Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rand Paul Race Hysterics

I’d like the throw the full weight of my blog and its following (my parents) behind the candidacy of one, Rand Paul. Although far from the ideal Senator, his election is just what America needs.

Over the past year, the Left has been peddling the message that the millions of Americans with a particular political persuasion, namely Tea Party supporters, are generally crazy, racist extremists (right wing terrorists, remember?). Short of shamelessly hypocritical name-calling, no other repudiation has really stuck.

Democrats think they finally found a chink in the Tea Party’s armor in Rand Paul and are eager to take down the nascent movement. They argue, illogically, that a man with no history of any discriminatory leanings and with a clearly defined political philosophy is crazy, racist and an extremist unfit for holding office. Bill Clinton, Harry Reid and the Reverend Al Sharpton all have rap sheets way longer than Rand’s, but that doesn’t seem to matter much.

First, we should frame the issue: Rand Paul is a Libertarian. His political philosophy is one that holds personal freedom in the highest regard. All Americans should appreciate his honest adherence to his convictions, a departure from your average politico.

A prime example of his philosophy is his position that the American government overextended its constitutional privileges in one of ten Titles in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title II outlaws discrimination by businesses with the exception of private clubs, which Paul believes infringes upon free speech. He maintains, however, that he would have voted for the bill because of its overall worthiness and despite his objection. Anyone who supports the law but thinks that the private club exemption is ludicrous knows exactly how he feels.

Rand applies the very same criteria to national safety standards and education, two contentious areas he thinks should also be outside of centralized government authority. His point of view is consistent and clearly rooted in a well-defined political philosophy, not bigotry or extremism as liberals are claiming. Few may stand by such staunch advocacy of Libertarianism, but there is logic to his thinking rarely seen in politics today.

A noteworthy exception is his opposition to gay marriage, a long held Libertarian position. His vexing view is likely pragmatic, similar to those of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Both were officially against full equality for the LGBT community despite their wide gap on the political spectrum. Both also neatly punted the issue while in office to avoid controversy. Rand Paul ran as a constitutional conservative, so he’s not betraying his cause as blatantly as the current President. But it would be nice to see him fully embrace Libertarian platform, especially if he’s going to hold his ground on civil rights.

Like his father, Rand Paul is close to being a pure Libertarian. His spot on the political spectrum, however, hardly renders him unfit for office. Judging by Ron Paul’s presidential run in 2008 and Rand’s landslide victory in Kentucky, sizeable numbers of Americans feel that heart and soul Libertarians have a place in Congress.

One Senator amongst ninety-nine others cannot do much on his or her own. Other legislators will have to accommodate his concerns to win his vote, just like major parties absorb third party issues to bring them into the fold. Some of his platform may blow against the prevailing winds of the electorate, but those idiosyncrasies will shape debate for the better.

Rand’s Civil Rights Act comments offer food for thought despite being politically polarizing. On an obvious level, the role of government in private enterprise is an important quandary in an age of bailouts, omnipotent lobbies and cozy relationships between regulators and the regulated.

On a deeper level, I think Rand questions the effectiveness of a government mandate as a vehicle for social change. America has horrendous race relations because, intuitively, people can’t be simply instructed to abandon racism. Achieving social equality is nothing more than a big “gotcha” game these days, with liberals sitting on their pedestal levying accusations on a Right scared senseless. Minorities themselves are caught in the middle, reduced to their ethnicity and quite often the victims of the same race baiters who supposedly defend them.

Example: Progressives think that Hispanics should be offended by illegal immigration legislation. The implication is that there’s no difference between Hispanics and illegal aliens. That’s racist. Rand Paul appears radical at first glance, but he brings up an important point that merits discussion and not hysteria.

We need people like Rand in Congress. His unapologetic defense of personal freedom will amplify the political diversity of Washington, something all Americans can appreciate. He is clearly unafraid to speak his mind and will very likely infuse our politically correct Senate with a breath of honesty and forthrightness. Attempts by Democrats to delegitimize the Tea Party via Rand, or vice versa, are baseless and overblown political rhetoric.

Our Democratic government grows larger and hungrier by the day. After a year of massive nationalizations at the expense of the unaffiliated individual, a Libertarian is quite frankly just the start of what we need. That’s why I am endorsing Rand Paul for Kentucky Senate.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Requiem for Pax-Americana

Obama threatens world stability by taking a shotgun to the American nuclear umbrella.

Since World War II, nuclear non-proliferation has been largely predicated on an American promise to defend allied states in the event of such an attack. While never proven or even necessarily possible, plenty of countries (any with nuclear energy but no weapons program) decided to invest their money elsewhere. Certainly, the incredible price of acquiring a nuclear weapon was an important disincentive in the first place. America’s bomb, however, made the cost of bringing war to our allies and country prohibitive. Our posture prevented conventional war also, evidenced by China’s frustration with tiny Taiwan. Those times have ended.

Stalled negotiation attempts with Iran reveal that under our current leadership, the nuclear umbrella is little more than imaginary. China and Russia play their two-step repeatedly, while the United States dutifully responds by diluting sanctions further. Meanwhile, Iran gleefully announces its own nuclear summits, threatens Israel, and increases its capacity to produce weapons-grade fissile material. Merely turning a blind eye to proliferation is enough to perforate America’s defensive posture because it undermines the credibility of retaliation.

Although Israel may not qualify as a protected country under the American umbrella, the message to those who do is evident: the US will not stand with its most loyal ally against an existential threat. We refuse out of fear of attacks against soldiers that are targeted daily by the very same instigator, Iran. A closer ally could not exist; a worse excuse is hard to find. America appears willing to swing into action only after a bomb is dropped, if at all. Don’t expect many others to leap at the opportunity for similar protection.

Iran differs from historical aggressors like the USSR because of its stated intention to annihilate Israel and its ability to do so indirectly through proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. Through these channels, war is waged against Israeli troops and civilians with any weaponry it can smuggle. A real possibility exists for Iran to clandestinely arm a third party in a way that never existed when any nuclear bomb not ours was Soviet.

The nuclear umbrella is therefore exposed as a fallacy. As our other allies accept this reality, those in troubled regions will likely question their own security and adjust accordingly. Colombia, Japan, Taiwan and Eastern Europe, a few examples, will recognize their perilous dependence on a fickle America. An independent nuclear deterrent is then the singular logical step for states facing well-armed and historically hostile aggressors. If the shade provided by the United States’ nuclear arsenal was responsible for the prevention of proliferation, then its absence would logically promote it.

Relative peace over the past century, the pax-Americana, fostered unprecedented growth and development around the globe. Like the pax-Britannica and pax-Romana before, military might has been an essential factor. But it wouldn’t have lasted long without the brains to match. America extends its military dominance beyond the reach of its armed forces by promising to defend key nations at key times and according to our interests, all of which requires careful political maneuvering. Threatening potential aggressors minimizes the frequency with which our posture is tested, prolonging peace and sparing American lives. Our nuclear umbrella did just that.

If Iran proves our promises are empty, our military reach will retreat to its physical limits, and our ability to maintain global peace will all but disappear, much to America’s detriment. World War I and II had nothing to do with a 20th century, isolationist United States, but we were involved regardless.

Obama subscribes to a post-modern global perspective that faults America and our allies for today’s crisis instead of the obvious Islamist perpetrators. Minimizing America’s profile, he presumes, will protect our borders and promote prosperity. Back on Earth, this is nothing short of comprehensive nuclear weapons proliferation

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

America's Moment for Honesty

In light of flared tensions between the United States and Israel, the time has come to remove the political mask behind which our nation has been hiding. We have the option to simply abandon Israel in exchange for a temporary relaxation of tensions with Iran. Our historical support for the Jewish state has brought upon us a cornucopia of costs and benefits, which should never be taken for granted; this much is valid. But whatever course of action we choose as a nation, the decision should be made honestly and openly. The President, however, has already decided in favor of appeasing Iran, while simultaneously blaming Israel for not cooperating in what amounts to its own demise. Obama’s is an insidious betrayal surpassed only by his cowardice.

Under Mr. Obama’s leadership, the United States is surreptitiously selling Israel out while rejecting any responsibility. Meanwhile, supporters of the administration are desperate to convince themselves that they are saving, not betraying, Israel. Obama brings to the Presidency a combination of oratorical aptitude and a legal mind capable of rationalizing this incongruity. A closer inspection of the President’s logic illuminates a different story all together. His insistence on the UN as the sole means to preventing Iranian nuclear acquirement, accusations of Israel for sabotaging the peace process and inflaming regional tensions, and pro-Israel credentials all fail the smell test.

Mr. Obama has argued that the only diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions is through tough sanctions backed by international support. Multilateralism, the antithesis of the Bush approach, capitalizes on our smart power, not just brute military force.

But to believe that the United Nations is a vehicle for international consensus in defense of Israel is to deny decades of history. While the UN did declare Israel the Jewish State over 60 years ago, much has changed. This is the same institution that published the Goldstone Report, whose accusations have been contradicted with photographic evidence and whose bias was systemically incorporated. Desmond Travers, a retired Irish colonel, accused Israel of murdering a dozen of his fellow soldiers in cold blood before being selected to co author the report. The General Assembly accused Israel 22 times in 2006 of human rights violations but failed to mention Sudan once. Durban I and II, UN conferences against racism, were ironically boycotted by the US among other nations for rank anti-Semitism. The United Nations, today little more than a platform for tyrants like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to spew hateful rhetoric, is now being lauded as the last hope for curbing Iran’s ambitions and saving Israel. This does not make sense.

The more likely scenario is that Obama’s end is to avoid confrontation at any cost. Delay through the United Nations advances his goal while providing an adequate cover to avoid responsibility. If talks fail and sanctions are not implemented, who will be blamed when Iran tests its bomb? Not Obama, because he went through the primary diplomatic channel the left deemed appropriate. Accused of inaction and internal bickering, the United Nations will instead take the fall. In turn, China and Russia will share responsibility for the UN’s failure, having defied the international consensus and prevented meaningful resolutions. The burden of responsibility will be conveniently born by countries that have been consistently honest in their rejection of sanctions. Obama’s approach allows Iran the time it needs to mature into a nuclear power while subtly shifting the blame he deserves.

Another duplicitous position Obama takes is that Israeli aggression towards the Palestinians generates anti-American sentiments. The President has called on the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to make significant concessions to demonstrate its commitment to peace.

Closer scrutiny reveals ill-disguised contradictions with disturbing consequences for Israel. Since the declaration of Israel’s independence, there have been three invasion attempts by its Arab neighbors who continue to deny its right to exist. Despite insatiable Arab aggression, Israel has agreed repeatedly to comprehensive peace agreements with any willing party, including the Palestinians. A divided Jerusalem and sovereign West Bank and Gaza have been the centerpieces of Israeli peace initiatives in the 1993 Oslo Accords and Camp David Summit of 2000. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered as the same during Bush’s second term, and Netanyahu reversed his opposition to an independent Palestinian state just last year. His words were backed by a temporary settlement freeze that Obama demanded in defiance of his right-wing coalition, a bold act which threatened to topple his government. These offers have been rejected and in many cases, forgotten.

According to the administration, a more recent example of Israeli obstruction is the announcement last week of 1600 new housing permits in a heavily Jewish area of East Jerusalem. The devil is in the details. Aside from the fact that the projects are still 2-3 years from construction, the neighborhood in question is entirely Jewish and has never been considered in any proposal to divide Jerusalem, Israeli or otherwise. The Obama administration’s gross public overreaction to the non-incident has implicitly threatened the existence of Israel’s fragile governing coalition. Israelis face a choice between vital American support or their Prime Minister.

That marks two times that Obama has attempted to take down Israel’s government while justifying his actions with arguments that don’t hold water. There are benefits for the change he seeks. First, it protects Iran by minimizing the probability of an Israeli attack. A divided Israel would likely lack the national consensus necessary for a daring military strike in the face of international objection. Second, Netanyahu would leave office bearing the burden of responsibility for having halted negotiations, aggravated the international community, and by extension, strengthening Iranian resolve. If sanctions fail to materialize in the UN, it will likely be argued that Israeli intransigence spoiled international consolidation. As an added benefit, Netanyahu’s likely replacement would be the left-leaning Tzipi Livni.

With an Israeli descendent for Chief of Staff and strong backing by the Jewish pro-Israel lobby J-Street, Obama supposedly qualifies as a friend of Israel by his associations. In a free society, not all Jews or their friends have to agree on Israeli policies, just like not every critic is anti-Semitic. Again, Obama’s position bends logic to hide treachery.

Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, and George Soros are all associates of Obama and openly anti-Semitic. If his Jewish associations are enough to prove that his policies undeniably favor Israel’s security, then these individuals are enough to prove the opposite. Failure to recognize this contradiction upholds a double standard that miraculously whitewashes the President’s actions in the Middle East. Liberal Jews aid tremendously by condoning his policies, but their support does not prove Obama’s commitment to Israel either. Judaism has a tumultuous history reflected in diverse expressions of loyalty that is self-defeating in many cases. For example, the aforementioned George Soros is Jewish and faults Jews themselves for anti-Semitism. A new pro-Israel lobby, J-Street, is shunned by Israel and receives approximately 10% of its funding from pro-Iranian sources. Even in World War 2, ghettos were policed by Jews working for the Nazis. Obama’s anti-Israel amnesty is unwarranted and carries important implications.

First, he has political cover to pursue a policy that discretely advances Iran’s ultimate goal of destroying Israel without being bothered by critics who point it out. Americans would not likely stand with Obama if it became apparent he were undermining the Jewish state, which majorities support. Another significant accomplishment is the rift created between American Jews and Israel, which is vital if he intends to abandon our ally. Many Jews in America hold the liberal platform in such high regard that they refuse to leave the Obama camp on any issue. Consequently, AIPAC’s tensions with J-Street flare at a time when solidarity couldn’t be more important. Obama takes full advantage of his political leeway by attempting to strong arm Israel while offering meager verbal support for its security in return.

Take a step back and remove Obama’s web of implausible arguments. What cannot be denied is that Iran, who threatens to wipe Israel off the map, is being given ample time to develop a bomb while the United States restrains Israel. This is somehow justified by the insane hope that the entire world unites behind Obama so that Iran changes the direction its leadership has maintained for decades. But when anti-government riots sprung miraculously at the perfect moment, the President immediately deemed supporting the opposition counterproductive. Given the current strategy has absolutely no hope of success and is riddled with contradictions, it is quite clear that Obama has every intention of allowing the Mullahs a nuclear arsenal. Israel’s hope then depends on the mercy of a nation that has threatened its very existence and is already waging a proxy war on two fronts.

It is therefore a blatant lie to say that the United States is absolutely committed to Israel’s security, as Hillary Clinton and countless other American diplomats have done. On the contrary, Israel has never been in a less secure position and has Obama alone to thank. The President means to appease the Iranians by backing out of the way and allowing their opportunity for annihilation, even as Jews support him and each individual action is cleverly argued. In effect, Obama is holding Israel’s hand while whispering reassurances in her ear as he seals her doom. He will not, however, admit to the fact because he is terrified of being held responsible for such a heinous betrayal. I hope beyond hope that Israel takes charge and assures its own future instead of staking its existence on the grand plan of Barack Obama.