Ben Weingarten

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: National Security (Page 1 of 10)

Confucius Institutes: Centers of Chinese Cultural Exchange, or Trojan Horses for Propaganda and Penetration of U.S. College Campuses?

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My Guest

Rachelle Peterson is director of research projects at the National Association of Scholars (NAS), an organization dedicated to upholding “the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.” In that position, she has published numerous reports on trends in academia that threaten these values and principles, including one on the subject of this podcast titled Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education. Mrs. Peterson’s research and commentary has been published in outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, and Commentary magazine. She has discussed her research on the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal and on numerous radio shows.

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Democrat Pollster Doug Schoen on Life Lessons from Politics, Learning from Clinton and Nixon, Threats from China and Russia and Our Damaged Institutions


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My Guest

Doug Schoen has been one of the most influential Democratic campaign consultants for over thirty years. A founding partner and principal strategist for Penn, Schoen & Berland, he is widely recognized as one of the co-inventors of overnight polling. He has advised presidents, prime ministers and titans of private industry. He is the author of multiple books; his most recent include Putin’s Master PlanThe Nixon Effect (interview here), and Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America (interview here). Schoen is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and various other newspaper and online publications as well as Fox News.

Even though Doug and I disagree on several political issues, I am proud to call him a mentor and friend. His insights on politics and policy are not at all clouded by ideology, something rare in the world of punditry and prognostication. And his experience, judgment and wisdom are unparalleled. Perhaps most importantly, Doug and I share a love of country and belief in the imperative to defend it.

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Big Banks Had More Integrity than the Obama Admin in Refusing to Collude with Iran for Iran Deal

When Obama Pressured Big Banks To Break The Law For Iran, They Resisted

Financial institutions, though often maligned especially in the post-financial crisis world, serve a vital marketplace function. Just like all enterprises, they can be vehicles for good, such as raising capital to help businesses grow, and ill, such as engaging in fraudulent activities.

On the negative side of the ledger, there is a sordid history of banks prioritizing profit over principle (principal over principal?) when it comes to doing business with evil regimes and sinister characters — most notably Swiss institutions during and after World War II, something I am proud to say my father worked to rectify.

This is what makes revelations over the latest Iran Deal-related Obama administration scandal so astonishing.

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Victor Davis Hanson on the Decline of the American Academy, Threats to Western Civilization Foreign and Domestic, ‘The Resistance’ and its Assault on the Trump Presidency (VIDEO INTERVIEW)

For Encounter Books’ “Close Encounters” video interview series, I spoke with the eminent Hoover Institution classicist, historian and National Review Online contributor Victor Davis Hanson on a wide range of subjects from the decline of the American academy to Middle East policy, North Korea, the Mueller special counsel and the assault on the Trump presidency from all sides and much more.

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Andrew C. McCarthy on Russiagate, Clinton-Trump Investigation Double Standards, Mueller’s Mandate, DOJ-FBI-CIA Politicization (Part II)

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My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In Part II of my in-depth interview with Andy, we discussed Russiagate, the pervasive unethical and at times lawless behavior of law enforcement and the intelligence community with respect to Donald Trump and Russia versus Hillary Clinton and her e-mail server, the apparently limitless mandate of Robert Mueller’s special counsel, obstruction of justice and much more.

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Andrew C. McCarthy: Lessons from the Blind Sheikh Terror Trial, What Animates Jihadists, Why U.S. Middle East Policy Fails, Collapsing Iran’s Regime (Part I)

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My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In addition to being one of the nation’s foremost national security analysts and legal experts — formerly serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the vaunted Southern District of New York — he is one of the most humble, insightful and devoted patriots I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

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Iran Deal Wasn’t the Alternative to War — it was Essential to Iran’s Ongoing War

The Iran Deal Wasn’t An ‘Alternative To War,’ It Was A Continuation Of War
In the wake of the decision by the Trump administration to pull out of the Obama administration non-treaty known as “Iran Deal,” two narratives emerged from the hysterical Iran Deal echo chamber:

1) Iran Deal was the alternative to war;
2) Consequently, jettisoning it was the path to war, part of a “neocon” plot for another invasion, occupation and nation-building effort

Both elements of this narrative are patently false, as I argue in a new piece in The Federalist.

In fact, Iran Deal can best be thought of as the recapitalization effort for a war the Khomeinist regime in Tehran has been waging against all who refuse to submit to its totalitarian Islamic revolutionary rule since 1979.

This recapitalization effort in tandem with a Swiss cheese verification regime provided the funding and veneer of moderation under which Iran rapidly accelerated and expanded its Shia Crescent and malign operations globally.

Stated differently: We in the West bankrolled Iran’s worldwide march. The only thing the verification regime confirmed was the delusion of our purported leaders.

Exiting the deal represents the first step towards stopping Iran’s march, and thwarting its imperialist efforts. It is about stopping the flow of cash to jihadists and indicating a resolve to cease with the appeasement and reassert ourselves in the face of their goose-stepping.

The idea floated by the Iran Deal’s ardent defenders — many of whom shamefully raised the dual loyalty canard to try to browbeat American Jews into supporting the deal originally — that Israel’s defensive attacks on Iranian military assets in Syria immediately following the U.S. decision to pull out of the deal indicates a concerted plan for some long-sought war could not be more wrong.

Israel’s efforts are about defending its sovereignty against a metastasizing threat to its existence aided, abetted and enabled by the Iran Deal-istas.

Iran is not Iraq. It’s a once relatively pro-Western, secular, liberal, modern nation that has been hijacked by jihadists. In order to ensure America’s national interests, and those of our allies are served, there is no need for invasion, occupation and re-casting of a Sharia dictatorship as a Jeffersonian democracy. Rather what is needed is a concerted set of actions to bring down the jihadist regime through means peaceful and militant, overt and covert, enabling the Iranian people to end the Islamic revolution. Ideological warfare, as Michael Ledeen has convincingly argued, must play a significant role.

A fish rots from the head, one of the many reasons why Iran Deal wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. But the necessity for regime change does not necessitate Iraq 2.0.

The Iran Deal echo chamber is, per usual, attacking straw men.

Disturbing Admission of Former CIA Director Inadvertently Illustrates Disastrous Politicization

Gen. Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director, has inadvertently revealed the ultimate subtext for the political establishment’s antagonism towards President Trump.

He writes in a recent New York Times editorial:

When asked for counsel these days by officers who are already in government, especially more junior ones, I remind them of their duty to help the president succeed. But then I add: ‘Protect yourself. Take notes and save them. And above all, protect the institution. America still needs it. [Emphasis mine]

This is the buried lede in an essay adapted from Gen. Hayden’s forthcoming book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies.

The focus of his piece is that we are moving into a new “post-truth era,” making it impossible for intelligence agencies to do their job.

But as I show in a new piece at The Federalist, this premise masks the true animating factor behind the words and deeds of the national security and foreign policy establishment in relation to President Trump from the 2016 campaign on.

The establishment has served under presidents before who have not been, to put it politely, paragons of truth and virtue — sometimes to the great detriment of our national security.

What really differentiates the current president from his predecessors is his willingness to speak one major inconvenient truth: The world has gotten progressively more dangerous and chaotic under establishment leadership in the post-Cold War era, in particular under the Obama-Clinton administration.

Calling out this failure, and challenging the worldview that has led to the actions that caused it, is what these individuals cannot abide because it represents an attack on their power, influence and credibility.

“[A]bove all, protect[ing the institution” is a sentiment that would suggest those in our bureaucracies would condone all manner of actions that undermine our constitutional order.

And what have we seen over the last two years in the national security and foreign policy establishment, as well as our justice system?

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Why Euphoria Over the Korean Détente is Dangerously Premature

When news broke that President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un would sit down for negotiations with a specific focus on “denuclearization,” I counseled that America deal with North Korea skeptically, cautiously, and with no illusions about the Stalinist regime’s nature.

This advice still holds in the wake of the euphoric coverage of Kim Jong-Un’s historic trip to South Korea, and the sweeping declaration the two nations signed emphasizing their dedication to ending the Korean War and normalizing relations, “denuclearization,” and ultimately reunification of the Korean peninsula.

In a new piece at The Federalist I parse the perilous Panmunjom Declaration.

As I note, words shared by Kim Jong-Un and dovish South Korean leader Moon Jae-in such as “peace,” “denuclearization,” and “unification” are at present ill-defined.

While acknowledging the magnitude of a potential “peace” on the Korean peninsula, we must remember that the terms of that peace, and who is dictating those terms, matters.

While denuclearization — if it means the dismantling and destruction of North Korea’s nuclear program in its entirety — would be excellent, how do we know this wouldn’t be a Potemkin exercise with the North concealing sites, weapons and materials of which we are unaware? Remember that North and South Korea have been party to a denuclearization agreement since 1992.

While in theory reunification might sound like a positive development, we have no idea whether South Korea’s relatively free governmental system would prevail, or if North Korea’s Communist gulag state system would dominate.

When Kim says “We will work towards preventing another horrible war…North and South Korea will be joined as one nation,” consider: What if the means to “preventing another horrible war” is the imposition of a horrible peace?

Last but not least, one should read the Panmunjom Declaration in context of Kim Jong-il’s alleged last will and testament. The declaration tracks perfectly with what Kim Jong-Un’s father advocated in terms of its means and ends. His goal was reunification under Communist rule, with NO denuclearization.

Is the North’s charm offensive a ruse? Will Kim collect all of the benefits of at best some form of a freeze and perhaps superficial dismantling efforts, only for the United States to wake up one day with a reunified Korea rid of U.S. soldiers under one-party Communist rule, and thus an even more dominant China proxy with an expanded regional footprint?

If past is prologue, America’s utmost skepticism is more than merited.

John Bolton Rattles the Muslim Brotherhood Echo Chamber

In The Federalist, I write that Ambassador John Bolton’s appointment as National Security Advisor (NSA) is rattling the Muslim Brotherhood echo chamber.

Indeed, attacks on the former ambassador have inadvertently served as some of his strongest endorsements.

One of the largely overlooked but truly revelatory areas of criticism concern Bolton’s positions on Islamic supremacism, which reflect an understanding that jihadists pose a mortal threat that must be countered using every element of national power. You know these attacks are meaningful because they have been made under cover of a smear campaign.

Bolton has been castigated in a flurry of articles as an “Islamophobe” for the thought crime of being a counterjihadist who supports other counterjihadists.

“Islamophobe” is being lobbed at Bolton to try and discredit him and ultimately scuttle policies he supports intended to strike at the heart of Islamic supremacism. The “tell” is that the articles raising such accusations frequently cast counterjihadist policy positions themselves as de facto evidence of Islamophobic bigotry.

As the representative par excellence of the position that America should exit the Iran deal, it should come as no surprise that the Iran deal echo chamber in exile has sprung into action in savaging the ambassador with the most outlandish of insinuations. For the Islamophobia campaign, the lesser-recognized and perhaps more insidious Muslim Brotherhood echo chamber has been re-activated. Bolton is on record as supporting its designation as a terrorist organization, and Brotherhood apologists and true believers cannot abide this.

In The Federalist I expose this smear campaign — a campaign led by a Muslim Brotherhood echo chamber that previously proved successful in apparently dissuading the Trump administration from designating the Brotherhood a terrorist organization — and suggest that the administration should not concede one inch to the Brotherhood and its backers in the national security and foreign policy establishment. Further, I suggest that the specious and slanderous slurs leveled at Bolton precisely because of his keen understanding of the Islamic supremacist threat reflects all the better on his appointment as NSA.

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