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Towards a Pro-America, Pro-West Foreign Policy

For years, I have written in this humble blog that Obama and his team have created an unprecedented foreign policy disaster. The disaster be...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

On Russia, Again

On this, the last week-end of the Obama misadministration, I charge onward, onward like Lord Cardigan  . . . Ok, Ok, I am getting carried away. It's all this talk about Russia that has me on my charger heading into the "valley of Death." I am going to repeat myself a bit, as I have written quite a lot about Russia, but events drive me "Half a league, half a league/ Half a league onward. . ."

I am deeply touched by the sudden progressive concern for the security of the United States. Most of the same people now screaming "RUSSIA!" and accusing President-elect Trump of being the Siberian Candidate, historically have opposed a strong US military, opposed efforts to fight Soviet Communism, laughed at "a Red under every bed" as paranoia, derided the CIA as murderers and coup-plotters, wanted immediate US nuclear disarmament, made fun of Romney's concerns about Russia, defended Hillary's use of an insecure server, and, well, lots more, you can fill it in. They also have opposed strong US border defense, and an immigration policy to protect us from foreign jihadis, rapists, murderers, and urban criminal gangs. Obama, the ultimate political expression of the progressive world view, gutted the US military, instructed our intel and enforcement agencies to focus on "climate change," ordered them to downplay the illegal alien and jihadi threats, tried to politicize them and shape them into extensions of the DNC (see DOJ, IRS and EPA, for example). He, in sum, turned them into purveyors of the usual progressive nonsense that has gotten us into our current socio-political-economic fix, and, by the way, led to the election of Donald Trump.

OK, let's turn to Putin and  Russia. I wrote some time ago that,
It does not require a genius to see what is happening in the post-USA world of the Obamistas. Other actors, many of them ruthless opponents of Western values of democracy and liberty, are stepping in to fill the power vacuum and reshape the world--and do it while laughing at us. Of these actors, Putin is the most determined and committed to reforming the globe into a place much less congenial for those Western values, and much friendlier to Russia's rise to the top. His plan is exceedingly simple. No Snowden-like revelations required. Taking advantage of the weakness and self-loathing of the Obama misadministration, Putin is out to neutralize Europe and make it into an economic resource for Russia, e.g., gas sales, investments, access to high tech, and to ease the US out of the picture. NATO is to be seen for what it increasingly has become, to wit, a joke.
I also noted in another 2014 piece that,
Russia almost always, if not always, has been on the edge of Western consciousness. Before anybody gets offended, there is no doubt about the greatness of Russia's contributions to the hard sciences, literature, theater, and music. Russia for numerous reasons, however, never has been fully a part of Western civilization. Starting with Peter the Great, Russia's Tsars made on-and-off, and usually half-hearted efforts to become part of the West. Those rulers were attracted to the wealth, power, and technological advancement of the West, but had little to no interest in adopting Western ideas of democracy and, especially, liberty which made that wealth, power, and technology possible. There seemed always a dark, conspiratorial, even piratical tone to Russia's relations with the West: we seeing Russia, not unreasonably, as a crude, obscurantist, dangerous bogeyman, and Russia viewing the West, not always inaccurately, as looking down on Russia and intent on preventing it from finding its rightful "place in the sun." Russia's attempts to find this "place in the sun," of course, ran into notable obstacles such as Japan's own quest for that sunny spot which generated a massive defeat for Tsarist efforts to become a major force in Asia and the Pacific, and, lest we forget, World War I which ended the Tsars and served as midwife for the even more horrid Bolshevik rule.
That, in my humble view, still proves an accurate assessment today. Russia is a big, important country, with a significant military and intelligence capability. It is governed, unfortunately, by some, ahem, very difficult people such as Vladimir Putin, who have no love or respect for democratic norms--in fairness, however, we should note more freedom exists in Russia under Putin than did in the USSR under the progs beloved Gorbachov. Russia's leaders, above all, are Russian nationalists full of resentment for the West's alleged failure to take Russian interests seriously. That said, Russia is much weaker and less dangerous than the old Soviet Union, and beset by enormous economic and demographic problems which undermine its ability, even without Western opposition, to find its "place in the sun."

We must realize, of course, that even under the best of circumstances and the best of intentions on our part, relations with Russia most likely will prove difficult. They will become even more difficult if the left's current obsession with undermining any approach to Russia continues. I can't help but think that this leftist obsession with trying to undermine Trump's ability to deal with Russia is linked, at least in part, to the fact that Russia is no longer Communist. The progs liked Communism, whatever they might claim now. That Russia loudly proclaims itself a Christian power and makes no secret of its politically incorrect animosity to jihadi Islam, has won Moscow no friends among Western progs.

How to deal with Russia? It does not involve labeling Putin and Russia as war criminals, especially since the story about what happened in Aleppo seems to be changing; the information provided by progressive folk heroes such as the "White Helmets" is coming into question. We can deal with Russia, as I stated before, by ensuring our own energy independence, having a reinvigorated and highly lethal military force, and showing less willingness to listen to the Europeans, who, with the exception of the British, have a remarkable track record of being wrong on almost every major issue for the past three hundred years. We should keep in mind that Russia has intel capabilities that it will use against us, and must be willing and able to use ours against Russia, as needed. In addition, as noted before, we frack, we stand by Israel and the Kurds, and we strengthen our military and our domestic economy. With Russia we deal on narrow, very concrete issues, and we should do OK, unless the Russians prove more irrational than I think.

For example, Russia and the US could reach an accommodation on the Middle East and on Eastern Europe that does not threaten the interests of either country or sell out our allies such as Israel and Poland. Israel, please note, is seeking better relations with Russia. Improved relations between Russia and the USA would, it seems, serve also as a counter to Chinese aspirations to become a superpower. These are not bad things. If we can achieve some of them, that's good for us and the West. The odds are against, but . . . .

To the progs, it is time to give it a rest. One proven foreign intervention in our politics came from Mexico. If you are really concerned about our sovereignty, focus on that.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

An American Coup D'etat?

This has gotten completely out of control. I never thought I would see our country's politics reduced to the degrading levels of a Banana Republic. Are we destined to become Honduras with rockets?

I had begun to write about Obama's last Presidential exercise in Super Narcissism, in other words his Farewell Address, and Rex Tillerson's excellent appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but all that has been overtaken by other events. I refer, of course, to the "fake news" put out by certain media outlets re a secret Russian dossier on Trump containing all sorts of blackmail useful information. I won't link to BuzzFeed and CNN, the two major outlets that ran with this insane story. I read the report and it is pure trash. The info in the "report" cannot be verified, and the whole thing stinks of a hatchet job.

Before going on, I would note that the purpose of blackmail is to have something secret and untoward on somebody; once it gets out, no more blackmail. When I first joined the State Department in the 1970s, we had active official discouragement of homosexuals in the ranks. Our security people feared that the Soviets and others could use an FSO's homosexuality against him (mostly men in those days) and extract state secrets in exchange for not ruining the FSO's career. Some smarter folks figured that it would prove best for homosexuals to admit their sexual preferences "in confidence" to the security folks; the idea, of course, being that then there could be no risk of blackmail since the officer's superiors already knew he was gay. That didn't work initially because the tendency was to fire anybody who admitted to being gay. So a gay FSO wouldn't be blackmailed, he would just be thanked for his honesty and fired. It would seem then that in the very, very off-chance that this report about Trump is true, the blackmail potential is gone now. But, of course, I digress.

I don't know the origins of this trash report. There are stories out there about an ex-MI6 man engaged by NeverTrumpers in the GOP to do "oppo" research. He, apparently, claimed to have anonymous well-placed sources in Moscow who provided him all sorts of lurid details of Trump's behavior while in Moscow for a beauty pageant and of Trump's alleged financial links to the Russians. Once Trump won the primary, this version goes, our intrepid Brit then flogged his story to the Dems, and even to some media. Another version has the story being made up out of whole cloth on a website and basically trolled to the Dems and the media. I don't know.

It does seem, however, that this "report" has been floating about since at least last October, that Mother Jones mentioned it in passingand the always more than slightly nuts Harry Reid and John McCain, separately, pushed the report onto the FBI. After that, it really gets even more murky. Did the intel agencies incorporate info in the report into the intel briefings they gave Obama and Trump? Did at least a couple of our highly politicized spy masters feed the story to the press, but this time with the implied imprimatur of "intelligence"?

Trump was rightfully furious at his January 11 presser. I thought he did a masterful job of taking charge of the press conference and dropping napalm on his tormentors. The exchange between Trump and a loud-mouthed, rude, and disrespectful CNN rep is a classic. This is truly "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" with a hefty dose of "Rambo" and "Crocodile Dundee" thrown in for good measure. Look it up. It's worth doing. Trump handled it.

I think Trump quashed this attack for now, but it demonstrates what is to come. I have never seen such a pile on as the one we are seeing with Trump. The press, the leftoid idiots on the street and in Hollywood are joined, of course, and most troubling, by at least some of our intel agencies which have allowed themselves pressed into the service of one political party.

We could be seeing nothing less than an attempted coup by the bureaucratic mandarins and their minions in our federal government against an incoming president.

It is not just political appointees at the top of key agencies who are involved. Let us not forget that in their long march the progressives have targeted such key institutions as the CIA, FBI, NSA, Homeland, and State for special attention. These agencies are now increasingly staffed from bottom to top by products of our progressive universities and are becoming full-time believers in the progressive vision of the world. In addition they see, thanks to Hillary Clinton, that mishandling classified information brings no penalty. They apparently have no reluctance to join efforts to subvert our electoral system. The long march has not yet completed its sweep of the military but has made significant inroads; if that happens . . . . .

The attack on Trump comes from all sides. The swamp is much more fetid, dismal and deep, and the bottom much more foggy than anybody could have imagined.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

On Introducing the Hollyweirdos to Reality

OK. This will be short as it's a bit out of my normal area of concern.

I just heard about Meryl Streep's silly pronouncements at the Golden Globe Awards show. I must confess that it's been years since I have watched any of those awards shows. I gave up on the Oscars maybe ten-fifteen years ago, and the Golden Globes, well, I never really watched those. I found them all deadly dull exercises in scripted rich lefties giving each other prizes and praise, and proclaiming to the skies "Aren't we clever?"

Most of the films up for consideration in recent years were not ones I bothered to watch, and many of them, even with the advent of ROKU and other on-line streaming gadgets and services I still have not seen. I, for example, have never seen a James Bond, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Jason Bourne film all the way through. I say this with sadness since as a kid I loved movies and television. I grew up in an immigrant household, and always felt a bit disconnected from my surroundings. Books, TV, and movies served as my means of connecting to America, and seeing what a "real" American household looked and sounded like. I never had any inkling of what politics Clark Gable, Jimmy Steward, Gregory Peck, etc. espoused, and don't think I really cared. The movies nominated for Oscars were all films we had seen or dearly wanted to see. The Awards ceremonies were corny and awkward and way too long, but they were about entertainment. They were part of the illusion of Hollywood glamour. The big studios, as a rule, kept their herd of actors, directors, and producers pretty well under control and away from controversy.

OK. As we all know, that is not true any more.The Hollywood types now insist on inflicting their politics on us, and on lecturing us lowly unglamorous types about our lack of virtue. They, of course, have redefined virtue into something totally unrecognizable to an audience of, say, the 1950s. We have to listen and watch them as they emote and cry about McCarthyism (of course, McCarthy had nothing to do with films, but never mind) and the evilness of big corporations and the racism and the greed and our lack of concern for the environment and children and women and working people and, so on and on and on. We must not see the contradictions between what they preach and how they live their own lives. While they proclaim their moral superiority to us all, and their undying love for children, workers, and Gaia, we must not focus on the scores of parentless children they leave around, often getting involved in drug use and other anti-social behavior. We must ignore their jetting about on private planes and limos, as they lecture us on climate change. And, OK, let me get to the real point of this rant: we must ignore how they, in fact, hate the average worker, they hate their customers. While we get lectured on social responsibility and our greed, they demand and often get huge salaries from the multinational corporations who own the studios nowadays. They scour the planet for cheap shooting locales and massive tax breaks and public subsidies for their productions and don't give a whit, for example, about the unemployed blue collar workers of the American movie industry.

Well, in the spirit of President-elect Trump and his successful cajoling of Carrier, Ford, Toyota, Fiat-Chryser, etc., into keeping jobs here, I make a modest proposal re Hollywood. I think states and cities should stop subsidizing film production with taxpayer money. Any movie production that gets tax breaks and subsidies from abroad for filming abroad, should be taxed an equivalent amount by the US government. Trump has threatened car makers with a 35% tariff, why not a similar fee on run-away movie production? Let's see how those big salaries get reduced and the benefits shared with the blue collar types who build sets, drive trucks, etc.

Bernie Sanders, are you with me?

See you at the movies!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Progressive Shambles

The opposition to Trump continues its shambolic ways.

The popular vote recount stunt in selected states failed spectacularly as Trump gained votes and the process showed that, in Michigan, for example, it was the Democrats who had engaged in vote fraud. Suddenly, the progs lost interest in recount efforts as those posed potential threat to the claim that Hillary won the popular vote. Prog icon, Jill Stein, however, managed to walk off with a couple of million bucks she had raised for recount expenses, so not all was bad news.

The effort to shame state electors into defying their states' vote tallies and refuse to vote for Trump, similarly backfired as five electors defected from Hillary's camp--that wasn't supposed to happen. The last ditch effort to have Congress not certify the electoral college results also proved a disastrous PR shambles. Poor, poor Joe Biden, who had to preside over the certification process, could not hide his frustration with his own party as various members tried to disrupt the certification process but did not even know the rules for how the vote tallies could be contested. Got to hand it to the VP: he managed the affair relatively well despite his Democratic colleagues.

Has-been director Michael Moore and other Hollyweird types are calling for a disruption of the January 20 inauguration, and making a big deal over their "brave" refusal to perform at that inauguration. Nobody cares. Hollyweirdos strutting their stuff just don't know what to do with an audience yawning in boredom.

As we have discussed before (here and here, for example) the progs also have hit on the scheme of bringing out some of America's highly politicized intel agencies to make thunderous claims, with little lightning, that the Russians threw the election to Trump: a totally confused mess which we have discussed before and is not worth going into too much detail, again. We have yet to see the devastating evidence that Putin got Trump elected. We see a lot of blanket assertions, we see a bizarre critique of Russia's state-owned TV service--Who watches that?--but no real facts or evidence that whatever it is the Russians did or allegedly did altered the electoral results. If Putin wanted Trump to win, I think, in fact, Putin will come to regret Trump's presidency. Russia's so far free-hand in Europe and the Middle East most likely will find opposition from a reinvigorated energy-independent United States headed by a man with a clear understanding of American interests. Putin will miss Obama, almost as much as Hollywood does.

Not a good time to be a prog.

BTW, on a more interesting note, I finally made the jump, and bought a S&W .357 Performance Center Model 327 TRR8. If the Diplowife doesn't cancel my credit card privileges and Governor Brown approves of my purchase it should be in my hands on January 16. This 327 just had that indefinable je ne sais quoi of a decidedly cool weapon--and being cool, after, is at least 50% of the game, right?

I look forward to the 16th and the 20th as particularly good days to be an American.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Year of Trump

2017 is on! It clearly will be the year, good or bad, of President Trump. There can be no doubt that nobody will doubt who is President.

The year starts with the hacking story. The Dems, their prog media allies, and their Twitter trolls continue with a garbled account accusing the Russians, Mr. Putin, in particular, of doing something to the US elections. That "something" is a bit confusing. At first, we saw vague statements about the Russians "hacking" into the voting machines in a bid to favor Trump. Once that did not pan out, the losers of the 2016 elections moved on to make different allegations but always leaving the first one sort of floating there. We heard that the Russian intel services broke into the DNC and, apparently, provided all the juicy tidbits they found there to creepy Julian Assange. From his lair in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London the Aussie Mastermind carefully manipulated the information provided by the Russians to throw the election to Trump. Not clear why either the Russians or Assange would want Trump elected, but that's the charge.

As noted before (here, here) the Obama misadministration has gotten some of the US intel agencies to issue a vague and highly imprecise report that claims to provide proof of Russian "hacking." Obama, suddenly finding his backbone, lost for the past nearly eight years, kicked out 35 Russian spies from their compounds in New York and Maryland. It still remains unclear what it is these Russians supposedly did except, perhaps, maybe, just possibly, figure out that John Podesta's email password was "PASSWORD." Yes, you need a world-class espionage service for that. The report, I would note, never actually alleges that the Russians passed any info to Assange. Odd given how we are being told on the side that Wikileaks is a Russian front.

Let's review the basics, yet again. Do the Russians spy? Why yes, yes they do. They spy a lot. So do the Chinese, and they do so much more effectively--notice, for example, how their new weapon systems always seem to look just like ours. The Chinese, let us not forget, also broke into OPM's databank with millions of active and former US government employees' private information (the Diplomad and Diplowife among them, I would note.) No Chinese spies were sent packing; no hissy demands that China "cut it out." The North Koreans broke into a Hollywood studio and messed with their data in retaliation for a terrible movie that nobody saw mocking the Dear Leader. Lots of people, state actors as well as private and corporate criminals, spy; lots of them break into computer systems and steal data. I guess, however, it's only important when that theft is of emails from the DNC revealing the dirty tricks of the DNC and the complicity in those of many media outlets. That's worth a war with Russia!

I do not like Julian Assange. I think he's an anti-American creep to his core, but then I can say the same thing about Obama. I would note, furthermore, that Assange has a much better track record for accuracy than does Obama. To those who demand we believe Obama simply BECAUSE he's the President, I would say, well, that's not how it works; they know it from their own track record of not believing, for example, President Bush on Iraqi WMD.

Anyhow, that's the 2017 the Dems are hoping to have in their ceaseless quest to deligitimize Trump and the 2016 elections.

Trump will be at the center of it all, and it is critical that the Republicans in Congress do not panic, do not seek to gain that "strange new respect" from the New York Times and others; in other words, the Republicans must not become John McCain. If we can avoid that, then we might just have a very good year.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Obama & Russia: Gulf of Tonkin, Redux?

Lots of excited tweets and press reporting about Russian "hacking," and Obama's "tough" actions against the Soviet Russian diplomatic presence in the USA. The State Department has ordered 35 Russian personnel out of the US, declaring them PNG, and shut down two large Russian owned compounds one on Long Island, New York, and the other in Centreville, Maryland. In its last three weeks in office, Obama's misadministration suddenly discovered that Russia spies on us, that many of Russia's diplomats are actually spies, and that those two compounds, owned by the USSR and Russia for decades, are used for "espionage." Ask the folks at Aberdeen Proving Grounds about that Maryland compound.

Wow! I guess Romney was right when he worried about the 1980's being back, eh?

There's a lot to say on all of this, but I will only say a bit--many others out there smarter than I are writing a lot about this. I am, however, just taken, really quite impressed, in fact, by how patriotic and national security conscious the Dems and the progs, in general, have suddenly become. Suddenly (there's that word, again) American security and sovereignty are at the top of prog and media concerns. They demand respect--Demand it, I tell you!--for the office of the President and his sole prerogative on foreign policy matters. We only have one President at a time, we are reminded whenever Trump's camp comments on anything having to do with foreign affairs. Those of us skeptical of some or much of the Russian "hacking" tale, get told that we have to believe the President and to stop siding with the evil Putin. I have to wonder if that will be the same line taken after January 20? Will Obama respect that admonition?

But, I digress, we have Commies Russkies to hunt down!

Re the "hacking," The Hill has published the FBI/DHS report on the matter. There are lots of people much better equipped than I to analyze it, BUT let me just note that on reading that report, I don't think it really makes the case. There are a lot of assertions but no real proof. Well, first it's not clear what the case is it is trying to make. Is it trying to convince us that Russia spies on the USA? Hey, Elmer, does the sun rise in the east? There are some interesting expositions on Soviet/Russian espionage techniques and history, and some flat assertions, but nothing that comes near being a smoking gun. Maybe that's in a more classified version of this investigation, and we will just have to wait, but for now, the "proof" is rather skimpy if the charge is the Russians "hacked" our elections in an effort to throw them to one side. As the report itself seems to indicate, access was gained to the DNC computers via an "old fashioned" phishing scheme that got a senior official (John Podesta, it seems) to give away his password and other information to "hackers" who then used his email account to gain access to the DNC. That's kind of a standard, run-of-the-mill Nigerian-Romanian-Chinese-Russian, etc. method. Anyhow, read the report; those more technically savvy than I can try to convince me that the proof is there for the accusation of Russian state "hacking" of our election.

As I have said MANY times, I am perfectly willing to accept, if for no other reason, on the basis of my own nearly 34 years in the Foreign Service, that Russian state actors engage in espionage and influence operations against and in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, and elsewhere. I also am quite willing to believe that this administration has proven notably passive and inept in responding to Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Cuban, and North Korean penetrations of our computers and nets, both public and private. I also must wonder if all this "tough" response would be happening if Hillary had won the elections? Kinda doubt it.

One additional problem is that I am old enough to remember the actions of another Democratic President, the late LBJ, and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which opened the door for our massive involvement in Vietnam, a place of no particular strategic or economic importance to us. There were a lot of creative accounts of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, not to say "lies" coming from the White House and Pentagon. I also recall many of the same people now demanding that we believe Obama as sitting in the front rows of the "Bush lied!" chorus when it came to our intervention in Iraq in search of WMDs. In that case, however, I would note that Bush did not lie; he relied on the intel provided him with great unanimity by agencies not just within our government but from around the world. Let's just agree that intel is not a settled science, it is subject to interpretation, and, of course, to political manipulation.

Let me note yet another problem I have: This particular administration is not known for truth-telling. The examples of outright lies by Obama and his people come tumbling out with the gentlest of pokes at the Great Prog Piñata: Obamacare, Benghazi, Iran Deal, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, job number reports, policy on Israel, etc. This is not a group of "folks" with an impressive record for telling the truth or for being concerned about our security and sovereignty. Suddenly they are doing both? Nah, still ain't buying it.

Happy New Year.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Uneventful Days

The holidays have so far proven uneventful in the Diplomad household. Lots of kids and their significant others, one granddaughter, and a new .45 cal 1911 Colt Commander enlivened the otherwise totally humdrum nature of our holidaying. Took the Commander to the range with one of my sons. It shot nicely, but I did have problems with one of the two magazines that came with it. The beast sticks when empty and is very hard to eject. On several occasions, it also failed to keep the slide open after the last round. Couple of misfeeds, too. It was just that one mag, so I retired it and bought a couple of Wilson Combat magazines (10 rounds); they seem to slide in and out quite nicely and I look forward to trying them out at the range in a couple of days.

Nearly gave the Diplowife a heart attack this evening when at dinner I announced that I would buy a 1965 Mustang. She raised hell, so, ever the clever negotiator, I dropped that proposed purchase and laid out "alternate plans" for a .357 Mag S&W Performance Center Model 627-5. The Diplowife, relieved that I would not bring home yet another "smelly old" car, quickly gave consent to this purchase. Hey, at times I do know how to negotiate! I will check out a couple of local gun stores tomorrow and see what they have on offer. We'll see if I fork out that kind of money or not.

I still remain livid over the Obama stunt in the Middle East. He is determined to undermine our one stable democratic ally in the region, Israel, and make the US irrelevant to that part of the world. He wants Trump to fail. Never in my lifetime have I seen that region in greater turmoil and Western policy and influence in more disrepair and disregard. I want, with our energy independence policy, to make the Middle East irrelevant to us; I do not want us to be irrelevant to the Middle East. There's a difference.

If nothing else I hope (forlorn?) that Obama's betrayal of Israel, driven by his leftist, pro-Muslim, anti-semitism, serves as a wake up call to America's dopey secular Jewish voters. They seem beyond all hope and just cannot bring themselves to dump the Democratic Party.

OK, I am going to try to finish watching a mixed up mess of a movie, "The Hollow Point," which is some Hollywood nonsense about bullet smuggling from US gun stores to Mexican cartels. Totally absurd, but I rented the movie, so . . .

Happy New Year to all in Year One of Trump.