Friedman on Iran

Mother and child Khouzestan Province Southern Iran.  Photo under Creative Commons License from Flick-er Mahi Teshneh (she’s got some beautiful work, check it out).

Really sharp op-ed this morning by Thomas Friedman, hooking up an option to negotiate from strength vis a vis Iran with his theory of petropolitics (that regimes are undermined during lower oil prices).

Here is why Iran was never the existential threat that McCain and Crew keep trying to make it out to be:

Under Ahmadinejad, Iran’s mullahs have gone on a domestic subsidy binge — using oil money to cushion the prices of food, gasoline, mortgages and to create jobs — to buy off the Iranian people. But the one thing Ahmadinejad couldn’t buy was real economic growth. Iran today has 30 percent inflation, 11 percent unemployment and huge underemployment with thousands of young college grads, engineers and architects selling pizzas and driving taxis. And now with oil prices falling, Iran — just like the Soviet Union — is going to have to pull back spending across the board. Fasten your seat belts.

Everything in foreign policy is not economic, but economics is part of everything.  The neocons have no sense of the global economy (see their response to Russia-Georgia).  Economics is part of every FP scenario.  They simply don’t get that fact.  And it leads them to hype powers who may be crumbling from within.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friedman on Republican fiscal irresponsiblity

This one is just sad.  Shows how bankrupt this party is right now.

Every so often a quote comes out of the Bush administration that leaves you asking: Am I crazy or are they? I had one of those moments last week when Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, was asked about a proposal by some Congressional Democrats to levy a surtax to pay for the Iraq war, and she responded, “We’ve always known that Democrats seem to revert to type, and they are willing to raise taxes on just about anything.”

Yes, those silly Democrats. They’ll raise taxes for anything, even — get this — to pay for a war!

And if we did raise taxes to pay for our war to bring a measure of democracy to the Arab world, “does anyone seriously believe that the Democrats are going to end these new taxes that they’re asking the American people to pay at a time when it’s not necessary to pay them?” added Ms. Perino. “I just think it’s completely fiscally irresponsible.”

Friends, we are through the looking glass. It is now “fiscally irresponsible” to want to pay for a war with a tax. These democrats just don’t understand: the tooth fairy pays for wars. Of course she does — the tooth fairy leaves the money at the end of every month under Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s pillow. And what a big pillow it is! My God, what will the Democrats come up with next? Taxes to rebuild bridges or schools or high-speed rail or our lagging broadband networks? No, no, the tooth fairy covers all that. She borrows the money from China and leaves it under Paulson’s pillow…

Excuse me, Ms. Perino, but I wish Republicans would revert to type. I thought they were, well, conservatives — the kind of people who saved for rainy days, who invested in tomorrow for their kids, folks who didn’t believe in free lunches or free wars.

Published in: on October 7, 2007 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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