France, Israel and Saudi Arabia confront an administration conducting a make-believe foreign policy. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304644104579190024212147260?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop When the history of the Obama administration’s foreign policy is written 20 or so years from now, the career of Wendy Sherman, our chief nuclear negotiator with Iran, will be instructive. In 1988, the former social worker ran the Washington office […]
For 20 years the world has tried subsidizing green technology instead of focusing on making it more efficient. Today Spain spends about 1% of GDP throwing money at green energy such as solar and wind power. The $11 billion a year is more than Spain spends on higher education.
At the end of the century, with current commitments, these Spanish efforts will have delayed the impact of global warming by roughly 61 hours, according to the estimates of Yale University’s well-regarded Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model. Hundreds of billions of dollars for 61 additional hours? That’s a bad deal.
Yet when such inefficient green subsidies are criticized, their defenders can be relied on to point out that the world subsidizes fossil fuels even more heavily. We shouldn’t subsidize either. But the misinformation surrounding energy subsidies is considerable, and it helps keep the world from enacting sensible policy.
Three myths about fossil-fuel subsidies are worth debunking. The first is the claim, put forth by organizations such as the Environmental Law Institute, that the U.S. subsidizes fossil fuels more heavily than green energy. Not so.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated in 2010 that fossil-fuel subsidies amounted to $4 billion a year. These include $240 million in credit for investment in Clean Coal Facilities; a tax deferral worth $980 million called excess of percentage over cost depletion; and an expense deduction on amortization of pollution-control equipment. Renewable sources received more than triple that figure, roughly $14 billion. That doesn’t include $2.5 billion for nuclear energy.
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4050/christians-middle-east-august “After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the street ‘like prisoners of war,’ before a Muslim woman offered them refuge.” — Associated Press While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions. The attacks on […]
Back in 2002 the journalist Douglas Davis, in an article originally published in the UK’s The Spectator, explained why he had stopped accepting interview requests for BBC TV. It was because “September 11 changed all that”:
Even as the Twin Towers came crashing down, the BBC was rushing in the first of a stream of studio analysts to solemnly intone, one after another, that it was racist to assume that Arabs or even Muslims were responsible. More likely, they chorused, it was the Mossad because such an event “played into Israeli hands.”
Blaming the Mossad for the attack belongs, of course, to the outermost fringe of the loony. But the BBC’s “profound anti-Israel bias,” Davis wrote—which “reaches into virtually every British living room”—had “become ingrained in the BBC’s corporate culture.” To the point that, “wittingly or not, the BBC has become the principal agent for re-infecting British society with the virus of anti-Semitism.”
Over a decade later, has the situation changed? Not much. A year ago Adam Levick, indefatigable proprietor of the Cif Watch site, which monitors “antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy in The Guardian,” launched BBC Watch. The BBC’s “coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Levick noted, “is often extremely misleading and egregiously biased.”
While the BBC may not be as virulent and obsessive an attacker of Israel and Jews as The Guardian, it has even greater reach. As Levick points out, “97% of the UK population—and roughly 225 million more people worldwide—watch and listen to BBC broadcasts every week….” And the BBC’s main web portal (bbc.co.uk) gets an Alexa ranking as about the 50th most trafficked site in the world.
Denying the sanctity of Jewish life, subjecting Israel to unique, discriminatory treatment, and providing a steady platform for an outright antisemite are some of the BBC’s recent exploits.
“Settlements” worse than mass murder
On the night of March 11, 2011, two Palestinian teenagers snuck into the home of the Fogel family in the Israeli community of Itamar in Samaria (part of the West Bank). They stabbed to death or strangled the parents and three children aged eleven, four, and three months (according to some reports three-month-old Hadas was decapitated).
As HonestReporting noted, while “many media outlets…chose to politicize” the massacre, “the most shocking and callous treatment of the incident was produced by the BBC.” It responded with a story headlined “Israel approves new settler homes.” It “chose not to publish any photos or specific details of the terror incident” even though these were available.
Instead the BBC treated the Itamar attack as a tangential, secondary part of the story. The Fogels, including the children and the infant, were a “Jewish settler family.” Not simply human beings subjected to a horrific attack, they were, rather, politicized unto their appalling deaths.
The BBC claimed the attack had “shocked many Palestinians” but did not mention that Palestinians in Gaza celebrated it and handed out sweets. It strongly implied that Israeli actions—particularly the building of homes—are what produces Palestinian terror and did not inform its readers that the Israeli prime minister had emphasized the role of Palestinian incitement against Israel and Jews, which is all-out and relentless.
The London Economist observes Remembrance Day under the headline, “Avoidable brutality,” citing a new book by Margaret MacMillan claiming that the whole horrible mess was the result of blunders. That also is the view of Sir John Keegan, who in his history of the First World War calls it a “tragic and unnecessary conflict.”
That is a contradiction in terms, for “tragic” implies necessity. MacMillan and Keegan, in my view, offer in place of hard analysis a Utopian rescue fantasy. The same Utopian view infects Western policy towards Iran. If only reasonable men could sit down and split the differences, there would be nothing to fight about. I do not believe this is always, or even often, the case. In the case of Iran, the West encounters a dying civilization with a death wish: Iran’s fertility rate has fallen from 7 children per female in 1979 to perhaps 1.7 at the moment, the fastest demographic decline ever recorded, which ensures societal collapse at the horizon of one generation. Iran is like a hostage-taking bank robber with a brain tumor. It has little to lose and can only be dissuaded from building nuclear weapons by force.
The flaws in Europe were fundamental, not arbitrary: Russia as an empire depended on Poland and other industrialized Eastern provinces for its tax base. The pull of the German cultural-economic sphere constantly threatened to dislodge the Eastern part of the Russian Empire from the center, which would have caused its economic collapse. That is why Russia sponsored pan-Slavic movements including the Serbian terrorists who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in July 1914. I listed the reasons for war some years ago (in an essay titled “In praise of preemptive war”) as follows:
“Those who live today remember those who do not. Those who know freedom remember today those who gave up life for freedom.
Today, in honor of the dead, we conduct ceremonies. We lay wreaths. We speak words of tribute. And in our memories, in our hearts, we hold them close to us still. Yet we also know, even as their families knew when they last looked upon them, that they can never be fully ours again, that they belong now to God and to that for which they so selflessly made a final and eternal act of devotion.
We could not forget them. Even if they were not our own, we could not forget them. For all time, they are what we can only aspire to be: giving, unselfish, the epitome of human love — to lay down one’s life so that others might live.
We think on their lives. We think on their final moments. In our mind’s eye, we see young Americans in a European forest or on an Asian island or at sea or in aerial combat.
And as life expired, we know that those who could had last thoughts of us and of their love for us. As they thought of us then, so, too, we think of them now, with love, with devotion, and with faith: the certainty that what they died for was worthy of their sacrifice — faith, too, in God and in the Nation that has pledged itself to His work and to the dream of human freedom, and a nation, too, that today and always pledges itself to their eternal memory.
Thank you. God bless you.
– Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1981–1989), delivered at the Veterans Day National Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, November 11, 1988.
Obama’s rejection of Israel is about to have very loud results.
President Obama’s foreign policy record remains intact. Across the world from which he is withdrawing American power and influence, governments are recognizing that where once a superpower resided, now only a shadow remains.
First it was left to the Communist Chinese to admonish us against spending too much. Then they began a campaign to replace the dollar as the reserve currency of the world. The French led us into Libya because they needed to protect their oil interests there. Then Vladimir Putin bamboozled Obama into an agreement on Syria which goes against America interests by enabling Assad to remain in power while Iran flexes its muscles there. And that was after Putin suckered Obama into a new nuclear arms agreement that went against American interests and prior well-thought-out policies.
Now, Obama is eagerly chasing Iran, like a puppy chasing a ball, seeking an agreement that would relieve Iran of economic sanctions without doing anything to slow or stop Iran’s march to nuclear weapons.
The agreement that Vichy John Kerry — along with the rest of the UN Gang of Five Plus One — was about to foist off on the world as a great achievement toward peace was one that would have benefitted only Iran and those nations that choose to trade with it (some in violation of U.S. and UN sanctions). It has now thankfully been torpedoed by, of all nations, France.
WASHINGTON — A possibly apocryphal story about Dorothy “Dot” Lewis: When she was 13, in what would have been 1929 or 1930, she absconded from church with her Easter collection plate money and hightailed it to a nearby airstrip, where she demanded to learn to fly.
A definitely true story about Dorothy “Dot” Lewis: In 1942, she was one of 25,000 women to apply, one of 1,830 women to be accepted, and one of 1,102 women to earn her “silver wings” with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots. For two years as a WASP, she trained male fliers, flew the P-63, the B-26 and the P-40, and did a hell of a barrel roll.
Lewis died in September, a few weeks shy of her 98th birthday.
http://frontpagemag.com/2013/andrew-harrod/germanys-sharia-no-go-zones/print/ “To mark No Go Areas, that is to say law-free areas with high danger potential, is nothing unusual,” Rüdiger Franz of Bonn, Germany’s General Anzeiger (GA) newspaper wrote, as travel guide entries for cities such as Detroit, Istanbul, Johannesburg, or Mogadishu show. Considerable controversy, however, ensued after a language school posted an Internet No Go Area map […]
Reprinted from Hoover’s Defining Ideas.
The media and pundits treat politics like a sport. The significance of the recent agreement to postpone the debt crisis until January, for instance, is really about which party won and which lost, which party’s tactics are liable to be more successful in the next election, and which politician is a winner and which a loser. But politics rightly understood is not about the contest of policies or politicians. It’s about the philosophical principles and ideas that create one policy rather than another—that’s what it should be about, at least.
From that point of view, the conflict between Democrats and Republicans concerns the size and role of the federal government, which is no surprise to anyone who even casually follows politics. But more important are the ideas that ground arguments for or against limited government. These ideas include our notions of human nature, and what motivates citizens when they make political decisions. Our political conflicts today reflect the two major ways Americans have answered these questions.
The framing of the Constitution itself was predicated on one answer, best expressed by Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli: “It is necessary to whoever arranges to found a Republic and establish laws in it, to presuppose that all men are bad and that they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity.” Throughout the debates during the Constitutional convention, the state ratifying conventions, and the essays in the Federalist, the basis of the Constitution was the view that human nature is flawed.
As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 6,men are “ambitious, vindictive and rapacious,” and are motivated by what James Madison called “passions and interests.” These destructive passions and selfish interests were particularly predominant among the masses, whose ignorance of political theory and history left them vulnerable to demagogues. Hence the people “are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men,” as Elbridge Gerry said during the Constitutional convention debates.
This low estimation of the people partly explains the “democracy deficit” in the original Constitution, which allowed the people to elect directly only the House of Representatives. But unlike Plato, who proposed an elite with superior wisdom to run the state justly and efficiently, early Americans believed the flaws of human nature were universal, and all men, no matter their wealth or intelligence, were corruptible. More important, they were firm believers in the tendency of concentrated power to corrupt, for power is “of an encroaching nature,” as George Washington and James Madison said, and is ever striving to increase its scope. Vanity, greed, pride, and selfishness, John Adams wrote, “are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty.”