At the end of a very strange week, President-in-Waiting Hillary Clinton went on "Saturday Night Live" to do leaden shtick to the forced laughter of sycophants, while President Obama lectured America on the need for gun control after another mass shooting in a gun-free zone protected by one unarmed security guard.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the BBC's Jon Sopel Tweeted:
Extraordinary. A 3 star Russian general went to US embassy in Baghdad this am, saying bombing starts in 1 hour, clear #Syria airspace.
My book America Alone (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc, etc) begins with an observation from Donald Rumsfeld almost 20 years ago that "weakness is provocative". Let's go back to February 2011:
An hour or so after the dictator fell, I said to Megyn Kelly on Fox that we were witnessing "the unraveling of the American Middle East".
Obama isn't leading from behind, he's leaving from behind: America is departing the world stage.
And, if you're in Benghazi or Aleppo or Kandahar - or, come to that, Kiev - why would you believe the Americans over the other fellows? Unlovely and blood-soaked as they are, the other guys mean it; America doesn't.
So Putin waited, and this week he pressed that "Reset" button Hillary Clinton gave him. And he snaffled Obama's faux pseudo ersatz "60-nation coalition" war out from under him, and turned it into a real war. The Administration responded by blaming George W Bush:
"Russia will not succeed in imposing a military solution any more than the United States was successful in imposing a military solution in Iraq," spokesperson Josh Earnest said.
Official US position: Don't worry because Putin won't be any more effective at waging war than we are. That sounds like a winning line. And may not, in fact, be true.
~Our old friend Her Britannic Majesty's sometime ambassador and plenipotentiary Charles Crawford compares Obama's and Putin's UN speeches this week, not to the former's advantage:
As always President Obama tiptoes around violent contradictions in today's Islam:
'Unless we work together to defeat the ideas that drive different communities in a country like Iraq into conflict, any order that our militaries can impose will be temporary ... I believe in my core that repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed ... You can jail your opponents, but you can't imprison ideas.'
Make your mind up! If you can defeat ideas, why can't you imprison them? And which 'ideas' are causing different Islamic sects to massacre each other now, as they have done for centuries? How exactly to 'defeat' them?
Vladimir Putin sharply criticised Western 'interventions' in the Middle East, jeering at unhappy US experiences including bad results from arming the opposition to Assad:
'Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.
'I'm urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you've done? ... I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here?'
Ah! Who whom? Kто кого? Lenin's cunning question that goes right to the heart of diplomacy itself.
Putin says something of value here: "The people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb" - which happens to be correct. Obama's just mailing in a Hallmark greetings card for Happy Geostrategic Analysis Day: "You can jail your opponents, but you can't imprison ideas." Whichever overpaid speechwriter came up with that, the President of the United States is the one who agreed to utter it. It's a superficial credentialed twerp's idea of "smart" - when you're in a room full of hard-faced men from Russia, Iran, Syria and France, but you think the same cute lines that work on "The View" will see you through. As Putin no doubt assured the mullahs et al in private, the people you are dealing with in Washington are not cruel but they are dumb.
I see Hillary is proposing a no-fly zone over Syria, but why stop there? Surely Obama could declare the Middle East a gun-free zone and put that unarmed security guard in charge.
~We've been posting as they've become available the videos from my appearance in the Danish Parliament upon the tenth anniversary of the Mohammed cartoons. You can see Henryk Broder, author of The Last Days of Europe, here; Douglas Murray, author of Islamophilia, here; and yours truly, author of Broadway Babies Say Goodnight, here. Today's video is a powerful speech from Vebjoern Selbekk, one of six Norwegian newspaper editors to publish the cartoons but singled out for punishment by the ghastly moral equivalists of his government. Click to view:
I'll try and put all the speeches together in one convenient post.
~Canada poll watch:
Conservatives 32.8 per cent;
Liberals 31.7 per cent;
NDP 26.1 per cent.
My own view is that as long as the leftie parties are talking about the right to wear niqabs at citizenship ceremonies the Tory lead will hold and widen. And the issue won't do the NDP any favours in their supposed stronghold of Quebec. Pollster Darrell Bricker, noting that 85 per cent of Canadians oppose taking your oath of allegiance while covered, Tweets:
Tolerance is the defining Cdn value of the 21st century. But, it has its limits. Niqab a serious test. NOT trivial or irrelevant
Indeed. Alberta premier Rachel Notley falls back on the laziest of tropes:
"I really just don't think minority rights ought to be a political football," the premier said.
Yeah, well, some of us don't think the most sacred and essential rites of the Canadian state ought to be an identity-group football. But, if Ms Notley and the rest of the left think this is a winning issue, then keep talking it up and let's see how it works out on October 19th.
~Finally, Washington: By common consent, the next Republican House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, is agreed to have put his foot in it when he boasted to Sean Hannity of the damage his Benghazi committee is doing to Hillary:
Hillary Clinton and her fiercest defenders couldn't have said it better themselves.
Instead, the Republican leading the race to replace John Boehner as House speaker said it for them, boasting Tuesday that his party has spent nearly three years dragging her through investigations of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi in hopes of doing serious damage to her presidential campaign.
"Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy boasted on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." "But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would've known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen."
This is one of the most repellent aspects of the Republican establishment: partisanship to no purpose. I banged the gong on Benghazi from the morning after, September 12th 2012, but certainly not for the shriveled reasons McCarthy suggests. Ambassador Stevens wasn't my guy - he was a liberal Democrat - but even so, he didn't deserve to die in an undefended outpost on the edge of the map, and then have Obama and Clinton lying over his coffin. The Benghazi committee is necessary to restore the integrity of government, not to raise Hillary's unfavorables in Iowa and New Hampshire. In one remark, McCarthy declared himself as symbolizing the pointlessness of partisanship GOP-style: it exists not to achieve any conservative policy goals but to maintain him in office with a car and driver.