How Europe is dealing with Iran’s new hardline president

Source: Responsible Statecraft
by Eldar Mamedov

“The election of the conservative chief justice Ebrahim Raisi as the president of Iran — in a process that was neither free nor fair even by the standards of the Islamic Republic — was met with an official silence in most European capitals. There has been no public record of any major European leader congratulating him with his election victory. … When Raisi was asked whether he would meet with President Joe Biden after the sanctions are lifted, he declined as expected. However, he also signaled Iran’s openness to interaction with other countries, including in Europe, a position that fits faithfully into the supreme leader’s vision. These signs, however, do not imply that EU engagement with Iran will not become harder under Raisi.” (06/24/21)

Infrastructure Insanity

Source: The American Spectator
by Veronique de Rugy

“In the event that a group of U.S. senators cannot agree on committing enough money to a bipartisan infrastructure plan, Democrats are reportedly considering a $6 trillion plan of their own. It would probably be best described as a package full of progressive items wrapped in magical thinking paper. Most people would consider $6 trillion a lot of money to drop on infrastructure. That’s because most of us still have an outdated notion of what infrastructure is. In fact, for most people, the word infrastructure conjures up images of roads, bridges, dams, and waterways. But as we’ve discovered during the last few weeks of discussions, for elected Democrats, infrastructure can be so much more than that.” (076/24/21)

Iran’s theocrats won the election, but lost the people

Source: spiked
by Tim Black

“[T]his, it seems, is once again firmly Khamenei’s Iran — a nation in which the network of ruling institutions controlled by the Supreme Leader are in political alignment with the elected president and parliament. … The election did consolidate Khamenei’s authority over Iran’s governing apparatus. Yet, at the same time, it may have actually exposed the decline of his authority over the populace. The turnout, at 49 per cent, was the lowest in Iran’s history of contested presidential elections (that is, since 1979). At the last election in 2017, Rouhani received 24 million votes. Raisi received just 18 million this time. To portray this as a ‘landslide’ victory, as The Times did, is to ignore the bigger picture. Not only did over half of Iranians not vote at all, but also 3.7 million voters actively spoiled their ballots — incredibly, spoiled ballots came second in the poll, comfortably ahead of those other candidates the Guardian Council had allowed to stand.” (06/24/21)

John McAfee and Tax Evasion

Source: EconLog
by Pierre Lemieux

“John McAfee died in a Spanish prison today from a suspected suicide …. He had just lost a legal battle to avoid extradition to the United States after being prosecuted for tax evasion. He was also sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission. I don’t know which, if any, among the offenses he was suspected of over the years, the eccentric entrepreneur was actually guilty of. It would not be overly surprising to discover that it is getting riskier to be eccentric in our over-regulated societies. … it is interesting to note that in Switzerland, tax evasion — ‘forgetting’ to declare income, for example — is not a crime, but an administrative infraction. Only ‘tax fraud,’ with involves using falsified documents, is criminally prosecutable.” (06/23/21)

US and China: Knowledge Deficit or Trade Deficit?

Source: Notes On Liberty
by Vishnu Modur

“The problems with headlines such as this: ‘US Trade Balance With China Improves, but Sources of Tension Linger’ are twofold. A: It furnishes support to the notion that trade surpluses are FOREVER safe and trade deficits are INVARIABLY grave. That is not accurate because foreign countries will always wish to invest capital in countries like the US, which employ it relatively well. One clear case of a nation that borrowed massively from abroad, invested wisely and did excellently well is the United States itself. … B: The headline makes a normative claim while equating bilateral trade deficit with the overarching narrative of bilateral tensions. Such normative claims follow from the author’s value-based reasoning, not from econometric investigation.” (06/23/21)