Jack's first two paragraphs.
Much has been made of the challenges confronting President Barack Obama, who assumes office in what appear to be the early stages of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. More should be made of the opportunities he faces.
We Americans are more than $2 trillion poorer, and counting, as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, and our confidence has been badly shaken. But power is relative. The United States is more powerful today relative to our adversaries than at any time since Aug. 29, 1949, when the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb.
So to nutshell his nutshell description it's a situation of, "Yes, things are bad but they're so much worse elsewhere so in comparison President Obama should have the advantage."
More beneficial than the relief the oil price collapse provides to our pocketbooks is the harm it does to our enemies.Oddly for Jack, this is more or less true. From the NYTimes:
Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who kicked out foreign oil companies from his country in 2007, is now begging them to return.
President Hugo Chávez, buffeted by falling oil prices that threaten to damage his efforts to establish a Socialist-inspired state, is quietly courting Western oil companies once again.Jack, of course, can't resist:
Until recently, Mr. Chávez had pushed foreign oil companies here into a corner by nationalizing their oil fields, raiding their offices with tax authorities and imposing a series of royalties increases.
But faced with the plunge in prices and a decline in domestic production, senior officials have begun soliciting bids from some of the largest Western oil companies in recent weeks — including Chevron, Royal Dutch/Shell and Total of France — promising them access to some of the world’s largest petroleum reserves, according to energy executives and industry consultants here.
Their willingness to even consider investing in Venezuela reflects the scarcity of projects open to foreign companies in other top oil nations, particularly in the Middle East.But the shift also shows how the global financial crisis is hampering Mr. Chávez’s ideological agenda and demanding his pragmatic side. At stake are no less than Venezuela’s economic stability and the sustainability of his rule. With oil prices so low, the longstanding problems plaguing Petróleos de Venezuela, the national oil company that helps keep the country afloat, have become much harder to ignore.
What is essentially a victory in Iraq, coupled with the harm done to Iran by the oil price collapse and rising Sunni Muslim fear of Iran and her proxies, gives President Obama a more tractable situation in the Middle East than President Bush faced when he assumed office.Gee thanks, President Bush! This is the meme to watch, my friends. Now that it's "established" that there's "victory" in Iraq, any bad news coming out of Bush's war are now and forever will be on Obama's shoulders.
Of course, any bad news during Bush's administration were never his fault. (9/11? Blame the intelligence failures on Jamie Gorelick! Bush's first recession? The downturn started at the tail end of the Clinton Administration so it must be "The Clinton Recession." Bush's second recession? It all had something to do with the Carter-era CRA and something Barney Frank said! and so on). But now that there's a Democrat in the Oval, everything will be pinned on him.
Get used to it.