Tom Friedman Gets One Right

Maybe this needs to be filed under the “even a stopped clock is right twice a day” department, but Tom Friedman actually wrote an interesting and probative column a couple days ago about what’s going on with the falling price of oil, and I’m still picking myself up off the floor in amazement. Here are the three key paragraphs:

Is it just my imagination or is there a global oil war underway pitting the United States and Saudi Arabia on one side against Russia and Iran on the other? One can’t say for sure whether the American-Saudi oil alliance is deliberate or a coincidence of interests, but, if it is explicit, then clearly we’re trying to do to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exactly what the Americans and Saudis did to the last leaders of the Soviet Union: pump them to death — bankrupt them by bringing down the price of oil to levels below what both Moscow and Tehran need to finance their budgets. . .

The Russians have noticed. How could they not? They’ve seen this play before. The Russian newspaper Pravda published an article on April 3 with the headline, “Obama Wants Saudi Arabia to Destroy Russian Economy.” It said: “There is a precedent [for] such joint action that caused the collapse of the U.S.S.R. In 1985, the Kingdom dramatically increased oil production from 2 million to 10 million barrels per day, dropping the price from $32 to $10 per barrel. [The] U.S.S.R. began selling some batches at an even lower price, about $6 per barrel. Saudi Arabia [did not lose] anything, because when prices fell by 3.5 times [Saudi] production increased fivefold. The planned economy of the Soviet Union was not able to cope with falling export revenues, and this was one of the reasons for the collapse of the U.S.S.R.”

Indeed, the late Yegor Gaidar, who between 1991 and 1994 was Russia’s acting prime minister, observed in a Nov. 13, 2006, speech that: “The timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to Sept. 13, 1985. On this date, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the minister of oil of Saudi Arabia, declared that the monarchy had decided to alter its oil policy radically. The Saudis stopped protecting oil prices. … During the next six months, oil production in Saudi Arabia increased fourfold, while oil prices collapsed. … The Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive.”

I have no idea whether the dynamics of the current oil market are the deliberate result of Obama Administration policy, but what I find more interesting here is Friedman’s retrospective ratification of the Reagan Administration’s deliberate policy to squeeze the Soviet Union economically back in the 1980s. Back in the day, liberals argued that the Soviet Union decided to throw in the towel on the Cold War because of the enlightened liberalism of Mikhail Gorbachev alone, and discounted any effects of deliberate Reagan policy. (We know that the Reagan Administration worked on the Saudis to help us crush Soviet oil revenues.) And now here’s Friedman saying that’s what happened after all, though he leaves Reagan out of it.

Wonder what Friedman’s successor will be saying about George W. Bush 25 years from now. I have a guess.

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“We Are Going To Win the Cold War”—A Conversation with Herbert Meyer, Part 3

In this installment of our conversations with Herbert Meyer (part one here, and part two here), we look back at the end of the Cold War, and especially Herb’s prescience in a memo he wrote in the fall of 1983, since declassified, entitled “Why Is the World So Dangerous?” (PDF link). Here he remarks that this memo was not just controversial, but also unwelcome even among many hard-liners in the foreign policy establishment.  (My sound turned out very poor; what’s important is Herb’s sound, not mine, so bear with this.)

NY Times Says: Obama Is Angry at Administration’s Incompetence!

Today’s New York Times headlines: “Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama Is Said to Seethe.” Said by whom, one wonders. The answer is as you would expect:

“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. …

“He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said. …

Senior officials said they pushed Mr. Obama to name an Ebola coordinator….

At the meeting on Wednesday, officials said….

Administration officials insist….

“It’s not that people aren’t doing anything,” a senior official said.

So the Times story is basically a plant by the Obama administration. Multiple “senior officials” have bent reporters’ ears, trying to put the administration in the best possible light with regard to the ebola fiasco. No doubt they were confident the newspaper would act as their mouthpiece, reporting the administration’s spin as news.

Readers of the Times are assured that President Obama is not as lazy and incompetent as he appears:

Administration officials insist the president has been deeply engaged since late August….

Those frustrations spilled over when Mr. Obama convened his top aides in the Cabinet room after canceling his schedule on Wednesday.

This was Obama’s workaholic schedule for last Wednesday, as reported by the White House:

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 11.16.11 AM

That’s our Barry, laboring tirelessly on behalf of the people. But hey, that wasn’t all that the president canceled:

Within hours, White House aides canceled a planned trip by Mr. Obama to Connecticut and New Jersey. Hours later, Thursday’s trip to Rhode Island and New York City was also scrubbed.

The Times doesn’t mention that those were all fundraising trips. The sacrifices a president has to make! It’s not just the president, either; the aides who sat for interviews with the Times want us to know that they, too, are overworked:

In the days that followed, Mr. Obama carried on as usual while his aides gamely added Ebola to their bulging portfolios.

You have to be game to be a White House aide!

But the administration doesn’t just want us to know that Obama is on the case. The main point of this spin exercise is that Obama is really, really angry. So angry that he “seethes.”

[T]here is a deepening frustration, even anger, with how the government has handled key elements of the response. …

“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the [administration's] response [to ebola]….

People briefed on a cabinet meeting said Mr. Obama was angry at the Ebola response.

So we got that: Obama is angry. Is he angry at himself? Has he looked in the mirror and realized that incompetence starts at the top? Of course not. Obama has never in his life taken responsibility for anything:

At the meeting on Wednesday, officials said, Mr. Obama placed much of the blame on the C.D.C…..

And yet, even the sycophants at the New York Times can’t help noticing a pattern:

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and its arrival in the United States, is the latest in a cascade of crises that have stretched Mr. Obama’s national security staff thin. As the White House scrambled to stop the spread of Ebola beyond a handful of cases, officials were also grappling with an escalating military campaign against the Islamic State, the specter of a new Cold War with Russia over Ukraine, and the virtual disintegration of Yemen, which has been a seedbed for Al Qaeda.

We are experiencing a cascade of crises on the domestic front, too. Barack Obama must be the unluckiest president ever. It’s a good thing he still has the press running interference for him, or there is no telling what might happen.

The Week in Pictures: Quarantine Edition

Here’s a thought: how about we quarantine the entire Obama Administration until January 2017?

Ebola Main Shot copy

Wall Street Panic copy Ebola TV copy Ebola Gay copy Denyong Obama copy Obamacare Ebola copy CDC Ebola copy CDC Protocols copy Ebola Response copy Ebola Obama copy Obamacare premums copy Forgetting Obama copy Ebola Fear copy

Ebola Halloween copy Ebola in DC copy CDC 3Stooges copy

White House Trick or Treat copy

Obama Drone copy

 

Wouldn’t this be the greatest:

Pigs blood copy

Muslim Bitter Clingers copy

Too Much to Think copy People Government copy Ice Age Ending copy

Muslim World Problems copy

Least Bacon copy Better with Bacon copy

History Buff copy Old Photo copy Jason Crock copy Senior Center copy Suggestion Bachs copy

Okay, let’s see who gets this one:

Put the Candle Back copy

Florida Winter Clothes copy Text and Fly copy Boothless Superman copy

Peer Review2 copy

Switch Insurance copy

And finally, new and improved with no trigger control issues, and special for Halloween!

Barbara Eden copyOkay, okay, if you must have real firearms, then let’s have one more salute to the ladies of the IDF:

IDF Chicks copy

 

The people have spoken

American Commitment has claimed victory in the contest sponsored by far-left MoveOn and MAYDAY.US. Announcing the contest, MoveOn urged applicants to “make a 30-second ad to wake up America to the crisis of big money in our politics.” The public was invited to vote on the contest entries. The public has spoken:

American Commitment, a national advocacy organization committed to free markets and limited government, easily won the vote in a national video contest organized by liberal groups MoveOn.org and MAYDAY.us—despite organizers changing the competition rules by extending the voting period.

At the end of the competition at 5:00 p.m. ET…Friday, October 17th (based on the revised rules)—American Commitment led all other competitors by wide margins. American Commitment received more than 20 times as many votes as its nearest challenger. And it received more than 4 times as many votes as the rest of the Top 10 competitors combined.

“American Commitment’s victory at the ballot box is a testament to the power and resonance of our video submission amongst those of all political persuasions. Yesterday’s surprise move by organizers to extend voting an extra day and email the vaunted MoveOn list to participate only expanded our lead,” said Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment. “Our entry about America’s number one fatcat campaign contributor, Tom Steyer, shines a spotlight on him and on the role hypocritical liberal billionaire contributors play in stoking feigned outrage about conservative donors. Americans have overwhelmingly supported our ad with their votes, and the celebrity judges should now respect the democratic process by acknowledging this winning video and putting some of MoveOn.org and MAYDAY.us’s big money behind airing the ad on TV.”

The press release includes this annotated tabulation of the votes, which I am including for the record:

TOP VOTE GETTERS AT 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, October 17

7,590—phil (AMERICAN COMMITMENT)
364—nancy
296—david
256—njlyell
191—charles.goldman
129—democracymatt
118—williamrice63
118—williamrice63
105—jbeile
99—ennis

-American Commitment received more than 20 times the votes than the contest runner-up (7,590 vs. 364)
-American Commitment received more than 4 times the votes received by the rest of the Top 10 combined (7,590 vs. 1,676)

Here one more time is the video that ran away with the contest, featuring left-wing billionaire and epic hypocrite Tom Steyer.

Surely this can’t stand. We will keep readers apprised of developments, of which there stand to be another one or two.

The gathering storm, part CLVI

Watching the Obama administration sell us out to Iran, as in the interim agreement entered into late last year, I feel despondent and hopeless. It’s the way I felt when the Democrats cut off American support of the South Vietnamese government and assured its fall to the Communists rolling into Saigon, or, more recently, when Obama withdrew all our forces from Iraq. What is to be done? I have no idea.

John Kerry provides an element of continuity in Democratic politics going back to the fall of Saigon. He rose to prominence as a player in the Democratic production leading to our abandonment of South Vietnam. Kerry’s contribution was the dissemination of a demoralizing set of lies asserting the routine commission of war crimes by American forces. I bought his act at the time, but I was a sophomoric student who didn’t know any better. What is our excuse now?

This week the AP’s George Jahn reported that the mullahs are mulling over our latest offer of capitulation to their nuclear program. According to Jahn, Russia would be the key to the deal. Iran would keep its centrifuges but ship out some enriched uranium to Vladimir Putin. What a friend we have in Vlad!

While the diplomats work out the details of our attempted capitulation, a good time is being had by all. Jeryl Bier picks up on a report noting the jollity. Bier finds a senior state department official sharing a lighter moment with reporters who had gathered for a background briefing at the P5+1 talks in Vienna:

I just told Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi that that I was coming down to do a backgrounder, and I said, you know, “You’ll know what I’m going to say.” And his suggestion was that I simply hand you the transcript from the last one, and that would probably do the trick. (Laughter.) So we thought that was pretty funny. Obviously, you don’t think that’s so funny, but we all thought it was pretty funny.

The official offered more:

In terms of mood, in a professional way, we all know each other pretty well now. You can tell when the [Iranian] Deputy Foreign Minister jokes. He reads the transcripts of these backgrounders, and when he can joke, “Why don’t you just hand over the last one? You’re going to say the same thing,” it’s reached a level of we know each other well enough to make jokes.

The Iranians have us sized up perfectly. Hilarity ensues. Imagine the fun if a final agreement is reached!

In Tehran, however, the mirth is suppressed. The genocidal maniacs running the show go on about their business relatively frankly. Adam Kredo reports:

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised increased support for Palestinian terrorists and urged them to stockpile arms in anticipation of a new war on Israel, according to public comments made Thursday following his meeting with members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group.

“Fighting the Zionist regime [Israel] is a war of destiny,” Khamenei said after a meeting with PIJ’s secretary general, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

In this calculus what’s the difference between the United States and Israel? We come second, maybe.