Monday, September 4, 2006


Everywhere one surfed on the news or Sunday talk shows it was question of Iran. Of preparing for sanctions, or war with Iran - or sanctions that would ultimately lead to war.

And yet, one image stuns the mind: that of Tehrani’s in their shiny cars, tooting and carousing in the night streets - just like Italians.  Two-term President Khatami was considered by reform-minded Iranians, not to have been able to go far enough, but it seems he has succeeded at least in obtaining for Iranians the right to enjoy the material benefits of modernity. Speaking
at an American university, the white turbaned  ex-President Khatami hopes America will support moderate Islam, instead of worrying about the one represented by terrorists.

In a televised debate, the Republican Senator from my state of Pennsylvania, Rick Sanatorium, declared Khatami shouldn’t have been given a visa.  For some unfathomable reason, Democratic Governor Ed Rendell was quoted in the National Review as saying that “Sanatorium delivers”. He picked the unprepossessing,  unpersuasive Bob Casey because his father was a much respected politician to defeat the number three Senate Republican, and the DLC agreed.

In this year of all possible Republican dangers, if the Democrats didn't’t even have the guts to anoint the much more articulate and knowledgeable Chuck Pennachio, how to hope they will be strong enough to prevent a nuclear strike on Iran’s deeply buried research facilities?

In an on-line newsletter “Money and Markets”, John Burke dots the i’s and crosses the t’s:  Saudi Arabia has the largest oil supplies, Iraq has the third largest.  Burke warns that Iraq is for all practical purposes being taken over by Iran, which will then control the largest world oil supplies.  When you know that Saudi Arabia is a Sunni monarchy, while Iran and Iraq are now ruled by Shi’ites, the violence we’re seeing in Iraq may be only the forerunner of a broader sectarian conflict engulfing the Muslim world.

Burke’s  Aug 14th headline reads: No Truce from Wars!  Your Defense...But he’s not interested in the life and death consequences, merely on what it means for savvy investors. Unlike our news anchors and pundits, Burke recognizes that it is highly unlikelyh that the U.S> and its allies will pull out of the region, adding:  “The prolonged conflict in the region puts more than half of the world's oil reserves at risk, and the West will do everything to protect its access”.... driving the demand for both (a) conventional military hardware and (b) anti-terror technology. Therefore, a diversified portfolio of defense stocks should address both needs.”

We should have a (Maheresque) new rule that all news anchors should precede information about Iran, Iraq or the MIddle East with the sentence:  “The United States will do anything to protect its access to oil”.

That way, everyone would know that whatever the news of the day, if it doesn't fit into that frame, it's irrelevant.

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