Archive for March 2015

Napkin Notes: US Strategic Interests in the Middle East

March 20, 2015

With great interest I have watched the recent row between Israel and the US as Prime Minister Netanyahu fought for his political life before Wednesday’s election.  Matt Spetalnick’s Reuter’s article today caught my attention with the following statement:

The goal of Palestinian statehood is a central principle of U.S. diplomacy going back decades.”

This sparks a series of questions for me:  Why is this a pillar?  What interest does this forward?  Would a two state solution truly contribute to regional stability?  Is stability the primary goal?



Spetalnick, Matt, “Obama tells Netanyahu U.S. to ‘reassess’ policy on Israel, Mideast diplomacy,” Reuters, March, 19, 2015. Retrieved from:

Foreign Affairs: Abuses of the Public Trust

March 11, 2015

Now before the Republicans begin to throw stones and claim impropriety trying to score points against a potential 2016 candidates over email accounts and record retention, a pause may be in order. The latest attempts to circumvent the US Constitution, knowingly invite foreign dignitaries to speak to Congress and intentionally circumventing the President of the United States are equally appalling, irresponsible and show reckless disregard.

Article Two of the US Constitution is very clear on this matter in Clause One:

“The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America”

and Clause Four:

“The President receives all foreign Ambassadors”

It is not the responsibility of the legislative body, whose powers as the country’s law making body is clearly defined in Article One, to execute or conduct the affairs of the country. Nowhere in Article One Section Eight of the US Constitution (Powers of Congress) is the Legislative Branch responsible for executing foreign affairs. It is an improper stretch to claim that by ratifying treaties executed and negotiated by the Executive Branch, Legislators have the right to insert themselves in foreign affairs and negotiations.

Further writing open letters–as political and business figures commonly do to national periodicals–is another inappropriate and unacceptable meddling into the execution of foreign affairs. Quibbling over legality and whether or not the inclusions or exclusion of their official titles is appropriate or causes undue influence, it is without question against the spirit of the Constitution and an abuse of the people’s trust.

For the political party that promised to bring leadership to Washington DC, it is definitely neither Ethical Leadership nor unquestionably, ethically above board.

By directly circumventing the President, or his designee within the Executive Branch, is grossly overstepping its authority. More grievously, this is occurring during rampant dysfunction within and between both chambers of Congress which is stymied and resorts to procedural slight-of-hand to make halting progress. Rudimentary legislation that funds and provides the appointments and framework for the Executive Branch to then manage the country’s day-to-day affairs languishes.

Congress may be better focused on actually processing, negotiating the finalizing the legislation before it, the business it is responsible for, prior to inappropriately interjecting itself into other areas of related concern but where no responsibility is had.

What is concerning is the theatrics being offered by the US Congress may well compete with Greece’s own domestic and international drama in some horrible Saturday Night Live spoof of the Academy Awards. The embarrassing climax is I am unsure which would win.

There is a good op-ed piece by Elizabeth Cobb Hoffman (no relation) that delves further into the constitutional aspects