The United States has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal. It is probably the stupidest possible thing to do at this time. Why? Here are eight reasons, most of which are fairly conservative in nature.
In just a few days we celebrate a holiday somewhat more popular in the US than in Mexico. That’s just as well because it’s a classic North American kind of holiday in many ways. We are a family, which is why our relationship is so intense and personal at times.
It started as invasion by France to collect a debt, but the larger and better equipped French invasion force was defeated by a ragged group of Mexicans, some armed with little more than machetes and pitchforks. The Battle of Puebla on 5 May 1862 was 150 years ago this Saturday. It was not decisive, needing a few years before the colorful armies and politicians could sort it all out. But the victory at Puebla is a story deep at the heart of Mexican character – a determination and toughness that the great continent of North America shares as a very odd, sometimes dysfunctional family.
The war in Syria and Iraq continues. Our press continues to report it very badly, never providing any context whatsoever. How can anyone make sense of what’s going on or the likely conquest of Da’esh/ISIS which is in the works?
This is a brief update on the situation which is strangely not provided in any other outlet. Keep in mind, however, the essential truths about the ongoing battle with Da’esh:
- They pose no significant threat to the United States.
- In fact, the entire region is largely irrelevant to the US.
- The lack of relevance is not going to stop us from blundering remarkably close to a global conflict.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at the reality of this situation which is generally ignored.
The attempted coup in Turkey ended quickly, but it is far from over. Exactly what happened remains a bit foggy for the simple reason that no one believes it was ever a serious coup. In a region wracked by conspiracy theories one simple fact stands out – complex machinations are often real.
Recep Erdogan has used the coup as an excuse to launch a massive purge which continues to reach beyond the power structure and into Turkish culture and daily life. The most recent victims include teachers – hardly part of the coup but clearly standing in the way of a complete makeover of Turkey in Erdogan’s image.
All of this is happening in a member of NATO which stands at the bridge between the West and the Middle East – our last reliable and powerful ally in the region.
Thanksgiving is a truly great American holiday. It is a time when people from all over the world blend their traditions into one religious holiday celebrated by Christians, Jews, Moslems, and every other faith alike. To give thanks is universal, and what better way to celebrate deliverance to a land that to many is indeed the Promised Land.
But why is it in November? The very first day of Thanksgiving was held right after the harvest, on a day very similar to the Canadian Thanksgiving on October 12th. Why is it on a Thursday? The answer is that the nation itself was delivered from the horrors of war and recognized by the Treaty of Paris, owing a bit of time for the time it takes to cross the Atlantic and bring the joyous news. It was indeed a time to be thankful – but the story has the Hand of Providence all over it.
Why is foreign policy so difficult? If you were to ask Tip O’Neill, he’d tell you that “All politics is local,” a phrase he credited to his Dad. Take that mindset and set it loose in an integrated world and pretty soon you have nations talking right past each other with no hope of ever finding common ground.
That’s what brings Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washington on 3 March to speak to a joint session of Congress – but not President Obama. It’s also what makes it very likely that this will be an epic disaster for at least some of the parties arranging this trip.
There are many conflicts that have seized the attention of the world today – Ukraine vs Russia, Gaza vs Israel, even Hong Kong vs China. There is also an Ebola epidemic and a general failure of the world’s economy to gain traction.
But there is one conflict simmering just below these headlines which has the potential to affect the entire world more profoundly than any of them – the growing conflict between Sunni and Shia Moslems, now stretching across the Middle East.
It has taken many forms on many fronts, but they all point to a potential for a much wider and nastier war than we have ever seen. And the US, as usual, has a position that might only encourage instability and ultimately make us one of the great losers if things get much worse.