Friday, May 27, 2011

Topics du jour…

Yemen President Seleh
The President of Yemen has apparently agreed to consider stepping down within 30 days. He has stubbornly held on to power for months now in the face of daily protests and defections by military leaders.

Although something of a dictator, he has been in power for decades and been credited with successfully reuniting North and South Yemen. Even his leaving has demonstrated his political dexterity. Conditions for his leaving office are rumored to include retaining his accumulated wealth and being guaranteed immunity from prosecution for anything he did while in office (a deal Mubarak and Gadhaffi would have loved). He gave a speech on this subject in which he warned that following his departure al Qaeda would step in and take power in Yemen. 

He may very well be right. In backing “the people seeking democratic reform” in Yemen, the United States my have unintentionally given al Qaeda an opening to gain control in that country. Unfortunately for us, there does not seem to be any choice. We will just have to wait and see if Yemen can hold free, democratic elections –and if so, who or what gets elected.


I see there is a little trouble in paradise for the Iranians. It seems that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneni, and his hand-picked protégé, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are having a little power struggle. 

Ahmadinejad recently fired the countries head of intelligence but was quickly over-ruled by the Supreme Leader who had the man reinstated. Ahmadinejad protested by not attending cabinet meetings. The Supreme leader then asked one of the ministers to put together a care taker cabinet capable of taking control in the event that Ahmadinejad was “unable to continue in office”. That subtle little move got the Iranian President back to the Cabinet meetings…..


President Obama visited Ireland and it appears his visit was very successful. From what I have seen, everyone had a very good time. My Irish friends are much more impressed with the President than many of us here in the United States are. I find that interesting when you consider the fact that the Irish are having a hard time economically resulting from over reaching and over spending policies –something President Obama and the Democrats seem to be addicted to. 

Well, everything depends on your point of view and people outside the U.S. are far more concerned with our foreign policy than our domestic policy. And, you must admit, the President does know how to give a good speech.

Live Long and Prosper….


Ted Leddy said...

Hi Gary

I enjoyed President Obamas trip. As an admirer of America I was excited at the opportunity of seeing and hearing the leader of the free world in Ireland. I would attend any American Presidents' speech but Bush never spoke publicly when he was here. I find Obama captivating. I like the way he has proved wrong those who said he was a weak liberal who would be weak on the war on terror. I like the thought that a liberal (like FDR or LBJ) can also think that democracy is a wonderful thing that should be defended agressively. On domestic US issues I don't have very strong opinions because I sort of feel like it's not my place. I do however fully accept that he appears to be an unbelievable big spender. Unless this changes significantly, he will be a one termer.

You make an interesting point about Ireland.. Many commentators here have pointed out that Republican politicains actually have positions much more favourable to Ireland, such as with corporation tax. Many American corporations have their European head quarters in Ireland because of the tax breaks but the Democrats in Washington seem to want to force them to come home. That would obviously be bad news for us and the tens of thousands of people in Ireland that are employed by these companies.

As for the Irish economy, the self inflicted wounds here were more about a reckless banking guarantee that was implementd just as the recession was hitting. Although there was too much spending in Ireland, the government made very heavy cuts which meant we could cope with the debt. Unfortunately the debts of the banks proved too much hence the EU UMF bail out.

Gary said...


Thanks for the comments. As always, I thoroughly enjoy getting other peoples perspectives, especially people whose opinions I respect.

As you can tell, I am not a big fan of President Obama. He has lost me over several issues but the way the Healthcare bill was pushed through congress last year was the main reason. He promised change and transparency and has given us more of the back room politics than we had before.

I admit, he has surprised me and done a few things surprisingly well, but those few things do not make up for the rest. My main gripe these days involves his Attorney General and his Secretary of Homeland Security. Neither of whom should even be in government, let alone in those important roles. As the boss, Obama is ultimately responsible for every screw up these 2 people make (and the tally is running high).