Weekly Letter to President Obama
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INAUGURATION,   January 20, 2009

Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape

To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.

The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.

Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.

--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
---  Native American proverb
February 12, 2016

Mr. President:  Outsiders are leading the primaries again, much like 2008.  The
people are fed up with governance, hoping against hope someone will deliver them
from the grip of the oligarchs.  It used to be a term applied to the Russian elite and
their control of politics but it can just as easily be applied here.  When the minimum
wage has not moved in real terms from the 1970s, and the lion's share (34 percent
versus 1 percent) of income gains since 2009 is taken by the top 1 percent, there is
good reason for the term.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump trounced the field, while among Democrats,
Bernie Sanders won in a landslide with a margin of victory almost twice the predicted
margin.  The big question now is what Hillary Clinton will be doing to blunt Sanders'

Of all people, Julian Assange from his London aerie in the Ecuadorian Embassy has
had some things to say about Hillary.  He says he has read her emails and she is a
killer; and that there will be nothing but 'endless stupid war' increasing terrorism if she
ever gets elected.  He recounts the Libyan and Syrian disasters.  Were American
leaders required to visit and walk the streets of the countries they have attacked to
bring democracy, policy would change rapidly.  It leads to the obvious question:  Do
you think you are welcome in Libya?

By the way, why have those dubious charges against Assange not been dropped
after the UN Panel ruled in his favor?  Confined in the words of the Panel to 'arbitrary
detention', his lawyer claims he has served his time despite the very shaky case
against him -- a neutral observer would henceforth consider Sweden and the US
seriously flawed proponents of human rights.  The pot calling the kettle black is
always spotted as hypocrisy.

The Syrian peace talks are in the news.  Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish leader,
gets shriller by the day as the Kurds take advantage of the civil war.  The rebels too
are hurting, and the yelps come in the form of claims that Russian airstrikes are killing
civilians and hitting hospitals.  One thing is clear:  Mr. Putin has moved decisively, the
Syrian government forces are in the ascendancy, and Russia holds all the cards.

Perhaps Ukraine was a bridge too far.  The Russian bear emerged from hibernation,
and is now wide awake.  He has also strengthened ties with the Chinese dragon, the
latter mindful of our tilt to the east.  So it is that the neocons have managed to
undermine Nixon's careful weaning away a not unwilling China.

What we have now is an angry bear and a very wary dragon.  The combination of
Russia's military and nuclear might and China's economic resources will be a tough
one to face for the next administration.  Now how exactly did we manage to get in this
mess? -- particularly when the Russians wanted nothing more than close economic
ties with the West.

As Mr. Putin observed, however, the US does not want partners; it wants vassals.  
And he set out to prove that Russia was not going to be one.  He has done so.  The
uni-polar world is over.  We can sit back and thank the neocons, their Ms. Neuland
and this administration, for it was a disaster costing hundreds of thousands of lives,
and untold sorrow and misery for millions.

It has also stressed the EU to breaking point, causing it to fashion new agreements
with member states (like the recent one with the UK) altering itself.