Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

h1

THE MIDDLE EAST…One More Time

August 11, 2014

I tried hard this morning to listen with an open mind to the Meet the Press discussion…but as usual, my stomach is churning as I move closer and closer to a very different assessment of the situation than that being projected by the Press.

It seems so simple to me but I’ve yet to hear another single person or faction agree with me. I think that is a good signal I must be wrong, and yet these nagging “truths” of mine will not regress- so I am capitulating to my own theory rather than buying in to the know-it-all Press Corps.

I think we all agree; the status of US domestic and foreign affairs are a mess-and it is a mess because of politics – not misinformation nor bad strategies- nor more important, any thought to what is best for the country.

Historically, this is not the first time politics have emerged this divisive and this poisonous, but some things have indeed changed.

The first is the PRESS itself.

The Press of our youth has disappeared. “Just the facts” has morphed into “The Press knows best”-opinion based reporting-wrapped up in the glitter and glamour of the fortune –tellers of old. We no longer get news; we get opinion, emotion, and judgment as our national news figures try to sway opinion their way to capture good ratings.

In addition, most of our news comes from Boomer-generation reporters and newscasters; and worse-some that are still far too influenced by the self-righteous Traditionalists. From my perspective, we are a bit too engrossed in the “Greatest Generation” mythology. Not to say they were NOT the Greatest Generation; but only to position they were the greatest up to that point.

Combine that with our own “Boomer” attitude, and we have a messy Press. We may have started out as rebels in our youth, but the century evolved and the world of “Senior Citizens” who still think we know “best” is hard to take as we try to stop the world from moving past us. Many still believe we walk on water; although I’m not clear about what is admirable about fighting the longest wars in the history of the United States!

Yes, think about that. Two Bushes, a Clinton and an Obama….and the Mid-eastern wars continue. Is it time yet to take a deep breath and RETHINK?

And with a documented track record like that, why does all the blame go to Obama? Personally, I think it’s the old folks blaming the new generation…just like always. Together the Greatest Generation and the Boomers have continued a policy with roots in post WWI decisions as without much thought, we continued to support the British decisions to partition the Ottoman Empire into separate nations-a partitioning process based on Western priorities – not necessarily driven by natural ethnic/religions/language divisions of the people of the area. Add crude oil to that bubbling cultural pot, and we’ve constantly battled the dangers of those resulting “pots” boiling over.

Near as I can tell, from 1902 to the present, the longest period of time of peace in the Middle East lasted 3-4 years. Surely this signals perhaps the western world got it wrong in establishing the new countries as part of the WWI peace process!

Were wealth distribution, women’s issues, standards of living and war/peace made better or worse by all this? If after about 100 years of trying, we see no improvement, could it be time to re-evaluate?

Of course, the Press, the Traditionalist/Boomer attitudes and the Middle East are only three contributions to our current political mess here at home. Add the “white man superiority” still prevalent throughout the US today; the emerging digital impacts, a whole new emerging philosophy of cooperation and collaboration strongly influencing Gen X and the Millennials, and it’s no wonder we are at a tumultuous intersection in our progression.

We can only hope we find that new path through the conflicts and dangers because 100 years of 20th century thinking did not create the utopia we were looking for.

This all says to me – either Obama is indeed a powerful man to have personally caused all this damage in just six years or perhaps our trials and tribulations are not his fault as he tries to find the way across the abyss to our “promised land.”

And my final thought? Instead of playing the blame game, perhaps we should look at the Middle East and see if reorganization where possible of like peoples and religions might help as a first new step in a new century!

h1

PONDERINGS

January 9, 2014

SNOWDON AND THE NSA

A short STRIB feature this morning raised a thought-provoking question as debate continues on the NSA and the FISA courts.

Apparently, the general consensus is that the Supreme Court represents some of the least tech-savy people in the country.  www.startribune/politics/national/239124211.html  Reading the article, it becomes clear why there is controversy over Snowdon as a whistleblower vs. a traitor, as well as a growing discussion on why similar activities conducted by commercial and corporate entities (especially world-wide-web participants) are acceptable but less-intrusive government data gathering is not.

Even members of the Supreme Court are suggesting a reliance on the Fourth Amendment to resolve this issue in cases currently bubbling up in the system may not be the answer to resolving these issues of the 21st century.

In a way, that is comforting as it does point out the wisdom of the founding fathers as they drafted the constitution to become guiding principles, but at the same time allowed for amendments as necessary to change it to cover unforeseen future circumstances.

On the other hand, can you imagine the angst, emotion, and drama that would accompany any movement to amend the Constitution to clarify this issue in our world today?  I am afraid it would rank up there with slavery, women’s rights and the civil rights movement in terms of tearing the country apart.

ISRAEL AND REFUGEES

Keep an eye on this one…at least on the surface, the “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” mantra does not seem to be applicable – at least in all cases.

It is surely a complicated question that does indeed confront the Jewish state with key questions about its identity, who is a refugee, and do Jews have a special duty to be accommodating in light of their own history.

It does not appear to be a black/white issue; there have been attempts at accommodation; there have been concerns; and definitely there has been unequal treatment of Christian and Muslim refugees.

Sadly, as I read it, I could not help but draw some parallels to our country and our conflicted stance of  freedom and immigration – especially in view of the fact the US was also founded by early settlers often looking for refuge from persecution….and in so doing, created tremendous conflicts with the indigenous peoples already living in the land we wanted.  And yet, we are not always welcoming to those modern immigrants seeking refuge in what we built as a white man’s world.

 

AN ECONOMIC WORD GAME

A New York Times report on Obama’s comments yesterday following the Senate decision to debate the Jobless Benefits bill pointed out a truism that actually made me smile.

Yes, there is a careful “balance” going on in the 2014 message of “despite an improving economy, too many people are being left behind.”

The NY Times ended the article by citing critics calling it a “muddled economic message the White House has been delivering for years under Obama”.

And yes, the economic is not a right/wrong or black/white situation…it is a mixture.  There is not just a single“right” answer;  the situation is complex.

We are too used to right vs. wrong with no nuances depending on our own political leanings along with the color of our skin.  We forget there is truth and fiction in both.

So perhaps that is why I see Obama and the way he thinks as a mixture of white and African-as a good thing. He, like our world, is complicated.  He, like our world, challenges both sides.  That, in my mind, makes him a good leader.

Maybe we are so critical of him only because it is scary – because whether we agree or disagree, we cannot go backwards.   There is no winner in black vs white or left wing vs right wing.

The way forward for success in the future is collaboration – from which will come a better way than either stance today.

OIL, PIPELINES, TRAINS and the MIDDLE EAST

We’ve tipped the scale; most of our oil comes from within our own country today; North Dakota is booming; jobs are plentiful…all good things.

Enter the pipeline vs environment debates and the reality of unsafe trains causing concern over hazardous materials…one more time, proof there is often on easy answer to almost anything in today’s world!

Then another question popped into my head to confuse the situation more.  With our capacity increasing, it is creating more self-sufficiency in terms of fuel.  What is that impact on the US relationship with the Middle East?  As far as I know, we have not heard much discussion on that.

  But obviously, if we produce most of our own oil, we are not reliant on the Middle East and that could well mean less dollars are flowing there from us – despite  financial help to various countries in need.  We most likely no longer carry the mantra of Good Customer in the Middle East – we have become something else.  Are we SURE that it is the tensions of “Obama’s” US policy goals alone that has changed the tone and attitudes?    Food for thought as you listen to the next rant from your favorite commentator claiming Obama’s approach is not working well.