Hungary’s Moribund Democracy

Budapest Hungaryby Dr. Miklos Radvanyi & Dr. Istvan Molnar

The results of the latest national elections in Hungary on April 6, 2014, proved that history in this ancient land of the Magyars only moves in one direction, namely, backwards. Nowhere in central and eastern Europe are the legacies of the painful defeats of two world wars, the idiotic governance of Miklos Horthy, the catastrophic alliance with Nazi Germany, and the destructive communist dictatorship so unresolved as in this country. For this reason, Hungary unites the three sicknesses that obstruct the future; confused submersion under the nation’s bloody history, desperation about the perceived individual and collective hopelessness, and an all-consuming hatred that is being released spontaneously as well as systematically, in the form of chauvinism, xenophobia, and sheer materialistic envy. [Read more...]

National Security Fairy Tales: Iran and the Extremists

iran-nuclear-weaponsby Peter Huessy

On December 3, 2007 the US intelligence community released an NIE or National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

A month later, on January 1, 2008, “All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror” by Stephen Kinzer was published.

The first claimed the Iranians stopped their nuclear warhead work in 2003.

The second claimed the American CIA planned a “coup” in 1953 in Iran which brought Shah Pahlavi back to power.

The stories are critical to understand the inability of the US and its allies to successfully end the terrorist regime in Tehran and stop its nuclear ambitions. [Read more...]

National Security Fairy Tales: US defense spending vs. the rest of the world

defense spendingby Peter Huessy

“The US spends more money on defense than all the countries in the rest of the world together.”

Sound familiar? Years ago, Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream invented the “Oreo” briefing as part of his efforts as founder of Business Executives for National Security (BENS). Each “Oreo” represented $5 billion in defense expenditures. He stacked up the US “Oreos” compared to other countries such as China, Russia, and North Korea, and showed a really big stack of American “Oreos” while the Chinese and Russian “Oreos” were much smaller. Ergo, he concluded, the US can afford to get rid of a lot of its “Oreos” in fact more than half.

This claim is now a common media refrain and favorite fortune cookie analysis of the left. Among those seeking to cut US defense spending dramatically that indeed is their new bumper sticker: “The United States spends more on defense than all the rest of the countries in the world.”

Is the statement true? It actually is not only not true, when you think about it even if it were true, it still remains nonsensical on its face. [Read more...]

The Agony of Iran’s Militant Mullahcracy

Iran Leadershipby Miklos K. Radvanyi

On February 1, 1979, the Shi’a cleric, Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, flew from his exile in a Paris suburb to Tehran to fill the political vacuum created by the sudden departure of the long reigning monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, on January 17, 1979. His return was widely popularized in the Western media and by his acolytes as the long overdue genesis of Iran’s transformation from a dictatorial and antediluvian monarchy into a modern, secular democracy. In reality, Khomeini’s rhetoric was merely a revolutionary hoax, an opportunistic and inchoate attempt to turn a politically deeply divided, and thus chaotic country into a sham religious autocracy, characterized by totalitarianism at home and terrorism abroad. [Read more...]

Coalition Letter Opposing Giving Control of the Internet to UN-like Group

Coalition Ltr 032014 [Read more...]

Americans Disapprove of Obama’s Foreign Policy

ObamaCare-ObamaPresident Barack Obama’s foreign policy approval rating continues to drop as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved, CBS News reports.

Just 36 percent of Americans polled approve of Obama’s foreign policy overall. This compares to the 39 percent approval rating he received just last month.

Forty-six percent of those polled disapprove of how Obama is handling the situation between Russia and Ukraine. Thirty-eight percent approve. [Read more...]

Condi Rice Blasts Obama on Weakness, Leadership

Condi RiceSays we can’t afford to be war weary.

by Stephen F. Hayes

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Barack Obama of dramatically weakening the United States’ position in the world, drawing a straight line between Obama’s ever-yielding foreign policy and the increasing troubles around the world.

“Right now, there’s a vacuum,” she told a crowd of more than two thousand attending the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual dinner last night in Washington, D.C. “There’s a vacuum because we’ve decided to lower our voice. We’ve decided to step back. We’ve decided that if we step back and lower our voice, others will lead, other things will fill that vacuum.” Citing Bashar al Assad’s slaughter in Syria, Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, al Qaeda’s triumphant return to Fallujah, Iraq, and China’s nationalist fervor, she concluded: “When America steps back and there is a vacuum, trouble will fill that vacuum.”

[Read more...]

Why Can’t the Left Govern?

Leadership AuthoritarianThe Left can win elections. Why can’t it run a government?

by Daniel Henninger

Surveying the fall in support for the governments of Barack Obama, New York City’s progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio and France’s Socialist President François Hollande, a diagnosis of the current crisis begins to emerge: The political left can win elections but it’s unable to govern.

Once in office, the left stumbles from fiasco to fiasco. ObamaCare, enacted without a single vote from the opposition party, is an impossible labyrinth of endless complexity. Bill de Blasio’s war on charter schools degenerated into an unseemly attack on poor New York minority children. François Hollande’s first act in 2012, like a character in a medieval fable, was to order that more tax revenue be squeezed from the French turnips.

Mr. Obama’s approval rating is about 43%, Mr. de Blasio’s has sunk to 45% after just two months in office, and Mr. Hollande hit the lowest approvals ever recorded in the modern French presidency. The left inevitably says their leaders failed them. The failure looks self-inflicted. [Read more...]

Michelle Obama Is Lecturing the Wrong People About Internet Freedom

Obama MichelleThe first lady should aim her ire a little closer to home.  The first lady should be informing her husband about the merits of Internet freedom. 

by Peter Roff

First lady Michelle Obama went all the way to China to lecture the Chinese on the need for free and open access to the Internet, going so far as to declare it a “universal right.” As the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported Saturday, Obama told a crowd of about 200 students mostly from the United States that “it is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the internet and through the media. My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens, and it’s not always easy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

Obama went on to say that, “When it comes to expressing yourself freely, and worshipping as you choose, and having open access to information – we believe those are universal rights that are the birthright of every person on this planet.”

Unfortunately, she was talking to the wrong people. Not because her audience was not composed of those who could influence the behavior of the Chinese government (being mostly from the United States), but because the person who most needs to hear that message right now is her husband. [Read more...]

Both Left and Right agree that giving away governance of the Internet is an awful idea

icannOn the Left:  Former President Bill Clinton

At NewsMax, Sandy Fitzgerald writes:

Former President Bill Clinton objects to the Obama administration’s plan to give up the United States’ control over online domain names and addresses, saying that the country’s agencies have done a good job keeping the Internet free and open.

“A lot of people who have been trying to take this authority from the U.S. for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empowering the people,” Clinton said during a panel discussion sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, reports ReCode.net. [Read more...]

Nuclear Disarmament: Our adversaries say, “You First”

Nuclear Disarmamentby Peter Huessy

As world leaders gather in Europe to discuss in part the further lock-down of loose nuclear material as well as how NATO and its friends should move to protect Ukraine and eastern Europe from further Russian predation, we should understand a few important points.

The nuclear summit is looking to “cooperative” countries to secure nuclear material. Its efforts are important. But the bigger picture gives us an unsettled view of the nuclear landscape.

Let’s review where we are.

The US has moved from over 13,600 deployed strategic (delivered long distances) nuclear weapons in the late 1980s prior to START I taking effect to now around 1550. That is a 90+% reduction.

The Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement in 1987 eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons deployed by both the US and the Soviets throughout eastern Europe and in Asia. [Read more...]

Coalition Letter Opposing Giving Away Control of the Internet

Internet Coalition Ltr 032114Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

With last Friday’s late afternoon announcement that the Obama Administration plans to relinquish U.S. accountability measures over ICANN, the organization that administers the Internet, there are now serious concerns that the United Nations, or individual foreign governments, or some new multinational organization will obtain control of the Internet. No good can come of this. There is nothing wrong with the Internet that can be cured by handing over control of it to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, or Hassan Rouhani.

We commend the House Energy and Commerce Committee for quickly announcing that it will hold hearings. We urge the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to do the same. It is important that the Internet continue to be a governed by principles that include free speech and press and the rule of law. If America leaves a vacuum on Internet governance questions, that vacuum will be filled by people like Putin who have zero commitment to free speech or press or to the rule of law. [Read more...]

Don’t let Putin and Kim Jong Un take YOUR Internet! Sign the Petition!

FFinternetSign the Petition to keep the Internet in American hands and protected by the First Amendment.  We don’t need dictators governing the Internet!  [Read more...]

Looking the other way while Russia violates missile treaties

ObamaPutin copyHouse leaders seek probe of Obama State Department failure to report Russian nuclear missile treaty violations

by Bill Gertz

Two senior House leaders on Friday requested an investigation by Congress’ General Accountability Office (GAO) into the State Department’s failure to report Russian violations of a 1987 nuclear missile accord.

“It is clear from my subcommittee’s oversight that the administration did not fully disclose what it knew about Russian arms control violations when it was trying to get the New START treaty ratified,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.

“Its all-consuming drive to protect its Russia reset policy has gutted our missile defenses, alienated allies, and only encouraged Vladimir Putin’s lawlessness,” he said in a statement. [Read more...]

The Roots of Russia’s Revanchism – Energy

Gazprom Russsia Gas MonopolyWestern energy disarmament is proving suicidal.

by William Tucker

On Wednesday, the New York Times published a very nice account of a speech President Vladimir Putin gave to a group of the Russian elite in the Grand Kremlin Palace. Reported by on-the-scene correspondents, it was free of the usual filtering that takes place in Washington or most of the country’s newsrooms:

In an emotional address steeped in years of resentment and bitterness at perceived slights from the West, Mr. Putin made it clear that Russia’s patience for post-Cold War accommodation, much diminished of late, had finally been exhausted. Speaking to the country’s political elite in the Grand Kremlin Palace, he said he did not seek to divide Ukraine any further, but he vowed to protect Russia’s interests there from what he described as Western actions that had left Russia feeling cornered.

This isn’t exactly the picture John Kerry and Angela Merkel are giving us. According to them, President Putin is “in another world, “behaving in 19th century fashion,” “completely isolated” and “has a huge price to pay.” Close your eyes, however, and you are listening to Hitler lamenting the humiliations visited upon Germany by the Versailles Treaty. They said the same thing about him. You know what happened next. [Read more...]

Obama’s pathetic response to Putin’s invasion of Crimea

Obama Writing Projecting Weaknessby Charles Krauthammer

Early in the Ukraine crisis, when the Europeans were working on bringing Ukraine into the EU system and Vladimir Putin was countering with threats and bribes, one British analyst lamented that “we went to a knife fight with a baguette.”

That was three months ago. Life overtakes parody. During the Ukrainian prime minister’s visit to Washington last week, his government urgently requested military assistance. The Pentagon refused. It offered instead military ration kits.

Putin mobilizes thousands of troops, artillery and attack helicopters on Ukraine’s borders and Washington counters with baguettes, American-style. One thing we can say for sure in these uncertain times: The invasion of Ukraine will be catered by the United States. [Read more...]

Peter Roff on The Internet Giveaway

The World Wide Web and the Obama plan to give it away. It’s true. The last bastion of the ‘free’ free markets invented, owned and operated by the United States. This White House is poised to hand the keys over to the international community. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, manages the World Wide Web under contract with the U.S. government. As of the fall of next year, that contract will not be renewed. Instead, ICANN will become a global organization, with no U.S. oversight.

[Read more...]

ICANNT even: Why the US government giving up control of the Internet is a catastrophic idea

icannby Shoshana Weissmann

While you were opening your first beer after a long week’s work last Friday, the administration made an announcement that may forever change the Internet:

It declared plans to give up control of the Internet.

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced it will no longer oversee ICANN, the nonprofit formed by the U.S. government that, along with the Commerce Department, has managed distribution of domain names for the entire Internet since 1998. The announcement, when considering timing, surrounding circumstances, and foreign policy implications, reeks of sheepishness, irresponsibility, and naiveté.

“The bureaucracy buries news of which it is not proud with a release late in the day on a Friday afternoon,” accurately wrote Paul Rosenzweig in The New Republic. [Read more...]

Handing Over the Keys to the Internet

Putin Russia Internet Big-Brother CensorshipIt’s nuts to cede control of the Internet to countries with poor records on free speech.

by Charles C. W. Cooke

If at least for the sake of variation, those charged with riffling through last Friday’s news dumps must have been relieved to find neither new Obamacare delays nor abandoned red lines hiding among the detritus. And yet, while the less technically proficient could have been forgiven for having missed it, an announcement just as vexing was waiting in lieu: that America was planning to give up control of the Internet.

At this point in the proceedings, one is customarily chastised by pedants who note impatiently that the United States does not really “control” much of the Internet at all — at least not literally. The Internet, our dogmatists record, is a wildly decentralized network of computers, servers, and services that are run by non-governmental agencies, individual citizens, and private businesses, and fleshed out by the enthusiasm and the creativity of civil society. They are right, of course. In its structure, the Web is a libertarian’s dream — an explosion of spontaneous order and of mutual cooperation that would have made Hayek blush. It don’t need no stinkin’ Man.

And yet, as with all good things, it does have some framework — a slim skeleton on which the meat and the gristle might be laid. As Forbes’s Emma Woollacott confirmed on Saturday, should the U.S. government go through with its plan, the responsibilities to be farmed out will include the administration of changes to the DNS’s authoritative root zone file — the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains — as well as managing the unique identifiers registries for domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters. [Read more...]

When U.S. Steps Back, Will Russia and China Control the Internet?

internet-censorshipSome fear foreign powers will fill the void.

by Brendan Sasso

The United States is planning to give up its last remaining authority over the technical management of the Internet.

The Commerce Department announced Friday that it will give the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international nonprofit group, control over the database of names and addresses that allows computers around the world to connect to each other.

Administration officials say U.S. authority over the Internet address system was always intended to be temporary and that ultimate power should rest with the “global Internet community.”

But some fear that the Obama administration is opening the door to an Internet takeover by Russia, China, or other countries that are eager to censor speech and limit the flow of ideas. [Read more...]