Meddling in the Middle East: Aid Trouble

Before I go into my headline topic on the middle east, I want to just take moment to say that I called the stock market crash and rebound after the Brexit vote last week. After nearly three days of down stocks, the market has returned almost all the losses. Once again I want to reiterate that the long-term economic and political results won’t be seen for at least 3 to 5 years. Now let me switch gears into a very controversial topic that relates to terrorism and the middle east. Today I want to discuss the absurdly of the US foreign policy toward Israel. I also want touch on tragic airport bombing in Istanbul, Turkey that was supposedly planned by ISIS. My main focus of this post is to make the point that Israel should be able to accept being an US ally without needing over 50 billion dollars for military aid.

First up, I want to mourn for the victims of the airport bombing in Istanbul, Turkey. It was a horrible and savage attack. The death toll has reach nearly 50 people with over 200 people injured. I think that its very necessary to use caution especially when traveling abroad. You never know when ISIS will strike. The US response was about as usual as it could be. There isn’t much choice but to strengthen the airport security. It’s very unfortunate for the Turkish people for whom terrorist attacks have been increasing in the past year. You can find part of the reason in the civil war in Syria which continues to raise havoc in the region. Turkey also has some domestic terrorist which are just as bad. Turkey actually relies on tourism for a good part of their economy. Hopefully the Turkish government can take the necessary steps to deter and stop more attacks. They can also thank Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. Unfortunately President Obama and Hillary Clinton conceived a foreign policy that led to the creation of ISIS because of power void. This absence of power is thanks to George W. Bush, however, without a stable government in the area it was pretty much impossible to stop the formation of a terror group.

On the topic of stable governments in the middle east, there is at least one US ally that is not named Saudi Arabia or Jordan. That US ally is also one of the world’s nuclear powers. The small nation of Israel, location centrally in the middle east. A key ally in helping maintain a balance of power in the thick of US hatred. Recently, there was news about the agreements that happen each year between the US and Israel. This time around it seems that President Obama is standing up against Israel. The article highlights the main facts surrounding the Israeli-American defense agreement that sends 50 billion dollars a year of taxpayer to help fund the Israeli military. It also says that Obama wants to cut out his part of the agreement. The agreement also deals with civilian aid and economic aide. For once, I think President Obama is making the right move with Israel and here’s why.

First, no other country gets such special treatment like the Israeli’s do. Not the UK, not France, not anybody. Israel is the only country in the world that gets to spend its US aid on military weapons. Now granted, this policy was formed after World War 2 because of the holocaust and the need to protect the Jewish population. However, its has been a signficant amount of time since then, about 70 years. President Obama correct asserts that Israel should start paying for their own military. Second, it is not fair to the American taxpayers (that’s me and you) to have pay for defense that typically never benefits them. The reason why it never benefits US citizens is because just look at the middle east! It’s a fucking mess. I don’t think Israel has done much to help the situation.

The third problem is that America can no longer afford to keep shoveling 50 billion a year to Israel. We have enough debt as it is. We have a huge military and trust me its enough to defend Israel if its necessary. You might say “Oh but what about Iran, don’t they want to wipe Israel off the map?” Yes, that’s true. However, I think Israel will be fine since they have nuclear weapons and Iran just signed an agreement to not have them. The deterrence factor should come into play here. My problem with this is just about the money. I think the Israeli’s have always been a great ally and never tried to play us or trick us. However, many nations are America’s ally for benefits and many of them do it without 3 billion a year in military.

I am so proud of President Obama. His foreign policy has been characterized as soft and lacking. I think this is a bold move that Israel definitely won’t like but what are they going to do? Obama is so right to play hardball. Obama should absolutely stick up for American taxpayers. I honestly just don’t give shit about how good of ally and let me explain it in simpler terms. For example, let’s say you have two different friends. Both friends you’ve known for 15 years. Both friends provide you the same support and kinship that you love about them. The difference is that one friend only hits you up when they need money. The other friend is always down to pay for their own shit. Israel is like the friend that only hits you up for money. It’s not a very good way to be a friend. If you are only in it for the money!

I don’t want to sound anti-Semitic or anything, but I really think it’s an unnecessary amount of money. America is going through its own economic crisis. This crisis has been brought on in part by the spending of the military industrial complex. Trust me, 16 trillion dollars of our national debt is not just from bailouts and social programs. 16 trillion dollars is the estimation by a great scholar by the name of Paul A.C Koistnen. He is a tremendous scholar whom I gotten advice from. He is an expert on the military industrial complex with about 10 books in publication. I recommend that you read up on him. His estimate of 16 trillion dollars is the amount that the military industrial complex has cost the US since the end of World War 2. That is nearly 76 percent of the national debt. So I just want to end by congratulating President Obama on his good move and I hope that he continues to push to get rid of the 3 billion subsidization.

Thank you for reading!

 

Advertisements

US Foreign Policy: Terrorism is the New War

Welcome back to the second installment of US Foreign Policy  as it relates to the presidential candidates and their future presidencies. Today, I will continue a little bit on my China and US narrative. Then I will start on a new issue which can be considered the most alarming threat to US national security. If you read or watch the news you know all about ISIS. I am more interested in how the candidates intend to fight back against ISIS. I will also preview a short history of terrorism, very similar to this post I wrote awhile back. I would encourage you to read both that article and read my last post: US Foreign Policy: Commander and Peace. I hope your ready for some complex international relations because these two situations typify two classic international relations circumstances. Just a warning, this post may be very long.

In my last post, I started out talking about the Chinese rise to a world power via economic dominance in manufacturing. I also covered the economic interdependence that tie the US and China closely. In my concluding statements, I talked about Hillary Clinton and her corporate connections that might draw us into war because of corporate and self interests. Now I want to try to explain as simply as I can, the order of preferences for both China and the US. Trying to pick out preferences or national interests in this case, can show us where the relationship between China and US is heading. Its nearly impossible to predict because sometimes actors make irrational decisions. However, most of the time, it is assumed that actors are rational. A rational decision maker follows standard logic of any given circumstance making it easier to predict. Also my perceived preferences could be totally wrong because I’m merely an observer, not an actor inside China or the US. Observations can be inaccurate due to a lack of information. For the sake of education and knowledge though, I will try to be as accurate as possible.

Let’s start with China’s preferences or national interests. Its clear from Chinese actions that they want to build up their power. I would say that power is China’s first preference. They already have economic power but they want to be considered among the great world powers. The Chinese have perceived by history, that they have been sort of second class in terms of world power. This perceived lack of power leads into their two second preference or national interests. Chinese are looking to become influential within their sphere of influence. I can tell this because the US influence in Asian is quite large. The US holds some type of alliance or mutual defense agreement with Japan, Philippines, and Vietnam. Japan is a powerful economic engine itself. Also they happen to be a Chinese sworn rival. The last Chinese preference from what I can tell, is the continuation of their economic dominance. This is both a power AND influence preference because the economy can allow a country the resources and wherewithal to pursue their national interests.

Of course with any preference order there is a preferred set of outcomes. Based on the China’s building up a navy and their defiance of international law, one outcome is war. I would assume that in a rational decision making process they would try diplomatic  or non-violent ways to get power and influence. However, I sense that now after nearly 20 years of economic dominance they still don’t feel respected. The outcome of war is very likely something that the Chinese would embrace given their large navy and abundant population. The only downside is that their opponent is already who or what their aiming to be.

The US preference is very similar to the Chinese but for different reasons. The US prefers to maintain their power because unlike China, the US already has the world power and elite status. The US also prefers to increase their influence in Asian to push back China via the Asian pivot. America also prefers to increase their economic production to catch up with China. As you can see, the US preferences are similar to China’s because the US wants to keep China from gaining too much power and influence. The most important difference is the outcome of war. US does not want to go war with China, hence the Asian pivot. Another factor that helps US national interests is economic interdependence with China. It also hurts the US because China has the same ability to effect a war.

Now in the perspective of a presidential candidate like Trump or Clinton, they will have access to much more classified information and intelligence. The most important foreign policy decision in regards to China is how to handle their bullying of other Asian countries. We can’t get caught up in their games. Its very similar to a game of poker, if a player bluffs a good or bad hand, then its up to you to figure out which their trying to hide. Sometimes you guess wrong. I believe that as long as Clinton or Trump protect US interests only and don’t try to overreach, they can keep China at bay. At the very least avoid a war that might cost over a billion people due to nuclear weapons.

If you haven’t done so already, please read The Post 9/11 Narrative vs. The Past 50 years of American Foreign Policy. This is will give you some background about terrorism, also you could read my post on 9/11’s 14th anniversary. In order to save my word count and your time, I will get right into ISIS and how the candidates might deal with it. I think the best place to start is with former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Secretary of State is an appointed position within the President’s cabinet. The Secretary of State is responsible for diplomatic relations with other countries. Under Clinton’s tenure, the rise of ISIS happened among the civil war in Syria and chaos in the Afghanistan and Iraq. Many news pundits like to blame Bush for creating a power void that let ISIS come to power. I don’t want to get into how it was formed or why because it would take a rather complex, scholarly effort to conclude such a hypothesis. However, if we look back on how Clinton handle foreign policy situations we can see how her policies might unfold as president.

One of Clinton’s most controversial moves as Secretary of State was a decision to leave ambassadors in Libya despite the dangerous conditions in the north African country. The political scandal that has followed Clinton because of the deaths of these four ambassadors under her watch. It has become known as the Benghazi Scandal. I feel like Clinton’s handling of the situation was poor, however the surprise attack cannot be faulted on her. At the same time, she should have known that surprise attacks are common and had prepare an appropriate security force to protect those ambassadors. I think from this situation, I gather the Clinton will follow a policy of national interests over human interests. During her tenure, she choose to remain out of the Syrian Civil War, which has just begun a year or two earlier. This was despite the reports of Syrian president Assad killing his own people. Once again, Clinton doesn’t deserve all the blame because I feel she made the right choice.

The Syria Civil war is a very complex conflict within the country of Syria. There are multiple warring factions. It would be stupid to get involved in such a conflict. Even to this day, President Obama and new Secretary of State John Kerry, have decided to stay away with the exception of training some rebels and bombing campaigns. An all out war on Syria would be more costly than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Unfortunately one consequences of not intervening has been the formation of ISIS. We have seen how Clinton handled some situations as Secretary of State, but how will she handle ISIS as president?

In the next series of this US Foreign policy, I will take the each of the Candidates platform on Terrorism and see how that will work against ISIS. To concluded this post, I will talk a little bit about why Trump worries me in foreign policy. Then I will do quick explanation of my title. Donald Trump is by profession, a business man. He brags about his book, Art of the Deal. Despite Trump being a savvy businessman, I have some anxiety about his foreign policy. Business deals tend not to have as high stakes as diplomatic talks can. Trump has to remember that in foreign policy, he represents the world’s most powerful nation. There are other countries and terrorist who want to see America go down in flames. Trump negotiating skills will definitely come in handy. However, his knowledge of foreign policy is probably not on par with many other past presidents.If there is one thing he could do to sooth my fears, it would be to get a very experienced Secretary of State that has been in foreign policy.

Obviously I can find positives and scary negatives about both candidates in foreign policy.  To conclude this post, let me explain why “Terrorism is the New War”. If you remember in your American and Global history classes,  in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries it was common for States or Nations to fight against each other. There is a multitude of wars that pit two or more countries against each other. The wars usually start over economic, religious, or land issues. Now, in the 21st century, we have seen a dramatic change in the face of war. Since the 9/11 terrorist attack, we have seen wars not to conquer other countries for land. The wars fought especially by the US have been over religious extremists and some economic interests like Oil.  War has changed and so has how we conduct foreign policy. Whoever becomes President in January 2017 will be dealing primarily with a terrorism threat. It was much easier when Nations fought each other because you know who your negotiating with. Also it was easy to impose international sanctions. Now, terrorists are just groups of people with a common cause. They don’t care about being diplomatic, they want to use force and coercion.

In order to defeat these terrorist who feed off fear and overreactions, we need to unite as country. We need to unite as allies with Europe and Asian. These groups of terrorist are not new or invisible. They are human beings. Whoever is President will need to bring peace of mind and stability. Their leadership will be instrumental in fighting back the terrorists. I personally feel that their intentions are to incite war. The best defense against another costly war is to be determined to keep peace through increased homeland security of our borders. We must keep out those terrorists and allow those who deserve to be here, to come freely. The future of our nation rests upon the foreign policy decisions made in these critical years.

Part 3 of this series in a few days! Thanks for reading!

 

The post 9/11 Narrative vs.The past 50 years of American Foreign Policy

The post 9/11 Narrative vs. The past 50 years of American Foreign Policy is a very long title for a blog post. However, let me explain in this opening paragraph why the title must be so long. I’ve written about 9/11 on this blog once before on the 14th anniversary last September. I wrote briefly about why it happened and the effects. I also recounted my personal experiences. The reason for this post is not necessarily about 9/11 but about the circumstances that were created afterwards. Just yesterday, ISIS sent suicide bombers to an airport in Belgium.The whole world has responded in horror and sadness. Yet another case of innocent people dying because of extremists. The 9/11 attack is an example of a bigger narrative, or more accurately its the effects of 50 years of misguided or mislead policies by the US and Europe. The post 9/11 narrative is one that can be used to predict how all terrorist attacks will be handle in the future. First, I want to explain the narrative and what it entails. Second, I want to briefly touch on some key moments in American foreign policy dating back to the 1950s. The 50 years in the title refers to the 50 years before 9/11. The last thing  is to bring all these narratives and histories together by presenting in terms of the attack on Belgium and how the US has handled it.

After 9/11 occurred, there was a lot of things happening in the US. As a nation we came together and united unlike any other time in our history. The exception being Pearl Harbor. The mourning for the loss of the thousands of innocent lives started. The most important changes within the US came in the form of policies. The US traded freedom for security. Security was tighten everywhere, football games, baseball games, events, airports, borders…etc. The US government passed the controversial patriot act which allowed the NSA to spy on the American.The US government created the TSA for airport security. At the time, President George W. Bush decided in 2003 to combine many of the departments that handled elements of security to Homeland Security. He put all the CIA, FBI, Department of Defense under one roof. In that same year, Congress easily voted to invade Afghanistan and later Iraq. Even New York City stepped up its police force and made stricter rules regarding safety on its public transportation. Now there is two cops on every other block in Manhattan.

Things changed for good. Today we still see these things as normal. The most telling action that occurred during this time was the start of the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars were not started because either country had attacked the US directly. Afghanistan was under rule by the Taliban. Iraq was under rule by Saddam Hussein. It was supposed that attack mastermind Osama Bin Laden was hiding out in Afghanistan so in retaliation for the attacks. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was allegedly hiding weapons of mass destruction. It turned out to be untrue.Both wars created a very important policy for the future. Aptly named the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine is a policy that uses preventive measures and preempted invasions or interventions to prevent future terrorist attacks. The Bush Doctrine has been used in countries such as Libya, Syria, Iran (Iran deal is preventive), and Egypt.

The post 9/11 narrative is partly the Bush Doctrine. The other part is political rhetoric. To justify these wars and acts to prevent terrorism, the politicians warned that terrorist did not like our way of live. They didn’t like that we had freedoms. The terrorist hate democracy. So in the name of freedom and democracy the American people were tricked into trading freedoms for security. But ask yourself, are we really safer? Now lets turn our attention to some of the events leading of up to 9/11.

The first event leading towards the creation of terrorist groups in the middle east is set in the 1950s. Iran was happy being ruled by a democratic government. President Eisenhower decided to have the CIA overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and replace him with the Shah (Mohammed Reza Pahlavi). Iran went from being a democracy to a dictatorship. Why? It was a deal with Britain to take control over the oil supply for British and American oil companies. Iran would has not forgotten about this overthrow. Eisenhower was not done in the middle east either. He defend Egypt from attack by the Israeli’s and French over the Suez Canal. Unfortunately, it helped a dictator stay in power. This strongly affected many countries in the middle east because of Eisenhower actions it set up trouble later on.

Ronald Reagan also did some damage in the middle east. Starting with the bombing of Libya in 1986. Muammar Gaddafi was still in power at that time, and a bomb exploded in Berlin killing some Americans. The tensions between the US and Libya were already high. Reagan also sold weapons to the Iranian rebels. The Iran-Contra scandal was the result. These small but meaningful events all helped to contribute to instability in the middle east. Also in the 1980s during the Soviet Afghanistan war, the US backed the rebels of Afghanistan against the Soviets. They supplied leaders like Osama Bin Laden with weapons.

Now we are back in 2016. The attacks on Belgium and the advanced security of the US is in full force. President Obama said:

“The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium. We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible and this is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.

“We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world”.

Hillary Clinton said:

“We face an adversary that is constantly adapting and operating across multiple theaters,” she said. “Our response must be just as nimble and far reaching. We need to reinforce the alliances that have been pillars of American power for decades.”

As you can see both these quotes put the weigh of defense on preventive measures. They both insist that America will be going to war. I could find a lot of quotes with similar sediments. The post 9/11 narrative of Bush Doctrine is still at work even today. American politicians are obsessed with fighting terrorists. I think its because they have the perfect justification for it, democracy and freedom. The choices previously made by the US government to intervene in middle east affairs over oil or disputes has been wrecking havoc today. The problem is not what many candidates or President’s suggest, its not that America is defense-less or lacks the ability. Its not that Europe hasn’t beefed up its security. Its that we have meddled in other countries business and disrupted the natural order.

I believe that terrorists are religious extremists and that they use fear and coercion to lead governments into retaliation. The terrorists don’t care what type of government or anything like that. They only see the non-believers in their sect of religious beliefs. If you can’t make people comply with reason then you go to killing and terrorism. The US government would be smart to realize that America has the defense resources and it could make the coalitions necessary to defeat these terrorists.The problem is we shouldn’t be attacking. We should be defending. Diplomatically, we pose a truce and try to work out the problems. However, if any terrorist decide to attack then we will be ready to push them back. This whole post is basically what the political science world calls an example of blowback. Blowback is a term used to described retaliation over actions between countries or groups.

I hope that this post clears up some of the misconceptions about terrorism. Terrorism is notoriously hard to stop. There is no clear solution. Just remember to keep alert. Be safe.

Thanks for reading!

9//11 Never Forget- 14th anniversary

Everybody who was older than 4 or 5 years old probably remembers where they were when America was attacked on September 11th, 2001. I was in gym class, before I knew what happened a military helicopter flew overhead. After gym we went to science class where the information about what happened was relied to us. I just turned 11 about 4 days ago.  My mother was in Chicago, Illinois on a business trip visiting the Sears Tower. Luckily she was safe. The tragic event that occurred affected everyone in America. Those who remember it, know that it was an unprecedented day that happen without any warning to the public. The most similar event in history is Pearl Harbor. In both cases, the attack on our soil has cost us thousands of lives mostly innocent. The events that occurred after, first brought us together as a nation then pushed us back apart. Unfortunately, security has taken a front seat in government. The national budget is mostly spend on defense and security measures against another attack.

The Afghanistan and Iraq wars also resulted from this attack. No matter what party or person was in office this day change the course of American history. The President that had the unfortunate experience of dealing with it was George W. Bush. Bush did the best he could it seemed. There are reports and suspicions of the government knowing about it and letting it happen. But I don’t believe them.

I think that we should remember the heroes that saved lives and cleaned up the mess. They fought through the emotional and physical damage to help people. The police officers, firefighters and emergency responders. They had the courage to deal with this horrible situation. I don’t understand what the hatred is toward police. Putting aside the racism that always has occurred.  The police have done more good than bad.  I have to give so much respect to the people who respond to situations like 9/11. My words really cannot describe the gratitude that I would put before them.

9/11 is to be remembered as a celebration of the lives that were lost. The Bin Laden goons who attacked us mean nothing. They did it in vain. America should not let terrorists make our decisions. We need to stand up and make sure that our government does what is right for America and for all the citizens of world. I really believe that 9/11 should give every citizen a reason to vote in elections. Politics are a lot of bulls**t but it does matter.

In remembrance of those who lost their lives at 9/11, please go out and participate in our democracy. Freedom Rings.

Thank you for reading!