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
July 17, 2015

Mr. President:  Two big deals this week.  First, the Greek government capitulated
(more or less) despite the 'no' vote in Sunday's referendum backing its stand against
austerity.  Of course, Victoria Nuland, our resident kingmaker and primary author of
the chaos in Ukraine, paid him a visit.  Perhaps, he did not want massive
demonstrations by the 'yes' voters, who constitute the moneyed class, and an
eventual coup against him.  It has happened before ... in Greece.  Perhaps the
Russians and the Chinese, realizing full well the unwritten code of interfering in the
other side's accepted areas of influence, retreated.  Perhaps Brazil's Dilma Rousseff,
herself on shaky ground with her poll ratings in catastrophic fall, was given fair
warning in Washington the week before.  Perhaps India, which has been playing both
sides, pushed back at the BRICS meeting ... or was made to by Washington.  
Whatever the reason or reasons, the Syriza party, the hope of the common people,
and its leader Alexis Tsipras are now back in the EU cage and behaving themselves.  
And the people continue to suffer under ever tighter austerity.

Second, congratulations on the nuclear deal signed with Iran.  The Republicans
condemn the deal saying Iran is free to go back to building a weapon after ten years.  
Why should they?  They already have an economic equivalent.  All they have to do in
the event of war is block the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.  It
would block Saudi oil and cause complete chaos in Western economies.

Sanctions against a country fighting ISIS with and for us make as little sense as
sanctioning the USSR in the Second World War.

Moreover, Iran's influence now extends in a contiguous region from Iraq through Syria
into Lebanon, and the only way to maintain a check is to bring it into the economic
fold where it will eventually be subject to pressure.

Of course, any commentary on the Iran deal can not exclude Sergei Lavrov's mordant
quip.  Remember the AMD system set to be installed on Russia's borders, ostensibly
to thwart a nuclear missile attack from Iran.  Of course, he said, with the Iran nuclear
deal the ABMs are no longer necessary, so are they going to go?  Your move, Mr.

On a different note, the New Horizons probe has sent us photos of Pluto, a first.  
Traveling at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, the photos take four hours
to reach us.  That's because Pluto is 3 billion miles away, and it is still within the solar
system, orbiting the sun -- one star among billions in our Milky Way galaxy, which
itself is one among billions and billions in the universe.  A reminder of our
insignificance as we squabble like ant colonies, while becoming a motive force for a
climate change threatening, with ever greater certainty, to destroy our home and way
of being.  More mammals have become extinct in the previous half century than ever
before, and we continue to sleep.