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Could the turmoil in Egypt affect the U.S. economy?

February 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rising oil prices have an effect on U.S. economic growth in two ways – direct and indirect. When gasoline prices jump, drivers feel a hit to the pocketbook every time they fill up, reducing the money available for other purchases. Additionally, products like cars and high-tech gadgets require large amounts of cheap energy to mine, transport and process the raw materials. Even small increases in oil prices have a multiplied effect on the cost of production, leading to either a higher price tag (depressing demand), or a lower profit margin (depressing stock prices and market growth).

The turmoil has already effected the US economy. Oil prices have been increasing in the past two weeks, and have topped $100. This will raise some prices and retard a portion of our economic growth. The ongoing uncertainty in Egypt has increased risk premiums on shipping insurance, and that drives up the cost of oil and gas imports as well as other cargo. And it’s not just Egypt in turmoil but much of the Middle East. A zone of instability that Washington thought was fairly stable has erupted — all near some of the world’s most important oil and gas reserves.

Secondly, unrest in Egypt has elevated anxiety about the continued operation of the Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline, which connect the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The Suez Canal is a critical transit “choke point” between the Mediterranean and the Middle East and Asia for petroleum products and other types of cargo. Although there have not been indications that either of these choke points have been targeted, it remains a possibility.

Furthermore, whatever the outcome of Egypt protest, may effect relations between Egypt and US, which may in turn effect other things. At the moment, US has good relation with Egypt and can use it as a military base. The Obama administration needs to take steps to make sure they are on the good side of the new government, if a new one forms.


Obama Steps Up Criticism of Iranian Regime

June 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

In what was a departure from the usual diplomatic approach to iran, US president Barack Obama declared that he was “appalled and outraged” by the way in which the iranian regime crushed the protesters. Ever since the election victory and the subsequent protests, obama has been careful to maintain the diplomatic path in dealing with the crisis, but this reversal in his message indicates that there is only so much that can be tolerated.

“I strongly condemn these unjust actions,” he said. “I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering in Iran’s affairs.”

“But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.” he added.

In particular he paid tribute to Neda Agha Soltan, the protester who has become known as the “Angel of Freedom” after images of her death in Tehran were posted on the internet.

He said: “We have seen courageous women stand up to brutality and threats, and we have experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets.

“While this loss is raw and painful, we also know this: Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.”

The president has come under criticism from republican lawmakers and commentators that he did not criticize the regime more strongly and remained quiet on whether the vote was rigged. While this was done to discourage any insinuation that there was american support for an insurrection, it has only resulted in the administrations initial response appearing soft amid the tragic loss of life.

The people have however now changed tactics and have switched from day to night for their protests. Yelling slogans and God is great from the rooftops and honking horns and flashing lights at night. “People
are calmly protesting, more symbolically than with their voices,” said a Tehran resident.