The British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and even the Romans are examples for America. England’s empire was ruined by the costs of two world wars.
The Ottomans of Turkey depended on borrowed money, the last empire to do so. Rome went down because taxes became so high that citizens welcomed the barbarian invasions as a way of escaping Roman tax collectors. Today, they are gone, but we can learn from their failures.
We may not see ourselves as having an empire, but with some 800 military stations abroad and two unending trillion dollar wars, we do. Even a great and blessed country can become an empire when it extends itself, even with the best intentions, into the farthest corners of the world.
These are perilous times. Our future, in the words of Senator Tom Coburn, “is as uncertain and tenuous as at any point in our history.” The Tea Party represents probably the last hope for reform — for stopping ruinous government spending, reining in our out-of-control bureaucracy, and saving our constitutional freedoms. I believe that our movement must also take a stand for the principle in Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” Read More…
A young Turkish colleague recently complained to me that Freedom House’s Annual Report lists Turkey as only “partially free” because of its speech restrictions but gave France high grades although that country is at least equally restrictive about what one may say or publish. It seems the Turks will prosecute writers for suggesting that their people were involved in genocide against its Armenian minority during World War I. At that time the Armenians revolted against Turkish rule, with the help of Russian advisors and arms, and Turkish military units took a bloody, indiscriminate revenge. But in France it is now a criminal offense to take the opposite position: that is, to question whether the violence against the Armenians amounted to an authentic genocide.
Since 1990 the French assembly, goaded on by the Left, and particularly the Communists, has passed laws making it an offense to publish anything that might upset non-Christian minorities, usually of North African derivation. The 89-year-old French author Jean Raspail may be sent to jail, together with his publisher, if his book Camp of the Saints gets distributed this spring. This book was first published 35 years ago, with only minimal griping from the then still rudimentary multicultural Left. But Raspail, who depicts a ship full of Third World immigrants entering France in sufficiently large number to transform it for the worse, is now considered a hate-thought criminal.
But let’s not pick on the French too much. Similar restrictions on speech exist in all countries under EU control, although the Eastern Europeans are less inclined than their Western cousins to approve of these illiberal controls. In neighboring Canada, the controls on verbal freedom go well beyond anything I’ve heard about in Turkey (which I’ve visited many times). Ministers have been threatened with jail for stating in sermons that homosexuality is a sin. An Evangelical printer near Toronto was financially destroyed with fines and lawsuits for having refused to print invitations to a gay wedding. Apparently for Freedom House throwing people in jail for violating “human rights” is OK. But let’s not do the same thing because of Turkish national pride or because of offended Judeo-Christian sensibilities. Read More…
Usually reliable intelligence sources are reporting that the situation for a couple of Arab rulers is getting desperate. Moammar Ghaddafi actually used artillery against crowds of demonstrators in Benghazi this morning, killing hundreds, and is calling up his tribal supporters and telling them to prepare for civil war…also Saudi troops have crossed the causeway and are in Barhain backing up the local security forces, some of which are Pakistani trained special forces on temporary duty loaned as mercenaries to the Emir. Don’t know how much of it is true, but it would seem that things are going to get a lot messier real fast if this keeps up…
The US has a base and fleet hqs in Barhain which could easily be moved and nothing to speak of in Libya. The only real downside to the overthrow of the two leaders would be concern that Barhain would align with Iran through its majority Shi’a population, but it is difficult to imagine what that would mean in real terms and the danger is probably overstated. Saying goodbye to Ghaddafi would be just fine.
As a pro-wrestling fan growing up in the South, my favorite brand as a kid was not the World Wrestling Federation or “WWF” but the National Wrestling Alliance or “NWA,” in which grapplers like Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes served up my favorite male soap opera each week with a distinct Southern drawl. When cable tycoon Ted Turner purchased the NWA in 1991 he changed the name and it became an entirely different brand, relegating the beloved rasslin’ company of my childhood to a special place in time and in my mind. Strangely enough, there still exists a wrestling organization today called the NWA, and its website advertises that “The National Wrestling Alliance was founded in 1948 and is the world’s oldest and largest pro wrestling sanctioning body.” Yet in reality, this contemporary NWA is so minuscule as to almost not even exist, it pales drastically in comparison to the original product, and it is obvious that its promoters now parade around the carcass of an organization that everyone knows died a long time ago.
Founded in 1960, Young Americans for Freedom or “YAF” touts itself as “America’s oldest conservative-libertarian activist group,” but it is actually more like the modern NWA, in which its staff uses a familiar name to promote an organization not only minuscule in its numbers but that most political insiders realize lost any significance a long time ago. Just ask David Franke. Franke was a founding member of YAF and the man most responsible for giving the organization its name. When YAF sanctimoniously purged Ron Paul from its national advisory board in the wake of the Congressman’s 2011 CPAC presidential straw poll victory—a board position Paul had held for over two decades—Franke wrote the following response at The American Conservative:
“The only ones who are crowing about this are, of course, the leftist media. You know, another ‘split’ in the Right to rejoice over. Except that today’s YAF represents virtually nobody, so this is a ‘split’ without meaning. Today’s YAF represents itself as the ‘nation’s oldest conservative-libertarian activist group.’ They know that the media will not do any homework and will simply believe that this is the same genuine conservative student movement that helped pave the way for Goldwater and Reagan in the early days of the conservative movement. The leftist media have no self-interest in pointing out that YAF died as an organization decades ago. Today’s group has assumed the old name for obvious publicity and fundraising purposes, but it represents…what?”
Franke added: “I challenge today’s ‘Young Americans for Freedom’ to open its books and show us how many dues-paying members they have… I say they don’t have more than 200 dues-paying national members. And that makes them nothing more than a paper tiger compared to the more than 100 chapters and tens of thousands of members of Ron Paul’s Young Americans for Liberty.”
Indeed. Being the president of, or on the “advisory board” of, today’s YAF is about as significant as being the current NWA World Heavyweight Champion, and being purged from YAF even less significant. Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), inspired by Ron Paul, today has 26,000 activists in a 180 campus chapters. In 1966, YAF’s membership was estimated to be around 28,000, something the barely more than two year old YAL has already almost accomplished. YAL certainly boasts numbers larger than the 200 members Mr. Franke believes compromises the telephone booth-sized, Republican tree house that calls itself YAF.
But numbers aside, the cretinous disposition of today’s YAF is emblematic of the rampant ignorance characteristic of so much of today’s establishment Right, particularly concerning the history of the conservative movement. For example, YAF contends that it now dismisses Paul for his supposedly radical libertarian, antiwar positions. This is beyond amusing. YAF was founded according to the principles of “The Sharon Statement,” a list of core, traditionally conservative, free-market and constitutional positions declared at William F. Buckley’s estate in 1960. The Sharon Statement was written by author M. Stanton Evans with the assistance of Annette Kirk, wife of author Russell Kirk, whose 1953 book “The Conservative Mind” was considered by Buckley to be indispensable to the formation of the conservative movement. Read More…
The fever sweeping the Middle East is now coursing through Libya, Yemen, Iran and Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based.
In all four nations, state violence is being used to crush the rebels, and regime survival hangs on whether security forces and the army stand behind the government or stand aside.
A new Middle East is dawning. What will it look like?
Perhaps the nation to study is Turkey, which has already gone through a democratic and dramatic transformation.
In 2000, Turkey was a reliable U.S. ally, a friend to Israel, an aspiring candidate for membership in the EU. Since then, Turkey has set a different course, welcomed by her people, that has measurably enhanced her prestige.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime is far more Islamic than any Turkish government since the caliphate. He and his Justice and Development Party have effected constitutional reforms to curb the power of the judiciary and military, guardians of the secular state established by Kemal Ataturk in 1923. Scores of generals have been indicted for treason.
Turkey refused President George W. Bush permission to use its territory to invade Iraq. Denied a fast track to membership in the EU, Turkey now looks to the south and east. Relations with Syria have been repaired. Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been welcomed in Istanbul.
To the rage of Hillary Clinton, the Turks and Brazil cut a deal with Iran to transfer half the low-enriched uranium at Natanz out of the country. This was seen as undercutting U.S. policy. When the U.N. imposed the latest sanctions on Iran, Turkey voted no. Read More…
We all like to connect the dots, to tie together the threads of events into a tapestry of narrative to better understand them. Of course not everything fits so neatly and cleanly and too many try to make up what they want to believe. But it doesn’t stop us from trying. And after all, by not connecting those dots, we got 9/11.
The old song goes “Something’s happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear.” In the Middle East, rebellions break out all over, toppling authoritarian dictators once thought to be destined to die in office and pass power to their sons like hereditary monarchs. At a political conference in Washington D.C., two of the most powerful persons in the nation’s history are booed and heckled in a ceremony held in their honor. And in my home state of Wisconsin, at little Ithaca High School out in the rural southwest part of the state not far from my family’s ancestral homestead, students held a sit-in during the middle of the school day.
So what is the common thread? What connects point A to B? It’s all so very young. Read More…
There was just too much cheering when Ron Paul was announced as the winner of CPAC’s straw poll this year, so Fox News aired a clip from last year, when room full of disappointment Romneyites jeered Paul’s first victory. Fox has since apologized and said the tapes got mixed up. A commenter on YouTube had an appropriately skeptical response: “Yes, it was a simple mistake, because Fox doesn’t index its files by date or event. It indexes them by the appearance of the people in the video.”
Here Fox’s dubious explanation:
Although one wouldn’t know it from popular caricature, conservatives have frequently condemned the abuses that occur routinely in America’s prison system. (Even Rich Lowry has written about this.) With that in mind, the $10,000 grant awarded to Pat Nolan of the Prison Fellowship by the Freda Utley Foundation at CPAC last weekend is very much worthy of note. Here’s the video of TAC‘s associate publisher Jon Basil Utley — Freda Utley’s son — presenting the award:
Hillary Clinton has appointed Marc Grossman her special AfPak representative to replace Richard Holbrooke. Readers of TAC might well recall the Grossman saga as related by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Per Edmonds, Grossman was involved in suspected illegal activity connected to the Turkish and Israeli governments and was under investigation by the FBI.
Part of Sibel Edmonds’ interview went as follows, picking up the account after Grossman had to return to the United States from Turkey:
GIRALDI: So Grossman at this point comes back to the United States. He’s rewarded with the third-highest position at the State Department, and he allegedly uses this position to do favors for “Turkish interests”—both for the Turkish government and for possible criminal interests. Sometimes, the two converge. The FBI is aware of his activities and is listening to his phone calls. When someone who is Turkish calls Grossman, the FBI monitors that individual’s phone calls, and when the Turk calls a friend who is a Pakistani or an Egyptian or a Saudi, they monitor all those contacts, widening the net.
GIRALDI: And Grossman received money as a result. In one case, you said that a State Department colleague went to pick up a bag of money…
EDMONDS : $14,000
GIRALDI: What kind of information was Grossman giving to foreign countries? Did he give assistance to foreign individuals penetrating U.S. government labs and defense installations as has been reported? It’s also been reported that he was the conduit to a group of congressmen who become, in a sense, the targets to be recruited as “agents of influence.”
EDMONDS: Yes, that’s correct. Grossman assisted his Turkish and Israeli contacts directly, and he also facilitated access to members of Congress who mig ht be inclined to help for reasons of their own or could be bribed into cooperation. The top person obtaining classified information was Congressman Tom Lantos. A Lantos associate, Alan Makovsky worked very closely with Dr. Sabri Sayari in Georgetown University, who is widely believed to be a Turkish spy. Lantos would give Makovsky highly classified policy-related documents obtained during defense briefings for passage to Israel because Makovsky was also working for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Grossman has denied involvement in any illegal activity, but the charges made by Edmonds have never actually been refuted. Unless Edmonds is lying, there presumably is an FBI file on the Grossman case. So the question becomes, did Hillary Clinton check out Grossman to determine if the charges made by Sibel Edmonds have any validity or not? If she did not, she is guilty of gross dereliction of duty and might be responsible for placing a possibly corrupt individual in a position that is critical to the conduct of US foreign policy. So what is it Hillary? What did you do?
After Ron Paul won the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll, many observers said that the poll didn’t matter this year because it was “hijacked” by a passionate “fringe,” unique to the event. This is partly true. Countless Paul admirers, many of them college-aged and on a student’s budget, purchased their own, albeit discounted conference tickets, paid for their own travel and lodging expenses, all in order to support their hero. Even when Mitt Romney was reportedly bussing in people and paying their expenses to support him at CPAC in years past–and of course Romney’s straw poll victories were always touted as reliable and important–nothing really compares to the spontaneous organization and die-hard support characteristic of Paul and his movement. Those disdainful of Paul are absolutely correct when they point out that his enthusiastic supporters are certainly not representative of conservatives-at-large.
And thank God–for it is conservatives-at-large who represent exactly what is wrong with the conservative movement. CPAC 2011 was merely a reflection of this. Read More…