Obama’s Last Stand The White House tries to kill another pipeline for U.S. oil.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday delivered a symbolic victory to the environmental left by denying a permit to complete the 1,200-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline. The political obstruction illustrates why it’s so hard to build anything in America these days.

Construction is almost complete on the Dakota Access, which aims to transport a half million barrels of oil each day from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to Illinois for delivery to refiners on the East and Gulf coasts. About 99% of the pipeline doesn’t require federal permitting because it traverses private lands. But the Corps must sign off on an easement to drill under Lake Oahe that dams the Missouri River.

After an exhaustive consultation with Native American tribes, the Corps in July issued an environmental assessment of “no significant impact.” Construction is unlikely to harm tribal totems because the Dakota Access would parallel an existing gas pipeline. The route has been modified 140 times in North Dakota to avoid upsetting sacred cultural resources.

After largely refusing to engage in the Corps’s review, the Standing Rock Sioux sued. A federal court in September rejected the tribe’s claims, only to be overruled by the Obama Administration, which ordered a temporary suspension to work around Lake Oahe. Although the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in October refused to enjoin construction on the pipeline, the Corps has maintained its administrative injunction.

Tensions have escalated between local law enforcement and protesters, who have signaled an intent to defy Corps orders to disband before Dec. 5. North Dakota winters are cold, and a charitable reading of the Corps’s political mediation is that the Administration is trying to allow squatters to save face so that they can disperse before imperiling their own safety.

Grand Strategy and Grand Illusion

By Herbert London President, London Center for Policy Research

Is it possible to detoxify the United States’ relations with Russia, China and the Muslim world? Is there a grand strategy that could maintain the honor of America and at the same time introduce stability in areas of the globe fraught with tension?

With a new administration taking hold in DC, new ideas abound. Among them is the offering of a grand strategy, i.e. an ideology that transcends and yet ameliorates competitive states. An example often cited is the Congress of Vienna (1814 to 1815), chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, which provided a long-term plan for the resolution of conflict resulting from the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Despite conflicting claims and regional wars, the Congress accord did maintain relative tranquility for Europe till World War I, through an elaborate balance of power arrangement.

This model has reemerged with Alexander Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory and the work of several U.S. political theorists from the Kissinger School of Thought. While different in content, all rely on the supposition that “realists” can determine the fate of global affairs based on a system of “recognition and acceptance.” Dugin, for example, contends that if the U.S. were to accept Russian interests in Crimea and Syria, harmony with the U.S. might emerge.

More significant is what Dugin describes as “regional globalization,” what is usually referred to as spheres of influence. Presumably that would include an Anglo-American sphere, a European sphere and a Eurasian sphere including Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltics and Iran. Dugin is not alone, in my judgment, albeit the carving out of spheres may vary from one philosopher to the next.

It is also presumed that this reconfiguration would occur peacefully through democratic means, on the order of a twenty-first century Congress of Vienna. This, of course, would be a metaphysical shift in world affairs were it to be anything more than a utopian fantasy.

But a fantasy it is. Clearly this idea would legitimate Putin’s imperial vision violating the sovereignty of several states. Second, it is hard to believe eastern Europe and the Baltic states would willingly accede to antebellum Russian domination. Third, the Chinese are already engaged in the subtle, but discernible effort to convert the Pacific Ocean into a Chinese Basin. Alarm bells throughout Asia have already gone off. Yet these arguments stand in stark contrast to America’s core belief in a liberal international order guided by an Enlightenment faith in individual liberty, the rule of law and the free market. Should the U.S. concede on this front in order to acquire global equilibrium, the tenets of international liberalism will be interred.

A Problem Like Keith Ellison And the more serious question of the Muslim Brotherhood By Kevin D. Williamson

Keith Ellison (or Keith E. Hakim, or Keith X. Ellison, or Keith Muhammad, etc.) is campaigning for office. Not for the safe House seat he holds, but for the leadership of the Democratic party, a job until recently held by the hilariously incompetent and boundlessly vapid Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who was forced to resign — “resign” here meaning “transfer formally to the Clinton campaign” — when she was exposed conniving to stack the presidential primary elections against Senator Bernie Sanders (S., Portlandia)), who was temporarily replaced by Donna Brazile, who was exposed leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign, a violation of trust for which she remains adamantly impenitent.

Republicans should take a minute to simply enjoy all this before getting on to the serious business at hand. If they cannot have Debbie Wasserman Schultz organizing opposition to them, former Farrakhan fanboy Keith Ellison of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party is a great second choice.

Ellison is the first Muslim elected to the House, and he complains that the recent spate of criticism directed at him is rooted in — ridiculous word — Islamophobia. But there is a bit more to it than that.

Ellison has long been a vocal defender of the so-called Nation of Islam, the bow-tie gang founded by Elijah Muhammad whose relationship to orthodox Islam is approximately that of a UFO cult to the Anglican communion. The NOI and its charismatic leader, the former calypso musician Louis Farrakhan, is an explicitly racist organization, holding as a matter of doctrine that the white race is the result of a doomed mad-science experiment conducted by the biblical Jacob while he was living on the isle of Patmos. Farrakhan is a true religious entrepreneur who has attempted to graft L. Ron Hubbard’s fanciful “Dianetics” onto his own cracked version of Islam, but he has mostly relied on a very old and reliable tradition: Jew-hating.

Farrakhan’s history of vicious anti-Semitism was already well established when Ellison was helping him organize the Million Man March. The Democratic representative says that he rejects anti-Semitism, but he has a long history of sticking up for Jew-hating weirdos, and not only Farrakhan. When Kwame Ture — you may remember him as Stokely Carmichael — claimed that Jews had collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust as a pretext for establishing the state of Israel, Ellison was there to defend him from criticism. When the head of a Minneapolis political group declared that the allegations of anti-Semitism against Farrakhan were made up and insisted that the real problem is racist Jews, Ellison said: “She is correct.” He is a defender of the terrorist Sara Jane Olson and the murderer Assata Shakur and the Islamic terrorist Sami al-Arian. He is a longtime admirer of the murderous dictator Fidel Castro.

The Nationalist Revival A look at the pushback against the denigration of national identities Bruce Thornton

Reprinted from Hoover.org.

The British vote in June to leave the European Union brought the long-simmering revival of nationalism to a boil. Passions aroused by the 2008 economic crisis, anger over the indiscriminate admission of nearly a million mostly male Middle Eastern refugees in 2015, and the carnage of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Nice have intensified the resentment of many Europeans. They have been further stoked by the high-handed policies of what many see as an over-privileged, over-bureaucratized, undemocratic E.U. elite. National identities that were supposed to have been marginalized in favor of a transnational government of technocrats have returned in surging populist and nationalist parties such as the UK Independence Party, France’s National Front, the Alternative for Germany, True Finns, Jobbik in Hungary, Lega Nord in Italy, Sweden Democrats, and many others.

In the United States, the surprising insurgency candidacies of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and businessman Donald Trump reflected a similar return of anti-globalist sentiment and nationalist populism on both the left and the right. Both candidates railed against trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is currently awaiting ratification. Both also criticized European NATO members for not meeting their financial obligations and relying on the United States to foot most of the bill for NATO operations. Donald Trump has freely used slogans such as Make America Great Again and America First, while Sanders railed against the elite “one percent” who unfairly benefit from a globalized economy.

This resurgence of nationalist populism in Europe and the United States is a challenge to the internationalist order that is now more than a century old. It was expressed in Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay “Perpetual Peace,” which envisioned a “federation of free states” in a “pacific alliance” that would “terminate all wars” and create “perpetual peace.” Such optimism was nourished for Kant by the “uniformity of the progress of the human mind,” a growing convergence of peoples towards the Western model of rule by rational laws rather than by tradition or religion. More practically, new 19th-century technologies like the railroad, telegraph, and steamship brought the world’s peoples closer together and bound them by trade, creating a “harmony of interests,” in Adam Smith’s phrase, that made cooperation and similarity more efficient and beneficial than conflict and dissonance.

Given this global “uniformity,” enlightened reason would increasingly replace conflicting traditions, religions, and cultures with more rational international institutions that recognize democracy, human rights, tolerance, and other Western ideals. These multinational organizations, covenants, and treaties would turn force into a costlier and less effective means of adjudicating conflicting national interests than international diplomacy. The Preamble to the First Hague Convention, which aimed to limit certain kinds of armaments, in 1899 stated its aims as “the maintenance of the general peace” and the “friendly settlement of international disputes,” based on the “solidarity which unites the members of the society of civilized nations” and their desire to extend the “empire of law” in order to further the “appreciation of international justice.”

Despite the repudiation of international “solidarity” by the slaughter of World War I, more covenants, treaties, and institutions continued to be created to fulfill the dream of transnational governance. The League of Nations (1920) and the International Court of Arbitration (1923); multinational treaties like Locarno (1925) and the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), which asserted that the “settlement or solution of all disputes and conflicts” would “never be sought except by pacific means,” and was signed and then violated by all three of the Axis Powers; and numerous ineffective arms reduction treaties all testify to the powerful hold of idealistic internationalism on foreign policy and inter-state relations.

And they demonstrate the futility of such “parchment barriers,” to use James Madison’s phrase, in preventing the massive death and destruction of World War II. Yet despite that lesson, such institutions have given rise to a host of political and economic transnational organizations such as the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the World Bank, just to name the most prominent.

The two World Wars, however, and the continuous global violence from invasions, civil wars, revolutions, ethnic cleansing, and genocide since then, point to the fundamental flaw of internationalism. All these transnational institutions depend on sovereign states for their creation, implementation, management, and enforcement. The notion of national sovereignty is over three centuries old, codified in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) and further refined in the Congress of Vienna (1815), which sought to keep the peace through a balance of sovereign national powers. Given this framework, international treaties can exist only by the consent of sovereign nations, and thus can be abrogated by any nation depending on calculations of its national interests, which necessarily conflict at times with those of other nations. To predicate the basis of a treaty on anything other than national self-interest­––such as a presumed “progress of the human mind” or shared “international norms and customs” –– is a chimera. As the late jurist Robert Bork has written, history shows that violence and aggression are the dominant “customs” of nations and peoples.

This clash between transnational ideals and the frequent zero-sum interests of individual states has been constant for over a century. Institutions that supposedly serve global interests end up being dominated by the more powerful states that use them for their own interests, as the history of the U.N. Security Council, hostage to the veto power of the five permanent members, demonstrates. For example, Russia recently used its Security Council veto to block a resolution calling on Russia to stop bombing Aleppo and violating “international norms and customs” about not killing civilians. International conventions and covenants can be regularly violated or routinely ignored, and such violations rarely lead to condign punishment. Treaty rules are continually broken, such as when E.U. ministers bailed out Greece during the financial crisis, a violation of the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 125 prohibiting financial bailouts of member states; or like when member states consistently ignore the 1998 Stability and Growth Pact’s rule that government debt cannot exceed 60 percent of GDP. The E.U.’s average in 2015 was 90 percent.

This behavior should not be surprising, for as George Washington said, “It is a maxim founded on the universal experience of mankind, that no nation can be trusted farther than it is bounded by its interests.” Once a treaty or covenant ceases to serve a nation’s interests, it will be violated or simply abandoned, as when North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 when membership no longer served its purposes.

Keith Ellison: Perfect for the DNC His Muslim Brotherhood ties and venomous anti-Israel stance make him the living embodiment of today’s Democratic Party. Robert Spencer

Throughout the Obama administration, the American Left has grown increasingly hostile to Israel and unwilling to acknowledge the reality of the jihad threat; now these tendencies could become the central focus of the Democratic Party, if Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) becomes Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That became even clearer than it already was last week with new revelations of just how anti-Israel and tied to the Muslim Brotherhood Ellison really is.

The Investigative Project has released audio of Ellison speaking at a fundraiser for his 2010 Congressional reelection campaign, saying that a vote for him was a vote against Israel’s supposed control of U.S. foreign policy. “The message I want to send to you by donating to this campaign,” he declared, “is positioning me and positioning Muslims in general to help steer the ship of state in America….The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of seven million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of seven million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right?”

Ellison also boasted that “there is a growing awareness in the US Congress and in the executive branch that everything anyone does, including Israel, is not fine. And there are real questions being asked.” He revealed that in meetings with his Jewish constituents, he challenged them to stand with Barack Obama against Israel: “Do you stand with the President on stopping settlements in east Jerusalem, because that is the policy of my president and I want to know if you’re with the President. Are you with the President?”

Ellison proposed that U.S. aid to Israel be tied to the Israeli building projects in East Jerusalem: “Why are we sending $2.8 billion a year over there when they won’t even honor our request to stop building in East Jerusalem? Where is the future Palestinian state going to be if it’s colonized before it even gets up off the ground?”

He offered an alternative aiding Israel: “We should be building the bilateral business relationships between the United States and the Muslim world….Morocco, we gotta build it up. Saudi Arabia, we gotta build it up. The Gulf countries, we gotta build them. Pakistan, we gotta build them.” (Saudi Arabia?) This would be done so that ultimately Muslims in the U.S. would be able to make demands upon the government: “We need to have so much goods and services going back and forth between this country and the Muslim world that if we say we need this right here, then everyone is saying, OK. Understand my point? You’ve got to be strategic….These business relationships can be leveraged to say that we need a new deal politically.”

Hosting the event at his Virginia home was Esam Omeish, a former leader of the Muslim American Society (MAS). (Ellison has ties to MAS also: in 2008, he accepted $13,350 from MAS to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Muslim American Society is a Muslim Brotherhood organization: “In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation’s major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.” That’s from the Chicago Tribune in 2004, in an article that is now carried on the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website, Ikhwanweb.)

Yulia Latynina: Demonic Coconuts and Magic Chickens

Things were going pretty well in the Maldives until democracy arrived and the former British colony’s leader succumbed, among other things, to global warming hysteria. Now Islamists are on the rise, troublesome politicians are behind bars and the tourist mecca’s future is in jeopardy.
More than a year ago, on November 4, 2015, martial law was declared in the Maldives, prompting the European Union to call upon President Abdulla Yamin to restore ‘all constitutional rights and freedoms’ and begin ‘a sincere dialogue about the country’s future with all political parties’. Easier said than done, as the country was then gripped by even more chaos than usual after an explosion aboard the presidential cutter. Maldavian authorities say it was a bomb, adding that the president survived only because good fortune saw him occupy a seat other than his usual spot. Others say there were no explosives at all, that it was an accident. A third body of opinion professes to see a spectacle stage-managed for political gain by the president himself.

All this might seem strange, but this is the Maldives where police recently arrested a demonic coconut.

What is certain is that the explosion happened one month after a video of three masked men, posing before a black jihadi flag, threatened the president with death unless he freed Adalaat Party head Sheik Imran Abdullah, then awaiting trial on terrorist charges for which he has subsequently been sentenced to twelve years imprisonment. Ahmed Adib, vice-president for three months after his predecessor was charged with high treason, also was accused of the same crime. Keeping himself busy, President Yamin found time to dismiss the heads of the internal affairs and defense ministries.

To fill out this picture of turmoil, it is worth noting that Yamin imprisoned former president and election opponent Mohammed Nasheed seven months earlier. Held in February, 2012, the vote was conducted in an atmosphere of toxic suspicion that saw, among other bizarre scenes, the arrest at a polling station of a “magic” coconut observed by vigilant cops to have been inscribed with Koranic verses.

The Maldives, population 345,000, is both tiny and an uncommon success story for an Islamic country with no oil. The 340,000 locals hosted some one million visitors in 2014. Tourism accounts for 33% of the GDP and has been the mainstay the economy — indeed, it has been the entire economy since 1978, when dictator Momun Abdul Gayum opted to build a tourist paradise rather than another of the socialist ones pursued by other former colonies which, like the Maldives, gained their independence in the Sixties.

Spread over 1900 atolls, none rising more than two metres above sea level, and producing nothing the rest of the world wants to buy, the former British colony nevertheless achieved a definite prosperity. In the Eighties, when charter jets brought a thousandfold increase in visitors, the economy grew by an average of 10% every year. Personal per capita income of $14,000 placed it at the level of a moderately self-sufficient Eastern European country. To use another yardstick, GDP was almost five times higher than that of the Solomon Islands, with which the Maldives bears rough comparison. Gayum was no saint, being most charitably described as a benign despot, but he did bring his people prosperity. Alas, that wasn’t what Europe wanted to see. Their holidaying nationals were soaking up the sun and enjoying the beaches, and their governments wanted to see those tans develop under a democratic sun.

Geza Jeszenszky :Central Europe and the West’s Future

Géza Jeszenszky is a historian. He was the Hungarian Foreign Minister from 1990 to 1994, and was Hungary’s Ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2002 and to Norway and Iceland from 2011 to 2014. This article was his contribution to the Quadrant symposium “The Future of Civilisation” held in Sydney on September 18

Central Europeans see certain Western tendencies—political correctness, the rejection of Judeo-Christian tenets, including marriage and the family—as aberrations. Contrasting attitudes to centralised bureaucracy, migration and Islam bring that perspective into the sharpest focus.
Arnold Toynbee, the deservedly famous British historian and philosopher, in his monumental A Study of History described the rise and fall of dozens of civilisations. Based on that model it is easy to predict the fall of our Western civilisation. But that was predicted already a hundred years ago by Oswald Spengler in Der Untergang des Abendlandes (The Decline of the West) published in 1918, in the wake of the devastations of the First World War. It may sound politically incorrect but our present (Western) civilisation has overtaken and substantially influenced all others that still exist separately: the Chinese, Hindu, Persian and Arabic civilisations. The fall of the West is not inconceivable but it would be the end of democracy, prosperity and freedom.

Marx, Lenin and Mao have been proved wrong: the capitalists were not annihilated, the state has not withered away (Soviet communism has), instead the working class has disappeared. The countryside has not conquered the towns, just the other way round. China is not the classless society of the poor; the “cultural revolution” has been suppressed. Those Western thinkers who once envisaged the “convergence” of capitalism and (Soviet-style) socialism could hardly believe their eyes when in 1989 the Poles, the Hungarians, the East Germans, then the Czechs and finally the Romanians overthrew “the dictatorship of the proletariat” and opted for liberal democracy and (even more) for the market economy. That was not “the end of history”, only the end of the Cold War.

The victory of the West over communism was due to many factors, but the vigour of NATO and the prosperity of Western Europe (embodied in the Common Market) were among the most important. As Hungary’s late Prime Minister József Antall expressed his thanks to the Ministerial Council of NATO on October 28, 1991: the preservation of the freedom of Western Europe held out the prospect of liberation for the eastern half of the continent. “We knew that if Western Europe could not remain stable, if the North American presence in Europe ceased, then there wouldn’t be any solid ground left for us to base our hopes upon.”

Sadly 1989, annus mirabilis, the year of the miracles, failed to be the harbinger of a new world order, based on the high principles of the charter of the United Nations. What followed was more like how Winston Churchill ended his monumental account of the Second World War: “The Great Democracies triumphed and so were able to resume the follies which had so nearly cost them their life.” My own fear was that the West would fail to utilise its victory, which was why the core countries of Central Europe—Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary—formed a close political and economic co-operation called Visegrad after the scene of their meeting on February 15, 1991. We believed that on the basis of our common suffering under dictatorship, and our common acceptance of Western, Atlantic values, a new solidarity would emerge and all the former communist countries would follow the example of post-Second World War Western Europe by putting aside all quarrels, and would concentrate on political, economic, environmental and cultural recovery.

Daniel Johnson: Politics, Civilisation and Survival

Neither the Right nor the Left is doing a good job of defending, representing or embodying the values of our civilisation. Meanwhile, our public opinion is seduced by the dream of a world without enemies, by the pathologies of relativism—cultural, moral and epistemological.
The future of Western civilisation will depend on how well the present can mobilise the intellectual resources of the past to meet the challenges of the future. Today, we are threatened by an unprecedented array of external adversaries and dangers, ranging from Islamist terror and Russian or Chinese aggression to the fall-out from failed states. We also face internal threats—above all the collapse of confidence in Judeo-Christian values and democratic capitalism. Can either the Left or the Right rise to the challenge of the present crisis? Or are both political traditions mired in self-destructive mind-sets that prevent them from grasping the scale of the task, let alone reversing the decline?

I want to begin with the Right, because the crisis of conservatism in Europe, America and here in Australia seems too deep to be explained by the vagaries of individual personalities or parties. Most leaders of the centre-Right in the Western democracies appear to be the prisoners of their own anxieties: the fear of proscription by the self-appointed guardians of self-righteousness; the fear of humiliation for failure to flatter those who parade their status as victims; and the fear of oblivion for simply ignoring the clamour to do something when there is nothing useful to be done. The watchword of many a conservative statesman used to be masterly inactivity; now it is miserly depravity. There seems no place for the old-fashioned conservative who steers a steady course, is frugal and firm yet decent and honest; who, rather than pick people’s pockets, leaves their money to fructify there—in short, the John Howards of this world. When Theresa May, a strong prime minister in this tradition, took office two months ago after the vote for Brexit, she felt the need to make gestures to the nanny state: an “industrial policy” and an “equality audit”. Why does she think the British state, whose record of central planning and social engineering is lamentable, should repeat the follies of the past? Could it be that Mrs May still feels the need to appease the gods of socialism, in which nobody, least of all she, still believes? It seems scarcely credible. Yet the same phenomenon is observable everywhere. Conservatism as a living tradition, a coherent conceptual framework for freedom under the law, has been hollowed out and filled with the detritus of defunct ideologies.

Much of what is popular in so-called “populism” is drawn from the discarded stock of conservative thought, dressed up in revolutionary rhetoric. A good example is patriotism, which has always been at the heart of conservative theory and practice, but is now expressed by politicians of the centre-Right only gingerly, accompanied by apologies and caveats, leaving the demagogues with their cynical appeals to xenophobia to exploit the natural pride that people feel in their country. Two centuries ago, Samuel Johnson already made the distinction between true and false patriotism when he famously remarked: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” He probably had in mind William Pitt the Elder, the Earl of Chatham, known as the “Patriot Minister”, who was by no means a scoundrel; but we have plenty of false patriots who are. What has made them plausible, however, is the feeble expression of true patriotic pride by mainstream conservatives.

The nation-state is nothing to be ashamed of, especially those of the Anglosphere, and there is no virtue in politicians making apologies for historical events that took place before they or the putative victims were born. There is a phoniness about the way some liberal conservatives now talk about the past: for them society is no longer, in Burke’s immortal formulation, “a partnership between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born”. Instead, it is a perpetual conflict between the old and the young, the not yet past and the only just present, in which right is invariably on the side of the latter, the newcomers. It is a society in which the sagacity and generosity of age are not only denied their due, but positively excluded from consideration, in favour of the principle that the youngest are wisest. The Left is now less inclined than the Right to worship youth; the Bernie Sanders phenomenon is by no means unusual. What makes this pursuit of the ignis fatuus of novelty so counter-intuitive is that we live in ageing societies, the older members of which are both more prosperous and more likely to vote.

The Chilling Reason Why Black Lives Matter Memorializes Fidel Castro By Tyler O’Neil

Two days after Cuban dictator Fidel Castro bit the dust, Black Lives Matter memorialized him, and the reasons for it are not pretty. Castro killed thousands of his own people, imprisoned many more, caused 1 million refugees to flee to the United States, and even canceled Christmas. But Black Lives Matter celebrated him — because he provided a refuge for cop killers.

“Although no leader is without their flaws, we must push back against the rhetoric of the right and come to the defense of El Comandante,” reads the declaration, published by the “Black Lives Matter” account on Medium.com. While the movement has no single leader, this Medium account attempts to speak for it, and it has 12.6 K followers. Moreover, the sentiments expressed in this article echo the Marxist demands of the Movement for Black Lives, which speaks for a broad coalition of groups in the movement.

The key lesson Black Lives Matter learned from Castro? “Revolution is continuous and is won first in the hearts and minds of the people and is continually shaped and reshaped by the collective,” the article declared. “No single revolutionary ever wins or even begins the revolution. The revolution begins only when the whole is fully bought in and committed to it. And it is never over.”

Yes, Black Lives Matter said this of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people. If any “revolutionary” least exemplified the idea that “no single revolutionary ever wins or even begins the revolution,” it is Fidel Castro. Or rather, it would be, if Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot hadn’t set records even Castro couldn’t beat.

The exact number of Cubans killed by the Castro regime remains unknown, but estimates range from 2,000 to 33,000, with a mid range of 15,000 — in a country of only 7 million people. In per capita terms, that is the equivalent of 680,000 executions in the United States (with its population of 318 million). That’s the entire population of Denver or Seattle.

But that’s just mass murder — don’t forget political prisoners! The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation received over 7,188 reports of arbitrary detentions from January through August of 2014. According to PolitiFact, there are at least 97 known current political prisoners. These prisons are overcrowded and unhygienic, with prisoners forced to work 12-hour days, Human Rights Watch reported. Inmates have no effective complaint mechanism to seek redress.

The ‘Taiwan Card’ Is a Busted Flush, Beijing Believes By David P. Goldman

President-elect Trump’s brief telephone call with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen drew a stronger reaction from the American mainstream media than it did from Beijing. The official China Daily entitled its editorial yesterday “No need to over-interpret Tsai-Trump phone call,” writing:

For Trump, it exposed nothing but his and his transition team’s inexperience in dealing with foreign affairs. If he could make the unusual action due to lack of proper understanding of Sino-US relations and cross-Straits ties he will have to recognize the significance of prudently and appropriately addressing these sensitive issues after being inaugurated.

Is Beijing just trying to put a good face on a troubling situation? Probably not, according to some perspicacious China analysts. The military balance in the region has shifted towards China’s favor since 1996, when Bill Clinton sent two aircraft carriers into the Taiwan Straits in response to Chinese missile tests. Beijing thinks the “Taiwan card” is a busted flush.

First, China probably has two different ways to sink an American carrier, through quiet diesel-electric submarines, and with carrier-killer surface-to-ship missiles. There is some controversy about China’s ability to hit a moving target in open ocean, but if China cannot do so now, it likely will develop the capacity soon.

Second, China will acquire Russia’s S-400 air defense system, with a 400-kilometer range that can sweep the skies over Taiwan. The Russian system can handle 100 targets simultaneously. The system probably will not be in place until 2018, but China is patient. Within a few years China probably will have the capacity to control both the surface and the air around Taiwan.