World Affairs and Strategic Interests

Years ago I got into a blog discussion with some folks from Germany. They were “accusing” us of going into Iraq because of the oil. Otherwise, they said, why weren’t we going into Darfur?

I told them that it wasn’t quite as simple as that, but that yes, we have no strategic interest in Darfur, but we do in Iraq so if we’re going to choose, let’s choose Iraq. I continue to believe that makes sense.

Now we have Hillary Clinton going into China and essentially dismissing the issue of human rights as she works to make certain the Chinese continue to buy up our debt.

(Though since the Chinese make their money by selling stuff to us – I’m unclear on the concept of how this is all going to work.)
(I’m also unsure how giving up a negotiating tactic is a good plan.)

As Captain Ed notes,

Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t recall a statement by Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell that baldly stated that the US cared less about human rights than trade than this statement from Hillary Clinton does.

Hillary opposed a Bush trade deal with Colombia due to human rights issues.
(as did Obama)

But hey – we have a strong strategic need to work with China and a weak need to work with Colombia.

OR could it be that race thing again.
And since Eric Holder has requested that we here in the US find our cajones and discuss race, let’s give it a shot:

Here is a native Colombian woman and a Chinese woman:AW012873gong_li

Here are photos of women in Darfu and one in Iraq:darfur

I’m just saying…….

In reality I think this has nothing to do with race and all to do with strategic interests. (or rather the current administration’s idea of strategy – no matter who the administration is)

It’s why we seem to be ok with letting the Taliban take over the Swat valley in Pakistan.

Strategy. (ps – read this link to Spiegel. It’s a good story)

For one thing, we can separate the radical element and train/bomb certain sections without insulting the whole country. (Taking note that as we say, “sure” to Pakistan giving up Swat to the Taliban, we continue to secretly train Pakistanis to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban.)

ie if someone came and bombed-oh lets say some area in Idaho that is run by militias,- we’d all be up in arms over it. But if we gave that area independence then we could say “go for it”.

Each administration is going to have their own strategy and hopefully it’s based off of some philosophical belief that is respectable. The Anchoress had a great post up yesterday. She still misses Bush, as do I.

One reason….his strategies made sense.
So much sense, that Obama is adopting them!!


I’m going to link to this post concerning the consitutionality of the Bagram detainees because I’ve had a zillion articles about this.

It will be easier to forward, vs arguing.

The exact quote from the Barack Obama-era Department of Justice? “Having considered the matter, the government adheres to its previously articulated position.” The DoJ and the DoD consider Bagram detainees “unlawful combatants” without any rights to access the US court system and with no recourse for release.

Just as it did in the George Bush administration.


UPDATE: Location fixed.

What’s going on?

Last June in the New Yorker Lawrence Wright discussed at length a new book by one of al-Qaeda’s followers, Dr. Fadl, written in prison.

Dr. Fadl was denouncing the tactics used by al-Qaeda these days.

Yesterday is a new news story by the Telegraph concerning the same book. (ht JG)

One of al-Qaeda’s founding leaders, Dr Fadl, has begun an ideological revolt against Osama bin Laden, blaming him for “every drop” of blood spilt in Afghanistan and Iraq.

(Being the good citizen that I am, until the end of Black History month, I will now include something on race pertinent to the post. In that manner, I will do as requested by Obama, through Eric Holder who would like us to talk of race.)

[yes, I’ll be reaching. Why? Because race has nothing to do with most things}

Many members of al-Qaeda are in our Guantanamo Prison. This same prison that our black President previously has

criticized the detention center, and human rights advocates have condemned it as violating the Geneva Convention, a series of international rules established to protect the rights of those detained by other countries, including in times of war.

Yesterday a new report came out determining that GITMO meets Geneva Convention standards and so now our black Attorney General will be looking at what to do with 200 detainees there. The problem is that the left campaigned against the right (or rather Bush) by using GITMO as an example or our evilness. And now the left is in charge and suddenly things that are done are no longer evil, just

“adher[ing] to the previously articulated position” of the Bush administration.

Or as Amir Taheri says very succinctly today in a column on the administration’s Iran policy or lack thereof:

Obama has no policy on Iran or any of the other major issues of foreign policy, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia and China. He hopes to avoid endorsing the policies of his predecessor but is at a loss as to what could be done differently. The result is political paralysis.

Foreign Affairs

(Being the good citizen that I am, until the end of Black History month, I will now include something on race pertinent to the post. In that manner, I will do as requested by Obama, through Eric Holder who would like us to talk of race.)

Charles Krauthammer is white. Hillary Clinton is white. Condoleeza Rice is black.

Judging by Mr. Krauthammer’s column I suspect that the diplomatic plan of Condoleeza Rice (under the white George Bush) is preferred to the Hillary Clinton plan (under the black Barack Obama).

What does any of this have to do with race? Not a thing. But Mr. Holder would still like it to be front and center, so I’m putting it there. Maybe with this quote out of the Washington Post.

Clinton’s operating style differs significantly from those of her immediate predecessors. Colin L. Powell, a former general, surrounded himself with former military aides and spoke like he was giving a PowerPoint briefing. Condoleezza Rice, a wonky former professor, gathered around her a mix of deep foreign policy thinkers and savvy press aides, and delivered her messages in a blizzard of modifiers, caveats and subordinate clauses. Both Powell and Rice were very-early-to-office types who kept their schedules timed to military precision.

Krauthammer has bigger worries than any of these guys’ styles or color. He’s concerned with real problems that can come from trying to “repair the U.S. image abroad.”

I would like to think the supine posture is attributable to a rookie leader otherwise preoccupied (i.e., domestically), leading a foreign policy team as yet unorganized if not disoriented. But when the State Department says that Hugo Chávez’s president-for-life referendum, which was preceded by a sham government-controlled campaign featuring the tear-gassing of the opposition, was “for the most part . . . a process that was fully consistent with democratic process,” you have to wonder if Month One is not a harbinger of things to come.

Read his list of what’s going on in the world. Russia…. just keeps pushing. Iran….now looking for more apologies before talking about nothing important. Pakistan….giving it up. Chavez….a whole new concept of democracy.
And Obama and Clinton…..they want to “be there” and “listen” and “make amends” for “everything.”

“There is a hunger for the United States to be present again,” Clinton told reporters as she flew to Seoul. “Showing up is not all of life — but it counts for a lot.”

I’ll be interested in seeing what showing up is going to count for without actually showing up with your tools!

EPA and Carbon Dioxide

The EPA is going to have regulatory control over carbon dioxide.

under the clean air law any source emitting more than 250 tons of a declared pollutant would be subject to regulation, potentially including schools, hospitals, shopping centers, even bakeries, which has prompted some critics to call it the “Dunkin’ Donuts rule.”

But Mr. Bookbinder and other supporters say the regulations can be written to exempt these potential emitters. Ms. Jackson said that there was no timetable for issuing regulations governing carbon emissions and that her agency would not engage in “rash decision making.”

That’s right. This Carbon Dioxide is bad, bad, bad, unless we decide to exempt it because the folks creating it are good. Or as Al Gore says, your use of energy is bad, while mine is good.

I say bring out the black ministers to note once again that making energy costs higher, affects black and other minority people first.

Using the Sundance Film Festival as a backdrop and casting Robert Redford in a new role of “villain,” a group of black ministers from around the country on Wednesday challenged the movie star and like-minded environmentalists to recognize that their efforts to prohibit tapping into more of the area’s fossil fuel reserves in effect promotes real world hardships on poor Americans.

(Being the good citizen that I am, until the end of Black History month, I will now include something on race pertinent to the post. In that manner, I will do as requested by Obama, through Eric Holder who would like us to talk of race.)

The Latest Bailout

Allowing bad decision makers to re-do contracts in order to keep them in homes they can’t afford so that you who now have homes that are worth less than you paid for don’t end up with empty houses on your street and furthermore, keeping your house at least worth what it is today because God forbid, houses actually end up costing what they are worth.

“It will give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild,” Obama said today in Mesa, Arizona. “By bringing down the foreclosure rate, it will help to shore up housing prices for everyone.”

Brought to you by Fannie and Freddie

Treasury also raised the limit on the size of Fannie and Freddie’s retained mortgage portfolios by $50 billion, to $900 billion, allowed under the preferred stock purchase agreement included in the September federal takeover of the two mortgage- finance companies.

“It is an indication they are not looking at shuttering them to move their responsibilities elsewhere,” said James Vogel, a debt analyst with FTN Financial in Memphis, Tennessee, in an e- mailed statement. “That has been a widely discussed option.”

I don’t know exactly what that means except that F&F are covered for another $50billion. After they previously managed to lose – well, I don’t know. 25billion? These numbers go in one ear and out the other. Which is frightening even to me.

And how did F&F screw up in the first place? By loaning to people who couldn’t afford their homes in the first place in the time honored tradition of the American Dream to get everyone into a home even if that meant giving minorities higher burdens in comparison with white people.

(Being the good and very BRAVE citizen that I am, until the end of Black History month, I will now include something on race pertinent to the post. In that manner, I will do as requested by Obama, through Eric Holder who would like us to talk of race.)

So – get this straight, in many ways we’re in the crisis we’re in because the government (through Fannie and Freddie) decided that minorities with lower credit ratings and more uncertain job histories should own their own homes.
By running this push, housing was in higher demand and prices increased proportionally to that demand.
However, after people started realizing that a 5 year arm doesn’t necessarily mean that in 5 years “of course” you’ll be making a lot more money and will be able to afford the adjustment because me as your mortgage pusher says so, defaults started to increase.
As defaults increased, foreclosures went up, neighborhoods went down and housing prices went down.
Meaning that now, if you bought a house in the last 5 years, chances are you owe more on it than it’s worth, especially since 20% seems to be an old fashioned number for down payments.
So now the government will go ahead and help folks stay in their homes at their current prices to keep the “value” up even though the “value” is false. And frankly, this bazillion dollars is designed to save the value by $6000.

The average borrower’s home value could be stabilized against a price decline by up to $6,000.

Please tell me how a poor black person from South Central LA will be able to afford a home loan in the future after this?

All this money. Why not just instead of nationalizing banks, turn the govt into a bank and do direct re-finances for those who want it? Apparently it’s all just money anyway. And billions just don’t mean much anymore. (George Will)

Competence in this Administration

Karl Rove lists a number of items from the start that leave one with the impression that Obama is not “handling” his position very well.

Further news of ineptitude continues to stream in as the paperwork catches up.

Rove has hope for change….I say this isn’t a good start at all.

(Being the good citizen that I am, until the end of Black History month, I will now include something on race pertinent to the post. In that manner, I will do as requested by Obama, through Eric Holder who would like us to talk of race.)

Competence comes with experience. One of the qualms of affirmative action is you can end up hiring someone for a job who is not experienced enough to do the job. Or you can enroll someone into a school who’s studies can’t keep up with the expectations of the school.

I firmly believe that had Barack Obama been an articulate handsome young first term Senator from Illinois with a varied history who happened to be white, he would not have been elected. Affirmative action mistake here? We’ll give him a little more time, but go back to Rove and read his list.

To be clear – that doesn’t mean another black man couldn’t have competently managed his first month in office.

Philosphy: If and Change

Ahmadinejad must be a philospher because it makes that kind of sense that comes out of philosphizers.

Take an actual truth and make it seem thought provoking. ie If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had some eggs.

“If they accept the rights of the Palestinians, the Afghans… if there is a real change, relations can change,” he said.
“We are waiting to see the change. A lot of people are awaiting the change and if they [the United States] do change the relationship will change itself.”


Yes folks, our new government of tolerance of everything except for right wing conservative gun clingers passes on their congratulations to the people of Venezuela voting themselves in a dictator for life.

Hopefully it came with a blessing:
May the price of oil continue to decline as you continue to promise your minions the life of a Cuban.