I have to apologize for the delay in writing a new post in so long, truth be told the last few months have been, unfortunately, extremely busy on the world political front. I’ve been meaning to write about a new crisis but then it feels like a new security train wreck anyone could have seen coming a few leagues distance repeatedly emerges to ruin my efforts.

In any case, a lot has happened in that intervening time so I’m going to try to cover as much as I can, and with that in mind I’m changing the template for this post a little; for the sake of time I’m adapting a modified style taken from Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, one of my favorite blogs, so this one is going to look a little like a memo filled with Bullitt points.

– Regarding the “landmark” nuclear deal with Iran, a lot has already been said about this capitulation in all but name, I’m just going to limit my remarks to linking to a video that went around the web not too long ago with more recent events and certain non-events that haven’t taken place in response to them.

– On a related note the Obama administration’s latest clarification regarding the civil war in Syria, via another blog I admire greatly, Hotair, isn’t surprising  given Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s open desperation to secure and then safeguard the nuclear deal with the uncrowned Assad dynasts/Baathists main backer, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The El Dorado of a “Grand Bargain” with Tehran that they’re pursuing as vehemently (the nuclear non-treaty being ostensibly a first step in this diplomatic breakthrough) will help keep the U.S. from working too hard to remove Assad until January 2017, if then.

– Another related topic, Russia’s direct intervention in the Syrian Civil War was a surprising escalation in Putin’s ongoing quasi-Soviet revanchism, though probably related his other major gamble in invading southern and eastern Ukraine.

The usual causes given; backing one of Moscow’s last Soviet-era allies in the Baathist regime, securing the access to the eastern Mediterranean it provides, playing to the Russian public and shoring up Putin’s popularity, especially in an economic downturn, and showing the global audience that Russia is a great power and a loyal ally, unlike the “Red Line” humbled Obama-age United States, are all true.

Putin’s prime motivation in intervening so far from Russia’s usual sphere of influence is probably to try to force concessions from the West on Ukraine, probably de facto or even official recognition of the annexation of Crimea. Greater “flexibility” – to use one of Obama’s less illustrious diplomatic moments – towards the eastern “secessionists,” if not aiming to reduce or terminate Western support for Kyiv and sanction relief are presumably some of Russia’s “reach” goals, though from Moscow’s point of view they probably aren’t as unlikely as they would have seemed even four or even three years ago.

– The terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, and in particular the failure of the security apparatus of either the U.S. (from another of my favorite blogs Ace of Spades HQ)or France to prevent the “migrants” involved from entering the country, has probably doomed large-scale Syrian refugee resettlement in the U.S. aside from Presidential fiat. They have also ensured that Europe’s migrant crisis is going to come to a head considerably sooner.

– I’ve noticed that I’ve been remiss in my obligations here at the Times of Israel; I’m supposed to cover American pop culture in addition to the lighter topics of nuclear proliferation, ethnic cleansing and war. There’s been very little of that since I started this blog and to help rectify that oversight, acknowledge the new advent of the secular religion of our times and to fulfill my web quota requiring some mention of Star Wars-related material on every blog I’m going to ask why those small car droids on the Death Star, the ones that Chewbacca growled at in the first movie were never sold?

They’re perfect for models or remote-controlled toys, Hot Wheels could have offered a great deal for selling a miniature version? They’ve merchandised just about everything else from these movies, why not the Mouse Droid?