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February 17, 2020

There are good reasons to imagine that when the epidemic is over, President Xi will liberalize China’s economy to restore economic growth. This is a time to hang tough and even buy the dip.
——Marvin Zonis

February 12, 2020

President Trump has released his FY 2021 budget. While unpacking the numbers for all military related expenditures is tricky, it appears that U.S. expenditures on war will exceed $1 trillion.
——Marvin Zonis

February 07, 2020

An Israel negotiator with the Palestinians criticizes the President’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan on many grounds. But what shines through his criticisms are two issues that are characteristics of Trump’s own personality.

*He shows absolutely no empathy for the Palestinians and what they perceive to be the central tragedy of their history — the establishment of the State of Israel and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the creation of Israeli settlements by seizing Palestinian land. Virtually every account of the President’s life describes his failure to be able to empathize with other — from members of his own family to Senator John McCain to separating children from their parents at our southern border.

*The plan claims to be a plan for peace but, in every regard, inflicts humiliation on the already humiliated Palestinian people. President Trump characteristically inflicts humiliation — constantly through his tweets and at his rallies. Obama: “Bad ( or sick) guy;” Jeb Bush: “a total embarrassment to himself and his family;” Canada: “they’ve taken advantage of our Country for many years;” Turkey: “a total disgrace;” Robert De Niro: “a very low IQ individual;” Jamie Dimon: “doesn’t have the smarts;” Maureen Dowd: “a neurotic dope;” Cokie Roberts: “kooky;” Angela Merkl: “ruining Germany.” Actually, the list of inflicted humiliations is endless. But crucially, the peace plan is a collection of humiliations.

While the peace plan specifies that the Palestinians will have a state, its birth will depend on Israel’s determination that the Palestinians have met all the criteria for statehood specified by Israel and the deal. Once their state is declared, Palestine will remain under Israeli control in almost all significant regards.

The Palestinians have always insisted that their capital would have to be in Jerusalem. But the peace plan specifies that their capital would be in the Arab village of Abu Dis. Perversely, Israel had earlier ensured that the Palestinians would not be able to call Abu Dis part of Jerusalem. When Israel conquered the West Bank in the 1967 war, they immediately combined West Jerusalem, which had been under Israel control, with East Jerusalem, under the control of Jordan. The combined city totaled 38 square kilometers. Shortly after, Israel dramatically expanded the boundaries of the city to 108 square kilometers in order to include neighboring Israeli villages to insure a permanent Jewish majority. Explicitly excluded from the “new” Jerusalem was the abutting Arab village, Abu Dis. To make that completely clear, Israel then built its security wall along the new border of Jerusalem, cutting off Abu Dis,. That village, under the Israel security wall is designated by the U.S. as the Palestinian capital.

It is clear that the plan fits the President’s character and fits the commitments of his evangelical Christian base. It fits Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wishes as well as Israel’s right wing. Only the Palestinians are left out of consideration.

----Marvin Zonis

January 27, 2020

By any meaningful definition of a democracy, the U.S. is not one.
——Marvin Zonis

January 23, 2020

By Marvin Zonis

January 16, 2020

Weijian Shan finds the highly touted trade deal wanting and suggests what’s needed to move U.S.-China relations forward
——Marvin Zonis

January 07, 2020

By Marvin Zonis

Iran’s Muslims observe a forty-day mourning period. On the 40th day after the death, intense mourning rights are held. Then the mourning period is over.

The forty-day mourning rights for General Suleimani will be held on February 12.

Then the Iranians are likely to seek their revenge.

January 03, 2020

Suleimani became head of the Quds Force in 1998 and spent the early years strengthening ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon, President Assad in Syria and Shiite militia groups on Iraq.

January 02, 2020

By Marvin Zonis

Here’s what the President had to say about light bulbs, back in September 2019:

“They took away our light bulb. I want an incandescent light. I want to look better, okay? I want to pay less money to look better. Does that make sense? You pay much less money and you look much better. And on top of that, with the new bulbs, if they break it’s considered a hazardous waste site. It’s all gases inside and you’re supposed to bring it back to where you bought it in a sealed container. Give me a break.

“I asked the people, the professionals. Well, what do people do when it breaks, because they break all the time? What do they do? Nothing, they throw it away. So I owe — a lot of people didn’t know, they didn’t understand. You get a much better light at a much reduced cost, and it’s much safer. Because when those other bulbs break they really are dangerous. The gases come out, they’re dangerous."(https://www.factcheck.org/2019/09/trump-bends-the-facts-on-lightbulbs/)

The President was clearly talking about what are called CFL bulbs or Compact Fluorescents. They were the alternative to regular incandescent bulbs when President George W. Bush introduced the bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The law provided targets for the gradual improvement in energy efficiency. Initially the law applied only to the traditional pear shaped bulbs. But in 2017, the Obama administration extended the rules to almost all other types of non-traditional bulbs such as candelabra bulbs and others.

Since the introduction of the first law, a revolution in light bulbs has occurred – a revolution which has apparently passed President Trump by.

December 16, 2019

By Marvin Zonis

Here is his latest push back.

According to the GAO, 40 of 50 U.S. states will experience some water shortage in the next ten years.

Nevertheless, President Trump has announced that he has ordered a federal review of the water efficiency standards of bathroom fixtures.

December 04, 2019

Short on funds, the Iranian government tripled the domestic price of gasoline. Demonstrations protesting the price hikes spread across the country. Remarkably, the demonstrations were spearheaded by working and lower class Iranians — formerly the pillars of support for the regime — rather than the middle classes who had led earlier demonstrations. The security apparatus appears to have panicked and the new police force, charged with restoring order, shot its way to the current calm. A record number of the protesters were killed by their own government. Several consequences now seem clear:

*Government revenues have been decimated by U.S. sanctions.

*The decision to raise the price of gasoline was made by a committee composed of all the branches of the Iranian government. Yet the decision badly miscalculated the consequences, indicating how out of touch the government is with the lives of ordinary Iranians.

*Those “ordinary” Iranians have been badly hurt by the U.S. sanctions and by the mismanagement and corruption of their own government.

*But it is their own government that the protesters have blamed for their hardships.

*Confronting armed security forces with shoot to kill orders is not something to be done lightly or often. These demonstrations will die out. But they indicated the depth of anger on the part of the people.

*In short, this is not a formula for domestic tranquility and is not sustainable.

Now, please see what Professor Daniel Brumberg and Karim Pakravan think
——Marvin Zonis

November 28, 2019

While he was a daring and hugely successful battle commander, General Mattis failed as a Secretary of Defense. He did not manage to leave a mark on the Pentagon and did nothing to prepare the armed forces to fight the next war, rather than the last war for which they have been continually preparing along with vast expenditures of taxpayer dollars.
——Marvin Zonis

November 18, 2019

Three readers, who asked to remain anonymous, sent critiques of the recent mailing by Gramm and Early on Income Inequality. Their critiques seem to devastate the central point that the two were making, that income inequality is considerably less than estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
——Marvin Zonis

November 12, 2019

When U.S. incomes are adjusted for taxes paid and government transfers received, inequality is dramatically reduced.
——Marvin Zonis

November 07, 2019

U.S. unemployment at 3.7% (August 2019). U.S. stock markets at record levels. Yet something is dramatically wrong with the economy — in the U.S., in Japan, and in the E.U. Low to negative interest rates and exploding inequality suggest a paradigm shift is on the way.
——Marvin Zonis



The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis Driven World,
co-authors Daniel Lefkovitz and Sam Wilkin, Chicago: Agate Press, 2003

The Eastern European Opportunity, A Complete Guide and Sourcebook,
co-author Dwight Semler, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1992

Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah,
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991

Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran,
co-author Daniel Brumberg, Cambridge: Harvard Middle East Papers
, 1987

The Political Elite of Iran.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976


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Spending Is Felt From Cigarettes to Copier"
August 2009

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Part One [PDF]
Part Two [PDF]
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