Wednesday, May 31, 2017


It's a tough question...

Middle East policy is hard and complicated. Among many rivalries, there are two main blocs (Sunni and Shia) that are generally allied with Saudi Arabia and Iran, respectively. Both of those countries foment anti-Americanism through government channels and education. The Obama administration sought a balanced approach between the two blocs, while the Trump administration strongly favors Saudi Arabia.  Of the two, Iran is closer to a functioning democracy, though, with at least some important posts filled through free elections while Saudi Arabia allows only municipal elections.  At the very least,  it would be hard to argue that Saudi Arabia is more democratic than Iran.

Which raises a question: Why is the Trump administration so critical about Iranian elections and silent about Saudi Arabia?

That was the question put before State Department spokesperson Stuart Jones yesterday:

It is a tough question, but fairly predictable. I'd be more critical of the guy if I wasn't pretty much like that in class now and then...

Strange . . . He's a career diplomat and former ambassador to Iraq, so he's experienced. He's about to retire; maybe he's exhausted?

Yes, I know that brain freeze too!
You ask a valid foreign policy question which I'm not qualified to address. Regarding the brain freeze, I am an expert on that topic! I totally get it -- I call this a "sea otter" moment, harking back to the time during a lecture that I had a brain freeze regarding the differences between river otters and sea otters (it's worse than it sounds). Sea otter moments can be bad. Like the time my son's gov teacher told the parents on parent/teacher night that undocumented immigrants are allowed to vote in national elections....
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