Thursday, March 26, 2015

Personal Animosity And The Nuclear Arms Race

It is no secret that President Obama has little time for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.  He has been less than politic about his feelings while Netanyahu has bitten his tongue and remained civil.

A large part of the issue is what the U.S. demands as part of the two state solution for the Palestinians and what the Israelis are willing to do.  Netanyahu declared during his recent re-election campaign that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he was Prime Minister. He backed off the statement by saying he wasn't altogether against it but now isn't the time.

Why not now?  Because he is surrounded on two sides; by Hezbollah on one and Hamas on the other.  Both are terrorist groups who have declared their intent to drive Israel from the face of the earth. I'd see no reason to negotiate either with that as the prevailing attitude.

For some reason, however, our President is determined to punish Netanyahu for not acquiescing to him.  Obama wants him to embrace the nuclear negotiations with Iran. He's also determined to punish us by threatening to go around Congress with the secret details and go straight to the U.N.

To add insult to injury we have declassified what had been a secret agreement with Israel not to make public the extent of their nuclear program.  That they have one is no secret, but to break our word and make the details available to anyone who cares to look does no more than insure there will be an arms race in the middle east.

I don't believe the Israelis would use them unless hopelessly cornered and I believe the only country that would try to corner them is Iran if they had the same capabilities.  We're making it possible for them.  Add to that the Sunni/Shite strife among the other countries you can bet everyone who can will get either a ready made bomb or the technology to make their own.

I'm sure negotiations have long been underway between the Saudis and Pakistan or North Korea.  To me, Obama has now, with this latest action, set the match to the fuel that needed the smallest of parks to ignite the region.

Who knows how this will play out but it seems to be an awfully big risk just to justify his Nobel Peace Prize and pave the way for John Kerry to get his.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Mid Eastern View Of The U.S.

When there are blocks of time when I disappear I'm usually off somewhere I love.  This time it was March in Montana for the Charles M. Russell Art Show and Auction.

The best part of it is looking at work by artists who depict imagery of what made this country great.  Stalwart men and women doing what needed to be done.  I wonder what they would think were they alive today.

They did make this a great country through sweat and hard work and belief in our way of life and the willingness to do whatever was necessary to preserve it. Until modern times when self-interest and an arrogance among our leaders, of both parties, thinking they know better than the rest of us what's good for us and the world.

We've been fighting that arrogance for quite awhile now and those around the world who have been our friends are wondering what happened to us. I need not go into detail about the recent presidential snit over Netanyahu's visit and re-election. Or the petulance over the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

A would be friend, Egypt's President Al Sisi, is trying mightily to bring about change in Islam to where it is reformed just as was Christianity over the centuries.  It is a mighty undertaking and will take decades to change the mind set of a large portion of the world.  It is an insult, not an oversight, he has not been invited to the White House since his election for the worst of reasons.  He replaced the radical Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi and no matter how bad he was, Morsi was our man.

As matters in the Mid East continue to disintegrate Mr. Al Sisi asks for us to assume the responsibility that is ours due to the strength we have achieved through the greatness of the people I have described.

In assessing our retreat from the region and why we should not continue to do so he had this to say in a Wall Street Journal interview:
The United States has the strength and with might comes responsibility.  That is why it is committed and has responsibilities to the whole world.  It is not reasonable or acceptable that with all that might the United States will not be committed and have responsibilities toward the Middle East.  The Middle East is passing through the most difficult and critical time and this will only entail more involvement, not less. 
This is exactly why the world is wondering what has happened to us.  From the generals on down this is accepted as fact.  Only the highest levels of the administration and unfortunately the ones who set the policy, have turned their backs on a region in need of our wisdom, guidance and support.

It's indeed unfortunate that that very highest level of our elected officials have chosen for whatever reason to turn their backs on a world in need.  Include Russian aggression in the package.

As we should heed the words Netanyahu spoke about Iran so should we heed the words of President Al Sisi and live up to the obligations of the super power we are.  Or were.

Because we haven't and under this administration won't, it is not an easy time to be a proud American.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Letter

I'm not going to get into whether or not is was prudent for 49 Senators to sign a letter and send it to the Mullahs in Iran or not.  I do understand, however, why they did it.

This administration works in secrecy and have been found at times to be less than truthful.  Thus there is a great deal of mistrust.  This is compounded by keeping the aspects of the negotiations secret except for leaks.

This has led to the frustration being shown by the writing of the letter.  They don't trust Obama, via Kerry, to make a good deal.  What has leaked out seems to have confirmed those fears. Here we have a commander-in-chief who is solely responsible for foreign policy who has yet to keep his word on any of the conflicts hammering the Ukraine and much of the middle east.  Why, they ask, should they trust him on this?

As Iran shows off it's new missiles and takes shots at a mock up U.S. carrier during war games, why would we think their nuclear ambitions should be given any leeway?  They are openly hostile to the United States.  They are basically annexing Iraq by leading their troops in the war against ISIS and if the suspected ethnic cleansing is really happening around Tikrit that opens a new front of the war.

Sunni ISIS against Shite Iranians and Iraqis. As the Shites plow through Sunni territory they must refrain from killing those left behind as ISIS retreats or the conflict will evolve into a full fledged civil war.  One that has been smoldering long before we were even a country is now on the brink of exploding.

A nuclear Iran could make short order of their Sunni problem, ISIS would no longer be competing for the 'califate' and they'd be free to go after the rest of we infidels in the most deadly of ways.

This is what some in Congress wonder if the President grasps.  If his ambition is to have an agreement that allows a time frame for Iran to go nuclear with no further restrictions, in time they will carry out their own ambitions. Does the President care? Does the supposed glory of an agreement mean more than a relatively safe world?

The Senators who signed the letter know well by now how the President's mind works.  They rightly worry about it. They are letting the world know that the President does not speak for all of us. No advice was sought, no 'go ahead' given by anyone who knows the territory, the history of Iran, the dangers being invited and the mind set of the President.

They are worried.  Israel and Egypt and Jordan are worried.  We too should be.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Maybe We Should Eliminate Polls

I got to thinking a lot about polls yesterday and found myself wondering if we should add to the ranks of the unemployed and get rid of political polls and pollsters when it comes to choosing our candidates. We could rid ourselves of consultants and strategists too.  Those pesky folks who come up with the never-to-be-varied talking points.

I see a couple of advantages.  Without polls to tell candidates what they must say in order to garner votes, they would have to campaign on what they believe.  No help from the peanut gallery.

It would help voters too.  They would actually have to listen to those candidates to find out what they really stand for.  No help from the peanut gallery.

Think of it.  No more staffs of hundreds plucking and preening appearance nor message.  The candidate looks like they look and speaks what they believe.  That would eliminate a lot of opportunists who don't believe anything.

It would force voters to figure out for themselves what's important rather than being informed by the polls.  They'd hear what the candidates think is important without benefit of polls and could decide for themselves if said candidate is on their wave length rather than blindly hoping.

How ingenious!  Everyone thinking without being beholden to any one or any idea other than their own and themselves.  Could we cope?  I doubt it, but I'd sure like to see it tried!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Hillary. Please Explain!

I have two questions.  Why does Hillary Clinton reap such high poll ratings?  And why do Democrats seem to be in lockstep behind her?

All the past Clinton shenanigans are coming to light once again with the emergence of her most recent faux pas.  Isn't that enough to give voters pause?  Especially Democrats.

Or does this allegiance tell us something about Democrats we'd rather not believe.  That a person with the character of a Hillary Clinton is their leader of choice?

I don't understand my country any more.  I do understand more every day what being a dinosaur is like and I'm continually looking for the tar pit lest I get swallowed up by it.  Even after the mid-terms when the voting public let it be know they were tired of smarmy politics it continues.  On both sides I might add considering the comment Lindsey Graham made about Nancy Pelosi's many surgeries.  But why?

What ever happened to good manners? Open mindedness? Compromise? They're already in that tar pit!

Frustration?  That's no excuse.  That's when self discipline is most important! But it all stems back to mind set.  I worry that the Democrats are so enthralled with Hillary.  A candidate who needs advisers to tell her what she is to think does not strike me as leadership material.  This is a time when we sorely need it and we have a disturbing visual what the world is like it without.

I don't know if a Martin Oralle or Jim Webb can wrest the nomination away from Hillary or if there is someone yet to appear, but I hope someone does.

What appears to be a game of wits, and I mean game, against all opposition with the Clintons is deadly serious business to the rest of the country.  Or at least it should be.

I don't know in whose camp I will land at this point but I do know it won't be Hillary's.  I hope that's true for a majority of Democrats too.