Conservatives Slam 'Obama Doctrine' at Conference

National Security Action Summit brings together conservative figures 'snubbed' by traditional 'CPAC' conference.

Daniel Perez ,

Russian troops in Crimean border town of Bakl
Russian troops in Crimean border town of Bakl
Founded in 2013 as an alternative forum for conservative politicians, pundits and scholars who had been turned away from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C., the National Security Action Summit truly came into its own this year, hosting a full day of panel discussions and appearances by top Republican leaders. Indeed, a significant portion of those in attendance bore name badges indicating that they had stepped away from CPAC specifically to hear from the “uninvited.”

The Summit was co-sponsored by Breitbart News and EMPact America, an NGO established to raise public awareness of the threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons to America's domestic energy infrastructure. Serving as moderator was Frank Gaffney, founder and president of conservative think tank the Center for Security Policy.

Held just days after this year's AIPAC Policy Conference, the National Security Action Summit might be mistaken for an offshoot of the same, given the profusion of kippot and the presence of some of Israel's staunchest defenders on the American political scene today. (Indeed, Dr. Joseph Frager of Queens, New York - an activist perhaps best known for his work organizing the annual Israel Day Concert & Rally in Central Park - was among those working behind the scenes to ensure the success of the National Security Action Summit.) A key distinction, of course, could be found in the wide range of issues discussed at the national security conference, which included but were not limited to immigration reform, the future of the U.S. military, the crisis in Ukraine, and the threat posed by Radical Islam at home and abroad.

The Islamist Agenda

Throughout the Summit, the Obama administration was called to task repeatedly for its many failings. The mood was an urgent one, as subject matter experts lambasting the president and other high-ranking officials from political, economic, intelligence, and military perspectives.

In the morning's first panel, entitled “The Muslim Brotherhood, 'Civilization Jihad,' and its Enablers,” panelists like former FBI Agent John Guandolo alleged that numerous front groups for Egypt's fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood are already hard at work within the United States, and exerting an influence on the federal government itself.

Writer and activist Deborah Weiss, Esq., spoke of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – which she denounced as “an Islamist supremacist group” posing as moderates – and their efforts to curb any and all free speech deemed blasphemous according to Islam. Perhaps most informative of all was the presentation by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who appeared via video-link.

Dr. Jasser described himself and his organization as being “at the head of the spear in fighting not only Radical Islam, but Political Islam, and all the offshoots of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and its legacy groups in the West.”

“There is hope,” declared Jasser, “but we can only do this together. A big part of the solution will come from within the House of Islam.”

Jasser went on to tell how in his book “The Battle for the Soul of Islam,” he explains that people like himself “did not come out of thin air,” but rather “families like mine came to America escaping the two evils in the Middle East of Political Islam and the [Muslim] Brotherhood and its theocracy, and also Arab fascism and its autocracy. The 'Putins' of the Middle East, if you will.”

Unfortunately, says Dr. Jasser, anti-Islamist, pro-democratic Muslims are at a disadvantage, relative to the better-funded, better-connected, and more widely publicized Islamist groups. Advocating for the “separation of mosque and state,” he called upon those at the National Security Action Summit to support his fight not only against violent acts of terrorism, but against the extremist ideologies that spawn them.

Dr. Jasser was but one of dozens of respected public figures to grace the podium and the video screen throughout the National Security Action Summit – which included current and former legislators, judges, diplomats, military leaders, and media personalities. Current members of Congress participating in the Summit included Rep. Louis Gohmer (R-TX), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Challenging Russian Aggression

In what was arguably one of the most impassioned speeches of the day, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) discussed a variety of pressing topics, from the proposed budget cuts to the U.S. military, to the Iranian nuclear program, to he Russian invasion of Ukraine – in reference to which he characterized the description used by some in the Obama administration of Russia's incursion as an “uncontested arrival,” as the “words of fools.”

Among the other commentators offering their views on the situation in the Ukraine were counter-terrorism expert Dr. Sebastian Gorka of National Defense University, former CIA operative Claire Lopez, Brietbart Editor-in-Chief Joel Pollak, and political scientist Ariel Cohen, a research fellow at the Heritage Institute who was, in fact, born in the Crimea.

In outlining the crisis, Cohen declared an end to the “post-Cold War arrangement,” wherein there was “a clear hierarchical international order, the underpinnings of which were American power projected around the world.”

The disruption of this arrangement, says Cohen - which he described as “benevolent,” with America's role being similar to that of the British Empire prior to 1914 - signals that “a powerful nuclear neighbor can grab and trample territory of its weaker neighbor.”

Letting Russia's aggression stand, he continued, means acquiescing to the destruction of the implicit guarantee that a nation's sovereignty be held sacrosanct, and reverting to a geopolitical situation disturbingly similar to that which prevailed after the First World War - and ultimately gave rise to the second.

Overall, the take-home message from the panelists would seem to be that the U.S. government's weak-willed response to the Russian military intervention in the Crimea only further strengthens the despotic rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while signaling that we as a nation are abdicating our position as a world superpower.

The Common Defense: Endangered?

The National Security Action Summit also drew officials and activists from all age groups, from 20-something political bloggers to retired army generals.

In the case of the latter, a panel discussion dubbed “The Common Defense Endangered: A Case for Peace Through Strength 2.0” featured former top military brass including Adm. James “Ace” Lyons (former commander of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet), Gen. James Conway (former commandant of the Marine Corps), and Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who previously headed the 11th Air Force (formerly the Alaskan Air Command), and currently serves as a commentator on Fox News. Each drew upon their decades of experience in the service of their country to critique America's current defense policies and the future of America's armed forces should things continue on their present trajectory. 

Admiral Lyons was particularly vocal in his criticism, declaring that under what he dubbed the “Obama Doctrine,” the United States has cut off its allies, making our nation appear “unreliable” to its erstwhile friends.

Referring back to Russia's recent aggression in Ukraine (it was a popular topic throughout the day), Lyons suggested the United States should issue an ultimatum to Moscow that, unless they cease all hostilities against their neighbor, we would topple the [Russian-aligned] Assad regime in Syria.

“There's not a hell of a lot [Putin] can do about that,” explained Lyons. Iran, however “could cause trouble,” the admiral continued, saying that he would advise providing Israel with “bunker buster” bombs and aerial refueling tanker assets. “I would even give them an additional squadron of F-15s,” he added.

“In that way, we would ensure that if Israel has to carry out a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, it will be successful.”

Adm. Lyons expressed his lament that given the current U.S. administration, an Israeli attack is the only means he could imagine by which the Iranian nuclear threat could be neutralized.

Passing the Torch

On the other end of the age spectrum, the event culminated with a visit by James O'Keefe of Project Veritas. O'Keefe, a self-described muckraker, rose to prominence with his controversial video exposés of Planned Parenthood and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Describing his work in exposing corruption within public institutions, O'Keefe said he and his colleagues “try to outrage people, to get people really indignant about what's going on around them.”

O'Keefe detailed his efforts to uncover instances of organized voter fraud and other forms of corruption. He also made reference to undercover meetings with representatives from NPR, revealing anti-Jewish bias at the federally-funded organization.

Talking about the work of Project Veritas, O'Keefe explained that his modus operandi of secretly filming meetings arranged under false pretenses with government agencies and NGOs was a means to root out unethical and illegal activity, by sharing with the public those things that are said in private.

“We show you what's going on behind closed doors – and we get results,” he said, and detailed some of those results, which often ended with government employees resigning or being terminated after being caught committing various types of malfeasance.

“We look forward to focusing more on national security issues, border issues,” said O'Keefe. “It's very dangerous to do this type of work. We have a high turnover rate with our undercover people, but we also have a large list – we have 70 – people who have signed up to be undercover journalists at Project Veritas.”

Concluding his remarks, O'Keefe asserted that “The government works for us. And doing this type of journalism, this type of independent journalism, lights a fire under politicians, makes them focus and care about these issues when they otherwise don't, and that's what we do.”