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ISIS Claims Responsibility for Berlin Attack

December 21, 2016

The heading comes from this story: Berlin truck attack, ambassador assassination point to Trump challenges. It’s from The Wall Street Journal reprinted in The Australian. They haven’t caught whoever has done the actual deed, but if ISIS is claiming responsibility, at the very least they are claiming that they would have been quite happy to have done it even if in this case they did not, although they probably did. But look at this story, as Trump is contrasted with Obama. The question left unanswered in the story – which is written as if the problems had just descended from outer space – is who is responsible for the mess Trump will inherit?

The assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey and the apparent terror attack on a Berlin Christmas market underscore the global tinderbox President-elect Donald Trump is set to inherit in coming weeks, and his initial response suggests his White House will take a sharply different approach to such unexpected crises.

Mr Trump’s written statements just hours after the incidents were a notable contrast from those coming out of the Obama White House.

He labelled the assassin in Ankara a “radical Islamic terrorist,” even though Turkish authorities hadn’t yet drawn conclusions about the gunman’s possible affiliations or motivations, whereas the White House simply stressed President Barack Obama’s “determination to confront terrorism.” Mr Trump called the Berlin ambush a “horrifying terror attack,” while the White House called it a “horrific incident” that “appears to have been a terrorist attack.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is “shocked, shaken and deeply saddened” by the attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed at least 12 people yesterday. ​ ​Ms Merkel ​said that it would be “particularly sickening” if it turns out the attacker was an asylum-seeker who sought refuge in Germany.

“It’s a completely different style for better or for worse,” said Lorenzo Vidino, director of the program on extremism at George Washington University, adding there are upsides and downsides to both approaches.

James Jeffrey, who served as Mr Obama’s ambassador in Iraq and is now a scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, pointed to Mr Trump’s immediate use of the term “Islamic” terrorism, contrasted with Mr Obama’s steadfast refusal to link Islam with extremism — something Mr Trump frequently criticised during his campaign.

You obviously cannot get a more neutral authority than Obama’s ambassador to Iraq. Obama has not just let this problem fester for eight years, but in almost everything he did do has made things worse. He has not fought Islamic terrorism and extremism, but preferred to look at its manifestations as a problem that has been exaggerated because of the sensationalism that surrounds all such events. The journalist in this story seems to have taken the same approach: asleep at the wheel of history. But for a sample of the vast ignorance and incompetence of such journalists to even conceive beyond a first year university level of superficiality the goings-on in the world, this is truly bizarre:

Mr Trump receives intelligence briefings several times a week, though not daily as Mr Obama has.

Trump won’t even be president for a month. He was only formally elected yesterday. Obama notoriously and regularly skipped out on his intelligence briefings. Obama is responsible, to the extent anyone can be held responsible, for the problems we have. I’d be interested if someone could point to a single act Obama took to diminish the threat from Islamic terrorism. Journalists who cover for Obama are just as evil and morally culpable as the president himself.

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