The fourth man 1

The president of the United States does not like the country he leads. He may sometimes feel the need to say or do something to suggest that he has America’s interests at heart, but the weight of evidence that he does not accumulates and becomes too massive to miss. Not only does he apologize for America abroad, he even has his envoys deplore its laws in talks with foreign regimes, as Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner did recently to the Communist Chinese. And he personally endorsed the criticism of the same laws – Arizona’s new legislation dealing with illegal immigration – made by Mexico’s President Calderon, when the two of them stood side by side on the White House lawn.

And now it emerges that he initiated or at the very least advocated the agreement that Iran made with Brazil and Turkey to have some uranium enriched for it – a ploy that his administration condemns as an effort to stall new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. The sanctions would be weak, and very unlikely to stop Iran making nuclear bombs, but the administration boasts of getting Russia and China to vote for them.

Obama performed this outrageous, underhand act last month in a letter to President da Silva of Brazil.

The New York Times reports:

Brazilian officials on Wednesday provided a full copy of the three-page letter President Obama sent to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in April, arguing that it laid the groundwork for the agreement they reached in Tehran.

“There continues to be some puzzlement” among Brazilian officials about why American official[s] would reject the deal now, a senior Brazilian official said. “The letter came from the highest authority and was very clear.”

So there was a fourth party to the agreement, which was announced one day before the US presented its draft resolution on Iran sanctions to the Security Council.

As it was the work of all four leaders, Prime Minister Erdogan and Presidents Ahmadinejad, da Silva, and Obama, it should rightly be called the Iran-Brazil-Turkey-US Agreement.

Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary-Contentions, points out:

If the mere fact of this new deal wasn’t enough to undermine international support for sanctions, the revelation that Brazil acted with the express written permission of Obama must be seen as a catastrophe for international efforts to restrain Tehran. Why should anyone take American rhetoric about stopping Iran seriously if Obama is now understood to have spent the past few months pushing for sanctions in public while privately encouraging third parties who are trying to appease the Iranians?

The left stamps on the Cuban heels 1

In our post Torture and death in Cuba (February 27, 2010), we said we would watch hopefully to see if the death of the political prisoner Orlanda Zapata Tamayo, who went on hunger-strike in a Cuban prison and was ultimately tortured to death, would “galvanize the pro-democracy movement”, and if it did, to what result.

Now Investor’s Business Daily brings us this report:

The death of a dissident on a hunger strike last month is still sending shock waves to Cuba’s regime. Cuba’s global support is falling away

It may be the end of the Cuban regime, but something changed when Orlando Tamayo Zapata, a political prisoner, died in a hunger strike last month. Tamayo, a construction worker, was arrested in the 2003 “Black Spring” wave of arrests against 75 democracy activists, drawing a sentence of 25 years. His hunger strike called attention to the plight of Cuba’s political prisoners.

When the Castro regime let him die, they assumed that his demise was the end of it and he’d be forgotten, same as all the others.

But it didn’t happen that way. Inside Cuba, other dissidents began hunger strikes. The Castroites also beat up dissident wives known as Ladies in White, who marched to protest the arrests of the 75.

There are signs that the regime is running scared since the death, but the biggest impact seems to be coming from abroad.

Outgoing President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica unexpectedly lashed out first against Tamayo’s death. Brazil’s center-right opposition, in the heat of a coming election, blasted Brazil’s outgoing president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, for backslapping with the Castro brothers in Havana the day the dissident died. Opposition politicians in Spain and Argentina also criticized their own governments for aiding the regime. And in Spain, a poll by Elcano Royal Institute released Thursday showed that 72% of Spaniards believe there’s not enough international human rights pressure on Cuba.

Another blow came Monday, when Chilean President Sebastian Pinera declared: “My government will do whatever it can to re-establish democracy in Cuba.”

Even more striking, Chile’s opposition socialist parties condemned for the first time Cuba’s treatment of its political prisoners. In the past, the socialists had always looked the other way.

Now the cultural establishment is stepping up: Prominent entertainers like actor Andy Garcia, singer Gloria Estefan, actress Maria Conchita Alonso and others are leading rallies and showing films that are critical of the Castro regime.

Chilean novelist Isabel Allende appealed for the release of the political prisoners. [That really surprises us – JB]

In Spain, film director Pedro Almodovar and novelist Mario Vargas Llosa wrote an open letter to Castro called “I accuse the Cuban government.”

With so many stars of the International Left leading the way, even the American Dictator found it politic to follow:

In light of this, President Obama’s added voice to growing global calls for human rights in Cuba is powerful, even if it’s just following the crowd. It means that the international apologists on the left who’ve justified Castro over the years are growing scarce, leaving Castro’s regime isolated — and perhaps answerable for its crimes.

Is America in decline? 2

Is the world entering a post-American era? Will the 21st century be dominated by some other power, or several others?

In the splendid speech that John Bolton delivered at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2010, he said of Obama, “He is the first post-American president.”

In Obama’s eyes, American superpower status is already over. The decline is happening. There’s no reason to regret it, and it would be pointless and unnecessary to try to halt or reverse it. Obama is content to let America be a nation among the nations, no different in any important respect, and certainly no better. “He sees American decline as a kind of natural phenomenon,” Bolton said.

In Bolton’s own view, however, America is still exceptional and still the one and only superpower. If its status as such is under threat, that threat proceeds from Obama himself, who, almost casually – not caring very much, as John Bolton remarked, about foreign and national security policy – is himself weakening it.

What Obama does care about is domestic policy. To achieve his redistributionist goals he has put America into crushing debt; and being determined, it seems, to turn America into a European-style socialist state, he can only make the debt vaster and heavier. That alone weakens America.

China is America’s chief creditor, but that does not mean China is now a second superpower. A China growing in wealth and confidence, and becoming an increasingly significant world actor, may pose an economic threat to America but is not, or not yet, a rival world power. Militarily it is far from a match. Militarily, America is still far and away the most powerful nation.

But there again, if Obama has his way, it won’t be for much longer. He has, in Bolton’s words, an “incredibly naïve idea” that if the US would get rid of its own nuclear weapons, other countries would give up theirs; those that do not have them but want them – such as Iran and North Korea – would abandon their intense efforts to obtain them; and the world would live at peace forever after. This belief or ambition represents, as John Bolton put it, “a pretty deep-seated strain in the left wing of the Democratic Party.” Obama will soon negotiate an arms control agreement with Russia by which he will undertake substantially to reduce America’s nuclear capability. America will not develop new nuclear weapons, or arms in outer space, or even keep its existing arsenal battle-ready by testing for safety and reliability. It is as if America had no enemies; as if America were not under attack; as if 9/11 had never happened; and as if Iran and North Korea would not drop nuclear bombs on America and its allies if they could do it and get away with it.

Furthermore, with the rest of the dreaming Left both at home and internationally, he aspires to another vision of a new earth: one that is not only sweetly irenic but held forcibly in union by a supreme governing authority. Those proposals for world taxes that we hear of; the intricate business of trading in carbon indulgences in the name of saving the earth from being consumed by fire or ice; international treaty regulations that would result in banning the private ownership of guns – all these are measures to realize the tremendous objective of “world governance”. It would mean the end of American independence, the end of national sovereignty. It would mean that the Revolution was lost, as Bolton said.

In a sense it would be the end of America, because America is an idea of liberty. And it is an idea that the world needs. Its loss would be a colossal disaster, a tragedy for the whole human race.

Can America be saved?

In his book titled The Post-American World, Fareed Zakaria asserts that “America is closing down”, but allows that it “won’t be demoted from its superpower position in the foreseeable future” because “it’s not that the United States has been doing badly over the last two decades. It’s that, all of a sudden, everyone else is playing the game.”

America can “remain a vital, vibrant economy, at the forefront of the next revolutions in science, technology and industry, as long as it can embrace and adjust to the challenges confronting it”.

“The challenges” come from other nations, now rising, which he groups together as “the rest”.

China is the first of them because it is becoming an economic giant. The 21st century, he considers, may be the Chinese century.

What if [China ] quietly positions itself as the alternative to a hectoring and arrogant America? How will America cope with such a scenario – a kind of Cold War, but this time with a vibrant market economy, a nation that is not showing a hopeless model of state socialism, or squandering its power in pointless military interventions? This is a new challenge for the United States, one it has not tackled before, and for which it is largely unprepared.

Next in line is India. Poorer but democratic, India is “the ally”. Then come Brazil and Chile (plausibly); South Africa (less plausibly); and (implausibly) Russia. (Russia is a demographic basket case.)

Ironically, Zakaria says, these nations are rising because they learnt from America:

For sixty years, American politicians and diplomats have traveled around the world pushing countries to open their markets, free up their politics, and embrace trade and technology. … We counseled them to be unafraid of change and learn the secrets of our success. And it worked: the natives have gotten good at capitalism.

America, then, has not been a malign power, or not always. In Roosevelt’s day other countries believed that “America’s mammoth power was not to be feared”. It was after it had won the Cold War, when it became the only superpower, that it began to go to the bad. “Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has walked the world like a colossus, unrivaled and unchecked”, and this “has made Washington arrogant, careless, and lazy.” Furthermore, he tell us, “people round the world worry about living in a world in which one country has so much power.”

To relieve that worry, America “must reduce its weaponry and work towards a non-nuclear world.” It is hypocritical for the US to insist that other countries should not have nuclear weapons while it is hoarding a nuclear arsenal of its own. By giving them up it would “gain credibility”, an end he apparently considers so desirable that it would be worth risking the nation’s very survival to achieve it.

The summer of 2002, Zakaria says, was “the high water-mark of unipolarity”. The world felt sympathy for America after 9/11. America went to war in Afghanistan, which was not good but not too bad. But then it invaded Iraq, which was very bad, and the world’s sympathy dried up. America was being too “unilateral”, too “imperial and imperious”.

George W Bush and “the nefarious neoconservative conspiracy” antagonized the world. He and his conspirators “disdained treaties, multilateral organizations, international public opinion, and anything that suggested a conciliatory approach to world politics.”

So the world’s dislike, contempt, and fear of America were justified, or at least understandable, in the light of the foreign policies of the “arrogant” Bush administration. Zakaria even claims that the animosity filled the Republicans – already full of “chest-thumping machismo” – with pride.

He asks:

Can Washington adjust and adapt to a world in which others have moved up? Can it respond to shift in economic and political power? … Can Washington truly embrace a world with a diversity of voices and viewpoints? Can it thrive in a world it cannot dominate?

The advice he gives to “Washington” for success in adjusting, adapting, responding, embracing, and thriving is to be conciliatory, apologetic. It must listen more; proclaim universal values”, but “phrase its positions carefully”; be like the chair of a board gently guiding a group of independent directors. America must “learn from the rest”. The president must meet more non-government people, have smaller entourages, rely more on diplomacy. Consultation, cooperation, compromise are the key words. He objects to such accomodations being called appeasement. Consult and cooperate, he urges, with Russia, and with “multilateral institutions” such as the UN, NATO, AFRICOM, OAS, and the International Criminal Court. (Even internally, the US legal system “should take note of transnational standards”.)

The federal government has been “too narrow-minded” about terrorism. When bin Laden got America to “come racing out to fight” him (in response to 9/11) this was “over-reaction.”  Zakaria’s advice: “take it on the chin” and “bounce back”. The government must stop thinking of terrorism as a national security issue, and think of it as criminal activity carried out by “small groups of misfits”. Although Democrats were on the whole “more sensible” about terrorism, both parties, he says, spoke “in language entirely designed for a domestic audience with no concern for the poisonous effect it has everywhere else.” His solution is better airport control round the world. The more urgent problem in his view is that American Muslims have become victims of over-reaction to terrorist attacks. Instead of being “questioned, harassed, and detained” they should, he urges, “be enlisted in the effort to understand the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism.”

Zakaria does not consider himself anti-American. He does not even see himself as a man of the left. He reiterates that he is a free marketeer. It is because America became “suspicious of free markets”, he says, that partly explains its “closing down”.

He wrote his book before the economic crisis. He saw a globalized economy bringing about an increasingly prosperous world in which the poorest nations were rising strongly enough for him to declare that “the world is swimming in capital”, and “there really isn’t a Third World any more “. But even then the dollar was sliding, and America was showing signs of being “enfeebled”.

At a military-political level America still dominates the world, but the larger structure of unipolarity – economic, financial, cultural – is weakening… every year it becomes weaker and other nations and actors grow in strength.

For all its military might, its chest-thumping phase is over and now it is “cowering in fear”. It must, he says, “recover its confidence.” ‘It must stop being “a nation consumed by anxiety”, with a tendency to “hunker down”, unreasonably “worried about unreal threats” such as terrorism, and rogue nations like North Korea and Iran. (Iran, he explains, has good reason to fear the United States, with its armies on two of its borders. It’s only to be expected that Iran would try to arm itself with nuclear bombs and missile delivery systems. He does not explain why America should not fear this as a real threat.)

He is certain about what America needs to do to propitiate and serve the world it has alienated. It should ‘‘build broad rules by which the world will be bound’’, rather than pursue “narrow interests”.

What the world really wants from America is … that it affirm its own ideals. That role, as the country that will define universal ideals, remains one that only America can play.

We know Obama has read Zakaria’s book, or at least looked into it, because there is a photograph of him holding it, one finger marking his place. Obama is doing much that Zakaria advises in foreign affairs. But that’s less likely to be because the writer has impressed the president with his arguments than because they have both drunk from the same ideological well.

Obama’s foreign policy lets us see if Zakaria’s theory works. So far it has not.

So is America’s decline beyond all remedy?

It’s a relief to turn from Zakaria’s dull and weakly reasoned book with its uncongenial credo to an article titled The Seductions of Decline (February 2, 2010) by brilliantly witty and insightful Mark Steyn. If America believes it is in decline, he says, it will be. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The view that America has been too arrogant a power; that it is not and should not be exceptional; that humility and apology are required of it; that only endlessly patient negotiation in a spirit of compromise will improve foreign relations and dissuade states like North Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear arms; that Islamic terrorism should be treated as crime and not as the jihad its perpetrators declare it to be; that Russia should be consulted on, say, the deployment of American missile defense; and that the US should reduce its nuclear arsenal and work towards a non-nuclear world – will bring about the decline.

National decline is psychological – and therefore what matters is accepting the psychology of decline.

His answer to the question “is America set for decline?” is yes, because of the policies of Obama and the Democrats, which arise from their acceptance of decline.

Strictly on the numbers, the United States is in the express lane to Declinistan: Unsustainable entitlements, the remorseless governmentalization of the American economy and individual liberty, and a centralization of power that will cripple a nation of this size. Decline is the way to bet.

American decline, he says, “will be steeper, faster and more devastating than Britain’s – and something far closer to Rome’s.” It will not be like France’s, or Austria’s.

Why did decline prove so pleasant in Europe? Because it was cushioned by American power. The United States is such a perversely non-imperial power that it garrisons not ramshackle colonies but its wealthiest “allies”, from Germany to Japan. For most of its members, “the free world” has been a free ride.

And after “Washington’s retreat from la gloire” as hegemon of the world, when America “becomes Europe in its domestic disposition and geopolitical decline, then who will be America?”

Of the many competing schools of declinism, perhaps the most gleeful are those who salivate over the rise of China. For years, Sinophiles have been penning orgasmic fantasies of mid-century when China will bestride the world and America will be consigned to the garbage heap of history. It will never happen: As I’ve been saying for years, China has profound structural problems. It will get old before it gets rich.

Not China then. Russia?

The demographic deformation of Tsar Putin’s new empire is even more severe than Beijing’s. Russia is a global power only to the extent of the mischief it can make on its acceleration into a death spiral.

Not Russia. How about the Caliphate that the terrorist war is being fought to establish?

Even if every dimestore jihadist’s dreams came true, almost by definition an Islamic imperium will be in decline from Day One.

So what might the post-American world look like? Mark Steyn’s answer is deeply depressing:

The most likely future is not a world under a new order but a world with no order – in which pipsqueak states go nuclear while the planet’s wealthiest nations, from New Zealand to Norway, are unable to defend their own borders and are forced to adjust to the post-American era as they can. Yet, in such a geopolitical scene, the United States will still remain the most inviting target – first, because it’s big, and secondly, because, as Britain knows, the durbar moves on but imperial resentments linger long after imperial grandeur.

But nothing is inevitable, and Mark Steyn offers a last hope. Though “decline is the way to bet”, the only thing that will ensure it is “if the American people accept decline as a price worth paying for European social democracy.”

When in 2008 a majority of the American electorate voted for Barack Obama to be president of the United States, it seemed that the deal had been made. But now Obama is failing, the Democratic majority is under threat, and the Tea Party movement is reclaiming the Revolution.

This could be another American century after all.

Jillian Becker   March 1, 2010

Sacred custodians of the earth 0

Successive British governments have squandered huge sums of tax-payers’ money on nebulous schemes purporting to save the earth from climate change.

That the earth could or should be saved from its climate change is a spiritual, religious, and philosophical view’ of a ‘belief system’, to quote from the following report.

America too has ‘invested’ enormous sums in this thing of spit and cobwebs (see our post of that title, February 3, 2010). For the Western world as a whole the expense is astronomical.

Has there ever been a waste as vast as this?

From the Telegraph, by Christopher Booker:

In all the coverage lately given to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its embattled chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri [see our post The most powerful magician the world has ever known, December 21, 2009], one rather important part of the story has largely been missed. This is the way in which, in its obsession with climate change, different branches of the UK Government have in recent years been pouring hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into a bewildering array of “climate-related” projects, often throwing a veil of mystery over how much is being paid, to whom and why…

To begin with a small example. Everyone has now heard of “Glaciergate”, the inclusion in the IPCC’s 2007 report of a wild claim it was recently forced to disown, that by 2035 all Himalayan glaciers will have melted. In 2001 the Department for International Development (DfID) spent £315,277 commissioning a team of British scientists to investigate this prediction. After co-opting its Indian originator, Dr Syed Hasnain, they reported in 2004 that his claim was just a scare story

Three years later, however, when the IPCC produced its 2007 report, it endorsed Dr Hasnain’s claim without any mention of the careful UK-funded study which had shown it to be false. What made this particularly shocking was that in 2008 another British ministry, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that it had paid £1,436,000 to fund all the support needed to run the same IPCC working group which, as we now know from a senior IPCC author, had included the bogus claim in its report. …

In 2008 that Dr Hasnain was recruited by Dr Pachauri to work in his Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), where his spurious claim was used to win Teri a share in two lucrative studies of the effects of the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers. …

Why was UK taxpayers’ money being used to fund these projects?

Why in 2005, for instance, did Defra pay Teri for a study designed to help the Indian insurance industry make money out of the risks of global warming? Why was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) sponsoring a study into how Indian industry could make billions out of “carbon credits“, paid by Western firms under the bizarre UN scheme known as the Clean Development Mechanism?

Typical of this curiously opaque world was a payment by Defra to fund the work of an unnamed “head of unit” on something called the IPCC Synthesis Report, of which Dr Pachauri was co-editor. This money was paid to Cambridge University (department unnamed), to be forwarded to Teri Europe, then sent on to the anonymous recipient in Delhi, whose email address was Teri India… (The IPCC itself meanwhile paid Teri a further £400,000 for its work on the Synthesis Report, although it was only 52 pages.)…

Why  have UK taxpayers shelled out £239,538 to unnamed recipients for a study of “Climate change impacts on Chinese agriculture”? Or £230,895 for a “research programme on climate change impacts in India”? Or £57,500 on the “Brazilian proposal support group”?

The largest single payment on Defra’s list, and almost the only recipient identified, was £13,315,168 given to the Hadley Centre itself for its [fraudulent, as the Climategate emails have shown] Climate Predictions Programme. This is just a tiny part of the money UK taxpayers have been contributing for years to assist the work of the IPCC: the Hadley Centre alone has been handed £179 million. …

Why should DfID have paid £30 million to assist “climate change adaptation in Africa“; or £2.5 million for the same in China?

Why in 2002 should UK taxpayers have given £200,000 to pay for delegates from developing nations to attend a “Rio Earth Summit” conference in Johannesburg, and another £120,000 for green activists to attend the same shindig – let alone £10,000 for a “WORKSHOP ON WOMEN AS SACRED CUSTODIANS OF THE EARTH”, to “explore the spiritual, religious and philosophical views concerning women and ecology and the policy implications of these belief systems”?

Only rarely do the government departments funding all these shadowy activities shout pubicly about how they are spending our money – as when last September DfID’s Douglas Alexander was happy to get publicity for flying to Delhi to give Dr Pachauri £10 million to pay for his institute to examine how India’s poverty could be reduced by “sustainable development”.

Similarly, in 2008, our then energy minister Malcolm Wicks flew to Japan to boast that the UK was “the world’s largest donor” to the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, pledging another £2.5 million of taxpayers’ money, on top of £9 million Britain had already paid into this scheme since its launch in 2003. More than one ministry is responsible for funding this programme, as when DfID pays for a “research agenda on climate change and development”, while the FCO sponsors yet another study into “clean development mechanisms”.

Contemplating the impenetrable maze of payments made by various ministries to the UN, the EU, banks, research institutes, teams of academics, NGOs, environmental and industrial lobby groups and “charitable foundations” – often through chains of “funding vehicles” which may give only the most nebulous idea of their purpose – we can get little idea what is the total amount of taxpayers’ money flooding out from all our different branches of officialdom. The ministries involved have not seemed exactly keen to help sort out all these mysteries and confusions. What does seem clear is that our Government doesn’t really want us to know all the sums involved, who many of the recipients are or why most of these payments are being made in the first place.

The power of speech 0

From Investors.com:

Members of the U.N. Security Council, worried about nuclear proliferation, have signed a new agreement to end the spread of nukes. Unfortunately, their deal’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

News in recent weeks on the nuclear proliferation front has been alarming, to say the least…

• Brazil’s vice president, Jose Alencar, asserting on Saturday that his country needs to develop a nuclear weapon in order to be taken seriously in the world.

• Venezuela’s strongman, Hugo Chavez, seeking help from both Russia and Iran to develop Venezuela’s nuclear know-how and, possibly, to build a bomb.

• India testing new, improved nuclear missiles in a bid to deter potential aggression from its nuclear foe, Pakistan.

• A.Q. Khan, the black market nuclear proliferator released from house arrest earlier this year, admitting in a recently released letter from 2003 to having sold nuclear secrets to China, North Korea, Iran and Libya, according to the London Times. And a recent Congressional Research Service report noting that Khan has been contacted by al-Qaida.

• Iran, just days before meeting with the National Security Council, testing new Shahab-3 and Sajjil-2 long-range missiles that bring Tel Aviv, Moscow, Athens and Italy “within striking distance,” Reuters says. Meanwhile, the U.S. has disclosed a second high-level nuclear processing site in Iran, as the mullahs begin using newer, more efficient centrifuges in their nuclear program.

• China celebrating its 60th year as a Communist nation with a parade of 108 nuclear missile systems, possibly including its Julang-2 submarine-mounted missile, with a range of 5,000 miles, and the CSS-X-10, its solid fuel intercontinental ballistic missile…

Not only is the world’s nuclear arsenal growing, but once a rogue nation gets a nuclear weapon — which now seems only a matter of time — we’ll face a changed world.  Suppose, for instance, Venezuela gets a nuke. How long will it take for the deranged dictator Chavez to use one, or to blackmail a democratic non-nuclear neighbor like Colombia or Chile?

Or the United States?

Obama, meanwhile, is lowering America’s defenses. He hopes to fend off America’s foes by speaking to them.

Posted under Defense, India, Iran, United Nations, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Drill, Soros, drill! 0

Now in the US, as always  in socialist states, the many, for whom the collectivist and redistributionist policies are ostensibly enacted, suffer; while the few who hold the the reins of power benefit beyond the dreams of avarice.

Tait Trussell reports at Front Page Magazine:

President Obama is adept at rewarding those who put him into office. And hard-left financier George Soros is emerging as a leader of the patronage pack.

A payback to Soros was due. As the chief moneyman behind left-wing political action committees like MoveOn.org, Soros, an early supporter of Obama, played an instrumental role in drumming up voter mobilization and political advertising on the novice candidate’s behalf. In no small part, Obama’s triumph in the Democratic primary over better-known rivals was a testament to Soros’s deep pockets and his political commitment.

Now it’s time for Soros to collect on his investment. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Obama administration has committed up to $10 billion to Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras to finance oil exploration off of Brazil’s coast… The company just happens to be the largest holding in Soros’s investment fund. Soros’s connection to the company is no secret; he has been investing in Petrobras since 2007. A profitable venture, Petrobras has estimated recoverable reserves for the so-called Tupi oil field of between 5 and 8 billion barrels. With his billion-dollar loan, Obama has taken patronage politics to striking new level… The president has elected to help another nation with the same type of drilling that he opposes so vehemently for this country, and the reason seems to be Soros’s $811-millon investment in Petrobras.

The Petrobras loan may be a windfall for Soros and Brazil, but it is a bad deal for the US. The administration is prepared to lend up to $10 billion to a foreign company to drill off its coast, when it could bring in $1.7 trillion in government revenue, as well as create thousands of new jobs, by allowing drilling off the coast of the United States.

This is no empty speculation. The American Petroleum Institute estimates that oil exploration in the U.S. could create 160,000 new, well-paying jobs, as well as $1.7 trillion in revenues to federal, state, and local governments, all while fostering greater energy security. Federal data from the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior says the U.S. has enough oil and natural gas to fuel more than 65 million cars for 60 years, and enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for 160 years. In fact, the government estimates that there are 30 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil on federal lands currently closed to development. But rather than investing in the country’s energy future, the administration seems to be offering an expensive kickback to a political ally in a time of economic recession and high unemployment.

The oil deal stinks for other reasons, as well. For instance, there is the rank hypocrisy of Soros – an enthusiastic proponent of global warming theory and environmental liberalism – investing in the fossil fuels whose use he otherwise condemns – and doing so in part with the aid of taxpayer funds. For years, Soros has urged the adoption of a global carbon tax that would punish companies that contribute to global warming. But that didn’t prevent him from plowing money into Petrobras…

With his backing for a billion-dollar oil loan to a Brazilian company, the president has proven more generous to Soros than to the American voters who put him in office.

Posted under Commentary, Economics, Energy, Environmentalism, government, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 2, 2009

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