by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. THE WEEKLY BRIEF
President Trump's masterful State of the Union found its emotional center in honoring Navy Seal Ryan Owens who died in a Jan 29 'boots on the ground' raid of Al Qaeda in Yemen. There is debate in the media how successful the raid was. There are two wars in Yemen -- the disgraceful Saudi bombing war against the Shiite Houthis, and the American war against AQAP and ISIS in Yemen. AQAP is considered one of the most likely sources of future attacks against the US. Strategists agreed that operations involving soldiers who could retrieve information would have to supplement drone attacks. The Obama administration planned the operation, but left the final decision to the new President understanding the significance of this more aggressive strategy. It appears the enemy knew we were coming, which highlights the necessity of tightening the internal leaks which have jeopardized the transition of military command from President Obama's administration to President Trump's. These breaches that endanger the lives of our soldiers can no longer be winked at as the work of civic whistle blowers.
This week we also discovered that Senators cross paths with Ambassadors as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now proposed as the newest Russian spy in the White House. If it is really foreign influences in campaigns we are looking for, then we might check contributions of the Saudis to Mrs. Clinton's campaign. The enduring influence of the Saudis with the Bushes, Clintons, foreign policy think tanks and universities is going to become a major battlefront in devising an America First foreign policy. Their role remains clouded because of their de-facto alliance with Israel against Iran. The war hawks from McCain to Clinton have accepted the Saudi-Israel formulation of US strategy which led to the decimation of the Syrian population in the ill fated attempt to overthrow President Assad. The ability of the Trump administration to break from the Saudi playbook in understanding "what the hell is going on" and "all that hate" in the Mideast is the most critical question before us in foreign policy.
Russia and Syria see the Saudis much more clearly than Lindsey Graham and John McCain do. So did President Obama in his second term. When he was asked at the end of his presidency if the Saudis were our allies, he said, "It's complicated." That is also why a reflective President Obama judged his refusal to escalate against Assad in Syria as "the most important thing he didn't do" in the Mideast. In this poisoned era of public discourse it is difficult to explain that it was the restraint of President Obama in dealing with Iran and Syria that will allow President Trump to pivot in building a new Shiite inclusive alliance to destroy ISIS.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
RUSSIA RETURNS TO AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban as a local force against ISIS internationalism.
NORTHERN AFRICA: WAR AND FAMINE RIDE: The breakdown of civic authority; the breakdown of food production.
LEBANON - ISRAEL AND LEBANESE CHRISTIANS DO NOT SEE THIS THE SAME WAY: An Israeli take on the next war against Lebanon -- it must be fast and furious. Needless to say this is more than troubling to those of us who support Lebanese Christians allying with Lebanese Hezbollah to protect themselves from the Salafist Sunnis ravaging Syria and threatening Lebanon. From Daily Alert Newsletter:
Israel's Strategy in the Third Lebanon War - by Giora Eiland
We should pay attention to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who reiterated that Hizbullah was part of the power protecting Lebanon from Israel. This statement only strengthens what should have been clear for years - that Hizbullah and the government of Lebanon are one and the same.
In the Second Lebanon War, Israel fought only against Hizbullah, without getting the Lebanese government, the Lebanese army and the country infrastructures involved in the battle. If we run the third Lebanon war the same way, the cost to the Israeli home front would be unbearable. The conclusion, therefore, should be clear. If fire is opened at Israel from Lebanese territory, Israel should declare war on the State of Lebanon.
There is no one in the world who wants to see Lebanon destroyed. A war against Lebanon, which will inflict heavy damage on all of the country's infrastructures, will spark an international outcry for a ceasefire after three days, rather than after 33 days like in the Second Lebanon War. It is only from a really short war that Israel will be able to emerge victorious and without serious damage to its home front.
Major-General (res.) Giora Eiland is a former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Ynet News).THE PRESIDENT AND THE IMPERIAL JUDICIARY: In the Courts the war against the father is a series of judgments against the police power of local cities, the legislative power of states and localities to "legislate morality" and the executive power of the President to restrict non citizens for purposes of national security. The Court is the arm of the administrative state that upholds all claims of the IMPERIAL SELF against the common good. On the President's travel ban.
SOUTH SUDAN AFRICA'S NEWEST CHRISTIAN NATION - TRIBAL BLOOD BATHS AND FAMINE: There are 12 million Sudanese. From Catholic World Report.
III. RUSSIA AND EUROPE
IS NATO OBSOLETE? A crystal clear assessment from a Belgian professor.
TRUMP, PUTIN, AND THE NEW COLD WAR: A very good descriptive article in the New Yorker. The reporting is good enough that one need not share the inclinations of the authors to learn from their excellent narrative. Their best sources are people from Bill Clinton’s Presidency when the opportunity to really make peace with the Russians was not realized. It is also very good on the evolution of cyber warfare and is a reminder that the first "Russian favorite candidate" was not Trump but Bernie Sanders. Pat Buchanan sees Russia much more clearly than most. How ironic that the left which always took the Soviet side when they were leaders of a worldwide communist movement is now hysterically anti Russian when their leader is a Christian nationalist. Maybe that isn't ironic at all.
IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
ON MILO AND CATHOLICS AND MILO AND CONSERVATIVES: Austin Ruse sees the Catholic priest scandal connection. Douthat of NYTimes gets a lot right on Milo and the right.
BERKLEY RIOTS AND POLICE STRATEGY-THE BREAKDOWN OF CIVIC AUTHORITY: And the criminals who benefit- who could have guessed? Heather McDonald of City Journal.
MICHAEL ANTON, AUTHOR OF 'FLIGHT 93,' ARTICLE ON AMERICA AND THE LIBERAL INTERNATIONAL ORDER: A considered critique of the overreach of LIO but he still sees American culture in terms of democracy, law and rights. Christianity and masculinity play little role in his thinking but he has a Claremont like respect for "respect, honor and thymos." His idea of national interests (peace, prestige and prosperity) are not quite the visceral religious sentiments of the patriots and Christians who powered the Trump campaign as the intellectuals were dithering.