Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Answering Murphy’s Treacherous Open Arms, Empty Holster Foreign Policy Prescriptions

On Monday (February 6, 2017), the Harford Courant printed a long, 1335 word op-ed column written by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy that previously had appeared in the Huffington Post, “Trump’s Reckless Path Towards War.” http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-murphy-trumps-reckless-iran-policy-0206-20170203-story.html

This is the lede to the column: “Since the inauguration, the White House has taken several ham-handed escalatory steps that bring into question whether Trump and his most radical advisers are begging for war with Iran. This would be a disaster of epic scale, perhaps eclipsing the nightmare of the Iraq War. Republicans and Democrats need to start viewing President Donald Trump's actions and words as a possible accidental or intentional prelude to major conflict, and take steps to counter this dangerous slide to war.”

Almost every sentence is parsable. Taken as a whole, the piece amounts to a pawn house of campaign talking points, none of which are new, all of which are doubtful. From Murphy’s view atop the progressive mountain, some of Trump's advisors appear radical. Point of view determines one’s place on the political spectrum.

Trump Not A Warmonger

Trump, whose views on America’s foreign entanglements more or less pattern those of past presidential contender Pat Buchanan, certainly is not anxious to involve us in another Iraq-like conflict in the Middle East; indeed Trump, during his presidential primary slugfest, severely criticized former President George Bush II for having involved the United States in the now infamous Iraq War. Then too, Murphy’s notion that we are presently “sliding into war” a little more than two weeks after Trump’s inauguration may strike some as being a touch frantic, if not implausible. Owing to a determination on the part of Democrats to obstruct Trump, the bulk of his cabinet has not yet been affirmed by Murphy and other U.S. Senators. President Barack Obama at the same time during Trump’s presidency quickly had eleven of his cabinet members affirmed; only three Trump cabinet members have passed muster within the same time frame. In any case, the Trump presidency is only a few weeks old. It may be a bit early to cry warmonger.

Murphy argues that Trump must not include Iranians in his travel ban. These are his words: “The danger of including Iran comes in the message it sends to Iranians and its potential to tip the political balance inside Iran to forces that are deeply antithetical to the United States and Israel — the kind of people who actually could start World War III.”

It’s refreshing to hear from Murphy that the mullahs who run Iran – the same theo/political crew that has been in charge of the country since the Iranian Revolution first began in 1979 – are not kindly disposed to the United States. They never were. The ongoing Iranian Revolution was sparked by the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and the subsequent overthrow of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Rezā Pahlavi, ‎ who, Murphy may recall, was friendly to the United States. At the end of his long reign in Libya, the eccentric Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi  had similarly been friendly to the United States; this was shortly before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came, saw and conquered him, leaving a gaping hole in North Africa that quickly was filled by ISIS, a JV team, according to Nobel Peace Prize winner President Barack Obama.

There are no moderates in the Middle East

The success of radical Islam in the Middle East is intimately related to the overthrow of ruthless but moderate Islamic rulers in Iran, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. In Egypt, the democratic takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood – bad hombres, according to foreign  friends of the United States -- was thwarted by the Egyptian army; so, no luck there. Everywhere else, Islamic radicalism has been hugely successful, especially in Iran, a nation that has hegemonic ambitions. Does anyone doubt – does Murphy doubt? – that the present rulers in Iran, none of whom are moderate, would incinerate Israel with nuclear weapons had they the opportunity to do so? In a couple of years, owing to a deal arranged between Obama and Iranian mullahs, he may have the opportunity to do just that.  Obliterating Jews is hardly a moderate foreign policy. And yet Murphy makes much ado about fictitious “moderates” in his Courant/Huffington Post op-ed.

Why “fictitious moderates?” Because the “moderates” in Iran have no political power. It is a serious foreign policy miscalculation to think that the “The Supreme Leader” in Iran, Ali Khamenei, is in any rational sense a moderate, or that the Iranian Revolution can be modified by out of power “moderates” in the country. Murphy’s opinion piece in the Courant swings on the presence that there are in Iran “moderates” who may effectively challenge the supremacy of the Iranian Revolution. This is a dangerous fiction.

There may be “moderates” in North Korea as well, nearly all of whom are actively persecuted. All the moderates in North Korea are either in a North Korean gulag or on their way to it. The same would be true in Iran for those “moderates” who resist the destruction of Israel or support a friendly entente towards “The Great Satan.” The Great Satan is the United States; it is Presidents Carter, Bushes one and two, Clinton and Obama, not to mention U.S. Senators from Connecticut Murphy and Blumenthal.

Revolutionists do not make fine distinctions between their enemies. How many voices in Iran were raised against the recent capture and humiliation of American sailors, and what cells in Iran are these presumed “moderates” now occupying?

The sad truth is -- there is no effective “moderate” party in Iran, none. To imagine moderates where none exist is wishful thinking. To tie American foreign policy to such mythical entities is a dangerous flight from reality. There are no white knights in greater Arabia, only warring tribes who have been biting each other’s ears since the death of Mohammed, blessings be upon him. And at some point the United States must choose between greater and lesser evils – Iran, backed by former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, or Saudi Arabia, which in the past had assisted the United States in the destruction of the Soviet Union by acceding to a request from American President Ronald Reagan to lower the world price of oil, the better to bankrupt a tottering Soviet Empire. Under current circumstances, not to choose – or, as the Obama administration preferred always to put it, to “lead from behind” – is to make a choice. This is the fly in the ointment of “America Firsters.”

Buchannanites and Neo-Cons

So then, are the Buchananites wrong and conservative neo-cons right?

No, John Adams, whose sentiment was strongly supported by Bill Buckley, was right: “The United States is the friend of democracy everywhere, but the custodian only of its own.” Murphy would not wish to argue that the United States should not have entered World War II because by so doing America might have alienated “moderate” forces in fascist – i.e. totalitarian – Germany. Was Franklin Roosevelt, a warmonger after Pearl Harbor? Murphy would not wish to argue that the United States was wrong to oppose the corrupt Soviet Empire during the Cold War because by so doing it would have alienated “moderate forces” in the Soviet Union – all of whom were residing in the Stalinist Gulag Archipelago. Nor would he wish to argue, as a student of history, that war plays NO part in successful diplomacy.  "War is the continuation of politics by other means," said Carl von Clausewitz; Putin would be inclined to agree with him. Decisive wars bring peace in their bloody train; indecisive wars open the door to bloodlust, diplomatic failures and perpetual strife.

The John Kerry/Obama peace initiative towards Iran is a conspicuous failure because the diplomatic entente surrendered to Iran every possible advantage the mullahs who control the country might have gained following the prosecution of a successful war against the United States. The “deal” – none dare call it a treaty -- concocted between Iran and the Obama “lead from behind” administration dismantled a successful multi-country embargo against the prime exporter of terrorism in the Middle East, over the strenuous and lucid objections of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, delivered cash and gold to the mullahs they no doubt will use to finance Hamas terrorism against Israel, and turned a blind eye to Putin-backed subversion of U.S. interests in the Middle East. That deal -- a multi-nation treaty really --that by-passed the U.S. Congress, signaled to Islamic terrorists everywhere that America’s enemies were no longer the enemies of the Obama-Clinton-Kerry regime.

Ah, but Murphy candidly admits in his op-ed that Iran is a “serious adversary,” does he not? He writes, “The government [of Iran] has long been a sponsor of terrorists and radical groups in the Middle East. Most recently, the Iranian government bears responsibility for some of the worst carnage in Syria.”

These admissions are followed by mitigating “buts.” Murphy writes that Iran presents no direct threat to the United States, and this “but” is a vehicle that takes him towards a dizzying criticism of Trump’s “Muslim ban.” The “ban” is not a ban but a temporary stay that affects only seven counties, the government of every one of which is in a sad state of disrepair, owing to the intervention of states such as Iran. “Death to Israel and the Great Satan,” is the cry of defiance that small boys, later the soldier of Islam, learn in every madrasa and street corner in Iran, a country that hopes, under the tutelage of Vladmir Putin, to become a hegemonic power in the Middle East.

The opponents of a rational U.S.  foreign policy are trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, they are insisting that the temporary immigrant interdiction that applies to seven shattered countries is a “Muslim ban,” when in fact it is a ban on deteriorating Muslim states whose immigrants cannot properly be vetted. On the other hand, Murphy laments that the Trump ban does not include Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, which did present a direct threat to the United States. The 9-11 Islamic terrorists hailed from Saudi Arabia, not Iran. The distinction drawn by the ban, similar to an earlier Obama administration ban, is between vettable and non-vettable states. The purpose of the ban --really a temporary interdiction -- is to allow a pause in the course of which the United States may study the question of vettability. If the United States were to use immigration to punish behavior by host counties, what country would be safe from the ban? Would Murphy have chosen to ban Irishman or Englishmen during the past “troubles” between the two nations from 1960-1998?

The Clarion Project

The connection between Saudi Arabia and the 9-11 terrorists was somewhat indirect, according to recently declassified pages from the official U.S. report on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Omar Al-Bayoumi, the Saudi intelligence officer who may have assisted two 9/11 hijackers, had links to Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Saudi Arabia would have put Osama Bin Laden away for life, had it been able to catch him. The Clarion Project reported last July that the recently-declassified 28 pages from the official U.S. report on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks indicate that A-Bayoumi had other terrorist connections as well: “In addition, the FBI determined that al-Bayoumi was in contact with several individuals under investigation and with the Holy Land Foundation, which has been under investigation as a fundraising front for Hamas.”

The Holy Land foundation “was identified as a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s wing in the United States,” the report continues. “It was set up to finance Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, which is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.”

Given these connections, perhaps Murphy should ask himself whether the “Muslim Brotherhood wing” in the United States might present a future threat to the United States.

The Clarion Project further reports: “During the course of the Holy Land trial, numerous Brotherhood entities and members were identified. The Justice Department put together a long list of unidentified co-conspirators. The list specifically named Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) as Brotherhood ‘entities.’” The Clarion Project notes: “In November 2014 CAIR was designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates along with a host of other Muslim Brotherhood entities.”

The above mentioned Brotherhood connected entities have a presence in the United States right now, and CAIR, because it has been able to present itself within the United States as a benign Brotherhood growth, may be fatally dangerous. One wonders if Murphy would agree that members of CAIR here in the United States should be put on a “no-fly” list of possible terrorists.

CAIR announced in January, 2014, “The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded a ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that said placement on the government's no-fly list ‘transforms a person into a second class citizen, or worse.’”

This year, Murphy was asked by Random House executive editor Jon Meacham during a January 30 appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “Do you see any merit in the President’s action [placing a temporary ban on immigrants arriving from the seven countries interdicted]? What do you believe should be the security screening? What should be the vetting for immigrants coming in?”

According to a Breitbart news report, “Murphy responded by saying:

‘The four countries that were of origin for the 9/11 attackers, none of them are on this list,’ and then quickly shifted to push ‘a discussion about a pathway in which there is absolutely no screening’ for immigrants. He cited U.S./Europe agreements on the VISA waiver program as an example of U.S. entrance ‘without almost any security vet.’

“He expounded:

“So, I would go towards a sort of European bent in looking at screening. And then maybe let’s just make sure that if folks get to this country, and we suspect them of having connections to terrorism, that they shouldn’t be able to get an assault weapon. That’s a huge liability in our law today.”

Stuck with Mediocre Two More Years

Behold Murphy’s Open Arms, Empty Holster Policy in brief: Switch allegiance in the Middle East and north Africa from Saudi Arabia (Sunni, the majority population in the Middle East) to Iran (Shia, the minority population). At the same time, give up any hope of controlling borders and adopt a failed European immigration policy: open borders and stringent gun control – like Paris, bombed numerous times, or Germany, whose women, in certain sections of the country, do not go out at night for fear of being hassled or raped by unvetted immigrants. And don’t worry overmuch about Israel, a real country and real democracy that both Sunni and Shia wish to throw into a hot oven.

That’s it – the same failed foreign policy practiced for eight years by the Obama/Clinton administration, the blessings of Allah be upon it.

This is a Sunni/Shia map of the Middle East and North Africa:

The sooner the Republican Party finds someone who is literate on Islam, the historic Sunni/Shia wars, Russia and Western Europe to run against this progressive megaphone and campaign stooge in two years, when Murphy’s present term in office expires, the better for Connecticut, the nation and the weeping world.
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