As I had a sudden influx of fresh faces on last night’s show, a few things were brought up – by one caller particularly – that I felt required further expansion on the blog. That’s why it’s here folks, and I want to continue to foster an air of discussion!
As a general note I’m going to try very hard to address all caller’s questions to the best of my ability on the blog if I feel like I didn’t do the question justice in show. Callers and listeners are encouraged to check in on these posts and ask further questions if needed.
Listen to the show here. More after the jump.
Caller 3: My Personal Philosophy and the Political Class
Specifically the caller was harping a bit on a Do-Nothing congress and noted that those in power are all socialists. He had a very valid point on one hand but had a few tangents that were borderline broad-brushing!
See this article for my expansion on crony capitalism, what I label as an underlying major problem in this country’s leadership.
In regards to everyone being socialist – very intriguing point and I encourage people to think on it with the textbook definition in mind. I’ll address this point in an article and on the show in the future.
In regards to GOP stances, non-establishment conservatives such as myself are not 100% foreign policy (though it’s a strong consideration) and are not exactly ‘war on the poor’ types and are not into what’s known as ‘corporate welfare’ (another term for crony capitalism, and the democrats are very guilty of it too!). Entitlements are a strong focus because as standing they will bankrupt the nation – see Paul Ryan’s budget plans for my rough alignment and ideas here as well as on taxation.
In regards to presidential power – do nothing congresses are annoying, but the president CAN NOT circumvent them by breaking constitutional law, which Obama is doing in this specific case. This situation is NOT comparable to Bush’s or Clinton’s recess appointments – the key difference here is the fact that the United States Senate was still in session when Obama made his appointments. That and Obama has said frequently that he wants to move around congress.
Congress, corrupt as it is, and as broken as it is, remains the elected representatives of the American people and a critical part of the checks and balances of the constitution. If Obama’s action goes unchallenged, he just broke 90 years of precedent and gave the executive the ability to just ‘do things’ if he deems congress as ‘obstructionist’. I don’t think that’s positive, I think it’s authoritarian, and if he is upset with the system he needs to play by the rules that everyone else does.
In other words Obama, you need to make a case to the American people and congress rather then simply deeming yourself correct.
And no, I never like it when Republicans or Democrats do things like this. Similar behaviors by Bush earn my condemnation. An extra thing that gets me irked with Obama is his attitude and how directly dishonest and misleading he is. When I dissect the new nationalism speech, you’ll get a great idea of what I mean, and I just may dissect his defense of these actions if you folks want me to.
Caller 2: Middle Eastern Foreign Policy
A caller took issue with my stance towards Iran and deemed it a ‘chickenhawk’ country, and others in the chat proposed that Iran is a middle eastern problem and should be handled by the middle east.
A few things – first, I have my principles, and in foreign policy especially my principles have to be tempered by a lovely thing called realpolitk. It’s a term from international relations studies that translates to a strategy of pursuing one’s nation’s pure self interest. Being selfish, in other words.
My principles make me want the United States to be a large non meddler in middle eastern affairs. In my ideal world the US would be self sufficient in regards to oil production, and particularly would not be propping up regimes that oppress their people. I would want to see the middle east left to their own devices to figure out their own issues, with the US and the west interjecting only to defend Israel’s right to exist, to actively prevent any emergency humanitarian crises, and responding to any kind of threats or belligerence. Any interventions would be furious and brief – no occupations.
Regimes arising from this ideal world would be able to trade and interact with the US only if they meet certain criteria such as a certain level of tolerance, a popularly approved government model, and a clean human rights record. Any aspiring conquerors or bad characters would be met with a strategy of containment working with the ‘good’ guys but largely at a distance.
This is a pie in the sky dream and likely won’t happen anytime soon. So with that in mind, let’s look at the wrenches in the works that complicate Iran.
- A large military in comparison to the rest of the region.
Yes, Saudi Arabia has a substantial modernized military but it does not have the raw human capital and willingness to sustain casualties that Iran has shown in the past. The Saudi regime is fragile in certain regards and if the west did not rally to the Saudi’s aid and quickly they would be in dire straits.
- A Strong Desire to get Nukes
Anyone who ignores this doesn’t fully grasp the situation, as are people who posit that it’s ‘fair’ for Iran to have nukes since Israel does too. Iran has significant proxy networks in its neighbors, has demonstrably been proven to be aiding the insurgency in Iraq, and actively supports the Palestinian militants. Iran fosters relationships with some Central American dictatorships, particularly Venezuela, and there are hints that quietly drip in the background of sleeper cells of Iran in the United States and Europe. If Iran gets nukes, those proxy networks suddenly are able to operate under a nuclear umbrella – the threat of nuclear aggression by Iran if it doesn’t get its way. This is b-a-d, and it shouldn’t take much explanation as to why.
- A Leadership That is Insane
Not just Awkmahdeenajahd, who’s name is always fun to butcher- but the ruling council that he’s a puppet for. As mentioned on the show – Iran’s leadership is not supported by the populace AND is a theocracy. Religious considerations have a large factor in its logic. It is a country that can take things to levels that no western country would willingly go – see the Iran-Iraq war and the sheer number of casualties both sides took. MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) does not entirely apply to Iran – doubly so if the regime feels it needs an excuse to distract an unruly populace. One must also remember their specific flavor of Islam revolves around the return of the 12th Iman, who will arrive only after a near cataclysmic event spurred by his followers.
Israel is a major wrench, and one of the more contentious ones. Its existence is at stake if Iran gets too belligerent, especially if Iran gets a nuke, and Israel has proven in the past that it will act on its own if it feels overly threatened. I am and will likely continue to support Israel, but all I ask of you, no matter what you think of Israel, is to consider objectively the pressure Israel is under here.
A nuclear bomb drop on Israel would almost certainly start a regional war. Israel has a nuclear arsenal and is too smart to go down without employing it, and I would like to think that all parties would want to avoid a miniature nuclear Armageddon at all costs.
- Lingering US middle eastern interests
Oil. Oil. Oil. It’s the reason the US has been in the middle east so long and the leadership of the country has avoided the issue for too many reasons to count. Because the US has neglected an independent energy policy, the US will continue to be very concerned with the flow of oil from the middle east. Iranian belligerence will force the US to react strictly on this fact – if oil prices are racked too high for a sustained period of time (Thanks OPEC!) it will have devastating effects on not only the US, but the entire western world. This is a solvable problem, but politics have prevented a real solution. (domestic drilling, canadian cooperation, reasonable alternative energy research as opposed to politically popular alternative energy research, Nuclear Power)
- The Current State of the US Military
Overstretched, underfunded in the worst places (the troops themselves and equipment), over funded in the wrong places (administrative bloat, war profiteering via a corrupt contracting process), and short on fresh manpower. Especially complicated by Obama’s recent announcement concerning military personal funding. The US military is the most powerful fighting force on the face of the earth and can go toe to toe with any country – but Iran is not interested in a fair fight and seeks to take advantage of weakness of will.
Iran’s strategy will be to act so quickly in a war that the US will not be able to immediately respond with decisive force. It will only engage what it needs to in order to distract as it pursues its real targets – likely oil reserves and an attempt to annihilate Israel.
Simply put, Iran has too much capability at this time to really muck things up for everybody if left unchecked.
Solutions in brief -
What do I want to see done? I’ll bullet point and expand if asked by commenters, and in a future article -
- Policy of containment with threat of harsh, swift military responses ( -NO OCCUPATIONS- )
- An immediate increase in spending on equipment, personal, and a maintaining of a strong expeditionary force ready to intervene quickly in case of disaster (operational flexibility, deterrence)
- Loud, in-the-open verbal support of Iranian opposition groups
- Condemnation of any crack downs by Iranian leadership
- Absolutely no covert shenanigans (CIA, drones) unless done in the open and admitted after the fact / done to avert imminent crisis and or war
- A reaffirmation of US commitment to defend Israel’s right to exist
- Long term – US aggressively pursuing an energy strategy that allows it to shun middle eastern oil entirely
- Also long term – a near complete withdrawal from middle eastern nations militarily except where things need doing.
The overall theme is to influence from the outside, and if intervening to do it openly, directly, honestly, and -quickly- with the intention of leaving momentum in the hands of the Iranian people. Take note that my general tack on military engagements is either to respond with overwhelming, relentless force with the goal of a swift conclusion or no engagement at all. Again, I’ll expand on the thought process behind this another day.
Please share your thoughts and break things down where you’d like! I in no way claim to be 100% right anywhere -this is merely my informed opinion on things. I could be right – I could be wrong! And perhaps I missed something, or need to explain more.
Caller 1: The Troll Call
As said earlier – that WAS the first true troll call I’ve ever gotten! I’ll give him a 7/10 for stringing me along for a short while and for being ‘first’, with his score being dinged for taking the ‘pizza call’ route. C’mon, you can do better then that.
On a more serious note if I get too many troll-calls I’ll have to shift call-in procedures don’t overdo it folks! I don’t want to have to maintain a list of ‘safe’ numbers -this- early in my podcasting career!