by David Rutz • Washington Free Beacon
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of having a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran for its illicit nuclear weapons program during a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
Netanyahu castigated what he called “inaction” by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s atomic watchdog, in the face of Israeli intelligence about Iranian clandestine nuclear work, adding that he would reveal a new finding to the world by Israel in its battle to keep Iran’s nuclear ambitions at bay. Continue reading
If the 1986 Challenger disaster taught us anything it was – “Don’t put all your Space Launch eggs in one basket.” After that accident and the other ones that grounded all of America’s older space launch vehicles for about two years, NASA and the Air Force decided to build two sets of rockets under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
The EELV program has been a success. Both Atlas V and the various Delta rockets, especially Delta Heavy, have been putting America’s important science and military payloads into space for roughly a quarter of a century. Continue reading
Yogi Berra famously observed that events sometimes seem to repeat themselves — “It’s deja vu all over again!” So, this history of the criticism of the Bush administration’s nuclear and proliferation policies has major echoes of the criticisms today of the current administration. The negative narrative of what I term the “nuclear termites” as they undermine America’s deterrent capability never changes despite a major reduction in nuclear warheads from the 6,000 level of deployed weapons in 2001 to 1550 today — a 75% cut. This short history of the 2009-2016 period of the Bush administration illustrates this phenomenon — identical criticism from that period then disappeared between 2001-16 but then re-emerged in 2017, despite extraordinary reductions in our strategic nuclear arsenals and those of Russia as well.
The quest for nuclear disarmament has been with humankind since the dawn of the atomic age. Early proposals to place nuclear materials and technology under international controls were turned aside by Soviet commissars but still there remained an urge to eliminate these weapons. The Eisenhower administration deployed a relatively small number of nuclear weapons to defend against a Soviet invasion of Western Europe under the rubric of a policy known as massive retaliation. Continue reading
Since he stepped into the turbulent waters of Hungarian politics by delivering a highly emotional funeral oratory at the reburial of Imre Nagy the murdered hero of the 1956 anti-Soviet Revolution on June 16, 1989, Viktor Orban has traversed the entire spectrum of his country’s political life. Completely unnoticed in the 1990s, he as the head of a marginal political party by the acronyms FIDESZ (The Alliance of Young Democrats) underwent a troubling political epiphany. After losing two consecutive elections in 1990 and 1994, he converted his miniscule party from a left-leaning liberal to a self-described conservative party. Becoming Prime Minister in 1998, Viktor Orban’s conservatism manifested itself in a peculiar form of ethnic arrogance and even superiority, which romanticized and thoroughly falsified Hungarian history. Moreover, it dangerously politicized morality that led to divisiveness and intolerance fueled by visceral hatred.
By Peter Roff • RealClearPolitics
The relationship with Kuwait should be one of the United States’ strongest, but it is starting to fray. There’s still time to set it right, and the Kuwaiti Emir’s visit to Washington last week was a good start. Meanwhile, however, investors remain on edge, as they have been ever since officials in this Gulf state froze millions of dollars in American and international assets without any clear explanation.
Candidly, there’s a lot going on in Kuwait that’s suspect. The regime seems to be cozying up to Iran and China, officials have made remarks about Israel that are just short of incendiary, and corruption surrounding the delivery of supplies to U.S. troops stationed there has been highly disruptive. Americans, it seems to me, have the right to expect better from those whom they saved by leading an international intervention after their country was invaded by Saddam Hussein.
It seems instead that much has changed since President Donald Trump hosted Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah last year and hailed the countries’ bilateral relationship, calling it as strong as it had ever been. Indeed, the country continues to be a key regional security partner with 20,000 U.S. troops stationed there.
Recently though, officials in the Kuwaiti government seem to have gone to great lengths to offend America’s allies and get close to our adversaries. Their outspoken defense of the Palestinians inside the U.N. Security Council has undermined the White House’s effort to make peace and has caused problems for Israel. The United States was even forced to veto a Kuwaiti-drafted resolution calling for the protection of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Continue reading
Speaking generally on the occasion of the Eid al-Adha on August 20, 2018, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that the attack on his country’s economy is like an attack on “our call to prayer and our flag.” Proving that he is more beholden to empty slogans than to realities, he continued: “The goal is the same. The goal is to bring to heel Turkey and the Turkish nation. To hold it captive. We are a nation that prefers to be shot in the neck rather than to be chained by the neck.” Although the addressee was not identified, but everybody in Turkey and beyond knew that he spoke directly to President Trump.
To the Turkish people’s misfortune President Erdogan does not possess the leadership qualities of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Misguidedly, President Erdogan believes that political Islam is a global strategy, encompassing politics, economics, culture, and humanity. For this reason, he lacks clarity of thought, balanced intellect, self control, tolerance fortified by universal humanity, and respect for other cultures and religions. Since 2011, both his domestic and foreign policies have been unmitigated disasters. His sickening sectarianism at home concerning the sizable Kurdish minority most likely will perpetuate a situation resembling more a civil war than peace and stability. His handling of the economy in the last four years has been an utter failure. His country’s financial policies have only resulted in more corruption, blatant nepotism, and the staggering devaluation of the Turkish Lira. Abroad, his megalomaniac desire to assume the role of the Ottoman Sultans of the past has led to spectacular humiliations in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Qatar, and even in Lebanon. His flirting with the Russian bear and the Iranian lion will surely end the same way as such past ad hoc actions ended, namely, in diplomatic enmity and even open hostility.
Yet, President Erdogan’s most erroneous policy initiative is his irrational feud with the United States of America. Using the attempted military coup d’etat of July 15, 2016, he has accused his former mentor and political ally Fethullah Gulen with masterminding his unsuccessful overthrow. After demanding in vain his extradition from the United States government, he has proceeded to undermine Turkey’s relationship with Washington specifically, and NATO generally. His insistence on buying the Russian S-400 missile defense system is a direct challenge to the integrity of NATO and the stability as well as the peace of the European continent. The affair of Andrew Brunson, an American Christian pastor living in Izmir, a city on Turkey’s Aegean coast near some of the sites of Christianity’s earliest communities, only added to the artificial crisis atmosphere that President Erdogan has intentionally created. Following several unsuccessful attempts at Andrew Brunson’s release, President Trump has slapped sanctions and tariffs on Turkey that has pushed the Turkish currency to record lows.
Although foreign aid is considered by many Americans to be largely a waste of money and primarily a benefit to American NGO’s and recipient government officials, not so U.S. conservation assistance used to fight both environmental crime and promote environmental conservation.
When I worked at the newly formed United Nations Environment Program 45 years ago, and subsequently as an assistant to the Secretary of the Interior, key issues were to preserve fisheries, forests and grasslands, while also working to sustain the expanded production of fish, lumber and animal products.
Little did people think that decades later the biggest environmental crooks would be terrorists and international criminal cartels running a quarter of a trillion-dollar illicit enterprise in scope just behind drugs, weapons and human trafficking. As a recent UNEP report concludes, exploiting natural resources has become big business. Continue reading
Although denied by President Trump and members of his Administration, the ultimate objective of the United States is the overthrow of the Iranian Mullahcracy. Prior to announcing the creation of the Iran Action Group in the State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech on July 22, 2018, on the Islamic Republic of Iran. In it he first unleashed an unprecedented verbal onslaught on the criminal cabal in Tehran, calling them a “mafia”, and then said the following: “But the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses, and the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either. I have a message for the people of Iran: the United States hears you. The United States supports you. The United States is with you.” Upping the ante of his no-holds-barred withering criticism of the fundamentalist regime, Secretary of State Pompeo stated in his August announcement about the Iran Action Group, that “The Iran Action Group will be responsible for directing, reviewing, and coordinating all aspects of the State Department’s Iran-related activity, and it will report directly to me.”
This week, Frontiers of Freedom commends the President’s recent memo to Postmaster General Megan Brennan and the Postal Regulatory Commission calling for a long overdue removal of the U.S. Postal Service’s international shipping discounts.
These longstanding USPS policies, as Frontiers of Freedom president George Landrith has noted, promote an egregious consumer market imbalance in which it is cheaper to ship goods to a U.S. customer from countries like China than from an American warehouse. Continue reading
By Bill Gertz • Washington Free Beacon
Russia has deployed a suspicious satellite the United States says is part of Moscow’s plans to attack orbiting satellites in a future conflict, a State Department official revealed in Geneva on Tuesday.
Yleem Poblete, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification, and compliance, made the accusation in a speech declaring Moscow is promoting a draft treaty aimed at banning arms in space while advancing an array of space weaponry.
Russia in October conducted tests of a “space apparatus inspector” that was detected by U.S. intelligence maneuvering and taking other unusual actions in space.
“Its behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” Poblete stated during a session of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament.
“We are concerned with what appears to be very abnormal behavior by a declared ‘space apparatus inspector.'” She did not elaborate on the suspect activities.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now the President for life of the Republic of Turkey, has been throughout his illustrious political career a hypocrite and an Islamic fundamentalist par excellence. Elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994 as a member of the then Welfare Party, he declared: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers.” Sentenced to ten months in prison and barred from politics until 2003, he became Prime Minister in the same year. Meanwhile, in 2001, he co-founded the Justice and Development Party (in Turkish: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi). During his first decade as Prime Minister, Erdogan reformed his country economically and laid the foundation for Turkey to become a strong regional power. The Justice and Development Party dominated Parliament passed five reform packages in order to comply with European Union legislation. During his prime ministership between 2003 and 2014, Turkey experienced an average annual growth rate of 7.5%. Foreign investment in Turkey increased from $1.2 billion in 2003, to $20 billion in 2014. He also replaced the old lira with a new lira that until recently held its value. Continue reading
By Patrick Tucker • Defense One
LAS VEGAS — The Russian military is inside hundreds of thousands of routers owned by Americans and others around the world, a top U.S. cybersecurity official said on Friday. The presence of Russian malware on the routers, first revealed in May, could enable the Kremlin to steal individuals’ data or enlist their devices in a massive attack intended to disrupt global economic activity or target institutions.
On May 27, Justice Department officials asked Americans to reboot their routers to stop the attack. Afterwards, the world largely forgot about it. That’s a mistake, said Rob Joyce, senior advisor to the director of the National Security Agency and the former White House cybersecurity coordinator.
“The Russian malware is still there,” said Joyce.
On May 8, cybersecurity company Talos observed a spike in mostly Ukrainian victims of a new malware attack. Dubbed VPN Filter, the malware used code similar to the BlackEnergy tool that Russian forces have used (in modified form) to attack Ukrainian infrastructure. The U.S. intelligence community believes the culprits are the hackers known as APT 28 or Fancy Bear, Russian military operatives who were behind information attacks against Continue reading
Historically, most illusions have existed to disappoint. Western illusions that economic development and increased prosperity would somehow liberalize both politics and the economy in the People’s Republic of China have not fared better. The Sino-optimist in chief President Clinton envisioned in one of his frequent speeches that free enterprise would result in political freedom in the post-Mao China. Wexing almost poetic he predicted that the people “will demand a greater say.” His successor President George W. Bush also opined that China’s WTO entry would bring political benefits by enhancing “more open contacts with the world of freedom.” Not to left behind, self-described “citizen of the world” President Obama saw his mission in delivering rousing speeches about the burgeoning friendship between the two countries without ever developing a coherent China policy.
Initially, the optimism of successive American presidents appeared to be warranted. Mao Zedong, the incorrigible visionary with his belief in world revolution against Western domination and with his disastrous economic and social policies was replaced at the end of the 1970s by the cat and mouse pragmatist Deng Xiaoping. Having encouraged more economic freedom for a starter to his reforms, Deng had to quickly realize the potential political threats to the monopoly of Communist Party of China in the shape of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. He died a disappointed and embittered man, for his reforms failed to change iota the unworkable and rigid political system. After his death, he was followed by two faceless party bureaucrats, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Their policies consisted of protecting the monopoly of the party, while taking advantage of China’s low cost manufacturing capabilities.
Three months after President Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal on August 6, 2018, he unilaterally reinstated sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. On this occasion he stated: “Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.”
Predictably, the foreign ministers of NATO expressed their collective “deep regret” over the President’s executive order. To further demonstrate their collective miscomprehension of reality, the European Union issued a “blocking statute” to protect European businesses from the renewed sanctions. To add insult to injury, European foreign policy guru Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of Great Britain, France, and Germany stated that they are committed to the “preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas.” On the other hand, just a week ago, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel prevented Iran from lifting $400 million in dollar reserves kept in Frankfurt am Main. Indeed, the European Union’s policies toward Tehran are an exact reflection of its discombobulated state of affairs inside the organization itself. For good measure, quoting an unnamed senior American administration official, the Associated Press noted that the United States of America is “not particularly concerned” by such efforts to shield the European firms for American reprisals.
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
U.S. officials are fighting against a recently filed lawsuit by Iran in the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, that seeks to block the imposition of harsh new sanctions on Iran by the Trump administration, according to multiple U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Iranian officials launched a formal complaint with the ICJ, a legal body established by the United Nations to adjudicate disagreements between member nations, against the United States earlier this month, alleging the reimposition of harsh new sanctions on Iran by the Trump administration violates international treaties created as a result of the landmark nuclear agreement.
Iran’s lawsuit is reportedly gaining traction at the ICJ, which sent an official letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this week urging him and the Trump administration to hold off on new sanctions amid an economic collapse in Iran that has ignited popular protests across the country. Continue reading