Friday, April 3, 2015

Thoughts on my Middle East trip and new water restrictions

I just returned from a trip to Europe and the Middle East, where a highlight was the chance to meet with U.S. troops stationed overseas. I also spoke to representatives of our Middle Eastern allies, who are rightfully worried by spreading instability and violence. Aside from the battle against ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and northern Africa, Iran is a major concern. Using proxy militias as well as their own special forces, the mullahs are aggressively expanding their influence in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere.

The specter of Iran gaining nuclear capabilities hangs over the region. Unsurprisingly, the framework agreement that the Obama administration recently signed with Iran did not ease our allies’ concerns. Instead of forcing the mullahs to completely abandon their nuclear program, the Obama administration will allow numerous nuclear sites, thousands of centrifuges, and other key parts of the program to remain intact. Our allies struggle to understand why the Iranian regime – the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism –  can extract so many concessions from the world’s superpower. This is part of a strange pattern with the Obama administration – stridently anti-American regimes in Iran and Cuba are persistently courted, while relations with close allies like the Kurds, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt are diminished.

Separately, as you know, Gov. Brown has announced mandatory water restrictions for the first time in California history. This provoked the New York Times to dutifully parrot talking points that connect the drought to global warming. As I mentioned in a press statement, neither the drought nor global warming has caused the water crisis in the Central Valley, where the irrigation system was designed to withstand five years of drought. The crisis exists because our water is being diverted for environmental causes, as Victor Davis Hanson explains here. Now that the Governor resorted to water rationing, I hope he will reconsider his opposition to all the bills we passed in the House of Representatives that would alleviate the water crisis.            

On another note, I wanted to draw your attention to the Fresno Bee article here about Pete Dern, the Fresno firefighter who was critically injured after falling through a roof while battling a blaze. The article provides information on where you can donate to Dern and upcoming blood drives for him.  

Finally, the Nunes Digest is updated for your weekend reading here.