Realism about Realists

January 12, 2016

See: http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/01/08/what-would-a-realist-world-have-looked-like-iraq-syria-iran-obama-bush-clinton/

Not bad, I could agree with all these FP assessments save Israel. There’s no deal to be made with the Palestinians. Fatah and Hamas are extensions of a much larger Muslim problem. Creating another radical Sunni Arab state is not going to do anything for Israel, the Ummah, or the rest of us. Israel’s mistake was not taking a larger part of the traditional Jewish homeland to begin with – including the Temple Mount.

If you want an example of realists today, outside of America, Netanyahu and Putin are the most prominent examples. Aside from real politic deficit, there’s still an invisible elephant in the American mix; zero tolerance for dissent. Kennan couldn’t get a job on State’s PPS today. Indeed, Frank Fukuyama may have been the last original voice at State, as Mike Flynn was the last independent thinker at DOD. Look what happened to him.

The meme on both the Intelligence and policy sides of the national security megaplex is now a political monoculture. You either go along or get gone. Politics has always been an emotional, vice rational discipline. Yet, political venality, both Left and Right, is as bad today as I have ever seen it. A realist today is just another apostate; and as such, like the infidel, an enemy not an ally.


ISIS and Obama

December 15, 2015

We could begin with: “ISIS comes to America.” But that would suggest that the latest mutant strain of Muslim terror is somehow new or unique. The sad truth is, alas, that contemporary imperial Islam, a kind of cultural sewage, has been flowing just beneath the veneer of civilization for decades now. You might think of the San Bernardino massacre as merely another one of those urban pipes that bursts from time to time and becomes a public nuisance. Blood and gore in the name of religion is now routine by repetition.

Those who work inside the Beltway rationalize lethal religious mayhem as workplace violence, “junior varsity” pranks, or better still, an opportunity cost of gun sales. Gun control is to terrorism now as public schools are to education. Nonetheless, taxpaying hermaphrodites and voting masochists can rest easy. The Islamic State is “contained” we are assured. There are no “credible” ISIS threats to America or Americans.

Clearly, religious executions today have political utility. Slaughter in God’s name is a terrible thing to waste. For potential victims, when you see something, please say something. Call a cop and see what stops. After all, in a “long game,” only soothing rhetoric really matters.

Say something useful too, like HELP – OMG or WTF! Then throw your panties, or your smart phone, at the hirsute dude with the AK-47 or the burka bimbo with the bomb.  If your phone doesn’t kill or pacify those “nefarious characters,” hit your knees, face Mecca, tuck you head between your knees, and kiss your timid ass goodbye. After all, we will always have Paris and 9/11 and the kind of “hope and change” that is beginning to look like a train ride to the ovens.

Alas, religious affiliations of victims and perps alike are irrelevant yet again! Not just Jews, Christians, Copts, or Yazidi this time. The target in San Bernardino was a government sanctioned secular humanist Christmas bash, an infidel cum apostate California bulls eye laden with symbolism, indeed a threefer: Jerry Brown, baby Jesus, and alcohol. The latest Islamic free-fire zone is more evidence of the need to restrain infidel excess and the need for new mandates to control speech, partying, guns, Santa Claus, and “islamophobic” Christmas.

Holiday eggnog, after all, is one of those gateway drugs that provokes Muslims and inspires genocidal rage.

Alas, the sharia and jihad ambitions of Islam in America might be too modest. Muslims merely want to return to the 7th Century and Mohammed. To stay in that race to the past, agnostic America might give Stonehenge and sun worship another whirl. Say “salve solstice,” not merry “you know what” this year.

The latest Muslim assault on the 21st Century has put “Berdoo” in the Quintin Tarantino hall of shame too. Until jihad came to town, San Berdoo, we should note, was known best on the left coast for biker bars and awesome weed.

The 4 December bloodbath in California is both sequel and prequel of dystopian Christmases to come.  Take that FBI news conference two days after as evidence, a kind of costumed, choreographed public relations porn flic.

PR is now the first federal line of defense against shooters, bombers, terrorists, and religious fascists. Yes, here again soothing, albeit empty, words are best. San Bernardino was no exception.

One jihadist was a native, the other was an import via Saudi Arabia. Not that any of that mattered to clueless centurions. Both shooters were Muslim and both had roots in Pakistan. Doesn’t matter! Both were equipped like Kevlar ninjas. Doesn’t matter either! The ISIS wannabes wasted a Christmas party. Group kill is not that relevant either in traditional Hollywood oeuvre! The FBI and a constellation of “four star” cops could not, or would not, say anything specific about the obvious: race, religion, arms, ideology, motives, or affiliations.

If you are a government flake and you know something these days, your job is to say nothing. You know the drill. Muslim feelings trump public safety, national security, and all vestiges of common decency – or uncommon sense. In contrast, everyman on the street is enjoined to see and say something. Yes, but good grief not about immigrants, terrorists, Muslims, or Islam.

Word of Donald!

The best parts of the masque in Berdoo were those stars. No fewer than eight, yes eight, blue groupies in the FBI entourage wore four stars on their lapels. Who knew that a city of less than 250K had so many four star lawmen keeping us safe? How, you might ask, did Wyatt Earp ever tame Tombstone with just one star and a scatter gun?

Four star cops in urban America are similar to all those fruit salad generals at the Pentagon, impotent mannequins, hangar queens grounded by political correctness.  Uniform garnish matters more than results in public safety/national security sinecures these days. Policing and soldiering in America is starting to look a lot like ghost of Orwell’s future – or scoreless soccer and kindergarten T-ball.

The obligatory press conference that quickly follows any gory Muslim rampage in America is now a kind of civic cult ritual.

To start, American Islamist front groups (CAIR for example) launch the spin, while a day or two later the FBI and a local chorus sugar coats the infidel dead, apostate lame, and agnostic maimed.  These televised spin cycles are usually orchestrated by the Feds, echoed by the national press, and back lit by a host of mute locals that might include zaftig crossing guards with stars on their epaulets. The elected Commander-in-Chief usually leads from behind, keeping his peace until moral equivalence, mental health, gun control, melting icebergs, or carbon credits can be worked into the post mortems.

Why it is, by the way, that Bernie Sanders still doesn’t have a Cabinet post? Surely, the Islamic State could be brought to heel by carbon credits or an NSA all-access peeping pass.

After seven years, team Obama still doesn’t get it. If ISIS implodes tomorrow, Islamism, like the Big Lebowski, still abides.

The Islamic State, a big slice of the Ummah similar to Boko Haram and al Qaeda, is a new symptom, not a new disease. The civic cancer is, and always has been, the rapidly metastasizing global ideology of sharia and jihad, in short, religious fascism. Like National Socialism, it’s the ideology, stupid! The predicate of all fascism is coercion, indeed the kind of sick terror now playing in a domicile near you, places like Paris, Mali, and San Bernardino.

American tactics and strategy may appear feckless, but the Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes are united by the belief that Muslim reputation is more important than American lives. Both major political parties in the US are aping European quislings for fear that things might get worse. The public too are patronized with fears of fear; indeed admonished to expect and accept both immigrants and serial depredations indefinitely.

All the while, the Oval Office is mocked by a religion it dares not name. John Kerry is characterized as an “uncircumcised geezer,” an ambiguous slur that surely assumes too much about men who work at Foggy Bottom. By some bizarre mutation of values; the White House, ayatollahs, mullahs, imams, and assassins all have similar goals – a passive if not submissive America.

Al Baghdadi is also annoyed that Obama trivializes ISIS, aka the Islamic State, as Daesh or ISIL. According to a poorly sourced MOSAD report, the Caliph is considering rebranding ISIS, or jihad, as “Global Warming” in order to get better ink at the New York Times. Islam and Armageddon seldom appear above the fold these days.

Beltway apologists respond in kind by claiming that the answer to ISIS, like warm weather, is in “the long game.”  You could read such bravado as an endorsement of the status quo, kick-the-can, surrender, or all three.  The long game strategy is a comfort much like knowing that in the end we are all dead anyway. Team Obama’s most cherished ambition now seems to be to limp out of Dodge ahead of the apocalypse.

When we see something, we should say something! Say something like, “What were Americans thinking when they put Steve Quincy Urkel in charge of the world’s most confused democracy?”

Indeed! Never mind Bashar al-Assad in Syria or Vladimir Putin in Russia; regime change in America can’t come soon enough.

Insh’allah and allah hu akbar!

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This article appeared in the 15 December edition of American Thinker.

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http://media.npr.org/news/images/2008/jul/15/newyorker_200-6b12b3ec2c7e2a8753629c527d078c0697c4a56e-s400-c85.jpg

Tags: Barack Obama, John Kerry, American politics, Islam, Islamism, Islamofascism, the Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL Daesh, Syria, terrorism, San Bernardino massacre, and appeasement.

 

 


Friday the 13th in Paris

November 17, 2015

“The influence of the (Islamic) religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.”  –  Winston Churchill

Islamic fanatics struck another blow for cynicism last Friday night in Paris; wholesale and gratuitous slaughter in the name of some sanguinary Muslim god. History teaches few lessons these days.

We say “Muslim” god because most other religions forsook ritual religious slaughter centuries ago. Indeed, the nearest historical comparison is actually political. Before contemporary jihad, the Nazis were the last imperial movement to use industrial scale pogroms to underwrite an ideological message. Ironically, the EU now opens its borders to religious fascism, more virulent than the political strain that led to the Holocaust and associated carnage of WWII. Angela Merkel and the European Union do the ironic walk of shame here.

Alas, any distinction between politics and religion in a Muslim context is now moot. Politics are mostly religious in the Ummah and dystopic religion seems to be the only relevant politics permissible in much of the Muslim world.

Indeed, the irony is compound. The most egregious exporters of religious hate and sharia bigotry are putative EU/American “partners;” or allies; i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Arabia, and Persia. Withal, Europe and America are fatally impaled on the horns of the Shia/Sunni dilemma – by choice. Judeo/Christian tolerance now has all the earmarks of a suicide pact. Body counts, as Stalin prophesied, are now just another statistic.

Indeed, Islam today is both sword and shield.  Terror strikes and then retreats to sanctuary under a burka of global religious immunities. Somehow the larger bovine Muslim majority has no moral or civic responsibility for terrorists, passive aggressors (nee moderates), or those unassimilated and indigestible Muslim refugees. The EU and America are paralyzed by guilt and restraint that has no meaning for Muslim shooters and bombers. The new law of international war is now made by religious zealots while the “best” in the West assume the defensive crouch of infidel catamites.

In the after-orgy of post-Paris apologetics, few western leaders dared to mention Islam, Islamism, or the global jihad. The enemy is still the undifferentiated local, militant, terrorist, or criminal as if the ideology or motive that binds them all doesn’t matter. In the not too distant past, the threat was atomized as local phenomena like Black September, Fatah, Hamas, al Qaeda, or Boko Haram. The flavor of Islam du jour at the moment is ISIS or the Islamic state.

No matter the body count or venue, Europe and America refuse to recognize jihad as a global Islamic assault. And as with the Charlie Hebdo atrocity, the best response that Francois Hollande and France can muster now is a karaoke Marseillaise, a knee-jerk hymn to irrelevant if not discredited notions of liberté, égalité, and fraternité.

Fey responses to terror are now routine in the West. Call it cultural appropriation. Summary executions are accepted by Islamist butcher and infidel victim alike. Atrocity has been routinized, now hallmarks of 21st Century practices in the East and tolerance in the West. Suicide bombers and their victims are joined by the same moral vacuity. The former have no moral compass and the latter are loath to exert any prudence.

Excuses are epidemic. Bernie Sanders on the looney Left actually believes that global warming and ISIS are wingmen. The Sanders pronouncement is of a piece with team  Obama’s flawed assessments where ISIS has been described as the “junior varsity.”

Exaggerating a threat might be a no lose hedge but underestimating an existential threat can be fatal. Just ask Paris.

Maybe Parisians should build a monument to terror too as New York and Washington did after the Saudi Muslim attack against lower Manhattan and the Pentagon.  Appeasement, withal, seems to be the new deterrence.

For those with the attention span to notice, global Islamic terror is the most obvious symptom that globalization is not working. Democratic civility and “one-world” comity are not ascending stars, especially in the Muslim world. Societies that venerate 7th Century absolutist monoculture or cult prophets are impervious to fact or reason – much less democracy.

With the possible exception of Kurdistan and a few of the former Soviet Muslim republics, the Ummah is morphing into universal dystopic theocracy.

The quest for Islamic monoculture is facilitated by three trends: a weak or indecisive West, dishonest assessments of the threat, and a generation of leaders in the West who fail to appreciate or defend the virtue, indeed, superiority of their own culture. Indeed, of the three, the most pernicious is the last, the notion that all cultures and religious beliefs are morally equivalent.

Culture is the synergistic interplay of positive national values which allow independence, civility, cooperation, tolerance, and peaceful productivity. None of these virtues can be attributed to most of the Muslim world today. Indeed, much of the Ummah is a cesspool of human depravities. Friday the 13th in Paris is just one of too many examples.

Days before the latest Paris slaughter, the President of the United States declared unequivocally that ISIS had been “contained.” Here again we have another triumph of false hope over experience. The White House, the Pentagon, and the American Intelligence Community still treat Islamism as a public relations problem to be “managed” largely with hyperbole, wishful thinking, and domestic mendacity. The Islamists win in places like New York, London, and Paris because they understand that real victories in real wars war come from the barrel of a gun not the mouths of fools.

Huntington was correct; the “clash of civilizations” is here. If the latest Muslim massacre in France does not underline that clash, it’s difficult to imagine what kind of losses or atrocity might have to be endured to convince the West.

Immigration, nonetheless, is not the only Trojan horse in the Muslim kit. The pathologies of Islamic culture are well recorded at the expense of women, children, ethnic and non-Muslim minorities. Alas, there is no single Islamic Trojan horse; the phenomenon today is more like a diseased herd at full gallop. Allahu akbar!

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This essay appeared previously in the Small Wars Journal, November 2015.

Image:

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Fear, Inertia, and Islam

October 10, 2014

“Veritas odit moras” – Seneca

The conventional wisdom about strategic inertia, doing too little or nothing, is that whatever might be done might make things worse. No proof is ever offered for such reasoning because none ever exists. The future is unknowable.

A forecast or estimate is not a prophecy, and both have shaky legs. Most deductive reasoning proceeds from asserted conclusions or lame assumptions in any case. The conventional wisdom, or beaten path, is often more convenient than it is wise.

Fear of consequence inspires inaction or timidity. Predators and aggressors thrive on panic, indecision, and weakness. The consequences of fear are well known. The associated behavioral evidence is well understood too.

Vertebrates, including humans, usually react to threats one of four ways: fight, flight, freeze, or faint. Autonomic experts now include related responses like arousal and acute or prolonged stress.

Although there seem to be six possible visceral responses to threat, one or more in combination is likely – and fight might be the most unlikely for modern men. You could argue that a typical human response to fear or threat is a series of half measures – some amalgam of indecisiveness that often confuses friend and foe alike.

The Islamist threat, terror and associated small wars, might be a case study of contemporary collective inertia, decades of half measures in the West where candid analysis and common sense policies are hostage to dread, the unreasonable fear that analytical truth or decisive political/military action will make matters worse.

Boko Haram, the Muslim slave traders of East Africa, is an example. Their depredations are euphemized as “child trafficking.” These Sunni Islamists were exempt from a “terrorist” designation for years until their atrocities went wholesale, seizing an entire girl’s school.

Government and academic analyses of the Egyptian based Muslim Brotherhood (al Ikhwan) suffered from the same immunities. Brotherhood affiliates and derivatives now girdle the globe.  Some peddle rhetorical imperialism while others (like al Qaeda and Hamas) are blatantly kinetic. Terror is a function of propaganda, the knife, the bomb – and passive victims.

Threat inflation is a no-lose hedge, underestimates can be fatal.

The Egyptian and Libyan examples are illustrative. Western Media, Washington, and Brussels tried to put lipstick on the Brotherhood pig (nee Arab Spring). A military coup was necessary to restore civility in Cairo. Any Janissary is preferable to every theocracy.

In Libya, a failed state was the price of regime change. Gadhafi doesn’t look so bad in retrospect. Europe and America now pay lip service to democracy in Arabia for all the wrong reasons.

Boko Haram and al Ikhwan are but two of the dozens of Sunni Islamist groups that are treated with deference or kid gloves. Now comes the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The American Commander-in-Chief (CINC) prefers to call the “new” threat ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant.

Clearly the White House, or John Brennan at CIA, is rebranding another Islamist terror splinter to mask the horrid truth about the latest mutation of Islam. Renaming ISIS also serves to fudge serial military folly and failure in Iraq and Syria. Oval Office spin is an easy sell to a Facebook or Twitter generation that might think the Levant is a hookah bar in Soho.

Indeed, the American air and ground war has now been expanded in Iraq and Syria by fiat, another knee-jerk response to Media, not moral outrage. (Is it possible to stop the “boots on the ground” nonsense? American boots never left Iraq – or Syria, if surrogates and mercenaries matter.)  Nevertheless, if ISIS had not posted beheadings on the internet, one wonders whether the White House or the Pentagon would have done anything differently.

The arts of policy, strategy, and tactics are communal human attempts to anticipate threats and develop political/military options that respond to or eliminate threat. If Washington and Brussels can be said to have any strategy, it is autonomic, reactive only to the moment, the atrocity or regime du jour.

The odd-couple coalition now arrayed against ISIS says all that needs to be said about the absurdity of what passes for foreign/military policy today. Five Arab autocrats are led by a liberal American administration, “flying” against a hirsute nation of Muslim madmen outfitted with the latest American armored weapons! Call it Clinton redux, war from 10,000 feet, two miles too far.

The propaganda war is even more confused than the shooting war. On the one hand the president laments that 80 some odd countries, including America, are sending volunteers to ISIS. Without missing a beat, he holds up an Arab coalition of ‘five’ weak, anti-ISIS autocracies as a solution. A few NATO procrastinators might also join the airshow too. Do the math!

The administration also fails to mention that the American taxpayer has been financing, training, and equipping the very Sunni terrorists who are now beheading Americans. So-called Muslim allies in Syria/Iraq morphed into ISIS just as surely as the mujahedeen morphed into the Taliban in South Asia.  When you consider precedents like Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Libya; the Obama national security team seems to have a negative learning curve when the subject is blowback.

An administration that cannot, or will not, define the threat candidly is unlikely to be able to separate friend from foe. Yes, a phenomenon like imperial religious fascism is complicated and sensitive, but it is made more so by apologetics and rationalizations proffered in the name of misguided notions of tolerance.

Terror is often justified as tribal vendetta, a kind an understandable reaction to real or imagined injustice. Such ethical or legal arguments, like Orientalism, drive a stake through the heart of any moral equivalence for Islam. Revenge reduces the Islamist, and their culture, to a lowest moral/legal plane, a universe where true justice and civility is arbitrary if not impossible.

By any moral standard, contemporary Islam is both a growing problem and the unlikely solution. Neither tolerance nor justice is a growth sector in the Ummah. Washington and Brussels seem ready to bleed to death in slow motion before the clear evidence of this threat is accepted. The menace of theocracy is the mimber not the marketplace.

Alas for the moment, there is no plan, no strategic goals, and no consistent policies that might lead to long-term success for the West or reform in the East. Indeed, by his own admission, the American commander-in-chief still insists that we are not at war with a global theocratic civilization. Barak Hussein Obama seeks solutions where there are no “no victors and no vanquished.”

Where victory is off the table, half-measures become the menu. Inertia is always served lukewarm. When Benjamin Netanyahu comes to the UN and tells the world that ISIS and Hamas are “fruit of the same poisonous tree,” he tells a truth that the West does not want to hear.

The threat from the Ummah is atomized in Brussels and Washington because it is more convenient to treat terrorism and religious jihad, wherever it appears, as local “criminal” phenomena with local motives. Acknowledging Muslim Wars as a global, albeit decentralized, existential threat would force the West to admit that Huntington was correct. The clash of civilizations is no longer a speculation. The conflict within and without has been metastasizing globally for 50 years or more.

And civilization is not winning. ISIS is just one more symptom of religious irredentism and cultural decay in the Muslim world, one sixth of the world’s population.  For five decades now, the West retreats fearfully on most fronts behind a smoke screen of euphemism and apology.

Like all illusions of monoculture, Islamism is a greater threat to adherents than it is to infidels or apostates. Muslim “moderates” in such a struggle are mythical, largely an irrelevant, passive, and frightened demographic. If you staged a cage match between a moderate and a fanatic, what are the odds that any smart money picks the moderate?

There are more than a few realists who see conflict as a biological and cultural norm. Darwin, for one, makes a very convincing argument that biological evolution is, in the end, a zero-sum game. Samuel Huntington made a parallel argument for human social or cultural forces, “The fault lines of civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.” Earlier, Douglas MacArthur dispensed similar wisdom about warfare, “There is no substitute for victory.”

Only hubris and fear allow men, or social democracies, to believe that political institutions, especially republics, are now somehow exempt from common sense and the self-evident axioms of military conflict.

If history, or reality for that matter, provides any precedents, war is the human condition past, present, and likely future. And conflict is not immoral by any scientific or ethical standard, nor is it sufficient. But it is often necessary. When war is necessary, picking the right side matters. Historical success, progress, and tolerant cultures are made possible by victors, not victims.

At the moment, the western democracies are both for and against Islam, at once defending the cultural and moral equivalence of Mohammed, the Koran, and Islam and at the same time killing or jailing the imperial Islamic vanguard in the name of saving the Ummah from itself. Playing two ends against the middle in a religious war isn’t strategy; it’s a dangerous game, a kind of Russian roulette.

Such absurdities might mystify even Kafka.

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This essay appeared in the October Small Wars Journal, the online forum for Special Forces/Special operations.

 

 


Humanitarian Imperialism

March 30, 2014

 “The best minds are not in government.” –  Ronald Reagan

Hard to believe that it has been a quarter of a century since Ronald Reagan began to dismantle the ideological wall that divided Europe. Harder still to believe that American politicians, Right and Left, are trying to resuscitate the Cold War – or something hotter.  Recent events in the Ukraine seem to be giving the citizens of Europe and America hot flashes of deja-vu.

At the tactical level, US policy has devolved to “regime change.” At the strategic level, US policy is simply incoherent, if not nihilistic; swapping corrupt oligarchs for neo-fascists or religious zealots.  The logic for supporting recent coups have little to do with common sense – or democracy. And with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, and now the Ukraine, language needs to be coined to avoid words like coup.

By any other name, a coup is still a coup. And using a post-facto ‘election’ to legitimize a coup is a little like putting a new hat on a dead cat. The Kerry/Obama team is giving subtlety and sovereignty bad names.

When Vladimir Putin, tongue in cheek, says there are no Russian troops in the Ukraine, he mocks John Kerry and Victoria Nuland who orchestrate dissidents in Maidan square, in some cases neo-fascists who did not get their way on the bail-out treaty with the EU.

The auction for the Ukraine is now closed. The price doubled overnight, from 16 to 35 billion dollars and counting. Politicians break it, now the taxpayer gets to pay for it. Kerry is now offering to buy the next Ukrainian election too.

Speaking of elections, Europe and America might need referendums at home on  future bailouts, foreign and domestic.  The EU and US look like the “two broke girls” of Capitalism.  Angela Merkel might be the only European politician with any jingle left in her jeans these days.

When Putin says he protects Crimean Russians, again with a sneer, he mocks Samantha Power’s, now Barak Obama’s,  humanitarian interventions. The fast track to imperialism is paved with words like “humanitarian.”

When Russia sponsors a referendum in the Crimea, the Kremlin pre-empts, indeed ridicules, the EU sponsored presidential election to be orchestrated by Kiev in May 2014.

When demagogues like Hillary Clinton compare Russian behavior to Nazi Germany, she mocks Allied history and the sacrifice of 5 million Russians in WWII. Russian blood chits, we might add, that made the Allied victory over Nazis possible in 1945.

The name of the game in the Crimea is not the Ukraine in any case. Maidan Square and the Crimea are merely board pieces, according to Vicky Nuland at the State Department; moveable parts in another Great Game – Europe versus Russia redux. Back to the future, indeed!

The pillars of Obama foreign policies are now explicit; Russophobia on one hand and Islamophilia on the other. Indeed, a renewed Cold War with Russia, sponsored by a lame duck, allows Media shills to change the subject. With the Ukraine in the headlines, the domestic health care debacle and those failed Muslim wars fade to background noise.

 Russophobia

Yes, Russophobia! The pragmatic gains of the Reagan era have been set aside for an irrational fear of all things Russian. Never mind that the difference between Putin’s Russia and Gorbachev’s Soviet Union is like the difference between caviar and carp.

America and the EU have nothing in common with Arabia and greater Islam save oil, debt, and indigestible immigrants. Yet, Americans have much in common with Russia: history, religion, art, literature, sports, dance, dogs, music, science, space travel, adult beverages, recreational sex, and almost all things cultural, including Nureyev in tights and Sharapova in shorts.

Russia, the EU, and America also share a common enemy, that insidious fifth column: domestic and global Islamism.

The Cold War, until a few weeks ago, was over. The Warsaw Pact has been dead now for some two decades. Projections about a new Russian empire are fantasies. It is NATO and the EU that aspire to expand to the Russian border. Putin is no eagle scout, but he’s no chump either.  Unlike European and American demagogues, Putin knows the difference between defense and offense.

Islamophilia

Russians are not killing Americans. Putin is not a BFF, but Russia is not the enemy either. The West cannot say the same for Arabs and Muslims. Islamism is the sanguinary enemy whose name we dare not speak.

Pandering Americans, Europeans, and now the Chinese, are complicit in the spread of Islamic political terror. Non-Muslims are killed with such regularity, world-wide, that the civilized world has come to accept each new atrocity as a fair price for assuaging the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Indeed, European social democrats and the American Left now seem to believe that even Israel itself might be a small price for submission.

Russia has no illusions about militant Muslims. Indeed, you could argue that Putin has literally rebuilt the Russian Orthodox Church as an ideological barrier against the spread of toxic Islam in Russia. Would that Europe or America support Judaism and the rest of Christianity with such unapologetic aplomb.

The objective threat to the West and Asia comes from religious fascism.  Cultural arrogance does not allow the West to admit that political Islam and freedom, irredentist Islam and democracy, are mutually exclusive ideas. And sadly, a misguided sense of humanitarian imperialism rationalizes interventions in the Ummah, expeditions that usually fail. The West cannot save Islam from itself. Nonetheless, westerners seem willing to sacrifice a host of Enlightenment values and young lives on the altar of good intentions.

Manufactured crises, like the Ukraine, are studies in weak or incompetent leadership. Alas, the Obama/Kerry cocker spaniel is no match for the Putin/ Lavrov Rottweiler. NATO leaders have not been the equal of ayatollahs and imams since 1979 either. Jimmy Carter’s ghost still haunts the American Left. Putin should send a case of vodka as a thank-you to Foggy Bottom for providing the Kremlin an excuse to return Sevastopol to Rodina.

John Kerry is the daffiest US administration duck, scion of the Jane Fonda wing of the American Left. Who sends an anti-war “activist” to a Mid-East fracas or East European brawl? Nobody wins a real street fight with their mouth – or frequent flyer miles.

And the American Right is not blameless; excusing terror, regime change folly, the recent litany of imperial failures. In the 2012 US election campaign, there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between candidates, Right and Left, on US foreign or military policy. Indeed, Mitt Romney and most Republicans couldn’t say “me too” fast enough. And neo-conservative sycophants are led by foreign policy loose cannons like John McCain who believes Moscow might be “sanctioned” into submission.  As if sanctions were working with true pariahs like North Korea or Iran!

McCain seems to be the captain of a latter day light-headed brigade; oblivious to what Russians already have; legitimate border concerns, a compliant Crimea, a comparatively robust economy, and a space bus for American astronauts – and a choke-hold on all of Ukrainian and a third of European energy supplies. Demonizing Putin here only strengthens his hand there. The Russian president enjoys genuine popular support like no politician in the West.

The Outlook

The Cold War is making a comeback; this time without deterrence. The nuclear threshold is lowered when conventional capabilities are reduced to a level of assured impotence. Secretary of Defense, Charles Hagel, has unveiled a plan to abandon tactical missions like A-10 close-air-support in favor of unproven and costly technology like the F-35 problem child. Wishful thinking is a poor substitute for facts, performance, or experience. Cyber warfare (see STUXNET) and global drone strikes blur the lines between limited and general war.

Such contractions are not lost on Islamist tacticians or strategists. For the Pentagon, all recent combat is tactical where Islamist motives are defined as local (see almost any RAND Corporation report on the subject).  Ironically, those tactical resources for future fights are on the chopping block. As with speculations about Russia, American myopia fails to accommodate the Islamist world view. For too many Muslims, the struggle, indeed the jidad bis saif, has been global since 632 AD.

With a future US Army under 500,000 troops, America should have just enough soldiers to get into a fight, but not enough to win. And with a small all-volunteer force, every trooper should have enough rotations in the Ummah to get maimed or be killed – in vain.  A small Army in isolated cantons, like air travel, is another target rich environment for terrorists.

Let’s end with a question. How long will it take for the Oval Office, the Intelligence Community, or a complicit Media to acknowledge that the latest airliner “mystery” over the Indian Ocean might be an act of terror, probably another atrocity in the name of jihad, the prophet, or Islam?

The future is Malthusian. The nuclear threshold has been lowered, small war humiliations are more likely, and Islamic terror will continue to be ignored or excused. Politicians care little about how many lives it takes to lose. Yet, the glyphs of the Barak Hussein Obama era are not just appeasement, retreat, and defeat.  The real handwriting on the wall is unilateral disarmament in the world of tactical and strategic ideas.

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Images:

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSC3h7xOK8fyPve4g1d0-5N0AWtGcVMCbcMPMhMpS8yl9Nycl0o

http://media.photobucket.com/user/1kaspersky1/media/Sharapova/Maria-Sharapova-17.jpg.html?filters[term]=maria%20sharapova&filters[primary]=images&filters[featured%5Fmedia]=1159&sort=1&o=177

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-25910834

 

 


Foxtrot Golf Whisky ?

October 9, 2013

The Decline and Fall of National Security

Two unlikely sets of institutions are playing key roles in the decline of American foreign policy effectiveness: Intelligence agencies and military commands. The CIA and DOD, agencies that were heretofore above politics have lost their objective moorings. Contemporary guardians of national security have been suborned by partisanship, in the process, fostering a kind of soft sedition; analytic and operational incompetence.

The Intelligence Colossus

If a casual observer were to attempt to find fault with Intelligence in the 21st Century, he might identify size, complexity, and politics. Since World War II the American Intelligence Community (IC) has grown exponentially, 17 agencies in the US alone today and an expensive host of intermediary managers and commercial contractors. Unfortunately, national Intelligence products, now a kind of communal inertia, do not justify the exorbitant investment in collection and processing of raw data.

The Colin Powell UN speech in the run-up to the Iraq War and the now infamous Benghazi talking points are recent egregious examples “Intelligence” products corrupted by politics. If the purpose of Intelligence is to support the political flavor of the day, why not just subcontract analysis to Madison Avenue?

“Big” was not always the best thing you might say about US Intelligence. Time was when warning or analytic failures had consequences. Pearl Harbor is an example. Ironically, the sub-rosa Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was cashiered by Harry Truman immediately after WWII. Truman was not fond of a large Intelligence establishment or large political egos. It probably didn’t help that OSS chief William “wild Bill” Donovan was a prominent Republican lawyer. Politics are ever-relevant.

Parts of the OSS were salvaged by the National Security Act of 1947 which created a then modest Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). But the Intelligence Community didn’t get a real boost until 1961 with the publication of Roberta Wohlstetter’s Pearl harbor: Warning and Decision, a volume that is still required reading for Intelligence acolytes. Wohlstetter’s encyclopedic study established several benchmarks for Intelligence still relevant today.

Foremost was the axiom that warning is usually an analytic or political, not a data failure. In today’s argot it would be “failure (or unwillingness) to connect the dots.” Sixty years later, on 11 September 2001, analytic failure, not available evidence, was still the weak link. The only difference between Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 Twin Towers warning debacle is cost and the size of the Intelligence legion; alas, still a toothless dog that doesn’t bark.

And the warning problem is complicated today by design. Analysis is hamstrung by the Brennan Doctrine, an a priori policy that rejects evidence which might link terrorism, sedition, and Islamist wars with Muslim ideology or politics.

“How you define a problem shapes how you address it.” – John O. Brennan

The very word “Islamism” has been struck from threat discussions. Where there is no distinction between church and state, religion is the center of gravity. Trying to analyze terrorism and contemporary small wars without mentioning Muslim political motives or Islamic doctrine is a little like studying WWII without mentioning Japanese Imperialism or German National Socialism.

Warning and Decision is still de rigueur for other reasons. A careful reading of official CIA reviews reveals that conclusions about the “under funding” of Intelligence functions are, for CIA, the attractive parts of the Wohlstetter narrative. Ironically, truly talented analysts like Wohlstetter still do not work for Intelligence agencies. The best minds do not work for Intelligence because such analysts would be difficult to manipulate, hence politically unreliable.

The Military Establishment

Senior soldiers, however, are exceptionally reliable. Wet fingers are standard issue on the Pentagon side of the national security equation these days. Political correctness has tarnished more than a few brass hats since Douglas MacArthur was fired. Admiral Mike Mullen’s recent social pandering and General Martin Dempsey’s Benghazi mendacity speaks volumes.

Military literature is equally disingenuous. Two subjects dominate military journals and training manuals today: counterinsurgency (COIN) and an excursion called Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW); foxtrot golf whiskey.

COIN

Counterinsurgency (COIN) is official US military doctrine, a lame legacy of Vietnam. Counterinsurgency is warfare or intervention on behalf an incumbent or allied regime. Yet COIN doctrine seldom accounts for the enemy view — phenomena like coups, revolution, or civil war. The Pentagon avoids such terms because the US military has no charter or doctrine for regime change. The rhetorical dishonesty over the recent “coup” in Egypt makes the point well enough. And at the expense of logic and clarity, any discussion of jihad is officially proscribed by the brass too; no matter how many GIs might get killed by jihadists. With the Brendan doctrine, Jihad, or holy war, is still ritual cleansing.
Since Vietnam, most small Muslim wars might properly be called civil, or better still, religious wars. If Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, or Syria had anything to do with counterinsurgency, the West should have armed the Ayatollah Khomeini, Mullah Omar, Sadam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and Bashar Assad. On the E-Ring, COIN and regime change seem to be synonymous. Military analysis, such that it is, is trying to square this circle with some profound naval gazing. Strategists are calling for a ‘fourth generation’ model of warfare.

4GW

Unfortunately, the new doctrine keeps many of the inanities of Army and Marine Corps official guidance. Foremost is the inability, or unwillingness, to precisely describe the enemy by name, nation, associations of nations, or ideology. And calling 3rd generation warfare a “war on terror” is a little like calling WWII a war on blitzkrieg. Tactics and the enemy are different things: tactics are ephemeral; enemies are kinetic until they are defined and defeated in detail.

The 4GW crowd also talks of collapsing the enemy’s “center of gravity,” but the center for Islamists, and the broader Muslim base, is religion. A CJCS that has stricken Islam from the discussion is not likely to assault “one of the world’s great religions,” much less try to neutralize imams who might insist on Sharia law — or target clerics sponsoring holy war, lethal jihad.

4GW aficionados also support a Fabian strategy. Fabius Maximus Cunctator (280-203 BC) was a Roman general who used defensive delay and attrition tactics to bleed Hannibal’s expeditionary forces during the Punic Wars. Fabius is thought to be the father of guerilla war.

Fabian Defense?

Ironically, the Fabian fad is a page out of Osama bin Laden’s cookbook: extend the infidel armies and kill with a thousand cuts. War is curious politics; Islamists are defining our strategy? If so, 4GW is truly cunctative; too late for a flaccid flag corps that already offers “transition” and “stability” as passive strategic objectives.

Imagine a high school athletic coach who would use such banalities instead of words like victory! We remember Bolingbroke, not Hotspur, because Henry IV knew how to win. Douglas MacArthur struck the same cord: “There is no substitute for victory.” Life, war, and politics are zero-sum games — history is the tale of winners and losers.

American diplomatic and military operations are starting to look like T-Ball or scoreless soccer; no winners or losers, yet all participants get a medal or a promotion. John Brennan and Martin Dempsey might tale a bow here.

The Fabian debate is another nickel and dime argument. What’s required is a new global strategy, not another small war tactical salad where universal threats are ascribed to vague local grievances.

If diplomacy is the only answer, then new strategy is required there too. Here two attack vectors recommend themselves; abandon the “two-state” chimera in the Mideast and engage, dare we say confront, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Israel needs to negotiate directly with the Arab League, not individual terror surrogates like Fatah. And America needs to confront the OIC, not individual Muslim states like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or Syria. If Fabian strategy is a good idea, then it is the Arab League and the OIC, not America, that needs to be put on the defensive.

The burden for killing autocrats or defeating Islamist “insurgency” needs to be shifted to the faithful, that celebrated “moderate” Muslim majority, the citizens of the Arab league and the OIC. God knows the US Department of Defense sells Muslim autocrats enough firepower to police zealots.

The question that futurists need to ask is; why are American and European infidels obliged to make the world safe for Islam when only Muslims can save the Ummah from itself? Answer that question; then worry about the reform of inert military doctrine and fanciful national strategy.

And as a practical matter, any policy reform would require regime change in America: at Intelligence, at Defense, and at the White House.

                                                                                                      ………………………………..

Tags: CIA, DOD, the Intelligence Community, John Brennan, General Martin Dempsey, Islam, Islamism, Israel, the Arab league, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, 9/11, Roberta Wohlstetter, and Pearl Harbor.

This essay appeared in the 10/09/2013 edition of American Thinker


What Arab Awakening?

May 1, 2011

                                                                                      

“Revolution is a transfer of power; reform is the correction of abuses.”  Lytton

First it was the “Jasmine Revolution” and then it was the “Arab Spring.” The “Arab Awakening” is latest euphemism for internecine mayhem in Muslim world. These fragrant purisms are invariably accompanied by the adjectives “peaceful’ and “democratic.” As the body bags accumulate, such circumlocutions are harder to digest. The principal purveyor of such pretense is al Jazerra, global network propagandist for the Arab Emirates. American and European reporters, indolent or inept,  are quick to take their cues from al Jazerra, but the latest attempt to mask the mayhem of Muslim civil wars offers a special insult to American history.

The “awakenings’ of American history were religious reforms. The carnage in the Arab world is a lot of things, but religious reform isn’t one of them. Indeed, the images from Arab television (chanting mobs of burkas, green banners of jihad, and contorted faces of clerics like al Yusuf al Qaradawi); reveal an Arabia that is not so much awakening as sleep walking back through history.

It is religious reform and tolerance, not political revolution that makes democracy and republicanism possible. Islam does not, nor has it ever, recognized a distinction between church and state. Indeed, contemporary Islamic clerics and scholars hold that religious/secular distinctions create a “hideous schizophrenia” in the West – the source of all European and Americadegeneracy. Such dogma offers few prospects for renewal, internal or external to dar al Islam.

With the European Reformation, the ink had hardly dried on Luther and Calvin’s absolutism, notions of predestination and fatalism, when a thousand apostates bloomed. Early the next century, many Christian free thinkers fled from the intolerance and religious wars ofEuropeto the relative freedom of the British and French colonies inAmerica. Once there, the Protestant varieties of Christianity continued to multiply, many of them restoring Catholic values that Luther had rejected. Prominent among these were free will, redemption, clergy, and good works.

It was left to Americans to fire the forge of democratic ecumenicism; a furnace where freedom, republicanism, and the best common law traditions of Judaism and Christianity would be alloyed.

The story of how the American “awakenings” changed Puritan thinking was best told by Nathanial Hawthorne (1850) in the fictional Scarlet Letter.

Hester Prynne is not simply the story of a fallen angel redeemed. The back story is even more fascinating. Hawthornewas writing in midst of the Yankee critique of Luther and Calvin. In the process of trying to reform Catholicism, Puritan zealots had rejected beliefs in free will, penance, and good works. Hawthorne, a writer with Puritan roots, and his fictional adulterers, helped to restore these core values to American variants of Christianity. In the end, Hester’s scarlet letter becomes: a red badge of courage, an affront to clerical hypocrisy, a symbol of personal responsibility for moral choices, and ultimately, an icon of good works; the path to redemption – in this world, if not the next:

“…the scarlet letter had the effect of the cross on a nun’s bosom. It imparted to the wearer a kind of sacredness                   which enabled her to walk securely amid all peril.”

The early American colonies were unique in two respects. The choice of government, if not governors, was a bottom-up phenomenon. And religious tolerance was not so much a choice, as a necessity. The young American democracy developed in tandem with two religious “awakenings,” in fact a serial American religious reformation which produced a diversity of Christian sects inAmerica that Luther and Calvin could never have imagined. The spires of Christianity and Mogen Davids of Judaism, the American religious mosaic, are still visible today in every town from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Europe took its “democratic” cues fromAmericafrom that point forward.  Historians seldom note that the US Constitution never mentions democracy. American founding fathers had little faith in the wisdom of crowds. Subsequent, political and commercial success inEuropeandAmericawas made possible, not by the decline of religion, but by the rise of reform; republican reforms that released the constructive energies of true political and spiritual diversity.

Europe might well take credit for social “democrats” as these were linear descendents of Luther, Calvin, Hegel, Marx, and Lenin. Ecumenical Judeo/Christian republicanism, however, was a product of the American experiment, and the wellspring of Yankee exceptionalism. The Civil War wasAmerica’s great secular transformation; it was made possible by religious reforms movements that insisted on social justice. The abolitionist movement, Lincoln’s Republican Party, and the Underground Railroad  all began and were sustained by the conscience of congregants.

Short of radical reform, utopian Islamism is doomed to ruinous failure. Monocultures, religious or secular, are impossible in this world – and possibly the next. Islam has never allowed itself to evolve or repair the depredations of orthodoxy.

The sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity were written by many hands; insuring degrees of observance and a rich diversity of interpretations. The holy texts of Islam come from a solitary source – or at least that’s the claim.  The genius of Talmudic and New Testament commentary is the daily effort to make religion relevant to a developed world. Republican democracy is impossible without such religious pluralism and complementary political diversity.

The world is both enriched and bedeviled by spirituality. Religion is a basis for ethics in classical education and an ancient curb-level contributor to common law. Too frequently, Western scholars and politicians are uncomfortable with religion; unable to harness its power and unwilling to condemn its excess.

The European and American Enlightenment is a telling example. Academics wax eloquently about the political and scientific contributions of John Locke, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, and Thomas Jefferson, but few are inclined to value the spiritual reforms of Desiderius Erasmus, Jonathan Edwards, Roger Williams, John Carroll, or Abraham Geiger.

Frontline recently ran a candid retrospective of the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulations in Tahrir Square during the recent Egyptian revolt. The Frontline documentary reveals that al Ikwan was involved in the Egyptian insurrection from the beginning, and more importantly, with the assistance of al Jazerra, was instrumental in creating the “secular” facade reported by almost every foreign network. Then came the first Friday prayers after the Mubarak resignation, and the presiding cleric in Tahrir was none other than the Brotherhood’s most outspoken hate monger, Yusuf al Qaradawi. No small coincidence that al Ikwan spokesmen, such as Qaradawi,  and al Jazerra news anchors both find refuge and financing under the autocratic Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in Qatar.

The alliance between clan chieftains, orthodox clerics, and kept journalists is not difficult to rationalize. Irredentist religious clerics probably see al Jazerra journalists as “useful idiots.”  The preferred model of governance in Arabia is theocratic tribalism, not democracy – Saudi Arabia being the baseline exemplar. The regimes under siege in the Arab League today are secular apostates; Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Libya.

Bahrain is a simple case of Sunni sectarian repression. The Saudis would like to insure that the parochial religious poles, Shia for Sunni, are not reversed in Manama as they were in Baghdad and Beirut.

If European and American commercial imperialism was a crime against Muslim history, surely Islamic religious imperialism is a crime against the future. Freedom and democracy has always been impossible without religious reform.

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 This essay appeared in the 1 May 11 edition of American Thinker.