Ben Weingarten

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: National Security (Page 2 of 10)

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.

Listen to the London Center ‘Grand Strategy Podcast’ on National Security and Foreign Affairs

Believing firmly that there is a lack of rich audio content on national security and foreign affairs, London Center for Policy Research President Herb London and I decided to launch the “London Center Grand Strategy Podcast.”

Each biweekly podcast features vigorous discussion on vital issues of American national interest, covering critical events around the globe with an eye towards threats and opportunities, and a grounding in history and political philosophy.

In our latest episode, Episode 3, which you can find at top of this post, we discuss the appointment of John Bolton as national security advisor, what Kim Jong-un really means by “denuclearization,” comprehensive efforts to counter China, the importance of information warfare, the expulsion of Russian agents from the West and much more.

If you like what you hear, please consider subscribing on iTunes (you can also subscribe at Google Play and Stitcher or grab the RSS at Libsyn).

If you really like what you hear, please give us a five-star rating and kindly write us a review.

Our first two episodes are below:

On North Korea Distrust and Verify

For The Federalist I prepared a quick analysis of the political and policy implications of the forthcoming U.S. – North Korea summit.

As I note in the piece, America must define what is in its national interest in North Korea, and have an understanding as to the regime’s ultimate goal.

Few have raised outgoing Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris’ view, in spite of his experience leading America’s forces in the region: That North Korea desires to reunify Korea under Communist rule, contrary to the conventional wisdom that Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles are solely about ensuring his regime’s survival.

Adm. Harris’ ignored perspective squares perfectly with what Kim Jong-il indicated in his purported last will and testament.

In fact, virtually all of Kim Jong-un’s actions have tracked perfectly with what his father allegedly counseled.

Read my take on the forthcoming talks here.

My Interview with Victor Davis Hanson on Trump, Trumpism and Russiagate

In connection with the release of Encounter Books’ Vox Populi: The Perils and Promises of Populism, I interviewed the author of one its more provocative essays, the often-contrarian and always-compelling Professor Victor Davis Hanson.

During our discussion we discuss among other things:

  • The populism of President Trump
  • The insights President Trump has into the American people that his political opponents lack
  • The significance of the 2016 presidential election in history and what it augurs for the world
  • Whether Trumpism is a full-blown political movement or an outlier in U.S. history
  • How Trump is doing when it comes to constructing the four core pillars of Trumpism
  • Russiagate and Deep State subversion
  • And much more

You can listen to our interview in full here, and read a transcript of our discussion here.

Three Swamp Myths Trump’s National Security Strategy Exposes

For The Federalist I explore three key national security and foreign policy myths the Trump administration’s new National Security Strategy exposes — and seeks to overturn.

In challenging these myths, the administration also challenges the progressive Wilsonian internationalist worldview that underlies them, which is essential because flawed premises lead to failed policies.

If we are to imbue our policies with the Jeanne Kirkpatrickian core of the Trump administration’s strategy of “principled realism,” we will truly have a safer, more secure and more prosperous America.

I’ve summarized my piece in a Twitter thread unraveled below.

Read More

Will The Obama Administration Ever Be Brought To Justice Over Its Iran Scandals?

I’ve often asked if there was anything Iran could have done that would have caused the Obama administration to ditch Iran Deal.

The more we find out about the illicit Iranian activities the Obama administration apparently allowed to fester as a carrot to supposedly entice Iran to come to the negotiating table, the more I think the better question might be if there was anything the Obama administration would not give Iran in service of Iran Deal.

I write about the latest dumbfounding revelation — which follows on the heels of the allegedly Obama administration-spiked “Project Cassandra” investigation into a cars-for-cocaine Hezbollah financing scheme — in a new piece for The Federalist detailing a Turkey-Iran sanctions-evasion scheme that may have generated upwards of $100bn for the mullocracy.

As I detail, the Obama administration willfully ignored its own sanctions regime, thereby providing de facto sanctions relief to the tune of billions of dollars for the mullahs at a time in which they were under significant economic duress.

This episode, like so many others, raises fundamental questions I pose in the piece about the illegal, nefarious and dangerous activities the Obama administration appears to have tolerated in order to get to a deal.

We need answers to these questions if we are to hold our officials accountable and prevent future administrations from undertaking actions similarly detrimental to the national interest in service of foreign policy “wins” — in particular ones as Chamberlainian as Iran Deal has proven to be.

I’ve posted a thread on Twitter that unpacks this piece as well.

Read the whole thing here.

Trump’s New National Security Strategy Holds the Hidden Key to Defeating Jihadism

For the Washington Examiner, I write about the overlooked but absolutely critical element of the Trump administration’s new National Security Strategy that holds the key to finally turning the tide on our jihadist foes.

What is this monumental change?

The Trump administration lays out in no uncertain terms who the enemy is, the underlying Islamic supremacist ideology that animates him and the enemy’s ultimate goal of creating a global caliphate united under Sharia law.

The Obama administration spent eight years explicitly purging our national security and foreign policy apparatus of any understanding of the above. It warped and watered down our lexicon, shredded relevant training materials and fired the expert advisors who understood jihadism, and with it undertook a series of disastrous policies both at home and abroad that served only to empower our jihadist foes.

If we are to allow the new National Security Strategy to govern policy, American can develop a comprehensive plan to use all elements of U.S. governmental power to counter jihadist actors Sunni and Shia, state and non-state, violent and non-violent and overt and covert, commensurate with the size, scope and nature of the existential threat that faces us.

My In-Depth Interview with John Yoo on the Future of War, North Korea, Iran, Free Speech and More (Video)

For the first episode of Encounter Books’ new “Close Encounters” video interview series, I spoke with former Bush administration Justice Department official and bogeyman laureate for the Left, John Yoo, on his new book Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War.

During the interview we discuss the future of warfare given tremendous technological advances in the way of robotics, autonomous vehicles and cyberweapons, how the rules of war help terrorists, Yoo’s views on dealing with Iran Deal and North Korea, how America is losing the “War on Terror,” the state of free speech on our college campuses, and much more.

The Social Media Giants’ High-Tech Lynching of Counterjihadists

Apropos PragerU’s lawsuit against Google/YouTube on grounds of discrimination against and censorship of conservative speech, I recently prepared a comprehensive analysis, kindly published by the Gatestone Institute, on the ongoing war on counterjihadist speech by the social media giants.

In the piece, I extensively document the egregious efforts by Big Tech to snuff out and chill any content dissenting from the prevailing progressive orthodoxy regarding Islamic supremacism, while conversely aiding jihadists both directly and indirectly.

It is simply breathtaking both the kinds of messages social media companies will block, and the lengths to which the companies are willing to go to censor ideas they do not like on phony “hate speech” grounds. Absent pressure from the marketplace, i.e. all of us who use these services, things are going to get far worse.

Read the whole thing here.

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