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Obama and Cuba, Trump and AIPAC... and Brussels

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 23/03/2016 Arnold Steinberg


What If They Wore Two Gloves?
Awful terrorism seems to validate Trump's hard line.

Security analysts point out that each of the two suspected suicide bombers shown to the left in the surveillance video taken at the Brussels airport prior to the attack is wearing a black glove on his left hand. The presumption is that the glove concealed the detonator for a bomb or suicide vest. The fellow in the light-colored jacket on the right is thought to have abandoned a third bomb at the airport and is now the subject of a manhunt.
If you saw these three fellows pushing their carts through the Indianapolis Airport would you be suspicious? Would you "profile" these guys and alert security or would you play it safe and mind your own business? Most would pursue the latter course because if you didn't and they turned out to be Egyptian Brotherhood peacemakers on their way to lunch at the White House, you could expect to be sued by the ACLU...
-- Tom Huston, President Richard Nixon's Liaison to the Interagency Committee on Intelligence
For the past seventy-two hours, we have seen the peculiar intersection of seemingly unrelated events, the most awful being the horrible massacre in Brussels,
When Donald Trump was going to speak to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday, he supposedly was going to face hostility, demonstrations, and a walkout. Instead, his biggest applause lines were not only when he attacked the Iranian deal, but also when he said, "Obama may be the worst thing that ever happened to Israel" and "President Obama in his final year -- yeah!"
Yesterday the politically correct AIPAC president Lillian Pinkus denounced Trump (without mentioning his name, that would be impolitic): "We do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense to those that are levied against the president of the United States of America from our stage. While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the president of the United States, and our president, Barack Obama."
"Policy differences" only? Ask Michael Oren, born and raised and educated in the U.S, he later settled in Israel. Originally an Obama enthusiast, Oren served as Israel's ambassador to the U.S. In his book Ally, Oren wonders why Obama would want to be president of a nation he found so lacking, and why, as a "transformational" president, he also was so intent on transforming the U.S.-Israel relationship into discord, and instead cultivating the most reactionary elements in the Arab world and enabling Iranian hegemony.
Trump's attack on Obama at AIPAC was hardly ad hominem. The Iran deal is a specific indictment of the bad faith and incompetence of Barack Obama and John Kerry, and Hillary who would honor their legacy. Let's remember the chief negotiator on the "deal" (What a deal!) also worked for Bill Clinton on the North Korea nuclear accord, and we know how that turned out. Her degree was in sociology and she was a social worker (this is not a joke) before the Clintons selected her for world-class negotiation. She directed the Democratic Party front group, Emily's List. She was able to impersonate a real negotiator. Obama knows talent when he sees it, and so he put a feel good feminist up against the chauvinistic Persian rug dealers (I know, I'm being politically incorrect). The people negotiating for us, Trump says, are "stupid" and "losers." Wendy Sherman is Exhibit One.
Does Pinkus know all this, or just not care?
Like Trump -- who rather than improvise for once read a twenty-minute prepared speech with specifics -- Pinkus felt compelled to read her short apology to Obama. Perhaps Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrote it and required this public penance. Pinkus could have made clear privately to DNC operatives that Jews at the AIPAC Policy Conference who don't like Obama embarrassed her. (Then she might still get invited to Obama's final White House Chanukah party for Jews who don't support Israel.) What Pinkus instead said to AIPAC's record crowd of eighteen thousand shows precisely why Trump gains support. In contrast, Trump said what was obvious.
Trump had told the AIPAC crowd Monday night in Washington that he would not pander.
But pander is what Barack Obama did... in Havana from the very moment Air Force One landed on Sunday, an arrival snubbed by Raul Castro. No matter, Obama is only the American president, but perhaps Raul gets that Obama is no longer the leader of the Free World. Obama not only brought his wife, but his daughters on his mission to demoralize Cuban dissenters. I would never bring my kids to meet the gangsters who run this island Gulag, a warm-weather Siberia. Could you ever imagine Obama introducing his daughters to Bibi? He probably told them not to go downstairs the time he walked out on Prime Minister Netanyahu and left him alone at the White House.
As with the Iran deal, we gave the store away to Cuba, without getting anything in return. President Obama even posed in front of a rendering of Che Guevara, one of the 20th century's brutal murderers, a Communist who has been glamorized by fellow-traveling leftists on American campuses. Some of them, relics of the '60s like Bill Ayers, gave political birth to Barack Obama's Manchurian candidacy.
Watching the spectacle of President Obama kissing up to Raul Castro, I could only think of Woody Allen in the movie Bananas. Try Netflix.
Perhaps Obama will now try to give the American facility at Guantanamo Bay back to Cuba. After all, we have been leasing it for more than one hundred years, and the Castro brothers have never cashed each year's $4,000 check. (Call it rent control by pre-Castro treaty.) When I was at GITMO nearly a decade ago, there were still a couple of Cuban employees there (the others over the decades brought hard currency into the beleaguered Cuban economy before they eventually died).
GITMO is where, we are told, all those innocents were wrongly kidnapped and interned without trial, and where waterboarding was the routine. In fact, most of the detainees, not soldiers fighting in behalf of their nation, but stateless terrorists, were exactly where they should have been. We now know that many of those released under the Obama Administration returned to their occupation of homicide, killing the friends of America and Americans.
There are complicated arguments on when torture is, if ever, morally justified and whether it is efficacious. Sometimes the arguments against it are silly, as when the Golden Rule is invoked. I.e., does anyone really believe: if the U.S. announces we will not torture an ISIS terrorist who knows where the "ticking" dirty bomb is, that ISIS will reciprocate?
But as has been the case since Donald Trump announced his candidacy last June, events seem to support his narrative, and now we have Brussels. Many voters who have not been dumbed down by graduate school relate to Trump's anger, even rage, when he says ISIS is beheading, and we're engaged in esoteric discussions of due process. He defends his routine insults by suggesting soft-on-terror "losers" don't like his tone.
President Obama prevailed on his Cuban host to let him make the briefest of statements on the Brussels attack. Strangely, his message was this: that we must unify "regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism." What is he talking about? He never talks about radical Islam, because that undercuts his obsession with increasing the Muslim population in the United States. Ratio of Christian refugees to Muslim refugees: 15 to 85. What did Americans think when they heard about the Brussels slaughter? Was it an attack by radical Episcopalians? Maybe Presbyterian extremists?
Then President Obama went to a baseball game with Raul. This reminded me of when James Foley was beheaded, and the president made a perfunctory statement, without feeling, in casual clothes during his Hawaiian vacation, and then played golf (not with Raul). Obama projects such gravitas, doesn't he? Later, after the golf game, Obama said he should have "anticipated the optics." And he says Trump is not presidential.
Let's consider how the other candidates reacted to Brussels.
Hillary remains upset that Trump wants to torture the terrorists, rather than inform them of their Miranda rights. How odd -- instead of depriving them of due process and interrogating them to gain information, Obama, without any trial or verdict, simply uses drones to kill them. He and Hillary are so civilized. Hillary says the terrorists "want to undermine the democratic values that are the foundation of our way of life." Hillary, that's what you say about the Koch brothers. And the foundation of our way of life is freedom, not democracy. We saw how "democracy" worked when President Obama celebrated "the people" in Egypt voting in the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (now deposed). No, Hillary, ISIS does not want to kill democracy, it wants to kill us. Hillary opposes Trump's enthusiasm for water boarding and proposes instead that we "take them on, on the Internet." Apple CEO Tim Cook will help, I'm sure.
Bernie Sanders also wants to fight on "social media to stop the recruiting efforts of young people who are being led into the terrible life of terrorism." Sounds like Bernie is upset that young women are being lured on the Internet into nude modeling. Oh, terrorism is just a terrible life! Perhaps they need better guidance counselors. Maybe with "free tuition" they would go to college instead of beheading school and rape seminars. Sanders says we need "Improved intelligence sharing," this from the man who once called for the dismantling of the CIA.
Belgium has celebrated its influx of Muslims, as has France and England. In return, the terrorists do not spare these countries, intent on self-destruction. Remember, the communists liquidated the socialists and liberals first. Islamists will go first after the dumb progressives and crusading feminists at MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times. Even Piers Morgan understands this. So does another liberal -- Bill Maher. The Islamists hate atheists even more than Jews or Christians.
And Germany under Angela Merkel has doubled down on its national suicide. In the past, in these countries and in the U.S., many Muslims came for opportunity. But in more recent times we find an influx for welfare, entitlements and special treatment, and many have no intent to assimilate, but seek to dominate, eventually with Sharia Law.
All this brings us to NATO. Donald Trump has no deep knowledge of foreign affairs, except perhaps some foreign women. But he gets it: Americans feel they are being screwed in trade, and overpaying, in lives and treasure, for the defense of other countries. NATO was designed mainly against the threat of the USSR, the Soviet Union. Like the March of Dimes when polio was eradicated, NATO has been in search of a mission even since the Soviet empire disintegrated.
When Trump in a Monday editorial meeting at the Washington Post questioned the efficacy of NATO, his critics said, "What about Ukraine?" The issue involves past assurances to Ukraine, to be sure. But for average voters, NATO seems a sham. When I was at NATO headquarters in 1979, even under President Jimmy Carter, there was a sense of mission, and no one there thought within a decade the Berlin Wall (no Mexicans involved here) would fall, the Soviet Union and satellites would collapse, and West Germany would absorb East Germany.
But all off that happened. When I visited NATO headquarters again nearly three decades later, even under the able NATO Supreme Commander Gen. James Jones, all I found was unhappiness with the Iraq War, which was, in any case, in the Central Command. Jones later would serve as Barack Obama's national security adviser before leaving in disgust. But around Brussels, there was no pride about NATO.
We need not have any illusions about Russian leader Vladimir Putin. But if Europe deems him a threat, then let those nations spend a higher percentage of their GNP on defense, and train and equip higher force levels. Instead, they engage in political correctness, in concert with Barack Obama, while the greater threat to the NATO member states is a Fifth Column that provides, in each country, cover for Islamists, and not just ISIS.
The Belgians are good at eating chocolate, but you may as well look to Inspector Clouseau to apprehend terrorists. The terrorist fugitive Salah Abdesiam, captured last week, reportedly escaped capture in the same Molenbeek district of Brussels three months ago, because, in long-standing policy, the security services were not allowed to carry out raids from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Good news, everyone: the ban on nighttime raids has been lifted.
And now, we are told to be on the look out, at airports in Europe and America, for Muslims at public places with one glove. Don't you think the bad guys will now wear two?
Appeared in The American Spectator

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