Obama

A Foreign Policy of Capitulation: Iran Deal and Chattanooga

marines

 

Like everyone else, I watched the coverge of the Chattanooga shooting yesterday in horror and, frankly, disgust. Sen. Frank Nicely sums up why the latter:

It really does require some acceptance of twisted logic to make that work, right? And since I’ve been trying to write about the recent Iran Deal, it got me to thinking:

Since when is capitulation a reasonable foreign policy strategy?

Andrew McCarthy explains why there is no way to see the recent deal struck in Vienna as anything but a sort of white-flag surrender to an enemy that shows no inclination toward friendship with the US or her allies.

Wars Are Long, Kids. So Tuck In and Have Better Ideas.

isisobama

Apparently I’m not the only one who heard a little subtext in Obama’s press conference yesterday that sounded not unlike, “Hey y’all, this war ain’t going nowhere, sad to say. We’re gonna see some bombings. But we’ve got better ideas and, long term, we’re better and we will, because of that very fact, be victorious. Some day.”

But, as Allapundit at HotAir.com puts it, weak leadership is that one tricky variable that makes “The West is the best!” talk sound a little like whistling in the dark (emphasis mine).

This is the sort of thing you say when you’re trying to break it to people that victory in the new war won’t come soon, and may not come ever. It’s the foreign policy equivalent of another of Obama’s favorite sayings, the old leftist bromide about being on “the wrong side of history”: The enemy’s backwardness is plain and our moral superiority is obvious, so ultimate triumph is assured even in the teeth of immediate defeat. All I could think of while watching this was those photos you see online sometimes of Afghanistan or Iran circa 1960, with all the women in blouses and skirts, and photos of the same two countries today, with women in head coverings or even full burqas. Better ideas don’t always win. Especially if they’re defended by weak leadership.

And there’s little evidence to suggest that Allahpundit is off the mark when he suggests Obama’s strategy is to run out the clock and leave the steaming bag of excrement that is our involvement in the Middle East right smack dab in the center of the Resolute Desk on his way out the door.

For Obama, the Answer to the Iran Question is Clear. The Middle East Isn’t as Optimistic.

Iran nukes

As I write this, President Obama is speaking from the Rose Garden — very proudly — of the preliminary deal that has been reached with Iran in the nuclear talks that some predicted might be pushed back to this summer:

The talks have been on shaky ground in recent days, with U.S. lawmakers worried Iran was making unreasonable demands and some even urging the U.S. delegation to “walk away” from the negotiating table.

Even the White House warned that they were prepared to do so if Iran did not start negotiating in good faith.

Pressured by congressional critics in the U.S. who threaten to impose new sanctions on Iran over what they say is a bad emerging deal, the Obama administration is demanding significant public disclosure of agreements and understandings reached at the current round. But the officials say Iran wants a minimum made public.

The talks resumed several hours after a flurry of marathon overnight sessions between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as other meetings among the six powers.

Details are still emerging but one thing seems certain: President Obama is selling this as a great win for diplomacy, and not the scary pathway to the bomb so many fear it is.

“Our work is not yet done,” says Obama.

Let’s hope that’s true because the people in the region that have a real, pressing interest in the relative power of the IRanian regime, are understandably concerned.

Mandatory Voting a Disastrous Proposal

If you ever hear Obama talk about transforming America, you can bet your last red cent that he is proposing something that will undermine American liberty and the rule of law.

This time is no different. Last Wednesday, speaking to a civic group in Cleveland, Obama responded to a question about the negative impact on money in politics by going on a tangent about voting rights and about making it easier for people to vote. He declared “If everybody voted, it would completely change the political map in this country.”

Ummm, yes, that is correct, but is that “change” for better or for worse? Obama promised to “fundamentally transform” America if elected, and so he has…millions more Americans unemployed, median income down thousands, millions more on food stamps and welfare, and a complete disregard by Obama of limitations to his power. Not all change is good.

Chairmen of House and Senate Budget Committees Propose Good Budgets, Particularly Compared to Obama’s Spendthrift Plan

This was originally posted at International Liberty.

Earlier this year, President Obama proposed a budget that would impose new taxes and add a couple of trillion dollars to the burden of government spending over the next 10 years.

The Republican Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees have now weighed in. You can read the details of the House proposal by clicking here and the Senate proposal by clicking here, but the two plans are broadly similar (though the Senate is a bit vaguer on how to implement spending restraint, as I wrote a couple of days ago).

So are any of these plans good, or at least acceptable? Do any of them satisfy my Golden Rule?

Here’s a chart showing what will happen to spending over the next 10 years, based on the House and Senate GOP plans, as well as the budget proposed by President Obama.

Obama Strategically Waits for the Middle East to Catch Up to Civilization

modern medieval

Despite already having the ability — as he has been more than willing to mention — to wage war without asking for Congressional approval, President Obama nonetheless is trying to get a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) passed on The Hill, something that is proving controversial to both sides of the aisle.

From a three-year limit to a check on launching “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling Obama’s proposal either too restrictive or too broad — but few are calling it just right.

Those on the right wonder if the three-year time frame — which will bleed over into the term of the next president — doesn’t tie the hands of the executive office (bearing in mind Obama has made great use of that same executive privilege he would limit after he leaves office). It also turns our engagement in the region into a very dispassionate drone war, assuming we still have an interest in the region at all. Those on the left actually — oddly — argue the exact opposite: that the new AUMF gives the president too much power to say how and who we fight.

Rift with Saudi Arabia Bad for the American Economy

It’s a topic libertarians are generally not eager to discuss but, while everyone’s focused on healthcare and immigration, perhaps now’s a good time to talk about foreign policy and some rather stunning developments in the middle east that seem to suggest the US continues to lose influence and respect in the region. Saudi Arabia, in what many consider an almighty snub, has refused a seat on the UN Security Council and, at the risk of piling on, it appears that the Obama administration is to blame.

What should worry the Obama administration is that Saudi concern about U.S. policy in the Middle East is shared by the four other traditional U.S. allies in the region: Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Israel. They argue (mostly privately) that Obama has shredded U.S. influence by dumping President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, backing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, opposing the coup that toppled Morsi, vacillating in its Syria policy, and now embarking on negotiations with Iran — all without consulting close Arab allies.

While The Huffington Post was quick to declare satisfaction over Saudi Arabia’s “international hissy fit,” their assertion that the declining relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia was a minor non-event since the two countries don’t really need each other in the ways that count sounds a bit contrived.

Syria May Prove America’s True Character

The situation in Syria has become something of a fascinating study in the distinction between the principles of politics versus the principles of morality; and, strange as it sounds, it may be the thing that reminds Americans who we are as a people and what we will - and will not - accept from humanity living outside our borders.

The seriousness of potential war — especially one tied to images of children dying while foaming at the mouth — has a not-so-funny way of shining a light on just how shallow ideological passion can be. The libertarians and the traditional liberals are adamant that we stay out of the conflict; the more progressive (those who support Obama and generally the anti-war crowd) Democrats and the neoconservative hawks seem to be aligned in thinking that we must defend the red line President Obama drew in the sand. (Although now he’s insisting it wasn’t his red line at all…).

In short, there seems to be no easy partisan divide on whether we act or shutter the windows and wait for the fall out. But if this makes you uncomfortable, David Freddoso has an excellent piece in yesterday’s Conservative Intelligence Briefing on why it shouldn’t:

It would be rather disappointing to see Democrats who typically oppose all wars vote in favor of this one just to save a president’s rear end.  It would be dispiriting to think (as many liberal pundits have suggested) that conservatives are only breaking against this war because Obama is president.

And sure, there’s probably some of that going on here, especially among the public — a great deal of partisanship out there, one might say. But in fact, both characterizations are misleading, especially when it comes to elected officials.

MediScare, Part “O”, The Entitlement Bomb

Paul Ryan

Early during his second term, President George W. Bush declared he would spend his accumulated political capital on reforming Social Security. Democrats immediately lambasted the president, falsely claiming that his reform ideas were “radical” and would leave the elderly penniless and laying in the streets. They claimed Bush would gamble the life savings of our parents and grandparents on the stock market, and that his Wall Street buddies would grow rich while swindling granny out of everything she owned.

Of course, the truth was nowhere close. Bush’s “Strengthening Social Security for the 21st Century” plan was actually quite timid. It made no changes, zero, in the Social Security program for those 55 and over. Under Bush’s plan, personal retirement accounts would be phased in, with annual contribution limits gradually increased to a staggering…4%…yes 4%…of workers’ payroll taxes allocated to their personal accounts, with annual contributions initially capped at $1,000 per year in 2009, rising over time by $100 annually, plus growth in average wages. In other words, a measly 4% of payroll taxes would have been invested in private accounts, with the other 96% staying in the Social Security Trust Fund.

And yet due to this “radical” plan, this blindingly fast weaning of Americans from the government teat, Democrats successfully terrified Americas seniors and Bush’s political capital was eviscerated. He would end up abandoning the effort and Republicans would crawl back into their shells, unwilling to again touch this third rail of American politics.

The Fourth Branch Reinvents ObamaCare

The former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Donald Berwick infamously made the following statement in praising Britain’s National Health Service:

[A]ny health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized, and humane must – must – redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate. Excellent healthcare is by definition redistribution.

ObamaCare- or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- is the product of this same socialist ideological tradition that views government-run health care as a central component of any comprehensive wealth transfer scheme. However, the PPACA’s methods are more devious and radical than the NHS in accomplishing this goal. The main consumer-level redistribution provisions in PPACA are the refundable premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies available to individuals purchasing policies on the soon-to-be-established “exchanges.”

These tax provisions were at issue on Friday as IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Shulman’s difficult job was to defend the Department of the Treasury’s recently issued regulations implementing PPACA’s tax credits. Why was that such a difficult job? That requires some background on how PPACA’s statutory provisions are structured.


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