Chai Digest: 14-Layer Burger, Tourist Cards and More

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  • robert

    Mr. Chai, I usually read your musing with great interests, or at least with a grain of salt, but if you think this buffoon of a president is capable of handling foreign diplomatic relations then I’m not sure those years you spent in China don’t have you wearing red. There is no way any sane person would ever trust Iran’s leaders. And why wouldn’t Congress get involved, the current president has demonstrated he will disregard the law and the Constitution to do what he wishes.

  • Kevin R

    Your ignorance of the Iran situation, the senators letter, the risks of President Obama’s policies and politics overall is shocking. Your limited knowledge of travel is not worth your intellectually insulting rants. Removing you from my daily “favorites” list and from my facebook account. Good luck in your left wing fantasy land.

  • I salute you for posting about the Republican idiocy on Iran. This reminds me of the NEOCONS beating the drums of war prior to the war on Iraq and the resulting quagmire because of imaginary WMDs. The same group of people who said they couldn’t trust Saddam are saying it about Iran. And we all know how that one is still unraveling.

    Thanks again!

  • abby

    you might want to keep out of political news you know nothing about.

    i have good friends who are Iranian and who live in Iran. The religious fanatics who run the country and kill those who protest do not represent the vast majority of Iranians. All the Iranians I have met are warm, generous and peaceful people. Persians are proud and nationalistic- they love their country, but not their leaders.

    the Ayatollahs and their muscle, the Republican Guard, are cut from the same cloth as ISIL. They sponsor terrorism. They are now fighting ISIL- not to be good global citizens, but to gain power in Iraq.

    everybody, including Iranians, know the danger of having these lunatics become a nuclear threat. i’m not a huge fan of Israel, but they have been invaded before and have reason to swing a big stick.

    btw, the chances of a NYT piece being anti-Republican are 100%. this is from someone who hates both the far left and the far right (ie: the bases that control BOTH of them).

    as to Kalboz’s comment: ummm, dude… you may want to do a tiny bit of research- all the democrats were sure there were WMD too- nearly 100% of them. learn to think for yourself instead of parroting what your far left controllers have fed you. oh, and btw… try telling a Kurd that Sadddam never had WMD. or, again, maybe google it and see the dead Kurds who he gassed.

  • John

    @abby, are you saying you’ve been to Iran or that you know someone who is Iranian? ‘coz I’ve been to Iran…and so has RTC.

    You say you are centrist, but what the Republicans did with that letter is outright stupid if not treacherous.

    Iran will become a threshold state if it wants. Do you really believe it will be possible to stop Iran from becoming one if it wanted? It’s really not that hard to become one. I mean Pakistan shares a long porous border with Iran and could probably be enticed to share in its spoils at the right price, and Iran has some very mountainous areas where they could build a bomb out of sight and harm’s reach.

    If you are truly a friend of the Iranian people then you would want a peaceful outcome where every party concedes a bit, as long as Iran does not become a nuclear power, and there is effective monitoring. What the hardliners in Iran and the US want is to scuttle any compromise. The alternative will be an all-out war in the Middle East, with Israel losing a little or a lot and Americans losing a lot or a lot more.

    @robert, last I checked, it is RTC’s blog, and his comment isn’t exactly out of consensus.

  • Joey

    Where’s the link for the 14-layer burger? Or was that just written there for clickbait? hehe

  • Jamie

    Congress undermining the president in the middle of foreign policy negotiations is a step further than I thought we could possibly go in demonstrating the brokenness of our democracy. I’m flabbergasted that 47 (!) senators could’ve signed onto a letter like that. What happened to the republicans that I used to respectfully disagree with? I keep thinking OK, now we’ve reached a new low, they’ve learned their lesson in the election and we are going to move on to trying in good faith to run our government for the good of the country. oops, wrong again.

  • Cool Breeze

    Methinks Obama (governing by decree) is hardly in a position to rebuke another branch of government. As one newspaper columnist wrote “The 47 senators who signed that letter are not just afraid of a nuclear Iran. They are afraid of our president.” Why? Search some of his many prior comments on Iran such as “The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.” His many deceits about Obama Care, his mother being denied cancer treatment, the terms of immigration law and on and on, are becoming the stuff of legend.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Joey – sorry, when I was copying and pasting I cut out the oversize burger, it is back in.

    @robert, @abby – I attempted to separate the substantive issues of what and how is possible in foreign policy in the region from the particular action of this letter. There is no easy solution to the substance. I can’t imagine the blowback if a Democrat Congress did this to a Republican president. Some issues, most indeed, are too important, to let partisan folly and domestic point scoring intrude on policy-making.

    I have been to Iran and found the most warm welcome of any country in the region (I have not visited Israel, Syria, and Yemen). The people are educated and cultured and want to be part of the global order, more than anything they seem to want pride of place befitting their perception of their long history and culture. The current regime, which is inextricably linked with US and UK meddling with the Shah does much to properly loathe. That does not mean we should not try to find a way to peace.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @abby – and I picked the NYT piece because the headline was apt.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Kevin R – interesting way to have a debate. And if roles and parties were reversed you would approve this letter?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Cool Breeze – we are not in a ground way in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran or Ukraine at this point, all of which we might very well be. I am not diminishing the potential threat from Iran, I am taking issue with undermining of our governance and putting us at further risk. Divide and conquer, anyone?

  • @abby, you are the one that needs to do some research and not follow the so-called mainstream media which is a cheerleader to these aggressive policies.

    Sure, Saddam’s regime was a brutal one that didn’t discriminate against its political opponents, be it Arabs, Kurds, or Persians. During the time in question, the Kurds were helping the Iranians during the Iraq-Iran War by smuggling the Basij across the border to encircle and attack Iraqi forces from the rare, and, thus, brutal Saddam exacted his revenge on them. The US assisted Saddam in acquiring such chemical weapons through US companies such as Phillips and Alcolac International. But that was in 1988, full 15 years before we invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003 citing the WMDs which at that time no longer existed.

  • Shannon

    Yes, I second divide and conquer! And even all efforts fail eventually , President Obama still have the silver bullet! He shall send Carrie Mathison back to Iran. Though Broody was long gone, I won’t mind she teams up with Quinn.

    Love Will Ford’s Great Wall climbing article. It is funny and insightful. I went to Shimatai Great Wall in 2010. That was indeed an unique special experience to interact with local people. They might be poor but they were friendly. I was told it is remodeled as Disney style resort which is a shame.

  • Muerl

    On the Vietnam visa, while its not necessary for you given the business nature of the trip, is far simpler to get in other parts of Southeast Asia if you are on a larger trip, when we were there 4 years ago, the Lonely Planet recommended getting them in Cambodia, which is what we did. The embassy in Phnom Phen did ours next day, and the Consulate in Sihanoukville is supposed to do them same day.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Muerl – I hear the visa on arrival line can rival Indonesia, which makes me shudder.