Tag Archives: U.S.

Obama’s European Vacation

The site of the planned Obama speech in Berlin is generating a significant amount of buzz in the German press. The Obama folks and their socialist admirers wanted the Brandenburg Gate, a controversial choice for both Americans and Germans. As a symbol of German unification, many natives wondered how Obama had helped tear down the wall; after all, he was still a law student at Harvard. And as the site of one of the most historic addresses ever by an American President, many devoted Reaganites felt the mere idea was tantamount to sacrilege.

The Brandenburg uproar forced Obama’s posse to settle on the Victory Column, yet another controversial choice. Deputy leader of the free Democrats argued (from der Spiegel)

“The Siegessäule in Berlin was moved to where it is now by Adolf Hitler. He saw it as a symbol of German superiority and of the victorious wars against Denmark, Austria and France,” the deputy told Bild am Sonntag. He raised the question as to “whether Barack Obama was advised correctly in his choice of the Siegessäule as the site to hold a speech on his vision for a more cooperative world.”

Historical ignorance aside, the most disturbing part of the speech, is the speech. When has an American Presidential candidate ever given a campaign address in a foreign country? But more importantly, when has a foreign presidential candidate ever addressed an American audience? I can’t think of one, which makes me wonder why Obama has thought it prudent to stand before a European audience to rally admirers, most of whom aren’t eligible to vote.

And memo to the American press who will cover this speech, and who continue to mischaracterize Obama’s European support as widespread and sweeping: Europeans aren’t monoliths. Just because you might have spent two months at a foreign bureau, presumably sharing croissants with American journalists, doesn’t qualify you to make a judgment about Obama’s messiah status in the old continent. Just because Germans are disturbingly obsessed with Obama, doesn’t automatically correlate to an Italian fervor over a McCain defeat. There are many plausible explanations for the German-Obama swoon:

  1. Perhaps as the most racist European country, Germans are suffering from ‘white guilt’
  2. They hated Bush more than other Europeans, so they view an Obama victory as a Bush rebuke.
  3. They heard rumors that Obama likes wienerschnitzel.
  4. The largest portion of Obama admirers are former East German communists and recognize a fellow comrade when they see one.
  5. They fell in love with Michelle Obama after she admitted to not previously being ‘proud of America’.

The Global Scelto: Barack Obama

Like I explain in my book, The Absentee Ballot, recognizing traits unique to the United States and Americans became easier after I had been abroad for a while. I didn’t notice our idiosyncrasies because they bombarded me daily.

One of the most glaring American deficiencies is our obsession with acceptance. We are consumed by wearing the latest trend, living in the most beautiful house and driving the best car. I was reminded yesterday when I parked outside of a golf shop and sat in the car while my husband went inside. I watched a man exit the store and open the car door of a late model black Mercedes, with shiny rims and windows with a gangster tint, sitting in the spot adjacent mine. His hair was perfectly coiffed, his clothes spiffy and a diamond encrusted Rolex sparkled on his wrist. My mind then drifted to a Milanese Rolex dealer who once told me that Rolex only makes the diamond face for the American market; Europeans would never wear them. Sure, they might buy a watch costing five-hundred thousand Euros, but it wouldn’t contain diamonds and no one would ever know.

This story does have a point, apart from materialism. The diamonds we wear, the Guccis we carry, and the BMWs we drive aren’t for our benefit. They are for the benefit of the guy at work and everyone else we come in contact with. Like this psychological need to impress, we have become unhinged in our recent desire to re-curry favor in the international community. It’s like there are three hundred million Sally Fields standing on the world stage demanding “like me, really really like me.”

Barack Obama isn’t just the first black American to receive a major party nomination; apparently he’s the only one who can make the world like us again. A Washington Post article starts out by pointing to our tattered reputation abroad. It goes on to explore the global reaction of Obama’s nomination.

From India: Sunila Patel “A black president of the U.S. will mean that there will be more American tolerance for people around the world who are different.”

It’s nice that Ms Patel is concerned about our racial tolerance, but maybe she should worry about the fissures within her own community. Just how tolerant are the Hindus toward the Muslims and vice-versa. And how evolved is a society based on a caste system and one in which males having more value than females.

From Britain. “Obama is the exciting image of what we always hoped America was,” said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, a British foreign policy institute.

What were you hoping America was? Tolerant? Racially diverse? Multicultural? Compassionate? One question. Who was the last black, or nominee of Indian or Pakistani descent to become Prime Minister of Britain? Maybe I missed him or her in my history books. Perhaps Mr. Niblett is simply excited at the possibility of having a fellow socialist in the Oval Office.

From Germany: Obama also has strong support in Europe, the heartland of anti-Bush sentiment. “Germany is Obama country,” said Karsten Voight, the German government’s coordinator for German-North American cooperation. “He seems to strike a chord with average Germans.”

Which average Germans would those be? Is she referring to “evolved” citizens like herself who work in think tanks and universities, or the ones desecrating Jewish graves and inciting racial violence throughout the Fatherland?

I voted twice for Bush, and he has proven worthy of a spot in a ‘who is the worst President in the last hundred years?’ debate. The dollar is a shadow of its former self, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, gas prices have ballooned, relations with our allies have suffered, wages have stagnated, and our federal budget has expanded to unprecedented levels. And for all of the Bush apologists who point to an increase in security, try traveling internationally. While machine gun toting and profiling Italian police roam Malpensa airport in Milan, our security asks us to take off our shoes. I’ve smuggled cheese each and every trip and until they catch my cheese, I won’t admit that the country is safer.

Bush’s poor performance aside, when did a President become a reason to celebrate or despise a country? Do we hate Venezuelans because of Chavez? Are Iranians evil because of Ahmadinejad?

It is too simplistic to characterize a nation based on the election of its President. It is also unhealthy for Americans to elect a President based on a desire to be liked.

New U.S. Oil Discovery?

bakken-oil.jpg

I first noticed this story on NRO’s The Corner. If true, the United States will soon level the petroleum playing field and silence those in the Middle East who are sick and tired of us “stealing” their oil. Perhaps we will finally break the energy dependence that has infected our foreign policy and impeded our economic growth.

From Next Energy News:

America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.

With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an initial study back in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with prices bottoming out at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because of the higher cost of horizontal drilling techniques that would be needed, estimated at $20-$40 a barrel.

It was not until 2007, when EOG Resources of Texas started a frenzy when they drilled a single well in Parshal N.D. that is expected to yield 700,000 barrels of oil that real excitement and money started to flow in North Dakota. Marathon Oil is investing $1.5 billion and drilling 300 new wells in what is expected to be one of the greatest booms in Oil discovery since Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938.

We should know the results soon as the USGS is due to release its report. I have looked in the foreign newspapers to see if anyone was talking about it. The only report I’ve seen is in a Ukranian outlet. And since Russia has made repeated threats of reducing natural gas supply through their pipeline, I imagine they would love to see a western counterbalance to the oil thugs in the Middle East, Russia, Venezuela and Iran.

UPDATE: The newly released USGS report puts the estimate of recoverable oil at up to 4.3 billion barrels or approximately one-hundred times less than this optimistic article estimated.

Saudi Prince Threatens Terror Over Probe

Prince Bandar      Same Guy…    Prince Bandar

The UK bribery investigation of BAE, a defense and aerospace company, hasn’t received above-the-fold attention in the U.S. but maybe it should.  The British aerospace giant stands accused of bribing Saudi officials for the Al Yamamah contracts that have netted the company £43 billion or roughly $80 billion over the last twenty years.

 

At the center of the controversy is a familiar figure in American politics, Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. It’s believed that the Saudi Prince, now the head of the Saudi National Security Council, received £1 billion in bribes to secure orders for BAE.

 From The Guardian:

Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.

 Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7” and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

 Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

The Saudis are notorious bribers or “donors” to American politicians. Ex CIA agent turned author Robert Baer reported extensively on the House of Sa’ud’s generosity as have many others.

$1 million to Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign

$500,000 to launch the Bush Scholarship Fund at Phillips Academy from Prince al-Walid (the infamous Prince whose $10 million was rejected by one irate New York mayor)

$23 million to the University of Arkansas’s new Center For Middle Eastern Studies

$10 million to the Clinton Presidential Library

$10 million to the George HW Bush Presidential Library

But by far the most disturbing donation by the House of Sa’ud, more specifically the cherubic Prince Bandar, was made by Bandar’s wife. In Sleeping with the Devil, Baer reports:

 Princess Haifa’s contribution to a Saudi who aided two of the September 11 hijackers added up to $130,000. Throw in $550,000 that a mysterious Saudi donated to a San Diego mosque that served as a forward base for the same two hijackers, and the money exceeds the roughly $500,000 the FBI estimates as the total cost of the 9/;111 attacks.

The Saudis have spent billions exporting an ideology aimed to preserve their strangle-hold on power by lobbying for the annihilation of the west. Unfortunately, the U.S hasn’t a card to play. The Wahabbis help finance our $3 trillion debt, fuel our SUVs, and even fund our Presidential libraries.