Nov 14

Guest Column: Senator Mike Rounds – Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy Legacy

(I wanted to share this column with Rushmore PAC members, as it sums up the work we have ahead in undoing the damage that President Obama has done to our foreign policy – Dan)

Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy Legacy
By Senator Mike Rounds
November 10, 2016

Rounds_official_photoSince President Obama took office nearly eight years ago, the world has changed considerably. During his time in office, ISIL rose to prominence due to the administration’s determination to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq. Iran has ascended as a regional destabilizing power, and it remains on a path to acquire nuclear weapons. The U.S. effort to combat the Taliban in Afghanistan faces potential under-resourcing. Russia has increased its nuclear arsenal and continues its aggression against Ukraine. In Libya, the administration half-heartedly led a U.S. military intervention, only to abandon the mission prematurely, which has created another destabilized country within which terrorists seek safe haven to plot attacks against our homeland.

 

Recently, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), John Brennan, testified to Congress that “Despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach.” It is clear that the president’s current course to defeat ISIL and terrorism abroad is not working. We need more proactive efforts and not more delayed, reactionary half-steps if we are to truly defeat the terrorist organization, stop the terrorist group’s online radicalization and keep Americans safe from ISIL-inspired attacks here at home.

 

A side effect of the instability and chaos in the Middle East is a dramatic increase in refugees. In Syria alone, the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner on Refugees estimates that nearly 4.8 million Syrian refugees have fled the country and another 6.6 million are internally displaced within the country. In Libya, nearly 2.5 million are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN News Center. Russia, , recently indicated that it would not consider a humanitarian ceasefire to allow refugees, anti-government fighters and injured citizens to escape Syria safely, or allow aid vehicles to deliver food and medical supplies to those unable to flee.

 

While most refugees are being relocated in Europe, many Americans are concerned about the prospect of a terrorist slipping into the United States, taking advantage of the refugee program. Refugees have been coming to America for generations seeking safety from war-torn regions of the world. I support efforts to help others seek shelter from persecution. However, we must be cautious to protect our own national security. While we as global leaders should take steps to assist in humanitarian efforts when possible, I believe our current refugee admission program needs further safeguards to make sure the refugees we admit have no ties to terror organizations and make sure refugees properly assimilate into American society.

 

As events continue to unfold around the world, many have wondered from where our foreign policy problems stem. I agree with other elected officials and experts that many foreign policy failures are a symptom of this administration’s “leading from behind” mentality. In less than three months, a new president, with the guidance of experts with new ideas as well as a new Congress, will have an opportunity to reset our foreign policy. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I look forward to working with the new administration and my colleagues on a new direction for our country which includes stronger leadership to protect our citizens, advance our global interests and support our allies abroad.

Dec 08

New Words for a New World

IMG_4550.JPGText of speech outline delivered by Newt Gingrich at NDU on December 1, 2015.

Posted with permission of Speaker Gingrich

We are living in a world rapidly evolving away from the mental constructs and language of the last 375 years. These ideas can be traced to the Treaty of Westphalia ending the 30 Years War in 1648 and  Grotius proposal of a system of International Law in the same era. The ideas were then extended through the development of state warfare culminating in the Napoleonic Wars.

This intellectual framework was applied and reapplied through two World Wars and the Cold War. It is the framework within which academic and bureaucratic careers were made and are still being made.

It is now a framework which distorts reality, hides from uncomfortable facts, and cripples our ability to develop an effective national security and foreign policy.

The gap between the old world in our heads and the new world we now find ourselves in is so large that the very language of the past blocks us from coming to grips with an emerging future that will be radically different.

Consider these challenges to the old intellectual order:

  1. We are in a Long War which could easily last 100 years or more, which will transcend all national boundaries and which ignores or rejects a century of work trying to routinize and tame warfare.
  2. There are technological and doctrinal breakouts on the horizon which will challenge our very survival. ElectroMagnetic Pulse, cyber war, loyalties to religiously inspired movements transcending traditional concepts of patriotism, militarization of space, are examples of breakouts which will reach require new thinking and new organizations and doctrines.
  3. The Chinese system of strategic competition in a world of “no war,no peace” ( see Sun Tzu’s the Art of War with its injunction that the greatest of all generals win bloodless victories as an initial starting point for Chinese strategies of blending war and peace into one continuum) as illustrated by the nine dash line and the long project to assume sovereignty over the entire South China Sea is an example of how different that competition will be. The ongoing cyber competition is a good example of the blurring of war and non war boundaries. This pattern is actually historically more normal than the American effort to draw a sharp line between war and peace.
  4. Russia is re-emerging as an opportunistic,predatory state with loyalty to its self defined national interests rather than to any theory of international legality. The Russian nuclear arsenal requires us to think much more deeply about how we communicate with and seek to negotiate with Russia. Managing the evolving Russian challenge may require more 19th century Real politick in the Bismarck-Disraeli tradition and less reliance on legalisms.
  5. The sobering reality is that we are at the end of the 70 year strategy of attempting to contain the spread of nuclear weapons and at the beginning of a dangerous new era of coping with the threat of nuclear weapons. The gap between the new dangers and the old thinking can be seen in the totally inadequate design of the Department of Homeland Security. As originally proposed in the Hart-Rudman Commission’s work in 2000 this department should be sized to handle simultaneous nuclear events in three different cities. Today, 15 years later, it could not adequately handle one nuclear event. Yet the spread of nuclear capability to North Korea, Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere virtually guarantees weapons could be used in the near future. We now have to develop a two prong strategy which both focuses diplomatically on minimizing their spread and the danger of their use and focuses national security and homeland security assets on surviving nuclear events if diplomacy fails.
  6. Lawfare combined with ubiquitous regular media and social media coverage is creating new ground rules for the effective use of force in defense of American safety. For two generations we have allowed lawyers, media members, and non governmental organizations to define an ever more complex and more unwieldy set of ground rules. The efforts to turn war into criminal justice and to find “humane” methods of waging war have largely come at the expense of American national security. Confronted by enemies like Islamic Supremacists who don’t care about either the rule or law or the public opinion pressures created by visible violence, the United States will find itself at increasingly one sided disadvantages.  The notion of “bringing to justice” those who attacked us on 9/11 or Paris this November is absurd. Not only do we need to move the lawyers, NGOs and media to the side, but our new leaders must communicate directly and bluntly the nature of the threats we face, and make it plain that we all must sacrifice something if we want this nation to endure. We have to cease treating our enemies with the kind of disdain (the “J.V. team” comment, for example) that allows our leaders to demand little of themselves and nothing of us.
  7. As I noted at the beginning, we are engaged in a Long War. Hollywood began recognizing that war with movies like Black Sunday 38 years ago (1977) in which a Palestinian group sought to kill thousands at a Super Bowl. Today, 36 years after the Iranian illegal seizure of the American Embassy and year long hostage crisis, 22 years after the first bombing of the World Trade Center, 17 years after the bombing of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, 15 years after the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, 14 years after the attack of 9/11killed 2,996 people, we need to have the courage to face the facts. We are losing the Long War. Our elites in America and Europe have an enormous resistance to dealing honestly and effectively with the Islamic Supremacists who seek to kill us and destroy our civilization. Until we can find accurate words to describe the realities of the Long War we have no hope of even beginning to win it.  We have to recognize that this Long War may require totally new approaches completely outside the American historic experience. Furthermore the enemy’s ability to adapt may force us to dramatically shift away from the traditional “American Way of War”.
  8. The Long War will last at least 50 to 100 years unless there is a disaster so large the West is compelled to mobilize with ruthless efficiency and destroy the capacity for Islamic Supremacists to function. We have no language or doctrine for sustaining a century long struggle in a free society. We have no serious efforts underway in our national security community to even begin thinking about such a long war. We certainly have no plans or systems which enable America to cope with technological breakouts, Chinese scale and complexity, Russian opportunism and a Long War simultaneously. We also have no plans to communicate with the American people and organize understanding among Americans to sustain a century long effort which will inherently be both foreign and domestic. Since we can’t talk with ourselves it is no wonder we can’t build support among our allies.
  9. As i outline in my new novel, Duplicity, Islamic Supremacism is a virus and has to be seen as an epidemiological phenomenon. Seen in this context the internet and social media are the centers of gravity for the Long War. Any effort which focuses on geographic campaigns, such as defeating ISIS in Syria and Iraq, is by definition a misunderstanding of the Long War. Our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for the last 14 years have failed in large part because we have no larger strategic context of defeating Islamic Supremacists within which to orient them. Imagine we had confused Guadalcanal for World War Two and you can see how far we have to go to rethink our current activities. It will be extraordinarily hard to get our national security bureaucracies and professionals to admit how big the failures are and how deep the change has to be. It will be even harder to get our political elites to understand how badly we are losing and how much we must rethink our current analyses, strategies, and activities.
  10. The biggest zone of controversy will be the inherently transnational nature of the Long War. Because Islamic Supremacism is a virus and because it spreads through the internet and social media it will require strategies and institutional relationships which have both domestic and foreign operating capabilities. We have to study the American struggle against Nazis in the 1930s (the House Un-American Activities Committee was established in 1938 to go after Nazi penetration of the United States). We have to study the frighteningly effective Soviet penetration of the American government in the 1930s and 1940s and the systematic government response to eliminate Soviet spies, agents and sympathizers. The history of other countries and their campaigns to eliminate penetrations by foreign enemies also should become part of such a study.
  11. Unavoidability is the first key to understanding the scale of the national security challenge we face. Whether we want to fight Islamic Supremacists or not is irrelevant. They intend to fight us. Whether we would like to live in a world of extreme nuclear danger or not is irrelevant. Every year countries like North Korea, Pakistan and Iran get more nuclear capability. Whether we want to deal with domestic subversion and domestic enemies or not is irrelevant. As Paris just proved once again, ignoring your enemies doesn’t mean they will ignore you. In fact it may create space for them to become more dangerous and more lethal.
  12. The sheer range and complexity of challenges and the speed with which any one problem can erupt requires a new approach to monitoring threats and managing responses. Just as we had to develop fleet and theater information integration systems to cope with speed and complexity we will have to build national command systems that integrate all departments and all sources of information.the Army Training and Doctrine Commands new emphasis on complexity is a welcome step in this direction. Their new doctrine manual “Win in a Complex World” is an important step in the right direction,a
  13. Rethinking national strategy on this scale takes time and inevitably involves very intense arguments. The emergence of the American response to the Soviet challenge after World War Two is a good example. George Kennan wrote his 8,000 word “long telegram” analyzing the Soviet’s as a global threat in February, 1946. It set the stage for a four year process of policy development culminating in the April, 1950 adoption of NSC 68 outlining the containment strategy for the Cold War. If it took the generation who fought in World War One and led the country in World War Two four years of thinking we shouldn’t be surprised if it takes us a lot of argument, thinking and innovation to develop a grand strategy for the 21st century. It has to be done but it wont be done easily.
  14. Our first assignment is to look at facts and develop new words and new constructs to accurately describe what we are facing. Until we have done that we will be crippled by the very words we use and the obsolete ideas we are trapped in.

Jul 22

John Kerry and Lies About Iran

From my email box from Newt Gingrich and originally published at the Washington Times.


John Kerry and Lies About Iran
 

Photo credit: The Telegraph: MARTIAL TREZZINI / POOL

 

Secretary of State John Kerry entered politics 45 years ago on a platform of opportunistic anti-Americanism and false peace with totalitarianism. Then as now mistaking dishonor for political heroism, Mr. Kerry lied to the American people to justify his preferred policy of weakness and surrender. And as he proved this week, he’s still at it, with Mr. Kerry the “peacemaker” in the leading role.

Mr. Kerry himself drew the Vietnam connection at the close of the negotiations in Vienna, when each of the officials had the chance to speak about “what this meant to them.” According to Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, Mr. Kerry told the room he saw the Iran deal as a part of the anti-war activism he has been engaged in since he was 22 — “that’s what this was all about.”
Is it any wonder, then, that a 1960s activist who told Congress, without evidence, that he had witnessed U.S. soldiers committing atrocities in Vietnam (and later conceded he hadn’t) now appears on Sunday shows as secretary of state to make utterly untrue claims about the administration’s surrender to Iran?

Indeed, almost every key point Secretary Kerry made in defense of the Iran deal on political talk shows this week was untrue.

Mr. Kerry claimed that Iran’s breakout time (the period required to have a full nuclear weapon) will “never go to zero.” But as Fox News Sunday pointed out, President Obama himself said in April that by the later years of the agreement, Iran’s breakout times “would have shrunk almost down to zero.” Mr. Kerry, apparently, is relying on some technicality to evade a fact even the president openly admits.

Mr. Kerry repeatedly claimed that “there is no country anywhere on this planet that has anywhere, anytime [inspections]. There is no such standard within arms control inspections,” as he put it on Fox News. “This is a term that, honestly, I never heard in the four years that we were negotiating,” he said on CBS. “It was not on the table.”

This is a shameless lie. “Anytime, anywhere” access has been a widely discussed component of the Iran negotiations. It is simply impossible to believe that Mr. Kerry has never heard the term. And in April of this year, a senior aide to the president on national security matters told Jake Tapper on CNN that “under this deal, you will have anywhere, anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has.” The secretary of energy (with whom Mr. Kerry made several appearances on Sunday) told Bloomberg in April that “we expect to have anywhere, anytime access.”

This is just the beginning of an outrageous parade of untruths and dishonesty from Mr. Kerry about what the Iran deal actually says, what the U.S. initially sought, what concessions the administration made, and what officials have said in the past about their negotiations.

But what of Mr. Kerry’s closing statement in Vienna that the Iran deal is a triumph for peace — that it was about making sure a war like Vietnam never happens again? Well, his negotiating partners obviously do not see the deal the same way.

As the Middle East Media Research Institute reported, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reaffirmed in a television address last week that when Iran says “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” it really does mean it.

“The slogans of the Iranian nation on Al-Qods Day show what its position is,” he said. “The slogans ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America’ have resounded throughout the country, and are not limited to Tehran and the other large cities. The entire country is under the umbrella of this great movement [of ‘Death to America’].”

It is beyond alarming that Mr. Kerry — or anyone else in the Obama administration — can fail to take at their word fanatics who openly seek nuclear weapons while chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” on national television. The deal is no victory for peace. It’s a surrender to a violent and dangerous regime.

Your Friend,

Newt

Jun 23

Rushmore PAC helps to secure a win again!

Since it’s inception, the Rushmore PAC has worked hard to ensure success in electing conservative pro-growth candidates to office at all levels through both our Federal PAC, as well as our State PAC. And the recent city elections in South Dakota continue to show that the Rushmore PAC can make it happen.

 

allenderSteve Allender – Mayor Elect, Rapid City.

Mayor Elect Steve Allender of Rapid City was in an uphill battle to become mayor of South Dakota’s second largest city against an entrenched incumbent. And Rushmore PAC is proud to note that we were able to step in and make a difference.

Through donations and technical advice, we stepped in behind the scenes to help make sure that the campaign had adequate funding to get a message of growth and conservative values out throughout the election.

In the final days, the race tightened, and Allender began moving ahead. And he was able to raise his hand in victory on election night when he won 54-46%

 

Swanson_9157-150x150Laure Swanson – City Council, Aberdeen, SD.

Aberdeen City Councilwoman Laure Swanson was unexpectedly challenged in one of the years’ oddest elections when she faced an opponent from the far left. One of the state’s most liberal bloggers, Cory Heidelberger, who once supported a convicted felon who committed crimes against the elderly for office because they ran against a Republican, took out papers to challenge Swanson within a day or so of moving into her community.

Rushmore PAC put out a call to raise $1000 for Swanson’s local race, and quickly assembled a number of small donations from the area to help her get her positive message of economic development and community growth out.

After Laure hit the campaign trail and pushed hard the entire election, with less than a week to go before the election, Heidelberger curiously announced his withdrawal from the contest. Despite the fact it was too late to remove his name from the ballot.

Swanson handily captured the victory 78-22%.

 

Operating from the halls of Congress to City Council chambers, those are just two of the recent elections where Rushmore PAC was able to make a difference.   When you make a donation to Rushmore PAC, you can be sure that we continue to elect conservative Leaders for today, and for the next generation.

Donate to Rushmore PAC today!

 

Apr 01

Rushmore PAC seeking South Dakota Candidates. Experience a plus. Carpetbaggers can just forget it.

Tonight, the Rushmore PAC started a campaign to aid a candidate for a small local race for City Commission in Aberdeen, South Dakota. 

And you might be asking “Why?”.  We get involved in big races, we get involved in fierce races, we get involved in legislative races.

And here was a good public servant in no office of that type, Laure Swanson, in Aberdeen who was minding her own business, doing her job, and representing her district. All of a sudden, a liberal crusader who writes a a liberal attack blog, and spends many of his waking moments over the last half-decade attacking conservatives just because they are of a different party than he, decides to move into the state, into Ms. Swanson’s district, and run for the office to try take her out after living in the area an entire 6 weeks.

6 weeks? That just doesn’t sound right, does it? 

So, we’re going to raise $1000 for her in solidarity. There’s no big reason behind it. Except that being involved in the political process, you get a sense of right and wrong. And it’s wrong for a bully to move into the district from out of state to try to take her out. 

Click to help us reach our goal

If you’re so inclined, we hope you’ll help us out on this. For no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.

Click here to keep good conservative public servants in office – and keep liberal carpetbaggers out.

Mar 28

It’s time for America to support her allies in the middle east. Not her ‘frenemies’

Do you know what I’m referring to when I mention the slang term ‘frenemies?’  It’s referring to someone who is a false friend; someone who says what you want to hear to your face, but turns around and attacks you at every turn.   That’s not someone who you want to put a lot of trust in. Because it will come back to haunt you in the end. 

That’s why I’m confused at President Obama’s treatment of Israel, a longtime ally of the United States, versus how he is behaving with Iran, a long enemy of the state, who we’re only recently talking with in order to curtail their nuclear ambitions. 

With our long-time ally, the Obama administration has done everything it can to undermine the current Israeli administration.   They rebuked Israel when President Netanyahu came to address our congress to express concern over a potential nuclear nightmare if Iran were to get the nuclear weapons they’re actively pursuing. Previously, the administration had went so far as to threaten to shoot down Israeli planes in 2014, according to reports attributed to a Kuwaiti newspaper.

Yet when it comes to Iran, who has attacked our interests, been a state sponsor of terrorism, has a dismal record of human rights, and is pursing nuclear weapons, what does the president do?   He intentionally omits Iran from the United States’ terror threat list despite being consistently included as a threat in previous years.

Why?

According to Israel, it’s believed that it comes as a result of the United States’ talks with Iran about a nuclear deal.  

Possibly because there are those in the Obama administration that think if Iran suddenly talks nice to our face, they’ll magically become nice. Why, they may even stop sponsoring terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, who blow up American embassies, attack American military barracks, and kill American servicemen.  

People who believe such things also believe unicorns will sprinkle fairy dust over the land, making us all like each other.  Unfortunately, people who believe in such things are not dealing in reality.

The truth is that we need to trust our allies, and be very wary of those who attack America. When Netanyahu says there cannot be a two state solution for Israel until the Palestinians unify, demilitarize, and commit to peace, we should trust the man who lives there, and is charged with keeping Israelis safe from attack.

When our Senators, including US Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, sign a letter to the Iranian government putting them on notice that not everyone in Washington believes in unicorns and fairy dust, and that they fully intend to ensure any agreement will be subject to congressional approval , we should give them at least a minimal amount of consideration that they’re looking out for our best interests. 

This week, Israelis, faced with concerns that the president of their best ally in the west, the United States, might be heading down the wrong track, even though his hard line had been under criticism, they opted for their nation’s safety, and re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu to be the Prime Minister of Israel.  

As Americans, that’s something we should not ignore. 

In deciding how to approach Iran, we need to decide which of our friends we should listen to when it comes to the stability of the region.  Should we listen to our friend Israel, who has been a strong ally since the state came into existence? Or should we listen to our new friend Iran who (still) ends Friday prayers with chants of “Death to America!”

I know which one I’m going to choose

Feb 13

Governor Daugaard encourages President to sign the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

This was a good move by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard – Great Job!

Governors Urge President Obama To Reconsider Keystone XL

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has joined with other governors from across the country to urge President Obama to reconsider his decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline bill.

“If built, the pipeline would transport about 100,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken. That would help alleviate some of the congestion we’re experiencing with our rail system and allow farmers better access to ship their products to market,” said Gov. Daugaard. “In making his decision, I hope the President will take the needs of South Dakota and other states into consideration.”

Twenty-two governors signed the Keystone XL letter which details how the United States would benefit from the pipeline. The governors cite support from some of the nation’s largest labor unions and the State Department Analyses which concluded that the project will not have a significant environmental impact.

The U.S. House approved the Senate version of the Keystone XL bill yesterday by a 270 to 152 vote. The bill now goes to the President.

–30–

Feb 10

Rounds, Toomey stand strong for America, and against Islamic Terrorism.

About 2 weeks ago, a measure was brought in front of the Senate Banking Committee to bring sanctions against the terrorist regime of Iran. South Dakota’s newest representative in the US Senate, Senator Mike Rounds, took a decidedly different path than his predecessor, Senator Tim Johnson.  While Johnson made a particular point to follow President Obama blindly, on the 29th of January, unlike his predecessor, Mike Rounds decidedly diverged from the President, and followed a hard- line against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

But, this should come as nothing new to South Dakotans.  When serving as Governor, Now Senator Rounds signed the Iran Divestment Bill in SD as Governor to ensure that South Dakota would force state-controlled pension and trust funds to divest themselves of more than $68 million worth of stock in foreign companies doing business in Iran.

On the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, Iran manufactured and distributed weapons used in attacks against members of the American military in Iraq. Rounds took a definitive stand then to divest the State of South Dakota from companies doing business in Iran – money which flowed to terrorism in a number of ways, including through tax dollars and oil royalties.

And Rounds wasn’t the only one on the Committee who stood for our soldiers.  In the Committee, Senator Pat Toomey gave a powerful speech at the Committee Hearing, which I’ve embedded for your review below.

With Senators like Mike Rounds, and Pat Toomey, we stand a strong chance of sending the right message to Iran – If you want to be accepted as a member of the world community in good standing, stop your support of terrorism.

Jan 15

Why We Are Losing To Radical Islam

IMG_4550.JPGBy Newt Gingrich

The United States has been at war with radical Islamist terrorism for at least 35 years, starting with the November 1979 Iranian seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and taking of 52 American hostages. President Jimmy Carter , in his State of the Union address two months later, declared the American captives “innocent victims of terrorism.”

For the next two decades, radical Islamist terrorism grew more powerful and more sophisticated. On Sept. 11, 2001, a remarkably sophisticated effort by Islamist terrorists killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York City, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania.

In response to the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor, President George W. Bush told a joint session of Congress: “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

We have clearly failed to meet that goal. After more than 13 years of war, with thousands of Americans dead, tens of thousands of Americans wounded, and several trillion dollars spent, the U.S. and its allies are losing the war with radical Islamism. The terrorists of Islamic State are ravaging Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram is widening its bloody swath through Nigeria, al Qaeda and its affiliates are killing with impunity in Somalia, Yemen and beyond, and the Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan. The killings in Paris at Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket are only the most recent evidence of the widening menace of radical Islamism.

Confronted with the atrocities in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told his people on Jan. 10 that they were at war: “It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.”

Yet France, like the U.S. government, doesn’t have a strategy for victory in this war. Ad hoc responses to attacks have failed to stop the growing threat. We remain vulnerable to a catastrophic attack (or series of smaller attacks) that would have dark and profound consequences for the American people and for freedom around the world.

The U.S. and its allies must now design a strategy to match a global movement of radical Islamists who sincerely want to destroy Western civilization.

Congress should lead the way, first by convening hearings that outline the scale and nature of the threat. Additional hearings should seek advice from a wide range of experts on strategies to defeat radical Islamists.

Understanding the global threat, outlining strategies that might lead to its defeat, identifying the laws and systems that need to be changed to implement those strategies—all are complex problems that will require months to sort out. But the American people will rise to the challenge if they are given the facts about the real dangers we face.

Here is an outline of the sequence of topics that Congress should investigate:

1) The current strength and growth rate of radical Islamists around the world. We need a detailed sense of the total picture. The scale of the threat from this nihilistic global movement, I suspect, will be stunning.

2) The country-by-country danger. Americans simply don’t realize how dire the situation is in specific areas. Boko Haram has killed thousands more people in Nigeria alone than Ebola has in all of Africa, according to data compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Centers for Disease Control. One or more hearings should focus on each center of radical Islamism, including Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

3) The role of the Muslim Brotherhood. The group is vital to the global radical Islamist movement, yet so little understood by Washington elites that it deserves its own set of hearings.

4) The primary sources of radical Islamist funding, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran.

5) The Arab countries—including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria—that have successfully contained and minimized radical Islamists. We must learn how this was accomplished and what aspects should be replicated.

6) Radicalization in mosques and on social media. How are young Muslims being drawn into terrorism? What can be done to counter a seductive message that has reached deep into Europe and the U.S. and inspired jihadists by the thousands to travel to the Middle East for terrorist training that can be exported back home?

7) The Islamist cyberthreat. The hacking of the U.S. Central Command’s social-media accounts this week apparently didn’t inflict serious damage, but the episode was evidence of a new front in the fight against terrorism.

Once congressional hearings have outlined the scale of the challenge, it is essential to turn to the sources of our enemies’ strategic thinking and doctrine. Doing so will be controversial, but it is vital to understand the motivations and assumptions of the radical Islamist movement.

On Feb. 22, 1946, U.S. attaché to Moscow George Kennan sent what became known as the “Long Telegram.” In 8,000 words, he outlined the nature of Soviet Union communism with clarity and force. His analysis shaped much of the American transition to a policy of containing the Soviet Union. It is a tragedy, if not a scandal, that nearly 14 years after 9/11, we are still in need of an equivalent “Long Telegram” about the nature of radical Islamism.

The terrorists are immersed in Islamic history and doctrine. It is extraordinary that the political correctness of Western elites has discouraged the study of what inspires those who dream of slaughtering us. Congress should hold hearings on the historic patterns, doctrines and principles that drive the radical Islamists. No doubt these facts will make some of our elites uncomfortable. They should. We must understand the deep roots of Islamist beliefs, like the practice of beheading, if we are going to combat them.

Finally, having held hearings on the enemy and its thinking, Congress must hold hearings on strategies for achieving victory. Once the hearings are complete, preferably this year, Congress should form a commission of the wisest witnesses it heard and charge them with designing a national strategy for winning the global war against radical Islamists. If the current administration doesn’t embrace the strategy, then it can become part of the 2016 presidential campaign: Who wants to get America on offense, with a coherent and intelligible strategy, against those who would destroy us?

Mr. Gingrich, a CNN contributor, is a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jan 13

Who’s the obstructionist? It’s time now for President Obama to make a decision on Keystone XL.

Who’s the obstructionist? It’s time now for President Obama to make a decision on Keystone XL.

 In some states, the Keystone XL Pipeline project would be preparing to go to Kindergarten this fall.

At the age of six, it’s become a national embarrassment over the lack of inaction from the Obama administration towards approving a project that would have employment benefits for our nation, strong tax revenue enhancement for several states, will improve the world’s supply of crude oil, lessen oil dependence on the unstable middle east, and has implications for our closest international trading partner, Canada.

In April, the Washington Post chided President Obama’s administration on it’s indecision:

IF FOOT-DRAGGING were a competitive sport, President Obama and his administration would be world champions for their performance in delaying the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Last Friday afternoon, the time when officials make announcements they hope no one will notice, the State Department declared that it is putting off a decision on Keystone XL indefinitely — or at least, it seems, well past November’s midterm elections.

Read it here.

When those mid-term elections were over, the party of the president suffered historic losses over this type of failed policy. They lost several incumbents, and Mary Landriau of Lousiana, was literally sacrificed over their thumb-twiddling and passive-aggressive pseudo-rejection of Keystone.

With a Congress reinforced with Republicans, and a newly Republican-turned US Senate, the time for foot dragging is over. Bills are passing mandating that the President act.

And yet even facing that reality, among his own Democratic constituencies President Obama continues to act like “Ado Annie” from Oklahoma, refusing to decide on which of his suitors to pick, the Labor Unions in favor of Keystone, or the radical environmentalists against it.  (The rest of the citizens of the US be damned, as far as he’s concerned.)

Thankfully, the decision is going to be taken out of his hands by a united, and bi-partisan Congress acting to move the ball forward, since the man who is supposed to be quarterback is lounging at the water cooler.

The President is going to face what he’s been able to avoid – a measure he has to act on.

And the public is going to finally see who the obstructionist has been all along.

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