Iran: WWRD?
By Dan | May 21, 2008 - 8:54 pm - Posted in Foreign Affairs, Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Reagan, Stars & Stripes

Obama supporters continue to cling (perhaps out of bitterness) to the notion of direct diplomacy with Iran. Their retort to the tidal wave of criticism is, “well, what would you do? Invade Iran.” This is part of the Democratic strategy of criticizing U.S. foreign policy. It takes an incredibly narrow view of the history of Iraq. Perhaps many Obama supporters cannot remember that far back, but the United States imposed sanctions on Iraq for 12 years. For many Obama supporters, this dates back to their kindergarten days. The notion that the United States reflexively invaded Iraq after 9/11 is as absurd as the most deranged Obama fantasy.

Iraq is a separate animal from Iran. Iraq was a brutal, but secular, dictatorship run by an aging psychopath. Iran, though run by equally brutal psychopaths, has a growing populist democracy movement. There are reformers, in some cases openly calling for democratic reforms in Iran, such a pro-American base did not exist in Iraq, certainly not with nearly the same strength.

Invading Iran is not a plausible scenario for many reasons. So what would I do about Iran? More importantly, what would Ronald Reagan do? Toppling an evil empire, as the old Cowboy from Tampico showed us, requires determination, restrained aggression, compassion and cooperation (and a little bit of luck).

Reagan showed us that determination (some would say “Cowboy diplomacy” or “stubborn refusal to be reasonable”) is not a weakness in the face of evil. A president needs to convince the enemy, the people under its oppression, U.S. allies and the global spectators (the United Nations, for example), that the full power of the United States will be brought to bear so that freedom, not tyranny, will win the day. Certainly, a president must be willing (and plausibly so) to commit the full might of the U.S. military to destroying Iran. This commitment must be broader than that. It must include economic policies and diplomatic efforts with other countries. Most importantly, this determination cannot waiver, it cannot be subject to the whims of pollsters or pundits. In 1987, after six years of “preparations”, Ronald Reagan demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall. His speech writers objected. His Secretary of State objected. The media mocked him as a dottering old fool. Two years later, the wall came down.

Reagan knew that naked determination, however, was not enough. Just as in high-stakes poker, restrained aggression is key to brinkmanship. Reagan knew that placing Pershing II missiles in Europe would provoke the Soviets. He also knew they deserved it and would see it as a sign of strength. Reagan was roundly mocked for the Strategic Defense Initiative, a futuristic system that now protects the United States and its allies. But the old man knew that the floundering Soviet economy and years of brain drain meant the Soviets could not possibly keep up.

Reagan also knew that there was a fundamental difference between a Soviet and a Russian. He often spoke warmly of the Russian people, with compassion and empathy for their plight. He knew, and he was able to convey, that every man and woman were born with the same rights and that communism is an affront to basic human dignity. He said so, sincerely, publicly and often.

Finally, Reagan was a great communicator. He knew that, as powerful as the United States is, it cannot take on the entire world. Nor can the United States prosper in a world where our allies become embittered or isolated by our unilateral foreign policy. He knew that, even though the United States would bear most of the burden of promoting freedom, our allies and those who remained neutral should always feel welcome in the fight.

So, what would Reagan have us do?

  • He would never, ever, meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As former Reagan adviser K.T. McFarland points out, “negotiating without leverage is not negotiating, it’s begging.” You will know it’s time to meet with the Iranian leader when the Iranian leader is a moderate, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Patience is a passive form of determination. Reagan would spend his first term in office publicly criticizing and ostracizing Iran until regime change became its only hope for survival. He would promote an aggressive domestic policy for energy independence and a strong U.S. dollar, along with sanctions crippling the Iranian economy (just as cheap oil crippled the Soviet economy).
  • Reagan would use our military gains in Iraq to occupy and frustrate Iran along its common border with Iraq. No Iranian would be able to cross the border without seeing an impressive display of American hardware and clear-eyed GI’s just waiting for Mahmoud to try something stupid. Just as the Soviet Union was unsettled by the Pershing II Missiles in West German, so Iran will be unsettled by 10 battalions of the U.S. Army amassed on its border and two carrier groups loitering off shore. Moreover, any Iranian agent found in Iraq will be treated as an invading force. Overly aggressive Iranian speedboats will experience the devastating accuracy of the American Navy, just as Gaddafi’s air force learned in the 1980s.
  • Reagan would also find compassion for those suffering in Iran. Radio Free Iran (and Video Free Iran) would give Iranians hope, and kind words appealing to the Iranian people’s basic humanity would embolden reformers and give the Iranian Lech Wałęsa the courage to challenge the mullahs. Americans would open their doors to Iranian families and word of American compassion and the benefits of freedom would be trumpeted throughout the broader Middle East.
  • Finally, direct diplomacy would be used, but not with Iran. Reagan would meet with our allies and those who trade with Iran. We would apply pressure against those who would deal with Iran and reward those who turn away.
Obama: The Second Term of Jimmy Carter
By Dan | - 12:36 pm - Posted in Best Of, Edukashun, Foreign Affairs, Liberals, Politics & Policy, Reagan

Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama is fond of calling John McCain’s candidacy the “third term of George Bush.” John McCain lacks the flair necessary, but he would be far more justified in calling Barack Obama’s candidacy the second term of the Jimmy Carter failure. I would love to see a side-by-side comparison of Jimmy Carter’s and Barack Obama’s idiotic policies, but I just don’t have the time or emotional capacity to re-live the horrors of the 1970’s. Without doubt, however, the most obvious similarity between the two is their naked willingness to meet with dictators, fascists and terrorists.

Although the Obama campaign is now retreating from the dangerously naive policy set forth by Obama himself, the fact remains that Obama is open to meeting with Iran, without precondition. Preconditions, of course, are those “barriers to diplomacy,” such as “Before we meet with you, you have to stop killing U.S. soldiers and innocent civilians in Iraq,” or “Stop building your nuclear plants, or we won’t meet with you.” Obama now says that how would, of course, have “preparations” before meeting with a man who has called our ally a “rotting corpse” and promised its annihilation.

The term “preparation” is a wonderfully naive term. It makes it sound as if Obama has such a childish view of the world that he thinks McCain is criticizing him for not planning an itinerary. “Of course we’re going to have preparations. We’ve booked the flight, we have a suite of hotel rooms, and I even brought a pen and a notepad, so I can take dictation copious notes from my dear friend Mahmoud.”

In a speech on Sunday, however, Obama betrayed the depth of his naiveté.

(You should watch the video, as Obama’s “come on” demeanor speaks volumes of his attitude). Three things jumped out of his speech:

  1. Negotiations brought down the Berlin wall. This is a fundamental misstatement of history. President Reagan’s unflinching anti-Communism, aggressive expansion of our military capabilities and his refusal to talk with Soviet hardliners like Chernenko lead to the internal and external reforms. And, not to be too dramatic, but Reagan’s demand to Gorbachev that he “tear down this wall”, was not made over an ornate conference table in a quiet Swiss hotel. It was made in front of the damn wall to a cheering crowd of Germans.
  2. “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union did.” This is absurd. During the Cold War, the USSR could annihilate the United States and its allies, and vice versa. This stalemate, known as mutually assured destruction, only works with rational people. The Soviets were horribly brutal, but they were not about to cause the extinction of mankind to prove a point. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, has never been successfully accused of being a rational person. While it is true that the Iranian military poses no serious threat to the United States military, the Enola Gay, similarly posed little or no threat to the Hiroshima police force. It was the nuclear device it carried that did all that damage. Obama’s idiotic assertion that these “tiny” countries “don’t pose a serious threat to us” begs the question, how many Israeli, European or U.S. cities would have to be sacrificed in nuclear holocausts before Obama realized that one man with a bomb is a serious threat to us?
  3. “Iran spends 1/100th of what we spend on their military. If they ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they would’nt stand a chance.”I have to admit, this took me all of three minutes to debunk, most of which was spent looking for my calculator. According to publicly available data on the CIA website, Iran’s military expenditure in 2008 will be (2.5% of GDP) $21.3 billion (not sure if this includes their “peaceful nuclear program”). The U.S. military expenditure in 2008 (including fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and deployments on every continent) will be (4.05% of GDP) $561.3 billion. No matter how you cut it, Iran spends way more than 1/100th of what America spends on their military. In real dollars, Iran spends 1/25th of what the U.S. does on it’s military (four times what Obama implies). In terms of percentage of GDP, Iran spends more than half of what the U.S. spends. Per capita, Iran spends 1/6th what the United States spends. Anyway you look at the numbers 1/100th isn’t even close.

Obama has proven himself, again and again, to be naive on foreign policy (even suggesting we invade an ally and nuclear power, Pakistan). Although he seems to be backing off of his ridiculous policy now, who will be the voice of reason when, God forbid, President Obama’s ridiculous and dangerous ideas are not reigned in by an opposing nominee?

What America Means
By Dan | April 2, 2008 - 2:06 pm - Posted in Best Of, Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Reagan

For over 200 years, America has been a shining city on a hill. A place where people from all cultures, races and creeds have come to find their own way, free from the political or economic tyranny of their homeland. Some have come involuntarily, forced into labor by an abhorrent practice that ended 140 years ago. Today, for the moment at least, we all live free.

We are descendants of free men and slaves. We are the heirs of peasants and kings; royalty and commoner. Our families have, long ago, suffered potato famine and rice famine; holocaust and ethnic cleansing; prejudice and persecution. We are bound though, not by our disparate suffering, but by our ability to overcome the misfortunes of our individual histories. The best part of each of us relies on our combined history as a tutorial, not a prelude.

We are not a nation that is divided by race, we are a nation defined by our ideas. We can now travel the world on the wings of an idea conceived in South Carolina by two brothers from Ohio. We share information in the blink of an eye on devices evolved over decades from one built in a garage in California. For many of us, our retirement money is connected to the collective rise and fall of the stocks and mutual funds we choose. Individual responsibility for your own future is a hallmark of the American Dream.

Ideas empower us. They put food on the table. Ideas connect us with distant relatives and build better mouse traps. Ideas give us hope, and they set us free. But not all ideas are created equal.

Hatred is an idea, and its preachers and followers inevitably find their home in the ash heap of history. Socialism and communism are ideas, and their practitioners bear scars and empty stomachs as proof that government does not know best. Universal health care is a well-intentioned idea, but its victims the world over bear those same scars, as lines get longer, paperwork becomes insurmountable and medical innovation ceases.

Converting legitimate questions about anti-American rhetoric into a reflexive argument about racism is an idea, but it is as abhorrent as the comments it defends. Blaming an unpopular president for an ailing economy that is still the envy of the world is an idea, but it’s not original. It comes out every four years. Calling profits illegal while pocketing those profits through campaign contributions is an idea. But it too, is not new, nor is it confined by party lines.

Ideas are powerful. The right ideas can lead a nation from the brink of economic disaster into the longest period of American prosperity ever seen. The wrong ideas can lead to gas lines, record unemployment and food shortages in a country with surplus. The right ideas can tear down walls and collapse an evil empire without firing a single shot. The wrong ideas can legitimize dictators and embolden our enemies.

In a few short months, we will head to our local schools and churches to decide whose ideas will take us where we want to go. There will be slanders and libels. There will be mischaracterizations and lies. There will be promises and denials, spin and straight talk. In the end, we will either have a president that will lead us into four years of financial and bodily insecurity, or one who will lead us back to the greatness that lives in all of us. Wouldn’t that be a nice idea?

The Best Reagan Tribute You’ll See All Day
By Dan | - 11:55 am - Posted in Politics & Policy, Reagan

I stumbled across this from the Cuban American Pundits. Very nice job. We should get a string of conservative celebrities (they do exist) to do the voice over per the Obama ad.

One More for the Gipper
By Dan | December 19, 2007 - 11:36 am - Posted in Best Of, Reagan

During his early years, Ronald Reagan was employed as a lifeguard in Illinois.  He saved 77 people from an early grave at the hands of Rock River.  It’s an amazing accomplishment for any man, but certainly not his greatest or most memorable.  But for 77 people, he was their real-life George Bailey. 

Now it’s 78.

Earlier this week, another young Illini was in danger of meeting an early end.  Fourteen year-old Laura Montero was out to sea on the cruiseship Dawn Princess when her appendix burst.   The Dawn Princess, without surgical facilities, was unable to help the young girl, and her captain issued a distress call.

Over 500 miles away, none other than the USS Ronald Reagan answered the call.  She dropped everything and steamed south to the rescue.  Her crew medevac’s Ms. Montero to Reagan’s own on-board hospital facility and then, after her surgery, returned her safely back to San Diego.  Like her namesake, the USS Ronald Reagan is more than meets the eye.

Schumer Declares End of “Reagan Era”
By Dan | November 1, 2007 - 10:38 am - Posted in Adoptions, Best Of, Government, Politics & Policy, Reagan, Taxes

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in projecting large Democrat gains next November, gleefully noted that, “We’re about at the tail end of the Ronald Reagan era, where his ideas — fresh and, even as a Democrat, I’d say, many of them needed at the time — have just lost steam, lost resonance.”  Senator Schumer, referring to the turn-around from the defeatism and economic ruin of the Carter years to the fall of the Soviet Union, expressed pride in his fellow Democrats and hope for the future.

“No longer will America be seen as a shining city on a hill.  I mean, that was nonsense.  We’re no better than Iran or Sudan.  People only come to America because we have high crime and no economic opportunity.  We really don’t have anything to be proud of,” Schumer said.  “Finally,” he added, “we are free from the chains of pride forged by President Reagan and can slink into mediocrity.  That’s our plan as Democrats, and I’m proud to lead the way.”

Schumer also outlined a list of “Reaganisms” that, under a Democratic regime, would not longer hold true:

  1. Entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States.
  2. I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.
  3. The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ 
  4. A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual; that we will become that shining city on a hill.  

These Reaganism will be replaced by the following “Schumerisms” (which will now be recited daily in all school classrooms and re-education centers)

  1. Big Government™ shall be responsible for all economic growth, if any, in the United States.
  2. Big Government™ shall be the only thing standing between you and harm.  Self Reliance is dead.
  3. The nine most terrifying beautiful words in the English language are, ‘The government is providing all of your healthcare coverage.’ 
  4. A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, because we’re to blame for all the world’s troubles.  We’re the scum of the world and taxes are our penance.  

Republicans were quick to point out that they, too had a roll to play in the end of the Reagan Era.  “Look, we all started out in favor of Reagan, but once we gained complete control of the government, we too saw the need for big government to solve all of our problems,” noted Dee Fector (R-INO), a 12-term Republican who first joined the House during President Reagan’s second term.  “If anyone is to take credit for the end of the Reagan Era of pride, self-reliance and limited government, the Republican

Cause for Optimism
By Dan | January 31, 2007 - 12:18 pm - Posted in Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Reagan

I was reading this AP article about the President’s visit to New York today and the phrase “cause for optimism” lept out at me. The article follows the MSM pattern of begrudgingly acknowledging that the economy is improving. This, of course is the standard operating procedure with a Republican in the White House. Your results would vary if a Democrat took residence there; irrational exuberance unchecked by media cynicism would likely result.

In any case, I began to think why it is that that phrase, which I hear all too often in financial reports, is so odd to me. I realize it’s because, more than being a Republican, a Conservative, a New York lawyer, a Capitalist or even an Objectivist, I am a Reaganite.

Being a Reaganite means many things to many people. To me, it is the unyielding pride I have for Americans everywhere, but especially while under arms in foreign lands. It is my love of country and my faith in my fellow man. It is my deeply rooted belief that the invisible hand of free market competition is the most powerful economic force in the history of man. I believe this to my core, more clearly than I know my own name.

I know that, so long as the government gets the hell out of my way, I, along with every other capitalist, can not only raise a tide to lift all ships, but flood the cities with gold.

Being a Reaganite means believing that no economic obstacle can prevail against the will of a true Capitalist. I have plenty of cause for optimism everyday. One of them is named Ronald and he rode a horse.

Channelling Reagan
By Dan | October 23, 2006 - 11:11 am - Posted in Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Reagan

I was laid up for the past week, having required minor surgery. After the third day of vicodin, I found my spirit guide, an aging cowboy named Ronald.

We spoke for several days on the astral plane. We spoke of terrorists (he’s not in favor of them), economy (he liked the Dow hitting 12,000 following the tax cuts) and politics. At the end of my journey (out of vicodin), I asked him what he thought of the Republican leadership. He said it would be a good idea.

Can’t Hear Over the Shouting
By Dan | October 6, 2006 - 12:13 pm - Posted in Business Section, Media & Marketing, Reagan, Taxes

I’m sorry, I don’t have time to blog today. I’m too busy reading all the MSM articles on the plummetting budget deficit. Turns out cutting taxes actually increased revenues.

Seriously, I’m sure the NY Times and CNN will get around to reporting it. Eventually.

His Legacy Lives On
By Dan | June 20, 2006 - 12:34 pm - Posted in Best Of, Foreign Affairs, Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Reagan, Science, Stars & Stripes

“I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering those nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

President Ronald Reagan, March 23, 1983.

Today, June 21, 2006, that dream became a reality, as the strategic missile defense system was turned on. Congratulations to the physicists and engineers whose years of hard work, determination and inginuity made his vision real and our land safer.

And to those who mocked, doubted and ridiculed him and them — you should be ashamed of yourself.

1 Comment