Sunday, March 18, 2007

Venezuela Sphere of Influence - A Danger To America?

President George W. Bush has been traveling around Latin America all last week in what seems as an attempt to tighten the ties between the region and the US, in what has become a rather stale relationship.

Well, it seems not to be working in the slightest as he is met by thousands of protestors in each country, some burning effigies of him and shouting profanities.

On the other side of the spectrum, US rival Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been met with a grand amount of enthusiasm and cheers when he arrives in neighboring countries.

There is a large and evident reason as to why the reactions are polar opposites. It is simply that Latin Americans feel as if they are forgotten by the US and that the US doesn’t care for them. That is relatively true as the US is preoccupied by its current position in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, Venezuela is not stuck in a hole like the US and is able to care for its neighbors.

That statement raises the question: Is Venezuela’s sphere of influence a detriment to the US?

The answer to that is no, and why should it be if it means that other nations are receiving the aide they need?

On March 12, 2007 Chavez trekked to the poorest country in the Americas, Haiti. In the recent visit he welcomed the country into a program to provide preferential financing terms for oil, called Petrocaribe and agreed to donate 150 million dollars to them. Chavez has also donated 30 million dollars to Bolivia to help with their poor social services among donations to other nations.

Why is the US trying to cut Venezuela’s ties to other nations when it is doing the deeds that need to be done in order to help the further success of Latin America?

On another level, the US should not be in the faintest sense worried about an armed struggle between itself and Venezuela aligned with its allies. Even the most ignorant of leaders would not want to have a full scale war with the US.

The last thing the US needs to do is push away Venezuela. While the two nations may differentiate on numerous matters, it is in the best interest of both states and the Americas as a whole, if the two countries could work together to better the current situation.

Overall, the US should not dwell on the Venezuelan opposition as they pose no direct significant threat towards the US’s security. Though, if the US must deal with Venezuela it would be better to embrace than instigate.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

US - Saudi Relations Are Dangerous

In a recent article in Time magazine, it stated the alleged consequences in close Saudi-U.S relations. As it is known, 11 Saudi’s have been declared suspects in the 9-11 bombings. In the article it stated that close Saudi relations is a dangerous business but that the U.S is slowly cuddling back up with Saudi Arabia. I will take that idea a bit farther and develop it into a theory as to what could happen after the US leaves Iraq,

With a civil war blazing across the land between 2 Muslim factions, Sunni and Shiite, Iraq has becoming a breeding ground for militias and terrorists.

On the American home front, citizens are crying out for a withdraw of troops. Well, what if the United States goes with what the people want and finally retreat from Iraq? This is where Iran and Saudi Arabia come into play.

It has been stated by U.S intelligence that Iran has been aiding Shiite insurgents. It is also widely assumed by many U.S politicians and experts that the Saudi’s have been aiding Sunni insurgents.

Since Iraq has had a Shiite government, it has instigated a certain amount of panic within the Saudi regime. Reacting to the installed Shiite government, the Bush administration has urgently been trying to assemble a Sunni faction inside the government to even things out a bit and to ease the worries of the Saudi monarchy.

If the US were to eventually leave Iraq it would not be surprising to me if a proxy war broke out between the two Muslim powers. Saudi Arabia backing the Sunnis and Iran backing the Shiite armies.

The way Iraq is presently, when the US leaves, the state will be up for grabs among the Muslim factions. To make this theory a bit more interesting and extreme, a region wide war could break out between Sunni and Shiite nations. However, this concept is pushing it, as only 2 nations are Shia dominated (Yemen, Iran)

The US would face a major dilemma as to what they should do in terms of supporting their main source of oil and their middle eastern ally, Saudi Arabia.

If the US didn’t support Saudi’s interest in Iraq would they relinquish the exportation of oil to the US? Would we only now have 1 Middle Eastern ally (Israel) now? That would not be very strategic. No, the US would be dragged back into Iraq soon after their pullout. Maybe not in the current, forceful way as today, but in support of our ally, supplying equipment and other resources to secure our positive relations towards our main supplier of oil.

The overall point is that, it may be in the US’s best interest to slowly start phasing out Saudi and US relations. If we do not stop ourselves from being juxtaposed next to Saudi Arabia politically, we may be headed for the above.

China - A Helping Hand

Since the retreat of European imperialistic powers from Africa, the mostly impoverished continent has been dealing with the most treacherous of times. Lack of modern education, the AIDS epidemic, and violent dictators and rebels who fight them are just a fraction of what Africans have to deal with in their daily life.

But that could all change. Africa, a widely assumed “resourceless” area by economists and the general public, has sprouted up as an oil gold mine. Countries like Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Eritrea have been exporting billions of dollars worth of it.

Who is behind this great turnaround? Is it the U.S? No, it isn’t them as they made the Middle East their source for oil. Could it be Russia? You’re getting warm, but once again it’s a no. The U.K, France, Germany, Spain? No, no, no and no.

It’s the super power, communistic, and a menace to the U.S, China.

The vastly growing population of China is going through an immensely important period of modernization. That modernization requires a large amount of oil to support their new ways so they selected Africa for their oil supply. A choice that has made many African leaders and citizens very happy.

Because of China’s investment in African oil, Africa’s economy registered an economic growth of 5.2 percent in 2005. The continents highest level ever.

African nations are enthusiastic that Chinese demand has pushed up oil prices, says Princeton Lyman, adjunct senior fellow for Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Chinese firms have also built roads, bridges, and dams in previously impoverished and rural areas. The civic constructions are also much safer and built much faster than that of what the African governments have produced.

China has even eliminated 10 billion dollars worth of debt from some specific African nations records. Many Africans are now enrolling in Chinese training centers and Chinese universities.

China has also attempted to thwart violence that has been entangling Africa for many years. In 2004, China sent 1,500 peacekeepers to UN missions across the continent. Not only has China sent military force but they have also sent doctors to treat thousands of Africans.

Overall, even though this support may be unintended and only as a result of China’s search for global resource supremacy, this will certainly give the previously damaged area a shot at becoming a continent filled with successful and prosperous states.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gang Related Activity Increasing in U.S Military

According to a recent report unclassified by the National Gang Intelligence Center, there is an increasing threat being posed against national security and military operations.

Inside the report, it stated that major U.S gangs such as the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups have been documented as having suspected members inside domestic and international military bases.The suspected gang members are mostly found at junior ranks and in either the Army Reserves, US Army, or the National Guard.

In May 2005 an Army recruit and suspected Crip member was assigned to the US Army Finance Battalion where he engaged in drug distribution. He was eventually discharged from the Army for misconduct. This reported incident displays possible motivation. Other possible motives are the weapons they will receive while in the service, learn first aid and medic skills, or to take advantage of opportunities to commit crimes. Also, according to the report, "…soldiers—including gang members—are currently being taught urban warfare for combat in Iraq, including how to encounter hostile gunfire." This new urban terrain fighting may be found to be very useful against rival gangs.

Gang members may also be using the military as a new recruiting strategy. As reported in the in the released document: “According to an August 2006 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, military recruiter violations increased 50 percent from 2004 to 2005. The report concluded that military recruiters under pressure to meet recruiting goals have engaged in criminal violations such as overly aggressive recruiting tactics and document falsification. The Army, Navy, and Air Force measure recruiter performance by the number of recruits who enlist rather than the number who actually complete basic training, which may encourage recruiter violations.”

Rival gangs have even been battling each other inside military compounds the report details. “In August 2005 three soldiers who were suspected gang members stationed at Fort Wainwright Army Installation, Alaska, were indicted on second-degree murder charges for their involvement in the gang-related shooting death of a Crip member at a local nightclub off-post near Fairbanks, Alaska. According to open-source reporting, they were acquitted in March 2006.” Also “According to open-source reporting, in August 2006 a former Marine and Blood member stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton, California, was convicted of killing a rival gang member and wounding another in an October 2005 gang-related shooting in La Mesa, California.” Gang members have also been reported attacking law enforcement. “According to Fort Lewis Department of the Army Police (FLDAP) and Lakewood Police Department, in August 2005 a naval chaplain’s assistant and United Blood Nation (UBN) member from Bremerton Naval Station attempted to kill a state prison corrections officer in a contract killing in Lakewood, Washington.”

This report comes with the recent accounts of rape and murders that the U.S army has been committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before the U.S turns into a reckless and violent band of barbarians I insist that they start screening troops to see if they are mentally fit to be given a M-16 machine gun.

Now I am not saying that all U.S troops are thugs, as many of them are doing very brave and courageous activities that I would certainly not want to do. But it is almost an epidemic in how many criminals are joining the army. For the whole report-

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Danger To Humanity : Robert Mugabe

If America is truly as it regards itself, a “defender of democracy” in which it may be, America must intervene in the corrupt, unstable, and unsafe country of Zimbabwe.

Led by “President” (more of a Dictator) Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe is slowly declining into a deep, deep whole of economic deficit and unsuitable living conditions.
The current state of Zimbabwe may be directly linked to President Mugabe. To give you a taste of this mans power hungry attitude let me explain to you what took place in 1987.

Originally, Zimbabwe’s governmental format called for the election of 1 President and 1 Prime Minister, both sharing equal power much like the Israeli government. Once elected in 1987, Mugabe secretly amended Zimbabwe’s constitution. In the new Mugabe amended version of the constitution it only called for a President and relinquished the position of Prime Minister.

Mugabe is also very responsible for basically the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy. In 2000, Mugabe, who is very anti-white, seized most of white-owned farms, which is recognized by many as the driving force behind the economy. In an interview the BBC conducted with Mugabe party opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai stated that:
“The opposition says that Mr. Mugabe's seizure of most white-owned farms since 2000 has wrecked what was once one of Africa's most developed economies. Mr Mugabe says the redistribution was needed to make land ownership more equitable following the colonial era. He says that western powers have sabotaged Zimbabwe's economy because they want to drive him from power.”
Slowly, Mugabe is taking the Zimbabwean peoples natural rights away from them. In a recently passed law, in order for two or more citizens to meet the Zimbabwean government must give a statement of permission.
In Zimbabwe, torture is a daily scare. In a report by the United States Institute of Peace, the author stated that “the only way for a Zimbabwean to assure that he will not be tortured is to be able to identify himself as a member of ZANU-PF.( Mugabe’s party )” it was also estimated in the report that 20 percent of Zimbabwe’s population had an intimate encounter with torture.
The media is nearly all propaganda broadcasted by the government. If it isn’t, there will be consequences.
"Every time you write a story, you are likely to be arrested, because [of] the way the law is worded," said Ray Choto, formerly chief writer for the Harare newspaper The Standard. He was arrested in 1999 under LOMA for refusing to reveal the names of military officials he had met with while researching an article about a planned military coup and the subsequent arrests of 23 officers. He and his editor, Mark Chavanduka, were turned over to the military and tortured.
"We were beaten with wooden planks, forced to roll on wet tarmac," Choto wrote in a 2000 report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Our heads were forced into a canvas bag full of water. The military applied electric shocks all over our bodies. . . . Our tormentors told us that Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe had signed our death warrants and I believed them."
You would think all of this would raise an alarm in Zimbabwe and that surely the citizens would vote out Mugabe wouldn’t you? Well they have tried. The world has acknowledged that all Zimbabwean elections are all rigged. The U.S have also stated that they are indeed corrupt.
So, if this poor country is being run by a tyrannical ruler and cannot do a thing about it, why isn’t America, great savior, rushing to its rescue like we expect and would appreciate? I have come up with 4 conclusions.
1. The U.S’s military is already preoccupied with Iraq and Afghanistan. That is the main reason.
2.Zimbabwe's main export is cotton. That means Zimbabwe has nothing American wants nor needs.
3. It has had no evidence of nuclear arms.
4.Not part of the "Axis of evil"

Monday, March 12, 2007

American Exceptionalism

Essentially, American Exceptionalism is the idea that America is better, more advanced, than other countries. “A city on a hill for all other states to see” if you will.

It is historically referred to as perception that America differs qualitatively from other developed nations due to unique origins, national credo, among other things.

The term was first used in a respective since by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831. It is closely related to Manifest Destiny, the term Jackson used to promote the annexation of much of the current U.S west.

The term also describes Americans feeling that they have an exceptional position among other countries in the world and cannot be bound by international law. American Exceptionalists believe that since they were the ones that instigated and “created” it, they themselves do not have to abide by it except when it suits their needs.

The most commonly found basis of Exceptionalism is that they feel as if America holds a significant place in the world. A high and mighty pedestal over the entire world. Their reasoning is that America offers hope and opportunity for the rest of the world.

Many say it is the American concept which gives America a special position in the world. The free economy and practice of religion is indicated by Exceptionalists as another reason why America has moral superiority over the rest of the world.

In specific points in time, American Exceptionalism was more present than others. For example, the Cold War.

During the Cold War, America’s mass media projected Exceptionalism through what was called the “American Way of Life.” It personified American Liberty fighting tyranny in the form of Communism.

The “American Way of Life” was propaganda in a sense. It broadcasted all over the nation the “differences” between American and U.S.S.R standards of living stating that an individual would be able to come to America and strike it rich, while that is impossible over in Communist Soviet Union.

Another phrase that has had a significant impact on American Exceptionalism is the “American Dream.” The term the American Dream was adopted around the late 19th-century when immigrants Andrew Carnegie and Carl Schurz went to the top of the economy and politics.

Exceptionalism is taught in American schools today. In an American History course, children are taught to believe that the revolution was the first of its kind. While it may have spurred on other revolutions it is definitely not the first. Even England had a revolution. The French revolution has even been considered as the start of modern democracy.

While nationalism is not always a evil thing, as it is certainly respectable enough to be proud of ones country, it can be come an object of annoyance for other states that feel they are working just as hard and provide an equal or greater standard of living than the U.S.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Muslim Manipulation

In the following essay, I will be displaying and organizing accounts of Islamic manipulation, extortion, and interpretation and how it effected the order and events of the Middle East and it’s people. Also, it will show numerous accounts of Arab dictators contaminating Islam for numerous reasons.

The first account I will be informing you of, is based around Islamic-Jewish relations.

Up till the early 1940’s anti-Semitism was not as present in the Middle East as it was in Europe. Un-like in the Christian religion, where the Jews killed the alleged son of god, the Islamic religion has no reason to be hostile towards the Jewish religion and it’s followers. In fact it was Muhammad who murdered Jews. As a result of that, anti-Semitism did not develop in the Arab world as it had in Europe. In the east, there were no fears of a Jewish uprising or conspiracy.

Islamic traditionalists saw that the Jews were bringing western ideas and culture to the east. They were scared of modernization and thought it would relinquish their rule over the Arab masses. Muslim traditionalist teacher Rashid Rida stated: “… They [i.e. the Jews] have also spread here their customs and usages that are opposed to our religion and to our whole way of life. Above all, our youth is being morally shattered. The Jewish girls who run around in shorts demoralize our youth by their mere presence.”

This newly found Islamic ant-Semitism was nurtured by the Nazis. With the help of Islamic leaders, the Nazis set up an anti-Semitic radio station called Radio Zeesen. Zeesen broadcasted Nazi propaganda all over the Middle East.

This alliance of traditional Islamic teachers and the Nazis furthered the idea of anti-Semitism. In fact, the Nazis (again with the help of Islamic teachers) distributed a 32 page propaganda filled pamphlet.

In a short passage from the pamphlet: “The struggle between the Jews and Islam began when Muhammed fled from Mecca to Medina… The Jewish methods were, even in those days, the same as now. As always, their weapon was slander… They said that Muhammed was a swindler… they began to ask Muhammed senseless and insoluble questions… and they endeavored to destroy the Muslims… If the Jews could betray Muhammed in this way, how will they betray Muslims today? The verses from the Koran and Hadith prove to you that the Jews were the fiercest opponents of Islam and are still trying to destroy it.”

To sum up: Islamic leaders who were scared of modernization that the Jewish community brought, along with the Nazis who just wanted to exterminate the Jews, bent and misinterpreted Islamic teachings to the whole Arab world.

The second account I will display to you, involves the Lebanese civil war.

To shorten this, since I’m sure you already have a background of the Lebanese civil war if you had read my previous essay, “Lebanon- The Black Sheep Of The East’ in which I explained the differences between Lebanon and other Arab nations, here is a passage from it: “It is through Arab dictators that Lebanon is how it is today though.

Nations such as Syria and Egypt saw how much Lebanon was succeeding through it's western styled economy and government.

Those nations under tyrannical command were scared of possible uprisings that could take place in their own state. What if their population saw another middle-eastern country living lavishly even with hundreds of ethnicities, while they were in slums?

Countries like Syria and Egypt incited an Islamic uprising in Lebanon. Syria and Egypt used religious propaganda with the help of radical Islamic institutes to spread the ideas of ultra-conservative Islam to Muslims in Lebanon.

The governments of those countries also used the thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to incite a civil war. It is well known that during the civil war Syria and Egypt created puppet PLO factions to attack Lebanese and Israeli forces without actually officially getting involved.

Because certain nation's governments were scared of their citizens finding out they are being suppressed they went through the great lengths of destroying a succeeding, prosperous country.
Lebanon could have changed the world if it wasn't for the dictators scared of freedom.”

As you can clearly see, it was through lies the Arab dictators broadcasted across the Arab world, using Islam as a median to move the masses to support the war, which has cause the destruction of a country.

The following is of another account of Islamic fundamentalists manipulating the Islamic masses as aided by Arab dictators. It is also the most current and relevant of the entire essay.

Anti-Americanism is an idea widely supported by Islamic fundamentalists all around the Middle East and is supported by numerous Arab dictators. Again, as it was shown in the Lebanese civil war, Arab dictators are terrified of modernization of local states.

When the U.S, during the first gulf war, invaded and occupied, parts of the Middle East, new ideas and new material items were spread throughout the occupied territory.

Arab dictators, scared of their own population seeing that life can be better in some material ways launched an anti-American campaign.

To spread the idea of anti-Americanism, Arab dictators used the only thing they knew that could move the Arab masses. Islam. With the help of radical Muslim fundamentalist groups like al-Qaeda, they quickly spread the propaganda.

To sum up entirely the point I am trying to convey is that, many tyrannical Arab rulers are suppressing their entire population and extorting Islam to get the masses behind them so that they may have further their power.

Islam itself, in its pure form, is not how it is displayed today. Power hungry villains who vicariously use Islam as a means of propaganda have contaminated it with messages of hate.