It is a real war, Mr. President!

 

As we are writing this column, President Trump just left Rome, after what can be considered a highly successful visit to Saudi Arabia and the Holy Land, as even The New York Times had to acknowledge. The purposeful contrast in his remarkable speech to over 50 heads of states from Muslim majority nations in the Saudi capital of Riyadh from President Obama’s June 4, 2009 Cairo speech, was evident, and confirmed the historical importance of Trump’s election for U.S. foreign policy and America’s standing in the world. Hilary Clinton, most definitely, would not have given this speech!

Rereading Obama’s 2009 presentation immediately after listening to Trump’s talk, we were struck by how differently Trump addressed the basically identical individual building blocks of both speeches: While Obama’s presentation was a series of apologies for alleged past U.S. misdeeds and transgressions, followed by promises of reconsideration and restitution under a new Obama administration, Trump’s presentation in typical fashion was a deal-offer to the Arab-Muslim world, refreshingly and uncompromisingly formulated as “do good for us, and we will do good for you.” He also left no doubt in his speech about his administration’s position on Iran, when defining the country as the principal cause of instability in the Middle East and the primary state-sponsor of terrorism through militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah), in Yemen (Houthis), and in Gaza (Hamas). He only further reemphasized this message in Israel.

Most of the Sunni Arab world and Israel never were happy with Obama’s Cairo speech. Subsequent foreign policy decisions by the Obama administration, peaking with the Iran nuclear agreement, however, produced outright ire. Trump’s success in Saudi Arabia and Israel, therefore, did not come as a surprise. Historians will, likely conclude that Obama’s Cairo speech laid the groundwork for eight years of U.S. foreign policy that led to the destruction of Syria and Libya, the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian lives and the largest refugee migration from the Middle East and North Africa since WWII. In reaching these conclusions, they will point to pronouncements in Obama’s Cairo speech, like: “… that is why I ordered the removal of combat brigades by next August. That is why we will …. remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July and…. all of our troops from Iraq by 2012.”

Historians will also conclude that Obama’s foreign policy, at minimum, represented a realignment of the U.S. interests toward the Shiite government in Teheran, and away from Sunny Saudi Arabia, Golf States and Israel, reaching a climax with Obama’s signing of the so-called “Nuclear Deal” with Iran. Many Middle Eastern political leaders saw it, however, more as a “sell out” of longstanding friends and appeasement of a radical and expansive Shiite Iran.  

Judging by the reception President Trump and his delegation received from Saudi royals, over 50 Muslim government leaders and the Israeli government, sentiments toward the Trump administration are clearly more favorable. The radical pivot in U.S. Middle East foreign policy under Trump is not only remarkable because of its speed but also unprecedented by how quickly it elicited a remarkably positive response from most of the Muslim world and Israel. The last presidential election in the U.S., therefore, very obviously did matter not only for the U.S. but the whole world.

Trump, among the splendor of the royal palace in Riyadh, considering all the heavy gold and marble that also characterizes his buildings, must have felt quite “at home.” He also, likely, was relieved for, at least temporarily, being able to escape the toxic political atmosphere of Washington, D.C., where the “cold war,” the city’s political establishment and media have imposed upon the Trump administration immediately following the election, had, suddenly, significantly gained in temperature with the appointment of a Special Counsel by the Justice Department.

Trump, indeed, left town, leaving important unfinished business behind: One, we consider of utmost importance, was the promised appointment of a new F.B.I. Director before his departure. As sources are telling us, he seemed well on his way in keeping his promise, when letting it be known that former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman was his preferred pick. Our sources, indeed, also told us that the President had formally extended the offer and Lieberman had formally accepted the position.

Why the appointment went unannounced, is as of this moment unclear because nobody in the White House really appears to know. The most likely explanations we heard is the engagement by Trump of Marc Kasowitz as outside lawyer vis-à-vis the newly appointed Special Counsel. Kasowitz is the senior partner in the law firm that currently employs Senator Lieberman. Strong opposition from some leading Democrats may also have swayed the President in holding off on the appointment.

The appointment of Robert S. Mueller, the former F.B.I. Director, as Special Counsel for the investigation of Russian interference in the last presidential election and “related subjects,” was clearly a new low for the Trump administration. A not unexpected consequence of an undisciplined president and, so far, poorly managed White House, this appointment makes an already difficult situation even more challenging. Even a successful administration after a landslide election victory, like in Ronald Reagan’s second term, was almost derailed by an “independent prosecutor” when the Contra Affair broke.

President Trump would be well advised to recognize how few real political friends he has in Washington, D.C., including in his own Republican Party. It’s time to stop acting like a spoiled brat, responding to every perceived insult with Twitter blasts and personal indignation, and accept the fact that, more than ever before, politics in Washington has become a blood sport with clear intent to kill. The president also must understand that the initial “cold war” is over and a really “hot war” has started.

For President Trump this means that he must fight back, making use of his position, and start hurting his enemies. Like in real war, there is no alternative to winning or, at least reaching  honorable peace. The position of F.B.I. Director is crucial for fighting back, especially with a politically weakened Attorney General and an apparently strongly independent Assistant Attorney General.

The only way Trump can fight back against leaks, innuendo and unsupported rumors, mostly the product of Obama administration remnants in the administration, and willfully distributed by hostile media, is by making sure that serious F.B.I. investigations into Obama administration conduct, that really matters to the public, are initiated. None of the not-for-profit organizations discriminated against in the IRS scandal were ever even interviewed by the F.B.I. In contrast to the Trump administration, the Obama administration had no problem in suppressing unfriendly investigations, even if guilt, as in this scandal, was freely admitted by the IRS. There, of course, also was no investigation of the Benghazi scandal, the sale of significant amounts of U.S. plutonium to Russia with help of the Clinton Foundation, the unmasking of Republican presidential candidates, including members of the Trump campaign, for political purposes. We, indeed, could go on and on.

And the F.B.I. Director, who did not pursue any of these potentially damaging scandals for the Obama administration, later also absolved Hillary Clinton from indictment over her private server. But, as we now know, he did initiate an investigation of Trump and his campaign regarding potential collusion of the Trump campaign with Russian government agents; yet also, apparently, never initiated an investigation into the flood of leaks, directed against President Trump and his administrations and over the unwarranted unmasking of political opponents by the Obama administration. Rumors have it that former F.B.I. Director James Comey that an investigation was never started because the F.B.I. was, itself, leaking like a thieve. No wonder, Trump fired him!

To facilitate the serious investigations of the Obama administration, Obama needs the right F.B.I. Director. Only once Democrats and the Trump-hating media will no longer be able to deny the corruption and illegal conspiracies during both Obama administrations, and the world recognizes the depth of constitutional maleficence during the Obama years, will Trump be given a chance to recover.

With currently only few friends in Washington’s political establishment, press and other media, likely even a majority in his own party would prefer a President Mike Pence. Though impeachment as of this point appears unrealistic, if Trump continues to twitter maniacally, and remains undisciplined in recorded talks with foreign dignitaries and network television interviewers, he may very well create majorities in House and Senate for his impeachment.

The accomplishments on his first overseas trip as president well demonstrate how to manage the presidency, – even when at home. Trump cannot allow the appointment of a Special Counsel to detract from his commitments to health care and tax reform legislation. Defaulting on these two promises (both much more important than “the wall” or moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem), would, likely terminally wound his presidency.

Like other presidents before him, Trump to a degree must learn to be feared. Friends and foes alike, whether in the House of the Senate, must know that they can rely on help from the President when needed but will be punished if they oppose his initiatives. Therefore, a president’s approval ratings and general popularity with voters are of considerable importance, – even in off years for elections, as this year. In the end, only popularity with the public gives presidents an electoral coattail, translatable into political power.

 

Why President Trump should be careful in listening to Ronald Lauder regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sunday, May 14, 2017. It is Mother’s Day, and an old man is very slowly walking North on Madison Avenue. Roughly a block behind him a Maybach Mercedes limousine is following in equidistance and close to the curb. Appearing sad and lonely on Mother’s Day, and not even looking at the storefronts he is passing, the man seems to get his daily exercise, closely watched by his driver.

He is Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, once Assistant Secretary of Defense, U.S. ambassador to Austria under President Ronald Reagan, failed candidate for Mayor of New York City (losing to Rudi Giuliani in the Republican primary), philanthropist, art collector and founder of the Neue Museum on 86th Street and Fifth Avenue. Scion of the Lauder clan and Chairman Emeritus of Estée Lauder Companies, and, because he has known President Donald Trump for decades, he, currently, plays an outsized role in U.S. foreign policy that nobody knows about.

President Trump is known to be a good listener. On complicated subjects (and practically every issue reaching the President of the U.S. is highly complex since easier to resolve matters are handled at lower administrative levels), he also likes receiving diverse opinions. But he is also known to be easily swayed by the last opinion he hears. On February 15 of this year (Valentine’s Day) President Donald Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House for their first face-to face-meeting and, as it turns out, and unreported by the media, Ronald Lauder played a very important role in that meeting.

On the surface, and as the usually divided mass media in this case unanimously reported, the meeting went exceedingly well; but Israeli sources tell a different story: Shortly before arriving at the White House, the Israeli delegation learned that Ronald Lauder succeeded in seeing the President in the Oval Office just before Netanyahu’s arrival at the White House. This immediately raised concerns because a, once very close political and personal relationship between Lauder and Netanyahu, had crumbled, as Netanyahu, increasingly, had realigned with another U.S. billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate. Initially a vocal supporter of the conservative Likud party in Israel, Lauder developed strong ties to Benjamin Netanyahu. In 1990, during Netanyahu’s first term as prime Minister, he even served as secret go-between in negotiations with Hafez-al- Assad, then the President of Syria.

After failing in his attempts to get elected Mayor of New York City, Lauder initiated a new business career, separate from the Lauder cosmetic empire by investing in real estate and media properties mostly in former Communist countries, like Hungary (where his family came from), Romania and Poland but he also made a major investment in Channel 10, one of two licensed commercial television channels in Israel at the time.

A 2015 report by Amir Teig in Israel’s strongly left-leaning Haaretz newspaper suggested that Lauder abandoned that investment 11 years later, losing some $130 million. Concomitantly, according to the same article, his business empire in Eastern Europe crumbled, “leading to his distancing from circles of power and seriously damaging his statesmanlike image.” Teig also noted that “when Netanyahu and Lauder were on good terms, the broadcaster (Channel 10) received what it wanted; and when Lauder and Netanyahu had a falling out – then the Prime Minister made things as difficult as he could for the station.”

The cooling relationship between Netanyahu and Lauder was replaced by an increasingly close personal and political relationship between Netanyahu and Adelson, who made major media investments in Israel, and whose media properties aggressively supported Netanyahu (and do so still today). Lauder, according to Teig, never hesitated to use his political standing in the Jewish community as President of the World Jewish Congress to enhance his own private business interests (as his personal conflict with the Hungarian Prime Minister Urban over one of his investments in Hungary well demonstrated, not always to the advantage of the world’s Jewish communities). Using his pulpit as president of World Jewish Congress, Lauder, after his falling out with Netanyahu, also did not hesitate to publically criticize the Israeli Prime Minister on political matters pertaining to the State of Israel. Their falling out became personal.

This explains concern by members of the Israeli delegation when they found out that Lauder had arranged a meeting with President Trump, and had left the Oval Office literally only minutes before Netanyahu’s arrival. Their concerns were confirmed, when the Israeli delegation learned from White House sources that Lauder badmouthed the Israeli Prime Minister and “had warned Trump from trusting Netanyahu,” had accused Netanyahu (and not, as one would have expected, Palestinian President Abbas) “of being responsible for the break down in peace talks with the Palestinians,” of “ subverting the idea of a two-state solution,” and had “strongly recommended against moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” as Trump had promised in his election campaign as one of his first steps after being elected President.

Though the Trump – Netanyahu meeting was still remarkably friendly in comparison to the chilly, at times almost hostile meetings between Netanyahu and President Obama, it dampened Israeli expectations, which, up to that point, had been, as Israeli sources noted, “likely greatly exaggerated.” One of the reasons why they had been exaggerated was a visit to the White House a few days earlier by Sheldon Adelson, in which Adelson had given Trump exactly the opposite assessment of Netanyahu and his policies.

The announced delay in moving the embassy to Jerusalem and some other signals the Trump administration has been giving to the Israeli government during the Washington visit, and since (like a warning about settlement expansions), appear to suggest that Lauder’s influence on Trump appears to have outweighed Sheldon Adelson’s, even though the latter had been the biggest single donor to Trump’s campaign and inauguration.

This is, of course, on one hand good news because it suggests that Trump is not influenced by donations to his campaign. On the other hand, it, however, is worrisome, – not only because it questions how real Trump’s pre-election commitment to Israel really is but also, because it, once again, reinforces the message that to be the last to whisper into Trump’s ears before a decision is made, appears to be very important.

The deepest cause of concern lies, however, in that Lauder’s obvious history of self-aggrandizement and abuse of the position as President of the World Jewish Congress for personal gains, now points toward the possibility that he, in his personal animus toward Netanyahu, may endanger the State of Israel. If a Jewish leader from the political left would have done what Lauder did, he, rightly, would be accused of treason toward the State of Israel. That an alleged Likudnik, like Lauder, would do this is, however, simply, beyond comprehension.
Time to resign as President of the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Lauder! And for President Trump, this is one more example that people you trust must, first, be very carefully vetted.

The Canary

Principal questions about Comey’s firing and the alleged Trump-Russia Connection

Remarkably, without even a shred of established evidence, rumors and innuendo about an inappropriate Trump-Russia relationship, exacerbated by the firing of FBI director James Comey, have now persisted for months, even though all major media companies, from the New York Times, over the Washington Post and all major television networks, have with unprecedented intensity searched for even the most minute evidence, and come up short. Like these media outlets, and you the reader of these pages, we, here at The Canary, therefore have currently absolutely no idea whether President Trump and/or his organization did or did not have an inappropriate relationship with agents of the Russian government.

While unable to offer the public even minimal evidence of such an inappropriate relationship, above referenced media organizations, nevertheless present evolving news to the public as if there could be no doubt about such a Trump-Russia conspiracy. Therefore the New York Times’s page-one headline on May 10 read not Trump fires Comey (Director of the FBI) but Trump fires Comey amid Russia inquiry.

Presenting factually true but otherwise unrelated (at least so far) associations to the public as fact, of course, is “fake-news,” and is meant to subconsciously reemphasize to the public, without need of proof it, that something very stinky must be going on in the Trump White House.  

We here at The Canary wish to again point out that we have no inside knowledge as to whether the Trump campaign had contacts with agents of the Russian government and, if so, what the nature of these contacts was. Since the possibility of inappropriate contacts has been raised in such a public fashion, we support that these rumors be properly investigated. Like every other U.S. citizen, the U.S. President (and his staff) are, however, presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Based on behavior, a large majority of the national media, however, feels differently!

The principal allegation made against the Trump organization is that Trump’s campaign conspired in secret with agents of the Russian government in defeating Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election. We previously in these pages made the point that, even assuming this accusation to be correct, putting moral considerations aside, such coordinated efforts involving the Trump organization and the Russian government would not necessarily be criminal. It is well known that the U.S. government through a variety of agencies is constantly trying to influence elections in other countries.

President Obama, as has become known recently, supported in the last election cycle opposition parties to Israel’s prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with staff and federal funds in a failed attempt to defeat him. President Putin’s strong dislike for Hillary Clinton, as has been widely reported in the media, is, likely, the consequence of Clinton actively supporting Putin’s opposition with U.S. federal funds as Secretary of State in the Obama administration during Putin’s most recent election.

In other words, accepting “help” from overseas sources, even from the Russian government, is in itself not necessarily a federal offense, – unless, of course, federal campaign laws were broken, the collaboration involves criminal activities (i.e., the hacking of computers and distribution of content obtained through illegal hacking), government secrets were revealed and/or quid pro quo arrangements were reached, obliging a future elected government.

Also, a campaign organization cannot necessarily be held responsible for potentially illegal acts of individuals committed out of self-interest. General Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s short-term first Security Advisor, may be a good example. Should he, indeed, as has been suggested, have received illegal payments from Russian and Turkish sources. One, of course, would still have to wonder how such an individual survived an allegedly serious vetting process, especially since he also does not appear to be particularly bright: How else could the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency not understand that every word he exchanges on an open phone line with the Russian ambassador would be picked up by U.S. intelligence?

That after months of investigations by FBI and committees of House and Senate, still, nothing concrete has been leaked to support increasingly bizarre daily rumors, spun by the media, therefore, to us suggests that, likely, nothing is there to be discovered. We may be wrong, and Trump’s Russia connections may morph into Watergate II. Proving that something does not exist is, however, almost impossible. Considering the current political atmosphere of absolute confrontation and “resistance” in Washington, it, therefore, appears increasingly likely that this affair will stay with us at least until the mid-term elections. Then, it will be again up to the nation’s voters to decide who is right and who is wrong.

Trump, in the meantime, has, however, to recognize that he, in the end, will not be judged based on what Democrats and the media are trying to concoct but on his performance as President. If he continues to allow relatively unimportant things to rule the news, and take up his valuable time, he will be a failed president. If he can concentrate on what is important, he will succeed.  

The Canary

Smashing the “monsters”: It’s time to address the national debt

With the national debt rapidly approaching 20 trillion, it is truly remarkable how little attention the national deficit is receiving in the daily political debate between the Republican administration and the Democratic opposition but also by media and public. Everybody understands that at this rate the growing national deficit is not sustainable, and will bankrupt the country. But even maintaining the deficit at current levels burdens our children and grandchildren with unfair obligations, which we did not inherit from our parents and grandparents and, therefore, should not pass on to the next generations.

The almost uniform rejection of next year’s budget proposed by the Trump administration as “cruel” by Democrats and the left-leaning media, and as “unrealistic” by many Republicans and the right-leaning press, is, therefore, disturbing since even that budget proposal is likely inadequate, as it at best only maintains expenses at current levels.

Even more so than President Reagan after four years of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, President Trump, after eight years of Obama’s two administrations, must start rebuilding a by budget cuts devastated, U.S. military, likely at its weakest since before WWII, while facing the most dangerous geopolitical period since the end of WWII. Expanding the defense budget is, therefore, not an option but a must, even though waste and fraud at the Pentagon must also be eliminated concomitantly. Despite the universal sequester, few other federal government agencies have suffered as badly as defense since none of the other bureaucracies requires as quick replacement of used up resources as the military. Paradoxically, because of the ability to move funds between purposes, often at discretion of individual government departments, many agencies, even during the sequester, still succeeded in expanding staffing and raising salaries.

Since they were considered safer than jobs in private industry, government jobs used to offer lower salaries than the private market. Today, because of the political strength of government employees’ unions, government salaries exceed those of the private employment market, even though government employment is still considered a life-time job. Lacking therefore any motivation to innovate, the government bureaucracy has become a self-perpetuating steadily growing “monster” that consistently expands its political and economic clout. If the “monster” is not stopped soon, it will become unstoppable!

No private company could economically survive human and budget resource management like the government’s without adjusting growth, employment and salaries in accordance to market conditions, budget restraints, overall company performance and general economic circumstances.  Yet, even under Republican political hero and father of the last major tax reform, President Ronald Reagan, the size of government continued to expand, though at slower pace. Government cannot continue to grow unlimited just because it can. The expense is threatening to bankrupt the nations.

After decades of uninhibited bureaucratic expansion, every government department must be forced to radically cut expenses. Businesses attempting to cut cost to enhance productivity routinely cut budgets by 15-35%. The proposed Trump budget just mimics what is happening in private business every single day of the years, and, under Democratic and Republican administrations, has been overdue in government for decades. There simply is no reason why similar cuts and improvements in productivity should not also be possible in government, including the Department of Defense.

That Defense must receive significant additional funds does not mean that the rapidly expanding military bureaucracy at the Pentagon does not require drastic cuts, and that notoriously wasteful and overpaid acquisitions by the Pentagon do not have to stop. Neither defense nor health other “holy cows” within government can or should be excluded from radical budget reevaluations, with every useless program shut down and useful programs reassessed as to how they can be made even more productive.

Like in private business, these processes must become engrained in the routine DNA of government. Health care programs are timely examples, considering that the country’s health care system is, once again, under review, Health care represents between one-fifth to one-sixth of the national economy, with government and private industry currently still sharing responsibilities. Government influences have, however, steadily increased, whether through government offering health care coverage, for example through Medicaid, Medicare and the Veterans Administration, and, more recently, of course, via Obamacare.

But government influence on health care goes far beyond that: Nowhere has the outcry about proposed budget cuts been louder than at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which with federal funds administer two gigantic, though separate research programs. The so-called intramural program employs hordes of scientists, mostly around Bethesda, Maryland but also in the Research Triangle in North Carolina and some other places around the country and, like other federal agencies, practically guarantees lifelong employment. In addition, employees of this intramural NIH program, however, also receive lifelong research support from the government. On paper, funding is reviewed by peers and, therefore, competitive; but, in truth, a scientist in the intramural program does never have to compete for research support a fiercely as scientists outside of the NIH, who applies to the second program administered by the NIH, the so-called extra-mural program. The funding rate for the extramural program has, indeed, so badly deteriorated that many excellent investigators, simply, no longer find it time-efficient to even apply because even highly rates proposals never reach the funding threshold.

This important because having a system that discourage smart young investigators from submitting applications, is self-defeating. But, instead of acknowledging this fact and reducing funding for the intramural program, the NIH bureaucracy, of course, has always been more concerned about themselves and their in-house staff than about investigators on the outside.

A recent visit to the NIH confirmed this all over again because, while everybody was “really upset” about the potentially impending budget cuts for the NIH, nobody was particularly worried about the intramural program. Everybody was, however, absolutely convinced that the budget cuts would be devastating for the extramural program. The bureaucrats and their cronies at NIH, of course, would be the last ones to suffer.

This is, unfortunately, exactly what has been happening in every government office for decades, whether at city, state or federal levels. We have become a country where the government bureaucracy no longer primarily works to benefit the citizenry but primarily for best interests of themselves, the bureaucrats.

This is not to mean that non-government organizations may not become equally corrupted. Have you ever tried to speak to somebody at Verizon’s corporate offices, and gotten a worthwhile response? But, in private industry, if a company for whatever reason fails to be responsive to its clients, it is only a question of time until the consumer will punish the company. Therefore, the private company will either straighten out or the economic losses to management and ownership will be substantial (look what happened to United Airlines!).

The not-for-profit sector in many ways increasingly mimics government and, indeed, often fully overlaps with government bureaucracy. Especially the enormous power of the teachers’ unions over the Democratic party is a good example: bureaucrats caring little about the school children but sparing no efforts to enhance the interests of teachers and administrators. The same can be said about the private college industry, which for decades has been defrauding college students with empty promises by inducing them to borrow exorbitant amounts of money to pay college tuitions, fully aware that most will never be able to repay the loans with the salaries they will draw following often sub-par education from often invisible professors with life-long tenure.

All of these self-serving bureaucratic “monsters” must, ultimately be smashed to release the inherent competitiveness that is required for efficient functionality of economic systems, whether in private business, the not-for profit sector or the quasi not-for-profit government bureaucracy. A good start would be allowing federal employees to be hired and fired like their counterparts in private industry. Colleges would also do well if they did away with the outdated concept of life-long tenure. If we get to the point where everybody, physically and mentally able, earns his/her upkeep, society’s efficiencies will be more than adequately capable of taking well care of those who do not have the facilities to do it for themselves.

Remaining Democratic government underground must also be drained from the swamp

Draining the swamp means cleaning out the remaining Democratic government underground too. President Donald John Trump is reported to be furious with his communications staff for steadily being outsmarted by well-timed and –placed leaks from Democratic operatives, suggesting collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government agents in preventing Hillary Clinton’s election, even surmising that this may have involved treasonous activities by Trump operatives.

With so far not an iota of evidence in support of such collusion, and completely ignoring that not only Hillary Clinton lost the election but the Democrats all over the country by failing to achieve expected gains in Congress and local state elections, he has reason to be upset that his government is unable to control the message. Less than 24 hours after giving before a joint session of House and Senate one of the best presidential speeches in U.S. history, he found himself once again on the defense under relentless leaks from former members of the Obama administration and government bureaucrats in various agencies who very obviously oppose the Trump agenda.

The Canary predicted in several prior blogs that Obama and his “army” of organized supporters would be a dangerous and divisive political force in strident attempts at delegitimizing the Trump presidency. Increasing evidence now has become public that during the last two weeks in office, the Obama administration carefully planned and executed a strategy of not only delegitimizing President Donald J. Trump but by claiming he won the presidency illegitimately by colluding with the Russian government in treasonous fashion.

These largely Obama-driven attacks on Trump and his administration, therefore, go far beyond just attempts at political deligitimization; they are meant to introduce the concept of treasonous behavior by a sitting president and, therefore, are attempts at criminalizing the arguments against his presidency with the potential goal of impeachment.

The deviousness of this campaign is unprecedented because it was initiated while, publicly, President Obama was extending a helping hand to the incoming Trump administration since, as he himself stated, despite political differences, he had been at the receiving end of such a helping hand from President Bush when he moved into the Oval Office.

18 U.S. Code §2381 defines treason as: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall …..”

This definition is of importance when considering the allegations swirling around. While it is important to reemphasize that, as of this writing, there is not an iota of evidence to support any collusion, indeed, not even that discussions regarding the subject took place between Trump’s campaign and Russian government officials, let us for a moment assume that there, indeed, have been discussion between these two parties, in which Trump operatives were made aware that the Russian government was in possession of e-mails generated by Hillary Clinton’s and the Democratic National Committee. Let us further assume that the Trump team even encouraged their publication. Would that have constituted treason?

Since President Putin’s Russia is, rightly, widely considered a hostile nation to the U.S., this is basically the argument made by Trump bashers. Moreover, opponents of Trump further argued during the election campaign (and still do) that the involved e-mails not only came from a hostile power but, in addition, were “stolen.” Their use in the campaign, therefore, would establish complicity with the thieves (i.e., hackers).

On both issues the Canary disagrees with the underlying logic of the anti-Trump crowd , and here is why: Though Russia under its current government has, indeed, to be considered a political and military adversary, promises of favorable treatments, disclosures of national secrets or any other potentially harmful acts to the security and interests of the U.S. in return for publication of these e-mails by the Russian government (or a potential third party agent, like WikiLeaks) could, in fact, potentially be considered treasonous. But in absence of any quid pro quo, disclosures of political fraud, undermining the democratic election process (like the interventions in the Democratic primary process in favor of Hillary Clinton and to the disadvantage of Bernie Sanders by Democratic National Leadership) are, especially before a crucially important presidential election, in the best interest of the electorate. Opposition research, routinely pursued by both major parties, frequently involves “stolen” data. To offer just one example, the Clinton campaign, for example, had no hesitation to use Trump’s stolen tax returns in the campaign.

Even repeated contacts with the Russian government, if it did not involve any quid pro quos, therefore, would appear not only perfectly permissible but are routinely taking place before elections all over the world because all countries are proactively assessing who may be the next government leader they would have to face.

The Russian government, of course, is also perfectly entitled to favor candidates in U.S. elections and, indeed, even to support them. It is the responsibility of U.S. politicians to make sure that any such “help” does not contradict U.S. law. The U.S, rather routinely, intervenes in national elections by supporting favorite candidates politically and even financially. A principal motivation why President Putin apparently opposed Hillary Clinton’s election has been her active support as Secretary of State for opposition groups to Putin during the last presidential election. The Obama administration also quite openly intervened in Israeli elections when sending financial support (using U.S. tax dollars) as well as expert staff help from Obama’s own election campaign to Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s opposition in a blatant attempt to subvert Bibi’s reelection. The effort failed and, indeed, misfired once it became public but, if this is what the U.S. does to friends, imagine how much we, likely, meddle in elections of less friendly countries.

The furor expressed by Democrats and the media about Russian meddling in the recent U.S. presidential election, therefore, appears hypocritical and highly exaggerated.

Which returns the analysis to the recognition that there are significant differences between a presidential candidate, who may or may not assume the presidency in the future, and a sitting president, who already assumed all presidential powers. A candidate for the presidency, in principle, still only speaks for himself. Moreover, candidates are widely known to switch campaign positions on the journey from candidate to elected president. Representations and deeds of a sitting president, therefore, are, of much greater significance.

Exploring this thought further, it, therefore, would appear that the risk of treasonous acts is much higher for sitting presidents than for candidates for president, who still lack access to confidential government information and have no decision-making powers yet. In other words, candidate Trump had very little opportunity for being involved in treasonous situations with the Russians; Obama, however, as has been well documented, in highest government levels communication with Russia, meeting then Russian (temporary) President Dmitry Medvedev, in an open microphone gaffe on March 26, 2012, just before his reelection, revealed the message to Putin, “tell Vladimir that I’ll have more flexibility after the election.”

What Obama in those very few words communicated to the President of a hostile country could be, indeed, considered treasonous because he, basically, told him that, once the elections were over, he could give Russia concessions the American people, likely, would not approve of (because why would he, otherwise, wait with those concessions till after the election).

The irony is that, in contrast to current collusion rumors spread by the Obama propaganda machine, this event in 2012 really took place. It received minor media attention as a “gaffe,”- a more humorous than serious political occurrence; but, when closely examined, this event represented a truly astonishing statement from an American president in a one-on-one meeting with the president of a hostile country, and clearly evidence of collusions, – not only to the benefit of an election outcome but, in addition, behind the back of the American people.

For the Trump administration, it is high time to recognize that the Democratic Party establishment and many other well-financed interest groups are determined to prevent President Trump from completing his term and running again. In other words, the swamp Trump promised to drain is fighting back and, interestingly, is doing so with what psychologists call psychological projections, by accusing Trump of exactly the transgressions the Democrats have been guilty of over the last eight years. It is time for the Justice Department to take the gloves off, and open the public’s eyes to the corruption and abuse of state powers that pervaded the Obama administration for almost a decade. It, indeed, is a very deep swamp that needs to be drained!

 

  

 

Watch out for past president Barak Hussein Obama: The most dangerous phase is yet to come!

We in these pages on several occasions, the last time in the preceding blog, described former president Barak Hussein Obama as a strategic revolutionary. To see him as such is almost obvious if one follows his upbringing, as previously in a series of blogs in detail described in these pages.

The formative years of his youth he spent under the influence of radical Socialists (often even Communists). In and after college, his associates were practically exclusively leftist radical revolutionaries, including Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn of Weather Underground fame, once he came to Chicago to work as a community organizer. His Marxist revolutionary underbelly then further expanded when he got caught up in Chicago’s South Side’s Afrocentric radicalism, represented by such individuals as Minister Louis Farrakhan of The Nation of Islam, the Roman Catholic priest and social activist Michael Louis Pfleger and then, of course, his ersatz-father, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who married him and spiritually counseled him for over 20 years until this association became too politically controversial during Obama’s 2008 campaign for the presidency.

His anti-American political worldview, that became increasingly apparent once he assumed the office of president, characterized by a worldwide apology tour decrying alleged past misdeeds of the U.S., his very obvious internationalism, anti-colonialism and anti-Zionism, his emotional sympathies for non-Caucasians, radical Socialistic and Third World countries, like Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua were the consequence of an amalgam of influences: his Marxist upbringing, the emotional influences of his almost unknown father, a dedicated anti-colonialist Marxist, still exerted upon him, as well demonstrated in Obama’s own writings, and longstanding personal friendships with people like Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and well-known anti-Zionist, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.   

During his time in Chicago, Obama also became versed in, and committed to, the most radical concepts of community organizing, based on the concepts of the Marxist founder of modern community organizing, Chicago’s Saul David Alinsky, published in his by now classical 1971 book, Rules for Radicals.  

To quote from an article Jen Kuznicki published on August 25, 2016 in the Conservative Review, Hillary Clinton, another devoted Alinsky disciple, in her 92-page thesis at Wellesley College noted Alinsky’s relevance for a continuous assessment of Obama, when describing Alinsky as a neo-Hobbesian who objects to the consensual mystique surrounding political processes; for him, conflict is the route to power, …dedicated to changing the character of life of a particular community [and] has an initial function of serving as an abrasive agent to rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions… to provide a channel into which they can pour their frustration of the past; to create a mechanism which can drain off underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. When those who represent the status quo label you [i.e. the community organizer] as an ‘agitator’ they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your function–to agitate to the point of conflict.”

The Canary noted in these pages before that, in contrast to widespread representations in the media, especially in the years of his second administration, we found the presidency of Obama to be extremely divisive. We, indeed, saw in his actions on a grand scale exactly what Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals on a smaller scale recommend would bring about revolutionary societal change. Movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter would not have been sustainable without financial resources and logistic as well as legal support. These movements longevity, therefore, supports the notion that an organized network of support has in recent years been sustaining them and other potentially revolutionary splinter groups, likely with full backing of the Justice Department and other Obama administration resources.

In this context, it is important to remember that Scott Foval, National Field Director of American United for Change, only a few weeks before the November election told an undercover reporter that the Democratic National Committee (i.e., the Democratic Party) indirectly paid his organization through the political consulting firm, Democracy Partners, for sending trouble makers to Trump rallies with the specific goal of steering up violence. The founder of Democratic Partners, Robert Craemer, a longstanding Democratic party operative, per official logs, visited the White House during the Obama administration not less than 340 times, with 45 of these meetings involving the President, himself. Even members of Obama’s cabinet have not had that kind of access to the White House, strongly suggesting that Craemer’s, at times illegal political operations, to a large degree, likely, were run out of the White House.

This has major relevance in view of an article by Paul Sperry in the February 12, 2017 New York Post, which claims that Barak Obama, behind the scenes, is taking previously unprecedented measures for a past president to oppose Donald Trump’s White House. Per Sperry, Obama is setting up a “shadow government” to protect his presidential legacy but also to sabotage the Trump administration’s popular “America First” agenda that will involve a network of leftist not-for-profits led by one, called Organizing for Action (OFA), which is gearing up for battle with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices around the country.

Some of these activities have already become visible, from suddenly overrun Republican town hall meeting by obvious anti-Trump forces, to anti-Trump marches, which at times even have turned into riots.  Sperry claims that OFA, evolved out of Obama’s campaign organization Obama for America in 2013, has 32,525 volunteers and raised so far over $40 million. Its IRS filings claim that OFA trains young activists in developing organizing skills, closing the circle regarding our above made comments about Obama always having been a strategic Marxist revolutionary in the Saul David Alinsky mode.
Despite the power of the position, being President of the U.S. is, surprisingly, restrictive. If President Jimmy Carter surprised many by his political activism following his presidency, wait for the spectacle that President Obama will offer the world. For the first time, we will have the opportunity to see the real Obama, giving the country the opportunity to recognize how lucky we have been that his two administrations did not cause even more damage.  

Behind education reform & Trump’s most important cabinet appointment

It is difficult to ascertain which of President Trump’s cabinet appointment elicited the most resistance (because practically all were strongly opposed by Democrats); but the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education was, certainly, one of the most contentious. Because two female Republican senators joined the Democrats in opposing her nomination, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the decisive vote in her confirmation in a 50/50 split senate.

The aggressive opposition to DeVos was led by one of the strongest constituents of the Democratic Party in recent election cycles, the National Teachers Union. This union’s power in opposing school choice and Charter schools was well demonstrated when President Obama, after being elected in 2008, in one of his first executive actions, ordered the dismantling of a highly successful inner city Charter school program in Washington, DC, which almost exclusively benefitted African American children, and was very popular in the Black community of the U.S. capital, which constitutionally is under federal government administration.

The country’s first African American president, as one of his first administrative actions, thus, as public demonstrations by the parents of affected children amply demonstrated, terminated a well-liked and successful school program, greatly benefitting Black children in a city with an, otherwise, dismal public school program, forcing children who had been lucky enough to have been admitted to the program, to return to failing public schools.

Not very widely reported by the media (and with no follow in New York Times or Washington Post about what happened to the children who were affected by closure of this program in DC), this occurrence not only demonstrates the fakeness of the alleged support of the Democratic Party for betterment of the Black underclass in inner cities but also emphasized the power of the National Teachers Union within the Democratic Party, when even the first Black president of the country (who obviously knows better) follows the union’s drumbeat. Under the pretense of defending public schooling, the union has in all 50 states been the dominant force in opposing school choice and Charter schools and, because of a wealth of financial contributions to Democratic candidates and the Party, itself, the National Teachers Union nowadays, possibly, represents the single most powerful interest group within the Democratic establishment.

As, likely, the most recognized proponent of school choice and Charter schooling in the nation, it, therefore, was not surprising that the Teachers Union, and with it the whole Democratic establishment, went all out in opposition to Betsy DeVos. But when the media, like the union, present their opposition as exclusively a pro-public schooling stance, they are not only mistaken but, likely, on purpose misleading. The here involved issues are much more complex and much more important than that for the future of the nations. Indeed, they go even beyond the increasingly obvious recognition that the plight of inner cities in this country will not be improved without a radical reorganization of inner city school systems that offers parents choices about the schools their children can attend.

The importance of Betsy DeVos’ appointment lies in the recognition of the importance of the federal Department of Education in forming the future of the nation. Economically speaking, elimination of the federal Education Department and assigning its responsibilities to the states, as had been Republican policy in the past, would not improve the deteriorating competitiveness of U.S. graduates in comparison to many other countries. Politically speaking, eliminating the Department would also not reverse the leftish-liberal indoctrination of the country’s children at all school levels and, indeed, beyond that into college.

If the country is to succeed economically and socially, reeducating our education system from preschool through college must be an essential step not only in fighting hopelessness and resurrecting our inner cities but also in improving our economy and, likely most importantly, in combating the political strategy of divisiveness between races and economic classes of citizens that are currently propagated throughout our education system.

The current one-sided leftish-liberal indoctrination in our schools and colleges goes almost unopposed because it reflects the education the current generation of teachers, themselves, received, characterized by almost complete disappearance of objective education in world history, which, after all, should represent the most basic building block in any education.

One often hears that those unaware of history are destined to repeat the mistakes of history (originally attributed to George Santayana, Madrid, Spain, December 16, 1863, but later widely attributed to Winston Churchill). Those uneducated in history, however, also are more easily influenced by political demagoguery because they, simply, would not know any better. Knowledge and experience matter. It was also Winston Churchill who said that, any young person who is not on the political left has no heart; but every older person who still is on the political left, has no brain.

How should a college student who is taught the idealistic principles of radical Socialism and/or Communism reach an appropriate judgment, without concomitantly being taught the historical truth that every radical Socialist/Communist political experiment in the world has bitterly failed and, many indeed, like fascist movements on the extreme right, ended in violent dictatorships.

Who can blame our youth about reaching the wrong political conclusions, if we do not offer them a balanced education?

It may, indeed, be time to consider a new constitutional amendment that mandates separation of state and education, so that children at all ages are taught objective world history before they are exposed to social philosophies. And objective education must start at young ages. The Jesuits’ boast, “give me a child until age seven and I will give you the man” (attributed to the co-founder of the Jesuits, Francis Xavier) is historical evidence in support.

Indeed, how important the teaching of objective history is can also be seen worldwide. Had Germany not committed to objective education after World War II, the country’s democracy would never have developed. The opposite is also true: Israel is, correctly, making the point that, as long as Palestinian textbooks for even young children demonize Israel, and Jews in general, there will be no peace between Israelis and the Palestinians. And as long as the male children of Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to receive most of their education only in religious madrassas (and the female children are kept out of schools), nothing will change in the many-hundred-years-old tradition of constant warfare that the Taliban is built upon.

If Donald Trump, indeed, wants “to make this country great again,” then he and his administration must understand the importance of a radical education reform from kindergarten to college. Similarly, if the administration wants even the slightest chance of affecting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or of influencing the fates of Afghanistan and Pakistan, then careful attention will have to be paid to the education systems in those countries. The sooner we start, the better!

We live in “crazy” times, – we better be careful!

 

Somehow, the whole world appears out of joint; crazy stuff seems to be happening in all spheres of life. Just think about the statistical likelihood that in the same one year the NBA finals would be won by a team three to one games behind, even if that team has LeBron James; that the Chicago Cubs (the Chicago Cubs!) after 108 years would win the World Series of Baseball, also being three to one games behind, and in overtime of game seven away from home; and that after being 28 points behind, the Patriots would rally to win the Superbowl in the first overtime game ever played.

That alone would be more than enough to declare 2016 the most “crazy” year in decades. Add to that BREXIT and, of course, the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the USA, and whatever other crazy things are happening all around the world, from ISIS medieval regressive behavior, North Korea’s obviously insane leadership, Pakistan’s poorly secured nuclear arsenal, over Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism all over the world, Russia’s and China’s newly expansive behavior, Erdogan’s dream of reversing Kamal Atatürk’s historic definition of Turkey as a Muslim but, nevertheless, secular state, the European Union on the verge of collapse, the Middle East, a tinder box, – ever-closer to explosion and then, returning to the U.S., as likely never before in history since the Civil War of 1861-1865, a radically divided nation, with both sides, seemingly, incapable of even talking to each other.

These are dangerous times, – likely the most dangerous since the 1930s, which were followed by the last big authoritarian world revolution that, ultimately, brought fascism and communism to power in large swaths of the world. World War II defeated fascism but, by doing so, led to the division of the world between Western democracies, led by the U.S., and Communist authoritarian dictatorships, led by the no-longer existing Soviet Union. It took almost half a century to defeat the socio-fascist concept of post-World War II Communism before the Soviet Union imploded and the Berlin Wall came down in November of 1989.

The disappearance of Communist eastern Europe led to the expansion of an, until recently, increasingly united and democratic Europe under the framework of the European Union. This expansion, however, in recent years increasingly ran out of steam, and the European Union is currently in imminent danger of collapse, as governments of Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and even France, are under increasing pressure from their citizenries to leave the Union, as the UK, with BREXIT, obviously already did.

Concomitantly, authoritarian forces, long believed morally disqualified from ever again finding access to power, are in almost all European countries battling for government positions on the left and right, recreating a potentially frightening world of increasing authoritarianism, instability and radical conflict between liberal and conservative view points, with on both political extremes, the most extreme setting the agenda.

Mostly unrecognized, this trend has been under way for a good number of years. One could argue It started in authoritarian Russia and China before reaching the West, including the U.S., with Putin pursuing much more radical domestic as well as foreign policy agendas after his return to the presidency, and China, by selecting Xi Jinping as president, demonstrating the most repressive domestic and most aggressive foreign policy since Mao Zedong. Even democratic Japan elected a relative radical conservative in prime minister in Shinzõ Abe, who only years earlier would have been considered unelectable because of many of his conservative view points.

Similarly, conservative extremists have been in power in Hungary since 2010, when Viktor Orbán was for the second time elected Prime Minister and in Poland when the Law and Justice Party in 2015 won an absolute majority in parliament. In Greece and Italy, on the other hand, leftist parties have swept to power, though strongly opposed by an at least equally radical right in the opposition. It, indeed, looks all like the 1930s all over again, where the extreme left and right were battling each other in most European nation states, only for ultimately allowing Fascism and Nazism to gain the upper hand.

One, indeed, could also argue that it all started with the Green revolution in Ukraine, followed by the Arab Spring, both national movements of discontent. Remarkable is, however, how this worldwide discontent has failed in leading to even minimally satisfying political solutions. Ukraine is anything but a functioning democracy and the Arab Spring has given rise to an unprecedented political, societal and humanitarian disaster, consuming almost all the Middle East, and resulting in the biggest wave of refuges since World War II.

As the election of Trump and BREXIT well demonstrated, the discontent with current governance is not only restricted to past Communist countries and the developed world. Indeed, discontent in the Western world may be even more intense. Observing the first three weeks of the Trump administration must be troubling for every U.S. citizen, whatever side she or he may be on. The break down in political decorum is unprecedented and further accentuated by a President, completely irreverent for longstanding presidential traditions.

Such unanimity of worldwide discontent has not been witnessed since the Great Depression (1929-1939) and, like then, must be viewed a pre-revolutionary. It is in times when national discontent reaches such levels, and political opponents are increasingly dehumanized, that revolutions tend to overthrow existing orders. To a degree, Trump’s election can, because of his advocacy of radical (in contrast to evolutionary) changes, be viewed as a revolutionary occurrence; but, because this change took place via the ballot box, it does not fulfill the definition of a revolution. If one views the evolving anarchy on university campuses and streets of major cities since Trump’s election, one, however, does see rather characteristic initial features of a truly revolutionary movements with no love for democratic order.

The Canary has warned before in these pages that we live in pre-revolutionary times. We, indeed, more than ever are convinced that former president Obama, likely as the only leading politician in the country, not only recognized this fact but, especially over the last 2 years of his presidency, used these circumstances as an opportunity to enhance the chances of a revolutionary overthrow of the country’s current order by instigating conflicts between races and reinvigorating class warfare, diminishing the government’s authority, whether on the nation’s borders, by diminishing the credibility of law enforcement, weakening the military or conducting an internationalistic rather than nationalistic foreign policy.

Trump’s election was the natural repeal of such revolutionary policies by a basically, overall, still mildly conservative country. His election, however, now mandates rapid changes to demonstrate to the American people that there, indeed, is a better option than Socialism for improving the quality of life for most citizens. The financial crisis of 2008 left even strong proponents of Capitalism with considerable doubts. Trump now must demonstrate with lightning speed that “honest” Capitalism, if not allowed to become Crony-Capitalism (as it, unfortunately, has become under prior Democratic as well as Republican administrations), is, still, the best economic system the world offers for those who wants personal freedom and ability to accumulate property.

If economic reforms will not succeed quickly, as we already have been witnessing, the left will become increasingly aggressive in promoting revolutionary steps toward an increasingly socialist market structure with full support by the Democratic Party establishment, which is frightened to death by the party’s base of supporters, mostly made up of Bernie Sanders supporters, the most radically left wing of the party.

Emigration reform, as important it is, should, therefore, receive less priority than tax reform, gaining control over medical costs and, finally, after almost 20 years of failure to do, supporting the middle class with adequate availability of well-paying jobs and reasonable social as well as medical security. In absence of rapid economic improvements, the radical left will start gaining strength, threatening the democratic as well as geographic stability of the Union. Like the current California Independence Movement, BRXIT also once started as a “crazy” fringe idea, and look where it brought us to! We are living in “crazy” times, where, if the Cubs can become baseball champions, almost everything can happen. We better be careful!

 

The post-Obama world

In business, it would be called “on spec” how Europe, already in 2009, shortly after being elected and ahead of any major foreign policy decisions, awarded President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. In doing so, “Europa got the kind of transnational American president it wanted,” The Wall Street Journal recently noted in a commentary. After almost eight years of Obama foreign policy, one, however, must wonder how much regret the selection committee may now experience about its decision.

It was President Obama, himself, who after his election made the point that “elections do have consequences.” While his comment was made about domestic politics, U.S. presidential elections, of course, always also have worldwide consequences. It now appears that the awarding of Nobel Peace Prizes “on spec” may also have (unforeseen) consequences.

In Obama, the country elected not only the least qualified and least informed president in foreign affairs in recent memory but, in addition, also an individual whose very limited knowledge of world history had been formed based on extremist anti-colonial and anti-imperialistic indoctrination from childhood. Under this worldview, the U.S. and most of the Western White World were the bad boys of history, while the mostly brown and black Third World, as victims of Capitalism, Colonialism and Imperialism, were the good guys.

Removing Churchill’s bust from the Oval Office, therefore, became a very symbolic first foreign policy act the new president took after moving into the White House, since Churchill, of course, represented British Colonialism at its best, which Obama’s father, Barak Obama, Sr., had so valiantly fought in his home country Kenya. That this world view would affect all of Obama’s foreign policy decisions, therefore, was not only predictable but, simply for psychological reasons, likely unavoidable. Add to this psychological predilection, the overconfident self-appreciation of a highly intelligent, yet severely egomaniacal personality, who in addition, just based on his rhetorical representations, is awarded the Peace Nobel Prize, and a historical constellation of personalities and circumstances becomes apparent, which explains why even Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, a committed Liberal and strong former supporter, recently concluded that history will view Obama as one of the country’s worst presidents in executing foreign policy.

Being awarded the Nobel Prize so early in his presidency, and only based on expression of his obviously deviant political world views from those of his predecessors, undoubtedly, further strengthened Obama in his political convictions and, at least in part, explains his practical unprecedented audacity in making major foreign policy decisions in complete isolation and, often, against the expressed recommendations of his national security staff and military leadership. These decisions then often led to disaster, nowhere more obvious than in Iraq and Syria, with over half a million dead and millions of refugees in camps in neighboring countries and flooding Europe.

After his reelection, the need to obfuscate his ideological background further diminished. His national security team was increasingly made up of individuals with similar ideologies or with yes-man and women, who only further strengthened him in his political convictions. Consequences were the Iran deal, the normalization of relations with the Castro brothers’ Cuba, cordial and rather uncritical relationships with Socialist regimes in Venezuela and elsewhere in South America and persistent outreach to the Muslim world while, at best, demonstrating benign neglect of friendly Western countries but, often, indeed, hostility to traditionally friends, like the state of Israel.

How much the world has changed in eight years of Obama presidency is, indeed, almost impossible to comprehend. Whatever one may think about the preceding Bush years, Obama inherited a relative stable world order. In eight years of Obama foreign policy, the world order established after WWI appears completely uprooted, and the incoming Trump administration, likely faces the most complex and dangerous security situation in the world since the 1930s and start of WWII.

Europe

Like in the 1930s, we here at The Canary, once again, consider Europe to be the most dangerous flashpoint. With the European Union facing an existential crisis, Western Europe being overrun by Muslim migrants, and several central European countries facing Muslim majorities within just a few short decades, with Russia again pursuing an expansive foreign policy in efforts to reconstitute the geo-political power base of the old Soviet Union, Europe appears a powder cake, ready to explode.

No easy solutions are apparent. The most likely solution is contraction of the European Union back to a smaller but economically and politically more cohesive union of states, with other former member states in looser affiliated positions, and, potentially serving as buffer states between Europe and Russia. This core group of countries making up the United States of Europe (USE), in analogy to the U.S., must be able to function as one federally governed country of individual states, with its own border security and military, capable of defending itself against Russian expansionism without being dependent on the U.S. Despite BREXIT, we can see the United Kingdom as a cornerstone of such a USE, joined by Germany, Austria, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and, possibly, other countries.

President Trump’s foreign policy should be strongly supportive of such a USE, which could become a strong economic as well as military ally of the U.S. if relationships are properly managed.

The Middle East

This region of the world is characterized by the largest number of failed states. Moreover, since this is the center of the Muslim world, everything is linked to religion. Developments in Turkey, which by the West was considered the example how Muslim countries could evolve as liberal secular democracies, have, unfortunately been regressive, as Erdogan has been concentrating power in his hands, democratic freedoms are receding and a national policy of secularism is replaced by religious Islamism.

Though Sunnis, it appears increasingly likely that, out of a common fear that the Kurds in their countries may form a new continuous state of Kurdistan, Turkey will continue developing closer relationships with Shiite Iran. Though for the longest time a primary foe of Syria’s Assad, this coalition may, in the end, also include Syria and Iraq since these two countries also contain major Kurdish minority areas, and have close relationships with Iran. Finally, because of Iran’s influence, Lebanon can also be expected to join this coalition of states which, of course, will have strong political and military support from Russia

The rest of the Arab Sunni world, from Saudi Arabia, the Emirates to Egypt and the North African Muslim countries of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, appears less united than in the past. Disappointed by U.S. policy under President Obama, these countries in recent years have for the first time in decades again developed relationships with Russia. The whole region has remained a minefield of danger, at any given moment subject to a new political disruption.

This, of course, also includes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which since 1967, now for almost 50 years, includes Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory on the West Bank (in Biblical terms, Judea and Samaria) and of the Golan Heights from Syria. Though in view of recent events in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, this conflict has lost its centrality, it, nevertheless, cannot be overlooked because it no longer is only a conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. It for many years has become a proxy-war between Iran and Israel, with the Iranian goal being to encircle Israel from the north (Hezbollah in Lebanon) the west (Hezbollah and Iranian Quds forces from Syria and Hamas from the West Bank) and the south (Hamas in Gaza)

Publicly sworn to the destruction of the state of Israel (the only United Nations member state that expressed publicly its desire to destroy another U.N. member state), Israel, not surprisingly, therefore views Iran as an existential threat. In contrast to President Obama’s administration, the incoming Trump administration appears to share this opinion. Moreover, since Obama has, unopposed, ceded so much influence to Russia in the region, Israel has, strategically, become even more important to U.S. national interests as the only truly politically stable state which, in addition, also maintains the strongest and most sophisticated military in the region.

We, therefore, anticipate from the Trump administration a more forceful and open military and political affiliation with Israel, either as direct pact between the two countries or, if not opposed by other member states like Turkey, possibly even including the NATO alliance.

Russia

U.S. relations with Russia have reached the lowest nadir since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This is a remarkable development, considering the “reset” of relations Obama and Hillary Clinton had been striving for. Who, indeed, can forget the live microphone that allowed the world to hear President Obama telling, then Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, that he ”would have more leeway after his reelection in dealing with Russia.”

Things quite obviously did not work out as expected! As in so many other political hotspots around the world, the Obama administration viewed the Russian – American relationship through pink rather than realistic geopolitical glasses, completely misreading Putin’s intent on “making Russia great again.”

President Elect Trump’s approach to Russia will be interesting to watch. His selection of Rex Tillerson, who is known to have a personal friendship with Putin, as Secretary of State, can be a double-edged sword. It may not hurt to develop a better relationship with Putin; though “trust but verify” (ala Ronald Reagan) must be a guiding principle in dealing with Putin and his former KGB colleagues.

Here at The Canary, we are rather skeptical that one can do business with people who murder their opponents, deny the obvious (i.e., shooting down of airplanes, and use of their military in the invasion of Ukraine and other neighboring countries) and have turned their country back into a dictatorship; but who knows; maybe, Trump and Putin will succeed in reestablishing detente. It, certainly, would help in stabilizing a very unstable world.

Trump’s readiness to engage in another nuclear proliferation race with either Russia, China or whoever challenges the U.S., should be viewed as a positive statement. As the multiple diplomatic disasters of the Obama administration so well demonstrate, diplomacy can only be effective from a position of strength.

Asia

Considering how messy a world the Obama administration is leaving behind, we, despite the obvious danger a nuclear North Korea with intercontinental ballistic capabilities represents, consider Asia the least threatening part of the world to U.S. national security. China’s saber-rattling in the South China Sea is, of course, disturbing but, very obviously, is again to a large degree a product of foreign policy weakness of the Obama administration. President Elect Trump has been sending the correct messages to the Chinese leadership when taking the congratulatory phone call from Taiwan’s president.

The message is loud and clear; when the U.S. agreed to a one-China policy under Richard Nixon, there was also a clear understanding about mutual political behavior of both parties. Trump is absolutely correct in pointing out to the Chinese that agreements go both ways; If they want the U.S. to adhere to the agreement, then the U.S. can expect appropriate behavior from the Chinese in return. In other words, building artificial island in the South China Sea is not appropriate; refusing to take tough actions against a rogue North Korea is also unacceptable; stealing billions of dollars in intellectual property through hacking and other illegal measures every year is also unacceptable behavior for a nation that wishes to assume a leadership position in the world; and, finally, trade agreements between nations need to be fair.

We also trust that Trump’s comments about the potential nuclearizing of Japan and South Korea were not only empty threats. Those are, indeed, the logical next steps if China continues its aggressively expansive policy in the South China Sea and refuses to help in the denuclearization of North Korea.

Trump is also correct that China is economically more dependent on the U.S. than the U.S. is on China. As a senior government official once noted to The Canary, “China is not a country of 1.3 billion citizens, as is widely believed. It is more a country of ca. 300 million citizens (like the U.S.) with the additional burden of 1 billion peasants, the Chinese leadership must bring out of poverty to maintain the current government structure.”

Though there may be hiccups on the way, we, therefore, are confident that a usually highly rational Chinese leadership will in a Trump administration conclude that, considering the alternatives, it behooves them to step back from the kind of aggressive posturing we have seen over the last few years.

Pakistan

After Europe, Pakistan is, likely, the most dangerous spot on the globe, considering that this is a Muslim country with usually unstable governments. The good news is that the country just underwent a completely uneventful change in military command, with a highly regarded and militarily successful commander stepping down at the end of his term. While nothing unusual in Western democracies, this unchallenged change of command represented a big step forward for Pakistan, where the military is the real power behind the civilian government, and controls the nuclear hardware of the country.

The country’s nuclear arsenal is especially dangerous for the world because Pakistan is, likely, the most unstable nuclear power in the world. The risk that nuclear material falls into the hands of terrorists is, therefore, always substantial. Because of its financial problems, North Korea, of course, represents similar risks since it, in the past, has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to supply weapons and know how to whoever is willing to pay.

A new world order

Post WWI, the world established a new world order, based on two principal power centers, the Soviet Union and the U.S. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. remained the sole super power, and learned the hard way that this is not necessarily as good as it sounds, comes with considerable responsibilities and becomes politically as well as financially overbearing.

President Obama recognized this but decided on categorically incorrect solutions. Instead of trying to establish a new power balance between the strongest economic (U.S., China and European Union) and military powers (U.S., Russia and China), Obama decided to retreat and “lead from behind.” Instead of a rational new order, what evolved was then the chaos around the world we just described.

A new worldwide foreign policy strategy, which we believe Trump has in mind, must attempt to return the world from a unipolar, U.S.-driven to a multi-polar balanced world, in which the U.S., Russia and China (and, if not dissolving, the European Union or its successor), combined, assume responsibility for a balanced tri- or quatro-polar world. In other words, the only chance of cleaning up the mess left behind by eight years of Obama foreign policy, is a balanced “Kissinger world” and this, we believe here at The Canary, is why President Elect Trump has spent so much time with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

In the end, he just “cannot help himself,” – a final assessment of Obama

With less than a month of Obama administration left, it would be a mistake to assume that no further consequential activities by the White House will occur out of respect for the incoming administration, even if the President and his family are at their usual Christmas vacation in Hawaii, symbolically within the U.S. at the, likely, farthest territorial spot from Washington, DC.

The last two weeks have, indeed, been telling, with the Obama administration utilizing an obscure law from the 1950s to declare huge swaths of coastal areas off limits for oil and gas explorations, knowing full well that the incoming Trump administration will do everything possible to reverse this decision. Showing, despite all assertions to the contrary, the finger to his successor even more blatantly, was his government’s non-action (i.e., abstention) in the U.N. Security Council vote that condemned Israel’s settlement policies and, for all practical purposes mandated that Israel return all occupied territories to the Palestinians without receiving anything of substance in return to secure the country. The decision to abstain, and allow the absurd condemnation of the only democracy in the Middle East at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are being murdered next door in Syria (with active participation of permanent Security Council member Russia, and millions have become refugees without U.N. Security Council interventions, not only reflects a momentous change in 40 years of U.S. government policy over Democrat as well as Republican administrations but is also very telling about Obama’s character.

Over the last few years, we here at The Canary, have repeatedly attempted to described who, behind his widely acclaimed façade of reserved “coolness,” Obama is. In doing so, we studied his upbringing under the old Jesuit believe that strong influences in their “youth,” ultimately, make the adult man or woman. We, thus, followed the young Barry Obama through religious Muslim schooling in Indonesia, his return to Hawaii, where under truly radical Marxist tutelage (for details, please revisit our 2015 blogs) he graduated high school and went on into a radical leftist environment at Occidental College in California, only to transfer to Columbia University in New York City and later attending law school at Harvard University, throughout, though, remaining within a cocoon of radical Marxist colleagues and teachers, intermingled with Afrocentric radicals and friends from the Muslim world. From the Canary, this is a final assessment of Obama.

Simply based on his biography, we therefore, concluded a long time ago that Obama had to be viewed as sympathetic to Third World anti-imperialism, classical Marxist dialectics and would, likely, be hostile to the idea of Zionism and, therefore, the State of Israel. To expand on the latter, we furthermore concluded that his decades-long extremely close relationship with the Pastor Jeremiah Wright, a virulent Afrocentric Anti-Semite of no lesser proportion than the Nation of Islam Leader, Reverend Louis Farrakhan, Jr., located just a few blocks away from Wright’s church on Chicago’s South Side.

It was over nine years ago that, then first-term Senator (from Illinois) Barack Hussein Obama decided to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nomination for president. Reviewing Obama’s political evolution in his explosive career from that early starting point, is not only fascinating but also highly revealing because it demonstrates an intelligent and determined individual and unscrupulously masterful politician, willing to use anything and anybody to achieve his goals.

When it came to Afrocentricity, Anti-White rhetoric and Anti-Semitism, Pastor Wright’s church was since its inception known as the Christian counterpart to Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam Headquarters on Chicago’s South Side. Both religious leaders, preached in each other’s religious facilities, and both did not mince words in their sermons, when it came down to the wickedness of Whites, and especially Jews. And, yet, Wright’s church remained Obama’s and his family’s religious home until Wright’s sermons became public knowledge, and threatened to derail Obama’s chances against Hillary Clinton in 2008. Likely even more importantly, however, his association with Wright threatened the backbone of his financial support, which primarily came from two wealthy Jewish family dynasties in Chicago, The Pritzkers and Crowns.

Though they practically considered each other family, Obama, overnight, distanced himself from Pastor Wright, who over all eight years of the Obama Presidency has remained invisible, – and the Jewish money continued flowing (Penny Pritzker also became Secretary of Commerce in Obama’s second administration). Attending an obviously Afrocentric, Anti-White and obviously Anti-Semitic church and developing a close relationship with its pastor, can be a potentially useful strategy for an African American politician building a political career within the African American community, which has become more Afrocentric and Anti-Semitic. But doing that, and at the same time catering to White Jewish Chicago Gold Coast Liberals is, of course, politically ingenious, – if it can be pulled off. And Barack Hussein Obama was the one politician who could pull off this feat, and he could even do it with his Muslim middle name.

This, however, did not mean that, once elected, he would feel an obligation “to give back.: This is, indeed, one of the most surprising of Obama’s character traits: he never felt that he owed anybody for their support; he simply thought he deserved support, whether financial during campaigns or politically, once elected. His narcissism, simply, did not allow him the understanding that people who helped, at least, wanted to hear a “thank you.” Yet, when politically opportune, he would have no hesitation in “rewarding” those who he needed. So, while attempting to develop Obamacare, he was willing to sacrifice even some of the most important principles to “buy off” those groups that had conspired against earlier attempts at building a national health care system under the first Clinton administration (”Hillary care”), including medical insurances, hospital organizations and drug companies.

Following his Marxist education during his youth, later amplified by Saul Alinsky’s “Twelve Rules of Radicals,” Obama never forgot that an important goal warrants all possible means. This became very apparent when major laws, like Obamacare or the rescue legislation for the U.S. car industry, were passed without even a single Republican vote, and when, later in his second administration, after the Democrats lost the House and Senate, he started an unprecedented rule by executive orders and, like in the Iran deal, circumvented the need for Congressional approval by other means. Since the goals warrant the means in Marxist dialectic, these authoritarian actions taken by Obama should not surprise, and more can be expected.

What we can expect in the next three weeks, is difficult to predict. But we only recently noted our suspicion that President Obama will offer generous pardons to a surprisingly large group of people in his administration to prevent further investigations under the Trump administration. And, despite severe criticism not only form Republican but also from leading (though, interestingly, only Jewish) Democratic politicians, we would also not be surprised if further anti-Israeli activities would occur. After all, eight years of Obama administration have very clearly demonstrated that, while Obama may not be the obvious Anti-Semite, Pastor Wright or Reverend Farrakhan are, he, most certainly, has never been and never will be a friend of Israel.

Knowing his background as the child of a Muslim father, his youth in a Muslim school system in Indonesia, his Muslim friends in college, his close friendship with the official representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of Yasser Arafat in later years, and his close emotional association with the third world and the radical left, which both view Israel as a Colonial power usurping legitimate Palestinian rights, one can really not blame him for being more sympathetic to the Arab world. After all, we all have our biases!

What is, however, worrisome is the impression that arises from Obama’s recent activities that, now unimpeded by political considerations (i.e., elections, fund raising needs, etc.), he is free to pursue his most extreme ambitions without fear of reprisals. And as president of the U.S. that gives him almost unlimited power until January 21, 2017, which is a quite concerning thought, considering the potential damage that can be done to this country and the world in the dangerous times we are living in.