Monday, January 27, 2020

She Has It All, but She's Depressed

It’s becoming a pattern. Young women write to New York Magazine advice columnist and resident nitwit, Ask Polly. They are great fans of Polly. They imbibe her advice as though it were an elixir. They have been going to therapy for ages. And yet, they are still miserable. Some are even clinically depressed.

Now, if you were as cynical as I am, you might start thinking that the psycho bromides Polly offers up are actually making people depressed. And you might think that some therapists are aggravating the problem. They want you to feel your feelings, but what if your feelings are… depression. Why would you want to feel them? What advantage would you gain by doubting yourself? 

As I have often remarked, such letters never really tell us enough specific details about the letter writer to draw a very good conclusion. We know that Polly does not really care about the specific facts about anyone’s life. She reduces it all to a bundle of feelings and desires. If that does not depress you, if that does you make you feel disconnected from other human beings, lost and bereft, alone with your feelings… nothing will.

Tellingly, the letter writer who calls herself Too Blessed to Be Stressed opens with this:

I love how you can take people’s problems and strip away the layers to reveal the raw human emotions and desires underneath. Compared to some of the heartbreaking submissions you get, I know I really can’t complain about my life. But that’s why I’m asking for your help.

She is quite right about the madness involved in stripping away layers. It makes one think that the Polly approach involves stripping away layers of clothing. In another place it would be called the Salome complex.

If you do it, you will find yourself naked before the world, stripped of your social being, stripped of your place in a family and a community. You will feel depressed, like a pariah, like an outcast. Isn't that what depression is really all about, the sense of being alone and helpless in the world?

So, TBBS has been working on her problem in therapy. How has that been working out?

I really try to work on this. I’ve been regularly going to therapy for years and have grown tremendously through this process. I read your column and I absorb the words and try to follow your advice — I sit with the negativity, I send kindness to myself for feeling my feelings, I try to get to the core and understand and process and let go. But even with all of this work, this little monster asshole inside of me turns me into a weak woman who cannot handle things. And I don’t just mean that I’m a negative Nancy who complains a lot — I mean that I feel pain, sadness, and stress over the smallest, most inconsequential things. I feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. I feel like my brain is on overdrive. I feel like shutting it down, pressing pause, crawling into bed and hiding from it. I wonder what the point of all of this is.

Being stripped naked before the world is like having thin skin. Having thin skin is simply a sign of depression.

Being thin skinned, TBBS is sitting with the negativity, sending kindness to herself, feeling her feelings, understanding the deeper meaning… it’s the Polly program. But it’s also the therapy program. As I said, it is making her depressed. It cannot do anything else. We will forgive those who are purveying the medicine because they have no idea what they are doing.

Apparently, TBBS now has everything she could ever want and still feels depressed. Duh? Let’s be clear here, if you have everything you want for nothing. If you want for nothing you will be lacking in anything that resembles desire. You will stagnate and withdraw, unable to move toward any new goals or objectives. For the record, the absence of desire, of appetite or libido, is an important characteristic of depression. 

As for having it all, the ironic part is that she doesn’t. She doesn’t have a husband. She doesn’t have children. So someone has told her that she has it all, and yet, that someone was obviously lying to her. And thus making her more depressed. Besides, as noted, no one ever has it all. It’s an absurd goal.

Worse yet, we do not know whether TBBS feels that she has earned what she has. It’s a salient issue, one that neither she nor anyone else addresses. Some people gain a great deal but do not feel that they really own it, because they do not believe that they earned it. They feel like imposters. 

You see, Polly, I’ve dealt with bouts of anxiety and depression throughout my 20s, but I’ve chalked it up to this decade being such a transitional, confusing life phase. I would often think things like, “Once I have a fulfilling job, I’ll be happy,” or “Once I have a loving partner, I’ll be happy,” or “Once I have kids, my heart will be so full of love and joy that I’ll never feel unsatisfied again.” And now, in my late 20s, I have a lot of these things! I have a wonderful partner, supportive and fun friends, a stimulating and high-paying dream job, no kids yet but a healthy, happy family and enough independence and stability to do whatever I please. And yet, I’m still so bad at being happy.

Of course, wherever did she get the idea that she ought to be good at being happy? Who do you know who thinks in these terms?

As for depression itself, we note that Aaron Beck, decades ago, declared that most depression is accompanied by automatic self-deprecating thoughts, of the kind: I am worthless. I always get it wrong. I never get it right. 

In order to obviate the influence of those thoughts, Beck prescribed homework exercises. He did not recommend that people put on rose colored glasses and imagine that life was beautiful. He recommended that people make two short lists, an equal number of facts that appeared to demonstrate the validity of the thought and of facts that seemed to contradict it. The point of the exercise was to introduce mental balance, not to see one’s character as uniquely good or uniquely bad.

One ought to know that this technique, the basis for cognitive therapy, has been operational for decades now. Apparently, Polly knows nothing of it. The therapist TBBS has been consulting knows nothing about it either. So, this young woman has gotten in touch with her feelings, but this has compromised her interactions with other people in the world.

Her view is simply too one-sided, too pie-in-the-sky and therefore she has become so thin skinned that she cannot deal with adversity.

Why do I get into the same patterns of negative thoughts? Why do I cry for no reason on a beautiful beach vacation, get mad at my loving and aging parents as if I were still 12 years old, obsess over being skinny enough, pretty enough, successful enough? Recently I had a meaningless situation where a stranger got mad at me, and you’d think they physically assaulted me with how distressed I got. Why haven’t the Things That Would Solve Everything turned me into the positive, grateful, and grounded person I long to be? And what the hell will happen to me when the inevitable bad things in life do come my way?

You will note the first word of the last text. She wants to know why. And yet, the basis for cognitive therapy was ignoring the question of why, of refusing to dig up the past, of rejecting the idea that we should blame it all on Mom or on the Devil.

So, “why” is the wrong question. It is even the wrong question when Jordan Peterson thinks it’s the right question. 

What has TBBS learned by reading Polly and from her five years of therapy? She has learned how to complain. That’s quite an achievement, don’t you think?

I hate hearing myself complain to people, and I’m so exhausted from obsessing over things I can’t control. I want to repurpose this energy into something useful like reading more, learning new skills, going outside, being a better friend, daughter, partner, or just being a human in the world. My mom always tells me that I stress too much over nothing, that this stress is bad, and that I should enjoy life. It’s an oversimplification, sure, but so clearly describes exactly what I want. Why can’t I be that way, Polly? What will be the Thing That Solves Everything?

TBBS is trapped in depressive thinking. As you might know, one of the important characteristics of such thinking is: to think in all or nothing terms. She has everything but it feels like she has nothing.

She can modify this thinking by tallying up specifically what she has and what she does not have. We do not want her to run everything through an all or nothing lens. We do not want her to impose this level of distortion on reality. We want her to overcome her feelings of being lost and alone, weak and vulnerable, naked and afraid. 

So, here we have another snapshot of what’s wrong with the therapy culture.

Because I am in a constructive mood today I will spare you Polly’s commentary.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Goldman Sachs Goes Woke

We do not know how long Goldman Sachs is going to continue being a world class banking operation, but we do know that its new CEO David Solomon wants to lead the world in woke banking. 

We recall that Goldman bankers now have a choice of their own personal pronouns. Nothing like caving to the transgender lobby.

Imagine the scene, a Goldman banker arrives in Dubai and presents itself as: I am Biff and my pronouns are dem, dose, dese and duh. Or better, I am Buffy and my pronouns are: Bing, Bam, Bung, and Boo.

As though that were not enough, under the aegis of a Swedish truant it has now stopped financing fossil fuel projects. This has and will likely cause it to lose business in Alaska, among other places. 

If no other banks follow Goldman Sachs into the quicksand of identity politics that giant sucking sound will be business going to other banks.

Now, Goldman Sachs is striking a blow for diversity. The bank will refuse to manage the IPO of any company that does not have at least one woman or minority board member. This seems to be aimed at Silicon Valley high tech firms, firms that have always had a paucity of women and minorities. And yet, these are notably successful firms.

Unfortunately, the mini minds at Goldman Sachs do not seem to recognize that we should not mess with what works. To them, it's all about bigotry. Or, as the Bible did not quite say: bigotry, bigotry, all is bigotry.

CBS has the story:

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has a plan to end the era of all-male, all-white corporate boards: The investment bank will refuse to take a company public unless it has at least one woman or non-white board member. The move could make a big difference with male-dominated startups, experts say.

Under Solomon's new rule, which goes into effect on July 1 in the U.S. and Europe, Goldman Sachs wouldn't have signed on as an underwriter for WeWork, which had a male-only board when it filed to go public last year. (Soon after, WeWork ended up pulling its IPO following investors questions about its financial losses and corporate governance.)

The push toward greater diversity comes as lawmakers and policy experts are questioning the lack of progress of women inside the boardroom and the C-suite. Even though women hold about 1 in 5 board seats in S&P 500 companies, the majority of businesses still have boards that are mostly composed of men, according to the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Naturally, they have trotted out serious academic studies explaining that diversity is good for business. Thus, it must be true. CBS continues:

Academic research backs up the benefits of a diverse board, with studies showing such companies make better investment decisions and scale back on aggressive risk-taking.

Yet there remains a glaring lack of board diversity among venture-backed private business, which have provided the U.S. with some of the biggest IPOs in recent years.

About 60% of the most heavily venture-backed companies lack a single woman on the board, according to a study published last month from Crunchbase, Him For Her and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. 

As it happens, in Norway, where diversity has taken over corporate boards, corporate profits have dropped by some 12%. Obviously, if the change was profit neutral or if it enhanced profit, we would not need the great philosophers who run Goldman Sachs or even woke politicians to enforce the rule. 

True enough, women are more risk averse. And yet, in some businesses, the failure to take risks and the raw cowardice that seeks safety and security are en impediment. If the great businesses of Silicon Valley grew and prospered without boardroom diversity, and without very much diversity at all, should we shut them all down in the interest of some foggy idea?

Anyway, if you were going to bet on a football game, would you choose the team whose members were chosen for their superior ability to play football or would you choose the team that was more diverse? 

In the future, I will make a modest proposal. In all future games in the National Football League, there must be gender equity, an equal number of males and females playing in the game on each and every down. I will bet you that you can find an academic study proving that this will not change the scores in any appreciable way. And now, Goldman Sachs can invest in football teams.

Anyway, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Goldman rule only applies in the woke Western world. When doing IPOs in Asia, the Middle East and even South America, Goldman will not impose the same rule.

It turns out that Goldman’s diversity drive doesn’t extend to its business in Asia, Latin America or the Middle East where all-male boards are more common. One third of corporate boards in China and Japan have all-male boards, as do 94% of those in Saudi Arabia. Goldman has been chasing business in emerging markets as it becomes harder to deliver growth in U.S. investment banking. Goldman says that it will consider extending the policy to other regions over time after consulting with clients, and as diversity awareness increases.

Perhaps Goldman doesn’t want to impose its values on non-Western cultures that aren’t as enlightened about identity politics. Or maybe it doesn’t want its wokeness to cost the bank global customers who care more about business than American politics.

One understands that we are all rooting for America in the clash of civilizations. We believe that our system is better than those of the Eastern world. But, you might ask, when one of America’s leading banks gets sucked into doing business according to diversity politics, how long do you think that that will last.

We have diversity. They have merit-based systems. If you were an objective outside observer, where would you place your bets?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Protecting Hunter and Joe Biden

As the old saying goes, the cover up is always worse than the crime. We might question the wisdom behind the statement, but we can confirm that the New York Times itself has been directly involved in the effort to cover up the Hunter Biden/Burisma connection.

While Joe Biden insists that he knew nothing about his son’s business relationship with the Ukrainian gas company and that he did not set down a quid pro quo for the Ukrainian government in which he was willing to trade $1,000,000,000 in aid for the firing of the prosecutor who was probing Burisma, the truth was that the Obama State Department and the Obama White House knew precisely what was going on.

Not only that, but the point man on Ukraine for the National Security Council, a man by name of Eric Ciaramella, was directly involved in the discussions. As you probably know by now, Ciaramella is also the whistleblower whose second and third hand rumor mongering set off the current impeachment crisis. And you also might know, as reported here, that Ciaramella was, while at Yale, an avid Islamist. He stood tall and proud to defend an Islamist anti-Semitic professor whose contract with Yale was allowed to lapse. 

If you think that the impeachment madness is just about the Ukraine, think again.

Anyway, the Times had the Hunter Biden/Burisma story and chose to kill it. Laura Ingraham gained possession of some inculpatory emails between Times reporter Ken Vogel and the State Department. Matt Margolis has the story (via Maggie’s Farm):

In the email, Vogel wrote, "We are going to report that [State Department official] Elizabeth Zentos attended a meeting at the White House on 1/19/2016 with Ukrainian prosecutors and embassy officials as well as ... [redacted] from the NSC ... the subjects discussed included efforts within the United State government to support prosecutions, in Ukraine and the United Kingdom, of Burisma Holdings, ... and concerns that Hunter Biden's position with the company could complicate such efforts."

Ingraham said this email was forwarded to Schilling's colleagues Zentos and George Kent, who appears to have been a source for Vogel. The conversation ended on May 3, with the State Department declining to comment. Kent, who was stationed in Kyiv at the time, told House investigators during an impeachment hearing last year that he raised concerns in 2015 about Hunter Biden holding a position with Burisma but was rebuffed by a Joe Biden aide.

Using archived Obama White House visitor logs, Ingraham said her team was able to corroborate details of the January 2016 meeting, showing on the screen the names of Ukrainian officials checked into the White House by Ciaramella, who was Ukraine director on the National Security Council.

Let’s see. As I understand it, our State Department was going to support the prosecution of Burisma. But, the presence of Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma complicated the issue. You can say that. Then again, isn’t that why Hunter Biden was paid millions to do a job for which he had no qualifications whatever?

Keep in mind, according to Joe Biden his son did nothing wrong. And certainly he did nothing wrong. Buying influence through a son is perhaps not a crime. But, to say that it is not wrong shows merely that one has no moral sense.

As always, in the mainstream American media, stories that make Democrats look bad get killed while stories that make Republicans look bad get blared, even exaggerated by every outlet. 

Transgender Terrorism

So much for intersectionality. You know all about intersectionality. By its theoretical lights oppressed groups have something in common. They are all oppressed by the straight white male patriarchy. And they ought all to band together to form a vanguard to overthrow said oppressive bigots. The groups include members of minority ethnic groups, African-Americans, women, gays, Muslims and of course the transgendered.

One might notice that these groups, if you put them all together, constitute a majority of the citizens in a place like the United States. Just in case you think that they want to impose their will by violent revolution, this simple fact suggests that they are aiming to produce an unbeatable electoral coalition. The more oppressed people vote the easier it will be for intersectionalists to take over the country. 

You might ask what these groups have in common, but that would require some thought. And intersectionality does not allow any thought to undermine its political agenda. 

Better yet, the transgender activist community, in a place like Great Britain, in a school like the venerable Oxford University, has been known to shut down free expression by employing Storm Trooper tactics. If you say the wrong thing, even if you are a fully committed feminist, they will threaten you, harass you and try to cause you serious bodily harm.

Why the authorities have not put these people in jail defies the imagination.

Consider the case of Oxford historian Selina Todd. She researched the transgender issue and concluded that this current media-driven aberration was bad for women.

On her website, Todd writes, “Like every other gender critical feminist I know, I encountered the current debate about whether transgender people should be able to self-identify as such (without fulfilling other legal and medical requirements) from the instinctive standpoint that I wanted to support transpeople’s rights,” according to

“But after months of research, I concluded that this position would harm the rights of women, because so often what is being asked for is free access to women-only spaces.”

Penis bearing human beings who declare themselves to be female demanding free access to women-only spaces. Does that sound like a veiled description of a rape? Hmm. 

Is there a concomitant demand for vagina bearing human beings who declare themselves to be males to be admitted into men-only spaces. If not, why not? It’s a question that is surely worthy of Oxford.

Anyway, now Todd gives lectures in the company of two burly bodyguards:

A feminist professor at Oxford University was given two security guards to protect her from potentially violent transgender activists furious over some of things she wrote on her website, according to a report Friday.

Selina Todd, a historian who focuses on the lives of working-class women, received threats after writing that trans people sometimes “harm the rights of women,” according to the UK Telegraph.

“I get frightened by the threats in lectures,” she told the paper. “You can’t help but worry. It’s had a huge impact on me. You don’t expect to be defending yourself the whole time from complaints or threats of violence.”

Todd said the presence of two “two big burly guys” at her lectures is designed to protect her from threats verified by the school — and quite a handful of students who recently began showing up in trans activists T-shirts, and calling her “transphobic.

You have to wonder why the authorities have not seriously cracked down on this. Then again, the authorities do not seem to care that transgenderism is causing children to be mutilated with puberty blocking drugs, to be poisoned with opposite sex hormones and to be carved up surgically. 

That the British intelligentsia and the public authorities have become totally passive, submissive and supine in the face of transgender activists is a very bad civilizational omen, indeed.

It Smells Like a Vagina

Just in case you have been puzzled that you cannot buy yourself a Goop vagina candle, now you know why. Apparently, Elton John has bought up massive numbers of the candles, entitled: "This Smells Like My Vagina."

If anyone can offer a rational explanation for Sir Elton’s taste in candles, I am willing to listen.

Now, Gwyneth Paltrow, the Hollywood celebrity who is hawking these candles, wants us all to know that they do not smell like her vagina. I am sure you find that a relief. But do they smell like a generic vagina? Perhaps that’s why Sir Elton has bought so many of them.

As for the demographic, Paltrow suggests that most of the candles have been bought by women, and perhaps Joe Biden. No, Paltrow did not mention Joe Biden, but I could not resist placing his name in this context. He has earned the mention.

As for the reasoning behind this absurdity, Paltrow’s co-creator explains the limited intelligence behind the project:

The artist [co-creator Douglas Little]  said that he and Paltrow, 47, wanted to create “something that was voluptuous and sensual and also provocative and fun,” and shot down the notion that the final product — despite its “very musky notes” and much-discussed name — is meant to mirror the aroma of the Goop guru’s own nether regions.

“Just saying the word — vagina! — is shocking to some people,” he told the outlet. “Why the f—k is that? There’s no reason. It’s this beautiful, sacred thing and yet in our society and in many societies there is a lot of stigma and shame. I think people are sick of that.”

In  a pornified world, images of the female and the male sexual anatomy are ubiquitous. The problem is not that sexuality is covered up. The problem is that it is uncovered, demystified, destigmatized, and rendered public property. Think about that, private parts have become, through the rage to destigmatize, public property.

Do you think that this represents a civilizational advance? Or do you think that it contributes to the current epidemic of sexual harassment?

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Stupidity of the American Media

Among the phenomena not noted often enough is this: during the Russian collusion hoax and even during the impeachment farce, a handful of liberal journalists have offered some of the best analysis of the process.

They are not Trump supporters, and this lends their work more credence. But they have been fair and rational, evaluating the evidence and drawing sane conclusions. Since they have dissociated themselves from the Resistance they have surely lost friends.

We lead today with Matt Taibbi, from Rolling Stone, not a member of the vast right wing conspiracy. But we have occasionally pointed out the excellent work of Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Mate, Stephen Cohen and Alan Dershowitz. Sometimes it feels like the American left is a monolith, but, that is clearly not the truth. Some liberals still know that classical liberal thought was open to both sides of every argument.

In a recent essay, Taibbi points out that the media, consumed with Trump hatred, has basically destroyed its own credibility. He calls out the New York Times, of course, but he argues effectively that the media is now trying to do to Bernie Sanders what it tried to do to Trump.

Rather than offer reasoned judgment about Trump, the American media doubled down on stupid. It refused to balance good and bad. It decided that everything Trump did was bad.

It was on display yesterday when Adam Schiff declared that Trump was guilty of compromising national security because he held a meeting with Vladimir Putin. How stupid do you have to be to accept the Schiff analysis? Do we recall, that during the furor over Trump's meeting with Putin, that the Nation's Stephen Cohen pointed out that it was perfectly normal?

Taibbi is not a Trump supporter, but he correctly bemoans the media’s irrational hostility toward Trump. And he points out that this mindless ranting has compromised the media’s credibility while enhancing Trump’s:

When Trump jumped into the presidential race in 2015, it would have been easy enough for members of the media to decry his ignorance, personal and professional venality, and racism.

But they couldn’t help themselves, declaring every word out of his mouth a Satanic lie. This made the occasional things that he said that were true, like that Jeb Bush was a puppet for corporate donors or NATO was a bloated and outdated organization, pack significantly more punch.

The transparent full-of-shitness of the corporate press reaction to Trump was probably the leading argument for his credibility. Trump wrongly pushed voters to blame minorities and foreigners, and when he did identify correct targets for public opprobrium, like Goldman Sachs, it wasn’t believable that he would oppose them in office. But media figures gave his “drain the swamp” message a huge boost by scoffing at it with their inimical obnoxiousness.

They then spent years doubling down, backing conspiracy theories about espionage with Russia, mis-predicting the end of the Trump presidency, and, yes, employing tactics like bodylanguage analysis to say all sorts of silly things (“What is Donald Trump hiding? His body language says it all,” wrote Newsweek, interviewing an analyst who’d made “interesting observations about Hitler’s salutes”).

People in the media business underestimate, by a lot, the damage the last three years have done to their ability to reach not just Trump fans but non-Trump Republicans, independents, libertarians, Greens, and other groups. The latest fiascoes with Sanders double as confirmation for these people of their worst conclusions about media, and an additional insult that such goofball messaging is only now attracting the notice of some on the “other side. “

The media seem to believe that they belong to a righteous resistance. And that they are damaging Trump by throwing barrages of spitballs his way. In truth, they have mostly damaged themselves. People no longer trust their presentation of facts. People no longer believe that their opinions have been reasoned. 

The American media has gone over to the side of propaganda. It wants to be a player, not to be an objective and neutral observer. Thus, it has exposed the fact that it is completely lacking in a moral compass. Whether or not it is beyond repair, I do not know. But, hats off to Taibbi for calling it out.

The Middle East Realignment

For your and my edification, Jim Hanson has a report on the shift in American policy towards Iran. He explains how the Trump administration, in breaking with its predecessor, has stymied Iran’s hopes for a Shia crescent and has damped down the Iranian love for regional disruption.

Hanson begins by pointing out that the Islamic Republic has always wanted to be a hegemon in the Middle East:

Since the revolution in 1979 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the ruling theocracy has long sought the role of hegemon in the Middle East, not openly but clearly. Proxy armies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and in the Palestinian territories have been the main weapon which has allowed Iran a certain level of deniability to this effort. But the sheer amount of resources and energy put into these elements of Iranian influence shows its importance.

One particular thrust is worth a deeper look: Iranian efforts in the last fifteen years to solidify control of the Shi’a majority areas in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The King of Jordan warned in 2004 of an emerging “Shiite crescent” in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean.

Iraq felt a strong increase in Iranian influence after the American drawdown began under President Obama in 2009. Lebanon has always felt the touch of the mullahs through Hezbollah and that power has grown over the past decade as well. Since then the civil war in Syria and relative weakness of Hafez al-Assad’s rule in Syria allowed it to fall into Tehran’s orbit as well.

The mastermind of the Iranian effort was Qassem Soleimani. With his assassination the Iranian project was seriously damaged:

The “Shia Crescent” was dealt a heavy blow with the killing of Qassem Soleimani – the architect of Iran’s supremacist goals as well as the puppet master of its terror proxies.
My colleague Dr. Brad Patty wrote in a piece after Soleimani’s death:

“The ability to smooth out conflicts between these organizations and hold them together is a quality that will be extremely hard to replace. It is a quality that was built upon his personal relationships with all of the leaders of these organizations, not merely upon Iranian cash or power. It was built on his willingness to stand under fire with them, to be there on the front lines with them, as well as his ability to bend their competitor organizations.”

Iran’s efforts all across the region are now in jeopardy and it remains to be seen if they can regain their momentum, especially given the “maximum pressure” sanctions led by the United States.

Of course, the American president who seemed clearly to embrace the Iranian project was Barack Obama:

Much of this malign activity by Iran was supposed to end as a by product of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as the Iran deal. 

President Obama believed that he could both control Iran’s efforts to build nuclear weapons and bring it into the community of nations with this effort. He was unrealistically optimistic and flaws in the deal were evident. Far from slowing Iran’s efforts at regional domination, it accelerated them because the regime used the cash the U.S. sent to pay and equip its proxy armies and launched them on ever more ambitious missions.

During the end of Obama’s second term in 2014-15, these combined efforts seemed to be bearing fruit and even saw Iranian-controlled militias partnered with the counter-ISIS operations. Iran’s dream of a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean seemed a distinct possibility until 2016. But Donald Trump was elected and the laissez-faire approach to Iranian malign actions practiced by the Obama administration left when President Obama did.

No wonder our foreign policy elites have been so upset with Trump.