Good Friday Morning! Except to the University of Michigan football program. I joked last week that they were headed for trouble and that Harbaugh would bolt for the NFL. That may literally be the only way out of this now. The revelations keep raining down on them, and it’s like meteor strikes.
The Washington Post joined the fun Wednesday night, reporting that all the allegations were true. And further, they included a nugget that Michigan was stealing the signs for teams not in the BIG10, including teams like Tennessee and Clemson. John Brice at FootballScoop added another Tennessee angle, saying that Michigan could have sold off Tennessee’s signs to South Carolina. Late Thursday, another report dropped that said TCU learned that Michigan was stealing signs and used old dummy signs to confuse Michigan.
Do I think that’s why Tennessee lost that game last season? Not really. But do I want to call South Carolina and Michigan cheating institutions? You bet. Let the trash-talking begin!
This week, I will cover the Biden and liberal establishment’s foreign policy group. There was an excellent takedown piece in Tablet Magazine, and I have some thoughts on that – links to follow.
- The United States launched a series of airstrikes Thursday evening in Syria to combat Iranian proxies who have attacked the US non-stop since October 7. Fox News reports, “F-16s and F-15s were used to strike targets in Syria earlier tonight in retaliation for the attacks on US troops in the region.” It’s unclear as of the time I’m writing this what the targets were or how extensive the damage is. The next place to watch for strikes is Yemen, where Iranian proxies have targeted Israel.
- There’s been a decisive shift against electric vehicles (EVs) in the last few weeks. Ford announced it was postponing $12 billion in EV investment, citing low customer demand for the vehicles. The Chevy Bolt is getting phased out of production, with dealers marking up the last run models. GM is pausing production of EVs overall, citing cost savings of $1.5 billion. Honda and GM scrapped an EV production deal, both citing low customer demand for EVs. Elon Musk said Tesla may have dug its own grave with the Cybertruck, and Toyota called EV adoption an “uphill battle.” Stellantis (Jeep/Chrysler) is investing in a Chinese EV startup company and plans to export those cars instead of being involved directly with production. These are just some of the major headlines, with smaller ripple impacts across the automotive industry. The EV-faithful are blaming the UAW strikes as the reason for this pivot. But I see this as a broader trend: customers don’t trust EVs to handle day-to-day life. The Biden administration is trying to force the car industry into being EV-only in the next decade. But you get the feeling that the automotive industry hopes for a Republican to enter office and eliminate those requirements. Whatever reason you want to ascribe to this, the automotive industry is pivoting hard against EVs.
- The economy remains red hot. The first report for Q3 2023 came in at a smashing 4.9%. The WSJ had a good article saying that the consensus is for growth to drop off, but it takes a lot of work to take that seriously. Yes, there are weak signs in this economy. But if the American consumer continues spending at these rates, boosting growth for everyone else, it’s hard to stop economic growth. That growth is happening with a backdrop of increasing interest rates as Treasuries continue swinging wildly in the markets. How long this lasts is anyone’s guess. But everyone understands that hot growth and sky-high interest rates cannot co-exist forever. Sooner or later, something has to give. But it looks like, for now, we’re going to stay in this weird environment where investors say every day, “This doesn’t make sense.”
- We have a new House Speaker! Mike Johnson finally won. After multiple failed candidates and sheer exhaustion, everyone ultimately could vote for someone. Had Johnson failed, I believed we’d have returned to McCarthy; that shift was starting to happen. Speaker of the House is a difficult job and requires the ability to build coalitions, manage people, and understand how to move legislation on a technical level. Johnson is starting as a newbie, with significant challenges ahead: 1) Avoiding a government shutdown on November 17. 2) Moving funding for Israel through the House, with the White House and Senate already calling for different things. 3) Dealing with a House wanting to expel various members from the Squad to various parts of the GOP. 4) Monitoring the knuckle-headed caucus led by Matt Gaetz, which plunged the GOP into this mess.
Where you can find me this week
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With Friends Like Biden, Who Needs Enemies? – Conservative Institute
Does Iran Have Chemical Weapons? Here’s What We Know… – Conservative Institute
The Pro-Terrorist Supporters Unearthed In The US Congress – Conservative Institute
The Mess of Foreign Policy Technocrats
In 2014, Robert Gates published his memoirs. He included an all-time quote on Joe Biden that’s been cited by just about everyone in conservative media. He said of Biden, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Gates could tack on another decade now, and he’d still be correct.
A brief recap of Biden on foreign affairs:
Biden opposed the 1991 Gulf War.
He supported the invasion of Iraq in 2002, but was against the “surge,” which led to great progress, then as vice president, Biden oversaw the premature withdraw of US troops, which led to ISIS taking over huge portions of the Middle East.
In 2011, Biden advised President Barack Obama not to authorize the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.
And not that long ago, Biden said, “The Taliban per se is not our enemy.”
That’s from a piece written in 2021. We can add to that Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan pullout, pushing India into the arms of Russia, making Myanmar a Chinese vassal state, reinvigorating Iran, and now creating a Middle East in total crisis in only three years after Trump left it in near complete peace.
It’s not just Biden, though. There’s something bizarrely off with the liberal mind regarding foreign policy. You should be able to get the answer right to a question by sheer luck if you’re just guessing over time. It takes true talent to get something wrong consistently.
I was thinking about the above Gates quote on Biden while reading a brutal takedown of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. In case you’ve missed it, Sullivan gets routine glossy spreads in all the major liberal publications for being a foreign policy genius. Tablet Magazine’s Jeremy Stern dismantles him in a piece entitled “The George Kennan Who Wasn’t.”
But the striking thing isn’t just that Sullivan is wrong about Israel, the Middle East, and everything. It’s that he’s convinced he was right about it all and defended it. Here’s quite possibly the most brutal part of Stern’s piece:
As it happened, The New Yorker profile arrived just in time to rescue Sullivan from the now-infamous statement he made at the 2023 Atlantic Festival: “The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades,” Sullivan claimed on Sept. 29. “The amount of time that I have to spend on crisis and conflict in the Middle East today, compared to any of my predecessors going back to 9/11, is significantly reduced.”
On Oct. 2, however, Foreign Affairs went to press with a 7,000-word essay by Sullivan which repeated his statement to The Atlantic, in addition to claims such as, “The Israeli-Palestinian situation is tense, particularly in the West Bank, but in the face of serious frictions, we have de-escalated crises in Gaza and restored direct diplomacy between the parties after years of its absence.” (Foreign Affairs later scrubbed at least five of Sullivan’s more embarrassing Middle East predictions in the essay’s online version, but not before the original appeared in print.)
Five days later, on Oct. 7, the genocidal regime in Tehran—the recent recipient of $16 billion in sanctions relief from the White House—drove a murderous wedge between the Sunni Arab states and Israel, turning the Jewish state into the site of pogroms worse than Kristallnacht. Nuclear war isn’t entirely out of the question.
Stern’s conclusion was equally brutal, “Jake Sullivan’s rise, and the avalanche of bien pensant flattery that has validated disaster after disaster, contrary to every real-world indicator, as marks of genius, is as sure a sign as any that the United States is once again ruled by a vain and arrogant aristocracy that prizes credentials over experience, and prestige over integrity, and which spends its days endlessly gratifying each other.”
It’s not just that reality proves that Biden, Sullivan, and this crowd are wrong about everything; they’re so bad that they’re endangering the world in the process. And that’s not hyperbole. The Middle East is on the brink of a much broader conflict; Russia is actively in a land war in Ukraine, and China is looking much harder at invading Taiwan.
On that last point, China officially fired its Defense Minister two months after he had disappeared. There is a litany of reasons why China shouldn’t invade Taiwan. But between China’s work in getting energy resources through Russia and building new oil supply lines through Myanmar, the best time to strike for China may be getting moved up because of this White House.
Americans love WWII because it’s effortless to understand. On one side, you have the utterly depraved powers of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy versus the noble West (and those commies in Russia). The problem with that mindset is that WWI describes most global conflicts that preceded it.
In truth, WWI should have happened much earlier. Prior to it, the last ground land war in Europe was the Napoleonic conflict. UK PM Benjamin Disraeli was able to head off a conflict through the Congress of Berlin in 1877, which effectively punted the Great War into the next century.
Global conflicts are typically very messy and involve contradictory stances and allies. On its face, the Russia-Ukraine war, Israel vs Iran, and China vs Taiwan have nothing in common. But it’s also the sort of thing that compels a global conflict. One or two might not do it, but the ripples keep building if you toss enough stones in the water.
That’s my concern at the moment. The White House has a leadership group that has gotten every foreign policy decision wrong in the past 50 years. They’ve picked the wrong allies, enemies, and issues to pursue. Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” at least made strategic sense. Nothing Biden’s done has made America stronger or better prepared for conflict.
And if you’re China, you have three data points of US response. First, the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. Second, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the decreasing support of Ukraine in the American public. And third, Biden’s delay-tactic response with Israel, actively preventing a ground war on the part of Israel.
These are choices. There are always choices. I’ve quoted and repeated Charles Krauthammer’s line countless times, but it bears repeating:
Among these crosscurrents, my thesis is simple: The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline–or continued ascendancy–is in our hands.
Where we are, right now, was not predestined. The world is on the brink of a global conflict because the combined visions of the Obama-Biden White Houses, and the idiots who ran them, have definitionally made the world an unsafe place.
Obama pushed the Iran Deal hard. Do you remember who led that push? Jake Sullivan. A policy that was that disastrous led to a promotion, not exile, to a remote island. The “best and brightest” guided the world into Vietnam. Jake Sullivan’s “New Washington Consensus” has single-handled brought the world to the brink of an intense, global conflict.
The intellectual elites of Washington DC, especially in the technocratic bureaucratic set, have all the head knowledge in the world. Yet they lack one thing: wisdom. Iran is a genocidal regime bent on the total destruction of Israel. It’s not like it’s some secret – they proclaim this daily and fund terrorist groups to achieve those ends.
And yet, these same elites looked at Iran and thought, “Hey, let’s cut a deal!” For the entire Trump administration, we listened to them proclaim that WWIII was right around the corner because of Trump (and frankly, any conservative foreign policy). Yet, here we are on the doorstep of a global conflict, and it’s all at the hands of the “adults in charge.”
I do not believe WWIII is inevitable. I don’t even think a regional conflict is unavoidable. There are plenty of off-ramps and negotiated outcomes that could prevent something broader from breaking out. But that requires a foreign policy group – which has yet to make one correct decision in decades – to get something right. That’s why I’m concerned about global conflict because those heading these agencies lack the wisdom, experience, and wherewithal to get one choice right.
We’d be better off if they flipped a coin or threw darts at an idea board. Republicans aren’t perfect by any stretch. But I can sit here with certainty and know that if Donald Trump – or nearly any candidate in the 2016 and 2024 races – were in charge, we wouldn’t be in this spot.
Decline is not a guarantee – it’s a choice. Over the last few years, America’s failures have come from the worst group of foreign policy professionals in the nation’s history. That’s all in the past, though. What we need now is a miracle from them: get one thing right.
Can they do it? I have my doubts. That’s why my concern over a growing conflict grows. China senses an opening, and I’m concerned about what they do next.
Links of the week
Hamas note called on terrorists to behead Jews, remove their hearts: “Know that the enemy is a disease that has no cure, except beheading and removing the hearts and livers,” the note reads. – The Jerusalem Post
Biden denies accuracy of Gaza casualty numbers, has ‘no confidence’ in Hamas-run health ministry: The Hamas-run ministry says over 6,500 Palestinians have been killed and 17,400 have been wounded – Fox News
‘I Understood My Life Is Going to End’: A Mother Describes 20 Hours in a Safe Room: Sofie Berzon MacKie on what went through her mind while terrorists attacked her kibbutz, and the first thought she had after she was rescued. – Max Raskin, The Free Press
Israel withholding visas for UN officials after Hamas comments: ‘Teach them a lesson’: UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths was denied a visa by Israeli authorities – Fox News
Report: Tlaib Employed Hamas Activists, Had ‘Extensive Fundraising Ties’ to Hamas Supporters. – Ed Morrissey, Hot Air
The Canary Mission Report on Rashida Tlaib and Her Alleged Hamas Connections – The Canary Mission
‘I Was Fired for Setting Academic Standards’: Sure, you could study hard to get a degree. But at Spelman, where I taught, you could also get a top administrator to change your grades. – Kendrick Morales. The Free Press
NYC school union head justifies Hamas attack in ‘private’ email to teachers – Washington Examiner
X/Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
Commander Biden Bites All 221 House Republicans, Seizes Speakership – The Hard Times
Marketing Exec Who Came Up With Word ‘Spooktacular’ Finally Brought To Justice – Waterford Whispers News
Thanks for reading!