AMNESTY: THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET PLAN
Throughout the summer, President Obama proclaimed his intention to use his claimed executive authority to impose a de facto amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. But after his poll numbers tanked yet again, he fell strangely silent.
But unlike his many other unfulfilled promises, Obama apparently intends to carry out his promise of a White House imposed amnesty. According to Breitbart news, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued a draft solicitation for bids on printing between 4,000,000 and 9,000,000 ID cards in Fiscal Year 2016, and a multi year total of as many as 34,000,000. The agency is already purchasing materials for Permanent Residency Cards (Green Cards) and Employment Authorization Documentation cards.
According to Jessica Vaughn, an immigration policy expert with the Center for Immigration Studies and a former State Department official quoted by Breitbart, President Obama is apparently intent on imposing by executive action an amnesty "even more extensive than the plan Congress rejected in the 'Gang of Eight' immigration bill.
Aside from the fact that the President's intended action is extra-Constitutional and probably illegal, the number of identification cards the USCIS is contemplating seems to confirm the Center for Intelligence Studies estimate of the number of illegal immigrants residing in the United States. The Federal Government has long claimed that they number no more than 11,000,000, but the CFIS has calculated the number as being as high as 30,000,000.
Unfortunately, due to federal indifference and incompetence no one has the slightest idea of who they are, where they are, or what their intentions may be. That lack of knowledge alone constitutes a major threat to the national security.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATIONAL SECURITY
Global warming has been long since discredited - temperature averages have remained unchanged for almost 18 years, and there are no indications that the upward trend that began in the late 19th Century will resume. But climate change in general is an increasingly serious threat.
The Earth's climate has apparently cycled through freeze and thawing throughout recorded history, and likely since it first developed an atmosphere. These cycles are closely associated with mass migrations, such as the one that appears to have devastated Mediterranean civilization around 1000 BC, and the mass migrations that seem to have begun around 200 AD which, eventually, doomed the Western Roman Empire.
A more beneficial climate change began around 800 AD, and produced the Mediaeval Warm Period, which lasted about 500 years. The Warm Period ended with The Little Ice Age, which began imperceptibly about AD 1275 and abruptly intensified around 1430. Periods of warming are associated with peace, progress and population increases; periods of cooling - which seem more abrupt - are associated with famines, mass migrations, wars and plagues.
There are two problems with climate change. One is it's unpredictability - although the freeze-thaw cycles appear to run 500-700 years, they tend to change from one to the other abruptly and without warning. The second is its devastating impact on day to day life and, especially, agriculture. Food production booms or busts in response to sudden climate shifts, and when it busts all hell breaks loose. Hungry people are desperate people - they typically migrate in huge numbers, and are quick to resort to force when blocked.
Although the problem has long been understood by historians, the Pentagon has only now taken note: in early October, the Department of Defense released a report that identified climate change as an immediate threat to national security. Changing weather patterns - presumably a subset of climate change - such as the ongoing drought in sub-Saharan Africa or the episodic dry spells effecting the western coasts of South and Central America, will diminish food supplies, intensify the migrations already in progress, and increase the risk posed by terrorism and infectious diseases.
It may also impact on force structures and force deployments. Here the fabled Northwest Passage - which links the North Atlantic to the North Pacific - is a case in point: if it opens to large-scale maritime traffic, it will cut the time and cost of moving goods between Europe and Asia by about half, and render the Suez Canal obsolete. It will also open an estimated 30 per cent of the world's total oil and gas reserves to commercial exploitation.
Although discovered in the 1600s, the first successful commercial transit of the Northwest Passage was not made until 1969. Since then the number of commercial vessels making the passage has slowly increased, due the diminished number of icebergs there. At present, about 30 commercial ships transit the waterway each year and the numbers are expected to grow. If they do, the U.S. and Canadian navies will have to police it - and deny Russia control over it - which will require new, specialty warships and new naval and air bases in the far north.
Editor's Note: The current generation of warships are not built to withstand extend Arctic deployments. To prevent their hulls from cracking, ships designed for long-term Arctic use require purpose-built hulls made from specialty steels.
AN ARMY AT RISK
Three years after President Obama withdrew the last U.S. combat troops from Iraq, the United States has reentered the war. And while Obama claims there will be no American boots on the ground, well-sourced rumors in Washington say that as many as 3000 US troops are already "in country" as advisers, intelligence analysts, and forward air controllers. Most analysts believe the American presence will increase substantially.
This is a problem, especially for the U.S. Army. According to the Pentagon, the Army will be placed at risk when the next round of mandatory budget cuts go into effect during Fiscal Year 2016, which begins next September 30. Already starved for funds, the Army is facing huge risks as it downsizes from 490,000 troops to 450,000, while trying to maintain combat readiness, repair aging equipment, and purchase new hardware.
A large part of the problem is attributable to the 2013 bi-partisan budget deal that imposed across-the-board cuts on the U.S. Government as a whole. All of the armed services suffered severely, but the Army - as the largest service - took the biggest hit.
The problem has been compounded by the fact that the Army is faced by a procurement conundrum. Its major weapons-systems were designed in the mid-to-late 1970s, deployed in the 1980s, and subjected to extraordinary wear and tear in the 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan - and although they are badly in need of replacement by new and better systems, the technology for the replacement arms is not quite mature. Under normal circumstances, the Army would deploy them now, and fix and/or upgrade them as they go, but the current budget won't permit that approach. As a result, they are forced to repair, overhaul and rebuild what they have at an ever increasing cost per unit.
This bodes ill for the rejoined conflict in Iraq: if the United States is forced to commit ground forces on a large scale, they will be stretched to the breaking point and required to fight with old weapons-systems that will be, presumably, less reliable due to the number of times they have been overhauled, rebuilt, and repaired. In terms of illustration, the U.S. Army entered World War II with 24-year-old leftovers from World War I. If it has to renter Iraq on a large scale, many of its weapons will ten or more years older than that.
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA,
ISLAM, AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER
Barack Hussein Obama has a curious history. Despite longstanding claims to the contrary, documentary evidence indicates he was born into a multiracial, multinational family in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. His mother was a student at the University of Hawaii, his father a Kenyan-born foreign exchange student at the same institution.
Although information on his early life remains sketchy, the basic dates and facts are nonetheless clear: his parents separated shortly after he was born; he and his mother moved to Washington state where they lived during 1961-1962; they returned to Hawaii in 1963 so his mother could continue work on an anthropology degree; his parents divorced in 1964, and his mother married an Indonesian citizen in 1965; and after she completed her undergraduate degree in 1967, she moved to Indonesia to reunite her husband, and took young Barack with her. There the future president attended an Indonesian-language Catholic elementary school for 2 1/2 years before being enrolled in a government-run Indonesian language school, returning to Hawaii in 1971 to enroll in a prestigious private school. During his sojourn in Indonesia, his mother was an assistant director for the U.S. government-subsidized Indonesia-America Friendship Institute, and later an English-language teacher at the Institute of Management and Education.
After returning to the United States, Obama graduated from high school in 1979; studied at Occidental college in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia, where he took a BA in political science with an emphasis on international relations; and worked as a community organizer for five years before enrolling in Harvard Law School, from which he graduated magna cum laude. Curiously, none of his former classmates from Occidental or Columbia seem to remember him; and despite having been editor of the Harvard Law Review, he apparently published nothing at all. It seems as though he was a ghost during his college and graduate years; or as more suspicious minds might suggest, either a spook or the son of one.
The suspicion is not preposterous. Despite the CIA's calculated effort to promote its public image as a secretive organization engaged in dark and exotic espionage operations against Americas' enemies abroad, during the 1950s and 1960s the Agency was deeply engaged in political influence operations throughout the Third World - including Indonesia - and was a major source of funding for organizations like the ones the President's mother worked for. During that time-frame, credentialed and well-traveled anthropologists such as she were secretly recruited as contract agents on a routine basis. Given the times and the circumstances, then, it is entirely plausible to suppose she was involved with the Agency to one extent or another. Indeed, investigative reported Seymour Hersh, who has a long history of breaking intelligence-related stories, has implied as much.
If it is true that President Obama's mother was a contract agent for the CIA, or even had a less formal relationship with that Agency, it would explain a great deal about Obama's domestic and foreign policies - and especially, his policies toward Muslims. Although nominally a Christian, Obama has given little public indication of faith and has routinely overlooked appalling and ongoing atrocities against his purported brethren in the Middle East. But he has publicly proclaimed solidarity with Muslims, and frequently waxed eloquent on the virtues of Islam - including, lately, genuinely bizarre claims as to Islam's historic contributions to America (of which there are none).
Some critics have been quick to say that Obama's public affinity for Islam reflects the fact that he is a secret Muslim, a claim bolstered Egyptian newspaper reports that Obama is, in fact, a devout Muslim, hiding his true faith of political necessity. But a far more likely explanation is the President has simply bought into the notion of "Remaking the Third World" in preface to integrating these countries into a new and better international system, aka, the New World Order. Whether official policy or not, this notion was widely held by CIA officers during the 1950s and 1960s, and his mother would surely have been aware of that. President
Obama may have acquired this belief from her, or from her
friends and acquaintances in Indonesia. Given the times and the
circumstances, at least some of them would surely have been contract agents.
Having pried Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union's grip, and successfully brought most of Latin America, Africa and Asia into the emerging international system, American policymakers in Washington believe the major task remaining is to bring the Muslim lands of the Middle East into the fold. Given his unusual background, and his experience of Islam while living in Indonesia, President Obama may feel a personal commitment to this effort, and believe that he is uniquely suited to carry it out.
Editors Note: Contrary to the claims of Left wing critics, the CIA - as an organization - has always been decidedly left of center.
IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE: GOING (SEMI) PUBLIC
The first thing an intelligence service wants to know about an opposition service is its Table of Organization, ie., how the target service is structured. The second thing it wants to know is the target's Order of Battle, i.e., which officers and support personnel are assigned where.
Naturally, intelligence services don't like to divulge either. But over time, the knowledge of how they are structured eventually seeps out. At that point, the game changes and some public acknowledgement of structure is publicly admitted. But specific details are still guarded, special sections are hidden in other parts of the bureaucracy, and personnel assignments are jealously protected.
It seems the Iranian intelligence apparatus has reached that point: in October, Iran disclosed that Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi heads a coordination council that oversees the operations of 16 intelligence services which - supposedly - constitute the Iranian Intelligence community. The announcement was published in a magazine produced by the Intelligence Ministry on the 30th anniversary of its creation, when several legacy services inherited from the deposed Shah were consolidated and brought under a unified command.
Why the Iranians chose to make this information public at this time is unclear, but it seems a part of a larger trend toward greater openness that began several years ago. Indeed, Iranian intelligence went so far as to publish a special contact number after a public appeal for greater citizen assistance.
One plausible theory is that Iranian intelligence is having trouble attracting new recruits, and decided to increase its visibility in order to encourage greater public awareness of the career prospects it offers. If so, that would not be especially surprising: intelligence services are having problems attracting new recruits in the U.S. and Russia, and presumably the rest of the world as well.
For their part, the Russians have just rolled out a new cloak and dagger TV series based loosely on Edward Snowden's defection to Moscow, quietly sponsored by the KGB to boost enlistments. Presumably, the U.S. intelligence community has a successor to the phenomenally successful Homeland in the works, as well.
There was a time when aspiring spooks were "spotted" by professors at select universities. But these days, it's all - well, mostly - a matter of Show Biz...
On July 1, 2014, the one-time Army machinist and atomic spy David Greenglass died with little fanfare at a retirement home in New York. The brother-in-law of Julius Rosenberg and brother of Ethel Rosenberg, Greenglass provided damning testimony against his sister in her 1951 trial in the Southern District Court of New York. As a result of his testimony, she was sentenced to death for her part in providing the Soviet Union with the atomic bomb secrets.
The evidence against Julius was sufficient for conviction, but the evidence against Ethyl was both slight and questionable until Greenglass testified that she had typed up information purloined from the atomic bomb project. Greenglass later claimed his testimony was coerced, and that he fabricated most of it in exchange for the promise of a reduced sentence, and freedom for his wife.
Although that was apparently the case, the alleged coercion did not come from the FBI. According to Raymond W. Wannall, former Assistant Director for National Security, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover did not want Ethyl Rosenberg to receive the death penalty, fearing both a miscarriage of justice and the prospect that she would become a Communist martyr. Instead, the arm twisting appears to have resulted from secret collusion between federal prosecutor Irving Saypol, Judge Irving Kauffman, and The New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger. All three were Jewish, and reportedly deeply concerned that the Rosenbergs' treason would spark a wave of anti-Semitism in the United States. The obvious solution was to have a Jewish prosecutor demand the maximum penalty for both the traitors, a Jewish judge to levy the sentence, and a Jewish-controlled newspaper to back them up. Although there is no documentary evidence that proves Saypol conspired with Judge Kauffman, the Judge is known to have secretly and improperly solicited Sulzberger for The New York Times editorial support, prior to passing sentence. Sulzberger agreed.
Aside from the fact that Judge Kauffman's actions were grossly improper - and probably illegal - there was another downside to the arm twisting and the behind-the-scenes collusion that condemned Ethyl Rosenberg: specifically, the fact that Greenglass was never properly debriefed. At the time, the FBI believed he was a minor figure in the Rosenberg spy ring, but subsequent evidence suggests that he may have been the key player. If so, a wealth of information was lost to U.S. analysts - information that might have made American counterespionage and counterintelligence far more effective during the 1950s.
After his release from prison, Greenglass claimed his memory was faulty, and that he was unsure who had done what in the Rosenberg ring. Maybe so, but in light of later evidence it seems more likely that he was covering his tracks. But the Soviet threat has vanished, Greenglass is dead, and his soul - presumably - has moved on to Dante's First Circle. He won't be missed.
NAPOLEON, OBAMA AND THE EBOLA CRISIS
After spending weeks reassuring the American people that that Ebloa posed only a slight risk to the United States, President Obama was forced to appoint former White House staff member Ron Klain as his "Ebola Tsar." This followed three confirmed cases of the disease in the continental United States and the possible infection of at least 800 other individuals, due to the medical negligence of Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where the first confirmed case was recorded, and subsequent bungling by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, located in Atlanta.
The incoherent federal response to the Ebola threat was due in part to President Obama's obsessive commitment to Globalist ideology, and the open borders policy that sustains it, and in part to the incompetence and negligence of lesser officials. But there's a deeper problem in play, rooted in the very structure of American government.
Napoleon once observed that he could provide effective supervision for five generals under ordinary circumstance, but only three in the heat of battle. This led him to develop the concept of "span of control," which became the basic organizational principle of his army. It has since spread to every fighting force in the world, which are now organized on the principle of "three plus one commander," "four plus one commander," or - rarely - "five plus one commander."
The same problem that confronted Napoleon is found in other organizations as well, including civilian government. In the United States, the President presides over 17 cabinet secretaries and 6 (sometimes 7) cabinet-level agency chiefs - a total number which is far exceeds Napoleon's "span of control."
This begs the obvious question: if an undisputed organizational genius such as Napoleon couldn't effective manage the United States Government, as presently structured, how can one expect a President of far lesser ability to do so? The equally obvious answer is that one cannot. It's simply impossible.
This was not a significant problem when the federal government was content to defend the borders and deliver the mail. But it has become increasingly acute as the size and responsibilities of government have grown. The ad hoc solution that emerged in the 1970s was the appointment of so-called "Tsars," i.e., presidential assistants charged with coordinating cross-cabinet responses to specific challenges. Hence the Drug Tsar, the Energy Tsar, and now the Ebola Tsar.
The "Tsar Solution" has worked reasonably well as an organizational adaptation, because it is more or less consistent with modern management theory - which has abandoned traditional hierarchies in favor of new, radically decentralized ("flat") organizations in which decisions are no longer made at the top and passed down, but are made at some relevant point in the new organizational structure and passed along laterally. Management theorists call this the "Starfish Model," and businesses which have adopted it have proved more agile, adaptive and profitable than those that have clung to the traditional top-down, hierarchical decision-making scheme.
Still, there are problems. First, the "Tsar Solution" is extra-constitutional, and for that reason is bound to be eventually challenged by the Congress or in the courts. And second, it is a stop-gap solution to a much deeper problem - specifically, the ever-increasing size, cost and incapacity of modern government to perform its most basic tasks.
As James Rickards has pointed out, government - like every other human endeavor - is subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns, and by any reasonable measure we are on the negative side of the investment curve. Simply put, the more we spend on government the less we will get in return.
In Rickards' view, modern government has become a losing proposition. It is a burden rather than a boon, and unless we move promptly to downsize and de-scale, it will collapse under its own weight. But that would require a revolution in public beliefs and perceptions, and a willingness to admit that government, qua government, simply cannot provide the things that politicians have promised - a development that is, in our opinion, unlikely at best until the "Me Generation" of Baby Boomers passes from the scene.
Editors Note: The editors of Intelligence Briefs strongly urge the public to read Rickards' two recent books, Currency Wars and The Death of Money. Both provide excellent background on the coming crisis of government.
THE ISLAMIC STATE:
STRATEGIC BLUNDERS OF MONUMENTAL PROPORTIONS
As of this writing, the Islamic State (IS) is the most threatening of the many Islamic terrorist groups that confront the United States and its allies. But because of two catastrophic blunders, its long-term prospects are bleak.
Its first mistake was to declare itself a “Caliphate.” A caliphate is a traditional form of governance in the Muslim Middle East, in which political and religious authority is combined in the person of a caliph who rules – theoretically, at least – over all Muslims. It is by definition non-national, and for that reason it is fundamentally incompatible with the system of nation-states first established in Europe by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which subsequently spread throughout the world. Because political leaders world-wide are stakeholders in the Westphalian System, the proclamation of a caliphate was bound to provoke a harsh reaction, even among the Arab states of the Middle East. This accounts for President Obama’s relative ease in recruiting Arab partners for the aerial campaign against the IS - who are, as of the writing, carrying out the lion’s share of the sorties flown against IS targets in Syria.
The second mistake was the extraordinary brutality the IS visited on the largely Muslim population it subjugated in Iraq. Because Islam draws a sharp distinction between Infidels and the Faithful, it’s one thing to behead Christians and Jews and quite another to slaughter fellow Muslims: Islamic State fighters have executed thousands of Iraqi military prisoners; raped and crucified countless women and young girls; buried old men and young boys alive; and gleefully recorded their atrocities for the Internet. No surprise, then, that a wave of revulsion has swept over the Islamic World. In the end, the IS and other Islamic terrorist organizations will die from this self-inflicted wound.
Victory in the War on Terror depends on Muslims looking inward, and asking themselves if this is who and what they wish to be, and if this is the Islam they wish to follow. The IS has held a mirror up before the Islamic World, and the greatest majority of Muslims have turned away in disgust.
As a result of the Islamic State’s barbarism, an Islamic reformation of sorts has begun – very different from the Protestant Reformation in Europe five centuries ago, but potentially just as consequential.
THE ROCKEFELLERS SEND A MESSAGE
John D. Rockefeller made most of his vast fortune in oil. A century later, his descendents are abandoning the industry he helped create: on September 22nd, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund - an $860,000,000 philanthropic organization - announced it was divesting from fossil fuels. This follows 180 other charitable and religious organizations, pension funds and local governments that have also abandoned conventional energies, and at first glance seems to be part of a much larger movement. But it given the prominence of the Rockefeller Family, it can also be seen as a signal.
Much as then-Princess Elizabeth's 1947 speech to the British Commonwealth legitimized the post-war Civil Rights Movement by tacitly endorsing racial and religious equality, the Rockefeller announcement can be seen as signaling the end of the Fossil Fuel Era and the beginning of a new era of alternative energies. Certainly, the timing is auspicious.
Here cell phones are instructive: in the early 1980s a consulting firm hired by AT&T disregarded the march of technology and concluded that portable, hand held phones were too bulky, too expensive to buy and operate, too limited in range and too limited by battery capacity to catch on. They estimated that the total market for cell phones world-wide wouldn't exceed 900,000 units, and for that reason they advised AT&T to abandon the market. But they were wrong - today, several billion are currently in operation, and all but the poorest of the world's poor can afford one.
Much the same criticism has been leveled against solar power, which after almost 30 years provides only about 1 per cent of the world's electrical power. But the amount of solar power harvested has been doubling every two years for the past three decades, which means that within 14 years solar power can provide for 100 per cent of the planet's electricity needs with existing technology. And much like cell phones, solar technology has advanced at an incredible rate even as the cost per unit dropped. The cost of solar panels has declined by 75 per cent in the past five years, and price keeps dropping. By 2020, solar power will be "grid competitive" and by 2030 it will cost a fraction of conventional electricity. Importantly, the technologies for other alternative energies are advancing in a similar manner: the cost of wind, tidal, bio-mass, thermal and waste breakdown energies is dropping almost as fast as solar.
The combined impact of these new energy generating systems is revolutionary. Within 15 years or so, the cost of electricity will be measured in terms of the initial outlay for generating system alone; monthly meter charges will go the way of the horse and buggy. Utility companies will go slowly bankrupt and "the grid," as it is called, will become a distant memory.
The political implications are equally profound. Since rise of large-scale industry in the late 18th century, production requirements have driven society toward an ever-greater centralization. Big factories required large labor forces; large numbers of workers gave rise to large cities; the prevalence of disease among concentrated populations required muscular city governments to provide fresh water, sewage, and trash disposal to prevent epidemics; the human propensity for crime and carelessness required centralized police and fire protection; the
business cycle, which inevitably resulted in large-scale layoffs,
required a welfare system to prevent starvation and riots; and eventually, a centralized electrical grid was needed to light and power factories, offices, streets and homes.
Simply put, technology gave rise to industry, and industry required ever expanding government, ever increasing taxes, and ever expanding government regulations. Within that context, labor unions made sense - and so, too, did left wing political parties to represent their interests. But technology is now in the process of reversing the direction of social change and reshaping the political landscape. The days of centralized, top-down control are fast coming to an end, and a new era of radical decentralization is just over the horizon.
As a practical matter, that means the Era of Big Government is truly over - and perhaps just in time. As historians have observed, civilizations progress through life-cycles with more or less definable stages. Why they decline remains contentious but how they decline is clear: civilizational decline is invariably associated with the rise of a centralized, parasitic government that places its own interests above those of its people. The deliberate de-industrialization of America, the export of high-paying American jobs, the progressive collapse of the American middle class, hyper-regulation and the dramatic expansion of the welfare state are all symptomatic. So too, are unsustainable levels of government debt and currency debasement - in this case, through officially denied inflation.
Few serious observers believe the United States can long continue on its present course - indeed, many are predicting a catastrophic financial collapse once the general public awakens to the fact that the US Government cannot meet its debt obligations. With the financial system in ruins, they argue that the rest of society will quickly unravel. The already emergent "Friendly Fascism" will be the only way to stem the chaos.
But rapid advances in technology - especially, in alternative energies, the new 3-D Printing process, and digitalized "private currencies" - offer a way out. They are pushing us in the direction of economic and - by extension - government decentralization, and toward a new era of individual initiative and self-reliance.
By happy coincidence, this is precisely what many experts believe is needed to stave off a comprehensive collapse.
AN UNTOLD STORY:
It is often said that demography is destiny. If that's true, the Islamic World is in deep trouble.
The post-war baby boom struck the Muslim lands late, toward the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, and it was especially pronounced in the Arab lands of North Africa and the Middle East: by 2001, almost 60 per cent of Arab population was 20-years old or under. Many were well-educated, but due to lagging economic growth rates few had jobs, or even the prospect of a job. Angry, bitter and disillusioned, they were easy pickings for al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups. If they could not live the good life, they could at least die for God in glory.
For reasons that remain unclear, most Western scholars assumed that the Islamic Baby Boom would continue unchecked. As a result, they expected a human tsunami, as Muslims multiplied unchecked. But that didn't happen - instead, Muslim birthrates are plummeting worldwide at an historically unprecedented rate.
According to a study sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, data from 49 Muslim-majority countries or territories reveal a 41 per cent decline in overall fertility rates from 1975-80 through 2005-10 - a decline 10 per cent greater than the non-Muslim population world-wide. 22 of these Muslim countries/regions experienced more than a 50 per cent decrease in fertility rates, with the greatest declines recorded in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait. In Iran, the fertility rate dropped a staggering 70 per cent!
Far from conquering the globe through population growth, the Islamic World is on the verge of contraction. Indeed, the populations of many Muslim countries now seem destined to shrink in size. The only Muslim area where fertility levels have remained high is sub-Saharan Africa.
Family planning advocates have been quick to claim credit, arguing that Islam is far more receptive to birth control and abortion than other faiths. But there are other, far more important factors at work.
One of these is the fact that unemployed young men rarely marry, due to local customs or financial reality. Another is that young married couples often find it nearly impossible to secure housing: the "wait list" for a government-owned apartment in Egypt is more than 40 years. Yet another and increasingly important factor is the "flight from marriage" that has become common among Muslim women, particularly in the Mid East.
Although Islam is routinely criticized for its treatment of women, it does provide women with several important rights - specifically, the right to work, and to keep the fruits of their labor; and the right to divorce. And local customs in many Islamic countries permit unmarried women a greater degree of freedom than their married counterparts. Muslim fathers, it seems, are a great deal more indulgent toward their daughters than Muslim husbands are toward their wives. Acting in combination, these three factors have led to a marked decline in marriage and procreation.
But underlying all is the phenomenon of "Historical Optimism," which is the single largest factor in female fertility: 1000 years of meticulously kept European statistics clearly demonstrate that when women believe the future will be better, they prefer more children to fewer; when they believe the future will be worse, they prefer fewer to more. The fact that fertility levels are plummeting all over the Islamic World is therefore a collective vote of "no confidence" in Islam's future. It signifies a crisis of faith, one of truly monumental proportions.
CUBA'S PLAYING A LONG GAME
According to a recently published FBI report, the Cuban foreign intelligence service (DGI) is actively recruiting spies and agents of influence on American college campuses, where patriotism is a rare virtue. Most academics regard a commitment to country as an atavistic impulse, to be rightly scorned; and as members of the cognoscenti, many believe it their duty to work toward a brave new world of global socialism.
Despite the fact that Cuba's Communist experiment has been a miserable failure in practice, leftist academics are apparently willing to help the DGI, as "spotters," recruiters, agents-of-influence, or actual spies. As professors they have a unique opportunity to identify and assess students for recruitment to the Cuban cause; to help the recruits obtain employment in the federal government; to support and legitimize Cuban propaganda; or - for those with defense contracts - to engage in actual espionage.
Recruiting American academics is a remarkably easy task: having spent most or all of their adult lives in the Ivory Tower, most are profoundly naive. When they meet foreign academics at international conferences, as they routinely do, they tend to accept their credentials at face value. The possibility that foreign academics might also be active or reserve intelligence officers on assignment rarely crosses their mind.
Initial assessments are typically made at academic conferences abroad, and if an American professor is deemed a likely candidate for recruitment, often pursued by invitations to other academic conferences held on home ground, or at least on friendly soil. As an enticement, the Americans may be given a prominent place on the speakers roster, expenses and not infrequently an honorarium. If that doesn't work, a rowdy late night drinking expedition - often including prostitutes and illegal drugs - that ends in an embarrassing arrest will do the trick. Bailed out of jail by a host country "colleague" - who, by amazing coincidence, just happens to have a cousin who can bury the tawdry affair - the American will be more than happy to help their benefactor out with a few extracurricular odds and ends. Especially after being informed that "those bastards in the security service filmed the whole thing."
But intelligence services are amazingly flexible, and the Cuban service is no exception. Infiltrating American business is also a priority, so business students are highly prized recruits as well. Once "spotted" by Cuban-controlled professors, their careers are carefully followed. Once they reach a level of responsibility, the DGI will attempt to seduce them with lucrative business deals. What's a little technology transfer among friends when there's millions to be made with otherwise legitimate trade deals? Especially now, when Cuba's transition from Communism to a form of "Managed Democracy" is just over the horizon.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Cuba's espionage operations against the United States - of which recruiting academics is an integral part - is the fact that Cuban intelligence is playing a long game. They're looking past the present Communist regime toward a future in which Cuban intelligence, like the KGB in Russia, will occupy an important and perhaps dominant role.
A NATIONAL SECURITY NIGHTMARE
President Obama's plan to "administratively amnesty" as many as 5,000,000 illegal aliens is a "security nightmare" according to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who believes it will make terrorist attacks against the continental United States even easier. Sessions is concerned because executive orders issued by the President have already re-directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resources away from national security, and created "massive" enforcement loopholes that can be exploited by terrorists. As a result of these executive orders, virtually anyone who turns up at the southern border and claims to be of Central American origin and under the age of 18 is automatically admitted to the United States for humanitarian reasons.
According to Border Patrol agents, many of these refugees are clearly not from Central America and are obviously well-over 18 - but the White House has ordered them admitted anyway. Although still officially denied, press reports say that at least four of these "refugees" were subsequently apprehended as known terrorists.
Thus far the Administration has given wildly conflicting assessments of the threat posed by terrorists crossing our southern border. On the one hand, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has publicly stated that he's seen no evidence that terrorists (specifically, Islamic State terrorists) intend to exploit the effective abrogation of frontier security by mounting a cross-border attack on the United States; on the other, President Obama has justified the American aerial campaign against the IS in Syria and Iraq by asserting that it poses a grave threat to American security.
Given precise wording used by the President to justify his action in the Middle East, it's difficult to escape the conclusion that he has exposed the nation to attack - and doesn't know what to do about it. Under intense pressure from Hispanics, and having painted himself into a corner with his incessant demands for amnesty, he has apparently concluded that his best bet is to wage war on the IS abroad and hope that it doesn't come home to haunt him.
Apparently, the President believes "wishing upon a lucky star" can substitute for a reality-based national security policy.
WHEN RHETORIC COLLIDES WITH REALITY
There's a quiet debate going on behind-the-scenes in Washington: the gap between President Obama's rhetoric and reality has grown so large that some think he's out of touch; others think he just views the world through rose color glasses.
For an excellent article addressing this question - surprisingly, from The New York Times - please click on the link below:
Haunted by Words Past
THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST
Her Majesty's Government is alarmed. There are now more British Muslims fighting with the ISIS in the Middle East than there are serving in the British armed forces. Worse yet, most of the radicalized Brits intend to return home one day, and bring their Jihad with them.
Following hard on the heels of the Trojan Horse Conspiracy in Birmingham, in which a clique of Muslims tried and nearly succeeded in hijacking the public school system in order to impose an "Islamic-compliant" curriculum and code of conduct, the emergent threat posed by British Jihadists has rattled the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Just days after raising Britain's terrorist alert level from "Substantial" to "Severe" - meaning a major terrorist attack is deemed likely - Cameron authorized sweeping new counterterrorist measures which include authorizing the police to arrest returning Jihadists and seize their passports, and to impose temporary travel restrictions on suspected terrorist sympathizers. More stringent measures, including a mandatory "deprogramming" process for returning Jihadists, have been shelved for now.
According to Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party - the upstart fourth party now surging in the polls - that's all well and fine, but beside the larger point. The real problem is the British Establishment's foolhardy commitment to "Multiculturalism," which has divided Britons and pushed their country apart. In the process, it has given rise to a dangerous Fifth Column of Muslims in Britain who are British in name only. They are neither capable nor willing to assimilate to a democratic society.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is often characterized as the British Tea Party, as it seeks to "take Britain back" from the unresponsive British Political Establishment, in much the same way that the Tea Party seeks to "take America back" from the equally unresponsive Political Establishment on this side of the Atlantic. Ending their respective establishment's failed policies of "Multiculturalism" and "Diversity," and limiting massive and essentially unrestrained immigration from culturally distant lands, are major goals of both movements.
Largely for these reasons, the UKIP is fast emerging as a major political party in Britain: once considered part of the radical fringe, and limited geographically to London and its immediate environs, the UKIP has in the past year emerged as a truly national party with an increasingly broad and respectable base of support. An appropriate slogan might be, "The UKIP: Not Just for Nutters Anymore."
The rise of the UKIP matters on this side of the pond, because British political developments tend to precede American political developments by about five years. Although few Americans or Brits are aware of the fact, the British and American Financial Elites effectively merged with the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913 - and the Political Establishments on either side of the Atlantic, beholden to the bi-national Elite, have acted in tandem to support its interests since the 1930's. The success of the UKIP's grass roots rebellion and its emergence as both a competitive and respectable political force, one able and willing to challenge the British Political Establishment - and the Financial Elite that pulls its strings - therefore suggests the Tea Party may soon achieve comparable success in the United States as well.
Though not quite a revolution, that would be revolutionary nonetheless.
Editor's Note: For those interested in the rise of the Anglo-American Financial Elite, and the Political Establishment it spawned on both sides of the Atlantic, we highly recommend Georgetown Professor of History Carroll Quigley's majestic tome, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.
At the end of August, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned that terrorists dispatched by the ISIS would reach Europe in a month, and the United States in two, and urged the governments of each to take all due precautions. According to the Saudi monarch,
These terrorists do not know the name of humanity and you have witnessed them severing heads and giving them to children to walk with in the street...
By implication, King Abdullah believes the ISIS will commit similar atrocities in Europe and the US.
The Saudi monarch went on to state that he was so concerned by the prospect of an ISIS terrorist attacks against the United States and Europe that he had ordered his ambassadors to relay his warning directly to the governments they are accredited to. But for whatever reason, the Obama Administration has apparently disregarded the Saudi king. Shortly after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel described ISIS as an "imminent threat" to the United States, the White House began backpedaling by publicly claiming ISIS terrorists do not pose an immediate danger to the US.
For the Obama Administration, much is at stake - most immediately, the President's de facto policy of open borders and unrestricted immigration. If the Administration were to publicly acknowledge the threat of a cross-border attack from Mexico by ISIS terrorists, he would be compelled to secure the frontier - something he is utterly opposed to doing. Halting unrestricted immigration into the US would contradict the Political Establishment's unstated but nonetheless real policy of upending the demographic balance of the United States and, ultimately, force an acknowledgement that "Multiculturalism" and "Diversity" are dangerous failures.
The Administration's stubborn refusal to accept the painfully obvious reality that these policy precepts have failed the test of experience is difficult to understand. By any reasonable analysis, leaving the border open and essentially undefended is a high risk, low reward policy gamble - one which threatens both the President and his legacy: should the ISIS or any other terrorist organization succeed in mounting a successful cross-border attack, Obama's presidency will be effectively ended, and his legacy forever tarnished.
THE AMERICAN POLICE STATE
The seemingly endless civil unrest that rocked the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson following the fatal shooting of the unarmed, 18-year old Michael Brown by a local police officer did more than provoke widespread outrage at the seemingly unjustified use of deadly force. It also brought millions of TV viewers face to face with the reality of police militarization, as they watched a small, local police department deploy armored fighting vehicles, machine guns and assault rifles. For the better part of two weeks, Ferguson looked more like a Third World dictatorship than suburban America.
Ferguson's militarized police police force is the result of a well-intended federal program initiated in 1990, known as the 1033 Program, to upgrade local and state police departments so they could better cope with increasingly well-armed drug dealers. The 1033 Program established a form of domestic lend-lease, in which the Pentagon would transfer military surplus to civilian police agencies and departments, with the proviso that the police properly maintain them. At the time, a great many police departments needed at least one bullet-resistant vehicle. After a deadly shootout in Los Angeles, in which a team of bank robbers engaged the police with automatic weapons, many police departments decided to add assault rifles to their inventory as well. Since 1997 the dollar value of the military-to-police transfers amounted to some five billion dollars; in Wisconsin alone, 219 police agencies have received some 67,000 military items from the Pentagon.
The 1033 Program, which has gone through successive incarnations, received a major boost after 9-11. Terrorist attacks could happen at any time and any place, and police departments throughout the United States began "heavying up" to deal with the possibility. All-terrain armored fighting vehicles that could move through streets clogged by rubble and debris were at the top of their lists, followed helicopters, grenade launchers, night vision equipment, sniper rifles and heavy machine guns. More recently, police departments have been requesting aerial surveillance drones.
Apparently unaware of the full range of transfers, members of Congress have reacted to the Ferguson Police Department's deployment of armored fighting vehicles, automatic weapons and - apparently - a heavy caliber machine gun. Congressional veterans assert that wasn't what they had in mind when they set up the program, and several congressional offices are reportedly scrambling to produce a revised bill to limit Freguson-style deployments.
Despite their good intentions, the legislation governing Pentagon-to-Police transfers will probably stand. The reason for this is President Obama's 2008 campaign pledge to create "A domestic security force as large and as capable as our military." After a public backlash, Obama soft-peddled the idea, but never abandoned it. Hence the massive ammunition purchases by federal law enforcement agencies, a new and heavy emphasis on federal inter-agency police training and co-ordination, and the establishment of regional command centers by the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate local police departments. For all practical purposes, we now have a de facto, bi-level national police force, composed of federal police, augmented by local departments coordinated by Homeland Security.
Given the threat posed by foreign terrorists, there is no question that local police departments need some military arms to hold the line until the national guard or military can arrive. But these should be carefully calculated minimums, and held in strict reserve.
The fact that America's local police have morphed into para-military formations and tied together in a national network without fanfare or public debate is chilling - and all the more so, given the tremendous erosion of civil liberties over the past decade. Surveillance cameras are now ubiquitous; every telephone call, text message and e-mail is now intercepted, recorded and logged; and new surveillance equipment so sophisticated that they might have been inspired by science fiction dystopias have combined to effectively nullify the Fourth Amendment. Privacy has been abolished.
When you add to that distressing fact the Administration's effort to gut the First Amendment by proposing "legitimate journalists" be licensed, and its ongoing effort to undermine the Second Amendment, it is difficult to argue that America remains a "free country." American citizens are now more heavily surveilled than the subjects of the former Soviet Union and, almost certainly, contemporary North Korea.
The Grand Irony here is that most of this is unnecessary. Security could be achieved as well, or better, by sealing the border, limiting immigration, and subjecting foreign ships and cargo aircraft to simple security measures.
But that would reduce business profits, and contradict the US Government’s real but never publicly stated policy of Global Integration...
AN ISLAMIC CIVIL WAR
Since storming out of their haven in northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq to overrun much of the latter, the Islamic State in the Levant - now known as the Islamic State, or IS - has won a well-deserved reputation for savagery. At a minimum, it has slaughtered at least 10,000 Iraqi civilians and unknown thousands of captured Iraqi soldiers. Most recently, it brutally beheaded American journalist James Foley.
Composed exclusively of Sunni Muslims, the IS has also called for the extermination of Muslim Shiites, whom it regards as Infidels, as well as Christians, Jews and anyone else who might object to its newly proclaimed Caliphate and its exceptionally severe brand of Islamic law. It has also threatened to "drown the United States in blood" and to attack the White House.
The astonishing battlefield successes of IS forces has placed President Obama in a difficult situation. Having authored what is now seen as a precipitous American military withdrawal from Iraq in December of 2011, Mr. Obama has been forced to reintroduce American combat forces into that country to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and, likely, genocide on a scale not witnessed since World War II.
It has also forced Muslims to confront the reality of Islamic Extremism for the first time. For so long as Muslims were fighting against Western forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was easy to justify atrocities committed in the name of Allah - especially when they were directed against Americans, Britons, and Europeans. These Infidels were, after all, waging war on Islam - or so Muslims persuaded themselves.
But now that Muslims are the primary target of Islamic terror, that rationalization is no longer possible. As a result, several heads of Arab states have condemned the IS, including the King of Saudi Arabia, and opprobrium is spreading throughout the Islamic World. Most recently, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia - the world's largest Muslim-majority country - has condemned IS-initiated violence as "shocking" and "out of control," and called on world leaders to act in concert to suppress it.
Perhaps more important than its effect on Muslim leaders, is the long-term impact of IS barbarism on ordinary Muslims world-wide. Now that Muslims are slaughtering other Muslims, they have been forced to critically examine themselves, and their faith, for the first time. Based upon the Christian experience of the Religious Wars in Europe, this will likely be a shattering experience which will reverberate across centuries. It will force Muslims - especially those residing in Western lands - to choose between a literal adherence to their faith, or a sort of "Smorgasbord Islam" reminiscent of the "Smorgasbord Christianity" that eventually emerged from the European catastrophe.
This is important, because it was the Smorgasbord Approach that made it possible for Catholics to shrug and say to their Protestant and Jewish neighbors, "Yes, I'm Catholic, but I don't pay much attention to doctrine;" and for Protestants and Jews to say much the same in reply. Despite its obvious theological failings, the Smorgasbord Approach was and remains an essential precondition for religious tolerance and the practice of democracy.
Although the theo-political ferment occasioned by IS atrocities in the Islamic World is a welcome development, it may take a very long time for it to bear fruit - and as Lord Keynes once quipped, long-term developments are of small concern, because "In the long run, we're all dead anyway."
Simply put, we have to live in the here and now, and for that reason it is critically important for the United States and its allies to develop an appropriate and effective response to the threat posed by the IS.
HOLD, CUT AND KILL
From a military standpoint, the IS is wildly over-extended.
Having conquered an estimated 40 per cent of Iraq's total territory and subjugated perhaps 35 per cent of the population with a combat force built around an estimated 4000 hardened fighters, augmented by tribal allies and remnants of Saddam Hussein's army, the IS is dangerously vulnerable to counterattack.
The obvious strategy for defeating the IS can be summarized as HOLD, CUT and KILL: for the Iraqi army and their Kurdish allies to hold what they have, then cut the IS's lines of communications with airstrikes and commando raids, and then destroy the IS positions they've isolated, one by one. The strategy is simple in concept, and with complete command of the air it should be comparatively easy to execute in practice.
Having decided that the United States cannot allow the IS to overrun Iraq - and seize the Mid East's second largest oil reserves - President Obama must now decide on the proper level of American military involvement. Since opposition to the reintroduction of US ground forces is nearly universal, it follows that the American intervention should be limited to the provision of intelligence, strategic bombing, aerial interdiction operations, air support for Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces, logistical support, training - especially for the Kurds - and advice. Two to three thousand American military personnel "in country" is a plausible figure, with another 15-20,000 outside the country engaged in air operations and support.
This time, however, American assistance should not come cheap. During the first phase of America's involvement in Iraq, the United States picked up the multi-trillion dollar tab to secure the country and establish a democratic government. This time, the US and participating allies should insist that the Iraqi government pay some or all of their costs. To do otherwise would encourage Iraqi irresponsibility.
The time has come for the Iraqi political class to accept responsibility for their own survival - and for the survival of their country - and in this, financial sacrifice looms large.
THE BRITS WERE RIGHT
Shortly after 9-11, senior American generals concluded it would take 15 years to suppress Islamic terrorism. Across the Atlantic, their British counterparts were less sanguine. Far more experienced in counter-terrorism than the Americans, British generals are reported to have come to the conclusion that it would take a half-century. In their view, we were in for a very long war.
The reasons for their less-optimistic estimates were rooted in Arab society. The post-war Baby Boom struck the Arab lands late, and Arab governments had failed to address core problems associated with a rapidly expanding population, especially employment: Arab lands had a minimal manufacturing capability - the entire Mid East produced fewer manufactured goods than Ohio; Arab political leaders were corrupt and incompetent, and the governments they led were brutally oppressive. Most of the Arab states were failed states in all but name.
Why this was and remains so is fiercely debated, both in the West and in the Arab lands as well. Some blame it on Islam itself, which they depict as a pre-modern religion which failed to adapt to changing times; others, such as the present Islamists who have declared holy war upon the West, claim it's due to a failure to abide by Islamic teachings.
It's an old argument, one which began in 1683 and has never been resolved. In that year, a motley group of Christian's crushed an overwhelmingly superior Muslim force at the gates of Vienna, halting Islam's advance into Europe that had begun almost a thousand years before. In the process, they sent shock waves through the Muslim World.
Muslims had lost other battles to Christians before. In addition to the many defeats inflicted on Muslim armies during the Crusades, Muslims had been driven from Spain in 1492, and a Turkish fleet had been crushed at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Even though all were significant defeats, they caused barely a ripple in the Islamic World. But Vienna was different - given their superior numbers, and technological equality in weaponry, that was a battle they should easily have won. But they lost decisively, and the ignominy split the Muslim World in two.
At issue was the structure of Islamic society. The Christian defenders of Vienna had won because European society had undergone an early democratic transformation, in which the aristocratic hierarchy recognized and accommodated merit. This was was reflected in the European military organization, and it produced an unbreakable chain-of-command: when a Christian general fell, the senior colonel stepped forward to take his place; when the colonel fell, the senior lieutenant colonel stepped forward, and so on down the ranks to the senior private. In practice, this meant Christian military formations were never leaderless. In contrast, when a Muslim general fell, his troops typically withdrew from battle to await a replacement.
Clearly, Christian society had hit upon a superior form of organization. The question for Muslims, then, was what to do about it. One group argued that Islam and Islamic society had to modernize, by emulating the Christian enemy; the other, that Islam and Islamic society had to return to the past to redeem their
greatness. Modern Turkey is a successful example of where the first group prevailed; most of the other Arab lands are failed examples of the second. The Al Qaeda terrorist organization and its present successor, the ISIS - now known as the IS - can be seen as more virulent and more militarily effective examples of the latter.
It is important to understand that both factions are present in every Arab society That being the case, the most plausible strategy for the United States and its allies is to align itself with the first faction against the second, presently represented by the ISIS (now the IS). But it will not be enough to grind the IS down militarily. Eventual success depends on achieving a broad consensus in favor of the social-modernizing faction throughout the Arab World - which, in turn, depends on avoiding the mistakes made by military modernizers such Saddam Hussein in Iraq, or Assad in Syria, who tried and failed to impose an authoritarian, top-down social revolution by force. To succeed, the social modernizers have to grasp the necessity of a limited form of democratization, one which necessarily includes Islamic-agnostic or even non-Islamic practices such increased public participation in government; access to capital through interest-rate finance, or some workable alternative; legal systems that protect private property and favor individual initiative and free enterprise; a greater willingness to accommodate religious and ethnic minorities; and a greater role for women.
The Turks got it more or less right; the monarchical states of Jordan and Morocco are following close behind them; and with proper support and encouragement, it is possible that the Iraqis may eventually achieve some limited success.
CRISIS ON THE BORDER:
A WARNING FROM THE ASSOCIATION
OF FORMER BORDER PATROL OFFICERS
The United States Government is coddling trained, under-aged assassins and knowingly placing the lives of American children at risk.
For more on this shocking revelation, please click on the link below:
AN URGENT MESSAGE
MASS IMMIGRATION AS A STRATEGIC WEAPON
General Ion Pacepa, former chief of Communist Romania's foreign intelligence service, has published an important article describing the current border crisis as "manufactured" by the Obama Administration and explaining how the KGB used "refugees" and immigration flows to undermine European governments and societies during the Cold War.
Simply put, massive and essentially unlimited immigration is a tool for remaking societies.
For Gen. Pacepa's article, please click on the link below:
A WARNING FROM A FORMER COMMUNIST SPY CHIEF
THE NEW COLD WAR
After denying or glossing over repeated Russian affronts for the first five years of his presidency - including Russia's 2008 attack on Georgia - President Obama was reluctantly forced to confront that country after it annexed the Crimea in March of this year, by imposing mild sanctions. Although America's European allies went along reluctantly, they clearly had little appetite for another Cold War.
All that changed on July 17th, when Ukrainian separatists supported by Russia shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 with a Russian manufactured surface to air missile that killed all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. Russia was indirectly responsible for the atrocity on two counts: first, it has been fomenting the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine; and second, it apparently transferred the sophisticated Buk missile system to the Ukrainian separatists. As a result, the White House has imposed harsh new economic sanctions, and British Prime Minister David Cameron has been independently lining up European support. Genuine and widespread outrage in Europe guarantees strong support for Anglo-American efforts to isolate Russia.
In the West, the Putin regime appears bent on aggression. But in Russia, many see it quite differently. Russia is almost unique in that it has no natural defenses, save for the Caucasus Mountains in the South, where no real threats exist; and distinguished by the fact that it has at one time or another been invaded by almost all its neighbors. Historically, Russia's only real defenses have been its geographic extent and its climate: in the course of one invasion after another, the Russians have traded space for time until "General Winter" arrived.
In response to repeated and devastating invasions, Russia has sought to push back its frontiers by establishing buffer states on its frontiers, regardless of the government momentarily in power: the Tsars were as aggressive in this regard as the Communists that followed them, and Putin is as aggressive as they were. The Russians see their efforts to subjugate the frontier states as profoundly defensive; their neighbors, now more content than in centuries past, see them as acts of aggression. The problem is structural - short of moving the Alps and the Himalayas from their present locations to Russia's borders, there's nothing to be done about it except using the threat of armed force to blunt Russia's expansionist impulse.
This is immediately relevant to the Ukrainian crisis: the best solution would be for the Kiev government to declare armed neutrality, like Switzerland, and adopt a 360 degree defense posture. If the Ukrainian government were to do that, the prospect of stability would be well worth the cost of lavishing arms and equipment upon that country.
MICE AND THE PRESIDENTIAL CHARACTER
Every intelligence officer is trained in assessing prospective agents. They look for weaknesses of character, the most important of which are known by the acronym of M-I-C-E - Money, Ideology, Compromise, Ego. These are the fatal flaws from which spies are made.
It was for this reason that American security officials blanched when they learned President Clinton was carrying on an affair with Monica Lewinski, then a 22-year old White House Intern. An added wrinkle that would later prove vexing was the fact that Ms. Lewinski is Jewish.
Aside from their illicit physical liaisons, President Clinton and Ms. Lewinski also engaged in racy phone conversations, which were intercepted by the British, the Russians and the Israelis. Given the fact that the President was married, these intercepts made President Clinton vulnerable to blackmail. British intelligence tipped off their American counterparts and the KGB apparently filed them for future reference. But according to a new book by Daniel Harper entitled, Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attempted to use the intercepts to blackmail President Clinton into releasing convicted Israeli spy Jonathan J. Pollard.
Clinton apparently knuckled under, but according to Harper, the deal was scuttled by then CIA Director George Tenent. But questions lingered: was Monica Lewinski a plant controlled by Israeli intelligence? Although it seemed unlikely given Ms. Lewinski's naivety, the fact that the East Germans had succeeded in planting a glamorous agent in JFK's bed meant the possibility could not be lightly dismissed. And never far from mind was the Wallis Simpson case, said to have been a White House operation orchestrated by FDR himself, which succeeded in taking down Britain's simple-minded and pro-Nazi King Edward VIII.
If historical precedents caused imaginations ran wild in response to President Clinton's indiscretions, there were other reasons as well: at the time, the FBI was in hot pursuit of a highly-placed Israeli mole thought to be a member of Clinton's inner circle, codenamed MEGA. The FBI and other intelligence agencies were certain MEGA existed, and there were rumors that Clinton's national security advisor, Sandy Berger, was the chief suspect. But no arrest was ever made, and when Mr. Berger - who is also Jewish - was later caught stealing documents from the National Archives pertaining to 9-11, he received only a slap on the wrist. In some circles, at least, suspicions linger that the United States allowed Berger to slide in order to prevent embarrassing stories concerning President Clinton's philandering from suddenly appearing in the Washington Post - stories which would, incidentally, make the US intelligence community look foolish indeed.