DEAR WORLD: I’m Taking a Sick Day.

While I am trying to write, CNN, MSNBC and FOX NEWS are spending most of the morning endlessly speculating and over analyzing the fate of a German airliner en route from Spain that has crashed in the Swiss Alps.  The gist is there seems no possibility of survivors and no one knows why it crashed.

That is really all they know and it could take days before they know much more but that won’t stop them from parading endless speculations, piling new ones on old ones fully or partially regurgitated, reminding us frequently of painful facts like a couple of babies were on board and so were a group of high school kids, the sadness of it all, injecting every element of drama and “human interest” the cablization process can muster.

One cable mouth called it the “big story” of the day.   Not to me.

Really, I just told you most of the story.  It is the “big story” of the day if you knew any of those unfortunate people aboard or were tied to the event in some meaningful way, but for most of us it is a passing thought unless cable’s endless dramatization of the event has ensnared your addictive personality like a spider a fly.

I’m sick of it.

But then I have to admit I am addicted to watching news on foreign policy and somewhat less on American politics, neither of which is good for my mental health, as the world order is falling apart and the American government is increasingly sucking the fun out of dysfunctional.   So, I’m sick of that, too, but at least there are much greater possible ramifications from those events, even if I can’t figure out what they’ll be.

Like it or not, they do merit much attention.

On the other hand, I haven’t felt much like writing about real news topics over the past two weeks – I mean such topics as the nuclear talks with Iran undercut by Bibi and the Republicans in congress or the battle for Tikrit in Iraq, which is a microcosm of Iraq’s ability to degrade Isis while somehow not further alienating Sunnis by relying on Shia militias to do it.

Or take Yemen, which is a burgeoning civil war only months after President Obama cited it as a successful example of our counter terrorist strategy, now an increasingly lovely neighborhood for terrorists to blossom, not to mention other sectarian divides that may well impact neighboring states and further destabilize the convulsive Middle East.  Squeezed in between the plane crash news, I heard one expert on Fox suggest neighboring Sunni states need to band together to send an Arab force into Yemen.

Then there is Hillary and the fact that I am already tired of her campaign and she hasn’t even announced her candidacy as yet, prompting a vision of her front-running train running out of steam before the finish line.

Not to mention the Vladimir P. show, etc., etc., etc., etc…………….

Yuck.  I can’t wait until Thursday when I can resume an obsession that I at least enjoy:   Mad about March Madness.

On Wisconsin…..

Advertisements

Some Thoughts on American Foreign Policy Sent to a Friend

I’m in agreement with what you wrote about immigration and Cuba…..  though that is probably no surprise.  Sixty years of the same policy has done little to free Cubans, what could trying a new approach hurt?

And as for immigration, as you know, the Senate passed a bill months ago that the House refused to take up.  I laugh at the Republican “concerns” about security as that Senate bill has an abundance of security measures as judged by the likes of John McCain.   If the concern with security is so important to them, doesn’t letting our present level of insecurity go on and on from year to year make any sense?

In terms of the Mid-East and Ukraine, I don’t think Obama has done a great job, but I think these problems are uniquely complex, new to our time……especially the burgeoning chaos in the Mid-East.  That mess is a result of decades of strong men violently keeping a lid on seething undercurrents and now the lid has been lifted, first by our toppling Saddam and then the so-called Arab spring, which I welcomed at the time, not really thinking through the likely aftermath.

The dilemma seems to be that toppling a strong man in the Mid-East usually leads to a situation even worse.  So, take your pick, suppression or chaos (with the kicker being that suppression doesn’t always work as the Shah of Iran, whom we supported, learned decades ago.)

Here is something I’d like your reaction to.   It strikes me that American foreign policy has long been a stew composed of 1) wanting international stability that suits capitalism, 2) spreading democratic values and 3)  acting humanely.   That’s fine when the values don’t conflict, but they usually do and when push comes to shove it is stability concerns that usually win out, which is why we have supported dictators in the Mid East for the past 100 years, including Saddam Hussein prior to his Kuwait venture.

But the other two values often muck up the realpolitik nature of the policy, such as when GW Bush envisioned setting up a democratic state in Iraq and when Obama’s humanitarianism  compelled him to stop Gaddafi from crossing Libya to exterminate thousands of rebels.

I was all for the Libya intervention, but I did not imagine how little we would help solidify that country afterwards.  Understandably we had become tired of trying and failing to rebuild countries, and neither party showed interest in doing much to develop a secure aftermath.

While Obama can be blamed for not doing more, what have the Republicans done to help?   Conduct hearing after hearing right to the present day in search of ways in which Hillary was at fault regarding Benghazi?  No matter that the country has dissolved into civil war in the mean time.  Most important is to besmirch Hillary right up through 2016.

At this point, with ISIS becoming the scourge of the entire region (now including Libya), we clearly most value strong men who rally to the anti-ISIS cause such as President Sisi of Egypt, who seems more repressive than Mubarak but is tolerated because he is showing commitment to fight ISIS, not to mention applying pressure on Hamas, which Israel welcomes.

It must be nice being a Vladimir Putin with such a clear cut agenda of regaining Russian greatness uninhibited by humanitarian or democratic values, free to conduct foreign policy like a complete thug.