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The GOP and Identity Politics in the Black Community

The Republican Party continues to miss the mark when it comes to engaging the Black community.

For those Republicans, who fastidiously claim they don’t believe in “identity politics (IP),” let me give you a piece of advice: Stop It!

Politically speaking, IP is a campaign that is based on the particular needs of a specific group of people that will give them the rationale or incentive to vote for your candidate.

For example, a Republican candidate would campaign in the Black community on issues like entrepreneurship, civil rights, voting rights, etc.; whereas the same candidate might campaign in the Hispanic community on issues like entrepreneurship, immigration, and cultural assimilation.

Far too many Republicans assert that “we are all Americans and all want the same things: jobs, education, safe neighborhoods, etc.” This is all true, but a ridiculously bland message when it comes to outreach in the Black community.

While core messaging should be a constant for all candidates, the way you communicate that message has to be crafted based on the audience you are addressing.

In business, we call this market segmentation. This is most often done with the S-T-P approach; which is segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Once you segment the voters, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc., you then create a targeted campaign to speak directly to each individual group; finally, you position your messaging in a way that will resonate with that group.

McDonald’s is a classic example.

Their objective is to sell their Big Macs to the American people, so their TV commercials are all trying to convince the country to buy their product, but they also are smart enough to use IP or market segmentation to achieve their stated objective—selling more hamburgers.

So, it makes all the sense in the world for McDonald’s to use Black actors when advertising on BET and Hispanic actors when advertising on Univision. This is the commercial application of identity politics.
When have you ever seen men selling women undergarments in Victoria Secrets commercials? That’s right, you haven’t.

Republicans have become so data driven that they no longer have any vision.

It’s not enough for Republicans to reflexively spout out buzz words and phrases like: “We are the big tent party”; “the party of Abraham Lincoln”; “We believe in lower taxes, smaller government, more individual freedom,” yada, yada, yada.

Republicans must first and foremost persuade Blacks that conservatism is not incompatible with civil rights, voting rights, and equal opportunity, but rather these issues are a fundamental part of conservatism.

Republicans must, by their actions, demonstrate that Black businesses tend to flourish when Republicans control the levers of government compared to when Democrats are in power.

I wrote about this, in 2012, in a piece I did for Black Enterprise. Democrats and the Obama Administration have done very little for Black-owned businesses over the last eight years.

Republicans have a huge opportunity to engage directly with the Black community on the specific issue of entrepreneurship. Not only are these Black businessmen fervent supporters of abolishing the capital gains tax, accelerated depreciation (writing off all capital purchases in year one), and lowering the corporate tax rate, but they also want to be relieved of all the onerous regulations imposed on them by Obama’s reign of terror on small and minority businesses.

According to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, “Black buying power is $ 1.2 trillion; which would make Black America the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).” That is equivalent to the size of Mexico.

Two years ago, the Aspen Institute and “The Atlantic” released a poll that was stunning. According to their poll, Blacks represent the largest group in the country that “believes that the American Dream is attainable with hard work.”

So, to those Republicans, who think that Blacks are just waiting for more government programs and more handouts, I say, you’re wrong.

The Black community is open for business and willing to engage with the Republican Party, but when will the party address the issues we are interested in, not the issues that they think we’re interested in?

We need access to capital, our fair share of government contracts, which is mandated by law, a seat at the decision-making table and input in to policies that affect the economy.

And what will the party get in return for doing business with the Black community? The party will see Blacks voting for Republicans in double digits. The party will see a growth in financial contributions from leading businessmen, who currently see absolutely no value in contributing to Republican campaigns or entities. The party will also get fresh perspectives and new ideas from the top thinkers in the Black community; who are also the “real” leaders within our community.

But most importantly, the party find that the Black community is already in sync with its business agenda; the GOP simply needs to extend a sincere invitation.

Come on Republicans. What in the hell do you have to lose?

Republicans must first and foremost persuade Blacks that conservatism is not incompatible with civil rights, voting rights, and equal opportunity.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA.

This is Why ESPN Is the Republican Party of Sports Television

I am quite fond of saying about Republicans when it comes to Blacks, “Even when they try to do the right thing, they do it the wrong way.”

In a similar manner, ESPN has become the Republican Party of TV and sports.

Last week they had their annual ESPYs awards show. This is their annual celebration of achievement in the world of sports.

They opened the show trying to do the right thing, but definitely did it the wrong way.

The event opened with four of the top NBA players speaking out against police brutality and gun violence. This was very moving to the extent that you had four of the biggest names in sports taking a public stance on a relevant, social issue, which is very rare for today’s athletes. The players were LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

If this was such a good thing, you might be asking, then why am I criticizing the event?

All four of the above players are Black. This issue of police brutality and gun violence is not a “Black” issue, it is an American issue. Whites are subjected to these issues as well. Good and bad cuts across race and class.

In 2015, the NBA was 74.4 percent Black, 23.3 percent White, 1.8 percent Latino, and .2 percent Asian, this was based on a survey by Richard Lapchick.

It would have made more sense for the ESPN to have players from each of these groups on stage talking about these issues, sending the unmistakable message that this is not just a Black issue, but rather a societal issue.

The optics of the display were odd and quite offensive to me.

ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company, one of the top pro-homosexual companies in the world. When they were aggressively promoting former player Jason Collins for coming out of the closet, they used the full panoply of races in their promotion of their homosexual agenda.

But when it came to police brutality and gun violence, they made it into a “Black” issue, not a societal issue like homosexuality.

A few days before the event, LeBron James reached out to the ESPY’s producer, Maura Mandt, with the idea, thus the plan was agreed to by all the suits at ESPN’s corporate office.

From my research, ESPN and the ESPYs seem to have no diversity in leadership in terms of decision-makers, the decision-makers all seem to be White liberals.

Maybe, just maybe, if they had people from diverse backgrounds in the decision-making loop someone would have pointed out the optics of LeBron’s idea and encouraged him to have a diverse group of players on stage with him.
Diversity is not just about race or gender, it’s also about worldview.

To their credit, ESPN has a very diverse workforce as far as race goes, but it is without question that an overwhelming amount of that diversity is racial, not ideological.

Most of their decision-makers and on-air talent are extremely liberal, which is totally in line with their corporate view. My friends who work for ESPN never dispute my conservative views in my private conversations with them, but they would never admit that they hold such views in public.

For some, expressing those views would be career suicide at worst or at best lead to a very public excoriation from peers and fair-weather friends alike.

Exhibit “A” in my argument is Chris Broussard. He is an analyst for ESPN who focuses on the NBA. He has been profiled in many media outlets about his Christian faith and his positive family life. He is another version of Steph Curry.

When Jason Collins came out as homosexual, Broussard responded, “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, (but) adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals…I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ,” Broussard said. “I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

His simple expression of his faith caused a backlash like I have never seen before. So, as long as you are for homosexuality, your thoughts are welcomed on ESPN, but if you don’t agree with it, you are silenced.

I applaud these athletes for trying to take a principled stand at the ESPYs, but I fault ESPN for not having the foresight to fully understand and appreciate the optics of having all Black athletes on stage.

Now, mind you, ESPN is supposed to be experts in optics, after all, they are the world leader in sports and entertainment. But, because they are surrounded by people who all look and think like each other, there was no one to point out the obvious racial connotation of these optics.

Like the Republican Party, they tried to do the right thing, but did it the wrong way.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA.

Mainstream Media’s Dirty War on Trump

The more I listen to Donald Trump’s refrain about how dishonest the media is, the more I am beginning to agree with him.

The media should be thoroughly embarrassed by their coverage last week of North Carolina’s now infamous punch throwing incident at a Donald Trump rally.

Rakeem Jones was being led out of Trump’s rally by Cumberland County officers at Fayetteville’s Crown Coliseum for attempting to disrupt the event. As Jones was being led out, John McGraw sucker punched him in front of the police; but it was Jones who was thrust to the ground, handcuffed, and arrested. McGraw continued to watch the rally without so much as being questioned by the police.

That was the news story from this incident, not Trump being universally accused of stoking racial fears and violence.

Oh, did I mention to you that Jones is a 26 year-old Black man and McGraw is a 78 year-old White male? This had nothing to do with race. This was a plain old assault, pure and simple.

But, for the liberal, biased media, it was manna sent from heaven.

You had the perfect setting for liberals to do what they do best—use the race card.

The backdrop of the event taking place in North Carolina was part of the old Confederacy of the Deep South; you had a 26 year-old Black male; and a 78 year-old White male straight out of central casting for a KKK movie; and if that wasn’t enough, you had a bigger than life personality named Donald Trump running for president as a Republican.

For the liberal media, this was like winning the lottery. What are the odds of having all these dynamics converge together in one place?

In one event, the media continued their attempts to tarnish Trump, call all Republicans racists, make McGraw the face of the Republican Party; and give Black liberals another opportunity to blame Republicans for every problem the Black community faces (God forbid that they would actually blame Obama’s policies for some of these issues.).

Without question, Trump needs to tone down some of his rhetoric, but to blame him for McGraw’s actions is akin to blaming a rape victim for how she was dressed.

Trump is not and cannot be held responsible for the illegal actions of a 78 year-old man. Period.

If Trump was speaking to a group of teenagers, then I would be more inclined to accept his culpability in them engaging in some illegal activity. Teenagers, by their sheer lack of maturity, are impressionable and can easily be persuaded into acting irresponsibly and illegally, but I am not willing to be so understanding when it comes to adults.

The media has all but ignored the fact that Jones was assaulted right in front of several policemen and the perpetrator was allowed to remain free. Time after time we have seen a Black be the victim of a crime, but yet somehow the victim seems to be the one arrested and not the perpetrator.

In previous columns I have asked and I will continue to ask, what is happing in America that police continue to ignore crimes committed against Blacks even when they are witnesses to the crime?

There has been little discussion in the media as to why it took almost 24 hours before the Fayetteville police questioned and arrested McGraw.

But instead, the media used this occasion to continue their smear of Trump and all things Republican.
The media’s coverage of this event is bordering on journalistic malpractice. This is totally irresponsible and playing to the racial fears so prevalent in our country.

If you don’t agree with Donald Trump, then don’t go to his rallies. You have absolutely no constitutional right to attend someone’s rally with the sole intent to disrupt it.

The media has been derelict in its obligation to report the news accurately and impartially.

The media has refused to report the fact that radical liberal financier, George Soros, has given multiple millions of dollars to groups like MoveOn.org to disrupt Republican events.

MoveOn.Org orchestrated the disturbance at Trump’s rally last week in Chicago.

Why has the media not reported on this fact? The groups don’t even deny the fact that they are creating these protests in order to embarrass Trump with the full knowledge that the media is in the tank for them.

So, to the media and the all the political pundits out there blaming Trump for this supposed violence, I want you to also blame all the rapes against women on the fact that they wear short dresses or drank too much alcohol.

When you do this, then I will be the first one to criticize Trump on his hyperbolic language.

RELATED ARTICLE: Kasich co-chair on Trump: ‘You’ve got to take him out with a head shot’

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA. The featured image is courtesy of TPM.

Election Fraud in Turkey: Erdogan’s Ballot Stuffing ‘Victory’

Turkish President Erdogan was handed an electoral defeat on June 1st, losing his AKP super majority in the Ankara parliament offset by seats won by the opposition, notably the 13 percent assumed by the Kurdish led-HDP.  The question was what he would do after he stiff armed opposition participation in a possible ruling coalition, opting instead for a care taker government. That and calling for a snap election on November 1st hoping that things would improve. In the interim Erdogan attacked the Kurdish PKK inside Turkey, bombed allied PKK forces in Iraq and Syria and declared virtual martial law in largely Kurdish southeastern Turkey. October 10th witnessed twin blasts at a peace rally in Ankara with HDP leadership killing over 102 and injuring several hundred. A rally notably without the usual heavy security details. PM Davutoglu declared it an act by ISIS; others suggested it may have been the work of Turkish intelligence.  The polls taking over the run up to the election showed that the opposition would possible block an AKP resurgence.  The answer came on November 1st with what some observed as a ‘surprise victory’ for this Islamist regime seeking to create a neo-Ottoman Caliphate. It was an apparent victory built on evident ballot fraud.

My usual astute European observer of things in Turkey sent me this comment in an email on Sunday, November 1st:

The election results were a shock to many and although the election authority was giving partial results for a while at about 19.30 Turkish time they closed the site and might have manipulated the outcome of the votes to bring out the actual results. Of course, this is a supposition among many others.

P.M. Davutoglu has already come out with a declaration that they have to change the constitution to a executive presidential one. Time will tell us how extremist the country will become.

istanbul vote count

Picture of Istanbul vote count November 1, 2015.

That was followed by an email from “Erdogan Failure” presenting evidence in the accompanying picture of what could be ballot stuffing in Erdogan’s stronghold of Istanbul:

It seems that by 1030 PM last night, each individual Turkish voter in Istanbul cast 1.66 votes. (Meaning: 10,316,871 voters cast 17,104,607 votes in Istanbul.)

How interesting!  Where did the additional 6,787,736 come from and from whom did they vote?  Maybe some dead people might have voted as well.

Or maybe just that our schools have flunked teaching math to our government’s employees.

Now, we are also attaching another image from the official Turkish government website.  It appears that the government realized it was caught lying and then wrote:

25. The election results website is temporarily out of service.

26. Once the election results are finalized, we will publish these results on this site.

How stupid does our government think our people and our foreign friends think we and they are?  Will our foreign friends realize that the published results were fraud? Or maybe this is what has happened to our democracy.  We have become like our neighbors to the south. God must not love us, because he is humiliating us with this disgrace.

Daniel Pipes posted this on National Review’s The Corner with the apt title, “Turkey’s Election Results Stink of Fraud

The AKP’s huge increase gave it back the parliamentary majority it had lost in the June 2015 elections, promising President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a semi-legal path to the dictatorial powers he aspires to. But, to me, the results stink of fraud. It defies reason, for example, that the AKP’s war on Kurds would prompt about a quarter of Turkey’s Kurds to abandon the pro-Kurdish party and switch their votes to the AKP. As news of irregularities comes in, Michael Rubin of AEI summed up the problems at Commentary, “Erdogan steals an Election:”

[Something’s rotten in Anatolia. While some Western journalists are describing as “a surprise landslide victory” the decisive win by President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Sunday’s election parliamentary election in Turkey, nothing in Turkey today happens by chance. Institutions are so thoroughly corrupted that anyone who considers the results to accurately represent the will of Turks is foolish.]

Back in March 2014 when the AKP appeared to dominate local election results, Rubin wrote, “Did Fraud Sway the Turkish Election:”

Turkish political analysts attribute Erdo?an’s cheating quotient at around 5 percent — that takes into account stuffed ballots, shenanigans on the state-run Turkish Airlines as it transports ballots from abroad, disappeared ballot boxes from opposition-run towns and districts, and pretty much everything involving the mayor of Ankara. In the case of Sunday’s elections, it appears that Erdo?an’s AKP won the votes of hundreds of thousands of dead people.

Given the history of fraud in Turkey’s elections, that this one was rigged comes as no shock, especially as rumors swirled in advance about sophisticated efforts to manipulate the results. The citizens of Turkey now face the decisive question of whether to accept or reject the results of this election. Which will prevail — fear of Erdogan’s ruthlessness or anger at his swindle? Sadly, because his electoral coup d’état has blocked the path of democracy, should Turks resist, they are compelled to do so in non-democratic ways.

Foundation for Defense, non-resident Senior Fellow, a former CHP Republican Former Turkish Parliamentarian,  Aykan Erdemir wrote a Politico. EU analysis with the headline, “A defiant Erdogan rides back to power on a wave of violence.   Erdemir had six takeaways from Erdogan’s latest dictatorial grab for power:

  1. Violence wins – a reference to Erodgan’s war against the PKK internally, in Iraq and Syria. Then there is the yet to be  disclosed who were behind the October 10th twin blasts in Ankara that killed over 102 and injured more than 400 hundred  with no security present at the peace rally led by the Kurdish HDP and trade union allies.
  2. Turkey descends further into competitive authoritarianism – a score settling crackdown by Erdogan looms against media, businesses and NGO’s denying democratic rights.
  3. The Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) is here to stay – HDP claimed slightly over 10 percent of the 550 parliamentary seats, despite AKP stuffing 1 million ballots switch in Kurdish districts.
  4. Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) has committed suicide – “they lost a quarter of their votes. This, however, was a disaster in the making. Since the June elections, the MHP refused to enter into any coalition, failed to undertake proactive policies and purged most of its competent members from candidate lists.”
  5. A Pyrrhic victory for the AKP – “If the elections end up highlighting Turkey’s image as a grudgingly democratic authoritarian regime, it could turn into a Pyrrhic victory for the AKP as it suffers the economic costs and political consequences of Turkey’s drift away from the transatlantic world.”
  6. This could be the beginning of the end for Davitoglu Erodogan duo –“These elections failed to provide Erdo?an with the super-majority he needed to bestow upon himself the executive presidential powers he covets. Prime minister Davuto?lu, however, has won a significant victory, proving his leadership skills and strengthening his credentials within the AKP. If the two fail to arrive at a modus vivendi about the future parameters of power sharing, election celebrations could soon lead to brutal infighting in the AKP ranks, adding further fuel to Turkey’s political chaos and conflict.”

Erdogan received a congratulatory phone call from Chancellor Angela Merkel hoping they can cut a deal for EU funding of Syrian refugee camps and get a sweet Visa deal for Turkish Nationals. The Turkish bourse and Lira foreign exchange may have had a brief spike.  However,  with a mountain of external debt and rampant inflation, Erdogan may find that foreign investors may not have an appetite for funding his growing autocracy after this election.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Obama faces Veto Dilemmas at the United Nations and 114th Congress

As 2014 was closing a vote on a draft resolution introduced by the Jordanian UN Ambassador at the Security Council hit what may be a temporary speed bump for PA President Abbas. He is striving g to impose a draconian solution to the long simmering dispute on the Jewish nation of Israel. The draft resolution failed to achieve the requisite 9 votes, losing by one vote.  The US and Australia voted no.  Five others abstained including the UK, Lithuania, South Korea and Nigeria. France, Luxembourg, Russia, China, Jordan, Chile, Argentina, and Chad voted in favor of the draft resolution. The draft resolution sought to fix a one year deadline for negotiations on declaration of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem based on the infamous War 1949 Armistice line. What fabled Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban deemed the “Auschwitz line”.  The draft resolution would require the end of the alleged ‘occupation’ of the West Bank by Israel losing its control over the Jordan Valley approaches and protection of over 350,000 Israelis in both Samaria and Judea.

Virtually on the announcement of the vote, PA President Abbas, now serving in the tenth year of an elected four year term, signed 20 UN covenants including the Rome Treaty making it eligible for observer status at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. That would enable it to bring a charge of war crimes against Israel. This will confront the ICC with a choice between recognition of anti-Israel issues versus international law matters. Further, the unilateral move by Abbas will likely cause the incoming GOP led Congress to consider retaliatory legislation further consternating Administration diplomacy in the region.  Israeli PM Netanyahu countered saying:

The one who should fear the International Criminal Court at The Hague is the Palestinian Authority, which is in a unity government with Hamas, a declared terrorist organization like ISIS that commits war crimes.

We will take steps in response and we will defend the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world. We will repel this latest effort to force diktats on us, just as we have repelled the Palestinian turn to the UN Security Council.

 US UN Ambassador Power blasted the PA vote because it precluded consideration of security guarantees outlined in UNSC Res. 242 for Israel to have defensible borders.  She noted in her remarks, “The deadlines in the resolution take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.” The State Department director of its press office, Jeff Rathke, criticized  the PA saying:

 We are deeply troubled by today’s Palestinian action regarding the ICC. Today’s action is entirely counterproductive and does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.

Palestinian Resolution reprise Veto

Besides the ICC ploy, the PA was anything but supine. The change in the non-permanent membership of the UNSC might afford them another opportunity to re-submit the draft resolution, possibly obtaining the requisite 9 votes.   As former US UN Ambassador John Bolton in a Wall Street Journal op Ed published today, “The U.N. Vote on Palestine Was a Rehearsal,”   wrote, “An influx of new Security Council members means a likely ‘yes’ vote – and a veto dilemma for Obama.” Obama, as we have noted previously in Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic interview gave a broad hint that the US might abstain.

Bolton notes in his WSJ op ed the elements of this dilemma that may shortly face the Administration:

A firmer U.S. strategy might have prevented the dilemma from arising. The White House’s opening diplomatic error was in sending strong signals to the media and U.S. allies that Mr. Obama, wary of offending Arab countries, was reluctant to veto any resolution favoring a Palestinian state. Secretary of State John Kerry took pains not to offer a view of the resolution before it was taken up. Such equivocation was a mistake because even this administration asserts that a permanent resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict requires direct negotiations and agreements among the parties themselves.

No draft resolution contrary to these precepts should be acceptable to the U.S., or worth wasting time on in the diplomatic pursuit of a more moderate version. This American view, advocated for years and backed by resolute threats to veto anything that contradicted it, has previously dissuaded the Palestinians from blue-smoke-and-mirror projects in the Security Council.

Bolton addresses how the reprise could shortly occur:

Several factors support a swift Palestinian reprise. First, they obtained a majority of the Security Council’s votes, even if not the required supermajority of nine. In today’s U.N., the eight affirmative votes constitute a moral victory that virtually demand vindication, and sooner rather than later.

Second, the text of Jordan’s resolution was wildly unbalanced even by U.N. standards—for example, it demands a solution that “brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967,” and calls for “security arrangements, including through a third-party presence, that guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine.” A few meaningless tweaks here and there and several countries that abstained could switch to “yes.” Third, on Jan. 1 five of the Security Council’s 10 nonpermanent members stepped down (their two-year terms ended), replaced by five new members more likely to support the Palestinian effort.

Consider how Wednesday’s vote broke down, and what the future may hold. Three of the Security Council’s five permanent members (France, China and Russia) supported Jordan’s draft. France’s stance is particularly irksome, since it provides cover for other Europeans to vote “yes.” The U.K. timidly abstained, proving that David Cameron is no Margaret Thatcher; the abstention signals that a more “moderately” worded resolution might be enough to flip London to a “yes.”

Washington cast the only permanent member’s “no” vote, which is characterized as a veto only when nine or more Security Council members vote in a draft resolution’s favor. Will President Obama now have the stomach to cast a real veto against a U.N. Charter majority backing the Palestinians? Is this the point where the “liberated” Mr. Obama allows a harsh anti-Israel resolution to pass?

Happy New Year, Jerusalem.

He notes the lineup of new rotating non-permanent members in the UNSC that could tip the vote over the required 9 votes:

Three “yes” votes came from Jordan, Chad and Chile, which all remain Security Council members in 2015. Two additional supporters, Argentina and Luxembourg, have been replaced, respectively, by Venezuela (no suspense there) and Spain. Spain narrowly won election in October, defeating Turkey after three ballots. Madrid might be expected to support Washington, but not necessarily, given recent EU hostility to Israel and the appeasers’ argument to soothe wounded Muslim feelings about Turkey’s loss by backing the Palestinians.

Only Australia joined the U.S. in voting “no.” Its successor, New Zealand, would either have abstained or voted affirmatively, according to Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

South Korea abstained, but its replacement, Malaysia, is a certain affirmative vote. Angola, taking Rwanda’s seat, is an abstention at best. While abstainers Lithuania and Nigeria remain, Nigeria’s Boko Haram problem could easily move it to “yes” as an olive branch to the Muslim world. And Lithuania, as a new member of the euro currency union, could well succumb to arguments for EU solidarity, especially if Britain also surrenders.

Bolton notes in conclusion:

The Obama administration can only prevent what it dreads by openly embracing a veto strategy, hoping thereby to dissuade pro-Palestinian states from directly confronting the U.S.

And if that fails, the veto should be cast firmly and resolutely, as we normally advocate our principles, not apologetically. As so often before on Middle Eastern issues, a veto would neither surprise nor offend most Arab governments. If the Administration had courage enough to make clear that a veto was inevitable, it would minimize whatever collateral damage might ensue in Arab lands. But don’t hold your breath.

Iran Sanctions Veto

However, this is not the only veto dilemma facing the Administration in 2015.   On Tuesday, December 30, 2014, Reuters reported  that Undersecretary of The Treasury for Finance and Terrorism, David Cohen issued new financial sanctions “against nine targets who Washington says have helped Tehran avoid existing sanctions or commit human rights abuses.”    The IRNA news agency noted these comments by an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham saying: “At a time negotiations are underway with P5+1, such a move raises doubts about America’s intentions and violates the good will principles” “This action is for mere publicity and will have no bearing whatsoever on our commercial policies,”

Just prior to the onset of Republican control of the 114th Session of Congress on January 6, 2015, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk gave an interview on December 28, 2014  on Fox News Sunday following statements by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham that new sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program may be brought up for an early vote.

That followed an NPR interview with President Obama that he might be prepared to use his veto authority on specific legislation passed by the new Congress.  Kirk in the Sunday Fox interview indicated that 17 Democrats, including New Jersey’s Bob Menendez and New York’s Charles Schumer may have the requisite votes to pass new stronger sanctions legislation against Iran’s nuclear program in view of the Islamic regime fobbing off failed P5+1 negotiations . Those 17 Democratic Senate votes would make such a measure veto proof. This puts President Obama in a difficult situation regarding his engagement of the Islamic Regime in Tehran. A regime that has successfully outmaneuvered the P5+1 and Administration and likely has already achieved nuclear breakout. Omri Ceren chronicled this in a Commentary article,“Enabling Iran’s Nukes” saying, “The lies began at the very beginning with American assurances had secured a ‘halt’ in Iranian nuclear program.”   This is a matter of great concern to Israel’s PM Netanyahu who would support such Congressional action on tougher Iran sanctions.  Watch the Fox News interview with Sen. Kirk.

Iran is feeling the ravaging of its economy due to the loss of revenue from oil and gas production.  Given the precipitous fall in world energy prices, due in part to the drop in demand and the vaulting of US energy production to first rank in 2015.  That has forced Iran to suggest that fellow OPEC member Saudi Arabia cooperates to cut production. This is an unlikely prospect since the Saudis are unwilling to relent given their $750 billion dollar hard currency reserve cushion.

We shall shortly see whether President Obama will issue vetoes at the UNSC against a reprise of the Palestinian draft resolution and another against tougher sanctions legislation passed on a bi-partisan basis in the new Republican controlled Congress against the Iranian nuclear program.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.