Axis and Allies – 2008 to 2014

This post is going to be relatively simple despite the significant research that went into creating it.  I am going to show you two images of the Eurasian/North African realms – one from 2008, as George W. Bush’s presidency was coming to an end and one from today as the 2014 midterm elections begin to loom on the horizon.

On each image, I have color coded each nation according to its diplomatic, political and social affiliation with the United States (and more broadly, with the concept of liberty).

Five classifications are present in each map, and they are:

  • Enemy – A state which is actively engaged in the mission of undermining the United States through diplomatic, financial or military channels or by forging alliances with other existing enemy combatants or by making war against its own people or against civil liberties on a scale large enough to be a global outrage and a particular affront to the goals of the United States.
  • Leans Enemy – A state which is indirectly engaged in efforts to undermine the United States as outlined above, but refrains from actively attacking American interests or maintains even the slightest (productive) diplomatic relationship with the United States.
  • Unaffiliated – A country with no ties to American interests or a muddled relationship with the U.S.
  • Leans Friendly – Maintains a positive working relationship with the U.S. economically, diplomatically or in joint military ventures through the international community, but is not widely considered a significant U.S. ally.
  • Ally – A nation which is unquestionably an ally of the United States through treaty, international military cooperation, deep economic partnerships and common civic goals.
I will admit, upfront, that there is an element of subjectivity in the placement of each nation at any given time and that in some cases, an argument could be made for a different placement.  I am stating this in advance because I expect viewers of this post to approach the analysis with the same realization (that how they’d characterize the situation is also subjective in some sense).
Now – the images.  First from the end of the Bush years:
Now from the sixth year of Obama’s term in office:
The differences here really aren’t all that subtle, but I’ll outline each change I made with a note on why I made the change and leave it up to the reader to decide if I have the analysis right on the whole.  From west to east, those changes are:
  • Morocco – Ally to Leans Friendly
    • Morocco remains one of the most westernized of nations in Africa and maintains strong diplomatic ties with the E.U. and the U.S. – however, during the Arab Spring and on several occasions since, this country has been rocked by bouts of protests, terror attacks and general unrest as the population becomes increasingly radical with time.
  • Algeria – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
    • Algeria was never a particularly stable regime, but now serves as a refuge for Islamic extremists who go border-hopping to evade capture and boasts and government interested in forging ties with Egypt (once a good sign…now, not so much)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – Leans Enemy to Unaffiliated
    • Scars from Clinton’s largest military engagement remain, but Bosnia is in the process of normalizing its diplomatic relations with the west.
  • Tunisia – Leans Enemy to Enemy
    • Tunisia was the second nation to experience a popular uprising during the Arab Spring.  A population that has always leaned toward radical or conservative Islam has become a place where violence and anti-American sentiments run rampant.  Just a few weeks back, a spree of Christian lynchings broke out in Tunisia, with apparent government support.
  • Libya – Unaffiliated to Enemy
    • The US.’s relationship with Gaddafi was never easy – the man was nutters after all.  But in exchange for his personal comfort and prestige within the international community, he was cooperative with U.S. and E.U. interests.  Hardly an ally, but certainly not an enemy, Gaddafi’s deposition in Libya and subsequent death turned the nation over to Al Qaeda affiliated groups, culminating in the incident in Benghazi along with bombings of several other western embassies.
  • Chad – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
    • You don’t hear too much about Chad in the news, but it has moved into the red due to a rise in terrorist attacks in recent years and a lack of any significant response from its governing authorities.
  • Ukraine – Leans Friendly to Leans Enemy
    • Significantly, as Bush was on his way out, he promised fringe nations in Eastern Europe a missile defense system.  Obama promptly ended those plans.  In the years since, Russia has become increasingly aggressive here, ending in the attack on the Crimean Peninsula.  This, by itself, wouldn’t land The Ukraine in the enemy camp, but the nation is getting zero support from the U.S. or the E.U. (the U.S. because Obama doesn’t want to get bogged down in any new military conflicts, the E.U. because many of its member states depend on Russian oil exports), and is now forced to accept Russian intervention.  Their government may not WISH to be a Russian puppet state, but that is where they are.
  • Turkey – Leans Friendly to Leans Enemy
    • Much has been said in the press regarding Turkey’s alarming tilt toward Islamic extremism.  In fact, their legislature is now majority Sharia, if not in official affiliation, then in deed.  There remains hope of functional ties with Turkey, but they should be viewed with extreme skepticism.
  • Egypt – Leans Friendly to Leans Enemy
    • Egypt played a key role in joint military operations against Saddam Hussein and has long helped broker lasting treaties in the region, even with Israel.  But the Arab Spring turned the nation over the Muslim Brotherhood (who claimed to be a moderate Muslim organization but whose stated goals included the destruction of Israel and the institution of Sharia Law)…the people rose up against the Brotherhood (mostly because they proved to be completely ineffectual at governing and the Egyptian economy cratered), and the nation is now ruled by the military (at least for now).  Still, all signs point to a nation headed for either chaotic anarchy or Islamic rule.
  • Sudan – Leans Enemy to Enemy
    • The Sudanese have always had a penchant for acts of aggression against the west through embassy attacks, the harboring of terrorists, etc, but now their government has gone to all out war against Christianity.
  • South Sudan – Leans Enemy to Enemy
    • See above
  • Kenya – Leans Friendly to Unaffiliated
    • Here, too, the local population has turned more and more fervently toward radical Islam – though Kenya has yet to be directly involved in anything U.S. related.
  • Somalia – Leans Enemy to Enemy
    • Somali control of the Gulf of Aden has always been a bit dicey in recent years, but they’ve taken to attempts at halting western trade through the Red Sea and support inhumane attacks on trade in with the west.
  • Ethiopia – Leans Enemy to Enemy
    • Ethiopia has long been a country on the edge of self-destruction, with three tribal ethnic groups shoehorned into one border.  But, of late, this has become an even more brutal place to live, particularly for anyone not affiliated with their ruling class.
  • Eritrea – Leans Friendly to Leans Enemy
    • The U.S. has held significant military positions here for decades, but that will soon be at an end if the Eritrean people have anything to say about it.  Recent reports of significant anti-western anti-Christian, anti-military protests and terror attacks have turned this strip of Red Sea coastline into a minor war zone.
  • Yemen – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
  • Oman – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
    • Both Yemen and Oman leaned much more heavily on Saudi Arabia for economic relations and border security as the entire region has destabilized.  Neither nation is outwardly aggressive toward the U.S. or the West, but as Saudi Arabia has trended further and further toward an alliance with Iran, so too have its neighbor states.
  • United Arab Emirates – Leans Friendly to Unaffiliated
    • Here too, the U.S. used to routinely partner with the U.A.E. militarily (they allowed us to launch our attacks on Iraq from their soil, as did Qatar, for example), but lately, the U.A.E. has been naking noises about expelling our forces and stepping up diplomatic relations with the Saudis.
  • Qatar – Leans Friendly to Unaffiliated
    • In Qatar’s case, their still speak of productive relations with the U.S., but internally, they are becoming a refuge for international criminals and terrorists.  This one bears watching.
  • Saudi Arabia – Leans Enemy to Enemy
    • Although the Saudis still maintain important business connections with the U.S., there can be no doubt that they have become much bolder in their opposition to Israel, to the U.S. and the west.  Not only have they been emboldened by our general withdrawal from the region – they have actively sought dialogue with Iran – a known combatant.
  • Jordan – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
    • Jordan has previously been somewhat helpful in defending Israel from the advancing cause of Palestinian militants.  However, the country has recently backed Palestinian independence without conditions (the Israelis wish to be granted the same recognition that they would give the Palestinians – a reasonable request that Jordan does not favor).  On top of this, they’ve become involved in dealings with overflowing Syrian rebels and have been less than helpful in international manhunts for terrorist criminals evading capture.
  • Lebanon – Leans Friendly to Leans Enemy
    • This is a very sad story…Lebanon is in an unfortunate position geographically, and cannot really defend its own borders – they are becoming a war-torn victim of geographic proximity.
  • Palestine – Nonexistent to Enemy
    • The U.N. voted to recognize Palestine as an independent state – a development that heavily complicates peace negotiations with Israel.  Notably, Obama spoke out in favor of this.
  • Iraq – Leans Enemy to Enemy
    • We’re all aware of the recent collapse of the Iraqi army, the intervention of the Iranian military in the conquest of ISIS, and the renewed military aggression from the U.S. in response.  Clearly, Iraq is behind enemy lines at this point.
  • Azerbaijan – Leans Friendly to Unaffiliated
  • Armenia – Leans Friendly to Unaffiliated
    • Both Azerbaijan and Armenia sit in a rather precarious, narrow strip of land between Turkey (and its increasingly radical population) and the Caspian Sean (and other potential U.S. foes to the east and south).  They have, understandably, gotten nervous about showing support for the west.
  • Afghanistan – Leans Enemy to Enemy (in progress)
    • I’m cheating a little bit on this one.  Obama is using the same exit strategy that he used in Iraq and a similar progression of ever-increasing violence has already begun in Afghanistan as the Taliban – once on the run – masses its forces from the western border with Iran and prepares to retake the country once we’re gone.  The government of Afghanistan is understandably annoyed with us over this pending disaster.
  • Pakistan – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
    • Meanwhile, Pakistan has drifted away from obligations with the U.S. on the economic and diplomatic fronts and stepped up development of its nuclear program (including a few unauthorized tests to intimidate its Indian neighbors).
  • Tajikistan – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
  • Kyrgyzstan – Unaffiliated to Leans Enemy
    • And in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, Islamic extremists are gaining a foothold in local governments and street-level violence is on the rise.
  • Burma – Leans Friendly to Unaffiliated
    • This is more of an economic ding – the Burmese have entered into a number of trade agreements with the Chinese to accept currency other than the USD – a development that threatens U.S. interests.
  • Taiwan – Leans Friendly to Leans Enemy
    • And, here’s an unfortunate bit of news – Taiwan has recently beenn usurped by a military coup supported by the people – likely as a result of increasing aggression by the Chinese in the South China Sea.
Honorable mention: Russia – I nearly moved them into the enemies camp, but held back for now, noting that we still have significant diplomatic contact with Putin…he is certainly a major threat, but I’ll wait a bit before declaring him an enemy combatant.
WOW!  These maps look like the expanding hot zone from “Outbreak” (remember that scene where they projected how the outbreak would spread?) – I don’t claim that Obama is the only person responsible for this.  In fact, a good argument can be made that some of this shifting was a long time coming and that the end of the overarching influence of WWII era land grants to various allied territories (and the subsequent power of the Arab Kings) was bound to yield a turn toward chaos, at least for a time as a power void opened up.  BUT…apologists for the Obama Administration cannot possibly look at the situation today and claim that they had a positive influence in any way.  And frankly, these maps tell a story for which Obama must bear some responsibility.
I’d love to do the same kind of analysis for the beginning and end of Reagan’s presidency. 🙂

Unconventional Tea-Party Populist Brat unseats ERIC CANTOR in VA-7 Primary

For those of you just joining us, the 2014 election season has been marked by a never-ending string of “tea party is dead” reports.  For those of you just joining us, Eric Cantor is one of the biggest movers and shakers in the Republican-controlled US House of Representatives – on several high profile committees, including the House Ways and Means and Ethics committees.

Or was.

SHOCKER: Cantor unseated in Primary by fiery populist Brat


Brat – a relative nobody whose main claim to fame prior to this election was that he had no interest in politics – decided out of frustration with Cantor’s grandstanding and salesmanship in DC to run this year, never expecting he had a chance to win the primary.  His campaign seemed more a catharsis – a chance to bring to the public eye the shocking lack of ethics inside the beltway..  But today, he is victorious and the mational media is desperate for answers as to how on Earth this happened.

Brat is a Catholic with a history of religious study and a career as an economist.  Sounds like an interesting mix to me, along with his bracing honesty.

Very…very unexpected news out of VA today.  Go figure.

Recommended Reading

I am just going to forward this along with my strongest recommendation to anyone who takes seriously their commitment to an informed understanding of American Conservatism as it currently stands and as it SHOULD stand going forward.

Young Guns: Room to Grow

This is a collection of well-considered essays by young, energetic conservative scholars, each of which advances a middle-class-oriented, conservative political agenda based on constitutional conservatism with a bit of a populist bent.

So much to love in this…I can’t even describe it after first reading…but trust me…do yourself a favor and spend some time reading it.

The Debate is Over! – Part II – Scandals? What Scandals?

Here, in the shortest bulleted list possible, is the leftist formula for handling a scandal.  As one of our conservative blogger friends recently pointed out, this is hardly a new formula – it kept Nicholas II in power for far too long even though he had the intellectual maturity of a dog and the cunning of a mosquito, and it allowed Stalin to maintain a positive image well into the 50s…well beyond the beginning of the gulags and the mass graves and the reallocations.

  • STEP 1: Scandal?  What are you talking about?
  • STEP 2: Well this is appalling!  I just heard about it reading the paper and am as shocked and angry as you!
  • STEP 3: How dare my opponents get mad about this – they have never liked me and are eager to play politics with this admittedly unfortunate error (see…he went from outraged to oh it’s an unfortunate error)
  • STEP 4: The real scandal is the politics of the right! (try to deflect anger to a scapegoat your supporters already don’t like)
  • STEP 5: **stonewall investigations for a year at least…refuse to discuss with reporters, who quickly lose interest when nothing new happens**
  • STEP 6: What?  Why are we even still talking about this…it’s old news and it wasn’t a big deal anyway! (minimize and give your supporters license to ignore the “error”)
  • STEP 7: Look…the debate about this is OVER…we won that argument…now you’re just talking sour grapes, you ingrate! (dismiss even TALKING about the scandal as radical)
  • STEP 8: Fire non-significant employee or two, perhaps, or send people away on administrative leave and reassign them.  Claim this has nothing to do with the scandal itself, but let the press scapegoat this person.
  • STEP 9: Scandal?  What are you talking about?  Never happened.  All those things that happened had nothing to do with us. (deny and start again)
Obama, in his time in office has had ELEVEN major scandals break…scandals larger than the one that felled Warren G. Harding.  Some larger than the one that felled Richard Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew.
The teapot dome scandal was about land use rights and cronyism in an era when liberals despised crony capitalists and conservatives despised crony unionism.  So it was a minor issue really…but a well-timed minor issue.
Watergate undermined the American electorate’s confidence in the election process at a time when democracy seemed under attack by the forces of extremism (high profile assassinations abound).  But Nixon killed no one and there’s no evidence that the information he gathered illegally changed anything of substance to the 1972 election or the policy discussions of the day.  It was more about what it said about Nixon as a person, I suspect.
But here…let’s bullet point the scandals of the Obama years:
  • IRS, under direction from top-level DC lawyers supervising their conduct, targets enemies of the President for unfair scrutiny and attempts to alter electoral outcomes.
  • NSA, under direction from fellow Democrats in the Senate Security Committee (albeit with bipartisan support), spies on every phone e, email account, and media outlet without oversight.
  • VA literally murders dozens, perhaps hundreds of elderly veterans (!) by forcing them to wait years for medical care they were owed for their service and then lies about the wait times to gain career advancement perks.
  • National Parks authorities use a government shutdown to close open air public spaces never before closed and are heard saying they believe their job is to make the shutdown “hurt as much as possible.”
  • Affordable Care Act – passed in a back-channel Senate vote that broke Senate rules of procedure while House Majority Leader says we need to read it to know what’s in there – debuts with a catastrophic failure of management.
  • Fast and Furious gun running program, under the direction of top-level Justice Department officials, gets a US serviceman killed and results in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Mexicans.
  • Obama publicly threatens on multiple occasions to use the executive order to circumvent the legislative authority of congress (and does so ten times more often than any previous U.S. President ever has, issuing 62 executive orders in 6 years compared to 8 from Bush Jr. and no more than 4 by any other President)
  • Justice Department spies on media figures in an attempt to force them to reveal undisclosed sources without a warrant or probably cause.
  • GSA caught squandering billions of dollars on parties, “conferences” and other luxuries.
  • Obama trades five of the worst war criminals held in Guantanamo Bay for a deserter and Taliban sympathizer and publicly states that he did this in the hopes that it would engender confidence in future negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban (NOT the people actually ruling Afghanistan…the guys we put into power in the first place because the Taliban was so dangerous and corrupt)…and does this without the approval of the UN, the Afghan government, his own Cabinet or the Senate Security Committee.
  • FCC threatens news networks that it will audit their content for “fairness” and attempts to regulate the speed and price of the internet.
  • And of course…Obama’s senior State Dept. officials claim an obvious terrorist attack 9/11/12 in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four US Citizens…was a spontaneous demonstration gone bad in response to some little-viewewd YouTube video…and then covered up evidence that they knew this “misstatement of facts” to be a lie when the story was first concocted.
That this guy’s approval rating is 42% to 44% says more about his propaganda tactics and his handling of scandals (with media compliance, incredibly) than about any individual policy objective.
The danger of declaring that the debate is over…encapsulated by 6 years of constant scandal and lawbreaking by our most powerful official and his various appointed cronies.

No Gun Ever Killed Anyone

Read the article below. Read it now!

No Gun Ever Killed Anyone

Stop saying the warning signs were missed.  They were not missed.  The Rodger family was begging, pleading for help from therapists, the police; just as did my own family, my mother, my sister, Sally, my cousins, nephews and I intervened our guts out to absolutely no avail.  There is no system left in this country to deal with these traumas. This is a mental health issue and no more. We are surrounded by phony bleeding hearts who can coolly step over the sacred bodies of the wretchedly ill lying about our streets and sashay into a shop to eat a sandwich.  Shame on all of you and may an huge share of the blame fall upon the shoulders of the perpetrators of this mercilessness, my sister, Kate Millett, and her fawning, ghoulish band of “liberating” acolytes.  These people are the ones responsible for this chaos in our world. 

Looking for a social injustice to rage against? Try this on for size. It is tragic – and unconscionable – that so many of our mentally ill are left to languish on our streets. Only a small percentage of these will go on to commit violent crimes, true, but even the benign schizophrenic deserves more than to live life in a pee-soaked gutter.