Archive for September, 2015


September 28, 2015

Wall Street Journal on September 24, 2015, published an editorial calling for a more forceful response by America to China’s aggression. Excerpts below:

Like wedding anniversaries, state visits by foreign leaders are occasions to celebrate the positive, and that’s what the Obama Administration will stress as Chinese President Xi Jinping tours the U.S. this week.

These columns have rooted for China’s emergence as a major U.S. trading partner and responsible global power since Deng Xiaoping became the first Chinese Communist leader to visit the U.S. in 1979.

But it is now impossible to ignore that China is attempting to redefine its relationship to America and the rules of world order. Under Mr. Xi, Beijing sees itself as a strategic rival rather than a partner. Its foreign policy is increasingly aggressive, sometimes lawless, a reality that’s become clear even to the Obama Administration. The U.S. needs to show that it will resist this behavior—even as it seeks to steer China’s leadership back toward global norms.

China’s lawlessness is most obvious at sea and in cyberspace. Since 2010 Chinese leaders have claimed “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea, covering an area more than twice the Gulf of Mexico and among the world’s most heavily trafficked commercial waterways.

Beijing’s leaders have used this map to assert maritime claims against Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. They also make claims against Japan. Their aggressive island-building, which has created 2,900 acres of new land, is the most visible example.

But China has also cut the cables of a Vietnamese oil-exploration vessel, harassed U.S. Navy ships in international waters, and declared an air-defense identification zone over Japan’s Senkaku Islands. This is what Sun Tzu meant when he said that “supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

China has also developed cyber-warfare capabilities that could cripple U.S. infrastructure. This threat can seem abstract, but think of what would happen if, without warning, the U.S. electricity grid went down, air-traffic control systems froze, and U.S. banks lost customer data.

All of this amounts to perhaps the greatest theft in history. It has been compounded in recent years by China’s attempts to require foreign firms to hand over proprietary technology as the price of doing business in China, a price those firms are increasingly reluctant to pay. The truism of 30 years—that China is a profitable, open, investor-friendly market…the regime has too often become an economic predator.

That’s a tragedy—for the Chinese as much as for the world. In recent years efforts by Chinese firms such as technology giant Huawei to expand overseas have been slowed by fears that those firms are infiltrated by Beijing’s security apparatus.

For decades the U.S. has tread lightly in response to Beijing’s nationalist aggression while attempting to integrate China into the global economy. The goal was to coax it to become a responsible “stakeholder” in the post-Cold War order. But it is increasingly clear that China has perceived this restraint as weakness it can exploit.

The U.S. needs a more forceful response befitting a rival that wants to be a regional hegemon and eventually the world’s dominant power. This doesn’t mean setting on a path of hostility and war. Both countries have much to gain from cooperation. But this does mean pushing back firmly against predatory behavior, especially on national security.

One response would be for the White House to let the U.S. Navy sail within 12 miles of the artificial islands in the South China Sea, which are international waters. China sees the U.S. reluctance to do so as an implicit recognition of its territorial claims. The U.S. should also sanction Chinese companies that steal American data. More broadly, the next U.S. President needs to focus on reviving U.S. economic growth and rebuilding American defenses, with new Pacific deployments.

The goal is to reduce the chances of Chinese miscalculation by drawing clear lines against lawless behavior. The sooner Chinese leaders see there are costs to their aggression, the more likely they are to pull back. And as their own economy slows, they may reconsider Mr. Xi’s quest for dominance. The challenge for U.S. policy makers is to hasten that reconsideration before it is overtaken by crisis and confrontation.

Comment: This is a very important editorial and the new US administration in 2016 will have to take the proposals by WSJ very seriously as it should also further consider the strategic advice of ancient Chinese military geostrategist and tactician Sun Tzu. The later is studied in great detail at Chinese military academies. Here China is working to find a way to victory over its superior American adversary by using assymetric warfare which includes political warfare. This type of warfare is the logical application of Carl von Clausewitz’s doctrine in time of peace. In its broadest definition it is the employment of all means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. For Soviet geostrategy Lenin synthesized the teachings of Marx and Clausewitz to make the Kremlin’s conduct of political warfare the most refined and effective at the time of the Cold War. Now China is refining and making its assymetric warfare more effective by studying Sun Tzu. The West too much believes in military activity outside of political context. There is, however, a perpetual rhythm of struggle, in and out of war.


September 26, 2015

Fox News on September 23, 2015, published an AP exclusive with the first interview in five years by a leading Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. He said he was tortured with an electric baton to his face and spent three years in solitary confinement during his latest period of detention since 2010. Excerpts below:

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee also vowed to never leave China despite the hardships and having to live apart from his family.

For years, Gao’s supporters feared he might perish inside a remote Chinese prison. He survived his prison term. But when he was released in August 2014 from prison to house arrest, the formerly outspoken lawyer could barely walk or speak a full, intelligible sentence, raising concerns that one of the most inspirational figures in China’s rights movement had been permanently broken — physically and mentally.

“Every time we emerge from the prison alive, it is a defeat for our opponents,” Gao said in the face-to-face interview.

The 51-year-old attorney gained international recognition for his courage defending members of the outlawed spiritual movement Falun Gong and fighting for the land rights of farmers. In and out of detention since 2006, Gao upset authorities in 2010 by publicly denouncing the torture he said he had undergone.

Gao’s wife said in the interview that she hopes Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama discuss her husband’s case when they meet in Washington this week.

A day later, she posted on her Twitter account a letter from her husband urging her to decline an invitation to meet with a U.S. deputy secretary of state on Wednesday ahead of the summit. Gao told her in the letter that such a meeting would be futile while U.S. politicians rub shoulders with the head of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Since the administration of President Bill Clinton, “the American political class has disregarded the basic humanitarian principles and muddied itself by getting so close to the sinister Communist Party,” Gao wrote, according to his wife.

One of Gao’s two books — yet to be published — predicts that the authoritarian rule under China’s Communist Party will end in 2017 — a revelation he says he received from God. He also outlines a plan to build up a democratic, modern China after the party’s collapse. Much of the book also details inhumane treatment behind bars.

The second book is addressed to his son and tells his family’s story.

Since his release from Shaya Prison in the far western region of Xinjiang, Gao has been staying with his oldest brother inside a family home in a cave scooped out of a cliff in Gao’s native Shaanxi province. He is under watch nearly around the clock.

Convicted in 2006 of subversion and sentenced to three years, he was released on probation but was periodically taken away for torture, he said. After his wife and children fled China in January 2009, Gao was secretly detained again by security agents. He briefly resurfaced from state detention in April 2010, when he met his family and gave an interview to the AP detailing how he was hooded and beaten.

He disappeared the next day.

Gao said that during all his years of detention he was able to build up a mental barrier against the physical perception of pain. “This is a special ability I have acquired to allow me to survive difficult times,” Gao said in the interview.

Gao said he was secretly tried in December 2011. It was only then that the government said it was moving Gao to prison, the first time it had acknowledged holding him.

He said he was hooded and taken outside for the first time in 21 months in the winter of 2011. “It was the first time I heard a dog bark and that I could breathe fresh air,” he said.

Now out of prison, Gao said he is able to speak daily to his wife and children in California. He said he wants to be reunited with his family but that he feels he must stay in China.

“My wife is suffering, but I can do nothing,” he said. “I understand those persecuted souls who have left China and I am glad for them, but I cannot be among them. I cannot go,” Gao said.


September 23, 2015

Fox News on September 22, 2015, reported yhat Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio told viewers on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that he believes Pope Francis is off-target when it comes to economic issues. Excerpts below:

“I have a difference in opinion with him on economic models,” Rubio, who is Catholic, said on the same day that the pope landed in the United States.

“I believe that he when he pronounces himself from the chair of Peter, which is very rare, he is infallible in those decisions. That does not extend to political issues, like the economy,” Rubio said.

“On moral issues, he speaks with incredible authority and he has done so consistently, on the value of life, on the sanctity of life, on the importance of marriage and on the family. On economic issues, the pope is a person and a head of state– head of the Vatican– and he has an opinion of economics.”

Rubio said the pope’s Latin roots lead to a “fundamental misunderstanding” between free enterprise and ‘corporatism’.

“In much of Latin America, where he’s deeply rooted, the word ‘capitalism’ basically means ‘corporatism,’ which is these large companies connected to government dominate the society, and dominate the economy. In America, free enterprise is something different.”

Comment: It is important to remember that when Pope Francis expresses opinions as head of the Vatican state that he is from Argentina. Like in many other South American countries this almost failed country has an economic system where large companies connect to the government. In America and other Western countries free enterprise means companies that are not connected to the government. Rubio has also been critical of the Pope’s support for Obama’s questionable new Cuba policy. The ongoing opening on Cuba can lead to a strengthening of the communist Castro regime.


September 17, 2015

Washington Times on September 16, 2015, published a commentary by L. Todd Wood on the 2,500 Kennedy Presidential Briefs recently declassified by the White House. Excerpts below:

After perusing the majority the Kennedy Presidential Daily Briefs, almost 2,500 documents, the overwhelming impression I gathered from this exercise is that the Soviet Union really was trying to take over the world. This conclusion may come as an unwelcome surprise to the legion of leftist professors in America’s colleges and universities who have been teaching naive college students that it was America’s imperial ambitions that caused the Cold War. The Kennedy documents clearly debunk this narrative.

The following are excerpts from a short period of time in 1961 taken from President Kennedy’s Daily Intelligence Briefings.

• June 17, 1961: Jet fighters confirmed in Cuba.

• June 26, 1961: Soviets and Chinese compete for support of Japanese Communist Party.

• June 28, 1961: Moscow consolidates victory over [Beijing] in Indian Communist Party.

• July 5, 1961: An impending influx of Soviet aircraft and technicians has been reported. Their assignment would include setting up a central maintenance base for Soviet-built aircraft supplied to Ghana, Guinea and Mali.

• July 6, 1961: Burma has decided to accept Soviet military aircraft.

• Laos: There are no developments indicative of a change of Communist objectives or tactics with respect to Laos. The ability of the Royal Laotian government to maintain its cohesion and determination to resist continues to be eroded.

• July 12, 1961: Soviets pressure move on Berlin.

• July 21, 1961: Indonesian Air Force crews will begin transition training next week in TU-16 medium jet bombers recently acquired from the USSR.

• July 26, 1961: Congo — The presence of a Soviet delegation in Stanleyville and the rising political fortune of Gizenga in the parliamentary debates at Lovanium indicate that opportunities may develop for a resumption of bloc [communist] penetration into the Congo.

This is just a small smattering of thousands of briefings, which are chock-full of concern for the Soviet Union’s aggressive global militarization and ideological agenda.

I would hope that these newly declassified documents would be studied by future generations of Americans as to the importance of standing up to threats against the homeland and political ideologies that are in direct conflict with our own beliefs and way of life. You don’t have to look very far to find examples of these types of threats proliferating in our world today.

L. Todd Wood is a special operations helicopter pilot who flew support for SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. A foreign correspondent for Newsmax TV and a contributor to Fox Business, he is the author of “Currency” (IceBox Publishing, 2011).

Comment: Revisionist historians in the West have since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 attempted to convince that Moscow did not seek world domination. The cause of the war was instead “American imperialism.” The newly declassified documents now show that the Soviets did not give up the intention of world conquest in the 1920s. In he beginning of the 1960s the aggressive strategy for domination continued. When Comintern was abolished in 1943 it was just an attempt at Soviet disinformation. Moscow wanted the West to think that imperial ambitions were something of the past.


September 16, 2015

Washington Times on September 15, 2015, reported that a top Republican called for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to name a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails, saying Americans need greater assurance that any wrongdoing will be investigated without fear of political influence from President Obama and his team.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the upper chamber, said Mrs. Clinton’s public denials about having sent classified information have “proved untrue” and it’s incumbent on the Obama administration to look beyond political considerations and name an outside investigator.

The Justice Department already faces a conflict. It is defending Mrs. Clinton’s email practices in court, even as it is investigating her handling of her server and the email account she set up for herself during her four years as secretary of state.

The FBI has taken control of Mrs. Clinton’s server, and a federal judge has prodded the administration to see whether any of Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails may be recoverable.

Mr. Cornyn said Mrs. Clinton’s wrongdoing extends beyond mishandling classified information, and also includes thwarting the Freedom of Information Act by keeping her emails outside of official department records for nearly six years, taking it upon herself to decide which emails to return to the government and which to keep private.

…at least one federal judge has already said Mrs. Clinton violated policy, and Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has filed more than a dozen open-records lawsuits trying to pry loose emails from Mrs. Clinton and her aides, says she broke State Department rules that require her, upon leaving government service, to work with open-records specialists to decide which records must be kept.

Polling suggests the email controversy has dented Mrs. Clinton’s presidential hopes, with 59 percent of voters saying it’s likely she broke the law, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey…

Even among Democrats, 37 percent said it’s likely she broke the law and 16 percent said they think it’s very likely.

Comment: The naming of a special prosecutor is certainly long overdue in the Clinton email case. The present administration is protecting her but voters must know before the 2016 election if Clinton broke the law.


September 13, 2015

Wall Street Journal in an editorial on September 10, 2015, commented on the issue of a fatwa in South Asia against the caliphate. Islamic State suffered a setback far from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria last week, as more than 1,000 Muslim leaders in India issued a fatwa condemning the terror group as “un-Islamic and inhuman.” This welcome salvo against jihadism is also a reminder of the threat of radicalization in populous South Asia. Excerpts below:

Organizers say the edict’s signatories include clerics, scholars and other authorities from hundreds of mosques, schools and civic organizations across India, with endorsements now being sought from leaders in 50 other countries.

“It’s a strong message that we, as a large and influential community of Muslims, reject this kind of torture, killings, violence,” one Mumbai-based organizer told the Journal.

India is home to more than 170 million Muslims, giving it the second-largest Muslim population in the world, behind Indonesia.

As Islamic State marched through Iraq last year, it published recruiting materials in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and other languages spoken in India. When at least four Indians went to Iraq as fighters, officials in New Delhi sounded alarms.

India’s Home Ministry says fewer than 20 Indians have joined Islamic State, some from overseas, while only 30 have been arrested trying to get abroad. One of the four who went to Iraq last year, a 23-year-old engineering student, returned in November, apparently injured and embittered. According to official leaks, he told interrogators that he had mostly cleaned toilets and served other fighters who were impious, raped women and refused treatment after a bullet wound to his neck.

Defeating Islamist terrorism requires organizing against it, especially by promoting anti-jihadist authorities in the Muslim world. Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s premier educational institution, has condemned the “corrupt interpretations” of scripture used by Islamic State and other “extremist violent groups.” The more this case is made in mosques and madrassas in India and beyond, the better.
As important is defeating Islamic State militarily in Iraq and Syria.

Comment: India is of great strategic importance. During the past year it has moved closer to the West and is introducing a more market oriented economy. With 170 million Muslims, most of them of a moderate persuasion, stopping recruitment for Islamic terrorism in the Middle East is crucial. India is also threatened by Islamist terrorist attacks from Pakistan.


September 8, 2015

Wall Street Journal on September 3, 2015, published an interview with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, just before his visit to Lithuaniato open a set of small command postscalled NATO Force Integration Units, or NFIUs. Mr. Stoltenberg discussed how NATO can deter Russian aggression in Europe, among other topics.

Edited excerpts of the conversation follow:

On deterring Russia:

“For 40 years NATO’s main and almost only task was to provide deterrence in Europe. The Cold War ended, the Berlin Wall fell and so instead of going out of business we went out of area [to Afghanistan]. Now we are on our way back.”

“What we need in Europe is much heavier troops, different kinds of capabilities for higher-end, heavier operations than crisis management in Afghanistan. It is a different kind of requirement. that is why I welcome decision by the United States to pre-position equipment.”

“We are going to need different kind of troops for collective defense.”

“The military forces we have in Europe are unused but they are very useful because they provide deterrence. NATO delivers something every day in Europe and that is deterrence.”

“Deterrence works when it comes to state actors. Deterrence is much more difficult with non-state actors.”

On talking to Moscow:

“Another lesson I learned from being a Norwegian politician is there is no contradiction between defense and dialogue. Ever since I became deputy minister for environment in 1990 [in Norway], I have, in different positions, cooperated with Russia on environment, energy, fisheries, industry.”

“This is something Norway was able to do: a pragmatic working relationship with Russia, not in spite of our membership in NATO but because military strength, collective defense provided a small country in NATO, a neighbor of Russia or the Soviet Union, the basis we needed for constructive dialogue.”

“Strong defense…is the basis for political engagement. For me dialogue is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. When you are confident, when you feel strong, when you are part of a strong alliance, you can engage.”

“Of course cooperation between countries requires that some fundamental principles are respected. Not least that you respecting your neighbors and to do so you have to respect your neighbor’s borders. That is what made Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea so serious.”

“We disagree, but that is one of the reasons we should meet. The whole idea that to talk is some kind of concession or to talk is some kind of weakness is wrong. Especially when tensions are increasing, especially when we have more military activity, more planes in the air or more ships at sea. Or when we disagree on Georgia. It just adds just reasons or arguments for the dialogue.”

On NATO exercises:

“Every nation has the right to exercise its forces. We have decided to do more exercises, different kinds of exercises…It is part of the increased readiness of our forces. It is a signal this force is ready, it is there.”

“What NATO does is proportionate, transparent, predictable…The challenge with Russia is they are undermining the whole idea of the different agreements we have developed over decades. The Vienna document…and other agreements, which have as main purpose to create predictability and transparency.”

Comment: The former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in this interview recalls how Norway on different occasions in the past has cooperated with Russia. The reason Norway could do this was that it was a member of NATO. Strong defense, indeed, is the basis for political engagement. Important future steps to strengthen European ability to stop Russian aggression is membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO. Vital is also future membership of Ukraine and Georgia in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


September 6, 2015

Washington Times on September 3, 2015, reported that lawmakers, conservative and Jewish leaders, security and values groups are on growing speaker’s list for a September 9 rally against the Iran nuke deal. Excerpts below:

…The upcoming rally at the U.S. Capitol against the U.S. nuclear agreement with Iran…has gained much momentum despite the fact that President Obama has secured enough support in the Senate to prevent Republican forces from blocking it. Some star power is involved in the rally, organized primarily by Sen. Ted Cruz and the Tea Party Patriots.

The speaker’s roster for the event on the afternoon of September 9 continues to grow, and now includes two presidential hopefuls — Donald Trump and Jim Gilmore. Upon announcing he’d appear at the rally, Mr. Trump called the White house accord with Iran “catastrophic.”

Lawmakers are lining up to speak in this impressive setting as well — including Mr. Cruz and Republican Reps. Trent Franks, Jim Bridenstine, Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Mark Meadows, Mike Pompeo and Ted Yolo.

Other lawmakers are wrestling with the terms of the Iran deal. Though he’s not on the speaker’s list, Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, revealed his opposition to the Iran deal on Friday in a Washington Post op-ed; he is a ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with considerable influence.

“Every day, more Americans are learning this deal ignores our Constitution by avoiding the treaty process and makes the world a more dangerous place by undermining both our national security and the security of our allies in the Middle East. The rally will ensure those millions of voices are heard by everyone inside the U.S. Capitol,” says Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Patriots, the Georgia-based umbrella group for multiple local and regional tea party groups.

Broadcasters and interest groups are in the mix for the rally, which Ms. Martin deems “historic.” Among them: independent media maven Glenn Beck and talk radio host Mark Levin, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, Citizens United founder David Bossie, Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein, Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney, Congress of Racial Equality spokesman Niger Innis, Heritage Foundation scholar Genevieve Wood, American Values founder Gary Bauer, Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey.

“Congressional Democrats are under enormous pressure from the White House and left-wing pressure groups to fall in line behind President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal,” says the aforementioned Mr. Klein, whose organization is supporting the rally, along with the Center for Security Policy.

“We’ve seen Democratic opponents of the deal, like Senators Schumer and Menendez, harshly attacked and threatened for exposing the gaping flaws in this agreement — like the Iranians keeping their centrifuges, enriched uranium stocks, their apparatus of nuclear and ballistic missile research and development,” Mr. Klein continues.

“The rally is an important opportunity to make clear that this nuclear agreement makes war as well as bloodshed and destabilization across the Middle East more likely, not less likely,” he says.

Both U.S. House and Senate will vote to approve or reject the nuclear deal by Sept. 17 — though House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said the House plans to vote on a measure of disapproval no later than Sept. 11.

There’s concern elsewhere. The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center is sending a delegation of hundreds of Orthodox Jewish rabbis and other leaders to stage their own rally and press conference outside the Senate. The group likens their event to the historic Rabbis’ March in 1943 in support of American and allied action to counter the destruction of European Jewry.

Comment: The rally will be a powerful statement against the Iran nuke deal. The already chaotic situation in the Middle East will be worsened if the deal is ratified. The strong Jewish participation in the rally is therefore important. The geostrategic implications for Israel are grave should Iran be allowed to receive billions of dollars when sanctions are lifted.


September 6, 2015

Fox News on September 5, 2015, reported that the roughly 300,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East countries pouring into Europe this year is sparking new questions about the extent to which U.S. foreign policy under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has contributed to the crisis. Excerpts below:

Critics of Obama administration policy while Clinton was the country’s top diplomat argue in large part that she and President Obama failed to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after December 2011, creating a void for the Islamic State to form and embark on a reign of terror that has killed and displace tens of thousands in the Middle East just over the past few years.

“That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill and that Iran has exploited to the full as well,” former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who is competing with the Democrat Clinton to become president in 2016, said in early August.

“Where was the secretary of state in all of this? In all her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once,” he said. “Who can seriously argue that America and our friends are safer today than in 2009, when the president and Secretary Clinton … took office?”

Nowhere is the problem worse than in Syria, where a four-year civil war has displaced an estimated 7.6 million people and forced an additional 4 million into such neighboring countries and Turkey, Hungry, Lebanon, Jordan and now Western Europe.

Critics of U.S. foreign policy say Obama has allowed Assad to stay in power by in part not providing enough U.S. military assistance to rebel forces. And they argue Obama announced in August 2012 that Syria would cross a “red line” by using or moving around chemical weapons. However, they say, the president did nothing after evidenced showed in April 2013 that such weapons were used on the Syrian people.

Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. And she has also been criticized about her role leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Steven and three other Americans were killed.

Critics argue that Clinton’s testimony before Congress and other evidence shows that she and others in the administration failed to provide adequate security at the U.S. outpost in Benghazi and that they underestimated the terror threat in the region.

Critics also argue that Obama has underestimated ISIS,…

“This spreading anarchy derives, in substantial part, from Barack Obama’s deliberate policy of ‘leading from behind’ by reducing U.S. attention to and involvement in the region,” John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Fox News contributor, recently said.

Yacoub El Hillo, the United Nations’ top humanitarian official, said in March that the impending crisis was “price of political failure,” according to The New York Times.

The United States has already taken about 1,500 Syrian refuges, and the Obama administration said earlier this week that the country will try to do more next year, by perhaps taking in thousands more.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comment: This article is focusing on an important problem with US foreign policy 2009 – 2015. During these years the United States has retreated from its responsibility as hegemon. There has been a lack of understanding of the geostrategic and geopolitical problems of the Middle East. It would have been important for America to have negotiated treaties with Iraq and Afghanistan to leave a good sized military force to help guarantee stability after the US retreat from thos countries. Syria and Libya policy has been a disaster and no doubt both Obama and Hillary Clinton are partly to blame for the European refugee crisis in 2015. The crisis is also destabilizing Jordan and Lebanon. The Iran deal will further destabilize the whole Middle East region.


September 5, 2015 on September 1, 2015, reported that NATO activated command units in six central and eastern European members to boost defense amid regional tensions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Lithuania’s defence ministry said. Excerpts below:

“NATO today officially activated NATO force integration units in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania,” ministry spokeswoman Asta Galdikaite told AFP.

The Baltic nation’s foreign minister Linas Linkevicius said the move was “a clear sign that NATO takes it’s commitments very seriously.”

“It is a clear message both to allies and, of course, opponents who have recently increased the tensions,” the minister told AFP, without directly naming Russia.

The six multinational units with around 40 officers each were set up to facilitate the deployment of the newly forged NATO rapid reaction force and coordinate military drills.

It is the latest NATO move to boost defenses in the eastern flank since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last year.

NATO has increased the number of military exercises, deployed planes and ships while the US pledged to keep heavy weapons in the region that lay behind the Iron Curtain a quarter of a century ago.

Latvia confirmed that two US Army Predator surveillance drones and 70 airmen had deployed to its Lielvarde Air Base for a training mission.

“They are here… they will be staying for two weeks for training purposes — it is not a permanent deployment,” Latvian Defence Ministry spokeswoman Anete Gneze told AFP.

Intelligence training will involve two intelligence officers from Poland and each of the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

The moves come less than two weeks after NATO opened a new Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in the Latvian capital, Riga.

The three Baltic states and Poland have also repeatedly called for a permanent NATO presence to deter Russia…

Linkevicius insisted Russian military exercises have recently been much larger than NATO drills.

“We’ve repeatedly said our steps are not directed against anybody. We are only meeting the commitments to secure NATO countries and citizens,” he said.

Comment: This is good news for Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The growing number of Russian provocations around the Baltic Sea is influencing public opinion in the two nonaligned countries. In both Finland and Sweden there are growing numbers of voters who support NATO membership. In Sweden all four center-right parties now support NATO membership. The resistance of social democrats, former communists and the greens to membership is becoming more and more outdated in the New Cold War in northern Europe.