Posted on 11-09-2012
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

To the likely delight of the stumbling Romney campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu threw a temper tantrum, after a week of warnings from his allies, bulldozing his way into the Presidential race and attempting to blackmail the American political establishment into joining him in an unnecessary war of aggression against Iran.  The last three years have been an amazing case of the tail wagging the dog.  The United States is committed to the preservation of Israel.  But both are sovereign nations with independent interests.  Yet the entire Republican party and a large chunk of the Democratic party have essentially sworn fealty to Israel and given Netenyahu carte blanche in the West Bank.  Even worse they have backed the Obama administration into a position likely to lead to a premptive war.

The war drums on Iran are insane.  Nobody has proven that Iran actually wants to build a nuclear weapon.  Many people think, what Iran actually wants is what Japan has – the ability to build one if needed.  And that unfortunately is not explicitly barred by the ridiculous Non Proliferation Treaty.  Maintaining a nuclear arsenal is expensive and if that is the goal, it would be a smart one.  Iran having a nuclear weapon or the capacity is highly undesirable, because it would remove a check on their actions and would trigger a domino effect in the region.  Yet it would not be the end of the world.  The far more psychotic North Korean regime has one and has been contained.

Contrary to propaganda, Iran’s Ayatollahs have shown a high sense of personal preservation.  During the Iran-Iraq war the actually issued a decree allowing deviation from Islamic tenets when national interest was at stake.   This is not a behavior of a bunch of suicidal zealots.  Oh and one other thing – Israel has nuclear weapons and is under the United States nuclear umbrella.  Iran would have to be batshit crazy to launch a strike on Israel.

The other problem is that a military strike almost certainly will not work.  For one thing, Israel may not have the capacity for such a long range strike even if it wanted to.  In that case Netanyahu’s statement that “[t]hose in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” is even more offensive.  Because it requires active American assistance in a war he wants to start even if America does not want to join.  And by pulling this stunt just before a presidential election he is counting on the craven Mitt Romney attacking President Obama for “abandoning” Israel.  Worse, even an American bombing campaign would at best delay Iran’s program, would likely make up their mind to actually build the bomb, would make it easier for the mullahs to make their countrymen rally around the flag and could send the global economy into a spiral.

Its not as if the Israeli establishment is united around the war drums.  Israeli Defense Minister (and former prime minister) Ehud Barak is a hawk on Iran too.  But he appears to have recognized the wisdom of trying to blackmail the United States at such a delicate time.  Netanyahu is playing a dangerous game here.  Most Americans oppose a war with Iran.  Israel has benefited from bipartisan political support in the United States.  If Netanyahu’s gambit helps throw the election to Romney (or is perceived to have done so), the backlash for Israel will be severe.

Increasing numbers of Americans (and for that matter American Jews) are no longer willing to give Israel free rein with the Palestinians.  Netanyahu’s tendency to refer to such critics as anti-Semites or self-hating Jews does not help matters.  The brazen gambit by Netanyahu also reaffirms why all of his western allies – including the last 3 American presidents – distrust and dislike him.

It appears that calmer heads may be prevailing for now.  However, I am pessimistic that this will be the last war gambit before the election.

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Dear Laura Ingraham, the answer is nowhere. Because only Faux News is the only network dishonest/stupid/both enough to post them.  What am I talking about.  This doozy displayed on the Three Stooges this morning:

Leave it to Faux to compare apples and oranges, let alone attributing job losses for Obama commencing on day 1 of his Presidency.  As has been repeated often, Obama inherited an economy that was hemorrhagic jobs, something that took a few months to staunch.  It really makes no sense to blame him for the job losses in the first few months of his presidency – and yes dear Republicans that started under Bush not Obama.

Then there is the lazy mendacity of using the standard unemployment rate for 2009 and the unemployment rate that includes part time workers who want to work full time and those who have given up on day two, to make it appear that employment has doubled under Obama.  Since others have done yeoman’s work breaking down and debunking this bullshit, I will just link to their article here.  Kudos to Media Matters for breaking another Faux News exclusive.  I am not really sure what an unemployment rate for government workers is supposed to signify, and why people being out of work is something to cheer about.  Clip from the Three Stooges is below:

 

 

Evidently Larry, Curly and Moe will issue a correction tomorrow.  My prediction, they will ignore the point above about the state of the economy when Obama took office and pretend that (a) things were just fine, (b) he caused the recession and made it worse, or (c) both.

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Posted on 11-09-2012
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

A mural in Corvallis, Oregon put up by a Taiwanese American businessman has drawn the ire of China.  It depicts “riot police beating Tibetan demonstrators, Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule and images of Taiwan as a bulwark of freedom.” See the picture here. Consular officials contacted the mayor to express their displeasure at the mural.  The should have stopped there.  But perhaps used to pliant officialdom in other parts of the world (like in India when the visit of Chinese officials is a signal to sanitize New Delhi from those pesky pro-Tibet demonstrators), they went further and asked for help in getting this taken down because Tibet and Taiwan are internationally deemed parts of China (though Taiwan is not necessarily deemed part of the corporatist state in Beijing).  They received a helpful response from the mayor’s office that the first amendment prevented them from taking any action.

And then the silly consular officials went to Corvallis in person (something few people unaffiliated with Oregon State University or attending a sporting event typically do) to make the  case in person to protest “political propaganda.”  Gee whiz!!  What part of free speech and the First Amendment did you not understand.  Perhaps Baidu censors the definition of free speech and the First Amendment to the United States constitution.  But a quick Google search gives you the easily comprehensible this and this.  Now evidently the second meeting did not have any demands but perchance they were attempting the strategy in the video below:

 

 

Well suffice it say a doubling down with a strenuous objection does not trump the first amendment either.  Sadly, given its track record China could seek revenge in the form of petty retaliation against relatives of the offending businessman who make the mistake of travelling to China.  Such are the insecurities of rising superpowers.

 

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