A Word from London
Herbert London is president of the London Center for Policy Research and is co-author with Jed Babbin of The BDS War Against Israel.
The Road to War
The road to the future is filled with potholes. This metaphorical sentence speaks to a world war already in process. Despite denials from the present U.S. administration, the war is organized, promoted, and managed by radical Islamists. Driven by an ideology, these religious fanatics want to undermine the West so that a global caliphate can be established. The war is in its 25th year, but the U.S. and its allies still do not understand the magnitude of the struggle.
On July 14th, a day celebrating French freedom, Bastille Day, at least 84 people were wantonly killed, including ten children, by a suspected terrorist who slammed his truck into unwary revelers watching the annual fireworks display. The symbolism was palpable. It is precisely the French liberty, equality, and fraternity that the Islamists detest. Theirs is fraternity of barbarism.
If there were ever a moment for an appropriate response, this is it. Paris, Orlando, Istanbul, San Bernardino, Brussels, stand as stark reminders of the international reach of Islamic terror. And there isn’t an end in sight. Moreover, the murderer who killed innocents on the Promenade des Anglais had a history of aggressive views known to French authorities, just as the Orlando killer was investigated by the FBI before his murderous spree. It is not as if clues aren’t provided by savage extremists.
A strategy for dealing with this matter is available to us. It is the template for confronting an ideologically driven foe like Communism. For decades the U.S. fought on the battlefield when the global status quo was challenged. Whether successful or not, and in many instances we were not successful, the willingness to counter aggression mattered. More significantly, the U.S. fought a non-kinetic war in the culture and the political arena. Intelligence operatives penetrated communist cells, ridiculed Marxism-Leninism, and caused confusion among leaders. Despite moments of conciliation and fatigue, the national opposition to Communism held. The U.S. had a powerful anti-communist method: fear, a fear that if pushed beyond a certain well understood limit, the U.S. would explode with the full fury of its military might.
The issue at the moment is that Islamists do not fear the U.S. President. President Obama will not even acknowledge the magnitude of the threat. Iran routinely violates the nuclear accord with the U.S. and scoffs at our UN declaration of disapproval. Gun control was the presidential preoccupation after the Orlando murders, and “truck control” will probably be the response to the carnage on the French Riviera. The U.S. is no longer a nation to be feared. From mosques in Syria to madrasses in Pakistan, the message is unequivocal: the U.S. is defanged.
The strong horse in the Middle East is Russia, a nation that routinely violates human rights in its battle against Islamists. Putin is a dictator who should never be emulated, but he offers a lesson in the fear he has generated among Chechen extremists. If we could once again recall that war is hell and that sacrifices must be made for survival, we would be in a position of mobilizing all of our resources to defend liberty. Marquess of Queensbury rules have no place in a war with barbarians who are intent on killing every man, woman, and child on the opposite side of the religious divide, including those of the same faith who do not embrace extremism.
The atrocity on Bastille Day is a reminder that there aren’t “sleepers” or “lone wolves” who embrace militant Islam. Most of these killers have been inspired by an idea. That idea needs proselytizing as a system of belief, as ISIS suggested in accepting responsibility for the murders. This is, alas, a doctrinal war that requires a counter-attack at its source — the imams who preach hate, the Wahhabism that values violence, and the Salafists who distribute weapons to adherents.
The West needs a wake-up call before more innocent lives are lost. But only the U.S. can provide the leadership to awaken the somnolent nations of Europe. Does anyone in Washington hear the alarm bells?
The New America
On July 4th I, like millions of Americans, celebrated the 240th year of our national independence. I celebrated, as well, the unique character of a nation based on the rule of law, a state where every person is to be treated equally under the laws of the land.
On July 5 at 10 a.m. I saw a new American nation ushered in by the director of the FBI, James Comey. This new American nation no longer follows a rule of law. The prevailing sentiment is a rule of influence and power. What is true for a designated elite is not true for the rest of us. Equality under the law has been Latin Americanized. It is as if Hugo Chavez was running the U.S. judicial system.
Before James Comey said no reasonable prosecutor would pursue this case against Hillary Clinton, he added language to the federal statute that made his case for dismissal. Comey used the word “intent,” a word that does not appear in any of the State Department protocols.
In fact, in the first ten minutes of his surprising presentation Comey makes an effective case for indictment, suggesting: 1) the former Secretary of State was extremely careless with national security secrets; 2) it is not reasonable to assume anyone in her position of authority and sensitivity would put emails on a private server; 3) one hundred and ten emails on the server were classified “at the time they were sent,” endangering national security and clearly indicating Hillary Clinton lied consistently; 4) Hillary Clinton deleted emails before turning them over to State Department officials as the law requires; 5) it is “likely” foreign governments have hacked her emails, although evidence supporting this claim is not dispositive.
In listing the charges against Ms. Clinton one is left with the impression of gross negligence and arrogance about the law under which she served. What applies to some does not apply to her, a point made throughout her life.
In similar circumstances, John Deutch, former director of the CIA and David Petraeus, head of Central Command were both fined and excoriated for infractions of a similar, but lesser nature. Hillary has gone off scot free, indicating this entire imbroglio was a misunderstanding and, of course, she made a mistake.
For many, the charges in question are far more egregious then the Comey recommendation suggests. If special access programs (SAP), the highest level of security involving the entire intelligence apparatus of the U.S., was put at risk, Clinton engaged in what could accurately be called treasonous behavior. Seven of the 110 classified documents were SAP.
It is also odd that attorney General Loretta Lynch met former president Bill Clinton several days before the Comey statement. At the time, Lynch said she made a mistake in meeting Clinton. In the aftermath of press criticism, Ms. Lynch went on to say that she would recuse herself from the investigation or rely on the FBI recommendations. Did Lynch know what those recommendations might be when she met with President Clinton?
What so many in the media and blogs fail to see is that this investigation is not only a story about Hillary Clinton. It is a saga about legal adjudication. If the law of the land does not apply to the Clintons — as appears to be the case — why should it apply to anyone else? If intent is the overarching issue in determining culpability, is the thief to be found innocent when he says, “I took the necklace from the shelf because I thought it was mine. I never intended to steal it.”
What Comey has done is besmirch his own reputation, compromise the FBI, and serve as a midwife for the New America parented by Hillary and Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch. Hugo Chavez must be having a good laugh from the depths of Hell.
Now that the London fog has cleared, a dispassionate analysis of the Brexit vote is possible, even with murky clouds over the British Isles. The pound plunged with the Brexit vote as did global markets. Political elites from Cameron to Obama shuddered. Investors on both sides of the Atlantic were pummeled. Some say the British vote to leave the European Union is an invitation to anarchy.
I would say the vote represents a monumental assertion of free will, a vindication of a millennium of democracy and self-government. While those in London favored remaining in the E.U., the rest of Britain rebelled against the stain of migration that has disrupted the countryside, even leading to the massive rape of underage girls in one community by recent Muslim immigrants. The idea that Britain could absorb another 650,000 immigrants under E.U. mandate is, in the minds of many, a prescription for disaster.
Multiculturalism is in retreat as are the politically correct nostrums that have unsettled life for the average Brit. Brexit speaks to the Grand Old England, the one led by Margaret Thatcher, who was the original Euroskeptic. She understood that the arrogant assertion of a united European entity undoing 400 years of history since the Westphalian accord was a fantasy. It has taken 40 years for that fantasy to reveal itself, but now it has and dissolution is on the horizon. Brexit will lead to Czexit and Italexit and the slow but inexorable splitting of the elitist conception of Europe.
Most Brits were tired of a group of bureaucrats in Brussels telling them whether the use of an electric teapot was permissible or the allowable size of a lawn mower. Who are these bureaucrats anyway? They weren’t elected by British citizens. In fact, the entire E.U. is supra democratic, a reach beyond sovereignty to unassigned authority. Ordinary people understand the disconnect with a government over which their control cannot be exercised.
Despite ritualistic anxiety over the Brexit vote, it does represent an opportunity for the United Kingdom and global arrangements. This is the moment for the Anglosphere, a trade and military arrangement for those nations that share a common culture, language and tradition (the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand). There is also the distant possibility British independence could enhance, rather than dismember, NATO. After all, it is U.S. and British involvement that represents the core of NATO’s strength; a realignment based on larger than present defense contributions from member states would be the shot of adrenalin NATO needs to combat the challenges of Russia and Putin in the Baltic States and the Ukraine. With a reconstituted NATO, the anti-terrorist mission would be given greater weight than is presently the case and, perhaps, given a focus that has been lacking.
For most of its history, the E.U. represents a redistributionist scheme in which the prosperous nations bailout those unable to make a go of it. In the former category, Germany, France and Britain stand as nations that give more than they get from the E.U. The rest are on a queue waiting for subsidies all the while introducing reforms, like early retirement for government employees who put a strain on the economy. One might well ask why a factory worker in Manchester should be taxed to sustain a government official in Athens who will retire at 55. Moreover, if the Greek, or Italian, or Spanish governments realize they will be assisted by E.U. funding, what is the incentive for realistic fiscal reform? Surely E.U. pressure has been applied and modest change has occurred, but the socialist dream of converting a utopian idea into practical results has not and cannot be realized.
From the outset, the E.U. was designed for tariff relief in the coal and iron industries. However that modest goal morphed into a political entity modeled on the United States that overlooks participant national cultures, history, and languages. Remaking history is the goal of utopians who rarely, if ever, take into account the sentiment of ordinary people.
Brexit represents that moment when the merry-go-round of historical evolution is stopped. Brits have said “enough.” As I see it, this is the beginning of a remarkable assertion of sovereign will, independence, and democratic zeal. Economic markets may be adversely affected since vast change is always disruptive. But over the long term (admittedly a vague expression) this vote will be seen as the re-institutionalization of the Magna Carta. *