Benghazi vs. Reykjavik
As in the days of the Soviet Empire, the world faces a dark, totalitarian threat. The forces of Sharia domination are trying to extort Western appeasement in military planning, law enforcement, civil liberties and personal freedom.
This weekend marks the thirty-third anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Embassy hostage crisis; there is much about the current Benghazi debacle reminiscent of what happened in Teheran all those years ago.
As a response to both events, the world's superpower acted surprised and then confused. Next, it dithered and mumbled. Historians say that the lack of decisive response to the Iranian hostage crisis led to a subsequent series of tests of American will -- the attacks on the Marine Barracks in Lebanon, the USS Cole, and the Khobar Towers, and the first 1993 Word Trade Center bombing, among others -- and ultimately to the Al Qaeda attacks of 9-11. The Benghazi 9-11 slaughter is just the latest entry on the list.
When leaders have similarly been tested during the history of Western societies, one prevailing leadership quality has always made the difference between chaos – and a respected response: resolve. It was resolve that steeled President Reagan at Reykjavik, that spurred Winston Churchill when he was a lonely voice warning of Hitler's plans, and that hardened Abraham Lincoln's will to win a moral and righteous war.
Resolve -- encompassing the critical leadership traits of willpower, boldness and courage -- is constituted from a reservoir of conviction that a cause is just and that commitment to the cause overrides personal political risks. When a leader is left with an array of less than ideal options, resolve enables focus on the choice that best protects core American interests.
Leaders, acting from a core of resolve, have altered the course of human events. As Mikhail Gorbachev admitted to George Schultz, President Ronald Reagan set in motion the events that would end the Cold War when he refused to negotiate on his Strategic Defense Initiative at Reykjavik. Although the media, scholars, and pundits declared the Reykjavik Summit a failure for Reagan personally, and complained that the United States had lost a historic opportunity to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles, history vindicated Reagan's instinct to just say No.
It is a rare politician who would pass on the opportunity to land a nuclear weapons deal that could be billed as ending Mutually Assured Destruction. Yet President Reagan stood on the principle that weapons reductions needed an insurance policy, and he believed that pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative would provide just that. While pundits rolled their eyes, a New York Times–CBS poll taken the week after Reykjavík showed an 11-point jump (to 72%) in the percentage of Americans who thought that Reagan was successfully handling relations with the Soviet Union.
Presidential candidates today sound as if every phrase has been processed through filter after filter to produce the most politically prudent tones. Once phrases such as "resurgent religious extremists" are uttered, they are gutted of meaning and devoid of accountability.
Cautious advisors and diplomats tried to modify both Reagan's Evil Empire and Brandenburg Gate speeches. When President Reagan ignored instructions to re-word his challenge to Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" between East and West Berlin, he set in motion a monumental chain of events.
Peter Robinson, Reagan speechwriter, tells that Yuri Yarim-Agaev, an exiled Soviet dissident scientist who monitored Soviet compliance with human-rights agreements, characterized the moment as one where "the most powerful man of the world spoke the most powerful words he could have spoken." For Yarim-Agaev and his friends, "Reagan had challenged the empire" and, to them "that meant everything." Dissidents and freedom fighters sensed that "after that speech, everything was in play."
Words matter, and words spoken by the leader of the greatest nation on earth in times of distress matter more: they reveal resolve and leadership -- or the lack of it. As in the days of the Soviet Empire, the world faces a dark, oppressive, backward, totalitarian threat. Forces of Sharia domination are trying to extort Western appeasement in military planning, law enforcement, civil liberties and personal freedom. This crisis demands from the free world a deep sense of defiance. The next American president must have the courage to clearly define the current threat and meet it head on.
American leaders can learn from history's most stubborn defenders of Western liberty. As Winston Churchill challenged us in his Iron Curtain speech:
Opportunity is here and now. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon us all the long reproaches of the after-time. It is necessary that the constancy of mind, persistency of purpose, and the grand simplicity of decision shall rule and guide the conduct of the English-speaking peoples in peace as they did in war. We must, and I believe we shall, prove ourselves equal to this severe requirement.
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|Knowledge [125 words]||BL@KBIRD||Nov 1, 2012 20:05|
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by Pierre Rehov
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.
"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
by Soeren Kern
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
by Shoshana Bryen
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.
"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.
"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.
by Irfan Al-Alawi
"Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi" is Abu Du'a, a follower of the late Osama Bin Laden. By adding the name "Al-Qurayshi" in his current alias, he is also seeking to affirm descent from Muhammad.
The allegation of theological sovereignty over all Sunnis extends to Indonesia and Morocco. The idea that the borders between Syria and Iraq will be dissolved by the new "caliphate" defies all Islamic theology and history. As the Qur'an states, "Allah "made the nations and tribes different." (49:13) Syria and Iraq have been distinct for millennia.
The "Islamic State" seeks to obliterate these diverse identities by expelling or killing all Shias and Sunni Sufis. And it does not invoke the Ottoman caliphate in its propaganda, demonstrating decisively the fake nature of the "Islamic State."
A caliphate is obsolete and the "Islamic State" is totalitarian. All Sunnis need to repudiate them soundly, even by force of arms.