The definitive sign that Egyptian politics had spiraled out of control — or rather back into control — came last August when the former head of the IAEA, the often anti-American Mohammed ElBaradei, unexpectedly gave up his relatively new national ambitions and hurried back to his home in Vienna. He had broken his decades-long self-exile when he thought there might be a chance for him to become a compromise presidential choice. Baradei has always been a barometer of international politics and his flight back to European security told a clear story.
Before Thanksgiving it seemed that certain key players on both sides of the Senate aisle were skeptical of the latest deal with Iran, which pulls back economic sanctions in exchange for concessions to Iran's nuclear program. Now it appears that both parties in both houses of Congress are ready to issue additional sanctions at the first hint that Iran is faltering in its agreement.
In what the Washington Examiner calls “rare bipartisan support,” key Democrat and Republican leaders are prepared to undermine President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s efforts to negotiate with Iran. Even members of Congress who support negotiation over sanctions, such as Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer, argue that sanctions should be in place in case Iran does not make good on its nuclear promises.
Accidental wars only happen in the movies. What’s happening now in the East China Sea is a calculated Chinese provocation that could lead to war. At the same time, the Argentine-engineered crisis in the waters off the Falkland Islands is just as dangerous because Argentina may be more reckless than it was when Margaret Thatcher defeated it and Britain is so much weaker. It is of such events that wars can be made.
War for oil isn’t new. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, its principal grievance was the American decision to cut off most of its oil supply.
On November 23, China declared a new “air defense identification zone” that extends to the north close to South Korea, to the south within miles of Taiwan, and to the east to encompass the Senkaku Islands, a short chain of uninhabitable islands off southern Japan that the Japanese have claimed ownership of since 1895.
DON'T LOOK NOW, but we just might be witnessing the tentative first steps toward the beginning of a mini-revolution in France. In the land of the cherished 35-hour workweek and five weeks of vacation, brave souls are starting to question some of the very foundations of the welfare state and the limited individual freedom that goes with it. For example, whether the government should be able to dictate, for their own good of course, when, where, and how individuals can work and do their shopping. They are also wondering whether labor unions, those staunch supporters of strict regulation and big contributors to the socialist parties that create it, aren’t more interested in defending their own turf than in protecting jobs.
The world press followed the Kabuki theater of negotiation among the G5+1 and Iran as if it was a traditional “give and take.” But the Iranians had already won the contest before it began. No matter the conclusion of the six month test period, the Persians already have acquired and stored enough weapons-grade nuclear material to arm several missiles. It may not be of the highest destructive concentration, but it can work. And that’s all that’s needed.
The Obama administration, accompanied by its allies, has convinced itself that the Iranians are unable to hide the crucial accumulation of weapons grade uranium. This is a false assumption. The North Koreans had effectively camouflaged their progress and continue to do so. What Pyongyang is now missing is the ability to reliably deliver its weapons on target.
WASHINGTON—It appears that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is acting up again. As if President Barack Obama does not have enough on his hands with HealthCare.gov and hotspots spreading around the globe, he now has Karzai, the Importunate. The Afghan prima donna is threatening Our President’s role as a wartime president, a role he has not been particularly comfortable in but at least it is popular with some Americans. Now the playing of “Hail to the Chief” may become somewhat subdued all because of Mr. Karzai’s demands. He is refusing to sign a status of forces agreement allowing us to leave U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan after the war, troops that would be used to protect Afghans!
The Norwegian Army, like that of most European countries, is small and feeble. I’m sure it has less firepower than the New Hampshire chapter of Ducks Unlimited. So it’s entirely appropriate that it take on a non-existent enemy, the only kind it is equal to dealing with.
Norwegian military officials this week announced they are putting that country’s warriors (both of them) on a vegetarian diet on Mondays in order to combat (so to speak) global warming.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) thinks the recent deal with Iran, in which Tehran has agreed to freeze aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions, is a lopsided deal, with Iran getting the better part of the bargain. The senator released a statement on Sunday, calling the agreement foolhardy due to its relaxing of sanctions, which Schumer notes were putting substantial pressure on Iran to avoid dabbling in nuclear weapons development.
Schumer, an important figure in Democratic leadership, is in the position of having to choose between supporting the president’s agenda and supporting Israel. The senator, a Jew, surely recognizes that the safety of Israel is an issue that will resonate with a large segment of his constituency. Schumer was joined in his opposition by Republican senators such as Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested that the deal was a desperate attempt to take public attention away from Obamacare.
The NSA’s ability to intercept electronic communications worldwide is actually the hope and ambition of every other comparable service around the globe. America’s enemies (overt and otherwise) are many, so it is only logical that the U.S. government would want to have the ability to know everything it can about the communications of those aligned against them. Unfortunately it is impossible to track the bad guys without invading the privacy of others whose countries are used covertly as sites for various aspects of what is most succinctly referred to as bad guy activity logistics: finance, cover, safe havens and weapon supplies, etc. (This means having access to domestic exchanges, though access does not necessarily, an indeed rarely does, mean monitoring—both in legal and functional terms the distinction is essential.)
It’s a vast job requiring vast resources. Alas, its vastness was never supposed to be public knowledge. One talented but unscrupulous traitor has changed that and given impetus to an explosion of righteous indignation even from the many sister services that had been profiting from shared information.
The agreement reached late Saturday night between Iran and the United States — and the rest of the United Nations’ “P5+1” gang — will enhance Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons whenever it decides to do so. It makes war in the Middle East nearly a certainty, rather than protecting us against it.
For Obama — and while he is president, for us — there is no responsibility so great that it cannot be sacrificed to political expediency, no duty so grave that it cannot be ignored.
America has an obligation to itself, and to allies such as Israel, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms. Four American presidents — George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — have recognized this duty by stating firmly an American policy that Iran is not to be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. The first three of those presidents share the distinction of having done nothing to enforce that policy. The fourth has assured his place in history by surrendering the policy to Iran’s ambitions.