Forcing Functions

An old boss of mine liked “forcing functions.”  Forced us to meet delivery dates, while arbitrary dates tended to cause a “so what” attitude toward deadlines.  Forcing functions like trade shows, magazine reviews, and client launches forced development teams to ship, no matter what.

Keep that in mind for a moment while we look at the Obama Administration.

Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to clip America’s wings.  I know he didn’t use that term, but it was clear what he meant when he visited the Mediterranean and Germany.  As president, Obama would knock America off its 20th century pedestal. 

Obama also wants to destroy the energy industry.  He’s said as much.  He hoped to break the back of the coal industry with hideous taxes. He wants oil execs groveling at his feet the way GM, Chrysler, the big banks, Jeffrey Immelt do.

Lo and behold, as we look east, we see Cairo in flames.  Pro-western president Hosni Mubarak is on the brink of exile (in Tel Aviv, of all places).  Israel’s most important treaty partner is about to undergo a fundamental transformation in government.  While many of the people in the streets of Cairo might be Jeffersonian libertarians, you can bet that what rises to power amid the chaos won’t be.  Whatever rules Egypt next, most assuredly, will hate America as much as the Ayatollahs in Iran hate us. 

The consequences of Mubarak’s demise include loss of US influence in the region, instability, and soaring oil prices. As Jay Solomon put in the Wall Street Journal:

The threats to American interests come on several fronts. The potential departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who heads the most important Arab nation to have made peace with Israel, would likely put the broader Arab-Israeli peace process in new peril.

Solomon points out that events in Egypt have weakened US allies in Jordan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.  Plus, there is new anti-government trouble in Yemen, where the government has played a key role in helping the US track down terrorists.

Meanwhile, another WSJ story speculates that Hamas could regain strength like a deadly hurricane over warm water.  This after Hezbollah sacked Lebanon amid the sound of silence from Washington.

Together, is seems plausible that Obama is quietly destablizing friendly Middle East and Mediterranean allies as a forcing function to weaken the US and to collapse the oil industry.

The Obama administration has warned us that is no friend of the United States, much as the Carter administration did in the late 1970s.  Carter left the world a more dangerous place for Reagan to deal with.  It looks like Obama has plans to place America in ever greater danger.

It’s 1978 All Over Again **UPDATE: Thaddeus McCotter Agrees With Me**

The news might seem unimportant to us in the USA:

Day after day they marched, tens of thousands strong, defiant chanting demonstrators surging through the streets of Cairo, a capital unaccustomed to the shouts and echoes of dissent. The subject of their protest was the policies of Egypt’s supreme ruler, Hosni Mubarak. Some carried signs demanding his ouster. Others called for a return of long denied civil and political liberties and the enforcement of Islamic laws.

Except I changed a few words.  I replaced “Tehran” with “Cairo”, “Iran” with “Egypt”, and “Mohammed Reza Pahlavi” with “Hosni Mubarak.”  The paragraph above is from Time Magazine’s cover story on turmoil in Tehran from September, 1978. Read more:,9171,916373,00.html#ixzz1CN3AbsVh

The Obama White House response to anti-government turmoil in Egypt today parallels Jimmy Carter’s vacillating and indecisive response to Iran 33 years ago. Carter, who praised the Shah in 1977, seem lost for a response to turmoil in 1978, and joined the world in criticizing the Shah after the fall.

That’s courage.

Here’s how events unfolded as the Shah—a bulwark against both Soviet domination and radical Islam in Southwest Asia—faced exile or death:

Even by late 1978 few people in the Carter administration, including the American embassy staff in Teheran,20 seemed to know much about the leaders or directions of the revolution. Khomeini’s violent ideas and extraordinarily anti-American, anti-Zionist views apparently had not yet registered. U.S. policy appears to have straddled both sides. For example:

—Shortly after the Shah declared martial law, President Carter called him to voice support.

—Yet in October, after weeks of daily reports sent back to Washington on events in Iran, Ambassador William H. Sullivan "could detect neither high-level concern nor any comprehensive attitude toward the events that were in progress."

—On 4 November 1978, as rioters spread fires across Teheran, destroying banks, theatres, and the British embassy, security advisor Brzezinski called the Shah from the Iranian embassy in Washington to express his assurance that the United States would "back him to the hilt."

—Concurrently, certain high-level State Department officials evidently had concluded that the Shah was the major problem in Iran and that he had to go regardless of who replaced him.

—Energy Secretary James Schlesinger (a previous Defense Secretary in the Ford administration) argued that the Shah had to be saved, and proposed a U.S. show of force in the Indian Ocean.

—Late in December President Carter seems to have agreed, dispatching the aircraft carrier Constellation to the Indian Ocean. Then, possibly out of concern over risk to the carrier, the President countermanded his own order.21

Thus, as time ran out for the Shah and for Washington, the Carter administration split between supporting the monarch, dumping him, or riding out the storm. Events, not policy, now determined American responses in Southwest Asia.

Last week, White House spokesman Gibbs refused to support Mubarak publically.

Today, a world long caught up in economic turmoil turned its attention to turmoil in Cairo. We should be scared, because the Obama Administration has no plan. The White House, we learned, has not contacted Mubarak since the crisis began.

It’s as if Obama had no idea there was an Egypt.

If Egypt falls to radicals, the Suez Canal will close.  Israel will face extinction. Oil and gasoline prices will soar, possibly to $200 a bbl and $8.00 a gallon, respectively.  The nascent and weak recovery would quickly turn to economic depression.

**UPDATATE** US Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (one of my favorites) issued a statement tonight to that begins brilliantly:

The Egyptian demonstrations are not the equivalent of Iran's 2009 Green Revolution.  The Egyptian demonstrations are the reprise of Iran's 1979 radical revolution.  Thus, America must stand with her ally Egypt to preserve an imperfect government capable of reform; and prevent a tyrannical government capable of harm.

Yeah, yeah, you bleeding hearts will criticize Mubarak.  But if Mubarak falls, you will see horrors that have been hitherto unimaginable.

And still this idiot in the White House is incapable of formulating a policy.  As was said of Carter's dealings with Iran in 1978, events, not policy, will determine American response to what happens in Egypt.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

***UPDATE II*** Michelle Malkin has another angle: the people must be heard. True, but these protests seem eerily like Tehran 1978.  Don't assume this will end well--for the oppresses liberals in Egypt or for the world.