The White House announced that once again, the United States would be reevaluating its defense partnership with the Republic of China on Taiwan. The administration decided last month that the arms package it would be selling to Taipei would be sorely reduced; the Pentagon has chosen not to sell Taiwan 66 late-model F-16 aircraft, a deal potentially valued at over $8 billion, after years of debate over whether to supply the free Chinese island with advanced strike aircraft to upgrade its aging air force. Instead, administration and congressional officials said the new arms package will include weapons and equipment to upgrade its existing F-16 jets, worth about $4.2 billion.
The Obama administration turned down the request from both Taipei and congressional Republicans; supporters of the sale say that the new F-16s, produced by Lockheed Martin, are needed to bolster Taiwan’s defenses against communist China’s growing air power and to produce jobs for the U.S. aerospace industry (a blatant example of Military Keynesianism at play — the belief that government-manufactured and taxpayer-funded defense commodities are somehow a feasible, economically-sound, and constitutional means of creating and sustaining jobs).
Red China and the Obama Administration
Experts believe that the primary reason why the Obama administration refused to sell Taiwan the new F-16s is its desire to improve relations with communist China. Rather than viewing China’s growth as a threat to American interests, Obama stated on January 19, 2011 (at a White House press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao), “We welcome China’s rise. I absolutely believe that China's peaceful rise is good for the world, and it's good for America,” arguing that the country’s economic progress benefits the United States and opens the door to greater international stability and humanitarian progress.
Even as the National Transitional Council (NTC) declared Libya “liberated” following the violent death of former strongman Col. Muammar Gadhafi, analysts were warning that civil war might continue to rage on as militia groups and armed factions struggle to seize power. And with real elections tentatively scheduled for 2013 at the earliest, the worst may be yet to come.
Western leaders have been demanding that all of the revolutionary groups unify behind the NTC. But widely divergent interests — including remaining pro-Gadhafi forces and victims of NATO bombings and rebel brutality — would seem to make that a difficult proposition, according to Libyans and outside analysts.
President Obama announced with much fanfare in an October 21 address to the nation that "as a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.... Today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over."
But Obama's own Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough acknowledged in a press conference the same day that the withdrawal from Iraq was more due to demands from the Iraqi government than from Obama's commitment to keep his campaign promises. "The security agreements negotiated and signed in 2008 by the Bush administration stipulated this date ... as the end of the military presence. So that has been in law now for — or been enforced now for several years. So it’s difficult to rebut the proposition that this was a known date." In essence, Obama trumpeted a troop withdrawal that he had little choice but to follow.
Indeed, Obama was most reluctant to follow through on his campaign promise. The National Journal reported October 22 that "as recently as last week, the White House was trying to persuade the Iraqis to allow 2,000-3,000 troops to stay beyond the end of the year. Those efforts had never really gone anywhere; one senior U.S. military official told National Journal last weekend that they were stuck at 'first base' because of Iraqi reluctance to hold substantive talks."
Despite the fact that Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Gadhafi was considered an important U.S. ally in the terror war as recently as 2009, top American lawmakers and Obama administration officials rushed to celebrate his reported violent death at the hands of NATO war planes and Western-backed revolutionaries. Several members of Gadhafi’s family, including children and grandchildren, have been killed recently as well.
American troops are once again becoming embroiled in another international conflict, this time in the beleaguered East African nation Uganda. In response to the ongoing conflict there between the Ugandan government and rebels associated with the Lord’s Resistance Army, President Barack Obama announced earlier this week that 100 soldiers would support the years-long fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is accused of horrific atrocities. The Obama administration said the troops will advise, not engage in combat, unless forced to defend themselves.
In a letter to Congress, President Barack Obama said that the troops will assist local forces in a long-running battle against the Lord's Resistance Army, considered one of Africa's most ruthless rebel groups, and help to hunt down its notorious leader, Joseph Kony. The first of the troops arrived in Uganda on Wednesday, the White House said, and others will be sent to South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite Obama’s claims of “limited intervention,” this latest American meddling in the affairs of another nation represents yet another example of the administration’s unconstitutional, internationalist adherence to the principles of “humanitarian intervention,” also known as the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” (RTP), the same theoretical basis for Obama’s intervention in Libya and former President Bill Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo.
Since news broke that there was an alleged plot by Iran to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel A. Al-Jubeir, and destroy a number of embassies, Iran has adamantly denied the accusations. Likewise, skeptics questioned whether the plot could have been staged by Iran, who would have had little to nothing to gain from such an endeavor, and claimed that the plot was uncharacteristic of Iranian terror. Others have asserted that the entire plot was in fact manufactured by American law enforcement agencies as an impetus for war against Iran. Adding yet another layer to this news story, Iran has come out and said that the plot was in fact planned by the French/Iraqi-based Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), which is actually funded and supported by the United States.
Last week, the United States charged American-Iranian Mansour Arbabsiar, a used car salesman, for his role in an alleged plot to murder Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the U.S. in a plan reportedly plotted earlier this year. According to the Justice Department, Arbabsiar conspired with Gholam Shakuri, a member of Iran’s Qods Force — an arm of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran immediately denied the accusations, with the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast declaring, “These attitudes, which are based on the age-old and hostile policies of the American-Zionist axis, are a ridiculous show in line with a scenario that aims to divide and that emanates from enemies of the region.”
Former Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed by militia groups during a battle to take the loyalist stronghold city of Sirte, National Transitional Council (NTC) officials announced on Thursday. His bloody body was then reportedly dragged through the streets.
Conflicting accounts of what may have happened flooded the press in the early hours of October 20. Most reports suggested, however, that a convoy carrying a fleeing Gadhafi and his top aides was bombed by NATO war planes after revolutionary forces overran most of Sirte.
Citing a variety of rebel fighters and war correspondents, some accounts claimed the tyrant had been wounded but captured alive. Other narratives said Gadhafi died from injuries sustained during a battle. And a few reports even suggested he was alive and well, though several videos would appear to contradict the notion.
Footage posted online showed revolutionary fighters shooting bullets into the air and celebrating as a man resembling Gadhafi lay lifeless and covered in blood. Chants of "Allah akbar" reportedly erupted among revolutionary fighters across Libya.
After months of NATO and rebel claims that the end was near for the Libyan dictatorship of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, it appears increasingly likely that the brutal regime is on its last legs. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even praised “Libya’s victory.” But it isn’t over yet.
Even as the National Transitional Council’s (NTC) forces surrounded key loyalist strongholds such as the city of Sirte, pro-Gaddafi troops were reportedly putting up stiff resistance. Fierce gun battles were still raging even in the capital despite rebels having announced the “fall” of Tripoli months ago.
This week the NTC began stepping up house-to-house searches and road-block checkpoints in search of Gaddafi loyalists in the capital. Pockets of armed resistance in Tripoli, including pro-regime demonstrations, continue to pop up as well.
Several days ago Gaddafi supporters bearing weapons marched out into the streets of various Tripoli neighborhoods chanting pro-regime slogans, according to news reports. NTC troops shouting “Allahu Akbarr” rushed to the demonstrations and fired on the crowds, leaving multiple casualties on both sides.