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Saturday
Jul212012

Sacrificial Youth and the Decline of the American Way of Life 

 

Sunday
Jul152012

Blood & Tyranny

The case of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will remain a sad footnote in history. He and his henchmen have murdered thousands of innocent civilians over the past sixteen months in an ugly civil war. Most of the dead are women and children who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The world stands by and watches the pathetic criminal display without forcing an end. In fact, Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China continue to support the tyrannical Syrian government as they kill their people. America and her Western allies press for economic sanctions and materially support the "Free Syrian Army". Dangerously, Syria may become the spark which initiates a larger regional or even global war. Syria and her president, Bashar al-Assad, are also outstanding examples of how "power corrupts" and how "absolute power corrupts absolutely". Al-Assad's legacy to the world will be longstanding and notoriously unforgivable.

Unforgivable because the Syrian president had a great opportunity to do good in this world. He is an ophthalmic surgeon, educated and trained in England. As a young man, he must have had the desire to contribute positively to our world. Son of a rich and powerful dictator, he must not have had economic reasons to study his profession. He was already wealthy. He likely had some altruistic interests for his fellow man. He probably desired to contribute positively to society. He wanted to dedicate his life to curing blindness, a noble desire indeed. What happened?

As the case many times in history, greed and powerlust got the better natures of his person. Absolute dictatorship of a country must have appealed to him more than curing blindness. He, himself, was blinded by absolute power. He made the wrong choice. His country, his way of life, his family, his future are all crumbling around him. If he survives the civil war, he and his family will seek exile far away from their homeland. Their safety and future well-being will always be in doubt. He has the examples of Saddam Hussein and Moamar Gaddafi close at hand. His fate appears dark.

I am certain that when left alone in contemplation, Bashar al-Assad thinks of what could have been. His mind and hands as an ophthalmologist had more power than his dictatorship of Syria. His power to heal the sick was certainly more noble than killing innocent women and children. The gift of a wonderful education was thrown away to write a sad, pathetic chapter in history. Too late. Too late to correct the misdeeds. Too late to step back and re-direct. Too late to make amends.

The curious case of Bashar al-Assad is a great example of how educated men can become derailed and act in ways never expected of them. Noble causes can quickly degenerate into senseless, misdirected choices. Unfortunately, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Tyranny is never good. It must never be allowed to establish itself, anywhere, anytime. Governments must maintain "rule of law" and a democratic system of "checks and balances". Freedom is to be upheld always.

As the murder continues in Syria, Bashar al-Assad sleeps poorly. He thinks of his life and how it could have been better. He thinks of his choices taken and regrets his reality. He fears for his family and his life. What a legacy to leave behind.

 

Friday
Jul062012

Reinvesting In America

Over the past four years, hundreds of thousands of articles have been written about the coming "Global Economic Depression" and the fall of Western Civilization. People have prophesized the end of America as we know it. The risks of Radical Islam and a nuclear Iran, the rise of Chinese economic and military hegemony, and the renaissance of Russian imperial power, have all been named as causative agents in our demise. The spectacle of political and economic European "disunion" and impending sovereign bankruptcies, along with political, racial, social, and economic upheaval in the United States, have made people worry about losing our Western way of life.

Without a doubt, the world is a very dangerous place to live. Risks abound on every continent. World war doesn't seem so impossible anymore. The thoughts of losing our jobs, retirement pensions, healthcare, and homes are ever-present in most of our minds. We all wish and pray for more political and social harmony. People are concerned about the few investments they still have as they look for places to hide their money. Every day brings new stories about bank corruption and instability. We are beginning to question the safety of keeping our money in banks, the FDIC insurance notwithstanding. People say, "What good is FDIC if the US goes bankrupt?" People are beginning to invest their money in physical gold and silver, non-perishable foods, and guns and ammunition. Crazy thinking has taken hold in our society.

Intelligent minds compare the situation today to the instability of the mid-1930s. The global depression had destroyed economic well-being in all countries of the world. The Spanish Civil War was beginning in Europe, pitting Bolshevik Communists and radical Fascists in a preview of what was to come on a much grander scale, only three years later throughout all of Europe. The Japanese had invaded China and were slaughtering millions of innocent people. America felt weak and exposed to enemies, both foreign and domestic, who were intent on "changing" our systems of government and finance. Many Americans feared for their families and were unsure of how life would look, a decade into the future.

I agree that America and the world are facing many problems similar to those which existed in the decade between the "Stock Market Crash of 1929" and the beginning of World War Two. There are dangers all around us today which certainly can impact our freedoms and the well-being of our families. But there are two very important qualifying differences which need to be always remembered.

In the 1930s, the United States did not own the world's reserve currency and the strongest military on the planet. We had many adversaries who were at least our equals, and several others who could have been considered stronger in both respects. The situation today is decidedly in our favor. Regardless of the present economic problems in America, the US is still a safer place to invest than all others. Our "rule of law" allows legal process to function more fairly than in the rest of the world. Legal recourse somewhat evens the playing field and provides an extra margin of "safety", regardless of economic risks.

The kleptocratic regimes present today in Russia and China make them lawless as far as American investment is concerned. Leaders in these countries are billionaires who, ultimately, their people can't even trust.The socialist system in Brazil makes it unstable when the world is unstable. Although Russia is a literate country, the illiteracy rates in China-5%, Brazil-10%, and India-25%, throw these countries "under the bus" when compared to the USA. No one in their right mind could consider these lands to be safer investments than America. The movement by our enemies to strip us of the Dollar's reserve currency status is ill-fated. The Dollar will be a safer currency than any of her adversaries for the forseeable future.

America's military might is stronger and more diversified than all her enemies combined. Our space, naval, and air forces can not be matched by anyone for the next several decades. Our offensive and defensive missile technology is awesome and would be overwhelmingly victorious against all our enemies on land, air, and sea.

So you see, America of 2012 is not the America of the 1930s. We are the pre-eminent world power economically and militarily. We are likely to stay so for the remainder of the 21st century. Our enemies can not knock us from our perch. Only we can defeat ourselves. This is not to say that we won't go through rough patches as we traverse present times, but all in perspective. America's political and economic instability will correct itself with tender-loving care from her people. Let's invest less in gold, non-perishables, and ammunition, and invest more in our political system, our industrial infrastructure, our corporations, and our small businesses. If we do, we defeat our enemies without firing a shot. Just in case, let's not forget to invest in our unique and honorably brave troops who sacrifice all to give us the opportunities to decide. They are the true heroes of the "American Experience". They are the essence of "American Amaranth".

Tuesday
Jul032012

Libertas Americana


Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, the 236th birthday of the United States of America. Our "Declaration of Independence" on this day so long ago reverberated around the world. A small parsely populated land audaciously declared their freedom from the powerful British Empire. It declared a challenge to the most powerful nation in the world, fearlessly. America had the "purity of purpose" to conduct a long war with Britain and pay the "costs of freedom". It was a unique singular event in the "epic of man", and set the standard for independence throughout the world to this day. America is this planet's standard-bearer for democracy and hopefully will continue to be for an eternity. But with this comes responsibilities to the world and to our own nation.

The citizens of America must always remember that our republic was originally built through hard work and a belief in "justice for all". It was based on a free market system for trade. Americans were encouraged to be inventive, productive, and responsible. There was no socialism. Significant social government programs did not even exist until FDR's "New Deal". Safety nets established in the 1930s were further strengthened by LBJ in the 1960s. These programs were never intended to create a non-working segment of the population, subsisting entirely on the US government. Our public education system was created to provide essential knowledge to our children, knowledge necessary to further our capitalist workforce. Young people were offered a chance for an education and an opportunity to contribute to our nation's future.

Our founding fathers never intended the US government to be our employer, our healthcare provider, our "spiritual" leader, our family planner, our dictator. "Small government" was to provide "law and order", national security, and a basic safety net in times of economic hardship and in old-age retirement. That is all. Our freedom and individual "American Spirit" were to be allowed to direct the better natures of our character and lead us into prosperity and happiness. Things changed.

The 20th century brought with it many challenges. The Great Depression, the rise of Communism and Fascism, world war, nuclear weapons and the concept of mutually assured destruction, civil rights issues, racial and ethnic tensions, the corporatization of American business, globalization, the Internet and instant communications, the drug culture, the sexual revolution, the loss of the sanctity of marriage, illegal immigration, the rise of violent crime, the consumer culture, and Terrorism. All together, they have caused sensory overload and a national post-traumatic stress disorder characterized by attention deficits, drug and alcohol abuse, all types of abnormal behavioral deviances and excessive personal greed. They all helped form our "rat race" mentality in the 20th century.

Unfortunately, the 21st century is playing out to be much more dangerous and ego-destructive than the last. Radical Islamic Terrorism, the rise of China, the rebirth of an angry, vengeful kleptocratic Russia, international economic collapse, the rise of nuclear terror states in Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea, the rise of international neo-fascism, and the rapidly evolving social, economic, and political destabilization of America, are all throwing the world into massive instability. How can anyone remain sane in this world? But sane and clear-minded we must all remain in order to drag our country out of the gutter and return it to it's rightful and well deserved place. For you see, America is the only hope for our planet. Our visions of freedom potentially may allow the rest of the world a chance to live in harmony and an opportunity to live in peace. Without America, the planet would quickly fall into greater chaos and self-destructive behavior. The "civilized life" depends on a strong and just America. We as citizens of this country must address our problems with better insights into what made America a great nation. We must regain our original form. The world is depending on us to find our way quickly, before it's too late.

Understanding the greatness of the forming America in 1782, Benjamin Franklin designed and commissioned a medal to celebrate America's revolution and independence from Britain. Then minister to France, he had the Paris Mint create the "Libertas Americana" medal in honor of our country's struggles for liberty. It is the most famous of American medals, but it's existence is mostly unknown to our citizens. Two medals in gold were gifted to the King and Queen of France, in thanks for their assistance in the American Revolution. Approximately twenty in silver were given to French ministers, George Washington, and the president of the American Congress. Three hundred in bronze were gifted to the other remaining members of Congress.

The medal's obverse has the inscription "LIBERTAS AMERICANA" in an arc above, 4 JUIL. 1776 is in the exergue below. At the center is the head of Libertas Americana, aka Miss Liberty, facing left with her hair freely flowing in the wind. She holds a pole with a Phrygian cap at the end, symbolizing republican freedom.

The medal's reverse has the inscription "NON SINE DIIS ANIMOSUS INFANS" (the infant is not bold without divine aid) above, 17 OCT. 1777 and 19 OCT. 1781 below. The dates refer to America's victories over British armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. Centrally, the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva, clad in breastplate and plumed helmet, holds a shield above an infant Hercules at her feet. The infant Hercules, representing the new American nation, kneels in the protective shadow of Minerva's shield, strangling a serpent in each tiny fist. Next to Hercules, stands the British Lion with it's tail between it's rear legs, signalling defeat. Franklin felt that the medal presaged the future force of our growing empire. It was a monument of American liberty.

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would castigate us all for having forgotten the roots of our freedom. He would cry with us over our losses and misdirected energies. He would ask why and how we lost our way. Old Ben would wonder how we could so easily forget our past "purity of purpose" and all our paid "costs of freedom". Then he would likely stand, remove his bifocals, and roundly kick our asses!


Wednesday
Jun272012

Iran vs. The Entire Sunni Muslim World

One thing has become glaringly apparent from observing the chaos of the "Arab Revolutions" over the past 18 months. America is supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and its attempts to create a Sunni caliphate across North Africa and the Middle East. The Brotherhood has taken control of public opinion in Libya and Egypt, and is directing the "Free Syrian Army" revolt in Syria against the Shia Alawite regime of President al Assad. We can expect more Sunni fighters to pour into Syria over the coming months from all over the Muslim world. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates will bankroll the fight, while the Brotherhood provides the muscle. Special forces from Britain, France, and the US will help coordinate the muscle against al Assad and his Iranian handlers. The CIA will watch and make sure that the best players are on the field. 

Iran will not allow al Assad to fall easily. They will pour more resources into the fight. Iran will try to get assurance from Russia and China of their support against allowing further American involvement. Their support will likely be limited- just enough to entice America into her further entanglement in the region. Both Russia and China would benefit from another "long war" for America in the Middle East. Russia would get less active American involvement in her "near abroad" (ie. Poland, Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Caucasus); and China would confront less US military assets in the western Pacific and the South China Sea. However, neither Russia nor China are presently prepared for a protracted fight with US air and naval power. They'll leave the fighting for now to the Syrians and Iranians. Syria is a perfect location for the United States to draw her Sunni and Shia enemies into a religious civil war. America is unlikely to put large numbers of our boys on the ground. US air and naval power will standby and provide assistance whenever necessary to turn the tide of battle and keep the meat grinder running. Heavy losses on both Sunni and Shia sides is ideal from the US perspective.

Coupled with low oil prices from a global recession (oil @$70-80/bbl) and the resultant negative effects on the Iranian economy, a long bloodletting in Syria would certainly weaken the Iranian regime's position at home. It is the ultimate catch-22 for Iran. If they fall into a US-directed meat grinder situation in Syria, Iran will face regime collapse at home and at the very least, become a "softer target" for US/Israeli strikes against her nuclear facilities. If they avoid a fight in Syria and allow the fall of al Assad, they risk the formation of a muscular Muslim Brotherhood Sunni caliphate across the Middle East, financially supported by Iran's rich neighbors. A costlier, more catastrophic religious civil war would come a little later. Either way, Iran loses.

Naturally, Iran's position in this chess game can be greatly strengthened if Russia and China provide strong military support. It would not be in Russia's long term interests to do so. China is a different story. Although China may wish to become more heavily involved, it is simply impossible logistically at the present time. Long distance negates a strong Chinese influence in the region. Left to them, China would have preferred this scenario in 3-4 years. But America did not leave it up to them. In the Middle East, Iran and her local friends will have to go at it alone. America is in the driver's seat.

It seems that America has put their fast-break offense on the court. They are speeding up the game. They are forcing Iran, China, and Russia to make decisive moves when they are not yet prepared to do so. They have allowed an aggressive Sunni movement to take over the workings of government in the Middle East, in an attempt to form a muscular counterweight to Iran. They have induced Turkey to become involved, although they did not wish to at the start. They must or risk losing influence in their backyard. It's genius.

It's genius, if it all works out. In the Middle East, one can never count on "things working out". A strong Sunni Muslim Brotherhood could ally themselves with alQaeda and become an even greater problem for America than Iran. Two very strong enemies are worse than one. The CIA has their work cut out for them in this region. It's time for us to review Machiavelli's playbook. Unintended consequences are the "nightmare" scenarios for geopolitical strategists. Let's just place a few extra magazine clips in our pockets and hope for the best.

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