Deja vu - Judith Apter Klinghoffer
Dr. Judith Apter Klinghoffer taught history and International relations at Rowan University, Rutgers University, the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing as well as at Aarhus University in Denmark where she was a senior Fulbright professor. She is an affiliate professor at Haifa University. Her books include Israel and the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences and , International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights
Clinton avoids China disputes, hands out teddy bears. Avoiding disputes and handing out teddy bears is the appropriate behavior of a First lady, not a Secretary of State of a major power. Reuters reports that"She avoided any public discussion of the issues that will occupy her in Beijing, including North Korea's suspected sinking of a South Korean warship, Iran's nuclear program, and U.S. calls for China to allow its currency to appreciate."
Just as disturbing is the puny content of the American pavilion which provides and apt visualizations of The Fruits of American Weakness.
Clinton began her day at the U.S. pavilion, which was a bare patch of ground less than a year ago with the United States short of money to build it and at risk of missing an event at the top of China's business and political agenda.
Thanks partly to her intervention, major U.S. companies stepped up to the plate to fund the pavilion, whose attractions include three films highlighting the American way of life.
In one, Americans including basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson offered greetings in Chinese.
A second verged on corporate advertising, with an executive discussing the potential of wind to meet China's burgeoning energy needs with pictures of U.S.-made windmills in the background.
A third was an allegory of what a single person -- in this case a young girl who plants a flower in an abandoned city lot -- can do to improve the environment.
After the film, Clinton handed out teddy bears to children in the audience.
The films made no explicit reference to democracy, human rights, freedom of religion or other political issues where the United States has long criticized China's record.
The U.S. exhibit ends with a gift shop where a great many products -- from teddy bears and stuffed bison to silver lapel pins and pink cowboy hats -- were all marked"Made in China."
Compare Hillary Clinton's submissiveness to Mexican president Calderon's assertiveness and you realize just how successful the Obama/Clinton administration's smart diplomacy of engagement has been in weakening American in a year and a half. We have at least two and a half years to go.
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 13:26
Anyone who needed added proof of the ongoing Leftist-Islamist alliance needs look no further than John Brennan, the terror Tsar who has repeatedly failed to keep us safe from Muslims trying to kill us in the name of Jihad. I thought he was merely incompetent. After all, 4 security breaches in such a short period is a terrible record by any measure. I now realize that he is merely a member of a leftist administration actively cooperating with Islamists in line with the old dictum that the enemy of my enemy is my friend as Jean Bricmont recommended in 2006 when he suggested that the left put aside its scruples and join the Islamists anti-Western side.
A good illustration of the weakness of the left is the neither-nor ideology that has dominated the protests against recent conflicts: neither Milosevic nor Nato, neither Bush nor Saddam, neither Olmert nor Hamas. But these are false symmetries. In all wars there is an aggressor and a victim. To put both on the same level is to abandon any notion of national sovereignty. In each case there is no comparison possible between the two parties’ ability to inflict damage, since it is the US and its military might that is the current pillar of the world order. . . .
Instead of sharing the western view of the world, the left should try to make westerners understand how the rest of the world sees us and oppose anything that strengthens our feelings of superiority or moral sanctity.
The 20th century was not the century of socialism but of decolonisation, which enabled millions to free themselves from extreme oppression. It might be possible to imagine the 21st century as the century when US hegemony will end. If that happened, another world would really be possible.
It is impossible to read this 2006 instruction not to oppose any Western claims to moral superiority without remembering Obama's bowing and apology tour, Joe Biden calling Brussels the capital of the Free World, of the Michael Posner criticizing Arizona immigration law in China. Bricmont could not have found more obedient students or dreamt that they would take over the US government so easily and quickly.
Misleading Americans about al Qaeda’s Islamist ideology is a threat to US national security more sever than the one mentioned above as John Brennan seeks to actively disarm America by downplaying the threats posed by Islamists openly waging war against her. In a speech to Center for Strategic and International Studies, he said:
The president’s strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face. Our enemy is not terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic.
Our enemy is not terror because terror is a state of mind and, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear.
Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself of one’s community.
Brennan is right that terrorism is a tactic and one way to fight is by refusing to live in fear. Unfortunately, by ignoring repeated Muslims calls for Jihad on the US and doing the bidding of Muslims who do not wish to take a stand against those fighting"the Great Satan" in the name of Islam, Brennan reveals just how frightened he is. The man responsible for keeping us from evil wishes us to behave like those famous three monkeys, sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil.
In other words, instead of protecting us from Muslims extremists, he protects Muslims from the consequences of the vile actions of Muslim extremists thereby diminishing Muslim interest in confronting the evil in their midst and enforcing the view that Muslims who do stand up are traitors. Do note his praise for Muslim for their non existent willingness to stand up to Muslim Jihadists.
This is why Muslim leaders around the world have spoken out forcefully and often at great risk to their own lives to reject al-Qaida and violent extremism. And frankly, their condemnations often do not get the recognition they deserve, including from the media.
Misunderstanding the real import of innocent sounding lofty rethoric, we elected Barack Hussein Obama and his co-ideologists and all we can do is do our best to mitigate the damage they are inflicting upon us. Demanding that Brennan go would help that endeavor just as the demand that Alger Hiss leave did.
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2010 - 17:07
Brendan Goldman, Reviving Jewish Race Science at Columbia U Conference Another proof that the Israel test is really the Jewish test and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Comedy Central sees reason and removes the game. Thank you, Honest Reporting.
Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 12:14
I am particularly incensed by the so called"doc fix" that was cynically kept out of the Health care reform to keep the costs low. The Republicans should start working for the repeal of that reform by refusing to help the Democrats get away with the deception.
Scott Brown was elected to provide Republicans with the 40th Senate vote. If he fails to do so, I do not see any reason for anyone to vote Republican in November as it would prove that they have learned nothing and will change nothing.
Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 11:57
Terrific idea. The trouble is that the weakening of the Euro means that America's exports have just become more expensive, European (especially German) exports less expensive"with Renminbi having appreciated by 24% against the Euro since November> This means that China less willing to raise the value of its currency and Europe less willing to join the US in pressuring it to do so. Indeed, whatever hopes Clinton or Geithner had of a being able to return from China with promises of a prompt Chinese devaluation must be gone with the wind. Indeed, Hu says China to hold firm on yuan policy for it has its own priorities points out Head of China Research, Jonathan Fenby that China is $2500bn in the debt which it cannot case it and the value of which fluctuates in a manner it cannot control. Of course, one may add that its hopes that it could use the Euro to reduce its dollar exposure has been dashed along with American hopes that a booming China would be a democratizing China.
If that would not be bad enough, the decline of the Euro reduces the earnings of US multinationals by about 10% (is that the reason Buffet is selling Kraft stock?) and with a zero interest rate, Bernanke can do little to reduce the value of the dollar. Almost a perfect storm. Add signs of deflation and the reason that Christopher Wood warns against ruling out a double dip recession becomes even clearer.
Economists hoping for continued US recovery are doing so on the basis of continued decline in American savings from 4.6% to 3.4% and a rise in consumer spending. In other words, the rebirth of the conditions that have been undermining the long term health of the American economy. But, then, from the very beginning of the current crisis economists held steadfast to the belief that talking up the economy (remember the greed shoots?) is the way to solve the current crisis. As Martin Wolf remarked one of the serious mistakes policy makers made is taking economists seriously.
Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 17:49
"It is an appalling breach of trust,' said a source close to Prince Andrew."His reputation is being put at risk by a woman he still loves and has stood by for many years both emotionally and financially. . . .
"We have been here so many times before with the duchess," said one senior royal insider."She's offered to leave before but she never goes.""
I wonder if he really ever wanted her to go even after learning that she has been selling access to him and others. Let's be honest, this sting operation did not come out of the blue. It was humiliating but he wanted the world to know that financial difficulties made her do it as if it made a difference. All I could do is shake my head and start humming . . .
What would poor Diana not given to be so adored?!
Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 21:02
Hank Hyena, Israel’s Value to Transhumanism We know. If only it could enhance its value in peace.
Alas, that does not seem likely. PA to Israelis: Go to Europe and Ethiopia because Israel is"stolen" land
Eric Holder would not admit a connection between Radical Islam and terror.
'Al-Sharq Al-Awsat' Deputy Editor praises"The Obama Administration… [for Taking] the Initiative to Remove the Term 'Islamic Terrorism' From Its Documents and Official Transactions." It is bound to make Islamist attack on the US even more COST FREE. That may be the reason that in late 2008 after Obama's election, Iran decided to let Once-detained al-Qaeda operatives leave Iran. The cost is clear and attacks on US homeland are safe again.
The Obama administration's "smart power" disastrous insistence on ignoring allies. Even non Jewish ones: Diplomatic Negligence The Obama administration fumbles relations with India" and they love his so but then so did his grandmother and he threw her under the bus by charging her with racism.
In the meantime, we better study The Geography of Chinese Power according to Robert Kaplan.
Museum of Stalinist labor camps to open in Russia's Far East Unfortunately, it is too far from the madding crowd at a time when A Billionaire Dissident remains Jailed If you have doubts about Putin's mendacity read Fareed Zakaria's interview with WILLIAM BROWDER, CEO, HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT.
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 - 20:51
I saw Becaud at a concert in Jerusalem. He got off the stage; stood on the stairs amongst the audience and instead of lowering his head to acknowledge the applause, raised his head, his nose in the air as if to say,"look at me, am I not fabulous?!"
I guess so. This 1987 version of the 1961 song posted in Aug. 2007, has been viewed by over 3/4 of a million persons. Wow!
English translation for the lyrics here
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 - 11:24
Instead of"Allah Akbar" a southern Iranian crowd interrupted Ahmadinejad with chants of"We are Unemployed." Official Iranian unemployment stands at 11%; unofficial at 25% and the country suffers from a double-digit inflation.
"Oil production capacity has dropped by probably about 300,000-400,000 bpd," a former senior official in Iran's government told the Financial Times.
The drop in Iran's oil production is primarily the result of a decision by some of the world's largest oil companies to sever economic ties with the Islamic Republic due to US pressure and the impending sanctions.
Nothing would undermine the regime faster than the belief that Ahmadinejad is responsible for their economic duress. That is the reason the Iranian regime tries so hard to convince its own subjects as well as the rest of the world of Iran's resiliency in face of sanctions:
Ebrahim Hosseini-Nasab, economics professor at Tehran's Tarbiat Modares University, also played down the impact of sanctions on the economy.
"Iranian policy makers have learned from experience how to deal with these sanctions," he said."The Iranian economy has always had a great deal of resilience ... I don't believe it will have any crippling effect on the Iranian economy."
But Morteza Masoumzadeh, a shipping line executive and vice president of the Iranian Business Council in Dubai, a transit route for many Iranian imports, said sanctions had hurt.
"The sanctions clearly have affected our business and already our business is down by 70 percent compared to three years ago," Masoumzadeh told Reuters in Dubai.
U.S. sanctions imposed in 2007 targeting two Iranian banks with branches in Dubai had been particularly painful, he said. But that did not mean new U.N. measures would make things worse.
"The sanctions have already hit us so I don't think anything of this nature will hit us further," he said.
Ali Ansari, an Iran expert at St Andrews University in Scotland, said the new sanctions could have a psychological impact and, if properly targeted, could hinder the powerful Revolutionary Guards, the elite military force which has become a major economic player.
"However, I have always felt that the sanctions will be a minor irritant as compared the Ahmadinejad government's own mismanagement of the economy and the lifting of subsidies," Ansari told Reuters.
The truth is that much more can and should be done. For a new study reveals a more troublesome pattern:
While the international sanctions regime prohibits contact with banks in Iran, 18 US banks have indirect financial connections with the Islamic Republic. In this manner, Tehran succeeds in getting its hands on the money needed to finance its nuclear program and to provide aid to terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah and Hamas.
Avi Jorisch, a former US Treasury Department analyst in charge of fighting money laundering for criminal and terrorist purposes, scans in his new book,"Iran's Dirty Banking - How the Islamic Republic Skirts International Financial Sanctions". . . .
Jorisch's main claim is that no less than 18 American banks have an indirect relationship with three Iranian banks on the US' black list and another one subjected to UN sanctions. By using various banks around the world as intermediaries, Tehran carries out its finances unhindered, even though three of the prohibited banks funnel money into the nuclear program, the ballistic missile program, and the terrorism network.
Let's hope a miracle will occur, a tipping point will be reached and the regime will be overturned. Further international sanctions with an addition of Congressional mandated ones may just provide the right push. Unfortunately, g unilateral sanction must be delayed until the passage of UN ones. Otherwise, Moscow, which would rather keep the Mullahs in power and the Iranian nuclear crisis simmering to keep oil prices up and Washington weak looking.
Of courses, the slower the building up of the pressure, the more effective Iranian counter measures. As I wrote, we need a miracle.
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 - 18:09
BROWDER: I became the largest foreign investor in Russia. Our funds, at the peak of our success, was about $4.5 billion of foreign money invested in the Russian stock market.
And so we developed a strategy which - which seemed a bit crazy at the time, which was let's research how they do the stealing. Let's figure it all out, and then let's share the research with the international media. And we did that.
ZAKARIA: And this is just about the time that Vladimir Putin has come to power in Russia. So why is Putin allowing you to do this?
BROWDER: I was fighting with oligarchs who were trying to steal money from the companies I was investing in and Putin was fighting with the same oligarchs who were trying to steal power from him.
And so, for - for that period of time, as we were exposing the corruption in these companies, the government was acting.
ZAKARIA: And - and was that public approval of what you were doing?
BROWDER: Well, everybody - there's only one group of people that didn't approve of what I was doing, and that were - that was the people who were stealing the money from the companies. I mean, of course, who wouldn't be happy if - if you find out that the bad guys are getting fired and can't steal money from the gas company or the electricity company or whatever?
But everything changed all of a sudden in 2003. In 2003, in October, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was the richest man in Russia and the head of the Yukos oil company, was flying on a private jet to Siberia, and he was arrested on the runway in Siberia. And when they did that, they did one thing which was psychologically devastating for all the other rich people in Russia, which was they took the richest man in Russia and they put him into a cage and they allowed all the television cameras to come in and film him sitting in a cage.
And imagine that you are the 17th richest guy in Russia, sitting on - in your yacht, parked off the Cote d'Azur in France and you turn on CNN and you see the richest guy sitting in a cage, and what do you want do? You want to make sure you're not sitting in the cage.
And, so one by one by one, they went back to the Kremlin and they declared their allegiance, and, all of a sudden, they -
ZAKARIA: Their allegiance to Putin?
BROWDER: To Putin. And, all of a sudden, Putin no longer was at odds with the oligarchs. Unfortunately, I still was.
ZAKARIA: So you go for a business trip aboard November, 2005, and you come back to the airport in Russia and what happens?
BROWDER: So I arrived at the airport, as I had 250 times before in the past decade. I went to the VIP lounge at Sheremetyevo-2 Airport, handed them my passport. And what - what should have been a five-minute process, while they process the passport, turned into an hour. And after an hour there was a bunch of commotion and a bunch of officers came into the lounge and they came up to me and said you're not allowed into Russia. Follow me, Sir.
They took me down to the detention area of the airport where they kept me for a day and then they deported me out of Russia.
BROWDER: But then, the Russian government decides to go after you in another way, which is quite extraordinary.
BROWDER: Well, the next - so this was nothing. This part of the story was nothing compared to what happened next.
Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010 - 21:09
My mother continues to live. Her memory is gone. Mine remain. So, I dedicate this song to her. We both loved it so.
Every person has memories like a book
A diary engraved on a silent heart
Time scatters the bad like ashes
But the good will never be lost.
Therefore, I'll walk in the light of memories
Therefore, I'll know the path my life transversed
Cause there is silence at the end of storms
There is light hidden in felicity lost.
And you who so loved me
I'll forever remember you bright and smiling
You won't know how you pained me
Cause you still reside in my heart
Posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 - 00:51
Respect for somebody else's religion does not mandate following that persons religious mandate. Following years of Muslim attempts to intimidate writers and artists to comply with Muslim religious strictures, a group of activists decided to push back. In posting this all too true cartoon, I am joining them in solidarity.
Pakistan, the country that gave us the Taliban and built the"Islamic Bomb" is boycotting 'Facebook' and 'Youtube' for drawing Muhammad.
Posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 - 11:50
As Francis Fukuyama so cogently argues, a free prosperous society and is based on trusting strangers. Hence, it is not particularly adept when it comes to recognizing suspicious individuals, particularly well trained fanatic ones. It goes against the grain. That is the real reason that Behavior Detection Program Questioned After Airport Watchers Missed 16 People Linked to Terror
It is the best in us that Islamists seek to undermine. They cannot be defeated by a country run by a president who does not get it. He still may not get it. He may only understand that his own agenda may be in danger.
Never mind. Action matters. He may have fired the wrong man but he gave the right reason for the firing. Obama fires intelligence chief after security lapses. So, let's hope his administration received the changed message for our luck was bound to run out sooner rather than later.
Posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 - 11:45
Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data1, we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created. . . .
Spanish citizens must therefore cope with either an increase of electricity rates or increased taxes (and public deficit), as will the U.S. if it follows Spain’s model. . . .
Renewables consume enormous taxpayer resources. In Spain, the average annuity payable to renewables is equivalent to 4.35% of all VAT collected, 3.45% of the household income tax, or 5.6% of the corporate income tax for 2007
Now, they note that President Barack Obama is driving the US off the green energy cliff. The Spanish found:
Green energy is 120 percent more expensive, simply due to the extra costs of solar and wind, and the evolution of the market is not going to bring down those costs any time soon.
The clean energy sector is slated to receive 126 billion euros in the next 25 years, but no one knows where the money is going to come from . In 2009, the subsidies were worth 5 billion euros.
Photovoltaic solar power accounts for 53 percent of the extra cost of renewables, whereas it produces only 11 percent of Spain’s renewable energy.
Each “green job” comes at the expense of 2.2 traditional jobs.
Posted on Friday, May 21, 2010 - 12:40
The sad thing is that everybody in Thailand has known for months that the troubles are coming. A young, cocky prime minister refused to call an election he feared would deprive him of power. Once the lengthy legal case against former prime minister Thaksim ended in compromise, election could no longer be indefinitely delayed. Thai papers touted the compromise as the Thai way. A similar compromise, an agreement to an election at date sure, would have prevented the current troubles. A Thai style compromise could yet do the trick. The current death and destruction seem so unnecessary, so wasteful . . .
Watch the black tanks! Bangkok 2010 looks worse than Prague 1968. SO NOT OVER! It is moving north. Time for elections.
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 11:10
The permanent Security Council members may fight amongst themselves but they will unite against any attempt to water down their power and that it precisely what the Southern triumvirate tried to achieve. So, when the three cheerful leaders announced triumphantly that there is no longer need for additional sanctions. The Security Council veto holders responded with a sanctions draft. Do not expect the non veto members not to be resentful of this obvious muscle flexing.
Just watch the Chinese professor Tao Jao try to explain the strange timing of the sanctions to the Chinese anchor. She asked why the agreement came a day after Iran agreed to a nuclear swap deal with Turkey and Brazil and he answered that it was because the the SC has been dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue for years. If his explanation is inane, his certainty that the measure is sure to pass is interesting though he is careful not to imply that the sanctions would have much impact beyond delivering a message of"international" displeasure.
In Iran all the government can do is"slam" the agreement and try to convince its citizens the measures were unlikely to be approved and would not break its economy if they were implemented. . Ahmadinejad's overreach has given the Obama administration a sudden surprising diplomatic victory. Just to make sure that Washington understands that nothing has really changed, Russian foreign minister Lavrov warns the US and EU yet again not to try to bypass Russia by imposing their own sanctions on Iran:
"There is information that the US and the European Union are not limiting themselves to a common position on Iran in the UN Security Council and want to introduce additional, one-sided sanctions," Lavrov said.
This he felt amounts to breach of international laws and said that an informal agreement on more punitive sanctions against Iran had been agreed up on by permanent members of the UNSC and Germany.
One cannot refrain from wondering whether Russia extracted a commitment from Hillary to abstain from additional sanctions. Of course, Congress may insist and even overrule an Obama veto as happened with the Jackson amendment during Soviet times.
Be that as it may, one can only hope that the price of oil will continue to drop. Calling Riad.
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 13:20