Lunch Break for Thursday, April 9: tax $ for ISIS; Univ. of Michigan gets it right; more “nuke deal” fallout
She’s baaaack! After some time off for Easter break.
US Taxpayers’ Paid for Army Gear in ISIS Hands
There’s something really pathetic, as well as moronic, when you consider the tens of thousands of US service members who gave their lives and limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to find that millions of dollars of US made equipment, or US purchased equipment has landed in the hands of the Islamic state. This is not a debate about the Iraq war, but we left without a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) and now a heavy price is being paid, by those who fall under the control of ISIS, and those who are fighting ISIS. One man’s political legacy (Obama) versus the future security of one of the world’s key regions. As the impact spills over into Yemen as well as Syria, this will come back to haunt us.
University of Michigan Caves then Rescinds American Sniper Screening Decision
Remember the days when if you didn’t particularly like a movie trailer or its story, you simply didn’t go to the movie. Not anymore. The UM’s Center for Campus Involvement recently caved to petition from a Muslim student group who protested the screening of American Sniper: “Although we respect the right to freedom of speech, we believe that with this right comes responsibility: responsibility of action, intention, and outcome,” the letter reads. “The movie ‘American Sniper’ not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim and anti-MENA rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer.” The Center caved, and amid huge backlash after the decision, the University’s Vice President of Student Life, rejected the argument, along with UM football coach, Jim Harbaugh, who tweeted, “Michigan Football will watch “American Sniper”! Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!” You go, Jim! The Muslim students union needs a crash course in the difference between censorship and the First Amendment, which was written and influenced by Voltaire’s, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
US/Iran Framework Agreement Fallout Continues
The April 8 edition of The Wall Street Journal contained an op-ed by Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz. Amid the bloviating and bluster on both sides of the argument as to whether this is a good deal or a terribly disastrous one, Kissinger and Schultz, put into perspective the issues, questions, and potential consequences of this “agreement.”
The final stages of the nuclear talks have coincided with Iran’s intensified efforts to expand and entrench its power in neighboring states. Iranian or Iranian client forces are now the pre-eminent military or political element in multiple Arab countries, operating beyond the control of national authorities. With the recent addition of Yemen as a battlefield, Tehran occupies positions along all of the Middle East’s strategic waterways and encircles archrival Saudi Arabia, an American ally. Unless political restraint is linked to nuclear restraint, an agreement freeing Iran from sanctions risks empowering Iran’s hegemonic efforts.
Absent the linkage between nuclear and political restraint, America’s traditional allies will conclude that the U.S. has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to Iranian hegemony. They will increasingly look to create their own nuclear balances and, if necessary, call in other powers to sustain their integrity.
Some advocates have suggested that the agreement can serve as a way to dissociate America from Middle East conflicts, culminating in the military retreat from the region initiated by the current administration. As Sunni states gear up to resist a new Shiite empire, the opposite is likely to be the case. The Middle East will not stabilize itself, nor will a balance of power naturally assert itself out of Iranian-Sunni competition. (Even if that were our aim, traditional balance of power theory suggests the need to bolster the weaker side, not the rising or expanding power.) Beyond stability, it is in America’s strategic interest to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war and its catastrophic consequences. Nuclear arms must not be permitted to turn into conventional weapons. The passions of the region allied with weapons of mass destruction may impel deepening American involvement.
Nuclear proliferation in the region has already started via the Saudi’s agreement with South Korea to obtain the knowledge to build nuclear reactors. The “JV” national security team in the White House has concocted a dangerous regional, soon to turn world, situation. The pathos is that they don’t realize what they’ve done.