Tuesday, January 6, 2009
For those of you who were old enough to worry about the “mighty” Soviet Union in the 70s and 80s, you all lost sleep about nothing. News broke about the story of an ex-KGB analyst turned professor Igor Panarin predicting that the United States will fall apart in 2010. If this is the best that a KGB analyst and current US-Russia relations expert can come up with, they never stood a chance against the US or against anybody, for that matter. And of course, this theory currently has a huge following in Russia, so we can kiss goodbye any fear of Putin being able to turn Russia back to the old Soviet glory.
I don’t want to undermine the wishful thinking of an old dog, but there are gaping holes in his understanding of America. The very map of how he says the United States are going to be split up illustrates that he fails to show even a layman's knowledge of our great nation. Let’s examine his theory and see how likely these are and what could be the consequences.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Let's start by recognizing that trying to create a Palestinian Authority from the old PLO has failed and that any two-state solution based on the PA is stillborn. Hamas has killed the idea, and even the Holy Land is good for only one resurrection. Instead, we should look to a "three-state" approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty. Among many anomalies, today's conflict lies within the boundaries of three states nominally at peace. Having the two Arab states re-extend their prior political authority is an authentic way to extend the zone of peace and, more important, build on governments that are providing peace and stability in their own countries. "International observers" or the like cannot come close to what is necessary; we need real states with real security forces.
This is exactly what could be termed as a genius solution. Both Egypt and Jordan being Arab nations, the control from them would not cause any ethnic or religious side effects that could face if Israel is involved. The fact that Gaza belonged to the Egyptian territory before being taken away by Israel adds strength to the theory. Also, Egypt being a fairly strong and stable nation, can easily establish the necessary peace and democracy that the Gaza strip sorely lack currently. And once Egyptian border forces are in place, it is fair to expect that the rocket attacks from the strip would stop relieving Israel's complaints. Even though they are rivals, Egypt and Israel have kept away from tearing each other apart for decades now. Once they leave each other alone and once the Egyptian forces control the strip and makes sure that it conforms, there should not be any future issue.
On the other side on the West Bank, it is much calmer already compared to Gaza. However, being part of Jordan, a very reasonable Arab nation would do miracles in the tensions that invariably occur when Israel and Palestinians are involved. Already, Jordan is one of the nations that cause the least trouble to Israel.
The biggest winner of the situation would be humanity. The conditions in the Gaza strip has been pretty bad of late at least partly due to the Israeli embargo. Once it becomes part of Egypt, economic growth in the strip would lead to much more prosperity and success of humanity. The same holds true on the West Bank.
Friday, December 26, 2008
With only 26 days left to harangue, mock and bash President Bush, some of our colleagues in the media aren't wasting a day. Bashing ex-presidents, except for the ex-presidents with shrill prominent wives, isn't nearly as much fun as bashing while he's still the real thing.There is only for so much more time can they blame Bush for everything is that has gone wrong in the country. After that they will have to own up responsibility for what is happening. They have escaped from that by blaming Bush for everything for almost a decade. Reality will hit them, and hit them hard.
There's method in the gladness at the New York Times, which relieved itself at the beginning of Christmas week with an umpity-thousand word accusation - beginning on Page One and continuing across several acres of newsprint inside - that George W. Bush invented the meltdown of the subprime housing market, which in turn has led to the collapse of Detroit and all kinds of bad things for Atchison, Topeka and maybe even Santa Fe.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I'm not going to defend Rick Warren; well, not too much. I am going to defend Barack Obama, at the risk of looking like a hack to my friends and colleagues.
There are many reasons why the controversy over Obama's selection of Warren to perform the inaugural invocation is stupid. I plan to list every single one of them.
First, the invocation is ceremonial. It's publicity, theater, a show; to the cynical, it's marketing. It isn't policy. It won't change anyone's life. So, as a sometimes-angry gay, I'm going to take a deep breath and calm down....
Second, as publicity, it's not half bad. Since 2004 Obama has talked about ending the blue state/red state divide. Are people really surprised by this? The hoopla over Warren shows that message needs to be restated, because the divide persists. People in the media must have no idea how popular Warren is....
Third. Okay, so Rick Warren opposes gay marriage—who cares? Most people do. Rick Warren is pro-life and in many other ways a social conservative. So what? A lot of people are...
Obama is doing his job. He's saying to the country: I want to be the president of all of you, not just the ones who agree with me. This is the mistake Hillary Clinton—and a lot of Boomers—made when she ran healthcare reform in 1992. It was "us" versus "them."....
Fourth, any attempt to imply an Obama policy shift from the Warren selection is pure hypocrisy from the left, who argued against Rev. Wright as a relevant campaign topic...
The best part I liked was that, this proves that Obama is not Bush. A left wing Bush, I mean. After eight years of extreme polarization in the political discourse, and eight years of triangulation before that, I'd rather see some engagement between the poles.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
[A]s a member of the Christian left, I would still bow my head for a prayer led by the Rev. Warren (assuming he doesn’t disparage any group in the process). There are some important issues on which we agree, after all: Christ’s ministry emphasized an obligation to help the needy; Christians ought to be good stewards of the planet; and, most important, God’s love is for all.
Gay-rights activists are outraged that Warren has been invited to give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration, a platform which, they believe, legitimizes Warren’s discriminatory views. Some even seem to think that Obama agrees with Warren’s offensive rhetoric about same-sex marriage.
That’s ironic. Gay-marriage advocates have adopted the same overwrought logic that many conservatives applied to Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. How could Obama listen to Wright’s offensive rants all those years unless he agreed with them, they asked.
Among Obama’s several admirable qualities is his ability to sit and converse — debating, but also listening — with those with whom he strongly disagrees. That’s why he stands a better-than-even chance of tamping down the harsh partisanship that has dominated domestic politics for the past 15 years. He won’t silence partisans determined to see only differences, but he can forge coalitions of interest with those looking to cooperate where they can.
I could not have agreed more. I have always believed in him when Obama said he will bring people together from the right and the left. Where did the liberals think that much promised meeting shall take place? In the left field? I am glad that as much as a liberal he is, Obama is refraining from the Rush Limbaugh politics of demonizing the opposing views.
The true unity of the nation could only come from first learning to respect each other and work to find common grounds. Liberals were complaining about the right being mean all the time. Now it is the turn of the left. I'm glad that Obama is turning out to be much better every day.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It starts with Cuba. Fifty years of embargo has clearly not worked with Cuba since a Castro is still ruling the island. As Barack Obama himself has said it is time to stop doing the same things over and over again and somehow expect a different result. So, I suggest this far superior mode of sanctions.