BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: Foreign Policy (Page 1 of 7)

My Latest at The Federalist: Iran Deal Shills Sell the Mullahs the Rope with Which to Hang Us

The Iran Deal echo chamber has been ratcheting up its rhetoric in the days around the Trump administration’s deal decertification announcement, seeking to protect the non-treaty at all costs.

Among the most honest and simultaneously sordid rationales for defending the deal, especially by leaders of the EU, is this: The JCPOA means big business for the West. As long as the money is good for the major corporations trading with Iran (who contribute to the politicians’ campaigns), who cares if the commerce is materially supporting the world’s leading state sponsor of jihad.

I explore this shameful episode in the history of the West in a new piece at The Federalist, detailing how the West is indeed selling out to a jihadist regime whose economy is expressly dedicated by Iran’s constitution itself to spreading its pernicious Islamic revolution.

Here’s a taste:

Now we understand why then-Secretary of State John Kerry was at pains to push Western entities to trade with Iran. Sec. Kerry served as Iran’s lobbyist-in-chief because he knew deeper economic integration between the West and Iran would make it that much more difficult politically to unwind the culmination of his life’s work undermining U.S. interests. Left unspoken is that such dalliances with Iran inextricably intertwine the West with those who directly threaten and undermine us.

Providing the world’s leading state sponsor of jihad with billions of dollars in cash, and trading it essential goods and services, merely bolster its malicious activities.

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Israel’s Temple Mount Policy is a Microcosm of What Ails the West

In a new piece for the Claremont Review of Books, I argue that Israel’s Temple Mount policy from its reclamation in 1967 to today — intended to appease Arab aggressors — is a microcosm of what ails the West. In fact, it reflects the perfect symbol of our civilization’s lack of confidence in its moral legitimacy, sovereignty, and the right to defend against aggression.

Here’s a taste:

Israel does not err alone. The Temple Mount, which is core to the Judeo-Christian world generally, and to Israel—which is the first line of defense of Western civilization against Islamic supremacism—is symbolic of the West’s broader ideological maladies. Leftism sees the West as an evil, oppressive, occupying force. The hysterical reaction to President Trump’s Poland speech in defense of Western civilization—which was read by the Left with scare quotes as a defense of racism and colonialism—is the product of such “progressive” brainwashing.

The West has deemed itself morally illegitimate, the decadent and depraved creation of dead European white males. To make up for real and imagined historic injustices, the West has frequently repudiated its fundamental principles, and actively undermined its institutions. Its crisis of moral legitimacy is revealed in virulently anti-religious secularism, and in attacks on the natural rights to life, liberty, and property by an administrative state operating without the consent of the people.

The West’s lack of confidence in its sovereignty is revealed in open-borders policies that result in endless migrant floods, regardless of whether the migrants will or can enhance economic or social development. Progressive activists go so far as to imply that every migrant—legal or not—has an inherent right to citizenship, or at least to the rights guaranteed by citizenship. The multicultural credo that holds all cultures to be equal and inherently valuable is thought to obviate the need for borders.

The West’s unwillingness to defend itself against Islamic aggression reveals itself in Europe’s “no-go zones.” In America, it reveals itself through our see-no-Islam national security and foreign policy, and in the pervasive belief that we must appease our enemies with bribery (Iran Deal), sacrifice our rights (anti-free speech measures so as not to offend), or remove our defenses through politically correct policies chiefly oriented towards concession rather than victory (“Countering Violent Extremism”). At the heart of these policies is a belief that the West is the aggressor, and our enemies are the aggrieved.

The West’s lack of confidence ultimately extends to its right to survive. If one of the least abashed Western nations won’t assert itself at Temple Mount, it is hard to be sure where other nations will draw lines they are prepared to defend without yielding.

Read the whole thing here.

My Interview with Keith Hanson on President Trump’s 2017 UNGA Speech

I dissect President Trump’s 2017 UNGA speech and discuss the ironic backlash to the Kirkpatrickian philosophy of “principled realism” that backed it during the below interview with Keith Hanson on WNTK beginning at 2:53:

Where Democracy Really Does Die in Darkness

In the Trump era, members of the mainstream media have fashioned themselves as tribunes of the people and arbiters of truth. “Democracy dies in darkness,” warns the Washington Post; the New York Times intones, “Truth. It’s more important than ever.”

With the election of a Republican president, the media have rediscovered constitutional government. Suddenly, executive power must be constrained again. Checks and balances are all the rage. Federalism and states’ rights are no longer racist “dog whistles,” but essential antidotes to a domineering central government.

And yet, while the media clang their alarms about how Donald Trump is supposedly turning America into a fascist dictatorship, they largely neglect the fact that democracy really is dying in other parts of the world. I explore this phenomenon, and the dire consequences the media has been tellingly blacking out from Turkey, to Hong Kong and Venezuela in a new piece at City Journal.

You can also listen to me discuss this topic at length during a radio interview with WNTK New Hampshire’s Keith Hanson here below:

Trump Reinvigorates the US-Israel Relationship Upending Obama’s Anti-Zionist Agenda

In the days since becoming president, Donald Trump took swift action indicating that days of Obama antipathy were coming to an end, through his symbolic and substantive appointment of staunch Zionist David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, to his putting Iran “on notice” and imposing sanctions against it, and his reversal of U.S. policy on Judea and Samaria.

But February 15, 2017, the day that President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood side by side at the White House for the first time, may have marked the official end to the shameful Obama years.

I write about this heartening change for the benefit of all of Western civilization in a new piece at Conservative Review.

Here are seven fundamental takeaways from the recent Trump-Netanyahu joint press conference:

1. Mutual dedication to thwarting Iran and fighting Islamic supremacism more broadly:

Contrary to an Obama administration that coddled Iran and allowed Islamic supremacism to metastasize, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu mutually agreed to mitigate the disaster that is the Iran Deal, including stopping Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon and pushing back against its proxies like Hezbollah. Prime Minister Netanyahu lauded President Trump for his commitment to defeating jihadism more broadly, a fight Israel deals with daily in the form of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist threats. A common understanding of the nature of the Islamic supremacist threat to both nations, and Western civilization more broadly, is in and of itself a profound change.

2. Upending the two-state peace paradigm:

Turning the decades-old status quo on its head, the Trump administration indicated it would no longer be official U.S. policy to seek a peace agreement between the Israelis and Arabs of Palestine that takes the form of two states. As both leaders suggested, such an agreement could take many forms, but “labels” were secondary to substance.

3. The U.S. will not dictate the peace:

President Trump suggested that only a direct agreement between the Israelis and their Arab counterparts would clinch a deal. The U.S. will be happy to facilitate such conversations, including broader ones with Sunni Arab partners, but President Trump indicated a deal would not be forced on Israel by other parties. Moreover, President Trump appeared to endorse the preconditions Prime Minister Netanyahu put on such a peace, including recognition of Israel and its ability to adequately secure Judea and Samaria. Consistent with the administration’s prior statement, President Trump did not call the settlements an obstacle to peace, but did call for a pause seemingly in connection with forthcoming negotiations.

4. Recognition of Arab Jew-hatred as a primary obstacle to peace:

Both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about the pervasive fundamental Jew-hatred animating large numbers of the Arabs of Palestine, which has stood as a main obstacle to peace. Trump did not draw moral equivalence between the Israelis and Arabs, solely stating that both sides would have to make compromises in a deal.

5. Engaging with Sunni Arab partners:

One of the few silver linings of the Obama administration’s Iran-strengthening policy is that Israel and its Arab neighbors were drawn closer than perhaps at any time in the last hundred years given their common existential threat from Tehran. President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to work with such powers on areas of common interest, presumably including countering jihadists that would threaten their regimes and in context of a broadly negotiated Israeli-Arab peace deal. One such potential plan floated on the eve of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip to the U.S. involves creating an area for the Arabs of Palestine spanning from Gaza to the Sinai.

6. Ensuring protection at the United Nations:

Contrary to the Obama administration, President Trump pledged to work to protect Israel from the many hostile nations comprising the United Nations. Trump’s statement comes on the heels of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s rejection of former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad’s appointment as the UN representative to Libya.

7. Rejecting the BDS movement:

Again contra the Obama administration, President Trump declared that he would oppose boycotts targeting Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded the press conference by stating:

I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time. There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.

The positive rapport between the two figures appeared genuine, based on a shared worldview and mutual respect.

Watching the press conference, it was self-evident that the pall cast over the relationship between the U.S. and Israel under President Obama has lifted, and the U.S.-Israel alliance reset at an auspicious moment in history.

A rebooted and robust U.S.-Israel relationship will play a central role if we are win the fight to preserve Judeo-Christian Western civilization against the jihadist forces that threaten our survival.

Read the whole thing here.

What the Founders Said About Draining the Swamp — And How Trump Can Do It

In the wake of the numerous attempts to sabotage President Donald Trump’s agenda in recent weeks from all manner of actors, I write about the challenges of draining the swamp, and what can and must be done to achieve it in a new piece at Conservative Review.

Here’s a taste:

Consider what President Trump is up against: Intense jockeying for positioning at the highest levels of the bureaucracy among individuals seeking to accumulate power to advance their own agendas; holdovers from prior administrations who hate the president’s guts; bureaucrats who have made a decent living for themselves by and are ideologically committed to the state-expanding status quo; rogue judges acting on the basis of politics rather than the law; congressmen on the Left and Right who for their own reasons — primarily getting re-elected and perpetuating their power — wish to see the swamp continue to fester.

These individuals see a president infringing upon their turf, upending their plans, and threatening the power they have amassed over the course of their careers.

Juxtapose this reality with the goings-on of the president’s first few weeks in office: Stories of in-fighting among those at the highest levels of the bureaucracy — replete with a mass of leaks on all manner of sensitive issues; plants from the Obama administration sabotaging the president’s policies; unfriendly bureaucrats openly seeking to undermine the president via social media; litigation over executive orders that disregards the letter and spirit of the law; congressional backsliding on promised agenda items; and, of course, a media all-too-willing to publicize every last story it can spin as damaging in order to delegitimize and discredit the president. These efforts are all geared towards deterring the swamp draining.

President Trump has succeeded throughout his career in cutthroat businesses. To do so in politics will require a deep understanding of the manifold forces arrayed against him, and a strategy to engage them in no holds barred political warfare in all dimensions.

He will have to prioritize his policies, devise strategies to push them through replete with numerous contingency plans given overwhelming resistance, while at every turn protecting against people working to undermine him on the inside and outside.

To counter this will require a flurry of actions in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as a cohesive messaging plan geared towards both a hostile media and the general public.

He will have to avail himself of all possible means to aggressively strike at the administrative state, coax Congress to trade his big agenda items for its favored policies, and constrain a judicial branch corrupted by far too many progressive justices, while appointing as many rock-ribbed constitutionalists as he can to the federal bench. He will have to thwart a media that will seek to portray him as an authoritarian seeking to harm countless Americans at every turn, while making a clear, concise, and direct pitch to the public as to why his policies are intended to return power to them.

He will be attacked at every turn because such actions will threaten the livelihood of those whose whole careers have been dedicated to accruing power in politics.

If anyone could take the slings and arrows associated with these policies, it is President Trump, who never apologizes and always counterpunches.

He must pair his mettle with the personnel and the plan to achieve his agenda.

Read the whole thing at Conservative Review.

The Truth About the Left’s Disgraceful and Utterly Dishonest Savaging of Trump NSC Deputy Michael Anton

Check out my latest at Conservative Review in which I systematically dismantle the Left’s scurrilous attacks on Michael Anton, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications formerly known as ‘Publius Decius Mus,’ and explain the real reason behind the Left’s efforts to smear him and others at the National Security Council and beyond.

Here’s a taste:

The Left has aimed its sights in particular at the National Security Council in its dishonest savaging of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, having already claimed the scalp of Dr. Monica Crowley by presenting her as a plagiarist in spite of the evidence to the contrary.

For to kneecap the National Security Council would be to prevent a sea change in national security and foreign policy — a clean break with the failed bipartisan establishment’s Wilsonian internationalist policies of the last 15 years and beyond.

In particular, the Left likely cannot bear a national security policy that is threat-oriented — that sees the size, scope, and nature of the global jihadist threat, among other ones, and wishes to orient our policy towards eliminating it.

To that, we should pose the question as to why? Why trust Iran? Why trust that current vetting procedures keep out Sharia supremacists? Why trust that in spite of growing jihadist attacks, rape, female genital mutilation, and honor killings in the West that all is going to be fine?

When a determined enemy says it wishes to kill you, does it not behoove you to drop the politically correct blinders and consider taking it seriously?

As the howls of Nazi, racist, sexist and bigot begin to lose their sting, depreciated in their overuse and misattribution, expect the campaign to toxify anyone associated with the Trump administration to grow more desperate and dishonest.

For when you find a desperate and dishonest opponent, you are likely on to something worth pursuing.

Read the whole thing at Conservative Review.

What the Reality-Denying Left Misses About Trump’s Immigration and Terror Entry Executive Order

In the false narrative the media has generated to try and discredit President Trump’s immigration/terror entry executive order, lost is the reasonable basis for the directive and the prudent nature of its substance.

As I note in a new piece at Conservative Review:

Opponents of the order would have us believe that we inhabit a world in which the following truths do not exist:

  1. That the global jihadist movement is waging war against the United States.
  2. That, as in all wars, the jihadist enemy seeks to undermine us through any and all means necessary. This includes immigrating to our homeland both legally and illegally, in order to collect intelligence, recruit additional members, and wage ideological and kinetic war, among other nefarious activities.
  3. That as America’s leading homeland security officials readily acknowledge, we are ill-equipped to adequately screen individuals coming to America from states in the Middle East with sizable jihadist populations.
  4. That there is no fundamental right for all peoples of the world to enter American soil.
  5. That immigration policy like all policy must necessarily be geared towards America’s national interest — which includes putting the interests of American citizens first.

In this context, when one reads the plain English of President Trump’s executive order, it appears eminently reasonable and prudent, as one step in what must be a comprehensive counterjihad policy geared towards keeping new enemies out and defeating the enemies already within.

 

Consider the nature of the substance of the executive order:

  • It is limited in both (i) the set of nations to which the visa restrictions apply — all seven of which were identified in previous Obama administration immigration policy as posing threats, and all of which are failed and/or jihadist-laden states; and (ii) the time period for which the restrictions apply in all cases except Syria, which is a country in civil war — in large part overrun by ISIS and other jihadist forces.
  • It is flexible in giving the secretaries of state and homeland security discretion to allow admission of individuals into the country who would be otherwise restricted under the order. As the Department of Homeland Security notes, the result was that contrary to the media portrayal of widespread chaos, the implementation of the order affected less than one percent of the more than 325,000 daily arriving international air travelers. 48 hours after the order went into place, all detained individuals at airports were released.
  • It is consistent with American values and the law in calling for prioritizing the resettlement of refugees who have been discriminated against because of their  religious minority status.
  • It is threat doctrine-based, ensuring that ideology — the basis of the jihadist threat — is a key filter in the immigration screening process, pursuant to Section 1 which states:
In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

For those on the Left with a newfound appreciation for constitutional limits to federal power, the executive order is fully legal.

The Left, and its communications arm in the mainstream media, seeks to highlight the burdens born by those affected by the policy in order to score political points.

They ignore President Trump’s and indeed America’s forgotten men: Namely, victims of Islamic supremacism. This includes those maimed and murdered by jihadists, and their families. It also includes those who live in communities where refugees are resettled without any say in the matter or confidence that such refugees wish to assimilate or share the same values and principles. In truth, it includes the millions of American taxpayers supporting a government that has failed to counter the jihadist threat over the last 15 years and beyond.

Read the whole thing here.

A National Interest-Oriented Trump Foreign Policy and National Security Round-Up

As we move into the Donald J. Trump presidency, here is a round-up of recent pieces on the national interest-oriented, Kirkpatrickian national security and foreign policy that President-Elect Trump’s team is primed to implement:

And here are a couple of pieces on the lessons of President-Elect Trump that would benefit all Republicans and conservatives:

Featured Image Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore (License)

3 Lessons From Syria for an American-First Foreign Policy

On a bipartisan basis, America’s foreign policy establishment has championed a progressive, Wilsonian internationalist agenda that has served to our great detriment over the last 30 years.

Syria presents an ideal case study illustrating the pitfalls of this stultifying status quo.

In a new piece at Conservative Review, I analyze three aspects of that situation worth exploring as we look to build a framework for a new national interest-oriented foreign policy, focusing on the familiar themes of (i) Deposing relatively secular authoritarian dictators, (ii) Arming Islamic “rebels” and (iii) Picking sides in the Sunni-Shia war.

I close my piece with the following assertion:

…[E]very situation in the Middle East, and indeed the world, must not be viewed parochially. Strategic thinking requires understanding all of the players on the ground both immediately and as proxies for other forces, as well as understanding the different goals, strategies and tactics of each of the players. Often, the U.S. is going to be left with a series of bad options and outcomes, and near-term interests that may conflict with longer-term goals. In the case of ISIS for example, America must defeat them. As with the victory over any enemy however, we must also be looking downfield at who might fill ISIS’ vacuum. For the destruction of ISIS would not only represent the elimination of our jihadist foe, but the elimination of a Sunni competitor to Iran in its quest for hegemony. Such complexity underscores the significance of Sun Tzu’s urging that we know our enemies, but also know ourselves.

For decades policymakers have eschewed such analysis. Our leaders have often failed to articulate a basic explanation for why their decisions are in our national interest. They have failed to present a sober cost-benefit analysis for such actions based on a clear understanding of the nature of the enemy. They have failed to think thought through the knock-on effects of such actions on the broader world chessboard. Most pernicious of all, they have allowed politics and political correctness to inform decision-making, rather than forthrightly dealing with the world as it is.

The U.S. has the greatest assets in the world. But they have been misused thanks to a lack of knowledge, judgment, and strategic thinking. The Trump administration provides an opportunity to change this dynamic, an opportunity that we must seize.

You can read the whole thing here.

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