Obama/Ukraine: Quand le pacifisme devient meurtrier (As always in history, timidity invites the aggression it purports to prevent)

25 février, 2014
http://wordwarriorsandiego.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/obama-playing-nuclear-golf-77907740145_xlarge.jpg?w=450&h=379https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1/s526x296/1959218_4008407105623_2113883908_n.jpg‘Avoir la paix’, le grand mot de toutes les lâchetés civiques et intellectuelles. Charles Péguy
Le pacifisme est objectivement pro-fasciste. C’est du bon sens élémentaire. George Orwell
Il est parfaitement normal que la Russie veuille défendre ses intérêts ainsi que ceux des Russes en Russie et des russophones à l’extérieur de la Russie. Il est normal également que la communauté internationale veuille garantir l’intégrité, la souveraineté et l’indépendance de la Géorgie. Nicolas Sarkozy (Entretien avec son homologue Dmitri Medvedev au Kremlin, 11 août, 2008)
C’est ma dernière élection. Après mon élection, j’aurai davantage de flexibilité. Obama
Je comprends. Je transmettrai l’information à Vladimir. Medvedev
The real conundrum is why the president seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue, encouraging voters to project whatever they want on him, and hoping they won’t realize which hand is holding the rabbit. That a large section of the country views him as a socialist while many in his own party are concluding that he does not share their values speaks volumes — but not the volumes his advisers are selling: that if you make both the right and left mad, you must be doing something right. As a practicing psychologist with more than 25 years of experience, I will resist the temptation to diagnose at a distance, but as a scientist and strategic consultant I will venture some hypotheses. The most charitable explanation is that he and his advisers have succumbed to a view of electoral success to which many Democrats succumb — that “centrist” voters like “centrist” politicians. Unfortunately, reality is more complicated. Centrist voters prefer honest politicians who help them solve their problems. A second possibility is that he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history. Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues. Drew Westen (Emory university, Aug. 2011)
First and foremost, stop “expressing deep concern”. All protestors on the Maidan have an allergy to this phrase, which in these circumstances has become senseless especially as all of the gangsters in the Ukrainian governmental gang enjoy mocking the helplessness of the EU. Apply sanctions. Don’t waste time in searching for their Achilles’ heel: it is the money deposited in your banks. Execute your own laws and stop money laundering. The Europe we want to be part of can never degrade the absolute value of human lives in favor of an absolute importance of money. Also cancel Western visas for all governmental gangsters and their families. It is a scandal that ordinary Ukrainians, living their simple lives, have to provide their ancestors’ family trees to obtain a visa, while ruling criminals guilty of murder, “disappearances”, and fraud in the eyes of the whole world, enjoy virtually free-entry status in Europe. Myroslav Marynovych
There are many things that Vladimir Putin doesn’t understand, but geopolitics isn’t one of them. His ability to identify and exploit the difference between the West’s rhetoric and its capabilities and intentions has allowed him to stop NATO expansion, split Georgia, subject Washington to serial humiliations in Syria and, now, to bring chaos to Ukraine. Mr. Putin is a master of a game that the West doesn’t want to play, and as a result he’s won game after game with weak cards. He cannot use smoke and mirrors to elevate Russia back into superpower rank, and bringing a peaceful Ukraine back into the Kremlin’s tight embrace is also probably beyond him. But as long as the West, beguiled by dreams of win-win solutions, fails to grapple effectively in the muddy, zero-sum world of classic geopolitics, Mr. Putin and his fellow revisionists in Beijing and Tehran will continue to wreak havoc with Western designs.  Walter Russel Meade
Mr. Putin’s agenda in Ukraine is part of his larger plans to solidify his own authoritarian control and revive Greater Russia. Without Ukraine, the most important of the former Soviet satellites, a new Russian empire is impossible. With Ukraine, Greater Russia sits on the border of the EU. If Ukraine moves toward Europe with a president who isn’t a Russian satrap, it also sets a democratic example for Russians. The world is seeing that Mr. Putin will do what it takes to stop such an event, even if it risks a civil war in Ukraine. The Russian is willing to play this rough because he sees Western weakness. The EU is hopeless, led by a Germany so comfortable in its pacifism that it won’t risk even a diplomatic confrontation. As for the U.S., it’s no coincidence that Mr. Putin asserted himself in Ukraine not long after Mr. Obama retreated in humiliating fashion from his "red line" in Syria. As always in history, such timidity invites the aggression it purports to prevent. If this American President won’t even bomb Damascus airfields to stop the use of chemical weapons, why would Mr. Putin think Mr. Obama would do anything for eastern Europe? The WSJ
How does a nation become self-governing when so much of "self" is so rotten? Run-of-the-mill analyses that Ukraine is a "young democracy" with corrupt elites, an ethnic divide and a bullying neighbor don’t suffice. Ukraine is what it is because Ukrainians are what they are. The former doesn’t change until the latter does. (…) that’s what people said about Ukraine during the so-called Orange Revolution in 2004, or about Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution in 2005, or about the Arab Spring in 2011. The revolution will be televised—and then it will be squandered. (…) The homo Sovieticus Ukrainians should fear the most may not be Vladimir Putin after all. Bret Stephens
Le gaz russe, le pétrole saoudien ou iranien, le soja argentin (justement surnommé "pétrole vert") confèrent une richesse provisoire, et plus encore l’illusion de la richesse. Cette illusion et l’argent facile que génère la rente minérale, dissuadent gouvernements et entrepreneurs d’innover et de se diversifier. En Russie, depuis que le prix du gaz monte, le pays ne cesse de se désindustrialiser : au pays de Poutine, il ne reste que des oligarques branchés sur les matières premières et de vastes supermarchés où tous les produits de consommation sont importés. La rente conduit aussi à des effets politiques notoires : en concentrant la richesse au sommet, elle perpétue les régimes autoritaires. Ceux qui sont assez astucieux pour redistribuer une partie de la rente (Poutine, la monarchie saoudienne, Chavez naguère, au Vénézuela, Nestor Kirchner, puis Cristina Fernandez en Argentine) se constituent une clientèle populaire qui soutient le despotisme redistributeur. Jusqu’au jour où les prix se retournent : ce qui, en ce moment même, est le cas sur le marché du soja et du gaz. Soudain, les gouvernements brésilien et argentin, privés de suffisamment de ressources à redistribuer, n’ont d’autres expédients que de fabriquer de la monnaie : avec l’inflation qui en résulte, leur chute est imminente. Un sort identique guette Poutine. La raison en est que les États-Unis, grâce à la technique de fracturation, mise au point par des entrepreneurs américains, sont en passe de devenir le premier producteur de gaz au monde. Partout, les prix commencent à baisser et ils baisseront plus encore quand les Américains exporteront ce gaz vers l’Europe. En Europe même, la Pologne, la Grande-Bretagne, la France (quand son gouvernement aura fait taire ses écologistes) deviendront des producteurs majeurs au détriment, là encore, de Gasprom. La "malédiction des ressources naturelles" est cependant une théorie ambigüe : elle laisserait supposer que leur absence est une bénédiction. S’il est vrai que la Corée du Sud ou Israël, par exemple, sont des succès économiques entièrement fondés sur l’absence de ressources naturelles, la Norvège, les États-Unis ou la Grande-Bretagne combinent habilement ressources naturelles et esprit d’entreprise. C’est donc l’esprit d’entreprise et la bonne gestion de l’État qui transforment les ressources naturelles soit en malédiction, soit en vitamines. S’il fallait parier sur l’avenir du modèle russo-poutinien, il me paraît condamné en moins de dix ans : Sotchi, à terme, apparaîtra comme la dernière fête avant l’extinction des feux et l’Histoire russe disqualifiera probablement Poutine pour dopage. Guy Sorman
Le manque de soutien des Américains aux Français est, en vérité, la marque de fabrique de Barack Obama (…) Le Président américain avait trouvé une stratégie d’évitement pour ne pas intervenir, à condition que le gouvernement syrien renonce à son arsenal chimique : toutes les autres formes d’assassinat de masse restaient donc tolérées par le Président américain. Un million de morts et deux millions de réfugiés plus tard n’empêchent apparemment pas Barack Obama de dormir la nuit : il a d’autres priorités, tel lutter contre un hypothétique déréglement du climat ou faire fonctionner une assurance maladie, moralement juste et pratiquement dysfonctionnelle. On connaît les arguments pour ne pas intervenir en Syrie : il serait difficile de distinguer les bons et les mauvais Syriens, les démocrates authentiques et les islamistes cachés. Mais ce n’est pas l’analyse du sénateur John Mc Cain, plus compétent qu’Obama sur le sujet : lui réclame, en vain, que les États-Unis arment décemment les milices qui se battent sur les deux fronts, hostiles au régime de Assad et aux Islamistes soutenus par l’Iran. Par ailleurs, se laver les mains face au massacre des civils, comme les Occidentaux le firent naguère au Rwanda – et longtemps en Bosnie et au Kosovo – n’est jamais défendable. Il est parfaitement possible, aujourd’hui encore en Syrie, d’interdire le ciel aux avions de Assad qui bombardent les civils, de créer des couloirs humanitaires pour évacuer les civils, d’instaurer des zones de sécurité humanitaire. C’est ce que Obama refuse obstinément à Hollande. Comment expliquer cette obstination et cette indifférence d’Obama : ne regarde-t-il pas la télévision ? Il faut en conclure qu’il s’est installé dans un personnage, celui du Président pacifiste, celui qui aura retiré l’armée américaine d’Irak, bientôt d’Afghanistan et ne l’engagera sur aucun autre terrain d’opérations. Obama ignorerait-il qu’il existe des "guerres justes" ? Des guerres que l’on ne choisit pas et qu’il faut tout de même livrer, parce que le pacifisme, passé un certain seuil, devient meurtrier. "À quoi sert-il d’entretenir une si grande armée, si ce n’est pas pour s’en servir ?", avait demandé Madeleine Albright, Secrétaire d’État de Bill Clinton, au Général Colin Powell, un militaire notoirement frileux. Les États-Unis sont le gendarme du monde, la seule puissance qui compte : les armées russes et chinoises, par comparaison, sont des nains. On posera donc à Obama – si on le pouvait – la même question que celle de Madeleine Albright : "À quoi sert l’armée américaine et à quoi sert le Président Obama ?". Il est tout de même paradoxal que Hollande, un désastre en politique intérieure, pourrait passer dans l’Histoire comme celui qui aura dit Non à la barbarie et Barack Obama, Prix Nobel de la Paix, pour celui qui se sera couché devant les Barbares. Guy Sorman

Quand le pacifisme devient meurtrier …

Alors que, profitant des Jeux de Sotchi et au prix d’on ne sait encore combien de victimes et, sans compter la généralisation de la corruption ambiante, pour combien de temps …

L’Ukraine semble avoir réussi à reprendre sa liberté face au Big brother russe "dopé au gaz"

Et découvre, toutes proportions gardées, le Nerverland ceausescuien de leur ex-président …

Comment ne pas voir avec l’essayiste Guy Sorman …

Et après les manifestants iraniens de juin 2009, les Libyens et les Syriens depuis trois ans et maintenant l’Ukraine …

Sans compter, lâchement abandonnés à leur sort, les Irakiens et les Afghans  …

Cette forme potentiellement meurtrière du pacifisme …

Que semble avoir adopté pour marque de fabrique derrière ses liquidations ciblées et  ses grandes oreilles

Le plus rapide prix Nobel de la paix de l’histoire ?

Hollande, Obama et le pacifisme meurtrier

Guy Sorman

Le futur, c’est tout de suite

20.02.2014

Le chef de l’État français n’est pas le meilleur économiste de son temps ; il n’est ni Don Juan ni Casanova ; mais nul ne contestera sa détermination guerrière. Quand le Mali faillit tomber aux mains de bandes se réclamant de l’Islamisme, il n’hésita pas un instant à dépêcher l’armée française. L’opération était risquée, improvisée, appuyée par une logistique américaine insignifiante : mais ce fut un succès. De nouveau, en République Centre africaine, François Hollande a dépêché, sans tergiverser, des militaires français qui ont interdit un génocide des musulmans par des chrétiens. Les gouvernements européens furent spectateurs et Barack Obama, pesant le pour et le contre, restait l’indécis permanent.

L’Afrique serait-elle l’arrière-cour de l’armée française au point que les Américains considèrent qu’il lui appartient d’y maintenir l’ordre pour l’éternité ? Cette analyse passéiste n’est pas tenable parce que l’armée américaine, qu’on le veuille ou non, est seule au monde à disposer de la logistique nécessaire pour intervenir massivement, en tout lieu. Et l’armée américaine est déjà fort infiltrée en Afrique, au Sénégal en particulier, profitant d’un recul des moyens de la France.

Le manque de soutien des Américains aux Français est, en vérité, la marque de fabrique de Barack Obama : lui seul décide. Son comportement laisse plus pantois encore face au massacre des Syriens. On rappellera que, le 25 août 2013, François Hollande annonçait que l’armée française était au seuil d’une intervention en Syrie pour stopper les massacres. Il avait, à ce moment-là, l’aval de la Maison Blanche et les états-majors français et américains s’étaient concertés, les rôles étaient distribués. Hélas, une semaine plus tard, Barack Obama trahissait François Hollande – ce qui est commun dans les relations internationales – mais, bien pire, abandonnait le peuple syrien. Le Président américain avait trouvé une stratégie d’évitement pour ne pas intervenir, à condition que le gouvernement syrien renonce à son arsenal chimique : toutes les autres formes d’assassinat de masse restaient donc tolérées par le Président américain. Un million de morts et deux millions de réfugiés plus tard n’empêchent apparemment pas Barack Obama de dormir la nuit : il a d’autres priorités, tel lutter contre un hypothétique déréglement du climat ou faire fonctionner une assurance maladie, moralement juste et pratiquement dysfonctionnelle.

On connaît les arguments pour ne pas intervenir en Syrie : il serait difficile de distinguer les bons et les mauvais Syriens, les démocrates authentiques et les islamistes cachés. Mais ce n’est pas l’analyse du sénateur John Mc Cain, plus compétent qu’Obama sur le sujet : lui réclame, en vain, que les États-Unis arment décemment les milices qui se battent sur les deux fronts, hostiles au régime de Assad et aux Islamistes soutenus par l’Iran. Par ailleurs, se laver les mains face au massacre des civils, comme les Occidentaux le firent naguère au Rwanda – et longtemps en Bosnie et au Kosovo – n’est jamais défendable. Il est parfaitement possible, aujourd’hui encore en Syrie, d’interdire le ciel aux avions de Assad qui bombardent les civils, de créer des couloirs humanitaires pour évacuer les civils, d’instaurer des zones de sécurité humanitaire. C’est ce que Obama refuse obstinément à Hollande. Comment expliquer cette obstination et cette indifférence d’Obama : ne regarde-t-il pas la télévision ? Il faut en conclure qu’il s’est installé dans un personnage, celui du Président pacifiste, celui qui aura retiré l’armée américaine d’Irak, bientôt d’Afghanistan et ne l’engagera sur aucun autre terrain d’opérations. Obama ignorerait-il qu’il existe des "guerres justes" ? Des guerres que l’on ne choisit pas et qu’il faut tout de même livrer, parce que le pacifisme, passé un certain seuil, devient meurtrier. "À quoi sert-il d’entretenir une si grande armée, si ce n’est pas pour s’en servir ?", avait demandé Madeleine Albright, Secrétaire d’État de Bill Clinton, au Général Colin Powell, un militaire notoirement frileux. Les États-Unis sont le gendarme du monde, la seule puissance qui compte : les armées russes et chinoises, par comparaison, sont des nains. On posera donc à Obama – si on le pouvait – la même question que celle de Madeleine Albright : "À quoi sert l’armée américaine et à quoi sert le Président Obama ?". Il est tout de même paradoxal que Hollande, un désastre en politique intérieure, pourrait passer dans l’Histoire comme celui qui aura dit Non à la barbarie et Barack Obama, Prix Nobel de la Paix, pour celui qui se sera couché devant les Barbares.

Voir aussi:

Poutine, dopé au gaz

Guy Sorman

24.02.2014

Au long des Jeux Olympiques de Sotchi, seuls les athlètes auront été contrôlés pour dopage. Les chefs d’État ne devraient-ils pas également l’être ? Certains Jeux ne coutèrent rien au pays d’accueil, comme ceux d’Atlanta en 1996 ou de Salt Lake City en 2002, car entièrement autofinancés par le secteur privé. À l’inverse, des nations peu fortunées comme la Chine en 2008, la Grèce en 2004 et la Russie cette fois-ci, auront pulvérisé le record de la dépense publique pour épater le monde : 50 milliards de dollars pour Sotchi. Ne devrait-on pas fixer aux États les mêmes règles de bonne conduite qu’aux sportifs ? Car, un athlète qui se dope nuit peu, tandis qu’un Poutine appauvrit des millions de Russes ; de même que le gouvernement grec avait déclenché la faillite publique de son pays.

Déduire du succès logistique des Jeux de Sotchi, comme le souhaiterait Poutine, que la Russie a renoué avec la puissance et la prospérité, serait une grave erreur de jugement. Le financement de ces Jeux comme la croissance soutenue de l’économie russe depuis quinze ans, reposent entièrement sur une aubaine : une constante hausse du prix du gaz au bénéfice du Gasprom, une entreprise qui se confond avec l’État. Poutine est dopé au gaz. La Russie bénéficie d’une rente gazière, accessoirement pétrolière, à la manière de l’Arabie saoudite, du Qatar ou du Vénézuela. On rappellera d’ailleurs – ce fait reste peu connu – que la relative prospérité de l’Union soviétique dans les années 1960, dérivait aussi de cette rente minérale : quand, dans les années 1980, les prix des matières premières et de l’énergie exportée déclinèrent, ne permettant plus à l’URSS d’importer suffisamment pour nourrir le peuple, l’URSS s’effondra. Vladimir Poutine et nous tous, devrions nous souvenir de ce passé si proche et, plus généralement, nous remémorer ce que les économistes appellent la "malédiction des ressources naturelles".

Le gaz russe, le pétrole saoudien ou iranien, le soja argentin (justement surnommé "pétrole vert") confèrent une richesse provisoire, et plus encore l’illusion de la richesse. Cette illusion et l’argent facile que génère la rente minérale, dissuadent gouvernements et entrepreneurs d’innover et de se diversifier. En Russie, depuis que le prix du gaz monte, le pays ne cesse de se désindustrialiser : au pays de Poutine, il ne reste que des oligarques branchés sur les matières premières et de vastes supermarchés où tous les produits de consommation sont importés. La rente conduit aussi à des effets politiques notoires : en concentrant la richesse au sommet, elle perpétue les régimes autoritaires. Ceux qui sont assez astucieux pour redistribuer une partie de la rente (Poutine, la monarchie saoudienne, Chavez naguère, au Vénézuela, Nestor Kirchner, puis Cristina Fernandez en Argentine) se constituent une clientèle populaire qui soutient le despotisme redistributeur. Jusqu’au jour où les prix se retournent : ce qui, en ce moment même, est le cas sur le marché du soja et du gaz. Soudain, les gouvernements brésilien et argentin, privés de suffisamment de ressources à redistribuer, n’ont d’autres expédients que de fabriquer de la monnaie : avec l’inflation qui en résulte, leur chute est imminente. Un sort identique guette Poutine. La raison en est que les États-Unis, grâce à la technique de fracturation, mise au point par des entrepreneurs américains, sont en passe de devenir le premier producteur de gaz au monde. Partout, les prix commencent à baisser et ils baisseront plus encore quand les Américains exporteront ce gaz vers l’Europe. En Europe même, la Pologne, la Grande-Bretagne, la France (quand son gouvernement aura fait taire ses écologistes) deviendront des producteurs majeurs au détriment, là encore, de Gasprom.

La "malédiction des ressources naturelles" est cependant une théorie ambigue : elle laisserait supposer que leur absence est une bénédiction. S’il est vrai que la Corée du Sud ou Israël, par exemple, sont des succès économiques entièrement fondés sur l’absence de ressources naturelles, la Norvège, les États-Unis ou la Grande-Bretagne combinent habilement ressources naturelles et esprit d’entreprise. C’est donc l’esprit d’entreprise et la bonne gestion de l’État qui transforment les ressources naturelles soit en malédiction, soit en vitamines. S’il fallait parier sur l’avenir du modèle russo-poutinien, il me paraît condamné en moins de dix ans : Sotchi, à terme, apparaîtra comme la dernière fête avant l’extinction des feux et l’Histoire russe disqualifiera probablement Poutine pour dopage.

Voir également:

What can Ukraine expect from the West now?

Ukrainian Time

What can Ukraine expect from the West now?

Myroslav Marynovych

I write to you as a former prisoner of conscience of the Brezhnev era. All other titles are rapidly losing sense in light of the bleeding Ukrainian Maidan.

All my life I admired Western civilization as the realm of values. Now I am close to rephrasing Byron’s words: “Frailty, thy name is Europe!” But the strength of bitterness here is matched by the strength of our love for Europe.

If it still concerns anybody in decision-making circles, I will answer the question in the title.

First and foremost, stop “expressing deep concern”. All protestors on the Maidan have an allergy to this phrase, which in these circumstances has become senseless especially as all of the gangsters in the Ukrainian governmental gang enjoy mocking the helplessness of the EU.

Apply sanctions. Don’t waste time in searching for their Achilles’ heel: it is the money deposited in your banks. Execute your own laws and stop money laundering. The Europe we want to be part of can never degrade the absolute value of human lives in favor of an absolute importance of money.

Also cancel Western visas for all governmental gangsters and their families. It is a scandal that ordinary Ukrainians, living their simple lives, have to provide their ancestors’ family trees to obtain a visa, while ruling criminals guilty of murder, “disappearances”, and fraud in the eyes of the whole world, enjoy virtually free-entry status in Europe.

Do not listen to Yanukovych’s and Putin’s propagandistic sirens. Just put cotton in your ears. Be able to decode their lies; otherwise they will decode your ability to defend yourself.

Listen instead to the Ukrainian media sacrificing their journalists’ lives to get credible information. Do not rely so much upon the information provided by your special correspondents from other countries who come to Ukraine for a day or two. Hire Ukrainians who live in this country to translate the Ukrainian cry of pain. Secure money for that right now instead of waiting for funds from next year’s budget.

Come to Ukrainian hospitals and talk to the so-called “extremists” who want to “subvert the legitimately elected government,” those who have allegedly “cruelly beaten” policemen and “deliberately” blasted explosives to wound themselves. Yes, the face of war is cruel. But, arriving at the Maidan, these people repeated almost literally what King George VI said to his people on September 3, 1939: “We have been forced into a conflict, for we are called … to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized order in the world.”

Go out of your comfort zones! Just recall the coddled ancient Romans who refused to do that in time. Politely cajoling Putin won’t bring you security. Letting him take control over Ukraine could make world peace even more vulnerable. A Ukraine divided by force won’t bring the world peace, just as a Poland and Germany divided by force didn’t bring peace to the world.

Let us conclude in solidarity with the King and the Ukrainian people: “The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God’s help, we shall prevail.”

Voir encore:

Putin Knows History Hasn’t Ended

Obama might like to pretend that geopolitics don’t matter, but the slaughter in Kiev shows how mistaken he is.

Walter Russel Meade

The WSJ

Feb. 20, 2014

The Ukrainian government’s assault on protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square over the past 48 hours shocked Europe and the world. The turmoil is also forcing both the European Union and the United States to re-examine some of their deepest assumptions about foreign policy in the post Cold War environment.

The Ukrainian crisis started last fall, when EU ministers thought Ukraine was about to sign an Association Agreement that would have begun the process of economic integration between Europe’s second-largest country and the European Union. This would have been a decisive step for Ukraine. Long hesitating between Moscow and Brussels, Ukraine would have seen the Association Agreement put it firmly on a Western path. That Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political support is rooted in the Russia-leaning half of the country, seemed prepared to take this step was particularly significant. It looked as if both halves of Ukraine had reached a consensus that the future lay with the West.

But the diplomats in Brussels and Washington forgot to factor one man into their calculations. For Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, the prospect that a united Ukraine might desert Russia and join Europe is completely unacceptable. Mr. Putin saw the West’s overtures to Ukraine as an existential threat to Russia’s great power status and his own political position. Sensing that the West was unprepared and unfocused, he moved quickly and effectively to block the wedding by offering Mr. Yanukovych $15 billion to leave the Europeans standing at the altar.

European diplomats were flummoxed. Far from anticipating Putin’s intervention, they thought Mr. Yanukovych was hungry enough for an EU agreement that they could force him to free his imprisoned political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, as the price of the trade deal. These days, nothing much is heard about Ms. Tymoshenko—who was jailed in 2011 on charges of abusing power and embezzlement, after what many observers say was a politicized process—and the Europeans are scrambling, in their slow and bureaucratic way, to sweeten their offer and lure Ukraine back to the wedding chapel.

Washington was no better prepared. Between pivoting to Asia and coping with various crises in the Middle East, the Obama administration hadn’t deigned to engage seriously until Mr. Putin knocked the EU plan off course.

Inside Ukraine, Mr. Yanukovych’s reversal on Europe broke the fragile national consensus. Few countries had as wretched a 20th century as Ukraine. World War I, the Russian Civil War, the mass starvation and political purges of the Stalin era, the genocidal violence of World War II: wave after wave of mass death rolled over the land. The western half of the country sees Moscow as a hostile, rapacious power and believes—correctly—that Mr. Putin’s vision for their country will involve the loss of democratic freedoms and destroy any hope of establishing the rule of law and transparent institutions, or of joining the EU.

The eastern half is not so sure. Trade and cultural connections with Russia are stronger than they are with Europe, and while the EU is a good market for Ukrainian raw materials, Russia is willing to buy Ukrainian manufactured and consumer goods that Europe doesn’t much want.

Meanwhile, given Ukraine’s tormented history and the post-Soviet legacy of criminal oligarchs and corruption, the country’s weak institutions lack the legitimacy and perhaps the competence to manage deep conflicts like the one now shaking the nation. Political movements in both halves of the country have ties to shady figures, and the horrors of the past have left a residue of ethnic hatreds and conspiracy theories on both sides of the current divide.

For Mr. Putin, this is of little moment. With Ukraine, Russia can at least aspire to great power status and can hope to build a power center between the EU and China that can stand on something approaching equal terms with both. If, on the other hand, the verdict of 1989 and the Soviet collapse becomes final, Russia must come to terms with the same kind of loss of empire and stature that Britain, France and Spain have faced. Mr. Putin’s standing at home will be sharply, and perhaps decisively, diminished.

Both the EU and the U.S. made a historic blunder by underestimating Russia’s reaction to the Ukrainian trade agreement. Mr. Putin cannot let Ukraine slip out of Russia’s sphere without throwing everything he has into the fight. As I wrote last fall, the EU brought a baguette to a knife fight, and the bloody result is on the streets of Kiev.

The policy of detaching Ukraine from Russia should either have been pursued with enormous determination and focus—and an irresistible array of economic and political instruments of persuasion—or it should not have been pursued at all. While Mr. Putin and the Ukrainian government have turned a problem into a crisis, some responsibility for the deaths in Ukraine lies at the doors of those who blithely embarked on a dangerous journey without assessing the risks.

Neither the American policy makers nor the European ones who stumbled into this bear trap are stupid, but this episode is confirmation that the problem that has haunted Western statesmanship since 1989 is still with us. Both President Obama and the many-headed collection of committees that constitutes the decision-making apparatus of the EU believe that the end of the Cold War meant an end to geopolitics.

This helps explain why American diplomacy these days is about order and norms. The objectives are global: an environmental climate treaty, the abolition of nuclear weapons, the creation of new global governance mechanisms like the G-20, the further expansion of free trade agreements, and so on. When the U.S. voices its objections—to Bashar Assad’s slaughter in Syria, say, or to the Ukrainian crackdown this week—they are stated in terms of global norms. And so U.S. diplomacy with Russia has focused on order-building questions like nonproliferation, while gravely underestimating the degree to which Russia’s geopolitical interests conflict with those of the U.S.

This is not so much an intellectual error as a political miscalculation. For American and European policy makers, the 1989 geopolitical settlement of the Cold War seemed both desirable and irreversible. Powers like Russia, China and Iran, who might be dissatisfied with either the boundaries or the legal and moral norms that characterized the post-Cold War world, lacked the power to do anything about it. This outlook is Francis Fukuyama’s "The End of History" on steroids: Humanity had not only discovered the forms of government and economic organization under which it would proceed from here on out, it had found the national boundaries and the hierarchy of states that would last indefinitely.

There are many things that Vladimir Putin doesn’t understand, but geopolitics isn’t one of them. His ability to identify and exploit the difference between the West’s rhetoric and its capabilities and intentions has allowed him to stop NATO expansion, split Georgia, subject Washington to serial humiliations in Syria and, now, to bring chaos to Ukraine.

Mr. Putin is a master of a game that the West doesn’t want to play, and as a result he’s won game after game with weak cards. He cannot use smoke and mirrors to elevate Russia back into superpower rank, and bringing a peaceful Ukraine back into the Kremlin’s tight embrace is also probably beyond him.

But as long as the West, beguiled by dreams of win-win solutions, fails to grapple effectively in the muddy, zero-sum world of classic geopolitics, Mr. Putin and his fellow revisionists in Beijing and Tehran will continue to wreak havoc with Western designs.

Mr. Mead is a professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and editor at large of the American Interest.

 Voir de même:

Why Putin Wants Ukraine

He sees a timid West and the chance to rebuild Greater Russia.

The WSJ

Feb. 21, 2014

The Sochi Olympics have showcased the face of Russia that President Vladimir Putin wants the world to see—spanking new, an international crossroads, and a revived global power. This is a comely veneer. The real Russia is on display this week in Kiev, where Ukraine’s government prodded by the Kremlin is attacking peaceful protestors with guns and truncheons. This is the Russia that the West needs to understand and resist.

The central fact of the Ukraine crisis is that it has been created and stoked from Moscow. Last autumn Russia’s President leaned on Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych to reject a trade association with the European Union in favor of one with Russia. After protests broke out in response, Mr. Putin offered the Ukraine government a $15 billion bailout. Russia then prodded the pro-Russian parliament in Kiev to pass antiprotest laws.

As the protests escalated and Mr. Yanukovych wavered, Russia froze its aid. Last week Mr. Yanukovych met Mr. Putin in Sochi, Russia released $2 billion on Monday, and Ukrainian forces began their violent crackdown on the protestors in Independence Square on Tuesday. Mr. Putin’s response was to blame the opposition for "an attempt to carry out a coup" and encourage the regime.

None of this Russian behavior should be a surprise. Mr. Putin’s regional ambitions have been apparent since the middle of the last decade. Yet Western leaders have refused to face this reality, offering displays of pleading and pliancy that have only encouraged Mr. Putin to press his agenda.

President George W. Bush looked into Mr. Putin’s soul and tried to charm him into mutual cooperation. In 2008 the West bent to Moscow by letting NATO shelve its "membership action plan" for Ukraine and Georgia. Mr. Bush and Europe were rewarded with Russia’s invasion of pro-Western Georgia and the confiscation of part of Georgian territory that it still hasn’t returned.

President Obama entered office blaming Mr. Putin’s behavior on Mr. Bush and pushing his famous "reset" of U.S.-Russian relations. A short era of forced good feeling led to an arms-control deal that failed to address Russia’s short-range tactical missiles, even as Russia began to cheat on the medium-range missile accord from the Reagan years.

Mr. Putin’s foreign policy goal has been to undermine U.S. interests at every turn. He has sought to stop missile defenses in Europe that are aimed at Iran. He has blocked United Nations action against Syria, armed Bashar Assad, and then leapt on Mr. Obama’s political panic over bombing Damascus to guarantee no U.S. attack in return for a promise to remove Assad’s chemical weapons. The chemical weapons are still there, and Assad has accelerated his military offensive.

Mr. Putin’s agenda in Ukraine is part of his larger plans to solidify his own authoritarian control and revive Greater Russia. Without Ukraine, the most important of the former Soviet satellites, a new Russian empire is impossible. With Ukraine, Greater Russia sits on the border of the EU. If Ukraine moves toward Europe with a president who isn’t a Russian satrap, it also sets a democratic example for Russians. The world is seeing that Mr. Putin will do what it takes to stop such an event, even if it risks a civil war in Ukraine.

The Russian is willing to play this rough because he sees Western weakness. The EU is hopeless, led by a Germany so comfortable in its pacifism that it won’t risk even a diplomatic confrontation. As for the U.S., it’s no coincidence that Mr. Putin asserted himself in Ukraine not long after Mr. Obama retreated in humiliating fashion from his "red line" in Syria. As always in history, such timidity invites the aggression it purports to prevent. If this American President won’t even bomb Damascus airfields to stop the use of chemical weapons, why would Mr. Putin think Mr. Obama would do anything for eastern Europe?

Perhaps the Moscow veil is now falling from White House eyes, with Mr. Obama’s vow on Wednesday of "consequences" if Ukraine continues its crackdown. That was a day before at least 50 more were killed as a truce collapsed. The U.S. has revoked the visas of 20 Ukrainian officials without releasing the names. But this will not deter the Kremlin.

The U.S. also needs to freeze the assets of Ukraine’s regime and of its oligarch supporters. Even a month ago it might have been possible to wait until elections scheduled for 2015, but at this stage early elections are also needed to resolve the standoff and restore legitimacy to the Ukraine government.

The point is to make the regime’s supporters choose. Side with Russia and your prospects in the West will be limited. Push for free elections and the opening to Europe, and greater prosperity will be possible.

No one wants a new Cold War, but no one should want a civil war in Eastern Europe either. Yet that is where Mr. Putin’s intervention and Western passivity are leading. Mr. Obama may still be able to stop it if he finally admits Vladimir Putin’s deep hostility to a free and democratic Europe and clearly tells protesting Ukrainians that we’re on their side.

Voir aussi:

Obama’s Foreign Policy: Enemy Action

Bruce S. Thornton

FrontPage Magazine

February 18, 2014

It’s often hard to determine whether a series of bad policies results from stupidity or malicious intent. Occam’s razor suggests that the former is the more likely explanation, as conspiracies assume a high degree of intelligence, complex organization, and secrecy among a large number of people, qualities that usually are much less frequent than the simple stupidity, disorganization, and inability to keep a secret more typical of our species. Yet surveying the nearly 6 years of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy blunders, I’m starting to lean towards Goldfinger’s Chicago mob-wisdom: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.”

Obama’s ineptitude started with his general foreign policy philosophy. George Bush, so the narrative went, was a trigger-happy, unilateralist, blundering, “dead or alive” cowboy who rushed into an unnecessary war in Iraq after alienating our allies and insulting the Muslim world. Obama pledged to be different. As a Los Angeles Times editorial advised him in January 2009, “The Bush years, defined by ultimatums and unilateral actions around the world, must be brought to a swift close with a renewed emphasis on diplomacy, consultation and the forging of broad international coalitions.” Obama eagerly took this advice, reaching out not just to our allies, but also to sworn enemies like Syria, Venezuela, and Iran, and serially bowing to various potentates around the globe. He went on the apology tour, in which he confessed America’s “arrogant, dismissive, derisive” behavior and the “darker periods in our history.” And he followed up by initiating America’s retreat from international affairs, “leading from behind,” appeasing our enemies, and using rhetorical bluster as a substitute for coherent, forceful action. Here follow 3 of the many mistakes that suggest something other than inexperience and a lack of knowledge is driving Obama’s policies.

Russia

Remember the “reset” button Obama offered to Russia? In September 2009 he made a down payment on this policy by reversing George Bush’s plan to station a radar facility in the Czech Republic and 10 ground-based missile interceptors in Poland. Russia had complained about these defensive installations, even though they didn’t threaten Russian territory. So to appease the Russians, Obama abandoned Poland and the Czech Republic, who still live in the dark shadow of their more powerful former oppressors, while Russia’s Iranian clients were emboldened by their patron’s ability to make the superpower Americans back down. As George Marshall Fund fellow David J. Kramer prophesized at the time, Obama’s caving “to Russian pressure . . . will encourage leaders in Moscow to engage in more loud complaining and bully tactics (such as threatening Iskander missiles against the Poles and Czechs) because such behavior gets desired results.”

Obama followed up this blunder with the New START arms reduction treaty with Russia signed in 2010. This agreement didn’t include tactical nuclear weapons, leaving the Russians with a 10-1 advantage. Multiple warheads deployed on a missile were counted as one for purposes of the treaty, which meant that the Russians could exceed the 1550 limit. Numerous other problems plague this treaty, but the worst is the dependence on Russian honesty to comply with its terms. Yet as Keith B. Payne and Mark B. Schneider have written recently, for years Russia has serially violated the terms of every arms-control treaty it has signed, for obvious reasons: “These Russian actions demonstrate the importance the Kremlin attaches to its new nuclear-strike capabilities. They also show how little importance the Putin regime attaches to complying with agreements that interfere with those capabilities. Russia not only seems intent on creating new nuclear- and conventional-strike capabilities against U.S. allies and friends. It has made explicit threats against some of them in recent years.” Busy pushing the reset button, Obama has ignored all this cheating. Nor did Obama’s 2012 appeasing pledge to outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev–– that after the election he would “have more flexibility” about the proposed European-based anti-missile defense system angering Russia––could convince Vladimir Putin to play ball with the U.S. on Iran and Syria. Obama’s groveling “reset” outreach has merely emboldened Russia to expand its influence and that of its satellites like Iran and Syria, at the expense of the interests and security of America and its allies.

Syria

Syria is another American enemy Obama thought his charm offensive could win over. To do so he had to ignore Syria’s long history of supporting terrorists outfits like Hezbollah, murdering its sectarian and political rivals, assassinating Lebanon’s anti-Syrian Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005, and facilitating the transit of jihadists–– during one period over 90% of foreign fighters–– into Iraq to kill Americans. Yet Obama sent diplomatic officials on 6 trips to Syria in an attempt to make strongman Bashar al Assad play nice. In return, in 2010 Assad hosted a cozy conference with Hezbollah terrorist leader Hassan Nasrallah and the genocidal Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, where they discussed “a Middle East without Zionists and without colonialists.” Despite such rhetoric, even as the uprising against Assad was unfolding in March 2011, Secretary of State Clinton said, “There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”

In response to the growing resistance against the “reformer” Assad, Obama once again relied on blustering rhetoric rather than timely action to bring down an enemy of the U.S. Sanctions and Executive Orders flew thick and fast, but no military aid was provided to Assad’s opponents, the moderates soon to be marginalized by foreign terrorists armed by Iran. As time passed, more Syrians died and more terrorists filtered into Syria, while Obama responded with toothless tough rhetoric, proclaiming, “For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” Equally ineffective was Obama’s talk in 2012 of a “red line” and “game-changer” if Assad used chemical weapons. Assad, obviously undeterred by threats from the world’s greatest military power, proceeded to use chemical weapons. Obama threatened military action, only to back down on the excuse that he needed the permission of Congress. Instead, partnering with the Russian wolf his own weakness had empowered, he brokered a deal that in effect gave Assad a free hand to bomb cities and kill civilians at the price of promising to surrender his chemical stockpiles. The butcher Assad magically changed from a pariah who had to go, into a legitimate partner of the United States, one whose cooperation we depend on for implementing the agreement. Given such cover, he has continued to slaughter his enemies and provide invaluable battlefield experience to tens of thousands of terrorist fighters.

Of course, without the threat of military punishment for violating the terms of the agreement­­––punishment vetoed by new regional player Russia––the treaty is worthless. Sure enough, this month we learned that Assad is dragging his feet, missing a deadline for turning over his weapons, while surrendering so far just 5% of his stockpiles. And those are just the weapons he has acknowledged possessing. In response, Secretary of State John Kerry has blustered, “Bashar al-Assad is not, in our judgment, fully in compliance because of the timing and the delays that have taken place contrary to the [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]’s judgment that this could move faster. So the options are all the options that originally existed. No option has been taken off the table.” You can hear Assad, Rouhani, Nasrallah, and Putin rolling on the ground laughing their you-know-what’s off over that empty threat.

Iran

Now we come to the biggest piece of evidence for divining Obama’s motives, Iran. The Islamic Republic has been an inveterate enemy of this country since the revolution in 1979, with 35 years of American blood on its hands to prove it. Even today Iranian agents are facilitating with training and materiel the killing of Americans in Afghanistan. The regime is the biggest and most lethal state sponsor of terrorism, and proclaims proudly a genocidal, anti-Semitic ideology against Israel, our most loyal ally in the region. And it regularly reminds us that we are its enemy against whom it has repeatedly declared war, most recently in February when demonstrations celebrated the anniversary of the revolution with signs reading, “Hey, America!! Be angry with us and die due to your anger! Down with U.S.A.” At the same time, two Iranian warships crowded our maritime borders in the Atlantic, and state television broadcast a documentary simulating attacks on U.S. aircraft carriers.

Despite that long record of murder and hatred, when he first came into office, Obama made Iran a particular object of his diplomatic “outreach.” He “bent over backwards,” as he put it, “extending his hand” to the mullahs “without preconditions,” going so far as to keep silent in June 2009 as they brutally suppressed protests against the stolen presidential election. But the mullahs contemptuously dismissed all these overtures. In response, Obama issued a series of “deadlines” for Iran to come clean on its weapons programs, more bluster the regime ignored, while Obama assured them that “We remain committed to serious, meaningful engagement with Iran.” Just as with Russia and Syria, still more big talk about “all options are on the table” for preventing the mullahs from acquiring nuclear weapons has been scorned by the regime.

Doubling down on this failed policy, Obama along with the Europeans gambled that sanctions would bring Iran to its knees before it reached breakout capability for producing a weapon. Odds of success were questionable, but just as the sanctions appeared to be pushing the Iranian economy, and perhaps the regime, to collapse, in November of last year Obama entered into negotiations that resulted in a disastrous agreement that trades sanction relief for empty promises. This deal ensures that Iran will become a nuclear power, since the agreement allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium in violation of numerous U.N. Security Council Resolutions. Finally, in an act of criminal incoherence, Obama threatened to veto any Congressional legislation imposing meaningful economic punishment for future Iranian cheating and intransigence.

Given this “abject surrender,” as former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton called it, it’s no surprise that the Iranians are trumpeting the agreement as a victory: “In this agreement, the right of Iranian nation to enrich uranium was accepted by world powers,” the “moderate reformer” Iranian president Hassan Rouhani bragged. “With this agreement … the architecture of sanctions will begin to break down.” Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, agreed: “None of the enrichment centers will be closed and Fordow and Natanz will continue their work and the Arak heavy water program will continue in its present form and no material (enriched uranium stockpiles) will be taken out of the country and all the enriched materials will remain inside the country. The current sanctions will move towards decrease, no sanctions will be imposed and Iran’s financial resources will return.” Memo to Mr. Obama: when the adversary loudly brags that the agreement benefits him, you’d better reexamine the terms of the deal.

As it stands today, the sanction regime is unraveling even as we speak, while the Iranians are within months of nuclear breakout capacity. Meanwhile the economic pain that was starting to change Iranian behavior is receding. According to the International Monetary Fund, Iran’s economy is projected to grow 2% in fiscal year 2014-15, compared to a 2% contraction this year. Inflation has dropped over 10 points since last year. Global businesses are flocking to Tehran to cut deals, while Obama blusters that “we will come down on [sanctions violators] like a ton of bricks.” Add that dull cliché to “red line,” “game-changer,” and the other empty threats that comprise the whole of Obama’s foreign policy.

These foreign policy blunders and numerous others––especially the loss of critical ally Egypt–– reflect ideological delusions that go beyond Obama. The notion that aggressors can be tamed and managed with diplomatic engagement has long been a convenient cover for a political unwillingness to take military action with all its dangers and risks. Crypto-pacifist Democrats are particularly fond of the magical thinking that international organizations, summits, “shuttle diplomacy,” conferences, and other photogenic confabs can substitute for force.

But progressive talk of “multilateralism” and “diplomatic engagement” hides something else: the Oliver Stone/Howard Zinn/Noam Chomsky/Richard Falk self-loathing narrative that the United States is a force of evil in the world, a neo-colonialist, neo-imperialist, predatory capitalist oppressor responsible for the misery and tyranny afflicting the globe. Given that America’s power is corrupt, we need a foreign policy of withdrawal, retreat, and apologetic humility, with our national sovereignty subjected to transnational institutions like the U.N., the International Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights ––exactly the program that Obama has been working on for the last 5 years. Given the damage such policies are serially inflicting on our security and interests, it starts to make sense that inexperience or stupidity is not as cogent an explanation as enemy action.

Voir enfin:

Game of Thrones

Sotchi, retour de la Russie : 25 ans après la chute du mur de Berlin, l’ancien empire soviétique a-t-il vraiment retrouvé sa puissance ?

Les Jeux Olympiques de Sotchi inaugurés le 7 février se veulent une démonstration de puissance pour la Russie, qui déploie aussi sa force sur le plan diplomatique. Mais, entre démographie en déclin, économie fragile et crise sociale, la Russie a-t-elle vraiment les moyens de son ambition ?

Atlantico

10 février 2014

Atlantico : Les jeux olympiques de Sotchi, suivis par la coupe de monde de football de 2018 en Russie marquent-ils le retour de l’ancien empire soviétique sur le devant de la scène internationale ? Après l’effondrement de l’URSS, l’ancien empire russe a-t-il vraiment retrouvé sa puissance ?

Alexandre Melnik : Relativisons les choses. Je vais inscrire votre question dans un large contexte géopolitique, en ce début du XXIe siècle.

Ces deux événements sportifs à résonance planétaire, dont l’organisation a été attribuée par ce qu’on appelle la « communauté internationale » à la Russie – au même titre que la Coupe du monde de football de l’été prochain et les JO de 2016 qui se dérouleront au Brésil – marquent, avant tout, un bouleversement des équilibres globaux dans un monde, où l’Occident perd son « monopole de l’Histoire » (qu’il détenait depuis la Renaissance de la fin XVe siècle), et cela, à la faveur des nouveaux « pôles d’excellence ». Oublions le vocable, déjà obsolète, « pays émergents », et apprenons à utiliser, en anticipant le cours des événements, l’expression qui correspond mieux à la réalité – « nouveau leadership du XXIe siècle ». Au fond, il s’agit des nouvelles puissances montantes (Brésil, Russie, Inde, Chine, Afrique du Sud, etc.) qui, assoiffées de succès après une longue période de bridage de leurs moteurs économiques et géopolitiques, dotées d’un fort potentiel de développement, s’installent graduellement aux manettes décisionnelles de la globalisation en cours, sans pour autant adopter les modes de pensée et de fonctionnement, ainsi que des valeurs, propres aux pays occidentaux, en perte de vitesse. C’est une nouvelle tendance lourde de l’évolution du monde, dont profite la Russie actuelle – nationaliste, volontariste, alliant une certaine opulence économique et l’évidente indigence démocratique. Deux décennies après la chute du communisme, elle revient en force sur l’arène internationale, en profitant du reflux de l’Occident et de la mollesse de ses dirigeants politiques.

Dans cette optique, les JO de Sotchi ne font que confirmer son rôle d’un incontournable global player – une évidence déjà éclatée au grand jour au cours de l’année passée – sur les dossiers internationaux majeurs : la Syrie, l’Iran, l’Ukraine. Et ce, à un moment où le sport, ce traditionnel vecteur de rassemblement de l’Humanité à l’occasion des Olympiades, devient un langage universel, dont parle en direct toute notre planète, de plus en plus interconnectée et aplatie par les nouvelles technologies qui effacent les frontières. La réunion des meilleurs sportifs au bord de la Mer Noire s’apparente donc aujourd’hui à une caméra loupe braquée sur les nouvelles métamorphoses géopolitiques, favorables à la Russie. Un phénomène tout récent, à ne pas confondre avec le « retour de l’empire soviétique », car l’idéologie communiste, qui cimentait cet empire, appartient déjà aux archives d’une époque définitivement révolue, avec son vocabulaire archaïque, qui ne correspond plus aux nouveaux enjeux.

Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier : Je commencerai par deux remarques préalables. Quand bien même l’URSS avait-elle recouvré, à l’issue de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, l’enveloppe spatiale de la Russie des tsars, elle ne constituait pas pour autant un empire stricto sensu. Au sens traditionnel du terme, l’Empire désigne une forme d’autorité spirituelle qui transcende les souverainetés temporelles (voir le Saint Empire), l’Empereur étant un « roi des rois ». Or, l’URSS était une idéocratie fondée sur la négation de toute vraie spiritualité, le marxisme-léninisme prétendant que les activités humaines d’ordre supérieur ne sont que le simple reflet des rapports de production au sein des sociétés humaines. D’autre part, s’il y a bien des éléments de continuité entre la « Russie-Soviétie » d’avant 1991 et la « Russie-Eurasie » de Vladimir Poutine, cette dernière n’est pas continuatrice pure et simple de l’ex-URSS. Au total, quinze Etats sont issus de la dislocation de l’URSS et chacun d’entre eux a sa légitimité propre. Quant à la Russie, si elle est effectivement marquée par une forme d’« ostalgie » et de dangereuses rémanences soviétiques, elle n’est pas l’URSS.

Retour sur le plan international ? En fait, la Russie des années 1990 n’avait pas disparu de la scène. Ne serait-ce que par l’ampleur des défis soulevés par la dislocation de l’URSS, les rebondissements de la vie politique russe et le pouvoir d’empêchement de Moscou, sur le plan international, la Russie conservait une visibilité certaine. La « transition » de la Russie post-soviétique vers la démocratie libérale et l’économie de marché était un thème important de l’époque dans les rubriques internationales et les négociations entre Moscou et le FMI étaient attentivement suivies par les médias. Au milieu des années 1990, Boris Eltsine avait même obtenu que la Russie soit associée au G-7, celui-ci devenant alors le G-8. Des partenariats spécifiques avaient été négociés avec l’UE et l’OTAN. C’est aussi dès le début des années 1990 que les dirigeants russes mettent en avant la notion d’« étranger proche » (1992) et sur ce thème, Eltsine admonestait son ministre des Affaires étrangères. Il ne faut donc pas exagérer l’effacement de la Russie des années Eltsine.

De fait, les Jeux olympiques de Moscou ont été pensés comme la mise en scène du retour de la Russie sur la scène internationale. Le thème est martelé par Poutine depuis le milieu des années 2000, alors que l’unité avec l’Occident sur la question du terrorisme international s’efface derrière d’autres enjeux, plus prégnants pour la direction russe : la guerre en Irak, l’élargissement à l’Europe centrale et orientale des instances euro-atlantiques (UE et OTAN), les « révolutions de couleur » en Géorgie puis en Ukraine… Les « révolutions de couleur » ont été essentielles dans le processus. De ces mouvements de contestation civique contre les manipulations électorales des pouvoirs en place en Géorgie et en Ukraine, certains officiels russes ont pu dire que c’était leur « 11 septembre » !

C’est à la suite du discours de Munich (février 2007) et de la guerre russo-géorgienne (août 2008) que ce « retour » s’est fait offensif. Ces derniers mois, l’accord américano-russe sur le désarmement chimique de la Syrie (septembre 2013), puis la volte-face de Ianoukovitch et la signature d’un « partenariat stratégique » entre l’Ukraine et la Russie (décembre 2013) ont même été à l’origine de discours sur le « triomphe » de Poutine. Si l’on va au-delà des apparences (Obama hésitant, Poutine impassible), ce n’est guère évident. Au Proche-Orient, on peut se demander si la diplomatie Obama, guère empressée d’intervenir en Syrie, ne s’appuie pas sur la Russie pour « geler » cette question et se concentrer sur des défis d’une autre ampleur. Quant à l’Ukraine, il suffit de considérer la situation du pays : pressions occultes, manœuvres et coups tactiques ne font pas une victoire stratégique et politique. Le cas de l’Ukraine montre qu’il sera difficile de restaurer une domination russe sur l’« étranger proche ».

Alexandre Del Valle : Je ne pense pas que les Jeux Olympiques marquent en soi le retour d’un pays sur la scène internationale, mais cela constitue sans aucun doute un passage obligé dans le monde hyperconnecté qui est le nôtre pour tout pays qui tente d’améliorer son image et de prouver qu’il fait partie des puissances de poids. Dans le cas russe, le fait d’organiser les Jeux olympiques les plus chers du monde est bien entendu pour Poutine, qui a été très sévèrement critiqué depuis le début de son règne et surtout depuis l’affaire syrienne, une façon de montrer que le monde doit tenir compte de la Russie, qu’elle renaît de ses cendres et que son leader est un homme incontournable, comme on l’a bien vu dans le cas de la crise syrienne. De plus, le fait d’accueillir les jeux est toujours une occasion unique pour promouvoir son pays, quel qu’il soit et pour profiter d’une tribune “universelle”, planétaire, unique. Une occasion à ne pas manquer, qui explique que le Président Poutine ait tout fait pour que son pays soit élu.

La Russie a-t-elle vraiment les moyens de son ambition ? D’un point de vue économique ? Du point de vue de sa production industrielle ? Du point de vue militaire ? Diplomatique ? De sa démographie en déclin ? De l’espérance de vie de sa population ?

Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier : Dopés par l’affolement des marchés pendant les années 2000, les revenus provenant des exportations de pétrole et de gaz ont permis une forte augmentation du PIB global et du revenu per capita. Cette rente a été mise à profit pour désendetter le pays, ce qui est bien avisé et méritoire. Cependant, les réformes structurelles requises pour assurer un développement durable et se projeter dans le nouveau siècle n’ont pas été menées. Pour parler comme les marxistes des années 1960-1970, le système économique russe est une forme de « capitalisme monopolistique d’Etat » dans lequel la richesse et la puissance sont confisquées par les clans qui gravitent autour du Kremlin. Cet « autoritarisme patrimonial » est animé par une logique de prédation qui nuit à l’efficacité économique et les caractéristiques de ce système de pouvoir excluent toute réforme un tant soit peu ambitieuse (les hommes au pouvoir ne vont pas scier la branche sur laquelle ils sont assis). Le peu de consistance des droits de propriété dans ce système, la corruption et le déplorable climat des affaires entraînent la fuite des capitaux hors de Russie. L’an passé, la crise financière de Chypre a mis en évidence ce phénomène.

Au total, la Russie n’est donc pas une « puissance émergente » et son économie ne repose guère que sur l’exportation des produits de base, auxquels il faut toutefois ajouter les ventes d’armes et le nucléaire civil. Alors que le baril de pétrole reste à des niveaux élevés, la croissance économique russe est tombée à 1,3 % en 2013 (7 à 8 % l’an dans les années qui précèdent 2008). La situation pourrait s’aggraver avec la crise des devises des pays dits « émergents », la restriction des liquidités injectées par la Fed (la banque centrale des Etats-Unis) et ses effets révélant les faiblesses des modèles de croissance de ces pays. Dans le cas russe, cela pourrait avoir un impact sur la vie politique. En effet, l’apathie politique russe s’explique par un contrat tacite entre la population et le système de pouvoir : les Russes acceptent le pouvoir de Poutine, pour autant que la croissance économique assure l’amélioration du niveau de vie et l’accès à la « société d’abondance ». Sur le plan de la puissance, le « système russe » repose sur une sorte de triangle entre l’énergie, l’armée et le statut international : les pétro-dollars financent les dépenses militaires qui contribuent à restaurer le rôle international de la Russie et son prestige. Aussi le fort ralentissement de la croissance économique pourrait-il menacer ce « système ». Enfin, la démographie et l’état sanitaire du pays révèlent l’ampleur des défis à relever, mais il a été décidé de baisser ce type de dépenses, au bénéfice du budget militaire.

Sur le plan militaire, précédemment évoqué, Poutine a lancé une réforme des armées, en 2008, avec pour objectifs la professionnalisation des personnels et la restauration des capacités d’intervention. En 2011, il a tranché entre les « civilniki » et les « siloviki », au bénéfice des seconds, et il a décidé un vaste programme de réarmement censé mobiliser 600 milliards de dollars d’ici 2020. L’enjeu est tout à la fois de renouveler l’arsenal nucléaire stratégique et de moderniser l’appareil militaire classique (conventionnel). Cet appareil militaire est dimensionné pour permettre des interventions dans l’ « étranger proche », en cohérence avec le projet politique d’Union eurasienne. Notons à ce propos que les sites militaires russes à l’étranger sont tous situés dans l’aire post-soviétique, à l’exception du port syrien de Tartous, seule empreinte militaire permanente dans l’« étranger lointain » (ladite base navale se résume à un bateau-atelier avec quelque 100-200 militaires et techniciens russes). Le budget militaire russe (près de 80 milliards d’euros en 2013) est conséquent et il dépasse largement celui de la France (la loi de programmation militaire prévoit 31,4 milliards d’euros par an pour la période 2014-2020). S’il faut être vigilant sur la reconstitution d’une certaine puissance militaire russe, il est nécessaire d’avoir en tête l’immensité du territoire et l’extrême longueur des frontières (plus de 20. 000 km de frontières terrestres, auxquels il faut ajouter les délimitations maritimes). Dans notre âge global et hyper-technologique, l’espace géographique peut aussi être un réducteur de puissance.

Alexandre Melnik : Dans la suite de mon raisonnement, qui vise à transcender le diktat de l’immédiat et à tracer une perspective à long terme, je pense que, pour imprimer de son empreinte le XXIe siècle, à la (de)mesure de son ambition quasi-messianique, la Russie doit affronter, en toute lucidité et sans plus tarder, sept défis clés.

1. Inverser la courbe démographique défavorable, car, malgré quelques signes d’amélioration observés ces deux dernières années dans les villes les plus dynamiques (Moscou, Saint-Pétersbourg, Samara, Ekaterinbourg), la Russie, bien que devenue un pays d’immigration (et non d’émigration), continue à perdre une partie importante de sa population, à l’échelle nationale. Alors qu’aucun pays ne peut réussir sans avoir une démographie saine et équilibrée.

2. Sortir de son auto-isolement international, dans lequel l’enfonce son actuel mode de gouvernance, en proie à une mentalité de la forteresse assiégée qui confine à la psychose obsidionale. La Russie n’avancera pas tant elle restera crispée dans sa diabolisation de l’Occident et sa virulente rhétorique anti-américaine, à la limite de la provocation ; les esprits du leadership politique russe sont pollués par la théorie d’un complot d’un autre âge.

3. Dissiper le brouillard de la confusion identitaire qui handicape la visibilité de son avenir, depuis des siècles : la Russie est-elle occidentale ou orientale ? Européenne ou Asiatique ? Eurasienne ? Ou… « unique », se complaisant dans sa prétendue « exception » ? Ces dichotomies, lancinantes, de la Russie, qualifiée de « torn country » (pays à identité déchirée) par Samuel Huntington dans son livre culte « Choc des civilisations », n’ont jamais été clairement tranchées au fil de son histoire plus que millénaire, ce qui inhibe constamment l’évolution russe.

4. Diversifier son économie « unijambiste », addicte aux exportations d’hydrocarbures. Comprendre que la seule matière première qui ne s’épuise pas en s’utilisant, c’est la matière grise, le cerveau humain. Privé d’innovation, le secteur industriel russe se délite.

Dans le même ordre d’idée, la Russie a besoin de s’ouvrir résolument au management moderne, qui repose sur le seul modèle qui fonctionne actuellement, à savoir le « bottom – up », en tirant la leçon du contre-exemple de Skolkovo, un « cluster » aux environs de Moscou, qui était censé devenir le pôle le plus avancé des technologies de pointe russes, à l’exemple de Silicon Valley en Californie, mais qui s’est vite mué, en réalité, en un repaire « top-down » d’apparatchiks « new look » et en un nouveau foyer de corruption. Est-il normal que les dépenses dans le R&D d’un pays qui dégage un taux de croissance avoisinant les 5% par an, depuis une dizaine d’année, plafonnent à hauteur de 1% de son PIB, soit un quinzième de celles des Etats-Unis et un quart de la Chine ? Faut-il alors s’étonner que la fuite de cerveaux frappe de plus en plus la Russie, vidée de ses meilleurs talents ?

5. A travers la réforme radicale du système éducatif, qui, à l’heure actuelle, continue, globalement, à fonctionner « à la soviétique », en faisant fi des changements intervenus dans le monde, donner l’envie de réussite (« race to the top ») aux jeunes générations russes, leur ouvrir un nouvel horizon global, grâce au mérite, à l’ambition individuelle, à un travail libre et créatif qui tire vers le haut. A titre d’exemple : la Chine consacre actuellement 13% de son budget à l’éducation, donc 21% aux études supérieures, contre 6% en Russie, un pays pourtant connu et reconnu pour sa tradition universitaire. De même, la Chine est déjà en deuxième position, après les Etats-Unis, dans le classement de Shanghai, qui note les meilleures universités du monde, et 42 institutions chinoises figurent dans le top 500, tandis que la Russie, elle, n’en compte que deux.

6. Mettre en valeur l’immense potentiel de la Sibérie et de l’Extrême-Orient, actuellement dormant dans cet immense pays qui s’étend sur 9 fuseaux horaires. Climat trop rude ? Conditions météorologiques insupportables ? Mais pourquoi la ville norvégienne Kirkenes, située sur la même latitude, à une centaine de kilomètres de Mourmansk, étale une prospérité et une qualité des infrastructures qui sont inimaginables pour son proche voisin russe ?

7. Moderniser son système politique non-adapté aux impératifs de la globalisation. Les trois piliers du système Poutine (Etat – patriotisme – orthodoxie), introduits dès 2011, se sont transformés, en 2014, au contraire de leur vocation initiale :

- l’Etat, proclamé « fort », est devenu obèse, inopérant, premier corrupteur et pillard des richesses naturelles (selon un récent classement de Transparency International, la Russie se trouve, en termes de corruption, en 143-ème place sur 178, en talonnant le Nigeria) ;

- le patriotisme, véhiculé, via des événements à grand renfort de propagande, comme les rituelles commémorations de la « Grande Victoire » soviétique en 1945, ou encore les fastes ostentatoires de Sotchi, vire souvent au panslavisme menaçant, à la haine d’un étranger qui n’est pas doté de faciès slave, ou, d’une façon plus générale, au rejet de l’Autre qui est construit différemment ;

- enfin, l’orthodoxie « vendue » comme la base de l’identité nationale, anéantit la capacité des Russes à agir et érige le fatalisme en vertu.

En conclusion, pour réussir pleinement dans le XXIe siècle, la Russie doit s’ouvrir au monde, en bâtissant l’avenir, au lieu de s’arc-bouter sur son modèle ultra-protectionniste, en ressassant la nostalgie de son passé. Les Jeux de Sotchi sont donc révélateurs de son potentiel, considérable et incontestable, plutôt que de son résultat, déjà obtenu, qui reste en deçà de ses capacités. Dans ce contexte, le président Poutine, prisonnier de sa vision atavique du monde, n’est plus une solution, mais un problème pour la Russie de demain, qui piétine dans l’antichambre de la globalisation, alors que la Chine rythme déjà son tempo.

Alexandre Del Valle : La Russie a sans aucun doute les moyens de son ambition. Mais sa plus grande vulnérabilité, selon moi, est le caractère non suffisamment libéral et non assez transparent de son économie et de ses structures économiques, pas assez ouvertes aux investissements extérieurs et trop étroitement contrôlées par des oligarchies opaques liées au pouvoir politique, puis , bien sûr, la trop grande dépendance de l’économie envers les énergies hydrocarbures. Le problème de pétro ou gazostratégie de Vladimir Poutine est de ne compter que sur l’énergie dont la Russie recèle, sans investir dans la diversification.

Du point de vue militaire, il est clair que la Russie demeure une grande puissance détenant le feu nucléaire, des milliers d’ogives nucléaires, de très bons systèmes anti-missiles et une industrie aéronautique assez performante, quoi que en retard vis-à-vis des Etats-Unis, mais les moyens de l’armée russe sont insignifiants par rapport à ceux des Etats-Unis avec qui Moscou feint de vouloir jouer à armes égales. Donc la Russie est un acteur géostratégique majeur, certes, doté d’un immense territoire, d’énergies, de savoir-faire technologique et de matières premières, mais elle n’a pas les moyens de briguer la première place, contrairement à son allié et ex-ennemi voisin chinois qui aura dans quelques décennies les moyens de concurrencer les Etats-Unis dans tous les domaines de la puissance.

A peine arrivés à Sotchi, les journalistes ont pu constater que seuls quatre des cinq anneaux olympiques se sont allumés lors de la cérémonie d’ouverture. Les médias s’en sont donné à cœur joie pour fustiger le manque d’hygiène et de confort des hôtels, l’opacité de l’eau du robinet… Ces critiques sont-elles seulement le reflet des préjugés des médias occidentaux, ou dénotent-elles un réel écart entre les prétentions de la Russie et ses moyens véritables ?

Jean-Sylvestre Mongrenier : La question géopolitique russe requiert une analyse de type géographique qui distingue méthodiquement les ordres de grandeur et les niveaux d’analyse. Cet Etat-continent, le plus vaste à la surface de la Terre, a des ambitions mondiales. Le discours de la multipolarité tient surtout de la « polémique » anti-occidentale et les dirigeants russes raisonnent dans les termes d’un monde tripartite (dans un monde à trois, il faut être l’un des deux). Ils voient la Russie comme une puissance tierce, entre les Etats-Unis et l’Occident d’une part, la République populaire de Chine d’autre part. Ils redoutent l’écartèlement du territoire russe et de l’aire post-soviétique entre les champs d’attraction de ces deux systèmes de puissance. La possession du deuxième arsenal nucléaire mondial et leur rôle diplomatique permettent aux dirigeants russes de poser la Russie tout à la fois en rivale et en alter ego des Etats-Unis. Pourtant, l’activisme diplomatique (surtout marqué par des pratiques d’obstruction) et la « surface » nucléaire ne doivent pas occulter le fait que la Russie n’est pas une puissance globale d’envergure planétaire, soit une puissance première. Le budget militaire chinois est une fois et demie supérieur à la Russie et cela aura des conséquences sur le plan opérationnel.

Au niveau de l’Ancien Monde, la Russie est présentée par un certain nombre d’idéologues russes comme le « Heartland », un concept emprunté à MacKinder et à aux théories géopolitiques du début du XXe siècle, pour combler le vide idéologique résultant de la déroute du marxisme-léninisme. Cette représentation géopolitique est faussement exposée comme une loi du monde, la géopolitique étant ramenée à une sorte de scientisme mêlé de géomancie (un cocktail très « dix-neuvième »). L’idée de manœuvre, selon certains discours tenus au sommet du pouvoir russe, est de jouer l’Asie contre l’Europe. Concrètement, il s’agirait de sanctionner l’UE et ses Etats membres – ceux-ci refusant le monopole de Gazprom et son instrumentalisation politique ainsi que la satellisation de l’Est européen et du Sud-Caucase -, en détournant les flux de pétrole et de gaz russes vers l’Asie-Pacifique. Pourtant, les volumes exportés ne sont en rien comparables. Aussi et surtout, le développement d’une politique active en Asie-Pacifique est limité par la faible présence humaine et économique russe à l’est de l’Oural. Enfin, les ambitions russes dans la région se heurtent à celles de la Chine, qui dispose d’une base de puissance autrement plus consistante, et aux positions solidement constituées des Etats-Unis dans le bassin du Pacifique.

In fine, l’aire privilégiée de la puissance russe demeure l’aire post-soviétique, considérée à Moscou comme son « étranger proche ». Le néo-eurasisme n’est jamais que la projection idéologique des ambitions russes dans la région et de sa volonté de regrouper autour de Moscou la plus grande partie de l’URSS. C’est la raison d’être de l’Union douanière Russie-Biélorussie-Kazakhstan, une structure censée être élargie et transmutée en une Union eurasienne. Le projet est parfois présenté comme le cadre institutionnel à visée économique et commerciale, mais il est éminemment géopolitique. Poutine veut passer à la postérité comme le restaurateur d’une sorte d’union post-soviétique, centrée sur la Russie. Pourtant, le cas de l’Ukraine montre que ce « réunionisme » ne sera pas aisé. L’aire post-soviétique est un pluriversum géopolitique et, si certains des hommes au pouvoir dans les Etats successeurs de l’URSS sont intéressés par des garanties de sécurité, ils n’entendent pas redevenir des commissaires politiques aux ordres du « centre » moscovite. Il sera difficile d’aller au-delà du « club » de régimes autoritaires-patrimoniaux. Jusque dans l’aire post-soviétique, la Russie souffre d’une certaine solitude stratégique, ce que la reconnaissance unilatérale de l’Abkhazie et de l’Ossétie du Sud, en août 2008, a bien montré, aucun Etat de la CEI (Communauté des Etats indépendants) ou de l’OCS (Organisation de coopération de Shanghaï) ne la suivant sur ce chemin. Au vrai, les dirigeants russes en sont conscients et ils en tirent la conclusion suivante : puisqu’ils ne nous aimeront jamais, il faut leur faire peur.

Alexandre Del Valle : Je pense que globalement, on n’observe pas plus de dysfonctionnements dans l’organisation logistique des jeux en Russie qu’ailleurs, car nombre de pays ont eu bien plus de difficultés que la Russie dans le passé, mais ce qui extraordinaire dans la presse occidentale et dans la façon dont les intellectuels, les politiques et les journalistes des pays atlantiques perçoivent et décrivent la Russie de Poutine, est toujours l’absence totale de nuance, le parti-pris, l’a priori systématiquement sceptique ou moqueur, la critique exacerbée. En matière de moyens, il est difficile de dire que la Russie n’a pas eu les moyens de son ambition puisque ces jeux sont les plus chers de l’histoire. Aussi la Russie est-elle dans une situation économique à bien des égards plus favorable que nombre de pays occidentaux, notamment européens, non seulement appauvris par la dette et le chômage mais même à certains égards en voie de tiersmondisation…

Alexandre Melnik : Je comprends qu’en notre époque, noyée dans l’océan des informations instantanées, les médias sont enclins à un tropisme compulsif qui les amène à « zoomer » sur les détails, faciles à visualiser immédiatement, qui peuvent faire le buzz sur les réseaux sociaux. Ce ne sont pas des « préjugés des médias occidentaux » que vous évoquez, mais un nouveau logiciel de fonctionnement de l’ensemble des producteurs et diffuseurs de nouvelles et de commentaires, à l’échelle globale. Dans ce contexte où les flux d’informations s’accélèrent et se télescopent, un anneau qui ne s’allume pas ou l’eau jaunâtre qui coule dans le robinet d’une chambre d’hôtel éclipsent, logiquement, toute réflexion qui exige un recul conceptuel. Or celui-ci est indispensable pour mieux comprendre l’ensemble de la situation ! Car pour s’en forger une idée, il est important de distinguer l’accessoire, qui saute souvent aux yeux, de l’essentiel, plus difficile à décrypter. En l’occurrence, il faut rappeler que l’organisation d’aucun événement d’une ampleur comparable aux Jeux Olympiques, n’est jamais exempte de couacs. La perfection zéro, à ce niveau, n’existe pas. Tous les JO précédents le prouvent. En revanche, ce qui compte, en dernier ressort, c’est le ratio des points forts et faibles, qui doit nous servir de critère final. D’où deux conclusions concernant les jeux de Sotchi.

Primo, le début de ses compétitions démontre un haut niveau des infrastructures sportives, construites en un laps d’un temps historiquement court, avec un évident effort de modernité, au diapason des attentes des athlètes. Sans oublier que la cérémonie d’ouverture, calibrée au millimètre, a réussi à sublimer le temps, l’espace et les aléas idéologiques trop prononcés, en s’inscrivant dans l’esprit de la Russie éternelle, dotée d’une âme, particulièrement colorée et exubérante.

Secundo, il serait erroné, à partir d’une manifestation sportive, d’extrapoler que la Russie d’aujourd’hui possède tous les moyens technologiques de ses ambitions – gigantesques et démesurées, à mon avis – dans la course à la performance globalisée, engagée dans le monde moderne. Ainsi, je note que la quasi-totalité des installations sportives à Sotchi a été réalisée sur la base des technologies occidentales, avec l’implication décisive des architectes et designers étrangers. Ce qui place la Russie devant un défi crucial, somme toute, similaire à celui, auquel sont actuellement confrontés les autres nouveaux challengers de la globalisation (Chine, Brésil, Inde, Turquie, Corée du Sud, etc.), à savoir – comment passer du stade d’imitation des recettes occidentales à celui de réelle innovation, gisement d’une valeur ajoutée radicalement nouvelle. Cette disruptive innovation, la seule qui vaille, est-elle possible dans un pays autoritaire, comme la Russie, qui réduit les libertés publiques et bride l’individu dans son élan créateur ? La réponse à cette question reste ouverte.


Obama: Pire président du siècle ? (Worst president in a hundred years ? – even Carter and Nixon did better !)

29 novembre, 2013
Photo : OBAMA: WORST IN A HUNDRED YEARS ? (even Carter and Nixon did better !)Rankings released by YouGov/Economist show that Ronald Reagan is viewed as the greatest president of the last 100 years, while Obama is viewed as the "biggest failure."The poll asked respondents "to rate each president [since Theodore Roosevelt] in six categories: great, near great, average, below average, failure, and don't know."Results showed that Reagan bested Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) in a tight race for the top spot. 32 percent of the respondents categorized Reagan as "great," while 31 percent labeled FDR "great" and 30 percent chose JFK.When it came to ranking presidents viewed to be a "failure," Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon fared better than Obama. Of those polled, 22 percent of respondents rated Carter a "failure," while 30 percent gave that same ranking to Nixon. But Obama took first place at the bottom of the list, with 37 percent of respondents choosing him as the biggest "failure" of all. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/26/Presidential-Poll-Reagan-The-Best-Obama-The-Worst-In-Last-100-Yearshttp://today.yougov.com/news/2013/11/22/poll-results-presidents/I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.MLKIf Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.Geraldine Ferraro http://jcdurbant.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/presidence-obama-le-droit-detre-aussi-nuls-que-certains-blancs-he-had-a-dream-we-got-a-nightmare/http://jcdurbant.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/presidentielle-americaine-pas-la-couleur-de-leur-peau-mais-la-nature-de-leur-caractere-judged-not-by-the-color-of-their-skin-but-by-the-content-of-their-character/http://www.la-croix.com/var/bayard/storage/images/lacroix/actualite/france/la-france-va-t-elle-si-mal-2013-11-18-1062460/francois_hollande_record_d_impopularite_23823_hd/36462839-1-fre-FR/francois_hollande_record_d_impopularite_23823_hd_lacroix_large.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510E0uz5dRL.jpgCe qui se vit aujourd’hui est une forme de rivalité mimétique à l’échelle planétaire. Lorsque j’ai lu les premiers documents de Ben Laden, constaté ses allusions aux bombes américaines tombées sur le Japon, je me suis senti d’emblée à un niveau qui est au-delà de l’islam, celui de la planète entière. Sous l’étiquette de l’islam, on trouve une volonté de rallier et de mobiliser tout un tiers-monde de frustrés et de victimes dans leurs rapports de rivalité mimétique avec l’Occident. Mais les tours détruites occupaient autant d’étrangers que d’Américains. Et par leur efficacité, par la sophistication des moyens employés, par la connaissance qu’ils avaient des Etats-Unis, par leurs conditions d’entraînement, les auteurs des attentats n’étaient-ils pas un peu américains ? On est en plein mimétisme. René Girard
Le problème n’est pas la sécurité d’Israël, la souveraineté du Liban ou les ingérences de la Syrie ou du Hezbollah : Le problème est centré sur l’effort de l’Iran à obtenir le Droit d’Abolir l’Exclusivité de la Dissuasion. La prolifération sauvage, le concept de «tous nucléaires» sera la fin de la Guerre Froide et le retour à la période précédant la Dissuasion. Les mollahs et leurs alliés, le Venezuela, l’Algérie, la Syrie, la Corée du Nord et la Russie…, se militarisent à une très grande échelle sachant qu’ils vont bientôt neutraliser le parapluie protecteur de la dissuasion et alors ils pourront faire parler la poudre. Chacun visera à dominer sa région et sans que les affrontements se déroulent en Europe, l’Europe sera dépouillée de ses intérêts en Afrique ou en Amérique du Sud et sans combattre, elle devra déposer les armes. Ce qui est incroyable c’est la myopie de la diplomatie française et de ses experts. (…) Aucun d’entre eux ne se doute que la république islamique a des alliés qui ont un objectif commun: mettre un terme à une discrimination qui dure depuis 50 ans, la dissuasion nucléaire ! Cette discrimination assure à la France une position que beaucoup d’états lui envient. Ils attendent avec impatience de pouvoir se mesurer avec cette ancienne puissance coloniale que beaucoup jugent arrogante, suffisante et gourmande. Iran-Resist
Le gouvernement est autorisé de manière unilatérale à empêcher tout élément, qu’il soit spirituel ou matériel, qui constituerait une menace à ses intérêts (…) pour l’islam, les exigences du gouvernement remplacent tous les autres aspects, y compris même la prière, le jeûne et le pèlerinage à la Mecque. Khomeini (1988)
La République islamique sera fondée sur la liberté d’expression et luttera contre toute forme de censure. Khomeyni (Entretien avec Reuters, le 26 octobre 1978.)
Tout ce que vous avez entendu concernant la condition féminine dans la République islamique n’est qu’une propagande hostile. (Dans le futur gouvernement), les femmes seront complètement libres, dans leur éducation et dans tout ce qu’elles feront, tout comme les hommes. Khomeyni (Entretien accordé à un groupe de reporters allemands à Paris, le 12 novembre 1978.)
En 1978, Foucault trouva de telles forces transgressives dans le personnage révolutionnaire de l’ayatollah Khomeiny et des millions de gens qui risquaient la mort en le suivant dans sa Révolution. Il savait que des expériences aussi «limites» pouvaient conduire à de nouvelles formes de créativité et il lui donna son soutien avec ardeur. Janet Afary et Kevin B. Anderson
La révolution iranienne fut en quelque sorte la version islamique et tiers-mondiste de la contre-culture occidentale. Il serait intéressant de mettre en exergue les analogies et les ressemblances que l’on retrouve dans le discours anti-consommateur, anti-technologique et anti-moderne des dirigeants islamiques de celui que l’on découvre chez les protagonistes les plus exaltés de la contre-culture occidentale. Daryiush Shayegan (Les Illusions de l’identité, 1992)
Je rêve que mes quatre petits enfants vivront un jour dans un pays où on ne les jugera pas à la couleur de leur peau mais à la nature de leur caractère. Martin Luther King
Si Obama était blanc, il ne serait pas dans cette position. Et s’il était une femme, il ne serait pas dans cette position. Il a beaucoup de chance d’être ce qu’il est. Et le pays est pris par le concept. Geraldine Ferraro
Ce qui rendait Obama unique, c’est qu’il était le politicien charismatique par excellence – le plus total inconnu à jamais accéder à la présidence aux Etats-Unis. Personne ne savait qui il était, il sortait de nulle part, il avait cette figure incroyable qui l’a catapulté au-dessus de la mêlée, il a annihilé Hillary, pris le contrôle du parti Démocrate et est devenu président. C’est vraiment sans précédent : un jeune inconnu sans histoire, dossiers, associés bien connus, auto-créé. Il y avait une bonne volonté énorme, même moi j’étais aux anges le jour de l’élection, quoique j’aie voté contre lui et me sois opposé à son élection. C’était rédempteur pour un pays qui a commencé dans le péché de l’esclavage de voir le jour, je ne croyais pas personnellement le voir jamais de mon vivant, quand un président noir serait élu. Certes, il n’était pas mon candidat. J’aurais préféré que le premier président noir soit quelqu’un d’idéologiquement plus à mon goût, comme par exemple Colin Powell (que j’ai encouragé à se présenter en 2000) ou Condoleezza Rice. Mais j’étais vraiment fier d’être Américain à la prestation de serment. Je reste fier de ce succès historique. (…) il s’avère qu’il est de gauche, non du centre-droit à la manière de Bill Clinton. L’analogie que je donne est qu’en Amérique nous jouons le jeu entre les lignes des 40 yards, en Europe vous jouez tout le terrain d’une ligne de but à l’autre. Vous avez les partis communistes, vous avez les partis fascistes, nous, on n’a pas ça, on a des partis très centristes. Alors qu’ Obama veut nous pousser aux 30 yards, ce qui pour l’Amérique est vraiment loin. Juste après son élection, il s’est adressé au Congrès et a promis en gros de refaire les piliers de la société américaine — éducation, énergie et soins de santé. Tout ceci déplacerait l’Amérique vers un Etat de type social-démocrate européen, ce qui est en dehors de la norme pour l’Amérique. (…) Obama a mal interprété son mandat. Il a été élu six semaines après un effondrement financier comme il n’y en avait jamais eu en 60 ans ; après huit ans d’une présidence qui avait fatigué le pays; au milieu de deux guerres qui ont fait que le pays s’est opposé au gouvernement républicain qui nous avait lancé dans ces guerres; et contre un adversaire complètement inepte, John McCain. Et pourtant, Obama n’a gagné que par 7 points. Mais il a cru que c’était un grand mandat général et qu’il pourrait mettre en application son ordre du jour social-démocrate. (…) sa vision du monde me semble si naïve que je ne suis même pas sûr qu’il est capable de développer une doctrine. Il a la vision d’un monde régulé par des normes internationales auto-suffisantes, où la paix est gardée par un certain genre de consensus international vague, quelque chose appelé la communauté internationale, qui pour moi est une fiction, via des agences internationales évidemment insatisfaisantes et sans valeur. Je n’éleverais pas ce genre de pensée au niveau d’ une doctrine parce que j’ai trop de respect pour le mot de doctrine. (…) Peut-être que quand il aboutira à rien sur l’Iran, rien sur la Corée du Nord, quand il n’obtiendra rien des Russes en échange de ce qu’il a fait aux Polonais et aux Tchèques, rien dans les négociations de paix au Moyen-Orient – peut-être qu’à ce moment-là, il commencera à se demander si le monde fonctionne vraiment selon des normes internationales, le consensus et la douceur et la lumière ou s’il repose sur la base de la puissance américaine et occidentale qui, au bout du compte, garantit la paix. (…) Henry Kissinger a dit une fois que la paix peut être réalisée seulement de deux manières : l’hégémonie ou l’équilibre des forces. Ca, c’est du vrai réalisme. Ce que l’administration Obama prétend être du réalisme est du non-sens naïf. Charles Krauthammer (oct. 2009)
Selon un sondage publié par YouGov/économiste, Ronald Reagan est perçu comme le plus grand président des 100 dernières années, même si Obama est considéré comme le « plus grand échec ». Le sondage demandait aux répondants "de coter chaque Président [depuis Theodore Roosevelt] dans six catégories : grand, près de grand, moyen, inférieur à la moyenne, échec et ne sais pas." Les résultats ont montré que Reagan a battu Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) et John F. Kennedy (JFK) dans une course serrée pour la première place. 32 % des répondants catégorisé Reagan comme « grand », tandis que 31 pour cent étiqueté FDR « grand » et 30 % ont choisi JFK. Quant aux classement des présidents perçus comme des "échecs", Jimmy Carter et Richard Nixon ont fait mieux qu’ Obama. Pour 22% des répondants,  Carter était un "échec", tandis que 30% attribuait le même qualificatif à Nixon. Mais c’est Obama qui a pris la première place au bas de la liste, avec 37 % des personnes interrogées le choisissant comme le plus grand "échec" de tous. Charles Breitbart
Jamais un président de la République n’avait suscité autant de mécontentements. Avec 20 % de satisfaits et 79 % de mécontents dans le dernier baromètre Ifop-JDD, François Hollande bat le record d’impopularité d’un chef de l’État détenu jusque-là par François Mitterrand. La Croix
The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts — a year, an era — the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point. Mr. Obama gave voice to this sentiment in a speech on Nov. 6 in Dallas: "Sometimes I worry because everybody had such a fun experience in ’08, at least that’s how it seemed in retrospect. And, ‘yes we can,’ and the slogans and the posters, et cetera, sometimes I worry that people forget change in this country has always been hard." It’s a pity we can’t stay in that moment, says the redeemer: The fault lies in the country itself — everywhere, that is, except in the magician’s performance. (…) Five years on, we can still recall how the Obama coalition was formed. There were the African-Americans justifiably proud of one of their own. There were upper-class white professionals who were drawn to the candidate’s "cool." There were Latinos swayed by the promise of immigration reform. The white working class in the Rust Belt was the last bloc to embrace Mr. Obama—he wasn’t one of them, but they put their reservations aside during an economic storm and voted for the redistributive state and its protections. There were no economic or cultural bonds among this coalition. There was the new leader, all things to all people. A nemesis awaited the promise of this new presidency: Mr. Obama would turn out to be among the most polarizing of American leaders. No, it wasn’t his race, as Harry Reid would contend, that stirred up the opposition to him. It was his exalted views of himself, and his mission. The sharp lines were sharp between those who raised his banners and those who objected to his policies. (…) A leader who set out to remake the health-care system in the country, a sixth of the national economy, on a razor-thin majority with no support whatsoever from the opposition party, misunderstood the nature of democratic politics. An election victory is the beginning of things, not the culmination. With Air Force One and the other prerogatives of office come the need for compromise, and for the disputations of democracy. A president who sought consensus would have never left his agenda on Capitol Hill in the hands of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Mr. Obama has shown scant regard for precedent in American history. To him, and to the coterie around him, his presidency was a radical discontinuity in American politics. There is no evidence in the record that Mr. Obama read, with discernment and appreciation, of the ordeal and struggles of his predecessors. At best there was a willful reading of that history. Early on, he was Abraham Lincoln resurrected (the new president, who hailed from Illinois, took the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible). He had been sworn in during an economic crisis, and thus he was FDR restored to the White House. He was stylish with two young children, so the Kennedy precedent was on offer. In the oddest of twists, Mr. Obama claimed that his foreign policy was in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower’s. But Eisenhower knew war and peace, and the foreign world held him in high regard. During his first campaign, Mr. Obama had paid tribute to Ronald Reagan as a "transformational" president and hinted that he aspired to a presidency of that kind. But the Reagan presidency was about America, and never about Ronald Reagan. Reagan was never a scold or a narcissist. He stood in awe of America, and of its capacity for renewal. There was forgiveness in Reagan, right alongside the belief in the things that mattered about America—free people charting their own path. If Barack Obama seems like a man alone, with nervous Democrats up for re-election next year running for cover, and away from him, this was the world he made. No advisers of stature can question his policies; the price of access in the Obama court is quiescence before the leader’s will. The imperial presidency is in full bloom. There are no stars in the Obama cabinet today, men and women of independent stature and outlook. It was after a walk on the White House grounds with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, that Mr. Obama called off the attacks on the Syrian regime that he had threatened. If he had taken that walk with Henry Kissinger or George Shultz, one of those skilled statesmen might have explained to him the consequences of so abject a retreat. But Mr. Obama needs no sage advice, he rules through political handlers. Valerie Jarrett, the president’s most trusted, probably most powerful, aide, once said in admiration that Mr. Obama has been bored his whole life. The implication was that he is above things, a man alone, and anointed. Perhaps this moment—a presidency coming apart, the incompetent social engineering of an entire health-care system—will now claim Mr. Obama’s attention. Fouad Ajami
Les lamentations sur ce qui est advenu de la politique étrangère américaine au Moyen-Orient passent à côté de l’essentiel.  Le plus remarquable concernant la diplomatie du président Obama dans la région, c’est qu’elle est revenue au point de départ – jusqu’au début de sa présidence. La promesse d’ "ouverture"  vers l’Iran, l’indulgence envers la tyrannie de Bashar Assad en Syrie, l’abandon des gains américains en Irak et le malaise systématique à l’égard d’Israël — tels étaient les traits distinctifs de l’approche du nouveau président en politique étrangère. A présent, nous ne faisons qu’assister aux conséquences alarmantes d’une perspective aussi malavisée que naïve. Fouad Ajami

Pire président du siècle ?

Alors qu’après un an à peine de sa réélection et au lendemain d’un prétendu accord, digne de Münich, avec les autocrates iraniens …

Un sondage place le Kennedy noir (qui a certes encore 100 ans pour se racheter – Reagan lui-même actuellement au pinacle de la popularité était loin de l’être à la fin de son deuxième mandat) …

Au rang de plus mauvais président américain du siècle (même Clinton et Nixon font mieux !) ..

Pendant qu’en comparaison, au 50e anniversaire de son assassinat, le vrai président Kennedy apparait plus que jamais pour le centriste qu’il était réellement …

Et qu’en France notre Obama blanc à nous en rajoute chaque jour un peu plus (jusqu’à, crise en début de mandat oblige, être réélu en 2017?) dans son incroyable gémellité

Comment ne pas être frappé avec le politologue libano-américain Fouad Ajami …

Tant de la remarquable cohérence de l’approche même qui avait dès le départ fait son charme et son élection …

Que, face à la redoutable sophistication de l’islamisme actuel, l’incroyable naïveté de ladite approche ?

When the Obama Magic Died
There were no economic or cultural bonds among his coalition. He was all things to all people. Charisma ruled.
Fouad Ajami
The WSJ
Nov. 14, 2013

The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama’s policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point.

Mr. Obama gave voice to this sentiment in a speech on Nov. 6 in Dallas: "Sometimes I worry because everybody had such a fun experience in ’08, at least that’s how it seemed in retrospect. And, ‘yes we can,’ and the slogans and the posters, et cetera, sometimes I worry that people forget change in this country has always been hard." It’s a pity we can’t stay in that moment, says the redeemer: The fault lies in the country itself—everywhere, that is, except in the magician’s performance.

Forgive the personal reference, but from the very beginning of Mr. Obama’s astonishing rise, I felt that I was witnessing something old and familiar. My advantage owed nothing to any mastery of American political history. I was guided by my immersion in the political history of the Arab world and of a life studying Third World societies.

In 2008, seeing the Obama crowds in Portland, Denver and St. Louis spurred memories of the spectacles that had attended the rise and fall of Arab political pretenders. I had lived through the era of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser. He had emerged from a military cabal to become a demigod, immune to judgment. His followers clung to him even as he led the Arabs to a catastrophic military defeat in the Six Day War of 1967. He issued a kind of apology for his performance. But his reign was never about policies and performance. It was about political magic.

In trying to grapple with, and write about, the Obama phenomenon, I found guidance in a book of breathtaking erudition, "Crowds and Power" (1962) by the Nobel laureate Elias Canetti. Born in Bulgaria in 1905 and educated in Vienna and Britain, Canetti was unmatched in his understanding of the passions, and the delusions, of crowds. The crowd is a "mysterious and universal phenomenon," he writes. It forms where there was nothing before. There comes a moment when "all who belong to the crowd get rid of their difference and feel equal." Density gives the illusion of equality, a blessed moment when "no one is greater or better than another." But the crowd also has a presentiment of its own disintegration, a time when those who belong to the crowd "creep back under their private burdens."

Five years on, we can still recall how the Obama coalition was formed. There were the African-Americans justifiably proud of one of their own. There were upper-class white professionals who were drawn to the candidate’s "cool." There were Latinos swayed by the promise of immigration reform. The white working class in the Rust Belt was the last bloc to embrace Mr. Obama—he wasn’t one of them, but they put their reservations aside during an economic storm and voted for the redistributive state and its protections. There were no economic or cultural bonds among this coalition. There was the new leader, all things to all people.

A nemesis awaited the promise of this new presidency: Mr. Obama would turn out to be among the most polarizing of American leaders. No, it wasn’t his race, as Harry Reid would contend, that stirred up the opposition to him. It was his exalted views of himself, and his mission. The sharp lines were sharp between those who raised his banners and those who objected to his policies.

America holds presidential elections, we know. But Mr. Obama took his victory as a plebiscite on his reading of the American social contract. A president who constantly reminded his critics that he had won at the ballot box was bound to deepen the opposition of his critics.

A leader who set out to remake the health-care system in the country, a sixth of the national economy, on a razor-thin majority with no support whatsoever from the opposition party, misunderstood the nature of democratic politics. An election victory is the beginning of things, not the culmination. With Air Force One and the other prerogatives of office come the need for compromise, and for the disputations of democracy. A president who sought consensus would have never left his agenda on Capitol Hill in the hands of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Mr. Obama has shown scant regard for precedent in American history. To him, and to the coterie around him, his presidency was a radical discontinuity in American politics. There is no evidence in the record that Mr. Obama read, with discernment and appreciation, of the ordeal and struggles of his predecessors. At best there was a willful reading of that history. Early on, he was Abraham Lincoln resurrected (the new president, who hailed from Illinois, took the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible). He had been sworn in during an economic crisis, and thus he was FDR restored to the White House. He was stylish with two young children, so the Kennedy precedent was on offer.

In the oddest of twists, Mr. Obama claimed that his foreign policy was in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower’s . But Eisenhower knew war and peace, and the foreign world held him in high regard.

During his first campaign, Mr. Obama had paid tribute to Ronald Reagan as a "transformational" president and hinted that he aspired to a presidency of that kind. But the Reagan presidency was about America, and never about Ronald Reagan. Reagan was never a scold or a narcissist. He stood in awe of America, and of its capacity for renewal. There was forgiveness in Reagan, right alongside the belief in the things that mattered about America—free people charting their own path.

If Barack Obama seems like a man alone, with nervous Democrats up for re-election next year running for cover, and away from him, this was the world he made. No advisers of stature can question his policies; the price of access in the Obama court is quiescence before the leader’s will. The imperial presidency is in full bloom.

There are no stars in the Obama cabinet today, men and women of independent stature and outlook. It was after a walk on the White House grounds with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, that Mr. Obama called off the attacks on the Syrian regime that he had threatened. If he had taken that walk with Henry Kissinger or George Shultz, one of those skilled statesmen might have explained to him the consequences of so abject a retreat. But Mr. Obama needs no sage advice, he rules through political handlers.

Valerie Jarrett, the president’s most trusted, probably most powerful, aide, once said in admiration that Mr. Obama has been bored his whole life. The implication was that he is above things, a man alone, and anointed. Perhaps this moment—a presidency coming apart, the incompetent social engineering of an entire health-care system—will now claim Mr. Obama’s attention.

— Mr. Ajami, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, is the author, most recently, of "The Syrian Rebellion" (Hoover Press, 2012).

Voir aussi:

A Lawyer Lost in a Region of Thugs

Obama’s foreign policy has been consistent from its first day: Let us reason together.

Fouad Ajami

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 23, 2013

Lamentations about what has become of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East miss the point. The remarkable thing about President Obama’s diplomacy in the region is that it has come full circle—to the very beginning of his presidency. The promised "opening" to Iran, the pass given to Bashar Assad’s tyranny in Syria, the abdication of the American gains in Iraq and a reflexive unease with Israel—these were hallmarks of the new president’s approach to foreign policy.

Now we are simply witnessing the alarming consequences of such a misguided, naïve outlook.

Consider this bit of euphoria from a senior Obama administration official after the Oct. 16-17 negotiations in Geneva with the Iranians over their nuclear program: "I’ve been doing this now for about two years, and I have never had such intense, detailed, straightforward, candid conversations with the Iranian delegation before."

In Iran, especially, Mr. Obama believed that he would work his unique diplomatic magic. If Tehran was hostile to U.S. interests, if Iran had done its best to frustrate the war in Iraq, to proclaim a fierce ideological war against Israel’s place in the region and its very legitimacy as a state, the fault lay, Mr. Obama seemed to believe, with the policies of his predecessors.

When antiregime protests roiled Iran in Mr. Obama’s first summer as president, he stood locked in the vacuum of his own ideas. He remained aloof as the Green Movement defied prohibitive odds to challenge the theocracy. The protesters had no friend in Mr. Obama. He was dismissive, vainly hoping that the cruel rulers would accept the olive branch he had extended to them.

No one asked the fledgling American president to dispatch U.S. forces into the streets of Tehran, but the indifference he displayed to the cause of Iranian freedom was a strategic and moral failure. Iran’s theocrats gave nothing in return for that favor. They pushed on with their nuclear program, they kept up the proxy war against U.S. forces in Iraq, they pushed deeper into Arab affairs, positioning themselves, through their proxies, as a power of the Mediterranean. This should have been Mr. Obama’s Persian tutorial. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had no interest in a thaw with the Great Satan.

Yet last month at the United Nations Mr. Obama hailed Khamenei for issuing a "fatwa" against his country’s development of nuclear weapons. Even though there is no evidence that any such fatwa exists, the notion that the Iranian regime is governed by religious edict is naïve in the extreme. Muslims know—unlike the president, apparently—that fatwas can be issued and abandoned at the whim of those who pronounce them. In any event, Khamenei is not a religious scholar sitting atop Iran’s theocracy. He is an apparatchik. As the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself put it in 1988, when his regime was reeling from a drawn-out war with Iraq: "Our government has priority over all other Islamic tenets, even over prayer, fasting and the pilgrimage to Mecca."

We must not underestimate the tenacity of this regime and its will to rule. We should see through the rosy Twitter messages of President Hasan Rouhani, and the PowerPoint presentations of his foreign minister, Mohammed Jawad Zarif. These men carry out the writ of the supreme leader and can only go as far as the limit drawn by the Revolutionary Guard.

In a lawyerly way, the Obama administration has isolated the nuclear issue from the broader context of Iran’s behavior in the region. A new dawn in the history of the theocracy has been proclaimed, but we will ultimately discover that Iran’s rulers are hellbent on pursuing a nuclear-weapons program while trying to rid themselves of economic sanctions.

True, the sanctions have had their own power, but they haven’t stopped Iran from aiding the murderous Assad regime in Syria, or subsidizing Hezbollah in Beirut. And they will not dissuade this regime from its pursuit of nuclear weapons. In dictatorial regimes, the pain of sanctions is passed onto the underclass and the vulnerable.

Just as he has with Iran, President Obama now takes a lawyerly approach to Syria, isolating Assad’s use of chemical weapons from his slaughter of his own people by more conventional means. The president’s fecklessness regarding Syria—the weakness displayed when he disregarded his own "red line" on Assad’s use of chemical weapons—was a gift to the Iranian regime. The mullahs now know that their nuclear program, a quarter-century in the making, will not have to be surrendered in any set of negotiations. No American demand will be backed by force or even by force of will.

The gullibility of Mr. Obama’s pursuit of an opening with Iran has unsettled America’s allies in the region. In Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates there is a powerful feeling of abandonment. In Israel, there is the bitter realization that America’s strongest ally in the region is now made to look like the final holdout against a blissful era of compromise that will calm a turbulent region. A sound U.S. diplomatic course with Iran would never have run so far ahead of Israel’s interests and of the region’s moderate anti- Iranian Arab coalition.

In Washington, the threats represented by Tehran’s theocrats are forgotten in this time of undue optimism, as is the Assad regime’s continued barbarity. With the Russian-brokered "deal" on Syria’s chemical weapons, Mr. Obama has merely draped American abdication in the garb of reason and prudence.

Those who run the Islamic Republic of Iran and its nuclear program, like most others in the region, have taken the full measure of this American president. They sense his desperate need for a victory—or anything that can be passed off as one.

Mr. Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and the author most recently of "The Syrian Rebellion" (Hoover Press, 2012).

Voir aussi:

Presidential Poll: Reagan Best, Obama Worst in Last 100 Years

AWR Hawkins

27 Nov 2013

Rankings released by YouGov/Economist show that Ronald Reagan is viewed as the greatest president of the last 100 years, while Obama is viewed as the "biggest failure."

The poll asked respondents "to rate each president [since Theodore Roosevelt] in six categories: great, near great, average, below average, failure, and don’t know."

Results showed that Reagan bested Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) in a tight race for the top spot. 32 percent of the respondents categorized Reagan as "great," while 31 percent labeled FDR "great" and 30 percent chose JFK.

When it came to ranking presidents viewed to be a "failure," Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon fared better than Obama.

Of those polled, 22 percent of respondents rated Carter a "failure," while 30 percent gave that same ranking to Nixon. But Obama took first place at the bottom of the list, with 37 percent of respondents choosing him as the biggest "failure" of all.

Rankings released by YouGov/Economist show that Ronald Reagan is viewed as the greatest president of the last 100 years, while Obama is viewed as the "biggest failure."

The poll asked respondents "to rate each president [since Theodore Roosevelt] in six categories: great, near great, average, below average, failure, and don’t know."

Results showed that Reagan bested Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) in a tight race for the top spot. 32 percent of the respondents categorized Reagan as "great," while 31 percent labeled FDR "great" and 30 percent chose JFK.

When it came to ranking presidents viewed to be a "failure," Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon fared better than Obama.

Of those polled, 22 percent of respondents rated Carter a "failure," while 30 percent gave that same ranking to Nixon. But Obama took first place at the bottom of the list, with 37 percent of respondents choosing him as the biggest "failure" of all.

Voir également:

JFK Museum Updates Exhibit Following Complaints by Conservative Author

Author: JFK was ‘tax-cutting, pro-growth politician’

October 18, 2013

The John F. Kennedy museum in Dallas told the Washington Free Beacon that it is planning to “completely update and revise” its permanent exhibit after a historian accused it of falsely depicting the 35th president as a big-government liberal.

Ira Stoll, author of JFK, Conservative, called on the Sixth Floor Museum last month to revise alleged “inaccuracies” in its exhibit regarding Kennedy’s views on social programs, the federal deficit, and tax policy.

The Sixth Floor Museum chronicles Kennedy’s legacy and his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Nicola Longford, executive director of the Sixth Floor Museum, said the permanent exhibit is 25 years old and in need of updating. She said the institution is planning a major overhaul after the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination next month.

“While Mr. Stoll has taken issues with the content of a few exhibit text panels, and encouraged priority attention for substantial updating and revision, it bears stating that this exhibit text is almost 25 years old,” said Longford. “Clearly the world has changed dramatically during this quarter century and now half century since the assassination.”

She added that the museum’s “intent has always been to completely update and revise our core exhibit post fiftieth anniversary (November 2013) and it is at this time that we will carefully review and consider all comments and recommendations.”

Stoll wrote in a letter to Longford that he was “troubled by some passages of the permanent exhibit text about Kennedy and his administration that struck me as inaccurate or misleading.”

He disputed the exhibit’s claim that “massive new social programs were central to Kennedy’s New Frontier philosophy,” calling it “just not true.”

“Kennedy was against ‘massive new social programs,’” wrote Stoll. “Kennedy described his own Medicare plan, accurately, not as ‘massive’ but rather as ‘a very modest proposal.’ And, as [Arthur] Schlesinger [Jr.] noted, he chose not to fight for even that.”

Stoll also took issue with a passage that refers to Kennedy’s “philosophy of using induced deficits to encourage domestic fiscal growth became a mainstay of American government under later administrations, both Democratic and Republican.”

According to Stoll, “Kennedy’s recipe for growth was not a deficit; it was a tax cut that, both by changing incentives and by putting more money in the hands of the private sector, would yield growth that would ultimately narrow the deficit by increasing federal revenues.”

Additionally, the exhibit discusses the positions of one of Kennedy’s liberal economic advisors, Walter Heller, without mentioning the views of Kennedy’s “more conservative Treasury Secretary, Douglas Dillon,” wrote Stoll.

He said Kennedy’s own statements and actual policies hewed closer to the conservative view.

“As for the idea that Kennedy’s deficits were a ‘radical departure’ from [President Dwight] Eisenhower’s balanced budgets, that is not supported by the evidence,” wrote Stoll. “Kennedy’s annual deficits—$3.3 billion in 1961, $7.1 billion in 1962, and $4.8 billion in 1963—were modest by modern standards and as a percentage of GDP.”

When contacted by the Free Beacon on Friday, Stoll praised the museum’s response to his letter.

“I’m thrilled to learn that, after receiving my letter based on the research in my book, JFK, Conservative, calling inaccuracies to their attention, the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas has announced plans to revise its exhibit text panels,” he said. “I hope the new exhibit text portrays JFK as closer to the real JFK I describe in my book—a tax-cutting, pro-growth politician who favored welfare reform, free trade, domestic spending restraint, and a balanced budget over the course of the business cycle.”

Stoll’s book, JFK, Conservative, was released on Oct. 15. It argues that the 35th president, idolized by liberal Democrats, was actually a conservative on economic and national security issues.

Voir encore:

John Fitzgerald Bush

The New York Sun

January 20, 2005

As President Bush prepared for his second inaugural, we settled down with an illuminating new book called "Ask Not," written by a historian, Thurston Clark, about the inaugural address of President Kennedy. That is the speech in which the 35th president declared the most fundamental belief of his tenure, one for which the 43rd president has been mocked for reiterating so often – that, as JFK put it, "the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."

One of the points that Mr. Clark makes in the book, and that was reiterated in an op-ed article in Saturday’s number of the Times, is that part of the power of Kennedy’s speech came from its autobiographical nature. When he spoke of the torch being passed "to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage," he was speaking of his own life in a literal way.

That passage was followed by the new president’s most famous vow: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." This is the phrasing that inspired our expedition in Vietnam and that has stuck in the minds of millions over the years. It is against that declaration that American politics seems to be at such an ironical pass.

For in the election just ended, it was the Republican who, while so different in style, carried the substance of these sentiments to the voters, while it was the Democrat, Senator Kerry, who, while affecting so many similarities of the Kennedy style, campaigned to repudiate these sentiments. It was President Bush who fought for and won the $87 billion in funding for our troops in Iraq that became the symbol of this issue, and it was Senator Kerry, another Massachusetts Democrat, who voted against it and, incidentally, who went on to argue for a more pragmatic, less idealistic foreign policy.

When did this happen? When was the moment at which the Democrats relinquished the mantle of leadership in the struggle for the success of liberty? When, and how? Some say it was relinquished at the Bay of Pigs or, later, during the Cuban missile crisis, when, it turns out, Kennedy signaled he would pull American missiles out of Turkey if the Russians retreated in Cuba. Others reckon Kennedy relinquished the mantle when he authorized the coup that led to the murder of President Diem in South Vietnam.

Others might say that the default came the year President Johnson ran against Senator Goldwater, when LBJ mocked the conservative with the famous advertisement showing a little girl plucking petals from a daisy until an atomic bomb went off. It ushered in an era when the Democrats sought to be perceived as less likely to risk all in the war with the Soviet Union. Still others might suggest the tipping point came when Johnson chose not to run, rather than to see out the fight in Vietnam.

Nixon failed to pick up the mantle. His presidency was marked by retreat in Vietnam and detente with the Soviet Union. He truckled to the Red Chinese. President Carter sounded some of the noblest themes ever uttered by a president, such as his Notre Dame speech, where he marked the point that the great democracies of the world were not free because they were rich but rich because they were free. He engaged, through proxies, the Soviets in Afghanistan. But he kissed Brezhnev and turned his human rights rhetoric against America and the flaws of our allies.

It fell onto Reagan’s shoulders to pick up the mantle of leadership in the global fight for freedom. He abandoned the idea of peaceful coexistence and initiated the rollback that brought the defeat of Soviet Russia, the unification of Germany, and the expansion of democracy in Central America and Africa. It was a vast and sophisticated leadership, involving a rebuilding of the defense budget, the backing of the twilight wars, a brilliant fight against the Sandinistas and other communistic regimes in Central America and the Caribbean, and the greatest presidential act of the 20th century, walking away from the brink of appeasement at Reykjavik.

President Bush turned out to be a transitional figure, and President Clinton lacked the biography that Professor Clark teaches was so important to Kennedy’s inaugural. He was a child of the peace movement, who, in the most desperate hours of the fight for freedom in Southeast Asia, failed to report. As president, he was prepared to use force, at least from the air, as he showed in the Balkans. But he was not a master of it, and he was by instinct a conciliator. He failed to enforce United Nations sanctions in Iraq. Toward the end of his presidency, he made a trip to Vietnam and, en route, told the Associated Press that he had a better grasp now than he once did of what Johnson faced.

It was not until war was brought to our shores on September 11 that America was confronted with a test that a president could not dodge, which is how George W. Bush came to prove the point JFK was making when he said, "In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger." The energy, the faith, the devotion which Americans bring to this endeavor would, Kennedy said, light our country and all who serve it and light the world. And he issued his exhortation to his fellow Americans: "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."

JFK Museum Updates Exhibit Following Complaints by Conservative Author

Author: JFK was ‘tax-cutting, pro-growth politician’

BY: Alana Goodman Follow @alanagoodman

October 18, 2013 5:10 pm

The John F. Kennedy museum in Dallas told the Washington Free Beacon that it is planning to “completely update and revise” its permanent exhibit after a historian accused it of falsely depicting the 35th president as a big-government liberal.

Ira Stoll, author of JFK, Conservative, called on the Sixth Floor Museum last month to revise alleged “inaccuracies” in its exhibit regarding Kennedy’s views on social programs, the federal deficit, and tax policy.

The Sixth Floor Museum chronicles Kennedy’s legacy and his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Nicola Longford, executive director of the Sixth Floor Museum, said the permanent exhibit is 25 years old and in need of updating. She said the institution is planning a major overhaul after the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination next Tuesday.

“While Mr. Stoll has taken issues with the content of a few exhibit text panels, and encouraged priority attention for substantial updating and revision, it bears stating that this exhibit text is almost 25 years old,” said Longford. “Clearly the world has changed dramatically during this quarter century and now half century since the assassination.”

She added that the museum’s “intent has always been to completely update and revise our core exhibit post fiftieth anniversary (November 2013) and it is at this time that we will carefully review and consider all comments and recommendations.”

Stoll wrote in a letter to Longford that he was “troubled by some passages of the permanent exhibit text about Kennedy and his administration that struck me as inaccurate or misleading.”

He disputed the exhibit’s claim that “massive new social programs were central to Kennedy’s New Frontier philosophy,” calling it “just not true.”

“Kennedy was against ‘massive new social programs,’” wrote Stoll. “Kennedy described his own Medicare plan, accurately, not as ‘massive’ but rather as ‘a very modest proposal.’ And, as [Arthur] Schlesinger [Jr.] noted, he chose not to fight for even that.”

Stoll also took issue with a passage that refers to Kennedy’s “philosophy of using induced deficits to encourage domestic fiscal growth became a mainstay of American government under later administrations, both Democratic and Republican.”

According to Stoll, “Kennedy’s recipe for growth was not a deficit; it was a tax cut that, both by changing incentives and by putting more money in the hands of the private sector, would yield growth that would ultimately narrow the deficit by increasing federal revenues.”

Additionally, the exhibit discusses the positions of one of Kennedy’s liberal economic advisors, Walter Heller, without mentioning the views of Kennedy’s “more conservative Treasury Secretary, Douglas Dillon,” wrote Stoll.

He said Kennedy’s own statements and actual policies hewed closer to the conservative view.

“As for the idea that Kennedy’s deficits were a ‘radical departure’ from [President Dwight] Eisenhower’s balanced budgets, that is not supported by the evidence,” wrote Stoll. “Kennedy’s annual deficits—$3.3 billion in 1961, $7.1 billion in 1962, and $4.8 billion in 1963—were modest by modern standards and as a percentage of GDP.”

When contacted by the Free Beacon on Friday, Stoll praised the museum’s response to his letter.

“I’m thrilled to learn that, after receiving my letter based on the research in my book, JFK, Conservative, calling inaccuracies to their attention, the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas has announced plans to revise its exhibit text panels,” he said. “I hope the new exhibit text portrays JFK as closer to the real JFK I describe in my book—a tax-cutting, pro-growth politician who favored welfare reform, free trade, domestic spending restraint, and a balanced budget over the course of the business cycle.”

Stoll’s book, JFK, Conservative, was released on Oct. 15. It argues that the 35th president, idolized by liberal Democrats, was actually a conservative on economic and national security issues.

——

JFK Conservative

By Ira Stoll from the October 2013 issue

It’s time to re-evaluate the legacy of our 35th president.

“I’d be very happy to tell them I’m not a liberal at all.” — John F. Kennedy, 1953

THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF John Fitzgerald Kennedy after the July 4, 1946, speech at Boston’s Faneuil Hall caution of the hazards of drawing too many conclusions from a single talk. His mother, Rose Kennedy, in pearls and a floral print dress, clings to his left arm. His grandmother, Mary Fitzgerald, clings to his right arm. His speech is rolled up in his hand like a baton. His grandfather, John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, a former congressman and mayor of Boston who had been the principal speaker on the same platform exactly 50 years earlier, looks dapper in a bow tie. As for Kennedy himself, the broad white smile is unmistakable, but the skinny young man in a jacket and tie, surrounded by proud and doting elderly relatives, looks less like a fully formed professional politician than like a high school valedictorian on graduation day.

So if, to contemporary ears, the language—his references to “Christian morality” and the “right of the individual against the state,” or his attack on the “cynical philosophy of many of our intellectuals”—seems off-key for a president who has become an icon of liberalism, there is no shortage of possible explanations. Perhaps it was the immature speech of a twenty-something who changed his views as he got older. Perhaps the young politician was led astray by a speechwriter with strong views of his own. This, though, is unlikely. Kennedy’s White House spokesman, Pierre Salinger, recalled, “Actually, speeches were not written for the president but with him. He knew what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it. The role of the speech writer was to organize JFK’s thoughts into a rough draft, on which he himself would put the final touches. His revisions would often change it dramatically.” Kennedy’s secretary in the Senate and in the White House, Evelyn Lincoln, remembered, “He usually dictated a rough draft of his speeches.” Though Salinger and Lincoln joined Kennedy’s staff some years after 1946, marks on drafts of his speeches from this earlier period show a Kennedy who was more than capable of editing either speechwriters’ or his own drafts.

Kennedy’s secretary from 1947 to 1952, Mary Davis, in an oral history interview that at times is quite negative about Kennedy (“a spoiled young man”), recalls:

When he wanted to write a speech he did it, most of it. I would say 99 percent of that was done by JFK himself. I can remember first time he ever called me in—I even forget what the speech was going to be on, but it was going to be a major speech, one of his first major speeches. And I thought, “Oh, oh, this young, green congressman. What’s he going to do?” No preparation. He called me in and he says, “I think we’d better get to work on the speech.” And I said “Okay, fine.” And I thought he was going to stumble around, and he’ll er, ah, um.

I was never so startled in my life. He sat back in his chair, and it just flowed right out.

Salinger, Lincoln, and other Kennedy aides from the presidential years may have had an interest in inflating the late president’s reputation so as to enhance, by association, their own. But here their testimony seems to match that of Davis, who quit working for Kennedy following a dispute over her salary.

Was Kennedy’s July 4, 1946, speech simply a case of political pandering? Probably not. Less than a month before, Kennedy had won the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 11th Congressional District. It was a reliably Democratic district, and if the candidate was trying to appeal to independent or Republican crossover voters, a speech on a holiday weekend, months before the November election, would have been an odd vehicle. Perhaps Kennedy’s words were just rhetoric from a hypocritical politician who, once in office, would, in his public actions and private behavior, disregard them. Maybe the stress on religion was convenient Cold War shorthand for anticommunism, a way of drawing a contrast between the United States and the atheistic Soviet Union, or a way for an ambitious Catholic to reassure and win the trust of Protestant voters.

Maybe, just maybe—and here is the most dramatic and intriguing possibility of them all—Kennedy actually, deeply believed what he said, and would go on to serve as a congressman and senator and president of the United States according to those principles. He would take a hard line against communism in China, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, Vietnam, and even in America’s own labor unions, weathering protests and criticisms from academia, European intellectuals, and left-wing journalists. He would be supported personally in this struggle by his own strong religious faith, and he would often refer publicly to God and to America’s religious history in his most powerful and important speeches. On the home front, Kennedy cut taxes and restrained government spending in marked contrast with Lyndon Johnson’s subsequent War on Poverty.

Another aide to Kennedy, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., reports that one night Kennedy remarked to him, “Liberalism and conservatism are categories of the thirties, and they don’t apply any more.” But of course they did, and they still do. The liberalism and conservatism of our two chief political parties have shifted over time, and it is hard for us to remember liberal Republicans or truly conservative Democrats. Yet Kennedy’s actions—his tax cuts, his domestic spending restraint, his military buildup, his pro-growth economic policy, his emphasis on free trade and a strong dollar, and his foreign policy driven by the idea that America had a God-given mission to defend freedom—make him, by the standards of both his time and our own, a conservative.

WHAT I TAKE to be the truth about John Kennedy and his conservatism has, in the years since he died, been forgotten. This is partly because of the work of liberal historians and partly due to changes in America’s major political parties. Yet calling Kennedy a conservative was hardly controversial during his lifetime. “A Kennedy Runs for Congress: The Boston-bred scion of a former ambassador is a fighting-Irish conservative,”Look headlined an article in June 1946. “When young, wealthy and conservative John Fitzgerald Kennedy announced for Congress, many people wondered why,” the story began. “Hardly a liberal even by his own standards, Kennedy is mainly concerned by what appears to him as the coming struggle between collectivism and capitalism. In speech after speech he charges his audience ‘to battle for the old ideas with the same enthusiasm that people have for new ideas.’”

The Chicago Tribune reported Kennedy’s election to the U.S. Senate in 1952 by describing him as a “fighting conservative.” In a June 1953 Saturday Evening Post article, Kennedy said, “I’d be very happy to tell them I’m not a liberal at all,” adding, speaking of liberals, “I’m not comfortable with those people.” In 1958, Eleanor Roosevelt was asked in a television interview what she would do if she had to choose between a “conservative Democrat like Kennedy and a liberal Republican [like] Rockefeller.” She said she would do all she possibly could to make sure the Democrats did not nominate a candidate like Kennedy.

On the campaign trail before the 1960 election, Kennedy spoke about economics: “We should seek a balanced budget over the course of the business cycle with surpluses during good times more than offsetting the deficits which may be incurred during slumps. I submit that this is not a radical fiscal policy. It is a conservative policy.” This wasn’t just campaign rhetoric—Kennedy kept his distance from liberalism right up until his assassination. “Why are some ‘liberals’ cool to the Kennedy Administration?” Newsweek asked in April 1962. The article went on to explain: “the liberal credentials of young Senator Kennedy never were impeccable…He never was really one of the visceral liberals…many liberal thinkers never felt close to him.”

Even after Kennedy’s death, the “conservative” label was used to describe the late president and his policies by some of those who knew him best. One campaign staffer and congressional aide, William Sutton, described Kennedy’s political stance in the 1946 campaign as “almost ultraconservative.” “He was more conservative than anything else,” said a Navy friend of Kennedy’s, James Reed, who went on to serve Kennedy’s assistant Treasury secretary and who had talked for “many hours” with the young Kennedy about fiscal and economic matters. Another of Kennedy’s friends, the Washington columnist Joseph Alsop, echoed these sentiments in a 1964 interview:

The thing that’s very important to remember about the president was that he was not, in the most marked way, he was not a member of the modern, Democratic, liberal group. He had real—contempt I’m afraid is the right word—for the members of that group in the Senate, or most of them…What he disliked—and here again we’ve often talked about it—was the sort of posturing, attitude-striking, never getting anything done liberalism…This viewpoint was completely foreign to Kennedy, and he regarded it with genuine contempt. Genuine contempt. He really was—contemptuous is the right word for it. He was contemptuous of that attitude in American life.

Alsop went on to emphasize “the great success that the Kennedy administration had with an intelligent, active, but (in my opinion) conservative fiscal-economic policy.”

In January 1981, in the early days of the Reagan presidency, a group of Kennedy administration veterans gathered at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston for a private conversation. One of the participants, Ted Sorensen, said, “Kennedy was a fiscal conservative. Most of us and the press and historians have, for one reason or another, treated Kennedy as being much more liberal than he so regarded himself at the time…In fiscal matters, he was extremely conservative, very cautious about the size of the budget.” Sorensen made a similar point in a November 1983 Newsweek article, saying, “He never identified himself as a liberal…On fiscal matters he was more conservative than any president we’ve had since.” In a 1993 speech, Kennedy’s Treasury secretary, Douglas Dillon, described the president as “financially conservative.” Combine that position with hawkish anticommunism, and it is hard to find much overlap with liberals.

EVIDENCE OF IT notwithstanding, Kennedy’s conservatism was no more a settled point during his lifetime than it is today. In January 1962, a columnist for National Review wrote that Kennedy’s latest speech had given “further proof of his dedication to doctrinaire liberalism.” In 2011, the editorial page editor of the Boston Globe, Peter Canellos, wrote of the Kennedy family, “For five decades, they advanced liberal causes.” The same year, at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy administration, the historian Ellen Fitzpatrick spoke of “the liberalism that he did stand four-squarely behind.” In 2012, Columbia University history professor Alan Brinkley wrote that John Kennedy “seemed to many people a passionate and idealistic liberal,” though he allowed that such a perception was perhaps “surprising.” Lyndon Johnson’s biographer Robert Caro has written, almost in passing, as if no further explanation were needed, that Johnson’s assignment of holding the South for Kennedy in 1960 was a tough one because of “Kennedy’s liberalism.”

Categorizing Kennedy is made more complicated by the difficulty of defining exactly what a “conservative” or a “liberal” was at the time he lived, and by the shifting definitions of the terms over time, in both foreign and domestic policy. The Political Science Quarterly once published a 25-page article trying to answer the question “What Was Liberalism in the 1950s?” The author finally punted: “Above all, we must resist the temptation to reduce 1950s liberalism” to “a simple idea.” If it is a frustrating point, it is nonetheless a fair one, and so too for the 1960s, when liberalism existed not only in tension with conservatism, but also in contrast to radicalism. Yet my point is not primarily about political theory, but about the policies, principles, and legacy of a person, John F. Kennedy, whose devotion to the traditional American values he spoke of on July 4, 1946, was sufficiently strong that it was said, “If you talk with a thousand people evenly divided between liberals and conservatives, you find that five hundred conservatives think that Jack is a conservative.”

If, after Kennedy’s death, there has been confusion about the reality of his politics and principles, it is certainly not the only aspect of his life on which, in spite of all the words written and spoken about it— maybebecause of all the words written and spoken about it—there are widely divergent views.

Take subjects as seemingly simple and straightforward as how Kennedy dressed or what he drank. The biographer Robert Dallek describes Kennedy in “khaki pants and a rumpled seersucker jacket with a shirttail dangling below his coat,” and quotes a secretary as saying, “He wore the most godawful suits…Horrible looking, hanging from his frame.” By contrast, the journalist Ben Bradlee remembers his friend as “immaculately dressed” in “well-tailored suits” and “custom-made shoes and shirts,” and fastidious to the point of castigating Bradlee for the fashion foul of wearing dark brown shoes with a blue suit. According to Garry Wills, Kennedy was more or less a teetotaler, a man who pawned off his liquor coupons while stationed in the Solomon Islands during World War II. By contrast, Sorensen writes of Kennedy, “When relaxing, he enjoyed a daiquiri, a scotch and water or a vodka and tomato juice before dinner and a brandy stinger afterward.” Kennedy “never had brandy in his life,” insisted his wife Jacqueline.

Some of these differences may be explained by changes in Kennedy’s behavior over time. But there is a deeper issue too. Kennedy himself once said that “what makes journalism so fascinating and biography so interesting” is “the struggle to answer that single question: ‘What’s he like?’” He grappled with this in his own historical writing: The last chapter of his book Profiles in Courage begins with the observation that, “However detailed may have been our study of his life, each man remains something of an enigma…shadowed by a veil which cannot be torn away…Something always seems to elude us.”

THE QUESTION OF Kennedy’s ultimate political convictions is more than a matter of mere historical curiosity. Kennedy consistently ranks near the top of public polls asking about the greatness of past presidents. His popularity suggests that the American people think his record is a model worth emulating. Simply to ape Kennedy would be impossible, of course. The Soviet Union is gone, tax rates now are lower than when Kennedy wanted to cut them, and the state universities of the South have been racially integrated. But if the contours of the foreign policy, tax, and education fights have shifted, Kennedy’s course in them may nonetheless inform our choices today, as it has since his death. And other issues of Kennedy’s time are still with us, including economic growth, government spending, inflation, and, as he put it, “Christian morality,” the “cynical philosophy of many of our intellectuals,” and “the right of the individual against the state.”

Calling Kennedy a political conservative may make liberals uncomfortable—perish the thought!—by crowning conservatism with the halo of Camelot. And it could make conservatives uncomfortable too. Many have long despised the entire Kennedy family, especially John’s younger brother Ted. But conservatives need not always trust received wisdom, especially when it comes to conservatism. Better, then, to forge ahead, to try to understand both the 29-year-old Navy veteran speaking at Faneuil Hall and the president he became.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureofCapitalism.com and author of the new book JFK, Conservative (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), from which this essay is adapted.

——

cf. :

Updated September 12, 2012, 6:48 p.m. ET

The Obama Democrats

This isn’t the party of FDR, Truman, JFK or Clinton. They’re different.

Daniel Henninger

It is no accident that the Chicago teachers union would walk off the job, seeking a 29%, two-year wage settlement, days after the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C. The Chicago teachers union and the podium speakers in Charlotte are part of the seamless political fabric that has been created by Barack Obama and the modern Democratic Party. They’ve got goals, and what they want from the people of Chicago or America is compliance.

The speakers in Charlotte fastened the party to a theme: We’re all in it together. This claim is false. The modern Democratic Party, the party of Obama, is about permanent division and permanent opposition. You’d never have guessed they were speaking on behalf of an incumbent and historic presidency. One speaker after another ranted that the America system remains fundamentally unfair.

Despite seven Democratic presidencies since FDR, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Harvard still grieves, "The system is rigged!" Jennifer Granholm, who seems to have summered in Argentina, shouted that for Mitt Romney, "year after year, it was profit before people." The economics of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (Stanford, Harvard Law): "It’s a choice between a country where the middle class pays more so that millionaires can pay less." Sandra Fluke: "Six months from now, we’ll all be living in one [future], or the other. But only one."

How is it that this generation of Democrats, nearly 225 years after the Constitutional Convention, sees 21st century America at the precipice of tooth and claw?

Recall all the talk about Bill Clinton’s politically "generous" speech. His speech was an outlier. Set against the furious voices roaring off that stage, Bill Clinton was a figure from the Democrats’ crypt.

The Obama Democrats are no longer the party of FDR, Truman, JFK or Clinton. All were combative partisans, but their view of the American system was fundamentally positive. The older Democratic Party grew out of the American labor experience of the early 20th century, which recognized its inevitable ties to the private sector. The systemically alienated Obama party more resembles the ancient anticapitalist syndicalist movements of continental Europe.

In its 2008 primaries, the Democratic Party made a historic pivot. The center-left party of Bill and Hillary Clinton was overthrown by Barack Obama and the party’s "progressives," the redesigned logo of the vestigial Democratic left.

The internal tension between the party’s liberals and the left blasted to the surface at the Chicago convention in 1968, when the famous Days of Rage street protesters vilified the party of LBJ and Hubert Humphrey. The "San Francisco Democrats" dominated the 1984 convention, but the party still nominated the establishment liberal Walter Mondale.

While liberals owned the party apparatus, the left took control of its ideas. By 1990, liberal Harvard Law School was torn apart by a left-wing theory called critical legal studies, which condemned the American legal and economic system as . . . rigged.

What binds Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Sandra Fluke and the rest of the Charlotte roster is the belief, learned early on, that their politics has made them a perpetual band of American outsiders.

It’s an irony now that one of their touchstone ideological works has been Richard Hofstadter’s "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" (1964), which was about the American political right back then. Today it’s the Obama Democrats who insist that something like voter-identification statutes are a racist conspiracy. Barack Obama in his grave acceptance speech fears that "this nation’s promise is reserved for the few." And so out on the plains, the Obama Democrats will assemble a voter army from that vast proletariat, the U.S. middle class, to pull down "the wealthiest."

This is a party whose agenda is avenging slights, wrongs and the systemic theft of "our democracy." For all this injustice, someone must be made to pay. How far all this is from the America called for in Lincoln’s first inaugural: "We must not be enemies."

The Obama administration’s battle with the Catholic Church over contraceptive services is symbolic and important. The tradition of religious independence, which even liberal Catholics thought legitimate, has no standing with the do-the-right-thing politics of the Democratic left. Kathleen Sebelius to American Catholics: Get out of our way.

An Obama victory wouldn’t be just a defeat of the GOP. It would be a defeat of the post-World War II Democratic Party. And they know it. The progressive left has wanted to push Democratic liberalism over the cliff for decades. This is their best shot to get it done.

Mitt Romney—whose own political conversation is remarkably bereft of history—ought to be explaining to Democrats-turned-independent how far Mr. Obama has moved their party from its traditions. FDR’s Social Security and LBJ’s Medicare asked all to buy in to supporting it. ObamaCare doesn’t; Mr. Obama revels in explaining how "they" will pay for "you." Left unanswered, demagoguery can win elections. And take a generation to undo.

——

It’s Not Your Father’s Democratic Party: How the Party has Changed for the Worse since Clinton’s era

September 3, 2012 – 8:52 am – by Ron Radosh

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, one thing is clear: it’s not your father’s Democratic Party any longer. Readers of Jay Cost’s important new book, Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic, already know this. Cost gives us the analysis that shows the slow but unmistakable transformation of the once broad-based political party to a machine operation controlled by the new elites and the public sector unions, beholden not to the American public but to the narrow interests that dominate its machinery. As the publisher’s description of the book says:

No longer able to govern for the vast majority of the country, the Democratic party simply taxes Middle America to pay off its clients while hiding its true nature behind a smoke screen of idealistic rhetoric. Thus, the Obama health care, stimulus, and auto bailout health care bill were created not to help all Americans but to secure contributions and votes. Average Americans need to see that whatever the Democratic party claims it is doing for the country, it is in fact governing simply for its base.

Use that description as the guide when you watch the convention the next three days. Cost making this argument is one thing — after all, he writes for the Weekly Standard, and some will thus write him off as a conservative and simply ignore what he has to say. But Newsweek making the same argument is another thing. Following Niall Ferguson’s much-discussed cover story of two weeks ago, Tina Brown has done it again. This week features an analysis of Bill Clinton’s apparent reconciliation with Barack Obama, and the meaning of his featured prime-time speech at the DNC.

Written by Peter J. Boyer, the article is not really about Clinton, but rather is a sharp analysis of how the Democrats have changed since the era of Clinton’s presidency. Clinton may have accepted the difficult task of trying to save the Obama presidency and speaking on the president’s behalf to satisfy his large ego, but everyone knows the truth. Obama and Clinton have had what Boyer calls an “uneasy” relationship since 2008, due to the bitter primary fight with his wife that “inflicted real wounds” that in fact have not healed.

More to the point is that the party and the politics Bill Clinton represents are far removed from our current president’s lurch to the left. After Republicans gained strength and Clinton saw the handwriting on the wall, he moved to the center, reflecting his own origins as head of the moderate and centrist so-called New Democrats. They were aligned with the now defunct Democratic Leadership Council, which sought to reflect the concerns of blue-dog Democrats, centrists, and the business community. When Clinton won re-election, he worked with Republicans to institute real welfare reform, and he abandoned his ill-conceived experiment in universal health care. Earlier, he got NAFTA passed despite union opposition and with Republican votes.

So while Clinton will speak in Charlotte, as Boyer writes, “that brand of centrist New Democrat politics that helped make him the first president of his party to win reelection since FDR … will be mostly missing. Conservative and centrist Democrats, so critical to Clinton’s efforts to reform welfare, balance the budget, and erase the image of the party as being reflexively anti-business, have nearly vanished.”

Today’s Democratic Party is an institution beholden to its public-sector union clients, academics, Eastern elites, and the crony capitalists who give it funding and benefit from the White House’s largesse when it gives them contracts — such as those for the failed energy companies like Solyndra.

Its base is the anti-business and anti-war Left, symbolized by the likely-to-fail campaign for Senate in Massachusetts waged by Elizabeth Warren. Hers, like that of the president, is that of a party that has taken “an ever-more-stridently leftward turn.” Gone is the emphasis of the DLC for private-sector growth, government efficiency, personal responsibility, and what Boyer writes is “an affirmation of mainstream values.” And one should add that also gone is a tough foreign policy against very real enemies, replaced by Obama’s “leading from behind” strategy. This has left the U.S. without influence to stop the slaughter in Syria, to defend Israel from ever growing attacks, and, most importantly, to force Iran to stop preparing the enrichment of uranium.

Boyer highlights the very real differences:

Obama’s presidency has seemed, in key regards, a repudiation of the New Democrat idea. Clinton Democrats embraced business; Obama attacked private equity. A New Democrat would have championed the Keystone XL Pipeline; Obama, yielding to environmentalists, has resisted it. Although Obama campaigned in coal country in 2008 as a friend of the industry (and of all those blue-collar jobs associated with it), his Environmental Protection Agency has established regulations so severe that one administration official admitted, “if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem.” Many of the workers affected by such policies are swing-state voters, who are also keenly sensitive to values issues. Obama’s health-care mandates on contraception may help him with single women and urban voters, but it might hurt him among Catholics in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act; Obama stopped enforcing it, and then declared himself a supporter of gay marriage — the day after North Carolinians voted a traditional definition of marriage into the state’s constitution.

Pollster Doug Schoen says Obama has “substituted class warfare for Clintonism.”

“I think the New Democrat movement can be saved,” says Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council. “We do go through cycles. But it would have been a lot better if we had had a second New Democrat president to cement it.”

From, speaking to Boyer, ties the change to those he calls the “cultural liberals,” reflected in the press, academia, New York’s Upper West Side and Brooklyn’s Park Slope, and, of course, most of the film academy and big Hollywood boosters of Obama like George Clooney. The rest of the party’s base is made up of those who get government checks and those in the business community who get what From calls “corporate welfare.” In other words, the party has become “the party of elites and dependents.”

Given this reality, it is not a surprise that during the Republican National Convention — as I said in my previous column — the media did not highlight the speech by Jane Edmonds or even let most people know of the defection to the Republican side of former Alabama Congressman Arthur Davis, the man who seconded Obama’s nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Davis is an African-American who must have taken great pride in the symbolic importance of a black man receiving the nomination of one of America’s major political parties. But Davis found that Obama had taken a different path than that which allowed Democrats in the South to gain electoral victories. Rather than trying to get those who had voted for Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan to vote for him, Obama, Davis points out, “was figuring out how to rally the Democratic base around him,” and he never “had to do what Clinton had to do …which was to figure out how to construct some kind of other political case that appealed to conservative-leaning voters.”

The other point made by Boyer, who favorably cites Democratic pollster and analyst Doug Schoen, is that Obama has “substituted class-based politics — resentment of the rich, taxing the rich — for fiscal discipline, and prudence.” That was most validated when the nation saw Obama simply ignore any of the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson commission. As Davis tellingly says, the Democratic Party is “slipping in the direction of becoming a self-conscious vehicle of the left, that is more concerned about developing a righteous leftist platform than one that has a particular project to govern.”

And yes, Ed Rendell is right in his observation that one of the problems is that while Newt Gingrich could bring along his base and get them to accept compromises and work with Clinton to implement them, the current congressional Republican leadership is stymied because many of the new Tea Party-elected officials owe no loyalty to them, and can’t be budged to accept any suggestions the Boehner-Cantor leadership might suggest that they disapprove of. But, one should note, when Obama had a majority in both houses of Congress, he still could not get his own Democrats to move one inch and to accept any compromise with Republicans. Nancy Pelosi and her followers ran the show, rather than the White House.

So will Clinton turn the day, making those independent and moderate swing voters decide to vote for Obama? Doug Schoen tells Boyer that he doubts it, and sees Clinton’s coming speech as mere “political artifice.” It is meant, Schoen thinks, to “achieve a short-term political result,” and not a “change in philosophy.”

So the reasons Ronald Reagan asserted as to why he became a Republican still stand. “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party,” Reagan said. “It left me.” Now, many Clinton Democrats, reflecting on the four years of Barack Obama and the party he represents, will join Artur Davis and others in making that same statement. The time and moment for the Democrats to change their philosophy has long passed.

For Democrats who really want to move forward, they too have to abandon a liberalism that has become both obsolete and reactionary, and join conservatives, libertarians, and moderates in voting this November for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Lieberman: This is not your father’s Democratic Party

http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Fathers-Democratic-Party/dp/1477600957

——–

JFK and the Death of Liberalism

By Jeffrey Lord on 5.31.12 @ 6:11AM

John F. Kennedy, the father of the Reagan Democrats, would have been 95 this week.

May 29th of this week marked John F. Kennedy’s 95th birthday.

Had he never gone to Dallas, had he the blessings of long years like his 105 year old mother Rose, the man immutably fixed in the American memory as a vigorous 40-something surely would be seen in an entirely different light.

If JFK were alive today?

Presuming his 1964 re-election, we would know for a fact what he did in Vietnam. We would know for a fact what a second-term Kennedy domestic program produced. And yes, yes, all those torrent of womanizing tales that finally gushed into headlines in the post-Watergate era (and still keep coming, the tale of White House intern Mimi Alford recently added to the long list) would surely have had a more scathing effect on his historical reputation had he been alive to answer them.

But he wasn’t.

As the world knows, those fateful few seconds in Dallas on November 22, 1963 not only transformed American and world history. They transformed JFK himself into an iconic American martyr, forever young, handsome and idealistic. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination—and in spite of all the womanizing tales, in spite of the passage of now almost half a century—John F. Kennedy is still repeatedlyranked by Americans as among the country’s greatest presidents. In the American imagination, JFK is historically invincible

All of this comes to mind not simply as JFK’s 95th birthday came and went this week with remarkably little fanfare.

As readers of The American Spectator are well familiar, TAS founder and Editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. has a new book out in which he details The Death of Liberalism.

Once upon a time — in 1950 — Bob Tyrrell notes that the liberal intellectual Lionel Trilling could honestly open his book The Liberal Imagination with this sentence:

In the United States at this time Liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition.

It was true in 1950 — and it was still true on the day John F. Kennedy’s motorcade began to make its way through the streets of Dallas.

It was still true a year later, when Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson swamped the GOP’s conservative nominee Barry Goldwater.

But something had happened by 1964. Something Big. And it’s fair to wonder on the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s 95th birthday if in fact that Something Big would ever have happened at all if Kennedy had not been in Lee Harvey Oswald’s gun sight that sunny November day almost 49 years ago.

In short, one wonders. Did the bullets that killed JFK hit another target — liberalism itself? Unlike JFK, not killing liberalism instantly but inflicting something else infinitely more damaging than sudden death? Or, as Tyrrell puts it, inflicting “a slow, but steady decline of which the Liberals have been steadfastly oblivious.”

While LBJ would ride herd on American liberalism for another year, in fact the dominant status of liberalism in both politics and culture that Trilling had observed in 1950 had, after JFK’s murder, curiously begun to simply fade. Not unlike Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire cat, leaving nothing behind but a grin. Writes Tyrrell:

Yet Liberals, who began as the rightful heirs to the New Deal, have carried on as a kind of landed aristocracy, gifted but doomed.

The new book in Robert Caro’s biographical series, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power has received considerable attention for Caro’s detailed depiction of LBJ’s transition from powerful Senate Majority Leader to a virtual impotence as Kennedy’s vice president. But there’s a clue in this book as to the future decline of liberalism that is completely overlooked (and wasn’t published until after Tyrrell’s). A clue that revolves around the treatment of Vice President Johnson by Kennedy insiders and JFK’s Washington admirers — a treatment, it is important to note, that was never ever exhibited by JFK himself.

While Kennedy gave strict orders that LBJ was to be treated at all times with the respect due his office — and this was in an era when vice presidents customarily went unused by presidents, a fate that had befallen all vice presidential occupants from the nation’s first, John Adams, to Johnson — there was something else bubbling just below the surface in the Washington that was the Kennedy era.

Robert Caro describes it this way:

Washington had in many ways always been a small town, and in small towns gossip can be cruel, and the New Frontiersmen — casual, elegant, understated, in love with their own sophistication (“Such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not”, recalls Ashton Gonella) — were a witty bunch, and wit does better when it has a target to aim at, and the huge, lumbering figure of Lyndon Johnson, with his carefully buttoned-up suits and slicked-down hair, his bellowing speeches and extravagant, awkward gestures, made an inevitable target. “One can feel the hot breath of the crowd at the bullfight exulting as the sword flashes into the bull,” one historian wrote. In the Georgetown townhouses that were the New Frontier’s social stronghold “there were a lot of small parties, informal kinds, dinners that were given by Kennedy people for other Kennedy people. You know, twelve people in for dinner, all part of the Administration,” says United States Treasurer Elizabeth Gatov. “Really, it was brutal, the stories that they were passing, and the jokes and the inside nasty stuff about Lyndon.” When he mispronounced “hors d’oeuvres” as “whore doves,” the mistake was all over Georgetown in what seemed an instant.

Johnson’s Texas accent was mocked. His proclivity for saying “Ah reckon,” “Ah believe,” and saying the word “Negro” as “nigrah.” On one occasion of a white tie event at the White House, Caro writes of LBJ that “he wore, to the Kennedy people’s endless amusement, not the customary black tailcoat but a slate-gray model especially sent up by Dallas’ Neiman-Marcus department store.” The liberals populating the Kennedy administration and Washington itself were people with an affinity for words, and they began to bestow on Johnson — behind his back — nicknames such as “Uncle Cornpone” or “Rufus Cornpone.” Lady Bird Johnson was added to the game, and the Johnsons as a couple were nicknamed “Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop.”

None of this, Caro notes, was done by John Kennedy himself. JFK had an instinctive appreciation for Johnson’s sense of dignity, and he thought Lady Bird “neat.” This is, in retrospect, notable.

Why?

Let’s rocket ahead now to what Bob Tyrrell calls The Death of Liberalism. In particular the numbers — polling data. Tyrrell spends an entire chapter discussing polling data, as well he should. His findings are the ultimate teachable moment as we settle into the 2012 Obama-Romney race.

By 1968 — five years after the death of JFK and in the last of the five years of the Johnson presidency — the number of “self-identified” conservatives began to climb. Sharply. The Liberal dominance Lionel Trilling had written about had gone, never to this moment to return. Routinely now in poll after poll that Tyrrell cites — and there are plenty of others he doesn’t have room to cite — self-identified liberals hover at about 20% of the American body politic. Outnumbered more than two-to-one by conservatives, with moderates bringing up the remainder in the middle.

What happened in those five years after JFK’s death?

One very compelling thing.

The attitude toward Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson that was evidenced by Kennedy’s liberal leaning staff, by the Washington Georgetown set, by Washington journalists — slowly seeped into the sinews of liberalism itself.

Recall Caro’s descriptions of people who were “in love with their own sophistication,” who were “such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not.” Think of the snotty arrogance displayed as these people laughed at LBJ’s accent, his mispronunciations, his clothes, his wife (“Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop”).

Slowly, and then not so slowly, these elitist, arrogant and if not outright snotty attitudes sought out a new target during the years when LBJ was sitting in the White House — when, in the view of these people, “Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop” had replaced the King and Queen of Camelot.

That new target?

The American people themselves. They had, after all, elected LBJ in a landslide in 1964. Now Uncle Cornpone was the elected President of the United States. To make matters more unbearable, LBJ was using his newfound power and popularity to actually pass the liberal agenda of the day, which Johnson labeled “The Great Society.” Uncle Cornpone, it seemed, wasn’t such a ridiculous figure after all when it came to getting the liberal wish list through the Congress.

No one better than JFK would have known instantly what a huge mistake this elitist attitude would be. Discussing the relationship of a presidential candidate with the American people, JFK had told historian and friend Theodore H. White, author of The Making of the President series, that, in White’s re-telling, “a man running for the Presidency must talk up, way up there.” It was a principle Kennedy surely would have applied to his own party — and did so while he was president. Not from JFK was there a drop of elitist contempt — from a man who unarguably could claim the title in a blink — for his fellow countrymen.

But in a horrifying flash, JFK was gone. And the elitist tide spread.

Slowly this contempt for the American people spread to institutions that were not government, manifesting itself in a thousand different ways. It infected the media, academe and Hollywood, where stars identified with middle-America like John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball were eclipsed in the spotlight by leftists like Warren Beatty and Jane Fonda.

The arms-linked peaceful civil rights protests led by Christian ministers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr gave way to bombings and violent demonstrations against the Vietnam War led by snooty, well-educated white left-wing kids like Bill Ayers. The great American middle class — from which many of these educated kids had sprung — was trashed in precisely the fashion LBJ had been trashed. For accents, clothing styles, housing choices (suburbs and rural life were out) food, music, the love of guns, choice of cars, colleges, hair styles and more. Religion itself could not escape, Christianity to be mocked, made into a derisive laughingstock. The part of America between New York and California became known sneeringly as “flyover country.

As time moved on, these attitudes hardened, taking on colors, colors derived from election night maps where red represented conservative, Republican or traditional candidates and blue became symbolic of homes to Liberalism.

Red States. Blue States.

Liberal candidates hoping to carry Red States or even Purple States had to hide the contempt they felt for their own constituents. When Governor Bill Clinton’s wife Hillary snapped in a 60 Minutes interview over her husband’s infidelities that:

You know, I’m not sitting here — some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.

— the Clinton campaign quickly swung into damage control mode, an apology as quickly forthcoming.

Sixteen years later it was Barack Obama’s turn, the candidate caught on audio tape describing Pennsylvania voters to a fundraising audience of rich, fashionable San Francisco liberals as:

bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

The Obama and Hillary Clinton expressions were about as far as one could get from JFK’s conception that when running for president one has to talk “way up there” to the American people.

By now, millions of Americans have come to see the elitism that once was directed privately at LBJ in Georgetown salons as an ingrained characteristic of Liberalism. Even NBC’s Tom Brokaw is getting antsy at the insiderdom on televised display at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Think of the treatment of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin versus that afforded Hillary Clinton. The treatment of Clarence Thomas — versus Barack Obama.

Self-identify with that kind of treatment? Of course not. Compounding the problem for liberals is that this attitude is linked to what Tyrrell accurately calls Obama’s “Stealth Socialism.” And the combination of the two is proving to be politically deadly.

Here’s a JFK-Obama contrast.

In 1960, JFK determined that if he were to win the Democratic nomination he would in fact have to win the West Virginia primary. Why West Virginia? Because Kennedy was Catholic, no Catholic had ever been elected president — and West Virginia was heavily Protestant. It was a knock-down, drag-out fight — a furious battle against Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey. In an upset, a legend in West Virginia politics to this day, JFK won. By emphasizing his PT-109 heroism in World War II and his support of coal mining — and coal miners.

What happened the other day in the West Virginia Democratic primaries? That’s right. A Texas prison inmate named Keith Judd paid the $2,500 filing fee to get his name on the ballot opposing Obama — getting 40% of the vote. Why this particular humiliation? Right again. The President’s “Stealth Socialism” — specifically in West Virginia his energy and environmental policies — are seen by West Virginians as savaging the state’s coal industry. A world away from the JFK approach.

And let’s not forget the double standard that elitist liberals in the media love when it comes to their fellow countrymen.

What was one of the most notable stylistic aspects of the Kennedy presidency that had Georgetown parlors and the liberal media of the day swooning with admiration?

Exactly. They loved Jackie Kennedy — specifically they absolutely adored that the First Lady was an accomplished horsewoman. Scenes like this video of Jackie riding with her children in the Virginia hunt country – as JFK watched from nearby — were staples of the liberal media, the only media, of the day. If one grew up in the Kennedy era it is recognized instantly, particularly the scene where Caroline’s horse “Macaroni” is nibbling on JFK as the President laughs. Horseback riding as Mrs. Kennedy pursued it was an expensive hobby then — as now. And this fact was lavishly presented to the American public as a sign of class — both financial class and as in “classy.”

What was the big story about Ann Romney the other day? Take a look at Breitbart.com where they have neatly caught onto the sneering elitism that is falsely ascribed to Ann Romney because — yes indeed — just like Jackie Kennedy, Ann Romney rides horses. With one very big difference. In Mrs. Romney’s case horseback riding was prescribed as therapy for her multiple sclerosis. Now, however, as was true with a big front pagestory in the New York Times, Republican Ann Romney is involved with a “rarified sport.” Translation: Mrs. Romney is a snob. What’s fabulous for Jackie is snooty for Ann.

Which leads us back to where we began.

Had John F. Kennedy been alive and well this week, celebrating his 95th birthday, one can only wonder whether liberalism would have survived with him.

This is, after all, the president who said in cutting taxes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” Becoming The favorite presidential example (along with Calvin Coolidge) of no less than Ronald Reagan on tax policy. This is, after all, the president who ran to the right of Richard Nixon in 1960 on issues of national security.

In fact, many of those who voted for John F. Kennedy in 1960 would twenty years later vote for Ronald Reagan. One famous study of Macomb County, Michigan found 63% of Democrats in that unionized section of autoworker country voting for JFK in 1960. In 1980, same county, essentially the same Democrats — 66% voted for Reagan. The difference? Liberalism was dying.

There is a term of political art for these millions of onetime JFK voters — a term used still today: Reagan Democrats. It is not too strong a statement to say that in point of political fact John F. Kennedy was the father of the Reagan Democrats.

Would JFK have let the arrogant liberal elitism that was bubbling under the surface of his own administration metastasize to so many American institutions — including his own party — had he lived?

Would he have sat silently as the liberal culture turned against the vast American middle and working blue collar class and its values, sending JFK voters into the arms of Republicans in seven out of twelve of the elections following his own?

Would he have fought the subtle but distinct change of his famous inaugural challenge from “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” to what it has now become: “ask not what you can do for your country, ask what service your government can provide you?”

We will never know.

But there is every reason to believe, after all these decades, that, to use the title of JFK biographer William Manchester’s famous book, The Death of a President, brought another, quite unexpected death in its wake.

The Death of Liberalism.

——–

JFK: Democrats’ role model ?

September 04, 2008

The John F. Kennedy legacy came up repeatedly during the Democratic National Convention. But today, would JFK even be a Democrat?

Kennedy supported, in today’s lexicon, a George W. Bush-like "belligerent" approach to fighting the Cold War, and told CBS’ Walter Cronkite it would be "a great mistake" to withdraw the American presence from Vietnam. In his 1961 inaugural speech, Kennedy said, "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

How would such a man feel about fighting today’s global peril – Islamo-fascism?

Barack Obama likes to point to the 1961 Kennedy-Khrushchev summit to support his desire for meetings "without preconditions" with enemies such as Iran and North Korea.

But Kennedy’s secretary of state, Dean Rusk, urged against such a non-conditions-based summit. And later, Kennedy called the summit meeting the "roughest thing in my life. (Khrushchev) just beat the hell out of me. I’ve got a terrible problem if he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts." Indeed, Khrushchev thought Kennedy a weak amateur. Following the summit, Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall and placed missiles in Cuba, an action that led the world to the brink of nuclear conflict.

Kennedy believed in cutting taxes – deeply and dramatically. Before Kennedy’s tax cuts, the top marginal tax rate stood at over 90 percent, and Kennedy – albeit after his assassination – got it reduced to 70 percent, a much greater percentage reduction than did Bush. Kennedy, in a 1962 speech before the Economic Club of New York said, "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy, which can bring a budget surplus."

In January 1963, Kennedy addressed Congress: "Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government." Several days later, JFK sent another message to Congress: "Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate."

In a televised national address just two months before his assassination, Kennedy broke it down: "A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues."

Kennedy, unlike Obama, opposed race-based preferences. In a 1963 interview, Kennedy expected blacks to resist a call for preferential treatment: "The Negro community did not want job quotas to compensate for past discrimination. What I think they would like is to see their children well educated, so that they could hold jobs … and have themselves accepted as equal members of the community. … I don’t think we can undo the past. In fact, the past is going to be with us for a good many years in uneducated men and women who lost their chance for a decent education. We have to do the best we can now. That is what we are trying to do."

Kennedy also objected to assigning positions or granting promotions based on what today’s advocates call under-representation: "I think it is a mistake to begin to assign quotas on the basis of religion or race – color – nationality. … On the other hand, I do think that we ought to make an effort to give a fair chance to everyone who is qualified – not through a quota – but just look over our employment rolls, look over our areas where we are hiring people and at least make sure we are giving everyone a fair chance. But not hard and fast quotas. … We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color."

So when the haze disappears, what remains? A man of limited government, low taxes and strong national defense who rejected a government-led redistribution of wealth.

In other words, someone who would today fit very comfortably in the party – the Republican Party.

———

John F. Kennedy on taxes

July 19, 2004

By William J. Federer

Editor’s note: The following quotes are published in the book, "The Interesting History of Income Tax," by William J. Federer (Amerisearch, Inc., P.O. Box 20163, St. Louis, MO 63123, 1-888-USA-WORD)

"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference

"Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government."

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

"In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues."

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"

"It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates."

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"

"Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate."

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.

"A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues."

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

"I have asked the secretary of the treasury to report by April 1 on whether present tax laws may be stimulating in undue amounts the flow of American capital to the industrial countries abroad through special preferential treatment."

– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 6, 1961, message to Congress on gold and the balalnce of payments deficit

"In those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States. Many American investors properly made use of this deferral in the conduct of their foreign investment."

– John F. Kennedy, April 20, 1961, message to Congress on taxation

"Our present tax system … exerts too heavy a drag on growth … It reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking … The present tax load … distorts economic judgments and channels an undue amount of energy into efforts to avoid tax liabilities."

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, press conference

"The present tax codes … inhibit the mobility and formation of capital, add complexities and inequities which undermine the morale of the taxpayer, and make tax avoidance rather than market factors a prime consideration in too many economic decisions."

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 23, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform

"In short, it is a paradoxical truth that … the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference

"The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive."

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform

"Expansion and modernization of the nation’s productive plant is essential to accelerate economic growth and to improve the international competitive position of American industry … An early stimulus to business investment will promote recovery and increase employment."

– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 2, 1961, message on economic recovery

"We must start now to provide additional stimulus to the modernization of American industrial plants … I shall propose to the Congress a new tax incentive for businesses to expand their normal investment in plant and equipment."

– John F. Kennedy, Feb. 13, 1961, National Industrial Conference Board

"A bill will be presented to the Congress for action next year. It will include an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in both corporate and personal income taxes. It will include long-needed tax reform that logic and equity demand … The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy. Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary. And these new jobs and new salaries can create other jobs and other salaries and more customers and more growth for an expanding American economy."

– John F. Kennedy, Aug. 13, 1962, radio and television report on the state of the national economy

 "This administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes … Next year’s tax bill should reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes, for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to invest more capital … I am confident that the enactment of the right bill next year will in due course increase our gross national product by several times the amount of taxes actually cut."

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference

William J. Federer, is a best-selling author and the president of Amerisearch Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage.

——-


Iran: La paix pour notre temps (Peace for our time and a new Chamberlain for America)

26 novembre, 2013
http://newsbusters.org/static/2009/11/Chris%20Matthews%20Compares%20Obama%20To%20Neville%20Chamberlain.jpgMes bons amis, voici la seconde fois que nous rentrons d’Allemagne à Downing Street avec une paix honorable. Je crois qu’il s’agit de la paix pour notre temps. Nous vous remercions du fond du cœur. À présent, je vous conseille de rentrer chez vous, et dormez en paix. Chamberlain
A l’époque, pendant que nous étions en train de discuter avec les Européens à Téhéran, nous installions des équipements dans certaines parties d’Ispahan, et le projet était sur le point d’être complété. En réalité, c’est en créant un climat de sérénité, que nous avons pu achever Ispahan. Hassan Rohani (03.11.03)
What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action (the title of the Iran-powers deal), and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true. Marziyeh Afkham (Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman)
Un haut responsable israélien a révélé au quotidien Haaretz qu’Israël avait connaissance des entretiens secrets depuis le début de l’été 2013, bien avant avoir été averti officiellement par l’administration américaine. Les contacts secrets entre les Etats-Unis et l’Iran auraient débuté avant l’élection de Hassan Rohani à la présidence de la République islamique, plus précisément à partir de mars 2013, alors que Mahmoud Ahmadinejad était encore en fonction. Depuis l’accession au pouvoir de Rohani, il y aurait encore eu quatre rencontres, deux en août et deux en octobre, la plupart s’étant tenues dans le sultanat d’Oman. (…) Selon le Haaretz, Netanyahou aurait été avisé par M. Obama, un jour avant son discours à l’ONU début octobre, des deux réunions du mois d’août, mais pas de celles qui s’étaient tenues avant l’élection présidentielle iranienne. I24news
Iran is already in violation of a number of Security Council resolutions demanding it cease all uranium enrichment and heavy water activity – a process used to create weapons-grade plutonium. Furthermore, none of this activity is even remotely necessary if Iran, as it claims, only wants a peaceful nuclear program. There are many countries that have nuclear power that do not have the capability to enrich their own fuel. They buy it from abroad and that’s what Iran could do. And that’s what the media are neglecting to tell you. There are over thirty countries around the world that have nuclear power programs but according to the World Nuclear Association, only eleven have the capacity to enrich their own fuel. Here are some of the countries that have nuclear energy but don’t enrich their own nuclear fuel: Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, South Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine. The fact is that, of countries that have enrichment capabilities, the majority also possess nuclear weapons. Countries that enrich nuclear materials but do not have nuclear weapons include Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. Countries that enrich and do have nuclear weapons include Pakistan, Russia and China. When you think of Iran, do you think it fits in with Germany, Japan and the Netherlands? Or, does it fit better with Pakistan, Russia and China? If that isn’t enough to make you uncomfortable, in a speech to the Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council in 2005, Rouhani himself said: A county that could enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90 percent. Having fuel cycle capability virtually means that a country that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons. Since Argentina, Armenia, Sweden and Spain can buy nuclear fuel from abroad, why can’t Iran? Since our neighbors Canada and Mexico can pursue this policy, why can’t Iran? Camera
Les faucons affirment (…) que le président Ahmadinejad a déclaré vouloir “rayer Israël de la carte”. Mais cet argument repose sur une mauvaise traduction de ses propos. La traduction juste est qu’Israël “devrait disparaître de la page du temps”. Cette expression (empruntée à un discours de l’ayatollah Khomeiny) n’est pas un appel à la destruction physique d’Israël. Bien que très choquant, son propos n’était pas un appel à lancer une attaque, encore moins une attaque nucléaire, contre Israël. Aucun État sensé ne peut partir en guerre sur la foi d’une mauvaise traduction. John J. Mearsheimer et Stephen M. Walt
Le problème n’est pas la sécurité d’Israël, la souveraineté du Liban ou les ingérences de la Syrie ou du Hezbollah : Le problème est centré sur l’effort de l’Iran à obtenir le Droit d’Abolir l’Exclusivité de la Dissuasion. La prolifération sauvage, le concept de «tous nucléaires» sera la fin de la Guerre Froide et le retour à la période précédant la Dissuasion. Les mollahs et leurs alliés, le Venezuela, l’Algérie, la Syrie, la Corée du Nord et la Russie…, se militarisent à une très grande échelle sachant qu’ils vont bientôt neutraliser le parapluie protecteur de la dissuasion et alors ils pourront faire parler la poudre. Chacun visera à dominer sa région et sans que les affrontements se déroulent en Europe, l’Europe sera dépouillée de ses intérêts en Afrique ou en Amérique du Sud et sans combattre, elle devra déposer les armes. Ce qui est incroyable c’est la myopie de la diplomatie française et de ses experts. (…) Aucun d’entre eux ne se doute que la république islamique a des alliés qui ont un objectif commun: mettre un terme à une discrimination qui dure depuis 50 ans, la dissuasion nucléaire ! Cette discrimination assure à la France une position que beaucoup d’états lui envient. Ils attendent avec impatience de pouvoir se mesurer avec cette ancienne puissance coloniale que beaucoup jugent arrogante, suffisante et gourmande. Iran-Resist
L’équilibre de la terreur était en fait d’une grande fragilité, comme de nombreux incidents, mais surtout une crise majeure, la crise des missiles de Cuba, l’a révélé en 1962. Le problème a moins concerné la relation entre les Etats-Unis et l’Union soviétique que la présence d’un troisième acteur, Fidel Castro, qui a failli faire basculer le « système bipolaire » dans la guerre nucléaire. Cette crise mérite qu’on y revienne, non seulement parce que, si elle se reproduit, nous n’aurons probablement pas la même chance, mais aussi parce que le monde contemporain a désormais plusieurs acteurs nucléaires de type Fidel Castro, qui, à la différence de Kennedy ou de Khrouchtchev, partisans de la dissuasion, n’hésiteront pas à recourir à l’arme nucléaire comme à un moyen de coercition. Thérèse Delpech
La Corée du Nord a appris au monde qu’au poker nucléaire la folie feinte vous vaut de l’aide étrangère ou l’attention planétaire — du fait que même la certitude qu’on a affaire à un bluff à 99% reste suffisante pour effrayer les opinions publiques occidentales. La Corée du nord est le proverbial envieux psychopathe du quartier qui agresse constamment ses voisins prospères d’à côté, en partant du principe que les voisins ne pourront manquer de prendre en compte ses menaces aussi sauvages qu’absurdes parce qu’il n’a rien et qu’ils ont tout à perdre. (…) L’Iran pourrait reprendre à l’infini le modèle de Kim — menaçant une semaine de rayer Israël de la carte, faisant machine arrière la semaine d’après sous prétexte de problèmes de traduction. L’objectif ne serait pas nécessairement de détruire Israël (ce qui vaudrait à l’Iran la destruction de la culture persane pour un siècle), mais d’imposer une telle atmosphère d’inquiétude et de pessimisme à l’Etat juif que son économie en serait affaiblie, son émigration en serait encouragée et sa réputation géostratégique en serait érodée. La Corée du nord est passée maître dans de telles tactiques de chantage nucléaire. A certains moments, Pyongyang a même réussi à réduire les deux géants asiatiques – Japon et Corée du Sud – à la quasi-paralysie.(…) Un Iran nucléaire n’aurait à s’inquiéter ni d’un ennemi existentiel avec une population d’un milliard d’habitants à côté tel que l’Inde ni d’un mécène tout aussi peuplé comme la Chine susceptible d’imposer des lignes rouges à ses crises de folie périodiques. Téhéran serait libre au contraire de faire et de dire ce qu’il veut. Et son statut de puissance nucléaire deviendrait un multiplicateur de force pour son énorme richesse pétrolière et son statut auto-proclamé de leader mondial des musulmans chiites. Si la Corée du Nord est un danger, alors un Iran nucléaire plus gros, plus riche et sans dissuasion serait un cauchemar. Victor Davis Hanson
One of the best peace speeches I ever read was one delivered back in the 1930s — by Adolf Hitler. He knew that peace speeches would keep the Western democracies from matching his military buildup with their own, or attacking him to prevent his buildup from continuing. Peace speeches by Iran today serve the same purpose of buying time — until they can create a nuclear bomb. Thomas Sowell
The Iranian agreement comes not in isolation, unfortunately. The Syrian debacle instructed the Iranians that the Obama administration was more interested in announcing a peaceful breakthrough than actually achieving it. The timing is convenient for both sides: The Obama administration needed an offset abroad to the Obamacare disaster, and the Iranians want a breathing space to rebuild their finances and ensure that Assad can salvage the Iranian-Hezbollah-Assad axis. The agreement is a de facto acknowledgement that containing, not ending, Iran’s nuclear program is now U.S. policy. After all, to what degree would an Iranian freeze really retard development of a bomb, or simply put it on hold? In other words, has Iran already met some of its requirements for weaponization, and now simply wishes to take a breather, rebuild its economy, and strengthen its image in the West — before the final and rather easy development of a deliverable bomb? If the sanctions are not only lifted, but incentives are added in place of them, why then would Iran not agree to dismantle completely elements of its program that exceed domestic energy purposes? (Or for that matter, why would a nation with among the world’s largest reserves of gas and oil feel the need to fund an expensive nuclear energy program in the first place?) (…) Collate reset, lead from behind, “redlines,” “game-changers,” ”deadlines,” the Arab Spring confusion, the skedaddle from Iraq, Benghazi, the Eastern European missile pullback, and the atmosphere is comparable to the 1979–80 Carter landscape, in which after three years of observation, the opportunists at last decided to act while the acting was good, from Afghanistan to Central America to Tehran. There is not a good record, from Philip of Macedon to Hitler to Stalin in the 1940s to Carter and the Soviets in the 1970s to radical Islamists in the 1990s, of expecting authoritarians and thugs to listen to reason, cool their aggression, and appreciate democracies’ sober and judicious appeal to logic — once they sense in the West greater eagerness to announce new, rather than to enforce old, agreements. Victor Davis Hanson
Iran will gradually shake free of sanctions and glide into a zone of nuclear ambiguity that will keep its adversaries guessing until it opts to make its capabilities known. Saudi Arabia will move swiftly to acquire a nuclear deterrent from its clients in Islamabad; Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal made that clear to the Journal last week when he indiscreetly discussed "the arrangement with Pakistan." Egypt is beginning to ponder a nuclear option of its own while drawing closer to a security alliance with Russia. As for Israel, it cannot afford to live in a neighborhood where Iran becomes nuclear, Assad remains in power, and Hezbollah—Israel’s most immediate military threat—gains strength, clout and battlefield experience. The chances that Israel will hazard a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites greatly increased since Geneva. More so the chances of another war with Hezbollah. Bret Stephens
After World War II the U.S. created a global system of security alliances to prevent the kind of foreign policy freelancing that is again becoming rampant in the Middle East. It worked until President Obama decided in his wisdom to throw it away. If you hear echoes of the 1930s in the capitulation at Geneva, it’s because the West is being led by the same sort of menIf the parties do not even agree to what they’ve just signed in the 18 hours after inking a document, how well is verification going to go? Mohammed Zarif, Iran’s chief negotiator, asserted that the agreement takes the threat of force off the table, and enshrines Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium. Kerry flatly denies both. Nice start. (…) Iran controls the world’s fourth largest supply of oil and second largest reserve of natural gas. Are we to believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear power because of concern about climate change? How exactly would Iran’s active research on nuclear-weapons design and development of ballistic-missile technology suit that explanation? It has been obvious for more than two decades that Iran is determined to join the nuclear club — a goal America’s allies in the region and right-thinking people the world over view with horror and dread. Five Security Council resolutions have demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment of uranium. The Obama administration itself has repeatedly and starkly declared that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons is “unacceptable.” (…) Nor is it correct that the only alternative to this capitulation was war. The sanctions that this agreement supersedes were working well to force the Iranian regime to come to terms. Their nation is struggling with high prices, shortages, and a collapsing currency due to sanctions. This should have been a moment of maximum leverage for the United States and other powers. Yet the deal they’ve achieved does next to nothing to reverse Iran’s march to a bomb and does a great deal to undermine the fragile, painfully achieved world consensus to impose sanctions. Mona Charen
On compare souvent Rouhani à Mikhaïl Gorbatchev. Quand celui-ci a lancé sa perestroika en 1986 et décidé de mettre fin à la guerre froide, beaucoup d’Occidentaux ont cru à une ruse et refusé de lui faire confiance – sauf, curieusement, les deux leaders occidentaux les plus anticommunistes, l’Américain Ronald Reagan et la Britannique Margaret Thatcher. Mais Rouhani n’est pas à l’Iran actuel ce que Gorbatchev était à l’URSS des années 1980. Gorbatchev était le maître absolu, le « tsar rouge », de son pays : chef de l’Etat et du parti, commandant en chef des armées, chef suprême des services secrets. Rouhani, en dépit de son titre de chef d’Etat, n’est qu’un rouage relativement secondaire d’un régime théocratique dirigé par l’ayatollah Khamenei et la technostructure des Gardiens de la Révolution. Tout laisse donc à penser que son « ouverture » n’est – ne peut être – qu’une manœuvre permettant à l’Iran de desserrer l’étau des sanctions internationales, de gagner du temps sur le plan du nucléaire et de sauvegarder, avec la complicité active de la Russie, ses alliés syrien (Assad) et libanais (le Hezbollah). Michel Gurfinkiel

Après les printemps arabes, Benghazi et Damas, le nouveau Carter (ou Chamberlain ?) noir pouvait-il résister à un nouveau fiasco, iranien cette fois ?

A l’heure où, se félicitant d’un prétendu accord historique (aussitôt dénoncé, à la nord-corénne, par les intéressés eux-mêmes!), ceux qui nous tiennent lieu de gouvernants et d’informateurs  …

Nous proposent de desserrer, au moment même où elles commencent à porter leurs fruits, des sanctions qu’on avait mis tant de temps à mettre en place …

Concernant un programme nucléaire officiellement non-existent …

Et avec un régime dont l’actuel pantin de service se vantait il y a dix ans d’avoir floué l’Occident et dont le véritable homme fort appelait à nouveau il y a quelques jours à peine à la disparition ("de la page du temps", s’il vous plait!) d’un de ses voisins …

Comment ne pas voir, avec les quelques voix encore lucides comme celle de Michel Gurfinkiel, l’évidence d’une énième et longuement préparée manoeuvre dilatoire ?

Entretien/ Obama entre échecs et fantasmes

Pour l’Iran, la « détente » avec les Etats-Unis est une brillante manœuvre diplomatique, préparée avant même l’élection de Rouhani. Une interview accordée à l’hebdomadaire Hamodia.

Michel Gurfinkiel

October 3 2013

HAMODIA. Pourquoi cette soudaine cette idylle entre les Etats-Unis et l’Iran ?

MICHEL GURFINKIEL. Il faut distinguer entre deux niveaux. D’une part, sur le long terme, Obama et son entourage ont toujours fantasmé sur une réconciliation globale entre les Etats-Unis et l’islamisme, qu’il s’agisse de l’islamisme sunnite des Frères musulmans ou de l’islamisme chiite iranien. C’était le sens, dès 2009, du discours-manifeste du Caire, prononcé, il ne faut pas l’oublier, au moment même où le pouvoir des mollahs écrasait dans le sang un « printemps iranien ».

Cela a été également le sens, par la suite, de la temporisation d’Obama sur la question du nucléaire iranien : Washington s’est prononcé en faveur de sanctions économiques de plus en plus lourdes, mais n’a pas envisagé sérieusement une action militaire contre l’Iran ni accordé de feu vert à une éventuelle action militaire israélienne.

L’élection à la présidence iranienne, le 15 juin dernier, de Hassan Rouhani, un homme qui, dans le contexte du régime khomeiniste, peut passer pour un modéré et sait user de cette image, a évidemment relancé ce fantasme. Des négociations discrètes ont été menées au début de l’été entre Washington et Téhéran, et elles avaient suffisamment abouti dès le mois d’août – quand Rouhani a pris officiellement ses fonctions – pour que plusieurs revues américaines influentes diffusent presque immédiatement des articles préparant l’opinion à cette « détente », sinon à ce renversement d’alliance.

La New York Review of Books publie dans sa livraison datée du 15 août un long article en faveur d’un « nouvelle approche envers l’Iran » cosigné, de manière significative – l’union sacrée, pourrait-on dire -, par un universitaire pro-iranien, William Luers, un ancien ambassadeur aux Nations Unies, Thomas Pickering et un homme politique républicain, Jim Walsh. Quant à Foreign Affairs, elle consacre sa couverture de septembre-octobre au chef véritable du régime iranien, l’ayatollah et Guide spirituel Ali Khamenei. Akbar Ganji, un journaliste prestigieux, souvent présenté comme le « Soljénitsyne iranien », y affirme à la fois que Rouhani ne peut se rapprocher des Etats-Unis sans l’accord préalable et l’appui de Khamenei, ce qui est vrai ; et que les Etats-Unis doivent saisir cette « chance », ce qui est plus discutable.

HAMODIA. Et à autre niveau ?

MG. A un autre niveau, à plus court terme, Obama a sans doute vu dans un rapprochement avec l’Iran le moyen d’effacer ou de faire oublier ses échecs répétés au Moyen-Orient : en Libye, en Egypte et finalement en Syrie. Une Grande Puissance, c’est un pays qui peut faire la guerre et qui, par voie de conséquence, est en mesure d’imposer sa volonté à d’autres pays. Et « pouvoir faire la guerre », en amont, cela suppose à la fois des moyens techniques (une armée, des armements, des technologies), et des moyens politiques ou moraux (une vision du monde, des objectifs, une détermination). L’Amérique d’Obama a toujours les moyens techniques d’une Très Grande Puissance, mais elle s’est comportée en Syrie, à travers ses tergiversations et finalement sa capitulation diplomatique devant la Russie de Poutine, comme si elle n’en avait plus les moyens politiques ou moraux. Ce que les alliés traditionnels des Etats-Unis ne sont pas près de pardonner au président sur le plan international (des Etats du Golfe à la France de Hollande), ni les Américains eux-mêmes en politique intérieure.

HAMODIA. Mais que pouvait faire Obama en Syrie ? Son opinion ne s’opposait-elle pas nettement à une intervention militaire ?

MG. En règle générale, les Américains font bloc derrière leur président quand celui-ci décide de mener une opération militaire à l’extérieur – quitte à critiquer par la suite la gestion de l’opération. C’est là un réflexe démocratique et patriotique ancré dans leur culture : un réflexe au moins aussi puissant que la tentation récurrente de l’isolationnisme, du repli sur soi. Mais sur la Syrie, ce réflexe n’a pas joué : l’Amérique n’avait plus confiance en Obama sur les questions du Moyen-Orient. Ni sur le fond (l’analyse des situations et des enjeux), ni sur la forme (la mise en place de politiques).

HAMODIA. Imaginons que sur l’Iran, Obama gagne tout de même son pari…

On compare souvent Rouhani à Mikhaïl Gorbatchev. Quand celui-ci a lancé sa perestroika en 1986 et décidé de mettre fin à la guerre froide, beaucoup d’Occidentaux ont cru à une ruse et refusé de lui faire confiance – sauf, curieusement, les deux leaders occidentaux les plus anticommunistes, l’Américain Ronald Reagan et la Britannique Margaret Thatcher. Mais Rouhani n’est pas à l’Iran actuel ce que Gorbatchev était à l’URSS des années 1980. Gorbatchev était le maître absolu, le « tsar rouge », de son pays : chef de l’Etat et du parti, commandant en chef des armées, chef suprême des services secrets. Rouhani, en dépit de son titre de chef d’Etat, n’est qu’un rouage relativement secondaire d’un régime théocratique dirigé par l’ayatollah Khamenei et la technostructure des Gardiens de la Révolution. Tout laisse donc à penser que son « ouverture » n’est – ne peut être – qu’une manœuvre permettant à l’Iran de desserrer l’étau des sanctions internationales, de gagner du temps sur le plan du nucléaire et de sauvegarder, avec la complicité active de la Russie, ses alliés syrien (Assad) et libanais (le Hezbollah). Dans son article de Foreign Affairs, Akbar Ganji note que Khamenei a laissé entendre publiquement dès mars 2013 – quatre mois avant l’élection présidentielle – qu’un arrangement avec les Etats-Unis était possible et donc souhaitable. Il y a lieu de penser que Rouhani a été choisi dès ce moment pour mener cette nouvelle politique. Et que les comités qui, dans le régime iranien, sélectionnent les candidats à la présidentielle, ont reçu l’ordre de le favoriser – en le faisant apparaître comme un « libéral ».

HAMODIA. Qui profite de la désagrégation de la position américaine au Moyen-Orient ? La Russie ?

MG. Poutine a manœuvré brillamment face à un président américain faible et incompétent. Mais la Russie de 2013, ce n’est pas grand chose. Son PNB ne représente que le huitième du PNB américain et ne repose que sur des ventes d’armes, d’énergie et de matières premières. Son budget militaire ne représente qu’un peu plus du septième du budget militaire américain. Elle est moitié moins peuplée que l’Amérique et semble engagée de surcroit dans un effritement démographique irréversible : de 149 millions d’habitants en 1990 à 143 millions aujourd’hui. A terme, le véritable rival, c’est la Chine qui, à la différence de la Russie, a su se doter depuis trente ans d’une base économique, technologique et militaire moderne. C’est vers elle que les déçus de l’Amérique seront tentés de se tourner. Sauf si un président fort et compétent – un nouveau Reagan – remplace Obama en 2017, ce qui n’aurait rien d’impossible.

HAMODIA. Vous mentionniez le « fantasme islamique » d’Obama. A quoi tient-il ?

MG. Les clés d’Obama se trouvent dans son livre autobiographique, Les Rêves de mon père. Deux faits, qu’il rapporte avec beaucoup de franchise : d’abord, un drame intime : il n’a pratiquement pas connu son père ; ensuite, un drame identitaire : l’Amérique traditionnelle – anglo-saxonne, judéo-chrétienne, blanche – est pour lui une sorte de pays étranger. Il est certes né aux Etats-Unis, mais il n’y a pas passé son enfance. Il n’a pas été élevé dans la foi chrétienne, mais dans un mélange d’humanisme athée et d’islam libéral. Et bien que sa mère soit blanche, il a toujours été considéré comme un Noir.

Comment surmonte-t-il ces deux drames ? A travers l’action politique en vue d’une Amérique nouvelle, multiraciale, multireligieuse, multiculturelle. En fait, il veut enfanter cette nouvelle Amérique qui lui ressemblerait, être à la fois son propre père et celui d’une nation remodelée à son image. Ce qui passe, entre autre choses, par une réconciliation – fusionnelle – avec un islam qui est le contraire même de l’Amérique traditionnelle.

Ce n’est là qu’un fantasme. La politique rationnelle d’Obama se réfère à d’autres considérations, d’autres raisonnements. Mais les fantasmes sont souvent aussi puissants ou plus puissants que la rationalité. Et qui plus est, les fantasmes personnels du président actuel recoupent ceux d’une bonne partie de la société américaine : les Noirs, les non-Blancs en général, mais aussi les milieux blancs d’extrême-gauche, une partie des élites intellectuelles…

HAMODIA. Comment Nethanyahu va-t-il réagir ? Son discours sur la persistance du danger iranien, à l’Onu, était-il à la hauteur ?

MG. Benjalin Nethanyahu est un leader prudent. Il a toujours su éviter un affrontement direct avec Obama. Son discours, à l’Onu, s’adressait avant tout, media voce, à une opinion publique américaine qui se méfie à la fois d’Obama et de Rouhani. Et aux réalistes arabes.

HAMODIA. Obama a lié le dossier iranien au processus de paix israélo-arabe…

Qui peut encore soutenir sérieusement qu’Israël est au cœur de tous les problèmes du Proche Orient et que tout passe, dans cette région, par la « résolution » du « problème palestinien » ? Depuis près de quatre ans, le monde arabe et islamique n’en finit pas de se décomposer et de se recomposer sous nos yeux, entraîné par ses pesanteurs propres. Une analyste géopolitique, Robin Wright, vient même de prédire dans le New York Times, le quotidien le plus pro-Obama des Etats-Unis, le remplacement de cinq Etats moyen-orientaux (la Syrie, l’Irak, l’Arabie Saoudite, la Libye, le Yemen) par quinze nouveaux Etats à caractère ethnoreligieux. Voilà qui merite au moins autant d’attention que les articles promouvant le « nouvel Iran » du président Rouhani. Et qui relativise le « processus de paix » Jérusalem-Ramallah.

(Propos recueillis par Daniel Haïk)

Voir aussi:

A Victory for Iran

The Obama administration’s “interim” agreement is an exercise in wishful thinking.

Mona Charen

National Review on line

November 26, 2013

Ninety percent of the American opinion elite will fall for the old “historic breakthrough” conceit every time. The appeal of getting enemies in a room together where they will shed their animosity and “reason together” is so profound that nothing as tiresome as experience can diminish its allure.

Don’t talk to Secretary Kerry or President Obama about the League of Nations (which enjoyed such success ensuring world peace) or the Kellogg–Briand Pact, the 1928 treaty that outlawed war as an instrument of national policy. Fifty-four countries, including all of the major belligerents of World War II, signed the pact. Don’t mention the series of “breakthrough agreements” between the United States and North Korea, in which we thrice (1994, 2005, 2007) offered security guarantees, food aid, diplomatic concessions, and cash in exchange for North Korea’s promise to discontinue its nuclear program. The very same person who handled negotiations with North Korea for the Clinton administration, Wendy Sherman, is now heading up the U.S. team stroking the Iranians. (The Bush administration, more immune than most to the siren call of diplomatic breakthroughs, did fall into the trap with North Korea.)

Secretary Kerry, denying that the Geneva accord is a naïve exercise in wishful thinking, pleads that we need to “put to the test Iran’s words and intentions.” Any contract requires a meeting of the minds. Kerry keeps saying that we don’t need to trust the Iranians because we will be checking them at every stage. But if the parties do not even agree to what they’ve just signed in the 18 hours after inking a document, how well is verification going to go? Mohammed Zarif, Iran’s chief negotiator, asserted that the agreement takes the threat of force off the table, and enshrines Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium. Kerry flatly denies both. Nice start.

Secretary Kerry also challenged Iran to “prove” to the world that its nuclear program is only for “peaceful purposes.” Is that a question an adult, far less America’s chief diplomat, should pose? Iran controls the world’s fourth largest supply of oil and second largest reserve of natural gas. Are we to believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear power because of concern about climate change? How exactly would Iran’s active research on nuclear-weapons design and development of ballistic-missile technology suit that explanation?

It has been obvious for more than two decades that Iran is determined to join the nuclear club — a goal America’s allies in the region and right-thinking people the world over view with horror and dread. Five Security Council resolutions have demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment of uranium. The Obama administration itself has repeatedly and starkly declared that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons is “unacceptable.”

As with so many things President Obama has said, though, this pronouncement is nothing more than a windsock — it shows which way the wind is blowing, but doesn’t hold anything. Like the “red line” about Syria’s use of chemical weapons, the stentorian injunctions against Iran’s nuclear pursuit are also just so much wind.

Both Kerry and Obama have repeatedly argued that negotiation is the only alternative to war. By blurting this in an attempt to dissuade Congress from passing further sanctions they completely neuter any implied threat of military force. Iran certainly notices the Obama administration’s eagerness for a deal as well as its rejection of military action.

Nor is it correct that the only alternative to this capitulation was war. The sanctions that this agreement supersedes were working well to force the Iranian regime to come to terms. Their nation is struggling with high prices, shortages, and a collapsing currency due to sanctions. This should have been a moment of maximum leverage for the United States and other powers. Yet the deal they’ve achieved does next to nothing to reverse Iran’s march to a bomb and does a great deal to undermine the fragile, painfully achieved world consensus to impose sanctions.

“For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program,” Mr. Obama intoned. But we’ve seen this story unfold many times before, most recently with North Korea. Our eagerness for pieces of paper that can be brandished as “peace” trumps cold reality every time. Iran has slipped the sanctions noose. It will soon become a nuclear power — not despite our best efforts, but with our tacit acquiescence. We will look back on this agreement with bitterness in the very near future.

Voir également:

Peace for Our Time

Victor Davis Hanson

National review on line

November 24, 2013

The Iranian agreement comes not in isolation, unfortunately. The Syrian debacle instructed the Iranians that the Obama administration was more interested in announcing a peaceful breakthrough than actually achieving it. The timing is convenient for both sides: The Obama administration needed an offset abroad to the Obamacare disaster, and the Iranians want a breathing space to rebuild their finances and ensure that Assad can salvage the Iranian-Hezbollah-Assad axis. The agreement is a de facto acknowledgement that containing, not ending, Iran’s nuclear program is now U.S. policy.

After all, to what degree would an Iranian freeze really retard development of a bomb, or simply put it on hold? In other words, has Iran already met some of its requirements for weaponization, and now simply wishes to take a breather, rebuild its economy, and strengthen its image in the West — before the final and rather easy development of a deliverable bomb? If the sanctions are not only lifted, but incentives are added in place of them, why then would Iran not agree to dismantle completely elements of its program that exceed domestic energy purposes? (Or for that matter, why would a nation with among the world’s largest reserves of gas and oil feel the need to fund an expensive nuclear energy program in the first place?)

Aside from the details of this new Sword of Damocles pact, one wonders about the following: In the case of violations, will it be easier for Iran to return to weaponization or for the U.S. to reassemble allies to reestablish the sanctions? Will Israel now be more or less likely to consider preemption? Will the Sunni states feel some relief or more likely pursue avenues to achieve nuclear deterrence? Will allies like Japan or South Korea feel that the U.S. has reasserted its old global clout, or further worry that their patron might engage in secret talks with, say, China rather than reemphasize their security under the traditional U.S. umbrella?

The president’s dismal polls are only a multiplier of that general perception abroad that foreign policy is an auxiliary to fundamental transformation at home, useful not so much to create international stability per se, as to enhance Obama influence in pursuing his domestic agenda. Collate reset, lead from behind, “redlines,” “game-changers,” ”deadlines,” the Arab Spring confusion, the skedaddle from Iraq, Benghazi, the Eastern European missile pullback, and the atmosphere is comparable to the 1979–80 Carter landscape, in which after three years of observation, the opportunists at last decided to act while the acting was good, from Afghanistan to Central America to Tehran.

There is not a good record, from Philip of Macedon to Hitler to Stalin in the 1940s to Carter and the Soviets in the 1970s to radical Islamists in the 1990s, of expecting authoritarians and thugs to listen to reason, cool their aggression, and appreciate democracies’ sober and judicious appeal to logic — once they sense in the West greater eagerness to announce new, rather than to enforce old, agreements.

Voir encore:

Worse Than Munich

In 1938, Chamberlain bought time to rearm. In 2013, Obama gives Iran time to go nuclear.

Bret Stephens

The WSJ

Nov. 25, 2013

To adapt Churchill : Never in the field of global diplomacy has so much been given away by so many for so little.

Britain and France’s capitulation to Nazi Germany at Munich has long been a byword for ignominy, moral and diplomatic. Yet neither Neville Chamberlain nor Édouard Daladier had the public support or military wherewithal to stand up to Hitler in September 1938. Britain had just 384,000 men in its regular army; the first Spitfire aircraft only entered RAF service that summer. "Peace for our time" it was not, but at least appeasement bought the West a year to rearm.

The signing of the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973 was a betrayal of an embattled U.S. ally and the abandonment of an effort for which 58,000 American troops gave their lives. Yet it did end America’s participation in a peripheral war, which neither Congress nor the public could indefinitely support. "Peace with honor" it was not, as the victims of Cambodia’s Killing Fields or Vietnam’s re-education camps can attest. But, for American purposes at least, it was peace.

By contrast, the interim nuclear agreement signed in Geneva on Sunday by Iran and the six big powers has many of the flaws of Munich and Paris. But it has none of their redeeming or exculpating aspects.

Consider: Britain and France came to Munich as military weaklings. The U.S. and its allies face Iran from a position of overwhelming strength. Britain and France won time to rearm. The U.S. and its allies have given Iran more time to stockpile uranium and develop its nuclear infrastructure. Britain and France had overwhelming domestic constituencies in favor of any deal that would avoid war. The Obama administration is defying broad bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress for the sake of a deal.

As for the Vietnam parallels, the U.S. showed military resolve in the run-up to the Paris Accords with a massive bombing and mining campaign of the North that demonstrated presidential resolve and forced Hanoi to sign the deal. The administration comes to Geneva fresh from worming its way out of its own threat to use force to punish Syria’s Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people.

The Nixon administration also exited Vietnam in the context of a durable opening to Beijing that helped tilt the global balance of power against Moscow. Now the U.S. is attempting a fleeting opening with Tehran at the expense of a durable alliance of values with Israel and interests with Saudi Arabia. "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" is the title of a hilarious memoir by British author Toby Young —but it could equally be the history of Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

That’s where the differences end between Geneva and the previous accords. What they have in common is that each deal was a betrayal of small countries—Czechoslovakia, South Vietnam, Israel—that had relied on Western security guarantees. Each was a victory for the dictatorships: "No matter the world wants it or not," Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said Sunday, "this path will, God willingly, continue to the peak that has been considered by the martyred nuclear scientists." Each deal increased the contempt of the dictatorships for the democracies: "If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella," Hitler is reported to have said of Chamberlain after Munich, "I’ll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach."

And each deal was a prelude to worse. After Munich came the conquest of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi-Soviet pact and World War II. After Paris came the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh and the humiliating exit from the embassy rooftop. After Geneva there will come a new, chaotic Mideast reality in which the United States will lose leverage over enemies and friends alike.

What will that look like? Iran will gradually shake free of sanctions and glide into a zone of nuclear ambiguity that will keep its adversaries guessing until it opts to make its capabilities known. Saudi Arabia will move swiftly to acquire a nuclear deterrent from its clients in Islamabad; Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal made that clear to the Journal last week when he indiscreetly discussed "the arrangement with Pakistan." Egypt is beginning to ponder a nuclear option of its own while drawing closer to a security alliance with Russia.

As for Israel, it cannot afford to live in a neighborhood where Iran becomes nuclear, Assad remains in power, and Hezbollah—Israel’s most immediate military threat—gains strength, clout and battlefield experience. The chances that Israel will hazard a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites greatly increased since Geneva. More so the chances of another war with Hezbollah.

After World War II the U.S. created a global system of security alliances to prevent the kind of foreign policy freelancing that is again becoming rampant in the Middle East. It worked until President Obama decided in his wisdom to throw it away. If you hear echoes of the 1930s in the capitulation at Geneva, it’s because the West is being led by the same sort of men, minus the umbrellas.

Voir de même:

Hassan Rouhani: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Majid Rafizadeh

FrontPage Magazine

July 24, 2013

In the Western world, the media and political leaders have created a narrative averring that Iran’s seventh president, Hassan Rouhani, will introduce a new chapter to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s history of nuclear defiance. Meanwhile, under Ahmadinejad’s rule, Tehran will continue to spin its centrifuges in attempt to obtain nuclear weapons and arsenals until Rouhani assumes presidency. While the West and other regional countries have suspended all diplomatic initiatives, talks and pressures until Rouhani comes to power, Iranian leaders have taken advantage of this opportunity to speed up their enrichment of uranium so as to sooner reach the critical point of obtaining nuclear weapons.

The “logic” that the Obama administration and other liberal leaders are utilizing to uphold the argument that diplomatic initiatives have to wait until Rouhani comes to power is that Rouhani is a centrist, moderate, realist, and rational Iranian politician who comprehends the concerns and rules of the international community, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations, and P5+1. They argue that Rouhani will comply with rules and halt Iran’s nuclear program in several cities including Bushehr, Qum, Esfahan, Arak and Natanz.

Nevertheless, these arguments do not take into account the ideological nuances, political agenda and structure of the Iranian centrists. In addition, and more fundamentally, these arguments can easily be repudiated not only by the career, personal, ideological, and political background of Hassan Rouhani, but also by the most recent statements that Rouhani has made in Persian media and the state’s outlets.

In a recent interview, Hassan Abedini, the host of one of Iran’s state media channels, IRIB, criticized Rouhani by stating that Iran’s nuclear work had been halted as a result of the negotiations that Rouhani took part in when he was chief nuclear negotiator. Rouhani then immediately interrupted Abedini by exclaiming, “What you said is a lie. You know it’s a lie. This statement is what ignorant people say; you are taught in this….Maybe the person speaking to you in your earpiece doesn’t know, but you know.” After the television host pressured Rouhani further, Rouhani said “We suspended the [nuclear] program? We completed the [nuclear] program. This is unethical act of the IRIB [channel] that has permeated into you. And the person who is talking with you into your earpiece, this unethical act has permeated into him, as well.”

In this interview, Rouhani supported the position that although the West and international community believe that Iran was halting its nuclear program, Rouhani – as the chief nuclear negotiator – was in fact completing it. In addition, at the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, Rouhani further clarified, “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were [simultaneously] installing equipment in parts of the [nuclear] facility in Isfahan, but we still had a long way to go to accomplish the project. In fact, by creating a tranquil environment, we were able to finish the work in Isfahan.”

Furthermore, after Rouhani was elected as the Iran’s seventh president, he publicly declared that the United States must recognize Iran’s nuclear rights and pledge not to interfere in its internal and domestic affairs. Additionally, in his press conference, the president-elect clearly stated, “The era of [enrichment] suspension is gone.”

The critical fact remains that although on one hand the Iranian centrists support using softer and more diplomatic tones on regional and international platforms, on the other hand, they also strongly insist on preserving Tehran’s current political status quo, foreign policy objectives, and continued assistance towards the survival of the Shiite cleric-ruled regime. While Rouhani is nicknamed the diplomatic sheikh and while he calls for employing less hostile language when dealing with the West, it is nevertheless unrealistic to argue that Rouhani will alter Tehran’s nuclear program and foreign policies or challenge the Supreme Leader.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose country would be the most affected if Iran obtained nuclear weapons, responded to Rouhani’s remarks about the era of nuclear suspension being gone. In an interview with CBS News, Netanyahu accurately characterized the political ideology of Rouhani and Iran’s centrist political spectrum by stating, “He [Rouhani] is criticizing his predecessor for being a wolf in wolf’s clothing. His strategy is to be a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. Smile and build a bomb.” Netanyahu also stated previously, “Let us not delude ourselves. The international community must not become caught up in wishful thinking and be tempted to relax the pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear program.”

Hassan Rouhani and the centrist party are the founders and beneficiaries of the theocratic political system of Iran’s Ayatollahs. It would be irrational to argue that Rouhani will stand against the current system, which he assisted in creating, and it is illogical to believe that he will risk his power and accumulated wealth by halting the centrifuges from spinning. Rouhani was the chief advisor of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as the head of Iran’s National Security Council. It is thus inevitable that Rouhani will avoid challenging the Supreme Leader so as to preserve all the benefits and powers he has accumulated.

In a very Machiavellian-like approach, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue spinning its centrifuges under the rule of Rouhani, but in the meanwhile will use a much softer tone when interacting with the international community. This shrewdness will allow Iran to buy time, manipulate the international community, take advantage of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s loopholes, delude the rest of world and ultimately reach their nuclear and hegemonic ambitions.

Voir de plus:

Rohani, bilan d’une modération de façade en Iran

National Council of Resistance of Iran

12 Oct 2013

CNRI – Voilà près de 100 jours que Hassan Rohani a pris ses fonctions de nouveau président du régime iranien. Les médias font une grande place à l’offensive du lobby des mollahs pour donner à la dictature religieuse un vernir de modération via l’image de Rohani, un homme du sérail depuis 30 ans. Le but étant uniquement de desserrer l’étau des sanctions internationales qui l’étranglent. Cependant, on peut déjà se faire une idée de sa véritable identité à travers son bilan.

Avant son accession à la présidence

Hassan Rohani se vantait d’avoir réussi à tromper les Occidentaux dans les négociations sur le nucléaire. Voici son intervention, le 3 novembre 2003, au Conseil suprême de la Révolution culturelle, paru en septembre 2005 dans le semestriel RAHBORD, une publication du Centre de Recherche stratégique du Conseil de Discernement de l’État :

« Durant l’été 2002, des clameurs se sont levées dans les médias occidentaux affirmant que l’Iran s’emploie à construire une bombe atomique (…) Quand nous avons invité les trois ministres (des Affaires étrangères européennes) nous cherchions à savoir comment nous pourrions donner une vue d’ensemble du programme nucléaire et de nos précédentes activités, tout en évitant d’être renvoyés devant le Conseil de sécurité. Si nous avions refusé de déclarer nos activités passées, cela aurait signifié pour l’agence (AIEA) que nous n’avions pas l’intention de coopérer. Car la plupart des activités menées à l’insu de l’agence, lui avait été communiquées par les pays avec lesquels nous avions traité (…) Avec les renseignements venus de la Libye, ils se sont rendus compte que nous avions pu obtenir des choses de notre négociant sans les déclarer. En effet, nous avions déclaré les équipements reçus du négociant, à une exception : la (centrifugeuse) P2 (…)

«Graduellement, les Européens ont conclu que nous n’avions pas accepté la suspension dans les domaines où nous avions des difficultés technologiques, et que la suspension (de l’enrichissement) s’appliquait seulement aux cas où nous n’avions pas de difficultés techniques. C’est une question qu’ils ont soulevée récemment dans les négociations. Ainsi, s’agissant de l’U.C.F et de l’usine d’Ispahan qui transforme le yelow cake en du UF4 et UF6, nous avons réussi à le terminer pendant la période de la suspension. À l’époque, pendant que nous étions en train de discuter avec les Européens à Téhéran, nous installions des équipements dans certaines parties (de l’usine) d’Ispahan, et le projet était sur le point d’être complété. En réalité, c’est en créant un climat de sérénité, que nous avons pu achever Ispahan. Dieu soit loué, Ispahan a été complété et nous pouvons transformer le yellow cake en du UF4 et UF6, et c’est très important (…) Nous avions certaines choses et nous pensions que personne n’en était informé. Mais ces mêmes choses que nous avions dissimulées, avaient malheureusement été publiées dans le passé dans des thèses de doctorat et des articles scientifiques (iraniens). En outre, d’autres faits avaient été communiqués par la Chine et la Russie à l’Agence.»

Discours d’Hassan Rohani, premier vice-président du parlement, dans un rassemblement de la milice du Bassidj, publié le 17 mai 1995 par le quotidien officiel Etela’at:

« Si certains endiablés venaient dire jusqu’à récemment à nos chers jeunes gens que l’antiaméricanisme de la révolution s’est édulcorée, aujourd’hui cependant, il est avéré à la face du monde que ces paroles sont erronées et infondées. Notre système, notre gouvernement, notre parlement, nos responsables, et à leur tête notre vénérable Guide suprême, à l’instar de l’imam (Khomeiny), sont tous des antiaméricains convaincus. Aujourd’hui l’admirable slogan de "mort à l’Amérique" est de plus en plus une source d’unité dans notre pays. Aujourd’hui le slogan "mort à l’Amérique" a fait que notre cheminement est plus clair, plus transparent et plus défini que jamais.» https://khodnevis.org/article/52750#.Uk1VB4bwZpw

Après son arrivée à la présidence

Sur le programme atomique :

« Accepter le droit naturel, légal et inaliénable de l’Iran, comme l’ordonne avec sagesse le guide suprême, est le moyen le plus simple de résoudre le dossier nucléaire atomique. »

« La technologie nucléaire, notamment l’enrichissement de l’uranium, est parvenue au stade de production à grande échelle. Imaginer qu’en faisant obstruction au programme atomique de l’Iran par le biais de pressions illégales, on peut garantir que le programme est pacifique, relève de la fiction totale. »

Discours à l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU, New York, 24 septembre 2013.

– Selon l’AIEA : les réserves d’uranium enrichi à 20% en Iran au mois de février avaient augmenté de 9 %

20 aout 2013, agence Reuters

- 28 aout : Dans son rapport trimestriel, l’AIEA a annoncé : en installant des centaines d’autres centrifugeuses, l’Iran a augmenté sa capacité à enrichir l’uranium. Ces centrifugeuses, qui sont d’un modèle plus avancé (IR-2), se trouvent dans le site nucléaire de Natanz, dans la province d’Ispahan. Le rapport ajoute : l’Iran a aussi commencé la production de combustible pour le réacteur d’eau lourde.

Rapport de l’AEIA, 28 aout

– Dans la visite que nous avons effectuée aujourd’hui au site de Fordo (…) les activités de ce site se poursuivent sans la moindre faille et l’enrichissement se fait à 20%. »

1 octobre, agences de presse officielles iraniennes

Sur les missiles balistiques :

Dans un défilé militaire en Iran en présence de Rohani, « les forces armée iraniennes ont présenté 30 missiles balistique de type Sejil et Ghadr d’une portée annoncée de 2000 km ».

AFP – 22 septembre 2013

Sur Israël :

« Le régime sioniste est depuis des années une plaie sur le corps monde musulman et il faut se débarrasser de cette plaie. » Quelques heures plus tard, la phrase a été corrigée de la manière suivante : « Dans notre région, dans l’ombre occupée du territoire palestinien et de notre chère Qods (Jérusalem), une plaie a été infligée au corps du monde musulman et cela nous rappelle que le peuple musulman n’oubliera pas son droit historique et résistera à l’oppression et à l’agression. »

3 aout 2013 – Discours à la manifestation annuel contre Israël du nom de « Journée Qods »

http://www.president.ir/fa/70000

Sur la Corée du Nord :

« L’Iran et la Corée du nord ont toujours entretenu de bonnes relations et il est certain que le niveau de relation de ces deux pays se développera dans le 11e gouvernement (…) Les relations de la république islamique d’Iran et de la Corée du Nord au fil des ans ont toujours été bonnes et en plein développement. Je suis certain que les relations entre les deux pays vont se poursuivre avec le 11e gouvernement et continueront de se développer plus qu’auparavant. »

3 aout 2013 – Dans une rencontre avec le président nord coréen

http://www.president.ir/fa/70017

Sur la Syrie :

« La république islamique d’Iran est préoccupée par la présence de terroristes et les ingérences étrangères en Syrie et le condamne. » « Le président de la république, adressant ses remerciements pour le message de Bachar Assad, le président syrien, a mis l’accent sur le développement des relations entre les deux pays dans divers domaines. »

4 aout 2013 – Rencontre avec le premier ministre syrien

http://www.president.ir/fa/70427

Sur le guide suprême et la constitution de la dictature religieuse :

« Nous sommes fiers de tous nous trouver en république islamique dont le pilier centrale est le guide suprême. »

19 aout 2013, lors de la présentation du ministre de l’Intérieur

http://www.president.ir/fa/70641

« La constitution est extrêmement progressiste et dynamique, le principe de la constitution peut parfaitement satisfaire les droits civils de la population. »

6 aout 2013, lors de sa première conférence de presse.

http://www.president.ir/fa/70470

Sur la situation économique :

« Deux années consécutives, la croissance économique du pays s’est révélée négative. C’est la première fois qu’après la guerre imposée [contre l’Irak], notre croissance économique est négative. C’est la première fois qu’à côté de la croissance négative, le pays connait une inflation extrêmement élevée, la plus haute inflation de la région, voire du monde. Le pays connait une inflation de 42%, le pays connait le chômage (…) Regardez les chiffres : de 2006 à 2011, quel est le nombre d’emplois ? 14.000 personnes par an ? C’est le nombre d’emplois de ces dernières années dans notre pays. »

3 aout 2013, dans une réunion avec les députés au Majlis.

http://www.president.ir/fa/70004

« La situation actuelle du pays dans tous les domaines est difficile et complexe. Dans le domaine économique, le pays connait une inflation élevée, un taux d’investissements réduit, une réduction des entreprises de production, et beaucoup de liquidités, en autres problèmes économiques.

« Dans le domaine de la politique étrangère, nous sommes confrontés aux sanctions qui nous oppriment, aux défis régionaux et aux tensions politiques aigues au Moyen-Orient. »

15 aout 2013, discours de clôture en défense des ministres présentés au parlement.

http://www.president.ir/fa/70547

Un dossier sur Hassan Rohani

Rohani au pouvoir en Iran quelles sont les conséquences

Voir enfin:

Iran Strongly Rejects Text of Geneva Agreement Released by White House

FARS

Nov 26, 2013

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called invalid a press release by the White House alleged to be the text of the nuclear agreement struck by Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) in Geneva on Sunday.

“What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action (the title of the Iran-powers deal), and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Tuesday.

She said that the four-page text under the name of the Joint Plan of Action (which has been released by the Iranian foreign ministry) was the result of the agreement reached during the Geneva talks and all of its sentences and words were chosen based on the considerations of all parties to the talks. In fact one of the reasons why negotiations between Iran and the G5+1 took so long pertained to the accuracy which was needed for choosing the words for the text of the agreement, Afkham said, explaining that the Iranian delegation was much rigid and laid much emphasis on the need for this accuracy.

Afkham said that the text of the Joint Plan of Action was provided to the media a few hours after the two sides agreed on it.

After the White House released a modified version of the deal struck by Iran and the six world powers in Geneva early Sunday morning, the Iranian Foreign Ministry released the text of the agreement.

The full text of the deal is as follows:

Geneva, 24 November 2013

Joint Plan of Action

Preamble

The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons. This comprehensive solution would build on these initial measures and result in a final step for a period to be agreed upon and the resolution of concerns. This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein. This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme. This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This comprehensive solution would involve a reciprocal, step-bystep process, and would produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme.

There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step, including, among other things, addressing the UN Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Council’s consideration of this matter. The E3+3 and Iran will be responsible for conclusion and implementation of mutual near-term measures and the comprehensive solution in good faith. A Joint Commission of E3/EU+3 and Iran will be established to monitor the implementation of the near-term measures and address issues that may arise, with the IAEA responsible for verification of nuclear-related measures. The Joint Commission will work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern.

Elements of a first step The first step would be time-bound, with a duration of 6 months, and renewable by mutual consent, during which all parties will work to maintain a constructive atmosphere for negotiations in good faith. Iran would undertake the following voluntary measures:

• From the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line.

• Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.

• Iran announces that it will not make any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant1, Fordow2, or the Arak reactor3, designated by the IAEA as IR-40.

• Beginning when the line for conversion of UF6 enriched up to 5% to UO2 is ready, Iran has decided to convert to oxide UF6 newly enriched up to 5% during the 6 month period, as provided in the operational schedule of the conversion plant declared to the IAEA.

• No new locations for the enrichment.

• Iran will continue its safeguarded R&D practices, including its current enrichment R&D practices, which are not designed for accumulation of the enriched uranium.

• No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.

• Enhanced monitoring:

o Provision of specified information to the IAEA, including information on Iran’s plans for nuclear facilities, a description of each building on each nuclear site, a description of the scale of operations for each location engaged in specified nuclear activities, information on uranium mines and mills, and information on source material. This information would be provided within three months of the adoption of these measures.

o Submission of an updated DIQ for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40, to the IAEA.

o Steps to agree with the IAEA on conclusion of the Safeguards Approach for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40.

o Daily IAEA inspector access when inspectors are not present for the purpose of Design Information Verification, Interim Inventory Verification, Physical Inventory Verification, and unannounced inspections, for the purpose of access to offline surveillance records, at Fordow and Natanz.

o IAEA inspector managed access to:

centrifuge assembly workshops4;

centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities; and, uranium mines and mills.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Footnotes:

1 Namely, during the 6 months, Iran will not feed UF6 into the centrifuges installed but not enriching uranium. Not install additional centrifuges. Iran announces that during the first 6 months, it will replace existing centrifuges with centrifuges of the same type.

2 At Fordow, no further enrichment over 5% at 4 cascades now enriching uranium, and not increase enrichment capacity. Not

feed UF6 into the other 12 cascades, which would remain in a non-operative state. No interconnections between cascades.

Iran announces that during the first 6 months, it will replace existing centrifuges with centrifuges of the same type.

3 Iran announces on concerns related to the construction of the reactor at Arak that for 6 months it will not commission the reactor or transfer fuel or heavy water to the reactor site and will not test additional fuel or produce more fuel for the reactor or install remaining components.

4 Consistent with its plans, Iran’s centrifuge production during the 6 months will be dedicated to replace damaged machines.

In return, the E3/EU+3 would undertake the following voluntary measures:

• Pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil. Enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of revenue held abroad. For such oil sales, suspend the EU and U.S. sanctions on associated insurance and transportation services.

• Suspend U.S. and EU sanctions on:

o Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services.5 o Gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions on associated services.

• Suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran’s auto industry, as well as sanctions on associated services.

• License the supply and installation in Iran of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services. License safety related inspections and repairs in Iran as well as associated services.6

• No new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions.

• No new EU nuclear-related sanctions.

• The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the

Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.

• Establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenues held abroad. Humanitarian trade would be defined as transactions involving food and agricultural products, medicine, medical devices, and medical expenses incurred abroad. This channel would involve specified foreign banks and non-designated Iranian banks to be defined when establishing the channel.

o This channel could also enable:

transactions required to pay Iran’s UN obligations; and, direct tuition payments to universities and colleges for Iranian students studying abroad, up to an agreed amount for the six month period.

• Increase the EU authorisation thresholds for transactions for non-sanctioned trade to an agreed amount.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Footnotes

5 "Sanctions on associated services" means any service, such as insurance, transportation, or financial, subject to the underlying U.S. or EU sanctions applicable, insofar as each service is related to the underlying sanction and required to facilitate the desired transactions. These services could involve any non-designated Iranian entities.

6 Sanctions relief could involve any non-designated Iranian airlines as well as Iran Air.

Elements of the final step of a comprehensive solution*

The final step of a comprehensive solution, which the parties aim to conclude negotiating and commence implementing no more than one year after the adoption of this document, would:

• Have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon.

• Reflect the rights and obligations of parties to the NPT and IAEA Safeguards Agreements.

• Comprehensively lift UN Security Council, multilateral and national nuclear-related sanctions, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy, on a schedule to be agreed upon.

• Involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on scope and level of enrichment activities, capacity, where it is carried out, and stocks of enriched uranium, for a period to be agreed upon.

• Fully resolve concerns related to the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40.

No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.

• Fully implement the agreed transparency measures and enhanced monitoring. Ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Majlis (Iranian parliament).

• Include international civil nuclear cooperation, including among others, on acquiring modern light water power and research reactors and associated equipment, and the supply of modern nuclear fuel as well as agreed R&D practices.

Following successful implementation of the final step of the comprehensive solution for its full duration, the Iranian nuclear programme will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT.

* With respect to the final step and any steps in between, the standard principle that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" applies.


Ecoutes américaines: Beau comme la rencontre fortuite de l’insigne incompétence et de la plus totalitaire des capacités d’interception (Lamb horns and dragon voice – the most ineffectual drone president and an apparatus that aspires to monitor no less than the entirety of the human race’s electronic communications !)

31 octobre, 2013
Photo : BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING US (Lamb horns and dragon voice - the most ineffectual drone president and an apparatus that aspires to monitor no less than the entirety of the human race's electronic communications !)And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his nameRevelation 13: 11-17The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us, Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. The difference is that we don’t have the same means as the United States - which makes us jealous.Bernard KouchnerOf course, Brazil, France, Germany, and Mexico do exactly the same thing. They want their leaders to gain a decision advantage in the give and take between countries. They want to know what U.S. policymakers will do before the Americans do it. And in the case of Brazil and France, they aggressively spy on the United States, on U.S. citizens and politicians, in order to collect that information. The difference lies in the scale of intelligence collection: The U.S. has the most effective, most distributed, most sophisticated intelligence community in the West. It is Goliath. And other countries, rightly in their mind, are envious.Marc Ambiderhttp://theweek.com/article/index/251628/why-the-nsa-spies-on-france-and-germanyBefore his disclosures, most experts already assumed that the United States conducted cyberattacks against China, bugged European institutions, and monitored global Internet communications. Even his most explosive revelation -- that the United States and the United Kingdom have compromised key communications software and encryption systems designed to protect online privacy and security -- merely confirmed what knowledgeable observers have long suspected.The deeper threat that leakers such as Manning and Snowden pose is more subtle than a direct assault on U.S. national security: they undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with it. Their danger lies not in the new information that they reveal but in the documented confirmation they provide of what the United States is actually doing and why. ... "Hypocrisy is central to Washington’s soft power—its ability to get other countries to accept the legitimacy of its actions—yet few Americans appreciate its role, The reason the United States has until now suffered few consequences for such hypocrisy is that other states have a strong interest in turning a blind eye. Given how much they benefit from the global public goods Washington provides, they have little interest in calling the hegemon on its bad behavior. Public criticism risks pushing the U.S. government toward self-interested positions that would undermine the larger world order. Moreover, the United States can punish those who point out the inconsistency in its actions by downgrading trade relations or through other forms of direct retaliation. Allies thus usually air their concerns in private.http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140155/henry-farrell-and-martha-finnemore/the-end-of-hypocrisy#http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140155/henry-farrell-and-martha-finnemore/the-end-of-hypocrisy#Hypocrisy is crucial because the world order functions through a set of American-built institutions, such as the UN and the World Trade Organisation, which depend on America's commitment to their ideals to hold legitimacy. However, America, like other countries, is in practice often unable to pursue its national interests while adhering to these ideals. Because America is more important to the global order than other countries, its need to practise hypocrisy is greater. And, in general, allies have been willing to abet such hypocrisy:The Economisthttp://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/10/nsa-and-euhttp://www.nationalreview.com/article/362404/obama-still-president-victor-davis-hanson/page/0/1Puis je vis monter de la terre une autre bête, qui avait deux cornes semblables à celles d’un agneau, et qui parlait comme un dragon. Elle exerçait toute l’autorité de la première bête en sa présence, et elle faisait que la terre et ses habitants adoraient la première bête, dont la blessure mortelle avait été guérie. Elle opérait de grands prodiges, même jusqu’à faire descendre du feu du ciel sur la terre, à la vue des hommes.Et elle séduisait les habitants de la terre par les prodiges qu’il lui était donné d’opérer en présence de la bête, disant aux habitants de la terre de faire une image à la bête qui avait la blessure de l’épée et qui vivait. Et il lui fut donné d’animer l’image de la bête, afin que l’image de la bête parlât, et qu’elle fît que tous ceux qui n’adoreraient pas l’image de la bête fussent tués. Et elle fit que tous, petits et grands, riches et pauvres, libres et esclaves, reçussent une marque sur leur main droite ou sur leur front, et que personne ne pût acheter ni vendre, sans avoir la marque, le nom de la bête ou le nombre de son nom.  Apocalypse 13: 11-17
Beau comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d’une machine à coudre et d’un parapluie! Lautréamont
L’Iran devrait probablement atteindre une capacité nucléaire indétectable à la mi-2014 et peut-être même avant. Dennis Ross
C’est l‘importance des écoutes qui nous a choqué, mais soyons honnêtes, nous espionnons aussi. Tout le monde écoute tout le monde. La différence, c’est qu’on n’a pas les moyens des Etats-Unis, ce qui nous rend jaloux.  Bernard Kouchner
Pour ce qui est de l’espionnage par des moyens technologiques, les écoutes précisément ou les interceptions de flux internet, 2001 n’a pas vraiment changé les choses. 2001 a juste donné aux Etats-Unis un motif nouveau pour habiller leurs pratiques d’interception. Ce nouveau motif, c’est la guerre contre le terrorisme. Mais sur le plan des pratiques, depuis les années 1950, en pleine guerre froide, les Etats-Unis ont en permanence intercepté des communications, y compris celles de leurs partenaires et celles de leurs alliés. (…)  La NSA, d’un point de vue très pratique, en matière d’interception en dehors des Etats-Unis, a deux moyens. D’une part, elle se sert dans les grands serveurs des fournisseurs d’accès à internet, c’est une première façon d’aller directement puiser à la source. Ou alors, elle a un accès, je dirais plus pratique encore, qui est de se brancher sur les câbles eux-mêmes, et non pas sur les fermes (serveurs de données) dans lesquelles sont contenues toutes les données. Ensuite, comme d’autres agences, comme l’agence britannique et d’autres agences, toutes ces données ne sont pas exploitées par l’intelligence humaine mais sont exploitées grâce à des algorithmes, par des capacités informatiques, qui essaient de cibler des mots-clés. Alors, c’est tout l’enjeu du débat aujourd’hui. Est-ce que, comme le disent les Etats-Unis dans une défense mezzo voce, ils ne cherchent dans ces données que ce qui a trait à la lutte contre le terrorisme et à la sécurité des Etats-Unis? Ou est-ce que, sans le dire, ils utilisent aussi ces interceptions pour repérer les mots-clés touchant à des pratiques commerciales, à des brevets, à des litiges juridiques ? Ce que l’on peut dire, étant donné ce que l’on sait aujourd’hui du passé, c’est que la capacité d’interception de la NSA a servi, bien sûr, la sécurité des Etats-Unis mais elle a aussi servi les Etats-Unis dans la guerre économique mondiale qui est devenue une réalité plus forte après la fin de la guerre froide. (…) C’est un jeu de dupes, mais comme les relations entre les Etats sont un jeu de dupes. (…) en même temps il faut bien regarder ce qui est en cause, de la part de la NSA c’est quand même à l’égard de ses grands partenaires commerciaux et politiques, le Brésil, la France ou l’Allemagne. Et là, le jeu de dupes, qui est en partie dévoilé, peut avoir des incidences sur ce qui est la base de la relation entre des alliés et des partenaires : cela s’appelle la confiance. Sébastien Laurent
Of course, Brazil, France, Germany, and Mexico do exactly the same thing. They want their leaders to gain a decision advantage in the give and take between countries. They want to know what U.S. policymakers will do before the Americans do it. And in the case of Brazil and France, they aggressively spy on the United States, on U.S. citizens and politicians, in order to collect that information. The difference lies in the scale of intelligence collection: The U.S. has the most effective, most distributed, most sophisticated intelligence community in the West. It is Goliath. And other countries, rightly in their mind, are envious. Marc Ambider
Before his disclosures, most experts already assumed that the United States conducted cyberattacks against China, bugged European institutions, and monitored global Internet communications. Even his most explosive revelation — that the United States and the United Kingdom have compromised key communications software and encryption systems designed to protect online privacy and security — merely confirmed what knowledgeable observers have long suspected. … The deeper threat that leakers such as Manning and Snowden pose is more subtle than a direct assault on U.S. national security: they undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with it. Their danger lies not in the new information that they reveal but in the documented confirmation they provide of what the United States is actually doing and why. … "Hypocrisy is central to Washington’s soft power—its ability to get other countries to accept the legitimacy of its actions—yet few Americans appreciate its role, …The reason the United States has until now suffered few consequences for such hypocrisy is that other states have a strong interest in turning a blind eye. Given how much they benefit from the global public goods Washington provides, they have little interest in calling the hegemon on its bad behavior. Public criticism risks pushing the U.S. government toward self-interested positions that would undermine the larger world order. Moreover, the United States can punish those who point out the inconsistency in its actions by downgrading trade relations or through other forms of direct retaliation. Allies thus usually air their concerns in private. Foreign Affairs
Hypocrisy is crucial because the world order functions through a set of American-built institutions, such as the UN and the World Trade Organisation, which depend on America’s commitment to their ideals to hold legitimacy. However, America, like other countries, is in practice often unable to pursue its national interests while adhering to these ideals. Because America is more important to the global order than other countries, its need to practise hypocrisy is greater. And, in general, allies have been willing to abet such hypocrisy … The Economist

Pour ceux qui n’avaient pas encore compris qu’à l’instar de la politique de Clausewitz, l’économie est devenue la continuation de la guerre par d’autres moyens …

Et à l’heure ou, pour donner le change à leurs opinions publiques, nos dirigeants et médias font mine de découvrir le secret de polichinelle des écoutes américaines …

Pendant que derrière son bluff nucléaire, Téhéran pourrait sous peu passer le point de non-retour concernant son insistante promesse de rayer Israel de la carte …

Comment ne pas s’émerveiller, derrière le jeu de dupes officiel, de l’incroyable combinaison qui aurait ravi Lautréamont lui-même ?

A savoir mis à part le droit de vie ou de mort via ses drones sur tout ce que le monde peut compter de terroristes …

Celle du président américain, dument confirmé par Forbes, probablement le plus incompétent depuis Carter …

Et d’un appareillage qui, entre les interceptions téléphoniques, satellitaires et électroniques, prétend surveiller rien moins que la totalité des communications électroniques de la race humaine ?

Is Obama Still President?

His cadences soar on, through scandal after fiasco after disaster.­

Victor Davis Hanson

National review

October 29, 2013

We are currently learning whether the United States really needs a president. Barack Obama has become a mere figurehead, who gives speeches few listen to any more, issues threats that scare fewer, and makes promises that almost no one believes he will keep. Yet America continues on, despite the fact that the foreign and domestic policies of Barack Obama are unraveling, in a manner unusual even for star-crossed presidential second terms.

Abroad, American policy in the Middle East is leaderless and in shambles after the Arab Spring — we’ve had the Syrian fiasco and bloodbath, leading from behind in Libya all the way to Benghazi, and the non-coup, non-junta in Egypt. This administration has managed to unite existential Shiite and Sunni enemies in a shared dislike of the United States. While Iran follows the Putin script from Syria, Israel seems ready to preempt its nuclear program, and Obama still mumbles empty “game changers” and “red line” threats of years past.

We have gone from reset with Russia to Putin as the playmaker of the Middle East. The Persian Gulf sheikhdoms are now mostly anti-American. The leaders of Germany and the people of France resent having their private communications tapped by Barack Obama — the constitutional lawyer and champion of universal human rights. Angela Merkel long ago grasped that President Obama would rather fly across the Atlantic to lobby for a Chicago Olympic Games — or tap her phone — than sit through a 20th-anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are beginning to see that the U.S. is more a neutral than a friend, as Obama negotiates with Putin about reducing the nuclear umbrella that protects America’s key non-nuclear allies. Perhaps they will soon make the necessary adjustments. China, Brazil, and India care little that Barack Obama still insists he is not George W. Bush, or that he seems to be trying to do to America what they seek to undo in their own countries.

The world’s leaders do not any longer seem much impressed by the president’s cat-like walk down the steps of Air Force One, or the soaring cadences that rechannel hope-and=change themes onto the world scene. They acknowledge that their own publics may like the American president, and especially his equivocation about the traditional role of American power in the world. But otherwise, for the next three years, the world is in a holding pattern, wondering whether there is a president of the United States to reckon with or a mere teleprompted functionary. Certainly, the Obama Nobel Peace Prize is now the stuff of comedy.

At home, the signature Affordable Care Act is proving its sternest critics prescient. The mess can best be summed up by Republicans’ being demonized for trying to delay or defund Obamacare — after the president himself chose not to implement elements of his own law — followed immediately by congressional Democrats’ seeking to parrot the Republicans. So are the Democrats followers of Ted Cruz or Barack Obama? Is Obama himself following Ted Cruz?

The problem is not just that all the president’s serial assurances about Obamacare proved untrue — premiums and deductibles will go up, many will lose their coverage and their doctors, new taxes will be needed, care will be curtailed, signups are nearly impossible, and businesses will be less, not more, competitive — but that no one should ever have believed they could possibly be true unless in our daily lives we usually get more and better stuff at lower cost.

More gun control is dead. Comprehensive immigration legislation depends on Republicans’ trusting a president who for two weeks smeared his House opponents as hostage-takers and house-breakers. Moreover, just as no one really read the complete text of the Obamacare legislation, so too no one quite knows what is in the immigration bill. There are few assurances that the border will be first secured under an administration with a record of nullifying “settled law” — or that those who have been convicted of crimes or have been long-time recipients of state or federal assistance will not be eligible for eventual citizenship. If the employer mandate was jettisoned, why would not border security be dropped once a comprehensive immigration bill passed? Or for that matter, if it is not passed, will the president just issue a blanket amnesty anyway?

In the age of Obama, we just ran up a $700 billion annual deficit and called it restraint, as if success were to be defined as not adding another $1 trillion each year to the national debt. The strange thing is that after the end of the Iraq War and the winding down in Afghanistan, forced sequestration, new taxes on high earners, and a supposedly recovering and revenue-producing economy, we are still running up near-record deficits. Stranger still, Obama is bragging that the deficit has been cut by billions — as if the 400-pound heart patient can be content that he lost 50 pounds in record time and so trimmed down to a manageable 350 pounds.

The Federal Reserve is pretty well stuck with near-zero interest rates. Even a slight rise would make servicing the huge debt nearly unmanageable. Yet continued record low interest, along with Obamacare, is strangling the economy. Millions of older Americans are learning that a mid-level government employee draws more in pension compensation than a private retiree receives in interest on 40 years’ worth of life savings.

“Millions of green jobs,” “cash for clunkers,” and “stimulus” are all now recognized as cruel jokes. Oddly, the more scandals come to light, the more immune the virtual president becomes. After the politicization of the IRS, the snooping on AP reporters, the Benghazi mess, the NSA eavesdropping, Fast and Furious, the multibillion-dollar overpayment in income-tax credits by the IRS, the Lisa Jackson fake e-mail identities, and the Pigford payments, the public has become numb — as if it to say, “Of course the Obama administration is not truthful. So what else is new?”

Three considerations are keeping the U.S. afloat without an active president. First, many working Americans have tuned the president out and simply go on about their business despite rather than because of this administration. If gas and oil leases have been curtailed on federal lands, there is record production on private land. Farmers are producing huge harvests and receiving historically high prices. Wall Street welcomes in capital that can find no return elsewhere. American universities’ science departments and professional schools still rate among the world’s best. There is as yet no French or Chinese Silicon Valley. In other words, after five years of stagnation, half the public more or less ignores the Obama administration and plods on.

Second, the other half of Americans gladly accept that Obama is an iconic rather than a serious president. Given his emblematic status as the nation’s first African-American president and his efforts to craft a vast coalition of those with supposed grievances against the majority, he will always have a strong base of supporters. With huge increases in federal redistributive support programs, and about half the population not paying federal income taxes, Obama is seen as the protector of the noble deserving, who should receive more from a government to which the ignoble undeserving must give far more. And if it is a question of adding another million or so people to the food-stamp or disability rolls, or ensuring that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon or that China does not bully Japan, the former wins every time.

Finally, the media accept that Obama represents a rare confluence of forces that promotes a progressive agenda. His youth, his charisma, his background, his exotic nomenclature, and his “cool” all have allowed a traditionally unpopular leftist ideology to enter the mainstream. Why endanger all that with a focus on Benghazi or the disaster of Obamacare? We have had, in the course of our history, plenty of Grants, McKinleys, Hardings, Nixons, and Clintons, but never quite an administration of scandal so exempt from media scrutiny.

As far as his image goes, it does not really matter to what degree Obama actually “fundamentally transforms America.” For the media, that he seeks to do so, and that he drives conservatives crazy trying, is seen as enough reason to surrender their autonomy and become ancillary to the effort. The media believe that once he is out of office, they can regain their credibility by going after the next president with renewed vigor as recompense.

In other words, the presidency has become a virtual office. Almost half the people and most of the media do not mind, and those who do just plod onward.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is The Savior Generals, published this spring by Bloomsbury Books.

Voir aussi:

The NSA and the EU

Who do I wiretap if I want to wiretap Europe?

M.S.

The Economist

Oct 25th 2013

HENRY KISSINGER never actually asked who he should call when he wanted to call Europe; in fact, Gideon Rachman pointed out a few years ago, he probably didn’t even want there to be such a person, since he generally thought European leaders would be more tractable to American diplomacy if they remained divided. So he may well have been pleased to see, as Charlemagne observes, that European leaders’ reactions to recent spying revelations have been as fractured and tentative as they often were during his own era at the top. Edward Snowden’s revelations of the breadth of NSA spying have certainly damaged America’s reputation among its allies, and they may yet force Barack Obama to finally push back against his intelligence agencies on an issue. But the uproar in Europe seems softer than might have been predicted.

The most interesting explanation of how Mr Snowden’s revelations are likely to affect American foreign policy is the contention by Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore, in an article in Foreign Affairs, that they reduce America’s space for hypocrisy. "Hypocrisy is central to Washington’s soft power—its ability to get other countries to accept the legitimacy of its actions—yet few Americans appreciate its role," they write. Hypocrisy is crucial because the world order functions through a set of American-built institutions, such as the UN and the World Trade Organisation, which depend on America’s commitment to their ideals to hold legitimacy. However, America, like other countries, is in practice often unable to pursue its national interests while adhering to these ideals. Because America is more important to the global order than other countries, its need to practise hypocrisy is greater. And, in general, allies have been willing to abet such hypocrisy:

The reason the United States has until now suffered few consequences for such hypocrisy is that other states have a strong interest in turning a blind eye. Given how much they benefit from the global public goods Washington provides, they have little interest in calling the hegemon on its bad behavior. Public criticism risks pushing the U.S. government toward self-interested positions that would undermine the larger world order. Moreover, the United States can punish those who point out the inconsistency in its actions by downgrading trade relations or through other forms of direct retaliation. Allies thus usually air their concerns in private.

The problem with Mr Snowden’s revelations is that they bring such hypocrisy into the open, which puts democratic pressure on allies to criticise it.

This, at least, is the theory. In fact, there has been a curiously gleeful tone to much of the European public’s reception of America’s spying on their leaders. Coverage in Le Monde has been divided between editorials demanding that "the work of security agencies be delimited by effective parliamentary or judicial procedures of control", and breathless accounts of communications between French and American security forces over whether the Americans were behind the cyberattacks on the French president’s office in 2012. Mark Ambinder cites a radio interview with Bernard Kouchner, the former French foreign minister: "Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else… [The difference is that] we don’t have the same means as the United States—which makes us jealous."

Reactions in the Netherlands have been similarly ambiguous. The most aggressive and well-informed Dutch political response on issues of digital freedom tends to come from the left-liberal D66 party. Yesterday on Dutch TV, Sophie in ‘t Veld, who in addition to leading the D66 delegation at the European Parliament has one of the coolest names in international politics, took a sharp line against NSA surveillance and demanded a full explanation from America of whom it is spying on and why. At the same time, she joked in a self-deprecating fashion about how much leverage a Dutch European Parliament member could hope to have over the global superpower, shaking her fist and declaiming with a mock grin: "Ms in ‘t Veld is warning America for the last time!" In the laughs she got from the audience, one could hear a bit of resigned satisfaction, as though they enjoyed confirming the secondary global rank that makes it ill-advised for the Dutch to get too worked up about issues over which they are unlikely to exercise much control. The exchange put me in mind of the great European-American conflict of the post-Kissinger era, over the deployment of short-range nuclear missiles, an issue that served as a mobilising touchstone for the European left for years without any real need to ever affect policy in any noticeable way.

Dutch reactions to the NSA scandal may be atypical for Europe, because the Dutch generally have a higher tolerance for government surveillance than many other countries. And none of this is to say that anyone in Europe is defending NSA wiretapping, or that the revelations have done anything but harm to the public image of America and of Barack Obama personally. It’s just that there is a certain ambiguity in the European public reaction, and for that matter in the American one. In America too, one can often sense an emotional "double-feeling", as the Dutch would call it, between the public’s dread of the government’s all-embracing surveillance capabilities, and the public’s vicarious awe at the perspective afforded by an apparatus that aspires to monitor the entirety of the human race’s electronic communications. Perhaps, to update Walter Benjamin, mankind’s self-alienation has reached such a degree that we can experience our own wiretapping as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order.

Voir egalement:

How to negotiate with Iran

A deal struck for its own sake on Tehran’s nuclear program would be worse than no deal at all.

Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman and Michael Makovsky

Los Angeles Times

October 29, 2013

This month in Geneva, at the first negotiations over its nuclear program since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran took an unprecedented step: It negotiated. For the first time, Tehran presented an actual vision of the endgame for the talks with six world powers, and how to get there. However, contrary to expectations, it offered no concessions, leaving serious questions about Iranian purposes. With another round of talks scheduled for next week, U.S. negotiators would do well to follow principles that signify the core interests at stake.

FOR THE RECORD:

Diplomacy: In an Oct. 29 Op-Ed article regarding Iran, the affiliation for Dennis Ross, one of the authors, was incomplete. It is the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The most pressing national security threat facing the United States remains preventing a nuclear-capable Iran. The preferred way to achieve that objective is through a diplomatic agreement. But diplomacy can only be that — a means to an end.

As Secretary of State John F. Kerry has said, a "bad deal is worse than no deal." A deal struck for its own sake would still allow for a nuclear Iran; undermine the legitimacy of any subsequent U.S. attempts or, much more likely, Israeli attempts to arrest Iran’s progress by military action; discredit and compromise U.S. credibility; and weaken, if not destroy, the decades-old international nonproliferation regime.

Therefore, the United States should only pursue an agreement within certain parameters, to ensure the deal actually furthers the interests of the U.S. and its allies. As we explain in a new JINSA Gemunder Center report, there are six such principles that should guide the negotiations with Iran.

First, Iran must resolve outstanding international concerns. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly complained that Iran has not been forthcoming about its nuclear activities. Indeed, the IAEA in 2011 expressed its "deep and increasing concern about the unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program, including those which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions." Iran must quickly address all outstanding IAEA concerns as part of any deal.

Second, Iran must adhere to international legal requirements. The IAEA’s repeated condemnations of Iran have spurred the U.N. Security Council to pass six resolutions requiring Tehran to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities" and "to implement without delay all transparency measures as the IAEA may request in support of its ongoing investigations."

Iran has repeatedly disputed the legality of these resolutions, claiming the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, grants it a right to enrich uranium. But no such right exists. Iran’s defiance and distortion of international legal demands threatens to unravel the nonproliferation regime. To preserve it, negotiators must reassert the Security Council’s authority and the NPT’s true purpose.

Third, deny Iran nuclear weapons capability. The main concern about Iran’s nuclear program is that it is on the verge of producing enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear device. An acceptable deal must not just freeze but tangibly roll back its ability to do so. This will require limits on size and enrichment level of its uranium stockpile, number and type of operating and installed centrifuges, design of enrichment facilities and possible plutonium production at the Arak heavy-water reactor.

Fourth, impose a strict inspections regime. Just because Iran agrees to a deal does not mean it will stick to it. It has tried to build each of its current enrichment facilities covertly. To prevent it from attempting to do so again, negotiators should require Iran to agree to more rigorous monitoring of its nuclear program.

Fifth, negotiate from a position of strength. Too often, Iran has used negotiations to extract concessions, undermine international resolve and play for time. In the few instances it has compromised, it has been because of the threat of force. The success of these talks will hinge on Iran understanding that there will be very real and damaging consequences if negotiations fail.

This will require at least these U.S. actions: Intensify sanctions and incentivize other countries to do the same, issue more forceful and credible statements that all options are on the table, initiate new military deployments and make clear the support for Israeli military action if conducted.

Finally, do not waste time. Iran will likely attain an undetectable nuclear capability by mid-2014, and perhaps even earlier, leaving scant time to both negotiate and verifiably implement a deal. It appears that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif may have offered a timeline at Geneva for wrapping up negotiations. But given Iranian nuclear progress over the last 18 months and earlier unexplained activities, negotiators ought not accept a schedule that stretches beyond the point when it becomes impossible to prevent a nuclear Iran by other means. Implementing and making known a strict deadline for talks can dissuade Iran from using diplomacy as a cover while sprinting for the bomb, and reassure Israel so it does not feel compelled to act alone.

Negotiators should hew to these principles to avoid mistaking rhetoric for action, and must walk away from any agreement that violates them.

Dennis Ross is counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and was a senior Middle East advisor to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. Eric Edelman was undersecretary of Defense for policy in 2005-09. Michael Makovsky is chief executive of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, or JINSA, and served in the Office of Secretary of Defense in 2002-06. They are members of JINSA’s Gemunder Center Iran Task Force.

Voir encore:

«L’espionnage entre Etats: un jeu de dupes qui, dévoilé, peut avoir des incidences»

Chantal Lorho

RFI

2013-10-24

La NSA, la National Security Agency en anglais, est au coeur de nombreuses polémiques ces derniers mois, de Edward Snowden à l’espionnage supposé de pays de l’Union européenne ou de ses dirigeants, comme Angela Merkel… Comment travaille cette fameuse agence de renseignements américains ? Sébastien Laurent, professeur à l’université de Bordeaux et à Sciences Po, spécialiste des questions de renseignements et de sécurité, propose son analyse.

RFI: Est-ce qu’on peut rappeler comment est née cette fameuse NSA ?

Sébastien Laurent : La NSA, c’est un peu une vieille dame. Elle est née il y a un peu plus de 60 ans et ça a été la réunion, aux Etats-Unis, de toutes les composantes de l’administration américaine qui procédaient à des interceptions téléphoniques puis plus tard, bien plus tard, des interceptions satellitaires, et aujourd’hui des interceptions sur les câbles du réseau internet. Donc aujourd’hui, c’est certes une vieille dame, mais c’est une vieille dame qui se tient toujours à la page, qui actualise en permanence ses compétences techniques, qui sait coopérer avec d’autres pays qui sont parties prenantes de la coopération de la NSA. Et c’est surtout, on le sait aujourd’hui, la plus riche de toutes les agences de renseignements américaines.

Peut-on dire qu’il y a un avant et un après 11-Septembre dans la façon dont les Américains pratiquent l’espionnage ?

Pas vraiment. Pour ce qui est de l’espionnage par des moyens technologiques, les écoutes précisément ou les interceptions de flux internet, 2001 n’a pas vraiment changé les choses. 2001 a juste donné aux Etats-Unis un motif nouveau pour habiller leurs pratiques d’interception. Ce nouveau motif, c’est la guerre contre le terrorisme. Mais sur le plan des pratiques, depuis les années 1950, en pleine guerre froide, les Etats-Unis ont en permanence intercepté des communications, y compris celles de leurs partenaires et celles de leurs alliés.

Très concrètement, comment travaille la NSA, qui surveille-t-elle, quels sont les mots-clés qu’elle utilise pour intercepter telle ou telle communication ?

On pouvait jusqu’alors faire des suppositions, mais maintenant on a les documents publiés par Edward Snowden, et le fait qu’il soit pourchassé par les autorités américaines permet de donner du crédit aux documents que Snowden a diffusé dans différents supports de presse. La NSA, d’un point de vue très pratique, en matière d’interception en dehors des Etats-Unis, a deux moyens. D’une part, elle se sert dans les grands serveurs des fournisseurs d’accès à internet, c’est une première façon d’aller directement puiser à la source. Ou alors, elle a un accès, je dirais plus pratique encore, qui est de se brancher sur les câbles eux-mêmes, et non pas sur les fermes (serveurs de données) dans lesquelles sont contenues toutes les données. Ensuite, comme d’autres agences, comme l’agence britannique et d’autres agences, toutes ces données ne sont pas exploitées par l’intelligence humaine mais sont exploitées grâce à des algorithmes, par des capacités informatiques, qui essaient de cibler des mots-clés. Alors, c’est tout l’enjeu du débat aujourd’hui. Est-ce que, comme le disent les Etats-Unis dans une défense mezzo voce, ils ne cherchent dans ces données que ce qui a trait à la lutte contre le terrorisme et à la sécurité des Etats-Unis? Ou est-ce que, sans le dire, ils utilisent aussi ces interceptions pour repérer les mots-clés touchant à des pratiques commerciales, à des brevets, à des litiges juridiques ? Ce que l’on peut dire, étant donné ce que l’on sait aujourd’hui du passé, c’est que la capacité d’interception de la NSA a servi, bien sûr, la sécurité des Etats-Unis mais elle a aussi servi les Etats-Unis dans la guerre économique mondiale qui est devenue une réalité plus forte après la fin de la guerre froide. Donc la défense qui consiste à dire « la NSA assure la sécurité du monde libre comme au temps de la guerre froide », c’est un argument qui ne tient absolument pas la route.

D’où ce chiffre astronomique qu’on a évoqué à propos de la France. 70 millions de données interceptés par la NSA du 10 décembre 2012 au 8 janvier 2013. C’est ce que vous appelez la « méthode du chalut », on ratisse le plus large possible ?

Exactement, cette comparaison maritime est tout à fait adaptée. C’est du chalutage, on lance les filets au loin, et ensuite on tire les filets vers le navire, en l’occurrence la NSA, et on essaie de trier. Mais il est assez probable que dans l’interception pratiquée « au chalut », on recueille effectivement des éléments qui soient utiles à la sécurité des Etats-Unis. Il est tout aussi probable qu’ensuite d’autres données qui puissent être exploitées commercialement ou juridiquement, ou en termes d’ingénierie, soient aussi prises en compte. La NSA n’est pas un service de renseignement mais un service d’interception. Ensuite, la NSA fournit la « production » – les interceptions – à différentes agences américaines, notamment la CIA mais pas seulement. Donc c’est vraiment une énorme machine d’interception technique qui, en fait, ne procède pas à l’utilisation du renseignement mais qui utilise toute sa production pour la diffuser à différentes agences américaines.

Le Brésil, le Mexique, la France et aujourd’hui l’Allemagne, tous victimes présumées de la NSA, dénoncent publiquement les pratiques américaines. Mais quelqu’un comme Bernard Kouchner, l’ancien chef de la diplomatie française, affirme que nous faisons la même chose, « Nous espionnons, nous écoutons, mais avec moins de moyens ». Est-ce que tout cela n’est pas, selon vous, un jeu de dupes ?

C’est un jeu de dupes, mais comme les relations entre les Etats sont un jeu de dupes. Quand vous regardez la norme internationale qui est le droit international, depuis que les pratiques d’espionnage existent, les Etats ont signé entre eux des traités pour faciliter certaines choses et pour interdire d’autres choses. Du point de vue du droit international, l’espionnage n’est pas interdit. Donc il est licite. Et les Etats se sont, bien sûr, dès la fin du XIXe siècle, bien gardés de s’interdire mutuellement la pratique de l’espionnage à l’extérieur de leur territoire. Donc effectivement, on peut dire que c’est un jeu de dupes, en même temps il faut bien regarder ce qui est en cause, de la part de la NSA c’est quand même à l’égard de ses grands partenaires commerciaux et politiques, le Brésil, la France ou l’Allemagne. Et là, le jeu de dupes, qui est en partie dévoilé, peut avoir des incidences sur ce qui est la base de la relation entre des alliés et des partenaires : cela s’appelle la confiance.

Voir enfin:

Poutine supplante Obama comme la personne la plus puissante du monde

Le Vif

Source: Belga

30 octobre 2013

Le président russe Vladimir Poutine a évincé son homologue américain Barack Obama de la première place du classement Forbes 2013 des personnes les plus puissantes au monde, publié mercredi par le magazine américain.

Le président Obama figure à la deuxième place de cette liste, suivi du président du parti communiste chinois Xi Jinping, et du pape François, qui y fait son apparition pour la première fois.

"Poutine a solidifié son contrôle sur la Russie, et tous ceux qui ont regardé le jeu d’échecs autour de la Syrie ont une idée claire du glissement de pouvoir vers Poutine sur la scène internationale", écrit Forbes pour expliquer sa première place.

La première femme à y figurer est la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel, à la 5e place. Le président français François Hollande, dont Forbes souligne qu’il est au plus bas dans les sondages de popularité, passe de la 14e à la 18e place.

Le pouvoir des 72 personnes – dirigeants politiques, chefs d’entreprise ou philanthropes – qui figurent sur cette liste annuelle consultable sur le site du magazine (www.forbes.com) a été déterminé à partir de quatre critères: le nombre de personnes sur lesquelles elles ont du pouvoir, les ressources financières qu’elles contrôlent, l’étendue de leur influence et comment elles exercent leur pouvoir pour changer le monde.

On y trouve le cofondateur de Microsoft Bill Gates à la 6e place, Ben Bernanke, le président sortant de la réserve fédérale américaine à la 7e, le roi Abdallah d’Arabie saoudite à la 8e, le Premier ministre britannique David Cameron à la 11e.

Les autres Européens de la liste sont notamment l’Italien Mario Draghi, président de la Banque centrale européenne (9e), le président du groupe Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn qui fait son entrée à la 49e place, et Bernard Arnault, le patron du groupe français de luxe LVMH (54e).


Russie: Ce qui reste du communisme quand on a tout oublié (Last refuge of the scoundrel: For Putin’s new robber baron Russia, anti-Americanism is the name of the game)

25 septembre, 2013
http://media.hoover.org/sites/default/files/imagecache/large/images/digest20033_satter1.jpg
Un des grands problèmes de la Russie – et plus encore de la Chine – est que, contrairement aux camps de concentration hitlériens, les leurs n’ont jamais été libérés et qu’il n’y a eu aucun tribunal de Nuremberg pour juger les crimes commis. Thérèse Delpech
La destruction de l’URSS fut la plus grande catastrophe géopolitique du siècle. Poutine (25.04. 05)
Les dirigeants européens et américains espèrent que les tyrans et les autocrates du monde vont disparaître tout seuls. Mais les dinosaures comme Vladimir Poutine, Hugo Chávez et les ayatollahs iraniens ne vont pas s’effacer comme cela. Ils ne doivent leur survie qu’au manque de courage des chefs du Monde libre. Garry Kasparov
Je veux aller porter le témoignage de notre reconnaissance, éternelle, au combat des Russes lors de cette bataille. (…) Je pense que les Russes sont profondément européens. Ils appartiennent pour une très large part à la civilisation européenne, et c’est une raison suffisante pour mettre en œuvre tous les efforts nécessaires afin de faire progresser cette unité du continent européen. L’avenir commun de la Russie et de l’Europe est dans ce partenariat stratégique qui a été proposé. François Fillon
La politique de "redémarrage" des relations russo-américaines proposée par le président Obama a été interprétée à Moscou comme l’indice de la prise de conscience par les Américains de leur faiblesse, et par conséquent comme une invitation à Moscou de pousser ses pions (…) Le contrat d’achat des Mistrals présente un triple avantage: d’abord, la Russie acquiert des armements de haute technologie sans avoir à faire l’effort de les développer elle-même ; deuxièmement, elle réduit à néant la solidarité atlantique et la solidarité européenne ; troisièmement, elle accélère la vassalisation du deuxième grand pays européen après l’Allemagne. Un expert russe a récemment comparé cette politique à celle de la Chine face aux Etats-Unis : selon lui, à Washington le lobby pro-chinois intéressé aux affaires avec la Chine est devenu si puissant que les Etats-Unis sont désormais incapables de s’opposer à Pékin; la même chose est déjà vraie pour l’Allemagne face à la Russie et elle le sera pour la France après la signature du contrat sur les Mistrals. (…) Aujourd’hui, Moscou (…) se pose en rempart de la civilisation « du Nord », ce qui ne manque pas de sel quand on se souvient avec quelle persévérance Moscou a défendu le programme nucléaire iranien, contribuant grandement à l’émergence de cette « menace » du Sud, et avec quel enthousiasme elle célébrait, il y a un an encore, le naufrage de la civilisation occidentale. (…) On l’a vu dans les années 1930, la présence d’un Etat revanchard sur le continent européen peut réduire à néant toutes les tentatives de fonder un ordre international sur le droit et l’arbitrage. Françoise Thom
During the reform period, which witnessed a massive effort to remake Russian society and the Russian economy, Russia once again fell victim to a false idea. The victory over communism was a moral victory. Millions took to the streets not because of shortages but in protest over communism’s attempt to falsify history and change human nature. As a new state began to be built, however, all attention shifted to the building of capitalism and, in particular, to the creation of a group of wealthy private owners whose control over the means of production, it was assumed, would lead automatically to a free market economy and a law-based democracy. This approach, dubious under the best of conditions, could not but be disastrous in the case of Russia. It meant that, in a country with a need for moral values after more than seven decades of spiritual degradation under communism, the introduction of capitalism came to be seen as an end in itself. (…) The decision to transform the economy of a huge country without the benefit of the rule of law led not to a free market democracy but to a kleptocracy with several dangerous economic and psychological features. (…) Perhaps more important than these economic features, however, was the new system’s social psychology, which was characterized by mass moral indifference. If under communism, universal morality was denied in favor of the supposed “interests of the working class,” under the new reform government, people lost the ability to distinguish between legal and criminal activity. (…) The young reformers were lionized in the West, but, as the years passed and the promised rebirth of Russia did not materialize, arguments broke out in Russia over whether progress was being prevented by the resistance of the Duma, inadequate assistance from the West, or the inadequacies of the Russian people themselves. These arguments, however, had a surrealistic quality because they implicitly assumed that, with the right economic combination, it was possible to build a free market democracy without the rule of law. In fact, a market economy presupposes the rule of law because only the rule of law is able to assure the basis of a free market’s existence, which is equivalent exchange. Without law, prices are dictated not by the market but by monopolization and the use of force. The need for a framework of law was particularly pronounced in the case of Russia because socialism for ordinary Russians, in addition to being an economic system, was also a secular religion that lent a powerful, albeit false, sense of meaning to millions of lives. When the Soviet Union fell, it was necessary to replace not only the socialist economic structures but also the “class values” that gave that system its higher sanction. This could only be done by establishing the authority of transcendent, universal values, which, as a practical matter, could only be assured by establishing the rule of law. David Satter
Russian anti-Americanism is likely to intensify. Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia has no universal ideology capable of inspiring loyalties that transcend national boundaries. Anti-Americanism is a kind of substitute. It allows Russia to carve out a prominent role for itself in world affairs that it could never have if it were concerned only with acting positively. At the same time, the regime is threatened by a deteriorating economy. In the second quarter of this year, growth fell to 1.2%. During the 2000s, the rate was 7.2%. Because of its immense corruption, Russia is critically dependent on high oil prices, and these are supported by Middle East instability. Under such circumstances, the U.S. is not only a helpful distraction but a convenient scapegoat. Mr. Putin is losing support in Moscow, but his defense of the Assad regime evokes nostalgia for the Soviet empire and strengthens his support among the conservative and provincial part of the population. As Mr. Putin’s political position weakens further, his antagonism toward the U.S. will almost certainly increase.(…) At the same time, and probably more important, anti-Americanism can be used to distract Russians from the corruption of the Putin regime and the pillaging of the country. Mr. Putin and his associates stand at the apex of a corrupt system and, according to some estimates, control 15% of the national wealth. During protest demonstrations last year over the falsification of elections, Mr. Putin was openly referred to as a "thief," a serious development in a society where the charge is widely believed but usually not made publicly. David Satter

Quand la Russie redécouvre les vertus de ce qui reste du communisme quand on a tout oublié

Corruption systématisée, violence institutionnalisée, pillage, indifférence morale généralisée …

A l’heure où, face au plus velléitaire des présidents américains et de la Syrie à l’Iran et à l’Affaire Snowden, la Russie de Poutine semble engranger les succès diplomatiques …

Pendant que, fidèle à son habitude, la France de l’Obama corrézien reprend à son compte avec les bonimenteurs de Téhéran (ou de Moscou pour l’opposition) la politique de "redémarrage" dont on a vu l’efficacité avec la Russie …

Remise des pendules à l’heure avec le politologue américain David Slatter sur une kleptocratie russe …

Réduite, face à une économie étouffée par la corruption, à attiser les flammes de l’instabilité au Moyen-Orient pour faire remonter les prix du pétrole qui ont fait sa fortune …

Et contrainte, face à son discrédit intérieur, à jouer la facile diversion de l’anti-américanisme …

Russia’s Anti-American Foreign Policy

Putin needs high oil prices and a distraction from his domestic troubles.

David Satter

The Wall Street Journal

September 22, 2013

Moscow

The difference in values between the U.S. and Russia—and the subordination of Russian foreign policy to the personal interests of the members of a corrupt regime—should have been obvious to the Obama administration from the beginning. But it did nothing to forestall the policy of "reset." At the 2009 Moscow Summit, Mr. Obama praised the "extraordinary work" that Vladimir Putin, who was then officially the prime minister, had done for Russia. Mr. Obama described Mr. Putin as "sincere, just and deeply interested in the welfare of the Russian people."

The praise was never reciprocated, in part because Russian leaders fear and distrust their own population, and they understand that Western advocacy of the rule of law and human rights is a potential threat to their rule. In recent years, U.S. officials have often said that it is difficult to solve the world’s problems without Russia. Unfortunately, it is often even harder to solve them with it.

The U.S. needs three things from Russia: understanding in defense matters, assistance in the war on terror, and help in curbing the ambitions of rogue states. In each case, the record of the Putin regime is one of relentless obstruction.

One source of conflict has been Russian objections to U.S. plans to construct an antimissile shield in Europe to protect U.S. allies against an attack from Iran. Russia has treated the shield as a threat to its nuclear deterrent, despite the opinion of Russia’s own experts that the missiles pose no threat to the Russian ICBM force and are intended for a completely different purpose.

In 2009, Mr. Obama canceled plans for antimissile installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, in part to improve U.S.-Russian relations. But the U.S. is now preparing to station interceptors in Romania. In response, Russia is demanding legal guarantees that the missiles will not be used against Russia and is threatening to target U.S. missile-defense sites if there is no agreement.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the Russian position as "crazy." "You can’t in any rational way think that NATO constitutes a threat against Russia," he told the AP in February 2012. "It’s a complete waste of money to deploy offensive weapons and capabilities against NATO territory."

Russia has also undermined U.S. efforts to combat terror. Two striking recent examples are the cases of the Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden.

Tsarnaev spent six months in the Dagestan region of Russia in 2012 before the attack on April 15. Two of his contacts, Mahmud Nigal, a suspected link with the Islamist underground, and William Plotnikov, a Russian-Canadian Islamic radical, were killed by Russian forces while he was there. Yet the Russians insist that Tsarnaev was not under surveillance in Dagestan and never questioned. If this is true, it is in complete contradiction to all known Russian practice. Tsarnaev left Russia freely through Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport and the Federal Security Service never warned the U.S. about his contacts in Dagestan.

Russia also showed little concern for efforts to protect U.S. civilians in its decision to shelter Edward Snowden. In light of the quantity and quality of what Mr. Snowden stole, an adequate damage assessment depends on getting him back to the U.S. Until that happens, the efforts of the NSA and other agencies to defend the U.S. against terror are going to be crippled.

Aware of this, Mr. Putin seems to be mainly concerned with subjecting the U.S. to ridicule. The Russian media have published articles about Mr. Snowden’s "new life," "proposals of marriage" and a future career defending human rights. At the same time, although Mr. Putin said that a condition of Mr. Snowden’s asylum was that he "stop harming our American partners," the leaks of NSA information have continued.

Russian obstruction of the U.S. has had its gravest consequences, however, in interstate relations. Russia has defended Iran against Western economic sanctions, arguing that they are "a violation of international law." Moscow also has been unswerving in its support for Bashar Assad in Syria, from voting to block three U.N. Security Council resolutions on sanctions against Syria to insisting that the chemical-weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 Syrians was carried out by the rebels.

The U.S. will now try to enforce a U.S.-Russian agreement on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons under conditions in which Russia and Syria can use delay, obfuscation and disinformation to string out the process indefinitely. Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition, which has endured chemical-weapons attacks without seeing a serious response from the civilized world, is likely to continue to radicalize.

Russian anti-Americanism is likely to intensify. Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia has no universal ideology capable of inspiring loyalties that transcend national boundaries. Anti-Americanism is a kind of substitute. It allows Russia to carve out a prominent role for itself in world affairs that it could never have if it were concerned only with acting positively.

At the same time, and probably more important, anti-Americanism can be used to distract Russians from the corruption of the Putin regime and the pillaging of the country. Mr. Putin and his associates stand at the apex of a corrupt system and, according to some estimates, control 15% of the national wealth. During protest demonstrations last year over the falsification of elections, Mr. Putin was openly referred to as a "thief," a serious development in a society where the charge is widely believed but usually not made publicly.

At the same time, the regime is threatened by a deteriorating economy. In the second quarter of this year, growth fell to 1.2%. During the 2000s, the rate was 7.2%. Because of its immense corruption, Russia is critically dependent on high oil prices, and these are supported by Middle East instability.

Under such circumstances, the U.S. is not only a helpful distraction but a convenient scapegoat. Mr. Putin is losing support in Moscow, but his defense of the Assad regime evokes nostalgia for the Soviet empire and strengthens his support among the conservative and provincial part of the population. As Mr. Putin’s political position weakens further, his antagonism toward the U.S. will almost certainly increase.

In the wake of the Russian initiative over Syria, the U.S. is now much more reliant on Russia than it should ever have permitted itself to be. In our fixation with "deliverables," we forgot that what really matters in relations between states are intangibles, such as good faith. That’s something Mr. Putin has not shown toward America in the past, and U.S. policy makers would be unwise to rely on it in the future.

Mr. Satter is affiliated with the Hudson Institute, Johns Hopkins University and the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. He is the author, most recently, of "It Was a Long Time Ago and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past" (Yale, 2011).

Voir aussi:

The Rise of the Russian Criminal State

David Satter

Hoover Digest

July 30, 2003

During the decade following the fall of communism, Russia became mired in poverty and crime. Hoover fellow David Satter explains what went wrong.

Few at that time could have foreseen the outlines of what exists today. Many former communist countries, in the intervening years, experienced a rebirth of freedom, but Russia came to be dominated by poverty, intimidation, and crime.

The reason is that, during the reform period, which witnessed a massive effort to remake Russian society and the Russian economy, Russia once again fell victim to a false idea.

The victory over communism was a moral victory. Millions took to the streets not because of shortages but in protest over communism’s attempt to falsify history and change human nature. As a new state began to be built, however, all attention shifted to the building of capitalism and, in particular, to the creation of a group of wealthy private owners whose control over the means of production, it was assumed, would lead automatically to a free market economy and a law-based democracy.

This approach, dubious under the best of conditions, could not but be disastrous in the case of Russia. It meant that, in a country with a need for moral values after more than seven decades of spiritual degradation under communism, the introduction of capitalism came to be seen as an end in itself.

No Questions Asked

The “young reformers” were in a hurry to build capitalism, and they pressed ahead in a manner that paid little attention to anything except the transformation of economic structures.

“The calculation was sober,” said Aliza Dolgova, an expert on organized crime in the office of the general prosecutor. “Create through any means a stratum in Russia that could serve as the support of reform. . . . All capital was laundered and put into circulation. No measures of any kind were enacted to prevent the legalization of criminal income. No one asked at [privatization] auctions: Where did you get the money? Enormous sums were invested in property and there was no register of owners. A policy similar to this did not exist in a single civilized country.”

Kleptocracy in the Guise of Reform

The decision to transform the economy of a huge country without the benefit of the rule of law led not to a free market democracy but to a kleptocracy with several dangerous economic and psychological features.

In the first place, the new system was characterized by bribery. All resources, at first, were in the hands of the state; businessmen thus competed to “buy” critical government officials. The winners were in a position to buy more officials, with the result that the practice of giving bribes grew up with the system.

Besides bribery, the new system was marked by institutionalized violence. Gangsters were treated like normal economic actors, which tacitly legitimized their criminal activities. At the same time, they became the partners of businessmen who used them as guards, enforcers, and debt collectors.

The new system was also characterized by pillage. Money obtained as a result of criminal activities was illegally exported to avoid the possibility of its being confiscated at some point in the future. This outflow deprived Russia of billions of dollars in resources that were needed for its development.

Perhaps more important than these economic features, however, was the new system’s social psychology, which was characterized by mass moral indifference. If under communism, universal morality was denied in favor of the supposed “interests of the working class,” under the new reform government, people lost the ability to distinguish between legal and criminal activity.

Official corruption came to be regarded as “normal,” and it was considered a sign of virtue if the official, in addition to stealing, also made an effort to fulfill his official responsibilities. Extortion also came to be regarded as normal, and vendors, through force of habit, began to regard paying protection money as part of the cost of doing business.

At the same time, officials and businessmen took no responsibility for the consequences of their actions, even if they led to hunger and death. Government officials helped organize pyramid schemes that victimized persons who were already destitute, police officials took bribes from leaders of organized crime to ignore extortion, and factory directors stole funds marked for the salaries of workers who had already gone months without pay.

Lawlessness

The young reformers were lionized in the West, but, as the years passed and the promised rebirth of Russia did not materialize, arguments broke out in Russia over whether progress was being prevented by the resistance of the Duma, inadequate assistance from the West, or the inadequacies of the Russian people themselves. These arguments, however, had a surrealistic quality because they implicitly assumed that, with the right economic combination, it was possible to build a free market democracy without the rule of law.

In fact, a market economy presupposes the rule of law because only the rule of law is able to assure the basis of a free market’s existence, which is equivalent exchange. Without law, prices are dictated not by the market but by monopolization and the use of force.

The need for a framework of law was particularly pronounced in the case of Russia because socialism for ordinary Russians, in addition to being an economic system, was also a secular religion that lent a powerful, albeit false, sense of meaning to millions of lives. When the Soviet Union fell, it was necessary to replace not only the socialist economic structures but also the “class values” that gave that system its higher sanction. This could only be done by establishing the authority of transcendent, universal values, which, as a practical matter, could only be assured by establishing the rule of law.

A Cautionary Tale

On May 10, 1997, the Greek police found in a shallow grave under an olive tree, two miles from the Athenian suburb of Saronida, the dismembered body of Svetlana Kotova, one of Russia’s top models and a former “Miss Russia.” It was learned that she had been the guest of Alexander Solonik (Sasha Makedonsky), Russia’s number one professional killer who had himself been found strangled three months earlier in the Athenian suburb of Baribobi.

Svetlana’s story evoked intense interest in Russia because of her youth and beauty and because there was something about the romance between a 21-year-old beauty queen and a professional killer that was symbolic of the condition of modern Russia.

Svetlana met Solonik in a Moscow nightclub on New Year’s night, 1997, and traveled to Greece on January 25 at his invitation. She was met at the bottom of the staircase from the airplane with armloads of flowers. Waiting for her was a Mercedes with an elegant chauffeur. The rent on the villa where she stayed was about $90,000 a year. There was a swimming pool, gym, basketball court, golf course, and gardens with sculptures. From the 26th on, she called her mother every evening and said that this was not life but a miracle.

In the villa and in Solonik’s car were a large quantity of firearms and other weapons, but it is not known whether Svetlana was aware of them. For five nights, she lived as if in a dream, but on the 30th, gangsters from the Kurgan criminal organization, a supplier of hired killers to the Russian underworld, arrived at the villa. While they were talking to Solonik, someone threw a thin cord around his neck and strangled him from behind. The visitors then came for Svetlana, who was on the second floor.

When word of Svetlana’s murder was released, the Russian newspapers were full of her pictures: Svetlana with flowing black hair in a long black gown with thin shoulder straps, Svetlana in a bathing suit looking out shyly from behind spread fingers, Svetlana with her head cupped in her hands, Svetlana in an evening dress with her hair off her forehead in a bun. From her appearance, it seemed that no one could have been less prepared for the devilish game that she had fallen into.

Yet the fate of Svetlana Kotova had something in common with the fate of her nation, which was freely delivered into the hands of criminals during the period of reform. The rewards were quick and easy. There was a willful desire not to know.

It remains to be seen whether, in the long run, Russia will share Svetlana’s fate.

David Satter was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution from 2003 to 2008.

Adapted from David Satter’s new book Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State. Published by Yale University Press (800.405.1619).


Syrie: Dix ans après la tragédie irakienne, la farce syrienne ? (The old nexus of radical Islamic terror of the last three decades is finally unraveling)

2 septembre, 2013
http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/250x250/37045817.jpgHegel fait remarquer quelque part que, dans l’histoire universelle, les grands faits et les grands personnages se produisent, pour ainsi dire, deux fois. Il a oublié d’ajouter : la première fois comme tragédie, la seconde comme farce. Marx
Pendant trop longtemps, les gens ont cru que la cause profonde de l’instabilité au Moyen-Orient était le problème israélo-palestinien. Ce n’est pas la cause première, c’est l’un des résultats de la crise régionale. Si nous avons la paix avec les Palestiniens, les centrifuges ne vont pas s’arrêter de tourner en Iran, la crise ne s’arrêtera pas en Syrie, l’instabilité en Afrique du Nord ne cessera pas, les attaques contre l’Occident ne cesseront pas. (…) La situation en Syrie expose aussi une autre vérité, c’est qu’il y a quelque chose de très profond et de très large dans la tourmente du Moyen-Orient. Nous voyons la région toute entière allant du Maroc à l’Afghanistan dans la tourmente, en convulsion, dans l’instabilité. Une instabilité endémique qui n’est pas enracinée dans tel ou tel conflit, mais dans le rejet de la modernité, dans le rejet de la modération, le rejet du progrès, dans le rejet des solutions politiques. C’est en fait le cœur du problème au Moyen-Orient. C’est quelque chose qui menace tout le monde, menace les régimes modérés, menace Israël, menace l’Occident et menace tous ceux qui ne croient pas dans les dogmes doctrinaires qui guident les extrémistes. Benyamin Netanyahou
They (Syria) have a very serious chemical weapons capability. We’ve been saying that for some time-goes back to the speech I made at the BWC review conference, or on CWC that I talked about that and talked about their chemical weapons capability. So these are real programs; there’s no doubt about it. We’ve also been concerned about what might be happening in the nuclear area as well, in addition to missile and cruise missile capabilities. (…) they’re getting outside assistance in the civil nuclear area. There are a variety of things that they’ve got that we’re concerned about from a weapons point of view. I’m not saying they’re doing anything specific; I’m just saying it’s a worrisome pattern that we’ve seen, and I think that has been our view, well, before the onset of the second gulf war. John Bolton (May 2003)
Syria has "one of the most advanced Arab state chemical weapons capabilities" and is continuing to develop an offensive biological weapons capability. In addition, Syria has "a combined total of several hundred Scud and SS-21 SRBMs [short-range ballistic missiles], and is believed to have chemical warheads available for a portion of its Scud missile force. John Bolton (Sep. 2003)
Comprenez-moi bien: je ne me fais aucune illusion sur Saddam Hussein. C’est un homme brutal, un homme impitoyable, un homme qui massacre son propre peuple pour asseoir son pouvoir personnel. Il a à plusieurs reprises défié les résolutions de l’ONU, contrecarré les équipes d’inspection de l’ONU, mis au point des armes chimiques et biologiques et cherché à obtenir la capacité nucléaire. Il est une personne mal intentionnée. Le monde et le peuple irakien, serait mieux sans lui. Mais je sais aussi que Saddam ne pose aucune menace imminente et directe pour les États-Unis ou ses voisins, que l’économie irakienne est en ruine, que l’armée irakienne n’est plus que l’ombre d’elle-même et que de concert avec la communauté internationale, il peut être contenu jusqu’à ce que, comme tous les petits dictateurs, il tombe dans les oubliettes de l’histoire. Obama (Chicago, 02.10.02)
Mais si ce sont les critères sur lesquels nous nous appuyons pour décider du déploiement des forces américaines, alors, en suivant ce raisonnement, vous auriez 300 000 soldats au Congo dès maintenant – où des millions ont été massacrés en raison de conflits ethniques – ce que nous n’avons pas fait. Nous nous déployerions unilatéralement et occuperions le Soudan, ce que nous n’avons pas fait. Ceux d’entre nous qui se soucient du Darfour ne pensent pas que ce serait une bonne idée. Obama (2007)
Il s’agit d’un crime contre l’humanité et un crime contre l’humanité ne devrait pas demeurer impuni, ce qui doit être fait doit être fait. Ahmet Davutoglu (ministre turc des Affaires Etrangères)
Tout cela ne peut que nous rappeler les événements d’il y a dix ans, quand, en prenant pour prétexte des informations mensongères sur la présence en Irak d’armes de destruction massive, les Etats-Unis, en contournant l’ONU, se sont lancés dans une aventure, dont tout le monde connaît maintenant les conséquences. Alexandre Loukachevitch (porte-parole de la diplomatie russe)
As it turns out, Arabs and Muslims are today reviling Barack Obama’s America for proposing military action that is aimed at protecting Arabs and Muslims from atrocities in Syria. That is more or less the same thing that happened when George W. Bush sought to overthrow the Taliban oppressors of Afghanistan and Iraq’s madman tyrant Saddam Hussein. Whatever it is that the U.S. winds up doing in Syria will not have the imprimatur of the United Nations, and it will be opposed by the Arab League even though that august body has been vocal in its criticism of the Assad regime and supportive of efforts to effect regime change in Damascus. But the use of U.S. force to punish an Arab government for using chemical weapons against its own people is still a bridge too far for them. As the U.S. prepares to attack Syria, it will do so without a U.N. endorsement or even encouragement from those Arab governments that hate Assad. What exactly is the difference between this and Bush’s “coalition of the willing” that the American left (including Obama himself) mocked so much? Not much. (…) Just as Muslims claimed that American wars fought to save Muslim lives in Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq were really expressions of American imperialism, now Obama’s war in Syria is treated the same way. Jonathan S. Tobin
George W. Bush was widely mocked by the Left during the Iraq War, with liberals jeering at the “coalition of the willing,” which included in its ranks some minnows such as Moldova and Kazkhstan. Michael Moore, in his rather silly documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, went to great lengths to lampoon the Iraq War alliance. But the coalition also contained, as I pointed out in Congressional testimony back in 2007, Great Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, and 16 members of the NATO alliance, as well as Japan and South Korea. In Europe, France and Germany were the only large-scale countries that sat the war out, with 12 of the 25 members of the European Union represented. The coalition, swelled to roughly 40 countries, and was one of the largest military coalitions ever assembled. As it stands, President Obama’s proposed military coalition on Syria has a grand total of two members – the US and France. And the French, as we know from Iraq, simply can’t be relied on, and have very limited military capability. It is a truly embarrassing state of affairs when Paris, at best a fair weather friend, is your only partner. John Kerry tried to put a brave face on it at his press conference today, by referring to France “as our oldest ally,” but the fact remains that his administration is looking painfully isolated. Nile Gardiner
Rien n’illustre mieux l’impossible équation syrienne que le refus du Parlement britannique d’autoriser le Premier ministre conservateur David Cameron à participer à d’éventuelles frappes contre le régime de Bachar al-Assad. Par rapport aux précédents irakien et libyen, on assiste à un renversement total de la situation. En 2003, la Grande-Bretagne, sous la direction de Tony Blair, s’était alliée à George W. Bush pour se débarrasser de Saddam Hussein, provoquant une profonde fracture à l’intérieur de l’Union européenne. En 2011, David Cameron avait fait cause commune avec Nicolas Sarkozy pour voler au secours des insurgés libyens contre Kadhafi, entraînant le soutien réticent de Barack Obama.  Face à l’imbroglio syrien, les Etats-Unis sont laissés seuls, avec une exception qui peut paraître paradoxale: la France. Les autres Européens se tairont ou approuveront, mais de toute façon ne participeront pas à d’éventuels raids sur des sites stratégiques syriens. Daniel Vernet
Évidemment, cela serait désastreux si le régime du président Al-Assad l’emportait après s’être débarrassé de la rébellion et avoir réaffirmé son pouvoir sur l’intégralité du pays. Mais une victoire des rebelles serait également très dangereuse pour les États-Unis et pour beaucoup de ses alliées en Europe et dans le Moyen-Orient. Des groupes extrémistes, dont certains appartenant à Al Qaida, sont devenus la force de frappe la plus efficace en Syrie (…) Le maintien d’une impasse devrait être l’objectif de l’Amérique. Il n’y a qu’une seule solution pour atteindre cet objectif : armer les rebelles quand il semble que les forces de Bashar Al-Assad reprennent le dessus et, au contraire, cesser de les approvisionner lorsqu’ils sont en train de gagner. Edward Luttwark
Maintenant que nous avons révélé au monde entier, et donc au président Bachar El-Assad, tous les détails de la future attaque aérienne contre la Syrie – la source (plusieurs navires de guerre et peut-être un ou deux bombardiers), les armes (des missiles de croisière), la durée (deux ou trois jours) et l’objectif (punir et non “changer de régime”) –, peut-être devrions-nous aussi indiquer l’heure exacte des bombardements ? histoire de ne pas déranger Damas à l’heure du souper. Charles Krauthammer
Pour revenir aux questions d’obscénité morale, les soldats français, britanniques, allemands, ou les boys peuvent-ils faire le coup de feu dans le même camp que ceux qui se plaisent à exécuter un gamin en place publique, devant ses parents, parce qu’il avait affirmé ne rien avoir à faire de Mohammad ? Dans le même camp que ceux qui filment la décapitation de prêtres chrétiens et diffusent les images sur Internet ?
Who now is gassing Arab innocents? Shooting Arab civilians in the streets? Rounding up and executing Arab civilians? Blowing up Arab houses? Answer: either Arab dictators or radical Islamists. The old nexus of radical Islamic terror of the last three decades is unraveling. With a wink and a nod, Arab dictatorships routinely subsidized Islamic terrorists to divert popular anger away from their own failures to the West or Israel. In the deal, terrorists got money and sanctuary. The Arab Street blamed others for their own government-inflicted miseries. And thieving authoritarians posed as Islam’s popular champions. But now, terrorists have turned on their dictator sponsors. And even the most ardent Middle East conspiracy theorists are having troubling blaming the United States and Israel. Victor Davis Hanson
Bombing a monstrous regime guilty of past WMD use was amoral; now it is ethical? Victor Davis Hanson

Conflits ethniques inextricables, ADM, groupes terroristes Al Qaeda compris, inspections de l’ONU, problème de mandat du Conseil de sécurité pour cause de véto russe, renversements d’alliances …

Après la tragédie, la farce ?

Alors que l’actualité dissipe, sous nos yeux et chaque jour un peu plus, les illusions des révoltes ochlocratiques (la loi de la rue et de la foule) qui avaient jusqu’ici passé pour le "printemps arabe" laissant enfin voir en plein jour, entre Téhéran, Ryiad et Doha et avec le soutien objectif de Moscou et Pékin, les vrais instigateurs et financiers du terrorisme mondial …

Comme celles du coup de la prétendue centralité du conflit israélo-palestinien (entendez: la responsabilité israélienne) pour la résolution des problèmes de la région …

Et que se dégonfle une fois de plus la baudruche de l’immense espoir soulevé il y a cinq ans par l’élection à la Maison Blanche d’un prétendu messie noir et maitre es votes "présent" qui, pris à son propre bluff, tente à nouveau de jouer la montre en s’abritant à présent derrière la consultation du Congrès …

Mais aussi, piégé à présent par son mentor américain de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, celle de l’Obama corrézien qui, seul rescapé d’une coalition réduite à lui-même (contre près d’une cinquantaine  pour le "cowboy" Bush), avait tant critiqué l’activisme brouillon de son prédécesseur …

Comment ne pas voir, avec l’historien américain Victor Davis Hanson et alors que 10 ans après une intervention américaine (et en fait alliée) qui avait soulevé l’hystérie collective anti-Bush que l’on sait …

L’incroyable et cruelle ironie que présente actuellement un imbroglio syrien où, en une sinistre et meurtrière partie de poker menteur planétaire sur fond d’une population à nouveau martyrisée et par les deux camps …

L’on se retrouve sommé de choisir, par ceux-là même qui avaient le plus critiqué alors "l‘aventure irakienne", entre le monstre Assad et ses doubles à la puissance dix allahakbaristes?

The Israeli Spring

August 29, 2013

Israel’s enemies are doing more damage to each other than Israel ever could.

Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

Israel could be forgiven for having a siege mentality — given that at any moment, old frontline enemies Syria and Egypt might spill their violence over common borders.

The Arab Spring has thrown Israel’s once-predictable adversaries into the chaotic state of a Sudan or Somalia. The old understandings between Jerusalem and the Assad and Mubarak kleptocracies seem in limbo.

Yet these tragic Arab revolutions swirling around Israel are paradoxically aiding it, both strategically and politically — well beyond just the erosion of conventional Arab military strength.

In terms of realpolitik, anti-Israeli authoritarians are fighting to the death against anti-Israeli insurgents and terrorists. Each is doing more damage to the other than Israel ever could — and in an unprecedented, grotesque fashion. Who now is gassing Arab innocents? Shooting Arab civilians in the streets? Rounding up and executing Arab civilians? Blowing up Arab houses? Answer: either Arab dictators or radical Islamists.

The old nexus of radical Islamic terror of the last three decades is unraveling. With a wink and a nod, Arab dictatorships routinely subsidized Islamic terrorists to divert popular anger away from their own failures to the West or Israel. In the deal, terrorists got money and sanctuary. The Arab Street blamed others for their own government-inflicted miseries. And thieving authoritarians posed as Islam’s popular champions.

But now, terrorists have turned on their dictator sponsors. And even the most ardent Middle East conspiracy theorists are having troubling blaming the United States and Israel.

Secretary of State John Kerry is still beating last century’s dead horse of a “comprehensive Middle East peace.” But does Kerry’s calcified diplomacy really assume that a peace agreement involving Israel would stop the ethnic cleansing of Egypt’s Coptic Christians? Does Israel have anything to do with Assad’s alleged gassing of his own people?

There are other losers as well. Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to turn a once-secular Turkish democracy into a neo-Ottoman Islamist sultanate, with grand dreams of eastern-Mediterranean hegemony. His selling point to former Ottoman Arab subjects was often a virulent anti-Semitism. Suddenly, Turkey became one of Israel’s worst enemies and the Obama administration’s best friends.

Yet if Erdogan has charmed President Obama, he has alienated almost everyone in the Middle East. Islamists such as former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi felt that Erdogan was a fickle and opportunistic conniver. The Gulf monarchies believed that he was a troublemaker who wanted to supplant their influence. Neither the Europeans nor the Russians trust him. The result is that Erdogan’s loud anti-Israeli foreign policy is increasingly irrelevant.

The oil-rich sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf once funded terrorists on the West Bank, but they are now fueling the secular military in Egypt. In Syria they are searching to find some third alternative to Assad’s Alawite regime and its al-Qaeda enemies. For the moment, oddly, the Middle East foreign policy of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the other oil monarchies dovetails with Israel’s: Predictable Sunni-Arab nationalism is preferable to one-vote, one-time Islamist radicals.

Israel no doubt prefers that the Arab world liberalize and embrace constitutional government. Yet the current bloodletting lends credence to Israel’s ancient complaints that it never had a constitutional or lawful partner in peace negotiations.

In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt dictatorship is gone. His radical Muslim Brotherhood successors were worse and are also gone. The military dictatorship that followed both is no more legitimate than either. In these cycles of revolution, the one common denominator is an absence of constitutional government.

In Syria, there never was a moderate middle. Take your pick between the murderous Shiite-backed Assad dictatorship or radical Sunni Islamists. In Libya, the choice degenerated to Moammar Qaddafi’s unhinged dictatorship or the tribal militias that overthrew it. Let us hope that one day westernized moderate democracy might prevail. But that moment seems a long way off.

What do the Egyptian military, the French in Mali, Americans at home, the Russians, the Gulf monarchies, persecuted Middle Eastern Christians, and the reformers of the Arab Spring all have in common? Like Israel, they are all fighting Islamic-inspired fanaticism. And most of them, like Israel, are opposed to the idea of a nuclear Iran.

In comparison with the ruined economies of the Arab Spring — tourism shattered, exports nonexistent, and billions of dollars in infrastructure lost through unending violence — Israel is an atoll of prosperity and stability. Factor in its recent huge gas and oil finds in the eastern Mediterranean, and it may soon become another Kuwait or Qatar, but with a real economy beyond its booming petroleum exports.

Israel had nothing to do with either the Arab Spring or its failure. The irony is that surviving embarrassed Arab regimes now share the same concerns with the Israelis. In short, the more violent and chaotic the Middle East becomes, the more secure and exceptional Israel appears.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, is just out from Bloomsbury Books. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.

Voir aussi:

Is The War to Save Face or Save Lives?

August 29, 2013

Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

Most of the arguments pro and con for an intervention in Syria have already been made.

I think the consensus is that while stopping Assad in 2011 might have been wise (before the use of the WMD and 100,000 dead), doing so now is, well, problematic.

He has shown far more resilience than the administration thought when it ordered him to leave (dictators rarely leave when ordered to by an American president). The opposition seems far more dominated by al-Qaeda affiliates than originally thought (not all that many Westernized intellectuals, persecuted minorities, and Arab Spring bloggers are still left on the barricades).

In addition, both critics and supporters of the president point out that had Obama just kept quiet, he could have kept the option of intervening on his own timetable, rather than being forced to when his rhetorical red lines were not merely crossed but erased in humiliating fashion. Since his bluff has been called, he now has to act to save face rather than to save lives — 100,000 of them too late.

Yet the rub is not just that it is unlikely that we can find all the WMD depots and destroy them safely from the air (keeping them out of both Assad’s and our allies’ hands).

Nor is the problem just that it is unlikely that a limited punitive blow against Assad will topple him (and then what?) and restore American rhetorical credibility.

Instead, we are not sure that the opposition is likely to be any better than the monster Assad. Did we learn nothing from Libya and Egypt? The paradox in the Middle East is that Americans can control the postwar landscape and promote consensual government only by inserting large numbers of ground troops — an unacceptable political reality. A Putinesque shelling and bombing solution (more rubble, less trouble) is ethically unacceptable to most Americans.

Then there are the domestic politics. During the Iraq War, authorization from Congress was essential; now it is not? The excruciating and ultimately failed effort in 2002 at the UN took weeks; now it is not even attempted by a Peace Prize laureate? Bombing a monstrous regime guilty of past WMD use was amoral; now it is ethical?

Voir également:

The Pros and Cons of Attacking Syria

PJ Media

August 28, 2013

MICHAEL LEDEEN

Well today, Thursday, it looks like we’re running away from the very idea of doing anything. Today’s headlines say that the intel is suddenly dubious, that Cameron won’t do anything without the UN — which means he won’t do anything at all — and Hollande is suddenly cautious.

Surprised? You say it’s inconceivable that Obama would do nothing at all after all the yelling and jumping up and down?

It wouldn’t be the first time. Think back to the Iranian-sponsored plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador to Washington. There was a monster press conference, featuring the FBI director and General Holder himself. Intel was presented. Violent words were uttered. Anyone who watched it would have had only one question: what terrible vengeance will we wreak upon the Iranians?

And then…nothing. Aside from General Mattis, it’s hard to find an authoritative voice condemning the inaction (and Mattis only said it on the eve of retirement). The story just went away, as pundits assured their readers, viewers, and listeners that the Iranians couldn’t possibly have been so stupid as to have ordered an attack on American soil.

Kinda like the current refrain that Assad couldn’t possibly have been so stupid as to have ordered a chemical attack against his enemies…

As you know, I think the best way to go after Assad is to help the Iranian people bring down their theocratic fascist regime. There are only two chances that Obama will support such a policy (and Slim has moved to Qatar). I would not be surprised if the air goes out of Obama’s trial war balloons, and the public is told that it never happened at all, that he never seriously contemplated violent action, and that he fought from the get-go to rein in the hawks.

Orwell says in 1984 that history was always manipulated, but nobody in the past had the ability to totally erase and rewrite recent events now on display. It may be only a matter of hours before we are told that Obama’s brave decision — to do nothing — is an example of consummate presidential leadership, courage under pressure, and moral virtue.

Yes, it could happen. Most anything can happen.

Voir encore:

ROGER KIMBALL

Aristotle gives Obama a lesson about Syria.

What is the right thing to do about Syria? On the one hand you have the thuggish Assad regime, which has murdered thousands in the past year. I doubt whether Vogue will be running more pieces like “A Rose In the Desert” [6] any time soon. That now-notorious interview with Mrs. Assad from February 2012 — talk about bad timing! — treated the magazine’s 11 million readers to a gushing portrait of the “wildly democratic” Assads, a power couple who combined the fashion sense of Anna Wintour herself with the do-gooder instincts of a latter day Mother Teresa. The preposterous puff piece won Wintour and her writer, Joan Juliet Buck, last year’s Walter Duranty Award for Journalistic Mendacity [7].

On the other hand, you have the opposition to the Assad regime. What manner of beast is that? Not all that dissimilar to the Libyan opposition. You remember those freedom fighters: two parts al-Qaeda energized by Salafist radicals [8] and tempered by the wise beards of the “largely secular” (or so says our director of national intelligence [9]) from the Muslim Brotherhood. Doubtless there was also a sprig or two of genuine secular protest, but that element was like the lemon peel on the Martini glass: a fleeting aroma of spring freshness backed up by an 80-proof cocktail of radicalism.

The trace fragrance of lemons in a properly made Martini [10] has approximately as much to do with spring time as the ochlocratic uprisings that are currently tearing apart Egypt, Libya, Syria, and other places of fun and frolic in the Muslim world. It isn’t an “Arab Spring,” as sentimentalists in the press and the Obama administration insisted, but a bad case of what Andrew McCarthy calls Spring Fever [11].

So what’s a panicked Alinskyite narcissist to do? So far, Obama’s Middle East policy — if a pattern of blundering confusion can rightly be called a “policy” — has borne an eerie similarity to his voting record as a state and later a U.S. Senator: cagey attestations of “Present” whenever a vote is taken, combined with a canny and ruthless talent for somehow taking the credit for eventualities that might redound to one’s credit. The demise of Osama bin Laden [12] is a case in point.

When Obama took office, Egypt was ruled by an authoritarian but basically pro-Western and pro-Israel autocrat. Now the country is teetering on the edge of anarchy, its economy in shambles, its people mere weeks away from starvation. When Obama took office, Libya was ruled by a preposterous transvestite thug who had been brought to heel by Western suasion. Now Libya is a toxic breeding ground of Islamic triumphalism, aptly epitomized by the obscene murder of Muammar Gaddafi by a mob of radical Islamists as well as the attack on our installation in Benghazi last September 11, a coordinated assault that left a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead and which Obama’s spokesmen blamed on a rancid anti-Muslim internet video but which was really the result of his administration’s dithering incompetence. “Present” didn’t save the day for Ambassador Chris Stevens and the brave men in his security detail and it hasn’t been working out too well with respect to Syria, either, where someone —was it Assad’s minions? (Was it?) — unleashed poison gas near Damascus [13], killing hundreds.

So, should Obama bomb Syria, even if it is illegal [14]? Careful. There’s a reason why Russia’s deputy prime minister — speaking, of course, for Putin himself — said that the West was behaving about Syria like “a monkey with a grenade [15].” The vertiginous spectacle of blundering incompetence is painful to behold.

And this is where Aristotle makes an entrance. In a famous passage of The Nicomachean Ethics [16], Aristotle observed that one can behave in certain ways that make any course of action morally opprobrious. Most of us do not choose to act in an unjust way. But we can live our lives in such a way that no good course of action is open to us. “The unjust and profligate,” Aristotle says, “might at the outset have avoided becoming so… although when they have become unjust and profligate it is no longer open to them not to be so.” Once you cast the stone, you cannot bring it back, but you are responsible for having taken up flinging the stone in the first place.

Or voting “Present.” Some of my friends believe the grounds for military action against Syria are patent. I suspect it is too late for such clarity. There was a time, in the early days of the Obama regime, when we might have taken effective action in the Middle East, when leadership might have made a difference in Egypt, in Libya, in Iran. In those days — how distant they seem! — the United States still exerted enormous if widely resented moral influence in the region. Obama’s habit of “leading from behind” (i.e., relinquishing leadership) has not-so-gradually eroded that authority. Now what? Obama, along with his Goneril and Regan, Samantha Power and Valerie Jarrett, would be sadly comic if the game they were playing were not so serious. Obama’s blundering has already cost thousands of lives in the Muslim world, many American lives as well as the lives of indigenes. In Syria, the stakes have been raised yet again. Intervene or leave it alone? There are those who believe that the horror of the gas attacks in Syria require that action, some action, any action, as a necessary cathartic for us moral paragons in the West. But what if it unleashes something far worse? Are we confident that this president and his band of not-so-merry pranksters have the skill to deploy force at the right time, in the right place, for the right ends, and in the right proportion? Pondering that I think of Aristotle’s observation that “only a blockhead fails to recognize that our character is the result of our conduct.” I am not uplifted by the reflection.

— In addition to his work at PJ Media [17] and The New Criterion [18], Roger Kimball is the publisher of Encounter Books [19], a purveyor of serious non-fiction titles from a broadly construed conservative perspective.

ROGER L. SIMON

Okay, I’m a warmonger.

Worse than that — I’m a chickenhawk. The closest I have ever come to war is a bar fight with a contributor to the Daily Kos. (Kidding… almost)

Nevertheless, I don’t see what choice the U. S. has about striking Syria — and not because our president drew some sort of “red line,” but because of gas itself. You don’t have to be Jewish to believe that, since Auschwitz, gassing your fellow human beings is pretty close to the most obscene act we can perform on each other. It’s forbidden by the Geneva Conventions for a reason.

The people who perpetrate this obscenity — Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad — deserve to die for their actions. And I’m not even much of a believer in capital punishment.

That’s one reason to move against the Syrian regime, although I fear our administration will not do enough and make the whole thing moot.

The second reason is to scare the bejeesus out of what Brother Ledeen calls the “terror masters” in Iran and perhaps deter them from obtaining nuclear weapons. We will certainly have to do more in that regard, but any weakening of the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria nexus is to the good.

Some worry we will be aiding al-Qaeda. Perhaps so. But they’re next. (Or possibly simultaneous if this report from Le Figaro [20] is to be believed.)

In any case, in the War on Terror, we are going to have to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.

We’re even going to have to learn to function without a good commander-in-chief… at least for a while.

If you want more extensive elucidation of my views, I wrote a good deal more on the subject, yesterday [21].

— Roger L. Simon is the co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media.

DAVID P. GOLDMAN

Go after the dog’s master, not the dog.

Kudos to Michael Ledeen [22] for explaining that the road to Damascus starts in Tehran. As Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu [23] explained on Aug. 25, “Assad’s regime isn’t acting alone. Iran, and Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, are there on the ground playing an active role assisting Syria. In fact, Assad’s regime has become a full Iranian client and Syria has become Iran’s testing ground. … Iran is watching and it wants to see what will be the reaction to the use of chemical weapons.”

We are at war with Iran, and I have little to add to Michael’s excellent summary. As he reiterates, we have been at war with Iran for decades. The only distinction is that Iran knows this and the Obama administration pretends it’s not happening. Because the American public is disgusted with the miserable return on our investment of 5,000 lives, 50,000 casualties, and $1 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan, Republicans are too timid to push for decisive military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program — although air strikes rather than ground troops would be required.

I made a similar case on March 29 [24]:

It’s pointless to take potshots at Obama for failing to act on Syria. What we should say is this: “Iran is the main source of instability in the Middle East. Iran’s intervention in Syria has turned the country into a slaughterhouse. By showing weakness to Iran, the Obama administration encourages its murderous activities elsewhere in the region.”

I also recommend Ed “Give War a Chance” Luttwak’s [25] Aug. 25 op-ed in the New York Times, “In Syria, America Loses if Either Side Wins.” Victory for Assad would be victory for Iran. “And if the rebels win, “ Luttwak wrote, “moderate Sunnis would be politically marginalized under fundamentalist rulers.” The whole region is paralyzed and ripe for destabilization. Saudi subsidies are keeping Egypt from starving, literally. “Turkey has large and restless minority populations that don’t trust their own government, which itself does not trust its own army. The result has been paralysis instead of power, leaving Mr. Erdogan an impotent spectator of the civil war on his doorstep.” I would add that Turkey also is at economic free-fall with its stock market down by 40% in dollar terms since April.

Luttwak argues that the U.S. should favor “an indefinite draw.” Here I disagree: the chemical attack shows how easily Iran can manipulate events in Syria to suit its strategic objectives. The best solution is Yugoslav-style partition: an Alawite redoubt in the Northwest including Latakia (where Russia has its naval station), and a Sunni protectorate in the rest of the country, except for an autonomous zone for Syria’s Kurds. Everyone wins except the Turks, who understandably abhor the idea of an independent Kurdish entity. Someone has to lose, though. What has Turkey done for us lately?

Obama probably will choose the worst of all possible alternatives. Daniel Pipes warns that this course of action “will also entail real dangers. Bashar al-Assad’s notorious incompetence means his response cannot be anticipated. Western strikes could, among other possibilities, inadvertently lead to increased regime attacks on civilians, violence against Israel, an activation of sleeper cells in Western countries, or heightened dependence on Tehran. Surviving the strikes also permits Assad to boast that he defeated the United States. In other words, the imminent attack entails few potential benefits but many potential drawbacks. As such, it neatly encapsulates the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy.”

If the problems of the Middle East look intractable now, consider what they will look like if Iran can promote mass murder from under a nuclear umbrella. The hour is late. If we Republicans can’t summon the courage to advance fundamental American national security issues in the midst of crisis, we will deserve the voters’ contempt.

— David P. Goldman [26] joined PJM after nearly 10 years of anonymous essaying at Asia Times Online and two years of editing and writing at First Things.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ

The most discouraging thing about the Syrian situation is the seeming pointlessness of Washington’s actions. There appears to be no directing intelligence, no strategic calculation behind the administration’s actions.The reasons for the proposed strike are largely cast in emotional terms: outrage at Assad having killed a thousand with nerve gas. But given that the last 100,000 of his victims did not elicit the same outrage, the recent indignation seems a judgment upon the manner (and not the fact) of the execution of innocents — a tragedy, as it were, of manners.

Yet none of the truly important questions have been aired in the proper forums. What is America’s interest in Syria? To checkmate Russia and Iran? To prevent Islamic terrorism from seizing yet another failed state? To forestall a wave of unrest and instability across the region? To prevent Israel from being drawn into war? And how will a limited strike designed not to inconvenience Assad too much achieve of any of these?

These questions were meant to be asked. They were required to be asked by the Founders, who personally knew more about war in more intimacy and length than the president ever will. This administration has abolished war by the adolescent method of giving it a variety of aliases like “leading from behind,” “kinetic military options,” and “sending a message.” In so doing, Obama has not only trivialized war but obviated the need to think on it.

Under its former and ugly name, the act of one country striking another country with military force was an awful thing, a fearful landscape to be entered only by long debate in the widest possible forum. The gateway to the battlefield was hung about with dread signs and the memories of sacrifices past. Today it’s a punch line.

The president might remember that in war the other side gets to vote and no plan, no set of talking points ever survives contact with the enemy; that once he starts something there is is an element of risk about where it goes. Did I say “the other side?” Well is there “another side” and does it have a name? It is the measure of the absurdity of the situation that this fundamental quantity, the sine qua non of conflict, the question of who is the enemy, remains, like the word “war” itself, concealed under an alias.

President Obama may not be interested in consequences, but consequences may be interested in him.

— Richard Fernandez [27] has been a software developer for nearly 15 years.

ANDREW KLAVAN

The good thing is that this is a military action with a clearly defined purpose: to distract us from the ineptitude and corruption of the Obama administration. In order to achieve this goal, a contained and restricted action should suffice, requiring little more than the meaningless scattershot dropping of bombs, followed by a presidential speech about poison gas featuring a Very Serious Expression. The word “barbaric” and the phrase “will not be tolerated” should only be deployed if absolutely necessary, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. The sides are clearly drawn: on one we have the murderous tyrant Bashar al-Assad, and on the other, we have al-Qaeda, and really, you just couldn’t ask for a nicer bunch of people. So, looking on the bright side, at least we’re unlikely to miss hitting our enemies. I remember when the media and the left excoriated George W. Bush for “going it alone” and “rushing to war” in Iraq even though he waited for more than a year and solicited the support of our allies and the UN. I’m glad to say Obama will not be distracted by that sort of background noise. It’s much easier to make these decisions by yourself in a big hurry when it’s nice and quiet.

— Andrew Klavan [28] is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and media commentator.

RONALD RADOSH

I have previously argued [29] that what to do about Syria and the regime led by Bashar Assad leaves us few good options. I have also been critical, in another column [30], of the arguments made by the interventionists. Since then, with the recent proof of the massive chemical attacks unleashed by Iran’s proxy (Syria), the situation has changed.

The administration has made it clear with their leaks of apparent plans that they are contemplating what we might call an ineffectual and purely symbolic raid on Syria, one that will leave Assad in power, spare even his presidential palace, and allow him to brag how he managed to withstand the attack from imperialist America. As a Wall Street Journal [31]editorial [31] explains, “the attack in Syria isn’t really about damaging the Bashar Assad regime’s capacity to murder its own people, much less about ending the Assad regime for good.” It is “primarily about making a political statement, and vindicating President Obama’s ill-considered promise of ‘consequences,’ rather than materially degrading Assad’s ability to continue to wage war against his own people.”

If this is the reason for the administration’s contemplated strike, the outcome will only be to strengthen the regime, embolden the Iranians to move forward more quickly to obtaining a nuclear weapon, and build up the authority of the Putin government in Russia, while emasculating further the authority and position of the United States in the world. It will likely mark the fruition of Obama’s ill-considered strategy of “leading from behind” and will also show the folly of both his outreach to the Muslim world and the once-heralded decision to work through and with the Muslim Brotherhood.

A few days ago, the Foreign Policy Initiative released a letter to the president [32] signed by a distinguished bipartisan group of liberal and conservative writers, foreign policy experts, journalists, academics, and political leaders. The group stated:

We urge you to respond decisively by imposing meaningful consequences on the Assad regime. At a minimum, the United States, along with willing allies and partners, should use standoff weapons and airpower to target the Syrian dictatorship’s military units that were involved in the recent large-scale use of chemical weapons. It should also provide vetted moderate elements of Syria’s armed opposition with the military support required to identify and strike regime units armed with chemical weapons.

The group goes on to urge that the president consider “direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime.” Not only the use of chemical weapons, but all weapons that Assad can use against his own people must be taken out of operational use. The writers call for training and arming moderate and trusted elements that would oppose both the Assad regime and the growing Islamist radicals working with the opposition.

They are correct to argue that if nothing or only a symbolic action is undertaken, after the president has said time and time again that certain red lines cannot be crossed, the world will see our talk as nothing but empty threats, and the Iranian regime will be emboldened.

There may be many reasons to be wary about the effects of intervention in Syria, but doing nothing is an option our nation can no longer afford.

— Ron Radosh [33] is a professional historian, author or co-author of more than 15 books, and an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute.

CLAUDIA ROSETT

Yes, the U.S. should act. Short of all-out World War III, or IV, or maybe V (take your pick), for U.S. policy to have any deterrent effect on the world’s worst regimes developing and using the world’s deadliest weapons, America’s threats must be credible. The stakes here go way beyond Syria, or even the use of chemical weapons.

As President Obama said in 2009, alluding to a North Korean ballistic missile test, “Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.” Or, as Obama has said in multiple permutations for at least five years now about Iran, “When the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapons, we mean what we say.” Or, as Obama said a year ago about the conflict in Syria, “If we start to see a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” that would cross “a red line.”

Since these various pronouncements, North Korea has conducted additional long-range missile tests plus two nuclear tests. Iran despite growing layers of sanctions has carried on with pursuit of the nuclear bomb. And Syria’s Assad regime, according to Obama himself, has used chemical weapons (evidently a whole bunch of them, on multiple occasions, this latest attack being the worst).

All these developments are connected, and not solely because they involve weapons of mass murder. There is an axis of rogue regime activity here, whether we call it an axis of evil, a gathering storm, or a concatenation of unacceptable red line crossers. As Michael Ledeen has rightly been explaining for years, the core problem is Iran: chief ally of Syria, business partner of North Korea, and world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, including its role as patron of Hezbollah and collaborator when convenient with al Qaeda. All these folks in various ways do business with each other, and from each other’s pioneering moves in the field of proliferation, they not only swap weapons materials and technology; they also learn how much it is possible to get away with. If anyone would like to start keeping a dossier labeled “Moral Obscenities” (to round out Secretary of State John Kerry’s description of chemical weapons use in Syria), all of the above would belong in that file.

A move to seriously disable any part of this hydra would send a much overdue message to the rest. It would also signal to Russia and China, the chief protectors and suppliers of this axis of terror, that the U.S. is not actually willing to cede the 21st century world order to the thug states of the globe.

I’d cast my vote for the prescription of Bret Stephens and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, for a strike that targets Bashar Assad and the vital figures of his regime. That leaves the question of what might follow in Syria — and the deeper question there is less who might prevail in Damascus, than whether the U.S. has prepared an end game for the fall of the regime in Iran. What’s desperately needed here is not just a tactical response, but a strategy in service of U.S. interests that aims to win.

— Claudia Rosett [34] is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and heads its Investigative Reporting Project.

BARRY RUBIN

Forgot about the hysteria of an impending U.S. attack on Syria. Forget about the likely self-congratulatory backslapping by policy makers and the chanting of “USA!” by citizens. A U.S. air assault on Syria will not change anything.

Clearly, it will not change the regional problems, including the U.S. support for an Islamist government in Egypt, the unstable Islamist government in Tunisia, the grim expectations for a “peace process,” the constant betrayal of the United States by the Turkish government, and the Iranian nuclear race. But beyond that, it won’t change the Syrian crisis.

Would the attack determine the outcome of a Syrian civil war, either in favor of the Iranian-backed government or the Islamists favored by the United States? No. Would it by itself increase the prestige and credibility of the United States in the Middle East? No.

Let’s consider the three motives for the potential Syrian attack. One, the humanitarian motive. After perhaps 100,000 people in Syria have been killed, this addresses one percent of the casualties (namely those by chemical weapons). That might be worthwhile but leaves unaddressed the 99 percent of other casualties. Is it really true that the Syrian government somewhat, without motive, used chemical weapons? And finally, is it really humanitarian since the rebel side is likely to be equally ferocious against minorities and people it doesn’t like? The humanitarian motive, while sincere, really doesn’t amount to very much but merely tells the Syrian government the proper way in which people can be killed. Second, what message does America’s potential attack in Syria really send? That American power, which will be limited, is not going to be sufficient to change the course of the war. So the United States will not determine who wins and that, after all, is the only thing that everyone is really interested in. The third motive is to send a message to Iran that it won’t be able to succeed in aggression. But in fact this too can be said to send the opposite message: that, in the words of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, “the United States cannot do a damn thing.”

What are the possible outcomes of this mission? The Syrian government will not be overthrown or saved. That is going to be totally outside this operation. Perhaps it will make the outcome more likely to be a diplomatic one. But again, the likelihood that Russia and Iran will agree to have their client deposed is simply low. One could argue that the attack will lead to a lower estimation of American credibility since not much will have changed afterward, although this is not what the media will say. It is interesting to note that in confronting Saddam Hussein the Clinton administration attacked Iraq at least four times in 1998 alone. But of course Hussein was only overthrown six years later by a controversial decision by another administration.

What would the best beneficial outcomes for the Obama administration be? First, that Obama will congratulate himself on his daring use of force and on not backing down to anyone. But so what? Aside from the newspaper headlines and the bounces in public opinion polls, the effect will be merely psychological and domestic. In friendly capitals, it will only show that he is willing to support the Sunni Islamists and oppose the Shia ones. In enemy capitals, there will be continued derision of the limited means at Obama’s disposal for affecting events.

What would be the best outcome for America? That the war will go on long enough until one side (not the regime) wins. But basically the civil war is going to be fought out. It might well be said that strategically it would be better that Iran didn’t win the victory, but frankly a victory by radical Islamist rebels and al-Qaeda is hardly a bargain. Don’t forget that in practice an American intervention would not be on the side of easing the lot of Syrian civilians but on the side of an extremely oppressive and unstable future government winning. In other words, it is not that there are no easy answers, but that there are no good answers.

— Barry Rubin [35] has been a PJ Columnist since April 2011 and is also PJ Media’s Middle East Editor. He’s also the editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal [36] (MERIA), and editor, Turkish studies, at Taylor & Francis Online [37].

MICHAEL WALSH

Regarding Syria and possible American intervention in that benighted and savage land, there’s really only question worth asking — and it’s not whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, or whether it helps or harms Israel, or whether it encourages or discourages Iran from its Twelver [38] obsession with Armageddon. And that question is: why?

As Napoleon said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake” – and for the “Arab world” (perhaps better characterized as the ummah), this is the biggest and best mistake they’ve made since the Iran-Iraq War. For it is of absolutely no moment to the United States who wins the struggle between the Assad government and the al-Qaeda rebels trying to take it down; the “Arab spring” delusion surely has taught us that by now — and if it hasn’t, please see Benghazi [39]. It is of no moment whether Assad has used poison gas on his own people; please see “Hussein, Saddam,” as Western high dudgeon is entirely opportunistic. Indeed, the entire Middle East is no longer worth the life of one more American soldier, for it is an area in which we have not a single vital national interest.

Once the Obama administration has been retired into the infamy of the history books, fracking and other forms of new energy will more than compensate for any loss of Arab oil (as the old saying goes, “what are they going to do – eat it?”). Israel’s security — like that of western Europe during the Soviet threat — is guaranteed by the American nuclear umbrella, not to mention its own. Is there a scenario under which Israel suffers, depending on who wins the struggle for power in Damascus? Of course there is — but that is true about every development in the Middle East, and does not affect our strategic relationship with the Jewish state in the slightest. Further, dragging Israel into the equation, however benignly, only fuels the anti-Semites on both the Left and the Right who see the Zionist Hand behind every American foreign-policy decision.

The hand-wringing and bed-wetting over Syria represents the triumph of Foggy Bottom fecklessness over military realpolitik. Our lawyer-ridden and process-obsessed society has all but subordinated strategic thinking to the striped-pants set, whose only frame of reference is: yap, yap, yap; they’re like the capon judge, Don Curzio, trying to figure out what the hell is going in in the great sextet from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro [40], while it’s perfectly clear to everyone in the audience.

Now another Hussein, Barack Obama, is typically dithering about what sort of “measured” and “proportionate” response the U.S. — without congressional approval, of course — should offer to… what provocation, again, exactly? The Left used to stand for not imposing “our morality” on the Third World, so what’s different this time, besides the occupant of the Oval Office? Neither Obama nor Vice President Valerie Jarrett has the slightest understanding of the uses of power other than for self-aggrandizement, but then that’s what happens when you elect the unholy love child of Al Capone and Saul Alinsky to the nation’s highest office.

So let ‘em kill each other, and for as long as possible — and if the conflagration spills over the borders, quarantine it as one would a viral outbreak. Intervention, especially when we have already advertised that our goal is not regime change, will net us a grand total of zero good will from the Believers, whose zest for slaughtering each other almost matches their zest for murdering us.

To quote Napoleon again, if you start to take Vienna, take Vienna. If the goal is to stop Iran, then stop Iran, destroy its nuclear capability, disestablish Islam as the state religion, and restore the glory of Persian culture and the Peacock Throne (again [41]). That would have the added advantage of thwarting the Russian Bear, which has lusted after Iran for more than a century, and lost its best chance when its agent-in place, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh [42], served a stint as the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister during the Jimmy Carter Hostage Crisis. (Ghotbzadeh was eventually stood up against a wall and shot as a traitor to the Revolution.)

Islamism is a fever; best let it rage until it burns itself out. And if it kills the host, that’s too damn bad.

— Michael Walsh [43] is a weekly op-ed columnist for the New York Post and a regular contributor to National Review Online.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS

The Obama administration is on the verge of reducing their whole reason for existence — this time in Syria. In 2008, Obama ran for president promising an America where race was in the rear-view mirror. These days, racial issues are crashing through the windshield, in no small measure because of Obama’s rhetoric. In 2008, Obama capped years of harping about the UN, congressional authorizations of force, and American military hubris with an election win. Swarms of his supporters, particularly the young, bought into the rhetoric of the gentle and restrained America. The absurd “Coexist” bumper sticker had become policy.

In Libya, Obama first revealed himself as an international hypocrite. Congressional authorization for force wasn’t so important now that he was ordering it. In Syria, he is about to double down. The oddest thing about this president is that he always seems to take the side of the radicals on the Islamic spectrum — both at home and abroad. At home, he shoves a radicalized version of civil rights down Americans’ throats, forcing schools to give teachers weeks off for the Haj. Abroad, Obama has sided with regimes and factions that are slaughtering Christians and threatening the security of Israel. Some Americans, particularly journalists, avert their eyes to the ominous parallels. Rather than oppose evil, this president seems to lurk in its fringe. Rather than vocally condemning the murder of Catholic priests and the destruction of churches in Syria, this president is about to take the side of the murderers. Never before has America had a leader like this. He is not the man to be leading the nation in this present darkness.

— J. Christian Adams [44] is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice.

URLs in this post:

[1] PJ columnist: http://pjmedia.com/michaelledeen/

[2] Foundation for Defense of Democracies: http://www.defenddemocracy.org/

[3] Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B003H4I4OK/pjmedia-20

[4] PJ columnist: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/

[5] Hoover Institution: http://www.hoover.org/

[6] Vogue will be running more pieces like “A Rose In the Desert”: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/the-only-remaining-online-copy-of-vogues-asma-al-assad-profile/250753/

[7] Walter Duranty Award for Journalistic Mendacity: http://pjmedia.com/blog/walter-duranty-prize/?singlepage=true

[8] Salafist radicals: http://blogs.thenewstribe.com/blog/68760/growing-salifist-terrorism-in-syria/

[9] director of national intelligence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POwd44zH9GA

[10] properly made Martini: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/03/08/how-robert-bork-defended-the-original-martini/

[11] Spring Fever: http://www.encounterbooks.com/books/spring-fever-the-illusion-of-islamic-democracy/

[12] demise of Osama bin Laden: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137636/Osama-bin-Laden-death-SEALs-slam-Obama-using-ammunition-bid-credit.html

[13] unleashed poison gas near Damascus: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/fears-of-possible-western-strike-on-syria-ripple-across-the-middle-east/2013/08/28/23818cde-1050-11e3-a2b3-5e107edf9897_story.html

[14] even if it is illegal: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/28/opinion/bomb-syria-even-if-it-is-illegal.html?_r=1&

[15] a monkey with a grenade: http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130827/182995837/Russian-Deputy-Premier-Calls-West-Monkey-With-Hand-Grenade.html

[16] The Nicomachean Ethics: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B006OIST5U/pjmedia-20

[17] his work at PJ Media: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/

[18] The New Criterion: http://www.newcriterion.com/

[19] Encounter Books: http://www.encounterbooks.com/#

[20] if this report from Le Figaro: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/08/28/report-u-s-syria-strikes-may-target-latakia-assads-home-province/

[21] I wrote a good deal more on the subject, yesterday: http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2013/08/28/emerson-syria-and-the-principal-enemy/

[22] Michael Ledeen: http://pjmedia.com/michaelledeen/2013/08/25/the-road-to-damascus-starts-in-tehran/

[23] Netanyahu: http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-shines-light-on-syrias-partners/

[24] March 29: http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2013/03/29/iraq-didnt-destroy-the-republican-party-but-iran-might/2/

[25] Luttwak’s: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/25/opinion/sunday/in-syria-america-loses-if-either-side-wins.html?_r=0

[26] David P. Goldman: http://pjmedia.com/spengler/

[27] Richard Fernandez: http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/

[28] Andrew Klavan: http://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/

[29] previously argued: http://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/2013/06/14/7315/

[30] another column: http://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/2013/06/23/should-the-u-s-intervene-in-syria-the-debate-continues/

[31] Wall Street Journal : http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324591204579039011328308776.html

[32] letter to the president: http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/foreign-policy-experts-urge-president-obama-respond-assads-chemical-attack

[33] Ron Radosh: http://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/

[34] Claudia Rosett: http://pjmedia.com/claudiarosett/

[35] Barry Rubin: http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/

[36] the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal: http://www.gloria-center.org/

[37] Taylor & Francis Online: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ftur20#.UZs4pLUwdqU

[38] Twelver: http://twelvershia.net/

[39] Benghazi: http://pjmedia.com/michaelwalsh/2013/05/05/benghazi-blues/

[40] Le Nozze di Figaro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1b6Gb2c-M0

[41] again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d

[42] Sadegh Ghotbzadeh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadegh_Ghotbzadeh

[43] Michael Walsh: http://pjmedia.com/michaelwalsh/

[44] J. Christian Adams: http://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/

— Michael Ledeen is a PJ columnist [1] and the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies [2]. He is a highly regarded expert on Iran’s Green Movement and maintains close ties to opposition groups inside Iran. The author of more than 20 books, see Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West [3].

Voir par ailleurs:

Leading From Behind Congress

Obama recklessly gambles with American credibility.

The Wall Street Journal

September 1, 2013

President Obama’s Syrian melodrama went from bad to worse on Saturday with his surprise decision to seek Congressional approval for what he promises will be merely a limited cruise-missile bombing. Mr. Obama will now have someone else to blame if Congress blocks his mission, but in the bargain he has put at risk his credibility and America’s standing in the world with more than 40 months left in office.

This will go down as one of the stranger gambles, if not abdications, in Commander in Chief history. For days his aides had been saying the President has the Constitutional power to act alone in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and that he planned to do so. On Friday, he rolled out Secretary of State John Kerry to issue a moral and strategic call to arms and declare that a response was urgent.

But on Friday night, according to leaks from this leakiest of Administrations, the President changed his mind. A military strike was not so urgent that it couldn’t wait for Congress to finish its August recess and vote the week of its return on September 9. If the point of the bombing is primarily to "send a message," as the President says, well, then, apparently Congress must co-sign the letter and send it via snail mail.

It’s hard not to see this as primarily a bid for political cover, a view reinforced when the President’s political consigliere David Axelrod taunted on Twitter that "Congress is now the dog that caught the car." Mr. Obama can read the polls, which show that most of the public opposes intervention in Syria. Around the world he has so far mobilized mainly a coalition of the unwilling, with even the British Parliament refusing to follow his lead. By comparison, George W. Bush on Iraq looks like Metternich.

But what does anyone expect given Mr. Obama’s foreign-policy leadership? Since he began running for President, Mr. Obama has told Americans that he wants to retreat from the Middle East, that the U.S. has little strategic interest there, that any differences with our enemies can be settled with his personal diplomacy, that our priority must be "nation-building at home," and that "the tide of war is receding." For two-and-a-half years, he has also said the U.S. has no stake in Syria.

The real political surprise, not to say miracle, is that after all of this so many Americans still support military action in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons—50% in the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC poll. Despite his best efforts, Mr. Obama hasn’t turned Americans into isolationists.

A Congressional vote can be useful when it educates the public and rallies more political support. A national consensus is always desirable when the U.S. acts abroad. But the danger in this instance is that Mr. Obama is trying to sell a quarter-hearted intervention with half-hearted conviction.

From the start of the Syrian uprising, these columns have called for Mr. Obama to mobilize a coalition to support the moderate rebels. This would depose an enemy of the U.S. and deal a major blow to Iran’s ambition to dominate the region.

The problem with the intervention that Mr. Obama is proposing is that it will do little or nothing to end the civil war or depose Assad. It is a one-off response intended to vindicate Mr. Obama’s vow that there would be "consequences" if Assad used chemical weapons. It is a bombing gesture detached from a larger strategy. This is why we have urged a broader campaign to destroy Assad’s air force and arm the moderate rebels to help them depose the regime and counter the jihadists who are gaining strength as the war continues.

The very limitations of Mr. Obama’s intervention will make it harder for him to win Congress’s support. He is already sure to lose the votes of the left and Rand Paul right. But his lack of a strategy risks losing the support of even those like GOP Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who have long wanted America to back the Syrian rebels.

Yet now that Mr. Obama has tossed the issue to Congress, the stakes are far higher than this single use of arms in Syria or this President’s credibility. Mr. Obama has put America’s role as a global power on the line.

A defeat in Congress would signal to Bashar Assad and the world’s other thugs that the U.S. has retired as the enforcer of any kind of world order. This would be dangerous at any time, but especially with more than three long years left in this Presidency. Unlike the British in 1956, the U.S. can’t retreat from east of Suez without grave consequences. The U.S. replaced the British, but there is no one to replace America.

The world’s rogues would be further emboldened and look for more weaknesses to exploit. Iran would conclude it can march to a nuclear weapon with impunity. Israel, Japan, the Gulf states and other American friends would have to recalculate their reliance on U.S. power and will.

***

These are the stakes that Mr. Obama has so recklessly put before Congress. His mishandling of Syria has been so extreme that we can’t help but wonder if he really wants to lose this vote. Then he would have an excuse for further cutting defense and withdrawing America even more from world leadership. We will give him the benefit of the doubt, but only because incompetence and narrow political self-interest are more obvious explanations for his behavior.

All of which means that the adults in Congress—and there are some—will have to save the day. The draft language for authorizing force that Mr. Obama has sent to Congress is too narrowly drawn as a response to WMD. Congress should broaden it to give the President more ability to respond to reprisals, support the Syrian opposition and assist our allies if they are attacked.

The reason to do this and authorize the use of force is not to save this President from embarrassment. It is to rescue American credibility and strategic interests from this most feckless of Presidents.

Voir de même:

In Syria, America Loses if Either Side Wins

Edward N. Luttwak

The New York Times

August 24, 2013

WASHINGTON — ON Wednesday, reports surfaced of a mass chemical-weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs that human rights activists claim killed hundreds of civilians, bringing Syria’s continuing civil war back onto the White House’s foreign policy radar, even as the crisis in Egypt worsens.

But the Obama administration should resist the temptation to intervene more forcefully in Syria’s civil war. A victory by either side would be equally undesirable for the United States.

At this point, a prolonged stalemate is the only outcome that would not be damaging to American interests.

Indeed, it would be disastrous if President Bashar al-Assad’s regime were to emerge victorious after fully suppressing the rebellion and restoring its control over the entire country. Iranian money, weapons and operatives and Hezbollah troops have become key factors in the fighting, and Mr. Assad’s triumph would dramatically affirm the power and prestige of Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanon-based proxy — posing a direct threat both to the Sunni Arab states and to Israel.

But a rebel victory would also be extremely dangerous for the United States and for many of its allies in Europe and the Middle East. That’s because extremist groups, some identified with Al Qaeda, have become the most effective fighting force in Syria. If those rebel groups manage to win, they would almost certainly try to form a government hostile to the United States. Moreover, Israel could not expect tranquillity on its northern border if the jihadis were to triumph in Syria.

Things looked far less gloomy when the rebellion began two years ago. At the time, it seemed that Syrian society as a whole had emerged from the grip of fear to demand an end to Mr. Assad’s dictatorship. Back then, it was realistic to hope that moderates of one sort or another would replace the Assad regime, because they make up a large share of the population. It was also reasonable to expect that the fighting would not last long, because neighboring Turkey, a much larger country with a powerful army and a long border with Syria, would exert its power to end the war.

As soon as the violence began in Syria in mid-2011, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, loudly demanded that it end. But instead of being intimidated into surrender, Mr. Assad’s spokesmen publicly ridiculed Mr. Erdogan, while his armed forces proceeded to shoot down a Turkish fighter jet, before repeatedly firing artillery rounds into Turkish territory and setting off lethal car bombs at a Turkish border crossing. To everyone’s surprise, there was no significant retaliation. The reason is that Turkey has large and restless minority populations that don’t trust their own government, which itself does not trust its own army. The result has been paralysis instead of power, leaving Mr. Erdogan an impotent spectator of the civil war on his doorstep.

Consequently, instead of a Turkey-based and Turkish-supervised rebellion that the United States could have supported with weapons, intelligence and advice, Syria is plagued by anarchic violence.

The war is now being waged by petty warlords and dangerous extremists of every sort: Taliban-style Salafist fanatics who beat and kill even devout Sunnis because they fail to ape their alien ways; Sunni extremists who have been murdering innocent Alawites and Christians merely because of their religion; and jihadis from Iraq and all over the world who have advertised their intention to turn Syria into a base for global jihad aimed at Europe and the United States.

Given this depressing state of affairs, a decisive outcome for either side would be unacceptable for the United States. An Iranian-backed restoration of the Assad regime would increase Iran’s power and status across the entire Middle East, while a victory by the extremist-dominated rebels would inaugurate another wave of Al Qaeda terrorism.

There is only one outcome that the United States can possibly favor: an indefinite draw.

By tying down Mr. Assad’s army and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies in a war against Al Qaeda-aligned extremist fighters, four of Washington’s enemies will be engaged in war among themselves and prevented from attacking Americans or America’s allies.

That this is now the best option is unfortunate, indeed tragic, but favoring it is not a cruel imposition on the people of Syria, because a great majority of them are facing exactly the same predicament.

Non-Sunni Syrians can expect only social exclusion or even outright massacre if the rebels win, while the nonfundamentalist Sunni majority would face renewed political oppression if Mr. Assad wins. And if the rebels win, moderate Sunnis would be politically marginalized under fundamentalist rulers, who would also impose draconian prohibitions.

Maintaining a stalemate should be America’s objective. And the only possible method for achieving this is to arm the rebels when it seems that Mr. Assad’s forces are ascendant and to stop supplying the rebels if they actually seem to be winning.

This strategy actually approximates the Obama administration’s policy so far. Those who condemn the president’s prudent restraint as cynical passivity must come clean with the only possible alternative: a full-scale American invasion to defeat both Mr. Assad and the extremists fighting against his regime.

That could lead to a Syria under American occupation. And very few Americans today are likely to support another costly military adventure in the Middle East.

A decisive move in any direction would endanger America; at this stage, stalemate is the only viable policy option left.

Edward N. Luttwak is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the author of “Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace.”

Voir aussi:

Barack Obama’s Iraq Speech

Speeches Against Going to War with Iraq (2002)

Wikisource

Delivered on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 by Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator, at the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq war rally (organized by Chicagoans Against War in Iraq) at noon in Federal Plaza in Chicago, Illinois; at the same day and hour that President Bush and Congress announced their agreement on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, but over a week before it was passed by either body of Congress.

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

I don’t oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed, poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not — we will not — travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

Voir de plus:

Barack Obama is proving an embarrassing amateur on the world stage compared to George W. Bush

Nile Gardiner

The telegraph

August 30th, 2013

President Bush knew how to build a coalition

George W. Bush was widely mocked by the Left during the Iraq War, with liberals jeering at the “coalition of the willing,” which included in its ranks some minnows such as Moldova and Kazkhstan. Michael Moore, in his rather silly documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, went to great lengths to lampoon the Iraq War alliance. But the coalition also contained, as I pointed out in Congressional testimony back in 2007, Great Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, and 16 members of the NATO alliance, as well as Japan and South Korea. In Europe, France and Germany were the only large-scale countries that sat the war out, with 12 of the 25 members of the European Union represented. The coalition, swelled to roughly 40 countries, and was one of the largest military coalitions ever assembled.

As it stands, President Obama’s proposed military coalition on Syria has a grand total of two members – the US and France. And the French, as we know from Iraq, simply can’t be relied on, and have very limited military capability. It is a truly embarrassing state of affairs when Paris, at best a fair weather friend, is your only partner. John Kerry tried to put a brave face on it at his press conference today, by referring to France “as our oldest ally,” but the fact remains that his administration is looking painfully isolated.

There can be no doubt that David Cameron’s defeat in the House of Commons was a huge blow to President Obama, and has dominated the US news networks this morning. The absence of Britain in any American-led military action significantly weakens Obama’s position on the world stage, and dramatically undercuts the Obama administration. The vote reflected not only a lack of confidence in the Commons in the prime minister’s Syria strategy, it also demonstrated a striking lack of confidence in Barack Obama and US leadership.

In marked contrast to Obama, President Bush invested a great deal of time and effort in cultivating ties with key US allies, especially Britain. The Special Relationship actually mattered to George W. Bush. For Barack Obama it has been a mere blip on his teleprompter. Bush also went out of his way to build ties with other allies in Europe, including with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and an array of countries in Eastern and Central Europe. Obama simply hasn’t bothered making friends in Europe, and has treated some nations with sheer disdain and disrespect, including Poland and the Czech Republic. He has found common currency with France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande, an ideological soul-mate, but finds himself in a very lonely position elsewhere across the Atlantic.

In addition, and most importantly, George W. Bush was a conviction president on foreign policy matters, driven by a clear sense of the national interest. President Bush emphatically made his case to the American people and to the world, explaining why he believed the use of force was necessary, and dozens of countries decided to follow him. In the case of Barack Obama, whose foreign policy has been weak-kneed, confused and strategically incoherent, the president hasn’t effectively made the case for military intervention in Syria, and has made no serious effort to cultivate support both at home and abroad. President Bush may not have been greatly loved on the world stage, but he was respected by America’s allies, and feared by his enemies. In marked contrast, Obama hasn’t generated a lot of respect abroad, and he certainly isn’t feared.

Voir enfin:

‘It Didn’t Happen’

James Taranto

The  WSJ

July 26, 2007

Barack Obama’s latest pronouncement on Iraq should have shocked the conscience. In an interview with the Associated Press last week, the freshman Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate opined that even preventing genocide is not a sufficient reason to keep American troops in Iraq.

"Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done," Mr. Obama told the AP. "We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea."

Mr. Obama is engaging in sophistry. By his logic, if America lacks the capacity to intervene everywhere there is ethnic killing, it has no obligation to intervene anywhere — and perhaps an obligation to intervene nowhere. His reasoning elevates consistency into the cardinal virtue, making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Further, he elides the distinction between an act of omission (refraining from intervention in Congo and Darfur) and an act of commission (withdrawing from Iraq). The implication is that although the U.S. has had a military presence in Iraq since 1991, the fate of Iraqis is not America’s problem.

Unlike his main rivals for the Democratic nomination, Mr. Obama has been consistent in opposing the liberation of Iraq. In a 2002 speech, he declared that "an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world." But Mr. Obama’s side lost that argument, and it is no longer 2002. For America to countenance genocide of Arab Muslims hardly seems a promising way to extinguish the Mideast’s flames or to encourage the best impulses of the Arab world.

One may take the position that genocide would not be the likely result of an American retreat from Iraq. That is the view of Mr. Obama’s Massachusetts colleague John Kerry, the 2004 presidential nominee. Mr. Kerry, who served in Vietnam before turning against that war, voted for the Iraq war before turning against it. He draws on the Vietnam experience in making the case that the outcome of a U.S. pullout from Iraq would not be that bad. "We heard that argument over and over again about the bloodbath that would engulf the entire Southeast Asia, and it didn’t happen," he said recently.

"It didn’t happen" — just as Mr. Kerry predicted it wouldn’t. In his June 1971 debate with fellow swift boat veteran John O’Neill on "The Dick Cavett Show," the 27-year-old Mr. Kerry said, "There’s absolutely no guarantee that there would be a bloodbath. . . . One has to, obviously, conjecture on this. However, I think the arguments clearly indicate that there probably wouldn’t be. . . . There is no interest on the part of the North Vietnamese to try to massacre the people once people have agreed to withdraw." Mr. Kerry acknowledged that "there would be certain political assassinations," but said they would number only "four or five thousand."

Here is what did happen:

In 1973, the U.S. withdrew its troops from Vietnam, as Mr. Kerry had urged. In December 1974, the Democratic Congress ended military aid to South Vietnam. In April 1975, Saigon fell.

According to a 2001 investigation by the Orange County Register, Hanoi’s communist regime imprisoned a million Vietnamese without charge in "re-education" camps, where an estimated 165,000 perished. "Thousands were abused or tortured: their hands and legs shackled in painful positions for months, their skin slashed by bamboo canes studded with thorns, their veins injected with poisonous chemicals, their spirits broken with stories about relatives being killed," the Register reported.

Laos and Cambodia also fell to communists in 1975. Time magazine reported in 1978 that some 40,000 Laotians had been imprisoned in re-education camps: "The regime’s figures do not include 12,000 unfortunates who have been packed off to Phong Saly. There, no pretense at re-education is made. As one high Pathet Lao official told Australian journalist John Everingham, who himself spent eight days in a Lao prison last year, ‘No one ever returns.'"

The postwar horrors of Vietnam and Laos paled next to the "killing fields" of Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouge undertook an especially vicious revolution. During that regime’s 3½-year rule, at least a million Cambodians, and perhaps as many as two million, died from starvation, disease, overwork or murder. The Vietnamese invaders who toppled the Khmer Rouge in 1979 were liberators, albeit only by comparison.

In the aftermath of America’s withdrawal from Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of refugees fled Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. According to the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, between 1975 and 1995 more than 1.4 million Indochinese escaped, nearly 800,000 of them by boat. This does not include "boat people" who died at sea, 10% of the total by some estimates.

Mr. Obama’s blasé cynicism about the possibility of genocide in Iraq is of a piece with Mr. Kerry’s denial of the humanitarian catastrophe that followed America’s departure from Vietnam. It also creates an opportunity for the Democratic front-runner.

In 1998, Hillary Clinton’s husband traveled to Rwanda, where he apologized for failing to intervene to prevent the 1994 genocide in which Hutus massacred some 800,000 Tutsis. "We cannot change the past," President Clinton said. "But we can and must do everything in our power to help you build a future without fear, and full of hope." It was in this spirit that Mr. Clinton intervened in Kosovo in 1999, over Republican objections, to prevent ethnic cleansing of Albanian Muslims.

Like Mr. Kerry, Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war, then tilted against it before facing the Democratic primary electorate. Her opponents on the left have made much of her refusal to apologize for her vote. But if she can find the courage to defend a continued American presence in Iraq on humanitarian grounds, it will reduce the likelihood that the next president will have to apologize for something far worse.


Obamamanie: M. Obama est certes un beau parleur (So what happened to the peacemaker ?)

30 juin, 2013
He’s loved in seven languages Jewel box life diamond nights and ruby lights, high in the sky Heaven help him, when he falls (..) No need to ask He’s a smooth operator. Sade
Je rêve que mes quatre petits enfants vivront un jour dans un pays où on ne les jugera pas à la couleur de leur peau mais à la nature de leur caractère. Martin Luther King
Si Obama était blanc, il ne serait pas dans cette position. Et s’il était une femme, il ne serait pas dans cette position. Il a beaucoup de chance d’être ce qu’il est. Et le pays est pris par le concept. Geraldine Ferraro (ex-colistière du candidat démocrate de 1984 Walter Mondale et proche d’Hillary Clinton, Daily Breeze, 07.03.08)
Ma propre ville de Chicago a compté parmi les villes à la politique locale la plus corrompue de l’histoire américaine, du népotisme institutionnalisé aux élections douteuses. Barack Obama (Nairobi, Kenya, août 2006)
Je vous l’assure : à l’instant où je l’ai appris, j’ai mis toute mon énergie pour faire en sorte que ce problème soit réglé. (…) Je peux vous affirmer que je n’étais au courant de rien à propos de ce rapport de l’inspection générale des services fiscaux avant qu’il n’y ait des fuites dans la presse. Barack Obama (16 mai 2013)
C’est une victoire pour la démocratie américaine. Je crois qu’à la racine de ce que nous sommes en tant que peuple, en tant qu’Américains, il y a le précepte de base que nous sommes tous égaux devant la loi. Barack Obama
Le Sénégal est un pays tolérant qui ne fait pas de discrimination en termes de traitement sur les droits (…). Mais on n’est pas prêts à dépénaliser l’homosexualité. C’est l’option du Sénégal pour le moment. Cela ne veut pas dire que nous sommes homophobes. Mais il faut que la société absorbe, prenne le temps de traiter ces questions sans qu’il y ait pression. C’est comme la peine de mort, une question que chaque pays traite [à sa façon]. Nous l’avons abolie depuis longtemps. Dans d’autres pays, elle s’impose parce que la situation l’exige. Nous respectons le choix de chaque Etat. Macky Sall
Qu’est donc devenu cet artisan de paix récompensé par un prix Nobel, ce président favorable au désarmement nucléaire, cet homme qui s’était excusé aux yeux du monde des agissements honteux de ces Etats-Unis qui infligeaient des interrogatoires musclés à ces mêmes personnes qu’il n’hésite pas aujourd’hui à liquider ? Il ne s’agit pas de condamner les attaques de drones. Sur le principe, elles sont complètement justifiées. Il n’y a aucune pitié à avoir à l’égard de terroristes qui s’habillent en civils, se cachent parmi les civils et n’hésitent pas à entraîner la mort de civils. Non, le plus répugnant, c’est sans doute cette amnésie morale qui frappe tous ceux dont la délicate sensibilité était mise à mal par les méthodes de Bush et qui aujourd’hui se montrent des plus compréhensifs à l’égard de la campagne d’assassinats téléguidés d’Obama. Charles Krauthammer
Les drones américains ont liquidé plus de monde que le nombre total des détenus de Guantanamo. Pouvons nous être certains qu’il n’y avait parmi eux aucun cas d’erreurs sur la personne ou de morts innocentes ? Les prisonniers de Guantanamo avaient au moins une chance d’établir leur identité, d’être examinés par un Comité de surveillance et, dans la plupart des cas, d’être relâchés. Ceux qui restent à Guantanamo ont été contrôlés et, finalement, devront faire face à une forme quelconque de procédure judiciaire. Ceux qui ont été tués par des frappes de drones, quels qu’ils aient été, ont disparu. Un point c’est tout. Kurt Volker
L’Amérique ne «torture pas», avait déclaré à son arrivée aux affaires en 2009 le président Obama. Il avait immédiatement demandé la publication des fameux mémos juridiques de l’Administration Bush, qui justifiaient l’utilisation par la CIA de «techniques d’interrogatoire renforcées» dans sa guerre contre le terrorisme. Les pratiques de torture avaient été déclarées interdites. (…) Ironie de l’histoire, ce même président s’est depuis arrogé un droit de tuer, demandant à son tour à ses conseillers de rédiger une série de mémos donnant une justification juridique à ses décisions d’élimination de tel ou tel individu, au nom de la nécessité de protéger l’Amé­rique. Ces documents secrets représentent la base légale sur laquelle s’appuie l’Administration Obama pour justifier les intenses campagnes secrètes de drones qu’elle mène contre les terroristes islamistes, dans sa guerre contre al-Qaida.«Le parallèle avec les mémos de l’Administration Bush sur la torture est glaçant», note Vincent Warren, directeur exécutif du Centre pour les droits constitutionnels, parlant de l’«hypocrisie d’Obama», qui critiquait son prédécesseur mais s’est arrogé un immense pouvoir, non contrôlé par le Congrès, en matière de guerre contre le terrorisme. (…) Mais ce qui frappe, c’est que le débat intervienne si tardivement. Cela fait au moins trois ans que des articles décrivent «le droit de tuer» que s’est arrogé Obama, les listes de cibles qu’il se voit soumettre régulièrement, et la «responsabilité» solitaire qu’il estime devoir assumer. Pourtant le sujet n’a jamais semblé choquer l’opinion, malgré les nombreuses victimes collatérales que font les bombardements «chirurgicaux» des avions sans pilote. Les conséquences de ces frappes, qui entretiennent une haine tenace de l’Amérique, sont potentiellement explosives, en termes de recrutement de nouveaux soldats du djihad. En affirmant que l’Amérique a le droit d’agir parce qu’elle mène une guerre, qui ne s’applique pas à un territoire précis, contre un ennemi multiforme, la Maison-Blanche crée aussi un dangereux précédent, qui pourrait bien être utilisé à l’avenir par la Russie, la Chine ou l’Iran pour aller éliminer leurs propres ennemis. Pourquoi, dès lors, les alliés de l’Amérique restent-ils silencieux, alors qu’ils accablaient Bush? Le Figaro
Terrorist groups had always taken care to avoid detection – from using anonymous email accounts, to multiple cellphones, to avoiding electronic communications at all, in the case of Osama bin Laden. But there were some methods of communication, like the Skype video teleconferencing software that some militants still used, thinking they were safe, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials who follow the groups. (…) Those militants now know to take care with Skype – one of the 9 U.S.-based Internet servers identified by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian and The Washington Post. (…) Shortly after Edward Snowden leaked documents about the secret NSA surveillance programs, chat rooms and websites used by like-minded extremists and would-be recruits advised users how to avoid NSA detection, from telling them not to use their real phone numbers to recommending specific online software programs to keep spies from tracking their computers’ physical locations. (…) At the same time, (…) terror groups switching to encrypted communication may slow the NSA, but encryption also flags the communication as something the U.S. agency considers worth listening to, according to a new batch of secret and top-secret NSA documents published last week by The Guardian, a British newspaper. They show that the NSA considers any encrypted communication between a foreigner they are watching and a U.S.-based person as fair game to gather and keep, for as long as it takes to break the code and examine it. (…) Terrorist groups have already adapted after learning from books and media coverage of "how U.S. intelligence mines information from their cellphones found at sites that get raided in war zones," said Scott Swanson, a forensics intelligence expert with Osprey Global Solutions. "Many are increasingly switching the temporary phones or SIM cards they use and throw them away more often, making it harder to track their network." The disclosure that intelligence agencies were listening to Osama bin Laden drove him to drop the use of all electronic communications. "When it leaked that bin Laden was using a Thuraya cellphone, he switched to couriers," said Jane Harman, former member of the House Intelligence Committee and now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. (…) It took more than a decade to track bin Laden down to his hiding place in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by following one of those couriers. Associated press
Il existe de nombreuses raisons justifiant légitimement le secret, en particulier pour tout ce qui relève de l’écoute des communications transitant par les ondes. C’est pourquoi Bradley Manning, l’auteur des fuites révélées par WikiLeaks, et moi-même – qui avions accès à de telles sources de renseignement parce que nous étions accrédités pour un niveau plus élevé encore que celui du top secret – avions choisi de ne divulguer aucune information ainsi classifiée. Et c’est pourquoi Edward Snowden s’est engagé à ne pas divulguer la plus grande partie de ce qu’il aurait pu révéler. Mais, ce qui n’est pas légitime, c’est d’utiliser un système axé sur le secret pour dissimuler des programmes qui, de façon flagrante, sont anticonstitutionnels par leur ampleur et par les potentialités d’abus qu’ils recèlent. Ni le président ni le Congrès ne pourraient à eux seuls tirer un trait sur le quatrième amendement, portant sur le droit des citoyens d’être garantis dans leurs personne, domicile, papiers et effets, contre les perquisitions et saisies non motivées. C’est pourquoi ce qu’Edward Snowden a révélé jusqu’ici était tenu au secret, dissimulé au peuple américain. En 1975, le sénateur Frank Church parla de l’Agence de sécurité américaine en ces termes : "Je sais qu’il y a là tout ce qu’il faut pour faire de l’Amérique une tyrannie accomplie, et nous devons veiller à ce que cette agence et toutes les agences qui disposent de cette technologie opèrent dans le cadre de la loi, et sous une supervision appropriée, de sorte que nous ne sombrions jamais dans ces ténèbres. Ce sont des ténèbres d’où l’on ne revient pas." La perspective funeste qu’il discernait était que la force de frappe grandissante des renseignements américains – qui est aujourd’hui incomparablement plus puissante que tout ce qui existait à leur époque prénumérique – "puisse à tout moment être retournée contre le peuple américain, et qu’aucun Américain ne sache plus ce qu’est la vie privée". Cela est désormais arrivé. C’est ce qu’Edward Snowden a démontré, documents officiels secrets à l’appui. La NSA, la police fédérale (FBI) et l’Agence centrale de renseignement (CIA) disposent, avec la nouvelle technologie digitale, de pouvoirs de surveillance sur nos propres citoyens dont la Stasi (la police secrète de la disparue République démocratique allemande) n’aurait guère pu rêver. Daniel Ellsberg
Ledit individu, en sa qualité de président des Etats-Unis, s’est en effet livré depuis quatre ans à diverses activités bellicistes qui démentent les espoirs que l’on avait mis en lui, et qui avaient justifié la remise de votre prix. Usage intensif de drones assassins en Afghanistan et au Pakistan, incapacité à fermer la prison de Guantanamo, extension d’un programme de surveillance des communications électroniques des citoyens sont autant de témoignages du caractère inapproprié de l’attribution de votre prestigieuse distinction. De surcroît, monsieur le Président, l’action sur le changement climatique promise par l’impétrant avait été un des arguments essentiels conduisant à votre choix, un mois avant la conférence de Copenhague sur le climat en 2009. Or, l’individu susnommé n’est pas étranger, loin de là, au sort funeste qu’a connu cette conférence en laquelle le monde mettait tant d’espoir. (…) M. Obama est certes un beau parleur, un comédien hors pair. Le discours qu’il a délivré avec solennité le 25 juin est truffé d’images et de paroles capables de faire frémir ses auditeurs. Mais comme au théâtre où les hallebardes brandies avec énergie se révèlent en carton-pâte, l’emphase dudit individu recouvre des pas si modestes qu’ils sonnent comme un nouveau recul. Hervé Kempf

Attention: un mensonge peut en cacher un autre !

A l’heure où après avoir réconcilié son pays avec le Monde arabe, le Beau parleur en chef fait la leçon à l’Afrique

Et où nos nouvelles belles au bois dormant semblent se réveiller de leur longue obamalâtrie face au plus rapide prix Nobel de la paix de l’histoire …

Faisant mine, de Guantanamo aux assassinats ciblés ou aux écoutes électroniques, de découvrir aujourd’hui les mensonges accumulés depuis le début par l’Illusioniste en chef de Chicago

Et, au-delà des outrances de nos sonneurs autoproclamés d’alarme (la surveillance des métadonnées, même si elle était connue et ne suffit pas à faire des Etats-Unis un Etat policier, n’autorise en revanche en aucun cas à mettre en danger ses diplomates ou lancer le fisc contre ses adversaires pour favoriser sa propre réélection), une guerre contre le terrorisme qui ne dit pas son nom mais n’en est pas pour autant finie …

Comment ne pas voir la réalité de l’élection (et réélection) d’un homme …

Qui, contre le rêve même du pasteur Martin Luther King, avait dû principalement à la couleur de sa peau (et à ses indéniables dons de lecteur de prompteur) de devenir le  premier président noir des Etats-Unis ?

Pas beau, le Nobel

Hervé Kempf

Le Monde

29.06.2013

L’AIE a aussi prédit que les Etats-Unis deviendront le premier producteur mondial de pétrole de la planète vers 2020, et un exportateur net de brut vers 2030, en raison de l’essor des hydrocarbures non conventionnels, notamment du pétrole de schiste.

Monsieur le Président du comité Nobel, j’ai l’honneur de vous demander respectueusement de retirer le prix que vous avez attribué en 2009 au sieur Obama.

Ledit individu, en sa qualité de président des Etats-Unis, s’est en effet livré depuis quatre ans à diverses activités bellicistes qui démentent les espoirs que l’on avait mis en lui, et qui avaient justifié la remise de votre prix. Usage intensif de drones assassins en Afghanistan et au Pakistan, incapacité à fermer la prison de Guantanamo, extension d’un programme de surveillance des communications électroniques des citoyens sont autant de témoignages du caractère inapproprié de l’attribution de votre prestigieuse distinction.

De surcroît, monsieur le Président, l’action sur le changement climatique promise par l’impétrant avait été un des arguments essentiels conduisant à votre choix, un mois avant la conférence de Copenhague sur le climat en 2009. Or, l’individu susnommé n’est pas étranger, loin de là, au sort funeste qu’a connu cette conférence en laquelle le monde mettait tant d’espoir. Et depuis, l’action du lauréat sur le climat n’a pas été brillante. Il a échoué, comme dans bien d’autres domaines, à imposer le marché des émissions dans lequel il croyait si fermement, et ne compte guère à son actif qu’une norme de réduction de la consommation des véhicules neufs.

M. Obama est certes un beau parleur, un comédien hors pair. Le discours qu’il a délivré avec solennité le 25 juin est truffé d’images et de paroles capables de faire frémir ses auditeurs. Mais comme au théâtre où les hallebardes brandies avec énergie se révèlent en carton-pâte, l’emphase dudit individu recouvre des pas si modestes qu’ils sonnent comme un nouveau recul.

Car enfin, monsieur le Président du comité Nobel, qui peut croire que l’annonce d’un "mémorandum" demandant à l’Agence de protection de l’environnement de prévoir de nouvelles normes d’émissions des futures centrales électriques est à la mesure de l’immense problème climatique, où le rôle des Etats-Unis est si important ? Que quelques mesures sur l’efficacité énergétique ou un soutien compté aux énergies renouvelables changeront la donne ? On est au point où il n’est pas même certain que les Etats-Unis atteindront en 2020 l’objectif adopté à Copenhague de réduire de 17 % leurs émissions de gaz à effet de serre par rapport à 2005. Quant à les diminuer de 80 % à l’horizon 2050, comme le recommandent les climatologues, il n’est même plus évoqué dans le discours, tant il paraît fantasmagorique dans les conditions actuelles.

En fait, Barack Obama ne montre aucun désir de réfréner véritablement la consommation énergétique de son pays ; il salue l’exploitation polluante de son pétrole de schiste ; il néglige les émissions de méthane engendrées par l’extraction de gaz de schiste. Un authentique Prix Nobel de la paix engagerait ses concitoyens sur les voies de l’avenir et de la transformation. Un politicien standard ne fait que les conforter dans leur conservatisme. Sa prudence prépare les douloureux chocs à venir.

Voir aussi:

Aux Etats-Unis, une cybersurveillance digne d’un Etat policier

Daniel Ellsberg (Ancien haut fonctionnaire américain)

Le Monde

25.06.2013

Il n’y a jamais eu, à mes yeux, dans l’histoire américaine, de fuite plus importante que la divulgation par Edward Snowden des programmes secrets de l’Agence de sécurité nationale américaine (NSA). L’alerte qu’il a lancée permet de prendre la mesure d’un pan entier de ce qui se ramène à un "coup d’Etat de l’exécutif" contre la Constitution américaine.

Depuis le 11-Septembre, le Bill of Rights, cette Déclaration des droits pour laquelle cette nation combattit il y a plus de deux cents ans, a été l’objet, dans un premier temps secrètement, ensuite de plus en plus ouvertement, d’une révocation de fait. Les quatrième et cinquième amendements de la Constitution, qui protégeaient les citoyens d’une intrusion injustifiée du gouvernement dans leurs vies privées, ont été pratiquement suspendus.

Le gouvernement affirme qu’il peut se prévaloir d’un mandat de justice en vertu du FISA, du Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (loi de 1978 portant sur les procédures de surveillance physique et électronique et l’activité de renseignement à l’étranger). Mais ce mandat est d’une si grande portée qu’il est inconstitutionnel. Il est de plus délivré par une juridiction secrète, à l’abri de toute supervision efficace, et qui fait preuve d’une déférence presque totale face aux demandes de l’exécutif.

Affirmer, comme le fait le président, qu’il y a eu une supervision juridique n’a pas de sens. Le fait que les dirigeants du Congrès aient été informés sur cette question et aient approuvé tout cela, sans aucun débat public ni auditions, montre l’état misérable, dans ce pays, du système des contre-pouvoirs.

A l’évidence, les Etats-Unis ne sont pas aujourd’hui un Etat policier. Mais, au regard de l’ampleur de cette invasion de la sphère privée, nous avons là l’infrastructure électronique et législative d’un tel Etat. Si une guerre devait éclater et conduire à l’apparition d’un mouvement pacifiste de très grande ampleur ou si nous devions être la cible d’une nouvelle attaque d’une gravité similaire à celle du 11-Septembre, je ne donne pas cher de l’avenir de notre démocratie. Ces pouvoirs sont extrêmement dangereux.

Il existe de nombreuses raisons justifiant légitimement le secret, en particulier pour tout ce qui relève de l’écoute des communications transitant par les ondes. C’est pourquoi Bradley Manning, l’auteur des fuites révélées par WikiLeaks, et moi-même – qui avions accès à de telles sources de renseignement parce que nous étions accrédités pour un niveau plus élevé encore que celui du top secret – avions choisi de ne divulguer aucune information ainsi classifiée. Et c’est pourquoi Edward Snowden s’est engagé à ne pas divulguer la plus grande partie de ce qu’il aurait pu révéler.

Mais, ce qui n’est pas légitime, c’est d’utiliser un système axé sur le secret pour dissimuler des programmes qui, de façon flagrante, sont anticonstitutionnels par leur ampleur et par les potentialités d’abus qu’ils recèlent. Ni le président ni le Congrès ne pourraient à eux seuls tirer un trait sur le quatrième amendement, portant sur le droit des citoyens d’être garantis dans leurs personne, domicile, papiers et effets, contre les perquisitions et saisies non motivées. C’est pourquoi ce qu’Edward Snowden a révélé jusqu’ici était tenu au secret, dissimulé au peuple américain.

En 1975, le sénateur Frank Church parla de l’Agence de sécurité américaine en ces termes : "Je sais qu’il y a là tout ce qu’il faut pour faire de l’Amérique une tyrannie accomplie, et nous devons veiller à ce que cette agence et toutes les agences qui disposent de cette technologie opèrent dans le cadre de la loi, et sous une supervision appropriée, de sorte que nous ne sombrions jamais dans ces ténèbres. Ce sont des ténèbres d’où l’on ne revient pas."

La perspective funeste qu’il discernait était que la force de frappe grandissante des renseignements américains – qui est aujourd’hui incomparablement plus puissante que tout ce qui existait à leur époque prénumérique – "puisse à tout moment être retournée contre le peuple américain, et qu’aucun Américain ne sache plus ce qu’est la vie privée".

Cela est désormais arrivé. C’est ce qu’Edward Snowden a démontré, documents officiels secrets à l’appui. La NSA, la police fédérale (FBI) et l’Agence centrale de renseignement (CIA) disposent, avec la nouvelle technologie digitale, de pouvoirs de surveillance sur nos propres citoyens dont la Stasi (la police secrète de la disparue République démocratique allemande) n’aurait guère pu rêver. Edward Snowden révèle que ladite communauté du renseignement est devenue the United Stasi of America.

Nous nous retrouvons donc plongés dans les ténèbres que craignait tant le sénateur Church. Il nous faut désormais nous demander si ce dernier eut raison ou tort de dire qu’il s’agit de ténèbres d’où l’on ne revient pas, et si cela signifie qu’une démocratie effective deviendra impossible.

Il y a peu, j’aurais trouvé difficile de rétorquer quoi que ce soit à des réponses pessimistes à ces questions. Mais devant la manière qu’a Edward Snowden de mettre sa vie en jeu pour que ces informations soient connues de tous, et parce qu’il pourrait de cette façon inciter très possiblement d’autres personnes ayant le même savoir, la même conscience, et le même patriotisme, à faire preuve d’un courage civique comparable – dans l’opinion publique, au Congrès et au sein de l’exécutif lui-même –, je vois une possibilité inespérée de traverser ces ténèbres et d’en réchapper.

Une pression exercée sur le Congrès par une opinion informée afin que soit créée une commission d’enquête parlementaire au sujet des révélations d’Edward Snowden et, je l’espère, d’autres restant à venir, pourrait nous conduire à placer la NSA et les autres agences de renseignement sous un véritable contrôle, et pourrait nous amener à restaurer les protections de la Déclaration des droits.

Edward Snowden a agi comme il l’a fait, parce qu’il a reconnu les programmes de surveillance de la NSA pour ce qu’ils sont : une activité dangereuse et anticonstitutionnelle. Cette invasion massive de la sphère privée des Américains et des citoyens étrangers ne contribue en rien à notre sécurité. Elle met en danger les libertés mêmes que nous tentons de protéger.

(Traduit de l’anglais par Frédéric Joly)

Daniel Ellsberg (Ancien haut fonctionnaire américain)

Edward Snowden, ex-agent de la CIA et ex-consultant de l’Agence de sécurité nationale (NSA) américaine, s’est réfugié à Hongkong le 20 mai. Inculpé d’espionnage aux Etats-Unis, il est arrivé dimanche 23 juin à Moscou, il serait

"en route pour la République d’Equateur par un chemin sûr, afin d’obtenir l’asile", selon le site WikiLeaks de Julian Assange

Daniel Ellsberg

Il est à l’origine de la fuite, en 1971, des Pentagon Papers, qui révélèrent la duplicité des autorités américaines lors de la guerre du Vietnam.

Edward Snowden, ex-agent de la CIA et ex-consultant de l’Agence de sécurité nationale (NSA) américaine, s’est réfugié à Hongkong le 20 mai. Inculpé d’espionnage aux Etats-Unis, il est arrivé dimanche 23 juin à Moscou, il serait "en route pour la République d’Equateur par un chemin sûr, afin d’obtenir l’asile", selon le site WikiLeaks de Julian Assange.

Voir encore:

The Mood of 1980

Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

June 26, 2013

Next year could be a frightening one, in the fashion of 1979–80.

The developing circumstances of our withdrawal from Afghanistan conjure up Vietnam 1975, with all the refugees, reprisals, humiliation, and emboldened enemies on the horizon, though this time there is no coastline for a flotilla of boat people to launch from. The Obama administration is debating no-fly zones over Syria; more likely, it will have the same discussion over Afghanistan soon, once the Taliban drops the diplomatic veneer and comes back into town.

Because of the failure to negotiate a single residual base in Iraq, Iran has appropriated a vast air corridor to the Middle East. John Kerry speaks sonorously to Russia and China, but apparently assumes that diplomacy follows gentlemanly New England yacht protocols, the right of way given to the more sober, judicious, and pontificating.

When Obamacare comes on line full bore, I think the American people could be quite depressed over the strange things they encounter. The economy offers only marginal encouragement, given that unemployment is still high and growth low; printing money at a record pace is not sustainable. Only gas and oil production is encouraging — and that is despite, not because of, administration efforts.

The Snowden extradition affair in and of itself could be small potatoes, but it takes on enormous iconic importance when the Chinese and Russians feel no compunction about publicly snubbing the administration — with North Korea, Iran, and many in the Middle East watching and drawing the conclusion that there are no consequences to getting on the bad side of the United States. Or perhaps they no longer see a bad side at all and consider us complacent neutral observers. Red lines, deadlines, ultimatums, “make no mistake about it,” “let me be perfectly clear,” the Nobel Peace Prize — all that is the stuff of yesteryear, its currency depleted by the years of speaking quite loudly while carrying a tiny stick.

All of the above take place while the Benghazi, IRS, AP/Fox, and NSA scandals are thought to be best handled by simple neglect, media lethargy, and amnesia on the part of the people.

We are back to the future, with the same old, same old sort of Carteresque engineered malaise.

Voir enfin:

Al-Qaida said to be changing its ways after leaks

Kimberly Dozier

AP Intelligence Writer

Jun 26, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence agencies are scrambling to salvage their surveillance of al-Qaida and other terrorists who are working frantically to change how they communicate after a National Security Agency contractor leaked details of two NSA spying programs. It’s an electronic game of cat-and-mouse that could have deadly consequences if a plot is missed or a terrorist operative manages to drop out of sight.

Terrorist groups had always taken care to avoid detection – from using anonymous email accounts, to multiple cellphones, to avoiding electronic communications at all, in the case of Osama bin Laden. But there were some methods of communication, like the Skype video teleconferencing software that some militants still used, thinking they were safe, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials who follow the groups. They spoke anonymously as a condition of describing their surveillance of the groups. Those militants now know to take care with Skype – one of the 9 U.S.-based Internet servers identified by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Two U.S. intelligence officials say members of virtually every terrorist group, including core al-Qaida members, are attempting to change how they communicate, based on what they are reading in the media, to hide from U.S. surveillance. It is the first time intelligence officials have described which groups are reacting to the leaks. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about the intelligence matters publicly.

The officials wouldn’t go into details on how they know this, whether it’s terrorists switching email accounts or cellphone providers or adopting new encryption techniques, but a lawmaker briefed on the matter said al-Qaida’s Yemeni offshoot, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has been among the first to alter how it reaches out to its operatives.

The lawmaker spoke anonymously because he would not, by name, discuss the confidential briefing.

Shortly after Edward Snowden leaked documents about the secret NSA surveillance programs, chat rooms and websites used by like-minded extremists and would-be recruits advised users how to avoid NSA detection, from telling them not to use their real phone numbers to recommending specific online software programs to keep spies from tracking their computers’ physical locations.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said there are "changes we can already see being made by the folks who wish to do us harm, and our allies harm."

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said Tuesday that Snowden "has basically alerted people who are enemies of this country … (like) al-Qaida, about what techniques we have been using to monitor their activities and foil plots, and compromised those efforts, and it’s very conceivable that people will die as a result."

Privacy activists are more skeptical of the claims. "I assume my communication is being monitored," said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel for Human Rights Watch. She said that’s why her group joined a lawsuit against the Director of National Intelligence to find out if its communications were being monitored. The case was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court last fall. "I would be shocked if terrorists didn’t also assume that and take steps to protect against it," she said.

"The government is telling us, `This has caused tremendous harm.’ But also saying, `Trust us we have all the information. The US government has to do a lot more than just say it," Prasow said.

At the same time, NSA and other counterterrorist analysts have been focusing their attention on the terrorists, watching their electronic communications and logging all changes, including following which Internet sites the terrorist suspects visit, trying to determine what system they might choose to avoid future detection, according to a former senior intelligence official speaking anonymously as a condition of discussing the intelligence operations.

"It’s frustrating. You have to start all over again to track the target," said M.E. "Spike" Bowman, a former intelligence officer and deputy general counsel of the FBI, now a fellow at the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law. But the NSA will catch up eventually, he predicted, because there are only so many ways a terrorist can communicate. "I have every confidence in their ability to regain access."

Terror groups switching to encrypted communication may slow the NSA, but encryption also flags the communication as something the U.S. agency considers worth listening to, according to a new batch of secret and top-secret NSA documents published last week by The Guardian, a British newspaper. They show that the NSA considers any encrypted communication between a foreigner they are watching and a U.S.-based person as fair game to gather and keep, for as long as it takes to break the code and examine it.

Documents released last week also show measures the NSA takes to gather foreign intelligence overseas, highlighting the possible fallout of the disclosures on more traditional spying. Many foreign diplomats use email systems like Hotmail for their personal correspondence. Two foreign diplomats reached this week who use U.S. email systems that the NSA monitors overseas say they plan no changes, because both diplomats said they already assumed the U.S. was able to read that type of correspondence. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss their methods of communication publicly.

The changing terrorist behavior is part of the fallout of the release of dozens of top-secret documents to the news media by Snowden, 30, a former systems analyst on contract to the NSA.

The Office of the Director for National Intelligence and the NSA declined to comment on the fallout, but the NSA’s director, Gen. Keith Alexander, told lawmakers that the leaks have caused "irreversible and significant damage to this nation."

"I believe it will hurt us and our allies," Alexander said.

"After the leak, jihadists posted Arabic news articles about it … and recommended fellow jihadists to be very cautious, not to give their real phone number and other such information when registering for a website," said Adam Raisman of the SITE Intelligence Group, a private analysis firm. They also gave out specific advice, recommending jihadists use privacy-protecting email systems to hide their computer’s IP address, and to use encrypted links to access jihadi forums, Raisman said.

Other analysts predicted a two-track evolution away from the now-exposed methods of communication: A terrorist who was using Skype to plan an attack might stop using that immediately so as not to expose the imminent operation, said Ben Venzke of the private analysis firm IntelCenter.

But if the jihadi group uses a now-exposed system like YouTube to disseminate information and recruit more followers, they’ll make a gradual switch to something else that wasn’t revealed by Snowden’s leaks – moving slowly in part because they’ll be trying to determine whether new systems they are considering aren’t also compromised, and they’ll have to reach their followers and signal the change. That will take time.

"Overall, for terrorist organizations and other hostile actors, leaks of this nature serve as a wake-up call to look more closely at how they’re operating and improve their security," Venzke said. "If the CIA or the FBI was to learn tomorrow that its communications are being monitored, do you think it would be business as usual or do you think they would implement a series of changes over time?"

Terrorist groups have already adapted after learning from books and media coverage of "how U.S. intelligence mines information from their cellphones found at sites that get raided in war zones," said Scott Swanson, a forensics intelligence expert with Osprey Global Solutions. "Many are increasingly switching the temporary phones or SIM cards they use and throw them away more often, making it harder to track their network."

The disclosure that intelligence agencies were listening to Osama bin Laden drove him to drop the use of all electronic communications.

"When it leaked that bin Laden was using a Thuraya cellphone, he switched to couriers," said Jane Harman, former member of the House Intelligence Committee and now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. "The more they know, the clearer the road map is for them."

It took more than a decade to track bin Laden down to his hiding place in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by following one of those couriers.


Diplomatie: Golfeur en chef président des bisous, même combat ! (Mitt Romney was right: great geopolitical powers still matter)

26 juin, 2013
http://static01.mediaite.com/med/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/golf.jpghttp://h16free.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/president-des-bisous.jpgUn des grands problèmes de la Russie – et plus encore de la Chine – est que, contrairement aux camps de concentration hitlériens, les leurs n’ont jamais été libérés et qu’il n’y a eu aucun tribunal de Nuremberg pour juger les crimes commis. Thérèse Delpech
Tout se passe comme si, à l’heure actuelle, s’effectuait une distribution des rôles entre ceux qui pratiquent le repentir et l’autocritique – les Européens, les Occidentaux – et ceux qui s’installent dans la dénonciation sans procéder eux-mêmes à un réexamen critique analogue de leur propre passé (..). Tout indique même que notre mauvaise conscience, bien loin de susciter l’émulation, renforce les autres dans leur bonne conscience. Jacques Dewitte (L’exception européenne, 2009)
J’ai plein de bisous hein, moi, je suis le président des bisous ! François Hollande
D’une certaine façon, les Etats-Unis sont passés du rang de ‘modèle des droits de l’homme’ à celui d"espion de la vie privée’, de ‘manipulateur’ du pouvoir centralisé sur le réseau international internet et d"envahisseur’ fou des réseaux de pays tiers. (…)  Le monde se souviendra d’Edward Snowden, dont l’audace a fait tomber le masque moralisateur de Washington. Le Quotidien du peuple
Nous avons reçu la demande d’asile (…). Nous l’analysons avec beaucoup de sens des responsabilités. Il y va de la liberté d’expression et de la sécurité des citoyens dans le monde. Il y va aussi de la confidentialité des communications. Ricardo Patino (ministre des Affaires étrangères équatorien, Hanoï)
Nous n’avons pas reçu de demande officielle, mais si c’était le cas, nous l’étudierions. Snowden devrait recevoir une aide humanitaire mondiale pour l’information qu’il a révélée. (…) Que se passerait-il si le monde apprenait que le Venezuela se livrait à de l’espionnage? Le Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU se réunirait sans doute. Nicolas Maduro (président vénézuélien)
Oui, on entend cela [que la Chine n'est pas faite pour la démocratie], et pas seulement en Chine, de la part d’occidentaux aussi. Que l’on arrête avec ces stupidités dégradantes pour notre peuple, pour moi, la démocratie, c’est tout simplement la justice et le parti unique conduit forcément aux injustices. Et quoi, la justice ne serait pas faite pour la Chine ? L’air, l’eau, le ciel ne conviennent pas à la Chine ? L’ordinateur ou le téléphone portable ne sont pas faits pour la Chine? Bao Tong (Ancien bras droit de Zhao Ziyang, le patron du PC au moment de Tiananmen)
Il va sans dire que nombre de pays en développement envient le succès de la Chine. Quel pays pauvre refuserait trois décennies de croissance à 10%? Et quel despote ne voudrait pas d’une croissance à 10%, tout en ayant l’assurance de rester au pouvoir pour longtemps? (…) Par ailleurs, la Chine est parvenue à ce résultat en ignorant délibérément les conseils de l’Occident; elle a su tirer parti des avantages du marché, sans pour autant succomber à l’ensemble de ses charmes. Pendant des années, les banquiers du monde entier se sont rendus à Pékin pour prêcher la bonne parole de la libéralisation financière, conseillant aux dirigeants chinois de laisser flotter leur monnaie et d’ouvrir leur compte de capital. Comment reprocher aux Chinois d’avoir compris que cette recommandation était évidemment motivée par des intérêts personnels? Une théorie à la mode veut que le succès de la Chine ait donné naissance à un nouveau «consensus de Pékin», qui remettrait en cause l’importance de l’économie de marché et de la démocratie —les deux marques de fabrique du «consensus de Washington». Le consensus de Pékin proposerait ainsi un système économique pragmatique et une politique autoritariste prête à l’emploi. Mais observez le modèle chinois de plus près, et vous verrez qu’il n’est pas si simple de le l’imiter. La plupart des pays en développement n’ont pas la tradition et la complexité bureaucratique de la Chine; la structure du parti lui donne une capacité à mobiliser des ressources et à diriger ses fonctionnaires qu’ils ne peuvent égaler. La République démocratique du Congo pourrait-elle établir et administrer un département de l’organisation? En Chine, l’autoritarisme ne pourrait fonctionner sans les ressources du parti. Richard McGregor
Les Chinois ont maintenant assez peu d’illusions par rapport à la France. (…) ils ont été déçus successivement par Jacques Chirac – qui a reconnu l’existence de « valeurs asiatiques » qui seraient différentes des valeurs universelles – et par Nicolas Sarkozy, qui a un petit peu dit tout et le contraire. Et maintenant, j’ai l’impression que l’on n’attend plus grand-chose de François Hollande. (…) La dictature, en Chine, est une dictature assumée. En quelque sorte, ils nous disent : « Oui, nous matraquons, nous tuons, nous emprisonnons. Et alors ! » Et effectivement, quand ils nous disent : « Et alors ! » Qu’est-ce que l’on répond ? Je crois que la seule réponse qu’on puisse apporter, systématiquement, c’est que les valeurs universelles restent universelles. A partir du moment où ils ont accepté d’entrer dans l’Organisation du mondial du commerce (OMC), dans l’Onu et qu’ils font partie de cette planète, ils doivent œuvrer avec nous au bien-être du monde entier. Et pas seulement au bien-être de l’élite dirigeante de la Chine. Marie Holzman
Il y a en Chine un nombre très important de détentions illégales et arbitraires, ainsi que des disparitions forcées. Des centaines de milliers d’autres personnes sont envoyées en « rééducation » dans des camps de travail, qui devaient être abolis en 2013. Là encore, il s’agit de détentions sur décision purement administrative, sans aucune intervention du pouvoir judiciaire. Même si aucune statistique n’est disponible, on sait que la Chine est le « leader mondial » de la peine de mort, avec des milliers d’exécutions chaque année. Des minorités religieuses, comme les catholiques, et des minorités ethniques, les Ouïgours et les Tibétains sont persécutés. Car le régime veut tout contrôler, et donc toute personne, toute institution, qui tente d’échapper à ce contrôle doit être sanctionnée. Des personnes sont régulièrement expulsées de leurs logements et de leurs terres, sans compensation ni cadre juridique, au nom du développement économique. Francis Perrin
Back then in the 1960s, and at least until the late 1980s, it was clear that most regional problems were nested in a global rivalry between Washington and Moscow. Today, however, there is a determined effort to view regional events as divorced from global power politics — an odd formulation, given that almost all social and economic phenomena tend to be seen as linked to globalization-driven trends. Last fall, Mitt Romney performed a signal service in reminding us that, even decades after the Cold War, great geopolitical powers still matter. An awareness of this can inform and should guide grand strategy today. Ignorance of this simple truth is the path to costly ruin. John Arquilla

Golfeur en chef président des bisous, même combat !

A l’heure où le Golfeur en chef et continuateur masqué de l’antiterrorisme bushiste se voit ouvertement défier, tant sur l’espion en fuite Snowden que la Syrie ou l’armement nucléaire, par l’ancien kagébiste du Kremlin …

Et que, de l’Equateur au Vénézuéla, les petits autocrates progressistes se bousculent pour accueillir le dernier martyr en date de la liberté des peuples …

Comment ne pas voir, un mois après sa visite chez l’autre "petite frappe" de la planète actuelle et sous couvert du sacro-saint politiquement correct, la même lâcheté élevée au rang de vertu politique de notre Président des bisous à nous ?

Marie Holzman: "La dictature, en Chine, est une dictature assumée"

RFI

2013-04-25

Pour sa première visite d’Etat en Chine, François Hollande a axé sa visite principalement sur l’économie, écartant, de fait, les aspects plus politiques et les questions des droits de l’homme. Marie Holzman, spécialiste de la Chine contemporaine et présidente de l’association Solidarité Chine, plaide pour un abord franc de ces questions : « Il faut engager la Chine et, en même temps, dire les choses comme elles sont. »

RFI : Le président français a choisi de placer sa visite en Chine sous l’axe économique. En tant que spécialiste de la Chine, cela vous semble être une bonne stratégie, de ne pas froisser d’entrée de jeu les autorités chinoises avec des dossiers qui fâchent ?

Marie Holzman : Oui, évidemment. Nos relations économiques entre la Chine et la France sont très importantes. Entre l’Europe et la Chine encore plus. Donc il ne faut pas se leurrer, la base de cette relation franco-chinoise, c’est quand même l’économie. Nous avons énormément à leur proposer, que ce soit le nucléaire, la gestion de l’eau, les vins de luxe, les parfums, etc.

Donc, nous cherchons des marchés et des débouchés. Les Chinois, eux, cherchent des endroits où s’investir et où vendre leurs produits. C’est ce qui fait la trame de la relation. Cela ne devrait pas empêcher, évidemment, le gouvernement, le président François Hollande et toute sa suite, d’évoquer les problèmes des droits de l’homme, mais je crois qu’aujourd’hui il faut les évoquer en tant que vision du monde.

Qu’est-ce que nous souhaitons pour nos populations ? Qu’est-ce que nous souhaitons en termes de santé alimentaire ? Un air pur ? Une sécurité des citoyens ? Ou acceptons-nous les principes de la violence et de la dictature ? Je crois que c’est en ces termes-là qu’il faut voir les choses.

Sur cette question des droits de l’homme, quel dossier doit, selon vous, aborder François Hollande en priorité ?

Je crois que, fondamentalement, c’est celui de la société civile chinoise. Pour le moment, cette société civile est constamment muselée, massacrée, réprimée, et empêchée de s’exprimer dans sa diversité. C’est aussi dans ce contexte-là que le problème tibétain a pris des proportions épouvantables. Nous avons encore eu trois immolations par le feu dans cette seule semaine.

Cette société civile, et ceux qui luttent pour la démocratie, comment perçoit-elle cette visite, selon vous ?

Je crois que les Chinois ont maintenant assez peu d’illusions par rapport à la France. Je crois qu’ils ont été déçus successivement par Jacques Chirac – qui a reconnu l’existence de « valeurs asiatiques » qui seraient différentes des valeurs universelles – et par Nicolas Sarkozy, qui a un petit peu dit tout et le contraire. Et maintenant, j’ai l’impression que l’on n’attend plus grand-chose de François Hollande. Il faut donc qu’il les surprenne.

Il y a Liu Xiaobo, le Prix Nobel de la Paix, toujours emprisonné. Il y a l’artiste Ai Weiwei, privé de passeport. Comment, selon vous, François Hollande peut-il manœuvrer, sans être accusé d’ingérence ?

Dans ce cas de figure, je crois qu’il faut adopter une attitude relativement naïve. Il faut dire : nous avons beaucoup d’amateurs d’Ai Weiwei dans notre pays. Nous aimerions l’inviter pour une exposition. Voilà. Il faut poser la question comme ça, avec beaucoup de simplicité. Et je crois que ça, ça peut, peut-être, marcher.

Dans le cas de Liu Xiaobo, là, je crois, hélas, qu’il faut faire honte à la Chine. Dire que ce n’est pas en son honneur de garder en prison le seul Prix Nobel du monde emprisonné à l’heure actuelle. Il n’y a pas un seul Prix Nobel nulle part, sauf en Chine, qui soit en prison.

Parmi les autres dossiers qui pèsent également sur la bonne entente bilatérale, il y a la question des visas, et la lenteur dans les procédures pour les étudiants chinois qui souhaitent venir en France. Là-dessus quelle est votre position ?

La question des visas est assez douloureuse, parce qu’effectivement, les étudiants chinois viennent en masse en France. Un grand nombre d’entre eux sont tout à fait légitimes et doivent pouvoir venir. Un petit nombre trichent sur les diplômes, sur l’achat des passe-droits, etc. Je crois que c’est cela qui a rendu, justement, ce processus pénible. Du coup, il y a eu délocalisation de la délivrance des visas, en dehors des consulats. Tout cela donne lieu à des négociations de type plutôt commerciales, qui me paraissent inquiétantes.

Vous parliez tout à l’heure de la répression au Tibet, qui se poursuit. Nicolas Sarkozy, en son temps, avait pris position là-dessus. Finalement, cela n’avait pas été si productif que cela…

Non, parce que je crois que lorsqu’on lance un ultimatum à quelqu’un, en fait on lance un boomerang. Si vous dites : je n’irai pas en Chine avant que vous repreniez les négociations avec le Dalaï Lama – ce qu’avait fait Nicolas Sarkozy – et que vous allez quand même en Chine, alors que les négociations n’ont pas repris, c’est vous qui vous prenez le boomerang dans la tête. C’est un très mauvais langage. Il faut engager la Chine et en même temps dire les choses comme elles sont, sans mettre d’ultimatum.

Le fait que François Hollande arrive peu après un changement d’équipe à la tête du Parti communiste et de l’Etat chinois, cela peut être un atout pour les relations futures entre les deux pays ?

Peut-être. On dit que François Hollande est le premier grand président que rencontre Xi Jinping. C’est peut-être bon signe. C’est qu’effectivement, on accorde quand même à la France une position respectable. Il faut espérer qu’il n’en sorte que de bonnes choses.

Que les questions de droit de l’homme soient abordées ou non, on a un peu l’impression que les autorités chinoises ne bougent pas d’un iota. Comment faire ?

J’avoue que c’est ce qui nous désespère. Malheureusement, cela désespère aussi tous les observateurs chinois qui sont condamnés à l’exil et vivent parmi nous en France, en Allemagne, en Amérique, et qui se posent exactement cette question.

La dictature, en Chine, est une dictature assumée. En quelque sorte, ils nous disent : « Oui, nous matraquons, nous tuons, nous emprisonnons. Et alors ! » Et effectivement, quand ils nous disent : « Et alors ! » Qu’est-ce que l’on répond ?

Je crois que la seule réponse qu’on puisse apporter, systématiquement, c’est que les valeurs universelles restent universelles. A partir du moment où ils ont accepté d’entrer dans l’Organisation du mondial du commerce (OMC), dans l’Onu et qu’ils font partie de cette planète, ils doivent œuvrer avec nous au bien-être du monde entier. Et pas seulement au bien-être de l’élite dirigeante de la Chine.

Voir aussi:

Francis Perrin : « Il faut utiliser tous les canaux possibles pour faire progresser les droits humains en Chine »

Le porte-parole et ancien vice-président d’Amnesty International France déplore que la question du respect des droits humains ne figure pas au cœur de la visite qu’effectue François Hollande en Chine.

La Croix

25/4/13

Qu’attendez-vous de la visite du président Hollande en Chine pour la défense des droits de l’homme ?

Francis Perrin : Une déclaration du président de la République sur les droits humains en Chine aurait du poids et il n’y a pas de raisons que ces sujets soient traités de manière discrète. Des dirigeants américains et allemands n’ont pas évité de les évoquer et je ne crois pas que les firmes américaines et allemandes ont été pénalisées dans la compétition internationale.

Pour Amnesty International, le respect des droits humains devrait occuper une place centrale dans la politique intérieure et extérieure de chaque pays, y compris la France. Il faut utiliser tous les canaux possibles pour faire progresser les droits humains : les Nations unies, les ONG et les médias, mais aussi les relations bilatérales d’État à État.

Comment évolue la situation des droits de l’homme en Chine ?

F. P. : La situation est loin d’être brillante et se caractérise à la fois par la diversité et la gravité des violations des droits humains. À commencer par la liberté d’expression, avec une répression très forte contre les militants et les défenseurs des droits humains. Le prix Nobel de la paix, Liu Xiaobo, y a été condamné à onze ans de prison pour « incitation à la subversion du pouvoir de l’État » parce qu’il était l’auteur principal du manifeste Charte 08. Son épouse est assignée à résidence depuis octobre 2010.

Il y a en Chine un nombre très important de détentions illégales et arbitraires, ainsi que des disparitions forcées. Des centaines de milliers d’autres personnes sont envoyées en « rééducation » dans des camps de travail, qui devaient être abolis en 2013. Là encore, il s’agit de détentions sur décision purement administrative, sans aucune intervention du pouvoir judiciaire.

Même si aucune statistique n’est disponible, on sait que la Chine est le « leader mondial » de la peine de mort, avec des milliers d’exécutions chaque année. Des minorités religieuses, comme les catholiques, et des minorités ethniques, les Ouïgours et les Tibétains sont persécutés. Car le régime veut tout contrôler, et donc toute personne, toute institution, qui tente d’échapper à ce contrôle doit être sanctionnée.

Des personnes sont régulièrement expulsées de leurs logements et de leurs terres, sans compensation ni cadre juridique, au nom du développement économique.

Recueilli par Camille Hamet

Voir également:

Le Tibet vit depuis des mois au rythme des immolations

Plus de 90 Tibétains se sont immolés ou ont tenté de le faire depuis 2009 en demandant une véritable liberté religieuse sans entraves

La Croix

10/12/12

Sous grande tension depuis les manifestations violentes de 2008, toute la région vit sous conrôle policier et militaire chinois

Toute personne qui sera convaincue d’avoir aidé ou incité un Tibétain à s’immoler par le feu sera poursuivie pour "homicide volontaire", a annoncé cette semaine la presse officielle chinoise alors que plus de 90 Tibétains se sont immolés ou ont tenté de le faire depuis 2009. Un avis conjoint de la Cour suprême et des plus hautes instances judiciaires et policières stipule "clairement que ceux qui, en coulisses, organisent, incitent, aident, encouragent ceux qui s’immolent seront poursuivis pour le crime d’homicide volontaire", a souligné le journal officiel Gannan.

"Les récentes immolations dans les régions tibétaines sont liées aux forces hostiles à l’intérieur de la Chine et à l’étranger, organisées et encouragées par des séparatistes et constituent des incidents particulièrement odieux ayant pour but la destruction de l’unité ethnique et le désordre social", selon le journal, publié dans la préfecture de Gannan, qui fait partie de la province de Gansu (nord-ouest) où ont eu lieu plusieurs immolations en novembre. Aux portes de la région autonome chinoise du Tibet, le Gansu a une importante population d’ethnie tibétaine, qui accuse les autorités d’étouffer leur culture et leur religion.

Pékin accuse régulièrement le chef spirituel des Tibétains, le dalaï lama, d’encourager les immolations par le feu. "Le gouvernement chinois devrait enquêter sur la cause (de ces immolations). La Chine ne s’en occupe pas sérieusement (de cette situation) et essaye d’y mettre fin rien qu’en me critiquant", avait répliqué le mois dernier le dirigeant spirituel tibétain. Alors que Pékin ne cesse de défendre sa politique de développement au Tibet et dans les régions frontalières de la Région autonome du Tibet où vivent d’importantes communautés tibétaines.

Pour Robert Barnett, directeur du Département de Tibétologie à l’Université Columbia de New York, grand connaisseur de la situation au Tibet, « la situation au Tibet est une véritable crise pour la Chine qui tient à la cacher au monde extérieur ». Aucun journaliste nep eut entrer dans ces territoires bouclés par la police et l’armée. Certains observateurs et spécialistes iamaginent que la nouvelle équipe chinoise au pouvoir à Pékin pourrait adopter une autre approche à l’avenir dans le dossier tibétain. Pour Robert Barnett, « il faudra un grand courage à Xi Jinping pour changer la politique chinoise à l’égard du Tibet car les résistances internes sont fortes ». Force est de constater que la situation tibétaine est aujourd’hui dans une impasse.

D.M

Voir encore:

L’AFFAIRE SNOWDEN • Moscou, un protecteur opportuniste

Dans le scénario digne de la guerre froide qui se joue entre Washington et Moscou, le jeune informaticien américain est bien utile aux Russes. Mais si un Snowden russe faisait un jour son apparition, le pouvoir n’aurait aucune indulgence à son égard.

Ioulia Kalinina

Moskovski Komsomolets

25 juin 2013

C’est le sujet idéal d’un blockbuster hollywoodien : les services d’espionnage américains ont imaginé de mettre le monde entier sous leur coupe et ont baptisé PRISM leur système de surveillance intégrale. Mais un jeune homme ordinaire, Edward Snowden, informaticien de son état, qui travaillait à la CIA comme administrateur système, apprend l’existence de leur plan et le révèle à la presse. Celle-ci, bien entendu, en informe le monde entier.

Les services américains décident alors de punir le héros. Mais il prend la fuite, direction Moscou. Les principaux évènements se déroulent à l’aéroport de Cheremetievo.

Snowden veut se rendre en Equateur, pays qui envisage de lui offrir l’asile politique. Les quinze heures d’attente pour la correspondance se passent sous haute tension. Les Etats-Unis font pression sur les autorités russes, et exigent son extradition. Les Russes rétorquent que la zone de transit est un territoire neutre.

Et déjà les rumeurs vont bon train : les Américains pourraient faire atterrir l’avion lorsqu’il aura atteint leur espace aérien. Mais les pilotes de l’avion de l’Aeroflot, transportant Snowden, obéiront-ils aux aiguilleurs du ciel américains ? Et s’ils n’obéissent pas, que se passera-t-il ? L’avion sera-t-il abattu ?

Le point culminant (du scénario) n’est pas loin, mais nous n’y sommes pas encore.

Jouer un mauvais tour aux Américains

L’avion devait décoller lundi peu après trois heures. J’ai écrit cette note à une heure alors que les dépêches d’agences laissaient entendre que l’atmosphère chauffait. Leur ton ne laissait aucun doute : "La Maison-Blanche attend du pouvoir russe qu’il étudie toutes les possibilités concernant l’extradition de l’ancien agent de la CIA et de l’Agence de sécurité nationale, Edward Snowden, vers les Etats-Unis, où il risque d’être inculpé pour espionnage", annonce la BBC.

Les autorités américaines exigent du pouvoir russe qu’il leur rende Snowden. Par tous les moyens. Mais la Russie ne le fera pas. Et je m’en réjouis car je le soutiens. Je le défends. Comme lui, je ne veux pas que le monde soit placé sous la surveillance des services secrets. Je ne veux pas que mes conversations téléphoniques, mes messages et mes pensées soient épiés.

Les autorités de mon pays font exactement ce que je souhaite. Pour une fois, nous sommes en phase. La seule chose qui tempère cette harmonie et cette fierté c’est que leurs motivations sont très différentes des miennes. Je suis pour Snowden, parce que je suis opposée à la surveillance massive des individus, quels que soient les buts poursuivis. Les dirigeants russes sont pour Snowden, car ils veulent jouer un mauvais tour aux Américains.

Un Snowden russe ne sera pas épargné

Grâce à lui, nous savons que les services secrets américains ont écouté les conversations téléphoniques de Dmidri Medvedev au sommet du G20. Cela suffit à nos dirigeants pour ne jamais extrader personne vers les Etats-Unis. A cela il faut ajouter la longue liste de griefs qui vont du système de défense antimissile européen à la liste Magnitski.

En ce qui concerne la surveillance massive des individus qui est inacceptable à mes yeux, le pouvoir n’y est justement pas opposé. Et il serait même très satisfait si nos services secrets avaient un projet semblable à PRISM, permettant d’espionner les conversations téléphoniques, les courriers électroniques et les réseaux sociaux du monde entier.

Du reste, peut-être, l’ont-ils déjà. Ou bien ils l’auront bientôt. Et si un jour un Snowden russe fait son apparition, il ne sera pas épargné. Tout comme les Américains ne ménagent pas Snowden.

Le film n’est pas terminé

P. S. Lundi à 14 heures 41 (heure de Moscou), l’avion dans lequel devait se trouver Edward Snowden, roulait vers la piste de décollage de l’aéroport de Cheremetievo. Mais, d’après des journalistes qui avaient acheté un billet pour ce vol, il ne se trouvait pas à bord, ni en classe affaires, ni en classe économique.

Il y a trois possibilités. Ou bien il est tout de même à bord, et on l’aura caché pour que les Américains n’aient pas de raison de contraindre l’avion à atterrir. Ou alors, il a quitté Cheremetievo dans le véhicule de l’ambassadeur de l’Equateur et il vivra dans l’ambassade de ce pays, à Moscou, comme Assange vit à l’ambassade de l’Equateur à Londres. Ou encore, il est resté dans la zone de transit [ce que Vladimir Poutine a confirmé le 25 juin], et va essayer de se rendre en Equateur par d’autres vols aériens.

De toute façon, le film n’est pas terminé. Le dénouement est momentanément différé, le projet PRISM toujours en vigueur, et Snowden toujours vivant. A suivre.

Voir de plus:

Romney right on Russia?

Jennifer Rubin

June 25, 2013

Mitt Romney was mocked in the 2012 election when he named Russia as our biggest foe. Bashing the president for his remark to Dmitry Medvedev, picked up by a hot mic, that he would have more “flexibility” after the 2012 election, Romney asserted: “This is without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.” No kidding.

Guffaws followed. But the fear was well-founded (as he was in smelling a rat in the Benghazi debacle).

Today Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on CNN had this exchange with host Chris Cuomo:

MCCAIN: [I]t is well-known that [Snowden's] in Russia, and it’s reminiscent of the days of the Cold War when you hear a Russian spokesman saying that he’s not in Russia, when every shred of evidence indicates that he is.

Look, we’ve got to start dealing with Vladimir Putin in a realistic fashion for what he is. He’s an old KGB colonel apparatchik that dreams of the days of the Russian empire, and he continues to stick his thumb in our eye in a broad variety of ways, most importantly to me, of course, and should be to the world is their continued support of Bashar al Assad and the massacre taking place in Syria, not to mention a number of other areas that Russia is basically showing us a total lack of respect. By the way, this sends a message to the Iranians that they have to be wondering whether we are very serious about saying that they can’t achieve nuclear weapons status. . .

As you know I spent a lot of time in the Middle East. Every one of these leaders say where is American leadership? Where is American leadership? We need to show more leadership and that does not mean confrontation but it means steadfast adherence to the principles that many presidents since the end of the Cold War and since before have stood for that the rest of the world will respect.

McCain argues that “the problem is that most now especially China and Russia don’t believe we’re serious.” He recommends that we should undertake “a reevaluation of our relations, particularly with Russia and China, a more realistic approach to two nations that are acting in their own spheres of influence in a provocative fashion.” In practical terms this means:

[W]e should stop the sequestration, which is decimating our military to an alarming degree, and we should carry out the promises and commitments that we make. And it doesn’t mean threats, but it means that the United States is still the only nation in the world that the rest of world can depend on, and these — and China and Russia both in their own way are trying to assert spheres of influence which are not good for the things we stand for and believe in. . . .. Putin’s behavior has been with disdain or even contempt of the United States of America so we’ll have to see. But I — he has to understand and we have to be serious that this will affect our relations with Russia in a broad variety of ways, and that does not mean a return to the Cold War. But it means a very realistic approach to our relations with both of those countries.

McCain is not alone in his assessment. John Arquilla writes in a piece entitled “Mitt Romney was right” for Foreign Policy magazine:

Though the current furore over Moscow’s willingness to shelter the fugitive Edward Snowden is eye-catching, the resurgent rivalry is more evident, and more important, in the case of Syria, where Russia can derail any effort to obtain the blessing of the United Nations for military intervention and at the same time shore up the Assad regime with a wide range of weaponry. . . .

Syria is thus something of a lens through which Russian strength, influence, and strategy can be gauged. From political pull in the United Nations to alliance-creation and clientelism among friendly states, and on to nuclear parity and a robust conventional military capability, Russia remains formidable. Moscow has engineered a strong position for itself in the Middle East just as the United States is talking openly about de-emphasizing the region in favor of focusing on the Far East. And the dismissive way in which President Obama’s call for deep reductions in nuclear arms was treated by Russian leaders is yet another sure indication of Moscow’s confidence in its standing in the world.

He concludes that “Mitt Romney performed a signal service in reminding us that, even decades after the Cold War, great geopolitical powers still matter. An awareness of this can inform and should guide grand strategy today. Ignorance of this simple truth is the path to costly ruin.”

It is in this context that we should appreciate how ridiculous is Obama’s proposal for unilateral nuclear arms reduction. That is what Obama foolishly preferred in the original Cold War; in the 21st century version of Russian aggression, it is nearly as preposterous.

A final note: Romney and his foreign policy team were right on a great number of foreign policy issues. But to the dismay of those same advisers, he and his political handlers refused to emphasize these issues. Never can Republicans take this approach again. Foreign policy is the most critical (and generally unchecked) authority the president has. Ignoring it is the height of irresponsibility. And if one wants to command respect and demonstrate fitness for the job, foreign policy prowess is a critical part of any presidential campaign.

Voir enfin:

Mitt Romney Was Right

Russia’s our No. 1 enemy — and Snowden’s just the tip of the iceberg.

John Arquilla

Foreign policy

June 24, 2013

Back in the late 18th century, when Adam Smith wrote that "there is much ruin in a nation," he was referring generally to the resiliency of countries under conditions of great adversity. Today, his words seem especially well tailored to Russia. Its 20th century history was bookended by problematic social revolutions (the first destroyed the Russian Empire, the second dissolved the Soviet Union) and was replete with military defeats (to Japan in 1905, in World War I a decade later, and then again in Afghanistan in the 1980s). Forced collectivization of farms caused the starvation of millions in the 1930s, and even victory over the Nazis cost tens of millions more lives. It is a wonder that Russia has survived and even more astonishing that it thrives, both economically and as a key player in the high politics of world affairs.

Mitt Romney suffered much unfair criticism last fall when he called Russia "our number one geopolitical foe." Russia remains a country of vast natural resources, much military capability — including parity with the United States in nuclear arms — and human capital of the very highest quality. These classic geopolitical indicators of inherent strength aside, Romney noted, the leaders of Russia have also made it clear that their interests often do not coincide with American policy preferences. Though the current furore over Moscow’s willingness to shelter the fugitive Edward Snowden is eye-catching, the resurgent rivalry is more evident, and more important, in the case of Syria, where Russia can derail any effort to obtain the blessing of the United Nations for military intervention and at the same time shore up the Assad regime with a wide range of weaponry.

A determined effort to understand Russian strategic thinking about the Syrian situation could pay real dividends in terms of pointing out Moscow’s true geopolitical strength on the world stage. In my view, Russian reasoning and aims regarding Syria are nested — in a manner somewhat like their many-in-one matryoshka dolls. The first layer of motivation must certainly be defined by a determination to avoid being snookered into giving even tacit permission — as happened in the case of Libya — for international military action against the Assad regime. Yet another concern must be about maintaining a naval toehold in the Mediterranean, as is provided for the Russians by the Syrian port of Tartous.

But in a larger strategic sense, Moscow may be looking at Syria as the western anchor of an anti-Sunni arc of friendly countries in what is — the American pivot to the Pacific notwithstanding — the most important region in the world. This point may do the most to explain both the importance to Moscow of avoiding an outright insurgent victory in Syria and steadfast Russian support for Iran in the current proliferation crisis. Of course, Tehran’s influence with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad ensures that the eastern and western ends of this geostrategic arc of friendly states are connected, with Iraq serving as bridge between the two. And, as the Russians have keen insight into the ethnic fissures in the Muslim world, it is not at all surprising that Moscow is also sensitive to the needs and concerns of the sizeable Christian population of Syria — some two million in number, most of them Orthodox.

Syria is thus something of a lens through which Russian strength, influence, and strategy can be gauged. From political pull in the United Nations to alliance-creation and clientelism among friendly states, and on to nuclear parity and a robust conventional military capability, Russia remains formidable. Moscow has engineered a strong position for itself in the Middle East just as the United States is talking openly about de-emphasizing the region in favor of focusing on the Far East. And the dismissive way in which President Obama’s call for deep reductions in nuclear arms was treated by Russian leaders is yet another sure indication of Moscow’s confidence in its standing in the world.

It is tempting to ask what Mitt Romney would do — and I invite him to weigh in on this matter — given that the concerns he expressed about Russian opposition to American interests during last fall’s presidential campaign have been largely borne out. For my part, geostrategic thinking leads me to three pretty straightforward conclusions. First, there is the need to keep Russia from "winning" in Syria. This can be achieved either by escalating support for the anti-Assad insurgency or ratcheting up a peace process — the aims of which are to put Syria on a path to a post-Assad, democratic future. Perhaps both approaches can be simultaneously pursued. Either way, Russian influence will wane, and the western linchpin of its anti-Sunni arc would become unhinged.

The second country of geostrategic importance in the region is Iraq, and any fruitful initiative here may require some truly perverse thinking. Basically, the implication is to support the Sunnis who are currently resisting Shiite, Tehran-friendly rule in Baghdad — perverse given that this is an al Qaeda aim as well. But the end of Assad in Syria, something that the Obama administration has repeatedly demanded, also aligns us with al Qaeda’s aims. Yes, refraining from toppling Saddam Hussein in the first place would have avoided this mess — but that was then; this is now. And a consistent strategy, one that would thwart larger Russian geostrategic aims, means siding with the Sunnis in Iraq.

As for Iran, the third link in the Middle Eastern anti-Sunni arc, the solution is far simpler: Offer the mullahs a guarantee that the United States will not plump for regime change in return for Tehran’s absolutely verifiable abandonment of its nuclear weapons development program. This solution is quite like the deal that President John F. Kennedy cut with Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev to end the Cuban Missile Crisis some 50 years ago.

Back then in the 1960s, and at least until the late 1980s, it was clear that most regional problems were nested in a global rivalry between Washington and Moscow. Today, however, there is a determined effort to view regional events as divorced from global power politics — an odd formulation, given that almost all social and economic phenomena tend to be seen as linked to globalization-driven trends. Last fall, Mitt Romney performed a signal service in reminding us that, even decades after the Cold War, great geopolitical powers still matter. An awareness of this can inform and should guide grand strategy today. Ignorance of this simple truth is the path to costly ruin.

Arquilla is professor of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, author of "Insurgents, Raiders, and Bandits: How Masters of Irregular Warfare Have Shaped Our World," and co-editor of Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America’s Longest War.


Elections iraniennes: Attention, une surprise peut en cacher une autre (We are all competitors and friends who serve the regime well)

19 juin, 2013
http://media.cagle.com/176/2013/06/12/133099_600.jpg
Dry Bones,cartoon, Israel, Iran, Islamist, islamic state, Ayatollah, Ayatollahs, Elections, Rebels, theological, theocracy, Dictator, supreme leader, Shia, Shi'ite, Okay, on va voter. Combien de personnes ici voudraient être braquées par ce groupe? Et maintenant combien de personnes voudraient être braquées par notre groupe? Virgil Starkwell ("Prends l’oseille et tais-toi", Woody Allen, 1969)
N’oubliez pas qu’Ahmadinejad n’est que le représentant d’un régime de nature totalitaire, qui ne peut se réformer et évoluer, quelle que soit la personne qui le représente. (…) le problème ne vient pas de l’idée de se doter de l’énergie nucléaire; il provient de la nature du régime islamique (…) Si le régime veut survivre, il doit absolument mettre en échec le monde libre, combattre ses valeurs. La République islamique ne peut pas perdurer dans un monde où l’on parle des droits de l’homme ou de la démocratie. Tous ces principes sont du cyanure pour les islamistes. Comment voulez-vous que les successeurs de Khomeini, dont le but reste l’exportation de la révolution, puissent s’asseoir un jour à la même table que le président Sarkozy ou le président Obama? Reza Pahlavi
Le fond du problème est que ce régime ne veut pas reprendre ses négociations avec les Occidentaux car au bout de compte, il devrait accepter des compromis contraires à ses intérêts. Ces intérêts résident dans le fait d’être l’adversaire idéologique de l’Occident pour demeurer dans le rôle intéressant d’agitateur régional arbitre du conflit israélo-arabe. Pour cela, il doit séduire la rue arabe avec des slogans anxiogènes et disposer de milices armées. S’il faisait le moindre geste d’apaisement, il perdrait l’appui de la rue arabe et de ces milices qui peuvent aller proposer leurs services à d’autres protecteurs qui souhaitent contrôler cette force de nuisance (Syrie, Russie ou Chine). Iran Resist
Nous sommes tous des concurrents et des amis qui servent bien le régime. Ali Akbar Velayati
Pendant que nous parlions avec les Européens à Téhéran, nous installions le matériel dans certaines parties de l’installation de [conversion nucléaire] à Ispahan. En créant un environnement calme, nous avons pu achever les travaux. Rowhani (2004)
Iran made most of its key nuclear strides under Mr. Ahmadinejad, who also showed just how far Iran could test the West’s patience without incurring regime- threatening penalties. Supply IEDs to Iraqi insurgents to kill American GIs? Check. Enrich uranium to near-bomb grade levels? Check. Steal an election and imprison the opposition? Check. Take Royal Marines and American backpackers hostage? Check. Fight to save Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria? That, too. Even now, the diplomatic option remains a viable one as far as the Obama administration is concerned. Now the West is supposed to be grateful that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s scowling face will be replaced by Mr. Rohani’s smiling one—a bad-cop, good-cop routine that Iran has played before. Western concessions will no doubt follow if Mr. Rohani can convince his boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to play along. It shouldn’t be a hard sell: Iran is now just a head-fake away from becoming a nuclear state and Mr. Khamenei has shown he’s not averse to pragmatism when it suits him. The capacity for self-deception is a coping mechanism in both life and diplomacy, but it comes at a price. As the West cheers the moderate and pragmatic and centrist Mr. Rohani, it will come to discover just how high a price it will pay. Bret Stephens
Rohani (…) ne s’est jamais lui-même qualifié de réformiste. Mais il utilise une rhétorique qui est moins violente que celle d’Ahmadinejad et parle plus modérément, y compris sur la question des négociations nucléaires. Je ne peux interpréter son élection que dans un seul sens: le régime voulait sa victoire. S’ils avaient voulu la victoire d’un conservateur, ils se seraient arrangés pour obtenir l’abandon de quatre des cinq conservateurs, ouvrant la voie à la victoire de Ghalibaf [maire de Téhéran]. Mais ils ne l’ont pas fait. En outre, c’est le régime qui a approuvé la candidature de Rouhani aux côtés de seulement sept autres. C’est la preuve évidente que Khamenei voulait que Rouhani gagne, intérieurement et extérieurement. La victoire d’un candidat qui est perçu comme plus modéré mais a toujours la confiance de Khamenei sert le régime de la meilleure des façons. Extérieurement, l’Iran est aujourd’hui dans une situation très difficile en ce qui concerne les sanctions et sa réputation internationale. Un président conservateur n’aurait fait qu’aggraver l’isolement de Téhéran dans le monde. La victoire d’un membre du ‘mouvement modéré’ amènera en revanche immédiatement certains pays de la communauté internationale à appeler à "donner une chance au dialogue avec les Iraniens modérés". Ils vont demander plus de temps afin d’encourager cesdits "modérés" et cela réduira d’autant la pression sur le régime. Et donc, nous voyons que dans la non-disqualification de Rouhani et surtout dans le non-abandon de quatre des cinq candidats conservateurs il y a bien plus qu’une indication que c’est le résultat que souhaitait le régime.  Dr Soli Shahvar (Centre Ezri des études pour l’Iran et le golfe, Université de Haïfa)
Rowhani a non seulement été soigneuesement par le régime comme l’un des seuls huit candidats, tandis que des centaines d’autres étaient disqualifiés, mais la liste des candidats a été ouvertement conçue pour s’assurer qu’il arrive en tête: celle-ci opposait cinq conservateurs (deux candidats ayant abandonné avant le vote), assurant ainsi la division du vote conservateur face à un seul "modéré". "S’ils avaient voulu la victoire d"un des conservateurs, ils auraient demandé à quatre des cinq conservateurs d’abandonner (…). Et  c’est précisément ce qui s’est passé du côté "modéré". Au départ, il y avait deux "modérés", mais l’ancien président iranien Mohammad Khatami en a persuadé un, Mohammad Reza Aref, de se retirer de manière à ne pas diviser le vote modéré. Il est incroyable que Khamenei n’ai pu concevoir quelque chose de similaire du côté conservateur s’il l’ avait voulu. Il est également intéressant de noter que tout au long de la campagne, Khamenei a soigneusement évité de donner la moindre indication quant au candidat qu’il préférait. (…) Mais l’argument le plus convaincant, selon moi, est (…) le décompte des voix final. Selon les résultats officiels, Rowhani a gagné dès le premier tour en remportant 50,7 % des voix. Mais pour un régime largement soupçonné d’avoir commis une fraude électorale massive pour assurer la réélection de Mahmoud Ahmadinejad en 2009, cela aurait été un jeu d’enfant de modifier le décompte des voix de l’infime fraction nécessaire pour mettre Rowhani à moins de 50 pour cent et de forcer ainsi un second tour. En outre, il aurait été parfaitement sûr, parce qu’aucun des commentaires pré-électoraux n’avait prévu que Rowhani ait même une chance de l’emporter. Ainsi s’il avait été annoncé à, disons, 49 pour cent, il n’y n’aurait aucun soupçons de fraude ; au contraire, tout le monde aurait été étonné de sa forte prestation. Et puis, avec les conservateurs mettant en commun leurs forces derrière un candidat unique au second tour, une petite défaite de Rowhani aurait été tout aussi insoupçonnable. Il n’est pas difficile de comprendre pourquoi Khamenei voulait la victoire de Rowhani: il avait désespérément besoin de quelqu’un qui pouvait alléger les sanctions internationales et conjurer la menace d’une frappe militaire sans concéder quoi que ce soit sur le programme nucléaire. Et la performance de Rowhani comme principal négociateur nucléaire iranien en 2003-2005 avait prouvé sa compétence à cet égard. Dont il s’était d’ailleurs vanté: "Pendant que nous parlions avec les Européens à Téhéran, nous installions le matériel dans certaines parties de l’installation de [conversion nucléaire] à Ispahan", avait déclaré Rowhani en 2004. En créant un environnement calme, nous avons pu achever les travaux." Au lendemain de la victoire de Rowhani, des responsables américains et européens en sont déjà à envisager avec enthousiasme un nouveau cycle de négociations, tandis que les analystes israéliens affirment que l’élection a presque certainement retardé toute possibilité d’une action militaire contre le programme nucléaire de l’Iran à 2014. Ainsi, Khamenei a obtenu exactement ce qu’il voulait. La seule question est pourquoi tous les "experts" dépeignent encore cela comme une défaite pour le régime. Evelyn Gordon

Comment dit-on "tireur de ficelles" en persan ?

Réduisez votre nombre de candidats à huit (dont bien sûr le candidat que vous souhaitez voir gagner) après en avoir disqualifié des centaines; réduisez encore le nombre des candidats à six en demandant à deux "conservateurs" de se retirer tout en vous assurant de la division dudit camp conservateur en maintenant cinq d’entre eux en lice tout en renforçant le camp modéré en obtenant l’abandon d’un des deux "modérés; évitez soigneusement tout au long de la campagne de montrer la moindre préférence pour aucun candidat; fixez la victoire finale de votre candidat à quelques fractions de pourcentages au-dessus de 50% de façon à ce qu’il n’y ait pas de second tour et voilà: vous avez la victoire d’un candidat "modéré" que personne n’attendait mais qui réjouit tout le monde – vous compris !

Alors qu’au lendemain d’une énième élection-bidon, nos prétendus "experts" nous bassinent à longueur de page et d’antenne sur la prétendue "divine surprise" de l’élection d’un "modéré" à la présidence iranienne …

Comment ne pas voir, avec la revue Commentary, l’aveuglante évidence d’un énième coup monté ?

Mais surtout la vraie surprise (?) d’une communauté internationale et de ses prétendus "experts" si pressés de présenter comme une défaite du régime au moment précisément où se rapprochait dangereusement la fenêtre de tir pour la destruction des installations nucléaires iraniennes …

La victoire d’un candidat s’étant explicitement vanté, la dernière fois qu’il dirigeait les négociations nucléaires, d’avoir endormi les Européens et permis ainsi l’achèvement des travaux ?

Rowhani’s Win Is a Victory for the Regime

Evelyn Gordon

Commentary

06.18.2013

Despite widespread disagreement about how Hassan Rowhani’s election as president affects the chances of a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program, just about everyone appears to agree on one thing: The victory of a “relative moderate” came as a complete and unwelcome surprise to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. I’d been wondering whether anyone was ever going to challenge this blatantly irrational consensus, but finally, someone has. “I interpret his election in one way only: The regime wanted him to win,” said Dr. Soli Shahvar, head of Haifa University’s Ezri Center for Iran and Gulf Studies, in an interview with the Tower.

Shahvar pointed out that not only was Rowhani handpicked by the regime to be one of only eight candidates, while hundreds of others were disqualified, but the candidate list was blatantly tilted to ensure that he would place first: It pitted a single “moderate” against five conservatives (two candidates dropped out before the vote), thereby ensuring that the conservative vote would fragment. “If they had wanted one of the conservatives to win, they would have gotten four of the five conservatives to drop out of the race,” Shahvar said.

Indeed, though Shahvar didn’t mention it, that’s precisely what happened on the “moderate” side. Initially, there were two “moderates,” but former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami persuaded one, Mohammad Reza Aref, to withdraw so as not to split the moderate vote. It beggars belief that Khamenei couldn’t have engineered something similar on the conservative side had he so desired.

It’s also worth noting that throughout the campaign, Khamenei carefully avoided giving any hint as to which candidate he preferred. The widespread assumption that he preferred a conservative is unsupported by any evidence.

But the most convincing argument, to my mind, is one Shahvar didn’t make: the final vote tally. According to the official results, Rowhani clinched the contest in the first round by winning 50.7 percent of the vote. But for a regime widely suspected of committing massive electoral fraud to ensure Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection in 2009, it would have been child’s play to alter the vote count by the tiny fraction necessary to put Rowhani under 50 percent and force a second round. Moreover, it would have been perfectly safe, because none of the pre-election commentary foresaw Rowhani coming anywhere near victory. Thus had his tally been announced at, say, 49 percent instead, there would have been no suspicions of fraud; rather, everyone would have been amazed at his strong showing. And then, with conservatives pooling their forces behind a single candidate in the run-off, a narrow loss for Rowhani would have been equally unsuspicious.

It’s not hard to figure out why Khamenei would have wanted Rowhani to win: He desperately needed someone who could ease the international sanctions and stave off the threat of a military strike without actually conceding anything on the nuclear program. And Rowhani’s performance as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in 2003-05 proved his skill in this regard. Indeed, he boasted of it: “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the [nuclear conversion] facility in Isfahan,” Rowhani said in 2004. “By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work there.”

In the aftermath of Rowhani’s victory, American and European officials are already talking enthusiastically about a new round of negotiations, while Israeli analysts say the election has almost certainly delayed any possibility of military action against Iran’s nuclear program until 2014. Thus Khamenei has gotten exactly what he wanted. The only question is why all the “experts” are still portraying this as a defeat for the regime.

Voir aussi:

“The Regime Wanted Him to Win”

Avi Issacharoff

The Tower

June 16, 2013

Soon after it became clear to Ali Akbar Velayati that he had no chance of winning this week’s presidential election in Iran, he quickly congratulated the rest of the candidates and wished them success. “We are all competitors and friends who serve the regime well,” he said.

And indeed, putting aside how quickly the winner Hassan Rouhani was branded a “reformist” by Western and even Israeli outlets, Velayati had described him most accurately: a servant of the regime.

The incoming president of Iran was never a reformist. It is doubtful that his achievement was even a victory for the moderate camp in Iran, which on the face of it wants to replace the regime and to stop the nuclear weapons race. Rouhani, as opposed to the image that has been fashioned, was until recently known as part of the conservative camp in Iran. He is not one of those challenging the Islamist regime, and certainly not challenging Khamenei’s rule.

Rouhani’s win election should not be seen as a dramatic sign that Iran will change its line regarding either its nuclear policy or its involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts. Despite Rouhani’s declarations in the past that may suggest he seeks flexibility in the nuclear project, the reality in Iran is that these matters will remain in the hands of Khamenei and the men of the Revolutionary Guard.

Politicall Rouhani’s victory reflects power struggles within the Iranian leadership. It marks a kind of political comeback for former president President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was Rouhani’s political godfather. Moreover, Rouhani is the breath of fresh air, a new face at the top of the Iranian leadership compared to the outgoing president, Muhamad Ahmedinejad. He was the only cleric allowed to run in the race, and will now try to bring the public, including the Tehran elites, closer to the regime of the Ayatollahs – of which he is one of the most outstanding products.

So how did a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts and Supreme National Security Council – and a confidant of Khamenei – become the “great hope” of the moderate camp? It may be the embrace he received from the two former presidents, Khatami and Rafsanjani, rivals to Khamenei, that put him into the reformist category.

“He never called himself a reformist,” explains Dr. Soli Shahvar, who heads the Ezri Center for Iran and Gulf Studies at Haifa University. “But he uses rhetoric that is less blustery than that of Ahmedinejad, and speaks more moderately, including on the subject of nuclear negotiations.” Shahvar’s conclusion with respect to Rouhani’s win is unambiguous. “I interpret his election in one way only: The regime wanted him to win. If they had wanted one of the conservatives to win, they would have gotten four of the five conservatives to drop out of the race, paving the way for [eventual runner-up, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Bagher] Ghalibaf to win. But they didn’t do that. Moreover, it was the regime that approved the candidacy of Rouhani alongside only seven others. This is striking evidence that Khamenei wanted Rouhani to win, both internally and externally.”

According to Shahvar, from the internal perspective, a victory for another candidate like Ahmedinejad risked provoking a renewal of the demonstrations like those of 2009. “Victory for a candidate who is perceived as more moderate yet still has the confidence of Khamenei, serves the regime in the best way. Externally, Iran today is in a very difficult situation with regard to sanctions and its international standing. A conservative president would only have increased Tehran’s isolation in the world. A victory for someone from the ‘moderate stream,’ however, will immediately bring certain countries in the international community to call for ‘giving a chance to dialogue with the Iranian moderates.’ They will ask for more time in order to encourage this stream, and it will take pressure off the regime. And so we see that in the non-disqualification of Rouhani and especially in the non-dropping-out of four of the five conservative candidates there is more than just an indication that this is the result the regime desired.”

Rouhani, in his new position as president of the country, will first of all have to bring relief in the economic crisis facing the citizens of Iran. Yet this is a nearly impossible task in light of the international sanctions which themselves are the result of the nuclear policy that has been set by the supreme leader Khamenei.

In a few months the public’s anger may well be turned against the man on whom so many Iranians, as of now, seem to have pinned their hopes.

Voir également:

Behind Iran’s ‘Moderate’ New Leader

Hassan Rohani unleashed attacks on pro-democracy student protesters in 1999.

Sohrab Ahmari

WSJ

June 16, 2013

So this is what democracy looks like in a theocratic dictatorship. Iran’s presidential campaign season kicked off last month when an unelected body of 12 Islamic jurists disqualified more than 600 candidates. Women were automatically out; so were Iranian Christians, Jews and even Sunni Muslims. The rest, including a former president, were purged for possessing insufficient revolutionary zeal. Eight regime loyalists made it onto the ballots. One emerged victorious on Saturday.

That man is Hassan Rohani, a 64-year-old cleric, former nuclear negotiator and security apparatchik. Western journalists quickly hailed the "moderate" and "reformist" Mr. Rohani. The New York Times’s Tehran correspondent couldn’t repress his election-night euphoria on Twitter: "Tonight the Islamic Republic rocks Rohani style." A BBC correspondent gushed: "The reaction of the people showed how much they trusted the electoral system." Just hours earlier the broadcaster had condemned Iranian security forces for threatening to assassinate a BBC Persian journalist in London, but such is the Western media’s hunger for good news from Tehran.

Turnout was high, with more than 70% of eligible voters casting ballots. That figure should be taken with a grain of salt, since voting is obligatory for many sectors of Iranian society. Still, some of the victory parties in Tehran and other cities did seem genuine, with voters taking to the streets to celebrate the end of a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad era that saw a rise in repression and in economic hardship caused by the regime’s mounting international isolation.

But disillusionment with seemingly heroic new leaders promising change is a centuries-old theme in Iranian history. The current regime’s theocratic structure—with a supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, and numerous unaccountable bodies lording over popularly elected officials—will soon remind voters that this latest hero has little room to maneuver.

That is, if he’s inclined to seek change in the first place. The new Iranian president was born Hassan Feridon in 1948 in Iran’s Semnan province. He entered religious studies in Qom as a child but went on to earn a secular law degree from Tehran University in 1969.

Mr. Rohani spent Iran’s revolutionary days as a close companion of the Ayatollah Khomeini and would go on to hold top posts during the Islamic Republic’s first two decades in power. For 16 years starting in 1989, Mr. Rohani served as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. During his tenure on the council, Mr. Rohani led the crackdown on a 1999 student uprising and helped the regime evade Western scrutiny of its nuclear-weapons program.

As Mr. Rohani said at a pro-regime rally in July 1999: "At dusk yesterday we received a decisive revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements wherever it may occur. From today our people shall witness how in the arena our law enforcement force . . . shall deal with these opportunists and riotous elements, if they simply dare to show their faces."

The "opportunists and riotous elements" Mr. Rohani referred to were university students staging pro-democracy protests. His words at the time were widely viewed as a declaration of war, authorizing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the basij militia to unleash hell on Tehran’s campuses.

Reza Mohajerinejad was one of those students. A founder of the National Union of Iranian Students and Graduates in the 1990s, he resides today in the San Francisco Bay area. Speaking in a phone interview on Saturday, Mr. Mohajerinejad recalled how after Mr. Rohani’s statement in 1999 security forces "poured into the dorm rooms and murdered students right in front of our eyes."

Mr. Mohajerinejad was arrested and detained for six months. Among other torture methods they used, his captors during this era of "reform" would tie him to a bed and whip his feet to a pulp. In between flogging sessions, the imprisoned students would be forced to run laps on their bloody feet or be suspended from their wrists for hours at a time.

"If we’re ever going to get freedom and democracy," Mr. Mohajerinejad now says, "we’re not going to get them from Rouhani."

Beyond Iran’s borders, Mr. Rohani has largely favored "resistance" and nuclear defiance. During the campaign, he boasted of how during his tenure as negotiator Iran didn’t suspend enrichment—on the contrary, "we completed the program." And on Syria, expect Mr. Rohani to back the ruling establishment’s pro-Assad policy. "Syria has constantly been on the front line of fighting Zionism and this resistance must not be weakened," he declared in January, according to the state-run Press TV.

These inconvenient facts from the Rohani dossier should give pause to those in Washington and Brussels eager to embrace this smiling mullah.

Mr. Ahmari is an assistant books editor at the Journal.

Voir encore:

A ‘Pragmatic’ Mullah

Iran’s new president Hassan Rohani is no moderate.

Bret Stephens

WSJ

June 17, 2013

‘There’s a sucker born every minute" is one of those great American phrases, fondly and frequently repeated by Americans, who tend to forget that it was said mainly about Americans. In the election of Hassan Rohani as Iran’s president, we are watching the point being demonstrated again by someone who has demonstrated it before.

Who is Mr. Rohani? If all you did over the weekend was read headlines, you would have gleaned that he is a "moderate" (Financial Times), a "pragmatic victor" (New York Times) and a "reformist" (Bloomberg). Reading a little further, you would also learn that his election is being welcomed by the White House as a "potentially hopeful sign" that Iran is ready to strike a nuclear bargain.

All this for a man who, as my colleague Sohrab Ahmari noted in these pages Monday, called on the regime’s basij militia to suppress the student protests of July 1999 "mercilessly and monumentally." More than a dozen students were killed in those protests, more than 1,000 were arrested, hundreds were tortured, and 70 simply "disappeared." In 2004 Mr. Rohani defended Iran’s human-rights record, insisting there was "not one person in prison in Iran except when there is a judgment by a judge following a trial."

Mr. Rohani is also the man who chaired Iran’s National Security Council between 1989 and 2005, meaning he was at the top table when Iran masterminded the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people, and of the Khobar Towers in 1996, killing 19 U.S. airmen. He would also have been intimately familiar with the secret construction of Iran’s illicit nuclear facilities in Arak, Natanz and Isfahan, which weren’t publicly exposed until 2002.

In 2003 Mr. Rohani took charge as Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, a period now warmly remembered in the West for Tehran’s short-lived agreement with Britain, France and Germany to suspend its nuclear-enrichment work. That was also the year in which Iran supposedly halted its illicit nuclear-weapons’ work, although the suspension proved fleeting, according to subsequent U.N. reports.

Then again, what looked to the credulous as evidence of Iranian moderation was, to Iranian insiders, an exercise in diplomatic cunning. "Negotiations provided time for Isfahan’s uranium conversion project to be finished and commissioned, the number of centrifuges at Natanz increased from 150 to 1,000 and software and hardware for Iran’s nuclear infrastructure to be further developed," Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Mr. Rohani’s spokesman at the time, argues in a recent memoir. "The heavy water reactor project in Arak came into operation and was not suspended at all."

Nor was that the only advantage of Mr. Rohani’s strategy of making nice and playing for time, according to Mr. Mousavian.

"Tehran showed that it was possible to exploit the gap between Europe and the United States to achieve Iranian objectives." "The world’s understanding of ‘suspension’ was changed from a legally binding obligation . . . to a voluntary and short-term undertaking aimed at confidence building." "The world gradually came close to believing that Iran’s nuclear activities posed no security or military threat. . . . Public opinion in the West, which was totally against Tehran’s nuclear program in September 2003, softened a good deal." "Efforts were made to attract global attention to the need for WMD disarmament by Israel."

And best of all: "Iran would be able to attain agreements for the transfer of advanced nuclear technology to Iran for medical, agricultural, power plant, and other applications, in a departure from the nuclear sanctions of the preceding 27 years."

Mr. Mousavian laments that much of this good work was undone by the nuclear hard line Iran took when the incendiary Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president in 2005.

But that’s true only up to a point. Iran made most of its key nuclear strides under Mr. Ahmadinejad, who also showed just how far Iran could test the West’s patience without incurring regime- threatening penalties. Supply IEDs to Iraqi insurgents to kill American GIs? Check. Enrich uranium to near-bomb grade levels? Check. Steal an election and imprison the opposition? Check. Take Royal Marines and American backpackers hostage? Check. Fight to save Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria? That, too. Even now, the diplomatic option remains a viable one as far as the Obama administration is concerned.

Now the West is supposed to be grateful that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s scowling face will be replaced by Mr. Rohani’s smiling one—a bad-cop, good-cop routine that Iran has played before. Western concessions will no doubt follow if Mr. Rohani can convince his boss, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to play along. It shouldn’t be a hard sell: Iran is now just a head-fake away from becoming a nuclear state and Mr. Khamenei has shown he’s not averse to pragmatism when it suits him.

The capacity for self-deception is a coping mechanism in both life and diplomacy, but it comes at a price. As the West cheers the moderate and pragmatic and centrist Mr. Rohani, it will come to discover just how high a price it will pay.

Voir par ailleurs:

Iran : toutes les clefs du scrutin

Le Point

14/06/2013

Théoriquement, le président de la République islamique est élu au suffrage universel. Mais dans les faits, l’élection se déroule sous étroite surveillance.

Contrairement aux monarchies arabes du Golfe, tels l’Arabie saoudite ou le Qatar, l’Iran offre la possibilité à ses citoyens de choisir leur président et leur Parlement. Quoi de plus normal pour une République dont la Constitution repose en partie sur la souveraineté populaire. Sauf que ce texte, adopté en 1979 après la révolution, se fonde surtout sur la volonté divine. Ainsi, à la tête de l’État iranien règne un guide suprême, représentant de Dieu sur terre, qui possède le dernier mot sur toutes les décisions du pays, surpassant la volonté du président, et donc celle du peuple qui l’a élu.

Qui peut voter ?

50,5 millions d’électeurs iraniens (sur 75 millions d’habitants) sont appelés à élire ce vendredi 14 juin le président de la République islamique, soit le chef du gouvernement depuis la suppression du poste de Premier ministre en 1989. Peut voter tout citoyen iranien résidant en Iran, ou même à l’étranger, à condition qu’il soit âgé d’au moins 18 ans.

Qui peut se présenter ?

Première limite du scrutin. Si tout Iranien peut officiellement se porter candidat, il doit passer par le filtre du puissant Conseil des gardiens de la Constitution. Cet organe, composé de six clercs et de six juristes (généralement aussi des clercs), doit vérifier la compatibilité des candidatures avec la Constitution iranienne. Sont alors pris en compte le sérieux du candidat (celui-ci doit être une personnalité politique ou religieuse reconnue), ses antécédents judiciaires et surtout sa loyauté au principe fondamental de la République islamique : le Velayat-e faqih (la primauté du religieux sur le politique). Exit donc tous les laïques, monarchistes et autres communistes. Surtout, derrière les choix du Conseil des gardiens de la Constitution se profile la main du guide suprême, l’ayatollah Khamenei, qui nomme la moitié de ses membres et peut influencer les six autres.

Qui sont les favoris ?

Sur les 686 candidats qui se sont officiellement présentés au scrutin, seuls huit ont été retenus par le Conseil des gardiens de la Constitution. Parmi les recalés figurent deux candidats de poids. Si la mise à l’écart d’Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, le bras droit d’Ahmadinejad, n’est pas une surprise tant ses positions nationalistes étaient haïes du clergé chiite, l’élimination de l’ancien président conservateur modéré Akbar Hachemi Rafsandjani a fait l’effet d’une bombe. En disqualifiant l’un des pères fondateurs de la République islamique, en raison de sa proximité avec les réformateurs iraniens, le guide a profondément ébranlé la légitimité de son propre régime.

Après les désistements de deux candidats qualifiés, il ne reste plus que six prétendants, dont quatre conservateurs proches du guide :

En voici les favoris :

- Saïd Jalili, 47 ans et favori du guide. Actuel secrétaire du Conseil suprême de la sécurité nationale, il est le représentant direct de l’ayatollah Khamenei dans les négociations sur le programme nucléaire iranien. Vétéran de la guerre Iran-Irak, ce diplomate extrêmement pieux bénéficie de l’appui des ultraconservateurs qui louent son intransigeance face à l’Occident.

- Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, 51 ans, l’efficace maire de Téhéran. Ancien commandant des Gardiens de la révolution, l’armée idéologique du régime, puis à la tête de la police, où son professionnalisme a fait forte impression, ce technocrate peut également se prévaloir de son bilan positif durant ses huit années à la tête de la mairie de la capitale, qui l’ont rendu populaire. Il est néanmoins soupçonné d’avoir été impliqué dans la répression des manifestants de juin 2009 (le Mouvement vert). Cela ne l’empêche pas d’être actuellement en tête du peu de sondages organisés par les médias officiels.

- Ali-Akbar Velayati, 67 ans, la carte "ouverture" du guide. Ministre des Affaires étrangères durant 16 ans, et désormais conseiller diplomatique du guide, ce pédiatre de formation prône plus de souplesse vis-à-vis de l’Occident dans l’épineux dossier nucléaire afin d’atténuer les sanctions internationales frappant le pays. Il ne remet toutefois pas en cause le droit de l’Iran au nucléaire civil.

- Hassan Rohani, 64 ans, le réformateur par défaut. Ce religieux conservateur modéré a reçu l’appui de l’ex-président Rafsandjani, mais surtout celui de l’ex-président réformateur Mohammad Khatami, ce qui pourrait lui assurer le ralliement d’une partie des voix du Mouvement vert et des déçus d’Ahmadinejad. Connu pour avoir dirigé les négociations nucléaires sous la présidence de Khatami, il avait accepté une suspension provisoire de l’enrichissement d’uranium, ce qui lui a valu de nombreuses critiques au sein de l’establishment iranien. Il sera remercié de son poste dès l’arrivée au pouvoir d’Ahmadinejad en 2005.

Comment s’organise le vote ?

Si une majorité simple n’est pas acquise au premier tour le 14 juin, un second tour sera organisé le 21 juin. Une hypothèse rendue plausible par l’éclatement probable des voix au premier tour entre les quatre candidats conservateurs, et cela alors que les voix réformatrices et les mécontents qui souhaitent voter reporteront à coup sûr leur choix sur l’unique candidat modéré, Hassan Rohani.

Comment s’est déroulée la campagne ?

Lancée le 23 mai dernier, la campagne, qui s’est achevée le 13 juin au matin, s’est révélée bien morne. La plupart des candidats ont opté pour des déplacements limités, et les autorités ont interdit les rassemblements dans les rues. Le maître mot a été l’économie, dont l’état s’avère catastrophique en Iran. En raison de la gestion calamiteuse des gouvernements successifs d’Ahmadinejad, mais aussi des sanctions internationales, l’Iran a connu un effondrement de sa monnaie (70 %) et une explosion de l’inflation (supérieure à 30 %). Pourtant, lors des trois débats organisés par la télévision officielle, aucun candidat n’a trouvé de recette miracle à ce fléau. Seule la question du nucléaire, liée toutefois aux sanctions économiques, a donné lieu à une passe d’armes sans précédent entre conservateurs, Ali Velayati s’étant directement attaqué au négociateur iranien Saïd Jalili, en dénonçant ses méthodes "problématiques".

Des fraudes sont-elles possibles ?

Beaucoup estiment qu’une première étape a déjà été franchie, avec l’élimination de la course de l’ex-président Rafsandjani, le seul candidat modéré qui pouvait réellement l’emporter. Mais cela n’écarte nullement la possibilité de véritables fraudes organisées si l’élu du guide ne se retrouve pas en tête à l’issue du scrutin. Des cas de fraudes (bourrage ou déplacement d’urnes, passeports votant à plusieurs reprises) ont été dénoncés en 2005 et surtout en 2009, permettant à chaque fois l’élection de Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Pourtant, en 1997 et en 2001, c’est un candidat réformateur, Mohammad Khatami, qui l’a à chaque fois emporté, avec respectivement 70 et 78 % des suffrages. Une époque où le régime avait besoin de s’ouvrir au monde. Dans tous les cas, l’appareil sécuritaire du régime, les 100 000 Gardiens de la révolution et les quelque quatre millions de bassidjis (miliciens mobilisés par le régime) se tiennent prêts à toute éventualité.

Quel sera le poids réel du président ?

On l’a vu avec Ahmadinejad. Lorsqu’un président bénéficie du soutien entier du guide suprême, ce qui fut le cas de l’ultraconservateur Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lors de son premier mandat, il a davantage les coudées franches pour mener sa politique gouvernementale. Et même lorsque le chef de l’exécutif n’est pas le favori de l’ayatollah Khamenei, comme ce fut le cas pour le réformateur Khatami, ce dernier peut décider de mesures limitées en faveur de la liberté d’expression ou tenter une ouverture sur l’Occident. Étant aujourd’hui isolée sur la scène internationale et frappée de plein fouet par les sanctions, la République islamique a cruellement besoin d’assouplir sa position sur le nucléaire pour sauver son économie et pérenniser le régime. Un tel rôle pourrait être joué par le nouvel élu. Mais bien sûr, le dernier mot appartient au guide.

Voir enfin:

Iran : premières réactions à l’élection de Rohani

Le Point

15/06/2013

De Londres à Berlin en passant par l’ONU et la Syrie, les réactions se multiplient pour saluer l’élection du nouveau président iranien.

Le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Ban Ki-moon, "félicite chaleureusement" le nouveau président iranien Hassan Rohani et "continuera d’encourager l’Iran à jouer un rôle constructif dans les affaires régionales et internationales", a indiqué son porte-parole, Martin Nesirky. Ban Ki-moon "a l’intention de continuer à travailler avec les autorités iraniennes et avec le président élu sur les dossiers d’importance pour la communauté internationale et pour le bien-être du peuple iranien", poursuit le porte-parole en notant "avec satisfaction le fort taux de participation" au scrutin.

Depuis plusieurs années, l’ONU et les Occidentaux imposent un arsenal de sanctions à l’Iran pour tenter de dissuader Téhéran de se doter de l’arme atomique sous le couvert d’un programme nucléaire civil, ce dont la République islamique se défend. Samedi soir, le nouveau président a salué "la victoire de la modération sur l’extrémisme", mais a insisté pour que la communauté internationale "reconnaisse les droits" de l’Iran en matière nucléaire.

Religieux modéré, Hassan Rohani a créé la surprise samedi en remportant l’élection présidentielle iranienne dès le premier tour, avec 50,68% des voix, face à cinq candidats conservateurs. Cette victoire marque le retour des modérés et réformateurs au gouvernement.

La question nucléaire

La chef de la diplomatie européenne, Catherine Ashton, a réagi samedi à la victoire-surprise du modéré Hassan Rohani à la présidentielle iranienne en se disant "déterminée" à travailler avec son gouvernement sur la question nucléaire. "J’adresse mes voeux de réussite à M. Rohani dans la formation d’un nouveau gouvernement et dans ses nouvelles responsabilités. Je reste fermement déterminée à travailler avec les nouveaux dirigeants iraniens en vue d’une solution diplomatique rapide à la question nucléaire", écrit Catherine Ashton dans un communiqué.

Le ministre allemand des Affaires étrangères, Guido Westerwelle, a salué samedi "un vote en Iran pour des réformes et une politique étrangère constructive". Le ministre allemand réagissait ainsi, dans un communiqué, à la victoire-surprise du modéré Hassan Rohani à la présidentielle iranienne. "Il est à espérer que la nouvelle direction du pays collabore en ce sens pour arriver à des solutions sur les questions internationales et régionales", a-t-il ajouté, selon le communiqué du ministère.

L’Iran sur un "nouveau chemin", selon Londres

Le Royaume-Uni a appelé samedi le nouveau président iranien Hassan Rohani à "mettre l’Iran sur un nouveau chemin", notamment en "s’attelant aux inquiétudes de la communauté internationale sur le programme nucléaire iranien". "Nous prenons note qu’Hassan Rohani a remporté l’élection présidentielle" iranienne, a déclaré le ministère britannique des Affaires étrangères dans un communiqué. "Nous l’appelons à mettre l’Iran sur un nouveau chemin pour l’avenir en s’attelant aux inquiétudes de la communauté internationale sur le programme nucléaire iranien, en faisant avancer une relation constructive avec la communauté internationale et en améliorant la situation politique et des droits de l’homme", a ajouté le ministère.

La Coalition de l’opposition syrienne a également rapidement réagi en appelant dans un communiqué le religieux modéré de 64 ans à revoir la position de son pays qui soutient fermement le régime de Bachar el-Assad. "La Coalition nationale syrienne estime qu’il est de son devoir d’appeler le nouveau président de l’Iran à rectifier les erreurs commises par la direction iranienne", affirme le texte, faisant allusion à l’appui de poids apporté par Téhéran à son allié régional.

Félicitations de l’ayatollah Khamenei

En Iran, le Guide suprême iranien, l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a salué samedi l’élection à la présidence de la République du religieux modéré Hassan Rohani, sur son site officiel khamenei.ir. "Je félicite le peuple et le président élu", a écrit le numéro un iranien, en affirmant que "tout le monde devait aider le nouveau président et son gouvernement". Le numéro un iranien a également demandé à tout le monde d’éviter les "comportements inappropriés" de ceux qui veulent montrer "leur joie ou leur mécontentement", faisant allusion aux partisans et adversaires du nouveau président.


Journée de Jérusalem/46e: Au nom du mensonge (Enderlin and the irresistible ascension of anti-jewish ideology)

8 mai, 2013
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/22/young.isr.jeru.day.jpgSi Israël est un occupant dans son pays, le christianisme, qui tire sa légitimité de l’histoire d’Israël, l’est aussi comme le serait tout autre État infidèle. Bat Ye’or
C’était une cité fortement convoitée par les ennemis de la foi et c’est pourquoi, par une sorte de syndrome mimétique, elle devint chère également au cœur des Musulmans. Emmanuel Sivan
Le dôme célèbre aussi l’Islam triomphant, au centre d’une ville majoritairement chrétienne et à forte communauté juive. Le dôme aurait ainsi mis en valeur la victoire de l’Islam, complétant la révélation des deux autres religions monothéistes, et aurait permis à l’état nouveau de rivaliser en magnificence avec les grands sanctuaires chrétiens de Jérusalem et de Syrie. Plusieurs arguments appuient cette interprétation : la taille du dôme, sa position théâtrale dans la ville et son ancien revêtement brillant, de céramiques à fond d’or prouvent qu’il était fait pour être vu de loin. De plus, son plan centré, donne l’impression que le monument irradie dans toutes les directions, concourant également à un effet scénique. (…) Le choix du lieu lui-même est extrêmement symbolique : lieu sacré juif, où restent encore des ruines des temples hérodiens, laissé à l’abandon par les chrétiens pour marquer leur triomphe sur cette religion, il est à nouveau utilisé sous l’Islam, marquant alors la victoire sur les Chrétiens et, éventuellement, une continuité avec le judaïsme. (…)  Enfin, l’historien Al-Maqdisi, au Xe siècle, écrit que le dôme a été réalisé dans la but de dépasser le Saint-Sépulcre, d’où un plan similaire, mais magnifié. De cette analyse on a pu conclure que le dôme du Rocher peut être considéré comme un message de l’Islam et des Umayyades en direction des chrétiens, des Juifs, mais également des musulmans récemment convertis (attirés par les déploiements de luxe des églises chrétiennes) pour marquer le triomphe de l’Islam. Wikipedia
Jérusalem apparaît 669 fois et Sion (qui signifie habituellement Jérusalem, et parfois la terre d’Israël) 154 fois dans la Bible juive, soit 823 fois au total. La Bible chrétienne mentionne Jérusalem 154 fois et Sion 7 fois. En revanche, comme le relève le chroniqueur Moshe Kohn, Jérusalem et Sion apparaissent aussi fréquemment dans le Coran «que dans la Bhagavad Gita hindoue, le Tao te King taoïste, le Dhammapada bouddhiste et le Zend Avesta de Zarathoustra» – c’est-à-dire tout simplement pas.  Daniel Pipes
Il n’y a pas de preuve tangible qu’il y ait la moindre trace ou le moindre vestige juif que ce soit dans la vieille ville de Jérusalem ou dans le voisinage immédiat. Communiqué du ministère palestinien de l’Information (10 décembre 1997)
Le mur d’Al-Buraq [Mur des Lamentations] et sa place sont une propriété religieuse musulmane…[Il fait] partie de la mosquée Al Aqsa. Les Juifs n’ont aucun lien avec cet endroit. Mufti de Jérusalem (nommé par Yasser Arafat, Al Ayyam [journal de l'Autorité palestinienne], 22 novembre 1997)
Le mur d’Al-Buraq est une propriété musulmane et fait partie de la mosquée Al Aqsa. Hassan Tahboob (Ministre des Affaires religieuses de Yasser Arafat, dans interview accordée à l’agence de presse, IMRA, le 22 novembre 1997)
Ce n’est pas du tout le mur des Lamentations, mais un sanctuaire musulman. Yasser Arafat (Maariv, 11 octobre 1996)
Tous les événements liés au roi Saul, au roi David et au roi Rehoboam se sont déroulés au Yémen, et aucun vestige hébreu n’a été trouvé en Israël pour la bonne et simple raison qu’ils n’y ont jamais vécu. Jarid al-Kidwa (historien arabe, au cours d’un programme éducatif de l’OLP, juin 1997, cité dans Haaretz le 6 juillet 1997)
Jérusalem n’est pas une ville juive, en dépit du mythe biblique qui a été semé dans certains esprits…Il n’y a pas d’évidence tangible de l’existence juive d’un soi-disant « Temple du mont Era »…on doute de l’emplacement du mont du Temple…il se peut qu’il ait été situé à Jéricho ou ailleurs. Walid Awad (directeur des publications pour l’étranger du ministère de l’Information de l’OLP, interviewé par l’agence de presse IMRA, le 25 décembre 1996)
Abraham n’était pas juif, pas plus que c’était un Hébreu, mais il était tout simplement irakien. Les Juifs n’ont aucun droit de prétendre disposer d’une synagogue dans la tombe des patriarches à Hébron, lieu où est inhumé Abraham. Le bâtiment tout entier devrait être une mosquée. Yasser Arafat (Jerusalem Report, 26 décembre 1996)
[La Shoa] est un mensonge des Sionistes concernant de soi-disant massacres perpétrés contre les Juifs. Al Hayat Al Jadeeda ( journal de l’Autorité palestinienne, 3 septembre 1997)
[Notre but est] d’éliminer l’Etat d’Israël et d’établir un Etat qui soit entièrement palestinien. Yasser Arafat (session privée avec des diplomates arabes en Europe, 30 janvier 1996)
La lutte contre l’ennemi sioniste n’est pas une question de frontières, mais touche à l’existence même de l’entité sioniste. Bassam-abou-Sharif (porte-parole de l’OLP, Kuwait News Agency – Agence de presse koweïtienne, 31 mai 1996)
A document found in the Cairo Geniza describes the way in which Umar I brought a group of Jews to the site of the Temple in order to clean it. The Jewish elders were asked to identify the stone known as the Foundation Stone. When it was found and identified, Umar ordered « a sanctuary to be built and a dome to be erected over the stone and overlaid with gold. » As a reward, Umar permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem and establish the Jewish Quarter. Reuven Hammer
Les colons ont gagné. (…) L’avenir d’Israel, de sa démocratie, du sionisme libéral et de la paix dépendra de la manière dont le judaisme saura résister à l’eschatologie. Charles Enderlin
Selon la sociologue, Tamar Herman, l’immense majorité du public israélien n’acceptera certainement pas une souveraineté musulmane palestinienne sur l’ensemble de ce qui est le troisième lieu saint de l’Islam. Tout au plus, une partie des Juifs israéliens séculiers pourraient accepter un partage du mont. Les sionistes religieux et aussi certains ultra-orthodoxes s’opposent à toute concession sur ce lieu saint juif et, au contraire, réclament le droit d’y prier. C’est la victoire du fondamentalisme messianique telle que je la décris dans mon livre " Au nom du Temple. Israël et l’irrésistible ascension du messianisme juif. 1967-2013." Charles Enderlin
Les Israéliens et leurs chefs politiques, de droite comme de gauche, ont été incapables, depuis la guerre des Six-Jours, en 1967, de répondre à l’alternative existentielle suivante : Israël est-il le pays des juifs – visant à la libération nationale d’un peuple jadis opprimé, et dans ce contexte qu’importe de contrôler tout ou partie seulement de la Terre biblique ? Ou Israël est-il le pays juif (et non pas des juifs) répondant à une exigence divine et messianique : contrôler et prendre possession à tout jamais de chaque centimètre carré de la "terre juive", au risque de déclarer une guerre perpétuelle avec les Palestiniens et de susciter des troubles civils au sein même de la société israélienne ? (…) Le livre de Charles Enderlin est… effrayant. Parce qu’il raconte sans détour ni afféterie comment et à quel point les messianistes juifs n’ont cessé de dévorer l’Israël laïc, imposant à la droite comme à la gauche leur idéologie (radicalement antidémocratique), leurs méthodes (musclées, parfois fascisantes, souvent violentes) et leurs certitudes idéologiques (ce sont eux les "bons" juifs, tout contradicteur n’étant qu’un traître méritant châtiment). La conclusion d’Enderlin est terrifiante : le rouleau compresseur messianiste ne cesse d’avancer sur Israël dans une irrésistible progression, provoquant une tout aussi irrésistible régression. Puisse-t-il se tromper.  Maurice Szafran (Marianne)
Attention: une idéologie peut en cacher une autre !
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En ce 46e anniversaire de la réunification de Jérusalem
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Qui avait mis fin à 19 ans, sous autorité jordanienne et entre profanations de synagogues et désécrations de cimetières, d’interdiction de présence juive dans la vieille ville comme dans les lieux saints du judaïsme …

Alors que, pour cause d’occupation depuis treize siècles par les mosquées-coucou des disciples de Mahomet, les juifs ne peuvent toujours prier sur l’esplanade de leur ancien temple

Pendant que, fidèle à elle-même, la Patrie autoproclamée des droits de l’homme exprime ses réserves sur les seuls raids israéliens contre les transferts de missiles syriens au Hezbollah …

Comment ne pas voir l’incroyable aveuglement de nos belles âmes …

Pour qui, à l’instar du tristement célèbre faussaire de France 2 Charles Enderlin et face au contre-sionisme mimétique des Palestiniens en particulier et des musulmans en général …

La "juste solution" du conflit proche-oriental ne saurait passer que par le renoncement d’Israël à sa capitale historique et à son premier lieu saint?

Le dernier livre de Charles Enderlin

Victor Perez

 21 avril 2013

Si l’on avait le moindre doute quant au refus israélien d’une ‘’juste solution’’ pour le conflit proche-oriental, grâce aux bons soins du ‘’professionnel’’ (avec guillemets) Charles Enderlin, le public en est informé. Il suffit de lire le tout début des articles publicisant son dernier livre, voire seulement leurs titres, pour connaître le nom du coupable, du fauteur de paix. Des papiers, favorables au livre, repris, évidemment, par les alliés idéologiques de celui-ci tel Palestine Solidarité qui se targue d’être un « Site d’information sur la Palestine, le Moyen-Orient… » (Sic).

Ne dit-on pas qui se ressemble s’assemble?

Un livre dans lequel, assure le JDD, « Défilent (…) des portraits de rabbins enflammés, de colons armés, de dirigeants politiques pris au piège et, en creux, les contours d’une population israélienne otage de ses extrémismes ».

Un livre qui garantit que depuis la guerre des six jours de 1967 « la mouvance des colons est devenue une force dominante dans la société israélienne, avec un discours théologique eschatologique » dixit le ‘’journaliste’’ (avec guillemets) de France 2.

Dominante ? Sur quoi s’appuie l’auteur pour affirmer cette ‘’vérité’’ sinon sur sa seule doctrine voyant en l’Israélien le fauteur de paix ? Doctrine que l’on aperçoit déjà sur la quatrième de couverture de son livre intitulé « Au nom du Temple » et qui installe l’israélien comme « colon » du lieu le plus saint du Judaïsme.

La présentation de l’éditeur, faite bien sûr avec l’accord de l’auteur, assure que « Plongeant ses sources dans la haute antiquité biblique, le fondamentalisme messianique juif a pris son essor en juin 1967, après la conquête de la Cisjordanie et, surtout, du Haram Al-Sharif, le troisième lieu saint de l’Islam – là où se trouvent aussi les ruines du Temple d’Hérode, là où le patriarche Abraham avait prétendu sacrifier son fils Isaac ».

Si le lecteur avait, jusqu’à ce jour, le moindre doute quant à la ‘’sainteté’’ de l’esplanade des mosquées il est levé par ce ton catégorique. Une sainteté obtenue par la montée au ciel de Mahomet à partir de mosquées… qui, cependant, n’existaient pas encore à la mort de celui-ci.

Quelque peu gênant, non ? Mais de cela il n’en sera pas fait mention dans le livre.

Quant à Abraham…si le lieu du sacrifice est ‘’supposé’’, alors chacun se demandera à quand l’affirmation que c’est Ismaël et non Isaac qui était l’enfant chéri du patriarche prêt à être sacrifié pour l’amour de D… ?

Si ce petit détail est symptomatique, les interviews de Charles Enderlin sont parlantes.

Dans un entretien diffusé sur les ondes de France info, celui-ci affirme : « Le conflit entre Israéliens et Palestiniens était territorial. Il est en train de devenir religieux ».

Ce qui est comique lorsque l’on sait que le Hamas et le Hezbollah, mouvements religieux, ou encore, pour ne parler que de ceux-là, l’Iran théocratie musulmane participent, depuis des décennies, à toutes les tentatives d’éradication de l’Etat d’Israël. Des participations prouvées qui n’ont nullement donné envie d’écrire un livre à l’envoyé permanent à Jérusalem afin de dénoncer les ‘’imams enflammés, les criminels de guerre et contre l’humanité ‘’palestiniens’’ ou autres, les dirigeants politiques pris au piège et, en creux, les contours d’une population palestinienne otage de ses extrémismes’’.

Cette dénonciation, il est vrai ne paye pas financièrement, voire peut être dangereuse pour la santé !

Autre affirmation d’Enderlin :

« Aujourd’hui, avec 350 000 Israéliens dans les colonies de Cisjordanie, la création d’un Etat palestinien indépendant sur ce territoire paraît quasiment impossible ». Sans oublier les « 200.000 Israéliens installés dans des colonies urbaines à Jérusalem-Est ».

A n’en pas douter, l’auteur veut vendre son bouquin et empocher de juteuses royalties ! Tout autre journaliste, cogitant quelque peu aurait annoncé l’exigence israélienne. A savoir que tout accord de paix comprendra l’annexion définitive des « colonies urbaines » de Jérusalem ainsi que celles des blocs d’implantations situées près de la future frontière.

Ce qui réduira considérablement le nombre de « colons » présents sur le territoire de la future « Palestine » à quelques dizaines de milliers et qui, si une véritable paix s’instaure, pourront devenir binationaux. Ce qui laisse totalement ouvertes les chances de paix satisfaisant les deux peuples, mais pas certains dirigeants rêvant d’un ‘’droit de retour’’ de « réfugiés » au sein même de l’Etat d’Israël afin, par la démographie, le transformer en un énième pays musulman.

De cela, non plus, le livre n’entretiendra pas son lecteur !

Ni, sans doute, sur les plans de paix proposés, malgré la ‘’dominance’’ de la mouvance des « colons » depuis 1967, par Ehud Barak en l’an 2000, ou encore par Ehud Olmert en 2008. Il y a seulement cinq ans ! Deux plans refusés par l’Autorité palestinienne car n’intégrant pas le retour de centaines de milliers de soi-disant « réfugiés » au sein de l’état juif ni la propriété totale et exclusive de la veille ville de Jérusalem.

Mieux ! Ce pamphlet accusateur ne rappellera sans doute pas qu’en 2009 Benjamin Netanyahou, alors tout juste devenu Premier ministre, a accepté le principe d’un état ‘’palestinien’’ suivi, en 2010, d’un moratoire de dix mois des constructions dans les implantations de la Judée et la Samarie.

Deux gestes forts de la part d’un politique sensé être un ‘’ auxiliaire de cette mouvance extrémiste’’ dominant la société israélienne ! Un ‘’complice’’ soutenu dans ses efforts, jusqu’à ce jour, par une très large majorité de celle-ci qui est prête à la solution de deux états pour deux peuples mais non pas à une capitulation aux oukases des amis d’Enderlin.

A n’en pas douter, suite à ces faits tangibles, factuels, nul ne pourra soutenir, sans se fourvoyer, la thèse que la « mouvance des colons » domine la société israélienne et empêche la paix d’advenir! Ni que l’idéologie fétide de gauche, systématiquement anti-israélienne, ne mène pas la ‘’réflexion’’ (avec guillemets) de Charles Enderlin.

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Charles Enderlin dément sur Amazon.fr avec véhémence n’avoir jamais été officier dans l’armée israélienne. Serait-ce une tare pour lui qui se targue d’avoir défendu son pays à maintes reprises ?

Voir aussi:

Les choix de France Info

Charles Enderlin : "En Israël, la droite religieuse gagne du terrain"

le Mardi 9 Avril 2013

En Israël, le paysage politique se transforme, sous l’influence de la religion. La référence biblique devient majeure dans le débat public. Elle influence le développement des colonies. Le journaliste Charles Enderlin a enquêté.

Charles Enderlin : enquête sur la droite religieuse en Israël

Charles Enderlin publie Au nom du Temple (Seuil). Selon lui, aucun doute: "Le conflit entre Israéliens et Palestiniens était territorial. Il est en train de devenir religieux". Le journaliste analyse l’essor du messianisme juif, ce mouvement qui entend faire reposer la politique israélienne sur des fondements bibliques. Ce sionisme religieux existe depuis longtemps, mais il connaît un vif succès depuis quelques années.

De plus en plus d’Israéliens rêvent de reconstruire le Temple, détruit en 70 après JC, à l’emplacement du troisième lieu saint de l’Islam, l’esplanade des mosquées. Ils en font un symbole. Mais leur but est plus large, selon Charles Enderlin : "Occuper la terre d’Israël, créer des colonies, s’y installer le plus possible. Aujourd’hui, avec 350 000 Israéliens dans les colonies de Cisjordanie, la création d’un Etat palestinien indépendant sur ce territoire paraît quasiment impossible".

Charles Enderlin observe une montée en puissance de cette tendance à la fois religieuse et politique. Le messianisme imprègne de plus en plus la société israélienne, initialement libérale : "Des études sociologiques montrent que 51% des Israéliens juifs pensent que le messie va arriver. Le grand débat politique, c’est : l’Etat doit-il être d’abord juif et ensuite démocratique ou bien démocratique et juif ?"

Voir également:

Livres

Engrenage de la non-paix au proche-orient

Critique: Victoire militaire d’Israël, la guerre des Six Jours marque aussi le début de la débâcle du sionisme laïc et socialiste.

Annettte Lévy-Willard

Libération

12 avril 2013

On le savait mais le livre de Charles Enderlin le rappelle avec force : le tournant dans l’histoire d’Israël a bien été cette année 1967, où l’Etat hébreu a gagné la guerre des Six Jours. Victoire militaire, victoire indispensable à la survie d’Israël, menacé de destruction par l’attaque des pays arabes voisins. Et, paradoxe, cette guerre gagnée va se transformer en défaite politique du sionisme laïc et socialiste des origines. Cette année-là, et au nom d’un «droit divin», la religion et l’occupation des territoires du «Grand Israël» vont peu à peu envahir – polluer – la vie politique israélienne.

En ce mois de juin 1967 donc, les soldats de Tsahal repoussent l’armée jordanienne, pénètrent dans la Vieille Ville de Jérusalem et pleurent en découvrant le vestige du Temple des Hébreux, détruit par Titus dix-neuf siècles plus tôt, le mur des Lamentations (ou mur occidental du Temple), où sont construits des lieux sacrés de l’autre monothéisme, la mosquée Al-Aqsa et le Dôme du Rocher. Les rabbins se précipitent pour récupérer le Mont du Temple, ce symbole de la «rédemption d’Israël».

A la tête des troupes israéliennes, le général et ministre de la Défense Moshe Dayan, est le héros de la guerre, et un laïc convaincu. Tout comme Theodor Herzl, l’inventeur du sionisme au XIXe siècle, pour qui «l’Etat des Juifs» n’est pas un Etat religieux : «Nous ne permettrons pas aux velléités théocratiques de nos chefs religieux d’émerger.» Laïc comme les premiers chefs de l’Etat hébreu, David Ben Gourion et Golda Meir. Ce jour-là, Dayan a le bon réflexe : il ordonne qu’on retire le drapeau israélien planté sur le Dôme du Rocher. «Nous ne sommes pas venus pour conquérir les lieux saints des autres ou restreindre leurs droits religieux, mais pour assurer l’intégrité de la ville et y vivre avec d’autres dans la fraternité», déclare-t-il à la radio israélienne.

Le lendemain, les soldats prennent la ville palestinienne de Hébron où seraient enterrés les patriarches de la Bible. Même ferveur messianique des religieux et même intervention ferme de Dayan : «C’est une mosquée depuis mille trois cents ans, les Juifs doivent se contenter de la visiter et de prier devant les tombes.» Le rabbin aumônier des armées refuse d’obéir : «Il n’y a pas ici de terre arabe, dit-il. C’est un héritage divin.»

Avec l’occupation de Jérusalem-Est, de la Cisjordanie, de Gaza et du Golan, les organisations et partis annexionnistes et religieux font irruption sur la scène politique. Et ne cesseront de progresser. Ceux qui veulent garder le «Grand Israël» et construire un Etat religieux s’opposent aux Israéliens laïcs et modernes, qui reconnaissent la nécessité d’un Etat palestinien. Une bataille «Juifs contre Israéliens», disent les extrémistes religieux.

Le journaliste Charles Enderlin, correspondant à Jérusalem de France 2, a écrit de nombreux livres d’analyse politique sur la question de la paix au Proche-Orient. Dans Au nom du Temple, il retrace l’engrenage désespérant de la non-paix : la progression de la religion, les reculades des Premiers ministres, la colonisation… Avec près de 500 000 colons de l’autre côté de la ligne de 1967, la situation est-elle irréversible ? Ou Israël et le judaïsme résisteront-ils à l’appel du messianisme ?

Au nom du temple. Israël et l’irrésistible ascension du messianisme juif (1967-2013) de Charles Enderlin Seuil, 381 pp, 20 €.

Voir encore:

Au nom de la raison

François Clemenceau

Le Journal du Dimanche

14 avril 2013

Au nom du Temple, de Charles Enderlin, Seuil, 375 p., 20 euros.

C’est de nouveau un livre de mise en garde que vient de signer Charles Enderlin. Trois décennies de reportages pour France 2 à Jérusalem, d’enquêtes et de réflexions. En 2002, son Rêve brisé, deux ans après l’échec retentissant des accords de Camp David entre Ehoud Barak et Yasser Arafat, avait envoyé un premier message : la responsabilité du naufrage de la négociation n’était pas due uniquement au recul d’Arafat mais aussi à la partie israélienne qui n’était pas prête à la paix.

En 2006, dans Les Années perdues, son récit de la deuxième Intifada illustrait la volonté d’Ariel Sharon d’enfoncer le clou, de casser ce qui restait de l’Autorité palestinienne. Mais le fond de l’affaire est, selon lui, ailleurs. Dans la montée inexorable de l’extrême droite religieuse en Israël et sa volonté de moins en moins cachée de reprendre le mont du Temple. Pour démontrer sa thèse d’un messianisme continuel, Enderlin reprend l’histoire presque de zéro dans Au nom du Temple. Depuis 1967 et la guerre des Six-Jours, il raconte, documents à l’appui, comment l’alliance des colons et des religieux nationalistes a puissamment fait pression sur les gouvernements successifs de l’État hébreu pour annexer toujours davantage de terres arabes dans le seul but de reconquérir Jérusalem, tout Jérusalem, y compris ce Haram Al-Sharif, esplanade des mosquées qui domine le Mur des lamentations.

Défilent dans ces pages des portraits de rabbins enflammés, de colons armés, de dirigeants politiques pris au piège et, en creux, les contours d’une population israélienne otage de ses extrémismes. Dans cette chronologie, l’assassinat d’Yitzhak Rabin en novembre 1995 se lit d’un regard plus instruit. Depuis la percée aux élections de janvier du parti du Foyer juif, son leader Naftali Bennett est devenu un poids lourd du cabinet Netanyahou, lequel a toujours pensé et affirmé que "la Bible est le cadastre d’Israël". De quoi s’interroger sur les chances du secrétaire d’État américain John Kerry de remettre le processus de paix sur les rails.

Voir de même:

"Au nom du Temple Israël et l’irrésistible ascension du messianisme juif, 1967-2013"

Affaires stratégiques

3 mai 2013

Charles Enderlin, correspondant permanent de France 2 à Jérusalem dépuis 1981, répond aux questions de Pascal Boniface, directeur de l’IRIS, à l’occasion de la parution de son ouvrage « Au nom du Temple Israël et l’irrésistible ascension du messianisme juif, 1967-2013 » (Editions du Seuil, 2013).

Le titre de votre ouvrage signifie-t-il que pour vous les sionistes religieux et Jabotinsky, qui voulaient ériger un mur d’acier envers la population arabe ont gagné ?

Les faits sont là : depuis 1967, la guerre de Six jours et la conquête des territoires occupés, la droite nationaliste et le mouvement fondamentaliste messianique ont réussi à installer 360 000 colons en Cisjordanie avec un taux de croissance de 5%. Il est impossible d’en évacuer la plus grande partie. Souvenez-vous, il avait fallu 13000 militaires et policiers pour déménager les colons de Gaza. Or, aujourd’hui, rien que dans une colonie comme Beit El, près de Ramallah, on compte 8000 habitants… et il y a plus d’une centaine de colonies de ce genre au cœur de la Cisjordanie. Cela, sans parler des blocs urbains proches de la ligne verte. Il faut rappeler qu’actuellement plus de 40% des officiers d’infanterie sont des sionistes religieux dont un pourcentage important habite des colonies, certaines même « sauvages » non autorisées par le gouvernement israélien. Obéiront-ils à l’ordre d’évacuer leurs proches ?

Ce n’est pas tout, le problème qui a fait capoter les négociations de Camp David, en juillet 2000, est toujours là ! Jérusalem-Est, la vieille ville et le Haram Al Sharif, les saintes mosquées où se trouve aussi le mont du Temple, le lieu saint juif. Les Musulmans refusent d’accorder une forme quelconque de souveraineté à Israël et au Judaïsme dans ce qui est le troisième lieu saint de l’Islam… A Camp David, Ehoud Barak avait déclaré que c’était la pierre de fondation du sionisme et qu’aucun chef de gouvernement israélien ne saurait y renoncer. Selon tous les sondages, c’est également le point de vue de l’immense majorité des Israéliens. A priori, le sionisme religieux et Jabotinsky ont gagné. La solution à deux Etats a probablement vécu.

Vous estimez en citant Zeev Sternhell que la défaite de la gauche israélienne remonte au fait que Rabin n’a pas osé évacuer la colonie d’Hébron après le massacre de Goldstein qui a tué 29 Palestiniens et blessé 125, le 25 février 1994.

Yitzhak Rabin craignait un affrontement sanglant avec les colons qui menaçaient de s’opposer physiquement à l’évacuation de la colonie extrémiste située au cœur de Hébron. Il s’agissait de quelques dizaines de fidèles du rabbin raciste Meir Kahana, une mouvance à laquelle appartenait Godstein. Leur évacuation devait constituer un message important aux Palestiniens, au moment où, selon le Shin Beth, le Hamas préparait des attentats suicides en représailles au massacre du caveau des Patriarches. Selon le professeur Zeev Sternhell, « Si Israël avait évacué Hébron après le meurtre de Goldstein, les choses auraient tourné d’une autre manière. La droite aurait compris qu’elle avait en face d’elle une gauche capable de résister, alors qu’elle pensait toujours être intellectuellement, moralement, idéologiquement, beaucoup plus forte que la gauche. Quand Rabin a cédé face aux gens d’Hébron, il a apporté la preuve qu’ils avaient raison. Ce fut là le grand malheur de l’époque ».

L’année suivante, Shimon Pérès, a décidé de limiter les travaux de la commission d’enquête judiciaire sur les circonstances de l’assassinat de Rabin. Elle ne devait pas s’intéresser aux rabbins qui avaient, religieusement, condamné à mort le Premier ministre, pas à l’incitation à la violence de la droite… Pérès espérait ainsi obtenir le soutien de la droite religieuse modérée et conférer ainsi une certaine légitimité au processus d’Oslo. On connaît le résultat !

Politiquement, où en est le fondamentalisme messianique que vous décrivez ?

Ses représentants – du parti « La maison juive » – occupent des postes clés au gouvernement et à la Knesset. Naftali Bennet, le ministre de l’Economie et de l’Industrie, est un ancien président du conseil des colonies de même que Nissan Slomiansky qui dirige la commission parlementaire des finances. Ouri Ariel, colon, un des fondateurs du mouvement Goush Emounim – Le bloc de la foi-, a le portefeuille de l’Habitat. Au sein du Likoud, au moins un tiers des membres du comité central viennent des colonies de Cisjordanie. Moshé Feiglin, qui milite pour la reconstruction du Temple juif est député et vice président de la Knesset, etc. Dans mon livre, je définis le fondamentalisme messianique comme un mouvement révolutionnaire pour qui la fin justifie les moyens. Ses partisans ont infiltré tous les niveaux de l’administration israélienne et constitue aujourd’hui, un des principaux courants au sein de la société israélienne. Selon la sociologue Tamar Hermann, 51 % des Israéliens juifs croient en la venue du Messie. Parmi eux, il y a les religieux mais aussi des traditionalistes et des séculiers. 67 % d’entre eux croient encore que le peuple juif est le peuple élu… C’est le résultat de développements démographiques, mais aussi le résultat de l’influence croissante du discours sioniste religieux dans l’ensemble du système éducatif. La gauche sioniste, libérale, n’a pas réussi à combattre ces tendances.

Voir enfin:

.. Au nom du Temple : l’irrésistible ascension du messianisme juif en Israël, 1967-2013

Couverture du livre Au nom du Temple : l’irrésistible ascension du messianisme juif en Israël, 1967-2013

Auteur : Charles Enderlin

Date de saisie : 20/04/2013

Genre : Documents Essais d’actualité

Editeur : Seuil, Paris, France

Prix : 20.00 €

ISBN : 9782021044072

GENCOD : 9782021044072

Sorti le : 04/04/2013

Les présentations des éditeurs : 20/04/2013

Plongeant ses sources dans la haute antiquité biblique, le fondamentalisme messianique juif a pris son essor en juin 1967, après la conquête de la Cisjordanie et, surtout, du Haram Al-Sharif, le troisième lieu saint de l’Islam – là où se trouvent aussi les ruines du Temple d’Hérode, là où le patriarche Abraham avait prétendu sacrifier son fils Isaac.

Convaincus que le monde est entré dans l’ère eschatologique, les militants de ce mouvement religieux, allié à la droite nationaliste, s’opposent à toute concession territoriale, et a fortiori à la création d’un État palestinien souverain et indépendant. Les idéaux, la politique, les principes qui avaient inspiré le sionisme des origines, libéral et pragmatique, ont été, à mesure que progressait la pénétration du fondamentalisme juif dans la société israélienne, de plus en plus marginalisés.

Dans ce nouveau document d’enquête, Charles Enderlin décrit la lente diffusion de l’idée messianique et son corollaire, le développement de la colonisation juive en Cisjordanie, qui rend impossible toute solution à deux États. Un nouvel Israël est-il en train de naître, menant le Proche-Orient à un point de non-retour ?

Charles Enderlin est le correspondant permanent de France 2 à Jérusalem depuis 1981. Il est l’auteur d’une fameuse trilogie sur le conflit israélo-palestinien, publiée chez Fayard : Paix ou guerres (1997 et 2004), Le Rêve brisé (2002), 40.000 exemplaires vendus, Les Années perdues (2006). Puis, chez Albin Michel : Par le feu et par le sang (2008) et Le Grand aveuglement (2009). Ses livres sont pratiquement tous réédités au Livre de poche.

La revue de presse Annette Lévy-Willard – Libération du 11 avril 2013

On le savait mais le livre de Charles Enderlin le rappelle avec force : le tournant dans l’histoire d’Israël a bien été cette année 1967, où l’Etat hébreu a gagné la guerre des Six Jours…

Le journaliste Charles Enderlin, correspondant à Jérusalem de France 2, a écrit de nombreux livres d’analyse politique sur la question de la paix au Proche-Orient. Dans Au nom du Temple, il retrace l’engrenage désespérant de la non-paix : la progression de la religion, les reculades des Premiers ministres, la colonisation… Avec près de 500 000 colons de l’autre côté de la ligne de 1967, la situation est-elle irréversible ? Ou Israël et le judaïsme résisteront-ils à l’appel du messianisme ?

Les courts extraits de livres : 20/04/2013

Extrait de l’introduction

«Chaque fois qu’on introduit le messianisme en politique, les choses se gâtent. Cela ne peut mener qu’à la catastrophe.»

Gershom Scholem, 14 août 1980

Londres, juillet 1937. La commission d’enquête dirigée par sir Robert Peel publie son rapport sur la situation en Palestine à la suite de la révolte arabe. Elle propose la création de deux États. Les Juifs recevraient la plaine côtière à l’exception de Jaffa, de Gaza et de la Galilée. Les Arabes, le reste de la Palestine. Jérusalem et Bethléem formeraient une enclave sous mandat britannique.

Pour la première fois depuis sa création, à la fin du XIXe siècle, le mouvement sioniste doit maintenant clairement définir son objectif final. Quelle sera la nature de l’État qu’il entend édifier ? S’agit-il de transformer le Juif diasporique en un citoyen responsable dans le cadre d’une communauté unie autour de principes, d’idéaux et d’une tradition issue de l’histoire biblique – la question de l’étendue de son territoire et de ses frontières étant alors secondaire ? Serait-ce plutôt l’aboutissement de l’aspiration millénaire du peuple juif à retrouver ses racines, à libérer la Terre d’Israël et renouer avec l’aventure biblique ? L’État, dans ce cas, ne serait qu’un moyen pour y parvenir, pas un but en soi.

A Zurich, un mois plus tard, le XXe Congrès sioniste s’ouvre dans une atmosphère tendue. David Ben Gourion, qui dirige l’Agence juive, est favorable au partage de la Palestine sans pour autant renoncer à l’idée du droit historique des Juifs sur la Terre d’Israël, fondement du mouvement sioniste. Mais, à ses yeux, il convient d’être réaliste. Seuls l’immigration, le développement économique, la force militaire et d’éventuelles négociations avec les pays arabes détermineront, pense-t-il, les frontières du futur État. Il l’explique en ces termes, dans une lettre adressée à son fils Amos :

«La création d’un État, même limité, servira de levier puissant pour nos efforts en vue de délivrer la terre dans son ensemble. Nous amènerons dans cet État le plus possible de Juifs. Plus de deux millions, pensons-nous. Nous créerons une économie diversifiée, fondée sur l’agriculture, l’industrie, la mer. Nous mettrons sur pied une force de défense, une armée exemplaire, je n’ai pas le moindre doute là-dessus. Ensuite, j’en suis certain, cela ne nous empêchera pas de nous installer sur les autres parties du pays, que ce soit dans le cadre d’un accord et d’une entente avec nos voisins arabes ou d’une autre manière. [...]»…

L’opposition à cette stratégie est quasi générale. Plusieurs dirigeants travaillistes, parmi lesquels Golda Meyerson (Meir), futur Premier ministre d’Israël, et Yitzhak Tabenkin, qui prône l’instauration du socialisme sur l’ensemble de la Terre d’Israël, sont convaincus que Robert Peel veut imposer au mouvement sioniste qu’il accepte la formation d’un État croupion et ils rappellent la promesse faite en 1917 par lord Balfour : «Le gouvernement de Sa Majesté envisage favorablement l’établissement en Palestine d’un Foyer national pour le peuple juif, et il emploiera tous ses efforts pour faciliter la réalisation de cet objectif, étant clairement entendu que rien ne sera fait qui porte atteinte aux droits civils et religieux des communautés non juives de Palestine ainsi qu’aux droits et aux statuts politiques dont les Juifs jouissent dans les autres pays.»

Voir par ailleurs:

Enderlin-Al-Dura : une histoire française

France Télévisions a instrumentalisé la justice pour faire obstacle à la vérité

 Luc Rosenzweig

25 Février 2013

Lundi 16 janvier, devant la 11e chambre de la Cour d’appel de Paris, se tenait, pour la troisième fois, une audience où Charles Enderlin et France Télévisions demandaient à la justice française de condamner Philippe Karsenty, directeur de Médias-Ratings, un site web de notation des médias, pour diffamation dans l’affaire Al-Dura. Karsenty a mis en cause l’authenticité d’un reportage diffusé dans le JT de France 2, le 30 septembre 2000, dans lequel Charles Enderlin, directeur du bureau de France 2 à Jérusalem, commentait des images filmées à Gaza par le cameraman palestinien Talal Abou Rahma, collaborateur habituel de la chaîne publique française. Dans le commentaire, Charles Enderlin affirme que ces images montrent la mort d’un enfant, Mohammed Al-Dura, victime de tirs de l’armée israélienne alors que son père, Jamal aurait, lui, été grièvement blessé.

Cette nouvelle audience devant la Cour d’appel de Paris faisait suite à l’annulation, par la Cour de cassation, de l’arrêt de cette même Cour d’appel, laquelle, en mai 2008, avait relaxé Philippe Karsenty du chef de diffamation, infirmant ainsi un premier jugement prononcé en sa défaveur par le tribunal de grande instance de Paris.

Quoique parfaitement fondé en droit, le motif de la cassation est pour le moins étonnant pour ceux qui se soucient de l’établissement de la vérité dans cette interminable affaire. La Cour a en effet considéré que l’arrêt de la présidente de la Cour d’appel ordonnant à France Télévisions de mettre à la disposition de la Cour les « rushes » (les images tournées, mais non diffusées) du reportage contesté était en contradiction avec les procédures judiciaires en matière de diffamation. Il appartient en effet au prévenu, et à lui seul, d’apporter à la justice les preuves et documents pouvant attester de sa bonne foi et de la véracité des accusations portées.

C’est pourtant cette divulgation publique qui permit, dans les mois qui suivirent, d’établir « beyond reasonable doubt » comme diraient les Américains, que ce reportage était une supercherie, voire une mise en scène pure et simple. C’est pourquoi, au cœur de ce deuxième procès en appel, Charles Enderlin et France 2 n’ont pas plaidé sur la véracité des faits rapportés, mais sur le fait que Philippe Karsenty, au moment où, en novembre 2004, il portait de graves accusations contre France 2, Charles Enderlin et Arlette Chabot, directrice de l’information de la chaîne publique, ne répondait pas aux critères pouvant excuser la diffamation, notamment en matière d’enquête sérieuse et de prudence dans la formulation. Comme ces subtilités sont difficilement perceptibles par le grand public, une condamnation définitive de Karsenty permettrait à Enderlin et à France 2 de clamer que l’affaire est close, et que la vérité des faussaires est devenue vérité judiciaire. Il n’en est évidemment rien, et c’est avec une parfaite placidité que je peux, aujourd’hui, réaffirmer que Charles Enderlin et France 2 se sont rendus complices d’un bidonnage éhonté commis par leur cameraman de Gaza, dont les conséquences furent dramatiques1 [1]. Je suis certain que France 2 ne poursuivra plus aucun de ceux qui partagent ce point de vue, comme la documentariste allemande Esther Schapira, le philosophe Pierre-André Taguieff2 ou tous ceux qui s’apprêtent à publier de nouveaux ouvrages ou à réaliser de nouveaux documentaires sur la question. Car l’affaire a tellement évolué, grâce notamment à la persévérance de Philippe Karsenty, que désormais tout procès en diffamation serait perdu par la chaîne publique. C’est pourquoi, pour les faussaires et leurs complices, il est essentiel d’obtenir, le 3 avril, un arrêt de la Cour d’appel en leur faveur. Cela leur permettra de continuer à s’appuyer sur la justice française pour empêcher l’émergence, en France, d’une vérité déjà largement admise dans d’autres pays, notamment en Israël, aux États-Unis et en Allemagne.

Pour avoir été, depuis mai 2004, partie prenante du débat sur ce sujet, j’ai pu observer comment Charles Enderlin et France 2 ont mis toute leur énergie à empêcher la vérité de surgir en instrumentalisant sans vergogne la justice française.

La mise en cause du reportage de France 2 commença, quelques semaines après sa diffusion, par une enquête lancée à la demande du général Yom Tov Samia, alors commandant les forces engagées à Gaza. Cette enquête, à laquelle participa le physicien israélien Nahum Shahaf, mit en lumière quelques éléments invalidant la thèse d’Enderlin, concernant notamment la provenance des tirs ayant prétendument tué l’enfant et grièvement blessé le père, et l’heure auquel le drame était censé s’être déroulé. À la suite de ces premières révélations, d’autres personnes enquêtent : le journaliste américain James Fallows, du prestigieux mensuel Atlantic Monthly, la documentariste allemande Esther Schapira, l’universitaire américain Richard Landes et le site d’information francophone israélien Mena, dirigé par Stéphane Juffa. Tous parviennent à la conclusion que la version présentée par France 2 ne tient pas. En 2003, un psychanalyste français, Gérard Huber, correspondant en France de la Mena, publiait un livre intitulé Contre-expertise d’une mise en scène qui synthétise tous les arguments étayant la thèse de la supercherie.

Le doute commence à se propager, et des journalistes reconnus sur la place de Paris se posent des questions. Raison pour laquelle la direction de France 2 invite trois d’entre eux, dont l’auteur de ces lignes, à visionner les « rushes » de Talal Abou Rahma au siège de la chaîne. Le principal effet de cette séance est de mettre en lumière les incohérences, contradictions et mensonges de Talal Abou Rahma et de Charles Enderlin dans leur défense de l’authenticité des faits rapportés. Au lieu d’accepter ma suggestion de mettre un terme définitif aux interrogations de ceux qui doutent en demandant à Jamal Al-Dura de se soumettre à une expertise médico-légale indépendante, France 2 envoie Talal Abou Rahma filmer les cicatrices, bien réelles, que le père de l’enfant prétendu mort porte sur tout le corps. Ces images seront présentées à la presse lors d’une projection d’où sont exclus tous les médias jugés défavorables à la thèse de France 2. On verra plus loin que ce film, qui persuada la plupart des journalistes présents de la bonne foi de France 2, allait se retourner contre elle. Sûre de son fait, la chaîne publique se lance alors dans un combat judiciaire pour écraser définitivement ses contradicteurs. France 2 cependant, n’attaque pas en diffamation ceux qui sont directement à l’origine de sa mise en cause : la Mena, Gérard Huber ou Esther Schapira, qui, dans un premier film, conclut que l’enfant est bien mort, mais exonère les soldats israéliens de la responsabilité de ce drame. Elle choisit, à dessein, de traîner devant les tribunaux des sites internet qui n’ont fait que reprendre ces informations. Ce choix n’est pas le fruit du hasard, mais vise à éviter que le tribunal reconnaisse aux critiques de Charles Enderlin l’excuse de la bonne foi et d’un travail d’enquête réel. Dans la ligne de mire de la chaîne se trouvent Pierre-Itzhak Lurçat, un Franco-Israélien qui anime le site de la Ligue de défense juive, Charles Gouz, un médecin retraité qui dirige le site Désinfos.com, et Philippe Karsenty de Médias-Ratings. Le premier est relaxé pour des raisons de procédure : il n’a pas pu être établi qu’il était l’administrateur du site concerné. En revanche, Charles Gouz et Philippe Karsenty sont condamnés en dépit d’une demande de relaxe de l’avocat général, le tribunal estimant que les critères juridiques de la diffamation s’appliquent en la matière : enquête insuffisante, manque de prudence dans la formulation etc…En prime, le tribunal avalise le refus de France 2 de rendre publics les « rushes » du cameraman sous le fallacieux prétexte de la protection des sources, totalement inadéquat en l’espèce. Forte de ses condamnations, France 2 mobilise alors le ban et l’arrière-ban de la profession pour dénoncer la « campagne de calomnies » dont serait victime son correspondant à Jérusalem.

La Cour d’appel, en 2008, infirme le jugement, et c’est ce qui permet, pour la première fois, à tout un chacun de se faire une idée de ce qui s’est réellement passé le 30 septembre 2000, au carrefour de Netzarim. Des experts en balistique et de médecine légale, totalement indépendants, à qui les images sont projetées, concluent que la version présentée par Enderlin est contraire à toute vraisemblance (absence de sang sur les vêtements des victimes, impossibilité que les traces de balles sur le mur puissent provenir de la position israélienne etc.). De plus, après avoir longuement hésité à rompre le secret médical, un chirurgien israélien déclare que les cicatrices présentes sur le corps de Jamal Al-Dura sont la conséquence de blessures à l’arme blanche subies par ce dernier lors d’une rixe à Gaza en 1994, et de l’intervention chirurgicale qu’il avait réalisée pour greffer des tendons sur sa main. Le CRIF, resté jusque-là très en retrait dans cette affaire, interpelle alors France 2 et le CSA pour que la lumière soit faite au plus vite. Il y a donc le feu à la maison France 2, et son président d’alors, Patrick de Carolis, accepte une médiation entre la chaîne publique et le CRIF, confiée à la LICRA. Celle-ci propose de faire venir Jamal Al-Dura à Paris pour qu’il se soumette à une expertise médico-légale confiée à des médecins légistes désignés par les deux parties.

Dans un premier temps, Charles Enderlin se réjouit, sur son blog, de cette initiative, dont il affirme qu’elle lui rendra, enfin, justice. Les semaines et les mois passent, et France 2, qui était chargée d’organiser le voyage en France de Jamal Al-Dura, est aux abonnés absents. Interrogés par Richard Prasquier, président du CRIF, les dirigeants de France Télévisions répondent que le blocus de Gaza par Israël empêche Jamal Al-Dura de se rendre à Ramallah, en Cisjordanie, pour renouveler son passeport périmé. Cette version est immédiatement contredite par le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères qui se dit prêt à accorder, à tout moment, un sauf-conduit à Jamal Al-Dura pour se rendre à Ramallah, et une autorisation de prendre l’avion pour Paris à l’aéroport de Tel Aviv. Quelques jours plus tard, on apprend que Jamal Al-Dura, de sa propre initiative (!) a décidé de porter plainte en diffamation contre Actualité juive, un hebdo communautaire paraissant à Paris, qui avait publié un entretien du Dr Yehuda David, réalisé par Clément Weill-Raynal, rédacteur en chef adjoint à France 32 [2]. Cela fournit à France 2 un nouveau prétexte − « ne pas interférer dans une procédure en cours » − pour se tirer du mauvais pas de l’accord passé avec le CRIF. Cela permet surtout de gagner du temps, en attendant que la Cour de cassation se prononce sur l’arrêt de la Cour d’appel favorable à Philippe Karsenty. Parallèlement, France Télévisions exerce des pressions sur l’ARD, première chaîne de télévision allemande, pour qu’elle renonce à la diffusion et à la vente à l’étranger du nouveau film d’Esther Schapira, qui conclut, cette fois-ci, à la très grande probabilité d’une mise en scène de la mort d’un enfant. France Télévisions menace même de rompre ses accords de coopération avec l’ARD. Contrairement à la plupart des médias français, la télévision allemande ne se laisse pas intimider, diffuse le film, et le vend dans plusieurs pays, dont Israël.

Nous en sommes là. L’opinion publique s’est, depuis longtemps, désintéressée de l’affaire. Les juges de la Cour d’appel de Paris pourront, certes, infirmer l’arrêt de leurs collègues en se drapant dans une interprétation littérale du droit en matière de diffamation. Summum jus, summa injuria (« Justice excessive devient injustice ») disaient sagement les Anciens. Sur l’attitude de France 2, et de l’ensemble des appareils de pouvoir venus à sa rescousse, l’Histoire jugera.

Douze années de polémiques…

30 septembre 2000. France 2 diffuse, au « 20 heures », un reportage, commenté par Charles Enderlin, semblant montrer la mort d’un enfant palestinien, Mohammed Al-Dura, tué intentionnellement par des balles de l’armée israélienne dans les bras de son père.

3 octobre 2000. Talal Abou Rahma, le cameraman, déclare sous serment au « Palestinian Centre for Human Rights » de Gaza que les Israéliens ont tué l’enfant intentionnellement.

4 octobre 2000. Jamal Al-Dura est hospitalisé à l’hôpital d’Aman, où il recevra la visite du roi de Jordanie.

12 octobre 2000. Deux réservistes israéliens égarés à Ramallah sont lynchés aux cris de « Vengeance pour Al-Dura ! ».

19 octobre 2000. Le chercheur israélien Nahum Shahaf demande, en vain, l’accès aux « rushes » de France 2.

25 octobre 2000. Dans Télérama, Charles Enderlin affirme avoir coupé l’agonie de l’enfant au montage.

Février 2002. Le journaliste du Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl, est décapité pour venger la « mort » du petit Mohammed.

18 mars 2002. La chaîne publique allemande ARD diffuse Drei Kugeln für ein todes Kind (« Trois balles pour un enfant mort ») d’Esther Schapira.

Janvier 2003. Gérard Huber publie, aux éditions Raphaël Contre-expertise d’une mise en scène.

Octobre/décembre 2003. Richard Landes, professeur à l’université de Boston, rencontre Charles Enderlin qui lui permet de visionner les « rushes ».

21 octobre 2004. Daniel Leconte, Denis Jeambar et Luc Rosenzweig visionnent les « rushes » avec Arlette Chabot.

18 novembre 2004. Arlette Chabot organise une conférence de presse pour communiquer ses « preuves ».

22 novembre 2004. Philippe Karsenty, de Media-Ratings déclare : « Arlette Chabot et Charles Enderlin doivent être démis de leurs fonctions immédiatement. »

19 octobre 2006. Philippe Karsenty est condamné pour diffamation contre France 2 et Charles Enderlin, bien que le procureur ait demandé sa relaxe. Philippe Karsenty fait appel.

10 septembre 2007. L’armée israélienne envoie une demande officielle à France 2 « en vue de communication des rushes ».

19 septembre 2007. Ouverture du procès en appel en diffamation intenté par France 2 et Charles Enderlin contre Philippe Karsenty.

3 octobre 2007. La présidente de la Cour, Laurence Trébucq, ordonne officiellement à France 2 de présenter les « rushes ». Charles Enderlin et France 2 se pourvoient en cassation.

12 décembre 2007. Le Dr Yehuda David révèle que les cicatrices de Jamal Al-Dura ne datent pas du 30 septembre 2000.

21 mai 2008. Philippe Karsenty gagne en appel le procès pour diffamation intenté par France 2 et Charles Enderlin contre lui.

27 mai 2008. Le Nouvel Observateur publie la pétition « Pour Charles Enderlin ».

Juin 2008-septembre 2008. Le président du CRIF, Richard Prasquier, obtient de France Télévisions la création d’une commission d’enquête, mais elle ne verra jamais le jour…

4 mars 2009. La chaîne publique allemande ARD diffuse un nouveau documentaire d’Esther Schapira, L’Enfant, la mort et la vérité, qui démonte la mise en scène diffusée de France 2.

14 juillet 2009. Bernard Kouchner, alors ministre des Affaires étrangères de Nicolas Sarkozy, fait attribuer la Légion d’honneur à Charles Enderlin.

Mai 2010. Pierre-André Taguieff publie, aux PUF, La Nouvelle propagande antijuive qui consacre 100 pages à l’affaire Al-Dura.

7 Octobre 2010. Charles Enderlin publie un livre sur l’affaire Al-Dura : Un enfant est mort.

21 octobre 2010. Le bureau du Premier ministre israélien émet un communiqué contredisant la version de France 2.

28 février 2012. La Cour de Cassation annule la relaxe de Philippe Karsenty, contre l’avis de l’avocat général, et ordonne que l’affaire soit rejugée par la Cour d’appel de Paris.

16 janvier 2013. Lors du nouveau procès en appel, le procureur « s’en remet à la sagesse de la Cour », qui prononcera son arrêt le 3 avril 2013.

La diffusion de ces images provoqua, début octobre 2000, des émeutes dans les villages arabes d’Israël, qui provoquèrent 13 morts, et servirent de prétexte aux djihadistes pakistanais pour exécuter, devant une caméra, le journaliste américain Daniel Pearl. ↩ [3]

Yehuda David et Clément Weill-Raynal ont été condamnés en première instance. La Cour d’appel relaxe Yehuda David, mais maintient, sur un point de détail, la condamnation de Clément Weill-Raynal, qui s’est pourvu en cassation. ↩ [4]

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Voir enfin:

Un oeil borgne sur la planète

Guy Millière

Drzz.fr

Une émission d’incitation à la haine sur France 2

Je m’attendais à une belle émission, et ce fut effectivement une belle émission. J’aimerais en voir plus souvent de semblables. Cela me permettrait de devenir un bon antisémite français.

L’émission s’appelait Un œil sur la planète : pour cette fois, l’expression appropriée aurait été un œil borgne sur la planète. D’ailleurs, je pense que c’est l’explication fondamentale.

Les journalistes qui font l’émission sont borgnes, ce qui les empêche de voir une bonne partie de la réalité qui les entoure. Ils sont aussi en partie sourds, car il est des mots qu’ils n’entendent pas.

Ils sont tellement ignorants en histoire qu’ils ont dû retripler leur sixième et rater leur bac à vingt cinq ans.

Ils souffrent aussi de déficiences mentales assez marquées, car lorsque leur interlocuteur les prend pour des imbéciles, ils montrent avec un sourire niais que l’interlocuteur concerné a raison.

Le sujet était la création de l’Etat palestinien. Tous les Palestiniens montrés étaient des gens doux et gentils qui souffraient sans cesse pour toutes les raisons imaginables, à croire qu’ils étaient atrocement persécutés par de monstrueux sadiques appelés les Juifs, parfois, les Israéliens.

Certains de ces gens doux et gentils rejoignaient des groupes armés désireux de tuer les monstrueux sadiques d’en face, ces sales Juifs, et il était fatal, à l’évidence, que des gens doux et gentils en arrivent là : quand la souffrance devient insupportable et quand les persécutions atroces durent trop longtemps, même le plus doux des agneaux peut se mettre à crier et à se rebeller.

On a montré Gaza enfermé entre de hauts murs par les Juifs. On a dit que les Juifs ne voulaient pas que les terres soient cultivées sur une bande de trois cent mètres le long de la frontière, juste pour empêcher des agriculteurs de planter des légumes et pour faire mourir de faim des familles entières.

On a montré les tunnels de contrebande vers l’Egypte et pas longtemps après, dans un centre commercial, le seul escalator de Gaza, flambant neuf. Ils sont vraiment forts les Palestiniens doux et gentils. Ils ont réussi à faire passer un escalator par des tunnels d’un mètre de large.

On a évoqué les tirs de roquettes sur Gaza, mais on a expliqué que ces tirs se faisaient en représailles aux tirs des Juifs, qui, semble-t-il tirent sur des Palestiniens doux et gentils de Gaza rien que pour le plaisir.

Il y a eu un beau passage sur la Judée-Samarie, expliquant que les Juifs coupent l’eau aux Palestiniens qui, sans cela, cultiveraient tellement que la région serait aussi prolifique et féconde que la Beauce. Les Juifs empêchent les cultivateurs de cultiver et veulent faire mourir de soif les gens doux et gentils : une honte.

Et le journaliste croit savoir qu’avant les Juifs, la Judée-Samarie était verdoyante. J’attendais des photos de la Judée-Samarie verdoyante d’avant les Juifs. Il semble que le journaliste ne les ait pas trouvées.

Bien sûr, le mur a été évoqué.

Et là, les Juifs ont construit un mur enfermant les gens doux et gentils d’un côté du mur tout en laissant le jardin que les gens doux et gentils cultivent de l’autre côté du mur.

Du pur sadisme. Il n’a pas été question d’attentats ou de terrorisme, car, comme chacun le sait, il n’y a jamais eu d’attentats ou de terrorisme. S’il y en avait eu, le journaliste l’aurait dit.

On a vu Ramallah, belle, propre, neuve, avec une police souriante et scrupuleuse, des services administratifs qui fonctionnent. On donnerait un Etat les yeux fermés à ces gens là. Surtout lorsqu’on est borgne et qu’on ne demande pas pourquoi toutes les rues ont des noms de terroristes ou d’auteur d’attentat suicide.

On a vu Hebron et les humiliations incessantes que des Juifs colonisateurs font subir aux gens doux et gentils. On n’a pas entendu parler des gens assassinés ou égorgés par des gens doux et gentils, sans doute parce que des Juifs assassinés, cela n’existe pas non plus.

On a appris que Jérusalem Est était très largement colonisée, que des Juifs y démolissaient cyniquement des maisons de gens doux et gentils, et qu’on y construisait des maisons pour les Juifs. Quels gens répugnants, ces Juifs !

On a vu des gens dans un camp de réfugiés au Liban, et ces gens souffrent aussi énormément à cause des Juifs : les Juifs les ont chassés de chez eux en 1948, le droit international, a dit le journaliste, leur donne le droit de rentrer chez eux, mais comme les Juifs violent sans cesse le droit international, ils doivent pendre au mur la clé de leur maison que des Juifs occupent indûment.

Le fait que les Arabes palestiniens n’ont pas le droit de s’intégrer à la société libanaise a été évoqué par quelqu’un qui a dit que c’était parce qu’il fallait d’abord libérer la Palestine. Le journaliste a trouvé l’explication convaincante.

C’est vrai, quoi ! Si on ne peut pas faire revenir cinq millions de personnes qui n’ont jamais mis les pieds en Israël, et dont l’arrière grand père est parti sur ordre des autorités arabes, pour quinze jours, le temps que tous les Juifs soient massacrés, c’est injuste !

Est-ce de la faute de ces gens si les Juifs n’ont pas été tous massacrés ! Les Juifs se sont défendus : c’est dire à quel point ils sont ignobles.

On a très peu vu Israël : l’œil borgne n’a pas vu qu’Israël existait, et il a préféré ne pas voir. Cela aurait été risqué pour lui de se promener au milieu de Juifs, ces gens sont si méchants ! Pas étonnant si Hitler les détestait !

Se disant qu’il devait quand même équilibrer son discours, le journaliste a rencontré, pour une minute trente Uzi Landau, ministre du gouvernement israélien. Il n’a pas pu tenir davantage qu’une minute trente : une minute trente de vérité après une dose intensive de mensonges, c’est dangereux pour le rythme cardiaque, surtout chez les borgnes.

On a aperçu Charles Enderlin, dont la réputation n’est plus à faire. Et on a eu dix minutes d’interview d’Avraham Burg qui a pu dire amplement que le gouvernement présent d’Israël pratique l’apartheid, est composé de racistes et de gens d’extrême-droite.

Pour de l’information, çà c’est de l’information.

Le dernier volet était consacré aux Etats-Unis : comment se fait-il que le peuple américain aime tant les Juifs et Israël ? Comment se fait-il que tant d’hommes politiques américains soutiennent Israël ? Le journaliste l’œil borgne n’a pas tardé à trouver la réponse : le lobby juif, bien sûr. L’argent juif qui va de pair avec le lobby juif.

Ces sales juifs achètent les hommes politiques qui sont, bien sûr, très corrompus et vendus au pouvoir juif. Ils placent des journalistes juifs dans les médias, et dans ces conditions, comment voudriez-vous que l’information soit aussi bien faite qu’en France ?

Et puis il y a des Chrétiens qui ne sont pas antisémites, et qui sont même tout le contraire, et qui parlent avec déférence du peuple juif comme du peuple élu pour apporter au monde le message de Dieu. Et ces Chrétiens sont influents.

Le peuple américain est sous influence juive et chrétienne. Il est composé de gens qui ne sont pas capables de penser par eux-mêmes et qui n’ont pas les bonnes informations.

Obama a fait son possible, et a dénoncé Israël dans son discours au Caire, ce qui a beaucoup plu aux musulmans et, a dit le journaliste, a été un pas en avant en direction de la paix, mais Obama n’a pas pu poursuivre dans cette direction. Pourquoi ? Demandez au lobby juif.

Les explications finales ont été fournies par un ami d’Ismael Haniyeh, Jimmy Carter, qui lui aussi a parlé d’apartheid israélien, puis par deux auteurs antisémites, auteurs d’un best seller qui s’est bien vendu en France : The Israel Lobby, Stephen Walt et John Measheimer, qui ont expliqué à quel point le soutien américain à Israël était irrationnel, et que c’est à cause de ce soutien irrationnel que tout le terrorisme islamique existait sur la planète, y compris les attentats du onze septembre.

Une superbe explication. Très convaincante.

Sans le soutien américain à Israël, plus d’Israël, donc plus de problèmes. Les musulmans du monde entier se comporteraient comme des moines bouddhistes. Les gens doux et gentils du Moyen Orient n’auraient plus à souffrir.

Et c’est vrai : si Israël n’existait pas et si les Etats-Unis ne soutenaient pas Israël, il ne se serait rien passé le onze septembre.

Je savais bien que le onze septembre, c’était à cause d’Israël ! J’y vois enfin clair. Et je sais aussi que si Hassan el-Banna a fondé les Frères musulmans en 1928, c’est parce qu’Israël a été fondé en 1948. C’est logique.

Dans un prochain documentaire que j’attends avec impatience, on m’expliquera sans doute que Syed Ahmad Shaheed, djihadiste des années 1820 en Inde était devenu djihadiste à cause de la création d’Israël en 1948.

Ce fut une belle émission, oui.

Réflexion faite, je me passerai d’en voir de semblables. Mais c’est à force de faire des émissions de ce genre que l’antisémitisme remonte en France, dans le sillage de la haine d’Israël. France 2 fait partie du service public.

Les missions du service public ne me semblaient pas inclure l’incitation à la haine, la propagation de l’antisémitisme et la falsification de l’histoire. Mais c’était avant qu’on embauche dans le service public des journalistes borgnes, en partie sourds, déficients mentalement et ignorants en histoire.

Je leur enverrais bien le prochain livre que je publie, début novembre, vu le titre, « Comment le peuple palestinien fut inventé », je suis certain qu’il va leur plaire.


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