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
April 17, 2015

Mr. President:  Mr. Putin had one of his marathon TV Q&As reporting the state of the
country to the Russian people.  While the Russian economy has taken a hit due to
the sanctions, he has handled the crisis adroitly and the ruble has recovered most of
its value.  From his point of view, Russia does not have enemies -- only partners.  
The problem he said was that the U.S. does not want partners; the U.S. wants vassal
states, who do its bidding.  The sentence struck a chord across the world, from
Germany where the ailing economy has not been helped by the business and jobs
lost due to the sanctions against Russia, through Latin America, Japan and South
Korea.  Countries are eager to join the Chinese sponsored Asia Infrastructure
Investment Bank (AIIB).

In a clever move, the Russians also allowed the UN Security Council resolution
banning arms deliveries to the Shia Houthis in Yemen.  That keeps going the recent
diplomatic overtures to Sunni states like Egypt, continuing inroads into the U.S. areas
of influence, while Iran, a supporter of the Houthis, is kept happy with the
simultaneously promised delivery of the sophisticated S-300 missile defense system
that is effective against air attack and incoming missiles.

This week has seen three separate incidents in which 450 prospective asylum
seekers have drowned in the Mediterranean.  Thousands have succeeded though
and Italy is desperately trying to cope with the flood of refugees crossing over from
Libya.  In the eastern end, Greece is experiencing a similar problem.

Syrian refugees outnumber the rest.  In a disturbing article, the National Geographic
has a picture of Syrians fleeing the war amassed at the Turkish border.  The guards
eventually relent and cut the barbed wired fence to let them in.

How did the Libyan intervention help the people?  How did the proxy war in Syria help
the people there?  Ditto for Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter generating the largest
number of refugees of any group into neighboring Pakistan -- a nuclear power that
has been destabilized.  What percentage of people in these countries think regime
change brought about by the U.S. is a good thing?  The answer seems too obvious to
ask.  As it is, they are voting with their feet.