Angelo Codevilla continues his masterful, “must read” analysis of how successive US administrations have misunderstood the motivations of terrorist groups, many of whom are fighting for causes which have little to do with the US. To the extent that the US brings in refugees from countries such as Somalia, where this country unnecessarily intervened, we are increasing the potential for domestic terrorism.
President Trump’s policy with regard to terrorists detained in the US is indistinguishable from President Obama’s: Rather than intensive interrogation, read them their Miranda rights, get them all lawyered up, and dispatch them to civilian courts: thus, New York City truck murderer Sayfullo Saipov and Benghazi embassy attack leader Mustafa al Imam. “The lack of protocols for handling terrorists after nearly 10 months in office signals a troubling lack of seriousness about a crucial antiterror duty,” the Journal concludes. “Mr. Trump’s tough-sounding tweets are belied by his Obama-like policy.”
One thing the President did get right was the need to release to the public the treasure trove of Osama bin Laden’s documents seized during the SEAL raid of his compound in Pakistan. It turns out that the reason President Obama refused to release the documents was out of a recognition that the documents would destroy his case for the Iran nuclear pact. The just-released documents show extensive collaboration and sponsorship of Sunni-terrorist al-Qaeda by Iran’s Shiite-terrorist mullahs.
“A retirement wave has hit House Republicans, emboldening Democrats who have become increasingly bullish about their prospects of winning back a majority in 2018,” The Hill reports.
“The legislative failures marking President Trump’s first 10 months in office have conservative leaders worried that Republicans are squandering a rare chance to advance conservative policies while holding the House, the Senate and the White House,” The Daily Caller, an administration supporter, writes. “Republicans have struggled to keep long-standing promises to conservatives, such as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, or defunding Planned Parenthood. Republicans so far have zero legislative achievements in the almost 10 months that President Trump has been in office.”
A European specialist writes in The Wall Street Journal that Europe’s establishment parties — viewing the rise of Trump nationalists in the U.S. and anti-immigration parties in Central and Eastern Europe — have drawn the appropriate lessons and changed their ways. The op ed’s headline reads “How Europe Is Out-Trumping America. While Washington is stuck in neutral, French and Dutch reformers are pushing radical change” and continues “A year on, and to the surprise of many, including this columnist, the pupil is excelling the teacher. Europe’s politicians all of a sudden are producing the kinds of changes American voters wanted Mr. Trump to deliver, while Washington increasingly looks like the sclerotic and neurotic European capitals of yore.”
Is there any good news to be found in Washington, DC? Start perhaps with Congress no longer holding back on aid to the Kurds.
It may be too late, however. Dennis Ross, a seasoned Mideast diplomat, writes that “two of my longtime acquaintances from the Middle East greeted me with, ‘Well, once again America’s word is no good. How could you abandon the Kurds?’
“My Middle Eastern colleagues were calling attention to what has recently taken place in northern Iraq. There, the Iraqi military, with the clear involvement of Iranians and the Shia militias, pushed Kurdish forces out of Kirkuk, including the oil fields, and back to the positions they held prior to ISIS having taken Mosul prior to 2014. Crossing points to Syria have also been taken from the Kurds….
“For them, the Kurds were an American partner — … One we rushed to support in the fight with ISIS when the Iraqi military had simply collapsed in 2014 and only the peshmerga was prepared to resist it.
“Now we stood on the sidelines. My friends noted the contrast with the Russians, who had stood by the Assad regime, and secured it.”
Also late, but hopefully not too late, is a reported missile defense “renaissance” in the US: “Just this week, congressional defense committees authorized a $700 billion defense spending plan for fiscal 2018. While the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still needs to be passed by both houses of Congress and then signed into law by the president, the legislation incorporated a bigger budget for missile defense – including the White House’s last-minute request to add $4 billion for ‘urgent missile defeat and defense enhancements to counter the threat of North Korea.’
“That funding will go toward expansions of both the U.S. homeland and various regional ballistic missile defense systems.”
This would be a more reassuring development to take to the bank than Chinese dictator Xi Jinping’s claim to President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson that, according to Tillerson, the Chinese “will not accept a nuclear-armed, nuclear-weaponized North Korea….They’re unequivocal in that statement.'”
Meanwhile, the Russian collusion investigation continues, with the accusers being the apparent criminals (for leaking and lying) and a special counsel conducting aggressive fishing expeditions for whatever crimes he and his Democratic lawyer team can find to bring down the President.