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Nevertheless, Xi persisted — with Biden’s support



Nevertheless, Xi persisted — with Biden's support

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, what does it mean when a phone doesn’t ring? This philosophical chestnut recurs whenever a new American president phones his allies and clients or, if you’re Joe Biden, when the calls are to your deepest frenemy Benjamin Netanyahu or your ex-friend and now quasi-enemy Xi Jinping.

Now and then, you are reminded that the Khomeinis and Khameneis, and the Osama bin Ladens, too, have a point. America’s politicians are decadent and feckless. They substitute image for reality, and when it goes wrong, they pretend it never happened. Everything about Joe Biden is false, from his teeth to the random musings that float past them. The whole world sees this, but we are enjoined not to by an administration that drifted into office on a cloud of fantasy, puffed up by a largely complicit media.

“Biden confronts China’s Xi in first call,” reports Politico. Biden couldn’t “confront” a cheese sandwich without a side order of denture paste.

“In first call with Xi since election, Biden warns him on human rights,” reports The New York Times. That’s a “warning” on “human rights” abuses that Xi says aren’t happening.

“Last night, I was on the phone for two straight hours with Xi Jinping,” Biden announced to the press on Thursday, as though boasting of the bladder strength of a younger man. “We don’t get moving, they’re going to eat our lunch.”

But America’s lunch was long since served to China, and Biden was a consistent supporter of serving it. What’s coming next is the tab. This, as is traditional, will be paid by ordinary Americans and other suckers.

The Washington Post gets it right, if only by accident: “Biden has first call as president with Xi Jinping.” It’s Biden who’s now the weaker party, ringing up to petition for favors so he can confirm his false view of reality, and the false impressions that his domestic media are pushing. Substituting fiction for reality is, of course, a sure and short path to disaster. And it is the path we are on.

For similar reasons of image, Biden — or the handlers who compose his cue cards — is sending a signal by not sending a signal to Netanyahu. The message is that the Obama days are back. Netanyahu is in for triple-time on the naughty step, first for denouncing Obama’s Iran deal to Congress in 2015, again for going on play dates with that nasty Donald Trump, and yet again for making up with the Gulf monarchies.

Who are the intended recipients of this infantile theatrical? Not Netanyahu. He won’t have expected anything less, given how he’s behaved — and how Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton behaved toward Israel during the Obama years. He doesn’t care, and with deepening ties to Russia, China and his new Sunni Arab allies, he doesn’t need to care.

Not the leaders of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, who risked a lot by opening relations with Israel, just as the US always wanted them to — only to have the Biden administration begrudgingly acknowledge that it was prepared to let these peace deals stand. They care less and less too. Everyone in the region knows that America is finished, and that Russia and China are the foreign powers to watch.

The intended recipients are the Democrats’ new allies, the zealots of the American media and the mullahs of the Iranian regime. The trauma of the Trump reality shock has welded most American media to the Democrats. They care intensely that Biden issues a symbolic rebuff to Netanyahu, because all they care about is that their side wins the domestic war of images. Reality — the reality of America’s collapsing position in the Middle East and western Asia, the reality of a collapsing polity at home — means nothing. They don’t care about the national interest: They care about proximity to power.

The Biden administration can do no wrong in the media’s eyes, unless it’s on matters of racial or gender “equity.” Even then, no one complained that the first recipients of Biden’s slurred wisdom were the leaders of Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany and France. Biden was telephonically privileging a bunch of white men and Angela Merkel. We were told this was how serious diplomacy is done.

This, like most of what the media tells us about the Biden administration, is nonsense. Serious diplomacy is done with people who don’t like you. People like Benjamin Netanyahu, who accurately sees Joe Biden as a blowhard and a fool. People like Ali Khamenei of Iran, who doesn’t care when the call comes, because he already knows that, one way or another, Biden will give him everything he wants, whether he wants to or not. People like Xi Jinping, who surely cannot believe his luck that Donald Trump, the first president since the Korean War to give China a hard time, has been replaced by Hunter Biden’s semi-senile father.

The world is saying goodbye to America. Americans should understand that this means that they too will be saying goodbye to America. Dream on.

Adapted from Spectator USA

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NYC needs a fighter for mayor, not a technocrat



NYC needs a fighter for mayor, not a technocrat

Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia touts her career in city government and technocratic skills as reasons she should be your pick for mayor. Problem is, what New York needs right now is not just impressive-sounding plans, but the ability to fight for what the city needs.

Frankly, being a good-government star of the de Blasio city administration is a pretty minor achievement: The competition wasn’t exactly fierce. Nor did Garcia’s much-touted talent for logistics always prove true.

Back in November 2018, a mere six inches of snow paralyzed the city and left thousands of schoolkids trapped on school buses for hours. The response was so poor that Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for hearings into Garcia’s handling of the storm. She also ran into trouble as interim city Housing Authority chief, letting the insiders lead her to deliver false testimony about lead-paint remediation.

During the lockdowns, the mayor put her in charge of delivering emergency food to needy seniors. But her system demanded seniors use unfamiliar technology to sign up, and as The Post reported, the “beneficiaries” also had issues with food quality and delivery.

But the bigger issue isn’t dealing with the bureaucracy, but with the politicians. It’s not enough to reject “Defund the Police” nonsense: The city’s next mayor will need to muscle the City Council and Legislature into amending the anti-anti-crime laws they’ve passed in recent years, from the city’s “chokehold” mistake to the disastrous “no bail” legislation.

Brooklyn’s Eric Adams has the contacts from his time in the state Senate to move Albany, and the cred from a lifetime of fighting for police reform to argue persuasively against bad police reforms.

Garcia just hasn’t been in the political trenches. Indeed, two veteran Democratic operatives told The Post’s Julia Marsh that her lack of such seasoning would harm her ability to handle pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the council and the feds.

Coming out of the pandemic, New York City faces multiple crises: public safety, fiscal, economic. The next mayor can hire wonks, planners and managers; the talent he or she must have is a proven ability to make the right calls, as Adams did in centering his campaign on public safety from the start, and to beat the other politicians into going along. That’s why Eric Adams remains our choice.

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The old Cold War models can’t help us meet today’s Russian threat



The old Cold War models can’t help us meet today’s Russian threat

President Joe Biden and Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet Wednesday for the first time since Biden was elected president.

For many in the foreign-policy establishment, this is an exciting opportunity to conjure some Cold War drama. Historically, such summits were major happenings. They were premised on the idea that tensions between the two nuclear powers were so great and grave, merely talking was an accomplishment in its own right.

Conservatives contend that the summit is a mistake primarily because it gives Putin the prestige he craves while giving Biden nothing in return. I tend to agree. But this argument also draws on the same Cold War nostalgia.

Conservatives often opposed US-Soviet summits, because they were seen as part of a process of “normalization” and détente that not only lent the Soviets undeserved legitimacy but often ended with concessions that strengthened our enemy.

Worse, such summits were often used to buy cover or time for Soviet expansionism. Forty-two years ago this week, Jimmy Carter met with Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna to sign the SALT II treaty. Brezhnev personally promised his peaceful intentions to Carter, and six months later, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

You can see how those arguments could be applied today, but I think we’d all be better served to ditch the Cold War stuff, because circumstances have changed.

First, Russia is a basket case. Rife with corruption, entirely dependent on oil and gas revenues and starving for foreign investment, Russia’s entire GDP ($1.7 trillion) is smaller than Biden’s first COVID relief package.

Second, as morally bankrupt as Soviet Communism was, it nonetheless appealed to the hearts and minds of millions around the globe. No one, save would-be despots, looks at the Russian “model” as something they want to emulate. We’re not competing with Russia for moral leadership.

That’s because Putin is better understood as a cross between a conventional mob boss, a James Bond villain and a Latin-American strongman. Estimates of his personal wealth range from $40 billion to $200 billion. Whatever the right number, he didn’t get that rich from wisely investing his $300,000 salary.

Putin holds onto power in part through crushing domestic opposition, intimidating or killing dissidents, blackmail, censorship and other tactics of ruthless tyrants. But he also maintains control by keeping Russian society in a constant state of crisis by relentlessly fueling paranoia that the West is at war with Russia and he’s the only leader strong enough to hold her enemies at bay. A true Cold War nostalgic, he believes that relations with the West are zero-sum: Whatever is bad for the West is good for Russia.

That’s why Russia is constantly meddling in Western elections, including our own in 2016. It’s also why Russia’s propaganda machine loves to amplify America’s domestic shortcomings.

The idea that Biden (or anyone) can talk Putin out of his perceived self-interest is ludicrous. Someone who has clung to power through murder and oppression can’t be made to see the light with finger-wagging bromides.

Biden would be well-served to tell Putin simply and bluntly that there will be concrete consequences to his actions — assuming Biden is willing to follow through. Beyond that, Biden should take a page from Putin himself. The Russian dictator sees these summits as a propaganda opportunity, domestically and internationally. Biden should, too.

Propaganda has taken on a negative connotation, suggesting pernicious state misinformation. But propaganda was originally about propagating the faith, specifically Catholicism. To his credit, Biden seems to be sincerely interested in propagating the faith of democracy, the rule of law and Western resolve. He won’t be able to persuade Putin of any of that. But that’s not the audience that matters. There are people throughout Russia who need to hear it — and in America, too.

Twitter: @JonahDispatch

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Step up for the cops, says ex-NYPD brass Joanne Jaffe



Step up for the cops, says ex-NYPD brass Joanne Jaffe

Three-star chief commander, highest-ranking female ever in the NYPD, Joanne Jaffe was let go. Despite her pending lawsuit relative to discriminating employment practices, she has workable ideas about handling our crime problem.

“My first day as a cop, 1979, a 4 to 12 tour along totally decimated, blown out Pitkin Avenue’s boarded up buildings, my first thought? ‘How to go to the bathroom?’

“As for now, this city’s thousands of religious leaders with influence over communities they serve must step up to preserve the sanctity of life. Our priority is their priority. They should be out in the streets saying, ‘Stop the violence.’ Also our grandmothers. They’re influential over grandchildren. Let them be involved in what their kids and great-grandchildren are doing.

“Plus, a block watch program that really works. There’s 77 precincts. Plus, 12 transit districts. But we need the community. Disagree with the police, OK, but be part of discussions. Understand the anger.

“There’s a supervision of homeless shelters, so why are police the repository of all society’s social ills? More things get shoved onto the police when other agencies haven’t training or ability to cope.

“There’s city agencies. Pick the top hundred families that can help with medical, economic, education problems. You only hear about keeping kids out of jail. How about before they go to jail? Instead of watching TV all day, we’ve got to build school relationships in a different way.

“Politicians knowing nothing sit at tables making decisions. They don’t invite police officials. Don’t know what it’s like struggling in the middle of a crowd, things thrown at you, fighting you. Not clean. Nothing’s pretty. These pols have rallies. They march. They don’t even know what they’re talking about.

“Our cops know who it is. They know their people. Others tell them. They know who, what. They know how to calm things down. We need people to come out, like when a child gets shot. When these tragedies happen they shout out for two days and then slink back. We need them to stay out. Our elected officials are busy with rallies. We need them, our religious leaders, our grandparents, our top families to come out!

“Cops aren’t engaging now because they feel unsupported. Disillusioned. Morale is low. They’re no longer willing to risk. It’s not defund the police or support the police. It’s come to the middle.”

Unlucky with Leo?

DiCaprioJulianne Hough’s niece, being a yenta, has claimed her aunt told her Leo is not “King of the World” between the sheets. Then on Howard Stern’s show recently a caller said he stood next to Leo at the urinal in Sunset Beach on Shelter Island and assessed DiCaprio’s various parts. Not king-sized burbled this one. Stern, skeptical, admitted, “I know that bathroom and never use it. Rather pee in my pants if I have to.”

THE good news. Finally, we’re dragging out last year’s stylish clothes. The bad news? Thanks to our pandemic’s stay-home/eat-home year — nothing fits.

Not only in New York, kids, not only in New York.

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