As the world turns

Has it occurred to anyone in the Obama administration that the Persians, perhaps, cannot be trusted? Probably not; but it need not occur to them. They are told it every day.

And the Turks, not quite doing as they say? (Ditto; but with fewer reminders.)

I refer only to the governments of the respective nations, of course; we all know that Persians and Turks are, as a general rule, Sufi saints, incapable of deceit; that they have been so since time out of mind. Granted, the classical Greeks tended to be Persophobe; and the Byzantines, Turkophobe; but that was long ago. If you can’t trust Persians and Turks, today, whom can you trust? (Arabs?) Though of course, they do not trust one another.

They are the Turks who command my attention this morning. Their valiant, “moderate Islamist,” freely elected and re-elected leader, Erdogan, promised to help us bomb the Da’ish. (Turkey is, technically, still in NATO.) But oh look, he’s bombing the Kurds by mistake. (Our most reliable allies in the theatre; to whose territories all the refugee Christians run.)

I don’t expect gentle reader to follow; I can hardly follow myself, despite years of trying; I am simply noting the outcry from various Kurdish sources in Syria, reported by the BBC and others. They had enough on their hands with the Da’ish coming at them, before the Turks started hitting them, too.

The Kurds in Iraq will be unsurprised. They have lost ten-thousands of lives to Turkish forces, crossing into Iraq in (officially) “hot pursuit” of Kurdish “separatists” fleeing Turkey itself. They hardly expect the Turks to be serious about attacking their enemies — the Da’ish, who are also the enemies of the Persian ayatollahs. (“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”: sort it out.) The Sa’udi air force is in a similar position in Yemen: ostensibly bombing terrorists of all kinds, like nice Yankee allies, but actually taking sides with the Sunni terrorists against the Shia terrorists. This is called realpolitik, I believe.

And meanwhile those United States, led by some guy doing a victory lap in Kenya, have manoeuvred themselves into a curious position. The Americans are now providing diplomatic cover for both Turkey and Iran, while from their opposing sides they, respectively, both attack America’s remaining allies.

Or rather, to keep up-to-date, they attack the few countries left in the region which are actually “on our side,” in the sense that they are unambiguously opposed to our common enemy, “Islamism.” That would be Egypt, Israel, Jordan — each getting pompous lectures from the State Department, whenever they try to defend themselves. I might have mentioned George Bush’s old Iraq, except, Iraqi Kurdistan is the only part of that country still unambiguously “on our side.” (As for the the Sa’udis, it depends which faction; they are feline and feminine and try to have everything both ways.)

But that is the bad news.

The good news is that the United States is no longer a significant player in the Middle East. The net effect of American ministrations, since Obama came to power, and initiated a consistent policy of insulting America’s friends, and encouraging her enemies — in an extended display of moral preening — has been to relieve this former “hyperpower” of any important rôle.

This is an aspect of the “Iran deal” that has been overlooked in the media; even by the “neocons” who are usually sharp to such things. On Obama’s instruction, Kerry freed America of her last consequential forward position: which was enforcing the embargoes that constricted the ayatollahs’ aggressive options. In effect, America has now abandoned Iran as she has abandoned Iraq and Afghanistan; abandoning Israel into the bargain; along with Egypt and everyone. There are substantial Fleet forces still in theatre, to maintain some “optics,” but they no longer have any serious business there.

While it is true that Kerry and company have now removed the remaining impediments to Iran’s development as a nuclear power; in a longer view, he has only hastened the inevitable. If the states that Iran targets (not only Israel) want to do something about it, they will have to act themselves. Paradoxically, this means Israel is no longer alone. She has friends now in Cairo, Amman, and even Riyadh, that she could not have hoped to keep had Iran been successfully isolated. So thank you for this mitzvah, John Kerry.

Also, thank everyone for the cheap oil. The Arabs are drilling it faster and faster, despite falling prices, because they desperately need the cash. And now with Iran back in the market, the Age of OPEC is completely behind us. For meanwhile, fracking has been developed, and even should the Persian Gulf become a radioactive wasteland, it will just be a hiccough in the oil supply.

Thank not only Obama and Kerry every time you fill your tank; but the big oil companies, too, for increasing their margins as the bulk prices fall, thus grandfathering their profits. They will need cash in hand for any future investments. To say nothing of the pension plans that are sustained in the equity markets for big oil, big banks, big everything. We can reasonably foresee a new era of abundant, cheap fossil fuels, ours for the burning. And if it weren’t for the impending demographic crash, and the proliferation of wealth-sucking bureaucracy, we’d have another Golden Age of Capitalism, with growth as through the baby-booming ’fifties and ’sixties.

As it happens, the world is going to Hell in a bullet train, but ho! The beauty is that it will not crash where we were expecting. But then, it never does.