If You Wondered Why Energy Independence Is Important

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday about the drone attack on Saudi oil fields. The Iran-allied Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen have claimed credit for the attack.

The article reports:

The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about 5.7 million barrels a day, the kingdom’s national oil company said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

Officials said they hoped to restore production to its regular level of 9.8 million barrels a day by Monday. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said lost production would be offset through supplies of oil already on hand.

The strikes mark the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s petroleum assets in recent months, as tensions rise among Iran and its proxies like the Houthis, and the U.S. and partners like Saudi Arabia. The attacks could drive up oil prices if the Saudis can’t turn production back on quickly and potentially rattle investor confidence in an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company.

The article concludes:

The Yemen war is a central front in a new and more aggressive foreign policy overseen by Prince Mohammed, who launched the intervention with a coalition of allied states in 2015. Under the prince’s watch, the kingdom also applied a blockade on neighboring Qatar, detained Lebanon’s prime minister, and sent a team of men to kill exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

A conservative kingdom with a Sunni Muslim majority, Saudi Arabia has been an opponent of Iran in a struggle for power across the broader Middle East since the 1979 revolution that toppled Iran’s monarchy.

The attacks on Aramco’s facilities are poorly timed for Aramco’s coming IPO and pose a challenge to oil officials after a changing of the guard in their leadership. Aramco last week picked seven international banks to help it list on Saudi Arabia’s domestic exchange, an IPO that could value the company at about $2 trillion dollars and come before the end of the year.

There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes here. This is part of the conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. At their core, both the Saudis and the Iranians want to bring back the former caliphate. The Ottoman Empire (which was that caliphate) existed until the early 1900’s. Many Muslims want that Empire restored. The argument is over who will rule the caliphate when it is established. Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are players in this conflict, as is ISIS. Jamal Khashoggi was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Descriptions of him as simply a journalist were misleading. Another part of this puzzle is the fact that Saudi Arabia is drawing closer to aligning with Israel because of the fear of a nuclear Iran. That also would be a cause for increased aggression from Iran.

Generally speaking, any terrorism that goes on in the Middle East can be traced back to Iran. They have been training and funding terrorists since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

I have no idea what impact this will have on world oil prices. I do know that Saudi Arabia will work to repair the damage as soon as possible. I have no doubt that Iran is violating the sanctions on its oil exports, so if the price of oil rises significantly, Iran may be able to pull itself out of its current economic difficulties and calm its population. America will continue to prosper as oil prices rise because we are now a net exporter of oil rather than a net importer. Because of the policies of President Trump, we are in a very different situation than we were during the oil crisis of the 1970’s.

The Coming Election Impacts Foreign Policy

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about China’s plans to influence the 2020 presidential election.

The article reports:

In his conversation with Levin, Gertz (Washington Free Beacon senior writer Bill Gertz) reflected on his interview with Guo, who told Gertz earlier this week that the Chinese government has been deploying a prolonged campaign to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. Gertz asserted the Chinese government may try to wait out Trump’s time in office so it can negotiate trade deals with a new Democratic president if Trump loses in 2020.

Trump announced Thursday he would impose an additional 10-percent tariff on certain Chinese exports as a trade agreement between the United States and China has yet to materialize.

“The China threat to me is the most serious threat facing the country,” Gertz told Levin.

He pointed to the economic integration between the U.S and China and how those relationships make it difficult for lawmakers and military officials to address Chinese aggression head-on, which he referred to as “an existential threat.”

The article concludes:

“There’s a major push right now to try and build up of American courses in Asia so we won’t have to go to war with China,” Gertz said of the government’s efforts to deter a war hypothetical war with China.

Looking towards the presidential race, Gertz warned the Chinese government would prefer to have a Democrat in the White House.

“It’s going to be a huge problem if the Democrats retake the administration,” Gertz said, pointing to former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent downplaying of threat China poses to the United States.

Gertz pointed out that during the Obama presidency the Chinese government expanded their presence in Asian waterways, in addition to ramping up their theft of intellectual property from American companies and entrepreneurs.

This may be the reason the negotiations with China have become so difficult–China is waiting for a President who will cave into their demands. It is obvious that President Trump is not that person.

By undermining President Trump since he was elected, the Democrat party has made international trade negotiations much more difficult. Creating an even playing field in trade with China would result in continued growth of the United States economy. It is time to repair the damage bad trade deals have done in the past.

Foreign Policy Wisdom

The Center For Security Policy posted the following Secure Freedom Minute on July 26:

In recent days, fast-boats of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have seized oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.  This action has followed a series of other direct and indirect Iranian provocations, including attacks on shipping, Saudi oil infrastructure and U.S. assets in Iraq.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a pair of Chinese long-range bombers joined two of their Russian counterparts and one of the Kremlin’s command-and-control aircraft in conducting a deliberate provocation in the airspace over islands claimed by South Korea and Japan. An extraordinary three hundred warning shots were fired in two separate instances before the intruders departed the area.

Make no mistake: These are probing actions designed to test the readiness and resolve of the United States and its allies. As with any bully, a failure to demonstrate both will result in more aggression worldwide.

This is a lesson we should have learned a long time ago.

Sometimes Getting Things Done Takes Time

The Daily Caller is reporting the following today: “Late-Night Deal Breaks Deadlock Over Natural Gas Exports. The Trump Administration Is Ecstatic.” Natural gas is one of the cleanest energy sources in the world. America has a lot of it. Exporting it will have financial and diplomatic rewards.

The article reports:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) broke a two-year partisan deadlock Thursday night to approve a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana.

Top Department of Energy (DOE) officials said this was a major breakthrough that will alleviate a growing problem for U.S. energy producers — a lack of export infrastructure.

“We have been promoting US energy around the world and today’s decision by the FERC is a very important one,” DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

The Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal is the first such project to get FERC approval in two years. Republican FERC commissioners Neil Chatterjee, the chairman, and Bernard McNamee worked with Democrat Cheryl LaFleur to hash out an agreement to get her support.

The article concludes:

FERC’s other Democratic commissioner Richard Glick opposed the terminal, arguing his colleagues were “deliberately ignoring the consequences that its actions have for climate change.”

The commission’s environmental review of Calcasieu Pass found the facility would emit roughly 3.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year — about 0.07 percent of total U.S. emissions.

Brouillette argued that while an individual LNG export terminal would emit greenhouse gases, it would help lower global emissions because countries want gas as an alternative to coal.

“To the extent that LNG is displacing coal around the world, we think the impact is going to be positive,” Brouillette said.

Brouillette also stressed the geopolitical implications of LNG exports and the role energy could play in President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

“These are decisions that impact the President’s ability to make foreign policy decisions,” Brouillette told TheDCNF. “We get to assist Poland, we get to assist Lithuania, we get to assist the Baltic states.”

Energy independence for America is important, but it is also important to be able to export energy around the world when countries such as Russia threaten to shut down their energy pipelines in order the win political victories.

Misleading The Public About International Affairs

NBC News posted an article today about the relationship between President Trump and the nation of Turkey.

The article reports:

As Trump administration officials presided over the second day of an international conference in Warsaw dominated by calls to ratchet up pressure on Iran, one longtime U.S. ally and NATO member was noticeably absent — Turkey.

Snubbing the gathering in Poland, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday attended a rival conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where he planned to meet his Russian and Iranian counterparts to work out a final settlement of the war in Syria.

The dueling summits illustrate President Donald Trump’s struggle to forge a united front against Iran, and reflect Turkey’s drift away from Washington as it finds common ground with Moscow and Tehran, experts and former officials said.

These three paragraphs are totally misleading and paint a negative picture of President Trump’ foreign policy that is totally inaccurate. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became President of Turkey in 2014. He had previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014. As he moves Turkey in the direction of an Islamic State, it is only natural that his friendly relationship with America would deteriorate rapidly.

On July 28, 2014, The Jerusalem Post reported:

Harold Rhode, a senior fellow at the New-York-based Gatestone Institute and a former adviser on Islamic affairs in the office of the American secretary of defense, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday that the real issue in the ongoing conflict is that Turkey and Qatar are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in their goals.

“[Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood long before he was prime minister,” Rhode said.

It should now be clear to all that Erdogan “is now out of the bag,” Rhode said, adding that US President Barack Obama does not speak to the Turkish leader anymore despite previously describing him as one of his closest friends among the world’s leaders.

“Erdogan is doing whatever he can to help Hamas,” he said, asserting that it will only hurt the Palestinian people in the end.

On January 7, 2019, Clare Lopez posted an article at the Center for Security Policy that stated:

As National Security Advisor John Bolton heads to Turkey today for discussions about President Trump’s announced decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syrian battle spaces, he might question Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his expressed intent to re-establish the Ottoman Empire and how Erdogan calculates U.S. policy in the region to figure into that ambition.

He might cite from Erdogan’s February 2018 assertion that “modern Turkey is a ‘continuation’ of the Ottoman Empire,” or ask exactly what Erdogan meant when, in November 2018 he declared that “Turkey is bigger than Turkey; just know this. We cannot be trapped inside 780,000 kilometers [Turkey’s total area].” He might perhaps ask also what exactly Erdogan meant by threatening the U.S. with an “Ottoman Slap,” in reference to American support for Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State.

Then there was the November 2018 “International Islamic Union Congress,” held in Istanbul. Headed by Erdogan’s chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi, the event’s participants endorsed the aim of “unity of Islam” through establishing the “Confederation of Islamic Countries.” It was not entirely clear how or if such a “Confederation” would differ from a Caliphate or Islamic State.

Clearly, U.S. objectives for the region are not the same as Turkey’s.

I don’t think President Trump is the problem in our relationship with Turkey.

American Sovereignty

Yesterday The Washington Times reported that the International Court of Justice has ordered the United States to lift some Iran sanctions. The Court wants to make sure that the people of Iran are not harmed by the sanctions. Does the Court want to set up another ‘oil for food’ program like the one in the 1990’s? It’s amazing how much money dishonest people made from that program while the people of Iraq starved. (article here)

First of all, what are the sanctions on Iran about? Iran is probably the largest source of money for terrorism in the world. Iran supplies weapons and military equipment to Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the government of Syria, Palestinian terrorists, etc. It would be nice if Iran had a little less money to spread around. Iran has also partnered with North Korea and Russia in developing nuclear technology. This is not a country that is working toward peace.

There is also the matter of human rights abuses by the Iranian government. Homosexuals are dropped from buildings or worse. Dissidents are jailed and never heard from again. Fashion police roam the streets and beat women for being immodestly dressed. Human rights are not part of the Iranian government.

The sanctions are putting pressure on the regime. As the financial situation of the people worsens, they are rebelling against the totalitarian government. In this rebellion they have the support of America. If the International Court of Justice truly supported human rights and the humanitarian treatment of people, they would support the sanctions as a way to bring freedom to the people of Iran.

The article states:

The ICC’s David Scheffer responded in the Guardian by saying Bolton’s speech “isolates the United States from international criminal justice and severely undermines our leadership in bringing perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice elsewhere in the world.”

Wahh.

In case the United Nations hadn’t noticed, this is the Donald Trump administration — not the Barack Obama wishy-washy White House. On globalism first, America second, this president doesn’t play that. MAGA, anyone?

The ICC, apparently, isn’t getting the message.

“The United Nations‘ highest court has ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to the safety of civil aviation,” NBC wrote.

And on that: “Ordered” seems a rather remarkable word. Better would be “begged.”

After all, what is the ICC to America? America may have helped establish this court back in 2002 — but that’s the extent of the relationship. America has not joined as a state party; the ICC does not dictate policy and procedure to the United States.

It’s almost a delicious anticipation to sit and wonder what Bolton will say to this ICC “order.”

Chances are, given his past and this administration’s bold “America First” dealings on the foreign policy front, it’ll be something like, Bite me, ICC.

That would be well stated, for sure.

I like having a President who not only stands up for American sovereignty, but is willing to support the quest for freedom in other countries.

A Perfect Job For A Creative Writer

Ben Rhodes has been described as an aspiring novelist who somehow became a major player in President Obama’s foreign policy. In May of last year, he gave an extended interview (my notes here) with The New York Times describing his part in selling the Iranian nuclear agreement to the American people.

The New York Times article states:

Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. 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.”

Somehow that is not comforting.

Today The Daily Caller posted an article about Ben Rhodes’ new job:

Former White House aide Ben Rhodes, who served as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and advised former President Barack Obama on foreign policy issues, will start his new job on Sunday as a politics contributor for MSNBC and NBC News.

MSNBC’s public relations department made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday, noting that Rhodes will make his official debut on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” and Monday’s “All In With Chris Hayes.”

I’m not holding my breath waiting for the time a true conservative shows up on MSNBC as a political contributor. The network is entitled to hire anyone they want, but the viewers need to be aware of the political leanings of the people who are designated as political contributors.

The Truth Begins To Leak Out

Fox News posted an article today about an interview former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel published Friday in Foreign Policy. The interview provided some insight into some of the decisions made in the Obama Administration during Secretary Hagel’s tenure.

The article reports:

The interview with Foreign Policy comes nearly a year after his acrimonious exit from the Obama administration. Still smarting from the circumstances of his departure, Hagel told Foreign Policy that the White House tried to “destroy” him even after he resigned.

The interview explored the tensions between Hagel and others on Obama’s team, but offered particularly revealing details about the backstory to the president’s decision backing off his “red line” with Assad.

The former Pentagon chief said that decision in 2013 dealt a big blow to U.S. credibility.

“Whether it was the right decision or not, history will determine that,” Hagel told Foreign Policy. “There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred.”

While it is well-known that Obama chose not to go forward with any military action against Assad in 2013 despite drawing that line – and instead pursued a diplomatic path to have Assad hand over his chemical weapons stockpile – Hagel described the military option as robust up until the moment Obama nixed it.

It will be interesting to see what papers will be made public when the Obama Administration opens its library. This administration has behaved like political thugs. They have politicized the justice department, the internal revenue, and anything else they touched. They have created a racial divide that has not existed in this country since the 1950’s. It will be interesting to see how transparent they will be with their internal records.

The Junior Varsity Has Become The Varsity

On Thursday, Foreign Policy magazine posted an article about a laptop computer found in an ISIS hideout. The computer was found by Abu Ali, a commander of a moderate Syrian rebel group in northern Syria.

The article reports:

As we switched on the Dell laptop, it indeed still worked. Nor was it password-protected. But then came a huge disappointment: After we clicked on “My Computer,” all the drives appeared empty.

Appearances, however, can be deceiving. Upon closer inspection, the ISIS laptop wasn’t empty at all: Buried in the “hidden files” section of the computer were 146 gigabytes of material, containing a total of 35,347 files in 2,367 folders. Abu Ali allowed us to copy all these files — which included documents in French, English, and Arabic — onto an external hard drive.

…The laptop’s contents turn out to be a treasure trove of documents that provide ideological justifications for jihadi organizations — and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State‘s deadly campaigns. They include videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, and lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihadi hot spot to another.

Other things found on the computer included a 19-page document written in Arabic, explaining how to weaponize bubonic plague from invested animals and how to develop biological weapons. Lovely.

Also included on the laptop:

The laptop also includes a 26-page fatwa, or Islamic ruling, on the usage of weapons of mass destruction. “If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir [unbelievers] in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction,” states the fatwa by Saudi jihadi cleric Nasir al-Fahd, who is currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. “Even if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.”

This is what we are up against. As unbelievers, we are supposed to be destroyed by the Muslims. It has nothing to do with what we do–it is because we are not Muslims. If we are willing to convert to Islam, our lives will be spared.

Negotiating with ISIS and its relatives is NOT an option.

The Cost Of Poliltical Partisanship

One of the problems in America right now is politicians who value their political party more than they value their country. As a result of that values system, statements from the other party that should be heeded are mocked and ignored. We saw this principle in action with Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential campaign and with Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday reminding us of the events in 2008:

Palin said then:

After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama‘s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.

Levin (conservative talk radio host Mark Levin) said her comment was “dismissed as a very strange comment by the eggheads in and out of Washington.” And Levin mocked those who derided Palin for not thinking that “Russia’s our friend… they would never go into Ukraine.” As Breitbart News reported, Blake Hounshell, who was then at Foreign Policy magazine and is now at Politico, wrote that Palin’s comments were “strange.”

Her comments may have been “strange,” but they were obviously 100 percent accurate.

Breitbart further reminds us:

Because she was running on the Republican ticket, Sarah Palin’s comments were ignored and mocked. No one on the Democrat side of things was willing to listen to her.

When Mitt Romney ran against President Obama, something very similar happened. Steven Hayward at Power Line posted the story yesterday (along with the video):

John (John Hinderaker at Power Line) noted before how the Obama campaign attacked Mitt Romney in 2012 for saying Russia was our most important adversary, but it’s also worth taking in Obama mocking Romney in their third debate, saying that “the 1980s want their foreign policy back.”  That’s actually starting to sound pretty good.

I don’t know what difference it would have made if Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney had been listened to, but I can’t help but think that we would have been able to react in some way had we been prepared for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One analyst I was listening to this morning felt that if America does not do something to help the Ukrainians, Russia will turn its sights to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The world is getting very complicated, and we have a President who is so convinced he knows everything that he is not paying attention to what is going on around him. Putin is playing chess and President Obama is playing checkers. President Obama needs to listen to people on both sides of the aisle–it might avoid some serious mistakes.

 

 

 

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Will We Have Any Friends Left In The World After Four Years Of Barack Obama ?

I am sure many countries in Eastern Europe cringed at President Obama’s open mike moment with Russian President Medvedev. The idea of President Obama becoming more flexible in his policies of missile defense is much scarier to those countries than it is to most Americans. They must be wondering how valuable friendship with America is. Now the Israelis must be wondering the same thing.

Fox News is reporting that John Bolton has accused the Obama Administration of leaking secret information about Israel in order to prevent Israel from attacking Iran this spring. Ambassador Bolton was responding to an article in Foreign Policy magazine that quoted government sources claiming Israel had been granted access to airfields in Azerbaijan — along Iran’s northern border. Azerbaijan would make strategic sense as a base for any Israeli operation against Iran.

Fox News reports:

The Foreign Policy article quoted what were identified as “high-level sources … inside the U.S. government.” It specifically mentioned “four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers.” 

One intelligence officer, who was unnamed, told the magazine that the U.S. was “watching” the activity and was “not happy about it.” 

The Foreign Policy article did not specify whether any of the information came from the White House, and there is no direct evidence that this was a coordinated leak.

“Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated leak,” Bolton told FoxNews.com. “This is not a rogue CIA guy saying I think I’ll leak this out.” 

“It’s just unprecedented to reveal this kind of information about one of your own allies,” Bolton said. 

Would you  be friends with America after your secret information had been leaked?

 

 

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