Monday, July 20th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
If the last few weeks have shown us anything about the President’s grasp on the issues taking place around the globe, it’s that he’s weak when he should be strong.
With new information from the Pentagon last week, Obama came out with a new plan to defeat the terror group ISIS. This “new strategy” comes a month after Obama approved the deployment of 450 more troops to Iraq sent to help train Iraqi soldiers to eventually take over the majority of the fighting. However, U.S efforts to train and attract Sunni volunteers and additional enlistments to the Iraqi forces have fallen significantly under the mark. Less than 100 new troops have been trained, falling way below the yearly 5,400 goal.
Despite the success that the air strikes have had and additional efforts the U.S have made against ISIS, the evil terrorist group has still been expanding and posing a threat to many countries and innocent individuals. Recently, there have been terrorist attacks in France, Canada, and the United Arabs (to name a few) as an increase from the initial problem in the Middle East. Regardless of what the Obama Administration is saying, ISIS is a growing threat that needs to be stopped immediately.
In the new plan, the President stated this battle is one that will be won “through ideology, not guns”. Obama also said that it will be a “generational struggle”: one that will take a long and slow process. His focus will be on “partnering with Muslim communities” and working to continue to train forces in Iraq and limit U.S involvement to a simple partnership.
But the facts is, no one wants a long-term fight with ISIS, or any country or group for that matter. The U.S is already involved whether we like it or not so we need to complete this task as quickly and effectively as possible. ISIS poses an immediate threat to our national security, which we continue to be reminded of as domestic attacks increase. But ISIS also threatens other countries, not only in the Middle East, but the entire world.
By stating that the United States “lacks a complete strategy”, President Obama fails to convince anyone that he knows what to do to defeat ISIS once and for all. He also sends a single of weakness to ISIS and likeminded international terrorist threats. As Commander in Chief, the President needs to take charge and push for a more effective plan. Obama also said that if the United States takes on ISIS alone, it will take much longer than necessary to make progress in the battle. However, if the United States doesn’t lead by example, the President can forget about getting support from other countries.
This problem with the President’s approach to foreign policy is also clearly seen in his negotiation of an Iran deal that gives Iran too much of a break and ultimately provides them with the resources necessary to continue to support terror groups and expand their military power.
After a long debate, the United States, alongside five other countries (China, Russia, the U.K, Germany, and France) struck a deal with Iran on Tuesday that supposedly limits Tehran’s nuclear program and in return, lifted financial and oil sanctions on Iran. However, the deal is proving to be more beneficial to Iran than the United States.
For one, the removal of sanctions will give Iran an influx of about $100 billion in sanctions relief. Note, just six days ago, Iran sent $1 billion to Syria (supporting the terror groups). Clearly, there is a pretty good chance that some (if not the majority of) the sanctions received from the deal will be sent to aid the terror group.
In addition to the great benefits that Iran will be enjoying from the nuclear deal, countries like Russia and China received “breaks” from the U.S to get them to stand by the United States in light of the long fight for the nuclear deal. China is now making a move to bid to buy out the last American owned memory chip producer; the very day that President Obama revealed the Iran deal, China’s Unigroup Ltd. stated that it planned to bid $23 billion for Micron Technology. If this move were to go on as planned by the Chinese, they would be one step closer to an overall control of the technological industry.
Regarding Russia, the meeting of Putin and Sec. of State John Kerry signified an acknowledgment of Russia’s importance by the U.S. By having to keep them in the deal talks, the United States has refrained from providing Ukraine with weapons that could be of use to defend themselves from increased Russian aggression. Thus, the deal has allowed Russia to maintain a sort of control over the U.S’ approach to their power hungry actions.
Both the approach to ISIS and the Iran deal show that the President is weak when it comes to dealing with global issues. This minimalistic approach is leading to other countries walking over the United States and essentially either getting their harmful agendas through or doing as they please in the global “playing field”. This is a dangerous precedent and we must change course. The future of our nation depends on it.
Friday, February 13th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
It’s well known by now that President Obama and his White House refuse to call Islamic terrorism by it’s name.
Their hyper-PC rhetoric would be funny if it weren’t so consequential to U.S. foreign policy on a larger scale.
Obama’s infamous speech at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast was breathtakingly obtuse in how to approach an evil enemy of our country and the world.
On the world stage, he told America to get off our “high horse” and remember all the awful things done in the name of Christianity during the Crusades.
It had been days since the murder of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS – and 1,000 years since the Crusades took place. Yet, he felt it necessary to condemn the latter among the world’s most prolific religious leaders in our nation’s Capitol.
It was one of the worst foreign policy decisions he could have made, even if it wasn’t a policy at all. As Ravi Zaccharias wrote this week:
Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy. In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.
Another incident happened just yesterday, exemplifying the Administration’s refusal to call things what they are. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to admit that religion played a role in the shooting of individuals inside a Paris kosher deli by Islamic terrorists. Playing off of President Obama’s own words that the shooting was “random,” it was obvious he didn’t want to place religious discrimination at the forefront — and was criticized by reporters.
The White House has since backtracked on those remarks — but it shouldn’t have been remotely confusing to begin with.
There’s a problem — a big one. Obama’s refusal to admit that this terrorism is rooted in Islam can be summed in the words of AEI scholar Marc Thiessen:
You cannot defeat an ideology unless you’re willing to name it.
And that’s just it. We’re not dealing with a country here. We don’t have a leader to schedule peace talks with. The United States cannot create a strong, successful strategy to deal with this without accepting it for what it is: Islamic radicalism.
As Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro put it:
Mr. President, what’s most interesting is that with the crusaders, you so easily identify them as Christians. Why is it so hard for you to identify today’s jihadi terrorists as Muslim?
It’s time for the President to stop being worried about offending people and perhaps to his chagrin, get on the high horse that is the United States of America — land of the free, beacon of hope, tower of strength for the world.
Our leadership in the world and success in defeating this evil depends on it.
Friday, November 14th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
If you told candidate Barack Obama in 2008 that he’d be doubling troops in Iraq in the year 2014, after announcing he “ended the war in Iraq,” he would have laughed in your face. But reality is a funny thing, isn’t it?
Thankfully, Obama is listening to military leaders who have his ear at this crucial time to combat terrorism. With ISIS running rampant, murdering hostages and terrifying the Iraqi Army into hiding, it’s impossible for the United States to sit across the ocean and watch.
Today, Obama’s top military adviser Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he’s now open to considering U.S. ground troops to work with Iraqi Army to retake the city of Mosul.
Obama certainly doesn’t want troops on the ground but if he’s willing to heed Dempsey’s wisdom, that’s what we may soon see. And the public may actually be behind the strategy. In a a CBS News poll last month revealed that 71% of Americans said they supported continued air assaults against ISIS. More notably, 47% of Americans said they supported sending troops to Iraq, an increase of 9 percentage points since September.
Additionally, the White House proposes to request $5.6 billion for the campaign, with $1.6 billion of that segmented out for Iraqi troops.
In an interview about the troop upgrade, Obama called his move to double the troops “a new phase” and said that ISIS is not only a threat to Iraq but also to the surrounding region and ultimately, the United States.
“This is a threat we are not only committed to degrade, but also to destroy,” said Obama.
That’s the kind of language Americans have desperately needed to hear from the President for a long time. No one likes war — or wants to put our troops in harm’s way — but as the United States, we have a responsibility to lead the crusade against the terrorist thugs of ISIS
Friday, October 10th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
Along with ‘Hope and Change,’ our President recently promised us that Ebola would not come to the United States.
This is under the Administration that had the FAA flights to Israel stopped because it was considered too dangerous.
This is under the Administration that is working to stamp out traditionally made cheese because methods for producing cheese for literally thousands of years are no longer deemed safe.
This is under the Administration that allowed the IRS to target groups because of political affiliation.
This same Administration raided Gibson Guitar under the suspicion that Gibson might be using Indian wood that violated the Lacey Act of 1900 (we’re not kidding).
This is under the Administration that can’t keep trespassers out of the White House.
Knowing that it is possible to stop air traffic from entering countries all together, and knowing that the ability to trace a person’s movements from countries suffering from outbreaks of the Ebola Virus, why has the United States not forced a 21 day quarantine for all travelers moving from high risk areas?
Why has the President, or at least members of the Texas Congressional delegation, not called for the quarantine?
The answers are simple.
1. Either the President and the CDC did not take this threat seriously,
2. They took it seriously and they failed, but are not willing to ramp up security measures to prevent further mistakes, or
3. The President does not care.
The Ebola virus is not to be taken lightly; earlier this year two highly trained medical aid workers were infected. Just days ago, less than an hour from where our headquarters are, Thomas Eric Duncan died of Ebola and it is possible he infected over 100 other people.
With infections and deaths rising, more actions must be taken to protect the United States. This is NOT to be misconstrued as a purposeful attack, a planned infection, or a plot perpetrated by anyone.
This is just a common sense call to pay attention, something that the current administration has not been doing for a very long time now.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
British Prime Minister David Cameron appears to be a stronger leader than President Obama in the fight against terrorist group ISIS, who horrifically beheaded another victim this weekend.
British aid worker David Haines was killed – the third in a string of brutal murders captured on video and sent across the Internet – this time as “a message to the allies of America,” according to the video.
The UK joined the United States in a coalition against ISIS, but the terrorists are hardly backing down and are said to have at least one more American and Brit in their custody.
Haines was captured just a few days into his aid mission in Syria and his death follows those of American Journalists James Foley and Steve Sotloff.
While British Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.K. must deal with ISIS, whose acts he has called “pure evil,” President Obama’s reactions have been mostly tempered talking points read with little emotion. Passionate anger against these killers from the President is absent but it’s something Americans need to see from our President in this time of crisis.
In response to Haines’ murder, Obama said, “The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines by the terrorist group ISIL (ISIS).”
The murder came on the heels of the U.S. decision to launch 160 air strikes against ISIS in Iraq – what is likely just the beginning of a longer campaign.
According to Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. is hoping to get as many allies as possible to act against ISIS, which the CIA estimates may have as many as 32,000 fighters to date.
While it’s good we are taking action now, it took far too long for the President to present a strategy while his State Department dabbled in other, ineffective online actions. For example, the State Department released a badly made video called “Welcome to the Islamic State” and hosts a Twitter account, Think Again, Turn Away – but one wonders why these tactics were deployed before a real strategy existed.
And while the Administration has finally stopped throwing hashtags on signs from official State Department spokespeople, they don’t seem much more professional than that. Yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said America is at war with ISIS, which contradicts what Kerry said last week when he refused to characterize current U.S. actions as war.
When pressed after McDonough’s statement, Kerry admitted “we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates…yes, we are at war with ISIL [ISIS]…”
The Obama Administration needs to get their message straight and strong. The President may want to leave a golden legacy of having ended a war, but his time is running out and the world’s future may depend on the leadership we provide right now.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
President Obama has been leading from behind when it comes to foreign policy. That fact is very apparent right now more than ever.
We have seen this with Guantanamo Bay, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. And as President Obama and his team have vacated the premises on foreign policy, Senators like Ted Cruz have taken the lead in shutting out the Iranian Ambassador from the United Nations, supporting Israel, and in interaction with Russia regarding the Ukraine crisis in what some see as the first steps to rebuilding the USSR.
President Putin and Russia’s leadership have been betting on all the horses and petty dictators that the United States of America is betting against. With Russia’s recent pushes against Ukraine largely ignored, it is for the United States to reassert itself on the international stage.
As Obama has abdicated his place of leadership for tee times, it is time for us to no longer wait on a Commander in Chief who has shown that he and his administration are unwilling to act. Congress is coming off of its recess and should stand resolved to do what they can, without military intervention, to impact nations fostering animosity towards our Republic.
The ability for the United States of America to have a direct impact on Russia does not require a carrier group to be anchored in the Barents or Black Sea. Congress must simply take the first step of taking funding away.
Congress holds the purse strings to an ever-growing amount of foreign aid, a significant portion of which is going to countries who are not earning the friendship of the United States of America.
In fiscal year 2012, $440.9 million of our taxpayer dollars were obligated to Russia in foreign aid (for the Top 25 countries that received millions of our taxpayer dollars, go here to see the list).
It’s a head scratcher-we fully admit it.
We wonder how quickly Russia would stop bullying former states of the USSR for their own financial gain if we pulled the purse? On a different topic, how different the Mexican border would look if the United States spent the money on the southern border instead of across it (Mexico received over $200 million our dollars in 2012 in foreign aid)?
This is not a call to end all foreign aid. However, it is a call to restructure how we hand out our money and to whom.
Thursday, July 24th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
Democrats have a penchant for implementing bad policies and then responding to the deleterious consequences by throwing money at the problem. The Senate supplemental appropriations bill, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), allocates an additional $2.7 billion to deal with the border crisis, yet declines to deal with the flawed policies that have engendered this new wave of illegal immigration in the first place. Ironically, in order to grease the skids of the bill, Democrats have attached an extraneous rider sending $225 million to help pay for Israel’s Iron Dome System, which is yet another example of throwing money at a policy problem they helped create.
What Israel needs most now is the ability to defeat the Hamas terrorists and preserve its sovereignty – unencumbered by drive-by micromanagement from the White House. No country can survive economically if its entire population has to huddle in bomb shelters waiting for the next rocket to drop.
Unfortunately, not only has President Obama declined to side with our best ally, he has demanded an immediate cessation of Israel’s self-defense operation even as the rockets continue to fall. This week, Obama has taken his dyslexic moral relativism to a new level by rewarding Hamas for their rocket attacks near Israel’s only international airport by banning all flights to Tel Aviv. There is nothing more inimical to a county’s economic vitality than shutting down its airport, and it appears that Hamas has now achieved their desired result. They are declaring victory in light of Obama and other world leaders issuing bans on travel to Israel.
So after telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to suspend his effort to destroy Hamas rocket launchers, Obama now has the impertinence to complain about the lack of security at Ben Gurion airport. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), rightfully asked, “If the FAA’s decision was based on airline safety, why was Israel singled out, when flights are still permitted into Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen?”
With whom does this president’s sympathies lie? As Cruz noted, “The facts suggest that President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands.”
Sadly, instead of holding their party leader accountable for abrogating the long-standing relationship with Israel and endangering their economic and national security, Democrats are distracting attention with legislative logrolling. They are tossing in extra funding for Israel’s defense in order to sweeten the pot for a misguided border bill, while simultaneously evincing a pro-Israel image. Democrats, who are always sensitive to polling, must be keenly aware of the fact that Americans strongly support Israel’s right to self-defense and self-determination.
But what good is it to send more money to Israel only to use those funds to undercut their security and instigate a de facto economic boycott? Much like the crisis on our southern border, sending money to alleviate a problem while doubling down on the policies that cause or exacerbate the crisis is counterintuitive.
It’s unfortunate that Democrats lack the moxie to confront the leader of their party over his egregious actions against Israel – a sphere of policy for which they claim bipartisan support. For all the complaints about conservatives and the Tea Party, everyone should appreciate the fact that the party faithful are willing to hold their leadership accountable for violating its principles. To the extent that Democrat rank-and-file really oppose terrorism and support Israel, they should do the same. Adding funding for Israel’s security to an inappropriate legislative vehicle will not conceal their indifference toward Obama’s dangerous foreign policy.
Ultimately, it is quite ironic that after advocating open borders back home, Obama has now moved onto the next agenda item – ensuring that Israel lacks secure borders as well. Maybe the Democrats are onto something by juxtaposing these two disparate policies after all.
Sunday, July 13th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
Here is our latest op-ed advocating for suspension of all foreign aid to the Palestinians. Read the full piece at Investor’s Business Daily.
Now that we live in a post-constitutional era, there will always be sharp political debates over the role of the federal government and what we choose to fund with taxpayer dollars.
But can’t we all agree that there is no benefit to sending $500 million to the Palestinian Authority? What national interests does it serve for us to fund ruthless terrorists?
While aid to the PA should have been cut off years ago, the recent unity pact with Hamas, which is responsible for murdering three Israeli teens, should serve as the last straw even for the most naive foreign service workers at the State Department.
Under current law, given that Hamas is designated as an official terror group, they should immediately suspend aid. However, inasmuch as this administration will never follow the law, Congress should move directly to cut off aid.
According to the Congressional Research Service, we have sent roughly $5 billion to the Palestinian government since the mid 1990s. Our annual aid has fluctuated a bit, but has hovered around $500 million per year.
Moreover, at roughly $275 million a year, the U.S. is the largest donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a multinational group that has long harbored Palestinian terrorists under the guise of humanitarian aid.
It’s time for Congress to stop playing the Palestinian game. The notion that Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah gang are any better than Hamas has always been absurd. Just last week, Israel National News reported that Fatah has declared full solidarity with Hamas and Islamic Jihad by declaring the Palestinian Authority and Hamas share “one goal.”
A post on the official Facebook page of Abbas’ Fatah faction showed a picture of terrorists in the military wings of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, featuring the words “brothers-in-arms: one G-d, one homeland, one enemy, one goal.”
Hence, the liberal foreign policy establishment can no longer attempt to decipher between uniformed terrorists and “suit” terrorists.
Thankfully, a number of rank-and-file Republicans have already taken the initiative to cut off aid. Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., have introduced a resolution to bar all aid to the Palestinians under any circumstances.
Monday, May 26th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
Those of us who live a civilian life can never fully appreciate the degree of sacrifice borne by those who wear the uniform, especially those who serve in dangerous theaters. We certainly can never fully relate to those families whose loved ones have given the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation.
But as we remember those fallen heroes this Memorial Day, we must commit to doing everything in our power to advocate for policies that ensure that fewer people make that ultimate sacrifice. We must also commit to alleviating the dysfunction that awaits those veterans who suffer injuries and sickness as a result of their service.
Obviously, there is no magic policy to ensuring that casualties are kept to a minimum in the heat of battle. But both sides of the political divide need to join in the following commitment. We may disagree on foreign policy, but we should never send our troops into a war setting without a clearly defined objective and overwhelming force – with the first priority always focused on protecting the lives of our soldiers.
Our pattern of sending the troops into a meat-grinder with no objective and egregious rules of engagement is unacceptable. If our mission is just and the cause prudent, we should not worry about collateral damage and gratuitously risk the lives of our soldiers in order to prevent that damage. If, on the other hand, we are so concerned about killing civilians in a war theater, then we shouldn’t go to war. We should internalize the motto of George Patton: “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”
Equally as important as minimizing casualties is the need to ensure that our veterans our taken care of after serving in dangerous corners of the world. It’s easy to blame the VA healthcare scandal on the incompetence and malfeasance of this administration. However, the problems within the VA go far beyond a couple of bad apples within the bureaucracy. They are endemic of any government-run healthcare system.
Instead of trying to tweak a failed system, we need to look at opening up the VA system to competition from the private sector. The federal government must definitely take care of our veterans, but locking them into a government-run bureaucracy is not doing them any favors. The VA is a superlative example of the failures of government-run healthcare, and our wounded warriors deserve better.
We need a system that fully pays for disabled veterans to purchase private health insurance and other healthcare services while subsidizing other veterans in varying degrees based on time and scope of service. Liberal demagogues taint a voucher system as throwing veterans out in the cold, but it is actually their failed policies that are underserving them. Besides, why should our veterans be confined to a limited array of healthcare providers and have to drive hours to a VA facility when they need care? We would always have military hospitals for those who are severely wounded in action or have sustained wounds unique to a war theater, but the general population of veterans would be better served in a private healthcare system.
We are supporting candidates who have moved beyond the platitudes and are willing to boldly advocate private reforms for the VA. Two candidates in particular, Col. Rob Maness and Dr. Bob Johnson, have served in the military with distinction and are willing to speak the truth about the failed VA system. You can read more about Maness’s run for Senate in Louisiana here and Dr. Johnson’s run for Congress in GA-1 here.
Such a small percentage of American citizens have volunteered to serve in the military, particularly on dangerous missions. The least we can do is ensure that they do not become victims of politically correct warfare or government-run healthcare. Read More
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
We often hear the political class bemoan Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) supposed recklessness for blowing up the status quo in Washington and not reaching across the aisle. These naysayers should pay attention to Cruz’s two recent foreign policy victories and learn from them.
As we reported several weeks ago, GOP leaders were planning to capitulate to Democrats on the IMF bailout by allowing them to slip the provision into the Ukraine aid package. On March 13, Senator Cruz sent a letter to Senator Harry Reid warning that he planned to block the bill if the IMF provision remained. While only a few Republicans joined him from the onset, and some like Senator John McCain even lambasted him, Cruz harnessed his megaphone to rally Americans all over the country and embarrass those who supported this provision to weaken our nation’s power on the world stage.
Ultimately, Republicans in the Senate and the House were forced into joining the fight, and Democrats were pressured to drop their demands.
Hence, this is the power and prerogative of one Senator to be a voice, not just a vote in the Senate.
Fast-forward a few weeks and Senator Cruz got wind of another issue that needed to be addressed – one which would have been ignored by senators in both parties. The government of Iran decided to appoint Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador to the United Nations. Aboutalebi was one of the leaders of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, one of the deeds for which the current regime has never been held to account.
Following the rules of past senators, Cruz could have joined the chorus of merely denouncing the appointment. And indeed the Obama administration called the nomination of Aboutalebi “extremely troubling.” But Cruz was the one who took the initiative to actually send a definitive message to Iran by introducing legislation (S. 2195) to ban him and other known terrorists from being granted visas to enter the U.S., even for the purpose of serving at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
While this was an initiative publicly supported by many members across the aisle, it was only Ted Cruz’s high profile campaign to elevate the issue that embarrassed Democrats into considering the floor. Shortly thereafter, Chuck Schumer co-sponsored the bill. Yesterday, the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
The man who is regarded as the most combative conservative in the Senate managed to pass a bill through a Democrat-controlled Senate without a vote. That is true leadership. Working across the aisle doesn’t mean putting a Republican stamp on liberal policies, as the political class wishes to happen on a daily basis. It means harnessing our leverage and political megaphones to inspire, convince, and even shame the other side into supporting our causes.