When a Russian bomber flew over international waters some 25 miles off the southwest tip of England last week, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon called Russia "a real and present danger." The UK government scrambled jet fighters to meet the Russian aircraft as a show of force.
Said Secretary Fallon of the incident, "NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia, whatever form it takes." He added that, "NATO is getting ready," warning particularly that Russia may soon move to invade the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Reading the feverish Twitter feed of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Gen. Phil Breedlove, one would get the impression that NATO is already at war with Russia. Fighter jets sit menacingly atop aircraft carriers as the General beams about NATO member countries' commitment to contribute to the fight.
The message is clear: Russia is about to attack! NATO has, for no understandable reason, found itself in Russia's crosshairs. NATO cannot figure out how it is that Russia could possibly feel threatened by its actions, which, unlike Russia's are not in the slightest provocative.
Russian military plane over international waters 25 miles from the UK coast is "real and present danger" to NATO. Yet...
Yet yesterday US combat vehicles conducted a military parade and show of military force in Estonia just 300 yards -- yards! -- from the Russian border. That is just over 60 miles from downtown St. Petersburg.
Here is dramatic video of NATO's military display just three football fields from Russia:
This is not a provocation, we are to believe. This is not a "real and present danger" to Russia. NATO is exempt from the rules it imposes on its enemies.
In the Guardian's review of a new book by Politics professor George Sakwa, the current fallout from a near quarter century of post-Cold War NATO policies is perfectly captured:
The hawks in the Clinton administration ignored all this, Bush abandoned the anti-ballistic missile treaty and put rockets close to Russia’s borders, and now a decade later, after Russia’s angry reaction to provocations in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine today, we have what Sakwa rightly calls a “fateful geographical paradox: that Nato exists to manage the risks created by its existence”.
That line bears repeating: "Nato exists to manage the risks created by its existence."
In Philadelphia in 2008, Candidate Obama threatened his political opponents in stating, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” He continued, “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl.”
Six years into President Obama’s eight-year tenure we are now seeing him with full guns blazing. Unfortunately, they are not directed at Russia, Iran, North Korea, or ISIS. The Bully-in-Chief apparently believes that the world likes “a good brawl” and has chosen Israel and its Jewish citizens as the target of his irrational and venomous rage.
Despite clear indications well before Obama’s 2008 victory that he would not be a friend of Israel (articulately addressed by many conservative journalists, including AT’s prolific Ed Lasky), watching Obama unchained over the past several months has nonetheless been shocking and disturbing. Obama has aggressively and senselessly sicced his attack dogs on Israel’s Prime Minister.
And the efforts to which he is going to block a speech that is intended to prevent the world’s largest purveyor of terrorism from attaining nuclear capability is astounding.
Obama believes, or at least would like the world to believe, that Netanyahu has begun a fight with him. What knives does Obama perceive as having been thrust at him by Netanyahu? The issuance of building permits and the refusal to acquiesce to administration pressure to sign a dangerous deal with the Palestinians top the list. But apparently Bibi pulled out the butcher knife when he accepted an invitation to speak before Congress next week.
Netanyahu has been personally ridiculed, lambasted and yelled at by Obama and other administration officials, given a time out and abandoned to sit for hours in the basement of the White House while Obama dined on food prepared by his private chef, called names that only classless gutter inhabitants would utter, ignored, abused on the world stage, and generally treated like vermin.
Furthermore, the detailed list of anti-Israel steps taken by Obama and his administration maintained at Discover the Networks is currently 36 pages long -- and counting. For instance, Obama has leaked and directly disclosed Israeli classified information and military secrets (including Israel’s involvement in developing the Stuxnet virus, outing Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and disclosing a secret agreement that would allow Israel to use Saudi airspace for an Iranian strike).
He has blamed Israel for general strife in the region insinuating that if Israel would just make peace with the Palestinians, the civil wars and violence would end. And he has blamed Israel rather than the terrorists when his attempt to ram a two-state solution down Israel’s throat failed. He has not unconditionally supported Israel at the U.N. as the constant threat of a veto of any anti-Israel resolutions hangs over Israel’s head. And he delayed sending rearmaments and weapons shipments that Israel needed during Operation Cast Lead this summer.
But all of that looks like small handgun-style combat in comparison to the automatic weapons that have been drawn over the past couple of months. Obama wants a deal with Iran and will do almost anything to achieve that goal. Netanyahu wants to ensure Israel’s survival and that of the Jewish people.
Based on the way the P5+1 negotiations are proceeding, it appears that Iran’s nuclear program will not be required to be dismantled. Like all of Obama’s empty promises, his vow to do everything in his power to prevent Iran from going nuclear was simply a lie uttered for political gain.
Obama will not be stopped in his quest to ensure Iran’s hegemonic takeover of the Middle East -- and certainly not by the likes of an adversary like Netanyahu. So with all the fire power he can muster, Obama is on the attack as if preventing Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is a life or death matter.
He has ordered to combat the big guns like National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who told Charlie Rose that Netanyahu’s speech is “destructive” to the U.S./Israel relationship (ignoring the prior six Obama years of tearing down and destroying what American presidents had recognized as a strategically and morally essential alliance).
Kerry made the unmerited claim that Netanyahu cannot be trusted because he supported the Iraq war “and look how that turned out.” No mention that Netanyahu was not the prime minister at the time, that Kerry also supported the war, and most importantly, that the only reason Iraq is a failure is because Kerry’s boss chose to surrender the victory.
In preparation for post-speech spin claiming that Netanyahu has no idea what he is talking about, the administration has stopped sharing information with Israel regarding the P5+1 negotiations. Of course, Congress and Americans are being left in the dark as well. Obama is following Nancy Pelosi’s playbook when she claimed, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy.” Obama wants to sign a treaty allowing Iran to go nuclear before Americans or Netanyahu can stop him.
We have never seen an administration more coordinated in their attacks, from Susan Rice to John Kerry to the president, repeatedly, at Netanyahu, calling him, 'destructive".
Elliot Abrams concludes that there are three motivations for Obama’s current temper tantrum:
to damage and defeat Netanyahu (whom Obama has always disliked simply because he is on the right while Obama is on the left) in his election campaign, to prevent Israel from affecting the Iran policy debate in the United States, and worst of all to diminish Israel’s popularity in the United States and especially among Democrats.
Historically speaking, Netanyahu’s speech may very well be the most important since World War II. At this point, only Congress can stop Obama from caving to the Mullahs and forever changing the world. For instead of preventing a nuclear Iran, Obama is going nuclear on Israel. And if he continues to elevate the type of weaponry he uses in his war against Israel, pulling out nuclear missiles in his final years in office, Israel will need all of the friends in Congress that Netanyahu can muster.
There are a lot of stories about the Dem members of Congress boycotting Netanyahu’s speech. But most of the names on the list are longtime opponents of the Jewish State.
The boycott lists consists of two groups. Congressional Black Caucus members who are offended on Obama’s behalf and can smell racism anywhere.
The other consists of opponents of Israel.
It’s instructive to compare the list of boycotters to the 54 members of Congress who signed a letter calling for an end to Israel’s blockade of Hamas in Gaza.
Their boycott isn’t some new response to something Netanyahu did. They’re longtime opponents of Israel.
And it is instructive to note how many of the congressmen and congresswomen on the list are funded by CAIR money. Keith Ellison, John Conyers, Loretta Sanchez, Betty McCollum, Lois Capps, Bill Pascrell, Elijah Cummings, Bob Filner, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, John Dingell, James Moran, Nick Rahall, Andre Carson, Mary Jo Kilroy, Carolyn Kilpatrick and Jim McDermott are among the top receivers of CAIR money in congress.
The news from the nuclear talks with Iran was already troubling. Iran was being granted the “right to enrich.” It would be allowed to retain and spin thousands of centrifuges. It could continue construction of the Arak plutonium reactor. Yet so thoroughly was Iran stonewalling International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that just last Thursday the IAEA reportedits concern “about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed . . .development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
Bad enough. Then it got worse: News leaked Mondayof the elements of a “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.
Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would reenter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview in December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.
The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.
Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.
Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.
The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians. In fact, the Iranian regime just this week, at the apex of these nuclear talks, staged a spectacular attack on a replica U.S. carrier near the Strait of Hormuz.
The threat posed to Europe by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) came closer to home on Feb. 15 when the group released a video showing ISIS militants killing 21 Egyptian Christians on the Libyan shores of the Mediterranean — the same coastline from which each week hundreds of people set sail for Europe. One of the militants points across the sea at the heart of Europe and says: “We will conquer Rome, by the will of Allah.”
The spread of ISIS across the Middle East has already had a significant impact on Europe. Unrest has forced record numbers of people to flee the fighting in Syria and Iraq and embark on dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean. In 2014, 200,000 people attempted the sea journey to seek sanctuary in Europe compared to 60,000 the previous year, according to statistics from the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.
The U.K.-based counter-extremism think tank Quilliam recently translated an ISIS propaganda paper outlining potential strategies the group could adopt in Libya. One possible approach involves taking advantage of Libya’s vast coastline and its proximity to Europe and travelling on the same routes as migrant boats to slip into Europe undetected.
“If this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern Europe,” Quilliam’s translation of the ISIS document reads. “It is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines because of the targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.” The researcher who translated the paper, Charlie Winter, notes the claims should be treated as propaganda, with no evidence that ISIS is actually employing this strategy.
Another concern is that fighters could join the refugee exodus fleeing across the Syria-Turkey border and make their way overland through Greece and the Balkans and into Western Europe.
In a vote along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved what amounts to a government takeover of the Internet. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his fellow Democrats, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, approved placing the Internet under Title II regulations. They will reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, and regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like utility companies, or “common carriers,” rather than “information services” that remain outside the agency’s regulatory power. Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly dissented, with Pai explaining that net neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist.”
The arrogance of Wheeler and his allies has been evident for some time. The 332-page proposal they approved was never made available to the public or Congress prior to the vote, even as Wheeler ignored pleas by Pai and O’Rielly to do so. “We respectfully request that FCC leadership immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it,” they said in a statement released Monday.
Wheeler also ignored a similar request Wednesday to testify before the House Oversight Committee, eliciting condemnation from Committee Chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “So long as the chairman continues to insist on secrecy, we will continue calling for more transparency and accountability at the commission,” Chaffetz and Upton said in a statement. “Chairman Wheeler and the FCC are not above Congress.”
In her remarks, Commissioner Clyburn said the “framers” of America’s Constitution “would be pleased” with the FCC’s plan. Really? A plan kept completely secret until after it was voted on? One that imposes government controls where there were none before? Commissioner O’Rielly was far more accurate. “I see no need for net neutrality rules,” he said, adding that the FCC’s decision amounted to a “monumental and unlawful power grab.”
Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a non-elected federal government agency, voted three-to-two to reclassify broadband Internet as a common carrier service under Title II of the Communications Act. This means that – without the vote of Congress, the peoples’ branch of government – a federal agency now claims the power to regulate the Internet. I am surprised that even among civil liberties groups, some claim the federal government increasing regulation of the Internet somehow increases our freedom and liberty.
The truth is very different. The adoption of these FCC rules on the Internet represents the largest regulatory power grab in recent history. The FCC’s newly adopted rule takes the most dynamic means of communication and imposes the regulatory structure designed for public utilities. Federal regulation could also open the door to de facto censorship of ideas perceived as threatening to the political class – ideas like the troops should be brought home, the PATRIOT Act should be repealed, military spending and corporate welfare should be cut, and the Federal Reserve should be audited and ended.
The one bright spot in this otherwise disastrous move is that federal regulations making it more difficult to use the Internet will cause more Americans to join our movement for liberty, peace, and prosperity. The federal government should keep its hands off of the Internet!