The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Carly Fiorina is not yet a recognizable name for most Americans, be she is the kind of potential GOP presidential candidate that makes the Dems' heads explode. Despite the Dems' "war on women" meme, she rose to become CEO of Hewlett Packard, one of the largest and most recognizable tech companies on the planet. She has had a rocky road as an executive, but corporate warfare in the private sector is not for the faint of heat. It forces one to lead from the front, not from behind. Fiorina is a corporate leader, an accomplished professional, and a severe critic of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. She is unlikely to become the GOP presidential nominee, but her comments are well worth considering.

The National Journal reports:
Fiorina is uniquely able to criticize Clinton without having to worry about cries of sexism. And it's an ability that she did not take for granted on Thursday.

"This is not leadership," she said of Obama. "Nor is it leadership when Secretary Clinton asks what difference does it make when our embassy is deliberately attacked by terrorists and four Americans are murdered," Fiorina said. "It makes all the difference, Mrs. Clinton, and the required response has never come." [*]

Fiorina also took the opportunity to slam the other leading lady in Democratic politics: Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

"Elizabeth Warren is right: Crony capitalism is indeed alive and well," Fiorina said. "Government and government programs have grown so big, so powerful, so costly, and so complex that only the big and the powerful can prosper. But Elizabeth Warren is dead wrong about how to end crony capitalism. You see, whether it is Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, or net neutrality, all this government complexity means the big get bigger, the small disappear, and the powerless are trapped."

Fiorina also readministered a burn notice to Clinton about her claim of traveling to 112 countries during her time as secretary of State. "Like Mrs. Clinton, I too have traveled the globe," Fiorina said, adding that "flying is an activity, not an accomplishment."

"I have met Vladimir Putin, and I know his determination will not be deterred by a gimmicky red reset button," Fiorina continued. "Mrs. Clinton, please name an accomplishment. And in the meantime, please explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Global Initiative from from foreign governments doesn't represent a conflict of interest."
It's going to be difficult for the Dems' trained hamsters in the media to demonize Fiorina, but it's a guarantee that they'll try, if she rises out of the pack and becomes a serious presidential contender. After all, the "war on women" doesn't count when you attack GOP women, does it?

For those progressives who continue to insist that the Benghazi attack is not a scandal (e.g., it's a phoney scandal ginned up by the GOP), and that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are blameless in their early actions to deny additional security for the embassy (well documented), their lies about the cause of the attack (thoroughly documented), and that there were options that could have been exercised to save the Americans under attack (confirmed via congressional testimony and reporting by Sharyl Atkisson), consider this, reported today by Andrew McCarthy:
From the very first moments of the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides were advised that the compound was under a terrorist attack. In fact, less than two hours into the attack, they were told that the al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility. These revelations and others are disclosed by a trove of e-mails and other documents pried from the State Department by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit ...

At 6:06 p.m. [about three hours after the attack began], another e-mail that went to top State Department officials explained that the local al-Qaeda affiliate had claimed responsibility for the attack: [emphasis mine] Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU): “(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and call for an attack on Embassy Tripoli” Despite this evidence that her top staffers were informed from the start that a terrorist attack was underway and that an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group had claimed credit for it, Secretary Clinton issued an official statement claiming the assault may have been in “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.” This was a reference to an obscure anti-Islamic video trailer for a film called Innocence of Muslims. Secretary Clinton’s statement took pains to add that “the United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others” — further intimating that the video was the cause of the attack.

So Hillary lied when she stated that the cause of the attack was a video. Why did she disregard her own embassy's report, offered in real time? Was it to protect Barack Obama during his re-election campaign.

Even though the trained hamsters in the media have done everything possible to protect this stonewalling administration, the truth is slowly seeping out. Ironically, it won't hurt Barack Obama (except possibly in the history books) but it just might hurt Hillary Clinton in her inexorable run for the presidency.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Team of 10s

Daniel Henninger is no friend of Barack Obama, suggesting, correctly I think, that Obama has been responsible for "the most catastrophic American presidency in over 80 years. And it ain’t over yet."

He suggests that the Democrat nominee is a fait accompli. The GOP field is considerably more interesting with a mix of Governors, Senators, a doctor, a TV personality/preacher, and a business executive in the running. That level of diversity is sorely missing among the Dems—the party of, ahem, diversity.

But Henninger warns that even if the GOP prevails against an onslaught of "middle class economics," "income inequality," and the "war on women," putting this nation back on course and correcting the damage that has been done will not be easy. He writes:
Instead of offering an anxious electorate a recognizable alternative to this status quo, the Republicans look like they’re obsessed with discovering Captain America.

Their Captain America could be named Rand, Scott, Jeb or Marco, but the mere landing of this political superhero in the Oval Office will turn the country around. Really? That’s all it is going to take?
The sad reality is that a president can do great damage, but correcting the damage takes time, political will, leadership and a very competent team of professionals that have been sorely lacking in recent years.

Henninger writes:
The task that Barack Obama is dumping on the next U.S. president, of either party, is overwhelming.

Here’s the job description: Needed, a U.S. president able to confront a world in chaos, rebuild shattered alliances, revive the country’s demoralized intelligence services and senior officer corps, manage foreign and domestic demands with a budget that will be drained for years by fantastically expensive debt servicing, and along the way restore public faith in an array of deeply politicized federal bureaucracies—Justice, HHS, EPA, Labor, Internal Revenue, the NLRB, FCC, EEOC, even the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. just tried electing a rookie president and had six years of amateur hour. It doesn’t work. And it won’t work again if the next president, whether rookie or former governor, shows up in the Oval Office in January 2017 with not much more than his victory cape and some political pals.

Given the scale of the challenge, the next U.S. president isn’t going to have a six-month honeymoon to figure out the policy details of what he wants to do. Whoever occupies the White House after the Obama Terminator presidency stops will have to hit the ground running from day one. Competent Cabinet secretaries and their deputies aren’t something you can grab off the shelf. The next president, before the Inauguration, will have to be someone who can attract about 100 of the most skilled and yes, experienced, people available into government.
I have written many times about Barack Obama's Team of 2s. Through their incompetence, partisan ideology, and dishonesty, they have created a severe challenge for the next president—a challenge that can only be addressed with a Team of 10s. The GOP should remember that as they pick their nominee for 2016.

Three-Ds, Part 2

In my last post, I discussed Iran within the context of Three Ds—duplicity, dishonesty, deception—and wondered why the Obama administration is trying so hard to come to a negotiated agreement that by all appearances will not stop Iran's thrust toward nuclear weapons, will not be verifiable in any real sense, and will lead to an nuclear arms race with Iran's Sunni neighbors.

I juxtaposed Obama's willingness to meet Iran (an avowed enemy of the U.S.) considerably more than half way with his administration's vicious attacks on Israel's Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu (a long time friend and ally), who is doing nothing more that giving a speech before Congress expressing an opposing view. Why is it, I wonder, that leftists like Barack Obama want so desperately to silence opposing opinions? Could it be that deep down, leftists recognize that their arguments are weak, their claims are not supported by facts, and their positions do not stand up to objective reality.

In the case of Netanyahu, top dogs among Obama's foreign policy Team of 2s have been unleashed. Susan Rice—you remember, that's the same Susan Rice who lies to the nation when she suggested that the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi was the result of a anti-Muslim video—stated that Netanyahu's speech would be "destructive."

FoxNews commentator Greta Van Susteren comments:
Really? She thinks his speech is the problem, that his speech is the destructive to the relationship? Apparently, Susan Rice has a spotty memory, or a politically convenient one. Or maybe she is drinking something weird.

How could she possibly forget that her boss, President Obama, got caught on a hot mic trash-talking Prime Minister Netanyahu? Trash-talking? That's destructive. [1] Or that President Obama skipped going to Paris after a terror attack on a Jewish deli? Destructive. [2] Or how about that Obama administration official who called Netanyahu a chicken you-know-what and a coward. Name calling? That's destructive. [3]

And, of course, President Obama never disavowed those insults, nor apologized for his staffer. His silence? That's destructive. [4] Or how about the former Obama campaign staffers in Israel right now working to defeat Netanyahu in his upcoming election. Destructive. [5] Or President Obama refusing to meet with Netanyahu next week? Destructive. [6]

Well, Susan Rice let us know who she thinks is destructive in this relationship. I will keep it a secret who I think might be delusional...
And then there's John Kerry, our illustrious Secretary of State, who went out of his way in Congressional testimony and dredged up Netanyahu's support for the Iraq war in 2003, suggesting that because the war didn't go well, Bibi should be disqualified from any opinion about Iran. Kerry is not an intellectual giant. He somehow forgot that he supported the Iraq war with a vote in the Senate. Following his own fevered logic, that disqualifies his opinions as well. By the way, the entire U.S Senate voted 77 - 23 in favor of the war against Saddam Hussein, so I suppose every senator who voted 'aye' and is still in office is disqualified as well. Among those voting in favor—get ready—was then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. I wonder if that disqualifies her from her presumptive run for president. Bottom line, in an effort to be snarky about Bibi, Kerry shot himself and Clinton in the foot. Absolutely hilarious—vicious, but hilarious.

Many wizened Washington veterans are astounded at the level of viciousness coming from the Obama administration on this matter. In fact, the administration's response is so outlandish, there might be more to it. Is it possible that Obama wants to stress the relationship between Israel and the United States so that he can voice stronger support for Hamas and/or he PLO? Or is it a way of demonstrating to a duplicitous, dishonest and deceptive Iran that Obama is being even-handed? Or is it just personal—an effort to ensure Netanyahu's defeat in the upcoming Israeli election? With this president one can only guess and wonder whether the three Ds applies to more than just Iran's behavior.


It just keeps getting better. Obama and his Team of 2s are oh-so worried that something might upset the 'delicate' negotiations with the Iranians. That, they claim, is one of the reasons why they're oh-so concerned about Bibi Netanyahu's speech.

The Mullahs on the other hand aren't so worried about Obama's delicate sensibilities. The left-wing Guardian (U.K) reports:
With rockets roaring and guns blazing, more than a dozen swarming Iranian speedboats assaulted a replica of a US aircraft carrier on Wednesday during large-scale naval drills near the strategically vital entrance of the Persian Gulf.

The nationally televised show of force by the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard comes just weeks ahead of a deadline for Iran and world powers to forge a historic deal on the fate of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Iranian live-fire war games are not uncommon. But by simulating for the first time an attack on the ultimate symbol of American naval power, hardliners hoped to send a message that Iran has no intention of backing down to the US – whichever way talks over its contested nuclear program go.
I wonder if Susan Rice would call that "destructive." John Kerry probably hasn't heard about it yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Three Ds

The Obama administration and its trained hamsters in the media are working overtime to emphasize "progress" in negotiations with Iran. This, from the Associated Press:
GENEVA (AP) — Edging toward a historic compromise, the U.S. and Iran reported progress Monday on a deal that would clamp down on Tehran's nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then slowly ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic arms.

Officials said there were still obstacles to overcome before a March 31 deadline, and any deal will face harsh opposition in both countries. It also would be sure to further strain already-tense U.S. relations with Israel, whose leaders oppose any agreement that doesn't end Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to strongly criticize the deal in an address before Congress next week.

Still, a comprehensive pact could ease 35 years of U.S-Iranian enmity — and seems within reach for the first time in more than a decade of negotiations.

"We made progress," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said as he bade farewell to members of the American delegation at the table with Iran. More discussions between Iran and the six nations engaging it were set for next Monday, a senior U.S. official said.
Progress toward what, exactly?

In the 35-plus years since Iran invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held hostages for over 400 days, they have exhibited the three-Ds—duplicity, dishonesty, and deception. Time after time, the radical Islamic leaders of Iran have been duplicitous in their dealing with the west, dishonest about their intentions and their actions in a broad range of issues, and deceitful with the nuclear watchdog  IAEA as the Mullahs rush to become a nuclear power.

Barack Obama and his Team of 2s are willfully ignoring past history and disregarding the three-Ds in the hope of reaching an "historic" agreement. If an agreement is reached it will be historic, but for all the wrong reasons. It will set the stage for Iran's efforts to become a nuclear power. It will ultimately destabilize (even further) the Middle East, it will lead to broad nuclear proliferation in an already unstable region, and it just might lead to World War III. But the Team of 2s doesn't care. All that matter's is Obama's foreign policy legacy. Therefore, the Team of 2s needs to seed media reports with positive stories about the negotiations in order to blunt Bibi Netanyahu's upcoming criticism of the projected deal in his speech before Congress next week.

Even more troubling, there are reports that the reason the Obama administration has been particularly soft on the Russian invasion of the Ukraine is because they need the Russians—a member of the P5+1 negotiating team, if a deal with Iran is reached. If this is true, and I suspect it is, we can conclude that in order to get a bad deal with a duplicitous, dishonest and deceptive enemy, the Team of 2s is willing to sell the Ukraine—an ally—down the river. That gives them a 2-fer, because they have been perfectly willing to sell another ally—Israel—down the river as well.

Hmmm. Maybe the three-Ds is applicable to more than just Iran.


Rudy Giuliani is persona non gratia for those on the left. He had the temerity to suggest (using indelicate language to be sure) that Barack Obama views the United States somewhat differently than past presidents. But the fact that Rudy is in the media doghouse doesn't mean that his views should be dismissed on other issues, including Iran. In a recent speech, he said:
So let’s review the [proposed] agreement, because this is really what’s at stake here. And then one other thing that’s so important. Iran wants, it says, the peaceful use of nuclear power. Iran has 300 years of natural gas and oil reserves and they haven’t started fracking or hydraulic drilling yet. They may have 1000 years of reserves. I’m an expert on energy because that’s what my law firm does. Iran does not need a nuclear power plant for power. They got plenty of energy, plenty of energy to export to the rest of the world. There is no reason in the world for them to have the peaceful use of nuclear power. Maybe France needs it. Maybe countries without natural resources need it, but Iran doesn’t need it. So why have they been doing this? They’ve been doing this because they want to become a nuclear power. Not only that, they have written that, they have said that, they have described that. The president reformer who runs Iran, Rouhani, in ’03 and ’05 continued to enrich uranium while they had a standstill agreement with us. He did it secretly and bragged about it, and we’re negotiating with them. This is like playing poker with a guy who cheated you twice before. You know who does that? A moron. [applause] An agreement with Iran with regard to nuclear power should be very simple. Iran should not be allowed to have any form of nuclear power. [emphasis mine]
There's an old saying that seems appropro. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." The problem with the Team of 2s is that they're fooled all the time, but because they think they're the smartest guys in the room, there's no room for shame.

UPDATE (2/25/15):

As expected and previously predicted in this blog, the Obama administration is now in full-throated anti-Netanyahu mode as the date of the Israeli Prime Minister's speech to a joint session of congress approaches. The Wall Street Journal reports:
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama ’s national security adviser castigated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the Israeli leader’s plan to address a joint session of Congress next week has been “destructive” to the relationship between the two countries.

The remarks by Susan Rice , by far the sharpest yet over the planned March 3 speech by Mr. Netanyahu, came in a television interview late Tuesday and underscored the extent of the rift that has opened between Mr. Netanyahu and the White House over the issue of the Obama administration’s push for an international accord on Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Netanyahu accepted an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), who offered it without consulting Democratic leaders or the White House. Mr. Netanyahu plans to speak against a possible deal with Iran.

Ms. Rice said during a Tuesday appearance on the Charlie Rose talk show that the invitation and speech represent an infusion of domestic partisan politics in what has traditionally been a bipartisan support for Israel and is problematic.

“On both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship,” she said, adding that the relationship has “always been bipartisan, we need to keep it that way.”
So ... Susan Rice, a leading member of Obama's Team of 2s, suggests that listening to another viewpoint from an ally who is directly and existentially affected by Obama's decision on Iran is "destructive," and by implication, that the only way to achieve "bi-partisanship" is to agree blindly with this president. Recall that Barack Obama has disregarded Iran's many, many transgressions and lies over the past 30 years. He has looked the other way as Iran has sponsored Islamic terror on a global scale. He wants to make nice with the Mullahs.

But Bibi makes a speech in front of Congress and all hell brakes loose. If this tantrum wasn't so predictable it would be unbelievable. But this is the Obama presidency, so vicious attacks on those who question Obama's policies are standard operating procedure.

The Democrat Party should be ashamed of this temper tantrum, particularly because many members are reported to be very uncomfortable with (1) the projected Iranian deal and (2) Obama's evolving and accelerating anti-Israel positions. But like the Stepford wives, they march zombi-like behind this president. It's too late to hold Barack Obama to account. It's not too late to consider whether a political party that supports this level of viciousness against a long-time ally is worthy of leading this country anywhere at any time in the foreseeable future.


Monday, February 23, 2015


Rudy Giuliani and Barack Obama are polar opposites. Giuliani is a straight talker, speaking his mind with a classic New York flair. That sometimes gets him into trouble, but at least you know where he stands on a particular issue. Obama is a sigificantly more nuanced, always equivocating and often changing positions and his interpretation of facts as fluidly as a cameleon changes its colors.

Last week, Rudy suggested that Barack Obama doesn't love the United States in the same way that many other Americans do. It was a impolitic statement, one that Rudy himself indicated was "horrible." No one can know what 'love for country' Barack Obama has in his heart, so it's impossible to argue Rudy's accusation on either the pro or con side. What we can do is look at this president's actions and words over the past few decades. We can also look at the people he has been associated with before he was president and his speeches, appointments, and actions as president for clues. But clues are all they are.

In the fallout following Rudy's statement, Obama supporters were apoplectic, vilifying Rudy as a racist (what racism has to do with it can only be conjured in the fevered imagination of a Leftist) and generally screaming bloody murder about the entire affair.

Liberal pundit, Mike Barnacle, is typical in his criticism:
So here we are at the start of a week after the country witnessed Rudy Giuliani doing a backstroke through the gutter of American politics. Apparently desperate for attention, the former mayor of New York jumped out of his seat at a gathering of wealthy Republicans who had assembled at the 21 Club in Manhattan in order to do a loud, please notice me, clown act.
Funny, that Barnacle never seems to mention when Obama does fundraising among "wealthy" democrats, but I suppose that's beside the point. Along with dozens of Obama supporters, Barnacle attempts to psychoanalyze Giuliani, suggesting that his statement is a cry for recognition, rather than a serious, albeit partisan, observation about a left-wing president. They might be right, but since we're psychoanalyzing people, let's take a look at Richard Fernandez's far more insightful analysis of Obama. Fernandez suggests that Obama is what can be called a "charismatic leader." He then writes:
A charismatic leader derives authority from himself; from an astounding life story, from attributes possessed by no other man. The approach has become common and we know the sort; the Native American who became a law professor and then Senator; the single mother who wanted to be a governor. The life-story is now standard, but Obama was clearly special. From the very beginning of his career Obama argued that his unique biography — his bi-racial parentage, foreign upbringing, his literary skills etc — made him a special person. By virtue of these gifts he could heal racial divisions; reach out to the Muslim world; bridge the gap between rich and poor and serve as a link between the generations.

By contrast most American presidents derived their greatness from the position, many simply political hacks who we remember today simply because they occupied the Oval Office. Obama marks the first time in recent memory when the office is deemed uplifted by the man and not the other way round. Charismatic leadership has its advantages, which is why it occurs repeatedly in history. It permits the charismatic person to “be bigger than the job” and do great things. Men with this attribute, like Alexander, Caesar or Napoleon seem to rise above the rules and constraints that bind mere human beings. It’s natural that Obama would prefer to be a ‘special’ president rather than an ordinary one.

Yet as someone said to a student who aspired to drop out of college “like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs”, you have to first be sure you can walk that walk before casting your academic career to the winds. Because charismatic leadership has some drawbacks. The most obvious being that since power flows from the person himself then when Rudy Giuliani publicly questioned Obama’s patriotism he was attacking the wellsprings of the administration ...

What Giuliani had done was undermine Obama’s legitimacy. Because so much of Obama’s “power” comes from his special-ness that to question his patriotism is to strike at the basis for his governance. It was, as in a monarchy, tantamount to rebellion. The reason that similar remarks by Obama about George Bush’s patriotism evoked simple shrugs was because Bush was just an ordinary president, the latest in a line of politicians to occupy the office since George Washington.

But Obama is different. One cannot understand, for example, the vituperation vented by Dana Milbank at Scott Walker, calling him out for “cowardice”, arguing for his “disqualification” (yes those are the words) for the simple act of refusing to publicly repudiate Giuliani’s words about the president, unless one grasps this essential fact. Obama is different. The Obama phenomenon is founded so completely on his legend that to attack the legend is to undermine the very foundations of the tower on which he stands.

But this is not the first time the Obama myth has been directly impugned. The first major political figure to accidentally touch the Third Rail was Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has become an extraordinary hate object in the press, not because of any views he may hold on policy, but because Netanyahu had the temerity to disrespect Obama. Netanyahu must have been astonished by the charge of electricity that gave back on him.

Disrespect America, even attack it if you want, and you will not receive a tenth such voltage as did Netanyahu. The torrent of hostility poured upon Netanyahu was so out of proportion to any conceivable offense, that he probably felt obliged to persist in coming, reasoning that he must be on to something. Yet the myth of the president has been crumbling abroad for some time. Readers will recall that Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande recently made the almost unheard-of move of negotiating directly with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine without receiving instructions from the “leader of the free world”.
It's always fun to flip the psychoanalysis from the analyzed to the analyzer. A volcano of protest erupted from the left when Giuliani—an national political figure—dared to suggest what he suggested. The volcano is best explained not by Barnacle et al who demonized Rudy by throwing a collective tantrum, but rather by Fernandez's cogent analysis of the kind of 'leader' that Obama is.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Peter Pan, Al Sharpton, and Frank Underwood

As we move into the run-up to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's March 3rd speech to a joint session of Congress, reports indicate that Barack Obama (through the actions of his administration) is behaving like a petulant child who doesn't like the idea that someone of stature might disagree with him. The AP (via ABC News) reports:
In what is becoming an increasingly nasty grudge match, the White House is mulling ways to undercut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to Washington and blunt his message that a potential nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and the world.
Obama's trained hamsters in the media are working overtime to help Obama demonize Bibi and undercut his message when it is delivered.

At the same time, reports that leaders of Arab nations have exactly the same concerns as Bibi and have communicated them forcefully, yet privately, to the White House. The Wall Street Journal reports:
WASHINGTON—Arab governments are privately expressing their concern to Washington about the emerging terms of a potential deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program, according to Arab and U.S. officials involved in the deliberations.

The direction of U.S. diplomacy with Tehran has added fuel to fears in some Arab states of a nuclear-arms race in the region, as well as reviving talk about possibly extending a U.S. nuclear umbrella to Middle East allies to counter any Iranian threat.

The major Sunni states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, have said that a final agreement could allow Shiite-dominated Iran, their regional rival, to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons, according to these officials, while removing many of the sanctions that have crippled its economy in recent years.

Arab officials said a deal would likely drive Saudi Arabia, for one, to try to quickly match Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

“At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal,” said an Arab official who has discussed Iran with the Obama administration and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.
So ... we have enemies—Israel and the Arabs—who reside in the same region immediately threatened by Iran, agreeing without reservation that Barack Obama's attempts at cutting a deal with no teeth is dangerous; that it will lead to a nuclear arms race, and that it is a threat not only to the region, but to the world.

But Obama and his Team of 2s know better. After all, their string of foreign policy successes ... oh wait, they have had no foreign policy successes in his six years of office. No matter, they're the smartest kids in the room, so we just have to trust them -- just like we trusted them when Obama withdrew from Iraq and ISIS was spawned, or how we trusted them when Obama deposed Mohammar Kaddafi and turned Libya into a failed state that is now the home of many different radical Islamic groups, or when we "reset" relations with Russia, only to have Vlad Putin annex Crimea and invade the Ukraine.

Barack Obama has the aggressiveness of Peter Pan, the insight of Al Sharpton, and the ethics of Frank Underwood (the iconic fictional politician in Netflix' House of Cards).

Obama projects an aura of supreme confidence, yet underneath it all, there must be feelings of grave insecurity. Why? Because if this president was certain he was doing the right thing for the United States and its allies, why would he be afraid of a simple speech by Bibi Netanyahu?

A complete answer is complex and will be left to another time. But here's a preview. Throughout his term, Obama—in both words and actions—has demonstrated a dislike not only for Bibi the man, but Israel the country. He and his Team of 2s, not to put to fine a point on it, are anti-Israel. But that's not all. In order to burnish a foreign policy record that is in tatters, Obama needs a foreign policy "win." He perceives a weak, dangerous deal with Iran as a "win." His media hamsters will characterize it as a "win." So he's going for it, even if it's a very, very bad deal for the United Sates and for the Middle East. Think: Peter Pan, crossed with Al Sharpton, crossed with Frank Underwood.

There, that wasn't so complicated, was it?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Extreme Violence

Barack Obama's “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” ended with a wimper yesterday. It comes as no surprise that it accomplished nothing. Worse, it projected a message to the world—that the President of the United States honestly believes (or at least he says he believes) that a 'Jobs for Jihadis' program is a key to defeating radical Islam (oops, I mean "violent extremism") and that if only we better understand the "grievances" of those radical Islamists and address them with understanding and, of course, with Twitter, that ... well ... they will see the error of their ways and never, ever, ever join ISIS or any of the dozens of other groups that espouse a radical Islamic philosophy. It's Peter Pan thinking, but the frightening thing is, it's espoused by this president, his Secretary of State, and his Director of Homeland security—not to mention every other member of the Team of 2s that currently inhabits the White House.

A few days before most of the mainstream media discovered it, I was fortunate to run across a seminal paper by Graeme Wood, entitled, "What ISIS Really Wants." Published at the left-leaning Atlantic website, it is a dissertation-length refutation of just about everything that Barack Obama claims relative to the "un-Islamic" nature of ISIS and all other radical Islamic groups.

Peggy Noonan does a good job of summarizing some of the salient points:
Great essays tell big truths. A deeply reported piece in next month’s Atlantic magazine does precisely that, and in a way devastating to the Obama administration’s thinking on ISIS ...

Mr. Wood describes a dynamic, savage and so far successful organization whose members mean business. Their mettle should not be doubted. ISIS controls an area larger than the United Kingdom and intends to restore, and expand, the caliphate. Mr. Wood interviewed Anjem Choudary of the banned London-based Islamist group Al Muhajiroun, who characterized ISIS’ laws of war as policies of mercy, not brutality. “He told me the state has an obligation to terrorize its enemies,” Mr. Wood writes, “because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict.”

ISIS has allure: Tens of thousands of foreign Muslims are believed to have joined. The organization is clear in its objectives: “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change . . . that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world. . . . The Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.”

The scale of the savagery is difficult to comprehend and not precisely known. Regional social media posts “suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks.” Most, not all, of the victims are Muslims.

The West, Mr. Wood argues, has been misled “by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. . . . The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers,” drawn largely from the disaffected. “But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.” Its actions reflect “a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bring about the apocalypse.”

Mr. Wood acknowledges that ISIS reflects only one, minority strain within Islam. “Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.”

He quotes Princeton’s Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on ISIS’ theology. The group’s fighters, Mr. Haykel says, “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition,” and denials of its religious nature spring from embarrassment, political correctness and an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”
Extreme political correctness has led this administration to "get on its high horse" and proclaim that military solutions alone won't solve this problem," and then proceed to suggest the typical far left narrative that demands an airing of grievances (by the Jihadis), and end to poverty, helplessness, corruption, etc. (for the Jihadis) and an indirect demand for social justice (applied to the Jihadis).

Here's the thing. Sheltered, progressive Western elites simply don't understand what is driving the young men who join ISIS or al Qaeda, or Boko Haram, or dozens of other radical Islamic terror organizations. It's not they they are poor, or helpless or have grievances, because if that were the case, analogous groups would be found among impoverished Catholics in South America or impoverished Hindus in parts of India, to name only two of many peoples around the world who live in poverty and at the same time experience helplessness. Like it or not, there's something about Islam that spawns groups like ISIS, and the elites don't like it, so they reject any connection between those groups and Islam. Graeme Wood demonstrates unequivocally that a connection—a very strong connection—does in fact exist.

But something else is going on in the minds of young men who in their religious fervor allow Islam to assuage any guilt about the barbarous acts that they conduct. Part of it is that the texts of Islam can be interpreted in ways that enable it to recommend many of those acts—beheadings, burnings—against infidels and apostates. But that interpretation alone isn't enough.

ISIS (or for that matter, Boko Haram or al Qaeda) is muscular. It's perceived as the strong horse, talking trash to "Rome" (the West) and daring Rome to react. That's very attractive to young Jihadis—who swarm to Syria to join the "winning" team.

How do we fight that? Not with jobs programs or tweets, or round-table discussions of grievances. It requires making ISIS a loser. And the only way to do that is to apply extreme violence—something that the young Jihadis will undoubtedly understand. The big question is "Who applies the violence?"

The answer must be: those Muslims who are in the region, who are threatened by ISIS, and who, if we are to believe the protestations of the Western elites, are opposed to everything ISIS and other radical Islamists stand for. The West can provide weapons, logistical support, special operators to guide tactics, and massive air support along with other essentials including psy-ops conducted via social media. But 100,000 troops from Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (along with select Syrian militias, the Iraqi army, and the Kurds—another 10,000 fighters or more) with heavy armor and the will to win must apply the extreme violence. We have to accept the fact civilian populations will suffer, cities may be destroyed, and collateral damage will occur. We must allow the armies of the region to define rules of engagement that enable extreme violence. Muslims must kill the Muslims who are out to destroy or subjugate them all.

But most important, the Muslims of the region need to know that they have a reliable partner in the West—a leader who will keep his promises, who has the courage and the will to help them defeat ISIS and its brethren. A leader who can convince them that they must apply extreme violence and do it soon.

For if they they are not convinced and do not act, extreme violence will be visited on their people as ISIS grows ever stronger.

Do moderate Muslims have a reliable partner in the West? Someone who can convince them that they must act and act soon. Do they have a leader who has the courage and the will to help them defeat ISIS and its brethren?

They. Do. Not.

And therein lies the problem.

This hardhitting infographic—developed for Barack Obama's conference on "violent extremism" tells us what's really important as we work to eliminate ...uh,  "violent extremism."

But then again, all of us folks more than 50  miles from Washington, DC or located outside the salons of the progressive elites aren't nuanced enough to understand how profound this little graphic (produced, no doubt, with taxpayer dollars) really is.  Might be a good idea to put about 40,000 images on sheets of paper and drop them on ISIS. That's the kind of air strike the administration could really get behind.

I'm absolutely certain ISIS would see the light, drop their automatic weapons and beheading swords and become moderate members of the religion of peace.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Drop Out

It's been a very, very long time since anyone asked me what my GPA was as an undergraduate engineering student (at UConn, a state university) or for that matter, whether I even have a college degree. And no one, not our employees, our customers, our vendors, or suppliers gives a damn about whether or not I have graduate degrees, what they are or from where they came. What they do care about is that we run a successful business, sell quality products, treat our employees well, and pay our bills on time.

Yet some Dems and their trained hamsters in the media seem to care oh-so-much about the fact the GOP presidential primary candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, quit college in his senior year to take a job and ultimately, enter politics. The media played that simple fact for all it was worth, and then, Howard Dean, a prominent Democrat, expressed concern that Walker hadn't graduated, suggesting that a lack of a college degree made him unworldly and therefore, suspect as a potential leader. What elitist garbage!

Over the past 6-plus years, we've watched the current resident of the White House—an Ivy league graduate (although his academic records are curiously unavailable for examination) radically increase the nation's debt, permanently damage its healthcare system, and establish economic policies that have hurt, not helped the poor and middle class. At the same time, we've observed Hillary Clinton—a Yale Graduate—screw up foreign policy (under her boss' direction) so badly that the only reasonable grade she'd get is "F." It's therefore a bit ironic that Howard Dean is talking about educational credentials as a prerequisite for the highest office in the land.

Ed Morrisey comments:
... the lack of a degree speaks to beginnings, not outcomes ... There is undeniable value in finishing college and getting a degree ... It provides the graduate with a good start in life, in both the education it administers and the credential received, which at least attests to some degree of commitment in one's youth.

But that's all it signifies, at least in the context of politics. Walker has been in public life for 25 years, running for a seat in the Wisconsin state legislature at age 22, and winning a seat in 1993. After nine years in the assembly, Walker won election as Milwaukee county executive, serving in that position for eight years before winning the gubernatorial election in 2010. Walker has built his career in public service on his own actions, not on the strength of his college education, and has done well enough to win re-election not once but twice for the top spot, thanks to an ill-fated recall election prompted by his reforms in public-employee union collective bargaining.

By this point, Walker's college track record is as irrelevant as anything else not related to his public service, and certainly less relevant than the educational records of those with less experience in executive management. Walker jokes that he has a master's degree in "taking on the big-government special interests," but in truth he has 13 years in high-profile public-sector executive jobs, including more than four years as governor. That is far more experience, and a much more predictive track record, than others have had before running for governor or president, including the current occupant of the White House. Much was made of Barack Obama's Ivy League credentials, but as the disastrous ObamaCare rollout and the collapse of his foreign policy show, voters should have paid less attention to the papers on his wall and more attention to his lack of experience.
If Walker gets the GOP nomination (and that's a big 'if') I suspect this topic will resurface as the the Dem's vaunted slime machine ramps up in 2016. Looks like their strategy might be: identity politics coupled with educational politics, coupled with anything else (e.g., war on women, income inequality, class warfare) that might cause the voting public to shift its focus from the Dems' incompetent and scandal-ridden leadership over the preceding eight years.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Violent Extremism"

This morning, Barack Obama (or more likely, his speechwriters) wrote an op-ed entitled "Our Fight Against Violent Extremism" for his trained hamsters at the LA Times. This, I suppose, was intended to complement his Conference on Violent Extremism that begins today in Washington. I'd like to examine his op-ed and comment on it paragraph by paragraph. Obama's words will indented, mine will be a left justified. Let's begin with Obama's opening paragraph:
The United States has made significant gains against terrorism. We've decimated the core al Qaeda leadership, strengthened homeland security and worked to prevent another large-scale attack like 9/11.
Significant gains? I suspect that many would disagree. Sure, the country has strengthened its intelligence and military assets in the 'long war,' but to state that we have in any way reduced the threat is, typically, dishonest in the extreme.
At the same time, the threat has evolved. The al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen actively plots against us. Since 9/11, terrorists have murdered U.S. citizens overseas, including in the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Here in the United States, Americans have been killed at Ft. Hood and during the Boston Marathon.
Interesting that Obama brings up Benghazi—an attack that to this day his administration has worked very hard to obfuscate. There are dozens of open questions about that attack that remain unanswered and very troubling. In addition, it was Obama's policy that threw Libya into chaos and that has created a new homeland for ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups. I'm not sure why he brought up the Ft. Hood attack, given that to this day the administration has characterized this act of Islamic terror as "work place violence."
Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds.
Two key points: (1) It is not our battle to win over the hearts and minds of Islamic radicals—it's Islam's battle, and it is up to them to do so. If, in fact, they refuse or fail, then we must re-evaluate our relationship with mainstream Islam because they will have allowed the plague to grow, ultimately infecting us all. (2) History has indicated that "winning hearts and minds" is a fantasy. Think of it this way, should we have tried to win the hearts and minds of the Nazis in 1938? In a way, we did try by appeasing them. How did that work out for the tens of millions who subsequently perished? 
In Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent civilians and murdered hostages, including Americans, and has spread its barbarism to Libya with the murder of Egyptian Christians. In recent months, we've seen deadly attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Paris and Copenhagen.
Elsewhere, the Pakistan Taliban massacred more than 100 schoolchildren and their teachers. From Somalia, al-Shabaab has launched attacks across East Africa. In Nigeria and neighboring countries, Boko Haram kills and kidnaps men, women and children.
All of this is true, but it doesn't even begin to cover the breadth of the threat. Obama conveniently leaves out the religious aspect to this violence. The directed (not "random") attacks on Christians and Jews and the clear and unequivocal element of Islamic supremacism cannot be rationally denied. He also forgets to mention the continual attacks on free speech by Islamic radicals.
In the face of this challenge, we must stand united internationally and here at home. We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem. Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so.
Who, exactly, is "we." Is it the West, is it mainstream Islam, and how, exactly are "we" to proceed? In addition, he talks about radical Islam as a "problem." Interesting choice of words. A problem can be solved. But that's not what radical Islam is. It's a threat to the West, to peace, to people of other religions. Threats are not solved. Threats are addressed forcefully and eliminated.
This week, we'll take an important step forward as governments, civil society groups and community leaders from more than 60 nations gather in Washington for a global summit on countering violent extremism. Our focus will be on empowering local communities.
Oh my, where to begin. Here we have a president who will not name our adversary and seems unsure and ambivalent about the way forward. He sponsors a "conference" on "violent extremism" in which words, not actions, will emerge. The politically-correct talk-fest will accomplish exactly nothing. In fact, it will be counter-productive because it will indicate that we'd prefer to talk, rather than act. Think of it this way. As the Nazi threat emerged in the 1930s, would a gathering of "governments, civil society groups and community leaders from more than 60 nations" have done anything to eliminate it?
Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims. The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam. We can echo the testimonies of former extremists who know how terrorists betray Islam. We can help Muslim entrepreneurs and youths work with the private sector to develop social media tools to counter extremist narratives on the Internet.
In a very important article in The Atlantic—a left-leaning publication,  Graeme Wood refutes the gross over-simplification that radical Islam is a "twisted interpretation of religion." His in-depth article is must reading for anyone, left or right, who wants to understand radical Islam and its religious foundation. His research is very troubling and is in direct conflict with Obama's interpretation.
We know from experience that the best way to protect people, especially young people, from falling into the grip of violent extremists is the support of their family, friends, teachers and faith leaders. At this week's summit, community leaders from Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston will highlight innovative partnerships in their cities that are helping empower communities to protect their loved ones from extremist ideologies.
Yeah, all we need to do is create a few cool websites, tweet just the right things, and post instagram images that are better accepted than beheaded corpses. Yeah, that'll work. Won't it? By the way, Obama mentions that "we all know from experience ..."  Really? Can he provide examples that indicate this to be true on a broad scale, and if in fact it is true, is he really suggesting that some Muslim "young people" gravitate to radical Islam because they aren't receiving competing  messages? Really?
More broadly, groups like al Qaeda and ISIL exploit the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives. The world has to offer today's youth something better.
Ahhh .. the standard leftist trope. It's all about "injustice and corruption" and we might as well add the other operative leftist memes—oppression, joblessness, hopelessness ...blah, blah. Here's the thing:  unfortunately, injustice, corruption, oppression, joblessness, and hopelessness exist in many segments of many societies in many parts of the world, yet we do not see broad-based, barbaric acts of terror emanating from those societies. Only where Islam is present do we see this occurring. That's a clue as to what the "problem" might be. But I'll bet there won't be a panel discussion on it at Obama's conference, will there?
Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.
My goodness. This is embarrassing in its banality. The core tenet of radical Islam is Sharia—complete submission to Islamic law. There is no democracy or human rights possible because these cannot exist alongside Sharia. To suggest that "entrepreneurial development" will somehow stop the march of radical Islam is—idiotic in the extreme.
Finally — with al Qaeda and ISIL peddling the lie that the United States is at war with Islam — all of us have a role to play by upholding the pluralistic values that define us as Americans. This week, we'll be joined by people of many faiths, including Muslim Americans who make extraordinary contributions to our country every day. It's a reminder that America is successful because we welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds.
This is a common Obama verbal strategy. He has created a strawman that doesn't exist in the real world. He suggests that somehow, the United States is being unfair or bigoted toward its Muslim citizens. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This country along with other Western nations has shown character and calm in light of the monstrous events perpetrated by radical Islam worldwide. In all of the years that have passed since 9/11, there have been far fewer hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims than against, say, Jews or gay people.
That pluralism has at times been threatened by hateful ideologies and individuals from various religions. We've seen tragic killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012 and at a Jewish community center in Kansas last year.
Does this president expect us to believe that a few isolated hate crimes should be compared to the threat of the planned, coordinated barbarity of radical Islam. Is there truly moral equivalence in this analogy? Nonsense!
We do not yet know why three young people, who were Muslim Americans, were brutally killed in Chapel Hill, N.C. But we know that many Muslim Americans across our country are worried and afraid. Americans of all faiths and backgrounds must continue to stand united with a community in mourning and insist that no one should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.
Interesting. The White House at first called the recent anti-Semitic attack in Paris that killed four Jews "random." A few days ago, it referred to ISIS's mass murder of Coptic Christians by referring to them as "Egyptian citizens." But despite clear evidence that the three Muslim students killed by an unhinged, progressive, atheist  had nothing to do with their religion, Obama holds this event up as some exemplar of anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States. Interesting also, that he doesn't mention the fact that Jews, in very large numbers, are fleeing Europe because of real, not imagined, Muslim anti-Semitism.
Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds. With this week's summit, we'll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.
Yep. It's all about "opportunity, justice and dignity." And it's exactly that mindset that causes the "folks" at ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, al Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood and dozens of other radical Islamic groups to smile.

In writing about the EU's response to Russian aggression in the Ukraine and Barack Obama's response to "violent extremism," Richard Fernandez uses a metaphor that is entirely appropriate:
Both Obama and Merkel are in the position of a cuckolded husband who pauses at a bedroom door, knowing what he will find on the other side and yet reluctant to cross the threshold for fear of having to do something once the situation becomes undeniable. To avoid conflict he pauses at the doorway to give himself the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately the sounds emanating from within grow ever more unmistakable and the only question is not if, but when the truth must be faced.
The sounds from the other side are echoes of the 1930s. And yet, this president stands at the door, hoping against hope that nothing is there.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Less than a month ago, I posted a piece about European anti-Semitism entitled, "Canaries" in which I wrote:
The current population of a specific group within a country, coupled with the birthrate of that group, compared to the population and birthrate of other indigenous groups leads to a relatively simple outcome. High birthrate will lead to a larger group that will grow in population geometrically, if that birthrate remains high. And if the birthrate of other groups is low, the high birthrate group inexorably takes over—in population, in voters, in culture.

Of course, this isn't a problem when different groups have shared values, are tolerant of one another, and have no intention of forcing less fecund groups to "submit." But when members of the high birthrate group are intolerant, want to instantiate a set of laws that is closer to the 7th century than the 21st century, and will only tolerate others if they submit—a country has a very serious problem.
Now, we see that Denmark, the icon of liberal Western thought, of multiculturalism, and of tolerance has had two vicious attacks against free speech (1 dead, a number wounded) and against Jews (1 dead). The response among the same people who promote liberal Western thought, multiculturalism, and tolerance is to wring their hands, express dismay, form a task force, and when all of that seems inadequate (it is), tell Jews in Europe that they are valued and will be protected. They won't.

But the big question is: protected from whom? In article after article and speech after speech that discusses anti-Semitism the term is presented without an adjective, in much the same way that "extremism" or "terrorism" is often discussed without an adjective. It's as if it just appears, out of the blue, and that it isn't associated with a specific group or ideology.

Here's the harsh truth: Violent anti-Semitism in Europe—the murder of innocents, the desecration of cemeteries, the graffiti on synagogues, the fire-bombings, the beatings—is a wholly Muslim activity, just as it was a wholly Nazi activity in the 1930s. Sure not every Muslim participates or condones the acts, just as not every German participated in the 1930s. But my guess is that anti-Semitism is quietly applauded by a non-trivial percentage of 'mainstream' Muslims. No one knows what that percentage is because the Western media is afraid to ask, fearing the result. But the percentage is almost certainly in the double digits.

So let me do what Barack Obama won't. Let me use an adjective. The anti-Semitism that is growing more virulent in Europe by the week is Muslim anti-Semitism and is the consequence of a growing demographic throughout Europe that at its core, believes in Islamic supremacism.

Until the liberal leaders of countries like France, the U.K, and Denmark use the adjective, there is no hope—none—of stopping this cancer. The West must calmly confront all of European Islam, calling on European Muslims to police their own people, calling on Imans in Mosques to stop inciting against the infidel in general and Jews in particular. This is a Muslim problem, and it demands a Muslim solution. If that solution cannot or will not be delivered, then we'll better understand the road ahead.

Let me repeat what I wrote just over a month ago:
... Looking back at history, it does seem that Jews are the proverbial 'canary in the coal mine.' When the Nazis began their efforts to exterminate the Jews in the 1930s, few became concerned over what seemed like random anti-Semitic acts. It was just a few "radicals" or "extremists," argued outlets like The New York Times. But it wasn't ... and the carnage that resulted left tens of millions dead, most of whom were not Jews. The canary was a warning, and most chose to look the other way.
In spite of all the liberal hand-wringing over these anti-Semitic acts, weak leaders throughout the  West still prefer to look the other way. They do so at our peril.

As if to accentuate the ban on descriptive adjectives or the statement of any information that might assist the public in better understanding the current threat of radical Islam, we get the following statement from the White House, after ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians yesterday.
The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens [emphasis mine] in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.  We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Egyptian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens.  ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds.  It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity.  This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanizes the international community to unite against ISIL.
Egyptian citizens!?? That's true, but it's irrelevant. These 21 people were barbarically murdered because they were Christian, NOT because they were Egyptians!

One of the key indicators of effective leadership is to speak without equivocation—clearly, accurately and directly. In government this approach allows the public to better understand the reality of any situation and to appreciate the leader's position. Barack Obama's White House represents the polar opposite—they obfuscate, they mislead, they dither. The real question is -- why?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Good Question. Better Answer.

The wanton murder of three Muslim young people in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this week, was at first glance, a clear case of Islamophobia—until it wasn't. The perpetrator is an atheist, a progressive, and mentally disturbed. He is a murderer who, apparently, was angered because of a parking space dispute. Crazy and tragic—yes. An indicator of anti-Muslim sentiment across the United States—no.

But the Islamophobia narrative is so strong that the MSM won't let it go. Just yesterday afternoon, CNN was quoting friends and relatives of the murdered students, suggesting that this act was anti-Muslim bias. They offered not one scintilla of evidence to back up that assertion, but no matter—the accusation fits the narrative.

Meanwhile, Mark Lamont Hill, Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College took a gentle swipe at those of us who have suggested that the mainstream Muslim response to radical Islam has been tepid at best. He tweeted: Waiting for the atheist community to condemn this awful hate crime committed at UNC Chapel Hill. Is their silence complicity?

Charles C. W. Cooke jumped into the fray and suggested that Hill had asked an excellent question that deserved an answer:
Islam draws attention in our era not because its adherents tend to be brown-skinned or because it is easier to fear those who live abroad than those who live down the street, but because it is used so frequently as the justification for attacks around the world that its critics have begun to notice a pattern. In most cases, it is reasonable to acknowledge simultaneously that representatives of every philosophy will occasionally do something evil — maybe in the name of their philosophy; maybe not — and to contend that it is silly to blame that philosophy for the individual’s behavior. As far as we know, there is no more evidence that today’s killer is representative of atheism per se than that the man who opened fire at the Family Research Council was representative of the Southern Poverty Law Center or that Scott Roeder was representative of the pro-life cause. Further, there are no evident superstructures within atheism or the SPLC or the right-to-life movement that routinely condone mass murder, and nor are there many friends of those groups who would be willing to justify or to indulge the maniacs they have attracted. It seems reasonably clear that any lunatic can appropriate a cause or provide a name as his inspiration, and that, when he does, we should neither regard that lunatic’s behavior as indicative of the whole nor worry too much about repeat attacks. As I have written before — in defense of Right and Left — words do not pull triggers.

This instinct, however, has its limitations, for it is one thing to acknowledge that one swallow does not make a summer, and quite another to insist that it is not summer when the whole flock is overhead. Individual acts should be taken as such, of course. But when the same names pop up over and over and over again it is fair for us to connect the dots. To wonder why conservatives worry about Islam specifically — and not, say, about atheism or progressivism or the Tea Party or the Westboro Baptist Church — is to ignore that Islam is so often deployed to rationalize violence around the world that it makes sense for them to ask more questions. An inquiry into the violent tendencies of contemporary atheists is likely to reach a dead end. An inquiry into modern Islam, by contrast, is not. Can anybody say with a straight face that it is irrational to wonder whether there is something inherent in present-day Islam that, at best, is attracting the crazy and the disenfranchised, and, at worst, actually requires savagery? I think not.
Good answer, although it was more than 140 characters long.

Friday, February 13, 2015


No leader, whether he or she is the owner of a small business, the CEO of a major corporation, the Governor of a State, or the President of the United States can be expected to know everything about everything. Good leaders, the 8s and 9s of the management world, hire 10s, and as a consequence, the gaps in their knowledge are filled with the advice and counsel of those 10s. Weak leaders, the 3s of the management world (managers exemplified by Dilbert's boss), are insecure about their abilities and their knowledge, so to avoid a perceived threat to their leadership, they hire 2s (dullards and yes men who are perfectly willing to tell the boss how great he/she is). Although I've written this many times over the years, it's well worth repeating.

Barack Obama has created a Team of 2s. Because he has been convinced he's the smartest guy in the room, he has created a support team that tells him that everyday. That wouldn't be a bad thing if it were true (well, actually it would be a bad thing—no one is so smart they they should reject good advice), but the reality of Barack Obama based on six plus years of bad decisions, mendacious conduct, and poor results indicate that he is neither as smart as his supporters claim he is or as good a manager as he thinks he is.

In a scathing assessment of this president's abilities, Seth Mandel writes about a series of serious gaffes (on Putin, on Islamic terrorism (oops, excuse me, on "extremism" without an adjective), on the anti-Semitic ("random") murder of Jews ("folks") in Paris and comes to a set of troubling conclusions :
It is not my intention to run down a list of all Obama’s flubs. Everybody makes mistakes, and any politician whose words are as scrutinized as the president’s is going to have their share of slip-ups. Yes, Obama is a clumsy public speaker; but that’s not the problem, nor is it worth spending much time on.

The problem is that Obama tends to make mistakes that stem from a worldview often at odds with reality. Russia is a good example. Does it matter that Obama doesn’t know the basics of Vladimir Putin’s biography and the transition of post-Soviet state security? Yes, it does, because Obama’s habit of misreading Putin has been at the center of his administration’s failed Russia policy. And it matters with regard not only to Russia but to his broader foreign policy because Obama has a habit of not listening to anyone not named Jarrett ...

Obama has also run into some trouble with history in the Middle East, where history is both exceedingly important and practically weaponized. The legitimacy of the Jewish state is of particular relevance to the conflict. So Obama was criticized widely for undermining that legitimacy in his famous 2009 Cairo speech, puzzling even Israel’s strident leftists. The speech was harder to defend than either his remarks to BuzzFeed or Vox because such speeches are not off the cuff; they are carefully scrutinized by the administration. When Obama could say exactly what he meant to say, in other words, this is what he chose to say.

It wasn’t the only time Obama revealed his ignorance of the Middle East and especially Israeli history, of course. And that ignorance has had consequences. Obama has learned nothing from the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a fact which was reflected quite clearly in his disastrous mishandling of the negotiations and their bloody aftermath ...

And the Vox errors echo throughout the president’s mishandling of the other great security challenge: Islamic terrorism. Such terrorism has contributed a great deal to the undoing of many of the gains in Iraq and the international state system...
It's quite troubling to note that "smartest guy in the room"—isn't. That would be perfectly okay if this president had the humility to hire 9s and then listen to them—he doesn't. In fact, some of the 7s, 8s, and 9s who have served in his administration (e.g., Robert Gates, and Leon Panetta have alluded as much). Even Chuck Hagel (a 2 or 3) quit the SecDef job in frustration.

Mandel's conclusion is no less damning:
In other words, it’s a comprehensive historical ignorance. And on matters of great significance–the major world religions, the Middle East, Russia. And the president’s unwillingness to grasp the past certainly gives reason for concern with Iran as well–a country whose government has used the façade of negotiations to its own anti-American ends for long enough to see the pattern.

They’re not just minor gaffes or verbal blunders. They serve as a window into the mind of a president who acts as if a history of the world before yesterday could fit on a postcard. We talk a lot about the defects of the president’s ideology, but not about his ignorance. The two are related, but the latter is lately the one causing a disproportionate amount of damage.
Harsh, but absolutely accurate. The problem is that Barack Obama still has plenty of time to do more damage. I suspect that he will.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Strategic Patience

Barack Obama has been rightly criticized for not having a coherent strategy for addressing the aftermath of the many foreign policy challenges that face him. Not only have these criticisms come from his political opposition but from by his past Secretary of Defense, his past director of the CIA, and by a number of retired military flag officers who have served during his presidency. But now it looks like the administration has come up with a "strategy" and plans to roll it out later in the week. It's called "strategic patience."

In essence, it suggests that foreign policy failures in Egypt, in Iran, in Libya, in Yemen, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Ukraine, in North Korea, with ISIS, with al Qaeda, with al Nusra, with Boko Haram, and with the Taliban, to mention only those entries at the top of the list, are not failures at all—but victories. They are examples of "strategic patience"—a.k.a. deliberate inaction in order to avoid addressing a problem now in the delusional hope that: (1) the problem will resolve itself, (2) that the perpetrators of the problem will see the light and become progressives after long, heartfelt talks with John Kerry, or (3) that some other Muslim country or countries will step into the breach and try to address the problem, without prodding by the West.

Interestingly, the third option has actually occurred—Jordan has ratcheted up its military efforts against ISIS, but hardly because of "strategic patience." Jordan's King Abdullah exemplifies the fact that some national leaders get very focused when one of their own is barbarically murdered by radical Islamic thugs. I suppose that focus is anathema to those practicing "strategic patience."

I get the feeling that Obama and his Team of 2s expect that "strategic patience" will be lampooned for what it actually is—an excuse for lack of action, a lack of focus, and, to be frank, a lack of will. Therefore, the latest narrative voiced by Barack Obama and his supporters is that there's little for Americans to worry about. As an example, consider the recent words of Obama supporter and democratic strategist, Jennice Fuentes:
“You and I have more of a chance of dying of cancer, of a heart attack, of a traffic accident and even from gunfire than dying from an attack by ISIS. So I think what the president is saying is that he’s well-informed as to what is a real threat in this country to Americans.” 
Yeah ... this president would have us believe that the real threat is global warming.

9/11? Oh, that was just a bunch of crazy people who though they could fly planes without their owner's permission. The 3,000 odd civilians who were killed? Victims of a tragic workplace accident.

Iran? Just a bunch of "extremists" who want respect and nothing more. All this talk about annihilating Israel and killing Jews isn't anti-Semitic, any more that the recent attack of the Kosher Deli in Paris was. After all, Barack Obama himself has told us that that attack was “a bunch of folks” who were “randomly” shot “in a deli.” Hmmm.

But I digress.

Are the supporters of Barack Obama so self-absorbed (or so historically ignorant?) that the don't realize the sentence—“You and I have more of a chance of dying of cancer, of a heart attack, of a traffic accident and even from gunfire than dying from an attack by ..."—could have been uttered in 1938, as the Nazis began their murderous march through Europe. At that time, the Nazis posed little physical threat to Americans, in fact, not a single American had been killed by them. So their evil potential was largely ignored by American politicians and the media of the day.

Four years later, millions began to die, including hundreds of thousands of Americans. We practiced "strategic patience" in the 1930s. How did it work out for us?

I have to wonder when Hillary Clinton, Obama's past Secretary of State and active participant in many of his foreign policy debacles will comment on the wisdom of "strategic patience." Actually, it's amusing to observe Clinton, the presumptive Democrat presidential candidate for 2016. It's as if she's been placed in witness protection, hiding from media questions and unwilling to commit to viewpoints of her own (until, I suspect, her pollsters tell her what those views should be).

UPDATE (2/12/15):
Richard Fernandez considers Obama new "strategy" and comments:
“Strategic patience” only works when you are winning;  like waiting for an oak tree to grow.  There’s no point waiting for the oak tree if the squirrel has already eaten the acorn. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has confused “strategic patience” with the belief that losing for a long enough eventually turns you into a winner. That is like thinking that a pinhole leak in a gas tank will eventually fill it.

Why would anyone believe this? Conrad Black argues in the National Review that the biggest weakness of the media-political-academic elite is the acquired conviction that if you repeat a falsehood for long enough it eventually becomes the truth.  This ruse has worked so long it has become second nature. Like Brian Williams, they think you can just make things up.  But in so doing “they betrayed their viewers and listeners, and not with harmless piffle like Williams’s invented derring-do” but with fatal falsehoods.  And they are betraying them still.  What the elites may soon discover is that they are betraying themselves also, and boy will they be surprised.
Here's the thing—the "squirrel has already eaten the acorn," but it really doesn't matter. Obama has demonstrated that he believes in fantasy, that "if [he] repeat[s] a falsehood for long enough it eventually becomes the truth. It certainly does for his trained hamsters in the media, who never, ever question the veracity of his outrageous claims, and who, I suspect, will swoon over the subtle nuance of strategic patience.

It has gotten so bad that this president's spokespeople (e.g., Jen Pesaki at the State Department) now make one inaccurate or obtuse statement in the morning, trying to cover for some Obama gaff. After a firestorm created by the inaccurancy or obtuseness of the statement, they then provide an opposite tweet in the evening, and preface the opposite with the phrase "As we have stated all along ..." Except they haven't. Liars all the way down.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Power Grab

In the long tradition of excellent customer service, honest and equitable execution of the law for all citizens, and high technical competence—as exhibited by the VA scandal, the IRS scandal and Obamacare—Barack Obama, his appointed FCC commissioner, Tom Wheeler, (who originally spoke out against the idea), and the president's domestic Team of 2s have decided to bring big-government control to the Internet.

Gordan Crovitz of The Wall Street Journal reports:
Last week Washington abandoned open innovation when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission yielded to President Obama ’s demands and moved to regulate the freewheeling Internet under the same laws that applied to the Ma Bell monopoly. Unless these reactionary regulations are stopped, they spell the end of the permissionless innovation that built today’s Internet.
Barack Obama has had very little private sector life experience, and like most leftists, he never saw a "problem" that couldn't be "solved" with big intrusive government (B.I.G.). The issue here is that there is no problem, and ironically the proposed "solution" will cause massive (real) problems where none existed.

Crovitz discusses the potential results:
Until now, anyone could launch new websites, apps and mobile devices without having to lobby a regulator for permission. That was thanks to a Clinton-era bipartisan consensus that the Internet shouldn’t be treated as a public utility. Congress and the White House under both parties kept the FCC from applying the hoary regulations that micromanaged the phone system, which would have frozen innovation online.

Last week’s announcement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects 20 years of open innovation by submitting the Internet to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Once Mr. Wheeler and the commission’s Democratic majority vote this month to apply Title II, the regulations will give them staggering control. Any Internet “charges” and “practices” that the bureaucrats find “unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful.”

This is an open invitation to entrenched companies challenged by new technologies. The Internet has been a source of creative destruction, upending industries from music, movies and newspapers to retail, travel and banking. History teaches that companies threatened by competition will hire as many lawyers as necessary to get regulators to protect them.
But in the eyes of Barack Obama and other leftists, it's "unfair" that some gain advantage via innovation while others remain behind. So, Obama and his Team of 2s have decided to "level the playing field" by burdening Internet innovators with regulation—lots of regulation. Just what the Internet—one of the most successful and impactful technologies in human history—doesn't need.

Realistically, opposition to this idiotic regulatory regime should not be a partisan issue. Both Dems and the GOP should rise up and kill this blatant B.I.G. power grab. Fortunately, the GOP controls congress, but most of this travesty can be implemented by regulatory fiat, something that Barack Obama is more than willing to do. But why worry? The federal government under his leadership has been a beacon of competence and honesty. Hasn't it?

In another example of how Barack Obama is loading government agencies with appointees who will implement change that almost no one is looking for, regardless of the businesses it hurts, the entrepreneurs who are punished or the middle class employees who suffer the consequences, consider Richard Griffen.

Griffin was named general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. The problem is that his past job was as a member of the board of directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and general counsel to the International Union of Operating Engineers. Hmmm, I thought the NLRB was supposed to be neutral in its dealings with labor and management.

Griffen's first major legal effort was to extend Obama's income inequality meme by attacking McDonald's. Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven explain:
Griffin wasted no time flexing his legal muscles: Last summer, he ruled that McDonald’s could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators. In December, he doubled down, issuing complaints naming McDonald’s Corp. as a “joint employer” of workers at its franchisees, overturning decades of settled law and disrupting a business model that has been the engine of job and wealth creation for the American working class for decades.
It looks like Obama and his Team of 2s want to solve "income inequality" by attacking small business owners—franchisees who risk what little capital they have to start their own business, create entry level jobs for young people, and strive for a better life. But Obama never ran a business, never met a payroll with monies generated from sales or services, not coercive taxation, and apparently has no clue what damage he will do to the entry level workers who he professes to care oh-so-much about. Is he unaware that low cost robotics may begin to replace entry level works in many franchise operations if human labor costs become prohibitive? Is he concerned that with this ruling, major unions are now circling franchises in the hope of expanding their shrinking membership—certainly GM-level work rules will only benefit a small business, right?

All that matters is ideology. You know ... "middle class economics." Business bad -- big government good. Accomplishment and its financial rewards bad -- income leveling and redistribution good. Independent business operations bad -- labor unions good.

Here's the thing -- what Barack Obama believes is good for the middle class is actually bad for the middle class. But that doesn't matter, because he tells us repeatedly that he's the champion of the middle class, and he never ever lies, does he? After all, look at how well the middle class has done during his six years as president. Income down, opportunities decimated, and upward mobility crippled. That's not middle class economics—it's Obamanomics.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Bad Things

In the words of conservative commentator, Charle Krauthammer, Barack Obama's comments at last week's Nation Prayer Breakfast were both "banal and repulsive." Banal because Obama's comments sound like the words of a 17 year-old who comes to learn that throughout history, atrocities have been conducted in the name of religion and thinks this discovery is somehow original and illuminating. And repulsive because Obama compares Christian behavior during the crusades and inquisition, events that happened 1000 and 500 years ago with events that occurred last week—intellectually dishonest as well as historically questionable. Jack Colman makes an interesting comment about the prayer breakfast comments:
[Consider] Obama as president during World War II, after receiving intelligence reports that Nazi Germany was engaging in industrial-scale extermination of Jews -- 'Hey, who are we to judge after what we did to the Indians?'
The frightening thing is, given Obama's recent behavior vis a vis Israel, it's more that a little likely he would have said exactly that.

Since this president has opened the door to historical references along with subtle vilification of Israel, let go back not 1000 years, not 500 years, but less than 80 years—to the Nazi atrocities committed against the Jews. Let me first say that I have, on a number of occasions in this blog, suggested in the strongest possible terms that radical Islam is the Nazism of the 21st century—exhibiting all of the characteristics that could lead to the death of tens of millions of people. I have also noted that the current left-leaning media treats radical Islam in much the same way they treated the Nazis during the 1930s.

In a worthwhile article, Daniel Greenfield provides a little history lesson and some commentary. He writes:
[During the second world war] the Mufti of Jerusalem had come to Europe urging the extermination of the Jews.

“This is your best opportunity to get rid of this dirty race… Kill the Jews,” the Mufti had ranted to fellow Muslims.

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ghosts of Eichmann [who was a friend of the Muslims and received a sympathetic hearing from them] and the Mufti of Jerusalem, who had visited [Nazi] gas chambers while the Holocaust was underway, still linger there.
Greenfield notes that Hitler's Mein Kampf, a book banned in Germany, sold 911,000 copies in Egypt alone and countless more in other Arab Muslim states. Then he writes:
... Muslim Brotherhood godfather Sayyid Qutb had written his own Mein Kampf titled, “Our Struggle against the Jews” in which he claimed that Allah had sent Hitler. The claim has more recently been repeated by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Al Jazeera in ’09.

“The last punishment was carried out by Hitler… Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers [Muslims],” he said. Today everyone [in the West] agrees that the Nazis were evil. By the fifties, even Eichmann’s fellow Nazis were looking to jettison the Holocaust and improve their brand. But the Nazis back then were often treated the way that Muslims are today.

Media coverage [in the 1930s] emphasized distinctions between the radical and moderate Nazis. (Hitler was, of course, a moderate.) Nazi grievances were treated as legitimate. Their crimes were lied about and covered up.

In 1933, the Associated Press’ wire report claimed that the persecution of Jews had already ended. Another wire story headlined “Jew Persecution Over Says Envoy” cited Secretary of State Hull’s relief that the Hitler regime was doing its best to curb further persecution of the Jews.

Hull would later apologize when the Republican Mayor of New York City referred to the Fuhrer as a “man without honor”. Mayor LaGuardia might have been suffering from Fuhrerphobia.

Jewish protests were treated as shrill and baseless alarmism.

“U.S. Investigation Shows No Cause for Protest,” the AP headlined its coverage.

“Notwithstanding assurances given by German government leaders and by Hull that the Nazi excesses against the Jewish race had ceased in Germany, Jewish leaders went ahead with plans for mass protest meetings,” another wire story read. “All requests that these meetings be canceled fell on deaf ears.”

A week before the story, the first official Nazi concentration camp of Dachau had opened.

The media coverage should sound familiar. It’s how Iran’s nuclear buildup is being covered. It’s how Muslim violence against Jews is covered. It’s discussed reluctantly and immediately dismissed. Jews are written off as pests who refuse to listen when [Secretary of State, John] Kerry, like Hull, tells them there’s nothing to worry about.

That is how the Holocaust really happened.

Auschwitz just shows us the final stage. It doesn’t show us the sympathy for the Nazis, the willingness of some on the left to see them as allies in overturning the existing system and the anger at the selfishness of the Jews in putting their own desire not to be killed ahead of world peace.
Gee ... sort of sounds like today's media who parrot the Obama administration's line that Bibi Netanyahu's visit to speak to Congress on Iran (another hotbed of Muslim anti-Semitism) is somehow provocative or selfish. Yeah, arguing that Obama and his Team of 2s are negotiating a "peace" that will put Israel in jeopardy of being annihilated is really selfish, isn't it?

History repeats, and it's doing so today. We have a president who seems determined to whitewash the danger of radical Islam (so much so that he refuses to use the phrase). His trained hamsters in the media follow along, acting very much like the AP during the 1930s. And his party? Rather than admitting that they have a leader who has become increasingly hostile to Israel and increasingly conciliatory to the radical Islamic Iranian regime, they follow his lead. Problem is, Barack Obama and his team of 2s have been consistently wrong about virtually every foreign policy issue they have addressed. If they are followed for two more years, and if the next president continues along their path, bad things‚ very bad things—will surely happen.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Response It Deserves

Fareed Zacharia suggests that "we should deny the Islamic State [ISIS] the reaction it wants" with the unstated implication that Barack Obama's regional strategy is the correct one. He fails to mention that Obama's lack of commitment and action  in the region [Syria] two years ago enabled ISIS the metastasize from a small militia fighting Syria's Assad government into an barbaric Islamist army with vision of creating a caliphate. He also doesn't mention the slaughter of Christians, children and others at the hands of ISIS, or the potential for chaos in the region if ISIS grows in strength and reach.

Zacharia suggests that "news on the battlefield has not been good for the Islamic State" without noting that the reason for that is not the surprisingly limited airstrikes by the United States, but rather the brave and strong ground response [in Iraq and Syria] of the Kurds (without the weapons they have begged Obama to provide them with) and [in Iraq] by the Christian Badr Brigade who meet ISIS's atrocities with extreme violence of their own. Neither group is constrained to limit collateral damage or to follow politically correct rules of engagement. They kill ISIS wherever they find it. As a consequence they are inflicting serious, but not fatal, damage.

Zacharia correctly notes:
... the Islamic State could not have imagined the response it has triggered in the Middle East, with Jordanians united against it, clerics across the region loudly and unequivocally condemning the immolation and Japan ready to provide more aid and support against the terrorist group.
But he fails to note that the response was triggered by extreme acts of barbarism. Is his suggestion that we wait and allow ISIS to commit other barbaric acts, to slaughter, say, 10,000 Christians and then precipitate even greater worldwide condemnation? Does he think that by "deny[ing] the Islamic State the reaction it wants," they'll somehow moderate their behavior? Does he believe that if we don't engage this Islamic monstrosity that it will collapse of it's own weight?

He writes:
The targeting of the United States and its allies, the videos and the barbarism are all designed to draw Washington into a ground battle in Syria — in the hope that this complicated, bloody and protracted war will sap the superpower’s strength.
I agree with this assessment, but not the conclusions drawn by Zacharia. It is true that ground engagement in the Middle East puts our troops into a cesspool where promises are broken, allies are actually enemies, and a radical Islamist army melts into the civilian population.

But that doesn't mean that Western leaders (think: Barack Obama) can't clearly name our enemy, provide tangible military support to those who are willing to fight it on the ground (e.g., the Kurds, the Badr brigade), and directly call on surrounding Muslim countries to battle ISIS not with words, but with troops. Jordan has taken a small step toward that end. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and others must do the same. Obama should state publicly that a lack of tangible action by those Arab states implies a lack commitment, and a lack of commitment implies that they are ambivalent about the atrocities befalling fellow Muslims. The time for circumspection has passed.

In actuality, it's not about giving ISIS the reaction it wants. Rather, it's about giving ISIS the response it deserves.