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Wednesday
Apr252012

Beware Of The Ultra-Right Wing Nationalism In Europe

While America is presently absorbed with our own economic troubles at home and the rising tensions with China, North Korea and particularly Iran, Europe's economic condition continues to spiral out of control. Increasing sovereign debt and unemployment has directly led to the fall of six governments, most recently this past weekend in the Netherlands. More aggressive austerity measures will lead to a more desparate citizenry and worsening anti-government protests across the continent.

A reactive rise in the profile of right-wing ultranationalist political groups across Europe has become progressively more noticeable over the past eighteen months. The terror attacks in Norway recently may be a sign that the sentiment among the radical members of these groups is becoming more militant. Radicals (ie. neo-Nazis) in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Austria, Hungary, Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries are becoming more publicly vocal. They are gaining support from the people. In the recent presidential elections in France this past week, the right wing nationalists won 20% of the vote. This is startling. We don't need to be reminded of the last time that Fascism swept Europe. It directly led to the death of nearly 70 million people across the globe.

Saturday
Apr212012

Flash Points


Every generational war has it's flash point. The First World War had Sarajevo, the Second World War had the Sudetenland and Poland, and the Cold War had the Cuban Missile Crisis. They all permanently altered the geopolitical landscape and set in motion world events which brought misery to millions of people.

Syria has become this flash point for our generation. It seems that the countries involved have drawn that invisible line in the sand from which they will not retract. National self interests will cause the slaughter to continue.

The leaders of the Syrian government will not step down. Doing so would eventually lead to their demise in all senses of the word. They will continue to fight.

Iran will continue to support the Syrian government with men and materials. Syria is a key component to Iran's plans to form a new Persian Empire stretching from Central Asia to the Mediterranean, and to erode Israeli national sovereignty over time with terrorism out of Lebanon and Gaza. There are thousands of Iranian fighters already in Syria, and they will send more if necessary. They will not allow Assad to fall.

Russia needs the Syrian port of Tartus to maintain a presence in the Mediterranean. It is a key component to their plans for the re-establishment of a Russian Empire. They will continue to provide Assad with weapons, intelligence and Russian special forces to keep him in power.

China will continue to support Iran's plans to control the Persian Gulf and push the Americans out. They need access to the energy resources which are now preferentially sold to America and Europe. They want to replace America as the "Great Benefactor". China's survival as a unified nation depends on the resources of the Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea Region, and the South China Sea.

On the other hand, the United States will not allow it's enemies to control the Middle East. If America loses this region, it will lead to the economic demise of Europe and the slow strangulation of Israel. This will not happen. America will go to war if necessary.

Europe understands their dependence on Middle Eastern oil. NATO will not sit still and allow China, Russia, and Iran to dictate their future. England and France will act to protect their access to this region.

Israel's survival depends on limiting Iran's power in the Middle East. They will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons or establish an empire stretching from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean Sea. They will go to war before it's too late.

Turkey, for the time being, will support action against Iran. By doing so they will eliminate their main competitor in the region. Turkey sees itself as being the area's next great power. They want to extend their influence beyond the Middle East. Iran stands in their way. They hope to limit Iran's power by forcing their exit from the Levant region and inhibiting their progress towards nuclear weapons. They also want Russia out of Syria. Russia has been their natural enemy for hundreds of years. They do not want them at their doorstep again. They will go to war if necessary to decrease both Iran's and Russia's dominance of the region. Their future plans for international prominence depends on them being the pre-eminent power of the Middle East.

So the facts speak for themselves. No party involved can be "bought out". They all believe that the consequences would be too great. They will all stand their ground and not settle for a negotiated agreement which limits their power projection in the region.

The civil war we see playing out in Syria will continue to evolve over time. It may seem to occasionally slow down, with a glimmer of hope for resolution. It always works this way. History is full of examples from which to understand the natural progression of such situations. However, the die has been cast. Each side hopes to teach the other a lesson from which they can't recover. They all believe that a limited and bloody conventional war is winnable.

Russia is the key to the crisis. If they withdraw their support from Syria and Iran, the balance of the situation shifts greatly in America's favor. They must be made to understand their potential gains if they exit the region (ie. energy sales to Europe and favorable negotiations in Arctic treaties).

Time will tell whether Syria goes down in history as another flash point in the annals of human tragedy. If previous case studies in human nature are any indication, we all better brace ourselves for more suffering. Unfortunately, there seems to be a short supply of "clear minds" on which to depend on for crisis resolution. Heaven help us all.

Tuesday
Mar272012

Freedom

Why are people willing to die for it? Throughout the ages, on all habitable places on this Earth , men and women have sacrificed their lives attempting to gain it. Human beings, in their desperate struggle for liberty, often lose touch with the self-preservation instincts of their nature and throw caution to the wind. Oppressive governments take advantage of this forgotten caution and slaughter them in the streets. Nevertheless, they keep fighting, and dying. Such is the passion to live free.

Why is freedom so essential to the human spirit? Why not acquiesce to your oppressor and live to see another day? Why not do as you're told and follow the law issued by your dictator or occupier? Why not allow your mind to be manipulated to serve the "greater good" as set forth by your ruler? Well, because an enslaved existence is not worth living.

The "thinking mind" can not be ruled. It yearns to be free in order to create. Only a free spirit can see the joy in life. Great discovery is born from this freedom to explore with the mind. The "thinking mind" can only follow the rule of law as set forth by other "thinking minds". Great societies have been built on this premise, and great societies have crumbled when that premise was lost. Freedom is essential to the continual progress of man.

So yes, human beings will continue to fight for their freedom. Advancements in human civilization will continue to be made only by "Free Men". Fathers and mothers will continue to die attempting to give their children a better life. It's the story of man, an epic of the grandest proportions.

Sunday
Mar252012

The Concept

The central concept of "American Amaranth" is gradually developed throughout the novel. It is reflected in the thoughts, actions and emotions of the key characters. The essence of the American Spirit is expressed through written and musical narrative. The expanding nature of "American Amaranth" culminates in a final moment of epiphany in the final chapter. I hope that the end of the journey moves the reader to introspection and a better appreciation of what it signifies to be an "American".

Saturday
Mar242012

America's Predicament

America is on a collision course with Iran and China. Since the end of World War Two, America has progressively increased it's profile in the Middle East. The reasons are obvious to all. He who controls the world's energy resources, controls the world. Without sufficient energy, a nation can not continue to modernize and advance it's culture economically. As a nation's economic power begins to descend, so does it's military strength and overall standing in the world (ex: British Empire). Therefore, in order for a culture to remain strong, it must continually grow it's economic power. It must also inhibit its enemies from accessing the sources of it's economic power, thereby limiting their ability to grow and compete militarily. 

Some may say that North America has sufficient oil and natural gas reserves to last the United States more than a century. However, is there enough to provide for all our democratic friends around the world? No. Without Middle Eastern and Central Asian energy supplies, Europe would begin a long slide down into cultural deprivation and worse. They would also become much more dependent on Russian energy, a situation that America would rather help prevent. Therefore, both America and her enemies want control of the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea regions.

Iran sits in perhaps the world's most strategic position. To its south lies the Gulf's rich resources, and to it's north, The Caspian Sea. They have decided that the future prosperity and ideological reach of their theocratic regime depends on controlling the economic potential of this region. They no longer want to be dictated to. They want the US out. Of course, Russia and China have done everything in their power, short of war, to accommodate Iran's wishes and squeeze America to accept her "lessened role" in the region. America refuses to back down. Iran will also not back down and discontinue their drive to nuclear arms. This is their wild card to influence the other countries in the region to accept her dominant role in the Gulf region. They realize that with dominance comes the ability to control the politics of your neighbors. In essence, they hope to control the entire region in the future. From Afghanistan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west, from the Caspian Sea in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south, Iran is determined to establish a new Persian Empire. An empire with much more traditional trade ties with China than with the West.

Iran will continue on it's present course. They will not be bought with financial concessions from the United States. Their ideology prevents that. This portends poorly for the future of Israel, America's ally in the Middle East. They can not allow Iran to achieve such power. "Mutually assured destruction" does not work here as a deterrent.

While America and Russia are potentially energy self-sufficient, China is not. They must feed 1.4 billion people, and they don't have the energy to do it. They are heavily dependent on other nations to provide them with that luxury. This fact sits poorly with them. They see the Persian Gulf much more in their sphere of influence geographically than in America's. They have the ancient "Silk Road" trade history with Ancient Persia in their cultural memory. China sees Iran's recent ascent as an opportunity to push the United States out and enter the scene as a "savior white knight". They don't appear to be relinquishing this opportunity.

In addition, China has the energy-rich South China Sea in her backyard. She appears to have serious ownership designs in this region. She is not likely to give up these aspirations easily. China realizes that America is over-extended economically and militarily. For God's sake, US soldiers are spending four or more tours of duty in combat zones and suffering severe psychological consequences as a result.

So yes, America has quite a predicament on her hands. She can back down from Iran's growing menace and allow radical Shia control of the Persian Gulf with it's subsequent implications to the state of Israel. She can look away from Russia and China's support for radical regimes in the region. She can allow China's eventual control of the South China Sea and it's implications to world trade and probable stimulant effect on Japan's remilitarization. She can accept a lessened role in the world as Great Britain did after 1945, or she will likely go to war. I believe that the only truly unanswered question is when the die will be cast.
 

 

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