Category Archives: ISIS

The Professor and White House Information Flow

The Professor thought teaching political science at the honors level in the first 100 days of the Trump Administration is more demanding than I remember at any period in the past. Foreign policy, military operations, domestic legislative crisis with healthcare and tax reform. Now we have critics clamoring for more information regarding the President’s plans and intentions in Syria, North Korea and Afghanistan. In addition, the political talking heads are ranting about control of information in the White House. They are all showing they know not what they are mumbling about. But I must write a short note to my students. It will be three days before the next class.

Not to worry class this is only a few thoughts on the by-play of people who should know better. Recently former officials and socialist critics of the current Administration have been raving about the need to have one person in charge of information in the White House. Unless they mean the President and, they don’t, this is an exceedingly dumb and dangerous idea. President Trump maintains personal contact with the outside world, both foreign and domestic, better than any other president in my life time. The office of the President can be and very often is a very isolated position. While it may be difficult to get to the President, it is hard for him to develop and maintain multiple points of access.

If one person controls information flow in the White House, he or she can control the President and have an undue influence on presidential actions. The gate-keeper of the Oval Office can be a very powerful position. So, when you find yourself as a player in presidential politics in a few years, resist the efforts of the former players to control the flow of information in the White House. If the people have elected the right person, that person will be in charge.

My second concern is also directly related to information flow. The President’s opponents in both parties believe they are entitled to a complete plan on everything he has done or is planning to do. ‘Why doesn’t he give us his complete plans for dealing with North Korea, Syria, Russia and others? We in Congress or in the party of opposition deserve to know. It is our right!

No! It isn’t. You do not have the right. Only those with a legal need-to-know the information on a case-by-case basis have that right. While Obama ranted on about his military and foreign policy objectives, he never seemed to realize, or more likely to care, that you cannot tell most of the nation without telling the enemy in the process. For example, a far left socialist Senator demanded to know what foreign policy objective the President was trying to achieve with the cruise missile attack on a Syrian military airfield. How about the message, ‘if you use chemical weapons, again bad things will happen to you?’ Or to ISIS and the Taliban in Afghanistan. ‘You are no longer safe in caves or tunnels.’ Talking heads, journalist, media anchors on the left and right, senators and congressmen, repress your constant whining about being briefed in greater detail. It won’t make you any smarter or help you serve the people. The only measurable result will be giving our enemies a better chance of getting our secrets.

What’s is wrong with short policy statements like destroying ISIS, stopping North Korea and Iran from developing nuclear weapons they can deliver to America, pushing NATO members to pay their obligated military investments, reduce funding to the UN, protect our borders, renew our traditional relationships with Sunni Arabs, standby Israel,  pressure Russia to stop its aggressive acquisition of territory from other sovereign nations, and get better foreign trade deals?

What was the George Kennan policy during the Cold War? A single word, Containment. How, is what was done in secret with a strict need-to-know.

 

 

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The Professor: Russia, Hacking and the Election

“Okay! We’re all here. First the question period. I know you see this as a chance to listen to me rather than the reverse. That’s okay with me. You know by now I’m not the usual teacher. I want you to leave this University knowing how to think and find solutions to problems. Part of that is to encourage you to think outside the box. But that is only part of the process of analyzing problems and selling your solution. You must develop an instinct to know when thinking inside the box is just as important. Most complex problems require both kinds of thinking. Why search for a new type of solution when there is an existing one that works well?

“So, who has a question they would like me to discuss?”

The Professor pointed at Alison and said, “Alison, let’s hear your question.”

“TV and the print media are constantly railing about the Russians hacking into our elections to favor President-elect Trump. It sounds like this is more about partisan politics than it is about Russian influence. What is really going on?”

“I think you know most of the answer, but I’ll tell you what I think. Great powers have been intercepting the communications of both opponents and friends throughout history. Hacking, as a form of collection, is at least five decades old. From a very primitive beginning, it has gotten much more sophisticated. The point here is that all powerful nations are engaged. So no one should be surprised that foreign nations will attack our communications systems, particularly those used by important people who don’t have the sense to protect their information. Hacking is not an act of war. A hacking attack on the national grid, the transportation system and some others would be. But senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain, who are making such a scene about wanting to punish the Russians and discredit the landslide victory of Donald Trump over the hacking and disclosure of emails associated with the Clinton campaign, are just over-heated politicians who can only be cured by term limits.

“These two senators sat through the entire tenure of the Obama Administration and, even with a Republican Congress, did next to nothing to stop the destruction of our military forces, the mistreatment of veterans, and the alienation of our allies. Closing of Guantanamo Bay and stopping Trump seems to be their main agenda.

“The Obama intelligence organizations have decided that the Russians were attempting to influence the election by releasing hacked items from Democratic email servers. President-elect Trump doesn’t trust their analysis. He shouldn’t. These are the ranking officials that lied about the Benghazi ‘talking points,’ refused to conduct a real investigation of Hillary Clinton’s illegal server and the consequent mishandling of highly classified material, and produced intelligence on ISIS to fit the White House view of them as the junior varsity. Are these people to be trusted? I think not. The rank and file of the several intelligence organizations are solid, hard-working men and women who take incredible personal risks to serve the nation, but their leadership is suspect.

“I don’t believe anyone in the Obama Administration wants a real investigation of Russian, Chinese or other hackers. Too much would be uncovered, such as what classified material did these hackers get from the Clinton email server.

“Bottom line is that what is going on is a failed President leaving office and trying to rewrite his record and constrain his successor.”

 

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Filed under Barry Kelly, Clinton, Conservative views, democrats, Eight Decades of Insights, Intelligence & Politics, ISIS, Obama, political solutions, Progressives, Republicans, Russia, trump

The Professor’s op-ed on the Middle East and the U.S.

In between honors classes one day, the Professor thought, “I just can’t stand it any longer. No one is telling the people the truth about the Middle East. Does the Obama Administration and the Clinton campaign think we are too dumb? Trump’s instincts are good, but he needs to bone up on the area. The Russians are not in the Middle East to fight ISIS and Putin is not about to make any deals that do not further his plan to hold a naval base on the Mediterranean and to be a major on the ground player in the oil patch. I just have to write an op-ed piece.”

He pulled his keyboard toward him, looked out over the bay, and began to write.

First, there are a couple of truths about our strategic past in the Middle East. Forget the lines and names drawn on maps of the Middle East. Think of the area divided between the Sunni Muslims and the Shia Muslims with the nation of Israel maintaining a stronghold in the midst of the struggle for dominance by the Shia and Sunnis. The Iranians are the leaders of the Shias and the Saudis, Arabs of the Gulf States and Egypt leading the Sunni opposition.

ISIS, al-Qaeda and their splinter groups are Sunni. The Obama-Clinton group has thrown American support to the Iranians, who want to use their new power to dominate the Middle East. President Obama always intended to follow the Shia/Iranian lead. That is why the abrupt pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq as soon as Obama came to power. The Iranians wanted the U.S. forces out of Iraq so that the Iraqi Shia could assume full control over the Iraqi military and economy and oust Sunnis from the military and government. (Remember, the Iraqi led Sunni government under Saddam Hussein fought a very bloody war against the Iranians.)

The Iraqi Shia government is now firmly allied with Iran. This is a government in name only. Iranians control all major moves in their drive to control a Shia empire of what is now Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. ISIS with all the terrible atrocities they have committed represented Sunni opposition to Iranian strategic goals. When they are destroyed, the strongest power on the ground will be Iran. When Mosel falls, it will be with the heavy involvement of Iranian weapons and ground forces. The Turks will stay within their territory and the only other viable fighting force, the Kurds, will be isolated with dreams of their own homeland shattered. With all of the talk from Washington about arming the Kurds, we never did. The Iranians and the Turks do not want the Kurds to be armed with modern weapons. All the arms we said were being sent to the Kurds went through the Baghdad Shia government that never sent them onward. The Obama Administration, of course, knew the Kurds would never receive the weapons. There is literally nothing the Iranians want that the Obama/Clinton group will not do their best to supply. Just look at the recent deal Obama made with Iran on their nuclear weapons program. While not called a treaty, that was what this deal is. Why take that route? Simply a way to avoid the need for Congressional ratification. We, the people, and Congress still have not seen all the pieces of this executive action.

On the Russian side, Putin is a modern day czar of Russia. His goal is to re-establish as much of the old Soviet Empire as possible. The weakness of the Obama presidency has given him a grand opening. For many centuries, Russian czars dreamed and planned to acquire a warm-water port for their navy. Without firing a shot or endangering Russian soldiers, he has acquired Tartus in Syria as a Russian warm-water port. That is now a fact. The fleet is there and weapons to defend it are in place. Putin will do what he must to support Assad. He is not in Syria to fight ISIS. Aleppo is the only evidence anyone should need. ISIS was not there but Syrian anti-Assad forces were. The city is now rubble as a result of Russian historic lack of concern for collateral deaths when their critical national interests are involved. Since Iran is the local protector and supporter of Assad and Syria, Putin will make any deal necessary with Iran to protect his naval base at Tartus and his new role in Middle Eastern oil. Obama’s plan for Iranian hegemony in the Middle East is on solid ground with both U.S. and Russia supporting Iran and the Shia Muslims.

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INSIGHTS 274: National Security managers versus Donald Trump

 This week, 50 national security bureaucrats signed a document stating Donald Trump wasn’t fit to be Commander-in-Chief. Devastating? Not really!

National security specialists look at the world through a very murky lens. They are often wrong about their own specialty. In fact, some noteworthy national security advisors have missed what have been called the most important security issues of our times.

This whole class of self-designated security elitists have presided over the decline of American power and prestige. They lacked the courage and honor to stand up and be counted during the terrible Obama wartime decisions. They knew the military power of the United States was being systematically diminished. They knew about the fiasco over Benghazi and the failure of the leadership to even try to rescue the valiant men who died there. They knew the Obama infatuation with Iran was leading to a terrible deal that would reward the No. 1 terrorist sponsor in the world. They knew we should not have withdrawn all our forces from Iraq. They knew the Obama polices were failing to deal with Syria and the growth of ISIS. They knew Putin intends to reconstitute the Russian empire and that the Chinese were expanding their dominance in the China Sea. And they all stood quietly by, obeying orders from an administration they knew had a view of the world very far from reality.

Where were their petitions and outcries then? Why didn’t they resign in protest? To resign and protest in the face of a vindictive leader takes honor and courage. It seems these critical characteristics were missing. These men are not leaders. They are merely failed managers who valued their careers over the needs of the nation.


Donald Trump scares these timid managers. None of them would last in a Trump administration.

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Filed under Barry Kelly, Conservative views, Eight Decades of Insights, Intelligence & Politics, Iran, ISIS, Middle East, Obama, Putin, trump

INSIGHTS 272 IRAQ: WHAT’S HAPPENING?

iraqAt best Iraq, is a small Shiite nation with a port on the Persian Gulf and with a rich heritage of Shiite sites and some oil fields. Its past history of being a Middle Eastern military power capable of challenging Iran is gone. Its military was largely made up of Sunni tribes and Kurds; it is now almost purely Shiite. The United States moved from being Iraq’s most powerful enemy to being its primary supporter.

As its enemy, America destroyed Hussein’s military and political infrastructure. As its supporter, we presided over Iraq’s demise and the rise of ISIS. The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon still call the area that Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq. But it no longer exists. It evaporated with the withdrawal of American presence years ago. When the Pentagon and the State Department speak of the progress of the Iraqi Army they support, they are talking about the Shiite Army under Baghdad control. Any success of the Iraqi army on the battlefield is dependent solely on American and Iranian forces.

The Iraqi Army could not take Fallujah and hold it without American and Iranian support. The same is true for Mosel. Iranian militias will continue to provide the Iraqi Army with thousands of Shiite ground troops. The only winner in what used to be Iraq will be Iran. When very weak but rich nations border powerful nations, they often end up being absorbed. The term Iraq may continue to refer to Baghdad and areas South, but it will most likely be a province of Iran. I believe the White House is totally prepared for Iran to absorb Iraq.

When America and its allies defeat ISIS, they must be careful not to let the entire area of Sunni Tribes and Kurds also be absorbed by Iran. You can draw up a scenario which shows an American led coalition victory over ISIS could end up adding territory, people and oil wealth to Iran. Neither the Kurds or the Sunnis, alone or together, can withstand Iran. Only U.S. forces can do that. Under this administration or a Clinton progressive follow on, American forces will not be deployed against Iran. The transformation strategy of the Obama era for the Middle East will have taken a giant step forward.

 

My latest novel, The Sub Rosa Manuscript, gives, I believe, a clear understandable account of the steady erosion of the personal and economic freedom we inherited from the sacrifices of those who went before us. It is now our turn to protect our inheritance by rejecting the empty promises of progressivism.

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