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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

Friday, 24 October 2014
Public Spending Needs a Drastic Reduction: Not Plan B but Plan Liberty GB

Liberty GB press release:

Despite all talks of austerity, £1,521.2 billion was the UK’s public debt at the end of the financial year 2013/14, as much as – be prepared for this, but probably you already are - 87.8% of GDP.

The Office for National Statistics, the source of these data, in a recent release also informs that this debt represented an increase of £100.6 billion compared to the end of 2012/13.

Still according to the ONS, government borrowing, excluding the effects of bank bail-outs, was £11.8 billion in September 2014, £1.6 billion higher than September 2013.

Without all their many zeros, these figures may look less catastrophic than they actually are, but are still impressive.

Economists had predicted that borrowing would not increase. Even worse, the government had. Chancellor George Osborne in March pledged to cut the budget deficit by more than 10% over the next 12 months.

According to some calculations, our national debt grows by £15,510 every three seconds.

What happens to individuals and families also happens to governments. Spend more than you have, and you end up in debt. Keep doing it, and the debt accumulates. The more debt you have, the more debt interest you must pay. Last year, Britain's debt cost the taxpayers more than £50 billion in interest payments: about half of the NHS budget and more than the entire defence expenditure.

Reducing the debt is a political priority. Raising tax rates hurts the economy, as has been repeatedly shown. Therefore, we can effectively decrease the debt only by bringing down spending, which would not be difficult to achieve if we cut waste.

The Liberty GB party has various common-sense policies to achieve this goal, including:

  • abolishing purposeless quangos
  • reducing the public sector's unnecessarily high number of employees and other wasteful departmental expenditures
  • halting mass immigration, thus decreasing its enormous expenditure on benefits; diversity policies; education; health; translation services; extra police, prison, judicial and intelligence services; and so on
  • ending health tourism
  • ending non-emergency aid to all countries, except those with a proven record of protection of their minorities, in particular the one which is by far the most persecuted minority in the world: Christians
  • limiting the funding of schools by central government to a base amount, adjusted to the cost of living of the area, with any extra spending raised by the local authority
  • leaving the NHS free at point of delivery, but not in any circumstances. There must be a limit to the expenditure for each person paid for by public purse, that could vary with age and other conditions. This will mean that the elderly and people with chronic or serious conditions, who have more justified need for health care, will have a higher limit. The NHS money will be conditional on the patient's following the doctor's prescriptions, in particular the lifestyle recommendations
  • devolving healthcare decision-making to the local level to enable services to target local needs and to cut out higher layers of bureaucracy
  • implementing "Work for the Dole" (also known as "Workfare"), to help benefit claimants back to work
  • removing benefits for people under 25 who refuse to take up offers of work, training or education. In those cases they should be the responsibility of their parents. This could incentivise them to become active members of society.
  • stopping giving free council or council-funded accommodation to unmarried mothers under 25, who must remain the responsibility of the pregnant girl's parents. The rate of teen pregnancy would dramatically decrease, as has been evidenced in the US when welfare has been withheld
  • seriously cracking down on benefit fraud
  • ending benefits for children resident outside the UK.
Posted on 10/24/2014 1:12 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 24 October 2014
Social Media's Venom and Bile
Last week I met a pleasant lady who, though she had appeared a few times on television, could hardly be counted a public figure. Nevertheless, she had received many abusive messages on Facebook and Twitter as a result of her appearances, and one man had written to her thousands of times and threatened to kill her, telling her that he knew where she lived just to make sure that she was genuinely frightened.
Of course, one doesn't know what proportion of messages on the so-called social media are abusive in this way, nor can one define at what proportion of abuse to other messages those media would be a net social bane. Another question is whether the social media express the bile that has always existed or whether it has actually increased that bile by turning the expression of it into a habit.
Certainly no one who follows the internet 'discussions' that follow the publication of an article will be surprised that there is so much bile about. The other day, for example, I happened upon an article about research that had revealed a vast canyon in the earth's surface under Greenland's ice sheet, a canyon that was longer and larger than the Grand Canyon. This was a fascinating finding, suggesting that there is still (thank goodness) much that is unknown in the world.
You might have thought that such an article would not occasion venom or bad temper, but it did. Here are the comments that followed:
  James: Very interesting, but the probing is probably just a
               cover for the start of checking for oil.
  Carrol: The computer you used to type your idiotic post was
               made possible by oil.
   James: 'My idiotic post,' Carrol? Judging by your absurd/
               unintelligible comment, YOU are the only idiot here, as
               you don't even understand what I've written.
   Truant: All [Carrol] did was make a statement that your
               computer has oil-based components in its construction,
               and stated so without any accusations except that you
               are an idiot.
   James: No, Truant, you are as thick as Carrol.  
If this is the level of insult occasioned by a geological finding in Greenland, you can easily imagine the venom that attaches to more politically contentious matters. The Guardian website censors comments that do not 'abide by our community standards' - and when one reads the kind of comments and language that do abide by those standards, one wonders what the censored comments must be like.
Where does all this biliousness come from?
First published in Salisbury Review.
Posted on 10/24/2014 11:29 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 24 October 2014
A Musical Interlude: Alone In A Corner (Elmer Feldkamp)

Listen here.

Posted on 10/24/2014 9:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
Yoram Ettinger: Kerry's Naivete, Since Customs Duties Are Not Paid On Words


While the Americans should not be contributing anything to the shock trooops of the Jihad against Israel -- that is, the local Arabs carfefully renamed as "the Palestinians," at the very least the American government, pledging money that American taxpayers certainly would not support if they could vote directly on the issue (fury at Muslims, and at "Palestinians," grows and grows, as more people begin to understand how they have been fooled about Islam and Jihad), should make clear it will not fulfill its own pledge until the Gulf Arab states fulfill theirs. And they won't. And then we won't. And that  will be salutary and bracing.

Posted on 10/24/2014 9:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
Aid And Comfort To The Enemy

A declaration of war on the Islamic State is not directed mainly at the Islamic State. Its existence, in the desert of Western Iraq and Eastern Syria, threatens, sensationally more than effectively, the non-Sunnis in Syria, and the Shiites in Iraq. It should be understood, rather, as a resolution that would be politically difficult to oppose, and thart would allow more effective measures taken against those in the United States (and if it is copied, by those elsewhere in the Western world) who support the same goals as the Islamic State, that is the establishment of a caliphate and the imposition, all over the world, of the Holy Law of Islam, that is the Shari'a. And since almost all Muslims are suppposed to support those two goals, and many, whether they declare it or not, certainly support the imposition of the Sharia, they have now been identified, in that support, as giving "aid and comfort" to a declared enemy. And that makes it easier to puruse and prosecute them at home, and makes it easier, too, to deny Muslims entry into this country, on the understanding that it is administratively impossible to distinguish those Muslims who support the imposition of Sharia (including those who with great feigned sincerity tell us that they do not), from those who do not. Since such support is at the heart of Islam, the burden is on Muslims, in any case, to explain to us how it is they could identify themselves as Muslims and not support Shari'a. But just as we attempt to keep out those who are carriers of Ebola, we have every right to keep out those who are carriers of an ideology which, even if it may lay dormant in some Muslims, can still be contagious, and the converts to Islam who suddenly are transformed from marginal, often slightly deranged types, to marginal, often slightly deranged types who are now a danger to all non-Muslims, are ample evidence of the danger. And what Believer, that is Muslim, even in, or perhaps especially in, insisting  that "the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam," is not giving "aid and comfort" to the enemy?



Posted on 10/24/2014 8:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
Maladroit Comparison By Mayor Boertjes Of Hilversum

Hilversum, as in Netty Hilversum.

Mayor Boertjes, former editor of Volkskrant and therefore a molder of opinion, appears to believe that those who leave the Netherlands to fight for the Islamic State are just like, and should enjoy the same movement of freedom, as Dutch Jews who, after World War II, went to help Israel survive the Arab onslaught  that attempted to snuff out its young life.

His comparison is not odorous. But he's right to want to allow  these fanatical Muslims to leave the West, and fight and die, or fight and live, in the already-wretched Muslim lands. Right, but not for  the right reasons.

Posted on 10/24/2014 8:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
Attacks In Canada Follow Islamic State Directives To The Letter

Common sense, here.

Posted on 10/24/2014 8:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
ISIS Worries In Lebanon
Posted on 10/24/2014 7:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
Russia and Israel: A Beautiful Friendship?

When Bob Dylan sang “For the times they are a-changin’” he was not referring to relations between Israel and Russia, but his lyrics might just fit at the present time. No one can speak of a Russian tropical heat wave towards Israel but it isn’t surprising the temperature’s rising. The relationship may be heading to a beautiful friendship if not the beginning of love.

The change has come as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s direction of foreign policy. That direction does not come from any love of Israel or the Jewish people, or from any ideological reorientation. It results from Putin’s concern for Russian national interest.

Russian attitudes, both during the period of the Soviet Union and since, towards Israel and Jews has gone through a number of phases. In the immediate period after the end of World War II the Soviet Union allowed Jews in Eastern European to go to camps in the Western zones; it did not prevent the formation of clandestine Zionist operations in Bulgaria and Romania; it did not stop 300,000 Jews going, between 1948 and 1951, from Eastern Europe to Israel.


When Britain decided to give up its Palestinian Mandate, the Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko, announced in May 1947 and again in November, that his country supported the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947 calling for the creation of two states, one Jewish and the other Arab. The Soviet Union was the first state to recognize de jure, on May 17, 1948, the establishment of the Jewish State and its Provisional Government. It also voted against UNGA Resolution 194 of December 1948 calling for refugees to be allowed to return to their homeland if they were willing to live in peace with their neighbors.

It is arguable that Israel was saved by the Soviet Union. David Ben-Gurion in 1968 doubted that the country could have survived the early months without the arms supplies from the Soviet bloc. Those arms, including tanks and combat planes, started coming nominally from Czechoslovakia but essentially from the USSR from May 1947 for at least two years.

With the onset of the Cold War and the increasing paranoia of Joseph Stalin directed against “Zionist imperialists” and imaginary Jewish medical assassins and saboteurs, the harmonious relationship changed, persisting even after Stalin’s death in March 1953. The result was both increasing anti-Semitism, and an end of Russian Jewish emigration to Israel. After the 1967 Six-Day War, the USSR broke diplomatic relations with Israel, and they were not restored until October 1991. The USSR became a major supporter of the Palestinian groups and of pro-Arab resolutions at the UN, and a leader in the campaign attacking Israel as being a racist state.

Whatever Putin’s objectives may be in general, Russia while he has been in power has been more cordial, or less hostile, towards Israel. Important differences still divide the two countries, particularly in relation to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and projects that have been helped financially by Russia, and its diplomatic and material support for the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. Putin is aware that there are more than 14 million Muslims in Russia, 10 per cent of the population, and only 200,000 Jews.

Russia has also been selling arms to Arab countries, especially Syria. In 2009 it sent Syria eight MiG-31 planes, costing $500 million, and in 2014 planned to send 26 Yak-130s, costing $550 million. Russia has remained helpful to Iran on nuclear issues. In September 2014 Russia agreed to send materials to Iran including S-300 nuclear reactors. Some Russian weapons sent to Arab countries fell into the hands of Hizb’allah.

Nevertheless, friendly gestures or agreements between Russia and Israel were more important. One concerned Russian actions in Chechnya which were criticized by the U.S. and European countries. But Israel, understanding that Russia’s struggle against terrorists was comparable to its own struggle against Palestinian terrorists, and observing that Putin recognized the need to combat terrorism and extremism, refrained from criticism. The Islamist terrorist attack on the school in Beslan in September 2004 that killed hundreds of schoolchildren was particularly meaningful. Though Putin favors a Palestinian right to self-determination, he did not approve a unilateral declaration of independence.

There are ties between Russia and Israel in a number of areas: economic, military and demographic. The population link is considerable. Almost 1 million -- one seventh -- of the Israeli population has come from Russia, and is integrated into Israeli political and economic life. Russians also form the largest number, after North Americans, of tourists visiting Israel: in 2013 they numbered 380,000, 13 per cent of the total.

Trade between the two countries has been increasing: in 2013 it accounted for $3.5 milliards. Israel exported to Russia mainly agricultural products, electronics, and medical materials, amounting in all to $1.5 milliards, and imported rough diamonds and hydrocarbons. In February 2013 Israel made an arrangement, a 20- year deal, with Gazprom that would buy liquefied natural gas from Israel’s Tamar offshore gas field. In December 2013 a free exchange zone between the two countries was set up.

Israel will continue its exports of agricultural products to Russia, in spite of the EU sanctions imposed in July 2014 against Russia over its actions in Ukraine. Russia in response had stopped agricultural imports from Europe, and Israel is interested in expanding its own agricultural products from $325 million a year to more than $1 billion. Israel’s sale of fruits, especially apples and plums, to Russia help make up its losses from the EU ban on imports of all dairy, meat, poultry, and egg products from the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Jerusalem.

In the military and industrial sphere, Israel since 2009 has been selling drones to Russia. In March 2011, agreements were reached on a number of areas: space cooperation, joint research programs, including astrophysical and planetary research, medicine, and intellectual property and science exchanges. The Israel Aerospace Industries has since 2010 been engaged on a $400 million project with the Russian company Oboronprom for Russian based production of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Personal and political connections have been pursued by both sides. In June 2012 President Putin visited Israel for the inauguration of the national Victory Monument in the coastal town of Netanya honoring the soldiers of the Soviet Union who fought against Nazi Germany during World War II. Putin in June and July 2014 declared his support for the struggle of Israel in its attempts to protect its citizens. In a meeting in June 2014 Putin agreed with Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu to a special hotline connection, a direct line, between their two offices. This connection evades any interference by the United States, which already has a direct line with Israel.

Some surprise among Western countries was registered by Israel’s position on the non-binding UNGA Resolution of March 27, 2014 which implicitly criticized Russia for “its disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine” through the use of force, and its annexation of Crimea. The Resolution was approved by 100-11, but Israel was one of the 58 nations that abstained.

Russia has been a member of the Quartet, together with the U.S., the EU, and the UN, set up in March 2002 to act as mediators for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Over the last twelve years the Quartet has made little, if any, progress in the attempt to foster substantive negotiations. However, Russia is in a unique position as a country that has degrees of friendly relations with the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas, and with Israel. Can it be the intermediary that can persuade the Palestinians to agree to begin the process for peaceful negotiations? Again, the lyrics of the great bard Bob Dylan are pertinent. The wheel’s still in spin and there’s no telling what it’s naming.

First published in the American Thinker.

Posted on 10/24/2014 7:47 AM by Michael Curtis
Friday, 24 October 2014
A Most Unusual Man

Former Hezbollah fighter becomes a rabbi.

Story here.

Posted on 10/24/2014 7:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
Killed In Syria And Iraq, They Are One Less Worry At Home

Why Western governments want to prevent, make strenuous efforts to prevent, Muslims from joining the violent  Jihad in Syria  and Iraq continues to amaze.Here is an article about the deaths of those who left the U.K. for Syria and Iraq, complete with pictures, as if we are to mourn them, or lament their loss. Absurd story here.

Less amazing,but more amusing,  in the article about the sad deaths  of such wayzgoose warriors, is the description of "noted behavioural psychologist Cass Sunstein." Cass Sunstein is a law professor.  Perhaps, however, his being a "nudge"-nooge has -- he co-wrote a book on "The Nudge" as a way to change how people behave --been enough to allow him, in the Guardian writer's eyes, to be described as "the well-known behavioural psychologist."

Posted on 10/24/2014 6:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
David Wood: The Three Stages Of Jihad
Posted on 10/24/2014 4:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 24 October 2014
NYPD concerned hatchet attack may be linked to terrorism

JAMAICA, Queens (PIX11/CNN) - Four police officers and a woman were injured, and a hatchet-wielding man was fatally shot during a bloody altercation Thursday in Queens and now officials are looking to see if the attack was prompted by terrorism.

Four rookie police officers were working near 162nd Street and Jamaica Avenue when a freelance photographer asked them to pose for a photo in front of a Conway store.  While they were posing, another man, described as a 32-year-old male,  attacked without saying a word, Commissioner Bratton said at a press conference Thursday.“The suspect was described as having charged at the officers,” 

The other officers fired multiple shots, killed the suspect at the scene. A 29-year-old woman passing by was struck by gunfire in the lower back.  She underwent surgery at Jamaica Hospital and is in stable condition.

"Three rookie cops absolutely modest about what they did, thankfully all are in good condition,” Mayor De Blasio said.

The New York Post names the man as Zale Thompson, 32, of Queens — a “scholarly” but “weird” ­recent convert to Islam . . . The NYPD is investigating whether Islamic extremism played a role in the attack.

There is a video on the New York Post page.

Posted on 10/24/2014 4:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 24 October 2014
British hate preacher 'inspired Ottawa gunman'

From the Telegraph.

Internet providers have been warned that the Government will force them to remove extremist material, as it emerged that a British hate preacher had influenced the man behind the attack on the Canadian parliament. 

The Daily Telegraph can disclose that the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service are in talks about using court orders to ensure that internet providers such as BT and Virgin immediately remove extremist propaganda. The warning came as it transpired that Britain’s most high-profile radical Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, had influenced the man involved in the Ottawa attack. 

There were reports in Canada that Zehaf-Bibeau and another Islamic convert, Martin Ahmad Rouleau, had been influenced by Choudary. The radical cleric was one of nine men arrested last month by Scotland Yard officers as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism. Rouleau’s Twitter account showed that he followed several radical preachers, including Choudary, who tweeted that he hoped that the Canadian attacker would be admitted to heaven. I can't see that on Choudary's twit thingy this morning; maybe it has been deleted, maybe I can't see it for looking.

However, Choudary said: “The fact that someone follows you on Twitter does not mean you necessarily influenced him to do anything.” Choudary’s followers have been connected to militant plots in Britain in recent years. Michael Adebolajo, one of the men who killed the British soldier Lee Rigby on a London street last year, had attended protests he had organised. 

last night Choudary spoke to the Express here, about how he does not accept UK law.

The 46-year-old hate preacher made the extraordinary statement when asked if jihadist fighters returning from Syria should have their passports confiscated and be charged under anti-terror laws. Choudary blasted: "I don't accept British law. If you have a law, you need to apply it universally. These laws are only being applied against Muslims."

He also spoke of his support for Islamic State (ISIS) and claimed a ban on jihadists returning to Britain would 'alienate' the Muslim community. "I think it will disenfranchise the Muslim community here, I think it would be a cause of further radicalisation in this country."

Posted on 10/24/2014 3:40 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Averil Power, And Ireland's Willing Collaborators In The Jihad Against Israel

Every country in the EU is threatened by the world-wide assault of Muslims engaged, in one way or another, on the world's non-Muslims. Some use qital, or conventional combat. Some use, most sensationally, terrorism. Some engage in economic boycotts or pressure, others in propaganda against Infidels, or watch as their numbers, their inexorable demographic weapon increases and increases, throughout the Western world.

Meanwhile, dedicated antisemites, and those who have no understanding and little knowledge of the war conducted by Muslims against the Infidel nation-state of Israel, through which an ancient and small people dared to reclaim a tiny sliver of territory from Dar al-Islam, and revive it from its desolation and waste (and not only of the physical kind), and managed to survive despite the many different and relentless efforts to annihilate it, are eagerly at work trying not only to help the Muslim Arabs destroy Israel through pushing it back to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, before Israel, through force of arms in the Six-Day War, won possession of the territories to which it already had a legal claim through the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine, and that legal claim, itself reflecting a historic claim and a claim for justice that the Mandates Commission recognized, was buttressed by the need, recognized even by the U.N. in the carefully-crafted Resolution 2142 (remember that?), to create "defensible borders." Those defensible borders, at an absolute minimum, are those Israel possesses now, that is the territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Now comes a particularly insidious group of dedicated anti-Israel political figures in Ireland, headed apparently by one Averil Power, who does not know what the Mandate for Palestine was all about, does not care what Islam teaches nor about the threat of Muslims to the peoples and polities of Europe that is not one whit different from the threat to the Jews of Israel, who are determined to push the E.U. into an anti-israel position by calling for a "state of Palestine" the creation of which would make Israel's hellish task in defending itself even more hellish, and would not bring peace but certainly war, by making even Arab governments reluctant to join in an assault unable to resist, for with Israel left with an eight-mile wide waist at Qalqilya, no Arab ruler could claim that such an assault would certainly fail, and should not be tried. Averil Power and her ilk are preventing people from  grasping the nature of the war being waged on Israel, and in so doing, are at the same time preventing people in Ireland, and in Europe, from fully understanding the menace that is in their midst.

The great evil that she, and others like her, are doing, is reported on here.

Posted on 10/23/2014 8:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 October 2014
“Worrisome”: Turkey Releasing Lars Hedegaard’s Attempted Assassin

Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidgaard and Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen in Parliament, Copenhagen, October 16, 2014

Source: AA Photos

Yesterday, the ‘moderate Islamist’ AKP government  of President  Erodgan basically told a Danish government delegation  who had arrived in Ankara requesting extradition of Lars Hedegaard’s  attempted assassin, 27 year old Danish Lebanese citizen, Basil Hassan, (“BH”) to take a hike. This naturally follows  after a Judicial appeal  resulting in BH’s release. The Daily Hurriyet reported it was “a decision of the Turkish” judiciary, “Release of Danish murder suspect decision of Turkish judiciary”.   Note how the Danish delegation was effectively fobbed off:

The release of the shooting suspect of a right-wing writer and a critic of Islam in Denmark was not a “choice of executive power, but a ruling of the judiciary,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in a written statement on Oct. 22.

The decision was taken after a judicial process, Bilgiç added, noting that Turkey “understands” the sensitivities and concerns of the Danish authorities.

The Turkish government had launched the extradition process of Danish citizen Basil Hassan, but the process continued after his lawyer lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court and Hassan was released in the meantime, he also said, adding that there is no official record showing that he has left Turkey.

A delegation of high-ranking Danish officials visited Ankara on Oct. 17 to investigate reports that a 26-year-old Danish man of Lebanese origin – arrested in Turkey in April for allegedly trying to shoot Hedegaard on Feb. 5, 2013 – was released. 

Lars Hedegaard of Danish  and International Free Press Societies

When we posted an interview with Hedegaard about the release of  “BH” by the Turkish government following his arrest in Istanbul on April 22, 2014. He said in responses to a question about the Danish government response:

Gordon:  Who in Denmark’s Parliament  has come to your defense?
Hedegaard:  This morning there was a parliamentary hearing with our justice and foreign ministers. All parties from left to right came out in my defense and expressed their disgust with Turkey.

Gordon:  Has Turkey violated the EC extradition treaty with the release of “BH”, and what recourse does Denmark have for his apprehension?
Hedegaard:  Turkey certainly has violated a European treaty on extradition, but Denmark can do very little.

Indeed, Denmark’s PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt   in Copenhagen  on Monday, October 20th indicated that the Turkish appeal  decision will not end the matter.  Thorning-Schmidt said:

This is an incredibly incomprehensible and unacceptable move. We are still waiting for a response on why the suspect is not in custody in Turkey. There should be no doubt that this issue is not closed.

Danish Justice Minister Frederiksen was cited in Today’s Zaman saying:

Turkish officials have confirmed the release of the suspect previously involved in an armed assault on Lars Hedegaard. As is known, the release of said suspect has been debated for the last couple of weeks. It has now been confirmed. But it is not possible to understand or accept Turkey's approach

  A news report today stated  that the Turkish Ambassador to Denmark has been called in for ‘consultation’ tomorrow. Note this  Ledger –Enquirer report:

Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard says he will tell Mehmet Donmez on Friday that "it is clearly not satisfactory" that Turkey has not informed Danes why and when Danish national Basil Hassan was freed.

Lidegaard said Thursday the 27-year-old's release was "a huge problem."

Coincidental with this latest contretemps between Denmark and Turkey regarding the release of BH, Hedegaard’s attempted  assassin was a decision handed down in a Copenhagen municipal court.  The court found that prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to convict 10 Kurdish émigrés on charges of diverting some of the $22 million sent charities in Turkey to the PKK.

 When we spoke about this  with Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Vienna today, she deemed this “very worrisome”.  We are sure that It is personally concerning  for Lars Hedegaard , it leaves open possible sympathetic attacks against him, despite being under 24/7 Danish  security police protection.  As he is wont to say, he will fight for liberty and freedom with his dying breath. 


Posted on 10/23/2014 1:53 PM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Another Attack On Shi'a Hazara In Pakistan

Story here,

In Afghanistan the Hazara, who live in and around Herat, were being killed by the Taliban when the Americans arrived to save them. In Pakistan, the easily-identifiable Hazara (they are Mongol in appearance) have been the repeated object of attack for being Shi'a. One wonders when the people who run the Islamic Republic of Iran will come to their senses, realize they will never win over the Sunnis but merely increase hostility toward them if they acquire nuclear weapons, and if they should dare to use them against Israel, not only will they not be seen as the Paladin of the Jihad, winning applause and gratitude for damaging the Zionist nation-state, but Sunnis everywhere will be delighted to see the Israelis inflict retaliatory damage on them in return.

Posted on 10/23/2014 12:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Be Wary of Those Who Preach Appeasement

It is logically unsurprising that terrorist incidents targeting the military have occurred in Canada, but in this most peaceable of countries, it is always a shock. The plot to behead the prime minister was shocking up to a point but it was nipped in the bud and assumed a semblance almost of unreality. The terrible disaster of the bombing of the Air India 747 that killed 268 people in 1985 actually occurred in Irish airspace and was an intra-Indian sectarian act. It seemed less intimate than a gunman running through the halls of the federal Parliament, or even someone running down two soldiers in St. Jean, Quebec. Mortal, random assaults on uniformed members of our armed forces within this country and especially at the War Memorial in Ottawa, which honours all those scores of thousands, almost all volunteers, who have died in just wars for Canada and the cause of freedom throughout the world, followed by an eruption into the House of Parliament, is even more unambiguously shocking.

Though nothing mitigates the sadness of the fate of the victims, there are factors that should mitigate alarm: while apparently in sympathy with Islamic extremism, the perpetrators of the crimes at St. Jean and Ottawa were, as terrorists go, flee-on-foot amateurs, not really suicidal, not especially well-armed, and not evidently connected to any organization that imposed any discipline or tactical cunning on their activities. The fact that a violent extremist was able to prorupt into the Centre Block of Parliament and race down the corridor to the Library, causing the Conservative caucus to hide under desks and in broom closets and pour out the fire exit, is not so much a demonstration of the vulnerability of our public officials and institutions to violent extremists as a confirmation of how overwhelmingly peaceable the country is. Anyone who saw the depressing spectacle of the U.S. Secret Service chasing a woman (Miriam Carey) and her child around the approaches to the United States Capitol and finally killing her in 2013, although she apparently was only confused, can be grateful that our own comparable security arrangements have been so relaxed. And though everyone entering the Parliament building should be screened, at least cursorily, the facts remain that the intruder in Ottawa struck lethally in a public square, injured no one within the main Parliament building, and was despatched by security without a blazing fire-fight and with no collateral damage. The role of the Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, seems to have especially calm, efficient, and distinguished.

Of course, I have no standing to prejudge facts that will have to await investigation, but from all appearances, the strong and absolutely correct position the prime minister and the government have taken in joining the anti-Islamic State (ISIS) coalition has apparently generated the deranged resentment of some inhabitants of this country; there is no evidence that any foreign power or organization had anything to do with either the St. Jean or Ottawa incident. (If they had, the outrages would have been more professional and destructive.) Again, all countries have homicidal lunatics in their populations, and usually when they go over the top they plan a crime that enables them to kill a sequence or a bunch of victims. Norway is one of the few countries in the world as tranquil as Canada and even there, in 2011, an extreme white-supremacist killed eight people with a bomb in front of the prime minister’s office and 69 people two hours later  at a summer camp. While it is no consolation for the victims and those close to them, and the whole country is rightly outraged, In the range of possibilities for the violent and criminally diseased mind, the offenders in the last week in St. Jean and Ottawa get low marks in all areas-throw-weight, delivery system, infiltration, and even and though one is too many, body count.

Obviously, security will have to be tightened, uniformed representatives of Canada’s armed forces should be more vigilant than has been their need and habit while in-country, and everyone, without succumbing to paranoia or a culture of denunciation, should be more watchful. But the greatest potential threat is from international terrorist organizations that train their members thoroughly, arm them heavily, and where adherents are often happy to go down for the cause, if that will maximize the massacre of innocents. Our security agencies and specialists don’t need to be told this, but Canada certainly must be more careful than it has ever needed to be before to monitor and defeat attempts to infiltrate the country by violent international organizations, motivated by suicidal fanaticism and made unprecedentedly sinister by the lights of perverted science.

These terrible incidents demonstrate how correct Stephen Harper and the government has been to align Canada absolutely against agents of terror and their sponsors and alongside all civilized governments. I prayerfully hope not to hear any snivelling and waffling to the effect that all would be well if we just practised neutrality between terrorists and their opponents closer to the epicentre of these events, especially the sectarian and national protagonists in the Middle East. One of the minor benefits of this nastiest of all terrorist eras is that it is now clear that the hostility of these mutants is not entirely focused on Israel and in fact makes little distinction between Jews, Christians, and inadequately zealous Muslims. What is afoot and was involved in Ottawa yesterday was a conflict between absolute evil and civilization. There must be no ambiguity about where Canada stands. And the authorities were correct to pull the passport of the apparent author of the attack in St. Jean; we have a duty not to unleash such people on the world (where they could still murder Canadians), though in retrospect, the suspect should have been watched or detained. Less edifying than the prime minister’s strong leadership on the issue was his planted question in Parliament from a Conservative MP asking him to comment on the St. Jean attack. We can safely assume that the leaders of the opposition are just as appalled at these incidents as Stephen Harper is and any attempt to turn domestic terrorist acts into an election issue would not succeed.  

It is time that the political leaders of all governments except the few that assist terrorism, made a statement somewhat like Ronald Reagan’s reference to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” in 1983. There are significant aspects to Islam that are gratuitously violent, even by the most blood-curdling standards of the Bible. We live in a predominantly Judeo-Christian country and civilization that equably tolerates other faiths, tendencies, and cultures, but we should stop scampering around the edges of the problem that Islam has a considerable propensity to violence, vastly exceeding anything in our tradition. No sane person reproaches anyone the practice of Islam in a way that does not threaten the rights and dignity of others. But a substantial minority of Muslims adhere or at least sympathize with violent Islam. For them, we must maintain high standards of international law and domestic justice, but brand them as evil and reply to them with overwhelming force. We should hear no more of these effete complaints about “disproportionate responses” by Israel to the murderers of Israeli women and children. Those extreme Islamists who wish to die must be pre-emptively accommodated. Silence and inaction are complicity. We must never forget Franklin D. Roosevelt’s statement to his country (in January, 1941), that “We must always be wary of those who ‘with sounding brass and tinkling cymbal’ would preach the ‘ism of appeasement.”

Published in the National Post.

Posted on 10/23/2014 12:00 PM by Conrad Black
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Fitzgerald: Anything To Do With Terrorism? Anything To Do With Islam?



Posted on 10/23/2014 11:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Why Is Islam So Attractive To Criminals And Homicidal Maniacs?

Isn't that the question that ought to be asked all over the Western world? Not to try to say that the mentally ill, who just happen to be converts to Islam, kill people, but that those who are psychically off, if they convert to anything, nowadays will almost certainly to convert to Islam.

So what is it about Islam that makes it so attractive to them?

Let's give the answers now, again, before some clever fellows apply for a government grant of five or perhaps ten million dollars to answer, after ponderous studies, involving lots and lots of researchers, and papers, and conferences, and come, finally, tortuously, to the conclusions which you and I can come to right now, and spoil their well-paid, overpaid, fun.

1. Islam offers a Total Regulation of Life. Like the Junior Woodchucks of America, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, you get special Arabic words to learn: Allahu Akbar, alhumdulillah, Jihad, Kuffar, things like that. You get to make up a special name, in Arabic, for yourself. It can express your origin in a particular country: Al-Amriki, Al-Frangi, Al-Britani, just the way those to the manner born can be called Al-Misri (from Egypt) or Al-Shami or Al-Hijazi. You can give yourself a new first name: Stephen might choose to become Suleiman. It's such fun. A new identity, and an instant Community of Bruvvers, fellow Believers, one for all and all for one (that can be especially important in prison).

2. Islam offers a Compleat Explanation of the Universe. Life is so confusing, so overwhelming. But to the True Believer, life suddenly beomes simple. See Eric Hoffer. There is the Enemy -- in Islam,it's the non-Muslims, the Unbelievers, the Kuffars, the Ungrateful Ones. .There is the Cause for which one subsumes one's own personality (not that such people ever had much of one to begin with), ready to do everything, ideally, for that Cause. And Islam is all about a Cause -- the Cause of Islam itself. The true object of worship in Islam is not Allah, but Islam. It is for Islam that we live and die. And Muslims, to the precise extent that they take Islam to heart (and someone may not take Islam to heart, and then do so, but converts ordinarily are among the most fanatical, the least willilng to modify their behavior, or to embarrassedly or uneasily try to ignore some of the tenets and teachings of Islam).

3. In prisons in the Western world, where Musliims represent such a disproportionate number of those incarcerated (in France Muslims may be 5% of the population, but constitute 60% of the prison population, and similar figures can be found in every other country in Western Europe) Islam is attractive as a Gang, the biggest and most dangerous Gang, and the one you want to belong to, for your own protection against others, and of course, against that Muslim Gang. Western governments have yet to do the obvious and sane thing, which would be to put Muslims in prisons for Muslims only, keeping them away from others who might otherwise convert to this dangerous doctrine.

4. Islam legitimizes criminal behavior. It makes the convert feel good about his behavior, not ashamed or guilty. Have you raped, or stolen from, or killed people, peope who are not Muslims? That's not only not a crime, but they have it coming to them. Not only have you not done wrong, but if you continue to do what you are doing, you can see it in a new light: you are merely helping yourself to the Jizyah that the Infidel nation-state, for now, prevents you from claiming. If you rape seductively-dressed Western women, that is women who aren't wearing a niqab, or chador, or even a hijab, and whose skirts may be short, and who may wear lipstick and rouge, then they are asking for it. The little English girls who were made sex slaves deserved what they got. So for a certain kind of convert to Islam, his life now becomes justifiable; he's been a warrior for Islam all along.

5. Islam provides a permanent source of enmity -- the Infidel -- whom you can blame for all of your woes. That's very relaxing. In the Western world, we find so many different things to blame if things go wrong -- and things always go wrong. But in Islam, you can always blame the Infidel for everything. And that's what Musilms do, with their conspiracy theorizing, all the time.

6. So that's why criminals and homicidal maniacs find Islam so attractive. Do you know of any homicidal maniacs who decided to convert to Judaism or Buddhism? No, I haven't, either. And if a criminal converts to Christianity, say in prison, aren't we all relieved to hear it, don't you feel he's done the one thing that might help change him? Of course you do. Now imagine the glad tidings reach you that that same prisoner converted not to Christianity, but to Islam. Now how do you feel?

Posted on 10/23/2014 11:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Abbas' Advisor: Murderer Of Baby A "Heroic Martyr"

Story at Palestinian Media Watch, here.

Shouldn't the Israeli government put a full stop right there, and demand that Mahmoud Abbas, or Abu Mazen, or whatever he calls himself, denounce that advisor, and if he refuses to do so, end all discussions about discussing anything with him, and focus on that just that one but representative event, and in the Western world, many are now willing to listen, not because they have educated themselves about the Muslim Arab Jihad against Israel, or about the Mandate for Palestine, or about the Treaty of San Remo, but because the world's Muslims, and especially the Islamic State, are giving everyone a quick and unavoidable education in Islam. And the dots connecting this to the war on Islam will, I think, finally be made by more than an (un) happy few.

Posted on 10/23/2014 11:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Thomas Meaney On Azar Nafisi

Amusing to think that Azar Nafisi, who surely owes royaties to the Estate of Vladimir Nabokov for the use of Lolita in her first book's title ("Reading Lolita In Teheran" -- substitute any other title and you will see at once how much less interesting and seductive the title becomes), apparently does not agree with Nabokov that books are not to be read for some moral lesson. She's got the usual complaints about America, and while many are true,her repetition of the charges (Money as the Measure of All Things, the Death of Reading, the Stifling Quality of Corporate Culture), the banality of her presentation, her lack of subtlety (possibly, given her background, literary criticism as it is understood in the West is beyond her; there are no Iranian Empsons or Rickses). And she's often off; "Babbitt" is about minds, minds reduced to, and happy wallowing in, nonstop banality ("A Babbitt Met a Bromide On The Avenue One Day"), not about the evils of corporations. It is a travesty to bring Obama into a discussion of humorful "Huckleberry Finn." Her specal pleading, for the wonder-working of diversification of America, brought about as a consequence of the 1965 Immigration Act that has done so much damage to cultural and other kinds of coherence and cohesion, may strike some as ungrateful.

Here is Thomas Meaney's review of Azar Nafisi, with many palpable hits.

Posted on 10/23/2014 11:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 October 2014
Geert Wilders Interviewed in the American Spectator

From the American Spectator:

Geert Wilders is the founder of the Dutch Party for Freedom, the fourth largest in that country’s parliament, and perhaps the Netherlands’ most controversial political figure. Wilders, whose 2008 film Fitna confrontationally opposed the encroachment of Islamic culture into Europe, has become an international figure while being prosecuted for “hate speech.” Calling himself a “right-wing liberal,” Wilders advocates curbing immigration into the Netherlands and other Western countries from Islamic nations, closing radical mosques, denaturalizing violent Muslims, and reducing the power of the European Union, among other things.

In America this week for a one-week tour, Wilders chatted with The American Spectator about Islam, the civilizational conflict, and what must be done to keep the West free.

How big is the threat to the West from Islamic civilizational jihad? Is our focus on terrorism overlooking other, perhaps more insidious means?

Islam is a totalitarian ideology aiming for world domination. It wants to establish a worldwide caliphate, ruled by Sharia law — undemocratic, intolerant, barbarian, inhuman.

Terror and violence are just one method which is used in order to achieve this aim. There are other methods, such as conquest by hijra (immigration). Muhammad himself gave this example of hijra when he conquered Medina. This town, which was originally a tolerant and partly Jewish oasis, became Islamic after Muhammad and his followers settled there and took it over.

Western leaders focus solely on terrorism, but fail to see the purpose which terrorism is serving: Islamic word dominance. They should focus on fighting the global imperialist plans of Islam and treat terrorism as one of the means used to achieve this goal.

How would you characterize the Dutch experience in assimilating Muslims?

The Netherlands failed to assimilate Islam. So did the other European nations.

Western Europe is in the grip of cultural relativism. It no longer believes in the superiority of its own Western Judeo-Christian and humanist values. These Western values have brought Europe peace, prosperity, liberty, and democracy. But, unfortunately, European political leaders no longer seem to understand this.

The newcomers were not asked to assimilate. On the contrary, the Europeans told newcomers settling in their nations: you are free to violate our norms and values because your culture is just as good, and perhaps even better, than ours. Muslims were allowed to build enclaves on European soil, where Western values are despised and hated.

The Islamization of Western Europe is a direct result of this. European nations did not assimilate Islam but rather encouraged it to continue to live according to its culture, which is intolerant, inferior, and totally incompatible with Europe’s culture and civilization.

How do you resuscitate traditional Western culture in the face of the encroachment we're seeing? Or is Europe inevitably lost? 

The European nations need to rediscover and reassert their identity. If Europe fails to stand up for its own culture and identity, it, will, indeed, be lost to Islam. Time is running out. Islam is assertive and aggressive. Europe should be assertive in countering Islam. Europe needs to turn the tide of Islamization and start a de-Islamization process.

Here are five things which should be done:

1) Europe should close its borders to all immigration from Islamic countries.

2) It should stimulate voluntary re-emigration;

3) and it should expel all criminals with a dual nationality to the country of their other nationality.

4) It should demand that everyone with a passport from an Islamic country, who wishes to remain living in Western Europe, sign a declaration in which he or she distances himself or herself from Sharia law and the violent commands of the Koran.

5) People who join the jihad have to be expelled, even it they only have our nationality. They can go and live in the Islamic State and no longer belong here. 

What message can you offer Americans about the threat posed by Islam and efforts to stifle freedom of speech critical of Islam? 

Americans are more patriotic than Europeans. That is a good thing. Europe would be in a better shape if it were more patriotic. Americans should cherish their pride in being American. They should insist that everyone who settles in America accept its values, which are based on its Western Judeo-Christian heritage.

America should close its borders to immigration from Islamic countries. There is more than enough Islam in America already.

Freedom of speech is a very important American value. In many European countries, people criticizing Islam are prosecuted. Telling the truth about Islam is considered to be offensive, because Islam feels offended by it. But the truth can never be offensive and people should never refrain from speaking it.

America should recognize that ISIS is an offspring of Islam. What ISIS does is what Islam commands. The Koran is full of commands such as sura 47 verse 4 “When ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks and cause a bloodbath among them.” When Obama, John Kerry, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, and others say that “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam” they are talking politically correct nonsense. 

Is Dutch public sentiment actively opposed to the Islamist threat, or are your countrymen still largely unconcerned? Is this a situation where the political class is being unresponsive to the concerns of the citizenry as well as oblivious to a societal threat to your country?

I never use the word “Islamist”, because there is only one Islam: the Islam of the Koran and of Muhammad.

Growing numbers of Dutch people are aware that Islam does not belong here because Islamic values are incompatible with our own. A poll last June showed that two thirds of the Dutch say that the Islamic culture does not belong in the Netherlands. The political class, however, does not voice the concerns of the people. This phenomenon can be seen elsewhere in Europe, too. It is the reason why the traditional political parties are rapidly losing the support of the people. 

Are reforms to free speech controls needed in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe to avoid further prosecutions of Islam’s critics? Is such reform possible? 

Islam is currently the greatest threat to the survival of our civilizations. People who warn against this threat, such as myself, are both threatened by Muslims who want to kill them for speaking the truth about Islam, and are at the same time prosecuted by the European authorities who want to silence them because they speak the truth about Islam. This is ridiculous. People should be allowed to speak the truth about the biggest danger that is currently threatening the survival of our Western civilization and the future prosperity and freedom of our children.

Posted on 10/23/2014 7:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 23 October 2014
The West Wins, in Spite of Itself

A merciful confluence of events is softening the impact of the foreign-policy errors of the United States and its traditional allies. It must be allowed that U.S. foreign policy in this new century has been a bipartisan failure. There has not really been a policy that could be sustained, or that any sane foreign-policy architect would wish to sustain for more than a few years. Through much of the Obama administration and the preceding Bush era, almost the entire ground-forces combat potential of the United States was mired in the Middle East, while the Western alliance has steadily loosened, and the United States has withdrawn toward its own shores. As has been endlessly recounted, the country has become, in Peggy Noonan’s phrase, “war-wary” — as the Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq Wars (though not the Gulf War of 1991) dragged on interminably and only the Korean and possibly Afghanistan Wars produced even a partially satisfactory outcome. Nowhere was the United States defeated militarily, but it suffered serious strategic setbacks in Vietnam and Iraq. The impulse to be less internationally adventurous is understandable, and the implosion of the Soviet Union drastically reduced the need for American-led resistance to anti-democratic forces in the world. From the end of the Cold War there was much talk of the “peace dividend,” and it was assumed that substantially less resources could be consecrated to national defense.

But as has been lamented here and elsewhere, as brilliant as the containment strategy, pursued from the Truman through to the elder-Bush administration, was, no articulated or consistent policy has succeeded it. George H. W. Bush spoke of a “new world order,” and he and his secretary of state, James Baker, had considerable aptitude for organizing foreign affairs. Amiable ad hoc policymaking followed with President Clinton, but with finesse in the expansion of NATO, firmness in the Straits of Formosa, and considerable grit in pursuing the North American Free Trade Area. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on New York and Washington understandably distracted the George W. Bush administration, which then propagated the theory that, as democracies don’t make war on one another, democracy should be indiscriminately promoted. This policy took no account of the fact that, when democratically consulted, countries not accustomed to democracy frequently elevate anti-democratic movements. This is what occurred in Gaza with Hamas, Lebanon with Hezbollah, and Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Obama administration has been incoherent and dissimulative: promoting democracy in Egypt and ignoring the undemocratic encroachments of the resulting Muslim Brotherhood, drawing and then backing off a red line in Syria, moving from “reset” with Russia to sanctions largely on the rich friends of the Kremlin, pretending that terrorism had been eliminated in the aftermath of the tragic fiasco at Benghazi, and snorting back at the unforeseen Islamic State only when it began jubilantly decapitating Americans on film. (This “junior varsity,” as the president described it, would not have arisen if the U.S. had not so abruptly withdrawn completely from Iraq, leaving the country to crumble under the ungrateful Iranian puppet Maliki. This was not the disposition for which Americans fought and died there.) The somewhat indecorous move to the exit in the Middle East was covered for a time with a lot of portentous talk about a “pivot to Asia” that in fact consisted of putting a small detachment of Marines at Darwin, Australia, which has not been troubled by an intruder since a Japanese air raid more than 60 years ago.

In general, it must be said that American foreign policy was spectacularly successful from Roosevelt’s quarantine Speech of 1937 through to the Democratic emasculation of the Nixon administration and abandonment of Indochina in 1973–75, that it fully recovered its senses with Reagan and Shultz and George H. W. Bush in the Eighties (though the Bush-Baker lectures in Kiev and Belgrade on the virtues of the Russian and Yugoslav federations were ill-considered)​, and that President Clinton’​s generally plausible improvisations in the Nineties did include mortally under-calibrated responses to the Khobar Towers, East African embassies, and USS Cole terrorist attacks that incited the outrage of 9/11. But there is no precedent in American history for foreign-policy planning to have simply walked off the cliff as it has in the last decade.

However, where deliberate policy has failed, the natural forces of regional power balances have miraculously come to the aid of the West.


As the United States has pulled back, most of its longtime allies have been exposed as having been egregious freeloaders. During the Cold War, the Europeans claimed that the greater risk imposed upon them by relative proximity to the Soviet threat could be fairly compensated for by the greater defense burden borne by the United States. When the Cold War ended and the Euro-federalists had the upper hand in Western Europe, there was much talk of a European strike force and “projection of Europe’s influence” in the world. It was all nonsense, of course; Bosnia was “the hour of Europe,” said the chief European official (Jacques Poos), but a few weeks later the Europeans were begging for American assistance. France’s President Sarkozy and Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron plunged into Libya to rid it of Moammar Qaddafi but ran out of ordnance in a few days and had to be resupplied by the United States.

Europe has no influence anywhere, and, among its important member states, the only ones pulling their weight are the British (almost always relatively reliable) and the Poles, who are, after all, on the edge of the historic volcano. Of the G-7 leaders (mercifully, Russia’s sojourn in that group has been terminated), Canada’s Harper talks a good game but he has so reduced Canada’s defense capability that his voice doesn’t count for much. Germany’s Merkel is also quite sound, but she has allowed German military capabilities to deteriorate badly and is hamstrung by the ideological schizophrenia of her grand-coalition partner, the Social Democrats. She has not even appreciably reduced German imports of Russian natural gas, though other and friendlier sources, especially Canada and the United States, are available. Japan’s Prime Minster Abe is energetic and clear-sighted, but is still struggling to end the prolonged agony of Japanese economic sluggishness. The American, British, and French leaders are not up to it, and the Italian leader has compromised authority in a divided and economically and politically demoralized country.

But in the vacuum left by the feckless lassitude of the U.S. and Western Europe, the Chinese have overplayed their hand in Burma and virtually been expelled, and in the China Sea they have brought together a tightening coalition of India (now under the most impressive and sensibly purposeful leader in its post-British history, Narendra Modi), Abe’s rearming Japan, Indonesia under its reform president-elect (Joko Widodo), the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia (now led by the strongest leader of the traditional Anglo-Saxon countries, Tony Abbott). As those countries, which are collectively 20 percent more populous and have a substantially larger collective GDP than China, spontaneously counteract Chinese friskiness, an unimaginably benign scenario is unfolding in the Middle East. Beneath the near-hysteria about 20,000 to 30,000 Islamic State fanatics, the West has won the bounce. The 900-pound gorilla in the room in the Middle East for 90 years, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, fumbled its way out of popularity and power and we dodged that bullet; and the Saudis, who have done much that has made it hard for us to like them and are a model of illiberal government, have become so exasperated with the antics of Iran in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Gaza, and with Russian meddling in the region, that they have sharply increased oil production. This, coupled with rising American production and the long-expected decline in Chinese oil imports as that country’s economic growth has slowed (despite the deafening decades-long alarm of those who thought the Chinese progress to headship of the world on a quick march was inexorable), has lowered the world oil price, from $100 per barrel to around $80. The Saudis can continue this to $50 without serious inconvenience to themselves, but Iran and Russia will be in financial extremis anywhere below $70. 

The Saudi oil-price offensive is the chief explanation for Russia’s sudden retreat from the Ukrainian border, and if Iran does not mend its ways, its economic condition will, in Hillary Clinton’s infamous threat, become “crippling” after all. This development coincides with the United States’s quiet strengthening of Israel’s ability to destroy the Iranian nuclear program from the air, on the condition that no such attack can be undertaken without American agreement (giving Washington plausible deniability). Such an Israeli strike would be greeted with relief, if mutedly, by the Turks, Saudis, and Egyptians, as the Jewish state would have done the world’s dirty work for it again. Turkey, though it should be advised that it is close to expulsion from NATO because of its adversarial behavior, has lightly supported the anti-Assad and anti-extremist forces in Syria. In the Middle East as in the Far East, the correlation of regional forces is realigning in terms that are convenient for the West. The Russian de-escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, under the Saudi pressure on oil prices, after completely outmaneuvering the Americans and Germans, is a bonus. It is a little like the Saudi-generated rollback of oil prices to squeeze the USSR in the mid Eighties, after the Reagan administration sold Saudi Arabia AWACS air-defense aircraft.

It is right that these regions should sort themselves out. It all could have been faster, less suspenseful, and more gratifying to the West if our own statesmen could claim any contribution to this dénouement (though Obama may deserve credit for helping to enable Israel opposite Iran, after long restraining and harassing that country). The contemptible defeatism of the Pentagon and the State Department over the heroic Kurdish defense of the Syrian town of Khobani is a particular contrast with the bold conduct of indigenous ISIS opponents. Let no one now doubt the occurrence of miracles: As our official statesmanlike aptitudes fled, fortune astonishingly appeared, clad mainly in the distinct apparel of the House of Saud. Americans may have more blessings than they imagined to keep in mind this Thanksgiving, even if their own leadership is not among them. 

First published in National Review.

— Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom,