Ben Weingarten

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Tag: Syria (Page 1 of 2)

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.

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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Salon: A Spirited Discussion on Syria, the Sunni-Shia Battle for the Middle East and Russia

Salon gave me the opportunity to come on as the token conservative panelist in a discussion with host Carrie Sheffield of Bold and longtime national security/foreign affairs correspondent Courtney Kealy.

Check out our conversation on Syria, the Sunni-Shia battle for the Middle East and the broader proxy war going on between Russia and the U.S.

Carrie Sheffield sits down with Benjamin Weingarten and Courtn…WATCH LIVE: What is Aleppo? Don’t be like Gary Johnson. Here’s all you need to know about the crisis in Aleppo.

Posted by Salon on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Featured Image Source: Salon/Facebook Live

My Interview With Cruz National Security Advisor Dr. Victoria Coates on ‘David’s Sling’

I recently had the opportunity to speak at length with Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz’s national security and foreign policy brain trust, Dr. Victoria Coates, on behalf of Encounter Books in connection with the release of her intellectually stimulating and compelling new David’s Sling: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art.

During our extensive interview — which you can listen to in full or in parts per the below — we discuss the indelible link between democracy and creativity, the significance of great works of art and architecture in the history of freedom from Michelangelo’s David to the Parthenon and Picasso’s Guernica, why the entrepreneurial art community endorses political stances anathema to the freedom that sustains it, and everything you would ever want to know about Sen. Ted Cruz’s foreign policy vision. On this latter point, among other subjects, Dr. Coates and I discuss the principles that form the Cruz Doctrine, who in the foreign policy sphere truly carries the mantle of Jeanne Kirkpatrick, what “winning” in the Middle East would look like for America under a President Cruz, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran, whether America has a responsibility under NATO to defend an Islamic supremacist Turkish regime against Russia, how a President Cruz would handle an ascendant Russia, the long-term threat posed by China and how to counter her, the greatest threat to America’s national interest we are most underestimating or ignoring, and much more.

You can also read the transcripts to both parts of our interview here (Part I on David’s Sling) and here (Part II on Foreign Policy/National Security.

My Interview with Longtime Democratic Strategist Doug Schoen on ‘Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America’

Check out my latest interview on behalf of Encounter Books with longtime Democratic strategist and friend Doug Schoen, in connection with the newly released edition of his Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America.

During the interview, which you can listen to below, Doug and I discuss the acceleration of the Russia-China strategic partnership against America and the West, their aims in Syria, the threat of cyberwarfare, how the next American president can fix the mess President Obama has created, Doug’s predictions for Russian action in 2016, Trump and Cruz vs. Rubio, Hillary Clinton, and the one thing people are discounting that could play an outsized role in the upcoming U.S. presidential election:

Featured Image Source: Encounter Books.

PJ Media: Serial Islamic Supremacist Enabler Lindsey Graham’s Laughable Attack on Ted Cruz

Check out my latest at PJ Media, where I delve into the long overdue foreign policy battle between the “right-wing” Wilsonianism espoused by Sen. Lindsey Graham et al, and in my opinion the superior policy articulated best by Jeane Kirpatrick, and I believe being represented most faithfully by Sen. Ted Cruz.

A taste:

[Sen. Lindsey] Graham may be a marginal figure in the polls, but his comments come in context of a critical and long overdue battle that has broken out within the Republican Party to define a conservative foreign policy superior to the “right-wing” Wilsonianism of George W. Bush, and left-wing Wilsonianism of Barack Obama under which mortal enemies have ascended.

In particular, a spat has broken out between Cruz and what may prove his stiffest competition, Sen. Marco Rubio. Graham, though perhaps less articulate and more impolitic than Rubio, serves as something of a stalking horse given that their positions on issues in the Middle East are largely indistinguishable.

Graham’s attack was in fact reminiscent of similar rhetoric we have seen from those in the Rubio camp in recent days.

For my money, I take Cruz’s judicious and clear-eyed policy over a third and fourth term of George W. Bush’s well-intentioned but ultimately detrimental democracy spreading.

And if Graham or Rubio for that matter takes issue with Cruz’s foreign policy in Syria in particular, one would be interested to hear what they would say to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for whom what goes on in Syria has direct consequences. Netanyahu said recently:

If I see a situation where I don’t have a clear concept, I don’t charge in. In Syria, I do not see a simple concept because you choose here between a horrible secular dictatorship or the two other prospects that would be buttressed by Iran, and you would have Iran run Syria, a horrible prospect for us, or Da’ish, which is also touching our borders on the Golan. When two of your enemies are fighting each other, I don’t say strengthen one or the other. I say weaken both, or at least don’t intervene, which is what I’ve done. I’ve not intervened.It is hard to argue with that.

Read the whole thing here.

No, Islamic Supremacism is not ‘Nihilistic,’ and Syrian Refugees Aren’t Like Jews in World War II

Recently I had the chance to appear on SiriusXM’s “Steele & Ungar” to take up a spirited debate with my lefty pal Rick Ungar and ally Ron Christie on American policy vis-à-vis Syrian refugees, Ungar’s contention that to bar such refugees from America is akin to FDR preventing Jews fleeing Europe from entering the country during World War II and Islamic supremacism more broadly.

Because it’s always good to attack the callers, this was one of my favorite parts of the show in which I challenge the idea that Islamic supremacism is a “nihilistic” ideology:

My appearance began with a back-and-forth between myself and Rick on what is in America’s national interest with respect to the Syrian refugees, and why I take issue with his World War II analogy:

We later continued that debate:

Lastly, here is what I think the most compassionate thing we can do for refugees in the Middle East is:

Me to Malzberg: Remove Violent Extremist Right-Wingers and Replace Them With Refugees

Just kidding!

Last night (11/24) I had the opportunity to speak with Newsmax host Steve Malzberg and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) on the topic of Syrian refugees and the global jihad more broadly.

Check out our conversation below:

Obama’s Jihad Empowering Foreign Policy and America’s National Interest in Syria

On Friday 10/31, I sat in as a guest again on Newsmax TV’s “The Daily Wrap.”

During the episode, we had the chance to discuss a variety of issues including Obama’s deployment of a limited number of American Special Forces members to Syria to help Syrian “rebels” (read: “good” jihadists) in the fight against ISIS, reaction to the CNBC GOP Debate and proposals for improving future ones, Hillary Clinton’s crude politicization of the VA, and more!

You can watch the show in full, along with some particularly pertinent clips below.

Full Episode

Obama’s Foreign Policy, Syria and ISIS

GOP Anger with the CNBC Debate

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