It got very little play in the press, but President Obama was recently snubbed again on the world stage when 15 Asian nations formed a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership without the United States. Obama had traveled to Phnom Penh in an effort to “sell a US-based Trans-Pacific Partnership excluding China.” He failed.
Add this to a growing list of major failures by Barack Obama on the International Stage. He failed to bring the Olympics to Chicago. He failed to produce progress on the Israel-Palestine front (it’s actually getting worse). He’s failed to create any sort of consensus on what to do about Syria. He has failed to inhibit Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.
There is no doubt that U.S. influence is waning under Obama. Maybe that’s exactly what he wants.
A few weeks ago, from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, President Obama personally confirmed that his administration has been in direct negotiations with the Taliban. Obama made it clear that he personally supports an Afghanistan where the Taliban play a role in governance. As US News put it, he has gone “all in.”
Let’s review who the Taliban really is, shall we?
- Massacres its own people
- Denied food to 160,000 people
- Believes in STRICT Sharia Law
- Wages a REAL war on women
- Blows up schools for “un-Islamic teachings”
A few years ago, the Taliban attacked girls with acid on their way to school, blinding and disfiguring several of them. Reuters did a video report on one of the incidents. Watch it, but only if you are ready to be sad and angry for awhile.
More recently, the Taliban has been poisoning schoolgirls in an apparent effort to discourage them from attending school, and/or to undermine the Afghan government.
I ask you, do militants who rule with an iron fist, starve and slaughter their own people, and poison and burn young girls with acid just for wanting to learn seem like reasonable human beings?
Most of us would say no, but President Obama says yes. These are the people with whom Obama seeks accord. These are the people Obama believes can be part of Afghanistan’s governing body.
Sure, Obama stipulates that the Taliban must “renounce violence.” Yeah, right. So they renounce violence “officially,” then continue to perpetrate the same acts of oppression they’ve been doing, and turn around and claim innocence to Washington and the U.N. Heck, they’ll probably get Obama or Ban Ki-moon to give them money to “fight the terrorists within.”
Look, I can’t claim to be an expert on foreign policy, and I’m definitely torn on whether or not it’s worthwhile to continue the war in Afghanistan, where our young men and women are dying and getting seriously injured. But to actually engage in direct talks with an organization of terrorists as evil as the Taliban is an insult to every soldier who has given his or her life to see that country saved.
To give them the prestige of being recognized internationally, on television, by the most powerful man in the world as an invited player to the negotiating table is to concede that America no longer stands defiant in the face of such terrible evil. We are no longer seeking an Afghanistan that is safe for women and girls to learn and pursue their own dreams.
Instead, we seek an exit strategy. Political expedience is the rule of the day. Obama wants to check a box on his list of campaign promises. In essence, he is willing to casually trade the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of Afghan women for a better chance at winning reelection. Bold leadership, no doubt.
I just caught wind of this, and I’m still doing research. I want to know why this provision was tacked on to this bill at the last moment, and why they want an all-or-nothing vote.
Is Obama about to burnish his foreign policy “cred” once again by sending U.S. servicemen to die in yet another undeclared war?
In a bizarre and unprecedented move, the House of Representatives (the one that is allegedly controlled by Republicans) is jamming through a bill that would make it illegal for U.S. diplomats to have the kind of low-level contact with Iranian representatives that led to the release of those three American hikers who had been held by Iran.
This is from the Friends Committee on National Legislation:
The House is currently considering legislation which could dangerously undermine prospects for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program, increasing the threat of war. See the text of the most current available version of H.R. 1905 here.
The anti-Iran diplomacy provision in H.R. 1905 (section 601 c of H.R. 1905, ANS) would prohibit U.S. government employees in any “official or unofficial capacity” from contacting anyone who is affiliated with the Iranian government and who “presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations.” To waive this requirement, the President would have to certify 15 days in advance that not making this contact “would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States”. [...]
Bill Blasted by Former Ambassadors, Experts
This anti-diplomacy provision has been roundly condemned by a host of national security experts because of the chilling effect that it would have on diplomatic engagement with Iran.
Ambassadors Thomas Pickering and William Luers have called the bill “preposterous,” noting that it “raises serious constitutional issues over the separation of powers,” and that former top Middle East intelligence analyst Paul Pillar excoriated the bill, saying, “this legislation is another illustration of the tendency to think of diplomacy as some kind of reward for the other guy, rather than what it really is: a tool for our side.”
Another source has noted that this provision would make it impossible to collect intelligence in some cases. And it seems to me, that with Iran, we need MORE intelligence, not less.
Another group I follow, DownsizeDC.org, has this to say:
“We haven’t had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War we had links to the Soviet Union … If something happens it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right, that there will be miscalculations which would be extremely dangerous…” Admiral Mike Mullen, recently-retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
TOMORROW, Tuesday December 13, the House will vote on the “Iran Threat Reduction Act” (HR 1905) under a “suspend the rules and pass” vote — which means, with no amendments and no debate.
We at DownsizeDC.org believe there are many problems with the bill. Section 601, however, is particularly dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that even if you believe Iran is a threat and deserves harsh sactions, it is important for your Representative to vote NO and force a debate.
HR 1905 must be defeated so that it can be amended to remove Section 601.
Section 601 outlaws any diplomatic contact between U.S. and Iranian officials — no matter how low level or incidental those interactions are. The President can waive this restriction only by notifying certain Congressional committees 15 days in advance.
As Stephen Zunes points out, “never in the history of this country has Congress ever restricted the right of the White House or State Department to meet with representatives of a foreign state, even in wartime.” (http://huff.to/vgSc5E)
Imagine, if this 15-day requirement applied to Cuba and the Soviet Union. How would the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis have been resolved?
And, in the event of war, with whom can our diplomats negotiate a peace settlement, since all contact would be illegal?
If this bill was currently in force…
* The U.S. couldn’t have won Iranian cooperation in suppressing the Taliban.
* And couldn’t have won the freedom of three American hikers held in an Iranian prison.
In the event of a confrontation with Iran, should the Obama Administration have to wait more than two weeks before having any contact with any Iranian officials?
What could be behind this? Why now? Why no amendments? Why no discussion?
What’s really going on behind the scenes? Why have over 40 members of the Progressive Caucus signed on as co-sponsors of this bill?
As a Ron Paul supporter, the questions I’m asked most, when it comes to his foreign policy positions, are about Iran and its quest for a nuclear bomb, and GOP Frontrunner Ron Paul’s goal of zeroing out all foreign aid.
These issues are interrelated–because the billions of dollars in aid we provide to Israel come with strings attached. The Obama Regime has treated Israel with nothing but contempt, interfered with Israel’s self-defense, and meddled in its internal affairs in ways that make Israel less secure…because Israel is on the American dole.
Even in the face of meddling from the United States, Israel has proven time and again that it will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran will never get a nuke as long as the Mullahs are in charge. Israel won’t let them. I have no doubt whatsoever that Israel knows exactly who’s working on the nuke, where, and how far along it is (if it exists at all).
There was also the Stuxnet virus, which was apparently developed specifically to target Iran’s nuclear program.
And if all else fails, Israel is prepared to launch strikes against any Iranian nuclear facility within minutes, according to The Sunday Times.
“”Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tonnes of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium.
The distance from Israel to at least one of the sites is more than 870 miles, a distance that the Israeli force practised covering in a training exercise last year that involved F15 and F16 jets, helicopters and refuelling tankers.
The possible Israeli strike on Iran has drawn comparisons to its attack on the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad in 1981. That strike, which destroyed the facility in under 100 seconds, was completed without Israeli losses and checked Iraqi ambitions for a nuclear weapons programme.
“We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel’s willingness to act,” said another official from Israel’s intelligence community.”
So, I have to ask myself, given all this data, do I care that Ron Paul doesn’t want to drop the 101st Airborne into Iran to keep them from getting a nuke? No, not really. Israel has the situation well in hand.
Just ask yourself, if you worry about foreign policy–could Ron Paul’s foreign policy be any worse than Barack Hussein Obama’s?
Things are sketchy, but here and there we’re seeing news come in that Quadaffi may have been killed in Tripoli.
As much of a monster as the man was, if true this is a huge complication for matters in the Middle East.
Lybia will now be ruled by an Islamic regime…a little Iran…that will dedicate itself to destroying Israel and pushing for a global caliphate to conquer all before it.
The exact same spirit is at work in Egypt, too.
I’m sure we’ll see Leftists in our media cheering that Quadaffi is dead, without really thinking about what that means for anything long term.
Update this story in the thread below if you are following things. It might take many more hours before the news networks start officially calling Quadaffi dead, but if reports are true that the Islamists have broken through Tripoli’s last defenses, have captured Quadaffi’s sons, and his preatorian guard has abandoned him, then there’s no escape for Quadaffi now (no matter how you want to spell his name).
There is reason to believe that Pakistan allowed China to have a sneak peek at the tail section of the helicopter that crashed during the raid that led to Osama bin Laden’s death. The information was obtained by US intelligence insiders and hasn’t been confirmed yet….or they aren’t telling anyone whether it has been confirmed. After the raid in May, the CIA asked Pakistan to not let anyone have access to the helicopter crash but Pakistan was so infuriated that we were able to find and kill bin Laden that they gave us the middle finger….said “screw you” and let China take a look. China not only was allowed to take pictures of the crash but they also took samples of the outer “skin” of the helicopter (the material that makes it so stealth). In the middle of May, Senator John Kerry swooped in to bring home the remaining pieces of the crash but by then it was too late. Was there a reason that we weren’t able to get the tail piece home sooner? I realize that the situation was pretty volatile but it seems like this was a major breech in security.
Because Pakistan allowed China access to the helicopter, we are withholding some of the billions and billions of aid that we give Pakistan every year. My question is why are we not withholding it all? Pakistan is supposedly one of our allies in the region but I have very serious doubts about that. Pakistan is like the scummy drug addict/dealer who becomes an informant. You can never trust them…they are no friend.
Now Obama has given access to sensitive details about the raid to a major film producer so that a movie can be made about how the “Messiah” orchestrated the killing of public enemy number one. This access is likely to further reveal very vital top-secret information all for the benefit of Obama’s re-election efforts (since the movie is scheduled to be released 1 month before the 2012 elections).
It was great that we got the bad guy but putting our military and our country at risk by revealing top secret military information has really put a black cloud over the entire operation.
Yes…Ed Schultz…I said “black cloud”.
Senator Patrick Leahy is seeking to limit the amount of US aid to Israel on the grounds that some of the units under the IDF are committing human rights violations. Leahy heads the Senate Appropriations Committee’s sub-committee on foreign operations and has been responsible for adding amendments that require monitoring of foreign security forces to assure they are not guilty of human rights violations (no problem with that). Leahy wants to tack on a clause to the US foreign assistance legislation for 2012 that would limit our assistance to Israel’s defense….specifically 3 units that operate under the IDF.
Leahy, a Democrat and senior member of the U.S. Senate, wants assistance withheld from the Israel Navy’s Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israel Air Force’s Shaldag unit.
According to a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem, Leahy began promoting the legislation in recent months after he was approached by voters in his home state of Vermont.
A few months ago, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters staged a rally across from Leahy’s office, demanding that he denounce the killing by Shayetet 13 commandos of nine Turkish activists who were part of the flotilla to Gaza last May.
In the past, Leahy has been a friend of Israel and has considered Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak close personal friends. According to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Leahy met with Barak a couple of weeks ago to discuss his new legislation (Barak was trying to persuade him to drop it).
But wait a minute….is Leahy basing his reasoning for this new amendment on the flotilla incident that occurred last May? The one where Israeli soldiers were ambushed by Turkish terrorists? The one where those Israeli soldiers had to kill 9 Turkish terrorists in self defense? The same flotilla that was carrying weapons for Palestinians in Gaza to fight Israel?
Of course, Leahy and his staff are denying that they are trying to weaken Israel. They are claiming that this amendment applies to all countries in the Middle East that get US foreign aid. In other words, Israel is being lumped in with Pakistan, Jordan, Afghanistan, Egypt etc.
Why would Leahy succumb to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups?
He’s a liberal and a politician.
That’s a bad combination.
Perhaps Mr. Leahy should hear from some pro-Israel people. Perhaps we should let him know how we feel about his little amendment.
You can contact him here.
UPDATE to the UPDATE: Humberto Leal was put to death this evening in Huntsville, TX. He was pronounced dead at 7:21 ET. His last words were to apologize to his family and his victim’s family for causing so much pain. Hopefully, Adria’s family can have some peace.
UPDATE: The US Supreme Court voted 5-4 to not stop the execution of Leal-Garcia. The execution is set to take place anytime after 6pm tonight (Texas time)….so….anytime now.(thanks to wannacruize for this info).
There’s a lot going on with Mexico lately. Illegal immigration laws…Fast and Furious…and now this little story. Today in Texas, Umberto Leal Garcia is scheduled to be executed for the brutal 1995 rape and murder of 16 year old Adria Sauceda. It only took the jury 45 minutes to convict him because the prosecution had a mountain of evidence against Garcia. He has been sitting on death row ever since and tonight is the big night….but there’s a slight problem. Garcia is a Mexican national…even though he has been living in the US since he was 2 years old (yes..illegal immigrant). According to the 1963 UN Vienna Treaty, foreign nationals must be informed of their right to contact the embassy if they are arrested. Garcia (a Mexican citizen) wasn’t informed of this right….and he didn’t have to be because the US doesn’t have a law that enforces the treaty domestically. Also, a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision stipulates that the legal support of a foreign government — or governments — is not required in deciding whether to execute a foreign national convicted of a capital offense. The 6-3 majority ruled that state court judges are given the discretion to decide how a sentence is carried out. This is how the US was able to execute Jose Ernesto Medellin in 2008. There is a bill currently pending in Congress that would enforce the treaty and Garcia has petitioned the Supreme Court for a stay so that the bill can pass….this would trigger a retrial for Garcia.
The Texas Board of Pardons and their Court of Criminal Appeals have already denied the stay. Last Friday, the Obama administration petitioned Texas to grant a stay until Congress can pass the bill. Of course, Gov. Rick Perry can grant the stay (but will he?).
Hmmm…what to do? No one is claiming that this monster is innocent. They want him to “get off” on a technicality. He’s an illegal immigrant who, for 36 years, has enjoyed all the benefits of a US citizen (including our justice system) but now suddenly he wants to be treated like a Mexican.
Will Texas cave to political pressure?
I sure hope not.
I know I’ve been doing a lot of posting on the Fast and Furious scandal and some of you might not be as enthralled as I am with it but I think this is heading downhill quickly for the DOJ (and thus Eric Holder) and I can’t wait to see where this will all end up. It’s like a great mystery movie where you watch and watch and wait to see “who done it”. We all know “who done it” here but will they get away with it and will it eventually end up in Obama’s lap?
Breaking news out late yesterday afternoon is that Kenneth Melson, Director of the ATF, is singing like a little bird and his song isn’t exactly music to the DOJ, ATF or the FBI’s ears. Melson was scheduled to meet next week with Rep. Issa and Grassley, who are heading up the investigation by the House Oversight Committee. Next week’s meeting would also have included lawyers from the DOJ (so they could keep an eye on him and do some damage control). Instead, Melson opted to have a secret meeting with Issa and Grassley so he could say what was really on his mind….and there was a lot on his mind.
Here’s a brief little summary of things discussed in the July 4th meeting…
So several other government agencies were also doing concurrent operations involving gun sales to Mexican thugs? Doesn’t the DOJ oversee the ATF and the DEA? Apparently the Arizona US Attorney Dennis Burke (an Obama appointee) is up to his eyeballs in the scandal because his office provided legal advice to the ATF during Fast and Furious. No matter which way you go with this fiasco….all roads lead back to the DOJ and Eric Holder.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in Holder’s office when he is discussing what the DOJ will do next.
Wouldn’t Project Gunrunner make a great movie? Starring Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford and….who else?
Mexico is pissed….and with good reason. The more that is known about the Fast and Furious fiasco, the more apparent it is that the US screwed up and allowed 2500 assault rifles and revolvers to be transported into Mexico by thugs. These guns were supposed to be traced to high level mob-type gun traffickers (and drug cartel members) but for some reason….ATF agents just sat back and let the bad guys be bad guys and in the process, numerous people were murdered with these weapons (including a US border patrol agent…RIP Brian Terry ). Now Mexican officials want the ones responsible for Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunrunner) to not only be tried in the US but also in Mexico.
Ay caramba! This could get very interesting…especially with 2012 right around the corner.
The investigation should go as far up as Obama himself but we all know that “The One” is bubble-wrapped and probably won’t be touched. At the very least, Eric Holder’s name should be listed at the top of the page of usual suspects. Holder remains eerily silent lately….trying to fly below the radar. I bet he hasn’t slept much lately.
Will Obama throw Holder under the bus? My guess is yes.
I hope Holder likes tequila and tacos.