Israel

Yemen – Saleh’s death is the dangerous slice in the Iran & Saudi sandwich

A96F227B-6D4F-4BF1-B531-E63057A1FE99.jpeg

Even before the Arab Spring, CM (in a previous life) wrote that Yemen was a trouble spot. It’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh (Sunni) has died of natural causes – he was assassinated in a spate of tribal violence in the capital Sana’a yesterday. No stranger to being an oppressive tyrant during his rule, after being ousted in the Arab Spring he was in recent years working with the Houthi tribe (Shi’ite) to regain power before switching back to a US backed Saudi-friendly deal maker. He proved that power is more important than religious sect. However the Houthi weren’t prepared to suffer a turncoat who betrayed them so Saleh was duly dealt with.

Why is Saleh’s death important? What it now does is give Saudi Arabia more will to take more decisive action against the Iran backed Houthi. It is no surprise that Saudi Arabia has cleaned house with the arrests of  royal family members to tighten the inner circle. It smells like the early stages of broader tit-for-tat skirmishes before all out conflict ensues. Yemen is often argued as a proxy war between the two.

While many are distracted by the US Embassy to Jerusalem as an unnecessary ‘in-the-face” action, it is a very firm line in the sand to where the US cards already lie. No big surprises. For now most Gulf States want Israel on their side to help them defend against and ultimately defeat Iran.

D308E9D7-E0B4-4546-A341-A98939271394

At the narrow Bab al-Mandeb Strait separating Yemen and Djibouti/Eritrea, cargo ships make their way up the Red Sea to the Suez Canal, could become a major choke point. This year multiple US, Saudi and Emirati warships have been attacked by Houthi rebel forces. In January 2017 a  Saudi al-Madinah frigate was sunk in the strait. An Emirati HSV-2 swift naval craft was also put out of action in late 2015.

01A2C85F-C3AE-483F-9900-E7EB5764F689

Safe access to the strait is crucial at present because of Egypt’s reliance on imported LNG to maintain stable electricity supply. One LNG tanker heads to Egypt each weeknight through the canal. Just under 10% of global trade goes through it as well. Any blockage or restricted access would force ships to sail the long way around the Horn of Africa adding another 40% to the journey. This would have significant impacts on shipping and trade. Markets aren’t factoring anything at this stage.

The problem with naval conflict is that Yemen is backed by Iran which in turn is one of Russia’s best clients. Iran possesses the SS-N-22 Sunburn missile which is a supersonic anti-ship missile which even the US has no answer for. In recent years this has been upgraded to the Super Sunburn (P-270) which is even more lethal. It is a ramjet which travels at Mach-3 meaning if fired inside a 100km range then the target is likely to be toast (video here). It can be launched from a ship, submarine or land.

3DA09AB4-C3B0-46A6-827E-F2DB7682F290.jpeg

Iran could blame a whole host of tribes (Sunni or Shia) sick of being under the jackboot of effective Saudi control/influence for an attack.

On December 2, Israeli jets bombed an Iranian military weapons base in Syria. Israel has warned Iran it won’t tolerate any military presence on Syrian soil. We shouldn’t forget that China has also deployed its special forces to Syria to help Assad. Clearly the Chinese see a good opportunity to clean up some of the spoils in the region. China is always happy to help out nations that are under sanction. It adds more mess into the geopolitical sphere.

While the GCC has stepped up its air attacks on Yemen post the death of Saleh, he was the only one that has been able to unite the country. Indeed it is possible that the secession of the south becomes an issue. At the time of reunification of North and South Yemen in 1990 many in the south felt their northern neighbors were pillaging too much of their oil reserve wealth. Even their private land was appropriated and spread among the Sana’a elite. Now that Saleh has gone, and Yemen fragmented again, we may see old scores settled. The Southern Movement (loyal to exiled President Hadi) in Yemen wants to take back what was stolen from them. So Saleh’s death may open a vacuum of more instability.

Iran would relish the opportunity of a fractured Yemen to further build its influence. Bab al-Mandeb may become a flashpoint to fight the proxy war. It is extremely messy, creates proper disruption and pushes Saudi Arabia and Iran closer to conflict.

Which ever way you cut it, diplomacy in the Middle East (what little there is) looks set to worsen. In a sense we are dealing with two large clients of Russia (Iran) and America (SA). Now China is siding with Russian interests by using it as a test run of its military muscle. China isn’t committing anything major but it wants to be at the negotiating table when it all goes pear shaped.

It smells very similar to the lead up to the Arab Spring. More turmoil and complacent markets which are not quite absorbing the realities of “local problems” spreading to another neighborhood. Sure we’ve seen many leaders overthrown in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and so on in the last uprising but the pressure on Saudi is mounting hence the recent crackdown internally.

The other dark horse is Erdogan in Turkey. He is facing a corruption probe over money laundering to help Iran evade sanctions and he seems keen to externalise his problems so he can shut down the local threat. He is threatening to cut off ties with Israel if the US relocates the embassy but for a man with clear ambitions to revive the Ottoman Empire that fell less than 100 years ago that is a mere formality in the future.

The flashpoint remains Yemen. It has the perfect storm of a pawn in a global game of chess. While it whiffs of local tribes seeking revenge there are too many willing to help them achieve their aims which only plays to the broader ructions throughout the rest of the Middle East. Last week Houthi rebels launched a missile attack against the UAE nuclear power plant under construction. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Thoughts for the day – Group think, crypto and taxi drivers

6FE1E60D-D240-464D-AB5A-E4305B63F7E6

It is important to challenge convention. I have had countless questions from people on bitcoin and crypto lately. Sort of reminded me of the above. Perhaps the golden rule of investing doesn’t lie in complex models and sci-fi scenario analysis but the simple question of whenever an overwhelming majority think something is great, it is time to take the opposing view and vice versa. I haven’t been in a taxi yet to confirm Bitcoin is overdone. As I put it – gold needs to be dug out of the ground with effort. The thing that spooks me about crypto (without trying to sound conspiracy theorist) is that state actors (most top end computer science grads in China end up working in the country’s cyber warfare teams), hackers or criminal minds (did you know 70% of top end computer science grads in Russia end up working for the mob (directly or indirectly) the value of coins in the system could be instantaneously wiped out at the stroke of a key. We’ve had small hiccups ($280m) only last week. So as much as the ‘security’ of these crypto currencies is often sold as bulletproof, none of them are ‘cyberproof’.

Think of why your Norton, Kaspersky or Trend Micro anti-virus software requires constant upgrading to prevent new threats trying to exploit new vulnerabilities in systems. We need only go back to the Stuxnet virus of 2010 which was installed inside computers controlling uranium centrifuges in Iran. The operators had no idea. The software told the brain of the centrifuges to spin at multiples faster than design spec could handle all the while the computer interface of the operators showed everything normal. After a while the machines melted down causing the complete destruction of the centrifuges which were controlled from a remote location.

So much in life is simple. Yet we have lawyers writing confusing sentences that carry on for pages and pages, politicians complicating simple tasks, oil companies trying to convince us their additives are superior to others and so on. The reality is we just have to ask ourselves that one question from Mark Twain,

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

Israel & Saudi cooperation a surprise to Bloomberg News

5D0789BE-0D36-4DCE-9373-A0DFA0A77914

Bloomberg has written a puff piece wrapped in surprise on how the Saudi’s are likely to seek Israeli approval for a bridge which crosses from a new city Neom to Africa. There is one reason and one alone – Israel has a naval base at the Port of Eilat (in blue) at the southern tip of the country. If the height of the bridge is too low and surface naval ships can’t pass then the navy would be boxed in. Almost like ships in the Black Sea. So of course the Saudis won’t do it single handedly.

As much as people might think the Saudis hate Israel, they acknowledge the security Israel buys them vis-a-vis defending against a mutual enemy in the form of the Iranians who are active on SA’s southern border with Yemen. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been active in Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Lebanon and Iraq in recent decades supplying weapons and training. So sometimes mutual benefits (peace between the two countries) outweighs trying to  pull a fast one on them. It is likely the US State Department might send a friendly reminder of what is at stake geopolitically. In actual fact this discussion has been ongoing for a long time.

Hunger strike to protest conditions or his own political party?

IMG_0515

Much publicity surrounds the hunger strike by Palestinian inmates over conditions in Israeli prisons. The movement is being led by Marwan Hasib Ibrahim Barghouti, a Palestinian political figure convicted and imprisoned on 5 counts of murder. What many press reports fail to note is that this is more about attacking Fatah than Israel, although the latter brings welcome global condemnation. Barghouti is often thought of a successor to Abbas. His move is an attempt to send a message to the Fatah leadership and to Abbas, who excluded his representatives from a recently held Central Committee meeting which didn’t give him the position of deputy chair to the Palestinian Authority. He is influential even from jail.

What The Guardian and other papers failed to qualify is the prisoners demands go to wanting more TV channels and access to “mobile” phones. Banning the use of mobile phones in prison is a no brainer. Mobile phones are often smuggled into prisons but their ban makes complete sense and interference technology is often required as a safety precaution. Prisoner phone calls are monitored for obvious reasons. Access to education is a sticking point due to the rescinding of such rights for convicted terrorists in 2011. All other inmates are entitled to government sponsored education. Palestinian prisoners are after the resumption of a second monthly visit by family members which was a benefit that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) cancelled due to budget cuts.

The Israeli Prison Services facilities, interrogation rooms, and the IDF provisional detention centers are visited by the ICRC and other bodies. They meet all international guidelines. There are 7,000 Palestinian inmates. By way of reference there are 18,000 prisoners in Israeli jails, excluding 15,000 Israeli military personnel incarcerated for being AWOL (70%) or charged with disciplinary violations (25%).

While Israeli prison conditions may not be the pinnacle of luxury, compared to countries that fail international guidelines (e.g. Thailand where more than 260,000 inmates are incarcerated in 148 prisons with an original capacity of less than 120,000) where is the international outrage over that? Thai prisoners are regularly shackled, beaten and stuffed into overcrowded cells. In Venezuela this year a mass grave with 15 bodies – several of them beheaded – was discovered inside the General Penitentiary in Guárico. Corruption, weak security details, aging infrastructure, overcrowding, poorly trained and insufficient guards allow armed gangs to exercise effective control over inmate populations. The government still hasn’t properly investigated years of ‘missing’ prisoners that have been recorded as ‘escaped’. The 15 bodies were discovered by workers who were updating the prison’s infrastructure.

What did people expect? Understanding Middle Eastern politics

IMG_9638.JPG

One would have to be as isolated as a Japanese Imperial Army soldier discovered 40 years after the war ended to be surprised at Trump’s strike on Syria after a gassing. Do people honestly think drawing criticism from Iran or Russia is some mysterious happening? This is sadly the result of 8 years of impotent foreign policy which made America a laughing stock to despots. From Michelle Obama hashtagging Boko Haram on Twitter to release kidnapped school girls to allowing China to build man made islands in disputed territories.

Blowing up infrastructure in another sovereign nation is always going to create its own set of problems and questions. However the response from bully nations who have been used to running the school yard in recent times are naturally going to feel precious when given a taste of their own medicine.

As mentioned in the previous dispatch, geopolitical jigsaws aren’t first derivative. They’re usually 2nd,3rd and 4th interconnections.

Iran has long used Syria as a ‘highway’ into Lebanon to maintain influence in the region. Russia has only been too glad to be its arms supplier of choice. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been present in Syria for decades and ever since the Arab Spring has been making sure Assad keeps the highway open to Lebanon. Does it surprise you that Iran has been active in Yemen with the Houthi tribe to overthrow the Saudi loyal government in Sana’a and create instability in Riyadh?

When the US pulled out of Iraq in 2011 they left a huge power vacuum which was filled with pro-Iranian elements. Then Shi’ite Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki had worked with the US to clean out pro-Sunni Saddam- loyalists and when Obama withdrew al-Maliki sold them out. He then accused the US of backing ISIS to reestablish a military presence in Iraq in 2014.

For Russia, Syria gives it a naval port and access to geopolitical weapons to exploit against the West. If the US puts missile defenses in Poland or the Czech Republic, Putin can flare up a crisis in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia values Israel. Not on any religious grounds but as a buffer against Iran.  Far better to have a strong power act on their behalf than risk direct confrontation. It makes sense. Iran use Syria and Hizbollah to supply Palestine with rockets to nip at the heels of Israel and make them look like oppressors. That brings worldwide condemnation and led the likes of Obama to abstain from a vote to undermine a loyal ally.

So people need to separate fact from fiction. Trump is keen on reestablishing American dominance on the world stage. Foreign policy is never a pleasant or easy business when dealing with nations who have long histories and longer memories. The missile strikes in Syria were multi faceted. On one hand to counter chemical attacks. On the other to put Russia back in its box showing a new kid is on the block and Putin will gain far more being inside the tent pissing out than on the outside pissing in.

Of course the foreign ministries are sending strong messages of anger, condemnation and a halt to cooperation. That is page 1 section 1 of the manual. Cooler heads prevail and countries move to working out how to turn an ugly situation that allows Russia to keep skin in the game, the US to look tough again and the overthrow of Assad (he can live in Zimbabwe) without leaving a huge vacuum. In case you were wondering most of the pro-Iranian Syrian  Army top brass are Sunni. To them the luxuries they are afforded as elites outweighs their religious preference.

Markets will react. The mainstream media will dig up conspiracy theories and predict we’re on the brink of war but this is Trumps’s first message to the world – That guy you had for the last 8 years is no longer around. Things are different under new management.

Trump is unpredictable and whether we like it or not that actually makes the best leader to tackle such crises. One always has to second guess the real intentions of someone who can change on a whim.

Don’t believe the hype.

Be careful of what you wish for

IMG_0275.JPG

Be careful of what you wish for. It might come true. What astounds me is that there is still a large contingent of people that will stop at nothing to bury Trump. They almost have lost complete perspective of what they are doing such is their thirst to see him kicked out of office. All the while his popularity continues to rise with 55% of Americans in a Rasmussen Reports approve of his job as POTUS. However perhaps more disturbing is the idea that intelligence agencies are deliberately leaking sensitive information in an attempt to overthrow the government.

Two things here. One is wrong doing. Of course illegal activity whether a homeless man or a president can’t be condoned.

Second is the manner of how such information is handled. Many articles and posts I have read are ecstatic that information has been leaked to a biased mainstream media. There are official ways to conduct proper investigations. Those who condone sliming by technically illegal manners need their heads read.  One would think they could put Julian Assange out of a job at the same time be because why not give everyone access to everything? .

I have written in the past that how one leaves a job is more important than how one starts a job. After the election victory of Trump, Obama went on a rampage laying landmines in the White House lawns. At almost every turn he set out to undermine the incoming man. I think this typifies his legacy. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such political vandalism before. While he has every right to exercise presidential powers TIL his last day in the interests of the country one would think that consulting the incoming president would be the honorable thing to do. However there he was signing refugee deals with Australia, spitting on Israel, cutting sizable cheques to the Palestinian Authority and the big one!

In its final days, the Obama Administration expanded the power of the National Security Agency (NSA) which enabled it to share globally intercepted personal communication with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying any privacy protections. No longer would communications be screened before sharing opening a whole new can of worms of more people sifting through data which may have no relevance.

The new rules were issued under section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 after they were approved by two of Obama’s own administration officials: Attorney-General Loretta Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Second, as the NY Times described on Jan 12,

“Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information…Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.”

While the argument is made that this EO was to improve coordination between government intelligence agencies in effect we’ve got too many cooks spoiling the broth. Handling sensitive information is a tough business. If there aren’t enough safety nets to prevent people leaking information to the press then we set up a situation where sabotage is masked as whistle blowing. I am quite sure there are so many dark secrets held in the vaults of the US intelligence apparatus over the decades that were people to discover everything about what laid in its vaults there would be marshal law. Freedoms would have to be curtailed because there would be rioting at the revelations.

I am not condoning lies, deceit or duplicitous behavior but intelligence agencies live and die by the “competitive intelligence” they hold with respect to their enemies. If the wrong type of data is leaked as an act of revenge we are inviting anarchy and from what I read on social media some do not seem to comprehend this point.

People voted in Trump to drain the swamp of exactly this type of ‘deep state’ (for the conspiracy theorists). However let us not kid ourselves to what Mr Obama has been up to since leaving office. It isn’t all about hanging out with Sir Richard Branson. 10 days after leaving office Obama’s spokesman Kevin Lewis said, “President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country.” 

Paul Sperry wrote,

“Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.

In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.

He’s doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organization set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.

IMG_0276.JPG

Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy, it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.

img_0278

Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account. In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.”

img_0284

I’m sure my liberal acquaintances will tell me that Obama’s actions are legit and within the realms of free speech and democracy but never have I heard of other leaders going to such lengths to sabotage a sitting president. Tony Blair runs a distant second on his Brexit Remain preaching.

Obama is forgetting the first rule of democracy. The people voted in Trump in because they repudiated Obama’s failure over 8 years to restore their destroyed fortunes. Talk about obstruction in the House till the cows come home, George W Bush wasn’t out there in a Stetson, cowboy boots and a lasso trying to corral Obama from destroying his legacy (albeit not much to defend). A growing number of people are getting fed up the biased narrative and obstruction to let Trump complete a task of doing what he promised. Many of them may be struggling, white and only possess a high school diploma but they want their livelihoods fixed and Obama proved he was as useless as many former presidents in arresting the gap between the haves and the have nots. That is why Clinton was not going to win. She was totally out of touch with the deplorables.

Yes, people will throw sub 5% unemployment and a raft of Occupy Democrats fact sheets (which are actually comical to the extent that the claims are often completely irrelevant) at me but I throw 12mn (+33%) more people on food stamps back at them for starters. Ineffective foreign policy, a doubling of the debt, the most pages of regulation of any president period and the disaster that has become Obamacare. That’s why Trump won. People had enough and the fact that the press still go to default defilade only infuriates them more. As mentioned earlier, Rasmussen notes his popularity is rising.

Switching  back to leaking confidential information. You have to question many people’s love of country to wish for the downfall of a democractically elected leader by ANY means including unethical, illegal practices or sabotage that would have them foaming at the mouth were it Obama or one of their own side. Were Trump to be booted on the basis of a targeted campaign I would wager that his supporters would not take it well and perhaps become unhinged themselves. They desperately want change and to have him taken out of the picture on spiteful trivialities would shatter their hopes and dreams.

The actions of the regressive left speak volumes. They still do not comprehend what led Trump to the White House. It doesn’t matter that many don’t agree with all he is doing and the manner in which he does it. Many may dislike his inability to sound eloquent and his press conference where he dusted the media again actually won him hearts and minds among his followers even if others blast him for blathering.  Trump doesn’t have a troupe of image creation flunkies to polish his presentations to make him sound like a seasoned politician. Yes, as a politician he is deeply flawed which is the attraction. People don’t want politicians who let them down time after time. The press still don’t know how to play him. What people see, for all of the bravado and hyperbole, is the real article. The same man that won the election. I wrote time and time again in the election campaign that he came across as genuine. Hillary Clinton looked old hat. More of the same.

Sadly I view so much of what I read on social media as a reflection of our society today. Full of self entitled people telling others how to live their lives. Mocking them without taking the slightest bit of time to understand why they feel that way. Retweeting or sharing articles that are baseless in content and even shallower in quality. Even left leaning Bill Maher said he was inviting Milo Yiannopoulos on his show because journalists who boycott the show, such as Jeremy Scahill, are the reason “liberals will continue to lose elections.” MILO responded to Scahill with “if you can’t turn up and defend your ideas, you lose. It’s that simple.”

Like the title says – Be careful what you wish for. Pushing for every possible avenue to undermine a man put in a job by citizens who had enough of being forgotten will not take kindly to those actions. While liberals think they are attacking him and him alone they are in reality targeting 64mn others and potentially many more. That is a dangerous fight to be picking. But of course you won’t hear that from the mainstream media. They’re accomplices in the quest to play the man not the ball. Is it any wonder a NY Times subscription is still 50% off? Wait a minute it is now 60% off.

img_9409

Allowing the eyes to by-pass the brain on the way to the fingertips

IMG_0195.JPG

Society certainly brings out the best and worst in people. With social media more often than not it is the worst. The press narrative is bi-polar. The ability for rational thought has been utterly cast to the dustbin. Where can one find some balance? Social media is little more than an electronic version of Chinese whispers. Where one tweet taken out of context drives its own set of hashtags and flash mobs. Nowadays I disregard 95% of what I read. I end up doing my own reporting. Reading esoteric papers. Pouring through reams of looked over government data sets that no one pays attention to. It is a gold mine.  There is a reason why they don’t make a habit of publishing it – it is not politically consumable.

I had always held Trump would win the election. I was ridiculed and worse by some who refused to consider the facts. My assumption was completely devoid of what I thought of him or his policies. I banged on incessantly about the sorry state of the”economy” and how the headline figures espoused by so many Democrats masked increasing levels of poverty and inequality. They didn’t want to believe it. They only heard what they wanted to hear and only read what they wanted to read. Nothing has changed.

Scroll forward to the #muslimban. Yes, the seven countries nominated by Trump for the 3mth ban are predominantly Muslim. Could you deduce a large slug of the policy (even if not explicitly written) was targeted at vetting potential Islamic terrorists? Most certainly. Was it handled poorly? Without question. Yet why didn’t people show the same levels of guffaws when Obama put a ban on Iraqis attaining visas in 2011 for 6 months after the discovery of Al Qaeda terrorists among refugees? Effectively the same policy yet no protests and social media meltdowns. No one bats an eyelid that 16 countries ban Jews from traveling there. That must be acceptable because, well anything anti-Israel is. When George Bush signed in the Secure Fence Act of 2006 to prevent illegal immigration and drug trafficking who voted in favour? Senators Clinton and Obama. It seems that the ‘side’ is more important than the act. Regardless of what one thinks of the act, if you read the headlines you would deduce the ban was permanent. What is the underlying sentiment? Rasmussen Reports noted 57% of Americans supported Trump’s ban and 33% repudiated it. More for than against.

No one criticized the inaction of the Gulf States since the Arab Spring which collectively took no one in while they bashed any so called heartless governments in the West relentlessly to increase the intake in what amounted to bingo. Now the King of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi agreed with Trump’s request to support safe zones for refugees in the Middle East. Why couldn’t President Obama achieve the same amount of cooperation in his tenure?

The press is going out of its way to paint the Hitler narrative on Trump. I’d happily support the view that Trump hasn’t exactly helped himself by going full speed on the executive orders although in reality he is only fulfilling election promises in short order – walls, immigration, healthcare etc.  The appointment of Bannon as a national security advisor raises questions of governance. It is far from a conventional presidency and that spooks people. Yet I fail to see the Hitler narrative

The irony is that voters could have stopped this supposed dictator from seeking office if the incumbent party had revived the economic fortunes for the average Joe & Joanne Public and people not fallen for the bias in the polls and the mainstream media coverage that gave him no chance. He won the election against all the odds.

However when I read tweets calling for Trump’s assassination and celebrities threatening to blow up the White House or use their awards ceremonies to espouse their champagne socialist views I shake my head. Even politicians like Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau immediately stepped in to grab the limelight to arrest his declining popularity. Appealing to his “diversity is our strength” line. Now he deals with a tragic shooting in a Quebec mosque. While much is to be learnt from that attack, sometimes not even diversity is enough to stop terrorism.

We live in a troubled world. Wars, geopolitical risks and a world economy on its last legs. There are people that aren’t necessarily racist or bigoted but scared. They worry each day how they can put food on the table yet get patronized by governments exercising moral authority in their face. They worry how a government that can’t even help them recover lost fortunes and new opportunities can somehow accommodate 10s of thousands of new migrants. They feel outraged when asylum seekers get more benefits and better conditions than they do. It is purely rational.

Arguing over what motivates terrorists and whether intolerance leads to the inevitable atrocities is not the point. Sure, the press ham it up that way and the twitterati goes ballistic with its moral posturing. However they are missing the point. The average Joe isn’t a racist or a bigot. He is just plain unconvinced and losing faith fast. Trump won because people like Joe had had enough of the lies and the platitudes which changed nothing. In fact they have seen their position only get worse. He is not a perfect politician and his policies and methods leave a lot to be desired but make no mistake that 64mn Americans voted for him to do something radical.

Social media beings might exaggerate every move he makes but believe me that creating more noise in media circles will have the exact opposite effect. I would argue that many do not possess a mere fraction of the story yet feel compelled to write a complete mastery on the subject which in a nutshell make them no better than a misguided tweet from the President. As the title says – too many are letting their eyes by-pass the brain straight to their finger tips. The problem is much broader.