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  • The Coming Dangerous Decade

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on January 12th, 2013 (All posts by )

    We now have a re-elected president Obama who no longer has to face another election. He has “more flexibility”” as he assured Russian president Medvedev. His cabinet appointments so far give us a good view of what the next four years, at least, will bring. David Ingatius gives us the leftist view of the future in a Washington Post story.

    Thinking about Eisenhower’s presidency helps clarify the challenges and dilemmas of Barack Obama’s second term. Like Ike, Obama wants to pull the nation back from the overextension of global wars of the previous decade. Like Ike, he wants to trim defense spending and reduce the national debt.

    I would hardly call Obama an example of Eisenhower-like determination in national defense. Ignatius seems to believe that Israel is an ally best abandoned.

    Eisenhower made an open break with Israel in 1956 during the Suez crisis. He knew this was politically risky, but Thomas notes his frustration with Israeli military threats, quoting speechwriter Emmett Hughes: “The whole Middle Eastern scene obviously leaves him dismayed, baffled and fearful of great stupidity about to assert itself.”

    I’d guess Obama has similar worries about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threat to take unilateral military action against Iran and his reluctance to make peace with the Palestinians. Are these two headed for a 1956-style break? That would be bad for both sides, but the atmosphere is poisonous. A bitter nomination battle over Hagel won’t help.

    John Foster Dulles is reported to have bitterly regretted the Eisenhower administration abandonment of it allies, England and France, not Israel, in the Suez crisis. Israel was NOT an ally in 1956 and had been armed with Soviet and French equipment. Mr Ignatius is supposed to be better at history than this.

    Like Ike, Obama wants to pull the nation back from the overextension of global wars of the previous decade. Like Ike, he wants to trim defense spending and reduce the national debt.

    This back-to-the-future theme is visible, too, in Obama’s nomination of John Brennan as the new CIA director. A 25-year CIA veteran, Brennan wants to rebalance the agency back toward its traditional intelligence-gathering function and away from the recent emphasis on paramilitary covert action. More trench coats, less body armor, in other words. If Eisenhower is a model for Hagel, perhaps the superspies of the 1950s, Allen Dulles and Richard Helms, will be similar icons for Brennan.

    This is utter nonsense as Brennan’s outlook on the subject of Islamic terrorism was revealed in a speech he gave two years ago in Washington. In that talk, Brennan spoke dreamily about Hezbollah. As he put it, “Hezbollah is a very interesting organization.”

    He claimed it had evolved from a “purely terrorist organization” to a militia and then into an organization with members in Lebanon’s parliament and serving in Lebanon’s cabinet.

    Brennan continued, “There are certainly elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern for us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements.”

    Perhaps in a bid to build up those “moderate elements,” in the same address, Brennan referred to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem as “al Quds,” the name preferred by Hezbollah and its Iranian overlords.

    This is what we rely on for our defense against enemies. I like the following analysis better.

    Obama, Kerry, Hagel and Brennan are the “four horsemen.”

    –Their ideas and views are horrible. This is especially so on Middle Eastern issues but how good are they on anything else? True, they are all hostile to Israel but this isn’t the first time people who think that way held high office. Far worse is that they are pro-Islamist as well as being dim-witted about U.S. interests in a way no foreign policy team has been in the century since America walked onto the world stage.

    Brennan is no less than the father of the pro-Islamist policy. What Obama is saying is this: My policy of backing Islamists has worked so well, including in Egypt, that we need to do even more! All those analogies to 1930s’ appeasement are an understatement. Nobody in the British leadership said, “I have a great idea. Let’s help fascist regimes take power and then they’ll be our friends and become more moderate! That’s the equivalent of what Brennan does.

    –They are all stupid people. Some friends said I shouldn’t write this because it is a subjective judgment and sounds mean-spirited. But honest, it’s true. Nobody would ever say that their predecessors—Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, and David Petraeus—were not intelligent and accomplished. But these guys are simply not in that category. Smart people can make bad judgments; regular people with common sense often make bad judgments less often. But stupid, arrogant people with terrible ideas are a disaster.

    Brennan’s only life accomplishment has been to propose backing radical Islamists. As a reward he isn’t just being made head of intelligence for the Middle East but for the whole world! Has Brennan any proven administrative skill? Any knowledge of other parts of the world? No. All he has is a proximity to Obama and a very bad policy concept. What’s especially ironic here is that by now the Islamist policy has clearly failed and a lot of people are having second thoughts.

    I’m not sure I agree about Hillary but she may well be intelligent in terms of potential. She just hasn’t done much with her life. She has been a bit like Pamela Harriman, sleeping her way to the top, although no one would call Hillary “the worlds best courtesan.” They are more dangerous to US security than to Israel. Iran has been at war with us since 1979. We are “the Great Satan”, not Israel.

    With Brennan running the CIA, though, do you think there will be critical intelligence evaluations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, or even Hamas? Is the CIA going to warn U.S. leaders about the repression against women, Christians, and moderates? Will there be warnings that Islamists are taking over Syria or reports on Islamist involvement in killing Americans in Benghazi? Can we have confidence about U.S. policy toward Iran?

    To get some insight into his thinking, consider the incident in which a left-wing reporter, forgetting there were people listening, reminded Brennan that in an earlier private conversation he admitted favoring engagement not only with the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah but also the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Ask yourself this question: when an American intelligence chief told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood was a moderate, secular group who approved that line of argument?

    Actually, it was Clapper, another administration clown, who described the Brotherhood as “secular.” The next decacde will be at least as dangerous to the US as the 1940s were.

     

    17 Responses to “The Coming Dangerous Decade”

    1. Ben Ami Says:

      I see no useful purpose served by comparing figures today the Ike administration. There is, though, the notion that is so prevalent among GOP followers that Obama et al (Dems) dislike Israel and are not its friends. This is utter nonsense. We have not done a thing every time Israel under Bibi extends settlement s other than warning that it is not a wise thing to do. Are we to simply go along with everything Bibi want?
      And we have stocked huge military supplies inside of Israel, belonging to us, should we need quick access, but with the understanding that with but a signed note, Israel, if desperately in need will have full access to those stores.
      And we have had military training exercises with Israel….and we have sent them more and more money for Iron Dome. In sum: Obama has really done more for Israel that Bush or any other earlier president.

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Ben Ami, I’m not worried about Israel. I don’t live there. I worry about the US. You don’t seem to worry about either. Are you Palestinian ?

    3. Mrs. Davis Says:

      It’s not a Paleostinian, it’s a an abrasive.

    4. Michael Kennedy Says:

      God, I had forgotten about Bon Ami. My dad swore by it.

    5. PenGun Says:

      Used it for years when I drove garbage trucks. Bon Ami is the bomb.

      Hizbollah is one of my favorite organizations. Created by Israel when they invaded Lebanon in 1982 and consolidated as a resistance movement in 85 or so. One of the best trained and most effective oppositions Israel has ever faced. Fought Israel to a draw in the 2006 debacle and then became a political force in the aftermath.

      Quote of the day:

      “They are all stupid people.”

      Referring to Obama, Kerry, Hagel and Brennan.

      Sweetie you are not even in the same ball park as these guys.

    6. Cris Says:

      Moving on from the .177 ballpoint of irony, the only thing Kerry, Hagel and Brennan have in common with Ike and Obama might be a spirit of goal-oriented bonhomie similar to that of Maclean, Philby and Burgess. That might be a little harsh, but not in terms of outcome.
      Furthermore, in recent times has the CIA ever made a critical evaluation that was spot on and timely?
      Or the State Department a brilliant diplomatic coup?

    7. Michael Kennedy Says:

      “in recent times has the CIA ever made a critical evaluation that was spot on and timely?”

      Have you read Legacy of Ashes ?

      The State Department hasn’t made a good call since they misjudged the Aswan dam crisis with Nasser. The Long Telegram of Kennan is probably the only real insight since Seward bought Alaska.

    8. veryretired Says:

      I would submit that since the beginning of the progressive era at the end of the 19th century, there are very few things that governments in general have gotten right, and ours in particular has been involved in one militarily bloody or economically disastrous fiasco after another.

      I can’t think of anything the cia or our other vaunted intelligience agencies ever got wd of ahead of time, got right when they analyzed it, or understood it correctly when it occurred, going back to WW1 and continuing to the present day.

      But, during this entire period, the government has expanded relentlessly, acquired control of and/or influence over ever increasing areas of our social and economic life, and claimed sperior knowledge and expertise about everything under the sun.

      Yet, if you asked any politician to explain any subject outside of political scheming and maneuvering for re-election, they would be at a total loss. Still, they claim the right and duty to regulate, control, and decide the fate of numerous significant activities and industries, even though none of them nor their staff people have any direct knowledge or experience with the activities in question.

      The prime example of this phenomenon is the leader of the current regime, who has done little in his life to gain any true work experience, knows little about anything other than politics, and yet claims the right to control everything from major industires to entire fundamentally important areas of our lives.

      They don’t know what they’re doing, and they never have. The calamitous history of the 20th century is a 100 year exposition of serial failure and incompetence by the ruling elites across the globe, and here as well.

      The concept of allowing political types a controlling authority in everything we do is folly distilled into madness.

      And the chasm we are approaching, economically, culturally, and socially, is the direct result, and the only possible result, of that madness.

      They don’t know what they’re doing, and never will.

    9. Mike_K Says:

      Moderation ! Too many links ?

      [Too many links. But fixed. J]

    10. Mike_K Says:

      There’s a case to be made that the Sixteenth Amendment began our problems with elites. Finally there was enough money available to make their efforts worthwhile to them.

      The Democratic Party, led by William Jennings Bryan, advocated the income tax law passed in 1894,[7] and proposed an income tax in its 1908 platform.

      No surprise there,

      Of course the Federal Reserve deserves some credit. The use of the Panic of 1907, which followed the insurance losses of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, is a nice example of never letting a crisis go to waste.

      There is a nice book about the Panic and the causes, which I highly recommend.

      I have always been skeptical of Ron Paul’s criticism but it looks more and more like he has a point. The coming hyperinflation will do better than I can to confirm his statements. God, I wish I had bought gold in 2001 when it was cheap ! I made a nice profit in 1978 and again when Clinton was elected. Unfortunately, I did not anticipate the Republican Congress’ role, nor did I expect the electorate to lose all sense and elect Obama. Oh well. I’m 75 and would only leave to my kids who voted for him.

    11. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

      }}} Sweetie you are not even in the same ball park as these guys.

      Pengun, it would be very, very difficult to be such damnfool idiots.

      Unless you were attempting to agree with the tack that they are subversive agents with willful intent upon the destruction of America, in which case, they aren’t so much brilliant as much as you and your left-wing cronies are Useful Idiots being taken advantage of.

      Which was it? Just curious.

    12. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

      }}}} I can’t think of anything the cia or our other vaunted intelligience agencies ever got wd of ahead of time, got right when they analyzed it, or understood it correctly when it occurred, going back to WW1 and continuing to the present day.

      Hrm. I have to say, the NSA is wonderfully competent at what they do. They use the CIA’s incompetence as a shield to their own exceptional competence, to the point where people constantly discuss the intelligence community as though the NSA doesn’t exist.

      The NSA is the agency that stayed out of the public’s radar for nearly 40 years, until the late 80s, and since then has, with the possible exception of Project Echelon, still remained almost completely invisible.

      No one EVER says anything about them when discussing the intel community in casual conversation. They are, literally, “The Ghost In The Machine”.

      Does anyone actually know exactly what the NSA *does*? Just wondering…

    13. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

      }}} nor did I expect the electorate to lose all sense and elect Obama.

      I can grasp how The One got elected. What is absolutely mystifying to me is how he got RE-ELECTED.

      Something smelled in that.

    14. Puzzle Palace Prince Says:

      Does anyone actually know exactly what the NSA *does*? Just wondering…

      Careful what you wonder about, Cyberbully. All your comments are belong to us.

    15. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I’ve always suspected the CIA of being a CIA front … that is, there was a tiny core of the able and professional, in deep, deep, mega-deep cover, operating effectively behind the cover provided by a facade of bumbling and incompetent fools…

    16. Cris Says:

      There may be something to Sgt. Mom’s notion. I have idly wondered how we could have missed 9/11 but three months later we’re tearing up Afghanistan.

    17. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Cris, it might be helpful to read a couple of books written before 9/11 about the CIA lack of language skills, especially Arabic and Dari. One good one is See No Evil and another is Know Thine Enemy by a CIA agent under a pseudonym. We now know him as Ruel Marc Gerecht.

      When Baer, stationed in Kazakstan, was ready to retire, he asked for a CIA officer to replace him with language skills. Instead, they sent him a sexual harassment investigation team. His replacement quickly terminated Baer’s best agent because he was a drunk. Clueless doesn’t cover it.

      One of my daughters is an FBI recruiter. She has been trying to recruit her sister who speaks and reads Arabic. No luck so far. No surfing in Arabic speaking lands.