Talk of potential October surprises that could impact our upcoming elections has been a frequent topic of discussion among political pundits and amateurs of the blogosphere for the past many months. Potential surprises have ranged from civil unrest in the US that would give Obama the excuse to declare martial law and postpone elections to war in the Iran to the more mundane like another down grade of our credit rating or running up against the debt ceiling or an unraveling of the European Union and many other possibilities. Although it was my intention to write about potential October surprises today, late breaking news yesterday has changed the panorama somewhat. One potential surprise would seem to have gone away, if only temporarily and another has reared its ugly head.
Let’s start with the good news. One of the serious threats that has been hanging over the head of the world’s economy has been the potential for the unwinding of the Euro Zone. The Europeans have been, llike the US, kicking the van a little further down the road every few months. Every time they kick the can it seems the situation with the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) gets even worse. For the last several months, the European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, has said he was ready to provide unlimited funds to buy bonds of the PIIGS at moderate interest rates. The only thing holding him back was a pending ruling by Germany’s Constitutional Court as to whether it would be legal for Germany to participate in Draghi’s scheme. Yesterday the Court gave the green light with some restrictions. You can read about it here and here. This is good news for the European Union and for the US and most especially for the PIIGS. In my opinion, it is very bad news for the German people. But, the PIIGS are happy because, instead of having to sell their bonds into a free market, where they would have to pay interest rates of 6% to 7%, they will now be able to sell their bonds to the European Central Bank at interest rates around 3%. This will reduce their debt service cost significantly and give them some breathing room. Now all the PIIGS have to do is get their economies growing. OINK! OINK! I wish them luck. But, here at home one potential October surprise, the unraveling of the Euro Zone, has gone away, for the time being.
As so often happens in life, when one problem goes away another pops up. The other breaking news late yesterday was about protests by Islamic fundamentalist at our embassies in Egypt and Libya. The news accounts were confusing last night (Isn’t it amazing how in this day and age that our ability to communicate from that part of the world is so bad?) but, according to this article, the US ambassador to Libya and three staff members have been killed. We can not but think back to the American hostage crisis in Iran during the later part of the Carter administration. In this part of the world (the Islamic cesspool part of the world), these types of protest can quickly escalate into something much bigger. There is no way to discuss this current crisis without talking about America’s foreign policies in this region going back at least to the Bush II administration. Bush took us to war in Iraq on false pretences. We spilt a lot of blood and treasure for what exactly. Today the protest and violence are increasing daily and Iraq is quickly returning to the cesspool it has always been. Then we have the Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy, which can only be described in the kindest of terms as confusing. The Hillary Clinton State Department instigated the so-called Arab Spring, which we were told would bring democracy to the “freedom loving” Arabs and improved “human rights”. Leading from behind, President Obama took orders from the United nations to protect civilians in Libya from the mad man Gaddafi. He then demanded that Mubarak step down in Egypt. And, as a result, the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda are now in power in those countries. In Syria the government of Assad and the citizens have turned killing each other into the national pass time. But, Assad has powerful friends where as Gaddafi had none and so this administration can’t decide whether to have a bowel movement or go blind. So, now we have a dead ambassador and three of his staff and who knows where this crisis will go from here. We are told the protests are because some unknown film maker produced a film and put it on You Tube, which depicted Mohammad in a way the was offensive to the Muslims of Egypt and Libya. Since the day Obama took office he has told us that if we just treat the Muslims of the world with kindness, they will reciprocate. But, do we listen to him? No. There is always someone somewhere who threatens to burn a Koran or who depicts Mohammad in a disrespectful way. So, yesterday, we are told that the Ambassador to Egypt apologized for the behavior of this unknown film maker who was making use to his God-given right to be stupid. The Obama administration is very good at making apologies for America.
So, one potential October surprises goes away and another takes its place. Where will this latest crisis leadm no one knows. Our government, it seems, has little or no control over these potentially dangerous events and we, of course, have even less. All we can do is sit back and bear witness to what ever happens and react the best we can. Will there be an October surprise? There certainly are numerous potential ones out there. We will find out in a few weeks, won’t we?
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?