Cliff May

The debt crisis, chronic high unemployment, the tumbling stock market, the credit downgrade — these are — fairly obviously — symptoms of an economy in distress. We might disagree about the best policy responses. But perhaps we can agree on the worst: Borrow massive amounts of money from the Communists who want to diminish us and transfer that wealth to the jihadis who want to destroy us. Surprise: That long has been U.S. government policy. Both Democrats and Republicans have endorsed it and, so far at least, it remains in place.

This reality was driven home last week when China’s rulers, who sit on at least $1.16 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities, scolded “debt-ridden Uncle Sam,” instructing Washington that “the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone.”

At about the same time, it was announced that Rostam Ghasemi would be the next president of OPEC, the cartel that controls much of the world’s oil and manipulates its price on global markets. Unsavory characters have run OPEC in the past, but this smashes all records: Ghasemi is a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps — the Brown Shirts of a regime that has been murdering Americans for more than a quarter century and which is openly dedicated to the proposition that a “world without America is . . . achievable.”

Ghasemi is under EU and U.S. sanctions for his involvement in terrorism and nuclear proliferation. He also, until recently, headed Khatam al-Anbiya (KAA), the “industrial division” of the Guards, an entity deeply involved in the exploitation of Iranian oil, also under EU and U.S. sanctions — and U.N. sanctions, too.

The EU passed its sanctions with great fanfare last June, highlighting strict travel bans on designated persons as a particularly meaningful penalty. But — another surprise — the EU left a loophole in its law: An exception to the travel ban will allow Ghasemi, as Iran’s new oil minister and president of OPEC, to travel to Vienna to attend meetings of an international organization.

To say this more succinctly: OPEC will now be headed by an Iranian terrorist master, but sanctions on him will be waived to help him do his new job, which is to squeeze out of Americans and Europeans as much money as possible, which he’ll use to fund terrorism and illegal nuclear proliferation. If you’d read this in a novel, you’d say the plot was not believable.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.