It has been a while since I weighed in on current events, so I thought I'd just ramble on a bit about a few things going on these days. First on my agenda this morning is what I consider to be the most important topic in the news today -Iran. Will the Israelis attack? Should they? What will (should) the United States do? What will the Iranians do?
Well, I do not have a crystal ball, and I do not claim any special knowledge or expertise, but I do have some very strong "gut" feelings about all this. I guess the first thing to point out is that the United States has not been handling this one very well. Yes, using sanctions and diplomacy is far more preferable to an attack, no question about it. So it is hard to blame those that want to see this avenue given every possible opportunity to work. Unfortunately, the sanctions have not been strong enough to have much effect until recently -and you have to remember that the whole aim of sanctions is to cause economic pain -not just to the government but also to the people so that they are encouraged to bring about change in government policy internally. In the case of Iran, that goal is flawed from the outset. The government there very tightly controls the people and instantly puts down any signs of dissent. Additionally, any government willing to send tens of thousands of 14 and 15 year old boys to die as suicide bombers (as the Iranians did in their war with Iraq) has very little regard for the welfare of their people. The discomfort and inconvenience caused by international sanctions is something they will simply expect the people to sacrifice for and live with. For them it is a small price to pay for attaining a nuclear weapon and becoming the unquestioned "super power" of the Middle East.
Additionally, in order to have real effect the sanctions must be enforced unilaterally. That is not happening. Turkey and Venezuela are both allowing the Iranians to use their banking system to handle money. The Russians, the Chinese, the Indians, even the Japanese are still buying Iranian oil (the Japanese just this week announced they will support the US by reducing their purchases of Iranian oil by 10% -gee, thanks buddies). No, the sanctions, in their current form have not worked and will not work.
In my opinion, if you want to use sanctions to have the desired effect on Iran they must be total, and they must be enforced. I would support them as an alternative to an attack only if they took the form of a total blockade (which, by the way, is not my idea -it is something that has been mentioned by our Intelligence and Military experts for several years now).
Short of a total blockade, I see no other alternative to an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Some are quick to point out the difficulty of making such an attack and the fact that it would not result in stopping Iran's nuclear program. It would merely set it back a couple of years. Well, OK, that would give us 2 more years to let the sanctions have more effect. 2 more years to encourage and support regime change -and if worse comes to worse, we can always to it again in 2 years. and in 4 years -and keep doing it until even Ayatollah Khomeini gets the message that he can not have an Atomic bomb to play with.
OK, enough on that. What else is on my poor brain today? Well, I feel sorry for Michelle Obama. It seems that the pressure on the first lady and her 2 children is so enormous that barely 2 weeks after a 17 day luxury vacation for Christmas in Hawaii, she needed some more time off. So, In spite of the country being in the midst of a recession and the government needing to borrow 40 cents of every dollar it spends, Michelle Obama and her two daughters spent Presidents Day on the slopes at the star-studded resort of Aspen.
According to "TheDC", the Obama's went there with their young children and two female friends of the first lady. The group stayed near Buttermilk Mountain, at the “huge private home” of Jim and Paula Crown — the family that owns Aspen Skiing Co. There were a large number of Secret Service agents with them, and the Crowns reportedly relocated to Little Nell Hotel until things quieted down. I am sure glad to see that our government still has the resources and money to provide for the comfort, welfare and recreation of the First Family. Lord knows how hard it must be to live in that old house in Washington, especially during the recession.
Oh, by the way, Mr. President. Tisk, tisk, tisk -you are still using incandescent bulbs in the White House -you know, the lights that keep the place lit so beautifully all night for those tourists that have insomnia. Not good! That is not in keeping with your comprehensive energy policy. You need to tell some one to replace those with the modern curly-que shaped energy savers you are making the rest of the country purchase. Don't worry, that is a good thing because it will give you an excuse to spend more of our tax dollars.....
Live Long and Prosper,,,,