Beware Baker

Beware Baker

Jim Baker’s abysmal track record in diplomacy – in contrast to his impressive business and political track record – suggests that the implementation of his “Iraq Study Group” recommendations would benefit anti-US rogue regimes and harm pro-US moderate elements.

In 1990, the Texan Deal Maker lured Assad into the anti-Saddam Coalition, following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. He overlooked Assad’s leadership role in international terrorism, showered the Butcher of Hama with international legitimacy, alluded to potential US assistance to Syria, and gave Assad a free hand in Lebanon. In response to Baker’s “Pragmatism”, Assad refrained from assisting the US war on Saddam, but completed Syrian occupation of Lebanon, massacred thousands of Lebanese and violently replaced an anti-Syrian Christian Administration with a pro-Syrian puppet Administration in Beirut. The ripple effects of Baker’s “Pragmatism” still reverberate in crumbling Lebanon.

During the 1980s and until the 1990 Kuwait’s invasion by Saddam, Baker referred to the latter as a “constructive leader,” worthy of US cooperation: “The enemy of my enemy (Iran) is my friend (Iraq).” Consequently, Baker downplayed Saddam’s well-documented horrific belligerency against Iran (1980 invasion) and against Iraq’s own Shiites and Kurds, extended to him $5BN in loan guarantees and EXIM Bank credits, authorized the release of sensitive dual-use technologies to Baghdad, encouraged intelligence-sharing with Iraq, and signaled to Saddam – in April 1990 – that a potential invasion to Kuwait would be considered, by the USA, “an inter-Arab issue.”

Energized by Baker’s “Green Light”, Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, threatening to sweep Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Jordan. Taking advantage of Baker’s “Realism”, Saddam brutally suppressed a 1991 Shiite uprising (which was let down by the US Administration), and rebuilt its capabilities, which were devastated during the 1991 war. The “Realist” did not realize that – in the unpredictable, violent Mideast – “the enemy of my enemy (Iran) could be my enemy (Iraq).” The aftershocks of Baker’s non-realization are still pounding the region.

During the late 1980s and until the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Baker was preoccupied with the Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He considered Arafat (before the 1993 Oslo Accord!) an essential partner to a peace process. Hence, he turned a blind eye toward Arafat’s record of (mostly inter-Arab) treachery and terrorism, pandered to the PLO, attempted to break the back of Israel’s Prime Minister Shamir, denied Shamir $10BN loan guarantees (not cash!) for the absorption of Soviet Jewry, convinced President Bush to threaten to veto (or avoid implementation of) any pro-Israeli legislation proposed on Capitol Hill, pressured Israel to freeze Jewish settlements and to roll back to the 1949 Lines, and accused Israel in obstructing the prospects of peace. Responding to Baker’s policy of appeasement, the PLO supplied Saddam with vital intelligence which facilitated the invasion of Kuwait. PLO units in Iraq participated in the invasion and plunder of Kuwait, and the PLO/PA has remained – until today – loyal to Saddam, Ben-Laden and other anti-US rogue regimes.

In 2006, Jim Baker perceives Iran (especially) and Syria – two leading terrorist states – to be a potential asset in moderating the Iraqi Street. In order to realize the Iran/Syria potential, he is willing to enhance their maneuverability. The implementation of Baker’s recommendations would accelerate Iran’s nuclearization process, which would transform Saudi Arabia and the Gulf State into Iranian hostages, would relief Assad off a growing international pressure and isolation, would threaten the survival of the regimes in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, and would force Israel into a unilateral military action, in order to avert the existential Iranian nuclear threat.

Baker’s failures have been the result of a series of refuted assumptions: That rogue regimes prefer a tempting deal over their own ideology, that the Palestinian issue is the crux of Mideast violence and anti-US terrorism, that one can achieve peaceful-coexistence with determined rogue regimes, that the Arab-Israeli conflict evolve around Israel’s size rather than Israel’s existence, and that the US could pay with an “Israeli Currency” (of sweeping concessions) for improved ties with the Arab and Muslim world.

As evidenced by Baker’s track record, wrong assumptions produce wrong policy conclusions, which add fuel to the fire of terrorism, undermining vital US interests and eroding the national security of pro-US regimes in the Mideast.

Baker’s determination to achieve deal-at-any-price has caused him to sacrifice long-term vital concerns on the altar of short-term tenuous illusions.

However, Jim Baker is determined to learn from history by repeating – rather than avoiding – past critical strategic errors.

Will US and Israel adopt Baker’s “Pragmatism”, “Realism”, Even-Handedness and Moral Equivalence, or will the leader of the Free World and its sole soul ally in the Mideast stick to a long-term conviction-driven vision, paved by moral and strategic clarity, making a clear distinction between enemies and allies?!

As Baker has shown in his long public career, he is anti-Israel and would sacrifice Israel in a heartbeat to the Iran-backed Palestinian Hamas terrorists.

 

What real war looks like.

What real war looks like.

What Real War Looks Like

By Elan Journo

The Iraq Study Group has issued many specific recommendations, but the options boil down to a maddeningly limited range: pull out or send more troops to do democracy-building and, either way, “engage” the hostile regimes in Iran and Syria. Missing from the list is the one option our self-defense demands: a war to defeat the enemy. If you think we’ve already tried this option and failed, think again. Washington’s campaign in Iraq looks nothing like the war necessary for our self-defense.

What does such a war look like?

America’s security depends on identifying precisely the enemy that threatens our lives–and then crushing it, rendering it a non-threat. It depends on proudly defending our right to live free of foreign aggression–by unapologetically killing the killers who want us dead.

Those who say this is a “new kind of conflict” against a “faceless enemy” are wrong. The enemy Washington evasively calls “terrorism” is actually an ideologically inspired political movement: Islamic totalitarianism. It seeks to subjugate the West under a totalitarian Islamic regime by means of terrorism, negotiation, war–anything that will win its jihad. The movement’s inspiration, its first triumph, its standard-bearer, is the theocracy of Iran. Iran’s regime has, for decades, used terrorist proxies to attack America. It openly seeks nuclear weapons and zealously sponsors and harbors jihadists. Without Iran’s support, legions of holy warriors would be untrained, unarmed, unmotivated, impotent.

Destroying Islamic totalitarianism requires a punishing military onslaught to end its primary state representative and demoralize its supporters. We need to deploy all necessary force to destroy Iran’s ability to fight, while minimizing our own casualties. We need a campaign that ruthlessly inflicts the pain of war so intensely that the jihadists renounce their cause as hopeless and fear to take up arms against us. This is how America and its Allies defeated both Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan.

Victory in World War II required flattening cities, firebombing factories, shops and homes, devastating vast tracts of Germany and Japan. The enemy and its supporters were exhausted materially and crushed in spirit. What our actions demonstrated to them was that any attempt to implement their vicious ideologies would bring them only destruction and death. Since their defeat, Nazism and Japanese imperialism have essentially withered as ideological forces. Victory today requires the same: smashing Iran’s totalitarian regime and thus demoralizing the Islamist movement and its many supporters, so that they, too, abandon their cause as futile.

We triumphed over both Japan and Germany in less than four years after Pearl Harbor. Yet more than five years after 9/11, against a far weaker enemy, our soldiers still die daily in Iraq. Why? Because this war is neither assertive nor ruthless–it is a tragically meek pretense at war.

Consider what Washington has done. The Islamist regime in Iran remains untouched, fomenting terrorism. (And now our leaders hope to “engage” Iran diplomatically.)

We went to battle not with theocratic Iran, but with the secular dictatorship of Iraq. And the campaign there was not aimed at crushing whatever threat Hussein’s regime posed to us. “Shock and awe” bombing never materialized. Our brave and capable forces were hamstrung: ordered not to bomb key targets such as power plants and to avoid firing into mosques (where insurgents hide) lest we offend Muslim sensibilities. Instead, we sent our troops to lift Iraq out of poverty, open new schools, fix up hospitals, feed the hungry, unclog sewers–a Peace Corps, not an army corps, mission.

U.S. troops were sent, not to crush an enemy threatening America, but (as Bush explained) to “sacrifice for the liberty of strangers,” putting the lives of Iraqis above their own. They were prevented from using all necessary force to win or even to protect themselves. No wonder the insurgency has flourished, emboldened by Washington’s self-crippling policies. (Perversely, some want even more Americans tossed into this quagmire.)

Bush did all this to bring Iraqis the vote. Any objective assessment of the Middle East would have told one who would win elections, given the widespread popular support for Islamic totalitarianism. Iraqis swept to power a pro-Islamist leadership intimately tied to Iran. The most influential figure in Iraqi politics is now Moktadr al-Sadr, an Islamist warlord lusting after theocratic rule and American blood. When asked whether he would accept just such an outcome from the elections, Bush said that of course he would, because “democracy is democracy.”

No war that ushers Islamists into political office has U.S. self-defense as its goal.

This war has been worse than doing nothing, because it has galvanized our enemy to believe its success more likely than ever–even as it has drained Americans’ will to fight. Washington’s feeble campaign demonstrates the ruinous effects of refusing to assert our self-interest and defend our freedom. It is past time to consider our only moral and practical option: end the senseless sacrifice of our soldiers–and let them go to war.

Elan Journo is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (www.AynRand.org) in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” Contact the writer at media@aynrand.org.

 

A Date which will Live in Infamy

A Date which will Live in Infamy

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Date of Infamy” Speech to Congress
Continue reading “A Date which will Live in Infamy”

Iraq: A failed strategy?

Iraq: A failed strategy?

Garry Kasparov, a master chess player from Russia, writes an article in the Wall Street Journal about the Iraq war from a chess player’s point of view.
Continue reading “Iraq: A failed strategy?”