Muhammad El Baradei thought that the Gods were smiling on him. After decades of living abroad he used the demonstrations to return to Cairo as “a leading opposition leader” and immediately sought to establish close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood on the assumption was that the West knows him and will trust him to tame the powerful Islamist party. At first the Brotherhood played along hoping El Baradei will provide them with an entre to the negotiations. Alas, things changed.
No, VP Omar Suleiman does not need to become a Mubarak redux ruling Egypt for decades to come. He should merely hold the country together until the promised September elections. Worse things can happen. A Suleiman directed election may be even better provided it permits moderate elements to present a real alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood. There is nothing more perilous than attempts to predict the ultimate outcome of a period of revolutionary chaos. So, please, do not try to convince me and the likes of Tony Blair of the unlikelihood that the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge victorious.
The Asian Cold War is heating up. On Jan. 7 China offered Europeans its services as a white night to the Euro. A mere 3 days later Japan upped the ante for as Lisa Twaronite writes from Japan, Whenever China says it will lend a helping hand, Japan is sure to offer an arm or a leg of its own. Indeed, American decline ends not only the period of Chinese free ridership but even the India one. Sides must be chosen and Japan is determined not to accede to Chinese hegemony without a fight and to do so it must have allies. Everything must be done to secure and strengthen the democratic alliance. That means preventing Europe from becoming even more indebted to China as well as forcing India to enforce sanctions on Iran.
Increasing respect for the Muslim/Arab world has been a strategic goal of the Obama administration. Even poor Nasa is required to spend money to promote it! No, it is not a joke. If Waleed Abdalati has been selected as NASA’s chief scientist because he is a Muslim, it is quite troubling. The truth is that Jihadist atrocities and attempted atrocities continue to increase world wide disdain for the Muslim world. Just consider this headline Pakistani Religious leaders cheer governor’s murder. If that has not been bad enough, Muslims attachment to conspiracy theories make them a laughing stock. Here are a batch of animal centered ones to entertain you:
Poor Youtube editors they just cannot get their act together. Not only have they emerged as a prime outlet for Jihadi propaganda but they have repeatedly fallen into the trap of identifying hate speech exposure with hate speech. They ask readers to flag entries they consider offensive and then fall into the trap set for them by those who wish to limit the audience of their hate speech. In October it suspended the translated video clips posted by MEMRI, The Media Middle East Research Institute. It has since realized its mistake and not only instituted the account. Now they have made the same mistake and canceled the account of the Palestinian Media Watch. Itamar Marcus writes
To understand one of the major reasons for American economic decline, one has to come to terms with the dangerous appeasement policies practiced by those amongst the American governing class known as “reasonable moderates.” It is an appeasement policy based on the arrogant assumption that America is so rich and its democratic system so invulnerable that it can afford to pay any price to buy off vocal minorities opposed to democratic capitalism. Amazingly, the obvious recent difficulties of the American economy caused them no second thoughts as demonstrated by recent waste laden compromise tax bill and the Fed’s insistence on continuing with the already failed policy of quantitative easing.
Here we go again. First, the liberal columnist was surprised by the veracity of Israeli diplomats, now he wonders how the anti-American intellectual elite got it all so wrong. Rachman describes the intellectual elite’s belief system thus:
As the economy was so weak, unemployment so high and Congress was in no mood for a second stimulus, I have no choice but to print money, Bernanke has been saying. Fine. But now Congress is about to enact a second stimulus in the form of a series of tax cuts worth 800 billion dollars, so Bernanke has no valid reason to continue his money printing.
Fairly or unfairly, leaders are made or unmade during emergencies. George W. Bush grasped was made by 9/11 and unmade during Katrina. Barack Obama was unmade by the Gulf oil spill. In Israel Ehud Olmert was unmade by the second Lebanon War. Benjamin Netanyahu is being made by his brilliant response to the Carmel mega fire. He has set clear goals, acted with decisiveness, dispatch and caring. Unlike Olmert, he repeatedly demonstrated solidarity with the burning North. Not only did he visit with the first respondents, flew over the affected area but had his cabinet meet in one of the formerly evacuated towns.
Turkey, former American ambassador Jeffrey wrote, has “Rolls Royce ambitions, but Rover resources.” If that was not bad enough Turkish media reports that their self righteous PM Erdogan and his FM Davutoglu has been caught lying big time
Normally a surge in the price of used equipment relative to new signals a robust order book. Not for truck manufacturers. A series of US and EU standards for diesel engine emissions has added 7 to 10 per cent so far to the cost of a typical heavy duty model while increasing fuel costs by nearly a quarter.
I have just returned from an FPRI lecture in which Dominic Tierney introduced his new book How We Fight: Crusades, Quagmires, and the American Way of War. Americans, he argues, like the first but disdain the second. He would rather they changed their mind and learned to love the morally ambiguous counter insurgency and nation building “quagmires” such as Southern reconstruction, Philippines and Vietnam and disdain regime changing morally unambiguous wars such such as the Civil War or World War II which he claims were inherently vengeful.Only vengeful Americans could demand that the South end slavery, that Germany denazify or that Iraq get rid of Saddam Hussein. He even goes so far as to equate the crusades with the “vengeful” Old Testament and nation building with the “good news” of the New Testament. I pointed out that the Old Testament is the story of a small people who were constantly overrun by great powers and who invented peace as an ideal. And the crusades were undertaken by Christians (as a response to Islamic Jihads on their Byzantine coreligionists). Moreover, unlike Christians and Muslims, Old Testament Jews have never looked forward to a day when the whole world would become Jewish. Believe it or not, Oxford/Harvard educated Tierney justified himself by insisted that when talking about the people of the Old Testament, he was not talking about Jews!
Why is Ben Bernanke insist on printing dollars? Because he wishes “to regenerate the animal spirits of America’s now dormant asset-dependent economy,” writes Stephen Roach. Roach calls the strategy “very dangerous” and doubts its success. I would call it self defeating. I have yet to remember a time when an administration has tried so hard to awaken that spirit or that the American “animal spirits” have been more depressed. Why? Because the Obama administration’s massive experiment in behavioral economics had not not only been failing but had led to a lose of public faith in the credibility of the Fed and, indeed, in the entire country’s economic management.
Why is it that Obama/Clinton take every opportunity to express displeasure with Israel’s plans to build additional apartments in Jerusalem, its capital, but are Antisemitic, yes Antisemitic, incitement?
Freedom is the grand theme of the new National Museum of American Jewish History located in the Independence Mall in Philadelphia. To emphasize the point, the core exhibition is divided into: “Foundations of Freedom: 1654-1880,” “Dreams of Freedom: 1880-1945,” and “Choices and Challenges of Freedom: 1945-Today.” Freedom, the curators seem to argue, enabled the transformation of a small Jewish frontier outpost into the largest, richest, most important component of the Jewish Diaspora. However, the building, the accompanying text, and strange omissions raise some interesting questions. Jews are indubitably free in America, but just how free do they feel? Or, to put it more precisely, how free do the museum creators feel? Do they feel free enough to assert their deep commitment to their age old religion? Do they feel free enough to acknowledge their ties to the global Jewish family? Do they feel free enough to take pride in their outsized contribution to America?
I cannot wipe the smile off my face. Once again it was proven that far from being broken, the American people make sure that the system works beautifully. Two years ago Americans decided to take a foolish chance on an inexperienced young man called Barack Hussein Obama. They have paid for it dearly. But after two years, the American system sagely provides an opportunity to take out a restraining order thereby limiting the damage that can be wrought by a mistakenly chosen president.
The leftist punditry that played such a key role in convincing the American people that it was safe to hire an inexperienced community organizer as the chief executive of the world’s premier power is at it again. This time it seeks to convince the American people that their perception is wrong. Barack Hussein Obama has done as well as could have been expected under the circumstances. FT columinst, Philip Stephens, writes:
The Financial Times published an edited extract from “Zero Sum Game” Gideon Rachman’s forthcoming book. In it their award winning liberal columnist bemoans what he perceives to be the unsavory consequences of the post 2008 relative decline of the US. Before becoming an FT columnist, he reports, he has worked for the BBC and the Economist. Three formidable British media outlets which have never hesitated to delight in exposing their disapproval for any expression of American ideological, economic or diplomatic assertiveness. Nor have they failed to celebrate any manifestations of American difficulties especially when Republicans ruled the land or neo-Conservative advocacy of promoting Democracy and Capitalism held sway.
Stimulus emerged as a dirty word in this election cycle. Democratic Keynesians argue that it saved the US and what is needed is more of the same. 2/3 of American polled, consider it a waste of money. They may not know the reason the Keynesian recipe no longer works but they can see that it not only does not work but that it is making the sick American economy sicker. But why have American efforts to stimulate the economy fail so miserably while Chinese efforts have succeed so well? Because in the US (though not in China) demand is local but supply is global, points out Andy Xie.
Striving to appear even handed at his UN address, President Obama repeatedly drew a parallel between continued Israeli settlements and Palestinian incitement. Yet while the media is filled with reports of the Obama administration’s disappointment with Israel’s refusal to renew the temporary suspension of settlement building, not a peep is heard regarding the ongoing vile anti-Israeli propaganda emanating from the Palestinian Authority. Clearly, the media understands Obama’s “even-handedness” is not to be taken seriously.