April 7, 2015

Iran has come in from the cold

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 53 comments ·
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Theocracies tend to project their power and influence in the strangest ways. From local mystic rituals to get the natives onside, to subtle proselytising, to overt attempts to convert what my children would describe as “randomers”.

When I was a little boy, Ireland was a theocracy. We sent priests and nuns out to convert “randomers” and on Good Friday, the holiest day on the calendar and possibly the most boring day in the entire year, everything was closed, TV was awful and many of my mates were taken on sanctimonious pilgrimages by the grannies to do the stations.

It was as if we’d crucified the man himself and had to repent there and then. I hated it – all that crucifix-kissing and the total absence of joy. In fact, it was the most un-Irish of all days. That much was clear even to a six-year-old.

Thankfully, this country isn’t a theocracy any more (although there are some relics of the past still clinging on), and Ireland on Good Friday has ceased to resemble an ecclesiastical post-apocalypse wasteland.

However, this Easter, a proper theocracy is making the news. That theocracy is Iran.

The nuclear deal it signed in Switzerland last Thursday will have enormous ramifications for the politics of the Middle East and, via the price of petrol, significant consequences for the global economy. This is significant news.

Just to put it in context, when Israel and Saudi Arabia are on the same side opposing something, you know it is a big deal. For the past few years, there has been an odd alliance of the pro-settler Israeli right wing and the Taliban-financing extreme Wahhabi mullahs who run Saudi Arabia. How could this be?

Israel and Saudi Arabia are united by a mutual loathing of Iran. The Israelis hate Iran because (a) Iran constantly threatens to destroy Israel, even though it has not got the means to do this, and (b) Iran finances and arms Hezbollah in south Lebanon and has an on-off relationship with Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. These days, Hamas is closer to Qatar than Iran, but that could change.

Iran also supports the Assad regime in Syria, and is pretty much the dominant external influence in Iraq.

For Saudi Arabia, the issue is sectarian. The Saudis, as Sunni Muslims, see themselves as the real leaders of Islam in the region.

The Iranians, on the other hand, are Shia; and the Saudis see them as a major threat to Saudi hegemony. The military action in Yemen, which kicked off this week led by the Saudis, is not about Yemen, but is about limiting Iranian influence in the region.

Therefore, anything that brings Iran in from the cold – such as the end of sanctions announced on Friday in return for the end to Iran’s nuclear program – can only strengthen Iran’s economy, and this scares Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Those two countries take the view that if a weakened Iran, enfeebled by years of sanctions can have so much influence in the region, what type of influence will a strengthened Iran have?

Iran is, after all, Russia’s ally in the region, but America and Obama are betting on something much bigger. It seems to me that, after the disastrous occupation of Iraq, the US no longer has the stomach for policing the region.

If it wants to control Sunni groups such as Isis, it needs Iran to be on its side on the ground.

The risk for Saudi and Israel is that this détente will not neuter Iran’s regional ambitions, but bolster them.

The US is gambling that a normalised Iran with an improving economy will become easier to deal with. The operating model for Obama is the 1973 visit of Richard Nixon to China, where the normalising of relations between the US and China pushed China onto a more capitalist road.

If this were to happen, the US would have an ally in the region that has influence in the Shia Muslim world, as opposed to having only Sunni Muslim allies like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey.

For Iran, the commercial prize is enormous.

It holds the world’s fourth-largest proved crude oil reserves and the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves. Despite these abundant reserves, Iran’s oil production has substantially declined over the past few years and the growth of natural gas production has slowed. Sanctions have profoundly affected Iran’s energy sector.

A Russian friend of mine who does business in Iran – the Russians have been Iran’s friends since 1979 – described to me the hassle his company gets every week because it trades with Iran.

Because Iran could not get its hands on the latest technology in the oil business, it produces far less than it should, and of course it can’t export oil.

Despite this, Iran ranks among the world’s top ten oil producers and top five natural gas producers. Iran produced 3.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of petroleum and other liquids in 2013, and more than 5.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of dry natural gas in 2012.

I spend quite a bit of time in the Gulf, and have witnessed that the fear of Shia Iran in the Sunni emirates is heightened by proximity – it is just across the sea. You will not get a straight answer from anyone about Iran, but it is very clear that the United Arab Emirates is on the side of Saudi Arabia, and that there is a sense of betrayal among the Gulf states which has been triggered by the US’s latest moves.

When you are atop the glittering skyscrapers edging the beaches of Dubai, you look out at the Straits of Hormuz towards the south-eastern coast of Iran. This is the most important route for oil exports from Iran and other Persian Gulf countries.

At its narrowest point, the strait is 21 miles wide, yet an estimated 17 million bbl/d of crude oil and oil products flowed through it in 2013 (roughly one-third of all seaborne traded oil and almost 20 per cent of oil produced globally).

It is not hard to see what’s at stake with the opening of Iran.

Despite recent high prices, Iran’s oil production is collapsing because of sanctions. According to the IMF, Iran’s oil and natural gas export revenue was $118 billion in 2012, dropped by 47 per cent to $63 billion in 2013, and kept falling last year. Iran’s natural gas exports have actually increased slightly over the past few years, but it only exports a small amount.

Imagine what opening western markets will do to Iran’s economy. Imagine what this massive new supply will do to oil prices. It is highly likely that oil prices will remain low for some time because of Iran’s nuclear deal, but only if economics alone determines its price. But we know that it doesn’t; politics does.

As we focus on Jerusalem today and celebrate Jesus Christ, a prophet admired by both Muslims and Jews, the big question is whether a stronger Iran means a safer Middle East. What do you think?


  1. EugeneN

    Ireland was never a theocracy, thats a slur. It was a liberal democracy strongly influenced by Catholicism.

    And given the opposition to Iran, from the wealthy Emirati states and the nutty US neo cons, Iran is in from the cold until the next Republican win in the US, whereupon it gets bombed.

    • zapit

      Could you perhaps say that the fact that it was a democracy meant it could make the transition from “theocracy”?

      • Colin

        Ireland never hung anyone for being gay, stoned to death anyone for committing adultary, executed those for drug trafficking, cut off the hands of those who thieved, imprisoned anyone for leaving the Catholic faith or tortured anyone for proselytizing a faith other than the majority faith, unlike Iran.

        • Deco

          Also Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and others.

        • zapit

          Those things don’t need to happen in a country for it to be a theocracy. As a minimum you would need people to be ostracised and marginalized, which did happen.

          But an example of imprisonment would be the magdalen sisters.

          • Colin

            Fair enough zapit. Using your definition means every country in the world has been a theocracy at some point in time in the past. Well done. I take my hat off to you.

    • ps200306

      Correct. DMcW is losing the run of himself here. I’m the same age as him, and this sloppy characterisation of religion in Ireland forty odd years ago is typical revisionist nuttery. Oh, and, the supposed theocracy can’t have worked its machinations very effectively if DMcW was left with the impression that Good Friday is the “holiest day in the calendar”.

    • Deco

      Ireland nowadays is a corporatocracy. IBEC get far more influence on state policy than Maynooth ever did. Than even the unions ever did.

      It is however part of the ritual in the Irish media to talk about today like as if we are liberated like never before.

      That is BS.

      I do not remember anybody in the 1980s telling us that we needed to increase our taxes, in order to bailout capitalistic gamblers how made massive blunders.

      Even with the shipyard in Cork, it was the workforce that were being bailed out.

      David has to produce this, because it is essential in order to exist in the Irish media along those lines.

      The problem I have with this is that it absolves the real power brokers in present tense. [ which incidentally seems to be the objective]. It is flogging a dead horse, and then getting up on a corporate donkey.

      Another “essential” to pass oneself is to profess love of Guinness, and associate it with Irishness.

      When is the last time you heard somebody in the Irish media declare that Beamish is to be an identifier of Irishness ? Exactly. Not a good career move.

      Free ? We are not free. It is an illusion.

      30 pieces of silver, to use an Easter analogy, get jingled everytime we ever think about it – and we get bribed into obedience.

      • Felix Quigley

        Deco
        “The problem I have with this is that it absolves the real power brokers in present tense. [ which incidentally seems to be the objective]. It is flogging a dead horse, and then getting up on a corporate donkey.

        Another “essential” to pass oneself is to profess love of Guinness, and associate it with Irishness.” (end quote)

        But what you mention have always been there in Ireland and therefore are nothing new. You only have to read Joyce and nearly all those writers of his era. So that is nothing new.

        So now I ask you a question. We both seem to agree that the modern Media in Ireland is useless. On what is it useless? When did the rot start? I cannot get any precisión dealing with real events in what you write.

        For me it is the “Palestinians” of the left that has done for them. They have never reported this in its historical sense. For example when they talked about the refugeres of 1948 they simply lie against the Jews. I can prove this. So they told lies there and never recanted or recovered.

        This is important. It means they cannot either report on Islam in the world today which is I hope you will agree rather serious.

        Irish Times reporters openly insult “Zionists” as if Zionism was some Nazi type ideology which is the lies of the Soviet Stalinists and Fascists.

        Ireland is a very small and parochial society and these lies are passed around the pubs of Dublín as if they were góspel truth.

        So when somebody does challenge these lies there is a tut tut and most significantly SILENCE. Silence is the real killer of truth.

  2. ross81

    You’re ignoring the biggest threat to ME peace. as long as an expansionist Israel is left free to terrorise the occupied Palestinians as well as launching occasional wars and bombing runs against Lebanon & Syria, the region will not see peace. A stronger Iran is largely irrelevant to the issue. It’s aid to Hezbollah is really the only deterrent it has to the Israelis and its absurb to try match Iran’s foreign policy to the unending belligerence & warmongering of the Western powers in the region.

    • Also apparently the previous president of Iran never said he wanted Israel wiped off the map- it was a complete mistranslation of a speech only referring to Israel’s oppression of Gaza. The question is who is to blame for this propaganda?

      • Felix Quigley

        “Also apparently the previous president of Iran never said he wanted Israel wiped off the map- it was a complete mistranslation of a speech only referring to Israel’s oppression of Gaza. The question is who is to blame for this propaganda?”

        You are out of touch. A quick search will reveal thousands certainly hundreds of these bombastic hate filled attacks on Zionism and Israel etc by all levels in Iran. Loudmouths.

        But you repeat the lie. And who is to blame but themselves.

        The last attack a week ago DURING the negotiations

  3. michaelcoughlan

    “It is highly likely that oil prices will remain low for some time because of Iran’s nuclear deal, but only if economics alone determines its price. But we know that it dosen’t; politics does”

    Thank god you fired your ghost writer.

    “As we focus on Jerusalem today and celebrate Jesus Christ, a prophet admired by both Muslims and Jews, the big question is whether a stronger Iran means a safer Middle East. What do you think?”

    Of course it does. It would act as a real deterrent to Israel. For example; Iran hasn’t invaded anyone in 214 years as for the israelis…………..

    https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111229140358AABiWBA

    • Felix Quigley

      Michael Coughlin

      “Of course it does. It would act as a real deterrent to Israel. For example; Iran hasn’t invaded anyone in 214 years as for the israelis…………..” end quote

      This is the weirdest claim of all and is repeated often by David Icke types.

      Who invaded Israel in 1948? The Arabs! Five armies marched against Israel the day after it was declared. Islamic Jihad are Persian but are Jihad!

      Your statement is the most nonsensical way of dealing with history. You leave out as if of no significance that Khomeini hijacked the revolution in 1979 and imposed the most brutal regime and the most counter revolutionary regime abroad.

      You seem to not take that into account Michael and I am at a loss to understand you.

  4. SMOKEY

    Jew haters everywhere will applaud the Muslim in Chief and John Ketchup Kerry for allowing these unstustworthy throwbacks to continue to enrich weapons grade uranium in underground centerfuges. I for one dont trust the totally corrupt Iranian mullah regime of terror. I think Isreal should bomb the centrifuges that exist there right now. Iran, Tehran, is not a legetimate government on any level.

  5. Colin

    Its news to me that Jesus is a prophet admired by the Jews. Jews of the time asked for a murderer called Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified.

    As for those funny muslims, they believe he did not die on the cross, that he came down from it just in time, survived and sent some other lad up there, who got killed. Gas fellas those Muslims.

    • Deco

      Strictly speaking Jesus is a nobody to strict Orthodox Jews. And that is an increasing proportion of the Israeli population. They are still waiting for the Messiah still has to come.

    • Felix Quigley

      Colin

      “Its news to me that Jesus is a prophet admired by the Jews. Jews of the time asked for a murderer called Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be crucified.” end quote

      You play along with the age old Antisemitic meme that the Jews killed Jesús. Why? Why does this give you a buzz Colin?

      The whole history of this is extremely clouded. What we know for sure is that whoever Jesús was and there is Little of certainty he certainly was a Jew who followed Jewish law.

      Of far greater significance is James the brother of Jesús who became leader of the early Church in Jerusalem and the leader of the Jews against the Romans

      This is just skimming the Surface but it is interesting there is nearly zero knowledge about this history in Ireland

  6. The question is. Will Iran sell its oil in currencies other than the US Petro dollar. Because of its threat to do so were the reasons sanctions were applied.

    The US dare not attack Iran as it did every other challenger to it dollar hegemony. Both Libya and Iraq were destroyed for this and their leaders killed.

    Iran is protected by Russia/China. The international significance of the lifting of sanctions is yet to be seen. The real reason is obscured by the smoke of propaganda.

    Perhaps the destruction of the US currency will be delayed a little longer. The US buys more time before China pulls the plug on the US economy.

  7. dwalsh

    Israel and the Saudis are united in opposition to Arab nationalism. In the case of the Saudis specifically secular Arab nationalism. In the case of Israel any independent Arab nations. In either case, independent secular Arab nations will be unlikely to support the tyrannical Saudi monarchy or the expansionist and genocidal Israeli state.

    The combined US intelligence estimates of Iranian nuclear capacity and policy has for the past two decades been that Iran has no nuclear weapons programs, nor any policy to develop them. What goes on in the US Congress and the Knesset and in the Western media cartel propaganda system bears no relation to the actual facts. The same applies to the rhetoric we hear about Ukraine.

    The real issues in the Middle East are not such as can be truthfully discussed in public, since they have to do with empire and power. The political and media rhetoric must find ways to promote empire and power under guise of freedom & democracy and international relations.

    This move towards the normalisation of Western relations with Iran is supported by pretty much the entire world with the exception of the US Republicans, the Israelis and the Saudis; a rabble of regressive reactionary scoundrels in my view.

    • Deco

      If Israel has the same opinion as Saudi Arabia, is purely by chance.

      They have nothing in common. Saudi Arabia is a sectarian state with a very contemptuous attitude to all non-wahabi Sunni aligned people.

      It is just that at this point in time, they both have a problem with Iran. They also both have a problem with each other.

  8. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    An interesting questions comes to the fore after reading David’s article: ‘whether a stronger Iran means a safer Middle East’. David is spot on when he notices that politics rather than economics determine oil prices. So in order to answer David’s question one has to ask oneself another question: who is are the winners and losers from the US-Iran deal?
    Well, the two obvious losers are Israel and Saudi Arabia, the less obvious is Russia (and their lesser allies), at least short term. Saudi Arabia put much effort to keep low oil prices (although we do not know what is the real price of oil) in order to a) destroy the shale gas industry in the US – it’s biggest competitor b) send a warning signal to the US not to include its foe Iran in its influence sphere at the cost of Saudi Arabia and c) to maintain the market share on the oil market.
    Now most of this effort has been wasted. Should Iran get its hands on the latest oil technology Iran’s it may drastically lower its enormously high break-even oil price of nearly $140. Would it lower it so much that Iran may replace Saudi Arabia/Isral as the main ally in the Middle East? One has to bear in mind that the U.S. investors will likely remain shackled by the core Iran Sanctions Act until at least the end of 2016, when the legislation is set to expire.

    As to Russia, Russia tried its best to keep the Americans and Iranians apart via its nuclear expert and its banks helped Iran circumvent financial sanctions. Russia main bargaining card was however an offer to sell its latest Antey-2500 anti-ballistic missile systems to Iran (in 2010 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree prohibiting the delivery of less advanced S-300 air-defense missile systems).

    So is the US actually eliminating the threat of Iran’s nuclear impunity (Israel will not be able to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities with Antey-2500 in operation) at the cost of alienating Saudi Arabia and Israel?

    Certainly the rehabilitation of Iran’s energy sector will complicate Russia’s battle in trying to maintain its energy leverage over Europe and using Gazprom as a weapon to divide Europe (like in the latest Russia-Hungary nuclear deal or Russia’s wooing of Cyprus, Greece and Front National in France). The ideal situation for the US would be to torpedo any Russian advances to central Europe via Southern Europe using Turkey’s veto on the transit of LNG tankers through the Bosporus which effectively neutralizes any LNG import facility project on the Black Sea (notice increased military activity of the US in the Black Sea region).

    And what about the Israel? Many people think that the Jewish lobby in the US is omnipotent but the latest political events seem to suggest that even Israel may be sacrificed if the it is about the survival of the crumbling US empire. I am not quite sure that Henry Kissinger’s famous prediction that in ten years time Israel will cease to exist is a product of a senile mind, as suggested by some:

    http://www.worldtribune.com/2012/10/22/kissinger-on-israels-coming-demise-senile-prophetic-or-merely-pragmatic/

    I would like to remind everyone that Polish Finance Minister Rostowski was met with the same skepticism in 2011 when he warned about war in Europe in 10 years time (apparently he overheard something in Brussels).

    If Israel ceases to exist, where it would relocate? Why, Poland would be a good location: Germany refuses to sign a peace treaty with Poland and its authorities continue to refuse to grant Poles minority status obeying the Nazi law passed by one Hermann Goring in 1940 (and why not, as John Cleese would say orders must be obeyed, though Poland is far more generous towards ‘liberal’ Germany: Articles 20-22 of the Treaty of Friendship and Good Neighborliness (1991) acknowledge Polish Germans as an ethnic minority in Poland with all rights pertaining to that status and it spends money on German schools in Poland; German minority representative has also a guaranteed seat in Polish parliament).

    So if Germany in general and Chancellor Merkel in particular (the only serious politician in Western Europe) do not want to give up on Western Poland and Russia (and the Ukraine for that matter) does not want give up on Eastern Poland, what better place to relocate than Poland, particularly if the government of ex-prime minister Donald Tusk pledged to give as a gift to Israel properties in Poland confiscated by Germans and it’s issuing thousands of Polish passports for Israeli citizens who do not live in Poland – this was followed by both governments declaring that they will work to “improve” image of the two countries in the international arena (Israeli side made a first step: influential Jewish organizations unleashed in the world media anti-Polish smear propaganda campaign, in which Poles are accused of co-responsible for the Holocaust and they tried to spread term ‘Polish concentration camps’ instead of German Nazi death-camps).

    So perhaps this is why Mr. Netanyahu is so angry about the latest US-Iran deal? The smear campaign against Poland aimed at taking over $60bn worth of properties in Poland will be now somewhat more difficult with Israel losing its status of, well, Alan Partridge of geopolitics. At the end of the day, it is Mr. Netanyahu who sacked Jair Lapid from his government – the first minister in Israel who tried to pay some symbolic welfare payments to holocaust victims in Israel – in case someone thinks that geopolitics has anything to do with justice…)

  9. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    It’s funny how people would dismiss as total speculation specific deals between governments and specific laws without any knowledge about it. To assess it as a total speculation you would need to know something about German constitution, German international treaties or German laws regarding or declarations of Chancellor Merkel regarding Polish Western territories on various CDU meetings. Come back to me Adam with some intelligent comment when you actually know something about it.

    As to the link, well of course it is a speculation and maybe Henry Kissinger is getting senile. But when the former National Security Advisor says something like that perhaps it is worth thinking what he means by that. And when Israeli newspaper Haaretz discusses it for like two years in a row then maybe you missed something big in politics, Adam – as you missed everything that’s important in German foreign policy.

    I absolutely agree with you that no one has a clue what’s going to happen. But that’s why it is important to keep an eye on what has already happened because if you do not, well then it is not worth subscribing to whatever you order us to subscribe.

    I only shared things I have winkled out from media noise and some of it are facts and some of it is interpretation of them. My interpretation may be flawed but it is not to be dismissed with one sentence which comes from someone with encyclopedic ignorance about European politics… Do you really think that it is enough to write ‘Total speculation this post – and the article link included.’ – without refuting any of the arguments – and everyone will be jazzed up by your enlightened comment? Remind me what are your qualifications in European history, politics and German law to know what is speculation and what is not…

    • It was an interesting and informed piece of speculation Grzegorz.

      How do you know I know nothing about it?

      Maybe I do but I’m not inclined to speculate at such length – don’t have the time either.

      There are too many variables involved.

      You are free to speculate but that’s all it is.

      What will actually happen will probably be totally different but speculation is all part of the process so fair enough if that’s what you are into.

  10. Deco

    John Kerry is NOT a Henry Kissinger.

    Kerry got the job because Hillary Clinton became a PR disaster, after the Libyan and IS mess. A new face was provide an indicator that things had changed.

    Kerry has been searched for months for a policy success. His sanctimonious tendency is enduring a long dry spell of vindication. If he gets this he can continue along his ways through another tow years of blunders.

    Iran should be desperate for a deal. Actually it isn’t. It has the support of India and Russia, even if it gets no deal. Because both India and Russia are opposed to the Wahhabi worldview coming from the Gulf, and see it as the source of regional instability.

    The problem is that the US Secretary of State is desperate for a PR stunt. He might even consider running again in Presidential run off – presumably to meet Bush 3.0. Clinton is the only candidate, and frankly speaking she is a PR nightmare.

  11. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    I do look at your blog from time to time and in my opinion describing Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara as ‘another brave freedom fighter’ is – I am looking for a word that is not antagonizing – premature (that he was a freedom fighter, not that he was not brave). Although he might have been brave, he was probably more cruel than brave, killing children prisoners like Ariel Lima.
    So my worry is that if you get Che Guevara character so wrong (setting up concentration camps and freedom fight?), maybe it is rash to dismiss something as sheer speculation.
    You say do not have time to engage in such lengthy speculations. Well, how about refraining from commenting in once sentence? That’s one sentence less.

    I rarely comment on this blog but when I find time I try to base my interpretations of current affairs on sources which I can refer to. So one cannot say that both of our opinions are worth the same as I am actually giving you facts you can refute and interpretations you can disagree with. But you are not doing any of this: you are not refuting any facts and/or you are not giving different interpretations to them facts. Then you come and say these are all speculations. But what exactly? As you do not refer to anything in particular, then forgive me if I may sound harsh but it all rather sounds like a conclusion to which you forgot to attach premises and the whole reasoning process. Until you show what is a speculation and why is that a speculation your opinion is itself a speculation and therefore I think it should not have been expressed in first place.

    I would not say anything as glib about your blog which I looked at with interest. If I do not have time to catch up with something, I do not comment on it – like the idea of Bitcoin you are in favour off. I have not shaped my opinion on it yet, though I wonder – I understand its supply is to be limited, but considering everything in the past that was a currency has been tampered with, how come Bitcoin is safer than fiat money? What about electromagnetic weapons? I missed that on your blog when you wrote about Bitcoin and such speculations are sometimes worth embarking on as they lead people to make specific decisions.
    Last but not least – going along your line of reasoning you would have to dismiss lots of David’s writing as speculation (and certainly today’s piece) which prompts a question: why comment?

    Not wasting your time, I am taking off.

    • Thanks Grzegorz, I’ll get back to you on this later if I have anything worthwhile to say.

      Haven’t written on my own blog for over a year as I recall – again, lack of time.

      Regards,

      Adam.

      • Hi Grzegorz, I’ve had a busy day and am still working but here’s a few points.

        Che Guevara: As they say, ‘you can’t make an omlette without cracking a few eggs’ – otherwise known as a utilitarian perspective – i.e. accepting that there may be some suffering (a minority) in return for something that leads to the greater good (the majority).

        I’m sure you’re familiar with this concept as you are quite heavily using academic structure, language and references (are you a PhD student? Thank Heavens I’ve have left that particular drivel-fest behind me – 99% of such work is utterly useless but I guess it’s necessary to enable the unearthing of a gem in the rough).

        The likes of Blair, Bush, Obama and Merkel (and Ahern and Kenny) have way more blood on their hands than ‘freedom fighters’ like Che Guevara, so let’s put that point to bed – well I am putting it to bed in any case.

        If you want change for the better but you want the change agent to follow all the rules and get absolutely no blood on their hands then you’ll be waiting forever and nothing will change at all.

        Regarding your suggestion about me not saying anything instead of one sentence, I think I will politely demur. #JeSuisAdam and all that crap. I said you were speculating but I never told you to stop speculating.

        You are actually ‘giving me facts’? I’m not sure about that. Facts are subjective (and there’s a lot of bullshit out there) and you have put so many variables in the mix that I believe it’s impossible to classify your posts as anything more than speculation.

        Maybe some sort of supercomputer could make sense of those variables or Hari Seldon in the Foundation Trilogy (science fiction by Isaac Asimov) – predict the future that is. Hadn’t thought of Hari Seldon for years but somehow he popped into my head just now, thanks for stimulating that memory Grzegorz.

        Anyone remember what Hari’s method of predicting the future was called? Was it psychohistory or something like that? That’s what you’re trying I’m afraid Grzegorz but unlike Hari’s efforts (in fiction) – it’s not going to work.

        But again, speculate away – and allow me to speculate that your speculation is purely speculative.

        Asimov, who wrote the Foundation Trilogy, also spoke of the Encyclopedia Galactica, while Grzegorz, you talk of my ‘encyclopedic ignorance’ – I love this bit Grzegorz because by implication (in my opinion) you are saying that your nature is opposite to mine – i.e. you have an encyclopedic ‘anti-ignorance’ (or encyclopedic intelligence). Well good luck with that assertion.

        Again, telling me not to speculate, or not to express myself or not to comment, is not going to work. I don’t know what it was like when you were growing up but from an early age I knew that I was free to say what I wanted to who I wanted (My mother always told me to speak my mind and I thank her to this day for that.) and I don’t even understand all this Catholic Irish bullshit that they’re always banging on about on this blog (see above and below), much less what a Polish perspective was like (I assume you are Polish) in growing up.

        Be as harsh or as glib as you like Grzegorz (you haven’t been). It won’t effect me.

        I’m going to call you the Psychohistorian from now on Grzegorz, as a tribute to Isaac Asimov and the great Hari Seldon. Have a good evening.

        PS. Regarding Bitcoin and electromagnetism etc. – in a worst case scenario Bitcoin can indeed be backed up on paper, or printed on any other surface (e.g. gold) but in that apocalyptic scenario where there is no other money and no Internet – well Bitcoin will be the last thing on my mind. In that scenario I won’t be coming after you for your Bitcoin Grzegorz – I’ll be coming after you for your food and if you don’t have any food I’ll be eating you instead.

        Anytime you want to meet up to discuss these ideas further, just let me know. Regards, Adam.

  12. Gearoid O Dubhain

    Ireland is in fact more of a Theocracy now that it was decades ago when the RC supposedly, but didnt, ruled Ireland. Now instead of priests reading people from the altar, we have Secular High Priests and High Priestesses deciding how people should think, act and talk. New geneders are to be added on, the Constitution changed and so called Hunabn Rights Organisations are little more than fronts for the Labour Party Agenda. The Irish Times has become little more than Labour’s Propoganda paper.

    • Deco

      Correct.

      Ever watched “the century of the self” by Adam Curtis.

      It is the sub-header is “the manufacturing of mass consent”.

  13. TThere is another point about Iran that makes them different in the mid east. It is often not mentioned, ignored or glossed over.

    Iranians are not Semites. They are Indo European. As such they think of themselves as different to the inhabitants of the Middle East. They say they are definitely NOT Arabic!!

    This by itself sets them apart not withstanding religious beliefs.

  14. I terms of discussions of world events and religious influnces it should not be forgotten the Greece and Russia both celebrate the Greek Orthodox Christian Church.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11519651/Russia-ready-to-offer-Greeks-cash-in-return-for-assets.html

    • michaelcoughlan

      You will love this one Tony. The persians (Iranians) don’t need a nuclear weapon when they have silver coins as money:

      http://www.fourwinds10.net/siterun_data/business/currency/news.php?q=1329581065

      • michaelcoughlan

        I was thinking it would be a great idea if we could get the bonbons to try and convince the Persians that it would be a much better idea to split the banks and not the atom.

        Michael.

      • The Persians are not the only ones who need honest money.

        This link above should be read 3 times by anyone trying to understand the way forward out of the financial mess we find ourselves in. That means everyone on this blog. I mean all of us.

        It is nothing to do with nuclear weapons but with the employment of money to its true function. The well being of those people who use it.

        It is a store of value.
        A means to facilitate trade.
        Recognizable around the world
        Each unit is exactly the same as every other unit (fungible)
        It is not an instrument of debt (there is no counter party risk)
        It can not be depreciated (inflated) to a zero value.
        It cannot be printed at will and is not corruptible.
        It cannot be destroyed (Immutable)

        We need to be rid of the central bank Ponzi scheme money we currently use . There is no solution until we understand that simple fact. Our current monetary system and the currency used is the source of all corruption, wars and social inequality. It is designed to deliberately impoverish us all, physically, morally, and spiritually.

        In short. It is designed to destroy us.

  15. OPEC:

    Iran officials in Beijing to discuss oil: Reuters cited sources who said an Iranian delegation is in Beijing this week to push for more oil sales and discuss Chinese oil and gas investments in Iran. The article noted China is Iran’s largest trade partner and oil client, having bought roughly half of Iran’s total crude exports since 2012. Chinese firms have stalled or scaled back activities in Iran since around 2010, fearful that sanctions from Washington would hurt their businesses in the US.
    Iran nuclear deal primes market for rising oil exports: The FT highlighted concerns that the nuclear deal could unleash a flood of oil exports onto the global market and open the way for international energy groups to return to the country after a five-year absence. It said Iran is expected soon to start preparing the ground for new contracts with western companies. Total and Eni are thought to be among the first to sign up. Some observers also say export volumes could recover within months, though others disagree.
    Saudi strategy to retain oil dominance: The FT noted that Saudi has set its sights on longer term ambitions amid the price rout that has forced companies into a deep retrenchment, with a $750B buffer that allows it to do so. It said Saudi Aramco is making a bet that investing in oil, gas and refining and pushing for new business in troubled times will allow the country to retain its dominance.
    Posted lemetropolecafe.com

  16. That being the case, the current stock market has – by far – the highest p/e ratio in history and is therefore – by far – the most over-valued in history. I just wish highly visible market participants like Julian Robertson or Marc Faber or Peter Schiff would reiterate the facts I just presented. Because currently EVERYONE who is using the commonly cited comparison metrics is using fraudulent numbers.

    Off topic but are we in for a crash landing?

    http://investmentresearchdynamics.com/bubble-bubble-fraud-and-trouble-sp-500-most-overvalued-ever/

  17. Felix Quigley

    There is so much very good information by many contributors and some in the article itself. I have to say this first of all. I learned a lot in the comments about India supporting Iran. I had not thought that and need to follow that up. I also learned a lot in the comments by Tony Brogan (I think) on China and how much oil it was buying from Iran. And I think it was David who said that even with the sanctions etc. Iran still stands in the top ten oil exporters. That really did surprise me. What a great point!

    The article and comments have been very strong therefore on economics. Since life has an economic base I think that is important and very valuable indeed.

    But remember to a leadership like that in Iran economics is a means to an end. It is not – I emphasise – ever the end. To find out what their “end” is we need to spend much more time in an analysis of what motivates Islam, and since this is Shia Islam what motivates this very powerful dictatorship regime staffed by thugs which seized the power from the revolutionary masses in the 1979 Revolution. Tony is so strong on these world economic and paper money aspects and I agree with him and in the end he will be proven correct, but he does not pay half enough attention to this other factor I have just mentioned.

    To David though. I point out that to Muslims Jesus was a prophet, but Mohammed was the final prophet, thus this is their way of taking possession of all previous faiths, including Judaism, and moreover you are an infidel if you do not accept their way of looking at things. The Jews disagreed and were wiped out of the Saudi Peninsula. With Muslims you have to check everything twice.

    I disagree that the Magdalen laundries was the worst thing that ever happened. It was bad but not as bad as is happening to the Christians and Jews under Islam and in our days. Of which the left and the Churches admonish silence. Motto could be “silence in our times”.

    I conclude with this from my profile updated todayand this applies to the usual Irish louts who attack Israel: “I am disgusted with the present Irish left and want to create a new left which is opposed to Antiisemitism. In this present Irish left the dominant ideology is Antisemitism. To the present Antisemites Israel has taken the place of the old idea of Jew as “the wandering Jew”. Antisemitism is now a major factor in geopolitics as it was in Mein Kamph.

  18. Felix Quigley

    Recently I watched some you tube videos by Ruth R. Wisse. They are very good and google them under “wisse antisemitism”. Please consider doing this if you wish to understand what is happening in today’s world. Politically I am not the same as Wisse but I take things of value from many people and she is very good indeed.

    I am also Reading an interview article with a Bill Kristol. I think he is a NeoCon

    This raises a quandary that present superficial lefts cannot comprehend. For me I do hate the NeoCons but in this interview I am listening keenly to the knowledge that Wisse may bring through her researches.

    She is always making a point which is relevant to today.

    She mentions that Antisemitism began “quite precisely” in the 1870s in Germany. The use of those two words will indicate that she is prepared to back up her observation with researched fact.

    She says it began as a “self-defined” movement. Every Word is important here.

    She thus is observing as well that this Antisemitism was not the same as the old Christian Church Antisemitism. In fact her words here “they defined themselves politically” have huge weight and consequence as to what was to follow.

    She then in this discussion with Kristol (he has Little to contribute by the way) Wisse brings insight into how the Jews can be blamed for everything in moments of great concern.

    I think I have just defined there the modern left fascist conspiracy theorists – who are really antisemites – a modern poison which is very prevalent in Ireland.

    You will find that article under the same search too in google.

    Please spend a Little time trying to grapple with these historical questions and the discussion on this site can only get even better than it is at present and it is often very interesting.

  19. toml

    There is nothing positive about Iran “coming in out of the cold”…unless and until they shed their 600AD ideologies.
    The student uprisings a few years ago highlighted a desire to join the rest of us in the modern world, politically, socially, equality etc… this isn’t rocket science….why the hell do they need a nuclear program when they’re sitting on so much oil.
    And people can complain about Israel all they want, but what they’ve accomplished in 68yrs of existence is amazing…the rest of the middle east should have been taking notes.
    I love your articles David, but you’re a little wacked on this one.

  20. joe sod

    “It was as if we’d crucified the man himself and had to repent there and then. I hated it – all that crucifix-kissing and the total absence of joy. In fact, it was the most un-Irish of all days. That much was clear even to a six-year-old.”

    I think you are wrong when you say it was the most un-irish of all days. Whether we like it or not catholicism is ingrained in irish culture and history. Yes we went overboard on it when we got independance and gave it too much power. But you cannot now say that it is “un-irish”. Thats what distinguished us from British people afterall throughout history. Our catholicism was one of the driving forces behind independance. Where did the irish earls flee to on losing power but to Rome. It is not fashionable now to point out these facts but it is true. Even if now we no longer go to mass etc in big numbers, the church and ireland are inextricably linked. It would be a mistake to try and airbrush the catholic church out of irish history

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