Democrats Can’t Figure Out an Answer to Trump’s Foreign Policy

Pollak: Democrats Can’t Figure Out an Answer to Trump’s Foreign Policy

Trump Warsaw wave (Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty)
Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty
JOEL B. POLLAK,0
 

Democratic presidential candidates have struggled in recent days to define what, exactly, they dislike about President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

Some have accused Trump of abandoning America’s allies. Others accuse Trump of a “retreat” from America’s leadership role, or values. And others accuse him of acting like a “schoolyard bully.”

These criticisms contradict each other, because they all miss the mark. Indeed, Democrats have no answer to “America First.”

At least some of these criticisms appear to be recycled versions of accusations that Republicans made against President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

For example, Republicans often accused Obama of retreating from America’s role as the leader of the free world. Obama pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq hastily, leaving a vacuum filled by the so-called “Islamic State.” He also failed to back the Green Revolution in Iran, and let Russia do as it wished in the Crimea.

Obama’s withdrawal was based on a fundamental philosophical shift: the belief that America was not “exceptional,” and that our influence on the world had often been malevolent. The Obama administration developed a new model, which it called “leading from behind.” In practice, it meant allowing multilateral institutions and European allies to determine the direction of international policy — even if the U.S. still did most of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

In general, that approach was a failure. Obama pushed for war against the Gaddafi regime in Libya, couched — unlike the Iraq War — in the approval of the United Nations and the Arab League. But the war was strategically muddled, and the allies failed — as in Iraq — to provide security and stability in its aftermath. By the time the administration turned its attention to Syria, Obama had embraced a more interventionist doctrine, at least in theory: he did nothing, in practice.

Another Republican criticism of Obama was that he had abandoned America’s allies. Nowhere was that clearer than in Israel, where Obama pursued a deliberate policy of creating distance between his administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the hope of appeasing the Muslim world and enticing the Palestinians to the negotiating table. In fact, Obama’s policy had the opposite effect, encouraging the Palestinians’ radical demands.

Obama also broke promises to U.S. allies in Eastern Europe to follow through with commitments on missile defense — a betrayal that had been foreshadowed during the 2008 campaign, when then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) offered a tepid response to the Russian invasion of Georgia. He was also viewed within the Middle East as having abandoned pro-American regimes during the upheavals of the Arab Spring, and backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Republicans also lamented that Obama had abandoned American values — especially in his obsequious gestures to foreign strongmen. He offered Russian President Vladimir Putin a “reset,” and promised his successor to be more “flexible” on missile defense after the 2012 election. He bowed to the Saudi king and the Japanese emperor, and lectured the Muslim world about America’s failings — what he called “our own darker periods in our history.”

Democrats may have appropriated these Republican attack lines because they remember how effective they were against Obama. But they do not quite work against Trump.

Trump has led decisively, both through military action (against Syria, for example) and diplomacy (for instance, in North Korea). He has strengthened U.S. alliances with Israel and the Arab world at the same time, and has improved ties with the post-communist nations of Eastern Europe.

Where Obama was largely silent on human rights issues, believing perhaps the U.S. had no moral right to criticize others, the Trump administration has been vocal in many cases — even if it could, at times, have been more so. Trump has been reluctant to criticize Russia — but so was Obama, and Trump has been more assertive in countering Russia when American interests have been at stake. (Democrats’ newfound Russophobia is mostly about domestic politics.)

In essence, Democrats’ complaints about Trump’s foreign policy boil down to three or four grievances. They are upset that he has withdrawn the U.S. from international institutions and agreements. They do not like his confrontational approach to Western Europe on issues like financial commitments to NATO. They are upset that he wants to harden the border with Mexico against migrants from Latin America. And, increasingly, they dislike Trump’s pro-Israel stance.

Many of the Democratic candidates have promised to undo these policies. But they all struggle to explain why. After Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords, for example, many supporters of the agreement admitted it was both ineffective and unenforceable.

Moreover, key Democrat constituencies agree with Trump’s approach — especially on trade. The unions have been forced, despite their partisan loyalties, to praise Trump’s policies on China and NAFTA.

It turns out there are not many good rejoinders to “America First” — the idea that the U.S., like every nation, should prioritize its own interests. The phrase itself was taboo, thanks to its association with Charles Lindbergh’s isolationism. But Trump rehabilitated the term, and showed “America First” does not mean “America alone.”

Trump’s foreign policy has been, thus far, remarkably successful. No wonder Democrats are finding it difficult to come up with a clear answer.

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It’s Time To Clean House in the GOP.

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As the tables turn

As the tables turn on Russian collusion…

By Monica Showalter
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…the wolves turn on each other, as Victor Davis Hanson notes in some terrific commentary.

In a piece published in American Greatness, Hanson describes the strange way top U.S. national security officials are all weirdly pointing the finger at each other now that the Mueller report has come up empty. Former CIA Director John Brennan is pointing at former FBI Director James Comey. Comey is pointing at Brennan. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is pointing at Comey. Comey is pointing at former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe is pointing right back at Comey.

Hanson writes:

James Clapper, John Brennan, and James Comey are now all accusing one another of being culpable for inserting the unverified dossier, the font of the effort to destroy Trump, into a presidential intelligence assessment—as if suddenly and mysteriously the prior seeding of the Steele dossier is now seen as a bad thing. And how did the dossier transmogrify from being passed around the Obama Administration as a supposedly top-secret and devastating condemnation of candidate and then president-elect Trump to a rank embarrassment of ridiculous stories and fibs?

Given the narratives of the last three years, and the protestations that the dossier was accurate or at least was not proven to be unproven, why are these former officials arguing at all? Did not implanting the dossier into the presidential briefing give it the necessary imprimatur that allowed the serial leaks to the press at least to be passed on to the public and thereby apprise the people of the existential danger that they faced?

Each rat is looking to elbow out ahead of the others from the sinking U.S.S. Russia Collusion, and too bad about the ones behind. They are swamp creatures, after all, and this is the way of the swamp.

Hanson points out that none of these people have turned state’s evidence to save their own hides, as John Dean once did in the 1970s Watergate scandal which brought down President Nixon.

Yet none of them wants to take credit for the dirty Steele dossier, compiled by Russians apparently affiliated with the some branch of the state, and now coming to light as little more than desinformatsiya, perhaps to get the U.S. security organs busy spying on Trump.

Which sounds like the sort of thing the Russians would do, given their interest in creating chaos and rendering the Trump administration dysfunctional. They are well aware of how to play off to human weakness, and the Trump hate of these people was clearly palpable, an easy thing to manipulate.

None of this would be happening, Hanson notes, had Hillary Clinton won the election. The Russians made no secret of their belief that they thought she would win, and sure enough, the Deep Staters shared that opinion.

Now they’re turning on each other to avoid being the last man off the sinking ship. “He did it, not me!’ “This is a sorry picture. Read the whole thing here.

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Joe Biden’s son Hunter

Billion dollar China deals, cocaine pipes, Joe Biden’s son Hunter always has this way of skating

By Monica Showalter
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Joe Biden’s son Hunter certainly lives a life of privilege.

How’d the cops treat one of us if they found a cocaine pipe in our car during a traffic pullover or a rental car return?

Here’s the Washington Examiner:

A police report said that Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden returned a rental car in Arizona that contained a cocaine pipe days before the 2016 presidential election, according to a new report.

Hunter Biden, whose legal first name is Robert, also left credit cards, a driver’s license, a Delaware attorney general badge, a cellphone, and a U.S. Secret Service business card in the car, according to the police report obtained by Breitbart News. He had rented the car from Hertz in California and it was returned in Prescott, Ariz., after hours. The car keys were not properly deposited in a drop box, but left in the car’s gas tank compartment.

In addition to “a small white and brown pipe approximately 3-4 inches long,” an officer also found “a small ziplock bag with a white powdery substance inside all sitting on the passenger seat.”

This is the same Hunter Biden who got a waiver to join the Navy even after his previous cocaine use, and then got booted from the Navy for thumbing his nose at that and going right on using it again.

And as the Arizona case demonstrated – again.

But no legal consequences, of course.

Quite unlike what the rest of us would get.

Imagine if a no-name black man had done the same thing? How would the cops treat him? Even White House chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow, decades ago as a top investment bank economist, had such a problem and he certainly wasn’t exempt from being made to pay for such a transgression.

But Hunter Biden, princeling son of a vice president? Well, he’s special.

Not only does daddy’s clout leave him free to finance the cocaine trade, smoke crack and get high with no consequences, he’s also been free to conduct billion dollar deals with China with little scrutiny, handing over nuclear technology to the Chinese for megabucks, and never mind the public interest in national security. He repeated the same thing in Ukraine, not just with dad’s implied clout but with dad’s threats to cut off a billion dollars in aid if that pesky prosecutor on Hunter’s tail wasn’t forced to go away.

Ol’ dad had lots of clout and he wasn’t afraid to use it.

It’s as if Hunter lives the mafia princeling life, not just the political princeling life. He certainly stands out for the range of things he’s gotten away with on his dad’s position. When we speak of political class, Hunter’s Exhibit A.

One set of laws for them … and another set for us.

Had enough? One can only hope voters have had enough of this.

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Sharyl Attkisson spied on by Obama

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Brennan was the mastermind of the Russia hoax

Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing reveal Brennan was the mastermind of the Russia hoax

By Thomas Lifson
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Anyone closely following the Russia hoax and its collapse understands that D.C. super-lawyers Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing have by far the best track record in accurately calling out the nature of the scandal and identifying the coming revelations.  I do not know either of them and have not communicated with them personally, but judging from their public statements, and inferring from their career histories, they must have very highly placed sources talking to them about the case — and quite possibly asking for advice or acting as sounding boards — about future actions to ensure that the facts are properly aired and the persons responsible for the abuses are held to account.  All of this is in the face of the fiercest possible resistance by members of the Deep State embedded in law enforcement, intelligence agencies, the DOJ, and the media — and maybe even in the White House staff.

Yesterday, they spent an hour with Sebastian Gorka on his Salem Radio syndicated talk show and gave us a preview of sorts about where the scandal is headed next.  The entire show is available on YouTube, minus most of the commercial breaks, and well worth a listen.  If you haven’t got much time, I suggest you start at about 20 minutes into the video and follow through to the end, 15 minutes later.


YouTube screen grab.

The most important bombshell they released is that they believe that John Brennan, then head of the CIA, was the core of the conspiracy.  Victoria Toensing added that this is because Clapper is too dumb to pull off such an operation.  

They also revealed that Admiral Mike Rogers is happily willing to testify about the abuses he uncovered, which actually triggered the initiation of the Russiagate plot.  Recall that when he was head of the National Security Agency (NSA), which comprehensively monitors telecommunications, he discovered that political appointees in the White House were using its database on a huge scale to monitor political opponents and acted to cut off that access.  Suddenly cut off from their ability to spy on political opponents, and almost certainly fearful of public exposure should Hillary Clinton be defeated, the wheels were put in motion (with Brennan in the lead) to generate the Steele dossier and the FISA warrants to both spy on and tar the threat of a Trump presidency.

There is lot of other discussion that follows that is very intriguing, including consideration of the lack of whistleblowers in the FBI and DOJ among the numbers of people not in the top layer of political appointee management circles.  That none of the career officials tasked with implementing the hoax spoke up at the time bespeaks a rot in the organizational culture that will not be corrected by mere changes in top-level personnel.  While President Trump and others are always careful to focus on the people at the top and exonerate the “99%” of the working-level agents in the FBI (and by extension the DOJ), Toensing and DiGenova are not so sanguine.  That people would remain silent when asked to implement actions that are clearly wrong indicates that the rot extends far below the political appointees.

Their discussion of Christopher Wray, the FBI head who is still defending the agency, is indicative of the real source of the problem.  As Toensing puts it: “The only thing he’s ever cared about is his next job.”  That, in my opinion, is the real problem with federal (and other government) bureaucracies.  To get ahead, you don’t make waves, and you don’t call out problems; you just please the people who can help you get the next promotion.

Toward the end, they express confidence that the truth will come out because A.G. Barr is determined to get to the bottom of it.  That is consistent with my own view that the only reason why Barr would have left his lucrative law practice to return to head the DOJ (and endure vilification from the Democrats fearful of the truth coming out) is his dedication to making sure that the institutions of justice return to the path of integrity and adherence to the design of the Constitution.

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‘Political Dirty Trick’

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SpyGate coup

SpyGate coup to remove Trump is worse than Watergate

By J. Marsolo
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The SpyGate coup to elect Hillary, prevent the election of President Trump, and sabotage Trump’s presidency is far worse than Watergate.  It will be proven so with the investigation by U.S. attorney Durham, appointed by Attorney General Barr.  The Democrats and the corrupt media know this, which is the reason they are attacking A.G. Barr.

The Democrats, led and aided by a compliant media that reported the FBI leaks, and some Republicans, forced Richard Nixon to resign.  The immediate cause was the so-called smoking gun tape of June 23, 1972 where Nixon suggested that the CIA tell the FBI to back off its investigation.  The tape was released by Nixon on August 5, 1974 following a Supreme Court decision.

The 1972 tape was the basis for the obstruction of justice argument against Nixon.  Watergate started as a breaking into the DNC offices to search and copy records.

Compare this to the Obama Justice Department and FBI clearing Hillary of the email scandal and trying to sabotage Trump’s election and his presidency.  The corrupt media led and assisted the Obama DOJ and FBI and now continue to drive the attack on President Trump, despite the Mueller Report that found no collusion.

There is no serious dispute about the facts.  An excellent summary is Greg Jarrett’s book, The Russia Hoax (Harper Collins, 2018).

The Obama DOJ and FBI cleared Hillary of obvious violations of numerous laws over her use of a private email server so she could run for the presidency and win.  Obama knew that Hillary wasn’t using the approved secure State Department email system because Hillary communicated with Obama with the unsecure email system.  A prosecution of Hillary would involve Obama.  Hillary would have argued that Obama knew of her use of a private email server and thus approved her use, which would have been a good defense.  Obama had motive to protect his legacy as well as helping Hillary beat President Trump.

Moreover, Obama announced that Hillary made a “mistake” but did not intend to break the law.  This was a clear signal to James Comey’s FBI, which not surprisingly came to the same Obama conclusion.

But it wasn’t enough to give Hillary a pass on her violations.  The Obama DOJ and FBI then used the unverified Steele “Dossier,” full of false charges, to obtain FISA warrants, without probable cause, to spy on the Trump campaign.  In addition, the Obama FBI tried to insert informants into the Trump campaign.

The Obama DOJ and FBI, aided by their cheerleaders in the media, and the NeverTrump Republicans, could not and did not defeat Trump.  The next step was to destroy the Trump presidency to nullify the votes of over 63 million Americans.

Obama knew what his DOJ and FBI did during the campaign.  FBI agent Lisa Page texted FBI agent Peter Strzok on September 2, 2016: “Potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Trump fired Comey.  In retaliation, Comey leaked FBI memos to force the DOJ to appoint his friend, Robert Mueller, as special counsel to investigate the unfounded charges of Trump’s collusion with Russia to win the presidency.  There was no credible evidence to warrant the special counsel.  After two years, Mueller and his gang of 19 Hillary-Obama attorneys had to conclude there was no collusion because there was no collusion.  Mueller knew this on the day of his appointment.

How is Nixon saying that the CIA tell the FBI to back off worse than the Obama DOJ and FBI using the Hillary-paid-for dossier to try to beat Trump, and then to remove Trump, and having the FBI clear Hillary?

Nixon was trying to protect his men from criminal prosecutions for a stupid breaking and entering to steal DNC records.  Nixon did not have the DOJ, FBI, and CIA investigate George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic nominee.  Obama’s DOJ and FBI used the courts to obtain warrants based on the Hillary-paid-for dossier that they knew was not verified.  They intentionally failed to inform the FISA court that the information relied upon for the warrant was unverified — and bought and paid for by Hillary.

In the Nixon case, the FBI did not stop its investigation.  At worst, there was a discussion of an attempt by having the CIA ask the FBI to stop.  But the CIA refused.  At least Nixon’s CIA, unlike Obama’s CIA and DOJ, had integrity.

The Obama-Hillary gang did not merely “ask.”  You cannot get more active than by filing four applications for warrants, not based on probable cause, to a FISA court, and trying to insert informants.

If we apply the Nixon standard, then A.G. Barr was correct to appoint a U.S. attorney, Durham, to investigate the FISA warrants, which means investigation of Obama, Hillary, Comey, Strzok, McCabe, Lynch, Page, Brennan, Clapper, Ohr, and others.  Further, the Senate should establish a committee similar to the Watergate committee so the public can see this bunch testify.

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These Guys are Going to Jail…”

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