Having lost his Soviet-era KGB job in East Germany, the unemployed former lieutenant colonel embarked on a political career in his hometown of St. Petersburg. Moved to Moscow by his political godfather Anatoly Sobchak and subsequently named acting president on December 31, 1999 by Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin first ascended to the presidency of the Russian Federation on May 7, 2000. Initially, applying the time tested fallacious formula of his predecessors, he presented himself to the gullible American and European leaders as a young as well as a westernized politician whose only dream is to transform his country into a genuine democratic state. After having secured the economic and financial benefits of this historic Russian hoax from the West, he told his compatriots in his annual state of the nation address in April 2005: “…the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century.” However, not being satisfied with this short declaration, he continued thus: “As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.”
To up the ante of his fabricated historical doctrine of Russian victimhood, Putin gave a speech on February 10, 2007, at the Munich Security Conference, in which, for the first time, he sharply criticized the United States of America’s global dominance and it’s “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations.” This resurrection of the Cold War animosity proved that the centuries-old Russian inferiority complex remained politically as alive as the Tsarist-Communist attempts at bringing Russia closer to an Asiatic tyranny. The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty also went out of the window. In 2008, he invaded Georgia and took away Abkhazia and South-Ossetia. In 2014, he annexed Crimea and occupied the Donbas region. Simultaneously, Putin has embarked on methodically rebuilding the Russian military, including its nuclear modernization. Domestically, he has become a tyrant with unlimited powers. The legislature has turned into an automatic voting machine. The judiciary has been totally subordinated to his political objectives. The media has been brought under his absolute control. The economy was reprivatized by his own oligarchs. The stage was set for the reign of uncontrolled tyranny with the wholesale expulsion of reason from politics, the economy and Putin’s ability to resolve inherent conflicts rooted in the past as well as the present inside Russia and beyond. These seeds of future collapse of Putin’s tyrannical regime have been strengthened by the illegal invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Almost all of the tragic catastrophes of history owe their birth to the deluded minds of tyrants with a destructive penchant for the establishment of made-up realities. President Putin is no exception. First, desiring to recreate the non-existent glory of the Tsarist as well as the Soviet empires, he has constructed a completely false reality. Accordingly, claiming that the 10th century Kyivan Rus is the real foundation of today’s Russia, he commissioned a statue of the first Kyivan prince Volodymyr in 2016, a clear sign of the pathological denial of the actual embrace of Christianity in the 10th century. A second mentally sick political fiction was his definition of the illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, terming the forced return of the peninsula “the revival of the Russian world” (in Russian: Russkiy Mir). Moreover, knowing that there are sufficient number of gullible Russians and even uneducated idiots within the Russian Federation, he reverted to the well-tested Russian ethno-racism branding the elected leaders of Ukraine neo-Nazis and even traitors to their country. Finally, having unleashed the greatest war since 1945 in Europe, he characterized the illegal invasion as a “special military operation” (in Russian: O provedenii specialnoy voennoy operacii). Having reduced his illegal war to a linguistic phenomenon, he successfully demonstrated his hatred for peace, stability and cooperation with the rest of the world. More importantly, he also showed his uncompromising longing for the re-Stalinization of Russia under his absolute authority.
Expectedly, President Putin’s psychopathic idiocy initially was met with the equally idiotic Western response of blaming themselves for the unsuccessful integration of the Russian Federation into the new world order. This internationalization of “political correctness,” has only emboldened President Putin to prove the total failure of Western appeasement toward his outsized ambitions. Predictably, regional violence and attempted global criminality on the part of the Russian Federation have increased as well as multiplied. Russians in general and Russian soldiers in particular have been told that they are exceptional and, therefore, so much better than everybody else. Adding insult to injury, they have also been inculcated with the belief that they should show no empathy to the non-Russians, because they are inherently good and their terrorism is only triggered by their non- Russian enemies.
To fully grasp President Putin’s delusional psychopathy for bringing about a new era of Russian domination, it is sufficient to look at his conduct of the war with Ukraine. What started out as a military Blitzkrieg has turned into a genocidal all-out annihilation of the sovereign state of Ukraine and its people. By now, however, it is becoming crystal clear that this delusional man has committed a catastrophic blunder. Russian colonialism is not coming to Ukraine or elsewhere. What will visit the Russian Federation is the inevitable collapse of President Putin’s tyrannical regime.
In conclusion, Russians must not ask the question: “Who did this catastrophe to us?” Rather they should ask: “What have we been doing wrong to always end up in hopeless misery?” The answer should be unequivocal: Russia must become a normal country and not the prey of psychopathic leaders or unconscionable gamblers.
Proof that the idiocy of intellectuals in academia and of hopelessly incompetent bureaucrats ensconced in their ivory towers knows no limit has been demonstrated abundantly in the post-Mao treatment of the People’s Republic of China by the United States of America, the member states of the European Union and other states allied with them. Having anointed themselves “foreign policy realists,” they declared that they alone have found the all encompassing diacatholicon to all the problems of mankind by always yielding to the blasterous threats of every tyrannical regime on earth. Specifically, under the dictum that “no one should humiliate the People’s Republic of China,” which in practice has meant endless concessions to Beijing, the democratic nations across the globe in general and the United States of America in particular, have been declared “warmongers” when they refused to lose or be humiliated by the tyrant de jour in mainland China. As always, the United States of America has been singled out for relentless criticism of its alleged animosity against the hard working Chinese people who want nothing else but to become as free and prosperous as their kins in the West. Clearly, these baseless theoretical illusions have shown the unrealistic yearning of these self-appointed foreign policy Messiahs for a world in which tyrannical aggressors always have their ways to the detriment of all the peace loving peoples worldwide. President Biden’s and his son’s corrupt dealings with the highest echelons of the Chinese Communist Party during the former’s tenure as Vice President only reinforced Beijing’s belief in as well as contempt for the decadent and greedy American politicians who would sell out their country for enriching themselves personally.
While this intellectual nonsense as well as political corruption are strategically as well as morally revolting, it surely has motivated tyrants all over the world to at least become more demanding or, in more extreme cases, march to the edge of nuclear abyss. The Chinese Communist Party-led People’s Republic of China has been no exception. Beginning twenty years ago, at the turn of the century, Beijing has undertaken the most extensive military buildup since World War II. In addition to destabilizing the entire continent around the Pacific Ocean, President Xi has openly demanded a new world order, in which his country would be the sole superpower. Boasting the second largest defense budget after the United States of America, Beijing has claimed sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and the surrounding maritime areas. Defying international law, Beijing has repeatedly threatened free navigation and has aggressively militarized countless coral atolls as well as artificially built additional reefs to expand the offensive capabilities of mainland China beyond its continental shores. All these have been done in contravention of a United Nations-backed Arbitration Tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s outrageously sweeping claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Of course, quite imperiously, Beijing dismissed the ruling as “sham” and non-binding on the People’s Republic of China.
Without a shred of doubt, the China threat is real. While the White House’s China policy does not extend beyond “preventing war and maintaining peace in Asia,” the recent developments surrounding Taiwan shall force the United States of America and all the affected states on the continent to prepare for war and win it decisively. Clearly, if invaded, Taiwan will surely be China’s Afghanistan and Ukraine combined. The recent highly provocative military maneuvers around the independent island, under the pretext of the American House Speaker’s visit, could royally misfire on the Chinese military. Although better than twenty or even five years ago, the Chinese military is nearly not as strong as Beijing is trying to depict. Mainly, it has been weakened by a staggering degree of corruption and the almost complete lack of combat experience. Moreover, the culture of the “one child policy” under Mao, has resulted in generations of spoiled men who have resented discipline. Finally, the readiness of the Chinese military will prevent a successful invasion and occupation of the Democratic Republic of China.
For all these reasons and challenges, the White House must undertake decisively resolute policies to forge an ironclad containment of the People’s Republic of China. The United States of America, combined with Japan, India, Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia, will always be stronger militarily, economically and financially than the People’s Republic of China. Although it might sound bold, the White House must contemplate abandoning America’s long standing “One China Policy” and recognize the Democratic Republic of China as a sovereign state that in reality it has been since 1949.
Historically, as so many Chinese lies, Taiwan has never been originally a part of mainland China. With the exception of some migration of the Hoklo people from Fujian and Guangdong areas of southern China, the Ming Dynasty only established a base of operation on the island in 1662. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing Dynasty ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Japanese. In 1945, the government of the Republic of China, led by the Kuomintang, took control of Taiwan. In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek established the Democratic Republic of China that includes the islands of Kinmen, Wuqui and Matsu.
Although the United States of America and the European Union have recorded many failures in foreign policies in the last thirty years, the Free World cannot lose against Communist China, as it could not afford to abandon Ukraine to the Russian Federation. China’s aggression shall be nipped in the bud before it will develop into a full scale illegal war. Nothing less than the future of a free and peaceful world is at stake.
The world has never been an earthly paradise. No human being has ever been perfect. Most problems, be it personal or universal, have always resisted easy solutions. Similarly, very few of the myriad challenges that have arisen thus far in history, have been answered permanently. In the public realm, the chasm between original intentions, be they practical or utopian, and their implementations in practice have never led to unanimous approvals. Indeed, the quest for individual and universal happiness has remained the unfinished endeavor of mankind.
In reality, politics in its limitless incarnations, has always been a chain of attempts to mobilize the generally indifferent masses for an objectively or subjectively preferable cause. However, when the cause has been detrimental to human dignity, politics has inevitably turned into a rotten system of government-sanctioned criminality that legitimized the most heinous abuses of power even against its peaceful opposition. In these cases, politics became ruled by nacked force, unchecked by the law.
Today’s Hungary, thirty two years after the end of the Soviet occupation is in the iron grip of a tyrannical regime that possesses absolute contempt for democracy, the rule of law, human rights, individual dignity, and glorifies the perfection of its personification Viktor Orban, the newly minted Fuehrer of Mussolini’s illiberalism, Hitlers ethnic purity, as well as Lenin cum Stalin’s rhetoric of “class enemies.” Having established a one-party state in 2010, Viktor Orban and his party the Young Democrats (Hungarian acronyms: FIDESZ) have restored Hungary to the pre-1990 state of a Communist Commissariat. Once again, individual freedom, meritocracy and creativity have been banished to the trash heap of Hungarian history, to be replaced by prejudice, bigotry, obscurantism, unimaginable government corruption and gibberish demagoguery that are pleasing to the ears of the scantily educated but driving the young and educated away from their homeland. More alarmingly, real politics that is driven by genuine national interests and the knowledge of Hungary’s place and role within NATO and the European Union, has been replaced by the trashing of the “imperialistic” United States of America, the “globalist” European bureaucracy in Brussels and the glorification of Hungary’s checkered 20th century past, in particular the allegedly positive accomplishments of the years between the two World Wars. More importantly, all this nonsense is fanaticised by lingering revanchism and seething resentment of victimhood for losing territories in 1918 as well as 1945 to the neighboring states.
As a result, Viktor Orban and Hungary have become useless pariahs in the European Union and strategic nobodies within NATO. Thus, to compensate for his outcast status within both organizations, Viktor Orban has embarked on a duplicitous foreign policy, in which he attempts to play his very limited Russia as well as China cards against the West. Having realized that such a foreign policy route necessarily harbors great risks for him personally, he has undertaken to bribe his way into American politics. Since 2010, his government has spent in direct and indirect payments tens of millions of dollars in Washington, DC, to influence members of Congress and the Executive Branch to accept, and if possible, to spread fallacious propaganda on his behalf.
Most importantly, the Hungarian government has focused on Richard Carlson and his Policy Impact Strategic Communications that has been doing major lobbying work for Orban Viktor in Washington, DC. His son Tucker has performed a yeoman’s service for Viktor Orban by promoting the latter’s “conservative paradise” in Fox News Network as well as on Fox Nation. Moreover, the father-son duo also introduced Matthew Schlapp, the Chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to Viktor Orban. The resulting CPAC conference in Budapest, Hungary, in mid-May 2022, drew a host of Republican luminaries to Budapest, including Mike Pence, Mark Meadows, Rick Santorum, Candance Owens and Tucker Carlson among others. Very recently, the CPAC meeting in Dallas, Texas, also featured Viktor Orban as a speaker. His speech contained an avalanche of lies about his foreign policies as well as the situation in Hungary. To CPAC and Viktor Orban’s regret the American as well as the Hungarian media provided a devastatingly unflattering coverage of the mendacious speech before an almost completely empty room. To top this macabre situation, Tucker Carlson, the unfailingly corrupt and uncritical propagandist of Viktor Orban’s tyranny, apologized on his show to Balazs Orban (no relation to the Prime Minister), the Political Director of the Prime Minister’s Office, on behalf of the entire American Media for a CNN report, in which the latter characterized Viktor Orban’s speech in Romania as anti-Semitic.
To make it amply clear – Viktor Orban is not a friend of the United States of America. Neither is he a representative of Western values, such as individual freedom, free market economy and moral decency. He is every bit of a corrupt and self-serving narcissist with a perfectly sick personality. Presenting him as the lone European champion of genuine conservatism is a travesty or even ignominy for all Americans, regardless of their political or ideological affiliations and preferences. Those who promote Viktor Orban and his “Illiberal Tyranny” must look in the mirror and admit that the only corrupt illusion which is more destructive in politics than self-deception is the complete dearth of knowledge of a given situation in a country. To every Hungarian’s deepest regret, those Americans are guilty of an extremely unreasonable as well as totally unjustified affection for the Hungarian tyrant.
Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi
From a historical perspective, appeasement of tyrannical regimes ended, without exceptions, in personal, national, regional, or global catastrophes. From the expansions of the antediluvian Egyptian and Persian Empires, through the global domination of ancient Rome, the violent confrontations of the Middle Ages as well as the Napoleonic Wars, to the two World Wars of the 20th century, the tactics of engaging in benign diplomatic compromises without a comprehensive strategy of dealing with the core problems of intolerable ambitions by a person or a nation, inevitably resulted in unmitigated violent anarchies.
Presently, NATO and the European Union have to deal with a mini-tyrant among their midst by the name of Viktor Orban, the long-serving Prime Minister of Hungary. Predictably, the leaders of the European Union and successive presidents of the United States of America have made the same Chamberlain’s mistake with Viktor Orban as the then British Prime Minister was guilty of at his meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich, Germany, in 1938. In the so-called Munich Agreement, in exchange for Hitler’s promise that if Chamberlain agrees to cede a part of the then Czechoslovakia the so-called Sudetenland to Germany, Nazi Germany shall make no further demands for land in the European continent. Returning to London, the British Prime Minister declared triumphantly: “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time…Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.” Of course, the rest is history.
Fast forward to the lasting miserable political, economic, social and moral conditions of Hungary under its Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Politically, Hungary has become an unabashedly ethno-fascist tyrannical country without a meaningful opposition. All the media – the printed press, the electronic television stations as well as the overwhelming numbers of social media – are owned and controlled by Viktor Orban and his lackeys, which incessantly spew debilitating regime propaganda. The economy has only few privileged owners, namely, Viktor Orban’s Strohman Lorinc Meszaros, Viktor Orban’s extended family, his closest associates and their Russian and Chinese buddies. Socially, most Hungarians exist in the tyrant’s created vacuum of lies believing that their country is a democracy. In reality, they vegetate within an evil regime that is irredeemably corrupt to its core and have stolen and embezzled everything movable as well as even immovable properties across Hungary. While depicting himself as the only world champion of peace in Europe, under the guise of protecting the Hungarian people from the consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian war, Viktor Orban added to his absolute powers the permanent condition of state of emergency – just to be sure that no one would challenge his tyranny.
Internationally, don’t be mistaken. Viktor Orban has never been a “Friend of the United States of America.” To wit, he has fought against the European Union as well as the United States of America tooth and nail to impose onerous sanctions on the aggressor Russian Federation claiming that “without the latter’s gas and oil deliveries Europe would face political upheavals and economic ruin,” as if the West and not Russia were the culprit. According to Dr. Andras Simonyi, former Ambassador of Hungary to the United States of America and Hungary’s first NATO Ambassador, currently a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center in Washington DC, Viktor Orban’s ranting about “American Imperialism” is akin to the derogatory terms used by the Soviet and like minded Communists during the Cold War. Elaborating on his statement, Viktor Orban told his audience: “Although no one knows it, 2013 was one of the most important years in recent history. That was the year when Americans began fracking.” Moreover, Viktor Orban reasoned that the Americans now have greater energy independence that they intend to use as a foreign policy weapon. The United States has been trying to force Europe into dependence on American energy for years now. The fact that Americans accuse others of doing the same thing should not lead anyone astray. Economic imperialism explains why the United States is currently pressuring European governments to implement sanctions against Russia. Thus spoke a pro-American and pro-European leader of a member state. Also that much for Tucker Carlson’s and Rod Dreher’s incompetent and corrupt interpretations of Viktor Orban’s exemplary “Illiberalism.” Rejecting diversification and wholly supporting dependence on Russian energy as a clever accomplice to Russia’s attempts at dividing the European Union and NATO, is Viktor Orban’s mission.
The invitation to Viktor Orban to speak at the upcoming CPAC meeting in Dallas, Texas, on August 4, 2022, is a huge mistake. There is no good reason to be associated with Orban’s ideology or his world view. Considering the additional fact that in his most recent speech in Romania, he harked back to the eternal ethno-chauvinistic and anti-Semitic slogans of past Hungarian politicians by evilishly meditating on the purity of the Hungarian blood, Viktor Orban sunk to the rhetorical foundations of the ugly and catestrophic history of national socialism.
Indeed, Viktor Orban’s tyrannical “Illiberalism” is highly destructive for NATO as well as the European Union. His success and the inability of any serious opposition to emerge in Hungary is mainly due to the fact that the majority of Hungarians yearn for an authentical strongman who at least verbally is the propagandist of Hungarian independence and the champion of the people in the middle of a global economic crisis and galloping inflation. Clearly, Viktor Orban’s appeal is more emotional than rational. Yet, emotions can lead more frequently than not to destructive policies. For all these reasons, Viktor Orban cannot be stopped domestically. Therefore, for the sake of the future of NATO and the European Union they collectively must marshall their powers to facilitate the timely demise of the newest tyrant of the Free World.
I’m not in the habit of saying that Nancy Pelosi is right. But if she wants to visit Taiwan next month as part of a congressional delegation to several countries in the Indo-Pacific, she really ought to go. Canceling the trip now would be a capitulation to tyranny.
Canceling now would mean that Congress buckled in the face of Chinese threats and the Biden administration wavering. It would establish the principle that Beijing has veto power over the travel plans of senior U.S. officials. It would tell the world that America is more interested in mollifying Xi Jinping than in supporting the democratically elected Tsai Ing-wen. It would be another example of self-deterrence, Biden-style. And America would be weakened.
Pelosi would be the first speaker of the House to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich in 1997. The Chinese Communist Party was no happier 25 years ago than they are today. Back then, the People’s Republic said that Gingrich’s support of Taiwan was “improper” and “contradictory.” China’s rhetoric has grown harsher as it has grown stronger. Earlier this year, when Pelosi first scheduled a visit in April, a Chinese government spokesman called it a “malicious provocation.” He pledged that China would respond “resolutely.” Then Pelosi got COVID. She had to cancel.
Last week the Financial Times reported that the trip was back on and rescheduled for August. Once more, the jackals in Beijing began to howl. The enslavers of Xinjiang, the oppressors of Hong Kong, the bullies of the Indo-Pacific acted as if they were the victims. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian threatened that China would “take determined and forceful measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The Chinese propaganda machine spoke forebodingly of consequences for the United States. A former editor of Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party’s version of Pravda, wrote of Pelosi, “If the U.S. can’t restrain her, let China restrain her & punish her.”
Punish her? Any hostile action taken against the speaker of the House of Representatives, no matter her party and no matter the circumstances, would be an act of war. Is China willing, much less prepared, to provoke armed conflict with the United States over a co-del? If so—and I doubt it—then China is itching for a fight and will ramp up its demands no matter what Pelosi decides.
If the visit does happen, China will respond for sure. But the cost it might impose on U.S.-China relations still will be less than the price of cancellation. Neither China nor the United States is prepared for a major confrontation. Better to take the hit to the relationship now than let Xi Jinping dictate Nancy Pelosi’s—or anyone else’s—itinerary.
As usual, President Biden is not helping. Asked about the controversy on July 20, he said that “The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now” and “I don’t know what the status of it is.” Thanks for letting the world know what the joint chiefs are telling you, Joe. And what a way to go to bat for a fellow Democrat. Another command performance.
Biden’s mention of his upcoming call with Xi—it took place on July 28—suggested that he doesn’t want Congress to get in the way of presidential diplomacy. That’s understandable. The elected branches always compete for foreign-policy influence and prestige. There probably ought to have been closer coordination between the speaker’s office and the White House. But once the visit became the object of China’s vitriol, the only sensible response was to close ranks and defend Pelosi’s right to travel where she pleases, when she pleases.
Why? Because China’s aim isn’t just to stop Pelosi. It wants gradually to isolate Taiwan by coercing the United States into abandoning a longtime ally. It wants to replace the United States as the preeminent power in the Indo-Pacific. Giving China what it wants now helps it achieve its goals. If Pelosi can’t visit Taiwan, then surely other U.S. officials will think twice before traveling there. And if Beijing calls the shots for Washington, D.C., why should other regional governments take us seriously?
The Washington Post editorial board is wrong to suggest that Pelosi postpone her visit until “the optimal moment.” There is no optimal moment. There are only moments when we decide to act and take responsibility. Does the Post believe that China would be any less angry at a Pelosi visit six months or a year from now? “Given the temptation for Mr. Xi to divert attention and bolster his own political standing by targeting Taiwan and the United States,” the editors write, “it’s smart not to give him any excuses.” Reading those words, I hear an echo of Barack Obama. As if Xi Jinping needs an excuse to further his evil designs. As if America and Pelosi are the problem, and not the despotic, expansionist, belligerent government in Beijing.
“Those who play with fire will perish by it,” Xi told Biden on Thursday, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. It’s a line Xi has used before. But who is playing with fire here? Pelosi, by following a precedent set by Newt Gingrich a quarter century ago? Or China, by trying to steamroll the speaker of the House? U.S. foreign policy works best when America acts boldly to create facts on the ground favorable to freedom. Which is why I am about to commit to print words I never thought I’d write: Go, Nancy, go!
Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi
The Hungarian joke about the light bulb goes like this: How many Hungarians does it take to change a light bulb? The answer: Two. One to hold the eel, the other to screw in the hovercraft.
This simple joke illustrates the psycho-pathology of most Hungarians. The inability to spot reality and to adapt to the frequent changes in their place and role in history have been ingrained for many centuries in the national mentality of permanent victimhood. Hungarian enthusiasm for this perceived historical injustice has resulted in catastrophic blindness to the power of skewed ideas that gradually have given rise to deep inferiority complexes. Even more destructively, the dual curse of victimhood and inferiority complexes have created a dearth of empathy within the Hungarian communities and also toward the non-Hungarian entities throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Finally, the intersection between victimhood and lack of empathy, has guided the Hungarian national mentality into a vacuum, in which Hungarians have been told that they would remain exceptional if they stay away from mixing with other non-Hungarian peoples.
Having been seen as being irredeemably victimized, the average Hungarian has viewed all the problems as factors that exist outside of his or her control. Consequently, facing individual or collective challenges, Hungarians have tended to blame others for their difficulties, instead of taking matters into their own hands to find solutions. Thus, the importance of the individual with his or her free agency has diminished and the blame-others-game has prompted them to nurture pseudo-real grievances that, in turn, have given birth to unhealthy personal developments within the entire Hungarian political, social and moral cultures.
When liberation came in 1990 from the four-and-a-half-decade of Soviet military occupation, the Hungarian people were unprepared for national independence and democracy. For the overwhelming majority of Hungarians, getting rid of the Soviet Red Army has meant the alluring possibility of an American lifestyle, in which suddenly everybody would own a big house and would have separate cars for every family member parking in the driveway. When these dreams have failed to come to fruition with alacrity, nostalgia for the predictable days of the former Communist dictatorship has emerged in a very powerful manner. The only person who understood his countrymen’s inability to change course was Viktor Orban, a young Communist, immature, yet with a sufficiently aggressive infatuation for power and money. His message since 1998, when he first became prime minister, has been a simple one: Hungary does not need Westernization. On the contrary, Hungarians should not integrate into the Free World. Real Hungarians should revive the past and use it as a foundation for uniting all Hungarians inside and outside today’s Hungary. Under the banner of his self-proclaimed “Illiberalism,” Hungary has become in the last twelve years a non-assimilating, non-integrating and self-segregating member state of the European Union and NATO.
With his fraudulently manufactured two-third majority in the Parliament, he has centralized politics, economy, education and information by cutting everything into miniscule and confusing pieces, leading to humungous lies, unimaginable degrees of corruption as well as fraudulent identity between the inglorious past and the miserable present devoid of a realistic plan for a livable future. In this manner, Viktor Orban has transformed Hungary into a hopeless and unredeemable country in the middle of the European continent.
In his most recent public appearance in the annual Balvanyos Summer Free University and Student Camping Festival in Tusnadfurdo (Romanian: Baile Tusnad), in Romania, Viktor Orban delivered a speech, in which he claimed that the world has become increasingly polarized within Europe and beyond. Criticizing everybody, including the United States of America as well as the European Union, but hypocritically defending the Russian Federation’s illegitimate and terroristic invasion of Ukraine as understandable from the Kremlin’s perspective, he stated that only Hungary wants real peace, while the West in general is guided by greedy and sinister self-interests to continue supporting Ukraine which cannot win against the mighty Russian military. To add insult to his fallacious description of the Russia-Ukraine war and its consequences, he predicted, in the manner of Putin and Lavrov, that the “declining West” would diminish with its values by 2030 and the world will witness a new world order. Having continued in the same vein for an extended period of time, he declared that those who do not agree with him are on the wrong side of history and will be thrown away by the newly emerging world. Then, turning more devilish in his analysis, he launched into a racist tirade that cunningly resembled the language of the 1930s and 1940s in Germany as well as in Hungary. Pleading for the purity of the Hungarian race, which has been the code word of Jew hatred and the subsequent extermination of six million European Jews by the Germans and their allies in Central and Eastern Europe, he intoned stentoriously that his government will never agree to the mixing of the races that has become accepted in the Western part of the continent.
In Viktor Orban’s La La Land, Hungary has only rights but no obligations. In the same speech, he expounded on the debt the world owes Hungary. He assured his listeners that Hungary will demand to be paid in full for all the services that allegedly he and his government provided for the Free World. Meanwhile, Hungary is on the edge of economic and financial bankruptcy. Clearly, he must be stopped and reminded of the wise dictum of the late President Ronald Reagan: “We don’t have a trillion dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion dollar debt because we spend too much.”
The enduring illegal and terroristic invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine by the Russian Federation since 2014 and the People’s Republic of China’s equally illegal and terroristic expansion in Asia and elsewhere have given the lie to most Western intellectuals’ claim that if both would accept even a rudimentary form of capitalism they would also surely become more democratic. In reality, despite the halting westernization attempts undertaken by Gorbachov, Yeltsin as well as Putin and successive Chinese leaders since the death of Mao Zedong, both states are still radically incompatible in their political inculture, mentality, customs and institutions from the West in general and the United States of America in particular. To wit, they also remain separated from the Free World by NATO, the European Union as well as multiple unfriendly alliances in Asia, Africa and South America.
As a result, up to now, both states have taken only a secondary role in world affairs. Hence Presidents Putin’s and Xi’s coordinated call for a new world order, in which presumably their states would play the leading role. Taking advantage of the many institutional weaknesses of the European Union caused by the poorly thought out expansion in the new decade of the twenty first century, the Russian Federation has started to seize territories of the former Soviet Union in the eastern part of the continent. Corresponding to this dangerous situation, the present tyrant in the Kremlin is a born chauvinistic megalomaniac with a mentally sick temperament.
In Asia, President Xi Jinping is infused with dictatorial powers, but at the same time, has been hamstrung by a host of Confucian traditions and rivalizing local cum state interests as well as opinions, which he can only ignore at his peril. In this context, he is bound to take into account the wishes of the party and military bureaucracies, the thoughts of the local potentats as well as the guardians of the spirit of the 1949 coup d’etat. To appease all these divergent interests, he has embarked on an aggressive maritime expansion, including the threat of global invasion to the Republic of China. To show off his tyrannical side, he has been fighting the bureaucracies by ruthlessly clamping down on his country’s lethal corruption. Thus, his reign since 2013 has been characterized by a confusing cavalcade of internal and foreign contradictions. To summarize President Putin’s and President Xi’s political conditions, they are collectively compromised by their powers stained with the blood of the joint tyrannical past, their domestic as well as foreign political and military strategic shenanigans and tactical intrigues. These contradictory attributes – the uncompromising tyrant and the duplicitous coward – have never been separated throughout their bloody reigns.
Meanwhile, in the United States of America, single issue minority movements have been laboring aggressively on enforcement of false realities. Under the banner of “Political Correctness” cum “Multiculturalism”, allegedly fighting against “White Supremacy”, “Exploitative Capitalism” and “Evil Democracy”, they have brought pervasive hatred and senseless violence across the nation. Their idiotic pseudo-intellectual sociopolitical garbage have merely generated untold catastrophes and individual tragedies inside and outside the Union. Moreover, their inability to comprehend realities has been heightened by the failed ideologies of Marx, Stalin as well as Mao. In this manner, they all have divorced themselves from common sense and have become sheep-like slaves of a nonexistent should be future with a victim mentality. The election in 2020 of a president in the advanced stages of hopeless dementia, has only exacerbated their friend versus foe psychopathologies. Finally, the social media’s immoral manipulations of good versus evil phenomena have resulted in a sickening distortion of innocent versus guilt notions, in which these minority movements hunt for everybody who questions the absolute truthfulness of their inferiority complex driven unrealities. Unless it stopped decisively, this extremely dangerous fake herd ideology could destroy Western civilization with its absolute hostility to the core principles of individual liberty and burgeoning prosperity. Coupled with the Democrat Party’s “Open Borders” lawlessness, in which the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants reject assimilation because of their loyalty to their native culture, lack of views on free speech as well as tolerance for other persons’ opinions, they too contribute mightily to the growth of the fallacious myth of victimhood. In this tragic society of misguided illusions, normalcy is thrown out of the window and exiled to the massive garbage heap of the real world. More importantly, since a prohibitively large percentage of those semi-educated people tend to work in the federal cum state bureaucracies, in education and the media, their unmitigated lust for power and money will assure the maintenance of a well-nourished vicious circle of abominable hatred and manipulative lies. Clearly, the world resembles a rudderless ship without a competent captain. Similarly to Plato’s Ship of State metaphor, today’s political leaders across the globe are like the ship-owner who knows nothing about directing a sailboat. Underneath him, his underlings are equally uneducated about the profession of navigation. Yet, they prevent the skilled navigators from taking command of the sailboat. Appallingly, the world’s only superpower has been missing from the global stage since the end of the Reagan presidency. Because of that, the world has become an extremely dangerous theater of political rivalries by incompetent but power hungry so-called politicians. Meanwhile, Russia and China have become the epicenters of complex aggressions where all the elements of state terrorism are present. Europe has become a tangled mess. Asia is gearing up for multiple confrontations among its great powers. The Greater Middle East will remain snarled in tribal, religious and political rivalries. Africa seemingly cannot escape from its indigenous as well as colonial miseries. The states of Central and South America are stock in the twisted threads of their history and the peoples’ desire for a better life. No doubt that the world cries out for leadership. Restoring America’s greatness must be an urgent priority. To accomplish that, the people need to wise up and elect competent leaders who could act decisively to restore sanity to public life throughout the Union and beyond.
The president's credibility is shot
Before leaving for the Middle East, President Biden sat down for an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 News. Anchor Yonit Levi asked the president if he would use force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “As a last resort, yes,” Biden said.
I’d like to think that Biden is sincere. I hope that he understands the dangers a nuclear Iran would pose to the Greater Middle East, to Europe, and indeed to the world. A nuclear Iran would launch a cycle of proliferation and escalation in the region. Iran’s nuclear missiles would be in range not only of America’s Persian Gulf allies but also of NATO. Iran would intensify its malign activities, from terrorism to proxy war to hostage-taking, knowing that the bomb gives it cover. A nuclear Iran means a world more dangerous, more violent, more flammable than the world is even today.
Which is why Biden is the latest American president to suggest that the use of force remains an option. An air and naval campaign to destroy the nuclear sites known to Western intelligence and to degrade the Islamic Republic’s capacity to retaliate is the best means of delaying and potentially foreclosing the possibility of an Iranian bomb. The objective of such an operation wouldn’t be regime change. The goal would be prevention. Israel and the Gulf States would support us. And Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping would pay attention. They would be put on notice: The American president means what he says.
Does he? In the spring of 2021, President Biden was asked about the record numbers of illegal immigrants who began crossing the southern border after he reversed his predecessor’s asylum policies. Biden dismissed the question. The migrant surge was “seasonal,” he said. It happens “every single solitary year.” Not like this, it doesn’t. The season ended long ago. The migration has continued for a year and a half. Last month saw the largest number of illegal crossings on record. Biden’s flippant answer was grossly mistaken, to say the least. He doesn’t seem to care. In fact, if he’s successful in ending Title 42 protocols allowing for the swift repatriation of illegal migrants, he will continue to make the problem worse.
In the summer of 2021, President Biden gave a speech on the inflation that was starting to appear in the economic data. “Our experts believe and the data shows that most of the price increases we’ve seen are—were expected and expected to be temporary,” he said. Like the “seasonal” migration on the southern border, the “temporary” inflation continues. Last month’s number was higher than expectations. Real earnings fell 4 percent. The president’s economic policies have resulted in a decline in Americans’ standard of living. Nothing he says on the issue has changed the public’s dismal view of his job performance.
It was only a year ago, remember, that President Biden was asked if a Taliban conquest of Afghanistan was inevitable. “No,” he answered. A month later, the holy warriors rolled into Kabul and America was forced into a panicked and dangerous rescue operation that left 13 U.S. servicemen killed and Afghanistan abandoned. Throughout this disaster, Biden spoke and acted as if everything was going according to plan, as if everything was under control. By Labor Day 2021, the public had severed its connection with a president whom it had placed in office simply because it was tired of the incumbent’s excesses. Biden might as well spend the rest of this year in Rehoboth Beach. He operates without public attention and without public support. His words carry no meaning. They don’t land, they don’t register, they don’t signify.
Will Biden use force to stop Iran? Maybe. That’s what he told Channel 12. Yet Biden acknowledged the possibility of a military strike only when Israeli media forced him to. Note the following: In his Washington Post op-ed explaining the reasons for his Middle East trip, Biden wrote that “my administration will continue to increase diplomatic and economic pressure until Iran is ready to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, as I remain prepared to do.” No discussion of how long he will wait for Iran to get “ready to return” to the deal. No mention of what he will do if Iran refuses to comply.
And Iran isn’t complying. Indirect talks between the United States and Iran, mediated by Europe and by, incredibly, Russia, have lasted for over a year. They’ve gone nowhere. Worse than nowhere: Iran’s nuclear “breakout” time is now zero. Last month Iran turned off the cameras that the International Atomic Energy Agency uses to monitor its disclosed nuclear facilities. The cameras remain dark. The Iran crisis is here, but President Biden acts as if it hasn’t yet arrived. The zombie negotiations in Vienna—with endless talks despite longstanding impasses over the status of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and whether Biden’s successor will have the power to scuttle the arrangement (which of course he will)—have become an end in themselves. Nor is there reason to expect the administration to cut them off so long as Iran doesn’t make too much trouble. Especially when Biden would like to bring Iranian oil back on the market.
So much of Biden’s rhetoric feels performative: He recycles the standard lines not to state policy or rally public opinion but simply to move on to the next question. Where he is most sincere, it seems to me, is his reluctance to deploy our forces abroad. Think of his Afghanistan withdrawal, and his self-deterrence vis-à-vis Russia in Ukraine. “I will be the first president to visit the Middle East since 9/11 without U.S. troops engaged in a combat mission there,” he said in the final line of his Washington Post op-ed. “It’s my aim to keep it that way.”
That’s the real Biden—the Biden who believes that he’s been right on every foreign policy issue of the last half century, when he almost always has been wrong—the Biden whose credibility is shot. Should Israel and America’s Middle East partners take him seriously? Look at his actions rather than his words. And if he fails to act, others should.
ANALYSIS – I have argued that one of the most significant collateral benefits of Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has been to unify and strengthen NATO, not only against Russia but also against Putin’s greatest ally, Communist China, led by Xi Jinping.
While individual NATO countries were taking an increasingly complex line against China since President Donald Trump put confronting China front and center in U.S. strategy, Putin’s war (and China’s open support for Russia) pushed NATO to officially place China in its latest’ Strategic Concept’ planning paper.
This is a significant development. The U.S. can’t face China alone.
It also highlights the direct link more Europeans see between Russia’s assault on Ukraine and a similar Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
In its China Watcher newsletter, Politico, explains what this means and asks whether NATO can face off both threats simultaneously. It writes:
Congratulations to President XI JINPING. It’s official. China made it into NATO’s first revamped Strategic Concept in over a decade, formally adopted at last week’s Madrid summit.
NATO pointed to the “systemic challenges” that the People’s Republic of China poses while also holding out an olive branch for “constructive engagement.” Yet the language was tough, referring to Beijing’s “coercive policies” that challenge NATO’s “interests, security and values” as well as the PRC’s “malicious hybrid and cyber operations.”
In the bigger strategic picture, however, it is NATO’s depiction of Beijing and Moscow’s ever closer partnership that raises the largest concerns. NATO is not yet referring to a China-Russia “bloc” in its Strategic Concept, but it is clearly alerting the world’s democracies to the scale of the challenge they now face.
Enter the word “capacity.” Do the U.S. and its allies — especially in Europe — really have the resources and the willpower to hold the line if they are taking on Russia and China at once? The West is now locked in a confrontation over Ukraine that, absent regime change in Moscow, is likely to continue for year after dreary year without a clean and decisive conclusion.
Robin Shepard adds:
NATO firmly rejects the suggestion that China and Russia together are too much to handle. SpokespersonOana Lungescutold China Watcher: “Both authoritarian regimes are pushing back against the international rules-based order, so we are strengthening NATO in an era of strategic competition and deepening our partnerships with like-minded nations around the world, including our Indo-Pacific partners.… NATO does not have the luxury of choosing our challenges, we must face them all.”
The inclusion of China on NATO’s Strategic Concept has rattled the Communists in Beijing, especially as it follows the first NATO summit in June that included Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
China’s mouthpiece, the Global Times, railed at this Aisa-focused summit, saying: “Catering to NATO’s Asia-Pacificization is tantamount to inviting wolves into the house.… The sewage of the Cold War cannot be allowed to flow into the Pacific Ocean.”
This is all welcome news for the West, but it will take a lot more than just talk and papers.
NATO will have to do much more to rebuild its military capabilities if it genuinely intends to back the U.S. and its Asian allies in facing the Chinese Red Dragon.
Congressional Republicans on Friday launched a formal probe into the Biden administration over its decision to alter federal law so that individuals tied to terrorist organizations can more easily enter the United States.
The investigation, led by House Armed Services Committee member Jim Banks (R., Ind.), comes on the heels of a Washington Free Beacon report last month that detailed how the administration amended federal immigration law to permit foreigners who provided “insufficient material support” to designated terrorist organizations to receive “immigration benefits or other status” inside America.
The State Department said the law was altered to make it easier for vulnerable Afghans who might have worked with terror groups to find refuge in America, but current and former U.S. officials who spoke to the Free Beacon said the rule is so broadly written that it could also apply to those who worked with al Qaeda or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the country’s paramilitary fighting force that has killed hundreds of Americans.
“These loose and overly broad definitions will open the floodgates for supporters of terrorism to enter the United States,” Banks and three Republican colleagues wrote in a letter to the White House that was obtained exclusively by the Free Beacon. “Such a general waiver, if implemented, would create additional difficulty in immigration vetting process, have catastrophic consequences on border security and put American families at increased risk from terrorism.”
The lawmakers—Banks and Reps. Claudia Tenney (R., N.Y.), Greg Steube (R., Fla.), and Rob Wittman (R., Va.)—want the administration to provide Congress with information about whether this rule change was implemented as a concession to Iran meant to entice the country into inking a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear accord.
“This order was also released just weeks before negotiations with Iran over restoring the nuclear deal recommenced,” they write. “Your administration may be trying to entice Iran back to the nuclear deal by using broad executive authorities to weaken the penalties connected to the [foreign terrorist organization] designation without requiring the IRGC and other Iran-supported terrorist organizations to verifiably cease their terrorist activities.”
The State Department, which along with the Department of Homeland Security authored the rule change, said the changes are part of “an effort to address issues related to Afghanistan. The circumstances between Afghanistan and Iran are very different.”
The rule does not specifically mention Afghanistan, however, and appears to cover all U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations, such as the IRGC and al Qaeda, according to lawmakers and former senior U.S. officials who reviewed the order and spoke to the Free Beacon. The Taliban is not designated as a foreign terrorist organization, adding more confusion.
Examples of individuals who would fall into the new category include those who provided “humanitarian assistance” or “routine commercial transactions” to designated terror groups, according to a copy of the rule published in the Federal Register.
“Exercising broad executive authorities to weaken the legal force of [foreign terrorist organization] designations is bound to increase risks to U.S. national security,” the lawmakers say.
The lawmakers asked the administration to explain by July 22 why it altered immigration laws.
They want to know how the administration justifies these changes and how it could possibly support “the national interest to allow any supporters of terrorism into the United States.”
They also want to know how many individuals have qualified for immigration benefits under the rule change and how many could qualify each year. This includes details about how many of these terror-tied individuals are from Afghanistan and Iran.
“If, as the State Department spokesperson commented, this order is intended to benefit Afghan Special Immigration Visa applicants and holders, why is this group not explicitly mentioned?” the lawmakers ask.
“Does your administration intend to issue any immigration related waivers for IRGC and its affiliates? If, as State Department spokesperson commented, this order is not intended to benefit the IRGC and its affiliates, why are IRGC and its affiliates not explicitly excluded from this order?”
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has proven that Putin seeks to rebuild the former Soviet empire by force and if he must kill tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people to accomplish his goal, he is willing to do it. What is happening in Ukraine is jarring and we should learn the lessons that it is teaching. Putin thought he would cruise to victory in Ukraine in a matter of days. But his efforts bogged down in part because his conventional fighting forces are weaker than most would have predicted, and the Ukrainian people’s willingness to fight for their country was greater than most would have anticipated.
However, once Putin’s military stalled and not so veiled nuclear threats began to leak out of the Kremlin, it allowed the rest of the world the time and opportunity to not only condemn Russia, but to provide much needed aid to the Ukrainian people.
Putin showed us that it is a mistake to assume that because our conventional military forces are the world’s strongest, that we don’t need to worry about nuclear threats. To most Americans the idea of unleashing nuclear weapons seems incomprehensible. But if you are thoroughly evil, and have grandiose ambitions, and your conventional military cannot defeat the west, you only have one card to play — a nuclear one. Russian military doctrine actually states that it can win a nuclear war, so our defenses against nuclear threats must be every bit as robust as our conventional military forces.
Russia doesn’t have as robust of a surface navy as it once had when it was the Soviet Union. But it continues to maintain a highly capable submarine fleetthat is part of Russia’s nuclear threat.
It should not come as a surprise that a nation who has learned it cannot compete militarily on a conventional basis, will rely more heavily on its nuclear capability. It is no coincidence that for the past decade or two, Russia has invested heavily in nuclear assets. They have invested heavily in hypersonic missiles as a delivery mechanism, and have also been busy developing tactical nuclear weapons while we havebeen essentially decommissioning ours. Allowing Russia — with a leader like Putin — to have the upper hand in a nuclear conflict is a catastrophically bad strategy. As we’ve seen in Ukraine, trusting in the goodwill and decency of a man like Putin is complete folly.
We must therefore be prepared to neutralize the Russian nuclear threat. Missile defense is obviously an important component of that. But perhaps an unknown or under-appreciated part of our defensive capability is the P-8 Poseidon. It is the world’s most capable sub-hunting aircraft. It has ultra sensitive radar, special cameras, sonar buoys for finding and tracking submarines, and the capability to destroy threatening submarines.
But that’s not all. The P-8 Poseidon is a highly versatile, multi-mission aircraft. It is an effective reconnaissance plane, and it can engage and destroy surface ships, and do search and rescue missions. In so many different missions, the P-8 is truly state of the art.
The P-8 has been a highly successful program, as a modified and tailored 737, it has been designed and built from the ground up to perform its vital functions. It has been delivered on time, within cost perimeters, and it does everything that it was designed to do while performing above expectations.
But the problem is we don’t have enough of them to counteract the threats we face. And it isn’t just Putin. China has become increasingly belligerent and has been building a navy larger than our own. Their stated goal is to replace the US as the world’s most powerful nation. China’s communist leaders don’t seek stability, they seek domination.
During the height of the Cold War, we had far more sub-hunter aircraft than we do now, yet the risk is much greater today. In 1975, we were not worried about China. Today, we have every reason to be worried about both Russian and China.
A number of our allies also see the P-8 as the future of sub-hunting. But we don’t yet even have a full compliment of the numbers our war fighting experts said we needed several years ago — and that was when we saw Russia as a far less dangerous threat. So the truth is, we need a lot more P-8 Poseidons than we currently have. And we need them yesterday.
There is tremendous urgency to ramp up our ability to neutralize the nuclear threats that Russia and China pose. While the P-8 isn’t the only thing we need, it is a very good place to start. And we have no time to waste. As we have learned, our adversaries are watching and when they determine
d that we are not prepared or strong, they will jump at the opportunity to expand their dominance and control. So let’s hope Congress and the Pentagon are paying attention and send a signal that America will always be ready and capable. And they can do that by making sure we have plenty of P-8 Poseidons to counteract this growing nuclear threat.
Biden must abandon his quest for a nuclear deal
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about: This week Iran escalated its war against the West.
On June 8 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution calling on Iran to explain traces of uranium that it found at three undisclosed sites of nuclear activity. Hours before the IAEA vote, Iran disconnected security cameras from one of its declared nuclear sites. Then Iran began taking down IAEA cameras throughout its territory. The world’s nuclear watchdog is flying blind. “When we lose this,” IAEA director Rafael Mariano Grossi told reporters, “then it’s anybody’s guess” what Iran is doing.
But we know what Iran is doing. Iran is playing hardball. For over a year now, the Biden administration and its European partners have attempted to lure Iran back into the 2015 nuclear deal, a.k.a. the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Those negotiations have failed. Iran keeps upping the ante. It wants Biden to drop sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its terrorist army, and to guarantee that future presidents won’t back out of the deal. The first demand is harmful to national security and a political hot potato. The second is impossible. Result: deadlock.
Deadlock that favors Iran. The mullahs have used the months of jaw-jaw to prepare for war-war. Ayatollah Khamenei has placed radicals in top positions, including the presidency. His proxy forces have spread violence in Iraq, Yemen, and throughout the Greater Middle East. He has plotted to assassinate U.S. officials. He has evaded sanctions. And he has built up his stockpile of nuclear fuel.
Iran has enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. Last week, David Albright and Sarah Burkhard of the Institute for Science and International Security (the good ISIS) wrote that “Iran’s breakout timeline is now at zero.”
Swell. How does President Biden respond? He says there is still time to make a deal that even his lead negotiator, State Department official Robert Malley, admits is “tenuous at best.”
The complacency is maddening. The other day, when a reporter asked National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for his thoughts on Iran’s dispute with the IAEA, Sullivan said, “From our perspective, we have to view these on separate tracks, and that’s how we’re going to proceed.” Translation: We won’t let Iran’s hostile behavior get in the way of appeasement.
On June 9, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Iran’s moves against the IAEA are “counterproductive and further complicate our efforts to return to full implementation of the JCPOA.” Also, the sky is blue. What’s Blinken going to do about it? “We continue to press Iran to choose diplomacy and de-escalation instead,” he said.
This is willful blindness. Iran made its choice. It rejected diplomacy and de-escalation. It opted for confrontation and resistance.
Yet America is too preoccupied, too distracted, too overwhelmed to act accordingly. Inflation, crime, the border, guns, abortion, and Ukraine command the public’s attention. The growing danger from Iran does not. Meanwhile, the secretary of defense is a background player. The secretary of state and the national security adviser are staffers, not independent leaders. The president is 79 years old and not good at his job. This moment demands confidence, willfulness, boldness, imagination, and risk. What we get are odd ramblings from Biden on Kimmel.
Things must change. Iran policy is a good—and urgent—place to start. Step one is to face reality. Close the open hand that the ayatollah has spat upon. Demand enactment of snap-back sanctions. Adopt the bipartisan Senate bill that would integrate air and missile defenses in the Greater Middle East. Call for a massive defense buildup. Ease restrictions, limits, and delays on lend-lease to Ukraine, then take the same approach to arming Israel and our Gulf partners (as well as Taiwan). Recognize the importance of the Abraham Accords as the foundation for regional stability. And revive the military option to demonstrate our seriousness.
The drift toward global disorder began after former president Obama decided not to enforce his red line against chemical weapons in Syria. That was almost a decade ago. One way to repair the jagged breach in American credibility and American deterrence would be to make good on our longstanding promise that Iran won’t obtain the world’s most terrible weapon.
The current path leads to a world where America is ignored, where Israel’s existence is threatened, and where the risk of nuclear war is greater than it is even today. We’ve been telling ourselves for a while that such a world would be unacceptable. Let’s act like it.
The closer attention you pay to Biden, the less he has to say
President Joe Biden is “rattled,” according to NBC News, and “looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign.”
How? By trying to change the media narrative. On May 30, Biden published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that explained “My Plan for Fighting Inflation.” The next day, Biden wrote a “guest essay” for the New York Times on “What America Will and Will Not Do in Ukraine.”
Bad poll numbers and a collapsing domestic and international situation have excited the typically drowsy president into action. There’s a problem, though. The closer you read Biden’s op-eds, the less he has to say. This new, annoyed, engaged Biden may be a prolific writer and speaker. But he’s not an incisive one. He won’t admit that there is a connection between his ideology and America’s problems. He can’t decide between giving Ukraine the weapons necessary to defeat Russia or settling for a war of attrition.
Biden’s Journal op-ed is a masterclass in passing the buck. He doesn’t bring up his “plan for fighting inflation” until midway through his thousand-word piece. My inner college professor wanted to send the article back to him with suggestions for revision. Number one: Always move your best material to the top!
The plan itself is gauzy and thin. “The Federal Reserve has a primary responsibility to control inflation.” You wouldn’t know that from listening to Progressives, including some of Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve, who argue that the Fed’s interest in price stability distracts it from promoting full employment, green energy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Now Biden wants the Fed to correct not only its mistakes, but his own. Let’s see if his faith in an independent central bank can stand the test of higher interest rates, higher unemployment, and lower incomes.
Parts two and three of Biden’s inflation plan are the remnants of his Build Back Better agenda: some clean energy and housing subsidies here, a few tax hikes there. He mentions his use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices, but not his appeals to Venezuela and OPEC to boost the oil supply. As for the obvious answers to America’s energy problems—a complete reversal of Biden’s hostility to oil and gas exploration and production, huge investments in nuclear power, and emergency efforts to increase refinery capacity—Biden has no words. His devotion to the environmental lobby and to green energy blinds him. If the Progressive Left rejects nuclear power, the “clean energy future” it desires won’t arrive.
This mismatch between ends and means is visible in Biden’s Ukraine policy. The president tells New York Times readers that the United States sends Ukraine weapons “so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.” The desired end state is “a democratic, independent, sovereign, and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.” And Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is in the driver’s seat. “I will not pressure the Ukrainian government—in private or public—to make any territorial concessions.”
All good. Why, then, limit the weapons deliveries to systems with ranges of 40 miles? Why slow-walk and agonize over each tranche of support? Why engage with Russia in farcical and dangerous negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons? Why not take a more active role in peace talks between Ukraine and Russia? The Biden policy is static even as the shape of the war changes in ways that favor the aggressor. The president’s goals are laudable. But his tactics are calibrated for a war that Ukraine is winning.
And Ukraine is not winning. At least not now. The Ukrainians defeated Russia’s attempt at regime change. But they have been less successful in removing Russia from eastern Ukraine and from their port cities in the south and southeast. Absent a change in Biden administration policy—in the ranges of weapons systems America provides Ukraine, in the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to relieve the Russian blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, or in a major diplomatic effort—the war will turn into a frozen conflict with no clear resolution and with mounting humanitarian costs. How that situation would help anyone, including Biden, is unclear.
Then again, little Biden says or does makes sense from the vantage point of either policy or politics. He’s right to be rattled. He’s also clueless.
The president’s budget doesn’t match U.S. commitments
War was in the background of President Biden’s trip to Asia last week. He redeployed U.S. forces to Somalia before he left. He signed into law $40 billion in financial and military assistance to Ukraine during his visit to South Korea. Then, in Japan, a reporter asked Biden if he was prepared to “get involved militarily to defend Taiwan.” Biden’s answer was succinct. “Yes,” he said.
Forget the clumsy White House reaction to Biden’s moment of lucidity. Leave aside the question of whether the United States should move from a policy of strategic ambiguity, where our response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is left undefined, to a policy of strategic clarity where we let China know the direct consequences of such an attack.
Consider instead the following: Does the Pentagon have the resources to defend democracies from autocrats in two hemispheres?
Afraid not. The Pentagon ditched the “two-front” war preparedness strategy under Barack Obama. Meanwhile U.S. defense spending as a percentage of the economy has been in decline for decades. Biden has shown little interest in changing its downward course. Indeed, the one place where he’s been reluctant to spend money is national defense.
Biden’s fiscal year 2022 request of $715 billion was too small even for the Democratic Congress. It ended up authorizing $728.5 billion. Biden’s fiscal year 2023 request is for $773 billion. Maybe that seems like a hefty sum. It’s not. Biden’s defense budget is meager compared with the tasks the president has set out.
Why? Part of the reason is inflation. The Biden budget request paints a rosy—and inaccurate—scenario. My American Enterprise Institute colleague Mackenzie Eaglen has run the numbers. She begins with the $773 billion marked for the Pentagon. “Using a more honest 7.46 percent CPI [Consumer Price Index] estimate (the FY22 average so far) for military personnel raises the topline to $794.5 billion needed next year,” she writes.
That still isn’t enough, however. “$846 billion in FY 2023 is a more realistic down payment on matching defense investments against national security threats,” Eaglen concludes, “and should be the starting point as Congress builds a more accurate defense budget.” In other words, Eaglen recommends a 9 percent increase in the Biden administration’s topline before Congress and its appropriators become involved. Her proposal makes sense. It’s necessary. And it won’t happen.
It won’t happen for several reasons. The first is inertia. None of the threats we encountered or fear we might encounter in the post-Cold War world have provoked the people’s representatives to increase defense spending to Reagan-era levels. The political willpower doesn’t exist. Entitlements and interest on the debt act as additional constraints. We’ve muddled through for 30 years, this thinking goes. No need to stop now.
The second brake on defense spending is the Progressive bias against hard power. By the 2024 election, America will have been governed by presidents skeptical of defense spending and the military for 12 of the past 16 years. Such leadership has an effect not only on materiel but also on the culture of the national security establishment. Progressives under Obama and Biden see the Pentagon more as a vehicle for social policy and geopolitical featherbedding than as an instrument of deterrence and the national interest. Left-wing taboos against nuclear weapons, nuclear power, oil and gas, and the warrior mindset take precedent over military readiness and lethality. The president overrules the secretary of defense and joint chiefs. America grows weaker even as its leader calls for greater global activism.
Noninterventionism and restraint on the foreign policy right creates a bipartisan reluctance to spend more on defense. President Trump increased defense spending, but not by enough. His administration was filled with skeptics of American engagement and foreign intervention who wanted to reduce not only the Pentagon’s budget but also its influence throughout the world. Republican voices in Congress promote an “America First” foreign policy that would constrict U.S. deployments, aid, and partnerships.
About a quarter of the House GOP and a fifth of the Senate GOP, for example, voted against the latest aid package to Ukraine. Granted, this batch of aid seemed designed to split conservatives, who have a longstanding aversion to unconditional economic assistance. The vote stands as a warning for both liberal and conservative internationalists, nonetheless. The bipartisan consensus over Ukraine may not survive a prolonged war of attrition.
You correct a mismatch between resources and commitments by increasing resources or decreasing commitments. President Biden resists increasing resources for national defense, while powerful elements of both left and right work to reduce American commitments. Neither strategy makes America safer. Someone needs to make the case for a major U.S. defense buildup in response to the challenges of China, Russia, and Iran. And they need to do it soon.
King Solomon was quoted in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” As in King Solomon’s time, these days truth does not matter. As a result of hate-driven and ideologically distorted narratives, politicians like President Putin and his like-minded fellow despots do not allow themselves to be bothered or confused by facts. Accordingly, in the dark jungle of fake realities Russia the aggressor has been turned counterintuitively into the victim of Ukrainian belligerence. The old rules of fabricated evidence are back in play again.
Historically, wars have always been ruthlessly destructive affairs. Since their outcomes always having been either winning or losing, monarchs and political leaders more frequently than not have ended up as vulnerable, even lamentable players, in the murderous calculus of local, regional as well as global politics. In the main, such warrior politicians have not been subject to checks and balances. As self-appointed narcissistic guardians of the presumed national interests, they could have invoked emergency powers, and thus free themselves from man-made laws as well as moral constraints. Existing in this God-like penumbra of despotic powers they have unfailingly led their nations and the world into historic catastrophes.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the President of the Russian Federation by the grace of his subjects’ lack of political culture and common sense, has accomplished the time tested Russian feat of gradually downgrading his reign from a benevolent autocrat to a despotic bungler. While celebrating his “Special Military Operation” cum illegal military invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine, his over two decades old antediluvian despotism has been writhing in its death pangs. Now, almost a hundred days after his failed war on Ukraine and counting, President Putin has already made himself a laughingstock across the globe. His abysmal performance during the May 9th celebrations displayed a slightly deranged person, who has gotten buried up to his neck in his self-generated mis-and-disinformation lies. Indeed, no politician worth his pound of integrity has any confidence in and respect for him. The events following February 24, 2022, have proven that President Putin is neither a smart political and military strategist, nor even a good tactician and soldier, but simply a below average gambler, an individual with no persona who oscillates from one vile extreme to the other without any reason, a man no sane person could fear as an enemy, and who deserves no serious consideration.
Putin’s Russia presents a far greater threat to the peace and stability of Europe and the rest of the world than even China or Iran. With his childish propaganda of Denazification, for which he cited among other fake evidences the Jewish and originally only Russian speaking President Volodymir Zelenskyy, President Putin’s dezinformacija campaign has been nothing but the ephemeral creation of his KGB-ideology poisoned sick mind. Thus, contrary to his intentions, his military offensive and his accompanying official Russian Nationality ideology have collapsed, preserving only a political abyss, which has begun swallowing up the Russian nation.
A fix point in this Putin-generated madness is the President of Ukraine, Volodymir Zelenskyy. His narrative has been straightforward and uncompromising. A “Putinic” peace would preserve the evolving status quo in its most dangerous form. Therefore, it is unacceptable. Russia must withdraw from all the territories it has occupied since 2014, including the Crimea. Thus, the dismemberment of Ukraine is out of the question. For the sake of its present and future security, Ukraine, like Finland and Sweden, must join the European Union and NATO. The burdens of reconstruction must be borne to the fullest by Russia that has illegally invaded his country. The heinous war crimes committed by the Russian military must be investigated by the international community and the guilty must be punished. In the ultimate reckoning with Russia’s crimes, all governments and all international organizations must work along the well-established principles of international law and all the relevant bilateral and multilateral agreements. Among those principles, two are the most important. The principle that occupying territory does not create sovereignty will help to restore order and stability throughout the European continent. The other major principle is that political opposition must always be peaceful and not aggressive.
Thus, in the present situation, the Ukrainian President is one of the few politicians who understands that Russia, with its ephemeral victories and paradoxical wars which will never end will only accomplish the complete destruction of itself. By chasing the mirage of a superpower and by threatening the entire European system, Putin’s Russia is signing its own death sentence into its unattainable ambitions. Prevented from realizing that the unrealistic expansion of Russia will definitely end in a strategic cul-de-sac and the continuation of each war will only mean the beginning of new preparations for a greater one, President Putin’s dream of a restoration of the Empire will perish because he cannot comprehend that civilized states must renounce in their relations with other states the exclusive use of violence. Otherwise, Russia’s cruel games of political insanity will isolate it from the rest of the world forever.