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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

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By standing back from those he was too close to, and closing in on those he was too far away from, in the ME, the US role has changed from "involved, biased, policeman" to "reserved, balanced, umpire".

Let battle commence, or more correctly, continue.

Whenever anyone of the belligerents says "What's it all about, Mohamed / Ivan / Benjamin (delete as applicable)?" and calls a halt, it's the umpire that sets the framework for the parler - as Obama is keen to point out. No loss of power there, no sireee.

Sounds like a much better relationship for the US, imho.

What startled me was Obama's brutally frank analysis of the cultural, and maybe even racial, model of the situation: -

"Tribal people ain't like us - they don't obey our rules, mores, frameworks, values, rights, etc." No shit, Sherlock. "We can't win the asymmetric clash of arms". No shit, Napoleon. "Why can't they be more like the Scandinavians?". No shit, Adolf?!

SoD

I didn't understand this bit; I wonder if anyone could help. According to Goldberg, Obama sees that

"the Middle East is a region to be avoided—one that, thanks to America’s energy revolution, will soon be of negligible relevance to the U.S. economy."

That's understandable. If you can stay out of it, then it is in your interests to do so. But how does that square with Obama's major new concern over global warming? I thought that America's "energy revolution" was largely based on shale oil extraction - which upsets the global warming lobby more than anything else. Is he extracting sunbeams from cucumbers now?

Uhm ... David?

Would this qualify as one of them thar Creepy Coincidences you're always going on about?

http://warontherocks.com/2016/03/a-proud-day-for-parliament-the-wisdom-of-not-bombing-assad/

Whyaxye, the US shale oil will be a fall back for us but there is another factor, the flow of crude oil through the Straight of Hormuz. This oil flow is vital for other economies around the world and the loss of it could do harm to global trade. If the US quits the region and pulls our fleet from Bahrain, someone else will move in. For now we are stuck there until nuclear warheads start flying between Iran and Saudi Arabia. If the rest of the world can come online with shale oil, then that's a game changer.

Whyaxye, "I think" Obama's gworbil loaming strategy is, in the near-term more focused on coal than it is on oil. But I'm of the opinion Whitewall is probably better positioned (he's closer geographically speaking to the coal-mining than I) to provide a more thorough explanation.

As for 'whatever's to do with the White House gardening' it's my understanding Michelle Obama is the official Cucumber Czar and there's not very much pubically released information on whatever the heck utilizations she's made of the darned vegetables.

Whitewall, many thanks. This means that Obama simply can't afford to ignore the Middle East, unless he wants truly catastrophic developments in world politics. By pretending to, he is probaly just attempting to create an image of himself as a nice kind rapprochement-builder and visionary, rather than someone who does the dirty and necessary jobs.

Whyaxe, you have described him well.

Might I 'attenuate' the discussion where the Strait of Hormuz is concerned without seeming disagreeable?

I rather doubt anybody, nation (possible exception Daesh but, I figure they'd be more likely to via the Sinai, hit the Suez)

Anyway, I doubt any nation, including and perhaps especially Iran, would wish to negatively impact the real estate between Iran and Oman.

"Trade between Iran and China soared from $4 billion in 2003 to over $20 billion in 2009, according to the International Monetary Fund. By 2013, it had doubled to $53 billion. By 2015, Iran provided 11 percent of China’s oil imports. China was also the largest buyer of Iranian oil."

There's also a pipeline under construction connecting Iran's oilfield crude output to Pakistan - and with the "new" rapprochement between China and Pakistan it's easy to imagine China's thirst for Iranian crude will only get more intense.

(Current estimates show Iran's reserves to be five [5] times more than Russia's.]

http://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/iran-and-china

Shale gives the US extra leverage over the "free riders" in Europe.

If ME energy becomes unavailable, then "You want some juice, Free-Rider? Spend 2% of GDP on defence and you get market rates. Anything less than 2% and we add it to the juice bill."

Serves the Kaiserin right for going green, and Blighty for pussy-footing around with shale drilling.

The Kaiserine's only alternative for juice would be Vlad. But that'd have to be over the Ost Blokkers' dead bodies (situation normal, you might argue, but with the EU in place, I think we've moved on).

So that would line the West's ducks up nicely for some consistent foreign policy under the direction of the US.

Good outcome.

SoD

Surely any assessment of Obama's time in office should start with a list of his successes. Shouldn't take long.......

I agree with SoD.

Well BOE, the guy has ordered up more "warheads to the foreheads" than any other Nobel Peace Prize winner in History.

But ... you'd be correct 'cause, that didn't take too long at all!

Well, JK, I am not sure I would count that as a success. One of these days the use of drones to kill other people's people in other peoples airspace is going to come back bite you Americans in the ass.

Yeah ... I've given some thought to that.

I agree with BOE.

By the way, that would be be George HW Bush. W was his disastrous son.

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