Money for Nothing and Your Chicks for Free
Stratfor notices Iran is trying to refurbish its declining oil refining industry by planning 8 new refineries. But it needs the money. Can it continue to punch the West in the face while pulling money out of it's pocket?
Iran's national oil company announced plans Nov. 2 to build eight new oil refineries with the ultimate goal of becoming a net exporter of refined oil products. Bringing foreign investors in on the project will prove essential to provide the necessary know-how, but given the current state of international condemnation bearing down on them, the Iranians may have to choose between international brinksmanship and energy independence.
My guess is that Iran can both punch the West and reach into its wallet at the same time. There's a school of thought which asserts that if we are nice enough, the enemy will give us a break. The New York Times magazine describes an interview with Barack Obama aboard his campaign airplane in an article curious entitled Is (His) Biography (Our) Destiny?.
“If I am the face of American foreign policy and American power,” Barack Obama mused not long ago aboard his campaign plane, “as long as we are also making prudent strategic decisions, handling emergencies, crises and opportunities in the world in an intelligent and sober way. . . .” He stopped. He wanted to make sure he got this just right, and he had got a little caught up in rebutting the claim, which Hillary Clinton has artfully advanced, that he is not prepared to handle emergencies. Obama stopped picking at his grilled salmon in order to stare out at the sky for a few moments. “I think,” he said, in that deep and measured voice of his, “that if you can tell people, ‘We have a president in the White House who still has a grandmother living in a hut on the shores of Lake Victoria and has a sister who’s half-Indonesian, married to a Chinese-Canadian,’ then they’re going to think that he may have a better sense of what’s going on in our lives and in our country. And they’d be right.”
Perhaps they would. Obama’s supporters believe that his life story and the angle of vision it affords him hold out the possibility of curing the harm they would say we have done to ourselves through our indifference to the views of others and through the insularity of a president who seems so incurious about the world.
The idea is appealing enough. If we care about others then they will care about us. But is it true or true only if we assume foreign statesmen are motivated by the same values that motivate us? The logical problem with Obama's assertion is that it assumes that people -- especially leaders in other countries -- care anything about grandmothers living on the shores of Lake Victoria or half-Indonesians living anywhere. All the available evidence suggests that many foreign leaders couldn't care less if their people lived or died. What slack they might cut us if they knew he had a grandmother in Africa is anybody's guess.
My fearless is prediction is that there will be any number of enlightened politicians who will fall all over themselves in a rush to provide whatever Iran needs -- whatever Iran does.