Romney: Outsourcing American Foreign Affairs?

Posted September 13, 2012 on 9:09 pm | In the category Iran, Israel, Obama, Romney, U.S. Foreign Policy | by Jeff

Candidate Romney has not exactly distinguished himself in foreign affairs of late, the one area in which U.S. presidents actually exercise power. His foray into foreign travel as a candidate was a disaster with insults to Great Britain and Poland and audacious ass kissing in Israel. His latest bumbling attempt to abuse the truth regarding the American government role in the tragedy in Libya and the disturbances in Egypt have offended even most Republicans. But perhaps overriding all of this is his dicey relationship with Israel.

Romney’s trip to Israel was highlighted by a fund raiser with wealthy Jews organized by Casino owner and former Newt Gingrich supporter Sheldon Adelson, who brings the wisdom of the craps table to addressing the Iran nuclear issue. During the same trip much was made of the 35 year friendship of Romney and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu – a relationship that goes back to when they were both consultants for the Boston Group, but one that according to press reports is not as close as Romney likes to pretend. It was also during this trip that Romney managed to insult Palestinians while ginning up hints of military action against Iran.

So now this week we have Netanyahu making a public statement that not so obliquely attacks U. S. policy, and therefore President Obama.

” The world tells Israel: ‘Wait. There’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those 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,” Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem.”

Parsing this statement tells us that 1, Netanyahu apparently believes it is up to him to define American policy and 2, that while he meddles in our presidential campaign we are not to attempt to dissuade Israel from doing something likely to damage American AND Israeli interests. And since the U.S. does not have the power to put a red light before Israel if they want a war it is tempting to tell them to start it without us. But of course were they to do that we would inevitably be dragged into a war that even Israeli military leaders say makes no military or political sense.

David Frum, a former George Bush speechwriter and one-time (and sometimes still) neocon, writes that Netanyahu was really not aiming his comments at Obama but rather at Ehud Barak, his erstwhile Israeli political ally who has walked away from supporting the concept of an attack on Iran. But given Netanyahu’s sophistication it is hard to believe he did not know the potential impact on the American election and, in any case, Romney jumped to the bait, perhaps in desperation.

What we have now is a candidate for President of the United States ready – even eager – to turn over major parts of our foreign policy to a foreign Prime Minister, apparently including the decision to go to war. And for those who doubt the possibilities here, think about the last president who wanted to start a war of choice – and think about the costs and the results.

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Quo vadis Europe

Posted September 5, 2012 on 1:47 am | In the category Economy, Europe, Immigration | by Mackenzie Brothers

The financial disaster called Europe sails on with no port in sight and with deadly reefs looming on a regular basis. Captain Merkel uses her delegated powers as the boss whos pays the bills to forge ahead on her chosen path with such a powerful and refined lack of charisma, in a political world otherwise run by charismatic lightweights and clowns, that no one can really challenge her spartan version of the financial globe. She demands sacrifices from European lands that have not been willing or able to live within their means, that ultimately mean a tremendous lowering of quality of life for the average Joe. Greece is the very small poster-boy for this campaign but bigger and much heftier combatants are falling over each other to try to keep out of the Merkelschiff’s course. Spain, no small piece in the European puzzle, now has higher unemploment (25% of the total population, 50% for those under 25) than does Greece. That is a recipe for disaster somewhat reminiscent of previous social catastrophes like the potato blight in 19th century Ireland (for a staggering fictional account see Peter Behrend’s The Law of Dreams) or the food failures of late 19th century Scandinavia (see Vilhelm Moberg’s epic The Emigrants). When 50% of the young people and large numbers of professionals cannot find work or feed their families, there is revolution or emigration brewing. And big players in  the economic puzzle like Italy and even France are running scared and Portugal is already staggering.

So far the solution of choice is emigration. This is a guaranteed right of all EU members and unemployed young Spaniards and Italians as well as middle-aged unemployed skilled labourers and professionals from all of southernEurope are moving north looking for jobs in Germany and Scandinavia. Portuguese engineers, with no work at home, are moving to booming oil-rich Angola or Brazil, as it suddenly pays to speak Portuguese in parts of Africa and South America. Who knows where it will end. Will the demographic map of Europe brcome seriously altered, probably to the benefit of already prosperous north european countries? Will the brain drain of southern europe to the richer EU countries or even to the former colonies, be long-lasting as was the emigration of the Scandinavians, Jews and Italians to North America a little more than100 years ago?  Or will, as Captain Merkel hopes, it all settle down relatively quickly and the EU will then reach an economic stability which is nowhere to be seen today?

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