One of President Trump’s greatest achievements was to drive America away from importing Middle East oil. It made the United States capable of sitting out any regional crisis, which in the Middle East seems to happen on a frequent basis. For example, if the Iranians threaten to close the Straits of Hormuz, the United States can take its time to act accordingly, not being pressured by rising gas prices at home. Heck, the U.S. could tell other countries to solve that crisis if it wanted to. Having options makes it harder for your opponent to win, and puts you in control.
India is, ironically, fast approaching where the U.S. was in terms of oil a few years ago. India is the third largest consumer of oil (behind the U.S. and China), and it imports almost 85% of that oil. This leaves India vulneable to any oil interruption, and with OPEC cutting production this month, India is actively trying to diversify its energy and vehicle oil usage. This is also why India is OK negotiating with Iran (which supplies 10% of India’s oil), mainly because it doesn’t have a lot of choices.
By the way, none of this is news, it was being called out last year and the year before that, so India “unsheathing a weapon” is a bit of a misnomer, since they’ve been working on this for some time. This could have been a great moment for the United States and Canada to step in and sell lots of oil to India. Not only would it be democracies helping democracies, but it would provide a 1 billion person counterweight to China’s aggression. Plus we’d make money on the deal. What’s not to love?
India probably paid attention to history and saw how the U.S. got screwed in the 1970s, plus how President Trump gave the U.S. more foreign independence. They are pushing lots of initiatives like solar cars and solar cells to reduce transportation and home usage, but these take time to build in, and India’s sporadic infrastructure doesn’t help the process. Again, all these initiatives provide opportunities for the U.S. to work with India and strengthen that relationship, something we sure don’t seem to be pushing all that much.
Oil isn’t leaving anytime soon as the fuel of choice, and inter-country relationships will continue to be heavily influenced by who produces, consumes and ships oil. The United States has a pretty significant interest in helping countries like India source their oil from friendly places while seeking to become energy independent in the long term. Not only does it make our planet better, but it makes our foreign policy a lot more stable, and we could all use that.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.
The only reason any Arabs need Israeli protection to visit the site is to save their lives from the hateful Palestinians who would lynch them if they could.
In fact, an Emirati tweeted the video I published yesterday of Palestinians harassing Gulf visitors to the site with the caption, “Thank God that Jerusalem is in the hands of the State of Israel.”
In fairness when the Arab paper called it “disgraceful” it was not because Arabs are being attacked:
Is there any real difference between an Arab delegation visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque under Israeli protection and hordes of extremist Israeli settlers whose incursions and practice of Talmudic rituals there take place under the protection of the same security forces? The crime of these Arabs is arguably greater.
Mind you the fact that Palestinians are threatening and beating Arabs isn’t the disgrace to the writer, but that Israeli security stops the beatings.
No wonder ANTIFA & BLM like these guys so much, they’re birds of a feather.
In normal times this is a story that might be all over the place.
But now that the Democrats are in full BDS Anti-Israel mode this is the invisible story as it’s the type of thing that disturbs the narrative.
Every election there seems to be a string of retired military flag and general officers that come out of the woodwork to support one candidate or another. The media acts like these opinions really matter, and we’ll hear endless debate about what “the generals” think. But do these people’s opinions really matter?
Like any good question, the correct answer is “it depends.” First, retired military members can share whatever opinion they want. Active duty members are restricted on what opinions they can share, since they work for the executive branch of the government. That’s why you see the disclaimer at the bottom of my articles, and why I don’t get too edgy on any sitting President from either party. Retired military members don’t have these restrictions, despite what people may think or want.
OK, so they can talk, but do they say anything useful? Most retired flag or general officers were in the service for between 25 and 40 years. That translates to somewhere between 8 to 16 different duty stations. Many of these were in different states and different countries, so in terms of understanding how different parts of the world work, these officers were certainly exposed to that. Moving between different continents exposes them to the good and the bad of how countries operate and the issues each country faces. This is particularly important when thinking about foreign policy, where the U.S. news service is terrible at covering issues like the water crisis in the Sudan, competition between Russia and China in central Asia, and the continuing problems in the Balkans.
There is a caveat to this that is really important. Military members go to places that have trouble. We don’t send people to Africa or the Middle East because its fun. Every overseas tour or travel is in the lens of failed diplomacy or democracy, so the member is there to fix it. Civil war in Yemen? Shoot some missiles in and kill some bad guys! Military members are primed for action. That’s not a bad thing. The military mindset of solving problems is positive, but it has two drawbacks. First, we hesitate to say “not my problem,” and second, we value U.S. intervention over others.
Let’s look at Syria for the first issue. Syria is a mess. We have Russia attempting to maintain influence in the country, especially since it owns a major naval base at Latakia. Turkey, a NATO ally, and Syria share a long, not the best defined border that has a host of illegal crossings. Then we have Iran shipping weapons and people across a poorly controlled Iraqi border to Syria. Combine that with a government focused on maintaining power rather than protecting its own people, and you have a California-sized tinder box just waiting for a gender reveal party.
So, could we go in and sort it out. Yes! Whats the cost? I’d start at ~5,000 U.S. deaths and we’d need to sit there for at least 15-30 years. Sounds crazy? Well, we won World War 2 over 70 years ago and we’re still in Germany and Japan. Maybe that’s not fair, let’s go with when the Berlin Wall collapsed…that’s still 44 years! Thirty years might be an understatement. That sounds a lot like colonization, and is guaranteed to get us a lot bad press.
Is there suffering in Syria? Yes, and at horrible levels. I’m not denying that. There is a lot of suffering all over the place. Should we care about Syria? Yes. But that’s not the important question. The important question is:
Do we care about Syria enough, and more than anyone else in the area, to commit to a very long term staythat will cost American lives?
It’s like a mortgage that you can’t sell back. You buy a house with a 30 year mortgage. You can just walk away, but it’ll rot and rust, and someone else might move in. That’s our problem with making everything our problem. We simply don’t have the resources to fix every problem in the world. We should pick and choose wisely. I wasn’t surprised when President Trump pulled the U.S. out of Syria. I was surprised by the backlash from military members. That’s the first big issue with retired flag and general officers: they all too often don’t ask whether we should get involved at all.
The second issue is valuing U.S. intervention over others. We talk the talk about loving our allies, but lets be honest, only about a handful are capable in any sort of extended, high intensity fight. That’s OK, because they’re allied with us, but it also makes them wary of jumping feet first into what looks like reckless U.S. intervention. Everyone loved being part of the first coalition to free Kuwait, but once we freed Kuwait, there was no desire by other countries to turn north to Iraq. We invaded Iraq years later to topple a really bad dictator, and we had allies come with, but they weren’t exactly thrilled. Our allies were happy to jump into Afghanistan, but after it dragged past four years, that enthusiasm waned.
When our allies work without us, it takes them longer, and our retired military members make plenty of comments like “we should support them,” without asking whether it makes any sense. When Mali fought Islamic insurgents and France wanted U.S. support, President Obama asked them to pay for it. He’s not wrong, because the correct question to ask is, are we willing to stay there for a long time? Most Americans can’t find Mali on a map, let alone pick out any U.S. interest in that country.
We also need to ask a really hard question about what retired admirals and generals do when they get out of the service. A few of them retire and “go fishing,” but plenty get another job, and most of these jobs are with major defense contractors. If I’m working at Raytheon and the government is shooting a lot of Raytheon missiles, I’m keeping a nice job for many years to come. Its the hammer tool problem: if all you have is a hammer, the world is full of nails. If you go from working 30+ years on solving military problems, then shift to a job making military equipment, you are likely inclined to think the military is the only (or at least, the best way) to solve problems. In many cases you are right, but there are plenty where you are not.
That’s the grain of salt you need for retired military opinions. Are they valuable? Yes! Retired military have different experiences than the populace, and their understanding of the world has value in many cases. But it comes with its own biases and special interests that aren’t obvious at the outset. We need to keep that in mind when we determine how much value to place on someone’s opinion.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Raytheon Corporation, or any other government agency.
Donald Trump has built the most effective strategy in the Middle East EVER.
Having covered the Middle East for many years as a reporter, I’ve never seen such successes. The administration has convinced the first Arab state in decades, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to recognize Israel. Another predominantly Muslim country, Kosovo, has established diplomatic relations with Israel.
Although Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for opening a dialogue with Muslim countries, he and Joe Biden frittered away eight years of watching the Middle East devolve into a region dominated by Sunni and Shia extremists.
Civil war raged in Libya and Syria. The Islamic State reared its ugly head in Iraq and Syria. Then the 2015 Iran nuclear deal compounded the problems.
Known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement was intended to delay Iran’s development of an atomic bomb. Instead, the lifting of economic sanctions emboldened Iran to expand its reach to solidify a Shia alliance that stretched through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Terrorists launched operations across Europe, leaving hundreds dead.
That’s the landscape that Trump and his administration inherited.
Trump scuttled the nuclear deal with Iran. After that, a military coalition cut the Islamic State down to size. Although remnants of ISIS continue to exist, its leadership was left either dead or in disarray, with little income and land from which to launch terrorist attacks.
After that success, Trump and his team turned their attention toward the peace process that resulted in the agreements between Arabs and Israelis.
That process continues this week in Qatar as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are meeting with officials from Qatar to sign agreements on cultural and economic cooperation.
Qatar has had ongoing disputes with its Arab neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia. This week’s agreements are seen as a way toward settling those arguments and perhaps bringing both countries toward official recognition of Israel. Simultaneously, the first face-to-face talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban began in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
The naysayers point to the lack of any new agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israel-Palestinian-first strategy has left the Middle East without any significant movement on peace and a spate of violence since the Oslo accords of 1993.
Trump’s new approach to the Middle East has created an environment in which the Palestinian leadership, who almost always miss an opportunity to gain more recognition of their rights, may start negotiating as they see their Arab backers make peace with Israel.
If Donald Trump is for the Peace Prize they’re agan it!
Can we now assume that the Nobel Peace prize for Barack Obama was an affirmative action award?
I think it’s been really something to see the left go on a full defense of what objectively is child porn in their defense of Netflix “Cuties”
If I was Donald Trump I’d direct the AG to investigate if the movies violates US child porn laws as written.
The whole: ” If Donald Trump is against Child Porn then I’m for it” reaction from will be something to see, of course in fairness they’re already all defending it. I wonder how fast they would condemn the movie Fatima about the miracles there if Trump came out for it?
Well at least the new peace deal between Barain and Israel is something that Democrats can celebrate. Right?
“After watching Thursday’s game and also watching the Dolphins players’ video, it shows that it is not about who is standing or who is kneeling for the anthem,” Mayfield said. “But instead, coming together and taking action to create real change. Also after reading many letters and messages over the past few weeks, I have been showed (sic) that a gesture such as kneeling will only create more division or discussion about the gesture, rather than be a solution towards our country’s problems at hand. With that being said, I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, and unity to everybody involved.”
Trump will obviously be for this so as you might guess the left is agan it but I suspect those who have invested in him as an advertising spokesman are for it. The real question is this: Given that the Ravens are expected to be blitzing a lot will his offensive line be for it or agan it?
On Monday, Iran’s Ministry of Health released new data concerning the coronavirus. It said that 66 people have died from the virus while 1501 have been infected. But given the Health Ministry’s propensity for lying, the figure for those dead and infected is likely much greater.
The rampant spread of coronavirus in Iran was a problem largely the result of the Islamic Republic’s own making. In early February, Iranian officials were aware of a potential problem in the city of Qom, where a shrine holy to Shia Muslims served as a breeding ground for the transmission of the virus. Yet authorities took no action to quarantine the city or even warn residents to take safety precautions. The shrine still remains open to visitors and video has recently emerged showing people licking the shrine.
By the time health officials began taking action, it was a case of too little too late. Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, downplayed claims made a city lawmaker that deaths from COVID-19 had reached 50 and said that he would resign from his post if that assertion was accurate. A day later, Harirchi became a victim of COVID-19 and was under quarantine but not before he was observed coughing on those adjacent to him during the previous day’s press briefing. Several other Iranian diplomats and parliamentarians have since been infected, and at least two have died including a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran’s bumbling and incompetence in dealing with the health crisis can be attributed to the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to acknowledge weakness and vulnerability.
Iran’s handling of the crisis stands in marked contrast to how its arch nemesis Israel is addressing the issue. While Iranian officials are spewing little else but propaganda, the Israelis are at the forefront of inventing cures and treatments for the coronavirus.
The Migal Research Institute, an Israeli company based in Galilee has announced that they are on the cusp of developing a coronavirus vaccine. The company had been developing a vaccine for coronavirus in chickens and recognized that they could tweak their vaccine to combat coronavirus in humans. According to Migal’s CEO, David Zigdon, a vaccine for humans could be ready in a few months.
In addition to vaccinations, the ability to rapidly test for the presence of coronavirus is critical. To that end, researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have developed technologies that drastically reduce the time needed to analyze saliva samples for the presence of COVID-19. This technology reduces the time to analyze a sample from an hour to approximately 15 minutes.
There are more interesting details, but back to the fruit …
Both are good; similar but different. Neither is better than the other.
However, when the apple releases its seeds to fall to the ground, it preserves its progeny and bears more apples. And when the orange withholds its seed, it and all its seed rot away.
Phil Haney was a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security – an agency that investigated him nine times and found nothing untoward. And this very same agency scrubbed its own records that Haney had been using to investigate Islamist terror networks in the United States.
Vaguely, I remember his name from my early days of blogging. He’s back in the news again; unfortunately for being dead.
A man who had already exposed President Obama once and was about to do it again has been found shot to death in California.
Police originally labeled the death a suicide but now say that the initial reports were “misinformation” and the case is still open.
Haney blew the whistle on the Obama Administration for, he said, asking him to scrub the records of potential radical Islamists that the Department of Homeland Security was investigating prior to Obama’s election.
Last Friday he was found dead in his car less than three miles from his home from a single gunshot wound to the head, police said.
The initial reported said Haney “appeared to have suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound” and “a firearm was located next to Haney and his vehicle,” Fox News reported.
A new press release from the Amador County Sheriff’s Office now says that the death was not a suicide and that the investigation is “active and ongoing.”
“On February 22, 2020 the Amador County Sheriff’s Office released initial details regarding Philip Haney being found deceased in our jurisdiction. Mr. Haney was located in a park and ride open area immediately adjacent to State Highway 16 near State Highway 124. Highway 16 is a busy state highway and used as a main travel route to and from Sacramento. The location is less than 3 miles from where he was living.
According to other reports I’ve read, Haney was a committed, active Christian. A widower, he was planning to remarry this year. Not exactly a prime candidate for suicide; I guess that’s why that angle was dropped.
I’m reading his book See Something, Say Nothing, published in 2016. It is an indictment of the Obama Administration as lackeys of global jihad and I’m look forward to reading about the San Bernardino and Orlando Islamist attacks, which could have been prevented, according to Haney.
Seems that a lot of highly placed people might benefit greatly by sending Mr. Haney into the next world.
I’m also planning to read Haney’s essay Green Tide Rising; suffice it to say that it’s not about climate change.
I’m a nobody, so it should be easy to explore this without becoming dead myself. But we’ll see.
By the way, I’m “reading” the book via Audible. It seems that dead-tree versions of it are unavailable — at least on Amazon.
Here, then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom… I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live,
Yesterday the President put out his long awaited peace plan for the middle east.
You might expect me to comment on the details but said details are actually not important because if you are looking at this as a peace plan you are completely wrong.
This is not a peace plan, it’s an ultimatum.
The president is smart enough and worldly enough to understand that any deal with the Palestinians that does’t explicitly give them to right to continue to kill Jews until not one is left alive and the state of Israel is gone is a tough sell at best and a non-starter. Mostly because the leadership knows that agreeing to any such deal, particularly one that involves cracking down on terrorism is likely going to cost them their lives. Then again as Don Surber points out the equation is slightly different than it was a few days ago:
Killing ( Soleimani) jeopardized Iran’s terrorism program which he headed. Today, President Trump followed through with a Middle East proposal that creates a Palestinian state, opens Temple Mount to all three Abrahamic religions, and invests $50 billion to create a million jobs for Palestinians
It’s true that if they grabbed the Trump plan and gave up their vendetta the Palestinians would actually grow in wealth, power and influence to the point where they might actually be able to rival Israel economically and perhaps even militarily in a few generations,
If you were dealing with a western culture this would be a no-brainer but this is a face culture. To publicly concede the permanent existence of Israel is a humiliation beyond them. Much easier & safer to grift off the UN, Iran and anyone else’s aid and live without fear of assassination.
But that’s the other half of the coin.
If Potus can nail Iran’s #1 terror coordinator you had better believe that Israel can nail Hamas’ boss men if they wish so that suggests that they might be able to protect a Palestinian leader who comes to the table, furthermore if they turn to terror as a response you don’t know if Trump might decide that like the late Iranian General they are expendable.
Trump is a deal maker, if this deal is turned down then it’s likely that Trump will not only cut the Palestinians off without a cent but might tell Israel that as far as he is concerned they are welcome to take the gloves off both with Palestinian leadership and their people.
What happens if Israel decides they’ve had enough of this and simply annexes any remaining west bank territory that they won in the 1967 war that they need, fence it off and leave the Palestinians to govern the rest of the land without them.
After all what is anyone going to do? The State is Israel is now self sufficient in terms of water and energy. They are a nuclear power and no state not in the business of suicide is going to risk a war of destruction against them. As for the UN what are they going to do other than make noise, after all they can’t be more anti-Israel than they already are.
And that’s only part of it, what happens if an energy exporting US decides to put pressure on other states to cut aid to the Palestinian state? What happens if the gulf states afraid of Iran are told that any help from the US means cutting these folks loose and Iran isn’t doing all that well these days to begin with.
All of this is feasible thanks to a United States that is energy independent, economically resurgent and rearmed beyond the ability of their enemies to challenge them.
This is the actual question that the Palestinian leadership faces: What do you fear more?
Of course without Trump there is no choice necessary. I suspect they will stall and wait to see if the propaganda they are seeing on CNN about Trump’s imminent defeat is real, but if (OK when) the President is re-elected the stark choice will be before them again. I also suspect that the longer they wait, the more likely that both Trump’s and Israel’s price will go up. There are big rewards with going with Trump and survive, but if they go against him they are basically a local street gang with little to no clout beyond their neighborhood and without that foreign capital and Israel willing to provide what they do their clout within the territories vanishes.
The Donald has set before them the choice of life and death of the Palestinian People. I suspect A Palestinian nation unshackled to war and graft will grow and prosper beyond their wildest dreams to the point where Palestinians in Israel & elsewhere will rush to be part of the growth and prosperity it will generate. That is the choice of life.
Alas I doubt they will make that choice. This plan goes nowhere but it would be nice if I was wrong.
Closing thought: Ironically the peace deal is also the best shot for the radicals to manage to conquer Israel eventually. Take the deal, let the Palestinians grow rich and powerful and Israel grow complacent for four or five generations and then strike Pearl Harbor style when it’s not expected. The problem with that plan is once the population is rich, prosperous and happy they just might decide it’s not worth losing what they have to satisfy a few radicals dreams of genocide.