Labor Report Shows Gains, The Market Impact, EU Troubles

Editor’s Note – The monthly jobs report is in and many are calling it an improvement while others are much more skeptical. Yes, there was a sizable gain in jobs, and the U1 rate stayed at 5.5%, but those are deceptive because of the numbers that underlie the broader picture.

Americans are finding jobs, but at a dismal rate when you look at history outside of recent recovery years prior to this one.  Too many people are out of the work force but those numbers are also slightly lower.unemployment Blues

Overall, it is still a lackluster recovery, and when one looks at the details and also includes the global picture, we are a long way away from a ship sailing right on its keel.

We caution optimism here because these better numbers are still quite small and other factors are not improving.

The 1st quarter GDP numbers were surprising as the economy retracted, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised and excused the “anomaly” and showed us a rosier picture to coincide with the more positive labor report.

But as usual, it is little solace to the millions not even in the labor force or those forced into part-time work – underemployment not even close to their potential.

BLS LogoWith this news, the stock markets were weary that a positive change may forestall the much discussed rise in interest rates, maybe even into the election season.

The markets closed down today and showed a loss for the week. (Read more below.) The markets like certainty, and they are not getting it from Janet Yellin as the reports emerge like today.

Here is a compilation of these numbers, and a reminder that things in Europe are more uncertain and now it appears that the Greeks are seeking advice from Russia’s Putin.

Global uncertainty, and a detached stock market make for highly uncertain times and somewhat implausible numbers as Zero Hedge points out below as well:

92,986,000 Non-participants in the workforce:

The month of May saw 92,986,000 people not participating in the workforce, according to new data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals. May’s total represented slight decline compared to last month’s record, which saw 93,194,000 people outside the workforce.

The BLS defines those not in the labor force as people ages 16 and older who are neither employed nor “made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week.” The labor force participation rate came in at 62.9 percent, a slight uptick compared to April’s 62.8 percent. (Breitbart)

55,951,000 Women out of the workforce:

Mirroring the national numbers, the number of women outside the workforce experienced a slight decline in May, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In April, the number of women not in the workforce hit a record 56,167,000. Come May, that number declined to 55,951,000.unemployment

With the number of women out of the labor force decreasing, so the number of women in the civilian workforce increased from 73,267,000 in April to 73,577,000 in May. The workforce participation rate among women also experienced a slight uptick to 56.8 percent. (Breitbart)

6,652,000 More Americans Working Part-Time, but not by choice:

Another 72,000 workers were working part time last month because their hours were cut or they couldn’t find full-time work. The total number of involuntary part-time workers jumped to 6,652,000 in May, up from 6,580,000 in April, but well below the 7,268,000 in May 2014, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to BLS, involuntary part-time workers are “persons who indicated that they would like to work full time but were working part time (1 to 34 hours) because of an economic reason, such as their hours were cut back or they were unable to find full-time jobs.” (CNS News)

“The Job Numbers Literally Do Not Add Up” – Productivity:

Payroll Stats Become Even More Implausible – Since Q1 GDP was revised lower by almost 1% that meant estimates of productivity were going to be even more out of alignment than they were at the first release. Of course, in a less massaged environment productivity might have preserved some sense if there was less rigidity from the BLS on the employment side.

In other words, when “output” estimates were reduced (and they were, by more than GDP) it would make sense that everything would be revised downward in a more cohesive process. Instead, output was reduced significantly, by 1.4%, while total hours worked was marked down by all of 0.1%. As a result, productivity is revised from a nonsensical -1.9% to an even more skeptical -3.1%. (Zero Hedge)

Greek Crisis & Great Britain Threat to leave the EU:

Greece crisis live: PM tells parliament a debt deal can be done as stocks slide and Athens looks to Moscow. Greece will have to pay €1.6bn to the IMF and €1.5bn in pensions and wages by the end of the month. (Video from the UK Telegraph)

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Follow the almost hourly update read more here.

IMF director Christine Lagarde and Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in happier days (AFP)
IMF director Christine Lagarde and Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in happier days (AFP)

More from Zero Hedge on Greece:

Greek Banks On Verge Of Total Collapse: Bank Run Surges “Massively” As Depositors Yank €700 Million Today Alone – While the Greek government believes it may have won the battle, if not the war with Europe, the reality is that every additional day in which Athens does not have a funding backstop, be it the ECB (or the BRIC bank), is a day which brings the local banking system to total collapse.

As a reminder, Greek banks already depends on the ECB for some €80.7 billion in Emergency Liquidity Assistance which was about 60% of total deposits in the Greek financial system as of April 30. In other words, they are woefully insolvent and only the day to day generosity of the ECB prevents a roughly 40% forced “bail in” deposit haircut a la Cyprus. (Read more here.)

The British Issue from the AP:

The prospect that economic and diplomatic heavyweight Britain might leave the European Union within two years has pushed EU leaders to consider concessions to keep the country in the fold.Unemployment-2

EU founding members like Germany and France are moving outside their comfort zones, surprisingly receptive to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s call for change ahead of a referendum that will allow citizens to vote on whether to stay or go before the end of 2017.

With Europe’s top priority the very real risk that Greece might fall out of the euro single currency, Cameron has found a surprisingly open ear in many capitals of the world’s biggest trading bloc.(Read more at AP)

GDP drop in the first quarter of 2015:

June 25th in the Wall Street Journal:

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, fell at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said in its third reading of the data Wednesday.

That was a sharp downward revision from the previous estimate that output fell at an annual rate of 1%. It also represented the fastest rate of decline since the recession, and was the largest drop recorded since the end of World War II that wasn’t part of a recession. (Read more at the Wall Street Journal)

But the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today:

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — decreased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP increased 0.2 percent. With the second estimate for the first quarter, imports increased more and private inventory investment increased less than previously estimated (for more information, see “Revisions” on page 3).

The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. (Read more here at the BLS)

Stock Market:

U.S. Stocks Close Slightly Lower

Jobs report provides evidence to investors, traders that economy is lifting out of first-quarter slump

By DAN STRUMPF – Wall Street Journal

Stocks fell Friday as the strong May jobs report cemented expectations that the Fed will begin raising borrowing costs this fall, capping a volatile few days for stocks that leaves major benchmarks slightly lower for the week.

Traders and investors said the May jobs report offered evidence that the U.S. economy was pulling itself out of its first-quarter slump. While a firming economy is usually a good backdrop for stocks, investors say the hiring pickup keeps the Federal Reserve on track to start raising short-term interest rates as soon as September, potentially boosting borrowing costs for businesses and consumers alike.

Stocks spent the Friday session swinging between gains and losses before settling with a modest decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 56.12, or 0.3%, to 17849.46, bouncing back from an loss of as much as 83 points earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 index fell 3.01, or 0.1%, to 2092.83, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.33, or 0.2%, to 5068.46.May5.15DowClose

Stocks ended the week lower, after an early-week rally that petered out. The S&P 500 is down 0.7% for the week, while the Dow is down 0.9%.

Major stock benchmarks have pulled back in recent sessions from record highs reached just last month, weighed down by a cocktail of uneven economic data, murkiness over the Fed’s course of action and lofty valuations. The Dow is off 2.5% from its high reached May 19. The S&P 500 is down 1.8% from its May 21 high.

“For the economy, the bottom line is that [the jobs data] is a good number,” said Brent Schutte, senior investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management, which oversees $249 billion. But he added:

“To the extent that it brings people closer to believing that the Fed will raise rates in September, it will be near-term hit to the equity markets and the bond markets.”

The solid jobs report sparked sharper selloff in the bond market, lifting the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to an eight-month high of 2.402%, from 2.309% on Thursday. It is the highest closing level since Oct. 6. Bond prices fall as their yields rise.

For the week, the yield climbed by 0.305 percentage point, the biggest weekly rise since June 2013 when the bond market was rattled by the “taper tantrum,” or fears over reduced bond buying from the Fed.

The bond market has sold off since late April after a strong run-up in price over the past year. Many investors are recasting their portfolio as they believe the rise in bond yields reflect an improving economic and inflation outlook in the U.S. and the eurozone. (Read the rest here at the Wall Street Journal.)

Saudi King Spurns Summit, US Before US Human Rights Body

Editor’s Note – The ‘chickens are coming home to roost’ because of the collective failures of the Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy failures. Putin is flexing Russia’s muscles and he is now cozy with China, and the entire Middle East is in complete disarray.

Perhaps an example of how bad it is, now the Obama Administration is laying prostrate before the U.N. Human Rights Council, and the new Saudi king has spurned Obama’s invitation to attend the big Camp David Summit with Arab Leaders and a one-on-one with Obama himself:

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, escort President Barack Obama to his meeting with Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat Khuraim, Saudi Arabia, Friday, March 28, 2014. Rawdat Khuraim is a green oasis located 62 miles northwest of the capital city of Riyadh and King Abdullah's private desert encampment is located within Rawdat Khuraim. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, escort President Barack Obama to his meeting with Saudi King Abdullah at Rawdat Khuraim, Saudi Arabia. The meeting did not happen.

In a statement, al-Jubeir said the summit Thursday coincides with a humanitarian cease-fire in the conflict in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis. He said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also interior minister, would lead the Saudi delegation and the king’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is defense minister, will also attend.

President Barack Obama had planned to meet Salman one-on-one a day before the gathering of leaders at the presidential retreat but the White House did not take his decision to skip the summit as a sign of any substantial disagreement with the U.S.

The king, who took power in January after his brother King Abdullah died, has not traveled abroad since his ascension to the throne.

At the summit, leaders of Gulf nations will be looking for assurance that Obama has their support when the region feels under siege from Islamic extremists and Syria, Iraq and Yemen are in various states of chaos. Arab allies also feel threatened by Iran’s rising influence and worry the nuclear pact taking shape with the U.S., Iran and other nations may embolden Tehran to intrude more aggressively in countries of the region. (From the AP in Riyadh.)

The excuse sounds valid, but the King could be much more productive for his country and the Yemen/Iran issues by attending the summit – so the excuse to us is basically a snub; an insult! This is not the first time King Salman spurned Obama. Back in March when Obama was in Saudi Arabia, a meeting was supposed to be held on the 28th; it never happened.

The bigger insult, among many others, is having to explain our ‘policing’ issues here in the USA to the U.N. human rights body. When we see who sits in that body, the insult grows ever larger. Recently a statement about how best to hide your human rights abuses is to sit on that body. Hide in plain sight.

This is also the second time the US has been reviewed since 2010 – during the tenure of the man who had the best position in US history to advance race relations in this country. Instead, it is now ‘open season’ on our police, Guantanamo is still open, and Obama still bows everywhere. Embarrassing!

US Defends Record Before Top UN Human Rights Body

BY GEIR MOULSON – ASSOCIATED PRESS, Berlin, Germany

The United States heard widespread concern Monday over excessive use of force by law-enforcement officials against minorities as it faced the U.N.’s main human rights body for a review of its record.

Washington also faced calls to work toward abolishing the death penalty, push ahead with closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center and ensure effective safeguards against abuses of Internet surveillance. Its appearance before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is the second review of the U.S. rights record, following the first in 2010.

AP Photo/Alexander ZemlianichenkoRussian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Chinese President Xi Jinping watching the Victory Parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe.
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko – Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Chinese President Xi Jinping watching the Victory Parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe.

A string of countries ranging from Malaysia to Mexico pressed the U.S. to redouble efforts to prevent police using excessive force against minorities.

“We must rededicate ourselves to ensuring that our civil-rights laws live up to their promise,” Justice Department official James Cadogan told delegates, adding that that is particularly important in the area of police practices and pointing to recent high-profile cases of officers killing unarmed black residents.

“These events challenge us to do better and to work harder for progress through both dialogue and action,” he said at the session’s opening. He added that the government has the authority to prosecute officials who “wilfully use excessive force,” and that criminal charges have been brought against more than 400 law-enforcement officials in the past six years.

Several countries, including Brazil and Kenya, voiced concern over the extent of U.S. surveillance in the light of reports about the National Security Agency’s activities.

David Bitkower, a deputy assistant attorney general, responded that “U.S. intelligence collection programs and activities are subject to stringent and multilayered oversight mechanisms.” He added that the country doesn’t collect intelligence to suppress dissent or to give U.S. businesses a competitive advantage, and that there is “extensive and effective oversight to prevent abuse.”

Faced with widespread calls for a moratorium on executions and a move to scrap the death penalty, Bitkower noted that it is an issue of “extensive debate and controversy” within the U.S. He pointed to “heightened procedural safeguards” for defendants prosecuted for capital offenses.

Brig. Gen. Richard Gross, the legal counsel to the chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, told the council that President Barack Obama has said closing Guantanamo – in which he has been thwarted by Congress – is “a national imperative.” The remaining detainees are detained lawfully, he said.

The so-called Universal Periodic Reviews of U.N. member nations’ human rights records started in 2008. Each country’s record is reviewed roughly every four years.

Russia Flexes Might – The Fearsome Armata T-14 Tank

Editor’s Note – In the relentless build-up of his military, Putin and Russia are growing as a threat and are filling the leadership vacuum created by President Obama. Putin rolled out a fierce new armored titan, the Armata T-14 tank on their Victory Day Parade.

The Western allies though, stayed away this time, in protest – that will show Putin who is boss!!

Challenging the West in all theaters across the globe, this was another moment for him show off his prowess. The trouble is, during a rehearsal of the parade, one of them stopped moving and they even tried to tow it while its engine was running, but the tank wasn’t moving.

Russian army officers speak a crew member of new a Russian T-14 Armata tank at the Red Square during a preparation for general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 70 years after the victory in WWII, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 7, 2015.  One of the tanks moving on Red Square suddenly stopped while others drove away. The engine was still rumbling but it wouldn’t move. After an attempt to tow it away the T-14 rolled away about 15 minutes later. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian army officers speak a crew member of new a Russian T-14 Armata tank at the Red Square during a preparation for general rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade.

A state-of-the-art Russian tank, which was shown to the public for the first time earlier this month, on Thursday ground to a halt during the final Victory Day rehearsal.

The tank, T-14 Armata, is said to surpass all Western versions because of its remotely controlled cannon and the protection it offers to its crew. The T-14, which replaces the T-72 and T-90, is set to undergo trials next year. (Read more at Yahoo.)

The tank did eventually move off under its own power after a tow attempt failed. Despite this setback, the west has much to consider, and we here in America remember that during the 2012 Presidential debates, Mitt Romney did tell the world what is not obvious, Russia is our greatest threat, despite the scoffing he got at the time.

Romney was vindicated many times since then, yet Obama still continues his ‘transformation’ of America. Aren’t you again so happy how 2012 turned out? How weak we have become and continue to watch Putin strengthen.

How are those Jade Helm 15 exercises going to turn that around, or intimidate anyone but our citizenry, or is that even part of the goal?

Russia flexes military might for sparse crowd of dignitaries on Victory Day

LA Times

A western boycott of Russia’s Victory Day parade Saturday did little to chasten the Kremlin as Russian President Vladimir Putin rolled out fearsome new armor and weapons in a thundering message that might makes right.

In the absence of Russia’s World War II allies who stayed away in protest of Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, Putin was surrounded at the Red Square event largely by leftist foreign leaders for his display of the military power that has made Russians proud and their neighbors nervous.

Russia's new Armata T-14 tanks rolled through Red Square in Moscow on Saturday as part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. (Alexander Aksakov / Getty Images)
Russia’s new Armata T-14 tanks rolled through Red Square in Moscow on Saturday as part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. (Alexander Aksakov / Getty Images)

Under blue skies and sunshine befitting a postcard, the Kremlin marked the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany by parading 16,000 troops, nearly 200 tanks and armored vehicles, truck-mounted ballistic missiles and 140-plus aircraft before thousands of Russian dignitaries, Soviet war veterans and about two dozen foreign leaders.

The Russian military unveiled its new Armata T-14 tank, the first major upgrade of its infantry workhorse in decades. With a 125-millimeter cannon, the tank offers better protection for its operators than the T-72 it is designed to succeed.

The Armata and other new weapons displayed ahead of a roaring aircraft flyover are part of a major rearmament program undertaken by the Kremlin with a projected outlay of $500 billion through this decade.

Some defense analysts say the massive modernization effort is imperiled by the financial crisis gripping Russia, where the ruble has lost about 40% of its value over the past year amid Western sanctions and a sharp drop in oil revenue on which the Russian budget depends. Others, though, say defense and security investments have the highest priority in Putin’s Russia and the costly mission to enhance the strategic arsenal will continue unabated.

Putin brushed off the U.S. and Western European boycott of the parade, blaming the concerted censure on White House bullying of leaders who would have preferred to show their respects to fallen heroes in Moscow. He alluded to the no-shows in a brief address from the reviewing stand in front of Lenin’s Tomb and the crenelated red-brick eastern wall of the Kremlin.

Putin praised the courage and sacrifice of Soviet troops in defeating the Nazis at a cost of more than 20 million lives. He also paid tribute to “the people of Great Britain, France and the United States for their contribution to the victory.”

But he suggested the absent allies were neglecting their roles as defenders of world peace.

“In recent decades, the basic principles of international cooperation have been ignored ever more frequently,” he said. “We see how a military bloc mentality is gaining momentum.”

Putin has justified his actions involving Ukraine, including the annexation of the Crimean region, with assertions that Russia needs to defend itself against NATO encroachment and what he contends is a U.S.-led plot to oust him from power. Russian officials have portrayed Ukraine’s new leaders as neo-fascists bent on repressing the Russian minority in the country’s eastern regions, where a separatist rebellion has killed more than 6,100 people.

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During the 2005 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of World War II’s end, 53 heads of state attended the Red Square festivities, including President George W. Bush and nearly all European leaders.

News agencies reported that 20-some heads of state from among the 68 invited took part  Saturday, including those from China, India, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon was in the official reviewing stand, as were Czech President Milos Zeman and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, the only European heads of state known to have broken ranks with the symbolic reprimand.

“Serbia will never damage relations with the Russian Federation, even for the sake of becoming a member of the European Union,” Nikolic told Rossiya-24 television on the eve of the parade, suggesting his country’s prospects for induction into the bloc may be hurt by his renegade attendance.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the de facto guest of honor, seated with his wife to the right of Putin. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the longest-serving former Soviet republic leader in attendance, was also among the honored guests.

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Xi arrived to Moscow on Friday for meetings with Putin and other Kremlin officials to sign the first of a sheaf of trade and economic cooperation agreements expected during his visit that runs through Sunday.

The 80-minute parade kicked off with the chimes of newly renovated Spassky Tower and a goose-stepping honor guard carried Soviet and Russia flags between ranks of soldiers in sharp formation. Many of the units were dressed in World War II replica uniforms and sported the black-and-orange St. George’s ribbons symbolizing Russian war triumphs from both the Soviet and imperial eras.The ribbons have become a symbol of support for Kremlin policy in Ukraine over the past year and were incorporated into the banners and logos of the Victory Day anniversary decorations that fluttered from lamposts and billboards across the country.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rode an open limousine around the sprawling cobblestone square, saluting the troops as he made his way to the dignitaries’ reviewing stand to present the armed forces to Putin and his reported 2,300 guests.

Moscow airspace was closed for nearly an hour during the parade, the Tass news agency said, quoting the Federal Air Transport Agency. Security was tight throughout the capital, with major thoroughfares closed to traffic a mile out from the Kremlin. Many Muscovites watched the massive procession as it made its way from an assembly point five miles northwest of Red Square.

Afterward, a people’s parade followed, with thousands carrying small flags hailing “70 years of victory” and placards bearing the portraits of forebearers who gave their lives in a war that brought peace – and longlasting divisions – to Europe.

The breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 spun the 15 republics into independent nations, some now aligned with the European Union and NATO in a shift of allegiance that is fueling Russia’s quest to reassert its authority over its communist- and imperial-era sphere of influence.

Ralph Peters' Freedom Center Speech – New "Persian Empire"

Editor’s Note – Below are the video and transcript to Ralph Peter’s speech at the Freedom Center’s 2015 West Coast Retreat. The event was held March 6-8 in Palos Verdes, CA. 

Ralph Peters: Iran Building a New Persian Empire

From Frontpage Magazine

Ralph Peters: First of all, what are we going to do about those Jews?  No, I’m serious.  I’m serious.  What are we going to do about all the Jewish refugees?  After the nuclear cataclysm in the Middle East? Some missiles are going to get through.  Tel Aviv will be gone, Ashdod, Haifa, but a lot of Israelis will survive.PetersSpeech2

Now, should we offer them a reservation in Nevada with a sign above the entrance that says “Arbeit Macht Frei”?  Or, maybe we should put them in a DP camp, and the reason I’m saying this isn’t just to shock you.

It’s because the biggest God damned lie you’re hearing today is “never again.”  The world doesn’t care.  The world doesn’t care, and without the United States and Israel together, working together to common strategic goals, common civilizational goals, there is going to be a catastrophe, and it is nothing short of appalling.

When Bibi Netanyahu came to Congress and laid out the argument as clearly as could be, it was a masterful speech.  I suspect Michael Oren probably wrote it, but it was really just superb, and then you had the refusenik Democrats come up in their conference.  I love the guy from Oregon with the bowtie and a bicycle, and they sided with Iran.  They took Iran’s side against Israel.  That’s what it came down to.

Now, this is tough for Israel, because Israel has the military might to set back the Iranian nuclear program.  It does not have the military might to fully destroy it, because a succession of American presidents, especially Barack Obama, have given — the Iranians don’t need this deal.  They may end up rejecting it because they got what they want.  They wanted time.

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They wanted sanctions relief.  Well, we’ve given them over $12 billion in free and unfrozen funds, but it goes beyond that, because as soon as we started opening the sanctions program, businessmen, including American businessmen, flocked to Tehran, trying to set up deals, smuggling increased.

Obama has been, I want to say Allah’s gift to Iran, and if there are any closet anti-Semites out here in the audience, let me tell you why you should care, even if you don’t care about Israel, why you should care, because an Iran with nuclear weapons, with a nuclear arsenal, even if it never uses one of those weapons, already has hegemony, strategic control of the Persian Gulf, de facto control of the Persian Gulf, and the greatest concentration of oil and gas supplies in the world.

There was a novel back in the ’40s or ’50s, called “Oil for the Lamps of China.”  Well, it’s for a lot more than Chinese lamps now, and China, India, so much of the world is still relying on Persian Gulf oil, so you’ve got the Israel problem and you’ve got the oil problem, and Iran’s grander ambition still, which I’ll get to in a moment, but first thing I want to do is try to talk a little bit about what we are seeing.  You’ve got to really stand back, and it’s hard because all news channels — you focused on the headlines of the day.

PetersSpeech1It’s news.  It’s not analysis.  It’s news.  You do some analysis, but they want you to comment on the story of the day, but sometimes you have to stand back and put it on the wide-angle lens, and when you do that, the world looks even more terrifying than it does off the headlines.

We have returned, in crucial parts of the world, to barbarism.  There’s just no other word.  It is barbarism, and the American intelligentsia for the most part defends and excuses that barbarism, and it is stunning because the campus leftists haven’t studied their own left-wing history.

When the revolution wins, guess who goes to the guillotine.  Guess who goes to the Gulag.

It’s not the workers of the world.  It’s the intellectuals, but again, as you heard wise remarks about this earlier today, it’s really about emotion, certainly on the left, but to somebody standing on the right there is really very little powerful analysis, no-holds-barred analysis, and I tell people, first of all, if you want to be a successful idealist, start with a realistic analysis of the problem.  And beyond that, we are not only returning to barbarism, but to atavism, and we are led, in both parties, particularly the Democratic Party, but both parties, more and more by men and women who have never been in a fist fight.

The best thing my parents ever did for me was start me off a year early in school, so I was always the smallest kid in my class, and you learn a lot about human nature in that situation, especially if you’re the smart guy too, and then I got taller and started beating them up, but that’s all right.

But the left, particularly, but even some on the right, are denying fundamental facts of human nature.  You heard Marie Harf’s silly comment about well, the terrorists need a job.  They’ve got a job, and they love their job.  Dad loves his work, and it’s just phenomenal to me that this generation, two generations now of leaders whose idea of violence was lacrosse at Princeton.

They’re utterly, psychological, practically, and factually unprepared to deal with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, let alone ISIS or Al Qaeda, and when you look at the atrocities committed by Islamic State, and increasingly by other terrorist affiliates and organizations who are competing with Islamic State for brutality, because everybody wants to outdo the other guy, what you’re seeing is joyous violence.

Peters comp.preview

It’s so empowering to these young men who just never fit in, and they’re not all from poor families.  Many have college educations, but for some reason, they came from the people factory with a couple ball bearings or gears misplaced.

And for those who were always the outsiders, I’ll tell you, Islamic State has a brand that is now as recognizable as McDonald’s or Coca-Cola, and it is a very appealing brand, and those videos of burning a pilot alive, all the decapitations, all the executions of masses of Iraqi soldier prisoners, that is the greatest thing possible for these young, disaffected, pimply-faced, sexually dysfunctional guys living in mom’s basement, whether the basement is in Cairo or California.

I don’t know how to communicate to you how powerful the lure of violence is.  The most addictive substances on earth are not heroin or meth.  The most addictive substance is human blood.  It is absolutely addictive.  Do you think the Nazis hated everything they did?  I’m sure they had on days and off days, but nonetheless.  We’re in denial of human nature.  That happened 7 years before I was born, and 1945 ends it, and we say “never again.”

And now, I’ll tell you what the problem is with those damn Jews.  In Europe for over 1,000 years, Jews were confined to ghettos in most countries.  They were limited to a small number of professions.  Well, guess what?  They got very good at those professions, and then they get punished for being good at them.  Israel’s problem is it’s an overachiever.  It exploded the left-wing lie that because of American and European imperialism no states outside of Europe can reform themselves and rebuild themselves, let alone start from scratch.  Without romanticizing Israel in the least, look at the score card.

It is the only country in the Middle East where the true rule of law prevails, the only country where it investigates its own military, the only country where women have full legal rights, the only country where Christians are fully and truly safe.  You can go on and on and on, but I tell people, Israel is flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood, whether you’re an Episcopalian like me, or Jewish.

And by the way, with Christians and Jews, we had an argument about one Rabbi 2,000 years ago.  Come on, 2,000 years?  Let’s get over it.  Let’s move on, okay?  But when you talk about traditionally, until now you can’t.

We talked about American culture as Judeo-Christian.  Although it’s a monotheist religion, Islam spun off the rails.  It’s divergent in the most negative sense of the word, and if we can’t bring ourselves to be proud of our faith, we need to be proud of our civilization, because you heard Victor Hanson talking about California.

People don’t come from Mexico to California because California sucks so bad.  This is still the land of dreams.  It truly is, where you can come here and you can build a life, and if you fail the first time, or two times, you can get back up.  You can’t even do that in Europe, so amid all the pessimism about our own country that I’ve been hearing, never underestimate the transformative power of the United States of America.

Civilizations, cultures, and religions change on their frontiers.  It’s gonna take generations, but Islam too will change here.  It would go a lot faster if our presidents stopped empowering and listening to the worst voices in the American Muslim community, people from CAIR or the frankly radical organizations, and there’s no way around it.  No.

I said I want to pull back the lens.  When I spoke here 5 years ago, I talked about us being in an age of breakdown, of devolution, where the old empires had been collapsing.  You’ve gotta take a long-term view, centuries-long view, and all those great European empires were collapsing, climaxed by the collapse of the Soviet empire, and then you had the collapse of the mini empires.

Yugoslavia was basically a mini empire, largely dominated by Serbs.  Pakistan, it won’t hold together forever.  It’s an empire.  Everything west of the Indus River is occupied territory, but something’s changed in those 5 years.  We’re still in this age of breakdown in the West, but in the Middle East, in Russia, in China, we are seeing the rebirth of the old empires, which brings me back to Iran.

The majority of Iran’s population are Persians.  The Persians were one of the great civilizations of the ancient world.  When the Persians invaded Greece in the late 6th and early 5th century B.C., we sided with the Greeks, because they’re our guys, but frankly at that point, the attainments of the Persian Empire were far greater, and all the Greek cities of Asia Minor sided with the Persians.

Now, fortunately, the Greeks beat them off, and they experimented with this new idea of democracy, and 2,500 years later democracy has succeeded so well, it’s got us to Nancy Pelosi, but there’s a point to that too.  You can’t criticize people for not getting democracy right out of the gate.  We’re still experimenting with it.  We’re still trying to make it work better, and it’s tough.

Now, on the subject of those Greeks. It’s commonplace for people to say, oh, Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey.  They’re the keystone books, the wellsprings of our civilization.  Nobody reads the Iliad except scholars.

The Iliad is about the joy of killing, and I tell people, look, the real point of military discipline is not getting young men to kill; that’s easy.  The point of military discipline is to get them to stop killing when you give the order.  Young men are inherently violent.  In our society, we channel it for the most part, except in some particular neighborhoods.  We channel it amazingly well.  We do.

But so, back to Iran.  Iran, with its Persian core, is trying 2,500 years later — and there’s been some Iranian empires, smaller ones, in the interim — they’re trying to rebuild or to build a new Persian empire, and the problem now is the old Persian empires were relatively tolerant, especially the first couple.  They would tolerate different religions within the empire.  This is now an ambitious resurgent empire overlaid with ferocious, messianic, apocalyptic religion:  Shia Islam.

So, this is really a terrible threat, and you see, right now, as we speak, Iran has already reached out to Iraq, which is now, there’s no other way to put it, it is an Iranian vassal state, to Syria, which is becoming a vassal state, has become a vassal state really, Lebanon, Hamas, into western Afghanistan, into Yemen.  It has been 2,500 years since the Iranians had an imperial presence over such a wide swath of the globe.

That would be bad enough, but you’ve got other attempts to rebuild empires.  Opposing Shia Iran, the Persian Empire, you’ve got the Islamic State Caliphate, and it resounds, and I’ve got to say this: How would you feel if the King of Saudi Arabia said, oh, southern Baptists, they’re not real Christians; Orthodox Jews, they’re not real Jews.

That’s about how much credibility Barack Obama has.  He’s not an Islamic scholar, and none of the people around him are.  You heard more common sense about Islam today than you’ll hear in Washington in a year, so you’ve got this resurgent caliphate and it is a clash of ancient empires, of religions, of civilizations, and, oh, by the way, look a little bit to the north and you’ve got a resurgent Russian empire.

Now, Vladimir Putin is absolutely fascinating to me.  The elites in the West, and we talked about this last night, the elites in the West write off Putin, because he didn’t go to the right prep schools in Switzerland.  He didn’t go to the right universities.  He chews with his mouth open.

Really, the Europeans were all up in arms, in a tizzy after one conference about 6, 7 years ago, because of Putin’s table manners.  It’s not his table manners that matter.  Look at what he’s done.  Even Anne Applebaum, who I think is the best columnist we have on Russia and Eastern Europe, she dismissed Putin as a mere chinovnik, a petty bureaucrat.  It’s not even rising to the level of bureaucrat, and they missed the fact that the people who go to the great prep schools, who go to the elite universities, they sustain the system in being.

They do not change the world.  The world is changed by outsiders.  Hitler was a lance corporal with digestive problems, to put it politely.  Napoleon was a relatively junior artillery officer.  Mao was an indifferent student.  Ho Chi Minh washed dishes in the basement of a Paris hotel.  Mohammad was illiterate, and Muslims will admit that.

It was an oral tradition, originally.  It’s the outsiders with a vision, the galvanizing vision, that change the world, and the one thing Obama has in common with them is they appeal to the limping proletariat first.  First, Hitler gets the Brownshirts, but then when he comes into power, he gets rid of the Brownshirts, but you can always find an attractive audience, violence supporters, among those at the bottom.

Putin came to power just 15 years ago.  When he came to power, Russia was flat on its back, and for all his, what we see as silly photographs, bare-chested photographs, et cetera, for all of that, he has done a stunning job.  He has won, or at least fought to a draw, every major confrontation with the West.

When is the last time you heard somebody, U.S. government spokesman, talk about Crimea?  Now, it’s east Ukraine, and at some point it will probably be central or southern Ukraine.  It’s just stunning to me this elite that governs us are in denial about the nature of human violence, just the nature of humanity.  They’re in denial about the threat significant portions of Islam in the Middle East, the Islamic world in the Middle East, pose, and they’re in denial about one absolutely huge factor: Religion.

And, I know I talked about this 5 years ago, because we are, again, governed by people in both parties, who for the most part in Washington, even if they go to church or synagogue every week, they’re secular.

They’re secular, and what people who like Barack Obama, whose religion is Barack Obama, and the people around him don’t understand, despite being exposed to the Reverend Wright, because he just blew that off really, although he took a lot of the message in subliminally, but the transfigurative power of religion, of revelation, real or imagined, they just don’t understand the power, so this takes us back to Islamic State.  Think of the deal that those Islamic State leaders offer through brilliant use of the Internet and YouTube, et cetera.

Their deal is not a Wal-Mart greeter, as Marie Harf would have them be.  Their deal is you come here and God will sanction you torturing, killing, raping, taking sex slaves, and, oh, by the way, if you get killed, you get an even better deal in paradise.  It is an incredibly powerful message, and we’re not going to join Islamic State.  We have lives.  We have things to protect, but it’s always the people that, again, it’s not socioeconomic.  Bin Laden was a millionaire, until he blew it all, and they’re not all uneducated.  Zawahiri’s certainly not uneducated, but they’re the misfits, and they’re the people that change the world.

So, we’ve got an elite that doesn’t understand human nature, resists it, resists an open-eyed view of Islam, absolutely refuses to see anything in strategic terms, and I mentioned China briefly.  China is really interesting because they’re not trying to reestablish an empire.  China has changed profoundly.  China always was interested in its borderlands, but China is now, for the first time in thousands of years of its history, is outward looking.

China is building an overseas empire in Africa, South America, and when you look at them building a new empire, the resurgent empires, and the moral cowardice, and the unwillingness to defend our civilization in the West, it is a prescription for very, very, very bad trouble, or as my old drill sergeant used to say, you’re in beaucoup deep kimchi, comrade.  And so, anyway what I would like to do now is open it up for questions, because I’m sure you have a lot, and I can better address your concerns if I know what they are.

Unfortunately, because of their policies, we are going to get into a war with Iran.  The odds are very, very good.  Appeasement doesn’t work with fanatics.  Appeasement doesn’t work with empire builders.  It hasn’t worked with Putin; you remember the reset, and by the way, one of the lowest moments in the U.S. presidency was when Barack Obama was caught leaning over to Dmitry Medvedev and telling him, after the election, after I fool the American people, I can give Vladimir a better deal.

So, with Iran, this idea of strategic patience amounts to standing there and letting a mugger beat the hell out of your because you hope he’ll stop at some point.  Strategic patience just makes the enemy stronger, and look, there is not a military solution to every problem.

That’s obvious, and we should be very hesitant to use military force, but some problems only have military solutions and unfortunately, because of the disastrous policies of this president and his administrations, my God, the threats are so broad now that you don’t know where to start, although I will tell you, honestly, if I have to weight them, Threat No. 1 is actually Vladimir Putin and his ambitions, because he’s got the nuclear arsenal.  A close second is Iran.  ISIS, they’re close third, and other Islamic organizations.

But, as I think I started to say, Israel has the power to start a war with Iran, to harm their program, but Iran would respond asymmetrically.  If it doesn’t have nukes yet, they would respond asymmetrically.  They would attack Arab oil fields, gas fields, loading terminals, storage tanks on the other side of the Persian Gulf, and cripple the world economy, and who will everybody blame?  Israel, and then at that point, we will be in it anyway, so if we must, if we absolutely have no choice but to act against Iran, we should do it together.

Another problem is with all these delays, Iran wanted time.  They wanted time, and they got it, so they built additional underground bunkers.  The Obama administration hasn’t even asked to inspect many of them.  We essentially pretend they’re not there.  If you can’t inspect the deep underground bunkers built specifically to withstand heavy ordinance, what might be going on there?  Might they be up to something 500 feet below the surface of the earth?  So again, there’s no good answer.

We all want easy answers, but there’s no easy answer to this, and every day with Obama, President Hamlet, to be or not to be, forever wringing his hands, unable to make a decision, it gets worse.  George W. Bush was mocked for saying, well, I’m the decider.  That may have been infelicitous English, but that’s what a president is, the decider, and the most important role of any president is Commander in Chief.  Obama has failed comprehensively, comprehensively in that respect.

Audience Member: Do you think that the American public is willing to go to war with Iran?

Ralph Peters: Well, we don’t sell it properly, and again I’m not, I wish we could find another way to deal with it.  It depends on how you ask the American public.  If you ask, did you want Iran to destroy Israel, well, the answer’s no, we don’t want to do that, but if you went, well do you want to send your troops back to the Middle East for a long-term engagement, then the answer’s going to be no.  Polling’s all about how you ask the questions, and another point I’d like to make, and I’ll get to you, you hear so much BS in Washington.  You hear there’s no military solution to terrorism.

We have never tried.  We’ve never tried.  We’ve tried these half measures with restrictive rules of engagement.  We tried to make friends with our enemies before we won.  You make friends with your enemies after they surrender, after you win, and then you’ll hear the lie that, oh, if we kill terrorists, we’ll just make more terrorists and more enemies.  World War II, we did a job on most of Germany’s major cities and most of Japan’s major cities, plus dropped two atom bombs, and today Germany and Japan are, in their different ways, steadfast allies.

Human memory can be very short, but at any rate, literally I’m really at a loss for words, but the foreign policy situations, security situation is such a goat rope, to put it politely, that for the first time in my life I don’t know where to start.

Audience Member: Hello, my name is Maria, actually from Russia, from Moscow, so my question will be about Russia and about foreign policy.  So, the question is that I will tell you, and if you agree with me, please explain why.  If you disagree with me, please explain why.  So, under the example of relationships between the United States and North Korea, sanctions and so on, the dictatorship in North Korea became more and more strong.

So, aversely we can tell that the same situation now we have with Russia, so the more sanctions we have in Russia, from foreign countries like Europe and the United States, then the more strong becomes Putin, the more Russia becomes an empire, talking that the United States is a huge enemy, and all disasters that are happening just because of the United States.

So, here is my first question.  Do you agree with this or disagree with this, and please I would like to know your opinion about what do you think should be a foreign policy for the new hope Republican President of the United States in 2016?  Thank you.

Ralph Peters: Well, the first thing, I’ll do the second one first, the first thing a new president has to do is rebuild the alliances that Obama has damaged so badly, and not just with Israel, even Egypt at this point.  It’s as if Obama instinctively wants to side with America’s enemies, and I’ll talk about Obama if you remind me in a moment, but I’ll get to your first question.

I think it’s a reasonable thesis, but I don’t share it because you can’t let Putin off total scot-free, and he was attacking America and blaming America for everything under the sun, even before the sanctions, and it’s a tragedy, because there is no inherent reason for the United States and Russia to be at each other’s throats, but Putin, in the classic dictatorial authoritarian method, he needs foreign foes to play to xenophobia.  And so, no matter what we do, he’s going to play that card.

I would say the problem is the sanctions weren’t tough enough.  Now, a difference between Russia and North Korea is the North Korean leadership is perfectly willing to starve its people to death by the tens of millions.  That was the case in Ukraine 80-some years ago, but even Putin isn’t going to starve tens of millions of Russians to death.

Now, they’re not going to starve, but we make mistakes in the West, because who do American journalists and politicians talk to?  They talk to the well-educated, urban Russians who speak English, and they have no sense of how appealing Putin is to the middle-aged woman out in the country.  And so, I just try and tell people that you don’t understand that when Putin does things that look ridiculous to us, in fact, it plays very, very well.

The real man, real he-man, and again there’s no good way to handle them, but the tragedy is that there’s no inherent reason for us to be at each other’s throats, except Putin needs an external enemy, and in the early to mid ’90s there was so much goodwill toward Russia.  We didn’t want to take over Russia.  Why?  We’d have to fix the health care system to start, and you know how that goes, but America never had any imperial ambitions.

It was a real clash of ideologies, the Russian belief in a greater Russia and the Western belief in self-determination, even for Ukrainians, and to be fair to Putin, and I will even be fair to Putin, the problem isn’t that Russia got the Crimea and the Donbass area back, it’s how he did it: The use of force.  If it had been a plebiscite that would have been very different because frankly Crimea just becomes part of Ukraine in the 1950s, and it was Khrushchev’s gift, but it was a poison pill.

When the Russians gave Eastern Ukraine, primarily Russian speaking, and gave Crimea to Ukraine, they were following the Stalinist tradition, even though Stalin was gone, of basically infecting populations so they couldn’t become too homogeneous.  He wanted to create a substantial minority of Armenians in Azerbaijan, of Russians in Eastern Ukraine and in the Baltics because it always gives you a lever against them, and so again, that’s not a satisfactory answer.

I know it’s not, but in this terribly dangerous world I wish I could give smooth, satisfactory answers you could take home with you.  I can’t.  I can just sound the alarm bell.

Audience Member: In ’48 the Israelis had a serious supply problem and, as many of us know, they were bailed out in large measure by the Czech government/the Soviet Union.  After the recent war in Gaza, do you think the Israelis have solved the resupply problem particularly with regard to an action against Iran?  Where are they going to get the hardware from?

Ralph Peters: They’ve got the air frames to do some damage.  They’re getting more tankers, but right now people don’t realize it.  The U.S. Navy and Air Force are running low on specific munitions after this little pinprick campaign against Islamic State.  Why?  Because the money for defense industry is in selling new big-ticket items.

The money is not in providing low-cost munitions.  There’s some, but there’s not nearly as much markup, and so, as I’ve talked about before, you have this travesty in the United States where retired generals who are taking home pensions of $200,000.00 a year or thereabouts could now go work for Lockheed Martin or Raytheon and not only double dipping but that prevents them from speaking out while they’re on active duty and saying hey, guess what?

The F-35 really doesn’t work.  Now, because Israel was under such pressure, their defense acquisition system tends to be much more honest and aggressive, but I’m sure that in the Bronze Age there was corruption in weapons procurement.  You remember Daddy Warbucks in Little Orphan Annie?  It’s always been there, but you gotta keep it under control, and if you keep it under control, capitalism can give you some amazing results.

But the other point you brought up is very interesting to me and I’d like to just talk a moment about it, is 1948.  Why did the Israelis win?  Anybody?  Because they were fighting for their survival, the survival of themselves as a people and as a faith, and in my generation of Army officers, we watched the Israelis thump on Arab armies again and again and again, and we said Arabs can’t fight.  We missed something important.  People fight for different things.

Arabs don’t fight for states.  In the Arab world, the state was always the enemy.  They came and took your taxes, took your son, maybe took your daughter, and the game was hid and seek with the state, but Arabs and other peoples of the Middle East will fight for their faith, for their clan, family, tribe, and they will fight for their turf. In the case of the Kurds, who of course are not Arabs, the Kurds are like Israel in ’48.

They’re fighting for their survival, and we’re again on the wrong side.  Instead of helping the Kurds directly, we are sending weapons to Baghdad that never get to the Kurds, and the Baghdad government is owned in every respect but a written deed, by Iran.  It’s crazy.  U.S. air power in Iraq today is flying air cover, air support for Iranian efforts, and we are on the way to seeing that new Iranian empire that will be very, very, very dangerous.

People ask me who do I want to win in Tikrit, Beelzebub or Mephistopheles.  If the Iranian-backed defenses fails it’s really a bloody nose for them.  That’s great, but that means Islamic State wins, and everybody loves a winner, and one of the reasons for the exponential growth, one of the reasons of growth of Islamic State, is simply that people want to join the winning team.  You saw defectors from Jabhat al-Nusra, from secular militias, from Al Qaeda.

Everybody wants to be the winning team, and as I said earlier, it’s a good deal, but we are now faced with these people, Arabs and others, Persians, who are not fighting for the state per se.  The Arabs aren’t fighting for a state.  They don’t have a vision of an Arab empire to the extent the Persians have a Persian Empire.  The Arabs are fighting for the Caliphate, and the idea of the Caliphate truly resonates with them, truly does.  The Persians are fighting for an empire.

And by the way, on Vladimir Putin, Putin is not trying to rebuild the Soviet Union he can’t do it.  He’s trying to rebuild the Russia of the Czars, about the year 1900, just before the Russo-Japanese War, when Czarist Russia was at its greatest expansionary extent.  That’s what he wants to restore.

He’s a great Russian nationalist.  He’s not a commie.  Nobody in the KGB were commies.  They knew what was going on.  They’re the only people that really knew, but he is perfectly willing to increasingly use Stalinist methods, and his background as the petty bureaucrat, lieutenant colonel – I’m partial to lieutenant colonels myself, but his background gave him the ability.

He was a case officer.  That means that’s somebody that works with agents, and the primary thing a case officer has to be able to do in intelligence is size up the guy sitting across the table from you or walking with you in the street, and Putin is brilliant at sizing up Westerners.  The only person who has marginally stood up to him has been Angela Merkel, and she unfortunately has domestic issues that let her go so far and no farther.  So I’m sorry, that’s the best answer I can give.

Audience Member: I have some experience with domestic regulatory agencies and cyber security, and I see them as being quite detached in realities of technology.  It’s like giving a civilian a military role, and I’m wondering if you could shed some light and your opinion on if you think our cyber defense – I’m actually more concerned with cyber offense.

We hear so little from the NSA, as it should be.  I don’t think the military should be on TV saying what’s going on, but with all this rolling about privacy and Snowden and people running it, and China and Russia I know hacking.  Russia trains people to hack America.  How is that a military issue, and do you have confidence that we are having a cyber defense and offense that’s adequate?

Ralph Peters: Well, the lines between purely military operations, economics, cyber, they’re all breaking down, and I too worry more about our cyber offense capabilities.  We’re actually not bad, from what I can tell, on cyber defense.  A problem is when private industry won’t play and then they get themselves in trouble.

Then they want help, but cyber offense, you look at the brilliant propaganda videos done by Islamic State.  You can’t do something like that in the United States.  You can’t do anything that aggressive, but also, Islamic State, al-Baghdadi or one of his underlings can say, hey, do this now.  Film this and get it out, and they do it.  Maybe he watches it, but in our bureaucracy the levels of people that have to chop off on it, have to sign off on it make it absolutely certain that by the time it hits the Internet it’s old news.  Speed matters.

Who would have thunk it?  In the Internet age speed matters?  And Washington is still operating on a 19th century timetable.  I have to move on.  For me this is a treat because I get to talk at some length instead of 4½-minute sound bites.  It may not be a treat for you.  It is for me.

Audience Member: Using your 5-year timeframe, what are the alignments today and 5 years hence between China, the Middle East, Russia?  Where does Israel fit into these new alignments, and what about Japan and the Baltic states, and any economic backdrop you wish to add to it?

Ralph Peters: Oh, that’s easy.  That’s a pretty big question.  I will just say that you can’t put rigid timelines on things.  For instance, you can’t put a rigid timeline on when the Iranians will have a nuclear arsenal because there’s so much we don’t know and we haven’t even asked them about that.

That’s the crazy thing.  Obama and Kerry want this deal so badly they’ve been willing to ignore all the monstrous actions of the Iranians.  Iranians killed and maimed so many U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They’re acting antithetical to our interests everywhere throughout the greater Middle East, but Obama wants that deal for his legacy.  Iran wants a new empire with nuclear arms.  Obama wants a legacy.  Obama’s legacy is going to be a nuclear-armed Iranian empire.

Audience Member: Where’s the future alignment?  Where does the Middle East align with China, align with Israel?  If this is all shifting, there are clearcut –

Ralph Peters: I can’t give you pat answers.

Audience Member: What do you perceive, because there’s been a lot written about it?

Ralph Peters: In the immortal words of Frank Zappa, trouble comin’ every day, and I’m not being flip.  Frank wasn’t all that dumb, but again, you just can’t put timelines on it because you have the Black Swan events.

Audience Member: Forget about the time limits.  What’s happening today, and what happens to Japan and the Baltic states?

Ralph Peters: Well, if you leave timelines out, what happens to the Baltics will be a matter of Putin’s fiat.  He wakes up one day and decides to go for Estonia, and Putin can be coldly analytical, but he also has a real temper.  China is getting what it wants without war.  They’ll push to the brink and then back off, push to the brink again.

Audience Member: But they’re aligned with whom right now?  They’re aligned with Israel in part.

Ralph Peters: Yeah.  Well, Israel – Israel is threatened as it has not been since 1948.  That was a complicated question.  I’m sorry.

Audience Member: I’ve heard from several of our former military analysts and maybe not military per se but commentators that Israel does not have the capability of destroying Iran’s complete nuclear capability.  My understanding from talking to people inside Israel’s military is they have no doubt that they can take all of it out.  What they are concerned about, and please, maybe this is false bravado, like they said with the latest round of bunker busters that the U.S. has, they said no weapon comes to Israel that stays the same after it arrives from the United States. That they modify all their weapons, but what they said they were the most afraid of was that the Obama administration would lead a worldwide economic embargo against Israel the day after.

Ralph Peters: Yeah.  I am not as confident about the Israeli ability to destroy it.  I said they can badly harm the nuclear capability.  The Israeli intelligence services are very good, but Iranians have had so much time to build so deep underground.  There are at least 30 locations the Obama administration won’t even go after, doesn’t want to mention, because they want the deal, so that’s the best answer I can give you.

And let me just finish up.  I’ve heard a lot of things said about Barack Obama, and he’s really a tragic figure, not in least tragic for America, but you look at his background.  He’s a red diaper baby.  He’s all his life in Indonesia, and this is important, he was on the island of Java.  Now on central Java where he was, Islam has only been there around 500 years.  I’ve been there.  I’ve done a research project there.

There’s a tremendous hangover from Buddhism, animus practices, and it frustrates the Saudis that the Saudis send a lot of money trying to move them, but that’s a nation approaching 240 million Muslims and they’ve produced several hundred terrorists, but out of 240 million that’s pretty amazing, and a lot of those came from Banda Acehans on Sumatra, but Obama saw Islam in his formative years at its most benign.  It wasn’t Saudi Arabia where his mom would have to wear a veil and couldn’t drive herself.

It wasn’t anywhere else in a Middle Eastern dictatorship.  It wasn’t among the hillbillies of Afghanistan.  It was among the relatively sophisticated semi-urban Muslims of Java, and then he spends the rest of his life, with a few-year exceptions in high school, et cetera, around very hard left people, and I really believe that President Obama has been in a hard left milieu for so many decades that he is much more ideologically rigid and much farther to the left than he realizes.

I think because of being around people like Bill Ayers, reading Saul Alinsky, Rev. Wright certainly, on some level I think he sincerely believes America is unjust.  He misses the irony.  Here’s a mixed-race president who gets to the White House having done nothing, and he says America’s bigoted.

Well then why would we elect him?  But I really do believe that he is soft on Islam because of his background, and he really is convinced that sooner or later socialism, or call it what you will, will work somewhere, and also he’s so thin-skinned and so arrogant.  This is a president – think about it – he gets angrier about Fox News than he does about Islamist terror.  So greetings from Fox News, folks.

UPDATE: Iran Wins, the World Loses – Goodbye Kobani

UPDATE 8:30 PM Eastern, 10/10/14 – SUA has received further information in regard to the analysis in this posted article from multiple, high ranking sources in the Middle East that affirm that the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey have agreed to allow Kobani to fall to the ISIS (Daesh) forces. They have decided to deal with ISIS later, and that the US will fall in line with decisions made by this group.

The intent is to allow Bashir al Assad to remain in power in Syria, despite Turkey’s protests to affirm that Iran will then control Syria and Iraq. Additionally, SUA was told that these leaders do not want the Kurds to ever have a formal state of their own despite its current semi-autonomous stature to placate the Turks and the Iranians. SUA also learned that aid from the United States is not being delivered to the Peshmurga (Kurds) in Northern Iraq but is being held in Baghdad to ensure this end.

Please read the original article as well:

Iran Wins, the World Loses – Thanks Mr. Obama

By Denise Simon – SUA Analyst and Associate Editor

Have you wondered why Barack Obama says that a war to crush Daesh (IS) may take as much as three years to contain their terrorism? Have you wondered why we will not commit ground forces?

Have you wondered why we never attempted to removed Bashar al Assad or clean up Syria? Have you wondered about the GCC and those relationships and why there are splits in relationships in the region?obama_rowhanisplit

The Obama administration is on a single tracked mission to have a ‘nuclear accord’ with Iran, and nothing will be allowed to impede this objective.

There will be no consideration for historical terror globally at the hands of Iran, no allowance for millions of Syrian refugees displaced throughout the region and no attention paid to 300,000 dead in Syria and Iraq.

All of these facts are dismissed at the hands of John Kerry and his carefully selected team to engage Iran and bring them into the worldwide community demanding that leadership of other countries accept this agenda.

It is proven that John Kerry, the White House, and the NSC knows very well why and the players include as many as 100 notable DC insiders, a team of people you need to reacquaint yourself with. It is an interesting mix of strange bedfellows.

First, the administration engaged a delegation out of Switzerland to open and prod talks with Iran. Then after Hillary Clinton, who virtually had no interest in the matter knowing she had future Oval Office dreams left, John Kerry mobilized this team.

They are seen here as signatories to a report produced by the Iran Project called “Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement.” It is a long and tedious read full of assumed conceptions, omissions, and a stark “new global ranking” philosophy. It clearly sidelines Israel and other major players and injects facts, where others or voided, which are not in evidence and ignores many facets that are terror/Islam related issues.

This analysis is on part four of a four part series signed by the following:

Iran Group 1

Iran Group 2

For next week:  European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in Vienna next week, October 14-15. They have a looming deadline for a final nuclear deal with Iran less than two months away, European and Iranian officials said Wednesday.

US negotiators, including Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and senior advisor Jake Sullivan, will meet with their Iranian counterparts in Vienna on Tuesday Oct. 14, a day ahead of Kerry joining the Ashton Zarif meeting, the State Department said. The meetings come as there is a growing sense in the Washington policy community and beyond that concluding a comprehensive accord by the Nov. 24 deadline is unlikely.

So for some background here are some chilling facts gleaned from their report:

In 2002 George W. Bush called Iran as being a part of an “Axis of Evil” causing an escalation in hostilities between the United States and Iran. Since then, the Obama Administration has chosen to ignore the Bush proclamation and has engaged Iran in all aspects of middle east policy with sights on a nuclear weapons/enrichment accord.

There is no intention to stop the nuclear enrichment program but merely to contain it at a level that has not yet been determined. The U.S. using all the power-brokers listed above have purposely installed Iran as a peace partner and an emerging power in the Middle East. Through 2014-2016, Kerry et al, has deferred to Iran to maintain and manage al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan once we exit fully.

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Today there is even chatter to remove Iran from being officially listed by the U.S as a ‘state sponsor or terror.’

John Kerry et al, have determined that Iran is now moderate and no longer a pariah such that all recent and future talks with Iran are aimed to integrate them into the world community on par with all other legitimate nations.

This is being accomplished by lifting sanctions, encouraging trade and investment in Iran, and by including Iran in not only on the diplomatic stage, but also militarily when it comes to Iraq and Syria.

At the behest of Iran, the U.S. has not taken on Syria or Assad fearing that it will fall further and become a failed state like Somalia. Syria is Iran’s beach-head. Early on, John Kerry asked Russia to take on Syria/Assad and work to impose a transitional government all for the sake of the ‘nuclear talks’. Russia declined.

It has been officially declared, though silently, that there is no military solution to Syria, either before or ‘after’ the nuclear agreement with Iran, and once the agreement is agreed to and signed, only then will a robust humanitarian solution begin at a Geneva lll meeting.

At that time, talks of a ‘unity’ state for Syria will begin and those invited to this future session will include: Saudi Arabia, Russian, Iran, Turkey, and Assad. In the meantime human slaughter continues in the region.

Israel is left out completely and after the nuclear accord is completed, the U.S. will then sell the program to Israel. Then they will sell it to Turkey to bridge all ‘gaps’ between Iran and Turkey, although those tensions have moderated since Erdogan was re-elected.

After this ‘nuclear accord’ is reached, the U.S. will aid Iran’s energy production to bolster Europe’s energy supply reducing their dependence on Russia. This will include pipelines, power grids, and natural gas delivery with cross border projects.

If no ‘nuclear accord’ is reached, certain blow-back triggers will begin and will include additional sanctions and renewed threats solicited from the West. At that point the U.S. will begin their blame game on Iran and will then reach out to Israel to clean up the mess militarily. Additionally, the U.S will threaten to wean herself completely from the Middle East interests for the next ten years.

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The talks between the West and Iran are being positioned such that the entire plank is created and the approval and signing will go directly to Rouhani and Barack Obama. To date, Obama has successfully finessed and minimized Congress, Israel, and all lobby groups with regard to these talks.

There is only a feeble border between Afghanistan and Iran and Iran will use Afghani refugees as a bargaining chip in order to keep the new Afghan government in check economically as America and NATO exit the country and we will be taking our money with us.

To date, the John Kerry nuclear talks team has virtually ignored all countries in the GCC and Iran will be forced on those countries in spite of their positions today. Ignoring current and future ground conditions, the building of terror networks and the continued killing machines known as Daesh, along with al Qaeda factions merging, the outlook for global stability is grim such that even Leon Panetta and others have predicted a 30 year war.

John Kerry is playing a hidden hand with this nefarious objective such that the world is at risk due to Iran’s red carpet treatment at the hands of the Obama administration. Nuclear weapons are in the future for other countries due to Iran. This is not a Cold War Part Two building, rather it is a real hot war at genesis.

Here are some important excerpts to read from their report:

2.5.3 Improving reforms.

The Gulf States understandably fear Iran’s military capability, particularly its navy and ballistic missile arsenal; but the real threat is an ideological one. Gulf rulers believe that Iran is determined to subvert their domestic politics by exploiting aggrieved segments of their citizenry. One way to mitigate this challenge would be through domestic reform. This could help reduce Iran’s influence in internal Gulf State affairs. As of now, the kings and autocratic rulers in the region remain wary of an Iran that still symbolizes popular, Shi’ite-influenced revolution. U.S. encouragement of such reforms, while desirable, is problematic.

6.1.2 Syrian support during Iran–Iraq War.

When in 1980 Iraq invaded Iran, Saddam had been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in an effort to topple Syria’s president, and Hafiz al-Assad at once committed his country to Tehran’s defense.1 Iran’s leaders named the war, which lasted until 1988, “the Sacred Defense” (of the revolution), and ever since has been meticulously building a Shi’ite sphere of influence. Called the “Shi’ite Crescent” by some detractors and the “Resistance Front” by those who belong to it, Iran’s network stretches across Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean. The Resistance Front, which was originally made up only of Hezbollah and Syria but which today includes Iraq, has been a central pillar of Iranian defense since the Islamic revolution. Without it, Tehran believes that its enemies could further isolate Iran and even bring about regime change. As one local cleric recently explained, “If we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran.”2 Among Iranian leaders, this rhetoric is widespread. Major General Qassem Suleimani, the principal architect of Iran’s military effort in Syria and head of its Qods Force, has asserted, “Syria is the front line of the resistance.”3

8.2.4.b Evidence of Iran–Al Qaeda antagonism.

Documents captured from the 2011 Abbottabad operation that killed Osama bin Laden support the insurance/bargaining-chip interpretation. According to bin Laden’s letters, relations between Iran and Al Qaeda was hostile, characterized by disagreements over releasing Al Qaeda members and their families, as well as over covert actions taken by Al Qaeda against Iran. A complex series of negotiations and hostage exchanges, all detailed in bin Laden’s letters, confirms their antagonism. The relationship has become even more troubled since Hezbollah and Al Qaeda affiliates began killing each other in Syria.

8.3.1 Terrorist designation remains a major obstacle.

Any nuclear accord that includes significant relief from sanctions will have to deal with the fact that some sanctions against Iran enacted by Congress have been keyed to terrorism. Thus removing Iran from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list would be difficult. The relevant legislation requires that the Secretary of State provide evidence either that the state has a new government (as was the case in Libya and Iraq) or that it has not engaged in terrorist activities in the prior six months and is committed not to do so in the future (as was argued in de-listing North Korea). Neither is the case here. Meanwhile, the Iranian public’s expectations for relief from sanctions are a major factor moving the Rouhani government toward agreement. The sanctions linked to terrorism mean that, even if a nuclear deal is struck, the domestic politics in both countries may make it difficult to sustain a positive momentum. This could lead to a new phase of U.S.–Iranian tension.

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Edited and Posted by Scott W. Winchell