majority, so that the constitution can be amended to introduce an executive presidential system and the Sultan can once again officially rule.