October 30, 2008

Does America require a Domestic Counterterrorism agency

Following the 9/11 attacks, academics and experts have continually questioned whether the U.S. needs a domestic counterterrorism agency. A contention based on the belief that the attacks may have been prevented, if a dedicated body were previously established.

On the surface, it would appear to be a no brainer, which is far from reality. Should for example, the FBI take the reins or is there s a need to restructure U.S. efforts and establish a domestic agency based on Britain’s M15 model? There are compelling arguments either way.

After the attempt to down 10 airlines using liquid explosives was foiled by London authorities in 2006, experts quickly praised the effectiveness of British counterterrorism agencies, in stark contrast to criticism often leveled at the U.S. intelligence community.

The Department of Homeland Security also recently asked the RAND Corporation to conduct an independent study on the feasibility of creating just such and agency. Among the key findings of the report:

>> The motivating question is one of organization, and depending on how the problem with the nation's domestic intelligence approach is defined, changing organizations is one solution. However, other approaches – such as reallocation resources, changing regulations or laws, or enhancing agency collaboration – are options as well.

>>
Fundamentally, what the United States seeks by way of domestic intelligence remains unclear, and existing arrangements have not been assessed in detail, all of which raises questions about the objectives of any reorganization effort.

>>
Break-even analysis provides a systematic means of exploring the question of how much a new domestic intelligence agency would have to reduce terrorism risk – given a presumed level of threat and estimates of agency cost – to justify creating it.
A summary of the RAND Report can be found here

Many interesting questions need be considered. Are U.S. counterterrorism agencies as effective as their British (and European) counterparts are? Or is it simply a case of their efforts going unrecognized because of the secretive nature of their operations? Should counterterrorism be law-enforcement activity, a military one or both?

October 28, 2008

A Better Country: Why America was Right to Confront Iraq

... As the 2008 election approaches, Americans have a civic duty to reassess the war in Iraq ...

The past six years have seen a plethora of book titles devoted to the Iraq war debate. While for the most part they painted a negative picture early on some, but not all recent titles draw the opposite conclusion. I was recently introduced to one such title, A Better Country: Why America was Right to Confront Iraq. Written by a member of The Greatest Generation and a Democrat, Arthur Borden’s book is not merely another polemic but an account as seen through the mind of a career lawyer who enlightens readers within the context of modern U.S. foreign policy in the region.

… Borden a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School guides readers through the historical events leading up to the 2003 invasion, focusing on the emotionally charged public debate while also navigating the politics, opposition, and responsibility of the U. S. to address the Iraqi regime. A Better Country reminds us that, stretching back to the presidency of Jimmy Carter and before, there had been a broad consensus over the touchstone issues of Iraq, the Middle East, and the unmentionable reality of oil – until political argument became degraded by charges of betrayal and wholesale deception … It sets the record straight on the threat of Saddam’s regime and on the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. It cuts through the confusions of the war debate, and it will help to overcome the deep and disabling divisions in America’s civic life.

With a razor-sharp legal mind, he presents the testimony of presidents, congressman, senators, and other foreign policy architects on both sides of the political spectrum, who for the last several decades acknowledged that a secure Persian Gulf region is crucial to American survival.
It should not surprise many that my view is in accord with that of the author in any event, a belief based on at least two premises.

1. That many on the left, including the sensitized anti-Bush and anti war horde have a fixed unaccountable interest in American failure in Iraq (and Afghanistan) and that increasingly this horde has come to include many well to do, sensible and overly righteous educated types who see failure as necessary outcome to dent American pride and honor and

2. History being a sound judge proves that the U.S. is not the power hungry bloodthirsty conqueror that takes away liberty as many extremists suggest. I do not recall an America taking away any freedom or hijack resources during WWII; they fought and won on the back of sound principles. After the conflict they worked together with and rebuilt Western Europe while enemies of America took hold of the eastern part of the continent. By the 1990’s Western Europe was modern and thriving while the Eastern states were poor and driven under. It is much the same with North and South Korea. Even in Vietnam where America lost, things are on the up because they have chosen to pursue freedom at the expense of socialist ideology.

America only profited from these nations because it established trade and democratic governance not because it stole. America’s enemies, and in particular the Islamists can argue all they like about America being evil, in Afghanistan they were given a chance to demonstrate their wares, prove to us they can govern in a civilized manner, so what did they do? Recall woman dragged before crowds and shot. Islamists having been given a chance to validate their model ways and failed dismally, hence it is time we supported America in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In terms of historical analysis as a wartime President, Bush like Truman before him, is in line for positive reconsideration.

As both the media release and Arthur Borden outlines, “As the 2008 election approaches, Americans have a civic duty to reassess the war in Iraq.”

A Better Country: Why America was Right to Confront Iraq is necessary reading for all of us seeking not just better understanding, but also a sense of finely honed discernment about how America arrived at where she is today.

October 27, 2008

Obama or McCain, little changes on Iran

Suggestions of a global reduction in tensions following a Presidential change are premature, not least flawed. Aside from Afghanistan and Iraq, the most immediate foreign policy challenge will be ever present – a nuclear Iran. In spite of who wins office diplomacy, though the preferred option seems set to fail simply because Iran wants to pursue the nuclear option. Michael Rubin paints a grim picture for the next President on the basis that Iran’s nuclear development shall continue unabated.

Aside from this, if we need further evidence that Israel is preparing for confrontation it is this. Israel is all too aware that any strike on Iran must be at least sufficient to buy time for a more permanent solution. With the possibility of an S-300 ground to air missile system in the way, the chances of success are diminished, as are the chances of losing valuable military craft. “In the 1973 Yom Kippur War the Israelis lost scores of jets to Soviet missiles over Syria.”

Meanwhile Australia recently ramped up sanctions beyond those imposed by the U.N. Do not be surprised if other nations soon follow suit. For now though, expect other efforts to continue, including increased military maneuverings and weapons sales within the region.

Not to be seen doing little, in September the U.S. deployed a highly sophisticated long-range radar system in southern Israel capable of providing critical early warning in the event of attack. Staffed by over 100 American personnel it represents the first permanent U.S. military presence in the Jewish state.

For world leaders Iran is quickly shaping up to be the problem from hell, a crises perhaps bigger that Wall St. Says Rubin, “A nuclear weapons capable Islamic Republic of Iran is strategically untenable”, adding:

A nuclear ready or nuclear-armed Islamic Republic ruled by the clerical regime could threaten the Persian Gulf region and its vast energy resources, spark nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East, inject additional volatility into global energy markets, embolden extremists in the region and destabilize states such as Saudi Arabia and others in the region, provide nuclear technology to other radical regimes and terrorists (although Iran might hesitate to share traceable nuclear technology), and seek to make good on its threats to eradicate Israel.
The bigger that Wall St contention may or may not prove correct, depending on what happens to financial markets in the coming months. Either way this commentators words are unsettling.

As Americans look the other way, Tehran's bomb moves closer. Live in the US any length of time, and one thing you soon realize: the country, be that its media or its government, can only focus on one crisis at a time. Right now, that failing is eminently forgiveable. Nothing is more pressing than a financial meltdown that unless it is tackled in days – or a very few weeks at the most – could lead to the Great Depression of the 21st century. But amid the turmoil, another crisis has been forgotten. Once it was measured in years, now the critical moment may arrive in months. Does anyone remember a certain country called Iran, and its suspected plan to build a nuclear weapon?
I am the opinion that Rubin is right, diplomacy needs to be backed by forms of economic coercion, sanctions, and the threat of military actions.

Let us hope the next President is a brave multitasker …

October 11, 2008

Vacation Time

I will be vacationing on Australia's Gold Coast for two weeks and blogging will resume thereafter, at which time I shall also recreate my blogroll after the hack...

Moreover, after reading this, I really do need to break for while…

Just as I did on my last vacation post, I thank my readers and commenters for making American Interests.blog a meaningful venture.

Once again, thank you, and God bless.

Update: Blogroll is back, have I missed anyone?

October 9, 2008

Opposing Views – A Site for Debate

"For those seeking to participate in quality debate that educates by way of AAA rated contributions, Opposing Views can provide not only polemically stimulating experiences but also, a worthy new information portal ...

Does my vote matter? League of Women Voters vs Art Carden

Should the U.S. immediately withdraw from Iraq? Code Pink Vs Heritage

Should the U.S. use military force against Iran? Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights vs Heritage Foundation

Is the U.S. a Christian Nation? Dr Paul S Vickery vs William Martin PhD

Should the U.S. Build a Wall on Its Mexican Border? Victor X. Cerda vs The Center for Biological Diversity

Early this week I was introduced to a relatively new site Opposing Views which, unlike many discussion platforms where unintelligible and poorly informed lines clutter the content, here we find commentary and debate where ‘expert’ is the operative term. Opposing Views does not take sides rather, it offers an intelligent platform for critical online discussion on a range of pertinent topics in a structured format that permits HTML video embedding and hyperlinks. Best of all, it’s the experts who factor in the discussion, contributing their viewpoints for you the reader to both vote for and/or, add commentary. The team at Opposing Views deserves credit for the care taken in hiring expert advocates on opposing sides of the issues discussed.

Opposing Views helps you uncover all sides of the issues you care about most … experts go head-to-head on real-life concerns, debating news and events, addressing the questions that keep you up at night. We introduce the questions, the experts present their cases (and disagree with each other), and you leave ready to make well-informed decisions and take action.

Each section is a channel, including politics, society, health, money, and religion. Our point/counter-point format gives each expert a chance to state their information and opinions on an issue. Meanwhile, the other side objects by calling out the flaws in that information, and then states their own side. Opposing Views brings together the information on the issue, the evidence on each side and their counter-points.

The hundreds of known and credible experts, opinion leaders, and advocate groups include: the Obama Campaign, the McCain campaign, the National Rifle Association (NRA), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), The Sierra Club and Amnesty International, as well as individuals who are authorities on issues of current consumer interest.

Source

As CNET noted, Opposing Views, recently “landed a coup” on the question of, “which Presidential candidate would be better for the economy” by attracting “official representation from officers in both the McCain and Obama campaigns."

For those seeking to participate in quality debates that educate by way of AAA rated contributions, Opposing Views can provide not only polemically stimulating experiences but also, a worthy new information portal; just watch your blood pressure though.

October 6, 2008

The Roots of PC and the Anti-American Liberal mind-set

The goal ... undermine the culture, society, and economy of the United States ... target the three transmission belts of American culture: academia, the media, and Hollywood ... Marxist like progressive influences have piggybacked on the Hollywood machine ever since ...

In a compelling and thought provoking article Kent Clizbe, a former CIA Case Officer and author of the soon-to-be-released title, “Willing Accomplices” seeks to answer the question: Where did liberal progressive anti-American beliefs originate?

Clizbe’s research, which includes talking to former KGB operatives, the examination of scores of documents and texts that recorded Soviet intelligence covert influence operations reveal some fascinating evidence, that is not easily dismissed.

A conservative himself he sees a link between progressive attitudes associated with Liberalism and Marxism and in doing, suggests that the accompanying anti—American/Marxist perspectives may not be a coincidence.

In the 1920s, Vladimir Lenin charged a select group of communist espionage officers with a long-term covert influence project: undermine the culture, society, and economy of the United States.

Their goal was to weaken America in preparation for a socialist revolution. The communists targeted the three transmission belts of American culture: academia, the media, and Hollywood. Recent research reveals the unbelievable extent of their success.

Just how far have they come? Today we see the results in Obama’s campaign talking points, the media’s assistance, and Hollywood and academia’s slavish toeing of the party line.
What Clizbe’s research reveals is that communist covert influence operations may have sowed the seeds of Political Correctedness long ago.

New York Times

One of the first, and certainly most effective, recruitments for the covert influence program was The New York Times’ Walter Duranty. Recently completed analysis of Duranty’s lifestyle, access, and reporting reveals that he was, almost without doubt, a paid espionage agent. Duranty, America’s man in Moscow for more than a decade, supplied the U.S. media with a steady stream of communist-fed information.

The implied subtext of Duranty’s message was that communism works, and that it is inevitable. KGB operators now admit that they were tasked to continue delivering such messages up until the fall of the USSR. The media accepted Duranty’s covert influence messages as gospel. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. The KGB must have gloated over their unbelievable success.

Does this explain why today’s The New York Times celebrates the passing of old Commies with rich obituaries.

Time Magazine

The Soviet-trained intelligence service of North Vietnam infiltrated the American press corps in Saigon, another covert influence coup. Pham Xuan An, a communist espionage agent, worked for Time magazine for almost 30 years.

Beginning as a translator, he ended his career as the last Time correspondent in Saigon, filing stories for publication in the U.S. after the North Vietnamese victory. All the while, An was a communist espionage agent. Morley Safer, in his book "Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam" upon An’s death in 2006, evidently without irony, called him one of the “best-connected journalists in the country.

In 1934, the operation against America’s Education system bore fruit at the Teachers College of Columbia University. A group of intellectuals began their contribution to the communist project to destroy traditional American society, calling themselves, "Reconstructionists.” Their message planned for every classroom, called for educators to be “less frightened of imposition and indoctrination.”

My analysis reveals that the leader of this group, George Counts, was likely a covert influence agent. His multiple trips to the USSR, from the late 1920s to the early ‘30s, place him squarely in the sights of the KGB’s covert influence operators.

Bill Ayers

According to a Sept. 23, 2008, Wall Sreet Journal article, after the '60s, Bill Ayers and Obama’s foundation in Chicago pushed for school reform. Ayers said, 'Teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression.' His preferred alternative? ‘I'm a radical, leftist, small "c" communist.’” The covert operation bears fruit decades later.

Willi Munzenberg, Lenin’s chief covert influence operator was determined to instill the mindset in Americans that, as Koch says, “to criticize or challenge Soviet policy was the unfailing mark of a bad, bigoted, and probably stupid person, while support for progressive thought was equally infallible proof of a forward-looking mind committed to all that was best for humanity and marked by an uplifting refinement of sensibility.

Hollywood

Munzenberg’s operations, run from Vienna and Paris, dispatched communist espionage officers into Hollywood. There they built solid operations, recruiting screenwriters, producers, actors, directors, and hangers-on.

The Hollywood strategy was wildly successful over the long term. The elite corps of today, Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, Matt Damon, Oliver Stone, et al, save the PC multitudes from doing any heavy thinking. The elites provide emotionally satisfying, politically correct views on any and all issues, packaged for the consumption of the PC proletariat.

When Obama recently decried the bitterness of Midwesterners clinging to their guns, their religion and their anti-immigrant sentiments, he was echoing the Leninist/Stalinist covert payload of decades ago. When Obama’s preacher, Mr. Wright, accused the U.S. government of inflicting AIDS on “people of color,” as a means of genocide, he parroted a KGB covert influence operational payload, first inserted in an Indian paper in 1984, according to Christopher Andrew in "The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World.

Daily Kos

When progressives today chant, “Bush lied, people died,” they parrot the KGB’s messages. In the run-up to World War II, the communists characterized President Roosevelt as a war-mongering imperialist, and American foreign policy as somehow evil, and definitely naive. Reading the comments on virtually any Daily Kos posting today reveals the astounding success of the KGB’s influence op.

The goals of PC, which began to emerge after the 1970s, up until today, are nearly identical to the goals of the Communist International in 1920: Destroy the society in which capitalism thrives. Bring the capitalists to their knees ...

[…]

They -progressives- know better than you. They are oh-so-smart, oh-so-cosmopolitan, oh-so-loved in Vienna and Paris. They plan to give the rubes and hayseeds of fly-over country what’s best for them, like it or not, made palatable by oratory and lies, and spoon-fed by their friends in the media, Hollywood, and academia.

Kent Clizbe is the President of Cameron Halifax Associates, his full article appeared at Newsmax.com and can be viewed here.

I venture to suggest, there is little argument that the KGB was successful in penetrating Western academia and government. Harry Hopkins, FDR's right-hand man, kept in touch with Soviet agents and Alger Hiss was a former communist spy within the State department just as William F. Buckley noted in the fifties.

As to Willi Münzenberg; while posing as the legitimate German publisher and politician, he directed a communist funded massive media empire that had profound influence on the who’s who of European and American intelligentsia. Münzenberg’s underlings and their intellectual descendants beginning in, and amongst the Los Angeles and Hollywood cultural elites of the day influenced the ideological and cultural history of the west from the 1920’s. Marxist like progressive influences have piggybacked on the Hollywood machine ever since and in doing so, glorified leftist politics en masse. This early Soviet activity planted the foundations for an assault on the western worlds time-honored American `bourgeois' values; a steady process that began in earnest in the second half of the last century and has been gaining momentum since.

Can we call today's contemporary leftists “Neocommunists” who proudly advocate a Marxist vision of a system led by groups of elitists’ who know what’s best for all of us, for the United States of America, for society?

Let’s not kid ourselves Anti-Americanism is all round us and most definitely more pervasive on the Left and principal media networks - MSM. In Europe in particular think, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the Guardian, and the BBC, and how they condemn America at seemingly every turn.

October 2, 2008

John Howard awarded Winston S Churchill Medal of Freedom


We congratulate John Winston Howard on another great achievement. Coming soon after accepting the Irving Kristol award our former Prime Minister has been awarded the Winston S Churchill Medal of Freedom at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

The American Freedom Alliance, an LA-based think tank, presented Mr. Howard with the award for being "a strong ally of the United States". Asked if he were concerned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the labor Government would erode the economic fundamentals built up during his 11 years in Australia's top job, Mr Howard replied: "I hope the new government does not in any way squander the inheritance we gave them".

He welcomed the news US President George W Bush and Congressional leaders had agreed on a $US700 billion ($845 billion) rescue plan for the shaky US financial industry. Australia, thanks largely to the policies of his government, was in a healthy position to ride out the economic turmoil in the US, he said. "Fortunately, the fundamentals of the Australian economy are very strong and those fundamentals were largely created by the former government," Mr Howard said. "The fact that we have a big surplus and have paid off our debt, that we have low unemployment, we have low inflation, we have a strong banking system, all of those things will work to our favour. "If Australia were now in debt and were running a big budget deficit, the impact of this would be much greater."

Mr Howard's wife, Janette, and son Richard accompanied him on the trip to the US.

Source

Back in March and following his acceptance of the Irving Krystol award, John Howard launched a strong defense of his legacy, breaking his silence following last year's election loss. The former prime minister used a speech to the conservative US think tank, the American Enterprise Institute to attack his successor over his new policies including Iraq. To a standing ovation from over 1400 guests that included former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, Vice President Dick Cheney's wife Lynne, and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, Mr Howard defended his Government’ record and personal convictions. Once again congratulations John Howard.

Click here to view the interview, "John Howard - The Long War Against Radical Islam" (25min) or click on the image above.

See also: Australia's John Howard Receives 2008 Irving Kristol award