The Rebalancing of Powers: From ‘Brexit’ to Babel?


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There is a disconnect between national policy and international relations.

The decision to leave the EU by the UK, or “Brexit”, is a symbol of that disconnect.

But in order to understand the origins of this decision, it is important to highlight the UK’s tradition of reluctance and hesitation towards the EU since its inception.

By nature, the UK, like America, prefers to play a conservative role in international affairs, dabbling in just enough to get the benefit, but not enough to bear the burden.

But the armed crises in the Middle East have created a storm in UK & EU politics, with the migration crisis being the crux of the problem.

Evidently, the UK prefers to leave such matters in the hands of its European counterparts, which is ironic because the UK is America’s closest ally in Europe – both countries are directly responsible for destabilizing the Middle East in the first place, under the premise of liberalization. This is where the disconnect begins.

At least half of the UK truly feels undermined by the concentration of power, underrepresented and almost collectivized by being part of the EU.

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But is the decision to leave the EU a right-wing populist scheme exploiting frustrations of the ordinary Brit? In South America, both right and left wing populism have failed to their more centered opponents. The US is still determining its fate.

Has this decision created a more or less secure world? Is this decision likely to produce positive or negative results in the UK’s social, economic and political fabric? How will this impact the rest of Europe? What will happen to the migrants?

It is in fact the people who have decided, through referendum, to leave the EU. Despite a targeted and well-developed “leave” campaign, the decision is also inspired by  general discontent towards the EU in Britain. But the facts and rhetoric surrounding the campaign reveals “Brexit” is more about xenophobia & Islamophobia than it is about sovereignty.

The majority of those who voted to leave the EU were above the age of 40. The vast majority of those who voted against were in their 20s ad 30s.

Given that London just elected its first Muslim mayor, there is reason to believe that unfounded, prejudiced paranoias about migrants and Muslims have stoked fears and insecurities in society, just enough to feed into the allure of right-wing populism and fear.

UK MP Nigel Farage proclaimed victory, ushering the 23rd as the UK’s modern independence day. He went on to claim that such a victory was achieved without any blood spilled. But only last week, British MP Jo Cox was violently murdered by a right-wing extremist who shouted “Britain First” as he committed the murder. Has this been understated by the media? Compared to reporting on terrorism linked to one or more Muslims, it is difficult to say that the media is not biased.

Notable international relations theorist John Mearsheimer predicted the disintegration of the EU as a result of the current international political dynamic which has seen America as the world’s sole superpower since the dissolution of the USSR. That dissolution has almost removed the security incentive for unity, or balancing that brought the EU together in the first place. There appears to be a growing rift among NATO members, particularly between European states and the US on how to manage international affairs. The differences stem from foreign policy on the Middle East primarily. Is the UK’s decision to leave the EU an inching towards or away from subservience to US leadership? That depends on the direction US democracy goes. If the American people also give in to fear, Donald Trump might be the next US president. This suggests that the two of the world’s most influential powers, the UK and America, are juggling between the past and the future – traditions of colonialism, racism & global mischief – and the equally traditional struggle against those forces, political enfranchisement, and socio-economic equality.

Europe is drifting towards a center-left progressive “utopia” – something despised by the British traditional-mentality. The same could be said of the US. This is vindicated by the statistics surrounding the ‘Brexit’ vote which saw the majority of the “leave” supporters being over the age of 40.

Without delving deeply into history books, the average person might not know that much of the US’ post-WWI behavior was determined by the British, by prompting fear and insecurity about illusory global threats. In 1952, it was the British who convinced the US that movements for sovereignty in the Middle East were a threat. Initially the US had actually empathized with the struggles for independence in the Middle East. The UK convinced the US to overthrow a democratically elected leader in Iran, and the US agreed because of the paranoias injected by the UK about the so-called “communist menace”.

To some it may be surprising that racism, Islamophobia and fascism are creeping into US and UK politics. To others, perhaps more victimized by these forces, it is more dangerous than surprising. If the US decides to follow suit and elects Donald Trump, there is reason to believe that global tensions might intensify. Remember that European history is bloody. Wars between France, England, Germany were commonplace. The UK’s exit from the EU might disturb this legacy of peace and harmony in Europe which has endured since WWII. Furthermore, it might reintroduce fascism into the West – long thought gone and dead.

It isn’t hard to imagine what would happen if the US did in fact follow suit. Two blocs would eventually form in the global order – a rebalancing of powers if you will. The UK and the US would be together on one side; Russia, China & Iran on the other. India would likely play an indirect role, but ultimately throwing most of its support behind the latter bloc. The contrary would apply to the Gulf states in the Middle East, Israel and Pakistan, who would likely remain under the auspices of the UK & the US. Altogether this can be described as the modern world order. In this scenario, the EU disintegrates completely. The fault line will likely split between France & Germany – to no surprise, with much of eastern Europe balancing against the UK & the US. The war between fascism and collectivism ensues. The ideologies of capitalism and culture are at war – they are mutually exclusive. In reality, capitalism fully realized is fascist, and collectivism fully realized is communist – both authoritarian to some extent. But the latter is conditional and retaliatory. In a perfect world, neither would exist, and universal democracy could flourish without capitalism and communism. Till then, we must pick sides and lesser evils or resort to anarchism.

There is still hope for the world and America. Clinton is not our salvation – but in politics there are no angels; only lesser devils – or so it seems.

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When Minorities Rule


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Anger has no ideology.

It constantly flip flops between extreme strands of leftist or rightist political orientations.

That’s why often times you will find individuals who are on the fringes of society attacking all those who participate in mainstream politics, no matter their ideology.

Take Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. They promise hand-outs, whether its in government aid, or fascist nepotism. These two individuals represent their opposites – socialism and fascism. Yet both seem allied in their effort to squash mainstream candidates, of whom now only remains Hillary Clinton.

Clinton is seen as a traitor to the common man for her centrist positions. She supports progressivism but does not drift from the American tradition of individualism so far as to abandon the capitalist ideology. Hillary supports progressivism but she does not support the vanguard approach.

Hillary’s weakness lies in foreign policy. But even here, political pundits speak as though Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump would actually act upon their rhetoric. What would Sanders really do to challenge Israel? Would Donald Trump invade North Korea and go to war with Iran?

Hillary is a lapdog to Israel. But so is Donald. Bernie, perhaps not so much. But Bernie’s ideas are old for the avid reader. Socialism failed a long time ago. The problem is deeper than that.

The problem facing America is cultural, not ideological, with certain individuals disenfranchised from the political and economic processes thus leading to a disconnect between America’s domestic and foreign policy. Populism and majoritarian democracy are proving detrimental to America’s constitutional foundations, which initially, were flawed themselves.

The American people don’t need hand outs or false promises from religious or ideological demagogues. The American people do not need wars and invasions to fund their debts. The American people do not need welfare to be sustainable, nor must we envy the hard working rich people. Furthermore, we cannot create social barriers that convince individuals who are poor to look anywhere but to themselves to bring themselves out of poverty. The reality is that, the phenomenon of inequality in America is less economic than people want to admit. It is America’s cultural disenfranchisement of the minorities which has led to social and economic inequality – and this has been secured through populist politics. It won’t work in 2050 when the minority becomes the majority – but even then, populists always have tactics to disrupt political systems.

I don’t think any of these candidates is a true individualist, with each pandering to another popular group of blind followers.

Obama was truly a president of integrity and wisdom – despite the difficulties of engaging foreign politics. I do believe Obama made mistakes, but he also achieved great feats. I only hope that future candidates will realize these truths and step away from depending on false promises and shady foreign alliances in order to secure power and instead, seek the prosperity intended for this country.

In order for that to happen, the system of majoritarian democracy must be dismantled in favor or a proportionate representation system that does not allow mass-minded ideologies to compromise individual rights and freedoms as well as collective necessities.

Furthermore, it will ensure that minorities are dignified and respected. As a result, American foreign policy will shift because it is being influenced by immigrants – not just a group of rich white protestant males.

But what it will prove is that minorities are better preservers of individualism than the so-called Anglo-Saxon, which history has taught us to be the initiator of liberalism, despite centuries of conservative history. Perhaps that is why such a social movement is resisted – better yet suppressed.

In terms of instituting democracy abroad – such a task is hypocritical and ignores the dynamics of each country. What if a dictator is in fact supported by a majority? What if a domestic solution or transition is more viable than foreign intervention? Do these scenarios even matter – should a nation-state ever be involved in another’s domestic affairs? Is not such behavior an act of aggression or war?

With all due respect, it seems that democracy is innately fascist because it depends on mass-populism instead of conviction.

To put the world in perspective then, who is the real hero; and who the villain?

Different theories will be offered; culprits blamed.

But in the end; who is the real menace to global peace?

Blind Populism – 2016


The Democrat-Republican, left-right, Atheist-Cleric dichotomy is a farce.

Political elites know human beings are more inclined to “defend” something than to attack it.

So they create a delusion of competition between theories, such as atheism and religion, which appear to be opposite, and lets say, communism and libertarianism, or democracy and republicanism, so as to keep constituencies controlled and voting for the supposed “opposition”.

But in reality, all of these guys, atheists, clerics, libertarians, socialists – they are all more concerned with promoting their “belief system” or the “lack thereof” than pointing out what is right or wrong, from a rationally based moral system.

These guys, Ben Carson, the Young Turks…they will all promote their bigotry with a slight hint of moral discourse but they will ALWAYS fall short of addressing the main global issues facing us from an impartial standpoint because it threatens their social status and employment.

This applies to Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Glen Beck & Hillary Clintons (neo-cons and/or closet conservatives)

It also applies to the Bernie Sanders, Bill Mahers & Salman Rushdies (populist socialists and/or militant atheists)

You see I put my faith in less ideologically inclined individuals. I prefer to trust individuals of conviction and moderation; those who understand the complexity of human nature. These figures tend to be closer to the “ideological center” of the political spectrum, preferring the wisdom of moderation over the perhaps shortsighted instant-gratification of ideological-populism.

To be frank, of the three contenders, the one who exhibited this type of humility the most was Governor Martin O’Malley, who is least likely of them to win.

He was the only contender to say “Black Lives Matter”.

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The contradictions on behalf of Western analysts trying to rationalize their original disposition that Assad was the tyranny of the Middle East, and not for example, closer allies of the West, whom it might not be convenient to publicly expose, like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar & the Muslim Brotherhood, in their complicity in funding terrorism, extremism & inequality in the region.

If the West intended to ask the right questions they would have asked how sure can Assad be that he has a substantial support of the Syrian population and/or diaspora?

Furthermore, their attempt to rationalize the rise of ISIS as an Assadist creation while suggesting that the West and Assad might be able to cooperate against ISIS is an inherent contradiction, a hypocrisy, which only discredits Western narratives about Middle Eastern politics even further.

It is not the duty of the West or the East to liberate the world. ISIS & terrorism from the Middle East are caused by two specific sources: Israeli fundamentalism, expansionism & colonial outposts such as the Saudi monarchy causing huge socio-economic imbalances creating a BREEDING grounds for terrorism and fanatical religious propaganda, such as Wahhabism, the essential philosophy behind all so-called muslim terrorist groups, from al Qaeda, to al Nusra & ISIS.

Remember, all of these entities need capital to survive and fight. Who is supplying them? Who is ENABLING them?

I would argue it is a coalition of two forces: the first force is more elusive because it exists in the largely free and democratic world. It is the conservative right wing. While their grip on private and public sectors remain tight, the very nature of democracy in the West forces political forces of imperial persuasions must be a little more behind the scenes. This is largely why the majority of tyrannies and injustices that exist outside of the West, have close ties with Western counties.

Terrorism and injustice cannot be prevented until their PARTICULAR roots are dissected, understood and exposed. Until then we are in a constant state of worry legitimizing these types of covert behind the scenes forms of corruption.

Danny Krikorian

Orlando, FL

Political Science – International Relations, B.A.

University of Central Florida

dannkrikorian@gmail.com

@krikos88 (T/I)

HASA!


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I’ll never forget the day this album dropped. I was in another dimension. I was inspired.

This album performed well. Its critics are caught in a web of infinite skepticism.

I bought this album and Yeezus on the same day. I believe these are probably the two greatest artists of our time. If you pay attention, I have been influenced by them in all of my work.

The political undertones in this work, like all of Jay-Z’s works, are omnipresent. The cover itself, inspired by greco-roman mythology, the inner-booklet, as well as the content, from beginning to end, captures the stark reality of an American hustler. The whole time I felt I was watching a Spike Lee movie.

Jay-Z is hated for his business approach. I think he is an artistic genius. His genius is beyond the minds of his critics, be they musicians or not. He addresses conspiracy theorists in a line from “Heaven”:

Conspiracy theorists screaming illuminati,

They can’t believe this much skill is in a human body,

6’2, how the fuck he fit in a new bugatti,

Aw fuck it you got me,

Question religion question it all,

Question existence until them questions are solved,

Meanwhile this heretic, I be out in Marrakesh,

Morocco, smoking hashish with my fellowship,

Y’all dwell on devil shit, I’m in diablo, yellow-shit,

Color of jello shit, hello bitch,

It’s me again, fresh in my easter clothes feeling like Jesus.

For all the so-called purists & the conspiracy theorists, this is a clear message. Jay-Z isn’t here to make you comfortable. He is here to make a living, express himself & expose what he sees as American hypocrisy. With references to Malcolm, Martin Luther King Jr., Wall Street, Jewish affluence and more, this album in no way falls short of being consistent with the tradition of hip-hop as a conscious movement.

Despite ongoing trends & exploitations of the culture, for the most part, there remains a largely alive movement of conscious listeners and artists who remain true to the craft and the messages upon which it was built.

It cannot be understated the impact which 200 years of slavery has had on the African-American culture. This recent interview with Azealia Banks on Hot 97 really captures the emotions of the African-American community. Whether or not you agree with her views or self-expression, I do believe it is important for Americans especially, to hear this perspective. It is true, that Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves in the 19th century. But that was the end of a tactic; not of a system. The system which we would like to believe no longer exists today is strong and more alive than ever. Words alone, especially my own, cannot do justice.

Today, hip-hop is saturated with a blend of either ultra-conscious underground or ultra-materialistic mainstream. The medium is there, if you look for it. The majority, which represents the American population, remains held hostage to either the purists within the underground community or the bigots who have largely extended their grasp over the popular media-mainstream, exponentially since the deaths of major hip-hop icons Notorious B.I.G. & Tupac.

I am all for new music & innovation. But I tend not to look for it from many of the artists who the mass-media spoon-feeds us on the daily. I like sticking to my real hip-hop.

On Saudi Arabia & the Roots of Arab Elitism


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1.  A sense of entitlement and exclusiveness emanates from the Arabian peninsula, namely from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen & the UAE, which has its roots embedded in a version of an Islamic narrative that ties the Arabs of this region to ancient jewish and semitic tribes.

2. This has concentrated wealth in the particular tribe of Al Saud, leaving the spoils of the Middle East’s vast oil reserves in the hands of this family, tribe and what has become a political ‘cult’.

3. The Arabian peninsula was a series of loosely ruled mandates and kingdoms, until the Saudi defeat of the kingdom of Hejaz. Al Saud would refer to this as the unification of Saudi Arabia while in reality it was a conquest of land, likely supported by colonial agents such as the British and the Americans, who saw the economic and political gains of a religiously zealous and feared, imperial and unquestioned authority such as the House of Saud.

4. This contrasts with the culture that formed the modern nation-state of Syria, which sits on the other side of the political spectrum of Middle Eastern politics. Circumstance, geography and history carved a different fate for the Syrian nation-state. Diversity and a constant foreign threat dictated the politics of Syria, and focus on collective justice pinned the country against their neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey & Kuwait as pawns of global powers, namely the West (US, UK, France, Germany).

5. The establishment of Israel by the UK and with the help and support of the vast majority of Western countries, further exasperated and intensified the exclusivist culture of bigotry, racism, hypocrisy and fundamentalism. Like the Saudis, Israelis have used prejudiced narratives to horde semitism as their own.

6. History suggests however that semitism has roots in Syria, bilad al-Sham having linguistic ties to Shem, one of the sons of Noah, a prominent biblical figure in the religions of Islam & Judaism (amongst others).

7. In Saudi Arabia, (and in Israel, and in parts of the West) where capitalism has taken hold, a culture of ownership of other human beings and of natural resources has turned rampant and has led to the theft of basic human rights; rights to expression, freedom & dignity.

8. The emphasis on paranoias of individual power-hunger has led tribes and cults like al Saud to prey on their opponents and to garner support. Saudi Arabia is among the most destabilizing forces in the world, largely veiled by their luxurious lifestyles. They’ve successfully pinned all opponents and contentious movements as anti-freedom, similar to the American strategy as pinning foes as freedom-haters.

9. One man’s freedom is another man’s slavery. Saudi Arabia is a victim of the Western capitalist machine. Even America is a victim of the Capitalist machine. America is the bastard daughter of imperialism. In today’s world, it is battling itself. In America, war is fought between democrats and republicans and independents and etc. But the rest of the world is also fighting America’s war. In Iraq, pro-west vs anti-west groups split the nation. In Syria, Libya and Egypt, similar scenarios unfold.

10. Communism was portrayed by politicians and ideologues of the 19th and 20th centuries as a threat to the capitalism of the West when in reality it was merely a guised reflection of the same ideology bent on ownership of human beings and natural resources. This is what happens when ideas become our Gods. The ‘authentic’ resistance to Western imperialism turned out to be a hoax, a farce, a deception, carefully orchestrated.

11. Imperialism is the umbrella idea, and all other ideas are expressions of it. The enemy of imperialism is national sovereignty. Germany, America, Syria, the actual would-be nation-state of the Gulf, Japan, China, etc – these are all nations that are threatened by imperialism. Imperialism, the ideology that takes over nations, owns humans, and resources, is expressed in today’s world through Zionism, American Republicanism, Chinese Communism, Russian Oligarchy, Saudi Wahhabism, Lebanese Phalangism.

12. Once imperialism is rooted out, national & global criminals will be exposed. The world cannot afford such power-hunger. The crime is not desire. The crime is not excess. The crime is power-hunger. Anyone who says different is using it as a distraction. All men deserve freedom, dignity and the right to expression and prosperity – and the only barrier to these ambitions is the kind of ideology that seeks to justify suppressing them – imperial dogmatic religions.

13. The great evil is not atheism. It is not theism. It is both. Together, because ultimately the roots of both of these is a desire for power. The true believer is not held hostage to either vanity.

14. God save the Middle East and bring the world to justice.