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September 11 and Seeing the Writing on the Wall

Sept. 11 2017

Reflecting on this dark anniversary in American history, Clifford May thinks back to a conversation he had in early September 2001 with the late Congressman Jack Kemp and the late diplomat and political scientist Jeane Kirkpatrick.:

[Kemp and Kirkpatrick] told me they were concerned that, with the cold war concluded, the United States had taken a holiday from history and a premature peace dividend. [For] who attacked us in Beirut in 1983, in New York City in 1993, at Khobar Towers in 1996? Who bombed two of our embassies in Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000?

The answers, respectively: Hizballah, a group connected to al-Qaeda, Hizballah again, and al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile, Israel was being hit by waves of suicide bombers and too many people seemed to be saying, “Well, you know, the Palestinians have grievances.” When did grievances become a license for murdering other people’s children? And those who harbor grievances against America—will we excuse the violence they inflict on us, too?

They asked me to do a bit of research, to determine whether any serious attempts were being made to understand what was happening and to devise policies to defend America and other democratic societies effectively from terrorists, their masters, and their financiers. . . .

As became all too clear a few days later, too few attempts had been made. May concludes:

Sixteen Septembers ago, enemies emerged out of a clear, blue, late summer sky. In truth, of course, the storm had been gathering for decades.

Read more at Washington Times

More about: 9/11, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Palestinian terror, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

 

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy