The greater Middle East that Turkey is historically, politically, and religiously has been a part of, presently passes through numerous overlapping and extremely bloody crises. Divisions between those countries that are desirous to maintain the status quo and Iran that wants to radically transform the region to its advantage are running deep. Moreover, at least since 2011, the region has been broken up between those regimes that desire to arrest the flow of blood and reestablish peace, and those that promote the religious ideology of Divine right by their military might. Finally, the states involved in this life and death struggle have been busy to put together shifting alliances that only contribute to the overall chaos and anarchy.
The entry of Turkey into this mess following the eruption of the so-called Arab Spring has been an unmitigated disaster for the country and also personally for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Having been driven by his messianic Ottoman and Islamist mentality, President Erdogan has failed to comprehend the difficulty of gaining any real influence over the ethnically and religiously diverse fellow rulers who are shaping events across the region and beyond. Clearly, with the notable exception of the United States of America and Israel, it appears that it is the ruling Shi’a clergy in Iran and the Sunni rulers throughout the Arabian Peninsula who are exciting their peoples, and decisively dominate the political narratives. In this context, the policies of President Erdogan has too much the appearance of Ottoman restoration.
By Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Iran unveiled a series of new homemade nuclear-capable ballistic missiles during military parades held over the weekend, a move that experts view as a bid to bolster the hardline ruling regime as dissidents continue efforts to stir protest.
On the heels of an encounter between an Iranian drone and Israeli forces, Iranian leaders showcased their ballistic missile capabilities, which includes a nuclear-capable medium-range missile that appears to share similarities with North Korean technology, according to experts.
The nuclear-capable missile can strike Israel even when fired from Iranian territory, raising concerns about an impending conflict between Tehran and the Jewish state that could further inflame the region.
Iranian military leaders bragged the ballistic missile “can be launched from mobile platforms or silos in different positions and can escape missile defense shields due to Continue reading
By Natalie Johnson • Washington Free Beacon
The U.S. military has begun redirecting personnel and equipment from Iraq and Syria back to Afghanistan, where the Pentagon hopes to revamp its fight against the Taliban, the top commander of the American-led air campaign in the country said Wednesday.
Air Force Maj. Gen. James Hecker said the drawdown of major operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has enabled U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, to again prioritize the 16-year war in Afghanistan. CENTCOM is the military command responsible for operations in the Middle East and parts of South Asia.
“Afghanistan has become CENTCOM’s main effort thanks to the recent successes in Iraq and Syria,” Hecker told Pentagon reporters from Kabul. “This has allowed CENTCOM to shift more assets our way, which will significantly improve our ability to assist the Afghans.”
The Pentagon’s refocus officially began on Feb. 1. Hecker said CENTCOM began deploying additional aircraft to the NATO-led Resolute Support coalition Continue reading
President Trump’s objection to illegal migration has been well known since he declared his candidacy on June 16, 2015. His insistence on securing the borders prior to deciding the fate of the illegal migrants has generated a hysterically emotional, in reality idiotic, reaction from his opponents.
Steering the debate away from rationality and reason has necessarily resulted in cynical disregard of facts and truths under the banner of destroying the very fabric of the constitutional order of the United States of America. In order to restore sanity and unmask the lies of the advocates of lawlessness and anarchy, eight truths must be stated unequivocally.
First, who are these people? Overwhelmingly, they are men of all ages, who left their countries or places of their habitual residencies to find better lives in an economically more prosperous state. For all legal and practical purposes they are migrants. Consequently, they can by no means be subject to the protection of any international convention, protocol, or multilateral treaty.
In Hungary, elections to the National Assembly, the unicameral legislative body, will be held on April 8, 2018. The electoral stakes are extremely high. The eight year long reign of the Alliance of Young Democrats (Hungarian acronyms FIDESZ) has only brought political, economic, moral, and cultural misery on the Hungarian people. From 2010 on, Hungarian society has gone from a reasonably well developed democracy to the despotic rule of a single individual, the Prime Minister Viktor Orban. With its parliamentary supermajority, FIDESZ unilaterally promulgated a new Constitution that essentially has cemented its absolute political power for many decades to come. This mammoth basic law with an aggregate of sixty pages practically has put an end to democracy, the rule of law, and economic and financial transparency. As a result, today, Hungary is an autocracy led by the most corrupt politicians in the country’s more than thousand years old history.
By Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Iran announced on Monday that it has begun mass-producing a new weaponized drone that carries smart bombs capable of precision strikes, according to the Islamic Republic’s military leaders.
Iran, which has engaged in a massive military buildup since receiving billions of dollars in cash windfalls as a result of the landmark nuclear deal, says that these advanced new drones will be delivered to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, which has been coordinating war efforts across the Middle East, including most controversially in Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have attacked U.S. troops.
The new drones, dubbed the Mohajer 6, are “equipped with the smart Qa’em precision-striking bombs and different electro-optical explorers and different warheads, [and] can trace, intercept and Continue reading
Part II. The United States of America versus Central and Eastern Europe
Like the Jews who prayed incessantly to Elohim/Jehovah for freedom during their Babylonian exile, the nations of Central and Eastern Europe looked at the United States of America throughout the four and a half decades long military occupation by the Soviet Union as their shining liberator. While politically miserable, economically backward, and morally schizophrenic, they held to the dream that sometime in the distant future their children and grandchildren will live in democracy and prosperity. When in 1990 the Soviet Union collapsed and with it the pro-Moscow regimes disappeared across Central and Eastern Europe, opposition figures, academics, literati, and even former communists unhappy with the Kremlin’s heavy handed control, have gone down to the business of politically, economically, and morally empowering the peoples. Today, democracy is in a crisis in Central and Eastern Europe, because political power
By Lucas Tomlinson and Jennifer Griffin • Fox News
The Pentagon plans to develop two “low-yield” nuclear warheads to be launched from ballistic-missile submarines and warships, to send a message to Moscow — which the Trump administration accuses of amassing a stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons.
The new plan is outlined in Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s Nuclear Posture Review, released Friday afternoon.
“Expanding U.S. tailored response options will raise the nuclear threshold and help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear weapons employment less likely,” the new review said.
The Pentagon says Russia’s buildup of similar “low-yield” nukes is the reason it must match the threat.
“The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances,” said Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan. “Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” he added without offering specifics.
Part I. The European Union versus Central and Eastern Europe
It borders on the unbelievable that the collective memory of Europe and the national memories of individual states are so short. Only twenty eight years after the end of the Soviet military occupation, governments headed by nationalist-revisionist politicians are enjoying an unlikely resurgence. The Jarosław Kaczyński led Law and Justice Party in Poland, the Viktor Orban led Alliance of Young Democrats (FIDESZ) in Hungary, the Andrej Babis led Movement of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO) in the Czech Republic, just recently reinforced by the election of the deeply Eurosceptic and pro-Moscow Milos Zeman to the Presidency, the Robert Fico led ultranationalist Smer-SD, and in Romania where the former Prime Minister Mihai Tudose had to resign for threatening with execution every Hungarian who displayed the so-called Szekely flag, and is presently without a Prime Minister, are all busy of wallowing in historical revisionism and in perverting the implementation of the democratic principles of the European Union in their respective countries.
International Anti-Corruption Day is observed annually on December 9, to fight and raise awareness of corruption across the globe. In Hungary, the one party rule between 1948 and 1990, established wholesale corruption on the political, social, economic, cultural, and ethical levels. The result of such a total corruption was that the entire country irretrievably fell into the deep abyss of an all encompassing immorality. In politics, it manifested itself in mental schizophrenia that, in turn, led to “doubletalk” and to “doublethink.” When liberation came in 1990, and the hope for a peaceful democratic revolution seemed to be real, very few realized that the overwhelming majority of Hungarians, even members of the young generation, were in their mentality already “Kadar’s children.”
Political power is like honey. It attracts the addicted to the sweet taste of control over the people. The young people who coalesced around Istvan Stumpf, the son in law of the then Interior Minister Istvan Horvath, in the late 1980s were no exception. Today, after having exercised absolute power for almost eight years, they have become exactly as dictatorial as their communist predecessors were. History teaches that when corruption becomes a way of life, both politics and the legal system suffer irreparable damage. Drunk with its unlimited power, FIDESZ passed a new constitution on April 18, 2011. With this unilateral act, the restoration of the one party state has commenced. To add insult to injury, the main provisions of this constitution were tightened in March 2013, when several new amendments have cemented the death of democracy, the rule of law, and the ability of the opposition to ever win an election by respecting the hypocritical political processes of the ruling party.
Recent developments in Turkey and Russia have raised the strategic importance of the Republic of Bulgaria for the United States, NATO and the EU. This past summer, NATO staged major exercises in the county, involving more than 25,000 troops from 20 allied countries. Yet despite increased military cooperation in recent years, current political dynamics in the country threaten to undermine Bulgaria’s relationship with the military alliance and provide the Kremlin with a new foothold in the former Soviet satellite.
Economic and political challenges have set the table for the current political environment. Although the country has undergone both political and economic transformation since 1990, Bulgaria remains the poorest nation within the European Union. Its current GDP is only a meager $152 billion. The annual per capita income translates to an employed individual bringing home $456 per month, not even half of the average for the EU. Unemployment is almost 11 percent, well above the EU average, which is less than 10 percent.
In order to grow their economy, the country must address three major economic issues. The first is economic diversification — actively encouraging the emergence of mid-and small size enterprises. Second, Bulgaria will have to raise productivity significantly both in industry and agriculture. Finally, Bulgaria must solve demographic challenges that are similarly affecting a whole host of European nations.
by Jerry Hendrix • National Review
President Trump today unveiled his new National Security Strategy (NSS), exceeding the expectations of the national-security community by producing a remarkably coherent NSS within his first twelve months in office. President Obama took 16 months to present his vision, and President George W. Bush, dealing with the disturbance of 9/11 to his strategic considerations, took 20 months. Clearly guided by the vision enunciated by the president during his 2016 campaign and validated by that national election, the team of Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, Dina Powell, and Nadia Schadlow has crafted a “sustainment” strategy supported by a peace-through-strength defense buildup. What is very clear is that this strategy is not a break from the nation’s post–World War II–era national-security policy but rather a realistic distillation of that policy tailored to the challenges the nation faces today.
However, in a break from his post–Cold War predecessors, President Trump readily announces that the United States is presently in a great-power competition and names the nation’s prime competitors as Russia and China. While appeals to American values remain, and in fact are strongly stated, it is the promotion of American interests that emerges most starkly. The president states that he plans to compete aggressively in the economic sphere by pursuing free, fair, and reciprocal trade on a bilateral basis while also confronting nations that violate the free-trade agreements signed in the past. Additionally, the new NSS breaks from the language of the Obama administration by overtly promoting American exceptionalism and presenting the United States as a force for good in the world. As such, the new NSS emerges as a true amalgam of Theodore Roosevelt’s warrior approach to the world and Woodrow Wilson’s attempt to be its priest.
From the perspective of pure defense analysis, President Trump and McMaster, his national-security adviser, have taken a new path. Rather than continue to pursue a pure capabilities-overmatch acquisitions strategy within the Department of Defense, the Trump NSS seeks a balance between capabilities and capacity by continuing to invest in cutting-edge technologies while also expanding the force and improving readiness. It seeks to accomplish this by investing in high-end, cutting-edge combat systems to win wars while also providing for larger numbers of personnel and buying cheaper legacy combat systems to maintain the peace. Clearly, President Trump’s commitment to a 355-ship Navy falls within this approach. The president also firmly commits the nation to recapitalizing the nation’s nuclear-deterrent force and renewing all three legs of the nuclear triad. This strategy is enabled by the president’s call for increased defense spending, a goal that is shared by Armed Services Committee members in both the House and the Senate.
by Megan G. Opera • The Federalist
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent shockwaves through the foreign policy establishment this week when he suggested that the United States is prepared, for the first time, to come to the negotiating table with North Korea without any preconditions or promises from Pyongyang that it would halt, even if just temporarily, its nuclear program.
Tillerson’s startling comments, which mark a major departure from U.S. policy and part significantly with President Trump’s views on the North Korea crisis, signal that Pyongyang is truly on the cusp of having a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and that a military conflict might be fast approaching.
On Monday, an analysis was released by “38 North,” a U.S. website specializing in North Korea, indicating Pyongyang may be getting ready to test another nuclear weapon. The country’s last test, in early September, was estimated to have been 17 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.
The September test resulted in a fresh round of international sanctions, which, apparently, have done nothing to deter the hermit kingdom from moving ahead apace with its nuclear program. North Korea is similarly catapulting forward with its ICBM program, making steady progress and demonstrating this year that it now has the capability to reach the entire continental United States.
China Is Making Contingency Plans Continue reading
by Susannah George • Military.com
BAGHDAD — As Iraq emerges from three years of war with the Islamic State group, the U.S. is looking to roll back the influence of neighboring Iran and help the central government resolve its dispute with the Kurdish region, the American envoy to the country told The Associated Press.
U.S. Ambassador Douglas Silliman took up his post in Baghdad in September 2016, just weeks before the start of the operation to retake the northern city of Mosul. With ISIS now driven out of all the territory it once held and Iraq’s declaration that the war against the extremists is over, he says Washington is focused on keeping the peace and rebuilding, and sees Iran’s influence as a problem.
“Iran simply does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors,” Silliman said. “The Iranians have — to some extent — assisted the government of Iraq in defeating ISIS,” he said. “But frankly I have not seen the Iranians donating money for humanitarian assistance, I have not seen them contributing to the U.N. stabilization program.”
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
I write this letter, because I care about the past, the present, and the future of the country in which I was born and grew up. Also, as an American citizen, I am deeply concerned about the steadily deteriorating domestic conditions in Hungary and the reckless foreign policy that you pursue against the fundamental interests of NATO, the European Union, and the entire Hungarian nation.
During your student years, you criticized and actively opposed the dictatorship of the communist party. You were instrumental in the establishment of the Alliance of the Young Democrats. Your memorable speech at the reburial of Nagy Imre and the other martyrs of the October 1956 Revolution, in which you demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Soviet Red Army from Hungarian territory and subsequent free elections contributed to the collapse of the regime in 1990. Elected to the Parliament in the spring of 1990, you led your party in opposition in a constructive fashion. Continue reading