December 25, 2011
Arlington VA, USA
Just a moment to ponder....
Time Magazine - Person of the Year 2011. As we barrel headlong into the rushing rapids that will inevitably be 2012, perhaps a few moments ought to be spent pondering where we are, what our nation is doing, and what directions we ought to pursue in the coming 2012.
First, it is interesting that Time magazine has announced its "Person of the Year" and named the protesters on Wall Street (and elsewhere in the Nation) as that honoree. Nothing could more succinctly express the general malaise of our society than that dedication. If these protesters were genuine, and not a bunch of professionals that go from cause to cause where their stipends come from, or where they might get free food and lodging aside from the streets, then they just might make a good point on the decadence of Wall Street and the broader banking community. However, just reading the signs, and listening to many of their 'spokesmen' on the airways, it is easy to tell that these people, in general, really don't know what they are protesting about, and, as usual, the range of topics goes far beyond the financial mess we are in right now.
Is Iran a sole threat or a conspiracy with others? An interesting question brought up over drinks the other day at my favorite pub in Crystal City. Some believe that Iran is a directed threat against primarily Israel, and that the US is simply exacerbating that threat by its support for Jewish State. Others believe that Iran is either working in concert with or bankrolling other states, such as Syria, in their efforts to undermine US efforts at peace in the area.
Personally, I believe neither is the straight truth. Iran is almost certainly bankrolling Syria, Hezbollah Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza, and probably a large wing of factions in Iraq that have popped up since the US withdrawal a short time ago. Both Iran and Syria have, I believe correctly, gauged the international sentiment for reducing conflict over creating more brawling with either country. Only Israel remains alone in realizing that these two countries are significant risks to its survival over time if not stopped in their tracks. The US is now virtually powerless to stop that eventuality. All the rhetoric at the UN and other venues; all the frozen assets, travel restrictions, and the Hillary Clinton speeches have done virtually nothing to stop their internal and external actions. As long as either or both have the capability to produce nuclear weapons, they remain both a threat, and a danger that must be respected--even more than the danger currently posed by the succession in North Korea.
Iran has the oil, the partners, the customers, and supporters to prevent real action against it in the long run--all except Israel. If Israel sees a significant or potential danger (beyond that already in place), it will strike first and ask for international permission later--and justifiably so. Iran has at least a limited ability to respond with nuclear weapons, rocket-based, but will it really do so? Can it afford to do so? Probably not, leaving some measure of hegemony between Israel and Iran that will serve as a deterrent. Either side can severely damage the other, and each side hassuppporters who would really prefer not to be deeply involved in that potential conflict. Only time will tell, but I will bet that Iran and Syria will ratchet up the stakes, and either or both will find themselves on the other side of a massive attack in the next six months.
The future of Iraq. With the US pullout, Iraq has quickly become a mess that will require future international attention. The Government wants to arrest its own Kurdish Vice President, bringing the Sunni-Kurd wound out afresh--but without the US to mediate. Terror squads are roaming the country at will bombing here and there as they choose--disrupting the Government, and showing the clearly that Iraq must either live with their decisions or face civil war. Expect a full-blown civil war within 3 months here.
Implications for the US economy. Much of what is discussed above is being steered by politics and the economy. The Obama Administration is so clearly showing itself as the single most incompetent admistration since Warren G Harding - Even Jimmy Carter did a better job, and both got the Nobel Prize for their lack of effort. Everything in the Obama White House from his first day in office has been directed toward re-election, and nothing, including war and diplomacy will stand in the way of that effort. The economy is still in a shambles, unemployment remains too high, the banks continue to use Federal funds, supported by the Federal Reserve and Treasury, as they gouge customers, and Obama goes off to Hawaii as he has done something to merit a vacation. He has inflamed Israel--not even realizing that every step he takes pisses them off even more as he claims to support them while crticizing at every opportunity.
Don't get me wrong here - unlike the jaded media who think a trip to Israel is mandatory and kissing Netanyahu's ass at every chance is obligatory, I disagree. The US should be pursuing a policy as an honest broker in the Middle East, but now it is too late to get any government in the area to believe that story. Even Hillary Clinton can't make that bitter pill go done anyone's throat. In fact, it seems that Bill Clinton actually has more influence currently on the world stage that the President. Something is amiss here for that to be happening. Many overseas are actually hoping for a new Clinton Era. Wonder how Hillary would work that out?
In any event, there are so many balls in the air for the US right now that something will be coming crashing down--bet it will be the economy again, since there will be less of a war to draw from the economy. only time will tell, but you can be sureit will not be the Obama administration that will tell you.
Happy New Year