Archive | Foreign Policy RSS feed for this section

Books: True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy

In a 1935 photograph of Soviet spy Noel Field at a London disarmaments conference — Field had been recruited by Soviet Russia to spy on the United States of America — his lantern-jawed face contains the faraway vacancy of one who knows he’s too far gone. Field, who never showed remorse for his crimes or renounced his admiration for Stalin, was part of the same Soviet spy cell with Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers, who outed them both, in Washington, DC.

Buy the Book

The picture’s included in True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy, on sale in paperback next week. In it, author Kati Marton tells Field’s dark, horrifying story of Communist faith and fanaticism. Though she tends to romanticize his suffering and makes the common mistake of granting good intentions for his idealism, despite evidence to the contrary, True Believer demonstrates that Noel Field, an American who passionately spied for Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, ruined his family and believed in Communism until the very end, when he was kidnapped and tortured by the KGB and forced to testify against his Communist comrades in one of Stalin’s show trials. In particular, she discloses that Field’s work with the Unitarian Church was a front for helping Soviet Russia and resulted in at least one murder, proving once again that, as Ayn Rand observed, faith and force are “the destroyers of the modern world.”

How a Harvard-educated, State Department employee became friends with Alger Hiss and made himself a Stalinist is True Believer‘s focus, starting in earnest with the Red Decade, the 1930s, when Field enlisted in the International Communist Movement, which New York City-based author Marton partly blames on U.S. evasion of the rise of European fascism. Author and reporter Marton, the child of a Hungarian political prisoner whose parents found and spoke with Field in the only press interview he ever gave, is author of several books.

In often engaging narrative detail, she traces Noel Field’s presumed pursuit of a meaningful life using access to Soviet Secret Police records, the Field family’s correspondence and historical research and reports on Communist spy Hiss, CIA Director Allen Dulles and, of course, Stalin, the bloodiest monster of the 20th century. True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy — published in softcover by Simon & Schuster and available on Sept. 19 — accounts for this faith-based little monster’s pathetic life of crime, treason and evil in what amounts to another volume documenting Stalin’s mass murder and the full force of Communism with notes, bibliography, photos and an index.

September 11 and Saudi Arabia

salargeLast night’s discussion at LA’s Hammer Museum, a Hammer Forum program titled “9/11: the Saudi Connection”, brought an invigorating exchange of ideas and projections and a powerful call to action.

The program, moderated by local public radio’s Ian Masters, who rightly pointed out in his introduction that Islam is not the exclusive source of religious fundamentalism, featured former CIA operative and CNN security analyst Robert Baer and former U.S. Senator and former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham. Baer and Graham have written books about Islamic terrorism, the September 11, 2001 attack and Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship of acts of war against the West.

Baer, who has been to Saudi Arabia, called the dictatorship—which everyone kept calling a “kingdom”—”a country in peril.” As he does on cable news shows, Baer sees Saudi Arabia’s demise as imminent due to a “herd mentality” which has become embedded in the country, which, he added and emphasized, “cannot stand for long”. In a short speech, Baer made reference to the fact that, for all practical purposes, Syria and Iraq no longer exist as functional states run by governments (as I recognized about Iraq earlier this year). For the same reasons, he explained, Saudi Arabia’s origins as an artificial country formed in tribes in 1932 preclude its continued existence.

Baer contends that the Middle East is driven by tribalism, not ideology. He sees tribalism as the larger threat to the West. In the contest between Shiite and Sunni Moslems, Baer counts four Sunni-dominated Mideast capitals which have recently been lost to Shiite Moslems: Baghdad, Beirut, Sunna and Damascus, which he sees as fueling discord and war in the region, leading to the fall of Saudi Arabia and displacement of as many as 120 million Arabs fleeing into the West.

Baer’s assessment is sobering. But Baer adds that he thinks Islamic terrorists are neither evil—he thinks modern Middle East problems are caused by Western “imperialism”—nor moved by ideology, i.e., fundamentalist, radical or jihadist Islam, terms he declined to use throughout the evening. In fact, he kept insisting that he’s not an apologist for Islamic jihad but, by denying the role of ideas and rationalizing Islamic terrorism, he is.

Despite this moral error, Baer’s practical and historical observations, forecasts and accounts should be taken seriously. He argues that, because Saudi Arabia depends on subsidies and being the West’s sole, main supplier of oil, the dictatorship wants the oil industry’s fracking to stop. His comments on how fracking has hurt Saudi Arabia did not go over well with the left-wing, west Los Angeles audience, but he explained why fracking—and America’s decreased dependency on Saudi oil—is relevant to the region’s stability. Additionally, during Q & A, Baer added when asked that he regards Edward Snowden as an annoyance, though he admits that indiscriminate mass surveillance does not protect the United States. In short, Baer’s projection that Saudi Arabia’s days are numbered is cogent where his causal connection is not.

On the other hand, Florida’s former Sen. Bob Graham displayed full moral clarity.

Sen. Graham, acting in this capacity as an American statesman in the best sense, called upon his memory of the 9/11 Commission’s first witness, a woman named Kristen Breitweiser, who had lost her husband Bob in the attack. He reminded the audience that Americans have an obligation to answer why? And: Did the hijackers act alone? He told the Los Angeles audience that the first two hijackers entered the United States through Los Angeles International Airport and detailed specific meetings implicating Saudi Arabia (as does my own research, first posted here). He spoke about the San Diego connection and how $50,000 for the hijackers was dispatched from the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC to a woman. He mentioned the prominent Sarasota, Florida, family and their connection to three Florida-based 9/11 hijackers and explained how the family returned to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Graham spoke of discrepancies in the FBI investigation and, once again, urged the audience to press the U.S. government to declassify and release the 9/11 report’s 28 classified pages (which he has read) detailing the attack’s financing by Saudi Arabia.

Sen. Graham named President Lincoln as a great president for insisting upon transparency in government during the Civil War, knowing it would make U.S. allies look bad and he praised Lincoln for putting the enlightenment of the American people above sparing an ally’s embarrassment. The Democrat singled out the Obama administration for criticism. He denounced American “passivity” about this 14-year-old Islamic act of war. When asked to name the best presidential candidate in terms of disclosure about the attack on September 11, 2001, Graham answered succinctly and without pause: “Rand Paul”, who supports releasing the 28 classified pages.

In a moment of rare, bipartisan unity around an intelligent idea to advance national defense, Baer agreed with Rand Paul and Bob Graham about declassifying the 28 pages and said that he, too, thinks the pages should be released. Judging by audience response, by the program’s end, most in the audience seemed to agree. Finally, Baer, whatever his flaws, expressed the perfect afterthought to Sen. Graham’s crusade to illuminate the facts of the September 11, 2001 mass murder: “Rational people must [be free to] make up their minds.”

With Saudi Arabia proposing to build 200 mosques in Germany as a “response” to the exodus from Arab states to Western Europe (reported here during the presentation), let me add: rational people haven’t much time.

Colin Powell, Anti-American

ColinPowellThe ideals, life and career of Colin Powell came to a climax today on NBC’s Meet the Press. The former secretary of state under George W. Bush, a Harlem-born Republican who endorsed Barack Obama for president—twice—after serving as Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, a four-star military general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced his support for Obama’s death pact known as the Iran deal.

This is the ultimate betrayal of the United States’ defense by one of its greatest pretenders. While Powell, whom I called upon to resign as secretary of state in a May, 2001 newspaper op-ed, has a reputation of being a competent, reasonable government official, the opposite is true. He has a long and undistinguished record in American government. In fact, his career is marked by blunder, failure and defeat.

This is because his philosophy is worse than his undeservedly decent reputation; Colin Powell is fundamentally anti-American.

The career military figure has always projected a measured, careful demeanor. In his early days as a military adviser in South Vietnam, where he was part of the unit involved in the My Lai massacre, Powell’s record is mixed and partly heroic; he was wounded and rescued comrades after he survived a helicopter crash. But from his service under President Nixon to Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton, advising or commanding short U.S. military interventions in Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Panama (1989) and the Gulf War (1990), his record is defined by short missions that accomplish little or nothing at all. He tends by his own admission to favor diplomacy over the use of military force that advances the nation’s defense and interest.

Powell’s limited, get-in-and-get-out incursions have shaped and defined U.S. military policy for decades with disastrous results; in Grenada, the U.S. rescued the medical school students but failed to dissuade Communist Cuba from militarily opposing the U.S., including supporting states that sponsor terrorism. In Libya, the limited bombing failed to accomplish anything and actually bolstered the dictatorship, which was unshaken by the strike. In Panama, the country was invaded by the U.S. for the sake of protecting Americans, helping others and stopping illegal drug trafficking and the dictator was removed, all to little effect. The Gulf War infamously liberated Kuwait at the expense of leaving an anti-American dictator in power in Iraq and abetting the rise of Islamic terrorism, which spread and led to the worst attack on America in history in 2001.

Powell’s half-measures leave enemy combatants essentially unopposed to do real harm and inflict major, lasting damage.

This is because Colin Powell’s ethics embrace selflessness, as against selfishness, as a virtue. He consistently and emphatically holds that the highest morality is helping others. He is mixed, as evidenced in his opposition to Clinton’s policy to help others in Bosnia on the grounds that it did not also benefit the United States. What drives Colin Powell, however, is the antithesis of self-interest. Powell opposes any act which explicitly advances U.S. interest, such as advancing toward Baghdad during the Gulf War to take out Saddam Hussein or get oil or annihilate Islamic terrorist state sponsors—and he does so exactly because the proposed act advances U.S. interest.

Powell opposed any unilateral U.S. military action following the September 11, 2001 attack on America, for instance, insisting that the U.S. must plead for permission from the United Nations instead. When, as secretary of state, Powell got his way and pleaded to the U.N. for an invasion of Iraq, he did so not on the grounds that the U.S. retains the moral right to eradicate state sponsors of terrorism but on the argument that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction—which Powell was also wrong about—posed some vague, general threat to the world. The invasion proceeded, accomplished nothing, sacrificed thousands of innocent American servicemen and women and failed, all but delivering today’s Iraq into the control of America’s arch-enemy, Iran.

Now, Colin Powell supports Obama’s deal with Iran.

From castigating Israel for acting in its self-defense, offering praise and support for Communist dictator Fidel Castro and trying to schedule a meeting with Arab terrorist and Munich Olympics massacre chieftain Yasser Arafat while he was secretary of state, Powell’s anti-Americanism is fully, alarmingly steady and consistent. That he wants this death pact with Iran, too, is part of Powell’s doctrine of self-sacrifice.

I do not doubt that this is his sincerely held philosophy. Colin Powell, who opposed neoconservatives in the Bush White House and defends a woman’s right to an abortion, expresses sincerity in all of his convictions. But he is mixed and the mixture is bad for America with deadly implications for U.S. national defense. For this reason, he is the worst type of American leader: one who claims that America is good and ought to be defended but only because America helps others at the expense of American interest and strictly on the condition that America seeks and obtains the approval of the others whom it’s morally obliged to help.

From the beginning of his military career, when he served as an adviser in South Vietnam, to today’s deplorable sanction of a deal to engage nuclear advancement for America’s foremost enemy, Powell consistently acts against America. Powell’s selflessness goes back decades, to his earliest experiences when he says he “found himself” in what he sees as service to the state. It was never more explicit than when he asserted in 1997—spearheading the Bush-Clinton initiative to impose “national service” under the Orwellian term volunteerism—that each individual has a moral duty to serve others, the opposite of the founding American ideals of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of one’s own happiness for one’s own sake. This selfless statesman’s dogged anti-Americanism is never more wicked and dangerous than it is now in defense of those who seek death to America.

Donald Trump

DonaldTrumpBusinessman, author (The Art of the Deal), presidential candidate and television personality Donald Trump’s current status on top of the Republican presidential field of candidates is chiefly another ominous sign that the country is in deep, serious trouble. The nation is in a downward spiral, as I wrote here, and the presidency is a crucial mechanism for pulling out of the dive. The campaign must be serious, deadly serious, because America is in dire straits.

Trump exploits this fact. He knew when he entered the race that this is true—he’s not unintelligent—and to whatever extent he holds principles, he wants to help solve America’s problems and thinks he can. This is his right as an American and I think he makes a partially good point about illegal immigration, tragically underscored by the recent murder of an innocent American by an illegal alien granted sanctuary in San Francisco.

I also think he’s right to question whether Senator John McCain is a war hero. George Washington is a war hero. Sergeant York is a war hero. Audie Murphy is a war hero. Generals Sherman, Grant, Patton and especially MacArthur are war heroes and, as far as I’m concerned, the passengers on United Flight 93 are war heroes. It is true that John McCain was captured and tortured by the enemy, but if John McCain is a war hero, it is to a much lesser degree than these other men. Sen. McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, is an elder statesman and leader and it is legitimate to question his leadership.

But what makes a war hero or an illegal immigrant is not as urgent and pressing as the assault on individual rights, America’s precarious welfare statist economy and the fact that the U.S. has a disaster in Iraq and is losing the war with states that sponsor terrorism motivated by Islam, such as Iran. Trump has no serious, tenable positions on the most critical issues of this dark moment in history. To the extent his positions, sense of purpose and reliability are known, he is mixed, anti-capitalist, unserious and unsteady or shaky, the opposite qualities needed for a good or even decent president at this pivotal point. As trader Jonathan Hoenig argues on his blog (read the post here), Trump advocates protectionism and redistribution of wealth; posing as a capitalist, he is a fraud.

America must have a serious and urgent debate of ideas during the 2016 election. Trump offers and brings nothing essential to the arena and should be dismissed as the clown or carnival barker many have said he is. That he’s right from time to time about certain isolated issues—and that this occasional correctness and brash willingness to speak his mind garners fans, attention and prospective voters—underscores the total and utter political-philosophical bankruptcy of the Republican Party, which was founded on the principle of abolishing slavery and has slithered into the party of submission to slavery by default ever since. Until and unless a serious candidate of ideas, or at least one who is not as hostile to man’s rights, emerges, the anti-intellectual Trump is a sideshow whose spotlight shows how corrupt, cynical and insane American politics has become.

Lessons from Chattanooga

The night before an Islamic terrorist (pictured) gunned down five enlisted members of the U.S. Navy and Marines in Tennessee, he sent a religious message on “declaring war”, according to Reuters. Yet the government says that the murderer’s motives are still being investigated. This evasion of reality—that America is at war with radicals motivated by religion—is why America is losing the war.

MoslemTerroristatChattanooga

Chattanooga Police Department

While local, state and federal government police, and their co-conspirators in the press, continue to spend time and money denying what is obvious to most Americans, refusing even to utter the words Islamic or terrorism, Reuters and the New York Times report that they have seen a text message sent by the Islamic terrorist the night before to a friend linking to a passage from the Koran, containing the verse: “Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I will indeed declare war against him.” The full text is:

Allah the Almighty has said: “Whosoever acts with enmity towards a friend [wali] of Mine, I will indeed declare war against him. Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory [nawafil] prayers so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks [something] of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.”

Reuters also reports that the terrorist, returning from a trip to Jordan last year, had purchased three guns online following the visit and used them for target practice. Navy logistics specialist Randall Smith became the latest victim when he died of his wounds in addition to the four Marines who were murdered at the scene of Thursday’s shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 24-year-old Arab terrorist had posted on his blog urging readers to “submit to Allah”. Yet a spokesman for the FBI said: “It would be premature to speculate on exactly why the [Islamic terrorist] did what he did.” The shooter was heavily armed and wore an ammo vest, according to officials, when he rented a Ford Mustang convertible and drove to two U.S. military centers to carry out the assault. He had been a naturalized U.S. citizen, college student and an active, attendant and observant Moslem at the local Chattanooga mosque.

But the U.S. government failed, once again, despite its claims that indiscriminate mass spying on Americans increases national security, to protect Americans. As in Texas, Massachusetts, the U.S. consulate at Benghazi, New York City, Washington, DC and countless other American places going back decades, the American government failed in both security intelligence and military defense of the nation. This is not to mention every American attacked or murdered by Moslem terrorists from the Marines in Beirut in 1983, Americans in passenger jets, discos, bookstores, cruise ships and minivans or the thousands lost to appeasing rules of engagement that favor the enemy in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere the U.S. military engages the enemy. With the Obama administration pushing its death pact with Islamic enemy Iran, which vows to destroy the West and the U.S., the evidence that America is losing the war is impossible to ignore.

Many historians, scholars and analysts have argued for decades that the jihadist enemy seeks to conquer the U.S. and force Americans to change from a free society to a silent submission to Islam and there is already staggering evidence that this is becoming true, from the way 9/11 has become a day of national mourning with no mention of the cause of the attack to the media’s, government’s and intellectuals’ refusal to name Islam as the ideology that motivates the terrorists to attack. The state of government control being enacted with the NSA, ObamaCare and the TSA propels the inversion of government’s proper role; the more the state does what it shouldn’t do, the less it does what it should do—its highest function is to defend the nation—and the threat of Islamic terrorist attack grows worse and larger with every expansion of government control. The nation is in a downward spiral.

The attack on Chattanooga is a perfect example. More Americans choose to remain silent in the wake of instant vilification of anyone who expresses a viewpoint which diverges from the status quo or they’re afraid of targeted terrorist strikes against individuals who speak out. Among those who do denounce the attack, the proposed solution, especially by conservatives, is arming military members at recruitment centers and giving more military authority to the National Guard. This leads to a greater risk of America becoming a police state. Without the will to name Islam as the enemy’s ideology, all the armed soldiers and police in the United States won’t stop an enemy’s nuclear bomb, not with the nuclear treaty that all but grants Iran the right to make and use the weapons to attack. Increased arms and militarization of police, military recruitment of civilians and the National Guard will hurt, not help, America’s ability to pull out of the spiral.

What helps the United States of America is the pledge of each American to honor fallen, fellow Americans, from Leon Klinghoffer, Daniel Pearl and the passengers of United Flight 93—who said “Let’s roll”—to United States Marines Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire Wells and U.S. Navy logistics specialist Randall Smith (read about them here). Today’s spiral means that every time an Islamic terrorist attacks America, the government denies, dodges or evades that it’s an act of Islamic terrorism, the media equivocates, rationalizes and asks why the terrorist went bad and the loudest intellectuals blame America while politicians on both the left and the right enact new laws that violate individual rights while losing the war with those motivated by Islam.

Pulling out of today’s death spiral for good requires the effort of every decent American and those who cherish Western civilization to learn the lessons of the savage attack in the volunteer state. I say to each American: choose a different course of action, including activism. Defend your life. Shove off the incessant push to rationalize and evade what motivates barbaric attacks by religious soldiers. Never mind the noise about why the Moslem hates America. Concern yourself with what the individual ought to love about America. Reject the false narrative about what radicalizes others. Learn what you ought to know about speaking up to defend yourself and get to it: radicalize thyself.