Don’t know much about history … Sam Cooke
Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics. Michelle Obama
Féru d’histoire, je sais aussi la dette que la civilisation doit à l’islam. Barack Hussein Obama
Le Saint Coran nous enseigne que quiconque tue un innocent tue l’humanité tout entière, et que quiconque sauve quelqu’un, sauve l’humanité tout entière. Barack Hussein Obama
Nous cherchons à ouvrir un nouveau chemin en direction du monde musulman, fondé sur l’intérêt mutuel et le respect mutuel. (…) Nous sommes une nation de chrétiens, de musulmans, de juifs, d’hindous et de non croyants. Barack Hussein Obama (discours d’investiture, le 20 janvier 2009)
Une nation de musulmans, de chrétiens et de juifs … Barack Hussein Obama (Entretien à la télévision saoudienne Al-Arabiya, 27 janvier, 2009)
Nous exprimerons notre appréciation profonde de la foi musulmane qui a tant fait au long des siècles pour améliorer le monde, y compris mon propre pays. Barack Hussein Obama (Ankara, avril 2009)
Les Etats-Unis et le monde occidental doivent apprendre à mieux connaître l’islam. D’ailleurs, si l’on compte le nombre d’Américains musulmans, on voit que les Etats-Unis sont l’un des plus grands pays musulmans de la planète. Barack Hussein Obama (entretien pour Canal +, le 2 juin 2009)
Salamm aleïkoum (…) Comme le dit le Saint Coran, « Crains Dieu et dis toujours la vérité ». (…) Je suis chrétien, mais mon père était issu d’une famille kényane qui compte des générations de musulmans. Enfant, j’ai passé plusieurs années en Indonésie où j’ai entendu l’appel à la prière (azan) à l’aube et au crépuscule. Jeune homme, j’ai travaillé dans des quartiers de Chicago où j’ai côtoyé beaucoup de gens qui trouvaient la dignité et la paix dans leur foi musulmane. Barack Hussein Obama (Prêche du Caire)
If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina; or Savannah, Georgia; or Jacksonville, Florida . . . Barack Hussein Obama
It is just wonderful to be back in Oregon, and over the last 15 months we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in fifty …. seven states? I think one left to go. One left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit but my staff would not justify it. Barack Hussein Obama
The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing. (…) We created an echo chamber. They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say. Ben Rhodes (conseiller-adjoint à la sécurité extérieure d’Obama)
It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror. Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest. As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent. In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world. Donald Trump
Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered. Spokesperson Hope Hicks
I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust including obviously all of the Jewish people affected, and the miserable genocide that occurred is something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad and something that can never be forgotten. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
There were indeed millions of innocent people whom the Nazis killed in many horrific ways, some in the course of the war and some because the Germans perceived them—however deluded their perception—to pose a threat to their rule. They suffered terribly. But that was not the Holocaust. Deborah Lipstadt
After the Holocaust took away so much from the Jews, we must not take the Holocaust itself away from the Jews. Those victims were murdered not merely because they were different. They were murdered not merely because they were an ‘other.’ They were murdered because they were Jews. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States
Je le respecte, mais «ça ne veut pas dire que je vais m’entendre avec lui. C’est un leader dans son pays, et je pense qu’il vaut mieux s’entendre avec la Russie que l’inverse. (…) Beaucoup de tueurs, beaucoup de tueurs. Pensez-vous que notre pays soit si innocent? Donald Trump
Je ne pense pas qu’il y ait aucune équivalence entre la manière dont les Russes se comportent et la manière dont les États-Unis se comportent. C’est un ancien du KGB, un voyou, élu d’une manière que beaucoup de gens ne trouvent pas crédible. Mitch McConnell (chef de file des républicains au Sénat)
Quand est-ce qu’un activiste démocrate a été empoisonné par le parti Républicain, ou vice-versa? Nous ne sommes pas comme Poutine. Marc Rubio (sénateur républicain de Floride)
Dans son « parler vrai » à l’adresse du monde arabe, après avoir commencé par prétendre mensongèrement que, comme l’Amérique, l’islam cultivait « la justice et le progrès, la tolérance et la dignité de tout être humain », Obama a été sciemment et fondamentalement malhonnête. Par cette malhonnêteté, il a entrepris de placer le monde musulman sur un pied d’égalité morale avec le monde libre. (…) Malheureusement, une analyse attentive de ses déclarations montre qu’Obama adopte bel et bien le point de vue des Arabes, selon lequel Israël serait un élément étranger – et donc injustifiable – dans le monde arabe. En réalité, loin de dénoncer leur refus d’accepter Israël, Obama le légitime. L’argument fondamental que les Arabes utilisent contre Israël est que la seule raison de sa création aurait été d’apaiser la mauvaise conscience des Européens après la Shoah. Selon leurs dires, les Juifs n’auraient aucun droit sur la Terre d’Israël du point de vue légal, historique et moral. Or, cet argument est complètement faux ». (…) « La communauté internationale a reconnu les droits légaux, historiques et moraux du peuple juif sur la Terre d’Israël bien avant que quiconque ait jamais entendu parler d’Adolf Hitler. En 1922, la Société des Nations avait mandaté la « reconstitution » – et non la création – du foyer national juif sur la Terre d’Israël dans ses frontières historiques sur les deux rives du Jourdain. Cependant, dans ce qu’il présentait lui-même comme un exemple de parler-vrai, Obama a ignoré cette vérité fondamentale au profit du mensonge arabe. Il a donné du crédit à son mensonge en déclarant, hors de propos, que « l’aspiration à un territoire juif est ancrée dans un passé tragique ». Il a ensuite lié de façon explicite la création de l’État d’Israël à la Shoah, en formulant une leçon d’histoire intéressée sur le génocide des Juifs d’Europe. Pire encore que son aveuglement délibéré vis-à-vis des justifications historiques, légales et morales de la renaissance d’Israël, il y a la manière dont Obama a évoqué Israël même. De façon odieuse et mensongère, Obama a allègrement comparé la manière dont Israël traite les Palestiniens à celle dont les esclavagistes blancs, en Amérique, traitaient leurs esclaves noirs. De même, il a assimilé les terroristes palestiniens à la catégorie, moralement pure, des esclaves. De façon plus ignoble encore, en utilisant le terme de « résistance », euphémisme arabe pour désigner le terrorisme palestinien, Obama a conféré à celui-ci la grandeur morale des révoltes des esclaves et du mouvement des droits civiques. Caroline Glick (Haaretz)
Les squelettes qui encombrent tous les placards d’Obama n’ont jamais été dérangés ni examinés par la presse dite Mainstream, c’est-à-dire la presse « honorable ». Alors qu’un comportement systématique et permanent de coopération avec l’extrême-gauche raciste, violente et fraudeuse, avec les plus extrêmes représentants du Black Power, apôtres d’un fascisme noir, a été démontré par des enquêtes répétées, la grande presse, les networks de télévision sont restés d’un silence de plomb. Sa carrière politique a-t-elle été lancée par le terroriste non repenti Bill Ayers, du Weather Underground, équivalent américain d’Action directe ? Obama ment sans vergogne. A propos d’Ayers : « c’est un type qui habite dans ma rue », alors que l’autre l’a fait entrer au conseil d’une fondation où il siège, et qui finance toutes sortes d’organisations louches mais situées à l’extrême-gauche, dont ACORN, aujourd’hui inculpée de fraude électorale dans dix Etats de l’Union. La presse ne pipe mot. Alors que sa carrière politique a été couvée et promue par la sordide organisation démocrate de Chicago, machine à tricher et à voler, qui fait pâlir la Corse, Marseille et Naples réunies, qu’il y a été financé par l’escroc syrien Antoine Rezko, actuellement pensionnaire des prisons fédérales, on n’en trouve pas un mot dans les media. (…) De même, les networks de télévision procèdent par montage pour présenter un Obama clair, clairvoyant, décidé, alors qu’il bafouille et hésite quand le téléprompteur lui manque, ou qu’il n’est pas en situation de réciter les talking points (les paragraphes pondus par son équipe). Ce qui donne des discours et des réponses pleins de « mots codes » et vides de contenu ; comme il a remarquablement assimilé l’art tout washingtonien de réciter les dossiers, un peu à la façon énarque, il peut prétendre savoir de quoi il parle, alors qu’en matière de politique étrangère, il a l’ignorance crasse du novice. On me dira : vous exagérez ! Il est brillant diplômé de Harvard ! A quoi je ferai remarquer qu’un universitaire décrit comme de grande classe devrait avoir écrit quelques articles de grande revue de droit qui auront fait date. Ici, rien, le désert. Qu’on se souvienne des présidentielles de 2000 – Bush avait été un étudiant pas très assidu, quoique diplômé de la prestigieuse université de Yale ; mais il avait été bambocheur et buveur – la grande presse faisait florès du moindre verre de whisky jamais avalé. Aujourd’hui, elle passe au microscope le moindre pas de la famille Palin, et s’acharne à trouver tous les poux du monde dans la tête du gouverneur de l’Alaska. Les media se sont transformées en une machine à faire élire Obama, qui est donc à la fois le candidat du Parti Démocrate et du Parti de la presse. Laurent Murawiec
Obama demande pardon pour les faits et gestes de l’Amérique, son passé, son présent et le reste, il s’excuse de tout. Les relations dégradées avec la Russie, le manque de respect pour l’Islam, les mauvais rapports avec l’Iran, les bisbilles avec l’Europe, le manque d’adulation pour Fidel Castro, tout lui est bon pour battre la coulpe de l’Amérique. Plus encore, il célèbre la contribution (totalement inexistante) de l’Islam à l’essor de l’Amérique, et il se fend d’une révérence au sanglant et sectaire roi d’Arabie, l’Abdullah de la haine. Il annule la ceinture anti-missiles sise en Alaska et propose un désarmement nucléaire inutile. (…) Plus encore, cette déplorable Amérique a semé le désordre et le mal partout dans le monde. Au lieu de collaborer multilatéralement avec tous, d’œuvrer au bien commun avec Poutine, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, Bachir al-Assad, et Cie, l’insupportable Bush en a fait des ennemis. (…) Il n’y a pas d’ennemis, il n’y a que des malentendus. Il ne peut y avoir d’affrontements, seulement des clarifications. Laurent Murawiec
Si vous êtes Israéliens, Obama vous laisse le choix du costume : si l’uniforme SS vous déplait, vous avez celui d’esclavagiste faisant claquer son fouet dans une plantation de la banlieue d’Atlanta en 1850, ou celui de policier au service de la discrimination du côté de Soweto. Joli choix, non? Guy Millière
Obama (…) dit que Thomas Jefferson était un lecteur du Coran, mais omet de rappeler, ce que tout lecteur de la correspondance de Jefferson sait, que si celui qui fut le troisième Président des Etats-Unis a lu le Coran, c’était pour comprendre la mentalité de gens qui exerçaient des actes de prédation violente contre des navires marchands américains. Obama cite par ailleurs une phrase de John Adams disant que ‘les Etats-Unis sont en paix’ avec le monde musulman, mais il omet de signaler que la phrase de John Adams figure dans un accord de paix qui suit une action de guerre menée par les Etats-Unis aux fins que les actes de prédation susdits cessent. (…) Et je passe sur les propos concernant l’invention de l’algèbre, du compas, de la boussole, de l’imprimerie de la médecine moderne, par des musulmans. Obama, ou son téléprompteur, n’ont jamais dû ouvrir un livre d’histoire des sciences et des techniques. (..) Je garde le meilleur pour la fin: ‘tout au long de l’histoire, l’islam a démontré, par les paroles et par les actes, les possibilités de la tolérance religieuse et de l’égalité raciale’. (…) Dire une telle phrase en gardant son sérieux implique un talent certain dans l’aptitude à dire n’importe quoi en gardant son sérieux. Enfin, et c’est le plus grave, c’est même si grave que là, on n’est plus dans le douteux, mais dans le répugnant, Obama pousse le relativisme moral et les comparaisons bancales jusqu’à un degré où il frôle le révisionnisme qu’il dénonce par ailleurs. Oser comparer la destruction des Juifs d’Europe par le régime nazi et ses complices au sort subi par le ‘peuple palestinien’ depuis soixante années montre, qu’à force d’écouter des gens comme Jeremiah Wright, il reste des salissures dans les neurones ». Guy Millière
Le réel, c’est un pays en proie à la plus grave menace d’éclatement social et culturel depuis les années 30. Le réel, c’est une explosion sans précédent des inégalités. Le réel, c’est l’abîme qui sépare les privilégiés et les élites mondialisées. Le réel, ce sont des usines fermées, des entreprises délocalisées, des emplois raréfiés, des salariés déprimés, et des électeurs frustrés. Le réel, c’est une immigration massive (11 millions de clandestins sans doits et sous-payés !) encouragée par le patronat pour accentuer le dumping social et la guerre des pauvres contre les pauvres. Le réel, c’est le bide de l’ère Obama à l’exception de l’Obamacare, qui a joué de son image pour faire oublier un bilan se ramenant à un grand vide. Le réel, c’est le rejet de la famille Clinton, considérée à tort ou à raison comme le symbole de l’entre-soi, de l’arrivisme et du copinage. Le réel, enfin, c’est un candidat qui a surfé sur toute ces frustrations pour l’emporter alors qu’il est lui-même le représentant type de l’Amérique du fric. Clinton, un discours convenu et rejeté. Le réel, c’est un Donald Trump que l’on a réduit à ses propres outrances – ce qui n’est guère compliqué – en oubliant que sur nombre de sujets (la folie du libre-échange, les délocalisations, la misère ouvrière, le rejet de l’élite), il a su développer une démagogie d’autant plus efficace qu’en face, Hillary Clinton s’est contentée de reprendre un discours convenu, attendu et rejeté. Cette dernière est même allée jusqu’à traiter les électeurs de Trump de personnes « pitoyables », étalant ainsi un mépris de classe qui n’a sans doute pas été pour rien dans sa déroute. Et voilà comment on en est arrivé à un résultat que les experts en tout et en rien n’ont pas vu venir, car eux-mêmes vivent dans une bulle. Tout comme ils ont été incapables de prévoir le Brexit, ou quelques années plus tôt la victoire du non au traité constitutionnel européen en 2005, il était inconcevable à leurs yeux qu’un homme aussi détestable que Donald Trump puisse l’emporter. Toutes proportions gardées, c’est la même cécité qui les conduit à ne rien comprendre au phénomène Le Pen en France, lequel n’est pas sans analogie avec l’effet Trump. Face à la colère qui conduit nombre de citoyens déboussolés à se tourner vers le FN, ils se contentent encore trop souvent de condamnations morales, sans prendre en compte un mouvement de fond qui se joue des barrières de la diabolisation. Mieux vaudrait s’en apercevoir avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. Marianne
Donald Trump, éreinté par les prêcheurs d’amour, en devient estimable. La gauche morale, qui refuse de se dire vaincue, dévoile l’intolérance qu’elle dissimulait du temps de sa domination. Cette semaine, les manifestations anti-Trump se succèdent à Washington, où le président prête serment ce vendredi. La presse ne cache rien de la répulsion que lui inspire celui qui a gagné en lui tournant le dos. Les artistes de variétés se glorifient de ne vouloir chanter pour lui. Des stylistes de mode font savoir qu’ils n’habilleront pas la First Lady, Melania. Des peintres demandent à Ivanka, la fille, de décrocher leurs œuvres de son appartement. Au pays de la démocratie, le choix du peuple et des grands électeurs est refusé par une caste convaincue de sa supériorité. (…) Le sectarisme des prétendus bienveillants montre leur pharisaïsme. Les masques n’ont pas fini de tomber. C’est un monde ancien qu’enterre Trump à la Maison-Blanche : celui des bons sentiments étalés et des larmes furtives, alibis des lâchetés. La vulgarité du cow-boy mégalomane et son expression brutale ne suffisent pas à le disqualifier. D’autant que ses procureurs se ridiculisent. Le mondialiste George Soros, qui avait parié sur la frayeur des marchés, aurait perdu près d’un milliard de dollars. En quelques tweets, Trump a obtenu que Ford annule un projet d’usine au Mexique au profit d’un investissement dans le Michigan. Fiat-Chrystler va également rapatrier une production de véhicules. General Motors promet d’investir un milliard de dollars. Carrier (climatiseurs) va sauver 1 000 postes. Amazon annonce 100 000 emplois et Walmart 10 000. L’effet Trump s’est déjà mis en branle. L’éléphant va casser de la porcelaine. Mais la révolution des œillères, ôtées grâce à lui, est à ce prix. Il va être difficile, pour les orphelins de l’obamania et les pandores du bien-pensisme, de faire barrage à l’insurrection populaire qui s’exprime, faute de mieux, derrière ce personnage instinctif. Ivan Rioufol
Iran now stands at the apex of an arc of influence stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean, from the borders of NATO to the borders of Israel and along the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It commands the loyalties of tens of thousands in allied militias and proxy armies that are fighting on the front lines in Syria, Iraq and Yemen with armored vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons. They have been joined by thousands of members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most prestigious military wing, who have acquired meaningful battlefield experience in the process. For the first time in its history, the Institute for the Study of War noted in a report last week, Iran has developed the capacity to project conventional military force for hundreds of miles beyond its borders. “This capability, which very few states in the world have, will fundamentally alter the strategic calculus and balance of power within the Middle East,” the institute said. America’s Sunni Arab allies, who blame the Obama administration’s hesitancy for Iran’s expanded powers, are relishing the prospect of a more confrontational U.S. approach. Any misgivings they may have had about Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric have been dwarfed by their enthusiasm for an American president they believe will push back against Iran. The Washington Post
Now that Obama is out of office, the Washington Post is beginning to look at the consequences of his policies. One of the biggest: Iran is now a regional superpower, but still as hostile to the U.S. and its allies as ever…. The American interest
Donald Trump was not my favorite in the primaries; but once he was likely to win the nomination (April 2016), I simply went to his website and collated his positions with Hillary Clinton’s on sanctuary cities, illegal immigration, defense, foreign policy, taxes, regulation, energy development, the EPA, the 2nd Amendment, the wall, school choice, and a host of other issues. The comparison supported my suspicions that he was more conservative and would not lose the Supreme Court for a generation to progressive massaging of the law, which was inevitable under Hillary Clinton. I think his appointments, Supreme Court pick, and executive orders have supported that belief that he is far more conservative than Hillary Clinton’s agendas. Oh, I came to another conclusion: I initially thought Trump might be the only nominee who would lose to Hillary Clinton; soon, however, I began to believe that he might be the only one who could beat her, given he was the first Republican to campaign in the Lee Atwater-style of 1988 and actually fought back against the WikiLeaks nexus of the media and Democratic Party. As for his sometimes reckless tweets and outbursts, I calibrated three variables: 1) Were they any different from past presidents’? In fact, they were—but not to a degree that I thought his behavior endangered the republic. For all his antics at rallies, he did not yet say “punish our enemies” or urge his supporters to take a gun to a knife fight or to get in “their faces.” His silliness was similar to Joe Biden’s (“put you all in chains,” or his belief that FDR went on TV to the nation in 1929). Yes, I wish Trump was more sober and judicious, but then again we have had very unsober presidents and vice presidents in the past (LBJ showed the nation his surgery scars and reportedly exposed himself during a meeting). FDR carried on an affair while president. No need to mention JFK’s nocturnal romps. So far Trump is not using the Oval Office bathroom for trysts with subordinate interns. Much of Trump’s oafishness is media created and reflects a bit of class disdain. We all need, however, to watch every president and call out crudity when it occurs. (I am still not happy with the strained explanations of his jerky movements as not an affront to a disabled person.) 2) Did the media play a role in the demonization of Trump? I think it did. In the last few weeks we were told falsely that his lawyer went to Prague to cut a deal with the Russians, that he removed the bust of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office, and that he engaged in sexual debaucheries in Moscow—all absolutely not true. Who would trust the media after all that? So much of the hysteria is driven by a furious media that was not so furious when Obama signed executive orders circumventing the law or the Clintons ran a veritable shake-down operation (where is it now?) at the Clinton Foundation. Not wanting to take refugees from Australia that had sent back to sea arriving migrants and had them deposited them in camps in nearby islands is not exactly an extreme position (by liberal standards, Australia is the illiberal actor, not Trump). 3) Do Trump’s episodic outbursts threaten his agendas? I don’t know, but the media will ensure that they will, if he is not more circumspect. So far he is by design creating chaos and has befuddled his opponents, but I think in the long run he must limit his exposure to gratuitous attacks by curbing his tweets—and I have written just that in the past. Trump’s agenda is fine; his pushback against an unhinged Left and biased media is healthy, but he must economize his outbursts given that the strategy of his opponents is to nick him daily in hopes of an aggregate bleed. We have four more years and he needs to conserve his strength and stamina and not get sidelined with spats with Merle Streep or Arnold at the Apprentice. Remember, Obama was the revolution that sought to remake the country; the reaction to it is pushing the country back to the center—which appears now revolutionary. Trump’s stances on energy development, immigration, and foreign policy are not that much different from Bill Clinton’s or George H.W. Bush’s. They seem revolutionary because again he is correcting a revolution. Who had ever dreamed in 1995 of a sanctuary city, emulating the nullification policies of the Old Confederacy? Victor Davis Hanson
President Obama has a habit of asserting strategic nonsense with such certainty that it is at times embarrassing and frightening. Nowhere is that more evident than in his rhetoric about the Middle East. (…) in July 2015, Obama claimed that the now growing ISIS threat could not be addressed through force of arms, assuring the world that “Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas.” Such a generic assertion seems historically preposterous. The defeat of German Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism was not accomplished by Anglo-American rhetoric on freedom. What stopped the growth of Soviet-style global communism during the Cold War were both armed interventions such as the Korean War and real threats to use force such as during the Berlin Airlift and Cuban Missile Crisis— along with Ronald Reagan’s resoluteness backed by a military buildup that restored credible Western military deterrence. In contrast, Obama apparently believes that strategic threats are not checked with tough diplomacy backed by military alliances, balances of power, and military deterrence, much less by speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Rather, crises are resolved by ironing out mostly Western-inspired misunderstandings and going back on heat-of-the moment, ad hoc issued deadlines, red lines, and step-over lines, whether to the Iranian theocracy, Vladimir Putin, or Bashar Assad. Sometimes the administration’s faith in Western social progressivism is offered to persuade an Iran or Cuba that they have missed the arc of Westernized history—and must get back on the right side of the past by loosening the reins of their respective police states. Obama believes that engagement with Iran in non-proliferation talks—which have so far given up on prior Western insistences on third-party, out of the country enrichment, on-site inspections, and kick-back sanctions—will inevitably ensure that Iran becomes “a successful regional power.” That higher profile of the theocracy apparently is a good thing for the Middle East and our allies like Israel and the Gulf states. (…) In his February 2, 2015 outline of anti-ISIS strategy—itself an update of an earlier September 2014 strategic précis—Obama again insisted that “one of the best antidotes to the hateful ideologies that try to recruit and radicalize people to violent extremism is our own example as diverse and tolerant societies that welcome the contributions of all people, including people of all faiths.” The idea, a naïve one, is that because we welcome mosques on our diverse and tolerant soil, ISIS will take note and welcome Christian churches. One of Obama’s former State Department advisors, Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks, recently amplified that reductionist confidence in the curative power of Western progressivism. She urged Americans to tweet ISIS, which, like Iran, habitually executes homosexuals. Brooks hoped that Americans would pass on stories about and photos of the Supreme Court’s recent embrace of gay marriage: “Do you want to fight the Islamic State and the forces of Islamic extremist terrorism? I’ll tell you the best way to send a message to those masked gunmen in Iraq and Syria and to everyone else who gains power by sowing violence and fear. Just keep posting that second set of images [photos of American gays and their supporters celebrating the Supreme Court decision]. Post them on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and in comments all over the Internet. Send them to your friends and your family. Send them to your pen pal in France and your old roommate in Tunisia. Send them to strangers.” Such zesty confidence in the redemptive power of Western moral superiority recalls First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to persusade the murderous Boko Haram to return kidnapped Nigerian preteen girls. Ms. Obama appealed to Boko Haram on the basis of shared empathy and universal parental instincts. (“In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”) Ms. Obama then fortified her message with a photo of her holding up a sign with the hash-tag #BringBackOurGirls. Vladimir Putin’s Russia has added Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to his earlier acquisitions in Georgia. He is most likely eyeing the Baltic States next. China is creating new strategic realities in the Pacific, in which Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines will eventually either be forced to acquiesce or to seek their own nuclear deterrent. The Middle East has imploded. Much of North Africa is becoming a Mogadishu-like wasteland. The assorted theocrats, terrorists, dictators, and tribalists express little fear of or respect for the U.S. They believe that the Obama administration does not know much nor cares about foreign affairs. They may be right in their cynicism. A president who does not consider chlorine gas a chemical weapon could conceivably believe that the Americans once liberated Auschwitz, that the Austrians speak an Austrian language, and that the Falklands are known in Latin America as the Maldives. Both friends and enemies assume that what Obama or his administration says today will be either rendered irrelevant or denied tomorrow. Iraq at one point was trumpeted by Vice President Joe Biden as the administration’s probable “greatest achievement.” Obama declared that Iraq was a “stable and self-reliant” country in no need of American peacekeepers after 2011. Yanking all Americans out of Iraq in 2011 was solely a short-term political decision designed as a 2012 reelection talking point. The American departure had nothing to do with a disinterested assessment of the long-term security of the still shaky Iraqi consensual government. When Senator Obama damned the invasion of Iraq in 2003; when he claimed in 2004 that he had no policy differences with the Bush administration on Iraq; when he declared in 2007 that the surge would fail; when he said in 2008 as a presidential candidate that he wanted all U.S. troops brought home; when he opined as President in 2011 that the country was stable and self-reliant; when he assured the world in 2014 that it was not threatened by ISIS; and when in 2015 he sent troops back into an imploding Iraq—all of these decisions hinged on perceived public opinion, not empirical assessments of the state of Iraq itself. The near destruction of Iraq and the rise of ISIS were the logical dividends of a decade of politicized ambiguity. After six years, even non-Americans have caught on that the more Obama flip-flops on Iraq, deprecates an enemy, or ignores Syrian redlines, the less likely American arms will ever be used and assurances honored. The world is going to become an even scarier place in the next two years. The problem is not just that our enemies do not believe our President, but rather that they no longer even listen to him. Victor Davis Hanson
President Obama (…) believes history follows some predetermined course, as if things always get better on their own. Obama often praises those he pronounces to be on the “right side of history.” He also chastises others for being on the “wrong side of history” — as if evil is vanished and the good thrives on autopilot. When in 2009 millions of Iranians took to the streets to protest the thuggish theocracy, they wanted immediate U.S. support. Instead, Obama belatedly offered them banalities suggesting that in the end, they would end up “on the right side of history.” Iranian reformers may indeed end up there, but it will not be because of some righteous inanimate force of history, or the prognostications of Barack Obama. Obama often parrots Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase about the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice. But King used that metaphor as an incentive to act, not as reassurance that matters will follow an inevitably positive course. Another of Obama’s historical refrains is his frequent sermon about behavior that doesn’t belong in the 21st century. At various times he has lectured that the barbarous aggression of Vladimir Putin or the Islamic State has no place in our century and will “ultimately fail” — as if we are all now sophisticates of an age that has at last transcended retrograde brutality and savagery. In Obama’s hazy sense of the end of history, things always must get better in the manner that updated models of iPhones and iPads are glitzier than the last. In fact, history is morally cyclical. Even technological progress is ethically neutral. It is a way either to bring more good things to more people or to facilitate evil all that much more quickly and effectively. In the viciously modern 20th century — when more lives may have been lost to war than in all prior centuries combined — some 6 million Jews were put to death through high technology in a way well beyond the savagery of Attila the Hun or Tamerlane. Beheading in the Islamic world is as common in the 21st century as it was in the eighth century — and as it will probably be in the 22nd. The carnage of the Somme and Dresden trumped anything that the Greeks, Romans, Franks, Turks, or Venetians could have imagined. (…) What explains Obama’s confusion? A lack of knowledge of basic history explains a lot. (…) Obama once praised the city of Cordoba as part of a proud Islamic tradition of tolerance during the brutal Spanish Inquisition — forgetting that by the beginning of the Inquisition an almost exclusively Christian Cordoba had few Muslims left. (…) A Pollyannaish belief in historical predetermination seems to substitute for action. If Obama believes that evil should be absent in the 21st century, or that the arc of the moral universe must always bend toward justice, or that being on the wrong side of history has consequences, then he may think inanimate forces can take care of things as we need merely watch. In truth, history is messier. Unfortunately, only force will stop seventh-century monsters like the Islamic State from killing thousands more innocents. Obama may think that reminding Putin that he is now in the 21st century will so embarrass the dictator that he will back off from Ukraine. But the brutish Putin may think that not being labeled a 21st-century civilized sophisticate is a compliment. In 1935, French foreign minister Pierre Laval warned Joseph Stalin that the Pope would admonish him to go easy on Catholics — as if such moral lectures worked in the supposedly civilized 20th century. Stalin quickly disabused Laval of that naiveté. “The Pope?” Stalin asked, “How many divisions has he got?” There is little evidence that human nature has changed over the centuries, despite massive government efforts to make us think and act nicer. What drives Putin, Boko Haram, or ISIS are the same age-old passions, fears, and sense of honor that over the centuries also moved Genghis Khan, the Sudanese Mahdists, and the Barbary pirates. Obama’s naive belief in predetermined history — especially when his facts are often wrong — is a poor substitute for concrete moral action. Victor Davis Hanson
Let’s hope that the era of ‘lead from behind’ and violated red lines is over. For eight years, the Obama administration misjudged Vladimir Putin’s Russia, as it misjudged most of the Middle East, China, and the rest of the world as well. Obama got wise to Russia only when Putin imperiled not just U.S. strategic interests and government records but also supposedly went so far as to tamper with sacrosanct Democratic-party secrets, thereby endangering the legacy of Barack Obama. Putin was probably bewildered by Obama’s media-driven and belated concern, given that the Russians, like the Chinese, had in the past hacked U.S. government documents that were far more sensitive than the information it may have mined and leaked in 2016 — and they received nothing but an occasional Obama “cut it out” whine. Neurotic passive-aggression doesn’t merely bother the Russians; it apparently incites and emboldens them. (…) Russia had once lost a million civilians at the siege of Leningrad when Hitler’s Army Group North raced through the Baltic States (picking up volunteers as it went) and met up with the Finns. At Sevastopol, General Erich von Manstein’s Eleventh Army may well have inflicted 100,000 Russian Crimean casualties in a successful but nihilistic effort to take and nearly destroy the fortress. The Kiev Pocket and destruction of the Southwestern Front of the Red Army in the Ukraine in September 1941 (700,000 Russians killed, captured, or missing) may have been the largest encirclement and mass destruction of an army in military history. For Putin, these are not ancient events but rather proof of why former Soviet bloodlands were as much Russian as Puerto Rico was considered American. We find such reasoning tortured, given Ukrainian and Crimean desires to be free; Putin insists that Russian ghosts still flitter over such hallowed ground. Reconstruction of Putin’s mindset is not justification for his domestic thuggery or foreign expansionism at the expense of free peoples. But it does remind us that he is particularly ill-suited to listen to pat lectures from American sermonizers whose unwillingness to rely on force to back up their sanctimony is as extreme as their military assets are overwhelming. Putin would probably be less provoked by a warning from someone deemed strong than he would be by obsequious outreach from someone considered weak. There were areas where Obama might have sought out Putin in ways advantageous to the U.S., such as wooing him away from Iran or playing him off against China or lining him up against North Korea. But ironically, Obama was probably more interested in inflating the Persian and Shiite regional profile than was Putin himself. Putin would probably be less provoked by a warning from someone deemed strong than he would be by obsequious outreach from someone considered weak. If Obama wished to invite Putin into the Middle East, then at least he might have made an effort to align him with Israel, the Gulf States, Egypt, and Jordan, in pursuit of their shared goal of wiping out radical Islamic terrorism. In the process, these powers might have grown increasingly hostile to Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran. But Obama was probably more anti-Israeli than Putin, and he also disliked the moderate Sunni autocracies more than Putin himself did. As far as China, Putin was delighted that Obama treated Chinese aggression in the Spratly Islands as Obama had treated his own in Ukraine: creased-brow angst about bad behavior followed by indifference. The irony of the failed reset was that in comparative terms the U.S. — given its newfound fossil-fuel wealth and energy independence, the rapid implosion of the European Union, and its continuing technological superiority — should have been in an unusually strong position as the leader of the West. Unhinged nuclear proliferation, such as in Pakistan and North Korea and soon in Iran, is always more of a long-term threat to a proximate Russia than to a distant America. And Russia’s unassimilated and much larger Muslim population is always a far more existential threat to Moscow than even radical Islamic terrorism is at home to the U.S. In other words, there were realist avenues for cooperation that hinged on a strong and nationalist U.S. clearly delineating areas where cooperation benefitted both countries (and the world). Other spheres in which there could be no American–Russian consensus could by default have been left to sort themselves out in a may-the-best-man-win fashion, hopefully peaceably. Such détente would have worked only if Obama had forgone all the arc-of-history speechifying and the adolescent putdowns, meant to project strength in the absence of quiet toughness. Let us hope that Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson, and Jim Mattis know this and thus keep mostly silent, remind Putin privately (without trashing a former president) that the aberrant age of Obama is over, carry huge sticks, work with Putin where and when it is in our interest, acknowledge his help, seek to thwart common enemies — and quietly find ways to utilize overwhelming American military and economic strength to discourage him from doing something unwise for both countries. Victor Davis Hanson
In reference to the Falkland Islands, President Obama called them the Maldives — islands southwest of India — apparently in a botched effort to use the Argentine-preferred “Malvinas.” The two island groups may sound somewhat alike, but they are continents apart. Again, without basic geographical knowledge, the president’s commentary on the Falklands is rendered superficial. When in the state of Hawaii, Obama announced that he was in “Asia.” He lamented that the U.S. Army’s Arabic-language translators assigned to Iraq could better be used in Afghanistan, failing to recognize that Arabic isn’t the language of Afghanistan. And he also apparently thought Austrians speak a language other than German. The president’s geographical illiteracy is a symptom of the nation’s growing ignorance of once-essential subjects such as geography and history. The former is not taught any more as a required subject in many of our schools and colleges. The latter has often been redefined as race, class, and gender oppression so as to score melodramatic points in the present rather than to learn from the tragedy of the past. The president in his 2009 Cairo speech credited the European Renaissance and Enlightenment to Islam’s “light of learning” — an exaggeration if not an outright untruth on both counts. Closer to home, the president claimed in 2011 that Texas had historically been Republican — while in reality it was a mostly Jim Crow Democratic state for over a century. Republicans started consistently carrying Texas only after 1980. Recently, Obama claimed that 20th-century Communist strongman Ho Chi Minh “was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson.” That pop assertion is improbable, given that Ho systematically liquidated his opponents, slaughtered thousands in land-redistribution schemes, and brooked no dissent. Even more ahistorical was Vice President Joe Biden’s suggestion that George W. Bush should have gone on television in 2008 to address the nation as President Roosevelt had done in 1929 — a time when there was neither a President Roosevelt nor televisions available for purchase. In 2011, a White House press kit confused Wyoming with Colorado — apparently because they’re both rectangular-shaped states out West. Our geographically and historically challenged leaders are emblematic of disturbing trends in American education that include a similar erosion in grammar, English composition, and basic math skills. The controversial Lois Lerner, a senior official at the IRS — an agency whose stock in trade is numbers — claimed that she was “not good at math” when she admitted that she did not know that one-fourth of 300 is 75. In the zero-sum game of the education curriculum, each newly added therapeutic discipline eliminated an old classical one. The result is that if Americans emote more and have more politically correct thoughts on the environment, race, class, and gender, they are less able to advance their beliefs through fact-based knowledge. Despite supposedly tough new standards and vast investments, about 56 percent of students in recent California public-school tests did not perform up to their grade levels in English. Only about half met their grade levels in math. A degree from our most prestigious American university is no guarantee a graduate holding such a credential will know the number of states or the location of Savannah. If we wonder why the Ivy League–trained Obama seems confused about where cities, countries, and continents are, we might remember that all but one Ivy League university eliminated their geography departments years ago. As a rule now, when our leaders allude to a place or an event in the past, just assume their references are dead wrong. Victor Davis Hanson
Le symptôme d’un système éducatif ayant sacrifié au nom de la pensée politiquement correcte sur l’environment, la race, la classe ou le genre …
Les connaissances les plus basiques sur l’histoire ou la géographie ?
Mais ne pas repenser également à l’ignorance dans les mêmes domaines de base …
D’un certain Lecteur de téléprompteur en chef …
A qui tant l’exotisme de sa couleur que la prétendue coolitude de son âge …
Avait si longtemps valu l’indulgence complice de nos mêmes censeurs des médias aujourd’hui ?
A degree from our most prestigious American university is no guarantee a graduate holding such a credential will know the number of states or the location of Savannah. If we wonder why the Ivy League–trained Obama seems confused about where cities, countries, and continents are, we might remember that all but one Ivy League university eliminated their geography departments years ago. As a rule now, when our leaders allude to a place or an event in the past, just assume their references are dead wrong.
Top 10 Lists
The Left had a grand old time with President George W. Bush’s mangling of the English language, and let Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann make a slip of the tongue and the mainstream media will turn it into a major news story. Not so with President Obama’s verbal missteps. Here, to bring balance to the ridicule, are the Top 10 Obama Gaffes:
1. How many states? Vice President Dan Quayle was virtually laughed out of Washington for misspelling potato back in 1992, yet Barack Obama made a more elementary flub when, during the 2008 campaign, he said: “I’ve now been in 57 states-I think one left to go.”
2. Hero soldier mix-up: While commending troops at Fort Drum, N.Y., for their completed deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama said, “A comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.” Wrong hero. Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti was killed in action, another soldier, Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, was the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor that fought in Afghanistan.
3. What year is it? During a trip to London’s Westminster Abbey, President Obama signed the guest book and dated it 24 May 2008. Oops. It was 2011. (Maybe he was wistfully dreaming about his 2008 election campaign at the time.)
4. Look at the map: Not only does Obama not know how many states there are, he also doesn’t know where they are. During the 2008 primary campaign, he explained why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky: “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” Obama’s home state of Illinois, and not Arkansas, shares a border with Kentucky.
5. What language is that? In April 2009, on one of his many foreign trips, President Obama mused, “I don’t know what the term is in Austrian” for “wheeling and dealing.” Oops, Mr. President. There is no Austrian language.
6. Twister casualties: After a devastating tornado hit Kansas, Obama discussed the tragedy without help from a teleprompter, saying, ”In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died-an entire town destroyed.” He was only off by 9,988 as the twister killed 12 people.
7. How old is Malia? The President last month thought he was so clever, unfavorably comparing Republican procrastination on the debt limit to his daughters finishing their homework early. In his remarks, Obama made a reference to daughter Malia, saying she was 13 years old, when at the time she was 12. Imagine the press reaction if Michele Bachmann made a misstatement about any of her five children or 23 foster kids.
8. Special Olympics insensitivity: The President called and apologized to the head of the Special Olympics, after making this insensitive comment following a game of bowling: “No, no. I have been practicing. … I bowled a 129. It’s like-it was like Special Olympics, or something.” Maybe he should have also apologized to bowlers for his feeble effort.
9. Faith confusion: No wonder so many Americans are unsure of the President’s faith, as he seems to be confused himself. During the 2008 campaign, during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama said, “What I was suggesting-you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith,” before Stephanopoulos jumped in to help, saying ”your Christian faith.”
10. Health care inefficiencies: During the health care debate, President Obama explained all the benefits of ObamaCare, saying, “The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system.” Mr. President, we already have enough inefficiency in health care and, yes, your “reforms” will only make it worse.
Voir de plus:
The Thomas Hobbes Presidency
Conservatives were outraged by Obama’s apologies. What about Trump’s slander?
The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 6, 2017
First, the obvious: Had it been Barack Obama, rather than Donald Trump, who suggested a moral equivalency between the United States and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Republican politicians would not now be rushing through their objections to the comparison in TV interviews while hoping to pivot to tax reform.
Had it been the president of three weeks ago who had answered Bill O’Reilly’s comment that Mr. Putin “is a killer” by saying, “We’ve got a lot of killers,” and “What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” conservative pundits wouldn’t rest with calling the remark “inexplicable” or “troubling.” They would call it moral treason and spend the next four years playing the same clip on repeat, right through the next election.
In 2009, Mr. Obama gave a series of speeches containing passing expressions of regret for vaguely specified blemishes from the American past. Examples: “The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in history.” And “we’ve made some mistakes.” This was the so-called Apology Tour, in which the word “apologize” was never uttered. Even so, conservatives still fume about it.
This time, Mr. Trump didn’t apologize for America. He indicted it. He did so in language unprecedented for any sitting or former president. He did it in a manner guaranteed, and perhaps calculated, to vindicate every hard-left slander of “Amerika.” If you are the sort who believes the CIA assassinated JFK, masterminded the crack-cocaine epidemic, and deliberately lied us into the war in Iraq—conspiracy theories on a moral par with the way the Putin regime behaves in actual fact—then this president is for you.
Only he’s worse.
For the most part, the left’s various indictments of the U.S., whether well- or ill-grounded, have had a moral purpose: to shame Americans into better behavior. We are reminded of the evils of slavery and Jim Crow in order not to be racist. We dilate on the failure in Vietnam to guard against the arrogance of power. We recall the abuses of McCarthyism in order to underscore the importance of civil liberties.
Mr. Trump’s purpose, by contrast, isn’t to prevent a recurrence of bad behavior. It’s to permit it. In this reading, Mr. Putin’s behavior isn’t so different from ours. It’s largely the same, except more honest and effective. The U.S. could surely defeat ISIS—if only it weren’t hampered by the kind of scruples that keep us from carpet bombing Mosul in the way the Russians obliterated Aleppo. The U.S. could have come out ahead in Iraq—if only we’d behaved like unapologetic conquerors, not do-gooder liberators, and taken their oil.
This also explains why Mr. Trump doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, calling the idea “insulting [to] the world” and seeing it as an undue burden on our rights and opportunities as a nation. Magnanimity, fair dealing, example setting, win-win solutions, a city set upon a hill: All this, in the president’s mind, is a sucker’s game, obscuring the dog-eat-dog realities of life. Among other distinctions, Mr. Trump may be our first Hobbesian president.
It would be a mistake to underestimate the political potency of this outlook, with its left-right mix of relativism and jingoism. If we’re no better than anyone else, why not act like everyone else? If phrases such as “the free world” or the “liberal international order” are ideological ploys by which the Davos elite swindle the proletarians of Detroit, why sacrifice blood and treasure on their behalf? Nationalism is usually a form of moral earnestness. Mr. Trump’s genius has been to transform it into an expression of cynicism.
That cynicism won’t be easy to defeat. Right now, a courageous Russian opposition activist named Vladimir Kara-Murza is fighting for his life in a Moscow hospital, having been poisoned for a second time by you-can-easily-guess-who. Assuming Mr. Trump is even aware of the case, would he be wrong in betting that most Americans are as indifferent to his fate as he is?
The larger question for conservatives is how Mr. Trump’s dim view of the world will serve them over time. Honorable Republicans such as Nebraska’s Sen. Ben Sasse have been unequivocal in their outrage, which will surely cost them politically. Others have hit the mute button, on the theory that it’s foolish to be baited by the president’s every crass utterance. The risk is that silence quickly becomes a form of acquiescence. Besides, since when did conservatives reared to their convictions by the rhetoric of Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan hold words so cheap?
Speaking of Reagan, Feb. 6 would have been his 106th birthday. Perhaps because he had been an actor, the 40th president knew that Americans preferred stories in which good guys triumphed over bad ones, not the ones in which they were pretty much all alike. Conservatives should beware the president’s invitation to a political film noir in which the outcome is invariably bleak.
Voir de même:
WH: No mention of Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day because others were killed too
Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent
February 3, 2017
Washington (CNN)The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t mention Jews or anti-Semitism because « despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered, » administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN on Saturday.
Hicks provided a link to a Huffington Post UK story noting that while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, 5 million others were also slaughtered during Adolf Hitler’s genocide, including « priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters. »
Asked if the White House was suggesting President Donald Trump didn’t mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust because he didn’t want to offend the other people the Nazis targeted and killed, Hicks replied, « it was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day. »
Taking the Jews out of the Holocaust
So much for giving people the benefit of the doubt who offer no sign they deserve it. The Trump White House issued a statement on Friday commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the statement didn’t make specific mention of the Jewish people—who were the target of the Holocaust, or Shoah, which is a term devised after World War II to describe the effort by Nazi Germany to eradicate Jews from the face of the earth. After reading it, I thought to myself, “The Trump White House is an amateur operation, understaffed and without much executive-branch experience, and whoever wrote the statement and issued it blew it out of ignorance and sloppiness.”
I won’t be making that mistake again.
Jake Tapper of CNN reported Saturday night that Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks defended and even celebrated the White House statement. The decision not to mention the Jews was deliberate, Hicks said, a way of demonstrating the inclusive approach of the Trump administration: “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered…it was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day.”
No, Hope Hicks, and no to whomever you are serving as a mouthpiece. The Nazis killed an astonishing number of people in monstrous ways and targeted certain groups—Gypsies, the mentally challenged, and open homosexuals, among others. But the Final Solution was aimed solely at the Jews. The Holocaust was about the Jews. There is no “proud” way to offer a remembrance of the Holocaust that does not reflect that simple, awful, world-historical fact. To universalize it to “all those who suffered” is to scrub the Holocaust of its meaning.
Given Hicks’s abominable statement, one cannot simply write this off. For there is a body of opinion in this country, and in certain precincts of the Trump coalition, who have long made it clear they are tired of what they consider a self-centered Jewish claim to being the great victims of the Nazis. Case in point: In 1988, as a speechwriter in the Reagan Administration, I drafted the president’s remarks at the laying of the cornerstone of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. As was the practice, the speech was sent around to 14 White House offices, including an office called Public Liaison staffed by conservatives whose job it was to do outreach to ethnic and religious groups. The official at Public Liaison who supported anti-Communist groups in Eastern Europe was tasked with the job of reviewing it. She sent the speech back marked up almost sentence by sentence. At the top, she wrote something like, “This must be redone. What about the suffering of the Poles and the Slovaks? The president should not be taking sides here.”
I was astonished, and horrified, and took the document to my superior, who told me to ignore it. “She has a bee in her bonnet about this,” he said of the Public Liaison official.
On another occasion, in an article commissioned by a conservative magazine, I wrote a sentence in which I called the Jews “the most beleaguered people in history.” An editor there objected, and insisted we add the word “uniquely” between “most” and “beleaguered” because there was an element, he said, of “special pleading.”
I bring these anecdotes up to say that the Hope Hicks statement does not arrive without precedent. It is, rather, the culmination of something—the culmination of decades of ill feeling that seems to center on the idea that the Jews have somehow made unfair “use” of the Holocaust and it should not “belong” to them. Someone in that nascent White House thought it was time to reflect that view through the omission of the specifically Jewish quality of the Holocaust.
Now the question is: Who was it?
In those remarks at the cornerstone laying, President Reagan said this: “I think all of us here are aware of those, even among our own countrymen, who have dedicated themselves to the disgusting task of minimizing or even denying the truth of the Holocaust. This act of intellectual genocide must not go unchallenged, and those who advance these views must be held up to the scorn and wrath of all good and thinking people in this nation and across the world.” This was in reference to the new and horrifying field of Holocaust denial. It is heartbreaking to think these are words that can now be applied to the White House in which a Republican successor to Reagan is now resident, only 28 years after he departed it for the last time. Heartbreaking and enraging.
The White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance day did not mention Jews or antisemitism.
There were indeed millions of innocent people whom the Nazis killed in many horrific ways, some in the course of the war and some because the Germans perceived them—however deluded their perception—to pose a threat to their rule. They suffered terribly. But that was not the Holocaust.
Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
Feb. 7, 2017
The world may never know whether President Donald Trump just got a little sloppy with his verb tenses on Wednesday morning or simply had no idea that the famous black abolitionist Frederick Douglass was, in fact, dead.
« Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice, » the president said.
Critics seized on Trump’s comments at a Black History Month event, mercilessly attacking him for statements that spoke of Douglass in the present tense.
The Atlantic asked, simply: « Does Donald Trump actually know who Frederick Douglass was? » and said that Trump’s remarks were « transparently empty. »
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank joked that Trump « raised the dead. »
And someone started a Frederick Douglass Twitter account that trolled the president before it was deleted (although some of the tweets have been saved).
« In surprise move @PressSec announces @realDonaldTrump has named Frederick Douglass to National Security Council. »
Even White House press secretary Sean Spicer struggled to clarify Douglass-gate when asked at a briefing later on Wednesday. « I think there’s contributions – I think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made, » Spicer said of Trump’s reference to Douglass. « And I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more. »
Trump criticizes media as he marks African American History Month
But the descendants of the revered abolitionist – who, just to be clear, died in 1895 after becoming a powerful voice against slavery and then Jim Crow – responded on Wednesday.
« My first instinct was to go on the attack, » said Kenneth B. Morris Jr., Douglass’ great-great-great grandson. « I think it was obvious to anyone that heard [Trump’s] comments or read his comments that he was not up to speed on who Frederick Douglass was. We just thought that was an opportunity to do a history lesson and to make some points about what we’re currently working on. »
The family released a statement on the Huffington Post on Wednesday.
« Like the President, we use the present tense when referencing Douglass’s accomplishments because his spirit and legacy are still very much alive, not just during Black History Month, but every month, » the family wrote.
« . . . We believe, if he had more time to elaborate, the President would have mentioned the following: Frederick Douglas has done an amazing job . . . »
Then the family mic-dropped several things Douglass has done a great job at:
« Enduring the inhumanity of slavery after being born heir to anguish and exploitation but still managing to become a force for solace and liberty when America needed it most. »
« Teaching himself to read and write and becoming one of the country’s most eloquent spokespersons. »
« Composing the Narrative of his life and helping to expose slavery for the crime against humankind that it is. »
« Risking life and limb by escaping the abhorrent institution »
« Arguing against unfair U.S. immigration restrictions. »
If Douglass were still alive, he’d celebrate his 200th birthday next year.
The family’s statement said they were involved in several initiatives that highlight their ancestor’s legacy.
« We look forward to helping re-animate Douglass’ passion for equality and justice over the coming year leading up to his Bicentennial in 2018, » the statement said. « We encourage the President to join in that effort. »
A Lesson in Black History
Charles M. Blow
The New York Times
Feb. 6, 2017
Last week at a supposed Black History Month “listening session” at the White House, Donald Trump made this baffling statement: “I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice.”
It sounded a bit like he thought the inimitable Douglass, who died in 1895, was some lesser-known black leader who was still alive.
When Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked what Trump meant by his Douglass comments, Spicer responded:
“I think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made. And I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”
Assuming that the “he” in that sentence refers to Douglass, these numbskulls are actually referring to him as a living person and have absolutely no clue who Douglass is and what he means to America.
Social media had a field day with this, relentlessly mocking the team, but for me the emotion was overwhelming sadness: How could the American “president” or a White House press secretary, or any American citizen for that matter, not know who Douglass is?
Let’s be absolutely clear here: Frederick Douglass is a singular, towering figure of American history. The entire legacy of black intellectual thought and civil rights activism flows in some way through Douglass, from W.E.B. DuBois to Booker T. Washington, to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to President Barack Obama himself.
Douglass was one of the most brilliant thinkers, writers and orators America has ever produced. Furthermore, he harnessed and mastered the media of his day: Writing an acclaimed autobiography, establishing his own newspaper and becoming the most photographed American of the 19th century.
Put another way: If modern social media existed during Douglass’s time, he would have been one of its kings.
Douglass also was a friend of Susan B. Anthony and an advocate for women’s civil rights as well as the civil rights of black people, understanding even then the intersectionality of oppressions. In fact, the motto of his newspaper, The North Star, was “Right is of no Sex — Truth is of no Color — God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.”
But perhaps one of the best reasons Trump and Spicer need to bone up on Douglass is to understand his relationship with Abraham Lincoln and to get a better sense of what true leadership looks like.
Douglass was a blistering critic of Lincoln from the beginning. In Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address, he quoted from one of his previous speeches in which he had said “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists,” and he went on to defend the Fugitive Slave Act, promising the slave states full enforcement of it as long as it was on the books.
This incensed Douglass, who said of the remarks: “Not content with the broadest recognition of the right of property in the souls and bodies of men in the slave states, Mr. Lincoln next proceeds, with nerves of steel, to tell the slaveholders what an excellent slave hound he is.”
Although Douglass’s cutting critique of Lincoln began to soften after Lincoln announced the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Douglass continued to be unhappy throughout the Civil War about the unequal treatment of black soldiers in the Union Army. But even in the midst of this criticism, Lincoln entertained Douglass at the White House.
Although Douglass wasn’t fully satisfied with Lincoln’s positions, Douglass remarked of the meeting: “Mr. Lincoln listened with earnest attention and with very apparent sympathy, and replied to each point in his own peculiar, forcible way.”
This stands in stark contrast to Trump’s avoidance of black intellectuals and even any real critics. Trump’s “listening session” seemed to be populated only by his black appointees and supporters.
Lincoln and Douglass would go on to develop a genuine friendship and Douglass would become something of Lincoln’s conscience on the slave issue. In fact, Lincoln called Douglass “one of the most meritorious men, if not the most meritorious man, in the United States.”
That is what leadership and growth look like. Lincoln grew from the association with and counsel from his onetime critic, to become one of the greatest presidents America has ever known.
Indeed Black History Month began not as a month but a week: Negro History week, the second week of February. It was established in 1926 by noted black historian Carter G. Woodson, and choosing February was no coincidence: It honored the birthdays of Lincoln, who freed the slaves, and Douglass, who helped direct his conscience.
Trump would do well to study this history; he has much to learn from it. As the historian Woodson’s personal motto went: “It’s never too late to learn.”
Donald Trump’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Marking Black History Month, the president made some strange observations about Douglass and Martin Luther King, but mostly talked about himself.
David A. Graham
Feb 1, 2017
Does Donald Trump actually know who Frederick Douglass was? The president mentioned the great abolitionist, former slave, and suffrage campaigner during a Black History Month event Wednesday morning, but there’s little to indicate that Trump knows anything about his subject, based on the rambling, vacuous commentary he offered:
“I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things, Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.” Within moments, he was off-topic, talking about some of his favorite subjects: CNN, himself, and his feud with CNN.
Trump’s comments about King were less transparently empty but maybe even stranger. “Last month we celebrated the life Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history,” Trump said, employing a favorite meaningless adjective. But this wasn’t really about King. It was about Trump: “You read all about Martin Luther King when somebody said I took a statue out of my office. And it turned out that that was fake news. The statue is cherished. It’s one of the favorite things—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King.”
Even beyond the strange aside about Douglass and the digression from King, Trump’s comments point to the superficiality of his engagement with African American culture. He named perhaps the four most famous figures in black history with no meaningful elaboration. (Trump was reading from a sheet, but at least he was able to name Tubman, unlike his vanquished rival Gary Johnson.)
In a way, Trump isn’t totally wrong about Douglass “getting recognized more and more,” though one is left to scratch one’s head at where precisely he noticed that. Douglass’s heyday of influence was in the mid to late 19th century—when he was also among The Atlantic’s biggest-name writers—but he may be better known than ever among the broadest swath of the American public thanks to his ascension into the Pantheon of black history figures taught in schools since the United States established Black History Month in 1976.
It is a real and praiseworthy accomplishment for Douglass’s name to keep spreading. But the frequent, and often valid, critique of Black History Month is that it encourages a tokenist approach to African American culture, leading everyone from national leaders to elementary-school teachers to recite a catechism of well-known figures, producing both shallow engagement and privileging a passé Great Man (and Woman) theory of history. Hardly any politician is immune to this; faced with the necessity of holding an event to mark the month, they too recite the list. But even by that standard, Trump’s comments are laughably vacuous.
George W. Bush, for example, recalled in 2002 how February was “the month in which Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were born, two men, very different, who together ended slavery.” Bill Clinton exhorted audiences to visit Douglass’s home in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood, at a time when that was well-off the beaten tourist path. George H.W. Bush admired Jacob Lawrence’s depiction of Douglass. Ronald Reagan repeatedly quoted Douglass in his own remarks, and was fond of boasting that Douglass was a fellow Republican.
The gulf between Trump and his predecessors is particularly poignant, of course, in the wake of the presidency of Barack Obama, a man who by virtue of his own skin color never had to resort to the detached tributes of white presidents. When the museum Trump cited opened, Obama spoke, saying as only he could have:
Yes, African Americans have felt the cold weight of shackles and the stinging lash of the field whip. But we’ve also dared to run north and sing songs from Harriet Tubman’s hymnal. We’ve buttoned up our Union Blues to join the fight for our freedom. We’ve railed against injustice for decade upon decade, a lifetime of struggle and progress and enlightenment that we see etched in Frederick Douglass’s mighty, leonine gaze.
Trump, by contrast, has long spoken of the black community in fundamentally instrumental terms, from his business career to his political one. African Americans were a monolithic demographic to be won or lost, depending on the occasion. The young real-estate developer first made headlines when the Trump Organization was accused of working to keep blacks out of its real-estate developments; the company eventually settled with the Justice Department without admitting guilt. The question in that case was not the personal prejudices (absent or present) of Trump and his father Fred. Instead, the company appeared to have decided that blacks were bad for business and would drive out white tenants, so the Trumps allegedly opted to keep them out.
During the campaign, Trump viewed black voters with similarly cool detachment. He spoke about blacks and other minorities in conspicuously distancing terms, as “they” and “them.” His leading black surrogates included Omarosa, most famous for appearing on The Apprentice with Trump, and Don King, a clownish and past-his-prime boxing promoter notable for killing two men; Hillary Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, called on LeBron James, Beyonce, and Obama. When Trump spotted a black man at a rally in California, he called out, “Oh, look at my African American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest?”
When Trump announced a black-voter outreach operation, he mostly delivered his message to overwhelmingly white audiences in overwhelmingly white locales, and employed a series of racist and outdated stereotypes about inner-city crime, poverty, and lack of education, in what he appeared to believe represented benign patronization. Meanwhile, his own aides told reporters their political goal was to suppress black votes by encouraging African Americans to sit the election out.
In the end, Trump won 8 percent of the black vote, according to exit polling, besting Mitt Romney’s showing against Barack Obama but falling well short of the recent GOP high-water mark of 17 percent in 1976 (to say nothing of his prediction that he’d win 95 percent of African Americans in his 2020 campaign).
Trump continues to indicate he holds a view of black Americans that is instrumental, as he showed on Wednesday at his Black History Month event. “If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting, I won’t get into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who have run in the past years,” he said, somewhat misleadingly. “And now we’re going to take that to new levels.” February might be Black History Month, but every month is Trump History Month.
Victor Davis Hanson
January 17, 2017
Let’s hope that the era of ‘lead from behind’ and violated red lines is over. For eight years, the Obama administration misjudged Vladimir Putin’s Russia, as it misjudged most of the Middle East, China, and the rest of the world as well. Obama got wise to Russia only when Putin imperiled not just U.S. strategic interests and government records but also supposedly went so far as to tamper with sacrosanct Democratic-party secrets, thereby endangering the legacy of Barack Obama.
Putin was probably bewildered by Obama’s media-driven and belated concern, given that the Russians, like the Chinese, had in the past hacked U.S. government documents that were far more sensitive than the information it may have mined and leaked in 2016 — and they received nothing but an occasional Obama “cut it out” whine. Neurotic passive-aggression doesn’t merely bother the Russians; it apparently incites and emboldens them.
Obama’s strange approach to Putin since 2009 apparently has run something like the following. Putin surely was understandably angry with the U.S. under the cowboy imperialist George W. Bush, according to the logic of the “reset.” After all, Obama by 2009 was criticizing Bush more than he was Putin for the supposed ills of the world. But Barack Obama was not quite an American nationalist who sought to advance U.S. interests.
Instead, he posed as a new sort of soft-power moralistic politician — not seen since Jimmy Carter — far more interested in rectifying the supposed damage rather than the continuing good that his country has done. If Putin by 2008 was angry at Bush for his belated pushback over Georgia, at least he was not as miffed at Bush as Obama himself was.
Reset-button policy then started with the implicit agreement that Russia and the Obama administration both had legitimate grievances against a prior U.S. president — a bizarre experience for even an old hand like Putin. (Putin probably thought that the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq were a disaster not on ethical or even strategic grounds but because the U.S. had purportedly let the country devolve into something like what Chechnya was before Putin’s iron grip.)
In theory, Obama would captivate Putin with his nontraditional background and soaring rhetoric, the same way he had charmed urban progressive elites at home and Western European socialists abroad. One or two more Cairo speeches would assure Putin that a new America was more interested in confessing its past sins to the Islamic world than confronting its terrorism. And Obama would continue to show his bona fides by cancelling out Bush initiatives such as missile defense in Eastern Europe, muting criticism of Russian territorial expansionism, and tabling the updating and expansion of the American nuclear arsenal. All the while, Obama would serve occasional verbal cocktails for Putin’s delight — such as the hot-mic promise to be even “more flexible” after his 2012 reelection, the invitation of Russia into the Middle East to get the Obama administration off the hook from enforcing red lines over Syrian WMD use, and the theatrical scorn for Mitt Romney’s supposedly ossified Cold War–era worries about Russian aggression.
As Putin was charmed, appeased, and supposedly brought on board, Obama increasingly felt free to enlighten him (as he does almost everyone) about how his new America envisioned a Westernized politically correct world. Russians naturally would not object to U.S. influence if it was reformist and cultural rather than nationalist, economic, and political — and if it sought to advance universal progressive ideals rather than strictly American agendas. Then, in its own self-interest, a grateful Russia would begin to enact at home something akin to Obama’s helpful initiatives: open up its society, with reforms modeled after those of the liberal Western states in Europe. Putin quickly sized up this naïf. His cynicism and cunning told him that Obama was superficially magnanimous mostly out of a desire to avoid confrontations. And as a Russian, he was revolted by the otherworldly and unsolicited advice from a pampered former American academic. Putin continued to crack down at home and soon dressed up his oppression with a propagandistic anti-American worldview: America’s liberal culture reflected not freedom but license; its global capitalism promoted cultural decadence and should not serve as anyone’s blueprint. Putin’s cynicism and cunning told him that Obama was superficially magnanimous mostly out of a desire to avoid confrontations.
As the West would pursue atheism, indulgence, and globalism, Putin would return Russia to Orthodoxy, toughness, and fervent nationalism — a czarist appeal that would resonate with other autocracies abroad and mask his own oppressions, crony profiteering, and economic mismanagement at home. Note that despite crashing oil prices and Russian economic crises, Putin believed (much as Mussolini did) that at least for a time, a strong leader in a weak country can exercise more global clout than a weak leader in a strong country — and that Russians could for a while longer put up with poverty and lack of freedom if they were at least feared or respected abroad. He also guessed that just as the world was finally nauseated by Woodrow Wilson’s six months of moralistic preening at Versailles, so too it would tire of the smug homilies of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry.
Putin grew even more surprised at Obama’s periodic red lines, deadlines, and step-over lines, whose easy violations might unite global aggressors in the shared belief that America was hopelessly adrift, easy to manipulate, obnoxious in its platitudinous sermonizing, and certainly not the sort of strong-horse power that any aggressors should fear.
Perhaps initially Putin assumed that Obama’s lead-from-behind redistributionist foreign policy (the bookend to his “you didn’t build that” domestic recalibration) was some sort of clever plot to suggest that a weak United States could be taken advantage of — and then Obama would strike hard when Putin fell for the bait and overreached. But once Putin realized that Obama was serious in his fantasies, he lost all respect for his benefactor, especially as an increasingly petulant and politically enfeebled Obama compensated by teasing Putin as a macho class cut-up — just as he had often caricatured domestic critics who failed to appreciate his godhead.
Putin offered America’s enemies and fence-sitting opportunists a worldview that was antithetical to Obama’s. Lead-from-behind foreign policy was just provocative enough to discombobulate a few things overseas but never strong or confident enough to stay on to fix them. When China, Iran, North Korea, ISIS, or other provocateurs challenged the U.S., Putin was at best either indifferent and at worst supportive of our enemies, on the general theory that anything the U.S. sought to achieve, Russia would be wise to oppose.
Putin soon seemed to argue that the former Soviet Republics had approximately the same relation to Russia as the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have to the United States. Russia was simply defining and protecting its legitimate sphere of influence, as the post-colonial U.S. had done (albeit without the historic costs in blood and treasure).
Russia had once lost a million civilians at the siege of Leningrad when Hitler’s Army Group North raced through the Baltic States (picking up volunteers as it went) and met up with the Finns. At Sevastopol, General Erich von Manstein’s Eleventh Army may well have inflicted 100,000 Russian Crimean casualties in a successful but nihilistic effort to take and nearly destroy the fortress. The Kiev Pocket and destruction of the Southwestern Front of the Red Army in the Ukraine in September 1941 (700,000 Russians killed, captured, or missing) may have been the largest encirclement and mass destruction of an army in military history.
For Putin, these are not ancient events but rather proof of why former Soviet bloodlands were as much Russian as Puerto Rico was considered American. We find such reasoning tortured, given Ukrainian and Crimean desires to be free; Putin insists that Russian ghosts still flitter over such hallowed ground.
Reconstruction of Putin’s mindset is not justification for his domestic thuggery or foreign expansionism at the expense of free peoples. But it does remind us that he is particularly ill-suited to listen to pat lectures from American sermonizers whose unwillingness to rely on force to back up their sanctimony is as extreme as their military assets are overwhelming. Putin would probably be less provoked by a warning from someone deemed strong than he would be by obsequious outreach from someone considered weak.
There were areas where Obama might have sought out Putin in ways advantageous to the U.S., such as wooing him away from Iran or playing him off against China or lining him up against North Korea. But ironically, Obama was probably more interested in inflating the Persian and Shiite regional profile than was Putin himself. Putin would probably be less provoked by a warning from someone deemed strong than he would be by obsequious outreach from someone considered weak.
If Obama wished to invite Putin into the Middle East, then at least he might have made an effort to align him with Israel, the Gulf States, Egypt, and Jordan, in pursuit of their shared goal of wiping out radical Islamic terrorism. In the process, these powers might have grown increasingly hostile to Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran. But Obama was probably more anti-Israeli than Putin, and he also disliked the moderate Sunni autocracies more than Putin himself did. As far as China, Putin was delighted that Obama treated Chinese aggression in the Spratly Islands as Obama had treated his own in Ukraine: creased-brow angst about bad behavior followed by indifference.
The irony of the failed reset was that in comparative terms the U.S. — given its newfound fossil-fuel wealth and energy independence, the rapid implosion of the European Union, and its continuing technological superiority — should have been in an unusually strong position as the leader of the West. Unhinged nuclear proliferation, such as in Pakistan and North Korea and soon in Iran, is always more of a long-term threat to a proximate Russia than to a distant America. And Russia’s unassimilated and much larger Muslim population is always a far more existential threat to Moscow than even radical Islamic terrorism is at home to the U.S.
In other words, there were realist avenues for cooperation that hinged on a strong and nationalist U.S. clearly delineating areas where cooperation benefitted both countries (and the world). Other spheres in which there could be no American–Russian consensus could by default have been left to sort themselves out in a may-the-best-man-win fashion, hopefully peaceably.
Such détente would have worked only if Obama had forgone all the arc-of-history speechifying and the adolescent putdowns, meant to project strength in the absence of quiet toughness.
Let us hope that Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson, and Jim Mattis know this and thus keep mostly silent, remind Putin privately (without trashing a former president) that the aberrant age of Obama is over, carry huge sticks, work with Putin where and when it is in our interest, acknowledge his help, seek to thwart common enemies — and quietly find ways to utilize overwhelming American military and economic strength to discourage him from doing something unwise for both countries.
Voir par ailleurs:
Trump défend à nouveau Poutine, au désespoir des Républicains
Le Figaro AFP, AP, Reuters Agences
VIDÉO – «Pensez-vous que notre pays soit si innocent?», a répondu le président américain au sujet des crimes supposés du président russe, dans une interview à la chaîne Fox News, suscitant la colère de son propre camp.
Le président américain Donald Trump a défendu une nouvelle fois Vladimir Poutine devant l’opinion publique américaine, montrant qu’il ne renonçait pas à trouver des accords avec le président russe sur les affaires de la planète. Une nouvelle flambée des combats entre forces ukrainiennes et séparatistes pro-russes dans l’est de l’Ukraine a contraint la semaine dernière l’administration américaine à critiquer Moscou et à promettre le maintien des sanctions internationales qui visent la Russie.
Mais dimanche, dans une interview diffusée sur Fox News avant le démarrage du très populaire Super Bowl, le président américain a défendu une nouvelle fois sa volonté de chercher à réchauffer les relations avec son homologue russe.
«Je le respecte», mais «ça ne veut pas dire que je vais m’entendre avec lui», a-t-il dit.» C’est un leader dans son pays, et je pense qu’il vaut mieux s’entendre avec la Russie que l’inverse», a-t-il ajouté.
Et au journaliste qui lui objectait que Vladimir Poutine était un «tueur», Donald Trump a invité de manière surprenante l’Amérique à un examen de conscience. «Beaucoup de tueurs, beaucoup de tueurs. Pensez-vous que notre pays soit si innocent?», a-t-il demandé, sans expliciter sa pensée. Cette dernière réflexion a immédiatement suscité une salve de critiques, y compris dans son propre camp où Vladimir Poutine fait souvent figure de repoussoir. «Je ne pense pas qu’il y ait aucune équivalence entre la manière dont les Russes se comportent et la manière dont les États-Unis se comportent», a déclaré Mitch McConnell, le chef de file des républicains au Sénat. «C’est un ancien du KGB, un voyou, élu d’une manière que beaucoup de gens ne trouvent pas crédible», a-t-il renchéri.
Quant au néoconservateur Marc Rubio, sénateur républicain de Floride, et rival de Donald Trump lors de la primaire du Grand Old Party, il a tweeté: «Quand est-ce qu’un activiste démocrate a été empoisonné par le parti Républicain, ou vice-versa? Nous ne sommes pas comme Poutine».
L’électorat républicain préoccupé par Daech plutôt que par Poutine
Dans son interview à Fox News, le président américain a aussi expliqué dans quel domaine il aimerait particulièrement se mettre d’accord avec Moscou: «Si la Russie nous aide dans le combat contre (le groupe) État islamique (…) et contre le terrorisme islamique à travers le monde, c’est une bonne chose».
Donald Trump a demandé au Pentagone de lui fournir, d’ici la fin février, un plan pour accélérer la campagne contre l’EI, qui n’a que trop traîné en longueur selon lui. Or, les militaires américains ne cachent pas que l’attitude de Moscou sera déterminante pour préparer l’ultime bataille contre le groupe terroriste, la conquête de sa capitale autoproclamée Raqqa. La coalition ne peut pas par exemple lancer l’offensive sur la ville sans avoir une idée de ce que sera le statut de la ville libérée – un débat dans lequel la Russie joue un rôle clef.
En cherchant un rapprochement avec le maître du Kremlin, Donald Trump est en décalage, voire en opposition avec nombre de caciques républicains, comme John McCain, l’ancien candidat républicain à la présidentielle de 2008, qui ne perd pas une occasion de dénoncer la menace russe.
Toutefois, une enquête publiée vendredi par le New York Times montre bien qu’il n’est peut-être pas tant que ça en décalage avec l’électorat républicain, pour qui la menace islamique radicale éclipse la menace russe. Interrogé sur l’endroit du monde qui représente pour lui la principale menace pour les États-Unis, l’électorat démocrate place à l’inverse la Corée du Nord en tête, suivie immédiatement par la Russie. Mais l’électorat républicain mentionne après la Corée du Nord une longue liste de pays musulmans, avant de citer la Russie, selon cette enquête.
Washington Post Wakes Up to the Fact That Iran Is Stronger Than Ever
Now that Obama is out of office, the Washington Post is beginning to look at the consequences of his policies. One of the biggest: Iran is now a regional superpower, but still as hostile to the U.S. and its allies as ever.
Iran now stands at the apex of an arc of influence stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean, from the borders of NATO to the borders of Israel and along the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It commands the loyalties of tens of thousands in allied militias and proxy armies that are fighting on the front lines in Syria, Iraq and Yemen with armored vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons. They have been joined by thousands of members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most prestigious military wing, who have acquired meaningful battlefield experience in the process.
For the first time in its history, the Institute for the Study of War noted in a report last week, Iran has developed the capacity to project conventional military force for hundreds of miles beyond its borders. “This capability, which very few states in the world have, will fundamentally alter the strategic calculus and balance of power within the Middle East,” the institute said.
America’s Sunni Arab allies, who blame the Obama administration’s hesitancy for Iran’s expanded powers, are relishing the prospect of a more confrontational U.S. approach. Any misgivings they may have had about Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric have been dwarfed by their enthusiasm for an American president they believe will push back against Iran.
If only someone had warned that appeasing Iran was a dangerous policy that could backfire horribly…
When Walter Russell Mead testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015, he argued that the Iran Deal shouldn’t be analyzed merely as an arms control agreement or even on its own terms. It needed (and still needs) to be assessed in the context of a broader strategic framework for the Middle East. At that point, it was already clear the Obama Administration’s entire Middle East policy pivoted on the deal. Other American interests (in Syria and Yemen, for instance) were secondary to getting an arms control agreement in place with Iran. The mistake wasn’t so much the narrow deal itself as the fact that the deal was promoted not as part of a strategy, but rather in lieu of one.
The consequences of not paying attention to the big picture are now obvious to all. We’re glad the Washington Post is finally getting it. We just wish they’d done so sooner.