Thursday, December 15, 2016

Obama Gave Us "Chump Change!" Now Get Ready For "Trump Change." Merriest of Christmases and Happiest of Holidays Depending Who You Are..

Abby and her group head for Israel and she returned
after a great trip.

Russian Hackers and American Hacks

The CIA that misjudged Putin for years is now sure of his motives.

Wall Street Journal Editorial

Somewhere in the Kremlin Vladimir Putin must be laughing. The Russian strongman almost certainly sought to undermine public confidence in American democracy this year, and as the Obama Administration leaves town it is playing into his hands.

That’s the real story behind the weekend reports that U.S. intelligence services have concluded that Russia intervened to assist Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The stories are attributed to “senior administration” officials who won’t go on the record but assert murky details that are impossible to verify without seeing the evidence.
Mr. Trump is denouncing the claims with his usual subtlety, but he has a point about their timing and nature. “I don’t want anyone hacking us,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News Sunday, while blaming the leaks on Democrats. “I think it’s ridiculous” and “I don’t believe it.”
Democrats are still in shock from their defeat, and many want to add the Kremlin to FBI Director James Comey, fake news and the Electoral College as excuses that cast doubt on the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s victory.
The new information in these latest stories is less about new intelligence than it is a judgment about Russian motives. Other sources who have seen the intelligence say there’s strong evidence that actors linked to high-level Russian officials hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) website. The Russians then posted them on sites they set up or handed them to WikiLeaks, though even the WikiLeaks transfer isn’t known for sure. The Administration made public the conclusion about the DNC hack months ago.

The difference now is that the intelligence community is said to have concluded with “high confidence” that the Russians did the hacking to help elect Mr. Trump. But we’re told the evidence for this conclusion is far from definitive, and multiple intelligence services offered no such judgments when briefing the House Intelligence Committee on the election-related hacks last week.

The New York Times cites claims from its sources that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee website but then didn’t leak any documents. But other sources say that while it’s clear the Russians were probing the RNC website, it isn’t clear they penetrated it enough to grab emails. This is in contrast to the months the Russians spent roaming through the DNC site. We’re also told that there’s no definitive intelligence about who hacked Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta. His emails posted on WikiLeaks were arguably more politically damaging than those from the DNC.

Keep in mind that almost no one thought Mr. Trump would win the election, and it’s hard to believe the Russians were the sole prophetic exception. The hacking began last spring, and the Russian motive could have been to gather information to embarrass or blackmail Clinton officials once they were in office. The Kremlin could also merely have wanted to sow confusion and doubt on the election result.

If the CIA really does have “high confidence” about Mr. Putin’s motives, this would also be the first time in recent history.These are the same seers who missed the Russian invasion of Crimea, missed the incursion into southern Ukraine, and missed Mr. Putin’s foray into Syria. The intelligence community also claimed “high confidence” in 2008 for its judgment that Iran had suspended its nuclear-weapons program. That judgment conveniently shut down any further Bush Administration action against Iran. But a year later, in the Obama Administration, our highly confident spooks disclosed Iran’s secret Fordo underground facility.


None of this means Americans shouldn’t be alarmed about Russian intentions or cyber attacks. Mr. Putin is an authoritarian who came of age as a Soviet spy and wants to damage U.S. interests around the world. Rather than dismiss evidence of Russian hacking, Mr. Trump ought to point out that Mr. Obama has done nothing to make Russia pay a price for it. He should also call for the entire story to come out, not merely alleged facts from anonymous sources.

All the more so as Mr. Trump undertakes his own attempt to “get along” with the Russian strongman, as he puts it. Like Presidents Bush and Obama, Mr. Trump thinks he can cajole Mr. Putin into some kind of cooperative grand bargain. The Russian always pockets U.S. concessions and then reneges on his promises.

A bipartisan group of Senators, including Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham, has called for a Senate investigation into the election-related hacks. That’s fine with us as long it doesn’t become the partisan exercise that Democrats appear to want.

But why wait? U.S. intelligence services already know most of what they’re likely to learn. Release the evidence now. Let’s see if the Kremlin really did steal RNC emails, and let’s also hear from those who don’t share CIA Director John Brennan’s “high confidence.” The last thing Americans need is for an outgoing Administration that is still sore over losing an election to assist Vladimir Putin in poisoning the result.
This memo is a catch up one from having been away most of last and this week.

The only comment I want to make is that it is amazing how Obama mocked Romney when he said Russia was our greatest threat and enemy and now sore loser Liberals and Obama are so fired up about Russia and Putin after Hillary went down in flames because she is a loser in more ways than one.

Remember when Obama told Russia's President that after he was re-elected he would have more flexibility?  Remember how un-concerned Liberals have been in the last few decades about Russia?

All of a sudden Obama, who did nothing except withdraw troops, drew red lines he refused to enforce, watched from The Oval Office as millions of refugees fled their homes bombed by Assad and Russia, is now concerned about Trump's election.  What a pathetic loser, what a pathetic leader what a pathetic legacy. He should have been benched after his first four years but Romney ran such a lousy campaign he allowed Obama to walk on the field and suit up a second time.

Now Middle America has finally spoken and sore losing Liberals want to drown them out by telling us Trump is illegitimate because he lost the popular vote.  Yet, we recently learned  Detroit's vote was fraudulent because more ballots were counted than actually did and Hillary captured New York and California because we have been a bar bell nation forever.

Finally, the sore losing Liberals embrace a series of intelligence agencies that are in disagreement and whose collective record of being wrong almost equals our State Department. Part of the reason our intelligence agencies have missed big time is because Democrat Sen, Church and Jimmy Carter gutted their ability.  These are the same intelligence agencies that told GW , Iraq had WMD and these are the same sore losing Liberals who agreed with GW but when it turned out Saddam did not have them in his possession at the time GW attacked Iraq, they accused GW of lying. Yet, now these same sore losing Liberals would deprive Trump of his electoral college win because they feel compelled to believe these agencies because they have become so concerned about Russia. What hypocrite frauds.

The hypocrisy of these sore losers is enough to make one puke. (See 1, 1a and 1b  below.)

Get ready for  "Trump change."
This from my oldest daughter. (See 2 below.)
Chuck the Paris agreement? (See 3 below.)
A Muslim Nation Honor's Netanyahu and Some Liberal Jewish Organizations Will Not Attend. (See 4 below.)
Is this the legacy Obama will leave for Trump?  (See 5 below.)
Back to the traditional way to treat treaties? (See 6 below.)
I served on The President's Commission on White House Fellows with Hillel. (See 7 below.)
This from a friend and fellow memo reader.  (See 8 below)
Netanyahu's interview. (See 9 and 9a below.)
America's new Amb. to Israel.  (See 10 below.)
Finally, saying Merry Christmas is back: courses/political-science/ just-say-merry-christmas

So, to all my Christian friends, fellow memo readers and Conservative thinkers I wish you and your respective families the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest and Healthiest of New Years and to my dispirited Liberal Christian friends have a nice Holiday Season if you can.

Playing With Electoral College Fire

The Jewish Conservatives and 'nation builders' Who Led Us Into Iraq and Afghanistan Bet The Farm Against Donald Trump, and Lost,. What Now?

David P. Goldman

Israeli leaders of all major parties warn of two existential threats to Israel: a U.N. resolution forcing Israel back to the 1967 armistice line, and a nuclear-armed Iran. With Donald Trump’s election both threats have receded into the distance, and the State of Israel is more secure than it has been in its history. Yet American Jews, at least the majority of politically active Jews of high public profile, are miserable. America’s best-known Jewish conservatives—the “neocons”—have burnt their bridges to the incoming administration. It is one of the strangest, and silliest, episodes in Jewish political history.

An estimated 30 percent of American Jews voted for Trump, the highest Jewish vote for a Republican since 1988. Among religious Jews, anecdotal evidence suggests, support for Trump was overwhelming. But most Jewish Republican leaders backed Hillary Clinton or minor candidates in the general election while opposing Trump in terms that often climbed the walls of hysteria.
“Jews to this day continue to combine an almost pathologically intense concern for politics with a seemingly equally intense inclination toward political foolishness, often crossing over into the realm of the politically suicidal,” wrote the late Irving Kristol, the original neoconservative. His son Bill Kristol proved the Jewish proclivity for political hara-kiri remains undiminished in his generation by doing everything he could to prevent the election of Donald Trump—along with such high-profile Jewish conservatives as pundit Charles Krauthammer and Commentary  Editor John Podhoretz. In the end, Kristol destroyed his own career. On Dec. 12 he resigned as editor of The Weekly Standard, the political journal he founded 20 years ago.
A Leninist mood of revolutionary defeatism swept the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party before the November election. Trump would “reenact Thelma and Louise’s visit to the bottom of a ravine,” as a National Review pundit predicted, and its intellectual elite would rebuild the party on the ruins of a discredited populism. In comfortable and well-funded opposition, the mandarins of mainstream Republicanism—The Weekly Standard, the American Enterprise Institute, Commentary , the National Review and so forth—would prepare a Republican comeback in 2020 or 2024, or whenever. The important thing is that they would be in charge of whatever was left and would still get their foundation grants.
George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan became the graveyard of the intellectual movement that contributed so much to the Republican revolution under Ronald Reagan. So persuaded were the heirs of Irving Kristol that democracy and capitalism were the natural order of things that they bet the store on a global campaign of nation-building. In the end, they grasped at straws during the Arab Spring and the collapse of Libya and Syria.
To have been associated with the Bush “freedom agenda” became the kiss of death for Republican candidates during the 2016 primaries, and Donald Trump most effectively spoke to the party’s disillusionment with its intellectual leaders. Yet the neoconservatives couldn’t let go. They are a peculiar kind of right-wing Marxists, with a cultlike belief that the march of history dictated the triumph of liberal democracy. Being would determine consciousness, as democratic institutions transformed tribalist Muslims in the Middle East into Western-style democrats.
Kristol had formed the Emergency Committee for Israel in 2010 to counter liberal organizations like J Street that supported President Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Confronted with a candidate who repudiated the Iran deal, namely Donald Trump, Kristol’s Emergency Committee ran ads attacking him—for being too friendly to Vladimir Putin.
Iran was supposed to be the acid-test issue for Jewish conservatives. Donald Trump not only opposed Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran during the presidential campaign but gave his top national-security appointments to men Obama had fired for their opposition to the Iran deal, namely Marine Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser.
The prematurely triumphant neocons imagined themselves sitting in judgment over the errant populists of the Republican Party, exacting apologies in emulation of Chinese Communist self-criticism sessions. At Commentary magazine, Noah Rothman proclaimed Oct. 5, “Donald Trump is likely to lose. As such, Republicans need to start thinking about the fallout from 2016 and how to heal the lingering divisions from a fractious year defined by internecine conflict.” The condition for membership in the reconstituted Republican Party, Rothman proclaimed, would be Maoist recantations:
Trumpism exists at odds with conservatism, and the party as reconstituted in 2017 must be one built up around conservative ideals of limited government, free trade, an internationalist foreign policy, and an unqualified rejection of identity politics. In short, Republicans of all stripes must be made to acknowledge and accept that Trumpism is an experiment that failed. That’s the price of admission, and it’s a modest one given the great costs associated with sacrificing a winnable race for the White House.
Right up until Charles Krauthammer called the election for Clinton early on Fox News on election night, the neoconservatives were secure in their belief that the ruins of the Republican Party would accrue to them. With Trump’s victory, their problem is to show their funders that they still matter. Like abandoned dogs, the neoconservatives do not know whether to lick or to bite the hand of the new masters in Washington.
That made the annual fundraising letter that Commentary magazine editor John Podhoretz sent out in November especially poignant reading. “There will be matters,” Podhoretz intoned “about which the Trump administration will look to Commentary to provide the clarity and insight and guidance that America’s conservative leaders—including many likely to take senior roles in the coming years—have come to rely upon from us, especially when it comes to the security and safety of Israel.”
Just where or why the new administration might require the advice of Commentary’s editors is unclear. Only two weeks earlier, Commentary Online Editor Noah Rothman got the attention of the incoming administration with a blast email claiming that Trump’s designated national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was “a dubious choice,” and “deeply unsettling.” Rothman went so far as to allege that Flynn had warned that America needed to work harder to keep Turkey in the Western alliance because his business had a Turkish consulting client. Flynn’s concerns about Turkey are hardly controversial, and a veteran national security specialist who has worked with Flynn dismissed the allegation as “McCarthyism.”
Rothman’s attempt to sandbag Flynn was restrained compared to the wrath that the neoconservatives poured on Trump adviser Steve Bannon. John Podhoretz inveighed, “The key problem with Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s newly named strategist, isn’t that he’s an anti-Semite. He may be. … The key moral problem with Steve Bannon is that as the CEO of Andrew Breitbart’s namesake organization, he is an aider and abettor of foul extremist views, including anti-Semitic ones.”
As it happens, I have spent some time with Steve Bannon, and I—like other Jews of his acquaintance—observe that he is exuberantly pro-Israel and as friendly to Jews as any Gentile I know. After reading Podhoretz’s accusation, I examined every article published on Bannon’s Breitbart website during the past years containing the search terms “Israel” or “Jews” and found that all were pro-Israel and friendly to Jews without a single exception. Facts are facts, and Commentary’s shrillness stems from hysteria more than outrage.
Shortly after the election, Bill Kristol published a manifesto together with the liberal scholar Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution in defense of democracy, implying that Donald Trump was a threat to liberty itself. They wrote:
We stand together against an alternative right disdainful of the traditions of American conservatism and a vocal left that blends socialist economics with identity politics. We stand together against a dangerous impatience with the legal forms and constitutional constraints that are guarantors of our liberty. We stand together in defense of an open, generous liberal democracy as the strongest foundation for addressing the very real challenges that we face and the legitimate frustrations with the status quo that we feel.
These were heady words in the wake of an election that neither Galston nor Kristol quite could believe had happened. But when the haze cleared, the hordes of the alt-right were nowhere in evidence; instead, Trump picked a cabinet of prominent businessmen and generals. I sat next to Galston at a Washington dinner recently and asked him whether he really detected a threat to democracy. “Absolutely!” he said. But where? “In Poland! In Hungary! In Eastern Europe!” Galston told me.
That leaves Kristol, Podhoretz, Krauthammer and the neoconservatives in the worst of all possible political worlds. They switched sides during the election and cheered for a Democratic victory. After their election defeat, they threw a collective tantrum, burning bridges to the winning side. That makes them a liability for the foreseeable future and leaves a giant lacuna in American Jewish political life.
3 )The U.S. Should Abandon the Paris Agreement and Learn from China
The Clean Power Plan, too, risks America’s industrial future.
By Rupert Darwall — December 7, 2016
One of the first items of business for the Trump administration will be to decide what to do with the Paris Agreement. In September, the Obama administration deposited with the United Nations general secretary an instrument accepting the Paris climate treaty without first asking the Senate for its advice and consent. As matters stand, the United States is now bound to the Obama administration’s target of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The domestic counterpart of the Paris Agreement is the EPA’s Clean Power Plan — also crafted to avoid congressional approval — which is how the Obama administration intends for the U.S. to achieve its Paris obligations.

During the presidential election, Donald Trump denounced one-sided trade deals for destroying American jobs. The Paris Agreement is the mother and father of one-sided deals. It requires the United States to keep cutting its emissions in perpetuity irrespective of what anyone else does. Unlike the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (which the Senate would have rejected had Bill Clinton sent it to the Senate), there are no escape hatches. It forces the U.S. to play by its own rules while letting everyone else play by their own. Short of repudiating the whole treaty, once on the escalator, there’s no way off.

It is the latest product of U.N. climate conferences that kicked off with the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Canadian Maurice Strong organized the Earth Summit. His genius was to see that government leaders and bureaucrats don’t like being left out. If you put negotiators from different countries in the same room, the pressure will be on them to find points of agreement. In that way, the U.N. created a climate-change process that acquired a momentum of its own. “The process is the policy,” Strong told an aide at the 1972 U.N. Stockholm conference on the environment, which Strong also organized. What appears important to delegates at the negotiating table are the detailed policy commitments, when what really matters is keeping the process going so that it sucks in more power, influence, and money.

Because the process develops a logic of its own, it ends up producing ridiculous positions that the nations of the world nonetheless sign on to. Article 2 of the Paris Agreement sets a new goal of limiting temperature increases to only 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It had been cooked up by the Alliance of Small Island States. Along with polar bears, the small island states are featured as the prime victims in the climate-change morality tale: innocents on remote islands condemned to be swept away in a flood of biblical significance, to pay for the climate sins of the rich.

It is a PR narrative made for media impact. In the run-up to the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, the Maldives cabinet held an underwater meeting to dramatize the threat of global warming. “How can you ask my country to go extinct?” Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed exclaimed when the Chinese argued that the 1.5-degree limit should be removed from the text. Trouble was, it is complete bunkum.

In 1836, Charles Darwin hypothesized that coral atolls such as the Maldives had been formed by subsidence of the ocean bed with “extreme slowness” and built up by corals. “Darwin was right — and oddly hurricanes may be a good thing in piling up debris inside islands,” environmental activist and former Nasheed adviser Mark Lynas tweeted last year.

Having decided on the 1.5-degree goal, the politicians wanted the gloss of scientific respectability. So last year’s Paris Climate Conference invited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to “provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and related greenhouse gas emission pathways.” What politicians command, scientists will deliver — at the cost of the corruption of science. As a 2015 “expert dialogue” conducted by the U.N. climate-change subsidiary body on scientific and technological advice noted, the scientific literature on the risks and impacts of 1.5-degree warming was “limited.” Applying the more stringent target was virtually cost-free, the U.N. experts claimed, as it would “only marginally delay, but not sacrifice, economic growth,” an opinion that shows the general worthlessness of U.N. climate experts.

Hitting the target on the basis of bog-standard IPCC science depends on achieving large negative emissions by the middle of this century. In September, at a conference in Oxford on the 1.5-degree target, energy expert and former U.K.-government adviser Michael Grubb of University College London suggested that politicians would need to take extraordinary measures to ensure the uptake of negative-emission technologies. Should global society be put on a war footing? Professor Grubb asked. It was an analogy worth exploring, responded Achim Steiner, who headed the United Nations Environment Programme for a decade until June of this year.

Actually, the 1.5-degree target is highly problematic for the UN climate-change process. If technology ever made it economic to pull carbon dioxide directly from the air, then the rationale for cutting emissions would vastly diminish. But without negative emissions, the only way the target will be hit is if the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide (the temperature increase from doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere) is low, which observations tend to suggest is the case. Either way, the U.N. just killed off the justification for draconian emissions cuts.
Money is at the heart of the U.N. climate-change process. At the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, Hillary Clinton promised $100 billion of annual climate aid beginning in 2020. To protect her 2016 election prospects, last year in Paris, John Kerry got the commitment of $100 billion a year removed from the treaty text and relegated to a conference decision, and he got the start date pushed to 2025. With the presidential election out of the way, last month’s Marrakech conference brought the start year back to 2020.

Money also distorts what the world is being told about global trends in energy policy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has become the energy equivalent of the IPCC. The IEA’s statistics are widely regarded as authoritative. But its key messages for policymakers are that of a green campaigning organization. Deep in its World Energy Outlook 2016, the IEA projects in its “New Policies Scenario” that over the next 35 years, the amount of electricity the Chinese will produce from coal will increase by 4.3 percent but that the amount of coal they will use to generate that electricity will fall by 4.6 percent.

How can this be? China, along with Japan and South Korea, is leading the world in adopting the latest super-critical and ultra-super-critical low-emission-coal technology. It operates at much higher temperatures and pressures, and the efficiency of turning coal into electricity is increased by up to 30 percent, enabling new-technology power stations to generate more electricity while emitting less CO2 and pollutants such as particulates, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. The conundrum of how a coal-based economy such as China’s expects to see its emissions peak in 2030 can thus be explained. While President Obama’s EPA wants to force the U.S. to turn its back on coal, China is harnessing technology to make its coal-fired power stations more efficient and, at the same time, improve local air quality.

Not that this forms part of the IEA’s key messages. Under Fatih Birol, the agency’s executive director and, before that, its chief economist, the IEA has become a cheerleader for renewables. Birol set out his stall in a September 2015 interview with Politico shortly after stepping up to his new role:
The silver-haired Turk repeatedly shifts the conversation to his plans to turn the Paris-based organization that was originally founded to help the developed world combat OPEC’s oil-market power into “an international hub on clean energy.”
“We are one of the biggest promoters of renewable energies,” he said in the interview.
Indeed, Birol has doubled up his role as vocal advocate of renewables through his appointment to the Patronage Committee of myclimate, a Swiss-based carbon-offset company.

If the West goes down the path advocated by Birol and the IEA, it risks a repeat of what happened to its nuclear industry. After the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, hardly any new nuclear power stations were built. Whereas the West’s ability to design and build nuclear power stations has atrophied, Vladimir Putin’s Rosatom currently boasts $100 billion in export orders. This is how the West lets its industries of the future become the future of the East.

Candidate Trump blamed incompetent negotiators for landing America with one-sided trade deals. Incompetence does not explain the Paris Agreement. Obama-administration climate negotiators did not put American interests first. The failure of the Kyoto Protocol led them to a structurally worse solution. They replaced reciprocated multilateralism with collective unilateralism under which those that offered the most lose the most. Supporters of the Paris Agreement will argue that American withdrawal would put the world’s climate at risk. The reality is that Paris agreement — and its Siamese twin, the Clean Power Plan — risk America’s industrial future. If you want to know why, look at what China is actually doing.
— Rupert Darwall is the author of The Age of Global Warming: A History.

War on Trump or on Muslim Friends?

The Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA) - Deal or No Deal?

Should the next administration keep the admittedly badly flawed Iranian agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action-- JCPOA) or seek a new arrangement that precludes rather than delays Iran building a nuclear capability?

It is not necessarily an easy question to answer one way or the other.

However, if clarity is what you wish for, rather than the current muddle, there is one interesting path forward.
The Trump administration could submit the current nuclear agreement with Iran to the United States Senate as a treaty. In this way, they could in one move restore a new balance between the executive and legislative branches. Most people believe an agreement as important and consequential as the Iran “deal” must be submitted to the Senate as a treaty—and not unilaterally adopted as an executive agreement. 

The United States Senate then should vote up or down on whether to accept the agreement as a treaty in its current form. The U.S. Senate could also require that all the “side” deals that have remained “secret” also have to be put on the table for full examination. Some of these deals have only come to light recently, but their terms have not been wholly debated.   

I assume the vote in the Senate will not reach the two-thirds threshold to uphold the current JCPOA.
Then what to do?

Well, the Senate should not write a new treaty and subsequently vote on it because that is not their role. However, a full and open debate about what should be in such an agreement would be useful. Moreover, the Senate and House could put together a Concurrent Congressional Resolution (CCR) recommending what both chambers of Congress think should be in such an agreement.

Then it would be clear what a new agreement will look like to subsequently get two-thirds Senate approval. Moreover, having such an agreement approved as a treaty reassures our allies that the deal is real and the U.S. takes it seriously.

The point of a CCR is to bring the House of Representatives into the discussion. The House will subsequently have to approve defense and state budgets which will reflect the need of enforcing any new deal so why up front bring them into the debate? They have no vote on a subsequent treaty but shouldn’t they be consulted?
The CCR can effectively lay out recommendations for the new administration to pursue without foreclosing any particular avenue of negotiation by the incoming administration.

In my view, a new” agreement is needed because the current JCPOA at best simply “pauses” the Iranian nuclear program. However, it allows Iran, in a relatively brief time, to build what the former DNI General Hayden calls an “industrial strength nuclear capability.” The threshold for an Iranian breakout must be pushed back to many years from just a few months.

Ironically, even its supporters admit the Iran deal is a “bad deal.” However, their remedy is not to write a new deal but to enforce the current one. However, why does enforcing a bad deal necessarily make it a good deal?
Given the enormous stakes at risk in a nuclear weapons program under the control of the Iranian regime, it would seem imperative that any agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons meet all reasonable and necessary tests to ensure that it is effective and enforceable.

It may indeed be difficult and perhaps impossible to secure an effective agreement with Iran. Moreover, maybe our allies who are partners to the current JCPOA have no stomach for putting together a new deal.
However, that should not be an excuse to keep an agreement that does not foreclose in the future an Iranian nuclear option. In 2003-4 the Bush administration dismantled the relatively low-scale Libyan nuclear program. Iran’s program is a lot more dangerous. Do we dismantle the limited program—in Libya—and greenlight for the future the dangerous one—in Iran?

It also makes little sense to keep an agreement that simply pretends to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapons capability in the future. It is now clear the current agreement simply delays such an achievement for at best another 8 to 10 years. It also allows Iran to at some time in the future rush to a nuclear weapons capability in just a matter of months, at a time of the mullahs choosing.  

Given the JCPOA’s weaknesses, the Iranians may be seeking to slowly build a clandestine nuclear capability by eroding even the restrictions that now exist. The Iranians would know how to do this—they just must adopt the tactics employed by the North Koreans in their similar and successful pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

Either a nuclear agreement with Iran stops an Iran nuclear weapons program or it does not.

If we are unwilling to hold Iran to at least the same standards that we held Libya to in 2003, we are admitting that Iran gets a special deal on nuclear matters. We tried that unsuccessfully with North Korea. Why would we try the same thing all over again?

It is true that Iran threatens terror attacks in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region or elsewhere if the U.S. alters the current deal. However, if we acquiesce to Iranian pressure, we have to make pre-emptive concessions that will undercut America’s security interests.

This becomes a formula for our adversaries to continue to use the same tactics of intimidation, terror, and coercion to get us to stand down. However, if we continue along that path, the United States and its allies will continue making agreements that are not in our security interests. 

We achieved a sound nuclear agreement with Libya in 2003. Furthermore, with Russia on INF and CFE and Start I between 1987/91, we did so from a position of peace through strength.

That is a policy the new administration seeks to emulate—peace through strength. Rebuilding our defense establishment is a step in the right direction, as is reworking the Iran agreement.

Submit it to the Senate. See who salutes. If you like your Iran agreement, well, you can keep it.

Peter R. Huessy is President of Geostrategic Analysis and a guest lecturer at the U.S. Naval Academy. He was formerly Senior Fellow in National Security at the American Foreign Policy Council.

The Middle East Won’t Miss Obama

Many in the region, frustrated by Iran’s empowerment, welcome President Donald Trump.

Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby
‘Obama’s lean years are over and we are now witnessing a new chapter which we hope will be an alternative to the mistakes of the abysmal past.” A Trump supporter’s postelection boast? Hardly. It’s how Turki Aldakhil, a Saudi broadcaster who is general manager of the Al Arabiya news service, greeted President-elect Trump in a recent article.
Some American observers fear that Mr. Trump’s comments on the alleged danger from Muslim immigrants cripple his prospects for effective diplomacy in the Middle East. But at the mid-November Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, held by the Emirates Policy Center and the Atlantic Council, Mr. Aldakhil and most Arab and Muslim participants were upbeat about the change in U.S. leadership.
Many principal speakers, including Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, the chairwoman of the conference, and Sheikh Mohammad Al-Sabah, the former foreign minister of Kuwait, as well as speakers from the floor, returned again and again to the threat Iran had become and the failure of President Obama’s policies to deal with this threat. They professed to be intrigued by Mr. Trump’s statements that seemed “very different” and promisingly so.
Summing this all up, Mr. Aldakhil wrote in the Saudi daily Okaz on Nov. 13, “No one will weep” for Mr. Obama’s departure. The president “brought our region nothing but hesitance toward the Iranian axis, while flirting with and rewarding it, and strictness toward the Gulf axis, while evading agreements.” He was referring to security-related guarantees and promises made by Mr. Obama at Camp David in May 2015 to calm Arab fears about the Iranian nuclear deal.
Mr. Trump’s continued welcome depends on fulfilling two Arab hopes. First, that he will reverse Mr. Obama’s disengagement from the region. The other hope is that the next president will embrace his country’s historic reliability by distinguishing between America’s enemies and its friends, and by marshaling joint efforts to serve joint interests.
Mr. Obama leaves the region with multiple and worsening challenges, not only the incomplete war against Islamic State. The Obama legacy includes an empowered Iran that threatens American interests, destabilizes the Sunni world, and violates agreements on missiles and nuclear development. Multiple, heavily sectarian Sunni-Shiite civil wars rage.
Iraq, which the Obama administration claimed as a triumph, writhes in domestic strife under a heavy Iranian hand. Prospects for more moderate Syrian opposition forces, once promising, have plummeted due to years of attrition and Western neglect during an unrelenting Iranian-backed assault on opponents of Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime.
Meanwhile—as noted by Ali Al Noemi, who attended the Abu Dhabi conference as secretary-general of the United Arab Emirates’ Council of Muslim Elders—growing Sunni Islamist extremism, including the Muslim Brotherhood, endangers regional stability. Turkey, a supposed ally but strongly influenced by its own version of the Brotherhood, proves unreliable in good will and capacity.
Hovering over these difficulties are complicating factors. Efforts to defeat one of our adversaries may advance the interests of another. Russia’s massive intervention in the region in pursuit of its economic and geopolitical interests challenges U.S. influence. America’s traditional regional allies also face daunting internal troubles, even as they question Washington’s reliability as a partner.
Small wonder, then, that they look hopefully to statements by Mr. Trump and his nominated secretary of defense, Gen. Jim Mattis, and national security adviser, Gen. Mike Flynn. While candidate Trump emphasized crushing ISIS and tearing up the Iranian nuclear agreement, Messrs. Mattis and Flynn also struck welcome notes to Arab ears.
Gen. Mattis, speaking at a conference on April 21, described the Iranian regime as “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.” In his June 10, 2015 congressional testimony, Gen. Flynn decried what he called Iran’s “negative behavior and expanding influence.” To resist ISIS and Iranian aggressions, Gen. Flynn testified in favor of greater U.S. engagement, including organizing and arming Arab forces “able to secure their regional responsibilities”.
Statements like these may be one reason Arabs critical of Mr. Obama’s “abysmal past” and pro-Iranian tilt, now see hope that America will recognize common threats and lead others to counter them. They look to hardheaded American interests to outweigh, not disregard, cultural and political differences.
In this respect, President Trump will also face a dilemma not unlike one that Reagan’s first U.N. ambassador, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, identified during the Cold War. To confront worse enemies, America must work with countries that do not share, and sometimes violate, our values. Ultimately, she believed, this will serve security and freedom.
As Gen. Mattis said last spring—while recognizing concerns about Islamic State and al Qaeda—“Nothing, I believe, is as serious in the long term in enduring ramifications, in terms of stability and prosperity, and some hope for a better future for the young people out there, than Iran.” If the Trump administration actively holds to these goals and priorities, the Arab world’s welcome will endure.
Mr. Fradkin is director of the Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World at the Hudson Institute. Mr. Libby, a senior vice president at Hudson, served in the George W. Bush administration.
8) The man who wrote this article is much kinder then I am. I call that filthy rag the NY Slimes and that is what it is.  It is full of outright lies and the only newspaper that I can compare it with is Der Sturmer published by one of Hitler's henchman, Julius Streicher. 
That news paper, like the Slimes had great difficulty distinguishing between the truth and outright lies,  In addition like the Slimes it hated the Jews and since Israel did not exist then, the Slimes has taken up the cudgel of Der Sturmer and is telling the same lies about Israel that Hitler and Streicher would have been telling today, if they were alive.

Vile, virulent, vicious, vacant, vacuous and void of any logic were the three pre-eminent, right hand articles on the front page if this Sunday's New York Times. They all falsely supported the NYT's fantasies that the election of Donald J. Trump to this nation's highest office was a major mistake and will lead us down the slippery slope to tyranny  and fascism. The headlines are, "Trump Brand and Statecraft: A Hazy Divide," "Trump Turns a Staid Process Into Spectacle" and "Alt-Right, Exulting in Election, Salutes Winner: 'Heil Victory!' " And those are supposed to be straight-out news articles. Then for more openly dangerous rhetoric, just turn to the Op-ed page A21 for Charles M. Blow's, "Making America White Again" and Paul Krugman's, "Build He Won't." Both writers toss around such incendiary comments as Blow's, "Increasingly, as he picks his cabinet from among his fawning loyalists, it is becoming clear that by 'Make America Great Again' he actually meant some version of 'Make America a White, Racist, Misogynistic Patriarchy again.' " And to add to the hateful, bilious words, Krugman adds his own: "Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's chief strategist, is a white supremacist." 

Mix these words into the anarchist brew stirred up by Michael Moore last week when he stated:"Disrupt the inauguration. The majority have spoken - by nearly 2.7 million votes and counting. Silence is not our option," and you see the seeds for open anarchy. Moore joins in with the website, DisruptJ20, which encourages outright rebellion and mayhem on January 20th. These calls for chaos, revolution and violence must be openly challenged and thwarted by Obama, Loretta Lynch, his Attorney General, as well as every single mayor and police chief in the country. But sadly, no one in power has responded to these words of hate which, if carried out would bring carnage to this country. Violent groups such as Black Lives Matter, Move-on, The New Black Panthers, The Occupy Movement and the Communist Party surely will fire up their followers to take to the streets to show their opposition to the recent election results. They need very little excuse to unleash their anti-American hatred on January 20th. Recall Ferguson and Baltimore and the ongoing senseless, murderous attacks on law enforcement officers stirred up by black anarchists. These warning signs are being dangerously and purposely ignored by this current administration.

During these past eight years the nation has been racially divided as never before. Although a black president garnered more white  votes than his white opponents, the hands-across-the-table-gap between the two races has never been greater. Obama has hammered away at the disparities in income, job opportunities and educational opportunities between whites and blacks casting blame on the "white Republican leadership." His mentor, racist, Jeremiah Wright drummed that into his head for more than 20 years. Openly bigotted, street activist, professional race baiter, Al Sharpton, has been to the White House more than 85 times in order to act as just what kind of advisor to Obama?

 Given the frustrations of the Left to the outcomes of the election and their apparent outright refusal to accept the results, they are working feverishly to sow discontent among their followers to turn them into dry kindling with their suggestive words. They should reconsider, for once the match has been lit to ignite the pile, it will be hard to extinguish. But are they willfully ignoring the possibility of deadly violence and mayhem? If so, the nation including both sides of the divide will surely bleed....together. Pray that common sense takes hold. 

Lessons of the Next Missile War


During the campaign, Trump made it clear he would support Israel in a number of critical areas, including moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.
US President-elect Donald Trump will nominate David Friedman, his long-time attorney and a campaign adviser on Jewish world issues, as US ambassador to Israel, the transition team said in a statement on Thursday.

The US embassy has for decades been located in Tel Aviv. Trump had pledged during the presidential campaign to move it to Jerusalem.

"(Friedman) has been a long-time friend and trusted advisor to me. His strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission and be a tremendous asset to our country as we strengthen the ties with our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East," Trump said in the statement.

During the campaign, Trump made it clear he would support Israel in a number of critical areas, including moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel's capital over international objections, and not applying pressure on Israel for talks with the Palestinians. As an adviser to the GOP nominee, Friedman counseled a more conservative Israel policy. He frequently condemned the Palestinian Authority for its role in inciting terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and questioned America's role in pushing a two-state solution on the Israeli government.Friedman believes that Israel is a natural ally in Trump's coming fight against Islamic extremism, and throughout the campaign, repeatedly touted his candidate as a stable and reliable ally of the Jewish state.

Friedman, who specializes in litigation and bankruptcy law, said he would work tirelessly to "strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem." 

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post in September, Friedman explained that his support for Trump throughout his unprecedented presidential campaign was personal. Trump's friend and lawyer for fifteen years, he took a genuine liking to his client roughly two years into their relationship, when Friedman’s father died.

In the middle of a blizzard, a ways outside the city, Friedman was sitting shiva when Trump suddenly showed up. Friedman was stunned. Trump was famous, and busy, and didn’t owe him anything.

“He came by, spent about an hour with me,” Friedman said. “We talked about my father and talked about his father – about how much of an influence his father had over him. And you know, there was nobody around. He wasn’t trying to prove anything to anybody.”

Friedman also defended Trump when some Jewish groups took ire with his rhetoric around Jews. “If he’s guilty of anything," Friedman said, "It’s of observing that Jews have been successful and they’re smart, and they’re engaging – you know?” Friedman said. “Okay, guilty.”

Friedman contributed several opeds to The Jerusalem Post throughout Trump's campaign. In his most recent piece on his vision of Trump's first 100 days in office, he wrote, "Mr. Trump will do all he can to strengthen America’s partnership with Israel in combating the global war against Islamic terrorism... under president Trump, Israel will feel no pressure to make self-defeating concessions, America and Israel will enjoy unprecedented military and strategic cooperation, and there will be no daylight between the two countries."

Some Democratic-oriented Jewish groups reacted to Trump's choice in Friedman with fury on Thursday night. 

"J Street is vehemently opposed to the nomination of David Friedman to be ambassador to Israel," the organization said in a statement.

At a policy forum on Israel this month hosted by the Brookings Institution, Friedman offered choice words for J Street, an organization primarily focused on promoting a two-state solution. He questioned their commitment to Israel and their representation of Jewish causes, according to several attendees of the summit.

The National Jewish Democratic council took it a step further. "There has never been a less experienced pick for US ambassador to Israel," they tweeted on Thursday night, and added that Donald Trump "is not taking the US-Israel relationship seriously. Friedman not experienced enough to be" ambassador.

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