By Alan Caruba
When one considers the damage to the nation’s economic system by the various ideologues appointed to Barack Obama’s cabinet during his first term, the nominations of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, and John Brennan, the president’s national security advisor, to head the Central Intelligence Agency, are a disaster waiting to happen as is the proposed nomination of Sen. John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
On March 13, 2012, I wrote a commentary, “Obama’s National Security Advisor ‘Went Native’ Years Ago” in which I cited a YouTube video in which Brennan praised Islam and Arab culture. At one point he addressed them in fluent Arabic. In 1996 he was the CIA station chief in Riyadh when a truck bomb killed U.S. servicemen. He has a long record of bad judgment and bad decisions regarding U.S. policy in the Middle East and one wonders if he had a hand in the Banghazi scandal cover-up that was initially passed off at a random attack triggered by a video no one had seen.
His rise to the top ranks of the CIA ensures his selection will influence its approach to the rise of Islamism throughout the Middle East, including Obama’s tilt toward the Muslim Brotherhood and its takeover of Egypt, and the current Syrian civil war in which al Qaeda is playing an active role beside the Syrian rebels seeking to remove its dictator. That said, Brennan gets credit for his reported role in the assassination of Osama bin Laden and further efforts to degrade al Qaeda. It is a curious juxtaposition given his admiration for Islam and Arabs in general.
The appointment of Chuck Hagel to head the Department of Defense would be an affirmation of a man who has opposed sanctions on Iran, opposed the surge during the Iraq War, and who is on record opposing a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by either the U.S. or Israel. He is well known for his antipathy for what he called the “Jewish lobby” in Washington, D.C. At a time when many factions threaten Israel, including the Iranian proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, his appointment is further confirmation of the Obama administration’s opposition to Israel’s right of self-defense, issues regarding its borders, and even the building of new housing to accommodate its growing population.
The U.S. military is being hollowed out in terms of its ability to both defend the homeland and to assert influence over global events that pose a threat to the U.S. Hagel is likely to continue this process. Sequestration alone will hasten that process.
A long-time opponent of the U.S. military is Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) who began his career in politics with testimony before Congress accusing it of war crimes in Vietnam. During his run for the presidency against George W. Bush, his actual record in combat was disclosed by a group called the Swiftboat Veterans and former POWs. The Department of State continues to “tilt” toward Islamists and recently ended the post-9/11 policy of restrictions on visas for Saudi Arabians despite the fact that Saudis were the majority of those who participated in the attack.
There has been a 60% increase in businessmen and students allowed to enter the U.S. since 2010.
Sen. Kerry is a proponent of President Obama’s belief that the U.S. must talk to its enemies in order to affect a change in their behavior. In practice this has rarely worked. The U.S. has been trying to talk with Iran since it took our diplomats hostage in1979 to no effect other than to give them the time to develop their nuclear program that threatens the entire Middle East and the West.
No replacement has been named for the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, but whoever it is will likely be just as bad. The EPA has released thousands of new regulations whose effect will be to slow or strangle any economic recovery. The EPA has launched an effort to regulate “fracking”, a technology that has opened up vast new reserves of natural gas, and the purpose will be to slow that progress.
What we have is a pattern of appointments, all of which, past and present, have wreaked havoc on the economy and on issues affecting defense and foreign policy.
Under the direction of the current Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, the coal industry has been harmed to include the closing of several coal-fired utilities that have provided electricity. The department has gained well-earned criticism for the billions it “invested” in failed solar energy and other “green” companies that swiftly went into bankruptcy and were often led by major Obama donors. The Department even advocates using algae, pond scum, as a green source of energy.
Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has done little—in concert with Attorney General Eric Holder—to protect our southwestern border against the flow of illegal aliens and potential terrorists. Several terrorist attacks in recent years were thwarted by airplane passengers, not the DHS. In the wake of the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal, Holder was held in contempt of Congress, the first AG to be censored. He has announced his intention to resign after the president’s second inauguration. Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, has also announced plans to retire.
There is no way to know how history will judge the record of Obama’s first appointments and first term, but if the proposed appointments clear Congress, it bodes ill for a nation that, since Obama’s election in 2008, has been consistently reduced from being the world’s greatest economy and looked to for its role since the end of WWII as the world’s “policeman”, exerting its power to thwart despots and others that would threaten world peace.
Many Americans have become so wary of the Obama agenda that they have been purchasing guns and ammunition in anticipation of a manufactured crisis that would end the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Others fear a further decline in the value of the U.S. dollar and await a major battle over raising the nation’s debt ceiling without steps to reduce the vast spending that has occurred in the past four years.
It is said that one is “known by his friends”, but the friends of Barack Obama have not been friends to America.
© Alan Caruba, 2013