Should We Police the World? America & Security in the 21st Century


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Throughout history, various states have requested the assistance of the US to help suppress insurgency. Often these insurgencies are supported and funded by external powers. A prime modern example of this is the current conflict in Syria. Initially perceived as a part of the Arab Spring, the US stood with so-called “rebel forces” in their struggle to liberate Syria from the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. This quickly changed, with a shift in the US administration’s Syrian policy focusing more on mitigating the influence of radicalism, which seems to have overshadowed the rebel forces and the original political objective with a new, radicalized ideological objective.

Originally it was expected that radicalism was a response to the authoritarian tendencies of dictators like Assad, but once it became clear that the movement to topple the leader was actually dangerous to international security itself, the US administration became more skeptical.

However many of the US’ closest allies, like Saudi Arabia, have been arguably complicit in enabling and funding the rise of these radical groups. The American people and the international community made it clear that it was not anxious to see another US military invasion, particularly after the disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The same is true is Bahrain and Yemen.

Should the US intervene to help the state? Should the US help the insurgency? Should the US be involved?

Historically the Middle East was viewed as the backyard of Europe. For this reason, it fell under Europe’s sphere of influence. Perhaps this is precisely why Russia felt more than obligated to intervene in Syria’s conflict on the side of the regime to counter the Islamist initiative. Now it seems, the US has warmed up to this position and is even considering coordinated initiatives against Daesh, or ISIS.

The US has been heavily involved in the ME since WWII. The nature of this involvement has taken a new form, particularly during the Obama Administration.

The recent military escapades of the US in the Middle East have been consequential. Since 2003, there has been an unprecedented rise in terror in the Middle East (START). Some scholar argue that the US’ involvement in the region has only exacerbated the conflicts between state and citizen. Since the US and most major powers have often flip-flopped between supporting radical revolutionaries and their authoritarian nemeses, and considering the dire political consequences of these inconsistent policies, standing on either side of the conflict in Syria will be detrimental to both US and international security.

This is likely because the US is perceived to support authoritarian governments in the Middle East. But in other cases, like for example Iraq, the US was prepared to overthrow an authoritarian figure – whereas in Syria, the US sees greater benefit from supporting president Bashar al-Assad. In this scenario, it might actually be beneficial for the US to go after those funding groups like Daesh/ISIS, but this means going after some of the US’ closest allies, like Saudi Arabia. It is often presumed that cultures in all parts of the world are fighting for democratic rights, when in reality most of these societies are resisting violations of their sovereignty, be it democratic or not.

Perhaps then it is in some cases in the US’ interest to support states in their fight against violent insurgencies, such as in Syria, where a legacy of religious tolerance and national secularism are prevalent, while in other cases, such as Libya, it may seem more prudent to get involved because the socio-political fabric is completely underdeveloped and almost primitive.

It is unclear ultimately whether democratic principles are applicable in the Middle East. But the premise of this article is to point at US interventionism as the destabilizing and paralyzing force in the Middle East. This policy has also prompted a re-balancing of powers in Europe and China. If the US stops interfering in the sovereign affairs of other nation-states, the world will be more secure, and the conditions for even the most basic democratic principles will be more ripe than ever. It is the orientalist and post-colonial perceptions of regions like the Middle East which perpetuate US and Western imperialism in the region; resulting in political instability, a decrease in human security and stagnation in political developmental process.

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How Arab Unity Became An Oxymoron – Another Tale of Orientalism


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A more liberal strand of Islam might argue that cultural identity is tied to Islamic heritage. Furthermore, it encompasses all philosophy and knowledge into Islam, as opposed to radical Islam which excludes philosophies from the Enlightenment, Renaissance, and the mystical indigenous religions of various regions in the world, like Central Asia and Latin America.

What if identity, whether it is Chinese, or Syrian, is also tied to an Islamic consciousness?

Let us say for example that Confucius was a Muslim. But only in the philosophical sense.

Let us say that Islam, is a philosophy too, a form of consciousness that becomes intertwined with language and custom.

If that is the case, instead of isolating extremism in Islam – what if we look at national struggles for national representation as well as national struggles for independence through the lens of a struggle for a higher level of consciousness?

In communist China, Islam is systemically suppressed. In the West, Islam is discriminated against. In the Middle East, from where it originates, it is disenfranchised from the political process. Palestine, the crux of Islamic scripture, remains occupied. Mecca, resides in a politically corrupt nation-state. The vast majority of Muslims, shiite or sunni, are living in poverty due both to foreign occupation and arbitrary authoritarian government. Russia is united with many forces, some its enemies, like the US in the fight against radicalism, of course, without looking at the initial cause.

In today’s world we see North Korea and Russia and Iran and China as US arch-rivals. But how can we be so sure? It appears premature to assume that enemies on the media aren’t cooperating behind closed doors. Does the US not benefit from the existence of a constant menace? Fanatical ideology or religion, whether it is coming from ISIS or North Korea, isn’t the concern of the great powers.

The world powers are still playing their great game, and they are doing their utmost to prevent the emergence of an autonomous Middle East (or Latin America, Central Asia, Southeast Asia) that can balance their power, out of arrogance as well as out of the desire to exploit resources and prevent any fair competition in the Middle East.

And fanaticism is working in their favor too, because it does nothing to promote national sovereignty – in fact, it is almost carrying out the neoconservative deed under the guise of a Salafi strain of Islam.

A united, moderate and tolerant Middle East would counter all of these forces – but the greatest obstacle to this includes all the puppet regimes in the Middle East which have resisted challenging Israel militarily – the crucible of Middle Eastern conflict and instability. Once the leadership in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt is overthrown, the Arab front against imperialism can actually hold its ground.

The so-called Arab Spring was a delusional, western manufactured initiative distracting everyone from the real cause of conflict in the Middle East – Occupation.

Democracy is a concept meant for parts of the world where religious sensitivity and culture does not overwhelm the philosophical expectations of the individual. Ideologies like neoconservatism and communism all have threatened the peace and sovereignty of the Middle East. The Arab Spring was a farce attempt in this regard, as much as communism was to liberate Afghanistan, America to liberate Afghanistan afterwards, or Iraq, Libya, Yemen and so forth.

Whether political immorality is exercised by the Chinese, Russians or the Americans, does not matter – the point is that a brainwashing game is being played on the media to blur the lines between good and bad.

But all you need to do to understand who the bad guy is have a basic understanding of boundaries – and that when boundaries are crossed, war ensues.

That boundary has been, since 1948, Palestine.

Until sovereignty is respected, the brainwash will continue, and so too shall conflict.

Democracy will save nothing – unity will.

If I Were President – 2016 and Beyond


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There are many avenues that need to be walked in order to improve the US domestically.

The US is still a global leader, but socio-economically it lags in development, compared to its allies in Europe and its emerging competitors in the East. The progressive wave which swept Europe in the 90s and early 2000s seems to have missed the US. Obama’s legacy remains barely left of center, despite significant strides and accomplishments. Furthermore, China’s emergence as an industrial power and Russia’s assertiveness in the 21st century are signs of a need for the US to improve its position politically.

So what should be on the agenda for the US domestically?

  1. Immigration Reform – This must be done comprehensively without leaving any behind and also planning for the future. Grant amnesty, permanent status to those currently living in the US, with discretion for amnesty based on level of hardship endured. Grant federal aid to all immigrants in US. Normalize their status. Establish better relations economically and politically with neighbors, particularly those from which immigrants flee. Tackle source of problem. Tightening borders not only won’t solve problem – it is a mere rhetorical campaign tactic to entice those with little education on the matter.
  2. Minority Rights – African & Latino-Americans, but also Arab and Asian-Americans have suffered disproportionately in the spheres of economics and political representation. Social, economic and political measures are necessary to elevate not just the plight but the status of minorities in the US to that of equal-standing with other social groups to balance out the playing field and ensure a robust democracy and free market for all – not just some.
  3. Military & Prison Reform – We spend too much money on our military. We execute and incarcerate more people than any country in the world. That includes China, the most populous nation on the planet. How could this be? Surely, the US’ history of racism has nothing to do with it…considering the majority of prisoners in the US are either African or Latino. We need to spend less on our military, jail less of our minorities, and de-institutionalize racism. This requires active government initiative in the realms of education and economic opportunity.
  4. Health & Climate – we need a conscious revolution in our expectations of quality and formation of national identity and culture. The US must advocate for cleaner diets and environments for its people. Furthermore, the US must learn to compromise the tradition of robust-industrialization with regards to its negative impact on the environment. Thoroughly embedded universal healthcare must be made accessible to all Americans.

And what about in the realm of foreign politics?

Disengagement – the US must return to its pre-WWI foreign policy of having almost no foreign policy. The US was isolationist, largely uninvolved in the world prior to the world wars. Interventionism in the post-cold war period has reached new heights, and caused greater setbacks for the US and the world altogether. More military disengagement, including of covert operations, would result in a more secure US. The US cannot expect to have its borders secure while it practically disregards the borders and national sovereignty of other nations.

  1. Disengage Saudi Arabia until religious tolerance reform; distribute wealth
  2. Reconcile with Iran, Syria – South America
  3. Disengage Israel – less partial support
  4. Disengage from other spheres of influence (respect Chinese, Russian spheres)
  5. Recognize the Armenian Genocide (and all other disregarded mass-genocides of the 20th century and beyond; in Africa and Asia)
  6. Pressure Turkey to contain itself

Instead of disrupting the balance of power, the US should seek to play a more even hand. It could thus focus less on entertaining the greed of its elite through foreign escapades, and more on distributing resources more justly, effectively and fruitfully.

Who is the best candidate?

Overall Bernie Sanders is the best candidate because he benefits all those who are struggling, from economic equality, gender & minority rights, prison-reform & foreign disengagement – all of these fall within his scope. And all of these have hurt the US. As for foreign policy, he won’t do much. But that’s better than doing a lot – which is what his competitors and his predecessors have done – full military engagement or support for various forces. Bernie isn’t going to save America or the world. Particularly in the Middle East, his policies could prove naive – how would he manage Israeli aggression? Furthermore, in light of the double-standard against Palestinians, can their self-determination be secured in the face of a relentless, expansionist Israeli state?

What would happen in a Trump or Clinton presidency? How different are they, how similar?

We would clash with all our “enemies” more directly: Iran, North Korea, ISIS, Venezuela, Hamas, Hezbollah & Syria. Obama’s legacy of reconciliation would be undermined, where as a Bernie Sanders presidency would be more in tune.

If we focus on policy instead of rhetoric, we’ll see that both Trump and Clinton are hawkish. They are both angry about the deal with Iran. Both are unrelentingly pro-Israeli.

America is at a cross-roads. Sure, we are always choosing between two sides, but this election, more than ever, is more polarized than ever. Considering the US’ immense influence over global affairs, blue or red tie in the White House often means the difference between inflated gas prices and high terror alerts.

Is Bernie that much different from Trump and Clinton?

Aside from the slogans, ideologies and rhetoric – how different are these guys? In domestic politics, greatly. In foreign politics…not so much. In fact foreign politics has almost taken a backseat to the economic crisis in the US. The sad thing is that the two are so-connected.

Who do you trust most to deal with these realities?

Take your pick. Bet you can’t guess mine! (Even though I can’t vote…which goes back to the need for immigration reform). Catch my drift?

The Obama Doctrine – from Tehran to Havana


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I think its a beautiful thing to see a US-Cuban rapprochement.

A full reconciliation of relations may be naive, but the so-called “Obama Doctrine” has made normalizing relations, with some of America’s most bitter “rivals” historically, part of the agenda.

The Nuclear Deal with Iran (which American 12republicans are sworn to reverse, along with every other progressive measure – immigration, healthcare, etc.); Obama’s sympathy with the Palestinians; his less hawkish tendency in the Middle East – these are part of what has been called the Obama Doctrine.

Though it has been vague. This is partly because Obama is an elusive figure. Early on, some called him a socialist. But it appears that before anything, Obama is a classical liberal – of the Neo-Liberal Institutionalist approach of international relations.

His emphasis on “trade relations” with Cuba underscores his belief that capitalism & democracy are the path to civility. Instead of military pressure, Obama has wielded the tool of diplomacy and pragmatism. I recall Fareed Zakaria’s article which labeled this era the Age of Pragmatism.

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I must say that, while I understand that few presidents or US leaders can be critical of Israel, some are, more than others. Still, not enough is done. Palestinians are reduced to extremists calling for the removal of Israel; while Western leaders ignore the ongoing reality – Israel is actually removing the Palestinians. Thus, instead of tacit support of Israel, the US should play a neutral role, and allow the natural course of Middle Eastern self-determination to unfurl. The same applies for the rest of the Middle East. This approach could be an extension of what Obama is trying to do. Perhaps it could further democratization efforts in the region – but more importantly, it could create stability.

“New America”: Immigration, Freeloading & the Republican Propaganda Machine


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Are Immigrants Freeloaders? GOP, Trump & Rubio answer.

The GOP is conflicted.

They are ashamed that their disdain for genuine democracy is unfolding.

They scurry to relinquish themselves of associations with one another, and they are desperate to convince the world that their views are not as outrageous as their party platform.

A recipe for failure, it seems.

While Rubio & Bush might seem like the most poise of the candidates; their ideology resonates only with the same constituency amassed by other GOP candidates. Their platform is not only fundamentalistic and hawkish; it lacks the basis it needs for legitimacy. These guys are entertainers!

There is too much shame in the Republican Party.

Rubio goes far enough to humanize illegal immigrants; but his inability to translate that into a viable political position and a platform for efficient reform as well as what seems to be his inner desire to maintain a system that disenfranchises immigrants from integration makes it all too apparent that Rubio falls in line with the rest of his party on the issue of immigration, which is ironic because, while a vast number of Cuban & Latin-Americans identify with conservative politics, the majority tends to side with the Democrats, which is the more ethnically diverse and responsive party in the American political landscape today.

America is the greatest country on earth, without a shadow of a doubt. Even Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, vilified by US media outlets as an America-Hating tyrant, shared the sentiment, “America is the greatest country in the world”, during one of his more recent interviews with Charlie Rose. That being said, America is not perfect. Much like the countries from where most of these immigrants fled, America suffers from drawbacks. These drawbacks are reflections of the stubbornness of the elite to recognize the need for cultural integration. A more clear example of this stubbornness is the unwillingness of “White America” to acknowledge the dues it owes to the Black population. America tends to view itself as so exceptional that it excuses its own double-dealings. But that has bitten it in the foot. And the mass influx of illegal immigrants in modern times is just one among many symptoms of those decisions.

In an interview with Senator Rubio before announcing his candidacy in the 2016 race, Mexican-American journalist Jorge Ramos lambasts Rubio’s hypocrisy on the issue of immigration:

Your father was an illegal immigrant living in the US illegally until 1967. He eventually obtained status. Why did your grandfather receive the generosity and support of this country? Why don’t you do the same?

The realities Republicans ignore:

  1. America is not perfect and is largely responsible for supporting the tyrannical policies and despots around the world which have robbed citizens of decent ways of life, thereby pressuring immigrants to leave their homes in search of a better place.
  2. Immigrants are not free-loaders. I am an example. I’ve received no federal financial aid; have a working father (God Bless Him); and attend school by paying out of pocket.
  3. The majority of Americans on welfare are White (a lot of them are conservatives who complain that socialism is taking over the country; the irony).
  4. America double-deals with non-democratic nations, monarchs, statists, autocrats and theocrats.
  5. American exclusivism and austerity (when it comes to accessibility to public services) is incompatible with the founding American doctrines of liberalism, secularism & tolerance.
  6. America remains a republic, and not a democracy; that is a representation of a minority (essentially apartheid) ideology so long as it rejects doctrine of universal humanism.

The GOP tactic is not new. It is a smear-tactic. Dehumanize the subject and justify exclusivism and social disenfranchisement. It is the face of old America, but if this is the “New World”, then perhaps we also need to make calls for a “New America”.

STREAM: NIKO IS x Wes Fif – One Time (prod. KRIKOS)


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Produced by @KRIKOS88
Artwork by @KRIKOS88 #BASTART
Mixed/Mastered by Will Snyder
Recorded @RealFeelStudio

2016: Clinton, Bush & Paul


  

Republicans will do whatever they can to prevent Hillarys election. 

I believe it is inevitable. The same sentiment I carried during my support for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

God willing it will be a landslide victory and yet another milestone in our march towards progressive politics.

Jeb Bush is probably the only serious contender the GOP has to offer and it isn’t because his credentials but rather by the very nature of the Repuvlican-Conservative tradition of dynastic inheritances as well as the demand for a white Protestant male prototype.

Obama shattered that. What came with it is a burgeoning reality; racism, classicism and patriarchism are alive and well.

My only discord with Clinton is her lapdog mentality for Israel but like Obama’s strategy of short term appeasement, I believe the principles of the Democratic Party and democracy altogether will outweigh the importance of a continued alliance with apartheid state, Israel.

If any entity is going to deliver the U.S. from being held hostage to foreign special interest groups like AIPAC and the Arab-Gulf Lobby, it is not the Republican Party. The GOP is bought. It is essentially an interest group surviving off ideological propaganda and oligarchy.

Rand Paul, a favorite amongst youth and individual rights advocates falls into the same bracket as any republican to me. Having the balls to say outrageous statements about education and privatization in the U.S. is, contrary to libertarian sensationalist and sympathizes, not courageous. What would be courageous wild be for the likes of Rand Paul, the supposed philosophical genius of individual rights, to champion the right of Palestinian self-determination instead of lauding Netanyahu’s approach as his own.

Let’s see what type of America 2016 will usher in.

At this point, I would personally and ideally vote for a true democrat. Joe Biden and Hillary are much the same. They are centrists, echoing the sentiments of blue-dog democrats.

We need a robust, ethnically diverse, immigrant-background, progressive democratic candidate unafraid of challenging the foundations American society which have perpetuated inequality long enough.

Is democracy meant to perpetuate capitalism?

Because the majority system mixed with the electoral system guarantee that a secure, familiar ideology will administer America.

Two ideologies can be diametrically opposed – and both can still be equally wrong: Nazism, Zionism, Communism, Capitalism.

I pray that democracy and mixed economics triumph over the dogma of oligarchic exclusivity and ideological superiority, but often times it seems democracy works against the wishes of justice. The collective and individualistic dogmas have been institutionalized. 

Capitalism and communism must be undermined. 

My philosophy is socialist-libertarianism, essentially a blend of spirituality, collectivism and individualism, with proper balance and self-determination. Another simpler term is mixed economics.

I personally believe the democrats since clinton, especially during Obama’s presidency, and if Hillary gets elexted, we will witness a continuing subtle revolution within the American domestic and foreign political atmospheres.

Through reconciliation efforts abroad with left leaning nations that were traditionally scowered by the West, such as Cuba and Iran initiatives led by Obama, as well as changing rhetoric towards Israel, finally added with a demand for the recognition of minority disenfranchisement in the U.S., progress in the American society will be more possible.