Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club


October 18th, 2013 - 5:42 pm

In Frank Herbert’s Dune the reader is told that the “world is supported by four things: the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous, and the valor of the brave. But all of these are as nothing without a ruler who knows the art of ruling.” He might have added that naught avails a ruler without followers willing to follow.

Today Saudi Arabia rejected a seat on the UN Security Council to which it had been unanimously elected in protest against “its long-time patron United States’ overtures to Iran, among other peeves,” according to the Times of India. The Washington Post comes to more or less the same conclusion.

UNITED NATIONS — Just hours after winning a coveted place on the U.N. Security Council for the first time, Saudi Arabia did a stunning about-face Friday and rejected the seat, denouncing the body for failing to resolve world conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.

The unprecedented move at the United Nations appeared largely directed at Saudi Arabia’s longtime ally, the United States, reflecting more than two years of frustration.

Of course there was always something ironic about elevating Nigeria, Chad, and Saudi Arabia to the pinnacle of the World Body. But if the irony was undoubted, the prestige was not.  A seat on the Security Council was a prize, back when the Security Council meant something.

Saudi Arabia’s reversal surprised U.N. diplomats and officials who had just welcomed the kingdom to a two-year term on the U.N.’s most powerful body for the first time. Several noted that the Saudis were lobbying for support right up until the vote.

Britain, Pakistan and other countries said they wanted explanations, particularly as Saudi Arabia’s U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi had told reporters following Thursday’s vote that his government took the election “very seriously” ..

The probable answer to the question of why Saudi Arabia waited till the election was in hand before slighting Obama is obvious but unwelcome. The Saudis wanted a glass of wine poured first so they could fling it in Obama’s face.

As far back as two weeks ago David Weinberg writing in the National Journal saw the Saudi revolt coming when they canceled an opportunity to address the UN General Assembly.

President Obama’s Friday telephone call with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani—the first at such a level in over three decades—has exacerbated existing problems between the United States and its Saudi ally. Now we learn that Saudi Arabia cancelled its address at the United Nations, evidently in protest at recent shifts in U.S. policy.

The Saudi royal family has seen Iran as a threat to their survival ever since 1979, when Iranian leaders began encouraging Shi’ite communities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province to rebel. Subsequently, the Kingdom has been engaged in a regional battle for influence with Iran, and the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq removed a traditional counterweight to Iranian power. Sunni rulers now fear a Shi’ite crescent stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean—and possibly south into the Arab Gulf states.

The Saudis are especially concerned about Obama’s blunders in Syria, which have made it hard for them to win against Assad. Syria might mark a high water mark for the Sunni militancy followed by the implicit prospect of irreversible decline. Ordinarily it would be just another blunder by president Obama; just another crackup in the alliances he has desultorily attempted to form.

But indirect help for Obama may be coming from a wholly unexpected direction. Despite the president’s best efforts to discourage the domestic oil industry, the United States has jumped ahead of Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer on the wings of new technology. And the pace of American production is accelerating. Reuters says that Oklahoma is coming online big-time.

Oklahoma is emerging as the next big shale oil play, with production growing faster than in any other U.S. state apart from Texas and North Dakota.

Thanks in big part to shale, the state’s oil output in May, June and July hit the highest level since January 1990.

Oil output has doubled since the start of 2010, from 160,000 to 320,000 barrels per day, and is showing the sort of exponential growth that characterized other big shale plays.

The relations of power in the world are constantly changing. Good managers know this and are always looking for a wave to catch and ebbs to avoid. Timing in statecraft is very important, but it is something the president seems to lack. What has kept Obama from catastrophe is the unexpected success of everything he discounts, from the tactical skill of the US military to the resilience of all sectors he considers back numbers.  He proceeds instead from a kind of fixed idea.

President Obama’s policies have from the beginning been dogged by a curious kind of obsolescence, as if he were planning the future on the basis of trends which were new fifty years ago. He held up Spain as the model for Green Jobs at a time when that country was already beginning to collapse. He pushed Obamacare with the fervor of a 1950s socialist even as the welfare state model of the EU teetered from demographic rot, held up only by the printing presses of the Federal Reserve.

He became enamored of Muslim Brotherhood only to discover that the populations of the Middle East had passed them by. His Secretary of State, John Kerry, is even now trying to solve the puzzle of peace in the Middle East by brokering an irrelevant agreement between Palestine and Israel, as if the world were back in 1947. And now, after finding the Saudis have left his wagon train, almost while he wasn’t looking, the president has hitched his wagon to Teheran a decade late and a trillion dollars short.

He’s right on schedule to implement Obamacare in about 3 years time, when the website finally comes online, just in time to realize the government can’t afford it, and neither can its members.  He seems to live, not in time nor even in eternity, but in the stagnant pool he imagines is timeless. Perhaps in ten years president Obama’s mind will arrive at the present day and belatedly rediscover the possibilities of his own country, which he had written already off as being in terminal decline. Until then it’s Back Full and Back Emergency.

Obama sold himself to the voters as the candidate of the future. His real talent however, apparently lies in missing every opportunity that history presents. It has been said that “generals always fight the last war, especially if they have won it”. With Obama it’s different. He always fights the last war and can’t even remember who won it, except to remain confirmed in his conviction that the future is some other country’s past.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The real future is the future, not some other country's past. It's increasingly clear that Washington can't keep the old ways together. Obama's coalition in the Middle East has shattered because he doesn't have the grunt to hold it together any more.

Nor is he going to get any stronger by trying to print money. All he "won" against Boehner -- and he won oly against Boehner et al -- is the license to bury himself in debt. To print more paper. This is not victory, this is delusion.

He's hollowed out America and all the institutions that rely on it, including the UN by stuffing his muscles with confetti to bulk it out. But it's not real, whatever Krugman says. Without real strength to undergird the UN and the EU they are just paper fantasies.

This addiction to fantasy is being illustrated at a local level by the BART strike. The BART union wants more money.

"First, management was offering a 12 percent raise over four years, while unions were seeking a 15.9 percent pay increase. BART's average union worker currently makes $76,500 in gross salary.

Second, unions were looking to hold onto longtime "work rules" that have helped employees earn large overtime checks and keep control over their job hours. Management says the 470-page work rule book is full of freebies that cost BART a large amount of money, such as allowing train operators to run just two roundtrips during a daylong shift.

The most talked-about work rule change is BART's proposal to use technology to replace some administrative human jobs -- such as eliminating paper paycheck stubs -- but unions say it's a bigger issue."

Where's the money going to come from? Why from Somewhere. That's right. Stick it to The Man. Get the money from the Stash. The Stash is Endless right? This is the mentality of people who are living in the past, who want to ban technology and stay in a world of union rules as if they could force the earth to stop spinning on its axis.

The BART union is the establishment in miniscule. They're living in a place that vanished 50 years ago and don't know it yet.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" His real talent however, apparently lies in missing every opportunity that history presents." What? He's Palestinian?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But Saudi Arabia, Israel, the UK, other nations, are, or should I say, WERE, expecting Obama to act and function as the President of a Nation. But Obama has no relationship or involvement with America or indeed with any 'reality' outside of his own psychological nature and needs.

Obama is abysmally ignorant of history, of economics; he knows nothing and has no interest in knowing anything of the nature of the Middle East, of the realities of economies entrapped within 16th century tribal modes that lack a private sector middle class.

Obama is uninterested in foreign affairs because his focus is confined, because of his psychological pathology, on what and who he can control. If he feels that he cannot control other people and/or a situation then, those people and that situation quite literally cease to exist for him.

He's a community organizer because that puts him in a position of authoritarian control over others. He's an incessant campaigner because that puts him in a position of manipulative control over others with his rhetoric immune to questions, to facts, to truth, to reality.

He is NOT a national leader not only because of his historic and economic ignorance, but because he is psychologically unable to sit down with others, and accept them as both equal and intelligent and collaborators. His pyschological need to control others requires that his interactions with others are confined to sycophants and mindless followers.

When he has to deal with people who disagree with him, his immediate reaction is defensive; he tries to retain superior control by reminding them that "I'm the President'; he belittles, mocks, insults them.

Obama's disastrous ventures on the foreign stage - everything from backing the Argeninian take-over of the British Falkland Islands, his insults to and denigration of Israel, his rebuffing of Canada, one of the most important large economies in the world; his absolutely disastrous handover of Syria to Russia and Iran; his abandonment of the Iranian people to their dictators; his support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt....the list is endless.

The Islamic fascists, the jihadists, are increasing their strength and risk-taking as Obama ignores that they are a reality - heh - he tells us that He, the Won, has destroyed Al Qaeda, as they blow up mosques, massacre Kenyans, resurge in Afghanistan..etc.

Will Obama acknowledge his failures? No, he always blames others - and he will not change. What stuns me, is that the Democratic Party, and surely there must be SOME intelligent people there, are allowing him to destroy America.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (94)
All Comments   (94)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Whats "mystifying" to Ignatius at the WAPO is how this administration has ignored whats happening to Saudi relationship ...blah, blah, blah.

Whats mystifying is how WAPO believes there's any leadership, strategy, clue- whatever, in the WH, or that you would have even expected it.

When you rely on the Junior Senator Who Voted Present, who hires only those not as Smart As He- Rice, Powers, Kerry, Hagel, et al... what do you expect?

But all hail the next Presidential Candidate- "What Does It Matter Anyway" Hillary. And the democrats willful self-delusions continue...

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even in an article as fine as this, the horsepower you can pack in is limited.

Just this, speaking of the future: O's not the only one out of time and out of place. Many of the criticisms here apply equally to his inner circle. It's past time to focus on the disastrous shortcomings his acolytes, often 'disgustingly white' women.
Perilous territory -- yes, but so what?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Buried in the Reuters article Richard linked to above is this:
Continental Resources, the leading shale oil producer in the Williston Basin beneath North Dakota and Montana, revealed last year its next big target for development is an area southeast of the Cana play it has dubbed the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP).

SCOOP is a world-class resource, according to the company, with an oil-rich shale formation up to 400 feet (122 metres) thick. Continental estimates SCOOP contains up to 70 billion barrels of oil in place.
To understand this its helpful to know that the Baaken is only about 80 feet thick on average and has 10-15 billion barrels of recoverable oil . The eagle ford has oil on average roughly 250 feet thick. there might be up to 30 billion barrels there of recoverable oil.

The permian basin's cline shale and Wolfcamp formationshave over 2000 feet of recoverable oil stacked on top of each other with an additional several other smaller formations above and below them in an area larger than the SCOOP in Oklahoma. These fields are unsung but they are considered in the oil industry to be the largest in the world after the Ghawar fields of Saudi Arabia.

The dimensions of the oil revolution are only in their first phases of being discovered.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Will Obamacare be repealed or won't it? Will Congress fund it or won't it? Blah, blah, blah. We the people just need to do what we need to do and Congress be damned. Resist. Refuse. Revolt. EXEMPT OURSELVES! We did not comply with Prohibition and we simply should not comply with Obamacare. For religious reasons. For privacy reasons. For the cause of liberty and freedom and in protest of the idea that the federal government (under one party rule, no less), can force private citizens to purchase anything with our own money. Are we citizens or subjects? Mice or men(women)? Just say NO to socialism and to the corrupt, unionized, far left IRS, the gestapo of America's political class. After all, the federal government ignores millions of illegals who are breaking U.S. immigration law every day and nothing happens to them. Selective enforcement of our laws is just as UN-Constitutional as the Obamacare law itself! (Supreme Court be damned as well). Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. All we have to do is just say no to a scheme we all know is un-American and a violation of our most basic founding fundamentals of privacy, self reliance, limited government and individual freedom.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good to see your example of Prohibition, the authorization and onset of which was far more legitimate (and popular in concept if not in subsequent personal conduct) than was Obamacare.

Prohibition garnered the congressional super-majorities plus the 3/4 of state legislatures necessary to amend the US Constitution; its bad experience-based repeal also did.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
CNN asks, "what's got into the Saudis"

"From a Saudi perspective, the message the West and above all the Americans have sent through their handling of the chemical weapons crisis is that it is has lost the will to get tough (a message which they think will not have been lost on the Iranians); that it lacks consistency (not all that long ago Western spokesmen would say that Assad was toast, and now even Kerry is praising his government for its cooperation with the OPCW inspectors); that it is not concerned about the strategic consequences of the conflict and the risk of refugee flows and other pressures destabilizing Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq; and that it lacks morality." -- from the CNN story.

And what did Obama get in return for making enemies with the Saudis? Why the friendship of Iran. Wanna bet he gets exactly nothing from the Iranians? They will roll him and take his wallet and his Blackberry too.

And then he'll go find some new friends of the same ilk. And they'll roll him again. The thing about the president is he never met a foreign con he couldn't fall for. The only guys he can routinely beat are Boehner and company. But that's because they're like the Washington Generals to his Globetrotters, they are paid to take the fall. They've got an act. Together they roll the public, and then go on to be rolled by any foreign leader you can name.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The United States and Saudi Arabia have always been enemies, in fundamental polar opposition on every single issue of any importance. There are times when there is a convergence of agreement on common enemies, which deceives the gullible Americans into believing that there is the basis of friendship and meaningful alliance. But meanwhile, the SA's have officially agreed with Iran that the United States is the Great Satan. Just listen to their hateful, state-funded preachers.

It was no accident that the vast majority of the 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. Plainly, they were putting into real effective action the overwhelming opinion of the Saudi state. Saudi Arabia's massive funding of madrassas in Pakistan, where hatred of the United States is the primary subject matter, has caused Pakistan to be the locus of worldwide Islamic terror.

The oil fields of a completely depopulated Saudi Arabia, once the fumes from Sarin and VX gas clears out, could be much more effectively and ruthlessly managed by the Chinese and the Russians, without the byproduct of active SA support of world terror.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Saudis have had their "come to Jesus realization." The combination of the use of chemical weapons against Saudi-sponsored terrorists - actively supported by China and Russia; and the the revolution of fracking has made the future very very bleak for the oil ticks. Even Israel has discovered massive natural gas and oil reserves, only through the unbelievable miracle of fracking! The world's energy situation has just done a dramatic and revolutionary technological coup, and the SA have been left holding the bag.

The bleak future for the Saudis constitutes a combination of mass famine as their market share of the world oil market rapidly shrinks coupled with the use of chemical and nuclear weapons as Russia, China and/or Iran, or a combination of the three simply siezes their oil fields and leaves the SA's in the desert with their camels.

What's not to like here?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
''... They will roll him and take his wallet and his Blackberry too. ...''

Then shoot his dog, burn his house, and gang-hump his wife--well, maybe not the last one.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Eggplant: "It would not surprise me at all if the Saudis formed a quiet alliance with the Israelis specifically to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons capability."

A gentleman with the terribly English name of Duff Hart-Davis wrote a book about informal British SAS assistance to Yemen's royalty during the 1960s when Nasser of Egypt invaded their country. ("The war that never was", Random House, 2011). The presence of Egyptian troops in Yemen gave the Saudis major heartburn, while Israel was happy to see Nasser's troops bogged down far from their borders.

One of the interesting claims in the book is that the Israelis organized air drops of weapons to Yemeni tribes fighting the Egyptians. A glance at the map suggests that the Saudis would at a minimum have had to turn a blind eye to the Israeli flights.

In a part of the world where memories are long, it may be that Saudi connivance in an Israeli action against a common enemy would not be impossible -- and would not be the first time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And just to add the obvious -- only Liberals would launch an attack on Iran to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons building establishment. If/when the Saudis & Israelis attack Iran, it will be a decapitation strike, intended to remove the leadership and paralyze the country.

Nuclear weapons don't kill people. People with nuclear weapons kill people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Shhh, it's a secret!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
- I am here to see the Secret Headquarters.

- Third door on the left. Knock three times and say Joe sent you.

Is the definition of a secret something that everyone knows, that the government may arrest you for knowing? What isn't?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama et al are vulnerable due to their antipathy to energy development.

So to hammer them with cognitive dissonance, read this from the Wall Street Journal

"Baker Hughes Chief Executive Martin Craighead said the market for pressure pumping, which includes hydraulic-fracturing work, is still "sloppy." Even so, profit margins in the company's North American segment—its largest geographic business by revenue—broke into the double digits.

"I think the market is going to grow," Mr. Craighead told analysts during a conference call. "There is an increasing appetite for technology."

The companies signaled a resurgence of deep-water drilling off the U.S. Gulf Coast. Schlumberger reported new technology sales, particularly for the Gulf, helped it generate $3.6 billion in North American revenue. That level is up 7% from a year earlier and sets a record for the firm."

Fracking and offshore drilling?????????????

Obama, "You didn't do that!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wretchard's quote: "The Saudis wanted a glass of wine poured first so they could fling it in Obama’s face", captured the situation nicely.

People tend to dismiss the al Sauds because their ancestors were common thieves preying upon camel caravans. However that was almost a century ago and the al Sauds are now a different breed of cat.

A million years ago, I had dinner with a minor member of the al Saud family (another aeronautical engineer) and was impressed by his intelligence and sophistication. At the time, he was a graduate student at Stanford University.

Supposedly, Israel is close to timing out over the Iranian nukes and maybe considering independent action. The Saudis fear Iranian nuclear weapons almost as much as the Israelis. It would not surprise me at all if the Saudis formed a quiet alliance with the Israelis specifically to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons capability. The Saudi action concerning the UN and Obama maybe a subtle signal that they are done with the established order and will soon be acting independently.

Off topic and somewhat disturbing: Before the government shutdown ended there was that event at a Walmart where food stamp bums found out that their EBT cards were unlimited due to a "computer glitch" and went on a buying rampage. At the same time there was some quiet muttering that if the government shutdown continued, the funding for EBT cards would discontinue and the food stamp bums would start going hungry.

The folks getting "free stuff" are Obama's main constituency. As far as they are concerned, Obama is the messiah and the most brilliant man alive. If those guys had started to go hungry, there would have been serious food riots in America. I also suspect the food riots would have had a strong racial tone which Obama could have played to his advantage. I am of the opinion that the so called "computer glitch" was premeditated. Obama was giving his "free stuff army" a gentle tug at the reins to let everyone know that some major violence would occur if the Republicans did not play ball over Obamacare. What this means if true, is it's already "game over" in terms of peacefully rolling back socialism in America. From now on if anyone wants to roll back socialism, a demagogue like Obama will simply tell their clients to start rioting. I might add that this was the same political formula that brought down the Roman Republic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting scenario of riots demanding 'free' (how dumb are they???) goods. Agreed, that the 'folks getting free stuff are Obama's main constituency; he's deliberately built up this proportion of the population over the past five years and, has given them 'free' SmartPhones hooked up to his propaganda electronic network. They are indeed, 'his people' and it never occurs to him that it says something negative about him that the only people he can attract to him are the hapless, the helpless, the dependent, the mindless, the braindead, the mesmerized sycophants.

But, as wretchard points out below, the deadend street, the brick wall of socialism, is...reality. Nothing trumps fiction like facts - and even though you believe that money-comes-from-the-government because the Government is a Magic Cauldron...well, 'it just ain't so'....and socialism cannot exist outside of the heady rhetoric of the seminar room.

Again, when are the Democrats- and there have to be some who are living in the real and not the utopian world - when are the Democrats going to wake up from the Dream...and move back into reality? Obama will never accept responsibility and his constant assertion of 'race' will protect him from accountability but - he can be sidelined and ignored. When are Democrats going to care more for America, the real America, than for the vapid rhetoric of Obama?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When Democrats love their children as much as they are enthralled by there own selfish ideologies....
in other words ....
when hell freezes over
and the Palestinians negotiate in good faith
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>>When are Democrats going to care more for America, the real America, than for the vapid rhetoric of Obama?<<<


Next question.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No truth in his vow, or his bow.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Obamacare fiasco is the Obama administration in miniature. It is being defeated, not by Boehner but by reality. The only difference between Obamacare and say, Obama's Syria policy, is that millions of Americans are in contact with his crappy website. Were you in contact with his Syria policy, Afghan policy, Benghazi policy, or Fast and Furious policy you will be similarly disillusioned, not to mention deceased.

The electorate doesn't see these fiascos because they are intermediated by our public organs of sense, the media. So we go on believing strange things.

We're rich! That's why we have to keep borrowing money. Our social policy is working and that is why we don't dare stop borrowing money lest those who are literally dependent on the borrowing for their next meal riot from actual hunger.

We believe things we would never credit in our own ordinary life. For example, we would never try to borrow our way out of debt ourselves, but agree that governnment should do it. Why? Because the public reality is really communicated to us largely at second-hand.

The sole defense of "socialism in the 21st century" is delusion and fantasy. Some people think "socialism" will get away with it. But remember this always, nobody beat arithmetic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The same slap upside the head by reality would have happened if the Lost Cause hadn't been lost, and the Civil War went the way Lee was fighting so hard for it to do. Grant touched on this briefly in his memoirs. The kind of agriculture that relies on slaves also doesn't bother to replenish the nitrogen that's taken out of the ground with every bale of cotton. The landowners would have raped the land, kept moving west, and finally cleaned out the Big Valley in California like a cloud of locusts. Meanwhile the blacks would have bred and bred until it was everything the CSA could do to keep them from taking over. Eventually they would have done precisely that, with great bloodshed, and the entire South, coast to coast, would be one giant Haiti to this day.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 Next View All