09/20/19

The American Presidency

No man, with the possible exception of General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower, has ever been ready to become President of the United States on day one.

The job is bigger than any man, more complex than any man’s experience, throws him into a malestrom of competing voices and opinions while uniquely challenging its holder to make life-and-death decisions beginning day one. Looking at that sentence, I believe that Ike was ready to go right after the Inauguration.

Continue reading

09/17/19

Iran, Curious, Provocative Iran

The Middle East is on the verge of an explosion precipitated by a spiral of Iranian provocative behavior. Your Big Red Car would like to calmly discuss what has transpired to bring the world to this point. We need to know the history of the region and Iran.

In 1979, the Shah of Iran — an American ally of some long standing — fled and the resulting leadership void was filled by the Ayatollah Khomeini, a religious exile of some fifteen years. The son of a religious scholar, the Shiite cleric was said to have memorized the Qur’an as a youth.

The Shah — Mohammed Reza of the family of Pahlavi — had been put into power in 1941 by the Russians and the British (when they attacked and seized Iran in World War II to safeguard supply lines to Russia) and was considered to have been only the second “modern” Shah. As Shah, Reza was pro-Western. He spoke English, French, German, and Persian (Farsi), but was at his core a playboy.

Reza, as Shah, launched the White Revolution in the mid-1960s. His advancement of the Iranian culture was extraordinary as was the growth of the standard of living amongst the Iranian people and womens’ rights. It is important to note that the Shah “reigned” and, ultimately, “ruled.” The big driver was oil wealth of gargantuan proportions. In many ways, he was ahead of his time in the westernization of Iran.

Continue reading

10/14/18

The World is a Dangerous Place

Big Red Car here on a glorious Sunday morning thinking about the strange doings in L’Affaire Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist who has come up missing in Turkey at the Saudi Arabian consulate under suspicious circumstances.

It is alleged that Mr. Khashoggi has been murdered by the Saudis for having written columns in the Washington Post critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and the government.

Khashoggi is documented (video) as having entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 October and was never seen exiting thereafter. His fiance was waiting in a car across the street from the consulate.

What is alleged is that the Saudis dispatched a fifteen man assassination squad who murdered him and dismembered him within the consulate.

He was, apparently, set up by being told to return four days later after an earlier meeting. In that interim, the Saudis dispatched their hit squad. The hit squad departed immediately after Khashoggi went missing.

The Saudis deny all allegations – in fact, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself made the denials, which greatly elevates the stakes – and say that Khashoggi left by a rear entrance which was not covered by a camera. [OK, so he didn’t hook back up with the fiance waiting across the street in the Mercedes?]

The Turks, who claim to have a recording and video of Khashoggi’s last minutes taken through his Apple watch (a technology which the American NSA has kept secret for years), say that the story is fiction. The Turks also note that the local Turk staff was given an unscheduled day off on the day Khashoggi was scheduled to come get some papers. WTF?

In any event, Khashoggi, who was seeking paperwork (proof that he had been divorced from a previous wife) to be able to marry a fiance, Hatice Cengiz, showed up and disappeared. These facts are not in dispute.

Continue reading