The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


In fairness to Barack Obama, he’s had little more than 100 days to assimilate his foreign policy—to date, all tone and relatively little substance. But things are heating up quickly, and the Obama administration seems somewhat befuddled in its response.

The reason that President Obama’s next moves are crucial is that the North Korean nuclear tests, missile launches, and bellicose threats are directly interconnected with Iran’s efforts to become a nuclear threat in the Middle East. Although these two countries are separated by thousands of miles, their strategy and interests are identical. Worse, they cooperate and coordinate closely (you’d never know this by reading MSM reports).

Back when Bush was President, Obama denigrated his characterization of both NoKo and Iran (charter members of the axis of evil), suggesting that open dialogue and “new ideas” would somehow be game changers. Unfortunately, NoKo and Iran think otherwise. A game is being played, but it appears that President Obama refuses to accept the rules.

But wait, the President is being assertive … with the Israelis.

His Secretary of State demands that all housing starts in the “settlements” be suspended immediately. After all, building apartments is a serious provocation.

In the delusional thinking of the Left, Obama believes that if the Israelis give the Palestinians everything they want, the Iranian “problem” will evaporate, wine and honey will flow throughout the Middle East, and we will achieve peace in our time.

History? Oh, forget history, forget repeated abrogation of peace plans and road maps by the Palestinians, forget Hamas’ rocket attacks on civilian population centers, forget decades of terrorist attacks, forget Palestinian corruption and incompetence, forget it all, because it’s, well, an inconvenient truth.

But I digress. The current threat is real (regardless of the mindset that dismisses it as just “bluster” on the part of NoKo and Iran).

Caroline Glick comments more intelligently than anyone in the administration or the US MSM:
Beyond its impact on Iran's technological and hardware capabilities, North Korea's nuclear program has had a singular influence on Iran's political strategy for advancing its nuclear program diplomatically. North Korea has been a trailblazer in its utilization of a mix of diplomatic aggression and seeming accommodation to alternately intimidate and persuade its enemies to take no action against its nuclear program. Iran has followed Pyongyang's model assiduously. Moreover, Iran has used the international - and particularly the American - response to various North Korean provocations over the years to determine how to position itself at any given moment in order to advance its nuclear program.

Think about it for a moment. Both NoKo and Iran make outrageous threats and then soften their rhetoric if "talks" are promised. They might even agree to a few things, with no intention of keeping their promises. They talk to buy time and that they get. Time to build nukes. Time to prepare for aggressive action. Time to fortify their defenses.

I don’t mean to belabor the point, but President Obama is supposed to be a smart guy, not a dummy like Bush. You’d think he’d better understand the rules of the big game. Like it or not, he’s a player, and to date, he's certainly no Kobe Bryant.

Glick continues:
For instance, when the US reacted to North Korea's 2006 nuclear and ICBM tests by reinstating the six-party talks in the hopes of appeasing Pyongyang, Iran learned that by exhibiting an interest in engaging the US on its uranium enrichment program it could gain valuable time. Just as North Korea was able to dissipate Washington's resolve to act against it while buying time to advance its program still further through the six-party talks, so Iran, by seemingly agreeing to a framework for discussing its uranium enrichment program, has been able to keep the US and Europe at bay for the past several years.

THE OBAMA administration's impotent response to Pyongyang's ICBM test last month and its similarly stuttering reaction to North Korea's nuclear test on Monday have shown Teheran that it no longer needs to even pretend to have an interest in negotiating aspects of its nuclear program with Washington or its European counterparts. Whereas appearing interested in reaching an accommodation with Washington made sense during the Bush presidency, when hawks and doves were competing for the president's ear, today, with the Obama administration populated solely by doves, Iran, like North Korea, believes it has nothing to gain by pretending to care about accommodating Washington.

This point was brought home clearly by both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's immediate verbal response to the North Korean nuclear test on Monday and by Iran's provocative launch of warships in the Gulf of Aden the same day. As Ahmadinejad said, as far the Iranian regime is concerned, "Iran's nuclear issue is over."

Form over substance worked quite well during the Presidential campaign. It won’t work nearly as well when dealing with the geopolitical threats we face. Unless, of course, you don’t believe they’re threats at all, just bluster, nothing to see here, let’s move on.


I apologize to regular readers for my long hiatus. The press of both business and family matters didn’t allow time for blogging over the past few months.

I think a good way to ease my return is to comment briefly on a number of important issues that have absorbed news coverage over the time I’ve been away.

The Economy. Our national recklessness will not be solved overnight. Maybe the spending championed by the Obama administration was necessary to avoid a catastrophic failure of our economy, but it appears that no one really knows.

Ironically, the young—his most ardent supporters—will feel the brunt of the multi-trillion dollar debt throughout their lives.

My prediction: We’re approaching a time when hard—very hard—decisions will have to be made about the entitlements that the current administration holds so dear. If we continue on our present path, we’ll become the government equivalent of GM.

The GM Bankruptcy. Why is anyone surprised? For decades, GM management has done just about everything wrong. It maintained too many redundant products; it came to recognize the importance of product quality about two decades too late; it created and then subsidized a bloated dealer network; it repeatedly capitulated to irresponsible union demands, putting both the company and its workers in jeopardy; it failed to innovate; it failed to recognize the trend toward green vehicles and then resisted the trend when it was too obvious to ignore … the list is long.

It is a travesty that US taxpayers have spent tens of billions of dollars propping up this failed company. I just hope that the “managed” bankruptcy will result in a viable corporate entity. I doubt it.

The “Torture” Scandals. We live in a dangerous world populated by dangerous people, some of whom want to do us great harm. To combat them, we need information, and in the aftermath of 9/11 (you remember that event, don’t you?) we expected additional attacks.

It was necessary—no, it was mandatory—to extract information from the very bad people we captured. To do that we used some very unpleasant techniques, but no one was maimed or killed. As a consequence, we extracted much useful information, which in their politically motivated wisdom, the Obama administration has refused to release (afraid I suspect, that the public might just shake its collective head, and say, “Yeah, it actually did work, didn’t it?”)

Now that we’ve redefined what “torture” is, it appears that any unpleasant interrogation qualifies a “torture.” The moral preening crowd takes its typical sanctimonious position, lamenting a loss of “American values.” I guess using extreme measures to potentially save thousands of lives must take a back seat to salving their warped sense of conscience.

Nancy Pelosi and the CIA. Sanctimony is the stock in trade of the U.S. Congress, and no one exemplifies that more than the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. To say that Pelosi is a poster child for the Peter Principle is to understate the matter entirely.

Her outrageous accusations against the CIA and her claim that she knew nothing about “extreme interrogations” doesn’t pass the smell test. She is either a liar, or she is incompetent. If she heard the phrase “extreme interrogations” it would seem that a competent official would ask what they were.

Worse, her support of a “truth commission” is so McCathyesque that it’s laughable. But no matter, if a “truth commission” ever is formed, Nancy Pelosi should be the first person to sit before the inquisitors.

Israel and the Obama Administration. It appears that the Obama administration has decided that building houses in “settlements” is the moral equivalent of launching rockets into civilian population centers. Why am I not surprised?

With furrowed brow, Hillary Clinton this morning suggested that Israel must stop all housing construction as a precursor to a broad peace settlement.

Let’s see, in 2000, under the guidance Clinton administration, the Israeli’s offered the Palestinians a state, a capital in Jerusalem and 95 percent of all their demands. Not enough, said the Palis, as they initiated a violent “intifada” that killed hundreds of Israelis. In 2005, the Israelis unilaterally exited Gaza. The result—chaos, Hamas, and 7,000 rockets.

But not to worry, all we need is for the Israelis to stop building houses and the Palestinians will come around, just like in 2000 and 2005. And here I thought that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were really smart people.

North Korea, Iran, and the Obama Administration. In talking to those who vociferously supported Barack Obama in the Presidential elections, I get the feeling that they’re mildly surprised that countries like North Korea and Iran don’t see the light. After all, it was the incompetent, evil Bush administration that caused all of these problems, labeling the NoKos and Iran part of an evil empire. How crass, how unfriendly, how lacking in nuance.

But Barack Obama took a different path with an outstretched hand of reconciliation. His elegance and brilliance would calm our enemies (wait, we have no enemies, sorry, only folks that react negatively to our many, many sins). The old ways were no more …

Back to the future. The NoKos just conducted a second Nuclear test, threatened South Korea and the US with war, and seem to be … well, not entirely ready for an outstretched hand. And Iran … same ol, same old, but they’ve offered to debate Obama at the UN. Real progress, no doubt.

And so, the world continues to spin. More later.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Among the Missing

I know ... I know. It's been over a month since I've posted a substantive piece. Things have been a bit hectic on both the business and the home front, so blogging has had to take a back seat to the demands of my world. Hope to be back in about two weeks. Stay tuned.