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March 25, 2010

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I have great hope for Iran if they chose to change leadership. Iran is a well educated and could be prosperous if they had better leaders. There is not much to do except keep up the pressure and wait them out. Obama has tried to engage them and has tried to increase sanctions. What else is he supposed to do?

Israel's behavior really concerns me and I feel less and less that their future need be concern of ours. At least at the moment they are not interested in either a two state solution or what we think of them. Just keep sending the money.

BTW, how did unquestioning support of Israel become a Republican (or Conservative) position? Wall Street money?

Hi Harrycat,
As with all these little nations with radical leaders only strength, engagement or isolation/time work.
We've isolated Cuba and North Korea. It's a long grind and somewhat expensive but denying countries modern markets even when they are supplied by other parties to some degree works. We save on soldiers dying but the country kills off it's own population while we turn a blind eye. So if you are going to isolate Iran then you have to "go after it" you cannot extend a friendly hand and ignore the others who do not support you. A nuclear Iran and North Korea are more dangerous because desperation can trigger them to stupidity. This is especially true in the case of potential government overthrow or starvation. The game is almost over in Cuba. The next generation Americans will be vacationing and getting medial treatment there. The game is just beginning in Iran. The game would be about over now in North Korea except it appears to be in China's interest to keep it going. The US should deal with that problem by giving ownership of North Korea to China, Japan and/or South Korea. We should have pulled out long ago. Reagan kind of accellerated this kind of strategy with Gorbechov after he wrote the "Red Fox" and tipped his hand. Then Reagan devatated him at Helsinki with the race for space challenge.

Reagan also showed the world that there is a quick solution: strength. He blasted Quadafi into inactivity. He overthrew Noriega. He kicked Cuba out of Granada. He undermined the Contras using Oliver North's secret funding. Kennedy did the same to the Soviets in Cuba. Bush Sr. did it to Saddam in Kuwait. GWB did it again to Saddam in Iraq. And to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now Obama has got Pakistan helping him in Afghanistan and Pakistan while he secretly does it with Drones in Samolia and Sudan. You now see the Saudi's getting the message---100+ Al Queda arrested last week. They don't want to see drones in the sky. So if it was me I'd turn the 100,000 US soldiers leaving Iraq east and take out the Iranians. But, we won't. Isreal might bomb them and that may well have been the meeting this weekend without camera's/press. A 20 apartment complex on the East Bank is hardly something the President would be entertaining with George Mitchell and Lady Clinton on the staff to handle it. And, with "VP Joe" already making enemies of our friends. It could well be a set up to be "upset" when our friends set Iran's program back a few years. We might have been giving them the coordinates of the nuke sites and the Taliban training centers. Obama is good at smoke and mirrors.

The third strategy is engage them. Nixon took this approach with China and it worked but we got suckered in and fell in love with cheap imports. This caused us to abandon our cross border partnership with Mexico and allow China to become Japan II and South Korea II. Now they, like the japanese in the 80's, have all our dollars and our debt while we clean the air, water and legislate healthcare for the people who gave them their jobs. Meanwhile while the manufacturing jobs went to China instead of Mexico the mexicans crawled under the fence and took the remaining blue collar jobs here in construction until there were no longer any people who could buy them. So Barney Frank legislated houses to them until Fannie and Freddy collapsed. But engaging them will work. Everyone wants to dress in American blue jeans and sell to the American markets. Iranians are very tech savy having been educated in American universities and they could build higher value machines for us to buy. It would also drive their religious leaders crazy when the population becomes westernized. I like Iranians. They are very American like. So take your choice--pick a strategy--but sitting around watching the idiot get a nuclear arsenal is probably not good leadership.

That's how I see it Harrycat. Bo--you? (Forgive my misspellings of old world leaders--I don't have time to google them. I'm reading up on healthcare reform of my business.)

A question to both Bills re Iran: what would you propose doing? Just being negative won't get it done. Specifics please.

This also relates to the general question of how does America deal with nations that won't respond to any of the usual persuaders (threats, financial penalties, political isolation, etc.). I am very concerned about Israel. If we can not get any change of behavior from a "friend", how can we ever hope to get change from an "enemy"?

My brother is in full fight mode over Obamacare and I can't blame him. Yesterday, Obama spent the day celebrating the healthcare victory by making fun of the opposition: 'right after I signed it I looked for asteroids falling and earthquakes to happen', he joked. This is the same President who thinks the use of the "F" word by Joe Bidden was, according to Joe, the "highlight of his day of passage of the bill." Hmmmm--- Tuesday, my high school son swore at the referree of a soccer game for what he thought was a bad call. His coach told him if he did it again he would be removed from the team. His parents told him that swearing at referees had no place in the game. There seems to be a difference in the way Americans look at things from that of our leaders.

The healthcare bill has a lot of good things in it. However, it needs to be considered with the Dr Fix bill which is soon to follow. And, it should be accounted for without the student loan profits.(Those people will now lose their jobs. No problem though we are hiring 16,000 more IRS agents.) Make these combinations and it adds to the deficit. If it does as most of us suspect and grows into a Massachusettes style deficit program it will not be anymore sustainable than social security. So in the end it goes into the file of programs that the country needs to "fix". Remember what happened when GWB tried to "fix" social security? He met the stiff resistance of Democrats. Obamacare also passes along Billions of dollars of costs for added medicaide patients to the states at a time they are mostly broke. And, if they succeed in getting immigration passed they will add the illegals they left out of this bill to the program. So "repeal" is the war cry of the Republicans. However, repeal is a very unlikely possibility. It likely requires 60 Senate votes, a majority in the house and a President who agrees to sign it. In our wildest dreams the Republicans are not likely to be there again. So I agree with Bo: the objective needs to be a "fix it" series of adjustments to the bill that make it fiscally work and that can be passed. And, that should be the war cry of Republicans appealing to independents and moderate Democrats.

The best thing the Republicans have going is the weak economy and the apparent lack of attention that Obama has to improve it. Democrats will likely try to ram the DR Fix, immigration and energy bills through before they take their lumps in November. With Reid and Pelosi focused on that. Obama will likely spread smoke and mirrors joy throughout the base promoting his rob from the rich victory for the poor. Trying to energize the base to minimize the damage in November. After all this bill is already stacked to provide the good first and the bad second mostly late in his 2nd term. If he continues to ignore the economy then Republicans will likely take the heat in 2011 if they win in 2010. Prompting a better environment for Obama's reelection in 2012. He will be able to campaign on the poor economy of the new Republican congress---a position he is familiar with.

And, by then Iran should be nuclear. Remember last year when, by December, Iran faced an Obama ultimatum to negotiate a deal or face the "wrath" of the world? This is March. Since the "date" Iran has unplugged the internet, outlawed the opposition party, announced they are a nuclear power, and opened training bases for the Taliban. Meanwhile just last week Obama once again assured them "we are willing to sit down and talk".

Is this the leadership we really wanted? I can't imagine.

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