Administration Not Interested In Old Friends

Administration Not Interested In Old Friends

April 2nd, 2010

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, Real Clear Politics

Obama is abandoning our allies

What is it like to be a foreign ally of Barack Obama’s America?

If you’re a Brit, your head is spinning. It’s not just the personal slights to Prime Minister Gordon Brown — the ridiculous 25-DVD gift, the five refusals before Brown was granted a one-on-one with The One.

Nor is it just the symbolism of Obama returning the Churchill bust that was in the Oval Office. Query: If it absolutely had to be out of Obama’s sight, could it not have been housed somewhere else on U.S. soil rather than ostentatiously repatriated?

Perhaps it was the State Department official who last year denied there even was a special relationship between the U.S. and Britain, a relationship cultivated by every U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt.

And then there was Hillary Clinton’s astonishing, nearly unreported (in the U.S.) performance in Argentina last month. She called for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over the Falklands.

For those who know no history — or who believe it began on Jan. 20, 2009 — and therefore don’t know why this was an out-of-the-blue slap at Britain, here’s the back story:

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It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead Obama strikes again

It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead

Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Josef Stalin

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Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Josef Stalin

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Michael Smith

BRITAIN’S special relationship with the US — forged by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world war — no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.

Instead, America’s relationship with Britain is no more special than with its other main allies, according to a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee published today.

The report also warns that the perception of the UK after the Iraq war as America’s “subservient poodle” has been highly damaging to Britain’s reputation and interests around the world. The MPs conclude that British prime ministers have to learn to be less deferential to US presidents and be “willing to say no” to America.

The report, entitled Global Security: UK-US Relations, says Britain’s relationship with America is “extremely close and valuable” in a number of areas, particularly intelligence co-operation. However, it adds that the use of the phrase special relationship, in its historical sense, “is potentially misleading and we recommend that its use should be avoided”.

It does not reflect the “ever-evolving” relationship between the two countries and raises unrealistic expectations, the MPs say.

“Over the longer term, the UK is unlikely to be able to influence the US to the extent it has in the past,” the committee adds.

In an apparent rebuke to Tony Blair and his relationship with President George W Bush, the report says there are “many lessons” to be learnt from Britain’s political approach towards the US over Iraq.

“The perception that the British government was a subservient poodle to the US administration is widespread both among the British public and overseas,” the MPs say. “This perception, whatever its relation to reality, is deeply damaging to the reputation and interests of the UK.”

While the relationship between the American president and the British prime minister was an important part of dealings between the two countries, the cabinet and parliament also had a role to play. “The UK needs to be less deferential and more willing to say no to the US on those issues where the two countries’ interests and values diverge,” the MPs say.

They are also critical of the US use of extraordinary rendition and torture. The report calls for a comprehensive review of the use by the CIA of British bases, such as that on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to carry out extraordinary rendition.

“The issues relating to rendition through Diego Garcia to which we have previously drawn attention raise disturbing questions about the uses to which US bases on British territory are put”, the MPs say.

They express regret at “considerable restraints” on the ability of both the government and parliament to scrutinise US activities carried out on British territory.

“We recommend that the government should establish a comprehensive review of the current arrangements governing US military use of facilities within the UK and in British overseas territories.” The review should “identify shortcomings in the current system of scrutiny and oversight … and report to parliament on proposals to remedy these”.

The report also demands a statement from the government on the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment regarding the alleged collusion of MI5 in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident.

Last month the court ordered the government to release evidence from American intelligence reports which showed that MI5 was aware of the torture.

Senior US officials subsequently suggested that releasing such evidence might prevent the US from sharing some intelligence with Britain.

No longer Londonistan but Hamastan

No longer Londonistan but Hamastan

Wednesday, 24th February 2010


An immensely important and chilling analysis by the authoritative Intelligence and Analysis Information Centre in Tel Aviv highlights the shocking extent to which Britain has become the European epicentre of Hamas activity. Hamas, let us remind ourselves, is the genocidal terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation, now in cahoots with Shi’ite Iran, which is pledged to exterminate Israel and kill Jewish people everywhere, along with extinguishing human rights within the Islamic world. Its cause should be absolute anathema to the west, which should be doing everything in its power to stamp it out as the unconscionable threat that it is to life and liberty. Yet for the past decade, Britain has turned itself into the principal focus within Europe for the political, propaganda and legal activities of Hamas. The report states:

…in recent years, Hamas, with Muslim Brotherhood support, has managed to take over a considerable portion of the Palestinian discourse in Britain, at the expense of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah, and has contributed to turning Britain into a center for extensive anti-Israeli activity.

A broad network of activists and supporters: Initially composed of a core of Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the 1990s, it is aided by radical Islamic elements (most conspicuously by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization), along with radical leftist organizations hostile to Israel and the West. They make it possible for Hamas and its ideology to infiltrate British politics, media and universities. Hamas has supporters in the British political system affiliated with the radical left such as George Galloway, Ken Livingstone,1 Jenny Tonge and Jeremy Corbin.2

C. As far as the media are concerned, Britain is one of the most important centers in the world, especially for the Arabic-language press, television and Internet. By exploiting the Arab media operating in London and by issuing its own publications, Hamas gained the capabilities to spread its message to the Muslim communities in the West and its target audiences in the Middle East.

D. As far as legal aspects are concerned, Hamas exploits the British legal system, which enables it to use British courts to bring suits against senior Israeli political and military figures on accusations of so-called “war crimes.” Thus for Hamas (through its network of local supporters), Britain is a convenient arena in which the Goldstone Report can be employed to make political and propaganda capital against Israel, using it as a basis for trying Israeli public figures and delegitimizing the State of Israel.

3. In the extensive anti-Israeli activity undertaken by Hamas in Britain, the movement is careful to hide its identity to keep from running afoul of the British legal system and authorities. For that reason its activists and supporters (including those who were formerly Hamas operatives) are careful not to identify themselves formally as Hamas activists, preferring to appear as supporters of the Palestinian cause, identifying it with Hamas’ ideology and policies.

Examples of this activity include:

An online bi-weekly Hamas magazine is published in London. Called Al-Fateh, it is aimed at children, who a very important Hamas target audience. The magazine does not specifically say it is affiliated with Hamas, but its contents are clearly Hamas-oriented.

… The monthly Filastin al-Muslima, Hamas’ main publication, has been issued in London since 1981. It spreads hate propaganda against Israel and encourages terrorism and terrorists.

the satellite channel Al-Hiwar. It is an Arabic channel operating from London affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood… It spreads radical Islamic messages and hatred for Israel.

…[Hamas]involvement in (and possibly initiating) legal actions to try senior Israelis in British courts: Dia’a al-Din Madhoun, head of the Hamas’ “documentation committee” (Al-Tawthiq) said that the committee had initiated suits in British courts against former Minister Tsipi Livni when it became known that she planned to visit Britain on December 13, 2009. He said that the committee was working in coordination with a lawyer in Britain named Tayib Ali and a group of other lawyers.7 Hamas’ “documentation committee” seems to provide such lawyers with “evidence” (concocted by the de facto Hamas administration) as “legal” foundations for trying Israelis. Tayib Ali is active in forums in Britain working to try so-called Israeli “war criminals,” and to that end, on December 7, 2009 lectured at a seminar to promote trials of “Israeli war criminals” under the sponsorship of a group called The Middle East Monitor.

… in our assessment, Hamas’ involvement in university activity is carried out through radical leftist organizations and radical Islamic elements (such as activists affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood). Their activities include anti-Israeli incitement (through Hamas-supporting speakers who appear at university functions or student activities), initiatives for academic boycotts of Israel and for supporting the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip. Hints of Hamas involvement can be seen in the London School of Economics’ Student Union decision on November 26, 2009, to twin with the Islamic University in Gaza, Hamas’ political and military stronghold in the Gaza Strip. The Student Union of Queen Mary College followed in their footsteps (December 8, 2008). Both institutions are part of London University.

Providing money and material support for the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip through Lifeline convoys: The convoys are dispatched to the Gaza Strip by an organization called Viva Palestina, founded by pro-Hamas British MP George Galloway.

Every MP should be sent a copy of this report. We in Britain are no longer living in Londonistan, it seems, but in Hamastan.

Is the Sky Falling?

Is the Sky Falling?
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times | May 29, 2007

The suicide-murders and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan sicken Americans. Soon-to-be nuclear Iran seems loonier than nuclear North Korea. American debt keeps piling up in China and Japan. And we think of angry Venezuela, the Middle East and Russia every time we fill up — if we can afford to fill up.

Then listen to Al Gore on global warming. Or hear Jimmy Carter on the current president. The common denominator is American “decline.”

Books by liberals assure us our “empire” is kaput. Brace for the inevitable fate of Rome. Conservatives are just as glum. For them, we are also Romans — but the more decadent variety, eaten away from the inside. In response, many bored Americans turn instead to the la-la land of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Yet American Cassandras are old stuff. Grim Charles Lindbergh in the late 1930s lectured a Depression-era America that Adolf Hitler’s New Order in Germany could only be appeased, never opposed.

After World War II, it wasn’t long before the Soviet Union ended our short-lived status as sole nuclear superpower. And when Eastern Europe and China were lost to communism, it was proof, for many, that democratic capitalism was passe. “We will bury you,” Nikita Khruschchev told us.

After the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991, America proclaimed itself at the “end of history” — meaning the spread of our style of democratic capitalism was now inevitable. Now a mere 16 years later, some are just as sure we approach our own end. But our rivals are weaker and America is far stronger than many think.

Take oil. With oil prices at nearly $70 a barrel, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez seem invincible as they rally anti-American feeling.

But if we find alternate energy sources, or reduce slightly our oil hunger, we can defang all three rather quickly. None of their countries have a middle class or a culture of entrepreneurship to discover and disseminate new knowledge.

Russia and Europe are shrinking. China is an aging nation of only children. The only thing the hard-working Chinese fear more than their bankrupt communist dictatorship is getting rid of it.

True, the economies of China and India have made amazing progress. But both have rocky rendezvous ahead with all the social and cultural problems that we long ago addressed in the 20th century.

And European elites can’t blame their problems — a bullying Russia, Islamic terrorists, unassimilated minorities and high unemployment — all on George Bush’s swagger and accent. The recent elections of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France suggest that Europe’s cheap anti-Americanism may be ending, and that our practices of more open markets, lower taxes and less state control are preferable to the European status quo.

In truth, a never-stronger America is being tested as never before. The world is watching to see if we win or lose in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Middle East will either reform or remain an oil-rich tribal mess that endangers the entire world.
A better way to assess our chances at maintaining our pre-eminence is simply to ask the same questions that are the historical barometers of our nation’s success or failure: Does any nation have a constitution comparable to ours? Does merit — or religion, tribe or class — mostly gauge success or failure in America? What nation is as free, stable and transparent as the United States?

Try becoming a fully accepted citizen of China or Japan if you were not born Chinese or Japanese. Try running for national office in India from the lower caste. Try writing a critical op-ed in Russia or hiring a brilliant female to run a mosque, university or hospital in most of the Middle East. Ask where MRI scans, Wal-Mart, iPods, the Internet or F-18s came from.

In the last 60 years, we have been warned in succession that new paradigms in racially pure Germany, the Soviet workers’ paradise, Japan Inc. and now 24/7 China all were about to displace the United States. None did. All have had relative moments of amazing success — but in the end none proved as resilient, flexible and adaptable as America.

That brings us to the United States’ greatest strength: radical self-critique. We Americans are worrywarts, always believing we’re on the verge of extinction. And so, to “renew,” “reinvent” or “save” America, we whip ourselves up about “wars” on poverty, drugs and cancer; space “races;” missile “gaps;” literacy “crusades;” and “campaigns” against litter, waste and smoking.

In other words, we nail-biters have always been paranoid that we must change and improve in order to survive. And thus we usually do, just in time.

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Westminister Cathedral to stage new musical work based on Qur’an

Westminister Cathedral to stage new musical work based on Qur’an

Commissioned by the Prince of Wales. What a surprise. The Hermeneutic of Continuity blog reports (thanks to Rather Not Say):

Westminster Cathedral has attracted the notice Private Eye. In the current edition, there is a piece on page 12 “Music and Musicians” reporting on a new work by John Taverner, commissioned by the Prince of Wales that is to be performed in the Cathedral. According to the article:

It is based on the Koran and sets the 99 names of Allah to music, to be intoned over an hour and a half with choir, full orchestra and Tibetan gongs.

The same blog points out that the same Cathedral played host to another form of Islamic expression not too long ago, as we noted here at the time:

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Britain Was Once Great Britain

Britain Was Once Great Britain
By Dennis Prager
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 10, 2007

It is painful to see the decline of Great Britain.

Greatness in individuals is rare; in countries it is almost unique. And Great Britain was great.

It used to be said that “The sun never sets on the British empire.” That is how vast Britain’s influence was. And that influence, on balance, was far more positive than negative. Ask the Indians — or the Americans, for that matter. The British colonies learned about individual rights, parliamentary government, civil service and courts of justice, to name of few of the benefits that the British brought with them. Were it not for British involvement, India might still have sati (burning wives on the funeral pyre of their husband), would have no unifying language, and probably no parliamentary democracy or other institutions and values that have made that country a democratic giant, now on its way to becoming an economic one as well. But today, the sun not only literally sets on an extinct British empire; it is figuratively setting on Britain itself.

Two recent examples provide evidence:

One is the way Britain handled the recent act of war against it by Iran. Everything about the British reaction revealed a civilization in decline.

Whether the British sailors and marines should have put up more resistance — i.e., any resistance — to the unprovoked Iranian military attack is something for military and other experts to decide. Whether the captured sailors and marines offered more information and more cooperation, and more smiles than was necessary to the leader of their kidnappers, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will also be determined in ongoing investigations. Whether the British government engaged in appeasement of Iran or ineffective diplomacy will also have to be judged.

What does seem clear, however, is that the British government did not confront the Iranians in any way reminiscent of a great country, let alone of Britain’s great past. If we judge the British government’s reaction alone — without any reference to the behavior of the British sailors and marines — Iran was the feared power, not Great Britain, which acted like the supplicant.

But what really makes one weep for Britain’s lost greatness is what has happened since the sailors and marines were released.

The UK Minister of Defense, Labor MP Desmond Browne, announced that the released sailors and marines were all free to sell their stories to the media, “as a result of exceptional media interest.” If this is not unprecedented, it would certainly be difficult to find anything similar in the annals of military history. Some of the captured sailors and marines have already earned large sums of money. The Guardian newspaper said the one woman who had been captured, Faye Turney, agreed to a deal with The Sun and ITV television for approximately $200,000. (American soldier Jessica Lynch, who was captured when her Army convoy was ambushed in 2003, received a $500,000 advance for her book, “I Am a Soldier, Too.” But that was a book published later and she had never charged the news media when interviewed by them.)

And John Tindell, the father of another of the hostages, said the marines were planning to sell on eBay the vases given to them by the Iranians.

As The Australian reported, “Some of the sums being offered to the captives are higher than the money paid to service personnel maimed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The standard tariff for the loss of an arm is 57,500 pounds.”

The Labor government’s decision was described well by the mother of a British soldier killed in Iraq. As reported by Reuters: “The mother of a 19-year-old British soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq at the weekend said she would be ‘very shocked’ if any of the detainees were paid for their stories. ‘If you are a member of the military, it is your duty to serve your country,’ Sally Veck, mother of Eleanor Dlugosz, told the Times. ‘You should do your duty and not expect to make money by selling stories.'”

That pretty well sums up the revulsion many feel at the British government’s decision.

The other current example of Great Britain’s decline is the widely reported (in the UK) decision of schools in various parts of that country to stop teaching about the Holocaust in history classes. The reason?

As reported by the BBC, “Some schools avoid teaching the Holocaust and other controversial history subjects as they do not want to cause offence, research has claimed. Teachers fear meeting anti-Semitic sentiment, particularly from Muslim pupils, the government-funded study by the Historical Association said.”

No comment necessary.

But a word of caution: If Great Britain can cease to be great in so short a time span, any country can. All you need is an elite that no longer believes in their country, that manipulates history texts to make students feel good about themselves, that prefers multiculturalism to its own culture, and that has abandoned its religious underpinnings. Sound familiar, America?

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Make English Our Official Language

Make English Our Official Language
By Newt Gingrich and Michael Ciamarra
AEI.org | March 21, 2007

English has never been the only language in America. However, it has been and should remain our primary language and the official language of our government at all levels.

Alabama showed the way in 1990 by adopting English as its official language.

Historically, immigrants have been a source of ingenuity and prosperity for this country. The vast majority of Americans can trace their heritage to a distant land, and many maintain a strong affection for the home of their ancestors or their birth country.

Traditions pass from generation to generation within ethnic groups to create a tapestry of diversity that covers and enriches our nation.

We should continue to strongly encourage legal immigrants to become citizens, but it is important that those seeking citizenship embrace American values and the culture which bind us together. In order to preserve that bond, a common language is imperative.

In the United States the language of success is English, even while we have a robust and enriching tradition of people speaking different languages within their ethnic communities.

Speaking and understanding English is a basic requisite to succeeding in the United States. It also provides the basis for American cultural unity.

The debate over how to address continued illegal immigration to this country and the presence of millions of people living here illegally continues unabated across the nation. In Alabama, as in many states, there is little doubt that immigration will be a major issue in the current session of the Alabama Legislature.

Some people would have you believe that anti-immigrant or racist sentiments are driving the debate. But this isn’t true.

Surely there are pockets of vitriolic anti-immigrant sentiment in this country, as there always have been. But most Americans readily accept their neighbors who are Latino or Asian or other backgrounds, because they are American.

What lies beneath the immigration controversy today is twofold.

First, the failure of large numbers of immigrants to assimilate into our culture is leading many to fear that we are experiencing the disintegration of American cultural values.

American civilization is the most successful in all of human history for a reason. Our rule of law rests on the firm foundation of our cultural values, one of which is a common language.

If assimilation weakens, our foundation will weaken.

Second, Americans are concerned by the ever-increasing numbers of immigrants who are here illegally.

While we work to make English language not only the official language of government but also as our unifying common language, we should ensure that any comprehensive immigration reform includes a commitment to promote citizenship and ensure a solid understanding of the Founding Fathers and the core values of American civilization.

Specific citizenship reform measures for new legal immigrants should:

  • Replace bilingual education with intensive English instruction to help new Americans assimilate into our civilization, thus preserving our culture.
  • Return ballots to English language format, focus on English language literacy as a prerequisite of citizenship, and insist that dual citizens vote only in the United States and give up voting in their birth nation.

These principles were understood and accepted throughout history, which enabled us to absorb millions of immigrants and their children into the American way of life.

  • Rescind Executive Order 13166 requiring multilingualism in federal documents.
  • Require an American history test written in English for any legal immigrant who wishes to become a citizen and meets all qualification criteria.
  • Enforce the Oath of Allegiance by making its understanding and affirmation part of the citizenship test.
  • Focus federal funds on teaching American history and the principles of American civilization, and create specific programs to emphasize American heroes, including military heroes.
  • Provide in-depth English language and American history and civics training for new immigrants through a national program modeled after the highly successful “Ulpan Studies” program in Israel.

This would develop practical skills necessary to actively participate in everyday American life and American productivity.

New Americans have always enriched our nation, and for American civilization to succeed, we must maintain and strengthen America’s civic culture.

We must do much more to help new legal immigrants who want to embrace American values and culture by helping them to attain citizenship and assimilate easily into our culture.

As we work toward reforming immigration policies, especially citizenship reform measures, we must never lose sight of the self-evident truths affirmed at the founding of our great nation. We are all created equal–citizen and non-citizen alike–and we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For these truths to have meaning, we must recognize that every person has an inherent human dignity that must be respected. These truths morally bind us to create a workable immigration solution founded upon a system of patriotic integration with our language–the English language–as the common unifying element