Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday Headlines

Normally Sunday is a day for relaxing and reflection but today's headlines are just too compelling to ignore.  "Armed Anti-Government Protestors" (CNN) have taken over a building on a federal wildlife refuge.  One of the protests is the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who had staged his own anti-government protests earlier.  Both incidents are in response to the government's harsh response to ranchers who refuse to sell their lands.

Right below that headline appeared this gem "Come And Take It" (Breitbart).  Texas Governor Greg Abbott made the remark in response to Mr. Obama's anticipated executive action to impose more gun control measures.

At a time when we could very easily be facing WWIII, battle lines are being draw along pro-gun versus anti-gun Americans.  The actions of the anti-government/pro-gun camp in Oregon and the "molon lane" reference from the Texas Governor are the very things Mr. Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch have been waiting for, an opportunity to prove how dangerous the right wing, gun-toting lunatics are.  Executive orders may be the least of the measures Mr. Obama will feel compelled to enact especially if there is any shooting between the Oregon protests and federal agents.

Now here is the more interesting part of these stories that most news outlets won't point out.  What would the government's response (including state, county and local) had the been black instead of white?  Would the anti-government protestors be portrayed in the media the same way had the been part of the Black Lives Matters movement?

As we head towards some ugly confrontations amongst ourselves, keep in mind that Saudi Arabia just executed Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 others resulting in the Saudi embassy being overrun by pissed off Iranians (hmm, where have we seen that before?).  Now Saudi Arabia has cut all ties with Iran (further isolation of Iran?).  A jaded and cynical former analyst might be inclined to suspect Saudi Arabia did this with a subtle nod from Valerie Jarrett and Obama just to put more pressure on Iran.

Let's keep things real when we speak about the Middle East.  We will here a lot during the election cycle about needing to support our ally in the Middle East, Israel.  Truth of the matter though is Israel isn't out ally as much as our "stick" in the Middle East.  Israel does not contribute to the stability of other Muslim nations in the region so the US had to find a "carrot" and landed on Saudi Arabia.  Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is no more of a stabilizing force in the region and the Saud family is widely hated throughout the region.

If the US even gave the slightest hint to Saudi Arabia to execute those prisoners and/or cut off ties with Iran, this could have been one of the worst foreign policy blunders in decades.  Iran already has strong ties with Russia, this may cause matters to take some unexpected turns.  For example, Turkey has been taken pot shots at Russia.  Russia has responded by exposing oil sales between Turkey and ISIS.  Iran and Russia may be draw into a conflict with Turkey.  Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabia government may start falling apart over the executions and ensuing backlash in the region.

It will be interesting to see what else Monday brings along with Obama's executive orders.

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