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Posts Tagged ‘iran’


Iran, Russia, and The Peoples Republic of China are fermenting unrest throughout the world.  In actuality, Iran is the point of this troubling spear and Russia and China are the enablers.  Both Russia and China have important trade arrangements with Iran.  Oil, again, is the root of the unresolved Iranian nuclear problem.  China obtains most of its oil from Iran and this oil is critically necessary to fuel China’s growing economy and military—China will protect this oil life line fiercely.  Russia has a lucrative trade export arrangement with Iran.  This trade includes conventional arms, among other manufactured goods, making Iran one of its key export partners.

Neither China nor Russia is interested in an embargo of Iran because they depend heavily on Iranian trade.  Thus Iran has been able to buy time and hold off the international community in its effort to develop a nuclear weapon.  Without the strongest support of China and Russia, the international community including the United States is neutralized.   Take note of today’s announcement at the international G20 meeting by the leaders of the U.S., the U.K., and France about sanctions, in that neither Russia nor China was present.

The Europeans are afraid of pushing Iran hard and are more interested in appeasement due to the Strait of Hormuz and Iran’s grip on the world’s oil supply.  Back in March of 2008, I wrote:  Oil, It will destroy us!

“Have you noticed that there is a direct correlation between worldwide tensions and oil?  If you might be wondering why Russia’s Vladimir Putin [now Medvedev and Putin] has started to flex his muscles and become obstinate in the fight against global terror…you should be. If you are wondering why Iran has become so independent and belligerent of late…you should be. Have you looked at our own hemisphere lately? Take a good look at Venezuela and how Chavez is as bold as can be in creating an anti-U.S. socialist state more powerful than Cuba ever was….Well! It is all about oil!

Ask any military strategist and they will tell you that one of the reasons we cannot leave Iraq as we want to, is that we are afraid Iran will…make Iraq a satellite country in its attempt to create a worldwide caliphate (A caliphate is a fundamentalist theocratic form of tyrannical government, that unites all Muslims covering a wide swath of geography in the world, under one rule). This is not a good thing for the west. This could place Iran in a position to directly control 10% of the world’s oil (includes oil equivalent products in the production) and to indirectly control 44% of the world’s oil exports which are shipped through the Strait of Hormuz, by shutting down the Strait or creating the caliphate. In addition, today the group of thugs known as Russia, Iran, Venezuela could conceivably directly control 29% (with Iraq, 32%) of the world’s oil production, and indirectly control exports, when the Strait is included, to bring the overall control to 66% of world oil exports. An Iran controlling Iraq and the Strait of Hormuz would be one very powerful entity–an entity that has a culture and a philosophy directly opposite ours. Iran is a country that does not do well with negotiation, especially when we are in a position to lose and they are in a position to gain. Is it possible to successfully negotiate from weakness? NO! Are we in a position of weakness in such a negotiation? YES!

Considering that since our oil import consumption is at 31% of the world’s oil exports, and the control of 66% of the world’s oil exports by Iran and its new very cash rich friends can be a quick reality, we should be worried and reactive. Yet we are not!…

What do we do?  In the short term we are powerless and our national oil policy has been the problem.  Had we had a robust domestic drilling program for oil and natural gas, we would be in a position to sell China its much needed oil and natural gas.  Instead we allowed China to become dependent on Iran for its economic lifeblood, crude oil, and Iran knows this.

Selling China that oil and natural gas that we have under our land and off shore, and did not go after, would have had far reaching effects internationally:

First it would have made China less dependent on Iran, allowing China to support intense pressure on Iran and have avoided the thwarting of the international community’s efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  In addition, China could also have put pressure on North Korea to keep that rogue power from selling missile technology and parts to Iran.  These missiles are the delivery vehicle for the nuclear weapons.

Second, by selling China oil, we would have had an opportunity to balance our trade deficit with China.  China would have been an equal trade partner and not our banker/lender.

Instead we chose to be flat out dumb on the use of our abundant untapped offshore and arctic natural resources, oil and natural gas.  It is not too late to work toward making China an equal trade partner, rather than the one sided arrangement we currently have.  It may be too late to solve the Iranian matter, but there will be other international troubles, including North Korea.  China can be instrumental in providing support to manage those matters.  They are a pragmatic country when it comes to protecting their self interests and this can work in our favor.

Our country continues to eschew the leverage oil would bring us as an international policy driver.  Why do we continue to do this?  I know, we want to save the planet, but if we don’t obtain the leverage necessary to control the spread of nuclear weapons we may not have a planet to save.  Right now oil and natural gas are the best tools God has given this nation to keep world peace and we are blind to it.  As a peacemaker, oil and natural gas in the right hands are the keys to world stability.  In the wrong hands they are a flash point.

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Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, does not want to drill for oil off our coasts and will reverse the Bush Administration’s position on off shore drilling.  He prefers wind and solar.  I also prefer wind and solar, but I understand that effectively creating a new national energy infrastructure with additional and rebuilt power grids is tentative at best in the next ten years.  Why do we need to gamble on getting it right with a massive shift on source energy and delivery, when we can have that domestic off shore oil as a security blanket?  If we were to displace off shore oil with domestic wind and solar, we could become an oil exporter and actually change the balance of trade deficit to a trade surplus. 

Watch Salazar’s statement on Bloomberg.   Read Bloomberg’s article here.

Regardless of what he says, no matter the excuses he makes, the public interest calls for domestic offshore drilling now – it is clearly in our national security interest.

If we drilled for and sold our off shore oil on the open market, we could blunt the sale of oil by nations like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.  We could actually use oil as a foreign policy tool.  We need all the edge we can get.  Yes, right now the price of oil is down, but where will it be in five years?  The Democrats put us in a bind over the recent oil price hike, with decisions that made it difficult for us to have more domestic oil on hand when we needed it.  It has been the war against off shore drilling by democrats that has left us defenseless against foreign oil.  The balance of power in the world will be in our favor if we have our own oil to use and possibly sell.  If we are successful in switching to renewable power generation, other nations may not switch as successfully.  Other nations will still need oil – it is better that they get it from us than from nations hostile to us.  In any event, wind and solar source energy will be a fifty year national change over. 

The Obama administration is so intent on shifting to green energy to save the world, that they are gambling our near term ten year future on an untried and unproven massive change on source energy and source energy delivery to power our entire nation.  Why not drill just in case?  Keep in mind that both wind and solar are harvested where the energy grid is not.  We need to build out our energy grid to deliver the wind and solar source energy through the existing grid for delivery to businesses and homes.  This necessary grid project alone is massive and wrought with a not in my backyard mentality (NIMBY).  Shutting out the mining for and drilling for domestic oil resources located off shore is foolish and myopic.  Gambling on adequately replacing our foreign oil with solar and wind in the next ten years is not only foolish, but arrogantly foolhardy.  It is national security negligence.

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Way back in the old days after the Republican debacle of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, the Country wanted a CHANGE. Coming forward was a candidate from Georgia, a Governor. Jimmy Carter appeared on the scene as a Democratic Party unknown running for President. He talked of changing Washington business as usual, changing foreign policy business as usual, and being an outsider.

The Country narrowly gave him a victory over more experienced people because his message was seen as a breadth of fresh air. In our haste to put Watergate, the beginnings of an inflation problem, and a gas shortage behind us we never stopped to look at the credentials of this candidate with a fresh outsider message. We just knew that Jimmy Carter represented a fresh start and that he was not of the beltway. Sounds like another candidate running today, doesn’t it?

Jimmy Carter was elected with 50.1% of the vote, but a clear majority of Electoral votes. His handling of the economy resulted in a 40% increase in prices over three years, the prime rate moving from 6.75% to 21.5%, and mortgage rates of 17.5%. Oil prices skyrocketed and Carter instituted an energy policy. This ill conceived energy policy was based on conservation and high prices to help reduce U.S. consumption. It was a policy that simply punished this nation for using oil. The Carter administration economy proved to be the catalyst that brought a “misery index” to the voters in the next Presidential election.

Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy, consisting of “we can talk with our enemies” and “work things out” was perceived as weak in many areas of the world. He did accomplish the Camp David Peace Accord. We lost respect among other Middle East nations, especially Iran. This unprepared, inexperienced administration run by a novice in international affairs may have fostered the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Iranian students seized our Embassy and took our State Department staff hostage. Fifty two State Department diplomats assigned to the Embassy were taken captive by Iranian students in support of the Iran Revolution. This was a violation of a long standing principle of international law, which granted diplomatic immunity to our representatives in Iran. These hostages were held for 444 days and were only released after it was clear that Ronald Reagan would be elected President and would take large scale overt military action against Iran.

Mahmūd Ahmadinejād, the current President of Iran, was a ring leader of this stain on our foreign affairs history. Yes that right, Mahmūd Ahmadinejād, was the Mayor of Tehran and was a ring leader of this reckless disregard of international diplomacy. He denies it was him, but many of the hostages and the former Iranian President Abholhassan Bani-Sadr have asserted that Ahmadinejād was a ring leader.

The lesson here is that our rush to make CHANGE for the sake of change caused this Country to suffer the naivety of a “Washington Outsider” President with no foreign policy experience. He did have Gubernatorial Executive experience – one term, and one term as a State Senator. Change we did receive, but it was an unpleasant change.

The populace sometimes in its ill informed zeal to start fresh and fix the ills of Washington fell for the smooth talking great message Washington Outsider called Jimmy Carter. This agent of change left this nation to be a veritable basket case on the domestic and international scenes.

Due to the reappearance of a misery index economy, we are now hurtling down this same path. The current candidate of CHANGE, Barack Obama, wants to sit down, right out of the chute, with Mahmūd Ahmadinejād. Senator Obama wants to raise taxes and spend heavily against the backdrop of a fragile economy. He wants to stop free trade rather than prepare us for free trade. This is a formula for an exponential increase in misery index.

While experience is not a formula for success, it is much better than uninformed good intentions. We have too much to lose to just blindly make change. We need to address change with a blend of judgment and experience – even a poor history of experience is a learning tool. The very limited experience of a local politician with just two years in the U.S. Senate, less experience then Jimmy Carter held, should be weighed very carefully.

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MSNBC’s debate last evening focused on three themes. The health insurance debate, of which there is little difference between the plans of Senators Clinton and Obama, non-issue oriented questions of both moderators, and how NAFTA is ruining Ohio. First, the loss of jobs in Ohio is tied to the extensive use of technology in manufacturing, and the worldwide competitiveness of a multitude of manufacturing nations and our governments failure to prepare us to compete in a fierce worldwide trade market. It has little to do with Canada, whose manufacturing industry is on the decline, and Mexico which is responsible for only 11% of our imports – these two nations are NAFTA. Do you think one moderator or candidate might have pointed out the trade problem distinction – if the candidates did not know the distinction, then find new candidates, because neither is ready to be President?

Beyond this apparent gaff, I can tell you I have had about enough of debate questions designed to incite. I would hope that moderators would refrain from asking – How do you feel about your opponent’s attacks on you? The moderators clearly either don’t want to do fact checked follow-up questions or are just not knowledgeable enough to do these necessary questions. I need to be fair and point out that the overall news media in general, not just MSNBC, has not served this nation well with the choice of moderators for most of the debates. They seem more inclined to talk feelings, attack ads, and gotcha quotes. Often the political leaning of the moderator falls out all over their desk like a spilled can of red paint. It is noticed. Does anyone with a brain really care what these media types think and how they lean politically?

Why can’t we have a debate where tough questions are asked that test the knowledge, readiness to lead, the judgment of the candidate, and the enterprise to work through the political mine field to achieve a goal? Why does it appear that questions are tailored for the candidate, either to make them look poorly or to make them look presidential – okay, we might know the answer to that question? Of course, the positions of the candidates need to be learned; however, these positions are usually on their web site or in their campaign handouts or can be found in their opponent’s attack ads.

One moderator, last night, did make an attempt at asking the same hypothetical question to each candidate, but the question had a predictable answer before it was asked. It had something to do with – if Iraq asked us to leave, would we leave. Duh! What candidate, in their right mind, after the U.S. has recognized Iraq as a sovereign nation, would say – no we will stay anyway. Of course they would say – yes we will leave. This is the best this highly trained moderator could come up with?

Perhaps each candidate should be asked different questions, perhaps placed in envelopes chosen at random by each candidate. The moderator points out that these are tough question with no easy answers.

  1. The moderator opens the envelope and then asks the hypothetical but realistic question: Senator, as President, you have pulled out of Iraq, Iran has filled the void in Iraq and has now taken control of the Strait of Hormuz. It now controls 60% of the world’s oil exports. Iran is refusing oil shipments to the United States. How do you respond to this threat?
  2. The moderator opens the next envelope, selected by the next candidate, and asks: Three years from now, Iran hits Israel with a low yield nuclear tipped missile, 10,000 are dead, and Israel is mobilizing to go to nuclear war with Iran. How do you respond to this crisis?

These questions are realistic, the solutions are cloudy, but the depth of a candidate’s response to the question will tell us a whole lot about the candidate. When will we start to ask tough questions of these candidates? The media today is not providing any help in picking candidates. The media is more fixated on what Bill Cunningham said, who released the goofy picture of Senator Obama, or printing a story on page one that there is rumor and suspicion that Senator McCain may have possibly had an affair with a lobbyist and possibly or perhaps could have done favors on behalf of that lobbyist, like send a letter to the FCC asking a government agency only to make a decision – not how to make the decision. What are they teaching in journalism school – Tabloid 101?

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